"The Walking Dead" brought back a friendly familiar face in its Season 4 finale, "A." Scott Wilson, who played the late, great Hershel Greene, reprised his role eight episodes after the Governor chopped off his head in the midseason finale. "I think we just wanted to show Rick's whole story, Rick's entire journey. That was actually the beginning of Rick's move away from brutality," showrunner Scott Gimple says of the flashback to Hershel on "Talking Dead." "That was a different world. They were breaking ground on that new world, but that world is over."
He continues of Wilson, "It was wonderful to have him back, and to close out the story." In a quote from Greg Nicotero, the co-executive producer says that it was like nothing changed on "The Walking Dead" when Wilson came back. "All the actors were happy to be back after being separated," he says. "That man's a legend," Andrew Lincoln recalls of shooting again with Scott Wilson. But apparently having Hershel back for the two-day shoot wasn't all rainbows and sunshine. "He was just burping," Lincoln says. "I could just hear him belching all over my lines." "The Walking Dead" Season 5 returns to AMC in October 2014. Did you like the Hershel flashback?
Boy meets girl; boy marries girl; boy and girl have a boy and girl; boy tells his boy and girl how he met his girl. In a nutshell, that's the premise of the CBS comedy "How I Met Your Mother," which ends after nine seasons with a one-hour series finale on Monday (March 31). If all goes as fans hope, by the time the last credits roll, New York architect Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) will at long last lock eyes -- and who knows, maybe even lips -- with "The Girl With the Yellow Umbrella" (Cristin Milioti), his future wife and the Mother of the title. They've already seen retired playboy Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) exchange vows with news anchor Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), Ted's ex-girlfriend. Signs also point to Marshall and Lily (Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan), Ted's longtime pals continuing to be the adorable couple they've always been. Carter Bays, who co-created and executive produces the show with his longtime pal and writing partner Craig Thomas (they met when Thomas became the drummer for Bays' band at Wesleyan University), is just back from a week in Hawaii. Spending time in paradise with his wife and two children was intended to help him from the stress and exhaustion of getting "HIMYM" over the finish line. "I hadn't really done the Hawaii thing," he tells Zap2it, "and it was everything they said it would be." Of all the twists and turns of the final season, which has played out as one very long weekend before Barney and Robin's wedding, and the finale, the end has always been in sight. "I feel like the less we say about the finale, the better," says Bays. "This is the ending we conceived when we conceived the show 10 years ago. It's what we've been steadfastly writing towards ever since." We know now that Barney and Ted both make it down the aisle -- a few years behind the show's creators, who loosely based "HIMYM" on their own experience as buddies sharing an apartment in New York. Both Thomas and Bays are husbands and fathers, but it was not always thus. "At the beginning of the series," says Bays, "I related to Ted, because I was single, and I hadn't met my wife yet. Now, I feel much more like Marshall and Lily, although there is a lot of Ted and the Mother in my wife and I. There are a few details that are taken directly from life." While Ted and Barney stand in for many singles who are either looking for true love or merely just a good time, Marshall and Lily started the show together, got married and had a baby -- but at no point did they become boring. Says Bays, "Marshall and Lily have been almost like immortals, almost like Greek gods, representing marital love. They've always been superhuman in that way, and they continue to be. "They have trouble ... but there's just some wonderful stuff coming up. They're two people who follow their gut, and that's what their love story has been about. It's about their feelings for each other." While Ted always had one eye on the altar, Barney let his eyes roam. "What else is there to do with a character like that than watch him grow up?" Bays says. "The last few episodes give a real accelerated view into just how much Barney grows up."
Having found his bride, Bays can heartily recommend the married state to any bachelors watching the show. "You have to meet the right person," he says. "At the same time, it's wonderful. It's great. There is no right time; there is no checklist you have to hit. You have to be open to it, and you have to find someone who's open to it, and who you get along with. "When you do that, it's great. It's the best thing I've ever done." As to whether the Mother resembles his wife, Bays says, "I'm nervous about comparing the two. I definitely think the way Ted loves his wife comes directly from how I love my wife, for sure. I don't think I'd be able to write that stuff if I hadn't gone through it myself." As for the nature of love and marriage, Bays says, "We've spent nine years writing about it, and I still don't feel like we've come close to distilling it down. Marriage is a series of lots of little stories. "I guess a marriage is kind of like a sitcom. You have to keep it interesting, you have to keep it fun, and there'll be twists and turns in the plot. You have to stick with it, just keep the central cast together."
The "How I Met Your Mother" series finale airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT Monday on CBS.
If you're a "Game of Thrones" fan, the new season of "Robot Chicken" is appealing directly to you. During a press event for "DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise," executive producers John Harvatine and Eric Towner, as well as writer-director Kevin Shinick, spoke to Zap2it about the upcoming Season 7 treat. "We've got George R.R. Martin playing himself," Towner says. "He came to the studio and recorded himself, so there's some 'Game of Thrones' stuff. That's pretty exciting." Martin isn't the only notable celebrity appearing, though. Shinick goes on to share, "We've got a 'Les Miserables' parody that's got Zachary Levi." In fact, Shinick, who has several broadway credits on his resume, will also sing in the parody. "Robot Chicken" Season 7 kicks off April 6 on Cartoon Network with "DC Comics Special II: Villains in Paradise." It has quite the packed roster itself, including Alfred Molina returning as Lex Luthor. This time out, Molina has a musical number and it's one that will be stuck in your head forever. Take a look at "Sexx Luthor" below.
Between her duplicitous husband and protective criminal guardian angel, Agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) has a lot to handle on "The Blacklist." But one person who secret has her back is fellow agent Aram Mojtabai (Amir Arison).
"He loves and is also very protective of Agent Keen," Arison tells Zap2it, which means that Aram has complicated feelings about Raymond Reddington (James Spader).
"I personally think Aram has an incredible respect for Mr. Reddington
because he is aware of how fiercely intelligent and strong his intellect
is, and Aram respects intelligence. Also, he has seen all that
Reddington has done to protect Agent Keen," says Arison. "I also think Aram is a little
bit afraid of Reddington because he knows how many people he's killed
and what he's capable of and how he's masterminding all sides of the game.
"But at the same time, he protects Liz ad he's helping my team and my friends catch super bad guys, so it's a bit of a symbiotic relationship. They're certainly on opposite sides, but I think there's a deep respect for intellect and intelligence and possibly doing the right thing."
In Monday's (March 31) episode, Arison teases for us that the show will be once again heading into some creepy territory in "Milton Bobbit."
"Damian Young, one of those great, great character actors, is playing Milton Bobbit and I can say this: It is similar to 'The Stewmaker' episode. It's a very psychologically creepy, disturbing episode. There's a couple ideas that really hit you in the guts. ['The Stewmaker'] hit people in a horror way, in a creepy way, this one will hit people in a psychological way. Not necessarily from what you see but from some of the ideas."
And what about the end of the season, as we speed toward the season finale? Arison can't divulge much, but he will say, "Characters are put in situations that are between rocks and a hard place and there's no easy way out. It's exciting, the writers are not going to disappoint."
"The Blacklist" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
"Cosmos" would like you to know that the universe is big, fast and really weird. That's basically what "A Sky Full of Ghosts" is about. Considering that the "ghosts" in question are observations of stars whose light has traveled for hundreds and thousands of years, astronomy is essentially seeing into the past.
Which is pretty cool. Other cool things are in the recap below.
Congratulations! You are the center of the universe! (kind of)
Thanks to the Big Bang Theory and the idea that light has a definite and limited speed, you can now tell your parents that you are, in fact, the center of the universe. Just don't tell them that they are too. Every place in the universe actually appears to be the center and everything is moving away from every point.
What comes before/further than the 13.4 billion-light-years-away starlight? According to most theories, that's pretty much it: The beginning of time and the end of space.
We will conveniently ignore the fact that the "end of space" negates Giordano Bruno's concept of an infinite universe. "Cosmos" does -- mostly because the way around this involves mind-bending mathematics and theoretical physics. Scientists have trouble with that one too.
Everything in the universe is really big and really fast
Just remember that it can't be faster than the speed of light, and you're good.
That whole thing about Einstein picnicking in the Italian countryside pretty much boils down to the above statement. You can go super-fast, but you can't reach the speed of light. And lots of weird stuff happens at that speed too. For example, relative to people hanging out on Earth, you would age slowly. It's kind-of-sort-of time travel, only slightly more plausible.
Even if people can't go the speed of light, take comfort in the fact that we're zooming around the universe at millions of miles per hour. That's why you should like gravity -- spinning off into space at that speed wouldn't be much fun.
Everything needs to move really quickly though because the universe is insanely big. At the speed of light (which is 186,000 miles per second, aka really fast), it takes almost 9 minutes to get to the Sun, four hours to Neptune, 30 million years to get to the Sombrero Galaxy and 13.4 billion years to the oldest light observed in the universe.
Basically, the universe is really big. And because it's really big, it has to be really old (not just a few thousand years).
William Herschel tells weird ghost stories
No matter how much the man's voice sounds like Patrick Stewart's, William Herschel didn't quite get the point of a ghost story. Sure, the light from the most distant stars may be coming from some that are already dead, but where's the fear? Where are the campfire and smores?
We shouldn't get too mad at Herschel, little John or that colleague, John Michell, either. They did good science, and it wasn't their job to tell ghost stories. Instead, it's probably better to note that William Herschel a) discovered Uranus, b) wrote three books describing thousands of nebulas (which, at the time, included galaxies) and c) observed stars orbiting around each other (proving that gravity exists outside the solar system).
Michell, meanwhile, managed to measure gravity in a lab. He also made up stories about black holes and measuring red shifts.
One note here: No matter how much "Cosmos" likes to be all progressive and tell the stories of unheard-of astronomers, the Herschel story misses a perfect chance to note that women looked at the stars too. Caroline Herschel -- William's sister -- was a dedicated astronomical observer actually honored in her own time for her work.
"Cosmos" apparently isn't interested in her. But trust me -- she's awesome.
Weird stuff happens when black holes are around. No matter how much Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about it, no one really knows what's going on in there anyway. Seriously, just make up your own theories -- they are just as valid as whatever the astrophysicist tells you.
Oh, and "the undiscovered country from which no traveler ever returns"? That's from Shakespeare ("Hamlet," to be precise) and it refers specifically and explicitly to death.
So you're totally going to die if you fall into a black hole. Try to avoid that.
"The Walking Dead" Season 4 ended on a cliffhanger with Rick, Michonne, Carl, Glenn, Maggie, Tara, Sasha, Bob, Abraham, Rosita and Eugene trapped at Terminus. But don't expect the series to stay in that location for its entirety in Season 5. Scott Gimple, who appeared alongside Andrew Lincoln on the "Talking Dead" season finale, says the writers are currently scoping out the "new places" Season 5 will head. "We're really excited about it. The writers are working very hard," he tells Chris Hardwick. "We're looking at all the new places we're going. It's going to be an incredible season. It's going to be completely different from this year."
No plot details from Season 5 were revealed on "Talking Dead," but Gimple did say it's safe to assume that there are still Carol, Tyreese and Beth out in the world -- and maybe not already trapped at Terminus. Gimple also teases that every half season of "The Walking Dead" reinvents itself, and that "The Walking Dead" Season 5a will "be a nuclear weapon." As for Lincoln, he says that what he has to do to start preparing for Season 5 is "growing out my beard." "I've got to get going," he says. "I'm just going to be listening to a lot of AC/DC and turning tables over and that kind of thing." "You guys have only just found out," he tells the audience of the twist at the end of Season 4. "We cannot wait to get back to work. We've had so many emails from whoever's left, everybody pinging to each other ... just to get it going. ... It's hard, this show, but that's the way we love it." "The Walking Dead" Season 5 is expected to premiere in October 2014 on AMC.
Like was implied by the promos for episode 16, which only featured Rick, Carl and Michonne, this episode focused on that trio. It didn't take long for Daryl to regroup with his former friends, though it was in the most gruesome way possible. Rick literally bit Joe's neck -- full walker style -- to murder him after his men planned to kill Rick and Daryl and rape Carl and Michonne.
So Daryl was back with his allies, and all he acknowledges of Beth is that she is "gone." That's why it wasn't too surprising when Rick was extremely cautious about their approach to Terminus. He wasn't one to be duped again, and he knew that for every friendly Prison out there, there also was a Woodbury.
Which is Terminus? Viewers still don't know, but it certainly isn't a friendly place. Like that foreboding finale of "Us" implied, Terminus was a trap, just like the kind of one Rick was making for the rabbits earlier in "A." Gareth, the seeming leader of Terminus, appears to be a level-headed guy, and he had a level-headed approach to his capture of Rick & Co. But as Rick says to Glenn, Maggie, Abraham and the rest when they find out they are being held in the same train car, this group has messed with the wrong people.
Though Season 4 ends with a cliffhanger, it also ends with some nice finality. Most people are back together, though Carol, Tyreese and Judith are still on the road to Terminus (and thus Rick doesn't know his daughter is still alive) and Beth and her captor are MIA. But the rest are reunited, and not people to be messed with. Having Abraham, Rosita and Eugene as allies means that they are all the stronger for it, and Rick is no longer the man who will take his captivity lying down.
For a man who bit a man to death earlier in the finale, it's clear how far he's come to protect his family. And family no longer includes just Carl. Rick calls Daryl his brother, which makes Michonne and Maggie his sisters, Glenn his brother, etc. This is his family now, and it's family that has become hardened and -- as this season highlighted -- changed by its circumstance.
The flashbacks, which featured a pre-Season 4 Hershel, highlighted that change. Those flashbacks showed Rick when he was just convinced to put down the gun and pick up the hoe by Hershel, and he was willing to do so because it was a different world. But, like the Prison, that world is gone. Rick has no problems killing those who need to be killed, which means Gareth, Mary and the rest of these people at Terminus need to watch out.
So where do we go from here? Terminus is a trap, but it seems to be one that Rick can get out of. But who are these people? Are they the Hunters from the books? Are they repurposed versions of Negan and the Saviors? Whatever and whoever they are, they're very far removed from the comics, which means everyone should be excited and intrigued about what dark place "The Walking Dead" is going from here.
Frank's going to live after all, but his post-operative delirium on "Shameless" might actually be something to help him change his ways. When Frank finally awoke from his sedation, he didn't know who anyone was and confused his visitors for other people in his life. Most notably, it was Emily who has a profound impact on Frank. The little girl with a failing heart shared a room with him and he was able to convince himself she was Fiona. Seeing as her dad had split, she was more than willing to let the ailing Frank fill the role for however long he would. Unfortunately, Emily's heart isn't strong enough to last until a transplant comes through and the episode ends with her dying while Frank mourns the loss of his daughter. If this is something he will remember once the delirium passes, it could be a catalyst for change. With a new liver and a new lease on life, a change is exactly what Frank needs. Fiona has a bit of change going on herself. After completely blowing her probation out of the water, she's been carted off to jail. That's what happens when you break all of the rules all of the time. This time she seems to be more accepting of the environment, if only because she has finally realized it's her own actions that have gotten her there. Meanwhile, it's time for Lip to meet Amanda's parents and terrify them. That's part of their deal, but with Fiona in jail he's also got his hands full taking care of the kids at home. That's when he comes up with a genius idea: Bring the parents to the Gallagher house for dinner. What could possibly scare them more? The easy answer is to have Carl also move in Bonnie's homeless siblings. A house filled with crazy kids is the icing on the cake. Throw a surprise visit from Child Protective Services into the mix and it's a big night. Of course, the social worker isn't happy about any of it. However, when she realizes Lip allowed the extra kids into his house because they're homeless and it's cold outside, she gained a new respect for him. No more surprise visits to their house. As for the parents, they offer Lip $10,000 to go away, which he takes. That might sound harsh, but it was Amanda's plan all along. If only he had held out for just a bit more money. In the biggest moment of the episode, Mickey finally admitted to everyone he was gay. That everyone included his recently paroled father who went on a rampage. The two have a vicious fight that sends the elder Milkovich back to jail. Now that it's out in the open though, there's no more reason for Mickey and Ian to hide. Now they just need to get to the bottom of whatever's wrong with Ian. Only one episode until the end of Season 4. What did you think of "Emily"?
Grief manifests itself in so many ways. Sunday's (March 30) episode of "The Good Wife" put several versions of grief on display in a wonderful tribute to a beloved character.
Obviously, Alicia's grief was going to be front and center of the episode but the writers took a gut-wrenchingly realistic look at how death really affects people's lives. Alicia got a voicemail from Will shortly before the courtroom shooting and it ... said nothing. He said her name, got interrupted and said he'd have to call her back.
Instead of going for some dramatic voicemail -- like the ones Alicia plays out in her head, where Will is angry or conciliatory or loving towards her -- the show made both their last in-person meeting and the last time Alicia will hear Will's voice entirely inconsequential.
It doesn't stop Alicia from running around trying to make sense of the voicemail, needing reassurance that he didn't die angry with her for poaching his clients. It's heartbreaking to watch, as is the final scene where Alicia finally returns home and meets up with Peter.
Peter handles all of this as well as he can. He's not stupid, he knows what Will means to Alicia and he knows he can't be anything but generous and understanding about her grief. We don't actually think Peter would be anything else, even if he had hated Will Garder (and he didn't hate him, exactly. There were things about Will Peter liked very much), but you can almost see Peter's wheels turning about how exactly to act around his wife.
They may have ended the episode in an embrace, but that was a forced embrace on Peter's part and Alicia might as well have run screaming for the reticence and lack of warmth she displayed. That hug said 1000 words about where the Florrick marriage is headed.
The others' grief
At Lockhart & Gardner, Diane is tasked with having to tell the partners what happened. We were not surprised at all by her crying, then pulling herself together to deliver the news, then crying again when Alicia arrives.
What was surprising was David Lee's reaction, as he ran off to be alone so he could break down. It was also nice to see him back up Diane in the face of the partner who was pressuring them for reassurances.
Meanwhile, Kalinda's out to find out if Jeffrey Grant or friendly fire is what actually killed Will. When she discovers the fatal bullet came from Grant (who, as it turns out, killed the doctor who was testifying and only shot Will when Will tried to wrestle the gun away), Kalinda confronts Grant in jail and takes out her Kalinda-style justice by reminding just what a monumentally atrocious and life-ruining thing Grant just did, offering him a way out via suicide and then snatching it away and telling him to live with himself.
Finally, Cary is forced into a deposition by a snot-rag lawyer who could not care less that someone is dead, so Cary turns into Scary Cary, eyes blazing and voice raised, when the snot-rag and his client later try to delay the depo after some damaging evidence is brought to light. Cary can't be with Diane and Alicia, to give and receive comfort, so instead, he channels his grief into fire.
Thoughts & Tidbits
What does this mean going forward? Margulies has said in interviews that Will's death will make Alicia question everything about her life and, as we said, the hug she "shares" with Peter does not bode well for the Florricks, methinks.
Who it does bode well for, perhaps, is Diane. Do you think Lockhart & Gardner can survive this? Would Diane even want it to? On the one hand, just based on this episode alone, we think we would enjoy watching Diane and David Lee run a law firm, but we'd also kind of like to see them back with their former co-workers.
Everyone from the titular star right on down to Hunter Parrish as Jeffrey Grant deserves an Emmy for this episode. It's strange, but the one that got us the most? Alan Cumming as Eli. The way his eyes were just constantly shimmering with tears as he tried to hold himself together was beautiful.
What do you think of newcomer Matthew Goode as Finn Polmar? He's obviously a good man, based on what we learned about the shooting, so we're curious to see if he's a foil for Florrick/Agos, or a friend.
"Eric & Jessie: Game On" returns for Season 2 on E! Sunday (March 30) -- and this time a new cast member is on the way. With their baby girl about to be born, Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker and country singer Jessie James have new activities and challenges ahead of them.
Watch clips previewing the new season with these videos.
In the first clip, Jessie is getting a sonogram so that both parents can get a look at their baby-to-be.
They seem quite in awe with the impending child.
Leaving behind baby talk, Eric and a Broncos teammate take an ice bath together. While this is almost definitely therapeutic, the men take the time to act like boys.
"Eric & Jessie" premieres Sunday, March 30 at 10 p.m. on E!
"Chelsea Lately" may be coming to the end of its run on E!, according to reports. If true, this means that host Chelsea Handler will possibly move her act to another cable network, to radio or even to Netflix.
Handler's manager, Irving Azoff, broke the news in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Chelsea intends to leave when her contract expires. She hired me to figure out life after E!," he explains. We have at least seven suitors and many ideas."
E! has not yet given any indication for what it wants to do with its late-night show, giving only a brief statement about Handler's contract: "Chelsea has nine months left on her contract and E! will not comment on the future of 'Chelsea Lately' at this time
A best-selling author on a worldwide tour to promote "Uganda Be Kidding Me" and soon to have a stand-up special for cable, Handler is in a decent position to negotiate her future. Despite this, late-night shows are a tough venue, and "Chelsea Lately" has had only an average of 572,000 viewers over the past season. Her appeal to prospective venues lies in both her humor and in her attractiveness to female audiences.
This is not the first sign that Handler is frustrated with her job at E!. Earlier in March, she was a guest on Howard Stern's radio program and declared that "They don't know what they're doing. They have no ideas. It's a failure."
Whatever her future on TV, it doesn't look like Handler will be sticking around on E!.
Frances Fisher pauses to light a cigarette and consider the fragility of her latest character, Lucille, on ABC's "Resurrection." Fisher has been spending a lot of time lately thinking about this woman and the unreal situation in which she finds herself. As an actress who has done scores of plays in between movies and TV, Fisher brings a master's approach to the role. "I love the rehearsal process of theater and you try to learn how to build a character and make choices that are unusual," she tells Zap2it in the courtyard of a hotel in Pasadena, Calif. "It took me many years to get comfortable on camera. Being truthful in character is always the bottom line, but how you get there is different." "Landon [Gimenez], who plays my son, didn't have much experience but is wonderful," she says. "He has no bad habits." On the show, Landon's character, Jake, drowned as a boy, and his parents have since mourned their lost son. He returns -- exactly as he was -- 32 years later, and no one knows why. Lucille simply accepts this as a miracle and embraces him. "She's a small-town woman with big faith and is resolute," Fisher says. "And when she makes a decision, she is resolute and protective of her son. She lost him once. She will not lose him again. She is a simple woman who believes in miracles. I created a character back story for her as I do with all my characters. Maybe the audience doesn't know, specifically, but I think it's needed." Fisher says she hopes that this show creates such a fan base that it will be eight seasons before the cast and crew celebrate a wrap party "after a great run of a very successful series that has moved people," she says. "I want to see Landon go on his first date."
When "How I Met Your Mother" comes to a close Monday (March 31), it will leave behind a legacy of many great recurring jokes, memes and lines. The show launched more catchphrases than any comedy since "Seinfeld," and it created some all-time great running gags for its characters.
Obviously. The definitive Robin Sparkles rankings, incidentally, are: 1. "Let's Go to the Mall" (above). 2. "Sandcastles in the Sand." 3. Robin Daggers/"P.S. I Love You." 4. "Space Teens."
2. The slap bet
Barney totally should've taken 10 slaps in a row. Fun fact: The first Robin Sparkles video is the subject of the initial slap bet, meaning the show's two greatest bits came in the same episode.
3. 'Wait for it ...'
Also, "Suit up," "Legendary," "Awesome" and others in the vast trove of Barney Stinson catchphrases. Above, a "legendary" compilation.
The euphemism Future Ted uses to get around telling his kids he smoked pot. A font of excellent visuals.
The subject of an entire Season 4 episode, returned to frequently over the years. Subjects include Marshall's Dr. Seuss hat, Lily's terrible British accent and Ted's pretentious pronunciation ("encyclo-PAY-dia" et al).
6. Lily's favorite catchphrase
7. And Marshall's
(Narrowly beating "Come again for Big Fudge?")
8. Lily is kind of hot for Robin
A tiny little kiss in Season 1's "Best Prom Ever" led to a years-long semi-obsession for Lily. Alyson Hannigan always nailed the oh-I'm-cool-with-it-but-not-really aspect of her attraction.
9. The salute
You use the word "major" or "general" as an adjective, you get a salute from Ted and Robin with the modified noun as the officer's name.
10. The goat
Missy, a goat Lily rescues from being butchered, beats Ted up in the apartment on his 31st birthday. The buildup was perhaps better than the payoff, but a goat beating Ted up is still pretty funny.
Before he became an actor, Jake McLaughlin of NBC's "Believe" was in the U.S. Army, in the unit that was one of the first to enter Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. McLaughlin served four years and was injured twice: once when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near a tank in which he was riding; and again after another grenade exploded near him, and he wound up with back and spine injuries. Returning home, he went to work in construction but segued into acting with a role as a soldier in the Tommy Lee Jones film "In the Valley of Elah." Zap2it caught up with him during a press event in January, not long after reports surfaced that terrorist forces were re-entering previously secured territories. Zap2it: You were in the Army during Iraq War, including the invasion of Baghdad. How do you feel about al-Qaeda reoccupying parts of Fallujah, which many U.S. Marines died to secure? Jake McLaughlin: I lost a lot of faith in the leadership of this country a long time ago. It's pretty sickening to me. We're not on the same page. I was in Fallujah. My friends that I talk to, we talk about it every once in a while. It's just one of those things where it's pretty sickening, to be honest with you. There's not much to say about it. What are you going to do? We fought in Fallujah for months, and to know what we did over there, that it was all for just to let them take it back over ... I don't know. Zap2it: What about combat scared you the most? Jake McLaughlin: Mortar attacks are pretty scary -- anything that's out of your control, like sitting in the back of a Bradley [fighting vehicle] when a bomb explodes. Zap2it: A link to a news article from your Wikipedia page said your back was injured by a nearby grenade explosion. How's it doing? Jake McLaughlin: It's never good. It comes and goes. It's pretty much a constant thing, but there are days when it's much worse, as far as my back going out.
Zap2it: Are you involved in social media? Jake McLaughlin: I'm not really into the social media stuff, to the dismay of the advertising team. I don't want a Wikipedia page, then I find out today, from you, that I have one.
If Brooklyn Decker was seeking a model role as an actress, "Friends With Better Lives" has come along at the right time. The "star" of Sports Illustrated's 2010 swimsuit-issue cover has done the occasional screen role in movies ("Battleship," "Just Go With It") and television ("New Girl," "Royal Pains"), but she commits fully as an ensemble-cast member of the CBS sitcom "Friends With Better Lives," premiering Monday (March 31). There's little question Decker understands her new character well, since the newly engaged Jules is an ex-model and aspiring actress. "When we were shooting the pilot, it was probably the most nervous I've ever been going into a job," the engagingly friendly performer tells Zap2it. 'I was shaking and sweating, and my teeth were chattering. "The theater I had done, it was in North Carolina doing 'Winnie the Pooh.' It wasn't anything on such a massive scale as filming a multi-camera show in front of a crowd, which is something I'm learning and navigating. What you learn is that you get to trust the audience; they help you figure out what's funny, and you get your groove. It's a good litmus test for what's going to work on-air." "Friends With Better Lives" debuts immediately after the series finale of "How I Met Your Mother," with TV veterans James Van Der Beek ("Dawson's Creek"), Kevin Connolly ("Entourage") and Majandra Delfino ("Roswell") also in the cast. Decker has no illusions about the new group of sitcom pals supplanting the one that's leaving CBS' Monday lineup, at least not right away. "It's good and bad," she reasons of the premiere's scheduling. "It's exciting because it means the network is behind us. I'm a fan of 'How I Met Your Mother,' so to be attached to their finale is a huge honor. However, they have set the bar so high, it's going to be really difficult for us. I think the fact that we're getting that audience for our first show will make for a really special night, though. "I don't know that we're trying to fill 'How I Met Your Mother's' shoes, by any means," Decker adds. "We're not trying to be any other show." The wife of retired tennis champ (and current Fox Sports 1 host) Andy Roddick, Decker still keeps an eye on Sports Illustrated, deeming the magazine her "launching pad. They supported me from the get-go and made sure I had as many opportunities as I could. They're kind of a family to me, and while I don't really work with them anymore, I feel I'll always have a loyalty to them."
But not every "SNL" sketch is created equal, so it's definitely worthwhile to figure out which sketches worked and which did not.
Before getting to the individual sketches, however, it may be necessary to point out that just about every moment that included host Louis C.K. was hilarious. He was even funny in the parts that didn't really make sense. That's why we love him.
As one should expect, Louis C.K.'s opening monologue was odd, brilliant and terribly amusing. If you want to know why he is a successful comedian, this is it.
Musical guest Sam Smith was pretty impressive too. Much more passionate and voice-focused than many guests, you could tell this was real music.
When it comes to normal sketches, the best may have been the odd but impressively funny video involving Darth Vader action figures that may or may not be stuck up people's butts. It didn't make too much sense, but it certainly was funny.
It's probably good that there were no terrible sketches in this "Saturday Night Live" (although the taste displayed by "Dyke & Fatz" was questionable). But some still didn't quite measure up.
The one about the boss with a baby's body, for example, was only even a little funny for a few seconds. After that, it was just awkward -- even if you have to admire the physical skills required to pull it off.
Later in the show, "Mr. Big Stuff" was amusing enough, but the lack of a real joke kind of hurt the sketch.
And then there was Weekend Update. Were any of those jokes meant to be funny?
And the ???
As is so often the case with "Saturday Night Live," sketches later in the show sometimes seem a little bit odd. That's the best explanation for skits like the one in which Louis C.K.'s character and a lover talk about having an affair (and cutting holes in pajamas?) for several minutes. What exactly was that about?
The odd little commercial for some kid named Chris Fitzpatrick may fit into this category as well. That was an "SNL" sketch, wasn't it?
Finally, there's the bit in which Louis C.K. sort of declares undying love to his girl. And then talks about Baby Jessica, theme parks, death and garbage bags.
None of these are terrible. But they don't make much sense either.
Now it's time for your opinion on this installment of "Saturday Night Live" vote for your favorite sketch in the poll below!
Favorite TV Actor Benjamin Flores Jr ("The Haunted Hathaways") Jack Griffo ("The Thundermans") Ross Lynch ("Austin & Ally") Jake Short ("A.N.T. Farm")
Favorite TV Actress Ariana Grande ("Sam & Cat") Jennette McCurdy ("Sam & Cat") Bridgit Mendler ("Good Luck Charlie") Debby Ryan ("Jessie")
Favorite Movie "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" "Iron Man 3" "Oz the Great and Powerful" "The Smurfs 2"
Favorite Movie Actor Johnny Depp ("The Lone Ranger") Robert Downey Jr. ("Iron Man 3") Neil Patrick Harris ("The Smurfs 2") Adam Sandler ("Grown Ups 2")
Favorite Movie Actress Sandra Bullock ("Gravity") Mila Kunis ("Oz: The Great and Powerful") Jennifer Lawrence ("The Hunger Games: Catching Fire") Jayma Mays ("The Smurfs 2")
Favorite Animated Movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2" "Despicable Me 2" "Frozen" "Monsters University"
Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie Steve Carell ("Despicable Me 2") Miranda Cosgrove ("Despicable Me 2") Billy Crystal ("Monsters University") Katy Perry ("The Smurfs 2")
Favorite Male Buttkicker Johnny Depp ("The Lone Ranger") Robert Downey Jr. ("Iron Man 3") Hugh Jackman ("The Wolverine") Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 6")
Favorite Female Buttkicker Sandra Bullock ("Gravity") Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire") Evangeline Lilly (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug") Jena Malone (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire")
Favorite Music Group Maroon 5 One Direction One Republic Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Favorite Male Singer Bruno Mars Pitbull Justin Timberlake Pharrell Williams
Favorite Female Singer Lady Gaga Selena Gomez Katy Perry Taylor Swift
Favorite Song Taylor Swift -- "I Knew You Were Trouble" Katy Perry -- "Roar" One Direction -- "Story of My Life" Miley Cyrus -- "Wrecking Ball"
Favorite Book "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series "Harry Potter" series "The Hobbit" "The Hunger Games" series
"Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best" Season 4 premieres Saturday, March 29 at 10 p.m. on WE tv. A preview video for the upcoming season makes it clear that the Rivers women are up to no good in the most insane of ways.
Things featured in the video include: talk of a sex tape, possible drug use, Joan Rivers in an electric wheelchair cart, walking in on sex, Tara Reid, tropical birds, fighting and zombies. Yes, there are zombies in Season 4.
What else will happen in the new season? Considering the promo, it could be just about anything.