November 6th, 2009
05:47 PM ET

The rock stars and the intern

Recently, I accompanied correspondent Denise Quan and photographer Chris Audick to an interview with the Foo Fighters at their studio.  I got the assignment on such short notice, I had no time to YouTube or Google the band.  I knew the band name, but couldn’t match them to music.  On the way to the studio, I had the nerve to ask, “So, Foo Fighters, they’re punk rock, right?”  Hurtful.

If I’d had the time to YouTube the Foo Fighters before the shoot, I would have realized just how deeply their songs permeated my early teen years - songs like “Everlong,” “Times Like These,” and “My Hero” among others.  When I hear their songs now, my mind flashes back to a simpler time: my early teen upbringing in NorCal, when I used to describe things as being “hella sick.”  I wouldn’t be surprised if I let such an expression slip when I first heard “All My Life.”  I still find myself humming their songs, more than five years later.  How could I not have connected them to songs I remember so clearly?

The halls outside their studio were covered floor to ceiling with hundreds of signed albums, awards, photos of the band members and other memorabilia, including artwork from Nirvana (the famous naked baby).  Obviously, these guys were big.  But their faces eluded me.  I had probably never seen them perform, but I had heard their music all throughout my middle school years.  Most recently, Foo Fighters shared the stage with one of my current favorite rock bands, Queens of the Stone Age, and mega-legend Led Zeppelin.  And still, none of this clicked.

I stood for a solid half hour, a mere five feet away from Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett, in a position that millions of fans would kill to be in.  And yet, I looked on blankly, as if Denise was interviewing the next up-and-coming Disney superstars.

I spent an unforgettable hour inside the Foo Fighters’ studio, a studio they said few people have visited.  I listened to them talk about their 15 years of fame, how they never imagined their success would last so long.  Denise asked what their future plans were, if Foo Fighters would continue as a band.  They joked that they can’t exactly jump back into the workforce now: they haven’t had real jobs in 15 years.  I empathized with them as they described, like a lot of us, how some of their families are struggling during the current economic turmoil, and how they’re trying to help.  The Foo Fighters sounded like regular guys, who just happened to be UBER successful musicians.

Now, perhaps seeking to console myself, I see my temporary ignorance as a positive.  I did not see the Foo Fighters as integral pop culture icons who I relate dearly to my early American roots.  I didn't meet Foo Fighters, the musicians.  Rather, I got to meet Foo Fighters, the people.

A lasting memory, no less.

November 6th, 2009
01:16 PM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

Here's what's happening in the world of entertainment today:

The Hollywood Reporter says that GLAAD is protesting Wednesday night's episode of "South Park" which dealt with the "F-word." Their statement reads in part, "Though this seems to represent a well-intentioned effort by the creators of South Park to delegitimize a vulgar anti-gay slur, the fact is that the word is and remains a hateful slur that is often part of the harassment, bullying and violence that gay people, and gay youth in particular, experience on a daily basis in this country."

Jellystone Park is getting a little more crowded as three actors are in talks for the live-action/CG-animated "Yogi Bear Movie," Variety reports. Anna Faris, Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake will be part of the film's cast, with Aykroyd looking at voicing Yogi himself, with Timberlake as Boo-Boo. Faris is negotiating to play a documentary filmmaker (not CG-animated in this case, one would assume).

Popular satirical website/newspaper "The Onion" is coming to TV, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Comedy Central is partnering with "The Onion" on a half-hour scripted comedy, based on the website's video sports "coverage."

In theatres today: Jim Carrey gets animated in Robert Zemeckis' state-of-the-art version of "A Christmas Carol," George Clooney in the quirky "The Men Who Stare at Goats," Cameron Diaz in the psychological thriller "The Box," alien close encounters of "The Fourth Kind," and finally, "Precious," which is getting a lot of Oscar buzz of late.

November 6th, 2009
12:07 PM ET

Dwight grabs attention on 'Real Housewives of Atlanta'

Thank you Dwight!

The “sixth housewife” said what so many were thinking Thursday night on part two of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” reunion when he remarked on the ladies' decidedly low-key manner.

After quipping that he felt like he was in church, he called the peaches out for their new it’s-all-love-spiel. Now while I don’t necessarily want to see the women at each other’s throats constantly, I agree with Dwight that they seemed to be almost suppressing their natural personalities to keep the peace.

The only time things got even mildly spicy was when Lisa took on Dwight and Sheree for their comments about her fashion show, which she insisted was not a runway show (despite the presence of a runway).

The only redeeming moment came for me when the camera caught Dwight’s face as Kim casually mentioned his new penile implant. I love that he shrugged it off, but for a minute there I thought he was going to leap over and test her new “can’t be pulled off” wig!

At the very least I would have liked to have seen him come out and pull a Kanye West-type interruption while Kim sang “Tardy for the Party.”

Did you like the show or did you fly above it?

November 6th, 2009
11:30 AM ET

Amy Poehler, Megan Mullally face off on 'Parks and Rec'

Oh, “Parks and Recreation,” how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1. Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope may have met her match with Megan Mullally’s Tammy. The library director may be an even bigger nemesis for Leslie than Halloween prankster Greg Pikitis last week. Tammy wanted to build a library over Leslie’s beloved pit, instead of a park as originally planned, and Leslie - who had had run-ins with the library department before (comparing them to a biker gang: “Instead of shotguns and crystal meth, they use political savvy… and shushing”) - was ready to declare war. Poehler’s development of her character this season has been great to watch, and Mullally’s portrayal of Tammy, who would go to any lengths to build a library purely out of spite, was Emmy-worthy. Here’s hoping we see more of Tammy.

2. Leslie’s boss Ron (Nick Offerman, Mullally's real-life husband), who was completely helpless to resist ex-wife Tammy’s charms as part of her diabolical library plans. At the same time though, when he was not with her, he had no problem coming up with ways to describe how much he hated her: “Tammy and I don’t work. We are oil and water. Or oil and TNT and C4 and a detonator and a butane torch.”

3. Aziz Ansari as Tom, who is always good for a one-liner. His advice to Mark on dealing with Ann’s ex-boyfriend trying to get her back was to take the high road: “I have never taken the high road. But I tell other people to, because then there’s more room for me on the low road.”

4. And then there was the aforementioned Andy, attempting to get closer to his ex, Ann, by taking a job as a shoe-shiner at city hall. His shoe-shine station quickly became a creepy shrine to her.

Are you loving “Parks and Recreation” this season as well? Do you hope to see more of Megan Mullally in the future? Share your thoughts on video or in the comments below.


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