The other day, a friend sent me his list of "must watch" series that are on his list each week, and it was something like 8-10 of them. I watch my share of television, but there are only 2-3 primetime series that I have set my DVR to record. The number will drop by one after Monday night when How I Met Your Mother goes off the air.
I caught up with the series fairly early on, I think late in the first season, and I've been in awe of it ever since. I find the writing so clever, smart and inventive, playing around with the conventions of sitcoms, often tossing in fantasy sequences, musical numbers and using flashbacks (within flashbacks within flashbacks) like Picasso uses a brush. But the cast, too, was seriously impressive -- in fact, most of the members had respective movie careers before and during the show's run. So, I'll miss the series when it's off the air. (Okay, I'll miss new episodes, since reruns tend to proliferate like Starbucks.)
The cast appeared on Inside the Actors Studio last week, and alas I found out after the fact, but I'm sure it will get repeated. But one particular video excerpt has surfaced, and it's a hoot.
It comes at the very end of the program when someone in the audience asks Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel if they'd do the "Confrontation" number from Les Miserables, which is coming back to Broadway. (It was something the two would do on the set, and then back in 2006 when the cast was on The Megan Mullally Show, they were asked to perform it.) What's particularly impressive is that if you listen closely, Alyson Hannigan says to the guys, "You haven't done that for a long time." Yet without any time to talk it out or rehearse, other than trying to remember who played which character, the two actors launch into it instantly. Though their performance started life before the film version, it's clear that at this point they are partly channeling Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. And having a joyous time doing it.
Fun too is watching their fellow cast members enjoying watching it all, taking great pleasure in the spotlight being swallowed whole by others, without a hint of jealousy. And as the scene heats up, Cobie Smulders has the good sense to realize she's going to be caught in the cross hairs and wisely (and almost self-protectively)gets out of the way.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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