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<p>Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) reports on a &quot;WKRP&nbsp;in Cincinnati&quot;&nbsp;Thanksgiving tragedy.</p>

Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) reports on a "WKRP in Cincinnati" Thanksgiving tragedy.

Credit: CBS

Happy Thanksgiving, sitcom-style!

Why not spend some time today with your old friends from 'WKRP' and 'Cheers'?

Happy Thanksgiving, to all my American readers! (And happy Thursday morning to everyone else.) In what's become something of an annual blog tradition for me, I'm going to embed two of the all-time classic sitcom episodes about Thanksgiving: "Turkeys Away," from "WKRP in Cincinnati" and "Thanksgiving Orphans" from "Cheers." If you have some time to kill before football, turkey, or whatever your family's Thanksgiving plans entail, enjoy some retro laughter, particularly in the climax of each episode.

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"Top Chef Texas"

 "Top Chef Texas"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef' - 'Red Hot Chili Cook Off'

It's an all night challenge -- and it pushes the chefs to the edge

It's back to Texas for, yes, a chili pepper-focused challenge followed by an actual chili cook off. I know, everything is meant to fit a theme, but I'm hoping we move away from "things people might want to eat on a ranch" pretty quickly. 

Before we get started, Lindsay and Sarah tell everyone that they don't feel they turned on Keith. Oh, okay. That throwing him under the bus motion? That was just a vigorous upper body exercise. Nyesha thinks she's seen everyone's true colors and feels the competition has turned cutthroat. I think Nyesha's dead on. 

Dakota walks into the workroom and sees a bunch of chilis (I prefer chiles, but Bravo has gone with the Americanized spelling, so I'm just going to get on board). Two Hot Tamales and Border Grill co-owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger will be the guest judges. Padma explains the Scoville heat scale and then, the challenge -- create a dish highlighting one chili pepper. The hotter the pepper you choose, the more money you stand to win. But if you burn the judges' faces off, you probably won't win anything. 
 
Not everyone is thrilled with this challenge. Richie isn't a spice fan. Chris Jones' stomach has issues with spicy foods. But wait! Chuy is a spicy guy and he choses the habanero chili, which is worth $12,500. More importantly, he cooks with it constantly. Nyesha is also cooking with a habenero. So is Grayson. But Paul picks the ghost chili, the hottest one in the world -- and it's worth $20,000. He's the only one who picks the ghost chili. Paul is either brilliant or insane. 
 
Beverly - Anaheim chili
Anaheim chili credit with ssamjang paste
This looks a little bland, but it is interesting that she's the only chef who isn't cooking her chili. 
 
Sarah - Fresno chili
Salmon belly seared with fresno chili relish
This might be good, but just looking at it gives me indigestion. 
 
Richie - Fresno chili
Fresno slaw with pineapple curd and seared bay scallops
Pineapple curd? He says he's going for sweet, but this sounds awfully sweet. 
 
Chris J. - Manzano chili
Seared chicken with manzano vinaigrette
This looks okay, but I'm not sure it's wildly innovative. 
 
Chris C. - Thai chili
Coconut soup with Thai chili
This sounds good to me -- coconut soup with a spicy element. This is the first dish we've seen that I'd actually order. 
 
Heather - Thai chili
Date & pistachio cous cous, pickled cucumbers, red onions and Thai chili
Date and pistachio? With Thai chili? 
 
Chuy - Habanero chili
Sauteed scallop with achiote
Padma seems to realize the tomatoes are canned, not fresh. Bad move, Chuy.
 
Grayson - Habanero chili
Habanero popper with cream lime sauce
I love that she made a popper. The cream lime sauce looks good, too. 
 
Nyesha - Habanero chili
Baby fennel & rock shrimp salad with orange habanero vinaigrette
Why shrimp? There's so much seafood being used in the challenge -- and I'm not convinced it's the best choice to stand up to a really hot pepper. 
 
Paul - Ghost chili
Chilled coconut soup with kaffir lime, ghost pepper relish
Another coconut soup -- again, I think that's a good idea. Who knows, he might win big after all.
 
Sadly, we only see ten of the fifteen. Let's just imagine all of the other dishes were tasty. The good news is that none of the judges gagged or cried, so even Paul must not have burned off anyone's face. 
 
Susan says some of the chefs were wimpy. The worst were Beverly (she didn't do enough with the pepper), Richie (too sweet), Chuy (overpowering canned tomato flavor). On the best side, we have Heather (exactly the kind of food Susan likes to eat), Grayson (she showcased the chili) and Paul (he had the confidence to cook a ghost chili and it was actually delicious). 
 
The winner is… Paul. Because he chose the ghost chili, he gets $20,000 and immunity. 
 
There's no time for celebration, because we're already moving on. The Elimination Challenge is… the Chili Cook-Off. Each chef will be part of one of five teams. Chris C. isn't thrilled about being on a team with Sarah, given how she tore into Keith. Each team will be cooking a big pot of chili, at the house, for 200 rodeo regulars. And they have all day (and night) to torture themselves with the task. 
 
The teams go shopping and it's a fight for the meat. Then, back at the house, it's a fight for the contents of the fridge, cooking utensils, spots for cooking and basically anything else you can think of. Luckily, it doesn't get too ugly, though you can tell some of the chefs either want to punch holes into walls or cry. 
 
As everyone starts cooking, Tom drops by the house. He discovers Nyesha's Blue Team is putting chocolate in their chili. He seems to be impressed. I know it sounds gross, but it really can be good if you haven't tried it. Next, Tom visits the White Team, which is cooking at the fireplace outside. Tom seems to be grossed out when Heather tells him the Blue Team will be serving pickled peaches on the side. 
 
Oh, look, a commercial for Prevacid! How apropos!
 
The cooks cook all night. They get punchy. They dive into the pool. Chuy drinks more of the beer than he should. Some people nap. Some refuse to rest. It's like a college dorm party right before finals. Sarah, of course, gets some rest. It's not like anyone would try to throw her under the bus for getting a full night's sleep while other members of her team were still stirring and cooking, right? Oh, we can only hope!
 
After they arrive at the rodeo and set up, the judges arrive -- Padma, Tom, Susan, Mary Sue and Gail. Gail needs help opening her beer due to a weird bagel accident. Really, a weird bagel accident, I didn't make that up. 
 
Green Team - Sarah, Chuy, Chris C.
Chili con carne
Mary Sue loves the depth of flavor. Tom says it grows on him. Gail thinks it's a little thin. Mary Sue thinks it should have been served with a tortilla.
 
Red Team - Dakota, Whitney, Chris J.
Braised brisket and short rib chili
Gail thinks it has a subtle smokiness. Tom thinks it's seasoned well. Susan thinks it's a little stringy. 
 
Blue Team - Heather, Edward, Paul
Smoked brisket chili with summer pickles
Gail says that, having eaten this, pickled peaches are now her favorite thing to eat with chili. Tom thought the vegetables were great, but the chili, hmmm…
 
Black Team -  Nyesha, Beverly, Richie
Chili mole with cornbread
Susan likes the cornbread but Mary Sue thinks their food is unfocused. 
 
White Team - Lindsay, Grayson, Ty-lor
Three bean and beef chili with poblano cornbread
Gail wishes they hadn't put the pickled vegetables in the chili, but Susan loves them. 
 
Tom is glad he doesn't have to pick a winner (that will be done by the rodeo attendees). But Gail points out they still need to pick a losing team, which will be just as hard. Gee, Gail, you really know how to bring the room down. Go eat a bagel. 
 
The Black Team (too sweet), Red Team (the shredded meat was unappetizing), White Team (not enough heat). 
 
Lindsay refuses to go back to the bottom with this challenge. I don't think you have much of a say in this, Lindsay, but I have to admire your determination. Unless you intend to start hurting people or something. I wouldn't put it past her, really. 
 
The chefs watch the rodeo in a stupor and Beverly begins crying, thinking that her husband is missing all the fun. Nyesha tries to comfort her, but I think she's a little freaked out that her teammate is melting down into a puddle of goo before her eyes. She's right to point out that showing emotion makes your teammates assume you're weak -- not a good thing when you have to scrap for food and cooking tools on timed challenges. 
 
The winner is… the Green Team. Unfortunately, the Black Team is the losing team. But they'll get one last chance to prove themselves, according to Padma. They must transform that losing chili into a winning dish in thirty minutes. Nyesha, Richie and Beverly look exhausted, and I half expect one of them to stand up, say screw this, and head home. They're that tired. 
 
Chris C. is panicked thinking his little buddy Richie might go home. He tells everyone that Richie would give anyone who wanted it a kidney, and he'd pluck it out from his side on his own, because he's that strong. I think Chris C. might have been hitting the beer with Chuy. 
 
Beverly
Seared tuna with habanero creamed corn
 
Nyesha
Frito-encrusted black tiger shrimp with roasted corn salsa
 
Richie
Frito-encrusted pork tenderloin, potato hash and ricotta cheese chili puree
 
The judges eat and talk. Susan was disappointed in Richie's dish. Tom thought it was one note. Padma thinks he did a lot in 30 minutes -- but let's face it, you don't get points for quantity. Gail thought Nyesha's shrimp were beautiful but she needed more sauce. Tom was unimpressed with her corn salad. Mary Sue thought Beverly's dish was imaginative. I think Richie might be going home. 
 
Our defeated, exhausted three face the judges. Tom tells Beverly her dish was everyone's favorite, and she's safe. Nyesha's dish was nice but didn't go far enough. Richie had a lot of imagination but it never came together. Padma tells Richie to pack his knives and go.
 
Richie, utterly defeated and worn out, bursts into tears and falls into Chris C.'s arms. Man, get the guy a bed and something to eat. I'm sure he's sad to be eliminated, but I think this challenge pushed everyone, not just Richie, way too hard physically and emotionally. No, they didn't have to cook all day and all night -- but with chili, everyone knows that's the best way to develop flavor. 
 
The good news is that Richie shouldn't be too sad -- he can still try to beat Keith in "Last Chance Kitchen!"
 
Do you think it was Richie's time to go? What did you think of a chili cook off challenge? And do you think anyone is emerging as a frontrunner?
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<p>Chris Cooper in &quot;The&nbsp;Muppets&quot;</p>

Chris Cooper in "The Muppets"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Muppets'

The film hits theaters today

One more wide release solicitation for opinions before getting to the limited films tomorrow. Really packed holiday weekend at the theaters, and much as I love elements of "Hugo" and Michelle Williams's performance in "My Week with Marilyn," if you're asking for a recommendation from the stuff that went wide this week, I'd say spring for "The Muppets." It's not some perfectly crafted work of art, but it was the best time I've had in a theater, perhaps all season. Too bad the Oscars missed the boat. But in any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the film when/if you see it, so chalk up your take in the comments section below.

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<p>Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) goes for a swim as a way of drawing young Colin Clarke into her world in the new film 'My Week With Marilyn'</p>

Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) goes for a swim as a way of drawing young Colin Clarke into her world in the new film 'My Week With Marilyn'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Michelle Williams finds the bruised soul of 'My Week With Marilyn'

A smart look at one of Hollywood's biggest icons digs deep and strikes gold

At this point, I'm amazed by Michelle Williams so regularly that I'm used to it. 

After all, she's been crushing it in film after film.  "Blue Valentine."  "Wendy and Lucy."  "Meek's Cutoff."  "Take This Waltz."  She has slowly but surely asserted herself as one of the most impressive young actors working, able to tap into a wellspring of pain that makes her work almost impossible to take at times while being hard to turn off.  I love it when an actor starts to really play these raw nerve types of roles, and if it is her real-life personal pain that drives her, then I am truly sorry on her behalf, but I am thankful we at least have the work to enjoy.

Playing Marilyn Monroe seems like the sort of thing that is almost too big a challenge, and one of the reasons I've never been a huge fan of biopics in general.  I think they often try to distill an entire life into two hours and often fail miserably at the task.  Human lives are complicated, and any person over the course of a life lived richly will probably be several different distinct people over the course of many decades.  We change.  We evolve.  We are rarely just one thing, but biopics are by their very nature reductive, designed to sum someone up with a few signature moments or ideas.  I hope I'm not defined that easily, and I don't believe most people are.

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<p>George Clooney in &quot;The Descendants.&quot;</p>

George Clooney in "The Descendants."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Long Shot: Down on 'Descendants'

Academy-friendliness and social hostility co-exist in Alexander Payne's latest

Bar an offhand tweet-review that I’d now downgrade about two notches, I’ve been quiet on Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” since seeing it at the London Film Festival last month, and remained so when it hit US screens last week to an inevitable shower of critical applause – with many returning the film to its pre-Toronto position as the film to beat for the Oscar.

I’m not sure why I’ve felt so disinclined to write about it, besides the fact that—contrary to what many may believe about film critics—it’s not a lot of fun to pick away at films beloved by the majority. At first I thought “The Descendants,” a glibly engineered dramedy of Grief and Reconciliation and other capital-letter emotional states, simply wasn’t interesting enough to discuss at any great length, its virtues and offenses both too minor to get worked up about: competent films this bland and condescending get a free pass all the time from critics and audiences, so why single this one out for censure just because it has a bit of Oscar buzz?

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<p>Carly Chaikin and Cheryl Hines on &quot;Suburgatory.&quot;</p>

Carly Chaikin and Cheryl Hines on "Suburgatory."

Credit: ABC

'Suburgatory' - 'Thanksgiving': If you get lost between the mall and New York City

Tessa heads back to Manhattan, while Lisa takes a stand against her mother

I got to see tonight's "Suburgatory" in advance, which means you get a review of that tonight, while I'll likely skip over "Modern Family," "Happy Endings," et al and try to enjoy a Thanksgiving weekend away from the computer. (The Sunday cable drama posts are already written and ready to go.) A review of "Suburgatory" coming up just as soon as I think all Belgians are sex offenders...

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<p>Amy Adams may have finally met her match in the adorable department with her felt-based co-stars in this week's joyous new release 'The Muppets'</p>

Amy Adams may have finally met her match in the adorable department with her felt-based co-stars in this week's joyous new release 'The Muppets'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Amy Adams effuses about working with 'The Muppets' and Superman

Amelia Earhart, Lois Lane, and a musical wth the Muppets? What can't she do?

Everybody loves Amy Adams.

That's a universal truth, right?  She's one of those performers I can't imagine disliking.  Even if you don't love the movies she makes, I can't fathom how anyone would have a problem with her.  There's a reason her performance in "Junebug" got her that Oscar nomination, and it was more a case of "Oh my gosh, who is this person?" than the film itself.  She just popped off the screen in that film, and I felt the same was true of her work in Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can."

On the day we did this interview, I had both of my sons with me, and it was a big day of meeting people for them.  They got to meet Spider-Man's girlfriend, they met Walter, and Toshi interviewed Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.  But maybe the biggest event for them, based on how much they talked about it afterwards, was meeting The Princess from "The Princess Movie."

At least, that's the title it's known by in our house.  Both of the boys are big fans of "Enchanted," and they knew Adams as Giselle from that film before they knew her as anything else.  And while they also love her in "A Night At The Museum 2," even in that film, they just refer to her as "The Princess."

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<p>Woody Harrelson in &quot;Rampart&quot;</p>

Woody Harrelson in "Rampart"

Credit: Millennium Entertainment

Michael Shannon praises Woody Harrelson's performance in 'Rampart'

The 'Take Shelter' star tips his hat to a colleague

I always love it when Variety gets a bunch of actors to wax on about their colleagues' work this time of year. There are a bunch of these: Diane Keaton on Sarah Paulson in "Martha Marcy May Marlene," Robert Duvall on Christoph Waltz in "Carnage," etc.

I was mostly stoked, though, to see that my two favorite performers of the year were featured in one of these capsule assessments, as "Take Shelter" star Michael Shannon was given space to praise Woody Harrelson, whose performance in "Rampart" is easily one of the year's best.

I actually sat down with Harrelson for about an hour earlier today on the set of his new film, Martin McDonagh's "Seven Psychopaths." He ran through a few takes of a scene with Christopher Walken (which he said blew his mind) and then we headed over his trailer for the sit-down.

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<p>Melanie Amaro on Tuesday's &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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Melanie Amaro on Tuesday's "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Results Live-Blog - Double Elimination

Which two acts weren't thankful on Thanksgiving Eve?

It's not just Elimination Wednesday on "The X Factor."

It's DOUBLE Elimination Wednesday.

Time to let the craziness ensue after the break...

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<p>Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo are the appealing stars of the silent-cinema tribute 'The Artist'</p>

Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo are the appealing stars of the silent-cinema tribute 'The Artist'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: 'The Artist' offers simple pleasures in a look back at Hollywood's origins

Why didn't our reviewer fall in love with this homage to cinema's early days?

"The Artist" is, as you may have heard by now, a black-and-white movie that is, for the most part, silent.  It is set during the era when the silent films were replaced by talking pictures.  It is a crowd-pleaser, and since its premiere at Cannes this summer, it's been getting warm and enthusiastic reviews.

I was onboard since before the film started screening based purely on the creative team involved.  Michel Hazanavicius and Jean Dujardin collaborated on both "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest Of Spies" and "OSS 117 - Lost In Rio," which are these lovely silly French riffs on spy movies from the '60s, with Dujardin looking like someone put Bond-era Connery and Patrick Warburton in the Brundlechamber.  Those films both delight me, start to finish, and the idea of those two guys paying tribute to silent cinema sounded like pure win as far as I was concerned.

Now, a day later, I'm trying to figure out why I don't love the movie the way so many others seem to.  People are ecstatic over it, swoony in love with it, and I thought it was, at best, a nice diversion, a sweet but overly simple piece that won't have nearly the rematch value for me as their earlier films together.  I think Dujardin is very charming in it, I think Berenice Bejo is a pleasure to watch in the film, and I like the work Hazanavicius does as a director.  It's very skilled in a lot of ways.  But the storyline here is threadbare, a few sketched ideas instead of a finished work, and I can't help but feel that they never really figured out why to make this movie aside from the obvious exercise in homage.

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<p>&quot;Regular Show&quot; cast</p>

"Regular Show" cast

Watch: Tyler, The Creator appears in 'Regular' Adult Swim cartoon show

Hashtag rap in animated form

Actually, this is funny.

Odd Future has its own live-action, "Jackass"-style show coming to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, but the hip-hop troupe's Tyler, The Creator is jumping the gun a little bit and appeared on "Regular Show" in animated form.

Tyler appears as a bully Blitz Comet along side the rest of his crew CrewCrew, with Alpha Dog (Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino) and Demolition (MC Lyte [YAY!]). CrewCrew engages in a rap battle with a Shakespearean spitter named Pops, to a delightful end.

Tyler doubles as another rapper in the ep, Big Trouble. Tyler's known for his admirably smart but confrontational (and sometimes misogynistic, offensive, among other adjectives, yes) style. It's kind of fun to see him get a beat down, in a way. Have some fun with that big head of his.

"Loiter Squad" comes to the network next year.

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<p>James Bobin is the director behind this week's charming 'The Muppets'</p>

James Bobin is the director behind this week's charming 'The Muppets'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: James Bobin lights the lights as director of 'The Muppets'

The director of one of year's most Muppetational movies opens up

There was a time when I believed I would never meet a bigger Muppet fan than Jason Segel.

Then I met James Bobin.

I really liked his work on "Flight Of The Conchords," and I was just excited to have him working in features in general.  I didn't realize how big an influence the Muppets were on him until talking to Jason Segel about it on the set of "Five Year Engagement" this summer.  He told me that meeting Bobin was sort of like looking in a mirror that turned you British, and that he felt like "The Muppets" was in the perfect hands.

Having seen the finished film, I concur.  Bobin was programmed to make this film from a very early age, and all you have to do is look at the way he stages his version of the iconic opening sequence to the original "Muppet Show" to see how OCD can, indeed, prepare you for a life in the arts.  It is perfect, down to the smallest detail.  That seems to be something that can elude filmmakers, no matter how much they try to reproduce things.  Look at the "Halloween" series, for example, where they never seem to be able to get the Michael Myers mask to look the same way twice.  Bobin does such a good job making his film fit into a visual world that has already been established that he makes it look easy, and people may not realize just how deft his sleight of hand really is.

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