The Rundown: Kathryn Hahn Does Not Miss

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE — We all know this but it’s nice to say it anyway

The thing I like about WandaVision is that it’s given Kathryn Hahn an excuse to go wild for 30 minutes every week. I suppose that’s not the only thing I like about the show, if we’re going to be all comprehensive about it. I just wrote a thing earlier this week about how cool it is that the show is super-weird despite being a valuable cog in a money-printing machine. And they rolled Randall Park into the story a few weeks ago, which is great because Randall Park rules and I get for-real excited whenever I see him pop up in a thing I’m watching. But this isn’t about any of that. This is about Kathryn Hahn.

I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to really think about the answer before you blurt it out: Have you ever, in your entire life, in all of the television shows and movies you’ve watched, seen Kathryn Hahn miss? Have you ever seen her appear in something and come away thinking “Eh, could have done without that”? I promise I do not mean this in a hyperbolic way, like how sometimes people will all decide something is good and start yelling about it together. (“Epic bacon, my dude!”) I mean it seriously. Think about this. Take as long as you want.

But I bet you just said “no, I have not” and moved straight into this paragraph because, seriously, Kathryn Hahn is so good. She brings this crazed energy to a comedic role that is hard to define in terms that don’t make you sound crazed, too. It’s a blast. It works great in WandaVision because she gets to play — spoilers coming in hot here, just through last week’s big reveal — a secret evil witch who has been ruining everything while also playing various versions of nosy neighbors as depicted in sitcoms of years gone by, which is a perfect role for Kathryn Hahn. But she’s been doing it for so long. Look at this clip from Step Brothers, maybe with your headphones in if you’re somewhere that a woman shouting about a man living inside her private parts is frowned upon.

Do you see what I mean? The mania in the eyes? The willingness to go huge and be a little abrasive? It’s a skill not everyone has, or is willing to tap into, and it’s one she’s been bringing to a slew of screens for almost 20 years now. Go look at her filmography. She was in Anchorman. She was in Parks and Recreation. She’s done voice work in Bob’s Burgers and Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse. She’s been making things you like better for close to two decades, reliably. Who else can you say that about? This is, admittedly, a tougher question than the first one I asked. The best answer is probably Kenan Thompson, who I just wrote about last week for a similar reason.

That’s why it’s so cool to see her get showered with praise for what she’s doing right now in WandaVision. She’s not doing anything new, at least not for her. She’s just showing up and doing her job and making an already fun thing significantly better. The difference is that people are noticing now in large numbers. I like how I said “people” there as though I’m somehow above it. I’m only writing this article because she’s been so good on WandaVision, too. The lack of ongoing Kathryn Hahn appreciation is as much my fault as anyone else’s, and arguably more because I have a weekly column where I get to write about almost anything I want. I could have written this months ago. I probably should have.

Better late than never, though, I guess. And it’s nice to have a really good excuse to do it, one like “she’s stealing every scene in the most buzzy television show currently airing.” It’s nice that everyone is in full agreement on it, too. Kathryn Hahn deserves it all. Because Kathryn Hahn does not miss.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — This is very silly and I am very excited

This is the first look at the upcoming seventh Mission: Impossible movie. I suppose “look” is stretching things a little bit. It is a silhouette of Tom Cruise running through a foggy doorway. That’s not much to go on. It’s kind of a hilarious amount of “not much to go on,” actually. It might not even be Tom Cruise. It could be a lookalike or a clone. And I suppose we can’t be sure that it’s a doorway either, on account of the fog. Which could be smoke, now that I think about it some more. So I guess here are the main takeaways:

  • The movie will star someone who either is or looks like Tom Cruise
  • This person — possibly a robot, too, I guess — will run through a doorway or some other doorway-shaped opening
  • There will be smoke or fog involved in some way, possibly due to a fire or them being in London, or both

So there’s that. It’s not nothing but it sure is close enough to nothing that it could reach out and touch nothing’s nose. And yet, here I am, excited about it. Part of that is just the way I’m wired. I’m an excitable person. But part of it is, like… I miss movies. Big movies. Big loud action movies where Tom Cruise jumps out of or onto or into things in a dangerous fashion. Teasers like this imply that things are on the right track. That there is a future where I can see this movie in a theater. Not until November, when it is set to drop, but still. There’s this, then there will be a poster, then there will be a trailer, then I will fully freak out, then, eventually, I will buy a ticket and watch this movie while consuming a package of gummi bears and a Diet Coke as big as my head. This is the plan.

I can’t be expected to focus on theatrical windows at a time like this. I have links to click on.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Martha Stewart can hold a grudge

She did an interview this week with Harper’s Bazaar where she talked about that life. It’s a good read and you should maybe bookmark it to read it this weekend but, I’m sorry, I’m going to blockquote the jail part.

The experience, she’s said, is one of many things that helped her bond with Snoop Dogg, who had spent time in jail on drug charges in the early ’90s. “Yes, that [conviction] helped because people knew how crazy and unfair … all of that was,” she said on CBS’s Sunday Morning in a joint interview with the rapper in 2017. “And in Snoop’s world, it gave me the street cred I was lacking.” Nevertheless, there’s one thing Stewart wishes she could do over. “My only big regret that I can talk about is that Saturday Night Live asked me to host. My probation officer wouldn’t give me the time,” she says. “That really pissed me off, because I would have loved to have hosted Saturday Night Live. I’d like that on my résumé.”

The other thing to know about Martha Stewart is that she is ruthless. It’s probably how she became one of the only self-made female billionaires in the world. It’s definitely how she came to compose the tweet I embedded at the top of this section, which she posted over four years ago on Thanksgiving and has lived inside my brain ever since. Martha Stewart absolutely still knows the name of this parole officer and would bring this up right away if she ever runs into him again. She’s like Michael Jordan like that. Read that quote again. There is an implied “and I took that personally” in there.

Let’s let her host SNL. I bet she’ll call the probation officer out by name in the monologue. It’ll be great.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Okay, now we have to ask every celebrity about their first kiss

One of the many interesting things about life is that you can grow up to be a talented and charismatic adult and still have a slew of painfully awkward stories about your adolescence. There’s a good reason for this: adolescence is painfully awkward for everyone, even — some might say especially — for the type of people who grow up to be interesting adults. It’s one of many reasons that I enjoy Netflix’s super-raunchy animated comedy Big Mouth so much. It’s also a nice excuse for me to post a funny story LaKeith Stanfield told about his first kiss.

Context, briefly. W Magazine is doing this series of profiles on actors and actresses who have turned in notable performances this year. One of those profiles is for Stanfield, related to his role in Judas and the Black Messiah. One of the questions they asked him in that discussion was about his first kiss. And he said this.

“On the playground, in kindergarten or first grade. But it really wasn’t a first kiss. I just liked this girl and I thought, If you like a girl, you go kiss her. And so I ran up and kissed her on the cheek. And then, since we were on the playground, she was kind of sweaty so I had a bad taste in my mouth, and I threw up all over the playground. She was there and just kind of kept walking. So I got my karma for running up kissing people.”

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — This is better than most television shows I’ve seen this year

This is a TikTok video of a dude smashing a door with a hammer. It’s delightful. I really recommend downloading TikTok if you haven’t already. There’s madness like this all over it. Sometimes when I can’t sleep I’ll just scroll through it for an hour and watch goofballs do perfect little comedy bits. It’s so much more joyful and soothing than any other social media platform. I doubt I will ever post anything on it because that would require, like, shaving and making myself presentable, which I will only do for weddings and funerals. But lord in heaven, do I ever love scrolling through it.

Here’s another video of that guy smashing stuff with a hammer. It’s a shower door this time.

  • The internet is very large and contains many things and it’s probably worth it every now and then to tiptoe into new corners of it to find the happy stuff, especially if you spend too much time on the depressing and bleak parts of it
  • Smashing stuff with a hammer rules

These are equally important.

READER MAIL

If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at [email protected] (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.

From Sara:

I need to thank you for introducing me to Zac Efron’s travel show. I wouldn’t have watched it without your recommendation and it was so pure and fun. The only drawback has been my husband adding the word “sick” to his daily vocabulary. The other day I told him we were getting pizza for dinner and that was his entire reply. He’s 43 years old.

I know you like celebrity-hosted travel shows like this one and The Wine Show so I have two questions. Have you seen Stanley Tucci’s new travel series in Italy? And if you could pick any celebrity to host a food travel show, who would it be? I’m sure your answers will be … I’m sorry … sick.

Well, this is a wonderful email, Sara. For a bunch of reasons. Let’s rip off some quick replies via bullet point before I get to the meat of your question:

  • Zac Efron’s travel show was honestly one of my favorite shows of last year, just so pure and sweet and earnest, a couple bros desperately trying to teach other bros about the Earth
  • I’m sorry I have ruined your husband
  • I, somehow, have yet to watch Tucci’s travel show but I assure you I will be remedying that as soon as this weekend

To the larger question: My answers here are boring, for now, because they are my answers to everything (McConaughey and Tracy Morgan). I would like to see Guy Fieri tour China. I would like to see Anna Kendrick do a wine tour of France, both because Anna Kendrick is cool/fun and because she was hilarious with the “water sommelier” on Efron’s show. The Efron Cinematic Universe is real.

The one-hour episode features Bridges, who humbly admits he’s no whiz in the kitchen, cooking up chicken and potatoes for the chef before attempting to cook a menu of Indian dishes guided by a very patient Irani for a roomful of VIPs and his mother, Roberta.

This is awesome. I love it. And hopefully, it will convince executives to finally highlight my idea for a DMX-hosted outdoor cooking series called “X Gon Grill It For Ya.” No losers involved in this development.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Arizona!

The authorities in Arizona accused a man of going to extreme lengths to get out of work this month, saying he faked his own kidnapping, bound his own wrists, gagged himself and invented a story of treasure hidden in the desert.

When the officers arrived, they found a man, later identified as Mr. Soules, with his hands bound behind his back by a belt and a purple bandanna “stuffed in his mouth,” according to the police. A photo from the Police Department showed the man with his hands tied while lying on his side on the ground.

I need to know how he did it. I need to know everything about it. But mostly, I need to see this loosely factionalized in the cold open of an episode of 9-1-1. We’ll have to spice it up a bit. Maybe we add a snake. I don’t know. They’re the experts here.

The men, according to Mr. Soules, “drove him around in a vehicle before they left him in the area where he was found,” the police said. Mr. Soules was taken to a hospital, where he was evaluated and interviewed by the police. According to the department, he told investigators that he had been kidnapped because his father had a large amount of money hidden throughout the desert.

I don’t want us to lose track of the most important part of this story: he did this to get out of work. To get out of work! He could have just said he was sick. He could have said he had diarrhea. It’s embarrassing, sure, but no one would expect you to come to work in that condition. He didn’t have to jump straight to “I was kidnapped by goons who wanted the money my father hid in the desert.” I kind of respect it, though.

Eventually, and after repeatedly confronting Mr. Soules with problems in his account, the detectives concluded that “his story was fabricated and no kidnapping or assault occurred,” the police said. They also determined that the account of hidden treasure was false.

It would have been cool if everything about the story was fake except for the treasure. Then he wouldn’t have to go to work anyway. Bingo bango, problem solved.

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