Category: Rick Rojas

Who could replace Charlie Sheen on 'Two and a Half Men'? The speculation begins

Sheen Now that Charlie Sheen has said his piece in morning show interviews and a live feed on TMZ, it's becoming harder and harder to see "Charlie Harper" ever making his return to the CBS show that had its production shut down for the rest of the season.

So now begins the game of guessing how or with whom CBS and Warner Bros. will proceed Sheen-less with the cash cow of a comedy.

The likeliest option — besides just canceling the show — would be to bring in some kind of replacement. Everyone's replaceable in theory, and someone playing a shallow, womanizing bachelor who works in showbiz would seem to be especially replaceable.

Uncle Jesse ... is that you on "Two and a Half Men"? EOnline reported that John Stamos of feather-haired "Full House" fame — and a recent run on "Glee" — is in talks with CBS to replace Sheen. Stamos has denied any such thing, saying on Twitter last Friday: "Contrary to the rumors, I am not replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. however, Martin Sheen has asked me to be his son."

Who else might fit the bill? Matt Dillon did a hilarious turn recently as a hard-partying guy who never grew up on "Modern Family." The producers could keep it in the family and bring in Sheen's brother, actor-director Emilio Estevez. (I haven't seen him around much since the "Mighty Ducks" sequels, so he's likely available.)  Or they could scrap the whole the replacement idea and build a bigger role for Holland Taylor, who plays the tipsy, manipulative real-estate agent mother.

Continue reading »

'Rules According to JWoww' joins the 'Jersey Shore' book club

Jwoww It may appear to the viewer that the stars of "Jersey Shore" are quite content bumbling through their days of Gym, Tanning and Laundry. But apparently they would also like to make a little money writing books about it on the side.

JWoww (a.k.a. Jenni Farley) is the third cast-mate to write a book: "The Rules According to JWoww: Shore-Tested Secrets on Landing a Mint Guy, Staying Fresh to Death, and Kicking the Competition to the Curb" currently sits at No. 6 on the L.A. Times bestseller list for nonfiction, just one slot above Barack Obama's "Of Thee I Sing."

The problem for JWoww, though, is that "Shore" fans might not turn out to be quite as bookwormish as the show's stars. Snooki (a.k.a. Nicole Polizzi) and the Situation (Mike Sorrentino) both penned books recently that haven't sold so well. 

Snooki wrote a novel on a subject she knows all too well: a summer on the now-infamous Jersey Shore. According to Amazon, "A Shore Thing" is the story of Giovanna "Gia" Spumanti and her cousin Isabella "Bella" Rizzoli, who are "going to have the sexiest summer ever." The two girls are "ready to pouf up their hair, put on their stilettos, and soak up all that Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has to offer: hot guidos, cool clubs, fried Oreos, and lots of tequila."

Continue reading »

Thanks to dumb people and Daniel Baldwin, truTV's 'World's Dumbest' keeps going strong

TruTV's "World's Dumbest" series will never run out of a material. As long as humans exist, they will do dumb things. And "World's Dumbest" has been there to mock them with a pithy joke, a sidelong glance and a healthy dollop of sarcasm for 100 episodes, a milestone it celebrates with a special Thursday night at 9 p.m. on truTV.

Whether it's a would-be thief or an old man on the beach struggling to put on his shirt (because they're actually his pants), the crew of commentators — comedians, actors, Tanya Harding — are there to commentate.

For Daniel Baldwin, being a talking head on "World's Dumbest" has been a return to his roots. "Unbeknownst to a lot of people, I started as a stand-up comedian," the actor said.

"It's a strange scenario in the entertainment industry — you're remembered for the last thing you did," Baldwin said. He's had mostly serious roles, including a successful stint as a Baltimore detective in the 1990s NBC crime series "Homicide: Life on the Street," which has led people to consider him as a "dramatic, brooding Baldwin."

Continue reading »

Groupon pulls controversial ads that played off Tibet, rain forest and whale appeals

Groupon decided Thursday to pull the controversial ads the company debuted during the Super Bowl on Sunday in reaction to the backlash to the spots directed by Christopher Guest.

Andrew Mason, Groupon's chief executive, announced the company's decision in a blog post, noting that the company doesn't want to seek attention by stirring controversy. "We hate that we offended people, and we're very sorry that we did -- it's the last thing we wanted," Mason said. "We've listened to your feedback, and since we don't see the point in continuing to anger people, we're pulling the ads."

The three ads featured Timothy Hutton, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Liz Hurley, each in ads that mocked the pleading ads seeking charitable support for Tibet, the endangered whales and the Brazilian rain forest, respectively.

Initially, Mason respond to the controversy by attempting to explain that, through humor, Groupon would be able to ultimately help groups the company supports. Mason wrote in a blog post on Tuesday:

When we think about commercials that offend us, we think of those that glorify antisocial behavior – like the scores of Super Bowl ads that are built around the crass objectification of women. Unlike those ads, no one walks away from our commercials taking the causes we highlighted less seriously. Not a single person watched our ad and concluded that it’s cool to kill whales. In fact – and this is part of the reason we ran them – they have the opposite effect.

But he's since changed his mind. "[If] an ad requires an explanation," Mason said, "that means it didn't work."

Do you agree with Groupon's decision? Did you find the ads funny or offensive?


Did Groupon's Super Bowl ad go too far?

-- Rick Rojas

Super Bowl Ad Tracker Roundup: What the Super Bowl commercials say about us

Chrysler's ad celebrating Detroit was, by far, one of my favorites for the night.

A question popped into my mind sometime during the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday night. Around the time Usher descended from the heavens as a lip-syncing deus ex machina to save us from Fergie’s howling screech, I tried to imagine if anthropologists in the future got their hands on a tape of last night’s game.

What would they think of us?

What would they think of those spots that cost $3 million per 30 seconds? If anything, those market-researched masterpieces reflected quite a bit about our culture: We love a laugh; we love innuendo; we love it when we are in on the joke. We are addicted to technology. We love car commercials that make us proud of America. We love chimps in suits. We either cannot have fun or are testy and violent until we have alcohol. And a Pepsi Max crotch shot to a grown-up frat boy -- it doesn’t get any better than that.

 Some of us are postmodern and ironic, and are snobs about it. Others embrace the uncomplicated and unsophisticated, and are snobs about it too. The Super Bowl forces the two to come together. Some laugh at the joke, others are laughing at the ones laughing at the joke.

Last night’s commercials aimed both high and low. Many missed the mark or stirred the pot. Reading the Show Tracker comments on the ads, a bevy of them were racist, sexist, too violent, too stupid. But, hey, that’s what makes us buy things.

The ads mostly fell into a handful of categories:

Continue reading »

Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Can you find the Rio code?

It's a flurry of colors and animated scenes of the jungle in the ad for the upcoming movie "Rio" shown during the Super Bowl. There's also something else — it's your job to find it, though. If you find it, and then are the lucky one who enters the sweepstakes, you could win a trip to Rio de Janiero for the film's premiere. 

The code reveals a special level in the Angry Birds game. At that level, you are able to sign up for the sweepstakes. If you're one of the unlucky ones, you'll have to wait until April 15 to see it with everyone else. 

— Rick Rojas

Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Chrysler, Eminem proclaim Detroit is still alive

This 2-minute long Chrysler ad during the Super Bowl wasn't so much a promotion for a new model; it was an editorial in defense of a beleaguered Detroit and, perhaps, a withering philosophy of what America is about. 

Eminem, a Detroit native, returns for his second spot of the night in what is a magnificent tribute to the city that has been plagued by all the ills that an urban area could possibly face. And it's a message to stay strong. 

In a way, it's also more than a message about Detroit. As BMW also showed in an ad featuring the plant making its X3 model, it's honoring a time when America was about making things -- real, hulking tangible pieces of machinery. It stood in contrast to the rest of the ads for things we click on, things made far, far away, things created by people sitting behind a desk (not that there's anything wrong with that). 

Chrysler seems to say that Detroit isn't dead, and maybe the spirit of Americans making things isn't dead either.

-- Rick Rojas

Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Bugged by the Volkswagen Beetle

What can one say about the Super Bowl ad for the Volkswagen Beetle? It's a crafty ad, but it doesn't say much about the car. I imagine that's exactly what Volkswagen was going for with this campaign: It builds up suspense for the new Beetle coming out this fall, and it insinuates that it's as speedy and nimble as an insect darting through the forest. What more could VW want?

Do you agree? How does this ad stack up with other Volkswagen spots?

-- Rick Rojas

Super Bowl Ad Tracker:, how low will they go?

What can be said about's Super Bowl commercial starring Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels? Not much. It's an ad designed to elicit pinwheels for eyes and an ahhh-woooga sound effect. And I imagine it'll be successful at that, driving all sorts of clicks to see what happens next.

Do you care? (Be honest, but keep your responses classy, please.) What do you think about GoDaddy's ads, and do you question whether Patrick and Michaels should have signed that contract to begin with?

-- Rick Rojas

Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Cars talking? This commercial could totally be a movie

Who knew a car could talk, much less recognize a funny double entendre? shows in one of its two Super Bowl ads that these cars know how to tell a joke.

I stopped watching Disney/Pixar movies some time around "Finding Nemo" (save for "Toy Story 3," of course), but if the "Cars" movie has the same kind of humor as this commercial, I guess I'll have to add it to my Netflix queue. If not, may I suggest a remake?

What did you think? How does it rank with's other ads this year?

-- Rick Rojas

Super Bowl Ad Tracker: No babies were harmed in the filming of this commercial (we hope)

Oooff!'s Super Bowl ad bemoaning a hellish hotel experience hit a soft spot, so to speak. Note to conscientious parent: Stay in a cramped hotel, and it could be your child face-planting a glass window.

In the ad,, a company that finds home rentals for vacations and traveling, features a British-sounding government agent of sorts investigating the horrors of a family trapped in a hotel room. With the accent and the glass-wall room with a family inside, it appears that through their wizardry, they brought the Travelocity gnome to life and merged with it an ad for Windex.

Perhaps, as a follow-up, Windex can come in and clean the window smudged by a baby face.

-- Rick Rojas

Super Bowl Ad Tracker: tells us being first isn't everything

Any firstborn child in a family can tell you it's no fun being the guinea pig -- and, as shows us in one of its two Super Bowl ads in 2011, it's good to have someone test the waters first, especially when buying a car.

It's a funny ad -- it gave me a few chuckles -- although I'm not quite sure how good of a job it does explaining what does.

What do you think? How does it stack up with the talking cars in their other ad?

-- Rick Rojas


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: