Ask Matt: The 'Big Bang' Elevator, Classless Clown on 'Good Fight,' 'Fosse/Verdon' at the Emmys and More
Welcome to the Q&A with TV critic (also known to some TV fans as their "TV therapist") Matt Roush, who'll try to address whatever you love, loathe, are confused or frustrated or thrilled by in today's vast TV landscape. One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone, so we won't be addressing upcoming storylines here unless it's already common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] (or use the form at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays and Fridays.
Ups and Downs on Big Bang
Question: The Big Bang Theory has been great and I will miss it. Many thoughts about the elevator. I would like to see the cast at the end talking in front of the elevator and one member leans against the button and the door opens. They find out that it has worked all these years and they didn't know it. — Doyle
Question: Here's my suggestion for the last scene of The Big Bang Theory: The elevator is fixed, they all get in, the door closes, and they all plunge to their death. Think it has a chance? — Tom L, Texas
Matt Roush: If I had to pick between these two scenarios, I'd go with the former — although the show did provide a back story of why the elevator has been out of service all these years. Maybe in someone's nightmare gag the other scene might work, but otherwise: No. Morbid much? If any show is going out with a happy (if bittersweet) ending, it's The Big Bang Theory. All of which is to say that as we face the final bow of this hit series on May 16, there's so much speculation on how things will end. And while I've heard bits and pieces from those who've attended these historic tapings (which I would never spoil), I'm betting that there will be one last joke involving the long-stalled elevator before it's all over.
And What About Sheldon's Sister?
Question: On Young Sheldon, Sheldon has a twin sister. On The Big Bang Theory, Jerry O'Connell appeared as his brother. Have they ever mentioned his sister? – Dan
Matt Roush: Not only mentioned, but grown-up Missy has appeared on Big Bang at least twice. She appeared in the first season (played by Courtney Henggeler), establishing that she was her twin's polar opposite, and showed up again at Sheldon and Amy's wedding, where she was revealed to be pregnant and separated from her husband. She also bonded with Amy, who'd always wanted a sister. Given how prominent the Missy character is on Young Sheldon (played by Raegan Revord), it may seem surprising that she is so rarely referenced on Big Bang, but it's long been known just how detached Sheldon is from most of his family.
Good Fight, Awful Character
Question: My question is about one of my favorite shows, The Good Fight, on CBS All Access. I love the show and its evolution into an edgy political satire. However, I'm really struggling this year with the addition of Michael Sheen's awful cartoon of a character. He's completely unrealistic, the fake accent is atrocious, he sucks all the air out of any scene and seems to be getting more screen time than anybody else (admittedly, it might just seem that way because he's so unwatchable). It's ruining the show for me and I honestly don't know how much longer I can watch the show if it's going to continue to include this character. It feels like a cruel irony that this wonderful show full of strong women and people of color is being spoiled by a straight white man. Do you watch the show? What's your take on this new character? Do you think he's a short-term villain who will ultimately be vanquished by our established heroes, or should I be on the market for something else to watch? — Andy
Matt Roush: I usually get a kick out of The Good Fight and its audacity, but when it comes to Roland Blum, the despicable and ethically unhinged lawyer played by a bellowing Michael Sheen, I have to agree. He's meant to be the sort of character you love to hate, but the love somehow got lost in this over-the-top caricature. He's merely tiresome in his outrageousness and not as funny as he and the writers must think he is, a rare creative miscalculation by show creators Robert and Michelle King. I get why Blum exists: to shake up the self-righteous lawyers at this firm with his bombastic and unlawful cynicism, harking back to the arrogant example of his reviled mentor, Roy Cohn (with obvious echoes in today's political culture). As certain members of the firm turn either a blind eye to Blum's excesses or accept him for expediency's sake, that's a reflection on how some in today's society may have begun to normalize the insanity of our times. Sheen is a fine actor (Frost/Nixon, Masters of Sex among other distinguished credits), and I'm sure he's delivering exactly the performance that's being asked of him. But Blum would be a much more effective villain if his humor were sly, devious and sinister instead of bug-eyed, clownish and gross. Like Andy, I hope he's an aberration to be disposed of by season's end — I don't know one way or the other (as always, no spoilers here) — because if he ends up being this series' Denny Crane, I'm afraid that could be a deal-breaker for many of us.
Will Fosse/Verdon Dance Away With Emmys?
Question: I really love the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon! I think both Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams are doing a phenomenal job playing Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon respectively, and they also have great chemistry together. What do you think are the chances for Fosse/Verdon and Sam and Michelle to get Emmy nominations? I know the miniseries and the actors will face stiff competition this year with the likes of Dirty John, Escape at Dannemora, and The Act (along with Patricia Arquette for both of her roles in the latter two miniseries going up against Michelle) for the miniseries categories. And do you think Patricia will cancel herself out if she gets nominated for both Dannemora and The Act, possibly making a win for Michelle likely? I personally hope that's the case. I think Fosse/Verdon deserves a ton of nominations at this year Emmy Awards! — Chris B
Matt Roush: I'm sure this fascinating series will be well represented in the Emmy nominations, especially with its two leads — not just because of their star power and Oscar cred (he's a winner, she's a multiple nominee), but because they're doing terrific work. The limited series/movie acting categories have become very competitive in recent years, and this will be no exception. My understanding is that Patricia Arquette could be nominated for lead (Dannemora) and supporting (The Act), and while that would preclude her canceling herself out, she'll be formidable in both. Michelle Williams, who is superb as Gwen Verdon, will also likely be facing off against Sharp Objects' Amy Adams and Dirty John's Connie Britton, so that's a real toss-up. And Sam Rockwell, a chameleon actor who once again disappears into his impersonation of the troubled Fosse, will likely go up against a roster including True Detective's hotter-than-hot Mahershala Ali, Deadwood's Ian McShane, Dannemora's Benicio Del Toro, Hugh Grant from A Very English Scandal and King Lear’s Anthony Hopkins. I’m glad I don’t have to put money on these bets.
Question: What happened to Dancing with the Stars on ABC? I looked forward to that show. The dancers were great. — Joyce
Matt Roush: The network held Dancing back this spring because of American Idol's increased presence on the midseason schedule, but it will be back in the fall. (Honestly, reducing this long-in-the-tooth show to one cycle per season is probably the best thing for its continued future.) No one wanted a replay of last spring's four-week all-athlete condensed spring season, which left many fans dissatisfied.
Question: The male star of Ransom and one of the male stars in The Fix look alike to me. I actually thought they were the same actor, but they must be twins at least. Would you clear this up for me? — Shelley
Matt Roush: Besides the fact that Luke Roberts (star of Ransom) and Adam Rayner (Matthew on The Fix, previously star of FX's Tyrant) are both British, and share many handsome physical attributes, I'm not aware of any connection between them. They may not be brothers — but they are, as casting agents might say, a "type."
Matt Roush: Fox hasn't officially made the call yet on renewing The Orville, but it's hard to imagine the show not returning. My own calendar shows a projected late July premiere date for the seventh and final season of Orange Is the New Black, which I don't think has been confirmed or announced yet but would make the most sense. No word yet on whether Lost in Space will be back later this year or early next. As always, stay tuned.
That's all for now. Thanks as always for reading, and remember that I can't do this without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments about TV to [email protected] or shoot me a line on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush), and you can also submit questions via the handy form below. Please include a first name with your question.