Thu December 29, 2011
Watch This: Must-Sees From A Show-Creating Couple
In the TV drama The Good Wife, a political spouse forges her own path after her husband is disgraced by corruption and scandal. Real-life married couple Robert and Michelle King are the creators of the Emmy Award-winning CBS series. And the Kings are the latest Hollywood insiders to share their TV and movie recommendations with Morning Edition in our series, Watch This.
By and large, it's a lighthearted list. "We don't really watch too much tragic Ibsen drama," Robert tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "Everything has to have a bit of bitter humor in it."
The AMC series created by Vince Gilligan follows the exploits of a high-school chemistry teacher who learns he has cancer and decides he'll support his family by making and selling methamphetamine with one of his former students.
"It is very absolute in its decline of its hero," Robert King says. "... There's such a very dark sense of humor that keeps you laughing as things get more and more depressed and violent."
The teacher, played by Bryan Cranston, doesn't use the drugs he creates and sells — he's a business person. "It's actually very similar to what a show runner does," Robert says with a laugh, referring to his own role on The Good Wife. "Sometimes you feel like you're getting other people addicted ... It's very long hours, very late nights ... there's a lot of money involved."
More On 'Breaking Bad':
- Aaron Paul: Playing Bad On 'Breaking Bad'
- Actor Bryan Cranston, 'Breaking' With Type
- 'Breaking Bad': Vince Gilligan On Meth And Morals
- Vince Gilligan: The Man Behind 'Breaking Bad'
In the Loop
This 2009 film is a British political satire about the run-up to "an Iraq-like" war. British politicians come to Washington, hilarity ensues.
"It's a movie that really is all about the dialogue and the characterization as opposed to the plotting," Michelle King says. "If you had to summarize it, there's not that much to summarize."
In one scene, a foreign-relations minister is asked whether war is unforeseeable. "All sorts of things that are actually very likely are also unforeseeable," he replies. "For the plane in the fog, the mountain is unforeseeable, but then it is suddenly very real and inevitable."
"Who's the plane and who's the mountain?" the press corps wants to know.
"The mountain in the metaphor is a completely hypothetical mountain that could represent anything," the minister says.
"It is just a constant wall of one-liners that really doesn't let you up from laughing," Robert says.
More On 'In The Loop':
- 'In The Loop': Wartime Fever As Screwball Tragedy
- Foul Mouths And A Penetrating Farce In 'The Loop'
- 'In The Loop' With Armando Iannucci
Team America: World Police
This 2004 action movie — starring puppets — was made by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. "Knowing that the South Park guys made it made us want to go see it immediately," Michelle says.
The plot focuses around the search for weapons of mass destruction, and it wasn't terribly well-received when it came out, Robert says. "It satirizes a lot of celebrities, so I think it was thought of as being hate-filled." He remembers reading a Variety essay that called it "disgusting."
The movie, he says, displayed Stone and Parker's willingness "to slap the face of liberal causes — and conservative — and satirize basically everybody."
More On 'Team America':
- 'South Park' Creator Matt Stone On Fighting Terrorism
- 'Team America': Puppet Fun From 'South Park' Duo
- 'South Park' Creators Jab Hollywood, Terror War
Twin Peaks: 'Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer'
The Kings recommend a specific episode from David Lynch's mystery TV series — the third episode of the first season to be exact, which first aired in 1990.
In the middle of the episode, FBI special agent Dale Cooper shows off his technique for figuring out which suspects to pursue — he says the name of a suspect, and then throws a rock at a bottle. If the rock breaks the bottle, he goes after the suspect whose name he just uttered.
"It was a brilliant recap," Michelle explains. "The kind of thing that would have been so boring but necessary — and yet you're unaware of the fact that you're being spoon-fed exposition and reminders, and are just amused by the comedy of him throwing a rock at a bottle."
"Twin Peaks is David Lynch['s] ... personal coloring box of all his little obsessions, but played out through a whodunit," Robert King says.
More On 'Twin Peaks':
More Must-Sees From Robert And Michelle King:
The Sopranos, Season 1, every episode
The West Wing, Season 2, Episode 15: "Ellie"
The West Wing, Season 4, Episodes 67 and 68: "20 Hours in America"
Breaking Bad, Season 1, Episode 7: "A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal"
Breaking Bad, Season 1, Episode 3: "... And the Bag's in the River""