‘Inside the Actors Studio’ goes for laughs; ‘Amazing Race’ gets gay Texan
2.5 OUT OF 5 STARS
Inside the Actors Studio: "The Cast of Family Guy"
Airs on Bravo, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
When Inside the Actors Studio began airing 15 years ago (can it be that long?!), it was a pretty hoity-toity, thinking-man’s interview show where the insufferably loveable (or is it loveably insufferable?) host, James Lipton — he of the dramatic pauses and flapjack stack of blue index cards — waxed creative with top acting talent.
The show really was focused on smart, serious actors, many who trained with the likes of Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio: Shelley Winters, Lee Grant, Paul Newman, Dennis Hopper.
Then, in season 3, they interviewed Meg Ryan, and it has never looked back.
Among the Robert DeNiros and Jennifer Jason Leighs and Vanessa Redgraves, there have been the Sylvester Stallones (huh?), the Billy Joels (double huh?) and the Jay Lenos (just sad).
And now, the cast of Family Guy.
Don’t misunderstand: I love Family Guy, with its gay baby Stewie and cheeky sense of humor. And there have been "cast" episodes before, like Will & Grace, Law & Order and even The Simpsons, and that’s just fine. And this episode — which features series creator and star Seth McFarlane, plus actors Alex Borstein, Seth Green and Mike Henry — offers entertaining behind-the-scene moments. (Case in point: watching the actors seamlessly transition into their characters’ voice, answering questions as them.)
But even the cast seems aware of the surreality of sitting alongside Lipton, his unctuous observations dripping forth as syrupy as a Vermont forest, discussing their goofy, often raunchy animated sitcom. And they get as raunchy on the couch as they do in primetime.
But it does raise the question of whether Inside the Actors Studio itself has finally jumped the shark.
Question, hell: It’s turned itself into chum.
The Amazing Race announced its latest cast, and while two gay contestants are nothing new to the show or reality TV in general, two teammates this time include gay brothers Sam and Dan McMillen (one from Fort Worth), who grew up in a conservative Christian family and only came out to their family — and each other — recently. The season premiere airs Sept. 27 on CBS.