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November 10, 2005 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-10

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 11A

* 'Office' star loses
his Daily virginity

MF Doom concept
LP goes for a 'Swim'

By Punit Mattoo
Daily TV/New Media Editor
Steve Carell didn't always want to
be an actor. Instead, the star of NBC's
"The Office" and the blockbuster-hit
comedy, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin,"
admitted he actually had plans of
becoming a lawyer, going so far as
to fill out law-school applications
and taking the LSAT.
Carell explained that "at the last
minute, with (his) parents' blessing,
(he) incidentally decided to give act-
ing a shot."
It's obvious he made the right
decision, as he's cemented his place
among the "Frat Pack" of actors
- which include Will Ferrell, Owen
and Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn
- who have come to dominate the
box office over the past few years.
Speaking about everything from
his experience on "Anchorman: The
Legend of Ron Burgundy" ("We
laughed until we cried every day for
the entire shoot") to a hypothetical
fight between him and Ricky Ger-
vais, star of the British version of
"The Office" ("I would have a sta-
pler and he would have a three-hole
punch ... they could put it on Pay Per
View"), Carell seems to be a genu-
inely nice guy, satisfied and amazed
both by the level of success he's
achieved after such an hasty start.
His road to stardom included a
McDonald's ad - in which he had
three arms to promote the new tri-
ple cheeseburger - and the seem-
ingly requisite trip to Chicago's
Second City comedy troupe. But
Carell didn't make a name for him-
self until he landed a spot on "The
Daily Show," to which he believes he
owes all of his success. His role on
the satirical news show made him a
star among young audiences across
the country.
Though he missed out on the
show's recent explosion as an influ-
ential factor in politics and was not
offered a spin-off - as Stephen Col-
bert was with "The Colbert Report,"
he holds no regrets over leaving or
ill will toward its producers.
SILVER
Continued from page 9A
and former Pavement tom-thumper and
fellow Kentucky resident Bob Nastanov-
ich. Maybe it's the effect of having 14 other
musicians work on the album, but Tangle-
wood Numbers, with its easy-to-interpret
lyrics and big, bright images, sounds like
an album that doesn't just speak directly
to individuals; it brings them together.
Besides re-ordering his lineup to match
his priorities, Berman has changed his lyr-
ical approach. The key element - some
might argue the only necessary element
- of "American Water" was the lyrics;
the music behind them sounds like the
obligatory git-fiddle accompaniment to its
cowboy-troubadour verse. While the same
complexity is present on Tanglewood
Numbers, the album sounds immacu-
lately through-composed, as though each
track were fitted specially with its musical
backing and tweaked to perfection before
the next was even considered.
Berman has expressed his desire to
prove that he can call the shots on a Silver
Jews album, and here, he's done a damn
good job holding the reins. Rather than
providing a sequence of short, brilliant
lyrical images whose individual meaning
must be calculated in sequence to get the
big picture, Berman's being more straight-
forward. Similar ideas evoked by the same
lyrical touchstones pop up in different
songs, such as the redemption imagery in
"Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed" and
"Animal Shapes." Berman still drops a
dozen or so lyrical gems into almost every
track, but now, they're comments on an

internal world ("Now she finds her conso-
lation in the stardust of a bong," "We were
built to consider the unmanifested, / and
make of love an immaculate place").
After establishing these images of
shelters, of twosomes, Berman reminds
us what created the need for security and
relief; the descending guitar drips on "K-
Hole" take us back to the loneliness that
was so carefully dissected American
Water's lyrics; still, the wanderer has had
to seek shelter somewhere - the line
"closed sign swinging in the window of
the liquor store" is tellingly juxtaposed
with "I'd rather live in a trash can / than
see you happy with another man." But
despite the likability and careful construc-
tion of the sardonic, countrified music
on Tanglewood Numbers, listeners get
the feeling that Berman's work serves a
more personal purpose. One of the rea-
sons for the self-flagellating comparisons
made by the speakers of Berman's lyrics
is that they're making amends with the
person who made them finally seek shel-
ter. This sentiment is clear on "How Can
I Love You If Yo Won't Lie Down" and
"I'm Getting Back into Getting Back into

"It came to a point on 'The Daily
Show' where I just figured my wife
(who wrote for the show) and I had
to really decide where to raise a
family ... Neither of us were unhap-
py in any way with being on 'The
Daily Show.' We just figured that it
was what it was, and if we wanted to
do other things in the future we had
to move out (to California)," Carell
explained.
Recently, Carell received praise
for his role as Michael Scott, the
aloof and out-of-touch manager on
the U.S. version of "The Office."
As an adaptation of the hilari-
ous BBC version, Carell faced die-
hard fans constantly comparing his
character to Gervais, who played
the same role in the original BBC
series. For fear of doing a sim-
ple impression of Gervais, Carell
admitted that his boorish character
was instead based upon a multitude
of people he knew, from teachers
to bosses and even certain family
members.
"If you don't know a Michael
Scott, then you are a Michael Scott,"
he jokingly added.
Though the show has an impro-
visational feel, Carell was quick to
note that he and the actors generally
don't divert from the script. They
attempt a few extra takes where the
directors "loosen up the reins a little
bit and let (the actors) screw around,"
but Carell said that the cast has a lot
of faith in the strength of the scripts
and generally doesn't need to make
any improvements to make the show
funnier.
Carell become a household name
last summer by playing the title role
in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," which
relied upon a steady mix of dirty
humor and a little bit of heart to win
over both critics and audiences.
Carell explained that although the
film was one of the raunchiest in
recent history (or "of the century," as
he put it), he actually wanted to hold
back on some of the dirtier elements
for fear that audiences would only
remember them from the movie.
"When Judd (Apatow) and I were

By Chris Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
Music REVIEW
Cartoons are good. Hip hop is good.
Why, then, when
they're thrown
together, are we Danger Doom
disappointed and Danger Doom
befuddled? Indie-
rap superstar MF Epitaph

Doom teams up

i i

with the infa-
mous DJ Danger Mouse in a union of
immense potential but disappointing
follow-though. Doom is no stranger
to working with other big-name art-
ists - he and rapper/producer Madlib
released 2004's critically acclaimed
Madvillainy - attempts to make
lightning strike twice. But Danger
Mouse is no Madlib, and Danger
Doom is no Madvillainy.
A cartoonish character in his own
right, Donn - who sports a metal
mask and frequently uses comic
samples on his albums - and Dan-
ger Mouse, the infamous mastermind
behind the Grey Album (the collabo-
ration between the Beatles and Jay-
Z), employ the help of the Cartoon
Network smash-hit animation block
"Adult Swim" on Danger Doom.
Cast members from "Sealab 2021"
and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" make
appearances, as do Harvey Birdman
and Space Ghost from their respec-
tive eponymous shows. Like most
rap albums, there are numerous skits,
but these are comedic encounters
between the characters rather than
the rappers' banal ramblings. Even
so, for listeners who've never seen

the shows, many of the jokes will be
lifeless and dull.
Aside from these guests, Danger
Doom recruited rap superstars like
Ghostface Killah, Talib Kweli and
Cee-Lo to spice up to the album.
Ghostface drops high-octane, jolting
flows on "The Mask," and Cee-Lo
sings the hook on "Benzie Box" with
whipped-cream smoothness. Shock-
ingly, Talib's self-conscious rhymes
on "Old School" feel out of place in
the mass of Danger Doom's jokes and
playful attitude.
Even so, MF Doom fails to impress
on Danger Doom. His flows are a step
up from his latest dose of mediocrity,
Mm...Food, but they still don't live up
to the standard set by Vaudeville Vil-
lain or Madvillainy. His unorthodox
style either hits or misses, but his aim
has been off-target on recent releases.
As wretched as MF Doom and DJ
Danger Mouse are, relative to their
own catalogs, they are still light
years ahead of many of their contem-
poraries. Doom's awkward, clunky
rhymes layered over Danger Mouse's
moderately innovative beats make
Danger Doom another surprise hit,
animated or not.

Courtesy ofINBC
"Where are all the hot people? I was told that there would be all these attrac-
tive singles. And as far as I can tell, I'm the best-looking person here."

writing it, he was always pushing for
dirtier, and I was always (sort of)
pulling away from it ... I think he
was more inclined to err on the side
of shooting something that was a bit
too raunchy and knowing we could
always pull back on it."
Unlike other comedians who have
set out to gain respect from their
peers and audiences as dramatic
actors, Carell doesn't plan to move
away from comedy in the future.
"I don't want to fall into that clich6
of 'I'm a comedic actor who wants to
be perceived as a dramatic actor' or
that 1 eventually want to direct ... If
I can continue to work and get paid
to work, I'll be happy. I have no ulte-
rior motives to do "Hamlet" anytime
soon."
Instead, Carell hopes to finally
write an episode of "The Office" and
plans to start a script for a comedic
feature recently sold to Universal.

The film will follow middle-aged
men finally making that almost-
ritualistic, post-college, dirt-cheap
backpacking trip through Europe.
With a TV show and a litany of
roles in upcoming films, one has
to wonder: Is Carell worried about
- or is he even aware of the possible
overexposure that has doomed many
comedian's careers already?
It doesn't seem to be much of a
concern, as he took the question in
stride: "You are (going to) be so sick
of me. I'm just about to reach my
saturation point," Carell said in his
trademark, self-deprecating tone.
"My goal is to be completely
overexposed within the next nine
months. I (want to) pack in much as
possible and then (sort of) disappear
in fiery wreck of a career. That is my
ultimate goal. And I have some won-
derful agents and managers who set
me on that course.

DAILY ARTS.
WINNER OF THE BUSHIEST ... NO,
BusiEST BEAVER DUNDIE AWARD.

DAILY ARTS.
IF YOU WROTE
FOR US, THEN
WE'D BE ABLE TO
FILL THIS CROP.
SUNDAYS AT
12:30 P.
420 MAYNARD ST.

Public Lecture
When Germs Travel

Howard Markel
Fridav, Novemnber 11, 4:30 Pa
1800 Chemistri BuildIng
Dr. Markel will speak on the themes of his book When Germs Travel, an interdisciplinary study of epidemics, immigration, and cross-cultUral
attitudes in American history.
Dr. Howard Markel is the George E. Wantz Professor of the History of Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the
University of Michigan, where he directs the Center for the History of Medicine. He is also a professor of history in Literature Science and the
Arts. He is the author of the award-winning Quarantine and numerous scholarly articles. His work has also appeared in The New York Times,
Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and on National Public Radio.
For further information, please contact the Honors Program or visit the Honors Program website News and Events link at:
http://www.lsa.umich.edu/honors/
Sponsored by the LSA Honors Program

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