(Through the magic of blog technology I can make this appear as if I posted it Tuesday night but, in fact, I completely forgot about posting it here until Friday evening.)
The “On the Lot” hopefuls had solo flights in this week’s round, which seemed to be a relief to the 18 remaining contestants after having to team up in groups of three.Monday’s episode did away with most of the let’s-watch-them-at-work bits and focused on the in-studio presentation of contestants’ personal stories their one-minute comedy shorts. Garry Marshall was back as a judge (and comic relief) alongside Carrie
Fisher and guest-jurist D.J. Caruso, helmer of the recent Shia LaBeouf hit “Disturbia.” And for reasons known only to the god of TV reality-show hosts, Adrianna Costa has replaced Chelsea Handler as “Lot’s” new host. The screenings get off to a good start with Adam Stein’s “Dance Man,” whose short earns six thumbs-up from the panel. “We should be sucking up to this guy,” Caruso observes. (Stein is pictured at left.)
Carolina Zorrilla de San Martin explains that she comes before them from Spain by way of Los Angeles, where she’s now a commercial director. Her baby “Deliver Me” goes over well with the judges, not as well as “Dance Man,” but pretty well.
Andrew Hunt takes the I’m-just-a-due-from-Minneapolis humble route in intro’ing “Spaced Out.” It plays surprisingly well with the judges given its sophomoric bent and vomit humor.
Kenny Luby’s “Wack Alley Cab” gets the kind of finger wag from the three judges that Kenny’s probably seen a lot of over the years. The short is bizarre for the sake of being bizarre and makes no sense to anyone. He’s wasted his effort on shock value, the judges tell him, in slightly kinder terms.
Hilary Graham gets a less a slightly lighter scolding for focusing “Bus No. 1” on a subject of a passenger having to pee really bad during a long bus ride. Her short comes off more desperate than funny. She emphasizes that she’s a mother of young children, which may explain her interest in urination.
As ever, Marty Martin marches to the beat of his own drum and also gets a talking-to from the panel for delivering a humorous trailer for a B-grade caper movie, “The Big Bad Heist,” rather than following the assignment to deliver a short.
Will Bigham plays the daddy card hard, same as he did last week. (Funny no one questions him on why he keeps insisting that this is his “last chance” simply because he has young kids at home.) His “Lucky Penny” is called a “lovely little gem” by Fisher, whose fellow panelists concur, enthusiastically.
Jessica Brillhart, a new NYU film school grad, gets a failing grade. The judges sternly tell her she should have gone back to the drawing board on the dripping-with-silly-symbolism “To Screw in a Light Bulb.”
Mateen Kemet’s “Soft” breaks the weak streak, as far as the judges are concerned, who have mostly positive things to say about his work.
Claudia La Bianca starts the thumbs-way-down jag again with “Blind Date.” The fart humor in her short lays an egg with the judges.
The worst drubbing of the night is delivered to Jason Epperson for his “Ghetta Room,” which was interpreted by the panel as a joke at the expense of a developmentally disabled man. Jason looks genuinely surprised and tries to defend his intent to portray a nerdy geek, not a mentally retarded person. Nobody’s buying it.
David May confesses a little too much about his sex life, or lack thereof, before intro’ing the workplace-set “File Size.” Marshall suggests he get a kiss from host Costa, who eagerly complies, and all of this overshadows what the panel has to say about his short.
Zach Lipovsky’s stylishly “Danger Zone” gets a big round of applause from the judges, even if they begin to riff on whether his name is too long for him to achieve true directorial stardom.
Trever James’ TV spoof “A Golf Story” is an unfunny bust, and the judges don’t hold back in telling him so. Same goes for Shalini Kantayya’s “Love in the Year 2007.”
Phil Hawkins, who’s a John Mayer doppelganger, gets mostly harshed for his thriller-turns-into-automated-operator hell bit “Please Hold.”
Shira-Lee Shalit scores big-time with the sexy-playfulness of “Check Out.” And fart humor (at 30,000 feet) finally works for the judges in Sam Friedlander’s “Replication Theory.”
The episode closes with pleas for “America” to run to their nearest Internet connection and log on to www.thelot.com to cast their votes.
By the time Tuesday’s live results episode begins, America is realizing that host Adrianna Costa is an acquired taste. She rules the roost in this hour, and gets off to a bumpy start by flubbing Carrie Fisher’s surname in the opening moments.
In a nutshell, the three eliminated after much drawn-out drama on Tuesday were Phil, Carolina and Claudia. Marshall had the kindest parting words for Claudia, insisting that her elimination was “just a bump” in her career. He reminded her that he once had a play flop so badly that closed during the intermission. With a playful toss of her multi-colored locks, Claudia noted that she and Carolina (pictured left as she gets the boot) have made plans to shoot a project together.
The three top vote-getters Monday night among the 18 shorts were two that the judges embraced, Bigham’s “Lucky Penny,” and Lipovsky’s “Danger Zone”; and “Getta Rhoom,” which came as sweet vindication for Epperson.