Alexie Agdeppa Tells All

The Top 10 say goodbye to Alexie

After auditioning four times for So You Think You Can Dance, 26-year-old Alexie Agdeppa made the Top 11 of Season 7. Soon after her elimination, the Rowland Heights, CA native opened up about her time on SYTYCD and her plans moving forward.

Alexie has dreamed about being on the show for years, and after finally making it, was it all that she expected? “It was definitely not what I expected. I mean, I had an idea of maybe what the show was like because I had obviously seen it and auditioned for it, so you kind of get a taste of what it’s like, but it’s way more rigorous, and you realize how much you need to push yourself before you’re going every single day. You’re dancing the whole day, and your mind is going in different directions sometimes because you’re learning your routine, and sometimes it’s a routine that’s not your comfortability [sic].  It’s not your specialty genre. And so you’re worrying about your performance. You’re worrying about remembering the steps. You’re worrying about all the people that you hope will vote for you, and it’s a really intense situation. It’s a lot more intense than I had could have imagined, but even more rewarding getting on it than I could have imagined too.”

For her live performance, Alexie was paired up with Hip Hop all-star tWitch. Like Alexie, tWitch had auditioned a few times before making the show, and Alexie admires him. “Oh, my gosh, it was so awesome,” Alexie said about working with tWitch. “It was like meant to be that I got him in the first week, and then funny that I was eliminated. But I was so excited to get him as a partner. I admire him as a dancer and as a person…It’s an advantage having the all-stars this season, especially for that reason. I mean, you definitely get nervous, especially if you’re dancing not in your genre, and especially if the movement is more foreign to you than if I were to pick up, like, a jazz or a contemporary routine. And so, in terms of the steps, he was so helpful, and I really got a lot of information about how to really get into the hip-hop groove. Then, in terms of the actual competition, he was so sweet, and he just really calmed me down like right before we would go on stage, and we really got focused and really thought about our connection as a couple for the routine.”

Before becoming a contestant on SYTYCD, Alexie was a Laker girl, she danced in a Macy Gray music video, and she taught dance at a SoCal studio. Now that Alexie is off the show, her plans haven’t changed too much. “I definitely want to book more shows…or dance for an artist. But eventually I do want to open up my own school, my own dance studio, and maybe dabble into a little more acting on the side because I do that on the side too…I cannot imagine doing anything else. My heart and soul is into this, and when my body breaks down and I’m not going to be able to dance anymore, I’m still going to be related to it in some way, whether it be opening up a school or teaching.”

Alexie is leaving the show with her head held high. “I honestly can say that I have no regrets because I fulfilled a dream. I was able to actually get on the show, and so from then on out, I knew that I would just have to do my best, and that’s it. Other than me doing my best, I had really no control over everything else.”

Watch Alexie’s signature move, and if you’re adept like Agdeppa, give it a twirl!

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‘Louie’ finds sharp comedy in Louis C.K.’s life

We've all seen these comedy scenarios before, perhaps too many times: An awkward date, a PTA meeting gone awry, guys busting each others' chops around a poker table.

Louie What's marvelous about "Louie" (10 p.m. Central Tuesday, FX; three and a half stars) is that it approaches those situations with a wry, original wit that makes them fresh and funny again. "Louie" may dwell on the disappointments and compromises of middle age, but the show itself is a winner.

Comic Louis C.K. plays a version of himself in the half-hour show, which loosely follows the misadventures of a newly divorced father in New York City. As was the case with "Seinfeld," we see excerpts from the lead character's standup sets within the show, but the comparisons to the NBC sitcom end there.

Unlike "Seinfeld," "Louis" is shot single-camera style, with the kind of deadpan aesthetic that recalls another great New York-set comedy, HBO's late, lamented "Flight of the Conchords." Like that show, "Louie" has its share of awkward pauses and embarrassed silences, but it also doesn't let its sarcasm get in the way of its bemused but forgiving view of modern life.

louis ck Yet this show is saltier and more skeptical than "Conchords," and it might have been hard to take if its lead character hadn't been kind of charming, in a hapless, hangdog sort of way. Sure, Louie spends a lot of time delineating his faults and sabotaging himself, but there's a searching curiosity and restless intelligence at work in the shaggy scenarios that play out on the show.

There are usually two storylines in each episode: Each is about nine or 10 minutes long, and the two plots may or may not be related to each other. In every story, though, you can almost see a befuddled Louie mentally examining everyday situations from various angles, not just to see what's funny about them but to get a scrap of insight into the mysteries of human nature. 

For example, take that poker scene. You would expect a group of comics discussing homosexuality to be ribald and unsparing, but Louie truly wants to know whether his gay friend thinks he (Louie) should continue to use a certain epithet in his standup act. There's a punchline at the end of the scene, but it's been earned by an interesting discussion that turns unexpectedly thoughtful, yet fits in smoothly with the rest of the show. "Louie's" comedy is all the richer for taking its lead character's emotions and intelligence seriously.

It's true that great comedy can be fueled by anger, but it can also be driven, as it is here, by curiosity. In discussing a sex club, Louie wonders if there's a lower cover charge for just watching — "like auditing a course." His description of helping kids at his daughters' school open milk cartons may not only make you laugh, it may make you wonder — why hasn't the design of those things ever changed?

Before I watched the show, I vaguely knew what it was about, and, frankly, I was wary. Louis C.K.'s 2006 HBO show, "Lucky Louie," was a very uneven attempt to reinvent the multicamera comedy and was ultimately pretty dour. And when it came to the new show, I had to wonder if the world needed one more show about heterosexual white guy who is vaguely dissatisfied with his life and has woman problems. It's not as if shows with many elements of that premise are thin on the ground.

Yet "Louie" is irresistible. You may think that you know how the playdate that turns into a semi-real date for the parents is going to go, but it's a pleasant relief to watch the show deftly sidestep tired sitcom cliches. And Louie is smart enough to make a lot of jokes at his own expense — he's not unaware of how it looks for a relatively privileged guy who drives a luxury car to complain about his life.

There were a few moments that were a little broader than they needed to be — a guest-starring spot by Ricky Gervais in the third episode didn't quite fall within the show's tonal range and Louie's visits to his therapist fell flat. But most of the time, it's hard not to laugh with — and identify with — Louie as he catalogues his misfortunes and insecurities. His problems may not be new, but "Louie's" execution is frequently delightful.

Speaking of middle-aged dissatisfaction, HBO's "Hung" returns Sunday, and I can't quite figure out why. For a show about a guy with a sizable endowment, it's both unimpressive and slight.

Aging teacher Ray Decker (Thomas Jane) seems vaguely annoyed all the time, yet two pimps, an ex-wife and a hot-to-trot neighbor all very interested in — if not obsessed with — his every move. Ray's making extra cash as a part-time prostitute and theoretically, I guess we're supposed to care about that and other indignities that are visited on Ray, but the show never gives us a compelling reason to care.

None of the characters or relationships are that interesting, and Ray's competing pimps, Tanya (Jane Adams) and Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff), can be actively annoying at times. Anne Heche does her best with the narrow role of Ray's ex, but it's an uphill struggle against "Hung's" overall sluggishness.

Jane's performance is part of the problem; once in a while Ray turns on the charm, but the rest of the time he's relatively charmless and monochromatically gruff. Some actors, such as Jon Hamm of "Mad Men" or Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad," can make you care about the men they play despite the characters' selfish behavior. But Jane and "Hung" never gets you in Ray's corner, and the show needs to do that before you can feel sorry for a good-looking guy who has a lot of sex.

"Louie" may have found a way to reinvigorate familiar sitcom ideas, but "Hung," despite its novel premise, has never found anything all that interesting or original to say about the nature of intimacy, connection or loneliness. And while "Louie" is a witty complement to FX's dude-centric lineup, now that HBO has a lot of more interesting shows on its slate, "Hung" just feels like a superfluous appendage.

Note: There are clips from "Hung" and "Louie" in the videoplayer on the right side of this page.

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Podcast party: ‘Hot in Cleveland,’ ‘Treme,’ ‘Ashes to Ashes,’ ‘Entourage’

Here's this week's "Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan" podcast — Part 1, that is.

Ryan McGee and I gabbed so much that we're dividing the session into two parts. Part 2 will be posted later this week, and it'll focus on 10 actors who we'd like to see much more of. You know, folks like Enver Gjokaj, Judy Greer, Jason Dohring, etc. — we just want the gods of TV to put these great actors (and seven others whom we discussed) in good shows so we can see them every week.

That's Part Deux, but Part Une has lots of fun goodies (we hope). Don't forget that the podcast is now on iTunes, where you can subscribe
to "Ryan and Ryan." There's also an RSS feed here. You can also just
listen to the podcast here or download the file below.

Talking TV with Ryan & Ryan: June 23, 2010

Here's the roster of what we discussed (and links to coverage of these shows):

  • 0 – 2 minutes: Intro and discussion of the crazy storm happening on Mo's end during the podcast recording.
  • 2 – 13:12: "Treme" (This HBO show wrapped up its first season on Sunday)
  • 13:13 – 20:58: "Hot in Cleveland" (This comedy debuted last week on TV Land)
  • 20:59 – 26:03: "Ashes to Ashes" (This BBC America cop drama has its second season finale Tuesday; it has emerged as one of my favorite shows of the first half of 2010. Note: I say during the podcast that people should catch up with the show via iTunes or what have you, but I see that full episodes are not available there, on Hulu or at Bummer. I really like this show and wish people didn't have to wait for the DVDs or resort to… other methods of obtaining the show.)
  • 26:04 – 35:57: "Entourage" (In this discussion, there are a few mentions of plot points from the new season, which begins June 27. Nothing major, but fyi).
  • 35:58 – 46: The "30 for 30" documentary "June 17, 1994" and whether it's possible to control endings/narratives and how feedback affects stories. 

Come back soon for Part 2 of this week's podcast!

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Make It Or Break It Star: "We Have to Train Our Butts Off"

Make It or Break It | Photo Credits: Isabella Vosmikova/ABC Family

When ABC Family’s Make It Or Break It returns for Season 2 (Monday at 10/9c), there will be fewer guys and more gymnastics. As star Josie Loren tells, her character, Kaylie, “swears off boys” and becomes even more focused as she and her team at the Rock get closer to the Olympics. What’s it like training off-screen to wear leotards on-screen? The 23-year-old talks about her workout routine and sharing the screen with Full House‘s Candace Cameron Bure. Last season ended with Kaylie’s ex kissing her friend. Will that be addressed in the first episode?
Josie Loren: That’s definitely taken care of…

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Huge Executive Producer: "You Don’t Need to be Fat to Relate" to Series

Huge | Photo Credits: Bruce Birmelin/ABC Family

ABC Family’s Huge takes place at a weight-loss camp, but executive producer Winnie Holzman says, “You don’t need to be fat or have a weight issue to relate to it.” The series (Mondays at 9/8c) follows a diverse group of teens. Willamina (Nikki Blonsky) is an outsider who sets out to gain weight to anger her parents, while Amber (Hayley Hasselhoff) is the camp’s “golden girl” — with a lot less confidence than it appears. Although different from Holzman’s previous shows My So-Called Life and Once and Again, Huge similarly focuses on the scariness of change as the characters struggle and try to figure out who they are. Besides being set at a weight-loss camp, what is Huge about?
Winnie Holzman: Camp is like this set-apart world where people…

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Toy Story 3 Again Tops Weekend Box Office

Toy Story 3 | Photo Credits: Disney/Pixar

Toy Story 3 marked its second week atop the box office, as Adam Sandler‘s Grown Ups finished No. 2, according to Box Office Mojo.

The third installment of Toy Story raked in $59 million, bringing its total to…

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Judy Greer Has Mad Love for CBS Pilot

Judy Greer | Photo Credits: Charles Eshelman/

Judy Greer, the go-to gal for playing the eager best friend in such films as The Wedding Planner, is getting a show of her own.

Fall TV Scorecard: Which shows are returning? Which aren’t?

The 34-year-old actress has signed on to join the cast of…

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