He's been hinting it for some time, but it hit the press today: Steve Carell has confirmed that the next season of The Office will be his last.

Give me minute here.


If you know me, you know that I am a very passionate fan of this show. And I am here today to write an open letter to NBC.

Dear NBC,

Hi. Kerrie here. Long time fan, first time writer. First of all, it would seem unreasonable to start this letter without wildly thanking you for the joy you've provided me throughout my life. First of all, for Friends. The backbone of my existence. But also for Saturday Night Live, even in it's bad years. For the first 2 seasons of Heroes. For ER, Scrubs, Caroline in the City, Mad About You, Saved by the Bell, Punky Brewster, Wings, Will and Grace, The Golden Girls, any failed sitcom that I secretly watched, and more recently, Parenthood.

NBC, I forgave you for airing the Grease reality show and for canceling Freaks and Geeks.

We hit a rough spot recently throughout the Conan O'Brien/Jay Leno disaster. I have yet to fully forgive you. I'm not sure I can trust you to responsibly handle your programming ever again. But in this coming year, I am giving you a chance to redeem yourself.

Please, I am begging you, do not continue The Office without Steve Carell. I know what you're going to say. What about all the money? But is it worth it, NBC? The Office is still a great show. Don't you want to end it while it's still riding high? Do you really want to beat it to death the way Fox did with That 70's Show? Is that the network that you aspire to be, NBC? FOX?!?!

I know your next argument will be to quote Steve Carell himself...

"They've incorporated so many new characters and so many new, great storylines that I have no doubt it'll continue as strong if not stronger than ever," Carell told E! on the red carpet.

Don't listen to him! He had to say that! He couldn't very well say, "The show can't live without me", now could he? He's a nice guy, that Steve Carell. But that's why I'm writing to tell you what's what.

NBC, do you remember when you were smart enough to let Scrubs go after its perfect ending? It wasn't your fault that ABC decided to air a following season with annoying new characters and no purpose. You did the right thing there! Please, do the right thing again. Don't follow in the footsteps of an Eric-less That 70's Show, or a John Ritter-less 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Because it is awkward, forced, and an inevitable failed experiment that fans will resent you for forever.

Your loyal fan,

Kerrie Bond


Give the Tonys Back to Broadway?

The past two days I feel like I've had my heart broken by parts of the Broadway community I had grown to admire, love, and respect. A community that I have always thought to be warm, generous, and accepting.

Shortly following the Tonys, Hunter Foster (a past favorite of mine) created a Facebook page designed to "Give the TONYS Back to Broadway". At first glance, it could have had honorable intentions. It would be silly to deny that the Tonys haven't gone commercial in the last few years. They have focused more on getting good ratings than really showing this community for what it is. People have a right to be upset with that, and it is understandable.

However, this has taken a completely different turn.

It's impossible to pinpoint exactly what Hunter's intentions were now. Between him and his wife (Jen Cody) publicly BASHING Catherine Zeta-Jones' win, and Christopher Seiber (a talented, handsome, and extremely charming man) joining the bandwagon on his own Facebook page, going so far as to say that Catherine's Tony was "bought" for her, my eyes have been opened to how mean spirited jilted actors can really be.

There are multiple arguments to fight here.

The Tony Awards: Yes, this year was not a great showing. Sean Hayes, however, was a FANTASTIC host. People took issue with three things in particular: Green Day's performance, the Glee performances, and Mark Sanchez's appearance.

1. Green Day played for too long. I agree. They should have stuck to one song, or a cut of one song (as Christianne Noll was made to do), and it would have been just as good. That being said, the intentions were clear. CBS needs ratings. And again this year, the ratings are down. By 8%. By advertising the Tony Awards riding on Green Day and Glee, they were hoping to draw people in who wouldn't watch otherwise. It sucks, but its understandable. Its the way things are now. Of course I see the other side of the argument - let this be about celebrating Broadway and only that. And of course that's what I want. However, Green Day had a right to be there, having created one of this season's shows. Which brings me to...

2. The Glee performance. This is the area I had the most trouble with. I love Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele, I think they're both very talented and have given fantastic Broadway performances prior to this season. But they were not on Broadway this season, and as far as I'm concerned, their performances took away a slot that could have gone to a nominated musical that did not get to shine. And, in my humblest opinion, Lea Michele was not up to snuff.

3. Mark Sanchez. And I have one thing to say to this: SO WHAT?! A 10 second intro is causing all of this chaos? By someone who seems to genuinely love theatre? So sue the guy. No one else wanted to introduce Memphis, anyway. And for the record, every other "celebrity" presenter or performer had something to do with this season. (Please correct me if I've missed someone).

The problem is what this group has turned into: the outright bashing of Hollywood actors. This argument is old. It's tired. The labeling of every film/tv actor as "stunt casting" is ridiculous. Some of the greatest performances I've seen on Broadway have come from "celebrities". For people to claim that Broadway actors, and only Broadway actors, are worthy of appearing on the stage is ludicrous. Who's to say that these Hollywood actors didn't have Broadway aspirations, and they just managed to break into film and/or tv first? The most insane claim I've heard came from Natascia Diaz....

"Bubble, sir? it seems it is YOU who are in a bubble about this issue if you cannot see what hollywood shlock that masquerades as 'theater" has invaded our craft and community...and you wonder why we who trained and are poised and ready are removed from all possibility because we haven't paraded our tits and asses on the "big screen"...no....we were TRAINING and PERFORMING..."

Just the general claim that theater actors train more than film/tv actors is appalling to me. We all grew up with the same goals and worked just as hard - everyone seems to forget that not every "celebrity" rose to that status every night. They paid their dues just as this community does. We don't all pay the same dues, but we all hope to get the same places and work in the same mediums. For all of these stage actors to try and break into film/tv and then act as if it can't work the other way around is ridiculous. They are all, every single one of them, actors. Plain and simple.

To see this all happen after Scarlett Johansson gave a speech about being accepted into the community so warmly is sickening.

There isn't much more to say without beating an already well beaten dead horse. I just hope that Hunter ends this by taking down the group and apologizing for what it turned into. Anything he tries to do, any action he tries to take, at this point will just be laughed at. He and many others have painted a very ugly picture of themselves thus far.


Things I Want.

These are the things I want in a new place when our lease is up in 9 months:

- A bigger apartment. This is non-negotiable. I LOVE our current place, but after 2 years, we’ll need to upgrade. This has been great as a starter. Ideally, at least 500sqft. (This probably sounds like not a lot to most of you, but it’s twice as big as what we have now.)

- A kitchen that isn’t in a hallway.

- I want to either:
a. Pay less in rent. Which is probably not possible since I want a bigger place.
b. Be financially able to pay more. Which could happen if Mike pays off his debts and I... make more money. Even if we could just expand to $1,800, it would open things up so much more. So... I can dream.

- I would LOVE some kind of front door person so that getting packages becomes less of a pain in the ass. But that’s asking a lot.

- I can has elevator?!

- Location has become less specific. It is just important to me that we are in a reasonable distance of the subway, and are in a safe area that is quiet and interesting. Our area right now is really perfect, but if we can’t find a sizeable apartment in our price range (whatever that may be in 9 months), then I am more open to looking elsewhere. Everywhere we visit now, I am sure to really check out the neighborhood. I would live in the following areas:: Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown East (Flatiron, Murray Hill, etc), Downtown, East Village (the less sketchy parts, if I can find them), Lower East Side (also the less sketchy parts), West Village (though I’m not rich, so that’s pretty laughable), BROOKLYN: (yep.) Downtown Brooklyn (near Atlantic Ave, Ft. Greene, NOWHERE NEAR BED-STUY), Park Slope, Williamsburg (I guess), Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill (that’s my dream. I’m still not rich). I’m even semi-open to Long Island City, though that’s only if we get really desperate and the place is the most amazing apartment in the whole world.

Things I want for life in general at that point? To know what the hell I’m doing would be a start, but I don’t want to hope for too much. I want to be financially stable as my own person. I want to have paid off some of my credit card. In a perfect world... well, let’s just say, all I want are simple little things.

So I have 9 months to get ready for all of that. A nice start would be an evening job. Can anyone help? I want to secure an evening job and eventually transfer over to it after I’ve built up some savings. That way, I can go to open calls in the mornings, since I am unable to do that now. I applied for a merchandise job for Disney yesterday. The thought of working for Disney is only slightly terrifying. I’m sure I’m one of hundreds who applied, so I’m not really expecting a call. But we’ll see.

Oh, being skinny would be nice too.


Tony Tony Tony Tony

Okay, so the Tony Awards are on Sunday and this is my first mention of it. I know you all have been confused and losing sleep over my lack of opinions about this season. Well, the truth is... I don't... really... have any.

This season happened to come at a time where I had just graduated from college and was dirt poor. Therefore, I have seen almost nothing. I've seen ONE of the musicals nominated for Best Musical. I've seen ONE of the plays nominated for Best Play. I've seen none of the revivals. I really don't have any information to back up and predictions or opinions. And it's depressing as all hell. Recently I've been able to see a few things as I become not quite as poor, but still fairly poor, but it's not enough. I have no idea if Catherine Zeta-Jones is good in A Little Night Music. AND THIS CAUSES ME PHYSICAL PAIN.

Anyway, here is what I do think. I'm getting the impression that I didn't miss much this season. I'm sure I missed some things, and I'll be able to catch up on the things I'm missing that are still current, but in general, I don't feel too horrendous. Had this been last season, I would have been heartbroken. Last season was fairly exciting. This season there are 2 plays nominated in the Best Score category. One of them is Enron, an Enron did have musical numbers and some interesting background things. The other is Fences. And I'm sure the music is beautiful and great. But that really does say something about the musicals this season. Memphis almost wins by default. Though, really, if that score isn't any good, who knows what will happen.

As far as the plays go, I do feel like there's a great deal I should have seen and still need to see. I hear nothing but incredible things about Next Fall, and it's been at the top of my "must see next" list for months now. I'll never forgive myself for missing ...the Vibrator Play, as Sarah Ruhl might be my very favorite playwright. I'm glad to have seen Times Stands Still, and will probably see it again, and Brian d'Arcy James was absolutely ROBBED of a nomination.

As far as the acting nominations go, I really have no idea. I'd love to see Sherie Rene Scott upset all of them, but that's a long shot. And she's also the only one I saw, so who knows if I'd really feel that way?

I will say one thing I have a very strong opinion about - Michael Mayer's non-nomination. Say what you will about American Idiot, but he really took that piece and found new and interesting ways to bring it to life. Which I can imagine was no easy task to take on. He deserved to be recognized at the very least, and it's really a shame.

I'm excited to see the performances and presenters and all that. It's just a very bizarre experience for me to go into this whole thing blind. Usually I know what's goin' DOWN. I guess this is what the rest of the world feels like.


THINK POUND Took Chicago

Things I learned this weekend:

1. When I say I'm going to use mobile blogging, I'm a liar.
2. Indiana looks a lot like Ohio.
3. Pennsylvania never ends.
4. New Jersey is still evil.
5. What life really means, because of deep dish pizza.
6. Other things.

I had every intention of blogging throughout the trip, but as it turns out, 2 days isn't a lot of time to see a giant city, so I didn't have much time to sit down at the computer. I did absolutely take advantage of the Twitter application, as is evident by the very up to date THINK POUND TWITTER ACCOUNT.

Anyway, the whole weekend, though long, was pretty fantastic. It's probably because I don't know how to drive, but I really enjoy road trips. Especially those in a giant fancy van full of people I like. The drive getting there was a little intense. We got off to a late start, and before we knew it we were lost in Jersey. Not that I was surprised by this. Mike and I have driven in Jersey before, it's a giant maze of one ways and no U-turns and clueless people and the smell of garbage. I was able to get directions from the manager at Fuddruckers, where we consumed consumables of the dinner variety, and we were back on the correct highway in no time.

This, of course, was not our only setback. We were on the correct highway for no more than 20 minutes before we were stopped in a man eating traffic jam that only New Jersey could create. About an hour later, we were flying free and into the night, 3 hours behind schedule, soundtrack provided to us by the all 90s alternative/grunge satellite radio station.

Anyway, long (long... long... LONG) trip short, we made some stops here and there, drove throughout the night, some went crazy, some slept, some didn't. I slept about an hour. We got to Chicago and were greeted happily by another massive traffic jam. And then, finally, arrived at the glorious Holiday Inn near O'Hare airport and nothing else.

Opted not to sleep upon arrival. It was nearly 2pm and we had a whole city to cover. Sleeping would have only robbed us of our day. So some of us took the L out to Wicker Park and ate some of the best BBQ I've ever had in a great neighborhood with the sun shining and the birds chirping, and my body screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? I HAVEN'T SLEPT IN 31 HOURS!"

Afterwards we headed off to Navy Pier, which was a great spot to hang out and decompress after the adventure we had just had. Then three of us headed out to Wrigleyville to meet up with others. Wrigleyville may have been my favorite neighborhood of the few we had time to visit. I'm not a baseball fan, but it was still very cool to be outside Wrigley Field. Went to a great place with dueling pianos to end the night, and then dragged ourselves back to the hotel to get some well deserved sleep.

Saturday began with a trip out to Museum Campus, where all the (you guessed it) museums are located. Aside from that, it's a gorgeous park with really great views of the skyline, crazy art installations, and Soldier Field not too far away. Soldier Field is sort of insane in it's design and a little bit stunning to take in.

After that came THE Chicago experience. Deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's. Yes. YES. It was everything I expected and still more. I'd never had deep dish before, and I'm glad I waited until I was actually in Chicago. (Because that was clearly intentional). Fantastic pizza that didn't rape our wallets. Can't complain there.

Between pizza and our Chicago debut, we swung by Steppenwolf theatre to satisfy my theatre nerd desires. And then headed to Second City to soak in as much comedy genius as we could... by standing in front of the theatre for about 45 minutes. THE SHOWS ARE REALLY EXPENSIVE.

Anyway, the main event: THINK POUND AT SNUBFEST. Chemically Imbalanced Theatre could not have been more welcoming to all of the out of town groups. Free pizza, beer, soda... BACKSTAGE SPACE. (Unreal to us). The first set we did in the showcase brought the damn house down. We had a really good crowd and we pleased them in all kinds of ways. (Ohhh yeah). The groups performing with us were all hilarious people, though we didn't get to see them do their things I can only assume they were all insanely talented. The second set we did for the competition also was fairly well received, and we got to meet more awesome and hilarious people who were pretty much all from the east coast. All in all, it was a really great night, and an experience I'm really glad we all had as a group.

The trip back was less eventful than the trip there. Shorter by 5 hours, though being down one driver took a little bit to adapt to. We unfortunately also did not think to account for the time change coming back. These elements all contributed to us not pulling into the city until midnight, which caused us to not be able to return the car on time, which means that it is now sitting in parking garage around the corner from our apartment waiting to be returned in an hour or so, which means we're being charged an extra day. Well... yeah. C'est la vie, I suppose. We just spent a whole weekend in one of America's great cities, so I find it hard to complain. If that's what had to happen, then so be it.

I would have liked just one more day in Chicago. There was still a lot I didn't get to see that I had really wanted to, especially Lincoln Park and the zoo. But that just gives me another reason to go back out there and visit. And when that time comes... I'll probably fly.

Check out pictures on OUR FACEBOOK. (Go to Photos. Obviously.)

Anyway. We have a car to return.



So for the next few days, this blog is going to be taken over by Think Pound content. What is Think Pound, you ask? Well first off, shame on you. I'm assuming if you're reading this, you're a friend of mine. And if you're a friend of mine, there's no excuse for you not to know that I'm in a sketch comedy group named Think Pound.

If, by some off chance, you're a reader who has found this blog by googling NEXT TO NORMAL BOOTLEG... well, you can learn all about Think Pound at the official website.

Anyway, in T-minus 4 hours, we will be jumping into our rented mini-van and driving 12-13 hours to CHICAGO. The comedy promise land. We're performing in the Chemically Imbalanced Theater's festival SNUBFEST on Saturday night.

So, on the overnight drive where I will not be driving because I don't have a license, I will be abusing my newfound mobile blogging capability. But not as much as I'll be abusing the Twitter for Blackberry app. Do yourself a favor and follow Think Pound on Twitter. You won't be sorry.

Anyway, be on the look out for pictures of people sleeping, pictures of the highway in the dead of night, and the delusional babblings of a girl trapped in a minivan for 13 hours.


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