Let's take a look at three celebrities in the news this week: a teenage ingénue on the verge of transitioning into grown-up roles, an increasingly cranky former comic superstar and an "older woman" who still has more sex appeal than most actresses one-third her age. How are their career choices going?
After seven seasons, the hit Nickelodeon series iCarly came to an end this week with a special hour-long episode. 19-year-old series star Miranda Cosgrove has not announced any future plans other than returning to the big screen as former orphan Margo in the sequel to the animated hit Despicable Me, due out next year. With her once-mandatory sideline career as a teen pop singer now seemingly on hold after the relative flop of last year's single "Dancing Crazy," Cosgrove is in prime position to transfer into a more grown-up career. Lacking the tabloid antics of peers like Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez but possessing a likeably goofy persona, Cosgrove should easily be able to transition into network sitcoms. A three or four-episode arc on an established critical hit like Happy Endings -- she'd strike interesting comedic sparks with the similarly manic Casey Wilson -- would pave the way for a bigger role on a new ensemble comedy for fall 2013.
Speaking of ensemble sitcoms, the best news we've heard in a long time about the much-delayed fourth season of Community, now scheduled to return in February, is that Chevy Chase announced this week that he is not returning to the show. From the beginning, rumors have flown that departed showrunner Dan Harmon had been forced to put Chase on the show by meddling NBC executives who wanted a more recognizable name in the credits. As the series progressed and the bad blood between Chase and Harmon (as well as, reportedly, Chase and everyone else in the cast) intensified, Harmon made Chase's character, bumbling multi-millionaire Pierce Hawthorne, increasingly unlikeable on screen as well. The thing is, Chase has had a reputation as an obnoxious jerk ever since his star-making role on the first season of Saturday Night Live. So at the age of 69 and with a decades-long rap sheet as on-set poison, Chase should simply retire from show business and write his memoirs. I'm serious about that last part: a book's worth of self-justification and score settling from someone who seems to understand that he's the problem but is apparently either unable or unwilling to do anything about it could be weirdly fascinating.
When Helen Mirren walked onstage during her appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last week, wearing a form-fitting, jewel-toned cocktail gown, my wife audibly gasped. At 67, Dame Helen still has that affect on people. Decades removed from her early breakthrough in classic British art films like Michael Powell's Age Of Consent -- movies in which Mirren seems constitutionally incapable of keeping her clothes on -- she remains one of the most effortlessly gorgeous women in cinema. And although her playful turn as wife and creative partner Alma Reville opposite Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in the new biopic Hitchcock is typically charming, why isn't there a script that can use Mirren's grace and beauty to its full effect? Surely there's a writer-director out there who can create a charming, romantic script about a woman in her late 60s who is as beautiful, attractive -- and yes, sexy -- as any 20-year-old nymphet. I'm thinking Wes Anderson.