Haverford Writer Joe Gangemi’s Red Oaks Debuts on Amazon Instant Video

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Amazon Instant Video just rolled out a host of pilots, asking viewers to watch and vote on what they want to see become a regular series on the site. Among them is Red Oaks, a comedy co-written by Haverford Township’s Joe Gangemi.

The Steven Soderbergh-produced series is set in a New Jersey suburb in the 1980s. It’s a coming-of-age tale about David Meyers (played by Craig Roberts), a recent college grad who’s working at a country club during his last summer before he has to face the world as a real-life grown up. Paul Reiser and Jennifer Grey also star.

The series has gotten all kinds of praise from media outlets calling it the best of Amazon Instant Video’s new lineup of comedies. I recently caught up with Gangemi, who took some time to answer some questions despite being barraged by phone calls from friends congratulating him on his debut. He was born in Wilmington and studied at Swarthmore. He now lives with his family in Haverford Township. This is his first pilot to get an order, though he’s written film screenplays, including Wind Chill and the upcoming Stonehearst Asylum, and authored two novels, including the Philly-set Inamorata.

Check out our interview and a behind-the-scenes look at the series below.

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Four Lessons Philadelphia Can Learn from The Simpsons

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A scene from The Simpsons, “Jury of the Damned.”

I’m not (necessarily) proud of it, but I spent most of my weekend with The Simpsons. At best, I’m a casual fan, but on a rainy Saturday, FXX’s 24-hour, 552-episode Simpsons marathon proved to be a pretty seductive mix of cozy nostalgia, surprisingly timeless writing, and non-judgmental hangover company.

Then, things got weird. After six or so uninterrupted hours in Springfield, it became apparent that the allegedly fictional town is based on none other than Philadelphia.

Officially speaking, series creator Matt Groening claims that Springfield is inspired by a number of generic small towns, and the ambiguity of where, exactly, it could exist is a long-running joke on the show (trust me — I haven’t got off my couch in days). Briefly, the honor went to Springfield, Vermont, when Fox held a contest promoting The Simpsons Movie.

However, Philadelphians will recognize the mix of casual corruption, enthusiastic alcoholism, rabid fandom, and blood-sucking, soul-crushing monopolies as, well, home sweet home.

Personally, I’m OK with this — I can get down with a place where my jeans stay in style for 25 years. My issue is that Springfield has, over the years, figured out how to do Philadelphia better than Philadelphia.

Here’s what we could learn, or at least stand to remember, from our four-fingered friends.

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Mo’ne Davis Set a TV Ratings Record Last Night

Although the Taney Dragons lost last night in the Little League World Series, the TV ratings were still high. Taney’s game against Mountain Ridge of Las Vegas became the highest-rated LLWS broadcast in the history of ESPN.

SI writes:

For comparison: The 3.4 rating ESPN received tops CBS’ final-round rating (3.1) for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational​ last Sunday, as well as that night’s Yankees-Red Sox broadcast (1.7).

Additionally, the LLWS broadcast drew 10 times the number of viewers that the Angels-Red Sox game got on ESPN2 at the same time.

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Kate Plus 8 Returning to TLC in December

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People can’t get enough of Kate Gosselin and her brood. TLC just announced it has ordered more episodes of Kate Plus 8 that will air in December.

According to People, the premise of the new season will revolve around Gosselin and her kids traveling to the East Coast, exploring Boston, New England, and—just guessing here—Philadelphia?

Evidently filming is already in progress. People reports that the special will also include snippets of Gosselin getting the clan—now in eighth and fourth grades—ready for school at the end of summer.

Pennsylvania Governor Joins Campaign To Have Amish Mafia Nixed

Cast of Discovery Channel's "Amish Mafia."

Cast of Discovery Channel’s “Amish Mafia.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and other elected state officials have signed a statement asking the Discovery Channel to drop its series Amish Mafia.

The reality show, according to Discovery’s website, follows a group of Amish men “who protect and maintain peace and order within the Amish community in Lancaster.”

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Patti LaBelle Cast in Next Season of American Horror Story

The last season of American Horror Story: Coven bewitched with the sounds of rock goddess Stevie Nicks, but this year it’s going to be all about the TSOP. TV Line reports that Philly soul queen Patti LaBelle has been cast in the fourth season of Ryan Murphy’s hit FX series, titled American Horror Story: Freak Show.

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