Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Strangers With Cupcakes (and Peeps)

The syntax-challenged industry rag The Hollywood Reporter, uh, reports that Gotham super-couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker will star in an upcoming movie version of Strangers with Candy, the wickedly warped and hee-fawking-larious sitcom created by and starring comic geniuses Amy Sedaris and Daily Show/Mr. Goodwrench regular Stephen Colbert. (The show's over, but you can still catch it on DVD.)

Chronicling the bizarro adventures of doddering twit Jerry Blank (played by Sedaris), a 40ish woman with a rough background who goes back to high school, Strangers With Candy's genius always lay in its brilliant comic cameos from the likes of Cheri Oteri and Janeane Garofalo—cameo roles being what the Broderick/Parker power couple will probably make in the film, considering most of the regular characters are all played by Sedaris and her troupe. (Given the high school milieu of the show, here's hoping Matthew Broderick resurrects one of his classic high school-related characters—be it slacker king Ferris Bueller or neurotically undersexed teacher Mr. McAllister from Election.) Speaking of cameos, Sedaris herself has basically mastered the art of the comically pitch-perfect guest starring role, stealing scenes via cameos in everything from books by her brother David Sedaris to the J.Lo vehicle Maid in Manhattan to Sarah Jessica's own Sex & the City (Amy played Carrie Bradshaw's hagtastic former editor in the Prada date episode, a.k.a. "A Stud is Born").

While this is all well and good for the future of American comedy—it's comforting to know that in a world where Everybody Loves Raymond is king, subversive greatness like Strangers With Candy hasn't been forgotten—the real reason I care is cupcakes. Sex & The City of course single-handedly brought the majesty of Magnolia Bakery cupcakes to the world outside Manhattan by shooting several key scenes at the bakery. (Here's a recipe for the divine little cakes.) And just a few blocks east of Magnolia, at the café Joe, Amy Sedaris last year began selling her homemade cupcakes, often featuring her kooky collection of vintage cupcake charms. Both versions of the treat are phenomenal; indeed, the two were battling each other for "Best Dessert" honors in New York magazine's annual readers' poll of the Best of New York. Magnolia beat out Amy in the end, but I suggest judging for yourself and doing your own Village cupcake tour: stop in at both spots (they're blocks apart), and finish off at the true New York cupcake masters, the folks at Out of the Kitchen, a quick waddle south of the Magnolia Bakery at 456 Hudson St. (Folks scared of trekking south of Times Sq. [I'm really ragging on you all these days, heh], fear not: one of the owners of Magnolia opened the similarly old-fashioned/decadent Buttercup Bake Shop at 973 2nd Ave., just north of 51st St.; still gotta head over to the east side, though.)

(Other "Best of New York" winners are listed here. Looks like Gawker won the eternal Gawker/Gothamist battle this time around, but frankly I'm a bit confused as to how Gawker even got nominated. The award is for "Best New York Blog": j'adore Gawker, but the site is about the media élite at large—it just so happens that they're concentrated in and a fixture of New York Manhattan life; Gothamist, on the other hand, is unabashedly and specifically about daily life in and all things related to New York, and nobody covers that beat better—but maybe I'm just saying that because I have AZN Pryde.)

And there's more! In other sweet treat news, marshmallow fans no longer have to wait for those addictively fluorescent marshmallow goodies known as Peeps to be "in season" (Easter and Halloween, mostly): the folks at Wham-O (purveyors of Hacky Sack, Hula Hoop, Slip 'n Slide, etc.) have developed a Personal Peep Maker that lets you squeeze out the teeth-rottingly adorable little critters whenever you want. [Buy it for $15.95 + S&H from Quality Recreation] The kit comes with the molds for your standard boring bunny, egg, star, heart, and chick Peeps—though the little chicky is all ghetto and flattened out in 2D (and that's my favorite one! :( ). Thankfully, you can take a quick trip to any craft store for candy molds and start crankin out Krazy Peeps in all whacky-ass shapes and sizes, including four-leaf clovers, menorahs, realistic (?) vaginas, and my favorite, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Jesus Peeps? Mmm, sacrilicious!

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