Monday, January 30, 2006

Skating with Celebrities Melting the Ice

What I don’t get is the skill level of these people. If you can learn how to do all this stuff at their ages in this amount of time, maybe we’ve been overly impressed by all those pros at the Olympics.

Anyway. Like the first week, I was bothered by the inconsistency in the judging. Jillian Barberie (looking a little Jane Fonda... or Nancy Sinatra?) and her partner John Zimmerman were SO impressive. They did this great performance (all things considered) and the judges were nitpicking on them. I kept thinking that Jillian and John were looking at the judges thinking… what the hell? Didn’t you SEE what we just did?

Then, when Tai Babilonia and Bruce Jenner skated and scored better – even though skill-wise they obviously weren’t nearly as good… once again I had to wonder how these judges are coming up with their scores. HOWEVER… Bruce did seem like he’d improved since the first week, when he was very stiff and I was just worried he would fall. There was a sort of grace with the two of them.

Dave Coulier trumped them all when he came out in drag. Evidently the judge last week told him to get in touch with his feminine side. As Dorothy Hamill (whose dress was so low cut I thought both her breasts were going to fall out) said, he could get a job on Broadway in John Water’s HAIRSPRAY. The other judge said he could get work in Provincetown, MASS. I wonder if most of America knew what he was talking about. Dave seems kind of shy whenever he’s interviewed -- not much like a comic, which is how they keep introducing him. Even with the big red wig on he seemed rather self-contained. And his skating is pretty basic. Not many fancy tricks there. And we already saw Nancy Kerrigan dressed as a guy the first week, so that didn't seem right. But you have to love the dress.

The "faux Simon" judge got mad at Lloyd Eisner because Kristy Swanson was in the air too much. But why not praise her for all the risks she was taking? Would the judges score them low because she fell even though her skills are obviously head and shoulders (no pun intended) over Dave Coulier and Nancy Kerrigan?

As we saw Dave remain safe and Kristy go in the hot seat, you had to wonder. Is this about funny costumes or skill? Maybe it is wrong to do it by skill when they all obviously began with different levels of talent. But I am confused.

Deborah Gibson seemed much improved. She almost seemed graceful some of the time, and she used all her dancing skills. She didn’t really do her lunge, though, and Kurt Browning looked like he was going to collapse when he had to lift her, so you really have to give it to her to even dare allow it.

The winner? The suspense was killing me during the commercial break. But… justice was served. Deborah Gibson got voted off. She seemed genuinely sad. But she just wasn't up to the level of Kristy and Lloyd even if Kristy did fall. Great moment when Lloyd Eisner was confused and thought he and Kristy were voted out. All was resolved. But Kristy still looked kind of unhappy until the show ended. Maybe she's tired of risking her life only to be criticized. Maybe she's just frustrated with herself. But you know what's so clear between watching this show and also Dancing with the Stars? People really get into working with a partner and challenging themselves and competing. We all should be doing this in some way shape or form. It's not enough to be vicarious observers. Yes. Every single one of us should aspire to some event in the Olympics.

And now that I know it's not so hard to do a death spiral....

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Okay, so there is some justice in the world

P. Miller finally got voted out on Dancing with the Stars. Thank god. I am now ready to make my incredible predictions as far as who is going to win. Here is the order that everyone is going to get voted off from here on out.

Tia Carrere
Jerry Rice
George Hamilton
Lisa Rinna
Drew Lachey
then we will be left with
Stacy Keibler, who will win.

I am wondering why I can't get myself to watch a sitcom or a drama. I only seem to be able to watch reality shows. Why is this? I watched a few minutes of Crumbs and can I just say it was... crummy? Ha ha, yeah, I know, that was a really funny and brilliant remark. But even though I love Jane Curtin and the guy from The Wonder Years... it made me cringe. The humor. Is it possible to be funny on a sitcom anymore? And I just don't want to watch anything that's going on in a hospital. Because I have the feeling I would like Grey's Anatomy, theoretically, but I just can't watch it. I don't want to see what's going to happen to anyone who is sick. And I used to love ER, so it's not that I have never been this way.

I watched the Lisa Loeb show tonight. #1 Single I don't know... it was just... sort of boring. I liked when her glasses fogged up when she came in out of the cold. She ate a lot of donuts... that was kind of scary. And it was funny after she went to the hairdresser who got her hair "just so" and then she went outside and this huge gust of wind blew it out. Mostly, though, the show seemed planned out and like they were trying too hard to make something interesting happen, but there wasn't really much interesting happening. And why did she walk around in her thong with her butt all hanging out when she was on what's-his-face's TV show? (Isaac, the clothing designer guy whose last name I'm going to spell wrong if I try.) Plus it was disconcerting how there was an ad for her album during the ads.

Somehow I found it more interesting to switch the channel and watch The Girl's Next Door, about Hugh Hefner's girlfriends. I now feel I can actually tell the three blonde bunnies them apart. Why is it more interesting to watch a show about three blonde bunnies who live at the Playboy mansion than to watch a show about an intelligent Jewish 37-year-old brunette in New York City? Now there is something to ponder...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

If you ask me, the stars are having TOO good a time.

This is my feeling about everyone on Dancing With the Stars: they are having too good a time. They're starting to make me feel kind of depressed to be sitting at home eating chocolate watching them laugh and joke around and burn calories and wear red socks with rhinestones.

That said... here is MY judgements after tonight.

I've decided Jerry Rice should win simply because he is the nicest guy. And he took a ballet lesson. That was so cute, it made me giggle.

I think Tia is going to get voted out this week. They had her dance early (how do they decide the order?) and the dance was not remarkable enough, even though it was fine. Either Tia, or maybe P. Miller will finally get the axe this week. He is really getting to be a drag, isn't he? And when they talked about how little he's practicing. Come on!

As for Lisa Rinna? We've all been looking with horror at her strange upper lip. But this week she seemed to be on some sort of energy drug. She was so keyed up it really made me nervous. Her dance was excellent, yes. She seemed to actually match the moves of her dance partner Louis Van Amstel, and you can't say that for many of the dancers. But is it slightly odd how Louis Van Amstel looks a lot like her husband? I kept confusing them. And then she said she was doing this for her family. And then she said that all the people on the show were like family. And I started to feel like she's just... well... too excited. Calm down. Please? Oh and I didn't like how she declared that she is an underdog. She is not allowed to declare that. Kelly Monoco was an underdog. Tatum was an underdog. Lisa just has weird lips.

I loved seeing Drew Lachey with the real matador. That was cool. And dancing to Thriller. But I still feel like there's something missing in his dancing even though, technically speaking, he's the best male. But I don't want him to go because I need that shot of Nick Lachey every week, just so I can wonder if Jessica is at home watching.

As for Stacy Keibler. Yes, she does have fantastic legs. Yes, she's probably the best dancer. Yes, she will probably win. Yes, life is unfair.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Author Laurie Faria Stolarz loves Reality TV too!

This week on the Girfriend's Cbyer Circuit tour my guest is Laurie Faria Stolarz, whose written a four-book teen thriller series that takes place in a high-end East Coast boarding school where one of the students has magical powers. Check out her website, which is in spellblinding black and purple.

I asked Laurie my TV questions and discovered she's a cathode ray lover too!

Are you a TV watcher?

Big time! Right now I'm a big fan of reality TV. American Idol, the Bachelor, America's Next Top Model, Intervention, Made, Miss Seventeen (though I never got to see who won), and I love What Not to Wear.

What's your favorite show ever?

Rich Girls. I absolutely LOVED that show. (Yeah, and what ever happened to those two? Are they still friends We want to know!)

What TV character (past or present) do you identify with most?

Probably Felicity. I love how reflective and analytic she was but, at the same time, dreamy and hopeful. She was thoughtful but didn't always act with her brain. I could relate to that:)

Does your main character watch any TV in the novel?

She would if she had time. She's too busy having nightmares and saving people from stalkers. If she did watch TV, it'd be crime shows like CSI, and reruns of Buffy.

Laurie's next novel BLEED is being published by Hyperion in Spring of 06.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Bachelor Gets More Interesting

I’m now watching the repeat of Travis’s date with Kristen. They’re on a boat on the Seine. It’s better (or should I say worse?) watching it knowing he’s going to dump her. There’s that added poignancy of seeing her completely unaware of the negative impression she’s making. (Though I must say – and I’m probably in the minority on this -- I liked it when she wore the lemon peel fangs.) But her poetry and post-it notes? Oh my god. It’s sort of sad seeing her totally misread him. Saying they have a “connection.” While he looks like he wants to jump overboard to get away from her.

But when Travis talks about the lemon peel fangs later and he keeps laughing, it’s actually the most “emotion” I’ve seen from him. I liked him then for the first time. (Except for the fact that it was kind of cruel and at her expense.)

She’s trying so hard to please him, and the more she does it, the quieter he gets, the more she starts being ridiculous. When she sees the rose on the table she almost hyperventilates imagining he’s going to give it to her. She’s imagining them spending their lives together. She’s talking about grandchildren. Having easy conversation with him (?) While he looks so tense! You'd think by now these women know to be more skeptical after having seen the show so many times in the past. Actually, most of them are much more aware of what's going on and what's expected of them. Now they're even letting us see the cameramen sometimes. And I have the distinct sense that a lot more stuff is scripted and planned. Oh well. It's inevitable.

So these were the women left at the end of last week:

Tara, retail sales, from San Diego, 23

Jehan, Vitamin Sales Rep, Chicago, 29

Jennifer, Model, Boston

Moana, Distribution Manager (what’s that?), LA, 26

Sarah B., Student, Winnipeg, 23

Sarah S., Kindergarten Teacher, Nashville, 26

Shiloh, Advertising Manager, Phoenix, 29

Susan, Financial Associate (bank teller?), Kansas, 25

And now...


finally begins


Why the tiny car? Are the producers going for comic affect or what?

How can Travis’s French accent be so bad?

Do we need to see the Eiffel Tower YET AGAIN?

Good bye to Jennifer the model. She didn’t have a chance camping with Travis and Sarah, who already told Travis she loved to camp out. Which actually seems kind of unfair of the producers, considering they set it up that he was getting rid of one of them by the end of the evening. Was this their way of getting rid of her? And Shiloh from Phoenix is gone too. She made the fatal error of badmouthing another one of the women. We've seen from previous episodes that doesn't go over very well.

Anyway, I have to admit, Sarah B is growing on me. I liked how she complained that the other women were answering all his questions as if they were “Miss America.” Speaking of Miss America, I am so bummed out I missed it. Why do I always miss it? I always try not to miss it, and then it’s on when I don’t realize it, and then I find out I missed it. At least I heard the talent competition wasn't anything special.

Oh, by the way, I heard Emily's Reasons Why Not was cancelled. Already. That was fast. So why did they even bother?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Good Bye to Giselle Fernandez

Okay, so it looks like whoever I decide to root for is going to get voted off. So maybe I should become a fan of P. Miller?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's just not the same without Tatum

I'm still enjoying Dancing With the Stars, but this is the problem: I don't know who to root for! They all seem to be so well adjusted. Yes, they all want it and and they're all working hard (more or less) but there's no one who NEEDS it. John O'Hurley really NEEDED it and Kelly Monoco had to prove she did not belong at the bottom... but this time around? Tatum needed it. And she's gone.

So now what?

George Hamilton continues to provide comic relief. This week he went to a senior center to get people to vote for him. But his dancing? I'm worried about his knee.

Lisa Rinna was pretty good this week, and I tried to want her to win. But that fake tan is off-putting, and the collagen lips still distract. And I don't think she should've tried to win sympathy points by mentioning her dog was put to sleep.

Giselle Fernandez was stiff again, like the first week. I think the dance was hard for her, as it was for Stacy Keibler, who is going to pop a vein in her forehead, I swear, from smiling so hard.

There's Jerry Rice, who seems like a nice guy, but I'm not really a football fan. Draw Lachey? Eh. He's good. The only guy who can really compete here. But I just can't get emotionally excited. P. Miller? Please. It was a little shocking to hear Len say outright that he should be voted out. And that will probably only bring in even more votes for him. As a matter of fact, in a way, the person I'm rooting for most is his partner Ashly DelGrosso, simply because she's had to be such a good sport about having him as a partner.

Like, I imagine, most people, I felt like Tia Carrere stole the show last night. Her tango was the best dance of the night. And she's suffered with that meanie partner. And she just had a baby. And she's lost 20 pounds. But does she NEED this? I don't think so.

I think Giselle is in big danger of being voted off this week. Come to think of it, she probably needs it more than anyone, what with her memory of her father, who was a professional dancer. Maybe I'll root for her. But wouldn't that be just like me to root for the next person who gets voted off...

Skating with Celebrities Scores Low

I've been looking forward to Skating with Celebrities ever since I heard about it, but found it somewhat disappointing. NOBODY FELL! They were teasing us with ads all week showing everybody falling and getting horrible bruises and I couldn't believe these celebrities -- no, let's just say mere mortals -- were actually attempting to DO these things. They had to be crazy.

But everyone did just fine. It was so disappointing. No one seemed very crazy.

Except the judges. The judges get the worst scores of the night. Okay, I love Dorothy Hamill and she is such a wonderful skater and she's fine for being the nice "Paula" judge, so that was fine. But the other two guys? The one with the glasses was the obviously mean one, but unlike Simon his meanness didn't reflect that he was the only one seeing the truth. It seemed completely random if he liked someone or not. And the other guy was just bland and nice and we don't need two nice judges. And the scores made no sense whatsoever.

Kristy Swanson and her pro partner Lloyd Eisner got robbed if you ask me. She was really good, doing all these lifts and things so much more complicated than Deborah Gibson. Yet Kristy and Lloyd were insulted by the judges -- even Dorothy! That was a downer. I mean, Bruce Jenner looked like a skating HULK and I almost broke a bone just from tensing up to see if he would fall, but they were fawning all over him. He even admitted to playing golf with Scott Hamilton last month. Should a contestant be playing golf with the host? Is that all Bruce Jenner does with his life now? Play golf? And get plastic surgery? And sire children? When they showed his family, it looked like he had like ten kids.

Plus, the scoring just took too long. I don't want to sit there through both technical merit scores AND artistic scores, especially when they don't make any sense. This is one way they should've copied Dancing with the Stars and didn't. Just make the boring scoring part quick.

And let them make sense.

Though I will say Jillian Barberie was great. I just think she took it a little too seriously when Dorothy Hamill told her she could have a professional skating career.

As Lloyd said when Scott asked him how he felt about his low scores: he's seen a lot of unfair scoring in his career. Well, I give this show a low score. Especially for originality. Once they got their concept, they didn't know what to do with it but make a bad copy of Dancing with the Stars. Artistic Merit? Zero.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

And My Next Guest Is...

Next writer up on the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit is Sheila Curran author of Diana Lively is Falling Down. As Sheila says:

Diana Lively is Falling Down WILL DELIGHT MOTHERS WHO THINK,

But does she have time to watch TV? The happy answer is yes! Sort of...

Are you a TV watcher?

I am a completely neurotic TV watcher. If I love a show, and I love plenty of them, then I can’t stand to miss one. Therefore, despite the fact that I love so many HBO series AND that I pay the $20 a month for it, I won’t watch anything, having missed at least one. Instead, I rent the series from the movie store. And when I do watch TV I mostly watch the Home and Garden channel or the Food channel, or sometimes, if there’s politics erupting, I watch CSPAN. From neurotic to policy wonk to decorator geek and back again.

What's your favorite show ever?

The show I remember waiting for and enjoying most was a soap opera I watched in my twenties, called Knott’s Landing. In fact, I think Valeen, a minor character in my book, sprang to mind looking a bit like the one on Knott’s Landing. I now love Entourage (but cannot watch it) 24, The OC and many other shows that I love too much to watch until I can watch every little bit.

What TV character (past or present) do you identify with most?

What comes to mind is one of the women on Desperate Housewives who has really active sons and can’t get the school costumes done and ends up stealing one of the kids’ Adderal just so she can see how it feels to have a perfectly clean house and be all caught up.

I spent so much of my time when my kids were littler wondering how the other moms managed to show up at school with their hair blown dry, their shorts ironed and make-up perfect. One day, one of them confessed to me that she was losing it and had gone a little nuts. “I’m making my boys dust their own rooms,” she confided. I remember thinking, “Man, are you supposed to dust in bedrooms?” It never even occurred to me.

(note from Stephanie: me neither!)

Does your main character watch any TV in the novel?

When Diana is going through a bad spell, she watches lots of shows about fatal accidents, killer bees and true-life scare fests. And Wally has a very important cosmic slump after watching two preying mantises interact on a Discovery Channel show.

To find out more about Sheila and her novel Diana Lively is Falling Down, visit her website at

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Tatum is Out!

I was afraid of this.

Maybe I should've voted for her. I have a policy of not voting for reality shows. I feel like voting would enslave me to the network. Make me their patsy. Isn't it enough that I am insulted by every member of my family for watching these shows? ("You are so degenerate..." "I can't believe you're wasting your time on this..." These are quotes from my CHILDREN.

But maybe I should've voted. Maybe I'm being a snob. Maybe the kind of people who would vote for Tatum or not the kind of people who would vote, and that is why she is gone.

This is what I'm realizing about myself: I root for the underdog. I suppose I must identify with the ones who have to work harder to get somewhere. Or maybe it's not a matter of "work harder," since they all seem to be working hard (well, most of them.) Maybe I identify with the ones who are the odd ones, the troubled ones, the outcasts...

Or maybe it's just that I identify with the ones who aren't tall blond female professional wrestlers who studied ballet, tap and jazz as a child and has been a model, actress and cheerleader.

I'm sorry. I know, Stacy Keibler did a great job. She was sexy, she was graceful... And she even had the correct false modesty in her interview, saying she hadn't even imagined herself as a first place contender. (Whereas Tatum boasted that she would take the first spot.)

But I can't root for her. She makes me feel too inadequate.

So now who do I root for? I don't know. I can't get into rooting for any of the men. I just don't care if they do well or not. Lisa Rinna? There's something very botox-gone-wrong with her upper lip. Maybe. Tia Carrera? She did just have a baby. And her partner is scary-mean. But I fear she will be out soon, and Lisa too. Maybe I should go for a winner. Maybe that would be good for me mentally. And since I can't stomach the wrestler, maybe Giselle. At least she shows some signs of aging... and there is the "have to live up to my father" thing. I don't know. None of them come close to being the underdog Tatum was. Hmmm. maybe my new favorite will be clear to me on the next show. We'll see...

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Museum of Television and Radio in the news!

I just heard The Museum of Television and Radio is getting a new president.

Did I mention the main character in my next book works at The Museum of Television and Radio? Oh, well, yes, she does.

Giselle Pulls Ahead

ga·zelle ( P ) Pronunciation Key (g-zl)
Any of various small, swift antelopes of the genus Gazella and related genera of Africa and Asia, characteristically having a slender neck and annulate horns.

Okay, I admit, I have no idea if the name Giselle is related to the word gazelle, but I can't help but make the association after watching Giselle Fernandez get in touch with her inner-Latina on last night's Dancing with the Stars. She came out last and was great. I'm even willing to forgive her for being a newscaster now.

Tatum O'Neil, on the other hand, was disappointing, and I really hope she can handle it. Her dancing didn't have that zing last night, and she complained afterwards that the rhumba is too slow for her. Hmmm.... And then the excuse about being an actress. Is she just on here to get cast in something? (Did I just sound a little bit naive by asking that?) But no, she does wants to win, or at least do well. She doesn't want to get kicked off now. I fear it will drive her to drinking and drugs. Or maybe she'll turn into a favored underdog like Kelly Monoco did last time. Somehow I'm doubting she will have the inner-strength (inner-Irish?) to do it, but you never know... She did a fantastic job of doing the splits. Who knew she could do that?

As a matter of fact, isn't it a little freaky that so many of these celebraties are so nimble? I'm sure they work out, being in the business an all, but still...

On the other hand, can we please just say good bye to Master P? He is so not into it. Though he does provide a great foil for George Hamilton, who gave me a laugh out loud moment when he said he was dancing "for the hood." Meaning Beverly Hills, Palm Beach...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stephanie's Reasons Why Not

I was looking forward to watching Emily's Reasons Why Not because it's a television show based on a chicklit novel. I came prepared to like Heather Graham on the show even though she's blonde and cute and has a perfect figure and all that. After all, she was in one of my favorite movies... Bowfinger... and I admit I even enjoyed her in the Austin Powers movie.

But. The thing is. It was such an inferior, LAified copy of Sex and the City. And not nearly as intelligent. And her performance, though cute, as expected, just did not have the depth that we came to expect from Sarah Jessica. She, and the entire show, ended up reminding me more of Hillary Duff in Lizzie Mcguire than anything else.

I haven't been watching Sex and the City in reruns. After experiencing them being these precious and slowly parceled out shows on HBO, they've just seemed too plentiful to seem so special anymore. But I found myself watching two of them last night, back to back, and enjoying them. Especially the one that has Charlotte's birthday in Atlantic City. I guess Emily's Reasons Why Not made me appreciate them all over again. But I don't think that's a good enough reason to watch that bland show.

The Bachelor is in Paris and my living room

I had a lot of fun Monday night watching The Bachelor premiere. I watched along with ten other women... though I've never met any of them. They're all on a Yahoo group list I'm on, and we were in a chat room. On our computers. So I'm getting a vicarious thrill watching a bunch of women I've never met trying to snag a husband along... with the company of a bunch of women I've never met... the imagination is a great thing, isn't it?

So I guess it's cool the program is being done in Paris. I haven't been in Paris since I was a kid, and it will be nice to "experience" that (in my imagination) but I have one question: How many shots of the Eiffel Tower do we need?

I knew I was entering the fantasy as soon as I heard Chris the MC say, "It's going to be a tough night." Yeah, really tough.

I am trying to like Travis. I saw him being interviewed on The View. He says all the “right” things ("I am doing this for all the right reasons") but has exhibited no individuality yet. He’s one of those strong-jawed, thick-necked “guy” guys who does not appear to have any vulnerability. Will he crack in any way during the show?

The women, in comparison, seem so desperate. Already talking about “popping out hot babies.”

Of course, it’s always hard on the first night. As Chris said, tough. For the viewer. None of the women seem like individuals yet. I now have the challenge, along with Travis, of discovering who these women are. One of the reasons the show is fun. People will reveal themselves.

So many of the women are short. Can’t they find any tall women for a tall guy?

Allie G, the Oncologist, was the star of the show. At first she seemed intriguing. She came out of the limo speaking French. He said: “Definitely the best introduction I had.” She was not afraid to be intelligent. I was rooting for her at first. I wanted him to pick another doctor instead of a young babe chick. But she ended up being a head case, telling him right off the back she was ready to “reproduce” (was this really the same woman?) and then getting angry with him later when he told her he didn’t pick her because he wasn’t ready to reproduce. Or, as he said, she was “putting the cart before the horse.” He’s right, but does he have to talk in clichés? Who is Travis deep down? Is there a deep down? Of course there must be. Everyone has a deep down, right? I’m suspsicios though, especially considering the young cute blonde he gave his first rose to. A student from Canada. Yes, she was cute. But she was just so YOUNG.

Of course, that's my POV as a not so young person. Most of the women in my chat room are younger than me, and maybe she didn't seem like such a bad choice to them. Since no one in my family will watch the show with me, I was glad to get some different point of views. For example, as someone online rightfully pointed out, the oriental rug looked horrible and did not match the floor. Also, many boobs were spilling out of those dresses. There was a lot of slouching on the couch. And Travis’s blue tie was ugly.

I can't wait until next week!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dancing with Tatum O'Neal

Yes, I watched Dancing With the Stars last summer. I think it established a whole new genre: the romantic horror musical. Even though I enjoyed it in one of those "will not admit this to anyone" way, I was not really plannning on tuning back in this time -- until I heard that Tatum O'Neal was on. I've been a fan since I was a little kid, saw Paper Moon twice, and though I couldn't bring myself to read her recent memoir, I did seem to keep running across excerpts and reviews that told me more than I needed to know about how her life has not gone well. Which is part of the reason I really wanted to see her do well on this show.

How did they know to save her until last? I tuned in late, so I missed George Hamilton, but I saw the woman wrestler with the ten foot legs. And Master P's gangsta rap cha cha. He must be voted out first based on lack of movement. It was almost comical to watch his partner flitting around him like a butterfly on speed while he practically just stood there. Giselle Fernandez was too fake, yet I did feel for her need to make her daddy (a professional dancer) proud. Pour Tia Carrere was matched with the meanest dancer who couldn't even find anything nice to say to her after the judges gave her all sorts of compliments.

Finally, I made it to Tatum. I mean, I was even watching the ads so I wouldn't miss her. I almost NEVER do that. Things looked bad. In the bio clip, they showed her complaining about the spins -- they were making her get headaches. She did not seem happy. When she began dancing, I thought it might be possible that she would totally fail. Have a nervous breakdown. Fall and injure herself at the very least. The music started. It was one of my old favorites. "What the world needs now, is love sweet love..." She and her partner were in black. Her hair was up. She looked great. And... apart from the fact that my body was tense for her the entire time (or maybe because of it?) it was wonderful. She did it!

The judges heaped praise on her. The only uncomfortable part was when she tried to respond, and her face went in all sorts of directions, because she was so emotional and I think she didn't know what was appropriate to say. When she admitted she was going to cry, I even started to cry a little myself! Then she did say, "I'm glad I'm an actress" and I guess she should be, not only because she needs someone to write her lines, but also because she was the only one, I think, similar to John O'Hurley from last time, who really gave the dance that intense sort of exagerated dramatic flair. I am so relieved for Tatum. I hope her headaches go away when she spins. I hope she makes it to the end.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Andi Buchanan's new anthology out this month

Andi Buchanan is a busy mom. Her collection of essays Mother Shock, which came out in April 2003, explores one of my favorite subjects -- the ambivalent feelings that come with being a mom. (See my essay on my website As a matter of fact, all her books touch on these hard to accept, hard to admit feelings. Oh, and she also writes a lot about those good feelings too! (Let's not forget those.)

It's a Boy came out last November. Literary Mama: Reading for the Maternally Inclined came out this month. That's a collection of work from the online literary magazine, which she co-founded. It's a Girl will be coming out in April.

So... does this woman have time to watch much TV? Does she ever run to the "boob tube" for escape? (Is watching TV like breastfeeding? Maybe it's not so nurturing, but it does calm one down... except when you're watching Nip/Tuck or Twilight Zone reruns...) She's up next on the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit, and I had the chance to ask her about her TV watching proclivities.

Are you a TV watcher?

I do watch some TV, though not a lot. Most of the TV I watch is kids' TV, since I have two little kids, and my "grown-up" time, when I'd ordinarily watch TV, is mostly spent working.

What's your favorite show ever?

I love Arrested Development and The Daily Show.

What TV character (past or present) do you identify with most?

I guess since I have two little kids, the character I most relate to at this point in my life is Steve from Blue's Clues (not Joe -- we're old-school Blue's Clues fans in this household!). A guy, surrounded by younger characters, who has to write everything down to explain his own world to himself? I can relate.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

My own personal TV on Jetblue

I’ve been in San Francisco visiting my mom and other assorted family members. Didn’t watch any television, which is odd, because I usually need it to relax when I go out there. But I didn’t turn it on once. Come to think of it, I did a lot of web surfing. Could it be my internet addiction is infringing on my TV watching time?

Anyway. Last night I took the red eye back to New York on Jetblue. The flight was quite bumpy. I was VERY happy to have my own little personal TV screen to distract me. I watched some reruns of America’s Next Top Model from Cycle 4 and watched Naima win all over again. I really liked Kahlen and had been disappointed she didn’t win, but could see this time around that Naima had more “poise” in the end. After that was over – and the turbulence wasn’t – I watched old shows on the Game Show Network. What luck! I was perfectly happy. I saw an old Beat the Clock, which I haven’t seen in years. I’m sure I must’ve seen it at some point when I was a child, because it seemed familiar somehow, especially that big Sylvania clock that they set to 55 or 60 seconds (how do they decide how long?) when the contestants have to do a challenge.

It was clear that humiliation was alive and well on television way before Fear Factor entered the scene. (And Let’s Make a Deal just flashed through my mind, for that matter. Monty Hall and screaming people dressed up like candy bars…) The highlight on Beat the Clock was a woman who had to tear her husband’s shirt off his body in less than a minute. He was, we were told, a high school principal, and he had a big paunch.

It took on an added poignancy to see these extremely well-mannered couples all dressed up in 50s respectability make fools out of themselves. And the MC did not shut up. I think he was in a total sweat by the end of the show.

After that I saw an old What’s My Line. Dorothy Killgallen was one of the panelists. I have no idea what she did to get her spot on the panel, but she and the other panelists were all childhood memories. Joey Bishop, a person I haven’t thought of in years, made all the jokes. Arlene Francis got all the answers. And there was some playwright guy as the fourth panelist. I’d never heard of him (and don’t remember the name) but was amazed that they even considered a playwright worthy of appearing on a game show panel. Not that game show panels were all that big a deal in those days, but you know what I mean… The highlight on that show was an appearance by Barrie Chase, a dancer who was appearing with Fred Astaire on some television specials at the time. She seemed so gracious and gorgeous and brunette. I wonder what ever happened to her.

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