Thursday, April 27, 2006

The real reason Kellie Pickler was voted off

The hair. What was with those brushed back bangs? What decade are we in? Does that still look good in the South? She must've consulted the same hair and make-up person who allowed Ace Young to appear in a pony tail last week. Let this be a warning to the remaining contestents. Only Chris Daughtry is immune, since he doesn't have any hair, so I guess I'm predicting a winner here...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pepper Dennis could use a dash of Salt

I saw five minutes of Pepper Dennis tonight. It was just so stupid, I couldn't watch. It should've been a satire of itself, but instead it was trying to be funny by being just what it was -- a comedy about a TV news reporter. Is that really interesting to anyone? I recommend renting Anchorman with Will Ferrell instead.

The most interesting thing was watching Brooke Burns, who used to be on Baywatch, and once hosted a game show called Dog Eat Dog (contestants competed in various physical and mental challenges).

Brooke didn't look quite right to me, and I don't think it was because she's been made to be a brunette. Her smile just looked too big. Maybe I felt that way because I knew that she almost broke her neck before the show began filming. (She had a swimming pool accident -- dove into the shallow end of the pool, and ended up with a rod in her neck.) Evidently she's okay now. Pretty scary, though.

Brooke also used to be an occasional guest panelist on the 2000 version of To Tell The Truth hosted by John O'Hurley (post-Seinfeld and pre-Dancing with Celebrities) before that show collapsed after Paula Poundstone was arrested.

Speaking of satire, I saw American Dreamz this afternoon. Now at least that made fun of Idol, which I -- unlike most of America -- cannot enjoy this time around. So sleazy it makes America's Next Top Model seem wholesome. Okay, maybe not. In any case, made me wish all of America would be wanting the satire at this point and not the "real thing." Hugh Grant is so fun to hate, and Mandy Moore was pretty good as an ambitious young thing doing whatever she needs to win. I say forget the TV show and go see the movie of the TV show.

Uh oh. Did I recommend movies about TV shows instead of actual TV shows twice in this post? Blasphemy.

Friday, April 21, 2006

American Investor... Dream a little dream for me

I saw AMERICAN INVENTOR for the first time last night. It was sort of amusing to see the INVENTIONS, but unfortunately there were also the AMERICANS to contend with. What is happening to us, people? Judging by the reactions of the contestents whose mediocre-to-lousy inventions are turned down (reminiscent of the lousy singers who are rejected on American Idol auditions) all Americans seem to assume that they are "winners." Okay, yes, this is partially because of Reality TV shows making fame more seem democratic -- but hasn't everyone watched enough of these shows to see that, um, most people lose? Or are we just so programmed to identify with the few who do win?

By the way, I have just one thing to say about Ace Young being voted off. YES, IT WAS THE PONY TAIL.

So many people these days seem to actually believe that they must have a "dream" and then they should pursue that "dream" and then they will achieve that dream. But hey. Are we all that special? And it's not just a matter of trying "really, really" hard. The world just doesn't have a need or space or the economic potential for all our dreams to come true. But the media keeps giving us that message, as opposed to something closer to the truth: the vast majority have to go through life doing stupid, repetitive, boring, low paying jobs and will never be famous or even get good grades.

One person after another on the clip show of American Inventor seemed so shocked to be turned down. Especially the bulletball guy. I mean, what was that? Hitting a ball back and forth on a table? And he'd devoted the past 20 years of his life to marketing it?

Not that you can blame the kids for being in tears -- they were the victim of over-zealous parents.

Though I have to say, I sort of liked the idea of the leashes for the remote controls. Around my house we have stuffed animals taped to our remote controls so they don't get lost.

Anyway, the Sackmaster guy had to be sacked because he was too arrogant. The Unbrella woman's prototype never worked, so I felt bad for her. Though she seemed way too emotional, and I thought her "life partner" must have been insulted when she said she had nothing else in her life. And Erik Thompson -- the guy who won out of the three people Ed Evangelista chose to mentor -- is going to have a tough time. I mean, how many people need to buy a Receiver’s Training Pole?

I may watch this show. Or I may not. By and large, the inventions I saw on last night's show were pretty dull. Try harder, people. And maybe, should I say it, dream a little bigger?


Natalie Collins Prefers Turning OFF the TV

Yet another writer on the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit is not into television. What's with all these authors? You'd think they were into, like, books and reading and stuff...

Natalie was born in Utah, raised as a Mormon, and uses (and scrutinizes) that background as material. Her novel SISTERWIFE came out in 2003 from Zumaya Publications and her thriller WIVES AND SISTERS was published by St. Martin's Press in October 2004. Her next book, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, will be available in hardcover from St. Martin's Press in January 2007.

Natalie's Blog, Trapped By the Mormons--Living Life Behind the Zion Curtain, about her exploits living as an Ain't in a land of Saints, is considered somewhat controversial--especially by faithful Mormons.

She also has a listing of legitimate, vetted, non-fee charging agents on her site, and has interviewed and collected information from agents for the past six years.

Are you a TV watcher?

Not really. I would rather read. I do watch American Idol, House, and some of the CSI and Law and Order shows. My husband has the jimmy-fingers when it comes to the remote, and I never really get close to it, because it represents some part of his manhood I have yet to understand. So I don't ever get to control what is on, and thus I read instead. I live in a house of people who turn the television on for company. I don't get that. I'm forever turning off the televisions, and wondering just who is watching them when no one is in sight.

What's your favorite show ever?

I loved Friends. It was just such a classic, comedy ensemble set in the era I could understand and totally relate to, and yet I'm not ever so tied to a television show that I can't NOT watch it.

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

Tough question. Maybe the daughter in American Dreams, Meg Pryor. She was trying to be a good girl, fighting the tendency to be a bad girl, loving the "bad boys," and living with strict parents in a time that was really, really full of turmoil.

Does your main character watch any TV in the novel?

Um, I don't think so. How weird. Everyone watches SOME television, even me, though it's very, very minimal. I don't even have cable television. But I've always preferred reading. I guess I transferred that onto Allison, my main character. In Natalie-world, televisions don't exist! Growing up, my dad was a TV-aholic, but even back then he was looking for escapist fare like Andy Griffith and Lucille Ball. He wanted to think that was the kind of world we lived in. I guess there's nothing wrong with that, but I've always been more of a realist. Give me a good NYPD Blue episode and I'm in!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

E. Lockhart grew up without television (mostly)

Next up on the Girlfriend's Cybercuit Tour is Young Adult author E. Lockhart, and no, I don't know what the E. stands for -- very mysterious. In the bio on her website E. says she has a tattoo, cuts her own hair, has worn the same perfume since high school (Kiehl's Chinese Flowers). Most exciting, though, is that she has two Betty & Veronica dolls in her office. I want those! I love Betty & Veronica. I'm a Betty, which I know is boring, and I'm not even blonde, but I like to hang out with Veronicas. Though I will say... I used to be MORE of a Betty than I am now -- now that I've lived in New York for awhile I had to developed my more aggressive side.

E. Lockhart is the author of The Fly on the Wall, The Boyfriend List and its forthcoming sequel, The Boy Book. You can find out everything about her on her website.

I asked about her TV viewing habits. And you know what? She's not much of a TV watcher, which I promise not to hold against her, especially since she has been to The Museum of Television and Radio...

Are you a TV watcher?

Don't hate me, Stephanie, but No. I am something of a weirdo that way. (I do love the Museum of Television and Radio, though! I've been many times to ..uh... to listen to old radio shows.)

It's probably because I grew up largely without television. My mother has zero interest. We owned one from when I was two until six, then moved and didn't take it with us. Then got a new one when I was 10. I watched Happy Days, The Muppet Show, and Mork & Mindy -- plus All My Children in the summers. Then someone broke into our house and stole the television. I was about 15. My mother never got another.

What's your favorite show ever?

Northern Exposure. It was a show in the 80s about this New York City physician who was stuck being the town doctor in this tiny, highly eccentric town in Alaska -- some deal he made to pay off his student loans. 800 people and a lot of snow.
The town was a little bit magic, and the population was a mix of Native American and Caucasian. Everyone was an oddball. I am watching it again now on DVD, but the first season is not as great as the later ones. Still, I love the magic realism of that show, and the feeling of intimacy in that small town.

I think I also love Rob Morrow, even with big poofy hair and pants with ginormous pleats in them.

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

Grover. Do I need to say more? He is so raw and vulnerable, so curious, and yet he's also a MONSTER and takes great joy in life -- he's all that stuff in one fuzzy package.
Which is like me, only I am less fuzzy.

(Maybe because she cuts her own hair.)

Does your main character watch any TV in the novel?

The lead character in Fly on the Wall is a Spider-Man fanatic. No doubt she's watched the cartoons and the movies, repeatedly. I first found Spider-Man watching the Electric Company, a kids show that came on after Mister Rogers. Spidey used to spell things, I think, though my memory's a little blurry on that.

Anyway, is there TV in the book? A little. Gretchen's father wants to watch the original Star Wars movie with her on TV, but she's furious with him, so she makes him watch it alone, saying "I don't care how hot Harrison Ford used to be."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

American's Next Top Model or Anesthesia Nurse

Janice Dickinson was her usual entertaining self when she visited America’s Next Top Model last week. (I know, I'm a little behind, but I teach my novel writing class on Wednesday nights so I can only see the show in reruns...) She gave a lesson on “editorial” vs. “commercial” poses.

Editorial, if I got this right, is a more serious, edgy Diva look -- the kind of shots where models seem to be conveying that they’re angry, evil, incredibly sexy and deep. Commercial mostly seems to be about smiling big and looking maniacally, incredibly cheerful. Lisa from Cycle 5 was there to help demonstrate, though Janice hardly let her do anything. Can anyone tell me why she was there and not the last winner Nicole Linkletter? For that matter, what’s happened to Nicole? Does anyone know? They aren’t even doing those “My Life as a Cover Girl” ads using her like they did with the past two… She was one of the few winners who I really thought should win, too.

Gina, who says one self-denigrating comment after another, admitted she can’t pose. Janice had her jump up and down and smile and laugh out loud and generally make a fool out of herself. The lesson? Be willing to make a fool out of yourself to be a good model. Was Janice just trying to make a fool out of her? It was odd.

Then, later, Janice tricked Gina. She made it seem like she was going to give her some motherly advice, and asked her which girl she’s been having problems with. Gina told her that Jade has been giving her a hard time. Then Janice turned it back on Gina and said, “We never rat out our bitches.” That was sort of sadistic, wasn’t it? Poor Gina. I enjoy watching Janice, but I’m glad I don’t have to learn how to be a model from her.

Russell Baer was the photographer who took pictures of the girls doing “commercial” poses. They did one shot for each season of the year wearing clothing from Sears and looking maniacally, incredibly cheerful. Lawrence Zarien, a veteran male model, was in charge of the shoot. The big moment came for Gina. She said: “I don’t know what to do.” Just when you’re thinking this girl has got to go, Zarien says “She could be a really strong contender.” (They all love her cheek bones.) In the end, Nnenna won the challenge, but she didn’t look manically, incredibly cheerful when she found out her prize was all the clothing from Sears that she now gets to take home with her to Texas…

Then there was such a bald plug for Tyra’s talk show. They all visited the set, and she asked them what they all want to do after they’re over-the-hill as models. None of them said talk show (or reality TV) host. Jade said she wanted to be a Kindergarten Teacher. Mean, arrogant Jade? Teaching five year olds? Scary.

For the “Editorial” shoot, Thomas Klementsson photographed them with male models. They were each dressed up to look like they were doing their chosen back-up professions. (Dare I imagine the producers told each girl what to say so they could all be dressed up in a different costume -- teacher, lawyer, singer, fashion designer etc. Brooke couldn’t even pronounce her chosen career: anesthesia nurse. Anesthesia nurse?!) And then they made them look so slutty. Each set-up seemed to look like a soft porn S & M scene, which sort of undermined the “message” Tyra was trying to give them as far as having a practical back-up career plan such as talk show (or reality TV) host. Oh well. I have to say, one of the things I like best about this show is to see the different photo shoots they think up. It is fun to see the girls transformed over and over – slutty or not. Brooke got to wear a short, tight white nurse dress and hold up a giant syringe.

In the end, Brooke and Gina were the final two. It seems Brooke is more striking looking in person than in her pictures. (And may be an anesthesia nurse sooner than she would like to think.) But it was an overall really bad week for Gina. She was the one to get eliminated, despite her cheekbones. She seems nice and innocent and like she was not equipped to deal with this ordeal -- with or without Janice abusing her. I wouldn’t be surprised if part of her was relieved to go home.

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