Five things that impressed, appalled or otherwise held my attention for more than 15 seconds during the past week:
1) It’s always a good time to watch the television newsmedia tear their collective faces off and expose themselves for the frauds they are. Case in point: The Runaway Bride. Upon this weekend’s revelation that Jennifer Wilbanks wasn’t really kidnapped but instead pulled a Julia Roberts to her fiancé’s Keifer Sutherland, the TV media has all but called for the woman’s head on a platter. And why not? Wilbanks simply exposed the media coverage of her “abduction” as the sensationalistic, bloodthirsty, all-sizzle-no-steak ratings-grabbing that it was. That it turned out to be a “hoax” doesn’t make all the other non-news events we get shoved down our throats (Lacy Peterson; Michael Jackson) any more palatable. Rather, it proves that it’s all a scam. An elaborate shell game to justify the existence of 24 hour news channels that choose to skimp on the real news. Of course they want Wilbanks to burn. If Bonnie Lee Bakley had turned up alive, they’d have put a price on her head, too.
2) It’d figure the one genuinely joyous moment of this season’s “American Idol” would be the one I missed. Not only did Constantine Maroulis take the rapid transit off my television, taking his googly eyes and fuck-me poses with him, but Paula Abdul had a record-setting freak out. It’s just not going to be this much fun when Scott Savol gets the boot. Satisfying, sure, but not nearly as fun.
3) As stated in this week’s Happy Hour, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to handle this Tom Cruise / Katie Holmes thing. I’ve approached it from the whole May-December / “Bad Daddy” perspective, but in all honesty I can’t believe that Tom’s ever going to lay a hand on her. I’ve tried the Katie Holmes: Hollywood Social Climber approach, but the best I can muster is “more power to her.” Seriously, she wasn’t gonna get that kind of juice from Van Der Beek or Chris Klein or any of her “Batman Begins” co-stars. The only way it’s going to bug me is if Katie goes for the Jennifer Lopez / Lindsay Lohan fame grab and attempts a music career. Failing that, I might enjoy the sight of girlfriend towering over Cruise on the red carpet for a couple months.
4) I’m still psyched about seeing those three ex-“Oz” cast members in The Interpreter. And, interestingly, they mostly stayed true to type. Omar White was still unstable and menacing, in an ineffectual kind of way. Officer Murphy was still a relatively upstanding guy who, nevertheless, caused you to suspect he could turn at any time. And Morales was still struggling mightily with his Tyson-esque speech impediment. And, no, I don’t know the actors’ real names. And, yes, I realize IMDb is right there and I could look it up. And, no, I don’t plan on doing that any time soon.
5) Poor Mark Burnett. I mean, we all suffered on Thursday night when President Bush decided to take to the airwaves and “answer” some “questions” posed by White House “reporters”. I swear to god, the man takes evasiveness to new heights. But I sat there and wept for poor Mark Burnett. After the hourlong television coverage, CBS went and aired that night’s episode of “Survivor” opposite NBC’s airing of “The Apprentice”. And Burnett apparently didn’t have enough juice to change the networks’ plans. I can’t imagine anyone chose to watch “The Apprentice”, packed as it is with its cast of steadfast morons and jerks. Not when “Survivor” is populated with one of the least hateable reality TV lineups since the early days of “The Amazing Race”. Although, as an aside, I will say that my respect and admiration for Tom the Firefighter is waning severely. That “don’t penalize me for being so strong at competitions” speech was just sad, sad, sad.