Thursday, April 30, 2009

This Week's Lost

This is the one show where I'm still pretty rigid about spoilers, so I'm not going to get too into what happened in the post (the comments, however, are ALL SPOILERS). I just wanted to mention that in a week where Daniel Farraday returned to the island looking like this ...


... and going a mile a minute about time travel, relativity, and variables, Kate delivered maybe my favorite reaction shot of the series:

I go hot and cold with Kate, but that really made me like her, at least for a moment.

Now about those SPOILERS, click into the comments to read my thoughts on what went down.

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Additional Discussion

I doubt we'll be able to do this every week, but as often as we can. Or until they get rid of everyone we love and we end up with Kim and Dunbar. Then we're dunzo. [As always, I'm chatting with TWoP recapper and future Brooklynite -- yay!! -- Sarah Blackwood.] [And I do apologize for the length.]

Sarah: Shall we?
Joe: We shall! Okay, the editors on this show are so incompetent.
Sarah: Ughhhh.
Joe: Every time I think they're creating some dramatic tension, I realize that it's only going to be nullified by episode's end.
Sarah: Also, the producers are making me nuts by letting them vote all the decent television into the Duel.
Joe: I KNOW! This is why Wes and Jodi won the first Duel.
Sarah: Who wants to watch a show full of Kimberly and MJ, with no Brooke to cut to boring? And, Evan. OH GOD EVAN WHAT DID THEY DO TO YOU? Like, this guy was vaguely amusing once upon a time.
Joe: He was. Clearly, he has not benefitted from Coral's absence.
Sarah: Oh, Coral. I mean, I would not wish her back into this shit since the last time she was around everyone was so mean about her being thirty. Rachel: you're next.
Joe: Not of she keeps herself joined at the tongue w/ Jenn. Also, suddenly I am a huge Jenn fan? And wish her happiness and love?
Sarah: This happened to me, too! But only once they slept together! I found it quite heart (crotch?) warming!
Joe: I know! It's so weird
Sarah: Like the initial Jenn/Rachel convo, I was all Blair Waldorf about Jenn's experimenting with lesbianism. But those moans were pretty convincing! Experiment away, I say!

Joe: I'll even forgive Jenn for stupidly bringing Katie into the Duel.
Sarah: That should absolutely NOT been allowed.
Joe: And where was Katie's Warrior's Journey montage?
Sarah: Only the boys get those.
Joe: That chick has been more of a stalwart than fucking MARK. I wanted a smoke-filled tribute to every time she flipped out for no reason! And the time she beat Julie in the Inferno (?).
Sarah: OH YES! That was batshit.
Joe: That was seriously her finest hour. Everything was nice and polite and Katie was resigned to defeat, and then Julie had to open her big fat Mormon mouth and then IT WAS ON.
Sarah: This time, though, she was a sort of sad Rocky memory of her former self
Joe: Yes.
Sarah: They kept talking about her "fire" but, really? That was not the fiery Katie I know.

Joe: I don't understand why Jenn/Nehemiah/Katie/Ruthie weren't an alliance.
Sarah: This happens every year; everyone always gets dazzled by the fatnecks and forgets to form their own alliance. Last time it was THREE people owning the other 15.
Joe: One of whom was JOHANNA!
Joe: And why didn't Jenn take Diem into the Duel and OWN HER ASS?
Sarah: Is Diem still profiting from the whole cancer thing? Why don't people call her out?
Joe: I have no idea; but she's Evan's ally right now; and she could get beat. Ruthie would run her up one side of the hill and down the other
Sarah: Ruthie! I love how Ruthie is never smiling in any of the shots where she's supposed to be emoting according to whatever handout MTV's prepared for all of them.

Joe: Speaking of which, my adventure w/ the opening credits continues. Soon I will have a complete listing of who's into it and who is totally bored. Ruthie = not into it.
Sarah: All of the girls except Robin are bored.
Joe: And Diem.
Sarah: Robin and maybe Diem are into it.
Sarah: Ha!
Joe: Jinx!
Joe: Katie is maybe into it until you catch her looking off-camera.
Sarah: Meanwhile all the boys are all wagging tongues hamming it up.

Joe: Also funny? Dunbar glomming onto the Philly alliance like he's not the low man on the totem pole
Sarah: Dunbar is scarier to me than CT. And CT really made me honestly scared this year.
Joe: And why is there a Philly alliance to begin with?
Sarah: What? Don't you remember how awesome the Philly season was?
Joe: the glory of MELANIE! The drama of SHAVONDA!
Sarah: First Night Underpants Parade!
Joe: God, how can a season w/ 2 gay dudes be so bad?
Sarah: The only gift Philly gave us is Landon. Who, seriously. So weird.
Joe: And SO GAY!
Sarah: I KNOW! LIKE FOR SO MANY YEARS HAS BEEN SO GAY. And yet....
Joe: And yet.
Sarah: He's the most sublimated person currently on television
Joe: Have we seen MJ with the patented MJ Face Full of Chaw look yet?
Sarah: MJ is like biscuits and gravy personified. He's so doughy and drippy!

Sarah: "As you can see behind me, there are two giant luges." That line really cracked me up last night. Oh, Teej.
Joe: They had no pads on, Sarah. And they were flying blind down an asphalt hill. How was there not more blood??
Sarah: I don't know!
Joe: Oh! Can we travel back in time 2 weeks?
Sarah: Yes!
Joe: Okay, because the name of the ice challenge literally drove me crazy. "Freezing as Puck"??? REALLY??? There are no less than a dozen things wrong with that. Starting with the fact that "Freezing as Fuck" IS NOT A SAYING. And ungrammatical to boot!
Sarah: Minor point. This week's episode was named "Duel-ality." Referring to the word "Duality." Which MAKES NO SENSE in relation to anything that happened on the episode
Joe: Jesus. At least "Luging My Mind" has an internal consistency.Look, no one loves a pun more than I do. But it needs to work.

Sarah: Didn't you love how proud Brooke was of herself for doing a Challenge?
Joe: I did! Shit, I WAS proud of Brooke for doing a challenge.
Sarah: I mean, it's hard to be a person who starts shrieking and throwing things when the cereal box is empty. Imagine what it's like to be that person on a Challenge! She truly is: "Pretty brave, amazing, and strong." That line goes right into my RW/RR precious line treasure box next to Julie spitting "This is my ultimate dream fantasy!" one time.
Joe: And yet she made sure that hair looked FABULOUS. Others could take note. DIEM.
Sarah: God, Diem's hair. What. The. Hell.
Joe: Though you kinda just mocked a cancer survivor for her hair.
Sarah: The thing is (here I will be horrible), her hair was cute before she lost it all! Now it is back, why can't she make it cute again?

Joe: God, okay, also? You have a challenge where everybody is wearing giant stupid lampshades on their heads.
Sarah: Like the saddest party at 5AM ever.
Joe: But you couldn't find anything better for them do do than a PUZZLE?? That challenge got so damn boring.
Sarah: I loved how at the end of the puzzle solving, they didn't even bother to back it with a soundtrack
Joe: Why are you and I not in charge of this show? From soup to nuts?
Sarah: WE COULD MAKE IT SO GENIUS! But then we'd have to care. Like in a sustained way.
Joe: (We already care, Sarah, come on.)
Joe: Mission 1: Cast Tricia and Bri
Joe: Mission 2: Jello wrestling! Come on!
Joe: Mission 3: Kickball team-picking cannot be an integral part of anything.
Sarah: Oh, those fucking lists. WHO CARES??
Joe: Smell the drama!

Joe: So can we talk Nehemiah?
Sarah: I didn't think I could like someone LESS than Evan. But Nehemiah proved me wrong!
Joe: See, but here's how this show gets me. Because I have never liked him. And he was being all weird Zen guy. And yet!
Sarah: NO! Joe! No!
Joe: Because he was opposed to Evan? I was so rooting for him.
Sarah: Oh, sure. But I already knew what was going to happen. I had gotten all hepped up in this same way when it seemed like Davis might prevail and really shake up the game
Joe: And here again is the shitty editing, where they spend two weeks setting up Nehemiah in opposition to Evan ... only to end it this week. Awesome.
Sarah: Now, Davis as underdog I can get behind.
Joe: Davis! Won me over!
Sarah: I know! He was so weird and quiet this time! I kind of love him now.
Joe: He's come a long way from saying the n-word and almost literally getting killed.
Sarah: Oh, you and your long memory.
Joe: They're like my children.
Sarah: You remember all their precious moments and missteps.
Joe: Yes.
Sarah: Tape their artwork on your fridge.
Joe: (artwork = sex tapes, yes)
Joe: that is one thing I think Bill Simmons was right on about.
Joe: these fools would make a killing in the sex tape industry
Sarah: The thing is: what are these people doing? They obviously never went to college, otherwise Nehemiah's self-satisfied truism posting and incense wouldn't have struck them as odd. So: why AREN'T they making sex tapes?
Joe: Umm, Evan went to CORNELL.
Sarah: OMG I HAD FORGOTTEN!
Joe: God, they must be so embarrassed. Already the retarded nephew of the Ivy league. Now Evan.
Sarah: And Andy from The Office.
Joe: Ew, yes. Not a good few years for Cornell. At least nobody's talking about the suicide rate anymore.
Sarah: Naw, now its just the a cappella group.

Joe: Okay, so closing thoughts. Last words on Katie.
Sarah: Aw, girl. She's obviously more mentally healthy these days. But....that's not really a plus for me.
Joe: I know. Still smoking, though!
Sarah: Keepin' it somewhat real!
Sarah: And still hangin' with Big E. Which I love.
Joe: But a challenge where Katie doesn't flip out is a wasted Challenge.

[Photo not from the current Challenge, but I
couldn't pass up CT's floppy grandma's-out-gardening hat.]


Joe:
Also, going by the trend that our favorites keep leaving us, does this mean next week it's Jenn and Isaac?
Sarah: Yes. Clearly. They really need to make these Challenges less about physical strength and more about entertainment value.
Joe: They need a panel of learned elders -- you, me, Ed, Bunting -- who establish the Duel matchups.
Sarah: Yes! And we control who stays and who goes by who is entertaining us most and least!
Joe: Yes! Come back here, Ryan, Davis, Robin, and Brooke! Nick...you stay where you are.
Sarah: And they won't ever know what exactly we're looking for in a given week! Sometimes it will be a quality flip-out. Sometimes it will be earnest lesbian sex!
Joe: We could really make things happen.
Sarah: We have solved the Challenge's problems.

Joe: We would also make B-Rad do some things. Besides exposition
Sarah: Yes! Brad-- expound on this variety of subjects: smelly socks, the bailout plan, and Robin's boobs. Go.
Joe: Oh man! "Brad's Corner"!
Sarah: Heeeee!
Joe: He sends us to commercial with a deep thought.
Sarah: And you KNOW he would approach each topic with the same amount of seriousness as he does expositing what it was like to run up a hill with a lampshade on your head.
Joe: Totally.
Sarah: Ahh, I love this imaginary TV show.

Joe: I love how next week Tori has an emotional moment while applying moisturizer.
Sarah: Oh, my Tivo cut off before seeing scenes from next week. That sounds just about "Tori," though.

Joe: So here's a Q. In that thing with the chain from last night, did the guys have to lift themselves up? Or are they lifting the other guy?
Sarah: They are lifting the other guy.
Joe: Ohh. Okay. I was gonna say, because if not, they need to get Easy in the duel YESTERDAY.
Sarah: It's very confusing. b/c you think when Nehemiah gets there first he won. but no, Evan won.
Joe: Easy will never ever get put into a duel with that challenge on the table.
Sarah: Until the end when he drops dead.
Joe: Fingers crossed!
Sarah: Here's hoping!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays: 17 Again


Is it too soon to declare Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays an unqualified success? After this week, I'm not sure what else we could call it. Up until now, despite Adventureland sitting right at the top of my favorite movies of the year, the poster flick for EMW has been Fired Up! No other movie has combined all the elements of an ideal EMW experience.

To review, those elements are: 1) It's a movie you're at least slightly ashamed to admit you paid to see in a theater; 2) It is objectively not great cinema; 3) It provides ample material for making fun while watching; 4) It provides a good number of laughs of its own merit; 5) There are cute guys (optional? only in rare circumstances); and 6) You emerge less embarrassed than you were when you walked in. Fired Up! pretty much had it all (plus crocs!). So why am I saying that 17 Again has supplanted it? Because 17 Again has it all but better!

I know.

Look, no one is more surprised than I am. I have absolutely never gotten the Zac Efron thing before. At least, not outside of photo shoots or impromptu shirtless walkabouts that served as de facto photo shoots. But certainly not as an actor. Even using that word to describe the kid (man! He's a man! Twenty-one year old fully legal man!) was laughable. And then I saw 17 Again. You guys, he's good! Look, he's not Olivier. He's not even Casey Affleck. But he was likeable, charismatic, funny, and charming in a role that called for all those things and nothing more, and he totally delivered. He even managed to cry believably.

With about 20 minutes left in the movie, my blood ran cold with a terrible realization. I leaned over and whispered to Tara, "It is going to be such a bummer when he turns back into Matthew Perry." And you guys? It was. It made the whole movie seem like a tragedy. Not even Lars Von Trier could have been so cruel to Leslie Mann as to have her trade in Zac Efron for Matthew Perry and make her be happy about it. Leslie Mann is great! She deserves Zac Efron! Why can't she have Zac Efron?

Anyway, the rest of the movie was pretty great too. The nerd subplot with Thomas Lennon romancing Melora Hardin (with tactics he seems to have learned from The Pick-Up Artist, no less) was great, as was the possibly apocryphal subplot wherein Michelle Trachtenberg's character was in fact a ghost that only Efron could see. (Well how else to explain the fact that her mother and brother never speak to her or even look her in the eye?) Add to that the welcome and unexpected sight of Weeds' Hunter Parrish and a diamond-in-the-rough discovery of Sterling Knight as Efron's son, and not even completely squandering Nicole Sullivan could dampen my spirits.

17 Again brought it, you guys. It didn't break any new ground, and the Matthew Perry parts were actually pretty dull/lame (thankfully, those bookends are brief), but for a movie that's been made a billion times before, this felt relaxed and unforced and kind of beguiling.

1 bag over the head

I Will NEVER Stop Trying to Make "Fetch" Happen!

So yesterday I wrote maybe my favorite thing that I've written at SOAPnet and in the process tried to coin (or at least popularize) the term "Brotox" (Botox for dudes -- you guys understand). You guys, I really want this to happen, and if the View ladies aren't going to help me out, maybe you can.

This is what comes of me watching the fourth hour of the Today show every day; one minute I'm watching KLG and Vivica Fox square off about Zac Efron, I take note of Vivica's weird upper-lip action, and all of a sudden my day is consumed by terrible (alleged) plastic surgery.

Check out the photo gallery, though. I wrote it in full-on crazy TWoP mode, which is a mode I really love to be in. And the photos are ridonk (props, Julie!).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trailer Trash Tuesday: Extract

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE: So I'm conjuring up some kind of best-of-the-decade feature for Trailer Trash and I want to make sure I don't make any egregious omissions. I know my readers are pretty savvy folks -- can you guys hit up the comments with titles of movie trailers from the past decade that you recall being especially effective/imaginative/memorable/notable? I can't guarantee they'll all be included, but I don't want to miss anything obvious. Thanks!



I'd heard a bit about a new Mike Judge comedy with Jason Bateman, but still, when someone sent me a link to a trailer for something called "Extract" I had no idea what they were talking about. Of course, not ten seconds into the trailer and we've already seen Jason Bateman, JK Simmons, and Beth Grant, so I was pretty much immediately sold. That's what you call "frontloading."

It's interesting to see them try to sell this as Mike Judge's grand return to the "workplace comedy." I'm not sure that does much to sell the movie. To the regular schmo, the name "Mike Judge" doesn't mean much. Just say "the guy who made Office Space." I personally don't think that movie has aged so well, but people who do should respond. To anyone in the know, though, Mike Judge's "return" to anything just reminds you what a direct-to-DVD clusterfuck Idiocracy was. And really, they should be selling this on Bateman, Kristen Wiig, and Mila Kunis.

The cast really is strong, though, right? I'm still wrestling with whether I like Ben Affleck or not -- it's been twelve years, you'd think I'd have decided -- but at this point, I think I want to like him, even if it seems like putting him and Bateman into a weed-based scenario seems like a desperate grab for the Pineapple Express audience. Shouldn't Mike Judge be offering an alternative to the Apatow style. Not that I'm anti-Apatow (we're at the point on the Backlash Graph where I'm acting the rebel by liking him in the face of mounting hatred), but you're not going to enhance your rep by copying the top dog.

So I guess I'm cautiously optimistic. My most confident prediction is that JK Simmons steals the show in spectacular fashion. This just looks like that movie, doesn't it? With Richard Jenkins getting that Oscar nomination earlier this year, Simmons needs to keep pace in the Balding, Older, Character Actor With Serious Chops marathon.

P.S. Remember to comment with those trailer recommendations!

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Adorkable" Defined

So in preparation for their ever more useless Hot 100 list, hysterical gay blog After Elton is running a series of "for your consideration" posts. Today's asked you to take time to meditate on the hotness of the dorky-looking gay-friendly guys out there. Their suggestions weren't all bad (hey, someone in the comments suggested hottie Justin Bartha), but they made the tragic error of omitting my favorite nerd of the moment. That would be:



You know, not only am I very much enjoying Better Off Ted for its corporate weirdness and the awesome Portia De Rossi, but I am more and more in love with Slavin's Phil, the funniest thing on screen at all times. And he's, like, the dictionary definition of "adorkable" (yes, I realize that word is about 99% finished in the lexicon -- consider this doing my part to push it over the cliff). And he's out! WTF, After Elton? Support your own!

P.S. Don't take my newfound devition to Jonathan as a rejection of My Future Husband Luke after last night's Bitch-Gate ugliness. I am still 100% devoted to Luke. And for the record, both parties were in the wrong last night and most likely overreacting due to stress and lack of sleep and having to listen to that redheaded cheerleader berate the locals all day. Luke shouldn't have thrown the elbow and Jen shouldn't have lied that Luke pushed her at the next clue box (come on, lady, it's called "forward momentum"), and everybody should have not embarasses themselves in front of Phil. But I do feel for Luke having to witness Jen telling her side of the story to Phil/America without being able to get out his side until his mom stopped comparing deaf people to gay people and got to translating for him. Anyway, bottom line: I still love Luke.

And Jonathan Slavin.

An Ode To: The Band Aids

"It's all happening..."

So we talked a very little bit about Adventureland last week and how it reminded me, in parts, of Almost Famous. In particular, I was talking about the relationship between Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Ryan Reynolds. But then I got to thinking about my other favorite part of the movie, the illustrious Lisa P (seriously, read that post on MNPP -- it perfectly sums up my wild love for her high-waistedness). And she started to remind me of other aspects of Almost Famous. This isn't surprising, since Almost Famous is still probably my favorite movie of all time. (It's probably why I still haven't done one huge post on it -- too much love to get out in one blog post.) But it hit me all at once: Lisa P is like all the Band Aids wrapped up in one.


The Band Aids, of course, were the collection of groupies, led by Kate Hudson's Penny Lane, who followed the band and made sure Patrick Fugit's William Miller was always surrounded by colorful period detail and nonthreatening sexuality. In the grand scheme of everything that's fantastic about Almost Famous -- Frances McDormand's fierce intellectualism, Billy Crudup's magnetism, the excellent music -- I tend to leave out the Band Aids. Not Penny, of course, but I don't think I've ever really given the proper raves about Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, and yes, even Bijou Phillips.

So now I have to talk about the Band Aids. In quotes and pictures.

Estrella Starr


"She was the one who changed everything. She said no more exploiting our bodies and our hearts. Just blow jobs and that's it."

Being played by Bijou Phillips, of course Estrella is the trashy one. While the others talk romantically about the music and the band and lie to themselves about their place in the grand scheme, Estrella gives lip service to romanticism but mostly just talks about blow jobs and ogles Simon Kirk from Bad Company. And then she disappears halfway through the movie. Not sure if there was a story behind that, but if there was, I'd never heard it.

Polexia Aphrodesiac


"I just worry about people using her. Because she brings out the good side in everybody else, but what do they do for her? It kills me. ... Do you have any pot?"

God, Anna Paquin is such a perfect space cadet in this movie. And her her weird middle-of-the-Atlantic half-English half-American accent plays perfectly for Polexia. Sadly, all her best moments are in the "bootleg cut" extended edition of the movie. Her farewell to William as she prepares to go to England with Deep Purple is a sweet little send-off.

Sapphire

"I'm just gonna say this, and I'm gonna stand by it. You should be really proud of him. Because I know men, and I bet you do too. And he respects women. And he likes women. And let's just pause and appreciate a man like that. You created him out of thin air, you know? And you raised him right. He's having a great time; he's doing a good job. And don't worry, he's still a virgin. And we're all looking out for him. And that's more than I've ever said to my own parents. So there ya go. This is the maid speaking, by the way."

"Ugh. Can you believe these new girls? None of them use birth control. And they eat all the steak!"

That's right, Sapphire gets two quotes because I cannot stress enough how spectacular and underrated Fairuza Balk is in this movie. Every single moment of hers is whiskey-voiced, perfectly-observed gold. The monologue to Frances McDormand on the phone is just a runaway train of plausible bullshittery, and check the pose she strikes as the Band Aids prepare to deflower poor William?


I want a poster of that on my wall to frighten away small children and virgins.

Beth from Denver


"Wow, you aura is really fantastic! It's this beautiful purple color. Your aura is purple! Purple! It's purple! Your aura is purple!"

Beth shows up once Estrella's gone, and while she doesn't really do much beyond get with the bass guitarist and take part in the deflowering, she did bring some hydroponic pot.


Vic the Zeppelin Fan


"HE touched this pen! HE touched this pen!"

No, Vic wasn't an official Band Aid. He traveled with Zeppelin, but not with Zeppelin. But without Vic, William would have never found Penny checked in as "Emily Rugburn" and saved her from overdosing on Sapphire's quaaludes. Give that spazz a medal! Anyway, Jay Baruchel, I knew from this moment you were special.

Penny Lane


"When we go to Morocco, I think we should wear completely different clothes and be completely different people."

The first time we meet her, Estrella tells us that Penny "used to run a school for Band Aids." I still don't know what that means, exactly. I do know that Penny's supposed to be 16 years old, which is completely impossible to swallow, from any angle. Of course, Penny is supposed to be acting well beyond her years, so that's fine. Anyway, I've said it before and I'll say it again: The reason I will never be able to completely turn my back on Kate Hudson is this movie. This role. If they held the 2000 Oscars today, she'd still get my vote that'srightIsaidit. And this look right here breaks my heart:

this one makes me laugh:

and this one makes me smile:

every time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

About Susan Boyle

So every time I try to sit down and talk about the planet's new favorite Scottish chanteuse -- and the fervor with which every person you know has been singing (HAR!) her praises -- this sequence always pops into my mind:




Weird, right?

Oh, calm down, I think the woman herself is lovely. The rabid internetters declaring blood atonement as punishment for not being sufficiently enthralled by her journey? Not as lovely.

Seriously, though, if you're looking for words that most approximate my thoughts on the first viral video of the New Depression, read this by Mark, then this by EW, then this by Linda. Done and done.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Three Thoughts on Three TV Shows

I had more to say about these shows to relegate them to the sidebar but not enough to dedicate full posts, so we're doing a mini-roundup of the absolute Murderer's Row of Wednesday Night TV.

Lost
I have loved Miles since minute one, so I was very happy to see him get his own episode. And, yes, Daddy Issues storylines are boring, and we'd all guessed who his dad was weeks and weeks ago, but Ken Leung is a good enough actor to pull the episode off. Also, since Miles showed up, his brand of sarcastic comic relief has sapped me of 90% of my patience for Hurley's bumbling-slacker brand of humor, so watching Miles spend 60 minutes calling Hurley an unbelievable moron was pretty cathartic. Even if Hurley ended up being a font of hokey Star Wars-based paternal advice. Also? I have to say, teenage Miles looking like this:

Incredibly appealing. And I was not expecting that. As for the rest of the episode, I don't care one little bit about Jack, Kate, and Ben's dad, so whatever. As for my newfound shipper's needs, I have to mention that Sawyer clocking Jimmy Barrett (or whatever his name is on this show) and then Juliet going to get the rope all nonchalant was the highlight of my night. Supercouple!

American Idol
No, Matt wasn't good enough to deserve the Judges' Save. But I'm glad he got it. Basically, if you thought Judges' Save was a good idea, last night's decision was a terrible call. The Save was introduced as a way to rectify such greivous oversights as the elimination of Tamyra Gray, Chris Daughtry, and (...sigh) Michael Johns. So saving Matt, after everybody agreed he deserved to be at the bottom of the heap, and after Simon flat-out said he has no shot at winning (which he doesn't) was a complete waste and runs counter to the whole stupid idea in the first place.

But if you're like me and are inclined to call the Save a "stupid idea" like I just did, this is good news. At least for me. Saving Matt, who can't win, means that the Save will probably not end up having much impact on who wins this show. Which would not have been the case if Danny or Adam had needed saving. (The only way it ends up mattering is if Adam or Danny end up getting sucked out in next week's double elimination, but I doubt that will happen.)

The Real World/Road Rules Challenge
Y'all, join me as I pour one out for My Boyfriend Ryan and Psycho Robin. You guys, they call Robin "Psycho." Not that I blame them, but I can't help but feeling bad for her. Particularly when she's sober, Robin is so...fragile, is perhaps the best word. But she means well! She's just a complete basket case! Even Brooke was looking at her out the side of her eye. BROOKE! As for Ryan, I really wish he could have thumped stupid M.J. and knocked the Skoal into the back of his condescending throat, but alas. There will be other challenges; other gay hot tub makeout sessions; other opportunities to overestimate his standing in the game.

Also, while I have lost pretty much all affection for Paula, and while I don't understand her attachment to Dunbar at all, I still side with her against Evan because DEAR GOD, EVAN, IT'S CALLED THE SUN, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF ASAP!

Anyway, your thoughts?

Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays: IT'S MILEY!

So I didn't have time to write about last week's EMW selection, which turned out to be Adventureland. Which: SO not embarrassing, I realize, but as we sat there seriously contemplating paying good money to see Fast & Furious, Tara and I realized that we started EMW so we could see movies that we actually wanted to see (even if we had to hide our faces about it). So we saw Adventureland, and I totally loved it. Probably the best movie of the year so far, even if it's not the fall-out hilarious comedy some have been expecting. It reminded me of movies like Dazed and Confused and Almost Famous and other movies where I've been able to just immerse myself in the setting and characters. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart were probably as good as I've ever seen them (for what that's worth), but in a larger sense, it was all about Lisa P.

So given how unashamedly awesome Adventureland was, I probably had it coming when this week's entry turned out to be ... The Hannah Montana Movie. Probably wouldn't have been my first choice, but I am nothing if not a team player, and plus, it amuses me to be on the Hannah side of the Hannah Montana v. Observe and Report box-office battle.

So pretty clearly, the best Hannah Montana could do for me was to be a guilty pleasure. And in honor of Miley's commitment to science, I'm going to break this down:

GUILTY: The songs, which were uniformly awful and even with the Studio Magic machine chugging away, Miley sounded like shiiiiiiit; the Margo Martindale/Barry Bostwick subplot went nowhere; the Razzie-worthy "acting" of Billy Ray Cyrus, not to mention his constant attempts to horn in on his daughter's action by performing his own material, like, your Achy Breaky moment is OVER, Billy Ray; Melora Hardin, much as I love her, could not be less convincing as a Tennessean if she were dating Jerry Seinfeld; the whole plot hinges on a creepy little girl who doesn't even turn out to be a harbinger of The Ring or a symptom of The Haunting in Connecticut.

PLEASURE: Miley's twinky-looking boyfriend striking a series of the gayest poses this side of Drag Race whilst he and Miley spend the course of the movie painting a rainbow-striped chicken coop (seriously!); pretty much everything Vanessa Williams does, but especially the dancing during the end credits; the Tyra Banks shoe fight which comes across as a cautionary tale about prokoving narcissistic drag queens (wow, two drag queen references in the Hannah Montana review ... yeah, that seems about right); watching Billy Ray constantly play the authentic Tennessean card from behind his wisps of flat-ironed hair.

Overall? It's still pretty bad. But more than good enough for making fun of on a Wednesday night.

Final grade:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Yarn You'll Love Enough to Call Your Own

So yesterday, I writing a story for work -- this story, in fact (Deidre Hall! Air America! YEAH!); and the fact that one of Deidre Hall's Air America guests was Vanna White led to my two favorite conversations of yesterday:

1) Nelly totally randomly name-dropping Vanna White in his immortal hit "Ride Wit' Me." We decided that Nelly has the widest gulf between awesomeness of song and respect as an artist. That is, if you are out and a Nelly song comes on, you will get down to that shit and sing along and have a good old time. And you will yell out the "UH-OH!" part of "E.I." and the "I think my butt's gettin' big" part from "Hot in Herre" and just generally rock out. But at no point in your or anyone's life will you admit that Nelly is any good. Because he's totally not. Now I'm gonna go download some songs.

2) I was directed to read up on Vanna's line of celebrity yarn. Celebrity WHAT? Oh, I'm so glad you asked. Check this out.

Okay, did you click? Did you read? I remind you that somebody got paid to write that ad copy. I seriously hope he or she got paid well, because you guys?
Vanna White, America’s favorite crocheter, has been Lion Brand’s spokesperson for 13+ years. Vanna’s Choice, a silky-soft premium basic, is the easy-care yarn she loves enough to call her own. With its supple hand and stunning stitch quality, Vanna’s Choice has the versatility to help you create the designs of your dreams. Make a simple sweater, shape a stylish shawl, or fashion a stunning afghan. With Vanna’s Choice, mixing and matching colors has never been easier—or more exciting. The fashion forward shades are expertly coordinated to work together, so you can spend less time second-guessing your color choices and more time getting great results.
I could live a hundred years and never read anything so dynamic. Never been easier or more exciting! Fashion-forward shades! AMERICA'S FAVORITE CROCHETER! I need somebody to knit me a stunning Afghan made with Vanna's Choice yarn, and I need it yesterday!

Last Night's Idol

You know, perhaps if you're not allowed to say the name of the guy's movie on the show, maybe the guy is an ill fit for the show. Thinking out loud here. Anyway, Tarantino's ill-fitting appearance aside, it was mostly a week of me loving and hating the same people. I can't argue with all the complaints about the crappy song choices this week, but I can't in good conscience echo them either because, as you'll read below, pretty much half of the songs not involved with the movie Once are guilty pleasures of mine. You guys, I know.

Allison Iraheta
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
Not my favorite performance of hers, with some bum notes and some screaming, but she's still one of the few performers this season who earns my complete and utter devotion when she hits her marks. Which she did her fair share of with this, the Diane Warren-iest song of them all. The opening slot has me tres worried for her, but she seems to do well when the judges like her (which they did this week), so who knows?

Anoop Desai
"Everything I Do, I Do It For You"

Okay, first of all, the return of that goddamn varsity jacket of his was both annoying and yet convenient shorthand to remind me just how much I hate him. After all of Quentin's exhortations to put some growl into the song, Anoop gives a Sominex-sponsored rendition of the song that made us all fall in love with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Naturally, Randy and Kara are all over it, because I could not be on a different page than those two, at every turn.

Adam Lambert
"Born to Be Wild"

Almost as annoying a song choice as "Play That Funky Music" (quite a fucking feat, that), but Adam was helped by a typically excellent vocal (despite the 4-6 over-the-top notes that are equally typical), relaxed interaction with the band, and a sextastic new haircut. Haircut!

Matt Giraud
"Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman"

This is easily in my Top 5 least favorite songs of all time, so I really can't judge it, like, at all. But I think it was pretty boring, and Matt could certainly go home for not motivating whatever fan base he might have. (Personally, I don't think Matt or Allison have much of a base constituency, which puts them at the mercy of the judges' critiques much more than anyone else. Which is why Matt's gonna be Bottom 2.)

Danny Gokey
"Endless Love"

Okay, I TOTALLY called that Danny would sing this song. Probably not that tough a call, but still. And the HARP! The instrument of heaven's angels themselves! And the glance upwards at the end. I was kind of ticked at Simon for playing the dead-wife card on Danny's behalf, but Danny really was playing it enough on his own. Uh...but the vocals were great. (Don't tell anybody, but I have a not insignificant soft spot for this song.)

Kris Allen
"Falling Slowly"

My prediction is that Kris will be voted off this week because all of his fans have been summarily reduced to jelly and unable to operate their telephone machines. Seriously, though, SO AWESOME. Yes, the song is doing 90% of the heavy lifting here, but in this season of nonstop obsession with song choice, this was the best song choice yet. Randy Jackson can EAT IT, that was fantastic.

Lil Rounds
"The Rose"
Okay, see what I wrote up there about a soft spot for "Endless Love"? That goes exponential in all directions for "The Rose." I will not apologize. That is a beautiful song. Not the way Lil sang it, of course. I was saying to Roommate Mark that the condensed Idol version of the song loses the slow build to the end anyway; it didn't help that Lil lavished so much attention on the individual notes that she lost what the song as a whole is supposed to sound like. Not good.

Two Best: Kris, Adam
Two Worst: Lil, Anoop

Predicted Bottom 3: Matt, Lil, Allison
Going Home: Matt

However, if it's Allison with the lowest number of votes, this would be the first week where I could seriously buy the judges saving someone.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Week in TV

For easy-commenting access!

Survivor (4/9)
So in the span of one hour, I went from liking the season but generally rooting for any of about a half-dozen people to rooting so hardcore for Brandon (and Taj still, I think) and really anticipating ugly demises for Coach, Tyson, and Stephen. JT's really just playing his best game, so I can't blame him, but if he spends any more time around Coach and willingly remains in an alliance with him, we're done.

Lost (4/8)
Here's where I'm kind of an asshole, but after watching the entire internet swoon and wail and otherwise obsess of The Great and Pure Love of Desmond and Penny, I was kind of really hoping Ben was going to kill one or both of them. Alas. He did kill one of those useless Nu Redshirts, though! That was fun! Great episode, as all the Ben episodes are. Hardly any questions answered, but what I've come to discover, completely improbably, is that figuring out the mysteries on this show has become secondary to finding out what happens to the characters.

Make Me a Supermodel (4/8)
Another week, another opportunity to see Jonathan and Gabe half-naked. This show should be funded by the government, that's how much of a public service it provides. Oh, and how about Branden telling us that supermodel Nicole was "looking smashing today"? GAYER EVERY WEEK! That boy will be standing at an altar in Vermont in three episodes.

The Real World/Road Rules Challenge (4/8)
I hope to get into this in further depth in the blog proper, but for now, I'll say that if CT didn't get in a fight on the first night (again) and get kicked off (again), he totally would not have made it through that rugby competition without taking a swing at someone, so it probably could not have been helped.

The Hills (4/6)
Goddamn it. How does that guy get beat up by Spencer Pratt? That could've been the most cathartic moment in the history of TV if homeboy knew how to fight. Pity. Also a pity? Stephanie Pratt's collagen-swollen face. Though I am impressed that she's gone from amateur shit-stirrer to professional status. She is just 24/7 starting drama. ALSO, I love how Lo has completely become Lauren's enforcer, heading out into the party to convince Heidi to leave so Lauren wouldn't have to get her hands dirty. Whatever, yes, I still watch this show.

In Treatment (4/6)
Soooo nice to have this show back. I haven't gotten to the Gina episode yet, but I already love the new crop of patients. Especially the wonderful Allison Pill. And Hope Davis, who is hit-or-miss for me, looks to be on the top of her game.

Kings (4/5)
You guys, this SUCKS. Not the show, the show is awesome. It just sucks that the ratings have been beyond abysmal, that it's being shunted to Saturdays, and that the best we can hope for is that NBC burns off all 13 episodes. Damn it all. Even Leslie Bibb as the tabloid quees/news corporation owner/cabinet member (that's right) was compelling!

Friday Night Lights (4/3)
Finally caught up! Such a wonderful rebound season after the growing pains of Season 2. The McCoys have been a great addition to the show, particularly Janine Turner, who I never thought was any good. Psyched about renewal, too, though not about Tyra and Lyla getting written off. The journey of Lyla Garrity from stuck-up jezebel to fully fleshed-out, awesome girl has been such an underrated development.

The Soup (4/3)
CHICKEN TATRAZZINI! It's the new "Kiss my ass!"

Survivor (4/2)
Good to see JT and Steven aren't the morons they seemed to be when they were considering voting off Taj. Though it does seem more and more likely that Steven is looking for his chance to make a big Machiavellian move more than he's looking to make the smart play. Brandon continues to be underrated; his assessment of Coach as a "predictable player" was a shrewd one.

Samantha Who? (4/2)
This episode was written by my marvelously talented friend Pamela Ribon, so it's no surprise that it was hilarious. Samantha's mom's "koi pond" line about killed me, as was Deena's horrified reaction to Andrea possibly becoming a mom. And Andrea's cocktail rattle! I need to get me one of those. Best joke, by far? Sam going through the baby name book: "Holden Deepler ... God, I would have no problem spanking that kid."

Damages (4/1)
Somewhat underwhelming end to what was a pretty great season. Not having any Marcia Gay Harden doesn't help, and I have no idea why Ted Danson was there, because that went nowhere. I guess after last season, I was expecting a better, more shocking reveal. Which I guess is the danger of the continued ante-upping this show does. But the Glenn Close/Rose Byrne scenes were so well-acted, and Patty kicking her son out of the apartment was gloriously hardcore.

RW/RR Challenge: The (Almost Literal) Post-Mortem

So now that you know the players, please to enjoy this post-show discussion with special guest Sarah Blackwood, TWoP recapper for the Challenge. Sarah's one of the 3-5 people who still watch this show in the universe, and the only one ever to compare Trishelle to a Dreiser character. Hope you enjoy!

Joe: Oh my GOD this show!
Sarah: I was left speechless many times. What in the HELL? There was so much crazy shit going on, there was like no room in my head to make fun of isaac's dumb overalls.
Joe: Or his BLACKFACE!
Sarah: I KNOW.
Joe: Of course it'd be KIM'S birthday where they'd break out the Blackface.
Sarah: So let's start with the credits.
Joe: OMG the credits! I felt like apologizing to the Maori from my living room.
Sarah: You didn't think they were honoring the Maori?
Joe: I felt like they were honoring their shitty acting coaches.
Sarah: The Maori are like, "this is the least of our worries" anyhow. 'Whale Rider.' Now that's a problem."
Joe: Heee hee.


Sarah: So why is Robin so skinny?
Joe: I don't know! Maybe she quit drinking? *fingerscrossed*
Sarah: I swear its like she got a breast reduction. Maybe Shauvon's breasts are like a supermagnet and they attracted Robin's breast mass away from her?
Joe: OMG, those poor misshapen things.
Sarah: Did you happen to watch the Aftershow at all?
Joe: I did. (sad)
Sarah: Shauvon is like the trashiest porn star -- wait, no, not a "star"-- like "porn employee" I guess -- ever. With all that metal clanging around her head and dipping into her boobs? WHY was Ryan all up in her shit?
Joe: I don't know -- I love Ryan, but he always associates with the trashiest girls. Melinda. Brooke. Kellyanne. Shauvon.
Sarah: See: love, love, love, haaate.
Joe: Kellyanne grew on me, I admit.
Sarah: I feel like Ryan's trash-meter is usually spot on. Like the girls who are the right kind of trashy.
Joe: I could support that.
Sarah: I just feel so burned by Shauvon because I thought she was the right kind of trashy at first in Australia. But then she was just lame.
Joe: Plus, I don't really care for Davis as a person, but the idea that Ryan would shun Tyler and hit that w/ Davis makes me appreciate his taste.
Sarah: That's true. What's funny is i don't remember actually SEEING davis. Only being told that's whose face Ryan was sucking, and then being told that's who was under the covers with Ryan
Joe: Shamefacedly, I will admit that was totally hot. AND! I love love LOVE how every time 2 boys kiss on this show, all the straight dudes line up to watch through the windows like it's Sea World
Sarah: And J.D. from RW Brooklyn is in there giving them fish treats.
Joe: !
Sarah: (Or something. that's the best "JD dolphin training" joke i could do on short notice.)
Joe: Hey, I appreciate the effort.

Sarah: Joe, we are talking around the issue now.
Joe: We are.
Sarah: Seriously. CT? And then the Aftershow? With the DEAD BROTHER? Dead from being a raging Masshole?
Joe: It's like an entire sociology paper I don't have to write now.
Sarah: Ed and I had to take the dog on a walk and talk this all over last night (!) and I had an insight: Being stupid -- like CT stupid-- doesn't just make you unfit to, like, read novels. It makes you completely unfit for even understanding the basic emotions that you your own self feel.
Joe: It's true.
Sarah: I can't believe the producers couldn't DO anything. Like, ADAM ALMOST GOT KILLED. He totally could have killed Adam!
Joe: Plus, and I love how no one felt the need to mention the fact that this guy is punching through walls and throwing grown men off of him like rag dolls because he TOOK ALL THE STEROIDS in the world
Sarah: I KNOW! And is on cocaine probably?
Joe: Probably?
Sarah: Heh.
Joe: That being said: Adam? I recognize the impulse to now allow this guy to continually threaten, intimidate, and bully you. And you want to stand up for yourself. But you don't throw a punch at CT for the same reasons you don't throw a punch at a rabid grizzly bear.
Sarah: I know! open your eyes, Adam!
Joe: You might land one. But you're not getting that arm back.
Sarah: Adam is like Timothy Treadmill! (Treadmill? Treadwell?)
Joe: --well.
Sarah: Whatever. Tred-DEAD.
Joe: HA! I got freaked out when Diem started SHRIEKING.
Sarah: Oh god. I mean, seriously.
Joe: Also, how appropriate was it that the entire murderous fracas was secretly set in motion by my girl Smokestack?
Sarah: YES! The silent assassin.
Joe: The larangytic ... Lolita?
Sarah: Katie's at least 20 years past "Lolita."

Joe: Seriously, though, where was the taser in that situation?
Sarah: They kept mentioning "producers" but all I saw was one old dude, and then a lady. That's all the protection they provide?
Joe: I know! How have they not hired out the Hell's Angels for this gig? I've always said, though, that if there's ever gonna be a death on a reality show, it'll be on a Challenge.
Sarah: I think that is a foregone conclusion.
Joe: Roid rage + nonexistent production costs + Patron = recipe for disaster.
Sarah: + bungee cord activities.
Joe: Yes! With no budget to pay anyone to safety test them.
Sarah: They're just gonna "eyeball it."

Joe: OMG, your weecap; Kills me dead within two sentences.
"New Zealand regrets the day it ever let Peter Jackson through customs, because now look what the U.S. has dragged in: Kimberly."
Sarah: I can't believe they opened with KIMBERLY
Joe: Ugh. So also there is Paula. Who needs to have one more surgery to remove that CHIP OFF HER SHOULDER.
Sarah: Yeah, she definitely has overstayed her welcome.
Joe: I hate that she's just another asshole now.


Joe: Rolling back to the near-murder for a second: I know this is stating the obvious, but the sight of Adam, with his bloodied face and footy pajamas around his ankles, might beat CT punching a cactus for weirdest visual ever.
Sarah: I will forever love CT-- dressed like Antonio Banderas that night, remember-- punching a cactus. But Adam with those pajamas.... Being assisted by 1) Evan in a wetsuit, and then later 2) Landon in a Green Hornet leotard????
Joe: Landon! I totally forgot that.
Sarah: THAT IS LANDON'S LOT IN LIFE. To be forgotten. Even though he tries so hard-- what was it a mohawk or whatever? "Landon, nobody EVER notices you."
Joe: Also, okay, does MJ just spend his life next to the phone with a bag packed and a bandana on his head? Ready for Teej to make the call?
Sarah: Wouldn't you?
Joe: That reveal of him and Nehemiah as the replacements was the most anti-climactic thing since the season opened with Kim.
Sarah: Stupid Nehemiah.
Joe: No Derrick? No Danny? No third gay guy for threesomes? No JOEY???
Sarah: Holy crap! JOEY! Sub in one ruined guy for the other. I mean, the CT debacle; did they not learn anything from Joey's Dark Night of the Soul?
Joe: I'm still pissed nobody invited our girl Bri.
Sarah: I know, we have "Brittini" -- (seriously who the hell is that?) but not our favorite Ghetto Cheesesteak?
Joe: It's just wrong.

Joe: How about Ryan bouncing off of Big Easy like he was a rubber ball?
Sarah: Heh. And Big Easy cracking Rando Nick's hand?
Joe: HA! Yes. And thank god he did because healthy Nick probably beats Ryan. And I like looking at Ryan.
Sarah: Exactly. And nobody knows who Nick even is.
Joe: Also, are you on the edge of your seat wondering who wins the Shauvon/Aneesa showdown, after seeing Aneesa all up in the season previews?
Sarah: I mean, unless Shauvon suffocates Aneesa with her tits
Joe: You wouldn't get an even suffocation because they're so malformed.
Sarah: One's pointing off toward the mountains.
Joe: And one's pointing toward CT's blood on the ground.

And then even the Internet was like "ENOUGH about that stupid show!" and cut us off. I'm hoping we can do this for subsequent episodes, because holy crap, you guys, do I enjoy talking about these fools.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mentally Challenge'd

I wanted to get this up before last night's premiere of the new season of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, but between Idol and Lost, I couldn't get to it on time. But last season, when I started to talk Challenge to the half-dozen of you who still watch, people mentioned that they'd want a primer on who's who. Here's who's who, written before Episode 1. Post-episode thoughts to come later.

Adam
Original Season: Real World Paris
Reputation: One of those overcompensating dweeby types who fluctuates between anti-jock normalcy and irritating sycophancy. After several punkings on national television, has developed a healthy distaste for former cast-mate CT.

Aneesa
Original Season: Real World Chicago
Reputation: She will cut you with words! Total crazy hothead, but weirdly endearing. She's historically been a weak performer in the challenges, but in the last Duel she made it all the way to third place, taking out Paula, Robin, and Diem in the process.

Brad
Original Season: Real World San Diego
Reputation: The endearing meathead that all other endearing meatheads aspire to. Every season I go in trying to hate on him for being stupid and having a weird motorcycle fetish and every season I'm won over in short order. Why fight it?

Brittini
Original Season: Real World Hollywood
Reputation: She was a replacement for one of the fallen in H'wood, but I can't remember one notable thing about her. She's...pretty? I guess? The bland newbies tend to go home early, so hopefully that's the case with her.

Brooke
Original Season: Real World Denver
Reputation: In Denver, she appeared to be actually, clinically insane. On her one previous challenge appearance, she decided she was a lesbian and fell in love with Ev, on purpose. So...you decide.

CT
Original Season: Real World Paris
Reputation: Managed to gain some sympathy followers as the outcast Masshole in Paris, but subsequent Challenge appearances confirmed that they were right to shun him. Loud, bullying, drunk, violent, and mean. Punched Davis, then a cactus, en route to being eliminated on the first night on a previous challenge.

Davis
Original Season: Real World Denver
Reputation: He was the gay guy who really seemed to like making out with girls in Denver. On his last Challenge, he got punched in the eye by CT on the first night.

Derek
Original Season: Road Rules: Viewers' Revenge
Reputation: Pleeeeease con't confuse him with the other Derrick, who is tiny, ferocious, and a well-meaning mess of a guy. This one is your garden variety thick-necked jock, albeit a seeimgly nice one. Hooked up with Paula on his last challenge.

Diem
Original Season: RW/RR Challenge: Fresh Meat
Reputation: First she was boring, then she had cancer, then she was badass, then she was annoying, then she dated CT, then she had Battered Wife Syndrome, then she wore a Holly Hobby wig, then she broke up with CT.

Dunbar
Original Season: Real World Sydney
Reputation: "Mook with anger issues" doesn't exactly set a guy apart from the pack. Not on paper at least. To know Dunbar is to watch him in the wild, as his pasty frame and fetal-alcohol face slowly overheats into a raging boil over practically nothing at all. Last Challenge, it was a deficit of red meat. Seriously.

Eric
Original Season: RW/RR Challenge: Fresh Meat
Reputation: Zaftig, good-natured non-athlete who nearly died in the final leg of his last Challenge. He's come back to finish himself off, apparently.

Evan
Original Season: RW/RR Challenge: Fresh Meat
Reputation: Formerly beloved Canadian whose bloom fell off the rose after increasingly shitty comments about the useless of women. At this point, I'd pay money to see someone like Katie kick him repeatedly in the balls.

Isaac
Original Season: Real World Sydney
Reputation: Fun-loving, deeply weird, kinda cute. And in one of the preview clips for the new season, he's wearing overalls and no shirt. That's right: just like Dexy's Midnight Runners.

Jenn
Original Season: Real World Denver
Reputation: Tiny firecracker and circumstantial lesbian who has thus far seemed to keep a good balance between being competitive and cool. So, of course, in the previews it looks like she's manufacturing a whole mess of drama this time around.

Katie
Original Season: Road Rules: The Quest
Reputation: A walking, talking Marlboro 100. And God's gravel-voiced gift to Challenges. Crazy, drunk nicotine factory who will flip on you so goddamn fast. And yet: Funny, loyal, and almost always winds up in opposition to the people who are most annoying me. She can stay.

Kimberly
Original Season: Real World Hollywood
Reputation: Hella annoying Southern jerk with a debilitating superiority complex and an ugly tendency towards class-based racism. Charming thing, really.

Landon
Original Season: Real World Philadelphia
Reputation: Wee little musclehead who is totally not gay no matter how much he sounds it. Other than his ridiculous body, he's kind of incredibly boring.

Mark
Original Season: Road Rules 1
Reputation: He's been on MTV reality shows since the Kennedy was still a VJ, okay? Since there was a thing called a "VJ"! (Several years removed from that title having any meaning at the network, "VJ" seems even more like a slang term for vagina, doesn't it?)

Nick
Original Season: Real World Hollywood
Reputation: Wow, no idea.

Paula
Original Season: Real World Key West
Reputation: Quite the rollercoaster, actually. From mentally unstable abuse victim in Key West to unexpectedly tenacious competitor, to honestly cool girl, to boob-implanted gone-Hollywood Challenge lifer, to her sad, sad end, crying alone on The Island after being betrayed by a guy named "Johnny Bananas."

Rachel
Original Season: Road Rules: Campus Crawl
Reputation: Formerly Challenge Mean Girl who stopped doing Challenges when people stopped being afraid of her. Returned last season as a be-turbaned veteran who no one really understood. Except Jenn, who made out with her a bunch.

Robin
Original Season: Real World San Diego
Reputation: Oh, girl. How do you solve a problem like Robin? It's actually pretty cut and dried: Robin when she isn't drinking is a halfway cool, funny girl. Drunk Robin, however, is a sloshy, embarrassing mess given to things like getting arrested and talking about her bedmate's limp dick.

Ruthie
Original Season: Real World Hawaii
Reputation: The rare success story, who overcame her own alcohol addiction to become a challenge beast that one time many, many years ago. She came back for another Challenge after that and went out more like a lab. But a sober lamb! I'm kind of hoping she's looking to kick some ass again.

Ryan
Original Season: RW/RR Challenge: Fresh Meat
Reputation: My total boyfriend, despite his unfortunate tendency to make out with girls who are crazy (Kellyanne). Showed his (mostly) discerning taste by (mostly) spurning Tyler's increasingly desperate advances a couple Challenges ago.

Shauvon
Original Season: RealWorld Sydney
Reputation: A complete, vapid waste of a spot on this roster. Could they not have convinced her cast-mate Tricia instead? That girl was awful, but at least she was worth hating.

Tori
Original Season: Road Rules: Viewers' Revenge
Reputation: Veered wildly between being a cool competitor and an abrasive loudmouth. Last seen dating Brad.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

THE STORM! IS! COMING!

I'm pretty sure this was a deleted scene from The Stand, in which the survivors of the superflu plague all appeared in a dream to Mother Abigail, warning her to send all the sodomites to Las Vegas to be with their own kind.




Seriously, though, are you scared yet? Did the background footage from your local karaoke bar's "Thunder Rolls" program convince you of the apocalyptic, dystopian future that awaits with the legalization of gay marriage? Were you encouraged by the sunshine peeking out at the end, with its promise of a "rainbow coalition" of all creeds, races, and religions coming together to put the fags back in their place? Didn't you find that inspirational? Or are you just a racist?

Honestly, I'm oddly encouraged by these kinds of ads. It just makes the opposition look so ... fringe. Desperate. "Scare tactics" aren't a new phenomenon in politics, but they usually don't come across like something you'd see in an actual haunted house. The next step is anti-gay conservatives creeping up behind you, individually, and shouting "GAYMARRIAGE!" And fewer and fewer people are going to jump. And the world keeps spinning forward.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

'Round Springfield XXX: Not as Porny as That Makes It Sound

Sling.com continues The Great Sling Rewatch of The Paper today with episode 2, a half-hour so incredibly jam-packed with delicious awesomeness I could barely believe it even though I has already seen it before, at least twice. Amanda's ice cream social! T-shirts on Thursdays to make her seem approachable! Adam really appreciating the quality of her nose job! LASER TAG! As a signifier of coolness! The best moment may well come from the teachers as they observe the dutiful little overachievers on newspaper staff and sigh to the camera that it's the same every year, "Those newspaper kids show up a week before school starts." I could die.

P.S. Tara directed me to two totally excellent interviews with my very favorite character on The Paper, homecoming king (spoiler!) Adam Brock. This one from last year with EW.com boasts the best quote ("People say, 'Oh life isn't that perfect. You don't get a job at Teen Vogue.' You don't know that! Just like how people are saying, 'Oh, Adam won homecoming king. That never happened. MTV did that.' It wasn't! I actually won by six votes.") and also the mindblowing news that both he and Amanda were in their school's production of "Grease" that went tragically uncaptured by MTV's cameras. (Amanda was Rizzo! WTF, MTV??) The Jossip one is more recent, details Adam's career change of heart, and has him pretty much saying (albeit indirectly) that Giana and Trevor were turds on the show.

And since it's apparently Sling Week here at Low Res, I need to direct you to their coverage of today's major media event: The one-year anniversary of Kathie Lee and Hoda together on the Today show. Truly they are the greatest thing to happen to television -- or at least the concept of day-drinking -- maybe ever. Then Tara and Will get to discussing the awesomeness of Miss Hoda and the notorious KLG. Amy Poehler and Tracy Jordan make cameo appearances.

In other news:

Vulture reports on positive test-screening results for the new Star Trek re-boot/hotness infusion. I have to disagree with their take that because the audience was filled with Trek fans, the results aren't too impressive. Because you know who is out for blood with this movie? Star Trek fans. The fact that it won a room full of them over kind of impresses me.

And finally: YAY! Gay marriage in Vermont! This marks the first time it's been accomplished via legislature rather than the courts. I'm sure anti-gay conservatives will find another way to say it doesn't count, of course.

Eminem's "We Made You": The 21st Century "Eat It"?

Did you guys notice MTV is airing music videos again? In the early mornings, sure, but it's enough where I can watch while I get ready to leave for work. Not just new stuff either -- I caught the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' "Give It Away" yesterday. It's nice to see.

Anyway, so today I caught the new Eminem video -- exactly how new it is I'm not sure, but E!Online was writing about it today like it was just off the assembly line, so maybe I'm getting in on the ground floor for once. Anyway, here it is:



Is that not just the saddest thing you've ever seen? I mean -- look, I make no bones about the fact that I don't like Eminem and I'm looking for the negative almost constantly. But what always made him so maddening back in his heyday was that no matter how much I wanted to hate him, I had to admit that "The Real Slim Shady" was some catchy shit. Or that "Lose Yourself" was a goddamn masterpiece. This new video is just ... well, like I said, it's sad.

It's not a new observation to say that Eminem's obsession with celebrity shit-talking has always focused on the weakest, most obvious targets on the landscape. That's true on "We Made You" to a near-parodic degree. He's talking about exactly who you'd think: Britney, Lindsay, Jessica Simpson, Bret Michaels. Hey, have you heard Amy Winehouse is a drug-addled mess? Nailed it! Even the requisite gay-bashing focuses on how hot girls like Lindsay Lohan and Portia DeRossi are too sexy to be eating box. Yawn. But whereas the tired celebrity baiting in, say, "Without Me" was paired with a maddeningly singable hook, "We Made You" is the kind of tuneless dreck that made "Ass Like That" (you know, the video with the "Crank Yankers" puppets) such a career low point.

I can't decide whether this is Eminem's cynical attempt to cash in with the mainstream by going back to what's worked so well for him or if he honestly thinks someone like Jessica Simpson needs to be knocked down a peg in 2009. And I can't decide which would be sadder. The video really does remind me of a "Weird Al" video, with the wall-to-wall celebrity references that are barely relevant now, much less in a year or longer. Even the Sarah Palin stuff is so six months ago! Remember when everybody thought Eminem was so dangerous?? Doesn't that seem adorable now?

Maybe this is just me, though? Do you guys think this is a return to form? Are you happy to have Eminem stirring the pot again?

Oh, and p.s.: Em, if you're still getting hung up on gay dudes being all over your jock, maybe you should stop dressing up like a fetish object?




Regttably, I'd still hit that. Spitefully, but still.

Monday, April 06, 2009

There's Just No Bull About This Blog Post

You guys...remember The Paper? It was only one short year ago that we were introduced to the Cypress Bay high school newspaper and its band of committed nerds lead/antagonized by editor-in-chief Amanda Lorber. One short, glorious season is apparently all MTV saw fit to give us; which puts it in the bin with Bands on the Run and Dead at 21 with the shows that only I remember.

But, as luck would have it, I wasn't completely alone in my love for The Paper, and today, that pays off is spectacular fashion. The esteemed Tara Ariano -- of TWoP, Fametracker, and Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays fame -- has chosen to use her new position at Sling.com to preach the gospel of Lorber. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: The Great Sling.com Rewatch of The Paper.

I KNOW!

Join me, won't you?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking, on a Friday Afternoon?

Is This Heaven?


"No, it's Iowa."

(First?? First person to use that reference today??)
"Iowa became the first state in the Midwest to approve same-sex marriage on Friday, after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided that a 1998 law limiting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional."
Unanimous! IOWA! That's all very good news. I'm sure that's not the last we'll hear of the fight for equal marriage rights in Iowa, but it's a heck of a leap forward.

Now I just need James Earl Jones to pump me up with a modified version of my favorite hokey monologue in all of movies. Can somebody get on that?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays: Monsters vs. Aliens

Tara and I instituted Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays a month ago, both as a way to tie ourselves down to a weekly movie night and also to give ourselves blanket immunity for our willingness to see movies that don't necessarily make us proud. Also, it's a good way for me to practice spelling "embarrassing" correctly. Two "r"s, Joe! TWO!

Just to catch you all up: Week 1 was He's Just Not That Into You, which was legitimately awful. Week 2 we opted for Fired Up! which has thus far proven to be the perfect EMW movie, delightful and stupid at once. Week 3 was Duplicity, not an embarrassing movie, but one we both wanted to see, and it certainly delivered.

In light of Duplicity, when I told Roommate Mark that this week's selection was Monsters vs. Aliens, he suggested we just downgrade to "Movie Wednesdays." A fair point -- M v. A didn't look bad, and despite the fact that we were two adults seeing a kids movie, not very embarrassing -- but it was a lean week for crappy-looking movies we were both willing to see (sorry, Knowing). And before we throw the baby out with the bathwater, I invite you to check out the release schedule for April and May. It's like the studios have been planning for EMW. We've gotten spring training out of the way, now Tara and I are ready for opening day.

As for this week's feature, Monsters vs. Aliens was ... okay. It was fine; kind of a slapped-together story, kind of fluctuating in its sense of humor, every once in a while slipping into the kind of nonsensical pop-culture referencing that made me think there should be dancing penguins. But there was some really funny voice work from Seth Rogen and Hugh Laurie, which elevated a good deal of the movie. At least the parts where I wasn't racking my brain trying to figure out who was voicing Reese Witherspoon's mother (kudos, Tony-winner Julie White).

All in all, not too embarrassing. Not too great either. On our very scientific EMW scale, I give it:

2 bags over the head.

Join us next week, when our selected movie just might star Paul Walker.

(Thanks, Pam, for the jpeg inspiration)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

From the "Reasons to Smile on a Wednesday" File


You guys, have we talked about the Hoda and Kathie Lee Hour on the Today show yet? Are there even words?