Monday, October 20, 2008

The SNL Paradox

How can a show be simultaneously so funny and so unfunny?

This election season, we've seen some of the funniest sketches Saturday Night Live has had to offer in years. But then the rest of the show? Crap. We had actually been raving about SNL lately, because of the pure genius they've been coming up with consistently regarding the election. But we had been watching those sketches online for the most part, missing all of the really shitty stuff in between.

We actually sat through the entire hour and a half of this past Saturday's episode because we heard Sarah Palin was going to be on and we felt compelled to watch. We realized that SNL is not actually making a real comeback. They're just having some success with their political material. The rest... not so much.

The real Sarah Palin was... nondescript. She didn't really do anything. The entire premise behind her guest appearance was based on her not participating in the show. She was featured in two sketches. The first one consists of Tina Fey giving a hilarious press conference as Palin, while the real Palin watches from off screen with Lorne Michaels.
Lorne Michaels: I really wish that that had been you.
Sarah Palin: Yeah Lorne, I just didn't think it was a realistic depiction of the way one of my press conferences would've gone.
Lorne Michaels: Yes, but it's obviously a heightened reality.

The actual humor of the sketch came not from Palin, but from the stunt cameos of Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin. (With Wahlberg pretending to still be upset about the unrealistic depiction of him by Andy Samberg a few weeks ago and Baldwin mistaking "that horrible woman" Palin for Fey and vice versa). Obviously the writers realized that Palin herself couldn't carry the scene alone.

Palin got in a few indirect digs at Tina Fey (which I suppose is only fair, although not really accurate)...

Sarah Palin: Why couldn't we have done the 30 Rock sketch that I wrote?
Lorne Michaels: Honestly, not enough people know that show.

Alec Baldwin: Forgive me, but I feel I must say this... you... are way hotter in person.
Sarah Palin: Why thank you.
Alec Baldwin: Seriously, I mean I can't believe they let her play you.

But overall, Palin was still the butt of most of the jokes and I will admit that she was a good sport about it.

The second sketch featured Palin visiting the Weekend Update news desk and declining to do the material written for her... "I've been thinking it over and I'm not going to do the piece we rehearsed." So Amy Poehler steps in and does it instead. The material is a hilarious Palin-themed rap, that wouldn't have been even remotely funny if Palin herself had attempted it. Just more proof that after Poehler leaves SNL later this year, the show will have very few redeeming qualities left.

A transcript of the rap is available here, but personally, my favorite part was:

I'm Jeremiah Wright 'cuz tonight I'm the preacha
I got a bookish look and you're all hot for teacha

Todd looking fine on his snow machine
So hot for each other, need a go-between
In Wasilla, we just chill, baby chilla
When I see oil, it's drill baby drilla!
It's no wonder this episode had such high ratings - even we watched! - but did it get rave reviews? Not so much. Most of the non-political sketches totally sucked ass... even though the cast and host Josh Brolin did as good a job as they could with the material they were given (and Mark Wahlberg was funnier as himself than Andy Samberg was as him). A pretty accurate review of the episode is here.

So what is the problem with SNL? Lots and lots and lots and lots of build up... for very little payoff.

Each sketch went on way too long, finally ending on a punchline that... wasn't worth the wait. They actually had a sketch about 'autumn foliage' that went on for way too long, just to finish with a rape joke. Another lame attempt at humor (the 'fartface' joke to those of you who watched) just left us staring at the screen with blank expressions, until it ended with one of the characters committing suicide (which left us staring at each other with blank expressions). Seriously. The punchlines were rape and suicide. I mean, really?

I'm just going to keep watching 30 Rock and stick to checking out only the political SNL sketches online.



Of course, they are spoilers of a movie that came out like four years ago. So if anyone out there actually still hasn't seen it (or at least had the ending revealed to you) by now... well, then I'm doing you a huge favor by spoiling it for you... because it fucking sucked. Having said that... do not rent Gothika. I don't care if you think "oh it's October... it's almost Halloween... I should rent something vaguely scary starring someone vaguely hot..." Do NOT rent Gothika.I'll admit it was kind of fun and scary in a so-bad-it's-almost-good-but-not-quite-good way, but it was so implausible. I mean, I can suspend my disbelief that yes, maybe there are ghosts and maybe all the supernatural stuff in this film could happen. However, it was the "real life" details that totally ruined it for me. Kind of how I hated the Lake House... I could suspend my disbelief that maybe Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock really are having a pen pal relationship through time, but I couldn't suspend my disbelief to accept that the ending was plausible. (I won't give that one away, but really, I should, because it also sucked).

Maybe it's the writer in me (or the cynic in me).
Now in case you really don't know what Gothika is about... here is the synopsis, provided by the Internet Movie Database:

Dr. Miranda Grey (Berry) is a brilliant criminal psychiatrist. However, after a auto accident, she wakes up only to find that she has been convicted for the murder of her husband Doug. With only fragmented memories of the alleged crime, she begins to dig deeper into her husband's past. Meanwhile she is being haunted by the ghost of a girl called Rachel who is seemingly trying to convey a message to her with the phrase 'not alone.' As Miranda learns more about her husband with clues from Rachel, she realizes that Doug is not who he seems at all.

I was sort of hungover and tired when I watched it, so I apologize in advance if anything I'm about to post here doesn't make sense... but here is my review of Gothika. Actually it isn't so much a "review" as it is a list of things "wrong" with the film (in my opinion).

  • First off, "Gothika". What the fuck is with the title, huh? No idea. Can anyone enlighten me? Maybe it is supposed to be related to the word "gothic" (as defined: "characterized by a gloomy setting, grotesque, mysterious, or violent events, and an atmosphere of degeneration and decay"). But that doesn't explain the trendy spelling or why the title is never explained/alluded to in the movie.
  • Halle Berry's character Miranda is married to Charles S. Dutton (yes, "Roc"). In what universe could this pairing be possible? I mean, really? I could understand if she was a gold digger or something, but she's a respected psychiatrist. And we can rule out the guess that maybe old, fat, bald men are her "type" (as they are for some women) because it is mentioned in the film that there was a mutual (but unrequited) attraction between Miranda and her colleague, played by Robert Downey, Jr. So clearly her type is druggie white guys with full heads of hair and sexy facial stubble.
  • In one scene Miranda decides to take a swim in the mental institution/penitentiary, during a terrible rainstorm, late late at night, knowing that they are prone to blackouts. Sure. Who does that? Nothing major comes of this scene, so it's not even important... but I just couldn't buy it.
  • When Miranda apparently "goes crazy", she is hospitalized in her own hospital? First of all, it would be a total conflict of interest for her to be treated by her friends and co-workers. Secondly, it would put her in serious danger to have her in the general population with patients she was treating just a few days ago! If a prison guard suddenly murdered someone, you wouldn't put him in a cell the next day with an inmate he used to guard! (Robert Downey Jr's character tries to cover this plot hole by saying they were given a "waiver" to allow it, while waiting for a transfer to another hospital, but it's still ridiculous. It would never happen, which makes the whole movie impossible in my mind).
  • To elaborate on the ridiculousness of the above issue... All of her colleagues thought she was a brilliant doctor only days ago, but now they patronize her and treat her likes she's crazy. I mean, yes, they think she killed her husband and she is acting pretty damn crazy talking about ghosts and shit... but could their opinions of her really change so quickly? Why doesn't anyone believe that she didn't commit the crime (axing-up her husband)? Even though she was all bloody with the ax, she was found having severe seizures at the scene and was comatose for days before regaining her consciousness. Everyone (even her friends and family) can easily assume she murdered him, regardless of her reputation?
  • The "ghost" (the girl she sees on the bridge, who later possesses her, etc.) is a girl who we later find out was murdered by Miranda's husband four years ago. Four Years Ago. What the fuck was she waiting for all these years? She obviously was powerful enough to possess Miranda and haunt a hospital. Why does it take the ghost four years to do something about it?
  • Penelope Cruz's character, Chloe, keeps talking about being raped by the Devil in her cell late at night. Of course no one ever believes her and say she is "embellishing her rape story" (she was hospitalized after murdering her rapist stepfather, which is fucked up enough... since when does self-defense mean you're crazy, but I digress). My question is, why doesn't anyone ever check her for signs of rape? This is a hospital, is it not? I mean, obviously she wasn't raped by the Devil, but no one ever investigates at all to see if she is being abused. Just because someone is mentally ill, it doesn't mean that everything they say is completely fiction. More likely, it's fiction based on fact (if that makes sense)... so I find it hard to believe that they would let something like that go on for so long.
  • While Miranda is locked up, her husband's best friend (and the town sheriff) "Bob" comes to talk to her. It is revealed that he was her husband's partner-in-crime. He's ready to kill her because apparently she "knows too much". (Cliche!) Even though less than day earlier, no one believes her at all... they think she's insane and a murderer. Now all of a sudden she's credible enough that he has to worry about her tattling on him?
  • Elaborating on that, he's ready to give her an injection so he can (quote) "have more fun with you" than her husband ever did... and then kill her. How exactly is he going to explain that? "I drugged and raped her in self defense while she was trying to escape!" Okay.
  • And while we're talking about Bob... The two main criminals/murderers (Miranda's husband and Bob) are respectively, a doctor in a psychiatric penitentiary and the town sheriff. No one finds this a little ironic/coincidental that the two biggest killers in town are two of the most powerful men in town? Actually I guess that's not so hard to believe. What irks me is that the they apparently started their evil-doing as teenagers... Isn't it convenient that they both ended up in positions of such power?
  • Of course, Miranda gets away from Bob, thanks to the ghost, who burns him up. And then in what can only be called "overkill", Miranda unnecessarily shoots him. Now if the ghost was capable of doing that to him, why did she need to use Miranda to murder the other guy (and potentially ruin her life in the process)? I guess the movie would be a lot less exciting if it was only five minutes long and just consisted of a pissed off ghost killing two fat dudes... but from a realistic standpoint: did she really need to drag it out like that? She's obviously powerful enough to possess a human being, slam poor Miranda around the room, and open cell doors without a key... couldn't she have just had Bob and the husband commit double suicide? Or confess? Or just spontaneously combust? (Well, yes, she did that to Bob, but only later). Did the ghost really need Miranda to set things right?
  • And okay, for argument's sake... let's say she did need Miranda. Couldn't she have come up with a more practical way of getting her point across? At one point the ghost is beating Miranda up... slamming her back and forth against the walls of her cell, etc. If she actually wanted her help, what good would beating her up and almost killing her do? Maybe the ghost is trying to "beat some sense" into Miranda, but please... it's ridiculous and unnecessary. For a ghost who is not supposed to be an "evil spirit", but in fact the victim, trying to set things right... she sure is being a fucking bitch. I can't imagine being like "gee, this ghost has landed me in a mental institution and is really beating the crap out of me right now...I sure wish I could do something to help her!" Also, if the ghost is able to write cryptic messages on the walls (and in Miranda's flesh) like "Not Alone"... why doesn't she just write "Hey, your husband and Bob killed me and I'm not the only one."?
  • After Miranda helps find the last victim and reveals her husband's and Bob's criminal behavior, she is released. Um, what? She still killed her husband, escaped from a mental institution, and shot the sheriff (ooh, nice). And of course, she blames it all on fucking ghosts to make it even more believable. Even if they believe her that she's not crazy, why isn't she transferred to regular jail? Even if she was possessed when she murdered her husband, she still did it (and inexplicably killed Bob as well). Just because they turned out to be a "bad guys" instead of "good guys"... doesn't mean she didn't still kill them. She didn't ax-up her husband in self-defense; it was spirit-induced vigilantism. And if she tells anyone that, she's... crazy. How the hell does she get away with it!? Whoever her lawyers were, I've got to hire them the next time I'm possessed by a murderous ghost.
  • At the end, we see Miranda... free, on the street, saying goodbye to Chloe (who is getting on a bus). Chloe thanks Miranda for helping her and believing her when no one else did. Aw, what a wonderful sweet moment... but wait... how the hell was Chloe also released!? She slit the throat of her stepfather and said she was being raped by the Devil. Okay, so she wasn't lying about the rape part... but it wasn't actually the Devil now was it? She's still a murderer and she's still crazy. She can't even use the "I was possessed by a ghost" defense that Miranda has.
Totally ridiculous movie.

Now in my general daily life, I don't believe ghosts can possess human bodies and murder people. However, I can enjoy a movie in which that is the premise because I suspend my disbelief for the sake of entertainment. In order for me to suspend my disbelief and pretend that these things are possible, the overall content of the movie should be somewhat believable. And this one was just... not. And even if I was going to go so far as to suspend my disbelief further and not let the endless plot holes bother me... the acting was shitty, the dialogue was lame, the camera work was trying too hard, and the "spookiness" was often hacky. Ooooh the lights are flickering! I'm scared! I think the only redeeming part of the movie is the semi-unnecessary group shower scene but there isn't even enough nudity to make it worth the price of rental.

My advice is: if you want to see Halle Berry in a scary movie, rent Monster's Ball and watch her get fucked by Billy Bob Thorton. That scene still gives me chills.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina & Amy: We Love You

Just a little bonus for our readers... In case you didn't catch Saturday Night Live last night, THIS was awesome. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are totally unofficial members of the ESC.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jordin Sparks Thinks You're A Slut

So, Jordin Sparks at the VMAs.  You've heard about it.  She didn't like the fact that host Russell Brand made some jokes about the Jonas Brothers being virgins and wearing purity rings, so she fired back when she came out to present an award.
"I just have one thing to say about promise rings. It's not bad to wear a promise ring," Sparks, 18, told the crowd, off-the-cuff, "because not everybody – guy or girl – wants to be a slut."

It seems that Ms. Sparks was offended by the comments and thought that they might make the purity ring crowd feel bad.   So, her solution was to make equally offensive comments?  The claim that anyone who has premarital sex is automatically a slut is such a silly exaggeration.  And what if I am a virgin, but I'm into privacy and don't want to publicly proclaim my sex status with a ring?  And on the flip side, what if I do want to be a slut?  As long as I'm having safe sex and not trying to hook up with anyone's boyfriend or anything like that, why should Jordin Sparks have anything to say about it?

She could have criticized Brand's jokes and defended her beliefs without calling names and trying to sarcastically shame anyone with a different view.  (And for the record, the Jonas Brothers themselves seemed to have no problem with the jokes.)  If she wants respect, maybe she could show some too.

(And really, just as an aside, isn't the fact that virginity-promoting squeaky clean Disney darlings like the Jonas Brothers are performing at the VMAs just further proof that MTV is no longer anywhere near cool?  We have nothing against the Jonas Brothers, but yeah.)

Jezebel has a great clip of the ladies of The View weighing in on this important issue and discussing what the definition of a slut really is these days.  (The clip of the Jordin Sparks comment is in there too - the best part is watching co-presenter John Legend hold up both hands to show the lack of any promise ring action.)   Elisabeth Hasselbeck shows Jordin a thing or two about how condescending bitchery is really done, and Joy Behar has the best line with "so in other words, if it's boring, you're not a slut".

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Love Celebreality

Have you been watching I Love Money? It is so awesome and so horribly bad at the same time... I'm loving it.

I haven't really watched enough of it to come up with any strong opinions. All I saw was a couple of minutes of everyone arguing about how Rodeo should go home. And something about cookie dough.

Yeah I think Megan should've sent Hoops home instead of Rodeo, but they both sucked and the guys would've turned on her if she chose Hoops so it worked. And wow. I'm so embarrassed that I know all the inner workings of their many alliances.

Man, I cannot stand Megan. I don't know why I hate her so much.

I'm starting to secretly love her.

Even seeing her in pictures, I'm like 'Go home already!'

I mean, I hate her as a person, but I love her as a TV villain/mastermind. She's hilarious.

I still hate her.

It's terrifying that she's apparently the smartest person in the house. She's just good TV.

I don't think we've disagreed about a reality show character since Mormon Julie from the Real World.

The whole thing with her dog is fucking hilarious.

The dog is great, but Megan's evil. Maybe they can send her home and keep the dog.

I hated her on Rock of Love 2, but on this show she makes me laugh. It's like she went so far over the edge of hate that it turned back into love. She's so bad she's good.

Much like the show itself.

You know, I just realized that I Love Money is like one of those 'Celebreality Crossover shows' that you proposed a long time ago.

It totally is. I was very proud of that blog. Well, maybe 'proud' is the wrong word.

But I must say there's not enough Heather awesomeness on this show.

That's definitely true.

She needs her own spin-off.

Oh, apparently they're going to do Rock of Love: Charm School with Sharon Osbourne.

Oh my god! Really?

That should be interesting.


Looks like they haven't announced who is going to be on yet.

Oh man, I hope Heather does it. I don't see her actually being on that show, but I'd like to see her on another show. I love her. Real love, not this fake 'TV Megan love'.

Heather will probably think she's 'above' doing charm school, and she's right.

I bet Lacey would do it.

I'm not sure I'm ready for Lacey on my TV again.

Maybe Brandi?

Which Brandi?

Either. Both.

There's always Angelique/Frenchy/whatever her name was.

Oh shit! Yes, she would rock that. If anyone needs 'charm school', she does! I wonder if Daisy would do it. Destiney doesn't need it... Inna? Dallas!

Maybe Tiffany from the first season will do it.

I hope she threatens us with a good time.

And just because she's too good for charm school, that doesn't mean Heather shouldn't get her own spin off show. Kind of like I Love New York.

They should do a show where people compete just to be buddies with Heather.

Or like that stupid I Want to Work for Diddy show. People could compete to be her personal assistant.

Oh god, think of all the self-tanner and hairspray they'd have to deal with every day.

What about a Heather makeover show? Instead of What Not To Wear, Heather will come and teach you how to tease your hair up really big and wear stripper clothes.

Awesome. I want this to be a real show! Where do we send our petitions?

We should totally pitch it to VH1.

We'll have to work on that.

Oh, I saw some headlines about A Shot At Love coming back, but maybe without Tila Tequila. But I couldn't bring myself to actually click and read about that. So why couldn't they do A Shot at Love with Heather?

I'd watch that show. Hell, I'd be on that show. I'd totally go gay for Heather.

Well, Tila seems to be a fake bisexual anyway, so no reason why Heather couldn't do the same. Bret always thought she was into chicks anyway.

Oh speaking of pseudo-bisexuals... I saw Chris and Adrianne from My Fair Brady on a weird show the other day on WE. They went to Russia. It was called 'Chris and Adrianne Do Russia'.

I wonder if they'll end up back on VH1 eventually.

WE doesn't get any of the same quality trash programming that VH1 gets.

True. They're stuck with crap like Bulging Brides.

I think Adrianne will have to have a baby in order to get another season of that show.

I definitely agree. I couldn't watch too much of the last season they did, between the argument over her being a lesbian, and then the 'choose between your boob job and a baby' nonsense.

Especially since she didn't want him to get a vasectomy the last season, so why is he fighting over having a kid that season?

He seems to enjoy manipulating her. 'I'm going to have a vasectomy without telling you! ...Wait, now that you're maybe okay with not having kids I want them!'

And I can't think of a single other man on the planet that would be upset at his wife taking sexy pictures with another hot naked girl. That's like the #1 thing guys want. What is wrong with him!?

And claiming that it made him insecure like she might not really want him was bullshit. She went after him relentlessly and practically browbeat him into marrying her. Yeah, she's totally not that into you, Chris.

I know. The whole show made me sick.

Yep. I hate him.

I hate him too.

At least that we can agree on.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kathy's Off the Junk

So as you already probably know, the ESC loves Kathy Griffin. We love her comedy, we love her TV show, we love her gays, we love almost everything about her. We could probably write a huge five (or ten?) part series about all the reasons we love her. But today we're just going to address one little thing... plastic surgery.

You may have read recently that Kathy has given up plastic surgery. We think that's great. Not because we're against plastic surgery or anything (we think people should be free to do whatever they want with/to their bodies) but because of why she's giving it up.
"It didn’t get me happier or didn’t make me look particularly younger."

"I spent 20 years of my life obsessing about 10, 15 pounds, and what I found as a comedian ... is that nobody expected me to come out in a bikini anyway," she says. "I’ve never lost a job because of my weight, and I’ve certainly never gotten a job because of my cosmetic surgery or my weight."

"I like my body now," Griffin adds. "For 47, it’s pretty darn good.  She adds, "I've come to terms with the fact that I'm never going to be Jennifer Aniston."

She realized that it wasn't actually making her feel - or look - all that much better and has decided to accept her body for what it is.  And we think that's really really really great.

We also think it was pretty damn cool that Kathy was so open about her plastic surgery to begin with, unlike some people .  We've had some harsh debates in the past over plastic surgery, especially when articles and blogs about My Beautiful Mommy came out all over the place. (My Beautiful Mommy is a children's book explaining a mother's plastic surgery "transformation").

Now obviously, a children's book about cosmetic surgery triggers some intense reactions and strong opinions... most people we spoke to about it were really against it. I don't know if this book is a good idea or not: On the one hand, I worry that it would glamorize plastic surgery or create self-esteem issues in young children (Mommy's surgeries are going to make her look "not just different" but "prettier"); on the other hand, I think it is important for kids to understand what's happening to their parents.
"Why is Mommy in bed? Why is Mommy having surgery? Is she okay? Why does she look different? What's going on?"
A book can be a great learning tool to help explain any confusing (and potentially scary) situation to small children.Most of the harshest criticism we heard about this book was from people who hadn't even read it. (Talk about literally judging a book by it's cover!) Oddly enough, some could not separate their feelings about the book from their feelings about plastic surgery itself.

I would never call myself a plastic surgery advocate or anything and I don't think I would personally undergo any major procedures. However, to the ESC, the decision to under go cosmetic surgery falls under the same category for us as being pro-choice does. It's your body - do whatever the hell you want to it!

Which is why we're not happy that Kathy Griffin has stopped getting plastic surgery; we're happy about her reasons! Kathy currently stays in shape through diet and exercise, and while it's still possible she might want to do some "up keeping" as she gets older (that's just our guess), we're glad that for now she's decided to love her body for what it is. Something we should all strive to do.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brooke Doesn't Know Best

Okay, this may be old news already.... Honestly, we don't even have any new commentary to add to this one, but it was just too dumb and ridiculous and funny and sad not to say something about it... (That and we were drinking all weekend so we're sorta lazy about posting a real entry today).

So in case you actually haven't already heard about this, here it is:
"You know what? I am actually not that much into voting. I think it's kinda crazy that a woman is running, because I think that women deal with a lot of emotions and menopause and PMS and stuff. Like, I'm so moody all the time, I know I couldn't be able to run a country, 'cause I'd be crying one day and yelling at people the next day, ya know?" —Brooke Hogan, when asked who she's voting for by a potential roommate on her series Brooke Knows Best.

Seriously. We couldn't even make this stuff up.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Miley Cyrus "Scandal"

You can't turn on the TV this week without hitting a report about the latest "scandal" involving Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana. Some pictures have surfaced from a photo shoot that Miley did for Vanity Fair magazine. Along with some kinda sorta creepyish pictures of her posing with her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, there is an image of Miley posing topless, covering up with what looks like a bed sheet. It's understandable that an image like this would be considered provocative by some people, but with the insane level of coverage of this "scandal", you would think that Miley had released a video of herself having a threesome with a couple of transsexual little people or something.

First of all, there are quite a few people in the media who need to just shut up about this altogether. If the ladies of The View want to weigh in, okay. (I'm not actually going to watch the clip of them discussing this, and instead will just assume that I agree with Whoopi Goldberg and save myself the aggravation.) If E! News and Entertainment Tonight want to obsess? Fine. But Neil Cavuto and Bill O'Reilly? No. Shut up about it. Talk about the election, the recession, the war--you know, actual news stories? I know you're not very good at covering those things intelligently either, but we have to draw the line somewhere.

On the one hand, I understand the argument that some people are making that this image of Miley is inappropriate because of her age, and that it's another example of the hypersexualization of young girls in our society. Young female celebrities shouldn't feel like they have to be sexy, especially in ways that they're not comfortable with, in order to stay popular.

But on the other hand, I'm not entirely sure that's exactly what's happening here. The picture was shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz, who released this statement.
"I'm sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted. Miley and I looked at fashion photographs together, and we discussed the picture in that context before we shot it.

"The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little make-up, and I think it is very beautiful."

Miley's parents were on the set during the shoot, so it seems that they were okay with the photo, and Miley doesn't look uncomfortable in this behind the scenes shot from Vanity Fair's website. She just looks like a teenager goofing off and having fun.

Some people have argued that Miley is giving a 'come hither' look in the picture, or that because it shows her 'topless' with messy hair and little makeup it is obviously meant to look like some sort of post-coital afterglow morning after suggestive thing. I think it's a little bit of a stretch to turn Miley into Lolita. Maybe the picture was trying to depict a 'morning after'--the morning after a Hannah Montana concert or a long day of filming the TV show or doing interviews, when all of the fake hair and makeup and crazy 'rock star' clothes are stripped away and Miley is just...Miley, a 15 year old girl. Maybe that's what the picture was trying to convey. As a society, do we always need to jump the most 'dirty' and 'slutty' and 'shocking' and 'scandalous' explanation, especially where women are concerned? I know, silly question.

So is the lesson now that not only is the image of Hannah Montana a marketable thing (which has already been slapped onto every product imaginable), but also that Miley herself is a product, not a person? On the Vanity Fair site, she is asked after the shoot if she's worried about the photo and her answer is: “No, I mean I had a big blanket on. And I thought, this looks pretty, and really natural. I think it’s really artsy.” Assuming this was really her honest reaction to the image, what's happened now is that we've told a teenage girl who posed for a picture and thought that it was art and thought that she looked beautiful that she's not beautiful, that she should be ashamed. That by exposing her bare back and shoulders--less than what people would see if she went to the beach in a bikini, really--she has let her fans down and set a bad example and she should apologize. Which she did.

Cyrus, who is on course to be worth a billion dollars by the time she turns 18, said: "I took part in a photoshoot that was supposed to be 'artistic'. Now, seeing the photographs, I feel so embarrassed.

"I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologise to my fans who I care so deeply about."

The Disney Channel criticised Vanity Fair, claiming it had "deliberately manipulated a 15-year-old". But the magazine defended the pictures. "Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day," it said.

"Everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley."
I'm not saying that the picture is above criticism, although I think the level of criticism in this case is excessive. In fact, all of the over-the-top fussing about the scandal of it all, and the nature of the criticism from some conservative groups about Miley as a bad role model all comes together to obscure the real issues about young girls and sexuality and the conflicting messages that they get from the media and from society. It also obscures the fact that if too much sexiness is unhealthy for young girls, so is too much shame. So is the lesson that you don't own your body, that you don't have control, that society has the right to tell you what to do with it and how to feel about it. Us older chicks all know where those lessons can lead.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Boring Rock of Love Season 2 Reunion

Last time around we listed our Top "WTF Moments" of the Rock of Love reunion. This season, the reunion (you know, like the show itself) was incredibly boring.

So here, briefly (very briefly) are our top "Non-WTF Moments"... booooring.

Angelique gives Bret a lap dance... but fails to get naked. BORING.

Jessica didn't get any stage time whatsoever. BORING.

Daisy and Heather get in a fight, but no one actually gets hurt. BORING.

Peyton performs and it doesn't suck. In fact, it's actually good. Which is kinda cool... but nothing to make fun of so it's still... BORING.

Kristy Jo and Aubry's "hot girl-on-girl action" was not entertaining... or hot. BORING.

"Jackye" actually spells her name the normal way ("Jackie") and that whole crazy spelling was just a typo on the show. BORING.

Bret and Ambre are still "dating" (or at least pretending to be dating). BORING.

Heather's hair was not only straight, but partially covered by a Bret-style headband. BORING

Destiney is well... awesome. She's selling condom tins or something like that (no barbecue sauce like Rodeo) and had enough sanity to not get Bret's name tattooed on her (opting for the ROL logo instead) and not tell Bret she loved him after only a few weeks. So yeah, we love Destiney and we wish she won... but are glad that she didn't win because then she'd be, ew, dating Bret Michaels. However, all this love we have for Destiney... is still pretty BORING.

So that's about it. The reunion was a big snooze-fest. Okay wait, maybe there was one "WTF" moment....

(We stole that pic from the Celebreality blog).

 we're sure this blog entry has put you to sleep... consider it your ESC bedtime story and now drift off dreaming of silicone and hair extensions. Goodnight.

Rock of Love: Season 1
Watch Rock of Love Now
Buy Rock of Love Now

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Random Reality Rant

I just saw a commercial for the new Vh1 reality show Celebracadabra, and I just need to talk through my feelings a little bit.
Get ready for VH1's new series Celebracadabra; a celeb-reality challenge unlike any other. 7 stars team up with 7 professional magicians in a race to become the ultimate celebrity magician. Watch as Celebrity Fit Club host Ant, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, comedian Hal Sparks, singer Carnie Wilson, 80s icon C. Thomas Howell, Kid N' Play's Chris "Kid" Reid, and actress Lisa Ann Walter duke it out while learning tricks that can take the masters years to master.

Street Magic, Children's Magic, Comedy Magic, Cabaret Magic, Strolling Magic, Phobia Magic -- our celebs do it (or at least attempt to do it) all. Their work will be judged by a panel of 3 superstar magicians. Each week, one of the celebrities will be eliminated, until the final two battle it out in Las Vegas for our Grand Illusion finale.

Who will be the Ultimate Celebrity Sorcerer and take home a grand prize of $100,000? Find out this season on VH1's Celebracadabra.

So $100,000 is the going rate for dignity these days?  Good to know.  Are people really even that jazzed to watch magicians, let alone washed up D-listers trying and failing at being magicians?  And with cast members like C. Thomas Howell and a Pussycat Doll, aren't they really pushing the concept of "celeb"reality to its limits?  And Carnie Wilson on another reality show, really?  I mean, really?  Shouldn't she be spending her time seeing if the reunited New Kids On The Block will let Wilson Phillips open up for them on tour?  And Hal Sparks, I know it's been awhile since I Love the 90s and there's probably no Queer as Folk reunion in the works any time soon, but is this really necessary?  Couldn't you at least wait for the next Surreal Life?  What's next, Celebrity Crochet Club?

I'm just bitter, is all.  On the bright side, at least there won't be any creepy incesty dance numbers like on Your Mama Don't Dance.  And nobody will be attempting to sing country music like on Secret Talents of the Stars or Gone Country...which, wasn't Carnie Wilson on that show too?  I think I need to go lie down.

Wait, I just read on feministing that the WE channel is airing a new show called Bulging Brides ("the perfect day is still pounds away!"),
a quality bit of programming "in which women buy wedding dresses two sizes too small, and rely on a drill-sergeant-like trainer to get them to lose the weight by their wedding day".  Wow, that's just great, I feel so much better now.

Oh yeah, the second season of A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila is also premiering soon.  I fully believe that this time she'll really make a meaningful connection with someone and go on to have a very happy, mature and successful relationship until it's time to start casting for A Shot at Love Season 3.  And I heard a rumor that Domenico, the Italian guy that Tila eliminated in season one, got his own dating show called That's Amore that involved challenges like diving into giant pools of spaghetti to collect meatballs, and seeing which girl (with the help of her parents!) could suck the most cream out of a cannoli, but I don't believe such stories could possibly be true.

Also, the fact that there are two former cast members from
Saved By The Bell now hosting dance-themed reality shows, but only one Beverly Hills 90210 cast member doing the same must create some sort of imbalance in the universe.  We need to fix this right away.  Luke Perry could host a celebrity ballet competition, or Shannen Doherty could do a show where people go around and try to start dance off contests in the street.  Think about it, Vh1.  You need to make up for the fact that you've not only allowed Danny Bonaduce to star in his own reality show, but are now letting him host one.

All of this almost makes us wish for the return of Mystery and his fuzzy, feathery, bemeshed wardrobe and his goofily nicknamed sidekicks and his stupid made up words and phrases and his fakey manhood medallions.   Almost.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rock of Love Drinking Game (Season 2)

The Rock of Love 2 finale was last night. And oh my god you guys, he like, totally chose Ambre! It was so exciting! We think it's real love this time!! Woooo!

Are we convincing you that we care yet!?

For those of us who want to hang on until the bitter end, the reunion show is this weekend. and you know what that means... one last chance for something interesting to happen. It also, of course, means it's marathon time. (And even if they don't air a marathon before the reunion, you know we'll be watching this show in reruns for the next few months.)

Last year's Rock of Love Drinking Game was insanely popular, so we thought we'd give you alcohol poisoning one more time! Since Season 2 has been so boring compared to Season 1, we recommend you drink at least 8 drinks before show show starts. That will make the whole thing much more enjoyable.

Take a drink every time:

-You hope for Heather to show up. (Note: If you get to the point where you start wishing Lacey would show up, check yourself into Promises).

-You see Ambre and wonder "how the hell did Bret ever buy that she was only 31?"

-Bret's "hair" startles you.

-Kristi Jo cries.

-Kristi Jo talks about an ex-husband or a restraining order.

-Someone talks about Kristi Jo still being legally married.

-Someone talks about Daisy still living with her ex-boyfriend.

-Daisy starts in with the mumbles and crazy arms.

-Bret "has doubts".

-Bret calls Inna his Ukranian love tank or love bus.

-Angelique ("Frenchy") gets naked.

-You see Aubry and think it's Alexis Arquette.

-Megan looks like she is smelling something foul.

-Someone says Jessica is too "young" or "innocent". (Drink twice if they use both words together; drink three times if they also mention not being able to handle Bret's "lifestyle").

-Someone calls Destiney a groupie.

-You wonder what was wrong with Destiney and Ambre's parents when they were spelling their names.

-Someone gets a drink thrown at them. (If it's Daisy, drink twice and then throw a drink at someone in the room).

-Someone goes on about how they're "here for Bret".

-Someone refers to Bret by his full name "Bret Michaels".

-Peyton or Catherine lose a challenge.

-Destiney yells at someone.

-Someone claims to have really deep feelings - even love - for a man they barely know.

-You compare one of the girls to someone from last season, like 'Peyton is totally the new Rodeo' or 'Inna is just a poor man's Magdalena'.

-You wish that Bret would just pull a Kelly Taylor "I choose me" ending and start fresh with a new group of women.

-You start thinking about other 'rock stars' that might make a good replacement for Bret next season.

-You wonder if maybe that girl who passed out drunk and missed the first elimination ceremony was actually strangely the smartest one in the bunch.

-You think about how sucky this season was compared to last season.

Just kidding about that last one.  We don't want any of our readers getting alcohol poisoning, we just want to threaten you with a good (drunk) time.  Enjoy the reunion!

Rock of Love: Season 1
Watch Rock of Love Now
Buy Rock of Love Now