April 30, 2007

It's Over Before It Started

All right, I'm going to make a shocking declaration. Brace yourselves.

I'm not watching the finale of The Amazing Race. For the first time...ever.

Why? Because there isn't a single team I can get behind. With Danny & Oswald's anticlimactic elimination (which was pretty much guaranteed based on the leg set-up), I'm so unhappy with who is left. Charla & Mirna? Self-righteous ugly Americans. Eric & Danielle? This year's very annoying bickering "couple." Dustin & Kandice? Coniving perky blondes with abnormal luck.

I've got two good hours of my life next Sunday. Rest assured I won't be wasting it sitting in front of the TV seeing which of the lesser of three evils wins the "All-Stars" edition of the Race.

See you next season, Phil.

April 28, 2007

Clearly This Is Ridiculous

Did you see this commercial? I hear they've changed it already, but go to YouTube to see it. It's all about the tagline.

File this under, "What the hell were they thinking?"

The Sunshine Of My Life

At last, we have a great flasback episode of Lost focusing on my darling, Sun! In my opinion, it was the best one for her so far. She kicked all kinds of ass in this one. Yelling in Juliet's face! Standing up to her father, the mobster! Putting a blackmailing hooker in her place!

And did I mention that she looked ridiculously hot the whole time? I think I have to put Yunjin Kim on my conversion list.

Although this was mostly all about Sun, let's also give some mad props to Jin for going all kung fu on the resurrected (?) Russian.

The downside is of course the news that my dear Sun is now marked for death, just like Charlie. If only Juliet could find a cure! But being that she is secretly working for EVIL, that looks unlikely.

Speaking of which, did Juliet imply that Kate might be pregnant also?

Oh, and there was that little tidbit at the end. Major conspiracy? Or did the producers lie to us, and this really is Purgatory Island? Hopefully we'll find out more next week, as Locke returns.

Side note - was it really Italian the pilot was speaking? Anyone know? My first guess was Portugese, the same language spoken by the guys at the station who were working for Penelope.

April 27, 2007

Model Deja Vu

Now before you start chastising me with, "You are two weeks behind on your Top Model recaps, girrrrrrllll!!!!" Simmer down, Dionne. Because last night was a clip show! So in fact, I'm only a week behind, and by the time I post the next one, you'll be caught up. I swear! So step into the Wayback Machine with me, and let's go visit the bitches a few weeks ago.

When we last left them, Sara was sent home because we all forgot she was even on the show in the first place. And Jael was given a free pass for being a celebrity stalker who thought she was in a Busby Berkeley number. Carry on!

Whitney can't believe she was in the bottom two again. Really? What show are YOU watching, girl? Meanwhile, Renee acknowledges again that she's a bitch, but she's trying hard to change. Hey, if Effie did it, so can you. She writes a letter of apology to Jael. Jael once again takes it in stride, not realizing that soon Renee will stab her in the back once again. Have you learned nothing from Being Bobby Brown?

Finally, Brittany gets her wicked weave removed. It lies on a table looking like a neon hamster.

As promised, the girls meet up with Tia Mowry for acting lessons. I'm sure it has nothing to do with promoting her own show on the CW. Anywho, the girls act wearing various hats. It's all rather dull. But I will tell you that a "never before seen" clip last night showed a hilarious bit where the girls each portray someone on the panel and they perform an elimination. Naturally, Jaslene plays Ms. J. But the most hilarious is Natasha, who portrays Tyra. It's hard to describe, except that she's SO funny. When the hell did I fall in love with the Russian mail order bride? How is that possible?

The girls are then given scripts to memorize where they will portray three different types of models. And they act opposite some guy from Napoleon Dynamite, whom I could care less about. So the girls all act (mostly poorly). Ultimately the guy chooses Renee as the challenge winner, who in turn picks Dionne to join her in the prize. And he gives them...tiny t-shirts. Huh?

Fast forward, eventually we discover that the REAL prize is that they each are getting visits from their families! So Renee sees her possibly homeless husband and baby son, and Dionne gets to see her mom, sister, and daughter. And then Dionne says in a way that is so funny I must quote it verbatim: "First my eyes have gone blank. Then finally I see my mom, my sister and my baby. And the first thing that came into my mind is, 'What the f*** is wrong with my baby's hair?'" HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! She goes on to say that her sister has all boys and doesn't know how to do a girl's hair. So Dionne proceeds to spend the afternoon fixing it. This cemented my love for Dionne. Dionne and Natasha in the final 2! Let's go!

On a side note, we learn that Dionne's mother is in a wheelchair, because she was shot by a man she was trying to help get off drugs. Wow - that is the kind of sob story Tyra loves!

But amidst all the familial joy, Natasha is very sad. I think she realized that she was so close to being able to see her own baby girl (she has one, by the way), so she is disraught at not seeing her. Her grief causes her to go all irrational and basically not get the fact that it's a competition, and she lost a challenge, so she loses the prize.

The next morning, Nat looks like hell, because she was up all night crying. Damn, pull it together, girl! Off to the photo shoot.

This week the girls will be portraying famous moments from ANTM history - shocking moments. And who better to help but...the girls who actually caused said moments. Fun! It's like a big reunion. Oh, and they are supposed to be "selling" Payless Shoes, which is really one too many themes for one shoot if you ask me.

First up, Jaslene poses with Bre, who freaked out because her granola bars were stolen. Natasha is still upset but pulls it together to pose with Michelle, whom everyone thought had flesh-eating bacteria. What? I need to see that season.

Whitney poses with Shannon of Cycle 1, who wouldn't pose for a nude shoot. Then Jael plays Rebecca, who fainted dead away at a panel judging. Again - I must see that!

Now it gets good. Brittany poses with the twins - Michelle and Amanda! They still are sweet and pose awesome. OJ has them pose all together like triplets, and damn if Brit doesn't fit in like the lost sister.

Then it's Renee posing like she's getting her teeth worked on. And who is she posing with? That would be JOANIE, the most awesomest contestant ever. I suddenly realized she is my all-time favorite. And she looks incredible, and totally upstages Renee. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Joanie, call me!

And then the piece de resistance - Dionne will do her shoot with Kim, who was a big-time lesbian in Cycle 5. The scene? When Kim was all kissing on another contestant in the limo. Now at first, Dionne worries me, because she says, "I ain't no fucking lesbo!" Oh dear. But then as the shoot goes on, Dionne totally gets into it. At one point she's laughing and OJ asks why. "Because I'm enjoying this!" That's my girl. She just needed a little push. Kim is getting her toaster in the mail very soon.

At the panel, there are prizes, there are judges. The judging commences!

Whitney is giving pose #2 of her 2 poses. The judges are not impressed.

Brittany rocked it, and is the new triplet.

Jaslene was a little overly fierce, so she needs to dial it back.

Natasha looks good, although I'm not crazy about the styling they did.

Dionne was the best this week. Her shot is hot, and makes me want to be a lesbian, too.

Jael looks lame. Seriously, how hard is it to look like you've fainted? She is going downhill fast.

Renee doesn't look great. She says the judges told her to "ugly it up" a little. Tyra says she's gone too far.

Deliberations, and then Tyra has only 6 photos. But there are 7 girls! What will happen? Oh yeah. First photo goes to Dionne, because she now has mastered being a lesbian, and a hairstylist. Then photos go to Brit, Nat, Jaslene and Renee. Will Jael and Whitney please come forward?

Jael, no one can understand what you're saying half the time. Whitney, you need to work on at least having a 3rd pose. And the photo goes to...Jael. It's about time! Whitney should have gone weeks ago. So much for a plus-sized girl in the finals.

Whitney thinks she'll pursue acting now. Good luck with that. Maybe Tia has a slot on her show.

Next week (or, last week, I guess) - the girls are headed to a foreign land! Here's a hint - water in the toilet bowl goes the other way.

April 19, 2007

Tell It Like It Is Songs

Recently I've been introduced to a couple new musicians that I really enjoy, and wanted to pass the love onto you. Or should I say, pass on the upfront angry bitterness?

First up, the wonderful BMW told me about a British songstress named Lily Allen. He knew I loved the Scissor Sisters, and felt like she had a similar vibe. And she does, in a way. She's also got a lot of Alanis Morisette, a dash of the Spice Girls, and a healthy dose of Liz Phair.

Now keep in mind, this is not little miss sunshine singing to you. Lily is very blunt, sometimes offensive, and often crude. And I love it! Particular favorites on her album (entitled Alright, Still) are "Knock 'Em Out," detailing the challenges a single gal faces in a club; and "Alfie," a plea to her pot-smoking brother.

In a very different vein, I was very glad that ScottE brought the songs of Amy Winehouse (another Brit) into our home. Her sound is very retro - like Dinah Washington as sung by Dusty Springfield. Except the lyrical content is very modern. "They try to make me go to rehab, but I say, NO NO NO!"

Favorites on her Back to Black album include the Rehab song mentioned above, and the title track. Believe me when I say you've never heard doo-wop done quite like this.

So check them out and download a couple songs to your iPod - I'm sure you'll get a kick out of these fresh sounds.

April 18, 2007

Parrots, Ski Poles, and Aviator Helmets

It's been awhile since I've found a book that I can't put down, but luckily I brought just such a novel with me this past week on a trip. In just a six-hour plane trip, I had devoured all 300 pages.

So I highly recommend to you Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst. This is ideal for you reality-TV fans out there!

The book follows the exploits of contestants on an Amazing Race-type game show who compete in a race around the world, but the rules are a bit more wacky, and the clues are actually cryptic.

But the game is merely the backdrop for Parkhurst's examination of the players' thoughts, motivations and memories as they go on this crazy ride.

It is often funny, at times heartbreaking (I cried once), and tackles complex issues. Can you change your sexual orientation? Can you recapture love from years' past? Are parents really paying enough attention to their children?

Please pick up this wonderful book - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

April 15, 2007

A Model By Any Other Name

Yeah, I know - I'm behind in my posting. But I'm in a high-travel period this month, so my time and motivation to write hasn't been optimal. Rest assured I'm trying to catch up. First up I've got this (somewhat shorter) recap of last week's Top Model. Upcoming I want to catch up on Lost, some new music, theater, and videos! Without further ado...onto the bitches.

When we last left the models, it was a battle to the death with the plus-sized BFFs. Diana was sent packing, and this week Whitney is missing her. She has few options for happiness left, short of eating Jaslene for dinner.

First up the girls go to a restaurant, where they end up meeting the lovely Twiggy. Twiggy reveals her actual given name and tells the story of how she took on her current moniker. (It basically was a friend slamming on her skinny gams.) So Twiggy says changing your name can make a real difference in your modeling career. She then brings in someone else as evidence...and it's Melrose. FUCKING MELROSE. Man, I hate that bitch. Anywho, they make them go through this ridiculous exercise of coming up with new model names. This is so dumb. The results range from the lame (Whitney as "Whitelle") to the non-creative nicknames (Britney as "Brit") to the downright bizarre (Renee chooses "Nayien"). Jaslene and Jael wisely opt to stick with their given names, which are creative enough. But the best is totally Dionne, who calls her self "Wholahay" (pronounced HOO-la-HEY). She said it's silly, but she bets people won't forget it. That's for damn sure.

Back at the house, Renee is still a bitch and everyone knows it. Jael finally calls her to the carpet on it, basically saying that Renee won't be as bitchy to her personally, because Renee knows that Jael won't stand for it. Jael says she's speaking up for all the girls in the house. Renee seethes.

Next the girls are onto an actual LA party, where they will have the chance to interact with some celebs and industry folk. They are to use their new model names, which is about the lamest idea EVER. (And I've lived through the horrible super-heel judging competition in cycle 6.) Anywho - party time!

First up the girls notice 50 Cent (pronounced FIT-TEE SEN). Jael tries to engage him, because she's half-black, and therefore feels they have this deep "street" connection or something. Meanwhile other girls run into Paris & Nicole. Paris quickly ditches, but Nicole hangs around to get the dirt. She first corners Renee and asks who the biggest bitch is in the house. Naturally Renee fingers Jael. Then Nicole totally goes straight to Jael and off-handedly tells her. What a shit-starter! But this is ANTM, so it's kind of appropriate. Jael is neither surprised, nor amused.

While all this excitement is going on, the girls are summoned one at a time to meet and be interviewed by Benny Medina, who is Tyra's manager. He's sitting around with supermodel Beverly Johnson and other industry people. He's ambivalent about people like Whit and Brit, but really enjoys the personalities of Jaslene and Wholahay (I'm sorry, the name is so funny I had to say it again). Also it's revealed that Dionne has a daughter - who knew? And then there's this funny sequence where he tries to hear Renee's fake name, and the way she says it, it sounds like "Name" so he's like, "Yeah, what's your NAME???" Back and forth.

Meanwhile, Jael is back for about the third time harassing 50. He is so not having it. Finally he's like, "Get away," and when she doesn't promptly leave, he pushes her in the pool. And then it happens AGAIN! And even weirder, the second time, Natasha jumps in after Jael. Not to save her like a Baywatch babe - I think she's confused and thinks it's some end-of-party American custom.

So of course at this moment Benny asks to see Jael and Natasha together, who are dripping wet. And yeah, that wasn't totally PLANNED by the producers. Anywho, he's not impressed, of course.

As tensions continue to simmer at home, it's time for the annual Tyravention. She sits the girls down to discuss some random topic, and immediately Britney is like, "This weave is killing me." She shows the reddish scars she's getting, and seriously - the hair looks like a bright red tumbleweed. Tyra promises to get it taken care of next week. But then she gets back to the real topic, when it becomes clear that she's here to address Renee being the Queen Bitch. Tyra decides the best way to deal with this is for Renee to sit next to Tyra, and have each of the girls say how Renee hurt them. Where did she get her psychology degree - Mexico? Anywho, they each in turn say stuff, and then Renee sort of apologizes, and whatever. Let's just say we shouldn't send Tyra to the next Middle East peace talks. Also I must note that in this segment Tyra is wearing these huge earrings that look like gold-plated disc blades from a food processor.

Time for the photo shoot, where the girls will be actually doing 4 shots of what they think are 4 sides of their respective personalities. (Like "shy," "romantic," etc.) And they each will be determining how their own hair and makeup will be done. The shoot goes as you would expect - they all get just about the same feedback they've had for weeks. The one exception is Jaslene, whom OJ said made a mistake in choosing 4 sides that are too alike, so she's not showing range.

At the panel, there are prizes, and there are judges. Guest judge is Benny Medina. Onto the critcism! (I won't list all of the girls' various personalities, as I have a day job, and so do you, I hope.)

Britney picked things that showed off her face quite nicely, including a nice "Innocent" shot. Considering how sucktacular her hair is, you have to give her props.

Dionne had some great ones also, although her "'Hood" looks a little constipated. And the judges don't like her super-cool new model name, so Tyra suggests "Brown," which is incredibly lame.

Jael's shots are all very strong, and she totally makes me think of early Annie Lennox - powerful and androgynous. What is all-too-shocking is that she doesn't receive a tongue-lashing for the pool incident! So bizarre.

Jaslene has one shot that is hilarious and so true - "Drag Queen." But again, her shots are too similar.

Natasha's shots are actually quite good, and she has one that is like "Surprised" which is very model-ish.

Renee's shots are mixed - half good, half not.

Sarah looks OK, but the judges say that once again she is just too pose-y. Nothing she's doing lately seems organic - it's like bad acting. (Hey, maybe Melrose rubbed off on her.)

Whitney's shots are pretty weak. I swear, she has like 2 expressions when the camera is on her - a sigh, and a determined look.

After the judges' deliberation, it's time for the photos to be handed out. 8 girls, 7 photos. First photo goes to...Jael! Seriously? I still can't believe she escaped without so much as a slap on the wrist. Anywho, other photos are handed out, with the next-to-last going to Jaslene. The final two ends up being Whitney, and surprisingly Sarah.

Whitney, you are just not delivering the goods. Beautiful, smart, but not acting like a model. Sarah, you try so hard to look like a model, it comes off as fake and trite. And the photo goes to...Whitney. What? This is also bizarre. I mean, Sarah wasn't great, but wasn't horrible. Personally I would have cut Whitney loose at last.

Sarah is sad, but of course she has like 6 other careers to fall back on. And then when she turns 21, she can start legally drinking and piss it all away, just like in Hollywood!

Next week (which was actually the current week, but why am I defending myself) - time for some acting tips from the esteemed Tia Mowery. Spare no expense, CW!

April 04, 2007

What A Drag

We rejoin our coven of bitchery with Whitney and Diana bonding as the big girls on Top Model. They are size 8-10 sistahs.

Natasha calls home to talk to her husband. You know, the one that "acquired" her. They proceed to have the most creepy Daddy Complex conversation, which ends with what can only be considered a precursor to phone sex. Seriously, the girl is PURRING. Ew. Elsewhere in the house, Whitney, Diana and Renee have put 2 and 2 together to figure out that Nat was a mail order bride. You need a degree from Dartmouth to deduce that?

For their lesson this week, the girls meet up with the lady from Elite Models - the tough one. She asks them to all put on assigned outfits, which turn out to be real trashy. She asks what they think of the outfits, and naturally our two "I can sell anything" girls say they love them - Natasha and Jaslene. But they get the smackdown, and it's revealed that these are like What Not to Wear outfits. Dionne is all, "Oh, snap!" But Natasha tries to still implore that her outfit is cool. Yeah, for a hooker. Anywho, the EM Head Bitch orders them to switch various pieces around, and suddenly they are supposed to be good. Or something. This part was lame, honestly.

Later there is a challenge, where these male model brothers tell the girls to style themselves in clothes provided by Sears. So you know it's uber-fabulous (20 years ago). They'll do this in groups of 3, they have 20 minutes, and they have to arrange a whole display on a platform.

Much scrambling and shouting. Dionne uses her experience in retail to lay out looks for her team (Renee and Sarah). And when time is up, Natasha loudly whispers to Whitney that she needs to be on the platform, but is ignored. The guys look them over, and quickly dismiss team Diana-Brittany-Jaslene. They want to award the win to team Jael-Natasha-Whitney, but alas Nat was right, and Whitney fucked it up. What's worse, the individual prize was to go to Whitney. So instead the win goes to team Renee-Dionne-Sarah. And the ultimate winner is...Sarah, because they like how the colors in her outfit match her hair and eyes. Sarah is all, "I know, I knew it was perfect for me when I picked it up!" In other words, bitch takes credit for what Dionne SET OUT FOR HER. Dionne pinches up into a bitchface that is kind of awesome. Sarah's prize is a big one - after she has her photo shoot this week, she'll get to look at the film with OJ, discuss, and then shoot all over again. Dionne gives another bitchface.

Back at the house, Renee is sitting around, asking Diana and Whitney if they honestly think a plus-sized model will ever grace the cover of Vogue. She tries to sound sensitive, but it comes off so very bitchy. Whitney is all, "Get out of my face, Renee." Everyone hates Renee. I need a macro for that.

At the photo shoot, the girls will be dressing as men (just like last season), but will be posing with professional drag queens. It looks like Tyra and Ms. J are living out their dream through these girls.

There are models, there are pictures. Natasha is portraying a hip-hop guy, and asks the black girls various questions, and tries to speak a little street, and everyone laughs, because she's hilarious. And then she cracks them up further when she does her shoot. Oh, and she gives herself her own grille using some little silver foil from chewing gum. No slouch, that one. Kind of an icky whore, but still. Sarah does her shoot (badly) and then gets some criticism from OJ so she redoes it. It seems to me like she's just the same, but whatever. Dionne, bitchface. Then after Diana has a rotten shoot, OJ pulls her aside and asks her why she wants to be America's Next Top Model. "Just 'cause." Oh, Diana. You are so gone.

Time for panel. There are prizes, there are judges. The guest judge is the EMHB herself.

Brittany is awesome as a backwater Bubba. The judges worship her.

Diana is "the suck." She looks like a mannequin, when she's supposed to be in a red carpet couple.

Dionne had trouble with the shoot, but pulled off a good picture as a successful businessman. Also the judges love what she's wearing tonight - they say she looks more like a model.

Jael looks ridiculous as a hippie. She's like a cross between Groucho Marx and Sonny Bono. She is falling so hard, so fast.

Joyous will hate to hear this, but Jaslene was really good once again. She looks very much like a young guy, but I admit that with such mannish features to begin with, it's not that much of a stretch.

Natasha rocked it out. She was so very good. Although the judges tease her for still having her head not being upright. They talk about her creating the grille, and laugh at how easily she boasts and yet comes off charming. Perhaps she has a career in Fox News.

Renee was OK, but not great.

Sarah looked bad to me, but the judges like it. Tyra says that the extra shots definitely saved her. Dionnebitchface.

Whitney did really poorly what with the challenge of trying to hide her big bosom in a suit jacket. Still, she can't seem to even give a good face in her shot.

The judges deliberate, and the EMHB basically disagrees with anything they say. She says she wouldn't even give Jael a second glance in a casting call. Ouch.

9 girls, 8 photos. The first photo goes to Nat, of course. Hey, it happened. Eventually we hit the bottom two of Diana and...Whitney. Oooo - guess it won't be a final 2 of the size 8-10 sistahs!

They cry and hold hands. Diana, you just haven't shown anyone why you want this. Whitney, you seem to want it, but can't get a decent shot to save your life. And the photo goes to...Whitney. They cry, they embrace.

Diana says something boring and vanishes into obscurity. She wishes the eventual winner well.

Next week - Paris and Nicole. No, seriously!

April 02, 2007

Out Of Africa, Eventually

This week on The Amazing Race: All-Stars, we had a two-hour episode. And why was that? Because the trailing teams (the Guidos and Eric & Danielle) had such trouble leaving Tanzania that they actually didn't make it to the pit stop before the first team (the beauty queens, surprisingly) was ready to leave for THE NEXT LEG. In other words, they had fallen more than TWELVE HOURS BEHIND. That has never happened in the history of this race. Nuts.

Between all that and some poor production planning (having it turn out to be a non-elimination leg, and then following it up with that stupid-ass Intersection thing), it was a hot mess. Yes, it made for some interesting television. But it ultimately felt unsatisfying, and the Guidos' ultimate exit was anticlimactic.

On the plus side, the Chas were still charming and did well. Dustin really showed some talent at the piano Detour, and I don't think I've ever seen that team so put together. Well done, BQs. And I'm telling you - watch out for Uchenna & Joyce. Once again they are looking like potential stealth winners.

But the story of the week is Mirna's gradual alienation of the human race. First she's harassing a poor Tanzanian travel agent for 7 hours. Then she's yelling at Polish cab drivers who try to get as far away from her as possible. At first I was wondering why the people on the streets of Warsaw were so very unfriendly. Now I suspect they were all suffering from a condition called "Mirna's Karma." Hell, even Charla was sick of her this week.