Thursday, September 30, 2010

Snooki's Kooki Booki Hooki

One of the characters from the Empty V show "Jersey Shore," Snooki (the one that president Obama lied about), is apparently writing or putting her name on a novel that will be published by Simon Ampersand Freaking Schuster for crying out loud in January.
She may be better known for her hairstyle than her literary style – but that hasn't stopped Jersey Shore star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi from trying her hand at writing.

The reality star is expected to release her first book, tentatively titled A Shore Thing, in January, publisher Simon & Schuster announced Wednesday.

And she'll likely be coming at it with a fresh perspective.

In February, the MTV star Tweeted – jokingly? – that she was reading her first book. "I have mind blowing news! I am officially reading my first bo! Lmao! Nicholas Sparks "dear John!" ... I'm proud of myself," she wrote at the time.
I don't know if it matters that Ms. Polizzi claimed not to have read a book before February of this year (after all, a writer should spend most of his/her time doing things and collecting experiences, not necessarily reading or writing), but did it have to be a Nicholas Sparks novel that broke her fiction hymen? (Nothing against Mr. Sparks, by the way, he's talented and a bestseller. I just would have suggested maybe Sidney Sheldon or James Patterson.)

And the book is to be released in January. Given the amount of lead time involved, we must be left to believe that Ms. Polizzi had been working on this novel since before she started reading her "first bo." Either that or someone else was working on the book before then. Or they found the ms. in the slushpile and bought it from said author, with the intention of affixing Ms. Polizzi's name to the cover.

Please note that I am not suggesting that Ms. Polizzi didn't actually write this novel. I am merely suggesting that scenario is one of many different possibilities. I'm not someone who believes that Ms. Polizzi is too stupid to write a novel. I have written a novel or two in my time. It's difficult but it's not improbable.

It's getting them published that's the problem.

When I (sorry, I'm getting personal here) wrote my first novel, and actually managed to get myself an agent, I was told by a couple of publishers that the novel was good, very entertaining and very funny, but there was one nagging question the editor had...

Who the hell is Ricky Sprague?

These editors told me that with publishing the way it is now, a writer must have some kind of notoriety. It helps to market the novel. At that time, my published credits were mostly in comics and cartoons, and not very extensive at that. So, much as these people were entertained by my demented little story (that was something else that worked against me -- the novel wasn't exactly "mainstream"), it was with great reluctance that they had to pass.

So I went sobbing away in my corner. Only to watch notorious or famous people get book deals.

The publishing industry is troubled, let's say. A lot of it is the fault of the publishers who are unwilling to take a chance on strange novels written by unknowns but a lot of it has to do with the bad economy and the fact that a lot of people don't read novels and television shows are getting a lot better and more involved. "The Wire," for instance, is better than just about any modern novel.

So publishers need a hooki to get people to buy the booki. "Snooki" is a good hooki. She's on a wildly popular television show. She is often in the news for her kooki antics. And when her book is announced, it's covered by People, Us Weekly, RadarOnline, and a bunch of gossip blogs and people like me.

She won't be the first. Kate Gosselin has written at least a couple of books. Tyra Banks has a novel coming out. That woman from "The Hills" wrote a book. So has at least one of the "Real Housewives."

I wonder where is Megan Hauserman's book? Don't you think that would be interesting? Especially the chapters about "Megan Wants a Millionaire." Someone should write that.

Anyway, to those of you worried that Ms. Polizzi's novel somehow represents the end of civilization, or the coming apocalypse, or whatever doomsday scenario you prefer, please be aware that celebrities have always been used to sell books. Huffington Post has a snarky list here. Someone at has a list of celebrity books here. (I didn't realize that Pamela Anderson had written two novels. Wow.) But this phenomenon goes back even further than Pamela Anderson. The great English poet and novelist Mary Robinson, aka Perdita, started off as a famous actress before becoming famous for  her writing.

So, um, yeah, to my point -- are there any productions companies out there that would like to follow me around for awhile, and watch me get drunk and then -- do a bunch of other stuff? Just until I get a book deal, I mean. Like Snooki.

The new Nicholas Sparks? Probably not -- but maybe the new Pamela Anderson.

Snooki on a pole pic source.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jessica Alba: Nude Scene Cheater -- And It's Union Actors Who Will Suffer

The actress Jessica Alba appears in the movie "Machete" in a state of undress, sort of. She cheated by using CGI.
Jessica Alba shocked fans last week when a nude scene from her latest film Machete leaked in the press.

But what looked like a naked shot of the star has been found to be fake and new photographs show Alba was actually wearing underwear, which was later digitally removed.
It turns out she is a bit modest about her body (apparently she thinks she looks repulsive), and didn't want to appear nude, even though the film's story clearly required it.
'I think I was always very uncomfortable about the way my body developed, and I remember my grandmother would freak out and throw a towel over me if she saw me wearing just a bra and panties.

'I come from a very Catholic family so it wasn't seen as a good thing to flaunt yourself like that. I can handle being sexy with clothes on but not with them off.'
In the scene in question, Ms. Alba stands beside a shower with the water left running (which is bad for the environment and therefore much more shocking than human nudity), and sort of stares dreamily into the distance, contemplating the fate of immigrants from Mexico (Full disclosure: I haven't seen the film so I don't know what is going on in the scene). Here is a photograph of the scene:

The very not safe for work Fleshbot, where I learned about the story, has a clip from the movie on its site. You can watch it here. She just stands there, with her arms and legs strategically placed so you can't see anything anyway, and she stares off with the expression of someone who is trying to appear to be thinking about something very important (such as, "Why don't I shut off the water in the shower?"), and then she hears a beeping in the distance, and turns her head.

Oh, and the camera does kind of a twirling thing. It's an exciting scene.

As I suggested when I discussed the (lack of a) Sandra Bullock sex tape, these Hollywood actresses should all be doing nude scenes. Not necessarily for their "fans," but for themselves. Especially if they have body image issues, as seems to be the improbable case with Ms. Alba. You are never going to have better circumstances for presenting yourself to the world. You are young and your body, trust me as someone on the decline I know, will never be in better condition. Second, you have an army of lighting, hair, and makeup people to make you look the absolute best you can.

Document yourself! You will regret it later.

Or, maybe you won't. I can only tell you that is the case with me. I wish I'd done more nude scenes. Or at least made a few sex tapes when I was younger and much hotter. Now all I'm left with is memories. Painful, fragmented, rapidly fading memories.

Anyway, I would think that, given the advances made with CGI and animation, a young actress would be reluctant to allow herself to be treated in this manner. After all, how long will it be before directors realize that CGI images of human beings have none of the hang-ups of actual human beings, and will do anything the story requires of them, without having to deal with their "grandmother issues"?

The director in this case, Robert Rodriguez, could just recast Ms. Alba's role with a CGI figure, a la "Avatar," and be done with it. We're only a few years away from that, anyway. Why speed up the process? Especially given what's going on in New Zealand, with the upcoming film "The Hobbit."
A "Member Alert" went out yesterday afternoon from the Screen Actors Guild advising actors not to accept work on the non-union production of The Hobbit. It's part of an international showbiz labor effort begun by New Zealand Actors' Equity and its umbrella The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance headquartered in Australia to go public with a campaign confronting Peter Jackson, the director and producer of the long planned and high profile back-to-back Hobbit movies and filmmakers Three Foot Seven, MGM, and Warner Brothers. NZ Actors' Equity is calling a meeting of actors on Tuesday to bring The Hobbit filmmakers to the negotiating table for a contract providing minimum guarantees on wages and working conditions, residual payments, and cancellation payments to actors engaged on the production.
How long before Peter Jackson et al see this story about the CGI Jessica Alba nude scene and they say, "You actors don't want to accept our terms and work on 'The Hobbit'? That's cool, we'll just CGI your asses into it. Union problems solved."

Ms. Alba, in case my previous argument didn't sway you, consider this: Your nudity hang up is hurting your profession. There are thousands of struggling actors out there who are counting on you to do your nude scene. For them, and for all future actors I implore you to do the nude scenes for real.

Or not. It's your choice. At the very least, you could ask the director to CGI in the shower water, as well. Leaving it running like that is bad for the environment.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Sister Wives": Turns out, Polygamy is Just as Boring as Monogamy

I meant that headline as a compliment, first of all.

Second, TLC's "Sister Wives" is my new favorite show. It tells the story of a guy called Kody Brown, who works in "advertising sales," and his three wives, Meri, Janelle, and Christine. They live in one large house that's divided into three apartments, so that each sister wife has her own place. Mr. Brown alternates spending the night with each woman.

But the wives don't do anything "weird" (Meri's word), like have three-ways or four-ways, or anything like that. They sleep with him one at a time.

They have twelve children plus one pending. There is one child with Meri, five with Janelle, and five plus pending with Christine.

The wives are pretty awesome. First, Meri is going back to school to study psychology, so that she can work with at-risk teenagers. She is also the home's designated "tooth puller." The show spends about five minutes watching Meri pull the teeth of a couple of the kids. I am not kidding about that.

Janelle  is even cooler than Meri. Janelle works (although the show doesn't tell us what she does or where she works), and she loves getting away from the house. Because it's full of family, for crying out loud. She has two sister wives, a husband, and twelve children. That's a lot of family. She is grateful to have a job that keeps her away from home 12 hours a day, and grateful that she has all those sister wives to help with the kids.

And then there's Christine. She's a bit eccentric. For one thing, check out the names of the kids she bore:

Aspyn, 14
Mykelti, 13
Paedon, 11
Gwenelyn, 8
Ysabel, 6

Truely is the one that's pending. They were going to name her just "Truely," but then her name would be "Truely Brown," and that sounds silly. So then they were going to name her something like "Truely Ann," but then her name would be "Truely A Brown," which is just as bad. So now they think they've settled on "Truely Grace Brown," which sounds pretty.

The woman who named her child "Paedon" is suddenly concerned about the names she's giving the kids. Ordinarily if I encountered a woman who had given her children those names I'd accuse her of pretension. But she's just so disarming.

Moreover, Christine, who grew up around polygamy, always wanted to be a third wife. Apparently, statistically, families with two wives that are experiencing troubles become more stable when a third wife is introduced. There is too much pressure being the first wife, because then you have to accept the second wife. Then the second wife is a sort of "wedge," and Christine didn't want to be a "wedge." So she always wanted to join a family that already had two wives. When she was single, if her suitors didn't already have wives, she wasn't interested.

Damn, this is a great show.

Oh, and Christine also doesn't keep a toaster in the house, because toasters kill more people every year than sharks. The show gets a lot of mileage out of that bit of information. And, yeah, it's funny, but Christine does have a point, especially given that they live in Utah. There aren't a lot of sharks in Utah. But there are a lot of toasters. You do the math.

The show also gets a lot of mileage out of watching the family to yard work together. Mr. Brown says that the family does a lot of yard work like that, and yet: (a) the yard looks a bit shabby, and (b) the kids seem to get tired and bored fairly quickly.

But I will let that pass, since there are cameras around. The kids might have been hamming it up, and Mr. Brown might have let the yard go so that the family would have something boring and "average, everyday family" to do when the cameras were there.

Mr. Brown wasn't raised to be a polygamist. He converted and became a fundamentalist Mormon in his early 20s, thanks in large part to Meri's father, who was a fundamentalist Mormon and polygamist himself. Polygamy is illegal in America, although Mr. Brown has said that they technically aren't breaking the law, because he's only legally married to the first wife, Meri.
Polygamy is illegal, but Kody explained that his family isn't breaking any laws since, "It's one legal marriage and the rest are commitment marriages. Like every other American family this takes everything we've got."
This brings up an important question. Marriage has traditionally been a religious contract, hasn't it? I don't understand why people feel a need to allow the government into their private lives at all.

Who I, or anyone else, becomes romantically involved with is none of the government's business. The government needs to get out of marriage altogether. What two or three or four or however many consenting adults do with themselves and each other is none of anyone else's business.

And are you worried about the kids? Doesn't it "take a village" to raise a child? The Browns are their own village. As Meri tearfully points out, when her own sister was dying of cancer, she had a sister wife to help take care of her, and of her children.

The show makes a point of showing that the kids are encouraged to do whatever they want to do with their lives. One of the sister wives even suggests she would be fine if her kids turned out to be atheists.

The show built slowly to what was teased throughout as "Kody's big announcement." I thought his announcement would be that they were going to be on a boring television show, but it was pointed out to me that the kids probably already knew that, since cameras had been following them around. As it turned out, the announcement was that Mr. Brown was going to ask another woman, Robyn, and her three children, to join their village-sized family.

Most of the Browns were okay with it, although some conceded it would be weird to have a fourth mother. That might take some getting used to.

As the episode concluded, we got a glimpse of the potential fourth wife, who was positively giddy about getting another date with her "soul mate." Mr. Brown hopes that Robyn will accept his proposal, as the wives aren't as jealous of another wife as they are of a girlfriend.

Whether or not Robyn accepts Mr. Brown proposal is kept up in the air. Unfortunately, police in Utah had to get involved and spoil it, by revealing that she apparently accepted his proposal:
The stars of TLC's new show Sister Wives are under police investigation in Utah for a possible charge of felony bigamy.

Police in Lehi, Utah, said Monday they began looking into salesman Kody Brown and his four wives before the show premiered Sunday.

"At the conclusion of the investigation, the evidence will be forwarded to the Utah County Attorney's Office for review and possible prosecution," says Lt. Darren Paul.

Police acknowledged that publicity over the show's announcement prompted the case. Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah but is rarely investigated.

Brown and his wives Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn have 13 children and three stepchildren. They say they will lead a lifestyle that they want, even if it means breaking away from tradition.
If the police are going to investigate the stars of reality shows, they need to put spoiler alerts on their press releases. They should have said, "The Lehi Utah police department will be investigating allegations that Kody Brown and his wives might be breaking state law, etc."

Now, the only suspense is "how will Robyn adjust to life as the fourth sister wife?" and "how will the rest of the family adjust to Robyn?"

Actually, those are pretty suspenseful questions.

Another question: If Mr. Brown is only officially legally married to the first wife, then why are the police in Utah investigating him? It turns out, the government has a surprisingly broad definition of the term "marriage."
Kody claims to have been married to his first three wives for the past 16 years, and he has children with each of them. [Defense attorney Greg] Skordas says this will make it easier to prosecute him.

“We normally do recognize common law marriage. Does the couple have children? Do they do things together as husband and wife? After a number of years, the court will recognize a common law marriage,” says Skordas.

And not one of these women or the man they say they are married to is shying away from showing the world how four women can be married to the same man.

“If I was advising this family about this TV show, I would certainly say, don’t flaunt polygamy in this state at this time,” says Skordas.

Skordas believes the Attorney General and the state’s attorney in Utah county is watching this show closely, and probably subpoenaing taped interviews of the adults.
So, if a man and a woman live together as "husband and wife," and have kids together, and if they call themselves "husband and wife," the government can say that you are married, if it decides to prosecute you for some reason.

What if Mr. Brown were living with four other men. What if Mr. Brown and these other men were calling each other "husband and wife"? What if they had children that they raised together?

Would the state of Utah be investigating them for polygamy then?

Do you see why the government has no business getting involved in the institution of marriage?

Like any great show, "Sister Wives" challenges you to consider why I am right about my outside-the-mainstream theories regarding personal relationships and my desire to get the government completely out of our private lives. For one thing, let's get the government out of marriage altogether. But if government is going to be involved in marriage, let's make the same rules apply to everyone.

And don't punish someone for following the letter of the law, just because you think what they're doing is weird.

They are happy and not hurting anyone else, so who cares?

And how could they not be happy? Look at their husband.

Sister Wives pic source.
Kody Brown pic source.

Monday, September 27, 2010

There Already is a "Sesame Street" for Adults -- It's Called "Glee"

Apparently, a PBS station in Minneapolis and/or St Paul is putting together a "Sesame Street" for adults.
Called "Next Avenue," the series -- and corresponding Web site -- aims to help teach baby boomers how to handle their lives now that they've reached middle age, much the way the preschool TV show teaches kids their A-B-Cs.
"We are designing 'Next Avenue' to be a virtual life coach for baby boomers," Twin Cities Public Television president Jim Pagliarini told Broadcasting & Cable. "It will also challenge them to see the opportunities life holds after 45."
The show will be using the style of "Sesame Street" to teach "baby boomers" about how special they are, and show them how exciting their life can be if they just think positively and challenge themselves.

That show already exists. And as the title of this post suggests, that show is called "Glee."

I admit I haven't actually watched an episode of "Sesame Street" since I was a teenager, but when I was a kid I loved the show, and watched it often. It used songs and skits to teach kids about good citizenship, colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and puppetry. Everything about the show, from the fuzzy, underdog characters to the sets to the upbeat songs was designed to make kids feel comfortable, and safe.

That's pretty much what "Glee" does. They use likable underdog characters to sing songs that make middle aged people feel good about themselves. Check out the song list from season 1.

Journey! Journey! Journey! Bell Biv De Voe! Color Me Badd! Bon Jovi! KISS! Queen! Sisqo! Heart! Billy Idol! The Pretenders! Madonna! Madonna! Madonna! Madonna! Madonna! Journey! Destiny's Child! The Grease Soundtrack! Vanilla Ice! MC Hammer! Journey!

The playlist was designed to congratulate baby boomers on their taste in music. It's gives them a warm feeling to hear those comfortable old favorites and current pop hits performed by the excessively almost diabetes-inducingly likable cast of misfits with whom they so closely identify.

It's true, they look as much like those high school students as the children who watch "Sesame Street" look like little blue fuzzy monsters, and yet spiritually they identify with them.

And the show gives them great life lessons. Don't prejudge people. Treat those who are different from you with respect. There is no obstacle so insurmountable that it cannot be conquered with song.

"Glee" is "Sesame Street" for adults. Twin Cities Public Television, save your money.

 They even hang out in a trash bin, like Oscar the Grouch. For some reason. Why did they take a cast photo in a trash bin?

Any minute... they might... break into song...

Glee cast trash bin pic source.
Sesame Street cast pic source.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Love Money 3 Episode 2: Getting to the Truth By Laying in Bed With Someone

VH1 assured us that the new edition of "I Love Money" would emphasize the physical challenges over the interactions between the contestants. That's the "more evolved" way of doing things, apparently. For some reason. And yet, the second episode wastes no time in exposing the VH1 executives and publicists for the lying sleazes they are. Less than one minute in --

Chi Chi walks into the room to see his homegirl Brittanya and bid her "good morning, my sweet," and finds her cuddling with the other man in the house she “f*cked,” her fellow gold team member 20Pack. This causes Chi Chi to moan in that plaintive, Kermit the Frog voice, “This hurts real bad because I really like this girl.”

“I just wanna say good morning,” he announces to the entire room. Garth mumbles something.

Um, Garth is in a bed in the same room with 20Pack and Brittanya. Did he watch them while they cuddled? Did he chaperone?

And didn’t Chi Chi say something in the previous episode about being a badass now that he was on a show about money, not love?

A question for Chi Chi: How could someone with so many tattoos be even more of a weiner than me?

“I don’t ever remember ever being this mad,” Chi Chi wails. “You know what? Brittanya made me feel like crap, she needs to feel like crap right now.”

Good strategy from the badass who only the day before had decided to eschew sentiment in favor of badassery.

 Chi Chi wants to play this game without sentiment.

But none of this really matters anyway, since VH1 has already said that it’s the physical challenges that will be emphasized this season, as opposed to the interactions between the characters. I suppose that’s why, a mere two minutes into the show (including the previous episode recap and the opening titles!) Craig Jackson comes on to choose the new captains for the teams.

VH1: If you really are doing away with the “Of Loves,” including “I Love Money,” for crying out loud you need to figure out something to do with Craig Jackson. He is the best host of a reality show outside of Jerry Springer. (Actually, if Mr. Springer retires from “Baggage,” Mr. Jackson could slide right into hosting duties for that show. In the meantime, find him something else to host. Some kind of reality show or a game show.)

Mr. Jackson puts ping pong balls with everyone’s name in a bag, and selects at random: Chi Chi for the green team, and 20Pack for the gold team.

Please remember, this is totally random. Every contestant had a representative ping pong ball. Any of the contestants could have been selected. It was just our good luck that the two men Brittanya “f*cked” happened to be selected. This is the new, more evolved VH1. (And yes, I know these episodes were filmed before VH1’s evolution; but VH1 is evolved now and they would not air anything that had even a whiff of chicanery or underhandedness to it.)

Brittanya: This is gonna be great for me. I slept with Chi Chi before and he still likes me… And now I’m sleeping with 20 – I can’t lose.

Craig then explains the rules that fans of celebreality have missed so much: Team captain from the winning team becomes Paymaster, and gets to decide who is eliminated. The captain of the losing team is automatically up for elimination.

20Pack interviews that he’s not worried. Even a female can take down Chi Chi.

20Pack, The same can be said of every single heterosexual man on the planet.

On to the challenge, which is what VH1 has wanted to emphasize all along. Oh, but first, Chi Chi interviews that he’s either going to send home Brittanya or 20Pack, and he’s going to use the fact that he knows that Brittanya and 20Pack have been hooking up, while 20Pack is oblivious to the fact that Chi Chi and Brittanya have been hooking up.

Got that? VH1 is emphasizing the physical challenges as opposed to the contestant relationships in this season. “Hooking up” is a physical challenge, not a relationship. So VH1 is still keeping it evolved.

Okay, back to the challenge: This one will celebrate the famous tequila-vomit-Doritos kiss between Marcia and Bret Michaels on “Rock of Love Bus.” The challenge is called “Taste My Kiss,” and involved one member of each team ingesting some food item, and then kissing another team member. The team member that receives the kiss must then guess at the food item.

It’s sort of like in “Top Chef,” when you have to guess the ingredient. Except with more kissing.

How can VH1 want to cancel this show? Are you effing serious? This is genius television. I can’t wait to watch this. You know what I can wait to watch? Every single one of your other more evolved shows, VH1.

And to prove my point, there’s Chi Chi’s strategy. To spit food into his teammate’s mouths. Like a mother bird. And he heads straight for Fancisco first. He could have chosen Marcia or Cornfed. But he went straight for Francisco. Actually, he went gay for Francisco. Sorry, that was a cheap joke there.

I can’t believe Chi Chi and Brittanya slept together.

Anyway, Chi Chi’s spitting strategy works, as the green team easily wins the first round.

Second round, Mindy interviews that this will be her first “girl-on-girl kiss,” and on national tv, no less. Again I say to VH1: What are you thinking canceling this show?

Mindy defeats gold team’s Brittanya, and the green team is the winner. Chi Chi is Paymaster. 20Pack is in the box. But who will join him?

More importantly, how would you feel being one of the losers? Brooklyn, Hot Wings, Blonde Baller, and 20 Pack all had people spitting food into their mouths, and on top of that humiliation, they lost the challenge. Yuck.

Garth goes to Chi Chi and tells him that they will add Chi Chi to some kind of alliance, if only he will send home who THEY want sent home. Chi Chi tells Garth he doesn’t care about any of that, and he doesn’t even care about the money. He wants to send Brittanya home.

Garth gives Chi Chi a look like he’s just heard someone say what might be dumbest thing he’s ever heard in his entire life. Garth, one of the stars of “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” looks genuinely shocked. He turns right around heads over to 20Pack. “It’s gonna mean sacrificing your lady,” he says.

“Nope. Can’t happen,” 20Pack says. “I’m not that type of person.”

Later, Chi Chi and Brittanya share a moment. “Can I talk to you?” Brittanya asks. “No, I don’t wanna talk to you because I’ll start crying.” Or, perhaps, singing “The Rainbow Connection.” Anyway, she wants to manipulate Chi Chi into saving 20Pack, so that he can protect her. But Chi Chi wants to eliminate her.

“That would be like Christmas to me,” Chi Chi says. Brittanya throws her drink at him. What a waste of perfectly good alcohol. But it does get 20Pack’s attention, and he becomes part of the audience to Chi Chi’s and Brittanya’s display.

Finally, he learns the shocking truth. A mere three months before, Chi Chi and Brittanya had something special. They “f*cked.” 20Pack can’t believe it (join the club). “Under no circumstances would that happen. She would have told me about that.”

Brittanya will do whatever it takes to stay in the game; including use her impressive physical attributes.

Yes, one expects honesty from a woman with a history of criminally aggressive behavior.

“This is pretty much the best revenge that I can get for my broken heart,” Chi Chi says.

Way to keep it evolved, VH1. By focusing on the physical challenges as opposed to the relationships between the contestants, you’ve made this show… um, pretty much exactly as I remember it.

Punisher pulls 20Pack aside and talks some sense to him: of course Brittanya really slept with her, you fool. Do you think a woman who beats people up for looking at her funny is going to just stand by while a man lies about sleeping with her? (I’m paraphrasing because Punisher made so much sense I didn’t feel a need to quote directly.)

“She’s lying to you, dude,” Punisher sums up.

“Day-um,” 20Pack replies. “F*ckin’ chicks, man.”

So 20Pack crawls into bed with Brittanya, to hash things out. This is how they do things on VH1 reality shows. When you think someone might have lied to you about a previous sexual partner, you get in bed with them. It’s called PRONE TRUTHING. Sometimes, only when we’re laying down together in bed can we be truly honest with each other.

Despite this, Brittanya at first denies everything. They were merely texting partners, she explains. Then, finally, after what must have seemed an eternity to 20Pack (three minutes?), the PRONE TRUTH comes out. “I sleep around,” Brittanya explains. “Is it really that bad?”

No, it’s not. But Chi Chi? Really? And, for that matter, 20Pack? Really?

“But it was like three months ago,” she interviews. “And I never really liked him anyways.”

To the vault: Garth puts himself in the box. This guy is a dummy. The rest of the team, including 20Pack, votes Brittanya into the box. Birttanya takes it personally. “Trust me, I’m gonna f*ck you all I can to f*ckin’ stay here and I’m gonna remember that sh*t forever and it ain’t even just f*ckin’ here, that’s forever.”

“I have to take that chance,” 20Pack says, philosophically.

Garth wants to change his mind about putting his check in the box, but it’s too late. Craig Jackson drops the check in the box. But does it really matter? When Chi Chi sees Brittanya’s up for elimination, he can barely contain a smile. His face turns from that lovely it’s not easy being green shade to a bright red. The tattooed weenie is giddy.

Now it’s on to the Power Outing, in which Brittanya, in her tight dress, will try to look appetizing to the man she threw a drink on the night before. 20Pack will try to commiserate over their respective broken hearts. And Garth? “It’s a love triangle,” he interviews. “And I’m a square.”

But, let us not forget he apparently took credit for a song he did not write. How trustworthy is that, really?

As soon as they sit down to drinks, Chi Chi asks Brittanya, “If I keep you, would you throw a challenge?”

She would. “F*ck my team,” she says. “To win this money, I’ll f*ck the whole house if I have to,” she later interviews. Given her penchant for “sleeping around,” that statement could mean two different things.

What a great show.

 20Pack is one of the strongest contestants physically; yet his heart is just as fragile as Chi Chi's.

If Chi Chi keeps 20Pack around, Chi Chi gets to be in an alliance with the gold team, for life, apparently. Chi Chi should send home the woman who played them both. 20Pack then explains what Brittanya told him the previous night, during their PRONE TRUTHING (I’m really trying to push this theory of mine) session (and which was all caught on tape, by the way), while Brittanya lies and says that she’s much more compatible with Chi Chi. He’s more her type, and he’s nicer, she says.

It doesn’t seem to be working, so she starts to cry. “I’ve got a son… I want this,” she begs. Yes, she used her child to advance herself. She’s like a politician.

For the one-on-one time, Chi Chi picks Brittanya. He interviews that “If Brittanya could just say ‘sorry’ and that she loves me and hold me, I would forgive her.”

Chi Chi. Ah, Chi Chi. Chi Chi, Chi Chi, Chi Chi.

Chi Chi tells her that he doesn’t care about the money, he just wants Brittanya to learn her lesson. She can’t treat people the way she does. In answer, Brittanya “swear[s] to god on [her] son’s life” that she likes Chi Chi, and wants to be with him. She always liked him. She just wasn’t sure that he liked her.

“I guess it won’t work out between us, like, relationship-wise, but, maybe I could still be your friend or something,” Chi Chi mewls.

And outside the restaurant, 20Pack is crying to Garth. Garth’s ear is less sympathetic than Chi Chi’s.

Back at the house, the gold team pulls Chi Chi aside and offers him full immunity through the dissolution of the teams, if only he will keep 20Pack around.

Garth gets the first check, for showing trust in Chi Chi. Also, he’s absolutely no threat to anyone. Chi Chi’s team very much wants 20Pack gone, because of his physique, if not his brain. Chi Chi asks 20Pack what he can offer if he keeps him.

20Pack restates his gold team deal. Chi Chi gets a free pass until the teams are dissolved.

And what can Brittanya offer Chi Chi? Well, she’s loyal, she says.

“How are you loyal, like, this was gonna be our dream vacation together, and then you broke my heart…. We were talking all the time about it…”

“I Love Money” was going to be their dream vacation? Whaaaatttt?

Finally, after the rambling dream vacation revelation, Chi Chi calls up 20Pack and rambles further: “Dude, we both got our heart broken and played by her, man, that sucks I know she can’t be trusted like that dude, and I know you’re loyal, and I’ll last longer if I keep you. I’m just like a sucker for her; she has a kid – I’m just gonna have to void your check… I’m sorry.”

So Chi Chi stuck to the original green team plan, stuck it to the gold team, and came across as a mealy-mouth little Kermit the Frog.

“It’s not personal,” Chi Chi says.

“I can’t wait till I see you in Chicago and thank you again for stamping my check,” 20Pack replies. But isn’t it enough that Chi Chi is stuck in the same house with the infernally dishonest temptress Brittanya?

 And here's a picture of Mindy, because before this episode she was the only castmember who had never kissed a woman before. Isn't it admirable that she waited for the right time?

Kermit the Frog pic source.
Janice from Dr Teeth's band pic source.
Tinky Winky pic source.
Mindy pic source.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Joaquin Phoenix is Still Here, And He's Got Something IMPORTANT to Say About How YOU Treat Celebrities (i.e., Poorly)

For awhile, almost two years, apparently, the actor Joaquin Phoenix was going around acting as if he'd gone completely bonkers, decided to trade acting for a hip-hop career, growing out his hair (you know, the way *KA-RAAAAZZZY*PEOPLE* do), and doing strange things such as falling off stage while giving a poor rap performance:


He also appeared on David Letterman's television show, giving what appeared to be a very strained and awkward interview.

Was he faking his strangeness? It turns out he was, which is a big deal in the context of this interview. But I'll get to that in a second.

Following Mr. Phoenix around with a camera was his brother-in-law, the actor Casey Affleck. The result was the recently-released "documentary" called "I'm Still Here," which apparently documented Mr. Phoenix's slide into -- well, whatever he was sliding into.

The movie hasn't made very much money.
The fiasco that is "I'm Still Here," the mock-documentary about Joaquin Phoenix's apparently fake meltdown over the last two years, has been all-encompassing. The film was a box-office flop: It has earned only $259,000 to date after months of pre-release hype. It's been eviscerated by critics and has been generally received as a smug movie-star kiss-off to a gossip-obsessed public.
Ouch! I've made movies that have made more money than that (ha! I just engaged in a bit of hoaxing there, myself).

You will note that the yahoo movies article refers to the film as a "mock-documentary" (for some reason eschewing the generally accepted portmanteau word "mockumentary") of an "apparently fake meltdown." That is because Mr. Affleck has admitted that the whole thing was just a ruse. He was fooling us, you see. Or he thought he was. How many people were actually fooled? Were you? Were any of the gossip-obsessed public?

No -- we're too savvy for that.

As recently as late May, Diddy (who appears in the film as "himself") insisted that the whole thing was real -- or if not, that he was duped.
"If he's not for real, he tricked me," Diddy said. "We went into the studio, did a record, mixed a record and everything."

We have to say, that's some compelling evidence that Phoenix's gambit is no joke. Yet the jury remains out for now.
That was back on May 26th.

Also in May, Mr. Affleck was giving wishy-washy answers to interview questions, in which he would state things like
"You'll find out what was happening in his life in that period -- what was going on before he went on, what was going on afterwards," Affleck said about the bizarre interview. That episode -- along with a couple of sub-par 2009 rap performances in Las Vegas, in which Phoenix fell off the stage and got in a fight with a fan -- was strange enough to make critics wonder if Phoenix faked his whole aloof persona, but Affleck said that's not the case.

"I understand there were all these different reactions to what happened on the Letterman show; millions of people saw on YouTube and wrote about it and talked about it all over the place but most of them were wrong," Affleck said. "[Phoenix's motive] was nothing that anybody ever guessed."
Yes, most of the people were wrong, and his motives were never guessed by anyone.

They were so complicated, you see. The motives. For the strangeness.

Also, Mr. Affleck just wanted to see if he could direct a movie all by himself, just like his big brother Ben does.
What did you hope to achieve with the movie?

I had never directed a movie. I wasn’t sure I could see the whole thing through all by myself. I wanted to know if I could actually run this marathon from beginning to end.

Beyond that there were certain ideas that interested me, but I didn’t want to make a didactic message movie. There were ideas at play, about the entertainment industry and the media. You can’t make a movie about a celebrity without it in some way being about celebrity culture.

We are obsessed with celebrity. We fixate on celebrities. We create them and then destroy them, and for some reason I don’t understand there is this unassuagable desire to do it over and over again.

Things happen to people I know who I am very close to and to people I don’t know that well. We build them up and then we just beat them down.
Think about that answer for a minute. The celebrity is asked why he made this supposedly daring performance art mockumentary film, and the first part of his answer is "I wanted to see if I could make a movie." Moreover, he wanted to explore the way celebrities are treated by, you know, the hoi polloi. The rabble who build them up, only to tear them down.

The interviewer just lets that statement go by unchallenged, but I'd like some specifics. Who are the celebrities that we are building up, only to tear down? Lindsay Lohan? Paris Hilton? Britney Spears? Those people did decent jobs of tearing themselves down, after having been built up by the megaconglomerates that run the entertainment business.

And is it "tearing someone down" to note their eccentric behavior? I'm not sure why they thought taking a two-time Academy Award nominated actor and trotting him out to hip-hop clubs and talk shows and having him engage in oddball stunts, including giving himself a deliberately bizarre appearance calculated to make him look crazy was somehow going to offer any meaningful commentary on how we, the groundlings, treat "our" celebrities.

I can't believe the way the public reacted when this celebrity acted all crazy! They're tearing him down, don't you see???

Wouldn't their point have been made more strongly if Mr. Phoenix had quit acting to start a charity for children with disabilities, and see how people react to that? (Interestingly, the Affleck-Phoenix "celebrities are treated poorly" film is being released around the same time as "The Tillman Story," a documentary about a young man who gave up a promising career as a professional NFL player to become a soldier in Afghanistan. Given Mr. Tillman's fate, it kind of puts the whole "celebrities are built up only to be torn down" argument into perspective, doesn't it?)

Mr. Affleck, please show us an example of a celebrity that "we" have built up, only to tear down again.

Otherwise, this is just an exercise in a couple of well-connected people making a vanity project that happened to get a lot of press thanks largely to one interview on David Letterman's show. And according to one of the Mr. Letterman's writers, he was in on the joke at the time:
NUVO: Tell me what it was like backstage after the Joaquin Phoenix appearance.

Scheft: First of all, that was all an act.

NUVO: Even Dave's part of it?

Scheft:: Yeah. Think Andy Kaufman without shaving. That's what he was doing. And Dave knew about it and Dave loved it because he could play along. He could do whatever he wanted with it. And he did, and it was great television. But I will take credit for the line, "I think I owe Farrah Fawcett an apology." That line was mine. I gave that to him during the break.

Dave loves that. He had a ball. He likes anything that's good television, and he knew that's good television.

I've told people that (everyone was in on the joke), and not only don't people believe me, they tell me that I'm wrong and that (Phoenix) is a schizophrenic and he needs help and he's going to end up like his brother. I said no. I saw the segment notes. It's an act. I saw Ben Affleck's brother taping the whole thing from offstage.
This would appear to contradict Mr. Letterman's assertion from his interview with Mr. Phoenix last night:

Mr. Phoenix says he was "looking for a beatdown." Or was he looking for a willing accomplice in his little vanity project? Or was he looking for an unsuspecting dupe? Mr. Letterman asks, "How do I come off? Do I come off good? Or do I come off like a jerk?"

Well, Mr. Letterman, you come off as either an accomplice to a hipster "regular people build us up only to tear us down" vanity project (and wasn't this just before Mr. Letterman was to be "torn down" by his sleeping with interns thing?), or you come across as a dupe. Which one do you think makes you look like a jerk?

Anyway, to get back to Mr. Phoenix's first interview. You need only watch the first couple of minutes to see that his appearance on Mr. Letterman's show was ostensibly to promote his latest film, "Two Lovers," with Gwyneth Paltrow and Vanessa Shaw. In other words, he was part of the celebrity machine he was supposedly criticizing -- the one in which celebrities make a film for one corporate entity, and then go promote it on a television show owned by another corporate entity.

And he didn't do a very good job of promoting "Two Lovers," either. Did he even say the name of the film? If you were the director, James Gray, would you want him to? Suppose you were Gwyneth Paltrow or Vanessa Shaw. How would you feel if your co-star decided to use the occasion of the promotion of your serious film (I haven't seen it -- is it serious?) to make your performance art statement about how celebrities are built up only to be torn down? Better yet, suppose you were one of the producers of that film.

Would you sue Mr. Phoenix for taking time out of his promotional duties to make his important commentary on the mistreatment of celebrities?

Wait -- you mean to tell me that THIS guy was faking the whole time? Get outta here!

Pic source.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why Did E*Trade Settle With Lindsay Lohan?

Lindsay Lohan was recently on probation for her, I don't know exactly, shenanigans (pick something), and as part of that probation she had to submit to drug testing. Well, she failed one of those drug tests. Or two, I mean. Back on 9/17, TMZ reported that she tested positive for cocaine use:
TMZ broke the story that Lindsay tested positive for cocaine last week. Sources connected with the case tell us Lindsay failed another test as well -- we're told it was not for cocaine, but they would not be more specific.
Emphasis added because that means that Ms. Lohan was using on, what, the tenth of September or earlier? I'm not good at math or chronology, but something like that. Early September.

On the 20th of September, TMZ reported that the second failed drug test was for amphetamines:
We broke the story ... Lindsay failed two drug tests -- One for cocaine, and now we know the second was for amphetamines.
We do not know which test came first -- the cocaine or the amphetamine. But we're told both tests were taken close together. Lindsay failed her cocaine test the week before last.
So clearly, Ms. Lohan likes to use drugs. Please note that I am not judgmental enough to write that she "has a drug problem." She is making choices that I would not make for myself, but I believe that a person's body belongs to them, and they should be able to do with it as they wish.

As long as they accept the consequences. And as Just Jared reported on September 18th, Ms. Lohan seemed to do just that. Via twitter, of course.
“Regrettably, I did in fact fail my most recent drug test and if I am asked, I am prepared to appear before judge Fox next week as a result,” the 22-year-old actress wrote on her Twitter.
Lindsay continued, “This was certainly a setback for me but I am taking responsibility for my actions and I’m prepared to face the consequences. I am so thankful for the support of my fans, loved ones and immediate family, who understand that i am trying hard, but also that I am a work in progress, just as anyone else. I am keeping my faith, and I am hopeful….Thank you all!!!”
Emphasis added because tweeting something makes it come true. I think I read that in one of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. The Little Match Girl, maybe.

And yet, in the midst of all this drug-test-failing and responsibility-acceptance comes word that E*Trade settled a frivolous lawsuit that Ms. Lohan filed in which she claimed her reputation was impugned by one of their commercials in which a baby named "Lindsay" is described as a "milkaholic." As TMZ reported on Sept 20th:
TMZ has learned Lohan's $100 million lawsuit against E*Trade has been settled.

The terms of the settlement are confidential -- but we're told Lindsay's team is "very happy" with the results ... and sources say Lindsay got some cash out of it.

As we previously reported, Lindsay claimed the stock trading company violated her rights by featuring a baby character named Lindsay who happens to be the "milkaholic" other woman in a baby love triangle.
E*Trade reps tell TMZ, "E*TRADE has always maintained that the claims were without merit, which is why we moved to dismiss the case. With the case now withdrawn, we are pleased to have the matter behind us."
As TMZ notes, the basis of the lawsuit was the commercial featured a baby character named "Lindsay" (no last name) who is a "milkaholic" (not a real condition) who is the "other woman in a baby love triangle" (impossible).

In other words, the commercial, featuring talking babies for crying out loud, is complete fantasy. Yet Ms. Lohan sued, because the baby was named "Lindsay." That's the same first name as Ms. Lohan!

And when the commercial first aired, as Advertising Age reported back on March 9, Ms. Lohan seemed to think the commercial was funny, and joked about it:
Indeed, a lot of people were talking about it on Twitter in the aftermath of the spot's airing -- with many egging Ms. Lohan on to file a lawsuit against E-Trade. Wrote someone named Ryan Curtis: "@lindsaylohan I would sue if I was you," and later saying "@lindsaylohan I really think you should look into it. It wasn't funny and rude."

She replied back to several of the comments, but seemed to take it in stride, if not be amused by it. Wrote Ms. Lohan to @bigbillybmoney "hahahaha vitamin D never tasted so good!" Another person named Alex Rodil joked with Lohan: "U darn milkoholic! HeHe" and attached this photo to the tweet.

To others, she suggested that the E-Trade ad might even spur on a second round of her "Got Milk" campaign from back in the day. Wrote Ms. Lohan: "@MissCarlaJeann :) @Eleven_11 i did a Got Milk campaign quite a bit ago- maybe it's time for round 2?!??!"
But why take something in stride when you can take it with a little scratch instead? And please remember that this is a commercial about a talking baby called "Lindsay." Who is a "milkaholic." It was not a commercial featuring actual images of Ms. Lohan with a slogan like "Invest Before You End Up Like This."

And consider what the gossip blogs write about her. Perez Hilton, dlisted, etc. Those people are writing a lot more than just "milkaholic baby" stories.

Ah, but E*Trade has money. Some of which went to pay for their lawyers, for Ms. Lohan's lawyers, and to Ms. Lohan herself. Which means it did not go to hire new employees, or pay existing ones. Which means it went from productive people to unproductive ones involved in either filing or fighting a frivolous lawsuit.

Anyway, as InTouch noted on September 9, Ms. Lohan actually wants a baby of her own:
Despite her recent legal issues — and recent reports that while driving she allegedly clipped a stroller with a toddler in it — Lindsay Lohan wants to be a mom! The star has confided to a pal that she’s determined to stay sober and thinks the best way for her to achieve that goal is to get pregnant. According to the pal, Lindsay, 24, hates being alone and thinks a baby would make the perfect companion.
Perhaps as part of the settlement, E-Trade gave Lindsay one of those babies from the commercials?

She needs a baby. A little Lindsay Jr.

Lindsay Lohan mug shot pic source.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New, More Evolved VH1 Brings us "I Love Money 3 4"

I can't speak for all "celebreality" fans, that would be foolish. But for myself, one of the pleasures of these programs was observing the various ways in which people manipulate each other, and themselves. At any time, did anyone actually believe that those women on "Flavor of Love," or "Rock of Love," or the men on "I Love New York," or "Daisy of Love," or "Megan Wants a Millionaire" were competing for true romance? No -- at least not at the beginning of each series. They were competing for screen time. They had to manipulate the characters who had their names in the titles, and the producers, in order to convince those people to keep them around. They did this by playing along with the fiction of the shows.

There was always a lot of talk about who was there "for the right reasons." The "right reasons" were supposed to be "to find love." But there was another layer to that. "The right reasons" were also to be entertaining to the viewer. To connive. To manipulate. To become exaggerated versions of real people.

Real people get into arguments. On celebreality shows, they throw things at each other. Real people drink occasionally. On celebreality shows they become sloppy drunk and vomit. Real people hook up. On celebreality shows they hook up.

But some of the characters reach a point where it seems they've submitted completely to the fiction. Kurt Vonnegut once wrote "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." On celebreality shows, they were pretending to be looking for love. Those who remained on the shows long enough either submit to the fiction completely, a la Mindy, from "Rock of Love Bus," or they collapse under the weight of the fiction and crack up, a la Ashley, also from "Rock of Love Bus."

Occasionally you get a magical contestant like Megan Hauserman, who seems impervious to anything like real emotion, who exists solely to manipulate and grab more screen time. She was never going to fall in love with Bret Michaels. It was totally obvious. She was a success because she was almost psychotic in her devotion to her own aggrandizement. She parlayed that devotion into memorable appearances on "I Love Money," "Charm School," and her own "Megan Wants a Millionaire."

 The former queen of VH1, used and callously discarded by the network.

Today, Ms. Hauserman is one of the most successful of the celebreality contestants. She actually appears occasionally in a Showtime television show (the network of "Dexter" and "Californication"!). Of course, it's a soft core porn "Baywatch" parody. But it's outside the celebreality universe.

This is a good thing, since the celebreality shows collapsed after the Ryan Jenkins-Jasmine Fiore tragedy. And here we get into another layer of the manipulation; that of the network and production company. First, it was 51 Minds sending the reprehensible Stuart Brazell out to "Larry King Live" and "Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell," to talk about how the murder of a young woman affected her, Stuart Brazell.

Then, there was VH1. Only a few months ago, Jeff Olde, that network's executive vice president, attempted to manipulate the press into believing they were giving up on the "trashy" celebreality shows. They were going to "more evolved." At least one "journalist" actually bought it.

Had he never watched a celebreality show?

What VH1 did was not funny. It was a direct insult to the intelligent of the viewers. We didn't watch the shows because we were looking for positive role models. We weren't looking for uplift. We wanted to see (sorry, I guess I'm speaking for all of us, now) how humans behave in real life -- we just wanted to see it bigger. There's nothing wrong with that.

Don't condescend to us. Don't tell us that we should like something like "Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business," when we want another season of "I Love Money."

But for crying out loud, if you are going to condescend to us. If you are going to tsk tsk us and tell us how ashamed you are of yourselves for airing that stuff, and of your viewers for actually paying you the compliment of watching it, if you are going to insist that "I Love Money 3 and  4 won't air," don't then turn around and air "I Love Money  4."

And if you are going to air "I Love Money 4," don't announce it's going to air, put it on the schedule, then take it off the schedule and replace it with some "VH1 Special (1 Hour) POD Version" nonsense, only to put it officially on the schedule a few days before it's set to air. (And by the way, now that it's airing, why not acknowledge it on your website? Remember when VH1's site used to do ILM recaps? No more.)

Be honest about it. "I Love Money" is the best reality show on television. You need to own that shit. Because it's some good shit.

But, have you ruined things, VH1? After all, as I've already written, no one would hold you in any responsible for the death of Jasmine Fiore. Nor would we hold you responsible for Ryan Jenkins getting onto "Megan Wants a Millionaire." We don't even hold 51 Minds responsible. Yes, they should have used better background checks, but mistakes can be made; people occasionally get through even the best, most thorough background checking systems. For crying out loud, even Los Alamos National Labs recently had employees who with security clearance who were caught trying to sell nuclear secrets to what they thought were representatives of the Venezuelan government.

What we object to is your implicating us in the crime. That somehow because we like to watch exaggerated versions of real human beings, you were forced to cast dangerous people on these shows. So, given everything that's happened, can we watch another season of "I Love Money" without all the baggage? The first episode of the fourth-to-be-filmed-but-the-third-to-air season aired last Thursday. Unfortunately, it's difficult to watch without judging the producers and the network.

Suddenly, all that manipulation doesn't seem as entertaining.

And what's worse, we're being told that this latest season is in fact a watered down version of the show.
A VH1 spokesman says season three will never air, and added that season four has been revised before airing.

"It's a new, edited version," he adds. "We have a new programming filter here."

Since the scandal erupted and raised questions about the screening of contestants, VH1 has shifted to a different type of reality content.

For instance, the network is airing three new series this weekend, including one centered on troubled "American Idol" contestant Fantasia Barrino and another on the planning for the wedding of Lala Vasquez and NBA star Carmelo Anthony.

The fourth season of "I Love Money," says the spokesman, "is focusing more on the competition as opposed to some of the interaction between the cast."

There's also been an additional background check on contestants to see if legal problems emerged between the time of filming and the present, he says.

"I Love Money" featured contestants on previous VH1 shows in a series of physical and mental challenges, all in an effort to win a $250,000 grand prize. During the competition, the contestants lived together in Mexico, a stay that led to drinking and other reality-show escapades.

Focusing more on the "competition," as opposed to the "interaction"? The interaction is the competition. For crying out loud, the "physical challenges" were always just an excuse for the "interaction."

Not a good sign, when the network doesn't even understand it's own product.

First off, before the show even begins we get a shot of Janice Dickinson holding a knife over the head of Omarosa, from an old episode of "The Surreal Life," as part of a promo for a show called "20 Greatest Celebreality Fights." I guess that whole "new, more evolved" image for VH1 didn't take, did it?

Did anyone think that it would? Oh, yeah. Some lazy "journalist" from the Associated Press. Way to go, AP.

See? Even before the show's begun, and I'm watching a teaser from the previous  program, I already feel snarky.

The show begins with 18 former celebreality castmembers being taken by boat to the remote Mexican beach to begin what Craig Jackson (how I have missed Craig Jackson, the best host of any reality show) calls "the adventure of a lifetime." This is exciting and  brings back memories of how much fun the last season of "I Love Money" was, but at the same time, every word is loaded now, after what happened with Ryan Jenkins and the way VH1 handled it.

Suspiciously absent from the logo is a number. "I Love Money 2," the second season, had that "2." You know, to let us know it was the second season. This season was of course the fourth season filmed, yet it is the third to air. Everyone knows this. I suppose nothing VH1 did in this instance would be satisfactory; they'd get criticized for the number or not. So I'm criticizing them for not using the number. Take that, more evolved VH1. Your representative, Stuart Brazell, criticized me for liking the shows, so I'm criticizing you. How's that feel?

Oh, yeah. I'm also criticizing them for calling themselves "more evolved." A lot of us enjoyed the "Of Loves," and "I Love Money." Are you saying that we're somehow "less evolved"? That you were going to move on without us, until the ratings came in?

Discovery runs "evolved" reality shows. VH1, you run junk. That is why we watched it.

As the contestants ride up to the beach in their boats, they (re)introduce themselves. We get glimpses of the glorious celebreality past. Mamacita crying drunk and announcing she's going to go pee. Marcia drinking, vomiting, and kissing Bret Michaels, in that order. Blonde Baller backstabbing and interviewing, "I do what I have to do, and I don't ask anybody for anything." That and, "I don't think anyone in this house can trust me."

In other words, she states the obvious. Why would any of these people trust any of the others, with anything? Especially when there's money at stake. Unless they're suffering from "Flavor of Love Syndrome" spinoff "I Love Money Syndrome," in which the afflicted come to believe, for some reason, if there's money involved, you can trust a reality show veteran.

As we will see, "I Love Money Syndrome" is real, it does afflict people.

For crying out loud, that AP reporter believed the VH1 vice president when he said that "I Love Money" 3 and 4 would not air on VH1. Remember that? Remember how gullible he was?

From the mens' boat we meet 20 Pack, who says he's a "veteran of 'I Love Money 2,'" acknowledging a time when the "I Love Money" seasons were numbered (remember that much more innocent time?), and stating that Myammee "screwed" him out of $250,000. Those of us who watched know that he's trying to manipulate us, and, perhaps, himself, into believing that his decisions didn't cost him the money. 20 Pack screwed himself, but hopefully he's learned his lesson, right? He's the "veteran" now. He's salty. That's why he says Myammee screwed him out of the money.

 20 Pack, the veteran. If only Myammee hadn't been against him in the previous season, he'd have won it all. After all, he's really, really smart.

Chi Chi says he'll "be a little bit more gangster," because he's competing for money, as opposed to the love of a wonderful woman (Daisy de la Hoya).

Next is Cheesy, from "I Love New York 2." I missed most of that show, so this was the first time I'd seen this character. He is perhaps the inspiration for the line "a whiter shade of pale," and perhaps the most socially awkward character ever to appear on these shows. He twitches and speaks in a halting, misfit cadence that elicits sympathy and scorn in equal measure. "I don't look like a typical threat," he interviews. But he's lying because he is a threat -- to himself.

Then there's Garth the Plumber. "You might know me from 'Megan Wants a Millionaire,'" he deadpans. Oh, yeah. I do remember that. We get to see a few clips of him singing "his" song "Sex Mode." (And yes, I did freeze the images of his singing to see if I could get a glimpse of Ryan Jenkins in the background -- I think you could see him but I'm not sure.) Garth apparently didn't write "Sex Mode," even though at the time he claimed that he did.

I wrote a blog entry about it. I thought that would be the biggest scandal associated with that show. That Garth the Plumber didn't actually write "Sex Mode." Different times.

 Garth the Plumber attempts to shift right into "Sex Mode" with Megan Hauserman. The series was cancelled after the third episode,  but somehow I don't think things worked out between them.

Also from MWAM is Punisher, the millionaire former stripper. His arch enemy is Francisco, another MWAM alumnus. (There are four contestants from that ill-fated show on "I Love Money 3 4," as it turns out, including Alex, who's enough of a drip that we don't get to meet him right away.) In order to show their rivalry, we get some clips from MWAM that I don't remember ever seeing before. Is it possible that we're seeing previously unaired footage of that notorious program?

Anyway, when the boats finally make it onto the beach we're given our first real piece of shocking information: Brittanya, the tattooed hottie with the criminal aggression problem (who by the way wears a necklace with brass knuckles on it -- not the most tasteful look for a young woman who had to take a day off from her stint on VH1's "Charm School" to go to court for her assault charges) "f*cked" (her word) both Chi Chi and 20 Pack.

That's right-- Chi Chi and 20 Pack are both straight. I about fell out of my chair when I heard that.

Chi Chi: I just wish she would come over, grab me, and give me the biggest kiss ever. I just love her...

20 Pack: Brittanya's my boo... Yeah, we hooked up. Eight out of ten thoughts I have her [sic?]... I constantly think about her; I constantly care about her.

These guys aren't going to win the money.

 Brittanya's standards don't match her body.

The first challenge has the men taking on the other men, and the women taking on the other women, to decide who will be the first team captains. It involves spinning around in circles to open a safe in which is a bag of money, taking that money to a safe with a lock, the combination of which is the amount of money in the bag, and then removing from the safe a hook, which they will then use to lift a third safe, allow it to drop onto the ground and break, thereby liberating a handle the contestants will use to detonate a final safe.

Much is made of the fact that Mamacita seems confused by the rules but, in fairness, the rules are needlessly byzantine.

For the men, much to Punisher's chagrin, it's Francisco who wins. For the women, untrustworthy Blonde Baller. Those two will pick the teams the way teams were chosen in high school. You remember, back when you were always picked last, including after the mentally handicapped girl with only one arm. Or, was that just me? Anyway, this means that once they get to the house, they need to start promoting themselves to the two captains. Showing their worthiness, and what they can bring to their respective teams.

Of course they start drinking right away. Cheesy, who isn't much of a drinker, decides to show what a tough guy he is by drinking as many tequila shots as it takes to vomit. His strategy seems to work, too, because he does end up running to the bathroom.

Blonde Baller consults 20 Pack for advice. Because he's a veteran and, "watching his other show, he's loyal." In other words, Blonde Baller knows he's stupid and will do whatever she wants, if she aggrandizes herself to him early. Blonde Baller has got to be the favorite to win, but is she peaking too soon? These are not the most able-minded people in the world, and she'll probably be able to manipulate them only so long before they grow resentful and eliminate her. Remember on her season, Megan Hauserman laid low for a few weeks.

Blonde Baller is no Megan Hauserman, but she's trying. Here she is in someone's kitchen, um, taking photos of herself.

20 Pack explains that you need strong men on your team to win the physical challenges. Because of the schoolyard team-picking set up, Francisco would end up with more strong men than Blonde Baller; and I'm sure she's used to getting as many strong men as she wants. This means that Blonde Baller needs to come up with a way to get Francisco to not pick Punisher, 20 Pack, and 6 Gauge. Blonde Baller goes to Francisco and asks him if there's anyone he wants out of the house tonight, and Francisco foolishly tells her Punisher.

"Even though I don't think that I can trust this girl, the idea of that [eliminating Punisher] sounds kinda cool," he interviews.

This after 20 Pack and Blonde Baller had assumed that Francisco would naturally pick Punisher first. Since he's probably the strongest man.

Francisco asks Blonde Baller which woman she'd like to see eliminated. "Marcia, I just don't like her," she says. Now they have a deal. Marcia and Punisher are going home tonight.

So much for not focusing on the interaction.

Before the elimination ceremony, the contestants are presented with their $250,000 checks. Before they can receive them, however, Craig insists they humiliate themselves by explaining what the money would mean to them. This is a great opportunity for the contestants to build sympathy for themselves and score some points for their enlightenment and sensitivity.

Chi Chi would split his money three ways, among himself, his roommate Sinister, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Even though Punisher's a millionaire, he earned his money as a stripper, "a dollar at a time... a fat woman at a time," and so he definitely understands the value of money. Also, it's a recession. He wants all the money he can get.

Mamacita doesn't know what it would mean to her to win the money.

Cornfed would use the money to move to Fargo North Dakota to open a frozen yogurt business.

Alex has some strategy for parlaying the money using leverage to invest for his investment company, blah blah, but then interviews that he really wants to win the money so he can "have sex with attractive women, and then have them tell other people about me, so I can get referral sex from their attractive friends. Duh."

Hot Wings would use the money to help her father, who recently had a stroke.

Brooklyn would use the money to resurrect his dead father. I am not joking. That is literally what he said he would do with the money. "If two-fifty could bring my father back, I'll invest all of it," he tells Craig.

Mindy would use the money to give her sister the life she deserves.

Marcia attempts to explain what she would do with the money, but Mamacita keeps interrupting her. First by talking and then by passing gas.

Later, Mamacita confides in her fellow contestants that Marcia is a below-average Brazilian, while she, Mamacita, is an above-average Mexican. Having ridden the bus in Los Angeles almost every day for five years I can tell you that Mamacita is most definitely not an above average Mexican.

 The above-average Mexican Mamacita whispers something above-average onto Chance's cheek on "Real Chance of Love 2."

Punisher goes to Francisco to tell him that it would be in his best interests to pick him first. Then their animosity would be cleared up and everyone would be put on notice -- their team would be the strongest.

Mamacita and Alex spend some time dry humping and wrestling on the bed. Alex is a millionaire after all, and the above-average Mexican might need a sugar daddy if the whole trying to win $250,000 on a trashy VH1 reality show thing doesn't work out. Is she a typical above average Mexican?

The below-average Brazilian tells Francisco he should pick her because she's been working out in the gym and, she "can swim like a dolphin." Most of the women, apparently, can't swim. I believe that Marcia was also on the (unaired) third season of "I Love Money." That was the season that Ryan Jenkins allegedly won. So maybe Marcia has first-hand knowledge of the womens' swimming skills.

Francisco interviews that Marcia is just wasting her time, because he and Blonde Baller have a deal. Then he interviews that everyone's here to win the money and no one can be trusted, but if he can trust Blonde Baller to keep her word to get rid of Punisher, then they'll both have a great chance of making it to the end. See if you can follow that logic.

How did Francisco become a millionaire again?

The night of the ceremony, Francisco shows just how charmingly naive he really is, wearing a beaded Barack Obama t-shirt. How many promises has that man broken? How manipulative has his math been regarding the whole "health care reform" thing, to name just one example. In fairness, this season of "I Love Money" was filmed before Obama had been president for too long, so maybe Francisco still had "HOPE" that Obama would live up to his hype. And this early in the game, he still had "hope" that Blonde Baller would live up to her word, too.

But she breaks her word to Francisco fairly quickly, picking Punisher as her second male teammate. Not only does she pick Punisher, but she also announces to everyone that she and Francisco had made a deal to get rid of Punisher, but she's decided to go against it.

Francisco insists that this announcement will be the end of her in the game, because now everyone knows she can't be trusted. In fact it's probably the end of Francisco, because she's exposed him for the weak, easily-manipulable tool that he is.

Anyway, he shows her by picking Marcia. After all, Blonde Baller, who's already shown herself to be a manipulator (I'm not calling her dishonest because she's trying to win "I Love Money," not running for president) told Francisco she didn't like Marcia.

Of course, Blonde Baller interviews that she doesn't really care about Marcia one way or the other. She was just trying to get Francisco to let her have both Punisher and 20 Pack. Like I said, she might be the favorite at this point,  but then again, she might be too manipulative for her own good.

Anyway, it's the awkward Cheesy and the above-average Mexican Mamacita who are the first to leave. Cheesy I understand and no big loss --  but Mamacita might have been excellent television. Mexicans need an above-average role model, right?

Yes, the first episode of the new season of "I Love Money" was a fun time, but VH1 has nearly ruined it with their attitude. Perhaps as the series rolls along we can come to see past all the crap and just enjoy the show for what it is: A profound commentary on the ways in which the people who run the media manipulate and despise their viewers by "giving them what they want."

I mean, it's just a fun show about a bunch of jerks who get drunk and yell at each other.

I mean, it's both.

I mean, dammit, VH1, look what you've done to me.

Blonde Baller in a bikini pic source.
Mamacita and Chance pic source.
Brittanya pic source.
Garth the Plumber and Megan Hauserman pic source.
Megan Hauserman pic source.
20 Pack pic source.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Being Engaged to Katy Perry is Taking its Toll on Russell Brand

We have already seen that Katy Perry is a sad, depressed, bitter woman who is still pining away for her lost youth, unable to let go of old heartbreak and disappointment. I'm no psychiatrist but it seems pretty clear that a 25 year-old woman who is still upset over an alleged snubbing by a former high school classmate is obviously unsatisfied in her current life.

You know, the life in which she's young, wealthy, and famous. Woe is her, alack and alas and etc.

And if you were the supposed future husband of said bitter, depressed woman, you might be a little insecure and perhaps angry yourself. After all, you can't keep her happy enough to forget about someone who didn't want to date her ten years ago. So she crashes high school proms and performs at her own old high school where she points out the man who broke her poor little magic pony loving heart.

And your I-can't-make-my-woman-happy life might cause you to lash out at others. After all, you can't lash out at yourself. Russell Brand, the man to whom Ms. Perry is engaged, is experiencing such existential difficulties. And he's taking it out on photographers at LAX.
Russell Brand has just been arrested for allegedly attacking paparazzi at LAX airport ... TMZ has learned, and it was a citizen's arrest.
We're told a photog -- one of the alleged victims -- made the citizen's arrest and LAX cops facilitated it.

Cops interviewed Brand, then took him into custody. Cops say he's being booked for battery.

UPDATE 5:54 PM PT: Russell has posted $20,000 bail and has left the police station.

Around the same time, Katy defended Russell via Twitter, saying, "If you cross the line & try an put a lens up my dress, my fiancé will do his job & protect me."

The alleged upskirting is not seen in video of the incident.
Ms. Perry -- your fiancé is obviously not doing his job, if you're still pining away for your high school crush. What makes you think he should remove his gauntlet and start slapping at men who, um, try to put a lens up your dress?

And by the way, do you really expect us to believe that a paparazzo was trying to make an upskirt video of you? The paparazzi are a generally unlikable bunch; you don't need to embellish the story. It removes sympathy from you and places it squarely on the shoulders of the man who citizens arrested your fiancé. And let's face it, it's Mr. Brand who deserves our sympathy.

After all, he is committed to marrying a woman who is completely and totally dissatisfied with him. And who keeps telling the world how desperately unhappy she is.