Archive for February, 2006

Confirm or Deny: The Fallen Angel Edition

Even though I’m a Grown Up now (because I have both renter’s insurance and a video iPod, which are the main qualifications) sometimes I still get confused. Every once in awhile, I can’t tell if something is the greatest or worst idea on the planet, and I could use a little help landing on a decision. Rather than throw caution into the wind and going with my gut (a technique that handed me some very heavy bangs in 8th grade, a 17 credit course load during my first semester of college when my BAC never went below .15, and, most recently, Ashlee Simpson’s sophomore effort) I’m going to start enlist help before I commit to an idea that initially confuses me. To wit, I need a True or False from anyone who feels qualified to answer.

Confirm or Deny: There and Back: Ashley Parker Angel is the worst show on television.

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, let me give you a small rundown of facts.

1. Ashley Parker Angel used to be in OTown, the band from the first Making The Band before Diddy got his mitts on it and made it all about asses. Not that I disagree with that philosophy. I have a vague recollection of him always being the “Bitchy/ Moody/ Musical Purist that Doesn’ t Want To Compromise His Creative Integrity one” (every boy band needs one) but that’s reaching pretty far back in my reality tv mental repository.  

2. This MTV reality show follows Mr Angel in his journey to come back from obscurity to stardom. It also “breaks all the rules” for reality show in allowing Ashley to break the fifth wall rather that doing conventional confessional-style interviews throughout the show– at certain points, they pause the scene, and do an odd wave effect where Ashley leaves the situation he’s in and addresses the viewing audience directly. The magic of editing. This gives it the feel of Zack Morris hitting you with the “time out!” and thusly freezing the scene around him while he explains what zany scheme he’s come up with that will have the appropriate third act complications before allowing him to smooth things out, learn a lesson, kiss the girl, and win the big game. Beat Valley! Oh, except that Zack Morris was cool and Ashley… well… see item #3.

3. Ashley Parker Angel not only has three names, but all of them are chick/ ambiguously gendered/ fake names. This pretty much breaks all of my rules for life. He might as well take out a full page ad in the Voice proclaiming himself the head of the new communist revolution in America for how far off this guy is. Cut it down to two names, commie, and maybe make it so that one of them gives people a vague idea that you might have a penis.

4. APA has not held down a job since his OTown days of filming videos on boats, as we learned from the episode where he visits a temp agency wearing jeans, a short sleeved shirt, a tie, and converses. Yes, this is a variation on what I wear to the office every day, but I already have a job, so that’s a moot point.

5. APA has thus far, jon bon jovi-style (and that is the last comparison I’ll make between anyone involved in the recording of “we fit together” and The NJesus) managed to stick it out with his high school sweetheart, who didn’t leave him when he (a) evidentally blew any money he made in OTown, causing them to move in with her mother and hold garage sales (b) knocked her up without marrying her (c) named their baby lyric.

6. The show’s supporting cast includes not only The Tiny Baby With The Worst Name Ever, but the aforementioned girlfriend/ eventual fiance who still rocks the Hit Me Baby two little ponytails on top of your head hairstyle, Jacob of similar OTown fame who hooks Assley up with a bitching construction job so that he can pay his electric bill, and the fiance’s mother, seen mostly in the backgrounds of shots, trying to fashion nooses out of guitar straps. Oh, and Shame. Shame plays a huge roll.

 Now, I know what you’re thinking…. it looks pretty bad on paper. Truthfully, it looks even worse when you watch it. And, yet, there is something oddly compelling about this embarrassment of human folly and cable television programming. Is this the worst thing to ever happen to tv? or, like what “My Humps” was to Top 40 radio, does Ashley Parker Angel and his rollercoaster of self loathing have it’s place in the world? Seriously. Someone, save me from this internal debate. I need to clear out space in my head for the new season of America’s Next Top Model.

4 comments February 28th, 2006

Awkward Sex Scenes and Other Reasons to Avert Your Eyes

We all know that it’s more dramatic for things to end badly than for people to end up happily ever after. And to be honest, a happy sex scene is probably just porn. But why do so many television sex scenes have to be so excruciating, so awkward and embarrassing that I’m forced to cover my eyes with my hands until they arrive at their seriously un-climatic ending?

I’m sure you know I’m basically talking about poor suffering (slightly spastic) Georgie and emotional sinkhole of despair Meredith. “It’s okay… you’re almost done, right?” gets my vote for one of the saddest, most awful lines ever televised. Way to go, Meredith.

Other atrocities that make me look away in fear:

  • The audience in the studio of American Idol. (Heather Havrilesky calls them the Fraudience.) I start thinking about what life choices brought these people to the audience of American Idol, and the hidden traumas or broken dreams that they are now masking in wild enthusiasm for sad, talentless hacks and the inimitable “wit” of Ryan Seacrest.
  • Those NBC promos for Thursday night’s Must See TV line-up, where they turn one hilarious show, one mildly entertaining show, one show that used to be funny, and one train wreck of a show* into 30 seconds of slow-mos and hugs. Did the promo men not get the memo that these are comedies? I’m not asking for laugh tracks and funny sound effects, but a joke or two wouldn’t kill them.
  • My ultimate, most-despised pet peeve: that moment in Project Runway, every week, when Heidi brings out the models and says, and I quote, “Models, this is also a competition for you as well.” This is ALSO a competition for you AS WELL. ALSO AS WELL. Noooooooooo!!!!!

*The Office, My Name Is Earl, Will and Grace, and Four Kings. FYI.

2 comments February 27th, 2006

Nobody knows why ice is slippery.

Seriously, nobody knows! The greatest scientific minds in the world can’t come to a consensus on this. You’d like it would be because it’s made of water, but you would be so wrong. Also, there’s like a dozen different kinds of ice. Bet you didn’t know that, huh?

So lots of people have already said lots of stuff about the ladies’ ice skating last night. Personally I feel a little robbed, as a spectator, as after about 30 seconds of the winner’s routine I fast-forwarded because she was boring and it was really, really late. I am not a fan of these new rules of judging. It’s extremely trying to watch the same jumps and spirals over and over again, just because those are the ones that will earn you the most points. Where’s the weird, fun choreography? Even Sasha Cohen’s choreography, which was clearly the best, was pretty generic.

It was somewhat satisfying, however, to be able to have announcer-lady really break it down for us and explain why even though Sasha Cohen fell twice she still beat Irina Slutskaya (fall count: one). It’s because she scored better on spins and artistry, by the way.

February 24th, 2006

Crazy, I’m crazy for feeling so Lupe

Have you ever read the lyrics to a song and wondered how you didn’t realize how stupid they were before? 

Well, take a look at the transcript for the “Project Runway” reunion show where Guadalupe proves that she’s twice the crackhead we ever thought she was.  For some reason it sounds even crazier in print.

Tim Gunn: We had a question from Bravotv.com. Aryan writes: “Guadalupe…”

Guadalupe: Yay! Aryan!

Tim Gunn: Did you feel that your elimination was fair, even though Marla had plaguerized a dress Nicky Hilton had worn before?

Guadalupe: Honestly, I can only give him a personal critique. Nobody would ever know, unless they personally responded to me, would know what my personal response is. And that is of me. And personally, I believe you can’t, like, push the boundaries, and like Johnny Cash, walk the line, and–

Heidi Klum: This is so confusing. What was the question?

Tim Gunn: I haven’t a clue any longer! Did you feel your elimination was fair, given that Marla plaguerized the Nicky Hilton dress? Yes or No?

Guadalupe: Understand that Marla has an aesthetic that I cannot duplicate. But Marla has an aesthetic that she cannot duplicate. And Aryan, on national television, if you can get this, you fucking rock because you believe in what is true. Period.

Tim Gunn: This is the biggest bunch of bullshit I think I’ve heard in weeks.

Guadalupe: I agree as well.

2 comments February 24th, 2006

Could it be? Is it possible?

The dream is still alive!  If a sketchy blog I’ve never heard of is right, Showtime has picked up Arrested Development for 12 episodes. 

I don’t think I really want to get Showtime, but I’m sure I can wait for the DVDs.

 The story has been picked up by A Socialite’s Life and You Ain’t No Picasso, among (I’m sure) tons of others.  At least this is a full-fledged rumor.

February 23rd, 2006

The Office and MySpace

So I’ve discovered that there’s only one thing that has the power to draw me to MySpace, and it is only marginally less creepy than stalking people you went to elementary school with: obsessive interest in television. Before today I had never opened a single page of the extraordinarily popular networking site. Today, I spent hours — HOURS — reading the MySpace blogs of cast members and writers of The Office.

The thing about The Office, which I have learned today, is that during shooting, a lot of time they’re just sitting in their office set, where they have actual computers hooked up to the actual internet and not much to do. Just like a real job! So they do what thousands have done before them — they make MySpace profiles and post blog entries. Now I kind of love each and every one of them, and not just as a fan, but as someone who has read their personal thoughts and opinions and has deluded herself into thinking she knows them.

Here’s a tour through The Office blogosphere:

It all starts with B.J. Novak. He’s a writer on the show, and plays Ryan the temp, and is a very funny man. His blog focuses on comedy, like whether or not he should develop a short-term crush on Sasha Cohen (answer: yes) and other amusing thoughts and stories. His blog is like a stand-up routine, in blog form, which is a nice change of pace from most blogs.

The obsession then leads to Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam on the show. Jenna seems like an extremely sweet and funny and fun person. She talks about what it’s like to go on the Tony Danza show, how she has the cast over to watch the shows when they air, and what sort of thought goes into Pam’s hair styles. She thinks Steve Carrell is the nicest man in showbiz and John Krasinski (Jim on the show) is a cutie, and I have no reason to doubt her on either point. Her blog is conversational and friendly, and I love it. And her.

And back to writers again, with Paul Lieberstein, who also plays Toby the HR guy. A sampling:

The commonplace “I am bored” blog title…I love it. It makes me want to read more. I want to enjoy your boredom vicariously because I am soooo bored. What are you doing? Nothing? That’s fantastic.  Are you sitting? Dammit, it’s like we’re the same person.

His blog is a humorous study in the way that people tend to write boring blogs. Also, I imagine Toby saying everything in his bored deadpan, while he’s asking me to fill out some sort of insurance form in triplicate.

And there are more. They are all linked as Pam’s (Jenna’s) friends. I hope more television writers and actors start blogs about their shows. This may be the greatest thing ever to happen to the internet.

1 comment February 22nd, 2006

A Quick Fix of ‘Runway’

Things have been a bit sleepy around the Faux today, so before I sprint out the door at 5:00 (these chumps don’t pay me for 5:01) I thought I’d supply you with this link to part one of this interview with Tim Gunn.  Here’s a teaser:

“I’ll use Daniel Franco as an example. Lord, this past week I have found out I’ve developed an allergy to the guy. There was no way he was going to stay the course of season two. Absolutely no way. He doesn’t understand a deadline. He is incredibly annoying to be around. He’s the one person who never, ever forgot there was a camera around.”

4 comments February 22nd, 2006

Idol Shmidol

The reason I watch “American Idol” is not because I enjoy it, per se. In fact, I usually spend much of the hour hiding my face or searching for distractions around the room. I don’t really enjoy the performances as a rule.  I’m a big enough music snob (buy the new album by The Go! Team) that I don’t like Whitney Houston songs when Whitney sings them (when she’s sober), much less an imitator.

The reason I watch AI is because I can’t help it. It’s on every night of the week and I can’t help but get caught up in the human drama. It’s a battlefield of the flamboyantly delusional and inexplicably resilient and we get to see the carnage up close. Tonight marks the end of the endless audition phase/Hollywood Week phase of the competition (the part where the Simon, Paula and Randy actually have jobs, rather than spending the rest of the season giving inconsequential commentary and acting surly, stoned and stupid, respectively).

So, here’s a rundown of some of the more interesting contestants.  And I won’t really say much about their voices because it’s a lot more fun to judge people based on the way they look.  Wouldn’t you say?

Taylor
Taylor Hicks.
You know him as: Prematurely grey guy.
Most people know him as the dude with a head of prematurely grey hair. I know him as the guy who looks uncomfortably like my ex-boyfriend. In any case, he has this bluesy, Southern way of singing and looks like he is in pain during performances — twitching and jerking his face, twisting his lip, bending his elbows at odd angles. It’s not as much Jamie Foxx in “Ray” as it is Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot.”

Ace
Ace Young.
You know him as: That hot guy.
I can’t help but like Ace because he is so fucking nice to look at. And this completely betrays my policy of categorically disliking the conventionally attractive. Between the flowing locks, the nice-guy dimples and those high-as-an-elephant’s-eye cheekbones, it’s just ridiculous the genetic gifts that were bestowed on this boy, but something about him just makes me want to bake him some sort of delicious treat.

Chris
Chris Daughrty.
You know him as: Hot scary guy.
Chris Daughtry is also hot, but he’s kind of scary too. It’s probably the creative facial hair. He’s not as much a singer as much as he is a howler and I think his love songs might be weirdly intense.

David
David Radford
You know him as: The crooner.
Every year, some skinny dude comes along and starts crooning it up, trying to singlehandedly wake Sammy Davis Jr. from the dead. Remember John Stevens (aka Paddy O’Cantsing), who train-wrecked on “Crocodile Rock” a couple of seasons ago? Remember Judd Whatsisface from last season who got axed first (thank God)? Yeah. Not really going to happen.

Bucky
Bucky Covington
You know him as: Yikes.
Stay with me on this.  You know on that episode of “South Park” where Mr. Hanky introduces the kids to his family?  All of the kids are normal except for the one who is a little challenged because he was born with a peanut fragment in his head?  I think that Bucky Covington might be the peanut sibling of Kid Rock.  Am I right?  (note: I totally just looked at his actual page and realized he’s obsessed with Kid Rock.  And he has a twin brother.  My theory could be correct.)

Pickler
Kelly Pickler
You know her as: Southern blonde girl with the dad in jail.
Can you imagine an American Idol named Pickler? Neon lights reading “Pickler: LIVE!” This girl is plenty cute, even though she had the potential to be plenty annoying.  And I think she is just genuine enough for me to consider loving her.  I mean, in a totally non-physical way

Mandisa
Mandisa
You know her as: Honestly? The fat chick.
So when she first auditioned, Simon made some crass comments about her weight. Specifically, that she was the size of a country known for its stinky cheese. And I was all on board the sympathy train for her, even though I had an is-that-really-necessary reaction to her use of a single name (a la Cher, Prince). But then, while telling off Simon on last week’s episode, she started blowing everyone away with J-bombs. Jesus forgives, Jesus dies, Jesus saves, Jesus sells cabbage. And her AI Web page looks like it was hijacked by Kirk Cameron what with Jesus rearing his thorn-crowned head all over the place. And I don’t want to be a “hater” (is that what the kids call it?), but a little discretion please.  Even Reuben waited a while before releasing that gospel album no one realized he made.

Paris
Paris.
You know her as: The one everyone’s talking about.
Is it too early to say that she’s already won?

2 comments February 21st, 2006

I’m wanted, I’m hot, I’m everything you’re not!

Okay, so I used to be a cheerleader. But only through, like 6th grade and mainly because my dad thought it was cute to have me running around in saddle shoes yelling “Push Em Back! Push Em Back! Waaaaaaay BACK!” Before you make that mental note to skip all of my posts and only read Maggie’s, please know that she was also a pre-teen cheerleader, and she could do a split, which I could never do, so she was obviously better at it than I was. And she probably got to be a flyer, too, since she wasn’t 5’10 in the 5th grade. Moving on.

You now understand why I gasped audibly when TVgasm pointed out what I hope (::fingers crossed::) will rapidly become my new favorite thing to DVR ever; Lifetime’s Cheerleader Nation, a real-life mother daughter drama of blood sweat and cheers. (Am I alone in thinking that this sounds disturbingly like that case in Texas where the mom had the cheerleading captain killed so her daughter could make the squad? I loved that duo. Hate to think what happened a few years down the road when lil susie got cut from Kappa Kappa Gamma in round 3).

Cannot wait. Bring it On! Be Aggressive! B-E Aggressive!

1 comment February 21st, 2006

Happy Presidents’ Day

How did you celebrate your Presidents’ Day? I honored our forefathers by eating Oreos and watching TV. For your presidential reading pleasure, my list of the best presidential-themed television moments.

  1. I must start this list with The West Wing, specifically the very first episode, when Sam sleeps with the hooker (who he doesn’t know is a hooker) and gets a page (a pager! that’s so quaint) that says POTUS. You know you’ve got a good show from that moment on. Though lately it’s become exhausting and disheartening to watch, in its glory days, there was nothing better. My freshman year of college I went to see the two-hour season premiere at the Kennedy School of Goverment with a couple hundred other people. That was a receptive audience, like watching Project Runway with fashion designers or The Bachelor with stupid whores.
  2. President Palmer from 24. The man went through a lot. And then got shot in the neck. It’s tough being the President.
  3. I refuse to include Geena Davis on this list. Has that show been canceled yet? This doesn’t count as putting Geena Davis on this list. I hate Geena Davis and I hate her stupid show.
  4. That’s My Bush! on Comedy Central. This show was true genius, brought to us by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and sadly only lasted a couple of episodes before getting the boot because of, you know, terrorism ‘n’ shit. This show didn’t so much mock the president as it did the sitcom form, brilliantly. One episode was all just a series of people getting stuck into small places together, forced to bond, or talk, or kiss, or do whatever people in sitcoms do when handcuffed together or stuck in the elevator or locked in the ATM vestibule.
  5. Will Ferrell on SNL as Bush in the debates during the 2000 election, when he wraps up his campaign platform in one word: “Strategery.”
  6. Bill Clinton playing the saxophone on MTV. I sort of remember that. He said briefs, right?
  7. The Nixon/Kennedy debates… or so people tell me.


Bill Clinton on Arsenio Hall (did he even play the saxophone on MTV? now I’m not sure), the cast of That’s My Bush!, and sexy Sam Seaborn. I heart Rob Lowe.

February 20th, 2006

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