Archive for October, 2006

Remember talent? Remember relevance?

Apparently name recognition is all you really need to get your own show.  And sometimes not even that.

Sometimes peripheral relationships to long-outdated pop culture phenomenons are all you need to get on the air and humiliate yourself on basic cable.  We've known this for a long time with VH1's The Surreal Life, but now their Celebreality craze is just getting out of hand.

In addition to Celebrity Paranormal Project, VH1 is launching SIX new pseudo-celebrity-fueled series.  Something is clearly wrong.  The shows are:

Irv Gotti Project: No longer the subject of federal investigations for money laundering, Irv Gotti has cameras following him as he balances family life and work life.

Man Band: Arguably the most compelling show of the bunch, the one has former boy-band members including Bryan Abrams (Color Me Badd), Rich Cronin (LFO), Chris Kirkpatrick ('N Sync) and Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) living in a house and forming a band.  It's like The Real World meets Making the Band meets The Surreal Life only crappier in every conceivable way.

White Rapper Show: Hosted by some white rapper you've never heard of, this show will follow 10 contestants trying to become, you guessed it, the next big white rapper.

Untitled Whitestarr project: The son of music impresario Lou Adler has a band.  And the band has a reality show.  That's about it.  Think of it as a low-rent "The Ashlee Simpson Show."

Bridging the Gap: Surprisingly, this show could be modestly classy.  It's basically just teams two musicians (that you've heard of) and they make a song together.  The first one has Eve and Queen Latifah.  Fair enough.

Rags to Riches: E! True Hollywood Story on a different network.  The first one has Snoop Dogg.

And if that isn't enough for you, there's more

Tori Spelling is going to have a show on Oxygen where she and her husband open up a Bed and Breakfast in Southern California.  Now, I loves me some Tori (shut up, I'm serious), but I really don't want to confront the reality of how horrible she probably really is.

Then there's the singer for Barenaked Ladies Ed Roberts who has a show on Canadian TV where he flies around and does odd jobs.  Seriously.  The show's called "Ed's Up."

And there's also a new Menudo show

I never really thought I'd say this about reality TV — but I'm out.  This whole situation is making me really depressed. 

October 31st, 2006

Heroes: That Was Fast

Last night Heroes continued its reign of awesomeness and occasional clunky dialogue. What is it about Heroes? It's not original. It's not amazingly written. It doesn't have any standout performances (other than Hiro). It's almost never surprising. But something about it is fascinating. 

I've tried to come up with some reasons why this show is attention-grabbing, and not The Nine or Shark or Jericho or whatnot. 

  1. There's a lot of them. Just when you're getting pretty sick of Niki not knowing what's she's doing or Peter moping about or even (god forbid) Hiro giggling up every scene, we turn our attention to Bad Glasses Man or Matt or Nathan or Mohinder or Sylar. The story is so spread out, we're still introducing most of these characters.
  2. They're familiar. Not familiar as in reminding you of your best friend, but culturally familiar. Hardly anyone watching Heroes probably actually knows an office drone in Tokyo or an internet stripper, but we absolutely believe that such people exist. Sure, she's an internet stripper — so she must have a heart of gold. He's a smarmy politician — he must want to cheat on his wife. It's comforting without hitting too close to home.
  3. Lots of stuff happens. There's not a lot of soap-opery dragging of feet. There's a lot of action, whether it's cheerleaders being flayed or politicians leaping into the sky. It's fun to see people in constant motion, trying to deal with crazy stuff and keep a somewhat normal life.
  4. We know what they know. Namely, that this stuff is really weird. But we're all in the same boat. Fun and communal-like.
  5. It's not afraid of its own dorkiness. I like a show that embraces its genre. This is a superhero show, and no one's shying away from that, trying to make it into Six Feet Under. It is what it is.

DL1.jpgOne complaint (along with the occasionally grating dialogue): I do wish that NBC hadn't revealed in promos that DL could walk through walls. For a show with very few unpredictable moments, it might have been nice not to know that.

Agree? Disagree? Thoughts on which Hero you'd most like to take to prom? 

6 comments October 31st, 2006

Tim Gunn would approve

 As part of our money initiative that Kyle wrote about earlier, we've designed some TiFaux brand ™ ® © t-shirts (and a cap) that you can now purchase for your very own self. Some of them just say "TiFaux." Some of them say "TiFaux" with "I'm Sick of Your Shit" on the back. You'll have to determine which is which for yourself.

In a day or two, we'll also introduce a third design that's the coolest of cool, which I won't bother describing because it's so cool I'd never be able to do it justice. So check back often for new stuff. 

Also, Kyle wants me to tell you that these shirts are not CafePress, the crappy internet-t-shirts-on-demand you may have seen on other sites. We're all about quality here. The shirts are printed with some sort of indestructible flexible plastic junk that's way better than silkscreening or iron-on inkjet printouts. These shirts will last approximately a thousand years. They make spacesuits out of this stuff.

Impress your family and friends! The perfect stocking stuffer! 

1 comment October 30th, 2006

This is the true story

While at brunch with my mother this weekend, she finally proved that I wasn't adopted with the throwaway sentence "Oh yeah, I was going to {insert name of productive activity here} this weekend, but I got caught up in the True Life marathon. Have you seen the one on OCD?" Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes. Just for you, mom, here's my list of The Best and The Worst of MTV's True Life.

Bottom of the Barrel

  • True Life: I'm Obsessed with My Dog. As someone who is obsessed with everyone's dog, this should have been a serious shoo-in for me. Instead I was given a model who dyed her poodle pink and a creepy couple desperate to breed their pug making inappropriate jokes about the size of their dog's, uh, equipment. Its only saving grace was the midwestern guy obsessed with his pitbull, and that was just because he had a random girlfriend who lived in south africa and was roughly 4-7 brackets above him in terms of hotness who came to visit while he and said pitbull were living with his mom. They never explain how the two met (internet?) or what the hell she was going with him (green card?) or why she got so upset when he tattooed the dog's likeness on his leg (hep C?).
  • True Life: I'm Poor. This might have actually been called True Life: I'm Broke but it should have been True Life: We don't recognize that our audience is comprised of largely upper middle class white suburban kids who don't want to hear about how you got stoned and lost the money you were going to use to buy a car.
  • True Life: I'm A Professional Gamer. This one followed a bunch of kids who get paid–wait for it– to play video games. I don't have a problem with this documentary so much as I have a problem with its subject matter– why are these kids getting money to sit in windowless rooms attached to joysticks when they should be out discovering what it's like to kiss a girl? And I don't want to hear the comparisons to professional athletics or professional poker. There's a Sad Loser aspect here that you just can't escape.
  • True Life: I'm Rallying to LA. SOMEthing interesting should have happened during a flatout race from coast to coast, right? Car accident, police run in, accidental pregnancy, ANYthing? You would think that, wouldn't you.
  • True Life: I'm A Private Wrestler. So, you're thinking, I could use some extra cash but I don't really want to, say, donate my eggs or do porn. But I am totally fine with having an astonishingly unattractive woman contract me to wear a bikini and bunny ears and film me wrestling other similarly dressed women for later broadcasting on the internet. This could have been as disturbing and lunch conversation topic inducing as the Plushie/ Furry True Life about which I can't reach into the deep recesses of my mind to gather enough info for proper discussion (remember that one? It was mostly people dressing up in large full body character suits and going to conventions to rub up on one another? This debuted when I worked at a children's bookstore and was frequently called upon to dress up as Clifford or Madeline and this True Life scared me to the core and I've thus, happily, repressed most memories of it) but instead it was just vaguely creepy, like those articles in Jane magazine that tell you how much money you could make by selling your used underwear online.

Best of the Best

  • True Life: I'm Moving To New York. If only MTV had filmed this three years prior, I could have been famous! But perhaps it's all for the best as, instead of me, they gave us (1) a male model so alarmingly stupid he made me kind of respect Ashton Kutcher (2) the most spoiled little rich girl on earth who I later heard was quoted as saying re: her NFL boyfriend "Who cares if he's black– he's loaded!" and (3) a set of gay/ lesbian BFFs so adorable and kind hearted I want to track them down and force them to be friends with me, even though they wrote "NY OR BUST" on their car and then drove through Times Square.
  • True Life: I Want The Perfect Body I. "Real men wear body glitter." Oh, sure. Of all the True Lifes, I want a Where Are They Now Episode for this one more than ANY other. Well, not on Calf Implants Guy, who my roommate saw at the VMAs this year. He's still a douche. But I'd love to know where the Sugar & Spice plastic surgery twins are, particularly the one who said "Now that I have my nose fixed, I can focus on my other goals, like getting into Playboy and getting a boyfriend." (wait, now that I think about it, was she on True Life: I'm Getting Plastic Surgery? I'm so confused! Why must you mock me, Gideon Yago!).
  • True Life: I'm Going To Fat Camp. One of my favorites for MTV's uncanny ability to broadcast it whenever I was watching TV at the gym in college.
  • True Life: I'm A Jersey Shore Girl. Maybe this one's a point of personal pride/ contention as the girls featured all grew up 7 minutes away from my childhood home, on the other side of the imaginary line that dictates you acquire a horrible accent and fondness for waterfall belly button rings. But really, this should have been called "True Life: I Want A Boyfriend But Can't Keep One," as that– along with highlights and fake nails– was alllllll these chickadees talked about. Whatever, I'm still going to watch it every time they rerun it.
  • True Life: I'm A Little Person. This is largely a shoutout to my roommate, who DVRs everything cable television has to do about little people. What sticks out about this one was the storyline about the little person heading off to college, and how she had a regular-sized boyfriend… who she met at a little person convention. Um, what was he doing there? What a resourceful fetishist! He gets the boot before the hour is up.
  • True Life: I'm An Urban Cheerleader/ True Life: I'm A Competitive Cheerleader. The Urban Cheerleader experience I enjoyed if only for the piercing look at how one achieves the title of All American Cheerleader, an accomplishment I previously thought to be reserved for the top tier of the finest high school athletes, but is actually available to people that fall during their roundoffs and throw enormous tantrums at Cheer Camp. Does this mean in order to get All American in football you just have to quote Varsity Blues and paint the lines on the field?
  • True Life: I Have A Friend With Benefits. This one makes my list because I can never decide which "couple" I like better– the one that was enjoying a FwB relationship that spanned three states before the chick decided to transfer grad school programs and up and move to her buddy's city (for unrelated reasons, I'm sure) only to have him proclaim he was never attached to her, -OR- the hick couple where the dude is constantly mooning over the chick, who uses him for the booty and then flirts with guitar players RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM only to break down and cry in the parking lot and have her best friend give her the life altering advice of "Don't settle for the one you can live with– wait for the one you can't live without," which is straight off my favorite beer cozie.
  • True Life: I Have A Summer Share. Another installment in the True Life: People From New Jersey Are Hilarious and Sad series. What do you do when you're pushing 30, working construction, and looking for an excuse to drink your face off and scam on bitches? Head to the Jersey Shore, of course.
  • True Life: I'm A Staten Island Girl. First they take the cultural anthropology standpoint– how can an island be so close to manhattan geographically, and yet, so far? Then they give us three typical trials of staten island girls: How can I manage to move into NYC when I have thousands of dollars in credit card debt (from the 21 year old who proclaimed "I'm cut out for bigger things. People like me don't go wasted!" and also exclusively wore green eye shadow)? How can I rise above my accent to become a famous actress (from the girl who "went to boston for college and immediately called my dad to bring me home")? How can I find a guy to settle down with when I'm attracted to the typical staten island type ("spikey hair, works out, little orange from the tanning bed") and they "know how hot they are, and don't want to stick to one girl" (from a young lady with two masters degrees)? Finally, MTV decideds to pick on people who aren't from the garden state. And I love it.

11 comments October 30th, 2006

TGS with Tracy Jordan vs. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

I was just thinking about that Robot vs. Bears bit at the beginning of last week's 30 Rock and I realized something that fundamentally endears me to that show. From what we've seen so far, TGS with Tracy Jordan is essentially silly and worthless. And that's the way it should be. The other backstage late-night show could learn something from Tina. If the show within the show is so great and important, why aren't we watching that show? The antics backstage have to be more interesting than the show. Aaron Sorkin would come a long way in my book if Matt and Danny admitted that what they're doing is not changing the world, it's sketch comedy. And some nights your show sucks. The only people on the show who don't like Studio 60 are philistines like Tom's parents who haven't even heard of Who's on First and could never appreciate Matt's fine writing anyway. This kind of hubris is the opposite of comedy. Comedy can't work if it calls itself important. The comedian is the jester, not the king. If the king is going to be funny he has to fall on his face by accident because his nose is in the air.

2 comments October 30th, 2006

Lost: Someone’s gonna die

Although they didn't say anything on the teaser after last week's show, the new promos for this Wednesday's Lost say that someone's going to get it.

Have a look-see.

Now, the question is: who will it be?

Here are my top three contenders (in no particular order):

1. Eko – the next episode features his flashbacks, so maybe they're going to tidy up his backstory before giving him the pink slip.  Plus, he's still in rough shape from the hatch blast, so maybe it'll be a Boone-esque slow death. Also boding in his favor: I think it's probably time for a man to die, as the ladies have gone three in a row.

2. Jin – it seems like Sun and Jin are untouchable because they're married.  And for some reason, it seems worse to kill married people.  I still think they can't kill a pregnant person, but I think they could throw us a curveball and kill Jin.  He is rarely involved in a lot of plots simply because of the language barrier.  Plus, he is a Y chromosome.

3. Juliet – yeah, she just got here.  And, yeah, she'd be another dead blonde.  But I have a feeling she's not going to last long, a la Libby.

Anyone else have an idea? 

2 comments October 30th, 2006

Please, Stop It: Ty Pennington of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’

ty.jpg

Please.  Just stop. 

15 comments October 30th, 2006

Why I ♥ 30 Rock

30rock_haaseth.jpgThe excellence of the third episode of 30 Rock has been alluded to in other posts this week, but I thought it deserved its own special post, written by me. As some of you may remember I was at the taping of the pilot in March. I watched the pilot closely, but I did not make an appearance on my 27″ TV. If I see it in HD maybe I’ll be able to make out my head in the crowd. I’ve been looking forward to this show for a long time. If Tina Fey was going let SNL escape her iron grip, she had better make it worth my while. Especially since SNL has sucked hard this season. I’ve been watching SNL fairly consistently since I was 13 and I don’t remember a time when the show has been considered “good this year,” even if people later looked back on the episodes with fondness. Maggie once said “It has the singular ability to appear as if were in a state of constant decline” which is the greatest description I’ve ever seen of the hate/hate relationship my fellow SNL-watchers have with the show. I’ve liked it through some pretty low times, but it looks like Tina’s absence is hitting the show hard. I also think the new director is a problem. The show will get better, but it’s hard to imagine it will get worse than the John C. Reilly episode (my nomination for worst of the past 10 years: Robert DeNiro episode).

Anyway, our beloved Tina has moved on. And I was worried. Remember when Andy Richter left Conan to seek his fortune and then Fox canceled his show? That was sad. Andy will be back mid-season with Andy Barker, P.I., but for a while it looked like he gave up something pretty good only to get the rug pulled out from under him. And the first two episodes of 30 Rock didn’t live up to the hype. Alec Baldwin stole the show, because that’s what Alec Baldwin does. But if he hadn’t been around, the show would have been pretty lifeless.

Then came the third episode. Liz finally had a great storyline. Jack set her up on a date and neglected to mention it was with a woman. It was a good twist on the emerging pattern of Alec Baldwin always being right. He was right that they were perfect for each other, except for the small problem that Liz isn’t gay. It was smart and dealt with Tina’s themes of insecurity in a more self-deprecating than self-bashing way. In the first few episodes you had to wonder how Tina got anything done since everyone hated her and she was worse at her job than the guy who invented the GE Trivection Oven.

McBrayer.jpgThe other standout—and the character that makes the show click for me—is Jack McBrayer, as Kenneth Ellen the NBC page. I saw Jack at the UCB theater a few years ago, and he was a young, pretty funny improv comic. I remembered him mostly for his southern accent. But on 30 Rock he’s going up against Alec Baldwin and winning more than just poker. Baldwin got the brilliant last word “In 10 years we’ll all either be working for him… or dead by his hand” but McBrayer made himself a star this week.

And now let’s talk a little about that other show. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that keeps showing too much of the sketches. The extent of the “show” on 30 Rock this week was a fight about the number of bear costumes Judah Friedlander could use in his Robot vs. Bears sketch. I hope Aaron Sorkin is watching the show too. He could learn something about economy.

1 comment October 27th, 2006

Money!

Eagle-eyed TiFaux readers may have noticed that we've added Google ads to our sidebar. We kept it ad free when it cost us $1.50/mo to host the site, but there are too many of you now and you bandwidth hogs are eating us out of house and home. I can't ask you to click on the ads, but I will ask you to look at them. They're quite attractive. And they tend to be about TV, which is what this blog tends to be about. So there's some synergy there.

Coming up next: TiFaux t-shirts. We're starting with the TIFAUX text from our header with a red record dot next to it, but if you have any requests we will do our best to make it for you.

7 comments October 27th, 2006

Lost: The Stockmarket

Pretty good episode of Lost this past Wednesday, right?  That whole thing with the watch and the heartbeat and then Sawyer getting the ever-loving snot kicked out of him?  I swear, Josh Holloway must have had to do some hardcore stage combat training before this show, because he's always on the business end of someone's fist (as opposed to the other end… which, I guess would be attached to the arm).

Anyways, how about recapping this episode with the Lost Stockmarket.  Who has lost stock, who's gaining it and who's just staying the same.  It's just like I'm ripping off Conventional Wisdom in Newsweek, except hopefully you won't be reading this post three months late and in the dentist's office.

jack.jpg

Jack

Well, lookey here!  I actually found myself liking Jack a little more this episode, what with all of his righteous anger.  I think my favorite Jack moment of all time occured in his conversation with Juliet, when she asked him if he was just trying to make her feel better by saying that saving Col was a lost cause.  When he said that he didn't care about making her feel better, I whipped out my pom-poms and made a human pyramid with my roommates.  I have a feeling that in a few seasons (episodes?) Juliet might become a lot more sympathetic, but for now it was really nice to see Jack rub a little bit of lemon juice in that wound.

Paulo.jpg

Paulo

Double you tea eff, Paulo.  You show up out of nowhere and all you do is practice your golf swing and act like a douche to Desmond?  You're fighting an uphill battle, bucko.  Show us some personality before gettin' all testy.

Pr_Desmond.jpg

Desmond

Speaking of whom, Desmond was acting kind of bizarre this episode.  I mean, no more bizarre than usual, but this time he was just pitiful.  He got shot down on his offer to fix Claire's roof, rebuffed by Paulo and now he's just wandering around the beach.  Charlie was right on target when he said they need to find him a new button to push.

Sawyer44.jpg

Sawyer

In case you missed it, Sawyer has a heart of gold.  The writers like to point this out a few times each season.  This episode it happened twice — once in the flashback when he gave all that money to his newly discovered daughter, and again when he lied about his fake pacemaker to protect Kate.  I guess they want you to hate him one minute and think he's not so bad the next — a device which I'm a complete sucker for.  For all his antics, moments like him walloping Ben in the face will probably keep him consistently in the two-sideways-arrows category.

sun.jpg

Sun

Sun wasn't even in this episode.  But she killed that Other, so kudos. 

2 comments October 27th, 2006

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