December 2007 Archives
How merrily we read theeeeeeee. Critics all around the internet have compiled their bests and worsts for 2007, including Alan Sepinwall's Festivus dishonor roll; Poniewozik's worst of '07 and Top 10 shows that didn't crack the Top 10 (at least, I think that's the deal here...the presence of Dexter would seem to indicate that); and Maureen Ryan's low points of '07 (you can get to her best and worst lists from that entry).
No matter whose list you're reading, you'll start to see some themes emerge in the dubious-distinction end of things: the WGA strike; the decline of Entourage; the fact that Viva Laughlin was so bad that it was too obvious to list. The theme that always emerges for me as I peruse these lists is how much TV I've forgotten even happened in the calendar year in question -- wasn't Sanjaya from Idol '05? Didn't Top Chef 2 air two summers ago?
And aren't Tila's boobs going to pop if she keeps mooshing them together that hard?
The SAG Award nominations have come out; nothing hugely troublesome or scandalous, but I do have a handful of quibbles, starting with Sally Field. Field does a great job as Nora Walker on Brothers & Sisters, but it's an ensemble show, yet Field still gets all the lead-actress noms, it seems like, and Rachel Griffiths gets overlooked. And again, Field isn't bad or anything, but she's working with prime Emmy bait, and she's hardly subtle; I kind of don't get it. I also don't get the Sedgwick lovefest; I like her too, usually, and I like the show well enough, but that Closer role is tic-y as all get out, and the portrayal isn't getting any less hectic as time goes on. Do these academies just want to prove that they watch basic cable?
And of course Jeremy Piven gets another nod for the Ari role on Entourage, and Tony Shalhoub another nom for Monk, both of which we can file under "I" for "it worked for a couple of seasons because we hadn't seen that sort of thing before, but we get it now, and you haven't shown us anything new in a few years." Actors can continue to do good work in the same role year after year, of course, and it's another two actors I like very much, but when you keep seeing Spader's name in these lists, and Hugh Laurie, just the same people over and over with only a couple minor variations each year, it's hard not to feel like there's a certain laziness behind it. "Well, I don't watch Saving Grace, but the critics say Holly Hunter is very good in it." "Well, Laurie's doing twice the work because of the accent, so I'll just nominate him." Hugh Laurie's still entertaining as Greg House, but he's not doing anything we haven't seen him do before -- and even if these same guys really are the best TV had to offer in the last year, acting-wise, it's hard to trust that when we've seen them all before.
Damien Echols will appear tonight on Larry King Live -- not in the studio, alas, but evidently the show is sending a camera team to death row, where Echols is still incarcerated.
For those of you not familiar with the case, you can read about it here, but better than that, I'd recommend renting the documentaries, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, both of which I believe aired originally on HBO. (You can get either/both from Netflix.) Recently, DNA evidence has come to light that may change the circumstances of all three defendants, so the interview with King could provide some new information for followers of the case.
...of episodes, that is. No new Project Runway until 2008, which is giving me serious withdrawal pains. Thank God for reruns, and for the fine feathered forum member who tipped us to Jay McCarroll's Project Runway blog for Elle. The lack of caps and overly casual attitude towards apostrophes is somewhat aggravating, but if you can acclimate yourself to it, you'll find that Jay's voice comes right through -- and is bitchy but fair, just like I remember Jay from his time on the show. In one recent entry, he compares Heidi Klum to his high school band director, who smelled like cucumbers; says Christian reminds him of Jerri Blank; and shares how he would have tackled the Tiki challenge: "i personally would have used this opportunity to get back at all of the football players who picked on me in high school. these models be walkin’ down the runway in white spandex bodysuits and hot pink assless chaps with ruffles and crystals and a rainbow flag and a pair of ugg boots and a sheep." Hee. It's the Ugg detail that makes it.
Anyway, it's a great addition to the PR coverage around the blogosphere, much franker than most of the Bravo blogs, although it doesn't begin to fill the void left by the end of Tim's podcasts. BRING BACK TIM'S DAMN PODCASTS!
(Also: if you're casting about for a last-minute gift for the PR fan in your life, Jay's bowling bags are for sale at FredFlare.com. Supplies are limited but check it out.)
[TWoP bullpen, afternoon. The subject under discussion: whether anyone on the editorial board besides Sars will admit planning to watch the next edition of The Apprentice, which "stars" such lesser lights as Marilu Henner, Tiffany Fallon, and a member of a famous acting family.]
Sars: "You know -- that Baldwin who isn't the fat one. ...Sorry, who used to not be the fat one, but now is."
Wing Chun: "They're all the fat one now."
Which is annoying. Ten years ago you could keep them all straight: the fat one (Daniel), the hairy one (Billy), Alec (Alec), and the other one (Stephen). Now it's Alec and...all the other fat ones. And Adam, who is 1) no relation and 2) not fat.
Speaking of the famous original fat one, Daniel, pictured above, I've started DVRing Homicide: Life on the Street on Sleuth. I love the show, but some of the reruns, I love...less. The "Bayliss pitches a hissy about his bi/Zen/cop website" era is not my favorite, and I never hated the guy as much as some, but shut up, Falzone.
I think we all can agree, having watched America's Next Top Model for 49 cycles now, that what makes a top model in the Tyraverse is not any of the model-esque qualities you might assume are prerequisites -- superior height, facial symmetry, a runway walk not copied from Peter Boyle's performance in Young Frankenstein -- but rather the "desire," the "really wanting this"-ness. By which of course I mean the undignified, and un-optional, coating of Tyra's giant ass in damp kisses, the better to evolve Tyra's delusion of herself as a benign (and gigantic) Henrietta Higgins who Does Good For People. A girl's real-world modeling potential is irrelevant here -- fortunately, since few of the contestants have any such thing, which, naturally, is why they get onto the show in the first place. Nobody with a snowball's chance in hell of getting work in the industry on her own is as pathetically grateful for the faux-pportunities offered by ANTM (for real, the Seventeen readership's age tops out at around 13), and it's that pathetic gratitude that Tyra requires.
Tyra has gotten more and more obnoxiously imperious in the last year or two, but her fucktardedly outsized sense of her own importance isn't a problem per se -- at least, not compared with the problem it must pose for her employees. What is a problem, from a television standpoint, is that that grandiose insistence on choosing the girl who thanks/beseeches/admires Tyra the most fervently, instead of the girl who's the best qualified (or, you know, qualified at all), voids the competition of any significance. Tyra doesn't think we notice it, I suspect; Tyra doesn't see, or is not hearing anyone who tries to tell her, that the motives behind her choices are increasingly obvious.
So I was just watching a day-long marathon of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency (shut up, you're not better than me), and holy crap, you guys: they are still running ads for Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds fragrance. In 2007. That very same ad you remember, too, with Liz in the dyed-black hair helmet, dropping in on that weird last-outpost-of-society poker match, dropping her diamond earrings onto the table and purring, "These have always brought me luck." Like...what is she doing there, on this remote airstrip in outer Off-the-grid-istan? And why is she giving this obvious ripoff of Frisco Jones from General Hospital diamonds to gamble with? Isn't she worried she'll end up accidentally funding the Sandinistas or something?
Digressions aside, I cannot believe...well, I cannot believe anyone's still buying White Diamonds, but I also cannot believe that this is still the ad they use to sell it. Wendy's isn't still running Clara Peller hollering "Where's the beef?" are they?
Also: Who are they kidding, really? We've seen Elizabeth Taylor this decade: doddering around on the Golden Globes stage with an envelope shrieking "GLADIATOR!"; showing up to public events on the arm of Michael Jackson looking even freakier than he does; whatever the hell that "Maaaarried? AAOOOOO!" soundbite was all about. Nobody wants to smell like Crazy Great-Grandma, White Diamonds people. Pack it in, or name a successor.
1. Once And Again, Everwood, Queer As Folk (U.K. version), Battlestar Galactica, Third Watch
2. Dawson's Creek, ER, Ally McBeal, Friday Night Lights, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Heroes, Lost
3. Jericho, Smallville, Everwood, Heroes, The Real World
4. Tru Calling, Ed, Law & Order: SVU
5. Boomtown, Roswell, Felicity
Offer your answers here. We'll tell you tomorrow.
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