Who knew Betty White used to hang out at the Marcy Projects and throw up gang signs with her boy Hova? Well, now the whole world does, because that's (one of the) joke(s) on her new SNL promos, advertising her appearance this Saturday night alongside Kristen Wiig.
Tonight's the season three finale of the FX legal drama Damages, and thusly I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the characters of Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) as two of the best-written, feminist characters on TV today.
Here's Jane Lynch. She often plays masculine, hard-assed bitches just this side of butch. You may know her from Glee and all kinds of other awesome business.
This is her Glee character, Sue Sylvester. And this is her amazing transformation into Madonna for a take on "Vogue." (Warning: step away from your desk for this, because you're going to want to dance. Hard.)
Based on the sheer number of folks I've seen bumming cigarettes this week, the Mad Men craze is in full swing and has taken over just about every bar, pub, club and university library. On a personal level, I've made it my own mission to be as Joan Holloway as possible, increasing my fabulous accessorizing and flaunting my decidedly non-stick figure. And now, I've resorted to watching actual early 60's-era television, with the help of instant watch on Netflix. Nick at Nite no longer: I can get my Dick Van Dyke Show fix right on my computer screen!
The show, which aired from 1961 to 1966, is an understandably feel-good representation of the ideal family life of the time (separate beds in the master bedroom!). Rob loves his job, Laura (Mary Tyler Moore! In fabulous capri pants!) loves being a mother, and that wacky Sally may want to get married, but she won't settle for just anyone. Don and Betty Draper, it ain't.
But the parallels between the nostalgia-laced Mad Men and the contemporary Dick Van Dyke Show are interesting. Remember Joan Holloway's "dancing bear" moment from last week with the accordion? Here's Laura Petrey entertaining the swingin' party-goers:
Just kidding. That's what your little sister did on Facebook a few minutes ago. The Mad Men folks uploaded photos of the cast looking hot and sexy and confusing for season three. That is, if you think Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogs are hot, sexy and confusing. (Maybe the Mad Men'-ers got hot, sexy and confusing enough off the first batch of photos released a couple weeks ago?)
Anyway, I've put on my gumshoes and trench coat to hunt down the secret of the mystery of the hiddenness of what will happen, catalog-style, when the show premieres this Sunday. First up, the leading ladies:
Peggy and Betty hopped in their time machine, got in on the 2009 summer florals trend and
toted that shit back to '63, the year I am assuming it still is because
Peggy's mini-makeover hair cut doesn't seem to have changed too much. As you can see from Betty's slim middle in both this and the below photo, baby bumps are not a season three accessory ... yet. Wait for the fall line?
Here, we see that Peggy has learned to write excellent ad copy and wear revealing spaghetti straps, which interests Pete Campbell, who continues to sport the "weaselly assface" trend that worked so well for him in the first two seasons. Joan, in ice blue, has not forgotten that you are watching her every move. Those sleeves; divine!
Roger Sterling is standing up and not looking particularly exhausted, which means he has probably survived whatever babies his young new wife has in store for him. In gray contrast, Don Draper looks assertive and possessive, a timeless classic.
But perhaps the most clues about season three come in the last new photo ...
This New York Times article says Padma Lakshmi, the drop-dead-gorgeous-and-smart Top Chef judge, gains 15 pounds per season when they're filming. I know it's a hard thing to fact check, but my god, where does she put it? In her toes?
While filming for "Top Chef," the TV show for which she serves as judge and host, part of her job is to taste food from some of the country's best chefs every day for five weeks.
"That's tasting 16 to 17 bites of each dish we test, each with 17 to 20 ingredients or more," she said in an interview. And because the contestants try to make their foods as delicious as possible, "they have a tendency to infuse them with more fat," she said.
This issue has totally crossed my mind during my Top Chef binges, but more in the "I can't believe she doesn't look like Jabba the Hutt and continues to look like a supermodel," way, rather than the "That's gonna be a big mistake tomorrow," way. I mean, my god, her arms! Sigh. There are definitely some Stephanie Izard dishes into which I wouldn't have been able to stop at a measly 16 bites.
Is it lunch time yet?
Bonus! Here's Izard on Julia Child, culinary comeback queen:
Sorry, Stephenie Meyer. Looks like the Smithsonian Channel has come up with an actually interesting twist on the ole' vampire myth. What if Dracula had been a woman?
Well, we'd get an overly dramatic, hyperbolic preview for an inevitably disappointing, but no less riveting, documentary from the Smithsonian! The forthcoming doc combines everything that is guaranteed to make me stay home with a box of Franzia and a tub of popcorn: European history, the occult, and "shocking" discoveries. Fangies and gentlenibbles, I give you, The Vampire Princess!
Just the other day, I was sitting in my room, Twittering and playing on Facebook and deleting my useless MySpace account and posting something on Tumblr and meeting random Brazilian dudes on Orkut and Digging a few websites and I got to thinking--wouldn't it be great if I could be watching a relevant TV show right now?
MTV, you sly foxes, you've read my mind! According to CNet, MTV will launch a television talk show about social networking on June 15, to fill the old after-school TRL time slot, hosted by Brit TV presenter Alexa Chung. It's called ... "It's On With Alexa Chung." Thrilling:
"... it's the dual partnerships that MTV has inked with Facebook and Twitter
that are really generating buzz. There will be on-screen "tweets,"
content sourced from Facebook profiles and fan pages, audience
contribution from polls to remixed YouTube videos, and round-the-clock
updates from Chung's own Twitter account. If it's all done right,
"Alexa Chung" could be both a milestone in the convergence between TV
and the Web, and a fresh infusion of innovation for a TV network that
many say was shooting itself in the foot for not catching onto the
social media craze earlier."
"It's On" sounds like "a mess." I guess this show is for everyone who thinks it's a blast to watch someone else play on their computer.
Actually, it sounds like a bunch of television executives went into a room, listed all the things about The Internet that The Kids use, and said, "Hey, let's cram that on a TV screen at mid-day! There's a difference between "convergence" and "putting crap from online on television," and this show sounds way more like the latter. Actually it just kind of sounds like a low-budget TRL, with Tweeting instead of texting:
"The iconic "TRL" set has been converted into something that looks like
a loft apartment, with the studio audience scattered around like party
guests. There will be no countdown--rather, a talk show format inspired
in part by late-night programming, with topics ranging from movies and
music to the latest YouTube sensations (whom Chung plans to regularly
bring onto the set to see if their singing, dancing, or other oddball
talents are for real). And there will be no screaming crowds in Times
Square. Instead, there will be tweets."
They're also planning to air Facebook user content on-air. What could possibly go wrong?
"It's still a touchy issue, considering that a lot of Facebook profile
content still isn't public, and many people wouldn't want their party
photos splashed all over MTV without very explicit permission. And it's
a sharp turn from Facebook's erstwhile hardline attitude of keeping
everything behind a login wall, which is why representatives from both
companies say that the use of Facebook content on TV will be given the
All in all, this show doesn't sound any different from any of the numerous call- or text-in television shows that've popped up with the advent every new media/communication technology; maybe the instantaneous nature of the Internet will make this one more successful. But this Doll is skeptical, and I'm totally going to be watching cartoons after school instead.
I never watched SesameStreet as a kid--if it wasn't happening on Nickelodeon, it was dead to me--so I just don't know how to process the bizarre Muppet energy exhibited here by Elmo and his fervor for strolls. And neither, apparently, does Michelle Obama, who has way more personality than this tame PSA shows:
Lauren Conrad is officially dunzo with The Hills. It's been a long time coming, and it's just as we suspected: an MTV producer has confirmed to the AP that Conrad is indeed leaving the semi-reality spin-off series, and that season five, premiering March 30, will be her final appearance.
Judging by the trailer, the "big send-off" the 23-year-old Conrad will receive is going to end with some kind of weepy reconciliation with her back-stabby frenemy Heidi Montag. What else? They're the Paris and Nicole of MTV; a reunion was probably written into their contracts. Now we'll just have to wait and see if Speidi somehow finagle a way to take over the show for themselves. But not until Conrad drives off into the California sunset, the L.A. skyline in the background, her highlighted hair whipping in the wind, and a twinkling contemporary emo song about starting over telling us all exactly how we ought to feel.
Last night's finale of The Bachelor was a truly horrifying spectacle. As I sat watching it I had the distinct sense that the current season has actually turned out to be more twisted than any other reality-TV vehicle this year so far, which is saying a great deal about MTV's shifted focus. (Artistic endeavors and soul-searching have replaced boozing and sexing on The Real World, for the moment.) The most recent Bachelor, Jason Mesnick, managed to damn his longstanding reputation as the Single Dad Prince Charming in less time than it takes to run out for more M&Ms during the commercial break.
Jason ended his search for love by proposing to Melissa, a cute, perky sales rep who was cool with giving up her life in Dallas to move to Seattle, and looked as if she'd be content to stare at him gushily for hours a day when she wasn't helping him take care of his son, Ty. It was saccharine-sweet, there was a ginormous sparkly ring, declarations were exchanged. Normal, typical, overblown Bachelor fare! Fast forward to the After the Final Rose ceremony, which aired immediately after the finale. Sad-eyed Jason dully tells Mr. Host Man Chris that things have changed since the end of the show. The chemistry between him and Melissa is different! (Imagine that, without anyone planning your dates and no champagne or roses available on demand.) Mesnick concludes that he and Melissa aren't right for each other, and he's prepared to break up with her. On national television.
Oh, but that's not all! Mesnick admits he's still in love with his second choice, Molly, who he dumped back in New Zealand. He was hoping to win her back tonight, as soon as he's gotten rid of his fiancé. Follow? Yeah. Gag on that for a second -- it's like trying to pull a roommate-switch in front of millions of people.
An upstanding guy would have ended things with Melissa privately, and maybe, MAYBE attempted to reconcile with The Other Woman a few generous weeks or months down the line, after the cameras have all been tucked safely away. Not Jason. It's true he had to appear on the After the Final Rose show, of course, being contractually obligated. But! Did he have to break up with Melissa on camera and then, a mere five minutes later, ask Molly to take him back? (Which she did! You should have run far away, pretty lady!) I think not. And that's where the buffoonery really takes on a whole new level of suck.
America is kinda maybe definitely judging you, Jason. Discuss.
On March 1, the Style Network will debut Running in Heels, a one-hour docudrama about three interns working at Marie Claire, who also live together in a Soho loft. Of course, the cameras aren't limited to trailing the underlings; they also closely monitored the comings, goings, and conversations of editor Joanna Coles and recently-installed fashion director Nina Garcia. Marie Claire hopes the show will be a brand-building tool in the face of the recession, during which women have cut back on buying everything, including lady magazines.
While it might not directly affect newstand sales, something tells us that the show's main draw will be Coles' screen-time. The hyped flutterings over Marie Claire's push into television repeatedly peg her background as an ambitious and daring mix of
Tina Brown meets Glenda Bailey: she arrived in New York as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian, moved to the Times, then to New York,
to More magazine, and finally ascended to the top of the masthead at
Marie Claire. But she didn't get nicknamed "the Simon Cowell of fashion" just because they both hail from Britain. If you think coffee-fetching internships are dunzo, chew on the fact that interns at the magazine are told not to speak unless they are addressed first. However, over the course of making the show, Coles was shocked to find out about some of the things her staff did say to the interns, which she called "completely ridiculous" and "not appropriate." Then there's this little snippet, recorded by a Guardian writer who profiled the editor and discloses herself as a friend:
She considers her clothes. Fur is no good for meeting students - they
might object. Also, her belt clashes with her necklace. "Here's the
solution," she says. "Black belt." She mutters something about the
fashion closet and calls over an assistant, who scurries off, returning
a few minutes later with a belt sized for a small hamster. "It's
Oscar," the assistant says, meaning de la Renta. "It's tiny!" Coles
retorts. She tries to get it around her waist and hands it back. "That
is insulting," she says. "That really is insulting." The assistant goes
off to find another.
Anne Hathaway is a favorite of ours -- her torrential, doomed romance with Raffaello Follieri, who was convicted last October on 14 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy notwithstanding. We can only assume Hathaway is busy basking in the glow of her Rachel Getting Married review praise, trying to work her way off breakup life-support, and just generally looking to move the heck on with her life. That said, we sure hope she isn't a committed Gossip Girl fan. According to a source close to the show, a season-ending storyline involving Serena and a dashing older European man with some dark secrets is being planned, loosely inspired by Hathaway's experiences:
Though she won't confirm or deny the story's Hathaway-esque twists, executive producer Stephanie Savage reveals that Serena's beau is "very well-traveled, part of the global elite. He's not a brooding artist like Dan or Aaron Rose. He's definitely a grown-up, and that's something Serena is very attracted to."
Oh, it's gonna get heated! This worldly older gent is likely to put S.'s life in danger in the finale. And since, unlike Hathaway, S. has never been known for her good judgment (cf. Aaron Rose, horrendous hipster man-child) there's a fairly good chance she'll do some reputation-destroying babbling in an attempt to come to his defense. At least that part isn't ripped from the headlines.
The producers of Top Chef and Project Runway, who I love for making reality television about people who are actually good at things, are teaming up with CBS to create a new series about...marriages. The arranged kind! According to The Hollywood Reporter:
The show introduces four adults age approximately 25-45 who are
anxious to get married but have been unsuccessful in their search
for a mate. Their friends and family select a spouse for them, and
the newly paired couple exchange marital vows. The series follows
The rest of the details for the project, whose early working title
is "Arranged Marriage," are being kept under wraps.
It sounds horrifying, but like Mandi Bierly over at EW's Popwatch blog, I'm already absolutely committed to watching this show once it finally airs. I have to understand what kind of person acquiesces to the double whammy of pre-selected spouse and cameras following the whole debacle. But here's the rub. The age rage starts at a fresh-faced 25?! Yes, indeedy, if you're not hitched by then, you're an old maid! A crotchety bachelor! And clearly a failure at life. Um, no.
Isn't that a little young to firmly believe you don't have a chance in hell of finding love on your own without some producers doing it for you?