Friday, March 31
After two years in which NBC has presented a development slate full of low-buzz disappointments like “Surface,” “E-Ring” and “Hawaii,” as well as some high-buzz flops like “Father of the Pride,” “Joey” and “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” it looks as though the network finally has some shows that media buyers like.
In fact, it may have the most-anticipated new program for fall, based on reaction after the broadcast networks previewed their upcoming programs over the past three weeks.
It’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” from “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin and starring “Friends’” Mathew Perry, “Wing’s” Bradley Whitford and Amanda Peet. It follows the behind-the-scenes drama at a “Saturday Night Live”-style variety show, in much the same way Sorkin’s critically acclaimed ABC show “Sports Night” went behind the camera at a “SportsCenter”-like program.
In addition to good writing and strong acting, it also has a unique concept. Media people say the show, which has already received a commitment from NBC, could be fall’s big hit.
That combined with other promising shows on NBC’s slate, as well as “Sunday Night Football,” “My Name is Earl” and surprise game show hit “Deal or No Deal,” could help NBC turn things around after two straight seasons of finishing No. 4 among adults 18-49.
“It looks like NBC is really making an investment to get good programming on the air,” says Shari Anne Brill, vice president and director or programming at Carat. “It’s a little bit of everything.”
Among NBC’s other dramas is “Kidnapped” with Timothy Hutton, which has already been picked up for the fall.
NBC comedies include “Andy Barker, P.I.,” notable for starring former “Late Night” sidekick Andy Richter with a pilot co-written by “Late Night’s” Conan O’Brien.
Rather than relying on one fad to come up with hits, the broadcasters are developing many types of shows this year, with about an equal number of comedies and dramas.
Some are quirky like ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” others mimic the single-camera style of comedies like NBC’s “The Office,” others unearth one-time big-name stars, and there are even programs that have roots in novelas, the Spanish-language soap operas.
“Everyone’s trying different types of comedies and there are crime shows, character-driven dramas, and plenty of procedurals,” Brill.
“They all want a distinctive voice and are using existing programs as the launching pad. And reality is there, too, but there’s also the realization that scripted programs are the networks’ bread and butter.”
Brad Adgate, senior vice president and corporate research director at Horizon Media, is upbeat about this year’s development.
“The networks are trying different things, but there’s also a large amount of romantic comedies, legal, medical, and police dramas,” he says. “And there are a lot of stars doing TV for the first time like James Woods and Virginia Madsen.”
Perhaps the network with the most buzz is ABC, although more so for its recent trio of hits – “Desperate,” “Lost,” and “Grey’s Anatomy” – than for any specific program previewed at last week’s pre-upfront presentations.
The network has about a dozen dramas in development, including “Hollis and Rae” from Steven Bochco, whose recent misstep on “Commander in Chief” hasn’t smudged his decades-long track record.
ABC also is taking a cue from the enormously popular novelas with “Ugly Betty,” based on a Telemundo hit. It’s also developing soap operas, with dramas such as “Brothers & Sisters” with Calista Flockhart and “Six Degrees” from “Alias’” J. J. Abrams.
Sitcoms include “A Day in the Life” with Wendie Malick, late of the presumably canceled John Stamos comedy “Jake in Progress.”
CBS president Les Moonves has been saying his network is so solid that it has the luxury of being experimental.
Among the dramas CBS is developing is “Edison,” about a con artist starring John Leguizamo that was originally in development for cable network USA. “Ultra” is based on a graphic novel.
CBS is developing several comedies, including “The Big Bang Theory,” from the creators of its “Two and a Half Men,” and “Play Nice” from the executive producers of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Fox has a slew of programs in development, including the drama “American Crime” from “CSI” producer Jerry Bruckheimer and comedies like “Julie Reno, Bounty Hunter” with former “Designing Women” star Annie Potts.
Meanwhile, the upcoming CW is solidifying its lineup with programs from both UPN and the WB. But it also has six shows in development, including the highly anticipated “Smallville” spinoff “Aquaman.” Sitcoms in the works are “The Game,” from Kelsey Grammer, executive producer of UPN’s “Girlfriends,” and “She Said/He Said,” with Jessica Simpson’s ex, Nick Lachey.
“The first we’ll see of these shows is the week of May 15,” says Adgate, referring to when the networks hold upfront presentations.
“There may be some announcements before that and there will be some buzz and rumors. But the shows that will be picked up will be made official that week.”
"Sharon Stone's up to her old tricks, but her old tricks aren't up to her."
"...the manufactured thrill is gone."
"Basic Instinct 2 isn't bad, exactly, but it lacks the entertaining vulgarity of the first film..."
"Erotic thriller desperately needs Michael Douglas -- and some real eroticism."
"It's nearly impossible to endure the two hours that comprise Basic Instinct 2's running length not because it's dumb (although it is) and not because it's poorly acted (which it also is), but because it's lifeless."
"Compared to what is one click away from any kid on the Internet, the depravity of Basic Instinct 2 is very tame indeed."
I know what I'm not doing this weekend.
Utah's tourism director had this to say about "Big Love."
" 'Big Love' is to Utah what the 'Sopranos' is to New Jersey. It's not reality. It's entertainment."
Take that, James Dobson!
10. The Shield
9. Veronica Mars
8. Law & Order franchise
7. Gilmore Girls
4. Battlestar Galactica
2. The Sopranos
And the number one show, according to EW, is...
Okay. I can deal with this list.
2. The Office
3. South Park
4. The Simpsons
5. The Colbert Report
You know The Daily Show is funnier, but the other four I completely agree with. Damn Fox. Arrested Development would be on here if you weren't insane. (And where is The Family Guy?) Why do comedies only get 5 and dramas 10? I agree with leaving Earl off the list (it's funny, but more cute funny). And thank God Desperate Housewives isn't anywhere in the 84. That show has almost lost me. Except last week. I mean, when is a 5-year-old breastfeeding NOT funny?!!
Thursday, March 30
--I like this line:
"And seeing as how I literally spent about twenty minutes on my hands and knees staring at a freeze frame of this episode on my 51 inch television to try and find a clue, I finally realized that no matter how much I like to make fun of Lost geeks, I am one of them."
--It's nice to know my addiction has been validated by at least one other person! Last night I rewound the Tivo and paused that damn Dharma map and stared at it while my husband and kid totally made fun of me. Whatever. I have no use for non-geeky Lost people.
On ''Lost,'' when the Hatch seals itself off, the Man of Faith sees a map of the Dharma installations; plus, the mystery of Henry Gale advances by Scott Brown
DISENGAGED In a flashback, Locke reconnected with his father but lost Katey Sagal
Let me begin by repeating an observation my friend Liz made during the first moments of this episode: ''Making a map to your downed balloon? Well, 'balloon in tree' is a lot more helpful than 'go around mountain.' '' Also, don't pillory me for pointing out that this line — poignant context aside — is hilarious: ''He pretended to love me just long enough to steal my kidney!''
Now on to what proved a rather gripping installment of Lost. The quick and dirty: Locke and Henry Gale are caught in the Hatch lounge when some sort of lockdown goes into effect and blast doors fall, walling them off from the rest of the compound — and the button. The timer counts down. Locke's legs are trapped beneath a blast door, so reluctantly, he explains the button to Henry. Henry appears to prove trustworthy and wriggles through the vents, ostensibly to push the button. The timer counts down — to zero, by the sound of it. The lights flicker out, black-light backups come on, and Locke sees what appears to be a map of the island and its various Dharma stations scrawled in invisible ink on the blast door. Jack's not around to witness all this because he's too busy playing Texas hold 'em with Sawyer, in a gambit to win back the meds that Sawyer stole and to generally emasculate him. (Both objectives are accomplished.) Meanwhile, Ana Lucia, Sayid, and Charlie find Henry's balloon, along with what appears to be the grave of his wife. But all is not as it appears, of course, and — here's the climactic reveal — the body in the grave is a man's, not a woman's. The man has a driver's license. The driver's license belongs to one Henry Gale, an African American from Minnesota who looks not a thing like our Henry. The jig is up.
The TiVo moment was, of course, the map. Someone was behind those blast doors long enough to plot out the whole Dharma development scheme — someone who didn't want anyone from the outside knowing what he'd figured out. (Why else draw it on a blast door in ink visible only beneath a black light?) The map is arranged in an octagon (of course), with six stations arranged within — some are drawn with dotted lines, suggesting they're...defunct? Off limits? Infected? Who knows? What appear to be rivers and landforms are superimposed over the diagram. There's a large ''I AM HERE'' scrawled next to the Swan, the Losties' home hatch. The Caduceus, the medical Hatch where Claire was held, is also clearly visible. An odd box marked ''CVI'' (or something similar) is also visible. Smaller, less legible notes are scrawled everywhere. Oh yes: In the center there's a giant question mark. As is only appropriate. The map seemed to sear itself on Locke's brain — we saw it reflected in his eye for big, fat, meaningful seconds. I sense a shift in Locke: Will the static mystery of the button cede its place to the mystery of the map?
Speaking of mysteries: What of the lockdown? There's rampant speculation that it's yet another Dharma mind game, intended to keep Hatchlings from seeing things they shouldn't. Like, for instance, where the food comes from. Shortly after the lockdown, Kate and Jack run across what appears to be a food drop: a shipment of Dharma-labeled foodstuffs dropped by parachute from the wild blue yonder, in a manner that very much suggests the reward cheese dropped into a psychologist's rat maze. (See, Hurley? There was no reason to hoard ranch dressing after all. Just fulfill the terms of the experiment and more will be provided.) Clearly, the parachute wasn't there before: It's got a strobe light on it, easily identifying it as either a package for pickup or a very small disco. Either way, it wants to be found. But the question is, who takes the food to the Hatch? And how often? And whence does this bounty fall? Is there a plane? And if so, how high would it have to be flying to escape the Losties attention? Sure, they've got their private dramas and flashbacks to contend with, but even someone as self-absorbed as Sawyer would notice a friggin' plane flying overhead.
As for flashbacks, this ep's belonged to our friend Locke, whose fears of abandonment once again reared their bald little heads. We found out that he was a home inspector in the 714 (that's Orange County, Calif.) and that one of the homes he inspected belonged to Sayid's long-lost love, Nadia, the freedom fighter he secretly freed from the clutches of Saddam's regime, who was presumably in a witness-protection-like setup. We also found out how he lost Helen (Katey Sagal): Dear old Pops pulled another scam, faked his death, and walked off with a truckload of cash, thanks to his one-kidneyed son's efforts. Locke found himself deceiving Helen to aid the con — not for the money but for the father-son bond — and the revelation of his lie ripped them apart once and for all. All this after he'd gone and bought the ring! Stupid Locke's dad. Anthony, he said his name was. But that's probably one of many names. Hmmm...career con artist, always on the run, man of many names...might one of those names be...Sawyer?
But there are more urgent matters afoot. The Losties now have a real, live Other in custody. One who may or may not have triggered the whole blast-door incident for the sole purpose of showing Locke that map. The crew either just gained an amazing asset or just took in a mind-gaming mole. The good news is, he probably knows where to get more of those tasty Dharma-brand Lost Krispies.
What do you think? Did Henry Gale allow himself to be captured? Who drew the map? And will the castaways ever discover all of their connections in their pre-crash lives?
Wednesday, March 29
Episode 2.17: Lockdown
Airdate: March 29, 2006
Guest starring are Kevin Tighe as Cooper, Katey Sagal as Helen, Michael Emerson as Henry Gale, Andrea Gabriel as Nadia, Geoffrey Rivas as Father Chuck and Theo Coumbis as Jimmy Bane.
When the hatch suddenly takes on a life of its own, Locke is forced to enlist the help of an unlikely ally. Meanwhile, Ana Lucia, Sayid and Charlie go off into the jungle to find out the truth about Henry. Katey Sagal guest stars.
During Locke's next flashback episode — slated to air in March or April — we're going to discover that he has a surprising connection to Sawyer.
[This episode] will feature a kindly latino priest named Father Chuck. Don't know which characters-centric this will be, yet.
The Rose-Locke link doesn't have anything to do with the hatch. Here's another clue: Depending on your interpretation of [March 22]'s episode, Rose may also share something in common with Jin.
Tuesday, March 28
Kelly Osbourne will live in a brothel for her new MTV reality show
Just when you thought The Osbournes were off the telly forever, here comes one of them with a brand-new MTV reality show. Kelly Osbourne will soon “star in her own MTV show” that will “follow her attempts to become a method actress,” according to the Mirror.
As a method actor, she’ll experience life as her subjects, and apparently she’s going to play a prostitute, as the show will show her “living in a brothel,” among other things.
A source told the newspaper that “Kelly’s great on camera and she’s also deadly serious about acting. So when it was suggested she let cameras follow her into some really bizarre situations she was bang up for it. She’s a bit nervous now that filming’s about to start but she knows she’ll meet interesting people along the way—especially the prostitutes.”
And that, I think, should be the name for the new series: Especially the Prostitutes.
Thursday, March 23
Welcome back, friends and obsessives. It's been so long. Yet so not-long in island time. Let us begin.
So this was a Sun and Jin episode, cleverly (and, I think, effectively) paired with plot movement: Creepy, gnomic Henry Gale comes out of his cage, sends Ana Lucia and her party (Sayid and Charlie) on what may turn out to be a suicide mission, and succeeds in further balkanizing the Losties (Jack from Locke, Ana Lu from Jack-Locke, and so on). And Dharma Krispies (now with more mysticism!) are shamelessly product-placed.
Let's begin with the happily unhappy couple. Jin gets cranky about Sun's garden and uproots a few plants to make his point. Then it turns out the whole English-speaking thing isn't the only secret Sun's been keeping from Jin. Back in Korea, the couple wanted a child — Jin more than Sun. The fertility doc blamed their lack of success on Sun's endometriosis. Later, he revealed to Sun that Jin was shooting blanks; the good doctor was just afraid to say it to the reluctant gangster's face. This all comes into sharp focus on the island, when Sun learns she's preggers. Is it Jin's? Or is the daddy-o her former arranged-marriage prospect and English teacher, three-time winner of the Annual Seoul Yul Brynner Lookalike Contest? Only time and sweeps will tell. You are now free to post liberally on the combined hotness of Sun and Jin, the separate but equal hotnesses of Sun and Jin, and the improbability of anyone cheating on DDK.
But duty and fatigue compel me to move on. Let's descend hatchward, and pick up the story with Ana Lu and Henry Gale. ''I don't make the same mistake twice,'' A.L. tells Gale, after recounting the story of how she mistakenly persecuted the wrong man on shaky grounds of Suspected Otherness. And no, Ana Lu doesn't make the same mistake twice. She makes completely different catastrophic mistakes every time. And this time, she may have broken totally new ground in the field of catastrophic mistakes: By giving Gale the benefit of the doubt and following his balloon map (um, never trust a map written on the back of a page from Dostoyevsky — you're just asking for a morally charged plot twist), she may well have walked herself, Sayid, and the increasingly punk-assed Charlie into a trap.
Meanwhile, back at the Hatch, there's another pair in need of couple's counseling: Jack and Locke. Their little scene in the steamy bathroom had a sparky marital charm to it. Jack pops out of the shower to find Locke shaving. (''Opens up m'pores.'') Locke immediately starts in with the undercutting, knowing there's no better time to razz a man than when he's naked. Ol' John probably turned down the thermostat, too, just to shrink his opponent into submission (a tactic that's straight from Sun Tzu's The Art of War, chapter 5: ''Kitchens and Bathrooms'').
Everybody thinks they've got the answers in this ep, but questions abound: Who does fly with a pregnancy test, anyway? And where exactly did Sawyer find it? What's Widmore Laboratories, the company that makes the test? According to a Lost podcast from producer Damon Lindelof, there was a sign for Widmore Construction in the background of a scene in ''Fire + Water'' a few weeks ago — what gives? Is it an extension of the Alvar Hanso-Dharma empire? What exactly is Sayid building, with Charlie as his labor force? (Looks like a big bamboo lattice, suitable for straining the giant tea leaves you need to read the future in this crazy show.) And why doesn't Sawyer think there's enough sex in Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. As I remember it, it's full of sex. And dragons. Am I thinking of another book?
This just in: Kevin Covais is not the new John Stevens. That's good news to the many American Idol fans who feared that Covais, this season's wobbly-voiced teenage crooner, would overstay his welcome by outlasting a number of more talented rivals, much like season 3's consistently painful but cheek-pinchingly precious redhead, Stevens.
Not to worry, though, fans of on-key vocal performances: Kevin (a.k.a. Chicken Little) received the lowest number of votes among the 11 remaining contestants and was eliminated from the competition on this evening's Idol results show — even though Kevin's Tuesday-night take on ''When I Fall in Love'' was no worse, and quite possibly a little better, than the performances of his fellow bottom-three dwellers, Bucky Covington and Lisa Tucker.
Any way you look at it, though, America did the right thing by putting three of this season's four least talented contestants at the bottom of the heap. (Is it wrong that I'm hoping dubious Ace Young ranked eighth in the vote tallies?) As reader Sandy MI wrote on our TV Watch message boards, ''I don't think I can take another few weeks of Chicken Little. I have to leave the room when he sings.'' Well, Sandy, here's to not getting up off our couches next week.
The other hot topic among our readers was the rendition of ''I Walk the Line'' by front-runner Chris Daughtry, which wasn't quite as original as many folks (Paula, Simon, Randy, and, yes, myself included) had believed. As several of you pointed out, the alterna-rock band Live covered Johnny Cash's classic on a 2004 greatest hits disc, and Chris' arrangement was cut from much of the same cloth.
Still, I don't see why the bald and beautiful Chris should suffer a backlash. For one thing, his performance was a heckuva lot better than Live's. And second, there's no way of knowing whether or not he tipped his hat to Live during his pre-performance interview; the Idol producers could've easily left such a comment on the editing-room floor. Remember, just last week Chris gave a shout-out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers for inspiring his version of Stevie Wonder's ''Higher Ground.'' He just doesn't seem like a credit hog to me.
Anyhow, if a backlash must begin this week, there's a far better candidate for it: Kellie Pickler. I've been ambivalent up to now about her attempts to replace Jessica Simpson as America's Next Top Dumb Blonde, but tonight, one of her throwaway comments pushed me into the anti-Pickler camp for good. When Ryan Seacrest observed that Simon Cowell had described her Tuesday-night cover of ''Walkin' After Midnight'' as ''ballsy,'' Kellie gazed dimly into the camera and asked, ''What's a ballsy?''
You want to know what ballsy is, Pickles? It's believing that the Idol audience is so enamored of you that we won't see how disingenuous you've become. Methinks that from this point forward, you're swimming upstream in this competition. Kind of like a sal-mon.
Wednesday, March 22
Airdate: May 2006
- My Lost mole confirms that a May-sweeps episode will delve into the couple's backstory. And not only will we find out how the lovebirds met, but we'll discover that Rose has something rather surprising in common with Locke. Source: Ask Ausiello @ TV Guide
- This May, the island elders Rose and Bernard will get their own flashback episode. Sources say we'll learn how the lovebirds met and that Rose and Locke share something very surprising in common. Source: TV Guide (March 27-April 7 issue)
- Writer/Supervising producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach reveals: We are going to explore more in detail and we're gonna find that [Rose and Bernard] have very interesting back-stories. Source: The Official Lost Magazine, Issue 4, May/June 2006
- Co-creator/Executive producer Damon Lindelof reveals (note that this is a summary of the spoilerish things he revealed): The images in the [monster] smoke [that faced Eko] are ALL very relevant. Some make sense to you now (like the church from Eko's flashback), some will make sense to you LATER (like the woman with the headdress). Source: The Official Lost Magazine, Issue 4, May/June 2006
- Writer/Supervising producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach reveals (note that this is a summary of the spoilerish things he revealed): Henry's true identity is going to be the topic of a lot of contention on the show. We plan on heaping twist upon twist upon twist with that! Henry is a character that the fans are going to have to watch very closely, because he carries great meaning for the future of Lost and the castaways in general. On the island, his ultimate faith is going to affect everyone on the show. [Fans should keep close attention to] the Others [and] where they have drawn a line on the island. You can expect that situation to get a lot worse. There are going to be some surprises that are going to be some very dark turns, that at least one of the characters is going to make. One of the characters is going to have some shocking destiny! The focus of the season is how do we co-exist with the Others. Their intentions are very obscure. The [survivors and the Others], both through circumstance and willingly, are going to step over [the] line [drawn by Mr. Friendly, aka Zeke.] The results of that are what the rest of the season is going to be about. We are building towards a serious moment of chaos. [We will learn about what happened to Michael.] What happened to Michael, who did he see, who was communicating with Michael, and how does Michael's story resolve itself is going to be a major concern of the last third of the season. The Others are by no means anything that we think they are. What is going to be interesting is how that unfolds -- that is something we are going to be giving you some very definte hints about towards the end of this season, but the full picture of who the Others are, why they're here, and what they're doing, is going to remain a mystery for a while. [Rousseau] is one of those characters who is always going to be in the periphery of events. [The Kate, Jack and Sawyer situation will get more complicated.] You can expect that to be unresolved for a while to come! In response to [the frustration he lives on the island], Locke is going to go to some new places that we have not seen that character go to before. Source: The Official Lost Magazine, Issue 4, May/June 2006
- I just found out that Harold Perrineau will resurface during May sweeps.
Tuesday, March 21
Monday, March 20
I dont' care what they do to him... he'll still sound and act like Joe Cocker.
Friday, March 17
"NBC has given the official "Go" to a drama for next season called Kidnapped from Sony Pictures Television and 25C Productions. The show stars Dana Delany and Timothy Hutton, and the season begins with the kidnapping of a wealthy couple's son, and subsequent investigation where everybody is a suspect and nothing is a perfect as it seems. Kidnapped is added to the short list of new series for the fall which also includes The Black Donnellys, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip with Matthew Perry."
[Source: Cynthia's Cynopsis]
Thursday, March 16
I have to work at the club but if I get off by midnight I’ll try to stop by! Allison Keely
You are totally a stripper on the side!
You are!!!!!!!! Hahaha…. By the way in case you don’t remember – you peed outside the parking garage like a homeless man last night. Oh yes I will use this as blackmail later – OH YES! Haaa…
I did NOT. Fuck! Did I use your phone to call Marc? He said I was bugging the shit out of him using other people’s phones. This is why I don’t drink like I’m in college anymore.
Oh you SO DID pee outside the garage. No you were not allowed near my phone – although I typically endorse drunk dialing.
Oh and by the way, you ARE drinking like this again tomorrow or it would be dishonorable to the Irish. That’s an order.
"Jordan Knight and Debbie Gibson are teaming up to record a duet in the hopes that their combined star power will garner enough attention so that they can afford to buy some groceries."
There are plenty of mistakes you can make during the American Idol finals without having to pay the ultimate price. For instance, you can try out a disastrous new hairstyle (like Bucky Covington). Or perform with only a smidgeon of your previously displayed charisma (like Kellie Pickler and Elliott Yamin). You can even deliver your song in a painful warble and then sass off when Simon Cowell rips your performance to shreds (à la Kevin Covais).
The one thing you cannot do, however, is mess up your lyrics, as perpetual underdog Melissa McGhee found out during Wednesday night's Idol results show. The Florida native, who struggled with the words to Stevie Wonder's ''Lately'' on Tuesday's performance show, repeatedly substituting ''recognition'' for ''premonition,'' received the lowest number of viewer votes, becoming the first season 5 finalist to get the old heave-ho.
Many EW.com readers thought she had it coming. ''Forgetting the lyrics is unprofessional,'' Rooney argued on yesterday's TV Watch message board. ''I realize that well-known singers do it all the time, but Melissa only had one song to learn.'' Still, the raspy-voiced songbird handled her elimination with panache, admitting to host Ryan Seacrest that her sad fate came as no surprise.
The evening's other two residents of the bottom three — Lisa Tucker and Ace Young — were slightly more unexpected, though as I contended yesterday, both Lisa and Ace are among the contestants who ''might be better off spending the next couple of weeks mailing head shots to their local cabaret lounges and dinner-theater directors'' than actually dreaming of a major-label recording contract. Indeed, Ace's ''Do I Do,'' his third consecutive performance plagued by serious pitch problems, proved that luscious locks and male-model posing do not necessarily an Idol make. Lisa, meanwhile, who received the second-lowest number of votes, is going to have to realize that merely staying on key won't win her a sizable fan base. Unless she can shake that lingering whiff of precocious pageant kid that she brings to every performance, she'll be a goner before April Fool's Day.
What do you think? Did Melissa deserve to go? Would you have substituted another contestant for either Ace or Lisa in the bottom three? And which contestant do you think is most likely to be ousted next week?
As promised earlier in the week, when Rock Star 2’s new format was revealed, the rockers involved have been announced. Along with Tommy Lee, who we already knew was participating, “guitarists Jason Newsted (Metallica) and Gilby Clarke (Guns N’ Roses), are forming a new band called Supernova,” Variety reports.
In addition, the show “has signed songwriter-performer Butch Walker to produce Supernova’s first album, to be released just before the new band hits the road in 2007,” Variety says.
Besides hosting the show with Brooke Burke, Dave Navarro says he’ll have “[f]riends of mine, like Slash, Macy Gray, Moby and Rob Zombie, … join us and throw in their two cents about who should stay and who should go.”
Wednesday, March 15
Videogamers the world over are going to have to wait a while longer before they get their hands on the new PlayStation 3. Maker Sony said yesterday that it will delay the release of the much-anticipated game console until November because of problems with its next-generation disk technology. The company is still trying to finalize the copyright protection technology for the new Blu-ray disc format that PlayStation 3 and other next-generation Sony gadgets will utilize. The gaming console was originally scheduled to debut in the spring. With the new timeline, customers in Japan and North America will be able to buy the console by Christmas. PlayStation is now the dominant brand for home consoles, with nearly 204 million original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 machines shipped worldwide. But competition is heating up, with the release of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 last year and the scheduled release of Nintendo’s Revolution later this year.
Mandisa-could have been better. still love her
Elliott-i can't get past his teeth
Bucky-jessica simpson? bwah! ha ha ha!
Kellie-horrid song. stupid hick girl routine growing very old
Kevin-makes me want to vomit
Katharine-surprisingly good but seems too proper
Paris-reminded me of a bobble head
Taylor-i just love him and his hair really improved
Melisssa-not feeling it
Tuesday, March 14
Glad you thought so! I am now five episodes in and can tell you, though I initially resisted it, I'm completely and totally hooked now! Chloë Sevigny is one of the best characters ever on TV that you will love to hate, and there is a big battle brewing between her father (the Prophet, who has 31 wives and 108 grandchildren) and our main guy, Bill. She also has a secret that could get her in big trouble with Bill. The neighbors are getting more suspicious, and that's a problem. Also, episode five is fantastic! Chloë's character thinks Bill is cheating on them with a fourth wife, but it's not at all what it seems.
Plus, check out the opener, Morning After Girls. They had a hugely appealing 60's vibe. But it was really B.R.M.C. that brought down the house. They open with a few acoustic numbers, blow into some really loud ones, basically play the entire album "Howl," and play the socks off their instruments. These guys are so talented, and they play so well together live. Marc, who I went with, and I have decided to go see this band whenever they're in town, no matter how hard it is to get tickets.
I think they just aired this movie on ABC Family. It's called The Cutting Edge 2.
Monday, March 13
"And rumour has it that Lions Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash - excuse me - Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline."
Annie Proulx sure writes nice for a grade schooler.
Oh my heck, does Bill Hendrickson have his hands full. He's got a chain of home-improvement stores poised to go public, and if that weren't headache enough, there's also trouble on the home fronts -- all four of them.
First wife Barb is not exactly going along with the unquestioning-obedience business and Bill spends all episode coaxing her into signing over her paycheck. This is so he can alleviate some of the financial woes that compulsive shopper and wife number two Nicki has incurred. And wife number three, Margene, is clearly in over her head with regards to keeping house and raising kids. (Which is only to be expected: she appears to be barely older than Bill and Barb's oldest daughter, Sara.) Meanwhile, back at the fundamentalist compound from whence Bill escaped, his dad appears to be the victim of poisoning, Bill's salty momma complicates the situation by throwing assorted fits over the state of modern medicine (she distrusts it) and Bill's lifestyle, and Bill's father-in-law -- well, one of them, anyway -- is making noises about wanting a bigger slice of his business's profits. Those fourteen-year-old brides don't come cheap, you know.
All in all, a promising start to the series. Plus it features Tina Majorino in a role that's a spiritual sister to Deb in Napoleon Dynamite, so there's always that going for it.
I always forget how good this show is. And then it comes back on air after 2 years off and I'm blown away. Not literally, like three or four characters last night. One hell of a shocking ending. In a way, reminiscent of Six Feet Under's final season. (Interesting that both shows are obsessed about death.)
It was good to see Adriana. And I loved loved loved the first 5 minutes, reintroducing the characters with a great voiceover and even better music.
Can't wait for next week. Even if it's a dream sequence episode (not the biggest fan of those).
I always forget how good this show is. And then it comes back on air after 2 years off and I'm blown away. Not literally, like three or four characters last night. One hell of a shocking ending. In a way, reminiscent of Six Feet Under's final season. (Interesting that both shows are obsessed about death.)
It was good to see Adriana. And I loved loved loved the first 5 minutes, reintroducing the characters with a great voiceover and even better music.
Can't wait for next week. Even if it's a dream sequence episode (not the biggest fan of those).
Friday, March 10
Thursday, March 9
Shortly after Entertainment Weekly published Doc Jensen's super-string Aaron Theory of Lost, hundreds of you wrote me with your own theories and Whoa! stories, and beginning next week at EW.com, I'm going to share some of your scholarship and personal testimonies twice a week, in addition to giving you some new Lost gold nuggets (or fool's gold, depending on your POV) of my own.
To kick off the weekly dialogue, I'd like to turn you on to fellow Lostologist Sean Dunleavy. You can check out his intelligently reasoned mega-theory that Lost is an intricately and knowingly constructed allegory for the Patriot Act age in general and the war in Iraq specifically at his website. But several days after e-mailing me his politically charged manifesto, Sean sent me another e-mail, this one bursting with Whoa!-moment giddiness:
''I've just had a massive revelation re: the Flashbacks, the bizarre coincidences found in the Flashbacks, the Hatch, and the Numbers... The coincidences never occurred. The Flashbacks can't be trusted. Why not? Because inside the Hatch there's a great big transmitter, and everytime someone enters 'The Number' into the computer and presses the button, it gets activated, and starts transmitting. But what's it transmitting? Well, if I've got it correct... it's transmitting BELIEFS.'' In a nutshell: Sean thinks the Dharma Initiative is essentially reprogramming human beings with new values and beliefs for the purpose of building a new society. (You can read more of Sean's new theory at the aforementioned website.)
Like Sean, my mind changes about Lost every time I watch a new episode, or stumble upon some potentially revealing information. And when I do, man, can I froth at the mouth with Whoa! mania. When I was holed up in my office and manically constructing the Aaron Theory a few weeks ago, my wife and colleagues were convinced I had gone Unabomber on them. They were inches away from calling the boys in white with the butterfly nets. I remember the day I discovered the Wikipedia.org entry for Aaron Charles Donahue, and raved wildly about my (momentary) conviction that the crazy-spooky worldview mythology of this alleged ''remote viewer'' explained much of what was happening with the Dharma Initiative, the Others, Claire's abduction, and the Monster. (Curious: Donahue's personal website is registered to a small island off the coast of Australia. Hmmmm...)
I had another Whoa! moment a few weeks ago during a restless slumber while traveling to Chicago to visit the set of Prison Break. (See next week's EW for that report.) I had just finished reading three volumes of a truly cool, Must List-worthy comic book series called Planetary, which to this day I am convinced is one of the secret source texts of Lost. (More on this later.) This was shortly after the episode ''One of Them,'' in which Sawyer squished a frog to death. My sleepy brain was putting stuff together: a Planetary story about a psychotic suicide cult on a monstrous island; vague memories of reading something about how certain frogs secrete psychedelic enzymes or something; and the opium poppies in the Virgin Mary idols in the Hatch. The word psychotropics came to mind, as in, ''Heroin belongs to a family of drugs called psychotropics.'' Suddenly: Whoa! ''Psychotropics = Psycho Tropics = The island on Lost.'' I was so convinced I was onto something, I woke up the guy next to me on the plane and explained it to him. Before I knew it, an Air Marshal was summoned, a sedative was administered, and I woke up inside a holding cell inside O'Hare Airport. (Please don't tell my editors about this.)
Seriously, though: I do think my ''psychotropic'' epiphany sheds some revealing light on the mysteries of Lost, in that I believe Lost is sending secret messages to its audience — and perhaps misdirecting its audience — through sly allusions and a conspicuous choice of words. Recall the whole business with the Black Rock last year. For most of the first season, most of us naturally assumed the Black Rock was Rousseau's name for a foothill or butte or cliff or something — not the literal name of an ancient slave ship inexplicably beached in the middle of the jungle. (Burning question: Didn't Rousseau also say that the radio tower that was broadcasting the Numbers, and later her S.O.S. signal, was located near the Black Rock? Weird how the castaways have never tried to find it....)
But here's a more recent example: I'd love to hear from you H.P. Lovecraft experts out there about the possible overlap between the author and Lost. Of course, a mysterious land mass in the South Pacific, with a weird, mythic history and protected by a formless, monstrous guardian, evokes the writer's classic At the Mountains of Madness. And aesthetically, Lovecraft's pioneering blend of science fiction, horror, psychological suspense and invented mythology seems to have much in common with Lost's creative modus operandi; and considering the fixations with science (both mad and sound), metaphysics, mental illness, blurred lines between fact and fantasy, any Lostologist should consider picking through the author's (formbidably dense) oeuvre for clues.
But Lovecraft may have darker connections to the show. One of many myths about the author — vigorously disputed by his defenders — is that Lovecraft was an eccentric shut-in who lived under the thumb of his two aunts after the tragic deaths of his parents and a brief, failed marriage. In fact, in an issue of Planetary (which also features a character inspired after another Lost-linked author, Ambrose Bierce), Lovecraft is depicted as the original, prototypical basement geek, who dwells mostly within the cellar of his aunt's haunted house. (By the way: In the same story, Lovecraft manages to conjure a supernatural, snowflake-shaped quantum computer in his basement lair that allows him access to alternate realities. Think: the Hatch.)
According to Lovecraft biographer, scholar, and apologist S.T. Joshi, the author's father died in a mental hospital due to syphilis — a disease whose symptoms seem very similar to the symptoms that have been attributed to the phantom virus allegedly on the loose in Lost. Lovecraft was a troubled soul — his youth profoundly affected by intense emotional trauma — and also allegedly something of a bigot; his work is marked by some truly unenlightened language, and the man even named his cat after a certain unprintable racial slur.
Lovecraft's elaborate Cthulhu psuedo-mythology included a Cygnus creature, or ''swan,'' and after his death, he was buried at Swan Point Cemetary in Rhode Island. His gravestone is a granite marker that reads I AM PROVIDENCE, which spoke to the writer's intense identification with his hometown... although the declaration is also a line attributed to Satan in the book The Life of St. Anthony.
Finally, on a more benign note, one of the murkiest if more entertaining bits of Lovecraftian lore is the legend surrounding The Necronomicon, a sinister spell book referenced in several of his stories and allegedly chockablock with symbols and hieroglyphics. So many curious stories surround this thing that it reminds me of a comment one Lost producer made not long ago about Mr. Eko's walking stick. To paraphrase: ''This thing has its own backstory.'' Some say The Necronomicon is a real spell book that was used by Lovecraft for his fiction. Others say Lovecraft's fictional Necronomicon was turned into a real book by enthusiastic fans and Satanists. I dote on The Necronomicon because of the hieroglyphics business, but also to establish firmly in your mind its status as a real-life example of a blurred line between fact and fiction, which seems to be recurring theme in Lost. Bookmark that idea; we'll come back to it next week.
Now: apply Lovecraft to Lost's island, Monster, ''Black Rock'' (racist attitudes + granite gravestone = slave ship?), ''Station Three: The Swan'' (whose logo, as discussed last week, also resembles a devilish snake), the Disease, and the Hieroglyphics in the Hatch — are all these things allusions to Lovecraft? Is Lovecraft the Rosetta stone that can decode the language of Lost's mysteries?
Now I know what you're thinking. You think I'm nuts. Or, at best, you think I am mistaking interesting but utterly incidental or merely coincidental similarities for some grand creative conspiracy. And when it comes to this Lovecraft stuff, I'm willing to concede that you might be right. (But if it turns out that the Others are a Cult of Lovecraft who think the island is some Chthulu hellhole posssessed by the author's ghosts — you heard it here first!) At the same time: This is Lost, a show all about the coincidences that may be or may not be part of some grand and wicked design. Besides, there can be no argument that the show is chockablock with a large amount of meta-fictional wordplay, hidden cues, secret symbols, and explicit nods to external sources. Recently, the producers confirmed to EW that the ''Dharma'' in the Dharma Initiative is actually an acronym. (We'll explore what ''Dharma'' might mean next week.) Earlier this season, the producers loudly announced that a Lost-referenced book, The Third Policeman, is filled with clues. But perhaps the most provocative proof that Lost's subtext is rife with revealing bits and deliberate nods to real-life authors is Hurley's recent discovery of a manuscript amid the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815 called Bad Twin, written by an author named Gary Troup — an anagram for ''Purgatory.'' Next week at EW.com, I'm going to tell you all about Bad Twin, which is going to be published in our real world in May, and how the book links to writers Paul Auster and Robert Heinlein, and how it all adds up to a brand new Doc Jensen theory I like to call the Ghost Writer Hypothesis. It's going to explain the coincidences, the flashbacks, the blurring of fantasy and reality, and how it all connects to Mr. Eko's current fixation with cutting down trees. If you want a hint, I'll give you one word: Grok. Look it up: Grok explains everything. But that's next week.
Wednesday, March 8
Ted Casablanca is such a nut:
Toothy Tile, you're toast. You've been so damn taken with the breathless watching of whether or not you'd maybe, just maybe, decide to come outta the closet you thought you'd keep your fans (not to mention my readers) on the edge of their slippery seats forever. Think again.
'Cause, girlfriend, there's a new gay in town--meet Crisp Lisp. And he's way cooler. Actually new isn't quite the right word to describe C.L., but more on him in a sec.
Let's face it. T2 was going to be dethroned as King of the Closet one of these days. Everyone is bored, already. I mean, come out or stay in, it's your call. But the way Toothy prances about (lately), never really making any statements that give us something to chomp on, is just plain aggravating.
Yes, I am much more impressed by Crisp Lisp. On Oscar night, he attended one of the hottest-ticket bashes in this damn town. And he didn't go alone. He was with his date--a very nice, if shy, dude. The two made no secret that they were on a romantic outing. And by this fetching factoid, I don't mean to imply they were sucking face and groping each other. I mean, Tara Reid C.L. is not and never will be.
Rather, Crisp and his paramour just kinda chilled. Held hands. Whispered low. Gazed longingly into each other's bedroom eyes, blah-pre-poke-behavior-blah. Sure, everyone knew what was going on and that this is pretty much C.L.'s first foray into serious gay-relationship territory.
I wanna wish C.L. luck. And even though Crisp has a detractor, or three, in this town (who friggin' doesn't?), well, who can hold a grudge against new love?
Oh, and if you think you've seen C.-hon at a lot of high-profile parties lately, you're right. You totally have.
Will we see Adrianna back on The Sopranos?
Also on at 10pm tonight is Black.White, on FX. The premise is worthwhile, so I hope it's more than just a heavily-edited reality show. I guess we'll find out. For now my hope is high that it will be all it's been promoted to be.
Both shows are worth watching, so I hope you have your Tivo (or VCR... gasp!) programmed accordingly.
And for those wondering..... Lost is a repeat tonight. No new eppy's until 3/22. Bummer. If it's any consolation, the Idol Boys will be croning tonight. Go Chris!
What news do you have on Locke? You promised you would have something for us in this week's chat. Spill it!
Ay, chi chi! I nearly forgot! Thanks. I have it on good authority that "Locke will be returning to his roots..." Any guesses on what that means?
From ktgrace426: Locke has hair?
From tbriscoe: Locke's a tree!
From aliasfan612: Locke is going back in the wheelchair?
No, but close. He's going to get one step closer. The word on the street is that (read only if you want to know!) Mr. Clean will be on crutches for the remainder of the season.
From valencia: What happens to Locke? An accident?
Let's just say the hatch strikes back.
From mycatz2: My cat asked me to pass along this question: "Is Sun really pregnant?"
Wow, who knew felines were so inquisitive! Tell your kitty I'm pretty sure she is. And somewhere "He" is smiling.
Tuesday, March 7
Jeff Abercrombie, the group’s bass player, told Extra that Chris did “a great job. This guy delivered. And he delivered like he’d written the song himself.” The band’s lead singer, Brett Scallions, left the group early in February. And following Chris’ performance, Randy Jackson told Access Hollywood that “Chris just got offered to be in the band Fuel, the lead singer is gone so they are trying to get it together.”
But it may not be a sure thing. The group is having a contest to replace their lead singer. Their web site’s announcement for this search mention’s Chris’ performance, but also asks others to send in performances for consideration. Of course, Chris is currently handcuffed to Idol by its contract, so by the time he can sing for Fuel, its original members will be long gone.
ESPN2 will air a series that focuses on Barry Bonds’ “pursuit of Hank Aaron’s career home run record,” according to the AP. The show will also be “a weekly behind-the-scenes look at Bonds and the San Francisco Giants.” It will be the next season of ESPN’s series The Season.
Besides “two to three cameras filming Bonds most of the season,” Bonds on Bonds “will also include archival footage and game highlights.” But the team’s manager, Felipe Alou, said “I don’t believe it will affect this veteran team. The main guy is Barry and if he does his thing with the bat and is not affected by it, I don’t think we’ll be.” The show debuts April 4 on ESPN2.
--I remember watching Kirby 'back in the day' and always admired his loyalty to the Twins. He will be missed.
Dana Reeve, who fought for better treatments and possible cures for paralysis through the Christopher Reeve Foundation, named for her late actor-husband, has died, the foundation said. She was 44. Reeve died late Monday of lung cancer, said Kathy Lewis, President and CEO of the foundation.
Monday, March 6
However, Natalie Portman was a riot in the digital short. She was a gangsta rapper, and it was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.
(I also liked her "Stop Wars" t-shirt.)
Thank you, George Bush, for turning the U.S. into Iran. This is, actually, not in jest. I bet the U.S. today is more like Iran than it is like the U.S. five years ago.
Best Feature: "Brokeback Mountain"Producers: Diana Ossana and James Schamus
Best Director: Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"
Best Screenplay: Dan Futterman, "Capote"
Best First Feature: "Crash"Director: Paul HaggisProducers: Cathy Schulman, Don Cheadle, Bob Yari, Mark R. Harris, Bobby Moresco, Paul Haggis
Best First Screenplay: Duncan Tucker, "Transamerica"
John Cassavetes Award: "Conventioneers"(For the Best Feature made for under $500,000)
Director: Mora StephensWriters: Mora Stephens and Joel ViertelProducer: Joel Viertel
Best Supporting Female: Amy Adams, "Junebug"
Best Supporting Male: Matt Dillon, "Crash"
Best Female Lead: Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"
Best Male Lead: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"
Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit, "Good Night, and Good Luck"
Best Foreign Film: "Paradise Now"Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Best Documentary: "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room"Director: Alex Gibney
AMC/American Express Producers Award: Caroline Baron, "Capote", "Monsoon Wedding"($25,000 unrestricted grant -- honors producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality independent films.)
IFC/Acura Someone To Watch Award: Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana, "Cavite" ($25,000 unrestricted -- honors a director of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.)
Truer Than Fiction Award: Ian Olds and Garrett Scott, "Occupation: Dreamland"($25,000 unrestricted -- presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features.)
They had the opportunity to award a film that was truly groundbreaking (Brokeback Mountain) and subtle and true art. Or they could've awarded Munich, which will be revered as a classic in ten or fifteen years, or they could've given it to Capote or Good Night & Good Luck (which I haven't seen yet... still).
They just blew it. Dumb Oscar voters.
The awards show itself was actually entertaining and under 9 hours long. Jon Stewart wasn't "hilarious," but he was very sharp. His best joke involved Cheney shooting Bjork. Some other thoughts:
-What the fuck was Charlize wearing? Was whoever sat behind her pissed that their view was seriously obstructed?
-Nicole Kidman should just paint herself white and call it a day.
-Why is Ryan Secrest everywhere?
-Dolly Parton was robbed. Rachel McAdams will totally play Dolly in the biopic.
-Jennifer Garner is so damn cute. She pulled off an embarassing trip-up with grace and humor.
-Meryl Streep and Lili Tomlin were silly and fabulous introducing a very deserving Robert Altman.
-George Clooney had a fantastic acceptance speech. This man is smart.
That's all until 2007.
Friday, March 3
It's scary quitting a job for the first time. I thought for sure everyone was going to be pissed, but everyone was so supportive. I'm lucky to have worked at my company for so long. But I'm looking forwarding to learning a ton more at another place.
College Hill 3 [BET, March 2, Thursdays at 9]
Pros vs. Joes [Spike TV, March 6, Mondays at 10]
America’s Next Top Model 6 [UPN, March 8, Wednesdays at 8]
Pros vs. Joes [FX, March 8, Wednesdays at 10]
Top Chef [Bravo, March 8 at 11, Wednesdays at 10]
Cheerleader Nation [Lifetime, March 12, Sundays at 10]
Face the Family [Lifetime, March 12, Sundays at 11]
Nashville Star 4 [USA Network, March 14, Tuesdays at 10]
The Surreal Life 6 [VH1, March 19, Sundays at 10]
The Real Housewives of Orange County [Bravo, March 21, Tuesdays at 10]
Texas Ranch House [PBS, May 1 to 4, 8 to 10 p.m.]
The Contender 2 [ESPN, June]
Congratulations, America: You did the right thing this week, eliminating the four least-talented contestants remaining in season 5 of American Idol. Thanks to your votes (or lack thereof), we can all look forward to a rousing semifinal finale next week unmarred by the lackluster vocal stylings of David Radford, Jose ''Sway'' Penala, Heather Cox, and Brenna Gethers.
Not surprisingly, scads of tastemaking EW.com readers on our message boards pegged the foul foursome as the most likely candidates for elimination. Reader LKD pretty much summed up the problem for the two women who received the lowest number of viewer votes: ''Brenna, completely lost in her own ego, broke her promise to 'bring da claws out' this week. Her butchering of the Idol overplayed 'Last Dance' will certainly send her home Thursday night. And, unlike Carrie Underwood, Heather doesn't have the vocal chops or individual style to make up for her wooden stage presence.'' I couldn't have said it better myself, and as a matter of fact, I won't even try.
As for the men, after listening to the abysmal David destroy ''The Way You Look Tonight'' on Wednesday, reader Katnip wrote, ''I wish you could vote someone off 'Idol.' '' Sway, meanwhile, pleased a handful of EW.com supporters but mostly received a tall glass of Haterade on our message boards.
Despite the predictable nature of the voting tallies, tonight's results show nonetheless contained its share of eyebrow-raising moments. For starters, judge Paula Abdul — who has been uncharacteristically lucid most of this season — started blurting giggly non sequiturs every time host Ryan Seacrest asked her a question. I'm not sure what's got her feeling so, um, happy, but maybe it's time she shared with the class. (----yeah... what the hell was wrong with Paula?)
The episode had some contestant-driven oddness, too: Taylor Hicks trying to rub Chris Daughtry's sexy-smooth pate when the latter singer escaped elimination; young Lisa Tucker, looking like she was struggling to conjure up some tears every time Ryan gave a wannabe the ax; Ayla Brown clapping her hands like she had an inner metronome during Sway's ''Overjoyed''; and Paris Bennett offering an extended (and quite possibly unwelcome) hug to Sway in the minutes following his dismissal. Way to get some additional airtime, kiddo!
Still, lest I get accused of dishing it out but not being able to take it, I've got to call attention to a carefully considered reprimand I received from reader Auntie Em: ''Why refer to Mandisa as a 'plus-sized' beauty? I do not recall anyone referring to the other ladies as 'skinny beauties' or 'looks-like-a-popsicle-stick-with-legs beauty' or even 'average-sized beauty.' Hmmm. Just something to think about.'' Duly noted, Auntie Em. Good thing I'll have a chance to redeem myself when the gizzorgeous diva takes to the stage next week.
What did you think of tonight's dismissals? Would you agree with me that Kinnik, Will, and Bucky should consider themselves lucky to still be in the competition? And do you think any of the early front-runners might be at risk of an upset elimination next week when the final 12 are announced?
Hey, everyone. I'm writing this up last minute because Dalton Ross' VCR crapped out on him. (It probably ate too many half-cooked beans on an empty stomach.) I swear on Shane's kid that I'll try to do a good job. And that kind of promise always works out. Except, of course, when you're Bob Dawg. More on that later.
Since I'm so skilled at this — or, as Courtney said regarding the bottle of wine that Bob and Bruce pilfered, ''super special'' — I managed to record every last second of the poop patrol that ensued back at the La Mina camp after a reward challenge in which they chose to take home a bag of beans instead of rice. (In their malnourished haze, they must have forgotten that the more you eat, the more you toot — and that there are cameras everywhere.)
Speaking of which, that reward challenge was really funny. It seemed as if the entire scenario were really just a ploy to remind the castaways of how hungry they were. Here, take this rice. Just take it and run! And this huge sack of beans. And no, really, grab that fish. Go ahead, it's yours. Throw it! I almost expected Jeff to shout out, ''See, guys? It's easy to catch fish in Panama!'' They just have to be already dead and chilling out in a rowboat ten feet from shore. No biggie.
Even after hacking at those fish like a veteran Iron Chef, Bob Dawg got voted out by the rest of Casaya, a.k.a. the biggest bunch of nut jobs that ever existed. Earlier, Bruce built a ''Zen rock garden'' for no apparent reason. Aras suddenly went Dr. Phil on Bruce for making said garden instead of helping out with the chores. Courtney, who I would call Mother Earth if she weren't so generally off-putting, decided to do (gasp!) yoga at (gasp!) the Zen rock garden. I'm no fan of yoga or Courtney, but seriously, what did Bruce expect? He called it a ''Zen rock garden.'' Courtney's grease-magnet dreadlocks probably perked up at that phrase and yanked her carcass headfirst to the garden, powered by some sort of spiritual/magnetic/fire-dancing mojo. And I won't even get started on the complex nightmare that is Shane, or the son he thinks matters to anyone but him.
Danielle and Cirie had the right idea when they called Courtney over to rally against the guys and ''turn the game around.'' I was all for this, despite the involvement of Courtney. But I cannot comprehend why the girls would confide in Shane about their big plans. They should have voted him out — why not ask Bruce or Bobby to help them? The two oenophiles were already in the doghouse (and outhouse) together.
Instead, Bobby went down with a bang similar to the sound his giant chopper kept making against those fish. (That was awesome!) Danielle pulled a surprisingly sage move at tribal council by suggesting that, as an elder, Bruce deserved at least minimal respect. Cirie's doing pretty well with her act-like-you're-not-there strategy, and as long as Aras spends some quality time in the Zen rock garden (QT in the ZRG), he should be fine. I'm almost afraid for this tribe, but I'm still dying to watch the season unfold. With another relatively sane and calm tribemate out of the way, Casaya should continue on in its quest to go collectively bonkers.
What do you think? Was voting Bobby out more strategic than meets the eye? Was Courtney even entitled to super-special wine after sitting out during the challenge? Are you getting sick of seeing skulls this season? And was Terry's beanless exile a blessing in disguise?
Thursday, March 2
The unofficial theme on Wednesday is "everybody looks great," because seriously. Everybody. The "song choice" bugaboo from Tuesday is still in effect, though at the very least these are mostly songs I've heard before. Taylor is his usual subtle, reserved self, and sings that song from the Levi's commercial. His voice no longer matters, but his grab bag of spasmodic tics and rat-tat-tat WOO-ing at the judges are all clearly part of what makes him such a breath of fresh air in this competition. Elliott switches things up by singing some Stevie Wonder (though, to be fair, "Moody's Mood for Love" has apparently also been sung by humanity itself, so we'll scale that shit off), and I'm finally getting the voice, even if he's still pretty boring. All those waiting for Ace to start growing a personality, here's what he's come up with so far: he wears beanies. Perfect, no? It's the Nermal of hats. He sings that "If You're Not the One" song that I liked that one day two years ago, and he's significantly not as good as last week. Like that even matters, but regardless. Gedeon busts out some Sam Cooke, and pretty much lets the song do the heavy lifting for him. He's really good, but he also picked the right damn week to choose a song everybody loves.
Kevin is put up to even more "sing for Mommy and Daddy's friends" bullshit in his pre-song, and as if that's not painful enough, his song is "Heard It Through the Grapevine." That sound you hear is all of America shedding a tear for how screwed this kid is. And then he gets totally sandbagged by Seacrest with a Chicken Little sight gag. Poor kid. Is Sway even still on this show? Huh. I owe Jacob a Coke. He sings "Overjoyed" by that criminally underutilized AI talent Stevie Wonder, and the judges basically tell him he's in some deep shit. Will opts for "Lady" by Kenny Rogers. And I laugh and laugh. He's remarkably very good for singing such a ridonkulous song, and he's got his shit together way more than the rest of his teen brethren, that's for damn sure. The judges are kind of harsh, but that ceases to matter when Ryan begins to undress him and Simon has to remind everyone who is how old around these parts.
Bucky, much like Kellie, is baffled by the culinary wonders of California. What are you putting on his chicken, restaurateurs of the American west? He sings Garth Brooks's classic ode to wife-beating "The Thunder Rolls," and he looks about 100% more presentable than he ever has before. Randy actually says "dirty," though to be fair the word "south" immediately follows it. David Radford tells the most wondrously "who cares?" story of the night, about a belt and a cell phone charger, but he's super-sincere about it, and if he'd just agree to never, ever sing again, I would like him quite a bit. Oh, but then it's Stealing Sinatra time, and "The Way You Look Tonight," and I want to kill him again. Stop making those sounds with your voice! Right now! Finally, Chris is looking a bit too Bruce Willis for comfort, but he's singing Fuel's "Hemorrhage," which means he's got me, completely. Better yet, he's awesome and the judges give him top honors for the night. I start dreaming of a Mandisa-Chris final that can never be.
Tomorrow: Heather Cox and three others will be sent home, and Jacob will have all the juicy details.
Let me begin by saying it's especially nice to write this column on nights when there's so very, very much to write about: the long-awaited story of what happened to Claire during her two-week abduction, a significant advancement of the Dharma mythology (including the discovery of a brand new hatch, the Caduceus), an illuminating look at Rousseau, and a heart-to-heart with Mister Eko. Not to mention some of the best dialogue in a while. For example, when Locke allowed Eko to question their captive, suspected Other Henry Gale:
Locke: Don't tell him what the alarm is for.
Eko: What is the alarm for?
This is inarguably the best-written episode in some time: excellent use of the plot groundwork laid last season (Claire's disappearance, Rousseau's involvement, the mystery illness, and Desmond's lotto-numbered injects), as well as excellent teases for future developments. So let's begin, to the tune of the Perry Como classic, ''Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket....''
My friend Liz called to remind me that this little ditty — the one played by the airplane mobile over Future Aaron's crib — was, in fact, the same song Claire, in last year's flashback, hoped that her child's adoptive parents would know. So how'd the Others know it, when they were preparing a nursery for the baby they planned to harvest from Claire? Well, there's the psychic explanation — increasingly popular round these parts, especially with my colleague, the esteemed theorist Jeff Jensen.
The other explanation, of course, is that Claire's creepy Australian psychic (the one whose advice she sought on her unexpected pregnancy) was nothing of the sort — just a Dharma Other in civvies, sending his cohorts on the island fresh meat. He could've given them the full dossier on Claire. Of course, he's also the one who told Claire she must, must, must raise the baby herself — otherwise it'd turn out all (shudder) wrong. This advice, and Claire's shifting maternal instincts, might all be part of the big Dharma mind game.
Which brings us to the blue-eyed, raven-haired young lady we're assuming to be Rousseau's daughter, Alex. Clearly, the Others have their own insubordination problems. Evil baby injectors they may be, but as Alex and (to a lesser extent) Ethan have shown us, they're not a Hive Mind. (Ethan never should've taken Claire outside — that was a stupid risk, from the Others' perspective. He'd clearly developed an affinity for her, which she, in her drugged state, returned sunnily.)
They're also not a collection of spooky old fishermen and scruffy castaways. Nope, those Scooby-Doo beards conceal well-shorn, well-equipped lab-coat types, with the best technology 1975 dollars can buy. As Zeke (the gruff-voiced Other last seen in fake whiskers) indicated in his argument with Ethan, these Dharma holdouts serve a mysterious Him. And who might Him be, do you wonder? Speculation is rife: Walt? Industrialist and Dharma founder Alvar Hanso? Fyodor Dostoyevsky?
Yes, we have another literary mystery. Head Hatch librarian Locke has pulled yet another book off the shelf, and it's The Brothers Karamazov, a tale of patricide and fraternal rivalry. (Gale requested Stephen King: Intertextual theorists, start your engines.) There is, perhaps, no better way to introduce the final stage of the Jack-Locke showdown — except, golly, does anyone really buy that Locke would be so easily manipulated by Gale? All the battered Gale has to do is tease Locke crudely about his second-banana status to Dr. Jack, and our favorite uni-kidneyed boar hunter throws a tantrum. Let's briefly review what made Locke such a fantastic character in season 1: He marched to the beat of his own drummer. He didn't want to be king of the island; he wanted to be its friend. He thought he had a rapport with the ineffable. To bring him down to a king-of-the-Hatch battle with Jack seems an awful waste. A schoolyard tussle seems beneath Locke. What happened to his mysticism? He's in a father-son struggle with God, not a brother-against-brother one with Jack. In the writers' haste to pit science against religion (and thus, Jack against Locke), they may have written their best character into a corner.
But that's neither here nor there. Let's celebrate what we've got, which is a glorious return to the elements that made Lost great from minute one: sharp, spare dialogue, (mostly) excellent character work, and genuine dread. (Between Ethan's creepy smile, Dharma keychain, rotating retro shirts, and big squirty amnio needle, I was certainly goose-pimpled.) Things have been too damned comfortable on the island lately, and crazy Charlie just isn't enough to stir the pot all by himself. We're now returning to the archetypal fears that animated the show in the first season, and the continued visibility of Libby (who I'm absolutely convinced is an Other) promises even more intrigue. She and Henry Gale are both clearly on an infiltration and subversion mission, putting worms in the mental apples of our castaways.
Oh, and there's also the matter of the ''infection.'' Desmond took most but not all of the supposed vaccine. But is the vaccine the cure — or the disease itself? Do the Others want the baby ''sick,'' so it's like them? Do they share some communal malady? And the biggest question: What if they switched the kids...and Claire's raising Baby Bob? We'll know when it starts croaking its craving for Quiznos in a 40-year-old baritone. Stay tuned.
What do you think?
Wednesday, March 1
Like a nightmare that you can't wake up from and keep having, like, seventeen times, The Real World is back for another year of drunken sluttery. Meet the new kids. Same as the old kids. Svetlana has a boyfriend she'll cheat on and boobs she will display. Paula is bulimic. Tyler is gay. Janelle is of mixed race and hopes people will accept her. John is a jokey meathead. Zach is a Jewfroed nice guy. Jose is Latino and buys houses. Hurricane Katrina ruins the introductions...they're all marooned on the Keys before even getting to the house. Luckily, while New Orleans drowned, the kids all survived. Priorities! Svetlana and Tyler ride in a puddle-jumper. Svetie is scared. She airs out her vagina. I'm not kidding. The house. It's yellow and tacky and Florida-y and horrible and, of course, absolutely gorgeous. The kids move in, chose rooms, swim, and then go out drinking. Paula cries to Zach while everyone else has fun. She's a basket case. Awesome! Svetlana talks to her jealous boyfriend on the phone; she and Zach are getting close. Svetlana and Paula bond over their warped body images. Nothing. Happens. And then happens again. There is no flow to the episode. Svetlana and John take some sort of nap together. My cable goes out for a minute. Good. The kids go out to the clubs again. My cable stops while Svetlana is getting jealous of John paying attention to Paula. But then Paula runs off while my cable is down and suddenly Paula and John are fighting in the van and Paula has a panic attack and everyone is concerned about her. Mostly, I'm just concerned because...OH MY GOD YAWN!
Jen's over the Real World. But 17 seasons later, I'm still lovin' it!
9pm ABC-LOST. A Claire-centric eppy. "A desperate Claire, along with Kate and Rousseau, attempts a return to the scene of her kidnapping where she believes she might find the cure for Baby Aaron's mysterious illness. Meanwhile, Jack and Locke must keep their prisoner a secret from the rest of the survivors." Last new eppy until 3/22.
10pm-ABCBarbara Walter's Oscar special. Due up: George Clooney, Patrick Dempsey (Dr. McDreamy), Matthew McConaughey (I may just pass out from overload.... first Ace then Matthew..... drool!!!!!!), and Mariah Carey. I want to see Mariah, if for no other reason than to see if she will wear something appropriate or if she'll be sporting some sort of floozy-stripper ensemble.