Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'll drink to that...

I don't often get to write about it, since this is a TV blog and all, but I'm a huge musical theatre nerd. Huge. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that PBS's Great Performances series will be airing John Doyle's recent production of Company, the groundbreaking Sondheim musical about love and relationships starring a completely brilliant Raúl Esparza. (Seriously, I saw this production in person, and his was the single most powerful performance I've ever seen on stage.)

It doesn't air until February 20, but here's a preview clip to get you excited! (The song is "Side by Side by Side," and this production features actors doubling as the orchestra, which is pretty cool.)


For the Facebook-inclined, you can find more info here.

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On the Glowy Box: Not a hell of a lot...

As I said earlier, real life and Adopt A Writer have taken over my blogging (and, worse, TV-watching) time, so...not a lot going on over here. Sorry. I borrowed the Wonderfalls DVDs from a co-worker, so I'm hoping to make my way through those in the near future (and finally watch the second season of Weeds, of course). So much TV, so little time...even during the strike!

Tonight:
Eli Stone: Eli Stone, a successful corporate lawyer, begins experiencing visions that compel him to redefine his life and work, despite opposition from his family, friends and colleagues. 10 PM, ABC.

And yeah, I know that everyone else in the world is writing about Lost. Um...not me. I've purposely never seen it, since I don't have the time to get sucked in. Please don't yell at me. Some day, when I'm in an old folk's home, I'll rent all the holo-DVDs, strap on my virtual reality visor, and get all caught up.

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Strike Wars

I'm crazy busy with Adopt A Writer and real life right now, so enjoy this impressively well-made video while you eagerly await my next post...

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

On the Glowy Box: Project Runway reruns make me sad

Don't get excited for any new episodes of Pushing Daisies this season, even if the strike ends this week. Nuts.

Last Night:
House: New episodes of good scripted shows renew my soul...although it was a bit odd that Fox saved the Christmas episode until after the holidays. I mean, there was a Secret Santa "exchange" and everything! And I have to say, I'm getting more and more irritated with the token Chase/Cameron appearances in each episode. They need to either figure out what to do with those two, or cut them out of the show altogether. Hopefully they have some end game in mind. But can I get a "hells yeah!" for Janel Moloney? Oh, Donna, how I've missed you. Hopefully we'll get plenty of Cuddy in the Super Bowl episode, and I can be even happier. (Things that don't make me happy, and in fact make me nauseous: Bleeding eyes-why is it always the eyes?-and breast milk produced by a boil on someone's leg, and then being squirted into a poor girl's mouth. Good thing she was already going to need therapy after knowing her mom's favorite sexual positions.)

Masterpiece - Mansfield Park: From Sunday. Well, since this is my least favorite of Jane Austen's novels, it makes sense that it's been my least favorite Masterpiece adaptation so far. It's hard to spin gold out of straw, and if you ask me, Fanny Price is definitely straw. As for the production itself, I don't have any major qualms other than the fact that it seemed a bit Disney-fied--especially the scene when Edmund realizes he's in love with Fanny. I mean, Jesus, why don't you just have a light bulb come on over his head and bathe her in celestial light? Sigh...

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: Considering they were in Vegas, I suppose there was actually less drama than one might have expected last night. Read my full recap here.

Tonight:
Hollywood Residential: The crew is at Tom Arnold's house to fix up his backyard, but Tom is nowhere to be found. Tony fesses up that he was out partying with Tom the night before and hasn't seen him since. While Tony tries to save the day, Lila is presented with plans to make her a huge star. 10:30 PM, Starz.

While you're all suffering through American Idol, I'll be continuing my quest to get caught up on Weeds.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: Get ready for a CRAZY cliffhanger!

Tonight on Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, we got a hefty dose of Janice/Peter conflict, a hefty dose of Desireé being too big for her britches, and a hefty dose of JP being kind of a jerk. Also, some modeling and stuff. Just to fill in the gaps between the drama.

The opening salvos of WWIII?: We rejoin Janice at the Ed Hardy casting as she and Peter fight it out over his pulling JP and Dominic from the job due to a conflict with 2(x)ist. Janice convinces Christian to book them anyway, ensuring future conflict, because manufactured drama is the low-carb bread and fat-free margarine of Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. I gotta say, if JP was definitely on hold for 2(x)ist and Dominic was confirmed, how the hell did they make it to the casting in the first place? Peter says he's left picking up the pieces, but it seems like multiple people dropped the ball here. And no one's happy about the conflict.

Vegas, baby!: Let's see...we get a bunch of junk about some models not wanting to go in the pool, Desireé thinking she's too good to hang out with most of the other models, Janice semi-fighting over the phone with Daria's boyfriend and/or husband, Janice chillin' with the models in the pool, Janice yelling at the models for drinking...it all seems pretty pointless, to be honest.

JP/Rodrigo: Since their date, JP and Rodrigo have been playing it cool. If by "playing it cool," you mean, "pretending if never happened." At least on JP's end. And yeah, Vegas is awk-ward! JP and Rodrigo are coincidentally sharing a room, and totally avoiding any conversation on what happened between them (with hopes from JP that Rodrigo will just let the whole thing go). Rodrigo tells CC about the situation (amusingly, she had no clue JP was gay), and it becomes clear that Rodrigo is a bit more hopeful about the relationship than JP. Aww. JP later confesses to Traci that he's just not ready to be in a relationship. Um, perhaps you should be confessing that to Rodrigo, dude.

Manufactured Drama: Janice meets with Jason from 2(x)ist to clear up the confusion over model bookings. Jason clarifies that Dominic was booked, but not JP, and that there seems to be some miscommunication between Peter and Janice. Um, thanks, Captain Obvious. Basically, JDMA comes across as totally unprofessional. Janice smoothes things over, Jason is understanding, and Peter is thrown under the bus.

Ain't no party like a Janice party: Janice is so psyched for the pre-show party that I assume she never gets invited to parties anymore (understandably), and is thus packing all her partying into one night. She's very concerned with keeping her models from drinking, until she's distracted by the fact that Desireé isn't at the party. At which point she gets really pissed. To be fair, Janice has always been awful to Desireé. Also to be fair, Desireé was completely unprofessional about being insanely late to the party, and then immediately leaving. Yeah, you're technically just getting paid for the runway, but come on, dude. After a quick photo shoot with all the models (sans Desireé), Janice and Christian "accidentally" fall into the pool. Because there's really no other way to end the party, when you think about it.

Showtime: At the Project trade show, the models are psyched to walk the runway. The theme is apparently Mad Max, but I think it looks more Tank Girl, personally. Which is way awesomer in my book. Once she shows up, Desireé gets chewed out for missing the shoot, and Janice prepares for a future showdown. The whole show goes smoothly, unbelievably enough, and everyone is thrilled. Wow. I don't have much to write about when things go well.

Kehoe/Traci: Finally, the Ross and Rachel of the modeling world are going on a date! A first date the likes of which the universe has never known! ...Okay, you know what? I can't even fake enthusiasm. Kehoe and Traci go on a date. It's kind of cute, there's a bit of conflict over her date with Nathan, she smooches Kehoe on the cheek, he reasserts his heterosexuality, and the sexual tension is about as thick as air. Really dry air. At a high altitude. Yawn.

CAN YOU HANDLE THE SUSPENSE?!?!: Finally, Janice calls a meeting with all the models, sans Peter. She announces that there will be changes in the agency, mentioning that some models have been doing better than others. (Cue everyone looking worried.) After a warning to the models to start working their butts off, she leaves us with this: "All I can say is, everything is about to change."

Next week: JDMA hits Miami! Plus the usual scandal and intrigue, of course.

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On the Glowy Box: New 'House' Alert!

There are about eight billion rumors flying around the internet about the strike ending soon. I truly hope they're accurate, but we need to keep the pressure on until we know for sure!

Last Night:
The State of the Union: [Insert retching sounds here.]

Tonight:
House: As the team runs tests to determine what caused a woman to have sudden paralysis of the hands, the rest of her system begins to shut down; the team participates in a gift exchange with a twist, courtesy of House. 9 PM, Fox.

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: The models head to Las Vegas for an Ed Hardy fashion show; Two models are forced to deal with unresolved issues, while two others decide if they want to take their friendship to the next level; Janice makes an announcement. 10:30 PM, Oxygen.

I actually forgot that new episodes of House were coming, which will only make tonight's installment all the sweeter. (Plus there's the Super Bowl episode on Sunday, so it's a House-tastic week!)

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New Speechless Video!

The presence of Maggie Gyllenhaal alone makes this video awesome, so this line is mere icing on the cake: "The last time that I went out with 'AMPaTaPuh,' he said he didn't want to waste his money tipping a waiter 20 percent, because he wasn't sure that the restaurant business was going to pan out!"

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Adopt A Writer: Meet the WGA, one writer at a time

Adopt A Writer

Now that the website is up and running with a couple interviews, I'm proud to formally introduce the Adopt A Writer project, which I'm organizing with Rae and Kelley from Ramblings of a TV Whore (and with much-needed help from United Fandom and United Hollywood).

Each participating blog will interview a TV writer about their life as a writer —and as a striking writer— with the goal of putting a human face on the WGA for our readers and showing the public that the average writer is much more like the average viewer than the AMPTP wants us to believe. Sixteen of the top independent TV blogs have signed on to participate in the project, and we're in the process of recruiting writers. (If you're a writer and you'd like to be adopted, please email us at adoptawriter@gmail.com.)

Each interview will be published on the interviewing blog's site, and all interviews will also be collected on the central Adopt A Writer site, which already has our first two interviews ready for your reading pleasure. I'll also try and post an excerpt and link to the interviews as they are published. Thus, TV viewers, meet...

Jasmine Love, interview by Spadada for Ramblings of a TV Whore.
Jasmine Love has been in the Writers’ Guild for ten years. You don’t know her name or her face and she isn’t the money hungry already rich writer that the AMPTP wants to blame for this strike, but she is one of many people affected by it. Over the years she’s climbed her way up from writers’ assistant to working writer and she loves TV as much as you and I do. She’s written episodes of Moesha, The Division, and The District and was about to start work on a freelance script when the strike began. (Click here to read the full interview.)

Kate Purdy, interview by Hilary for Pass the Remote.
Kate Purdy worked as a researcher for Cold Case for two seasons before getting a promotion to staff writer this season. She earned her full-fledged WGA membership right before the strike began this past fall. Currently, she’s serving as a Strike Captain and she’s a regular contributor over at United Hollywood. (Click here to read the full interview.)

Stay tuned here and at the central Adopt A Writer site for more!

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On the Glowy Box: If I hate Mondays and love lasagna, does that make me Garfield?

Thanks to the WGA's interim deal with Lionsgate, writers from Mad Men and Weeds will be able to go back to work! Huzzah!

Over the Weekend:
Psych: This had to be one of my favorite Psych episodes yet. From the awesome Spanish-language theme song (another gold star for special opening credits, Psych!) to Shawn as an eyeliner-wearing telenovela star, the entire hour had me laughing out loud. It was also great to see Lassiter and O'Hara actively working with (or against, I suppose) Shawn and Gus, which they haven't been doing as much of this season. I wasn't so sure about the O'Hara/harassment complaint plot, though. Hopefully it's leading to something interesting, and wasn't just something random they threw in there. Because, um, weird.

Boston Legal: From Tuesday. You know, when I saw that the episode was titled "Roe v. Wade: The Musical," I wasn't sure what to expect, but...wow. A serious argument on forced abortions set to the occasional song from Xanadu was too surreal for words. And also kind of coincidental, since I watched Xanadu the movie on Saturday after having seen the musical last month. (And yikes. That movie really, REALLY sucks. Wow.) At any rate, compliments to David E. Kelley for taking the series to ever-crazier heights.

Tonight:
Ummmm...there's the State of the Union at 9, if you're in the mood to yell at your TV or drink heavily.

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TV Blog Coalition: Links "R" Us

  • Buzz shared tons of stories from the Freaks and Geeks reunion in San Francisco. (BuzzSugar)
  • Sandie interviewed Sophia Myles who plays Beth Turner on Moonlight. (Daemon's TV)
  • Liz watched writers from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report stage a hilarious mock debate on the strike. (Glowy Box)
  • Mikey wishes that James Marsters was in every episode of Torchwood. (Mikey Likes TV)
  • Fergus looked at five shows that never made it to the airwaves, much to our disappointment. (Pop Vultures)
  • To kick off the Adopt A Writer project Kelley interviewed Jasmine Love, a writer with credits from Moesha, The Division, and The District. (RTVW)
  • Usually the first quarter is a slow time for finding new albums, but Scooter has rounded up a list of 29 albums to check out in the next four months. Well, 28 and Ashlee Simpson. (Scooter McGavin's 9th Green)
  • Vance is going to miss Betty and Chuck during the strike hiatus. (Tapeworthy)
  • Jace was all about British TV this week, from an advance look at Torchwood's second season opener to the awe-inspiring finale of Life on Mars. (Televisionary)
  • Dan had some misgivings about Carson Kressley's tepid new show How to Look Good Naked. (TiFaux)
  • Raoul interviewed Rachel and TK from The Amazing Race. (TV Filter)

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Project Runway: Sigh...

I'm going to start this post off with a quote from Glowy Box alumna Lori: "What is it about making dresses out of denim that makes designers start bawling in front of the judges? Not that it takes a lot to set Ricky off, but still. That guy makes Andrae look like Nina." I couldn't have put it better myself, dude. Denim is clearly a very emotional fabric. Who knew?

I've got totally mixed feelings on the results. On the one hand, Ricky and his stupid black and white hats need to go. Like, NOW. On the other hand, his dress this week was less of a train wreck than usual. Good enough to win? No--the judges have clearly set a much higher bar for the other contestants than for Ricky. But, they couldn't very well kick him out when they had Victorya's hideous denim mash-up staring them in the face. (And boy, I am ALL for Victorya being kicked off. Hate her, hate her dresses. Note to Victorya: Fabric has a front side and a back side for a reason. Stop turning it inside-out. Also, ruffles are a delicious snack, but not really my style, otherwise.)

Okay, at this point this is more of a rant than a recap. Let's just move on to the other looks, be grateful that Victorya lost instead of someone I actually liked, and continue to wonder what will make Michael Kors feel like the Pope at a sex club (and what that expression even means).

Jillian. Okay. Why on EARTH would she AND Victorya decide to try and replicate their outstanding look from last week, but with far less time and far more limited materials? Craziness, from beginning to end. And while Victorya used the "I'll just staple some inside-out denim to the bottom of a jean jacket and call it a coat" strategy, Jillian went with the "I'll take a ton of ideas that I don't have time to implement, throw them all against the wall that is this coat, and see what sticks" route. Yeesh. And Chris, oy. I know his stuff used to be way too costume-y, but is he trying to edit himself right out of the show? I liked the lines, but a) ALWAYS LISTEN TO TIM, and b) that dress was way boring.

On the better end, we've got Sweet P, who listened to Tim with great results. I don't know about an iconic look, but it was definitely a cute dress. Go, Sweet P! Rami's look was also super-cute, and seemed very fashion-forward. However, I don't understand why everyone was so orgasmic over the zipper/seam element. I mean, it looked great, but it's not like it was some kind of brilliant innovation on Rami's part--Jeffrey did the same thing to great effect in his winning collection last season.

Christian, in my opinion, should have been the winner. His biker-style outfit was head and shoulders over Ricky's in terms of difficulty, innovation, and stylishness, and it was way more iconic than a simple little dress. But on the other hand, Christian was pretty annoying this week when he was fighting with Chris about how to properly clean denim, so I'm a little less outraged than I normally would be. Sorry.

Well, at least the winning designers don't get immunity anymore. ...Silver lining?

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On the Glowy Box: So long, and thanks for all the Chuck!

Man, this week is kicking my ass. Sorry for the lack of posts--I'll do better next week, promise!

Last Night:
Chuck: Oh, Chuck. I will miss you so, SO much. And NBC, it's just cruel to tell us that new episodes of Chuck are "coming soon" unless you know something about the negotiations that we don't. For shame. So let's see... I loved the promos during the commercials, I loved that we really explored Casey's character, I loved the scene with Chuck and Sarah on the rooftop, I loved Zachary Levi's continued (failed) attempts to be a super-smooth spy, and I even loved Morgan as a psychotherapist. I love this show, basically. Anyone else want to chime in with things they loved? I could go on and on, but that would probably be boring.

This Weekend:
Psych: Shawn and Gus must find the killer on the set of a Spanish soap opera. Tonight, 10 PM, USA.

Breaking Bad: Walter and Jesse dispose of the mess in the RV; Skyler suspects Walter is involved with Jesse. Sunday, 9 PM, AMC

Masterpiece Theatre - Mansfield Park: After being sent to live at Mansfield Park, Fanny Price (Billie Piper) navigates a labyrinth of intrigues and affairs among its occupants. Sunday, 9 PM, PBS.

Not bad for a weekend during the strike!

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

On the Glowy Box: CHUCK!!!

I'm pretty slammed today, so this is gonna be quick and dirty. Sorry!

Last Night:
Hollywood Residential: I am definitely liking this show--so much potential there. Did anyone else catch it?

Head Case: The main character is way too exaggerated for my taste--not at ALL relatable, but not really crazy in a funny way, either. Just painful. I loved Jeff Goldblum and Ione Skye's guest appearances, though!

Project Runway: I'll do an actual recap later, but ding dong, the bitch is dead! If it wasn't gonna be Ricky, Victorya was DEFINITELY my choice to go. Hate her clothes, hate her personality.

Tonight:
Ugly Betty: Betty thinks she has been assigned to interview a great novelist, but the interviewee turns out to be a lesser writer with the same name. 8 PM, ABC.

Chuck: Chuck learns that Casey's ex-girlfriend is about to marry a Russian arms dealer and urges him to fight for her; Capt. Awesome and Ellie reach a tough point in their relationship. 8 PM, NBC.

Chuck: Capt. Awesome asks Chuck for Ellie's hand in marriage; Casey and Sarah discover that the CIA has been spying on them, and they must relocate Chuck to a permanent holding cell to protect his identity. 10 PM, NBC.

If you don't watch both episodes of Chuck tonight (and skip the reality crap in between), then we are no longer friends. Seriously. It's gonna be AWESOME.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Glowy Box on the Scene: Daily Show and Colbert Report Writers Stage Mock Debate on the Strike

As a DC-based blogger, I've sadly been left out of most WGA events. No picketing here, no awesome benefit shows to attend, no solidarity rallies. Today, though, DC got its day in the sun as writers from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report staged a mock debate in the halls (well, hearing room) of Congress on why America should care about the strike. And you guys, it was awesome. UPDATE: Scroll down for video of the debate itself, thanks to Campus Progress. The back of my head is totally visible at one point.

In the debate, moderated by the fabulous Dee Dee Myers (Clinton's former press secretary and a consultant for The West Wing), Daily Show writers portrayed the WGA, and Colbert Report writers portrayed AMPTP. (Of course.) Plus, there were several speeches by supportive Members of Congress, and a Q&A with WGA East President Michael Winship. Luckily for you, I'm a decent note-taker, so the following are the highlights of today's hilarious, hilarious event. (Disclaimer: All quotes are as close to verbatim as I could get them, since I didn't have a tape recorder or laptop with me.)

Speeches by the Members of Congress sponsoring the event: Representatives Nadler, Schakowsky, Cohen, Hall, Weiner, and Holt (all Democrats, as if there were any doubt) all spoke in support of the writers. Rep. Hall eloquently stated that "writers supply the fuel that makes the entertainment engine go," and Rep. Holt said that we must reward creativity in order to beget more creativity. Rep. Weiner pointed out that creative intellectual property is our one export where we're head and shoulders above the rest of the world, and that we should probably try and keep it that way. Best of all, though, was Rep. Schakowsky (a woman), who came out sporting a giant fake strike beard in solidarity! Well-played, ma'am.

The Great Debate: Next, Dee Dee Myers got up to moderate the debate, with the "WGA" on her right in shirts, and "AMPTP" ("Ampatapuh? Ahmpitipa?") in suits to her left. Each side had three writers - Peter Gwinn, Michael Brumm, and Tom Purcell from The Colbert Report representing AMPTP, and Jason Ross, Tim Carvell, and Rob Kutner from The Daily Show representing the WGA.

Opening Remarks: The WGA first stated firmly that writers deserve to be compensated wherever and however their work is used, pointing out that to do so would (by some type of math) cost AMPTP less than half of Reese Witherspoon's salary. They then posed the following essential question: "What's more important to a movie - a script, or half of Reese Witherspoon?" (AMPTP: "Which half?") Another WGA representative spoke for a moment about Foucault, the Panopticon, and postmodern theory in general before coming to his main point: "I went to Cambridge."

Dee Dee Myers then gave AMPTP the opportunity for opening remarks. After a polite "Thank you, C.J.," they moved straight into the Truthiness Zone. Fact: The average WGA writer makes more than a volunteer fireman and volunteer crossing guard combined. In fact, they make more than Jesus did as a carpenter. The WGA thinks they're better than Jesus! ("Their words, not mine.") AMPTP further described their position to be "fairish and reasonable-esque," and their offer to the WGA as "nothing-adjacent." Seriously, those Colbert guys are hysterical.

Question and Answer Period: The WGA side presented many legitimately persuasive arguments and statistics before asking AMPTP how much money they made off of the internet last year. Answer: "I don't recall" (cue the Alberto Gonzales jokes). AMPTP also came up with this persuasive gem: "The internet is a baby, and babies don't make money." After some quality Ben Silverman nerds/prom jokes, AMPTP got a chance to make their main point about unions: "The Chinese are beating the Chinese-made pants off of us because they aren't afraid to make their nine-year-olds work in inhalable lead plants." Fair enough, AMPTP, fair enough.

Unfortunately, at this point the debate was interrupted by two "protesters" (also writers), one in a Code Pink-style shirt with the words "Look At Me" scrawled across the front, and the other screaming "Ron Paul for President!" After a yelling match between the protesters, Michael Winship wrangled them out of the room, and the debate was able to go on.

Closing Arguments: AMPTP made an impassioned plea, reminding us that they hadn't bothered us with any hard data before moving on to a convoluted analogy involving a Chinese character which resembles a house. This house represents the fact that we all have to work together to resolve the situation - the writers by writing, and AMPTP by taking the resulting money.

The WGA, on the other hand, asked for a fair deal, a new era in producer-union relationships, and mutual respect. AMPTP saw their point, but just had a cooouple of notes...

Seriously, this whole debate was the perfect combination of education, persuasion, and fabulous comedy. Props to the writers for putting it on, and to Allison Abner, a former West Wing writer, for the genius idea.

Q&A with Michael Winship (WGAE President) and writers:
What can Congress do? Winship replied that they were there to increase awareness, though the strike is certainly about intellectual property and media consolidation, issues that Congress is certainly facing.

Are AMPTP and the WGA close to making a deal? Winship answered, "I live in hope," but clarified that the "DGA deal is not our deal."

Why give up coverage for reality and animation writers? Winship and the WGA leadership believed that at this point, the WGA is better served by focusing on organizing those writers rather than using their coverage as a bargaining point, so that's the direction their efforts will take in the future.

How are you, the writers, doing? The Daily Show and Colbert Report writers said that it varies from writer to writer, but that most are deep into their savings. A Colbert writer made a joke that "we can't publicly discuss what we're doing to get by...it's very embarrassing."

How do you feel about your shows going on without you, and will you return to write for them once the strike is over? The writers had only good things to say about Steven Colbert and John Stewart's support, and said that they'd be pleased to go back to work once the strike is over.

Have you found the public to be sympathetic? Everyone seemed very upbeat about public support, citing polls, support on the blogs (yay!), fans on the picket lines, etc. Right on, public!

Wrap-up: Representative Watson, Chairwoman of the Entertainment Caucus, came out to say that she's setting up a briefing in the near future for WGA members and caucus members, which is pretty cool. Rep. Nadler mentioned that if collective bargaining doesn't play out, Congress could consider legislation on conglomerate issues, etc.

In general, I think it was a really successful event, especially considering the fact that there were numerous news outlets covering it. I was personally very happy to attend, since it was enormously entertaining AND I got to meet several lovely people, including Anna, a guild member based here in DC, and Susan, who helps to coordinate the fantastic WGA Supporters community. She was taking video of the debate, so as soon as she has it uploaded, I'll post the link and you can all take turns pointing out every joke I missed. Man, I miss The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Send good negotiating vibes, everyone!

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On the Glowy Box: Cross your fingers for productive negotiating!

As informal talks resumed yesterday between the WGA and AMPTP, the writers agreed to drop proposals to unionize animated and reality TV writers. Here's hoping that AMPTP is half as reasonable. If we aren't going to get a real TV season this year, I'm at least banking on a solid pilot season and thus a decent season this fall, goddammit.

Last Night:
Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: Janice would rather go naked than wear fur. And I would rather she do neither. Read my full recap here.

Tonight:
Project Runway: The designers are challenged to take jeans and jackets in various colors and textures, creating an original denim design. 10 PM, Bravo.

Head Case: Dr. Goode avoids the apologetic advances of her ex, Jeremy. In session, Ione Skye and new patient Jeff Goldblum find the doctor in a "fix it fast" mode. Dr. Finkelstein misses the staff meeting...again. 10 PM, Starz.

Smash Lab: The team tests if a special type of carbon fiber is strong enough to protect a home from a hurricane's destructive forces. 10 PM, Discovery.

Hollywood Residential: Series Premiere. "Hollywood Residential" goes to Paula Abdul's house, where the show's host Tony King wreaks havoc with the production & has issues with hot new co-host Lila Mann. Paula & her house have issues with Tony. 10:30 PM, Starz.

If any of you end up watching The Moment of Truth, I don't want to hear about it. Ugh.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: I'd rather go naked than watch Janice get plastic surgery

Just when I thought I couldn't love Janice any more, she staged a PETA protest on tonight's episode of Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. Of course, she also made us watch her getting plastic surgery, so I'm going to call it a wash. There was a lot going on, so let's break it down...

Jack Henry Shoot: Back at the Jack Henry shoot, Erika is still sucking hardcore and pissing off Tia, the owner, to the point where Tia goes into a spastic series of poses as an example for her, from the disturbing “Yo, wazzup?” to the perplexing “Sad Clown.” Happily, Janice shows up before my eyeballs can be further damaged by either Tia’s insane posing or Erika’s enormous forehead (in Tyra terms, it’s more of a tenhead than a fivehead). Janice puts up a fight, but Tia insists upon replacing Erika with Ligia, who knocks it out of the park.

Another excuse for Janice to get her models naked: In a side plot that gets my vegan seal of approval, we move on to a presentation given to the models by Dan Mathews from PETA, who blows their delicate model minds with news that animals used for fur aren’t exactly given the spa treatment. The words “anally electrocuted” are bandied about, just to give you an example, and a tape is shown revealing how inhumanely the animals are treated. I give the show a hearty “Hells yeah!” for giving PETA this platform, and I encourage anyone who is at ALL on board with wearing fur to do a little reading before buying their next jacket with fur trim. Because it’s really, really not okay.

Janice declares her agency fur-free, and signs her models up for an “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” protest on Hollywood Boulevard (in their underwear, for those who don’t want to risk being arrested). Janice gives models the option to look like heartless animal-haters and opt out, and Ligia takes the bait. Uncool, Ligia, but props for standing up for your (cough*cruel*cough) beliefs in the face of a lot of aggressive pressure from your fellow models.

The protest draws a big crowd of onlookers, media, and law enforcement. Kehoe, in a moment of passion, even gets totally naked (and luckily avoids arrest). As someone who’s participated in more than my share of anti-fur protests, I feel the need to mock the models a bit for their lack of creative chants (“PETA, PETA!” may not be getting your message across), but it really is great exposure for the cause. Well-played, Janice. To quote Sorin on the subject, “She might be nuts, crazy, but she has a good heart.”

Dragonfly: We get a quick casting for the Dragonfly clothing store, which is looking for models who look like dead rock stars. Okay, that may be in poor taste. Maria pisses Janice off by basically telling the client to look at her. It doesn’t pay off, as Desireé, Ligia, Braneka, Dominique, Crystal, Nadia, Traci, Isaac, Payton, Alex, Kehoe, and Grant get the job. For several of them, this will be their first job.

Braneka is excited to be portraying Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes from TLC, and completely rocks it out. Payton, portraying Elvis, is painfully wooden and unrehearsed. Alex, as Jim Morrison, actually did his research, which helps. For the curious, the other models we see are Desireé as Kurt Cobain, Dominique as Janis Joplin, Traci as Joey Ramone, and Kehoe and Crystal as Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. Everything goes uncharacteristically smoothly, which may or may not be related to the fact that Peter is filling in for Janice while she's...well, see below.

Gross: Janice, in the pursuit of flawlessness and publicity, goes under the knife for a tummy tuck, even letting Entertainment Tonight into the operating room for a pre-op interview. Um…props for being honest about it, I suppose? On the one hand, I think people should know that Janice’s figure doesn’t come naturally at that age, so they shouldn’t even bother starving themselves or whatever. On the other hand, does putting it out in the open just make plastic surgery more culturally acceptable? Something to think about, certainly. Aaaaand, now we can add “Janice Dickinson’s stomach being sliced open and sewn back together” to the list of things I’ve seen and wish I could erase from my memory. That’s all I’m gonna say on the subject.

SensiClear: We get some footage of CC trying SensiClear and hoping she books the job, despite the fact that it hasn't really helped her skin that much. The day of the reveal, several of the models seem to be showing serious improvement, though it’s a bit tough to say, given the amount of makeup they’re wearing. The four finalists who will be in the infomercial are CC (the only actual JDMA model up for the job), Tom, Megan, and Eli, but the year-long $10,000 contract goes to Eli, who showed a ton of improvement. Or is wearing a ton of makeup. Again, it's hard to tell.

Ed Hardy/Janice vs. Peter - Round One: Despite orders to be on bed rest, Janice comes in to meet with repeat client Christian Audigier from Ed Hardy, since she thinks he’s too important to meet with just Peter. He wants to cast his big runway show in Vegas, and chooses CC, Desireé, Lisa, Lakiska, and Daria as his favorites. Maria, especially, is pissed to not be booked. For the guys, he likes Dominic, JP, Michael, Payton, and Rodrigo. Peter runs in to announce that JP and Dominic aren’t available to do the show because they’re booked for 2(x)ist (which is news to a pissed-off JP), and Janice freaks out and tells him he needs to leave the set. Which, yeah, there is some definite miscommunication going on here, though it's hard to say from what we've seen who's at fault.

Next week: Janice and Peter fight some more, unsurprisingly.

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On the Glowy Box: Four-day week!

Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday. My internet at home isn't working for me, for some reason. Rrgh. But it was technically a holiday, so we'll use that as an excuse. Anyway, I managed to miss Terminator last night, but I DID finish the second season of Dexter! (More later.)

Over the Weekend:
Breaking Bad: LOVED it. This show absolutely has to be Emmy bait for Bryan Cranston. And the pacing was fantastic! I was worried that the "desperate parent turns to drug dealing to make ends meet" concept was a little too close to Weeds, but Breaking Bad managed to distinguish itself as the more dramatic of the two shows right off the bat--there was more action in the pilot episode than in the entire first season of Weeds. The only question mark for me was the actor playing Bryan Cranston's partner, but he's got a tough job standing out next to such a powerful performance. Anyway, two thumbs up to Breaking Bad. I'm very happy to add another show to my "Strike Survival Roster."

Masterpiece Theatre - Northanger Abbey: I hadn't read the book yet, but the fact that I was inspired to start it last night has to be a good sign, right? So while I can't speak to how faithful the adaptation was, I can say that I really enjoyed it. This Jane Austen-themed mini-season might be PBS's greatest idea in recent history. Seriously, I can't remember the last time a regular show on PBS has been appointment viewing for me, much as I frequently watch their special programming.

Psych: I'm just gonna throw this out there: Henry in a retirement home = Greatest thing ever, or GREATEST THING EVER? With a foolproof main plot like that one, who even cares if O'Hara and Lassiter's side plot was an odd afterthought? Here's hoping that someday in the near future, USA will choose to bombard us with endless Psych reruns, rather than one lame episode of Monk after another.

Boston Legal: From Tuesday. I can barely remember what this episode was about, and I watched it three days ago. Something with Jerry embarrassing himself in the courtroom with tics before doing a great job? Oh, wait, that's in almost every episode. Something about Denny wanting to assert his independence and prove he still "has it"? Hmm...again, I'm gonna say that's kind of a common theme. Boston Legal, you disappoint me.

Tonight:
Boston Legal: A woman steals a man's semen and impregnates herself artificially; a teacher loses her job for hugging a student. 10 PM, ABC.

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: Janice and the models bare all in an anti-fur protest; Janice gets more plastic surgery. 10:30 PM, Oxygen.

On the one hand, I am all for anti-fur protests. On the other hand, I am vehemently against Janice baring all. Hmm.

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Top Five Special Opening Credit Sequences

I've seen a bunch of great posts in the past couple months listing favorite credit sequences and opening themes, which got me thinking about one of my favorite television gimmicks: Taking the normal opening credit sequence and winking at the fans by twisting it somehow, or using it in an interesting way. Here are five of my favorite examples.

1. Boston Legal - In this fantastic clip, Jerry describes a song he sings in his head to Shirley, and when she asks him to sing it for her, it segues into Jerry singing along with the opening theme (which I already love):

2. Veronica Mars - At the very end of this clip, Wallace expresses surprise that Veronica knew someone. Veronica says, "We used to be friends. A long time ago." Which in the episode, of course (though not in this clip, sorry), segues straight into the fantastic Dandy Warhols theme song, with the lyrics "A long time ago, we used to be friends." Ah, so deliciously meta:

3. Holiday-themed credits! This example is from Psych's holiday special last month:

4. The Simpsons - In the beginning of this episode, Skinner installs vending machines in Springfield Elementary, which Bart uses to gorge himself on junk food. "Three weeks later..." we get this parody of their usual opening credits sequence, but with an obese Bart:

5. The X-Files - I don't have a clip of this, unfortunately. The show's usual opening credits sequence would end with the famous "The Truth is Out There" tagline splashed across the screen. Occasionally, though, the tagline would be replaced by something pertinent to the specific episode, such as "Trust No One," "Apology is Policy," or "All Lies Lead to the Truth." (You can see the full list here.) It was always pretty exciting for us X-Files dorks when it happened--just a little extra nugget of information for those who were paying attention.

Feel free to chime in if you have any favorite special or cleverly-used opening credit sequences! I'm sure there are a zillion examples out there--these are just the best ones that came to mind.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

TV Blog Coalition: Links up the Wazoo

  • Buzz issued a bold challenge to recast Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (BuzzSugar)
  • Eric wrote about the French titles (translated) of American TV shows. (Daemon's TV)
  • Liz previewed Hollywood Residential, a promising new single-camera comedy premiering Wednesday on Starz. (Glowy Box)
  • American Idol is back, and Mikey's life is suddenly filled with meaning once again. (Mikey Likes TV)
  • Marcia reviewed the second season opener of Torchwood and, for the most part, liked what she saw. (Pop Vultures)
  • Rae had fun talking to a fellow Buffy fan and the woman behind Kyle XY's Jessi XX, Jaimie Alexander. (RTVW)
  • For those that prefer your horror movies to be more classic slasher like Evil Dead than realistic gore like Saw, you should definitely check out Hatchet starring the chick from Buffy the Vampire Slayer not named Buffy and the dude from Dharma and Greg not named Greg. (Scooter McGavin's 9th Green)
  • Vance is still undecided about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. (Tapeworthy)
  • Desperate for something to watch, Jace tuned into the first two episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and pleaded with John Connor to wash his greasy hair. (Televisionary)
  • Who do you think would win a knock-down, drag-out fight: NBC's Chuck or Rami from Project Runway? (TiFaux)
  • Jennifer had a "biting" good time interviewing Moonlight’s Sophia Myles about what it’s like working on a show about vampires. (Tube Talk)
  • We posted an in-depth interview with Lost star Elizabeth Mitchell, who's not surprisingly far more delightful than her somewhat sinister character Juliet. (theTVaddict.com)
  • Kate watched American Idol for the first time ever - and loved it. (TV Filter)

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Progress?

As I'm sure you've heard, the DGA and AMPTP have come to an agreement, which the WGA is looking over. United Hollywood has an unofficial, but very helpful, analysis of said agreement, and what it could mean for writers. I highly recommend heading over there and giving it a read. They conclude:

There are some genuine gains here, some issues that need clarification and some points of grave concern that threaten to drastically undercut writers' compensation. The DGA deal, as we understand it, is neither reason for celebration nor mourning. Writers (and actors!) must resist the urge to get entrenched in a position on this too quickly. Parts of this deal will be the basis for a meaningful resumption of talks with the WGA, parts of this will not. Let's discuss it, let's debate it, but let's keep it civil and understand that the deal that gets everyone back to work will be the one that no one loves, but everyone can live with.

If you're tempted to yell at the writers for not just accepting this deal outright, remember that writers are compensated far less than directors, and are more likely to have to live off of residuals at some point in their career. Thus, the stakes are much higher. Plus, you know, the directors are the ones who managed to negotiate the crap home video residuals formula that everyone's still being screwed by two decades later. So here's hoping that this deal serves as a catalyst for resumed negotiations and that the writers and producers are able to come to their own deal quickly.

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Can a theme song be TOO catchy?

Cartoon Network is premiering a new version of the George of the Jungle cartoon (that of the "watch out for that tree!" theme song) tonight at 7:30. Thus, of course, I've had that freaking song stuck in my head all afternoon. And I can't decide if it's awesomely catchy, or dangerously catchy. You know, to the point where it could take over the nation like an aural virus, sending us (further?) into a recession by destroying worker productivity as everyone just sits at their desks, humming. If that ends up being the case, I apologize for posting the following video:

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On the Glowy Box: Three-day weekend!

My three-day weekend resolution: To clean my apartment and to finish the second season of Dexter and get going on the second season of Weeds. Glowy Box Quiz Time: Which one am I looking forward to the least? (Hint: It involves mopping.)

In the meantime, The Jay asks an interesting question: What would you give up to save your favorite (or not-so-favorite) shows? For example, he says, "To save Boston Legal, I would give up doing my impression of Ace Ventura doing his impression of Shatner from that episode of The Twilight Zone." Now that's sacrifice! Let's see... To save Project Runway, I would give up shopping at Goodwill for an entire fashion season. (I was going to say a year, but I'm not really sure I could uphold that bargain.)

Last Night:
Project Runway: Now that I'm caught up, I can tell you that Rami sucks. For reals. Read my full recap here.

This Weekend:
Psych: Shawn and Gus team up with Henry to investigate a man's disappearance from a local retirement community. Tonight, 10 PM, USA.

Masterpiece Theatre: This adaptation of Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" features Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland, a gothic-novel aficionado whose vivid imagination leads her into trouble during a stay with the wealthy Tilney family at their medieval country house. Sunday, 9 PM, PBS.

Breaking Bad: High-school chemistry teacher Walter White learns he is dying of lung cancer and takes steps to ensure his family's financial future. Sunday, 10 PM, AMC.

I'm pretty jazzed for Breaking Bad, since it's created by Vince Gilligan (of X-Files fame), and has a quality premise. Oh, and check out this viral site, where you can send personalized video messages to your friends (and enemies) by Bryan Cranston as his character, Walt. Yay, new scripted TV!

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Project Runway: Team Fierce!

Well, nuts. On the one hand, I loved this week's challenge. On the other hand, it resulted in the elimination of one of my favorite contestants. But, it was a fair elimination, so I suppose I have no cause for complaint (unlike last week). Also, I feel like I lost one of my other favorite contestants, because Rami was clearly taken over by some sort of Mr. Hyde alter-ego (henceforth known as "Meani"). Come back, Rami! I miss your quiet confidence and your non-dickish personality!

But let's take it from the top. We rejoin our favorite bitches as Christian interviews that he was shocked, SHOCKED!, to be in the bottom two. And, dude. Much as I love you and your carefully blow-dried and straight-ironed side-mullet, you're a bit delusional if you don't think you belonged in the bottom two last week. I mean, blame it on the client, but that dress was an ill-fitted, lace-covered, turd-colored turd. Even if the client was really obnoxious.

At the Runway of Destiny, we are reminded that occasionally, this show features actual models! In this case, actual models with very intense hairstyles. You see, the challenge is to create an avant-garde look inspired by your model's hairdo. Unfortunately for the models, this means that they aren't chosen on the basis of skill so much as the basis of assigned hairstyle, in some cases. Which kind of sucks for them.

Tim reminds the designers (and us) that avant-garde means that the look doesn't have to be practical or wearable, but does have to be ambitious. Thus, the designers will be working in pairs this week. Randomly assigned pairs, which will each then choose a leader. Ouch. And it's double ouch when Kit is paired with Ricky, whose looks have been too boring even for ready-to-wear fashion, let alone avant-garde. Obviously, Kit will be leading their team, and decides on an unclear concept involving nesting, layering, and a garden of some sort. Not quite as edgy as I had hoped.

Sweet P thinks she's paired with Rami, and is excited. As we quickly learn, she has in fact been paired with Meani, who is a total douchebag. As team leader, he chooses a gown and trousers concept, which I question from the beginning. Sweet P has some difficulty making the trousers, and Meani is already pissed off, even though she thinks they're fine on time.

Chris and Christian are psyched to be working together, but not as psyched as I am to see them working together. The trash talk alone will be glorious. They're making a gown with zillions of ruffles, and a huge neckpiece. It involves 45 yards of fabric, and some intense wire structuring.

Victorya and Jillian are the final pair, which pretty much just blows for Jillian. She's especially worried about time management, since she and Victorya, the team leader, have both had problems with it in the past. I'm mostly worried that Victorya will smother Jillian in her sleep, since I am slowly beginning to fear that Victorya is a sociopath. Mostly because only a sociopath could design that ruffly disaster from the candy challenge and then force her model into such an awful runway walk, but also because, well, I just get a vibe. Anyway, their theme is "rebellion." And it involves a big-ass trench coat.

As they get to work the second day, Tim shows up and announces that the designers will need to make another look for the runway: a ready-to-wear garment that embodies the essence of their avant-garde piece, much as real ready-to-wear fashion is inspired by cutting-edge fashion. "Inspired by"? Puh-Leeze! I never leave the house without looking like this. Ready-to-wear is for pussies. Aaaanyway, cue panic, anger, and frenzied shopping for extra fabric. Almost everyone decides to do little dresses.

In the workroom, Meani is pretty much bulldozing over Sweet P, to the point where it's hard to watch since up to now, I really did like both of them. And since they both (especially Sweet P) have a history of working well with others, I never would've picked them for the Most Dysfunctional Team award. Meani thinks Sweet P needs to stop expressing her ideas and start sewing her damn dress. Sweet P doesn't love that Meani's idea of avant-garde is to make his usual draped gown, and then channel Santino's "take a nice garment, and add crap to it until the model collapses under the weight" aesthetic. Later, he chews Sweet P out in front of everyone for being too slow, making her cry. Making Sweet P cry is like drop-kicking a baby bunny.

Victorya and Jillian, in the meantime, are (as predicted) well behind. And, unfortunately for Jillian, Victorya has immunity. Chris, on the other hand, has high hopes: "What I hope happens tomorrow at the runway show is that our model Marcia comes out, and people's jaws drop to the floor, and they never forget it as long as they live." (The last part delivered so dryly that I now love Chris even more.)

Tim Time! And he brings a special guest--Nathaniel Hawkins, the lead TRESemme hair stylist. The winning looks will be in a TRESemme ad in Elle, so he's helping the designers out with the wearable half of the hairdo. Tim loves "Team Fierce" (BEST NICKNAME EVER) as far as the avant-garde look goes, but worries that the ready-to-wear look may seem cheap. Christian, unsurprisingly, thinks it looks "totally expensive."

Tim thinks that Kit and Ricky's dress is a bit too costume-y, and not dramatic and exuberant enough. He loves Victorya and Jillian's concept, IF they can finish it. Which doesn't seem likely, since they haven't even started the second look by the morning of the show. Or finished the first one. Jesus Christ.

And now, on to Team Meani/Baby Bunny. Tim worries that Meani's gown won't surprise the judges, and that it doesn't go far enough. Um, duh. Meani is all, "Yeah, because we don't work well as a team." Riiiight. Your dress looks too much like everything else you've ever done because you had to work with Sweet P. Way to try and throw her under the bus when it didn't even make sense, dude. To her credit, Sweet P just says that it's been tough working together, without mentioning that he's been a total asshole who clearly doesn't respect her. She just does her best to rock her ready-to-wear dress, in preparation for being in the bottom two tomorrow. Good strategy. Also, she hopes they don't end up in a fist fight. Now, that would be an interesting match-up. I mean, she's all baby bunny now, but didn't she used to be a biker?

Pre-runway, Ricky worries that their ready-to-wear dress looks too simple (it does), and Jillian throws their second dress together at the last minute. At the runway, we are introduced to Alberta Ferretti, this week's guest judge.

Meani and Sweet P's main look doesn't seem very avant-garde to me, so much as it looks like one of Meani's normal gowns with some added bling. I guess I like it in general, though. Minus the weirdly incongruous pants. Sweet P's ready-to-wear dress is adorable.

Christian and Chris's main look, on the other hand, looks exactly as jaw-droppingly improbable as any avant-garde couture look I've ever seen. It's freaking amazing, you guys. So. Many. Ruffles. The ready-to-wear piece also looks nice--a very tailored counterpart to the extreme insanity of the gown. Go Team Fierce!

Kit and Ricky's main look is fine, I guess, but not great. In fact, it kind of reminds me of Mother Ginger's dress in The Nutcracker--the one with the big hoop skirt that all the little kids come running out of. Which, I suppose, is the definition of costume-y. And the ready-to-wear dress is waaay boring.

Victorya and Jillian's main look, on the other hand, is stunning. Especially the dramatic trench coat. Though I don't quite feel the connection between the coat and the blouse and pants under it. Despite Jillian's dissatisfaction, their ready-to-wear dress is actually really cute, and definitely more complex than Kit and Ricky's.

Meani/Sweet P and Kit/Ricky have the lowest scores, unsurprisingly. And okay, this HAS to be Chris and Christian. No contest. The judges seem to be in agreement, calling it beautifully crafted, important, exciting, couture, and cover-worthy. The only criticism at all is that the ready-to-wear skirt seemed like an afterthought. On the Victorya/Jillian side, the judges love the coat's silhouette, and think that the blouse and pants are really cute. Nina doesn't mind the ready-to-wear dress, and Jillian takes this opportunity to point out that they really had three looks (cut to Christian looking irritated).

On the sadder end of the spectrum, the judges really like Sweet P's dress, and predictably criticize Meani's gown for not being voluminous enough, and being his same old drapey self. They're also not loving the pants. Sweet P tries to explain that she wanted to add a bustle to the dress, but unwisely phrases it as "an explosion out of her rear." Everyone tries not to laugh. She's all, "I know, it sounds kooky," and they all nod vigorously, trying not to point out that it actually sounds like terrible diarrhea. Sweet P mentions that Meani really took ownership of the design and didn't let her put anything into it, while Meani says that they were at odds. As far as Kit and Ricky go, the judges feel it looks cheap, poorly-made, and Scarlett O'Hara-esque, rather than avant-garde and couture. They are also hating the ready-to-wear, which also looks cheap and simple.

The winner, of course is Team Fierce. Woo-hoo! Victorya and Jillian are also in, as are Ricky and Sweet P. Meani, it seems, was a bad leader, and his garment wasn't dramatic enough. Kit, on the other hand, wasn't fashion forward. Unfortunately, Kit is out. Fair enough, I suppose, her look was really disappointing. And they really couldn't kick Meani out, even if he was a dick with a predictable dress. This sucks, though! I really liked Kit! Although it pains me a little when she says that she's leaving with "two full suitcases of friendship and success." Urgh.

Here's hoping that Rami decides to rejoin us next week. If not, here's hoping for a Meani/Sweet P cage match. I'd put fifty bucks on Sweet P--I bet she's surprisingly feisty.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

On the Glowy Box: Is it Friday yet?

It feels like it should be Friday. And if it were Friday, then there would be a new episode of Psych tonight! (Also, I wouldn't have to go to work tomorrow.) But, alas, it's Thursday. And not the good, 30 Rock kind, either. Sigh. At least I have last night's Project Runway waiting for me at home. (Yeah, didn't get to watch any TV last night. Sorry. I know it's hard to believe.) In awesomer news: Yaaaay, X-Files movie! I seriously can't wait.

Tonight:
Ugly Betty: Betty's new perfume has some unexpected effects; Claire takes the stand in Fey's murder case; Wilhelmina takes action to become a member of the Meade clan. 8 PM, ABC.

Um...yeah. Light night.

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DVD Review: Flight of the Conchords - Season One

As you all may know, I'm a huge Flight of the Conchords fan. Huge. I thought it was the best new show this year, I constantly get songs like "Bowie in Space" stuck in my head, and I can't wait for the second season. So, obviously, I was really looking forward to getting the first season on DVD. I mean, yeah, I was worried when I saw that it was being released just a few months after the season finale, and that it was only two discs, but I was still pretty pumped.

Since I had all the episodes saved on my DVR, I felt comfortable waiting until Christmas to get the DVDs. Thus, I've only recently re-watched the first season on DVD. Ummm...okay. First off, obviously, the show is genius. And even better the second (or third or fourth, in my case) time around. If you missed it when it first aired, the DVDs are a must-buy (yes, buy, not rent--you'll want to watch them over and over). And at less than $25, it's not like they'll break the bank. Hell, they're still a must-buy if you did see it when it first aired. Who doesn't need a permanent copy of the first season of Flight of the Conchords? That said, speaking as a huge fan of the show, they're rather disappointing.

I mean, I guess I'm glad HBO was able to release them so quickly, but the only thing these DVDs gave me was the ability to free up some space on my DVR, and to watch the episodes in Spanish. Um...score? No episode commentaries, no deleted scenes, no bonus copy of the Conchords' appearance on One Night Stand, no cast interviews or insights into the creative process--nothing. Which, okay, I guess I was expecting that. I suppose it makes for a cheaper DVD set, which allows more potential fans to get into the show. I'm bummed, and would've prefered to wait a few more months and pay a few more dollars for a better set, but it wasn't a huge surprise.

However, and this is pretty damn annoying, how hard would it have been to separate out clips of all the songs? As it stands, if you only want to see the hysterical Lord of the Rings music video, you have to fast-forward through the entire episode to get to it. Way to be crappier than YouTube, HBO. Sigh.

That said, of course I'll treasure the DVD set forever, and watch it over and over. What's important is the quality of the show--not the bonus materials that come with it. It just would've been nice, as a fan, to get a little something besides what actually aired. Or at least not to have the feeling that I'm going to have to shell out an additional $35 to buy the Extra-Awesome Edition when they finally decide to do a real DVD release of the first season. Ah, well. The show's still amazing, and you should still buy the DVD. Just...don't expect too much (or anything) beyond the actual episodes.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On the Glowy Box: Clementines are delicious.

I love clementines. (Sorry for the lack of cleverness and/or relevant news, but I'm currently distracted by the tasty, tasty crate of clementines I splurged on at the grocery store last night. Mmmmm.) Let's move on...

Last Night:
Masterpiece Theatre - Persuasion: Finally got a chance to watch this, which aired Sunday night. Interesting adaptation. They definitely compressed the events of the book quite a bit to fit them into 90 minutes (more so than in the BBC version of the novel), but not to the point where it was jarring, or hard to follow. The end just seemed to happen rather quickly. Also, it was kind of awesome watching Giles from Buffy play Anne's asshole father. And you really can't go wrong with Gillian Anderson (and her very long, very red hair) kicking off the show. It should additionally be noted that Captain Wentworth was super-cute. I'd say it's a very good start to the new season, with the caveat that it may be rough for some Austen fans to watch 90-minute versions of somewhat more complex novels. You can probably still catch the rerun in most areas--check your PBS station's listings.

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: Vicariously enjoy the excessive homoeroticism by reading my full recap here.

Tonight:
Project Runway: The designers step outside themselves and design based on the model's hairstyle. 10 PM, Bravo.

Is anyone out there really enjoying Cashmere Mafia? I can't decide if I should even try and get caught up, or just delete the episodes I have saved on my DVR, since I haven't heard many good things.

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I think I may have a problem...

About a week ago, I called my cable provider to try and switch from Starz to Showtime. (Starz was part of a free package that expired last month, and Showtime has Dexter, duh.) The operator helpfully informed me that he could get me all the premium channels for less than I was already paying, through a package deal they didn't have when I signed up a year ago. Mildly annoying that I only discovered this by happenstance, but still awesome, right? HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, TMC...the movie world is now my oyster! Which may or may not lead to my eventual undoing.

Case in point: Saturday, as I was sitting down to have a quick bite before running some errands, I decided to see if anything was on while I ate. "Perfect," I thought, "The Mighty Ducks is just starting. I loved this movie when I was a kid! I'll just watch until I finish eating, and then head out to the grocery store." Cut to almost two hours and half a bag of tortilla chips (plus my initial lunch) later, as I'm tearing up a little watching the Ducks beat the Hawks in the State Pee-wee Hockey Finals.

Errands? Forgotten. In fact, after eating all those chips, I actually had something to add to my grocery list. And it's not like I was watching something useful, like a show I was planning to review. It was just an hour and forty minutes of my life that I'll never get back. Something tells me that however much money it's saving me to add these extra channels to my cable bundle, it may end up costing me more in the long run...

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: So...much...grease...

Tonight on Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, "the [male] models must cast aside all inhibition for a rugged portrayal of manliness." Which takes the form of the most homoerotic photo shoot you could ever conceive of. We're talking gallons of grease, plus denim underwear and painted-on ass tans. It's intense. And also one of the reasons I not-so-secretly love this show. (Hilaaarious!)

We rejoin the models at the Rufskin shoot, where Christian, Michael, Danny, and Maurice are drinking and sweating their way into gay soft-porn stardom. Janice, as we know, wasn't cool with the drinking part. And wow, there is So. Much. Crack. Like, right in our faces. Danny breaks thousands of gay hearts by confirming that he's straight (along with the other models in the shoot), even though he seems very comfortable posing in a denim thong.

Seriously, this is insane. These dudes are in underwear, greased up with water pouring on them, lying on top of each other and coming within an inch of face-to-package contact. Janice is proud of them like their mothers never will be. You should be able to see some of the Rufskin pictures here, if you have a "greasy guys in scraps of denim" fetish.

Moving on, we've got a new client--SensiClear. And the head guy wants to book all of Janice's models with the worst possible skin, since he's selling an acne control product. They'll all use the product for a month, and then one will be selected to appear in infomercials for a year. Janice, of course, doesn't have any models with even one blackhead, because her agency recruits naught but perfection itself. Thus, open casting call! For, um, models with bad skin.

Scandalous sideplot--Nathan and Traci are going on a date! ...Because Traci thought it wasn't enough to be on Janice's bad side weight-wise. She wanted to seal her tomb completely by dating Janice's son. Oh, Traci. Such a bad call. Janice will CUT you. And I don't mean from the agency, either. She's old school. Nathan (or a producer) decides that JP will chaperone with a blind date, amusingly enough. The perfect guy for JP? Rodrigo, from the agency's Latino division. JP is on board.

Nathan has arranged a crazy ego-mobile, with huge flat-screen TVs on the side showing evidence of why Traci is "the hottest girl in the agency." Um...adorable? They head off to a water park, where JP and Rodrigo hit it off big time (seriously, really cute), and Traci finds herself trying to bring Nathan out of his shell. I kind of tear up a little when JP describes what it means to him to be comfortable kissing another guy in public. Shut up. It's really sweet and touching and awesome.

At the restaurant, JP and Rodrigo share another kiss and eagerly agree to go out again, while Traci and Nathan do some smooching in a different booth. Nathan gives the necessary "I'm still a playa"-type quote, and once she finds out about Nathan and Traci, Janice is furious. (Because he's dating a model, or because it's Traci the "fatty"?) She says that you can't mix business with pleasure, which seems fair, but then goes off the deep end by asking what would happen if "one of these girls" (um, Traci is the only one) stuck pins in his condoms. There's a whole crazy interview where she yells about favoritism, too. In the end, she asks that he promise not to go out with her again, and he confirms that he likes being single.

Of course, Janice has to chat with Traci, too. First question: "So, how's my son in bed?" Oof. Traci says that they just went on a date, and are just having fun, and then realizes that she's not doing such a good job separating her personal life and her job. Janice asks that Traci not date Nathan anymore, and Traci agrees. Well, that was anti-climatic.

Back to the actual modeling agency stuff, it's time for the SensiClear open call! Man, there's nothing I love more on a Tuesday night than watching close-ups of people's acne on my TV screen. (Note to God: Please do not karmically afflict me with cystic acne.) Acne dude interviews the prospective models about their skin issues and attempts at self-medication using urine (yes, urine...no, I can't even make a joke about that), and Janice also introduces him to six of her existing models with skin problems. Even though she already said that none of her models have skin problems. CC, in particular, does some hardcore crying. Way to sell it, CC. Acne guy and Janice agree that CC is totally the girl.

However, they need to pick a bunch of models, to make sure the product works on someone, so a number of models from the open call get picked. One that doesn't get picked (cough*urinegirl*cough) starts sobbing, and Janice basically pressures acne guy to include her. When he does, she sobs harder, and all the other models start clapping, but you know they're all hating her and her extra screen time.

CC interviews that Janice has become almost like a second mom to her, which disturbs me on a number of levels. Janice takes CC to a spa day, and CC loves the one-on-one time with her completely dysfunctional surrogate mom. Janice and CC get into a deep talk about their common childhood issues (CC's mom was an alcoholic), and I guess it's actually good that CC has someone to share with, though it's a bit sad that she's having to cry through her issues on national television.

But don't get too invested in that plot, because on JDMA, we flash from one thing to the next like nobody's business. We're off to a casting for the Jack Henry boutique, which is about to open to the public. Obnoxiously, the owner, Tia, has decided to use labeled polaroids of models for all the exclusive designer stuff she sells instead of price tags. Um, absurd. Like, "Hey, someone already wore this! For long enough to do a photo shoot in it! Enjoy the sweat stains!"

The girls try on the clothes and take photos in them in the casting, and Tia has a crazy high-concept idea about emotions and styles that leads to her choosing Nyabel, Crystal, and Erika. This will be Erika's first real job. And she has a giant, alien-like forehead. Tia also chooses to put an option on Ligia, just in case.

At the shoot, it's assembly-line style, with high pressure to do well quickly. Crystal rocks it, Nyabel also does well (provoking a clip-fest of how much Peter and Janice fought about her), and Erika totally bombs. She gets a pep talk (money quote from the photographer: "We're selling clothes today; we're not selling boring attitudes. Come on!"), then a lesson by Tia, and still doesn't work it out, leaving Tia with no choice but to discuss it with Janice. Aaaand, scene.

Next week: Um, Erika still sucks, and Janice and Peter are still fighting. Yeah.

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On the Glowy Box: You suck, America.

...Seriously. I mean, I'm not saying that nobody should ever watch reality TV, since God knows I love me some Tyra, Janice, and Project Runway, but American Gladiators? Really? Over Chuck? Do you not want scripted television to return, America? Are you trying to turn the entire medium into a vast wasteland of suck? Because you're doing a pretty good job at it.

Last Night:
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: I am officially loving this show! Mad props, again, to David Nutter for the fantastic direction. He was always great at making each of his X-Files episodes feel like a mini-movie, and he has absolutely succeeded in that effort with this show as well. (I mean, what kind of special effects budget are we talking? Because that shit is pretty impressive.) Lena Headey has also proven herself more than capable of playing the lead role, which requires an impressive balance between kick-ass action heroine and worried mom, with a sprinkling of tortured soul to bind the whole thing together.

Of course, one has to ignore the constant paradoxes that arise due to time travel, but I'm assuming that was the case with the movies, too. And if you don't try and think it through, you can spare yourself some brain-ache. I also question the necessity of Sarah Connor's narration ("Show, don't tell," right?), and am hoping that now that most of the exposition is out of the way, it can fade further into the background. Overall, though, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has far exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations, and is something I'll really look forward to watching every week.

Tonight:
Boston Legal: Denny basks in the spotlight and refuses Alan's help with a high-profile murder case; Jerry and Katie represent a woman wishing to sue her husband's law firm for causing their divorce. 10 PM, ABC.

Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: Janice gets an unusual request from a client; a new model is unable to handle the fast pace of a photo shoot. 10:30 PM, Oxygen.

I won't be watching American Idol, since I lack the requisite 700 hours per week of free time.

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Sneak Preview: Hollywood Residential

Are you a fan of single-camera comedies? Does the idea of combining Extras, MTV Cribs, and Home Improvement sound intriguing to you? If so, Starz has a new half-hour series called Hollywood Residential, premiering January 23rd, that you should definitely check out.

The show follows Tony King (Adam Paul), a wannabe actor and terrible handyman who hosts a celebrity home makeover show with his new, far more talented co-host, Lila (Lindsey Stoddart). Numerous power tool mishaps, awkward attempts at self-promotion, and hilarious celebrity guest spots ensue.

Tony definitely falls under the "buffoon lacking in self-awareness" umbrella, like a toned-down Michael Scott, but with more physical comedy. Throw in some easily-annoyed celebrities (such as Tom Arnold, Carmen Electra, and John Cho, all playing themselves), plus an impressive pedigree with Cheryl Hines serving as an executive producer, and you've got yourself some laugh-out-loud funny stuff. As starved as we are for scripted television these days, a new single-camera comedy with a concept as funny as Hollywood Residential's seems like a godsend.

The episode I saw, which will air sixth, features Chris Kattan as Tony and crew remodel his kitchen. Chris hooks Tony up with an audition for Chris's latest movie, a drama for which he's also an associate producer, with predictably disastrous results. I use the word "predictable," but the show actually manages to steer clear of the formulaic landmine that lies in its concept--each episode seems to go someplace new, or move the arc along. The only predictability lies in Tony's ineptness.

I also love that the show leaves room for improvisation in its filming. Apparently, they do a couple takes of the scripted version of each scene, and then a couple takes where the actors can really let loose. With stars and guest stars adept at improvising, this only leads to good things. Also, I have to give a shout-out to the theme song, "Add it Up," by the Violent Femmes, since it's insanely awesome.

Will Hollywood Residential be able to replace The Office, or our other beloved single-camera shows that aren't airing right now? Of course not. Could it maybe use some polishing around the edges, or be a bit more subtle? Sure. But it's a clever concept perfectly cast with Adam Paul, and I'd definitely recommend checking out the first episode (which will feature Paula Abdul, who seems to be surprisingly good at making fun of herself) to see for yourself. Especially if you tend to like single-camera comedies as well as good physical comedy (a somewhat rare combination, now that I think about it). Hollywood Residential premieres Wednesday, January 23rd at 10:30 PM on Starz.

Here's a quick preview, though it's definitely more slapstick-y than much of the humor on the show:


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Monday, January 14, 2008

This just blew my mind a little.

Okay, so CBS (a big media company) just posted this ad-sponsored clip from Letterman on YouTube (which the writers will get no money for) about how those evil big media companies won't give writers any money for content posted online. Seriously. The description: "The big media cowards, cutthroats and weasels try to set the record straight about their offer to the WGA." Wrap your head around that one, whydon'tcha?

I mean, do they watch these clips from shows before they post them? (Or let the Letterman writers post them, as the case may be.) Um...way to do our work for us, CBS!

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On the Glowy Box: Congratulations, Tina Fey!

I'm loving the second season of Dexter so far! And I've already got the second season of Weeds waiting for me at home (thanks, Netflix!), so I'd say I'm surviving the strike pretty well, considering.

Over the Weekend:
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: I was actually surprised by how much I liked the pilot episode. (And this is speaking as someone who's only seen one of the Terminator movies, years ago. Whichever one had Ah-nuld as the good guy.) I love Lena Headey as Sarah, and I'm really impressed with the "movie" feel that the episode had (though I wonder if they can keep up that level of special effects). Plus, David Nutter directed some of my favorite X-Files episodes, so the pilot's direction was in very good hands. I'm just gonna put this out there--Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles may end up being great in every way that Bionic Woman fell flat. At least, here's hoping.

Psych: I love it when episodes focus on Gus! Dulé Hill is SO underrated on this show. And, of course, this show is SO underrated in general. Let's just all take a moment to be grateful that Psych is back with new episodes.

Tonight:
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Sarah, John and Cameron infiltrate a resistance safe-house and discover they are not alone; Agent Ellison realizes that Sarah is still alive; a dangerous person from Sarah's past reawakens. 9 PM, Fox.

I'm really looking forward to the second half of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, after last night's surprising awesomeness. I also see a couple more episodes of Dexter's second season in my future...

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TV Blog Coalition: Linktastic Goodness

Here it is--our favorite posts of the week. (Now in new, streamlined format!)


  • Buzz celebrated pop culture prom week. (BuzzSugar)
  • Sandie interviewed April Matson, who plays Lori Trager on ABC Family's Kyle XY. (Daemon's TV)
  • Liz finally got around to watching (and inevitably falling in love with) Dexter. (Glowy Box)
  • Think your job is bad sometimes? Marcia listed the worst workplaces on television. (Pop Vultures)
  • Four years, six months, and two days later Rae falls for One Tree Hill again. (RTVW)
  • For those who like their British chicks with mouths like a sailor, meet the 2008 model Kate Nash (no relations to Steve, Graham, or Nash Brownies). (Scooter McGavin's 9th Green)
  • Vance preferred Cashmere Mafia over Lipstick Jungle, but both are inferior replacements to the strike-affected favorites currently ending by default. (Tapeworthy)
  • Jace's fiancee, the future Mrs. Televisionary, offers up reasons why Jace should XOXO Gossip Girl. (Televisionary)
  • Dan's reflections on Project Runway include: Victorya is no Chloe and Kevin's ouster was unjust. (TiFaux)
  • Jennifer was beyond "psyched" to chat with the boys of Psych. (Tube Talk)
  • Kate calculated odds for who will be the next Bachelorette. (TV Filter)
  • Daniel attended the Launch Party for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and was thrilled to meet one of the stars from the show responsible for his unhealthy television addiction (theTVaddict)

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