Archive for the 'TV' Category

14
May
09

Ab Fab is Dead. Long Live Absolutely Fabulous!

Good news: Fox is giving up on its ill-considered remake of Absolutely Fabulous.

It might have been brilliant … but it was more likely to be a travesty — despite the worthy efforts of Kristen Johnson and Kathryn Hahn. Alas, the world will never know. Frankly, I think we’re better off.

american ab fab not happening
A lady always knows when it’s time to leave the party.
[afterelton.com]

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02
Apr
09

Another Triumphant Return for Little Edie Beale

Some legends just never die, do they?

HBO’s production of Grey Gardens, premiering on April 18, should be pretty amazing. It’s not a movie version of the 1975 documentary, whose action necessarily concentrated on the declining years of the Beale women, making only brief photographic reference to their less-troubled past. Nor is it, notably, a remake of the recent Broadway musical, which re-enacted elements of their erstwhile lives of leisure. Rather, it seems to be a combination of both stories.

It’s such a bizarre and compelling story, and this trailer suggests the new film seems up to the task of telling it completely.

Jessica Lange’s makeup looks amazing, and Drew Barrymore sounds brilliant. Imagine the bill for the dialect coach! I almost want her to burst into song with “The Revolutionary Costume for Today.”

24
Mar
09

Mission Accomplished

The dirty little “secret” about RuPaul’s Drag Race is it doesn’t matter who wins this competition. RuPaul is not passing on any crown. Are you kidding me? She’s just gettin’ started! This entire season has been all about one person: RuPaul.

And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

Fittingly, Season One closed on one more example of the contestants acting as co-stars warming their hands on RuPaul’s fire. The girls had to learn new choreography for a guest role on RuPaul’s new video and they had to record a rap for inclusion in her single. However, I think what we saw this week firmly placed Nina and Bebe among the fiercest of the fierce.

Bebe Zahara Benet
Camaroooooon!
[www.bebezaharabenet.com

Tonight Bebe won the crown and our hearts. I had always hoped Nina would win. She’s the only one who has never had to lip-synch for her life, and her heart and charisma enriched the experience for everyone. But I would have been satisfied with either of her or Bebe. And Bebe’s plans to start a charity for kids in Camaroon with HIV/AIDS is, frankly, one of the highest marks of a true champion.

Rebecca’s lucky star, on the other hand, seemed to have faded this week. From the start of this episode (and frankly before), the race was down to Nina and Bebe. Through every step this week, Rebecca just couldn’t cut it. She didn’t hit the choreography, she had half as much rap as she needed, she couldn’t pull herself (or her wig) together for the video shoot, and she had no capacity for taking direction from Mike Ruiz.

Either she’s finally feeling the pressure, or it’s just a bad day. Or maybe it’s because she shouldn’t have gotten this far in the first place. “You never, ever rush a queen,” she says. But the other two seemed to manage just fine. She’s full of excuses this week, but even she knows her time is up.

In this week’s “Under the Hood,” Nina confronts Rebecca with a few things. It’s a classy moment: Rather than part ways with bad blood, she calls out Rebecca’s shadiness and makes peace with her. Nina and Bebe bend over backward to give her the benefit of the doubt: “You probably don’t know you’re doing it” and “you probably don’t do this intentionally.” But it was a real barrier to her ability to make any friends on this show, and it did a lot to keep people from trusting her. It’s nothing personal, but it’s an important lesson for them to impart.

And they seal it with a kiss. Mwah, mwah.Ay, Loca. Work it out.”

Rebecca concedes a few times this season that she probably appears standoffish to the others, but it’s not intentional. “It’s just the way I am.”

But when asked about the others’ reactions to her, she always says something like, “I’m used to it.” In other words: I am a victim, those bitches don’t like me, they’re jealous of me, and I’m used to it, so whatever. She recognizes she’s improving her look or her performance, but she’s not improving herself or her professionalism: witness her Viva Glam breakdown, tonight’s disastrous video shoot tardiness.

Ru asks her point-blank, “Do you think it’s this kind of behavior that alienates you from the other girls.” And her response is either ugly or just thoughtless, I’m not sure: “I think it’s maybe because they’re a little older…”

Nothing to do with her, of course.

When Nina and Bebe are talking about staying in touch and working together after the show, Rebecca says nope, I’m here to win, and “I can’t let things like friendships get in the way.” If this is just “how she is,” it sucks, and it will always hurt her.

So, while she’s fixing her wig and being friendless, Nina and Bebe are holding hands, blowing kisses, and forging a friendship that will carry them through their success in ways Rebecca can’t seem to imagine.

21
Mar
09

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fabio

One idea of male physical perfection is the romance novel cover model. It’s the swashbuckling hero, stripped to the waist, wrapping himself around a fair damsel, her frills and ribbons swirling up around him, licking his bronzed, hairless torso. It’s the tamed savage, all leather straps, shells and feathers, towering magnificently over his prize, one ham-sized hand firmly grasping her arm, the other gently touching her chin as she, on her knees, reaches desperately up toward him, her hair a wind-swept tangle nearly as long as his.

There’s enough there to excite the dreams of a young boy for years into his adolescence — whether he wants to be the hero … or to receive the hero’s ill-fated, undying desire. It was rivaled only by the box-cover underwear models lining the rows of men’s department store intimate apparel aisles. (I never wore the stuff. I always had the simple Fruit of the Loom numbers. Instead of the triumphantly muscled gods of Calvin Klein and Jockey, I had a few guys in fruit fetish wear.)

It was enough to take Fabio all the way to the top of a margarine ad empire.

Recently this dream has been playing out on the walls of the New York subway. In all their half-naked, air-brushed glory, Hollywood hotties Eddie Cibrian, Jerry O’Connell, Ivan Sergei and Jason Lewis are doing their best to out-Fabio each other, tenderly grasping their respective leading ladies, in a collection of posters for a series of Lifetime movies based on novels by Nora Roberts.

The 2009 Nora Roberts Collection

I don’t know anything about her or her work, but the art direction of the posters tells me all I really want to know.

The films themselves are probably decent, perfunctory, uncomplicated TV movies. But the candy-colored posters are ridiculous caricatures. And the assault of all four of them taken together, which is how they appear in the subway, makes the whole thing look a little like a joke. On the Web site, we learn further that erstwhile hot mamas such as Cybil Shepard and Faye Dunaway also co-star. Could it get any gayer? It’s like accidental high camp.

But this is “television for women,” after all. The images above are all arms and chest. Not a single nipple shows. And no gay soft-core porn, however accidental, would be caught dead without a couple of Susan B. Anthonys peeking through.

19
Mar
09

Mommie Draggest

octo-drag mommy
[source: Life & Style, 3/30/09, vol. 6, issue 13]
10
Mar
09

Absolutely Fabricated

ab fab first look
Sweetie, darling, does mummy’s script need surgery?

A friend of mine who is always in the know sent me this picture of the new American Patsy and Eddie. While I’m grateful for the first look, I’m also a little scared.

OK, so you can’t judge a book by its cover, and all that, but please, please, please tell me it’s not going to look like a couple of women dressed up as Patsy and Eddie at a Halloween party!

I don’t even know why this is being taken on now. It was so right the first time around. My greatest fear is that this new series will either be so similar that it looks like a poor reproduction, or so different it will be pointless.

10
Mar
09

Shannel, No. 6

Shannel    
I’m beautiful, dammit!
[www.poptower.com]

Oh, Shannel … Say it ain’t so. A sixth contestant has been cut from RuPaul’s Drag Race. And she was wronged!

I’m a little mad at her for giving up the fight. Her “I don’t want to be here anymore!” was a major disappointment for me. Week after week, she has taken harsh, often meaningless criticism with dignity and respect. Even tonight, Santino said she’s “saying everything right,” but she’s just not connecting with him. What does that even mean? I think it says more about the judge than the contestant.

It’s hard to say how much her announcement affected the judges’ decision. I think it was honest exasperation, not a strategy. And who could blame her? You can see it in this week’s “under the hood” and, sadly, her exit interview. What more can she do?

When she got pitted against Rebecca in the lip synch, she put up a fight again. I think she saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I did. And maybe I’m no judge of these things, but I think her performance was better than Rebecca’s.

Maybe it all went wrong when she lifted up that dress and shook her little butt. That and the Hannibal Lecter-esque lip-smacking earlier on, which was met with the sound of crickets chirping, may have been just a step too far. Oh, I wish she’d just hold back a bit and let her talent carry her forward. Instead, she always resorts to a trick: snakes, juggling, those assless chaps. I picture her as a trained circus animal, with Merle Ginsberg tossing her lumps of meat after each jump through the fire hoop.

Everyone wants to ditch Rebecca this week — even 47% of the audience! I wanted her to get far, but her time has come. She was so overrated during the vogue-off. Shannel characteristically pulled a cartwheel out of her ass, but her posing was better. I thought the whole drag ball/vogue theme, a nice nod to the drag history, would have given an advantage to the more seasoned of the girls. But that Rebecca has nine lives, and I think RuPaul has a soft spot for her.

The best part of the vogue-off was RuPaul’s commentary: “Paint your face, honey!”

“Face! Face! Face!”

“Why you all gagging so? She bring it to you every ball!”

This was a tough episode: swimsuit, evening gown, and business suit. Forget about Miss America, honey. And these ladies aren’t even ladies! Plus, these colors were truly awful — more Froot Loops than mango mojito.

The inclusion of Charo was a stroke of genius on so many levels, not the least of which was a welcome lightening of the mood. I don’t know where she went, but I’m glad she’s back! (Looking strangely the same as the last time I saw her — on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse!) Who can resist her? She even got the pit crew to dance. I wish to god she had stayed on as a judge, but the flamenco diva magic ended far too soon.

The runway question, “Why should you win?” was a telling moment. Bebe led with a dignified answer: “There is pride and dignity in dressing up.” Nina said she wants to inspire others. Shannel answered like a politician, saying a lot without ever really answering the question: “I love myself,” essentially.

But I hate, hate, hate Rebecca’s answer. When someone asks why you should win, you need to have a real reason, something personal and meaningful. I want to make my grandma proud. Or I need the money to buy a house for my mom. But the best Rebecca can come up with is “I want this.”

That’s not a reason; it just restates the question: I want this because I want this. OK, obviously she’s working hard. This is not easy. So, let that be her reason. It would have been better if she’d said simply, “because I deserve to.” At least that speaks to the competition, not just some childish sense of entitlement.

Line of the night: RuPaul’s repeated declarations of “Extravaganza eleganza!”

Charo, on the dance: “Be careful. Spooning leads to forking.”

Charo, on the posture: “Even if you don’t breathe, nevermind. If you drop dead, you drop dead with class.”

Charo, on the walk: “Uno, dos, uno, dos. I am the biggest bitch in the world.”

Nina: “How am I gonna place a mango in an evening gown?”

RuPaul, to Shannel: “Yes… something to wash down the fava beans.”




the untallied hours

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