Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The TV Set: Making A List, Checking It Twice

(Photo credit: Steve Fenn - ABC)

It's happened again. Barbara Walters has jumped into her trusty So Five Minutes Ago Machine to bring us her "10 Most Fascinating People" special. It airs this Thursday on ABC. The full list hasn't been made available but the seven names they have released to lure us in are remarkable only for being so not--Michael Phelps, Will Smith, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Cruise, Tina Fey, Miley Cyrus and Frank Langella. I had to google the last guy. Instead of a result Google had a question for me for a change--are you really this bored? Diss.

Choosing Will and TC is especially suspect. No one's ever been fascinated by Will Smith. He looks good running and is breathtakingly self satisfied in an inoffensive way. Tom hasn't been remotely interesting since the trouncing he gave to O's couch. But what do you know, they both just happen to have movies coming out this month. These lists are supposed to be about pure celebrity obsessed fun, not marketing ploys. Babs, you disappoint me. I know Phelps is all superhuman if you add water, but outside of the pool not so much. If you doubt me, try watching anyone interview him. Between yawns I always start fantasizing that it'll be something like the best mermaid movie ever "Splash" except, instead of a tail being exposed when Eugene Levy sprays him with water, Mikey's cleverly disguised charisma will be flopping around in a Speedo.

Anyway dear tellyphile, Dame WaWa may be faking the funk, but The TV Set keeps it real. A list of the year's most fascinating people should consist of celebrities that have truly left us flabbergasted, baffled, agog. They are the famous names that we'd watch until bleary eyed, not willing to risk a blink.

6. John Mayer. Don't balk. There's something about Mayer. Ask Jennifer Aniston. Despite his blabbing to the stalkerazzi about the demise of their relationship, the uberprivate former Friend came back for more. But more of what? Whatever "it" is, Jessica Simpson dug it too. So much so she downgraded to brunette for a while. A mistake. John soon dumped her. A frog prince coming into his own. Before long he was lounging poolside with America's favorite Jen and we had no choice but to begin studying him with rapt attention. He's all young dude with a guitar, weird blogging, devil maycaring it and she's just so darn...Jennifer Anistoney. Is there any there there? And which do we find more inexplicably alluring. John with a shorn head or sporting a self-described feathered 80's era homage?

5. Samantha Ronson. This is one impressive barnacle. Remember when she was just that creepy ghost in the periphery of all those Lindsey Lohan losing it pap shots? She always wore a fedora and was pale and hollow-eyed, looking every bit the fame sucking vampire. This year, still pale and sickly looking as ever, Ronson and Lohan confirmed the long-standing rumors that they were romantically involved by coming out as a couple--the Red Bull set's Ellen and Portia if you will. Despite her appearance, it turns out Ronson is part of the British elite. Leaping lizards, Sam's the one that's been slumming it all this time.

4. Brad Pitt. Age has come for Mr. Pitt's face and it's a wonder to behold. He's still gorgeous, but six kids takes its toll. When we're done being intrigued by the sight of Achilles getting on in years there's the fun game of recalling all the different versions of Brad we've been treated to. His persona at any given time directly correlates to who he was sleeping with. Looking for edgy Brad? Take a gander at the Juliette Lewis years. Brad at his most blonde? Duh. All Gwyneth. It's as if he's nothing more than a pod assuming all the characteristics of the one closest to him. In the real world, that's creepy. But in Hollywood, it's Oscar bound. Can't wait to see you get yours, Brad.

3. Sarah Palin. A gift to people watchers everywhere. There's the "Fargo" accent, the wacked out kids names, "also too" her crazy syntax and the train wreck good interviews in which she inadvertently let the cat out of the bag that she wasn't quite ready for primetime. Why should that stop the good governor? Sister Sarah plowed on driven by a brazen desire to get as much out of this crazy VP nominee thing as she could, including a five star wardrobe for herself and her brood. Are we hoping to see more of Palin in 2012? You betcha!

2. Britney Spears. Pop princess. Party girl. Redneck. Single mom. Caged bird. She's been there so long you would think the fascination would have worn off by now but our appetite for all things Britney is insatiable. You never know what visceral reaction Brit Brit's going to inspire--revulsion, envy, sympathy, guilt, admiration. They've all been evoked as we watched the once virginal pop covergirl enter two bad marriages, lose her innocence, her underwear, her kids and her mind. Now she's struggling to get it all back again.

1. Suri Cruise. Don't front. I've seen you stealing glances at the covers of US Weekly and Star whenever the First Baby of Scientology is on them. Who could blame you? TomKat's kitten is far superior to her celebuspawn peers. Sorry, Shiloh. Little Suri already has the commanding presence of a star. Look, there's Suri playing in the park. Now there she is escorting her mother down Fifth Avenue. In no time at all, you'll come to the conclusion that this toddler has a better life than you do and way more bank. She's even better off than her mother, the ghost of Katie Holmes. Unlike Katie, you get the sense that Suri's not taking any stuff from Mighty Dad TC. Tom revealed as much when he recently confessed that Suri won't let them put her in anything but dresses. There's a new pint sized sheriff in town, Tom. Katie, go get your heels.