Thursday, August 13, 2009

Doppelganger Alert: Kelly Bensimon's Got a MiniMe


The picture speaks for itself. Meet Kara, a 19 year-old Indiana native, who will be one of the hopelessfuls on "America's Next Top Model" when it premieres on Sept 9th. At long last, Kelly Bensimon has a solution to that whole pesky aging thing. She could totally start shooting herself up with Kara's bone marrow or something. It's bound to do more for KB then those chemical peels are. Agreed?

Fingers crossed that Kara will be as crazy and feisty as the original model. Last cycle's ANTM never did it for me and the sagging ratings indicate I wasn't the only one. The aging series could use a little Karazy (see Bethenny, I can do it too!)--from someone other than Tyra I mean. Check out the rest of the 5'7" and under flock here.

A Stunningly Beautiful Partner in Radicalism


That's how the NY Times' Ginia Bellafante describes Kathleen Cleaver, former Black Panther and wife of Panther leader Eldridge, in her write up of the VH-1 doc series "Lords of the Revolution". 

The series of hour-long docs, set to coincide with the anniversary of Woodstock, is all about iconic 60s radicals and I confess to sharing in Bellafante's fatigue when it comes to cursory examinations of the era in which so much changed:
Though none of the subjects are musicians, the occasion is the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, even though it seems as if we haven’t stopped commemorating Woodstock since 1969. The choices the producers have made are hardly counterintuitive. “Lords of the Revolution,” begins with an examination of Muhammad Ali and reintroduces us to the delirium of the Black Panthers, Timothy Leary and Andy Warhol. The decision to include Cheech and Chong, who forged their celebrity as activists for High Times slackerdom, isn’t so much a surprise as it is unworthy of the larger effort.  
Word, Ginia. When I checked in on this series earlier in the week it was the hour on Cheech and Chong and I just kept on clicking. It seemed like something I'd seen before, even like something I'd seen on VH-1 before. I kind of feel the same about the hour that premieres tonight at 8pm on Timothy "Turn on, tune in, drop out" Leary. But this afternoon they reran the hour on the Black Panthers.

While it was just as surface a documentary as the others I enjoyed. I've never seen a doc on TV that discusses the history of the Black Panther movement and its various personalities. Of course, I'd heard of Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver before, but it was nice to get some context and to see them in action when they were beautiful and in their heyday.

I was especially struck by Kathleen Cleaver who looks like a Rihanna protoype with an afro and a gun. Intrigued, I looked her up afterwards. After learning more she's not any less compelling. A major member of the Black Panthers who attended a Quaker boarding school  and Barnard? Do go on.

Here's a clip that includes a little bit of Kathleen in action. Actually includes a lot of archival footage VH-1 used in their hour. Watch:

He Don't Need No Stinkin' PhotoShop

 
Never let it be said that "Mad Men" doesn't keep it real. 
"Mad Men" being "Mad Men" their key art for the third season, which at long last starts this SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!! at 10PM EST, is Bad Ass. Jon Hamm as Don Draper is giving us his best "I could give a fuck" Draper stare, ever-present cigarette in hand. His unflappable stone-coldness is beautifully juxtaposed against the rising tide that everything around him is submerged in. Sigh. I love moody, well-written television.  Don't you?
And just went you thought this piece of art couldn't get cooler, comes the revelation that it's 100% real. Hamm sat for hours in water nearly up to his neck to get the shot (and Katherine Heigl was upset about having to lay in bed for a while? Can I get a, "Bitch, please!"?). 
I geek out about TV making magic like this. I love so much that this show does not do things the easier, cheaper way. They could have easily faked it with a little PhotoShop wizardry, but almost as if the production itself were rooted in that time when things may have been less convenient but of a higher quality, they cut no corners even going so far as to bring in special water.
Watch and learn about the rest of the impressive process:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Whatchu Talkin Bout, Willis??!: Bethenny Talks Kim


"She's like Jessica Rabbit on crack!" -- Real Housewife of NYC Bethenny Frankel, describes fellow "Housewife" Kim of the Atlanta franchise on today's "Wendy Williams Show".

Bass Fishing

 
I cast my line out in the internet sea and was "rewarded" with this disheartening shot of Ed Westwick at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards.Why does he insist on reminding us that he's wee? Why, Ed, why? And are you guys seeing crotch bits? I'm seeing crotch bits.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Martha Introduces Us to Crack Pie & Cereal Milk...Mmmm


"The View" had Constantine from "American Idol" on today. I was entranced watching the interview segment because he looks like a nerdy vampire and that intrigues me. When it came time for him to start singing however, I ran for the hills. By "ran" I mean listlessly reached for my remote and by "hills" I mean the only other show worth watching at 11am, "The Martha Stewart Show." 

Today's Martha was a rerun, but I'd never seen it before. This is probably a good thing since it was all about this wondrous hipster bakery called Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC and being that this is well within my reach I'd weigh about 400lbs by now feasting on such "how could you do this to me?" masterpieces of death by caloric intake as something they've dubbed "crackpie" and fudge brownie soft serve. Crack pie's ingredients consist solely of sugar, milk and eggs and it's so goopy you don't even need to slice it but can just scoop it out with a spoon(!) as demonstrated by chefs Christina Tosi and David Chang.

Even better than that though is the fact that Momofuku sells something called cereal milk which is exactly what you think it is--milk that's imbibed with the essence of cornflakes. They explain how it's done, as well as how to make crack pie in this clip oh so helpfully provided by foodie blog Eat Me Daily. It's the most exciting thing I've seen all day.

There may be some of you who roll your eyes at this. Clearly you aren't a New Yorker. New Yorkers loooove shit like this. When you can pay money for something sort of ridiculous and indulgent AND made with organic milk from a local farm at a place with an asian name that almost sounds like they're saying something about your momma that also calls itself a "milk bar"--whatever that is--it makes our nipples hard. Truly.

BONUS CLIP:
Martha went on to make Momofuku's blueberry and cream cookies, which are essentially blueberry muffin tops in cookie form. I KNOW!, in studio with head chef Christina Tosi. You know a pastry chef has come to bring the pain when her cookie recipe includes straight up glucose. That's some hardcore cookie making. Watch.

REQUIRED READING:
The NY Times take on Momofuku Milk Bar.

TellyPhile Themesong Throwback!

I didn't remember Miss Molly, the Magic Mirror-wielding host of "Romper Room" during the 1980s when I was being made into a person, as being built very much like Janet Reno.

I did remember that she was TV's best kindergarten teacher ever. This is proven by how adept she is at unscripted banter with a pack of yogurt-fueled four year olds. Also, shout out to white tights with party dresses and to the little girl that comes in late and hides her face in Miss Molly's skirt as she's personally greeted with an enthusiastic "Come on in. How are ya?! Welcome to Romper Room!" by Miss Molly. We were always late and surely, that would have been my fate had I been lucky enough to secure a spot on RR.

Watch:



p.s. - Molly mentions that they're going to have fun on their highsteppers. Remember those? I do because we never had shit in our house to make them out of, or apparently a willing adult around to help us procure the items needed...ahem...MOM.

Thankfully, we're adults now and can make historical wrongs right. You have the power to make your own stilts thanks to this handy step by step tutorial over at craft blog Zakka Life. And if you have kids of your own, here's your chance to break the stiltless cycle. Bygones.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And In "Press Junkets That Will Come Back to Haunt You" News...


Newlyweds Bill and Giuliana Rancic insist that theirs is a marriage meant to last and their new reality show "Giuliana and Bill" will not be the harbinger of doom for their union that it has been for every other couple who makes their relationship the focus of a reality show (except of course for Rob and Big).

The Rancic marriage, built on a solid foundation of constant travel between Chicago (where "Apprentice" winner Bill spends his time) and LA (where Giuliana works as spray-tanned E! News vulture and Seacrest Sidekick), will stand the test of time. And when Bill and Giuliana are old and gray, they will smugly dust off this interview they gave during a recent press tour for their grandchildren and be able to say to the rest of us, "We told you so."

Oh, the Unmitigated Fakery of It All!

You'll definitely want to be Bravo bound tonight, Tellyphiles. The "Real Housewives of Atlanta" are back at 10pm EST (p.s. we'are also interested to see how Andy Cohen does with his live dishfest "What What Happens: Live" which will follow the ATL season premiere). There's a new hen, former Xscape member Kandi Burruss, being added to the brood and even better--Kim is still wearing That Hair. I had feared that once she saw herself on television she would ratchet her wig game up to something less...basic.

Perhaps Kim should ask NeNe for Wendy's number so she can find out where to purchase the good stuff and some key wig wearing tips. No one works a wig as unabashedly as our Wendy as she demonstrates below:

As Seen on TV: The Maturation of Maxwell

I don't know how you spell "fine", but my version starts with "Max" and ends in "well".

Absent for close to a decade, he's been making the rounds lately to promote his highly-anticipated album "BLACKsummers'night." Luckily for fans, "BLACK" is the first of a trilogy with "SUMMERS" and "NIGHT" to follow respectively.

I watched him on Letterman recently performing "Pretty Wings" and was struck by what a full-fledged man Maxwell has become. Gone was the reed-like guy with a lion's mane of an afro that we first knew him by when he came out of nowhere and sent us swooning during the mid-nineties with a suite of songs that was an ode to courtship and making love.

Maxwell returns to us with his age showing and it suits him well. He's smoother but less slick, no longer needing to compensate for a slim physique with a riot of hair on his head. He's all filled out now and those sharp tailored suits he's been rocking emphasize this perfectly.

Watch these three clips of Maxwell's television appearances over the years and note the evolutionary stages--from flashy newcomer to bohemian hipster to today's elegantly-styled soul sophisticate. The one constant? F-I-N-E!





Exactly How Bad Is It Getting at MSNBC?


There are those of you that actually have jobs, and so you're not at home as I am this afternoon to witness the latest journalistic integrity FAIL by MSNBC. There is, I kid you not, a "Beer Summit" countdown clock complete with a tri-beer mug graphic currently being displayed on the network's lower right hand corner.

As if that isn't ew-worthy enough, they've continued to opt out of having an actual reporter fill in for David Schuster alongside Tamron Hall to co-anchor their afternoon newshour. MSNBC is sticking with smarmy Hamptons barnacle and F.O.T. (Friend of Trump) Donnie Douche Deutsch (pictured above partying it up Hamptons-style) to play anchor at the desk.

First of all, Donnie D. barely qualifies as a television personality (he's host of the CNBC gabber "The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch"), and they're crossing the line like this and making him a news anchor? But shouldn't he have umm...what's the word...oh right, credentials??!! Deutsch is a former ad man and bon vivant that likes to be on TV. This afternoon, Deutsch is really getting into the act, apparently challenging Larry King for the title of "Creepiest Use of Suspenders on a Cable News Broadcast."

Sigh. Cronkite is surely spinning Taz-style at this latest affront.

Friday, July 24, 2009

TellyPhile Themesong Throwback



I'm really taking it back this week. For some reason as soon as I started to search for today's themesong, one word came to mind--Thundercats! It must be some sort of recessive programming hibernating in my brain since the 80's kicking in. As I watched the clip I was reminded of how much I wanted that sword. Didn't you want the sword??!!

And is it me, or did our cartoons have a badass quality to them that's lacking in cartoons today? To be honest, I'm trying to think of the cartoons on TV today that I'm actually aware of and I'm only coming up with SpongeBob. This may require research I'm unwilling to pursue.

But isn't it safe to assume that everything we (people born circa 1978) came up with had a little more edge to it? Today they rubberize playgrounds for goodness sake. When I was wee, it was a rite of passage to get hit by a swing. Keep in mind, our swings were basically fast-moving, thick metal bars on chains. Shout out to the BX, a borough whose motto should go something like, "If it doesn't kill you, what are you complaining about?"

Thunder, thunder, THUNDERCATS!!!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wendy Wigs Out


"The Wendy Williams Show" returns to daytime TV on July 13th. Howyoudoin?? I'm counting the days as Wendy is my favorite ribald radio host (Sorry, Howard). Speaking of bald...Wen is famously wigalicious. During one episode last summer, she even went so far as to tuck her show notes underneath her synthetic tresses. Knowing this, I was hardly surprised to read in the NYT that when you're Wendy Williams, there's a wig for every occasion:
Of course there is little about the statuesque Ms. Williams that is under wraps; there is even a taxonomy to her hairpieces. “Ones that might be thinning a bit because they’re older, I wear those if I’m outside washing my car in the driveway,” she said. “Then you have a gym wig — a gym wig and a Target wig are the same thing — and the ones I wear to the mall on the weekend with my family.”

There is what she calls an “airport-schlepping wig” and a shorter one she reserves for days out with her son, Kevin, 8. “You can’t be flinging long fake hair around at a birthday party,” she said with a deep laugh. Most important, lately, are her show wigs: the piles of blond upon blond — “they weigh three times as much as a regular wig”

Proof Letterman is Cooler than Conan

For the duration of the publicity tour for "Bruno"--including a visit to Conan's "Tonight Show", Sacha Baron Cohen only appeared in character as Bruno.That is, until he went on Dave and gave us a rare glimpse of the himself sans the shtick.

Watch:


Part 2:

Monday, July 06, 2009

As Seen on TV: Regina Spektor on GMA

Here's RS singing the first single from her new album "Far". It's called "Laughing With". Sam Champion's gushy introduction is an amusing bonus. It's always interesting to see TV personalities who normally preside over less organic acts (Miley Cyrus comes to mind) marvel over the existence of something with a little more depth to it.




I've also located a really nice appearance of hers from an NPR show called Soundcheck that I heard in the car a few weeks ago. She does a number of tracks from the album live in-studio, discusses her mindset while writing the new album, and being a New Yorker among other things. Yes, it's radio and not television, but a good tellyphile is a well-rounded tellyphile.

Listen:

Friday, July 03, 2009

That "Mad Men" Logo


There are a lot of things to love about AMC's "Mad Men", which will be coming back to us August 16th--we do the dance of joy! Matthew Weiner and company have created one of the most beautifully designed and written anthropology lessons ever to grace the small screen. Not since "The Wonder Years" has a show made me stop and think what it must have been like to be human during a point in American history that chronologically wasn't so far away, but culturally may as well have been ancient Rome.

And then there's that instant classic and apparently oft parodied, check out a really funny Homer Simpson version here, show open that ends with the back of Don Draper's silhouette. As is usually the case with MM, via a recent interview Weiner gave to Rolling Stone, we learn it isn't there just because it's a pretty picture.
The graphics people who did the opening titles, they're the ones who said this is the image. It's the iconography of Movie Hero or Leading Man, but Don Draper is a disaster inside. And that's what that pose was about and that's what the show was about. You'll notice that in "The Jet Set" when Don's figuring out who he really is out in California, there's a shot that's a mirror image of that iconography, except Don is naked, sitting on the couch.

TellyPhile Themesong Throwback...Sort Of

Though this isn't exactly the Soul Train themesong you'll remember, take one look at the afros, excuse me "naturals", and you know fo' sho that this is a bonafide throwback. Don Cornelius' halo of hair is wondrous.

What follows is in fact an impromptu ode to ST by one Stevie Wonder, backed by who else?, the Soul Train Dancers.

Watch:

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Man vs. The Artist



How do you reconcile and remember the life of an artist who was a troubled man? Coates schools --
I guess I could peel these people out my life. I guess I could stop seperating art from men. Regrettably, I think, I wouldn't be left with much art worth admiring. Sometimes awful people, do beautiful things. One doesn't cancel the other. And mourning the loss of human life, does not excuse the sins of that life.

Have You Seen My Childhood?


I don't have any of his albums on CD or on my iPod. I haven't been a true fan since I was a little girl. Yet Michael Jackson's passing is making things shift inside. It makes me sad and I feel like something irrevocable has been lost. Or maybe I just feel confronted by the loss of something I knew was long gone, but now it's just in a really tangible way. My father died five years ago yesterday. Maybe I'm just projecting or transferring or insert your favorite psycho babble term for not dealing with your shit here.

It's impossible for me, born in 1978, to think about Michael Jackson and not also think about my childhood.  I remember the purple Thriller tshirt that had an ironed on screenshot from the Thriller video on the front of it. It was a gift from my grandfather, who surely thought he was proving he still had it, still knew what was cool. I never wore it. It scared the crap out of me and remained, neatly folded and menacing, towards the back of my tshirt drawer. I would try my best to avert my eyes anytime I opened the drawer to hastily retrieve any shirt but it to wear.

I think about a VHS tape of the Motown 25 Special my father gave my sister Dana and I (I'm realizing now that all of us 80s-ites apparently had a copy)  and how we watched it over and over again with our friends. Our response as little girls to this move he busted out called the moonwalk as awed and enthusiastic as that crowd of music professionals and insiders on the tape. And then, I think about those same little girls being under the curious belief that the people that lived in their building would want to come and watch a choreographed (and much-rehearsed) dance performance set to several songs off of the "Bad" album. It turns out, people did actually come. But then that was the Bronx in 1987. We had the album on cassette and there was a lot of work put into getting all the cues right what with the technical challenges push button fast forwarding presented.

And as I talked to Dana this evening, while I marveled over the fact that this constant icon could be gone she was having a hard time getting over the fact that Michael Jackson could be fifty. But of course he is...was. I'm 30 now and Dana's 28. And isn't that strange and a wonder in itself? And there it is. The heart of the grieved outpouring and shock. How can we be here already? Living out the days when it's possible for our giants to fall. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When the Moonwalk Was Born

If there are uneducated young ones in your midsts who only remember the freak show, tell them you were there when the moonwalk was born. Or at least, you watched it on TV, which is the same thing to a tellyphile.

He kills it in the clip below from Motown 25, said to be the first time MJ did what would become his signature publicly .

Where Stars are Born and Legends Are Made


They're out en masse on 125th St tonight, all gathered underneath the legendary marquis of the Apollo Theater which reads:

In Memory of Michael Jackson, A True Apollo Legend: 1958-2009.

Vulture Watch



CNN: They've had some chick in a stakeout outside the gates of Neverland for some time. Larry King is talking to Cher. She doesn't disappoint, telling a story of when she wore beaded socks on a night out with Jackson. She says he kept saying, "Cher, I just love your socks! I love beaded socks!"

MSNBC: Being MSNBC, they are sure to follow the helicopter taking the body of Michael Jackson from the hospital to the coroner's office. Keith Olbermann who has been at the desk since around 6 PM EST or so, sans jacket makes a crass comment while the body is being moved from chopper to coroner van about this being his last appearance on television. Really, Keith? Really?

Also for some reason, they keep insisting on going to some fool hanger on attorney named Brian Oxman for comment. He's only able to keep retelling the same grim anecdote about hugging Jermaine and Randy at the hospital, unable to speak because of grief. He's undoubtedly skipping the part where he was promptly removed from their presence.

FOX NEWS: Two words: Geraldo Rivera. Oh, wait. Just when I thought it couldn't get douchier, TMZ's Harvey Levin is here!

And we all know one thing. Somewhere, Barbara Walters is pissed! This totally pwns her 20/20: Buzzard Edition on Farrah Fawcett that airs tonight. You know BW thought she had this in the ratings bag.

MTV is Playing Music Again


The Times takes note in their obituary.
As with Elvis Presley or The Beatles, it is impossible to calculate the full impact he had on the world of music. At his height, he was indisputably the biggest star in the world and has sold more than 750 million albums. Radio stations across the country reacted to his death with marathon sessions of his songs. MTV, which was born in part as a result of Mr. Jackson’s groundbreaking videos, reprised its early days as a music channel by showing his biggest hits.

Did You See Mike Hit that Lean?!

Only days ago, I was thinking about Michael because of this now prescient post by Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates (one of The Atlantic's impressive roster).
Mike used to be beautiful. My sister Kelly just knew she was marrying him. And he danced so smooth and easy. I hate to think that what gave him that ability, was the same thing that ruined him.
In another post, written a day later, Ta-Nehisi talks about his love for Smooth Criminal. I loved it too. It's one of the few songs with my name in the lyrics so as a little kid it always made me feel cool and then there was the video (below). When you see him dancing like that you realize what pretenders to the King of Pop crown dudes like Usher, Chris Brown and Timberlake really are.

Like TNC says, "Yo, did you see Mike hit that lean!"

Smooth indeed.

Michael Jackson

In the middle of watching Tyra of all things while visiting a friend today, a teenage girl "in crisis" (aren't they all) was interrupted so that a stricken looking newswoman in black could tell us that Michael Jackson is dead.

Let the media frenzy begin.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

As Seen on TV: Eels on Letterman

I'd like to come back. Will you have me? How about if I throw in a perfectly melancholy lovesong to match the day? Because as I always say when you're waist deep in woe, go with it. Now listen to the beard with the dude make pretty music.

Monday, May 18, 2009

"We Need Better Shows..."

Douchey locker room bluesman and the guy who heads programming for NBC Ben Silverman discusses the task at hand in a lengthy NYT profile.

If you're not familiar with Mr. Silverman, allow me:

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Ten Minutes Until Nerd Prom

Us non DC A-listers will be able to watch the White House Correspondents' Dinner tonight at 8pm EST on CSPAN. Reasons to watch include:

Comedian-in-Chief Wanda Sykes. Past hosts have used this night as an opportunity to hit the POTUS with major grease. Tonight, Sykes is going to have to figure out how to roast the notoriously difficult to gig on President Poutier without pulling any punches.

Michelle's dress. Sleeves in DC are so yesterday.

Obama will get a chance to make fun of the press that covers him and I love when he does that dry little laugh to himself.

And is CSPAN covering the red carpet? Because in that case, we might catch a glimpse of Ed Westwick sucking it in and striking a pose.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

All in the (Bravo) Family with Bethenny and Isaac

Let's play getting to know your newest Bravo host. I've brought the visual aid thanks to Bravo's website where they oh so thoughtfully posted this entertaining clip of Bethenny and newest Bravo family member "The Fashion Show" host Isaac Mizrahi. They totally make love to one another telephonically.

A few things: B's hair looks great. Franco or whatever his name is really worked her weave for her that day. I love their discussion of Jill's perception of homosexuality and Isaac's appreciation for the fabulosity of the Housewives. That's what's so cool about Isaac. He's not too cool for school despite being one of fashion's coolest kids. Oh, and his Luann impression is dead on (even though he calls her de Seppes--heh). On second thought, her voice may be a little deeper. Just kidding, LuLu! I love, I love.

Whatchu Talkin Bout Willis: Elizabeth Edwards on "Oprah"


Women need to have more respect for other women.

-- Elizabeth Edwards on "Oprah" making a very good point in response to Oprah's question about whether Mrs. Edwards blamed "other woman" Reille Hunter for having an affair with John.

Kate Gosselin, Big Balls in Tow, Visits "Today"

I haven't posted anything on the "Jon and Kate Plus 8" affair stuff because I find it all to be one big downer from a TellyPhile perspective. I used to love, love, love, this show. Kate was amazing and good looking even with questionable streaks and that Lisa Simpson thing going on in the back. Jon, god bless 'em, was always a trooper, loving Kate in spite of her abrasive ways. Ah, life was good at Casa Gosselin. They didn't have much, but they had love...and hand sanitizer.

Then came fame and Jon was getting hair plugs and Kates hair was getting weirder and streakier and the show ceased to be about their real life and was more "life now that we've got a TV show with lots of opportunities for product placement". I think I knew it was over when they did that music video. Didn't you? Agreed. 

Ok, so I was ignoring all of the tabloid stuff, attempting to be a good, above-the-fray kind of blogger. Then Kate had to go on the "Today" show. If I were you--yes, all ten of you out there--I'd want to see this because it's not just gross Us Weekly bullshiz, but coming straight from Kate herself. I've got to give it to her. She's got balls. Jon? Not so much. He was supposed to be on but made Meredith read a statement that you know Kate dictated to him the night before instead. Sigh. The Gosselins' sippy-cupped, organized existence was a nice escape from my unorganized one and proof that people do want to watch wholesome, family oriented reality TV when it's the genuine article. Unfortunately, that's been shat upon. The "J & K Plus 8" brand has clearly suffered irreperable damage. At least it looks like she's growing out those Lisa Simpson spikes though, right? Glass half full, people! Glass half full!

More "Fashion Show" Reax

The NYT piles on.
Bravo had every reason to feel thwarted, but lingering spite infects the mood of its knockoff. It turns out that unlike a rose or Prince in the days when he went by the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, a design competition by any other name is not nearly as sweet.
It doesn't get much better from there. Warning: If you don't like spoilers, wait until after "The Fashion Show" airs (Bravo tonight at 10pm) to read the full review.

How's that Fallon Kid Doing?


The Wall Street Journal reports, pretty good. Prettay, prettaay prettaaay good. Sorry about that. Suffering from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" withdrawal.

Also, there's this annoying tidbit about The Leno's plans for his 10pm spot.

NBC and Mr. Leno are still working out what shape Mr. Leno's new comedy show will take when it premieres in the fall. The network's Mr. Ludwin says a bigger set will allow Mr. Leno to do more stunts, such as indoor car races. He also says the current plan is for the last segment of each episode to be a "signature comedy piece" to encourage viewers to stay tuned to the end.

Indoor car races and closing gimmicks"signature comedy pieces." He must hoard the lame in his chin.

Bravo's "The Fashion Show" A Total "Runway" Knockoff


"The Fashion Show" premieres tonight on Bravo. I'm expecting this to be like getting used to drinking Diet Coke, or methadone after years of chasing the dragon for you junkie smackaholic types. The LA Times confirms as much with their review:

They have essentially re-accessorized the earlier show while leaving its basic elements intact: Small challenge. Elimination challenge. Elimination. Repeat weekly until won. (Of course, this also describes a dozen other shows now running.) Its good points are nearly all repeated from "Runway," while its faults are rooted in an attempt to seem different. There are perhaps too many additional features and segments and judges here, getting in the way of the story. The show is, basically, overdressed.
Why couldn't the thing they copied from "Runway" be having the perfect female host. Heidi Klum was so fierce and fabulous. Bravo decides to follow her with...Kelly Rowland? Cricket cricket.

Kelly seems like a very sweet girl, but this is fashion! The audience doesn't want sweet we want devastatingly diva. K only recently stopped looking like Scooby Doo's cousin and those Destiny's Child outfits. Ugh. I shudder just thinking about the overembellishment. Luckily, I love Isaac Mizrahi. He was hilarious on his Oxygen show and is a big enough personality that he may be able "to make it work", questionable co-host or not.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Paula Abdul's Brittany Impression on "Idol"



I'm not sure what I've just witnessed. It was supposed to be a Paula Abdul performance on "American Idol". Instead, there was a tutu and Paula Abdul doing a damn near spot on Brit impression. I know she's a judge and so they pretty much had to do it, but you have to give it up to the shamelessness of commercialism. On a show where so much emphasis is put on singing ability, their judge didn't bother to belt out one live note.

Clearly P spilled the beans about being a pill popper to Ladies Home Journal just so everyone would be impressed by the fact that she had her wig on straight and managed not to fall on her face as she made her way down the Seacrest Stairway of Death tonight. It didn't help matters that Gwen and the rest of No Doubt came out after the commercial break and owned it. True, her vocals didn't sound that great but it was an actual live performance and Gwen made up for vocal ho-humnity in other ways, like pushups. Seriously. And they weren't even the girly kind. Plus Adrian the drummer was also wearing a tutu this evening. He did that better than Paula too.

Kelly from "The Office" Is Getting Her Own Show



OMG OMG OMG!!!! This could totally be the "Office" spinoff we've been waiting all our lives for. Sorry, Amy Poehler.

Via Popwatch, the word is Mindy Kaling's got a development deal. Hopefully, her character will resemble the irrepressibly mancrazy valley girl Kelly Kapur. Either way, I have a feeling we're in for funny in large doses. Network hacks, don't fuck this up. And now, Kelly being Kelly:

The Curious Case of Zachary Quinto

Photo credit: zach-quinto.com

I can't decide whether to loathe this guy or develop a crush on him. He's been on "Heroes" for some time and now he wants us to go see him play Spock in the new Star Trek movie. Check him out in these clips from Letterman and Ellen. And let's meet up afterward to discuss the particulars.




Pro
His hair. It's surprisingly versatile. On Letterman it was slick and very evening appropriate. For daytime "Ellen" his do was decidedly more playful. I like a guy who knows when to muss and when to button up.
Con
His eyebrows are a little too well manscaped for my liking. Understandably tricky territory coming off the Spock look, but they needn't be so effing perfect.
Pro
He's very articulate. Yes, things have gotten so bad for grammar in 2009 that it's even noteworthy when a white guy speaks well.
Con
Use of the term "for reals." Even in jest, that's a lot to overlook.
Pro
He correctly handled the obligatory "dance with Ellen" part of his walk-out. As Chris Matthews learned this can be quite the booby trap. Well done, Zachary-San.
Cons
Sorry, Zachary. The skinny jeans that your little dance so prominently displayed are going to cost you.
Pro
He's happy to be there. Isn't it lovely when someone is so new to fame that they aren't yet pissed about being forced to tell stupid anecdotes to a total stranger while people watch? I think so. As a frame of reference, his jovial forebears include Matt and Ben. The polar opposite--Kristen Stewart.
Con
It's possible to be a little too "on". He comes dangerously close to this line.
Pro
He's an animal person! Cat and dog. (cat named harold and dog named noah)
Con
Hipster pet names (a cat named Harold?...yeesh)

So, I was going to say that it looked like a draw and whether I liked him or not would have to depend on one's mood and tolerance for "cute" when he happens to beam himself into your living room. Then I made the mistake of discovering his website. I always make the mistake of learning too much. Bygones.

Oh "Early Show," Even Levi Johnston Can't Make You Worth Watching

Since they couldn't score their own Bristol Palin interview (she was on "GMA" and "Today" this morning), CBS' "Early Show" tried to do everything they could to make it look as if their chat with America's favorite babydaddy Levi would have him spitting hot fire against his former flame.

Sorry, Maggie Rodriguez. No amount of sensational "War of Words" headlines you throw under his face is going to change the fact that for an Alaskan redneck, Levi was downright gentlemanly towards Bristol. The worst thing he admits is that they didn't always use condoms and Tyra totally got that scoop ages ago. Poor "Early Show" I guess you're the perpetual third place finisher for a reason.


Watch CBS Videos Online

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Regarding Silex's Recently Renovated Apartment


Nice try you two, but as an avid "True Blood" watcher, I know a vampire nest when I see one.

Ed Westwick Redeems Himself

 
Ed Westwick, that's Mr. Chuck Bass to "Gossip Girl" fans, cleans up his act to attend the Met's Costume Gala. Now that's change I can believe in. 
Blake Lively and Leighton Meester attended the same event, though the results weren't quite as successful. At least, HuffPo doesn't think so. Frankly, we've seen Blake look a lot worse. Blonde Leighton has me reeling. The makeup is flawless. I'm not convinced her dress is "worst" worthy. At least not from mid-thigh and above. It's all very disconcerting. 
B...are you in there? 

Monday, May 04, 2009

As Seen on TV: No Doubt on the "Today" Show

Dear Katy Perry,
Take notes. This is how you wear too much makeup well.

No Doubt is as visually stimulating as I remember them. Three cheers for the "Today" Summer Concert Series and long overdue band reunions. Oh, and the uber-chic black and white coordinating ensems?
B-A-N-A-N-A-S! (For their other performances and their interview, click here.)


And because it's fun to see how it used to be, here's No Doubt singing "Spiderwebs" on Letterman circa 1996. Yes, that's me. Your friendly television anthropologist:

Friday, May 01, 2009

Purely Gratuitous "Gossip Girl" Pics

 
  
TMZ doubles down on their trademark unwashed brand with these Ed Westwick and Jessica Szohr (aka Chuck Bass and Vanessa Whocares) pap shots. Pop quiz, TellyPhiles.What in the name of pale white backs is J grasping at back there? Looks like when it comes to the junk in his trunk, Ed travels light. XOXO

Guess Who's Coming to (the White House Correspondents') Dinner?

 
Photo credit: whca.net

Ah, the White House Starfuckers Correspondents' Dinner. DC is blogging in anticipation. Wanda Sykes, who hilariously enough happens to be a former NSA employee with security bonafides and everything, will be hosting. Far be it from me to hate on a time-honored celebrity-ensconced sitdown--actually that's not true, I hate on lots of things--but this time, my vitriolic tendencies (see, steady IV drip of haterade) is not the point.

The point is there's something deeply icky about journalists charged with covering the POTUS, sitting around and LOLing with him all night instead. If TMZ has taught us anything, it's that bad things happen when subjects get too close to their paparazzi. Chuck Todd is only a few strokes of the razor away from being Obama's Adnan.

Anyway, as you'll see from the guest list, there are definitely TellyPhiles in high places. The coolest ones have to be at the Atlantic for, as I posted previously, they've made the most out of their chance to invite a couple of bold-faced names to sit at their table:

* Atlantic Magazine: Ed Westick (Gossip Girl), Newt Gingrich *

Also noteworthy:
  • CNN is still under the regretful impression that Ashton and Demi belong anywhere other than Twitter.

  • ABC News gets points for being the least starfuckerish. Upon further consideration, they've invited half the White House A-list.  Totally inappropriate. Points withdrawn.
  • People has Jon Hamm of "Mad Men". My first reaction was...People??? Is there another People magazine I'm not aware of, one that employs actual journalists? I thought we were all agreed that People is pretty much picture pages for grownups, and not particularly smart ones. What? It's not like ever actually bought one. The other reaction I had was Jon Hamm, WTF? "Mad Men" is so chic, so masculine, so thoughtful. You deserve better than this. I say somewhere between the first and second courses you hightail it to the Fortune table and never look back.
UPDATE: The WHCD is on May 9th and usually airs on CSPAN. Go here for footage of WHCDs past.

TellyPhile Themesong Throwback!

Hey, hey, hey...something light to brighten a gloomy Friday.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Today's Show You Must Watch For Obvious Reasons...

Photo credit: oprah.com

Kirstie Alley's first visit to "Oprah" since the bra+panties+spanx=bikini? appearance (and since Valerie Bertinelli looked way better in hers because, you know, it was an actual two-piece swimsuit and she realized the point is to lose weight on Jenny Craig).

Bridging the Racial Divide One Tacky Sectional at a Time

At the Red House. Screw Susan Boyle, this is a YouTube phenomenon I can sign up for. Praise be to, TiFaux for the find. The only thing that would make this better is if it were real. Happy lunchtime.

Kelly Bensimon's Most Seventh Grade Declarations

Photo credit: bravotv/nymag

Juvenile statements abound when "Real Housewives of NYC" Kelly "Kellamity" Bensimon starts talking. Here are some of my favorites:
  • Everyone wants to go out with Max, and Max wants to go out with me.
  • When we're together it's a total flirtfest!
  • He's having a pillow fight with me. Oh my God!
  • And then he was like and I was like and she was like. Lots of like. 
  • Oh, that's so cute. (in response to being told Jill's doing a charity event for arthritis because her daughter suffers from the disease.)
If you want more Kelly craziness may I suggest spending a little time reading her Bravo blog which I fully expect her to try to bind and sell at some point under the title "A Stunningly Disingenuous Account of My Alternate Reality."

On This Edition of Please Stop: White Anchors, Black Slang

Dear White Media Establishment,

Please stop trying to be "down". In the attached clip (via TV Newser), Kyra Phillips and T.J. Holmes engage in awkward post-segment banter following Holmes' report on our new President's "swagga". Sigh. When you guys co-opt these terms, things always go to a corny, uncomfortable place of no return as you can see when Phillips demands Holmes give her a fistbump. Kyra's unabashed glee was so the Mayor's wife in "Color Purple" when she forces asks Oprah's Sophia to be her maid.

Plus, when you pull this kind of thing it's right back to the drawing board for black people who have enough to worry about--how to keep from being "threatening" to white co-workers, what are we going to do with our hair. That kind of thing--without having to come up with brand new words and colorful turns-of-phrase to replace the one you just made officially over (see "bling").

P.S. - T.J., we'll take this up with you at The Meeting.

As Seen on TV: TLC on "Showtime at the Apollo"

The raw, early 90sness of this clip is fantastic. "Showtime at the Apollo" was still on the air and was a reliable source for dope performances like this one. You've got pre-glam TLC in their condom-adorned, baggy-clothed glory. Le sigh. What early 90s teenage girl didn't want to exude some of the crazysexycoolness of  T-Boz, Chilli and Left Eye? When my favorite member, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, died tragically on April 25th 2002, she took the 90s answer to The Supremes with her. Yeah, I said it! The Supremes!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CNN Gets Grade Happy, Attains New Level of Cable News Inanity


Ah, yes. CNN couldn't wait to have a reason to get the old Election Get Along Gang together again. Begala, Gergen, Rollins, that Gloria woman, Roland "Chilly Willy the Penguin" Martin, Brazille--all the greats were back to grade the prez on this mostly irrelevant benchmark. I must say though, Alex Castellanos. You and your mustache were truly missed.

Understand, when I say they're grading, this means there are actual cards with big letters on them being held up by the panelists. Every time one of them holds up one of these ridiculous, essentially meaningless cards I hold up my middle finger. It's like a drinking game, except there's the repeated, muted expression of displeasure where the alcohol would normally be.

UPDATE: King is back at work at the magic map wall. Ready the holograms!

Olbermann Hosts Special "Countdown" In His Smoking Jacket


It actually appears to be a chocolate brown velvet jacket. A purple tie is also involved. So...I guess tonight the "Count" part of "Countdown" should be taken literally..ah ah ah! I'm not ok with it. Nor should you be. I keep waiting for him to offer me a coffin or worse a "nightcap". Shiver.

Whatchu Talkin' 'Bout, Willis? -- POTUS Edition


"I believe that waterboarding is torture. ...It was a mistake."

--President Barack Obama, having the balls to call torture exactly what it is during his 100 Day Anniverary press conference this evening. Legions of talking heads and assorted GOP goons have logged hours upon hours doing otherwise since the release of CIA memos detailing torture practices sanctioned by the Bush Administration.

Will MTV's "Bridge and Tunnel" Kids Ever See the Light of Day?


The LA Times' Show Tracker has its doubts so ST blogger Choire Sicha enthusiastically suggests we protest if MTV doesn't allow reality baby, "Bridge and Tunnel," past the development stage. Choire feels really strongly about this show which documents Staten Island kids whose lofty goal is to live in Manhattan one day. If you're not familiar with SI, aka The Fifth Borough, imagine what it would be like if Tony Soprano started his own colony. I'm just saying...

Guilty pleasure TV is what puts spring in my step so far be it from me to take anything away from her joy over this show, but I'm not getting why Show Tracker thinks B&T is "...a television show you have never seen, and may never see, that deeply scratches an itch you don't even know you have." MTV covered Staten Island aspirants for their "True Life" series from ago. So my Staten Island itch--and Choire's right, I'm not sure I do have one--has already received attention.

I did like Choire's take on MTV's new TRLesque summer show starring a British broad named Alexa Chung. Her eponymous show will air everyday as TRL did before it and will be Twitteriffic and Facebooked OUT! A pretty hilarious bit from the post:
Tony Disanto, MTV's programming dude, even said that "it's like if MTV and Facebook had a baby." FAIL. In the clip we saw, she grabbed Whitney Port's phone and texted something naughty to Brody Jenner. Oh, Eliza Alexa, what a fun friend you are! You're the kooky friend we never wanted.
Diss!

Bonnie Hunt Thinks "Real Housewife" Kelly Is Ridiculous Too

That bite-sized clip of Kelly's typical ridiculousness jogging in New York City traffic made it onto Bonnie Hunt's radar. Perhaps K should have bedazzled that stolen owl design on her shirt with reflectors.

TellyPhiles of the Day

 
Barack and Michelle are my first TellyPhile(s) of the Day. Seems like a nice highbrow start, don't you think? This is how our President watches the Superbowl. Thanks is owed to Brian Williams who made himself useful on MSNBC this afternoon by referring me to whitehouse.gov where, in honor of the President's first 100 days, they've posted a smorgasbord of photos from the White House Photo Office.  
Note the Obama Administration's smooth manipulation of the media spectacle. This is what the White House has to say about the images:
Bolding mine. "Exclusive", "unique", "massive". The White House PR people are better than Us Weekly.
Oh, and Whitehouse.gov's slideshow is cool I suppose, but it turns out I like my propaganda Flickred. Hellooo, you get captions.

100 Days of Swine Flu


A quick surf around the cable news channels this afternoon returns the following highly scientific results:

100 DAYS!!
SWINE FLU!!
100 DAYS!!
SWINE FLU!!!
THE PLANE, THE PLANE!! (Man, Brian Williams is pissed!)
100 DAYS!!!
Arlen Specter? ARLEN SPECTER!!!
100 DAYS!!!
SWINE FLU, SWINE FLU, SWINE FLU!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jill Zarin, Your Newest CNN Pundit

Ok, so Roland Martin is hosting "No Bias, No Bull" and it looks like he's trying to do his own version of "The View" with a five-woman panel this evening. I took one look at the red-head and thought for sure I was hallucinating. It finally happened. I've watched so much Bravo that I now think every middle-aged woman I see on TV is one of the NYC Real Housewives.

But no, I was right. The panelist in question, unable to get a word in because of a camera hog sitting next to her, was indeed Jill "Kick his ass, Wayne!" Zarin.

Her parting words of advice for the segment which appeared to be about advice for women regarding love and money? "Full disclosure going into a marriage. Everything-- financial, personal." That's funny. I expected her to say something like "Spend, spend, spend!"

Video when it becomes available.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bea, We Hardly Knew Ye

CBS Sunday Morning offers their tribute to Bea Arthur, one of the funniest women television has ever seen. As usual, they get it right.

"Real Housewives of NYC" - The Cartoon??!!

Frahn-cois!



UPDATE: 
Patti from "Millionaire Matchmaker" gets the same treatment and it's just as good if not better. Extremely NSFW. What are you waiting for, sissy? Break out your earbuds! By the way, the talented creator of these animated shorts, KCSCougar, lives on this YouTube channel.

Familiar Faces in Different Places - Tom Colicchio Edition

What's it like when "Top Chef's" strong, silent type judge Tom Colicchio speaks at length? Charlie Rose knows and now you do too.


Bonus clip: Here's Tom doing more of that talking thing as he shows off the secrets of his Craft.

BeWeave It or Not, Oprah Provides Pic To Prove Hair is Hers


For those of you who are like me and find Oprah's evolving hairstyles to be one of your favorite things to ponder while getting your daily dose of O, this is the picture you've been waiting for.

In response to her newly acquired Twitter followers, she actually calls them "tweeple" (sigh), Oprah says her hair is all her own so knock off the weave-themed tweets. The Divine Ms. O was apparently so bothered by all the compliments on what the Tweeters assumed was her new weave, she was willing to go sans makeup to prove what her natural hair looks like. During the final seconds of her show, Oprah flashed a picture of what she says is her pre-pressed hair.

Impressive move, Winfrey. I was sure you were weaving it up with the best of them, but this picture has me shook. It does indeed look like real hair, though I would have been more convinced had you gone without that root-hiding headband. Could you have been sporting your own hair all this time? Until Stedman rights his tell-all, I suppose the world will never know. Bygones.

Video here (via HuffPo).

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Gossip Girl's" Leighton Meester, Musically Inclined Multi-Tasker


From Billboard via TVtattle comes word that "Gossip Girl's" Leighton Meester has landed herself a record deal. I heard her mention something about this during an interview and of course she plays a pop star on "Entourage" so I'm merely raising an eyebrow for now. Feel free to sing your little heart out, Leighton. Just don't embarrass us. I'm going to be pissed if Blair Waldorf's cool quotient takes a hit for this.

Oh no, the loss of cool is already happening. Link is to Leighton singing in what is clearly a really quality movie from her past called "Drive Thru." L and the rest of the girl band are like a sad, late 90s version of Jem and the Holograms. The voice isn't terrible though. Notice Penn Badgley's name is also in the credits. I think we've just stumbled upon our next guilty-pleasure rental.

Her Name is Lyuba

Hey, remember that time you saw a baby mammoth? Me neither! Let's do something about it.

National Geographic Channel (that's NatGeo if you have no attention span or you drink Red Bull) has a new documentary, "Waking the Baby Mammoth," which takes us along as scientists study baby Lyuba "the most perfectly preserved wooly mammoth ever discovered." Airs this Sunday, the 26th at 9pm EST.

Afterward, let's meet back here so we can share our newly acquired baby mammoth memories. Le sigh.

TellyPhile ThemeSong Throwback!

Back when Sesame Street was keeping it real.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

As Seen on (Vintage) TV: Aretha on "The Cliff Richard Show"

The Queen sings one of my favorite "getting ready for the day" songs. How great is that natural?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It Truly Is an Oasis

The closing minutes of the worthwhile HBO documentary "In the Shadow of the Moon" is a perfect tribute to Earth on its day. These testimonies, from the only men to have visited the Moon and contemplate our little orb from a distance, are what great TV and Earth Day are all about.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The NYT Meets Countess Luann, They Don't Seem Impressed


Tonight's new "Real Housewives of New York" episode looms in our near future. Remember, Kellamity throws a costume party and doesn't show up for it giving Bethenny another opportunity to let loose with the "oh no she di'int's!!!" 

I can't wait.

In the meantime, here's an appetizer. The New York Times ponders the existence of our Luann:
She knows a few things about breeding and tact, Mrs. de Lesseps said, “compared to the other girls” on the series. Oops! “But of course,” she amended, “I love them to death.” On the air she has been quick to distance herself from her chums. The de Lesseps, she said pointedly, “don’t mingle with the other housewives.”

Joe Bua Makes Your "Heroes" Dreams Come True

I don't watch "Heroes" but if you do, you must click here. Joe Bua (the man behind another great TV blog, IamATVJunkie) scored an impressive behind-the-weird interview with David Lawrence, the man who plays the puppeteer, to discuss his central role in "Heroes" upcoming webisodes.

Perez vs. Miss California: Round Two

With Matt Lauer as referee.

It's really frustrating that she's trying to fashion herself as Joan of Arc with teeth whitener. Especially annoying is the part where she says she won't apologize for being politically incorrect because she was being "biblically correct". I wish Matt had reached over and given her a gill.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry guys, I goofed and gave you the wrong clip. This is the correct one featuring Matt Lauer's interview with Perez followed by Carrie Prejean. (Thanks, Suzanne!)


Monday, April 20, 2009

A 17 Year-Old Billionaire with Tremendous Stamina

That's right, TellyPhiles. "Gossip Girl" and Chuck Bass in stellar form, as the clip below demonstrates, return tonight at 8pm EST on The CW. As if I had to tell you. You know I know you know. This was for other people.  XOXO