Monday, May 28, 2007

The Friday Forty Recommends...


I don't want to oversell this movie, but it's the most perfect thing I've ever seen. It's about music, love, family and the creative process, and it's set in Ireland. The only way it could be more perfectly tailored to my sensibilities is if one of the characters turned to the camera and said, "Hey, Dave Holmes- have you lost weight?"

Just go. Thank me later.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Results Are In! And...

You're not funny.

Today's big story, Jordin's win being a foregone conclusion, was Idol's drop in ratings. Media analysts are blaming "lackluster contestants, the general malaise among viewers this spring and the simple laws of TV gravity," but I have an alternate theory, and just the thought of typing it makes me smile:

The youth of America are tired of jokes about gays and the disabled.

Wow. That felt even better than I thought it would. Truly, this is my now.

A solid chunk of last night's show was a hapless attempt at comedy, an area in which AI's producers have a consistently tin ear. If they'd removed the jokes at the expense of the ugly, the poorly-educated, or the effeminate, they could have given us a tight, entertaining show. As it was, Jordin's victory was announced 2 minutes after the show's scheduled 2-hour running time. Take that, TiVo users!

From the beginning, AI has been the very show for which TiVo was invented. Have you ever tried to watch an entire episode without the fast-forward option? Can't be done, and never could. The host/judge forced banter has been cringe-inducing from jump, and Paula's adventures in med-adjustment have only been truly entertaining once or twice. The Ford commercials? The interviews? The interminable inquisitions into Ryan Seacrest's sexual orientation? American Idol succeeds in spite of its bells and whistles, not because of them.

And if this season was the one that interrupted the show's ratings momentum, it was also the one that amped up its ugliest qualities. The Simon/Ryan "you're gay/no, you're gay" silliness. The producers' treatment of Sanjaya as though he were a freak who'd snuck in, rather than an actual contestant who they'd chosen. Randy.

"The Golden Idol Awards" of last night's finale brought us back to the weakest part of the franchise: those excruciating first weeks, during which a seemingly-endless parade of the delusional is only occasionally interrupted by a talented or charismatic singer. If those episodes are mean-spirited, then last night was positively sadistic. Remember these two guys who got filleted by the judges and producers during the auditions, then were revealed to have been retarded? Including the one who Simon said looked like a "bush baby?" Well, last night, they were invited onto the stage of the Kodak Theater to face a live audience of millions a second shit sandwich. It went a little like this:

"Hey- you guys. Thanks for coming. And hey, remember how we called you a bush baby a few months ago?'s a picture of a bush baby. You really, really do look like one. Look, everyone! Here's a bush baby, and here's this retarded guy! Doesn't this retarded guy look like a bush baby? Anyway, we've adopted one in your name. Thanks for being such good sports."

Waving away the question of whether African bush babies need adopting, these guys aren't good sports so much as they are retarded people who didn't provoke you. Ryan, the reason they didn't respond to your mockery by punching you in the cock isn't that they're good sports, it's that they didn't think of it until they were in their car. Young viewers apparently reject this dopey cruelty, and I'll be damned if that don't my heart sing.

Listen, Ryan Seacrest is a good broadcaster. Live TV is indescribably hectic- producers screaming into your ear, changes being scribbled onto cue cards, station breaks to hit at just the right second. That you don't notice any of this is a testament to his talent. The trouble is that he's also the kind of guy who thinks "yeah, right" is a witty comeback.

As for the producers, remember: while the British gave us Monty Python and Ricky Gervais, they're also responsible for Benny Hill and "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em."

The meat of "American Idol" is the discovery of new talent, the introduction of fresh faces. And it's important to point out that in almost every case, these are faces (and bodies) the Hollywood casting machine wouldn't allow us to see. Too fat, too grey, too bald, too ethnic. This is what people watch for. And these faces come to the producers free, by the hundreds of thousands. Such a simple formula, it's kind of hard to fuck up. Why are the producers trying so hard to fuck it up?

To quote obese "good sport" and Golden Idol winner Margaret Fowler:
"American Idol is a whip.
They surely can make one's bliss.
For all it's worth, it has its place
for LaTisha [sic], Melinda, Jordin,
and me too!
We'll take the hearts of those who want to exist.

Difficult to dispute. But, as much as the producers of American Idol tried to make us laugh at big, dumb, yellow old Margaret, at least she knew her role. She did her job and got the hell off the stage. Perhaps they could learn a lesson.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Big Show- May 18, 2007

She's beautiful, she's talented...and now she's $40 richer.

The lovely Tami Sagher was victorious in a nail-biter of a show last night, beating Jim Coughlin by a scant 2 points. There was also someone named Kara there. Thanks to one and all!

And did we ever have guests! Our nosy Hollywood neighbor Gladys dropped by with her famous Apple Brown Betty (her secret: just a pinch of Ecstasy). Ryan Phillippe displayed his emotional range. Every Hipster popped in on his way to Cahuenga. And we got a good look at the kind of guys who are auditioning for ABC's "Cavemen." Fun show all around.

Next show: June 1, 10pm. Plus, we have a special Thursday night show on June 7 during the 5th Annual LA Improv Festival; more info here.

And in celebration of the non-renewal of "According To Jim," please play along with our lightning round: "ACTUAL LINES FROM 'ACCORDING TO JIM,' OR SHIT WE MADE UP IN 2 MINUTES?"

1) “If I wanted light beer, I’d hold a flashlight up to the bottle!”
2) “I’m trying to stay Switzerland.”
3) “No way, Jose! This (points to posterior) is an exit, not an entrance!”
4) “Everyone, circumcise your watches!”
5) “That’s the great thing about you, honey. (under his breath) You remember every freakin’ thing I say.”
6) “You don’t even know me anymore! We should have more sex.”
7) “I couldn’t remember which fork to use, so I just ate with my hands.”
8) “Okay, I stucked the cat in the freezer.”
9) “I don’t want to go with you and do things women like to do. I’m a man, so I’d prefer to do things men like to do. You can understand that, can’t you? I’m sorry, we
should have had this conversation years ago; we could have avoided countless misunderstandings.”

(Actual lines: 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8)

What are YOU smiling at?

The fact that this happened on TV is bad.

The fact that this happened on a network called CNN Headline News is enough to make us weep.

Remember back about a decade ago, when MTV- Music Television- played music? And then they started playing shows, and then there was no music? So they started MTV-2 to play music, and then they started playing shows, and then there was no music?

That's what's happening with CNN Headline News and news. News is the new music video. Except, you know, CRUCIAL TO THE SURVIVAL OF OUR CULTURE.

It used to be that if you wanted to be informed about the issues of the day, and you didn't mind having a shallow understanding of current events, you tuned in and in 5 minutes, you were all set. Now, at any time of day, CNN Headline News is CNN Yelly People With Opinions Trying To Be Funny.

Or you may find stumble upon one of Showbiz Tonight's regular features: THESE ARE REAL.

•"Showbiz Weight Watch" -- Hollywood's obsession with weight and body image, airing Tuesdays and Fridays, and as developments warrant.
• "Rx for Rehab" -- The emotional stories of stars who are battling drug and alcohol abuse.
• "Showbiz Legal Lowdown" -- Investigative reports on celebrities who have shocking run-ins with the law or who are involved in nasty court battles.
• "Showbiz Truth Squad" -- Reports get to the bottom of Hollywood's biggest mysteries and set the record straight on entertainment rumors.

Or you may find Nancy Grace displaying nothing her last name implies, going on- even this evening- about Anna Nicole's assets and calling everybody "friend." And emoting too much.

Or you may see Glenn Beck just being a giant, puffy, buck-toothed dick.

And it's not just CNN Headline that's abandoned its mission.

A&E used to be about ARTS. And ENTERTAINMENT. "Brideshead Revisited" and shit. Now? Dog the Bounty Hunter, Sons of Hollywood, and Growing Up Gotti.

Bravo used to be about fancy arts. Now? Homosexual stereotypes trying to cut hair, arrange furniture or put clothes on a model better than each other.

Comedy Central used to be about comedy. Now? Carlos Mencia.

Court TV is showing "Fastlane."

The Cartoon Network is showing live action shows.


Recently, we wrote a treatment for a reality show called "Punch a Pretty Girl In The Face." Lifetime is interested.

We ask you: how long is it until BET starts showing "The Dukes of Hazzard?"

Hey, CNN. We're at WAR right now. It's not like there aren't stories to tell. Sure, this war is a little morally complicated, but try it this way: imagine our troops are all attractive. 142,000 Natalee Holloways, trapped in a faraway land for reasons we don't understand.

Can we talk about them, friend?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Asshole Odds, Part One

Yet another debut of yet another regular feature: Asshole Odds. Herein, we list our favorite offensive behaviors, and the approximate odds that partaking in these activities makes you an asshole. Enjoy! (Asshole.)

Spelling it "kewl." 6:1
Being incredibly muscular only from the waist up. 10:1
Purchasing "G n' R Lies" on iTunes 4:1
Beginning a clause with "the reason being is that..." 15:1
Owning a Juicy Couture sweatsuit 3:1
Saying "bowm-chicka-BOWM-bowm" 4:1
Knowing Festivus details 8:1
Killing your brother with your low, low mattress prices 2:1
Really loving when Moe goes "whaaaaa?" 10:1
Quoting movies on a regular basis. 20:1
Making it a really big deal when somebody hasn't seen the movie you've just quoted 5:1
Actually lisping when you do an impression of a gay man 1:1
Being one of the Queer Eye "Fab Five" 1:1

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Second Singles By One-Hit Wonders: Toni Basil shops 'til she pops/locks.

Tonight, we introduce a new regular feature here at a terrifying glimpse into the darker side of nostalgia, a nice glass of lemonade at the corner of hubris and indifference, a digital snapshot of the moment when the wheels flew the fuck off. Ladies and gentlemen, Second Singles By One-Hit Wonders.

And where else could we start?

In 1982, Toni Basil made the world her wide-hipped cheerleader with the smash hit "Mickey." For her follow-up single, Toni chose to cement her position in the pop pantheon by exploiting the then-burgeoning trend shopping. (Fuck, you guys- remember GROCERY SHOPPING?) Like all enduring art, "Shoppin' A to Z" reveals a basic human truth: both good and bad girls need groceries. Enjoy.

And trust me: [SPOILER ALERT] At 2:18, when Toni realizes she's lost her list, and says "OH NO," you will too.

Friday, May 4, 2007

What Is The Friday Forty?

For the uninitiated, a quick overview of the Forty, and what it might mean for you. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Come to the IO this Friday at 10pm for the filming of the official Friday Forty Movie!

Contestants: Brooke Cadorette, Molly McNearney,