Category Archives: Television

Legen…wait for it…dary

For no particular reason, just because I absolutely LOVE watching How I Met Your Mother, here’s a tribute to Barney Stinson.  If you’re a viewer, you’ll find this clip awesome.  If you’re not a viewer, then you should be (this is where you say out loud, “Challenge Accepted!” and run towards your DVR to set up a series recording.)  Keep in mind, there’s a slap bet riding on this.

Bullies, Barbara and Bill O’Reilly

On the PBS web site there’s a a page on bullying.  Specifically, many of the tips on how to handle a bully are as follows:

  • Ignore the bully. Pretend you didn’t hear him. Don’t even look at him. Walk right past him if you can.
  • Don’t cry, get angry, or show that you’re upset. That’s the bully’s goal. Don’t give her the satisfaction. Even if you’re feeling really hurt, don’t let it show. You can talk about or write down your reactions later.
  • Respond to the bully evenly and firmly. Example: “No.” “That’s what you think.”
  • If you can, turn a comment into a joke. Example: The bully says, “Stupid outfit!” You say: “Thanks! I’m glad you noticed.”
  • Turn and walk away, or run if you have to. Remove yourself from the situation. Go to a place where an adult is present.

These all seem like smart, reasonable responses to being bullied.  Considering the bullying epidemic that appears to be going on in this country, these are the type of things our children need to know to stay safe and sane. Yet in light of the recent Bill O’Reilly Vs. The View nonsense, walking away from your bully is apparently not an option.

If you watch the clip, O’Reilly starts the downward spiral when he very condescendingly said to Behar, “Listen to me, and you’ll learn,” prompting Behar to react like a 13 year old, putting “rabbit ears” behind his head while calling him a “Pinhead”.  Then O’Reilly decides that bringing up the “Ground Zero Mosque” will somehow make the conversation run more smoothly.  Eventually Bill starts yelling.  Joy and Whoopie start walking, Barbara Walters starts scolding and Elizabeth Hasselbeck finds a way to blame Obama for the entire, idiotic, exchange.

It’s a daytime talk show, not a evening HBO show.  Joy was smart to cool off rather than continue fighting with the guy.  Whoopie was smart to follow rather than put the ABC censor through the paces bleeping out all of the cuss words that were sure to start spewing from her mouth had she stayed.  Both she and Joy decided that they needed to “remove themselves from the situation and go to a place where an actual adult was present”.

On Monday, Barbara yet again chastised Behar and Goldberg, stating that they had been rude to an invited guest.  I get Barbara Walter’s point and agree that guests deserve extra consideration when they’re in your home.   The problem with that analogy is…Bill wasn’t the invited guest.  He along with Whoopie, Joy, Elizabeth and Sherri are merely the help hired by Barbara to entertain us. We’re the guests invited to tune in each day and I’ve gotta say, I’m a little surprised that Barbara has forgotten that.

So as the guest, I say thank you Whoopie and Joy for walking away and forcing the topic and tone of the segment to change.  Next time, do me a favor and take O’Reilly with you.

The Real Delusional Housewives of New York City

I have this mini obsession with The Real Housewives of New York City because I was one once and my life was nothing like their lives.  The one big difference was that I actually was a housewife only working inside my apartment, whereas when this show started, most of the ladies had jobs and one wasn’t even married or a mom yet.  Regardless I’ve watched the last 3 seasons and can’t wait for the reunion show this Thursday which I will tape and watch and then discuss ad nauseum with my friend, Cindy.

Here’s what I find the most fascinating about these ongoing reality shows that make stars out of regular, every day people.  The pattern goes like this:

  • They start out gracious, slowly getting more cutting edge and offensive to get air time.
  • Then once they forget that cameras are around them, they slip up, doing or saying something bizarre or out and out mean, allowing their true selves to come out.  Since the producer caught it on tape, he/she can use these soundbites to begin casting for the roles of “villian, victim, asshole, etc.”.
  • After the first season airs and these ladies see themselves on TV, if the show is renewed, adjustments can be made.  PR people can be hired.  External appearance can be altered with boob jobs, new hairstyles and makeup palates while investing their earnings into a better wardrobe.  And if one doesn’t like the look of their home, they can cut a deal with someone to remodel or redecorate on camera at a discount in trade for free national marketing.
  • The ladies also quickly figure out a way to capitalize on their new fame, by creating a product of some sort, writing a book, or finding a record producer to autotune their voice so they can drop a dance single and badly lip sync it during the season finale.
  • After all of this occurs, one of 2 things happen:
    • They without shame, fall for their own hype, hook, line and sinker and make complete asses out of themselves erroneously believing they are celebrities on par with real ones.
    • They truly understand where they are on the celebrity food chain, openly work the system to their advantage without buying into the hype, while using what they’ve learned from watching themselves on television to make internal improvements.  They become better listeners,  communicate more clearly in the first place, treat their spouses and kids differently, or simply think before they speak and act instead of focusing only on getting more air time.

So you’d think that after 3 seasons, these ladies would’ve fine tuned the above.  Sadly this isn’t the case so instead of using the reunion special to own whatever bullshit they’ve put out there by humbly trying to repair their reputations, many will simply dig their own graves even deeper.

Kelly will continue to make the St. John’s trip an anti-bullying after school special instead of owning the fact that she’s by far, the worst verbal communicator on the planet and clearly had some sort of mental breakdown on national television.  If she could express herself in photographs or write articles in lieu of having conversations she’d maybe have 1/2 a chance with these gals.  Instead she goes toe to toe with Bethenny who arguably has the quickest wit of all reality TV show stars combined.  Kelly stupidly starts most of the arguments which I also find fascinating as it would never occur to me to piss off an expert Samurai with sword in hand, if I only had sling shot to defend myself.  I’m shocked that someone in her life that cares deeply for her hasn’t pulled her aside and explained this to her.

LuAnn brought her on the show so I’m not sure why she doesn’t do it.  I guess she’s too busy becoming a pop star since most divorced, Countesses with teenage kids and that have branded themselves as an etiquette expert often do go on to make music videos of themselves in corsets rolling around with men half their age singing about how elegance is learned, right?

Jesus H.

My prediction is that instead of seeing her musical interlude as a one time, fun way to earn money for charity, LuAnn will mistakenly use the reunion to talk about her next single making it clear that she actually believes she is a singer and thus, might be more delusional than Kelly! But don’t take my word for it.  MTV noted that:

It’s kind of like if Emily Post hooked up with T-Pain to record a spoken word jam at a late ’90s Bar Mitzvah jam.

Going on to say

The Countess’ dance number is catchy and all, filled with Auto-Tune and etiquette advice, but it’s the song’s bridge that really requires our attention. That’s where we learn the following:

» Life is all about elegance and flair and savoir-faire.

» You don’t have to be rich and famous to be unforgettable.

» It’s not about where you’re from, it’s about what you’ve learned.

She kind of has a point, doesn’t she? I’m ready for her follow-up, which hopefully will include tips on how to properly eat an artichoke, if May 1 is too early to wear white and if you can throw things at the help if they make a mistake.

As for Jill, I have no idea what will happen.  When she screws up she owns it – EVENTUALLY – but she doesn’t seem to learn from it.  If anyone has fallen too far down her own personal, PR rabbit hole, it’s poor Jill who throws an ice skating party (good idea) and then decides that she should don a pink, sequined ice skating outfit to perform for everyone (bad idea) because everyone knows that you throw a holiday party to treat your friends and loved ones not to showcase the fact that you used to skate when you were 9.

Here’s what I think happened to Jill.  Since she had been cast as the mother hen of the group during season 1, she fell for the hype and erroneously took this to mean that she was somehow the matriarch of the posse, which is different.  A mother hen, nurtures, fusses and overprotects which is annoying but can be laughed off and overlooked.  A matriarch dominates, makes demands and throws a fit when said demands aren’t followed which as we’ve seen this season results in friendships ending…badly.

I’m sure Thursday’s show will be a train wreck, which says a lot about how I spend my free time.  Sadly, I predict this next season will be the one in which the show jumps the shark.  With Bethenny leaving, there’s not enough blunt, comic relief to balance out the false pretenses and craziness so unless Sonja can take a bigger comedic role (I think she has it in her) this particular franchise is either going to crash and burn or get so nasty and underhanded that no one’s going to be able to stomach watching it any more.

Be careful Andy Cohen.  You big wigs at Bravo are at the same crossroads.  Do you believe your own hype or are you smart enough to see the big picture here?  Because if you continue to go the Jerry Spring route with your programming, your other really great shows like Top Chef or your old one, Project Runway, wont be enough to save your reputation.

I’ll guess we’ll have to watch what happens to see how this all plays out.

Volt

I’ve watched every season of Bravo’s Top Chef since it began even though when you think about it, the show really shouldn’t work.  You tune in weekly to watch chefs that you’ve never heard of, turn ingredients that you’ve never tasted, into dishes that you can’t sample.  Yet each season I’ve learned a lot about food and cooking while being thoroughly entertained.  So you can only imagine my excitement this season, when Bryan Voltaggio, Chef and co-owner of Volt, a restaurant in my town, was announced as a contestant.  Finally a chef that I’ve not only heard of and met, but who’s work, I’ve tasted.

I met Bryan back in April of 2008.  My friend Hilda Staples and he were opening their restaurant when Hilda graciously asked me to come with her as they sampled coffees from a local roaster in town to develop their signature blend.  So sorry as I have no salacious gossip to spice up my post.  The guy is as nice in person as he is on TV.

Shortly after Volt opened we went to dinner with our neighbors, Paula and Rich who are true foodies.  They not only belong to a gourmet dinner club, but are extremely capable of whipping up gourmet meals at a moments notice.

Our dinner was excellent and even though I’ve had more fast food meals than gourmet meals in my lifetime, it was accessible to someone with a limited palate like mine.  I ordered a food foreign to me (sweet breads) and because I dined with those in the know didn’t embarrass myself by ordering the hot pea soup (it was cold, who knew?).  The service was extraordinary and Volt’s attention to detail in terms of food, wine, ambiance and decor is unmatched in my opinion.

Since the grand opening I’ve been there many times for drinks and unbelievable bar foods, their fabulous express lunch (that allows you to experience fine dining at the bargain price of $14.99) as well as lunch in the main dining room.  Honestly, it doesn’t matter where you eat, you’re treated first class and able to experience a exquisite meal.

Last month I had this fabulous fish at the bar!

IMG00153

I wish I could tell you what it was, but Chef Voltaggio is so adept at keeping the menu seasonal, that by the time I finally got around to posting, he had already changed it for the fall.  Suffice to say, I didn’t leave a morsel behind and my husband begged me not to embarrass him by licking my plate clean.

It’s great fun to watch Bryan kick ass each week but what I love more than anything is how humble the man is.  A few weeks ago, when Joel Robuchon, France’s chef of the century, announced Bryan as the winner of the elimination challenge, he looked truly surprised.  He doesn’t try to make exciting TV by badmouthing the other contestants or acting like a jackass – he simply shows up and cooks.

Tonight Chef Voltaggio will compete against the remaining 8 contestants (one of which is his brother, Michael Voltaggio) and if you haven’t been tuning in, I strongly recommend that you check it out.  More importantly, consider checking out his restaurant in person.  Volt is only an hour from both Baltimore and DC, located in Frederick, Maryland which received the prestigious Great American Main Street Award in 2005.

It’s destination dining at it’s finest.  You’ll be glad that you made the trip.

The Real Housewives Of Late Night

You’ve got to love the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo.  First off, no one is a housewife and many aren’t even married.  They are all working women, juggling career and family (although some don’t even have children) using their reality show to further build their empires.  Whether it’s Vicky “We’re going to Mexico” Gunvalson’s insurance company or Betheny, “What the F?” Frankel’s Skinny Girl brand or Sheree “I’m going to put on a fashion show without first having any garments completed” Whitfield’s fashion line, the OC gals never fail to annoy the shit out of me.  But because they make me laugh while doing it, I tune in when I can.

However, if the link below was the latest installment of Bravo’s weekly high-end, train wreck, you better believe I’d be recording it every week.

The Real Houswives of Late Night

GL Follow Up

I’ve been watching Guiding Light all week now, building up to Friday’s finale.  I keep wondering who’s coming back and how they’re going to bury Alan Spauling without his son Alan Michael showing up, while also trying to figure out who the hell all of these young people are!

In soap opera land, kids age in dog years so if you haven’t watch a show in a decade, your brain can’t piece together who’s who.  It also takes a while to remember that soap opera land is the most incestuous, bizarre, parallel universe that exists.  A place where you marry your high school sweetheart, then divorce, then marry your ex-father-in-law, then kill ex-father-in-law now current husband, only to go on the lamb where you fall madly in love with a stranger-bad-boy-type, only to return to fictional soap opera town where it is revealed that your new lover is actually your step-brother right before you find out that you’re pregnant so you quickly jump into bed with your first husband’s best friend, framing him for the pregnancy and saving your child from the stigma, until years later when your toddler (who is suddenly a senior in high school) gets cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant from the ex-lover-step-brother that you paid to leave town and now need to track down.

Honestly, I don’t miss that type of story telling.

But here’s what has been fabulous about this week.  When a viewer falls in love with a character and watches him or her daily for 20 years, they will justify the character’s poor behavior and love them anyway.  And although younger soap actors age inappropriately so as to get placed into sexual, grownup story lines, adult characters are allowed to age normally.  I believe this also ties into the “I’ve known you so long, I’ll love you no matter what mentality” such that soap stars aren’t held to the same insane beauty standards as other actors.

Because of this I’ve spent the past two weeks watching actors that look the age of the characters they’re playing.  In fact, every actor over 50 looks exactly like what you’d expect a man or women over 50 to look like.  They’ve gotten gray, put on some weight, and have wrinkles.  Instead of being distracted by their smooth yet non-moving faces, I find comfort in their features and enjoy watching these old friends be themselves on screen.

Vintage Reva & Josh

Vintage Reva & Josh

Current Reva & Josh

Current Reva & Josh

Vintage Billy & Vanessa

Vintage Billy & Vanessa

Current Billy & Vanessa

Current Billy & Vanessa

I wish I could see more people like this on all the shows that I love to watch.  It’s just more interesting and frankly, more believable.

Guiding Light

key_art_guiding_light

I started watching soap operas during middle school.  We lived out in the country, and once I became older and it became uncool to be outside playing with my little brother, I started staying inside more, watching soaps.  I remember watching All My Children, One Life To Life, Ryan’s Hope and even The Edge of Night but my all time favorite was Guiding Light.

Guiding Light started as a 15 minute radio show in 1937.  My mom remembers coming home from lunch and being “sushed” by her mom who just wanted 15 minutes to listen to her story. Apparently, when it jumped to television, my mom and her siblings starting buying lunch at school instead of coming home to eat.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with GL being on at that time.

When I got to high school, I had less time to follow all of my shows so eventually I settled on Guiding Light as the one I would watch.  If I remember correctly, it aired at 3:00 and I could actually catch the last 20 minutes when I got off the bus each day.  During my summer breaks I’d watch religiously and my mom would keep me posted during the school year.  In college  I’d catch my story between classes.  Eventually after starting my first job, I got in the habit of taping my show each day and catching up in the evenings.  I followed that routine until the late 1990’s. Once I had 2 kids, following a daily show just became too much.

This summer, when I heard that Guiding Light was going off the air I felt bad – like it was my fault because people like me didn’t take the time to watch anymore. Last week I was talking to my good friend Cindy, another Guiding Light junkie, and we decided that we were going to watch GL for the next 2 weeks to see how they wrapped up a show that had been in production for 72 years.

Honestly it’s been a blast.  Past characters are coming out of the wood work.  Old flames are reuniting, diseases are being cured, characters with perpetual flaws are finally seeing the error of their ways…and changing!  Suddenly everyone is mature and no one mistakenly overhears something that sends their character into an inappropriate direction.  No one’s being raped, abused, or cheated on.  Alcoholics are still on the wagon.  Paternity test results aren’t being switched at the hospital.  In essence it’s a soap opera fan’s dream:  All characters are exactly where they’re supposed to be, doing the things you’ve always wanted them to do, acting in ways you knew that they were capable of and are with the people that they’re supposed to be with.

Frankly, it’s very unsoap-opera-like.  And perhaps thats the problem with soaps in general. You watch a show daily and the characters become like family to you.  You love them so much that it’s hard to watch them perpetually self destruct, so you eventually turn them off.  Maybe if soaps were on weekly like evening shows it would be easier to maintain a following, the characters wouldn’t drive you crazy and bonus, there would be enough room in daytime television for soaps, game and talk shows.

But hey, what do I know?  I’m sure the revamped version of Let’s Make A Deal that’s taking the place of GL will be a huge hit with viewers.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this last week and my stroll down memory lane.  If you too are a GL fan, head to the official finale portion of the web site and browse the video clips. There you’ll find highlights from past story lines, interviews, and behind the scenes stuff.  Who knows how long the site will be up,  so check it out while you can, before the light goes out forever.