Thursday, July 26, 2007

gossip girl

I am a longtime devotee of Go Fug Yourself, and I maintain it is some of the best pop culture writing. Jessica posted my favorite fug so far this week. I, too, cannot wait for Gossip Girl the television show. I have become borderline obsessed with the books this summer. I do manage to alternate Gossip Girl/not-Gossip Girl books, but I still will finish the series before the tv show premieres. These books are teen soap opera gold. With One Tree Hill not back until January, the world of television needs some quality teen drama.

I've got my champagne flute ready...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Despite the fact that several episodes in to Puffy's latest ego fest of a reality show that really has very little to do with him, there are once again twenty hopeful young men, I can't stop watching. Not surprisingly, the greatest hits of Boyz II Men (and the occasional Stevie Wonder tune) provide a touching backdrop to the rarely portrayed world of male bonding. This week's episode featured two goose bump-inducing twenty-young-men-strong renditions of "End of the Road". I doubt I will ever tire of a group of talented, grateful, young men on the verge of either tears or rage coming together, from varying backgrounds, ages and regions, to sing the hell out of a song. It's a surprisingly moving program, and I keep falling for the success of more of the aspiring singers. I'm still on Team Dan (and Team Donnie - seriously, this guy is meant for boy band fame), but Team Carlos is creeping up on me, and surprisingly, Team Michael.

If you haven't seen Making the Band 4 yet, and you enjoy the music of Boyz II Men, watch it. It's surprisingly touching and a little too nerve-inducing. Granted, Diddy did a great job with Danity Kane, and he doesn't by into the one-elimination-per-week model. So far, so good. When you're a fan of the show, and you develop more feelings for more contestants week after week, it's an emotional roller coaster to never know how many you'll lose within the hour. Thankfully, MTV replays this program incessantly, so their Boyz II Men renditions will live on.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Big Brother 8 (First impressions)

Earlier today, as I was trying to explain my unending fascination with Big Brother to nomadreaderboy, my best guess is the ever-changing strategy. The show continually provides the unexpected. There are no judges to do the right thing and eliminate the appropriate people; the viewers don't get the power of calling into vote (after season one). Each week is a constant power struggle. Players can form all the alliances they want to, but depending on who wins Head of Household and the Power of Veto each week affects the game. The producers can try to meddle all they want to, and the result is usually good. I enjoy when evicted houseguests come back; I especially enjoy it when the viewers vote one evictee back in.

I realize the drain Big Brother viewing can have on an individual, even in the summer. The show itself is on three times a week. For a rather meager fee, one can watch four camera feeds 24 hours a day online. This season Showtime will show the live feed three hours each night, during the prime shenanigan time of midnight to 3 a.m. Eastern. Big Brother happens in real time; producers need not worry about Las Vegas odds makers spoiling the winner. No million dollar contracts require contestants to keep quiet. The players have no contact with the outside world; it's boredom and strategy all day and all night long. It's the ultimate voyeuristic experience; Big Brother can absolutely consume a person's time for three months.

I sat down hopeful and giddy for a good season. I've watched six seasons without missing an episode (Season 5 - Project DNA bored me for reasons I can't recall). Although after the constant replays of Nakomis' genius move that season, I wish I would have stuck around to see all the strategy smartly play out. Season six brought the series back to its peak. There were two distinct teams for the most part, and I loved every minute of it. All-Stars was a thrill for me, largely because of those cast.

I enjoy the premise of BB8: some houseguests have a rival, enemy, or someone with unfinished business in the house. Unfortunately, this season, there are only three counterparts (or six of the fourteen). Does it really require three adjectives for three pairs? I am curious how the producers decide which counterpart became an original 11 member and which was sequestered upstairs for most of the opening episode.

My first thoughts are that this season has a lot of young people. There is one 44-year-old, a very-young looking 37-year-old mother of three teenagers, and the the other twelve are 30 or under.

It will be interesting to see how the "original eleven" last. Eleven is far too many for an alliance, and I imagine some of the three will stick around. I'm already a huge fan of Carol (a Kansan!) and Dustin (not one of the O11). Dustin lists one of his three favorite movies as Troop Beverly Hills. After reading Daniele's biography page, I am also on team Daniele. Team Dustin, all the way. He appears to be a class act, unlike his crazy ex Joe who decided to speculate Dustin will be one of the surprise players and starts screaming about how he gave him gonorrhea. (For the record, I believe Dustin's side of the story). When Dustin came in, he went around the circle of couches to shake hands and introduce himself to everyone. For bonus points, he already knew their names. Joe ignored him and pouted. Drama queen will breakdown in less than three weeks.

I enjoyed flamboyant Joe's antics early in the episode. He made multiple references to Daniele resembling Anna Nicole Smith. It was funny when he squealed, " Oh, look, it's Anna Nicole's ghost!" as Daniele peered through the distorted glass window in between the bedrooms.

I'm not sure how I feel about America's vote as Eric. Viewers have the power to tell him what to do, if he does it, he gets paid, if not, it's unclear. It is a unique twist; if he's popular with fans, one would imagine America would look out for him. If not, I hope the viewers turn on him and make him do ridiculously stupid strategical moves so he's voted out quickly. Seriously, I hope one of our first tasks requires voting off his nipple rings; I simply cannot take him serious with two nipple rings in. Eric does seem to be a fan of reality tv, and I hope he's excited about this opportunity. Otherwise, his speech seems slightly sleazy.

I think we're in for an entertaining season Big Brother. I only hope I hold out and refrain from reading the recaps of the live feeds and don't feel the need to order Showtime. I will give you three hours of my viewing time each week, Big Brother, and I will give you one more on the world wide interweb, but I refuse to give you the rest of my summer.

Happy viewing!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

my ongoing love affair with degrassi

As the N begins airing the latest installment of season six of Degrassi: The Next Generation, I racked my brain to decide if any other teen drama has seamlessly made the transition from high school to college. Season six features part of the cast in college and part of them still in high school. Largely, I believe, due to the format of the program not following the same characters in each episode, the show is able to change settings. There are a few students who are at the local college, of course, so they're free to drop by the high school still, but there are still many once tried-and-true main characters who are more recurring guest stars. It takes powerful writing and an amazing ensemble cast to make these transitions possible. The writers are astute; even when characters aren't seen for weeks at a time, their names are mentioned. They maintain off-camera contact through email and the phone.

It's no secret that I think Degrassi: The Next Generation, in fact all shows Degrassi, are among the best ever produced for television. I think the continued success of season six provides a beautiful showcase for this point. It's not a show driven by a handful of actors or characters. The cast has grown and morphed over the past six seasons as the actors themselves have grown up. I am eagerly anticipating the summer release of The Kids of Degrassi Street on dvd and the fall release of Degrassi High. With all four series soon to be available on dvd, I hope more people will take a look at the amazing body of work created over the past thirty years. It's beyond unprecedented; it's inspired storytelling that only improves with time as it builds on its rich history and brings more characters and fans into its world.

For those of you who are too impatient to wait for The N to air the newest episodes in this country, CTV offers Degrassi on demand viewing online.

As an added bonus, you may rest assured CTV won't edit out objectionable subject matter, so you know you're seeing the entire episode, as it was intended.