Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You might want to sit down for this one…

No really, are you sitting down?


I have to tell you something and I don’t know how you’ll react. This is very scary for me because I hate feeling judged and your opinion of me means everything, so please, no matter what comes out of my mouth, promise you won’t think less of me.

Ok, here goes. *deep breath*

I bought the New Kids On The Block Album and I LOVE IT!!


OWWWWWW! What the … Did you just throw your SHOE at me?? GAWD, it stings… am I bleeding?

Reeva defends himself, after the jump…

Come on, you’ve done things you’re not proud of, too. We all have. I didn’t know I would love this album. And I definitely didn’t think I’d love it enough to come clean with you – in public, no less – so give me some credit.

Let’s go back in time to, say, second grade (maybe third), when NKOTB ruled the world with their bedsheets and fruit snacks and rat-tails. They were seen everywhere, on and in and on top of and behind everything – an apocalyptic product of the American pop culture machine, The Five Bedazzled Horsemen. I think they also sang and stuff, but perhaps we will never know, because very few actually heard them perform music, and why? Because of all the screaming.

Oh, the screaming… the interminable, mind-numbing, ear-splitting screaming. Yes, the schoolgirls of my generation broke their figurative lust-hymens (not to mention their voiceboxes) against the glossy visages of Jordan, Jonathan, Joey, Donnie, and Danny in their Tiger Beat magazines. Many believe the irrepressible, animal-like sexuality of these five beings caused the premature and spontaneous onset of puberty in millions of teenage girls, from the US to Japan to Europe to the Moon and back, affecting the tides and causing mild but nonetheless devastating shifts in the world’s supply of scrunchies.

The adults, at the time, were powerless against the legions of horny, over-sexed teenage girls, and many believed it was the end of days. Who can blame them really? Those girls were monsters. Meanwhile, I, along with every other boy of 10-12, was all, “Huh?”

I didn’t get it. But then again, I didn’t have a vagina (still don’t, if you’re wondering), so maybe I wasn’t supposed to get it. All I knew was: these guys kind of suck. It wasn’t until several years later that I started to sort of get it, thanks to the late, but potent development of my gayness. So, ok, they were sort of cute (esp. Joey), but even I knew that the music was crap.

Fast forward to high school, a magical time of repression and bad poetry, and the era of the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. At this point, I hadn’t quite claimed my gayness, but it was most certainly present, especially when there were flags to twirl or pink polo shirts to wear. Again, I was asked to stand aside while my friends (yep, all girls) whipped themselves into a frothy, frenetic frenzy over a group of carefully chosen, not-yet-old-enough-to-shave, male archetypes. Except this time… I would not be left out. I loved the boy bands in secrecy and silence. Maybe I couldn’t scream myself hoarse about it, and maybe I had to pretend I hated them to avoid being slammed into lockers, but in my heart of hearts… I loved me some Justin Timberlake.

Boy bands are like herpes… they come and go. Now that I’m out and proud and totally unashamed of my tacky tastes, I’ve been waiting patiently for the next iteration, and I promised myself that this time I would totally scream my 27 year old lungs out. I’m making up for lost time, you see… Unfortunately, all I’ve been given so far is The Jonas Brothers and… no thanks. But all of this goes a long way to make you understand WHY I was moved to lift the new NKOTB album off the shelves, and WHY I walked with it all the way to the checkout (any number of people saw me), and WHY I was able to purchase it without turning beat red under the judgmental eyes of the salesgirl.

This is about justice. This is about righting what was wrong. I was meant to love this boy band, and by GOD, I will love them.

Of course, I didn’t think for a second that the album would be any good. In fact, I was prepared for it to be a complete aural disaster. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This album is FANTASTIC.


Did you just throw your OTHER shoe!? What’s with you today? If you have no more podiatric projectiles, may I continue? Thank you.

When the boys announced their reunion back in April, I was dubious. I think I might have thought it was a joke. Like, I specifically remembered channeling Wayne Campbell, as in, “Sha… right!” In my assessment, the resulting enthusiasm from the populace had more to do with nostalgia, rather than excitement about new material. But, you know, I didn’t have that problem (if you can call it a problem). I have no fond or sentimental feelings about the music these boys put out 15 years ago, and when pressed, I can only name three or four of their songs. I’m actually more attached to Weird Al Yankovic’s satiric spin and ode to Oreos, The White Stuff. Indeed, I came into this venture with a completely open mind.

That open mind has served me well, apparently, because this album, while still very much in the boy band aesthetic, is totally current. With the help of some of today’s hottest producers like Akon, Ne-Yo, RedOne, and Timbaland, the boys have placed themselves directly in the music trends of the day, and they pull it off. As an aside, I’m starting to hate Timbaland a little bit. His influence on hip-hop and pop music is so overwhelming, and his sound has become so recognizable, that I’m starting to feel guilty loving every single song he produces. I’m starting to think I’d like just about anything as long as he’s behind the wheel. Anyway, back to the point… I think the boys deserve some credit for having their fingers on the pulse, because it would have been easy to just schlock together some retro sounding crap that recaptured their glory days. It was smart to move towards the light, lyrical hip-hop dominating the charts these days, because their slightly more grown-up subject matter and still excellent harmonies lend themselves perfectly to the genre.

The first single was Summertime which, I’m not going to lie, is not my favorite song on the album. I like the sound of it enough, but I don’t think it could be any cheesier. Like you could totally serve this on nachos. The video is also kind of ridiculous. I mean, I’m a little creeped out by five 30-40 year old guys singing about summer flings. There’s something statutory about it, yes? Anyway, here it is. But before you clickie… I’m just going to go out a limb and advise you not to watch at all. I mean, this video is so corny that I’m afraid it could debunk everything I’ve been rambling about since I started this post, namely, that this CD is good. So take my advice and hit play, minimize like the wind, and play mindsweeper or something. Or Freecell if you prefer. (Solitaire? That’s not even challenging…).

The next single is called, strangely enough, Single, and this song I totally love. Good harmonies, good beats, and not quite as pedo. Again, though, this video… I don’t know. The boy band posturing, most egregiously perpetrated by Jordan Knight, is just not attractive on guys this age. But I suppose this is what the nostalgic fans want to see, because it takes them back to when that crap was hot.

The album has even better stuff on it. My personal fav is Twisted (this is the Timbaland joint). Click the link to listen – I’m not responsible if the video has been removed – you have to act fast ‘round here.

There are moments of genius, too. The track with Lady Gaga entitled Big Girl Now is a calculated and very appropriate shout-out to their fans, now full grown women in their 20s (or even older). I think it was smart to recognize the fact that their demographic has matured and moved on to other things, but also prove that they have, too, and are perfectly capable of making the ladies dance and sing and scream and carry on just like they did in ‘92.

Full discloje: there are some clunkers here and there. The Pussycat Dolls collaboration is trash, for one. And all the lyrics on the album are pretty generic and cliché, when they aren’t uproariously inane, like the song Full Service, an extended metaphor in which the girl is a car and NKOTB is the fueling station (I know, ew). And there are two, I said TWO, songs dealing with the act of videotaping the act of love. And then there’s the song called Sexify My Love, which… whoever wrote that lyric wasn’t even trying. All of that said, the music is really great. I tend to be lenient on these pop albums because I’m not much for lyrics anyway, but if you are, well… just pretend it’s in Spanish or something.

And so, to end in that shallow place in which I spend the majority of my time, I will say that Joey is more attractive now than he was when he was posing for Tiger Beat, and that’s something I can appreciate.

And they’re all looking good here… I vehemently approve the suits. God, guys are so sexy in suits.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ugly Betty Season 3 Premiere

Brace yourselves, people. I had some serious issues with the 3rd season premiere of Ugly Betty.

My sentiments exacty, Justin…

But first, the obligatory preface. I love this show like Betty loves empanadas. I think about it, I talk about it, I lurk in fan forums… if it would make me any money I’d sell it on street corners. My devotion has been sealed with oil and blessed by the nearest Bishop. My loyalty has never been questioned. But I hated this episode. HATED!

Why, Reeva, WHY!?! Spoiler-ridden discussion after the jump…

Let’s review what all went down in this premiere…

So, as far as that huuuggggeee decision Betty needed to make on last season’s finale? Well, Betty chose not to choose. That was smart and mature and not altogether unexpected. We learn of all of this in a foggy, hazy flashback. After being beaned in the head by a softball, she hands Henry his ring and tells him she’s sorry (well done, Betty), and then she turns to Gio and tells him thanks, but no thanks, she doesn’t feel the same way about him, which LIAR!! Did I mention that all of this happened in less than 10 seconds? We find out that instead of joining Guy A or Guy B at the airport, she trekked to the cemetery to have a chat with her mom, which was sweet and poignant and also lasted less than 10 seconds. Then we zip through an opening credits montage of her journeys through the American Southwest where she searched her soul, climbed rocks, acted out every road movie cliché there has ever been, and discovered that her power animal is an ugly turquoise dove. And all of this happened before the title card rolled. How efficient!

And now The Betty is back and she has a plan. While she was away, she decided what she had to do, which she captured in her handy dandy binder ‘o self improvement: 1. take more responsibility at work in order to land a promotion within a year, 2. get an apartment in the city, 3. abstain from romantic entanglements.

Mission 1 is immediately sidetracked, thanks to Wilhelmina and her soul-sucking obsession with all things black and white. Betty barely escapes getting bludgeoned with Wili’s sledgehammer and proceeds downstairs to join Daniel in his new venture, a gross gamer/fratboy/unwashed men’s magazine called Player, which is oddly appropriate for Daniel and devastatingly inappropriate for Betty. The staff literally boos her ugliness and Daniel’s kid is running amuck, so clearly everything is going well and we can check Mission 1 off the list.

Mission 2 is accomplished handily, but not necessarily successfully, mostly because Betty commits the cardinal sin of signing a lease without seeing the property. Now I realize the general conceit of this whole episode is Betty is some naïve youngster trying to make her way in the world, but I think any moron knows better than to enter into a lease agreement blindly, and although it’s absolutely UNBELIEVABLE that someone like Betty, who’s been taking care of her family’s affairs for umpteen years and who often seems to be the only person thinking anything through from beginning to end would make this kind of mistake, I guess we’re just going to have to accept that her trip to the Grand Canyon caused her to empty all of her brain-cells into a tin can on the side of Route 66, so we better get used to these kinds of hiccups in her judgment.

Mission 3 is going very smoothly right until the last 5 minutes of the episode when Betty meets a cute musician playing his music too loud in her new apartment building, a development as inevitable and predictable as, well… everything in this episode turned out to be . You know what, writers? It isn’t ironic if we know it’s coming.

Meanwhile, Hilda is up to her leopard-print tube-top in love with the Coach, who is married, which apparently doesn’t bother Hilda too much, except when his wife keeps hitting up his cellular device while he and his mistress are trying to get buzay on the living room sofa in the house that his mistress shares with her father and teenage son.

Mr. Suarez got a job at a burger chain and Lindsay Lohan is his boss slash Betty’s high school nemesis.

Daniel is now the editor-in-chief of a lowbrow non-pornographic men’s magazine and his kid is an enfant terrible.

Elsewhere in the Meade building, Wilhelmina has begun her tyrannical and apparently sub-arctic reign over Mode, and has already turned Daniel’s office into a gothic nightmare of a nursery for a baby begat by a dead man’s sperm.

Alexis is still clueless. Christina is still pregnant with Wili’s trump card. And Mark and Amanda are still Mark and Amanda, which is a miracle.

That’s a lot of plot, isn’t it?? It seems Betty sure missed a lot while she was away. Apparently, it only takes one Betty-free month for everyone in her life to deteriorate into slobbering, oafish buffoons. So much of what happened in this episode seemed like a bad dream… it was all so unbelievable that it strayed dangerously close to being dishonest. Like, for example, would the Betty we know really get into a food fight with her high school bully in a public place? Would she really be cool with Daniel bastardizing her great idea for an uplifting article about a troop of motorcycling breast cancer survivors into a tawdry, T&A publicity stunt? And it’s not just Betty… Would the Alexis we know really be so easily duped by Wili (and Regis and Kelly) into sabotaging her own mother’s magazine? And would the Hilda we know willingly enter into an affair with a married man after everything she has been through, even if it is Eddie Cibrian? Ok, that’s not a good example…he is SO FINE!

At the end of the episode, Betty more or less confirms that everything that went down in the last 40 minutes was bizarre and out of character, and by removing that awful dove from around her neck, we are assured that Betty as we know her, the smart, independent, totally non-schizo Betty is back and here to stay. We hope.

What freaks me out is that I endorse the majority of the developments that transpired in this episode, from Betty’s decision to dump both guys, to Wili’s takeover of Mode, to Alexis’s betrayal of her family, to Daniel’s relationship with his son… I mean, it’s all good stuff. I guess what’s bothering me is that it all happened WAY TOO FAST. I’m wondering if this episode was the second half of season 2 stuffed into one episode, and the more I wonder, the more convinced I am. The best example of this would have to be the introduction of a new love interest for Betty. He’s cute and all (and we shall explore him further in later posts, I’m sure), but I’M NOT OVER HENRY AND GIO!! It took Betty the entire first half of season 2 to get over Henry and we only just started getting to know Gio, and now there’s another guy?? BOO! (Although, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Gio and his salami…)

In conclooje, this episode was a complete trainwreck; not because of where we ended up but because of how we got there. Hopefully, the writers will SLOW THE F*** DOWN and let us actually witness the stories taking place, rather than launching into entirely new territory without exposition or development. And even more hopefully, Betty will be an intelligent, thoughtful creature in the future, instead of the impulsive, unbalanced loon she was in this episode. I WANT my Betty back!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Missing Li’l Sis…

I’m feeling kind of bereft right now… so I’m posting this video to make myself better.

Backstory: this is one of our favorite songs to turn up really loud in the car and sing our guts out. We don’t even care if people see us.


Premeditating Ugly Betty: Season 3

I have to start this post with a shout out to Erin, who told me I was a fool for not watching Ugly Betty. Erin is my prophet, my rabbi, my teacher. Since discovering this show, and through it, the mystical ways of Betty, I am a better person. And about 50 times more gay. I say thank you. And Amen.

Season 3 starts on Thursday (9/25), and *reminder* the show will be filming in New York. I don’t know if filming on location will change anything, but it did provide an excuse for this epically awesome promo…

Now I’m 51 times more gay.

Season 2 came out last week, and I showed up at my neighborhood Target to buy it the day it came out. My adoration of this show is so profound, I didn’t even mind paying a few extra dollars if it means watching IMMEDIATELY instead of waiting 2-3 business days for Amazon to do its thang. Seriously… best few extra dollars I’ve ever spent.

A lot of people thought Season 2 was weak. I take umbrage with that, and not just because I love the word umbrage and don’t get to use it as often as I’d like. I think the writers’ strike and the resulting chaos unfairly tainted people’s opinions of this season, which is a real shame, because after watching it straight through, practically in one sitting, I am of the opinion that it is top-notch. Granted, some of the plot lines seem chopped and under developed, but I much prefer a quick resolution to a story-arc than no resolution at all.

Let’s discuss character by character, shall we? Proceed to the jump…

Oh, Saurez… or as the Besties like to call her… Grandma – she left on a jet plane, we don’t know when she’ll be back again. Did she fly with Henry to Tucson, where she’ll write for a local rag and endure awkward picnics in the desert with his kid and his Baby Mama? Or did she jet off to Roma with Gio to explore the hidden sandwich secrets of the Italian countryside (one word: salami)?

The above picture of America picking her nose is completely irrelevant. But also, funny.

Seeing Betty walk outside her door with the implication that she did indeed board a plane to somewhere is such an incredible cliffhanger, isn’t it? It made me think: if I were Betty, whom would I choose? That, friends, is a bitch of a choice to make.

I’ve loved Henry since he correctly identified the genus and species of Betty’s discount-drugstore-bought Halloween costume in Season 1. That’s just something I know. I wanted to jump him when he stood up to Pepper on the jousting pitch at Medieval Times. I still loved him when he left Betty for Charlie, who may or may not have been carrying his child. Even when it all started getting ridiculous – like when he allowed Charlie to sabotage Betty’s birthday – I still loved him. His love for Betty is as strong as his sense of responsibility to Charlie, and GOD doesn’t that suck for him? Betty and Henry’s deep commitment to making their relationship work is romantic and optimistic, but I must admit that I had trouble believing that two people as smart as they would keep trying to keep the affair alive.

And obviously, I love Gio. I have to hand it to the writers; they’ve created two terrific suitors for Betty. They are completely different, and yet both equally loveable. I’m not completely convinced Gio is right for Betty. Sure, he brings out some interesting facets of her personality, and she does relax around him, but I don’t sense the same connection that she has with Henry. Maybe I feel that way because the relationship was still kind of one-sided, even in the finale. We know Gio is madly in love with Betty, but I can’t guess how Betty feels. Maybe she doesn't even know quite yet. For that reason, I’m pulling for Betty to go to Rome with Gio. I think she owes it to herself to see if Gio has what it takes. A life with Henry in Tucson could be great, but Charlie will always be there, and Betty will always play second fiddle to a child that isn’t hers. Gio is a fresh start, without all the baggage and obstacles. Obviously, there has to be something wrong with him. I’m sure Season 3 will illuminate.

Hilda is one lucky bitch. I’m totally onboard with Eddie Cibrian, if only because it means he will keep appearing on my television in tight gym shorts.

Wilhelmina’s takeover of Mode was one of the plot points that kind of frustrated me. Her reinstatement to Creative Director and her promotion to Editor-in-chief by Alexis seemed to happen really, really fast. I get the feeling the writers always intended that to be the result at the end of Season 2, but the strike forced them to squeeze all the plotting and scheming into two episodes… to the point where there wasn’t any plotting and scheming at all. I found it odd that after everything, Alexis would just hand it all over, especially since she knows Wilhelmina (and her ambitions) better than anyone. I look forward to seeing how Claire and Alexis get along now, because it’s obvious Claire doesn’t approve. Yeah, this whole story-arc could have used more time.

So Daniel has a son. He’ll have to work out those Daddy issues sooner rather than later. And learn French. I was completely thrown by this plot twist, because I just don’t see where it’s going. Is Daniel, Jr. going to be a permanent fixture on the show now? Will he be the new heir to the Meade empire, at least until Wilhelmina’s spawn comes of age? Other than forcing Daniel to settle down and become an adult, I don’t see what function this kid will serve. Oh, well.

Speaking of Wilhelmina’s spawn… did you notice that neither Christina nor the baby she’s carrying were mentioned in the finale? And what of Christina’s husband? Is he going to get his surgery? I bet that was another storyline that got squeezed out by the strike.

Also left unresolved… Gene Simmons isn’t Amanda’s dad, so she’s back at square one. And Mark’s relationship with Cliff went nowhere. I’m not sure how I feel about Cliff. I get what the show is trying to do with Mark – you know, humanizing him and everything – but I think I like Amanda and Mark as they are: shallow, unapologetic, and bitchy. Would Mark date a guy like Cliff? Maybe, but maybe I don’t want him to.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's just God huggin' us closer...

To whomever created this Gif…

I say, Bless you.

It has kept me giggling all day.

The opening sketch on SNL’s season premiere last Saturday was GENIUS! Tina Fey’s impersonation of Sarah Palin was so perfect, so dead-on… it was a little scary. And Amy Poehler’s Hillary has always been superior. I smell an Emmy! (It’s really too bad the rest of the show sucked. Stick to swimming, Phelps.)

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard at anything in recent memory. I think the reason I find it so funny is that it illustrates exactly how I feel about the Palin situation. I mean, the idea that this person could be the Vice President… it’s ludicrous, absurd, insane, and yet… BRILLIANT!

No matter your political affiliation, I think you have to hand it to the McCain campaign; they picked the perfect foil for Obama. I mean, simply put, she’s a minority with very little experience. It’s very difficult to trash her because “minority with very little experience,” fits Obama, too. Now obviously, she’s more than just a minority with very little experience (and so is Obama), but I have to stand back and admire the parallelism.

The scary thing is I almost like her. She’s quick, she’s charming, she’s incredibly likeable (I’m serious, she is). If it wasn’t for her nut-bag social views, I think I’d be a fan.

Anyway, what I loved about the sketch: it points out the fundamental flaw in Palin as a VP choice. She’s clearly a manipulation… a countering mechanism… a symbolic gesture. She wasn’t chosen because she would make a good President in the event of the President’s death or incapacitation. She was chosen to make it harder for Obama to win. I guess I can appreciate the strategy of McCain’s campaign, but what happens after? What if McCain/Palin win? What if McCain kicks the bucket after a few years? What if she becomes President? Will it still be funny?

Is she a good candidate to run against Obama/Biden? Absolutely.

Is she a good candidate for Vice-President? Absolutely not.

I tried to find a viable link to the video of the sketch, but alas… it’s not going to happen. Just hop on Google and find it. You owe to yourself, for reals.


Britney was all over the news today, and for good reason, I suppose. Her comeback is right on track – she didn’t embarrass herself at the VMAs this time, she won three awards for her Piece of Me video (which, really?), and she’s been getting consistently good press. Today, or maybe yesterday, she officially confirmed the release date for her new album, entitled Circus. It will drop on December 2, 2008 (earlier than expected), and the first single will be on the radio by next week.

Clearly, I’m super-mega-falling-over-myself excited about all of this. But I was never one of those people who doubted her. I’ve always had faith in my girl. And seriously, there was nowhere to go but up.

So, there’s that. And I don’t mean to steal Britney’s thunder or anything, but I ran across something else today, which made me jump out of my chair and babble incoherently. It might have looked like I was having a seizure. (Between us, my office-mate is still shaking). Check it…

That’s right. There’s another Diva releasing an album in the coming months, and her name is Enya.

What a year… new Madonna, new Britney, AND new Enya. And they say God has no love for the gays. READ THE SIGNS PEOPLE!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dancing with the Stars Season 7...

Turn in your Team Yamaguchi T-shirts at the door, because a new season of Dancing with the Stars is upon us. The new cast was announced a few weeks back, and now that it’s had a little time to sink in, I think I’m ready to comment.

This year’s former (or maybe not, we’re just waiting to hear from Justin) boy-band member, Lance Bass, joins a long line of distinguished ringers, including Joey McIntyre, Joey Fatone, and the other Lachey who isn’t Nick. This category of DWTS participant always does fairly well, thanks to their experience performing in front of large audiences and expertise in poorly choreographed dance moves. The big deal with Lance, though, was the rumor that the show might pair him with a male partner, you know… because he’s gay. As funny as that may or may not be to see, it’s kind of stupid rumor, because ballroom dancing is designed for a male/female partnership, and not because it’s prejudiced, but because ballroom dancing is all about the balance of masculine and feminine, which is entirely possible with two people of the same sex, but maybe that’s just too much sexual politics to get into on a primetime network reality tv program.

Lance will be dancing with none other than Lacey Schwimmer, third runner-up on last year’s season of So You Think You Can Dance. What a fun little crossover, huh? She was never really my favorite, but I think it’s a good pairing. I’ll be curious to see her choreography. I’m also curious to see how the show will handle Lance’s gayness. I feel like they have to mention it, if only to avoid a situation like that of Matthew Mitchum (that Austrailian Olympic diver), but my instinct says that won’t mention it very often. The part I need to figure out is… does it really matter?

Ha! How funny is it that this whole time, I thought her name was Misty May Treanor… like, her name was Misty Mae, instead of the May being her maiden name hyphenated to her married name. I’m an idiot.

Anyway, I’m tired of this lady, I’m not going to lie. I thought there was WAY too much coverage of beach volleyball during the Olympics, especially because they were such favorites to win. I mean, if it’s such a foregone conclusion, why do I need to watch (EVERY NIGHT FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK!)? And I could barely recognize her in this picture without her sunglasses and bikini – and miles and miles of sand.

Female athletes on this show are hit or miss – last season we had the Yamaguchi (yay!) and Monica Seles (oooooo, sorry girl). I wonder how Misty Mae will fit in? Not that it matters… she’s paired with MAXSIM!!! Oh. My. God. I missed him so.

Now, I watched Rocco DiSpirito’s show, The Restaurant. It was a good show, but I kind of thought he was a douche. And I will never understand why some people find him so sexy… because, um… yeah, he’s not sexy. He is paired with my favorite female dancer, Karina Smirnoff. She’s my favorite because she is such a poor sport. I love watching her make bitch faces and basically disparage the American public right to our faces. She just seems so over this show sometimes, and I find that refreshing.

Warren Sapp has one up on last year’s football player, Jason Taylor, in that I have at least heard of him. I can’t say it goes any further than that. Look, it’s Kym Johnson! I love her a little bit, and I’m happy to see her get paired with a contestant that could do well. Last year, it was Penn Jillette, and we all know how that went.

Oh, poor, poor Edyta. She got stuck with… this guy. I say “this guy” because I see him everywhere, and yet I have no interest in seeing more of him. Maybe that’s mean… Jeffrey Ross is kind of funny, I guess, but he won’t last very long, if we go by past precedent. These comedians are appealing to a demographic that doesn’t watch this show (unless they’re forced), so they come on and make a few jokes and dance badly (they can’t be bothered to take it seriously) and then they get kicked off. I guess they couldn’t give Edyta anyone better because she placed 2nd last season.

I might have to pull for Ted McGinley. I mean, it’s Jefferson, for God’s sake, how can I not? I’ve always had a thing for Ted McGinley – isn’t he handsome? And I always like to pull for TV actors who are going through a slump. If we’ve learned anything, we now know that appearing on this show is like career CPR. Just look at Jennie Garth and Mario Lopez…

I wish him the best, but he’s got his work cut out for him. He has been paired with a new Pro, and that usually spells disaster. On this show, the public seems to vote for the Pros just as much as they vote for the contestants, so getting paired with a no-name is like the kiss of death. That is, unless they’re really hot, like Mark Ballas. Mmmm…. Mark Ballas.

OMG, Toni Braxton. I thought she was dead! Or really sick! Or otherwise incapacitated. Where the hell has she been? This is making me want to dig out my old tapes… Unbreak my heaaaaaaaart… say you LOVE me agaiiiiiiiin… Anyway, it’s good to see her. And she looks fabulous. I hope this will give her partner, Alec Mazo, the chance to make it past the first round. That guy has had the worst luck.

I absolutely love Cloris Leachman. She was the only thing I liked about Spanglish. But I’m not sure how I feel about her being on this show. I mean, I know there has to be an old person every season, but she’s 82. How old is too old? I don’t care how good of shape she’s in, an 82 year old body is fragile, and I’m not eager to see her break a hip or something on live T.V.

The main thing is these dances have to be good, or else the show is incredibly boring. I’m not sure she’ll be able to do the fast and difficult dances well enough to be enjoyable to watch. I would feel better about it if I knew anything about her partner, but it’s another new guy. In fact, it’s Mark’s dad. And his name is Corky. God, what if your dad’s name was Corky? I would be Mortified.

Oh, great. It’s one of those G*ddamn Kardashians. Have you ever watched their reality show? Trust me, it’s hard to get through; I’ve only managed to watch one episode. The scary thing is Kim is probably the most… and I’m struggling to find the right word… acceptable out of the whole family, even if she is just a very large ass with a very small brain… and lots of weave. I’m counting on her to make good on this show and make me like her, because she has been paired with Mark Ballas. Being allowed to dance with him, much less touch him, is an honor far above the likes of her, and she better to everything she can to deserve it. And she better be likeable, too, because if America hates her and votes her off, and I don’t get to see Mark more than two or three times… I am going to be SO PISSED!

Wait. Isn’t Cody Linley, like, 12? And isn’t he one of those Disney kids? You know, if they were trying to fill the Tween heartthrob niche, I feel like they could have done better than this. Although, I can’t think of anyone right now. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Anyway, he’s paired with Julianne Hough, and that is… a whole lot of blonde.

Julianne’s brother, Derek, is paired with Brooke Burke. If I’m to believe her wikipedia page, Brooke Burke has quite the career, but I’ve never heard of her. That’s not surprising, though, considering her main claim to fame is her long string of Maxim covers. I don’t read that magazine, obviously.

This show seems to be obsessed with Olympic Gold, because here’s another champion, Maurice Green. I remember him, I think, from Sydney and Athens. I predict he will do very well. Besides the fact that he’s an amazing athlete, he is paired with probably the best coach and choreographer in the competition, although you wouldn’t know it based on that picture up there. Geez, Cheryl looks like a giant bird trapped in a cotton candy machine.

And finally, La Lucci will dance for us, escorted by the Swarm King, Tony Dovalani. I only know Susan Lucci in the trivia sense, having never watched soap operas, or been interested in the day-time Emmy’s, but it will be fun to have her around. I know she’s quite hammy and funny, and she’s perfect for this audience. I don’t think she’ll win, but I suspect she’ll last quite a while, getting by purely on audience goodwill and decent dancing.

There you have it – the cast of Season 7. It’s a good group – most everyone seems in good shape, and perfectly capable of pulling off a good mambo. Personality is always a huge factor, but it will be even more important this year, because I think the dancing will be evenly matched across the board. Of course I’m pulling for Lance – that’s automatic. But besides him, I’m pulling for Toni Braxton and MAXSIM and MARK BALLAS.

I’m kind of sad about Louis Van Amstel taking the season off… and Jonathan Roberts is missing, too! I wonder where they are… waltzing together…

Monday, September 08, 2008

Can't Stop the Music...

Welcome, dear readers, to another episode of I Have Nothing Better To Do At Work, a thrilling new spinoff of the hit dramedy, Desperately Trying to Appear Occupied.

I’m in the habit of going to Amazon.com about once every two weeks and checking out the upcoming releases in music. You’d be surprised how very little the major recording studios promote their artists nowadays. Maybe I’m just feeling old, but I remember a time when new albums were anticipated, like Christmas or the day George W. gets heaved out of office. Now, it’s like if I don’t stalk my favorite artists like a psycho, I will miss what they’re up to. I like too many artists to follow all those MySpace pages… I mean, who has time for that? But Amazon makes it easy by listing them in handy monthly groupings, and displaying them in the order of buzzworthiness. Knowing what’s coming out helps to guide my purchazzies (for example, when Jason Mraz’s new album came out, it prompted me to purchazzie his second one, thus completing my collection), and it also gives me a reason to live. I can get through anything if I know there’s a new Britney Spears album coming down the pipeline.

This summer has been a dry spell for me music-wise. Come to think of it, I haven’t purchased anything new since, like… June. That’s a long time for me. Wait, I just lied straight to your face. I did buy Janelle Monae’s Metropolis: The Chase Suite a few days ago, but that’s just an EP so I don’t count it. Anyway, the fourth quarter is gonna be awesome, though, and expensive. I hope my debit card’s magnetic strip can make it through.


Jessica Simpson – Do You Know (9/9)

Ha! I will probably not buy this album, but I did want to mention it. In a bizarre way, I’m actually curious about her foray into country/western, and at this point the critics are divided, which makes me even more curious. I’ve heard a few of the songs and I’m not impressed, but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) I’m pulling for Jessica.

Jem – Down to Earth (9/16)

I discovered Jem thanks to one of Mia Michael’s routines on So You Think You Can Dance, and I love her first album, Finally Woken. The song, 24 (thanks, Mia), is totally worth the cost of the entire album. I hope history repeats: her new song, It’s Amazing, featured on the Sex and the City Soundtrack is one of my favorites of the year, and not just because it samples Bach (That’s right, Jem, you thought you could stump a bitch… but no, this entire song is based on Prelude in f minor, Book 2, The Well-Tempered Clavier). Frankly, girlfriend is kind of obsessed with that prelude, the song They from her first album also quotes it (and even more emphatically). Here's the video.

Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer? (9/16)

Ok, so it took me a few weeks to figure out that Amanda Palmer is the same girl who fronts the Dresden Dolls, one of the best cabaret/rock/baroque pop bands out there. The Dresden Dolls are certainly out there, as in just a little bit twisted. I might not be dysfunctional enough to really appreciate their stuff, but it certainly taps into the inner goth kid that never got a chance to break out the black lipstick and fishnets in high school. I don’t know if this solo album is going into different territory, or what, but I’m going to buy just because it’s her and her makeup is always flawless. One of the first singles is Runs in the Family...

Jenny Lewis – Acidtongue (9/23)

Jenny Lewis is just like Robin Thicke in the sense that I don’t typically like the style of music she does. It has a tendency to veer towards country when I would rather it veer towards good, but for some reason, I don’t even mind. I think it’s her voice. I could listen to her sing anything, I think, and her songwriting is always thoughtful, sexy, and just a little bit dirty. Also, killer harmonies. The title track is the first single, and I'm loving it... (the little introduction is only kind of cute and funny, fast forward through it if you must...)

Pussycat Dolls – Doll Domination (9/23)

Ugh! I have never, nor will I ever, buy a Pussycat Dolls CD. They’re too manufactured… even for me. (And that’s saying a lot). (Full disclosure: I did buy the song Buttons, but that’s not the whole album, so I can still look myself in the face.)

Jennifer Hudson (9/30)

Super excited about this one. It’s been a long time coming – I figured she would have dropped an album closer to her Dreamgirls triumph. As it is, this album has a lot of potential and a lot of good buzz. Spotlight is an excellent track that has grown on me significantly in the last few weeks.

Robin Thicke – Something Else (9/30)

Oh, the supreme almighty power of hotness. I don’t usually like the style of music that Robin Thicke dabbles in, which is that kind of dark-room, atmospheric, take-off-your-clothes, makin’ babies music, and not because I don’t like those things, but because that music tends to get boring and doesn’t suit for you know, driving to work or washing the dishes or any other everyday activity. But I love him, so I’m willing to overlook the cheesiness. His previous album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, was enjoyable enough, but I can’t pretend: I buy these albums because he’s hot. Here's the first single, Magic.

To look forward to in October: Jon McLaughlin, Michelle Williams, Oasis, Keri Hilson, Keane, Ingrid Michaelson, Pink, Lady Gaga, and Snow Patrol.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The State of the Queen – Pre-Equinox Edition

The most important thing to relay to you: I realized earlier this week that I’ve just completed my 27th summer here on this Earth, and I didn’t get into a single body of water. Not even a swimming pool. I didn’t see the ocean. I didn’t wear a bathing suit. I suppose Michael Phelps swam enough for me and everyone else this summer. He also wore the Speedo better than I ever could. Seriously, he must be exhausted.

Some people think this is a triumphant yell, but I think he's yawning. I mean, wouldn't you be tired?"

Oh, wait – that’s not the most important thing. That would be: I’m an uncle. My niece, Abigail Lynn, was born happy and healthy on August 4, 2008. Pardon me for not telling it on the mountain, or more practically, telling it on the blog – I meant to, but it still doesn’t seem real. The rest of the family made the journey up to D.C. to meet the newest carrier of the bloodline, but since I’m just the lowest of the low here at work, and the important people needed vacations, and the phones don’t answer themselves… I was obligated to stay behind. So… I haven’t actually met my niece yet, which is tragic and frustrating, but also just the way it is. I will show my face at the baptism, even though holy water has been known to cause me to break out (IT BURNS!). In the meantime, I’ve seen lots of pictures, and she is officially the cutest thing ever, just as the oracle foretold.

Yesterday, the parentals and I escorted Li’l Sis to the Charlotte airport, where she began her epic journey of self-discovery and artistic maturation (also known as: foreign study) to London. There, she will study art, complete an internship at a museum, eat lots of Indian food, and meet lots of new friends with names like Nigel, Simon, Pippa, and Hermione. I watched her as she took off her shoes and unloaded her carry-on bag to go through security, and I thought this will be the last time I see her as she is. When she returns, she will be a different person: smarter, wiser, more experienced, and probably overly fond of crumpets and cricket. I really only have two dreams for her, which I communicated to her shortly before she left us for her terminal. First, I told her that I hoped living in the U.K. would finally convince her that Harry Potter is the greatest thing since LowFat Cheez-its. If living around me hasn’t impressed this upon her, maybe a country full of J.K. Rowling worshiping Britons will do the trick. Secondly, since I can’t be there myself, I must rely on her to complete my life’s mission of going up to the Queen of England and saying, “HeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEeeeeeey, Girl.” I’m counting on you, Li’l Sis. Don’t let me down.

And tell your majesty I say, "How she durrrrin'?"

Now, moving on to the Debbie Downer segment of our program…
You’ve just heard me prattle on about how my brother just had a beautiful baby girl and how my sister is some sort of jet-setter… well, they make me sick, and this coat of black wool is getting so frikkin’ uncomfortable (not to mention smelly).

The only positive thing I can say about “work” is that I am still employed. Are you ready for the negatives?

EDIT!! (deleted to protect someone... I'm not sure who. Probably me... but you never know who's reading...)

That’s about it, I guess. The rest of my time is engaged in escapist entertainment. Specifically, I’ve been going through a rather engrossing movie musical phase. I’ve thrown my Netflix into a real tizzy. I decided I wanted to see all of the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals (I was shocked to realize I’d really only ever seen one of them all the way through – see if you can guess which one. I’ll give you a hint: there’s yodeling). And of course, T.V. is a constant companion. Things are about to heat up hardcore, what with all the returning shows in a couple of weeks. I think I may need to break down and get that DVR… finally.