Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Burning Ambition: Eve Of Destruc...uh..Publication Preview!

Today's installment:

Alison, David and T stared in horror as the screaming stand-in was hoisted skyward on what seemed like invisible strings. Alison shot the burning yo-yo up into the air.

"Kick out!" she shouted to Heather. "High as you can!" The yo-yo soared toward the ceiling, following the ninja and his petrified captive. Heather heard Alison's command. She kicked both legs up past her head. The yo-yo slammed straight into the ninja's crotch, setting it alight. From beneath the mask came a pained, high-pitched moan of pain. David and T both winced in silent empathy. Then the ninja let go of Heather. David and T ran to the nearest car and dragged out the seats.

Heather continued screaming as she saw the ground rushing to meet her. With amazing timing, David and T managed to position the seats at the exact spot where they would cushion her fall. Heather collapsed into the car seat, spraying foam stuffing all over the garage. For a moment, she was still and silent. Then she gasped, "I hate Treasure Spinney. Being her stand-in is the worst job in the world. She's mean and spoiled and she doesn't care about anyone else. I wish it had been her that got kidnapped!"

T and David looked mystified. They both said "Stand-in?"

David looked outraged. "We wasted the gadget on a stand-in?"

Alison was about to explain Heather's circumstances when a harsh, Belgian-accented voice echoed around the garage.

"Step away from the star!"

Alison, David and T looked up and saw Heather's kidnapper. The kingpin who had masterminded the entire abduction was walking towards them, gun in hand.

"Nice hair," remarked Alison of the crime boss's well-kept mane.

The kingpin acknowledged the compliment. "Nice hands," he said to Alison. "But I bet I can put at least one bullet into at least one of your boyfriends before you get to me."

Alison was about to explain that only one of the boys was actually her boyfriend. But then she worried that David might be a little sensitive about the way things had turned out. He never said anything, but she sometimes thought she saw a wistful look in his eyes.

With a wave of his gun, the crime boss gestured for Alison, David and T to move away from Heather.

David shook his head scornfully at the villain. "You're not in Antwerp anymore, buddy. This is the USA. We expect a certain degree of ingenuity from our criminal masterminds. Snatching a stand-in on your first big job is not gonna do wonders for your reputation."

The kingpin's face clouded. A brief burst of uncertainty. Stand-in? David saw the moment of weakness. "Blast him," he yelled at Alison. "He's not gonna shoot us."

"Yes, he is," said the kingpin, suddenly aware he had nothing left to lose. He took aim straight between T's eyes and got ready to pull the trigger.

Alison pointed her fingers directly at the kingpin's face. Could she get him before he got T?

I hate standoffs, she thought, bitterly.

Last bit tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Burning Ambition: Still Sneaky, Still Previewy

Here's today's serving:

T stood by her side. "Nothing you can't handle," he said supportively. She wasn't so sure. These weren't steroid freaks with maps on their faces. These were lethal assassins who floated on the wind and laughed at gravity.

"Yo, Hottie," a voice called from behind a nearby concrete pillar. Alison didn't turn around. She didn't have to. She knew who it was. David Eels. Her superhero sidekick. The guy who first encouraged her to explore her superpowers. The guy who told her how special she could be. The guy who named her Hottie. The guy who fell victim to an unrequited crush that momentarily capsized their friendship. And, finally, the guy who was her rock-solid right hand.

"One thing we never covered during our extensive superhero training sessions," said David.

"What's that?"


From his position behind the pillar, David tossed an object into Alison's open palm. She looked down at her hand. She was holding something round and metal with a wire wound around the center.

"It's a yo-yo," noted T.

"Hence the `Yo, Hottie' greeting," explained David.

Alison stared at the yo-yo in her hand. It was bedazzled and had the H logo on both sides. For a second, she didn't get it. Then she saw the shadows of the ninjas as they moved like leaves in the breeze. And then she got it. Alison couldn't move like the ninjas. She couldn't fight like them. But David had just given her something that made her their equal. He'd given her a yo-yo that, in her hands, became...a ball of fire. She tried a couple of practice swings.

"Let that little guy fly!" demanded David. "It's solid steel. It can take up to twenty-five hundred degrees."

Alison watched the way the bedazzled yo-yo sent colors shimmering across the dark garage. Then, without warning, she lashed out her wrist, sending fire streaming down the wire and causing the yo-yo to burst into flames. Striding confidently out of the shadows and into the middle of the warehouse, she swung the blazing yo-yo above her head like a lasso.

A ninja leapt from the roof of a rusted Pinto. Alison swung low and struck her attacker on the kneecap. The ninja let out a muffled groan from beneath his mask. He swayed for a second, then slumped to the ground. David and T saw the next ninja bound high into the air and fall silently, dropping from the ceiling, ready to engulf Alison like a deadly black cloud.

"Above you!" they screamed in unison.

Alison dropped to her knees, leaned back and threw the yo-yo straight up, smashing into the lower part of the ninja's swathed head. Then she sprang to her feet and stepped aside so the ninja fell face first onto the ground. Groaning, he pulled down the folds of the mask to spit out a pair of broken teeth.

"Ma teef," he whined

"Thorry," snickered Alison.

Two more black-clad assassins sprang at Alison. She swung the fiery yo-yo in an arcing motion. As it sailed downward, it set the first ninja's foot on fire, leaving him hopping and flailing. On it's return journey, it clattered off the second attacker's ear, causing him to howl in pain and frantically unravel the mask as the flames spread. Alison reeled the yo-yo back in and gazed at it affectionately.

"Loving the gadget," she said to David as he walked out from behind the pillar.

T and David nodded at each other. They weren't exactly friends. But they maintained a cautious mutual respect.

David was about to introduce himself to Heather, but before he could speak, she was yanked off the ground and up into the air. The last ninja!

WTF? More tomorrow.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Burning Ambition: Day Four.

I know what you're thinking, this is one long sneak preview. Here's the latest chunk:

Alison kicked out hard, shoving the bed across the cell. Then she pointed her fingers at the ceiling. Six faces, one bearing a tattoo of Belgium, stared down in amazement. Alison burned a bigger hole. The six faces started screaming as the floor gave way beneath their feet. She jumped up and pulled Heather upright as the wailing henchmen fell through the floor and landed on the cold hard concrete.

"That's the power of prayer for you," Alison said. Stepping over the stunned, twitching bodies, she shot out a hand and melted the bars of the cell."Let's go," Alison ordered the frazzled stand-in, grabbing her arm and pulling her from the cell. The pair picked up speed as they fled the maze of cells in the basement of the warehouse and charged toward an emergency exit. The door opened.

"Is that another angel?" gasped Heather.

Alison's heart started beating faster. It was Tommy Hull, universally known as T, Beverly Hills High's Junior President of Cuteness. Once he had regarded her superpowers with something approaching revulsion, but now they fought evil and injustice side by side.

"No," Alison told Heather, who was staring at T with an expression that could only be described as worshipful. "That's my boyfriend."

Alison and T gazed warmly at each other. The flush of first love still lingered. Then a thick, hairy tattooed arm wrapped itself around T's throat, lifting him off his feet.

"T!" screamed Alison. Before she could rush to his aid, a new group of henchmen, this one armed to the teeth, charged into the basement. Alison looked at he oncoming horde. Then she looked back at T, who was struggling with a muscled opponent on the steps leading up to the emergency exit.

"I'm on this," he gasped, swinging a powerful elbow into his attacker's jaw. "You get her out of here!"

Alison threw her arms wide open. A wall of fire suddenly separated her from the rampaging henchmen. Heather uttered a gurgle of fear and disbelief. "Are you sure you're an angel?" she managed to ask.

"Why? Don't I seem angelic?" demanded Alison as she yanked hard on the girl's arm and dragged her away from the flames.

Minutes later, Alison, Heather and a bruised, banged-up but unbeaten T made their way through the emergency exit down to the lower-level parking garage. It was deserted, apart from the burned-out, rusty shells of some ancient expired automobiles.

Alison smiled at Heather. "Don't worry. You'll be back pretending to be Treasure Spinney before you know it."

Heather's mouth twitched. From her reaction, she looked as if she was about to confess how she really felt about her day job.

Then five figures descended from the ceiling, landing on the roofs of the cars. Alison and T stared at their unexpected new adversaries. They were clad in head-to-toe black. Even their faces were swathed in dark cloth. They were soundless. They moved with a deadly grace. They were like panthers.

"Ninjas," breathed Alison. "Belgian ninjas."

Holy shit! More to come...

I Would Swim In Vomit Rather Than Sit Next To Tv Club

Read the truth here or the made-up version at

Gossip Girl
CC: A delighted "HA!" to Nate calling Serena's devious plan absurd and her INSTANTLY defensive "Blair and Chuck do it all the time!" Okay, that's true. But Serena, you are no Blair, and if even Blair's schemes backfire constantly, why the HELL did you think yours would work? Oh right, boobs. Guess what, boobs don't work all the time either. Just ask Giada. What's that, JB? Just *don't* ask Giada because hers *do* work all the time? Should Blake and Giada have a boob-off? Where are these questions coming from? I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore.
JB: I can't believe I'm changing the subject from a Blake/Giada boob-off (The winner: Humanity!) to a discussion about Desmond Harrington. But can this guy become, if not a regular, at least a more frequent recurrer. I don't think I've seen him in anything else but when he swaggers into a scene, this sleepy show wakes up for a few seconds. And then Rufus shows up.
CC: I was like "who the fuck is Desmond Harrington?" so I imdb him and oh right, he's Jack Bass. Yeah, that guy totally rocks.

Dancing With the Stars
CC: I don't know what was scarier, Buzz Aldrin or his wife. I think I'm rooting for Shannen Doherty. I have no particular reason for this.
JB: Quite the line-up. The trajectory of Shannen Doherty's career becomes a lot clearer. She's one of those walking eggshells. Misjudge her mood, put her under any kind of pressure, say the wring thing, look at her the wrong way and she'll crack. I simultaneously feel bad for her because the pressure to perform on love TV is clearly killing her and anticipate the impending crackage. "Why Can't Moms Have Fun?" was the headline on the Kate-Gosselin-does-Dancing story in one of the tabloids. The answer was beaming out of her death eyes. Kate+Fun= Never Happening."This one's for the moms," she tried to smile, before being dragged around the floor. Stop playing the mom card, Kate. You're just giving us permission to go back to hating you again. Know who I think might also attract America's displeasure. Nicole Sherzinger's false modesty bullshit. "This isn't my kind of dancing. I don't know what I'm doing The Viennese Waltz?Never heard of it. I was perfect? I can't believe it. `Cuz this isn't my kind of dancing." And Pam Anderson looked like she was raped through a hedge backwards.

High Society
CC: You know what? I might feel bad for Tinsley. Cuz she's a monster, but her mom is a WAY WORSE monster, and being as how her mom raised her, it's probably all her mom's fault that she's so monstrous. Oh well! That whole charity event thing was such a fake, fake, FAKE-ASS SETUP, by the way, that I almost couldn't even enjoy it (but still sort of did) (but not really because it was so fake). Oh, and that gym scene with Paul Johnson Calderon and that guy was just excruciating. Jesus. The best was probably all the cutting back and forth between the horrible people as they held forth on why the other horrible people were more horrible than them. Devorah Rose? Really? Remember her from NYC Prep? Christ. How has some eccentric billionaire not shelled out the money to have all of these people murdered for sport yet?
JB: I'm glad I didn't choose this episode to start playing the Topper Drinking Game because she mentioned his name like twelve times in the first three minutes.The Benny Hill chase music was playing in my head during the whole Crazy-Mom-pursues-German-prince debacle. I loved the ridiculous `Sweet Smell Of Success' vibe they tried and failed to create with Devorah Rose's slim pamphlet being so powerful no-one in the Upper East Side sneezes without her knowing about it. Except Tinsley who doesn't return her calls. Our Favorite Racist only had one line but it was a Hall of Famer. About Devorah Rose: "I would swim in vomit rather than sit next to her."

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
JB: I don't want to always be the knee-jerk guy who automatically says the British version of every show adapted for US TV was better. But in this--and every other--case, it's true. The Brit original was one of the best shows I've ever seen. I'll tell you why. Jamie Oliver has Rachael Ray-level ubiquity in the UK. His cooking shows are on all the time. His commercials are on between his shows. His range of boil-in-a bag foods flies off supermarket shelves. His magazine is on the racks next to the check-out lanes. So for him to go into schools and make kids cry by taking away their horrible lunches and make them puke with his tasty salads was a huge risk to an established brand. For him to get into screaming, red-faced, name-calling fights with low-income moms who called him a class traitor who'd turned his back on his own kind and show that on TV was even huger. And then he actually had an effect. Tony Blair bumped up the school lunch budget. Fast food and soft drink companies agreed to stop TV advertising targeted to kids ( which had the effect of ending children's broadcasting on British network TV. Fact!) Beat for beat, the U.S version is the same show. Jamie tangles with crusty lunchladies and elementary students who can't identify a tomato and he cries a lot. It's harder to root for his success this time around. Once again, I'll tell you why. I come--I don't know if I've mentioned this-- from Glasgow aka The Sick Man of Europe aka the Heart Attack Capital of the UK ( Fact!). I'm not saying the locals eat shit( but they would if it was fried!). If some Yank I'd never heard of showed up in my back yard, all teary-eyed and hugging and full of statistics and desperate to curtail my national consumption of grease and lard, I-- and by I, I mean the angry Scottish version of me-- would be a lot less hospitable than the bloated population of Huntington, VA.

Project Runway
CC: I'm gonna fully nerd out and say that I thought the whole idea of designing your own fabric was an AWESOME challenge. Just awesome. They shoulda done that sooner! And also...NOOOO!!!! ANTHONY!!!!! I was already bummed out and then I find this interview in which he says Vivienne Tam looks like Michael Jackson. Which is truth. And gold.
JB:Where do I get that design-your-own-textile- with- your- finger program? If I had such a miraculous device, I would use it like I used Garageband, ie: obsessively for five days and then never again.
CC: Um, were there any actual songs produced during those five days of noodling around on garageband because if so, you may have to post 'em up here as a download. Just sayin'.

Models of the Runway.
CC: NOOOOOO!!!!!!!! CERRI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHY???!!!!! CERRI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was just thinking while watching this episode, "Holy shit, the editor is even more in love with Cerri than I am" because she always gets a lot of screen time every week (because she is FABULOUS) but then was getting even MORE this week, and I was too stupid/hopeful/naive/in love to realize that it was because she was about to get the axe. *sigh* I have NO IDEA why Valeria turned down the DKNY print campaign, by the way. Yeah, yeah, she loves Seth Aaron, I like his stuff too, but come on. DKNY! Print! Turning it down? Them's crazy talk!
JB: What a bitter pill to swallow. I, too fell for the superhero edit. Talking back to Heidi on TV("You're sad. You're uncomfortable") and in person( the dirty tablecloth judgment was `disgusting'). Refusing to look at the judges because she didn't want to be picked out of pity( It wouldn't work out between us. I operate under a different philosophy). And then the guy who shames my first name, who she defended, stabs her in the back and the front. Total bitch move. Fecking fair play to you, lad(it's something the Irish say). I'll miss your voice, your complexion and your disdain. To commemorate the times we shared, I wrote you a little song. Here it is:

Giada At Home
JB: So Giada, if we are to believe her, took a trip with her friend Julie to the isle of Capri. As a memento of the trip, Julie gave Giada the gift of a lemon tree which still stands in her garden. Although, as I keep mentioning, the show is not shot in her actual home so it might have been a stunt tree planted especially for the occasion and then cruelly uprooted. Anyway, the presence of the tree, stunt or not,inspired Giada to cook Julie a lemon-themed lunch. Roasted branzino with lemons. Fried smashed potatoes with lemons. Lemon almond rice pudding. The dynamic between Giada and Julie, when she showed up, was markedly different than the unspoken caste system that exists between Giada and her other friends. They never stopped talking about lemons. Okay, I get that it was a lemon-themed show but the first thing out of Julie's mouth was "I was thinking about our time in Capri and the lemons we ate." And then she gave Giada a present. It was one of her paintings. Of a lemon. And then they talked for a good two minutes about the lemons in Capri and the whole time they're gobbling down Giada's awesome lemon-flavored lunch and staring into each other's eyes. And then Giada abruptly changes the subject and says "How's your sister?" So then small talk for a few seconds and then Giada gets the rice pudding out the fridge and Julie's all excited about the flavor and Giada says "It's lemon!" and Julie dips her spoon in and swallows some pudding. "Mmm lemon heaven," she sighs and Giada, in the exact same tone, echoes "Lemon heaven." Are lemons being used as a code word here? What went on in that trip to Capri?
CC: Giada was on Best Thing I Ever Ate this week too, after a long absence. It was about cold stuff so she talked about these ice cream bars that actually sounded pretty fucking good. They weren't in LA, so I found it more believable. Of course, they *were* in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is another place besides LA that rich white people go, so then it wasn't believable anymore again. Dammit, Giada.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand
CC: A more cerebral episode this time around (shut up, it was!). We still got our dose of awesome violence when Spartacus suddenly slammed a guy's face into a wall-mounted torch, setting off a pretty cool skin-being-singed-off sound, but we cut away from this one sex scene much earlier than you'd expect (before it began, actually) (I mean, blond bitch got naked but then for the first time they had to stop right there cuz she was about to fuck a 15-year-old kid and that's illegal and whatnot). You just know that Steve DeKnight passed (with flying colors!) the Joss Whedon school of "kill everyone the main character cares about" because, well, goodbye, Cabbage Patch Gladiator! We hardly knew ye! Instead, we're stuck with Counting Crows Gladiator and his Counting Crows-ish brother. Blargh. Hate those guys. Cabbage Patch Gladiator literally stabbed HIMSELF to death, by the way, or at least he was the one who started it, in this gloriously awful, horrible, cool, tense, emotional, "there is nothing we can do about this, this shit is BEYOND FUCKED UP" moment, and boy was Spartacus upset at having to finish the job. See? It's not all cocks and tits with this show. Well, Lucy Lawless did yell "Jupiter's cock!" at one point. And she did show her tits. And this one guy got his head popped off with a chain. Also, I'm going to start saying "gratitude" instead of "thank you" from now on if someone gives me a compliment or does me a favor. "Hey, I like your shirt." "Gratitude." Yeah, we'll see how far that gets me in these not-Spartacan times.
JB: It was Cerri all over again. I was fooled by the constant emphasis on the kid becoming a man. I thought they were going for The Trifecta. They cut off a cock, they bludgeoned a blonde bitch's face to pulp. The logical next step: killing a kid. But I should have known by the way they had Spartacus and Cabbage Patch all loved up and romping like puppies. By the way Spartacus kissed him on the head and said `I need only one friend." Didn't see it coming. Good work, show. Let's also note the way this is turning into a bitchfest between Lucy Lawless and the simpering blonde played by Viva Bianca (formerly Viva Skubiszewski. Thanks, IMDB)
CC: And even more gratitude (I'm doing it...I'm serious here) to imdb for the info that Viva Bianca's most recent pre-Spartacus credit is a movie called "Bad Bush."

Vampire Diaries
CC: It's the little things. When Elena's birth mom's friend said, "The kitchen is this way" instead of inviting Elena in, that was a total "YES! SHE KNOWS ABOUT VAMPIRES AND IS TAKING PRECAUTIONS!" moment. Kind of made the whole episode. Also, AWESOME to see Melinda Clarke of The OC/Firefly fame. By the way, I enjoy the fact that on this show, the high school kids all have sex and nobody really makes a big deal of any of it. I mean, on other shows it's always like "oh my god, blah is having sex with blah, let's all flip out" or "let's take things slow" or "are we making a mistake" or "VERY SPECIAL VIRGINITY EPISODE!" and here it's just sort of whatever, yeah, they're having sex, let's go deal with vampires now. It's refreshing. By the way, I would totally watch Damon and Jack Bass in a Charismatic Slimeball-off. Who's with me?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Burning Ambition: Three Strikes!

Yup, still going...

The unexpected combination of the spinning and the flames froze the six men. They continued to stand, staring, as Alison wiggled her fingers in a goodbye gesture and dropped through the hole.
Messing with henchmen, she thought as she fell. Never gets old.

I've been here too long. I've started to hallucinate, thought Heather Harker as the ceiling of her cell seemed to open up and a girl in dark glasses and a thick gold chain fell on top of her.
"It's okay, Treasure. I'm gonna get you out of this," yelled Alison as she plummeted though the hole and hit the bed. Then she got a look at the terrified girl who lumpy bed and body she was lying in top of. The skin was flawless, the features were angelic, the hair tumbled into chestnut curls. All the trademarks of the tiny TV queen. The chic-but quirky ensemble--black lace Forever 21 top, gold Miu Miu skirt, Givenchy wedges-- was something Treasure's stylists would put together or her. But on closer examination--and it was difficult to get much closer than Alison currently was--there was something...missing. A further second ticked by, and then Alison knew what the girl was lacking. Charisma. Whatever the quality was that differentiated celebrities from civilians, this girl didn't possess so much as an ounce of it.

"You're not Treasure Spinney!" said Alison, accusingly.

"That's what I've been trying to tell them," moaned the girl. "I'm her stand-in. I do the stuff she doesn't want to do. Like show up for rehearsals or wave to fans or go to the launch of the Jen
Girl contest. I kept saying `You've made a mistake. I'm not Treasure Spinney. I'm Heather Harker.' But they wouldn't listen. They grabbed me after the Jen Girl rehearsals. They threw me in a van and then they locked me in here."

Alison looked at the tear-stained girl and felt a stab of sympathy. You spend your days standing in the shadow of a star. You're invisible the second she shows up. And then you get abducted by inept Belgians.

"Who are you?" Heather Harker suddenly demanded.

Alison paused. What should she tell the girl? That less than six months ago she was the privileged and popular daughter of a Brentwood attorney? That her best friends were so insecure and jealous of what they perceived as her perfect life that they manipulated her into undergoing experimental cosmetic surgery? That the operation went haywire, turning her into a freak whose fingers burst into flames every time her emotions were aroused? That her fire-starting abilities were ignited by a run-in with the real Treasure Spinney when they fought over a sale item at Barneys? That her stepmother had turned out to be a criminally insane mind-controller who Alison had crushed under a giant ball of frozen poo? That she led a double existence as beloved Beverly Hills High School student by day and superhero Hottie by night( or, technically, by late afternoon to early evening because she still had homework and a social life)?

There wasn't time to tell her any of that, and, besides, Heather looked so freaked out, Alison doubted she could comprehend any of it. So she said, "I'm an angel."

Heather's eyes widened. Her mouth went slack.

Alison pointed up at the hole in the ceiling. "I knew you were in need. So I came to help you. That's what we do." I hope she's buying this, thought Alison. The dazed look on Heather's face indicated that she needed to attribute the bizarre things that were happening to something. It might as well be divine intervention.

"If I'm going to get us out of here, I need you to do one thing for me," Alison went on.

"Anything," breathed Heather, who had made the instant leap from sniveling stand-in to full-on believer in all things miraculous.

"I need you to close your eyes and pray. And don't open them until something miraculous happens."

Heather didn't need telling twice. She rolled of the bed, nudged the tin plate containing a half-eaten Belgian waffle to one side, squeezed her eyes shut, pushed her palms together and began moving her lips in silent prayer. Alison looked at the girl and experienced brief but bitter pangs of disappointment that it wasn't the real Treasure Spinney on her knees praying for salvation. Then she snapped out of it. She was a superhero who fought for the unprotected and the oppressed and, clearly, few people were more oppressed than Treasure Spinney's stand-in.

more tomorrow...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Burning Ambition Day 2: Even Sequeler!

Chapter One continues...

After a moment of enigmatic silence, Alison looked up from the pages of Jen.
"A good magazine is like a good friend," she said, as if addressing a group of acquaintances. "You look forward to hanging out with her very month. You can't wait to find out what she's wearing, see what she's done with her hair and catch up with all the latest gossip."
The circle of brutal henchmen regarded Alison with confusion. They were a pretty fearsome bunch of hombres, but she didn't seem the slightest bit scared. Even more bizarrely, she seemed to assume they would be interested in listening to her babble about her magazine.

"But that makes her sound superficial and there's so much more to her than that," Alison continued. "She's the kind of friend who wants to see you shine. And she really wants you to have every opportunity to be as awesome as she is." To illustrate the point, Alison brandished the cover of Jen. Treasure Spinney, beloved star of the long-running TV drama Signal Hill, smiled her dazzling multimillion-dollar smile and pointed a finger directly at the readers of America. The headline asked, "Are You America's No.1 Jen Girl?"

"Every year we choose from a pool of smart, talented girls to come and intern for us," recited Alison from memory. "But this year, we're holding an extra-special place for an extra-special girl. This year, we're looking for the reader who sums up everything Jen is about. Send us an essay or a video that lets us see exactly why you're America's No.1 Jen girl and you can spend the spring interning at Jen!"

Alison stared at the henchmen, willing them to share her excitement. "Come on! Working for Jen? Total dream job!"

They remained mute and scowling with no more life to them than the rusted metal girders that framed the empty, dust-filled warehouse. She would't accept their lack of response.
"You're telling me you don't think that new editor's a genius? She's fifteen, for God's sake! Okay, when I heard the editor's daughter was taking charge, I was septical."
A couple of the brutal henchmen swapped baffled glances. Did the babbling girl mean skeptical? Was she deliberately mangling the language?

Alison continued, her enthusiasm growing. "But she's totally turned Jen around. I'm obsessed with the What's Hot & What's Not List. It's always so right on about what's in and what's out. The minute she's done with a celeb or a trend-bang: career ovah! It's the first thing I turn to every month. Don't tell me you don't do the same when the new issue of Henchman Monthly comes out!"

Alison glanced around the warehouse. For the first time, the visible portion of her face appeared to show signs of consternation. "Oh, no!" she gasped. "I'm not the first one here, am I?" Her voice grew shrill. "Tell me I didn't show up to the entire wrong place? Tell me this is where they're holding the America's No.1 Jen Girl launch party?"

The henchmen began to grin at her distress. Little girl lost.
As rapidly as she seemed to fall apart, Alison began to brighten. "I'm so stupid. The party's
downstairs. Where you're holding Treasure Spinney hostage."

With that, she pointed both of her Chanel Vendetta-tipped index fingers at the ground and began to spin in a graceful pirouette. As she whirled, flames shot out of her fingers and quickly burned a hole in the ground.

More to come...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hottie Sequel Sneak Preview!

Burning Ambition aka the long-awaited sequel to Hottie is lurking right around the corner. It streets, as they say, April 1. But you don't have to wait for a tasty preview. Over the next few days, Chapter One--intriguingly titled "The Legendary Adventures Of The Department Of Hotness"-- will be served up in bite-size chunks. Here's the first part:

The kingpin of the Belgian crime syndicate patted his luxurious thatch of midnight-black hair into place and leaned close to the video monitor, ready to be several hundred million dollars richer. He expected to see quaking, tearful representatives of his hostage's family carrying briefcases stuffed with bills, desperate to make the exchange and end their nightmare. Instead he saw...a girl. A girl who didn't seem to be much older than fifteen. Wearing a red leather jacket, a short black cocktail dress, huge black sunglasses and what looked like a thick gold chain that hung down to her waist and ended in a big burning H.

The girl looked straight up at the closed-circuit camera. She wagged a scolding finger at the lens. For a second it seemed to the Belgian crime boss that flames had erupted from the girl's fingers and engulfed the camera. And then the image vanished, and the monitor was awash with static. The crime boss had no clue who the girl was or what had just happened. But he knew one thing. An intruder had breached his lair. The smooth running of the hostage handover was in jeopardy. He picked up his phone and said, "Get her."

Alison Cole stood in the middle of the abandoned warehouse deep in the San Fernando Valley and awaited her welcoming committee. In the months since she'd actively engaged in superhero duty, she'd come to relish the seconds of solitude before the fray. They allowed her time to focus, gather her inner strength and catch up with her magazine consumption. In this instance, she was engrossed in the glossy pages of Jen, a monthly mixture of fashion, celebrity and real-life problems Alison had avidly lapped up since she was a pre-teen.

The thunder of boots on creaking floorboards ended her alone time with Jen. In they charged, standard-issue henchmen, nothing she hadn't seen before. Six of them. Big. bald guys, tree-trunk forearms, colossal chests, the usual tattoos. Except for one glowering dude, who had a map of Belgium inked across his WHOLE FACE( unless it was an unfortunate birthmark, in which case Alison knew the perfect dermatologist who could clear him right up...)

The hulking underlings surrounded her, moving ever closer in a tightening circle. Close enough for the, to see their huge hairless domes reflected in her dark glasses.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

TV Club Extra: Don't Slap Her, She's French!

American Idol
JB: You can accuse the French of many things but, up to now, being better at producing TV talent shows than America was not one of them. I have, in the past, seen some French TV. Lots of infuriated philosophers wearing tweed jackets with patched elbows arguing in smoke-wreathed libraries. And puppets. Smoking puppets. I don't know that the French have radically improved but I do know that after last night's American Idol, we--and by we, I mean, everyone with a drive-on pass to the CBS studio between Fairfax and Beverly where American Idol is shot--need to re-apply for our jobs. Because last night's show...that wasn't karaoke. Karaoke can be fun. That was just...nobody knew what they were talking about. Nobody knew what they were singing about. It left me numb. NumbER.

But this morning, I was deep in the exhaustive research process that comes with the birth of a new novel. Which is how I came to be looking at YouTube clips of last year's Nouvelle Star aka French American Idol. And, specifically,sixteen year-old petite mademoiselle Camelia Jordana who didn't win but, from what I'm able understand, was the season's breakout star.

Obviously, I'm still reeling from last night's bottomless bucket of heinousness, but this girl... okay, she's no Bowersox. She's not reeking with authenticity and patchouli. She doesn't look like you could catch anything off her(except cuteness!). I'm not going to overstate the case but she's got the right amount of quirky and she knows what songs work for her. And you could imagine her as a pop star. A French pop star which, okay, contradiction in terms, but that still makes her more of a pop star than anyone who participated in last night's national disgrace.

Here's some clips of the jeune fille in question. First, `Killing Me Softly':

Second, something plucked from the Carla Bruni catalog:

That Moldy Peaches song from Juno:

The Lily Allen arrangement of Womanizer:

And last and maybe best, a duet with the unwashed snaggletoothed dissident poet who actually won the show. Lou Reed's `Walk On The Wild Side'. Lyrics unaltered.

If you can even be bothered making your way through these, you may well end up shrugging your shoulders and muttering a Gallic `Eh'. But we don't even have `Eh'. At this point, we're a drowning nation flailing around in desperate need of `Eh'.


Monday, March 22, 2010

TV Club: The Fabric Of Our Lives

Enjoy the good clean fun here. Object to the sophomoric obsession with cocks and cleavage at

High Society
JB: Rihanna joins Tinsley's ex Topper in refusing to allow her face to appear in this powerful show. Too bad for them. They missed the chance to appear during a week when The Lovely Jules slummed it downtown with the unwashed and the unemployed then went ballistic on her housekeeper for failing to display her monogrammed pillows right side up. Heartbroken Tinsley went out on her first date since the tragic split. She must've really liked the dude because she made out with him for something like thirty seconds. She also held her self-designed bag up to the cameras for the duration of the snog. Wait, what about the German prince she was supposed to be dating? She hooked up with him in Paris where something momentous happened. A participant in a reality show actually acknowledged he was in a reality show. Or did he? His big meltdown over the stupid lines he was supposed to say and the artificiality of the situation and the intrusiveness of the camera crew seemed completely scripted. Which just shows that this show is working on levels we can't even begin to comprehend.
CC: Tinsley's mom is BATSHIT CRAZY and a TERRIBLE PERSON, which I love. I mean, pulling out that wedding photo at Tinsley's "congrats on your awesome new single life and we're all bringing pictures of new boys for you to date" party? Then she goes and looks in a CARD CATALOG AT THE LIBRARY to find information on Tinsley's german prince and his family? Who the fuck does that, and what the fuck did she find that was so dramatic? Nazis? It had to be Nazis, right? Isn't Tinsley's mom the kind of person who would LIKE Nazis? By the way, if Tinsley has a boyfriend, and it's this german prince, why are her friends throwing her "congrats on your awesome new single life and we're all bringing pictures of new boys for you to date" parties, and why is she going on dates with shady NYC club guys? Of course, German Prince is clearly a terrible person as well (LOVED the flipout). Also, there was this total emphasized moment in the beginning of the show where Tinsley is going on and on about how she hates flats. Always wears heels. Loves heels. Hates flats. CUT TO HER WALKING THE STREETS OF PARIS WHILE WEARING FLATS. Everyone associated with this show should be killed and given a huge raise.

Sober House
JB: Debauched pageant queen Kari Ann Peniche devolved into the human embodiment of hate in this episode. Her vocabulary contracted until only the words `Fuck you' and `I want juice' remained. She also punched a cameraman in the face... well, in the camera, which then hit him in the face. She was less gracious than usual because of her fears that MIndy McCready, her Celeb Rehab castmate who had now become The Houseguest Who Refuses To Leave, was going through her hard drive and finding out all her terrible secrets. For the first time on any of these shows, she was right about something. Mindy McCready found footage of Kari Ann enjoying a fun threesome with one of the doctors from Greys Anatomy and his wife, Rebecca Gayheart( who, lest we forget, KILLED SOMEONE). That was just the first ten minutes. The remainder of the episode dealt with the cast being made to reconnect with the world by doing volunteer work. Okay, Tom Sizemore.... In the course of these shows, Tom Sizemore's been called a liar, a bad friend and a loser. Heidi Fleiss told him he turns women gay. And he took it. He sat there and nodded. When the notion of him working for a day came up, HE WENT BALLISTIC. He was all, "I'm not going to be humiliated like this!" Finally--this was one packed hour!-- the cracked-out singer of Crazy Town begged Dr. Drew for a last chance at recovery. He was like, "Things are going well with the music thing. I really wanna change." Drew was like, `In my mind, I've already buried you'. But the guy's sincerity won the doc over. Now I'm no board-certified addiction counselor but I spotted a weak link--what gamblers call `a tell'-- in the guy's promise to turn over a new leaf. Did you spot it? "Things are going well with the music thing." Crazy Town's last-- and, I think, only-- hit was ten years ago. That song `Butterfly'?. As long as this dude keeps telling himself things are going well with the music thing, he's always going to have a bed in one of Dr. Drew's facilities.

America's Next Top Model
JB: I really enjoyed The September Issue. It demystified Anna Wintour and made her somewhat sort of close to likeable. It turned Grace Coddington into an unsung hero and, in the little screen time it gave him, showed Andre Leon Talley as the office joke. (Although, to be fair, anyone making a documentary about Spin magazine in the early 90s would have depicted me the same way.) (Although, to be even fairer, it would also have done the same to everyone else who worked there.)(Including the owner. )(ESPECIALLY the owner.) He's so irreplaceable that when Tyra tapped Talley to take over the fashion insider position on ANTM( or The Death Chair, as it's come to be known), Anna Wintour was happy to let him take off all the time he needed. First impression: he looks like a Muppet. Specifically, Sam the American Eagle. But, credit where its due, unlike his predecessors, he gets what the show's about. Tyra doesn't want Paulina Porizkova wondering when the real models are showing up, she wants her dopey followers to believe they have a chance to become her. For the chance of appearing on TV, Andre Leon Talley is pouring praise on girls he would shove out of the way if he saw them on the street.The other side of the street. He would cross the road solely for the purposes of shoving them. And then he would cross back.
CC: OK, my fave so far is Jessica. She's just so cute. Please note that I generally fastforward through all the dramz-in-the-house stuff, so for all I know she's a raving bitch to the other contestants, but I think she's very pretty and has that ridiculous super-skinny runway body. And you know...she did NOT fall down the stairs and then SCREAM while getting HIT OFF THE RUNWAY BY A GIANT PENDULUM, tearing both her dress and her own epidermis in the process. Nope. That was not Jessica who did that.
JB: Bad week for edgy chicks. The bottom two pitted Karen O against Sinead O'Connor. Shame we lost the bald cult escapee because she had an in-house scene where she was like "My husband's black. I don't wear a ring. I've posed for Playboy.You didn't see it. It was a special issue. I walk in runway shows all the time.Famous ones you've never heard of. I'm seven foot eight inches. And twenty three pounds. And i can fly. I was flying just then. You didn't notice. You missed it again." I'm exaggerating. But not by much.

Jessica Simpson's Stupid New Show
JB: Sexual Napalm goes to Bangkok on a quest to find the local definition of beauty. Which can mean only one thing. Ladyboys! But no. Jessica treats us like we were Nick Lachey, ie: she won't even grant us that one small pleasure. This is all about Jessica being Mother Teresa to all the unenlightened skin-bleachers and foot-binders in weird little parts of the world where they've hardly even heard of her. She's not alone, either. Her two best friends in the world aka her assistant and her hair guy aka her FREMPLOYEES(tm me) are along for the ride. What must their lives be like? Do you think they ever get to utter a sentence that doesn't have `Jessica thinks...' or `Jessica wants...' in it? That's a show I'd watch.

Kirstie Alley's Stupid New Show
JB: She can't lose it. She keeps trying but she's stuck with it. Kirstie Alley can't get rid of her horrible personality.

Pretty Wild
JB:Is this a parody? Is this like a Spinal Kardashians? It's on E! so probably no. But it's produced by Chelsea Handler, so maybe. But everything she does outside of her talk show is deadly unfunny, so probably not. Ambitious former lingerie model mom spoon-feeds her three super-whorey daughters Adderall and home-schools them in the teachings of the movie `The Secret'( yes, the movie. She skipped the book). Episode one: the LAPD shows up at the house. One of the girls is implicated as being part of the gang who target celeb homes. That's right: she's a Skankrobber(tm: me) accused of breaking into Orlando Bloom's palace. The accused sister gets hauled off to jail. Another sister voiceovers: "The media went crazy. They wouldn't leave us alone'. As she's saying this there are, I swear, three photographers hanging around. Next week: the jailbird meets her lawyer and goes on a date with Ryan Cabrera. I still don't know if this show is a joke.

Spartacus: Blood And Sand
JB: "Tits, arse and cunt all appear to be without disease or deformities". So why did the Thracian spurn the slave sent to get him back in the saddle before he serviced who he thought was the high-born Roman mean girl but was actually the snobby Tinsley Mortimer figure who was set up by Lucy Lawless? Because of all the naked slave girls in all of Rome, he was sent the only one with fake boobs.
CC: Okay, so, after the ridonkulousness of the last episode, I was watching this one going, "Not bad, not great, of course they have to come down the week after a guy gets his dick lopped off, it's only natural..." and then suddenly the blond chick fucking KILLS THE OTHER BLOND CHICK WITH HER BARE HANDS! OH MY GOD!!!!! I thought they couldn't top the penis-hacking, and THEN THEY DID! The other chick was laughing at her in total bitchlike manner, and blond chick looked quite upset, so you *thought* she was just gonna run out of the room in tears or maybe start a catfight (I almost yelled "Catfight!") but THEN?! There was no fight. None whatsoever. Because blond chick just got up, grabbed other blond chick, and then SMASHED HER SKULL REPEATEDLY INTO THE EDGE OF THE MARBLE STEP. Repeatedly. Smashed. Skull. Face-down. It all happened within seconds, it was over before you knew it, there was blood EVERYWHERE, and it was FUCKING AWESOME (mangled eyeball shot!). And Lucy Lawless fucking orchestrated the whole thing, because she is every bit the twisted, evil genius that her husband is on this show. Seriously. I would like to pit them against Coach and Mrs. Coach in some sort of Thunderdome two-couples-enter, one-couple-leaves deathmatch business, because, I mean...I mean, Coach and Mrs. Coach would be dead in seconds, actually, so this is not a good idea at all. My point is, I thought last week was the best episode ever, and overall it still kind of was, but this week's best moment totally SERVED last week's best moment, bigtime. Don't have a room with multi-leveled marble floors in your house! Blond bitches will lose their shit and repeatedly smash other blond bitches' faces into the step edges! Oh, and 30 seconds before that, Spartacus was trying to kill the blond bitch who killed the other blond bitch, and 30 seconds before THAT, he was fucking her with his dick that had possibly been painted gold like the rest of him, it was hard to tell with the lighting. And they were wearing scary masks.
JB: Also, another week where John Hannah's entire role consists of shouting "FUCK!"

Gossip Girl
CC: I wanted to see why Laura Harring sounds so weird, so I imdbed her, and discovered the following facts that may or may not explain it: she went to boarding school in Switzerland and she was shot in the head at age 12. Unrelated, Blake Lively's boobs were ridiculous in that gray shirt. I may have to start a Blake Lively boob-o-meter for this show, but I fear every week will be a 10.
JB: It's a sad indication of where I am in life that eww-food-sex-gross-that'll-leave-stains took precedence over holy-shit-that's-a-resplendent-display-of-boobage-right-there.

Models of the Runway
CC: Cerri could not be more in love with Holly but guess what? I COULD NOT BE MORE IN LOVE WITH CERRI. I'll fight you for her, JB. I swear. I'll do it.
JB: That accent+ not giving a shit= awesome. Simple as.

Amazing Race
CC: Yeah, yeah, the show, whatever. No. What's more important, is that I got up super early this morning to cheer on some people running the LA marathon, and for those of you who've never done this, as you're waiting for your friends to run by, it's fun to also clap and yell encouragement to everyone else as well, which is made easier because some people write their names on their bibs. So you're just yelling and hollering "Good job, Steve!" to some total random dude as he goes by, and it generally helps pump everyone up, and blah blah "I'm running 26 miles!" blah, but anyway at one point we're like "Yeah, Victor!" cuz the bib said "Victor" and suddenly we realize: IT'S VICTOR FROM AMAZING RACE. Totally unexpected. Totally awesome. He smiled at us and seemed to be in good spirits and he ended up finishing in 4 hours, which is great. Apparently Shia LaBeouf also ran by, though we didn't know it at the time, and now I'm annoyed cuz I just looked up the picture and his bib said "ssl" and I TOTALLY REMEMBER SEEING HIM and figuring that he was a computer guy or something, but no, SSL are his initials, not some geeky shout-out. *sigh* I also enjoyed cheering on the guy who wrote his name as "On a boat!" Okay yeah, but Amazing Race tonight, it was pretty sweet watching those champagne glasses fall.
JB: Seriously, fuck the LA Marathon. I forget about it every year and every year I can't get across Fairfax.

Monday, March 15, 2010

This Tv Club's Work Is Never Done

Between us we have thirteen syllables and two opinions. Agree with the one expressed here or take violent exception to the one at

Gossip Girl
JB:This week,Taylor Momsen got into a screaming fight with her ecstasy
dealer. In completely unrelated news, Gossip Girl finally returned to
our screens and it looks like Serena's getting some
girl-on-girl-action. The new lady in her life has messy bangs, flushed
cheeks's Nate. Oops.
CC: "Everyone needs to play games." I completely do not subscribe to
this theory. However, since Blair Waldorf tells me I should subscribe
to this theory, I may have to start subscribing to this theory.

High Society
CC: Okay, so, this is the best new show ever. I had never heard of
any of these people except for Tinsley Mortimer, but boy oh boy, if
this is the future of the kids on NYC Prep, everyone should be scared.
These people are trash. Trash! They are very rich society trash.
It is HILARIOUS. This guy asks his mom for $50K and they intercut her
explaining that he's gone to rehab and only drinks one drink a night
and he's really turned his life around with shots of him drinking
copiously at a club and making out with some random, and then he's
psyched when she gives him $25K instead (wow, tough love, mom) and he
throws some party and then throws his drink at this girl (who earlier
said that she doesn't like to be friends with fat people or jews or
black people and thinks using the N word is okay...I
realize you're on camera, right?) but she turned at the last minute
and it hit some other girl in the eye and the girl fucking FLIPS OUT,
like, vocally, the screams were just sooo incredibly shrill, it was was just great. It was a crazy joy to watch this. These
fucking people! Oh my god! It's INSANE! These people pretend to
have cancer and burn down their own summer houses! That's what they
do! Long live Tinsley Mortimer and her ridiculous friends!
JB: And you didn't even mention Malik So Chic. We have reached a new
level of vileness. This isn't a reality show, it's a hate crime.

Craig Ferguson
CC: As promised, I watched an episode so we could talk Glaswegians.
Well, I'm watching it right now, at any rate. 33 minutes in and still
no guests. Is this what usually happens? I dunno. So far he's
mostly talked about bailing on the dentist and then he answered some
twitter questions and fondled a sparkly green stuffed chameleon, which
I want, because SPARKLY. Okay, I'm finished watching now. He talked
to Lisa Kudrow and the kid from Aliens in America. It seemed fine.
*shrug* Over to you, JB!
JB: If I stopped a random stranger on the rain-soaked streets of
Glasgow right this minute and told them Craig Ferguson had been run
over by a bus, you would see an outbreak of wild dancing. Champagne
corks would pop and mortal enemies would embrace. Craig Ferguson is
the EMBODIMENT of the successful local guy loathed by his countrymen.
And, in this case, the embittered attitude is not unwarranted. He
first attracted attention as the drummer in a much-derided local band.
He transitioned into shouty stand-up comedy under the name Bing
Hitler. This lead to a successful career as a starlet-banging, coke-
snorting, falling-down drunk tabloid fixture. I was dipping a toe
in the lucrative Scottish comedy market around this time and I had a
meeting with him about a sitcom idea. It was like a scene out of
Scarface. Minus the yayo and the guns but with the paranoia and the
delusion and the indecipherable accents. So you can imagine it pains
me-- and, by extension, every Glaswegian of my generation-- to report
that I think he's turned into a decent talk show host. Now, I don't
keep your vampiric hours. I see the odd YouTube clip and I DVR'd the
episode where it was just him and Stephen Fry quoting Wordsworth to
each other for an hour. But I didn't hate him. Which makes me feel a
little dirty. To cleanse myself, here's some contemporary Glaswegian
sketch comedy! (Try to overlook the accents--they don't speak with the
good like what I do-- and watch all the way through. This is legit
CC: Never in my wildest dreams did I think this, our latest endeavor
in Glaswegian-on-Glaswegian action, would yield the fruits that have
just fallen delightfully from the tree. Bernstein and Ferguson,
sharing the same rarefied Scottish air, in a meeting of professional
Scottish comedy minds? I love everything about this picture. That
youtube, by the way, was the Spartacus of Glaswegian sketch, by which
I mean, yay, fake blood! Huge fail at overlooking the accents,
though...I literally could not understand what anyone was saying till
they got to the talk show part.

American Idol
JB: On this installment of Showtime's Emmy-winning United States of
Kara, our troubled heroine took on the persona of Sobbing Barren
Woman. I know Big Mike was stomping over Maxwell's version of This
Woman's Work but I have to say: Kate Bush- untapped talent-show
source. Wuthering Heights, The Man With The Child In His Eyes, Running
Up That Hill, Hounds Of Love: potential show-stoppers. Otherwise, a
bad week for me and my worthless opinions. My previous picks, The
Epperley and the Nervous Mullet? Both annihilated pre-Top 12. Mark my
word, though: Bowersox has Shock Early Exit written all over her.

Celebrity Fit Club
JB:This week, Bobby Brown shat himself. That is all.

Project Runway
CC: THAT'S what Roland Mouret looks like? Okay. I mean, I didn't
really have a mental picture of him before, but my lack of mental
picture of him didn't look like that. LOVED that peaches & cream
dress on Cerri. HATED the bowl of hair. I was a bowl of
hair. Like, if while you're talking about your design, your
explanation of it is a bowl of hair, maybe that's the point where you
rethink it, because it is a bowl of hair. Hair in a bowl. A bowl
full of hair. Bowl hair. Hairbowl. No thank you.
JB: Weave cleavage. Weavage! Yes, that dress and that
never-seen-the-sun Irish skin. Nice. Ruined only by the designer
simpering about it being `inspired by laughter'.

America's Next Top Model
JB:Hey Naduah, interesting story about being raised in a weird cult
where they erase your personality and force you to debase yourself at
the feet of a self-appointed religious leader. Guess what, YOU'RE
STILL THERE! I try to zoom through ANTM premieres to miss
Tyra's-surprise-entrance-makes-the-rookies-screech and-pee bit so I
don't have to gouge my eyes out. But I wasn't fast enough to skip my
other gripe with this show.Tyra and flunkeys whittle down applicants.
They get to a girl with a science background and they're all "I don't
know if she's passionate about modeling. I don't know if she wants it
with every ounce of her being." I'm paraphrasing. But not really. You
know who else isn't passionate about modeling? Most models! They drift
into it or they're scouted or they're drugged and abducted. And none
of them ever say anything's fierce. Well, Cerri doesn't. Although with
that accent she could.

Sober House
JB: It never ends. In the last episode of Celebrity Rehab which was
ONE WEEK AGO, everyone gathered in a chapel and talked openly and
honestly about the progress they'd made. Tom Sizemore was going to put
down the crack pipe. Heidi Fleiss was going to treat her depression.
Dennis Rodman was going to stop denying he had a problem. Kari Ann
Peniche wasn't going to be even more heinous than that fake-cancer
bitch from High Society. Now they'e all back for Sober House
and....Sizemore actually has a crack pipe in his overnight bag. Heidi
Fleiss looks like she's living in her own Weekend At Bernie's.
Rodman's fully back in `I ain't got a problem, it's everyone else
that's got a problem." mode. And this Kari Ann Peniche shows up
pretty much wearing a dress made out of crystal meth, bursts into
tears, barricades herself in her room, calls the sober house den
mother a fat bitch, quits the show then comes back and cries some

Giada At Home
JB: A taste of Italy. Bruschetta with shrimp tarragon and arugula.
Pasta alla forniora. Stracciatella Semifreddo. Which gave Giada a
chance to over-prounicate everything like she loves to do.
STRACCCHHHHEEEEEATAYYYYYLLLAA. ( The Food Network gave her a travel
show a while back. I saw an episode where she went to London and
totally mis-pronounced every name. "There's the BuckingHAHM Palace.")

Spartacus: Blood and Sand
CC: Holy. Shit. Well. I'd never seen a blood-spurting CGI dick
stump before. And now I have. What's that old saying? Never show a
gun in act 1 unless it's gonna go off in act 3, something like that?
Well, they did that here. Except the gun was this guy's giant horse
cock (their words not mine). And instead of going off, it GOT CUT
OFF. Like, this guy tried to kill Spartacus (not in the ring, they
were off-duty), and come on, you can't do that, man. You're gonna get
in trouble. So they crucify him, and you're like oh man, sucks, he's
HIS DICK. Needless to say, this is the best show in the history of
television. Don't fuck with Spartacus! Don't do it! The gods are on
his side and the only thing you're gonna get is nails in your wrists
and a lack of penis in the space where your penis should be! Oh, also
there were lots of awesome subplots, and some pretty dresses on Lucy
Lawless's bitch friend's bitch friends, but come on, like I'm really
gonna talk about that when somebody got decockitated. Shut up. As if
we were leaving here without some fancy word for what happened. A GUY
JB: You took the decockitation right out of my mouth! ( I could
probably have said that better). Amazing in an episode where a
horse-cock got lopped off that I have still have A) sight in my eyes
and B) the ability to remember Spartacus standing up for the sanctity
of his bubble-headed blonde friend's marriage, Crixus saving Spartacus
from the H-C Gaul and then banging the shit out of Lucy Lawless on the
advice of his slave girl for whom he'd previously banged her with a
dry, distracted cock. Also, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the
second series is on hold while Andy Whitfield who plays Spartacus is
treated for non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Pull through and get back in the
arena, you Thracian bastard!

America's Best Dance Crew
JB: LOL @ Poreotix executing a bench press with their scrawny mathlete
arms. Admirable restraint on whoever made the decision not to cut to a
Gabourey Sidibe reaction during Heavy Impact.
CC: Dammit. I knew I forgot something-- I scanned through this so
fast and so bored-ly (seriously...I hate disco on SYTYCD and I hate it
even more here) that I totally forgot Gabby Sidibe was gonna be in the
audience. Did everyone see her on Kimmel or whatever it was, when she
was talking about how she photobombed Jake Gyllenhaal on the red
carpet? That was awesome.

Amazing Race
CC: I was somehow a) thoroughly entertained during this episode and
b) perfectly satisfied at who got booted and yet c) can think of
absolutely nothing to say about it and therefore d) this was boring.

Celebrity Apprentice
JB: So the gimmick version of the show becomes the actual show? It's like if someone saw the puppet episode of Angel and decided "We'll do the whole thing with puppets from now on!" ( Cut to... CC: I would totally watch that motherfucking show. Puppets=good times. Squee! etc) All the stuff that worked on the O.G Apprentice is missing here. First, THERE IS NO APPRENTICE! Nobody wins a job. They're not forced to live together. All that's required of them is to hit up wealthy associates for donations( which, okay, is pretty embarrassing for Sinbad and Rod Blagojevich) Trump goes easy on them in the boardroom. Team Captain Cyndi Lauper wouldn't even nominate teammates to be fired. AND IT"S TWO HOURS! I quit!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Author! Author!

I'm not one to blow my own trumpet. I don't even own a trumpet and if I had one I wouldn't know how to play it. At best, I could probably force something that sounded like the death throes of a severely constipated goose out of it. And that would get boring after the first twenty minutes.

My point being, I'm writing a new book. Even newer than BURNING AMBITION, which is STILL coming out first week of April (and I'm STILL offering free copies in case you thought I was joking first time). It's called CONNIE which, I realize, sounds a lot like Hottie. No superpowers this time, though. Connie is the touching and heartfelt story of a 13 year-old girl and her father who leave the big city to make a fresh start in a small own. Mmm. That doesn't sound too exciting. How about this: Connie is the story of a 13 year-old con artist and her criminal mastermind father who attempt to go straight and leave the scam game behind. So they relocate to the most corrupt small town in America! Better? Thought so.

Connie will published by Chronicle some time next year. Feel free to mentally pre-order it now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cornwallis Part One 2: The Sequel To The Last Part!

As promised. By popular demand. None of these things. The conclusion of the home-made comedy pilot that proves you shouldn't follow through on every idea you have.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.

Long story short. Or short-ish. It's already too long. Back when I harbored faint ambitions to work on TV as opposed to now when I'm just grateful I can still afford to own a TV, myself and my weatherbeaten comedy mucker, James Greer, attempted to buy the rights to a British TV show.

It was called Directors Commentary and, as the title suggests, was a vehicle for the talented Welsh comedy actor Rob Brydon ( maybe you know him from Gavin And Stacey) to babble and free-associate over ancient footage in the manner of a decrepit Brit Tv director.

We liked it so much we got in touch with the show's producer who was so amazed that there was any kind of interest-- the series had vanished without trace( or, as it's now referred to `done a Hottie') in the UK-- that he gave us the go-ahead to do what we wanted with the concept even before we'd finished saying Hello.

Our entertainment industry representatives had, variously, `no idea' what directors' commentaries were or `had seen thousands of parodies that are better than anything you could ever do'.

Undaunted, we made our own version of what our show might look like. And then immediately forgot about it. Until today. When Jim put it up on his Oscar fashion blog

If he's not embarrassed, neither am I. Well I am, a bit. Here's the embittered original director of The Thorn Birds reminiscing about what might have been(part 1. Part 2 to follow)(not sure why the picture is so squashed. But it's not like you're missing anything):

Monday, March 8, 2010

We Accept This Award On Behalf Of All The Tv Clubs In The World. Follow Your Dreams And Believe In Yourselves.

Lap it up here or scrutinize it for hidden Satanic references at

Project Runway
CC: Aw, and we thought we had seen the last of the asstravaganzas! But Ping Woo's legacy lives on in Emilio's crazy hot-pink-string-and-washer-what-the-fuck-WAS-that-thing number! That poor model. Well, she wasn't showing anything she wouldn't be showing were she lucky enough to land the Victoria's Secret runway show, but still.
JB: Foxy underdog Maya Luz was totally pitching her services to the Haus of Gaga with that big-collar wire jacket and necklace of keys.

Models of the Runway
CC: Eyes Without a Face has an aggressive tooth gap! Eyes Without a Face is Teeth With Extra Space! I love it! I love even more the girl who said about her, "It's not that I don't like her, it's just that I just think she could just act different." Yep. And with that...good riddance! I'd also like to point out that one of the models was describing how it was kind of a bummer missing out on high school stuff cuz she started modeling at 13, on account of her "weird, lanky body." It actually sounded pretty sincere, at least not the usual "wow, I am so cursed to be so tall and thin and pretty" thing. I also enjoy the concept of the journeyman model who's just been working away for years and years and isn't famous or anything, it's just her regular job.
JB: "My strategies! My brilliant strategies!" Satisfying comeuppance for EWAF but annoying that we have to rely on the bonus show for our fireworks because the main event is cast with level-headed professionals who like and respect each other.

American Idol
JB: It only took her a season and a half but DioGuardi finally realized she's on a TV show. Self-identifying as a cougar, oozing all over Cowell, berating a contestant for misinterpreting one of her songs, even fleetingly making sense. She wasn't the only one. This was the week the zygotes evolved into embryonic states. Bore-Sox is the anointed one. Nervous Mullett gets the surrogate son vote. And I think I'm in the tank for Katelyn Epperley.

CC: Nope. Okay, I admit I was sort of impressed by the jump rope crew this week. But overall? Nope.
JB: We look at this show through different eyes. You look at it and see no Quest and no Jabbawokeez. I look at it and see how much better it works than Idol. And I have to say, if they spin a Lil Mama reality show out of this, it wouldn't be the worst idea I've ever heard.

The Fucking Marriage Ref
JB: Okay, not to be all Joe TV here but I have some insider knowledge I acquired using a super-secretive device called `The Inter-Net'. Seems Seinfeld and his good lady wife were bickering in front of an embarrassed third party who, understandably tried to scurry away. Mrs. Seinfeld insisted the third wheel cast the verdict as to who was in the right and then she declared `This is a show!'. And it is. It's a shit show. It's a show that say, Chelsea Handler( who I'm going to say I find funny even though I know that people who work in comedy think she's a hack and an opportunist. Maybe that's what I find funny) and her coterie of mediocre third-rate road comics, would fit perfectly. But you're asking me to buy that Jerry Seinfeld thinks this is funny? That Larry David, that Tina Fey, that Ricky Gervais, that Sarah Silverman, that Madonna...okay, Madonna has no sense of humor, she probably believes it's a riot because she's on it. Yes, that is correct: I am saying that this show would be better if it was filled with people who have next to no talent rather than people with too much talent.

Best Thing I Ever Ate: Guilty Pleasures
CC: Duff talked about a pie that looked awesome. Until they explained how they made it, which is to crumble up all these cookies that are already pre-baked and throw them in there with chess filling. They didn't explain whether they made the cookies or if they just bought them somewhere, so it sort of seems like cheating. However, the pie looked fucking great. The bread pudding with canned fruit cocktail in it, I remain thoroughly unconvinced. No Giada this week, by the way, just that lady with the really big eyes. Sorry, food network, but I'm thinking to most people, huge boobs > huge eyes.

Giada At Home
JB: Speaking of huge boobs. Another playdate. This week, Giada's sister Louisa brought her son Julian to splash around in the pool with the never-shy Jade. Peach and strawberry crumble( which I'm totally making, even though there's flour involved which is my granulated Achilles heel). Penne with almond sauce. Orange ice tea. And the big news: Giada's sister is her DOUBLE! Not sure if they're actual twins but you know how the great American clown Gallagher hired his brother to be Gallagher 2 and do the exact same act so he could make twice as much money? Giada could do that! Or Louisa could frame Giada for shoplifting if she harbored a deep-seated hatred and resentment of her, which she doesn't seem to. Or they could mess with Todd in freakish ways...

Spartacus: Blood and Sand
CC: Hey, what's Spartacus's real name? Have they ever said it? They haven't, right? I hope his real name is Jeff. Anyway, this episode was chock-full of great stuff. Like, Spartacus totally killed the jerk gladiator who was abusing Dreadlock Gladiator's boyfriend, and that was *super* satisfying because that jerk gladiator was such a jerk. Also, Don't-Fuck-With-Me-Cuz-I'm-the-Scary-Black-Trainer Gladiator totally knows what's up with what's-his-face who betrayed everyone and led to poor Dreadlock Gladiator (and therefore his bf) getting killed in the first place. Also, there was a TOTAL BUFFY FLASHBACK MOMENT during the fight scene at the end, when the one guy threw the spear at Spartacus but at the time Spartacus had his eyes closed and was, you know, gathering inner strength or whatever, JUST LIKE BUFFY END OF SEASON 2, and then Buffy opens her eyes and goes "Me" just as Angel is about to stab her in the face, and here, okay, it wasn't *exactly* the same cuz the spear glanced off Spartacus's cheek and *then* he opened his eyes and kicked ass, but still, same concept. AWESOME CONCEPT. And then Spartacus kills everyone and finally yells "I am Spartacus!" at the end. Good stuff. Terrible CGI, it's possibly getting worse as the season progresses, maybe they're running out of money, but good stuff. Oh, also, Lucy Lawless and John Hannah are totally, like, Evil Coach and Mrs. Coach. I love it.
JB: "The cock on you, daring to doubt the gods!"

CC: Fave line of night: "Miss Piggy, talking pig." What Up With That is now basically just me wanting to see a) what dresses the backup singers are wearing and b) whether Sudeikis will incorporate any new dance moves (answer: not really, but him dancing is still the best part...I like how he kept jumping in from offscreen).
JB: This is how your retire What Up With That. Kenan starts to say something. Lindsay Buckingham breaks into Holiday Road. Switcheroo! Hilarious!

JB: First knee-jerk reaction: they live in a big house so I don't care about their problems. (I'm a Glaswegian. That's how we are). Second reaction: really, Lauren Graham? Another fast-talking young-ish divorced mom? Overall reaction: the same guy who turned Friday Night Lights into a series is in charge here. I'll give it another shot.
CC: I didn't watch this, but while we're on Glaswegians again, I may choose a completely random episode of Craig Ferguson next week to throw on here and then see what you think John Hannah would think of it. Also, where does Gerard Butler land in all of this, if anywhere? These are the questions.
JB: DO IT! I have A LOT to say about Craig Ferguson!

JB: Movie? Director? Actor? Actress? Hosts? All a blur. What I do remember, what I'm going to have a hard time shaking off: THAT was Judd Nelson?
CC: Thank you. Yes. If I hadn't already been reeling from the sight of that terrifying skeleton that is walking around next to James Cameron claiming to be Suzy Amis, that combo of Judd Nelson and a totally whacked out Molly Ringwald would've killed me. Just quickly, let's talk clothes: Demi looked divine. Rachel McAdams I love. I did not understand Carey Mulligan's shoes with that dress. And did everyone spot the oodles and oodles of SYTYCD alumni in the dance numbers? You damn well better have, they were all over the place. Somebody put the LXD flippy guys on ABDC stat.

Amazing Race
CC: Okay, that's it: in EVERY installment of this show from now on, and preferably in every episode, there needs to be a drinking challenge. Because drunk amazing racers = good times. Nothing particularly insane even happened, I just like the thought of how much beer that had to be. I continue to love the cowboys. And I'm sorry, but...THOSE are the best Beatles tribute band guys they could find? Jesus.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Burning Book!

The rumors are true! The wait is over! Hottie is back! Yes, L.A's most fashion-forward, flame-throwing high-school superhero(ine) returns to take on evil in Burning Ambition. And in this case evil comes in the form of a super-powerful, super-bratty, super- disturbed teen tycoon. Property is destroyed. Hearts are broken. Eyebrows are burnt off.

Some call it ` a claws-out, backstabbing bitchfest'*
Some call it `Clash Of The Titans in designer shoes'**
Some call it `disturbingly, deliberately deceptive. Layered with labyrinthine medical, legal, historical and political issues'***

Burning Ambition arrives in bookstores the first week of April but YOU and YOU (ie: two people) can win yourselves FREE copies RIGHT THIS MINUTE!

All you have to do is write a 10,000 word essay on the current recession and how you believe we can best extricate ourselves from...I'm KIDDING! I'm totally kidding. All you have to do is add a comment and it's yours.

Good luck!

**(also me)
***( reviewer Susan Granger. Writing about Shutter Island)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TV Club: Ah, The Smell Of It!

Read the incomprehensible Scottish version here or read the overachieving Asian version at

Saturday Night Live
JB: Rough week for J.Lo getting dumped by her record company and having her long-awaited album embalmed but the brilliant timing of her SNL double duties afforded her an amazing opportunity to make those dunderheads at Sony regret their decision with a pair of musical performances that would showcase the calibre of talent they were letting slip through their...oh...okay...uh... Crikey, that first song was BRUTAL! I wonder how long that Smash Mouth sketch has been gestating. Were there other choices before Smash Mouth: Crazy Town? Bowling For Soup? Ok Go?
CC: I was spoiled for Smash Mouth but I would venture to guess that had I not been, I would've thought it was, like, maybe the best thing ever. But instead, the best thing ever was Kenan doing that sliding-thru-the-frame thing. Sorry. I think that's hilarious. Sorry everybody.

American Idol
JB: Remember that Buffy episode where she was drugged by Giles because the Watchers Council wanted to see how the slayer coped without her powers? I think something similar has happened to Ellen. I'm not particularly a fan and i've only seen her daytime show a couple of times but I recognize why she's America's Best Friend With An Alternative Lifestyle. She's casual and relaxed, she does that free-associating thing, she's lightning-fast and she's just appealing in an ageless, sexless way.But not on Idol. She's super-uncomfortable. That quick wit? Vanished without trace. Words? Not her friend. And stuck behind the Idol desk, she looks...there's no getting around it, she looks like a wee old man. A wee wizened old man with giant flapping ears and scared staring eyes. To be fair, this was a Dunkleman-vintage live week. This was three nights of song-rape. Everybody was stumbling around in a daze, crying and throwing up on themselves. But no-one was in worse shape than Ellen. She looked like she'd seen a ghost. And I think she had. I think she spent those three nights thinking about her last big career decision aka coming out on her sitcom. Where did that lead her? Straight into the arms of Anne Heche. That terrified look in Ellen's big watery blue eyes? The realization that she'll have to listen to Tim Urban again? Partly, but more the growing fear that American idol is her new Anne Heche.

Project Runway
JB: Weird, complicated challenge this week. The contestants had to design something for Patricia Arquette to wear because she had to go to to jail to visit a prisoner on his deathbed so she could find out if he was really tried for a crime he didn't...wait, is this Medium? It is! It's Medium! Damn you, Lifetime, let my DVR know when you're screwing around with your schedules.

How To Make It In America
JB: If you're not watching this,you're not watching more Mark Wahlberg-approved hipster douches, so congratulations. Having seen a couple of episodes, I have two big questions. 1) Bryan Greenberg? He offers so little and works so much I'm starting to buy the Jewish conspiracy theories. 2) Lake Bell? She's probably great in the room. She's probably great to hang out with. She's probably a great all-round person. But you can check her long and dizzying IMDB and you will find that I am correct when I say: if Lake Bell's in it, you won't like it.

Spartacus: Blood And Sand
JB: Let me use our little cultural exchange platform here to dispel a few myths about my people, the Scots, and specifically, the Glaswegians. That stuff about us being vindictive, bloody-minded and petty. All true. The charge that our hatred of the English is all-consuming. Not quite true. There is another race the citizens of Glasgow loathe with an even more burning intensity.Other Glaswegians. Especially those who become successful. We hate them. We're suspicious of them. We're jealous of them. We make it our mission to undermine them whenever possible and we spend our time anticipating their demise. So imagine the superhuman effort it's taking for me to say John Hannah is hitting a home run on Spartacus. We watch the show for it's wtf-ness but he elevates it with his slithery, self-loathing brand of evil. He's like the anti- Bryan Greenberg. This week, he rear-ended a sopping wet slave (did you get Jersey Shore hot tub flashbacks?), slaughtered the gay gladiator and, in a shocking climax that I totally didn't see coming, killed the Thracian's missing wife. But...but... that was this series' THING, it's one-armed man, it's why-are-we-on-the-island, it's Ross-and-Rachel. Except it totally wasn't. This series' THING, as it turns out, is when will Spartacus realize that his sleazy Scottish mentor murdered his wife? Runner-up to Hannah this week: the unnamed gladiator who stumbled out of the orgy and muttered "I shat myself".
CC: Wait. Wait. People from Glasgow are called Glaswegians? You're just throwin' that in there all casually like we're all supposed to know that already? Okay, fine. Now I know that. I'm learnin' stuff! :D By the way, when you're an extra on this show, are you allowed to decide for yourself if you're gonna be a boobs-out extra? I'm not talking about all those whores they had in the orgy scene; that's obvious. I'm talking about random passersby on the street and the people watching the gladiator fights. Some have their boobs in, some have 'em out, and I'm like okay, when you show up on set, who decides that, you, as the extra, or whoever's directing that day, or what? These are legitimate questions.

Giada At Home
JB: Sister-in -law Kelly brought her daughter Ava over for a playdate with Giada's baby, Jade. Chicken, artichoke and cannellini bean spezzatino (which, I think, is Snooki's real name). Bruschetta with fontina and greens. Peanut cookies with blackberry jam. Jade is very much her mother's daughter. She's relentlessly adorable. There is not a moment when the camera is on her that she isn't giggling or squealing. And she EATS LIKE A MANIAC. Ava only had two seconds of screen time but that was enough to see that she, like her mother, was resigned to lurking in the shadows.

Amazing Race
JB: What an exciting, action-packed, draggy, tedious, endless hour. I fear I'm out.
CC: You didn't like asian guy's epic compass fail? And then his multiple horsefails? And the Big Brother team's repeated going up to the wrong bandit? And the cowboys kicking ass once again? And the fact that it is actually getting *harder* to tell which is the straight RI brother and which is the gay one? Awww. I thought this ep was good times. Woulda been better times if Miss South Carolina had succumbed to her food poisoning, but you can't have everything.

Best Thing I Ever Ate: Comfort Foods
CC: Giada actually mentioned Anthropologie Todd! She credits him with finding the chicken pot pie she talked about (which looked pretty good). It's in downtown LA, so now I know that Todd works downtown, so Todd, it's just a matter of time before I show up at your door and demand that you outfit me in an adorable strapless cotton frock, perfect for dressing up or dressing down depending on accessories, perfect for winter or summer depending on layering. By the way, there was some other guy on there, somebody Irvine I think his name was, and I can't remember what food he was talking about because I was so busy being appalled at how spray-tanned and roided out he was. Seriously. You're a chef. What the *hell* do you need to be so roided out for? What are you gonna do, beat up a carrot? Yeesh.

CC: I'm gonna start a crew consisting of every single asian person who works at Family Guy (this crew, by the way, will be huge). Watch for us season 6. I guarantee you we will be more interesting than what is happening now. Granted, "interesting" does not necessarily mean "good." But I think we ALREADY KNOW THIS FROM WATCHING THE SHOW THIS YEAR I'M TALKING TO YOU JUMP ROPE PEOPLE AND ALSO EVERYONE ELSE. *sigh* It's not that people did terrible or whatever. Everyone was fine. That's my problem. Fine on this show = boring.

CC: Nothing to say about the truly awesome women's figure skating competition that hasn't already been said, so let me just take my hat off to fellow child-of-restaurant-owners Mirai Nagasu for bringing some serious 4th-place fire, and move right onto the exhibition skate (which NBC royally raped by showing, like, 15% of it...I KNOW there was more, I LOOKED UP THE PROGRAM ON THE INTERNET). And now I must ask the question: how the FUCK are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir not dating? I liked Davis and White's Billie Jean routine better, but seriously, Virtue/Moir are so ridiculously cute together (and normally I cringe when skaters try to get funky in their exhibition because let's face it, most of 'em are just so...white), but these kids were adorable (loved the outfits) and it's's just a crime that they aren't already married with thousands of babies.