Saturday, September 29, 2007

Strike It Up

Somehow I found myself watching The Ultimate Fighter show on SpikeTV. There are several things wrong with that. For one, I'm clearly not in SpikeTV's target demographics. Second, I find any fighting "sports" to be a byproduct of a personality disorder and not something to be watched.

The ostensible purpose of the show is to pit 16 mixed martial arts fighters against each other to find "the ultimate fighter". The winner gets a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization. To win the fighters have to beat the crap out of each other. However, since it is a reality show, most of the show is about the personalities and the conflicts between the contestants who are forced to live together. If it weren't for the kicking and the punching it would seem like a dozen other reality shows. Of course in this show the players are all men. Ho-yay!

I generally don't find faces showing signs of being pummeled attractive, but I think one decent guy out of the bunch is Matt Arroyo (pictured). If it weren't for his compulsion to hit people, he would be alright. He considers himself a computer nerd that enjoys using MySpace. He also sold insurance for a year and a half before his love for Brazilian jiu jitsu led him to teaching mixed martial arts full-time. I can understand - a Brazilian could get me to make major life changes also.

The question in my mind is why straight guys would not want to watch two gay guys pounding each other, but they would want to want two straight guys going at it. I think they might also appreciate Matt's looks a little. His interview video on SpikeTV's site was watched more than any of the other fighters.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stepping Out

I never watch Dancing with the Stars, but I felt I had to on Tuesday to support Helio Castroneves. He's a two time winner of the Indianapolis 500 and the 500 is the biggest thing in Indianapolis (literally, at 2.5 miles around). All good things that happen to our fair city stem from the 500 and residents need to support it to keep prosperity flowing.

Once when I was on holiday in Toronto, a store clerk asked me where I was from and when I said Indianapolis, he said, "Oh, you have a race too," referring to the Toronto Grand Prix. I replied, "We don't have a race, we have the race."

Helio did a smooth job his first time out, stylishly dancing the foxtrot with his partner, last season's professional winner, Julianne Hough. Helio is from Brazil. Does that give him an advantage with latin and ballroom dancing? The music was the theme from the 60's sitcom Bewitched, which I didn't even recognize because I never heard it performed with lyrics before.

derek houghThe unexpected surprise was Jennie Garth's partner, Derek Hough. His hip and rear action were saucy and his outfit was tight and alluring. I'm sure some would appreciate his looks but I enjoyed more the pulchritude of the traits below the neck.

I'm hoping that besides the classic dance steps that the show's producers would consider using the Britney MTV video awards dancer routine. Apparently, stars can learn to rumba and tango, but a real test would be to have them do the Britney shuffle. You know, comedy is hard.

Helio and Julianne:

Monday, September 24, 2007

So I Think I Can Glance

I watched reruns of So You Think You Can Dance on MTV and I still can't believe a chick won. During the three seasons of the show, the girls seemed to me to be just shuffling around the stage. The men showed the real artistry.

I would have been okay with either of the last two guys, Neil Haskell or Danny Tidwell (pictured), winning. Danny's great physique and fine lines made up for his fluvial sweat, and Neil's gymnastics and fluffy hair made up for his tiresome cockiness. The judges kept talking about Danny's arrogance but Neil was the one who seemed to be stuck on himself. Danny was more noticeable for the gradual diminishment of his masculine traits as his became more comfortable being himself in front of the camera.

The masculinity of the dancing is something that some contestant needs to stand up to the judges and choreographers on. I'm sick of the judges criticizing any guy for not dancing manly enough. That is so last century. Gender roles are becoming more fluid in our culture and this should extend to dance as well. I think Wade Robson emphasizes his strict beliefs on how a man should dance in order to distance himself from his childhood friendship with Michael Jackson.

Pasha KovalevThe third guy in the last three was Pasha Kovalev. He was truly charming, but the abundance of gay material from the former Soviet bloc has left me Slav'd out.

Nick Lazzarini and Benji Schwimmer, the winners of the first two seasons were great performers and exciting to watch when they competed. It was also interesting to learn during their seasons that Nick's favorite dancer is Nick Lazzarini and Benji was proud to spend two years in Mexico in the missionary position.

Above all, my favorite dancer has been Craig DeRosa. His fluidity is awe inspiring. Even though America didn't get it when it voted Craig out early, the producers of the show must have as they used Craig as the first shot during the opening credits on all three seasons.

Craig on a mattress:

Blake McGrath spinning under the influence.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bachelor of Hearts

A new season of The Bachelor begins on Monday, September 24, on ABC, and I am once again appalled by the concept. Putting 25 women on the air who are willing to demean themselves by vying for the affection of a single man debases everyone connected with the show, including the viewers. How can anyone disrespect themselves so much to allow themselves be wooed knowing that their suitor is doing the same thing with so many others? This is even more degrading than a two-bit toilet tramp trolling for trouser treats (or so I'm told).

I could never tolerate anyone toying with my affection. I should mention that I was totally supportive of Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction. If I had written the screenplay I would have put Michael Douglas in the pot instead of the rabbit. I'm a one-man man and I expect my counterpart to be the same: "I'm not going to be ignored, Dan."

Don't give me a rose if you are also handing them out to anybody else. And don't fake flirt with me either. If you are going to sweet talk me you'd better mean business or the pet goes in the pot.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Big Brother 8 Bites The Big One

BB8 ended with the Evil Dick as the winner. He and his dickette daughter used the inherent advantage of a familial relationship to beat the other 12 contestants, who entered the house knowing no one or worse, knew another contestant as a sworn enemy. It's not the first time that the producers have cast people with preexisting relationships in order to add some contrived excitement, but it's the first time that two family members made it to the final two. The result was well described by Dick after he evicted Zack (leaving only Dick and his daughter Daniele): "Who cares what happens after this?" Too true. Why even air the final two shows after that? I would rather have just seen two hours of house guest Mike doing his grooming routine (pictured here).

The producers need to go back to letting it be a straight up game instead of inserting "twists" that can lead to such an awful finale. No more X Factor, pairs, or twins, and definitely no more "America's Player". How can BB be considered a competition show when viewers are allowed to effect the outcome of the game? Technically, the producers are not allowed to influence the outcome so that the viewers don't lose faith in the integrity of the show. Even though in this case it is the viewers influencing the results, it would seem that they would still be less likely to watch this kind of show if it were considered to be blatantly fixed.

Gratuitous picture of Mike.
I give kudos to the show for casting two gay men to live in the house together, even though it was done because they were known to be enemies and the producers hoped for the queen of all bitch-slapfests to occur. Dustin and Joe made for good TV and it would have probably been even more entertaining and twisted if Joe hadn't gotten knocked off so early. They could have fought over Nick, the man who pined for Daniele but who had no problem talking about his boink list of men he would share Y chromosomes with. What would be even better in the future would be to have two attractive gay men who don't know each other be house guests and see if they develop a sho-homo-mance.
Dustin assuming the mounted pawn position.
Straight Nick doing that gay thing with Joe.

The U.S. version of Big Brother is quite conservative compared to other versions in the world when it comes to baring flesh. Our networks' standard and practices would not allow any exposure of naughty bits. There is occasionally an accidental revelation of secured body parts on the internet feed, but they are rare. I suppose some people watch the live feed hoping to see some untanned swatch of skin of the contestants or maybe catch them in a compromising position. Do these people know that there are like 100,000 other sites on the web where they can see a lot more being spread at any time of the day?

It must be noted that one of the more popular characters in the house this season was not a person, but the red unitard. Jen, Zach, Jessica and Dustin all couldn't resist the desire to have this single piece of clothing against their skin. Imagine a finale with Dick and the red unitard as the final two. Would the four affected members of the jury vote for Dick for game play or for the 'tard and the bittersweet memories they held of its tight embrace. Now that is a finale I would much rather have seen that this one.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Emmys Get Fox'd

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences held their annual primetime award show on Sunday night. It is suppose to celebrate the best that American television has to offer, but this night the Fox version used plenty of opportunities to say that TV is crap.

To emphasize the point they used their chronically annoying American Idol buffoon Ryan Seacrest to host it. His main shtick is to exaggerate his metrosexuality and he did it again during the show by going around and telling various actors that he could tell what designers they were wearing by looking at their clothes. In the past he has utilized this kind of coy routine to entice people to wonder if he were gay or not. Maybe he finally realizes that it has been over played so now he has switched gears. Wearing a costume from the Tudor period, he stated "This looked a lot less gay on the rack." He's gone from suggesting he was one of us to using us as the butt of a joke. He just needs someone to smack off that contorted smile he makes when he uses his obnoxious radio voice (which is incessantly always).

There was an okay musical number with Tony Bennett and Christina Aguilera. It didn't seem to be quite polished enough but it was adequate for the event. It seems that there is an inherent mismatch between the two of them. Tony is a low-key and subtle performer while Christina is a powerhouse. She needed to restrain her vocal talents to match his style and to keep him safe. An unchecked expulsion from her diaphragm could have put the 81 year old Tony in the ICU.

tony bennett christina aguileratony bennett christina aguilera

This is a good opportunity to compare Christina to that other former Mouseketeer in the news, Britney. Well, Christina can really sing and Britney can lip-sync. That sums it up. Christina can make herself look presentable too, although the backlighting during her performance made her arm hair look like a full moon was starting to take effect (above).

Some other noteworthy hits and misses:
  • It was tacky to show a shot of TR Knight in the audience immediately after a joke was made that Isaiah Washington would be replacing Michael Richards in a new Seinfeld.
  • The Amazing Race deservedly continued its amazing run as the only show to ever win the reality competition category.
  • The inclusion of Charles Nelson Reilly with all the other television people who died in the past year was not enough. There should have been a whole segment on the loss the American culture has suffered from his passing.
  • I have never seen The Sopranos but I don't want to believe that it should be selected Best Drama instead of Heroes.
Maybe the most interesting part of the night was the minute-thirty commercial for Macy's that had a lot of the people who's famous names grace the products they're pushing. In the commercial Marc Ecko was being a dumbass on the loudspeaker in a Macy's store just like he is being a dumbass for buying the Barry Bonds' baseball. Martha Stewart was prominently displayed as part of the roll-out of her collection at Macy's. Since none of my favorites seemed to have won anything at the Emmys I was glad to at least see Martha succeeding at moving up the retail chain. Hollywood is for America pulling out of Iraq and I am for Martha pulling out of KMart. To misquote Sally Field, "Let's face it, if the gays ruled the world there wouldn't be any g**damn Kmarts!"
tony bennett christina aguilera

From the "oh no they didn't" department. The following is a segment used to list the names of the writers of the Real Time With Bill Maher show.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Brian Kehoe and a Dick in a Box

Seeing the picture (below) of Brian Kehoe at Janice Dickinson's fur rally brought back memories of some great fantasies starring that hunk of man flesh. He makes me weak. I have never swooned but I think I would if I ever met him. I don't know how to say it other than he's got IT. He's cocky, but he seems so personable that it doesn't matter. He's the kind of guy that would workout just so you could watch, then give you a mind-altering orgasm in the shower, and then finish the afternoon shopping with you for clothes. Dee-lightful!

Does real fur even exist anymore? Apparently not on Brian. I know this was a publicity stunt so I don't care what it was about. What does concern me is Janice's troubling notion of thinness. She asked last season how could someone be too thin, and she meant it. I don't want her to force Brian into losing weight. The great thing about his body was the perfect proportions. Now his face looks like it may be too thin. I want to take him to Steak-n-Shake and feed him proper before I accede to his every wish.

Click on the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency label below to find all the posts here about the series.

Another recent disturbing event is the awarding of an Emmy for "Best Original Music and Lyrics" to Justin Timberlake's "Dick in a Box". Actually the song and video were mildly amusing, but doesn't this say something about the state of original music on television today? Would you agree something was wrong if you knew that "Dick in a Box" was nominated along with Scrubs' "Guy Love" and "Everything Comes Down to Poo"?

I hate to seem ungrateful, but if I received Justin Timberlake's dick in a box, I think I would re-gift it or at least see if I could exchange it for one that suits my tastes. Maybe Ricky Martin's pene en una caja. Or better yet, an unwrapped Kehoe cadeau.

Janice's models

Monday, September 10, 2007

100 Best Films and Britney

Last night I finally watched the show about AFI's top 100 movies from the last 100 years (Bravo). I think any list compiled by "experts" mainly reveals the tastes of the selectors and not so much about the items being reviewed. The thing that really shows that the list is not authoritative is seeing the dramatic changes in placement for a lot of movies between the current list and the one done 10 years ago. A definitive list would show some changes over time as new items are inserted and older items shift slightly as tastes change. In this case some movies shifted over 50 positions. That's just not believable.

Still I agree with most of the choices, except maybe #69, Tootsie. I have to believe this was inserted as a joke or maybe just to see if people were paying attention. Also, I give kudos for them resisting the recency effect by only inserting 4 movies from the last ten years.

I also say Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor talk about Britney Spears appearance at the VMA awards as being a sign of the collapse of our culture. I'm sure culture will survive without Britney, but I don't know how much longer Britney will survive as a star entertainer. I don't know how she has lasted this long as a singer with her lip-syncing and electronically altered vocals. Her physical performances have been her real draw. If she can't do those anymore she should think about lowering her sights in the entertainment business. Pop music's loss is some small town Louisiana strip club's gain.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'll Tumble 4 Ya

2008 U.S. Olympic team
2008 U.S. Nationals

I previously wrote about men's gymnastics (link) in August right after the completion of the 2007 U.S. men's All-Around Championship. NBC finally aired their coverage of that event today. In the interim I had seen that my post was showing high on the list on Google for the individual athletes' names so I was interested to see how the searches would go today. As expected, shortly after the show started I started getting the hits and now I have compiled the results. Gymnast David Durante beat Guillermo Alvarez in this contest also, with 48% of searches wanting Durante and 40% wanting Alvarez. The noticeable difference between the two is that the majority of Durante searchers wanted him shirtless while the majority of Alvarez seekers wanted him gay, gay, gay. The remaining searches were for David Sender and Alexander Artemev.

Frankly, I would have been searching for Alvarez:

Guillermo Alvarez
Some comments about the gymnasts and their performances:
  • Today's coverage starts with some mention of the Hamm brothers. They're not my type - moving on.
  • Next up is Alexander Artemev. His eyes are a little scary and I am a little concerned with that hump he's getting on his back. He needs to work on his posture.
  • Then we get to Jonathan Horton. He's cute but he looks like he might be an unpleasant little fellow. He has an appreciable package, despite his tacky gray sweatpants.
  • I won't say anything about Danell Leyva since he's underage (15). but I think in 3 years I will have a lot to say. His dad (who is also his coach) was a hoot with his reactions on the sidelines to his son's performance. He acts out all the moves and then goes ballistic with joy when the routine is over.
  • Guillermo Alvarez had a beautiful vault. I love to see him smile when he knows he did well.
  • Justin Spring had an amazing high bar routine. Unfortunately, he is one of those people who's natural hair color looks like a bad bleach job. I doubt his coach will advise him on this so I will: get some drabber.
  • David Durante is tough and self-assured. He seems like the kind of guy you would want in a crisis. I would want him on the exit row on any flight. He can get the window out with ease but he's small enough not to get in the way when I crawl over him.

Best Quote: "He likes it very, very tight ... Gymnasts often times, and you see it right there, he likes it, he likes it very tight." Tim Daggett speaking about Jonathan Horton.

Video from NBC of just Alvarez:

If you don't know, after this event the team was selected to represent the U.S. at the world championships in Stuttgart. The team was Durante, Alvarez, Artemev, Horton, Sean Golden, and Kevin Tan. The U.S. was 4th in the Team Final. Alvarez was 4th in the floor exercise. You can see from the photo that he wanted to show the judges all that he has to offer.

2007 U.S. Mens gymnastics team

Visa used their Niki Haris "Downtown" commercial again. I only saw the 60 second version of it once, and I like it better. I'm glad to see it is on YouTube.

Real To Real

Repost from Trick Wire

Reality TV creates an ever increasing number of instant celebrities and with the celebrity status comes fans. For some of these now famous people, the fandom can be understandable because their TV appearance showcased their entertainment talent and boosted their career in the fan supported performing arts. For the others, the ones who are more or less ordinary people, the concept of having fans can seem odd.

I think the draw that these reality TV stars have is that they seemingly expose their inner self and this satisfies a human need in the viewers to find and really get to know other people. Socially, we all wear our masks but we long to know what is behind the other person's. That's why reading other people's minds is traditionally the most wished for super power after flying. We want to know and in turn perhaps be known.

Jesse BruneIt's debatable that anyone shows their true personality on TV, but the kind of shows that seem to are not the talent shows, like American Idol or SYTYCD, but rather the communal endeavors, such as Amazing Race, Survivor, and Big Brother. On these shows there is an induced level of stress that intended to cause the participants to throw off their facades and reveal what they are really like. These revelations are then caught by the omnipresent camera, usually in a solitary situation to emphasize that the thoughts expressed are of a deeply personal nature (shared only with the cameraman and a few million viewers). To the people watching at home, it's an easy way to look inside someone and determine if they are someone with whom one would want to be friends or lovers or whatever. The result is that the likable contestants get a lot of fans who wish they could get to know the person on TV or someone like them because they are just so special.

The interesting thing about this is there are plenty of ordinary people all around in real life who may fit the bill just as well but whom you'll never know because they don't come with a "confessional" video with which you can preview their personality. With television you can watch who you want to learn more about and then turn them off when you decide you don't care for them. Obviously, it's not that simple in real life. People would rather not invest the time and effort in learning about the strangers all around them, forgoing the reward of finding a splendid friend in order to avoid the surprise of what else they might find instead.

Unfortunately, it is hard to get to know people on a deeper level. There is a societal condition that thwarts the human nature to know others. It is often expressed with the well known letters TMI. In real life we only let each other reveal enough to stay within the comfort zone, which isn't much. I know that there is no one other that me who really knows who I am completely and I can't decide if it's because I withhold the information or I feel others don't want to know.

With such interpersonal constraints, it's no wonder we turn to television to see what people are "really" like.

I posted picturea of some of my more recent favorites of reality television: James Rhine from Big Brother 6, Jesse Brune from Work Out, and Goil Amornvivat from Top Design.