Archive for October, 2008

Dancing with the Stars more like ER

It’s starting to look more like the Waltz of the Wounded than Dancing with the Stars.

Even before the competition started, every tabloid in town posted screaming headlines and video about the Kim Kardashian’s bout with a hotel room coffee table. The glass broke, and Kimmers received a nasty slice on her big toe. Her pals over-reacted by saying there was so much blood, it looked like a war zone. Actually, it looked more like someone got a bad paper cut. But the little princess played it for all it was worth.

Who can forget poor Kim getting wheeled out of hospital, vowing to return to DWTS? You would have thought she was the last soldier coming out of Iraq, ready to back to fight al Qaeda with her bare mitts.

I’m calling this season the Curse of the Kardashian.

The season has only been on the air for a little more than two weeks, and KK’s curse is in full force. Her first victim was comic Jeffrey Ross, but you probably didn’t mind because he was such an obnoxious oaf who deserved to be booted off first. JR suffered a scratched cornea while rehearsing with his dancing partner Edyta Sliwinska, who poked him in the eye with her acrylic nails.

And this was the season fans were hoping to see more of Edyta, the queen of the barely there costumes. Instead, she was sent home after JR and his entire family donned glitter eye patches. JR and Edyta quick-stepped off into the sunset.

KK’s curse landed briefly on Karina Smirnoff, who sprained her ankle on the morning of the show’s premiere last month. Judges barely noticed the hitch in her giddy-up compared to the awkward fox trot she performed with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito.

And is it the curse or the spirit of Marie Osmond that has Toni Braxton looking like she’s ready to faint at almost every turn of this competition? Sure, put a woman with a heart condition in a live dancing show and see what happens.

But the full fury of the KK came last week, when Gold Medalist Misty May Treanor ruptured her Achilles tendon while practicing the jive dance with partner Max. It was an automatic DWTS exit card, but even worse, it could hamper her volleyball career.

On Monday, viewers watched the video of the rehearsal that resulted in Treanor’s injury. The loud pop could be heard, then Treanor eventually began feeling the intense pain which she compared to being hit in the back of the leg with a baseball bat. How crazy is it that an athlete like Treanor could get hurt that badly dancing?

While fans fretted about Treanor’s fate over the weekend, another dancer went down. Derek Hough, who suffered a back injury last season, was walking backwards during a rehearsal when he tripped and hit his head on the ground. He blacked out and the paramedics were called. But he survived to come in first with the judges on Monday.

But after seeing the wicked little exchange between him and dancing partner Brooke Burke, we’re wondering if BB might have put a little hex on blondie.

Even the queen of the daytime soaps, Susan Lucci, horned in on the KK curse. She showed up with an ace bandage on her ankle, saying she tweaked it a little. The judges said they noticed a wincing when she did her lively jive with partner Tony Dovolani, but she still got relatively low marks.

With Misty May Treanor out, rumor has it KK will be back on DWTS. Was this her diabolical plan all along?

Is there nothing or no one to combat the Curse of the Kardashian? We’re betting on octogenarian Cloris Leachman, who has been letting curses fly out of her mouth from the beginning. She’s sure to give the censors finger strains from hitting that mute button so many times during the live shows.

Cloris, it’s up to you.

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Welcome to Tyra-Land

Welcome to Tyraland, where models come in second to the upstaging antics of America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks, a former top model who oozes excess like she’s some contemporary Hunter S. Thompson.

Only Tyra’s drug of choice is Tyra, and non-addicts are overdosing on her self-love.

This isn’t anything new for someone I suspect sneaks down to the kitchen every night to open the fridge just so she can stand in the spotlight. But this season seems to be even more Tyra-centric, and that isn’t good news. Right from the start, she set the cheese bar low with a low-budget skit with the Jay boys as mad scientists and Tyra emerging as robo-Tyra from a cylinder that looked like it came right out of an elementary school’s haunted house.

As if that wasn’t enough, please, let my eyes stop burning from the princess party scene, when an uglified Miss J came as the crone who passes the poisoned apple to the fair maiden, or in this case Tyra.

Even her fellow judges seem to be getting tired of Tyra’s narcissistic act. And that’s not easy with a bunch of people who probably can’t pass a mirror without taking a moment to bask in their own beauty. Noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker can’t contain his disgust some weeks, and seems to be taking his anger out on some of the poor models who have to put up with Tyra – and even laugh and squeal at her bizarre behavior.

Barker thought pre-op transgender contestant Isis made too much of the fact that she was placed in a tight bathing suit and dunked underwater for Barker’s pool shoot. Barker condemned the aspiring model for “just bobbing in the water…(making) too much of a big deal’’ about the real fear of man parts popping loose.

You can’t miss Paulina Porizkova’s displeasure at Tyra’s choices for the best models. When she sneered at a photo she said looked like the headless horseman in a pool of blood, Tyra snatched the photo back and declared “Fierce!”

Porizkova showed a face that looked like she’d just sucked a lemon, or watched that apple scene with Tyra again.

Let’s keep in mind this is a television show, not a real search for America’s next top photo fodder.
So the least they deserve is to get their last few moments in front of the judges. Poor Hannah didn’t even get that courtesy. We’re not saying the gawky gal from Alaska didn’t deserve to go. Just that walk down the bowling alley lane was enough to get her expelled. But she should have gotten her shot in front of her royal psychoness to hear those golden words “Two girls stand before me, but I only have one photo in my hand…”

Instead, it was just Mr. and Miss J saying they were the spokesmen for Tyra, so just pack your bags and skedaddle back to Alaska.

But you can’t ignore the ratings, showing women 18-34 don’t mind Tyra’s oddness. In fact, they embrace it. In last week’s head-to-head competition, America’s Next Top Model soundly beat Dancing with the Stars in the Nielsens.

And I know why, It’s for those moments when fashion designer Jeremy Scott threw a justified hissy fit after model Samantha kept hiking up his creation past her lady parts on the runway after he specifically told her not to several times.

“You thought you saw a (stripper) pole down (at the end of the runway,” an angry Scott told Sam at the judging. “You are representing me and it’s not your show.”

Nope. It’s Tyra’s show. And she apparently knows what her people want.

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The Ex List could get dumped early

It’s never a good thing when the show runner ditches a series before it even hits the air.
That’s exactly what happened on Sept. 12 when Diane Ruggiero ( Veronica Mars ) took a flyer on The Ex List , a series she adapted from the Israeli TV show Mythological X

Both shows center on a woman in her early 30s yearning for a committed relationship. She’s told by a psychic that she has already met and dated her soul mate – and if she doesn’t hook up with him within the year, she’ll never marry anyone.

It’s enough to make Carrie Bradshaw weep. After all, Sex and the City was nothing if not about a fashion crazed Cinderella looking for her Big prince. In the American version, Grey’s Anatomy recurring guest star Elisabeth Reaser plays Bella Bloom, a serial dater. Bella goes through men like they were stacked in box of unmarked chocolates, sampling each one, usually finding them lacking and then going on to the next.

But after her most recent break-up with Elliott (Mark Deklin), a man uninterested in marriage, has Bella thinking about her long-term relationship goals.

Reaser proves she can carry a show, but this one might prove to be too much for even her skill set.
Bella owns a flower shop in San Diego, spends her spare time surfing with her roommates Cyrus (Amir Tali) and Augie (Adam Rothenberg). In fact, it’s a little like Friends, with Bella hanging out with her sister Daphne (Rachel Boston), and her roommates, which also include Augie’s girlfriend Vivian (Alexandra Breckenridge).

Ruggiero opted to make the caustic psychic Marina (Anne Bedian), who only appeared in the first episode of Mythology X , a recurring character. She also created a sister for Bella to help plump out the story possibilities.

These changes didn’t endear her to CBS.

Ruggiero told reporters she was being pressured by CBS to make it more like the Israeli version. She bolted after CBS brought Segahl Avin, producer of the Israeli series, on board.

But what can you expect from a network that doesn’t know what to do with a series that doesn’t include a dead body every week?

Still, all the blame can’t be placed entirely on CBS. Ruggiero started out as a slightly hostile employee. Her personal project, about friends who turn into Superheroes, was shelved after the writers strike and she was offered The Ex List as an alternative to unemployment.

While Ruggiero’s delightfully funny in real life, she didn’t exactly hit the pilot out of the ball park. The first episode has some memorable moments, especially when Bella hooks up with her teary young ex Johnny. She dumped the overly emotional singer seven years ago on his birthday. Now he’s a tatted out hard rocker who whisks Bella off her feet with his hard-driving style.

Eric Balfour gets a little over melodramatic at Johnny past, but once we get into Johnny present he oozes sensuality and, ultimately, deadly humor. The B story, about Bella’s roommate Vivian getting her lady parts shaved, turns off the viewer as much as it disgusts boyfriend Augie.

Yeah, this actually goes on for most of the episode. We would much rather spend that time with Daphne, Bella’s soon-to-be-married mischievous sister played by the always interesting Boston (American Dreams).

It’s never easy handicapping new series, but while The Ex List starts out rocky with a hint of promise, the exit of Ruggiero after completion of less than a half-dozen episodes could spell a short run for this CBS show.

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