28 March 2010

Tool Family Reunion

I didn't recap last week's Tool Academy, for I was visiting patriotic Bedford, MA. I'd like to apologize to anyone who had big plans to read this girl's opinions on the tooliest show on earth, and to make up for it, I'd like to offer the following:

This week, the tools' families (and girlfriends' families) attend therapy, and Trina shows them the callback videos from way back when the tools thought they were on an entirely different kind of show. In case you've forgotten, these were the WORST videos Tool Academy has ever had. Teary Tool explains that he has given his girlfriend several STDs while demonstrating humping the floor eight different ways, and then he boasts that his boobs are so big, he's fallen in love with himself.* That's the main gist of these videos.

*I had always assumed that these video claims were
obviously lies (two different tools recounted stories about incestuous twins), but nobody so far has ever admitted to stretching the truth. So I guess the stories are real? At any rate, they're completely embarrassing - lies or not.

Neandertool and his girlfriend Christie go first. Christie's family must not have been interested in visiting the academy because her two best friends show up, instead. Neandertool's mom watches his video and is shocked, but not as shocked as Teary Tool's mother is.

First of all, apparently Teary is a first-generation Ameritool. His parents have the thickest accents I've ever heard. I believe they are Greek. At any rate, his video plays (see description above), and his mother is instantly humiliated. She looks like she wants to vomit at the thought of giving birth to this kid. Then we look over at his girlfriend's mom, who's basically lacing up her boxing gloves. She's about to knock his block off, big time. Naturally, he turns on the waterworks, and after a while things settle down.

Toolette's mother is a madame who taught her children to laugh things off, so naturally, therapy is very difficult for them. Her boyfriend Kyle's brother is appalled at Toolette's video, and when Trina encourages Kyle to tell his girlfriend how he feels about her cheating, her whole family starts snickering. Trina reminds them why it would be helpful not to laugh, and Toolette's mom insists that they must agree to disagree. Kyle, if there was ever a case of "look at the mother, see what you'll be married to," this is it.

Immediately afterwards, there's a family dinner 'n' drinks party. It seems like they're setting up Neandertool to be the winner, as he gets a lot of sound clips like "I'm really changing!" I was hoping Teary Tool's mother-in-law-to-be would take this opportunity to really go after him, but he sort of wins her over by the end of the meal. Then the host, Jordan (probably the prototype Tool Graduate), comes in and announces that the tools will now be taking care of newborn babies.

They get back to their communal room and see that the babies are robots. Everyone seems to handle them without incident, but Toolette immediately insists on having no part of it, as she feels trapped. Then the next minute, she screams at her boyfriend for not letting her hold the "sleeping" baby. She throws a hissy fit outside and tries to complain to the cameramen, but they shuffle off really quickly. Either she's on a coke rage, or she's still smarting from therapy.

The Tearies get involved as Kyle packs his bags to leave. It looks like a fight is going to break out, but there are just a lot of empty threats and Toolette-brand animatronic threat-babbling. Teary Tool drinks red punch from the baby bottle he's holding. It's not until the next morning that a true fight breaks out - Teary encourages his girlfriend to hit Toolette, then charges at her himself, and then of course Kyle flying-tackles him. Then Toolette pulls Teary's girlfriend's hair.

In Defend-Your-Boyfriend hour, Neandertool's girlfriend makes a clear power-play by opining that the Tearies shouldn't have gotten involved in Toolette's relationship. Second place knows that it's easier to fight against Third than First. Neandertool's girlfriend really is a tactical genius.

It's a dark and stormy night as the girl[boy]friends wait outside under black umbrellas. Inside, Trina addresses Toolette and Teary in the bottom two: "I'm shocked at how bonkers the last 24 hours have been." Toolette is eliminated, and it seems inevitable that she's going to beat up Teary's girlfriend when she gets outside.

On the Fate-of-your-Relationship block, Kyle says there won't be a future if Toolette can't change. (a) She won't change, and (b) this stuff won't end until she gets pregnant with someone else's kid, and then Kyle will clearly raise that kid alone.

This was the best episode of the season. I truly hope that the finale (between Neandertool and Teary Tool) blows this one out of the water, although I don't see how it could. Toolette was a 30-year-old spark plug that shook up the whole dorm. Things will most definitely slow down without her there.

27 March 2010

What On Earth Is My Spirit Animal?

A few weeks ago, Curiouser + Curiouser's Tess explained to me exactly what her animal counterpart was: the Slow Loris.

Upon google imaging the animal, I was shocked. She was totally right. And with that completely true knowledge, she had a companion and guide right there, nestling by her side forever. My jealousy was immediate and extreme.

Knowing one's animal counterpart, or "spirit animal" (as I'm going to insist it be called), is probably the most useful thing a person could know. Remember in the third Harry Potter, how Harry's patronus saved his life (for the first of many times)? Remember those Scholastic book fairs in elementary school, when I would see the cover art of the Animorph book series and imagine that I already basically "got" the entire plot just from the pictures, so why read them?

These kids seem to know so much more about themselves, just by relating to an entity with dignity and purpose that exists in nature. It makes sense - A Person is confused, insecure, and prone to existential depression. An Animal, however, simply survives in harmony with its own noble features. It eats, it sleeps, and it reproduces. It knows what its existence is. It is fulfilled.

And so I have always longed to know just which animal I could call mine. I want to know how a Beckyish animal would deal with the hardships I'm facing. I want to finally find my spirit animal.

Now, it's not as though I haven't tried. Days on end have been spent cataloging the various animals I've heard of, but each one is decidedly not me. Horse? No, not at all. Otter? More like Hermione Granger. Rabbit? Maybe, but shouldn't it hit me like a ton of bricks when I finally come across it? I'm so desperately scared that, just as my high school assistant volleyball coach Luigi used to propose, I'm most like a Chipmunk. (Then he'd tell me to "dial 1-800-Get-Over-It," no joke.) No no, none of these is right. So I have to take a deductive approach.

Instead of proposing specific animals, I tried to go by a process of elimination: no reptiles, I should think (unless perhaps a turtle?), and no insects. I'm not really a bird, but I'll keep it in the running just in case. Most likely I'd want a mammal, which is what most humans would probably choose. Though I will mention that Dumbledore's patronus was a Phoenix (awesome), and Cho Chang's was a Swan. Me, a Swan? Nope. Can't even pretend, Beck.

So I found a "find your spirit animal" quiz online. Specifically, I found this one, by Jeri Smith-Ready. I'm not sure who Smith-Ready is, but judging by the margin notes, I'd say Jerri Blank has found another pseudonym. The questions seem appropriate to items like emotional intelligence and natural prowess, but I found that there were often multiple answers that applied to me. Trying to choose the "most accurate" answers gave me the amazingly disgusting match of: Spider. Spider. Spider? Because I like to make art? SHEESH! COME ON!

Just this minute I found another quiz, this one by gURL.com. It seemed to think I was an Armadillo, based on my ability to set boundaries for myself and others. Only, I don't think I do that. The quiz questions are all aimed at high-school aged girls, so I think I may have missed the mark. Well, but maybe I am guarded? But is that all I want my spirit animal to represent?

Perhaps a spirit animal should suggest things about what I'd like to be. Like, for instance, wouldn't it be great to have a Dolphin as my spirit animal? I'm positive that I don't share too many characteristics with them right now - they're extremely resilient, they communicate very well, and they give great advice (via really wise chirps, I guess). I certainly try for items two and three, but as far as resilience goes, I have yet to see myself as a bouncer-back. But the thing is, I'd like to be. So maybe there's something there.

At any rate, I'm still in a zoological quandary. I was halfway hoping that writing all this out might make the situation abundantly clear, like if I looked at all the words, they might form the vague shape of some creature I hadn't yet considered. At least they don't look like a Chipmunk.

Please, don't let me be a Chipmunk.

23 March 2010

The Empire's Uncle Strikes Back

Last night's episode of Gossip Girl was a DOOZY - for starters, Chuck's evil, would-be rapist uncle Jack is back...and he's got a goatee that befits him even more than it might fit someone named Damian. Speaking of Damian (the kid from Air Bud), Jenny travels further down the bad road under his bad influence, and I'm further reminded that she really stinks. Rufus and Lily talk it all out, and Serena and Nate stop doing it all the time (not). Here follow my itemized observations:
  • It was my understanding that Jenny ran away at the end of last week's episode. Well, she didn't. But at least she's sick of waffles, nice.
  • Chuck thinks that settling a sexual harassment case out of court will make him look more innocent? "The press won't know...no one will." Yeah right, Chuck. Perhaps you should have gone to college after all.
  • Rufus, the Smartest Dad In The World, sits finishing his waffles alone as Jenny loudly orders a car from right outside the door. Every day is Father's Day when Rufus is around.
  • Then when he immediately gets a call from school, he interrupts two different children's morning sexual exploits. Is that all relationships are on this show? Morning delight? I wouldn't let my kids watch this, either. Remember when Dan and Serena were dating, how they'd occasionally go outside? And have discussions about things? No wonder Jenny's so confused!
  • Nate doesn't go to Columbia anymore. They'll never admit it, but he really honestly doesn't go. I think he dropped out sometime after Serena's Trip phase.
  • Serena's actually right about something - Rufus is driving Jenny directly to Damian. I guess if Serena's smarter than anyone on this show, it's Rufus. The dumbest guy in the world.
  • Vanessa's bra is ridiculous. My roommate Colin thinks "they're still in their beachware" from last week's day party.
  • Damian reassures Jenny that they'll take it slow...tonight. "No rush." Someone really ought to explain what "taking it slow" means to these kids.
  • Chuck's grin is amazing - but then, of course, the reporters come flooding out and ruin it. Poor Chuck, you can never smile for too long.
  • "She's a teenage girl. Cutting school to be with her boyfriend isn't exactly criminal behavior." Straight from the mouth of Lily Bass, teenage renegade. Cutting school to be with her boyfriend is exactly what got her started down this luxurious, maneating road. I guess Jenny could actually do a lot worse.
  • Why is Serena eating the ice cream as she big-sisters Jenny? Is she over-sistering because Eric's gone? Is he back at the suicide clinic?
  • Jenny's story is really bringing some serious issues up for Nate and Serena...but this is as serious as they'll ever get. Turns out they both regret sleeping with each other back before season one, but neither realizes it.
  • Serena's planning on setting a honey trap for Damian, so Jenny can see what a jerk he is. "Chuck and Blair do it all the time" - yes, that's 100% true, and of course Serena would think she could pull it off with the same panache.
  • "If she were a vampire, I could slip garlic in her waffles, not that she'd eat them."
  • Rufus will be absolutely heartbroken when he finds out about Danessa. Poor, dumb Rufus.
  • Dan's going to draw a friends-only/friends-with-benefits map for Vanessa. There's my Dan!
  • OBVIOUSLY Damian knows about Serena's trap and thus avoids it. You can't be evil without also being pretty perceptive.
  • Chuck explains that, "Actually, I only wear purple because my father loathed it." It sounded like "loved it," and I had to use my SAT English reasoning skills to understand what on earth Chuck was saying. THAT'S why he wears purple?
  • Serena's plan sounds perfectly reasonable to Blair! And they even throw in a Daily Intel ref. Soon enough they'll be throwing in a becklectic ref, I know it. Soon enough.
  • The protesters outside Chuck's hotel are yelling "Boycott! Boycott!"
  • Would Blair say "Christian Louboutins" or just "Louboutins?" Come on, Blair, did you just get rich yesterday?
  • Serena's lacy figure-skater dress is pretty gross tonight, and Jenny's dress sort of echoes it. I think they're setting Jenny up to mirror Serena in a lot of ways. More on this later.
  • Lily and Chuck both get shunned at the Historical Society - and they turn to each other as best friends. In fact, Lily and Chuck might be the best best friends ever.
  • Ugh, Jack Bass. Hey, Rufus comes to Lily's defense just when he needs to! Good job, dumb Rufus.
  • Jenny to Nate: "Go away, traitor." I like this teenage Jenny. She's so moody and bratty. It's a constant reminder that she's the only baby left on the show, and she can't seem to grow up. I was sort of hoping Nate's talking-to would get through to Jenny, and they'd be best friends. Then I would get to compose a new chart of GG characters and who is now best friends with whom.
  • Whoa, Damian decked Nate! Colin: "I have a feeling that won't be the only time that happens at this function."
  • Cut to dumb Rufus facing away from the people at the party as his daughter and her punch-happy boyfriend make the loudest escape ever. Rufus could have his own movie called Genius Dad. It would be a child wish-fulfillment movie about a seriously underqualified dad and the hijinx his kids get into. Sort of like Camp Nowhere.
  • Jack slips in and suggests that he'll take over the hotel operations just as Chuck's lawyer advises him to step down while he's under fire. This episode should be called "Right Place, Right Time, Quiet Shoes." Seriously, every character entrance is like, "oop, I just got here and heard everything...ooooopsies for you."
  • Did Damian just say he would give Jenny a real reason to thank him? Now I'm puking and I'll never stop. That is grosser than the grossest SVU premise. Gross, Damian, you are horrible.
  • Give the company to Lily. Chuck's reason for not wanting the Bass money to bail him out is completely unfounded and illogical. That doesn't even make sense. Let Lily take over again, just like she did a year ago. A-Duh. The writers should've had Lily be involved in the sexual harassment suit, too, and then there'd be a real reason she couldn't take over.
  • "Jenny, why don't we talk about this...after? Mkay?" Damian, whoever writes your lines is amazingly talented. Could they be improvised?
  • Why does Jenny lie to Serena about what she didn't do with Damian? Does she think Serena called Rufus to the coffee shop? Has she forgotten the ice cream so quickly?
  • Chuck's mom's dress is a horrible pillowcase looking piece of poop. AND RIGHT HERE, I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
  • Why is Lily lying about getting more cancer screening tests for her mother with Dr. van der Woodsen? She could easily say, "Here, this is what's going on with my ailing mother. This is why I went to see my ex-husband in the first place." Oh, but I guess Rufus wouldn't get it. Too dumb.
  • Did Danessa agree to go public? Who cares?
  • I called it, Chuck's mom was in for the long con. WHAT A SLEAZE! And I totally called it.
  • NEXT WEEK'S PROMO: Oh no, Agnes the model is back. This is some big trouble! I think I saw a 90210 like this - some short haired blonde girl puts drugs in Brendan's drink. I have a feeling Agnes is Jenny's Georgina.
As promised, here are a few similarities between Jenny and Serena:
  • I read the wikipedia article about the Gossip Girl books and see that Jenny's supposed to be very short and full of boobs. Instead, she's tall, leggy, and blonde, just like Serena.
  • One's got a Georgina, one's got an Agnes.
  • Both seem to just do the exact opposite of what their parents say.
  • Both have kissed Nate.
  • There will be more solid similarities later, I promise.
The Dirty Dancing references lacing the episode are pretty gross and sad - Jenny listens to "I've Had the Time of my Life" after sullenly lying to Serena, and she "downloads" the movie only to compare Rufus to Jerry Orbach. Come on. Jerry Orbach was a legend.

My predictions for next week:
  • As we saw in the promo, Jenny's going to get drugged, and she'll probably get into even bigger trouble with Rufus. She's headed straight for boarding school, just like Serena.
  • Danessa will be boring, still.
  • Nate and Serena will celebrate their love for the entire hour.
  • This whole Jack/Chuck's mom fiasco won't end without the Blair-Jack Mistake coming to light. It will be hard, and Blair and Chuck might not end the season together, but then again they might make up. And they'll at least get back together next season, I bet.
  • If Chuck and Blair got freed up, Chuck could easily date Serena or even Vanessa, but whom would Blair date? She's already gone back to Nate too many times, and she'd never go anywhere near Dan. Poor Blair!
  • Blair and Rufus? Gross, she'd never, ever.
  • I can't wait for Serena's dad to come. Surely he'll come soon!
Until next week, I will be fuming over the mop-top return of Jack Bass. He'll get his, but it might take a while.

15 March 2010

Little J Does Her Best To Flush Her Life Down the Toilet

This week's Gossip Girl showed us an awkward NYU day-party, a gang of teens trying to reunite Bass & Fisher Mothering Co., and Jenny's new-found "foreign relations." We also continued to ogle Nate and Serena's honeymoon, which is losing no steam as the weeks go by. And Rufus and Lily - I truly hope they kept some of those confiscated pills they were pretending to flush upstairs. They could use some recreation right about now.
  • Damian starts out the show with "No rest for the wicked." Now THAT is a character. Not even season 1 Chuck would say something like that. It's so campy!
  • I'm shocked to see Jenny kissing this arm's length drug dealer. Her bluff from last week seems to have worked! He's conning her, mark my words. PS I like very-clean-faced Jenny, but my favorite Jenny is still the one who put on a guerrilla fashion show with Agnes Andrews, troubled model.
  • Kitchen sex? In the morning? No.
  • And Blair tries to one-up them by shouting bored noises from Chuck's room, fully dressed (jewels and all), reading a magazine.
  • Does Chuck have a picture of Serena in his room?

From farther away, it looks more like Rachael Zoe. But it's funnier here because it looks just like Serena's hair.

Also, apparently Lily has a big picture of Blair up in her house. What are all these Huge Woman-Face Pieces?
  • Prediction Correct: Blair is forlorn about Chuck spending any time with his mom. I knew it. But I'm extremely pleased with where this went.
  • I was hoping that Vanessa truly was not into Dan. That would be something. Especially because I don't want to have to watch their Hipster Love unfold for the next few weeks. Dan's so unappealing these days - like he's ultra tired and no longer creative. Did you know that in the books, he was an aspiring poet? I just found out from Wikipedia. Also he questioned his sexuality? Yes?????
  • Nate fetches Chuck's phone and is a horrible liar, of course. Blair is so many steps ahead of Nate, it's ridiculous. It's like he's a baby and she's a 40-year-old. Or it's like Blair and Chuck are the mom and dad, and Nate is the happy dog.
  • This NYU Party. This is a huge issue for me. The partygoers are fully costumed an hour before the party starts (which is much earlier than the actual arrival time of any college partygoer). The party seems to be taking up most of the sunlit day (if the cross-cut Chuck storyline is contemporaneous), and there are only 7 extras there, and they're drinking out of colored novelty glasses with umbrellas in them. I don't think I've been to a party that put-together in my entire life, and I have friends with pools in their backyards. And a novelty photo-wall with cut-out heads? Student Council much?
  • Vanessa's date is gay, and I thought we already went over this in the Constance School production of Vanity Fair (was that what it was?), when Serena fell for the gay director.
  • As Rufus yells at Jenny, he brings out the full "Jennifer." Whoaoa, she's in trouble! At least he didn't bring in the "Tallulah" part.
  • During the family-trap lunch, Serena gives the waiter a hard time about bringing out their drinks and bread. (a) It's nice to see rich people treat waiters badly, because you get to glimpse reality there, and (b) Blair retorts, "you haven't eaten bread since middle school." Hilarious, also very real. Except we saw them on a bread & salad date last week.
  • Another Prediction Correct: Chuck writes out a check before his mother says one word to him. "If it's all the same to you, why don't we skip to the end of the story?" I sure do wish she had torn it up, though. Although that might have been too much.
  • Did anyone else notice how much Jenny's eyelids fluttered when she claimed the pills as hers? I was pretty sure she was about to faint.
  • It's hard to tell whether Lily bought Damian's story. She clearly didn't, but her face was so convinced. Hm!
  • Did Jenny just say, "I may be a bitch, but I'm not a li'l bitch?" What does that mean?
  • Remember last week, when it was crossing the line for Blair to go see Fisher alone? Now Serena's doing it. She's got power and no one can deny it. If she wants to have a one-on-one with your estranged mother, she most certainly will.
  • At least their talk uncovered Bart's true feelings towards his son: He loved him! Hooray!
  • Vanessa and Dan finally agree that they're "ruining [their] friendship by not hooking up." Such emotional intelligence there. Such eager convincing.
  • Why on earth is Rufus breaking up the family? It's like getting back together with Lily doesn't register as Adult Marriage for him. They're just teenagers again, running away from each other and kissing other people. They do have some children to take care of, right? How often can Jenny get uprooted? Are they trying to spur on another raccoon eyes period?
  • There's a red light coming into Blair and Chuck's room - is this his hotel's Red Light District suite? Quel romantique!
  • Vanya is Jerry from Heavyweights. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I do know I'll be mentioning it everyday for the rest of my life from now on. Vanya...is...Jerry. COME ON, YOU DEVIL LOG!
  • Serena gets closure on her father issues by calling him to tell him off. Isn't the idea of closure that it doesn't matter what the other person gets out of it? I thought the main idea was that you are through with it, so much that you don't have to have the last word. I guess you sometimes have to call to get there. Except this call will only beckon Baldwin van der Woodsen closer...to my extreme delight.
  • Chuck and his mom sit down together and smile. That's warming. Once when I worked at Starbucks, I saw a 12-year old boy crack his mother up. It was really, really great to see.
  • But then Blair turned and smiled at the camera like the credits of That Girl. Blair, you'll find your groove again someday. At least you're not wearing berets anymore.
Further predictions for the episode to come:
  • I notice that Jenny will clearly be losing her virginity to this Damian fellow. I called this long ago but foolishly didn't publish my prediction. Let us hope that she doesn't get pregnant with the spawn of satan.
  • Serena's dad won't be here next week, but the episode will be all about his communication with Lily about his plans to come back. This will further enrage Rufus with jealousy. It's times like these I wish Lily's 80s spinoff worked, because I gotta know what went on between Rufus and Serena/Eric's dad. It was probably harsh.
  • Dan and Vanessa will be very, very boring. Their couple name will be Danessa. See? Boring already.
  • Nate and Serena ought to get into some trouble. Maybe they can start working on how to get Damian out of the picture. Or they could just keep doing it all the time, further angering the Committee of Parents Who Hate the TV I Watch.
  • Chuck and his mom - what's going on here? Is it a long-con? Is she going to make a power play for the Bass Empire? Did she have a past with Lily or Rufus? Will Jenny latch on to her, as she's the only interested parent around? Or will Jenny latch on to Serena's dad, only to get into the second worst romantic relationship of her life?
  • Rufus, Vanessa, stop kidding yourselves. Let's just see where it goes.
That's it! Thanks for reading my thoughts on Gossip Girl. You know you love them. xoxo, etc.

14 March 2010

Two New Tool Academies!

As I wait for my roommates to wake up on this First Day of Daylight Saving Time, I find myself watching Goldmember and wishing I had more Michael Caine in my life. Should I re-watch Blame It On Rio? Or is it as simple as finally purchasing Dirty Rotten Scoundrels? Oh, Lady Fanny, of Omaha. Of course.

The Tools have to watch their girlfriends get married - and I have amazingly high expectations for the Toolette/boyfriend ceremony. Last season, when Big John observed this exercise, he punched through a glass lantern and got kicked off several episodes later for the offense. Today, Neandertool refuses to sit down, and he stands at the altar swearing in front of the Tool Academy Chaplain. Wow, he really can't understand that this is a fictional illustration. His girlfriend counters, "what do you think, we're gonna get freaky right here?" "Do what you gotta do, Christie. Do what you gotta do."

I'm remembering that last year's challenge was more about going on dates with these non-Tools (and getting respected by them), which is more threatening than a fake wedding where the only words exchanged are vows. And yet Toolette can't stand it, and neither can Teary Tool. As Loony Tool's girlfriend asks her fake husband never to be distracted, Loony suddenly jumps up because there's a mouse next to him. The Married Tools had their wedding in her mom's kitchen!

Guess Who's Hosting a Dinner Party: The Tools have to grocery-shop and cook for their girlfriends, and Neandertool is surprisingly attentive until he isn't ("Christie loves salmon, she loves asparagus, she loves mushrooms...and that was actually the meal that we had after the first time we had sex, so hopefully she can connect the dots"). Lol, Teary Tool cried from chopping onions! After dozen of so Top Chef edits, and they all sit down to dinner, and my roommates and I simultaneously realize that borrowing from other popular reality shows is a great insurance policy.

During dinner, Married Tool is all over his wife, and it's the same with Lesbian Tool. They refuse to give their damn things a rest, and it's hard to watch. Especially when you realize that Mrs. Tool isn't always surrounded by cameras and bodyguards.

Kyle and Christie work out together, and it's a problem for Teary Tool's girlfriend, who is currently in the Conjugal Visitation Room. I guess somebody has to keep up Meth Tool Girlfriend's High Standards of Polite Society. Although they've won the rights, the Teary Tools refrain from intimacy. Instead, Teary girlfriend has to save up all her energy for screaming at Neandertool's girlfriend for the rest of the night.

It gets clearer and clearer how much the girlfriends mirror their tools. Neandertool's girlfriend consistently instigates with the safety of her size, and Teary Tool's girlfriend constantly cries and hits her peak emotional level. At judging, we see that both Neander and Teary have passed with flying colors. Or at least, the producers want to keep watching their girlfriends fight.

The final two are the handsy ones from dinner. Married Tool gets agitated when Lady Lovin starts "breathin' like a rhino." It's abundantly clear that he should be going home, but when the time comes, it's Toolette #2 that walks outside to meet her girlfriend...and the fate of their relationship.

This girlfriend is UPSET, and probably for good reason. Lady Lovin' Tool chases the limo, which is the first time I've seen that level of commitment from a tool. I'm really sad to see Lady Lovin' go. She left a better woman than when she started.

and as if one recap of Tool Academy a week wasn't enough, vh1 had to throw another new episode into the mix!

It looks like the tools are going to badmouth each other in therapy today, and to what benefit? To give us the George & Martha of all the Tool Academy therapy sessions, of course. The tools and their girlfriends must assign the other couples to given superlatives, none of them nice. Everyone agrees that Boyband Tool can't support his girlfriend, and I'm suddenly realizing that you can wear the sleeve of a t-shirt as a headband. The tools, of course, knew all along.

They should probably be handling this exercise anonymously, right? It seems like that might be the way this kind of thing usually goes. But no, we get to watch the Teary Tools and the Neandertools duke it out over every single superlative. "Hugest Jerk Couple," "Most Phony Couple," I would use real examples, but who would notice the difference?

When I was hoping for a Nice with Nice trade-up (Toolette's boyfriend with Neandertool's girlfriend), I had no clue what a complete jerk she was. She's super sneaky and mean to the point of nearly betraying her several insecurities. It can be a rude awakening to remember that the girlfriends can be just as toolish as their counterparts and usually are. Eventually Married Tool calls someone out for "triflin!" That's the same as therapy's end-of-class bell.

Loony Tool's girlfriend decides not to date her 3x DUI boyfriend anymore, without any elimination having to do with it. Meanwhile, Neandertool gives Teary a piece of his mind while enjoying a bagel with cream cheese. The tools put on uniforms and go to finance class, and the tattooed teacher, Larry Winget, really wins over Married Tool. He turns from "he look like a skinhead" to "That dude's a hustler, legally. I love it."

The Teary Tools win the challenge again, and against my roommate Colin's fervent warning, Teary brings up all the wrong stuff during his limo date by talking about his audition video's worst moments. Colin: "Shouldn't have taken it there." Simultaneously, Loony Tool and his girlfriend are going through divorce therapy, and Loony admits that he's got a girl on the side.
Trina: Do you still have hope for the relationship, after this?
Loony Tool's Girlfriend: No, of course not, no.

Loony Tool is gone, yet they're expelling another tool as well. Double Eliminationsies! Boyband Tool has to toot during elimination but is nervous about it, this being maturity week. The event was so funny, it instigated a 10-minute roommate panic session of trying to capture the best shot of Boyband's face as he weighs consequences. This was it.

(Note the pleasure in his eyes)

Neandertool and Boyband make up the Bottom Two, and "bottom" and "two" are both clues towards who loses. I'm sad to see Boyband Tool go simply because he most resembled the Tool Academy silhouette. His girlfriend stays with him because she must want to pay him a competitive salary forever. That's true love.

It should be noted that within two episodes, all three girls that defended Teary Tool's girlfriend during her kerfuffle with Neandertool's girlfriend have been eradicated. I am very very nervous for Teary Tool next week. She might get beaten up.

08 March 2010

Gossip Girl Comes Back!

Gossip Girl returned on Monday, after three long months of I guess Christmas holidays. Somehow Nate and Serena have started dating, and they take it slow and don't take it slow throughout the episode. The ambassador's drug dealing son Damian is still around, executing needlessly intricate drug deals (this time in identical shrugs) and welcoming Jenny once more into the land of Women (which Nate had already done for 1.5 episodes). Chuck's Hurt Locket reveals that his mother (the woman from Mulholland Drive) isn't dead, as previously thought! And obviously, Dan reads self-help blogs when he's not too busy IMing on the sidewalk like a blind person.

and now for my thoughts in list form:
  • I like this music that plays out the first few scenes. It's plunky and somehow relates to Damian's no-good plans for Serena as well as to Chuck's first locket-related investigative steps. They didn't credit this music at the end, just triplet emo songs about surfing or something.
  • At one point, Jenny says "Thank you" to Damian. His response? A bemused "Mh!"
  • Lily asks Jenny if she knows when Rufus will come home, and Jenny, FINALLY realizing she's a teenager, rolls her eyes and annoyed, says, "Just call him and ask."
  • Would someone explain to me where Serena and Nate are? With this couch?
  • EVERYONE's going to this French Ambassador dinner. Chuck, because he's rich? Nate, because he's got an influential family? Serena, because she is also rich? What do they have to do with the French Ambassador? Is it a birthday party for the French Ambassador's drug-recipient daughter? That would make perfect sense.
  • When Jenny confronts Damian about taking Serena to the...dance?...he defends himself by saying, "I don't know about that...she's the one who asked me...so..." He's pretty amazing.
  • Chuck keeps canceling on Blair's social introduction to a secret club - this is the most selfishly he's acted since his roof dancing. I hope his regression into immaturity makes Blair grow up a little bit. Their relationship is like that.
  • Blair's Thrilled Face when she sees that Serena's there with Damian. I love Blair. Someone should probably mention to Serena, however, that dating a second person is not quite "taking it slow" with the first one.
  • I always forget about Dan's cabbage patch doll!
  • Chuck, wondering if his mother truly died: "What if she didn't? What if it was just another of my father's many lies?"
  • No matter how much I wish for it, I will never be the sort of middle-aged woman who sits in front of the fire with a glass of chardonnay, waiting for the action to come. There will always be a television on in my version.
  • Rufus angrily leaves Lily's apartment, without having received an explanation for the kiss that she shared with her kids' dad. Then he goes to some stranger's apartment. Who is this woman? Is she supposed to be Vanessa's mom? No, she lives in the building. In the hotel? Where do they live, again?
So that's the story. Gossip Girl is back, and everyone's changing partners. For some reason I didn't have any watching notes on Serena and Nate's coat room foray...I think you'll just have to watch it to get the full gist of it. At any rate, the way things are now, everyone's headed for a world of hurt.

In fact, I have a few predictions:
  • Chuck's mom will be out for money, and then we'll find out that she's really the mother's identical twin sister, because how could Chuck's mother show up just to ask for money?
  • Rufus and this Stranger Woman will get married, and Lily will marry the Ambassador whose son is currently corrupting her step-daughter.
  • Serena and Nate will kind of date for a few episodes, and Dan and Vanessa will sort of date, but then after about a month, they'll switch back to Dan/Serena & Nate/Vanessa. These things happen.
  • Jenny will go to jail, big time. Especially since she never goes to school anymore.
  • Eric will get into F.I.T. and that will drive Jenny even crazier!!
  • Blair and Chuck will get married and/or pregnant.
  • Nate will get involved with Chuck's mom, as he is powerless against cougars.
  • Serena will go back to Carter Baizen? Remember how that went nowhere? Maybe it'll come back!
  • Oh yeah, SERENA'S DAD IS COMING!!!!! This is going to be a doozy! William Baldwin, you will be up to no good, and we all know it. Good luck!
c/o Hello! Magazine

My Final Oscar Tally

8 winners out of 24 categories. I like those odds!

07 March 2010

New Oscar Game Rule

It's abundantly clear that a rule should have been: Drink when someone kisses James Cameron's derriere.

PS my count is very very bad right now - 6/17. eeeeeeeesh

More Oscar Snacks

For dinner we will be having Up Talking [Hot] Dogs.

John Hughes

I never realized how much every John Hughes movie is my close-to-favorite movie.

Molly Ringwald, Are You Frightened?

Her eyes are so big and unblinking. And she's wearing doodles on her arms!

My Win Tally

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz...+1
Best Animated: Up...+1
Best Song: Crazy Heart...+1

Drink: Layer Dip Namesake

The Real Hosts

I think Martin and Baldwin were buckled into their airborne stand because they started out trashed.

Alec Baldwin's Gems So Far:
  • Invictus covers Martin's two favorite things: Rugby and tensions between blacks and whites.
  • That cut-away of James Cameron has already earned $3 million.
  • (After being corrected about Jennifer Garner being married to Ben Affleck, not Matt Damon) You are so naive.
Drink: George Clooney's face.

Neil Patrick Harris?!

The Oscars are now being hosted by NPH, I guess! I like it!

Oscar Night Snacks

Around 2pm today, when I realized that I would be watching the Oscars from the safety of my own home, I scrambled to throw together an appropriate Oscar night snack. Now, 4 minutes before the Oscars, I can safely say that I have put together a great snack. The idea came from my roommate Zach:

District 9-Layer Dip

The layers are, from the top:
1. Dusting of cumin
2. Melted cheese dip
3. Sliced black olives
4. Sliced green onions
5. Diced tomatoes
6. Sprinkling of garlic salt and lime juice
7. Taco seasoning sauce
8. Diced avocados
9. Refried beans

Oscar Drinking Game

Just in case you don't have an Oscar Night drinking game yet, my roommates and I have come up with one of our own for the evening. Feel free to play along with us! First, you have to make your predictions for each category using either a ballot (like this from imdb) or out loud before the winner is announced. Then:

1. Drink if you were wrong.
2. If you're the only one who was right, you get to make up a rule.
3. Drink if someone un/wittingly says something laughable.
4. Start drinking when music starts playing someone off, and don't stop until that person stops talking.
5. Drink when a nominee makes a good face at the camera.

More rules to come!

What I Think Of The Oscars

Charlize Theron's dress looks like Kirby is feeling her up.

06 March 2010

Zach Galifianakis, The Funniest Man On Earth

Last night, Zach Galifianakis blew SNL out of the water. It was astounding. He is the funniest man on earth. My cheeks still hurt from smiling for a solid 90 minutes. Zach Galifianakis, you are it.

After a very long cold open about the popularity of health care reform, ZG had the best monologue I've ever seen. "It's great to be back hosting SNL...no?" He came up with 7 or 8 hilarious explanations for his costume ("lighthouse keeper," "homeless professor"), then hopped on the piano for even more hilarity. He ended by proclaiming that "Hoobastank is here!" Tell me, who is as effortlessly funny as ZG? No one. To prove it, I'll copy/paste a few of the notes I took during the monologue:

"that is hilarious. why is he so funny? ... He makes me laugh so much!... THIS IS THE BEST SNL THERE'S EVER BEEN. at the piano he just keeps saying funny stuff. It's amazing."

Immediately following the monologue, there's the hugest Hey Jenny alert of the year - she's the unsuspecting girlfriend brought to meet the Make Out Family this time around. This iteration was better than ever. They moved the family to a Greek Orthodox funeral, and literally a thousand new amazing ideas came out of it. Bill Hader french kissed a dog (like the dog from Eloise), Fred Armisen french kissed a corpse, and Jenny Slate made some FUNNY faces. The Vogelczecks have a family motto: "Never say you're sorry, and never admit you're wrong." Just watch it!

Oh man, next was the bidet sketch, and my raucous laughter continued. Two very reserved, high-class individuals (ZG and Wiig) asked a bellhop (Samberg) several discrete questions about the bidet in their luxury suite. They were trying to keep their horrible plans secret from the bellhop, but it was clear that they were up to something both weird and dependent on a functional bidet. Bidet!

ZG has been on television for a long time, as documented in a montage of him appearing on every show in history. Trust me, it was hilarious. It also came in handy after the commercial break, when Kathie Lee brought him in from outside the Today Show studio to set him up with Hoda. This was the funniest Kathie Lee sketch there's been in a long time. She talked about dressing up her Franzia box as Frank, and sang "nobody knowwws the differrrrrence" to the tune of Carly Simon's eternal Bond hit. Tasers had no effect on her. THIS IS THE GREATEST SNL OF THE ENTIRE SEASON!

Vampire Weekend, I watched all of you. Wow!

Weekend Update Update:
  • Becky loves a great LOST reference, plus Becky still wants healthcare reform
  • "It's not often you find someone in Washington willing to pose for his own political cartoon."
  • Kenan did a guest spot as Monique and this is the best he's ever looked.
  • They obtained the audio from a recent goat chase and it's the Benny Hill song
  • Will Forte was a fan of Women's Herstory Month and sang a really well constructed song about Women's Herstory and how much the high schools who wouldn't buy the rights to it are jerks. This is just one of Will Forte's amazing fortes.
What Up With That? came on after the break, with Paul Rudd, the NY Times' Frank Rich (Simon's dad?), and Lindsey Buckingham (Katherine's perennial favorite). Jason Sudeikis danced in slow motion and ZG performed an outstanding double flute solo in a light peach body suit. As always, Lindsey Buckingham was graceful after losing his interview slot. What a guy! Afterwards, Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room did a special on college frat guys.

Vampire Weekend Update: still great. I have long wondered if the drummer was the mystery man from my Columbia University Umbrella Story: I was walking back from a sociology class in the rain when suddenly an umbrella opened over me. The guy holding it said it looked like I could use the umbrella. His name was Chris, and he walked me back to my dorm. I said thanks, then promptly forgot his face and never got his last name. I have hated myself for years for not being able to figure out who this person was. And all I'm saying is, the drummer's name is Chris. Could be?

The final sketch of the night was a Pageant Dad's talk show. Jenny Slate played ZG's braindead daughter, and Kristen Wiig was his angry, ashtray-throwing beard. It's worth a watch, and I'll post the link as soon as I can find it.

There is no way I could possibly decide on my favorite line of the night. Suffice it to say that Zach Galifianakis is the funniest man on earth, and literally everything he said was my favorite. And what luck: I just found out John Lutz is married, so it looks like there's a new opening in my crush department. Yoo hoo, Zach!

05 March 2010

The Tool Least Modest

Last Sunday's Tool Academy focused on modesty, and each tool's obligatory self-portrait was almost as sad as the accompanying explanation. Neandertool was so confused, he didn't even realize that he assured Trina (Licensed Couples Therapist) that he was just saying what she wanted to hear. Boy Band Tool drew himself as a robot, and Teary Tool wept from shame at a huge secret from his past (he was poor growing up). He introduced it as melodramatically as Michael Scott from The Office: "What I'm about to tell you is one of the hardest things...I could probably say. It's a big family secret." Trina helped him through it "Big Time," then tried to counsel Meth Tool until it became abundantly clear that he would benefit from several sessions' worth of actual therapy.

Their challenge for the week was to sit behind a 2-way mirror, watching focus group participants rag on their audition tapes. The focus group itself seemed to have been cast with Real World rejects and that Asian ex-prostitute from Reno 911 (whose best advice went to Mrs. Married Tool: "He's not gonna change until he's ready. So you know what? Bye! Peace! Divorce! Bye!"). Suddenly, three fights erupted at once! Loony Tool stormed out embarrassed at the focus group's comments, then Neandertool flexingly reminded Toolette's boyfriend not to talk to his girlfriend, then the Meth Tools got into a fistfight. Meanwhile, Toolette was squawking in the corner like she was animatronic.

Trina jumped in and saved the day ("She's like the emotional SWAT team, man"), and the rest of the challenge wrapped up with minimal posturing. The comments got rough enough that Trina had to visit the tools at home afterwards to re-explain the exercise as a journey through modesty. Her shirt happened to spill open, revealing a tan, freckled flat expanse of skin, but none of the tools were impressed. What if this show were actually about Cougar Trina's quiet hunt for prey? That would make everything different and nothing different, all at the same time.

In the end, Meth Tool flunked the Academy for reasons totally unrelated to the Modesty merit badge. For the love of God, please keep this person in therapy. He broke up with his girlfriend ("Can't expect me to turn a ho into a housewife"), who might have also been his baby-mama. Ostensibly he went back to the closed-door room in his grandma's house to practice rave sticks for another few years. Trina, do you do pro-bono? Would you? Please?

My dvr didn't record next week's promo, but I would guess that Neandertool is ready to try to beat up Toolette's boyfriend. He's probably not ready to realize that her boyfriend has clearly done a stint in the military. Tool fight!

04 March 2010

Who Is This Serena Van Der Woodsen Lookalike?

In honor of Gossip Girl's long-awaited return this Monday (at 9/8 central), I'd like to share this photo I saw on tv. She looks like Blake, right? IT'S GENA ROWLANDS.