24 August 2011

Four New Walking Dead Teasers Leave Much To Be Brainsired

According to Spinoff Online, AMC's The Walking Dead has put out four new teasers. These teasers, meant to induce salivation in loyal viewers and to pique interest in the previously uninterested, are actually just tiny lumps of forgettable poop. Except for the shot that looks out of the RV window to see scores of disoriented zombies. Awesome!


18 August 2011

Please Stop Chalking Up Your Raging Idiocy To Being From Georgia

First it was Nancy Grace getting "flamenco" wrong on Celebrity Jeopardy. Now it's Allen West defending his nonsensical hypothesis on chocolate chip ice cream and converting one's own sexuality. Both said silly or otherwise inflammatory things in public and chalked it up to being from Georgia, and I for one would like to put an end to that whole business.

Here is Nancy Grace on Jeopardy:

Of course there's an accent issue for people from the South, but it's about i's and e's, not g's and c's. "Flaminco" would probably have been judged correct. But instead, Nancy Grace's answer is totally wrong, and then she gets belligerent and passes the blame, like it's not her genius brain's fault she said something wrong. Like everyone from Georgia should be expected to replace vocabulary words with pink bird names basically every other sentence. I think what bothers me here is that Nancy's "I'm from Georgia!" comment doesn't seem to be about pronunciation - it seems to be about her opinion that Georgians can't be expected to care about the difference between "flamingo" and "flamenco." WHEN SO CLEARLY, NANCY, THEY CAN.

Then there's this whole Allen West thing. Here is a video of it. I don't think it includes all the ice cream and scooter stuff, so here's the original quotation I first read on The Hairpin:
I like chocolate chip ice cream, and I will continue to like chocolate chip ice cream. So there's no worry about me changing to vanilla. I like to, you know, ride my motorcycle. What do you want me to do? You want me to change my behavior and ride a scooter? I'm not into that. People can change their sexual behavior. And I've seen people do that. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, so I've seen a very different perspective on human behaviors. So that's where I'm coming from on that.
Is Atlanta the go-to place for Stop Being Gay camps? While I'm sure there are a few in Georgia, I'm sure there are a few in most states, and we'd rather keep them all quiet. And while I'm familiar with Atlanta's relationship to conservatism, I'm also familiar with Atlanta's huge, growing number of gay night clubs. Not personally, but Kit Kat told me about it so it must be true. I'm not saying that anything else Allen West says makes sense - of course it doesn't - but by the time he gets to being from Atlanta, it's hard to understand what his childhood taught him. Perhaps that the gay Atlantans he was acquainted with were more rigid with their ice cream preferences, not like these weak willed, I'll-even-eat-Neapolitan gays.

To excuse my mistakes with "I'm from Georgia!" would be a clear indication that I'm out of touch with my stomping grounds. When I was growing up, most of the adults I knew were at least interested in literacy. They discussed novels with obvious enjoyment and told jokes that required a reasonably broad knowledge base. Their opinions might have been different from mine, but not because they were incapable of forming logical thoughts. Please, Nancy Grace and Allen West, stop. Please stop chalking up your raging idiocy to being from Georgia.

14 August 2011

Playing Possum: The Ballad Of Deena & Pauly D

When last we left our favorite roommates, they were in the middle of a monstrously incestuous night at Club Otel. Sitch alternated pulling kisseroos and huggaroos on Snooki while Deena negotiated a makeout with Pauly D. So opens episode 2; so suffer the little children.

Back home from the club, Deena pulls a small marionette out of her purse and dances drunkenly with it in the living room until finally mustering the courage to visit Pauly's room with no pants on (i.e. Deena's best thing). Pauly pretends to be asleep until she leaves (still with no pants on), then breathes a heavy sigh - not quite of relief, since he knows it's only the beginning, but of temporary reprieve nonetheless. It occurs to me that I can't tell if Deena knows he's faking, and I can't tell which would be worse: for her to shuffle around completely ignorant of Pauly's repulsion, or for her to know exactly what's going on but to continue to go after him anyway. Unfortunately for everyone, the second scenario is a bittersweet haiku of how these things usually do work in reality. Poor, poor Deena. Poor, poor unloved lovers.

The next morning, Sammi volunteers herself and Deena to cook Sunday dinner. She proceeds to smear a lot of different things on a tray and call it "a concoction." It plays out exactly like that Full House where Michelle makes like, tunafish ice cream for her cooking merit badge. In fact, that's probably where Sammi got the idea in the first place -- a lost episode of Full House hidden away in her memory. Yet another reason I watch this show: these people and I shared a childhood. We started out together yet became so different, as though an alternate universe split off and somehow created guidos instead of snarky, anemic bloggers. Will our paths converge again?

Snooki wakes up in the late afternoon and calls her boyfriend Jionni, who immediately screams at her for not calling sooner. Hearing the commotion, Situation slinks over to the phone area so he can listen in and eventually tell her to hang up on him. He then touches her knees for a long time, until an old-timey italian pizzeria owner calls and makes them come into their first day of work. Does this mean they all have work visas? In the end it's not an issue. Snooki pats a lump of dough like a baby's bottom for a few hours, and then they all go home.

That night at the club, Ronnie gets extremely drunk extremely quickly. He brags about flying a girl out to Italy, and I can tell you this because I could actually read the captions that are normally covered up by mtv's extraneous "corner" logos. As of this episode, the captions move over to the side when logos come up! They might have been doing that for a while already.

Finally, finally, Sammi and Ronnie get into their first fight. It never actually comes to fruition, thanks to Ronnie's refusal to engage. But it bears the full weight of Sammi's bruised ego, now that she's heard Ronnie plans on bringing lots of ladies home. To relax, Ronnie jacuzzis with Vinny. They notice that the water jets move their bodies ever closer to each other. It pleases me that bromance is becoming more low-key. Ronnie and Vinny are comfortable floating next to each other, making minimal jokes about the fact that it's happening. No one brings up boners or homosexuality or even the word "bromance." How refreshing!

At dinner Pauly somehow makes Deena feel stupid. He buys her a bracelet and apologizes. A fist-pumping Pinocchio plays a large part in the scene. They go to the club again that night, and the boys encounter girls who might be too young for them. How can they tell if a girl is too young? "If she's got a basket on her bicycle," "if parental controls are still on the tv in her bedroom," "if she only owns Snow White on dvd," or "if her Keds still light up." They stand on the shoulders of Foxworthian giants and everyone wins! Seriously, that Snow White one is great.

Back at home, Sammi tries to cuddle with Ronnie. He's tempted, but he's also more interested in being sodomized by a "spiked bat." I feel like Sammi would indulge that, but she doesn't because these crazy kids are finally becoming more cautious, thank goodness. If only that made for good television.

Next week, Deena pulls a robbery on one of the guys and walks away with his girl. A fascinating adaptation to her perpetually disappointing relationships with men. The Ballads of Deena continue!

photos courtesy mtv.com

08 August 2011

The Jersey Shore Goes To Italy

The general convention among recappers is to try to get the old review up at least by the day after the episode airs. However, sometimes a recap requires much more thought than one mere dizzying night can provide. So far, season 4 of The Jersey Shore has given me a lot to think about.

Things have changed since chapter one of The Jersey Shore Chronicles. At first it was a Real World-style show about "guidos," a social group traditionally unacknowledged by the rest of America despite its innate look-at-me peacockery. Call it Real World on a cocktail of steroids, acid, and hot pink leopard print. Fitting right into zany Seaside Heights, the cast came off as cartoonish and hilarious to the rest of the world. These people said stupider things on their own than any writer could ever dare to present to an actor. They gave themselves nicknames to further remove themselves from reality. The joy was that the show was both real (these people actually live their lives this way) AND fake (these people are aware that they're on camera and naturally want the attention that MTV gives everything else).

As the seasons progressed, down in Miami and then back up to Seaside Heights, it was clear that the gang was becoming more and more self-aware. Now it wasn't just the producers telling them to get into crazy situations - each cast member seemed to have introduced a producer-homunculus into his or her own tanned brain. "Look, a tricycle in a china shop - I better get on it and ride around!" "Yikes, a stalker - public argument time!" Are these thoughts genuine or are they manufactured? In the tricycle case, Snooki probably just really wanted to write a trike. In the case of the stalker, it seems clear that at least one producer (if not also Pauly D's internal Produciny Cricket) prodded the drama along. Real vs. Fake blurs here - where are the guidos making stupid decisions, and where are the producers making them do stupid things? More importantly, does it matter anymore?

And so we arrive at Jersey Shore Season 4, meeting each member of the JS family as they have glamour shot passport pictures taken. Snooki wears Jackie O sunglasses and a huge, floppy hat. Deena turns around and bends over for her picture, thus exposing her asshole directly the passport photographer. Everyone else poses like it's 8th grade graduation day and they're on their way to a pool party, flexing in their trunks. ARE THESE PICTURES ACTUALLY BEING USED FOR REAL PASSPORTS? Obviously not. THEN WHY ARE WE WATCHING THIS? Because of the whole real vs. fake thing. In season one the gang might have been dumb enough to think they could pose for passport ID pictures in silly hats, but it didn't happen then. It happened now. You'd think there would be a general, base-level rise in (at least the availability of) intelligence - as with inflation - but no, Jersey Shore really wants us to believe that the gang is just as silly and absent-minded and show-offy as they ever were. The trick is, they ARE just as silly, but not like this. We are being shown fake versions of already fake, already hilarious characters.

Here is what is fake in reality, rather than fake in fakeness, and thus much funnier: the fact that Snooki has a boyfriend named "Jionni." Jionni is very close to "Gianni," which is how Italians spell their version of "Johnny." Jionni doesn't mean anything. THIS is what we tune into Jersey Shore for. Well, this and Vinny's uncle's advice on dating Italian women: "Check under her arm. If she got-a hair, you good-a to go!"

As Ronnie and Sammi arrive in Rome, the thought occurs to me that I could have had to go to high school with these assholes. The thought describes my distaste perfectly - "Oh God, now I have  to go to math class where Ronnie's going to fartingly terrorize the whole fucking period" - and it also describes how far away I feel from them and why it's even possible to laugh now. Oh, these assholes. Oh, these assholes!

Deena face plants in the airport several times because of all the bags she's "luggaging." She wonders if the boys are "having this much problems." THIS IS REAL/FUNNY. Snooki is pissed that the boys got to the house first and throws a fake tantrum. THIS IS FAKE AND ALSO UNFUNNY. Ronnie and Sammi see each other for the first time in months and are obviously (and wordlessly) hit by a ton of bricks. THIS IS REAL DRAMA. Ronnie and Sammi's totally well-handled hug gets slowed down x100 as chicka-chicka-chunnng music plays it into commercial. THIS IS FAKE DRAMA.

Within the first hour of living in Rome, both Pauly D and Snooki reference King Kong's asshole. To be fair, Pauly D just said something about their front doors being King-Kong sized, but still. You know what he meant. Pauly D is very attractive to Deena this season, and although it hints of real drama, it will look like fake drama when Deenz climbs drunkenly into bed with him, Jersey Turnpikes him, etc. The true drama of the situation will be all the ignoring and arm's-lengthing Pauly will do. As a matter of fact, it's already happening - to avoid speaking to Deena directly, Pauly D pours shots of limoncello for the whole house. "BITTER AND SOUR! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!" bellows Ronnie. 

More REAL drama: the hair dryers are blowing out the villa's vecchio wiring, and no one can get primped for the club. Unfortunately, not much comes of this. They all find places to blow dry in the kitchen or near a corner, and it's fine. Sensing the lull in tension, Ronnie decides to sit on a fragile side table and immediately snaps it into a million pieces. My roommate Brian calls him a bull in a china shop, which is where my "Snooki on a tricycle in a china shop" thing must have come from. Derivation!

More FAKE drama: The Situation is going around telling his loudest-mouthed roommates that he's crushing on Snooki and he expects her to cheat on her boyfriend with him. Cheat on Jionni? But Snooks would have to be absent-minded and generally unaware of all consequences for that to happen! Ohhhh nooooo! It couldn't be more obvious that Sitch is cooking up trouble where there wasn't any before, but that's just the thumb-sized producer living in his brain: "Isn't Snooki looking good this season? Shouldn't you be telling other people about how much you want to bang her? Go ahead, tell the people that aren't Snooki. Look, here's Ronnie. Tell him."

The next day, the girls get lost on their way to breakfast and end up coming back home, where a pigeon flaps menacingly around their heads. Deena is astonished: "Who flies that close?!?!?!" The audacity! What kind of a person flies that close? The kind of person that is A PIGEON.

Later on as Snooki does crunches on the floor (REAL progress), Vinny stands over her wearing only a towel, thereby flashing his uncles. Considering his history with Snooki, it's either a sign of friendship, a partially hidden attempt to entice Snooki, or (literally) a balls-out gesture with little to no thought behind it. REAL stagnation.

More FAKE drama: Deena uses Sammy's hair straightener, only it's REALLY HOT. It's this sort of stupid chicanery that would otherwise turn me off to the show. Why doesn't it? YOU DON'T HAVE TO MAKE UP THE DRAMA, SALLYANN SALSANO. And almost as if Salsano had read and responded to that sentence herself, the Situation pulls Ronnie into the living room and whispers "Iiiiii...kiiiiiiiinda...boinnnnnked...Snoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooks." A) This did not happen. B) Snooki has no capacity to be able to tell if it actually happened or not. C) This all amounts to the wrong kind of drama, but with any luck, it will lead to the right kind of drama: what is the actual nature of Snooki and the Situation's relationship?

At a club where no one speaks English, the nature of their relationship is decidedly rapey and terrible.  All of the roommates struggle not to vomit as they each notice Sitch engulf Snooki. And yet no one notices at all when Deena claims Pauly D's face as her own. What is it about Deena that makes her so difficult to acknowledge as a sexual being? It must be the farce she puts on every time she bends over to do the Turnpike. The whole situation plays like a sad mockery of Pauly D and Jwoww's crazy Season One near-sexcapade. Now that was some REAL sexcapadery.

And so a comparatively boring episode of Jersey Shore takes on a vibrant secret life when cut into cross sections that display the levels of fakeness, realness, fake-seeming realness, and real-seeming fakeness within. The season preview promises several more episodes' worth of actual drama unfolding between Snooki and the Situation, disguised as meaningless hookups and pushy teasing. Also, people get carried out on stretchers at least twice. MAMMA MIA, ANDIAMO!

all photos courtesy mtv.com

04 August 2011


Jersey Shore returns tonight! After all the mild rumors and low-grade public appearances, it's finally happening! And better yet, I saw a list of the All Stars that will be on this coming cycle of ANTM.  WELCOME BACK, LAURA KIRKPATRICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"My me-maw made this leiderhosen blouse for me, but the shoes are fresh from the Goodwill!"