The O.C.

Recalibrating the Cuteness Scale With Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson

Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson are cuteness personified.

Let me attempt for one moment to try and conjure up the appropriate words for how utterly, disgustingly, punch a kitten in the face cute Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson are standing next to each other at The Spike TV Video Game Awards.

Here is the breakdown, cute girl by cute girl:

Rachel Bilson is quite possibly the cutest tiny brunette working in Hollywood right now. No one holds a candle to how adorable she is seducing Chuck Bartowski with a sandwich, reigning in Seth Cohen’s acres of shit, or making Zach Braff seem palatable in the Garden State rip-off. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Rachel Leigh Cook have passed the torch. Ellen Page dropped a cabal of pithy Juno-esque toss-offs before high-tailing it out of the ring to ironically drink a Big Gulp, text Michael Cera and download Rise Against mp3′s, or whatever else stupendously hip thing hipster Canadian indie darlings like to do to show how stupendously hip they are. The inarguably awesome Leighton Meester, currently seen destroying Chuck Bass’ hopes and dreams and dropping her V-Card into Nate Archibald’s khaki pants, put up a Blair Waldorf-inspired fight, but in the end could not hide from the fact that she is in fact a strawberry blonde (and not nearly as awesome as Lily van der Woodsen). And as far as Natalie Portman goes, she’s definitely all-time, but I just can’t sit through her movies anymore, so she’s gonna sit on the sidelines until my insulin levels are regulated again from the trailer for Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

Kristen Bell is apparently on a James Brown “hardest working cute blonde in show business” inspired jaunt through geekdom. Dropping the awesome in Heroes, narrating Gossip Girl, appearing in a Star Wars fanboy movie called Fanboys wherein she dons the infamous gold bikini and thus earns her everlasting cred in the social awkward circles of life, voiced a character for Assassin’s Creed, and wore a freakin awesome yellow Chewbacca shirt to Star Wars Celebration IV this summer that made me nearly go Buffalo Bill and drop her into my secret dungeon well (Veronica Mars puts the lotion in the basket…). That’s all AFTER pwning the TV set with Veronica Mars, and BEFORE her upcoming star turn in 2008′s big Judd Apatow-produced romcom Forgetting Sarah Marshall (where I’m sure she’ll show the good graces not to call the film sexist target=blank, like some other ungrateful / annoying blonde TV tarts who are currently ruining their hit network dramas with obnoxious “sex with George” storylines, and who will remain nameless. cough Heigl cough.)

On their own they could make entire terror cells perform the care bear stare with just a tilt of their head and one sheepish grin, but put together in one place and the two girls become positively radioactive with cuteness. If scientists could bottle their cuteosity in liquid form it would cure feline leukemia and bring fairies back to life faster than a Martin Scorsese Lifetime Achievement Award standing ovation. Put on the Periodic Table of Elements their abbreviation would be Qt.

They are so freakin cute they make baby polar bears look like festering gobs of diarrhea. Rainbows look like hurl next to them. A two year old wearing a tutu and big sunglasses dancing around a golden retriever puppy would be like looking at a particularly spicy genital wart next to a picture of Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson.

This photo would make Quagmire’s head explode. This photo, when placed next to a DVD copy of Patch Adams, goes nuclear and turns the disc into dust like Peter Petrelli and the Shanti virus. I would c-punt a litter of bunnies if this picture asked me to.

This:

Cute Dog.

Might as well look like this:

Ugly Dog.

When up against this:

Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson are cuteness personified.

Good god damn this is the cutest picture of two cute actresses taking a cute picture of two cute actresses being cute. That sentence was a palindrome of cute. The picture deserves it’s own Wikipedia page where under “Related” it gives you a link to entry page for the term “cute”. When confronted with these two girls standing next to each other, the Blake Smoke Monster from Lost would turn pink and cook them fat free brownies.

What I’m saying is that I tend to think Kristen Bell and Rachel Bilson are pretty cute.

Bangarang!

The Jay’s Official Fall TV Schedule

Love this show

With the Fall TV season now a full month in, I have finally seen every new show (save a few insignificant ones – Cane, anyone?), passed judgment on everything and can now reveal my Official TV Watching Schedule. I’ll take you through it day by day, telling you why I like what, and what I’m not watching and why. It’s gonna be a full television disclosure. I’m gonna answer questions like a Lost season finale (only without the crazy fake ass beard).

So sit back, grab your TiVmote and prepare to bloop bloop!

MONDAY

8 p.m.

Chuck – A nice, easy way to start the primetime week. I’m not completely blown away by either the action or the comedy, but I do dig the actors and the attempt at pulling the whole thing together. “Chuck” is a good lead, it’s nice to see Adam Baldwin back on TV (I finally caught up on Firefly this summer and thoroughly enjoyed it), and I can’t get enough of Captain Awesome. I also like how the producers go out of their way to put Yvonne Strahowski in her underwear as much as humanly possible. Why did Sarah have a fight in her slinky grey ass-high robe last week when the outcome was never in jeopardy and there was no reason for the fight to begin with? Who cares, because we got to see a Strahowski blackflip backside peekaboo and it turns out the whole affair was a chickfight between a be-robed Sarah and a red-headed ninja. It’s not even possible to calculate the awesomeness of that gratuitousness. And that’s the type of thing that gets shows season pass-ed in The 209.

How I Met Your Mother – Still a solid sitcom, though they have GOT to find better things for Robin, Lily and Marshall to do. Ted and Barney are doing fine trolling for girls (I was particularly pleased that the season premiere started out with Barney finishing his “Legen… DARY”), but I can’t sit through too many more “Robin has wacky dating hijinks”. Especially if they’re gonna involve skeezy Latin pop stars. Lawyered! Oh, and don’t think for a second that me and A-Train haven’t already purchased our very own championship belt, cause we have. If they can figure out a way to make Marshall and Lily relevant, and a reason for keeping Robin around her ex-boyfriend, there may be hope for the season yet.

9 p.m.

Heroes – Here are the five things currently killing this show:

1. WAAAAAAAY too boring a storyline for Hiro. Who, by the way, could not be more useless to the overarching plot of the show, and is reaching Charlie-level heights of annoyingness. We know you’re gonna end up being Kensei, so just get it done and blink your ass back into 2007. I don’t get to see Ando if you’re not around and I need my fill of fun comic sidekicks.

2. WAAAAAAAY too lame new characters. Maya and Alejandro do not have ANYTHING interesting going on. No, not even with Sylar in the mix. Go cry me a black river and wake me when they hit New York in six episodes. This reeks of Nikki and Paolo, but without a much needed buried-alive resolution.

3. WAAAAAAAY too much Matt Parkman. Seriously. Is he really necessary? Who in their right mind would grant custody of a fugitive seven year-old to a divorced, burnt out ex-cop recovering from four gunshots to the chest and his illegal immigrant roommate (even who happens to be smart. And still boring.)? I call shenanigans.

4. WAAAAAAAY too much time spent without Kristen Bell showing up already. Let’s step to it, people. The faster we get Veronica Mars on stage, the sooner we get to see the scene where Ali Larter, Hayden Panetierre and Kristen pillow fight over who’s the hottest blonde on the show. SPOILER ALERT: The answer, by the way, is Mr. Muggles.

5. WAAAAAAAY too many characters. I can barely remember everyone’s names and I’ve seen every episode. Let’s kill off all the newbies, and Parkman and maybe Ali Larter, and get down to business with the Petrelli’s, the Bennet’s, Hiro and Sylar.

That all being said, the show still kicks ass and I wouldn’t dream of missing it.

10 p.m.

Journeyman – One of my three favorite new shows of the Fall. I didn’t realize how much I missed a time travel drama on network television till I sat down to watch the pilot. I’m intrigued by the rules of the game here, like the dynamic of Dan seeing his ex on his journeys and his wife getting pissed back at home. And I’m curious how they are going to explain his continued absences (surely SOMEONE has to see him disappear at some point). Kevin McKidd is a fantastic actor and a great, very watchable series lead. I couldn’t dig this show more.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON MONDAYS

Aliens in America – I actually liked the pilot, I just have no time for it. This, like Everybody Hates Chris, is just gonna have to be a good CW show I never get into.

The Big Bang Theory – Hate the Galecki. The Cuoco does nothing for me. And that other guy wore my awesome beige Flash shirt in all the promos and now I can’t wear it anywhere without people asking me if it’s an homage (shut up, people!). I have nothing but dislike for this show. Even if CBS were the only station you could watch on your television, I would still recommend doing something else at 8:30 on Mondays. Like watching the end of MNF, or the second half of Chuck, or Aliens in America, or internet porn.

Samantha Who? – I got burnt by a Christina Applegate sitcom once before (Jesse, anyone?), and it’s not happening again. Barry Watson doesn’t help, either.

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TUESDAY

More Missy, Less Guy That Wants To Be Jack Black

9 p.m.

House – Still plugging along on Hugh Laurie’s endless charisma. I’ve kinda missed the old team, but am buoyed by spending time with Kumar and the hot lesbian from The O.C. (rent Alpha Dog to see her get down naked-style. The movie blows, but that scene is worth it in spades. Spades, son!). My only bit of contention is that Cuddy is becoming more and more ineffectual. Can we get her a storyline, please? One that doesn’t involve her going on a date that will eventually be ruined by House? Because we’ve seen that six times already. Or her telling House he can’t do something and then totally caving. Cause we’ve seen that eleventy-billion times.

Reaper – I’m at odds with this show. I like Bret Harrison. I like Ray Wise. I have a mad crush on Missy Peregym (yes I saw Stick It in theaters. Look, it’s not called GymNICEstics!). And the presence of Kevin Smith is never a bad thing. But the formula is already played out and we’re only on episode five. The freak of the week thing never lasts, just ask The X-Files and Smallville, so here’s hoping they come up with some sort of mythology they can dip into now and then. Also, getting Missy back into her leotard for some tumbling wouldn’t hurt.

10 p.m.

Law and Order: SVU – Nothing much to say about this show. Love the Meloni and the Mariska. The Belzer still needs a chemical peels worse than Bill Murray and Tommy Lee Jones combined. And the ching ching still rocks it.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON TUESDAYS

Cane – Nothing against Jimmy Smits or Hector Elizondo, two actors I respect, but I have exactly zero interest in this show. And I’m a sugar fiend! (Cane = Sugar? No? Anyone? Bite me.)

Cavemen / Carpoolers – Yeah, right. I’d rather watch Ellen cry about dogs for an hour. At least that’s legitimately funny.

Damages – This one just got away from me. Watched the first 6 or so eps and just fell off track when the season started. The same thing almost happened with Burn Notice, but I like that show more. I’ll catch a marathon or wait for the DVD. So nobody post spoilers.

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WEDNESDAY

GREAT adult soap!

8 p.m.

Pushing Daisies – I like it, don’t love it. The whimsy is nice and all, but I feel like I ate a King Size back of jelly beans by 8:47. And a little Kristin Chenowith (pun intended) goes a LONG way.

9 p.m.

Gossip Girl – My favorite new show of the fall. I’m a sucker for a teen soap and this is trash of the filthiest order. The girls are crazy hot, the drama is ridonkulously melodramatic, the parents are all ILF’s, the clothes are ludicrous, the hair is headshakingly bad and the storylines are as old as Gabrielle Carteris. Also, Kristin Bell. I am unabashedly in LOVE this show. I don’t want to talk out of turn, and we’re gonna need to wait and see how the show falls together a bit, but this might be better than The O.C. This question definitely deserves its own column at some point.

Private Practice – Started off creaky and shameful, is slowly working its way to being credible. Could very well end up better than Grey’s (especially if Shonda keeps on with the execrable Gizzie storyline). And I’d never pass up the chance to watch Kate Walsh do anything for an hour, especially when anything includes naked towel dancing. Though I could do with a LOT less Amy Brenneman.

10 p.m.

Dirty Sexy Money – The third of my favorite new rookies. The cast is uniformly excellent, from Donald Sutherland (who rules all) to Peter Krause returning to his Casey McCall likeability to Natalie Zea being crazy, hot and crazy hot as Karen Darling to William freaking Baldwin happily throwing down with a tranny. And that’s all before we get into Tamara Feldman (who could throw down with Megan Fox, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down). I could watch the antics of the Darling family for years to come. And I hope I get that chance.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON TUESDAYS

Bionic Woman – Tried hard to like it, but eventually had to accept that the show blows ass. Michelle Ryan does nothing for me. Growing up in the Valley I’ve had my fair share of crazy blondes, so Katee Sackhoff does less than nothing for me. And I can’t stomach Isaiah Washington (even when he’s getting a Bionic beatdown). I might have slogged through it as a change of pace to Private Practice but I can only tape two shows at once and I love Gossip Girl too much.

Kid Nation – I was completely wrong about this show. I thought it would be the biggest show of the year, and as it turns out, it blows harder than Cavemen. They had the kids cutting the head’s off chickens. At 8pm! I nearly booted my Chicken Pad Thai. Child Exploitation, thy name is CBS Reality.

Life – Liked the pilot, but my Wednesdays are already too packed. I’ll catch it when Dirty Sexy Money is in repeats.

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THURSDAY

What else is on my mind grapes?

8:30 p.m.

30 Rock – I could listen to Tracy Jordan be Anne Heche-crazy for days. I am appealing to the California DMV for my very own “ICU81MI” liscense plate (hilarious!). And then there’s the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah I wish my Mom had let me have:

9 p.m.

The Office – Can we please all agree that the hour long episodes were a bad idea and move on? Thank you. So much filler I couldn’t stand it. Thought I was watching season four of Dawson’s Creek for a while there. Though I’m really liking Jim and Pam as a couple. It was a great choice to not to draw that storyline out. I particularly enjoyed this moment (I love how happy they are about the whole thing, like they couldn’t want to tell someone):

Grey’s Anatomy – OK, I’m never gonna stop watching this show, but holy jeebus, if it was ever gonna happen it would be because of the Gizzie (George & Izzie). Izzie has become such a contemptable character. After the scene of Meredith telling Lexie about her Mom’s death, I started liking Mere again (a feat I never thought possible), which makes Izzie the current worst character on network television (even worse than the ghost of Dawson Leery, Carrie Bradshaw and Ally McBeal put together). If they don’t end that ridiculous, painful, ill-conceived plotline before November sweeps I am seriously gonna consider thinking about maybe not watching every second of each episode. And I mean it!

9:30 p.m.

Scrubs – Gotta watch the final season, even if it’s not funny anymore.

10 p.m.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia – Just to get a base!

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON THURSDAYS

Big Shots – I hated myself enough when I watched Sex and the City, I don’t need a bigger dose of self-loathing from the male version.

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FRIDAY

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose!

9 p.m.

Friday Night Lights – Took me watching four straight episodes from the Bravo marathon, a plea from TwoP and Bill Simmons and my desire to have a sports show on my schedule for me to finally give this show a chance. And let me tell you, it was worth it. This is one of the best shows on television. Superbly written, directed and acted, with powerful storylines, big issues, and fascinating characters. If you can get past the football stuff and the Texas nonsense, there is a whole lot to love about FNL. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton put on an acting clinic each week, and there skills are free. Check out everything that’s going in their eyes in this scene:

Brilliant. I picked up the first season on DVD for fifteen bucks last week (and it came with a money back guarantee), and I can’t wait to tear it open and catch up.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON FRIDAYS

Moonlight – I want to like this show so much. Sophia Myles is hot, Shannyn Sossamon is a guilty pleasure. I’d follow Jason Dohring anywhere. But the lead actor is so so so terrible. Makes me long for David Boreananas terrible. And the writing is atrocious. If Fridays are the TV equivalent of the January movie dumping ground, Moonlight is released on the 5th of the year, every month.

Women’s Murder Club – The only new show I haven’t watched yet. This could go either way. I love me some Angie Harmon, but procedurals never do it for me unless they involve Christopher Meloni punching somebody in the face. I’ll let you know…

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SATURDAY

There is nothing good on TV on Saturdays.

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SUNDAY

9 p.m.

Family Guy – The Star Wars tribute episode may be the funniest hour of entertainment of the entire year, and that includes any 60 minutes of Superbad, Knocked Up or any combination of any episode of the Thursday night NBC sitcoms.

See what I mean.

WHAT I’M NOT WATCHING ON SUNDAYS

Viva Laughlin – The only way I’m voluntarily watching Hugh Jackman sing is he if he’s doing his berserker attack with adamantium claw action (should I call you Logan, Weapon X?). And even then I’ll probably be thinking it’s gay (and by that I mean retarded) (and by that I mean I’ve been watching too much House).

So that’s the schedule. Seventeen shows, of which a whopping SEVEN are rookies! What a great slate we got this year. And it only gets better in January when Idol and the Terminator show shows up. Now if I can only find the time to watch everything. It’s a problem. But the kind of problem I don’t mind having.

Bangarang!

The Case Against: Reviving Canceled Fan-Favorite TV Shows

Veronica MarsThree months ago, nearing the end of a long, rather satisfying television season, I decided not to watch the final two episodes of Veronica Mars, and instead save them for the doldrums of summer when quality television is as sparse as a Lindsay Lohan sober day (I know, I know, I promised no more cheap shots like this, but it was so easy I couldn’t help myself. It’s not easy going cold turkey on Lohan bashing. Is there a patch I can buy for this?). I knew the show was being canceled and just couldn’t reconcile losing it so quickly. May sweeps is a bullish time for a high-end TV watcher such as myself and Veronica Mars deserved my full and complete attention, not just a clock-watching commercial double bloop due to a focus distracted by my musings on what I was going to find when the Lost season finale went through the looking glass (the FUTURE… spoiler!). My desire to keep the show alive and my respect for the quality of the show meant that I would have to wait, possibly a few months, to properly say farewell to one of my favorite shows of the last decade.

This weekend I finally sat down and said goodbye to Veronica Mars. I won’t bore you with the details of my experience; if you saw the finale you know both what happened and how good it was. And if you didn’t, then you suck and it’s your fault Jim Belushi is gainfully employed by the American Broadcasting Company. No, the point of this post is not to glad-hand Rob Thomas, Kristen Bell and the rest of the makers of Veronica Mars. This post is about saying goodbye to TV shows. Making peace with what is and what is not in our hands. And understanding that sometimes, despite the best of intentions, the good ones are not always meant to be.

I wasn’t originally planning on watching the VM finale this weekend. I was busy going to Napa, hitting the Manhattan Beach AVP Tournament, writing a script for a producer and seeing my best friend off to his last year at law school. I had a full load of non-entertainment related things to do. What changed were the three Netflix discs I received this week. I’m doing a summer of TV recapping, and at the moment I’m catching up on Wonderfalls, another female-centric hour-long that was beloved by critics, adored by a small, rabid fanbase, and canceled before it’s time. And while I went through my crazy schedule, I found an occasional forty-five minutes to glance over from my computer at the wacky shenanigans of a long since canceled FOX drama.

WonderallsI watched the first four episodes, enjoying the odd comic timing of series lead Caroline Dhavernas, the welcome appearance of William Sadler and the Matthew Fox clone they got to play Caroline’s love interest. But the thing I got the most out of the first disc was this: the show isn’t very good. The pace is stilted, the storylines are oft putting and the protagonist isn’t very likeable. In short, the show kinda blew. So much so that I didn’t even bother with the second disc (something I’ve never done) and instead jumped right to disc three and the last two episodes of the show (as a completist I wanted to see how it all ended). And after the final credits rolled I sat and pondered just what the fuss was all about.

The cancellation of Wonderfalls, like Veronica Mars, Arrested Development and a myriad of other shows, was taken rather poorly by its fanbase. A website, savewonderfalls.com, was launched in an attempt to revive the poorly rated drama from certain doom. Obviously, that did not shake out on the positive end. Now, I’m all for trumping quality television. And I support radical action. But I can’t wrap my head around going above and beyond for a show that wasn’t all that good. I can respect that the show had its supporters, heck every show has at least one loyal viewer, but with the way the television industry is constructed, specifically in the way shows are made and put on the air, I can not cotton to the idea of saving a show that is not worth saving and has no hopes for being saved.

The two great things about television are that it is democratic and unforgiving. A show is made, marketed and aired. Home viewers decide to watch it, and then decide if they like it. If they do, they watch it again the next week. If they don’t, they don’t watch it ever again. It’s a beautifully simple and merciless process. Unlike film, where even if no one goes to see a movie in theaters, you can always watch it on DVD, television shows have no real outlet when for exhibition if they fail. Pilots that don’t make it to series can pop up on You Tube (like the Aquaman pilot with Ving “Deadly Dog” Rhames), but a show that goes to series and tanks (especially ones that never finish production on their first thirteen) disappears into the mist. The odds of a series, especially an off-beat one (by off-beat I mean not CSI), are exceedingly slim. It would be easier to get a greenlight for Daddy Day Camp 2, then to get a show on the air about a teen private detective that solves crimes in her high school. Now, knowing that to be true, I submit that it’s futile and patently irresponsible to attempt to keep a show on the air that the majority of the viewing audience does not want to see.

Poor ratings are the only valid reason for canceling a television show. And as much as I might like a show, I cannot complain of its cancellation if I’m the only person watching it. Television is a business, and a poorly rated show is bad for business. Take a show that that is original, daring, well written, fiercely acted and brimming with potential. The only problem is that not enough people are tuning in to warrant its continued expensive existence; it airs 7 or 13 or 22 episodes and is canceled. Instead of decrying the network for its evil slaughter of a quality piece of entertainment, we should be grateful we even got to see it at all. Four episodes of Wonderfalls, fifty-three of Arrested Development, sixty-four of Veronica Mars, whatever number for whatever show that you loved and lost, you should be happy the show entered your life at all. Does it suck that it was canceled? Absolutely. But it’s simply the way the medium works. It’s fair, it’s just and it’s nonmoving.

Television shows are given every chance to succeed. When embraced by the viewing public they can be worth billions of dollars to the networks. They can bring in viewers for other shows. They can make stars out of nobodies. They can become iconic. Every pilot given a series order is given so because the network believed it had a shot to become iconic (yes, even crap like According to Jim). The shows may get marketed poorly (like Hidden Palms), or put in a shitty timeslot (like the J.J, Abrams dramedy Six Degrees), or get tampered with to the point where they had no shot at being successful (take the recent Traveler, for example), but in the end it is always the viewers that determine if a show stays on the air.

Arrested DevelopmentA poorly rated show can survive its first season on critical reception alone (see: Felicity, Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, Everwood, etc). A poorly rated show can survive its second season on minimal ratings gains and a lack of competitive pilots in its genre. But no show, no matter how good, can survive past a third season without good ratings. Period. After forty episodes, if a show has not clicked with viewers, it will never click. There have been shows that took a while to get hot. Cheers was 82nd in the ratings in its first year, only to be a top ten show by season three. But viewers don’t wait three full seasons to decide to start watching a television show. It just doesn’t happen.

This is why I cannot complain about the cancellation of Veronica Mars, Arrested Development, Wonderfalls, Sports Night, Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, et al. They were all given ample chances to succeed, and none of them did. CW prexy Dawn Ostroff worked every angle to bring Veronica Mars back for a fourth season, but the math never warranted it. They paired the show up with the network smash Gilmore Girls, and VM couldn’t retain enough of the audience. They paired the show up with advertisers to stem the production costs, but that didn’t take. Posters were put in schools and in malls. Guest stars were brought in (Harry Hamlin, Patty Duke, Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon). Nothing worked. The CW even asked series creator Rob Thomas to alter the serial format of the show and do stand alone mysteries in an attempt to bring in new viewers. The shows were bad and the new viewers never showed. The show was lucky it was on the air for as long as it was, and it’s a testament to its quality it made it past the first season at all, let alone the second. And the same goes for Arrested Development. Fox desperately wanted that show to be a hit. It would have given them artistic credibility and their first real chance at a Best Comedy Emmy. But it didn’t take. America as a whole just did not care for the Bluth family.

And we’re just gonna have to live with it.

Television shows come and go. They are transitory by nature. You enjoy them while they are there, mourn them for a time when they are gone, and then find a new show to love. This season alone I lost three of my top shelf favorite shows (Veronica Mars, The Loop & The OC), and saw the abrupt cancellation of no less than seven shows I enjoyed (Studio 60, The Class, Six Degrees, The Winner, Raines, Kidnapped, Andy Barker P.I.). Last year I lost The West Wing, AD and That 70’s Show. And this coming year I’m gonna have to say goodbye to Scrubs. Such is life as a TV watcher. You let the good ones go. You let them go because they were too good for their own good. Perhaps if Arrested Development had been dumber, Veronica Mars less complex, Wonderfalls less irritating, Firefly less overtly geeky, they would all be gearing up for their fall premiere. But if that had been the case, we would not have loved them in the first place. It was those exact qualities (brains, complexity, wit, defiance) that made them worthy of our time.

JerichoThis all leads to my thoughts on the successful campaign to bring back CBS’s nuclear fall out thriller Jericho. I watched the premiere, laughed at the notion of Skeet Ulrich carrying a network drama and promptly judged the show as mediocre. I never watched it again, but apparently many people in the fall did. It was a modest hit with the potential to break out. However, CBS pulled it from the schedule for four months, a big no-no for serialized shows (just ask Lost), and on its return the audience shrunk faster than the second weekend box office for The Matrix Revolutions. CBS promptly canceled the show, and that’s when the nuts started arriving. Fans of Jericho swarmed CBS offices with bags of nuts, an in-joke from the show, in an attempt to prove that Jericho was worth saving. After a few metric tons of nuts showed up CBS gave in and renewed the series for an eight episode second season. This was a mistake.

Jericho’s ratings will not improve. The show is too insular for it to be a breakout hit, and the mythology of the show is on the verge of becoming too dense for new viewers to wade through. Plus, hello, Skeet Ulrich is the series lead. If Jericho was as good as these crazy nut senders would lead you to believe, than the drop-off from fall to spring would not have been so severe. Lost was still a hit after taking three months off, last season. 24 and American Idol continue to do well despite having a nearly seven month layoff between seasons. Good shows that people like do well regardless of the timeslot or disparity between new episodes. Take Moonlighting, a show that never aired more than 16 episodes in a nine month season, yet won a slew of Emmy’s, made a star out of Bruce Willis and aired for five years.

CBS flinched at the overwhelming viewer response because they haven’t had a show worthy of such an act in decades. Nobody is freaking out if NCIS gets canceled, know what I mean? Aside from How I Met Your Mother, Jericho is the only young skewing show on their network, and young viewers are quite easily made mental (just ask the Fox Network); heck the campaign probably started because people were so shocked that CBS was airing such a hip show and didn’t want that to end. Similar campaigns worked for Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls in seasons past because their network didn’t have a good enough replacement, and because their target demographic was the exact same people leading the charge. Campaigns for Wonderfalls and Firefly didn’t work because FOX had replacement junk at its beck and call. They go through shows like Mandy Patinkin goes through TV series’. Jericho will fail on its return and CBS will never again bring back a struggling show with a tenuous plot concept. The Nuts-heads have effectively ruined the chances for any future big three drama that is even minutely difficult. Way to push your chips in for the star of Chill Factor, dicks.

Pushing DaisesLet these shows go, kids. No less than 60 shows are set to debut in the next four months, and that doesn’t even include cable. Pushing Daises, Bionic Woman, Private Practice, Chuck, Journeyman, Viva Laughlin, Moonlight, Reaper, K-Ville, The Sarah Conner Chronicles; these shows need our help now. Forget the Jericho’s and The Nine’s and the Andy Barker’s and the What About Brian’s. They had their shot and they blew it. Nobody wanted them around. It’s time to give the new kids a chance. Because maybe one of them will turn out to be the next Arrested Development or Veronica Mars. Maybe your favorite television show of all time hasn’t even aired yet. Isn’t that more worth your attention? Let’s not bemoan the loss of shows that had multiple chances to succeed, and instead enjoy the new batch of pilots and put all our efforts into keeping the good ones from failing.

I will miss Veronica Mars for some time. But in the end, maybe it’s just for the best. When the Ben Stiller Show was canceled Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo became movie stars, and head writer Judd Apatow became Judd Apatow. Bryan Fuller failed on Wonderfalls but is getting a second chance with the infinitely better (and more precious) Pushing Daises. The failure of Sports Night led to The West Wing. Bill Lawrence bombed on Spin City and came back to give us Scrubs. Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Michael Cera are all top-lining movies now. And I look forward to seeing what will become of Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas. I predict they’re going to be giving us quality entertainment for many years to come. Their show may be dead, but the mark left by the show on the industry will linger for years to come.

And that’s the real lesson for why good shows get canceled before their time. So that the makers can go on to make better shows. Speaking off, if you’ll excuse me I need to go catch the new David Duchovny tittyball show on Showtime, created by Tom Kapinos, a guy who used to produce a little show called Dawson’s Creek. From the ashes of poorly written teen angst cancellation, to the phoenix-like rebirth of soft-core Duchovny cable porn. TV, it’s a beautiful thing.

The Verdict: Renewal is a waste, bring on the newbies.

Bangarang!

Requiem For A Teen Soap Opera: Liveblogging the Series Finale of The O.C.

The Cast of The O.C.Tonight marks the end of a show I was once lived and died for. The OC was a series that helped shape my vocabulary (“Ginormous!”), my Wednesday nights (and now Thursdays), my hatred for Mischa Barton, my drink of choice (The 7 and 7, thank you Ryan Atwood), my nighttime locked door viewing choices (thank you, Rachel Bilson), and was the catalyst for my very own Chrismukkah party.

It also perfectly satisfied by neverending need to always be watching a cheesy nighttime soap opera (preferrably of the irascible teen variety). From Beverly Hills, 90210 to Dawson’s Creek to The O.C., I’ve always been able to get my fix for pretty people melodramatically doing melodramatic things while looking and acting pretty. To honor the final episode of my former favorite show (Where have you gone The O.C. Season One, The Jay turns its lonely eyes to you. Ooh Ooh Ooh!), I am attempting my first foray into the potentially unfunny (and overdone) world of liveblogging. Let’s get right to it.

8:58 – Punk off, Rudy Cardenas! My night takes a bittersweet jump-off, as I completely agreed with three of the four people kicked of Idol. Ya’ll probably guessed my thoughts on Rudy. I was put off by Paul Kim since the start; put some shoes on, dork ass. And Nicole Tranquillo sent me to the double bloop faster than a mid-season episode of Smallville. As for Amy Krebs, she will be missed by me if only because she was the spitting image of my ex-girlfriend and I enjoyed how morbidly hilarious it was to “root for my ex” in a national singing competition. Riisa, if you’re reading this, I don’t think you sing like a candle. Simon was wrong about that. If I had to choose, I would say you sing much like an armoire. So to speak.

9:01 – Hello, final episode of The O.C.! I’m rocking the Atwood wifebeater, got my honorary glass of 7 and 7 by my side, and have Death Cab cued up on iTunes. I am officially ready to liveblog.

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Things Overheard: Great Movies, Awesome Phones & The Crazebrity Power Poll

clerks 2 posterTHINGS I SAW IN 2006 THAT WERE REALLY, REALLY GOOD

Here are the ten movies I saw in 2006 that totally blew my mind. They might not be the “best” movies of the year (I can’t in good conscience say that Jackass Number Two is a “better” movie than Letters From Iwo Jima or Little Children), but each of them entertained, provoked and intrigued me beyond measure.

Full disclosure: I haven’t seen all the Academy Bait movies yet, so this list is somewhat incomplete. On the other hand, I have valid reasons for not having seen certain films by now. I’m a heterosexual man with little love for Jamie Foxx and Beyonce, which is why I haven’t rushed out to see Dreamgirls. I’ve never been that geeked about seeing In The Bedroom, director Todd Field’s last picture, so despite it starring Kate Winslet (a Top 5 actress in my book), I’m in no hurry to see Little Children. Clint Eastwood keeps burning me with bad Paul Haggis movies, so there’s a good chance I will never see either of his WWII epics (and I like Ryan Phillippe and Ken Watanabe). Little Miss Sunshine just sort of passed me by. It’s sitting on my dresser as I type this, but I seem to be far more prone to watch TiVo’d episodes of My Boys than to the charming little Indie that could. And I like Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Steve Carell.

Here are the other movies I’ve yet to see, for whatever reason: World Trade Center (one 9/11 movie per year is enough for me), Bobby (not a chance, Emilio), Blood Diamond, Pursuit of Happyness (if Will’s not getting jiggy in it or beating up a CGI creature, I’m not interested), Catch A Fire, Happy Feet, The Good Shepherd, The Good German (yeah right, Tobey Maguire), The Painted Veil, Notes On A Scandal, Miss Potter (and I like Renee and Ewan)

In an up and down year I wouldn’t rank in the top 15 of all-time years, here are my picks for the top ten films of the year:

10. United 93

Manipulative, forced, mannered, choppy and vague. And yet, still brilliant. Even though I knew I was being manipulated I couldn’t help but be drawn in. I love that every major event happens in the background (like the reveal of the first hijacked plane). I liked that director Paul Greengrass chose not to give us an extented backstory on each passenger (something disaster movies are all but required to do at this point, ahem Snakes on a Plane). I liked that they used the real air traffic controllers from that fateful day, instead of recognizable actors. I liked that the film happened in real time, so the confusion you felt about what was happening mirrored the confusion on the part of the characters. I appreciated the film’s respect of the event. I appreciated it’s skill, it’s confidence, it’s knowledge, it’s preparation, and most of all, it’s execution. I don’t think for a second that the Academy will give United 93 the Best Picture Oscar, but if it did, I wouldn’t complain.

9. Jackass Number Two

jackass number two picNot every movie is supposed to make you think, some just want to entertain you. And in the case of Jackass Number Two, that’s alright with me. I didn’t laugh more in any other film this year. Gross, disgusting, vulgar, violent and awesome. I make no excuses for loving this flick, or for rating it as high as I did. When a movie so thoroughly entertains you that it takes a couple minutes to come up with something funnier or more subversively brilliant, you put it in your Top Ten, period.

8. An Inconvenient Truth

Of all the ludicrous things attempted in cinema this year, convincing us that Al Gore is a movie star ranks pretty high on the list. And yet, it’s true. There wasn’t a more engaging onscreen presence all year. You can practically smell the passion for stopping Global Warming, coming through the screen. I sat down hoping to just stay awake, but ten minutes in I was enthralled. I never felt like I was being taught a lesson, never felt like I was back in school (which is why I didn’t fall asleep), and most of all, never felt like I was being emotionally manipulated (ahem, Michael Moore). Gore merely put the facts on the table and lets us take what we wanted. I respect that. Consider me pumped for the inevitable sequel, An Inconvenient Truth 2: Inconvenienced With A Vengeance.

7. Akeelah and the Bee

I’m a sucker for movies where Laurence Fishburne teaches child prodigies. A spiritual sister to Searching For Bobby Fischer (probably my all-time favorite movie), this Starbucks-produced tale of an underprivileged African-American girl trying to win the National Spelling Bee captivated me in all the ways I enjoy being captivated. A smart, natural performance by the film’s newcomer/soon-to-be star, Keke Palmer. A confident and commanding performance by Angela Bassett, who reminded me why she’s one of the best (though most under-utilized) actors in the business. And Mr. Fisburne, pulling his old Bobby Fischer performance out of the closet and shaking the dust off, playing a tough-but-fair teacher like no one else can. He’s so good in this type of role that I could watch him teach calculus to a whiny British kid and still be entertained.

6. Casino Royale

Everything that is good about action movies is on display here. Guns, explosions, chases, hot girls, sweet cars, a great villain, a debonair hero, more hot chicks and great locations. I was skeptical at first, as I’m a fan of Pierce Brosnan, but Daniel Craig pulled it off. I deemed myself a Daniel Craig fan for life the moment he took his first whip shot to the junk in the now infamous naked chair torture, and didn’t even flinch. I don’t know how they’re going to top that, but I’ll be first in line to see them try.

5. The Departed

the departed posterJack being Jack, Damon being awesomely squirrelly, Leo rocking the crazed “guy at the end of his rope” thing he does so well, Mark Wahlberg spitting some mad Boston game, and Alec Baldwin kicking ass harder than anyone else since his own turn in Glengarry Glen Ross; I loved this movie. Perfectly paced and plotted, superbly cast, acted, shot and edited. The only misstep of the entire picture is the final shot, which I felt was just a bit too on the nose. But that is forgiven, as the flick is so supremely watchable. And it may be the most quotable movie of the year. Anything that came out of Wahlberg or Baldwin’s mouth was pure gold. Here are my two favorite pieces of dialogue from the film:

Dignan (Wahlberg): “Who am I? I’m the guy that does his fuckin’ job! You must be the other guy!”

Ellerby (Baldwin): “I’m gonna go have a smoke right now. You want a smoke? You don’t smoke, do ya, right? What are ya, one of those fitness freaks, huh? Go fuck yourself.”

4. Brick

The most stylish film of the year, with dialogue so good I want to eat it off of a plate, and a performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt that puts Hollywood on notice. He’s the goods, and so is this movie. Whenever someone says that movies today are shit, I whip out my DVD of Brick and crack him across the jaw with it. Rian Johnson is now my favorite upcoming director. Seriously, you need to see this movie.

3. Children of Men

childrenofmenposterGritty, demanding, propulsive and powerful, this Alfonso Cuaron-directed film is the best sci-fi flick of 2006. I was impressed with how confident the film was about the world it created. Set in a dystopian, infertile 2027, the world looks quite like it does today, only with minor futuristic flourishes (which is how it should be. I hate when futuristic movies have us so technologically advanced that the world is unrecognizable. It would take 80 years and many trillions of dollars to erase the poverty line and tech up the lower class, so filmmakers, let’s get off the grift). The forward momentum of the movie is exhilarating. You just can’t look back, the film won’t let you. It has a mission and you are either on board or you’re not. Clive Owen and Julianne Moore are their usual perfection and Michael Caine gives a wonderful performance as a pothead, ex-political cartoonist. I liked other films more than Children of Men this year, but I can’t deny this film’s raw power. Most of all, the film has arguably the most emotional scene in any film all year. When Owen is bringing the baby down the hospital stairs, well let’s just say it got a little dusty in the theater.

2. Clerks II

This franchise means so much to me. This filmmaker means so much to me. And the film itself touched me deeper than any other this year. I can relate to guys in their early years trying to figure out what to do with their lives. Stuck in that limbo of still wanting to be irresponsible, yet accepting that you now have certain responsibilities you can’t turn away from. I see the fear in the eyes of Dante and Randall that their lives are slipping away, and I don’t want that to be me. For a driven guy like me, Clerks II was a perfect motivational tool. And it doesn’t hurt that Rosario Dawson is crazy-hot. Or that I finally got to see a Donkey Show (sort of). The movie is flat-out funny, has a heart like a lion, and is as personally affecting a film to me and mine than I can remember in some time. Watching Clerks as a teenager made me want to be a writer. Watching Clerks II makes me realize I made the right choice.

1. The Queen

the queen posterI generally loathe all things British. Can’t stand British comedy (especially Monty Python), never got into Guy Ritchie, I want to sock James Blunt in the larynx, and I’d choose Rachel McAdams over Rachel Weisz any day of the week and twice on Sundays. All that is too say my chances of liking a film about the British Royal Family were remote to say the least. And yet, ten minutes into the masterful “The Queen” I turned to my theater companion and said “this is fantastic”. Helen Mirren gives hands-down the best performance of the year. She is pitch-perfect and heartbreaking as Queen Elizabeth II. The journey her character takes to try and understand the changing emotions of her people is as emotional and rewarding a narrative arc as I saw all year.

I was particularly impressed with the scene on the river, where Mirren watches a beautiful deer approach, admires its beauty, finally comes to realize how profound a woman Princess Diana really was, shucks aside her previous feelings about the deceased people’s princess, and desperately tries to save the deer from approaching hunters. Heart wrenching stuff, that. This is, without a doubt, the best movie of the year.

Honorable Mention: Thank You For Smoking, The Devil Wears Prada, A Scanner Darkly, The Illusionist, Stranger Than Fiction

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THINGS TO LISTEN TO

PopLoad banner

Please check out my new online radio show, PopLoad. It’s a live, interactive show airing 7-8pm PST every Monday and Wednesday. The show’s all about dumping on celebritards, highlighting ugly celebrity nipple slips, what to TiVo, glorious bad movies, inside entertainment gossip and all the other Hollywood shenanigans I write about on TheJay.com. So if you are a fan of the site, you’re going to love the show.

You can hear the show at NowInLA.com. Go create a profile, click on the PopLoad button and chat with me on the boards while I host the show. And if you say you’re a reader of this site, I’ll give you a prize. How cool is that?

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THINGS TO SEE

- What would Star Wars look like as a silent film?

- I pray I’m a better parent than this woman. Though even if I am, I’d probably still be laughing at this kid, too.

- Now this is how you get The Jay pumped for a western that doesn’t star Michael J. Fox or Emilio Estevez.

seraphimfallsposter

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THINGS TO CLICK

- If you thought Harrison Ford’s acting abilities were faltering before, this will do nothing to change your mind. (Harrison Ford Finger Point Gallery)

- Ever wondered what The Simpsons would look like if they were a Manga cartoon? Me neither, but this artist did, and he came up with something pretty cool as a result. (Simpsons as Manga Characters)

- This is the funniest TV show mash up since The OC sent Summer’s Dad to work at Seattle Grace. (Lost House 24)

- Check out what posters are nominated in The Internet Movie Poster Awards. My money’s on Hard Candy for Best Poster of the Year. (2006 IMP Awards)

- Are hetero-life mates Lloyd Dobler and Ari Gold on the outs? Sounds like a certain former 80’s teen heartthrob needs to show up at the Piv’s crib with a boombox over his head (playing the theme song to Entourage, of course). (Cusack and The Piven are DUNZO!)

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THINGS I WANT

I want the new Apple iPhone so, so much. Why must Apple taunt me with such a perfect technological creation, only to give the deal to Cingular, easily the worst cell phone company on the market? Can The Jay get a little T-Mobile love?

apple iphone

To read more about the most awesomely tuttle phone in human history, CLICK HERE.

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THINGS TO GRADE

A few quick grades for some doomed mid-season replacements.

The Knights of Prosperity – Broadly executed, stereotypically cast, boringly shot and most importantly, only mildly funny (Mick Jagger should never be able to out-joke Donal Logue. That’s like Macy Gray out-hotting Beyonce.) I’m gonna give it a second look because I dig Donal Logue and because I loved the show’s former title, Let’s Rob Mick Jagger. But they better bring the funny, and quick.

Grade: C+

courtney cox dirt picDirt – I can understand Courtney Cox not wanting to ever do another “nice girl” part in her career. If I had to smile in every scene for 237 episodes of Friends, I’d want to play a raving bitch, too. What I can’t understand is basing your new show around a schizophrenic paparazzi with no range beyond “twitchy”. Don’t be fooled by the promos, Dirt is not about Monica Gellar gone bad. It’s about a crazy, unattractive, drugged-out photographer and his inability to cope with his beloved cat’s death. I wish I were kidding. The rest of the show is a send-up of the cutthroat Hollywood rat race that Entourage does better, graphic cable TV sex that Nip / Tuck makes hotter, and racy language I’d rather see coming out of Vic Mackey on The Shield. Killing Shannyn Sossamon in the pilot was a stroke of brilliance, but having nothing else to offer is a mark of supreme short-sightedness. Dirt may have something else up its sleeve, but I’m not interested in waiting around for the big reveal.

Grade: C-

In Case Of Emergency – A cavalcade of washed up, shrugworthy white actors, in situations far too predictable to be appreciated. The next Arrested Development, this is not. I haven’t liked Greg Germann since season two of Ally McBeal, David Arquette hasn’t done anything note-worthy in his entire career besides trying to eat Luke Perry in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Jonathan Silverman is the epitome of bland. He rivals Orlando Bloom in his blandosity. Basically, he sucks. But I will give the show a chance for two reasons: Kelly Hu and Lori Loughlin. You want my attention for your new crappy TV show? Cast Lady Deathstrike as an Asian Massage Girl and Uncle Jesse’s slamming TGIF-fiancée as a hot lady doctor. Consider yourself TiVo’d, In Case Of Emergency!

Grade: D+

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THINGS THAT ARE CRAZY

I’m talking La Lohan on my radio show tonight; more specifically how she was able to go partying less than 36 hours after she supposedly had her appendix taken out. I broke my ankle and had to lay down for a week, so how did this girl have invasive surgery and immediately go back to partying a day and a half later? Me thinks the appendicitis might be a lie. However, if it’s not, and she’s really that self-destructive, than I’m forced to at least consider her as the new Most Crazy Person In Hollywood.

To that end, I’ve decided to start tracking the celebrity craziness. Once a month I’ll rank the top Hollywood nut jobs, and at the end of the year I’ll crown a 2007 Crazebrity Champion*. Here’s the first power poll.

lindsay lohan ice crotchJanuary 2007 Crazebrity Power Rankings*

1. Anna Nicole Smith – Until someone can top giving birth, losing their firstborn child, marrying their lawyer, getting evicted from a guest house and finally deported from a country all the in span of one month, the ex-PMOY keeps her crown.

2. Lindsay Lohan – I promise you this: if this girl survives the year without going through kidney failure, a nostrilotomy or a severe car crash, God must like Mean Girls more than I thought.

3. Britney Spears – She needs an intervention like the Raiders need a starting QB; as in, badly.

4. Tom Cruise – Would be lower on the list if he would come out and deny he’s producing a movie called The Thetan, starring Victoria Beckham. No part of that idea is rational.

5. Michael Jackson – Can’t ever be counted out. He’s like the Yankees of crazy celebrities.

6. Donald Trump – Isn’t going after Rosie O’Donnell kind of like saying “Hitler was a douchebag”? Like, we get it Donald, move on.

7. Michael Richards – No real repentance yet for his ill-fated stand up routine.

8. Rosie O’Donnell – See Trump, Donald.

9. M. Night Shyamalan – Going up against James Cameron is about as stupid a decision one can make. You don’t screw with Mr. Titanic, especially when your last two movies sucked harder than Paris Hilton on a grainy digital camera.

10. Mel Gibson – Sugartits never say die!

Bangarang!

* “Crazebrity” is trademarked by TheJay and by TheJay.com Create-A-Word Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

Things Overheard: The Mighty VCR, The Return of The OC , And The Early Oscar Predictions

So you probably noticed the new head bar. You like? I thought it was time to give the site a facelift; one that would help initiate new readers into what TheJay.com really is: mainly making fun of celebrities. While the sunset pic was nice, it doesn’t exactly scream “Reese Witherspoon has a squirrel chin!” which is what I want this site to convey.

Another change to the site is the posting schedule. I realize that my productivity has dropped since the summer (where I was banging out posts like La Lohan crashes Range Rovers). I get that you all don’t exactly know when to expect new content, and as such, probably get frustrated every time you load the site and still see Britney Spears’s ragged carpet burns. It bothers me that I haven’t had the time to write two great columns per week. And it’s been frustrating not having an outlet to comment on the many things that are happening in Hollywood in any given week. So here’s what I’m going to try and do: on Wednesday’s I will post “Things Overheard”, a new column designed to highlight the topics on my mind and in the news. And on Fridays I will post a traditional 2500 word column. So you get double the posts, I get to write about more things, I get to make fun of more stuff, and everyone has a date and reason for coming back to the site.

DISCLAIMER: Barring any unforeseen catastrophe (like my turning into radioactive Peter Petrelli and kablooey-ing downtown LA; which might not be all bad if it means Hayden Panettiere running toward me in her cheerleading outfit), or me just being lazy and spending some quality time with my three chicks (The Lady, the TiVo and the Netflix), I will stick to the schedule. But don’t hold me to it, because let’s not forget this really important fact: I’m lazy. Ok, so now that I’ve covered my lazy ass in the event of inevitable procrastination, let’s say a prayer and jump into a new era of TheJay.com. The Actual Content in Normal Intervals Era.

We’re gonna start off simple to get everyone used to the schedule, so…

Things On My Mind Right Now

- I had my first TiVo crisis the other day. I have a dual tuner, which means I can record two shows at the same time. And there are several times a week that I put this feature to use (most notably Tuesday’s at 9 p.m. where I record House and Veronica Mars). Unfortunately, I’m now watching three shows on Thursday’s at 9 p.m., so the quandary is which show gets the axe. I have to TiVo Grey’s Anatomy or The Lady will make a woman out of me. Scrubs has been my favorite sitcom for six seasons. And lo and behold, despite two seasons of utter mediocrity (at a generous best) and my desperate attempt to not get sucked back into its surface charms (and by surface charms, I mean Rachel Bilson), I am now watching The O.C. again. Three shows, two slots, what’s a TiVo user to do? So I was trying to coordinate which show to drop if it’s a repeat, which show is better to bloop bloop through as opposed to watching straight through; my pop culture consuming brain was on overload. And then The Lady said “Why don’t you just tape the other show on your VCR?” And it took me a second to figure out what she meant. The VCR? Tape a show? … good God, that’s crazy enough to work! I’m amazed at how far we’ve come as a techno-society to the point where I forgot what a VCR is capable of. Either that, or I’m an idiot. It’s really a toss up.

- And btw, if you’re not watching The O.C. (and I completely understand if you’re not as the show was man ass for two years) then you’re missing out. Now that they finally kicked off the cancer that was Mischa Barton, the show is firing on all cheesy cylinders. Autumn Reeser is a gigantic Best Week Ever-like upgrade (addition by subtraction like a mutha fucka), Bilson is still more adorable than a litter of puppies wrasslin’ a gang of baby pandas, Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows have gotten so big they threaten to require their own SAG card, and Julie Cooper is back to doing what she knows best, namely banging young guys and pissing off her bratty daughter. So I’m calling a Rocky 5-style mulligan on seasons 2 and 3, and for the sake of my mental health, believing Mischa died in a bloody bloody car crash at the end of season 1, and it just took everyone two years to get over their shit, turn their radios down and start being gloriously trashy again. Welcome back to the O.C., bitch!

- You can fool me all you want with your kick ass lenticular poster, Ghost Rider movie. You’re still not getting me to believe Captain Correlli as a bad ass superhero, no matter how many Michael Bay fireballs he slo-mo’s away from or planes full of kooky criminals he brings down (even though he gets shot in the arm and doesn’t react to it and has worse hair than the THH). For god sakes, he couldn’t even front Sarah Jessica Parker in that Vegas movie, so why would I ever buy him as a motorcycle riding, head-on-fire, hell blazing vigilante?

- If you haven’t gone out and bought these new DVD’s yet, you’re just wasting my time.

- Dreamgirls will not win Best Picture. It’s not gonna happen. So can we just stop all that noise? It has Eddie Murphy in it. When was the last time an Eddie Murphy movie was nominated for anything that didn’t have “Razzie” in the title? I don’t care how nice Beyonce’s ass looks, or how cool Jamie Foxx “acts”, this is still a musical nobody cares about, but the studios think we do. Rent, anyone? The only reason Chicago won Best Picture is because Catherine Zeta-Jones looks spectacular in tights. And since the CZJ isn’t Dreamgirls, let’s all just get off the grift.

- While we’re on the subject of Oscars, here are my 81 days earlier predictions (subject to change as the season roles on and the world wakes up to the fact that Babel was a muddled ass of a picture), with my predicted winners in bold:

Best Picture

- Babel
- The Departed
- Dreamgirls
- Little Miss Sunshine
- The Queen (upset city, baby!)

Best Director

- Bill Condon – Dreamgirls
- Alejandro González Iñárritu – Babel
- Stephen Frears – The Queen
- Martin Scorsese – The Departed (this reeks of Pacino in Scent of a Woman)
- Oliver Stone – World Trade Center (a reward for calming his shit down)

Best Actor

- George Clooney – The Good German
- Leonardo Di Caprio – The Departed (he was robbed for The Aviator)
- Peter O’Toole – Venus
- Will Smith – Pursuit of Happyness
- Forest Whitaker – Last King of Scotland

NOTE: Ryan Gosling deserves some love from the Academy, but won’t get any this year. He’ll be a two-time winner when all is said and done, trust me.

Best Actress

- “Box Office Poison” Penelope Cruz – Volver
- Judi Dench – Notes on a Scandal
- Helen Mirren – The Queen
- Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada (though she should really be in Best Supporting)
- Kate Winslet – Little Children (now officially the Susan Lucci of the Oscars)

Best Supporting Actor

- Ben Affleck – Hollywoodland (though I really want him to win)
- Eddie Murphy – Dreamgirls
- Jack Nicholson – The Departed (Alec Baldwin or Matt Wahlberg deserve this more)
- Brad Pitt – Babel
- Michael Sheen – The Queen

Best Supporting Actress

- Maria Bello – World Trade Center (somebody give this woman her own movie)
- Cate Blanchett – Notes on a Scandal
- Vera Farmiga – The Departed
- Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls
- Rinko Kikuchi – Babel (who was better, if less integral, than Adriana Barraza)

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- THIS is the coolest thing Sly’s done since he jumped through the Holland Tunnel airshaft in Daylight (this doesn’t include his decision to bring Mr. T. and Dolph Lundgren in for cameos in Rocky Balboa. That type of awesomeness is unquantifiable using modern mathematics. Oh, and you suck, Apollo Greed!).

- I just realized that Heroes might be the only hour long show on television where I don’t hate at least one character. That might be a record. Here are a few of the characters I hate on TV:
- Meredith Grey – Grey’s Anatomy
- Dr. McDreamy – Grey’s Anatomy
- Jack – Lost
- Matt and Danny – Studio 60
- Lana Lang – Smallville
- Dr. Wilson – House

- I don’t know why, but for some reason this poster just works for me. I doubt I’ll actually see the movie, but man alive can Hugh Grant sell a romcom.

- Congratulations go out to Aaron Sorkin, who finally put out a decent, not great, but decent episode of his unfunny, un-dramatic, un of an hour long, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. And it only took 10 episodes to get there. Here’s hoping we get at least one actual “good” episode before he airs all 22. And while I’m at it, here’s a random sampling of the things that aren’t working on the show: making Harriet Hayes a stupid person, treating all red state residents like they’re idiots, not having funny sketches on a show about funny sketches yet continuing to try to make us believe that Matthew Perry’s character is a genius writer, making Bradley Whitford’s character diametrically opposed to product placement even though he directs a primetime network television show whose sole purpose is to sell advertisement space (not to make culturally significant unfunny, The Daily Show would have dueced on this commentary on society like they think it is; get off your high horse, Aaron), the entirety of Amanda Peet, Tom Jeter and Simon Stiles delivering the “message of the week”, not having Alec Baldwin in the cast and everything between the opening and closing credits.

- Who would have thought that after August, the list order of Worst Ignorant, Racist Celebrities would look like this? If Danny Glover were Jewish (and gay) (and had sugar tits) I think I might reconsider Lethal Weapon 4.

1. Kramer
2. Andy Dick
3. Mel Gibson

Bangarang!

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Britney Files For Divorce, And Other Things That Are Completely Inevitable

britney spears and kevin federlineWell, I did not see this coming. But maybe it’s just me. The other day I was walking down the street when suddenly I had a panic attack because the whole sky started turning black. Where was the sun going? Then later that night I couldn’t understand why I was so tired at the end of a day. And then my stomach starting hurting, but I’m not sure why I was hungry, after all, I ate once already that day. Why do these things always happen to me? Why do celebrity marriages always end in tragedy? I’m so confused, and scared.

Except, you know, not.

The only surprising piece of news that accompanied the announcement that Britney was finally dropping Kevin on his wife-beatering, bad-rapping, overly virulent sperm-having, lame, dumb-ass was that it took so freaking long to happen. I was astonished it took two years, two poor kids, six tons of Cheetos and stock options in Marlboro Lights for the former pop star hottie to realize she had made a mistake. And how ironic that it was a CD, his to be specific, that turned out to be the final clue that Federline was a heffalump. If we had known his musical “styling” would have led to her immediately dropping her baby weight, finally shampooing her hair, putting on some shoes in public and getting back on the market, I bet America would have taken up a collection plate to pay for some Rick Rubin studio time not six hours after they got back from their honeymoon.

Popozao sucked more than Me Against The Music, ya'll!This whole union was, for lack of a better word, inevitable. I would venture that not a soul that follows pop culture would have suspecting these kids would be the next Newman and Woodward. Or even the next Tori Spelling and that first guy she married and then divorced to be with the guy she’s with now who knocked her up and convinced her to bail on Lifetime movies to run a bed and breakfast in NoCal, even though Lifetime residuals were the only thing keeping her from selling her stuff on eBay, and oops, too late (I think his name is Tom, or something). The Spears-Federline dissolution was so inevitable, I had refused to write about it. I’ll make jokes about Reese Witherspoon having talent before I spend brain power and typing time on the thought that this match made in trailer-trash Hostess Heaven would last beyond the release of her next album (which, by the way, is due out early next year). I just didn’t want to waste my time.

Because some things, like Britney filing for divorce from Kevin, are too inevitable, and thus don’t need to be dealt with. They can just sit there, stinking in there inevitability, until inevitably, they explode and all us entertainment humorists can write our bits on how we knew this would inevitably happen and oh yeah, while we’re at it, as expected Federline’s CD sucks balls and no one wants to buy it. This is why I don’t write gossip. It’s just too, say it with me now, inevitable. But what I do write are celebrity insults, and as this is such a prime opportunity to indulge in just that, here is my inevitable list of other things besides Britney divorcing Kevin that were, umm, inevitable (also you suck Federline, just like your crappy “CD”. Good luck trying to sell out the courtyard of whatever dingy Valley apartment complex your lucky enough to pass the credit check for. Zing!)

OTHER THINGS THAT ARE INEVITABLE:
Keanu Reeves in The Matrix

- Keanu saying “whoa” in a movie.

- The Star Wars prequels sucking ass.

- President Bush making an ass out of himself in a news conference.

- Being frustrated by an episode of Lost.

- Die Hard 4

- Paris Hilton admitting she’s stupid.

- Aaron Sorkin writing a patronizing female character.

- Keith Urban relapsing (he is married to an expression-less ice queen, after all).

- Vince Vaughn finding Jennifer Aniston “too clingy”.
Don't you ever leave me, cause I'd find you!

- Nick and Jessica

- Jon Heder turning out to be one-dimensional.

- Courtney Love botoxing her way to Crazy-ville.

- Rocky 6

- The cancellation of Joey.

- Kobe Bryant trying the back door.

- Scientology turning Tom Cruise insane.

- Anna Nicole Smith having a baby in the Bahamas, then having her son drop dead a few days later, waiting two months to bury him while in the meantime getting married to her sleazy lawyer and getting pneumonia. I mean, really, who didn’t see that coming?

- A Julian McMahon ass shot on Nip/Tuck.

- Whitney and Bobby

- Paul Walker finding a way to take off his shirt in every movie (even the ones set in Antarctica).

- Jim Carrey movies getting put into turnaround.

- Mischa Barton leaving The O.C.

- Death and Taxes

- Nicole Ritchie getting famous and then immediately vomiting off 50lbs.

- The triumphant return of Ben Affleck (you can’t keep a good ham-fisted actor down).

- Pirates of the Carribean 4 (now with less bland actors!)
I got Jennifer Grey'ed!
- Ashlee Simpson’s nose job.

- Haley Joel Osment becoming a Saturn station wagon-crashing drunk (he did work with Helen Fore-Hunt, after all).

- Snakes on a Plane crapping the bed.

- The complete and total reversal of audience love for Desperate Housewives.

- Eddie Murphy returning to stand-up comedy (this one’s more wish fulfillment, but you gotta think it’s gonna happen some day).

- Britney getting knocked up twice before the age of 25.

- Seeing 2000+ people dressed as Borat on Halloween this year.

- The spectacular box office disappointment of Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

- Lindsay Lohan spending time in the hospital last year “recovering” after she got crack whore skinny.

- Shrek 4

- Peyton Manning tanking in the playoffs.

- Pamela Anderson contracting Hepatitis C (or alternately, Tommy Lee having Hepatitis C).

- Paula Abdul making a pathetic, drunken spectacle of herself on any episode of American Idol.

Bangarang!

P.P.S.S – The Jay vs. MKdC – It’s the rumble in the sarcastic online humorist jungle!