Sunday, April 27, 2008

Real World Hollywood: “Let’s Not Get Ghetto!”

The second episode of “RW: Hollywood” is upon us, and I was surprisingly excited about it! Even at work! Yes, I, the former Queen of Excel, am finally (almost) gainfully employed. I’m an Administrative Assistant at a marketing company here in the lovely Bumblefuck, Midwest. But I digress. The reason I was so eager to see the new season of the “RW” is because last week’s previews promised us they much-hyped “Let’s not get ghetto!” debacle, and because this cast actually seems better than casts for the last five years.

Admittedly, I thought that putting seven fame-whores in the Hollywood house was too sensational and obvious even for the show that created the reality star. But I was wrong, because not only are the castmates driven and determined to make some connections while they’re in LA, they seem even more determined to avoid the all too old reality show traps of drunken hookups, bar fights and lame arrests. Which I love. I’m all for the drunken spectacles and as this episode has proven, drama will be had, but hopefully it won’t be derived from petty arguments and drunken hookups. They do smart things that I wished other seasons would do: Dave made sure Sarah was sleeping on her side after her 21st birthday celebration when she was seriously wasted. Joey was actually cleaning up the house! I really hope they don’t let it get so nasty. It’s already ugly as sin. The girls busting on Dave for giving out their address to skanky LA chicks who wanted to be on camera. Yay for judgment and using the brain above your waistline!

My Favorite Moments of Ep. 2:

  1. Sarah told her boyfriend that Ryan had a crush on her. Actually it was the sheer effort on Sarah’s part not to smile and pretend to be all embarrassed and confused about it. She loves the attention. Who wouldn’t?

  2. Brianna’s confession that she thinks Will, who all but called her a dirty stripper mere days earlier, would do anything for her, so she agrees to help Will hook up with Sarah. What ever happened to Bros before Hos, Bri?

  3. Greg actually tried to get along with other people in the house. The buzz around the ‘net was that Greg was either being an asshole for the cameras or secretly autistic. It looks like it all points to him being an asshole, and there’s a cure for that!

  4. The girls being shocked and chagrined when the guys ditched them for the girls flashing their boobs. Um, they’re guys and it’s random boobage! I’d be curious to meet some peroxide-happy girl flashing her fake tits at me. And judging by how fast Dave flew over to those boobs, it’s pretty clear that he’s not gay. So he’s just Dave the Boring Jock. Boo!

  5. This quote—“…things like that just help me to realize that Sarah’s definitely going to cheat on her boyfriend, so I definitely have hope”—is a soundbyte dipped in GOLD. It literally made me laugh out loud. The countdown is so on!

  6. Sarah and Kim ganged up on Bri because of their narrow-minded opinions on stripping. Deep down, I think they have her best interest at heart, but it’s clear that they are incredibly sheltered and may not understand that some people don’t have a choice. While I don’t think stripping is the most respectable or safest profession, I do think that it is a job. With that being said, Bri stating that she doesn’t care if Joey respects her makes me sad. She seems to define herself as being a stripper and she’s definitely much more than that.

  7. Not two minutes later, Kim approached Bri angry and cursing because Bri was mad that her friends can’t come into the house. And when Bri tries to defend herself she launches into the entire “Let’s not get ghetto!” tirade, which was imbued with much more racism, bigotry and prejudice than I thought it would be, and wasn’t remotely enjoyable to watch (“Let’s not get ghetto! Let’s not get ghetto, let’s just be…normal.” And later to Sarah, “I mean pull your skirt down and stop being a hooker. Are you going to get mad at that, get back on your fuckin’ pole, bitch…I mean, I love her…but I don’t care if you’re from the most inner city Blackville, I’m not going to tolerate that.) She wants Bri to respect herself, but the moment Bri vocalizes a problem, she uses her stripper-status as an insult. I don’t care how fucking sheltered you are, you don’t use the word “ghetto” like that ever. Especially when you’re the one screaming at the top of your lungs and flicking people off. Kim came off looking like the ig’nant racist redneck hillbilly bitch and no one bothered to explain to her why. Greg forced them to make up and how Bri could touch Kim in a non-violent way after that mess, I have no idea. She has more restraint than me.

  8. Joey arm-wrestled Random Guy, and lost. With those giant biceps. His upper arms are as big as my head, so how did he lose? Was he juicing? And he did look like a very over-gelled version of The Hulk.

  9. Dave defended Joey’s alarming behavior as “having fun and being a kid” and dismissed Joey’s desire to not drink in the house. I’ve loathed this rationalization of dangerous behavior for years, and about 64% of those fools have DUIs or seriously hurt themselves while having fun and being a kid!

  10. Joey did a cleansing face mask with the stripper-hating girls! It was a cute moment that reminded me of an episode of “Friends.”

Up next week: Joey’s purported breakdown! On the previews, it looks like a really bad actor going for the drama scene in his acting class, but I am not judging based on that ten-second clip!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Real World" goes Hollywood

MTV, the cable channel who spawned reality television, reached a milestone this week: the premiere of the 20th season of the “Real World”. You know, the show where seven strangers are picked to live in a house, work together, and find out “what happens when people stop being nice and start being real.” And yes, I typed that from memory! I’ve been watching since “Seattle,” fools (except for that disastrous “Real World Sydney” season. I missed every episode of that trainwreck).

Capitalizing on our celebrity-obsessed culture, MTV set this season in Hollywood, the epicenter of the glitterati, and filled the tackiest house yet with seven strangers who all want to be famous. Capitalizing on the internet voters who a say in casting, MTV viewers voted one member into house.

Let’s meet the actors…I mean, castmates:

*Brianna. The Girl With A Past. With her straw-colored hair and stripper status, she’s trying to make it in Hollywood as a singer and leave stripperdom behind. She also has a warrant out for her arrest in her hometown of Philly for allegedly hitting her asshole ex-boyfriend. You go, girl!

*Will. The Player. He aspires to be a music producer…the Brianna’s Diddy. He is from Detroit and has a severe phobia of strippers. Oh, and he’s one of the cutest guys to step food in a “RW” house since Danny from “New Orleans.” Me likey!

*Sarah. The Committed Overachiever. At just 20, she’s a graduate of Arizona State University, and aspires to be a broadcast journalist. She has a boyfriend—a sweet, non-threatening guy with glasses who appeared in her casting tape. Countdown to her drunk-boinking one of the roommates and/or dumping her BF over the phone!

*Kimberly. The Redneck. She’s from the south, y’all! And she wants to be an E! Reporter. She’s also obsessed with LiLo! And homegirl has an accent thicker than Paula Deen’s, which will hinder any chance of her achieving her dreams of being the female Seacrest! Her ignorance will do that too. Apparently, she thinks Will is too nice and cute to be from Detroit, which is a big “inner city.” K out!

*Dave. The Jock. He’s good at everything sports related. He doesn’t know what he wants to be, maybe an actor! He’s boring, unless he turns out to be the Token Gay.

*Joey. The Hot Head. He uses too much gel and has a rockin’ bod. But don’t call him a weirdo or he’ll straight up lose it! He seems like a sweet guy with a terrible past…and Chicago accent. Hopefully, he can work through his issues ON CAMERA! And he’s claims, he’s “not some pretty white boy.” Um, sorry, hun, you are!

*Greg. The Chosen One. He is an epic asshole, who calls women “associates” and regular people “peasants.” He has a hatred of lines and pretty much everything else that doesn’t have him being the center of attention. He will provide loads of drama. Oh and he’s GORGEOUS! Thanks, Internet voters!

The Ten Things I Loved About Episode 1.

1. Will wiping himself down to get rid of the dreaded Stripper Cooties after he found out Brianna was a stripper.
2. Sarah being angry that Dave doesn’t think her relationship is serious…and then her flirting insanely with Will five minutes after entering the house.
3. Kim’s accent. I can’t barely understand her ig’nant comments! So that’s what southern accents are for! (*ducks flying objects**)
4. Obligatory naked swimming!
5. Joey’s aerodynamic hair. It’s shellacked to the point of being indestructible!
6. Joey telling Brianna that the bad people in her life are poison, and telling her she needs to get Asshole Ex out of her life. He really seems like a sweetheart.
7. Greg calling his roommate “peasants.” He’s hip to the American Caste System!
8. The collection of Warhol-esque celeb mugshots on the walls of the ugliest RW house ever! Dave made sure he pointed out LiLo’s for Kim!
9. Greg proclaimed he won’t speak to the other members in the house because they don’t like him. On the first DAY. LMFAO!
10. The preview for next week’s episode, where Kim tells Brianna not to “get ghetto!” I hope someone not in the house just runs up and cold-clocks her for that!

This season looks like it’ll be more drunken insanity and mindless stupidity, and I’m stoked! I haven’t been this excited about a new season of “RW” since “RW: Paris!”

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday to The Pop Culture Closet!

I'm so proud of my blog, even though no one really reads it. I keep it around so I can do what I love: write and be an opinionated bitch!

Thanks all four of you who care about this place!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Proud to be a Prude: Gossip Girl's Racy Ads

Teenage girls are natural drama queens. It is encoded in their DNA. When I was fifteen, I ached to experience real, gritty drama: I wanted my high school crush to suddenly notice I existed (which would create some serious drama since he was dating a friend of mine); because messiness and intense emotion means you’re more adult. All of my friends and I wanted to live out a “Dawson’s Creek,” “Felicity”-ized version of adolescence.

But thankfully, I’m not Katie Holmes and my high school life, minus a couple of my friends’ suicide attempts, the death of my young cousin, was decidedly normal.

My 26-year-old self was a little taken aback when I got the latest issue of “Entertainment Weekly,” and found the newest photo promo for The CWs, “Gossip Girl.” It shows Blake Lively, blonde hair swept across her face, head thrown back and eyes closed in ecstasy, as a guy kisses her neck. With the cybertastic OMG splashed across them in white font (OMFG is used on the internet). The picture is grainy and a bit off center, which adds a voyeuristic, “One Night in Paris” feel to it. This ad sailed past Suggestive and right into Obvious Orgasm territory. The TV spots are even worse.

Admittedly, I’ve never actually watched an episode of “GG”—yet another show about rich, white high school kids—because it looks like “The Hills” with a script. But I think these ads have demolished the line between risqué art and softcore porn. We have to keep in mind that sex has saturated the market; and 1 in 4 teenage girls have or have had an STD (and that rate jumps when dealing with minorities). Therefore, “GG’s” campaign is irresponsibly romanticizing sexual encounters.

Does that make me a prude? Maybe. Do I care? Fuck no. Pun completely intended.

Sex isn’t a bad thing by any means. And I’m not a Dubbya wasting taxpayers’ money by preaching abstinence, but in an era, where celebrity babies are the new black, STDs are at a national high, and record numbers of kids are having sex before the age of 13, network television shows should use a bit more restraint, at least with its advertisements, which I’ve already seen on “E! News,” my Yahoo! Email page, four times tonight’s return of “Supernatural” and in my favorite magazine.

I understand that teenage girls want to live the dramatic, sexy life of Carrie Bradshaw, but I also understand that that need is driven more by an urge to feel like the adults they are becoming and not the children they are.

Source for STD Stats:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Where’s Atreyu When You Need Him?

Almost all musicians will riff about the power of music; how their relationship with it magical and addictive and divine and their talent is a gift from God. And I’m inclined to agree with them seeing as music inspired me to write my first novel…which is about—wait for it—a musician!
Madonna and Justin Timberlake have finally commodified such a sentiment, crafting a much-hyped dance track called “4 Minutes”—the first single off Madonna’s new LP, “Hard Candy.” The song is a passable dance track with an irritatingly danceable beat, slick production—thanks to the in-demand duo of Timberlake and Timbaland—and flufftastic lyrics—thanks to co-writer, JT. All of those elements add up to a great dance track, especially after a two-drink special at your favorite club…or in your shower if you’re weird like me.

With two obvious forces in pop music, I expected the video to be a super-glam joint with rich colors, an uber-luxe club scene and the hottest choreography this side of “America’s Best Dance Crew.” Instead, Mr. JT and Madge delivered a muted world with decaying bodies, a grocery store a goth could love, and a cameo by Timbaland AND the Nothingness from The Neverending Story. That’s right, folks, the Nothingness is overtaking the world in a noiseless clump of geometric angles that dismantles as it encroaches on their bombastic world. There is a rather cool shot of it dispatching a kissing couple, giving the viewers a cross-section of their jaw bones, wiggling tongues, and buccinators.

I’m not all doom and gloom as far as this video is concerned. The two vignettes where JT and Madonna acrobatically leap and pose in a lot of cars is very impressive and kinetic eye candy. Apparently, when the world is ending, you don’t care about scuffing the hood of a pimped out ride. The two also pop-and-lock their way through the aforementioned grocery store with sparsely stocked shelves and black walls. The climax of the scene is a brilliantly blocked cluster of eight-counts where Madonna and JT hoof it up on the conveyor belts at the cashier-less checkout.

Unfortunately, these snippets of dance porn are spliced with Madonna—who looks rather muscular and washed out with her light blonde coif, pale skin and off-white corseted body leotard—trying to freestyle. This is when we the viewers are reminded that Madonna is not a young rebel with a cause, but that she’s pushin’ 50 and trying to stay ontop in a genre overwrought with younger, more rhythmically adept pop tarts who are just hitting their stride. There are also many other scenes they subtract more from the concept than add to it. The editors were obviously trying to create a frenetic pace, but the constant jumping to different vignettes is both distracting and downright annoying.

Luckily, a bearded Justin Timberlake looks delicious in his appointed black leather, rocker scarf and tight gray t-shirt, especially when during their mutual striptease of a dance break, which is a watered down continuation of Madonna’s weird yoga-esque b-girl moves we were introduced to in the “Me Against the Music” video with She Who Shall Not Be Named. Thankfully, the yoga dial was turned down and the cool factor was pumped up.

Inexplicably, Madonna and JT’s musically collaboration doesn’t save the world. In the closing seconds of existence in Soundstage Pop, the great Nothingness catches up on JT and Madonna, exposing the former’s ribcage and internal organs before the couple can kiss (THANK YOU!). So all of that dancing was all for not and left me wondering: isn’t it bad for business when your funk can’t save the world?