Monday, June 30, 2008


The Bachelorette - I'm not really sure why I'm watching this season since I didn't watch the season where DeAnna got rejected by Brad--I haven't watched either the Bachelor or the Bachelorette in years. Both shows have a pretty terrible track record--I think there have been only 2 successful relationships out of what, 15 seasons? (And how is it even possible that there have been 12 seasons of the Bachelor and 3 seasons of the Bachelorette in only 6 years??) Things haven't really changed much though...Chris Harrison continues to be the most useless reality TV host ever, the suitors somehow all convince themselves that they're falling in love with the bachelor/ette, a lot of nice ones go home early, and the rose ceremonies are still stupid.

I guess DeAnna's story was perfect to have her be the next Bachelorette but I wondered why she's in such a hurry to get married--she's 26, only a year older than me. But then this week she tells Jason that she wants to have 3 kids before she's 30 (was I the only one reminded of Gilmore Girls and Jackson's "4 in 4" plan?). Ummm yeah in that case I see why she's in a hurry. Why that's what she wants is another question...

The rundown:

Jeremy - Was a frontrunner early on but I think he's a little too confident in DeAnna's feelings for him. DeAnna thinks he's "perfect" but I think his manner is a bit odd, kind of robotic...I'm not really a fan.

Jason - He seems like the most mature out of all of the guys and he and DeAnna seem very comfortable together. She seems very ok with becoming a stepmom, and if she includes Ty in her count of 3 kids before 30 then she'll only have to have 2 more in the next 4 years!

Jesse - He's fun and different and I thought his parents were the coolest out of them all but I'm not so sure about their chemistry. He doesn't seem like he would want to get married right away either. Next Bachelor anyone?

Graham - I was only mildly surprised that he got kicked off this week. What I was surprised about was that DeAnna pretty much admitted that he was the one she was in love with. The other guys are going to feel a little second-best after seeing that, no? I don't think he did anything wrong particularly...but he obviously didn't know what he was getting himself into being on the show. I do wonder if things would have gone better if they had met outside of the show. DeAnna was obviously ridiculously hot for him and if he was the only guy I think Graham would have been a lot more into it. But then again, DeAnna's in a hurry. And he doesn't seem like he'd be ready to get married that soon, show or no show. Here's an interview he did with New York magazine...if any of you care.

A lot of the nice guys -- Fred, Richard -- were sent home early because DeAnna just wasn't attracted to them. I can't really blame her, with the short timeline if you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it, but I think they're more the type of guys that grow on a girl over time. I do think DeAnna could have kept them around for longer though...because, really, why did Twilley stick around so long? He wasn't even amusing enough to be a producer pick.

So who is DeAnna going to pick? Because of what happened with Brad, I doubt she'd pull a Kelly Taylor. But she's been saying all along that she's looking for a husband, a proposal, and not just a relationship. Out of the three guys left, I feel like Jeremy would definitely want to get married right away, Jesse probably not, and Jason? Wouldn't he want more time to ease DeAnna into his son's life? I don't know, a Trista-Ryan-type success story doesn't seem likely...

Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods - First question: why is Haylie Duff, of all people, the host and mentor of this show? Apparently she was in Hairspray on Broadway for a little while but that puts her maybe one step ahead of these girls. I mean, what else has she even been in? I guess she was just...available?

I haven't seen the musical, either on Broadway or on TV, and after watching the show I think I've heard enough of the numbers that I'm not in a rush to see it. But I find the process kind of interesting because these girls really do have to be talented: they're going to have to be singing and dancing and acting live every night. The range of girls is interesting--some are barely out of high school while the oldest is 28. They're from all over the country, with some of them having to kick their regional accents. They all think they're kind of Elle Woods-ish, which means that they're generally pink and perky, but it's interesting because I wouldn't consider either Reese Witherspoon or Laura Bell Bundy (the actress who originated the role in the musical, from what I've seen of her anyway) as their normal selves to be very Elle Woods-ish. The show has just started but I don't think we've seen that girl who transforms while performing yet. Because this is reality TV though, there's already some drama.

The other day someone remarked that I must be a reality TV junkie. That's probably an accurate statement, but I think I'm definitely more into the competitive reality rather than candid reality. I like shows that require talent and skill, as opposed to just celebrity. Somehow that doesn't include America's Got Talent though...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Top Chef: Sigh of Relief!

Yay, Stephanie! I imagine there was just a collective sigh of relief among Top Chef viewers when Stephanie was announced as the winner last night. She was definitely my favorite--solid performance throughout the entire competition, very calm and professional in the kitchen, respected by her peers, and most importantly, great food!

The episode didn't go at all as I expected--who could have guessed that Blaise was going to crash and burn? I was so bummed for him--in terms of creativity and vision he was definitely the most talented chef there and it was disappointing to see him not really be in the running for the title. He looked really upset, but I have no doubt that he'll have a great career regardless.

Truthfully, the episode itself was a little boring. The celebrity sous chefs are a fun touch that they started last year, but nothing all that interesting happened during prep, except for maybe the liquid nitrogen bit, but because I've actually made liquid nitrogen ice cream a few times (I think every engineer does this during undergrad) I wasn't really wowed.

I wish we'd seen a little more of the deliberations. They obviously edited it to make it suspenseful until the very end, but we didn't get much explanation on how they came up with the winner. While they were eating, I thought Stephanie was the clear favorite, with three strong courses and one that was just ok (her dessert). But then at Judges Table, they started to talk up Lisa's dishes and slammed Steph's dessert. I wonder how close it was. I got the feeling that Gail was leaning towards Lisa but I'm pretty sure Tom wasn't going to have any of that. I think I saw his eyebrows kind of raise after Lisa's final statement that she had the qualities of a top chef.

I did kind of have the feeling that Lisa was going to step it up. I have no doubt that she went home and really prepared for this final challenge--probably more than the other two. And while I love Thai/Vietnamese food and obviously I don't know what her dishes really tasted like, it didn't really seem very different from what you'd get at any respectable Thai restaurant. I think Stephanie's lamb dish is what really sealed her win--it was different and unexpected and ultimately impressive. I'm hoping that we maybe get a little more insight into the final decision during next week's reunion show though.

I thought it was great seeing all the chefs come back at the end. Am I a little crazy or did Dale look kind of cute?

Friday, June 06, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance: the Top 20

Yay for So You Think You Can Dance being back!

Unlike on Idol, I really do enjoy the audition episodes of this show. There are the trainwrecks here too, but there are also people that are super talented and/or entertaining but just aren't right for the show. And since dancing is something you can really work at, there are those people that have potential but aren't ready yet.

That said, I'm not really one of those people who actually remembers who's who from the auditions...I didn't really have any favorites at all going into Vegas week and when they announced the top 20 there were really only a handful that I remembered at all. I remembered Twitch, of course, because he was being majorly pimped, and I think I liked Joshua Allen and Comfort, the hip-hop dancers, and I was pretty surprised that Susie, the high school teacher, made it through. I can't yet tell the contemporary dancers apart yet....there are a ton of them this year. I know because the show is partner-based but has a solo winner the contemporary dancers tend to be the most prepared for that but I wish there maybe a little more variety.

I was kind of turned off by the manufactured drama at the end with the two roommates/best friends, Katee and Natalie. Katee probably shouldn't have said anything but the way the judges pounced on her was just preposterous. She wasn't saying that she was going to give up dance altogether--So You Think You Can Dance is not the be-all and end-all of dance. And having a re-vote was just bizarre but it's not like they were deciding between the two of them for the top 20, they just saved them for last for the drama factor. And now the judges have kind of stuck this "doesn't have enough heart" label on her and I think that's super unfair. Hopefully this doesn't get her a premature exit.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Top Chef: The One Who Just Won't GO AWAY

After season 2's finale of Ilan vs. Marcel I was almost ready to throw in the towel with Top Chef. Ilan's disgusting behavior might have made a lot of people root for Marcel instead but I couldn't stand Marcel either and it was just a really unenjoyable season altogether. But I stuck with the show, and season 3 was really nicely professional and the right person won (in my opinion anyway).

And so we come to season 4. If Lisa wins, the show will lose every bit of credibility it gained back last season.

I don't CARE what food gets cooked next week, I don't care that they don't take past performance into account, they CANNOT crown someone who's been in the bottom for 6 out of the last 7 elimination challenges (7 out of 7 if you count that she was on the losing team for the wedding challenge). Not when Richard and Stephanie have been so strong all the way through (not to mention their better attitudes, leadership skills, and general culinary execution). Just...NO. And I don't know, maybe this is a false sense of optimism, but I don't think the judges would stand for that kind of outcome. Richard and Steph both have to have disasters happen and with the traditional "cook the best meal of your life" challenge with no gimmicks I don't think that's all that likely.

Anyway, as for this week's much I hate that Lisa's going to be on my TV for yet another week, I can't say I'm that upset that Antonia was eliminated. She's performed well and put out some good food, but I don't think I ever found any of her dishes to be all that interesting or exciting. I'd really much have preferred Dale in the final three over either of them.

Speaking of Dale, how Stephanie dealt with his could-have-been-crucial error just really highlighted how cool-headed and professional she is. Can you imagine the fit that Dale himself or Lisa would have thrown if their sous chef did that to them? Steph collaborated with the sous chef that she trusted, came up with a replacement that nearly got her the win, and didn't make excuses. I'd really be ok with either Richard or Steph winning, but I'm definitely rooting for Stephanie. Stephanie for first female Top Chef!! Or at least fan favorite?

I do have to give Richard some props for the really funny quip he made at the end about Lisa winning a bronze medal. Week after week she's been on the brink of elimination only to be saved every time by someone who did a slightly worse job than she did. I fail to see how that's something deserving of congratulations.

Monday, June 02, 2008

What I'll be watching this summer

So You Think You Can Dance: The obsession is back!

The Next Food Network Star: I wish Amy from last season had been more successful, but the show is still a lot of fun. I find it kind of funny that next week's episode has the disgraced Robert Irvine in it. Guess it was filmed before he was fired. Oh, but Dinner: Impossible is coming back with Michael Symon eventually!

Instant Star (The N): Final season! I think I'm on Team Tommy, even though I still find it maybe a little squicky that they first met when she was 15 and he was already married and divorced...

Mad Men: My favorite from last summer. I don't remember what happened though...

My Boys: Who did PJ pick to go to Italy with??

Shear Genius: Was I the only person who liked this show?

Project Runway: I guess it's coming back in July already?

Jennifer's season mega-wrap-up: Banished from the DVR

The Hills: Not so long ago, I stated that I loved the Hills. But when the second part of this season rolled around I found myself just not being able to take it anymore. I think it's because Lauren and Heidi and Audrina now get as much, if not more, celebrity coverage than actual actors and in turn, the show has just become almost unnecessary. I mean, to an extent the show has always been fake, but in the past I've been able to kind of enjoy the storytelling. But now with their constant presence in the news and the show being a couple of months me it all seems even more fake. So I decided to stop watching. And you know, I am definitely not missing watching Heidi and Spencer's totally ridiculous drama.

American Idol: Not completely banished as I did watch it every so often, but this season just really cemented why I don't like the show anymore. David Cook, while a better singer and performer than most of the population, just wasn't interesting to me at all. He proved to be good at rearranging songs into his style, but with his own music that novelty's not going to be there. I have no doubt that he'll sell a ton of albums but I think I'm done with the show, at least until they stop with all the dated themes and/or make the contestant sing their own original songs. Yeah, it's not likely.

Hell's Kitchen: Strangely enough, I didn't give up this show because I'd had enough of Gordon Ramsay. I actually still find him really amusing. The reason I gave it up was the shameless, terrible casting that the show does. It's just all so...FOX, if you know what I mean. I'm ok over here with Top Chef, thanks.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Jennifer's season mega-wrap-up: Still going strong

30 Rock: For no reason in particular I didn't watch the first season of this show. I watched the pilot and somehow it just didn't hook me. But with the growing critical acclaim and the Emmy and all I decided to give it a second try and now it's overtaken the Office as my favorite NBC sitcom. I think what I love about the show as compared to the Office is that basically all the characters are kooky and there's no Pam and Jim to make the Michaels and Dwights look even more ridiculous. Like Liz is generally smart and funny but can be alternately the voice of reason and the total loser-basketcase. And there's kind of the same thing with Pete and Jack too. And the writing is just so totally sharp--the MILF island episode was so hilariously brilliant and I loved sandwich day. Liz and her food cracks me up.

Ugly Betty: You know, it's kind of a shame how annoying Henry's become over this season. I thought he was so awesomely cute and dorky when he first appeared but now I just want him to be gone for good. The whole thing with Charlie and the baby was just a trainwreck and it was a little hard to watch Betty get stuck in all of it. That said, I find it just a little implausible how Betty ALWAYS has a love interest. I mean, I know she's smart and spunky and all that but Henry came into the picture before Walter was gone and Gio was around before Henry was done. Although I guess Henry's not completely gone yet...I HATE the whole "who will she choose" cliffhanger but obviously Betty's not going to be moving to Tucson (or if she does it won't last). Besides that though, this show has continued to be really good this season, with fun guest spots by Christian Siriano and Gene Simmons and yes, Lindsay Lohan, and Eddie Cibrian showing up as Hilda's new love interest, and even Daniel finding out that he has a French son! I do wish there was a little more Mark and Amanda and more Justin, and I'm not sure why Alexis is suddenly taking Wilhemina's side over Daniel's, but overall the show is still a ton of fun.

How I Met Your Mother: As much as I was underwhelmed at Britney's guest spots, I was so super glad that it happened because suddenly the show's visibility went up and now we're going to be getting a third season! Yay! A lot of really fun things happened this season, what with Robin and Barney finally hooking up and Ted and Barney having a bit of a rift over it. The finale was such cheesy fun with their reconciliation. I'm also glad that they've found story for Lily and Marshall without creating more relationship drama for them, which is what TV shows tend to do to couples who are happy. And of course, have we finally met the mother? Who knows, I guess, but I like Sarah Chalke so much that I think I might be a little miffed if that doesn't end up the case. I'm not sure how Stella already having a daughter meshes with the story that Future Ted is telling his two teenage kids, but I guess we'll just have to see.

Jennifer's season mega-wrap-up: Guilty Pleasures

The Paper: Yet another MTV reality show that I've gotten hooked on. This one is kind of refreshingly different though because it's centered around kids that actually care about something school-related. Now, I wrote for my high school newspaper (this was back when I thought I was going to become a journalist) but my experience was pretty different. For one, our paper was very much an extra-curricular activity and not a class, so we had an advisor and not a teacher, and our issues were definitely not 30 pages long, although at one point we did come out with an issue every week. I was a lowly reporter (generally relegated to covering all manner of student government meetings) and never rose above that so I can't say if we really had any drama among the editors, but I'm pretty sure we never had an Amanda or an Adam on staff. Although you know, those two are my favorites on the show. Giana and Trevor, and especially Alex, are kind of heinous. I can see why people might find some of Amanda's quirks irritating but I can't believe how nasty they are to her. Although, maybe this is too many MTV shows in my system, but I much prefer Giana and Trevor being up front with their hate as opposed to Alex trying to play both sides. I'm sad that we only got 8 episodes, but I hope we keep getting some updates on the kids (Amanda's going to be at NYU) and I believe there is going to be a second season at a different school. All this season's episodes are available to watch on though, so go check it out!

Wildfire: I guess in a way I'm glad they they designated this as the last season of the show and didn't have it just fade into nothingness with a cliffhanger or something annoying like that. And I guess having Wildfire run and win his last race and Pablo and Jean finally get together and Kris and Junior get married were all nice things to have at the end of the series but honestly, this season was just filled with some pretty terrible writing. I mean, Kris comes back to Raintree for Wildfire, but then after she and Junior get back together, she briefly starts working for Davis, and then decides to follow Junior to Alaska for a year? Then Wildfire randomly escapes from his stall and the minute Kris decides to give up he comes galloping back? And really, Dani and Matt totally got shafted this year. I loved seeing the new, nicer Dani but I'm still kind of depressed that they killed off RJ. And honestly I'm still confused over the state of the farms. Dani's back in racing but boarding her horses at Raintree, Kris is now a Davis but she has loyalties to Raintree, Junior still owns Davis but has his energy projects in Alaska...and um, why do I care?