Hey! I was on TV! (Newlyweds: The First Year)

My best friend Nadine Jolie Courtney and her husband were followed around by Bravo for a year being filmed for the 2nd season of Newlyweds: The First Year and I made the cut! I had the distinct honor of standing by her side as she married a great guy and was so excited to be able to toast to their love and happiness.

I’m not going to lie, being on TV was a little weird, but still sort of cool! And it’s definitely fun to see the ways that the magic of reality show editing create a whole new “reality”.

Here is a full transcript of my toast:

The first time I met Nadine, almost 15 years ago when we were both interns at FHM in New York, she had just broken up with her college boyfriend. We spent a whole summer sitting in a closet together, sorting through men’s grooming products and watching Mandy Moore on MTV. Despite all the fun we had that summer, it wasn’t until she moved out to LA 6 years ago that I truly understood how deep our friendship ran. Nadine is the most sparkly person I know. She is smart and funny and talented and loyal and the goofiest dancer on the planet. She is also my most travelled and up-for-anything friend so I wasn’t even remotely surprised when she called me up in March to ask me to vet a new guy she was dating before they went on their third date together – in JAPAN!

Throughout the years Nadine went through her bad boy phase and her good boy phase and her “hey, you’re a boy” phase, but it wasn’t until she met Erik that she went through her right boy phase. I may have approached that first phone call with him skeptically, but Erik’s sincerity, passion and excitement about my friend made it easy to see why she was so willing to travel across the world with him. Getting to know him this year and watching my best friend truly fall in love has been amazing.

I spend a lot of time reading the internet at work and I came across a quote from a 4-year-old who was asked about love. He said “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” I love this so much. And it makes me think of Nadine and Erik. When Nadine fell in love with Erik, literally the moment she told me they were all in, her smile changed. Nadine has never been what people would call an unhappy person, but I have known her for almost 15 years, and I have never seen her smile the way she started smiling when she met Erik. It was as if she knew that her name would be safe in his mouth.

(Thanks to Nadine for providing me with the footage)

Work of Art: Movement proves a challenge

Simon de Pury: Hero of Work of Art

Last night’s episode of Work of Art sort of highlighted why art in the traditional sense of the word (as opposed to “popular” art like television and film) remains unattainable for me.  There is an innate pretension to art and artists that baffles me at the best of times and annoys me to death at the worst of times.  Fortunately for us, and this show, the critics represented here seem to share my intolerance for pretension and called the artists out on it.  The challenge was to work in teams to create a cohesive show around the theme of motion.  They were introduced to their challenge by some parkour-ists (what they hell would you call them?) which was super cool (though it felt a little sad to watch parkour be appropriated by a Bravo reality show).  Of course, seeing all of that dynamic, explosive, energetic movement led the two teams to go directly to the slowest movements they could possibly think of: digestion and migration.  Ugh.  I was bored to tears by the ideas that the artists were coming up with at the beginning and everything they were saying just dripped with “ooh, aren’t I smart.  I’m taking this challenge and making it mean something” when in reality, they were asked to simply do a piece about movement.  They were given the subject and they just seemed to go screaming in the opposite direction.  Luckily, Simon came to their, and our, rescue and scolded the artists for missing the point of the challenge and making their projects too conceptual in the process (although I did find it amusing to hear Simon say the word “poop” when he was talking to Team Digestion). Continue reading

Work of Art Returns to Bravo

The artists on the first day.

Bravo has totally cornered the market on these creative reality competition shows.  It takes something that is completely foreign to a lot of people (cooking, sewing, painting) and makes it accessible in a whole new way.  However, Work of Art may be their most challenging show.  Yes, palettes are not the same person to person (and a cooking show means that viewers cannot really judge the final products for themselves) and people have different aesthetics as far as clothing goes (but most people seem to judge Project Runway – which started on Bravo, but now airs on Lifetime – based on what they would wear themselves), but somehow what makes art good seems even more subjective.  Though I was an art history major in college, I am totally outside of the art world and have no idea what is considered “good” art by critics these days.  I think that’s why I like Work of Art so much.  I’m able to refine my taste in art while also comparing it to that of the establishment. Continue reading

More awards! The Television Critics Association announces its nominees

As impossible as this is to imagine, another television group has announced the nominees for its awards.  Not to be confused with the Critics Choice Television Awards, the Television Critics Association represents journalists and hands out the TCA awards while the Critics Choice is given by the Broadcast Television Journalist Association which represents television and online journalists.  It seems silly to keep these two groups separated, but I’m going to go ahead and imagine that there is some lifelong blood-feud going down between them and just assume its best that they stay far, far away from one another.

"ER" was awarded the TCA's Heritage Award in 2009, but never took home the award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama

I really like the categories of the TCA awards.  They put all of the contenders for acting awards into two categories (drama and comedy) that honor individual achievement without separating for gender.  That’s far more interesting than calling someone the “best actor/actress” and pits lead actors/actresses against supporting actors/actresses which I think is pretty cool. I’m sad not to see anyone from Friday Night Lights represented, but they are nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Program of the Year, so I guess that makes up for it.  Also interesting, the TCA’s have a category specifically for new programs, but those programs can also be nominated in the categories for returning programs (ie: Game of Thronesis nominated for both Outstanding New Program and Outstanding Achievement in Drama).

The fact that Nick Offerman is hosting is a great excuse to use this photo.

That’s just sort of fun!  I think it’s kind of cool that they have a list of nominees for Career Achievement instead of just choosing one person to honor each year (and that the category houses all different types of contributions to the television landscape from acting to producing/creating to hosting).  But the award that sets the TCA apart from all others is the Heritage Award which honors a program that’s long been dead – or in the words of the TCA press release: “has culturally or socially impacted society” – (past winners include ER, The Wire and Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  How utterly random and amazing!  These awards aren’t televised, but the ceremony is being hosted by Nick Offerman so it’s a shame that we all won’t get to watch them.  All of the nominees after the jump!

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Wednesday Night Reality: America’s Next Top Model and Top Chef: All Stars Finale

I know the blondes didn't get best photo this week, but Kasia (second from left) was my top pick and this is my blog, so I'm posting the blondes.

 

America’s Next Top Model (The CW) – I fast forwarded through most of the beginning drama and Tyra lesson because it just doesn’t interest me at all.  But my GOD, Monique has become just as unbearable as Alexandria – rolling her eyes throughout judging and being completely obnoxious and judgmental during their fan meet n’ greet challenge.  Grow up already.  I’m not sure if she’s worse than Alexandria, but she’s giving her a run for her money.  The photo shoot this week was a little weird for me.  I’m not a big fan of group shots and I feel like we’ve had a few of them this season (there was the couture one which was in pairs and then one other one, right?).  The girls were split into blondes and brunettes and then covered in mud.  There was someone to like and someone to dislike in both shots, but my favorite this week was Kasia.  The judges disagreed and gave the best shot to Britanni.  Can someone please tell Monique that if she keeps rolling her eyes like that her face is going to stay that way?  If she is that disinterested in hearing criticism she shouldn’t be on this show.  And the judges agreed and sent her home (although their reasoning was just that she was too middle of the road, not that she’s a complete bitch).  Can’t say I’m too disappointed about this week’s elimination though. Continue reading

The Reality of Wednesday Night TV: ANTM and Top Chef: All Stars

Such a hot photo of Hannah. Will someone please do my hair like that? It's awesome.

 

America’s Next Top Model (The CW) – Molly’s makeover hair is still completely out of control.  During the Cover Girl internet video challenge Alexandria was a bitch as per usual.  After Monique basically carried her through the commercial filming, she took all the credit.  This girl just has SO much attitude.  The photo challenge had the girls transformed into fashionista animals wearing pieces from Rachel Zoe’s faux fur collection.  And then they brought out a baby jaguar and it was the cutest thing ever.  I loved how Hannah’s hair looked – all big and frizzy.  I really want to do that to my hair someday, but the amount of time it takes just doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle.   But no one else really stood out to me during the shoot.  At judging, Jacqui came strong right out of the gate; in my opinion, Mikaela’s shot was pretty great despite the judges’ criticism; poor Molly had a terrible photo; Monique’s picture was more about the jaguar for me than her; despite having a pretty bad shoot, Kasia lucked out with a pretty great shot;  Britanni’s photo was completely chic and elegant; Alexandria’s photo was cool because the jaguar looks cool, but Alexandria got a pass; Hannah totally knocked it out of the park for me – the hair, the strength in her face, the calm energy, it was awesome, I think Hannah may be a sleeper.  Before the judging I would have bet money that the top two would be Hannah and Britanni and the bottom two would be Molly and Dalya (I actually just noticed that I didn’t even comment on Dalya’s photo.  That’s how little an impact she made).  And I would have won some cash!  I’m really glad that Hannah won and even more glad that Molly is staying.  I think she has a lot of potential and hopefully without the weave as a distraction she’ll dig deeper and pull out some miracles. Continue reading

Wednesday’s Winners: Face Off, Top Chef: All Stars, Modern Family and More

A close up of Jo and Connor's alien creation.

 

Face Off (SyFy) – This show is so cool!  Tonight the contestants were tasked with creating their own aliens (who could live on the newly discovered planet, Gliese 581g).  I am completely in awe of the make-up artists on this show based on this challenge.  Not only did they have to actually transform their models into these aliens, they had to imagine them from scratch.  I mean, COME ON!  I was as glad to see Frank go as he was to hear he was going.  He was a total wet blanket and clearly didn’t want to be there and he was just going to bring everyone down with him until he was kicked off.  While I liked the alien that Connor and Jo created, I thought Sam and Tate’s showed much more ingenuity and risk and should have at least been in the winners’ circle instead of simply safe.  Next week, the contestants get to create their own villains and it’s gonna be awesome.

American Idol (Fox) – I watched this episode, but the only thing I was thinking was THANK GOD TOMORROW HOLLYWOOD WEEK STARTS!  No one made more of an impression on me than that thought. Continue reading

What I Watched Last Night

Ben helps pregnant Mia try to get into a pair of skinny jeans on "Better With You"

Better With You (ABC) – This show has really grown on me, but really only because of the front and back end tags.  I love the way that the writers translate one situation into these three relationships.  The middle of the episodes are always a little lackluster (although I have to say, I really enjoyed Maddie’s obsession with the post office.  Who knew you could send a shoe via the mail just by putting the address and postage on the sole?), but the beginning and end tags are really where it’s at.  Loved tonight’s end tag in particular – Casey saw Mia sleeping on the couch and sweetly picked her up to carry her to bed (clearly they’ve only been together for a few months), Ben saw Maddie sleeping on the couch but when he tried to sweetly pick her up she freaked out and acted as if she was being attacked (together 10 years), and when Joel saw Vicky sleeping on the couch, he picked her up and put her on the floor so that he could watch TV.  It might not be laugh out loud funny, but it always gives me a chuckle.

Modern Family (ABC) – I was a little underwhelmed by this week’s new episode.  Outside of James Marsden’s entrance as a stranger in Mitchell and Cam’s hot tub and the fact that Luke (quickly becoming my favorite character) was able to teach Gloria how to ride a bike where Jay failed miserably, nothing really made me laugh or even giggle.  Wait, I take that back.  Claire’s “Slow Down! Your Neighbors” sign was pretty funny too.  While Modern Family is still funnier than most sitcoms out there, this episode will not be going down on any list of classic episodes.

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What I Watched Last Night

“America’s Next Top Model” (The CW) – In one of the most satisfying ends to a reality competition (and certainly this particular competition), Ann was crowned America’s Next Top Model.  While she may not have had the best walk on this show, she took by far the best pictures and I loved watching her awkward personality transform in front of a camera.

“The Whole Truth” (ABC) – Despite the fact that ABC has already cancelled this freshman series, I am still tuning in.  I have a deep affection for Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow and was so glad to see them both on a new series.  However, this show relied too much on its formulaic premise – a scandalous court case seen from the defense and prosecution perspectives – and it definitely feels a bit stale and limp.  I think I’ve said it here before though, I find comfort in procedurals so I’ll keep tuning in until the end of the run.

“Cougar Town” (ABC) – This repeat brought us deeper into Jules’ CAH-RAZY relationship with her son, the phrase “Slap out of it” and dead baby tacos.  Love.

“Top Chef” (Bravo) – The All Star cast has arrived!  The first quick-fire challenge involved the chefs teaming up with the other chefs from their season to create a dish to represent their season’s city.  I am forever in awe of the way these chefs come up with these fabulous dishes on the spot like that – especially because I am officially scared of my kitchen.  For the elimination challenge, the chefs had to recreate the dishes that got them kicked off of their original seasons (BRILLIANT!).  Angelo pulled out the first win, which, whatever – he was never my favorite chef on his season.  I always felt he was a little one note.  Unfortunately, Elia made many of the mistakes she made the first time around and was the first chef eliminated.  I was definitely bummed to see her go, as she was one of my favorite contestants, but I guess a lot of the cuts this season are going to feel deep since we already have some knowledge of the contestants.