Here’s a classic example of why this recent trend of hiring celebrities with no actual improvisational experience to host game shows can be a bad thing:
The setup: This is from this last Wednesday’s episode of Minute To Win It, hosted by noted celebrity chef and perpetual Jersey Shore: Midlife Crisis Edition applicant Guy Fieri. The contesti had just finished off Level Seven, and Guy was setting them up for the Surprise Tearful Reunion that they do far too often on that show.
It’s not in the clip, so: The start of the statement is “These two just rocked the house with $125,000…”
I wonder how long they had to stop tape.
I’m sure a couple of The Four Of You have seen Superdickery.com, a wonderful time waster that started out as a gallery of actual examples (taken out of context, of course) of Superman being, well, not so nice by modern standards.
It is in that spirit that I offer this excerpt of Christopher Kimball, founder and editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and host of the Cook’s Country TV show, showing his appreciation when his neighbor Axel drops in with a fresh-cooked batch of his wife’s macaroni and cheese…
"Does it taste better than it looks?" "No." And poor Axel just stands there and takes it.
Alright, this one’s been simmering for a little while. Prepare to go to full rolling boil.
(Incidentally, you have my S.O. to thank for this one, who regularly sends me links to Go Fug Yourself.)
Lady Gaga. She’s this generation’s Madonna. I will even admit, some of her music is pretty catchy. (And some of her music that isn’t even completely her music is also pretty catchy: let me direct you to DJ Tripp’s mashup of Just Dance and Don’t Stop Believin’.)
(An aside: What the fark with this whole "mashup" business? What the hell was wrong with calling it a "remix"? Where’s my onion? Get off my goddamn lawn.)
Anyhoo: Gaga’s gimmick seems to be to do her thing (and "her thing" seems to range from "performing in concert" to "going to the store for oatmeal") wearing the most unwieldy, whacked-out outfits imaginable. (Yes, that second one isn’t a ‘Shop. Platform hooves.) Some suggest this is some kind of real-time performance art on her part, an ironic commentary on the tragic state of celebrity in the public eye or some silly nonsense like that. Others suggest she’s just an attention whore. I figure, hey, she’s not hurting anybody, if she wants to go out dressed like she’s hoping to hell Monty Hall will walk up to her out of the blue and offer her $500 or whatever is behind Curtain Number Two and call it a social statement, more power to her.
In the last week, though, I think we’re starting to see the Implosion of Gaga. Which brings us to the grand revival of our 7-Eleven Golden Slurpee Award.
Let’s start here:
"Another whacked-out outfit, so what?" you say. This is how she showed up a couple of days ago…to HER SISTER’S HIGH-SCHOOL GRADUATION. Nope, couldn’t just go and be normal JUST ONCE and let her sister enjoy her special day, she has to show up looking like a sexually-confused Raiden. Klassy-with-a-Kapital-K.
But this one is the kicker: Just yesterday, she decides she wants to go take in a baseball game. Wonderful, nothing wrong there. Apparently nobody told her that she was seeing the Mets and not the Dodgers, since she rolled in during the fifth inning. Fine, she’s a busy girl, probably at the podiatrist getting her arches checked out or something. Let’s look in on her, shall we?
Yep, that’s what ol’ Gaga wears to the yard.
And, as you would expect, photographers at the game immediately turned their attention to her. Time for today’s quickie quiz: How do you suppose she reacted? Did she:
a) Ignore them
b) Smile demurely, showing off her oh-my-god-I-am-so-outrageous outfit, or
c) Get pissy, retreat to a luxury box, and spend the rest of the evening flipping off anyone with a camera
Well, with apologies to Peter Sagal, one of the erstwhile photographers in attendance provides us with the answer to that question:
Sorry, sweetie, no. If you want to sit in Row B of Citi Field, right behind the plate, dressed like you’re about to attend the annual Hell’s Angels Beach Getaway, you do not get to complain when people want to take a picture of you. This has nothing to do with you being famous, and everything to do with you looking like a goddamn freak at the ballpark.
At least pick up a Mets hat at the concession stand first.
Lady Gaga, You Just Suck. Enjoy your Golden Slurpee.
Just a thought on a Thursday morning:
When you’re an entertainment show running a promo about Gary Coleman and the reactions to his death from the Diff’rent Strokes crew, expect people to misread a graphic trumpeting "Secret Wills."
I was wondering why Todd Bridges would have a stand-in. Just saying.
At the end of May, Fine Living Network breathed it’s last breath, and from its ashes rose Cooking Channel.
"What the hell? I’ve never even heard of Fine Living Network," I hear you say. You would not be alone. (And now you know why it folded.)
All of this is under the umbrella of Scripps Networks Interactive, who also own a good-sized chunk of Food Network.
You in the back, again, yes, speak up: "Wait a second. I used to watch Food Network. It was cooking shows all day long. This company already has a Food Network, and now they’re starting up a Cooking Channel? Again I say: what the hell?"
Exactly. Anyone whose watched Food Network lately knows that it has about as much to do with food and cooking anymore as MTV has to do with music. With the exception of anything with Alton Brown on it, it’s a lot of Sandra Lee opening cans, Guy Fieri being a douchebag, and Rachael Ray doing, erm, whatever the hell Rachael Ray does.
And so Scripps has decided to rebrand FLN as a cooking channel. Because the one they had isn’t a cooking channel anymore.
And I’ve been watching the last couple of days. Near as I can tell, Cooking Channel is about 30% new content, coupled with about 70% old shows that used to air on Food Network back when it was, um, about food. I swear sometimes it looks like they just went into the vault, whipped out a 10-year-old FoodTV aircheck, and slapped it on the VTRs.
And even at that it’s still miles better than anything Food Network has done over the last couple of years.
So when the MTV runs their course with Jersey Shore 3: Revenge of the Snooki, Yo I Herd You Like Wacky Stuff Done To Your Car, and My Awful Goddamn Special Teenage Entitled Spoiled Brat, I’ve got an idea for them: thirty years ago, you used to see these short little mini-movies that singers and bands and such would make. Sometimes there would be some dialogue, but usually it was just one of their songs playing and the band or singer would make like they were singing along while they did stuff related to the song (most of the time). You could just show those, one after the other. It would be like listening to the radio (or your iPod, for you little bastards who are still on my lawn who don’t know what radio is), except with pictures.
Get four or five people to introduce them in shifts, you’re good to go. (You couldn’t call them "DJs," though, since they’re not really playing discs. You’d need to come up with another name for them. I wonder if anything rhymes with "D.")
Boom. Cheap programming. My ideas are available for franchise opportunities.
(Yeah, I know. It’ll never work.)
This morning, I had to make a couple of phone calls loosely related to medical insurance. So, in what should really become a regular feature here at Chez Fred, it’s time for today’s Automated Phone System Customer Service Tip:
(We should find a sponsor for this thing. Suggestions welcome. I’m leaning towards Comcast, who I was going to rant about a few months ago, but then the old site died and the topicality of the rantworthy incident wore off. Fortunately in the next month or so it might become topical again, so stand by. At any rate, their recent Worst Company in America win makes them the obvious choice.)
But I digress. Back to our new feature:
Hold times are a fact of life. I get this. But if you’re going to put your callers through ten-plus-minute hold times, then DO NOT:
- Tell me you’re going to have someone on the line "in just a moment…"
- …every twenty seconds.
Really, folks, you’re not stringing your callers along into sticking it out, you’re just calling attention to the fact that you’re making them wait. Honestly, I appreciate hold updates that tell it like it is: we know you’re there, we’re busy now, and we’ll get to you in the order your call came in. Boom. Simple.
(The irony here is that Comcast’s actually gets this part of it right: they say "hey, you’re gonna be on hold a while, would you like us to call you back?" And if you say yes, you type in your phone number and they call you back when it is your turn. (I’ve tried it; it works as advertised.) Comcast’s incompetence doesn’t kick in until AFTER you are speaking to a CSR.)
I was never much of a pet person growing up due to a combination of factors, the primary two of which were that we didn’t have any sort of grass yard for a dog to run around in, and Mom (and, we would learn years later, me, to a lesser extent) is deathly allergic to cat hair.
As a result, the menagerie at Chateau Lemón during my formative years consisted of one tadpole (Spike, who shuffled off this mortal coil when he sprouted arms and legs and I didn’t realize this meant it was time to get him access to dry land and, more importantly, air), three basic goldfish (Pooka, Fygar, and Dig-Dug (you in the back, shut up), with Fygar outlasting the other two by quite a substantial margin, which is really as it should be) and two teddy-bear hamsters, one a year or two after the other, both named Ralph (blame my younger brother for that one), and both living la vida loca every single minute of their thousand-day lives.
So, yeah. Not much for the whole pet thing. Hell, I can barely take care of myself; why would I want to do that to a poor animal?
But then I started dating the S.O., and she’s got two cats, Arthas and Jaina. (Apparently it’s a WoW reference of some sort.) Jaina is quiet and reserved and is generally content to be near people without being handled by people, though she’s getting better about that.
But Arthas. Oh, Arthas.
Frequently referred to as "Whackjob" by the S.O. (I almost typed "affectionately referred to," but the aforementioned S.O. would smack me), Arthas is deaf as a post, gets into everything, and generally uses people as climbing posts. A friendlier cat, you will not meet. And by "friendly" I mean "he will climb up onto your shoulder and clean your face with that piece of sandpaper he has for a tongue, usually right after you have shaved and your face is at its most sensitive."
And of course, Arthas decided from Day One that he liked me. At first I didn’t know what to make of this, but as time goes on I’m starting to understand the whole cat thing. Dogs, for the most part, are blindly loyal, but not too terribly bright. Cats, however, will size you up, and then make an informed decision about who to trust. And they can tell when you’ve had a crummy day and could use a little extra affection. All of this, and they poop in a confined box. Can’t beat that.
So Arthas and I, we’re a team now. I try to defend him to the S.O. as a "good kitteh," and she just rolls her eyes at me, and then Arthas will knock a Wiimote or something onto the floor, making it that much harder for me to argue his case. But he is a good kitteh, because when I’m having a bad day, he climbs right into my lap and then sits and purrs while I scritch between his ears. The rest of it is forgiven. (And my allergies aren’t nearly as severe as they were when I first met him, though my eyes still get a little itchy if I’ve been there all day.)
Sadly, I don’t have a wacky punchline for this one, but I can always use a little clickbait, so we shall close with a picture of Arthas in full Is-It-Can-Be-Hugz-Tiem-Pleez mode:
Couple things have happened the last few months.
First, Haloscan (the commenting system I was using) screwed their customers by shutting down with little to no warning. Then Blogger decided they couldn’t abide people publishing to their own webspace via FTP…and shut down that service with little to no warning.
Nutshell, Yer Humble Host was effectively up a creek without a paddle. I’d been wanting to migrate this blog to WordPress for a while now (I like the idea of everything being self-contained and not relying on any outside services for content; given the above, I’m sure you understand), but I wasn’t sure how to get everything moved over, and I wasn’t sure how to get the comments I’d downloaded from Haloscan before they died into the system. So Chez Fred sat dormant.
Then, today, I was idly surfing and wondering if the Haloscan issue had been fixed yet. And I came across this article. This guy’s a god. Everything worked great aside from the need to stick proper HTML in for the occasional omlaut.
So, nutshell, welcome to the WordPress edition of Chez Fred. I figured getting the content in and working was most important, and then we’ll worry about formatting. Nothing should change if you are subscribing via http://rss.fredsmythe.com, since I have that redirecting to the new feed path. Those of you who subscribed via http://fredsmythe.com/weblog/rss.xml probably aren’t seeing this anyhow, so hopefully you’ll wonder what the hell happened to me and come around to visit. With luck it’ll show up on Facebook, for those of you good enough to like Chez Fred’s page there.
I’ll try to get a more palatable theme in here soon enough. Meanwhile, ‘scuse the dust…
From an article about Phillip K. Dick’s estate taking issue with the name of Google’s new phone, the Nexus One:
Dick’s estate doesn’t have a trademark on the Nexus name — and even if it did, we’re not sure consumers would somehow be confused into thinking there was some association between Dick and Google.
Oh, I dunno. I gotta think that the hardware designers who have done Google’s work for them in making Android remotely successful and are now screwed have used the words together a few times in the last month or so…
From our “PWNED” file: