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Hell’s Kitchen: Pizza Party

Last week on “Hell’s Kitchen,” Vanessa burned her hand on some hot oil and was rushed to the hospital. She started off the show okay last night, but definitely like a fighter who had been knocked down a few times.

Anyway, the challenge of the day was to create a “fine dining pizza,” one that the restaurant could serve and charge way too much money for. Everyone had to create one, with the two teams picking their team’s favorite to present to Chef Ramsay. The girls chose Jen’s “little bit Italian, little bit French” pizza while the guys went with Ben’s duck and mushroom pizza. Call me boring, but I like good ol’ cheese and pepperoni. Anyway, Ramsay did like them both but declared the guys losers because Ben had left a bit of dirt on some mushrooms. Blech. So the ladies were off to Santa Barbara in a helicopter while the guys prepped the dinner service. What’s more, Ben was given the task of delivering pizzas during the dinner service in this little golf cart.

Then Vanessa was shown going into Ramsay’s office Read the rest of this entry »

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American Idol: Trying to Find That Shining Diamond

So this thing is heating up. Last night on “American Idol” it was the Final Five performing, with the great Neil Diamond as mentor. But as Simon Cowell suggested, it was one of the strangest shows ever, and that’s mainly because each performer had to sing two selections, and the judges had very little air time. Need I say that this was a formula for Paula imploding on national TV? And that’s basically what happened, though she did rebound. More on that in a bit.

I like the more meat, less B.S. that a condensed “Idol” offered. And it was entertaining to see how they would do it. Ryan Seacrest was talking like he had a plane to catch, and the judges were able to give a brief reaction after each performer sang once, and then a full critique after their second song. You gotta love less Paula in any way, shape or form. Without further adieu, here is the recap and prediction for who is going home….

THE GOOD

David Cook, what can we say? The dude manages to have some element of surprise Read the rest of this entry »

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PSA – the Fonzie way

Arthur Fonzarelli has some advice for the kids out there.

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And some good impressions…

Really, I just wanted to make use of the SNAKES ON A PLANE subcategory we still have around here. So here we go. Enjoy.

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Johnny Jones’ bad impressions!

Sure, why not? It’s good for you.

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Gary Coleman gets divorced

And we’re not at all surprised. What, you didn’t know Gary had tied the knot? Well he did, and along with losing his wife now, he at least finally got to lose his oft-discussed virginity as well (yay). Anyway, Coleman is 40…his soon to be ex Shannon Price, 22. And like any good celeb still needing to get whatever amount of publicity they can long, long after anyone’s cared about them, Coleman’s taking the divorce to TV on May 1 and 2 on “Divorce Court.”

So why the split? Let’s lisen to Shannon’s side of the story.

“If he doesn’t get his way, he throws a temper tantrum like a five-year-old does,” Price says, according to a transcript of the show provided to The Associated Press. “He like stomps the floor and yells, ‘Meehhhh,’ and starts throwing stuff around. He bashes his head in the wall, too.”

“Bashes his head in the wall, too.” Simply awesome, Gary. Yet Coleman doesn’t completely fault his wife.

“It’s not her fault,” he says. “I always feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders every day I get up. … There are days I don’t even want to get up.”

And now Gary has finally learned that the world truly don’t move to the beat of just one drum. Or Drummond.

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Multiplex Mayhem: Slapstick Battle of the Sexes Postgame

It was a good weekend for the power of the PG-13 rating and the eternal drawing power of the promise of belly laughs.

* As predicted correctly by me (and everyone else who dared) two days back, the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler opus “Baby Mama” won a relatively healthy box-office weekend with $18,271,000. In a weekend with three fairly strong comedies cramming the U.S.A.’s multiplexes, the obvious advantage here is the PG-13 rating — at the risk of stereotyping grossly, one imagines cool unmarried aunts (preferably with glasses) taking their young teen nieces in droves to this one, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to follow. There was a time many decades ago when TV stars were considered questionable box-office material but, with the distinction between home and theatrical entertainment breaking down in just about every way possible, I think we can agree that that is well and truly dead now.

* Also, youngish male audiences, at least, for the most part don’t seem to mind a little very broad political satire mixed in with their sophomoric giggles, “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” scored a solid, if not quite boffo, $14,570.00. Considering that the film’s $12 million budget was less than half of the $30 million that “Baby Mama” cost, this film could well turn out to be the more profitable, at least for the time being. Anyone up for remake of the Marx Brothers’ anti-authoritarian classic, “Duck Soup“?

* A true photo-finish in third place between last week’s two top grosser, with the martial arts fantasy, “The Forbidden Kingdom” netting $11,230,00 and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” netting $11,014,000. What makes it so close is that “Sarah Marshall” actually beat the wirefu/chop socky summit meeting in terms of per screen numbers, with an average of $3,934.00. Once again, a Judd Apatow comedy is showing some real staying power. Amazing what non-braindead laughs, and an attention to story and characterization, can do.

* The weekend’s other major opener, “Deception” did a predictably rotten $2,225,000. (According to entertainment news gadfly Nikki Finke, the film was only released in theatres as a favor to Hugh Jackman. She also has “Sarah Marshall” coming in at #3.) And the barely released 0% RT rater, “Deal” got a $31,000 in 50 theaters, with a per screen average of $620.00 in its first week.

Meanwhile in Indiewood….Errol Morris’s “war on terror” documentary, “Standard Operating Procedure,” which I discussed on Friday a bit, opened strongly in its two theaters with a per screen of $7,450 — beating out the per-screen of “Baby Mama” by $266. However, the real per-screen winner this week was a film I failed to mention. “Roman de Gare” is the latest from 71-year-old French hitmaker Claude Lelouch. For an internationally renowned French auteur, Lelouch’s slick style is not quite the catnip the film critics that some of his contemporaries can claim, but this one got mostly good-to-okay reviews and such is the appetite out there among older and more educated filmgoers for a decent, diverting thriller with actual characters and a story, that it’s spectacular $12,750 per screen should be no surprise at all.

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And our very special guest stars…Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob Smith!

Show: “Happy Days”
Episode: “The Howdy Doody Show” (Season 2)

Roles: You will be unsurprised to learn that the most famous puppet of the 1950s and his cowboy-attired “handler” play themselves, if only because, really, who the hell else are they going to play? “Happy Days” enjoyed taking the opportunity to provide a rose-colored look at life in the 1950s, but rarely were they presented with the opportunity to incorporate actual television icons from the era into the fun. Fortunately, wooden puppets don’t age, and people were willing to let it slide that “Buffalo” Bob Smith was sporting a few more wrinkles in 1975 than could be found on his famous visage two decades prior.

Buffalo Bob

The episode revolves around Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) trying to impress his editor at the high school newspaper by scoring a scoop, and his first idea is to interview Mr. Doody, whose show was – rather conveniently, it must be said – to be filming in Milwaukee. The Fonz (Henry Winkler) shoots down this idea, suggesting a more controversial alternative: to wrangle a backstage invite and sneak a shot of Clarabell the Clown without his make-up. So how does he get backstage? By entering a Howdy Doody lookalike contest. It’s ludicrous, of course, but seeing Ron Howard dressed in the standard HD attire is almost as funny as experiencing his disgruntlement after losing to a 9-year-old. While backstage with his right-hand man, Potsie (Anson Williams), Richie does indeed score the picture he’s sought, but after that, things immediately snowball at a ridiculous rate. Within hours of snapping the picture, word has already made it from Milwaukee all the way to the offices of Life Magazine, with the publication immediately getting Richie on the phone and making an offer for the photo. Visions of a journalism school scholarship are floating before Richie’s eyes…until the doorbell rings, and Buffalo Bob and Clarabell stand on the stoop.

Mr. C: Well, what brings you to our humble house, huh?
Buffalo Bob: Well…a clown’s broken heart.
Clarabell: (Frowns forlornly)
Mrs. C: He does look sad.
Richie: (Smugly) I guess you heard about my scoop. You know, Life Magazine wants to buy this picture!

Hey, nice, Richie. Way to be a complete dick. What’s next, blackmail? (“You know, Clarabell, for a little bit of dough-re-mi, I could make this photo just, y’know, go away.”) Fortunately, Buffalo Bob decides to take a tactic that only works in sitcoms set in the 1950s: heartfelt honesty.

Richie, there’s a reason why nobody has ever seen Clarabell without makeup. Y’see, behind that make-up, he’s Clarabell the Clown, and there’s sort of a mystique about him. It’s like the Lone Ranger without a mask: he’s a nobody. Y’see, millions of kids watch television every day to see their favorite clown, and to them, this is Clarabell. Now, if they were to see him as an ordinary man, Clarabell lives no more.

(Mrs. C attempts to liken the situation to “Tarzan without his loincloth,” but Mr. C assures her, “No, that’s a little different, Marion.”)

Richie is notably unmoved by this plea, trying to play the journalism-school card again, but while Bob makes it clear that it could well be a case of Richie’s future versus Clarabell’s career, he concedes that “you worked hard to get that picture, and I guess you’re entitled to sell it.” And then, with a facer arguably even sadder than the one painted on Clarabell, Bob plays the Ace of Guilt: “Rich, it’s up to you.”

You guessed it: Richie tears up the picture. Cue one very excited clown…and one pissed-off, whiny Cunningham.

After Bob and Clarabell leave, Richie doesn’t take the schmaltzy way out by saying, “Wow, it sure feels good to do the right thing.” Instead, he reacts exactly how a normal teenager would: he pouts and moans, “What about my scoop?”, providing yet another reason why the first few seasons of “Happy Days” are remembered as some of the best television the 1970s had to offer.

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Battlestar Galactica: “Escape Velocity”

I like this show as much as the next guy, but his episode was pretty tough to watch. It meandered from depressing storyline to depressing storyline with the speed of a drunk turtle. From the Chief’s badmouthing of his dead wife to Tigh’s fragile grip on reality to Baltar’s fairly lame speech about religion, it was pretty tedious throughout.

In fact, it felt a lot like last week’s episode, only without the shocking ending. Hopefully this is a slow buildup and not a trend for the season.

A couple of questions occurred to me:

1) Why doesn’t Roslin get another blood transfusion from Hera? That worked the first time, so it would be the first thing I’d try if I were in her situation.

2) What is the meaning of the Chief’s rant in the bar? Was he just trying to get himself reassigned so that he couldn’t do any more damage to the humans or was he seriously upset that he wasn’t able to be with the love of his life (presumably Boomer, who is also a Cylon)?

I was never really a fan of the Tigh/Ellen relationship, so seeing her pop back up isn’t a good thing. It was interesting to see Six plant a kiss on Tigh; I thought for a moment that she was going to try to escape (which would have been a whole lot more exciting) but maybe she’s drawn to Tigh because he’s a skinjob.

Anyway, we didn’t get any news from the Demetrius or the Cylon fleet, so this episode failed to move those storylines along. From the “next week” scenes, it looks like the Demetrius is heavily involved, so at least we have that to look forward to.

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