Farewell, No Reservations, we knew ye well. (You were pretty great too, The Layover.) The travel show for the unconventional, the adventurous, and the occasional Punk has breathed its last breath: host and unbridled Travel Channel personality Anthony Bourdain is packing his bags for new, more mainstream territory. The celebrity chef has just signed a deal with news network CNN to air a Sunday night travel show and act as a contributor on CNN's other programs. So does this signal the end of the outspoken New Jersey-bred Punk we all know and love?
Perhaps. Bourdain's new series is set to air in 2013 as part of CNN's attempt to add lifestyle coverage to its lineup, and the untitled series' description doesn't fall far from its Travel Channel-based tree: According to CNN, "the show will be shot on location and examine cultures from around the world through their food and dining and travel rituals." The series also boasts the same production team as No Reservations. So far so good.
The only question now is whether or not a news network with as much visibility as CNN has will allow Bourdain to wield his uncensored expertise as freely he did on the specialty cable network. Will we have to catch Bourdain at one of his numerous public appearances or letting loose in his books to witness such controversial gems as his Absinthe-laden journey in Paris, his "Happy" (see: Marijuana-laced) pizza in Cambodia, or his New-York-ego-shattering declaration that Chicago boasts the world's best hot dogs?
So far, CNN seems to be aboard the Bourdain train, releasing a string of compliments about the food world personality in a statement: "Examining the world through the prism of Tony’s unique expertise and passions continues CNN’s long-standing commitment to international reporting and to promoting global understanding." The words "unique" and "prism" are just vague enough to give us hope that CNN won't be squandering its latest acquisition. Besides, if they are willing to let Anderson Cooper go to Giggle Fit Land every time he makes a Gérard Depardieu potty pun, there's really no reason Bourdain shouldn't have the freedom to drop bleeped F-bombs and partake in some locales' greener delights from time to time.
And just in case we've seen our last debaucherous Tony-meets-food encounter, let's take a moment to reminisce with a little "Happy Pizza": [Image: Travel Channel] More: Anthony Bourdain Eats Bull Testicles - VIDEO Why Anthony Bourdain's The Layover Works [CNN]
Anderson Cooper Has On-Air Giggle Fest
I really can’t help but wonder what the audition process was like for this season’s contestants. Do you think they just blindfolded and spun the casting folks around, and sent them out into the wild? And from there, do you think they just picked the first dillweeds they found? Do you think finding this many terrible dudes requires some sort of skill set? I’m not wholly convinced I couldn’t do this job from a seat at a Starbucks in Hollywood on a Tuesday. I’m just saying that it’s really not hard to tell by looking at a guy that they have a very thick neck — which is clearly the only requirement to be on this show.
Jokes! I’m kidding. I’m sure it is really exhausting to listen to a bunch of dudes talk about how they don’t want to be famous and how hard their gym routines are; I really don’t envy those casting folks’ job.
Anyway! We’ve returned to the enchanted world of Emily the Bravest — dutifully searching for love on yet another a television show, because finding love is not something that you can do without a camera crew following your every move. Natch.
So who will have the first one-on-one date? The dudes are all atwitter, imagining boning telling Emily all about their busy days and rubbing her feet while she sings a lullaby to Ricki. Ryan nabs the first date, and has more words from his pastor to guide him. Does everyone else get the heebies from this guy, or is it just because I’m a total jerk?
Ryan and Emily are off to their date. Emily is worried about how attractive Ryan is, because that’s a normal concern most people are faced with on a daily basis. Man, my date is TOO attractive! Life is hard. Ryan is already picturing their wedding because that’s totally what dudes usually do during their first dates, right? Right!
And what will this date be? A ride on an octopus while it spews fireworks from its tentacles? A plane ride around the world in 47 seconds while being serenaded by En Vogue?
Nope! Ryan is playing sous chef to The Snack Mom for the soccer team! Time to bake some cookies and pretend you’re totally not disappointed by the lack of glitz and excitement, Ryan. They make cookies and Emily eats some cookie dough because she’s just like us, you guys!
Now it’s time to deliver the treats. But will Ryan meet Princess Ricki? No no, for Emily is a protective mama hen — so protective of her daughter that she won’t introduce her to a random dude, but will have her videotaped and exploited on TV to millions of people. My dad died and my mom made out with a bunch of dudes on a reality TV show. Start lining up now, therapists of America — welcome to your jackpot!
On the dinner portion of their date/world’s saddest tourist advertisement for Charlotte, N.C., Emily is not afraid to ask the tough questions over dinner. Ms. Maynard wants to know what Ryan expects to do after the chase is over, after he’s “won” the girl. Because Emily isn’t a prize, guys. Only she, like, is? Like, really? Because it’s a competition show to win her heart? Wait, Harrison, can you re-explain this show to her please?
In any event, Ryan gets the rose and then they started talking Southern and completely lost me. Can someone translate?
Oh yeah, some band whose label paid a lot of money for this appearance played and Emily pretended that she really loved them. Nothing is more romantic than standing on a pedestal dancing to a band with 1,000 other people taking pictures of you. This is how love is found and made to last, you guys.
NEXT: The Rainbow ConnectionA bunch of dudes, including arch nemesis/stock characters MC D-Bag and Kalon, all learn they will be on the group date. Kalon — SHOCKINGLY ENOUGH — is totally comfortable on stage. Gee willikers no one saw that one coming!
Full disclosure: I have Kindergartener-levels of excitement for anything involving The Muppets because I am truly eight years old. Also, Miss Piggy is my spirit animal, even though I think this is a terrible phrase used by terrible people, but it also feels apt. Piggy is fierce as hell and no one should try and step to her. When I grow up I will be a combination of Miss Piggy, Dolly Parton, and Liza Minnelli — all while looking like Christina Hendricks. I’m a simple girl with simple goals.
Some dudes have to sing, some have to dance, and the third group is performing a comedy act. Because dudes making jokes always works out really well on this show!
Charlie looks like he’s going to vomit all over the floor. Oh, Charlie! I am sort of rooting for him in spite of his sob story — which, I know, may read as counterintuitive to most viewers. But, see, I’m a jerk and usually a sob story just makes me roll my eyes because I am cruel and heartless. But Charlie seems like he means well (even though he rallies the mean girls later in the episode to make fun of MC D-Bag, which I also can’t totally fault them for). He has a speech problem from his accident and he doesn’t think he can do the comedy bit because he is like a damaged flower. I love damaged flowers.
So here we are at the weird performance that is making The Muppets sad to me, which should actually require some sort of hail time for the producers of this show. MC D-Bag is, of course, so into it. The skill level of these dudes (and Emily, if we’re being honest) isn’t even community theater-worthy. Though Chris Harrison standing in for Waldorf with Statler was oddly fantastic.
Oh, Emily also performs "The Rainbow Connection" with Ricki because she likes to shield her daughter, you know. Also, let’s just have a moment for how fabulous Miss Piggy is, okay? She was (deservedly) the highlight of this segment to the surprise of no one.
Next up is the cocktail party. Gerard Butler’s Stand-In (a.k.a. Chris) is flattered by Emily calling him hot. Their connection is ~so real~ you guys.
Emily is mad that Jef is playing hard to get or isn’t paying enough attention to her. That’s because he’s too busy enjoying the candle ambiance/fire hazard that’s going on around him. I’m honestly surprised that Emily is into our token hipster, Jef. They talked about being awkward and apparently Jef thought that was the best thing ever. Somehow he manages the rose on this date? I’m still sort of scratching my head here. I’m not saying Jef is a terrible person (even though his name is clearly the worst), but these two just do not seem like a match. Gerard Butler’s Stand-In has done some hardcore analyzing on everyone’s interactions with Emily and deduced that Jef definitely didn’t deserve the rose tonight.
Also, can we just have a moment for Stevie? Sorry, I meant MC D-Bag. I just really dislike him. It is like 90 percent misplaced hatred, but it’s also pretty warranted in its own right. He’s dancing with her and smiling like he has that Majoria Dushebagia Syndrome I’ve heard so much about. All the other dudes are making fun of him because he’s the worst, and go into weird tween mean girl mode. Kalon decides its GAME TIME (because the producers told him to, because they like to stoke the good fires) and cuts in, infuriating our fair MC. (Also, can we have a moment for the eye daggers Kalon throws at Aaron when Aaron takes over? So sleazy. Kalon gets all butthurt about it and complains to the other dudes, because they care. No they don’t.) They don’t like each other, and it’s just so shocking, you know?
NEXT: Rolling in the briar patchJoe is off to his one-on-one with Emily, and you know when Ryan hears there was a private jet involved, he’s going to be really TO’d. The downside, is, of course, that they have to use that private jet to go to West Virginia. But they’re heading to The Greenbriar, which is a fancypants resort Emily used to go to as a child.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the dudes talk about becoming a father to Ricki. It’s a big deal, bro. Kalon thinks Doug put being a dad on hold to be on a reality show and Doug bugs out. Whiiiiiich… I mean… I don’t want to side with Kalon on anything, ever, but he’s sort of right? Like, come on dude, being on a reality show to win a pretty girl’s heart for forever five minutes is not the same sort of commitment to your child that, say, staying at home with him and hopefully meeting a nice lady at the neighborhood bake sale is, ya dig?
Back to the briar patch — Joe wants to be happy. He’s ready to move wherever Emily wants to. Emily wants to know what that means and if it means more babies for her, because OMG BABIES! Chris Harrison’s words rattle within her brain, so she refrains from unleashing the full terror of her baby obsession.
Emily doesn’t feel butterflies and in a last-ditch effort, uses The Love Clock to see if her relationship with Joe will “stand the test of time.” This is actually an enchanted clock that Emily cast a spell over. It might also be a horcrux. By placing his dedication to love in the clock, Emily sees her future, and does not include Joe. BANISH YOURSELF, Joe!
Emily starts crying (contractually obligated) because she didn’t see herself in Joe’s life. I really have no idea what she means by that since Joe kept saying that he wanted his life to be whatever she wanted. I think he was just too nice and she didn’t want to bone him. And a bunch of fireworks go off as he is rolled away! Insult, meet injury.
Arie is first to grab her at the cocktail party and I don’t even recognize his face; is that just me? He seems super endearing and normal though. I dig him.
Tony is still bugging because the only thing he’s done for the past two hours is freak out and not spoken to Emily, so he is off to interrupt Ryan’s time with Ms. Maynard. However, Ryan had just given Emily a letter that she reads aloud. Forever. Tony just stands there, awkwardly. Oh so awkwardly.
It should be noted that Kalon is sad that being an a**hole has made him look like a a**hole on national television. Boo-hoo!
Emily wants to know why Kalon hates women. Whoops — does he hate women? He doesn’t hate women; he just thinks all 26-year-olds are basically giant balls of idiot powder, dipped in lip-gloss. He feels mentally refreshed by using all of his SAT vocab words.
Now we have to send two dudes home! So many decisions to be made! Sorry, teacher with the weird hipster glasses (Aaron) and Sad Ed Norton (Kyle). Long Beach has left Charlotte.
And that’s all there is, folks! Now the only questions we have left are: who do you think will win in a fight — MC D-Bag or Kalon? When will we see Ricki’s tell-all optioned? Can the necks on this show possibly get any bigger? Tune in next week!
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
The Bachelorette Recap: Into the Woods
'Bachlorette' Emily Maynard Kisses Frogs: 15 Cliché Quotes From the Franchise
Emily Maynard's First Rose Pose Pic
The health-conscious actress reveals the problem was diagnosed two years ago after she fell ill and now she has to be extra careful when dining out on bread and pasta in particular.
She says, "About two years ago I learned I had an autoimmune condition that doesn't allow me to eat gluten, so if I have any bread or pasta, it's going to be gluten-free."
But she's still a sucker for fries - and likes to splurge on a good steak once a week.
The actress, who bared all in Watchmen, has one of the best bodies in Hollywood and admits that, although she likes to eat healthy, nutritional snacks, she can't resist a blow-out meal.
She tells fitness magazine Shape, "I believe in eating as nutritiously as I can all the time... My mother raised me on fresh - rather than processed - foods, and that's how I eat on a regular basis.
"(But) I can't live without chocolate... I also love a thick steak and French fries. I try not to eat them more than once a week, but if they somehow landed on the table in front of me, I won't hold back."
She adds, "You've got to allow yourself the things you enjoy or you'll just be miserable."
We enter on a road. Winding, deserted, it plunges deep into a dark and hazy wood. We race through, the darkness getting darker, and a dank chill takes over the air. After several minutes we have reached a clearing — a tall and creaky mansion. In the air, you hear faint giggles: a curious juxtaposition to the sadness that feels the air around.
This is the story of curious female and part-time manic pixie dream cartoon, Emily Maynard. Single mom to daughter Ricki, she was won and then lost by the rogue fizzy-lifting-drink maker Brad Womack. A mysterious sprite, she was the dream of every dude from former Bachelorette Ashley Hebert’s season. Emily, of glittery blonde hair and world's most annoying voice, is a woman with a dream, though — and she's a single mom whose fiancé died in a sad, sad story, so we can't make fun of her and America must de facto love her. A Ms. Havisham of our time.
She's 26. She spoils her daughter with chocolate chips and pancakes because — ha ha! — she is a real, down-home Amurrican mom. But every night as she climbs up the stairs, she hears the creak in the steps and realizes she's alone in the house that racing built. Her castle of sadness and broken dreams. A house so sad that she cannot leave it, in fear that it will swallow her Ricki whole — or at least drain her of her childhood innocence and joy.
She thought she had found the answer in that dastardly Brad Womack. You see, he had previously proposed, but, in a shocking twist not seen on TV, their romance did not last. She's a simple, wistful girl: engaged twice, married never. But her good fortune lies in her ability to be super-logical. Third time's the charm, America! She will find love on this show or she will die trying to keep it alive. Being engaged is special. Lucky for our fair Emily, she is granted a guide for this epic quest: the noble Chris Harrison, here to navigate the murky waters of love.
NEXT: The quiet before the storm
Emily, leaving her precious diamond child Ricki at home, is nervous but sparkly. Her Bumpit is high and her worries are nigh. In this kingdom, we take a shot every time someone says tragic. We’re up to three 30 minutes in. It is going to be a good night.
Emily hears the dull hum of the approaching limousines and her heart begins to race as she feels a stirring deep within her — it warms her from her heart to her tiny, shaky wrists and ankles "Babies! A minivan full of babies!" she cries, clasping her hands to her chest, her fragile bones clanking from the force of her joy. Imagine — a future for her home at last; enough babies to keep her Ricki’s happiness safe from the house that eats happiness. She will need those babies.
Chris, ever the intuitive guide, tells her to reel that s**t in because while these dudes are "here for her," and definitely not for the cameras, it doesn't mean she should lead with her deep, dark secret.
The problem is — we’re not going to meet any princes, Emily. We're going to meet 25 DUDES. The dudiest dudes to ever dude. Let’s meet this stone cold pack of kinderbros, shall we?
- Kalon is from Houston, Texas, and you know is just a total douchebag from second one. He "used" to be a total player. Those two popped collars say otherwise though. Bro.
- Ryan is from Augusta Georgia and already is the clear frontrunner. He teaches kids and is a good Southern boy with a cute dog. He also gives her a semi-endearing sign when he gets there and she is smitten kitten over him. It’s almost as if he was… made… for Emily… curious.
- Tony is from Beaverton, Ore. He sells wood and is a dad, too! (I'm sensing a theme here.) He has a flesh-colored soul patch that he borrowed from the land of SpencerPrattia, so there’s not much we can do with him.
- Lerone is from Los Angeles. A family man with a very tiny dog that loves the s**t out of MILFs.
- David is our token singer-songwriter from NYC. OF COURSE. Walking the mean streets of Manha — OH NO NOT A SONG ABOUT EMILY THIS IS TERRIBLE PLEASE MAKE IT STOP. Secondhand Embarrassment is a first-hand killer.
- Charlie is from Nashville, and also another clear frontrunner. He was in an accident and almost died, you guys. He broke a bunch of s**t and had a brain injury — and only then realized he wanted a family. The one thing he really has going for him is that his dog freaking RULES. I have no idea how he’s going to leave that pooch, until I realize how much this head injury might be to his rational thought process; "I may have had a head injury but there's nothing wrong with my heart!” A thought that only a bitter ABC writer could craft.
- Next up is hipster Jef. NO F, because there wasn’t enough room for his pompadour and that letter "f." He’s from Salt Lake and is the CEO of a bottled water company that builds wells for impoverished communities around the world. Oh and he skateboards because that is what every mature professional adultperson does. And it is a genetic fact that ladies can’t help but love a man on a skateboard — they just roll right into your heart!
NEXT: Opening old wounds
- OH GOOD ANOTHER RACER CAR DRIVER. I mean… Arie! His name is Arie and he’s from Scottsdale, Ariz., because the producers of this show lost their souls long ago and like to bring pain and tears to national television. (Fair Emily, ever the optimist, is reminded of her long-lost love, hopes to find the ghost of her old fiancé in this man’s bucket seats.)
Next we have the actual dudes entering the scene. We’ll run through them listicle-style because 90 percent of them will be gone in 20 minutes anyway.
There’s Sean from Dallas, Doug from Seattle (another single dad!), glorious male-parody Jackson the fitness model (we’d play a drinking game every time he showed his abs if he made it past tonight), and Joe the exuberant professional yeller from Los Angeles. He probably visits oxygen bars and drinks a lot of wheat grass and went to the Chris Traeger School of Emotions.
There’s Kyle from Long Beach, who feels like a party DJ from the local bar mitzvah circuit, and Chris (aka Mr. SUPERRELIGIOUS) who is both blessed and praying to God, and I’m just uncomfortable at this point. Aaron is a biology teacher who is also from Long Beach (the production team really couldn’t be assed to look all that far outside of Los Angeles County, huh?) and he has hipster glasses and (it hurts to type this) CHEMISTRY with Emily. Alessandro is clearly the token stoner dad that’s apparently Brazilian. I’m not sure what he’s doing on this show, though, because didn’t Girls get picked up for a second season? You guys, HE IS A GRAIN MERCHANT. I can’t.
Next up we have Stevie from JERSEY. His actual profession is allegedly Party MC, and I am convinced that Hollywood is contractually obligated to only cast the worst of the worst New Jersey stereotypes on everything. I have a personal obsession with Stevie, though, because he looks like this kid I used to hate in college, so clearly I hope he falls into the pool. I'm glad he stays on because I want to see everyone hate him when he causes all sorts of weird obsessive drama that is completely of his own making.
Charlie is next and he is so completely inoffensive I have nothing else to add. We should also note at this point that Tony the lumber trader shows up and pulls out a glass slipper! Because girls only like Disney movies! Oh my cod, the cheese right now. This one really hurts my soul, though, because it’s actually a brilliant move, as Emily was stitched together from the facets of other Disney queens from the past.
Next comes OH NO a dude in granny drag. Randy is from Hermosa Beach and is totally going to Norman Bates the s**t out of Emily. Where’s Harrison?!
Some ghost named Nate walked past and disappated through the walls, so we have nothing to say here other than he is blonde.
Brent is the resident Old Balls and from Fresno. Also I am just realizing now that nearly ever dudebro on this show has Brent’s haircut. They must all go to the same Supercuts. Also he has six children because… I have no idea why. That is so many children.
Next is John, a.k.a. "Wolf," and he actually admits that this is a nickname and has people write it on the screen of a national televised program. He is very orange so I suppose he doesn’t know any better.
NEXT: Guard and protect your egg.
Okay, let’s just get right to it: eggs are the new masks, you guys! Actually, Travis just thought that Emily was actually a bird that could sit and then hatch the mutant ostrich monster baby that he created while lost in The Bush in Australia. It was a cold and lonely time, but that Ostrich — her name was Melinda — kept him warm. She looked into his soul. She was shot for steaks the next day. Emily, with her puckish demeanor and squawking voice was the obvious choice to bring his bird-monster-love-baby into the world. Of course all the dudes are like WTF, Ostrich egg? But Travis doesn’t care — he knows there’s a chance for him, and a life just waiting to horrify beneath that shell.
Next is Fabio, erm, Michael from Austin, Texas. He gives Emily a guitar pick and probably dandruff shoulder. After him struts Jean-Paul, a.k.a. baby John Mayer.
Alejandro rolls up speaking Español and is laying it on so thick that my eyes have gotten stuck in the back of my head from rolling.
And last and definitely the least is Kalon (what the hell is that name, even?), showing up in a helicopter to make sure that everyone hates him. Stevie hates him because he can’t deal with someone being more loud and obnoxious than him. I can’t wait to find out that Kalon has, like, 17 girlfriends at home. He's the game-player who clearly either has another girlfriend at home or wants to become an actor. Everyone hates him so much, I'm dying laughing.
Spoiler alert: the first impression rose is actually a horcrux of Brad Womack’s. Emily has hidden them throughout the season and the men must find them to prove themselves worthy enough of the quest to destroy him (which is actually what happens at the end of the season. Not a marriage proposal. Spoiler alert!).
Chris shows up for his one-on-one time with a pair of bobbleheads to represent the two of them. Emily turns them into Voodoo dolls and with the kiss of the bobbleheads, Chris is now bound by mystical forces to follow Emily on her quest to destroy The Womack.
JEF H8S MATERIAL THINGS, YOU GUYS. Except for his skateboard. And probably his iPad. And definitely his espresso machine (hand-pulled, none of that automated crap. Duh). He looks like an extra from the Arcade Fire.
Doug is a single dad just like 99 percent of these dudes, but this unique snowflake decided to forge a letter from his son Austin for Emily. This, of course, reheats the blood running within Emily’s veins. Babies! Children! Doug gets the first impression rose for this.
Stevie (that dude I hate) is in SALES (of course). He knows fakery, because salesmen are the world's most honest humans and can smell fakery a mile away. He makes sure to do nothing but obsessively talk about every move Kalon makes because that always goes so well for people on these shows. Go dance on some tables to LMFAO, dude.
Arie actually does the smart thing and tells Emily he's a race car driver like her dead fiancé. I’m sure the producers were waiting for some drama, but Emily — blinded by how well their features would combined to make genetically superior tiny humans — tells him it doesn’t matter.
NEXT: The rose ceremony
So the obvious ones get roses. Sent home are Lerone (even Emily finds your MILF obsession creepy, dude), David, Jackson The Fitness Model (OH NO! Devastated), Randy (duh, Emily is not trying to end up living in the Bates Motel), Baby John Mayer, and Brent. Brent being the biggest surprise as he already comes with a minivan of babies, so I’m not sure what Emily was thinking there. Look at all the babies she could’ve had automatically! So many babies. Oh well, next time (only maybe not because Brent starts crying saying he’s going to die alone because he’s Old Balls & has a small herd of children). Hang in there, bud.
I’m just glad Stevie made it through so I have someone to misplace all my anger on.
Emily whisks away towards her castle of tears and old engagements. She must check on fair Ricki. Make sure the house hasn’t eaten her soul yet. Not much longer now, dear house — and you will have your fill.
Follow Alicia on Twitter: @alicialutes
[Image Credit: ABC]
'Bachlorette' Emily Maynard Kisses Frogs: 15 Cliché Quotes From the Franchise
Emily Maynard's First Rose Pose Pic
Emily Maynard Gets a New Race Car Driver on 'The Bachelorette'
I'm sorry, everyone, but I love Fat Betty. I love her like I love watching the Hulk rip off an alien's head, like I love watching King Joffrey get hit with shit in the face, like I love watching the continued cultural irrelevance of Taylor Hicks. I love it like all of those things and even more. Then she goes and takes a big mouth-full of Readi-Whip and spits it out in the sink and there I am, sitting in my living room, giggling with glee. If only Don and Megan would let her know about Cool-Whip, she might be back to her old fighting weight.
Yes, I just love Fat Betty so much, because she is the ultimate villain on the show and this is her ultimate punishment. She is a woman who puts so much stock in appearance, in the pristine shellack that has coated her entire life, that when that is taken away, she has absolutely nothing left. An ugly Betty (not the TV show) is a Betty that has no reason to live, that has absolutely nothing to aspire to. The outside ugliness finally matches the grossness inside. She might weigh out her little cubes of cheese and count her bites with tiny head tilts, she might go to Weight Watchers and squeeze her fat ass into a tiny school room chair, but it's not helping.
The reason is, as we hear in Weight Watchers, that the dieters should fill themselves up with their children, their husbands, their happiness, and their wonderful lives instead of food. But Betty has none of that. Her husband has backed the wrong candidate for President and will probably head on to a path of political and professional irrelevance, her daughter hates her and would rather spend time with her step mother, and her happiness — it has always been as elusive as trying to catch a sunbeam in your hand.
What Fat Betty is left with is an intense longing. When she goes to Don's house to pick up the kids she sees a gorgeous, expensive apartment that could have been hers. She looks out at the city and she imagines how her life with Don could have been different. How they could have been young and beautiful in the city if everything about their lives hadn't told them to get married and live the Dick and Jane life in the suburbs. She could have had it all and instead, she's fat and living in the Munster's house with some rich dilettante. Then, to make it even worse, Fat Betty catches Skinny Megan in just her bra and sees everything that she used to be, everything she wants to be again, and she hates it.
That's what makes her gobble down that whip cream like she's Demi Moore looking for her next Whip-It hit. She's trying to fill that longing inside of her with the closest thing at hand (too bad it wasn't Bugles). She does spit it out, but she's already sabotaging herself. That's what this episode was all about, people screwing over other people and screwing themselves over in the process. As Roger says, it's every man (or fat housewife) for himself. Betty is trying to lose a half pound every week, but she's still scarfing down that whipped cream. Her husband is supportive, but cooking steaks in the middle of the night. When he cuts off a little piece of steak for her, she eats it, but she cries inside because she knows that he doesn't care if she's a little fat, just like he doesn't care if he's successful at his job. He has given up, and she wants to fight again, to get back what she had. She wants Don with his destructive ambition and firm hand keeping her in check.
In order to get her old life back, she has a bit of sabotage of her own. After seeing Skinny Megan and her fabulous apartment and finding a love note Don left her on the back of a drawing that Bobby did, Fat Betty tells Sally about Anna, Don's first wife. We all know that Dick Whitman never married Anna, but he had to pretend to be married to her so that his Don Draper facade could keep going and so that he wouldn't be arrested for deserting the army. This is the secret that tore Don and Betty apart for good and Betty thinks that Don won't have told Megan, so if she has Sally tell Megan then Megan will get mad at Don and then they'll break up.
Not only does this ruin Sally's relationship with Megan (who Sally calls a "phony" for lying to her and trying to be her friend) but it causes exactly the fight that Betty was hoping for when Megan tells Don what Sally asked. But Megan is too smart for Betty and keeps Don from calling her. Sally hears nothing but their fighting, something that gives Betty and her tactic power in her mind, but it is a power that Don strips away the next morning. He tells Sally, in that gruff and caring way that will scare you into a loving compliance, about Anna and sets the record straight. He doesn't give her all the details (she's still a kid, of course) but sketches it out enough that she won't be too curious. It seems like Don Draper is finally integrated with Dick Whitman, at least as far as letting his wife and family know that he's not the glamorous man from nowhere that he used to paint himself as. He is no longer the man that Betty knew.
The one question I have about the whole thing is if, after the camera cut away, Don and Megan really sat Sally down and showed her pictures of Anna and talked about it like she told Betty they did or if that was Sally's revenge on her mother. Is there was something we didn't see or if Sally has learned the art of subtle cruelty at her mother's knee so well that she made up a story that would infuriate Betty in just the right way. Is that what she learned in the hall, that being deceitful was power? Questions abound and I hate to think of Sally as evil, but Fat Betty deserves it.
There's probably still someone somewhere that would fall for one of Sacha Baron Cohen's weird and wooly scenarios but let's face the facts: the days when Ali G. could snag an interview with Pat Buchanan or Gore Vidal are long gone. 2009's Bruno definitely let some steam out of Borat's tires not to mention the ensuing lawsuits. But it's refreshing to see Cohen and his Borat/Bruno cohort director Larry Charles flex their muscles in the fictional universe of The Dictator a vehicle that doesn't skimp on their signature cringe-worthy humor.
The world of The Dictator gives them the leeway to create crazy spectacles — at one point Cohen's General Aladeen rides down Fifth Avenue on a camel surrounded by a giant motorcade. Having a plot helps too; although part of the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's schtick is how the viewer is made culpable by proxy by our amusement and horror at how he tricks and torments people who aren't in on the joke The Dictator continues the self-reflexive satirical bite. We're certainly not off the hook. Aladeen says and does truly outrageous things but they're also exaggerations of the world we live in. It might be a stretch to call Sacha Baron Cohen the British Lenny Bruce or George Carlin in a face merkin but rest assured that no topic is off limits. If you are offended by jokes about abortion rape feminists body hair race religion politics STDs war crimes ethnic cleansing necrophilia and/or bestiality don't even bother. However if you like the kind of comedy that makes you hide your face in your hands feeling like each laugh is being pried from you against your will you're in business.
Cohen eats up the screen as both General Aladeen and his incredibly dumb body double; the latter prefers the intimate company of one of his goats to a human while the former is a fairly stupid ruthless dictator whose own people are so disloyal to him that they actually ignore his commands to execute people. (He really likes to execute people.) When he arrives in New York City to attend a summit at the UN his uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) has the two switched so he can easily manipulate the "General" into signing a treaty to make Wadiya a democracy and reap the financial benefits. Aladeen finds refuge with Zoe a hairy-pitted activist who thinks he's a political dissident and is excited to be able to give him a safe haven in her touchy-feely Brooklyn grocery co-op. Instead of being typecast as another blonde dummy Anna Faris is finally given room to play as the wide-eyed naïf who takes Aladeen's very serious statements as jokes or simple miscommunications. She's a great foil to Baron Cohen who is easily half a foot taller than she is and has a wolfish grin. Their banter is often the most politically incorrect of the bunch but also the funniest.
Alas the plot. It's a bare bones situation to get a very broad character from A to B. Aladeen is obviously an outlandish mishmash of modern dictators; he spouts racist misogynist rhetoric endlessly and after a while...yeah we get it. However like all of Sacha Baron Cohen's humor The Dictator also takes a direct shot at Western countries (specifically the United States) which would be all fine and dandy if he didn't wedge an expository speech in about it as well. The problem with making a traditional narrative movie is that with some exceptions you've got to play within the guidelines. The Dictator isn't trying to do anything fancy; all it needs a few big beats and a neat ending to wrap it all up. It doesn't quite manage to tie it all together in a way that makes The Dictator more than an hour and a half or so of laughing and cringing.
Besides Faris and Kingsley there are a number of cameos by a very wide variety of comics and actors. Megan Fox plays herself Kevin Corrigan appears as a creepy dude who works at the co-op John C. Reilly is a racist security guard and Fred Armisen runs an anti-Aladeen café in New York's Little Wadiya district. The very funny Jason Mantzoukas has a large role as Nadal the former head of rocket science who was supposedly executed for not making Aladeen's nuclear warhead pointy. It's a good ensemble and hopefully Sacha Baron Cohen's next feature-length film will build on The Dictator's weaknesses.
Some of my favorite crappy reality TV shows are on in the summer. (Where art thou, Big Brother?) Now it's time to get ready for my newest summer reality TV obsession. Well, except it's not a reality show and it's not on television. Burning Love is a new web series that Yahoo! is trotting out June 4 on it's own website and, based on the trailer, I'm already hooked. Good thing it's free!
The show is directed by and stars (a surprisingly buff) Ken Marino, the funnyman from The State (remember that on MTV back in the day?) who has been a ham in Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models, and Wanderlust. He plays a sort-of-stupid firefighter named Mark Orlando who finds himself the object of desire for a house full of crazy women on a Bachelor-esque reality show. Since Ben Stiller produced it, look for a ton of top-notch talent including Kristen Bell, Adam Scott, Michael Ian Black, Malin Akerman (as a homeless contestant, obvs), and Stiller himself along with his wife Christine Taylor (remember Hey Dude?/man I am old.. Oh, and don't forget former Bachelor Jake Pavelka, who is a joke onto himself.
I'm really excited for there to be a high quality web series to get us through the summer. The future of television isn't even going to be on your television, people. It will be on the internet featuring movie stars making fun of television. Burning Love is the future! The snake eats its own tail. We all get roses. Welcome to the future.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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Eszterhas embarrassed the actor/director earlier this month (Apr12) when he released audio of the foul-mouthed Aussie star ranting during a dinner he hosted for the screenwriter and his family.
He claimed his teenage son had become so afraid of Gibson he recorded his screaming fit on his iPhone.
The release of the audio came just a week after Eszterhas appeared on U.S. TV news shows reprimanding Gibson for his behaviour in front of his son. Prior to that, the screenwriter fired off a nine-page letter criticising Gibson, accusing him of being an anti-Semite for heated remarks he had made.
The actor responded by telling media outlets that the screenwriter was just bitter because Warner Bros. bosses had turned down his script for a movie Gibson is hoping to make about historical Jewish hero Judah Maccabee.
Appearing on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Friday (27Apr12) for his first TV chat since the scandal broke, Gibson joked, "Maybe you don't know this about me, but I've got a little bit of a temper."
He got serious when Leno quizzed him about the audio, adding, "Has it really come to the place where you can't blow off steam in your own home, even if you're justified?
"If he (Eszterhas) put half as much time and effort and creativity and imagination into a screenplay, which he was supposed to write, as he did into that letter, we wouldn't be having this conversation... It's kind of like you build a house, you hire a guy to put a roof on it, he comes over and eats lunch and talks about the roof, and then you get rained on all night. Wouldn't you be kind of peeved?"
Gibson reminded Leno that he had already written an open letter to Eszterhas apologising for losing his temper and saying some things he regretted, adding, "I guess it wasn't good enough. Sorry... I shall pray for him."
You wouldn't know it from his behavior as of late, but according to Mel Gibson his favorite way to blow off steam is by cooking. The latest victim of Gibson's ire — screenwriter Joe Eszterhas — might have a hard time believing that. Their now public spat was taken up a notch earlier this week when the famed Basic Instinct writer posted an audio recording of the actor cursing him out over a work dispute.
During a very frank Friday night appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Gibson explained — in a way only he can — why he blew up at Eszterhas at his house when he was recorded unknowingly. "It's kind of like you build a house, you hire a guy to put a roof on it, he comes over, and eats lunch and talks about the roof — and then you get rained on all night. Wouldn't you get kind of peeved?"
Gibson — who joked with Leno about having "a little bit of a temper" — said that despite his frustration with the script Estzerhas turned in, he did apologize for swearing at him. In return the screenwriter "put the note of apology out on the internet. I guess it wasn't good enough. Sorry."
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