Kellie Pickler's husband congratulated the country singer on becoming the newest Dancing With The Stars champion by surprising her with a puppy. The former American Idol star took home the U.S. reality show's coveted mirror ball trophy last week (21May13) after wowing judges and fans with her fancy footwork - and to celebrate his wife's big achievement, Kyle Jacobs presented Pickler with a tiny Maltese pooch.
She tells XfinityTV.com, "I got a little surprise after the show. We were sitting out there on the dance floor after everything was over and (Kyle) comes over and he's carrying this little bag and he opens it and there's this little Maltese in there and I was like, 'What's this?' And he's like, 'It's for you.' I was like 'Awww!'"
The singer has named the pooch Tango, in honour of the ballroom dance which earned her a perfect score, and the 26 year old couldn't be happier - because she's been asking for a dog since she helped host a recent charity auction, where a Maltese was available to bid for.
She recalls, "I was looking at my husband (in the audience), like, 'You better raise that paddle! I want this puppy!' And he didn't!"
Mad Men has always been excellent at surprises. One minute everyone is just humming along having a great time and the next minute some British guy is getting his foot run over by a John Deere in the middle of the office. Those are the best moments of the show, when something totally shocking and life changing happens out of the blue and, for a moment, you get a wrenching in your gut and a lightness in your head when you realize that the action we inevitable. It's a one-two punch of shock and recognition all at the same time.
However, in last night's episode, as soon as Ted Chaough (ugh, the spelling!) ran into Don in that bar (their second such meeting this season) I knew that the firms would be merging. It just all made sense, considering what we've seen from both firms all season – and especially this episode – as SCDP hemorrhaged clients and Cutler, Gleason, Chaough was suffering because one of the partner's pancreatic cancer. It all very clearly made sense. But there was no sense of surprise, no bit of wonder about the events, it just all kind of clicked into place. I don't know if the foregone decision is a feat of the deft story telling that this show so often exhibits or if the lack of surprise is due to some sort of spark that this season has been missing, but, either way, this was the best of a so far lackluster Season 6.
The entire episode was really about chance encounters and what effect they have on your life. Roger "runs into" a Chevy exec at the airport, Pete bumps into his father-in-law, Peggy stumbles upon Ted drunk in his office, and, of course, Ted walks into that hotel airport bar to find Don Draper nursing an Old Fashioned. Maybe this wasn't so much about chance as it was about opportunity and what you do when it presents itself.
Don, as usual, was operating alone. At the awful dinner with the Jaguar executive and his puppy-obsessed wife, he decides to fire him on the spot when Herb says that he thinks someone else should look over Don's work. Don has always been the most American of archetypes: a pioneer. He's striking out on his own and wants to be stoic and self-reliant. When he loses Jaguar and Pete loses Vicks, he tells everyone, explosively, in the middle of the office that he'll save the firm, once again.
Thank god for Joan, who hollers at him for being such selfish asshole. Like she says, she's sick of cheering for him from the sidelines, and so is everyone else. Don's problem is that he makes unilateral decisions that effect everyone and doesn't think of the consequences for anyone other than himself. While Pete, Bert, and Joan (looking lovely with her hair down, for a change) hammered out all the details for a public acquisition, which would have made them all millionaires, Don goes and makes a backroom deal with Ted Chaugh over cocktails which might saddle them all with a sagging agency. And how does that affect everyone's shares? I hope Joan isn't poor now! Don has never been a collaborator (even stealing credit for Peggy and Ginsberg's good ideas) so I can't imagine how he's going to do now that he's sharing the workload with Ted Chaough, who he openly hates.
As for Joan, she was only on screen for about four minutes the entire episode (I kept track) but she got in one humdinger of a scene. What this makes her so upset is not only that she had to sleep with Herb to get where she is and then Don kicks Herb to the curb because he couldn't deal with him (as Joan pointed out, he never had to see the guy naked). No what upset her is that Joan prostituted herself so that another man would never call the shots in her life again. But now here she is with Don Draper making all the decisions for her and she has as little control over her fate as always. Just wait until she gets ahold of Peggy's press release (and just wait until she meets the CGC office manager!).
The scene with Herb at dinner not only gave us insight into Don, but also about Megan. She's feeling very separate from Don and she and her mother both think it's because she's getting more famous. Marie says he must feel like everyone owns a piece of her now and he's not interested because he doesn't have her all to himself. That certainly seemed true when he came to watch her love scene, but the distance Megan is feeling is from Don's normal existential drift, not because of anything she's done. In classic Cosmo parlance, it's not her, it's him. Anyway, she dresses seductively to try to get Don connected to her again, and she thinks it works, because he comes home from the dinner and ravages her. It has nothing to do with her (amazing!) dress, and more to do with the intoxication of vanquishing a foe. Don is drunk on the power of firing Herb and celebrates by conquering his wife. Once again, this isn't a group decision, but one Don makes. He puts her up on the bar and fucks her with her mother in the next room, despite Megan's meager protests.
Marie's entanglements with Arnold Rosen, the neighbor Don wants to become, and Roger Sterling were very interesting. First of all Arnold is clearly flirting with her and says that he mistook her for Megan, which is sort of like him saying he wants to sleep with Don's wife. That makes Don happy because this man that he wants to be desires his wife, which sort of excuses whatever meager guilt Don might feel about sleeping with Arnie's wife Sylvia. When Roger doesn't show up to dinner with Herb, Marie hangs up the phone on him repeatedly and hilariously. She seems more upset that she had to deal with that awful woman than the fact that Roger really left her behind. I swear, these two were made for each other.
Speaking of Arnold, we see him again in the apartment elevator and he tells Don he quit his job because his hospital wouldn't let him perform a heart transplant. He was unsatisfied that they were keeping him from greatness so he made a personal decision so he could pursue it somewhere else. Who does that sound like? Don, full of the pioneer spirit once again, says, "I don't believe in fate. You make your own opportunities," which was clearly in his mind during his meeting with Ted. His choice to propose a merger could be influenced by Arnold's, as in Don's role model is showing him how to live and search for greatness. It could also be meant to best Arnold's, but instead of listening to the voices in authority (as Arnold had to when they said he couldn't operate), Don made the merger on his own. If Don can best Arnold and is sleeping with his wife, then perhaps Don can convince himself that he is, somehow the greater man.
Pete Campbell, however, is not a great man. In fact, he is quite the louse. He tries to make things work with Trudy, but he seems motivated because she doesn't want him anymore. Maybe what happened with Martin Luther King really did change something about him and he realized how much his family matters. But it doesn't seem like it. But he really tried and Trudy once again shot him down.
That's why I sort of felt bad for Pete when his father-in-law caught him in the whore house (with Slimy Bob, who tries to buy his hooker). Now his shot with Trudy is over. His interactions with both of them showed that Trudy's bond with her father was always stronger that Pete's was with Trudy. The irony, of course, is that Trudy was looking for someone like her father and ended up with him, but since she doesn't know what her father is really like, she can't handle the reality of her husband. Both Trudy and her father are so busy mythologizing each other that they don't know the truth. This is, of course, evident when Pete tells her that he saw her father with a "200-pound Negro hooker," which Trudy thinks Pete made up to hurt her. He didn't make it up, but he did say it to hurt her. He had to say that to press her into asking for a divorce. Even though his father-in-law told him to "do the right thing" and set her free, he is still too passive to do it. Trudy continues to make all the decisions.
Of course Pete's personal life is falling apart, but he seemed to have it together at work. He worked out the IPO (he would fit right in with a tech company) and thought that he was going to find a way to make the firm even larger. That is until Don ruined it all. Maybe the culprit here isn't only Don's inability to work with others, but with everyone else's inability to trust him. Or maybe it's because "everyone hates him," as Ted points out, that no one told him about the IPO which would have given him the bigger firm he wanted without having to make the compromises to CGC. If only he could let Pete do it his way.
Still, Pete managed to lose the firm a client not by his professional antics, but his personal ones. Just like Don he is adept in the office but not at life. However, it was Roger who was busy hitting the street, working his girl Daisy to happen into some contacts and schmooze their way into a car client. (I love the way music has been working lately. In this episode we got all the cues with the retro spy music while Roger was hatching his plot, but it turned to rock 'n' roll as they were walking into Chevy. It's a new form of music, full of confidence and swagger, for a new way of doing business.) We see Roger, who left behind his book and his dead friend's shoe shining kit, to get some of that old sparkle back. He's trying to beat death and his steady decline by proving, once again, what he is worth.
What this all comes down to is that Roger and Don prefer an old way of doing business, of shady dealings and one-man mergers. They only know how play the advertising game one way, which seems like a relic from the past. Pete has a different way of dealing with clients and turned the agency around while Roger was feeling bad about himself. He tries an IPO, which is something foreign to the rest of them, but he is rebuffed when Don and Roger's whims put the entire firm in jeopardy. This whole season is about the old way versus the new way and, right now, the old way seems to be winning out.
Speaking of the "old way," Peggy is the only one who flat out says that she doesn't like change and wants things to stay just the same. We know that, Peggy. We've seen your hairstyle. Peggy bought an apartment on the UWS with her boyfriend Abe but does not like stepping in the human poo piles that her awful neighbors are leaving behind. Oddly enough, Peggy is not a pioneer, at least not an urban one. She thought it would be a good idea to buy this place because Abe told her he thought about them having children. That's what convinced her to break away from her idea of the perfect life on the Upper East Side, the promise of a family, the most traditional unit in the world. Instead of her two-point-five kids and a white picket fence, Peggy got noisy neighbors, police sirens, and a neighborhood where she doesn't want to leave the house.
Peggy's need for things to stay the same was what was behind her kiss with Ted in his office. Naturally he is a Don Draper stand-in for her. On Peggy's first day in the office, she came on to Don sexually and he rebuked her advances. He respected her for what she did, not because of who she was physically. The same is true of Ted (who never would have hired her if she's not good) but now he also admires her sexually, which makes Peggy want him. Now she can indulge in having sex with Don Draper through a surrogate. She is powerful not in the way that she has always been, through her work, but also in the way that Joan is, by making men want to sleep with her.
But really this is about Peggy wanting things to be the way they have always been. Abe is offering her a life in the new world, with his crazy facial hair, life on the Upper West Side, and radical political views. Ted is offering her the stability of the old ways, well-worn ideals of success, and a patriarchal government that will take good care of her. She doesn't want the world to change and she wants her professional life to be stable as well. That is why she is rocked when she walks into Ted's office and Don is sitting there. Not only is the man that she is attracted to in there (she put on some extra foundation just for him) but there is the man she really desires, the man she is constantly trying to become.
Notice that Peggy never actually accepts the job as copy chief at the new SCDP/CGG, she just says, "I just bought an apartment." She really has no other choice, and they expect her to be happy about it. Then the men dispatch her and she goes back to her desk to type out a memo, just like it was her first day back at the old Sterling Cooper. We see Peggy again, with much more responsibility, but still nothing more than Don Draper's secretary. She's chasing after the way things used to be rather than trying to forge her own future.
But I think this merger, while probably detrimental to some of our favorite characters, is going to be the thing that this season really needs to get going. Finally we'll have some forward motion into dynamics that are new, exciting, and interesting. And it's a great way to bring Peggy back into the fold without jumping through all sorts of awful narrative hoops. Hurray for them, even if it hasn't been all that surprising.
Follow Brian Moylan on Facebook and Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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Who runs the world? If you're looking at last night's Super Bowl XLVII, than the answer seems to be girls, or more rightly, women.
From Beyoncé to Budweiser, the non-football elements of the biggest television event of the year were greatly driven by women and women's interests, making this year one for the ladies. A quick look at Monday's top Google searches, and it's clear that ladies are the ones dictating the discussion. Beyoncé, Super Bowl Commercials (many of which were clearly aimed at women), and the Puppy Bowl are all ranked higher than the game itself and retiring linebacker Ray Lewis. During the broadcast, Bey's halftime show generated 5.5 million tweets and the tweets-per-minute rate was almost double that of the game-making 49ers touchdown after the blackout and the final seconds of the game in which the Baltimore Ravens took the title. Even FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, got in on the action, tweeting, "Watching the #SuperBowl with family & friends. @Beyonce was phenomenal! I am so proud of her!" and signing it affectionately, "-mo." If you're looking at social media, it appears that the girl power-heavy halftime show was a bigger draw than the game itself.
RELATED: 47 Reasons Beyonce's Halftime Show Was Better Than the Game
But it wasn't just about Beyoncé. The game also opened with two other strong, talented women. Beyoncé's Dreamgirls co-star and vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson began the pre-game festivities with "America the Beautiul" and girl power figure Alicia Keys followed with a near-perfect "Star-Spangled Banner." It was clear that this year, more than ever before, the producers behind the Super Bowl were conscious of catering to both the usual beer-slinging, Taco-Bell-loving, he-men most ads and programming have catered to in years past and women. But why wouldn't they? According to most recent market research, women are the ones to aim for when it comes to marketing and social media.
According to Comscore, women account for the majority of social media users and are generally more engaged. Pontiflex adds that women on social media tend to be more influential than men. And when it comes to spending, Pontiflex also reports that women are responsible for 85 percent of household spending, and hold the majority of spending decisions in big Super Bowl advertising categories such as food, new cars, and personal computers.
With data like that, it should come as no surprise that some of the more beloved Super Bowl commercials are clearly marketed toward society's big spenders. Best Buy — a company that generally takes aim at men — enlisted lady hero Amy Poehler and her supposed love of Fifty Shades of Grey to sell its wares. Jeep sought the help of womankind's favorite lifestyle guru, Oprah Winfrey, as the voiceover for its emotional Super Bowl spot this year and Kia went for the cute, ooh-and-awww-inspiring story of Babylandia to entice its potential buyers. Where Budweiser usually goes for the rugged, All-American feel — showing us amber waves of grain and the strength of plodding Clydesdales — 2013 showed us the kinder, gentler side of America's favorite beer, giving us a love story between a man and the horse he raises from pony to steed, set appropriately to "Landslide." Even commercials that appeared to skew towards men, like Time Warner's Walking Dead-invades-your-home spot and Tide's miracle stain ad, end with the twist: Sorry, dudes, but women are the ones holding the reins. (Miracle stain guy is bested by his wife, who's rooting against his Ravens, and even Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead isn't too badass to heed mom's requests.) And that Calvin Klein ad, with a shiny, unbelievably buff model was definitely a little something for the ladies. While gross-out spots like Go Daddy's Bar Refaeli ad (which was offensive to nerds, people with ears, and living, breathing humans everywhere) and the borderline-rapey commercial for Gildan activewear, which featured a sneaky guy escaping after a one-night-stand, but not without trying to rip his t-shirt off his conquest first, the winning ads of the night were the feel-good, non-gender specific spots, and a few very-obviously female-skewing spots.
RELATED: Super Bowl XLVII's Best and Worst Ads
Yes, when the confetti fell on the Super Dome in New Orleans, it was for a team of sweaty dudes, but the night, overall, was a win for the ladies. Looking at the overnight ratings, which have been deemed the highest in history, made Super Bowl XLVII the biggest television event in the U.S., ever. The broadcast pulled in a 48.1 rating, which is equivalent to 114.7 million homes and 71 percent of the nation's televisions, and with the incessant chatter surrounding Beyoncé before (and long after) the halftime performance, it's hard to believe that the women who foretold that girls would run the world isn't at least partially to thank for the boost in viewership. UPDATE: The early numbers don't always match actual numbers and Super Bowl ratings were actually slightly down from years past, but interaction, especially during the halftime show, was still rather high and still rather focused on the lady of the five (plus) hour telecast.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: AP Images (2)]
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Is there a better way to honor the historical moments of this day — the second inauguration of Barack Obama, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — than by watching a pack of female wildebeests trample each other for the chance to sire a son from the alpha-ish male? Of course there is, but when you're a connoisseur of mediocrity, duty calls above all.
So here we are and here we go: shirtless Sean is at it again! The man must have a cotton allergy. It's really the only reasonable explanation. Does ABC really think this dude has nothing else to offer? Or is it just that...this is all he has to offer? Do the bored housewives who especially drool over the all-American milquetoast appeal of Sean Lowe really care, so long as the abdominals are front and center? Apparently not!
First off, let's all agree that this was a terribly boring episode. Right? Even with all the promise of drama and stupidity in the teaser last week, I still found myself unengaged: these ladies aren't actual humans you want to know anything about — they awful, offensive caricatures that are frankly, pretty terrible for women in general. Sometimes this makes for really great television because what is reality for if not judgment and laughter?
But maybe you loved this episode! Maybe you're like, a huge Lesley M fan and you were real tickled homegirl got this week's first one-on-one date! The duo head off to Hollywood because hanging out at the Guinness Book of World Records, uh, museum (?) is what all the normal LA types do on their dates.Thank goodness her dress is adorable. Plus one for Lesley! So why the date at a place no one in their right mind would ever be OK with actually going to on a date? Oh right, because Sean has an inferiority complex when it comes to his father. Or maybe he just doesn't like it when his dad has something he doesn't. (Like a family and children and a shirt.) Turns out, Sean's dad set a World Record! What a completely random and great thing for him! Back in the day, Daddy Lowe drove through the continental United States in 97 hours and seven minutes with two of his bros. Man, even Sean's dad is more interesting than Sean. So with bitter daddy issues in hand, Sean decides he needs to break a world record, too! DUH. Daddio's had enough attention, damn it!
And how can Sean one-up his dad in a way that's convenient to a reality show's film schedule, but also relevant? Time for these two to make out (...for the longest on-screen kiss, not just for funsies)! The two stand around, putting their faces on each other for over 3 minutes while a bunch of people watch. Even the crowd of people standing there admit how awkward it all is, so, cool! Somehow this awkward display of affection turns out to be the best day of Lesley M's life. Because of course it does, ugh. Lucky for this lady, Sean feels like he's known her forever — but he makes her nervous. He does something to her! Nervous Nelly goes in for the kiss after a dare from Sean and this kiss certainly looks more magical (and less awkward) than their last. Ooh la la! Lesley M might be a contenda! No surprise she got the rose.
Group Date alert! AshLee and her highly confused consonants are real glad she didn't get a group date because doing activities is for losers. The 12 gals going on the group date are Kacie B, Robyn, Leslie, Kristy, Catherine, Taryn, Desiree, Amanda, Lindsay, Daniella, Jackie, and Tierra. As for the itinerary? Why, a jaunt on the beach, of course! Also known as another excuse for Sean Lowe to take off his shirt. I almost named this recap "Sean Lowe and the Hunt for the World's Most Elusive Shirt," but that really seems more like a series theme than a singular episode. Six abs to rule them all!
But now it's time for a TWIST! The ladies have to play beach volleyball and the winning team gets one-on-one time with Sean. The losers? A public stoning! Just kidding, they have to go home and pout without any time to tell Sean how cayuuute he is in private. Cold. It turns out, weirdly enough, that all these bikini-ready beach bodies are not all genetically predisposed to be awesome at beach volleyball. I thought that was part of the contract you sign when you made your deal with the devil to have well-defined and super-tanned bodies? Someone should remedy that. Anyway, balls are rolling, sometimes even getting up into the air and over the net. But not really with any sort of regularity. Maybe they're like Amber, and their doctors don't want them to participate in any sort of activity that involves balls flying at their noses. Well there goes your social life!
Exhibit A: (Reference starts at 0:51)
"This volleyball game is probably the most important in my life" says Taryn, queen of rational and non-hyperbolic thought. Is that with or without the flying balls? Obviously it's important for her — it's her last chance at relevancy because the inclusion of her opinion now after being nonexistent so far this season. Which, as we all know, means she's totally going home. In the end, the blue team wins without Sean's help, so the red team heads home to probably eat chocolate and pet cats like the lonely monsters ABC believes they are (and may actually be in real life, sorry gals). But oh, what a dramatic exit theirs is: Tierra is on the red/losing team, so she obviously has to pout and whine. Kristy f**king loses her s**t. Literally bawling her eyes out. OMG, TRUE LOVE IS SLIPPING AWAY! HOPE IS TOTALLY LOST FOR EVERYONE. How can the world keep turning when events like this are taking place on its soil?
Meanwhile, everyone's favorite sourpuss Amanda has flipped her switch in order to perk up and lay down the groundwork for what she wants out of a relationship with Sean. She wants a husband, a best friend, a provider, lover, mindreader, horse whisperer, kumquat inspector, and pool boy. Oh and true love and probably world peace just for good measure.
According to every girl on the show, their ~deep connection~ with Sean is mad f**king real, you guys. (Like, Courtney Stodden real: rill.) More so than any other human element could connect with another human element, is how deep these ladies' Grand Canyon connections are, everyone. These girls are all chemistry scholars, too, so it seems like pretty legit logic. Amanda has brought her powerpoint presentation of all the reasons why she's great and special and swell to prove the connection. It's like this very weird, forced thing. Desiree and Kacie B seem to hate her because she's "dark and creepy" which apparently means you're not allowed to have or find love. Because there are totally no creepy people that are married or birthing children in the world.
But oh that Kacie B. Kacie, what in the actual f**k is going on in that pretty lil skull o' yours, gal? Do you have no short-term memory? Or long-term memory? Or any memory at all? What about common sense — did you lose it somewhere? This girl, who came so close to both winning the heart of a former Bachelor while also nearly getting kicked off for her s**t-stirring, doesn't somehow think that a repeat performance of drama-rousing is her thing. She's not into drama! Only, shut the f**k up, because YES Kacie, you ARE a s**t-stirrer. This is who you are, and categorizing it as "selfish" (Which...what? Does not compute) doesn't make it any less of a stirred s**t. As if s**t-talking Courtney Robertson to Ben Flajnik wasn't enough of a "hey maybe don't do this!" thing, she decides to do it again with Amanda to Sean. How is this different, Kacie? What, has this s**t been shaken rather than stirred? This girl is straight-up pathological with this s**t. Apparently she can't be herself when people don't like each other, so that is a reason for...something?
Sean calls her out on her drama (THANK YOU, I thought he'd be one of those too nicers who doesn't point out the obvious out of fear of hurting the other person's feelings), and demands answers. "Why are you telling me this?" Sean's throat-clearing when she said she's "not a drama person" pretty much tells it all. Sean's throat-clear was the equivalent of Michelle Obama's shade-throwing at the inauguration Monday afternoon. "I want you to act like Kacie, not like this crazy person," Sean mumbles. Oh noes! Kacie's plan isn't not working! Quelle surprise! She didn't expect this! HOW DID SHE NOT EXPECT THIS? Kacie, Kacie, Kacie. GIRL. Honey, child. Grown-ass women don't meddle in other people's business! Because in the end, that meddling says way more about the meddler than those with the business. Also: "I'm not supposed to cry this early" …for real, Kacie? Now you just sound like you're playing a part.
So let's talk about Tierra's fall and her general existence of selfish psycho-manipulation. It happened moments before AshLee's date, and Sean gets worried that Tierra's been concussed! She only starts actually responding to pretty much anyone once they put her on a board for an X-Ray. So she starts crying and telling them to leave her alone. The girls, of course, suspect that she faked it. Which — when you see how positively bratty and insane homegirl gets later in the episode — if she didn't fake it, she sure as hell milked that cow for some serious Sean time, cutting in on his time with AshLee.
Sean decides to close down all of Six Flags and then do some "volunteer work" by turning his date with AshLee into a meeting between two girls from the Starlight Children's Foundation who have never met the other in-person, but are best friends. It's like Catfish minus all the deception and general human terribleness. Only — TWIST! — the girls have no idea they're going to meet. Surprise! Emily and Brianna are IRL ("In Real Life" for all you luddites out there) friends now! This is, admittedly, really precious. The Eli Young Band, Sean's fave because how convenient, is there to sing for everyone! Afterwards, AshLee shares her life story with Sean, and the two both admit they want to adopt children in the future — a cause close to AshLee as she was adopted at age six.
OK so full-disclosure, I totally feel bad about giving AshLee a hard time for her unfortunate capitalization issues. She has a totally positive outlook which is lovely to see in a sea full of crazy. Obviously homegirl gets a rose. AshLee joins Desiree in the "frontrunners" pile, for me.
Prior to the rose ceremony, Sean decided to do something sweet, and brought Sarah's dog Leo out to see her as a token of appreciation. OK, fine, this is pretty adorable, but also so obviously a ploy to get the "aww! puppy!" vote from America. That said, I love puppies. A lot. So I get the tactic.
Tierra is pissed because she deserves "way more" and she "wants to punch some f**king walls" because it's not fair how everyone interrupts her time with Sean. And she gets what she wants, y'all! OK, I'm officially on the "Tierra is a horrible garbage monster" team. I cannot deal with selfish insane people, it's a weird quirk I have.
Rose Ceremony Time! Now featuring the world's longest rose stems. But WAIT! Before it can start, Sean needs to halt the ceremony and talk to Kacie B. He says he respects her too much to put her through another rose ceremony when they're probably better off as friends. So sayonara, Kacie B! Now stop being suck a mother**king s**t-stirrer/shaker/drama-insterter. Jesus.
Oh well. The full list of ladies sent to the infinite abyss where single women pick up their cats, drop off their self-esteem and are sent to learn the rules of spinsterdom are:
What do you think of this week's episode? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: ABC]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Houston, we have a problem. Oh wait, Bachelor Sean Lowe is from Dallas, huh? OK, well, whatever. We have a problem either way.
And what a delightful problem it is: the original bastion of mediocrity is back! That's right, America, The Bachelor has returned to ABC's airwaves after a brief hiatus for Emily Maynard to attempt to find love, yet again. And who shall sail these lovelorn seas all the way to the shores of Wedded Bliss?
Sean Lowe, Emily's scraps and the newest, blondest man to smile his way into the hearts of 25 26 women.
Apparently, Sean Lowe has it all! (Him? Really?) He has a great job! He's blonde! He loves family! He has a camera crew following his every shirtless move!
And let me tell you, every move is shirtless with this dude. Is this an advertisement for Playgirl TV or primetime ABC?
Our poor, lonely Sean has wandered these past few months, lost, alone, and scared. He had such strong feelings for the world's blondest woman, Emily Maynard. True love, you guys! The process works! The process works! (Sidenote: the process 99% of the time never works, just FYI.)
Anyway, Sean loved Emily, see, and his bare-chested heart was broken. So broken that he needed to keep his shirt off in order for it to breathe in new life after his was declared over. Thankfully, God (Sean's main dude is the Notorious G.O.D.) has another plan for Sean. And that plan is more televised love. Because only on television can you find the sort of beautiful marriages that everyone in his family has (wait, aren't they all non-TV normals or is there a show we missed somewhere along the line?), and it's beautiful marriage that is missing from Sean's life.
And for that, he is very sad. Poor, lonely Sean. Forever at the kids' table. Everybody take off your shirt and cry.
But Sean is so totally different—and by different we mean exactly the same as everyone else—he believes he's only going to get engaged once.
Yes, Sean, you will be different. A young, conventionally attractive, white, blonde dude who believes that the process works! It works! It WILL work for him, verdamnit!
Needless to say, tonight's episode was one exhausting, drawn-out advertisement for Christian Mingle or something. Only with more flesh (how sinful)!
So clearly, all that purity needed a bit of dirtying. Enter last season's Resident Attractive BadBoy, runner-up Arie Luyendyk, Jr. Oh hi hello, sir! Very nice to have you back. Arie and Sean are buds, and if buds know anything, it's when their friend is a s**tty kisser. So he's giving Sean a kissing lesson because apparently Arie is a super-kisser! (Prove it, Arie. I dare you! Come kiss me on the mouth! Please? No? OK, that's cool, too, whatever.)
Welcome to high school, Sean. (If this first episode was proof of anything, it's that high school is back in session. For everyone.) Use your hands when you kiss a la-dy, Sean! Play with the hair, Sean! Ladies love a quick touch of the face, and don't forget to hold them close! You use your whole body to kiss a lady, says Arie. But what about the evil tongue, Sean ponders allowed.
Has Sean Lowe ever kissed another human before? I'm beginning to wonder. Thankfully, this awkward lesson is preempted by a "will you accept this rose?" practice run. At one point, I was convinced a PA was about to push Sean and Arie's heads together and say "now kiss!"
Remember when I said there'd be a lot of blondes on this show? Apparently ABC got the memo that diversity is the spice of life, because an army of tiny blonde ladies it's not.
This go around we have women of color (finally!), brunettes, a girl with actually curly hair, and my personal favorite, the highly-normal-seeming, one-armed Sarah. She seems completely level-headed and also just normal. Naturally this means she probably won't last long. But I'm rooting for you, Sarah!
Sean starts off his Bachelor adventures by continuing the trend of "doing it differently this time" (just like everyone else, Sean! Doesn't Chris Harrison tell these kids that they make their own rules?) and handing out roses to whatever ladies he wants, whenever he damn well pleases.
That means before, during, and after the cocktail hour. Oh snap, Sean! What a rebel.
Speaking of the ladies—let's meet the kooky bunch!
Desiree is a Bridal Stylist in Los Angeles. She dreams of finding her missing puzzle piece and one true love. She spends her day sketching images of her perfect dress and Ken Doll man.
Tierra is from Colorado. She's family oriented and OHMIGOD SO EXCITED that Sean is the bachelor! Because he's family-oriented! Just like her! What are the ODDS?! They're soulmates, you guys. Plus, her puppy needs a new daddy! His eyes are so dreamy! "Hey future hubby!"
But the intensity doesn't scare Sean: in fact—he digs the s**t out of it! Say what? It's true, when Tierra, the most over-excited Sean fan in the history of bland blonde people arrives, she tells him a story. Tierra has an open heart tattoo on her ring finger—something she hopes Sean will complete. Sean tells her to "wait right here" and he goes inside to tell Chris that he wants to give her a rose.
Sean is breaking the rules and eating the attention right up! What a badass. He finds Tierra sweet, exciting, and filled with "great energy." You know the girls in the limo waiting for their turn to exit are losing their minds in a wave of seething, raging jealousy watching this unfold.
Sean hopes it won't create tension already, but, uh, DUH. OBVIOUSLY! Ha ha ha, oh Sean. You have way more to learn about these women other than how to kiss them
Robin is from Texas: She's quirky! She puts sticky notes with Spanish on them all over her apartment in order to learn. Her entrance involves literal gymnastics to get to Sean. And while she messes up a bit, she's generally pretty charming about it. So far, we like Robin.
Diana is from Salt Lake City, Utah—oh man, does she know Jef With One F aka Emily's ex-fiance?
One can only hope. Diana mentions that she owns a hair salon and now I'm convinced (between her and Jef) that Utahans are especially obsessed with their hair. She has 2 daughters and is a single mom (divorced), but is totally ready to just hit the road with Sean.
Literally, she's trying to pull him away from his mark. Something tells me the extended cut of this involves Sean being stuffed into a trunk. Can't wait for the bloopers!
Sarah! Lovely, wonderful Sarah lives in Los Angeles. Sarah is a total normal person, by all standards—and on this show, that is the highest compliment. She works in advertising and was born with one arm. She's still a beautiful blonde, though, so she totally fits the mold of the show, for the most part.
While most girls were clawing at each other's throats to steal Sean away for alone time, Sarah was refreshingly honest about her own insecurities and disinterested in the chase that most of the women seemed to revel in. Which means she'll probably be deemed too boring for television and kicked off the show early. Take it as a compliment, Sarah—and we're glad you got an early rose, too.
Ashley P. is from Michigan and obsessed with finding love because all her friends are married. She loves her cat and Christian Grey! She WANTS TO BE MARRIED SO BAD OMG HOW IS LIFE WORTH LIVING WITHOUT A MAN?!
Well it can be worth living if you read 50 Shades of Grey and get drunk on national television instead. Homegirl shows up with a blue tie (hidden between her boobs) that she wants to wrap about Sean's neck and choke him into orgasmic submission with. Or something. I don't know, I am terrified of her.
Lesley M. lives in DC because she works in politics. But she hates politicians. Great place to live and perfect career choice then, eh?
Originally from Arkansas, she's a "modern southern belle" and she thinks Sean is the one. She brings a football because sports! No just kidding, she wanted to look at his ass. If Sean can't be the one, she'll at least get one minute in staring at his ham hocks.
Kristy is a Ford Model, which she will remind you of over and over, because it's like, totally a prestigious modeling agency (true facts: it is! Glad she wasn't such a braggart about it...oh wait!) that is only for the most attractive of attractive people.
I don't know if Kristy is actually an over-confident jerk, but it sure looks like they are going to portray her as such. Why do they always make the model-types look like jerks? I know two whole, real-live models, and neither of them is a jerk. I've heard some jerk models exist, but why do they only seem to flock to The Bachelor?
One thing that makes Kristy unique is that the only phrase she has mastered in the English language is "the best of the midwest!"
AshLee F. has a very cluttered name for a Professional Organizer: what's up with that, AshLee? AshLee is obsessed with being organized because clearly she feels out of control in her life. I imagine she spends many a night alternating between crying in her shower, screaming "why?" and getting black-out drunk.
The great thing about how organized she is, is that when she's feeling a little out of control, she knows exactly which drawer her hairshirt collection is in, so she can try them all on at once and rock herself into a blissful, calm slumber. She's also adopted!
Lacey is a human disco ball with a "heart of lace" (literally! Get it? Do ya? Do ya, Sean?) so Sean can remember her.
Paige the jumbotron operator from NYC was on Bachelor Pad 3, so some of you may recognize her. She, too, is a firm believer in that age-old adage "this process can work," which is hilarious coming from someone who weaseled her way into the Bachelor empire on the trashiest and least-love-driven show of the bunch.
Amanda is a "fit model" which I guess is different from a regular model. Since, you know, all those other models are just so unfit! Har har har, jokes!
Amanda wants to get the awkward pause when you don't know someone out of the way. So they sit and stare at each other for 30 seconds. Pretty people looking at each other hardly feels awkward. Girls, why do we all have to think of something weird and overly-cutesy every.single.time?
Keriann is an entrepreneur from Florida—which I always knew to mean one very specific thing, though I don't want to pass that judgment onto Keriann (or the entire state of Florida).
She drove over 2,000 miles to be here! Which, I mean, that's great and all but The Proclaimers WALKED 1,000 miles to fall down at their girls' door (which is way harder than driving!), so, meh. Color me unimpressed, Keriann.
Desiree has pennies for wish-making, and Brooke is a community organizer from Pittsburgh who may also be part cat. Ashley H. believes herself to be the Barbie to Sean's Ken, and is another model who seems unable to keep herself from reminding Sean how great it is to meet him.
After her came Lauren, who is either a little bit Italian and a fan of stereotypes, or the daughter of a mob boss who will break Sean's legs if necessary. She's also a journalist, so this was probably at least the fifth draft of that speech that she had prepared. Girl, should've gone with the fourth draft.
And finally we have number 25 herself, Lindsay. Oh Lindsay. Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay. What are we to do with you? Lindsay is a subsitute teacher and also the substitute bride! That's right, a girl with probably no less than 10 Pinterest boards dedicated to Her Big Day, she comes on strong. Very strong.
She kisses Sean square on the mouth (he couldn't even prepare himself with Arie's tips!) and scares him half to death. You can see Sean running away, mentally, as she hums 'Here Comes the Bride.' Oh lawdy, this one. I was shocked when she got the rose, y'all. And you know the other girls who didn't make it through were right pissed off.
But wait! There's a surprise! This year will feature not 25, but 26 girls! Hello, Kacie B! Everyone remembers her, yes? She was the one everyone wanted the last Bachelor, Ben Flajnik to end up with at first. Her parents totally ruined her chances of his heart, though.
She wants a second chance with the guy who's getting a second chance! Sean is so excited she's here because they've hung out before and he considers her a friend. Could romance be in their future? Yeah, probably not, but Kacie is bound to try (and cry) her way though a few episodes, at least.
She is scared of the girls, because duh. This sort of "shocking" addition isn't shocking anymore, Bachelor—you've done it every season for the past few now. Enough.
Leslie H., the poker dealer, does not like the odds in this situation. The other girls are pissed.
Every utterance heard from the limo during the introductions can be summed up as the following: OMG, he's SO CUTE AND HANDSOME! Aww! LOLz! Right out the gate, there's territory marking from the get-go! A flurry of hugs and lipstick marks and sparkly dresses.
There are enough extensions to breed a small army of Shetland ponies. There are embarrassing made-up handshakes. One of the girls is even a cruise ship entertainer who wrote Sean a song (Kelly)! It's amazing she had time to write a song in between all the hours she must've spent in the tanning bed.
There's a yoga instructor (of course) to help Sean align his chakras. Forced smiles and declarations of Sean's cuteness. Everyone likes that he's cute, and handsome, and a man, and nice, and also definitely hot and dreamy. Every girl has dreamed Sean into reality: he is greater than the sum of his parts. All in a night's work!
Women be actin' a fool on this show—and this season seems to be no different. There's a screaming match—wow, ladies, you're all just so wild and free! How do you even handle that? It must be so intense to be you.
At this point in the evening, Sean has spoken to most of the girls, and handed out roses to several of them. Putting yourself out there for love is hard: sometimes you have to talk to people you want to kiss on the mouth and they have to listen to you.
Sometimes it doesn't work out, which is so weird! That never happens to anyway, so I can only imagine the pain these women must be going through. They've gotten to spend a whole evening in the general vicinity of Sean Lowe! How could they not fall in love instantly, right?!
The girls are all atwitter over Sean's decision to hand out roses as he so pleases, so there's only one thing to do: get wasted.
And wasted is exactly what Ashley P. gets. She's dancing around, throwing her blue neck tie around, quoting 50 Shades and telling Sean how normal she is while jokingly tying him up and explaining how her mom is already calling him her son-in-law. Totally normal!
Dance like no one's watching, Ashley P. And if they are watching, show 'em your ass tattoo. Hi mom!
These ladies are ravenous for some Grade-A, Sean Lowe man meat, so a stealing frenzy erupts. For a moment, I thought I was watching the National Geographic channel.
It was like when you see a bunch of seagulls attack the last remnants of a fallen funnel cake on the Jersey Shore. Heartbreaking and also terrifying.
In the end, Sean can only hand out so many roses. 12 have already been secured by ladies who managed to pry them from Sean's cold, dead hands, so 7 remain. The women are crying. It's too hard, you guys! But Sean wants to find his wife, so they must carry on for the sake of his unending loneliness.
Going into the rose ceremony, 12 girls already have roses, there are 7 left. Sean wants to find his wife, y'all.
Say Goodbye To Your Dreams, Following Ladies. Love Doesn't Live Here, Anymore:
Kelly, who is SO totally embarrassed because now that she's been eliminated on the first night, no one in the entire human world will want to date her ever again. (Totally true and logical.) Is it worth it to be in love if she has to feel this way?! OH, Kelly—ever the philosopher, this one! Opening yourself up to love hurts and sucks and oh just shut the f**k up and go home already.
So there we have it, friends. We did it, we really did it. What's to come in our future? Rock-climbing, beaches, helicopter rides, kisses, and D-R-A-M-A! The claws are out, y'all. Someone holds a secret!
Someone has a boyfriend or maybe boyfriendS, and an ex-boyfriend comes back into the picture. There are s**ty cookies and girls that are like, so totally above it all. And maybe the girls also hurt someone on purpose? Something is so totally crazy, and everyone is crying all the time. Even Sean!
He is stunned and doesn't know what's going on. He's blind-sided! SEAN IS HURT! Call the wahmbulance! Alert the media! This lonely boy is ready to make a crash landing.
Game on, indeed.
What did you think of tonight's premiere of The Bachelor? Have any favorites picked out yet? Sound off in the comments!
[Photo Credit: ABC]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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If Monday night's episode of Bachelor Pad has taught me anything, it's that there's nothing more uncomfortable to watch than a bad case of unrequited puppy love. And, unfortunately for me (and for the drooling puppies in the mansion), there was enough of that to fuel a seventh grade Valentine's Day dance. The main culprit: Jamie. This episode should be called "The One That Makes Me Want to Smother Jamie With a Pillow."
The curtain rises on this episode before the smell of last week's departing limos' exhaust has fully dispersed from the mansion's driveway, and if you listen closely you can still hear Reid's sobs. Wounds from the night's rose ceremony are still fresh, but Chris Harrison is on call to rub a little salt in them. No sleep for you yet, kids, you've got some Burn Book-quality surveys to fill out in anticipation of the next day's competition. Bravo, producers, for choosing to make the crazy kids fill out the soul-withering surveys when they are tired and drunk. I know that's when I make my best life choices.
As we cut to commercial I hear one lone bachelor cry out, "What kind of sick joke is this?" I ask again, have you not watched this show? They did the same exact challenge last season.
After an alcohol-induced slumber, the Padres are ready for this week's challenge. It's a game show! Based on the previous night's survey responses! The kids will be forced to answer Bachelor-related trivia ("Who was the British Bachelor?") and questions based on the godforsaken survey. Who said that Erica was fat? Who said that Jaclyn was fake? Is Jamie crying again? (Yes, yes she is.) After what one can only imagine was minutes of intense play, Ed and Jaclyn are crowned victorious. They get roses, and one-on-one dates. Things are gettin' serious.
Jaclyn's date is first, and she picks Ed to join her. At this point, the simpering puppy within Jaclyn begins to emerge. She thinks Ed is so dreamy and their date to Dodger's Stadium is so perfect. They play catch and eat hot dogs and OMG IS THAT THE KISS CAM HOW DID THEY KNOW WE WERE HERE? Cue fireworks. Jaclyn looks like a blushing, glassy-eyed idiot; Ed looks bored.
The date isn't entirely without incident, though. Turns out, since Jaclyn chose to bring the other challenge winner with her on the date, Ed has to forfeit his own date. In exchange, they have to choose a different guy to go out on a date. Jaclyn and Ed argue about whether Chris or Kalon is more trustworthy. Are you kidding me? Those guys? Eesh, you two deserve everything that is coming to you.
Back at the mansion, yappy terrier Jamie is throwing herself and Chris, who is saying douchey things like, "All I do is, like, look at her boobs." Chris, your mom is going to see this. You know who also is going to see this? Emily Maynard. You remember Emily, dontcha Chris? You know, the woman you were in love with like three days ago? I guess in your defense she's got some pretty big knockers herself. So, she should be …. flattered?
Chris' classiness issues aside, the following scene ranks among the most awkward things I've seen on television. Jamie sidles into bed next to Chris, and the night vision camera reveals the two squirming and wriggling on top of one another fully clothed. And Jamie is talking, talking, talking. I would agree with Chris when he says, "The only way to shut her up is to kiss her," if the sentiment wasn't so despicable. Jamie's voiceovered professions of love make me want to vomit. "He's so loyal! He's so hot! He likes me, he really likes me!" No honey, he doesn't.
When they return from the old ball game, Jaclyn and Ed make the worst decision ever and give Chris the rose. This means Chris gets to go out on a date, and we have to suffer through another Chris-focused segment. Because Chris is as sick of the Blakeley/Jamie/Chris love triangle as the rest of us, he decides to take Sarah on his unearned date. He then begins comparing her to a new car, and I vomit for the second time this episode. (My puke per hour rate is nearing that of a sorority girl at 3:00 am after a trailer trash-themed mixer.)
Jamie and Chris' date is like an action movie. There's a car crash, kung fu, an unsatisfactory sex scene, and I leave halfway through to get more snacks and use the bathroom. Their date does pose an interesting question though. Are the contestants always allowed to just "get a room"? Also, how did Chris know to have his credit card and ID in his fluffy bathrobe? This wasn't staged at. all.
While Jamie and Chris are getting' down and dirty at the Ramada Inn, it's business as usual at the mansion — meaning, Jamie and Blakeley are fighting, Jamie is crying, Jamie is waxing poetic about Chris while crying. I'm like 90% sure she actually uses the word "husband" while describing Chris. While he is having sex with some other broad. I can just imagine Jamie watching this with her girlfriends and a bathtub full of Ben & Jerry's and — you guessed it — crying. Riddle me this: Why would a girl who cries so often wear so much mascara? Plan ahead, will ya?
Also, since Chris didn't actually earn his sexytimes, Ed gets to choose to which lady he wants to bequeath a rose. After listening to the more pathetic ladies' snivelings (cough, Jamie and Blakely, cough) he gives the rose to cool girl Rachel. Say what you like, it's just so obvious that Rachel is going to come out on top in this whole thing.
The next morning, Chris and Sarah roll into the mansion reeking of unmentionables and casually say things like, "I look like s**t."
As deliberations for the next rose ceremony begin, I have a great idea for this show's next twist. How about, instead of just sending people home when they get voted off, we put their heads on spikes outside the mansion, Game of Thrones style? Too much?
Also, my brain just processed the fact that on Bachelor Pad the rose ceremony takes place in the driveway. This show just oozes class.
But I digress. Here are the long-awaited rose ceremony results. Chris Harrison calls out:
Which means, Jamie and fanboy David are going home. David the Cutest Leprechaun Of All Time bounds into the limo, sniffs the seats and says, "I feel so lucky to be in the loser limo!" Jamie, meanwhile, uses her last bit of air time to chew out Chris and, in the biggest surprise of the night, cry.
Scenes for next week show Lindzi and Kalon falling in what is so very clearly real, earth shattering, grow old and gray together, love. I can hardly wait.
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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Buckle your seat belts, kids: It looks like this season is going to be a roller coaster. After the gigantic suckfest (the judges’ language, not mine) that was last week, the contenders redeemed themselves in the eyes of the mentors and America alike with their soulful anti-bullying PSA. I guess this bunch is better at being vulnerable — this week’s buzzword — than danceable. Why is that not surprising to me?
This episode hits the ground running as good ol’ Rob shows up with the homework assignment straightaway. It’s vulnerability week, and you can bet your knickers it’s going to be a doozy. Rob hands out the sheet music to Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” (anyone else struck by the song title’s epic romanticism? It’s like Keats.) and hints that the super secret special mentor this week “wrote the book” on vulnerability. “Chris Colfer wrote a book!” hopeful young Charlie Bit Me squeaks, thinking he has unraveled the web of wordplay put forth by Rob. Too bad Mr. Colfer, author extraordinaire, is almost certainly too busy for The Glee Project. Next time, tiger.
The next part, where everyone dukes it out for sections of the homework assignment, is easily becoming my favorite part of the show. I watch it through a cage of my fingers, like I would a horror movie, because it’s just so uncomfortable. Aylin and Lily Mae are in a standstill and everyone else is nervous about it. Both want to sing a particularly spectacular sentence; neither wants to back down. Lily ends up winning because, 1) she almost went home last week and needs a good line to show off her skillz, and 2) Aylin is afraid Lily will pull her hair out. Good call, Aylin, Lily could totally take you down.
It’s homework day, and everyone is eager to show off just how vulnerable they can be. Wait, that sounds wrong. Can one really compete to be the most vulnerable? That seems disingenuous. There are definitely some voyeuristic, manipulative undertones lurking beneath the earnestness of this week’s theme. But I digress. It’s time to meet the super special secret mentor! Rob boasts that this week’s star power quota is in the form of “the most accessible actor on the show,” and with that rave review, Cory Monteith (all smiles and “Aww shucks, folks” shrugs) makes his way into the stuffy choir room. Aylin somehow manages not to go into anaphylactic shock from a sudden increase in hormone production, and the lights dim for the performance.
In stark contrast to last week’s highly choreographed, if not coordinated, routine, this week’s performance is staid and broody. Each contender sings his or her line with conviction and seemingly genuine emotion, and I’m actually rather impressed. No glitter or frippery this time around; just some honest-to-goodness talent. At the end of the performance, Cory picks Nellie as the winner and I realize that they would make a super cute couple. I hope they make good use of their teachable moment later on, wink wink.
NEXT: Everybody hurts… without Zach Woodlee.The vulnerability vessel for the big music video challenge is R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts.” Ain’t it the truth? But hold up, stop the presses, there will be NO CHOREO this week. Which means, no Lord of the Dance. I’m not even sure of what to do with myself — that man is the reason I watch this show. I’m hurting a bit right now, Glee Project producers. How dare you reduce Zach Woodlee’s screen time without my consent?
Instead, video director Erik shows up to tell the kiddies about his master plan and dig deep into their psyches for nuggets of emotional truth. Tears well up for all (Shanna, always the winner, is the first to let a droplet trickle down her nose) as they share stories of their bullied pasts. Everyone has a tale to tell, and each is equally heartbreaking. They’ve been called names from “terrorist” to “crack baby,” witnessed violence and experienced it firsthand, and somehow managed to come out on top. (They’re on The Glee Project, damnit!) Lily Mae adds that in her middle school, she was the bully, the queen bee, if you will. That is, until Mean Girls opened her eyes and changed her life, in a very different way than it changed mine.
Wiping tears on their sleeves, the contenders trudge into the recording studio for their quality time with Nikki. It seems therapy with Erik really did the trick, because most everyone sounds great. Blake, yes! Shanna, yes! Nellie, double yes! Nikki closes her eyes for a rapturous moment during Nellie’s turn at the mic — sounds like Nellie’s private makeout session with Cory really did the trick. Unfortunately, perky Ali can’t reign in her pep and breaks the winning streak. “Ali was… not great today,” says Nikki. Womp.
But things go from meh to worse when Mario enters the booth. He’s flat. Nikki notices, homeboy sitting next to Nikki in the booth notices, viewers at home notice, but Mario disagrees. Nikki, my good chap, that just cannot be, explains Mario. You see, he’s classically trained, and even the greats need more than one take to get it right. Nikki stares at Mario slack-jawed in disbelief and then shoos him away. I just know we haven’t heard the last of this.
As the cameras begin to roll for the music video shoot, s**t get real intense real fast. The kids act out their bullying vignettes, with opportunities to play both the bully and the victim, with a surprising amount of gusto. But, after a couple rather vanilla scenes of bullies throwing paper airplanes and taunting, the “fake” bullying gets a little out of control. It’s Mario’s turn to be the victim, and he prepares to have a pack of mean boys run by him yelling mean names. But, oh no, WTF is going on here? Charlie Bit Me runs by and steals Mario’s cane, which the poor thing is totally not expecting. Sheer terror washes across Mario’s face, then the mentors’ faces, and most certainly my face as well (which, embarrassingly enough, is hidden deep within a bag of sourdough nibblers). Party foul, Charlie, you can’t just steal a blind man’s cane and think it’s okay. Bottom three for you for sure.
The scenes continue in this too-real-for-comfort vein as Blake pushes around wide-eyed puppy dog Michael on the basketball court and Lily literally knocks Aylin to the ground and sits on her, yelling in her face. Aylin is crying and throwing her head back in anguish and I am dumbstruck with horror, until Lily helps her up and they hug it out because, after all, it’s just acting.
NEXT: Twist!I’m a little confused at this point, so maybe someone can help me out. I’m confused because it seems like all the contenders are really good actors; like, way better than the gang of hopefuls last season and maybe even better than some of the Glee cast members. Could that be true? It’s increasingly unclear to me whether the kids possess large quantities of natural talent, or if they were simply being actual bullies on set. My gut is telling me that maybe the contenders aren’t secretly good at acting, but are in fact secretly mean-spirited, overly aggressive bullies. Surprise! We’re making a documentary.
It’s time for the audience to watch the finished video and judge accordingly. My fingers hover over the keyboard, poised to take note of the weakest links. But, as Nellie sings R.E.M.’s opening lines, I realize I may not have much to type. This video is good, man. Good in a super Gleetastic way, which on this show is the only way. Standouts? Turns out Blake, who Robert dubs the best actor on the show, has a killer voice, and so does Charlie — did you know he sounded like Chris Martin, because I sure didn’t. Bravo, folks, you done good here. Slow clap for you.
The mentor/judges agree with me, and are practically smiling as they line the kids up for execution. Blake is quickly named this week’s winner, and he bounds offstage. Aylin, Abraham, Shanna, Michael, and Tyler are also safe. Now the judges get real. They think Nellie is too closed off; she immediately proves them wrong by crying on stage. Attagirl, Nellie, get emotional. Ali is chastised for her perkiness again; Nikki wants her to strip down the cheerleader exterior to reveal some rawness beneath. Lily is in trouble because she can’t lip sync and acted like a diva on set. But, oh hell no, Mario is not to be out-divaed. Nikki reminds him of his difficulty in the recording studio and he gets all, “Whatchyoutalkinbout?” “I feel like that implies I’m not ready,” he says haughtily. And here comes Nikki’s zinger, the one that’s been in all the trailers. “Just so there’s no confusion, not one of you is ready yet.”
Finally, the bottom three are named. Charlie (thanks in large part to Canegate 2012), Mario, and Lily will have to sing for their lives. Here’s how it went.
1. Lily emerges in a slinky blue dress to sing “Mercy” by Duffy. She has a good voice, but we knew this already. She also doesn’t really know what to do with her arms, so there is some awkward flapping happening. A few closeups unfortunately reveal the same face she donned while beating the crap out of Aylin, so I’m pretty scared and uncomfortable. As the judges begin their critique, the Murphster is not so impressed. She’s not an underdog, he says, and Glee is all about underdogs. At this point, Lily takes a page from Nellie’s book and starts crying on stage. Give me a chance to show you who I am, to belt out a ballad with a piano and not hide behind my body confidence, she yell/cries. Murphy is sold. “I love you, Ryan Murphy,” Lily pronounces as she runs off stage; Murphy blushes.
2. Charlie saunters onstage to sing Coldplay’s “Fix You.” He is pumped. He loves this song. I’m pumped because it finally dawns on me that Charlie is a dreamboat, in a sleepy Cory Monteith sort of way. Then, something crazy happens while Charlie sings, which is he makes it sound like a completely different song. He may have a Chris Martin voice, but the performance is all Charlie. Murphy is happy, and I can’t help but notice that Zach is grinning like a child. But now it’s time to discuss Charlie’s “boundary problem.” Charlie’s defense is a bit convoluted as he explains that he was overcome by a “moment of impulsivity” and that the “medium of TV” is confusing to him. Will that be good enough for now? Most likely, because the Murph said he was inspired and that Charlie’s rendition of “Fix You” was, “Maybe [his] favorite thing [he’s] ever seen on this show.” Bold words.
3. Now it’s Mario’s turn and he’ll be singing “Over the Rainbow.” He does a solid job. I can see his classical training — his vibrado is a bit opera-y — and the tone of his voice is undeniable. I only wish he had chosen to go a bit more Judy Garland with his version. The judges agree, but want to talk about why Mario can’t take criticism. He starts to cry (shocker), and Murphy reveals that he is a robot by asking, “What is happening to you right now?” Mario seems to redeem himself in the judge’s eyes, but I’m not buying it.
Single best moment of the show happens right now. Charlie helps Mario off stage and they hold hands, nearly skipping, full of giggles. So. Freaking. Cute.
Backstage, Mario loses all the points he just earned and acts like a total dick. He thinks that everyone else was way worse than he was and he can’t believe he was even in the bottom. Shanna says maybe that’s not what he means, and Lily tells him to shut the eff up. Charlie Bit Me and Aylin snuggle in the corner. Can we have more of this next week, pretty please? This show needs more romance. But back to the question on hand: Who goes? This week is tricky for me. I’m, like, 90 percent certain that Charlie is safe. After all, Murphy did say he was inspiring. But Lily and Mario both cried on stage, sooooo it’s a toss-up. The list is posted. Let’s go have a look-see.
Everyone is called back! The twist I envisioned last week takes form now, as the ghost of Taryn saves the day. Charlie, Lily, and Mario sing Avril’s ballad as a trio and all is right with the world. Peace, hope, and harmony are beautiful and light up this world.
This week’s final piece of advice is courtesy of Charlie: Avoid poor blocking choices.
[Image Credit: Oxygen]
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When it comes to Sofia Vergara, what you see is what you get. What you see is someone unfathomably gorgeous, and what you get is someone who can make you laugh, even if you didn't quite understand what she just said. So it was of no real surprise that Saturday Night Live banked heavily on Vergara's stunning looks and broken accent for last night's episode. (Hey, if Modern Family can rely on it every week, why not SNL?)
After a too-long Mitt Romney cold open featuring (the-soon-to-be-departed?) Jason Sudeikis (though his botched "Hey New York, let's start the show" served as a funny alternative to the classic "Live from New York, it's Saturday night"), Vergara took the stage at Studio 8H for her first time as host. In a slinky black dress, Vergara talked about the town in Colombia she grew up in (it translated roughly to "Cleveland"), her son Manolo (who was in the audience), her stare-causing cleavage, and, of course, her ability to "make anything sexy," including "gonorrhea," "Rick Santorum," and "New Jersey." So, yeah, her looks and her accent. Watch it here:
This isn't to say that even if Vergara's brand of comedy is predictable, it's not enjoyable or funny. There's something infinitely likable about the actress (yes, fellas, we know what you like about her) and her willingness to have fun on camera. (Quick sidebar, did anyone else notice there were no less than five commercials featuring Vergara during the breaks, including a Three Stooges preview, which got nary a mention in the actual show?)
Following up a silly new pre-recorded bit with Sudeikis and fellow rumored exiting cast member Andy Samberg as "not gay" friends sporting "Not Gay" booty shorts and tank tops, SNL wisely opted to bring back Abby Elliott's "Quirky Girl with Zooey Deschanel." While the effort wasn't nearly as strong as when Deschanel herself appeared in the sketch when she hosted earlier this year, it was still hilarious to watch Elliott poke fun at her mannerisms ("I look like a guilty baby") and Taran Killam's delightfully squeaky Michael Cera impression. This time around, Kristen Wiig (who previously played Bjork) did a spot-on impression of Drew Barrymore, Samberg took a shot at "Jewish Strawberry Shortcake" Mayim Bialik, and Vergara got her first shot at a sketch by playing another amplified comedienne, Fran Drescher. Vergara knocked it out of the park, but if you were watching in a household where anyone was asleep, there's no question Vergara's imitation of Drescher's infamous laugh woke them up. If Vergara's comedy is one-note, that note is incredibly loud. Watch it below. Though, you may want to turn the volume on your computer down.
The other new pre-recorded segment of the night was a fake commercial for a food (?) product called Almost Pizza, in which the always-top notch Bill Hader and his family try to figure out the mystery product. It was a short, effective, funny bit peppered into an even with sketches that couldn't quite pull that off. Case in point: The groan-worthy sketch featuring Fred Armisen as a newscaster who can't figure out how to smile for the camera. Not only did SNL try out a sketch just like this already this season with SportsCenter broadcasters, but Armisen already realized the hard way that repeating an already ho-hum concept (remember when he kept getting hit by a car in the dreadful Lindsay Lohan ep?) doesn't make it funnier if you keep going. Although the sketch did accomplish the near-impossible: It made Vergara fade in the background. Aside from Vergara -- who, unsurprisingly, played a sexy sex ed teacher who mispronounced words in the Gilly sketch -- there were some other newbies to the SNL family last night. Kate McKinnon began her new gig as a cast member (more on that later) while wildly popular Brit import boy band One Direction made their SNL musical guest debut. Despite looking a little nervous (who could blame them?), the group sounded quite good as they crooned their hits "What Makes You Beautiful" and "One Thing," much to the delight of their hardcore fans. One Direction may look a little different from the boy bands of yore, but the vibe, and those ruthlessly catchy songs, are still very much the same. Seriously, between the return of the boy bands and the fact that both Titanic and the American Pie gang are back in theaters, it's pretty safe to say the '90s are back.
SNL decided not to waste the appearance of the young stars (there's no question there were some kids up far past their bedtime last night) and had the five singers appear in "The Manuel Ortiz Show." In fact, the members of One Direction managed to upstage a blonde Vergara and a mustached Hader for the predictable recurring sketch. (Yes, I realize I skipped right over the recycled "Lil Poundcake" commercial and "Weekend Update," but with the exception of a visit from Bobby Moynihan's consistently hilarious Drunk Uncle, not much else happened.) But, back to McKinnon. The newbie didn't get a chance to show her stuff until later in the show when she appeared as the testy Tabatha from Bravo's Tabatha Takes Over for Killam's funny send-up of Andy Cohen ("I'm like a shark, if I stop moving, I die") and Watch What Happens Live. While McKinnon may have been trumped by Killam's impression of the excitable, cute Cohen and Kenan Thompson playing Bishop Desmond Tutu (would anybody else totally watch Tutu Hot Tutu Handle?), she still made an impression. Watch her debut here:
McKinnon relied on doing an impression again for the next sketch, a send-up of Pantene commercials that featured Vergara as herself and McKinnon as Penelope Cruz. In it, Cruz appeared in a commercial with Vergara, who seems to be getting all the easy words to pronounce. Even though the sketch was predictably on-par with most of the night's bits that relied on the humor of Vergara's mangled accent, it was fascinating to watch and consider what's next for McKinnon. With Wiig possibly leaving, the show will be in dire need for a strong female performer than can pull off impressions as flawlessly as she does. McKinnon looks like she could be up for the task, but she could fall into the Jay Pharoah impressions-only trap. It's too soon to tell, but her brief introduction hinted at more of the former than the latter.
The episode wrapped with a suprisingly weak Hunger Games sketch (though Hader as Caeser Flickerman could give Stanley Tucci a run for his money) in which Vergara played a newscaster thrust into the middle of the murderous action. Sorry, but The Hunger Games Puppy Bowl would have been much better. While last night wasn't the strongest outing of the season (no one has trumped Jimmy Fallon or Maya Rudolph yet), credit has to be given to a game Sofia Vergara and a squeal-inducing One Direction. Next week Josh Brolin and musical guest Gotye will have their shot at getting the last few episodes of the season to end on a high note.
What did you think of last night's SNL? What did you think of Sofia Vergara as host? Anyone else notice Bill Hader sweetly congratulating McKinnon during the closing credits? Would you agree One Direction stole the whole show? More importantly, what was louder, Vergara's screams or the screams One Direction's fans?
[Photo credit: NBC]
Sofia Vergara's Saturday Night Live Promo: Watch!
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S9E6: A request to the creative team behind Two and a Half Men: Please decide what kind of character you would like Ashton Kutcher to play. Based on last week's episode, the show's many devoted fans and I are in agreement that the shotgun approach to Walden Schmidt...isn't working. Ashton is a funny, versatile actor, but switching the gears every scene doesn't allow the show to hit a groove. One minute Walden's a self-pitying shlub, the next, a too-cool-for-school stoner. We need consistency!
Here's hoping tonight's episode can hunker down and win me back. Here's the scorecard breakdown:
One Charlie Sheen Head (1 - 10 Points): Ashton, you were in this episode.
Two Charlie Sheen Heads (11 - 20 Points): Ashton, you landed a few jokes, but we can't stop thinking about good ol' Charlie.
Three Charlie Sheen Heads (21 - 30 Points): Ashton, you earned tonight's laugh track. Solid.
Four Charlie Sheen Heads (31 - 40 Points): Ashton, we're impressed. You've surpassed Sheen-level kookiness.
Five Charlie Sheen Heads (41 - 50 Points): Ashton, you're scaring us with classic levels of comedy. Charlie who?
That's that, now on with the Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men scorecard!
"The Squat and The Hover"
1. "My house. My couch. My junk."
Well, this wasn't the uplifting start I was hoping for.
Two and a Half Men regurgitates one of its lamest, go-to jokes in the opening, Walden strolling in to Alan and Jake's couch conversation in nothing but his birthday suit. As if that weren't enough, it's back-to-back poop/penis enlarger joke before the trio finally hits the crux of the scene: Walden's been mailed his divorce papers. This is when I like Ashton the most, wallowing in self-pity while Alan takes potshots at himself. It's a fun dynamic the show could theoretically always have. But instead, more often than not, Men relies on crass, potty humor. Oh, well.
2. "I am bananas over you. Burn in hell monkey!"
In the wake of finalized divorce, Walden decides to burn all of his possessions that remind him of Bridget. Wedding video, CDs, stuffed monkeys with adorable messages embroidered on to hearts—the usual. But Alan, realizing he'll be stuck without a home if Walden completely abandons his current lifestyle, convinces his shaggy friend to opt for therapy over hightailing it out of town. This was a great scene, allowing Jon Cryer to do what he's been doing successfully for nine years and Ashton to play and balance his sad puppy and goofily idealistic sides.
3. "That's not an angry gesture, this is an angry gesture. GRRR!"
The biggest surprise of the episode—which ended up working out quite well for Mr. Kutcher—was a surprise appearance by Jane Lynch as the therapist. There are few roles, crazed or muted, that Lynch can't knock out of the ballpark and Ashton steps up the plate in the scene. Walden pours his silly life facts to the doc like they're encyclopedia entries (as opposed to the depressing anecdotes of youth that they really are), but little progress is made. Lynch insists Walden returns for more sessions. Could we be seeing more of Lynch in upcoming episodes? Cross your fingers. These two were great.
4. "I used to make my G.I. Joes touch each other inappropriately."
Later, Walden and Alan take solace from life's many woes by heading to the movies. Sitcom logic dictates that in the exact moment the duo goes for snacks, Bridget must show up with a new beau and show up she does—along with her new, dashing man. The encounter sends Walden into another tizzy, and while it's not quite on par with episode two of the season, it does result in many an appletini.
As if the writers forgot to create an actual arc for the episode, suddenly there's a scramble to start a new through-line. Enter Danny, a lesbian who looks strikingly similar to Bridget (and, in fact, is played by Judy Greer in a wig and make-up). Hoping to strike up a new friendship, Walden and Alan pretend to be gay and bring Dani and her girlfriend Kiki back to the house. This moment feels convoluted and sloppy—really guys, gay jokes? Alan hoping to "turn" Kiki? Tonight, even with some humorous Ashton slapstick, Two and a Half Men took a step backward for social progress. All the way back to 2 Broke Girls territory.
5. "My problems will follow my wherever I go. Also, how could I leave my best friend."
After Danny forcefully punches Alan in the face for pretending to be gay and making out with Kiki, the bumbling bachelor and Walden once again head to the movies. The show's erratic set of events slows down to a hushed finish, with Walden deciding not to move to New York, instead opting to remain in California with his best friend. Ashton can sell these hammy moments and "The Squat and The Hover" earns its "awww" moment. But by then, it's too little too late and the touching finale acts as a reminder for a show that has the platform to strive for more, but settles for less.
Total Points: 19 - Two Charlie Sheen Heads!
Two and a Half Men's sixth round was a wildly inconsistent episode. One minute it was hitting all the right marks, building up a two-man shtick that I'd actually be anxious to watch on a week-to-week basis. Between those shining moments, lowbrow, archaic, flat out horrible jokes. "The Squat and The Hover" manages to squeeze out three Charlie Sheen heads, but keep an eye on those scores. This was a close one—and not in the favor of the show.
S9E2: Last week was Ashton Kutcher's first attempt at taking over the sacred role of Two and a Half Men's goofy lead, formally filled by the sitcom all-star Charlie Sheen. There were obvious worries—for all his craziness, Sheen had the spark to make Men's conventional sitcom antics into TV gold. Replicating what worked about the show with new blood seems like a near-impossible task.
So did Ashton hold a candle to the Sheen magic? Results were mixed. Audiences turned in: The premiere attracted 27 million eyes, a record for the show. And Ashton had a solid night. The first episode "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt," our first introduction to the actor's smug, Internet billionaire character, scored a decent three Charlie Sheen heads. Now it's round two, "People Who Love Peepholes," and once again I'll be crunching numbers to scientifically calculate if Ashton brings the funny. Here's the breakdown:
One Charlie Sheen Head (1 - 10 Points): Ashton, you were in this episode.
Two Charlie Sheen Heads (11 - 20 Points): Ashton, you landed a few jokes, but we can't stop thinking about good ol' Charlie.
Three Charlie Sheen Heads (21 - 30 Points): Ashton, you earned tonight's laugh track. Solid.
Four Charlie Sheen Heads (31 - 40 Points): Ashton, we're impressed. You've surpassed Sheen-level kookiness.
Five Charlie Sheen Heads (41 - 50 Points): Ashton, you're scaring us with classic levels of comedy. Charlie who?
That's that, now on with the second round of the Ashton Kutcher Two and a Half Men scorecard!
"People Who Love Peepholes"
1. "Hey, look, a peephole!"
Let's give Ashton a little credit for turning Walden in a multi-faceted character. He can play the straight man: the episode opens with Walden buying Charlie's house and hiring Berta as his live-in housekeeper. Here he goes through the motions while Berta riffs with sexual fantasies. Silly, disturbing, fun. But without much of a segue, Ashton reminds us that Walden's a ten-year-old in a thirtysomething's body. Smack dab in the middle of sending Alan off to his Mom's house, Ashton realizes his new door has a peephole, sending him in to Doug-from-Up mode. If Ashton's going to play the show's adorable puppy character, he might as well be curious. That way, it's reasonable for him to do anything at any moment.
2. "What's the kind of toilet paper we use? The one that's soft on my tushie like a cloud."
Last episode, Walden nearly committed suicide (nearly, as the water was too cold) over the crumbling of his marriage to one true love Bridget. Now that he's flying solo, he needs to...figure out how to do that. And who better to help than Bridget? We start to get a sense of how dependent Walden really is when he starts phoning his ex for lifestyle questions. Kutcher may be diving in to a bit of That '70s Show/Kelso territory when he reveals that Walden prefers baby shampoo, but that's the quality that made us his fans in the first place. It works for Walden.
3. Climbing the Electric Fence
A three-camera sitcom is kind of like a stageplay—it's designed for sharp writing, not so much for big action. So pulling off physical buffoonery can be difficult. Not everyone is Chris Farley.
Ashton and Jon Cryer try their hand at a little slapstick bit when a crazed Walden and a terrified Alan speed down the Los Angeles streets to Bridget's (and formerly Walden's) home. Walden seems assured that trespassing on his property won't be a big deal—until Bridget alerts the duo that she's armed and ready to "turn on the fence."
Ashton's electrocuted face is passable, but I wouldn't call it a comedic strength. Sheen makes that expression in his sleep! Seriously, he probably does.
4. "Can I at least play a little Donkey Kong with Alan before I go?"
When two men finally infiltrate Bridget's fortress (and their ears stop ringing), Walden pleas to his former flame to take him back. The reason she won't is apparent: Walden's mansion is basically a carbon copy of the Big Bang Theory set. Find if you're an established nerd living with nerd roommates...not so good if you're trying to prove to your wife that you're a grown up. As you may expect, Bridget kicks them out on their sorry butts. And without a round in arcade, which makes Walden particularly upset (Paraphrased temper tantrum: BALAHARHALBLAHRHARHl!). Normally this wouldn't score that high, but I can't deny the power of a good Donkey Kong joke.
5. "I'm going to say goodbye to my guest...because that's the grown up thing to do!"
The tail end of the episode gives hope for Walden and sheds light on where Ashton may be taking Two and a Half Men. Bridget returns to Walden's new pad to give him an opportunity to prove himself—and Walden happily takes it. He can be a man, dang it! A grown man! Lucky for Walden, Bridget didn't arrive earlier when he and Alan were sleeping naked on top of each other after a night of drinking and skinny dipping (how many consecutive eps can Ashton go naked in?).
Ashton's inherent inability to act like an adult gives makes Walden's honest moment both silly and surprisingly authentic. Yes, the man's is a dope, but he's got heart. Even amidst a cast of caricatures (and Jon Cryer is a zany one, taking on extra comedic duties after Sheen's departure), Ashton seems to be making something of his character. On a 9th season sitcom, that's a pleasant surprise.
Total Points: 31 - Four Charlie Sheen Heads!
Two and a Half Men isn't slowing down with its signature raunchy humor, but it all feels fresh with the inclusion of Ashton. He's carving out a role for himself instead of mimicking Sheen, which is important. I imagine the show will eventually fall into its own routine and Ashton may not have the energy of his predecessor to keep things moving. I am ready and willing to be proven wrong.
Also, this is another episode that throws Jake to the wayside with only one minute of air time. Does Ashton's contract stipulate that he may not appear in a scene with the .5 boy?