There are several reasons I hate writing about the Real Housewives reunion specials. First of all, nothing happens. Well, things happen – apologies are made, hatchets are buried and then dug up again to plunge into someone else's back, Andy Cohen gets pushed by a raging Italian lunatic. Things happen, but it's all just them sitting there. There is so little to say. Also, there is so much screaming, so much nattering about who wrote what on who's blog and who Twittered what about someone's Facebook. I don't care about any of that. And none of these ladies have any proof about their allegations. We just want to know who won.
And we know that the second half of the RHOBH reunion is going to be boring. How? Well, it's only two parts, which is a death knell in these three-hour days. And there haven't been any exciting promos promising us that Andy Cohen is going to be attacked (by a human, bird, or other organism) so you know it's going to be tamer than Gretchen Rossi's hair after a Brazilian Blowout.
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So, yeah. Who won this season? Who gets to say that they are the champion? Well, here is my ranking of the women in order of who came out on top. The truth is, well, we all lose a little bit.
Yolanda Bananas Foster: I am as shocked as you are, but YBF won this season. How? It was a combination of a clear vision, a no-nonsense attitude, and an ability to hold people to account for what they said and did while still managing to seem like a sane, rational human being, something that is in short supply among these lizard creatures. Yes, she didn't spend a lot of time interacting with the women. Yes, her husband, noted clacking skeleton and woman bedder David Foster Wallace, is right up there on The Worst spectrum with Faye Resnick and malignant melanomas. But she came from behind at the end of the season and stood up to the whole rabid pack of hyenas at Adrienne's vodka party and then stood toe to toe with human foot fungas discoloration Faye Resnick at Lisa's housewarming. She's acquitted herself nicely at the reunion and will be a splendid addition to the cast. And did you see her fridge?
Brandi Glanville: This isn't so much a second place as it's a tie with YBF. I'm not quite sure how Brandi stays on top of the fray while being on the bottom of the dogpile for most of the season. I guess it's her authenticity, which shines like one of the stripper poles she rode down to everyone's delight. Yes, she handled some situations very wrong, but most of the animosity leveled at her because of her square-off with Adrienne was for her telling the truth. Everyone loves the truth (espeically when it's juicy). Then Brandi was chased by an awful rich woman and her screaming accomplices, which definitley got her some sympathy. She also formed some strong bonds on the show and was loyal to her friends. Even the Sisters Richards say they like her now, so that's headway. I think the thing that works best for Brandi though is that she's always playing defense. My father once told me the best offense is a good defense, and I had no idea what he was talking about until I watched this show.
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Lisa Vanderpump: Lisa's fight with Kyle was totally bogus and as dry as a piece of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of a table three days ago, but it was her refreshingly honest friendship with Brandi that carried the season. She was both sister and mother to our favorite blonde, standing by her side when the evil munitions marched against her, but then scolding her in private for her temper and crass language. They are quite the perfect balance. But better than anything, the two have a sense of humor with each other, something that all the other women seem to be lacking.
Kim Richards: It may look like she's in the middle of the pack, but she really made a big stride forward this year. Her storyline wasn't, "God, how messed up is Kim?" it was, "God, when is Kim gonna get messed up?" which is step in the right direction. She didn't attend every event, but she interacted more with everyone and played a central role in some of the bigger conflicts. But still, watching Kim is like staring at an open wound and marveling at how slowly the healing process takes. She and Kyle have a relationship as frayed as a rope cut with a spoon and she is so far from being whole that, well, maybe she shouldn't be on TV. If only I could stop watching her and thinking about her and formulating sad scenarios to test her will in my imagination. But she got her catch phrase, "I love turtles," and mixed some creepy chicken salad, so yay! Kim, for all her sad eccentricities, is joining the world of the living.
Kyle Richards: Kyle's biggest sin this season was picking the wrong side. Well, actually it was not picking a side at all. When the lines were drawn between Team Brandi and Team Maloof, she said she wasn't taking a side, but kept talking for Adrienne since she wasn't there to defend herself. So she didn't want to take a side, but then she took the wrong side. That and her whining that Kim just wouldn't get better the very second she left rehab didn't do her any favors. And remember, Kyle, no one likes someone who won't make a decision. That's why we all hate bisexuals.
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The Widow Armstrong: If she wasn't present at the Dana/Pam drunken lunch that appeared from heaven like a GIF gift from the reality TV gods, then she would have been completely worthless all season.
Adrienne Maloof: Oh boy did Adrienne, the Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live under the mountain) lose this season. She lost it spectacularly and in so many ways. First of all she went on the attack against Brandi, a fan favorite, which is never a good idea. Secondly, she proved to be the worst kind of rich person by using her money and her lawyers to intimidate Brandi. Then she lied about it and got caught in her lies but still wouldn't confess. There was all that drama about leaking stories to the press and all the hemming and hawing about her "secret" which wasn't very secretive at all an which no one really cared about. Let's not forget her disappearing act where the other women had to defend her or that she left brown self tanner stains on Lisa's couch and then didn't apologize for it (which is perhaps the greatest . She threw a horrible vodka party, she tarnished Brandi's name, and then she showed up at Lisa's party the day she got served her divorce papers and got mad at Lisa for not coming over the comfort her. It was wrong. It was all wrong.
But then the worst of all, as Andy Cohen pointed out last week, she opted not to come to the reunion. This shouldn't have been a reunion, this should have been a tribunal where this monster was made to answer for her war crimes. She should have been forced to tell the truth and give us some satisfaction, but she never would have given us the former and robbed us of the latter. This is how we will remember Adrienne, as conniving, cowardly, abusive, and just dead wrong. She loses, now and forever.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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Everyone sitting at home watching the Games of the XXX Olympiad on NBC (more than 30 million of us) are considering the impossibility of looking like the athletes we see on TV. While we tuck into another pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food, we dream that we will have arms as round as a gymnast's and abs as flat as a sprinter's. This will never happen. They have training, youth, discipline, and years and years of hard work on their side. We just have a gym membership and a vague dream.
But the other advantage they have is technology. Not only are we talking about the high-tech bows of the archery competition that would make Katniss Everdeen drool in District 12 or the aerodynamic helmets that cyclists wear that make them look more like the queen from Aliens than an actual human. Think about all the advances in nutrition, all the studies about exercise, all the breakthroughs in training, and all the new flavors of Gatorade that go into making superior athletes. It's the difference between a simple quarter turn on the vault from 1956 and McKayla Maroney's nearly impossible Amanar with a whole flip and two and a half twists. (This one image shows the staggering comparison nicely).
What if technology goes too far? Will we eventually reach a place where the human body is pushed to its limits and we will be physically unable to do bigger and badder things in these age-old events? Will technology then have to come in and push us past the plateau? Will the future Olympics be full of highly engineered cyborgs and the gold medals go to their computer programmers as well as the meat and bone athletes?
That was the question no doubt lingering on some viewers minds after seeing Oscar Pistorius, a South African sprinter who competes on a set of carbon fiber prosthetics having been born without lower legs. From the knees up, he looks like any elite-level athlete. From the knees down, he looks a little bit like something you would see in Minority Report (he's even earned the nickname "Blade Runner"). Pistorius failed to make the finals for the men's 400-meter race, but will run as part of the South African relay team on Thursday night.
This isn't without controversy. Science can't prove whether or not his legs give him any advantage over traditional runners. Some say that he should be allowed to compete if he can qualify, just like anyone else. Others are afraid that if technology such as his is allowed to enter the race, sub par runners will endure risky procedures to make themselves into Olympic champions with some high-tech isomers and risky surgery. (Both sides of the argument are laid out here.) Of course, considering that he didn't even qualify, it's unlikely athletes will be rushing to the doctor's office any time soon.
While a field of runners carrying nothing but cybernetics below the ankles seems insane, just consider the new world record set by Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash. He ran the race in 9.58 seconds, which is faster than most people can sneeze. Since 1968, the record has been slowly chipped down from 9.95 seconds and mathematician Reza Noubary claims that the fastest time humanly possible is 9.44 seconds. If we continue at the rate of breaking records that has been already established, that goal could be achieved at the 2028 Olympic Games. And then what? If the human body can't go any faster, are we supposed to accept our limits? Will every country that can produce someone who can run in 9.44 seconds share one gold? Or will changes come in other non-human forms? Will competitors run naked to decrease body weight? Will they be fitted with legs with springs and hydraulic arms? Will the real $6 Million Man be the first athlete to run this race in under 9 seconds?
That doesn't seem fair, considering the Olympics are about what is humanly possible. It is about taking the one thing we all have in common — the flesh we were born into – and sculpting it into something that is greater than everyone else's. Just look what is happening in swimming right now. In 2008, swimsuits were created that expelled water, delivered oxygen to muscles, and compressed the body, making it more buoyant. Basically, the suits could make even your grandma's breaststroke look like something out of Michael Phelps' training routine. In the wake of this invention (pun intended), the world records fell harder and faster than ever. In the 2008 Olympics, world records in the 32 events were broken 25 times. In 2004, world records were only broken eight times.
Because it seemed like the competitors were relying more on their superhuman fashion and less on time in the pool, the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), the governing body of the sport, banned the suits in 2010, which heralded the return of the classic suit (much to the happiness of fans of the male form). World records may have been set in a total of 30 of the 32 Olympic swimming events during the super suit era (which also includes non-Beijing competitions), but the London games still saw nine world records broken (in three of the men's events and six of the women's). It seems like human endurance will continue to outshine technology, it's just going to do so much more slowly.
Of course, that might make watching swimming more boring to some people. There is so much more at stake when every victory requires an athlete to be the best in recorded history. But, then again, are those broken records sweeter because they happen more rarely and because they happen as a result of training bought the hard way rather than with new gear purchased with sponsors' money? (Wow, this is making the Olympics sound even more like The Hunger Games).
Technology will always be a part of sports as long as there are clubs for golfing and poles for vaulting, but pretty soon it seems like we're going to have to decide whether we want to reside within our earthly limits or keep charting for progress, even if that happens with the help of metal and circuits. It's not a problem for all of us, but it's something to think about while you finish your ice cream.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo credit: Wenn.com]
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Batman vs. Superman. The Hulk vs. Professor Xavier. Spider-Man vs. Iron Man. Any superhero super fan has wondered what would happen if their favorite comic protagonists faced off against one another. But debating those battles is almost too easy. Instead, what if each superhero in battle was to suffer a significant mental disadvantage? How would Superman fare against Thor if he were distracted by Daily Planet layoffs? How would Spider-Man fare against Batman after eating bad Chinese food? Today, to continue Hollywood.com's Superhero Week, we wonder what would happen if The Hulk was rocked having just listened to Radiohead's "Creep" and had to face off against Magneto, who's needing extra tissues after viewing The Notebook.
Battle: The Hulk vs. Magneto
In the Right Corner: The Hulk, who just listened to "Creep" by Radiohead.
In the Left Corner: Magneto, who finished watching The Notebook.
Inside The Hulk's Day: At this point in his genetically altered life, Bruce Banner is more than used to experiencing his fair share of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. But this morning was shaping up to be a pretty good one. Not only did he hit every green light on the way into work (when does that ever happen?), but he also started making some serious progress with his latest bionuclear research project (the likes of which we won't bore you with right now). The point is, things were finally starting to look up for our Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde friend. He hadn't felt the urge to shift into his Hulk form in weeks and was even thinking of giving Betty Ross a call to see if she'd be interested in meeting up for a drink (wink, wink). In fact, Bruce even decided to turn on the radio during his drive home from work — something he rarely does.
After jamming out to the likes of Katy Perry and Justin Bieber (yes, even The Hulk has his guilty pleasures), the song "Creep" by Radiohead started to play. As the song progressed, Bruce found himself growing more and more depressed with every beat. "I'm a creep. I'm a weirdo. What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here... " He had no idea a song could ring so true to his own personal demons. Why did he ever think he could try to live a normal life when he's an absolute freak of nature? No wonder Betty Ross wants nothing to do with him — what woman would? He's the biggest, greenest creep of them all, and it's entirely his own fault. (Well, him and the gamma rays.) The pain is all-consuming, and suddenly his body begins to shake... uh oh....
Inside Magneto's Day: Magneto's feeling a bit under-appreciated these days. In fact, if he has to look at one more promo for The Avengers this week he may just decide to use his magnetic powers to throw the infuriating television out his fifth floor window (which would be a shame considering what he paid for the 47" scrap of metal). Seriously though, he could have totally been in that movie. But instead the comic book universe chose some pretty boy who could swing a hammer and a girl with a little gun? Lame! But whatever, he's over it.
So to help take his mind off such ridiculous superhero politics, he started channel-flipping and came across a movie called The Notebook that was just about to start on TBS. And having been familiar with Ryan Gosling's past work, he decided to tune in and see what it was about. Bad idea! To witness the journey of such an epic love story is something Magneto was just not prepared to deal with and ends up leaving him emotionally drained. Hey — we've all been there. The water gates open and they just won't stop. Damn you, Ryan Gosling! And, of course, he's completely out of tissues (can this day get any worse?), so he heads out to the store for a box of Kleenex and some much needed comfort food. That's when he hears a car speeding out of control...
The Battle: With a bag of groceries in hand, Magneto looks up just in time to see a car crash right in front of his very own apartment complex... right where his brand-new (uninsured) Mercedes was parked. Before he can even register what just happened, the other car erupts into an explosion of green, which The Hulk emerges from. Having already suffered through an emotional rollercoaster today, Magneto is in no mood to get confrontational, especially with a mutant of that size. It's then he thinks: What Would Ryan Gosling Do? So he decides it would be best to just walk away and cool off. But The Hulk is ready and waiting for a fight. Like that song says: He's nothing more than a creep — and he's ready to show his true colors (both figuratively and literally). He instantly stomps toward Magneto and gives him a powerful blow to the skull, launching him into a nearby building.
"That's it!" Magneto bellows. There are some things not even The Notebook can save, and he sends three telephone poles hurtling toward this Not-So-Jolly Green Giant (and hey, is that "Creep" by Radiohead blasting in the background?). But for such a big guy, he can move pretty fast and The Hulk manages to jump out of the way just in time. It's then that Magneto realizes the severity of the situation. He's read the stories about The Hulk and his rage — the angrier he gets, the stronger he becomes. There's only one logical thing he can do to save himself and this incredibly powerful hulk of a mutant: RUN!
The Winner: The Hulk because deep down Magneto's primitive instinct is always to protect the mutant race. Plus, it's THE HULK — who, unfortunately for Magneto, doesn't have a metal bone in his body.
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Documentary about four men who devoted themselves to a "race for the poles," risking their money, reputations and lives in the process. Robert E. Peary was fascinated with Arctic exploration as a child and made repeated attempts to reach the North Pole. Peary's surgeon on his first polar attempt, Dr. Cook, decided to attempt the North Pole on his own after Peary refused to share the limelight. A Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, who'd been the first mate on an earlier expedition with Cook, decided to attempt the South Pole. Amundsen's chief competitor, a young English naval officer by the name of Robert F. Scott, reached the South Pole one month after Amundsen. The program uses reenactments, archival photographs and film, as well as expert historian interviews, to capture each man's quest and explore what drove them to the ends of the Earth.