Alicia Lutes
Staff Writer Alicia Lutes is a corgi enthusiast from Connecticut living in Los Angeles. She loves Tina Fey, television, ugly things and really money cheese plates. Growing up, her grandfather frequently said, "you’re so god-damned good with words! You should do something with words with your life!" so she made it her quest to plaster her wordy witticisms across the Internet. She looks forward to retiring at the age of 80 and opening a fromagerie with a small army of wrinkly-faced and stumpy-legged dogs.
  • 'Game of Thrones' Welcomes A Bunch of New Characters, HBO Tries to Explain
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 09, 2013
    Have no fear of confusion, citizens of the realm — for HBO has heard your call, and taken to the Internet to clear up any such consternation about the newest characters to enter the Seven Kingdoms. Game of Thrones fans who may not have read the books (cough) will find this nearly 10-minute-long introduction to the newest cast members especially helpful. For the rest of you nerds, you might find it all to be a bit repetitive. Regardless: Sneak peek at Game of Thrones, you guys! What's not to like? All in all, eleven characters are discussed: the fiesty/sassy/best grandmother you wish you had Lady Olenna Tyrell, whip-smart former Naathi slave Missendei, King beyond The Wall Mance Rayder, wilding raiders Tormund Giantsbane and Orell, brother/sister duo that sound like they could be a folk duo Jojen and Meera Reed, the boys Tully (Brynden and Edmure), and last — but certainly not least! — the brothers without banners red priest Thoros of Myr and The Lord of Corpses Beric Dondarrion. Oh my old gods and the new, that's a lot of new names to remember! The clip is a fairly solid, basic description of the new characters we'll get to know during the series' third season and includes commentary from current cast members including Jon Snow (gosh that kid really knows nothing), Catelyn Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen. And when it comes to a show as epic as this, having a handle on the myriad of men (and women) clamoring for the future of the realm is vital. Check out the clip and get acquainted with the motley crew that join the epic and sure-to-be monumental season of Game of Thrones. And how could it not? Most of these crazy kids are going to spend more time walking and talking (though perhaps not as quickly) this season than an Aaron Sorkin supercut. Follow @AliciaLutes on Twitter MORE:Robb Stark Needed for 'Game of Thrones' Sex Game 'Game of Thrones' Recap: Dark Wings, Dark Words'Game of Thrones' Premiere Recap: Valar Dohaeris From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Pics of The Rock Making Things Look Small (Vulture)
  • Better Call Saul: Bob Odenkirk May Get 'Breaking Bad' Spin-Off
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 09, 2013
    It's all fun and games until Heisenberg ends up in prison. But it's all good, man, because Saul Goodman is on the case. And, as it turns out, this case seems to be all about the Breaking Bad lawyer: namely, there's a rumor that Bob Odenkirk may be getting his own spin-off comedy series based on his kooky character. Something tells me that Walt isn't going to like this. But, really? A comedy on AMC? Color us surprised! The network that brought you Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Killing, and The Walking Dead certainly knows drama — so much so that it seems hard to imagine a series with a ha-ha bent making any headway on its channel. But just because AMC has long lacked a c0medy doesn't mean it shouldn't at least try. Certainly death, drugs, sadness, and the general malaise of human existence are much more the network's territory, but there's a lot of humor to be found in all of that. In fact, done well, a comedy on AMC could be just the stepping stone the network needs to round out its current programming roster. And goodness knows it never hurts to introduce a new audience to the character-driven, well-developed voice for which the network has made itself known. No such thing as too much good TV, my best friend The Couch and I always say! Plus, there's no better character to attempt a chuckle-worthy series with than Saul Goodman. The sleazy-yet-adept criminal lawyer has long-served as comic relief for Bad, and no doubt his penchant for over-the-top TV commercials will fare him well on the show's publicity front. Deadline reports that the potential spin-off is being eyed for either a one-hour or half-hour format. has reached out for comment, but did not hear back at the time of publication. What do you think of the news? Are you ready to LWYRUP with Saul? Follow @alicialutes on Twitter MORE:Walt Jr. from 'Breaking Bad''s Weird, Sexy Photo ShootTV Criminal Bryan Cranston's 'Breaking Bad' Script Stolen By Actual CriminalBryan Cranston's Worlds Collide in New 'Breaking Bad' Casting From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Pics of The Rock Making Things Look Small (Vulture)
  • Accidental and Actual Racists Respond to 'Accidental Racist'
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 08, 2013
    You know what needs more excuses? Racism and bigotry, which are obviously the first two things that came to your mind when asked that question. And you wouldn't be alone in your thought process: just ask Brad Paisley and LL Cool J. Their new song, "Accidental Racist" (yes, you read that right), is currently causing a maelstrom of hatred across most media outlets. But with every scathing blog post about the misguided song comes a completley earnest tweet of support from one of Paisley's proud fans. "Accidental Racist" is an ode to the intentional ignorance that many of this country's compatriots hold dear: just because someone is proud of the South and also the Confederate Flag doesn't make them racist. (Sure, and the people most commonly associated with the swastika are merely Sanskrit enthusiasts.) Appreciating something — like, say, where you come from, your history, etc. — doesn't make you a bad person. But considering Paisley's song disregards empathy, is totally insensitive to history, and shirks responsibility for the serious harm our own country caused an entire race of people, in this case it sure as s**t makes you one ignorant, priviledged, insensitive motherf**ker. Call it tough love — whether you're a Black Yankee or a white man living in the Southland (even though, Paisley, being from West Virginia means you would've been a part of the Union, not the Confederate), misguided isn't a good look on anyone. Which is why it's so infuriating to still see these sort of ideas being bandied about as acceptable in 2013. So if you're feeling like a nice long afternoon of hair-pulling and general hatred of society is just what the doctor ordered, then saddle right up to this here post and check out this sampling of just some of the people who are totally unaware that Paisley and LL's "accidental" racism is actually just regular racism disguised as cultural misunderstanding. Hashtag equality, y'all. Oh yeah, some of the language may be NSFW. The Accidental Racist Who Believes Hate Should Be Universal: Everyone is pissed at Brad Paisley for #AccidentalRacist, but not one word about LL Cool J's part in it. It should work both ways, right? — Matt Douty (@mdouty) April 8, 2013 The Actual Racists Who Are Totally Mad You Stole Their Thunder, Brad: @bradpaisley How About You Sing This Song..WHITEY AINT DOWN IN THE HOODYOU ARE ALONE BLACK & RACIST & YOUR LIFE IS YOUR FAULT #CMA #OPRY — HockeyGuy (@HockeyGuy) April 8, 2013 #NotRacist: I absolutely love Accidental Racist by Brad Paisley feat. LL Cool J. It's been a song that has needed to be done for a while. #speakstruth — Hannah Thacker (@thack3) April 8, 2013 OMYGOSH I LOVE BRAD PAISLEY SO MUCH! I SAID IT! Everyone freaking out about #AccidentalRacist but he's just telling like it is! #notracist ❤ — Kenzi McConnell (@KenziLouise) April 8, 2013 I love Brad Paisley's new song Accidental Racist #SueMeForIt — DanielMacak (@HoosierDaddy233) April 8, 2013 Love @bradpaisley. Always have, always will. This is country music, and we do... talk about REAL issues! #Pride — Valerie Wire (@Valerie_Wire) April 8, 2013 Love @bradpaisley & @llcoolj new single 'Accidental Racist' well done!#southernpride #wheelhouse — Keith Stubbs (@thekeithstubbs) April 8, 2013 The Accidental Racists Who Like it In Spite of Themselves: I don't know what you guys are talking about. I hate Brad Paisley's music but I LOVE THAT SONG. It has an incredible message to it. — Sassy Ms. Bravesluvr (@ebravesluvr) April 8, 2013 The Somebody Finally Gets It! Accidental Racists: @llcoolj @bradpaisley I love the new song. I think it's about time someone got the conversation started. My faith in music has been restored — Crystal Clement (@crysisafangirl) April 8, 2013 Love Brad Paisley's new song. Somebody finally understands. — James Rhodes (@JamesRhodes50) April 8, 2013 @llcoolj Mad respect, love you and @bradpaisley's new single. — Raaid Bacchus (@roy_id) April 8, 2013 Couldn't love @bradpaisley anymore right now ... Being proud of who you are doesn't make you racist — Drew Vernon (@DrewVernon) April 8, 2013 I honestly love @bradpaisley and LL cool J's song!It's exactly 100% how I feel! Idk why so many people no matter their race don't like it! — Kasey Anderson (@kaserslynn) April 8, 2013 The Accidental Racists with Refined Tastes: i really like Brad Paisley's new song but i dont love LL Cool J's part it's not bad it just doesnt fit the song — Dylan (@magnoliafan82) April 8, 2013 @bradpaisley new song with @llcoolj "Accidental Racist" is getting some terrible reviews, but i love it. Glad someone's finally #honest. — Angela Lyvers (@ang518) April 8, 2013 So I listened to "accidental racist" um I LOVE the message but the song sucks. As a Brad Paisley fan, I'm disappointed. — K. Marquez (@KirstieAmberM) April 8, 2013 The Deniers: @bradpaisley please tell me you're not on twitter and reading these horrible tweets. WE LOVE YOU AND THAT SONG BRAD. — Kelli McShane (@kellimcshane) April 8, 2013 @bradpaisley Hi Brad. just saw your accidental racist vid and loved it! :) I don't see it as racial at all! The opposite!! :) Love you! — glittergirl(@glittergirlD43) April 8, 2013 Ignorance may be bliss, but it can't be an excuse for everything. Especially not s**tty music. Follow @alicialutes on Twitter More:Brad Paisley New Song 'Accidental Racist' is (Whoops!) Completely Racist The 2013 Academy of Country Music Award WinnersRating the Grammy Awards: From Best to LL Cool J From Our Partners:Eva Longoria Bikinis on Spring Break (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town Lasso Top Honors at Academy of Country Music Awards
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 07, 2013
    The world of country came together for one of several nights honoring their top talent for the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards. Hosted by The Voice's Blake Shelton and the two-first-named Luke Bryan, the night belonged to Shelton's wife, Miranda Lambert, and group Little Big Town. Taking home trophies for Female Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Single Record of the Year, Lambert proved herself the toast of Nashville with her track "Only You." Other big winners included Eric Church and Jason Aldean, and featured performances by an increasingly-varied roster of artists from across the spectrum — including John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, and Kelly Clarkson. Also came the announcement that the Artist of the Decade award would be renamed to honor the show's former producer, Dick Clark. Check out the full list of nominees (with winners in bold), below! RELATED: Kids' Choice Awards Winners Entertainer of the YearJason AldeanLuke BryanMiranda LambertBlake SheltonTaylor Swift Male Vocalist of the YearJason AldeanLuke BryanEric ChuchToby KeithBlake Shelton Female Vocalist of the YearMiranda LambertMartina McBrideKacey MusgravesTaylor SwiftCarrie Underwood Vocal Duo of the YearBig and RichFlorida Georgia LineLove and TheftSugarlandThompson Square Vocal Group of the YearThe Band PerryEli Young BandLady AntebellumLittle Big TownZac Brown Band New Artist of the YearJana KramerBrantley GilbertFlorida Georgia Line Album of the YearCarrie Underwood, ‘Blown Away’Eric Church, ‘Chief’Taylor Swift, ‘Red’Luke Bryan, ‘Tailgates and Tanlines’Little Big Town, ‘Tornado’ Song of the YearLee Brice, ‘A Woman Like You’Eli Young Band, ‘Even if It Breaks Your Heart’Miranda Lambert, ‘Over You’Eric Church, ‘Springsteen’Hunter Hayes, ‘Wanted’ RELATED: MTV VMAs Move to Brooklyn Single Record of the YearEli Young Band, ‘Even if It Breaks Your Heart’Miranda Lambert, ‘Over You’Little Big Town, ‘Pontoon’Eric Church, ‘Springsteen’Hunter Hayes, ‘Wanted’ Video of the YearEric Church, ‘Creepin’Hunter Hayes, ‘Wanted’Little Big Town, ‘Tornado’Kacey Musgraves, ‘Merry go round’Taylor Swift, ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’Zac Brown Band, ‘ The Wind’ Vocal Event of a YearKelly Clarkson (Feat. Vince Gill), ‘Don’t Rush’Rascal Flatts (Feat. Natasha Bedingfield) ‘Easy’Kenny Chesney (Feat. Tim McGraw), ‘Feel Like a Rock Star’David Nail (Feat. Sarah Buxton), ‘Let It Rain’ buxtonJason Aldean (Feat. Luke Bryan and Eric Church) ‘The Only Way I Know’ Songwriter of the YearRodney ClawsonDallas DavidsonJosh KearLuke LairdShane McAnally Yeehaw, y'all. Follow @alicialutes on Twitter [Photo Credit: CBS] From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Pics of The Rock Making Things Look Small (Vulture)
  • 'The Hangover Part III' Calamity Continues in Two New Clips, Posters
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 07, 2013
    Hey, guys: look! Did your afternoon feel lacking and without a nice little sight gag involving a giraffe hurtling towards death on the freeway? Look no further, my friends, because, oh man, the chuckle brigade has reunited one last time to bring us the third iteration of The Hangover films, and the studio behind the comedy clusterf**k has released a few new clips for the hee-haw raucous romp of rehashed proportions. RELATED: 'Hangover 3' Gets a 'Harry Potter' Makeover The Hangover Part III shows the Wolf Pack reunited at long, long, long last (you've all been waiting with breath that is bated for so eons — how have you managed to survive?!) to tackle one last shenanigansy-filled trip to Vegas: where things all began for Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifinakis), and Doug (Justin Bartha). And — dear lord — hopefully where they will end. RELATED: The Wolf Pack Return to Vegas for 'Hangover 3' Do we really need to rehash what is likely to be the plot of this film? A seemingly inocuous trip turns into a vacation from h-e-double-hockey-sticks, and John Goodman is there. As is Ken Jeong. Oh, and look! Melissa McCarthy! If The Hangover II taught us anything, this will be another lesson in groan-worthy mediocrity. Because what isn't funny about making the same movie over and over again, amirite? Hollywood at its best! Check out the new international trailer and TV spot, below: Follow @alicialutes on Twitter [Photo Credit: Warner Brothers] From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • Danny Boyle Experienced Some Crazy Hypnosis Hijinks in Preparation for 'Trance'
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 06, 2013
    Sometimes the greatest thrill while watching a film is not knowing what the f**k is going on at first glance. And that is definitely the sort of initial thrill one has when experiencing Danny Boyle's newest film, Trance. A return to the roots of his filmmaking, this stylish crime thriller with a totally mental set of twists (pun intended) is really a study of the word "trance" in every since. The film's director, Danny Boyle, believed that this multi-sensory exploration is what make the film feel exactly like the characters in the film. "You're trying to make every element of the story ... to illustrate trance, really. You're trying to make everything reflect on that." The literal and metaphorical trance you as a viewer experience is certainly a risky one — the story pivots on the unreliable narrator at its heart, Simon (James McAvoy), and the lengths that he went to save not only a painting, but perhaps himself. His virtuosic predisposition to hypnotherapy and its controls provide a higher-stakes backdrop than you initially realize during the £27 million Francisco Goya painting heist at the film's onset. RELATED: 'Trance' was Simon's 'Own Personal Horror Movie' "Once you go through the initial set-up ... the film is a series of trances, where you are taken into trance — whether you know it or not," explained Boyle. "Sometimes you know it, sometimes you might not know it. Which takes you to the landscape of the mind." A good mind is a terrible thing to waste, and the minds at the heart of Trance are fascinating. Like Inception before it, Trance has an intimacy to it that heightens the terror of control that hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) has over Simon, and — to a lesser extent — his criminal cohort Franck (Vincent Cassel). For Boyle, such a landscape was necessary to his story. "That hundred billion neurons that are firing all the time," are so intrinsic in human nature, explained Boyle. Which brings the audience into a terror that at once feels alienating but not entirely impossible, either. Once in the mind, the real terror begins. "And there you are, and what are you going to do. Terrible damage can be done." RELATED: Rosario Dawson Goes Full-Frontal in 'Trance' And that, Boyle believes, is because this sort of control is entirely possible. "There are 5 - 10 percent of the population are extremely suggestable. Which means you can sort of ... [do] anything with them, really." And while the thought sends chills up the viewers' spin, it creates an uncharted and thrilling backdrop for a film. "That's sort of wonderful for a storyteller, really ... Inside the mind is infinite, there are infinite stories there to tell once you find a root in." Boyle was not about to create the film without the assured convinction that he knew this sort of control was possible. So he went out and found himself some hypnotists, spoke to those with experiences, and happened upon the story of one stage hypnotist who "got four members of the audience up on stage, [and] put them in trance." RELATED: Rosario Dawson: Not Your Typical Femme Fatale Only something went terribly wrong and when the hypnotist, after putting his selected volunteers into trance, "walked off stage and hit ... a black scaffolding pole as he went to get one of his props ... and it literally knocked him unconscious. So they stopped the show, the stage managers came on stage, but they couldn't get these people out of trance. They couldn't break the trance of these four people!" So what happened? "Fifteen minutes later he woke up and brought them out of trance, and it proved that they were the virtuosos ... they actually are among us, the ones that want to change." Sounds like the sort of terrifying thrill that anyone would love to tell (and watch). And Boyle agrees, adding "it's a great subject for a movie, you know?" Trance opens in the US on April 5, 2013. Follow @alicialutes on Twitter From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Pics of The Rock Making Things Look Small (Vulture)
  • Why Isn't a Woman Being Considered for 'Late Night'?
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 05, 2013
    It's a question Joan Rivers tells us she finds "boring," and it feels almost Seinfeldian in nature, but: What's the deal with the lack of female hosts on late night television? It's been a few weeks since The New York Times' first reported Jimmy Fallon would replace Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, a story NBC confirmed Wednesday. And in that time, nary a woman has been mentioned in any serious context as Fallon's possible Late Night replacement. Certainly, there are plenty of talented ladies funny enough to replace him — after all, in his former post, the Saturday Night Live actor was often outshined by his female co-stars. (Hello Amy, Tina, Maya, and Rachel!) Still, with Seth Meyers as the only frontrunner, not one female's name has been brought up as a legitimate successor. Because late night is a total sausagefest. And it has been since its inception. With very few exception, only men have been allowed to stay up late. Johnny Carson ruled the Tonight Show circuit for a whopping 30 years, with personalities like Jack Paar, Steve Allen, Tom Snyder, Joey Bishop, Dick Cavett, Merv Griffin, Arsenio Hall, Chevy Chase, Craig Kilborn, and even non-comedians Pat Sajak and Carson Daly all trying out the genre. And that's not even considering the men currently on air. With so many late night opportunities given out over the last half a century, the gender gap is a serious mind-boggler. RELATED: Fallon to Replace Leno as 'Tonight Show' Moves Back to NYC So what's to blame? The fact that late night doesn't allow women to be themselves. Whereas male comedians are allowed to embrace their own style of humor for late night, female comedians are forced to change — to fit into a mold made up of the contradicting ideas about what we want from our late night hosts versus what we want from our women. History proves the genre has favored commercial male comedians to anything else — funny, class-clown types whose senses of humor are inoffensive enough to make them the everymen. Which is why folks like Fallon, Kimmel, and Leno flourish post-primetime. But when you look at some of the industry's most popular female comedians — Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Roseanne Barr, Margaret Cho, Phyllis Diller, Sarah Silverman — one consistent unifier is evident: These are some bold and brassy broads. Just like Wanda Sykes, Mo'Nique, and Whitney Cummings — all women who failed on late night after failing to stay true to their comedy. But bold and brassy is exactly what we need. We need to see different viewpoints, strong identities, and, yes, we need to be a little bit offended from time to time. In order to stand out in comedy — an industry that has long favored men — female comedians need to be tough and aggressive, traits that often end up bleeding into their comedy styles. (With, obviously, a few low-key exceptions, like Maria Bamford.) But to be a brash and opinionated woman on television is putting yourself in very sticky territory: loud, confident, opinionated women not only struggle to fit in with the mild late night comedy scene, but they also counter a female stereotype that still exists even years after women's suffrage. "Let me tell you, all women comedians, we are strong and we are lion tamers — and don’t you ever forget it," Rivers says. "We can have three little bows in our hair and [be] wearing six-inch heels, [but] we’re still lion tamers. And we go in there and we take over, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to do stand-up." The trouble is, as Fallon and Leno's success has proven, network audiences don't want to even see lions. They want cubs. And who better to sit in the late night position than the people we're already comfortable seeing in power: middle-aged white dudes. As Robert J. Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture and Trustee Professor of Television and Popular Culture at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at at Syracuse University, says, "When you go down the line — especially the major players — there’s a couple of categories that link them. And those categories are 'White' [and] 'Men.'" And, hoo boy, is he right. There's Leno, Fallon, and Daly on NBC, Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, with David Letterman and Craig Ferguson rounding out the pack at CBS. The biggest male outlier before the 2010 late night clusterf**k was Conan O'Brien, and that's really just because he's a ginger. Channel surf your way through the networks after 11 PM, and the only women you'll see will be sitting in late night's audiences. Cable, on the other hand, has been far more risky and female-friendly, but suffers from an already overcrowded late night field, with Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Russell Brand, W. Kamau Bell, and O'Brien yucking it up after dark. That's a lot of competition. "A lot of women have been given a chance," Rivers tells "The ones that are good are going to stick." But, so far, few have. Whereas Handler and Griffin have found success on E! and Bravo with Chelsea Lately and Kathy*, respectively, Wanda Sykes, Mo'Nique, Whoopi Goldberg, Rivers, and Whitney Cummings are among those who have been given a late night opportunity... only to watch it slip right through their fingers. And while MTV is attempting to strike comedy gold with its female-fronted-but-faltering Nikki And Sara Show, but as Thompson puts it, "It's different when you get put into a cable show versus when you’re put into The Tonight Show." *One day after publication, Bravo canceled Kathy. RELATED: Jay Leno and TV's 10 Other Biggest Failures And while the differences between cable and network are many, the genre still largely necessitates its women to change. Many reviews and reactions to Cummings and Mo'Nique's shows focus on the hosts' penchant for yelling — a kneejerk, low-brow humor trope that should admittedly be banished from any sort of regular use in comedy, period. (And that includes everyone, and Especially you, Dane Cook.) One fan review of The Mo'Nique Show laments about the change from a woman who "called you a b**ch and made you laugh at the same time" to someone whose "gushing over the guest and screaming 'yeeeeeees!' like a fake a$$ Oprah." Mo'Nique's noticeable change in appearance (a slimmer frame and shaved legs — something the comedian was quite vocal about not changing in the past), only proved to further disappoint fans who felt the strong-willed funnywoman wouldn't jump through such standard hoops in order to earn success. Sacrifice is always par for the course — but shouldn't come with a cost that compromises their very essence. Cummings' stand-up routine is often described as transgressive — making jokes about sex, relationships, and the female body are run-of-the-mill topics for her. When placed on stage during Love You, Mean It, we saw a different Cummings. One that the production team felt a need to temper with the presence of her male sidekick, comedian Julian McCullough. While the thought is not an unwelcome one (a show co-hosted by a male/female duo has the potential for greatness), McCullough's presence came across as a way to reel Cummings back into what the show was really about: popular culture and entertainment. So why hire a female comedian whose jokes are primarily about love and relationships, to host a show about pop culture and entertainment? Just because she's a pretty face and a funny woman? Being female isn't a magical band-aid big enough to fix that sort of oversight. That's not to say late night is an easy role for men either: Just recall the criticism Fallon faced during his first season on Late Night, which was far less refined than O'Brien's well-oiled machine. (Insert "oiled" and "masturbating bear" joke here.) Between the host's perma-laughter and doesn't-translate-to-TV jokes, viewers were calling for his head just episodes in. But the network maintained its faith in the comedian (thanks, no doubt, to comedy TV godfather, Lorne Michaels) and, after a season-and-a-half of Internet-friendly content, Fallon was at the top of his game, winning the Tonight Show gig a mere four years into his late night career. But Fallon was lucky enough to be given enough time to work out Late Night's kinks. Not only was O'Brien canned less than a year after moving to Tonight — and less than one year after man fans criticized Coco's newly toned-down humor — but the women of late night haven't received much time come into their own, either. In a review of Cummings' show on E!'s Love You, Mean It, writer David Wiegand wielded a critique of Cummings' show that stated " one seems to laugh more loudly at Whitney’s humor than Whitney herself," something that rings eerily similar to criticism lobbed at Fallon in his early days. But Cummings' show was — you guessed it! — canceled after its first season. In fact, of all the female-fronted late night shows, only two have lasted more than a season. Hardly seems fair, does it? Such disparities can be chalked up to the difference between what major networks can afford versus cable or the talent selection. Network executives may be simply picking the wrong women for what they want. Just look at critical response to anything Cummings seems to do. Or even Sykes' stint staying up late — though many were polarized by her bold comedic style, more people disliked the dialed-down, TV-friendly spin she put on her own late night series. To find the lowest-common denominators and risqué acts to prop up (and tone down) as tributes to the late night Hunger Games is practically asking for them to be weeded out early on. "In schools, boys tend to be rewarded for being the class clown more than girls," states Thompson. "Those kind of gender roles — even as we go generations into the women’s movement — a lot of that stuff is still, surprisingly, in tact ... If NBC had replaced Leno not with Fallon, but if they had chosen a really good female comedian, that woman would've had a real struggle, because I do think the genre, the formula of late night television, is so macho." It's no surprise women often have to struggle to even get recognized in the first place. "I think, in general, truly — women are never looked at, primarily, as somebody funny," Rivers says. "Nobody’s ever quoted me a joke that Kate Moss did. So women already have that hurdle to go over, because they don’t ever think any woman is ... funny. And I don’t know if men want a woman that is, really. To this day. I do, all my friends are hilariously funny women. But we’re women with women. I think men just want you to be gorgeous. And available. I still believe that basically that’s really all they want from you." RELATED: If Jimmy Fallon Replaces Leno, Who'll Replace Fallon? Listen, the concept of women as funny beings is debated ad nauseum. It's a stupid conversation that isn't worth having, full stop. But, as Thompson puts it, "To say 'Oh, this many women have tried and failed at late night comedy' — I don’t think we can draw the conclusion that that means women just can’t do this, or even that they were the wrong women; there are so many other variables there. When they were on, how much it was marketed, whether it was a cable channel or syndication — all those kind of things play into it."  That's not to say there haven't been some successes — even in the perceived failures. Rivers was a longtime guest host on Johnny Carson's iteration of The Tonight Show, and her ratings were often higher than Carson's. It's no wonder she was rumored to be in the running to replace him once he decided to retire. But in 1986, FOX came a-knocking and offered Rivers her own show. Naturally, she said yes. "I was the first, first permanent guest hostess on the Carson show, which is unprecedented," she says. "It was never done before in history — between me and 6,000 men. And they picked me." When Rivers did go off the air less than one year later, it was for personal reasons, not ratings. But the conflict had little to do with her as a person — according to the comedian, the men at the top (including Rupert Murdoch and Barry Diller) did not get along. "I was told by them, 'The tail does not wag the dog,'" she says. "I was told that on a Thursday and we were off air on a Friday." But, strangely, whereas Cummings and Mo'Nique have struck out with toned-down humor, bigger personalities have performed well in cable's late night arena. Taking a look at the women who have succeeded — namely Handler and Griffin — one thing connects them: They are who they are. No one is toning down Handler's schtick, and Griffin is still doing the same snarky, celeb-obsessed routine on her show that she does on stage. They perform well because they refuse to be anything but what they are — and it works. Right talent, right network. It was no doubt a challenge for them to reach the levels of success they have, but the pay-off has been obvious. To steal a phrase from The West Wing's Leo McGarry: it's time to let Bartlet be Bartlet. Let the ladies be the comedians that made them popular to begin with. "Their humor has balls," Thompson says. "[Griffin and Handler are] females, but they're almost working in that aggressive — what we think of as male — humor, even though that’s a very sexist thing to say." Sexism in Hollywood? No! You don't say. But with a brawnier choice at the helm, could we find a late-night Katniss of our own? Perhaps, but it won't necessarily be easy for her, either. "People don’t want to see women in that position, even though we all know Cleopatra ruled the roost, and we all know that Marie Antoinette made the decisions," Rivers says. "[But] things have changed tremendously for women. When a woman is good, that's it: the door is open to her much more." Which brings us back to late night poster children Handler and Griffin, again. When it's right, and the metaphorical stars align (right network, right time, right show) it's just so right. But there is still much work to be done when it comes to changing society's opinions even further. All women must push past expectations consistently and without fear. Step forth, funny ladies, and claim your throne. For Rivers, her choice is simple: "Tina Fey — give her the job and let’s all go home." Sorry, Tina, looks like you're still the catch-all answer for the way society wants women to do comedy. But we're hopeful that it won't be for long. Follow @Alicialutes on Twitter From Our PartnersSee 'Game of Thrones' as 'Mad Men' (Vulture)Hayden Panetierre Bikinis in Miami (Celebuzz)
  • Rosario Dawson Is Not Your Typical Femme Fatale in 'Trance'
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 05, 2013
    When you have the composure and confidence of a killer, it's hard not to get caught up in all that swagger. It takes a lot of guts to take on a career thief and his amnesia-laden conspirator, but it takes even more to do that and have a whole other game at play. And for Rosario Dawson and her posh hypnotherapist character Dr. Elizabeth Lamb from Danny Boyle's upcoming crime thriller, Trance, the draw was instantaneous.  "I'm inspired watching her," Dawson explained to us in video you can see below. "I found her to be very courageous."  And courageous she was, as the not-so-stereotypical femme fatale in Trance tasked with unlocking the secret hiding place of a priceless work of art by Francisco Goya. Only problem is that the whereabouts of the painting, "Witches in the Air," is hidden deep within the mind of debt-addled art auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) after an amnesia-inducing bump on the head from career criminal Franck (Vincent Cassel) during an art heist gone awry. RELATED: 'Trance' was Simon's 'Own Personal Horror Movie' For Dawson — as with all of the main characters in the film — there's a sense of something lurking just below the surface of her character's intentions, and it's a fascinating reveal to unpack. "I got terrified for her," Dawson quipped about Elizabeth's role in the heist, but it seems that cool, calm composure was a challenge for her to play. "I am a fairly out there and outrageous person, [so] I can only hope to be as clear and composed as she is." The depths her character delves into (metaphorically and otherwise) to find the work of art, provides the viewer with an unexpected look into what really makes her character tick — and yes, it gets intense. But there's a quiet yet commanding ferocity to Elizabeth's demeanor: something that seems vital in her line of work that also benefits her as she walks the very thin line between victory and disaster in the case of the Goya painting. RELATED: Rosario Dawson Goes Full-Frontal in 'Trance' It would be entirely too easy to spoil the film's many, many twists and turns, but most interesting of all is the way Elizabeth relates to Simon while he figures out the location of the painting — as well as some things about himself. It's, in a word, complicated. And certainly a far cry from any idea of a femme fatale you might have in your head. "I wanted to show her humanity and show that wasn't some robot," explained Dawson. "That this wasn't some classic, cliché femme fatale story where she's just really cold and kinda masculine and just aggressive and has no feminity to her. I wanted her to have all of those layers and show what it is to be a woman who is strong and who is not behaving like a man who's behaving like herself and what she looks like when she's strong. You have to connect to the fact that she doesn't know what's happening next." And while Elizabeth is just one of the several unrealiable narrators this story, hers is the one you will be thinking about long after the film has ended. "This is a chess player at work." Checkmate. Trance opens in theaters Friday, April 5, 2013. Follow @alicialutes on Twitter [Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight] From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • The Dos and Don'ts of Dating from 'The Mindy Project': When You Accidentally Date a Prostitute
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 04, 2013
    OK, guys? We need to talk about Danny and Mindy. Because tonight, it seems like someone's self-conscious got on board the Mindy Train and we're excited to see what happens. And in one moment in particular, the spark appeared: namely, Mindy and Danny's shower scene. Out of context, it sounds steamy (all I do is pun, folks), but it was also sort of steamy in context, as well. Because it was the first time we've actually seen some serious chemistry and interest between the two seemingly-destined lead characters. And, man, that Danny Castellano sure does the casually-sensual-man's-man thing well. Danny is totally developing a crush on Mindy — even if he doesn't realize it now, the stage has been set. I mean, did you see the way that he looked at her while they were intimately chatting in the bathroom? COME ON. It made me a wee bit jealous of Chris Messina's in-real-life lady love, his stare was so passionate. Plus, let's be serious: the man has a pair of lips that literally probably anyone could get behind. RELATED: 'Mindy Project' Recap: When Your Cool Christian Boyfriend is A 'Workaholic' Anyway, I'm getting distracted when there is still so much to be said! Because this week, Mindy was the Richard Gere to Seth Meyers' brother's Julia Roberts (his name is Josh Meyers, in case you were wondering) on The Mindy Project. That's right, we were straight up Pretty Womaning this s**t, y'all. The rom-com tropes never end. Only this one didn't end as fancily as the classic 80s film. Nightlife is the right life in New York City — unless your friends are a bunch of uptight already-betrotheds who would rather sit at home watching Panama Canal documentaries rather than go out. But Mindy's a modern gal, and so she takes herself out for the night ...only to be mistaken as a potential client by male prostie Adam. Woops! Never a good time to accidentally hire one of those, am I right? But Mindy was determined to see the good in Adam. After all, he is an aspiring musician. So she brings him as her date to Danny and Alex's house party ...that she wasn't invited to because Danny hates her boyfriends. Hmmm! Interesting. Sorry —  distracted by the destined romance. Anys**t, everything was going fine and dandy until it wasn't, and then Adam admitted to the whole place that he was a sex worker and we all went home embarrassed, confused, and well-kissed (apparently Adam wasn't kidding about his mouth work abilities). RELATED: 'Mindy Project' Recap: When You're Doing It All Nevertheless, in-like definitely seems to be on the horizon for Danny and Mindy, though if we've learned anything from this show, it'll be far from stereotypically romantic. But that's why we love Mindy, right? We're rooting for her to learn (one day) that love isn't like the movies, and sometimes the greatest things can be hiding right in plain sight. Swoon. What was there to learn about love and dating this week? Enough to make a list, so let's get down to business, shall we? RELATED: 'Mindy Project' Recap: On Your Birthday 1.) Do Not Mistake Business as Flirtation: You know what they say about mixing it with pleasure! 2.) Do Not Get Tacky When You're Drunk: It just sends the wrong signals. Like you're giving a male prostitute the go-ahead to turn the meter on. 3.) Do follow the rules of Pretty Woman: Not kissing is like, rule numero uno, dude. 4.) Do Be Offended When You're Left Off a Friend's Guestlist: Because what the f**k is that about, FRIEND? 5.) Do Try to Open Up: That's how all the good stuff gets in. 6.) Do Not Give Yourself Private Tours of Other People's Bedrooms: It's just not polite. 7.) Do Not Ever Apologize for Bringing Wine Into The Shower: but definitely do apologize for leaving it there (who leaves wine, amirite!?). 8.) Do Break Awkward Tensions with Song: Whooooooo doesn't looooove siiiiingiiiiiiiiiiiiiing?! 9.) Do Not Try To Pretty Woman a Male Prostitute: It really only works with Julia Roberts. 10.) Do Lean on Your Friends When You're Feeling Down: Morgan could lift the spirits of a wooly mammoth. Follow @alicialutes on Twitter [Photo Credit: FOX]
  • Let's Talk About Rosario Dawson's Full-Frontal in 'Trance'
    By: Alicia Lutes Apr 04, 2013
    So much of culture revolves around visual perfection — especially in art, most explicitly in paintings. There are layers to a painter's work that often cannot be seen on the immediate surface of the canvas, merely left to the viewer's personal interpretation. Others are written in the layers upon layers of acrylic, gouache, or casein, ultimately bonded in pursuit of the finished product. It's a puzzle, in a way. In Danny Boyle's new film Trance, Rosario Dawson goes full frontal — complete with her very there, very bare lady bits on full-frontal display for all to see. And while kneejerkists the Internet over may cry foul and/or objectification, it seems far more likely that her character Elizabeth Lamb's date with the razor was the movie's biggest puzzle piece. An artful moment that ultimately was the dime on which the whole film turned. Trance is a study on the human mind: love, crime, relationships, obsession, greed. And on the surface and in its narrative structure, the film is also a study of the word “trance” in its various iterations. But what starts out as a straightforward crime thriller, quickly deviates into a multi-layered discussion on what makes people so darn complicated. "No piece of art is worth a human life," our initial protagonist Simon (James McAvoy) muses in the film. At first, it seems a comment on his exteriorly heroic actions to save the £27 million Francisco Goya painting "Witches in the Air." But by the end, you realize Simon is talking about so much more. Mainly, his obsession with hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb. RELATED: James McAvoy: 'Trance' Is My 'Own Personal Horror Movie' Simon's obsession with ex-girlfriend Elizabeth comes from his own need to possess her, thanks to his desire to be surrounded by beautiful things... and also probably a myriad of mental health issues I'm not about to have any sort of doctoral knowledge about. In the film, Elizabeth's role is unrolled slowly from the middle out. It is paced and tempered (much like her trance-inducing tone). She's wading in dark waters she's not sure she can control — regardless of her past knowledge of their own strength. And, to her credit, she swims in those waters very well — even if it does involve a few little deaths here and there. And yes, that was a double entendre you very smart person, you. Visually, things culminate in Elizabeth's ultimate tightrope walking trick: she shaves away all the hair. Yes, down there. We entered this story — of Simon, of Elizabeth, of Franck (Vincent Cassel), of the art heist — in the middle, so it's no surprise that the unveiling of her handiwork is not at the beginning or end, but in the middle. You hear the sound of the razor, but you're still unsure, as is Simon. And when the door opens, we see not the final product, but rather Dawson's mid-section, before the camera slowly pans down, revealing what's going on below. And finally, a wide shot revealing her entire body. The moment reflects the nature of the entire film.  Simon (who we can all pretty well establish is one dude with messed up s**t going on upstairs) is obsessive. He worshipped art and beauty, and he related to Goya in many ways because of Goya's often-seen-as-complicated relationship with women on the canvas. The mere act of rendering an object, setting, time, or place in a concrete, tangible form such as art (especially painting) romanticizes it. And Simon, well he's a romantic — just one that happens to be really, really emotionally (and don't forget physically!) volatile and obsessive over the things he loves. He's put the p***y on a pedestal. That goes doubly for Elizabeth's. By shaving her vagina, she's continued to tow the increasingly invisible line between controlling Simon (and in turn, the whole situation), and setting him over the edge. The move ultimately has the desired affect — both in the moment, and in the end. Ladies: using the male objectification to their advantage since the dawn of time. Now with deadly consequences! RELATED: Vincent Cassel Explains Why 'Trance' Is a Love Story  But isn't that the nature of the beast? Elizabeth's actions are constantly tempered in their own duality — at once seeming to hold some greater meaning or higher place, but at the same time prove to be deadly, dangerous, and downright devious — to say nothing of the super-duper unethical bit in relation to her field. And so, too, was the act of shaving herself for Simon: in a way, it was a symbol of the love she had for him. In another, it was the ultimate power play: put your cards all out on the table, reveal your vulnerability to expose the weakness of others, and strike. The idea of a woman using sex and her body to manipulate situations is nothing new. But so often it’s a tactic that — especially when used in storytelling —says more about the woman than the man. Whenever such methods are employed, it’s mostly to say, “oh look at this evil woman, using the oldest trick in the book! Taking the easy way out! So much for the high road.” Trance turns the idea on its head. Elizabeth is using her own body in a way that she knows has the potential for danger, but she keeps pushing on; moving forward into the gauzy unknown of Simon’s subconscious in order to finally put him behind her once and for all. It’s a move that bucks the stereotype about women that use their bodies — because by revealing herself to him in such a triggering and intimate way, she was taking anything but the easy road. It’s a take on female sexuality that is both dynamic and wonderfully-subversive as a plot tool than most instances of full-frontal nudity that we’ve seen on film. Elizabeth is a complicated woman: her morals in the situation are no doubt a whole slew of shades of grey, but her act of follicle modification was a power play nonetheless. A femme fatale for the thinking art gal. Follow @Alicialutes on Twitter [Photo Credit: FOX Searchlight] From Our Partners:40 Most Revealing See-Through Red Carpet Looks (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)