Aly Semigran
Staff editor Aly Semigran is a New York City native who grew up in Philadelphia and spent the better part of her youth trying to figure out what the Philly Phanatic was (an anteater?), quoting 'The Simpsons,' and learning all about movies from her dad. After graduating from Temple University, where she studied journalism, she moved back to NYC and began her career as a freelance entertainment journalist. Her work has been published in Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, Philadelphia Weekly, Philadelphia City Paper,, and She is thrilled to be a part of the team and she is still quoting 'The Simpsons.' ('I'm Idaho!')
  • Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /media/www/hollywood/Web/releases/20150325105258/vendor/doctrine/common/lib/Doctrine/Common/Annotations/FileCacheReader.php on line 202 Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /media/www/hollywood/Web/releases/20150325105258/vendor/doctrine/common/lib/Doctrine/Common/Annotations/FileCacheReader.php on line 202 Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /media/www/hollywood/Web/releases/20150325105258/vendor/doctrine/common/lib/Doctrine/Common/Annotations/FileCacheReader.php on line 202 Double-Amputee Oscar Pistorius To Compete in London's Summer Olympics
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 06, 2012
    I'm always a little stunned when someone tells me they aren't excited for the Summer Olympics. Never mind that it finally gives us all something to watch in the midst of programming wasteland that is summer television, or that you can chant "USA! USA! USA!" without the slightest twinge of irony, the Olympics are the great unifier. In that, at some point, we're all going to get a little misty-eyed (or, full-on ugly cry sobs) watching history and drama unfold right before our eyes.  And there's nothing quite like those Olympics tears, are there? Whether its hearing your country's national anthem or connecting with an athlete whose story of perseverance not only inspires, but truly puts things in perspective. But even those people who are mostly indifferent to the Olympics would have to be completely made of stone to not be in awe of one of the young athletes heading to London this year.  Oscar Pistorius (pictured), a 25-year-old runner from South Africa, will compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics, and his inclusion will be a momentous one. Pistorius, a double-amputee who lost both of his legs before he turned one (he was born without a fibula in both of his legs), will be the first Paralympian to compete in an able-bodied track event.  Pistorius, who set his sight on the Olympics after competing and winning in the Paralympics, said in a statement on his website this week, "Today is truly one of the proudest days of my life. To have been selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the individual 400m and the 4x400m relay is a real honour and I am so pleased that years of hard work, determination and sacrifice have all come together." The athlete, who has specially-made prosthetic limbs, continued, "I have a phenomenal team behind me who have helped get me here and I, along with them, will now put everything we can into the final few weeks of preparations before the Olympic Games where I am aiming to race well, work well through the rounds, post good times and maybe even a personal best time on the biggest stage of them all. I am also hugely excited to then be competing to defend my three Paralympic titles at the Paralympic Games. I believe [we] will see some amazing times posted and I am very much looking forward to what will be an incredible Olympics and Paralympics in London." No matter how Pistorius fares at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, there's no question that he will have the support of not only his team, but the entire world. That, in itself, is a thing of beauty. (Seriously, how can you not love the Olympics?) Of course, Pistorius' story is just one of the many that can put a lump in your throat in the great history of the Summer Olympics. Here now, are some more of the most inspiring, amazing moments and athletes. And no, I'm not crying. I'm super crying.  Overcoming an Injury: When you fall, you've got to dust yourself off and get back up again. There's been no more dramatic reminder of that than Olympians whose years of hard work can come apart in a second when they are faced with the horror of an injury. U.S. gymnast Kerri Strug became a national treasure in 1996 and had one of the most memorable (not to mention parodied) moments in Olympics history when she came back from a vault injury to help her team, known as the Magnificent Seven, clinch the gold. But there may no more inspirational moment in the history of the Olympics, or all of sports for that matter, than during the 1992 Barcelona games when U.K. runner Derek Redmondsuffered a devastating tear to his hamstring. Redmond, in agony, got up to finish the race and was joined on the track by his father, who helped get him to the finish line. While Redmond, who was met with a standing ovation by the crowd of 65,000, was technically disqualified, to the world he still Winning for a Loved One: It's an unimaginably heartbreaking scenario for the athletes who finally make it to the Olympics, only to lose a loved one who would never be able to see their triumph. At the 2008 Beijing games German weightlifter Mattias Steiner won the gold in the superheavyweight category a year after his wife passed away. Tragically, many athletes have had to go on just days after the death of a family member. In the 2010 games in Vancouver, Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette competed, nearly flawlessly, just four days after her mother died from a heart attack. She earned the bronze and dedicated the win to her late mother. In 1988 speed skater Dan Jansen's sister Jane died just before the games were underway. He promised to win for her, but tragically Jansen fell during his race. Then, six years later at the 1994 games in Lillehammer, Jansen, in a dramatic fashion made good on his word. The skater earned the gold and took a victory lap with his daughter, Jane. Watch a tribute video here: Victory in the Face of Adversity: While the Olympics, at their core, are about unifying the world, we haven't always lived in a unified world. In the 1936 Berlin games in Berlin, runner Jesse Owens, an African-American, raced when Adolf Hitler attempted to prove Aryan supremacy. That did not happen. Owens proved that he was not inferior and the track and field star won four gold medals at the games. Overcoming racial divides made for one of the most iconic photos in history, not to mention one of the most significant moments in civil rights when U.S. track and field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos took to the podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics to get their gold and bronze medals, respectively. During the ceremony, Smith and Carlos raised their fists to the sky, signifying what was interpreted as the Black Power salute during a time when there was still great racial divide in America. Smith would later say that it was for human rights; the indelible image still speaks volumes today. Defying the Odds: Do you believe in miracles? If you've ever watched the Olympics, you most certainly should. The unimaginable becomes a reality during the Olympic games, especially for the underdog. A Jamaican bobsled team brought in the viewers at 1988's Calgary games; although the team lost, it earned the respect of the world, and became the inspiration for the film Cool Runnings. At the 1984 Los Angeles games, 16-year-old Mary Lou Retton became a tiny forced to be reckoned with when she became the first American in history to win a gold in gymnastics. But the miracle to trump all sports miracles happened during the 1980 games at Lake Placid, when the United States' men's hockey team defeated the favored Soviet team. Heralded as one of greatest moments in sports and U.S. history, it remains the ultimate underdog victory tale and became the inspiration for its own film called, aptly, Miracle. Watch the dramatic win here: Superhuman Strength: If an athlete makes it to the Olympics, there is no doubt they are an accomplished force already. They are world-class athletes, in every sense of the word. From the mind-boggling record-breaking runs from Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt to logic-defying turns by Jonny Moseley and Nadia Comaneci, the Olympics have given us some of the greatest athletes of our time. But no one proved to be a super-athlete quite like swimmer Michael Phelps did during the 2008 summer games. Winning eight gold medals in a single Olympiad, more than any other competitor in history, Phelps changed both the course of the Olympics, as well as what we imagine an athlete can do, in the span of 16 thrilling days. Watch:  The 2012 Summer Olympics kick off on Friday, July 27 in London.  [Photo credit:]
  • 'Louie' Recap: A Gorilla Walks Into a Ballet...
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 06, 2012
    In my recap of last week's season 3 premiere of Louie, I said that the relatively quiet and understated episode, titled  "Something is Wrong," was a great starter for newcomers to the series. It showcased all of the elements that make Louie so damn great and different from everything else on television, without shoving them into the deep end that seasoned fans are familiar with. Well, if last week let them wade into the depths of Louie's wonderful weirdness, last night's episode "Telling Jokes/Set Up" not only shoved them into the deep end, but dunked their heads down for a while. (Pun entirely intended.)  Never mind that last night's episode will have one of the most talked-about moments on television this summer (because it most certainly will). Let's just marvel, for another moment, at the sheer brilliance of the split title here. Unlike the dark and delirious season 2 classic "Bummer/Blueberries," "Telling Jokes/Set Up" could have been used for both sides of this perfectly clashing spectrum.  On one end, there's Louie's daughter Jane (an Emmy-worthy Ursula Parker) telling jokes, complete with her own kid-patented brand of a set up ("Who told the gorilla that he couldn't go to the ballet?") while Louie himself uses her joke set up as the set up for one of his own jokes, only to be set up on a date by a fellow joke teller. The magic is in the details, people. When the title of an episode can work on so many levels, the episode itself is pretty much a guaranteed home run.  I always look forward to the scenes involving Louie's daughters Jane and Lily (actress Hadley Delaney.) Not just because both actresses are so talented or because all three have such an effortless rapport or because they tend to bring out the softest side of TV's reigning sad sack king, but because they generate some of the series' best moments. The dinner table scene, which bookended "Telling Jokes/ Set Up," like the daring and off-pitch-perfect serenade of The Who in season 2's subtler "Country Drive," was a lovely slice of life.  I watched that scene multiple times, just to catch every little detail, from the knowing glance between Louie (an especially marvelous turn by Louis C.K.) and Lily after Jane's fantastic non-joke joke to Louie's exasperated conversation with himself after his kids leave the dinner table. And therein lies the real brilliance of Louie: this show could function solely as a family dramedy revolving only around these three at all times, but those moments are so much more satisfying after we've stepped into the stranger world of a solo Louie. The show needs its balance to make the sweet moments sweeter and the strange moments that much stranger. Then again, as Lily would put it, "[If] ya don't get it, you just don't get it."  And, damn, was the strange strange last night. Instead of silly, lighthearted knock-knock jokes at the dinner table, Louie, under the fluorescent bulb of a hot dog joint with Allan Havey, nonchalantly memorialized the passing of a fellow comic. ("That's too bad.") Of course, that was nothing compared to the most awkward dinner on television since The Office, in its heyday, threw its "Dinner Party."  After being invited by Allan to have dinner at his home with him and his wife, Louie (who, as we learned, is still riding that motorcycle even after the accident) is actually being set up with their friend Lori, played by Oscar winner Melissa Leo. While the two mostly sit in uncomfortable silence as their eager married friends let the events unfold before them (or, as Lori would beautifully put it for single people everywhere, "married people just wanna spread their s*** on everyone") they eventually paired off and went to have drinks at the bar.  Things are going great, in the way that only an inadvertent, mutually unwanted date could. They drink, they laugh, they take off, in the way that you do when an unplanned date goes unexpectedly well. After pulling off to the side of the road, Lori (Leo, perhaps at her most fearless) performs fellatio on Louie. Then, in language I couldn't possibly clean up enough to post on this family-friendly website, demands, for equality of women everywhere, that Louie returns the favor. (Let's just say her plea to "consider this" took on a whole different life last night.)  After a disagreement about the terms of this sort of arrangement ("I never left anyone hanging," she argues) Lori gets her way. Yet, even after losing a $1000 bet and his "morals" in a most violent, jarring fashion, Louie, he the avoider of any and all uncomfortable goodbyes, agrees to see her again. Welcome to the deep end of Louie. It's crazier in here than a gorilla at the ballet, but don't even think about getting out.  What did you think of last night's episode of Louie? Was his dinner table scene with his daughters one of your favorite moments from the series, too? Or is that scene with Melissa Leo in the truck too engrained in your mind to think about anything else? Speaking of Leo, should she just make space on her mantle next to her Oscar for a guest star Emmy now? Did anyone else catch this week's genius Obama joke Easter egg? Those have been planted so expertly each week. Share all your thoughts on "Telling Jokes/Set Up" below. (Special shout-out to the commenters from last week's post who informed me about Sweetpro, the talented musical ensemble often used as the show's soundtrack.)  Louie Ep 2 [Photo credit: FX]  More: Louie Recap: Motorcycles, Ex Wives, and All That Jazz  Louis C.K. Discusses New Season of Louie, Including Jerry Seinfeld's Cameo Louis C.K. Announces Tour, Riffs on Jay Leno, Continues Total Comedy Dominance 
  • 'Catching Fire': Dream Casting Call 
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 05, 2012
    In The Hunger Games, no one in their right mind in Panem wants to hear their name called for The Reaping. But, in Hollywood, having your name thrown into the ring to join the wildly popular Hunger Games is about as good as it gets. For some, it's a chance to be a part of the series they, like so many thousands of readers, got so deeply invested in (like Elizabeth Banks) and for others, it skyrockets them to new levels of fame (like leading lady Jennifer Lawrence.)  As of late, there's been talks that actress Jena Malone (Sucker Punch, Stepmom, Saved!) could have the good fortune of getting to play Johanna Mason (a role once thought to be going to Josh Hutcherson's The Kids Are All Right costar Mia Wasikowska.) The 27-year-old is reportedly in early negotiations to take on the part of the District 7 tribute you love to hate in the upcoming Catching Fire. While there's no doubt Malone could handle the task, we had some other stars in mind to play Johanna. In fact, we have our dream line-up for who should play all the new additions to the second (and arguably best) chapter in the trilogy.  Check out our gallery of dream cast members for Catching Fire and share your picks in the comments section below. May the odds be ever in your favor...that Hollywood makes your Hunger Games dreams come true. Click the link and read on! Catching Fire: Dream Casting Call!  More: Jena Malone in Early Talks to Play Johanna Mason in Catching Fire It's Official! Francis Lawrence Will Direct Catching Fire Catching Fire Announces 2013 Release Date
  • Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy: Baby on the Way!
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 04, 2012
    While we still have to wait until Sept. 30 to find out the fate of Carrie Mathison on Homeland, we know what's in store for Claire Danes: the Golden Globe-winning star is going to be a mom. People has confirmed that the 33-year-old actress and her husband, 37-year-old actor Hugh Dancy, are expecting their first child together. The couple, who wed back in 2009, worked together on the 2007 drama Evening. Though there's no official from Showtime, a spokesman told the mag that Danes' pregnancy is not expected to have an impact on the filming of Season 2. (Either that, or Nicholas Brody is about to get some intense news.) While Danes (also known for her additional work on My So-Called Life, Romeo + Juliet, The Family Stone, and Temple Grandin) will be busy with Homeland and impending motherhood, her hubby, the UK-born Dancy (who has appeared in Black Hawk Down, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Adam, and Our Idiot Brother) will be preparing for fatherhood while working on his own series, the upcoming thriller Hannibal. More: Hugh Dancy and John Hawkes Talk Martha Marcy May Marlene Homeland and Dexter Return Dates Announced Awards 2012: Making a Case for Homeland
  • TV BBQ: What Our Favorite Characters Would Serve on July 4th
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 04, 2012
    July 4 falls on a Wednesday this year, which means you've only got a single day to eat your weight in hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad in complete and utter shame. But don't adjust your pants just yet, we've got something else on the menu for the holiday. We've combined two of our most beloved things (television, holiday-themed gluttony) to imagine what a BBQ with some of our TV characters would be like. From Breaking Bad to Revenge to New Girl, let's pull up a picnic bench, fire up the grill, and have a taste of what a Fourth of July bash would be like with some of our favorite characters. (Don't worry, we didn't invite Guy Fieri.) Breaking Bad's Walter White: What's Walter White cooking? Well, if we were to guess, perhaps some chicken prepared Los Pollos Hermanos-style. Oh yeah, and meth. Tons and tons of meth. (Definitely don't expect at pizza at Walter's meth and chicken party, though.) The Simpsons' Homer Simpson: If you've ever attended a Homer Simpsons BBBQ ("What's that extra B for?" "That's a typo") you know exactly what to expect: A very greased-up grill, a suckling (and impressively airborne) pig, and Lisa's famous, untouched gazpacho. And of course, no salad. You don't make friends with salad. Revenge's Emily Thorne: Emily would simply serve a generous helping of revenge, and much like Lisa Simpson's gazpacho, it would be served ice cold. Mad Men's Megan: Sure, the French-Canadian beauty probably wouldn't know what to do at a Fourth of July BBQ and would serve her only dish (pasta, sometimes thrown at the wall) and break into an ear worm of a French song during an American holiday celebration, but Draper parties are so chic, we'd put up with it. Cougar Town's Jules: No food to be found here, unless you count pounding grape as an acceptable meal. Grab your own Big Carl and head on down to the Cul-de-Sac for the booziest of BBQs. New Girl's Schmidt: The fanciest of all the BBQs, Schmidt's July 4th party would be a fine dining experience with a menu that would include plenty of tarragon, chut-a-ney, and scrummy sushi. Just don't offer to help in the kitchen and forget to stick around for the cheese course. That's when things get really sexy. (Sorry, Zooey, no tomato soup here. Might want to head on over to Lisa's BBBQ.) Which character would have the best BBQ festivities? Who would you spend your holiday with? Share your suggestions in the comments section! [Photo credit: AMC] More: The Final Season of Breaking Bad is a Giant Lie Summer TV 2012: Your Ultimate Guide Summer TV Style Trends
  • What to Watch on the 4th of July 
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 03, 2012
    There's a lot that makes America great. (But, take our word on this, if you don't want an earful, don't ask Jeff Daniels to explain what that is.) For us here at, it's fireworks, cookouts, and celebrating our independence... by staying inside and enjoying one of our greatest freedoms: watching television. Whether you're trying to find a way to beat the excessive heat and watch fireworks from the comfort of your air conditioned living room, or just actively attempting avoid your friends and loved ones, there's a surprising amount of good TV this 4th of July. Here's your best bets for maximum July 4th viewing:  If You Ate One Too Many Hot Dogs: We promise you, you absolutely didn't even eat even close to those competing in this year's Nathan's Famous July 4 International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Feel better about your own glutton-fest by tuning into the nauseatingly awesome competitive eating contest at 3 PM on ESPN.  If You Agree That Katy Perry's "Firework" Is the Only Non-Patriotic Acceptable 4th of July Anthem: Because, and we cannot stress this enough, people, Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," is a great song, but not an appropriate one for Independence Day. Please, go back and really listen. (Don't make that mistake, Glee kids!) Enjoy Katy Perry's Grammy-winning ear worm, this time with actual fireworks (it's so literal) when she performs the hit on NBC's Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular at 9 PM ET.  If You're Cranky About the State of the Union: No, don't tune into Fox News or CNN as that most certainly won't help matters. Instead, watch the latest installment of The Soup on E! (10 PM ET) and watch Joel McHale be rightfully curmudgeonly towards all the worst people in America: reality stars! If You Want to Be a "True American" On the 4th of July: Take a refresher course on how play the greatest game in the history of television and America when Fox airs a mini-New Girl marathon starting at 8 PM ET. Just don't tell Schmidt about all those hot dogs you ate. He treats his body like a temple, you treat it like garbage.  If You Want to Pay Tribute to a National Treasure: The Style network is re-running the late, great Nora Ephron's romantic comedy classic Sleepless in Seattle at 11:30 PM ET.  4thJuly  [Photo credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC]  More:  Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D Trailer — Boobs, Fireworks, and...Headgear?  TV BBQ: What Our Favorite Characters Would Serve  Summer TV 2012: Your Ultimate Guide
  • Meryl Streep, Rosie O'Donnell Get a Round of 'Web Therapy' in Season 2 Premiere 
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 03, 2012
    Showtime's Lisa Kudrow-powered vehicle Web Therapy, like actual therapy itself, can be an exercise in patience, but one that offers some big, satisfying payoffs. While the banter in the web-to-cable-television comedy can border on downright exhausting (like in therapy, you might find your mind wandering more than once) Kudrow delivers enough mercilessly funny one-liners that with such perfect comic timing to keep you invested. ("I wasn't raised in the Catholic church, although I wish I had been as a child, those wafers look delicious.") Take for instance the Season 2 premiere of Web Therapy, which premiered last night on Showtime and is now available to watch, perhaps more fittingly, on the web. While it's easy to analyze that Web Therapy, like HBO's Veep, is a dark, uncomfortable comedy anchored by a true comedy legend, the difference between Julia Louis-Dreyfus' flawed, foul-mouthed Selina Meyer and Kudrow's uptight, indistinguishably accented Fiona Wallice, is that Meyer's madcap personal and work life flow together effortlessly, while Wallice's feels confined.  Another issue is that a great ensemble player like Kudrow often has to work solo. While the Friends alum's interactions with Alam Cumming (hell yes, Romy & Michele reunion!) and guest stars like Meryl Streep and Rosie O'Donnell are priceless (Streep's hilarious turn as a mousy therapist working with Kudrow's husband, played by the always great Victor Garber, makes the premiere worth watching alone for her misunderstanding of the word "pied-à-terre") the comedy can often times feel as disconnected as a bum Skype connection.  While Web Therapy may have worked better as an online series, it's one worth checking in with from time to time. Kudrow is unquestionably the main draw here, it's her band of Internet-relegated misfits that help make this show tick. Plus, no other summer series can boast having Meryl Streep pen a book called No One Says You Have To Like It, Sex Tips for Ex-Gays. Watch the premiere here:  Web Therapy 2 [Photo credit: Showtime]  More:  Matthew Perry Stars in a New Sitcom: Have the Friends Alumni Evolved?  Episodes Season 2 Premiere: Full Of Hot Air?  Veep Season 1 Finale: There's No Crying in Politics
  • Katy Perry: Part of Me Review
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 03, 2012
    There's a moment that will make any music enthusiast stop and think in Katy Perry's candy-coated light-as-air 3D concert movie Katy Perry: Part Of Me 3D. In the film the chart-topping pop star talks about how listening to Alanis Morissette's iconic album Jagged Little Pill changed her life. It's interesting to think about these artists not just in the disparity between their respective music and image but really how similar these Glen Ballard-produced megastars really are at the core. Both had well-documented break-ups and both hit the scene at a time when there was a distinct void for their brand of entertainment. But herein lies the big question: will their careers ultimately wind up taking the same trajectory? Wouldn't it be far more fascinating — when all the pixie dust settles —  to see where Perry is a little further down the road?  That's not to say Perry isn't entertaining now or that her eye-popping 3D spectacle doesn't have its moments but we are all so familiar with the 27-year-old singer's story — from her religious upbringing to her very public divorce from comedian/actor Russell Brand (neither of which are shied away from in Part of Me) — that it makes the sugary flick like more of an easy-to swallow summer treat than something to really sink your teeth in to.  Like 2011's Justin Bieber's concert documentary Never Say Never Katy Perry: Part of Me shows the meteoric rise of a pop star from humble beginnings with a laser-like determination for success. Still while Perry has an incredibly likable approachable persona on and off stage and she's already pulled off one hell of an impressive feat thus far in her career (she's the first female artist in history to generate five number one singles off an album ) like Bieber and other social networking-savvy stars of this era it feels like only the beginning of the fairy tale for the pop princess.  Still the self-proclaimed "Katy Cats" won't necessarily need a happily-ever-after to be satisfied with the final product. (If those "It Gets Better"-esque testimonials from young fans that bookend Part of Me tell us anything it's that she's helping lay the groundwork for theirs.) With expertly choreographed live numbers from her wildly successful worldwide California Dreams tour bound to make her followers dance in their seats (or at least get "Firework" stuck in all of our heads for another summer) intertwined with interviews from those closest to Perry and fly-on-the-wall behind-the-scenes footage the film certainly has all the thrills of being granted an all-access backstage pass.  For as much glazing over some of Perry's bumps along the way as Part of Me does — there's no mention of Perry's previous relationship to musician Travie McCoy; no talk of the singer's excessive wedding in India to Brand; nor is there any focus on the kid-friendly pop star's sometimes controversial image including that infamous visit to Sesame Street — there are still some very raw relatable human moments documented here. From an appearance by Perry's adorable scene-stealing grandmother (who outshines the likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna as the movie's best cameo) reminiscing about her granddaughter as a "silly" youngster to a truly heartbreaking backstage meltdown in which an exhausted devastated Perry pushes through the pain to ensure that the show goes on.  No matter what your feelings on Perry and Brand's 14-month-marriage Part of Me can make you empathize with a mega star multimillionaire at certain times (Brand on the other hand who appears in the film a number of times this will do less favors for than his late night FX talk show) but it might also make moviegoers think twice about what they read in the tabloids and how it effects the people on the other end of it. If Part of Me accomplishes nothing more than that maybe it's there's a little something harder at the center of this cinematic candy after all.  In the end viewers really only get part of Katy Perry here a mostly shiny image of a pop powerhouse at the height of her fame and a taste of her exuberant stage shows. But even if the "inspirational" story of the girl who couldn't watch The Smurfs growing up doesn't move you to be "different" or her Top 40-geared music isn't exactly your cup of tea (or in this case bra of whipped cream) Perry's humble sincerity and oft-times overwhelming ambition will at least make a small part of you want to check in with her again a little further down the road.
  • Anderson Cooper: 'The Fact Is, I'm Gay'
    By: Aly Semigran Jul 02, 2012
    The long-running speculation about Anderson Cooper's sexuality can finally cease: the CNN anchor has revealed he is a gay man. In a classy, heartfelt email written to The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan, the 45-year-old stated, "The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."  The well-respected journalist, who responded to Sullivan's query about Entertainment Weekly's recent cover story about the new era of coming out in Hollywood, explained why he chose not to reveal his sexuality throughout his career.  "Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to," Cooper wrote, "But I've also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I've often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist."  While Cooper had previously chosen to not come out in public, he noted he has never hid his sexuality from family, friends, and colleagues. But with the recent wave of attention towards the bullying of gay youths and many in the public eye stepping up to plate to do their part. As Cooper put, it, "As a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible."  You can pull out any number of Cooper's elegant, eloquent quotes from his statement,  particularly the ones on how seriously he takes his responsibility as an unbiased journalist ("It is not part of my job to push an agenda, but rather to be relentlessly honest in everything I see, say and do. I’ve never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one, and I do not desire to promote any cause other than the truth") but it's six words towards the end of the letter that speak the biggest volume: "I love, and I am loved."  The love for Cooper was most certainly felt in response to his coming out. In addition to the response from many supporters in the Twitterverse (including Neil Patrick Harris who posted from his page, "Good for you, @AndersonCooper. You're awesome")," GLAAD President Herndon Graddick released a statement regarding Cooper's news. "Even prior to coming out publically, Anderson's terrific work has raised awareness of inequalities facing LGBT people," Graddick said of Cooper, a GLAAD Media Award winner, "I'm proud to call him my friend. He's a role model to millions and now will inspire countless others." More:  Anderson Cooper Has Another On-Air Giggle Attack  Jim Parsons Acknowledges He's Gay  Angelina and Brad's Engagement Lets Gay Americans Down
  • 'Louie' Season 3 Premiere Recap: Motorcycles, Ex-Wives, and All That Jazz
    By: Aly Semigran Jun 28, 2012
    I've always wondered when Louis C.K. sometimes uses jazz music in the background of certain episodes of Louie, including last night's Season 3 premiere "Something is Wrong," if it's intentional or simply wonderfully harmonious happenstance. It's easy to make the correlation between jazz music and C.K.'s brilliant, surreal FX series. Both rise and fall throughout; both take you to unexpected places and both have fans who when they really get it, they really get it. That, or Louis C.K., the Miles Davis of comedy, just really digs jazz.  Either way, the long-anticipated Season 3 premiere began with C.K. performing a raucous Comedy Cellar routine about d***s. It was filthy bit and a testament to C.K.'s power as an artist. Only he could make the line "some dead kid's d**k on your body" funny, let alone get away with it on cable television. Season 3 wasn't starting with some light rat-tat-tatting of a drum, but a big, booming cymbal. And a f***ing hilarious cymbal at that.  In fact, a loud crash was the soundtrack to a great, but funnily enough, in many ways quiet premiere. From the screeching halt of his relationship to his demolished car to his motorcycle accident, there was a whole lot of noise for someone who remained pretty hushed throughout.  After parking his car in a zone filled with baffling, cryptic street signs (an epidemic in New York City) Louie meets his girlfriend of six months April (Gaby Hoffmann, now, guest starring on Louie, then the girl you remember from Now and Then and Field of Dreams) at a diner for lunch. Theirs is a relationship that is painfully recognizable. They are comfortable, but not in love. They are also at the six-month mark of their courtship and must decide whether to call it quits or move forward and become a real couple and do real couple things like meeting each others families. Simple enough. But this is Louie, nothing is ever simple.  Doing what Louis and Louie does best, the moment plays out in awkward comedy glory. A frustrated April tries, and fails to get Louie to open up. Instead, Louie sits there, flustered, wanting nothing more than to let this relationship float on until its run its course. Well, and to eat his ice cream. ("Let's not have the food talk" April bemoans at one point, a throwaway line that spoke volumes about their relationship.) Without actually saying, "I want to break up" Louie finds himself broken up, but he's hardly broken up about it. After April — who tried in vain to make it a simple split — exits, Louie lets out a sigh of relief and finally digs in.  But this is Louie. And this is Louie, this most painfully hilarious reminder that life, especially life in New York, City is a giant unpredictable mess. One minute you're relieved of your terrible duties of handling a breakup like an adult, the next you watch your car getting crushed on a construction site. One minute you're enjoying the perks of a car-less midlife crisis by buying a motorcycle because, thanks to the gas mileage, is "actually smart," the next you're lying on a stretcher in the ER, because, as an ER doctor will tell you (lucky for Louie, not Ricky Gervais) having a midlife crisis and a motorcycle actually isn't very smart at all.  While anyone could have seen Louie's crash coming from a thousand miles away, C.K. threw us off our bikes, too. For the first time in the show's history, we finally meet Louie's ex-wife Janet when he calls from the ER to tell her he can't pick up their girls. Now, let's get it out of the way. Yes, Louie's ex-wife is African-American. No, the logistics (both of their children are white) don't quite work out. But this is the funniest show on television and Louis C.K., the funniest man alive, plays by no rules, so let's just let it slide.  Besides, the 44-year-old star has already addressed the "confusion" about the casting of Janet. During a conference call earlier this week, C.K. said, "I think when people probably first see her their brains do a little bit of DNA math and go, 'I'm not sure I get how that would happen,'" C.K. acknowledged, but also noted, "I think with my show most people just go, 'Oh, alright, just go ahead' and then they watch the scene. I like what that character brings out in the story and in [my character] and to me that trumped whatever logistical notion." So, let's move on.  When a limping Louie returns home, he's later greeted by April, not to reunite, but to get her laptop back. After she learns he was "hit by a truck" (a truly brilliant maneuver when he realized that telling the truth about the accident, like he did with his ex-wife, garnered much less compassion) April comes to his aid and fixes him lunch. A sweet, friendly gesture, but hardly an invention for a reconciliation. Of course, Louie/Louis could see that about as clearly as a blurry d**k or a street sign.  But you could tell the wheels were turning with Louie, even though he spent an entire day having trouble with various wheels. "Do you want to stay?" he asked her, not realizing what a loaded question that was for someone he non-dumped hours earlier. Again, poor April is left with the task of calling out what was really going on here while a fractured, fumbling Louie sat silent. Until, once again, he breathed that  great sigh of relief when he heard her walk out that door. The sound was music to his ears. This well-orchestrated piece of art, especially after those brilliant ending credits ("It's always before midnight and it's always after midnight") was music to mine.  With Louis C.K.'s fame and success reaching new heights, especially as of late, this seemed like an almost perfect way to introduce the inevitable new masses to Louie. It had so many elements that make the show the masterpiece that it is (the ebb and flow of Louie's hilariously tragic life) without throwing them into the deep end. But for established fans "Something is Wrong" was a satisfying return. He's still the Louie we know and love, but it's clear C.K. is setting things in motion for this new season with opening the prospects of a dating life and introducing his ex-wife. It felt like the premiere only scratched the surface of things to come, and oh, how I can't wait to see what's coming.  What did you think of the season premiere of Louie? Share your thoughts on the episode in the comments section.  [Photo credit: FX]  Louie premiere  More: Jerry Seinfeld to Guest Star On Louie This Season — EXCLUSIVE Louis C.K. Discusses New Season of Louie, Including Jerry Seinfeld's Cameo Louis C.K. Announces New Tour, Riffs On Jay Leno, Continues Total Comedy Dominance