Author

Kate Ward
Kate Ward is the current Executive Editor for Hollywood.com, a former editor and writer for Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, and a forever fan of pop culture. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Ward — whose work has also appeared in Glamour magazine — loves talking about nutgrafs and hates exclamation points, despite using them on a regular basis. Specializing in reality TV, ’90s nostalgia, and bad movies, Ward is likely the oldest person to attend "American Idols LIVE!" every year with her mom.
  • 'Big Brother' Recap: Dan's The Man
    By: Kate Ward Aug 29, 2012
    The pilot for Lost. Arrested Development’s “Development Arrested.” Breaking Bad’s nail-biting Season 5 ender, “Two Face.” Friends, I am absolutely not joking in any way shape or form when I say Wednesday night’s Big Brother belongs in this good company. Drama, intrigue, shock — if Emmy ever loosened up, taking down a few drinks with its weekly Big Bang Theory intake, Wednesday night’s episode would win Season 14 top honors. Yes, it was that good. Good enough, even, to officially label Dan the best Big Brother player of all time. It’s not easy to root for a Big Brother contestant — we’re talking about a group of people who ditch their families for three solid months for a chance to be America’s dancing, slop-eating, often prejudiced monkeys. Evel Dick’s win came with a bout of nausea, Hayden Moss’ win was as sleep inducing as an episode of The Killing, and our best option last season was Rachel Reilly. I repeat: Rachel Reilly. But following Wednesday night’s episode, Dan managed to transform himself into reality TV’s answer to Walter White, Dexter Morgan, and Tony Soprano — the ultimate reality anti-hero. He lied, he manipulated, and he sold out two of his own. And I want nothing more than to see him come out on top. Sure, I have a bias towards Dan in the first place — I’ve long labeled him my favorite player in Big Brother history. (Sorry Dr. Will.) And next week, he could just as easily pull a Lawon and make a wide-eyed exit straight out the door. But considering the player became the prime target for a strong Head of Household, lost the Veto to an enemy, spent 24 hours in solitary (dance party) confinement, and mamboed right off the block while offering the best television to hit reality since Suvivor’s heyday the early 2000s, well, he certainly deserves raves bigger than those in the Have-Nots room. But we must give Big Brother its due as well. On Wednesday, the show played so much with my emotions, I might as well have dated it in high school. (And to think we were excited about Britney’s master plan at the beginning of the episode. In hindsight, it was such child’s play, the plan should marry Jennifer Tilly.) Hell, even the veto competition — typically a physical competition so predictable, the show may as well automatically reward Frank and/or Shane — was full of twists and turns. First, the show teased friction between Dan and Britney when the nominated houseguest decided to play for himself in the Draw Something-themed veto rather than the Quack Pack. (But, with Frank up at least 10 points over the competition, do you blame him for attempting to duck (ha) and cover his own ass? Quack.) Then, just when it looked as though Frank had nabbed the win, he was foiled by the show’s own plot to keep him in the competition — the man working alone attempted to work with Britney and give her an answer, violating the rules of the game. That’s right, after agreeing to punishments doled out during the veto game — being forced to wear a carrot costume, bathing in chum at producers’ beck and call, forgoing an additional Head of Household competition to stay in the game — Frank was eliminated from the competition for not listening to the blink-blink-blink-blink-blink and you missed it game rules. (Is it me, or did it take a carrot to realize that Frank resembles Carrot Top?) As if that twist wasn’t unexpected enough, one houseguest buzzed in during the final clue to win the Power of Veto. Who? Why, Jenn. Wait, who? Yep, I said it: JENN. The houseguest who could most accurately be described throughout the competition as “there” pulled off one of the biggest wins in Season 14’s Veto history. Of course, this is precisely where fans of Big Brother intrigue throw in the towel, only to pick it up again and shower because get me off this 24-hour live feed! Jenn City, perhaps the safest, most boring municipal to hit America since Cleveland, had won the Power of Veto, and would most likely keep nominations the same and send Dan packing, just like Mayor Frank intended. But all that changed after Dan entered 24-hour solitary confinement, his punishment from the Power of Veto competition. Even viewers were kept in the dark about the impending storm. From our couches, we watched as Dan cried about his passion in the game before being locked away — and wondered if he had given up after exiting confinement looking like an extra from Walking Dead. And soon after, he acknowledged his role as a dead man lumbering through the house by hosting his own Big Brother funeral. Viewers like myself figured it was a ploy for last-minute sympathy, to remind all the players what a stand-up guy the coach was. “Shane is living proof there actually is a Captain America,” he said, as the superhero himself broke down in tears. (Anyone wish he were Hulk instead, so he could destroy his own beloved pink tank top?) “You single-handedly made this experience for me,” he told a wide-eyed Ian. “You’re the first lesbian I ever met, and I want you to know how much you touched me,” he told a tear-filled Jenn, to the surprise of his wife. “And I hope one day you take me express to Flavortown,” he told Joe. Then Dan, after telling Frank he hoped to read him something from the Bible later in the Head of Household room in order to explain his actions, turned to closest ally and fellow nominee Danielle. Audiences, as much as Danielle, expected heartfelt praise, an encouraging speech that would allow his student to stand on the Have-Not table in future episodes declaring, “O coach, my coach!” Instead…: “When I last played this game, I learned a lot of tough lessons early on. And I learn that you have to find one person and put 100 percent of your trust in them. I thought if I picked you, you would have similar qualities to Memphis Garrett. And through my own fault, I was wrong. We don’t need to get into it now. But in this game, you’ll never earn my trust back. You know what you did. And in this game, you’re dead to me. So don’t come at me and ask about it, because it’s over. Moving forward, we can be friends. Outside this, I’ll be friends with all of you, but the game talk from me ends now.” It was crafty. Evil. Genius. And confused the bejeezus out of both everyone watching at home and in the house. Danielle’s mouth hung agape, big enough to swallow a baby Zingbot. The house bustled, wondering what it was that he knew that everyone else didn’t. And Dan marched right up to Frank’s room, admitted his act, and swore on a Bible that Ian was behind Boogie’s exit. And, oh yeah, locked in a final two deal with Frank, the man who hated Dan more than scissors. It’s such a logical next step for Dan, who won Season 10 after forming an unlikely final two alliance, that it’s surprising the rest of the Quack Pack didn’t see it coming. Because, how could they? In what world does Dan manage to make a pact with Frank? One in which Britney, who seemed to have the Season 14 win all but locked in just one day ago, becomes suddenly poised for eviction after Frank nominated her in Dan’s place. One in which Dan pulls off an outburst at Danielle in hopes that sympathy will keep her in the game over her other nominee. (Second best line of the night, during Danielle’s conversation with Dan: “Can you at least give me a warning next time?” Dan: “No, because then you wouldn’t cry.”) One in which Danielle might actually survive the week, thanks to that sympathy. One in which Dan comes out completely clean after his big move, with Ian and Shane undoubtedly gunning for Frank. One in which Dan transforms into the best Big Brother player of all time. O coach, my coach, indeed. I have no more delicate way of putting this, friends, so: Are you still s**tting your pants?! Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: CBS] More: Big Brother Recap: Can We Speak Frankly? Big Brother Recap: Quick Quack Big Brother Recap: A Wolf in Geek's Clothing
  • Network Swap: What if 'Two and a Half Men' Were On TLC?
    By: Kate Ward Aug 27, 2012
    Our favorite shows feel perfect for their respective networks: The nude-friendly Game of Thrones is a tried-and-true HBO series, the tortoise-slow Mad Men fits AMC’s intelligent and patient viewers, and The Big Bang Theory never met a laugh track CBS didn’t like. But what if those series appeared on different networks? How would the show change? We’re exploring just that in our Network Swap series. First up: What if Two and a Half Men aired on TLC? Series: Two and a Half Men Network: TLC TV Rating: TV-14/TV-NWE. That last one stands for “Not While Eating,” of course. Logline: Two and a Half Men is an unprecedented new docu-soap that centers on Alan, a chiropractor with an addiction to eating sheetrock, and his roommate Walden, who copes with a 50-pound benign tumor on his hip with its own brain and set of teeth that he calls Charlie. Setting: In a suburb outside Malibu, close but not too close to Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Demographic: TLC’s Two and a Half Men caters to the 18-49 demographic. Particularly 18-year-olds who trade off consuming Cheetos and cannabis, and49-year-olds who trade off working at Verizon and logging into their AOL accounts. Pilot Plot: We meet Walden and Alan, who are swapping stories of their day over a nice meal of grilled chicken and dog house. Walden unsuccessfully heads to a bar with Charlie to pick up a goddess or two, while Alan contemplates the existence of Angus T. Jones. Breakout Star: Unsurprisingly, Charlie now has his own Twitter account: “@HoneyBooBoo, holy s**t last night’s Breaking Bad!!!” Soundbite: “Charlie bit my finger!” suddenly takes on a more horrific tone. SweepsTwist: Walden considers surgically parting with Charlie while Alan contemplates moving on to insulation. Reason People Watch: Walden’s self-effacing charm gives viewers reason to justify their horrific desire to exploit the less fortunate. Also, they’re Joel McHale. What the Critics Say: “Schadenfreude at its lowest.”; “We’ve finally seen what’s inside Charlie Sheen’s brain, and it’s hardly a win for this appalled spectator.”; “A fascinating look at human’s psychological dependence on things, regardless of tangibility… and will you please pass the Cheetos?” Emmy Odds: Same as the odds of people admitting they watch Two and a Half Men: 5,000 to 1. Spin-Off Possibilities: Walden is currently in negotiations for his own dating series on OWN called “Be Benign Mine,” while Alan is in talks to star in an episode of Extreme Home Makeover after he finished his house for lunch. Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: CBS] More: Fall TV: Exclusive News, Interviews, and More! What the F**k is a Honey Boo Boo? Who Still Watches ‘Two and a Half Men’?
  • 'The X Factor': A Deep Dive 
    By: Kate Ward Aug 27, 2012
    Over the next few months, we’ll see new series soar, old series sour, and so much Jersey Shore madness, we’ll want to shower. Let’s face it: The Fall TV season is intimidating. With dozens of new and returning shows hitting our small screens, we know we have some big choices to make. So, to help you determine what to watch, we’re digging deep into the most notable series premiering this season. Where did each show leave off? Where is it headed? And who should you watch it with? Today, we’ll start with The X Factor, which, in its second season, will attempt to prove it’s not the Brian Dunkleman to Idol’s Ryan Seacrest. Returning Series: The X Factor Network: Fox Premiere Date: Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 8pm ET Number of Seasons On the Air: This will mark The X Factor’s second season, after a very experimental, and uneven, first. You’d Like It If…: You like American Idol, but you love America’s Got Talent more. Also, you’re stuck in 2002. You’d Hate It If…: You’re an American Idol purist wistful for the day when contestants were the center of the spotlight. Also, if you’re NBC. X Factor’s Formula: American Idol Season 3 – Simon Cowell + Star Search 1991 + The Voice Season 1 – 2003 VMAs x America’s Got Talent - Cheeseburgers Ratings: The Season 1 premiere of The X Factor disappointed judge Simon Cowell — who estimated a viewing audience of 20 million — by attracting only 12.5 million eyes. And though the series helped Fox score the No. 1 slot on Wednesdays and Thursdays, it still didn’t boast American Idol-worthy numbers, dawg, bowing at 12. 4 million. Accolades: The new singing series doesn’t have a fan in Emmy, but has won over another influential set: Teens. The X Factor scored four Teen Choice Award nominations in 2012, and won in the Choice TV Personality (Cowell), Choice Breakout Show, and Choice Reality Competition categories. Where X Factor Left Off: Nineteen-year-old Melanie Amaro picked up the $5 million recording contract prize to the surprise of no one. Where X Factor Is Headed: Ch-ch-ch-changes! See below! Cast: Like any good reality show, this season of The X Factor will feature an entirely different set of faces — and we’re not referring to the contestants. Though reality mainstay Cowell will remain on the judges’ panel alongside L.A. Reid, Season 1 judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger earned themselves pink slips for being as boring as Cowell’s wardrobe. Following in The Voice’s footsteps, the Fox series opted to instead hire buzzy replacements in the teen-friendly Demi Lovato and the gawking eyes-friendly Britney Spears. Cast In Question: The X Factor might have built a solid, headline-friendly panel, but what about the series’ judge? While the show opted to replace human paper doll Steve Jones, it’s unclear who will bag the hosting gig, though reports have dropped names like Glee star Kevin McHale; the artist formerly known as A.C. Slater, Mario Lopez; George Clooney’s latest accessory, Stacy Keibler; reality royalty Kelly Osbourne; and Khloé Kardashian, the smart one. Setting: Though most of the series is filmed on a soundstage, viewers get a peek at Cowell’s expensive L.A. pad. Legacy: Amaro, the winner of X Factor’s Season 1 $5 million recording contract, currently sits somewhere between The Voice Season 1 winner Javier Colon and Idol Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson. Though Amaro got the opportunity to be exposed to a huge, guacamole-eating audience via a Super Bowl Pepsi ad, her first single, “Don’t Fail Me Now,” has yet to succeed on the charts. But Season 1’s fifth place finisher, Rachel Crow, is proving to be the series’ adolescent answer to Daughtry. The 13-year-old Crow might not have won, but she did bag a deal with Nickelodeon for her own series. High Point: Stacy Francis’ “Natural Woman” audition, which proved that X Factor had an advantage over Idol: The ability to spotlight bona fide talent from the over 28 set. Low Point: Even those who actively avoided X Factor couldn’t escape the heart-wrenching clip of Crow sobbing on stage after Scherzinger’s vote led to the young singer’s elimination. Proof that reality TV is as cruel as one of Simon’s trademark barbs. Best Judge Critique: Cowell, mocking Scherzinger’s positive judging style: “I believe in you. You believe in me. You transcend the universe. God is smiling on you. Life is a waterfall, and you are the ultimate rainbow.” Worst Judge Critique: Scherzinger, to eventual winner Amaro after her performance of “Earth Song”: “If that song doesn’t save a small country somewhere, I don’t know WHAT will.” Who To Watch It With: Your 15-year-old niece who’s young enough to appreciate X Factor’s non-existent age restrictions, but old enough to remember Spears in her prime. Who Not to Watch It With: Christina Aguilera. How To Justify Tuning In: You’re watching X Factor — and Idol, The Voice, Duets, and Opening Act — for your dissertation on society’s unfettered fascination with the singing reality series, which allows us to act out on base human mob behavior that lies stagnant in our systems during our civilized lives. Plus: Britney! Appropriate Wine and Cheese Pairing: For the full experience, watch The X Factor with non-alcoholic cider and a Handi-Snack. This is family entertainment, folks! But if L.A. Reid’s honesty drives you to the bottle, swig up whatever remains in Abdul’s vacated cup. Cast Member to Root For: For once, Cowell. Next to L.A. Reid, the former Idol meanie has proven to be a pussycat. Plus, who doesn’t wish it was still 2002? Cast Member to Root Against: Reid does provide refreshing reality show honesty, and remains to be seen how Spears and Lovato will fare on the judge’s panel, so can we just continue to root against Idol’s Randy Jackson instead? What You’re Most Likely to Yell at the Screen: “It’s going to go to gridlock. It’s going to go to gridlock! Ughhhhhhhh.” So, Will You Watch It?: It’s likely X Factor’s year over year ratings will increase, thanks to the Spears curiosity (and no, we’re not talking about this ), but with the similarly star-studded The Voice serving as competition, its audience might come down with a serious case of singing reality show ennui. Still, safe to say most viewers will hit The X Factor at least one more time after its premiere. But will you? Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: FOX] More: New X Factor Judges Britney Spears, Demi Lovato Show Their Teeth X Factor Shake-Up: Who Should Host? X Factor Promo: Britney’s Got Bite!
  • 'Big Brother' Recap: Quick Quack
    By: Kate Ward Aug 23, 2012
    Whoever said that good things come in three was sorely misguided. (Was it Jack Tripper? Beetlejuice? The Grim Reaper of celebrity deaths?) No, my fellow Big Brother fans, our favorite summer TV guilty pleasure has taught us year after year that the best things come in twos. Chilltown, Brenchel, and, of course, the double eviction. Over the past few seasons, the double eviction has brought fans relief (so long, Season 10's Ollie!) and overwhelming dread (if only Dumbledore could save you, Season 13's Jeff!). But during last night’s doozy of an episode, the double eviction managed to fill us both with overdue relief and surprising dread. Because while Boogie was sent packing in the first few minutes of the episode — dressed as Payne Stewart-meets-Don Johnson on his way to the candy shop with 50 Cent — the numbers were hardly in support of Chilltown 2.0 (or, as my colleague Brian Moylan nicknames them, Froogie) surviving the week. But Frank, who has enjoyed so many ups and downs in the Big Brother house that I hope the Have-Not closet is stashed with Fruit Loops and Xanax, managed to squeak by another week, winning the Power of Veto following Head of Household and Quack Packer Ian’s nominations. Instead, Ashley was sent out the door before she could count to 10, which I’m pretty sure she’s still trying to do. And I feel for our young, newly hairless, devoted Big Brother player. Not only did his plan to completely dissolve Chilltown 2.0 in the matter of one week come just short of succeeding, but Ian also didn’t get the opportunity to enjoy the full Head of Household experience in the house. Add to that the fact that he instead sent out his flirtshowmance partner, and created an enemy in former ally Frank, and the smooth road Ian had orchestrated just got as bumpy as his man nipples. Not that he made the smartest choices throughout his very short run as Head of Household. It’s unclear whether it served him well to fess up to Boogie following his mentor’s eviction — the revelation that Boogie would “see things you don’t like” enabled the evicted houseguest to tell Frank that Ian was “not to be trusted,” already shedding doubt in the houseguest’s mind before a vital Head of Household. Then again, the move not only eventually won Boogie’s respect — after Ian had told him in his goodbye message that “I learn from the best, and that is why you’re sitting there right now” — but also at last established Ian as a threat and powerful player before the first houseguest was sent into the jury house. Of course, knowing that Frank is a tough competitor — and knowing that the previous challenge that allowed him to nab Head of Household, "Before and After," was a mental game — Ian perhaps should have anticipated that the Power of Veto competition would play to Frank’s physical strengths. In fact, if he’s been paying attention since Day 1 in the house — and let’s face it, Ian might as well fill out a Scantron with the way he’s studying the game — he should know that Big Brother’s producers will always find a way to play to Frank’s strengths. Wouldn’t it have been better to plan to backdoor Sid Vicious’ son? Either way, it certainly would have been better for audiences if the house had decided to keep the hilariously inarticulate Ashley and voted to oust Joe — who, as we learned last night, is far more enjoyable silent — or Jenn, who got embarrassingly riled up following her nomination as pawn. (As Ian said in the Diary Room, “She couldn’t be a bigger pawn right now against a legend of the game.”) But while Jenn’s anger is as laughable as Ashley’s first comment to Chenbot out the door (“I love your side pony!”), Frank’s tirade could end up reversing his luck. Not only did Frank begin the night alongside a bullying Boogie — who channeled his inner Regina George to attack Shane and Dan (“I, like, bad hairlines, you know what I mean?”) — while he could have been attempting to form last-minute alliances with Danielle and other fringe members of the Quack Pack, but live footage from Thursday’s show also seemed to indicate Frank’s continuing in Boogie’s footsteps by prolonging his tear. During Big Brother’s early weeks, Frank proved himself to be a promising player because of his seemingly unflappable nature. The houseguest was placed on the block more times than he could blink (which is a lot), and still never lost his cool. But now, thanks to the schooling of his bitter coach, Frank has started to play the offense without any defense to back him up. (That clap you just heard was Dan approving of that metaphor.) That sort of assholery will only make him lonelier than Ian on a Big Brother mixer night — and more likely to head straight to the couches next week. But, for now, we only say goodbye to Big Brother: All Stars winner Boogie — a player so entertaining and egomaniacal, he gets furious for being both nominated for eviction and not nominated for eviction — and Ashley, a player so dim and incoherent, she’ll have a show on E! within the week. So, in honor of the entertaining player’s sad exit, let’s excerpt her final plea in the house: “Obviously, I’m not articulate. I can’t express myself the way others do. I don’t have that talent.” Oh, lady, you were made for reality TV. Best double eviction episode ever? Now get to steppin’, you crazy kids! Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: CBS] Big Brother Recap: A Wolf in Geek's Clothing Big Brother Recap: Quack Pack Attack Big Brother Recap: Flip Your Wig
  • Why Are We So Skeptical of Celebrity Couples?
    By: Kate Ward Aug 10, 2012
    There was a time when 25-year-old Chelsea Rickling thought stars were just like us. That coupled celebrities clutching hands in magazines were simply glossier versions of our anonymous selves. That Hollywood’s brightest stars, too, yearned for — and often achieved — fairytale romances that rivaled their own on-screen love stories. But then, in 2002, pop power couple Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake broke up, leading to a storm of toxic he said/she said headlines and singles that eventually culminated in a reported dance battle. And then, in 2005, tabloid sweethearts Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt transformed into tabloid heartbreakers when their seven-year relationship went sour thanks to an on-screen spy marriage. By the time Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes parted ways this summer — and Kristen Stewart publicly released a loving monologue fit for a one-act play following her cheating scandal — Rickling was all but convinced Hollywood was just as make-believe as its big-screen releases. “I wanted Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt to be together forever,” the New York-based Rickling says. “But when people like them break up, [fans] are like, ‘You know what? I don’t know if I’m going to believe in this anymore.’” The non-believers extend beyond Rickling. Pop culture aficionados and casual fans alike have spent the past few months voicing, tweeting, and posting on Facebook their skepticism surrounding some of Hollywood’s most notable couples. News of Cruise and Holmes’ divorce was met with declarations of “I knew it!” by naysayers who thought the mere break-up proved conspiracy theories surrounding a marriage contract or secret sexual orientation. Stewart’s aforementioned declaration of love to boyfriend and Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson following her affair with director Rupert Sanders only led fans and media outlets (including this one) to point to the fact that Snow White and the Huntsman Blu-ray details were released the very same day. And the endless stream of photographs picturing Kanye West hand-in-hand with marriage enthusiast Kim Kardashian? Fans are responding en masse: Fool us once, shame on you. “I just don’t believe it 100 percent,” says 31-year-old Carmela Cipriano of New York. “[Relationship publicity] surrounds when somebody’s new movie is coming out, when somebody’s releasing an album, or if a movie isn’t doing so well, or if a TV show is going to be airing.” The concept sounds ludicrous: A-list celebrities arrange faux relationships, staging affectionate photographs and candlelit dates for years while we normal citizens can barely bear to pretend we like that guy from OkCupid? Yet even the most rational of pop culture fans (even celebrities themselves) still insist contracts exchange hands behind closed doors in Hollywood. So what explains the belief that we know the truth is out there, even if the closest we’ve been to Hollywood is the People magazine stand at our local grocery stores? “We’ve been given so many examples as to why we should be cynical,” says Max Dawson, assistant professor of radio, television, and film at Northwestern University. “We have a good 100 years of precedent behind us that, if we’ve been paying enough attention, tells us that most relationships between celebrities don’t really last. Whether it’s the serial marriages of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, or the sham marriages or beard relationships of people like Rock Hudson. Even when we really want to believe, it’s just so hard to.” Still, even with knowledge of Hollywood’s sketchy relationship history, pop culture lovers spent decades feeling so attached to their favorite celebrity couples, they might as well have tattooed “Winona (and Johnny) Forever” on their right shoulders. But as our dependence on the Internet and social media increased over the past five years, so did our suspicious nature. Especially when the World Wide Web came complete with enough paranoia to fill the hole in Twihards’ hearts. The PR-friendly People — which depicted Hollywood as a glitzy utopia — suddenly found competition in the Perez Hiltons and TMZs of the Internet, which offered access via compromising photographs instead of fluffy baby photos. For some, the lure of the lurid was simply too tantalizing to pass up. And, apparently, too juicy to dismiss. Despite the fact that a study conducted by Harris Interactive in July found 98 percent of Americans distrust information they find on the Internet, celebrity gossip seems immune. Pop culture fans continue to devour, and pass on, stories of possible sham marriages and other paltry tales. (Of course, that study was found on the Internet, so perhaps we shouldn’t trust it.) Receive enough "inside" information from the likes of Perez, and suddenly, he becomes a reliable source, despite how much genitalia he scribbles on stars’ faces. "People are simply bombarded by this information," says Dr. Jim Taylor, author of Raising Generation Tech: Prepare Your Children For a Media-Fueled World and blogger on pop culture. "Basically, a simple fact of human beings is we base our judgment of the world based upon the information we get from the world. So [even] if most of that information is manufactured, then it’s natural that we’re going to at some level believe it." Of course, it's difficult to view Hollywood as a victim, especially when the industry often perpetrates many of the untruths circulated around the Web and in tabloids. In fact, Dawson says we can thank the industry itself for a trend towards transparency. After all, not only have celebrities arranged photo ops with paparazzi and tweeted us photos from their sets, but the movie industry has also invited pop culture fans to pull back the curtain via behind-the-scenes photographs and documentaries. "Everything has some sort of inside gossip attached to it where the audiences is being encouraged to feel as if we're insiders," Dawson says. "As if we're not on the other side of the screen, but we have privileged access to understand how pop culture gets made. And whether that's through Entertainment Tonight, through blogs, [or] through things like DVD special features, we're being encouraged to feel as if we have a sort of privileged viewpoint. We're in on things." And that includes feeling in on elaborate PR plans that feed into conspiracy theories. As former believer Rickling says, "We have so much access to publicity that maybe we're getting a little bit smarter. Based on Twitter, all the paparazzi photos… maybe we have too much information almost." It makes sense that celebrities' on-camera, couch-jumping blitzes would encourage authenticity conversations — actors are good at acting. But what about the skepticism surrounding Twilight stars Stewart and Pattinson, who actively avoided talking about their relationship until the actress' cheating scandal? Turns out, it's lose-lose for celebrity couples (even if it's win-win for Hollywood when it comes to fueling buzz). "The more secretive [the relationship] is, the more we as individuals can participate, in a way, because we can create our own reality of the situation," Taylor says. "The less we know, the more we can create our own narrative about them." After all, we've learned how to create reality from Hollywood itself. Though reality TV has existed since 1973, when PBS aired the groundbreaking An American Family, and became an institution thanks to MTV's seemingly unstoppable Real World, its modern-day format started with the early 2000s reality TV boom, which was launched by the likes of Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire, Survivor, and The Bachelor. Suddenly, "reality TV" didn't represent passive, documentary-style, fly-on-the-wall viewing — Hollywood realized it could manipulate the material and create its own desired narrative. It didn't take long until cast members shifted from deer-in-the-headlights folk like Darva Conger to active participants like Kardashian. And it didn't take long for viewers to wise up to the fact that perhaps Ed Swiderski and Jillian Harris weren't as in love as they let on. "[With] The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, at first you're like, ‘Oh my gosh, it's true love, it's true romance, and this is how it goes, what a Disney experience,'" Cipriano says. "That's definitely changed more with the newer realities and the explosion of more reality TV that's come about." It's part of the reason pop culture fans are skeptical of the industry — if Hollywood could convince us that Ed and Jillian, Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi, and Flavor Flav and Hoopz belonged together, why couldn't they do the same with A-list stars? In fact, our increasing jaded view towards the medium has changed our perception of "reality" as a whole. "At this point, it's no longer necessary for anyone I think outside of maybe conversations with 3-year-olds or 93-year-olds to qualify a discussion of reality TV that reality TV isn't real," Dawson says. "Everybody knows that reality TV isn't real. The fact that we still use that, ‘reality TV,' isn't it wonderful? The very fact that we've been comfortable with allowing the term ‘reality' within the context of reality TV to be applied so liberally is indicative of the fact that I don't think that people are necessarily that attached to the idea that there's any one single truth, that there's any one reality that could even be captured on TV. It's a sort of relativism — an acknowledgment that everyone is going to observe things from a different perspective. There's no real one true essential way of defining anything anymore." NEXT: "You always wanted the top blonde teenager [to] get busted for a DUI." Yet, despite our knowledge of reality TV's manipulation of the truth, we're still tuning in — a total of 8.9 million viewers watched Emily Maynard's Bachelorette finale. And despite our tendency to doubt celebrity relationships, we're still consuming stories about stars en masse via magazines and blogs. If we don't buy Hollywood's stories, why do we continue to literally buy into them? Dawson says that exact blurred line of reality and fiction has only made us more fascinated in celebrity, pointing to Kardashian's short-lived marriage to Kris Humphries. "Obviously, there was all that around the wedding and the fact that nobody believed it, [but] it really didn't prevent anyone from buying the issue of US Weekly, or watching the coverage of it on E!," he says. "It actually made it more interesting. If Kim Kardashian actually found true love with a dentist from Encino and really decided that this was going to be a turning point in her life, it would kind of be boring. The unreality of her reality is why we like her." And there's also consumers' love of Schadenfreude. "People also like to see celebrities fall," says Dr. Melanie Greenberg, a clinical psychologist in California and expert on mindfulness, media, and celebrity culture. "We love to hate our celebrities. We idolize them and then we want to bring them down because it shows that our lives aren't so bad. It's better to be us… We have more moral foundation. We have more inside. We have more genuineness." Erica Daniels, a 25-year-old from Pottstown, Penn., says pop culture fans who are eager to expose fake celebrity relationships simply want to see the mighty fall. "It's like how in high school you always wanted the top blonde cheerleader [to] get busted for a DUI and get expelled," she says. "Nobody wants to see anybody more attractive and wealthier than them also be happily in love. Nobody wants to see that. I think that's the ridiculous part of humanity." Daniels is, after all, one of the few who actually does believe the Hollywood hype, and has even argued with her own mother about whether Kardashian and West's relationship is for the cameras. "Hollywood is full of such attractive gorgeous talented people that are also going to be attracted to gorgeous talented attractive people with the same style," she says. "There's so much in our lives right now that could bring us to have this skeptical outlook all the time. There are so many opportunities for you to develop this sense of distrust in the world … Maybe it's just [me] being blissfully ignorant, but I'm going to choose to believe there's something real in there." There have indeed been many opportunities for our modern society to develop a sense of distrust — in our post-Iraq War existence, our leaders have given us reason to doubt everything from their fidelity to the existence of dangerous weaponry overseas. The result has been a more skeptical society eager to uncover truths not dictated by authority figures. Even if those figures exist in movie houses instead of the White House. "There's definitely been this turn to cynicism," Dawson says. "And the thing that makes it really complicated, makes it hard to understand, is that on the one hand, it seems to be a really good thing … Look at the fact that we questioned what used to be common sense assumptions about gay rights or equality for women or racial discrimination, stuff like that. I think they're all part of the same trend that leads us to question our idols as well." Despite her distrust, Rickling, for one, says she "would like to believe that we still like our fairy tales" and hopes our cynicism only runs deep when it comes to the shallow Tinsel Town. But perhaps it's misguided to be nostalgic for the days when the masses ate what Hollywood fed them. As Dawson says, "The question is: Who is better off? Are we better off, or are people who thought Liberace was straight and he just couldn't find the right girl?" We'd mull that over, but we just heard Taylor Swift has a new boyfriend. Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Photo Credit: WENN (3); ABC; E!] More: The Celebrity Baby Photo Recession: Did Stars Price Themselves Out of the Market? Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: The Five Craziest Marriage RumorsStrategy or Coincidence? A History of Poorly Timed K-Stew and R-Patz Bombshells
  • 'Big Brother' Recap: Bizarro World
    By: Kate Ward Aug 09, 2012
    During the very first episode of this season's Big Brother, when it became immediately obvious that the so-called "coaches" would enter the game at some point during the summer (M. Night takes your twist, CBS, and raises you a nefarious tree), I was convinced we would witness a newbie bloodbath. Dan, Janelle, Boogie, and Britney had been there, done that. People like Boogie and Janelle — who have each played the game twice before — had been in the house long enough to know that newbies latches onto vets like Ian on slop, and vets can easily ditch them like Ashley ditched math class. (Just look at the first four weeks of Season 13.) Wear spandex unitards together, die alone. But this week, the house turned upside-down, and not just from the perspective of Ian getting a tummy rub. A coaches' alliance failed, Janelle left herself vulnerable, and Boogie — that's right, Boogie, with his sneaky play, junior high t-shirts, and name of Boogie — came off as the game's most morally upstanding player. And as if that weren't enough to make you wonder whether we are in a bizarro game of Big Brother, Chenbot showed human emotion. No, sorry, that didn't happen. But Janelle, a player so accustomed to placing third that she should have a hairy, hairy chest by now, was sent out the door in 12th place. And in true bizarro fashion, Janelle — the player who said she wouldn’t cry if she saw Noah from The Notebook eat a live, defenseless kitten while reading The Year of Magical Thinking, or something like that — shed tears following her eviction. She could blame the shock of being sent out of the house by members of her own alliance. (Not that viewers were surprised — the fact that the live eviction began 20 minutes into the show, giving Chenbot enough time to suitably interview viewer favorite Janelle, was all the indication we needed.) She could blame the fact that she was evicted while channeling Barbara Bush.. Or she could blame the fact that Big Brother refused to let her out before broadcasting at least one gratuitous banana shot. But I’d say Janelle put the “Boo(Hoo)” in “Boogie” after watching her nemesis’ goodbye tape: “This one was all me. So, for the third time, always a bridesmaid, never the Big Brother bride.” Getting served by someone who still wears a trucker hat despite looking increasingly like the Herbert from Family Guy would make anyone bawl. Tangent: More proof we were living in a Big Brother alternate universe this week? Julie Chen, who suddenly became skilled in the art of a follow-up question, also made an Anchorman joke following Frank’s plea to the houseguests to “Keep it classy”: “You sound like Ron Burgundy.” No, do not do that Chenbot. Do not make me feel as though you have a soul. You do not know now why we cry. Now, please, go back to oiling your servo brackets so you can build me a glass case of emotion. Thank you. But the most infuriating thing to come out of this week’s bizarro episode of Big Brother was the crowing of Danielle as Season 14’s power player. We’re talking about a houseguest who has yet to make any decision on her own. A player catapulted only by her impressionable nature and Shane’s libido. A player who, when Boogie approached her with his plan to backdoor Janelle, couldn’t even finish his sentence about evicting “A really, really, really powerful player out of the game… Janelle.” (You know she heard the “J” and was going to say “Jelly Beans” until Boogie filled in the blanks for her.) Now, her indifferent nature would be charming if she was at all aware of it. But Danielle’s insistence that she has been calling the shots — while folks like Janelle herself note that Danielle “couldn’t have come up with this on her own” — is as grating as her voice. As is Dan’s damn encouragement of Danielle: “You’re about to get one of the best players out.” Of course, I understand Dan’s willingness to throw away credit — inform Danielle she’s a power player, let word spread, and, suddenly, his puppet, complete with a threatening showmance, pulls all the attention from him. Now, if only he learned to convincingly throw a Head of Household competition. Because, let’s face it: Dan losing the “Battle of the Bands” Head of Household face-off was about as genuine as Kara’s best asset to the game. (Who?) Dan, one of my favorite players of all time, managed to swoop so under the radar in Season 10, CBS’ cameras didn’t even bother to focus on him until weeks into the game, making his rise to power all the more intriguing and impressive. But he seems to forget that every player in the house not only owns a TV, but is also a fan of the franchise — you can’t simply repeat gameplay, Dan. Your repeat gameplay is not going to be ignored, Dan . Still, the Season 10 victor does have one thing going for him: His likeability. Even Janelle, a player who left the house in large part because of his gameplay, told Chenbot she was rooting for Dan: “I love Dan. Who doesn’t?” (The Diary Room sound editors, for one.) Dan, however, wasn’t the only player to throw the competition — Boogie made way for his No. 2, Frank, to regain HoH status for the second time in the game. So, fellow Big Brother fans, let’s look forward to a week during which Season 14’s floaters are going to be as angry as I was seeing that CBS had hid Ashley-Ian flirting scenes from us. Jenn, Joe, Ashley, and Wig: grab a life vest. Tell me, friends: Were you shocked to see Janelle tossed from the house? Surprised to see Joe was the only houseguest loyal to his coach? As irritated as I am about Danielle’s position in the house? Happy that Ian and Ashley gave CBS the chance to cross-promote, leading us to see more footage of the “real-life Big Bang twosome”? Finding that Britney is incredibly endearing when not surrounded by The Brigade? Were you too distracted by Frank’s pit stains to enjoy his cheer? Worried that Shane is slowly starting to evolve into a villain from an ‘80s movie? Is Wig baking a cherry pie some sort of euphemism? Were you surprised to hear Jenn talk about “her game,” because who is Jenn? [Image Credit: CBS] Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard More: Big Brother Recap: Silent, But Deadly Big Brother Recap: Good Ship and Lollipops Big Brother Recap: And the Evicted Houseguest Isn't...
  • Olympics Round-Up: It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Michael Phelps
    By: Kate Ward Aug 04, 2012
    You know that sadness you feel every January when you realize you have to say goodbye to your beautifully decorated Christmas tree? Well, every Olympics enthusiast should be currently nursing a broken heart knowing they have to say goodbye to our beautifully decorated (22 medals!) Michael Phelps, who finished his final Olympic race before retirement Saturday night. Of course, it's misleading to say Phelps merely "finished" the 4x100-meter medley — along with Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen, and Nathan Adrian, Phelps picked up the gold medal, finishing the race in three minutes and 29.35 seconds, two seconds ahead of Japan's silver medalists. The win marked his 18th gold medal — twice as many as any other Olympian in history. (Take that, Mark Spitz!) That's quite the bling to match with his tracksuit in Boca. Happy retirement! So, though it was difficult to upstage Phelps' legendary career, what were Saturday's other notable, golden moments? Read on! Missy Hits Her Mark: Olympic breakout and adorable human being Missy Franklin helped the Americans secure the gold during the women's medley relay Saturday. The 17-year-old and teammates Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt locked in a world record to boot, finishing in three minutes and 52.05 seconds, two seconds ahead of the Australian silver medalists. Franklin will be returning to her senior year in high school this fall with five medals. Remember when you thought owning five gelly roll pens granted you bragging rights? Yeah. Play Misty For Me: In the beach volleyball quarterfinals, that is. Power volleyball couple Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings have advanced after beating the Netherlands' Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer 21-13, 21-12 in less than 30 minutes. Continue their domination, and the duo could soon be misty-eyed on the Olympic podium. Maria Sharapova Not so Sharp: Of course, that was to the benefit of Serena Williams, who bested the No. 3-seeded Sharapova in straight sets to win the gold in women's tennis. The 6-0, 6-1 match was an impressive victory for the No. 4-seeded Williams, who has been enjoying an epic six-match run, losing just 17 games. Williams did, however, receive a surprise during her medal ceremony — wind blew the American flag off its pole while the tennis star stood on the podium. Too bad she didn't have a Canon PowerShot for that photo-friendly moment.  LeBron Gets LeLucky: LeBron James led the U.S. Basketball team to victory against the Lithuanian team... but just barely. The U.S. team, coached by Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, finished with 99 points, besting their Saturday night rivals by just five points. The team fought back from Lithuania's two-point lead in the final six minutes, winning redemption after a disappointing loss to the team eight years ago during the 2004 Olympics in Athens. James scored an impressive 20 points during the course of the game, while Kris Humphries tuned into a rerun of Khloe and Lamar.  Worth its Pryce in Gold: Jamaican runner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce sprinted to victory during the women's 100-meter final Saturday, finishing in 10.75 seconds. Good news for her, bad news for America: U.S.'s Carmelita Jeter crossed the finish line just 0.03 seconds behind Fraser-Pryce. Of course, Fraser-Pryce's win was hardly unexpected: The sprinter became the first Jamaican female to win the gold in the same event in Beijing's 2008 Olympics. But, hey, let Team U.S.A. take solace in the childhood mantra: Second is the best! More golden days ahead for Team U.S.A. — and more days spent indoors in front of our TV screens. Fresh air? What's that? Onto Day 9! [Image Credit: WENN.com] More: Unhappy Hour: 9 Reasons the Olympics Gave Us a Reason to Drink The Royal Olympics: A Pictorial Guide to the Royal Family's Athletic Attempts Olympics Spoiler Alert: The Thrill Is Gone?
  • 'Big Brother' Recap: And the Evicted Houseguest Isn't...
    By: Kate Ward Aug 02, 2012
    DID JOE EFFECTIVELY COOK FRANK’S GOOSE? OR DID THURSDAY NIGHT’S BIG BROTHER PROVE THAT ONE COOK IS TOO MUCH FOR BIG BROTHER’S KITCHEN? AND HOW MANY COOKS DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW IN A HUNDRED FOOD PUNS? ALSO, WHY AM I WRITING IN CAPS LOCK? TURNS OUT JOE’S VOICE IMMODULATION IS CONTAGIOUS, FOLKS. SO I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO SCREAM LAST NIGHT’S RESULTS AT A VOLUME HIGH ENOUGH TO REACH ASHLEY’S HEAD: NO ONE WAS EVICTED FROM THE BIG BROTHER HOUSE. Wait, no one? That's right — in a twist only M. Night or Big Brother could deliver, this season's game has been reset in order to allow the coaches in the game. Of course, it’s a twist that’s more Unbreakable than The Happening. (The trees did it? Wait, what no?) After all, we knew from the second CBS announced alums would be returning to the house that the familiar faces would eventually get their chance at the $250,000. And the timing couldn’t be better for Big Brother’s producers — the relatively underwhelming Season 14 was in need of a reset more than an iPhone 2. Especially when a strong player like Frank was one bare foot out the door. And especially when our new players’ star-gazing started to wear thin. Because though Big Brother is trying as hard as a Frank blink to keep intriguing players in the game, it’s also pushing to create non-Willie drama that would kick life in the game like it’s Ian’s head. But, as it turns out, Big Brother might not even need twists to create house tension. So far, in the course of one single episode: 1. We saw that the game of telephone is fun for ages 2 to stupid: How much fun was it to watch Ian’s damaging comment to Britney — about whether Shane would go on the block in the future — transform from “Not in the foreseeable future,” to “Not a foreseeable option,” to “Not a foreseeable plan,” to “Not a foreseeable banana”? We also found out that Frank told Janelle, who told Ian, who told Joe, who told Dan, who told Jenn that America told Shane to get his receding hairline in order. Oh wait, that was true. Also: Who’s Jenn? 2. We learned that houseguests can’t lego of their egos: Granted, expecting a Big Brother houseguest to not have an ego is like expecting Chenbot to not one day open her mouth to reveal a tiny alien named Jabieko operating her body for a intergalactic apocalyptic mission with the code name, “B.U.T.F.I.R.S.T.” But Wig not being able to tame his temper over the fact that Janelle claimed to save him from eviction — which, if we can remember from the coach’s challenge, she did — is disappointing. As is Janelle’s inability to admit that she may have made a social gameplay error by uttering the words. As terrible a move as Chenbot’s Wilma Flintstone necklace. 3. Our coaches are not quite the apple of their players’ eyes: Wig and Janelle’s fall-out ended in fake tears — and Wig seeing right through his coach’s theatrics: “Act One, Scene Two. Insert waterworks.” (Don’t we wish it was “Insert Waterworld, because that would be an endurance challenge.) And it’s easy to imagine Dan’s relationship with the foundation bottle that replaced Danielle will wane after he (rightfully) warned his player to not tie her decisions to high school crush Shane: “I command you to stop liking him … You’re not going to date when you get out of here. He’s not your husband.” But she’s not going to be ignored, Dan! All which leads to: Put the coaches in, Big Brother: They’re ready to play, today. Well, all except Boogie, who shockingly voted not reset the game and remain a coach. That hesitance, however, can only work in Frank’s favor — with a less-than-driven Boogie still on his side, not eager to take over the game, and a possible partnership with Dan (who, like in this season, was overlooked until he rightly won Season 10), Frank could reel in support from the likes of Ian, Jenn, Danielle, and even a Janelle-feuding Wig. Add in the fact that the stoic player lacks any iota of ego (even with a famous father like Sid Vicious), and we’ve got a contestant with all the hair of Hayden, but triple the potential. That is, if the returning players don’t all band together to obliterate the new players, Season 13-style. Of course, everything depends on who locks in a win during Thursday night’s Head of Household competition, which looked a little like that Disneyworld ride that your father agrees to participate in before realizing how miserable he will be while immature youth of the world look on in glee. My money (and my hopes) is on Ian — the game is dying for an unassuming HoH to mix things up again. Make it happen, Ian. Don’t make me kick myself in the head. Fellow Big Brother fans, were you surprised with the twist? (No, you weren’t.) Who will win HoH? Will Janelle and Wig repair their relationship? Which judge will make it furthest in the game? ARE YOU TOO SUFFERING FROM VOICE IMMODULATION? (Or at least investing in earplugs?) How did Ian become victim of a yellow unitard? Do you, like me, wish Dan would take off his vaguely racist headgear so we can return to liking him best? Do we think Ashley has ever watched Jeopardy, seriously? Is Willie Hantz feeling stupid for thinking he had the most famous celebrity relative in the house? Will Danielle boil a bunny (or, at least, Shane’s pink tank top) after learning he doesn’t want a showmance? And was OMC’s “How Bizarre” written about Shane’s hairline? Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: CBS] More: Big Brother Recap: Send In the Clowns Big Brother Recap: Let’s Get Physical Big Brother Recap: And the Evicted Houseguest Is…
  • The Horror Olympics: Which Possessed Girl Gets Gold?
    By: Kate Ward Jul 30, 2012
    Poor Jordyn Wieber. There was perhaps no sadder moment surrounding the 2012 London Olympics than watching Ryan Seacrest ask the gymnastics team about Justin Bieber the World Champion sobbing after getting knocked out of the All-Around Finals — just feet away from qualifying teammate Aly Raisman's televised victory interview. But Wieber should perk up as high as her ponytail — not only will she get a chance to Kerri Strug her way into winning her team Gold (hopefully sans ankle injury), but she could also boast a lucrative career in Hollywood. Doing what, you ask? Why, if horror movies have taught us anything, it's that there's a market for flexible possessed women.  Ever Linda Blair crab-walked her way down a set of stairs in a scene that was added for The Exorcist's 2000 theatrical re-release, the industry has realized nothing there's nothing more horrifying more than watching a girl bend her body in ways not seemingly possible. (You saw Raisman's parents watching her uneven bar routine last night, didn't you?) So how would scary movies' most notable bendy ladies fare in the Olympics? Let's see who would make the team — and who possessed us enough to pick up the Gold. Finalist: Psychiatric Ward Crawler, The Exorcist III (1990) Name: UnknownBest Event: Defying GravityHobbies: Singing the full track to WickedStrength: Helping you remember the existence of The Exorcist IIIWeakness: Appearing in The Exorcist IIIFinal Score: 55.32. Talk about a one-trick pony. Finalist: Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) Name: Emily RoseBest Event: RingsHobbies: Excessive work-out sessions, crying over Lundy. Oh wait, that's Deb Morgan.Strength: Season 4Weakness: Season 5Final Score: 60.03. Julia Stiles' terribleness really throws you off your game.  Bronze Medal: Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell), The Last Exorcism (2010) Name: Nell SweetzerBest Event: Floor ExerciseHobbies: Laundry.Strength: Scaring the hell out of everyone but herself.Weakness: Hygiene.Final Score: 61.78. Could a scrunchie-less gymnast perform any higher? Silver Medal: Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), The Exorcist (1973) Name: Regan MacNeilBest Event: Uneven BarsHobbies: Board games.Strength: Avoiding Home Alone-style paint cans.Weakness: A warm bowl of pea soup.Final Score: 62.5. Like Wieber, a heavy favorite who still failed to turn her head and notice the competition. Gold Medal: Rosalita (Bonnie Morgan), The Devil Inside (2012) Name: RosalitaBest Event: Unbalanced BeamHobbies: Yoga. Duh.Strength: Making Brendan Fraser-clap hands.Weakness: Fashion sense. Capris? What is this, 2000?Final Score: 63.00. Really, anyone else taking the title would be a stretch. (Har.)  Of course, these rankings are based on a biased judge who enjoys footage that can keep her up at night. So now, it's your turn: Which possessed lady would get your gold medal? <a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6428037/">Which possessed girl would you give the gold?</a> Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard More: Olympics Round-Up: World Record for Dana Vollmer, Hugs for Michelle Obama Olympic Round-Up: Lochte Beats Phelps, Archers Take Aim at Silver 7 Queen of England Memes (From the Olympics Opening Ceremony)
  • 'Big Brother' Recap: And the Evicted Houseguest Is...
    By: Kate Ward Jul 26, 2012
    What’s down must come up. And I’m not talking about the vomit stewing in my stomach every time Ashley opens her mouth. No, just as we saw last week, when Frank nearly went from unemployed to even more unemployed, Shane jumped from the chopping block — where he sat earlier this week after producers decided to Free Willie after he proved to be not-so-slick Willie — to this week’s new Head of Household. And, by the looks of things, Shane has put himself in a strong position — not only has he proven to be one of the only good competitors left in the Big Brother house, but his social game has allowed him to get away with hitting on everything with and without legs. And, judging by the fact that he’s managed to rope in two different ladies, it’s no wonder even his puca shell necklace can’t keep away. But the ladies, men, and enticing bagels in the house best be careful around the new HoH. No matter how addicted they might be to Shane, don’t they know that he’s toxic? First, he aligns with Willie before the lesser Hantz goes Willie-Nilly; then, eviction attention turned to flirtation buddy Danielle, who has since been replaced by a giant bottle of foundation; and, finally, Shane asks to share ham and water with JWOWW spirit animal JoJo, only to watch her walk right out the door Thursday night. Come to think of it, we haven’t seen that necklace in quite some time… Still, it’s clear all of Shane’s alliances are safe this week, including Danielle, who has the distinction of both being able to fade into beige backgrounds, and for being the Adam of Season 14. In other words, for doing absolutely nothing. Following Dan’s failed attempts to motivate Danielle through abandonment (otherwise known as the Katherine Jackson method), leaving the houseguest to do nothing but Cooper, Danielle simply moped her way into discovering, via Ian, that Shane was “trying to board the Staten Island Ferry” in the Have-Nots room. NEXT: “He’s becoming emancipated.” Now, I would like to say that Danielle was smart to bring the information to Janelle and Ashley, the first step into securing JoJo’s exit amongst showmance-wary houseguests. But I simply cannot, considering the following conversation about the lean Shane: Ashley: “He’s becoming emancipated.” Danielle: “What’s that mean?” It’s hard to believe that Ashley would confuse “emaciated,” a word for extreme weight loss, with “emancipated,” a word for the freedom of oppression, and Danielle, who knows neither word, would come out looking like the dumb one. (But she’s a nurse, guys!) Who would have thought Abe Lincoln was such a fan of the South Beach Diet? Tangent! Am I the only one who thinks underneath the blonde hair, spray tan, and dead stare, Ashley is secretly Season 14’s evil genius who reads The Art of War behind her Cosmo? I have no justification besides hoping that a member of humanity is simply not that dumb, but perhaps this whole world really is turning into a real-life Idiocracy. Now, excuse me while I search the Big Brother feeds for some butts. Okay, back! Alas, JoJo’s budding romance with Shane did indeed lead to her exit, though she certainly wasn’t blindsided. After all, as Britney noted, JoJo knows all, Audrey, oh, she knows! And JoJo herself addressed her inevitable exit during her final speech, telling the team, “I think you guys are making a mistake.” Surprisingly, she wasn’t talking to those inner voices that dressed her Thursday. (Also: If Big Brother producers are committed to a crime-free house, then they should have also kicked out Danielle’s bridesmaid Pepto-Bismol dress, which was an assault on all our eyes.) So Danielle is left to third wheel her way into Shane’s graces, even if the HoH was JoJo’s sole vote… and perhaps more. During her chat with Chenbot, JoJo revealed that Shane’s final words to her were “I love you” and “Good luck babe, stay strong, and I believe in you.” Chenbot, the good robot she is, neglected to ask a follow-up question in favor of oiling her servo brackets, and guide the remaining houseguests to a hockey-themed HoH competition that offered one game competitor NBC won’t in the next two weeks: Hockey. I’d go into specifics, but, really, the only thing to note is that Wig clearly perused Pinterest before he entered the Big Brother house. But! Before we go, Chenbot has revealed this year’s twist: America can vote on whether or not the coaches should join the game. Of course, there is little suspense here since, A) By spotlighting the coaches during the first two weeks, CBS has given viewers no choice but to vote to see Janelle, Britney, Boogie, and Dan in the game, and B) Les Moonves has programmed Chenbot to power dial in support of the coaches’ participation. I also heard Les Moonves loved Phillip Phillips. Tell me, were you surprised by last night’s elimination — and Shane’s victory? Disappointed we didn’t see what happens when a coach is eliminated? Want to follow Wig on Pinterest? Feel a kinship with JoJo knowing we’re not the only ones who talk to our TVs? Shocked that Chenbot has seen “homeskillet” Juno? Think Joe should get out of the kitchen and Guy Fieri’s ass? Feel not at all surprised knowing Ian was an RA at Tulane? (But surprised that Dr. Will picked him for the win?) And, finally, are you, like me, still laughing over Dr. Will’s comparing Dan to Kermit the Frog-meets-Ryan Seacrest? VOICE IMMODULATION OUT! Follow Kate on Twitter @HWKateWard [Image Credit: CBS] More: Big Brother Recap: Queso and JoJo Big Brother Recap: Willie or Won’t He? Big Brother Recap: Fruit Loops