Kelsea Stahler
Celebrity Editor Kelsea Stahler was born in a pile of dirt. Okay, she was actually born in an old Naval hospital in San Diego, which then became a pile of dirt and remained as such for a number of years before becoming a parking lot perfectly sized for circus tents, and finally a museum. She eventually left San Diego to attend New York University, where she studied Journalism and English literature — two less-than profitable liberal arts degrees about which guidance counselors warned her. Against all odds, she now resides in Brooklyn, where she fights the constant fear that the locals will soon discover she isn’t quite cool enough to live there, and makes a living writing absurd, pop culture features about Batman, zombies, vampires, funny people, and Ron Swanson.
  • 'True Blood' Season 6: Sookie's Holding Eric, Bill is Bloody Pissed, And Is That Warlow? — VIDEO
    By: Kelsea Stahler April 01, 2013 11:10am EST
    It's almost that time. The tempature is changing. The snow is melting. And Bon Temps is slowly making its way into view. True Blood Season 6 will soon be here.  But until June 16 is upon us, we'll survive on the few droplets of footage that HBO so graciously drops upon us, like this first teaser trailer (below) from the new season, which delivers flashes of our protagonist's fates heading into year six in supernatural Louisiana. Now that he's taken over the vampire goddess' role will Billith (Stephen Moyer) kill everyone? Will Sookie (Anna Paquin) fall into Eric's arms and give us a reason to care about her storyline again? Will Alcide (Joe Manganiello) take his shirt off? (Yes, duh.) Is Tara still angry? (Always.) Is that Warlow (the vampire who maybe killed Jason and Sookie's parents)? Does he have any idea what conditioner is?  RELATED: 'True Blood' Season Finale Recap: I'm Melting! More importantly, what's the meaning of all these ominious voiceovers? "If the humans want war, we'll give them war," says Eric (Alexander Skarsgård). But "there's no one left to protect now," according to Nora. "The tyrant is rising. It is the beginning of the end," says some eerie voice we're assuming is adding Warlow into the Bill/Lilith bloody mix. And of course, none of that really matters because as Billith so joyfully decrees: "We're all gonna burn!" Who's ready for another summer of steamy vampire/werewolf/faerie/whatever else these writers can think up action?  RELATED: True Blood vs. Vampire Diaries And because this short teaser is over far too quickly, we've conveniently stopped time (a few times) to bring you more lasting looks at Bon Temps' most interesting residents and their Season 6 whereabouts. It may not be June yet, but let's make these moments last as long as we can.  With Bill gone all bloody and evil, will Sookie end up with Eric? This snippet in which they seem to be stuck in an elevator (or at least a tiny room) might yield something steamy. (Please?) Pam's in trouble again. Yep, those are lasers and we're assuming the bullets aren't your standard issue metal.  Jessica's pout is back in full effect. It looks like she might have caught wind of Bill's fate as she flees the Authority scene with Nora and Jason.  Tara is still pissed at Pam, her mother-lover, or is it lover-mother? (P.S. Is anyone surprised?) Alcide is still allergic to shirts. Hey, werewolves run warm, okay? From the looks of this mysterious character, we're dealing with Warlow, the could-be killer of Sookie's parents. Scraggly hair? Check. Wide-brimmed hat? Check. Vampire fangs sneakily peeking out of that beard? Check. And we're thoroughly terrified of this guy.  Jason is clearly still on the warpath (he can't even stop long enough to clean that blood off his face), but who's this old woman whose face he's holding a gun to? In recent seasons, Lafayette has tended to have his own very separate story line, so whatever's going on in this shot, it's clear he's in trouble once again.  And finally, we have Billith, in all his psychotic glory. Of course, here's hoping his plan for mayhem stems beyond overtaking a circuit breaker.  Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: HBO (9)] You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 13 Most WTF Fan Tributes
  • Unhappy Hour: The Supreme Court Lets Us Down and 10 Other Reasons to Drink
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 30, 2013 1:04pm EST
      Each week, Hollywood gives us something to whine about, and the week of March 25 was no different. We could make a drinking game out of this week, but that would be too dangerous. Instead, we'll stick to the usual formula: varying levels of alcoholic respite depending on how bothersome the week's issues are. Is your biggest complaint this week a flimsy one? How about a light cocktail to take the edge off? Got a real bone to pick with a celeb or entertainment entity this week? Go ahead, grab a drink that'll put hair on your chest. Here are the week's entertainment stories that are forcing us to seek a bubbly or boozy refuge. And maybe an idea or two about how you should wash them down. Crack Open a Frosty Beer Someone let the Jesus Fresco Lady Design These Action Figures: Okay, not really. But seriously, why does Channing Tatum looka like-a shark? American Idol voters really need to stop voting for Lazaro Arbos: Though, if the ratings continue to nosedive, it won't matter anyway.  Robin Thicke, you're trying too hard: His new music video is literally four minutes of shirtless ladies dancing. And then there's the grandiose claim about his equipment.  Taylor Swift is New Girl's Potential Backslide: The show took a nosedive at the beginning of the season and now it's near perfect, how can Swift (who's proven she can't take a joke) possibly keep up that standard when she stops by? Let's Get a Little Crazy, Break Out the Sangria We wrote out some life advice for Amanda Bynes: And that's a reason to drink because she will never, ever read it. Ashley Judd isn't running for Senate: Damnit! We had so many jokes planned. What are we going to do with our mashup of Double Jeopardy and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington now? We now know how many women Hugh Hefner has slept with: And the worst part is, we'll never forget how many woman Hugh Hefner has slept with.  Jon Hamm doesn't want you to talk about his penis: And while I agree the chatter has gotten a little out of hand,  complaining about this huge compliment instead of making a guest appearance on SNL to do a sketch about it is all wrong. And it kind of makes him seem like a dick, and not the good kind.  Anyone Know How to Play 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall? The world has been so harsh on Kim Kardashian's pregnancy weight, that I actually feel sympathetic towards her: Yeah. The woman who was skyrocketted to fame by starring in a sex tape with Ray J has earned my sincere sympathy. Maybe we should stop fat-shaming her, okay? Justin Bieber is out of control: It was one thing when we were making jokes about him throwing temper tantrums about his birthday, but now he's being investigated for battery and it's not fun anymore.  Supreme Court, you're doing it wrong: While there's still potential for the right decision to be made, the fact that the court was split on the decision to uphold Prop 8, the California proposition that prevents gay marriage, instead of striking it down is absurd. And unfortunately, the court doesn't take the percentage of red equals sign Facebook avatars into account. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler You Might Also Like:15 Oscar-Winning Nude Scenes10 Insane 'Star Wars' Moments You Didn't Notice
  • Barbara Walters' Retirement: Why TV Journalism Will Never Find Her Replacement
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 29, 2013 1:51pm EST
    Barbara Walters' reported retirement at 83 doesn't just mark the end of an illustrious, wildly successful career that spans 52 years. It marks the end of a dying breed: The larger-than-life woman TV journalist.  It's without an ounce of sentimentality or nostalgia that I say, no one will ever be able to replace Walters —  because Walters' position no longer exists.  RELATED: Barbara Walters To Retire? Most famous for her incredible interviewing skills, Walters is often named on the list of the industry's best female journalists of all time, a list that sadly doesn't usually inch past 20 names. (The Atlantic's recent list makes it to 22 while top journalism school New York University stops short at 21, but both include Walters.) But her impact goes beyond the practice of TV journalism, in which she excelled by becoming the first ever female national nightly news co-anchor, followed by her newsworthy interview series The Barbara Walters Specials. Walters covered all angles of our culture, leading her to become a pop culture icon in addition to her success as a newswoman, even landing a spot on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time — a list that included Dick Van Dyke, Lassie, and Miss Piggy. In a way, Walters became the most famous face of women in journalism throughout her career. Now that she's stepping down, it's hard to imagine anyone, even the likes of Katie Couric or Christiane Amanpour, taking up her mantle.  Couric and Amanpour are important examples because they both represent different segments of Walters' legacy.  Couric is forging the path as the "new Walters," coming up through the Today Show machine, being outsed as a nightly national news anchor (Walters was booted when viewers failed to accept her as a female nightly news anchor), and starting up her own series that makes headlines for its interviews. But Couric's career slides a little away from Walters' monumental example, with her daytime talk show Katie angling more towards Oprah than a Barbara Walters Special  with episodes titled "Tina Fey & Paul Rudd’s College Confessions" and "How to De-Stress Your Life with Goldie Hawn and Deepak Chopra." Amanpour, on the other hand, is all business. Known primarily for her reporting, Amanpour is more of an investigative journalist than Walters, but it's her nightly news interview series Amanpour (in addition to her position as CNN's chief international reporter) that could put her at an angle to take up mantle of Walters' long list of landmark interviews, including Fidel Castro, Indira Gandhi, and Hugo Chavez.  The issue, however, is that there is no singular woman in TV journalism who is primed and ready to take up Walters' post, effortlessly balancing the seriousness of hard-hitting journalism and the pop culture appeal of a host on The View. And there never will be. Amanpour, Rachel Maddow, and MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell may be some of the leading women in TV journalism, but they're not Walters, and it's not entirely clear that they even want to be.  RELATED: Why Barbara Walters Thinks These People Are So Fascinating Part of that comes from the way in which online journalism is segmenting TV reporting. Because of the rise of online journalism and the ability to access it through mobile devices, TV news is slowly declining. A recent study from the Pew Research Center for People and the Press reports that the number of people under 30 who get their news from television has decreased from 49 percent in 2006 to 34 percent in 2012. Meanwhile the number of people who get their news online, through social media (which includes through journalists' own Twitter feeds) has increased from nine percent to 19, and it's growing.  At the same time, few serious women journalists on TV could even qualify for a gig like Walters' post on the view. It was about a year ago that Anne Curry was pushed out of the Today Show, a spot she'd more than earned, because her style was too austere and weighty, where the show was seeking light-heartedness and fluff. Now, the morning program is reportedly seeking Anderson Cooper as a potential savior — not because of his extensive experience as a reporter, but rather his ability to cuddle Grumpy Cat, field Kathy Griffin's sexual advances on live TV, and become a giggling mess at the mention of a Gerard Depardieu bathroom pun. At this rate, it seems more likely that we'll see Miss Grumpy Cat herself or Kid President take over Walters' yearly "10 Most Fascinating People" program, than a serious personality like Maddow or Amanpour.  RELATED: Barbara Walters Has the Chicken Pox - Get Well Soon! But this lack of a Walters' successor isn't necessarily something to mourn — Barbara, herself, will be missed, but her position won't be, necessarily. While women journalists still have a long way to go to match the numbers and fame of their male counterparts, her placement as a sort of catch-all persona for the plight of the woman reporter has done all it can. It proved that a journalist at the top of their field doesn't have to be a man; it proved that an interview with a political leader can be just an influential as one with a pop icon; it proved that a woman could become wildly famous for more than her beauty or her charm, but for the brain inside her head. And as we move further and further into an age of famed Internet-based journalists and more specialized TV journalists like Amanpour — who has a lock on international news — and Maddow, who built her career on her outspokenness and honesty rather than her universal appeal, the echo of Walters' influence is everpresent. And in a way that's the highest compliment she could be paid: she's infinitely influential and completely irreplaceable.  Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credits: Donna Svennevik/ABC; Peter Kramer/AP Photo] You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 13 Most WTF Fan Tributes
  • 'American Idol' Results: And Then There Were Two (Boys)
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 28, 2013 8:57pm EST
    After making us wait 43 minutes of airtime to get even a whiff of results, American Idol delivered the most predictable cast-off: Devin Velez. Sure, it was nice to see Colton Dixon, Katharine McPhee, and dreamy judge Keith Urban perform, but not at the cost of seeing results on a results show. But eventually, the Chicago native was eliminated and failed to earn the judges' covetted save after being placed in the bottom three for the third time.  Joining Velez in the hot seat were Burnell Taylor and Lazaro Arbos, whose charm seems to be waning with voters after his terrible performance last week and the subsequent lie about how much time he'd had to learn it. Burnell was immediately deemed safe, and he ran to celebrate with the top five ladies, one of whom is definitely taking home the title this season.  RELATED: Burnell Taylor Says a Girl Will Win 'Idol' And while we've all hoped a girl could have a real shot at the title this season, it's practically a cake walk for the young women in Season 12. While Devin and Lazaro aren't quite up to the task, Burnell is a wealth of talent and artistry whose potential means nothing as long as these five shiny ladies are onstage to win our affection. We wanted to see a lady win, but not at the cost of an interesting season.  RELATED: Can a Girl Win 'American Idol'? Of course, while the girls' domination is starting to get a wee bit boring, at least the voters' minds are starting to change in the case of Lazaro, who has shown his talent is no longer strong enough for this competition. If Devin can't hold a candle to these ladies (and he can't), how can anyone think Lazaro can? He's a sweet kid and I wish him well, but if he's safe next week while Burnell walks the plank, I will be one angry Idol fan.  Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Getty Images] You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 13 Most WTF Fan Tributes
  • 'New Girl,' Bringing On Taylor Swift For the Season Finale Is a Viewer-Grubbing Backslide
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 28, 2013 5:12pm EST
    No. No. No. No. New Girl is bringing Taylor Swift on board for its Season 2 finale, according to the Hollywood Reporter. And as a fan of the series and all the work it has done to come back into our critical good graces, I cannot condone this. New Girl, you are backsliding. And for what? A few fly-by-night viewers?  It takes enough of my patience to get past Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and her doe-eyed schtick long enough to accept the true beauty of the Fox series, especially after she spent the first half of the episode in anti-feminist purgatory. Jess, in all her Peter Pan-collar glory, wallowed for 12 episodes while her roommates carried everything — she regressed right back into the position of a helpless manic pixie dream girl who can't stop watching Dirty Dancing. Only, in Round 2, Jess was also jobless and somewhat ambitionless. One-two-punch.  RELATED: Does Fox's Ladies Night Have a Lady Problem? Even now, as she and Nick (Jake Johnson) are doing the will-they-won't-they dance to utter perfection, if it wasn't for Nick's ability to balance Jess, it would be almost unbearable to watch. (Does anyone else remember how sickening her canoodling with David Walton's adorable Dr. Sam was? And not just because we wished Sam was Nick.) The fact of the matter is that Jess' '50s inspired, cupcake-riddled swag is about as much cutesy schtick as we can handle. Adding Taylor "I wrote this song about a certain ex-boyfriend" Swift into the mix now that the show has finally managed to strike the right balance is worrisome.  Not to mention, as we learned very recently, Swift has a hard time taking a joke, even one from two of the most beloved comediennes in the business. How can we possible respect seeing Swift on this hilarious show when she can't even play nice with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler? RELATED: Is New Girl Going Anti-Feminist? Look, I'm not saying combining Swift and New Girl is going to create a dragon breathing fire on all of feminismland and lay waste to all of our progress. What I am saying is that bringing Swift on as a guest star is cutesy, cheap spot of stunt casting that serves to undermine a series that has worked so hard to go from zero to genuine and heartfelt this season.  Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Christopher Polk/Billboards2012/Getty Images] You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 13 Most WTF Fan Tributes
  • Amanda Bynes, Twitter Is Not a Court of Law: 8 Life Lessons For The 'Fashion Designer'
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 28, 2013 2:51pm EST
    Are you following Amanda Bynes on Twitter? If you're not, you're missing out some serious of life coaching... in the form of witnessing someone do the opposite of what any normal human should be doing. Unfortunately, it appears that Bynes really believes she's got this whole being a human gig down pat. If "down pat" means making everyone think you've gone full Joaquin Phoenix, then sure. You've got personhood on lock, cupcake.  RELATED: Is Amanda Bynes' Attitude An Act? Today in Amandaland, we learned how the law works according to Bynes. Apparently, all one has to do to start a lawsuit is be annoyed or offended and @-reply the offending party while declaring that the suit is on.   I'm suing @usweekly & @perezhilton for continuing to act like I'm doing something wrong by tweeting and walking to photoshoots. Fuck you!!!! — Amanda Bynes (@AmandaBynes) March 28, 2013   Look, we know we're probably up creek without a paddle (with which we would knock ourselves out, hopefully get amnesia, and forget this whole thing ever happened), but someone has to try to break through that barrier of selfie-mirror photo glare and whatever Bynes' new hairdo is made of to make some form of sense. For all that is good and holy (and for Drake, who's probably tired of the rest of the world tweeting at him in hopes that he'll respond to Bynes' sexual requests) listen to our advice. Amanda, please! 1. Twitter is not a court of law. Believe it or not, Michael Scott had to have an accountant to declare bankrupcy for him and you probably need a lawyer if you plan on suing those publications, however unsuccessfuly. 2. You can't sue someone for "acting like" your Twitter feed is insane. Especially because Us Weekly and are two of about a million sites, magazines, Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and at this point, actual real-life conversations about how (we'll be kind here) intriguing your Tweets are.  RELATED: Amanda Bynes' Drake Obsession Just Got Awkward 3. Selfies in the mirror are obnoxious and should have died with the Myspace era. Selfies in the mirror with a flash actually died before the Myspace era did.  Looking pudgy and I broke my nail — Amanda Bynes (@AmandaBynes) March 26, 2013 4. Also, "Looking pudgy" and "broke my nail" aren't "#GirlProblems," they're annoying girl problems.  This isn't 1950 — women are allowed to do more than twirl their hair and worry about their looks now (heck, we can even join the work force!). So... Knock. It. Off.  5. You can't read photos. Maybe you should read the dictionary.  Only read my twitter for photos of me! — Amanda Bynes (@AmandaBynes) March 16, 2013 6. Actually, it does matter what you think about yourself. That's kind of the whole point of everything ever. "All that matters is what your lover thinks of you." Really, Amanda? I'm sure that when Hillary Clinton was plotting her campaign for president at the age of 12, she thought, "You know, being a self-sufficient, strong woman with presidential aspirations is cool and all, but if my future husband or lover isn't into it, I'll probably just quit." It doesn't matter what you think about yourself. All that matters is what your lover thinks of you. — Amanda Bynes (@AmandaBynes) March 28, 2013   RELATED: Amanda Bynes Debuts Baffling New Look 7. You can't hate the Dalai Lama and love someone named Troy Sex. Bynes declared that if she's not following someone on Twitter, it's because she hates them. The five lucky people she follows, including Barack Obama and someone named Troy Sex, are safe from her wrath. (Translation: You can bet she won't try to sue them in 140 characters.) The Dalai Lama, however, is S.O.L. If I'm not following you on twitter, I hate you — Amanda Bynes (@AmandaBynes) March 17, 2013   8. You don't actually want anyone to "murder" your vagina. Drake's hot. We'll give you that, but I think I speak for people who appreciate vaginas when I say, vaginas are best left un-murdered. I want @drake to murder my vagina — Amanda Bynes (@AmandaBynes) March 22, 2013   Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Splash News] You Might Also Like:15 Oscar-Winning Nude Scenes10 Insane 'Star Wars' Moments You Didn't Notice
  • 'Idol' Dreams Dashed Already? Burnell Taylor Says He Won't Win — A Girl Will
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 28, 2013 12:25pm EST
    Can a girl win American Idol? The answer is "yes," if you ask the men in the Top 8. As it turns out, American Idol producers may really get their wish after pushing for a girl all season.  RELATED: Can a Girl Win 'American Idol'? After his sub-par group performance with Devin Velez and Lazaro Arbos (the one that made Nicki Minaj so angry, she chastized them like they were her own children), Burnell Taylor spoke with about his ambitions in the competition. "I’m being totally honest because I’m 100 percent real: my goal is to win but it’s pretty obvious that a girl is going to win," says Taylor. But the singer with whom Minaj offered to duet isn't disappointed about what he sees as a surefire outcome for Season 12. "A girl hasn’t won in a long time. I wouldn’t mind if a girl wins, so long as I’m standing next to her," he says. And while Taylor surely seems to be right, the top performances Wednesday night were mostly from women, it's a bit strange that he's so candid about knowing this early on that he's not going to earn a confetti shower at the end. But he's not alone. Velez is even more certain that he's not going to be the last singer standing. RELATED: The 'Idol' Top 10 Take on Motown Classics "I want to move to the next round but I am not going to say that I want to be Number 1. Next week’s theme will be fun, so I hope that it pays off," says Velez. Still, he joined a singing competition and he clearly loves to sing. Why wouldn't he want to win something like Idol? "I think it’s a lot of responsibility and it gets complicated and you get tied down and I want to fly," he adds. All this talk of realistic expectations and even acceptance of one's inability to win is a little strange. Idol is a show built on dreams, however unrealistic. It's a place that continues to give Arbos a shot because his courage through adversity demands it, even if his vocals aren't up to par. It's a show that lives and breathes on the belief that anyone of these contestants can pull ahead in the competition at any moment, however rare that possibility actually is.  RELATED: Top 'Idol' Guys Know Their Performance Was Awful Velez's and Taylor's assertions that they're simply not this season's winners is disheartening, Velez's probably more so than Taylor's. To say that you don't even want to win is almost insulting, and let's not forget what happened to Mario Vazquez in Season 4 when he flat out quit early on in the competition on the grounds that he could do just as well as someone who made it to the finals. (Nothing. Nothing happened for Vazquez.) Velez isn't about to quit, but it's strange that his attitude already has. Taylor's support of the ladies is admirable, but it does lend a feeling of predictability to the competition. If the contestants already know who's going to win, how can we find any drama or surprise in their future performances? Reporting by Jean Bentley Follow Kelsea and Jean on Twitter @KelseaStahler and @Hijean [Photo Credit: Michael Becker/Fox] You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 13 Most WTF Fan Tributes
  • 'Law & Order: SVU' Takes on 'Legitimate Rape' and a Terrifyingly Effective What-If Scenario
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 28, 2013 1:43am EST
    Law & Order: SVU just dug up a concept we thought died back in 2012 on Wednesday night, but by the end of the episode, the series makes an irrefutable case and in a big way. When Representative Todd Akin of Missouri went on television to declare that a “legitimate rape” couldn’t possibly result in pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” the last thing I would ever have supposed is that the concept would inspire a Law & Order episode. When he was bested by Senator Claire McCaskill in the election for the Senate, it was pretty clear that his radical views on female anatomy and the idea that some rapes were somehow more “legitimate” than others was at least partly to blame for his fade into the background. RELATED: Daniel Tosh Rape Joke Firestorm: Are You Having a Laugh? It was even more clear that Akin’s concept was so ridiculous, it would go down as nothing more than a bizarre blip in politics of days gone by. Yet somehow, SVU picked up the long-cooled concept and made drastic and effective claim with a what-if scenario that reeks of science-fiction, but aligns itself with the terrifying truth. The March 27 episode follows young sports reporter Avery Jordan (guest star Lauren Cohan of The Walking Dead) as she attempts to prove that her former friend and cameraman raped her. It’s a typical episode of SVU until two elements come into play: First, because Avery was in shock when Rick forced himself on her, she couldn’t even muster the word “No,” making it difficult to prove the sex was non-consensual. Second, Avery became pregnant as a result of the rape and Rick employs an Akin stand-in as a quack and former doctor who tries to convince the jury that during a legitimate rape, the body responds to stress by shutting down the reproductive process (also known as a crazier version of the same nonsense Akin spewed back in August). Proving that the sexual encounter, which happened weeks before Avery braved coming forward, happened against her will is suddenly an uphill battle. As Detective Rollins (Kelli Giddish) tells Avery, even the bruises she sustained will just cause the defense to “say you liked it rough. A single woman on the road with mostly men...” After losing everything, including her network executive lover and the job she worked so hard for, a very pregnant Avery struggles into court where she comes face to face with Rick, who’s being accused of stalking her in addition to raping her. RELATED: Louis C.K. Didn't Know He Was Defending Daniel Tosh's Rape Joke Thanks to some great casting, Rick is easy to hate. He’s a slimeball that the viewer and the jury can find guilty almost immediately, but questions like “Maybe he thought you had a relationship since you acted like nothing was wrong?” breed doubt. Well, they breed doubt to a degree. Eventually it’s obvious to us that he did stalk her and when he, as his own lawyer, absurdly grills Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay) about whether or not she hates men or if she thinks all men are rapists, he’s convicted as far as we’re concerned. That’s why it stings so greatly when a single seed of doubt planted by Rick and his quack doctor forces the jury to convict Rick on charges of stalking while acquitting him of the rape portion of the charges. This outcome would be a dark enough look at the potential impact of even a small section of the population maintaining such backward ideas about rape and women’s issues, but it gets worse. When Avery’s baby is born, Rick slaps her with a lawsuit for custody of the child. As Avery’s public defender so helpfully explains, it is legal in over 40 states for rapists to seek custody of their biological children. Though, even if that weren’t true, thanks to one woman’s uncertainty about how rape works, Rick is not considered a rapist in the eyes of the law. At the very least, Rick’s vindictive, sinister nature helps save Avery, who’s since lost her job and is on a steady diet of anti-depressants thanks to her ordeal with Rick, from losing her son to her rapist. It doesn’t however, allow the judge to prevent Rick from seeing his biological son. The judge reluctantly grants Rick two-hour supervised visits every Saturday, and in effect sentences Avery, a victim of rape, to a weekly visit with the man who violated her so he can bond with her young, developing son. If the sheer anguish on Avery’s face isn’t indication enough, the poor woman has just been sentenced to her own personal prison. Her rapist must legally be in her life. Benson, whose conception was the result of her mother’s rape, knows just how excruciating that fate can be, and in the happiest ending possible considering all that Avery has been through, Benson sends her out of the country on a private plane and “beyond extradition.” RELATED: Terrifying Ford Ad Angers Kardashians This seemingly melodramatic plot line may have seen every possible thing go wrong for Avery, and thus seemed too far-fetched to say anything about the process of convicting rapists in the U.S., but in truth, it simply exercised the rules in place and showed them to be as flawed as they are. And the episode, despite its outdated legitimate rape peg, couldn’t come at more turbulent time. On television, the concept of rape came into question recently when Adam on Girls had forceful, unpleasant sex with his girlfriend Natalia. She didn’t say no and he didn’t hit her, but she did not appear to be consenting to the sexual experience. It begged the question, was that rape? The question hit a national stage when the Steubenville rape case became front page news. Two teen boys were convicted of raping a classmate after they violated her while she was drunk and barely conscious. Debates raged when sympathizers for the convicted parties suggested that because the girl was drunk, she was somehow responsible for the sexual acts she was made to perform and that the teen boys didn’t know what they were doing was rape, despite the law which, thanks to a 2012 expansion, states that it was. The SVU episode popped up at a time when the understanding of rape is becoming more clear to the public. For a long time, rape was a sexual encounter that occurs after the victim says "no," but the definition of common consciousness is that of a sexual encounter that occurs in any capacity without the victim’s consent, even if that victim is unable to speak for themselves or is stunned into silence, like SVU’s Avery. The NBC procedural gave us a terrifying glance at what could happen if all of these things — the misunderstanding of what consent is, archaic laws and beliefs about rape, and inability to prove a rapist’s guilt with hard evidence — were to go wrong and the result is a terrifying one. While few people likely disagree that the legislation on rape doesn’t completely protect victims (and the courts are already taking steps to change that), the mentality can’t just change on the side of the law and in the minds of those who are already aware of the problem. All it took was one doubtful juror to set Avery’s hellish outcome in motion, and if even fictional examples like SVU’s can provide even the smallest nudge in the right direction, future and past victims of rape may be that much closer to justice. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Michael Parmelee/NBC] You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 13 Most WTF Fan Tributes
  • 'American Idol' Recap: Janelle Arthur and the One-Episode Comeback
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 27, 2013 11:56pm EST
    Janelle Arthur hasn’t been in danger on American Idol, so don’t panic just yet. Detroit music night didn’t take down the country queen with a Motown challenge. She did, however, sink down low and come right back up to the top in an hour of television on Wednesday night. It was a perfect narrative, played out before the episode was even halfway over. And it brought her dark horse status up another peg. Of course, adding to Janelle’s rise was the fall of another girl or two. Both Angie Miller and Kree Harrison, while still fairly great, feel a wee bit from grace, Angie a little more than Kree because Angie dropped everything we love about her for a “fun” performance of “Shop Around.” RELATED: Did 'American Idol' Voters Get It Right? Making things even more interesting were Amber Holcomb and Devin Velez, who both stepped up their game after being in the bottom two last week. And if we didn’t have a hard enough time deciding on favorites, Burnell Taylor and Candice Glover were amazing as always. Lazaro Arbos was also there, and not nearly as terrible as last week, though he seems a bit out of place in this tenacious group. With the songs of Detroit (and people from Detroit), here are our top eight contestants in order from best to worst: 1. Janelle Arthur with “You Keep Me Hangin On” Before Janelle got to her own solo performance, she was paired with competition darling Kree for a performance of “Like a Prayer.” And while Keith Urban and Mariah Carey praised the girls for supporting each other when the lyrics got the better of them, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson pointed out the obvious: Kree outshined Janelle. Luckily for Janelle, when she took to the stage for her countrified version of the Supremes song, she stole back the spotlight. She’s almost cheating by rearranging this song so completely, but in the end it doesn’t matter. This is her sweet spot. She sits there comfortably with a guitar at the center of the stage, plucking our heart strings by bringing out the true gravity and angst of the lyrics of the song, something Keith points out we’ve never seen before. And the rubies on the top of Janelle’s tiara come when she ends her performance with adorable, genuine tears in her eyes and tells Keith, who she was afraid to play for, that her guitar was made by her uncle. If anyone won the night, it’s Janelle. 2. Burnell Taylor with “My Cherie Amour” I’m going to go ahead and admit my bias: If you’ve been reading these recaps you know Burnell is one of my favorites, but you may not know that “My Cherie Amour” is one of my all-time favorite songs. And Burnell sang it to perfection as only he could. I do, however, worry about Burnell, because as we saw this week, Burnell isn’t exactly great as moving around the stage as your average pop star, but he is so much more. When Nicki called him “artsy” I realized why broad audiences might have trouble latching onto what Burnell does, but it is artistic. It is wonderful. And it is 100 percent Burnell. All I can do is hope that voters love him as much as I do. RELATED: Can a Girl Win 'American Idol'? 3. Amber Holcomb with “Lately” Finally, Amber gave us a connection to her performance. As always, her vocals are flawless and effortless, but we’ve come to expect that at this point and she still ended up on the chopping block last week. Guest mentor Smokey Robinson tells her the same thing I’ve been saying: you have to make people believe that you connect. And she does it. She doesn’t need to try on the vocal, so it’s clear that she’s putting more effort into making that connection. It was great to finally see her join us in 2013 instead of getting stucking in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and while her performance wasn’t the complete package, she did give the best vocals of the night, as Randy said. 4. Candice Glover with “Heard It Through the Grapevine” Smokey Robinson was not wrong when he said “She is singing personified.” And if Amber hadn’t worked so hard to move up the ranks this week, Candice would be right back in the Top 3. Her rendition of “Heard It Through the Grapevine” is a little too ‘80s with the use of the sax and she had a few small imperfections in her voice, but when it comes down to it, Candice and the music are one. She’s not learning someone else’s song and singing it, she simply is the music. So while she may not be the tops for me this week, she is the number one singer on this show overall. 5. Kree Harrison with “Don’t Play That Song” Kree may have made Smokey Robinson swoon when she sang his best friend Aretha Franklin’s song, but when she hit the stage, something didn’t quite meet Smokey’s praises. Don’t get me wrong, our Kree is not capable of being awful, but she is capable of picking a song that stretches her to a few less-than-perfect places. There were parts that clearly strained her, where she looked up into the sky, searching for the note. But she is still one of the most talented people on this show and the judges are right: it is admirable to take on Aretha. So she may have had a few hiccups, but all in all, Kree pulled it off. 6. Devin Velez with “Tracks of My Tears” Once again, Devin has come back into his sweet spot and he’s even added a little something extra: a smile. The problem is, he’s earning back our affection when we’ve already laid so much of it on the girls (Angie, Kree, Janelle, and Candice) and he still feels a little stiff. Still, Devin is clearly a talented singer. I’d like to say we’ll see him open up even more as the competition continues, but if his bottom three trend continues, his inability to jump all the way to the front of the pack may be his undoing. 7. Angie Miller with “Shop Around” What happened to our Angie? Sure, the girl was having fun, but this felt remarkably like Allison Williams’ sad performance of “Stronger” on the Season Finale of Girls, except that when Angie got to the worst part (the moment she seemed to flub the lyrics) she knew it. She’s still got a good voice, but the only thing that keeps Angie from veering off into boring territory is the fact that when she bonds with a song a chemical reaction takes place. In this performance, even when the vocal was good, that chemical reaction was missing and she simply sounded like some well-dressed young lady on Star Search, and we know this girl can do better. RELATED: Is Lazaro Arbos Losing His Grip on the Competition? 8. Lazaro Arbos with “For Once in My Life” With a great song choice, Lazaro’s confidence is back, he’s doing his Lazaro thing. But for me, it’s still not enough to surpass the other singers in the competition. It constantly feels like he’s chasing the song everytime he sings, even when he’s as excited about a song as he is about this one. Even in the group number, when his imperfections should be nice and comfy, masked by the other singers, it’s Lazaro’s voice that brings the performance down. His pitch is still off. His voice still lacks the strength and pleasant quality he needs to keep up with the other contestants, and the judges seem to know that, but all they can do is call out his strengths and tell him he’s got courage. This is why the poor kid is stuck in a competition that constantly points out how behind he is compared to his peers. Who do you think will go home? But who really should go home? Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Michael Becker/Fox (2)] You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 13 Most WTF Fan Tributes
  • 'Bad Fashion' Is Not an Excuse to Fat-Shame Kim Kardashian
    By: Kelsea Stahler March 27, 2013 5:11pm EST
    Kim Kardashian is opportunistic. Audacious. Shameless. The wee bit of Jane Austen in us all might even say she’s wanton. As the poster child for living without consequences — a reputation earned by the surge of popularity that followed her Ray J sextape — Kardashian's long been used as a symbol for the problems with American society. It’s largely because of her that some impressionable young people seem to think the “American Dream” is having your daily life featured on an E! reality show. Her populartity even soared after her sham of a marriage while her allegedly duped, soon-to-be ex-husband Kris Humphries was branded a “sad sap” or “sucker.” But now, it’s not Kardashian who’s the problem. It’s us. Exboritant levels of criticism are being cast at Kardashian every time she dares to parade her pregnant belly before the paparazzi, and much of it is sneaking by under the guise of "fashion critique." But poor wardrobe or not, Kim's situation is proof that it’s far too normal for the fat pregnant woman discussion to gain traction. It’s gotten so bad for Kardashian that she’s swiftly gone from shameless to sympathetic in the eyes of those whose hearts are still shut to the practice of fat-shaming. RELATED: Kardashians Are Fuming Over Ford Ad As soon as she became pregnant with Kanye West’s child, the reality star became a punching bag for the most ruthless voices on the Internet and in the tabloids — even the ones who hide their criticisms behind claims about her poor style choices. And while her lifestyle and her wardobe may be abhorrent to some, the cavalier manner in which Kardashian has been shamed by some segments of the media and legions of fans is worse than anything she could have done in front of a camera (even that sex tape). Tabloid headlines boast Karshashian’s status as “Pregnant and Alone!” while others estimate her weight at 200 (plus) pounds or claim she “can’t stop eating.” Rumors about West’s recent sexual disinterest in the star claim that she’s too rotund to be attractive. A quick turn on Twitter reveals attacks like “$20 Kim kardashian stays fat after her baby” and “Kim kardashian looks pretty damn fat! I think the worlds prayers have been answered.” Every interview she does for her upcoming role in Tyler Perry’s Temptation eventually dives into discussion of her pregnancy and a call for her to deny the amount of her weight gain. And as some sort of sinister pièce de résistance, TMZ recently posted a video titled “Who’s Fatter: Pregnant Kim Kardashian or Pregnant Jessica Simpson?” in which the narrator says pregnant women aren’t fat "they’re just glowing (with chicken grease)."  RELATED: Kim and Kanye May Name Their Baby North West Society loves to bash the Kardashians. They're easy targets, especially Kim. But justifiable disgust with Kardashian’s glamorous, frivolous lifestyle is only the excuse, and a flimsy one at that, for a torrent of bad behavior. The real issue is that the act of fat-shaming a pregnant starlet, whose only actual "crime" is bringing another life into this world, has become a normalized behavior. We were shown the way with Jessica Simpson, who was already struggling with her weight and the antagonistic comments it inspired when she became pregnant in late 2011. She endured countless Photoshopped images of her body bloated far beyond its pregnant shape and had to verify that her “oversized” baby bump “Isn’t Twins!” Similarly, Hilary Duff was greeted with headlines about her "waddling" to yoga, claims that she was "still fat" after giving birth, and even one article pitting her in a race to the bigger belly with Simpson. In November of 2012, Adele, who’s often praised for embracing her voluptuous figure in an industry that prizes slim frames, was greeted with despicable comments when she announced the secret birth of her son. Even famed comedian and Fashion Police host Joan Rivers (who, granted, isn't know for her tact) got in on the conversation, saying, "Congratulations to Adele on the birth of her 68 pound 8 ounces bouncing baby boy." Still, some writers have tried to legitimize this discussion by shifting the focus to Kardashian’s questionable pregnancy wardrobe instead of just her shape. The most recent offender being the New York Post, whose Tuesday cover ran with the headline “What the Frock?” as a way of calling out Kardashian for attempting to hide her baby bump with a voluminous dress and high heels, the subtext being that she should embrace her pregnancy with comfortable clothes. While others have waged milder attacks — calling her looks “unflattering” or "too form fitting" and suggesting that she perhaps tone down the glam while she’s carrying around Baby Kimye in her belly — the criticisim as a whole reeks of disgust with Kardashian's body and not the clothes she decides to wrap it in. RELATED: Kimye Naked on Magazine Cover - PIC Simpson rode out her pregnancy in caftans, leggings, and Ugg boots, but that didn’t stop claims that she was so large that she was "unrecognizable." Adele went into hiding while she enjoyed her pregnancy in the privacy of her own home, and even she couldn’t escape the "So Adele was pregnant all along. I thought she was just ... fat" commentary. No ammount of "just embrace it" mentality spared these women, why would it spare Kardashian? The truth is that the problem is not Kim’s attitude, her way of life, her boyfriend, and it’s definitely not her wardrobe. We — as a society of people ever-ready to give our two cents, no matter how crass or cruel, and to bring larger-than-life celebs down to our level at all costs — are the problem. No amount of sweatpants or ballerina flats (which she wore the other day, by the way) is going to stop the barrage of criticism, and every time we look for an excuse to bash Kardashian, we get further away from the real solution: a complete and total ceasefire on Kim and any other pregnant celeb who follows in her stilettoed footsteps. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Pacific Coast News; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; NY Post] You Might Also Like:15 Oscar-Winning Nude Scenes10 Insane 'Star Wars' Moments You Didn't Notice