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Is Jon Hamm the perfect human being? Is he even human, or is he one of those almost-humans from “The Event” whose DNA differs from ours by 1 percent? Is he related to Greg, who is not an alien and who also hasn’t been in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch in awhile?
(I miss Greg. And I miss “What Up with That?” Why can’t they do it every week?)
Jon Hamm is definitely the perfect “Saturday Night Live” host. Alec Baldwin used to be the best 21st century SNL host, but in his third round Jon Hamm handily displaces Baldwin (who is no slouch himself).
Hamm — he says he calls himself Hamm and I’m still hoping for another Hamm & Buble sketch — is calm, cool, confident, naturally funny and not exactly hard to look at.
It’s weird to think he’s famous for playing uber-serious, brow-furrowed Don Draper on “Mad Men” since, on SNL, Hamm is funny even in stasis. He’s like Bill Murray — he can make me laugh even before he says or does anything just ’cause I know something good is coming. (Bill Hader too.)
And something good finally came this week, after a pretty disappointing season so far, including the waste of Jane Lynch. (At least Bryan Cranston got that bottle of sparkling apple juice.)
Most of the episode was on its A game, from the cold open to Rihanna returning for another Shy Ronnie Digital Short. (Although I miss Stefan from last week’s Weekend Update. Love Stefan.)
Jon Hamm was all over the place — like Betty White last season, as opposed to some weaker hosts who hide in the background. I loved his long honking “best cry ever” on “I Didn’t Ask for This” and, of course, the kiss with Jason Sudeikis in the CHiPs-like “Highway Cops.” Those wigs!
Also loved the “Back to the Future” anniversary edition “never before seen audition tapes,” allowing the SNL cast to show off their impersonations.
It’s sweeps month and you know SNL is breaking out the big guns when Bill Hader is in almost every skit. From Vincent Price to Alan Alda, he’s the Ace they still have up their sleeves.
It’s a shame they had to hire a bunch of new faces when all they need to do is give more to Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Kenan Thompson. I’m not a Kristen Wiig hater, but I think it’s time to give more to Vanessa Bayer. She’s the new person with the most potential.
When Hamm returns for a fourth hosting gig — sooner rather than later, I hope — can I request another Digitial Short with Sergio?
*** SKETCH BREAKDOWN ***
Cold Open: Great opening by Jason Sudeikis as Vice President Joe Biden, telling Americans to stop whining and think mining. “Are you above ground?” Love him. So glad they didn’t do another Obama opener.
Monologue: Awesome. Jon Hamm comes up with ad slogans for purses, diapers … even 9 volt batteries. And he repeatedly calls Bill Hader a woman, telling him/her to call him after the show. Bill Hader doesn’t mind ’cause hey, it’s Jon Hamm. I love how easy Hamm makes this look. Bad hosts make me nervous with their lack of confidence or desperation to impress.
SNL Digital Short: Ronnie and Clyde, the return of Shy Ronnie and Rihanna. I’m warming to Shy Ronnie (Andy Samberg). Rihanna looks gorgeous. They rob a bank and Rihanna takes Jon Hamm along with her to have sex. Well played, ma’am.
Vincent Price’s Halloween Special: Bill Hader returns as Price. Love! Love Fred Armisen as Liberace. Jon Hamm is John F. Kennedy.
Never before seen screen tests from Back to the Future: Eddie Murphy (Jay Pharoah), Al Pacino (Bill Hader), Jennifer Tilly (Kristen Wiig), Sam Kinison (Bobby Moynihan), Robin Williams (Jon Hamm). Pacino is the best. (“Great job, Scott!”)
Casting call: Jason Sudeikis is some kind of talent scout. Kristen Wiig comes in to audition. It gets a bit weird. “I will show my bush.” She’ll also pass gas … and might eat a very small bowl of white bird waste if it’s relevant to the part. Jon Hamm plays her husband. He bursts in when Sudeikis says she doesn’t get the part. “Are you insane in the membrane? Insane in the brain?” The Stanley Steemer commercial with the dog wiping his butt on the carpet!
More Back to the Future casting: Nicolas Cage (Andy Samberg), Alan Alda (Bill Hader). Awesome Alan Alda impression. Prince (Fred Armisen). Cosby (Kenan Thompson). Gilbert Gottfried (Taran Killam). Joan Cusack (Abby Elliott).Pee Wee Herman (Taran Killam).
Rihanna: “What’s My Name?” What’s she wearing is the question. I’m not into this whole diaper trend, no matter if it’s in Wonder Woman colors.
Weekend Update: Bill Hader as bald James Carville talking about the Tea Party. Garth and Kat! The always unprepared singers (Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig) are back.
I Didn’t Ask for This: Hosted by Bobby Moynihan, it’s a show for people whose lives were ruined by videos posted on the Internet. Paul Brittain plays producer. Kristen Wiig plays guest. Jon Hamm plays father who reconnects with his son (Taran Killam) and sobs a long honk of a cry on a reality TV show. His long sob gets Auto-Tuned, which is awesome. “My best cry ever!”
Highway Cops: After two seconds looking at Jason Sudeikis and Jon Hamm in those wigs, I realize we need more of this. They ride a motorcycle together and Jon Hamm holds tight onto Jason’s waist. Lucky. Love Kenan Thompson as the chief too. Three of my favorite guys together. Still, there was more potential to be had here. They didn’t push it far enough. When sketches air this late in the night, the weirder the better. Oh wait. Spoke too soon. Hamm just smooched Sudeikis.
Married performers: Hamm and Wiig as a couple who mock fight in a bad lounge act. Jon Hamm is basically playing Fred Armisen. He even looks like him. Just give the part to Fred. Not a great sketch. Goes on too long too. Decent line, though: “That tiny straw is making me hate you.” “Or does it.”
Rihanna: “Only Girl in the World.” She looks great in red but doesn’t sound too hot here.
What is this Paris Hilton dog thing with David Spade?
Watch videos of each sketch Sunday morning here at NBC.com.
Catch up on my “SNL” stories here in this nifty archive.
Let the cries of “Mondo was robbed!” commence! I almost feel sorry for Gretchen for what she’s going to have to go through. To be fair, it’s not her fault the judges made the wrong call.
Jessica Simpson tried, but failed, to get Mondo Guerra crowned as the winner of “Project Runway” Season 8.
Instead, the title went to controversy lightning rod Gretchen Jones, 28, of Portland, Oregon, who was not called a “bitch” because she’s a strong woman, despite what she said on the reunion show.
As Tim Gunn put it, “Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.”
Jessica and Heidi Klum loved Mondo, especially his polka dot dress. They fought for him. Michael Kors and Nina Garcia fought for Gretchen Jones and her commercial collection focused on what’s happening now in the fashion world.
(No one fought for my poor Andy South.)
Ultimately Nina and MK won. The Marie Claire connection probably helped there.
(But what’s this about Jessica’s sister wearing Gretchen’s clothes?)
Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of Mondo’s prints, but it was obvious that he should win. It. Was. Obvious.
He was not only the clear winner of several “Project Runway” challenges, viewers chose him as the clear winner too.
His style is so strong and unique and easily identifiable as Mondo. That’s something I loved about Season 7 winner Seth Aaron Henderson, whose work I do love. Plus, Mondo looks the part of a fresh new designer. He has the quirky personality and the inspirational back story.
My beloved Andy South, 23, of Waianae, Hawaii, took third. I would’ve put him first except for that green. I’m just never going to be into that shade of green.
No matter what, this is going to be Mondo’s season. Even if you’re like me and you don’t love his fashion, you love his transformation from lonely kid to confident man, announcing his HIV positive status through a work of art. Mondo, you are still a winner.
*** THE FINAL COLLECTIONS ***
Every season there’s always some crap backstage at the finale show. Every season a model doesn’t show up. Every season Tim Gunn freaks out. Every season it turns out fine anyway. Ah, fashion.
Thankfully we don’t usually have to deal with “The Fairy Job Mother” promos, using “Project Runway” rejects for cross-Lifetime purposes. Retch.
Gretchen gets emotional introducing her collection, “Running Through Thunder,” which is about the road she’s taken. The music is so mellow it makes me sleepy. Does that say it all about Gretchen? I actually like a lot of her collection, but I’m never going to be into the diaper trend. The silver jewelry helps a lot.
Andy says his collection is inspired by his Laotian heritage and background. He dedicates it to his mother. I love the silver and I love the hairpieces, but I will never care for that particular shade of green. I like his music, but it’s also pretty subdued. I need some energy from this show. Andy gets emotional watching the collection.
EVERYONE has been emotional this season. Over EVERYTHING. It makes me less emotional to see them turn every single moment into a Big Moment. This is a genuinely Big Moment for the designers, but they have cried so often this season that I’m immune to it now.
Mondo’s inspiration came from his Mexican heritage. He dedicates the collection to his spiritual guide, his grandmother. This music has a little bit more bounce, which is good because the clothes are total ’80s bubblegum teen spirit.
*** REACTIONS ***
Marie Claire editor Joanna Cole loved Andy’s. Nicholas loved Andy’s head-to-toe looks, but he’s rooting for Mondo. Betsey Johnson loves Mondo, natch. His work is like his name and him: Mondo! Cindy De La Hoz liked his accents. Marie Claire editor Zanna Roberts Rassi loves both Mondo and Gretchen. She thinks all women would want to look like Gretchen’s models and wear those clothes. Jay Manuel of “America’s Next Top Model” calls Gretchen’s collection, airy, flowy and magical. He found it very impressive.
*** JUDGING ***
Andy: Michael Kors said his Asian theme could’ve been costumey, but it wasn’t. He liked the opening pants and both one-shoulder dresses. (I love the silver one.) He called them deceptively simple. He didn’t feel there was that much diversity. He thought it was narrow in focus. Heidi wasn’t too happy with the first look. She likes to say “whoa” from the first look. She liked the weaved top. Nina said everything they’ve seen from him has been so hard to this point, so she was happy to see the softness. But she almost thinks someone took over him and he lost Andy. She loves the jacket. She thinks he went overboard with the Orientalism. (Is that even a word?) She wanted something more edgy or modern. Jessica Simpson’s favorite was the silver one-shoulder dress.
Gretchen: Overall Nina thinks she did a fantastic job. The prints were really nice and she had a lot of choices. She loved the patchwork pants. It felt very modern and easy. It was a complete ready-to-wear collection. She likes how the girls were bronzed. But it was very monotone, especially when it comes to the prints. She wanted a dash of color. And she was surprised with the opening look. It should summarize the collection and it felt weak. MK says he likes the vibe of the girl. He gets her. But he doesn’t get where that slick techy looking leather comes into the vibe. Gretchen designed the jewelry and had it forged. Everyone loves the jewelry. Heidi loves the feeling of the show but she sometimes felt the prints were repetitive. Jessica’s concern was, if you saw all the pieces on a rack in a department store, how many pieces would you buy? She wanted to see that pop extravagant piece.
Mondo: MK said in Italian it would be “molto Mondo.” Heidi said there were a lot of really special and loud pieces there but there were some quiet pieces there too. She thought it was really great. She loved the skull T-shirt. He did all the beading. Heidi also liked the tunic. Nina said it looked like a very cohesive collection. She loved the color and mix of prints. Shelved the print dress. But it was too overwhelming in the decorative pieces. The mix of prints and the hats made the collection look very, very young. Her favorite look was the first look. But it became very teenager. He needs more sophistication. Jessica loved the personality of his collection. She thought everything was unique. “It doesn’t look like anybody else would make it but you. I think that’s what being a true designer is.” Jessica is obsessed with the polka dot dress. Heidi said the same thing. MK said it’s costumey. Heidi was surprised to see the polka dot dress again because she’s the only one who liked it. MK and Nina did not like it. MK called the plaid pants “crazy pants.” He loved the top with the skull on it and he loved the tunic dress. Mondo loves theater and drama, but sometimes he does veer into costume territory.
Mondo loves himself so much more and that’s helped him be the best he can be. He’s going to make Jessica cry.
Gretchen says she too has grown as a person and learned a lot about herself. She listened while also staying true to herself.
Andy says winning would be an amazing dream come true because it would mean starting the big dream.
*** THE JUDGES FIGHT: MONDO VS. GRETCHEN ***
Right away they agree that Andy is out. Andy, I love what you did.
Heidi likes Gretchen as a designer. Nina says Gretchen’s clothes are current. She’s in touch with what’s happening now.
Mondo wows Heidi with his clothes. Nina calls him incredibly talented and creative. Her favorite look, besides the first one, was the strapless dress. MK questions whether Mondo knows how to edit. Heidi thinks he showed that he did know how to edit — the peaks and valleys. MK thinks a black dress could’ve been his best friend. (But that’s not Mondo!) Nina says they told Mondo he had been walking a fine line between circus act and sophistication. She doesn’t think he listened.
So MK and Nina think Mondo needs time. Except Nina says Gretchen and Mondo should both win.
Jessica wonders if Gretchen would just go into ready-to-wear. Nina says they’re both editorial.
Jessica says she would personally buy more of Mondo’s pieces. So would Heidi.
Nina says Mondo’s clothes slant a little young. While Gretchen’s collection has more range. They are easier to sell. Heidi says it’s a fashion show. Nina says yes, a fashion show, not a circus show.
Heidi is fighting hard for Mondo. She’s restyling his clothes, but fighting for him anyway.
No one could see Nina in the polka dot dress. Heidi says she’d wear Gretchen’s clothes but Mondo is more “special.”
MK thinks Gretchen is saying something current. Nina says Gretchen is talking about what’s next. Very casual and pared down and “speaking to the moment.” MK thinks Gretchen is showing more design than Mondo.
Fashion is changing and things are getting more loose? Huzzah!
Jessica is sticking with Mondo.
Jessica + Heidi vs. Nina + Michael Kors
Heidi feels like they are now punishing Mondo for things they have supported him for throughout the season. (YES. This is my problem in a nutshell.)
Heidi finally asks what they are looking for. Couture or commercial? MK says it’s not just about what they are seeing today (didn’t he say the opposite earlier in the season?) it’s about finding the next great designer.
*** THE DECISION ***
They let Andy go. His collection needed more of a modern edge and things that make it “special.” Andy has no regrets. Good for him. I will always love Andy and I envy his hair.
Heidi calls the final decision “the toughest decision in Project Runway history.” They think Gretchen has the finger on the pulse of what fashion is about now. Mondo is a master with prints and put on a terrific show. His creativity wowed them. They have no doubt both of them will be successful.
Gretchen, you are the winner of Project Runway. Wooooooow.
Catch up on my “Project Runway” stories in this nifty archive.
And check out this fun Entertainment Weekly gallery: ‘Project Runway’ Style: 20 Hot Designs (and 13 Hot Messes) So glad to see Epperson get some love.
The “Project Runway” Season 8 reunion just aired, before the finale where Mondo Guerra will inevitably take the crown.
(Go ahead and fight, Heidi Klum, Jessica Simpson, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. We all know how this will turn out.)
(*UPDATE* Except we don’t! Somehow Gretchen Jones won over Mondo Guerra.)
Reality show reunions are always fun, but this one was a little vanilla. It needed more Someone Call Out Ivy spice.
After Valerie Mayen announced she got a marriage proposal from someone on Facebook and Casanova said he learned a lot of English from watching the show, we got to the bitchfest.
Of course, everything this season has been back-and-forth between being incredibly bitchy and being incredibly emotional.
A.J. Thouvenot said people on the street always want to know about Gretchen, Jason and Ivy.
Is Jason really crazy?
Is Ivy really mean?
Is Gretchen really bitch?
Gretchen’s defense: “I’m not a bitch, I just play one on TV.”
For some reason Heidi laughed at that.
Gretchen, choking up: “I think being a girl that’s confident quickly shifts into role of ‘bitch’ in a manner that I feel is not right just for saying my opinion.”
Ivy Higa — of all people — shakes her head and Heidi calls her out on it.
What is fake, Heidi asks.
Ivy: “We lived with her!”
April Johnston says Gretchen would say things that are positive — like complimenting Christopher Collins’ work — and then in the interviews she would trash what they made.
Gretchen: “What I say is not about people’s characters. My biased opinion about design, it’s just my opinion.”
Michael Costello: “In Gretchen’s defense … I know that she does mean well.”
Mondo doesn’t think it’s fair to pick on Gretchen.
True, if we’re going to take on Gretchen we need to address the Poison Ivy issue. To me, Ivy will always be worse, especially for the way she accused Michael C. of cheating.
But Gretchen is wrong about the b-word. She is not being called that for being an outspoken woman. She’s being called that for being bossy, arrogant, controlling and holier-than-thou. She thought she was Tim 2.0.
She’s not one-dimensional — she does have a nice side, and she and Tim became friends later in the season. And the other designers are no saints. MC bitched with the best of them and Mondo has plenty of attitude. I wish they had all been called out on it.
And is Jason Troisi really crazy? He didn’t get to say one word on the matter.
Catch up on my “Project Runway” in this nifty archive.
The worst part is how happy this probably makes Ivy Higa.
Poor Michael Costello. He really fell apart. Gretchen Jones hugged him. Tim Gunn hugged him. I wanted to hug him. The whole time MC was sobbing about how he can’t go home and tell his family he didn’t make it. Poor baby.
But seriously. You’re not a child. You have a child and you have to be strong for him. This is “Project Runway” Season 8 and plenty of people have come close and not made it. Buck up!
MC has some gorgeous clothing in his finale collection. It was actually my favorite of the bunch, overall.
But in Episode 13: “Finale, Part 1″ he decided to show some lackluster looks and the judges hated his copper-tone color scheme.
Hey, at least he gets to take a free trip somewhere, courtesy of Tim’s black velvet bag.
So that makes the final 3 designers Mondo Guerra, Gretchen Jones and Andy South.
Of course, all top 10 designers from Season 8 showed during Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, even if only the top three got judged. So you DID get to Fashion Week, Michael C.!
The final four Season 8 designers were given $9,000 and six weeks to put together their finale collections. (Wasn’t it five months once? Am I crazy?)
All four screwed up in what they decided to show the three judges. I’ve seen their full collections and none of them showed their best pieces. OK, Mondo came closest. But Andy! My God, what was he thinking? He has some great pieces and he shows that (cringe) bathing suit.
With circus Mondo as the best and granola Gretchen as his opposite it’s pretty obvious the finale is going to come down to the two of them — with Mondo as the winner. It’s just inevitable.
Never mind what Heidi Klum says about this being the toughest decision in “Project Runway” history. Mondo won this thing weeks ago and we all know it. I don’t even like most of what he does and I know it too.
*** Hometown visits ***
Andy South: Tim Gunn visits Andy in Oahu. He’s way out there. Like “Lost” island out there. It’s awesome. I want some of that fresh coconut juice. He’s in the beginning stages of his collection, but he only has two weeks left. I want to spend more time in Andy’s world.
Michael Costello: Tim visits Michael C. in Palm Springs. Who is this Richard you speak of? MC’s boyfriend? Ah. Richard outed MC to his parents. That’s one way to push an ultimatum. MC has gotten a lot done, fashion-wise. “It’s like design diarrhea.” It’s too hot for Tim. MC’s little boy Giovanni is not impressed with this.
Mondo Guerra: Tim visits Mondo in Denver. Ha! Bright pink walls the second you walk in. Then black-and-white checkered floor. So Mondo. Everything in Mondo’s world is so Mondo. You have to appreciate that. He lives in an area of Denver with a big Mexican population. Tim loves his “fabulous” evening dress. Tim is seeing “teen’s pajamas” in what I see as classic Mondo. Does his family know now about his status as HIV positive? Mondo can’t play baseball well but he’s a lovely pianist.
Gretchen Jones: Tim visits Gretchen in Portland, Oregon. Saved the best for last. I’m still upset that it’s not Portland, Maine, since that’s near me. Alas. Gretchen came home to a failed relationship, an empty bank account and an empty house. “I’m broke and busted.” Everything crumbled around Gretchen. Tim empathizes. He was in an intense relationship and after it fell apart he moved to New York. Are they … bonding? “I really miss Tim.” Do NOT hit on him in some offhand way. I’m not strong enough for that. Tim drops the “diaper” word on some of Gretchen’s American West stuff. Tim thinks it’s looking costumey. “Reconceive.” Everyone on this show has places to eat outside. My family has no handy picnic tables. Is that something you need to have before you’re cast on the show?
*** Back in New York ***
They hang at the Hilton. MC is in love with Andy’s hair. He looks like “Pocahontas meets Naomi Campbell.” (I’m calling it: Andy is a stone-cold fox.)
The velvet bag! Actually good for once. They get trips.
*** Designing the third look ***
However, the four finalists will show the judges three garments: two from their collections and a third that they have to create in the next two days. Their budget is $200.
Mondo and Gretchen are both getting melodramatic — especially Mondo, which means he’ll be fine.
Tim comes in the workroom. Tim is worried about MC. MC doesn’t know which two looks to show the judges. Tim’s opinion means “a whole lot” to MC.
Tim thinks Gretchen could pick anything from her collection rack and have continuity with her new piece. They are being very lovey.
Mondo has a very Mondo turquoise top and cutesy skirt. Gretchen thinks it’s very “subdued” for Mondo. Whuh?
Andy did some awesome pleating. I’m not in love with the shade of green. Mondo calls Andy’s collection “two-dimensional” and “flat.” That’s not nice.
Tim tells Gretchen, Mondo and Andy to carry on. To Michael C. he says “don’t choke.” Don’t jinx him!
Styling. Gretchen: “I want my girls to look really accessible.” She wants to picture herself as her girls. Is she a madam?
*** On the Runway ***
Andy — Does not show my favorites from his collection. Disappointing, considering what I’ve seen. Judges: A lot of the textiles were woven for him in Laos. Heidi likes the new green look. She thought the bikini was the new one. Nina’s concern is it looks very bare. Andy says there will be a range. Nina is not convinced by what she sees here. Why did he include the bathing suit? OH NO. Nina rolls her eyes. Death watch. “You might be out today.” He should’ve shown “the goodies” today. Heidi says the bathing suit is a throwaway piece. Agreed. Oh Andy. I love the headpieces! Heidi isn’t sure.
Michael — Love the skirt on his second look. The top isn’t perfect on that first look. Far from it. Like the third look, but he left out my favorite garment from his collection too. Judges: Michael Kors likes the dress. Heidi likes the top. She hasn’t seen anything like that before. Nina is surprised that he did everything in the same color. Heidi said it’s like they went to a party with a color code. A color isn’t enough to tell a story, MK says. Nina doesn’t want to see something she’s seen many times. This was his opportunity to surprise.
Gretchen — Once again, not the best of what she did for her collection. The diaper is in the house. So is side boob. Bwawaw chicka bwawawbaw. (I don’t know how to write that.) She designed her own jewelry, which is cool. Judges: Nina’s interest was not piqued. It feels “crunchy granola.” There needs to be a sense of drama and polish. The only glimmer of polish is the look in leather. She doesn’t like the sack dress at all. Nina is going OFF on this. She doesn’t know if Gretchen has it. Heidi believes she does have it. She likes the extra look. She wants them all in high heels. MK doesn’t think it looks expensive. She doesn’t look like she’s at a fashion show. No one did a good job editing their selections for the judges.
Mondo — Is very Mondo! No one likes bras anymore. He shows his evening gown, which is one of the best looks from his collection. Judges: His garments walked last but the judges spoke to him first. Heid likes the 3rd look skirt but not the top. She loves the dress. She thinks it’s very elegant. MK likes the pieces. Nina loves the boldness and theatricality. Nina does not like the polka dot dress. She thinks it walks a fine line. She doesn’t want him to go too wacky and think he’s putting on a circus collection. MK wants more balance. Mondo says he has some pieces they’ll be surprised to see.
Mondo was in first, naturally. We all know he’s going to win. It’s just a matter of deciding 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Gretchen was next. I’m surprised. I thought she might go home. Once she was in I fully expected my Andy to be out. But no, they chose MC. Who went nuts.
I’ve been looking for a definitive “Survivor: Nicaragua” boot list, with little success.
But someone created a YouTube video that could be accurate. Except for the fact that it’s already had to correct itself about a few mid-season boots. But the final three have been solid all season (although the order has changed!) and the winner is looking accurate from a couple of sources.
Survivor: Nicaragua Boot List?
3. Jimmy J.
4. Jimmy T.
7. Kelly B.
At this point the video says Marty goes next but then corrects its order to this:
12. NaOnka (Quits)
13. Kelly S. (Quits)
3rd place: Matt “Sash” Lenahan (the YouTube video originally had Chase here)
2nd place: Chase Rice
Winner: Fabio! aka Jud Birza
Huh. If Fabio does win, it will probably be for not pissing people off, as opposed to actually making big “Survivor” moves … unless he’s the one who goes on a big immunity run and the jury keeps cheering him on. (Remember Brett on “Samoa”?) Is Chase punished for being a flip-flopper? Does Sash play the game too hard? Do we have a bitter jury (again)? Can’t wait to find out.
**Update** More details from Survivor Sucks: Season 21 breakdown from merge to Brenda backstab to quitters to family visits, final four and winner
Catch up on all of my “Survivor” recaps and spoilers in this nifty archive. Please and thank you!
“Mad Men” is my favorite show in current rotation. It just ended its best season so far. So I figure now is as good a time as any to list my favorite shows of all time.
Most have come and gone. One I’m actually not done catching up on (I’m only up to season 4 on “The Shield” but it’s so freaking good.) And I’m including “Mad Men” even though it could take a nose dive next season, for all I know. “True Blood” lost its place on the list thanks to season 3. But it has time to recover. “House” is so bad this season I’m almost embarrassed to admit it might’ve ever made my list. “In Treatment” has only had two season and this new one, starting on Monday, will be the key to its future list potential.
I’m not including reality TV shows, but if I were, “Project Runway” and “The Bachelor” would have to be on the list.
Here’s the lineup:
1. Northern Exposure
2. Father Ted
3. Six Feet Under
4. Arrested Development
5. Fawlty Towers
6. Monty Python’s Flying Circus
7. The Office (original British version)
8. Mad Men
9. South Park
10. The Kids in the Hall
11. Twin Peaks
12. The X-Files (that last season almost killed it for me)
13. The Prisoner (the original, although I still don’t think I could tell you what happened)
16. The Shield
18. The Golden Girls
19. The Wonder Years
Draper, Draper and Draper. I think Midge said it all last week.
That’s what the company has turned into and that’s Don Draper’s life. From the letter against smoking to proposing to Megan — because she’s the opposite of Betty — it’s all about whatever Don feels at any given moment.
But Dr. Faye Miller is right — Don only likes the beginnings of things.
Betty is the same. She wants a fresh start to get back that spark of excitement. She needs to be liked. She needs to be flattered and wooed, no matter who is doing the wooing. And when Creepy Glenn starts hitting on Sally, Betty has to freak out and … fire poor Carla. (“I don’t want her poisoning the well.”) Good for Carla for standing up to her, although it’s sad that she had to go the way of Sal.
Funny how we start the Season 4 finale, “Tomorrowland,” with Don in bed with Faye saying “I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach” and we end with Don in bed with fiance Megan and her imperfect teeth.
(Her full name is Megan Calvet. We know her mom is French. Actress Jessica Paré grew up in Montreal, so that helps.)
Am I still supposed to believe this season was about Don hitting rock bottom? Between the dating, the professional ass-kissing and now getting engaged to a woman about a dozen years younger than him, I’d say he’s doing just fine.
LOVED the scene between Joan and Peggy, smoking off their frustrations at being under-appreciated. (“A pretty face comes along and everything goes out the window.”)
Joan got an in-name-only promotion and Peggy single-handedly “saved” Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce by signing the first new account since Lucky Strike left. And it was all while Don was on vacation in California.
Then when Don comes back from vacation what does he do, work-wise? Calls up Dr. Miller to dump her, then makes out with his secretary/fiancee.
LOVED pregnant Joan’s phone call to hubby Greg in Vietnam, making fun of Don for the foolish grin on his face, like he’s the first guy to marry his secretary.
(So Greg knows Joan is pregnant, but he doesn’t seem to know how to do math and realize the baby isn’t his. Unless he’s delusional or going along with the fiction because it serves him too. Best line — Joan to Greg: “Yes, honey, they’re bigger.” I knew she wasn’t going to get that abortion. I predict Greg doesn’t make it back from Vietnam and Joan gets closer to Roger, via Baby Harris.)
Megan is 25. She has dark hair. She’s patient. She’s supportive. She’s deferential. She loves Don for who he is (although she doesn’t know anything about him, as he noted). She’s Mary Poppins. She is the non-Betty, just like Bethany was just a Betty clone.
Dr. Miller is too much like Peggy — a tough career woman who questions and challenges him. Don doesn’t want that. Don wants The Ideal Submissive Wife. His lovestruck babble sounded exactly like Roger drooling over Jane last season.
(And now Don is going to need still another secretary. I was joking that the job was cursed like the Defense Against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts, but maybe it’s true. Just hire Voldemort already.)
But how long will it last? I had to laugh when Don had a romantic moment, telling Megan do you know how many things had to happen to get to this point?
You had to bang Allison, then freeze her out. She had to quit. Then Blankenship had to die. (RIP, Queen of Perversions!) Then Megan had to move from the front desk to the Draper desk. She had to hit on you — while mentioning that she’d like a career like Miss Olson’s — even though you were already seeing at least one other person. (Poor Faye.) Then Betty had to fire poor Carla and you had to hire Megan for the weekend (which sort of turned her into a call girl) because actually caring for your kids is not part of man code. (Besides, “Bobby likes a pretty face.” He’s a Mad Man in training.)
I don’t think this is really what Anna Draper had in mind when she left Don that ring. She wanted him to be happy and marry again, but not within 48 hours of getting the ring.
But Joan is right — they’re all just between marriages.
And how about Harry Crane? There’s another one who only likes the beginnings of things. Does Jennifer know how blatantly he was hitting on the latest pretty face to walk through the door? At least Ken Cosgrove isn’t willing to completely sell out his family. His wife (okay fiancee) is his actual life. That’s sweet.
So this season finale is the flip side to last season’s finale. The Season 3 finale — “Shut the Door, Have a Seat” — was a fast-paced look at the death of Sterling Cooper and the birth of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
The Season 4 finale was all about the homefront, from Don’s trip to Disneyland with Sally, Bobby and baby Gene to Betty acting like the obnoxious child she is in front of a fed-up Henry Francis.
After this it’s official: “Mad Men” just finished its best season yet. The action and character development were perfectly paced. I can’t wait for Season 5 to start, and I didn’t feel that way after the season finale of “True Blood.” (I’m also rapidly losing interest in “Dexter.“)
Bonus: I effing love zombies. Every time I meet someone handy with tools or other stuff I have no knowledge about I wonder if they’ll make it through the zombie war. I won’t. I’m a goner. I can’t wait for “The Walking Dead.” October 31 on AMC, baby!
Catch up on my “Mad Men” archive here.
CBS is promising “one of the most memorable tribal councils of the season” next week on “Survivor: Nicaragua.”
Here’s the scoop on the Oct. 20 episode:
“Worst Case Scenario” – “Following a shocking announcement, it’s every man for himself when the castaways fight for individual immunity. One of the game’s most prominent masterminds targets two foes and sets a plan in motion to oust one of them, along with an immunity idol, in one of the most memorable tribal councils of the season.”
There’s no mention there of the double boot (other than the tease of a “shocking announcement”) but in the preview it’s spelled out that both of the newly swapped tribes will vote someone out next week.
If you want to follow the spoilers and find out who is probably going home next week, you can check out my spoilers compilation here but you should really go to Survivor Sucks and follow what missyae says. She/he has been dropping regular hints on what will happen each week.
I think Brenda Lowe is the mastermind noted in the preview blurb. I think she tries to get rid of Marty and Jill and succeeds with Jill. That’s just my prediction. No idea if it’s true.
I’m starting to change my mind about who wins this thing. I had it as Chase Rice. Now I think it will be Jud/Fabio.
THESE PEOPLE ARE STILL AROUND:
La Flor Tribe (after swap)
Jillian Behm, 43; ER physician
Judson Birza, 21; student/model/musician
Jane Bright, 56; dog trainer
Kelly Bruno, 25; medical student, amputee triathlete
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan, 30; luxury broker
Marty Piombo, 48; wine industry executive
Brenda Lowe, 27; business owner, former Miami Dolphins cheerleader
Kelly Shinn, 20; student
Espada Tribe (after swap)
Ben “Benry” Henry, 24; bar owner
Dan Lembo, 63; property management
Holly Hoffman, 44; swim coach
Chase Rice, 24; NASCAR jackman/singer
Yve Rojas, 41; stay-at-home mom
NaOnka Mixon, 27; P.E. teacher
Alina Wilson, 23; student/model
Apparently the “New York State of Mind” of this “Project Runway” final 5 was best captured in Mondo Guerra’s nap.
There was nothing fierce on that runway. Not even guest judge Christian Siriano’s comments were fierce. Oddly enough, he was the voice of reason.
The best part of Season 8 Episode 12, “We’re in a New York State of Mind,” was Michael Costello’s Michael Kors impression from under his Cousin Itt in mourning gown.
No one was inspired by New York — which, ironically, is the city that never sleeps.
Remember Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll’s Chrysler Building dress? That’s how you get inspired by New York without being literal.
Remember last season when Seth Aaron Henderson and Emilio Sosa made that amazing Harlem outfit with that HAT that I am still dying to own? That’s how you get inspired by New York without being too literal.
Instead, the PR Season 8 designers decided not being literal meant designing whatever the hell they wanted. And then Gretchen Jones cried on the runway that she lost her design voice because she was being boxed into cookie-cutter design challenges.
For once Heidi Klum was right: This challenge gave them a lot of leeway — too much, in my opinion. They should’ve had to explain their inspiration more and not just let the judges say “I don’t see Central Park, but I love the dress anyway.” (No one used those exact words but they were close.)
The judges couldn’t decide if Gretchen’s look was unwearable or too wearable. I actually liked it, but only in comparison to the blah-ness that everyone else did.
No one stretched this week. No one wowed. The judges gushed over black-and-white (but still the same mixed print) Mondo, except for Christian who hasn’t seen anything else from him. I’m with you, Christian. The Emperor may not be naked, but he’s kind of meh.
The judges called April Johnston out on being safe and once again making THE SAME black witch dress she’s made 100 times. Tim Gunn even suggested she try color to surprise the judges, but she seemed to think she knew better.
No one crosses Tim Gunn and lives to tell the tale! (Except the people who prompted him to pull down his Ep 8 vlog.)
For some reason April was shocked to not get to the final four. She is the youngest designer on the show. (Didn’t Christian win at age 21, though?)
Anyway, the judges absolutely loved Michael’s dress. They loved the sophistication. Christian, once again, was the voice of reason. He wondered why Michael Costello didn’t even understand the fabrics.
It’s good to have fresh eyes come in and challenge the judges with these “what about …?” and “oh really?” kind of statements. Never thought Christian would be the sane one in any room.
I don’t know why Heidi kept pretending there might be more than one person going home. She kept saying one or more would go home. I can’t imagine they were really so wowed by this that it inspired them to keep all four in.
Then again, it doesn’t really matter who is chosen for the final four, since all 10 designers showed at Fashion Week. And we’re all pretty sure Mondo is going to win, right?
Then again x2, the previews made it seem like Gretchen was going to quit this week. She wanted to “leave” and she was “sick of the challenges.” But, as usual, that was just manipulative editing. Why do we even watch the previews anymore?
*** Quote of the night ***
Andy: “I gave birth to a Chinese prostitute.”
*** On the Runway ***
Michael Costello/Statue of Liberty — Long black dress that looks like it could’ve been made in 10 minutes. He thinks there’s wow factor? Judges: Michael Kors says he wanted a showstopper and he got one. It’s beautifully cut, beautifully draped. “It’s like a beautiful chiffon jersey.” Nina was impressed with the back. It moved beautifully. Christian thought it had a lot of old-world glamour. He thought the slit was too high. Heidi, of course, loved the high slit. She thinks plenty of women would love to wear this dress. That’s probably true, but in a too-safe, commercial way. Not high fashion.
He chooses Andy and Mondo to go with him to Fashion Week.
Gretchen Jones/Lower East Side — I like it. I like the skirt. Apparently I’m crazy. Judges: MK: “I’m so confused.” He doesn’t think it looks uptown or downtown. It’s midtown. He think she’s rock n roll secretarial. Nina thinks another designer took over her body. Gretchen says she’s tired and she’s run out of steam a little bit. She’s crying. She’s sick of the challenges and it got the best of her. She thinks the challenges push her into a cookie-cutter zone. Christian thinks the jacket is cool. It’s too off-the-rack though. Heidi thinks she’s better than this.
She chooses Mondo to go to Fashion Week and says she’s torn between Andy and April but because of April’s youth she’d like to see what April would do.
Andy South/Central Park — I’m not seeing any Central Park here. It does look wet. Not my favorite Andy look. Judges: MK says the last thing he’s getting is Central Park. He’s getting Blade Runner/Robert Palmer in the ’80s. But it’s well crafted. Nina likes the wet effect. Heidi likes the lines, so does Christian. He just giggles. He loves this dress. Nina thinks it’s an edgy LBD.
He chooses Mondo for Fashion Week and says he’s torn between Gretchen and April. He goes with April.
Mondo Guerra/Brooklyn Bridge — Very Mondo. It looks good, though. Judges: MK says he proved that color is not his crutch. He likes that Mondo dealt with something architectural. Nina doesn’t think he has a lack of ideas. He thinks it’s a phenomenal dress. Heidi, for once, wishes she could see something else from him. (Way to go, Heidi!) Christian really likes it.
He chooses Michael C. for Fashion Week and defends him on the runway. Mondo is good for speeches. Not that it matters. Mondo is going to win either way. Mondo says he’s torn between April and Andy because they are both artists. If he has to pick one he picks April.
April Johnston/Brooklyn Bridge — I think April and Mondo just did whatever they wanted, regardless of inspiration. This is very April/witchy/dominatrix. Blah. Judges: MK says the sameness is so numbing. “You have made a version of this garment so many times I can’t count.” True! There’s never any joy in her clothes. the asymmetry, the whole thing. “She’s a pregnant witch.” Heidi wanted to know why she didn’t surprise them with some color. (Tim suggested she do that.) April starts crying. Nina calls it a missed opportunity. She’s not sure April has any range. Christian likes the cut. The model looks like April.
She chooses Mondo and Gretchen to go to Fashion Week with her.
But the judges choose to ditch April and go with Michael, Gretchen, Andy and Mondo. So that’s our final four! Yay?
Catch up on my “Project Runway” stories in this archive.
I’m still hoping for an official snarky Tim Gunn vlog entry on the subject, but Blogging Project Runway went straight to the source for comment from Mr. Gunn on the double-stick tape issue from “Project Runway” Season 8 Episode 11.
To quote Tim’s comment to BPR:
“Here’s my take of the tape: Michael had nothing to do with it. It was his model who took the initiative to tape herself into the dress. By the time that this was brought to our attention, the challenge in which it happened was well behind us. It was, indeed, a mean-spirited attack on Michael. And how did Ivy think we were going to respond to her accusations? Did she think that Michael would be disqualified and that we’d bring her back? Ridiculous.”
OK, but why wasn’t that explained on the show? Tim said he saw nothing, the producers saw nothing, the cameras saw nothing. But it sounds like they did so some research after-the-fact and discovered the model taped herself into the dress.
I still don’t understand why that’s against the rules — based on recent former designers’ blogs it hasn’t been an issue in the past — but if Michael Costello knew or someone on the show knew last week, why weren’t we told? Why are the producers letting the cheating allegations hang there in the air?
Sure, they said it’s a he-said-she-said and to Tim it’s a “case of a non-case,” but it leaves a stink in the air. It’s possible, the show says without saying, that MC did cheat and he just didn’t get caught. This Tim quote makes it sound like that not the case at all and PR should make that more clear.