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We have our major confession.


Oh, Mondo. I had joked about your oversharing future autobiography entires — walking around in your underwear, leaving Colorado with only $14, etc. But now it’s serious.

On “Project Runway” Season 8 Episode 10, “There’s a Pattern Here,” the seven remaining designers were challenged to create their own textiles. (Just like last season; Emilio Sosa won that challenge.)

Their garment design could be anything, but the textile design had to be something very personal. All the contestants were shown photos from their youth.


I'm still not a Mondo design fan, but he's true to himself and that's what matters.


Mondo Guerra was raised Catholic. He came out to his mom at age 17 and she wanted to keep that a secret. He explained that his textile was based on a plus sign that represents his HIV positive status.

He’s held the secret for 10 years of his life. That’s amazing. He’s 32.

Mondo: “This has been so hard to keep a secret from my parents because I feel guilt and I feel shame. I feel like if they knew, I don’t know if they’d know how to deal with it and I’ve just realized that I can’t live that way anymore. I can’t hide anything because I am such a better person than just being a coward.”


Mondo’s mom showed up for the day — along with everyone else’s family members, and Christopher’s hot boyfriend, JJ — and he didn’t tell her about his HIV status. He wanted to, but he knows when she finds out it’s going to hurt and he didn’t want to ruin her first trip to New York. 😦

Bravo, Mondo, for your bravery in coming out publicly like this and for being able to use a difficult personal secret as an opportunity for artistic catharsis. I have not always (or even often) been Team Mondo in terms of his designs, but I will always be Team Mondo when it comes to Mondo as a person. He has proven himself to be kind to everyone — especially the bullied Michael Costello — and he deserves the bright future “Runway” will give him.

(Guess what! Mondo and Michael Costello just co-hosted a benefit earlier tonight for Colorado AIDS Project and Rainbow Alley.)

(But what’s this about Mondo being “rude” to Heidi Klum — who is making herself the client again — in the previews for next week’s episode? Or is that more manipulative editing?)

I do think this is just further proof that Mondo will win Season 8. Not only is he the judges’s favorite designer, he has proven that he can work with the difficulties in his life and let them propel him instead of stopping him. (Like Andy? Poor Andy. I still love him.)

So we have the secret mentioned in the previews. Now we have to find out who is accused of cheating…

… but I guess we’re going to get to that next week, or sometime later before the finale.

**** ON THE RUNWAY ****

“There’s a Pattern Here”

Gretchen Jones — Hate the design of the top, but I do love the print. Judges: Heidi Klum loves the print. Michael Kors likes the pants, but not how the print is placed. It’s like “fried egg on the boob.” Nina Garcia likes the print, but she’s disappointed in the outfit. She expected more from Gretchen. Guest judge Rachel Roy says it’s “almost” there.

April Johnston — Black and white again, but I like it. It’s creative and edgy. My favorite. Judges: As soon as the model turned the corner MK got the friction and pulling she was going for. He very much likes the bodice and the idea of the print but the scraps don’t work for him. Nina thinks it’s a charming print and she likes the silhouette. This is Rachel’s favorite print. It has the most unique voice. It’s also Heidi’s favorite print. She doesn’t like the “poofiness,” though.


Andy, this really is awful. You're my favorite, but ... please.


Andy South — Boring. He wishes he could start over. Me too. Andy, I love you but even I can’t defend this. Judges: Rachel likes the print. She says it has a painterly feel, but the outfit itself is “odd and confusing and upsetting.” It’s not sexy. The print makes Nina sad. She is disappointed in him because she’s seen things from him that are interesting. “What happened?” He blames his mom, basically. MK likes the print too but he’s dumbed himself down. MK sees a face in the clothes. A sad face. Heidi thinks it’s “unwearable.”

Mondo Guerra — Very Mondo. The designers all said “whoa!” They love it. Judges: Nina wants to know what the story is. But she calls it “fantastic” and “phenomenal.” MK loves the way he mixes prints. He thinks she looks fabulous without the jacket too. Rachel says it’s something she would love to wear. Rachel wants to know the inspiration. She thinks the print looks too perfect?

Why were all of the judges asking so much about Mondo’s inspiration, in particular? They didn’t seem to push as hard for the other designers. Were they told to try to tease out the secret? Smells like a set up. (I do know that in real time these runway critiques take hours, it just feels a bit false to me for the editing to focus so much on the judges happening to question Mondo over and over about his inspiration, before he decided to share.)

Mondo felt like that was the moment to share his experience. He told Nina the pluses referred to his status as HIV positive. “I’ve been HIV positive for 10 years. And when I saw these pictures of my family it brought back a lot of emotion and so I wanted to pool from the past, but I also wanted to give something back of who I am now and that I’ve been so scared of and hiding from and that’s the story.” Afterward he said he felt a lot better. “I feel free.” In the workroom, he talked to his fellow designers about it. They were all supportive. “I feel so good. I feel so good.”

Valerie Mayen — Meh. No. Judges: Heidi said it looked familiar because there are more napkins. This looks nothing like the party store napkin dress, which was actually gorgeous. MK thinks it’s an odd choice of fabrics to layer. There’s nothing appealing about it. Nina said the overall effect of the design is very heavy.

Michael Costello — What is with the napkin boob trend? Blech. Judges: MK said she literally looks like she’s wearing a men’s old-fashioned tie that got cut off. It looks funny like a joke. Heidi likes that, she thinks it makes it look cool. No one seems to actually like the print. Nina wanted better styling. MK called it “Annie Hall” at the country club.


Valerie's party store napkin dress was gorgeous. This is not.


Christopher Collins — It reminds me of Casanova’s look that was declared too old. But I like it, as I liked his other look. Judges: Rachel doesn’t see the water in the print. Nina thinks they’re fine clothes, but they’re not fashion. She wants to see outstanding clothes. “I want to see fashion here!” Heidi wrote “nice, safe, boring.”


Mondo won his third challenge in a row. This whole season has been a personal roller coaster for the guy. I think he wins even if he doesn’t technically win. (But I’m pretty darn sure he will win.)

It came down to Andy vs. Valerie. It was not a good week for Andy, but he has more potential than Valerie. Valerie has been going downhill for a very long time.

Bye Valerie! At least she honored her father, in her fashion. And she said goodbye to everyone in such a sweet, open-hearted, emotional way. Hugs for Valerie!

Catch up on my “Project Runway” recaps, spoilers and other stories in this archive. I still have hope that Tim Gunn will eventually decide to go back to doing his vlogs.

NaOnka must be hoping CBS likes her drama enough to invite her back for an all-stars season, since it's unlikely she will get her P.E. job back after this. What school would want her as a role model for kids?

NaOnka: “Screw your leg. Keep it away from the fire.”

At least she’s good for funny quotes. It’d be fun to have an all-stars season with NaOnka Mixon taking on Russell Hantz. Battle of the camera confessionals!

Anyway, CBS released details on what will happen next week (Wednesday, Oct. 6)  on “Survivor: Nicaragua” Episode 4: “Pulling the Trigger”:

“One castaway works hard to prove his worth and take control of his tribe, but his efforts rub some tribemates the wrong way. The hunt for the hidden immunity idol widens the rift between two castaways at the La Flor camp, triggering a venomous fight. Meanwhile, a valuable secret is revealed that solidifies a powerful alliance.”

Watch the preview video here.

I’m going to have to go with Team Kelly B. on this Kelly vs. NaOnka battle.

Hurricane NaOnka is making it hard for anyone to like her. Except maybe Brenda and Sash. Why not keep her around when no one would ever vote to give her a million bucks in the end?

Catch up on my “Survivor” recaps and spoilers in this archive.

Hippie chick, you were robbed!

Come on. Even Jay Manuel said whiny Liz Williams could’ve taken the roller coaster all the way home for all he cared. She complains too much and her Matthew Rolston photo was awful. Much worse than Rhianna Atwood’s pic. Is Liz still on “America’s Next Top Model” because she has a better backstory as a single mom?

This is an awful photo of Liz.

Sure, she had the #1 rollercoaster photo, but it was one of those bizarre only-on-ANTM challenges that has little bearing in the real world. When is someone going to give you an ear piece, put you on a rollercoaster and give you a cue at a certain point to … pose like you’re commercial and relatable! Pose like you’re envious! Edgy! Pouting! It’s ridiculous.

But Liz got a photo shoot with Tyra and she chose her friends Chris White and Kayla Ferrel. Chris was terrified on the rollercoaster and her photo was so bad she might as well have stayed on the ground. But she sucked it up and did it, so she deserves credit for that. Plus, Matthew Rolston loved her sea goddess photo, forehead and all. He said it was his favorite shot.

Kayla owned the photo shoot with Tyra and she also looked great in the Mattew Rolston pic. She is my #1 girl now. She can do no wrong.

Kayla has her little mermaid moment.

But it’s painfully obvious after three wins in a row that Ann Ward is exactly what the judges want in a high fashion model. She’s also just quirky and insecure enough to fit with “Top Model’s” love for underdogs. (Remember quirky Nicole “Bloody Eyeball” Fox?)

I like Ann. I do. And her sea goddess photo was very Vogue Italia. But overall I’m Team Kayla.

Two other things we now know: Nobody likes Kacey Leggett and male models are boring.

This is a fantastic photo. Matthew Rolston is right: Ann is memorable. Is that enough to win?

Here is my ranking of the top 10 models at this point on Cycle 15:

1. Kayla Ferrel, 19, Rockford, Illinois, 5 ft 9 in
2. Ann Ward, 19, Dallas, Texas, 6 ft 2 in
3. Kendal Brown, 23, Northport, Alabama, 5 ft 11 in
4. Esther Petrack, 18, Boston, Massachusetts, 5 ft 9 in
5. Chelsey Hersley, 22, Boise, Idaho,  5 ft 11 in
6. Chris White, 20, Arlington, Texas, 5 ft 10½ in
7. Kacey Leggett, 20, Palmdale, California, 5 ft 9 in
8. Jane Randall, 19, Baltimore, Maryland, 5 ft 9 in
9. Lexie Tomcheck, 18, Geneva, Illinois, 6 ft 0 in
10. Lyzbeth “Liz” Williams, 21,, Arlington, Texas, 5 ft 10 in

Catch up on my “America’s Next Top Model” stories here in this nifty archive.

Whatever happened to your plan to lay low?

NaOnka: “Sorry about smushing your bananas.”

Kids today. No banana etiquette.

“Survivor: Nicaragua” is becoming Samoa + Heroes vs. Villains minus Russell Hantz. And if you remember, Russell was the best part.

Marty Piombo, you’re trying — and I give you credit for it — but you’re no Russell. At this point Jill Behm, who let Marty take credit for finding the idol, is looking strong behind the scenes. She calls Marty the puppet master, but he has his neck out in front of everyone. She doesn’t. He thinks she follows his lead and maybe that’s true.

She’d be smart to. Because we just learned what happens to leaders.

Coach is down. No more Jimmy Johnson. Which means no more pep talks. No more “Pick me! Pick me!” schoolyard yipping and subsequent wound-licking from Jimmy Tarantino. No more inexplicable deference.

(By the way, spoilers fans, this Jimmy J. elimination fits with a lot of the current boot lists here, so maybe they’re on to something after all.)

Then again, was Coach Jimmy ever really the leader? Sounds like Jeff Probst is really calling the shots. Every time he asks a question at tribal council, it elicits a dig-your-own-grave response. First it was Wendy. Last week it was Shannon/Shambo. This week, Jimmy Johnson reminded everyone he was the oldest member of the tribe and also said he was one of the weakest.

Bad idea.

The other Jimmy — mouthy and needy Jimmy T., who demands to be heard! — backs Marty. He’s drinking the Kool-Aid that Marty was being a team player when showing “his” immunity idol to the group.  Marty was instrumental in getting people to vote out JJ, mostly through his own obsessive envy. He hated that his tribe got “the celebrity.” He hated how everyone had “glitter in their eyes” for Jimmy. He has ego issues. (Maybe he is the new Russell?)

Tyrone doesn’t buy it. He thinks Marty is “shady,” which is true. Tyrone also took unnecessary heat for losing the immunity/reward challenge. He dominated in the beginning and just couldn’t recover. But considering everyone else sat around, they don’t have a leg to stand on.

Here's NaOnka with Kelly Purple, aka the Kelly NaOnka does not hate and want to dismember.

Speaking of legs …

If Shannon Elkins was the “Nicaragua” version of “Samoa’s” obnoxious Ben, NaOnka Mixon is the new version of Samoa’s Yasmin — and unfortunately she’s still around.

NaOnka is spending a lot of time in “in the moment” with the cameras in the confessionals. That’s where she lets us know everyone is being as fake as faux fur in pretending to get along at La Flor.

Say what you want about her, she isn’t fake. She’s genuinely mean.

She’s in an alliance with the “strong five”: Chase Rice, Brenda Lowe, Kelly Shinn (aka Kelly Purple) and Matt “Sash” Lenahan.

She dislikes Jud Birza, aka Fabio — even his hair gets on her nerves — and seems to absolutely hate Kelly Bruno. Especially her fake leg.

Why? Is it because Na thought Kelly’d be weak and is ticked off to be wrong?

NaOnka got “hood” with Kelly when La Flor won the reward/immunity challenge — without using the medallion of power, thanks entirely to Benry — and the two women carried a fruit basket back to camp. They both noticed the immunity idol clue at the bottom of the basket.

What happened next was very Danielle vs. Amanda on “Heroes vs. Villains.” The second the basket hit the ground, the women fought — with NaOnka fighting “hood” hard, which is different from “ghetto” hard, she explains.

NaOnka knocked down Kelly B., artificial leg and all. Then, for no reason, she told the camera she’s up for pulling Kelly’s leg off. She is definitely earning her spot as — Jeff Probst’s words from last week’s EW blog — “the bitch of the show.”

Jeff goes off on her this week too.

Apparently it’s only going to get worse next week when Hurricane NaOnka hit’s the island.

Off topic: Are the challenges fair? So far they have been pretty physical, more physical than I expected for something divided by age. The old folks (I still love how Chase called them “antiques”) are already falling apart, especially Danny. Is this whole season subtly set up to favor the young guns?


La Flor Tribe (The Flower)

Alina Wilson, 23; student/model
Ben “Benry” Henry, 24; bar owner
Brenda Lowe, 27; business owner, former Miami Dolphins cheerleader
Chase Rice, 24; NASCAR jackman/singer
Judson Birza, 21; student/model/musician
Kelly Bruno, 25; medical student, amputee triathlete
Kelly Shinn, 20; student
Matthew “Sash” Lenahan, 30; luxury broker
NaOnka Mixon, 27; P.E. teacher

Espada Tribe (The Sword)

Dan Lembo, 63; property management
Holly Hoffman, 44; swim coach
Jane Bright, 56; dog trainer
Jillian Behm, 43; ER physician
Jimmy Tarantino, 48; fisherman/government seafood inspector
Marty Piombo, 48; wine industry executive
Tyrone Davis, 42; fire captain
Yve Rojas, 41; stay-at-home mom

Will April win the next challenge? Will Michael C. be sent home? Will Tim Gunn ever post another vlog?


[To be said in best Tim Gunn/Snagglepuss voice]: Heavens to Murgatroyd!

I know “The Bachelor” is off season, but did Lifetime hire the same producers to cut the Episode 10 trailer? It screams “manipulation.”

You can watch the preview here, but this is a semi-transcript:

Voice-over: “Heart-wrenching confessions break the runway!”
Mondo: “This has been so hard to keep a secret.”
V-o: “Scandals destroy the workroom!”
Tim: “There was an accusation about cheating.”
V-o: “It all leads to the most controversial season finale ever!”
Michael Kors: “I’m gonna fight for this.”
Heidi Klum: “It’s wrong what he did.”
V-o: “And the one moment you’ll never stop talking about!”

Chances are we’ll stop talking about it eventually, but how juicy! Sounds like the most dramatic rose ceremony evah!

Blogging Project Runway already has polls up, speculating who will be accused of cheating and who will be the accuser. As you can imagine, many people suspect Michael Costello of being accused and Gretchen Jones as the accuser.

I think there has to be something to Mondo’s “secret.” Is he the accuser? Is he being accused? I saw another promo that showed April Johnston saying she doesn’t know the story behind Mondo’s print. (This Thursday they are bringing back the pattern challenge from last season.) Is he just sharing an emotional story that has nothing to do with the cheating allegation?

Long story short, I don’t know a dang thing. Although for whatever reason people think April will win this Thursday’s Episode 10, “There’s a Pattern Here,” and Michael C. will be sent home.

How dare the producers deny me more Seth Aaron time?! I miss my S-A!

By the way, sharp eyes at BPR spotted a photo in the Episode 9 gallery showing my boy Seth Aaron Henderson, winner of Season 7, and what could be Season 6 winner Irina Shabayeva. You can also see Ivy Higa in the photo. So is that something they left out from last week, or something we’ll see in a different version this Thursday?

On a somewhat related note, the previews seemed to show designers getting emotional at the “special guests” which usually means family members. So is this pattern challenge going to also include family time?

(*Update* Here’s an extended preview of Episode 10)

Anyway, The Goddess Nina Garcia graced the world with a couple of recent interviews, alluding to the upcoming drama. (Which won’t all be this week, since this Thursday’s ep does not include the finale.)

To Zap2it she says, “It gets really good. It’s very soon. It’s just a very emotional moment in the show, and it’s the first time that something like this has happened. It’s a very powerful and a very admirable moment.”

Then it can’t just be a cheating allegation followed by research and absolution. Remember on Season 3 when Laura Bennett accused eventual winner Jeffrey Sebelia of cheating? They looked into it and said he hadn’t cheated.

So this must be something new. Maybe someone admits to cheating and is given a second chance? Maybe someone quits the show because they accused someone falsely? Maybe the cheating allegation and the emotional moment are two different things?

Nina also gave a really long, cool interview with good deets to Celebrity Baby Scoop. On the drama coming “very soon” she says, “It’s just a very emotional moment in the show and it’s the first time that something like this has happened. It’s a very powerful and a very admirable moment. So, you’ve just go to watch.”

So she’s sticking to the script on this.

By the way, Nina thinks the winner of Season 8 could have the same career stamina of Season 4 winner Christian Siriano. To me, this goes with the spoilers that the winner could be Mondo. Because Heidi adores Mondo the way she adored Christian.


Here’s a portion of the Celebrity Baby Scoop interview where Nina talks about that:

Christian Siriano has found such mainstream success, post Runway. Do you see any up and coming contestants who have the same ability to achieve that success?

NG: “It’s a tough business to make it in. It takes a long time. I don’t think people realize how long for a normal desire that’s not in a celebrity that’s on a television show. It’s taken Marc Jacobs 20 years. It takes a long time.

But, what Christian has that has helped him tremendously is he’s got the tenacity, the personality, the creativity, and the age where he is prime to really work very hard and go for it. You need a lot of components to make it and some designers take longer than others. It’s a tough business. It’s just not instant fame like other fields. Fashion is a little longer. But, yes, Christian has a lot of elements that have made him very successful.”

Have you seen anyone else who you think who has ‘it’?

NG: “Well, you have to wait until this season’s over, but I do think the winner of this season could very well have the same kind of stamina that Christian has.”


By the way, Tim Gunn still hasn’t posted an Episode 9 vlog and the reposted Episode 8 video seems to have disappeared again. I worry that he’s given up on us.

Catch up on my “Project Runway” archive here.

This smile has a shelf life of 24 hours.

Oh, it’s not looking good for Michael Bolton.

To crawl out of a doghouse [wince], wearing that awful polka-dot jacket [shudder] only to do something that can’t really be described as a Jive [shakes head] and then have it torn to shreds by both Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli [cower], who then fight over who’s being more cruel?

That’s what I call a bad night.

On top of that, the poor guy had laryngitis. He should’ve stayed in bed — in Germany, with David Hasselhoff.

On the other end of the spectrum, Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough had the top scores on “Dancing with the Stars” Season 11 for the second week in a row.

And this week, no one else seemed close. They are far and away the frontrunners after only two weeks. Audrina Patridge & Tony Dovolani were next in the rankings, but they weren’t nearly as good.

Is Jamie Lee Curtis going to sit in the audience every week to watch Jennifer Grey? She should just go on the show already.

I’m worried.

Does anyone else remember last season and the heat Nicole Scherzinger took for being too good too soon? Sure, she eventually won but a lot of people still hold grudges against her for being too much of a pro.

And a lot of people (including, it seemed some of his fellow pros) were frustrated that Derek got another great dancer. That was back with Nicole. And now he’s got the best one again, in Jennifer. Is a backlash coming?


Is Derek just such a good teacher and choreographer that it only looks like he always gets the best dancers? Maybe if Derek had … uh … Michael Bolton, he could’ve saved him from the doghouse. Chelsie Hightower is good, but she’s not that good.

Catch up on all kinds of “Dancing with the Stars” recaps, news, sneak peeks, top quotes and other fun stuff here at

Here are the scores, dances and songs from Week 2. I copied this from Wikipedia:

Jennifer & Derek 24 (8,8,8)    Jive        “Shake It”—Metro Station
Audrina & Tony 23 (8,8,7)    Quickstep    “Love Machine”—Girls Aloud
Kyle & Lacey 22 (8,7,7)    Quickstep    “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To”—Weezer
Bristol & Mark 22 (7,8,7)    Quickstep    “You Can’t Hurry Love”—Diana Ross
Rick & Cheryl 21 (7,7,7)    Jive        “Tush”—ZZ Top
Brandy & Maksim 21 (7,7,7)    Jive        “Magic”—B.o.B
Kurt & Anna 21 (7,7,7)     Jive        “Danger Zone”—Kenny Loggins
Florence & Corky 19 (7,6,6)     Quickstep     “Suddenly I See”—KT Tunstall
Margaret & Louis 18 (6,6,6)     Jive         “Dreaming”—Blondie
Mike & Karina 18 (6,6,6)     Quickstep     “We No Speak Americano”—Yolanda Be Cool
Michael & Chelsie 12 (4,5,3)     Jive         “Hound Dog”—Elvis Presley

Behold, the world's worst photo of Brad on "Dancing with the Stars."

I’ll tell you now what. Now we e-stalk his season.

Hey, he asked for it. Brad Womack wanted another shot at this silliness, so head over to Fans of Reality TV’s Bachelor forums where the FORT “sleuthing” has already begun.

In case the first one wasn't bad enough. I wish I had a shot of Jonathan Novack, but I was so thrown off to even see him there. I bet a lot of people would prefer The Weatherman as The Bachelor, but I am NOT one of them.

Then check out all these Wetpaint Bachelor stories:

Who is Brad Womack? A Bio Refresher

Top 10 Reasons For and Against Brad Womack as The Bachelor

Bachelorette Trista Sutter Supports Brad Womack as The Bachelor

Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Brad Womack as The Bachelor: “Ugh!”

Next Bachelor to be Revealed on Monday’s Dancing with the Stars

By the way, I loved the Jonathan “Weatherman” Novack fake out. I almost bought it for a minute, panicking a little when I saw him sitting next to Chris Harrison in the “Dancing with the Stars” audience.

Can you imagine? There goes the hot tub. And the kissing. But there’d be plenty of tears … from him.

Pete always has the best pajamas. And is that chest hair?

Roger: “We’re dead, you know that?”

The “Hands and Knees” title of “Mad Men” Season 4 Episode 10 may have to do with Don Draper rubbing his hands on his knees during his panic attack.

It’s more panicked than we’ve ever seen Don — even after Betty found out the truth about him and asked for a divorce. He thought he was having a heart attack.

I didn’t know this because I don’t have kids, but some women give birth on their hands and knees. It doesn’t look like Joan Holloway wants that option. She’s pregnant with Roger Sterling’s baby. (Surprise!)  It’s been 7 weeks and her hubby Greg has been away. So did she have an abortion, as it seemed from her visit to the doctor, or did she change her mind?

What does he do at SCDP anyway? Joan could (and usually does) do his job.

“Hands and Knees” can also refer to Lane Pryce, who was literally pushed to his hands and knees by his overbearing (or maybe just kinky) father, who told him to get his affairs in order — here or there, meaning New York or London. Lane is in love with a black girl who works as a bunny at a club. He wants to stay in New York, not London, and it looks like a decision is going to have to be made.

By the way, he’s taking two more weeks off. The guy is never in the office anymore.

Then again, “Hands and Knees” could have to do with Roger Sterling begging for life from slimy Lee Garner Jr. After 30 years, Lucky Strike is taking away its business. Remember how Lucky Strike could turn off the lights at Sterling Cooper? Well, not only do they have the power to shut down Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, losing Lucky Strike puts the nail in Roger Sterling’s coffin. (But maybe Salvatore Romano can come back. Please?)

Roger: “We’re dead, you know that?” Lee agrees to give him 30 days before announcing the split so Roger can make arrangements.

Speaking of arrangements, Don also tries to get his own personal affairs in order, launching some kind of trust for the kids.

FBI guys went to the Francis household and questioned Betty for 45 minutes about Don. It launched his panic. And his self-defense. Poor Megan was blamed (and blamed herself) for Don signing a security form he should’ve read himself.

Don: “I signed it without looking, because that’s what I do.” Classic Don! Such an arse.

And poor Pete had to deal with Don’s mess too. He now has to lose North American Aviation, just to protect Don. (Why is Don so valuable to SCDP? Just his looks? Peggy is the better copywriter.)

Poor Megan. She needs to learn to stand up for herself.

At least Pete has Trudy. They are the most stable couple on the show and that’s pretty sad, considering Pete’s track record.

Don had his attack in front of Dr. Faye Miller. She saw him vulnerable and, for the first time, Don willingly shared his true Korea story with another person.

Don: “I’m tired of running.”

So Faye knows the truth. Pete knows too, although not because Don ever wanted him to know. Pete is also the first to know about Don + Faye. Pete knows a lot. And Don wants him to lose a lot of money. It really doesn’t make much sense for Pete to do what Don wants.

And yet not only does Pete have to tell the partners he’s lost a major account (during a partners meeting loaded with emotional baggage from everyone in attendance, except maybe oblivious Cooper), he has to pretend it’s his own fault. In front of Don. And then Roger screams at him for losing the account, as if he isn’t hiding a much, much, much bigger loss for the company. Remember, Pete is the one who pointed out how useless Roger would be without Lucky Strike.

We only have three more episodes in Season 4, so all of these personal and professional crises are inevitably going to come to a head.

Check out some of the details on what’s coming up:

Episode 11 “Chinese Wall” — The employees of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce resort to scuttlebutt after an agency wide meeting is called.

Episode 12 “Blowing Smoke”
— The partners of the agency wrestle over a critical decision; Don runs into an old friend. (John Slattery, aka Roger Sterling, directed this episode)

Episode 13 “Tomorrowland”
— Don takes a trip with his children in tow.

Could this mean the end of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce? We just met it! And Pete hasn’t had time to get his name on the door. (Even though he seems to be one of the only people who actually works there.)

I love the idea of Don traveling with his kids. That has serious season finale potential. And this has probably been the best season of “Mad Men” so far, so I have high expectations for that finale.

By the way, Sally is a major Beatles fan. Nice to hear an instrumental version of “Do You Want To Know A Secret” playing over the credits. Clever.


Catch up on my “Mad Men” stories here in this nifty archive.

Dexter and Daddy pose in a shot of muted colors — fitting with the slow pace of the season premiere.

My favorite part has to be the subtle “Six Feet Under” homage:

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) walks into a funeral parlor, marveling at how the funeral director can so smoothly say “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Dexter: “How does he do that? He sounds like he actually means it.”

Oh David Fisher. I still miss you.

The “Dexter” season 5 premiere, “My Bad,” just aired on Showtime. (I almost wrote “HBO,” just like John Lithgow!) It’s quiet and somber and, like most good funerals, ends with a death. I’m looking forward to more action and suspense, but I’m fine if both Dexter and “Dexter” take it slow. For now.

Season 5 picks up right where season 4 leaves off. Rita is in the tub. Dexter is on the front lawn telling his sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) and a bunch of cops, “It was me.”

It’s just the kind of frustratingly vague thing Dexter loves to say to (sometimes inadvertently) mess with people. It’s amazing how much leeway everyone gives him.

Anyway, it’s good to see Julie Benz again as Rita. We see her — sweet, innocent Rita — in a flashback on her first date with Dexter. She’s eager to talk to him about his work or anything else. But not only does he keep her waiting, sitting there alone at the restaurant for so long, he spends the date looking at a mark sitting behind her, and leaves when the guy walks out. Then lies to Rita, saying he had a stomach bug.

Same old Dexter: Rita has always been second — at best — on the list of things to do. And when he finally gets around to dealing with her, it’s with lies.

She did deserve better.

At least she finally learns the truth that he’s a serial killer — when he announces it to her casket. So now dead Rita joins the list of the departed who know Dexter’s secret and baby Harrison remains the only living soul to hear the truth.

But Astor (Christina Robinson) seems to be suspicious of Dexter, in some way. I’m having trouble buying that.

Astor, Cody (Preston Bailey) and the grandparents reacted a little too quickly to the news of Rita’s death and Astor was much too quick to blame Dexter and start crying. It felt false. You don’t go Disneyland happiness to “I blame you” anger in two seconds.

Also on the list of people not sure about Dexter: Joey Quinn (who is now sleeping with Deb; it was only a matter of time).

Quinn (Desmond Harrington) is as overly (spray?) tanned as ever. And he is onto Dexter. Sort of. He’s suspicious. (Then again, doesn’t Dex still have some ammunition to throw back at Quinn — the money that Quinn took from a crime scene?)

Usually Dex can weasel his way out of these things, but even Deb is noticing his odd reaction to the Rita news.

Dex is so blank and lifeless, it’s hard to feel for him. Usually the voice-overs are good about getting us into his head, but for the first half of the episode his mind is blank, too. He’s not sure how to even mimic human emotions.

I was wondering if he would show guilt or grief or anything. He does, in his way, with dead Rita and little Harrison. (I worry for that kid.)

Strangely enough, even with this lack of overt emotion, it’s never been hard to root for Dexter. He goes after bad guys and always narrowly escapes. Because we see things from his point of view, it’s natural to get nervous for him and want him to find his umpteenth way out.

But now that Dexter’s not the secret(ly sadistic) superhero, and an innocent woman is dead because of him, I’m finding it hard to get my bearings with him. I want to shake him into some kind of action. If not fury, then at least fear and panic over how to cover his tracks.

At least by the second half of the premiere he’s doing something — deleting files to erase traces of himself … and then killing.

It’s sick to see Dexter stab someone half a dozen times and think “That’s the first human thing I’ve seen you do since she died, Dexter” but that’s exactly the response. The ghost of Dexter’s father, Harry, says the words, but the violent physical response unleashes a torrent of emotions — primal screaming as he’s covered in blood, like when he was as a baby at the crime scene that birthed his Dark Passenger — and it’s actually good to see the torment after so much emptiness.

So it looks, from the extended previews, like season 5 is going to be Dexter vs. Quinn. I hope this ends with both of them alive, since I do like them both. Or, I find them both interesting.

Also interesting: Debra Morgan.

Deb takes a lot of heat for her mouth and her emotional outbursts, but Jennifer Carpenter doesn’t get half as much credit as she deserves. Her Deb is the yin to Dexter’s yang. And if her husband is going to get kudos for his subtlety, she shouldn’t be penalized for her character’s natural volatility. I have a feeling Deb is going to be the heart of this season, whether she wants that or not.


Catch up on my “Dexter” archive here.

Here's the "Amazing Race" 17 cast. My friend Trinh Luu wants to do this show with one of her sisters. So if you see them on CBS someday, show some love!

It’s Sunday, September 26, which means all of this stuff will be on TV tonight:

7:00 – ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ (ABC) 21st season premiere
7:30 – ’60 Minutes’ (CBS) 43rd season premiere
8:00 – ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ (ABC) 8th season premiere
8:00 – ‘Nature’ (PBS) 28th season premiere
8:00 – ‘The Simpsons’ (Fox) 22nd season premiere
8:30 – ‘The Amazing Race’ (CBS) 17th season premiere
8:30 – ‘The Cleveland Show’ (Fox) 2nd season premiere
9:00 – ‘All American Handyman’ (HGTV) 1st season finale
9:00 – ‘Desperate Housewives’ (ABC) 7th season premiere
9:00 – ‘Dexter’ (Showtime) 5th season premiere
9:00 – ‘Family Guy’ (Fox) 8th season premiere
9:00 – ‘I Survived…’ (Biography) 5th season finale
10:00 – ‘Bored to Death’ (HBO) 2nd season premiere
10:00 – ‘Brothers & Sisters’ (ABC) 5th season premiere
10:00 – ‘Delocated!’ (Cartoon Network) 2nd season finale
10:00 – ‘Sister Wives’ (TLC) series premiere
10:00 – ‘Undercover Boss’ (CBS) 2nd season premiere
10:30 – ‘Childrens Hospital’ (Cartoon Network) 2nd season finale
10:30 – ‘Eastbound & Down’ (HBO) 2nd season premiere

Now what?

And that’s on top of “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO and the #1 best show on TV, “Mad Men,” on AMC.

I have to watch “Dexter” because I’m dying to know how Dexter handles life with Rita’s kids and Harrison. Is he going to feel guilty or will he have to fake guilt and grief? If he genuinely feels even numb after her death, doesn’t that prove he’s human like everyone else?

By the way, Michael C. Hall is #1 on my list of perfect men. I don’t have a full list going, but I’m working on it. I should be fair and include a list of perfect women, too. Emma Thompson will be high on that list.

Check out my Five questions after the ‘Dexter’ season four finale, written right after The Rita Incident, watch this trailer for “Dexter” Season 5 and get pumped for tonight!

Then return to my “Dexter” archive, at some point, for my thoughts on the season 5 premiere.

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