Gaywatch: Stop, Look and Listen
By Tim Parks
When Elvis Presley sang the song, Stop, Look and Listen back in the day, I wonder if he had any idea of the multi-media connotations it would hold some 41 years later. It seems like there are always a slew of things to watch on TV (some of those being shows to avoid like the plague), and an earful of new music to make note of every single day.
Please allow me to bring you up to speed on what is what, as far as things to keep an eye and ear out for.
Looks like “American Idol’s” slurring sweetheart, Paula Abdul, may be getting her own reality show on Bravo entitled, “Hey Paula.” The show promises to “give viewers an intimate glimpse at the real woman behind the headlines.” So that automatically makes my mind jump to the conclusion that it will be endless shots of Abdul performing plays with an array of empty pill bottles, while sitting in front of her dressing room mirror at 2 am in tears. Note to Paula, while this may seem like a good idea on paper, the reality of it could do more harm than good. Straight up!
Ok, the next show I am on the fence about. “Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School” definitely has some entertaining moments, and could be likened to “The Facts of Life Goes Ghetto” (there’s even a Blair look-a-like, prissy and insane “Hottie,” who has the worst blonde weave ever!), and host Mo’Nique fills the Mrs. Garrett role quite nicely. Alas, this is the fourth “Flavor of Love” incarnation, five if you want to count “Strange Love” (a very sure sign of The Apocalypse, if ever there was one). C’mon, VH-1, come up with something original, you know like playing music videos – and please, no third season of “Breaking Bonaduce!”
Another VH-1 show that needs a makeover is “Celebrity Fit Club.” The latest edition will feature Maureen (Marcia Brady) McCormack, Dustin (Screech) Diamond, ex Mall Queen Tiffany, Ross “The Intern” from “The Tonight Show”, female rapper Da Brat and a few others. Sure, some of the contestants look a little “thicker” for lack of a better word, and it does beg the question is Tiffany now singing “I Think We’re Alone Now” to a can of whipped cream? But the participants don’t appear to be grotesquely overweight (all Da Brat needs to lose is her attitude – for reals), and it really brings into play the whole perception of what is acceptable weight-wise in Hollywood. Perhaps, VH-1 should take the opposite tack and do a show where wafer thin starlets are force fed ham sandwiches! Airs Sundays at 9.
Tori Spelling’s first attempt at spoofing her celebrity, “So NoTORIous,” was a wee bit of a guilty pleasure. Her new reality show with hubby Dean McDermott, “Tori and Dean: Inn Love” kinda sucks, and not in a good way. Do we really need to hear about Tori’s flatulence while preggers? A show I’d like to see is Tori and her mom, Candy, fighting it out ala Thunderdome over the late Aaron Spelling’s mega millions – two women enter, one woman leaves…loaded!
I really wish that “Inside The Actor’s Studio” would stop scraping the bottom of the acting barrel, as was clearly evident when Diana Ross was the guest on a recent two-hour episode! Granted, she had success as an actress in the 1970’s, but creepy host James Lipton had his head so far up Miss Ross’ ass, it was downright embarrassing. Maybe that could account for his bad hair and beard dye job! Hmm…
Bravo TV continues to out gay other networks, and a case in point has to be their newest competition show, “Shear Genius,” in which creative hairdresser contestants go scissor-to-scissor with each other. The show is hosted by former “Charlie’s Angel” Jaclyn Smith; and I truly hope that somebody on that show gets the exact details of her pact with the devil, as she still looks gorgeous (see, I can be nice). Airs Wednesdays at 10. Speaking of “Charlie’s Angels,” there may be a reunion movie in the works for the three original “Angels,” and I will keep you posted, of course.
Another Bravo show will be entering its third season when “Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List” returns on June 5th. This time around the celebrity bashin’ comedienne will go on a prison comedy tour, attend her high school reunion, and hosts the recent Gay Adult Video Awards, where the competition can get pretty stiff!
Jackie Warner and her pump you up pals are back for another season of “Work Out.” Too bad they aren’t calling the show “Work Out 2: Electric Boogaloo,” as I am thoroughly convinced any type of sequel should be followed by the subtitle “Electric Boogaloo” or “The Quickening.” Airs Tuesdays at 10.
Over on LOGO, there are two new tres gay shows starting up. “The Big Gay Sketch Show” is being likened to straight counterparts, such as “Saturday Night Live” and “Mad TV.” Well, I hope that means it will be funny, because the other two haven’t been lately. Anyhoo, the show stars a lot of fresh gay and lesbian faces (and even “Gay Pimp” Jonny McGovern), and a few behind-the-scenes ones you may be familiar with like, director Amanda Bearse (“Married With Children”) and executive producer, Rosie O’Donnell. Airs Tuesdays at 10.
In July, audiences will be treated to the first all gay animated series, “Rick & Steve The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World,” which is based on the 1999 short film that featured LEGO actors spewing very non PC dialogue. I am so there!
For you insomniacs, if you happen to be channel surfing at four in the morning, try to look for an infomercial about a penis enlargement product called Extenz. It is pure comedy gold, and probably the fakest infomercial ever, especially when a “roving reporter” (AKA some girl that didn’t wow them at a porn audition) hits the streets to ask everyday folks about Extenz; every single guy has (a) heard about it and (b) is currently taking the pill. The best part of the infomercial is its fake talk show segment, “Sex Talk,” where one woman extols the virtues of Extenz by saying, “It’s always Christmas at our house.” Talk about male enhancement!
By now you may be familiar with Amy Winehouse, the singer who has been described as “a Ronette from Hell,” and has been making the rounds promoting her CD Back To Black. And, if you haven’t heard of her, you should, as she is one of the most refreshingly original chanteuse’s around in the cookie cutter world of pop music.
What is it about some female singers that make them shed their respectable personas in favor for a Hoochie Mama look? Jewel did it, so did Nelly Furtado, and now its Joss Stone’s turn, as the singer has said bye bye credibility and hello hot pants! Her newest CD, Introducing Joss Stone is a far cry from her hippie incarnation of the past, and I understand an artist’s need to grow – is that why their clothes shrink in the process?
Ivory tickler Rufus Wainwright will have a new CD out on May 15th. His fifth studio album (yes, I said album) is called Release The Stars, and is executive produced by The Pet Shop Boys.
Synth poppers Erasure are back with a new CD, entitled Light At The End Of The World, dropping May 22nd. Look for them on tour this summer with Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper as part of The True Colors Tour set to hit SD on June 27th.
It appears as though Hilary Duff is on the verge of becoming somewhat of a diva-ette with her new dance CD, Dignity, and the first single With Love is so infectious it ought to come with a shot of penicillin.
Kelly Clarkson’s latest disc, My December, is slated for a summer release and the song Never Again will be its first single.
For all you show tune aficionados, four Stephen Sondheim musicals, including Sweeney Todd and Into The Woods have been re-released and digitally remastered.
File this one under something to look forward to…Madonna will have a new CD out later this year (most likely in November), and she will be working some wood on this disc. No, not that kind! She has recruited Timbaland and Justin Timberlake to assist her in the song writing arena.
Cut.Print.That’s A Wrap!
So there was your look at some TV trends that need to be stopped, some hows worth a looksie, and music for your listening pleasure. Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s fit to print.
This column was originally publsihed in April 2007