Monday, July 31, 2006

He's just not that into Jew

No New York sitcom could be complete without an occasional Jew. You don’t have to be Mel Gibson to notice that Manhattan is teeming with them, and if you’ll allow me a brief jaunt into Prejudiceville, we’re the funniest people in the world.

The creators of Sex and the City seemed to forget this until the very end of Season 5, when it occurred to them they were sitting on an untapped well of comic gold. Mr. Gibson would have you believe it’s because the Jews were guarding the gold so closely, but that’s just revisionist history. I think the dearth of Jews up until Season 5 can be chalked up to S&TC’s attempt to appeal to a broader American audience than the typical New York sitcom – to be hip and edgy everywhere instead of just on the coasts. And the show’s sexual politics were controversial enough without Carrie spouting off about the perils of withdrawing from Gaza every five minutes.

Of course, you don’t have to be a raging anti-Semite to acknowledge that there are lots of Jews in show business. As a result, there tends to be a higher ratio of Jews on television to Jews in America. It always amazed me that Seinfeld was so popular. I still have trouble imagining Joe and Jane Sixpack of Bismark, North Dakota doubling over in laughter while a mohel botches a circumcision. A friend of mine once hypothesized that Kramer kept Seinfeld on the air since he was the only character most Americans found amusing. "Ha ha!" he’d say, imitating the down syndromed cadence of your average suburbanite drip. "Kramer fell down again!"

But I digress. I suppose that once Sex and the City got a toehold in Peoria, the producers felt it was safe to have a big ol’ Jewish plot line. And I would submit that the Harry/Charlotte episodes are some of the best in the series. All of my tribe’s juiciest neuroses (mother issues, schiksappeal, domestic nudity) are exploited to full comic effect. On top of that, Charlotte finally gets some definitive answers to life’s questions. Yes, Prince Charming is out there. Yes, you have to make compromises to get him. And no, Jesus Christ was not the Messiah.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lost Casting Bonanza

Because Lost doesn't already have enough superfluous characters (Charlie, I'm looking at you), producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have thrown buckets of cash around for three new cast members. Most promising of the bunch is Rodrigo Santoro, AKA the Brazilian guy Laura Linney ditched in Love, Actually to hang out with her retarded brother. I could see Rodrigo as a hot gay torn between his Catholic upbringing and his homosexualidad- that would at least correct the dearth of queer characters on the otherwise-diverse show. More likely, however, is that Rodrigo will form the fourth side of a boring ass love quadrangle with Jack, Sawyer, and Kate.

Oh, and apparently Rodrigo is considered the "Tom Cruise of Brazil." I can only hope this means he'll turn Charlie and Eko's abandoned church project into a Craphole Island Scientology Center.

There are also rumors that Natasha Henstridge, currently unemployed from the defunct Commander-in-Chief, will become a new Lostie. I'm wracking my brain as to how she'd be introduced into the cast. No way could she have been on Flight 815 - a hottie like that doesn't go unacknowledged for 60 days, only to suddenly emerge and shock everyone with her Canadian tatas and ability to plunge her tongue through the back of people's heads.

Finally, one Elizabeth Mitchell will also come aboard, apparently as a new love interest for Jack. WHY DOES JACK NEED A NEW LOVE INTEREST? Does he tire of Kate's two facial expressions? (They are: perturbed and pensive.) And, more pressing, why did only the ugly people on Flight 815 perish in the crash? Cuse and Lindelof's promotion of Social Darwinism is beginning to concern me.

I'm hoping these folks are all Others. Otherwise, there would be no logic to suddenly shifting the focus to them as previously overlooked crash survivors. Because why, viewers would be forced to inquire, would the series have focused instead on the likes of whiny, drug-addicted hobbits, preachy, crybaby surgeons, and a fugitive played by the type of actress you hire when a blow-up doll is unavailable?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Deadwood 7/23: More Fun Than a Barrel of TB

This week on Deadwood: The town elders meet to discuss what to do about an increasingly Darth Vader-like George Hearst. They decide to... publish a letter in the newspaper about the miner Hearst had killed, without mentioning Hearst's name. This appeal for decency will, presumably, rile up the town against Major Dad's evil maneuverings. Meanwhile, Joanie and Jane make out, Odell wants to partner with Hearst on a gold claim in Liberia but will probably end up pig food, and Al sends Dan to get some hired guns (who according to the preview for next week's ep are the Earps! BADASS.)

Also worthy of note in last Sunday's episode is Doc Cochran's deteriorating condition. Doc has tuberculosis, but Deadwoodians call him a "lunger," while I prefer to shout in an exaggerated hillbilly accent, "He's got the gallopin' consumption!" Rumblings from the Deadwood fan community (population: 14) suggest that the show may have jumped the shark by making such a beloved character a sure bet for this season's Big Death. I say, at least be thankful we have a realistic portrayal of TB for once.

Doc's condition led me to hearken back to past cinematic interpretations of that once-perilous disease (well, still perilous in Africa, but who cares about them??? Eww, poverty.) And there, burning a hole in my brain, was the memory of that blight upon screens large and small, the film whose popularity and critical acclaim may trouble me even more than the question of God's existence: Moulin F*cking Rouge.

I hate Moulin Rouge with the fire of a thousand suns. I hate its offensive misappropriation of pop songs, I hate its tongue-in-cheek anachronisms, I hate its artier-than-thou, seizure-inducing camera work, I hate its overacting, I hate its ADHD character development, I hate its celebration of vague nouns like TRUTH, BEAUTY, and LOVE, and most of all I goddamn hate Nicole Kidman's limp-rag, breathy, creepy Victorian doll / hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold performance. When her Satine gets TB, she coughs swoonily into a pretty handkerchief and then dies gracefully in Ewan's arms. Even the blood she spits up is dainty and jewel-like. WHATEVER, Baz Luhrman. How's your Alexander-the-musical picture going? Yeah, that's what I thought.

This is to say, kudos to Deadwood for having Doc cough and wheeze to the point of annoying the other characters and me, and having him spew up a repulsive mixture of phlegm and blood. Jumped the shark? At least it's not romanticizing slow death from a horrible disease just to avoid making Nicole Kidman look yucky and un-ladylike.

Please commenters, especially angry anonymous ones, try to change my mind about Moulin Rouge! I love ripping into this crapfest.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Those familiar with my past celebrity crushes know that when I decide to take an interest in someone, it's not really just taking an interest, but more like secretly implanting a tracking device in their brains so I may follow their every step, witty phone call, and Starbucks visitation. I'm kind of like the Anthony Pellicano of the blogging world. Past subjects (victims) have included James Marsters (who is now too leathery of face and lame of TV role for me) and Jude Law (cheated with the nanny, ew, and subsequently behaved in a most petulant manner).

My fixation of late is upon one Josh Holloway, of Lost fame. Sure, he's kind of redneck-y and may bear a passing resemblance to a hotter K. Fed, but he's got some kind of X Factor at play here. In any case, I was in a coffe-deprived haze at work this morning, sitting beside some co-workers who were flipping through a copy of Us Weekly. The sound of their conversation about the glossy's contents sounded something like this:

"Mmmfgar mumble mumble blep mumble HOLLOWAY mumble mahhhh."

Well, I honed in like the world's honiest honing pigeon. "YOU MEAN THE GUY FROM LOST?" I said. "WHAT ABOUT HIM?" Once everyone had regained their hearing, they described the blurb written about him. Apparently, according to Us Weekly, Josh Holloway is a nice guy. They know this because someone saw him, out in the world somewhere, being nice. Uh, thanks, tabloid. Couldn't you have given me something juicier, something I don't know?

I already know the following things about Josh Holloway: he's nice, he grew up in the Blue Mountains of Georgia, he turned down the opportunity to play a prickish character in X-Men 3 because he was too busy playing a prickish character on Lost, thereby eliminating the possibility of making X-Men 3 less of a crapfest, and what he wants most in life is the chance to cuddle up to a short, mouthy Jew. And I don't mean Harvey Fierstein.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Which one are you?

During the first three seasons of Sex and the City a group of 15 year old girls couldn't have a slumber party without someone eventually popping the "Which one are you?" question. The way it's been, uh, explained to me is that somewhere in between Never Have I Ever and binging on malomars, some chick inevitably crawls out of her sleeping bag to announce that she most closely identifies with Miranda.

Science has shown that most girls say they're either Miranda or Charlotte. Girls romanticize life and want to see themselves grow up to be either successful career-women or perfect little homemaker princesses. Very few 15 year old girls want to admit they're going to turn into the world's biggest slut or a neurotic codependent who can't write a declarative sentence.

Part of the genius of the show was that female viewers lived primarily through Carrie (the character with whom they secretly identified) while still finding more positive identifications with the supporting cast. Women are complex beings and like to play tricks on their own sense of self awareness. Men are stupid and like beer as you know if you've seen According to Jim or any other show ever.

Also, men never play the "Which one are you?" game because we have more important things to do like confirm John Bolton's nomination to be U.N. ambassador. But if Kofi Annan is Carrie, then Bolton is Jack Burger. And since he's never going to work out his issues with international law, I wish he'd just submit his resignation post-it already.

And that's the story of the dumbest sentence ever written.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reno, Jesus is Number One

I was beyond excited to do a write up of the new season of Reno 911. The ink from my quill was literally dripping on the page when my phone rang. It was Manohla Dargis, NY Times film critic, telling me she wanted to make the crossover into television, that she though Boob Tubers was the best forum to do so in, and asking could she please please, pretty please write about Reno 911. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Manohla Dargis…

Well, you’re no James Lipton, but thank you nonetheless for the introduction, Jeanette.

As Comedy Central begins airing their third season of hit comedy/mockumentary Reno 911, there is only one thing in the forefront of the minds of critics, fans and naysayers alike: the blatant Christ/Christian imagery invoked by the wacky antics of Reno’s finest.

Oh how obvious, Reno 911, how stiflingly obvious that you would pick the THIRD season to berate us with these symbols. It is as if you are completing your own personal trinity, a theory backed secondarily by…how does that quip go…and baby makes three? Baby Jesus that is! If Trudy Wiegel’s unborn child isn’t the second coming of Christ, then I shall eat my [bishop’s] hat!

Trudie is likened to the Virgin Mary of early Renaissance literature and lore, worshipped for her womanly virtues, namely the ability to withstand the public’s critical eye in face of questionable paternity. Why, Trudie doesn’t have a care in the world, and certainly lacks a scarlet letter of any sort, as she proudly shows her blessed bump, the byproduct of the present day holy spirit (also known as a sperm bank).

The first two seasons have served their purpose in setting Reno up as a place in need of a saviour (a word so heavy in concept it must be spelled the British way). With its legalized dens of sin and its desert like climate, we are brought each Sunday evening to a modern day Sodom and Gamore. Where Dangle’s attempts at leadership have failed, Trudie’s womb fruit will no doubt bring peace.

In conclusion, WOWSA WOWSA WOWSA, I give this season 4 out of 5 BRAND NEW OSTRICH SKIN BOOTS.

Thinking about not watching SVU makes me cry.

Recently I got a job working for THE MAN. I mean, technically my boss is a WOman, but -- censored -- so we'll assume the trope of patriarchal oppression. Needless to say, my long hours spent in the office have given me little opportunity to watch SVU, beloved by me especially in syndication.

Just thinking of this loss, I can't help but cry...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Not about TV, but whatever, part 2

I have to steal some of JJ's blog thunder (blunder?) here and share with you all the following YouTube gem: (click here if you want to watch this on a screen larger than 2" x 2".)

Seems ol' Orson Welles was a victim of Marlon Brando Syndrome long before MBS was ever officially diagnosed. Here we have Mr. Welles fatly and drunkenly warbling through a commercial for California champagne, apparently called Pwah Mwahseeyaaair. (So sad. I found him sort of hot at the beginning of Citizen Kane.)

J.J. IM'ed me about these outtakes last night. Following is a brief recap of our conversation.

JJ (on IM): I can't stop laughing
Alanna's cell phone rings
Alanna: Hello?
Alanna: Wow, you weren't kidding.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Not about TV, but whatever

Jeanette and I are fervent Netflix junkies, but lately we've been a little put off by the company's advertising choices. On the inside of every Netflix envelope for the past few weeks has been an ad for You, Me, and Dupree starring Matt "Playing Racist Gets You Oscar Noms" Dillon, Kate "Not Nearly As Charismatic as Mom" Hudson, and Owen "Butterscotch Stallion" Wilson. The clever tagline, likely dreamed up over a course of myriad late-night meetings with the most elite execs is:

"Two's company. Dupree's a crowd."

HA HA HA. Do you see what they did there?

Well, as you know, we are frickin' hilarious. And we like to run any joke not only into the ground, but into the molten core of the earth. So Jeanette and I have devised a series of our own taglines for You, Me, and Dupree which we believe rival the current little nugget of brilliance. They are as follows:

* Baby makes Dupree
* Free to be You, Me, and Dupree
* You and me and the devil makes Dupree
* Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone but Dupree
* Elemen-Dupree, my dear Watson

OK, that last one is a stretch. Can you do better? Comment with your own taglines! We are interactive here at The Boob Tubers.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Langlieb on Sex and the City

I've been invited by the gracious ladies of Boob Tubers to file an occasional guest post about Sex and the City. As I understand it, this is a privilege only reserved for cast members of Sex and the City and people dating one or more of the Boob Tubers. I happen to fall into both categories (see Episode 74: I Love a Charade, during the wedding scene where I can be seen sneaking buffet shrimp into a burlap sack.)

The question must asked: Why blog about Sex and the City at all? It's been off the air for three years and exists only in rerun de-smuttified form on TBS and in the DVD closets of pubescent girls. Much ink has already been spilled on its societal implications...the religious right has demonized Carrie as the archetypal 21st century American hedonist, radical feminists have criticized her level of dependence on men, and television critics the world over have debated which of Kim Cattrall's two facial expressions is less repellent.

So what do I bring to the subject? One thing: I'm a heterosexual male. As of yet, no heterosexual male has written about Sex and the City. This is because only three heterosexual men have seen Sex and the City: Pat Robertson, me, and the Pope one night when he stumbled upon it accidently while flipping around for Veronica's Closet.

Also...somehow or other several of my life's most poignant moments have involved Sex and the City. I'll be discussing these moments in my blog entries. One night in Las Vegas I was watching Episode 83: A Woman's Right to Shoes with my once and current girlfriend when an army of ants invaded the kitchen of the long-term motel where we were housed. My once and current girlfriend screamed when she saw them, and then proceeded to not help at all as I ran to the maitenance building, procured some poison, and sprayed the whole place until it was ant-free. I would not see the entirety of that episode for years to come. She would go on to date other people until she came crawling back, not unlike the ants she didn't help kill.

That last part isn't true, but wouldn't life have come full circle if it was?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Breaking News: Walnuts Strikes Back

The Real World: Key West's beloved Paula Walnuts persists in her attempts to seize Tanya's title as Most Unbalanced Female to ever appear on one of the show's 17 seasons. Though some of us may admire the perserverance and discipline** required to have anorexia (I'm looking at you, Fleish), few would applaud biting one's own boyfriend to gain re-entry into his home. But hey, maybe this is the only way this faux-famine victim can get her revenge for the time the dude landed her in the hospital. Or maybe, as Defamer speculates, Paula abruptly decided to return to solid meals with the nearest meat in her vicinity.

**disquieting compulsive tendencies

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Emmys, Shmemmys

As Alanna's Favorite TV Character™ Al Swearengen once said, "I'm not pissed; I'm in fucking wonderment."

The Emmy nominations were announced today, fulfilling Soledad O'Brien's long-held wish of interviewing that nerdy guy from Two and a Half Men. Speaking of which, why does drivel like that show and King of Queens (who knew that was still even on the air?) get loaded up with noms when the comedy categories should have been filled with every actor, writer, and gaffer from Arrested Development? And Julia Louis-Dreyfus, hooray for you and breaking the Seinfeld curse with your The New Adventures of A Presumably Older Woman Who Still Looks Better than Anyone We Know and We're Supposed to Believe She Can't Get A Date, but I've never met a single person who watches that show and it will get cancelled circa January 07.

It's-Not-TV-It's-HBO leads the pack with 95 shout-outs, but nary a one for my Deadwood. I attribute this glaring oversight to the show's bizarre scheduling. I'm totally on board with the nods for Six Feet Under's Frances Conroy and Peter Krause, but at this point it feels like that show went off the air around the same time as M.A.S.H. did.

Don't even get Jeanette and I started on Grey's Anatomy's trumping of House. OK, get us started. If the two medical dramas engaged in a boxing match, House would shove a giant vial of Ipecac up Grey's ass before you could say "McDreamy." I also think the opening match would be a Lemon-Face-off between Ellen Pompeo and Renee Zellweger.

Finally, I used to be quite the 24 devotee, but when you kill off the only likeable character (President Palmer) and the only hot character (Tony Almeida) it turns a girl off. Woman cannot live on explosions and Chechen rebels alone. This season sucked only slightly less than Season 4, and even a guest appearance from the gone-but-not-forgotten Dr. Romano (of the once-great E.R.) could not save the show for me. Therefore, Kiefer, kindly hand your nomination over to the superlatively sexy Hugh Laurie.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

CBS Sunday Morning

Even in a TV Land where there is a year round production schedule, summer can experience broadcasting lulls, especially this week as we celebrate our fine nation's birth. In all my previous entries, I have desperately attempted to be funny. But there is nothing funny about the spacious skies and amber waves of grain that make up America the beautiful, so in honor of America's first gay orgy (AKA the Continental Congress) I am going to focus on one of the finest examples of journalistic television and Americana: CBS' Sunday Morning.

On the Sunday mornings when I wake up from a REM free sleep, wondering if it is really cocaine or that pesty, sixth Zima making my head spin, I don't roll back over and pretend my duvet is a pre-1977 David Cassidy. Instead, I make sure I am at least semi-conscious for the 9 AM EST airing of Sunday Morning. While my devotion of late belongs to Garrison Keillor, prepetual plugger of Powdermilk Biscuits, there is room for two slightly above middle aged presenters in my heart, particularly because something so soothing about Charles Osgood's well meaning intros. No hangover sticks around for long when Charles tell me that I will get a look into the latest trend sweeping Minnesota's dairy farm wife knitting circles!

It is a shame that television's most prime example of journalistic integrity only airs once a week in a time slot where it's main competition is sleep. Take Sunday Morning's weekday counterpart, NBC's Today, for example. A segment on Today follows this horribly vomitrotious format WITHOUT FAIL:
1) Voiceover of topic, followed by a compilation of movie clips to prove this topic to be ubiquitous (Hey, because if the Wilson Brothers face it in their latest romantic comedy, it MUST be a relevant topic).
2) Location shoot of someone who deals with this issue in real life (I know, I was just as upset as you to learn that the antics of the Wilson brothers aren't necessarily real life).
3) Matt Lauer interviews an expert on this topic (note: writing one of those yellow "For Dummies" books is enough for Today to consider you an expert).
And millions of people watch this formula EVERYDAY!!!!

Yet on last Sunday's episode ALONE, Sunday Morning managed to cover the following timely topics with intelligent and creative slants:
The craze of Lucha Libre wrestling
The birthday of the Bikini
A profile of Kris Kristofferso
The touching photos of soldiers in Iraqi combat by Lucien Read

AND I didn't even have to sit through any clips from Beach Blanket Bingo III to prove to me that the bikini is pop culturally relevant!

Tune in, everyone. At the very least, you will have something to talk to your grandmother about.