Sunday, May 22, 2011

Awesome Shows Getting Canceled

Network television has just finished its yearly upfronts season, the weird time when NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and the CW decide what shows are going to be picked up for the Fall, and try to convince advertisers to buy as much advertising time on them as possible. Hurrah!

I'll admit to being pretty excited about some of the new shows coming down the line (Will Arnett, Christina Applegate, and Maya Rudolph all in one place? Yes please!), but as we all know, some shows had to go by the wayside to make room for more. And so my yearly mourning period begins - when I have to sigh and grapple with some really awesome shows being canceled.

This year, my "Aw crap" moments came for just a few shows. The Chicago Code comes to mind first, starring the amazingness that is Jennifer Beals. This cop show, focused on bringing down corruption within Chicago's government, was skillfully written and equally well acted. It also featured cutie patootie Matt Lauria from Friday Night Lights (one of my mourned shows from last year) and Jason Clarke as a wise ass detective team.

"Sorry you had to actually pay attention to the words of dialogue, America."

I also felt like I could've gotten a little more into Mr. Sunshine if they gave it a chance, although Matthew Perry has already scooted back to rehab, so that might not have worked out anyway.

I won't regurgitate a list of "Canceled Too Soon" shows here; that already exists in about 1000 other places on the internet, featuring classics such as Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development, Veronica Mars, Pushing Daisies, etc. etc. etc. Rather, I'd like to focus on the upsetting reasons why these shows get canceled. Or rather, one reason.

America is dumb.

I could rest my case there, but what the heck, let's talk about it further. America seems to get super sleepy and apathetic when a show arises that requires one to:

a) follow the characters and their stories over several episodes
b) concentrate on dialogue that might be fast or witty
c) think

That's really what it boils down to. The shows that consistently get the best ratings involve ex-"celebrities" dancing like fools in stupid outfits, randos singing to Aerosmith and J Lo, OR Mark Harmon running around arresting criminals. Then of course there's Glee, which I've already ranted about elsewhere on the internet.

It's too much of a generalization to say everyone who watches these shows is dumb (especially because my friends and family, the only ones who read this blog, are viewers themselves). I'm all for escapist entertainment where you don't have to think much, and I'm not saying every show I watch should be racking up the Emmys. Although Hoarders should give everyone who works on it awards just for being willing to go into those disgusting houses.

"There's an Emmy buried somewhere in here!"

I also understand how difficult it is to keep up with a show that relies on knowing what happened the last episode. But in an age where it's so easy to pop onto,,, etc., and catch up on anything you've missed, I truly think everyone can make the effort! I don't even have a DVR and I keep up with no less than 15-20 shows. To answer your next question, no, I don't have much of a life, but that's besides the point. I am a committed fan!

All I ask is that next time you hear a show is smart, witty, and interesting, try to sit down and watch it. Make the effort.* Even if it means skipping a week of watching Kirstie Alley humiliate herself again. She'll still be there next time around.

This literally hurt my soul.

*Especially if you have a Nielsen box! For God's sake, watch good shows!

Monday, May 16, 2011

“Fat” Stars Who Lose a Bunch of Weight and Can’t Stop Talking About It

I feel I’m somehow “allowed” to talk about this subject, in the same way that certain people are “allowed” to make certain jokes because they belong to a certain race/ethnicity/sexual orientation/whatever. Thanks to my previously referenced dainty 5’10” frame, and a figure that comes straight from my defensive tackle father, I am never going to be a skinny gal. Therefore I feel I can appropriately comment on other women who turn weight loss into a paycheck and a way of life.

First things first: I am not against people losing weight. I try to do it myself roughly every day! I believe people should do whatever the hell they want if it’s healthy, and I truly don’t think any of the women I’ve referenced have lost weight unsafely. Moving on.

“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new LIIIIFE!” Jennifer Hudson feels good really often, and sings about it a lot on TV. She used to be a bigger gal, as you may know. Thanks to Weight Watchers (POINTS PLUS!) she has dropped quite a few pounds, and they are paying her probably a lot of money to belt it out to audiences everywhere. She even has her family in on it now - her cousins are featured in one of the new commercials, having lost some weight themselves. Yay for them. Yes, J Hud is still singing about Feeling Good in the background. Dang, I wish one of my cousins would hook me up with such a deal.

Similarly, Marie Osmond of all people has sung the praises of Nutri System, doing super peppy mini interviews with women who have lost weight, asking them all about their insecurities and self hatred, and how Nutri System changed ALL of that just by delivering them delicious meals right to their doorstep!

The other big celebrity whorehound is Jenny Craig, with perhaps the most endorsers of them all - over the years we’ve had Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, and Sara Rue. The first two women were shown giggling with each other about competing in weight loss, while lately Sara Rue has gone from filming commercials in a dress, then skinny jeans, and now a bikini. She slinks beside a pool in a bathing suit, touching her own skin a weird amount and talking about how awesome and sexy she feels.

"Now I have value as a person!"

I have special individual problems with each of these commercials, but there are some overarching themes that apply to all. Number one, as Kirstie Alley has shown, it is really, really, really, really easy to regain a lot of weight you’ve lost. These women are PAID to keep this weight off, and I think that sends the wrong message to normal ladies who don’t have that motivation to continue whatever weight loss program they’re on. Yes, Valerie Bertinelli can get up there and tell me about how her whole life has changed since losing weight - but at the end of the day, someone’s paying her to be in this commercial. So at the end of a really rough day, when Valerie heads home and wants nothing more in life than a big plate of fried Chinese goodness, she doesn’t just have the, “Yeah I probably shouldn’t eat that” voice in her head. She has the “Damn, I won’t get my sweet ass payday if I enjoy this deliciousness” voice too. Would I be able to resist temptation more if someone were paying me to? Who knows, but it sure as hell wouldn’t hurt!

The other problem I have is the fixation on getting “sexy’ rather than getting healthy or happy. Yes, the women are all smiling, and yes, they do talk about Feeling Good (or sing about it), but all of the musical wonders in the world can’t deny that they get into short dresses and bikinis to tell America how awesome their lives are now. It’s this overt sexualization of weight loss that really pisses me off. In her most recent commercial, Sara Rue doesn’t even look happy - she’s posing uncomfortably by the side of a pool, sucking in her gut, and forcing a smile for the camera. It made me sad more than anything the first time I saw it. Skinny girls can wear muumuus too, Jenny Craig! Throw Valerie Bertinelli in some age appropriate clothing, and you’d have a very different ad campaign on your hands.

"I've never felt so light and airy in a sea of fabric!"

Overall, I just think weight loss should be a personal motivated choice, and should be about getting healthy and okay with who you are. Sara Rue’s first commercial - about skinny jeans - referenced how she used to be too uncomfortable in her own skin to leave her house. That is a real, tangible concern, and it’s great that she’s not in that place anymore - I just don’t think she needed to hop into a hot pink two piece to prove the point.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Men Who Call Out at You on the Street

I love New York. It is the city I have dreamed of living in since I sat in front of a TV and watched West Side Story and On the Town, part of my mother’s grand scheme to turn me into a gay man (it worked). I love the smells, good and bad - I love the subway, I love taxis, I love uptown, downtown, east and west. I adore almost everything about this city.

Everything except the NASTY MEN.

“Hey baby, I like that!”
“Ooh, mami!”
“Sup girl?”

It turns out the men who live in New York will not sing and dance merrily about the town, sometimes stopping to duet with a gal pal or two, as I was led to believe by many musicals.

Any woman who has ever lived here has probably heard any number of cat calls as she is innocently walking down the street. None of the men I know have ever experienced this and may be surprised to learn it happens so often (sorry Dad, this might be an awkward read), but it does. Women are verbally harassed every single day here, in good neighborhoods and bad ones, daytime, nighttime, anywhere, any hour.

The most curious part of this occurrence for me has always been the motivation. Do you, sir, think that I will respond to you? Do you think you’ll win me over with your inappropriate familiarity? When you call out “NICE,” do you think I will turn and say, “Why thank you kindly gent! I thought my sweater looked extra good today too! Would you like to be my boyfriend?“ Has that EVER happened to you with ANY of the women you have called at on the street? If it has, I’d like to meet that woman so I can punch her in her stupid face for ruining it for the rest of us.

"Why m'lady, I believe thou dost protest too much!"

Sometimes Pervy Mc Nastyson doesn’t say anything. Sometimes I just get a hard stare, the guy looking me up and down from the moment I step into his eyeline till the moment I pass. I can always see him in my peripheral vision, and I cringe internally as I maximize the distance between us. Honestly sometimes I find myself wishing he would just say something instead of the gaze - the anticipation can be worse.

It doesn’t happen every single time I go out, so when it does, I always try to figure out what‘s different that day. I barely own any clothing that’s even remotely revealing (NOT that a short skirt is an open invitation to cat call), and most of the time my hair is in a messy bun because I decided to shower at night. I don’t often do what they call “try” in terms of makeup or attire. I really am always lost for an explanation. Guess maybe it’s just the moon’s gravity or whatever shit making the guy super randy and vocal that day.

Though I am almost always alone when this harassment occurs, I never feel particularly unsafe; rather, I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and wish I had the balls to yell something insulting back at them, or flip them off, or respond in any way that made sure they knew what they do isn’t okay. Sometimes I just want to stop and say, “Hey, it’s really demeaning when you do that. Would you want someone to talk to your mother or sister that way?” But of course I don’t - and even if I did, and that guy stopped, there’d be 10 more guys to take his place.

It’s a cultural problem that men think it’s okay to talk to women this way. Popular music and film don’t help, with depictions of women in videos that are merely there to shake their asses in skanky skirts and lyrics that promote degradation. I admit I myself have sung along to more than one song about smackin’ bitches and hoes, even as the whitest girl alive. But it’s not okay, and I sincerely wish rappers would start waxing poetic about respecting ladies and not calling them names or talking to them on the street without solicitation!

Oopsy! Someone forgot their pants! How terribly embarrassing!

Maybe someday we’ll get our equality - til then I will shove my headphones in, give a glare, keep on walkin, and once again take to the interwebs to express my anger.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

People Who Make Out in Public

L’amour. Ahavah. Amor Prohibido. However you say it, love is perhaps the most widely written and sung about topics in the world. It can make you so happy it brings you up above the clouds. It can bring you deep down to the depths of despair in its moments of cruelty and hopelessness. Wherever love takes you, there is one place it should never, never, ever go:

Right in front of my face.

Please use your wings to fly away? Touched by a Gayngel? Too many jokes.

I may not be the most chipper of people (you may have heard I have a blog about hating stuff), but I usually don’t show open disgust with complete strangers. This etiquette goes out the window when two people are sucking on each other’s mouths a foot from my eyes. My rage and disapproval is impossible to hide, as I make the obligatory, “Augh” noise and turn my head. What difference does it make? They can’t see or hear me anyway. They are in their own land of overt affection, and everyone around them has been forced into temporary citizenship until we cross the street/get off the subway/run screaming in the other direction.

A peck here, a hand hold there - sure! I’m fine with some light PDA. I understand the need to express love sometimes when you happen to be around others. What I do not understand is camping out on a street corner for several minutes at a time, licking someone else’s face as good citizens try to walk by you without vomiting. Sometimes I want to stop and ask, “Don’t you have anywhere to go? Do you live somewhere? May I help you with some directions?” Surely there’s somewhere else you can be eating that young lady’s face off.

Most often this is a street or subway offense, but I have even been on an elevator with couples who are making out profusely, leaving me to cower in the corner in disgust, praying for the laws of physics and the Gods of elevator engines to make us go faster. I am literally trapped with the hideous slurps and smacks, strongly considering jamming a pen from my purse into my eyes and ears to escape.

What does one do in these situations? I suppose the street is easy enough - you just walk by as quickly as possible. Maybe a “Get a room!” shouted over your shoulder. I try to do my “Augh” as loudly and closely as possible to the couple, in hopes they get the hint. On the subway, there’s a certain pleasure one gets from sharing the hatred with other people - undoubtedly, there’s a gruff middle aged woman or an angry old man who is already making The Face of Disgust by the time you spot the offending couple. Then you can join them in eye rolling, scootching away from the nasty pair, and maybe make a collective, “Augh” that will alert the couple to their public crime. If you’re lucky, there’s a sassy gay or loud young woman in the vicinity, willing to give a loud, “God I hate it when people are all over each other like this” announcement to the whole subway car. Teamwork!

That gentlemen in the tux will clearly assist in the shaming.

The worst is when you are all alone with no escape. The nightmare where you want to run but your legs don’t work is suddenly a reality! I suppose there are some people with personalities that might make it easy to confront the a-holes with a, “Could you bastards close your mouths until I can escape this elevator, unless you want to step out around my pool of vomit?” Or perhaps a more polite, “Do you think you could wait until you’re alone to do that?“ But unfortunately I’m pretty non-confrontational (you may have heard I have a blog about hating stuff). So for me and those like me, there is no recourse but to look the other direction, make a few awkward coughs, and take a deep breath until you are able to get away. And then take your fury to the internet.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Truvia Commercials

Before we continue, here is an example of Truvia's marketing campaign:

Now before Truvia goes suing me (because my blog is so influential and read by so many people), I am not hating on their actual product. I'm all about fake(ish) sweeteners, although I'm a Splenda gal myself. But these commercials make me want to dig out my ear drums in order to end my pain.

Let's begin with this woman's voice. I'm sure she's a lovely gal who enjoys long walks on the beach and indulges in Nicholas Sparks novels for funsies. However, her voice is like nails on a chalkboard. I know being just a little off key is "in" for hipsters or whatever, but she takes it to another level with these jingles. This is obviously what Truvia was looking for, since she probably got this job over hundreds of other women with beautiful classically trained voices or whatever. Can you imagine being one of the women who didn't get this commercial? You've probably forgotten about it by the time it airs months later. Perhaps you're puttering around your kitchen, maybe making coffee, maybe even using some artificial sweetener of some sort, and all of a sudden you hear this commercial on your TV in the other room. Your muscles freeze. Your blood goes cold. It can't be. This can't be the job you were turned down for. You move closer to the TV, just to make sure. You look on in horror as the shrill off-pitch music fills your living room.


Who knows, maybe she's funny.

Moving on, let's cover the actual song. As my sister said, "Maybe if it didn't sound like a three year old wrote it..." There are approximately 4 notes in this tune, making it even more remarkable that the aforementioned woman can't hit any of them. But the shame doesn't end there - the lyrics are embarrassing. "I love you sweetness/But you're not sweet you hit on my friends." Really? The sugar hit on your friends? Is that what happened? Oh I get it, you alllll wannnt the saaame dessert. Here's a novel idea bitches - ORDER MORE DESSERTS. Then you won't have to share. Problem solved.

Some of the other commercials vary slightly on this theme - the helpless victim of sugar's ruthless power steals her boyfriend's dessert, or she yells at Sweetness again for making her butt fat or taunting her via donuts. Overall these are all pretty sad in their sole aim towards women (cause God knows there 'aint no fatty men walkin around anywhere) and the fact that they take us back about 50 years by suggesting we just want to fight each other for desserts, steal our boyfriend's food, whine about our big booties and in general go SUGAR CRAAAZYY!!! Please. I have a somewhat large behind, but I don't blame sugar. I blame chinese food, lack of physical activity, and coming from several generations of people who evolved to survive in very cold places by holding in every fat cell for as long as possible.

I have not tried Truvia. Maybe it's the most magical sweetener in the world, but it's a shame I will never know - at least not until they change their stupid commercials and quit torturing my ears.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Idiots in the Rain

I bet you didn't know that every single day in this country, thousands* of deadly weapons are bought and sold right out in the open. Right on street corners, in your trusted neighborhood stores, the pharmacy - why, you can even use your credit card to buy a lethal arsenal of these killing machines.

Yes, I'm talking about umbrellas.

I've already lamented my tallness in a previous post, but it seems that 5'10" is just about the perfect height for most people's umbrella spikes to hit you right in the eye. This is an especially big problem in a city like, say, New York, where everyone walks everywhere all the time. Each time it rains, I must step out my door with caution and proceed to walk around like a tweaking meth head, my eyes darting left and right continuously, afraid for my life. I cannot count the number of times I get a little grunt of apology from a passerby who has nearly smacked the side of my head with their Dome of Doom © after I had to dive out of the way of their oblivion.

Nothing's gettin through this sucker! Just in case though, she is ready to pull out her gun and shoot you.

Here is a tip, fools: if you just lift your umbrella directly up, my vision is spared and you will still remain relatively dry! I always give a grateful little smile to people who do this - anecdotally, it's almost always other tall people, who I imagine have had several near-blinding experiences themselves. I'm not hating on shortys - I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who have also been maimed by a stray metal spike, and I'm sure many of you are polite umbrella lifters as well. Let us band together and form a new nation - conceived in safety - dedicated to the proposition that all eyes are worth keeping.

Don't even get me started on the asses who charge forward with their umbrella like a shield in front of them when it's windy rain. If you can't see the people coming towards you, you are walking wrong.

*This statistic is by no means accurate in any way.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Everyone Else on a Plane

Whenever I fly (which is fairly often), I quickly realize that I am thousands of feet in the air with 100-200 of the stupidest people in the world. There are so many offensive acts that occur from the time you step into the airport until the moment you break free into your destination’s gate, gasping for breath and blinking into the bright light, wondering what you did for God to punish you like that for the last X hours. There are so many awful characters one comes across that I could not narrow it down to one – I went with literally everyone. Here is a short list of people you may recognize.

1. The Guy Lying in Your Lap

This douche comes first on my list because it is the most direct and obnoxious offense. Because I have a dainty lady figure of 5’10”, leg room is no joke. I take my space seriously. So when the moment we hit cruising altitude, the guy (yes almost always a man) in front of me reaches to his side, I begin to cringe, for I know what is coming – the smash of his seat into my knees, a sudden inability to take my tray down without rendering myself infertile, and a hairdresser’s view of this man’s scalp issues. Yeah, I know the seat backs go down and people get sleepy. Doesn’t make you any less guilty when you jiggle that handle and throw your back into it juuust to make sure the seat is alllll the way down. Nope sir, can’t go any lower! If you did you’d be staring into my eyes and see the piercing hatred I feel for you.

2. The Lady Who Wants to Be BFFFFFs

See this book in my lap? See these headphones in my ears? That means I don’t want to talk to you. And yet you persist, middle aged woman. You want to ask me why I am traveling to our destination. You want to tell me why you’re going there. Oh, you have grandkids? That’s nice. Oh, you were on a plane last July and they gave you a free blanket? Cool. Yeah, this soda is pretty good I guess. No, I’m not sure why they don’t give out the peanuts anymore. Hehe, sure is a tight squeeze up here! Please oh please leave me alone. Also occasionally applies to overweight jovial middle aged men.

3. People Who Make the Security Line Slow

This is a wide range of races, genders, ages, etc., but generally applies to people who don’t fly often. I don’t blame you for not being used to all the rules and regulations about liquids and clear bags and shoes off and shit. But when there are 40 signs and two TSA agents telling you these facts before you have to put your crap on the conveyor belt, and you STILL set off the damn metal detector because you have your watch on, I hate you. Why do you look surprised when they tell you to take your shoes off? Did you not see every single person in front of you doing it? Did you think you were the exception to all the flying rules? Get out and don’t ever come back.

4. Crying Baby

Yeah yeah, they can’t help it, they’re babies, they don’t know any better, you’ll be horrified when you’re the mom with the screaming kid one day, wah wah wah. I’ve heard all the excuses. Doesn’t mean I don’t want that damn baby to SHUT UP. LIFE RUINERS!

5. Leisurely De-Boarder

This one enrages me on par with #1, because it happens at the very end of your trip – after you’ve already suffered through all of the above tortures, plus whatever random awful things came up (toes smashed by the beverage cart, shitty movie or NO movie offered, Creepy Starer From Across the Aisle). You’re tired, miserable, and wanting nothing more than to exit this cavern of hell. But somehow, this flyer a few rows ahead of you had NONE of your terrible experiences! They casually stand up to stretch, chat with some neighbors, and take their sweet motherfuckin time getting that carry on down from the overhead bin. All the while, you are silently screaming, trapped in the aisle further back, able to do nothing. One day my internal rage will become accidentally external, and I will shout, “MOVE IT ALONG ASSHOLE” to a complete and total stranger. Stay tuned.

...Blog Name Stealers Who Never Post

Yes, was already taken. By some nerd who did 5 entries back in 2006 and none since. And I'm not hating on nerds, for I am one too, but this guy's posts were about tuna fish and disk space, folks. This has forced me to settle on Is Anything Worse Than as a backup. It has also forced me to face the fact that I am not original or as clever as I lead myself to believe.

White girl problems!