Tuesday, January 28, 2003

7th Heaven, “It’s Not Always About You”, Airdate 1.27.03

Last week’s Very Special Episode was about cystic fibrosis, so this week the socially relevant folks at 7th Heaven offer a Very Special Episode about…jury duty. Guest-starring Jackee. The episode title is repeated 14 times in the episode, a new record.

Lucy is summoned for jury duty, but snits right and left about how she doesn’t have time because she’s a student. That cracked me up to no end, it’s been at least 3 seasons since Lucy has attended a class or even left the house. Our beloved Jackee puts the smack down on her, and Creepy Kevin does as well. I actually liked Creepy Kevin here: if your boyfriend is a cop, you should see the point of jury duty. Lucy continues the banshee wail until she is summoned for a jury pool and the defendant is…Jimmy Moon! Longtime readers will remember Jimmy as Lucy’s first boyfriend. Not Rod, he was the one with the scooter. Jimmy Moon was the marijuana Informer. (I was going to do some Snow lyrics here, but I haven’t the faintest clue what they are. Insert Canadian rap-babbling here.) Lucy realizes, you guessed it, that it’s not always about her. And hopefully goes out for some new clothes, because her Audrey Hepburn by way of Pat Benatar outfit was killing me.

Simon and Neck-of-Steel Cecilia are still working as school janitors, but Cecilia won’t date him. He keeps asking if it’s her dad, or if it’s something he did, or if he can please return to the Bible Brit Pop look. Eventually (good Lord, eventually!), Cecilia’s dad tells him to talk to Cecilia and see how she feels, because it’s Not Always About You. Cecilia agrees to date Simon again, if she can date other people and he has to stay committed to her. Simon agrees to it without actually understanding what he agreed to. But, apparently, it’s Not Always About Simon.

In the funniest plot of the evening, a homeless vagrant nicks Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard with a knife. She blandly shouts, “Ow!” as Kevin subdues the hardened criminal and calls for backup. “Officer down!” he hollers, ignoring the fact that Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard is standing right next to him, smoothing her hair and attempting to look like she’s in pain.

This plot means that we get treated to more of the Chandler/Roxanne romance. He arrives in a panic at the hospital (wearing a blazer and jeans, a look even tackier than a man in sandals). Blinking rapidly and with feeling, he tells Roxanne he wants to date her with the intention of marrying her. Sort of an Engagement for Dummies. They’ve only been dating for two weeks, by the way.

The Reverend and Annie’s marital problems invade the episode, set fire to the huts, steal the women, and rape the goats. As Ruthie is not given a plot of her own, she starts giving her parents marital advice. It totally gives me the creeps that a 12-year-old is the voice of reason on the show. But I cracked up when she suggested the whole family go to Eric’s therapy, because they “all have issues.” At the end, the three of them realize it’s Not Always About Them and share a strawberry shortcake.

Intentional humor: 6 (Jackee!) Unintentional humor: 7 Preachiness: 6 Emotional trauma: 5 Histrionics: 9
Joe Millionaire, Episode 4, Airdate 1.27.03

Four women remain at the chateau, as we find out during the opening montage (yup, Evan can still shovel dirt), opening credits, and introduction from Paul the Butler. Each woman gets a one-on-one date with Evan.

Sarah and Evan go on a bike ride to a winery, where they pretend to be tasting wine but really just pour the stuff down their throats. After a few bottles, they start making out at the table. Classy. The lovebirds return to the chateau, sneak off into the woods, and hide from the cameras. Fox kindly provides subtitling from their wooded grotto: “Would it be better if we lie down?……mmm..shhhhhhhh…..(slurp)…(gulp!)….mmm!….ohhhh!” It makes my job so much harder when the show makes fun of itself. Sarah returns to the chateau, walking funny, and tells the other girls that she and Evan “kissed.” Fox has now made me nostalgic for the halcyon days of Celebrity Boxing.

Melissa gets the lamest date ever: Evan picks her up in sweatpants and takes her down to the kitchen to cook dinner. Princess Melissa has never cooked in her life, so the two of them burn all the food and stare at one another glumly across the dinner table. The date is even boring me until Melissa gives the Greatest Freudian Slip of All Time. Evan asks her what she would do with the money, and she says she would provide immunizations in third world countries and help the poor because she is a “mercenary” kind of person. Evan doesn’t realize she meant to say “missionary” and looks at her in thunderstruck, affectionate awe. I suppose he wanted to get in the “mercenary” position with her later.

Here’s my question: does Evan take Melissa on the lame dates because he doesn’t really like her, or does he take her on lame dates because he likes her so much he feels that he doesn’t have to impress her? Discuss.

Evan takes Zora for a walk, then for a horseback ride. They have a romantic picnic in the woods, the birds are chirping, and the squirrels frolic. Seriously…Fox added footage of squirrels. The two of them get ready to get in the reality show staple, the hot tub. However, the other girls come home and hop in the hot tub as well. Zora classily gets the hell out of there. I really hope Zora doesn’t win, she’s too nice for Neanderthal Evan.

Evan’s last date is with Mojomouth. He takes her for a fencing lesson, which she proclaims is “something I’d never imagine I’d do!” Jesus, I’m sure even Indianapolis has a YMCA. Mojomouth puts on an ornate Zorro costume, which somehow manages to be the most tasteful thing she’s worn on the show. I love a woman who is 35, says she is 25, and dresses 15. Afterwards, the two of them go back to the chateau and she gives him a gift she made before she even arrived. Her “gift” is nothing like Sarah’s, so get your mind out of the gutter. Mojomouth presents Evan with a poem she wrote herself and a jigsaw puzzle. When the puzzle is put together, it forms a picture of Mojomouth in skimpy redneck-wear, with a sign that says “I Choose You!”

The day of the Guillotine arrives, and (shockingly!) Mojomouth is eliminated. Farewell, Mojomouth. I will miss your glitter eyeshadow and outfits from Hit or Miss (which were mostly misses). The three remaining women fondle their jewels (ew, I mean rubies) and claim they miss her.

Next week: more hot-tub hijinks, this time in the Riviera.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Here's the long-awaited recap of Bridal Expo 2003:

Roxanne (da bride), Rowena and I got up godawful early last Sunday morning to go to the Ramada Renaissance. That's one of those hotels that is shockingly expensive but utterly lacking in taste and originality. Sort of a one-night-only suburban McMansion. We stood in line with giddy suburbanites wearing "Very Important Bride" stickers, doled out to those who will battle the first wave of obnoxious vendors. Sort of a "Charge of the Bride Brigade."

While we were standing in line, one of the staff members decides to "entertain" the crowd by informing us that it is indeed an expo and there will indeed be vendors. Gee. However, he had one of those New England must-enunciate-the-hell-out-of-everything accents - like Eric Sturm's, for those of you who know him (hi, Eric!). Evil Eric Sturm noticed that Rowena looks sleepy and bored and started picking on her - in a flailing-standup-comedian sort of way. The line finally moves forward and I discover that Roxanne was whimsical enough to register me as a bride. I invent a groom, wedding date, home address and budget on the spot.

The next hour was spent visiting various relentless vendors, who acted like Roxanne is the greatest person on Earth - I swear one of the florists tried to lick her. We then sat down for the fashion show. The "fashion show" had all the class of a Flowbee infomercial. It started with a DJ/Limo Driver warming up the crowd by doing a goofy booty dance. Which was amusing, until it turned into an hour-long old-fashioned tent revival. Except instead of coming to Jesus, you had to go down to the stage and perform long-dead dances such as the Macarena. During the Electric Slide, Rowena fell asleep and began to drool on my shoulder. It was cute. Even Roxanne looked bored by the Booty Call.

Finally, the revival ended, we're all saaaaaved for Jesus, and they hauled out a woman I'll call Patty. Everyone knows a Patty - mid-forties, divorced, shoulder pads, big hair in a hairbow and enough false enthusiasm to spend days faking orgasms. She reads off raffle winners, one of whom is Patty's Soul Sister - hairbow, gonna hold on to her man THIS time around. Patty's Soul Sister screams and runs down to the stage like she's on The Price Is Right.

The so-called "fashion" show begins. Dress after foofball dress is rolled out for every sponsor. They ranged from mildly tasteful to Angelina-Jolie-would-find-it-tacky-and-goth. Sandals resorts had to take a turn, and this next bit cracked me up for days: the models came out in flourescent Sandals logo swim trunks and tank tops, and did a weird spinny dance with beachballs. The most enthusiastic dancer was...Evil Eric Sturm! He was doing something oddly sexual to his beachball and almost fell off the stage. They mimed playing golf, scuba diving, and swimming for the mindless bridal horde. Then they came out again on behalf of Target resort wear and Evil Eric Sturm did a dance with a golf club. You could tell Evil Eric Sturm thought this was a springboard to Hollywood. More dresses, more vendors, another round of Patty, then off for home.

I learned several important things on Sunday:

1. It's fun to scatter free bridal magazines around the apartment...my boyfriend's fear has been palpable.
2. I have no inner fairy princess. The very idea that I might one day pick out a dress, flowers, limos, and so forth practically gave me an anuerysm. Vegas, baby, Vegas!
3. Most importantly, when you hear about the "Bridal Subculture" you can really just shorten it to "cult." Many of the brides were 2 steps away from selling flowers in airports.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Today y'all get a double serving of snark: 7th Heaven, Joe Millionaire. Later, I'll include a special recap of Sunday's Bridal Expo. I bought 3 brides. I never get tired of that joke.

7th Heaven, "Back in the Saddle", Airdate 01/20/03

Also known as "The Beauty of 8:53." Ruthie meets this week's never-to-be-seen-again Tertiary Friend in Need, played by Mackenzie Rosman's real life half sister. Somehow, the fact that this young girl has CF manages to be not in the least compelling, for several reasons: 1. As with all ill people in the Camden Universe, she is perfectly sweet, inspirational and optimistic. 2. Chelsea Clinton made a more attractive preteen 3. The braces, oh God the braces and the lisp they cause. You think Mackenzie would have bought her some Invisalign. At 8:53 pm, Ruthie and CF girl go horseback riding and all is right in the world.

However, a chronically ill girl is not the center of the episode. Surprisingly enough, the theme is jealousy. What's that dripping out of my mouth? Could it be sarcasm? Let me grab a napkin real quick...ok, we're back. Long-lost Cheryl returns. Cheryl dated both Robbie (who is still nowhere to be found) and Matt, and has had "adult relations" with Robbie but not Matt. She stops by Chandler's office, sending Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard into a fit of jealousy. She storms out, and has the most hilarious heart-to-heart with Lucy: "I'm crazy, I have low self-esteem, oh God I'm YOU!" Kevin has a "women are crazy and have PMS" heart-to-heart with Chandler, Chandler and Roxanne reconcile, and the four of them meet for pizza with Cheryl and her boyfriend...at 8:53.

Also, Eric sees a therapist, who tells him to get off his fool ass and stop feeling sorry for himself. I swear the writers have been to my site, because I think I wrote that scene two recaps ago. The therapist stops by the Camden home at the end of the episode and explains that he was mean because he's getting divorced. Sure, but the Reverend still needs to get off his fool ass. In case anyone's keeping score, this happened at 8:53.

Finally, Simon tries to win back Cecilia after he tried to make love with her up in his bedroom. He got up to wash his face (and tell their parents that they wanted to have sex) when he came back someone had taken his place (the other boys Cecilia is actually allowed to date). Cecilia's dad comes by the house and tells Simon he prefers him to the other boys Cecilia goes out with. And 8:53 draws to a close. Ah, Camden Voltron.

Other notes: the Poddlers don't say anything, horrid Renaissance Faire bell-sleeve clothing abounds, and Simon now sports a brunette, slicked-back, thick eyebrow Eddie Munster look. So much for Bible Brit Pop.

Intentional humor: 7 Unintentional humor: 9 Preachiness: 7 Emotional trauma: 6 Histrionics: 8

Joe Millionaire, Episode 3, Airdate 1.20.03

Evan takes the girls to Paris, home of amour, and whittles the field from 5 to 4. And good God, is it a bore. And heavens, Mojomouth is a whore.

However, the opening sequence/credits/whatever have been whittled from 5 minutes to 4 minutes, so perhaps that is a theme. At the very least, it's a relief.

Evan takes Mojomouth out for dinner and to the Moulin Rouge. He gives her several lovely dresses, and cheers when she selects the dress that her boobs keep falling out of. Of course, she's falling out of the dress because she's easily 10 years older than she claims to be ("25" must be only in dog years). She tops the awesome dress with the most godawful hat I've ever seen, a wide-brimmed monstrosity with sort of a bolero effect around the trim. She wears the hat to both dinner and the club. Evan rightfully declares the hat to be hateful and grimaces every time she smacks him upside the head with it.

Melissa is treated to an afternoon at the Eiffel Tower and a cocktail. Evan presents her with a portrait of herself that captures all of her teeth and none of her charm. Allison rightfully notes that Melissa wouldn't hang a painting of herself in her living room, and that it's a damn idiotic gift.

Sarah (the one whose name I forgot last time) is treated to tango lessons. Evan has a tango outfit for her too, of the hoochie bustier variety. Sarah chokes down the last of her self-esteem and pours herself into it. Evan raises the red lantern and kisses her good night, which Sarah promptly gloats about to the other girls.

Evan takes Allison for a boat cruise down the picturesquely polluted Seine. First they have to cook foie gras together, and Evan finds out that it's liver. He gasps and refuses to eat. Allison looks horrified. But once the wine kicks in, so does the conversation, and they have a nice time.

Finally, Zora gets dinner at a bistro and Evan digs out his crowbar. He asks her about her family and she refuses to tell him anything. Evan says his family is perfect. Zora turns stark white. Evan gets peeved that she won't open up. What a twerp. She's already implied her family's poor, and clearly there's some other stuff going on. Shut up, Evan. She'll say something when she's ready, and not on TV. I really hated Evan here. Some guys don't know when to call off the chase.

However, I do like Evan overall. I'd never date him in a million years (far too tall, none too bright), but he's such a guy it cracks me up. He describes Sarah as having a "hot little rocket body", and asks the cameraman to zoom in on a guy with a "Parisian mullet." And he clearly dislikes Mojomouth as much as I do.

Paul the Butler takes everyone to the guillotine ceremony, where 4 will be given emeralds and 1 will be given a boot in the ass. Mike and I thought this week's Assboot would go to Mojomouth or Zora. Zora clearly thought she was next to go, because she was wearing a turtleneck, which isn't conducive to putting on a necklace. However, the Assboot came as a surprise....Allison! Evan thinks she'd like a more sophisticated guy. Truthfully, I think he wanted to get rid of Mojomouth, but thought she was more likely to put out than Allison.

Next week: Back at the chateau. Hot tubs, rubies and catfights, oh my!

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Two items of news: 1. I found a temp assignment as a secretary for the American Geophysicists Union. It's even more thrilling than it sounds. 2. This week's 7th Heaven was a repeat (the one with the blacklight puppet troupe), so we'll go straight to Joe Millioniare.

Joe Millionaire, Episode 2, Airdate 1.13.03

We begin with the same dramatic opening montage as the pilot, with Evan poetically shoveling dirt then learning to suck wine through his teeth. I settle in, thinking the montage serves as the opening credits. Four minutes later, I see credits on the screen. Two minutes after that, we go to commercial. Four minutes after THAT, the episode begins. This show has more filler than a building full of jelly donuts.

The remaining twelve women are divided into three groups. The first group goes to a vineyard...to pick grapes in the rain. The second group goes to a picturesque train station...to shovel coal. The third group goes to a horse farm...to muck out stalls. In case the Fox viewing public (whose collective intellectualism makes possible things like "When Animals Attack") doesn't get it, Evan explains that he is testing them to see if they are strong enough to be with a construction worker. I don't get it - I don't make my boyfriend do dishes when he comes over, and I certainly would not have had him muck out stalls on our first date. Then again, perhaps that is why I am not on television.

Each date has the requisite drama queen: Melissa tells the girls to pick grapes faster because she's cold, Melissa Jo "MoJo" dominates the conversation on the train, and Heidi pitches a fit and demands that Evan rescue her from her runaway horse. The horse had moved ten feet from the herd and moved its head slightly. I once fell off a horse doing a full gallop and I whined less than Heidi did.

Back at the chateau, the girls discover that Heidi has a boyfriend (GASP!). They all insist she be disqualified, which doesn't matter because Evan doesn't pick her anyway. This time, the 5 girls who stay are given sapphires. During the selection scene, Heidi grabs each girl by the neck and appraises the jewelry. The five survivors:

1. Melissa: she whines a lot, but she's got curly hair and she's funny. Mike, who is my guy expert for the show, wants her to win.
2. Mojo, henceforth known as MojoMouth.
3. Allison, who said little but is a very pretty cinnamon redhead. Evan told the cameras that she was chosen because she is "hot".
4. Zora, a substitute teacher who is downright cool - she even likes horses.
5. Shoot. Somebody else. I didn't know why Evan picked her. Oh, wait, I do. According to Guy Expert, "boobs."

Next week: Evan takes the girls on individual fantasy dates in Paris. I would laugh my ass off if he made them wear berets with their names on them, like in National Lampoon's European Vacation.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Well, as some of you may have heard, I'm unemployed. Again. A meeting with the boss at 3 pm on a Friday is the corporate Sword of Damocles. I've joined the ranks of the laid off, as opposed to the last time I drank cheap wine and temped, which was entirely voluntary. So, if you'd like your local snarkbitch to grow up and get a real job, please send suggestions to mybrilcareer@yahoo.com. Current career plans include...well, I have no plans.

And, now to the real reason y'all check out my website (plus a special Joe Millionaire recap!). Special thanks to Mike West for watching with me.

7th Heaven, "Sunday", airdate 1.06.02

There are two morals to tonight's episode: sex is bad, and bad sex exists because people don't rest on Sundays. (In the non-Camden universe, that dilemma is resolved by resting when the wife's innards are molting. But I digress). Despite the winning topic of sex, this was the most boring episode ever.

Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard shows up for church in an outfit that makes her look like a 3rd grade teacher. Except with boobs. Chandler is smitten, and they go on their first date. Judging by Chandler's facial expressions, as well as how he is framed in the camera, a crew member is charged with placing unsavory objects in unsavory Chandler places whenever he has dialogue. On this (first!) date, Woefully Miscast Rachel Blanchard asks Chandler if he's a virgin. She also kisses him and more or less volunteers to hoist her peasant skirt over her head and initiate him in the ways of.....ugh, I just grossed myself out.

To continue the gross, Simon and Neck-of-Steel Cecilia make the mature decision to have sex. They talk about it, they buy condoms, and to prove they are mature enough to DIE, they tell their parents. Together, family-meeting style. "So, Mom, I'm doing really well in algebra, and I thought I'd lose my virginity to a woman with no neck." "That's nice honey, would you like a 7-Up?"

And in a symbolic moment, Ruthie and her new boyfriend, Teeth-to-Spare, construct a volcano that erupts. Ick, Ruthie is 12 and far too young for metaphor.

The Reverend writes a racy novel (the actor who portrays the Reverend writes novels). I love it when bad art imitates bad life imitating bad art.

The writers decided to make Kevin redeemable by making Lucy even more of a harpy than she had ever been. She spends all day after church running around howling and shrieking. At the end of the episode, she gives a sermon about how Sundays are too hurried now and it's a day to run errands, and that's why she has been so cranky. No, Lucy, it's called sociopathy. Look into it.

Intentional humor: 6 Unintentional humor: 3 (a new low!) Preachiness: 8 Emotional trauma: 10 Histrionics: 6

Joe Millionaire, Episode 1, Airdate 1.06.02

Now, I'm sure you're asking yourself: how low will people stoop to get on TV? Answer below*.

Joe Millionaire would be the coolest show ever if it was only half an hour long, and the women were allowed to strap on American Gladiators gear and pummel one another. It is the story of a man named Evan with 50 million dollars, and 20 women to choose from. Except that he's really a construction worker, and will therefore soon enough have zero women. But, despite the fact that he's looking for his dream woman in a contrived setting, inside of a lie, he seems nice. We meet Evan learning how to be sophisticated, and developing fine qualities like sucking wine through his teeth and riding a horse. Not at the same time, however, which would make things fun.

Tonight the women toured the chateau, and Evan selects 12 to remain with him. The clear villain talks out of one side of her mouth (to better use both of her faces). The clear victor (the one with the brunette ringlets) smiles a lot and doesn't mention the money. The other women are mere mattress fodder for Evan Dumber Than the Bachelor. The real victor, however, is Phyllis Schafly. Tune in next week for individual personalities and lots of hair-pulling!

*Next week: the girls muck stalls.