Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Am Liz Lemon #1

A new semi-regular series in which I point out moments from Liz Lemon's life that have either happened to me in the past or are currently happening to me in my own life. This will be the ultimate proof that, once and for all, I am Liz Lemon.

"How would you feel if I called you Glasses?"
"I'd be fine with that."
"Good, because that's what I've been calling you, which was no help when I was trying to find your extension."

"Why were you trying to find my extension?"

"I have a friend who's opening up a new restaurant in SoHo and I was hoping that you'd go with me."


"Do you wanna go out with me tonight?"


"Because it would be fun. And you seem cool."



"I don't go out on dates with guys like Grey. It feels wrong. He's The Hair and I'm a Head Plus, at best."


"Do you wanna go somewhere, just the two of us?"
"Okay, what's your game, friend?"
"Game? There's no game. What are you talking about?"
"I don't have any money, if that's what you're after. And I'm not one of those girls who does weird stuff in the bedroom because they think they have to. If you're a gay guy looking for a beard, I don't do that anymore. And if you're trying to harvest my organs and sell them, I have an uncle who's a cop, so don't even try that."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who Should Make My Imaginary Boyfriends of 2010 List?

At the end of the past two years, I've come up with a list of my Imaginary Boyfriends for the past year. Basically, the post is meant to commemorate the hottest and most memorable men who have touched some special place in me over the preceding year. It's almost that time of the year again, so I thought I would ask for your input in my list this year. I've already got some ideas of who I'm going to include but I'm hoping that some of my readers will remind me of some man that has slipped my mind. In case you're wondering, here's the general criteria I use when selecting my Imaginary Boyfriends.
  • The man in question must have sparked my interest in some way, shape or form in the year. This means that they actually had to do something and can't coast on love from a previous year.
  • I used to limit the list to newbies who caught my eye for the first time, but now I've decided to include those who have made previous lists or have reminded me why I fell for them in the first place.
  • Obvious, all-time loves are disqualified. I think we all know that I find Jake Gyllenhaal and Zac Efron sexy all year, every year.
So, now it's your turn. Who are you thinking should make my list? Also, if you're feeling bored, who do you think will make list?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jakey & Annie Whip Their Hair Back and Forth, Whip Their Hair Back and Forth

In what is quite possible the most adorable thing I've seen a celebrity do since Andy Garfield serenaded Peter Travers & Carey Mulligan with the 'Bed Intruder Song,' here are Jakey Gyllenhaal and Annie Hathaway breaking into an impromptu version of Willow Smith's breakout hit 'Whip My Hair.' The two co-stars of the upcoming movie (full of sexy times, it appears) Love & Other Drugs prove that the chemistry they displayed in Brokeback Mountain wasn't a fluke. Their dynamic together, and the way they feed off each other, is fascinating to watch: just watch how Jakey gives a ridiculous answer and Annie is there immediately to back him up in his rendition of the song. I love these two so ridiculously much it's...ridiculous. I will not be a whole person again until I can watch these two be cute and have sex together on-screen.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome Back, Glee...

...Well, it's not exactly "back" since the writing is still shit, the acting is nearly unstomachable and the whole gay angle is handled only slightly better than one of the episodes on an Alan Ball TV show where the gay character(s) deliver the most awful, holier-than-thou sermon this side of a papal mass. Considering the hot mess the show was when I gave up on it last season, and how much anger I had towards it for wasting both its potential and my time week after week, I never thought I would be able to take anything it did seriously ever again. And, judging by the reaction this season from even the most hardcore Gleetards, the show's novelty was beginning to wear off quickly. But, out of nowhere, the show went back to its roots with this performance from a new cast member:

Wow, that was surprisingly refreshing. My biggest complaint with Glee towards the end of the run of episodes I watched was that they weren't even bothering to do anything to make the songs their own. In the beginning, especially in the pilot episode with 'Rehab' and 'Don't Stop Believin',' Glee wasn't afraid to interpret the songs in new and original ways. By the end of the first run, however, the show was falling prey to its own hype and started cranking out those songs to suck as much money out of buyers as they could. Some of the songs were so terrible they sounded like someone bought a karaoke tape, pressed play, let Lea Michelle sing shriek over everyone and then called it a day ('Bad Romance,' I'm looking at you). Apparently this has only gotten worse this season, especially with the jukebox musical/theme episodes. But this rendition of 'Teenage Dream' is absolutely stunning. What I love most about the arrangement is that it's stripped down to an acapella core yet the song's emotion, which Katy Perry emotes so vividly over the electropop-ness of the original, loses none of its power or urgency.

And the person who I think should be credited mostly for the success of this rendition is Glee newcomer Darren Criss. As you can see, I'm clearly in love with him and will stop at nothing until he's mine. Apparently, the University of Michigan graduate (two hours away from me!) is famous for something called A Very Potter Musical, which made it's way online earlier this year. I tried watching it but it made very little sense to me as I haven't read a Harry Potter book since Bill Clinton was president. Anyways, on the show, Darren plays Blaine, Kurt's new gay buddy who is there solely to provide support and tell Kurt to stand up for himself. In other words, the character's a total snoozefest and didn't give Darren much to play with in his first appearance. But that hardly matters when your debut musical performance is something as amazing as his version of 'Teenage Dream.' His husky voice is in definite contrast to Katy's light and airy vocals on the original but he manages to keep the song sexy in his own way. Just by emphasizing the wrong word, the lyric, "I'ma get your heart racing in my skin tight jeans/I'll be your teenage dream tonight," could have become an epic disaster but he actually turns it into a sly, subtle invitation that makes it even hotter. Speaking of hotness, I also love the way that, like Kurt/Chris Colfer, Darren isn't one of those generic, plastic-looking gays that seem to populate shows of this nature and, unlike Kurt/Chris Colfer, he has his own brand of sexiness that can't be reproduced. It appears that many others out there agree with me as he has instantly become the most buzzed about new cast member since, I don't know, ever and there are even talks about making him a series regular. Seems like a good idea at this point since his song is currently at #1 on the iTunes chart, sodomizing the other songs from the episode, and is on track to be the highest charting single from Glee since 'Don't Stop Believin'.' I'm sure once Glee gets their hands on Darren they will ruin him like they have every other aspect of the show but let's just enjoy him in all his glory for the moment.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Two Hot Aryans

This post is about exactly what the title says. Let's get started.

First off is Ed Drewett. Brits may recall him from the Professor Green song 'I Need You Tonight,' which hit the UK Top 10 earlier this year or, if you're a mega The Wanted fan, you may recognize him as the songwriter of their #1 hit 'All Time Low.' Ed is now ready to take the electropop world by storm with his infectious, amazingly addictive debut single 'Champagne Lemonade,' out now in the UK. It's not often you find a good looking male who can do electropop and do it well, so we must treasure Ed and 'Champagne Lemonade' like the gifts they are. Plus, Ed is very active with his Twitter account (@eddrewett) and corresponds regularly with fans. When I casually mentioned about a month ago that he was a hot Aryan, he not only retweeted me but also replied to say that he thought it was funny that I called him an Aryan. Great musician, hot and and an amazing sense of humor? Ed's almost too good to be true.

Secondly, we have Trevor Donovan. My New Plaid Pants did an amazing post about him a few weeks back and I've been a, um, fan ever since. He's currently starring on the ever lovely 90210 right now and has been receiving a fair amount of attention for playing the strappin' ladies' man doubting his sexuality. Being the shallow individual I am, I watched clips of the show involving his storyline only and...yeah, it's probably as bad as you would expect. There were a couple moments that worked, namely the way the straight guys reacted--or didn't react, depending on your viewpoint--when Trevor's character called the gay kid a "faggot," but mostly it's a hot mess of clichés and lousy acting. But Trevor is never less than smoldering and has a sexy deep voice that I wouldn't mind hearing first thing in the morning. In all honesty, though, I'm just waiting around until he makes out with a boy; isn't that what life is all about?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Joe's Ambitions

Or, in the slightly altered words of a wise man, "Let's face it. This blog is becoming a bit of the Cheryl Joe show.

The Joe McElderry of present is not the same Joe McElderry we met last year. Back then, he was the fresh-faced winner of the UK's X-Factor, a graduate of the David Archuleta school of impeccable, if ultimately safe, balladeering. When 'The Climb' was chosen as his winning single, it seemed like a foregone conclusion the path Joe's music career was going to take. But then something happened. Former constraints in his personal life were lifted and, suddenly, Joe wasn't the same person anymore. He couldn't go on doing the same music he was doing before; it would almost be like he was cheating himself.

Welcome to Wide Awake, Joe's debut album and launching pad for his brand new sound. Right away, the album feels like a compromise between Joe and executive producer Simon Cowell. As I've said before, Simon isn't a stranger to experimentation, as Alexandra's CD and Leona's 'Outta My Head' proved, but you know he wanted some insurance tracks in case the new material didn't work out. Hence we have 'The Climb' making an appearance on here, as well as a cover of the Five for Fighting hit 'Superman (It's Not Easy)' and the tender title track. These tracks are fine in their own way, but, unsurprisingly, it's on the "experimental" tracks where Joe truly shines. With influences as varied as ABBA (the excessively distorted bridge of 'Someone Wake Me Up' sounds similar to their 'Under Attack'), Alphabeat ('Feel the Fire' is blatantly reminiscent of 'Fascination') and the Scissor Sisters (he seems to be taking cues from Jake Shears, thankfully with none of his tiresome shtick, on 'Fahrenheit'), Joe is trying out different styles to see what suits him best.

(Side Note: Curiously enough, all the groups I mentioned as Joe's influences are male/female groups, two of which contain a male and a female who share the vocal work equally. Is Joe making a comment on gender and sexuality by mining these artists? Probably not, but it's an interesting observation.)

Two of the biggest complaints I've heard about Wide Awake is that there are too many covers and that there is too much Auto Tune/vocal distortion covering Joe's voice. I agree that five covers on an album of 11 tracks is perhaps a tad excessive but I think Joe is smart about the songs he chooses to cover. Sure, 'The Climb' and 'Superman' are hardly the most exciting choices but they are a good deal more interesting and contemporary than some of the snoozers Simon usually likes (how tiresome would covers of 'You Are So Beautiful to Me' and 'Unchained Melody' have been in comparison?). And if these two songs deserve any praise, Joe's 'The Climb' works better than Miley's because he's a much a stronger vocalist (and you need good pipes to make that song digestible) and 'Superman' makes for an interesting commentary on Joe's sexuality in the public eye ("I'm only a man/In a silly red sheet"). 'Smile' is a cover of an Uncle Kracker song and I'm impressed that you would never guess in a million years that Joe's version was once sung by the same guy who did 'Follow Me.' As for 'Ambitions' and 'Real Late Starter,' these recent songs have their ardent fans but I like that Joe went for little known songs instead of something as obvious as Lady GaGa. And in the case of 'Ambitions,' the song is actually quite different than the original if you listen carefully. You may not like the direction he took, but you can't say it's a copycat version.

As for the Auto Tune criticisms, I'm a little less understanding. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people criticize Auto Tune for "covering up" "untalented" singers with weak voices or drowning a talented singer's great voice. I've said it before and I'll say it again: AUTO TUNE IS NOT THE ENEMY. It is nothing but a stylistic choice. Many weaker singers got by before it (hello early Madonna) and many others have after (RiRi!). Britney uses it all the time these days but she didn't always (remember how she pretended she was a singer on the ...Baby One More Time album?). It's nothing but a fad that may or may not be here in a few years. There's no mistaking that Joe is a great singer, but the the insinuation he's trying to cover something is insulting. He's experimenting with a brand new sound for him. Would 'Fahrenheit' be as great of a song without all the Auto Tune? I don't think so.

Joe McElderry certainly has a lot of room to grow as an artist, but Wide Awake shows a lot of promise and is a confident step in the right direction for him. He's only 19, but I think he's well on his way to finding himself as both a musical artist and a man.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please Remember. Don't Surrender.

When I came home from class tonight to the devastating news that Disney starlet and Rants of a Diva fave Demi Lovato had left her current tour with the Jonas Brothers to admit herself into a treatment center to address "physical and emotional issues," I had quite mixed emotions about the whole affair. On one hand, the suddenness and severity of the news caught me completely off guard. Usually, an inevitable announcement like this comes in stages after weeks or even months of erratic behavior reported vociferously by the press. I was around during the glory days of Brit's and Lindsay's (early) meltdowns, so I'm well aware of how these things are usually handled in the press. But Disney must have been working overtime trying to cover all the tracks because this announcement totally blind sided everyone.

On the other hand, when you sit down and think about it after the initial shock has passed, the news is not that surprising. Of the three main Disney girls (Miley & Selena being the other two), I've always thought of Demi as the goddess of the House of Mouse: beautiful, talented, friendly yet not entirely knowable. She's put on this pedestal for all to admire yet I have always gotten the sense that there was more to her than her public persona ever gave away, a sadness that she had to keep hidden. And, ironically, this makes her the most human of the three girls. Negative, hateful press affected her more than anyone; Selena is far too "new" to the mainstream while Miley has been dealing with it longer and has developed a thick skin. The never ending stress of being a highly valuable Disney star certainly took its toll on her. I remember reading her Twitter during the summer of '09 when she was shooting
Camp Rock 2 and she was lamenting about how exhausted she was by her non-stop schedule. This is probably something every celebrity has done from time to time, especially with the advent of Twitter, but there was a note of desperate sadness that I've never forgotten. Plus, you can't forget that this is a woman who was shooting a movie in Toronto while on a hiatus from a nationwide, headlining tour while in the midst of promoting her sophomore album who, after the movie wrapped, would go right back to her tour and then rush back to make more episodes of her sitcom. Add to that the fact that she was only 16 or 17 at the time and her exhaustion makes perfect sense. Child stars never have it easy and it takes an incredibly strong person to weather half the shit many of the Disney stars of today have to go through.

If nothing else, the one event that catapulted Demi to the mainstream quicker than anything else was the announcement that she and Joe Jonas had taken their friendship to a whole new level. From the start, the relationship smelled fishy, and, sure enough, the relationship lasted mere months; Demi and Joe, however, assured everyone that they would remain professional. While I would never question Demi's professionalism, I did wonder how exactly she would react in public about the whole ordeal. Although she hasn't gone quite as far as Taylor Swift in talking about her relationships in public, we can't forget that this is the same woman who, after being asked how her best friend at the time Selena Gomez was doing, quipped "Ask Taylor [Swift]" with a sarcastic grin on her face. She got a good one in on Joe during this concert in Brazil, but for all her apparent bitterness, you know the whole ordeal hurt her more than she let on. You can only be so tough for so long. And when your ex is flaunting his new girlfriend (Joe has been apparently dating Twilight star Ashley Greene for a month or so) in front of your face, and you're stuck with him for months on end, that has to be next to impossible to deal with.

When the news of Demi entering a treatment facility first broke, the speculation about the reasons for her entering was rampant. Was it drugs? Mental illness? An alleged fight she got into while on tour? Finally, the apparent causes reared their ugly head and it was even sadder than anyone imagined: self-mutilation and an eating disorder stemming from her long history of being bullied. She's often spoken out against bullying, admitting that she was bullied so severely in middle school she had to leave to get home schooled. The fact that she's been so traumatized by this that she is still dealing with it years later, and in unhealthy ways, is heartbreaking. I wish Demi a speedy recovery, but I don't want to see her until she is back to 100%. None of this Lindsay Lohan bullshit, spending 30 days in recovery, telling everyone "I'm fine" and then back to your old habits. I don't care how long it takes. I just want my Demi happy and healthy. We love you, gurl, and have nothing but positive energy for you.