Monday, October 23, 2006

"Fear" with Celebrities

I gleefully volunteered to cover weekly episodes of Celebrity Paranormal Project as I was happily addicted to its mother show, Fear, which aired on MTV in the late 90s. A handful of impressionable youths, (25 years old and under – me and my co-worker Justin checked it out), were left alone to investigate haunted places with ineffectual flashlights and ghost-hunting gadgets hanging off their backs. You never got the impression the ghosts were anything more than pranks played by sadistic producers, but the show was still scary. The kids screamed like they were having the bejesus scared out of them. I rooted for the girls, hoping a few would show some backbone in front of the boys (who got freaked, too, but maintained their composure). Most girls went to jelly right away, never making it overnight to collect the measly 3k offered as a reward. The show disappeared like an apparition itself until recently. VH1 played homage on season 3 of Surreal Life. I fondly remember Charo screaming down the halls of some derelict building. Now celebs have been matched to Fear fulltime. It’s a brilliant media morph and makes you wonder how far VH1 can push desperate celebs in hard times.

Sent to the famously haunted tuberculosis sanitarium, Waverly Hills, in Kentucky (The Ghost Hunters have already been here), Gary Busey, Toccara (a model from America’s Next Top Model), Donna d’Errico (an original babe from Babywatch), Jenna Morasca (winner of Survivor Amazon), and Hal Sparks (comedian from Talk Soup) started the show with a decidedly C-level cast. In fact, I don’t know any of the celebs except Gary Busey, but I feel he’s scary enough to carry the show. We heard crazy talk about his spirit abilities he claimed to have received after his motorcycle accident. He hugged everyone in the cast which he said was a “blessing of his energy.” He tried to calm scared celebs by telling them Jesus was their savior. But we got a glimpse of his un-Chirstian-like temper in a “shut the F. up” altercation with Toccara. To her credit, she wasn't intimidated at all. Later in the show Gary makes a questionable comment about the color quality of the shadow people who walk the haunted halls. He says “black ones are the bad ones,” a comment which doesn’t go unnoticed by Toccara.

Toccara is there for a scary experience – and she leaves empty handed. She is the true skeptic on the show. And I like her for it….until she says “What's tuberculosis?” Frankly, that scares me. The boys explain it to her – none of the girls pipe up. Hold the ghosts; I’m darn tooten terrified by now.

Hal, the comedian, calls himself a professional jerk; but he must not be a good one because he did nothing particularly jerky on the show, except make a lot of bad jokes.

And Jenna Morasca can survive the Amazon amongst a bunch of back-stabbing contestants but she’s the first to crumble when she hears a noise in the dark. What’s scarier: starvation or a little red ball finding its way into the hall?

Much of the same hoopla of Fear has returned, including hyperbolic props (a spirit scroll looked more like something made by Parker Bros.), abandoned, paint-peeled locales, an ominous computer program that spits out directions to the cast, and funny camera angles to capture their blood curdling screams. However, nothing happens that isn’t explainable as a behind-the-scenes prank. The computer claims a door has been left shut. The celebrities find it open. Do they think maybe the crew has been screwing around? Never. Either they've been coached to freak out or they truly are Gullible Gilligans.

Here are the stats:
Screamers: Donna screams the loudest.
Bawling Girls: Donna and Jenna both start to cry.
Bad Behavior: Busey pushes a team member out of the way to comfort Jenna. He also bullies the team into choosing the 5th floor as the haunted heart of the sanitarium.

Realistic Scare: After spirit writing, Hal and Jenna both feel cold and nauseous and want to throw up. Busey says, “Spiritual writing, buddy -- it's never wrong.”

At the end, the cast uses the spirit scroll to ask the spirits to “go and leave us in peace,” an insulting request really. Who went calling on the ghosts in the first place?

I could have sworn I saw preview footage of Gary Busey throwing furniture around a room? What happened to that? Gary claims this show is imperative to watch. Hal claims Gary is the scariest part of the show. Gary talks about the ghosts, “When you get afraid, they’ll tease you.”

Stay tuned next week for more C-listers and Rachel Hunter!

This show gets under your skin. When The Edgar Winter Dog growled in his sleep last night, I sat right up.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Return to Reason

For the love of God, if I could somehow learn how to paw the damn remote. For six hours Nerdia and her bf, my bff&e, and I watched a vapid 1983 Australian mini-series called Return to Eden. I tried to distract them with toys and head-butts to no avail. Our heroine-without- a-personality, Stephanie Harper (who becomes Tara Wells after a temporary memory loss and near death experience), was a heiress with children who marries a pompous tennis star for her money and her best friend. The plot takes an interesting turn when the tennis star throws Steffy into a river full of crocodiles. Inexplicably, the heiress survives and is nursed to health by an outback loner we never see again and by a plastic surgeon who falls in love with her, scars and all. He isn't even bothered by her lack of personality. He remakes her into a beauty and confesses undying love for her. She leaves him and moves back to town deciding to become a super-model in a strange plot for revenge against her husband and husband-stealing friend. At this point, I'm licking my balls because she doesn't even make an effort to find her kids and tell them she's okay. She doesn't even go to the police! It's all part of her nefarious plan. She becomes a huge success. Meanwhile, the tennis star finds out he will not get access to the family fortune for seven years and his relationship deteriorates with the friend because she turns into a sloppy drunk out of guilt or boredom, I'm just a dog and can't connect the dots here. I found myself lying listless on the sofa, yearning for someone there to get a clue and turn the channel. Part of Stephanie's looney plan was to make her tennis star husband re-fall in love with her as Tara Wells so she can string him along. Hours later, the tennis star confesses to Tara that he never loved Stephanie. And Stephanie/Tara appears suddenly hurt. As if being thrown to crocodiles wasn't a big enough clue. Meanwhile, the plastic surgeon from the island keeps coming back and pledging undying love for her. She rebuffs him for some reason unknown to dogs and man and he starts stalking her. I'm creeped out by the whole cast at this point. The payoff, when Stephanie unveils her true identity, is truly anticlimactic. The tennis star decides to rekill her. The sloppy drunk runs around the ranch like a headless chicken and no one behaves with any kind of conviction. I could have done a better job on this convoluted, senseless script. Nerdia and her bf, my bff&f, thought parts were hilariously over-dramatic and they kept humming the ridiculous Falcon-Crest like theme song all night. In the end, my bff&e said all the characters seemed to be in their own mini-series with a myriad of non-connecting character arcs. He only kept watching to figure out Stephanie's hidden scheme. I did enjoy the special feature interview with Aussie pop frontman of The Australian Crawl, Janes Ryene, who played the tennis snob. He seemed to have a sense of humor about the whole thing. In retrospect, he did a great job in his first acting job. But was it worth six hours of my short furry life? Hardly. Once Nerdia and her bf, my bff&e, had the gall to fall asleep with the TV on. I had a dream I was a model with poofy hair and puffy dog-shirt sleeves.

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I Found Some Blog

I found some take away the heartache, to take away the loneliness I beean feelin' since you been gone....since you've been gone....gone blogging.

You're not getting enough Cher coverage are you? You need it on a weekly basis, no doubt. This is why I (
Cher Scholar in another incarnation) have decided, for some reason unknown even to myself, to start a Cher blog in order to wax philosophical about Cher and life. The blog was launched just in time for all the Cher auction brouhaha last week when Cher sold 700 knick knacks in order to redecorate her Malibu mansion. Okay...some of the cash will be given to charity, too. Coolia and I chat during the auction about one hot item Coolia coveted, an armadillo lamp given to Cher by Gene Simmons. Did Coolia lose her bids? Or did she overspend and wind up one of recipients of one of Cher's charities? Rest assured: snarkiness will abound! Check it out:

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hey, Vincent, Here's One Blogger Who Likes You!

Wow, what a great
Project Runway reunion special tonight! Of course, it would have been better if they actually waited 'til the show was over and we had a winner, so we could hear everyone's opinion on the winner, but I guess it's more important for Bravo to draw out the suspense and run 13 more days of marathons before wrapping it up with a bow and a rosette.

Since the beginning of this season,
Vincent Libretti has been my favorite, and the show's been a bit dull for me since he was auf'd (twice). I really can't explain why he turns me on. Is it perhaps his repetition of phrases like "it turns me on" and "it gets me off" that have seeped into my subconscious? Was it inappropriate of me in the supermarket checkout line today when asked by an elderly shopper why I was buying so much Vitamin Water when it wasn't even on sale to say "it turns me on"? It just seems like the perfect answer to most any question, or at least an answer that can end any unwanted conversation.

There was a great "it turns me on" medley of Vincent on the show tonight and also some quite damning footage of him calling all the other designers amateurs and then ripping into a poor production assistant because his laundry was done against his wishes and a $125 shirt was ruined. I am willing to forgive these drama king moments and just reflect on the wonder of Vincent. Let's not forget his recycled dress with the bits of paper stuck all over it or his basket hat. And let's remember that he actually did win a challenge - the Everyday Woman challenge - even if he did benefit from having one of the thinner everyday women as a model. There's something to be said for a guy who can get kicked off the show twice and still speak about himself with the utmost confidence and admiration. The dude redefines self-love - he gets himself off! And then there's my favorite Vincent moment, which came at the end of the recycling challenge. Laura, whose ponytail must be pulled so tight that it makes her tense, took exception to his continued existence on the show: "She couldn't f*cking walk in that dress, Vincent!" And a dead-pan Vincent retorted, "Why don't you go shove some
Harry Winstons up your nose."

So, Vincent, after watching
your video clip on in which you lambaste bloggers for calling you crazy and potentially a serial killer or child molester, I wanted you to read a positive blog entry about yourself. I think there's one in here somewhere.

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