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Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010
One man's quest to leave the Jersey Shore before his blowout fails.

I know I should feel a deep sense of shame, but I don’t. I haven’t watched MTV in years. None of their self-celebratory awards shows tempted me even a little, and the rest of their “reality” programming made me wonder what I’d ever seen in the network in the first place.


But then came Jersey Shore. I figured anything that got so many people so upset had to be worth checking out. Within the first 15 minutes of the first episode, I was hooked.


See, I’d spent some of my formative years on the Jersey Shore, visiting my grandparents’ weekend home when I was a kid, and spending a week there for two straight summers with high school friends. Maybe we were too wrapped up in being skate punks looking for girls at the time, but the stuff that went on at the Jersey Shore on MTV didn’t seem at all familiar to me. I’d like to pretend it was this societal disparity that caused me to continue tuning in, but the truth is much less savory.


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Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010

“Oh, Ping.”


It’s a shame that won’t have an opportunity to become the catchphrase of the season, because Ping Wu and her draping, dithering, bum-exposing wackiness was auf’d on this week’s episode. No one on the show ever actually uttered the words “oh, Ping,” but affectionate eye rolling was implied in every scene of Ping ponging around the workroom in search of her shoes/sketchbook/money/sanity, or being browbeaten by her challenge partner Jesse and the judges.


Poor Ping. She was one of Project Runway’s more adorable loose canons.


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Monday, Feb 1, 2010
After a spectacular first season and disappointing second season, what will we see in the third season of FX’s Damages?

I queued up the third-season premiere of FX’s Damages earlier this evening with a good bit of uncertainty. Part of this uncertainty was because, despite my appreciation of its taut first season, the second left me completely cold. Even after watching the enjoyable and promising start to the new season, I still cannot remember the events that unfolded in the final episodes of season two. Seriously, where did Timothy Olyphant’s character go? And how did Ellen end up in the DA’s office? And what happened to all those characters we spent season two learning about? William Hurt, are you in prison? These are all questions that I once learned the answers to (and that, yes, I know, I could look up online in ten seconds), but it feels like a major problem that nothing has yet jogged my memory.


Fortunately, I think this only says profoundly negative things about last season and leaves me still jazzed about the apparent resurgence onscreen here at the start of the new season. The fresh start brings with it a new cast of characters (and, more importantly, a new group of actors). On paper, I find Lily Tomlin and Campbell Scott less appealing than Olyphant and Hurt from last season, but, if the premiere is any indication, the new crop of actors has been given a better storyline to function within (and Martin Short’s character echoes Zeljko Ivanek’s Emmy-winning performance from season one). Glenn Close remains arresting as Patty Hewes, and Rose Byrne plays Ellen with a newly found confidence which suits her better than the furtive glances and double-crosses of the ill-conceived undercover storyline of season two (if I wanted to watch Alias, I have the DVDs).


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Sunday, Jan 31, 2010
While sick last week, I took the opportunity to catch up on a marathon of HBO's Hung.

As I may have mentioned in a previous post, I am currently enjoying a three-month free trial of HBO and various other premium channels, which probably explains the predominance of HBO and Showtime series in my writings. If you don’t want to pay for premium channels and can’t convince your cable provider to give you a free trial (give it a try one day), then, well, I was going to apologize, but you probably aren’t reading this blog.


Anyway, I recently DVR’d the first season of HBO’s Hung. I remember reading primarily negative reviews when the show premiered, so I set the recent marathon to record out of a somewhat morbid curiosity. Much to my surprise, I found Hung to be an extremely enjoyable viewing experience. The leisurely paced first season chronicles high-school basketball coach Ray Drecker’s attempts to dig himself out of a financial and psychological hole by becoming a prostitute (or, as his wonderfully clueless pimp Tanya Skagle deems him, a “happiness consultant”).


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Saturday, Jan 30, 2010

I can’t help leaving Episode Two behind with a distinct distaste for the judges and their pipe cleaner frameworks, especially the slithering way Michael Kors talks about women and age. He may as well come out and call some of the dresses “deathy”.


There’s this stunningly vacant moment in the introduction to the Vogue documentary, The September Issue, where Anna Wintour theorizes (as much as a woman who spends her days saying “this one”, “that one” can be said to theorize) that people make fun of fashion because they are intimidated and have never been part of the popular crowd. I’ve always made fun of people in fashion because many of them, like Anna Wintour, seem self-important and dumb. And yet, in the same documentary, the viewer meets Grace Coddington, a woman whose sense of the beautiful was so painterly and grand, that I instantly understood how someone could devote their life to capturing the essence of rapture. She had instinct, intellect and vision. Fashion is not intrinsically the province of special needs.


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