Posts tagged ‘television’

March 29, 2011

Femme Fatale: Britney Spears “live” on Good Morning America

To promote the release of her new CD Femme Fatale today, earlier in the week Britney Spears  performed 3 songs in front of a live audience in San Francisco. “Good Morning America” devoted its entire second hour this morning to the pre-taped  live concert event.

“Pre-taped live concert event” pretty much describes all of Britney’s work, so it wasn’t particularly odd to see on live morning television.

No, the oddity here was Ms Spears’ lethargic attitude, which regrettably brought to mind the fried chicken/Dunkin Donuts/rehab addicted Britney at the MTV Awards a few years back.

The choreography generally had the energy and complexity of a chair aerobics class at a senior center though at it’s peak it did mimic the artistry one sees at the finale of a 70’s themed performance at a respite center for the developmentally disabled.

As for her “solos,” Ms Spears stood almost in a haze, bending over or rocking back and forth from side to side, often gyrating her neck in order to whip her hair into motion, thus appropriating the entire  repetoire of a dancer with a C section at a Gentlemen’s Club around 2pm on any given weekday.

Despite all of this, there was some good news to report. If one thinks about it, counter-intuitive as it may be, it is quite heartening to hear her declare on her new single that she plans to keep on dancing “Till the World Ends.

She could use the practice.


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March 4, 2011

Ancient Family (or My Big Fat Greek Yiayia)

If you are Greek and claim that these Kraft  commercials for Athenos humus–which are pure genius–are offensive, then you are crazier than your yiayia.

My dears, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was not a comedy. It was a documentary.

Let’s just say that “Modern Family” isn’t exactly hip among the hip replacement crowd  in the Greek/Greek American community.

Not only did my paternal grandmother in Greece behave exactly this way but there are many, many Greek grandmothers in this country right now who behave even worse.

Just ask their children. Go ahead. ASK US!



March 4, 2011

“The Disposable Woman” by Anna Holmes

“Gold diggers,” “prostitutes” and “sluts” are just some of the epithets lobbed at the women Mr. Sheen has chosen to spend his time with. Andy Cohen, a senior executive at Bravo and a TV star in his own right, referred to the actor’s current companions, Natalie Kenly and Bree Olson, as “whores” on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program on Tuesday. Arianna Huffington sarcastically tweeted that Mr. Sheen’s girlfriends “symbolize modesty, loyalty and good taste.” Mr. Sheen’s own nickname for Ms. Kenly and Ms. Olson — “the goddesses” — is in its own way indicative of their perceived interchangeability and disposability.

It’s these sorts of explicit and implicit value judgments that underscore our contempt for women who are assumed to be trading on their sexuality. A woman’s active embrace of the fame monster or participation in the sex industry, we seem to say, means that she compromises her right not to be assaulted, let alone humiliated, insulted or degraded; it’s part of the deal. The promise of a modern Cinderella ending — attention, fame, the love and savings account of a rich man — is always the assumed goal.

Read the entire essay in the New York Times here.

August 24, 2009

Donald Trump Presents: “I’d Like to Hit That (When Melania Isn’t Watching)”


tom_kolovos_wordpressnewChris Rock once joked that as a father you have  only two responsibilities: to keep your son from winding up on the (crack) pipe and your daughter from winding up on the (stripper) pole.

After last nite, I would add a third:  keep your daughter away from winding up on Donald Trump‘s “Miss Universe Pageant.”

Billy Bush was the host of the festivities broadcast live (sort of) from the Bahamas. His main function was to  repeatedly remind us that contestants would be sporting some of the hottest bathing suits. Ever. OMG!

All buttoned up in an ill fitting tux, he kept promising us  repeatedly that “lots of skin” would be on display.

He wasn’t kidding. To fill time as the top 15 contestants changed into their suits, we were treated to a photo shoot of contestants in (perhaps the tackiest of) string bikinis. While Flo Rida came out to perform, bikini clad contestants who were not lucky enough to make it into the top 15 were lucky enough to be made to sashay behind him, in the manner of what used to be disparagingly called “a video ho” on MTV. Now on NBC, it’s apparently simply called “competing for the crown.”

[picapp src=”e/f/1/6/Miss_Venezuela_Stefania_24fa.JPG?adImageId=4846903&imageId=6164899″ width=”380″ height=”488″ /]After the contestants were winnowed down to the top 10, based on their “fitness,” we were  finally treated to a synopsis of their inner life, whilst they stood there …..in their string bikinis.

Billy’s pithy revelations were limited to their ages and  their hobbies, which were almost exclusively limited to  exercising, shopping and watching reality television. Really? At least in the  pre-feminist 70’s, pageant organizers wanted us to know so much more about the contestants, including their measurements and favorite color (peach used to be the most common, as I recall).

It is difficult to walk away from the telecast last nite without thinking that the “pageant” should be properly retitled Donald Trump Presents:  I’d Like to Hit That (When Melania Isn’t Watching).” The top 15 we were told were chosen by an (unnamed) panel of judges and by representatives from the “Donald Trump organization.”

Hmm. When we were introduced to the judges who were actually going to pick the winner, I couldn’t help but wonder what qualification any of them had to pick the winner of, well, anything.

Some of the judges (both male and female) were downright creepy in that sex trafficking sort of way. And because, unlike the Miss America pageant, the Miss  USA/Universe pageant has never  bothered to add the pretense that it is a scholarship competition in which some (dubious) talent is involved, sex–sorry, skin– is all it can traffic in.

Also notable in the skin department was the train wreck music debut of Heidi Montag, which painfully recalled  Britney Spears’ appearance on the MTV Music Awards a few interventions back. And then there was the irrefutable evidence that makeup artists, hairdressers and stylists  have been terribly unkind to Kelly Rowland since she stopped singing backup for Beyonce.

Oh, it turns out Miss Venezuela won the title, even though Miss Dominican Republic was by far the most stunning and beautifully dressed of all the contestants this year. She had to settle for runner up.

I, simply, better settle down.

TheBestDressedList.com

October 8, 2008

What you see is what you get (Nixon/Kennedy redux)

So, it was my good fortune to  be the first person to point out more than a 13 months ago that in this  political year image would be as crucial a factor in determining the  presidential election as it was in 1960.

Since then, requests for interviews invariably, and very quickly I might add, boiled down to “what do the candidates wardrobes say about them.”  Shortly after I was quoted in USA Today, a producer for WGN pre-interviewed me for a segment.  I tried to explain to her that it was much  more complicated than that. Could I go on air and briefly discuss the complexities? (Sure, that sounds funny now but at the time I was serious.)

She never called back and I learned my lesson. Give NBC, FOX, and CBS what they want.

Of course, though I was certain of the statement I made, I certainly didn’t know exactly how it would play out.   As the nominees of each party emerged, lots of people  jumped on the Nixon/Kennedy paradigm and they’ve pointed out the obvious similarities. One candidate is young, attractive and magnetic but lacks experience.  The other candidate is old, not so telegenic, prone to soporific public appearances but chock full of experience.

(The role race has played in the campaign is beyond the pervue this blog entry, although you can bet the farm I have a lot to say  about how it has been sublimated. Perhaps reading my blog “Sarah, Plain and Tall(tale)” might give you some idea….)

The Nixon-Kennedy debates were  historically significant because they were the first to be televised and that very fact  made it possible, if one were inclined to do so, infer something not only from the answers the candidates gave but how they looked while they were giving them. We all remember form high school history class that people who listened to the debate on radio thought Nixon had won, but those who listened and watched on television thought Kennedy won.

I’ve been waiting for 13 months for the moment in this campaign that would make the issue of image as compelling– and decisive– as it was in 1960.

I think that finally happened in last night’s televised debate.

I think we saw last night, for the first time in this election, how filtering a town hall meeting through television affected the candidates’ message and chances for victory.

The conventional wisdom  had it that  McCain was supposed to have the home court advantage in the debate because he had built his campaign on town hall style meetings.

Obama on the other hand was supposed to be at a disadvantage because he excelled as the rock star/politician in front of tens of thousands.

The conventional wisdom (an oxymoron, if there ever was one) got it all wrong.

Last night Senator Obama looked  calm, cool and collected, in control and in command. . His youthful energy was contained but obvious in his statesmanlike posture. . John McCain on the other hand looked, anxious, jittery, scattered–aimless even– and inescapably old from what appeared  to be a dowager’s hump as the cameras gave us panoramic views of him roaming the stage.

So what leads me to this conclusion? Watch the debate again and you will notice, if you didn’t already get the vague feeling when you watched last night, that Senator Obama’s choices in presenting himself to the studio audience and to the home audience contrasted sharply with Senator McCain’s.

Obama’s choices underscored his claim that in these turbulent times he is the leader whose judgement is superior to McCain’s while McCain’s  choices undercut his claim that he is the safer, more experienced steady hand to lead us through this crisis.

Why do I say this? What specifically did each candidate do that we could see on television that could possibly affect how we perceived their message?

Senator Obama consistently focussed on fewer that three studio audience members while he was answering questions in a soothing voice and he minimally moved his entire body in order to do this. He usually pivoted slightly or he simply turned his head in another direction. This meant that not only was he connecting with the studio audience but he looked as if he were speaking directly into the camera, and therefore to us at home. The cumulative effect of this over 90 minutes  allowed us to see Mr Obama as  a calm, thoughtful, caring and decisive candidate.

In stark contrast, Senator McCain, roamed the stage, addressing multiple audience members and sections of the stage, haphazardly changing his tone and demeanor and repeatedly (and inexplicably) twirling in place, even walking backwards for no apparent reason other than to be closer to ( but not at) his podium.

If you were watching the debate on television, you saw that Senator Obama was always within the frame of the screen and the cameraman did not have to chase him around  as he did with Senator McCain. At one point, out of what must have been sheer frustration on the part of the director, you saw both candidates on a split screen, and even then McCain couldn’t be contained in the frame.

The fact that the camera had to make such an effort to follow Senator McCain, he came off as erratic, uncertain and unfocussed. It didn’t help matters any that, unlike Obama, he never moved the microphone from his right hand, which meant that he was always forced to move his left arm only in order to make a point. This meant that his gestures were at once more highly exaggerated and repetitive.  He could clearly be seen gripping the microphone tightly which made him look stiff and unnatural, as if he had suffered some sort of stroke which only affected the right side of his upper body.

On television, he came across as one of those grandpas who spend their spare time trying to keep someone (perhaps,”that guy”) off his lawn. This is hardly the image one wants to portray to an electorate looking for leadership in a crisis.

If it’s the case that Mr. Obama won the debate last night, as is the consensus, it is important to understand that it was in good measure because he was able to make us see him connecting to regular people and the television audience, undercutting any of the doubts that he is elitist, unprepared, and of unfit judgement to be Commander in Chief. He was able to accomplish this because of what he said, yes. But the image he projected on television underscored his message. The same cannot be said for Senator McCain.

TheBestDressedList.com

TomKolovos.com