Why are people so disappointed when DC reality TV fails?

So, in the wake of Top Chef DC, DC Cupcakes and Real Housewives DC pulling in mediocre ratings, the blogosphere was ablaze with posts about how DC sucks at reality TV. The posts were written in the familiar self-deprecating tone, taken time and again by bloggers seemingly hell bent on portraying DC as the poor man’s NYC.

Sigh. Why don't we have crazy housewives?

Our hip eateries are hip, but not hip enough, our reality shows are good, but not good enough, our trends are timely but not timely enough. And now, our wealthy and stupid housewives are wealthy and stupid, but unfortunately, not wealthy and stupid enough. Sigh. We can only dream of reaching the collagen-filled levels of “dramz” of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Don't you wonder what makes her tick?

So, instead of people in DC rejoicing in the fact that DC may be a bit too cerebral for “Real Housewives” (we were voted America’s most literate city), the blogosphere issued their proverbial sigh over DC’s seemingly perpetual runner-up status. And why not? I know I have lost sleep over why our cupcake show wasn’t the most popular iteration of cake-based programming on television. OH GOD WHYYYYY?!

courtesy of Zombie Cupcakes

Jesus. ENOUGH DC. Real housewives of DC failed because no self-respecting political wife would commit reputational suicide by going on that show.  We should be PROUD of this. DC’s reality TV is the effing presidency. It’s the Supreme Court, the Pentagon, and Congress. So why do we give a sh*t about a stupid reality TV franchise?

DC, Always the sidekick

It’s this self-deprecation that frames DC as a NYC bizarre stepsister. In reality, the cities are not comparable. We are not the hometown of the Haiti Relief Concert singers, but we are the city sending people to HAITI. Do I want great DC fashion? Yes. Do I want delicious restaurants? Of course. But do I want us copying whatever’s trendy with the gusto of a high school teen attempting to climb the social ladder? No. We shortchange ourselves by doing that.

So no more cupcakes, no more yogurt, no more Housewives, instead I have decided to do a series every Friday, called 30 days of DC, which highlights awesome things you can do ONLY in DC. They will not be long, because I dislike many words, but they will be things you can only do here.

STARTS 1/14/2011!

Mad Men has ended: Commence 1960s style withdrawal

I know. Let the Mad Men withdrawal begin.

No more snazzy outfits, no more planning theme parties in my head that I know I will never execute nor attend, no more 7356978536 overwritten blog articles that analyze  ”who is Don Draper” via  advertising metaphors and the objects in his apartment.

Farewell beautiful & impeccably-styled person

Don’t worry, I am not going to give a review of the season finale. I have too short an attention span for such things and there are 14000 better analytical outlets on the internets. All I will say is that I did not find Don’s impulsive behavior inconsistent with what he has done in the past. Oh, and Betty Draper is still the worst. However, in honor of Mad Men’s farewell episode, I am going to give my top women’s style moments of the season (sorry men). After all, the style is one of my favorite parts:

Clockwise from top: 1. Betty the Politician’s wife, 2. Beatnik Peggy, 3. Trudy’s Christmas Tunic, 4. The most heavenly neckline, 5. Anytime Joan wears Peacock Blue, 6. Trudy’s amazingly bad pregnancy PJs, 7. the ambitious women of SCDP, and 8. the Bohemian Ex (I would also include a Meghan California outfit if I could). ***all pictures taken from AMC here****

Still sad about Mad Men’s loss? Watch Boardwalk Empire. It fulfills all requirements: stylish, engaging and meticulously historically accurate. It even has Steve Buschemi. You love him! He was in the Big Lebowski!

Mad Men, you will be missed.

Has a show ever jumped the shark faster than Glee?

So, as an equal opportunity employer, I figured I would follow up my attack on video games with an attack on Glee. I’ll just get to the point: Glee is unwatchable. The Britney episode was unwatchable. The lack of plot is unwatchable and many of the show tune-y pop songs are unwatchable. Especially those with rap. To be honest,  one of my favorite clips is the safety dance sequence from the first season, and they don’t even sing:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuQYaQ91BDw]

However, the sad thing about Glee is it wasn’t always that way. The beginning of Glee held a great deal of promise, the lines were witty, the characters were lovable, Sue Sylvester was a popular secondary character, Kurt’s defying gravity was wonderful, and the plot was…existent. But somehow, about 2/3 through the first season, they decided to abandon the story altogether. Kurt stopped struggling with his sexuality, Shu’s relationships became contrived, and the club members just swapped significant others. What was once plot-advancing dialogue, became dialogue simply to set up individual musical numbers.

random musical number

The logical conclusion of this devolution was the Britney episode. This week, they were all randomly told to go to the “local dentist” after the dentist came in to talk to glee club (wtf) and his anesthesia produced “Britney fantasies.” Yeah. We watched them go to the dentist. Between dental appointments, they overused cheerleader Britney’s ridiculous lines to the point they weren’t funny anymore (her actual name is Britney S. Pears, get it?!), showed that Rachel was still insecure (shock), and Shu bought a car to be a rebel (boring). Kurt didn’t even get an effing Britney number.

Britney and Britney (snooze)

So am I going to continue to watch Glee? Probably not. But I am a bit sad about it. I actually LIKE musicals. I like the idea of a glee club and snarky dialogue. However, I feel that the show somehow managed to jump the shark on everything. The lines, the characters, the musical numbers and the psuedo-plot are all tired. The nuance of the beginning is gone. So I am sorry Glee, but I feel we need to take a break. We are just in different places.

Want to avoid the Social Network opening weekend? See Freakonomics at E Street Cinema

Oh yes. The  Social Network drops this weekend. Garnering a 98% on Metacritic and a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, to say the Social Network is “hyped” would be the understatement of the century. I obviously want to see it. You should want to see it. It’s a purported cinematic tour de force based on a seemingly awful Harvard University kid. How is that not a win-win?

Anyways, the only downside I foresee to watching Social Network is PEOPLE. I despise opening weekends. Growing up in Los Angeles, they are virtually religious holidays. People would buy tickets in advance, every theater imaginable would be packed and awful. Given its hype, the Social Network could be similarly packed and awful, which is why I am giving you a second movie option: Freakonomics.

Line for The Social Network (approx)

Now I will admit I haven’t seen the movie. Freakonomics opens at E Street Cinema on Friday. However, I have read the book and found it very cool. For those that don’t know, Freakonomics is a best selling book by Chicago University economist Steven Levitt, where he applies economics to nontraditional real-life situations. It covers all sorts of topics, including the relationship between a person’s name and their success, cheating in sumo wrestling, the relationship between Roe v. Wade and crime trends, among other things.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfC-ZHJ4A5U]

On the film side, these topics take the form of 5 documentary vignettes directed by different famous documentary filmmakers. They are: Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight), Seth Gordon (The King of Kong), Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp). So yes, there is a potential risk of the film being disjointed, but all in all, how cool is that idea??

I also love E Street Cinema. They have so many wonderful independent films, serve alcoholic drinks, and the theaters are intimate. However, if you would rather watch at home, Freakonomics, keeping with the book’s off-kilter economic fashion, has ALREADY released the film on iTunes. Not sure how the strategy  will work out for them, but they are flipping the movie business model completely.  Check it out!

(OH and as a sidebar, Gordon’s The King of Kong, a documentary about a battle to be the champion of Donkey Kong, looks AMAZING. It got great reviews. See, I like video games…on occasion :) )

Top Chef Recap EP12: Sauce’d in SPACE

I know. Terrible pun. It was between that and “Space Foodity.” David Bowie? Anyone? But, given that no stakes in Top Chef are too high for terrible puns (they titled this episode “gastro-nauts”), I figured I had to go there.

nobody made a moon pie!

Now since this episode had tons of SPOILERS, which included a much-debated elimination, I will start my recap after the jump. Let’s launch into orbit, shall we? Continue reading

A belated Top Chef Recap EP11: Baseballs and Cornballs

Well, it wasn’t cornballs, it was corn fritters, but I instantly thought of THIS:

Mother of GOD. Every damn time!

¡Soy loco por los Cornballs! Oh, and before I start the recap I just want to apologize for being a Top Chef slacker of late. While in Georgia I had very limited internet access and yesterday I was stuck in meetings all afternoon. I will get back on the wagon next week, so forgive me! But now, let’s begin (SPOILER ALERT): Continue reading

A Recap of the Miss Universe Pageant: Miss America goes USA all over their asses

So Monday was the 2010 Miss Universe pageant. SPOILER ALERT Miss Mexico won. She was crowned queen of the universe. Technically she should be queen of the Earth, since she beat out all of Earth’s countries, but we lost our chance to join the Federation of Planets  long ago:

Anyways, the race was tight for awhile with Miss Philippines close on Miss Mexico’s heels until our Southeast Asian competitor was asked in the interview portion “what is one big mistake you made in your life and what did you do to make it right?” and responded thusly:

“In my 22 years of existence, I can say there is nothing major — I mean, problems — that I have done in my life, because I am very confident with my family with the love they have given me. Thank you so much that I am here!!”

Yikes. There is a reason the interview is only one question. So yes, she lost, Mexico won and now I can talk about the best part of Miss Universe: the National costume contest. This is the section of the pageant where the contestants parade around  in skanky/drag queen versions of their country’s traditional dress. It’s my favorite. And these are my favorites of my favorite, in VERSUS form:

MOST BADASS: USA vs. Venezuela

Winner: USA! USA! It’s a goddamn golden eagle suit. America, f*ck yeah!

BEST FANCY HAT: Kazakhstan vs. Panama vs. Lebanon

Winner: Panama. Simply because so many endangered species died for that hat. Runner up to Lebanon for winning the Hogwarts vote and having no perceived cultural relevance.

MOST SKANKY: “Battle of the Balkans” Albania vs. Croatia

Winner: Croatia. It’s a bathing suit in Croatian flag colors with mardi gras beads. Although I do like the heaven & hell party skank-eagle.

THE EMBARRASSMENT OF EUROPE: France vs. Great Britain

Winner: France. Nothing says Chanel like a beret with an Eiffel Tower glued to it. Although I am disappointed in England, “beefeater” had so many skank possibilities.

SADDEST DEVELOPING COUNTRY: Zambia

Jesus. Those are the saddest gourd boobs I have ever seen. As if it wasn’t hard enough in Zambia. If you want more national costumes, you can find them here and here. Congrats again Miss Mexico!

Following Kermit: 8 things the Smithsonian should also acquire

So yesterday the Washington Post reported that the original Kermit the Frog toy, complete with ping pong ball eyes and coat-fabric arms, has been given to the Smithsonian museum. Apparently being green, although difficult, has its perks. After Wikipedia-ing for a socially unacceptable period of time, I discovered that Kermit was not the first of his pop-culture brethren to be immortalized at the museum. He joins the ranks of Mr. Rogers sweater, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, and Howdy Doody (among others) as children’s pop culture icons.

Kermit the Frog saving print media

Hm. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love Kermie as much as the next person. However, in my opinion, if the Smithsonian wants to really sum up the essence of childhood wonder and innovation, they need to add a few more things to the list. They also need to torch a few (cough, teletubbies). Here are some things to add: Continue reading

Top Chef Recap Ep09: The Restaurant War of 1812

Blind ambition

Honestly, I am surprised Top Chef didn’t go there. The pun potential was code orange this week with the military theme. Yes, last night was Restaurant Wars, the Top Chef staple that transforms the most straightforward of tasks (serving dinner at a restaurant) into the most overly dramatic of situations. The episode did not disappoint. Liters of booze were gained, turns of phrase were made, and a soldier went down with a fight. His passing was a surprise to many.  Time of death: 9:59pm. Cause of death (SPOILER): Continue reading

SHARK WEEK contest winner, clip of the day and cupcakes!

Office MAKOver

Get it, like mako shark*?! Clever girl. Congrats to JenT23 for your winning submission to our contest. You will be getting your shirt in the mail shortly! Runners up include “going to work BITES” and “I’ll show you a case of the Mondays.”

Oh and the highlight of Shark Week so far? This clip from “Air Jaws” of a biologist sitting on a strip of whale carcass (without any semblance of protective gear) while great white sharks EAT IT :

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T20vkGZxULo]

“It’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Anything for a good picture.” Jesus. No words. Finally, Cupcakes Actually in Fairfax, VA is selling Shark Week cupcakes to celebrate the conclusion of Shark Week this weekend! Details here!!

Shark cupcakes in DC!

Shark Week continues tonight with “the top 10 deadliest sharks” at 9pm EST on Discovery. WATCH.

*Mako is pronounced “make-O.” God I love puns