Showing posts with label Reality TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reality TV. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What If I Was a "Real Housewife?"

I was watching "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" Sunday night, and I started wondering about why the "Housewives" franchise was so popular and why I liked to watch it.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I like reality TV.  

I am not ashamed to admit it. I even wrote a whole blog post about that once, "Reality TV, A Primer."  I listed my favorites, why they were good TV and what you could learn (yes, you can actually learn something from some reality TV shows - how to be naked and afraid or race around the world or cut up a chicken in 60 seconds or less). 

Here is what I said about "The Housewives" in that blog post.

"Why is it good reality?

Because watching other people live out their dramas while I am drinking a glass of wine with my feet up is very relaxing.

What you will learn:  that you are truly addicted."

And I guess I am.  I look back on earlier posts and see that I have not only written about television quite a bit, very early on I also wrote about the "Housewives."  But I guess I have more to say.

I know people who not only turn their noses up at these kinds of shows, but at television in general. But I also know, that people who consider themselves intellectuals of a sort (and I am one) are watching.

Here is an article in "Psychology Today" that is a case in point:

"Why We Can't Stop Watching The Real Housewives." 

"A survey of over 200 people by my Psychology Today colleague Steven Reiss, found that people with intellectual interests were equally as likely to watch reality TV as those without an intellectual bent."

See, you other intellectuals?  You can come out of the closet now.

The article ends with...

"And what about the transformation of the term “Housewife” from it’s mid-19th century focus on domesticity and running the household, to a term synonymous with “girlfriend” or “posse member?”  Whether married or single, a mother or childless, rich or poor, working mom or stay at home spouse, friend or enemy, all the women are known as “Housewives.” And there’s something refreshingly unifying, and transformational about that!"

So somehow vindicated and feeling less guilty, I took it one step further.

Why isn't there a Housewives franchise for us "over the hill gang," us retired folks?

What if I was a "Real Housewife" on a show like that?

What kind of a "Housewife" would I be?

From my many years of watching, er, studying the Housewives, I have broken  down the criteria for being a housewife into 5 characteristics:

First, to be a "Real Housewife," you need a tagline.

At the beginning of every show, each Housewife introduces herself with one sentence to describe herself, known in the biz as a tagline e.g.

Lisa Vanderpump - Beverly Hills - Season 2:
"Life in Beverly Hills is a game, and I make the rules."

Kenya Moore - Atlanta - Season 5: 
"I won Miss USA, not Miss Congeniality."

Nene Leakes - Atlanta - Seasons 1 & 2:
"I don't keep up with the Joneses, I AM the Joneses."

Dina Manzo - New Jersey - Seasons 1 & 2:
"If you think I'm a bitch, then bring it on!"

Tamra Barney - Orange County - Season 5: 
"Housewives come younger but they don't come hotter."

You get the idea.

So if I was a retired housewife, this would be my tagline:


 "I may be a lady of leisure, but I won't take anything lying down."

How's that?

Second, to be a housewife, you need to create conflict by being a meddling mother, sister or friend or HAVE a meddling mother, sister or friend or a bone to pick with someone ALL OF THE TIME.

I guess I have done my fair share of meddling in my life.  Bone picking, not so much except with Hubby and the kids, but my bone picking days are over. I promise.

Third, you have to be a skinny bitch.
I could probably qualify for the bitch part, but we women of a certain age have decided to save our faces instead of our butts.

Fourth, money or a peripheral connection to fame.
Well, I DO have a pension and I have high fived a Beatle (Ringo) and had my picture taken with Andie McDowell.  Does that count?

Finally, a real housewife must have a point of view.
No problem there.

It's fun to imagine the glamour of being a "Real Housewife," wearing designer gowns, looking fabulous as the camera follows me around on expensive shopping sprees and to parties full of celebrities, but I would guess that the "Real Retired Housewives of Seattle" won't be happening anytime soon.

And much as I love reality TV, I know there is nothing "real" about the "Real Housewives."  My daughter ran a high-end swimsuit shop in Atlanta a few years ago and a couple of the housewives came in and were filmed there.  My daughter told me how the producer set up the shot by telling the housewives what they were going to talk about. I can't say I was that surprised about the lack of spontaneity, but it did burst my bubble a bit.

So we know that the "Housewives" are not really "real."

But what IS a real housewife, something all of us ordinary women can aspire to?

Here is what I think.

The word "real" is defined as "actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact, not imagined or supposed. (of a substance or thing), not imitation or artificial, genuine."

This last weekend, this retired housewife decorated two Christmas trees and the rest of the house, watched a movie or two (we were snowed in), exercised, texted and talked to our grown children.  Today (still snowed in), I wrote this blog, texted my daughter, talked to my son, exercised, watched some TV and enjoyed a glass of wine with the wine guzzling poodle while enjoying the fruits of my weekend labor. 


Oh, and I spent time with Hubby.

Tomorrow I plan to brave the elements, go to the gym, go to a movie, run errands, cook dinner and hang out with Hubby. 

Such is the life of a Real Housewife (retired).

We can vicariously enjoy the drama and glamour of the TV show as we sit in our real homes with our real husbands or our real families or our real friends.

But as defined in the "Psychology Today" article I mentioned, we women are all "housewives," regardless of our age, our marital status, our wealth or whether we work outside the home or not.

A real housewife is real: she actually exists, she is genuine.

She is a girlfriend; she is in our posse.

She is a real loving wife to her husband (if she has one) or significant other.

She is a real loving mother to her kids (if she has them).

She is a successful career woman.

She is a real friend (I hope she has some).

And she is real and loving to herself.

We are the Real Housewives.

Thanks for reading!
See you Friday
for my review of
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part I,"
"The Week in Reviews"

and the latest on my


"1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project."


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Friday, August 22, 2014

My Driving Pet Peeves and the Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "The Giver," two MUST SEE DVDs "Locke" and "Hateship Loveship" and for you Bachelor fans, the book "I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends," an inside look at the show by one of that show's most famous "villains."]

But First

With the weekend upon us, my mind wanders to road tripping, something Hubby and I sometimes like to do on the weekends which in turn makes me think of my pet peeves when driving.

When we first moved to Washington from California, we noticed a marked difference in driving styles.  Californians drive fast and furious, period, but usually skillfully.  In Washington, we noticed that the drivers either dithered or drove like reckless bats out of hell.

But that's not to say that drivers from both states didn't share some issues.

Here are the things that could cause road rage in an otherwise Zen-like me (you know I meditate, right?):

Dawdling can take many forms. These are the finger up your butt drivers who don't have a care in the world, especially for you. They leave huge spaces between themselves and other cars thus causing an even longer back up than necessary. When you are waiting for their parking space (and they know you are waiting), they take their time fastening their seat belts, they adjust the mirror, get their cell phone out (don't want to miss a call), have a conversation with their passenger, adjust their seat, and who knows what else?  By that time, you have moved on to look for a parking space somewhere else. Who knows how long that person is going to dawdle?  They also take forever to make a turn or take off when the light turns green, and they go just fast enough to get through a light but not fast enough so that you can get through as well.

Letting someone in
Now I don't want to seem impolite, and I do let people move into the line of traffic when it makes sense to do so as in not disrupting the flow of traffic.  But when traffic is moving, can't that person pulling out of the gas station wait his turn?  Why do you have to stop all of us behind you so you can have the satisfaction of feeling like you did a good deed?  Once again I missed the light.

The four way stop stand off
Why don't drivers know who is supposed to go next at a four way stop?  If you are there first, YOU get to go.  If you both get there at the same time, the car on the right gets to go.  How hard is that?  And yet, there we all are and everyone is waving for the other car to go. "You go."  "No, you go."  "No, you go."  I have been known to just sit there because I don't like being told what to do, especially when it's wrong.

Stopping for a school bus on a three or four lane road

(And if you read last Tuesday's post, you know how much I hate school buses).
My daughter has pointed out to me that this driving rule does not apply everywhere, but in Washington at least, if the road has three or four lanes and the school bus is traveling in the opposite direction, YOU DO NOT NEED TO STOP.  But of course, everyone does.  Sigh. (Check your local rules regarding stopping for school buses so that you are not one of those people).

Driving in the left lane no matter what
My mother used to say, "I can drive in any lane I want.  If I want to drive in the left lane, then I will."  OK, but my Mom has the excuse that she didn't learn to drive until she was 65 and god help anyone who drove with her.  But what's your excuse?  If you are driving slower than the speed limit and not passing anyone, you do not belong in the left lane.  Try that in Europe and see what happens.  I'm just sayin.'

Picket fencing
If you are on the highway and you see someone driving right next to you they are not flirting.  They are just bad drivers.  Speed up and pass so someone else can too.

We probably all hate tailgating and we all probably indulge in it from time to time, especially when that dawdler is hogging the left lane. And sometimes I might be that person. Hey, I am not immune to having my finger up the proverbial butt too, from time to time.  But what really gets me is when the tailgater doesn't give me any time to get over and instead whips around and passes me on the right.

Talking on your cell phone
When I see any of the above offenses, invariably the driver is talking on a cell phone.  What is it with cell phones?  Can't people go 20 minutes without having to talk to someone? 

But here is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to driving.

I know that Hubby and I have been married for over 30 years (read all about it here), but why is it when we get in the car, the only topic of conversation is the traffic and other drivers?  Occasionally we also talk about the weather. 

In the old days, we might have struck up a conversation about Sartre and the meaning of his play "No Exit?"  Were they in hell?  Or we might discuss the pros and cons of ear candling. Or whatever happened to David Hasselhoff? And was his show "Knight Rider" a metaphor for cars taking over the world?  

Well, probably not, but I know we talked about something besides traffic. 

But now we don't.  So I usually say, "Will you put on the radio?  The traffic reports are on."

What drives you crazy on the road?

Now on to the Week in Reviews

***In Theatres Now***
It's a supposed Utopian world where pain and strife have given way to "sameness." There are no memories. But the trade off for that is that everything is controlled. No one has any memories of the past lest that cause said pain and strife.  But one young person is given the "job" of receiving the memories of what once was from "The Giver."

In this "community," there is no suffering, hunger, war, and also no color, music, or love. Everything is controlled by "the Elders." At the age of maturity, all young people say goodbye to their childhoods and are given their life's work in a ceremony.  Jonas (Brenton Thwaite, who played the Prince in "Maleficent") is chosen as "The Receiver," a special status only one person per generation is given.  That means his job is to have memories passed down to him from the receiver before him - The Giver - so as to have the knowledge from the past in order to advise "The Elders."

As The Giver (Jeff Bridges) passes his memories to Jonas, Jonas starts to feel emotions, especially for Fiona (Odeya Rush), one of his best childhood friends, and starts questioning his family and his very existence.

Thwaite and Rush are a charming couple and young actors to watch.  Meryl Streep, looking very much like Holly Hunter in the fantastic TV mini-series "Top of the Lake" and a hardly recognizable, dark-haired Taylor Swift round out the cast with not much to do.

Based on the Newbery award winning book by Lois Lowry, which is on practically every middle school reading list, it is reminiscent of "Divergent," another book that shares similarities. The movie version of "Divergent" came first, but Lowry's book came first so one wonders about how derivative "Divergent" is.

This film was 18 years in the making. In an interview, Jeff Bridges (The Giver) shared that he had optioned this book to star his father, Lloyd Bridges (Baby Boomers, remember "Sea Hunt?"), as The Giver, but he died before he could produce the film and then Jeff was old enough to play The Giver himself.

Basically, the story explores the question: would you give up your freedom to love and feel and the memories of humanity's accomplishments even if that meant you would feel pain for a life where you no longer feared death, felt emotional pain or the memories of war and hatred? 

To illustrate the lack of color and choice, the movie starts out in black and white, but Jonas has the gift and starts seeing colors.  As his apprenticeship with The Giver progresses, his world opens up more and more. As the colors start coming for Jonas, we are reminded of Dorothy's entrance into Oz and the movie "Pleasantville."

The soundtrack was melodramatic and the story far-fetched at times (for example, how do you keep memories at bay by a physical boundary?), but it's still a compelling story that will keep your interest.

I am wondering if our middle schoolers will now be watching this movie instead of reading the book as they do with most book assignments.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" or are a fan of this book, you will like this film.

You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)

Locke (2013)
Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a happily married family man and successful construction manager who makes the decision one night after work to leave everything behind and take a fateful 90-minute drive.
The usually reliable Ivan leaves behind the supervision of the biggest concrete pour Europe has ever seen and the plans he had to watch a football match with his wife and two kids to travel from Wales to London to do "what's right."  As he makes the 90 minute journey in his BMW, he makes and takes phone calls (hands free, of course, this is England) to try to sort everything out.  Phone call by phone call it is slowly revealed why he is making this journey and the price he is paying.  He calls his work colleagues to try to make sure everything will run smoothly in the morning and he has to deal with all kinds of screw ups.  But the biggest screw up is the one he is traveling to fix and that will ultimately probably cost him his marriage and life as he knows it.

Tom Hardy follows up his stint as Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises" with this tour de force piece about a man literally being driven to his breaking point.

Director Steven Knight, who wrote "Eastern Promises" and "Dirty Pretty Things" directs his own script, only his second directorial stint ("Hummingbird" was his first).


It's a risky film in that it's just Hardy in the car in real time.  But Hardy gives an incredible performance of a man trying to do what he thinks is right and slowly unraveling.  This film will stay with you.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a wild, haunting and riveting ride.

Hateship Loveship (2013)

Johanna Perry (Kristen Wiig) has worked as a housemaid/cleaner/caregiver in a sheltered environment since she was 15.  But when she moves to Iowa to care for Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) and his teen-aged granddaughter, Sabitha (Haile Steinfeld), she finds love in a most unusual way.

Johanna has lived such a sheltered life that she lives life with no expression, no seeming feelings about much. Guy Pearce plays Ken, Sabitha's father, who has spent time in prison for killing Sabitha's mother in a drunken car crash.  When Johanna meets Ken and accompanies Sabitha and him to dinner, he is kind to her and something stirs in her, something you can tell hasn't happened to her before.  When Ken returns to Chicago, where he is fixing up an old motel, Johanna writes him a thank you note. However, her note is waylaid by Sabitha and her friend Edith (Sami Gayle) and they concoct a cruel joke, writing her back as Ken and then telling her they should correspond via email.  There is a sweet scene where Johanna, who knows nothing about computers, goes to the library to set up an email account and naturally a very kind librarian helps her with it.

Ken knows nothing of this, holed up in his seedy motel doing drugs with his girlfriend played by Jennifer Jason Leigh.  And can I ask?  What happened to Jennifer Jason Leigh's career?  Remember "Last Exit to Brooklyn," "Single White Female" and "Georgia?"  Her career was on a roll.  What happened? She should be playing leading roles these days. Over the years, her career choices have been sketchy.

Based on short story by Alice Munro, this is a spare piece that captures the awkwardness Johanna feels as she makes her way in a world strange to her.  The film is punctuated by old country songs from Tammy Wynette and George Jones which add a nostalgic, romantic, but slightly edgy feel to the film (Wynette and Jones were once married and it wasn't pretty).

I was not a fan of Wiig in previous films ("Girl Most Likely").  For some reason, I couldn't get over her SNL characters and had a hard time accepting her as a serious actress.  But here, she plays Johanna in a quiet, understated way - she barely speaks - and it is mesmerizing.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are not expecting "Bridesmaids," you will be rewarded by a poignant performance by Wiig.
***Book of the Week***

If you are not a Bachelor fan, you can stop reading here, and I will see you Tuesday. 
Otherwise, fasten your seat belts, Bachelor fans.  This is juicy.

I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends by Courtney Robertson (2014)
Robertson was the "villain" of Season 16 of "The Bachelor," - there always has to be a villain - with that guy with the floppy hair, Ben Flajnik, and she dishes the dirt on Ben and the show - and Ben was not happy about it. 
The Arizona-born model was arguably the most hated of all "Bachelor" contestants in "Bachelor" history.  Her book contains a lot of "I'm not really as bad as I seemed on the show" or "I shouldn't have said that," but despite her mea culpas, she can't hide her snarkiness here.  She also contends she had no idea she was being cast as the villain and her scenes were edited to show that.
But the behind the scenes tidbits are fun.  Yes, they "did it" when they went skinny dipping in the ocean, yes, they "did it" in the fantasy suite.  It included ripping each other's clothes off and doing every position under the sun. 
There is quite a bit of sex on "The Bachelor."  Basically, producers of the show estimate that the Bachelor contestants have sex with at least three of the women, on average.
Courtney won the day with a proposal from Ben but when the cameras stopped rolling, so did their romance.  Supposedly, Courtney was offered a spot on "Dancing with the Stars," but Ben said absolutely not.  It went downhill from there.
Rosy the Reviewer says...for hardcore "Bachelor" fans and those who wonder what the hell it's all about.
That's it for this week!

Thanks for reading!

See you Tuesday for
"Kim Kardashian's Butt, or
Things that are Overrated!" 

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email it to your friends and
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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 
Here is a quick link to get to all of them.  Choose the film you are interested in and then scroll down the list of reviewers to find "Rosy the Reviewer."
Or you can go directly to IMDB.  
Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."

Friday, May 16, 2014

Reality TV, A Primer and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movie "The Railway Man," DVDs "I am Divine" and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," as well as a new book about the band Earth, Wind & Fire]

But First

If you have been reading my blogs, you probably have already figured out I am a hopeless reality TV junkie.

I confessed my addiction to TV in my post "Confessions of a TV Addict," but the addiction is primarily around Reality TV.

I am so bad I used to wish my children would get on "The Real World."

And this year I applied to be on "Big Brother." 

I guess they don't want old broads on the show.
(I like the UK version better, where they don't seem to mind old broads).

Now before you judge me, I am here to say that you can actually learn some things from watching reality TV, and I am going to share that with you.

But first,  let me give you a little history of the genre.

You might not be a reality TV junkie like I am, but you have probably at least seen some episodes of "Dancing with the Stars" or "American Idol."  Those fall into the Reality TV concept.

I enjoy those programs and do like my reality TV with a dose of competition, but I especially like watching people just living their lives.

If you have followed reality TV at all, you might think that American "Reality TV" began with MTV's "Real World."  You know the show...

"This is the true story ...of seven strangers...picked to live in a together and have their lives find out what happens...when people stop being polite...and start getting real..."

Anyway, that's the way it used to open. 

Recent incarnations have shed some of the older production values to try to compete with social media and stay relevant, hence the last show which was in San Francisco (again), where they surprised the cast by bringing in their ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, actually showed the camera people filming them (which was a real no-no in the past) and used Twitter-like captions -- all to the show's detriment, in my humble opinion.  Likewise, "The Real World" used to film 24/7, cast members were never allowed to take off their microphones and it was not scripted.  All that seems to have changed.

However, "The Real World" is the longest running program in MTV history.

But, if you thought that was the show that started it all, you would be wrong.

What started it all was...drum roll, please...PBS!  Gasp!  Not the home of "Downton Abbey" and other highbrow television?

Yes, my peeps, it all began with "An American Family," a television documentary filmed in 1971 that first aired in the U.S. on PBS in early 1973. 

There were 12 episodes edited down from 300 hours of footage.  The show chronicled the experiences of the Loud family of Santa Barbara, California and unintentionally witnessed the breakup of the family when Pat (the wife) asked for a divorce.  In 2002, "An American Family" was listed at #32 on TV Guide's "50 Greatest TV Shows of all Time" list, and it is one of the earliest examples of the "reality television" genre.

After I saw that series, I was hooked on the drama inherent in everyday life and documentaries in general.

And then along came "Survivor."

"Survivor" is credited with popularizing modern reality TV, and I guess must take the blame for the likes of "Naked and Afraid" and "Celebrity Wife Swap."

(I have to add that many of the reality shows that have aired in the U.S. are variations of shows from other countries, and "Survivor" is no exception.  The first televised version of "Survivor" was in Sweden).

"Survivor" aired on U.S. television in 2000 and is still doing well, though the producers keep tweaking it to attract viewers, something purists like myself do not like.  I am so glad they have done away with Exile Island, a device used to allow eliminated players to get back in the game. It was not a good concept and I'm glad it's gone.

But Survivor has survived because it really has it all.  It is part drama, part game show, part endurance contest.  What more could you ask for on a weekly TV program?

Now we have reality shows in every genre imaginable.

There is something for everyone.

There is self-improvement reality - The Biggest Loser (they are now casting Season 16); Remember The Swan?  Oy!

Singing and Variety reality - American Idol, The Voice, America's Got Talent (AGT new series starts May 27).

Dancing Reality -So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars

Home Improvement Reality - Design on a Dime, Love it or List It, Flipping Out

Real Estate Reality - House Hunters and House Hunters International

Cooking Reality - Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, MasterChef
(Gordon Ramsay is actually nice on MasterChef and new season starts May 26).

Fashion Reality - America's Next Top Model, Project Runway, Fashion Police, Ru Paul's Drag Race,

Addiction Reality - Celebrity Rehab, Intervention
(Both controversial shows.  Sadly, Intervention is no more, but you can see past episodes here.  Intervention was a serious show that helped many addicts and won several emmys.  This was one of my all-time favorites.  I guess it ended because addicts were getting wise to the show and the interventions. I noticed in the last year, they were in Canada a lot!)

Finding Love Reality - The Bachelor (casting now.  Know any cute guys who need a gig?), The Bachelorette (new season starts Monday, May 19th), Millionaire Matchmaker, I Wanna Marry Harry  (OK, remember Joe Millionaire, where a not too bright construction worker pretended to be a millionaire to get the girl?  A sort of Bachelor for dummies?  Well, speaking of dummies.  I have to see "I Wanna Marry Harry" just to see how dumb these girls are to think this is Prince Harry and that he would go on a dating show to find love.  These girls are seriously in need of a library card, because they need to READ!)

Confessional Reality - True Tori (cringe - poor Tori), Lindsay (cringe - poor Oprah, she got worked!).

Travel Reality - Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, No Reservations, The Stopover (these are all stellar)

Social Media Reality - Catfish

And of course,

Housewives Reality - Beverly Hills, NJ, Orange County, Atlanta, Miami, DC, NYC and finally - I can't wait - London!

In addition to all of these, we have seen teen moms, little people, out of control 20-somethings, Courtroom shows, I could go on and on.  If there is a topic, there is probably a reality show about it.  Quite overwhelming, right?

Well, good thing you have me.  I watch all of this crap. 

I will help you sort out the best of the lot AND, as promised, tell you what you will learn if you take the plunge.

Note:  I am leaving "Survivor" off this list and giving it the Lifetime Achievement Award.  It deserves it.

Likewise, I am leaving out talk shows (Jimmy, Bill Maher, Letterman) and documentary news such as Dateline, 48 Hours and 20/20, because the list would just be too long, though I am a huge fan of all.

So here we go!

*The Best Reality Show for Armchair Travelers*

"The Amazing Race."

Why is it good reality?

The Amazing Race is the fastest hour on television. 

It has the drama of the interaction between the paired contestants as they race around the world and the viewer gets to see the world with them. 

Host Phil Keoghan seems to genuinely care about the players when he has to say to that episode's losers, "You are the last team to arrive. I am sorry to have to tell you, you have been eliminated from the race." 

Keoghan relates that more fans than he cares to admit come up to him and beg him to say that to them!

What you will learn:  This show will up your knowledge of geography and remind you of why you should never travel with your ex.

*Best Reality Show if you have Two Left Feet*

"So You Think You Can Dance"

Why is it good reality?

This is "American Idol" for dance. 

But it is so much classier. 

Yes, it has auditions, but far fewer of those "bad" auditions Idol likes to cram down our throats thinking we actually believe these people think they can win.  All of the contestants here are treated with great respect. 

New Season starts May 28

What you will learn:  You will appreciate that dancers are probably the hardest working performers there are.  Their bodies have to do things bodies are not supposed to do.

*Best Reality Show For Learning About Strange Food Concoctions*

"Top Chef"

Why is it good reality?

Because who knew the world of cooking could be so vicious and odd food pairings so delicious? 

Host Padma Lakshi is a skinny bitch, so it's heartening to know she gains at least 10 pounds during the show.  I know.  That's bitchy.  Sorry.

What you will learn:  Vanilla Oreo wafers make a delicious coating for fried chicken fingers.  Who knew?

*Best Reality Show for Wannabe Fashionistas*

Project Runway

Why is it good reality?

Because would be fashion designers wearing all sorts of strange and adventurous clothes and haircuts vie for money and props as best designer by whipping up more strange and adventurous clothes in just one or two days.

From Heidi Klum's little girl voiced "Hello" to the would be designers to Tim Gunn's "Make it work," this is a fun peek into the world of fashion.  And it's Tim Gunn that does make it work.  He is so fantastic that he had his own show this year - "Under the Gunn."  I adore this guy.

What you will learn:  You don't know as much about fashion as you thought you did. Sometimes a really ugly dress is considered high fashion.

*Best Show for Aging "Real World" Stars to Earn a Few Bucks*

The Challenge

Why is it good reality?

Because the competitions are almost as fun as the drunken shenanigans back at the house.

"Real World" alums come back year after year to exotic locations to compete and try to win a couple thou because it doesn't look like they have a lot going on anywhere else. Some of these folks must be pushing 40! 

But if you have watched "The Real World, "Road Rules," and this one, you get attached to some of these nutballs and it can be a lot of fun.  And they say, when you are a person of a certain age, you should hang out with all ages.  So I hang out with these guys.

What you will learn:  People will do anything to keep their 15 minutes of fame alive. But hey, you do what you have to do.

*Best Show for Gordon Ramsay Fans*

Kitchen Nightmares

Why is it good reality?

Gordon Ramsay is just good reality, period.  He lets it all hang out and he is a world class chef who knows what he is talking about.  Or should I say yelling about?

He is involved with many shows here and in the UK (Hell's Kitchen, Masterchef).  In this one, he travels to restaurants that are having financial difficulty and losing customers. 

There is a formula here.  Gordon tastes the food, spits it out, yells at the restaurateurs, and they usually come around at the end and it's all warm and fuzzy. 

What you will learn:  Don't sign up for a show like this if you are not expecting Gordon to ___ you a new one.

*Best Show if You Like Dancing AND the Housewives AND Gordon Ramsay*

Dance Moms

Why is it good reality?

Abby Lee Miller is the Gordon Ramsay of dance. 

I feel like I shouldn't like Abby or Gordon.  Abby yells at little kids and says inappropriate things and Gordon yells at his chefs and says f**k me all of the time, but I can't help it. 

There is something about people who can just be themselves and get away with it.  They don't give a crap what you or I think.  They are on their path and that's that.  In my case, I feel like every time I veered from the expected path, I got "caught."  I never got away with anything, so I have a certain respect for people who just say and do whatever they want and let the chips fall where they may.  And it's amazing how many of those kinds of folks are very successful.  Mmmmm.

And then there are the moms.  They are the "dance housewives." They are more of an aside than the main attraction, but they are still fun.

But other than Abby, the dance competitions and the girls are the highlight here.

What you will learn:  If you have talent or something people want, you can act however you want.

*Best Show for Singers who aren't beautiful*

The Voice

Why is it good reality?

It's a singing competition, but there is some fun and variety to the competition itself and the judges are successful singers, not producers or has-beens.

The judges have their backs to the singers and only turn around if they like what they hear and want that person on their team.  If more than one judge turns around, the singer gets to choose his or her team.  The judges mentor their teams and through a series of "sing offs," judges eliminations and voting by the public, the winner is proclaimed.

The judges are first class singers:  Blake Shelton, Adam Levine ("The Sexiest Man Alive." I didn't say that, People Magazine did), Shakira or Christina and Usher.  The judges sometimes change from season to season but whomever is judging, it's about mentorship, not insults.

"The Voice" has supplanted American Idol as the #1 singing competition and the premise here is the judges judge on the voice, not on the contestants looks, though their looks might come into play later. The judges are also much nicer than Simon Cowell, though the absence of Simon Cowell was probably why the ratings went down.

What you will learn:  when you are not basing your judgment of the contestants on looks, charm and whether they are boy band material or not, you get better singers.

*Best Show for Social Media Junkies*


Why is it good reality?

Because this is the product of the host having been catfished himself and.  it's part private detective work and park schooling on how to effectively use the Internet.

Nev Schulman and his side-kick, Max Joseph, two very likable and empathetic guys are asked for their help by people who are worried they are being catfished.

You wonder why people, especially young people, are so lonely that they think they are actually dating or in a relationship with someone they have never met and only know online.

For the full impact of this show, see "Catfish, the Movie," Nev's true life story of being catfished and why he now has this TV show, available on Netflix and possibly ON DEMAND.

What you will learn:  There are a hell of a lot of lonely young people out there.

*Best Show for Voyeurs*

Big Brother

Why is it good reality?

A bunch of strangers are locked up in a house for three months and they plot, scheme and form alliances so as not to be voted out of the house.

What you will learn:  Nothing but I just can't help myself. 

*Best Show for Your Inner Drag Queen*

Ru Paul's Drag Race

Why is it good reality?

Because the contestants must win competitions, create fabulous drag outfits and lip-sync to win the title of "America's Next Drag Superstar." 

How can you resist a show that wishes the winners
 "Con-drag-ulations?"  It's like that.

What you will learn:  Drag Queens are really witty, have great style and a huge sense of humor.  And so should you.

*Best Show for the truly addicted*

Any of the housewives

Why is it good reality?

Because watching other people live out their dramas while I am drinking a glass of wine with my feet up is very relaxing.

What you will learn:  that you are truly addicted

What is your favorite reality show?

C'mon, I know you are watching!


***In Theatres Now***

True life story of British officer Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), who was taken prisoner by the Japanese  during WW II and forced to work on building the Thai-Burma Railway. He was tortured and years later, still reliving the horrors.  When he discovers one of his torturers is still alive, encouraged by his wife, Patti (Nicole Kidman), he travels back to the site of the labor camp to confront his tormenter.

The film jumps back and forth, weaving the present day of the film (1980's) with the WW II scenes.  Jeremy Irvine plays the young Eric who with his fellow imprisoned soldiers construct a radio so they can hear what is happening in the outside world.  When discovered, Eric takes responsibility and is tortured for the reason behind the radio.  One of the torturers is also the translator - Takeshi Nagase (Tanroh Ishida).

Eric is a train enthusiast and while riding a train meets his soon to be wife and Eric is able to find a modicum of happiness.  But he can't shake the dreams and flashbacks of what he went through.  When he discovers that Nagase is still alive and earning a living giving tours of the prison camp and when one of his friends, who was also in the prison camp, kills himself, Eric realizes he must confront the past.

Though Colin has some chances to emote, most of the dramatic legwork comes from young Jeremy.  I mean he is being tortured after all.  And Nicole doesn't really have that much to do.  And that dark, short hair. Not a good look, Nicole.

This is a serious look at the horrors of war and the redeeming powers of forgiveness. Though this is a very earnest depiction, which some may criticize, it's so gratifying to see a film aimed at adults, and I am not talking about porn here. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...a touching story of forgiveness with a little bit of "The Bridge on the River Kwai."

You Might Have Missed
And Some You Should Be Glad You Did
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)

I Am Divine (2013)

Before there was RuPaul, there was Divine.

Harris Glenn Milstead (his real name) was dubbed Divine by high school friend John Waters', and he became Waters' inspiration and muse.  He starred in the infamous John Waters films "Pink Flamingos," "Polyester" and the highly successful "Hairspray."

Divine met Waters in high school in Baltimore and together they made excessive, shocking and sometimes gross movies (check out "Pink Flamingos") in the 1970's, which led to surprising success for both of them.

This documentary of Divine's life reveals the man behind the drag, his excesses (massive pothead and food addict), his estrangement from his family, who didn't accept that he was gay,  and his desire to shed the drag persona to become a straight actor and performer.  Unfortunately, he died of a massive heart attack at the age of only 43.

But his legacy lived on. He was the inspiration for Ursula, the Sea Witch in "The Little Mermaid."

"All my life I wanted to look like Elizabeth Taylor. Now Elizabeth Taylor looks like me."

There are interviews with Waters, members of the Cockettes and others influential in his life and they paint a portrait of a person who found himself a persona, became famous for it, but could never get away from it.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a John Waters fan, this is especially a must see, but you need to know who, according to People Magazine was "The drag Queen of the Century."  And it wasn't RuPaul.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug, the dragon.

It hurt just to write all of that because this thing has become so complicated, who the hell knows what is happening?  I read "The Hobbit" years ago but I don't remember it being so confusing.

This is the second in what looks to be a trilogy but I recommend watching the first one again, because watching this second installment, I was pretty much lost.
They have a good Liv Tyler lookalike in Evangeline Lilly and Orlando Bloom is quite the handsome elf, but this was not just the "desolation of Smaug" for me it was the "Desolation of Slog."  It was a hard slog.
Rosy the Reviewer sequels go, this one doesn't work.  The ending is a total rip-off forcing you to wait for the next installment to see what happens.  Even if something is part of a series, you shouldn't have to wait for the next film to find out what is going to happen after spending 161 minutes on this installment. I hate that!

***Book of the Week***
Shining Star:  Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind & Fire by Philip Bailey (2014)
Bailey, lead singer for the group, tells his story.
Bailey spends a lot of time talking about charismatic founder Maurice White, and well he should, because it was all about his vision.  Bailey was known for his soaring multi-octave range and distinctive falsetto.  It's all here...but that's the problem, very earnest, very and then we did this and then we did that.  Not the most compelling memoir, especially since he had his share of wives and extracurricular activities. It lacks details and depth.
Rosy the Reviewer says...for hardcore Earth, Wind & Fire fans only.

***Concert of the Week***

Creetisvan at JumpIt Sports (Redmond, WA)
May 10, 2014
Mike and Hubby, who make up Creetisvan, were asked to play at a benefit for the Susan G. Komen Foundation Event at JumpIt Sports owned by ex-Seahawk Joe Tafoya and his wife Brandolyn.  Highlights included an impromptu Johnny Cash song per audience member's request.  Great music, great food, great folks and I got to try on Joe's NFC Championship ring!  Thanks, Joe!

Thanks to Anna, Joe, Brandelyn, Sharon, all the great staff at Jumpit Sports.



That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for

"How To Stay [Happily] Married For 30 Years"

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