The 10 worst Gossip Girl plot points ever

I guess that means it’s all over now”

– Blair Waldorf
New York, I Love You, XOXO
Gossip Girl Series Finale, Season 6, Episode 10

Indeed it is. It’s over. Gossip Girl was at times brilliant and at times so bad I wondered, out loud, why I kept watching this crapfest. Well, I knew why. For one, I’ve learned to love these witty (mostly Chuck and Blair), stupid (mostly Nate and Serena), crazy (ALL of them, but most especially Georgina) kids. For another, I watched so that I could participate and relate to the recaps and recaps of the recaps (ROTR), where the awesome Chris and Jess and the equally hilarious fans call out the show on what’s realistic and brilliant and what’s faker and more ridiculous than Serena getting into Brown (I swear, the CW owes Chris and Jess something, since the recaps and the ROTR were the ONLY reasons A LOT of us still put up with GG).

And while I will admit that some of the more ridiculous plot points were at least entertaining (i.e. anything involving Georgina Sparks), a lot of them were just downright throw-my-remote-at-the-TV ridiculous and pointless. Yes, I know, part of watching a TV show is suspending disbelief, but a line has to be drawn at some point. And while I’m unclear to where exactly where that line is when it comes to Gossip Girl, I do know that the writers have crossed that line many, many times.

And so here’s my rundown of the most bewildering, most senseless Gossip Girl plot lines. And it’s no coincidence that a lot of them come from seasons 4 through 6.

10 – The high class brothels – There were two in the entire six seasons of GG and, for the life of me, I still can’t figure out what was the point of them both. Both of them had to do with Bart. Bart was a member of one before the first time he died, and he was apparently hiding in one while being fake dead. And I can’t believe I actually wrote that sentence down.

9 – This thing called college – I get Serena not going to college. But Blair? And Dan? The writers tried it for two seasons, and actually made a huge deal out of Blair transferring from NYU to Columbia. Then in season 5, I don’t think anyone ever really mentioned school again. Would’ve it been to hard to have Blair mention at least once that she had a paper due, Nate to say that he skipped class (because, come on, it is Nate) or have Dan be insufferable about some European literature class he was taking? I know that it would’ve been difficult trying to fit in an actual education into the social calendars of these UES-ers, but Blair, at least, had big Anna Wintour/Indra Nooyi aspirations. I think even Blair knew that she needed more than headbands of power and minions to make those dreams come true.

8 – Dair – Now hold on, Dair fans, before you get all riled up and accuse me of being a Chair fantard. I actually liked the initial build up to Dair, where they started hanging out a lot together and it was revealed that these two actually shared a lot of interests: basically snooty art, movies and literature, things that neither of their main flames really showed an interest in. Chuck, maybe. But Serena, definitely not. And Dan and Blair’s budding closeness was carefully handled by the writers over a few episodes, a rarity in the GG world, wherein plots are started and dropped faster than you can say “Colin” (“Colin, who?” you say? I rest my case.). But then, all that careful buildup was for naught. Just when the GG writers seemed to have handled something well, they go ahead and mess it up. When Blair and Dan finally do get into a relationship, it seems forced, on Blair’s side, especially, and the closeness that they shared was missing. It surely doesn’t help things when Dan lets himself get manipulated by Serena into cheating on Blair. In season 6, he attempts to win Blair back and then, a few episodes after, declares his undying love for Serena. So what the heck was the point of Dair, then?

7 – Blair’s dowry – Since when was Gossip Girl set in the 16th century? And Blair has TWO lawyer dads, and we were led to believe that Cyrus, at least, was a pretty powerful one. Besides, this is Blair we’re talking about, I bet she has her minions under confidentiality agreements tighter than Katie Holmes’ divorce settlement. Her prenup, even if it was with a prince, would have been ironclad. It sure as hell would not have included a clause that would bankrupt her family in case of an early divorce/annulment.

6 – Blair’s pregnancy – Yep, the writers used a fetus as a plot device for the Louis vs Chuck vs Dan dilemma for Blair. They then proceeded to kill off the said fetus and no one, not even Blair, really mourned its loss, heck, no one even mentions it past the episode after C&B’s Princess Diana-esque (that was all sorts of wrong, too, by the way) accident. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that that was a low point for Gossip Girl and its writers.

5 – Pretty much everything Blair did after season 4 – And I’m just not talking about her very out-of-character wedding dress and hair. I’m talking about, well, Dair for one thing. And then there was scheme after scheme blowing up on her face. The Blair of S5 and S6 was not the same girl who got rid of Georgina Sparks by having Vanya the doorman pretend to be a prince from Belarus. No, in season 6, Blair was outsmarted by teenaged Sage, of all people, and was practically begging for Nelly Yuki’s good opinion. It was like Blair was lobotomized. Or switched bodies with Serena. Heck, I would’ve believed that explanation for Blair’s sometimes-pathetic behavior. I’ve believed worse from the GG writers.

4 – How Bart Bass died – First of all, the music. I felt like I was watching those old live-action Batman shows. What the hell? And really, he falls off a roof? And Chuck and Blair just watched him dangle there? Even though Chuck hated Bart, I’m sure the guilt of not even attempting to save his own father from a gruesome death cost him a fortune in therapy. Or, this being Chuck Bass, in scotch. Overall, it just feels lazy on the writers’ part to have Bart defeated by… *drum roll please*… gravity. That was all it was going to take, after all the build up and ridiculousness of…

3 – Embargoed oil, horses, microfilm, paintings, drownings, plane crashes and whaaaaa?!? – Apparently Bart Bass faked his death because he was about to get caught for illegally buying oil from the Sudan and covering it up with purchases of the Sheik’s horses. He then inexplicably kept proof of his illegal transactions. In microfilm. Behind a painting. Like in the movie Traffic. WHAT?!? Then down the road, we find out that Bart somehow managed to have Bruce Caplan (whoever he is) drowned after lending him a Bass yacht but Sage somehow got her underaged hands on this guy’s phone. Bart also tried to have Chuck killed by crashing his private plane, which Chuck inexplicably managed to escape (via parachute? Magic Carpet? We will never know). What the heck, writers? And not only did we have to sit through that crap, in hindsight, it turns out that all that was useless because Bart. Falls. Off. A. Roof. Uggggggh. Seriously.

2 – Scott, the forgotten Rhodes-Humphrey child – The fans haven’t forgotten about Scott, one-time admirer of Vanessa’s, but apparently, his parents, Rufus and Lily, and gaggle of half-siblings (Serena, Eric, Dan, Jenny and Chuck, too, since Lily adopted him) seemed to have forgotten he existed. No, Stephanie Savage, we didn’t need to actually see him in the show, but how hard would’ve been to have his BIOLOGICAL parents say his name at least once a season to explain his absence in family events and holidays? Couldn’t Lily have said something like, “Oh, Scott would’ve loved to be here for Thanksgiving but he was too busy untangling Vanessa’s extensions for her.” Was that too much to ask?

1 – The whole thing about Chuck’s mother – WHO THE HELL IS CHUCK’S MOTHER? You can’t ask a question, draw out the plot across two seasons (3 and 6), dangle the possibility that Jack Bass was Chuck’s father, or that, uggggh, Diana Payne was his mother (although Nate ending up as Chuck’s stepdad would’ve been hilarious) and not answer the damn question. WHO THE HELL IS CHUCK’S MOTHER? WHO? WHO? *shakes fist to the air*

There are other things that didn’t make it to this list such as William VDW giving Lily fake cancer, the Thorpes and Fleur Eva, to name a few. But despite all the ridiculous, out of character, unrealistic (even for the CW) scenarios and missed opportunities, loyal fans and NYMag commenters still watched and looked forward to the episodes, so the people behind Gossip Girl must have done something right.

They after all got Mayor Bloomberg to do a cameo (and he thought GG was Dorota!), gave Ivy the title “The Queen of the Swamp People”, had Jack and Georgina end up in a match made in scheming heaven (or hell, depending on which side of the scheme your on) and, most importantly made THIS happen:

chuck blair

Plus, they’ve managed to ensure that we’ll all watch the Gossip Girl reruns/buy the DVD boxed sets to analyze Dan’s every move now that we know he was Gossip Girl.

So the writers and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage were not all that bad, I must admit.

But still.

WHO THE HELL IS CHUCK’S MOTHER? WHO? WHO? *shakes fist to the air*

What do you think was the most ridiculous plot the Gossip Girl writers put together? Did I miss anything big? I would love to know your thoughts on that and the finale, too! Let me know in the comments!

Photo is from here but is obviously from The CW.

THIS is what you should be showcasing, Ryan Murphy!

Nothing like an acapella number to remind us how talented the Glee kids actually are. This is one of Glee’s best numbers ever for me (if not THE best ever) and it’s telling that it’s also one of its simplest. No awkward choreography, no obvious auto-tune. It’s just Amber, Lea, Naya and Chris singing. That’s it. Full stop.

It’s also telling that even a number this amazing is still not enough to make me watch Glee again. And that’s saying something, given that I sometimes still deign to watch the hot mess that is Gossip Girl. The plot lines are too crazy (Mr. Schue, the Spanish teacher, apparently doesn’t know even speak the language), the characters too unpredictable and the some of the stereotypes they portray are insulting and even racist at times (exhibit 1: the entire Ricky Martin episode).

But thankfully, pure talent still manages to shine through all the convoluted storylines and offensive dialogue. Now if only Ryan Murphy and his writers focused more on the talent, than on Sue running for office, Puck hooking up with a teacher (and Rachel’s mom!) or teen-aged Finn and Rachel getting married then maybe I’d watch again.


Why I think Blair Waldorf and Lady Mary Crawley might be the same person

Ok, obviously, not exactly the same person. But if Blair Waldorf is not some reincarnation of Lady Mary, then she’s probably a descendant of hers. I’d like to think some scandal-stained granddaughter of Lady Mary had to be shipped off to New York to find a husband as no one in England would have her and ended up a Waldorf and Blair’s grandmother. Or something.

And while Julian Fellowes will probably not appreciate my comparing his award-winning Downton Abbey to the now-crappy Gossip Girl, Lady Mary’s and Blair’s lives have too many parallels for me to ignore (oh, and SPOILER ALERT):

They are both cold, scheming b*tches: Let’s get the obvious out of the way, shall we? If there’s anything that these Queen Bees have in common, it’s their icy demeanor and their ability to out-scheme those in the way of their objectives. Yes, Season 5 Blair is waaaaaaaay off her game, but who could forget her legendary take-down of Georgina Sparks who ends up in Russia as a result? The genius of that is only equaled by the way Lady Mary scares off Lady Edith’s ancient suitor from proposing at the garden party.

For these two, wealth and status is everything: These two have been used to a certain lifestyle and distinction and they are hell bent to keep both. Mary was willing to wed ridiculously wealthy and powerful newspaper magnate Carlisle even if the way Carlisle shows he cares was to bribe her maid to spy on her and forcibly kiss her while she was pinned against a wall. Blair, on the other hand, even had a caste system on who got to sit on which steps at the Met while they ate yogurt. Girl has a class system for breakfast time.

They both have annoying, dumb blonds in their lives: Granted, Lady Edith is no Serena Van Der Boobsen, but physical beauty aside, Serena could probably have descended from Edith as well. Both seem to have a thing for older men (S’s boarding school teacher, Lord Strallan for Lady Edith), had inappropriate trysts with married men (Tripp Archibald for S, the farmer for Edith), were duped by con men (the Armie Hammer character for S, Patrick/Peter Gordon for Edith) and both have found themselves outplayed by Lady Mary or Blair in the game of scheming and plotting. Obviously, both are not the brightest crayon in the box. Both Edith and Serena also have love-hate relationships with Mary and Blair respectively, although, admittedly, it’s hate that dominates between the Crawley sisters.

They have soft spots for the help: While both Blair and Mary’s worlds are governed by the strict rules of class which both hold so dearly, they both show kindness and concern for the people “downstairs”, so to speak. Yes, Blair snaps at Dorota at times and Mary was ruthless to Carson when he decided not join her at her prospective new household, but, deep inside, these two would do anything for their faithful and trusted servants. Lady Mary made sure footman William was able to see his mother one last time before she passed and also helped her maid Anna with the whole Mr. Bates fiasco, even secretly letting the two use a guest room for their wedding night. Blair, on the other hand, practically considers Dorota her mother, and the scene between the two of them before Dorota’s wedding (where Blair was maid of honor) is probably one of the most touching in Gossip Girl history. Plus, Dorota is the only person Blair would ever consider going to Queens for, and that’s huge for this UES princess.

Blair has Chuck, Mary has Matthew: And, really, could you think of more cursed pairings in the TV world? At least once, someone in each coupling screwed the other one over money (Blair got pimped out to Uncle Jack for Chuck’s hotel, Matthew & Mary’s engagement was derailed by the prospect of an heir apparent baby brother for Mary). Also, someone in each pair also gave ridiculous, illogical reasons for them to not be together. There was Blair’s ridiculous “pact” with God to marry Printh Louiiiiis in exchange for Chuck’s life and Matthew’s “we killed Lavinia” speech after the funeral. Gosh, these people could be such idiots sometimes. Despite all the pain and stupidity these four people inflict on one another, though, we do know that Chair and M&M are the endgame and, that, if the writers of these shows know what’s good for them, these four will end up together (let’s stop pretending that Dair is even a thing, please). Matthew and Mary seem well on their way to happiness after the snowy proposal in the Christmas special, but as any real fan knows, another fake Patrick Crawley/bout of penis paralysis/Lady Cora pregnancy is probably just around the corner to ruin things. Again.

Those eyes. SO. MUCH. DRAMA: I suppose this has more to do with the actors that play them, rather than the characters themselves. But, really, if ever there was a course on Eye Acting, Leighton Meester and Michelle Dockerty would be teaching them. These two are absolute masters of conveying the most complex emotions with a shift of a glance, the widening of the eyes or the raising of an eyebrow. All this while the rest of their face is doing something completely different. And don’t even get me started on their trademark move: their eyes start to tear up, but they manage to keep it under control until that moment where Chuck/Matthew turn away and a sole teardrop just rolls down their cheek at the right moment. So. Awesome.

If you don’t believe me, then see for yourself. Below are two scenes where Leighton and Michelle (and their eyes) are at their finest (note: both epic scenes are in train stations! More proof!!!!):

Skip ahead to 2:05

 And so there you have it. Almost a thousand words trying to convince you that two TV characters from separate TV shows from different writers from different countries are related. Hahaha. But ridiculousness of this post aside, I love these two characters and the actors who play them (although admittedly, I’ve been loving Blair a lot less lately because S5 Blair is acting like a lobotomized version of the Blair of seasons past). I think they’re brilliantly written (well, Blair WAS). It’s a testament to the writers and to Leighton and Michelle how one minute, I feel like slapping them when they’re being particularly ruthless/shallow and then I feel like hugging them and coming to their rescue the next.

Gosh, I love these crazy, fictional b*tches, whether they are related to each or not. But it would be so awesome if they were, no? And it would explain a lot, including Blair’s taste for fancy headgear.

Please click on the images for their sources

TV Shows I really should start watching, one I should stop

I don’t think I’ve ever said this in my life but, really, I should watch more TV.

Ever since I started working, I haven’t been able to follow a TV series consistently. During the first three years or so of my job my work hours varied, I traveled a lot and I forget airing schedules (haha!) so I end up missing way too many episodes of whatever show I want to watch. I didn’t use to mind, since there weren’t any TV shows I just HAD to watch back then, but recently, there are some shows that I really, really want to get started on:

Downton Abbey: British accents. Wealthy English people with said accents. Gorgeous country manor. Professor Minerva McGonagall Maggie Smith. Hats. What is not to love? Apart from the fact that the show has won awards left and right, the mania over Downton Abbey is so crazy, it’s impossible to be at least curious about the show.

Revenge: Well, I’m cheating a little bit here because I actually have started watching the show. But not regularly so I’ve missed quite a few episodes. What I’ve seen though is great. Not in a Emmy-award winning sense (although Madeleine Stowe was nominated for a Golden Globe), but in a campy, guilty-pleasure sense. The show is based on Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo but is set in a Gossip Girl-type world of scheming, lying and cheating, ridiculously rich, good-looking and well-dressed people. How can that NOT be good?

Mad Men – I know, I know. I am late to the game, as the show is starting its FIFTH season in a week’s time. I KNOW. And I am trying to remedy the situation. ASAP. I need Don Draper in my life.

There are other shows that I need to stop watching, though, because they’ gotten old. And, no, I don’t mean Gossip Girl. In some weird way, the awful writers keep me watching by wanting me to see how much worse the stories could get. So, well done, GG writers, if that was your intent behind Blair marrying Printh Louiiiiiiis and hooking up with Dan freakin’ Humphrey. Uggggh. But I digress.

I actually mean How I Met Your Mother. How this show got to seven seasons is beyond me. Seven seasons and Ted still hasn’t met the mother? Ted still hasn’t been in a serious, healthy, long-term relationship? If I were Ted’s kids, I would’ve left that couch ages ago and just asked my mom or Uncle Barney or Aunt Robin or Uncle Marshall or Aunt Lily how my parents met. That would’ve saved us all a thousand jokes about Barney’s crazy gimmicks to get women (which are quite offensive actually), Robin’s Canadian-ness and how adorable Lily and Marshall are. We get it. Get. To. The. Mother.

And how about you? Any shows you are swearing off? Any recommendations on other ones I should start?

Please click the photos for the sources.

Gossip Girl (writers), we need to talk

Look, I’ve already let you get away with A LOT of things.

Chuck pimping Blair to his douchey uncle for a hotel. Rufus and Lily completely forgetting their son in Boston exists. You forgetting that the characters should actually still be in school. Serena getting into freakin’ Brown. Vanessa’s existence (the wardrobe I blame on Eric Daman). And for even suggesting DAIR was a possibility.

And then this season started. I have only seen one full episode this season, and part of the reason I saw it was to see Blair wear Mich Dulce’s hat in her bridesmaid tryouts. The whole Blair pregnancy is just… wrong. Really? That’s what you’ve got planned for Blair all along, to be knocked up by 20/21? Pants-averse Jenny Humphrey is somewhere un-preggo but the Queen Bee has a bun in the oven?

I was convinced that the you guys have lost it, that you don’t know your audience (although the brief exploration of Dair proved that already) but I still had to admit I was curious how you’ll play the whole pregnancy story out. So I still had a vague interest in the show.

But then I saw this and am now considering boycotting the show for good:

Don’t you know Blair at all?!?! I’d think you would because, you know, you created her. But if you did, you would know that:

  • She would never wear that gown. Even the girl’s DREAMS are impeccably styled, for cryin’ out loud and therefore she would never wear an unimaginative, uninspired wedding gown. Especially not one by the same designer as Kim Kardashian’s wedding dress. Blair wouldn’t even wear this dress if she was marrying Dan Humphrey, much less to her own ROYAL WEDDING to the heir to the Monegasque throne. You know, Grace Kelly’s grandson? No. Just, no.
  • That hair is just atrocious. As loathe as I am to say it, it’s reminiscent of Jenny “Release the Kracken” Humphrey. And Blair would rather ship Dorota back to Poland first before she wears/does something that would be associated with Jenny. Limp curls and split ends have no place in Blair’s life and they definitely don’t have a place in her royal wedding.
  • No way in hell will the wedding be held in a place other than Monaco. This is Blair, GG writers, and she will never pass up a chance to (1) honor tradition and (2) rub it in people’s faces that her life is better than everyone else’s. So of course she would have her wedding in the palace at Monte Carlo complete with those costumed flower girls. She would NOT have it at some random street in NYC that they didn’t even manage to cordon off. I mean, come on, there are other cars parked along the street and pedestrians! Pedestrians! The horror.

So unless this is a dream sequence AND Blair does end up with Chuck and not the lispy prince Louis after all, I’m swearing off Gossip Girl for good. Not when you, the writers and your colleagues (costume designer, hair & makeup) can do this to their best character on the show (they can do whatever they want with Serena).

But *sigh* who am I kidding? I’m still gonna watch.

Photos by Jackson Lee/Splash News via

Why Junior Master Chef Australia is currently the best show on TV

The idea was quite simple, no? Instead of full-grown adults, have 8 to 12 year olds participate in Master Chef Australia. Call it Junior Master Chef. As Gordon Ramsay would put it, “done!”

But that change, made a world of difference. Mind you, Master Chef wasn’t a bad show to begin with. It was good, but, in my opinion, it only places second behind Top Chef. With grade school students behind those stoves, however, the show was elevated into an entirely different level of awesome. And here’s why:

The kids are adorable: Well, duh. This is precisely what the producers were banking on anyway, when they thought of having a kids’ version of the show. But they aren’t just pinch-their-cheeks adorable, the moments of cuteness also come in their little paranoid and neurotic displays. Like when Alex practically pulled all of his curly hair out when something went wrong with his dish (I can’t for the life of me remember what, if you know, please do remind me in the comments) or when one of them commented “My world came crashing down” when a pastry crust didn’t set right or something (I can’t remember who or why again). Ten year olds thinking their worlds will come crashing down with a burnt pie crust/overcooked lamb shank/undercooked fish fillet. Don’t you find that absolutely endearing?

The Genius little freaks clockwise, starting from left: Pierre, Jack, Sam, Isabella, Sophia, Alex, Emily, Cassidy, Lucy, Anthony, Sienna and Nick

The kids are all so nice: In the world of reality TV, the sad truth is, “nice” is hard to come by. You’d think that in the world of cooking shows, you won’t have the catty competitiveness that’s de rigueur in shows like America’s Next Top Model or Project Runway, but you’d be surprised how many “Contestant XYZ doesn’t deserve to be here” moments there’ve been in Top Chef. While of course I didn’t expect nine year olds to have diva hissy fits over whose poached pear was better, I also didn’t expect them to be each other’s cheerleaders. And they are, sincerely and completely. When one of them place in or wins a challenge, you will for sure hear one of the other kids yell a “Well done, Sienna!” or give the winner a high five. Win or lose they clap their little hands like there’s no tomorrow for each other’s successes. In what other reality show will you see that (reunion shows and the finish line of The Amazing Race doesn’t count)?

The kids are AH-MAZING: I think in every episode, my jaw drops in disbelief at least three times. And at least every other episode, I had to Google something. First episode it was “verjuice” and on the pie challenge episode it was “duxelle.” These kids have more cooking talent in their tiny pinkies than I do in my entire being (and mind you, I’m not entirely useless in the kitchen). It’s not just about cooking delicious food either. The kids’ technique is astounding. They all can make their own pastas and pastry dough; cook lamb, beef and fish perfectly and plate their creations in a professional-looking way. All this under an insane time limit, too! These kids really are amazing, in every sense of the word, and make me (and every other person over 12 years old who isn’t a Michelin-starred chef) feel totally inadequate. I can’t even devein a friggin’ shrimp to save my life, while these third graders would have marinated, grilled and made an accompanying salad for them by time I figure it all out. Genius little freaks.

The drama is compelling: It’s probably the cuteness factor at work here, but I find myself more nervous and more in suspense while watching JMC judging than I ever felt during Top Chef. Because they are all so cute and cuddly and nice and immensely talented, you never want any of them to lose or get disappointed or critiqued by the judges (who are predictably the nicest set of reality TV show judges ever assembled). I swear I got teary eyed when I thought Alex wasn’t going to finish his dish and when Sam undercooked his duck. I can’t imagine what a wreck I’ll be when they start sending some of the kids home, which is starts this week.

Elimination or not, I will of course still tune in to the show. Because no matter how sad and heartbreaking it will be to see some of the kids sent home the awe of watching them slice, grill, bake, poach and roast will make up for that. Besides, with the level of talent these kids have, even those who don’t win the prize are assured of a bright future.

Junior Master Chef Australia airs on StarWorld every Sunday, at 7:15pm, two episodes back to back, starting with the previous week’s episode.

Missing my trash TV guilty pleasures

When you’re away from home in a foreign country where you barely know anyone and it’s not really safe to go out on your own, then you end up doing things you never thought you would do to keep yourself entertained. Like watching really trashy TV and enjoying it.

I’ve been home for about a little over four months now, and I find myself missing my South African cable channels, even the trashy shows I used to watch. While I watched my fair share of Discovery Channel and National Geographic (defensive, much?), there’s nothing like these shows for some brainless entertainment :

Keeping up with the Kardashians

I really want to hate them, but I can't...

Although they are all in turns annoying/aggravating/disgusting/shallow drama queens, I really can’t help but love the Kardashians during the half hour that I watch their show. They all do and say crazy things (like make naked videos for their husbands, watch said sister’s/sister-in-law’s naked video, talk about their mom’s vajayjay in front of cameras), but at the heart of it all, they are a family that goes through a lot of the stuff everyone else does. Like Kim being positively unable to get out of her pajamas after her breakup, Kendall and Kylie being upset with Kim when she lied about not being able to take them to the beach or when Bruce got the family into boxing matches for charity. Ok, maybe that last one, not so much. And if you still can’t stand them, there is still a reason to watch. It’ll make you realize that the family you’ve got is actually quite normal.

Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami

Well, yeah, duh, I know that this is an offshoot of the show above. It has its own crazy moments (like Kourtney waxing Klhoe, Scott showing his, erm, Disick to Kourtney and a friend in the balcony). But the one thing this show has that the original Kardashian extravaganza doesn’t is… baby Mason. First of all he’s cute (and really, really chubby!) and a cute baby never hurt. Also, it was nice to watch Kourtney transition into being a mom, and Kim and Khloe being doting aunts.

Pretty Wild

They're pretty, they're wild, and incredibly out of touch with reality

Now this show… this one’s soooo bad, it’s so good. Ok, no, not really. It really is just bad. Here’s a brief recap: it’s about a former Playboy playmate mother with three daughters living in Los Angeles. Seems like pretty standard (reality TV-wise) stuff, right? But, one daughter, Tess is a Playboy Cyber Girl. Alexis (who, in one of their screaming matches with their mom, insisted that she was a good kid, and that her mom “didn’t know what bad kids were like”), on the other hand, was to be imprisoned for being part of the group that burglarized Orlando Bloom’s home. Both also have a penchant for hitting on/making out with men they meet at modeling jobs and on vacation in Mexico. The elder girls and the youngest, Gabby, don’t seem to go to school and are instead, homeschooled by their mother on The Secret. Their mother also hands them Aderall, the highly addictive stimulant, in the morning like it was their daily vitamins.

I swear all this stuff happened on the show. It’s THAT bad that you need to watch it to believe it.


Kendra and Hank Baskett

This is probably the most “normal” show of the four, if you count kissing your ex Hugh Hefner on the lips in front of your new husband normal. But, seriously, Playboy history and enormous implants aside, I find Kendra Wilkinson thoroughly likeable and charming. She’s surprisingly down-to-earth, fiercely loyal to her friends and family and quite funny. Sure there are “ick” moments, like when she talked about Kegel exercises with her gay assistant, but she used to pose in Playboy and share Hugh Hefner with two other girls, so that’s standard. I just like how she and footballer husband Hank go through their ups and downs as a married couple, with Hank without a team to play with at one point  and Kendra realizing that her husband still doesn’t find it easy to deal with her racy past. Normal stuff, just Playboy-style.

And oh yeah, baby Hank is absolutely adorable.

PS: I hope y’all haven’t lost respect for me after finding out I watch/ed these shows. I swear I don’t watch Pretty Wild anymore.


Photos from E!

The Battle for my Heart, Pt. 3

And so here we are. It all boils down to this. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyan vs. Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. It might as well be Pacquiao vs. Mayweather for boxing fans, the Backstreet Boys vs. *N Sync for, well, me (and for tons of other people who are ashamed to admit it, too, for sure). I’m awarding three points to the winner of for each character. The book is their story, after all and one of the greatest love stories in fiction, at that.

Jennifer Ehle vs Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet

There were some striking similarities between Jennifer Ehle and Keira Knightley in their portrayal of the second Bennet sister. There are times when they sound like each other when delivering their lines, they have similar laughs and sound the same when they were crying in that scene after receiving Jane’s letter regarding Lydia’s elopement. It was actually quite weird. But despite these parallels, I think one of them definitely outshines the other in her portrayal of one of literature’s most beloved heroines.

Keira Knightley, simply put, is a better actress than Jennifer Ehle, and, no, I’m not just saying that because she was nominated for her first Oscar for this role. Despite her having about half the screen time that her BBC counterpart has, you get more out of Knigtley than you do from Ehle. You got more “fire” from her in the scene where she interrogates Darcy while dancing at Netherfield. You actually felt and shared her embarrassment when talking to Mr. Darcy during that fateful meeting on the grounds of Pemberley. And you empathized with her during Jane’s engagement, where, although extremely delighted for her sister, Elizabeth was still wistful about what could have been her engagement, what could have been her own happy news.

I suppose this is where Knightley excelled. She took you along for the rollercoaster ride of Elizabeth Bennet’s feelings, whereas in miniseries, you just watched Ehle go through the motions. Ehle is by no means a terrible actress, far from that. It just so happened that she was up against a Keira Knightley who was giving what was so far the breakthrough performance of her career.

Winner: Keira Knightley

Colin Firth vs Matthew McFadyen as Mr. Darcy

Let’s face it, Mr. Darcy is the be all and the end all of anything related to Pride & Prejudice. If you screw up casting this role, you might as well throw in the towel and turn your movie/miniseries into Mansfield Park or Northanger Abbey or some other Austen novel where the lead male could be easily played by some random, reasonably handsome, staid Englishman (please exclude Persuasion’s Captain Wentworth from this category). Thankfully, both the movie and the miniseries did fine jobs of casting Mr. Darcy.

Colin Firth, it must be said, is the more handsome Darcy. Firth, with this strong jaw line, high cheekbones and straight nose is handsome in a more traditional sense than McFadyen. It takes some time to buy into McFadyen as the dashing landlord of ten thousand a year but he more than makes up for this trivial disadvantage in other ways.

As with the other characters, Firth benefits from the additional screen time afforded by the mini-series. Through the flashbacks and expositional scenes (that weren’t even in the book), you get a better understanding of Darcy’s motivations and get a better appreciation of his efforts in finding the reviled Wickham and the doomed Lydia. So in that scene where all is revealed between Lizzie and Darcy, you really feel it when the latter says to the former, “Surely, you know, it was all for you.” (*sigh*)

But to be completely honest, as willing as I was to get kilig by Colin Firth, he doesn’t even come close to the swooning induced by Matthew McFadyen’s Darcy. While miniseries-diehards will insist that compared to Firth, McFadyen was stiff and flat, I vehemently beg to differ. McFadyen astutely conveys Darcy’s struggles in holding back his feelings for Elizabeth, feelings which overcome his pride and studied restraint. A perfect example of this is his initial proposal scene, perfectly played out in the rain in a stunning, secluded setting (who could forget “I love you. Most ardently.” ). McFadyen transitions from confident, nervous, confused, hurt, indignant and jealous in the space of a thrilling three minutes. Firth’s corresponding scene falls flat in comparison, though not entirely through his fault (I suppose he can’t help it if the scene was written that way).

Movie Darcy also wins the battle of Pemberley. In that embarrassing first meeting he catches Elizabeth running away from the house as fast as she could. The tension, the embarrassment and awkwardness between these two who so obviously have feelings for each other is so real, so relatable and so charmingly palpable in that scene (plus points for the flustered Keira Knightley, as well). In the book, Darcy’s manner towards Elizabeth takes a 180 degree turn, and the change is distinct in McFadyen yet seamless and natural. In Firth, not so much.

So who wins it for me? I finished watching the miniseries thinking it was going to be a draw, but on closer inspection, Matthew McFadyen trumps Colin Firth as the definitive Darcy. As with Keira Knightley above, I just got more out of McFadyen. As vague as it sounds, his Darcy is more layered and more complex than Firth’s. Although I knew exactly what was going to happen, movie Darcy still made me swoon and giddy and go “awwwww…” more times than I could count: when Lizzie first caught his attention at the public ball, when he unexpectedly handed her into the carriage, when he first blurted our “I love you”, when he was walking towards Lizzie at dawn (I can actually hear the music in my head), etc., etc. And isn’t that the point of Mr. Darcy: to make us swoon and kilig and believe in love?

The handsomer (hehe…) Colin Firth made me believe in love a little, too, though. So I score this two points to the movie, one point to the miniseries.

Final Tally: BBC: 3, Movie: 10

The ultimate Lizzie and Darcy

After careful and logical (I hope) inspection, the 2005 movie triumphs over the 1995 BBC miniseries. Better casting and acting wins it for director Joe Wright. A more dramatic, emotional script, no doubt dictated by the run time limitations of a movie, also outweighed the character development benefits of the longer miniseries.

So after hours and hours of watching and more hours of blogging, I ended up where I started anyway: with Pride & Prejudice, the movie, unchallenged in my heart as my favorite movie and the definitive screen adaptation of the Jane Austen masterpiece.

Do you agree or have I been blinded by MY prejudice for the movie? Let me know in the comments!

The Battle for my Heart Pt. 2

The movie had a strong showing in the previous round, thanks to Brenda Blethyn’s endearingly annoying portrayal of Mrs. Bennet, Rosamund Pike’s beauty as the eldest Bennet sister, Jane, and the unfortunate casting of the Lucy Briers as Mary in the miniseries.

In this round, let’s see if the BBC Mr. Bingley, Mr. Collins, Wickham and Lady Catherine could overturn the deficit.

Crispin Bonham-Carter vs Simon Woods as Charles Bingley

The BBC Bingley

This is another tough one. On one hand, I love the Simon Woods’s red-haired, completely charming and slightly geeky Mr. Bingley. His blundering proposal rehearsal with Mr. Darcy by the lake in front of Longbourn is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. And his actual proposal is just hilariously sweet (“First, I must tell you I’ve been the most unmitigated and comprehensive ass”).

The Movie Bingley

But on one hand, I wonder if the movie Bingley was too goofy, a little too clueless. Crispin Bonham-Carter’s portrayal is still true to character (easy to please, easy to persuade, etc.) without bordering on the geeky. He also benefits from the longer screen time Bingley gets. We get more insight into his feelings, such as when we see that he hasn’t forgotten the exact day he last saw Jane when he and Elizabeth meet again at Lambton, and in his indignance in finding out that Darcy manipulated him into leaving Hertfordshire. This was a very close fight, and I myself was surprised at the result. Crispin Bonham-Carter finally scores one for the miniseries.

David Bamber vs Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins

Mr. Collins is probably the silliest character in the story, what with his famously rehearsed manners, inflated sense of entitlement and his overall ridiculousness. It would be easy to overdo it, and turn Mr. Collins into a creepy, slimy caricature. And, unfortunately, that is exactly where David Bamber took his portrayal of the future master of Longbourn. The hand rubbing, the greasy hair and that simpering smile was just overall too creepy and slightly reminded me of the creature Gollum from LOTR. Mr. Collins is unlikeable enough, it’s unnecessary to make him so creepy that you’d have nightmares about him.  Tom Hollander, on the other hand, strikes the right balance and it is believable that the Bennets would let someone like him near their daughters.

Adrian Lukis vs Rupert Friend as George Wickham

I am so tempted to award this to Rupert Friend (a.k.a. Keira Knightley’s real-life boyfriend) because, well, look at him. He is absolutely gorgeous. But in the interests of objectivity, I refuse to be swayed by Friend’s hotness and will evaluate him and Lukis logically.

The Movie Mr. Wickham

The BBC Mr. Wickham

In my opinion, they played Wickham pretty much the same way. But I’m scoring this the miniseries’ way because Lukis’ Wickham offers more hope of a happy union with Lydia than Friend’s does. Despite the knowledge that they probably both deserve the most miserable existence possible, one can’t help but feel a little pity at their lowly situation in life. At the very least, for the other Bennet sisters’ sakes, you hope that they don’t divorce/kill each other and “ruin” the family. And this is why, despite his physical advantage, the movie Wickham loses out to his small-screen counterpart. Adrian Lukis shows more affection towards Lydia and the Bennet family than Rupert Friend, whose forceful pulling of Lydia in the carriage director Joe Wright labeled as “domestic violence”.

Barbara Leigh-Hunt vs Judy Dench as Lady Catherine De Bourgh

The BBC Lady Catherine

Like I need to even explain this one, no? It’s unfair to Barbara Leigh-Hunt, really, to be matched up against THE Dame Judi Dench. Leigh-Hunt has none of the presence (physical and otherwise), none of the imposing aura that Dench has, which the role of Lady Catherine requires. In the costumes alone, the BBC version of Mr. Darcy’s aunt loses out. As the pictures demonstrate, Barbara Leigh-Hunt looks nothing like the arrogant, iron-willed matriarch she’s supposed to be, whereas Dame Judi Dench (I feel like I always have to say “Dame”) emanates wealth and power. But it’s not just the clothes that are lacking. Whereas you paid attention to the BBC Lady Catherine because you had to, you paid attention to the movie version because you’re scared of what will happen to you if you don’t. Leigh-Hunt has to resort to yelling for you to notice her, Judi Dench just has to BE THERE.

The Movie Lady Catherine

Score Recap: BBC: 2; Movie: 5

So, despite the valiant efforts of the BBC Bingley and Wickham, the deficit still remains at three points for the movie. But that lead could easily be blown away in the next round, when I award two points for each win. For the last battle, I finally tackle the BBC and movie portrayals of one of the most beloved couples in literature: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

I can’t wait! Even I don’t know how it’s going to turn out yet.

The Battle for my Heart: Pride & Prejudice the movie vs the BBC miniseries, Pt. 1

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time. Words cannot express how much I adore this book, and it’s hard to imagine this Jane Austen masterpiece being toppled from top spot in my heart. It’s almost a given, then, that the 2005 movie based on the book is my favorite movie of all time. And I loved it, not just because it was based on P&P, but because it was an excellent adaptation. The casting was inspired, the settings were absolutely breathtaking (Chatsworth! *sigh*) and the script successfully condensed everything essential to the beloved love story into two hours.

However, I did know that there was another adaptation that was more popular, more beloved by Jane Austen fans. The 1995 BBC miniseries has long been touted as the definitive Pride & Prejudice adaptation and the release of the movie didn’t change that perception significantly. My adoration for all things Darcy and Bennet dictates that I watch the BBC version eventually, but I held off. I wanted to be objective and didn’t want my love for the film to color my opinion of the miniseries. I wanted to be objective, so waited for the initial rapture over the film to subside. Five years and more than 50 viewings later, I finally purchased my BBC miniseries DVD (at 50% discount!).

So finally, I am able to evaluate both versions and determine which adaptation (and which Mr. Darcy) deserves the ultimate place in my heart. My goal is to come to that choice as objectively as possible and take into account certain advantages a 1995 miniseries would have over a 2005 movie (longer running time) and vice versa (better technology, bigger-named actors). It’s not just a matter of “oh, Keira Knightley is prettier”. No ,this’ll be logical and objective and serious and will have a points system.

First up, the Bennet Family (with the 1995 actors first). This is as much a commentary on their performances as it is on the way their characters were written for the screen:

L to R: Lydia, Mr. Bennet, Jane, Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, Elizabeth & Mary

Alison Steadman vs Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet

It’s tough to play Mrs. Bennet, the silly, overbearing, tactless but ultimately well-intentioned matriarch of the Bennet brood, without turning her into the typical annoying-mother caricature. And this is where Brenda Blethyn ultimately succeeds and Alsion Steadman categorically fails. Both their renditions of Mrs. Bennet are silly, annoying and tactless, to be sure. However, Blethyn wins it for me because despite all her faults (and there are many), she still manages to make me love Mrs. Bennet. She may nag and embarrass her children, but you could see that it’s done out of love, out of concern for their futures. Steadman, on the other hand, just comes off as irritating and downright rude, especially to Mr. Darcy. In the scene where they pick up Jane from Netherfield, she basically attacks and yells at Mr. Darcy (complete with eye-bulging intensity), which Mrs. Bennet will never do.

Benjamin Whitrow vs Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet

Benjamin Whitrow greatly benefits from the additional screen time afforded him by the length of a mini-series. Donald Sutherland, while more endearing, only has about five minutes on screen, which is barely enough time to appreciate the dilemmas faced by Mr. Bennet. In the miniseries, we get more insight into his regrets about not saving for his daughter’s futures and his warnings to his daughters about marrying a partner you don’t respect. If Whitrow only had more of Sutherland’s fatherly tenderness, especially towards Elizabeth (who could forget that final scene?), then this would have been a clear win for the miniseries. As it stands, it’s a draw.

From L to R: Lydia, Mr. & Mrs. B, Elizabeth, Jane, Mary and Kitty

Susannah Harker vs Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet

While it seems shallow to award points based onhow attractive the actors are, I think it’s appropriate in this case. Jane Bennet was described in the book as the beauty of the county, an “angel” in Mr. Bingley’s words.  And while Susannah Harker is by no means unattractive, Rosamund Pike’s ethereal, delicate beauty lives up to the lofty praise of the eldest Bennet. Pike and Harker are practically even in the acting stakes, with Pike maybe with a slight edge for her delivery of the line “Yes, a thousand times yes” (plus additional points for having to deliver that line to her ex-boyfriend Simon Woods).

Lucy Briers, Julia Sawalha and Polly Maberly vs Talulah Riley, Jena Malone and Carey Mulligan as Mary, Lydia and Kitty Bennet

This one was an easy decision for me. For the life of me, I cannot begin to understand the casting decisions for the BBC miniseries. I particularly object to Lucy Briers as Mary. The third Bennet sister can be no more than 19 years old, and Briers looks at least 30 (I’m not trying to be mean, I’m just being honest). The makeup and costume department didn’t do her any favors either with the glasses and dark circles under her eyes. The BBC producers make the same mistake in casting Lydia as well, but not to same extent as with Mary. Julia Sawalha looks much older than the 15 year old girl she plays.

On the acting and character development front, the BBC Mary disappoints as well. She was written as dreary, tiresome and like she thought she was better than everybody else. I swear, I needed to suppress the urge to throw the remote at the TV whenever Mary (and Mrs. Bennet) appeared on screen. Talulah Riley’s Mary was still dull and dreary (Mary is supposed to be like that), but more because she was awkward, a little clueless and had different interests from her sisters. You feel sorry for her, as you would for a sister who is overshadowed by the beauty of the elder ones and by the rambunctiousness of the younger set. Case in point: in the scene where Mary is asked to stop playing and singing, Riley touchingly bursts into tears. As for the Kittys and the Lydias, both sets of the two youngest Bennets are appropriately giggly, boisterous and boy-crazy. It’s just more acceptable behavior in girls who actually look like teenagers. But I won’t deduct points for that twice.

Score Recap: BBC: 0; Movie: 3 (I didn’t score for draws)

So, in this round, despite my valiant endeavors at objectivity, the movie Bennets pretty much hammered the BBC Bennets. Let’s see if the BBC can overturn the deficit in the next round where I evaluate the other minor characters.

What do YOU think? Have I been too harsh on the BBC Bennets? Has my love for the movie made the miniseries suffer in comparison?