Sunday, November 25, 2007

Guilty Pleasures on E! - Keeping up the Kardashians and Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane

I love reality TV. I love it and I don't pretend that I'm above it. Why? Because I'm not.

This weekend, I finally caught a few episodes of two of E! network's newest reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane. While I can't really say which one is "worth watching," seeing as they don't really add a lot to society, nor your outlook on the world, help in the fight to stop global warming, etc., I can definitely say that Keeping is by far a better show.

First, what kind of drove me crazy about the shows was the fact that I didn't find their lives to really be all that outrageous. Sure, they have a lot of money, but when you live in Los Angeles (like I do), I think that so much of this spoiled craziness just becomes normal to you. While I watched Kimora Lee go shopping for multi-million dollar homes in Beverly Hills, I watched her do so while knowing that I've been to people's houses in Beverly Hills that weren't that far below on the "fab scale" to what Kimora was shopping for. Of course, this is after I've lived in Los Angeles for six years and have been to a red carpet event or two, but it was definitely weird for me to realize that I wasn't so shocked at many of the things on Fab Lane and Keeping that would likely be "out of this world" for many of the shows viewers. Just a side thought, but it was weird.
Not that fun

Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane is kind of like watching a gender-flipped Diddy-centric episode of Making the Band without the singing, cool fellas, and house drama, except that Diddy is a lot more fun to watch. Honestly, I just didn't really understand what the point of the show was. I know that it's supposed to follow Kimora's life as the CEO of Baby Phat, but it was more about the work that the people who work directly with her have to do for her while receiving very little direction from the show's main diva.

The show just isn't very fun and while it's over the top and very "fabulous," it's lacking the drama and excitement that normally makes a reality show a "can't miss" reality show. I tried to watch a marathon, even with hottie assistant Mallory helping glue my eyes to the screen, but just found myself getting annoyed with the scatterbrained organization of the show. There are very few ongoing story lines that make you want to keep watching, but I feel like the main problem is that you don't get to know the people well enough to really care about any of the struggles that they're going through. As a result, you don't like anyone enough to really care about the story, nor care enough to tune in again.

It's "just ok" and I will not be watching the show ever again. Actually, even just thinking about how "ok" the show was right now really annoys me.

That brings us to Keeping up with the Kardashians, a Ryan Seacrest production.

If you haven't caught this guilty pleasure yet and you're a fan of The Hills and The Real World, this one is a keeper. Going off the "visual" post, let's start out by saying that the show gives you an excuse to look at the beautiful Kim Kardashian for 30 minute periods at a time.

Say what you will, but she is hot.

So while the Kardashian klan (plus Olympian Bruce Jenner and his son Brody Jenner) is pretty spoiled, at least they have a store that they run, so it creates the illusion that this is where all the money comes from. The Kardashians are of course, the family of the late-Robert Kardashian, best known for being one of OJ Simpson's lawyers back in that trial that no one heard about a little while back.

Clearly, the family has a ton of money and Kim caused quite the stir for the family after being seen with friend Paris Hilton out and about on the Hollywood scene and making the obligatory sex tape that showed her hooking up with R&B has been and Brandy's lil bro Ray-J. Put it all together, mix in Lauren Conrad's ex-squeeze Brody Jenner, and throw in some Ryan Seacrest production muscle, and what do you get? A really entertaining 30 minutes of reality TV.
And yes, you get to look at Kim Kardashian

The show features Bruce Jenner having otherworldly patience, Kim being incredibly hot, Khloe and Kourtney being spoiled and less hot than their sister, Rob being normal, and mother Chris Kardashian pretty much disobeying anything that her husband Bruce asks her to do (thus, the patience). What's great about the show is that all of the Kardashians have very distinct personalities and the Real World-like confessionals give viewers the opportunity to get to know them a little more. While it's obvious that a lot of the confessionals appear scripted and are likely not shot at the most relevant time, the show is well-edited to give the appearance of real-time and despite the lighthearted nature of the show because of all the Kardashian silliness, it still has heart.

From never dodging the effect of Kim's sex tape on the family to watching the family discuss whether Kim should be in Playboy or not (and she is in the December issue NSFW), the show is fun, but doesn't seem too scripted for a family that is as over the top as this one is.

Perhaps the best episode I caught was the episode that was filmed on the anniversary of Robert Kardashian's death. The episode had some very honest and very touching confessionals by each of the family members who were recounting the memories they had about their father.

It was legitimately fascinating to watch the family look back on home videos they had with their late father and see what their lives were like in simpler times, before the sex tapes, celebutant status, and Hollywood scene took over their lives. I was really impressed with this episode, along with the preceding episodes that followed Kim's struggles with posing for Playboy magazine because of the relative honesty of each of the characters and exceptional editing that make the show work.

Keeping Up made it onto my DVR and but Life in the Fab Lane definitely did not and I recommend that you pass on that one too.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Today's Hottest TV Hotties - Grey's Anatomy's Chyler Leigh and Heroes' Kristen Bell

Let's face it, we're a visual society.

On Thanksgiving, I got into a conversation with an older parent of my friend's boyfriend about how visual our society has become. For him, he was referring to how President John F. Kennedy was helped by his dashing good looks during his run for the White House (this conversation started because I said that Barack Obama was "cool" and that I thought Hilary Clinton would benefit from doing the "Soulja Boy" dance during a stop on the campaign tour).

This could be YOUUUUU (crank that, Soulja Boy), Hilary Clinton.

Of course, in my mind, I was thinking more about how most of my favorite celebrities and singers are incredibly hot. Case in point, my favorite celebrity and personality in all of Hollywood/Nashville is Carrie Underwood, who I believe to be the most physically flawless person to ever walk the planet. I love her music, but if I'm being honest, I know that it helps that I am cognizant of the fact that her face is singing it.

OMG, I am hot!

Again, let's face it, television is filled with a disproportionate number of hotties nowadays who are on the shows to make guys like me watch them. And you know what? It works. It really works.

Taking into account that I am a guy and the fact that males are generally believed to be more visual than females, it works even more.

This got me to thinking, who are the hottest women on television today? Generally, I like to watch TV in silence, much like I watch sports. I don't like it when people talk, nor do I like missing things, then rewinding them on DVR to hear what the person said. I like to watch the show in its entirety and enjoy all of it, in the visual and auditory fun that is the marvelous invention of video.

However, I have narrowed it down to two actresses/characters who force me, a devout television silentist (kind of like a scientist, but without schooling, nor a lot of thinking...ok it just means I like it to be quiet when I watch TV) to repeatedly say, "Oh man, she is really freakin' hot" numerous times over the course of a single episode. I tried to stay away from extremely well known hotties (Grey's Anatomy's Katherine Heigl, rated 78 on and perennial hotties (Ghost Whisperer's Jennifer Love Hewitt, rated 82 on and came away with two very different actresses who I believe manage to steal all the eyeballs that advertisers are drooling over every second they're on screen, or in the latter's case, off the screen.

Chyler Leigh (Lexie Grey on Grey's Anatomy)

Katherine who? Wait, there's a hot blonde on Grey's?

Let's suspend reality for a minute and ignore the fact that Chyler is only in her mid 20s and has two children. Let's forget the long masturbation scene with the over-sized dildo from Not Another Teen Movie that makes it hard for some people to see Chyler as a doctor.

Forgot about this one, didn't you? You're welcome.

Kids and dildos aside, if someone told me that another actress was actually capable of making me forget that Katherine Heigl was on Grey's Anatomy, I would have thought they were lying until Chyler Leigh showed up as Lexie Grey, the half-sister of the incredibly annoying, grown-up version of a Dawson's Creek character, Meredith Grey, this season. Her addition to the cast is much more of that of "just another pretty face," as she's actually a valuable member to a cast that has had so many off-screen distractions that it is refreshing to have a regular cast member who isn't carrying a fee-ridden oversized amount of baggage to the set.

Not only is Lexie Grey hot, but she's intelligent and quirky in a way that is neither annoying, nor forced upon viewers. After seeing Chyler on Grey's this season, I realized that Lexie Grey is pretty much the closest thing that we'll ever see to Jennifer Love Hewitt's character from Party of Five, Sarah Reeves, interning her life away in Seattle hospital during a second season of her quickly cancelled spinoff Time of Your Life. Both brunettes use similar speech (in terms of intonation), speak simply, yet with a decent amount of intelligence, tell it like it is when they have to, are naturally beautiful, and are impossible not to look at while they're on screen. Ok and really, they just kind of look like each other.

Kind of similar, no?
Maybe it's just me.

So yes, I know that I'm blinded by her good looks, but I cannot help but be impressed with how Chyler Leigh has managed to make me give a steaming, "two girls one cup" sized crap about Lexie Grey. On an established television show with distinct characters, it's always a challenge to make us viewers care about "the new guy." No one really cared about Mark Sloan on Grey's and while he's a great character, I still don't know if we really do. However, Chyler Leigh has fit right in with the cast, despite the fact that she's a couple years behind the rest of the group. We actually care about her romance with Alex and her dad's alcohol problems. Why?

Because she's hot.

Kidding. Because she's really a strong actress with just the right about of... dare I say it... cuteness to make her lovable and not over the I believe some of the characters are on Grey's. So Chyler Leigh, you are hot.

Moving on.

Kristen Bell - (Elle on Heroes, the voice of Gossip Girl on Gossip Girl)

Xoxo, Gossip Girl

This is one of those that I can't really describe. While most got to know Bell for her role on Veronica Mars, I recently became a fan because of her role as the sexually-frustrated and lightning fetish-loving Company captive Elle on Heroes. I remember when I was test-driving my Scion xA, a car that I have the definition of a Love-Hate relationship with, the car salesman (obviously trying to earn commission) told me "A car is like a woman, sometimes you just love it. You might not like everything about it, but you just can't explain it sometimes and you love it" (this was after I told him "The Honda Fit is a better car in pretty much every aspect, so I don't know why I still am thinking of getting this car"... and I still don't know why I did).

And to me, that is Kristen Bell. First, she's blonde and I have always had an affinity for brunettes. Second, she's really not THAT hot based on physical appearance alone ( gave her a 74).
Ok, so she's kind of hot on physical appearance alone.

However, like Chyler Leigh to an extent, Kristen Bell is hot because her TV character is hot. Elle on Heroes is a sheltered tease with superhuman powers (so you assume she's pretty athletic) that is just bad enough that it's really hot. We haven't really learned enough about her on the show to really get an identity for her, but what we have seen is evidence enough for me.

Exhibit A

Even with everyone's favorite (and now legal) "it girl" Hayden Panettiere on the show, Bell still manages to stand out in a cast of beautiful, beautiful people and when you look at the cast of Heroes, that's saying a lot.

La la la, I am hot and everyone loves me.

Even more, Kristen is the voice of Gossip Girl on the CW guilty pleasure of the same name. So not only is Kristen Bell hot enough to feature on screen, but her voice is hot enough (and sounds completely different on a side note) to be compelling off screen as well. Unlike the narrator of Mary Alice on Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl is supposed to be one of the coolest girls around Manhattan and Bell's voice fits the role just perfectly. Not only is she nice to look at, the ultimate "hard to get" tease, but she's also really "fly" and hip with the kids.

S and B were spotted at brunch today. OMG.

Athletic, really horny, a beautiful speaking voice, and a little mysterious, Kristen Bell joins Chyler Leigh on my list of hottest hotties on television today.

Sure, there are other hotties - Olivia Wilde from House, M.D., Autumn Reeser from The OC (if this show was still on, she'd be a top 2), Becki Newton from Ugly Betty come to mind - but these two stuck out to me as the perfect balance of looks and compelling television character that make them absolutely impossible not to notice while they're on screen.

If anyone says looks don't matter on television, it's because they don't watch television.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Hills: Season 3 Comes Alive with "Forgive and Forget"

The Hills - Season 3, Episode 14

The Hills came back in a big way on Monday night by focusing on the characters that loyal fans are most interested in, Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag. With the introduction of one of the weirdest characters in beautiful-people, semi-scripted reality world history in Audrina's boyfriend Justin Bobby and the relatively pointless dragging storyline surrounding Lauren and on-again, off-again bff Brody Jenner, Season 3 of MTV's most popular show has ultimately been a disappointment so far. Why? Because we've come to expect more.

This season, episode after episode trudges on, and really, not a whole lot happens. Cliffhangers have been few and far between and the fact that Lauren Conrad is no longer "just a girl," but one of Hollywood's better known faces makes her less of the clearcut protagonist that she was in both preceding seasons of the show. There are moments when we're left thinking, "Hey, maybe she's not right this time around..." It's a fairly simple show and when you lose sight of the "good guys," it makes the storylines less effective, which has really hurt Season 3 in my mind.

Somehow, someway, and thankfully, The Hills brought it back this past Monday night by bringing the show back to its roots - drama, brutally blunt honesty, and profound poetic statements with simple words and matching sentence structures that are just simple enough to appear completely genuine. Instead of focusing on how awkward Audrina is, the funny faces Whitney makes, how not cool Justin Bobby acts around strangers, or how wasted Lauren can get, "Forgive and Forget" focused on the relationship between former roommates turned arch-nemeses Lauren and Heidi.

Season 3 started off with a bang that was really satisfying to watch. MTV didn't try and dodge the Lauren Conrad sex tape rumors that were circulating before the new season aired, nor did the network pretend that its audience wasn't hip to one of the juiciest gossip stories around Hollywood. In a move that not only gave credit to its audience, but provided fuel for what has otherwise been a relatively uneventful season, MTV tackled the story head on in the season premiere. After hearing that Heidi, along with her boyfriend Spencer were behind the sex tape rumors surrounding Lauren Conrad and now-Celebrity Rap Superstar emcee Jason Wahler ("I'm a baaalllerrrrr, JASON Waaaaaaaahlerrrr!!!"), Lauren screamed out against Heidi in a rage that had gone unseen through two seasons of The Hills and another two seasons of Laguna Beach, "YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID!!!!" in a television moment that will never be forgotten by fans of the show. Season 3 was alive and well...for a minute.

After starting at the highest of highs, Season 3 was fizzling by the episode. After yet another uneventful episode where we watched Lauren and Whitney take people to their seats at the Teen Vogue Young Hollywood party, MTV chose the best possible moment to bring the drama that is Lauren and Heidi back to the small screen. And in the best five minutes that the show has seen all season long, The Hills returned to its truest form, a triumphant return to brutal dialogue and reactions shots that is most effectively told through quotations from the show's main character Lauren Conrad during these five glorious minutes.

Blunt honesty: "You're lying to me."

Simple words, complex phrases: "Don't look at me and tell me that you don't know, because you know."

Confusing, yet profound and thoughtful life philosophies: "I think you know that Spencer did this and I think you don't want to believe it because you love him and I understand that. Because sometimes, when you love someone, you want to believe they're good."

Things that make you go "hmm...": "Heidi, sometimes whether you did something or did nothing, it's just as bad."

Questions that cannot be answered: "How can you hate someone so much that you literally want to make them wish they were dead?"

With yet another fitting song by Los Angeles singer/songwriter Alissa Moreno acting as the background music to one of the season's darkest, yet brightest moments, Lauren unleashed the second best line of the season:

"The only thing really that there is to do is to forgive and forget. So I really do, I want to forgive you.... And I want to forget you."

Say what you will about The Hills - the fact that it's more than semi-scripted and doesn't really contribute a whole lot to society apart from showing people my age some cool places to eat and go on dates - but when The Hills is good, it's really good. The looks of death that Conrad burned through Montag's skull go beyond anything that has ever been seen on The OC, Dawson's Creek, or even Grey's Anatomy, because the anger is genuine. Gossip Girl, while it reigns as television's newest guilty pleasure on the CW, would kill to create one second of the tension that The Hills managed to create on Monday night because of how surprisingly well the characters have been developed through two short seasons of 30 minute episodes.

For a brief glimpse, The Hills was back and it was glorious.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Welcome to Rotten Potatoes!

It goes without saying that this new blogging venture for me, Rotten Potatoes, is inspired by one of my favorite movie sites, Rotten Tomatoes. However, instead of being an aggregate collector of and portal to many different reviews, editorials, and voices, Rotten Potatoes will simply be the television blogging haven of one individual, me.

To get to know me better in a television sense, here's what I currently record on my DVR. Somehow, with a full time work schedule, I manage to watch almost all of them:
  • Colbert Report
  • CBS Evening News
  • ABC World News
  • Gossip Girl
  • Prison Break
  • American Idol
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • Heroes
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Ghost Whisperer
  • Desperate Housewives
  • The Amazing Race
  • The Hills
  • The Real World
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
  • Ugly Betty
  • The Office
  • Sportscenter
My favorite syndicated comedies are The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Cosby Show. Aside from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, the show that never sits for more than a day on my DVR is Ugly Betty, as I feel like it is the perfect mix of comedy, drama, and strong characters with recognizable (albeit over the top) identities.

Who is behind Rotten Potatoes? An undersized Asian with a little too much to type sometimes. My credentials are limited, but I hope that it's a start to something much bigger. I was an Editorial/Opinions columnist for the University of Southern California's Daily Trojan, where I held the coveted Monday spot for consecutive semesters. Previously a staff writer for now-ESPN affiliate, I used my experience as a student manager for the USC Football team to profile and interview different players on a more personal level to show a different side to our players and program.

My personal blog, was linked by after I wrote an editorial on, of all things, Vanessa Anne Hudgens. More recently, I was named the winner of the Billboard Magazine/LG Mobile Beat nationwide concert blogging competition, where I was chosen as one of hundreds of applicants to cover concerts all summer long up against 25 other bloggers spread around the country. In February 2008, I will be blogging from the red carpet at the 2008 Grammy Awards for I am currently a contributing writer for the top television website for the #1 television show in the United States, Hopefully, I'll be seeing my name published in a few other places in the very near future, but this is my newest blogging venture.

But why start a new blog? My personal blog,, was just getting overridden with my constant television talk, so I thought this would give me an opportunity to start over and have a blog with some focus. Additionally, I honestly missed putting together editorials and thought this would give me a good opportunity to blog about a subject that I'm both knowledgeable and passionate about, television.

The idea to start Rotten Potatoes ultimately stemmed from the fact that I enjoy and watch a ton more television than I do movies (which would be Rotten Tomatoes' specialty)and honestly enjoy television a whole lot more as a result. I love the episodic nature of television and how even with DVR becoming more and more mainstream, there is still something to be said for watching something unfold on live television, or at least seeing something the day it airs so that you can talk about it the next day. I love that there are shows that we follow religiously and guilty pleasures that we know are horrible, but we can't stop watching.

So what can you expect to see here on Rotten Potatoes?

  • Full episode streaming with editorials on specific episodes

  • American Idol talk... a lot of it. Like it or not, it's the top show on television and I think it deserves to be
  • Shows that I think are worth watching or worthwhile guilty pleasures
  • Shows that I think are taking a turn for the worse
  • My experiences at various tapings
  • Reality show talk
  • Some entertainment news here and there if it's television relevant
  • Shows that were exceptionally good or standouts from the week
So welcome, thank you for coming to Rotten Potatoes and I'm excited about this new blogging venture. Hope you'll come back and enjoy the ride!