Monthly Archives: March 2012

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

Emily,

What the heck happened to these guys?

Dorigen

Dear Dorigen,

Oh, the boys did well after “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and I, for one, am relieved. 

I fell in love with the show and “the fab five” on the first commercial, promising high energy gays making over the lives of straight men in less than 24 hours, and targeting the five fundamentals of being a presentable human being – fashion, grooming, home décor, food, and culture (which, in the earlier episodes was just gifting an Erica Badu CD). 

on a mission

So many unexpected fans popped up and emulated the promoted “metrosexual” style, a term previously unknown to me.  At the time of the first season, I was working for a family owned, blue collar, union focused, manufacturing company in Madison, WI.  I recall a beautiful moment when a straight Engineer literally interrupted a corporate meeting I was in to drop off a VHS of an episode I had uncharacteristically missed.  Sigh.  Decadent. 

It was a refreshing time of homosexual and heterosexual acceptance, slap stick humor, and self improvement through unabashed consumerism.  “Queer Eye” lasted from 2003 – 2007, and you can watch the sometimes dated makeovers on Netflix – it’s basically lots of jeans with blazers, dangerously fast shaves, putting “a living room where the crack den used to be,” clueless men setting fire to the simplest of salad recipes, and Jai (“the culture guru”) going on and on about how he “scored tickets from a friend of mine, [insert unknown ‘celebrity’ name here].”

So let’s see how these gays, I mean guys, I mean gays made over themselves post “Queer Eye”…

Carson Kressley – Fashion

BEFORE

Carson is my favorite.  In a show fundamentally built on playing up homosexual stereotypes, Carson was the poster gay.  He really hammed up the homophobia by sharing tiny dressing rooms, unbuttoning flies, asking for kisses, and offering many a “back door” pun / direct proposition.  Oddly, I think this was Carson’s way of breaking down barriers – he was humorously self-effacing and all of his touchy-feely moments were techniques to loosen up a needlessly tight (ass) heterosexual. 

AFTER

I feel success is often defined by a quality personal website, and www.carsonkressley.com is workin’ it.  Apparently Carson is/was on a season of “Dancing with the Stars;” he has a show on Opera’s OWN network; and… oh, dear…  he has two “hit” singles courtesy of Auto-Tune – “The Tough Go Shopping” and “You’re Beautiful and Worthy.”  What is conspicuously not listed on his website is Carson’s stint with QVC – the woman’s clothing line was called “Perfect.” I would argue that it was less than, but I might be in the minority

 Kyan Douglas – Grooming

 

BEFORE

On an aside, he was NOT born with the name “Ryan with a ‘K’ instead of an ‘R;’” however, even his given name is decadent – Hugh Edward Douglas, Jr.  On an additional aside, Kyan and Carson had such a great rapport that I convinced many (including myself) that they were dating.  A simple web search would have put that fantasy to rest, but I still like to think they will one day find each other. 

On topic, Kyan was tasked with hair and body refurbishment, which often included necessarily dumbed down explanations of why it is important to shower, what facial cleanser and moisturizer looks / tastes like, how to shave, and how to treat many a filth induced fungi.  Kyan really had sincere hopes for the heteros in his hands, but they often fell short of his most basic expectations – after the makeover many did not shower or shave, and if they did, they would inexplicably use a lotion as a shampoo.

AFTER

Where is the Kyan Douglas personal website?!  Hmmmm…  Well, there’s this from TLC, which (at the time of me posting this link) includes only two “Facebook Likes” (perhaps it’s just me and one of his relatives or, dare to dream, Carson).  I like to think that any additional “Likes” are in direct response to my provided link – hint, hint, show some love.  Kyan also published a book and worked as a spokesman / advisor for L’Oréal, which is, of course, crazy awesome.  And, I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that Kyan is still perfectly groomed and sharing words of wisdom with anyone with a scruffy beard and/or “garfunkles” (my childhood word for excessive armpit hair). 

I'm just sayin'... can you imagine what Art Garfunkel's armpit "garfunkels" look like?

Thom Filicia – Design (i.e. home décor)

BEFORE

Thom was often teased by his fellow “Fab Fivers” as the “fat” one, which is ridiculous, but perhaps the fake tan really IS slimming.   Thom always did a great job of complimenting the person’s furniture “style” with functional, interesting pieces, but I nearly always disliked his choice in rugs – lots of free-floating geometric shapes; however, perhaps that was just a sign of the times.  Also, he was unabashedly unafraid to use wicker, up to and including wicker carpet balls as a dining room center piece.  Still, he was a close second to Carson on the hilarious factor, and I was completely won over by Thom during a London episode, in which he wore a miss-match brown suit with an identically matching plaid shirt and tie.   

enjoying a spot of tea

AFTER

Thom’s website is awesome www.thomfilicia.com.  He is a decorator through Thom Filicia Inc, he sells furniture through The Thom Filicia Home Collection™, and has had at least one of his own TV shows, making over people’s craptacular homes.  Of course, my favorite of Thom’s successful moments is shamefully not listed on his website – remember when Thom Filicia took over as the Pier 1 spokesman, when Kirstie Alley got too fat; further proof that THOM IS NOT FAT.  I’m just sayin’, and now he’s also super successful and I want him to redesign my abnormally long office-living-dining-kitchen room. 

Ted Allen – Food (and drinks)

BEFORE

Ted was considered the “old” one, because he was 5 years older than most of the members of the group, and jokes at his expense often included references to a bad hip.  Most everything he had the heteros cook /assemble seemed doable for any supervised five-year-old (including detailed, written instructions), but they nearly always found a way to burn it, drop it, or break the very expensive, one-of-a-kind glassware that he thoughtfully gifted.  Like his basic name and square glasses would imply, Ted was sort of the gay “straight man” of the comedy troop, and his moments of subdued wackiness were often oddly by himself in the kitchen.  Ted is likable and intelligent and a necessary, stable force in this nonsense whirlwind.

AFTER

The Food Network smartly embraced Ted.  He has appeared on, hosted, or judged many of their top programs – “Chopped,” “Iron Chef America,” “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “The Next Food Network Star,” and also Bravo’s “Top Chef.”  Ted’s website is clean and straightforward www.tedallen.net, just like him.  He remains this likeable, knowledgeable, and consciously quirky guy that I want to have over for raspberry mojitos.    

Jai Rodriguez – Culture

BEFORE

Jai was the younger “sister” of the “Fab Five,” by 10+ years.  It was his responsibility to culturally and socially enlighten inept straight men, many of whom rarely left the house due to unemployment, fear of women, or grueling 8 floor Manhattan walk ups.  Again, the initial assistance included just a quality music CD and a tip about shaking hands, but it evolved into introductions with celebrities you actually heard of (ex: Ahmad Rashad, Kathy Griffin, Tyson Beckford), all expense paid Caribbean vacations, a $10,000 engagement ring, and even an actual job (not just an interview).  Because of his age (early-mid twenties), Jai’s advice sometimes seemed forced, like relationship or parenting tips for a grandfather.  But it truly was all sound advice, and if you rewatch some old episodes, you’ll see that Jai was smizing even before Tyra dropped that bomb on us.    

AFTER

Jai is primarily an actor – stage, TV, film, and he’s also done some hosting work.  His Wikipedia page reads like a well connected extras actor – he was even in a Lady Gaga video.   Unfortunately, like Kyan, Jai does not have a website, but he still has a MySpace page for some reason, where you can check out his latest beats, and unlike Carson, they are not Auto-Tuned. 

So, Dorigen, the boys are happily doing well, and I hope they stay in touch.

Em

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Taco Bell

Dorigen,

Please explain Taco Bell.

Emily

Emily,

There is no way I can be unbiased whilst discussing Taco Bell.  Much like The Greatest Television Program of All Time, Taco Bell is such a beloved component of my childhood that I am immune to any negative criticism it may attract.  I had Nachos Supreme (with no beans), one hard shelled taco and a small pepsi for lunch every day for two full years of my life.  

Delicious.  I would have the same for lunch every day now if there were ANY classic Taco Bells in ALL of New York City, which there are not.  They have systematically shut down all Taco Bells in and around the downtown Manhattan area over the past 10 years.  Many tears have been shed (by me) over this. There is still a KenTacoHut near Union Square, but that place is so disgusting, even I won’t eat there unless I’m REALLY craving a trip south of the border.  I don’t understand why there was a need to merge Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell into one Frankenstein of a fast-food hell.  IMHO, each one can stand on its own as a legitimately acceptable fast-food joint.  There is a management problem here.  Even Charlize Theron loves Taco Bell. See the first 1:30 of the following:

Meanwhile, I love Charlize Theron.  

Recently a law suit over Taco Bell using “a meat mixture that contains binders and extenders, and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled as ‘beef'” has caused quite a kerfuffle in the news.  My response to that is: no sh*t, sherlock.  Do you really think fast food joints are serving fresh locally sourced meats and produce?  That sh*t is still delicious.  On a side note, the use of so-called pink slime in schools is kind of scary.  Let’s focus our attention there instead, and leave my beloved Nachos Supreme alone.  

In the meantime, I will continue to cling to my memories of the Taco Bell of yore and pray that they somehow manage to stay in business long enough for my children to enjoy.  

Fondly, 
Dorigen 

The Hunger Games – pt 2

Dorigen,

I stand mildly corrected – “The Hunger Games” was legitimately a pretty good movie.  However, I did think that the first half was better, albeit very shaky camera happy.

What did you think?

Emily


Emily,

I was concerned, as the pictures from the various premiers made the rounds, about the casting.  Visually, it just looked wrong:

 

Couldn’t they get Peeta some lifts and a better suit?  Or put Katniss in flats?  Is Gale 8 feet tall?  Having seen the film, I think it works, however.  Gale came off as much more doofy than he did in the book, and Peeta was charming and adorable.  Jennifer Lawrence is a fantastic actress.  I think the love triangle worked.  The effects weren’t too over the top, which I appreciated.  All in all, not bad for a tween fantasy drama. 

Meanwhile, Jeff and I went to the Saturday matinee in our new Brooklyn neighborhood, paid $6 for our tickets and the other audience members were 80% 13-year-old girls.  Rock.

I am curious to hear your thoughts as well.  Bonus points if you can integrate an applicable clip from The Greatest Television Program of All Time.

Dorigen

Dorigen,

Meanwhile, I took two buses in the rain to attend an 11:00 am viewing on opening day at a theater running “The Hunger Games” every 20 minutes since midnight.  I shared the theater with about 8 other people, some of which also attending solo, and I seriously contemplated waiting in the bathroom until the next showing for a sneaky double feature.

I liked the first half, but the second missed some important life-or-death moments for me.  Specifically, when *spolier* Katniss and Peeta nearly ate the berries, they ever so gingerly sort of moved the berries to their mouths.  They were no where near close to actually eating those things and the announcement went off, telling them to spare themselves.  Peeta’s movie leg wound was kind of gross, but didn’t have the urgency of the book’s mentioned blood poisoning and Katniss’s gash on her head was reduced to a mild scratch.  I read the books, so I know what happens, but still, I wanted to see the characters in legitimately dangerous situations.

But, again, I did like the adaptation.  And as requested, here is my “The Cosby Show” connection to “The Hunger Games” film… two words, Gordon Gartrelle.

It’s tucked into my socks!

The glorious fashion designs of the Capitol could have all been created by Denise Huxtable for Gordon Gartrelle.  This is not a diss – let me be clear that I loved the costumes in the film and I love this nonsense of a shirt.  All it needs is a flower applique or twelve.

Effie is thinking about agreeing with me.

A clear disconnect between “The Cosby Show” and “The Hunger Games” is the polar representations of adults – Cosby: supportive vs. Games: dangerous and inept.   Haymitch is no Heathcliff, but then again Vanessa is no Katniss.  So, Gordon Gartrelle unintentional unitards for everyone!

Emily

Carlos Santana Shoes

Dorigen,

Please explain Carlos Santana’s line of women’s shoes (www.carlosshoes.com).

Emily


Emily

Carlos Santana and his band, Santana, made this song famous in the 1970s and brought “latin” music mainstream.  “Oye Como Va” (arguably the most well-known Spanish language song ever in the US), was actually written by Tito Puente, who you may remember as drummer for the Jazz Caravan, Russell “Slide” Huxtable’s band from The Greatest Television Program of All Time.

I think there may actually be an applicable Cosby Show clip for every possible occasion.  Perhaps we can test that theory in future posts.  So I think Carlos Santana is considered one of the best guitarists of all time, but I have decided that he was basically the 1970s version of Ricky Martin, in that he brought Latin music mainstream.   I think a lot of people forget how Ricky Martin BLEW THE F UP in 1999 with this performance:

Then all of a sudden it was all about Latin Music and Being Latin.  This was the era of JLo, Shakira and the Macarena and suddenly Carlos Santana was in demand as the go-to guest singer for latin-tinged pop and R&B songs.  “Smooth,” his collaboration with Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 was on every party playlist I made from 1999 to 2002.  My favorite example of the record industry trying to cash in on the latin resurgence was Eden’s Crush, the girl group who were put together on Popstars, a 2001 WB-aired pre-curser to American Idol.  The members were basically chosen based on how latin they looked, though most of them were actually from Hawaii or something.  They did create one of the best pop songs of all time, however, and introduced the world to Nicole Sherzinger.

So back to Carlos Santana.  According to Brown Shoe Company, the company that produces his line of women’s shoes, Carlos by Carlos Santana footwear, the shoes “reflect the same passion, artistry, and energy generated by legendary rock icon Carlos Santana’s music.”

I guess I don’t disagree with that.  Some of his shoes are kind of cute, if a bit OTT.  I’d say they’re a little younger and sassier than Jessica Simpson’s shoes, but not as cheap and poorly made as Paris Hilton’s.  All in all, not bad for an aging male rock guitarist.   

Dorigen

The Hunger Games – pt 1

Emily,

The Hunger Games film comes out this week.  Will it live up to the hype??  Is it the new Twilight???  People need to know!

Hunger Games

Fondly,

Dorigen

Dorigen,

Oh, “The Hunger Games” films will be fantastically terrible, just awful. 

They will be successful by my standards if they are watchable, as in the case with the very bad “Twilight” movies, and I have admittedly cried at each one (even after multiple viewings).  I expect to also cry at “The Hunger Games,” because those mediocre books really tugged at my heartstrings. 

To break it down in trilogy style, here is why the “The Hunger Games” will decadently fail…

Part 1

The books have been so popular, that the filmmakers will do everything in their power to stay true to the text, fearing earnest death threats from loyal preteens.  I am very open to altering content to adapt to a new medium.  The one exception being the altered ending of the final Harry Potter film; it ruined the whole film for me, and there is a danger that any change will do the same to legions of viewers of “The Hunger Games.”  But a point-by-point adaptation does not a good movie make. 

Part 2

The magnitude of the violence in the books will not be present in the films, as to retain a PG-13 rating.  This MAY be a good thing, if they keep the moments, but only through implication – i.e. the use of clever filming and sound.  For example, the scene in “Fanny and Alexander,” when Alexander is given a beating, we only hear it and see the extent of it’s violence in the expressions of the witnesses.  Still, these directorial tactics can be much more effective and therefore greatly terrify the young viewers.  Instead scenes will be cut or tempered.

Part 3

Josh Hutcherson is 4’2”. 

He plays a major role: Peeta (not a typo), who is (*spoiler*) a love interest of the main character, Katniss (also not a typo).  By unfair comparison, the other love interest, Gale (yes, it’s a boy’s name in this world) played by Miley Cyrus’s boyfriend (therefore, no real name necessary), is somewhere around 8’11’’.  Really any character will need to be filmed twenty paces behind him and on a down slope to make it look like they are walking side by side.  I can’t image the cost of making all of those moats for Katniss to stand in so she only has to only slightly lean down to kiss him.  Ok, so supposedly, Hutcherson is really 5’7”, but, come on, it’s a small 5’7”.

Epiloguely speaking, “The Hunger Games” will make gazillions of dollars and will certainly find their spot in my DVD collection, where they will not collect dust, but they will collect shame.

Love you,

Emily