Sunday, March 30, 2014

DWTS Week 2: It's Not YOU, It's the Character

Sharna Burgess and Charlie White. Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor.
It’s been an interesting season of Dancing With the Stars so far. It’s only Week 2 of Season 18, and already we have learned so much.

The thing that I love about #DWTS (well, so many things)... is that you really do learn a lot about this art form called dance, if you really truly listen.

This dance above, for example. Sharna Burgess and Charlie White’s tango, in which all-around great guy Charlie White had to enlist Maksim Chmerkovskiy so he could truly put forth a character which is two-timing and with a roving eye. (I might add that Charlie did not achieve said aim to these eyes, but his dancing was decent along the way.)

And that is something at an advanced level of dancing, I might add. Actors, for example, in their beginning days, may think they just have to stand up and say a bunch of lines. As their learning progresses, they learn that to be a good actor, they have to actually convincingly portray someone else (someone who is NOT them). And if they are a truly sublime actor, they truly become that person before your eyes. Convince you with every fiber of their being that they ARE that person, and that the words they are saying are TRUE, that is, from their very soul. That’s tough stuff. Most actors, frankly, do not attain such heights, only a handful really make that transformation.

But we learned, if we did not know it already, in this Week 2 episode of #DWTS, that great dancing involves creating a character, WHO IS NOT YOU, to inform the dance. For example, tangos. The greatest tangos, as we have seen, involve lots of passion and drama. Those participants may or may not have such passion between them, but they have to CONVINCE us they do. They have to convey the love story, and the dance is the vehicle with which to do that.

Also, anything that gets in the way of the essential heart of the drama being played out is going to detract from the dance.

I bring all this Dance Education 101 up because of what else happened in Week 2, which we saw hints of on Week 1. Namely, this.

The oh-so-patient Mark Ballas and Candace.
Now, Miss Candace has already warned us (last week) that she’s “a mom,” who won’t be partaking in any of those skimpy costumes this show struts around. I’m sure there are those in the audience cheering this decision. (Mind you, those are also the folks who had a problem with Janet Jackson’s nipple.) AND, as if that weren’t bad enough, this week, we get to see her NIX the idea of Mark taking his shirt off.

Mark and Candace were set to dance A RUMBA, arguably the sexiest dance this show offers, and she is making them dress in sackcloth. :-0

Here’s the thing, Candace Cameron-Bure, and take this advice very seriously. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. When you are dancing, you are a CHARACTER. And it’s not that DWTS just likes to have everyone running around in skimpy outfits. Think for a moment. You have a limited amount of time (what is it, three minutes?) to convey something to an audience. You use every device at your disposal (BRAVO to the stage crafters, lighting designers, producers and others who make magic every week on DWTS). But one of those devices is also COSTUMES.

How does one convey that this romance between two people is the hottest you’ve ever seen? In three minutes? Sorry, but it helps if you have two partially unclothed people, because it conveys some kind of sexual activity between them. It’s a shorthand that everyone in the audience understands.

I don’t give a crap that you are a Mom, and you feed your kids peanut butter and jelly on lunches. In that moment, when I am a viewer watching your dance, all I want to see is the emotion, and the sexuality, that you are supposed to be portraying. That’s it. And if you don’t give us that: THE DANCE LOSES.

Poor Mark Ballas. He had to suffer through this kind of nonsense with Bristol Palin. His interview in Week 2 noted about Candace, “you are even worse than Bristol Palin.” SIGH. I really feel for him in this.

So, in their dance, he did what he could, emoting up a storm to convey that these two people are desperately passionate in their Week 2 RUMBA, but what could you do?

The professional Mark Ballas and the prude Candace Cameron Bure.
Sorry, but this is just not selling “sexy” to me, though I can really see Mark Ballas trying hard. But they look like nuns. Horrible stuff. Eh.

Later, when the judges scored her negatively for doing an unsexy rumba, she had the balls to say, “I want to reserve certain things for my husband.” Jeez, woman, get off the stage. We are not asking you to have sex with Mark Ballas in front of us. This is a CHARACTER and it’s in service of the DANCE. If you don’t get that, well, frankly, you shouldn’t have signed up for this show.

Let me show you a contrast.

James and Peta do a salsa (also a very sexy dance). In his interview, he jokes about doing it fully nude. Now THAT would be a very sexy salsa. All 10s! Ahem... anyway... their dance was STEAMY. They were my second favorite of the week. Look.

Peta Murgatroyd and James Maslow do a samba. Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor.
Steamy, right? Sexy just dripping from this picture. Now there is also nothing in this photo that one would have to “save for their husband.” The dancer, Peta, is conveying mostly by her costume, that the salsa is one sexy dance. That’s the deal here, Constance.

And guess what? James and Peta were the second-highest scorers of the night.

Also, if you think of dance in a kind of feng-shui way, you don’t want to throw up anything which is going to block the emotion and the sexuality you are trying to convey. Taking a stance of “I’m not going to do that, and I’m not going to let you as my partner do that either,” just ruins it. There’s no other way to say it.

I am simply crying for Mark Ballas right now.

But OK, to the rest of the show, and those who DO get it.

Those voted out this week (two couples) were Diana Nyad and whoever it was she was dancing with, and Karina and her lunkhead hockey player. Hopefully we will see Karina back during that Switch Up thing at least. But honestly, I’m really glad to see both of those couples go. Will be glad to see Billy Dee Williams leave very soon too. And, as much as I love Mark and his dancing, I really hate what Constance is doing, so Goodbye to them soon too... (hopefully).

Oh, but let’s talk about what we enjoyed this week, shall we?

We had this:
NeNe Leakes and Tony Dovolani do a jive.
And this:
Cheryl Burke and Drew Carey’s jive.
Speaking of hotness, and not afraid to show it, we had this:
Danica McKellar and Val Chmerkovskiy do a hot samba.
A continuously amazing pair: Derek Hough and Amy Purdy, who did an incredible swing dance this week.
Derek Hough’s amazing swing choreography with Amy Purdy.
Derek, as always, had amazing choreography. But look at this swing move (above). He swung her whole body around, in time to the music. Incredible.

With the ice dancing couples, let’s start with Charlie and Sharna. As mentioned a bit above, one of Charlie White’s greatest challenges in this show is not the choreography, but to unlearn the concept of constant smiling (which you have to do in figure skating). Also, the tango, which he attempted this week, is about anger and volatile passion, whereas Mr. White seem like a total pussycat.

So, the steps were there, but the bubbling passion underneath (to me) was not. I hope they get a chance to do another (maybe Argentine tango) later in the season, when he’s worked on this concept a bit more.

Also, they danced to a song which said, “I’m Addicted to You,” and Charlie’s stage direction was to be looking out at other women in the audience. Clearly, if one is addicted to someone, that person is all they can think about, so the song (as far as character motivation) didn’t work at all for me.

Sharna Burgess and Charlie White do a tango.
However, bravo to the costumers who are doing more with sheer fabrics so that you can see the feet of the female dancers. This one, on Sharna, was just stunning and mesmerizing. (And while we’re talking costuming, can I just say how much I love that they are wearing sneakers much more, both women and men?)

But my favorite dance of the night was the other ice dancing couple, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis. Maks called it, “the most lift-y routine I’ve ever done.” He says he’s “way too old for this,” but I thought he looked just great out there.

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy swinging.
And the interplay between Maks and Erin was once again golden. Love it!

All in all, some really great dances already at Week 2. I don’t know about you, but I’m still thanking the lucky stars that Maksim is back.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis do a swing. Courtesy of ABC.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sexy, Sultry Dancing with the Stars Is BACK! and so’s MAKS! YAY!

The stunning opening number to Season 18, choreographed by Mandy Moore. Courtesy of ABC.
I had the misfortune of perusing comment boards prior to the start of Season 18 of Dancing with the Stars. The vitriol went along these lines: “I’m not going to watch because...” “those costumes! So skimpy!” “Why’d they get rid of Brooke Burke?” “Where’s the bandleader and orchestra?” “I’m not going to watch anymore...” Blah blah blah, like that.

Well, ladies and gents, ABC had its answer for ya. And it was this. (See above.) In your face, right out of the gate, we had the first ever guest artist singing in an opening number, with Jason Derulo, belting out, “Talk Dirty to Me,” as the sexy cast of pros strutted and sauntered sexily (women and men). The music, btw, SOUNDED GREAT!

Here’s what it was (the whole show) most of all: ALIVE. The music throbbed and pulsed and seemed up to date, the cast interacted with the hosts in a natural way (Congrats, Erin Andrews, great job! I love ya!), there was just less BS overall.

In fact, I would even say that it was really more distilled essence of Dancing with the Stars than it’s ever been. No frou-frou crap to fill time. The heinous “Glitter Pit” from last season is blissfully gone (replaced by the upstairs waiting area in a different place, with wider stairs as access). The judges are back on the side they belong on, all is seemingly right with the #DWTS world.

Oh, and most of all, THIS.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl, the gold medalling ice dancer.
Let me just say this about that. I was one of the many who, when Maks had his egotistical dustup with the judges, was wishing him banished. But this is me, now, like a scorned lover coming back with her tail beween her legs, kissing the floor in front of Maksim, joyously proclaiming his return.

Sure, sure, we’ve made do with the Chmerkovskiy magic with Valentin’s amazingness (which, thankfully, we still have), but it is Maks (like he said) who really makes the show. There is just something he gives this show, a gravitas, a deep-rooted sexuality, something, without which it threatens to fly away with its bubbliness and pandering to sponsors. I almost cried to see him dancing again with his partner Meryl.

For me, it boils down to this: This is DWTS. Derek. Mark Ballas. Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Karina Smirnoff. Cheryl Burke. Len, Bruno, Carrie Anne. Tom Bergeron. That’s it. Others can come and go, but those elements MUST be there for it to be the show it’s capable of being.

Others, like Valentin and Peta Murgatroyd and Tony Dovolani, buff it up and make it better, but those others are its core. Maybe the powers that be at ABC finally realized it, too.

Also, let me say that (although I suppose we’ll never know the reals on this sitch), the dance floor is littered with those rumored to be Maks’ conquests (Karina, Peta, etc.), the most fun to me, while ABC was busy playing up the romance of Peta and her dance partner (she is always rumored to be romantically involved with her dance partners; I actually think it makes her dance better), the real hot sparks (to my eyes) were between (also romantically rumored) former dance partners Erin Andrews and Maksim C.

The hottest (sexiest) dance I’ve ever seen on this show was between Maks and Erin, that dance in that bed they did. WHEW! I get hot just thinking about that dance.

Nothing was said in any of the packages about that hotness, but to me it was palpable in their banter.

I don’t know about anyone else, but dance is primal. It’s all about the sex. All Maksim has to do is walk into a room, and a person’s thinking about sex already. So, as we start fanning ourselves here, let’s just say that with the dancers and Maksim back and the new show orientation: they’ve indeed brought SEXY back.

It’s dripping with sex, and hot costumes, and hot bodies and appreciation of the DANCE of it all. APPLAUSE.

OK, now let’s get to the nitty gritty of this premiere episode: the dances.

Twelve competitors. Let’s start with the easy ones. The ones I cover my eyes when they appear, and really wish they would be gone immediately are: Billy Dee Williams and Diana Nyad. Heavens! Case in point. Did you know he is going to be in the upcoming Star Wars movie? No? Let us remind you. *sigh*

Oh dear God. There have been some clunky competitors: Valerie Harper from last season comes to mind. But old, and I do mean OLD, Billy Dee Williams takes the cake. He looks like he is waiting for his walker, which is just offstage. If there was a shuffling off to Buffalo award, he’d win it. No, wait, that gives a bad name to shuffling. Ah, let’s not bash the poor guy, after all, in a galaxy far far away he was once Lando Kalrissian. (Emphasis on FAR AWAY.)

Let’s just hope that he gets voted off first next week! (I really do feel bad for Emma, who had such a great season last year with someone that no one, me included, thought could dance at the beginning.) As the 5s from the judges started rolling in this week, she looked crestfallen. Dude, Billy Dee was TERRIBLE. Possibly worst contender on DWTS ever. (I’m truly hard-pressed to come up with a worse one.) Seriously, MY EYES!

Diana Nyad wasn’t much better. Dreadful. Hope she’s the next to go. And it’s truly not that I’m ageist, it’s just that straight-up, these folks can’t dance. Not an iota. Hell, Billy looks like he can barely walk. No joke.

So let’s focus on the dancers who have a hope in hell of lasting past a couple of episodes, shall we?

Since I seem to be going from least-liked to best-liked, there is also Karina’s partner, a former hockey player who seems to have difficulty even smiling. Talk about an oaf! Sheesh. Now, I think Karina Smirnoff is the best female dancer on this show, and one of the world’s best dancers (as Maksim said last season), but man, I sure hope these two are voted off quickly.

Karina Smirnoff, looking like a world-class dancer. Sean Avery, looking like a longshoreman.
James and Peta seem to have a romance brewing. Drew Carey is the “only partner I didn’t have to Google,” said Cheryl Burke like five times to different press outlets. *eyeroll*

For the youngsters, there’s some 18 year old who’s apparently big in Australia. He’s dancing with a new pro, Whitney. They were fun.

Those are my bottom tier this seaon. Any of those could go, and I’d be quite happy.

Let’s just pause, take a deep breath, and then ponder those who are actually going to be winning the Mirror Ball this season.

Amy Purdy and Derek Hough. Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor.
Derek Hough, always pushing boundaries, and taking us into places that the rest of us can’t go, is this season dancing with a woman who has no legs. Amazing, incredible and brave.

Valentin Chmerkovskiy, always one to watch, is this season dancing with a woman who, if she doesn’t tone down the smile wattage a few notches is going to put the audience into a sugar coma.

Danica and Val.
Tony Dovolani, previous Mirror Ball winner, has his work cut out for him (similar to winner Amber Riley last season) with NeNe Leakes. She is a whole lotta woman, and I don’t mean size, I mean attitude and presence. She dominates that dance floor (as Amber did last season, with Derek).

Tony Dovolani and NeNe Leakes.
I’m not sure what this whole “Change partners and DANCE” thing is that they hint about for midseason, but I sure hope it ends up with Maks and NeNe dancing together. THAT I wanna see.

Let’s get to the three teams that I hope are some combination of final three.


I always like Mark Ballas as a finalist going in. He’s one of the main reasons I watch DWTS season after season. I feel sorry that he keeps being saddled with partners who wear their conservatism like a badge. I liked Ms. Candace just fine until she says in her package: “I'm not going to wear those skimpy costumes! I’m a mom!” *huff, puff* Good grief.

On this show, baby, you’re a DANCER, so suck it up. Just look at this.

Candace Cameron Bure and Mark Ballas do contemporary.
Now, if you weren’t so intent upon being “a mom,” and chaste and whatever, you might not end up with folds of clothing which splat into your partner’s face like this. Why don’t you just SHUT UP and let the costumers (who are fantastic) do their job? Do you think it endears you to us to say such things? No. It makes me want to vote for you less. You signed up for this gig: DEAL WITH IT.

You are blessed with a partner whose amazing dance talent is going to take you MUCH further in this competition than you really deserve to go, so enjoy it, and be gracious to the team that got you there. Wear whatever costumes they give you.

Remember when poor Mark was saddled with Bristol Palin? *shudders* Or that other chick, who also wouldn’t wear skimpy clothes because of her religion? She had clothes up to her neck, and the judges kept saying she was unable to “find her sexuality.” Well, duh. (Dance, remember, at its purest, is about SEX! As the producers so clearly know.)

So far, Ms. Bure seems to be a better dancer than either of those two, so I hope she can learn to curb her errant comments a bit and be gracious about what the wonderful Mr. Ballas has to teach her. Ugh.


I don’t know about you, but I was still on an Olympics high when this season of DWTS began. And Meryl and Charlie contributed greatly to that. So it’s just so wonderful to see Meryl dancing! And add to that the supreme visceral, all-is-now-right-with-the-world joy of seeing Maksim on the dance floor again.

In the packages, people are all meeting their partners for the first time, seeing what they can do. Maks asks Meryl to spin into his hand, “Can you do that?” he says innocently. She flawlessly spins on point about six times. Maks smiles slyly, “Yeah, I can work with that.” It was great.

Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Maks, I take back every single bad word I ever said about you. Be a bad boy, be an egotistical bastard. I don’t care. Just don’t ever go away again. DWTS needs you. Truly. And I am so glad you are back!


The other half of the Olympic ice dancing team that just won America’s first gold medal is Charlie White. They did a cute thing when Meryl started her dance, with both of them waving and Maks pulls her away to dance. It was really nice.

Hopefully this season they will both learn the art of doing a character, and quit smiling so much. To that end, we had this.

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess do contemporary. Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor.
My favorite dance of the first night of Season 18. Charlie and Shauna. Awesome stuff. These top three teams are my favorites to watch.

And with any luck, America will have done the right thing and voted out the worst dancer. So we don’t have any more of this nonsense...

Meryl and Maks with two “audience members.”

Erin Andrews, btw, was just what the show needed. I am so very glad she’s there, and so very glad that the wondrous Tom Bergeron is still there, too. (And that he got his pinch from Maks.) The world smiles.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dancing With the Stars Season 18 Announces New Cast and Changes

Why should we watch Dancing with the Stars Season 18? WHY? Here’s why.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Sharna Burgess. Courtesy of ABC

Those two crazy kids in the middle there? You might recognize them. They just won a couple of gold medals in Sochi for ice dancing.

And the man to Meryl’s right? Love him or hate him, the fact is, we miss him. Dancing with the Stars’ bad boy extraordinaire, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, is BACK!!! I have bitched about him too, in these pages, but I am really glad to see him in the roster. Cause I’ve missed Maks’ dancing. Sure his little brother Val was great, transcendent even, with his last two partners, but the Mirror Ball proved as elusive to Val as it did to his brother before him. (Sadly.) And Maks just flat out gives the show something that it really needs, so I am truly and sincerely, really glad he’s back.

Sharna Burgess, the gorgeous woman to Charlie White’s left, has also gotten kind of a bum deal in the last few seasons. She was superb with Andy Dick, but got voted out too soon. And she danced her heart out as part of the troupe last season, but it was very clear that this woman is meant to be a pro! So I’m very glad that she starts out the season with possibly the best male competitor, Charlie White. Go Sharna!

Those aren’t the only reasons to watch, of course, but those are the—pardon all the Olympics puns—the gold star reasons.

There are other Olympians, other athletes, which we’ll all go through in good time as the season progresses. Plus our usual roster of has-beens and washed-up stars. Oh, settle down, it’s a joke... speaking of which, did you see Chelsea Handler talking to George Stephanopolous recently? She had to explain every joke to him. And he asked her: “Why don’t you go on #DWTS?” Quothe she: “I have a job.” It really is like that.
NeNe Leaks and Tony Dovolani. Courtesy of ABC
We also have these two. Talk about an interesting pairing to watch! 

So we’ll get into all these folks more in detail on the first episode. Today, I just wanted to tell you what I’m excited about.

All the important people are here: both Chmerkovskiy brothers, Mark Ballas, Sharna, Karina Smirnoff, Cheryl Burke, Peta Murgatroyd. I was just about having a heart attack during the announcement because they had announced everyone and Derek Hough was still not there. Luckily, he is there, and this season, he’s dancing with a woman with two prosthetic legs. That should be amazing.

(My own personal “I won’t watch this show if...” would come down to two things: Mark Ballas and Derek Hough. As long as they are there, all is right with the world.)

Which brings us to the next part. If you read any #DWTS comments sections this week, you’re going to see a whole lot of *huffy* “Well, I’m not watching the show NOW!” stuff.

Let’s all just take a deep breath, shall we?

Two major things happened to ruffle the continuum in the #DWTS universe. One, conductor Harold Wheeler and his orchestra (and presumably singers) are all gone. They have been replaced with... well, it’s unclear. I’ve seen reports that say both a smaller band and a tape machine. We shall see, won’t we?

In either case, in the case of both of these changes, I say, let’s just see what the show has up its sleeve, shall we? While I always mourn talented artists in Hollywood having jobs and then losing them, I also really love how #DWTS, like any good artist, is always changing, evolving, moving with the times. That is how cutting-edge art is made. Whether anyone else knows it or not, #DWTS is really full of cutting edge art, dancers at the top of their game being brilliant.

However, it’s also true that the show started as a “strictly ballroom” show. Hence, a big orchestra with a bandleader. But as the show has evolved, doing more “jazz” numbers and hip hop and other things, it’s really not appropriate to have an orchestra do those. Or, in some cases, with some songs, they just flat out can’t. So what does one do? Force the orchestra to do record scratches? Or evolve, and let the artists that this show is about (ie, DANCERS) do what they need to present their art in the best way?

I firmly say: the LATTER. And so, apparently, did ABC. Gone is the big orchestra. Hopefully, the wanky little waiting area on the side of the judges is also gone (from last season). Good change: not having tired dancers have to mount a flight of stairs after dancing. Bad change: the dancer waiting area right next to the judges. There is a certain amount of distance between artist and audience which is appropriate and necessary, so I really hope that is one of the first changes we also see. Also, we don’t want the forced, “You have to sit there,” nonsense. Let them walk around backstage or warm-up or do whatever they have to do for their process. It’s not necessary to have everyone on camera all the time.

And the other big change, the one which really got a lot of folks up in arms, and prompted the “Well, I’m not watching now! Harumph!” nonsense all over social media was the firing of Brooke Burke-Charvet. Here’s my opinion on the matter. Brooke Burke is gorgeous, looks great in a dress, and I look forward to seeing her on a calendar or in a magazine at some point in the future. But frankly, the job is that of announcer. Which doesn’t just mean reading off cue cards (which, let’s face it, our Miss Brooke struggled with QUITE OFTEN), it’s also being an integral part of the show. Like lube that eases everything along.

Tom Bergeron is brilliant at this. Some people were snarkily commenting that it’s because Brooke Burke is getting older and Erin Andrews, her replacement, is younger, and that’s why. To which I say: Tom Bergeron. Tom is probably older than the both of them put together, and he’s not going anywhere. And that’s because he knows his job, and he does his job as well as anyone in the business (which is also why HE got nominated for Emmys, and Brooke Burke-Charvet never did).

Here’s why Tom earns his salary and Brooke didn’t. In the Maks dustup with the judges, which caused Maks to exit the show for two seasons, Tom was right there, making (unscripted) jokes, keeping things running, keeping tempers smoothed. Brooke, in contrast, was like a deer in headlights. That, IMHO, is why she really needed to be fired a couple seasons ago.

Let’s see. She can’t read cue cards decently, she asks inane questions awkwardly, she is terrible at impromptu unscripted moments. What does she do again? Oh yeah, she looks great in a dress. That’s not what you hire ANNOUNCERS for. So ABC is very savvy to put in Erin Andrews, who, like Brooke, earned her dance stripes by dancing on the show, with Maks, no less.

And, right out of the gate, at the big Good Morning America announcement, Andrews proved why she’s the right person for the job. Not only does she smooth things with banter, but she also understands social media, and referenced it. Naturally. Like she actually uses it.

So, it appears that the new season of #DWTS is about change. Many in the audience seem to be bristling at it, but I thrive on change and look forward to everything DWTS has to offer us.

Oh, speaking of which, sometime (I would assume mid-season) they are throwing in a twist, where the teams will switch partners and WE, the audience, get to choose who is partnered up with whom. That should be very fun. One wonders if that means that good pros who are voted out quickly might be able to come back? Or just from the ones who are left? Either way, recent seasons have seemed like it was a long, but assured, walk to the Mirror Ball for some people. It’s good to change it up a bit. Keeps the pros on their toes.

Plus, it also may mean we get to see Derek dancing with Meryl at some point after all. :-)  Or Maks with NeNe, which is the pairing I wanted. Should really be a fun season. I can’t wait.

Dancing with the Stars Season 18 starts Monday, March 17 on ABC.

BTW, in another side note, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I sure have. ABC has this new “Watch ABC” app, which is all well and good. I love the idea of being able to watch past shows whenever and wherever you can. But here’s the thing. You have to be “verified”—you have to have subscribed to one of the approved service providers, otherwise, you don’t get to see ABC on your devices. I, like most of LA, has Time Warner as my service provider. Guess what? They are not on the verified list.

So suddenly what used to be free TV is now unavailable. If you don’t watch it in the moment, you’re screwed. I suppose it’s available on some service (Hulu+ or iTunes or somewhere), but it’s free TV which is now no longer accessible. Very frustrating. So I don’t know how many recaps I’m actually going to be doing this season. I used to just hop on my computer and rewatch whichever parts I needed to see again to write my reviews. But no longer!

I was trying to do just such a thing to watch The Bachelor: Women Tell All thing, which I missed because of that little Oscars event, and now can’t access it. So I’m not writing a story about it.

Sure hope these corporate giants figure this crap out someday. Don’t make it HARDER for us to watch something, jeez! Most people will just not watch. Plenty of other choices out there. 

Bad move, ABC.

However, I am thanking the stars every single day that Juan Pablo is not on Season 18’s cast. Good move, ABC.


2014 Oscars Recap

The searing, hard-to-watch, but important, 12 Years a Slave actually wins.

Jared Leto’s acceptance speech mentions not only important acting things, but also Venezuela and Ukraine, the most political speech of the night. BRAVO!

All the tech awards that Gravity scooped up were because it truly went somewhere no other film had gone. Incredible stuff.

Lupita Nyong’o, dancing in the aisles with Pharell Williams. She was “Happy.”

Gravity walks away with the most awards, including Best Director
Her wins Best Original Screenplay for Spike Jonze
All the usual suspects don’t win Best Score this year
Idina Menzel still did an amazing job singing the winning Best Song, “Let It Go”
U2 on the Oscar stage. Wow.
Jared Leto. Wow. A brave, amazing performance as Rayon.
Matthew McConnaughy, who truly took all the Matthew McConnaughy-isms out of this performance.
Yale Drama School grad Lupita Nyong’o won’t be a name we soon forget
Catherine Martin winning both Production Design and Costume Design for the wondrous Great Gatsby
Fitz & the Tantrums’ “The Walker” becomes the hot Oscar song

The Oscar selfie

Cate Blanchett, smoothly skirting all the Woody Allen hooha, thanks him and moves on

Sarah Jones, who died on set, was remembered with a title card

The set was luminous and ever-changing. Droplets of crystal to backgrounds of roses. Beautiful.

Frozen wins Best Animated Feature

Ellen overall did a serviceable job of bringing the Oscars into the 21st Century. Not my fav, but no Letterman or McFarlane.

John Travolta? WTF? Oh, sorry, I mean Jabel Testerle.

What was that thing with Ellen sitting side stage strumming a guitar? A nod to Inside Llewyn Davis?

Pizza? Um, seriously?

Kim Novak. Yes, love her, but WHAT?

LIZA MINELLI. I would’ve bet money when she walked onto the red carpet that it was a female impersonator. What’s up, Liza?

No reference anywhere to Alain Resnais, who died earlier in the day. A true film pioneer.

Also, it didn’t happen during the broadcast, but earlier in the pre-show, when Jimmy Kimmel is talking to Lara Spencer, and then jumps into some audience members’ living room (supposedly) to berate them for nasty Tweets. Very inappropriate and ill-advised. Those who Tweet are the lifeblood of TV’s dying corpse. And speaking of corpse, the two folks in the sketch are over 60. Most likely those Tweeting nasty stuff are much younger. Just a thought.