Friday, October 09, 2009

Abandonblog

Big news! After many years and posts here on Blogger, I am officially moving on over to Wordpress. calhountribune.wordpress.com is my new home! i'm still setting up the extra pages, jazzy links, et cetera and so on, but all my existing posts are over there and that's where all the new posts will be from now on! Update your bookmarks, change your RSS feeds, and rejoice!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Spotted: Dan de Fleurette

Best part of this episode? Forget Tyra and Hilary Duff. For me it was Jenny Humphrey reading The Torn Skirt by Rebecca Godfrey. One of my favorite books of all time. This book made me lose my mind in the best way possible, and J would love it. (I know, I know, it was hardly visible, but it was there.)

To recap: Eric VDW dyed his hair; the GG creators continue to push their love for the Mets with Olivia Burke in a vintage Mets T (Dorota, Nate, and Cyrus's mother are also fans); and Scott was (mercifully) barely in the episode. 

Highlight Reel!
  • Blair not realizing the Masters of the Universe Society was all about He-Man.
  • Rufus's impression of Lily!
  • The perfectly styled Jenny knock-off girls at Constance.
  • The Return of Lily! And finally someone mentions that most people, Serena, go to college to find themself. And! that most people don't even know who they are!
  • "By the way, sandals are not shoes."
  • The evil publicist calling Serena a "diva whisperer."
  • Two words: Tyra's.hair.
  • "Szybko!" Blair scolding Dorota and in Polish!
  • Anyone else get creeped out when Chuck sized up Jenny? Yup. Still creepy.
  • The Chuck Pep Talk to Blair was the most hilariously self-centered speech I have ever heard. And it totally made sense.
Next week: "Rufus Getting Married" — Georgina returns and tries to eff things up! Exciting!

And if you don't mind slightly spoilery photos: here's a still of Blair and Chuck from an upcoming episode (the one after next week's, "Enough About Eve"): Leighton Meester couldn't look more stunning or like Bette Davis. Aaaamazing.

Very Cherry Mystery Solved


I knew Erica's dress looked familiar! The cherry-print dress that Erica Strange wore in the season 2 premiere of Being Erica is none other than Nanette Lepore's Very Cherry dress! Which Blair Waldorf wore waaay back in "Southern Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (as per page 318 of my book!). Makes sense that the clothes on Being Erica this season look way better and they're taking fashion cues from the best-dressed show on television.


Fashion mystery solved! Too bad I still can't afford to buy this beauty.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Gossip Girl Gets Fierce

In honour of tomorrow's Gossip Girl Goes Hollywood episode — guest stars Hilary Duff and Tyra Banks make their debuts in "Dan de Fleurette" — let's revisit some highlights of H.Duff's and TyTy's careers:

Hilary's "Reach Out," a remake of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," was both sacrilegious and awesome. It's the only song of hers I've ever properly liked and the video? A declaration that she's no longer Lizzie McGuire.

Of course, if I'm at karaoke, the Duff song I'm signing up is "So Yesterday." (I'm just a bird that's already flown away!)

Remember when Tyra was in John Singleton's Higher Learning? Girl can act, even if her performances on America's Next Top Model go so far over the top that the very fabric of the universe is altered. Here's hoping she can rein it in and recollect how to act on non-modeling TV shows. Like the good old days when she was Jackie on Fresh Prince! The last four seconds of this clip are genius:


Both Tyra and Hilary play star actresses on Gossip Girl (Ursula Nyquist and Olivia Burke) whose film Fleur — check the website — brings the Gossip Gang together for some Hollywood glitz. And it looks like Dan Humphrey is totes done hooking up with Georgina! After the jump, three preview clips of tomorrow's ep and TyTy talks about working with "Miss Serena"!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spotted: The Lost Boy

How glad am I that the secret society Blair wanted to join turned out to be an elaborate Georgina Sparks ruse? And not something as misdirected as Chuck's Eyes Wide Shut plot line last season. Thank the Gossip Gods.

Just to keep things straight: G tricked Blair and Chuck into bidding for the same photograph in an effort (to drive B bananas); B and C tricked S into thinking Carter was a washed-up philanderer (for her own good); Georgina tricked Dan into thinking she wasn't evil (cause she has totes loved him since she was Sarah); Scott tricked Rufus and family into thinking he was the brother of Rufly love child and not the actual love child himself, and also convinced Truth Is My Religion Vanessa into keeping a big-ass secret from her pseudo family. Which Georgina overheard. Bree has some big secret with Carter. And we finally find out what happened That Night In Santorini! Mr. van der Woodsen was going to get remarried, and Serena and Carter were stealing boats. Awesome.


And Jenny? She was back. She had, like, one line. And she ate a blueberry. Poor TayMom.

Was it just me or was Gossip Girl's narration kinda off this episode? Her auction analogies were weak, and they just went on and on like an auctioneer calling bid after bid . . . (sorry.)

What I did like were all the millions of hilarious moments & one liners:
  • Serena & Vanessa, in unison, to Dan: "Please tell me it was Blair not Georgina"/"Georgina not Blair"
  • Carter's love for white fluffy robes
  • B describing Georgina as a "nympho with a sock fetish"
  • this exchange between Chuck and Blair: "I came to apologize." "So apologize." "That was it."
  • On an otherwise Dorota-less episode, Chuck's line nearly made up for it: "Dorota's counterintelligence isn't what it used to be."
  • Serena's sassy little hip move/look when Chuck and Blair realize she's bought the Patrick McMullan. When she's showing someone who's boss, it's effing entertaining. More Queen S please!
  • Georgina's desktop background: OMJC. Her and Dan at last week's roof party. Hilarious. 
Usually my favorite outfits go to B, but I adored Serena's bedazzled vest (a.k.a. Matthew Williamson's antique beaded vest) in the last scene. And while B's dress at Sotheby's was beyond the thunderdome beauteous, her braids were too tight and severe for me. Perfect for B when she's all wound up, pissed off, and in the Bassian desert, but not her best look.

Overall, not a bad episode, not the best episode ever. I hope we see a little less of Scott next week. There's just nothing interesting about that guy: he's a little creepy, sure, but he's sooo boring.

And Chuck putting all his money into buying that hotel? Hope that works out for him. A poverty-stricken Chuck Bass is not a plot line I'd like to explore.

Next week: Tyra! Hilary Duff!

Monday Edition: Gossip Girl Round-Up!


It was a very exciting week for me over on Twitter, where Zuzanna Swadkowski (a.k.a. Dorota) @replied me and Gossip Girl fashion blog You Know You Love Fashion! (We were talking about Dorota's wardrobe, naturally.)

Californication season 3 premiered last night, and next week's episode includes Ed Westwick as a "gay, creative writing student who has a crush on Hank and he wants to know what Hank thinks of his writing" (EW's Californication preview here). Cannot wait.

New York Mag has a charming video of Sebastian Stan giving acting lessons to kids and NY reporters here; their recap of "The Freshmen" is here, and the recap of the comments is here.

TayMom has a new(ish) official website: TheRealTaylorMomsen.com

Mere hours til "The Lost Boy," but if you can't wait, here are the two preview scenes from the CW, Carter & Serena followed by Blair & Chuck:


Sunday, September 27, 2009

TV OD

On Friday I realized that I've only missed one day of work since January because I was sick! I've missed days for other reasons, but still! I'm soooo healthy. Cut to: three hours later and I'm feeling poorly. Being sick sucks: I've canceled some excellent weekend plans (house party, brunching, Word on the Streeting, working...oh that part is OK). The upside is I've caught up on soooo much TV.

The two-hour season premiere of House was, as expected, epic. Even if you don't watch the show, you should watch this ep; it stands alone like an excellent TV movie starring the super fox Hugh Laurie. I'll keep PVRing House this season, even though there's no way the season can be as awesome as its premiere.

I'm still watching Melrose Place, three episodes in, but frankly the only thing that's keeping me is the promise of Heather Locklear returning as Amanda Woodward. Really the only character I like on the show is Ella, the publicist, and she's nearly a carbon copy of Amanda Woodward. Was Ashley Simpson-W a reasonably talented actress on 7th Heaven? Because her one move on this show is widening her eyes and staring, creating a signature expression of coy and creepy. And all the whodunnit flashbacks to Sydney are more clunky than mysterious. (Wait, why do I keep watching this?) At least it's miles better than the already-canceled The Beautiful Life: TBL (or as I like to call it, TBL: TBL). That was so utterly unwatchable.

90210 is — cannot believe I'm about to say this — watchable this season. The Bev Hills Beach Club is back, the guys (when they're not trying out for the surf team) are lying to their ladyloves, the girls are dealing with their broken hearts and ex-boyfriends, and the principal (Annie & Dixon's poppa) is on the road to a love affair with Kelly Taylor! Two unfortunate things from this week's episode: Dixon picks up a woman who's way older than him (Sasha; she's fierce) and the actress decided to play the role by grinning non-stop. I mean, non-stop. It was tres annoying to watch. The second: the writers keep making these poor kids say, "sext." As in, "text + sex" to refer to the cell phone picture that was sent around of Annie fooling around with the senior. A picture. No text.


Now for the new shows that I absolutely adore: Glee and The Vampire Diaries. Glee is the most accurately named TV show in history: watching it I am filled with delight, a perma-grin on my face; I just want to watch more and more; I wish these characters were real. Kurt's "Single Ladies" performance this week was inspired. So glad it was picked up for a full season. Vampire Diaries is a whole other kind of awesome: an angsty, scary mashup of Dawson's Creek and the Scream movies (both previous Kevin Williamson projects, as we all know). As much as I like Nina Dobrev as Elena, my favorite character so far is Ian Somerhalder's evil vamp Damon. He's having so much effing fun; he's hot and hilarious. An excellent combination. I just ordered the first in the book series the show was based on (they're supposed to be pretty crap); will let you know what I think once I've read it.

The season premiere of Being Erica did not disappoint. After season 1 was all about Erica figuring out her own past, it looks like this season will shift some of the focus onto the mysteries of how she time travels, and the "psychiatrists" who help people sort out their pasts. Erica spent a good portion of the episode wearing a beautiful cherry-print dress. If Erica and I had one more thing in common — owning that dress — that would be A-OK with me.

What else am I watching? The Office, Parks and Recreation, So You Think You Can Dance, America's Next Top Model, Dollhouse, and (best of all) Gossip Girl. I think that's it. Anything awesome that I should be watching?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Spotted: The Freshmen

Me before tonight's episode of Gossip Girl: wah, I have a headache; must call the wahmbulance.
Me after tonight's ep of Gossip Girl: ::giant grin::

Just like last season it's the second episode of the season that really makes the show feel like it's kicked into high gear. It was all about heading to college (and that meant no Little J, or Eric, whatsoever). Blair and Serena were having some serious difficulty correctly reading situations — S being a total cow to Chuck, and B being a total cow to . . . the entire NYU student body.

I'm enjoying the Georgina plotline that started with her return last year: Is She Evil Or Isn't She? (I also love her piles and piles of necklaces.) She's all sweet and apologetic to Dan and Vanessa in the bookstore . . . as she holds a copy of Machiavelli's The Prince. She warns Dan about B using him to gain entry to the slammin' party, but hours earlier called Blair a loser and had that evil triumphant glint in her evil eye. Whaddaya think? I think evil. I think we have a long con on our hands. And another one with Scott. Vanessa does not like being lied to (see: Georgina, season 1) and when she finds out Scott is the love child of Rufly? Ruh roh.


Nobody wants a wasabi facial. Some of my favorite moments:
  • "I'm not paranoid. I'm right," says B to G outside of McNally Robinson**! Joyous screentime for awesome indie bookstore!
  • Necklace party! I adored G's chains (in the pic above), but also her snake necklace. And B was wearing her Tiffany key again. (this is really exciting for me because I was wearing my Tiffany key while watching. mine doesn't have diamonds, but it counts, right?)
  • "Thank you for the waffles." Chuck Bass having a frank talk about Serena with Rufus Humphrey? Over waffles? Oh, why was that off-screen?
  • Favorite music moment by a long shot — "Good Girls Go Bad" (Cobra Starship featuring our very own Leighton Meester) as Dan and Blair arrive at the party. Effing po-mo hilarity.
  • Blair being asked her opinion on Battlestar Galactica vs. TNG. Love when TV worlds collide.
  • "Time to find a new bad habit." I am seriously in love with Carter Baizen. Dan and Serena never really did it for me, but Carter and Serena? Love, love, love. More smooching please.
  • Best of all: Blair snuggling into bed with Chuck.
The Nate/Bree love-in didn't really bug me, but it didn't do much for the episode. Nate's cute, Bree's not annoying, so we've at least got that (and random LL Bean masturbation jokes). Now that N & Bree are out of the closet, so to speak, I wonder if they'll integrate that plotline into the rest of the characters, so it's less disjointed.

But more importantly: have we ever seen Blair's hair in a braid before? Super cute side braid, B. The dress (Co-operative Designs sweater dress) looks like it ain't available anymore. Sad, 'cause it's killer and also: not that expensive. And this just excites me as a lifelong Spice Girls fan: the red dress B was wearing for her first day of class is from the Victoria Beckham collection.

May-jah.

** So you may be thinking, "It's not called McNally Robinson. Calhoun is nuts." In Canada, where the bookstores originated, it's called McNally Robinson; in NYC, you are right, it's actually called McNally Jackson. But in my heart, and thus on my blog, it's Robinson. Not sure if the ownership is different (run by Mr. Jackson, perhaps?), but the store is awesome on both sides of the border.
***Next week: "The Lost Boy"

Being Being Erica

Being Erica's Erica Strange is a 30-something woman living in Toronto, working as an editor at a publishing house. She went to Victoria College at U of T where she studied English, quoted Britney lyrics, and danced to the Spice Girls. Her dad — that guy in the glasses in the photo — and her mom split up when she was in her teens; one time, in anger, she called her mother a Nazi. Unlucky in love Erica has some girlfriends who are "more established" in their lives — married, home-owners, babies on the way — and sometimes she just can't relate or feels like the wacky wildcard still-a-kid friend.

Replace my name with Erica's and "Nazi" with "Hitler" but keep the rest of the details the same (my dad plays the role of Rabbi Gary Strange, her pops) — yup, Being Erica is basically my life but with time travel. (Erica's psychiatrist, Dr. Tom, has the unexplained ability to send her back in time to revisit important/regretful moments in her past.)

Erin Karpluk, who plays Erica, is crazy charming and a big part of what makes this show so excellent. It's funny, smart, totally sappy when it needs to be, and unpredictably entertaining. If you missed season 1, it comes out on DVD on Tuesday; Canadians can stream the episodes online at CBC.ca.

Season 2 premieres tomorrow at 9 on CBC. The show airs on SoapNet in the States.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Edition: Gossip Girl Round-Up!


In an effort to give you devoted Tribune readers some regular features, I've decided to implement an end of week Gossip news round-up -- cast interviews, links to excellent recaps, et cetera and so on.
  • I wish that Ed Westwick's Gossip Girl contract had included a "No Hideous Tattoos" clause. The poor misguided guy has a handful of tattoos already, fine, but this week he got not one but two absurdly ugly abominations.
  • The CW is back to their "Gossip Guide" promos (last season we learned important vocab like "blairanoid" and "ment-whore") with Sexperimentation
  • The latest installment of Eric Daman's Gossip Girl Style is for Vanessa. He says "tribal patterns" about 100 times, but! note also that serpentine necklaces and bracelets are very of the moment. (Good news for me, because when I was in NYC taking photos for the book back in June I picked up a cheap but awesome snake bracelet. Haven't worn it yet, but must seize the fashion moment.)
  • The Daily Intel Reality Index was back this week with "Wild Gossip Girls Can't Be Broken."
  • Zuzanna "Dorota" Szadkowski is interviewed by Rolling Stone's GG-loving Peter Travers (and by ABC news)!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spotted: Reversals of Fortune

New season! New haircuts (some more successful than others . . . I'm looking at your pseudo-dreads, Vanessa) and new couples. "Reversals of Fortune" reminded me of season 2's premiere -- it feels like we're catching up with our besties after a summer apart, but the show won't really feel like it's in full swing until next week when they go back to school.

Besides her sketchy hair at the van der Bilt Foundation Polo Match, Vanessa was way more entertaining than usual. To wit, “I thought you hated intellectual property theft” (thinking D's wallet is a knockoff), "Even Frodo eventually gave into the power of the ring," (on D's new love for the high life), and on Chuck and Blair probably attending the polo game “. . . if the murder/suicide I predicted hasn’t happened yet.” That said, I'm not too keen on the idea of spending a lot of screen time on Vanessa's budding romance with Totally Creepy & A Bit Too Short Scott. Who stares at a birth certificate in the middle of a café? Only Creepy Scott.

What about the other new love interests, Bree Buckley and Carter Baizen? I'm feeling tepid about Bree; I like Joanna Garcia (thought she was charming on Privileged) but another secret relationship for Nate? Really?

A secret relationship between Carter and Serena? Totally fine by me. Please keep him around. I don't know why I adore his character (and Sebastian Stan) so much. But I truly do. And Carter definitely gave us sparks of "I'm actually a good person beneath this bad-boy exterior" in this episode . . . a ploy that's worked exceedingly well for resident reformed sexpot Chuck Bass. (Can boys be sexpots? Chuck Bass can.)

Blair and Chuck are still as captivating as before their ILYs... The seduce & destroy game is, of course, ludicrous, but I loved it. Blair's reaction to the first blondie telling her she's crazy -- that little nod? Hilarious. "I'm not Chuck Bass without you"? Swoon. And the final role-playing scene was genius. "Waiter!"

I didn't get right away that Lily wasn't around because she was off taking care of dying CeCe, and I'm still not 100% on who will be living where this season, but holy cripes the characters are basically like one giant family now: SIX kids. Between Lily and Rufus, there's Serena, Eric, Chuck, Jenny, Dan, and Scott. (Plus Serena and Blair are like sisters...)

I'm excited about this season: high school's over for most of the characters and their lives have been flipped-turned upside down. The "poor" Humphreys are no longer slumming it in their beautiful, huge, waterside Brooklyn loft but have moved uptown now that Rufus and Lily are engaged. Blair, former queen of the high school, is headed downtown to NYU where no one cares about her Upper East Side status and (horror!) no one appreciates a good headband. Serena's desperate for her father's attention and trying to get it by sleeping with Carter Baizen and stealing horses. (You know the usual.) The writers have definitely freshened things up for freshman year, and I think they just might survive the jump from high school to college.


And on a book-related note, there are some fun photos from my launch last night up on Torontoist, along with a little article 'bout the book. Hope to have more photos to show y'all, along with more details on the games, prizes, and cupcakes...

Next week: "The Freshmen"!


(screencaps from meesters.tumblr.com, which is a completely awesome gossip girl tumblr)

And we're back!

I'm just home from the launch for my book, Spotted: Your One and Only Unofficial Guide to Gossip Girl, which is out and available and in stores and all that jazz. The party was super fun and there were more people wearing headbands with bows than should be legal. Amazing. Thank you all! I was as happy as TaySwiftie before Kanye ruined everything.

I'll do my full episode post tomorrow when I get a chance to watch the show for real, but let me just say: I am so glad to have the Gossip Girl kids back. And Chuck and Blair? Awesome.

Also: Jenny Cupcakes? Totally hilarious AND delicious. (And from Babycake, in case you need cupcakes made with Taylor Momsen's face on them. Or, you know, your own face.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One More Day, One Day More

In the 36 hours between now and the premiere of Gossip Girl, I shall be making some last-minute preparations for my launch (you should come!) and curbing my excitement by watching some of these excellent cast interviews...

And if that's not enough GG, I'd suggest hitting Talking Gossip, Gossip Girl Insider, FuckYeahUpperEastSiders, Meesterbate, or you can catch up on the Gossip Girl cast getting Fugged. My personal fave is the recent TayMom outfit -- performing at the Teen Vogue party in her knickers.

Ah! Of great importance: Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester are up for an Emmy -- a viewer-voted Emmy for Best Breakthrough Performance. Vote here, every day.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My 90210pinions: To New Beginnings!

Well named episode, writers of 90210. "To New Beginnings!" marked a (yup) new beginning for the series, in my estimation; there was something inherently more watchable about this episode than any of the awkwardly not-cool episodes that came before it last season.


The clothes were noticeably less awful, the Beverly Hills Beach Club was a major setting (as soon as they said, "cabana" I swooned), and there was considerably less Annie screen time! What untold joys!

We start with all the kids wrapping up summer school, punishment for getting caught drinking at Naomi's party. 'Cause you know when the LAPD finds teenagers drinking, they sentence everyone at the party to summer school.

Naomi (even though I think she's ludicrous, she just might be my favorite) is seeing an older man and Adrianna is "done with drama -- on camera and off." (that means no sex.) The three girls make fun of an OLD person (played by the actress who was the lady detective from season 1 of Angel; she was born in 1973 — the horror) and they celebrate just being regular super-hot super-rich designer-bikini clad teenagers.

Why is this less awful than last season? Less Annie! Just as that realization dawned on me, she's back. (For some reason the not-Walsh family moved out of the mansion? To make them more relatable? I dunno.) Annie's SUPER grumpy because she maybe-killed a guy.

Moving along — enter new hot tennis guy. Naomi shamelessly flirts with him (some line about playing with balls. sigh.) and then her face contorts (win!) when she finds out that he used to date Adrianna. (this means Naomi can't sleep with him. see: rules of girlfriends.)

There are a whole bunch of boring conversations: Annie & Dixon fight, the older married man and Naomi talk about their non-relationship, Naomi tells Annie to stay the hell away from her (she thinks Annie slept with Liam, but she so didn't). Distraught, Annie gets totally loaded and hooks up with a senior. In a CABANA. I wonder if this will end badly.

Party at the Beach Club! Remember before things got really tragic at Scott's birthday party on the original 90210, and the gang was all dancing in the living room? And it was super fun? Right. So the cast of new 90210 tried on a little choreography. Good lord -- do not make this people dance ever again. Ever again.

Ruh roh: ex-boyfriend tennis guy ("Teddy") and Adrianna do some sexy dancing to "their song," while her boyfriend watches on, still a sad virgin. Don't worry, Virgin Boyfriend, Silver is about to interrupt with this gem: "Hey Teddy. Thanks a lot. You just ruined my. whole. life."

It's not even worth explaining why; she's over it by the next scene.


The return to West Bev! The triad of girls greet with a face-press hug. Is this the new thing? I am going to try to face-press hug my friends and see how it goes. It's certainly the best way to ensure that no girl loses a second of screen time with her face turned away from the camera for an old-fashioned hug.

Big reveal: Naomi is so desperate for a new man because she's not over Liam. Her friends had NO idea. Why didn't she tell them? Sigh. Even I knew that and I don't even know who this Liam person is. Oh, no wait, there he is -- he's brooding by the lockers. Naomi makes a face and stalks off.

Cut to some B-boy dancing in the parking lot -- those suckers have nothing on David Silver. (You're so precious to me.) Naomi's totally awful first day back at school gets turned right around when she snags a cell phone pic (Blair Waldorf style) from that nasty senior who Annie maybe-slept with. A photo of the principal's daughter naked! That means Annie will be tormented in future episodes! And no one knows her dark secret! (Except maybe the Teddy guy? I didn't follow that bit.) This could get fun to watch!

Because there weren't enough long loving shots of Silver, Naomi, and Adrianna (who is super pretty, let's be honest, in a Megan Fox–ish way), the episode ends with a slow-mo Mean Girls "the hallway is my catwalk" shot. And even though that sounds super lame, it totally works.

Overall: B-.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Good Thing I Have a PVR

Only one more week to Gossip Girl (and my book launch! you should come), and in the meantime we could talk about some of those other TV shows.

[But if you want to read a little interview between Ausiello and actor Neal Bledsoe (whose GG character has been much talked about in regards to his I-won't-spoil-it-but-you-probs-already-know scene) it's here and it's charming.]

I'm confused about whether or not to watch the return of 90210. As you faithful readers know, I really really did not enjoy that parade of lame last season, but the series has that new showrunner on a mission. Will she be able to improve Shanae Grimes acting ability? Doubtful. Will she be able to control AnnaLynne McCord's overacting ability? Impossible. I may tune in (tomorrow, Tuesday, at 8pm on the CW) for curiosity's sake.

Might as well start early, as I will be in front of my telly at 9pm to watch the CW's reboot of Melrose Place. The original Melrose was too much campy soapy fun not to watch, and this one seems to have recaptured the glory. It's a season-long murder mystery! It's got Ashley Simpson! And Michael Mancini's son!

I finally watched the pilot episode of Glee (this Wednesday at 9pm on Fox). Even after hearing months of hype about this awesome charming show, Glee was awesome. And charming. The episode ended and I just wanted to watch another right away. (Lucky for me I waited so long to see it; you poor people who watched it in the spring and had to wait this long.)

So You Think You Can Dance season 6 premieres right before Glee. Up in Canada, our version of SYTYCD is on right now. Before it started, I wondered if I would suffer SYTYCD fatigue — watching season 5, then Canada's season 2, and not be into season 6. Turned out the judges and host on our version are just way too annoying for words, and I've given up on SYTYCD Canada. When I watch the U.S. version, all I want is the ability to vote. Now I have it and I am squandering it. But seriously Jean-Marc is an excellent choreographer, terrible judge. And Leah Miller doesn't have 1/100th of Cat Deeley's charm. Don't get me started on Tré. So welcome back American SYTYCD. It hasn't been long, but your inferior cousin made me miss you.

Not sure about The Beautiful Life (Wed. Sept 16, 9pm on the CW), but I'll probably watch the pilot episode just to see Mischa Barton play a disgruntled supermodel. I'm also going to give The Vampire Diaries a shot (this Thursday, 8pm on the CW), but I ain't expecting much.

I'm an intermittent watcher when it comes to House (Mon Sept 21, 8pm on Fox), but the premise for season 6 looks awesome: House has checked himself into a mental institute.

Yesterday I finally finished watching season 1 of Dollhouse (Fri. Sept 25, 9pm on Fox), that show that took 9 episodes to get interesting.... The best episode of the season is the one that wasn't aired (it's on the DVDs and on iTunes). Things get trippy and apocalyptic and awesome in episode 13. Not sure if season 2 will pick up there or where we left Echo/Caroline in ep12, but I have finally seen the Joss Whedon Potential in this show. (There was something very Angel about the last episodes of season 1.)

As for those hyped super sci/fi dramas — Flash Forward, V, whatever else — I think I'm going to sit them out. Wait and see which one's the must-see series and pick it up late. I have too many teen-centric shows to watch! No time for aliens or time travel! (Until Lost season 6, of course.)

What have I forgotten? Anything awesome you'll be watching that I have totes missed? (Not including the return of The Office and 30 Rock. D'of course, we'll be watching.) More season premiere dates here!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Book Report: L.A. Candy

Me and some of the ECDubs girls pooled our change and bought a copy of Lauren Conrad's L.A. Candy; we all wanted to read it but no one wanted to be the person who bought a copy of L.A. Candy. I was last on the list to read it ('cause, you know, I was busy plowing through 1,200 pages of Stephenie Meyer) and let me tell you this: I didn't think I would like it. But I did.

LC's book is pretty much what you'd expect: a story of a girl plucked from obscurity to reality-tv stardom and the friends and boyfriends along the way. What I didn't expect was for the book to be so anti-celebrity culture. Sure, she gets glammed up and goes to the hottest clubs, but she's totally uncomfortable in the spotlight. The Lauren character discovers everyone is a big old faker; gossip magazines are full of lies; friendships and romances go awry; the reality of these shows is revealed to be scripted.

It's not a great book, or even a good book, but for this kind of YA fiction it totally stands up. And for a book written by someone who is only being published because she was on The Hills, it's surprisingly honest and kinda depressing. Two thumbs up! (You can read an excerpt here.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

If You Can't Wait for Gossip Girl

My official stance on spoilers is I don't like them. I'd rather watch an episode with no knowledge whatsoever of what's about to happen, to get the full intended effect. But I find it really hard not to look at spoilery on-set photos, or watch preview clips, or read Ausiello. . . .

Here's Eric Daman talking style for season 3, focusing on Serena (not spoilery)


And Eric D on Ms. Blair Waldorf:


And there are five sneak previews of season 3's premiere "Reversals of Fortune" on
Gossip Girl Insider.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Launch Party!

Party time!

I am pleased as punch to invite y'all to my book launch party. What better way to celebrate a book about Gossip Girl than by watching the season 3 premiere as a Gossip Girl Gang? So the party's on the eve of the premiere, and there will be snacks and books and games and prizes. I have some funny game ideas brewing . . . think "New Haven Can Wait."


The details:

Monday September 14
8:00 p.m.
(the show starts at 9)

The Queen and Beaver Public House
35 Elm Street, Toronto, Second Floor
(facebook invite page here)

Hope y'all can make it! And if you're not a Torontonian, you might want to consider flying into town JUST for my party.

For those of you who mysteriously do not like or watch Gossip Girl (for shame), there is an outside patio area, and a downstairs bar, where you can hang out with the other haters while the show is on. (You know I still love you.
)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Sister Is Funny

Watch out Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics! My sister made me a very special birthday edition of Dinosaur Comics and it really makes me laff and laff.

There it is! You may have to give it a clicky-click so it is giant and legible.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Talking Gossip After Dark Podcast!

Guess what y'all? I had the pleasure of chatting with Angela and Missy from Talking Gossip the other day, for this week's podcast! You can subscribe in iTunes or listen from their site — Episode #50: Good Girls Go Bad It was a lot of fun talking to Gossip Girl Super Fans about writing Spotted, and about why I heart GG so very much. (Of course, listening to myself talk? Less fun! I am a rambler and my sentence structure is wacky!)

The toughest question they asked me was who my favorite character on the show is. I had to think really, really hard about that one...


Ah wait! No, I didn't -- easy!
(the picspam comes from this post, which is out of control Leighton awesome overload.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Les News

It kinda hurts to look at them, doesn't it? Leighton Meester & Ed Westwick got their Goth on for an upcoming issue of Elle, and it's now my desktop image. How will I get any work done? Who cares. They are hott. (That's an HQ version; click on it & it can be on your desktop too!)

It's an exciting time in the Gossipverse: this tuesday (my b-day!) the season 2 DVDs come out and my book is already shipping from the Amazons (.com and .ca).

I'm generally anti-spoiler but I haven't been able to NOT look at the gorgeous on-set pictures popping up — I think everyone's better looking this season. I like Dan's new hair. I like Jenny's super extensions. I like Chuck's tan. And it feels like there are even more guest stars: Tyra, Hilary Duff, and Sonic Youth! (Remember the cover of "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" that played at Jenny's guerrilla fashion show last season? That was Thurston Moore, of Sonic Youth, with Jemina Pearl — a cover just for Gossip Girl.)

The other night I dreamed that I watched the premiere of season 3. I don't remember what happened in the dream version, but I do remember that there was no Lily and Rufus, no Vanessa (but Dan said he wasn't speaking to her), and no Jenny. I think that may have something to do with the lack of WTF promos for those characters. My favorite is this Blair/Dan one:



(The next line, in my head, after D touches her, Blair says, "Only my boyfriend gets to touch my hair.")

And we've booked a date for the launch party of my book: Monday September 14! I'll post the details soon, but the general game plan: cocktails & snacks & general merriment followed by the premiere of season 3! So save the date, Torontonians.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Unanswered Question from the Twilight Saga

After resisting for many years, I've caved to Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga, and have read all but Breaking Dawn. I'm well on my way from mocking the series to earnest enjoyment of it. I'm not there yet -- I still yell "You're so stupid" to the books even though I can't put them down.

There's a scene in Eclipse (so far my favorite) where Jacob cuts himself in Bella's kitchen and Bella goes on a tear cleaning up any trace of his blood (except on the knife..."You're so stupid!") so Edward won't freak the frak out when he returns to the Swan residence. It forced me to confront the question that was lurking in the back of my mind since the first book: if Edward is overcome by the scent of Bella, if she is his own personal brand of heroin, and they spend every possible second together and he sleeps over at Bella's, like, all the time — what happens when Bella gets her period?

Luckily Jen K, of The Keepin' It Real Book Club, knows Beth. And Beth doesn't just ask the questions; she takes it upon herself to answer them.

Twilight: The Lost Chapter
Bella groaned and rolled over in her bed. The bright sun streaking across her room had woken her earlier than she’d intended to rise. The brightness in the room told her it was going to be an exceptionally sunny day in the usually gloomy town of Forks. Bella curled up, sinking deeper into her bed, enjoying the warm cocoon of pillows and sheets, thinking of what she would do with this unexpected day of sunshine. As her mind raced over possibilities, she thought “Maybe Edward and I can go out on a picnic!”

The thought of a picnic with Edward, his skin shimmering in the sunlight, was enough to rouse Bella. As she sprung up in her bed, however, she doubled over in pain, wincing as she felt the tightness in her lower abdomen.

“Ugh, no, no, no,” she muttered to herself, folding her arms across her waist. Bella recognized the pain as the cramping which accompanied the onset of her monthly courses. Her eyes darted to the calendar tacked to her wall, and a quick calculation of dates confirmed that she was indeed due for her period.

Head hung, Bella rose from her bed, sighing heavily. She hated this stretch of time, this painful, but necessary separation from Edward. During her monthly time, Bella and Edward were forced to refrain from seeing each other. In fact, Bella was unable to see any of the members of Edward’s family during this week of her month.

Seeing as Edward and his entire family were vampires, it was impossible for them to be near her while she menstruated. Her blood was intoxicating to them, particularly to Edward, and when she menstruated it was extremely imprudent for her to be in their company. In addition to the danger raised by the temptation of the blood in the menses she shed, her body’s scent was apparently heightened during this time of her cycle, making her all the more appetizing to them.

Initially, when it was realized that Bella’s period was a significant issue in their physical relationship, Bella experimented with suppressing her menstruation, first taking birth control pills throughout the entire month, never giving her body a chance to cleanse itself. Bella, however, was clumsy and often dropped the pills, losing them under her bed, so she quickly switched to the shot. While Bella initially delighted in skipping her menses, Edward told her that her scent changed with the manipulation of her hormones, so she put an end to the birth control regiment. She couldn’t bear the thought of Edward’s primal attraction to her being tampered with.

Out of bed, Bella left her room, heading downstairs to the telephone, needing to inform Edward of the onset of her courses. As she passed the front door, she glanced out and saw that Charlie’s cruiser was already gone for the day, most likely he was out fishing, she thought. Bella leaned heavily against the wall the phone was fixed to, and unhooked it from the receiver. She cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear and quickly punched in Edward’s number, miserably resting her head against the cool wall.

The phone rang hollowly a few times, then Edward picked up, his voice purring her name before she even said hello, “Bella, dearest, how are you this fine morning?”

“Edward, I’ve started my period,” she offered desolately.

A cold pause met her announcement.

“It’s the right date, I just… forgot to look at my calendar this week, I guess,” she apologized.

“It’s fine, Bella, really. I can take this time to hunt with my family,” Edward said, quickly recovering his composure.

Bella smiled to herself. Her boyfriend’s consideration and control never failed to impress her. The only time the tremendous age difference between them was evident was when Edward remained infinitely patient with the inconveniences brought on by her human condition. He was so perfect, excelling at everything, and she was just an awkward teenage girl who happened to have a delicious blood scent. As she said goodbye to him and hung up the phone, she thanked whatever fate there was that brought this smoldering vampire to her.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why Buy It When You Can WIN It!

The lovely folks over at Talking Gossip After Dark are running a bunch of contests to celebrate their one year anniversary and this week's prize is my book! And it's signed by the author! Head over here to enter to win!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gossip Girl Season 3 promo!



Is it possible that this impossibly good-looking cast got better looking? Blair's little nod at the end is hilarious. I am officially excited.

(via Talking Gossip After Dark)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Party like a mad man

What are you guys doing on Wednesday? You should come to the launch for Jesse McLean's new book -- Kings of Madison Avenue: The Unofficial Guide to Mad Men!

Pictured at left is what I will be wearing, and yes, if Joan Holloway could see me, she would give me that same withering glance, the glance that says, Nice try, but no.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

7:00pm - 11:00pm
McNally Robinson Toronto at the Shops of Don Mills
Author Jesse McLean and Globe & Mail TV critic John Doyle discuss the impact of the popular AMC series Mad Men.
(all the details on the facebook invite page)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who Hearts Gossip Girl?


Talking Gossip After Dark is turning one, and they want to celebrate by giving out PRIZES! Find out more here.

And sometime in August, I'll be joining the TGAD folks on a podcast episode. Fun times TK!

xoxo

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spotted: Map of Gossip Girl Locations

One part of the episode guides in Spotted is a locations listing — where your favorite Gossip Girl scenes were filmed. When I went to New York to take photos of the locations for the book, I put together a Google Map so I'd know where I needed to go. And now it all its glory — cleaned up and details added — the map is here for ya. It's not a full list yet, but I'll keep adding locations from seasons 1 and 2, and once season 3 starts (yay!) I'll add those ones too.


View Gossip Girl Locations! in a larger map

A little legend: RED for locations that appear across seasons; GREEN for season 1; BLUE for season 2; and PINK for season 3.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Erin's Round-Up - Inaugural Edition

i have a friend named Erin — actually I have multiple friends named Erin, but this one in particular doesn't have a blog or twitter, but finds a lot of excellent, absurd things on the Internets and in real life, and takes lovely photographs, and is otherwise wondrous. So I've decided to compile her genius and repurpose it for my OWN blog. (How does that sound, Erin?) Here is the first edition of what will hopefully be semi-regular posts of the stuff I've pilfered from her emails to me.

Time to Get Excited!!

A musical theatre version of the The Notebook is in the works!!

Two Fun Facts and One Sad Shortcoming from sTori Telling, the 5 hour and 20 minute AUDIOBOOK version, read by Tori Spelling
1. Her parents were CRAZY. They would buy and plant fake seashells at the beach so she’d find beautiful ones instead of the regular ones.
2. Did you know that Luke Perry used to call Tori Spelling “camel” because of the length of her eyelashes?
3. Sadly, Troop Beverly Hills was given no more than ONE SENTENCE. Devastating! I was really hoping for a first hand account of working with Shelley Long.

An Actual Post on the IMdB Message Board for Abigail Breslin
she's a great young talent; I just hope she doesn't fall into the child actor thinking; "well, hollywood is unpredictable so better go to college for something to fall back on..." College is a waste of time! she's got a great career ahead of her! I'd hate to see her lost for four years, that's how people forget about you
To celebrate the first "Erin's Round-Up" — let us eat cake!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

(500) Movies of Summer

it's glorious summer time, and that means I am overcome with the desire to sit in movie theaters. maybes it's the stink of the garbage strike, or just the promise of 2 hours of stress-free entertainment, but i just want to see everything that comes out. (note: my "everything" doesn't include G-Force.) From best to worst, what I've seen so far...


(500) Days of Summer
If I had to use one word only to describe this one, it would be charming. The soundtrack is genius; it's a movie clearly made by someone who loves movies (the French film spoof was tres funny); and Zooey Deschanel is just the dreamiest. I got the issue of Self with her on the cover (and let's be honest, the cover shot is not traditional; she looks kind of like a normal human being, in awesome clothes). Read her story on 31 things to do during summer; her soup recipe ends with "Serve in bowls. (This is important; soup should not be served on a plate!)" How's that for a movie review? A soup joke.

The Proposal I know, right? But seriously this is the perfect romantic comedy. It is exactly what you expect, with the right amount of chemistry, right number of obstacles, and right background color and characters (Alaska, book publishing, Betty White). I did not want it to end.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
People seem to like this movie? I didn't really. Because it's more of a stepping stone (through a dark lake in a cave) to the 7th and final installment of the story, there's no real epic battle scene, and those are my favorite parts of Harry Potters. The love story between Ron and Hermione successfully stayed away from being nagging & annoying, as it was in the book. But overall, I rate this film a "meh." (Sorry!) And the one thing that I know was intentional and artistic, but drove me crazy, was the decision to keep the focus clear on characters' faces in close-up but fuzz out the rest of them. Draco's shoulder: fuzzy; his face: clear. Or in long shots, the characters would be out of focus, having some epic conversation with the actors likely trying very hard to emote, but you couldn't see their expressions. All you could see in focus was some architectural detail of Hogwarts. A beautiful building, but...

My Sister's Keeper
Why? Why did I see this movie? My advice is if you do see this movie, try to start crying right away. Otherwise, like me, you will feel like you've held it together pretty well, only to break down into uncontrollable sobs — literally uncontrollable — and have to think hard about silly things Cameron Diaz has done in other movies to calm down. And one should never have to think of her in that Mary movie ever hever again.

Land of the Lost
Coulda been good! But it was not. I think, objectively speaking, even if my dad was not my dad, I would have thought him the best and funniest character in the whole thing. (And you can watch him talk 'bout it here, after Anna Friel around 1:30.)

Away We Go
This movie may have ruined John Krasinski for me.

Brüno
This movie was worse than a movie that may have ruined John Krasinski for me. I enjoyed Borat; I felt sick afterward, but I had laughed and couldn't believe some of things people did and said. This one? Lame, dumb, obvious, and juvenile. Really and truly stupid. I kept trying to think how this was somehow excellent social commentary, that there was some clever point he was making by simulating sex over and over and over again. But guess what? Nope. It's just the same "shocking" joke again and again. Which, frankly, is not shocking at all. This film gets a chorus of boooooos from me.

And for the rest of the summer:
Star Trek (I still haven't seen it...eep), The Ugly Truth (I know, I don't want to see it, but I know I will), Fifty Dead Men Walking, Adam, Julie & Julia (!), Bandslam, District 9, Time Traveler's Wife...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two Awesome Things

From caltrib



(thank you Jameson!)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

randominiums

trying not to
walk across the street to the movie theatre to see My Sister's Keeper tonight & all by myself. bad idea, right? oh man...i am in the mood for a cry festival of cheeztastic proportion! it's probably because i'm...

reading

  • New Moon. yes. as in Twilight book #2. i got to the much-discussed part where the passage of time spent without Edward is marked by pages empty but for the name of the month. oh so glorious. no one knows pain like Bella. no one.
  • the other YA series I got into recently was Generation Dead by Daniel Waters -- loved the first book. the second was less than stellar...and had a really really bad cover.
  • up soon on the reading list are books written by women I've worked with: Emily Schultz's Heaven Is Small and Lauren Kirshner's Where We Have to Go
  • the manuscript of Nikki Stafford's Finding Lost — Season 5 book!

listening to
waiting for
So You Think You Can Dance to start...

annoyed by
milk going sour before its due date. seriously, argggh. (don't cry over spoiled milk.)

excited that

I will hold my book in my hands in a few short weeks. Oh man. I am scared and a little unbelieving that I actually got it done and it wasn't in crazy-language. Did I tell you this? When I was in the final days before handing in season 1, I was worried in my crazy-overworked state that I had somehow lost my mind and written the whole manuscript in what looked like proper English to me, but was actually gobbledy-gook. And I'd give it to my editor and she'd be like, Um, I think the file is corrupt and/or you are mentally unsound.

but that didn't happen. I totally wrote Spotted in English. Mostly. A few made-up words.