Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills: Moving Forward.. How Long Will That Last?

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So I finished watching the first episode of the new season of Beverly Hills.  In many ways, the show takes great pains to show that it’s moving forward after a very toxic fourth season.  It seems that the motto for this episode was moving forward… and also showcasing the build up to Kyle’s White Party.

In the past, a housewife party usually will result in screaming matches and sometimes even leads to getting physical.  Kyle’s White Party in the past has been known for its dramas in the past such as Taylor and hubby being asked to leave, and I think Kyle and Kim’s limo argument was during the White Party as well… but I could be mistaken.

To my surprise, there was little to no fighting whatsoever in this first episode.  Sure there was some tension, but for the first time in a long time, there wasn’t a huge blowup at a housewife party.

Here is a run-down of my thoughts on the cast-members past and present:

Kyle Richards:  She was actually on her best behavior.  Of course, it was her party so all attention was on her.  Whenever Kyle doesn’t get the attention, she goes into mean-girl mode.. probably due to growing up in her big sister’s shadow.  If she’d just let all that go, she’d probably be a likable person instead of pretending to be likable.  Let’s see how long it takes before mean-girl Kyle comes out to play… you know it’ll happen 🙂

Lisa Vanderpump:  You could tell it was a struggle for her to be nice and try to ‘move forward’.  However, as the night wore on, she seemed to relax a bit and have fun.  I do miss her and Kyle’s friendship and really do hope they regain it.  They work better as friends rather then as enemies.  If this is scripted, I hope producers will script them as bossom buddies again.  Lastly, I love her closet!

Yolanda Foster:  Bless her, I do think she believes what she is saying.  I do hope she’ll start talking about her lemon orchard, or the master Cleanse at least once.  She is upfront and in your face.. but I do hope she doesn’t talk too much about her husband being king.

Brandi Glanville:  Why is she back again?  She can’t film with her kids, she doesn’t live in a awesome house, and any opportunities for success are thrown away every time she opens her mouth, or she doesn’t make sure her unmentionables and womanly issues are safely tucked away from the camera lenses.  I think she worked better in the friend of category because she has nothing new to offer other then being an annoying pest and a bully.

Kim Richards: Not much was shown of her tonight, and I think less is more with Kim.  Sadly, previews for next week’s episode show her and Brandi playing dress up to go spy on someone… well I guess that’s better then trying to ‘train’ her dog.

Lisa Rinna: She just debuted and I already love her!  I hope we get some family scenes with her daughters and with her hot husband ‘King’ Harry Hamlin.  Plus, I guess they have important functions to go to outside the White Party… like the Mad Men Wrap party!  I like that she pretty much knows all the other women, so no need to make up a reason to merge her into the group.

Eileen Davidson:  A no show this week.. won’t be starting till episode 3.  I’ve enjoyed her work and also liked her house tour video on Bravo Tv.. very interesting woman.  Can’t wait to meet the woman behind the Emmy!

One thing I loved about this episode was the return of three previous housewives for a visit.. Camille Grammer, Adrienne Maloof, and Taylor Armstrong!  All three had their good points and their bad points, but it was nice to see some familiar faces (since in Hollywood, a face changes monthly).  Seeing them along with the happier vibe of the party reminded me of Real Housewives of OC’s season 4 finale party with the return of past housewives and everyone getting along.. memories 🙂

Seeing the season 1 cast together just made me miss the old days, and hope that with Lisa/Eileen.. that the old spirit of the show will come back.

As the episode ends, we saw almost all the women dancing while Brandi stands off to the side with her paid friends.  Of course, it doesn’t really dawn on her that the reason she’s excluded is because she has caused a lot of trouble.  To me, the franchise started declining the moment Brandi was made a full time housewife.. and seeing her walking around with a storm cloud over her head magnifies that .

With producers upset with the women getting along for the first weeks of filming, I’m hoping that the toxic nature is kept at a minimum… but with Mr. Cohen in charge.. doubtful so I’ll just enjoy the happier vibe while it lasts.

LIKE A VIRGIN- 30 YEARS ALREADY?

LAV
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been thirty years to the day since this now classic CD was released to the masses.  At first glance, the songs don’t seem out of the ordinary, nor do they differ from other songs that played during that time period.

However, when thinking about it, the reason this particular album has become a classic is due more to the artist herself, and the image that she projected to the world.  While her style of dress was quite popular in the new wave underworld and in the New York artist scene, it wasn’t to the more preppy stylings of the rest of the country.

When you combine her look with her attitude on stage, you start to get an understanding on what set this particular album apart from others. Below is a track by track review of this now classic cd:

1) Material Girl:

A cute number about a girl that is obsessed with material goods sung in a high pitched voice. On it’s own, it’s a catchy song but coupled with a video where Madonna is dressed like Marilyn Monroe and a story where she is wanting love from a poor man over material possessions, it makes sense that her nick-name would become ‘Material Girl’.

2) Angel:

A top 5 hit song at the time of release, but one of her most unknown songs. One of the reasons being is that there wasn’t a music video produced, plus her b-side song Into the Groove was released at the same time. It’s a romantic song about love and romance, an almost complete 180 from the boy toy image portrayed on stage and on the album cover.

3) Like A Virgin:

Her first breakout hit, helped by a great video and a unique stage performance of the song on the first VMA awards. My mom has told me when she watched the 1st VMA’s live, the only thing she really remembers is this performance especially the rolling around on the stage in full wedding gear. Nowadays, this is considered tame.. but in 1984, it was considered scandalous! How times have changed!

4) Over And Over:

A fun dance number but not very memorable. By the numbers and a perfect example of how music sounded circa 1984.

5) Love Don’t Live Here Anymore:

Madonna’s attempt at a ballad with orchestra background, and opportunities for her to belt and expand her abilities as a singer. While the song doesn’t quite get Madonna to the next level, it does provide a hint of where she would be going on next cd True Blue with the slower temper, singing in a lower range, and the orchestra accompanying her.

6) Dress You Up:

Another huge hit for Madonna especially with her sexual symbolism within the lyrics. One of the songs that lead to the establishment of the Parental Advisory label. It’s fun, catchy song that stays in your head long after play 🙂

7) Shoo-Bee-Doo

A sole Madonna written song that she said was inspired by Mo-town music that she grew up with.. and it does have that vibe to it. It’s a slower tempo song, but it isn’t too memorable.

8) Pretender

One of my fav non-singles on this album! It’s filler, but memorable filler 🙂

9) Stay

The final song on the cd and it has a motown element to it.

Looking back over Madonna’s catalog of albums, this album is most remembered as being the album to launch Madonna into super-stardom and nothing more. Still, what a great album to launch her into that realm.. along with the Boy Toy fashion craze! After seeing the lack of clothing most recent female singers are sporting, it’s doubtful that this particular look would cause the reaction it did back in 1984.

Still, what a great start to a career 🙂

Happy Birthday Like A Virgin!!

My Top Five Halloween Specials

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I came across an article/blog entry about some forgotten Halloween specials that aired back in the day.  While It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is still airing on ABC, I realized there were several gems that are no longer airing on any channel.  With all the channels available on cable, certainly they have room to air some classic Halloween gems.  Below is a ranking of my top five Halloween specials.. a difficult feat.. but isn’t life made of challenges such as these 🙂

5) Garfield Halloween Adventures (1985)

A child-hood staple that aired on CBS for many years, at least through my child-hood.  It hasn’t aired in years on any channel and I think that’s a crime!  Basically, it starts with Garfield’s quest for never ending amounts of candy and ends up with a ghost story come to life 🙂

4) The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t ( 1979)

A fun little special and time capsule to the late 70s, especially the last scene set to disco music.  You can’t have a special in that era without a disco song 🙂  You have to see it to believe it!

3) Witch’s Night Out  (1978)

The opening theme song along makes this special worthwhile to watch.  It’s so catchy that the song stays in your head long after the special is over.  I admit finding it recently online and I enjoyed the simple message at the end that Halloween is a night to be anything you like, no judgements.  It’s as if social mores and norms for acceptable behavior loosen up for just that night.

2) The Worst Witch (1986)

This special was another one that I watched non stop for years as a kid.  You had Mrs Garrett from Facts of Life playing both a good witch and her evil twin sister, you had the little girl from Return to Oz (and later The Craft) playing the bumbling witch, plus you had Tim Curry as a wizard/witch.  What more can you ask for?  Like the before mentioned Halloween that Almost Wasn’t, this special is also a time capsule of the mid 80s.. with the big hair, neon clothing, and 80s synth music with lyrics.  Despite that, it’s still a charmer and can be viewed online 🙂

1) It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (1966)

For anyone who knows me, this won’t come as a surprise.  I am a Snoopaholic and proud of it 🙂  This has a great jazz soundtrack, a heartfelt portrayal of poor Charlie Brown’s trick or treat adventure.. and also the unshakable optimism of Linus’ belief that the Great Pumpkin will come to visit despite evidence saying otherwise.  While one would think Linus would have had the worst Halloween, I disagree because his faith in Halloween and The Great Pumpkin remains unshaken despite peer pressure heaped upon him.
If you haven’t already, try to take a view of all five of these specials.. they are available on tv or online at a computer near you 🙂

Happy Halloween!!!

Dolls- Horror/Fairy Tale Hybrid 80s Style!

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Dolls

With Halloween just a few short weeks away, my annual horror movie viewing commences.  The first movie is a cult classic movie from the 1980s called Dolls.  I first saw this movie as a kid and it’s stayed with me ever since.

The movie was directed by Stuart Gordan, a cult classic filmmaker known for the cult classic Re-Animator that was done a year or so before this particular movie was released.  From what I understand, this particular movie is a departure from his other works hence why I’ve never sampled any of his other movies.

The basic plot of this movie deals with a six strangers that end up stranded at an old mansion inhabited by an elderly couple one stormy summer night in Europe.  At face value, all seems ideal.. but lurking within the walls of this castle-like structure is society of it’s own.

The movie opens with a haunting child-like tune done with 80s style synthesizers (after all, what wouldn’t a movie made in the 80s not have such music LOL) with the doll heads appearing alongside the credits.  A simple technique that is very well done and sets the mood of the movie before it even starts.

After the opening credits, we are introduced to all six strangers.  A married couple with a little girl and a timid guy along with two hitchhikers he picked up along the way.  All six end up mysteriously being stranded right by an old mansion in the woods.  Just bad luck, or something magical afoot?

Once all six have found shelter within the old mansion, we are introduced to their hosts.  A kindly, if eccentric, elderly couple that answers the question of what Gomez and Morticia Adams would be like if they aged and were living alone in the forest.

I can’t put into the words the atmosphere of the mansion, the inside of the mansion that evokes an old fashion charm along with a never ending storm brewing outside.  To me, the movie perfectly sets up the tone and atmosphere as well as the players in short order with success… at least to this viewer.

As the night rolls on, we soon learn that the elderly couple do not live alone as we are led to assume at first.  They have other little residents around the house to protect the couple from those that lack kindness and child-like wonderment within.

While I don’t want to spoil the movie and its ending, I will say that the movie is presented more like a fairy tale with horror undertones then a straight up horror movie.  While there are slasher elements within the movie with each of the ‘bad’ people being targeted and taken care of, it plays more like a fairy tale set in the 1980s.

Unlike other movies within this sub-genre.. such as Child’s Play and Dolly Dearest, this movie seems less violent and more whimsical.  You are left to wonder if the dolls or the house guests are the true villains of this piece as opposed to other movies within this sub-genre.. at least in my view.

What I loved most about this movie was the fact that the movie is told from the little girl’s point of view, which explains the fairy tale element and the lack of excessive amounts of gore.  To me, I think the child’s point of view seems to enhance the movie and set it apart from other horror movies of the time.

As an adult, the movie isn’t scary at all.  However, when I was a child I saw this movie and it scared me to death.  In fact, it scared me so much that I even took the voice box out of my talking Alf stuffed animal because of the movie.  Plus, it has helped me to maintain my love of toys and to hold onto the child within me.

A horror/fairy tale film that makes you think plus some awesome 80s fashions and music combine to make a cult classic to watch!

Weight loss: Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Struggles.

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In my thirty five years of living, I’ve noticed that the fit and thin are automatically placed on an invisible pedestal by society.  On the one hand, I can understand the reasoning behind this since human nature seem to be drawn to the physical outer layer as opposed to the inner layer of a human, yet at the same time, it can be frustrating because there are both physical and emotional reasons for one being overweight.  I know that’s the way it is for me.

If I start to exercise and eat portioned meals, the weight drops pretty quickly since I went from 290+ in March 2013 to around 230 as of this week.  It seems everytime I get below 220-225, my body rebels and starts to put lbs on.. no matter what I do to keep from plateauing.  For whatever reason, my body just does not want to get below 220 and I’ve accepted that for the most part.

The emotional aspect of weight loss/weight gain is the thing that hinders me more then the physical aspect.  This past summer while playing softball, I actually had guys checking me out and instead of being flattered, I started freaking out.

I remember one particular time, I was on a date and the guy kept complementing me on my looks and body.  After the date was over, I kept thinking to myself how this guy was totally into me.  As I was thinking this, I found myself eating a 14 inch pizza.

After a lot of soul searching and thinking back throughout my life, I’ve often tried to downplay any sort of physical attractiveness I possess.  Rather it’s having crazy hair, baggy clothes, or packing on lbs I have this weird quest to not be desired.  Oddly, in the gay world, that doesn’t seem to work because I end up getting someone that still hits on me no matter how I look, or even act.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that society seems to value the outer more then the inner.  Just because someone loses a lot of weight doesn’t mean they feel thin and fit on the inside.  I’ve noticed that places such as Jenny Craig are offering counseling as well as healthy eating.. and I think that’s a step in the right direction.

So as I finish this brief blog trying to tell myself it’s ok to be healthy and not freakout if someone thinks I look good.  I’ve tried hypnosis, self-help, putting up a shirtless/open shirt selfie on gay apps, even therapy (where the therapist spent the first and only session we had telling me how they tried to kill themself) to some success in the short-term.

I guess it will be a constant struggle/battle that I’ll have for the rest of my life.. just hope I can partially win the better before I die in this life and I’m reincarnated into a new body… would hate to start the next life off on the wrong foot 🙂

Peace out!

How To Get Away with Murder: Newest Guilty Pleasure or Sleep Inducer?

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As I sat down last night after a day of work and a night out, I eagerly pressed play on my DVR to check out the first episode of a highly touted new show.  With the pedigree attached to this show in terms of lead star, executive producer, and creator… the pressure to deliver was at an all time high!

First episodes of any show should never be judged on its own because time has to be spent introducing all the players, setting up relationships, and the plot lines that will guide us through the season.  In this day and age, you need to come out of the gate with guns blazing with plots twists and interesting characters.  Did the pilot of this particular show succeed in doing this???  Yes and No.

The show certainly had its work cut out for it introducing a total of ten main characters as well as a couple of recurring characters.. plus feature the standard case of the week.  If done correctly, the case of the week can be used to develop each of the characters as the ongoing stories take shape.  The first case of the week sort of did this, but the case itself wasn’t very memorable to me.

Below is a breakdown of the characters/groupings after viewing the first episode.

The law students:  I’m grouping them together because they don’t seem like five flesh and blood characters just yet.

Wes Gibbins: The most fleshed out of the five law students.  He seems to be the eyes that the show is being presented through.  So far, he seems idealistic which will make the others underestimate him while a challenge to Professor Annalise Keating.. but what kind of challenge remains to be seen.

Connor Walsh:  So far, not very fleshed out.. but so far, he seems like someone willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead even if it involves using his sexuality to do so.. as we see in the first episode.

Michaela Pratt:  The tough as nails, cold hearted female of the bunch who is craving to be like Annalise in terms of profession, drive, and personality.  Not much else is known about her.. yet.

Laurel Castillo:  At first, I questioned what role she would play in the group since she seemed slightly less ambitious then the others and even with the reveal of a surprising connection.. I’m still confused.

Asher Millstone:  The least developed of the law students, he really didn’t stick out to me.. nor was any background really provided for him that I can recall.   The case of the week element might help flesh out his character more.

The Law Associates:  Not much was known about them this week, though the female law associate I have a theory about her role in the show.. but too soon to tell.

Professor Annalise Keating:  The Head Bitch in Charge.. and she doesn’t waste any time letting her students, law associates, and the viewers know this.  She is ruthless, cold, willing to do anything to win her case, and doesn’t care who she uses to get what she wants.  So far, we see no hints of the typical neurotic tendencies that we see from other main characters from Shonda Rhimes other shows… yet.

After I finished watching the pilot, I realized that the show differed in so many others ways from Shonda Rhimes other shows Greys Anatomy and Scandal.  It seemed darker, less snarky, and kind of cold.. just like Annalise herself.  When researching the production aspect of the show, I come to find out that she didn’t create the show nor wrote the pilot.. she is just the executive producer.

The one complaint I did have was that the night scenes were almost entirely too dark.  I questioned the thought process behind it.. but after the last scene of the episode.. it made perfect sense the reasoning for it.

While the characters aren’t fleshed out so far, I think it enhances my theory that the point of the view of the show is law student Wes.. though it could also be Annalise as well.  She looks at the students as just seats in her class and not as people.. while he is an idealistic person that views his classmates and professor in terms of archetypes instead of as people… a standard practice we humans do when first meeting new people.

I come away from the show intrigued, but hoping for more character development along with the twists and turns that the show promises to offer.  With a limited season of 13 to 16 episodes forecast.. it will be a challenge to not ignore the character moments/development in favor of plot.  Count me in as a viewer willing to see it through to the end of the season 🙂