It is now being reported that Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz suffered a "mini-stroke" last Friday in Arizona — he was rushed to the hospital by friends after reportedly "acting really weird" and having difficulty speaking and understanding words. The cause of the stroke is still unknown, and Muniz is currently undergoing several tests. "Have to start taking care of my body! Getting old!" Muniz tweeted today. Meanwhile, at the Fountain of Youth, fellow 26-year-olds Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes be chillin'.
Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel: "You could safely call him a groomzilla." Having gotten over his "inability to commit," Timberlake threw himself into planning the $6.5 million ceremony, renting an Italian resort for the wedding and flying guests in on chartered jets. "Justin planned a series of mini-celebrations leading up to the evening ceremony. Guests were treated to a seafood feast followed by a fireworks display on the beach the day they arrived." He chose Biel's "6-carat princess-cut engagement ring without consulting her" and "picked out Jess's gown from sketches. She trusts him." Well, that's her first mistake.
US Justin Timberlake's Bachelor Party: "Bros, brews and bow ties!" Timberlake celebrated "his final days of singledom" with all his closest dudes. "Clad in ties and fedoras, his crew of 25 pals (and his dad!) hit Las Vegas, where they tossed back drinks poolside." Justin probably brought his dad so that we'd all know this was a clean-cut bachelor party where no hookers would end up buried in the desert by the end. "It was like Boardwalk Empire." So it was kind of boring but looked really nice and probably cost a ton of money? "It was mellow. Intentionally so." They jetted from Vegas to Mexico where they played beach volleyball in T-shirts that said "CASTRATION CELEBRATION!" Sigh … "He didn't want to get in any trouble. Jessica's brother was with them!" Could this be a decoy bachelor party meant to distract from the real bachelor party that will take place soon in a sex dungeon in Amsterdam?
Mitt Romney on Snooki: "I'm kind of a Snooki fan. Look how tiny she's gotten. She's lost weight. She's energetic. Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun." She's voting for Obama.
TLC, formerly known as The Learning Channel, has officially become television’s no. 1 #human_shaming channel, showcasing some of the worst humans in the world in dire situations (usually unbeknownst to them), whom viewers can then passively bully and judge from the comfort of their own homes. Without these freaks, what sense of normalcy could we project upon our own lives? But TLC’s latest, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, is actually progressive reality television — it merges multiple genres of #human_shaming: The Thompson family are proud rednecks, immersed in the world of child pageants, living in a modern version of poverty, battling obesity, while housing a pregnant teenager.
So, MTV is killing Jersey Shore. The network announced today that the show's sixth season, which premieres October 4, shall be its last upon this earth. Considering that's six TV seasons squeezed into three human years, we shouldn't really feel too bad about what's happening here. MTV squeezed all it could out of this damn thing, and will continue to explore its ancillary squeeze opportunities with a second season of Snooki & JWoww. (The Pauly D Project, the other Jersey Shore spinoff, is not likely to return.) The overexposure worked for longer than anyone would have guessed. But all things end: As Variety explains, "Ratings for the last few seasons have been declining, and the cabler decided to make the announcement five weeks before the final season so it can market it as the last, hoping that viewers who may have turned away will return to say goodbye."
Taylor Swift's Fatal Attraction: Her relationship with rising high school junior Conor Kennedy continues at warp speed. "Swift is certainly taking her one-and-a-half-month romance rather, well, swiftly. Since meeting the 18-year-old Kennedy in July, the six-time Grammy winner, 22, has rearranged her schedule to spend as much time with him as possible." Although the rumor that she bought a house across the street from the Kennedy compound has been debunked, she is still giving off some serious Stage 5 Clinger vibes. "Swift loves that her new guy (son of Robert Kennedy Jr. and the late Mary) gives her entrée to the storied political family. She says it's a fantasy come true. She's very smitten." Isn't she always, though? "Pals are concerned she's repeating a troubling relationship pattern," citing the insanely fast pace of her monthlong fling with Jake Gyllenhaal, which ended when he dumped her unceremoniously. "She's always rushing into love. We all wonder why she can't take it slow." Because she thinks fairy-tale, love-at-first-sight romances are real, and always decides that whomever she is dating at the moment is The One (regardless of what the dude might think). "For years, Swift has harbored a not-so-secret infatuation with Conor's iconic family. One insider says Conor's cousin Ted Kennedy Jr. even calls the crooner a Kennedy groupie!" Well maybe Conor Kennedy is a Taylor Swift groupie! And they're not groupies, they're Band-Aids! She started collecting Kennedy memorabilia last year, after reading The Kennedy Women. She met Rory Kennedy at a screening of a doc about Ethel Kennedy, and was invited to spend her Fourth of July at the compound in Hyannis Port. She and Conor Kennedy have been inseparable ever since, although that may change in the fall when he goes back to, uh, high school.
Kristen Stewart & Rob Pattinson: Pattinson is sequestered at Reese Witherspoon's ranch in Ojai while he sorts out his feelings. Reese understands Pattinson's situation, as she weathered her own cheating scandals with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe. Damn you, Tracy Flick. Always meddling!
Pattinson has been running a lot to work off some of his anger, "huffing past a lavender-scented meadow, a pool, and a horse paddock" as he jogs his way around the compound. "Yet no matter how peaceful the scenery, the actor, 26, could not escape the hell his days had become." The news that Kristen Stewart had cheated on him with Rupert Sanders "blindsided" Pattinson. "He's questioning everything and wants nothing to do with her." Stewart's public apology made him even more furious. An "inconsolable" Stewart is camped out at her parents' home in the San Fernando Valley. Pattinson is "not using electronic cigarettes anymore. He's been smoking real ones since this news came out." He had noticed that Kristen "was being really weird lately but she reassured him nothing was going on." Rob is "disgusted because he had a feeling about this director." Nobody but Rupert and Kristen knows exactly when the affair started. Stewart realizes "how totally self-destructive this was. She just can't believe she fucked all this up and ruined everything." Even her parents are embarrassed for her. Now they must brave the Breaking Dawn: Part 2 press tour together, during which their every mumble will be parsed for clues.
John Travolta's Secret Life Surprises Kelly Preston: "Kelly was suddenly besieged by the reports of John's secret sex life." After their 11-year-old daughter asked what was up, Kelly "fell to the floor in a flood of tears. Suddenly, Kelly feels like she's been living a lie for two decades, and it's like a knife to the heart." The rumors about Travolta "have swarmed around Hollywood since at least 1990, when Paul Barresi, a gay porn star, publicly claimed that he and John were having sex." As a complete coincidence, Travolta married Preston in 1991 in "a quickie Scientology wedding ceremony." They signed a contract whose "exact contents are unknown" and "such agreements can contain almost anything — including prohibiting a spouse from speaking publicly about scandals." Jeff Conaway, who co-starred as Kenickie in Grease alongside Travolta, claims "that John once tried to perform oral sex on him while he slept." Conaway also says "that Kelly knows that John is gay" and agreed to beard for him, because she "wanted the lifestyle that comes with a marriage to a Hollywood celebrity more than love."
Reality TV is in trouble. The Situation is in rehab, America’s alcoholism mascot Snooki is pregnant, and there are only two shows left on the air worthy of inclusion in the GRTFL. With this in mind, I’ve decided to change it up this week and take you with me on my deep dive into the creepy/scary triple-digit section of your channel guide in search of new shows to celebrate in future columns. I spent the whole week sifting through endless hours of hoarding, cooking, rehabbing, building, destroying, partying, arguing, driving, swamping, dancing, parenting, storing, eating, puking, and RuPauling in an attempt at finding a digital nugget of reality TV gold. To be honest, I enjoyed the shit out of it. It was so exhilarating/depressing, I decided that every week I will go in on at least one new show and share with you my thoughts on it.
(Okay, fine, I probably won’t do this every week because I’m lazy and will forget that I even wrote this. I apologize in advance.)
Even if it goes on forever and is never any damn good again, it will be the Zippo flame with which I burn my palm, G. Gordon Liddy-style, to prove my devotion to the medium of reality television. I’m even going to watch the reunion show that airs on MTV tonight, even though, if past reunions are anything to go by, this one will yo-yo tonally between mildly contentious and gun-to-the-head stilted and suck away an hour of my life without teaching me anything. I don’t care. I’ll watch it, and I’ll be back for Season 6, which begins filming in Seaside this summer, despite abundant evidence that there’s not enough Ron-Ron Juice left in the tank to get this vehicle around the block one more time. I have made a commitment. I want to see what happens to these people, even if what happens to them is nothing. Which I guess means I just like looking at them on a screen, and that there is no objective difference between me and Pauly D’s stalker, except physical distance and the fact that I don’t carry a sparkly bag.
We don’t score reunion shows here at the GRTFL. Why? No idea, it is just a dumb rule that’s grandfathered in like the extra point in football or “Thou shalt not kill” in that God book. That said, I am not going to let an insignificant detail like “no one scored” get in the way of oversharing my thoughts on the hornet's swarm of hussie hatred that was released this week on The Bachelor: Women Tell All. Behold, “Things I Learned While Watching The Bachelor: Women Tell All”:
Sandra Bullock and Brett Ratner: "Sad for so long," Bullock was "miserable" after her marriage to Jesse James fell apart with a cheating scandal and Ryan Reynolds rebuked her advances in favor of the younger and blonder Blake Lively. But "cuddling with a new male companion at an after-hours party on Oscar night, Sandra Bullock looked happier than she's been in nearly two years." Friends were stoked until they "realized who her mystery man was: Hollywood's sleaziest bad boy, Brett Ratner." Sandra's rep issued an immediate denial, but eyewitnesses say she was "hanging out a lot" with 42-year-old Ratner, "who has crudely bragged about sleeping with a slew of starlets and resigned from his latest job producing the Academy Awards after using an anti-gay slur." Maybe Sandy likes bad boys, but "Brett is a real player. He always talks about meeting girls and partying." Could be he's all talk and shrimp juice, if you listened to what Olivia Munn had to say about their brief casting couch encounter. "She wanted somebody her age or older — a tough guy who could handle her lifestyle, but with enough dating experience that he wouldn't want to cheat on her like Jesse did." She spent Oscar week flirting with Ratner and fellow "notorious player Gerard Butler." She's serious about settling down, and "her need to be in a relationship has trumped" her good judgment, although "she isn't looking for a fling. She is looking for a man to grow old with, who can help her raise Louis — a nice, decent guy."
And when you think nice and decent, you think Ratner, who "recently bragged on The Howard Stern Show that he wraps it up because, "If I breathe on a girl she can get pregnant."
This GRTFL is being dispatched from Indianapolis during the lead-up to the Super Bowl. As I write this, the muted bass of hip-hop vibrates the hotel window, the hoots and hollers of revelers tickle my ears, and the creepy desperation of middle-aged, drunken “clients” in ill-fitting suits oozes through every wall. Did I go to a party tonight? No. I stayed in my room, watched Jersey Shore, and wrote about the television shows people refuse to admit they watch. Would I have it any other way? Absofuckinglutely not. There will be other Super Bowls, but there will never be another Bill Belichick of Bachelorettes, another sexual assault as casual as what we saw on The Challenge, or another episode of Jersey Shore in which Snooki urinates her way around the boardwalk like a wolf marking its territory. (Hey, I saw The Grey last week; it haunts you.) These events need to be recorded, they need to be scored, and hacky jokes need to be written about them. Above all else, duty.
This week in reality TV was a study in human nature, with each storyline like an experiment meticulously engineered to test beliefs that are woven into the fabric of our modern society. On Jersey Shore, Snooki proves that you cannot, in fact, teach an old dog new tricks. On The Bachelor, Ben The Bachelor Who I Have Never Seen In The Same Room At The Same Time As Tennis Star Rafa Nadal proves that men are so soothed by the song of beauty that they are deaf to the sound of their own innate, internal “this chick is so nuts she might kill me, drain my blood, and drink it” alarm. And Pauly D, well, he taught us not to leave diamond chains laying around on the smush room floor for floozies to sweep up into their underpants. That one was actually less scientific experiment and more inexperience. To the top scorers:
Welcome to Season 2 of the Grantland Reality Television Fantasy League. Seems like just yesterday I called Grantland Editor Lane Brown before the site launched and explained to him what a terrible idea the GRTFL was and begged him not to run it. He ran it. He is no longer with Grantland. Those may or may not be mutually exclusive events.