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Jul. 7 2010 — 9:34 pm | 339 views | 0 recommendations | 16 comments

Lindsay Lohan’s sentence: the justice system works

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Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Marsha N. Revel struck a remarkable blow for justice on Tuesday, sentencing Lindsay Lohan to 90 days in jail after repeatedly violating her probation, and another 90 days in rehab. Which means that at long last, even with the high likelihood that she won’t serve even a third of this sentence, Lohan has been shown in no uncertain terms that actions have consequences.

I feel overwhelmingly like my grandfather in saying that (though if I were really channeling him I’d be using some choicer, more colorful words). And admittedly, there’s a part of me that loves nothing more than stickin’ it to the man — but that usually just involves getting away with parking illegally.

But in this case, there’s no question that this is the right call, and it’s more than refreshing to see that star power doesn’t necessarily buy someone’s way out of a scrape. And Lohan’s reaction, surely fueled by the fact that she’s a young woman who’s scared of what she’s about to face, also betrayed someone who’s genuinely out of touch with what it means to take responsibility for themselves.

“As far as I knew I was in compliance with my programs,” Lohan said, fighting back tears.

“I wasn’t trying to get special treatment,” she added. “I have to provide for myself. I have to work. Having said that, I did everything to balance my jobs and showing up. I’m not taking this as a joke. It’s my life. It’s my career. … I take responsibility for my actions. I’ve tried to do the best I can. It’s been such a long haul. … I don’t want you to think that I don’t respect you.”

Now, in what universe does “jetting off to the Cannes film festival to party and allegedly suck face with your former co-star’s boyfriend, only to say you were unable to be back in L.A. for your court-mandated alcohol education classes because your passport was supposedly stolen” equal being in compliance with a program or taking their probation seriously, I’m not sure.

It wouldn’t hurt Lohan — or her mother or father, for that matter — to stop for a second and realize that what we’re talking about here is breaking the terms of a probation. For driving while under the influence. These aren’t just simple rites of passage; somebody could’ve gotten killed. And while everyone’s done something — generally a lot of somethings — that they shouldn’t have or wish they hadn’t done, most people don’t have all of the advantages or opportunities to straighten up, much less buy themselves a spot in a nice rehab.

It’s not that I don’t feel sorry for Lohan — on some level I do. I think it’s got to be an awful thing to be the mealticket for two monumentally irresponsible parents who never hesitate to violate your privacy to get a little limelight for themselves. It has to be terrible to grow up in an unforgiving spotlight at doesn’t allow you to make your mistakes in private. And it surely has to suck to go from being a genuinely promising kid to being a punchline by 24.

But if Lindsay Lohan is smart, or at least manages to use the 90 days of rehab, if not the 90-day jail sentence, to get a little perspective, she can make an amazing comeback. Look at what jailtime did for Robert Downey Jr. — not that it’s fair to compare her to one of the more divinely gifted actors of his generation, but at least it straightened him out. And look at him now — he’s freakin’ Iron Man, for heaven’s sake. Look at what Drew Barrymore has accomplished after her harrowing childhood. Look at what Carrie Fisher, for all of her demons, has accomplished. Any one of them could’ve gone down the tubes. But for each of them, there was at least one wake-up call. Here’s hoping this is Lohan’s.

And if not, here’s hoping that at least she doesn’t drive through my neighborhood.

Jun. 16 2010 — 1:21 am | 268 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Michaele Salahi? Bravo, do I have to boycott you?

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20:  Michaele Salahi prep...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

It’s not like it’s any big surprise — either that Washington, DC, my former adopted home town, is crawling with self-promoters, or that that self-promotion is rewarded. But when I read today that Bravo did in fact cast Michaele Salahi in “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” I died a little bit inside. Not because I or anyone else bought for even a fraction of a second that the notorious White House state dinner crashers weren’t going to end up on a reality show. The network didn’t even really lie wholeheartedly about it at the time. I try to stay away from all of the housewives except for those kooks in Orange County, and it’s a little sad to see D.C. lose another shred of dignity, between this and the “Real World” a couple of seasons ago.

The truly sad part is that I just saw a preview of this season’s “Top Chef,” coincidentally also set in Washington, D.C. — you can bet the farm that there’s going to be some creepy crossover somewhere in there — with its new guest judge, Eric Ripert, who counts D.C.’s Westend Bistro among his restaurants. Mostly I just refer to him as the Silver Fox, but his expertise is definitely a welcome addition, and may even mitigate my reflux reaction to Padma Lakshmi. What’s more is that there appears to be an episode somewhere during this season in which Anthony Bourdain and Buzz Aldrin — ostensibly two of the crankiest men alive — share a dining table. Who doesn’t want to see that? I’m hoping they get into a fistfight.

All of which I will miss if I attempt to live by any sort of principles and boycott Bravo in protest of “The Real Housewives of D.C.” and Michaele Salahi. But with the prospect of episode after episode of the Silver Fox, I’m sure I’ll be tuning in anyway.

May. 28 2010 — 2:15 am | 443 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

‘Sex and the City 2′ just doesn’t turn me on

I Am Woman, hear me embarrass myselfThis weekend I will do something that will prove to my husband beyond a doubt that I love him. I will not drag him to see “Sex and the City 2.”

In fact, I’m not sure I’m even interested in seeing it — outside a cineplex somewhere deep in the Valley on a weekday at an 11 a.m. matinee, because they’re sure as hell not getting a full $13 out of me.

Here’s the thing. Like my True/Slant colleague Jeremy Helligar, I liked the show. I never took it too seriously, but tended to think of it as a case study of what some gay men thought women were like. I know that’s an oversimplification, but I think the show works best as a fantastic example of caricature. And to truly enjoy it, you need a lot of suspended disbelief and just enough wine to keep you from loathing the characters and yourself for watching.

And I say that as a fan. There’s not an episode of “Sex and the City” I haven’t watched — and while I definitely didn’t love them all, I do think it was perceptive on many levels. And it did acknowledge some of the things that no one wants to admit. That no matter how fabulous a face you put on, you can still be terrified of growing old alone. That there are married friends who think less of you because you’re single. That you are the only guarantee of a fugure that you have — and sometimes that future can look a whole lot different than how you pictured. And that you’ll always have at least one friend who says “fuck” in nearly every sentence and makes horrible, punny and unfunny sex jokes — and yet she still gets more action than you do.

As a show, “Sex and the City” worked — you only had to contend with a few stupid Mae-West-meets-Shecky-Greene sex jokes from Samantha in an episode and you usually only had to watch Carrie type “and I couldn’t help but wonder…” only once. I re-watched the two-part finale the other night, and marveled again at how good it was. But even though at times I’ve been able to identify with one character or another, I have never wasted even half a second wondering whether I was a “Carrie” or a “Miranda.” And if I ever do, I implore my nearest and dearest to punch me in the head. Hard.

A witty, thought- and conversation-provoking show is one thing. Stretching that out into *more than two hours* (145 minutes for the first movie, 146 for the second — lord almighty, where are the editors?) is, well, a stretch. To put it mildly. I did see the first movie in the theater — and my husband, even before he became my husband, got himself nominated for sainthood by sitting through it more or less willingly. To be fair, we were living in a pretty small town at the time, and there wasn’t a lot to do that weekend. It’s also constantly on cable, which means I have seen it about a bajillion times since then, mostly because sometimes I can’t find the remote. And I might be a masochist. It doesn’t improve upon repeated viewings, no matter how much you cradle that wine bottle you just emptied in your arms.

Lately I’ve been marveling again at the brilliant — and maybe offensive? — marketing job that’s supported this movie. The HP2 computer — “seen in ‘Sex and the City 2′.” The pain in my heart from having to hear Jon Hamm actually say the words “Sex and the City 2″ when he voices the Mercedes commercial. There was even a Food Network “Sex and the City 2″ cake challenge, for chrissakes. Is *nothing* sacred? Why does cake need to be victimized?

And now, having been exposed to what men think when they watch the “Sex and the City 2″ trailer (brilliant), I’m taking a quick spin through some of the reviews.

And by the way, yes of course I’ll probably end up seeing it. I’ll feel dirty, but I’ll end up seeing it. And no matter how scathing the reviews, Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha — and Michael Patrick King — will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Roger Ebert’s lead: “Some of these people make my skin crawl.” And then he goes on to: “And crotches, have we got crotches for you.” Thank you, God, for Roger Ebert. Now please let Anthony Lane review it for the New Yorker.

A.O. Scott, The New York Times: “Your watch will tell you that a shade less than two and a half hours have elapsed, but you may be shocked at just how much older you feel when the whole thing is over.”

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon: “It would have been more merciful for writer-director Michael Patrick King to have rented Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda out to the “Saw” franchise, or to Rob Zombie, so we could watch them get shot in the head or skinned alive by Arkansas rednecks.”

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: “The experience of listening to the girls complain about their fairy-tale lives from the comfort of an all-expenses-paid luxury vacation in the Arabian desert may leave a viewer feeling by turns nostalgic, disoriented, and impatient.”

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: “Making the film bearable is Parker, who is at her most relaxed in this latest Carrie incarnation. She’s got all the same moves, but the emotional ups and downs are modest and the necessary ministrations from her friends barely required. Which begs the question, why have a sequel at all? Probably best to leave it to the accountants to answer that one.”

Amy Diluna, New York Daily News: “It’s been two years since the first “Sex and the City” movie – and this shtick is getting old.”

Ty Burr, The Boston Globe: “What was once a playful, pretend-shallow soap opera with pockets of feeling is now shallow for keeps — a dunderheaded comic melodrama with clothes to die for and dialogue to shrink from. It’s downright depressing.”

May. 27 2010 — 2:21 am | 1,887 views | 1 recommendations | 10 comments

‘American Idol’: Lee DeWyze wins, and — what the hell was that?

CHICAGO - MAY 14:  American Idol finalist Lee ...

Try not to hold the Cubs thing against him. Image by Getty Images North America via @daylife

Congratulations to Lee DeWyze for his “American Idol” win — which the Washington Post’s Lisa DeMoraes predicted two weeks into the season. Lisa, I will never doubt you again, and if you have a minute could you give some thought to my lotto numbers this week…

Congratulations to Crystal Bowersox too, who will undoubtedly go on to a huge career, and deservedly so — that girl can sing. Besides, a half-second glance at the roster of those who didn’t take home the crown yields a list of people whose names you probably recognize even more than most of the winners (aside from Carrie Underwood and my beloved Clarkson). Which, incidentally, is how I make my NCAA pool picks.

And so long to Simon Cowell, who before he took off to spend the night sleeping in his bed made of money, showed an amazing amount of good humor and self-deprecation — the “I love you” to the mirror bit was well played.

But beyond that, what the hell was going on tonight?

  • Bret Michaels — you HAD A STROKE. And you have a HOLE in your HEART. You should be home napping and hydrating, not up on that stage with Casey James singing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” in all its get-stuck-running-through-your-head madness.
  • We had a winner — albeit one that hadn’t been officially crowned yet — jamming out with Chicago? I get the home town reference and those remaining guys looked pretty great after all of these years, but what are the odds that the target demo in the theater had ever heard of these guys?
  • Raise your hand if you too had thought Joe Cocker was dead — and may have even said something like, “It’s a shame Joe Cocker can’t join them, because he’s dead.” And damn if he didn’t look pretty good too. Particularly for a dead guy. He’s like the musical Abe Vigoda if you’re playing the Dead/Not Dead game.
  • The collected “Idol” winners and contestants singing to Simon was a nice touch. But will “Idol” ever get a halfway decent song for these finale things? You could smell that thing from miles away — and it reeked of the sulfur of the hell from whence it came.
  • Paula Abdul — sober! At least it seemed that way. And looking super cute.
  • Janet Jackson. I like her better when she’s in “Control” than when she’s “Nasty,” but mostly I was just happy to see her fully clothed. And I’m betting that FOX wrote it into her performance contract that she do her costume change from behind the screen.

What did you think? Did you watch on your DVR so you could fast-forward through the mind-numbing parts? Which would have left you with about 10 minutes of show?

May. 27 2010 — 1:23 am | 261 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Rob Lowe goes dirtbag for ‘Californication’ — and it’s all good

Rob Lowe goes dirtbag for Californication

You can't see this, but Rob Lowe's looking over at me....

I’ll pony up with a few thoughts on “American Idol” in a minute, but first I had to take a minute to welcome Rob Lowe to the legion of lecherous men on the coming season of “Californication.” I’ve fallen off since the first season, even though I loved it, but this just might bring me back.

My first reaction to this photo when my husband (who wrote this story) showed it to me: Grrr! Which is (a) not really in character, and (b) unusual when not discussing either Kyle Chandler or one of the young men who make me feel like a lecherous old woman (hello, Justin Timberlake).

And while everyone’s pointing out the obvious Brad Pitt resemblance, my mind turns toward my dear friend Liz Kelly, Celebritologist at washingtonpost.com, who has long held great affection for dirtbags. Which I never understood before.

Liz, I stand corrected. And after watching the last couple of episodes of “Parks and Recreation,” (see below — he’s brilliant), I’d be willing to give anything he stars in a chance, because he makes me laugh.  And Showtime, I embrace your cheap stunt for my attention — and I’m setting my DVR.

Leslie Nope! And he’s trying to run to the moon…

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    About Me

    I've always been obsessed with pop culture and celebrity, even as a political reporter by day at washingtonpost.com and ABC News. Even after leaving journalism for media relations and consulting (Need help with press releases, brochures, annual reports, or media strategy? E-mail me -- lisa.celebjungleATgmail.com.), I pretended to be mildly appalled by the antics of the beautiful and famous -- then gobbled up tabloids and all the gossip I could find. To date, I've preserved my amateur status as a celebrity news analyst so I could compete in the gossip Olympics, but now I've decided to go pro. As a recent transplant to Los Angeles, or Celebrity Ground Zero, I'm learning to live among them as they roam unfettered over the landscape -- while praying that a behind-the-wheel Lindsay Lohan stays out of my neighborhood.

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