by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
– Fans vs. Favorites premiered last week and Cincinnati’s Matt Bischoff (whom
we interviewed here) made it through the first episode, officially making it
further than Cincinnati’s last castaway.
Despite my wide-ranging TV prowess, I haven’t watched Survivor in about 20
seasons. But having an interesting local character like Matt actually makes the
show pretty watchable. Survivor, like
every reality show, follows a set of standard rules in editing, and if you read between the lines it appears Matt could be on the show for a substantial amount of
time: He got enough airtime to intrigue viewers, but not
so much that it seems like they’re gearing up for his departure. Elsewhere,
Matt pulled his weight. He stood up to the cocky Marine barking orders but not
actually doing anything, but soon after paved things over, showing that he’ll put a dude in his place, but not be a dick about it. He helped construct the
tribe’s shelter and brought them to victory in the immunity challenge.
But Matt isn’t the
only hometown boy kickin’ it in the Caramoan — Sharonville native and Ken Doll
lookalike Reynold Toepfer, now a San Francisco resident, joins Matt in the Gota
Tribe. Reynold is a Princeton High School and Miami University grad, but he’s
moved away from the Queen City so he’s DEAD TO US. Just kidding, but seriously,
he’s kind of a d-bag. He formed an alliance with Laura because she flew
under the radar by not being “the cutest, not anything.” Gag. Then, no sooner
than night one, dude was getting into some straight-up heavy petting with Alli
during sleepytime. Matt, looking like an island ninja, checking out the "sleeping" situation going on with two of his tribe-mates.Isn’t this
supposed to be a family show? Not that I’m worried about “the children,” it’s
just my feeling that if you’re going to be kind of a sleazy reality show, you
should just be a really sleazy, self-aware reality show.
show has portrayed Matt as something of an outsider. In one particular scene,
four of the young, attractive, conventional Survivor
types (Reynold being one of them) dubbed themselves the “cool kids lunch
table” (gag again) and then the
camera panned out to Matt, looking alone in the ocean. In the show’s defense,
Survivor’s core audience probably relies on this type of blatant stereotyping to
understand what’s going on. More Beardwatch to come!
The Internet acts
as a platform for feedback for companies. So when a TV show gets or cancelled
or a product is removed from shelves, many consumers can share their critiques
online. Now, usually this quickly turns into a bullshit sounding board — just
read a Yelp review from a bitter customer — but sometimes the public can harness
the power of technology and allow its collective voice to be heard. Case in
point: Maker's Mark made news last week when the company announced that
the bourbon would henceforth have a reduced alcohol content in order to keep up
with demand. If the bourbon was diluted just a bit, they could produce
enough booze to meet sales demands, but that shortcut would affect the alcohol
volume by about 3 percent (from 45 percent ABV/90 proof to 42 percent/84 proof).
Bourbon drinkers weren’t havin’ none of that. So guess what? Maker's changed
their minds! The bourbon recipe will remain untouched. Long live Maker's Mark!
For a couple of
Grammy-winning musicians, the Black Keys sure have a lot of time for
extracurriculars! When they’re not making completely random, ponytailed cameos
they’re trolling Beliebers. Well, drummer Patrick Carney is. Justin Bieber tweeted that Carney (“the black keys drummer”) needed to “be
slapped around” in response to a comment Carney made to a reporter about Beiber’s
Grammy “snub.” Carney went on to change his Twitter name and profile picture to
Justin Bieber and JB fans were pissed. He’s back to assuming his own identity
but you can read the hilarious trolling tweets here. And because I look up any topic on the always-reliable Wikipedia before
writing about it, I discovered that Carney was married to (and later divorced)
writer Denise Grollmus in a ceremony officiated by Will Forte. Yes, MacGruber. WTF
documentary debuted on HBO Saturday, drawing in more viewers (1.8 million) than
any HBO doc in nearly a decade. A little self-serving and definitely over-the-top,
fans and critics alike had a field day with Life
Is But A Dream. Basically, Beyonce records her every waking moment, which,
according to this doc, includes lots of traveling, dance rehearsals and iMac
confessionals. We finally got a good look at mini-Jay, Blue Ivy: “We’re not
worthy!” Beyonce even tried to convince us she was down-to-earth by
rocking some crazy braids in the interview portions, filmed inside her childhood
are some quick and dirty deets from NY
Mag including number of manicure close-ups and number of Destiny’s Child
mentions (ZERO!). We got a couple peeks at her preggo belly, but there were not
enough shots of her eating French fries and too many shots of private helicopter
rides to convince me she’s 100 percent human and not an Illuminati alien
goddess. Three stars.
by Jac Kern
at 02:19 PM | Permalink
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Bowl was arguably one of the most entertaining sporting events for even the
most athletically clueless. Admittedly, I fall into that category — this was
probably the most recent football game I’ve watched since last year’s SB — and generally
watch for the commercials and half-time show/to justify eating my weight in
cheese and crackers/to feel like a real American. But from on-field brawls and
the post-Beyonce power outage to the tense final minutes of the game, this shit
show was truly a spectacle! Bravo, NFL. Bravo, America.
half-time extravaganza was flawless, lip-synching or not. She booty-popped her
way through a handful of hits and even summoned recently-reunited Destiny’s
Children Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams (no, not her)
to perform a couple classics in coordinating outfits (obvs). Kelly was looking extra fabulous and, as a friend pointed out, that's really saying something about a chick dancing alongside Beyonce.
Michelle, as always, played the cute third wheel role. It appeared that her mic
was off for half of her time onstage, which was probably the stipulation for
Beyonce even allowing Michelle to be included in the reunion. DC superfan note:
Michelle always gets the shaft.
Hours after the
epic, show-stopping (literally — you know Bey caused that outage) show, Beyonce’s
summer tour was announced: The Mrs. Carter Show. Be still, my heart.
For those who care
even less about football than me but still want to check out the over-hyped
commercials, see a roundup here.
30 Rock came to a bittersweet end Thursday. Tina
Fey’s hit changed the comedy landscape and the way we look at snack foods (I’ll
never eat a cupcake the same way again!). Take one last jaunt through TGS memory
lane with every trucker hat
Frank wore throughout the series.
While Girls’ Lena Dunham is still new to the
TV scene, the love-her-or-hate-her writer/director/producer/actress will embark
on a new HBO series with Girls co-executive producer Jenni Konner.
Conan O’Brien a
certified comedy demigod — one of the most beloved late night hosts of the 21st
century. Despite the buzzed-about drama with Jay Leno and Conan’s move to TBS,
the show retained its core audience and it’s clear people still love them some
Coco. And, after watching last week’s Occupy Conan episode, it’s clear Coco
loves us, too. Back in November, the late night host announced he’d present a
fan-generated episode. Viewers were invited to re-imagine their own episode based on the Aug. 16, 2011 show with Anne Hathaway and Fun. Tons of original
content was submitted and mashed together to create an epically weird and
hilarious version of that episode. “Occupy Conan” featured animations,
live-action interpretations, puppets and even submissions from the likes of
Tina Fey, Fred Armisen and Joel McHale. I hadn’t actually seen the original
episode, which is unfortunate as Anne Hathaway gave the most WTF-worthy rap
performance only a white girl could pull off (or not — you decide). I wouldn’t
be surprised if this becomes a new TV trend for shows with particularly
ambitious/obsessed fans. Check out the full fan-sourced episode here.
homeless hitchhiker news: A delusional man in Fresno, Calif., claiming he was Jesus,
purposely hit a PG&E worker with his car. Thankfully, help was on the scene:
by Paul Smyth
Posted In: Boxing
at 10:01 AM | Permalink
Westwood resident will defend Junior Lightweight World Champion title at U.S. Bank Arena
Cincinnati resident and elite boxing prospect Adrien "The
Problem" Broner will make his second WBO Junior Lightweight World
Champion title defense at the U.S. Bank Arena Saturday.
The Cincinnati pugilist (23-0, 19 knockouts), who lives in
Westwood, faces Vicente Escobedo (26-3, 15 knockouts). The fight will
be broadcast on HBO's Boxing After Dark and represents the next step in a
career that may propel Broner into the highest levels of the sport.
This will be Broner's fifth appearance on HBO.
Broner is the youngest current U.S. title holder after
winning the WBO Junior Lightweight belt with a third-round knockout of
Vicente Rodriguez last November. His first title defense came in
February of this year, also in Cincinnati. He easily defeated Eloy
Perez, prompting additional fan, cable and promoter attention. His
second title defense this Saturday may be a turning point, leading to
the next tier of exposure and reward — and perhaps much tougher fights.
Escobedo is a 2004 US Olympian, though he did not medal.
He's fighting at 130 pounds, having tasted defeat as a pro at 135 pounds
in a split-decision title fight loss versus Michael Katsidis in 2009.
After four victories in the new weight class, the 30-year-old Escobedo
now faces one of the most highly touted prospects in boxing today in
In the ring, Broner's athleticism, speed, power and
preparation, as well as his side-on fighting style and
offense-from-defense positioning, have led to comparisons with current
pound-for-pound great Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Broner says he doesn't watch
tape of opponents but prefers to adapt in the ring.
Outside the ring, he's known for a flamboyant style that
also has brought comparisons to Mayweather's flashy persona, but Broner
shows adaptability in the arena of life as well. Broner describes strong
and apparently nourishing interests, including recording his own music.
So far, when it's time to focus — in the ring or answering serious
questions about his claims to elite status — the 22-year-old can be
frank, direct and thoughtful.
But he's also being called over-the-top. A rare talent. And, of course, undefeated.
Cincinnati sports fans are on notice that maybe, just
maybe, they have a new, hometown, world-class athlete worth following on
the international stage.
Broner-Escobedo headlines an extensive undercard on Saturday, July 21. U.S. Bank Arena doors open at 5 pm. HBO Boxing After Dark coverage begins at 10 pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 23, 2012
HBO’s latest television film follows the
professional and romantic journey of literary great Ernest Hemingway and
legendary journalist Martha Gellhorn. Starring Clive Owen and Nicole
Kidman as the title characters, Hemingway & Gellhorn is on at 9
p.m. on Mondays.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 9, 2012
ignorant, beer-bellied McDonald’s masticator: It’s a punchline of
American society. But the fact that nearly 70 percent of American adults
are overweight or obese is not a joke — and the makers of The Weight of the Nation (8
p.m. Monday and Tuesday, HBO) show that it’s more detrimental to our
country than many believe.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A group of young women balance life, love
and work as they try to make their mark on New York City. Sound
familiar? But where Carrie and Co. represented an embellished fantasy of glamorous, high-powered, sexualized New Yorkers, HBO’s Girls offers a more realistic view of entering adulthood as a 21st century female.
by Jac Kern
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 03:33 PM | Permalink
Upcoming shows and recent TV announcements
Based on the style of BBC sitcom The Thick of It, HBO’s Veep (10 p.m. Sundays) stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Vice President of the United States. For those of us who’ve had more than their fill of Sarah Palin after the channel’s movie Game Change, don’t worry — this is a fictional storyline not based on any gun-toting beauty queens. The comedy follows the less-than-glamorous day-to-day tasks of V.P. Selina Meyer. Think Parks and Recreation if Leslie Knope made it to the White House. Selling point: Tony Hale (otherwise known as Buster Bluth) plays her bodyguard. Veep premieres April 22.Did you watch that Portlandia sketch about the fictional restaurant Around the World in 80 Plates, “a culinary voyage across the seven seas of flavor,” and think that would be a great premise for a food and travel show? Well, the folks over at Bravo did (or it at least seems like it) when they created a new reality show where chefs compete while traveling across the world, entitled — wait for it — Around the World in 80 Plates (10 p.m. Mondays). Chefs Cat Cora and Curtis Stone host. Tune in May 9 for the premiere to see if Craig’s Crazy Guac Tacs are involved in any way (fingers crossed).Move over, Kardashians — there’s a new family in E! town. Mrs. Eastwood & Company (10 p.m. Sundays) takes the ubiquitous reality formula to Northern California, focusing on the lives of Clint’s wife, Dina, and two of his daughters, Francesca and Morgan. The ladies live on a sprawling ranch complete with a sassy housekeeper and herd of pets. The show focuses on the Eastwoods’ pet project, grownup boyband, Overtone. Hit show or hot mess? Find out May 20 when the series debuts.Other recent show announcements include the following premiere dates: HBO's True Blood (9 p.m. Sunday, June 10), TNT's revival of Dallas (9 p.m. Wednesday, June 13) and my guiltiest of pleasures, Showtime's The Real L Word (10 p.m. Thursday, July 12).
by Jac Kern
Network decides to end horse racing drama after third animal death on set
HBO's new drama Luck, which we featured on our TV column last month, has been cancelled. The show, which follows the events at Santa Anita Park and the trainers, jockeys and gamblers who spend their days at the track, has halted production of its second season after the death of a third horse.The show has faced criticism about its harm of animals from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American Humane Association. PETA had called on Luck producers to use stock racing footage rather than risk injury to the horses during filming. HBO released the following statement:"It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series 'Luck'.Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures. While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won't in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision. We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation." Michael Mann and David Milch said, "The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers. This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.'"The show, which I'm surprised has gotten low ratings and minimal viewing response, is a tense, gritty look at gambling and the world of horse racing. The scenes of actual horse racing are beautiful and consuming. Unfortunately, producers couldn't reenact such intense scenes without accidents and injuries, which justifiably led to this decision. It's too bad that a show meant to celebrate the animals won't be able to continue. Luck will continue to air its first and only season, at 9 p.m. Sundays. There are two episodes remaining, with the series finale on March 25.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
A show about horseracing might seem too niche to captivate a wide audience, but HBO’s Luck is entertaining for all types of viewers thanks to the varied perspectives from inside the track. Dustin Hoffman stars as Ace, an organized
crime man fresh out of his stint in federal prison.
HBO screens Steve Bognar and Julie Reichert's film about closing of Dayton GM plant
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 2, 2009
On June 3, 2008, then-CEO of General Motors Rick Wagoner announced the closing of four GM plants, one of which was in Moraine, Ohio, in suburban Dayton. By the end of that year, the plant would leave 1,100 employees without jobs. Area filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert (Emmy winners for their documentary 'A Lion in the House') immediately responded to the announcement of the closing, setting up interviews with plant workers and spending as much time with them as possible getting to know the people and their stories.