The New York Times
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October 13, 2007
Television Review | 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' and 'A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila'
The All-Too-Easy Route to Stardom
By GINIA BELLAFANTE
Kim Kardashian came upon her career — as a person famous simply by dint of her aspiration to be — in the estimable way of the quattrocento masters: she apprenticed.
As a child of Beverly Hills, she has had access to the best possible tutelage. Her friend Paris Hilton has seemed to guide her in the ways of dressing and appearing and responding to the supposedly unauthorized release of sex tapes. Like her friend, Ms. Kardashian has been involved in filmed acts of sexual rambunctiousness, which inexplicably became public. Isn’t it always the way; just when you think the Internet is going to produce some raunchy footage of Christopher Hitchens, it is another tape of a nubile young woman angling to join the ranks of the dubiously recognized that shows up.
The surfacing of this tape — in which Ms. Kardashian appears, not debating economic sanctions against Iran, with a former boyfriend, the hip-hop artist Ray J — was a mixed bag for her mother, we learn in “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” a reality series that begins on E! tomorrow night. As a parent, Ms. Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, was concerned for her daughter, she explains. But as her manager, she thought, well, hot-diggity.
And yet the E! venture still does not deliver the willies inflicted by “A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila,” the new reality dating series that made its debut on MTV this week, drawing nearly two million viewers. In one sense, we must celebrate Tila Tequila, who has made it to the levels of quarter-fame assisted not by lineage or connection. No, she gained a following by posing provocatively enough to become one of the most popular curiosities on MySpace. She boldly decided to approach the world as a meritocracy, and she made good.
As a face and a body, Tila Tequila looks essentially like a very well-toned squirrel. But men love her, and so do women — hence the premise of her show, which has 16 straight men and 16 lesbians competing for her affections. As one young woman contending for her partnership put it: “You have to be blind and a little retarded not to find her hot.”
But if you happen to be among the visually and mentally impaired who do not find Tila Tequila, in all of her sauced-up arrogance, to possess a modicum of charm, wit, sensuality or attractiveness — if you would rather, as I would, watch a dating show starring Danny DeVito — then you will wonder why men are courting her with jewelry and perfect abs and bowls of spaghetti, and why the women are dressing up as sexy cabdrivers and hard hats. You may wonder even why you haven’t, instead, kept up with the Kardashians.
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Ed here: Comedian Kathy Griffin tells a story about watching a massively overweight drunk woman on a tv talk show admit that she's been sleeping with a young teenage boy who is mentally retarded. She also claims to be HIV positive.
This story is probably ten years old now. At the time I think I'd seen maybe twenty minutes of sleaze TV. Geraldo was always good for a laugh, the macho man of empty safes and Nazis eager to get on TV and talk about their "secret" plans to take over the world (or somesuch).
But he was like the Weekly World Reader. JFK living on an island somewhere with Jean Harlow.
Jerry Skinner (who's a smart guy and obviously a greedy one) made it personal. He brought on people who'd freak out the steeliest of shrinks. He also threw in "gals who love to punch." Were the sordid sad tales true? Some of them, probably. It was Nathaniel West country. The guests would admit to anything, no matter how demeaning ("Sure I been porkin my daughter; jest take a look at her!") Even West would have been shocked. One of the shows resulted in a young gay man being murdered.
ANYTHING to get on TV.
And thus we have today. I've seen the Kardashian show briefly. I have to be ungallant here and say that these are not--to me anyway--very good looking or very interesting women. They just want to be famous. There's a checkout girl where we get our groceries. She always says she'd like to be famous, too. She's serious. She's also one hell of a lot better looking than either of the Kardashians.
I think I'm going to pass on Tila Tequila. I expect I'd agree with the woman who wrote the Times piece. It's all like watching Mariah Carey trying to be sexy. Embarrassing and sort of pathetic.
You know who's really sexy and erotic and classy? Take a gander at Nicole Kidman on the cover of the current Vanity Fair. I don't like to speculate but if I had to bet I'd guess she's wearing underwear.
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Sorry, but that Vanity Fair cover was the tackiest thing I've seen. You expect better from Nicole Kidman. If they had hidden the magazine title, I would have thought it was a Playboy cover.
Jerry Skinner -> Jerry Springer.
Indeed, and the SPRINGER show employs actors (of a sort); my workplace cafeteria would often have the show on in the corner at about the time I was picking up lunch and it was amusing seeing the same people on over and over again (not just the same type of people, but the same people...at least as much as I could tell from the attention I paid as I walked by). It was the happily vanished JENNY JONES show that famously led to the murder of a young gay man. RICHARD BEY might just've edged out GERALDO and MORTON DOWNEY, JR. to be the absolute worst of them...even what I've seen of THE BACHELOR or ROCK OF LOVE (which amounts mostly to their promos) is no worse.
And the soon to be folded humor tabloid is THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS, though I like the notion of a merger with THE WEEKLY READER.
The down-market ONION apparently isn't selling the way the actual gossip rags do, but we're promised a web-presence, for those who need their Bat-Boy fix and the musical isn't enough.
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