The naked truth about Jenny McCarthy's new book
Charter readers of The Glutton (may God have mercy on your souls) will remember my very first column consisted of me having to take my son to an Ice Age 2 birthday party and subsequently freaking out over the saturation of irreverent talking-animal CGI films. Well, this past weekend he was invited to another movie birthday party involving more computer-generated critters, this time in Over the Hedge. However, I learned from my mistake, and decided to drop him off instead of sitting through it and driving myself cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. (Of course, this meant walking around in a New Jersey mall for a few hours, so I suppose it was a case of pick your poison.)
In any event, the wife, daughter, and I instead browsed through Target for a while (purchases included a cheese grater, Dora sneakers, and a big box of Dreft) and then went for our first ever meal at a Chevys (the chips and salsa were so good I almost forgave them for practically bringing out a whole marching band to sing ''Happy Birthday'' to a nearby table what is this, freakin' Benihana?). The problem was, even after all of that, we still had about an hour to kill before the movie ended, so we hit the Barnes & Noble to waste some time. Things started off pretty grim (not to mention ironic) when my daughter brought me to the kids' section and insisted I read her no joke an Ice Age 2 book. It was about to get worse: As we were walking out, my wife stood frozen in utter disbelief. In front of her stood a big ''New From Jenny McCarthy'' display.
Now, I know the way these things work: It's a little something called co-op advertising, which basically means that the book company pays for the prominent placement. It's not like the Barnes & Noble tastemakers (wait, is that an oxymoron?) have singled out Jenny McCarthy as being a particularly notable wordsmith. This is pay-to-play territory. But it was somewhat disturbing nonetheless. Disturbing in that it was not simply a ''From Jenny McCarthy'' sign, but a ''New From Jenny McCarthy'' sign meaning the woman actually has a catalog of literature to choose from. She's downright prolific!
After the initial shock came the stage 2 shame spiral. Believe it or not, I've actually had inquiries from publishers and agents about writing a book (maybe not particularly smart publishers and agents, but publishers and agents nonetheless), but my answer has always been, ''Don't have time, and don't have anything to say over 1,000 words that readers would find even remotely interesting.'' (And for those keeping track, yes, this column is over 1,000 words...sorry about that.) So, basically, I have motivation issues. Apparently, Jenny McCarthy does not. Apparently, it is easier for a former Playboy Playmate and MTV sidekick to crank out books than a professional, seasoned journalist. (Did you kinda chuckle when I described myself as a ''professional, seasoned journalist''? I know I did.) The point is, it's a tad humiliating.
By the way, the ''new'' book being displayed was Life Laughs: The Naked Truth About Motherhood, Marriage, and Moving On, which follows in the grand footsteps of Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth and Baby Laughs: The Naked Truth About the First Year of Mommyhood. I believe the next installment in the franchise is to be titled McCarthy Laughs: The Naked Truth About Why I Keep Insisting On Using the Word ''Naked'' In My Titles to Remind Horny Guys That I Used to Be an Annoying Playboy Pinup.
I suppose for this story to have a happy ending, seeing this Jenny McCarthy display would inspire me to finally get off my tush and start coming up with the next great American novel, but truth be told, as I left the Barnes & Noble, all I could think about was sneaking back into Chevys to score some more chips.
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
Every once in a while oh, who am I kidding, more like every other night I find myself watching something truly horrible...and continuing to watch it. The latest show I simply cannot cut the cord on is VH1's Supergroup. This features former metal gods Ted Nugent, Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Jason Bonham (son of Led Zeppelin's John), and Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard) forming a band and living in a house together. I never even liked any of these bands to begin with (although I did see Jason Bonham's Bonham open for the Cult once), so why do I care about watching them now? Well, Ted Nugent is crazy, so I guess that's one reason. And Sebastian Bach seems to be living on his own planet as well, which, as far I as I can tell, he can pretty much reach just by sticking his arms in the air because he is so freakishly tall. But still, nothing happens on this show. I mean, seriously nothing. They try to add some drama by bringing in stylists and marketing people in a blatant attempt to create some tension, but really it's just silly. Yet I am obsessed with my inability to look away. Somebody please help me! I need an intervention!!!
Last week, Dawn wrote in asking for my list of TV Shows Criminally Axed Too Early. That's a little hard to define, so I've modified it a bit to include only one-season wonders. So, Dawn, I hope you can make do with The Top 5 TV Shows to Never Make It Past Season 1.
1) Freaks and Geeks (1999)
I've pimped this coming-of-age dramedy so many times over the years, I don't know what else to say about it except this: Best. Show. Ever.
2) Bands on the Run (2001)
Easily the most underappreciated reality show, this VH1 program had four bands tour the country, competing to sell the most merch and get the most fans to their gigs. Interesting side note: A few of us EW folk were lucky (crazy?) enough to go out for drinks with bad boys Flickerstick on Sept. 10, 2001, the night before their first big New York City gig. Obviously, that show never happened. Neither did their career.
3) Harsh Realm (1999)
I was instantly hooked by this drama from X-Files guru Chris Carter about a military virtual-reality training program taken over by a renegade general (played by Lost's Terry O'Quinn with a hilarious moustache). So, naturally, the bastards at Fox pulled it after only three episodes. (Six more later aired on FX.) Truly addictive stuff for you serialized sci-fi fans out there.
4) The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (1993)
It's science fiction! It's a Western! It's a comedy! It's all three! Bruce Campbell rode off into the sunset way too soon. At least it's finally coming out on DVD. And co-creator Carlton Cuse certainly has bounced back in a big way with Lost.
5) My So-Called Life (1994)
Honestly, my wife will kill me if I don't put this on the list. I recently went back and watched some of these episodes again after realizing Survivor's Shane Powers was in the pilot. The guy is actually pretty good.
Honorable mentions: The Ben Stiller Show, Undeclared, Action, and The (live action) Tick. What do all these honorable mentions have in common? Write in if you think you know the answer.
Dalton, loved your write-up of Karate Dog, and looking around at the many, many MANY horrible movie and TV pilot ideas out there, I also often wonder how did someone PITCH THAT and not die laughing halfway through? On that note, what's the WORST concept for a movie or TV show? (I always think of My Mother The Car and Leprechaun in the Hood but I know there's gotta be worse ones out there. Clint Chico
Oh, Clint, I must disagree wholeheartedly: Leprechaun in the Hood is perhaps one of the most genius concepts to ever make it onto film. A rapping leprachaun chugging 40 oz. bottles of malt liquor? Sign me up! As for the worst TV concept, My Mother the Car is pretty ludicrous, but, dude, I give you two words: Cop Rock.
Hey, Dalton, my family is getting another dog next month and we're trying to think of a name for it. I'm a huge Gilmore Girls fan and loved that Lorelai named her dog after a celebrity (Paul Anka). We want to do the same thing, for a sitcom character. Any thoughts? I was thinking Winnie Cooper (it's most likely going to be a female), but everyone shot that down. Who knows, if all goes well maybe I can train it to be a karate dog. Michael Mellini
Okay, this is cheating a bit because it's not an actual character per se, but if you want to go with a TV name, why not rock a little Shasta McNasty? C'mon, you don't want your dog to be some poofy, artsy-fartsy diva, do you? To me, Shasty McNasty immediately calls to mind a certain joie de vivre. It calls to mind the type of spirit who will pee on any damn fire hydrant they feel like. It also calls to mind Jake Busey and his ridiculously enlarged gum line, but that's another story. Plus, if you get sick of the name, you can simply make like UPN programmers and shorten it to Shasta.
Dalton, re: your top blaxploitation film list allow me to get in the Glutton Club reader-spirit and say... you blew it, man! No Across 110th Street (1972), with Yaphet Kotto versus Anthony Quinn plus drop-dead theme from Bobby Womack? And you passed up an opportunity to print the title of the granddaddy of all such films, Melvin Van Peebles' Sweet Sweetback's Baad Assss Song (1971)? I am shocked. Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly editor-at-large
Not as shocked as I am, Ken, that one of my coworkers actually reads this column. What's next, is Time Inc. head honcho John Huey gonna pop by with his Top 5 West Coast Gangsta Rap Anthems? (Man, does that guy love his N.W.A.) As for your blaxploitation nominees, both are definitely worthy of consideration, as is your nomination of Profit for the one-season-wonder list.
Seriously... I can't possibly be the ONLY person who asks you to actually count DOWN your top 5 list? That drives me NUTS and makes me not want to read this, and I enjoy reading this. Throw me a bone here. Who cares about your 5th best of something when you've already revealed the best??? CM
Ummmm…I don't know how to break this to you, CM, but yes, you are the only person to ask that. As to why anyone should care about my fifth best, I'm not even sure anyone should care about my first best, but the fact that some of you do warms my heart and leads me into a false sense of fulfillment that maybe just maybe those years of sitting through mind-numbing made-for-TV movies and Revenge of the Nerds sequels may have actually been productive somehow.
Since you brought up Kristen Baldwin, what ever happened to Five to Watch? Last episode I remember involved you getting fired and leaving with your suitcase while Kristen nervously ate an entire bowl of candy beans. I was a big fan of the three or four episodes I remember. Angelina L.
Holy crap! Angelina is officially breaking it down, people! For those of you unfamiliar with Five to Watch (i.e. 99.99999 percent of the population), Kristen and I did a short-lived series for AOL in which we profiled shows worth watching for the upcoming week. They cut us loose after about 12 episodes and notice that I did not put it in the Top 5 Shows to Never Make It Past Season 1 list. As for Kristen, she is a big-shot assistant managing editor at the magazine now. She sits in the office right next door and we both call each other on the phone because we're too lazy to walk over.
And if you are too lazy to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, you can just throw your questions, comments, and quibbles my way by filling out the handy-dandy form below. All hail technology!