The Casting Couch

The Casting Couch

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Seacrest Drowns the Emmys

HAHAHA...I told ya so, FOX.

As to be expected, the Seacrest-hosted Emmys tanked in the ratings this year. It was the 2nd least-watched Emmy telecast EVER. Ryan Seacrest just does not appeal to the adult public, so instead of drawing viewers in, it pushed them away with a vengeance. Ratings in the 18-49 demo were down by 17% from last year. Ouch. I hope Seacrest's ego isn't bruised too much...

For some really fun reading, check out the "Ryan Seacrest Awkwardness Meter" here, brought to you by PATRICK HUGUENIN of the New York Daily News.

Friday, September 14, 2007

my muse

Special Shout-Out to SUNNY "like the weather" LEE for inspiring so many of my posts this week!! She keeps me thinking :)

Celebrities: Untouched

It never ceases to amaze me the wonders that photoshop can unfold. In today's image obsessed society, I find it more and more important for people to see the face BEHIND the magazine cover or fashion photo shoot. Dove has done a great job of this with their Dove Real Beauty campaign as seen in the video below. For a closer look at the retouching of some of our favorite celebrities, please visit this site and click on "Portfolio." Scroll through the almost two dozen celebrities and see the real photos and the final printed product. With images like these, its no wonder young girls are starving themselves as young as 8-yrs-old to be beautiful. Beauty of this caliber is a truly unreachable goal. It really does not even exist in the natural world and yet people are still struggling to achieve it. It makes me sad.

MySpace TV Goes Online

While internet series have been taking off in a big way for awhile (with "Lonelygirl15" and "Sam Has 7 Friends"), MySpace's new series "Quarterlife" is the social networking site's first series to launch. While the previous internet series have been kinda fly by night endeavors, "Quarterlife" will mark the first series to be backed by a well-established set of Hollywood Producer/Creators: Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz ("My So-Called Life," The Last Samurai, and Blood Diamond). The series, which began as a pilot for ABC called "1/4 Life," was presumed dead after the network passed on it almost 3 years ago. MySpace has fully revived the series, hoping to bring it to life on Nov. 11th. It will consist of short 8-minute episodes to be aired weekly during a 24-hour window for a total of 36 episodes overall. The show will be available on the series' signature site as well. Due to the popularity of MYSPACE and its current status as a well-oiled marketing machine, the series is expected to do well. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it pans out come November. I have to admit, it looks pretty good. It feels a lot like My So-Called Life, which I just adored.
Quarterlife Trailer

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Oh, and did I mention that my little favey "frat boy" from GREEK Scott Michael Foster is starring in the series alongside the title character played by Bitsie Tulloch. Yay, Scottie!

**UPDATE 11/19/2007** NBC has just completed negotiations to air the "QUARTERLIFE" internet series on NETWORK TV starting sometime in early 2008 (once the series has aired on the internet in its entirety). It will be put together in the form of 6 one-hour episodes, a form its producers had originally intended for it to be aired in the first place.

Quirk, Kitsch, and You

There has been a bit of a backlash against American popular culture lately that I find to be highly entertaining. Last week famed designer Marc Jacobs sent fashions down the runway that produced an astonished and almost disturbed response from the fashion community. His fashions, always forward-thinking if not a bit odd, were particularly unique this season as they were inspired by the most popular characteristic of American culture at this time: Quirk. So quirky were his designs that some clothing appeared backwards, patterns mismatched, shoes slightly too small for its models, and the whole show done in reverse. This may have shocked the fashion community and even brought forth some unfavorable snickers from the audience, but I get what Jacobs is selling and I appreciate his momentum. He's able to embrace the kitschiness of our present culture while still working to perpetuate something new and interesting into the fashion world. This, you have to respect.

So what is Quirk and why has it rubbed so many people the wrong way? The Atlantic Monthly produced a fascinating article this month (found here) on the merits (or lack there of) of this American phenomenon. The contributing editor for this publication, Michael Hirschorn defined "quirk" as: “an embrace of the odd against the blandly mainstream. It features mannered ingenuousness, an embrace of small moments, narrative randomness, situationally amusing but not hilarious character juxtapositions...and unexplainable but nonetheless charming character traits. Quirk takes not mattering very seriously. Quirk is odd, but not too odd. That would take us all the way to weird, and there someone might get hurt." I have to say I love this definition b/c it captures that kind of American sensibility and tendency towards the strange yet sincere. There is certainly a sweetness to quirk that makes it resonate most with American audiences. Quirk is "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Flight of the Conchords." Its the newest YouTube sensation "Leave Britney Alone" and "Arrested Development" and "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizzou." Its comedy, its oddity, its fun, its heart-warming while still maintaining a little roughness around the edges. Its not American reality, but rather a play on American sensibilities and culture.

The problem I think people are having lately with "Quirk" is not that they themselves lack an understanding of its charm. Rather, it is the fact that this previously counter-culture-esque movement has now found its way into the mainstream. Nearly everyone has "Napoleon Dynamite" listed as one of the favorite movies on facebook these days, proudly dawning their "Vote for Pedro" tees. Nearly every college-aged minion can drop "Anchorman" quotes like its their job. This transition should come as no surprise as nearly every counter-culture movement finds it way into the mainstream eventually. Even the goths and punks of the world find most of the wardrobe that defines them at the billion-dollar franchise that is "Hot Topic." "Urban Outfitters" is another perfect example of this. Its always this notion of "selling out" that gets people all riled up over any elements of our culture, but that's just the way it goes I guess.

I have to say I embrace the heart-warming qualities of Quirk and am not so quick to write it off as the latest pop cult phase of our generation. Sure, it'll continue to gain momentum until it so saturates our culture that even I will be ready for something new. But for now, let's just enjoy it, shall we? Its better than the infamous mindless reality tv phase of only a few years before, don't you think?

Marie Digby...Traitor.

Marie Digby is a fake! A liar! A cheater!

She's the farthest thing from an inspiration or a testament to the magical qualities YouTube posesses in enhancing the American Dream.

Ugh, I feel so betrayed. Am I really surprised? Not at all. But it really sucks when someone successfully pulls the wool over your eyes. So I was shouting praises about this young lady here, and come to find out it was all an elaborate ruse perpetuated by her record label Hollywood Records. I'm too disappointed to elaborate, so please check out this Wall Street Journal cover article here and legendary music business afficionado Bob Lefsetz's response here. Both are very imformative, and overall very disturbing. This is what happens when I jump out of my area of "expertise" and into the fast-changing and ever complicated world of music.

SATC Movie

So as I'm sure you've heard by now, the new "Sex and the City" movie begins filming this week in NY. While my anticipation for this has been a long time coming, I have to say recent reveals have made me a little uneasy about the whole thing. If they're gonna do, they sure as hell better do it right. This show holds such a place in women's hearts having had such a lasting impact on how female television is made. This movie better live up to the same standards and innovations that its precursor did and that's all I've got to say about that. So what sparked this rant? Everyone's favorite shoe-obsessed waif Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) has a personal assistant...and she will be played by the lovely and talented Jennifer Hudson. This has commercialization written all over it...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Virtual Documentary

A few things: I adore documentaries. In general, I am completely freaked out by the whole phenomenon that is "Virtual Worlds." Now, some brilliant film-maker named Douglas Gayeton has actually combined the two! And I'm not talking about your usual documentary about people who are engaged in virtual worlds looking from the outside...oh no, Gayeton takes us INTO the virtual world of Second Life, working to create an entire documentary in the world itself through his virtual avatar. Absolutely amazing. The documentary, entitled "Molotov's Dispatches in Search of the Creator: A Second Life Odyssey" follows Gayeton's avatar Molotov Alva as he traverses through the Second Life world. This will be like watching an animated film, but will show "real" human interactions happening through online avatars. So much more than just chatting goes into these virtual worlds. Second Life, started in 2003, is already home to over 9 million users, many of whom make a real life business off of their virtual retail stores and real estate. The whole process is genuinely fascinating, slightly terrifying, and should really be a joy to watch. HBO has picked up the 35-minute documentary to air sometime next year. I'm definitely intrigued.

The Fall's Hottest New TV Stars

So after viewing nearly all of this Fall's hottest new network shows, I've decided to assess which aspiring stars seem to have the most breakout potential. The following actors are those that I feel really captured my attention throughout this whole pilot season. It was hard this year b/c you have so many "name" actors in the starring roles. Still, these relative unknowns really pulled out an awesome performance and really brought something new, fresh, and exciting to the screen. Could there be the next Hayden Panettiere or Adam Brody among them? I think so. These young hopefuls could easily become a household name by the end of the Fall Season if they play their cards right, so take note now:

The Girls
Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies)--Anna is just lovely, she has a real every girl quality about her and a true sweetness that makes her likeable all around.
Yvonne Strzechowski (Chuck)--Definitely the bombshell of the bunch, I was pleasantly surprised by Yvonne's acting talents as well. With such a sexy secret agent type role, she's sure to make waves.
Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl)--I just adore this girl, and watching the pilot she certainly pops right off the screen. While much younger than the other girls, I certainly think she captures your attention the most, much like Hayden Panettiere on "HEROES."
Michelle Ryan (The Bionic Woman)--While Michelle is already a bit of an established name, I really think this role could help to push her career to that next level. There's definitely an exposed vulnerability and yet strength to her character that works much like Evangeline Lilly on "LOST."

The Boys
Seth Gabel (Dirty Sexy Money)--So sexy with flowing charisma, this young man was by far my favorite this pilot season. I mean it caught me off guard how immediately taken by him I was. He has the weight and sense of danger that Josh Holloway had when he burst on the scene with "LOST."
Thomas Dekker (Sarah Connor Chronicles)--So young, innocent, and just plain adorable, Dekker's sweet romance with Hayden on "HEROES" definitely made waves. I hope he can grab as much attention on his own as well.
Tyler Labine (Reaper)--Everyone's all "ooh...Bret Harrison" (who I do love and respect), but I have to say, Tyler Labine really steals the scenes. I mean the guy is just so darn funny, and with a higher profile show the the previous "Invasion" I really think he can make a name for himself here.
Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl)--The next Adam Brody if he plays his cards right, Penn really caught my attention with his striking good looks and goofy charm. Hopefully he can maintain it throughout the series.

There's also the obvious picks: Bret Harrison on "REAPER," Lee Pace on "Pushing Daisies," Zachary Levi on "Chuck," Blake Lively and Leighton Meester on "Gossip Girl," the cast of "Private Practice," etc. Instead, I purposely picked a few people whose characters are a bit more under the radar, but who definitely popped right off the screen.