In the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, and indeed folks, this is my last Friday Buzzkills as a single man. Next week I'm taking the plunge and finally marrying my long-suffering girlfriend, who puts up with my constant negativity and cruel mind games like a real trooper and thus deserves something for her troubles. Anyhoo, after today, Friday Buzzkills will be taking a two-week hiatus while we celebrate our connubial bliss, so enjoy this one last screed from the cyber-pen of an angry young man, because when I return, it will be as a flaccid, easy-fit Dockers-wearing married schmo. (If that's not a Buzzkill I don't know what is.) To love!
- You may have heard that scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted, starting with plans to replace all over-the-air television broadcasts with digital signals in 2009. Unfortunately, bureaucracies like the FCC are still going to be as archaic and slow as a wooly mammoth according to market research firm Centris, who just released a report saying that after the switch around 9.2 million households will not receive a signal even if they do everything the FCC tells them to. All those with antenna-based TV sets had previously been assured that picking up a digital-to-analog converter would solve all their problems and drag them kicking and screaming into a glitch-and-freeze-filled tomorrow. "Nuh-uh!" says Centris, who estimates that millions of viewers in 10 different markets won't see anything due to geographically defined "receptivity gaps." Fortunately, the affected markets are just little shitholes like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Seattle, and New York, so really, who cares? Guess those hicks will just have to learn to read, amIrightfolks?
- Those TV signals should be loud and clear for the still-rebuilding New Orleans, however residents there shouldn't expect to see a broadcast of Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Trouble In The Water anytime soon: The acclaimed documentary about African-American survivors of Hurricane Katrina is apparently having trouble finding a distributor because it is, in the words of ever-eloquent studio executives, "too black." On his blog, indieWIRE editor Eugene Hernandez relates an anecdote of one studio head asking the filmmaker, "Why aren't more white people in the film?" Indeed! Why did you have to put so many black people in your movie about black survivors of a catastrophe that affected primarily black people, Mr. Blacky Black Filmmaker? Couldn't you at least have put in some of the footage from when Sean Penn singlehandedly rescued the city? Or maybe digitally inserted some Caucasian faces in those Superdome crowd shots so white audiences wouldn't be uncomfortable? That's not racism–that's just good marketing.
- Speaking of questionable tributes to beleaguered Africans, let's have a little Friday Buzzkills poll: Who would you pick to headline a concert honoring former South African president Nelson Mandela? (Provided Bono said no and Bob Marley were still dead.) If you said, "I would think that a man whose name has become synonymous with the crusade for racial equality, freedom, and peace would best be feted by a white guy rapping about strangling his wife and raw-doggin' 15-year-old girls," then congrats–you think just like the organizers of Mandela's 90th Birthday Bash, who recently picked Eminem to headline the June 27 Nelson Mandela tribute at London's Hyde Park. Eminem–who these days may or may not be all fat and gross and stuff–will return to the stage after a three-year absence, closing out a day of performances from confirmed acts Queen, Annie Lennox, Razorlight, and Stevie Wonder, while Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith play host (what, no room for Wicked Wisdom?). This, of course, begs the question of which is a crueler punishment: 27 years in prison, or three-and-a-half minutes of "Just Lose It"?
- The fact that Eminem still commands respect and a ridiculously high-profile stage slot after dropping a lame album and then falling off the face of the earth for several years must be pure torture to his spiritual ancestor Vanilla Ice, whose life by contrast only gets more and more pathetic. Last night the man his wife calls Robert Van Winkle when she's begging the cops to arrest him was jailed on a battery charge after Laura Van Winkle told police he had kicked and hit her (possibly to the extreme). Laura later retracted the story, saying he had simply pushed her after he "started yelling at me for going out to buy a bedroom set," but told investigators that she "just wants a divorce"–not much of a surprise, considering this is Ice's second arrest for spousal abuse. Ice can now only have contact with his wife over the phone, and can only see his kids through a neighbor, which is actually pretty depres–hey, who wants to dance?!
- Unfortunately, while it has the U.S. beat in retro-soul songstresses and Ricky Gervais-related output, the U.K. definitely has a dearth of bubblehead reporters who don't know when to save their ace material for Appletini night with the girls, so there probably weren't any impromptu versions of "What A Waster" to greet the news that Pete Doherty has been sentenced to 14 weeks of jail for violating a probation order. While his record label didn't say how exactly the famously drugged-up rocker broke his probation (handed down last year after he pled guilty to possession of crack, heroin, ketamine, marijuana, and huge fucking balls), prosecutors are expected to have used the "I mean Jesus, just look at him!" argument–which, for the benefit of any law student who happens to be reading this, always overrules the "Er, but Up The Bracket was decent, right?" defense.
- Meanwhile, America's own raccoon-eyed Pete (Wentz, that is) has his own earthshaking announcement: He plans to flush whatever subatomic particle of "punk cred" he has left by tying the knot with lip-synching enthusiast Ashlee Simpson. The couple ended all the torturous speculation about their relationship that has surely kept you from eating and sleeping properly with a statement posted to People magazine's website directed at their fans (you know how the kids love reading their People!). If you'd like to send them a gift that won't net you a visit from Homeland Security, Wentz has some ideas: "I love Jessica Simpson's stuff, especially the shoes," he told Fox News. "I dance around my house in them all the time." Thanks for the mental image, Pete. It makes for a nice pairing with the below photo, kind of like chasing finely aged Roquefort with a snifter of stomach acid. (P.S. Can't wait to hear all the love songs you two crazy kids come up with between now and the divorce!)
- Forget whether America is ready for an emo power couple–CNN wants to know if audiences are ready for an "emo Bond." Hey CNN, you know what we're really ready for? The word "emo" to die an undignified death. So please keep using it as much as possible until everyone's too embarrassed to so much as hear it, just like you did with "bling." You're off to a great start.
- Speaking of an undignified death, the folks over at Artie Lange Deathwatch have been somewhat jokingly following the corpulent comedian's "imminent demise" for a while now, much to Lange's consternation, but over the last nine months or so the joke has gotten less and less funny as the MadTV star and Howard Stern sidekick has apparently been on a bender to end all benders. With his weight ballooning to well over 300 pounds and his most recent TV appearances–including an awkward Conan segment where Lange regaled the crowd with hilarious tales of his out-of-control coke and crystal meth habit, and this tragic bear-meets-feeder love story involving cupcakes and blindfolds on The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch–Lange seems more than ever to be on the John Belushi/Chris Farley diet of excess and fatally self-destructive behavior. Yesterday things got, remarkably, even worse, with Lange erupting on that morning's Howard Stern show, physically attacking his personal assistant "Teddy Microphone" and audibly upsetting everyone in the studio before abruptly resigning, saying, "I'm not a good person. I gotta leave." The audio feed is below; unfortunately it cuts off before Lange quits, but the squirm-inducing cry for help kicks in around minute three.
- Woe to any celebrity who passed on this week in the shadow of Charlton Heston, but please reserve a small amount of appropriately clinical grieving for actor Stanley Kamel, who died Tuesday at the age of 65. Kamel was a familiar face on TV, having long played bit parts in shows like Hill Street Blues, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and L.A. Law, though to us he will always be Mafioso Tony Marchette on Beverly Hills 90210, who came as close as anyone has to killing Luke Perry and definitely deserves credit for trying. Of course, most people these days will recognize him as Tony Shalhoub's incredibly supportive therapist Dr. Kroger on Monk. Who will Monk turn to now?
Have a super weekend!
[Friday Buzzkills will return May 2.]