The Crush List November 2010

“The Crush List” is a list of my current favorite obsessions, updated monthly (or whenever I get around to it).

  1. Gwyneth Paltrow. To be honest I never had an opinion on her one way or another; I even used to get her mixed up with other sophisticate blondes like Cate Blanchett. But this girl can SING! She adopts various musical styles with ease, and puts her own twist on them, from Cole Porter to Country to Cee Lo Green. A preview clip of her upcoming “Glee” appearance and her stunning rendition of “What is this thing called love” in the movie “Infamous” had me sold. Please tell me she has an album in the works?
  2. Live show, it’s the 30 Rock live show! Although I’d seen bits and pieces, I only truly got  into “30 Rock” recently, and breezed through the entire series to date in a few weeks. Blending the different styles of cinematography and writing from the usual “30 Rock” and sketch shows like it portrays was a genius move. They also managed to fit in many of the series’ best guest stars to date, and  subtly change the east and west coast versions just enough to make them worth watching both.
  3. The Jeff Lewis 5-Minute Comedy Hour. The “Guild” actor’s online sketches are funny. While it’s not as good as “The Guild,” the offbeat, sometimes-vulgar show is worth the 5 or so minutes per episode. Watch “Date,” guest-starring the awesome Felicia Day, embedded below, or visit http://5minutehour.com/
  4. Skins. UK, not US. I can see why MTV wants to import the show. Other countries (like Canada’s Degrassi and this) have captured a flavor that is sorely missing from American shows like the 90210 reboot or any of the ABC Family/Disney channel fare. But I don’t have to like it. Part of the magic of the show is that it’s different. It’s not afraid of sex and drugs, it’s not tied to the individual stars (Skins has already gone through two changes to the entire cast unscathed), and of course they use obscure slang (like the title of the show itself, which loses half its meaning if you’re not setting the show in England). The US needs more good shows like Skins. But they are taking the same plot and changing just enough of the details to confuse current viewers. They switched the gay male character to a lesbian, which caused an uproar. (There are already 2 excellent lesbian characters that appear later in Skins, and lesbians are needed on TV just as much as gay men, but there are other plot considerations to removing the gay character). What they should do instead is start with an entirely new plot, but capture the essence of the original show. Don’t name ANY of the characters or make their relationships the same. Or better yet, show the original series here, and co-produce new episodes – pouring money into the original so that it can continue longer. Viewers have proved time and again they can like foreign shows – so why do the TV execs feel the need to consistently dumb down things for Americans?!  (Notes: shows that were originally produced in another language, or have not been widely seen by Americans, like the original “Ugly Betty,”are okay to co-opt for us. But leave the British/Canadian/Australian shows, produced in English, alone.)
  5. Avocado. I just have an obsession lately with avocados and guacamole. This fruit is way underrated.
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