writing down the sun

why katherine heigl was rude, but right

Posted in celebrities by annie on June 14, 2008

Katherine Heigl, who plays Izzy Stevens, a doctor at “Seattle Grace” hospital in the ABC show “Grey’s Anatomy” has ruffled some serious plumage with her decision to remove her name from Emmy consideration — and to be quite open about it when asked why:

β€œI did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention,” she said. β€œIn addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”

My thoughts: Yeah, you’re right. But Lord almighty do you have to be so damn blunt about it?

For those who don’t watch the show — well, it’s painful lately, so I can’t blame you. With the sole and notable exception of the season finale, which was right on the money, the show’s quality has suffered from what appears to be a serious lack of commitment and focus. Where is it all headed? Nobody apparently knows and that’s the problem. It ain’t the acting. It ain’t the directing. It is, I’m sorry to say, the writing — and the … well, whatever you call whoever’s in charge of making the big picture CEO decisions about the show’s master arc does. That’s all over the place this year.

The character of Izzy in particular has been impacted by this lack of focus. In the show’s universe, it wasn’t that long ago that she lost the love of her life, but this year she was thrown into an ill-advised, completely unforeseen, and totally character-inappropriate relationship with, of all people, her best friend George. That was mercifully aborted almost as soon as it began but not before driving an even greater wedge between the show and its loyal fans.

So, yeah, Heigl’s right when she says she wasn’t given appropriate Emmy-quality material this year. But she should have kept her yap shut as to “why.” Why? ‘Cause she looks like a grade-A, royal queen-bee bitch now, that’s why. And while she obviously has the potential for quite a successful movie career (as opposed to the show’s ostensible star, Ellen Pompeo, who will surely be forever playing Meredith Grey, no matter what show she’s in), that future is dependent on other people deciding “Hey, we like her, let’s hire her.”

And that, for celebrities, as for the real world denizens like us, depends on behavior. Yours. Mine. Heigl’s. We teach people how to treat us, but we also teach them in large part how to feel about us, too.

There’s a charitable fraternity-organization for business people called the Rotary Club. I don’t know much about them except that whenever I have to make a court appearance for a client, I drive past these “Burma Shave”-esque signs they put up on the side of the road headed into Conway. They exhort me to, before I say something (anything!), answer these following questions:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build good will and better relationships?

Y’know, I mock those signs every time I drive by (just a little — in a good-natured way), but there’s something to be said for holding one’s tongue when the answer to one or more of those questions happens to be “no.”

And you can probably put this one in that “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” category too. We’ve been hanging out there a lot lately, haven’t we?

Source: “Grey’s” Source: Heigl’s comment a slap in the face


i am tempted …

Posted in celebrities, what i'm thinking now by annie on May 27, 2008

While I generally love my life here on the SC coast, and have lived east of the Mississippi my entire life (in one case, just barely east, but … still), I am lately overcome with this nonsensical urge to pick up and move.

To Los Angeles.

I don’t know where this is coming from, mind you. I’ve always considered myself sort of anti-everything we pseudo-intellectual types think L.A. is all about. I’ve always thought there were three kinds of people in the world: New York people, L.A. people, and every-place-in-between people. I’ve always considered myself firmly in the NYC camp.

So why this sudden urge to haul ass to Hollywood? My acting career is well and truly done. I have no impulses to revive it. Swear to God.

It’s not the weather — we get similar weather here (maybe a bit more humid, and also there’s that whole hurricane thing, although L.A. does have the earthquake thing to balance it out).

I know exactly one person out there — an 85-year-old friend of my late mother’s. So it’s not an abundance of homeys calling me westward.

I’m not a big celebrity freak (though I do like making fun of them — but hell’s bells, I can do that here, too).

What gives?

Why the L.A. pull?

I just. don’t. know.

It’s very curious.

random thoughts, the tv edition

Posted in celebrities, old friends, tv by annie on March 11, 2008

legal disclaimers

I saw Canterbury’s Law last night. Well, actually, this morning, as I’d taped it on DVR (how did I survive before DVRs?). I was very happy to see that it (mostly) got the law right. I have this “thing” about TV show runners who create these lawyer-centered shows (and I’m talking to you, Berlanti, & your Eli Stone writers) without a single thought to the most basic legal realities. My thing is I hate them. They need to stop, now.

strokes must stop

I’m glad to see this new focus on strokes in women. I suppose due to recent information released to the press, we’ve seen several articles (here’s one) about the subject, how the rate’s increasing (though still small), how to avoid them.

My father’s life, and thus the lives of all my immediate family members, including my own, were inexorably altered by his stroke of the hemorrhagic variety my senior year in high school; my mother suffered a series of transient ischemic attacks in her later years that left her searching for my name at times.

So: quit smoking, get your blood pressure checked and managed if necessary, and take a walk every day, if you do nothing else.

there can be only one …

Ghost Hunters vs. Paranormal State: No contest. Ghost Hunters. Every time.

“old” as in past. not old as in … you know. old.

Something’s apparently in the water. I’ve talked with several friends lately who, like me, have been compelled to get in touch with old friends through the internet. All this has been going on in the last few weeks, actually. I’m sure it goes on all the time — it’s just strange that it’s hitting my circle of friends independently and all at once, without any planning or hints.

and the walls come tumblin’ down

Finally, in keeping with the theme of this “random thoughts” entry: tonight is the fifth in a line of seven new episodes of Jericho that represent the magnificent power of the people to make network television brass dance like puppets for peanuts. DANCE, PUPPETS. DANCE!

Earth to Alec Baldwin

Posted in celebrities by annie on April 21, 2007

“Although I have been told by numerous people not to worry too much, as all parents lose their patience with their kids, I am most saddened that this was released to the media because of what it does to a child. I’m sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand. (Although I hope you never do.) I am sorry for what happened. But I am equally sorry that a court order was violated, which had deliberately been put under seal in this case.”

– Alec Baldwin (statement published on his official website, http://www.alecbaldwin.com, which is as of this writing inaccessible presumably due to traffic spikes)

I’m not much of a celebrity-watcher. I never really saw the point, honestly. I figured most of the truth never saw the light of day, thanks to hard-core managers and minders, and the stuff that was published was either sensationalized, wildly puffed, or just downright false. Plus – nothing personal, guys – but you celebrity types always seemed a little silly to me. Caught up in stuff that had nothing to do with my life, you play out these little dramas in the public eye, then throw temper tantrums about how you have no privacy. But it’s that same lack of privacy that made you a star and brought you those countless gift bags people keep throwing at you, so – that’s a puzzle, to me.

Yet this little tirade of Alec Baldwin’s definitely caught my eye. When I first heard of it, on some random radio morning show, I came in mid-story and so spent the first several hours thinking he’d said these awful things to his ex-wife. I was vaguely aware he used to be married to Kim Basinger, and there was some drama going on over the inevitable divorce, but it was rather surprising to me that (A) someone so used to having his private life splashed across tabloid pages would ever lose control like that on a recorded medium and (B) someone who has to be so very careful about his public image now, thanks to an ongoing courtroom battle, would lose control like that on a recorded medium. But, I reasoned, marriages generate a lot of hate when they fail, and who am I to judge if the man loses his cool and runs off at the mouth like that to his ex?

Then, I found out the truth. This was directed at his daughter. Who is not even yet in her teens.

Now, I’m in. Now, I have something to say.

I say this as the mother of a young girl, age 7 going on 30, who is absolutely capable of pushing every single button I have and testing my patience to the very ends of its limits. Have I ever lost my cool with my kid? Uh – yeah. A lot. Have I ever said things I regret? Of course. Have I ever called her a “pig” – much less a “rude, thoughtless” one? Or told her she has no “brains” or “common decency”?

Never. Not once. Nor would I ever.

And this is what separates us from the celebrities, I think uncharitably, realizing this construct places the famous on a slightly lower branch of the animal kingdom from the rest of humanity. That’s too harsh. I’m sure not all celebrities would do this to their kids. I’d like to think none of them would – that Baldwin is some aberration, a genetic throwback to generations of celebrities long past, that homo celebritus has evolved since his kind roamed the planet. Yet in Baldwin I see the manifestation of what I think is the root cause of the issue with celebrities, no matter what the nature of the trainwreck they find themselves at the center of: they’ve started believing their own bullshit.

I think it may happen this way: perfectly normal human being hits Hollywood (or whatever center of insanity serves as the locus for the industry said human being is drawn to). PNHB works hard, achieves some modest success, whereupon the entourage descends. Stylists, PR reps, managers, agents, lawyers, hangers-on – and this creates the all-elusive buzz. Once the buzz starts, there’s really no going back. You’ll either ride the train to celebrityhood or you’ll fall off, crash and burn and wind up on an E! TV “True Hollywood Story: Where Are They Now?” special.

It’s on that train that the transformation happens. PNHB goes from “perfectly normal” to … not. From “human being” to “celebrity.” And they begin to believe the lines that those hangers-on start feeding them, and the inevitable result: a celebrity with an overblown sense of entitlement. That entitlement is what causes tirades like Baldwin’s, I think. They honestly think the rules just don’t apply to them.

And then, when it all blows up in their face? We get the Non-Apology. Baldwin’s really is a textbook example. Note how he never really apologizes for what he said to his daughter, although he does manage a weak “sorry” for “losing [his] temper.” He reminds us that all parents “lose their patience” (a true enough statement but one which in no way describes what he did), and that the real villain here is the one who released the tape and thus injured his daughter.

Call me crazy, Baldwin, but I think what injured your daughter was hearing her father call her a rude, thoughtless pig who lacked brains and common decency.