Thursday, March 22, 2007; 2:00 PM
When stars shave their heads, couch-jump, commit a fashion faux pas and commit random acts of tomfoolery, washingtonpost.com Celebritology blogger Liz Kelly shares the buzz, offers perspective and provides crucial links to juicy alternate news sources and, of course, takes your reaction in her daily blog.
Now join Liz each Thursday at 2 p.m. ET to gab about the latest celebrity pairings (and splittings), rising stars (and falling ones), "Lost," and get the scoop on the latest gossip making waves across the Web.
A transcript follows.
Before she started blogging about celebrities, Liz ran washingtonpost.com's Live Online section, where she enjoyed talking to really interesting people -- including some Post reporters -- on the phone. She produces both Carolyn Hax's advice discussion and Gene Weingarten's Chatological Humor*, which is currently on hiatus.
Liz Kelly: Happy Thursday afternoon from my backyard.
It seems like only yesterday that Britney Spears was shaving her head and checking back in to rehab, but surprise -- it's been a month and Ms. Spears checked out yesterday after "successfully" completing treatment. I'm still trying to square her suddenly "healed" self with tabloid reports saying she was caught macking in the bushes with some random fellow rehab inmate over the weekend. If true, I'm not exactly left with the impression that she's stabilized. But what do I know? Maybe random kissing is a sign of good health for Brit.
Speaking of macking, is Carmen Electra dating Joan Jett? I wouldn't be surprised... Jett isn't that big of a leap from the Dave Navarro, he of the well-coiffed-eyebrows. Alas, Carmen denies a budding romance.
Right after today's show, I plan to run out to the five-and-dime to pick up my copy of "Us" to read all about that mean Tom Cruise and how he's keeping poor Katie Holmes imprisoned. Apparently, she's so depressed and repressed that she spent upwards of $200K on a recent shopping spree.
Thank you to all who weighed in on yesterday's Evil Grimace post, which I know was a departure from the usual Celebritology fare. But sometimes it's just nice to take a breather from the beautiful people, ya know?
Last night's "Lost" was entertaining, which speaks volumes considering its recent descent into melodrama. Read the analysis, then we'll talk about it in the last 15 minutes of today's chat. If you used to be a die-hard "Lost" fan, but no longer watch, write in and tell me why.
I deserve to be thrown off the battlements of Blarney Castle for not wishing one and all happy St. Patrick's Day last week. Surely, it was that wee bit o' English blood putting me Irish down again. Still, by way of repayment, I offer this video -- sent to me by sometime Celebritology collaborator Lisa Todorovich, who isn't necessarily Irish but knows her way around a bottle of Jamesons.
Finally, a moment of silence for the "Late Show's" Larry "Bud" Melman (Calvert DeForest) who died on Monday at the age of 85. Here he is doing his thing in 1983.
Let's do this...
Fairfax, Va.: Liz, I'm curious about something that happened on "American Idol" this past Tuesday and wondered if, as a celebritologist, you might have some insight into what was going on.
When Ryan Seacrest was talking to Gina after her performance, he asked her something about what she made of the judge's comments. She started to reply with something about America and he cut her off quickly, saying something like, "it's okay -- don't say it. I know what you're going to say."
Well, _I_ don't know what she was going to say! Something taboo? Surely you have an idea.
Liz Kelly: I caught that moment, too, and it went completely over my head. Maybe Lisa de Moraes will have some intel by the time she chats with you tomorrow.
There's clearly no love lost between Simon and Gina and I'm thinking that Gina wanted to share something with us that perhaps happened off camera.
Fayetteville, N.C.: I've heard that Tom Cruise was very controlling with his women, even to the point of monitoring what they eat. I'm curious as to what you've heard about this? Also, I've read that Katie is being punished by the Church of Scientology for going against Tom about something. What's the truth behind this?
Liz Kelly: I don't know about monitoring food intake or the church of Scientology punishing Katie. What I have read is that Tom is a little concerned about the amount of money she's dropping at Barney's and wants her to reign it in. Some 'loids have gone as far as saying that he's taken away her credit cards.
I'll know more after devouring the print version of Us this afternoon. Anyone out there holding a copy and willing to share some tidbits?
Alexandria, Va.: Now now, Liz! First it was pleated pants on men, and now this. You are so so wrong about "Dancing With the Stars." It's great to have a show with a panel of judges that are technically qualified and coherent. It's fun to see people try something new who've already had their fifteen minutes of fame, instead of untalented youngsters seeking it.
But we chastise because we love.
Liz Kelly: Why am I not surprised that a champion of pleated pants is also a fan of "Dancing With the Stars?"
I kid because I love.
Chevy Chase, D.C.: Of course Carmen Electra is NOT dating Joan Jett! Joan isn't nearly freaky enough or tattooed for Carmen (witness: Dennis Rodman and Dave Navarro) But does Joan Jett date women? Why didn't I get the memo?
Liz Kelly: Well, I don't think she sent out a memo but as far as I know, yes, Joan is gay.
Liz Kelly: I'm thinking that everyone is out in their respective backyards judging from the number of questions we're (not) getting this afternoon.
Hollywood, Calif.: You change a few locks, and slide a tray of food into your wife's cage every now and then, and all of a sudden folks call you 'controlling.' Sheesh.
Liz Kelly: Hey, at least she's well-dressed for her confinement.
Washington, D.C.: Let's say a movie is being made about your life. Who do you cast to play you? Gene? Mr. Liz?
Liz Kelly: Gene/Ron Jeremy
Mr. Liz/Joaquin Phoenix
Me/Rachel Weicz (I have a girl crush on her)
Dancing with the Stars: I loved it and love that they're giving contestants two weeks before elimination. Who knew Cliff Clavin was so smooth after all those years of geekdom -- he's been "Springerized"!
Liz Kelly: It was hard to accept Cliffy as a well-spoken and even mildly witty guy who was not wearing a postal uniform. He does get big props for learning his routine in only two weeks (he was brought in as a last minute sub for Vincent Pastore).
Katie's limitation on shopping: Um, since when did they run out of money?
Liz Kelly: True, they are what we call "loaded" here in the backyard. But frequent $200K shopping sprees can put a dent in even the largest fortunes. Besides. What does she need all those clothes for when she hardly leaves the house?
Katie: I alternately feel bad and not bad for her.
On the not bad side: she ostensibly knew what she was in for and you're telling me that with two ex-wives out there she couldn't sneak off and make a discreet phone call to one of them? (Before Zenu tapped her phone, that is.)
On the bad side: 9 years and 11 months is a verrrrrry loooong time to wait for a payout. A squillon dollars isn't worth big of a chunk of a life.
Liz Kelly: Wait -- I can not imagine a situation where it would be appropriate for Katie to call up Nicole Kidman or Mimi Rogers and say something like "I'm considering having a child with Tom Cruise and I see here that he was with you from 1988 - 1999. I wanted to get your overall impression of his performance and assessment of his mental stability. Would you rehire him if given the chance?"
Though that certainly would have been useful.
Washington, D.C.: Re: Tom and Katie. Why hasn't someone like Oprah called him out on his behavior? Leaving aside the current controversy about shopping, he was controlling her access to her family and friends, never letting her talk for herself, etc. Isn't this the sort of stuff that YM and Teen were always telling us is a sign of an abusive relationship? Sure, nobody cares what us everyday people think, but shouldn't one of their friends get involved?
Liz Kelly: I am not a huge fan of Tom Cruise professionally or personally, but even I think we need a little more evidence before we accuse him of holding Katie hostage and treating her badly.
She does have a family, one to which she was reportedly very close up until the marriage and I can only hope that if something truly untoward was going down, they would take steps to get her out of the situation.
Your inside source: I love your chats, but forgive me, as a reporter on all things celebrity your source is, "I'll know more after devouring Us"?
So other than being on one side of the chat and us on the other, is there any difference between us about what we know in celebridom?
Liz Kelly: Easy big fella. I'm a blogger, not a feet-on-the-beat reporter. My vast network of sources, while robust, does not yet extend to inside Tom Cruise's house. So, until it does, I'll take my information where I can find it.
Takoma Park, Md.: Meant to post a comment after last week's chat but thanks for name-checking the Detroit Cobras and Amy Winehouse. I've been a Cobras fan for about four years now, and just got Amy's album and now totally devoted to her too. Wouldn't that just be the best tour ever? I realize we're supposed to want celebs to get help and go to rehab, but I sorta love that Amy said, "no, no, no."
Liz Kelly: Same here, Takoma.
Here's hoping the Cobras come back through town again soon. I missed their last two performances.
You're in trouble now: I'm sooooo telling Gene about the Ron Jeremy casting.
In other casting news, I didn't click on the link, but what part do you think Lou Diamond Phillips wants to play in the "Breakfast Club" remake? The principal? Hahahaha.
Also, Patrick Swayze as Michael Landon?
Liz Kelly: Ya, Lou Diamond wants to play the principal. So delusional.
Thank god that Patrick Swayze "Little House" musical is only a stage production at this point. I'm imagining the lines now: "Nobody puts Halfpint in the corner."
Arlington, Va.: I know this has been mentioned on at least two other chats this week, but it has to be said. Rick/Ricky Schroder needs to make up his mind. Either he is Rick or Ricky. There are no in-betweens. I don't care if others go by two names -- he is a celebrity and doesn't live by our rules.
But it is kind of funny that he goes by Ricky because it gives you the impression he hasn't grown up much from his Silver Spoon days -- much like Carlton Banks
Liz Kelly: I say embrace the Ricky. His childhood legacy really wasn't so bad as cheesy 80s sitcoms go. Mickey Rooney never shortened his name to "Mick" Rooney and he did just fine. In fact, he was one of the unexpected highlights of "Night at the Museum."
RE: Inside source: Fair enough. BTW -- It is hot when you say, "I'll take my information where I can get it."
Liz Kelly: Umm, okay. How hot is it when I say "You're kind of skeeving me out"?
Hmm...: Now that Tom Cruise is the Religious Nut Du Jour, can I go back to thinking Mel Gibson is hot?
Liz Kelly: Umm, no.
Despite the fact that he's got a relatively muddled outlook on life, the drinking seems to have taken a toll. Remember him circa "The Bounty" -- before the beard, before the bad movies ("Patriot," "Conspiracy Theory") and before the crazy?
Colbert update?: Hey Liz -- did you ever figure out where exactly Stephen Colbert lived in this area? I had e-mailed you about a Colbert family with eleven kids that lived down the street from me in Bethesda in 1964-65.
Liz Kelly: Ya know, I still haven't had a straight answer from him. But, I've only in the last few hours made contact with another source who I hope will push Colbert to answer us. I think he's trying to leave it purposefully ambiguous if you ask me.
Washington, D.C.: I'm amazed at how quick people are to assume the worst. Star reports that Katie is being "punished" and people jump to believe it? The woman is nearly 30 years old. She's not a child. She was with the guy for at least a year before she married him. If she chooses to adopt his religion, that's her choice. If she chooses to be his arm candy, that's her choice. If she chooses to spend all her free time at her stepson's basketball games and at Barney's, that's her choice. Until someone actually has evidence that he's a bad husband, I can't jump on this bandwagon.
Liz Kelly: But can you jump on a couch?
Anonymous: "I realize we're supposed to want celebs to get help and go to rehab, but I sorta love that Amy said, "no, no, no."
Liz Kelly: Same here, Takoma."
Ah, so an artist's self-destruction is A-OK in your book as long as you like the songs?
Liz Kelly: So touchy. Me, I meant that I love the song in which Amy sings that she won't go to rehab, "no, no, no." Unfortunately, addiction and emotional pain often make for some good music.
I hope she finds her way to a better place.
Washington, D.C.: Will K-Fed and Brit get back together?
Liz Kelly: Stranger things have happened, but I'm guessing no. Word is they've hammered out a custody agreement that will give Britney more time with the kids the more she proves she's stabilized her life and can be a responsible parent. That doesn't sound like a reconciliation to me.
Pittsburgh, Pa.: I saw that photo of Michael Jackson's kids that you linked to this morning, and I was surprised by several things about it. How much basic information do we actually know about Jackson at this point? Is he an American citizen? Does he have more kids than just Blanket? Is he Muslim (I saw him in an Abaya once)? Does he tour? Has he been replaced by a CGI construct by Robert DeNiro?
Liz Kelly: He has three kids -- Prince Michael, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II. As far as I know, he is not a muslim though he did wear an abaya when living in Bahrain to go out and shop, etc.
He is still an American citizen and may be planning a move back to the States -- Vegas, to be specific.
Just wanted to thank you: For the trip down memory lane yesterday afternoon. I too have fond memories of the McDonalds characters. I still miss the old McDonalds in Falls Church, it used to have stained glass windows of each of the characters.
Liz Kelly: You're welcome. Shout out to my childhood McDonald's on Franconia Road in Alexandria, kind of near Edison High School and the roller rink.
Sadly, McDonald's and I no longer get along.
Katie and Tom: The poor girl didn't have a chance. She had posters of him all over her room as a kid, then as an adult he's wooing her, showering her with all kinds of affection ... of course, she's going to fall all over herself to be with him. It's like a fairy tale come true. Seriously, if Simon Le Bon came knocking on my door right now, who knows ...
Liz Kelly: Oh, I so hear you re: Simon Le Bon. He was my pick in the band, too.
Celebrity spending: I guess deep pockets aren't bottomless. I heard that Britney Spears is feeling the squeeze after her divorce settlement to K-Fed.
Liz Kelly: Yes, that has been mentioned by some British tabloids -- that Britney is hurting for cash after the settlement and some unwise spending of her own. All the more reason to buckle down on that new album.
Calling Nicole: Sure, it's appropriate. Two reasons: first, two marriages plus an insta-realationship is not exactly a good record; second, given the whole marriage is basically a business arrangement, it could indeed be an impersonal performance evaluation convo.
Liz Kelly: What person in the first passionate blush of a relationship do you know that would consider such a coldly rational move.
Actually, I don't know that it is all that rational. We are all of us different people in different relationships. If Mr. Liz started calling my exes when we started dating I would have dumped him poste haste.
Falls Church, Va.: If you want to get Stephen Colbert's attention, you need to put his name in print. That will get him every time!
Did you see him sing with Willie? It was so rad. I love him. More than gene.
Liz Kelly: I think I'm on record as observing that Colbert is less than forthcoming about his heritage and obviously afraid of answering me.
Liz Kelly: Almost time to talk "Lost." Stay tuned...
Peter Noone: I went to Peter Noone's Web site and he had some blogs about "American Idol." He said he used to like watching Paula Abdul videos when he was in highschool.
I don't get it -- how old is he? I thought he was a singer from the 60s not born in the 60s.
Liz Kelly: Hmm. Maybe he meant his kids used to watch Paula's videos?
Arlington, Va.: So this probably belongs on deMorae's chat tomorrow, but -- WHY IS SANJAYA STILL ON AI?
Good lord, the boy may be nice and all but he CAN'T SING OR PERFORM.
Thank you for listening to vents like these.
Liz Kelly: There is a theory that it is Howard Stern's massive fan base keeping Sanjaya on "Idol"... just because.
Please, lawd, please....:
Can't somebody do something about the mess that is Dina Lohan? And I quote (from People):
"Dina also reveals that she led a couple of interventions for Lindsay in the past and tried to convince her daughter to go to rehab. 'But that's not for the public to know,' she says ..."
Then WHY are you telling People magazine!? But wait! There's so much more!
"Why the media fixation on her club-hopping image? Lohan suggests that it's because she looks like one of Lindsay's heroines, Ann-Margret."
Sweet baby Jesus, words fail me. The woman is delusional.
Liz Kelly: Ya, the more we hear from and about LL's parents, the worse I feel for the girl and for her sibs. Daddy's a repeat offender who was just released from jail and mom is basically another skank in her entourage. It's amazing she's managed to make any good career choices ("Prairie Home Companion" at all).
I wish Drew Barrymore, who so successfully transcended toxic parents and addiction, would pen a how-to for future generations of young Hollywood stars.
Living Island: Miss Liz:
See this Web site for the dirty little secret behind the Genesis of the McDonaldland characters:
Basically, McDonald's asked Sid and Marty Kroft to create characters for an ad campaign. Ultimately, McDonald's told Sid and Marty they weren't interested, and then sleazily ripped off the characters and design from H.R. Puff'n'Stuff for their McDonaldland ads.
The Krofts sued and won. The court's opinion is a tough read for you non-lawyers (i.e.: humans) out there, but the judge's description of the similarities between the characters of McDonaldland and Puff'n'Stuff is worth the effort:
Liz Kelly: This is fascinating. Thank you. I didn't have time to read all the way though so, tell me, did the Krofft's also outline an original of the Grimace character?
Seattle, Wash.: Do you know of Kate Walsh's (Dr. Montgomery) plans for a spin-off show off of "Grey's Anatomy"?
Liz Kelly: Apparently an episode of "Grey's" later this spring will serve as a pilot for a show based on Kate Walsh's character. And Lisa Kudrow is rumored to be a possible member of the cast.
Washington, D.C.: That should be Friday's list -- which childhood crush would you still rush out to marry if they showed up at your door?
Liz Kelly: Hmm, possible, though I have a special treat planned for tomorrow. Not quite a Friday List, but definitely reader driven.
We'll return to our usual Friday lists next week.
Katie's shopping: Maybe Tommy wants to save his money to send to the space aliens.
Liz Kelly: Yes, because you really only need so many Jimmy Choos in space.
Liz Kelly: Okay, so on to "Lost."
Washington, D.C.: Why was John Locke all wet when he got off the submarine? He was dry when he was inside it to plant the explosives. He probably wouldn't have been able to open the hatch to get out if he had submerged it.
Do you think he could have piloted the sub out of sight/around the corner, swam back and then blown up the end of the dock? I can't think of any other reason why he would have been all wet, which the writers must have done on purpose.
Liz Kelly: Ya know, I noticed that, too. All I could figure was that he had (for some unknown reason) chosen to attach the explosives to the bottom exterior of the sub. Maybe just to make things harder for himself and prove what a tough customer he really is.
Romeo and Juliet?: The Tail Section posted a theory about next week's episode saying that Nikki gets bit by a spider, goes into a coma, and gets buried because they think she's dead. Then -- in that classic Shakespearean twist -- Paolo kills himself out of anguish, and Nikki rises from the sand on the beach.
Liz Kelly: Surely, you jest.
Zurich, Switzerland: I've been a big "Lost" fan since the beginning but I've found the quality of the show has declined significantly over the last six episodes. What used to be interesting plot developments and character arcs now just seem contrived and stale. The quality of the writing isn't up to par for me.
Have you heard others with the same complaint?
I'll still hanging on -- but if I don't get impressed again I may just drop the show.
Liz Kelly: ABC is seeing a decline in "Lost" viewership, yes. But for me the real proof that interest is waning is the dwindling number of folks commenting on the Thursday morning "Lost" analysis on the blog. That means even formerly die-hard fans are checking out. I hope Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are paying attention.
Washington, D.C.: "L O S T" question: when Tom brought Jack in to talk to Kate, and he told him to be careful because people would be listening, do you think that was a friendly tip cause he's starting to warm up to Jack, or a warning for them to not start any funny business?
Liz Kelly: I think that he and Jack must have some kind of understanding. Remember, they were playing football at the end of last week's episode, so there's clearly some kind of male bonding taking place.
Ron Jeremy: Okay, so I just Google Images-ed Ron Jeremy to make sure I had an image of your Gene actor firmly in mind. Now I need electroshock therapy to try to scrub a few photos from my brain. Go ahead, try it.
Liz Kelly: Tee hee.
Boston, Mass.: Hey, I know John Edwards isn't exactly Britney Spears, but what do you make of the Edwards's announcement today that they will continue campaigning despite Elizabeth's diagnosis?
I have always had tremendous respect for both of them, but I thought it was too much of a to-do to call an entire press conference for it. It just could have been a simple press release.
I'm sorry ... was this question too serious for this chat?
Liz Kelly: I would have been surprised if Edwards had dropped out of the race.
I watched their announcement and, as I was during the 2004 campaign, I was again struck at how genuine and open those two are. Elizabeth Edwards is an interesting contrast from some other political wives... that live within the beltway... and require Secret Service details.
As for the press conference -- I think Eliz. Edwards said it herself -- a press conference allowed everyone to get a look at her to see that she doesn't look or act sickly.
Silver Spring, Md.: My problem with Lost lately is that it has become almost impossible to tell whether a character's seemingly un-characteristic acts are intentional, or just bad writing.
Liz Kelly: That's a really succinct way of describing this show's identity crisis. Thanks.
Burke, Va.: I can't watch "Lost" anymore because it's on tooooo late! When our new baby goes to sleep, we're out too. I loved "Lost" when it debuted at 8 p.m., tolerated the switch to 9 p.m., but petitioned ABC to move it back after it went to 10 p.m. (No, I don't watch "Idol.")
Liz Kelly: Ya, it's almost too late for me, too. I wonder if ABC would consider moving it somewhere a bit more watchable.
Washington, D.C.: Watching last night's episode I thought up a new theory about the overall reason why they're on the island and why the others took away 'innocents' like the children and our favorite flight attendant. Remember "The Game" with Michael Douglas in the 1990's ... how Sean Penn set up his brother and made him go through hell just so he could 'find himself?' Anyway, along those lines, what if our Losties were all set up by Dharma to be on the plane and survive on their own as a punishment for their past deeds. Those not on this list just have to wait it out until they can all go home. Seems far fetched, but hey, it's lost.
Liz Kelly: Yes, I think "The Game" could make an interesting direction for the "Lost" folks to take this story. Loved that movie.
Speaking of the children. Jack told Kate last night that they're safe and we saw them a few episodes back, but where are they. Last night Sayid was chained to a swingset, so do they live in the main Others compound?
Locke's dad: Obviously the orginal Sawyer, from whom Sawyer got his name, right??
I also have this other theory that has something to do with the whole time shifting thing -- what if Locke is "the boss" or the guy in charge that Ben referred to back in the hatch, only it's the Locke from the future and now the Locke from the past is catching up to that? Just a thought ...
Liz Kelly: Lots of folks saying this, but with Jack and Claire already revealed as relations, would a Sawyer/Locke brotherhood just be a little too much to take?
Hanov: "on Franconia Road in Alexandria, kind of near Edison High School and the roller rink."
As if the Grimace wasn't enough of a 70s flashback - Good times at that Franconia Rd roller rink! But "my" McDonalds was over the Commerce St bridge in Springfield.
Liz Kelly: Groovy.
Yeah, right: Oh, puh-leeze. Howard Stern wishes he had as much pull as all the A.I.-conspiracy buffs are attributing to him. The man made a massive mistake going to satellite. He has about 12 listeners, and four of them are in the studio with him.
Liz Kelly: Okay, that's such a wrong characterization. Stern's satellite listenership is massive and growing every day. He almost single-handedly turned the tables on XM to the point where XM's only option for survival is a proposed merger with Sirius.
In the interest of full disclosure, gotta say I'm a big fan and the show has improved a thousand-fold since moving to satellite. Not to mention all the other perks of the satellite radio -- like commercial free music and 24 hours a day of Little Stephen's underground garage.
I can't remember the last time I listened to terrestrial radio... except of course for Post Radio on Mondays.
Silver Spring, Md.: Come on ... Lost is SOO YESTERDAY. Let's talk about "Heroes"! That show is actually worth watching. "Lost" is so confusing and the plot stinks ... who cares what was in the hatch, or whatever.
Liz Kelly: You're not alone in that view, methinks.
Crystal City, Va.: Regarding "Lost" -- I was a fan, and have officially stopped watching, and I feel such relief! I had to let it go ... I feel like the writers are truly making plot lines up as they go along, with no clear conclusion in mind ... very melodramatic, very scattered, and ultimately tiresome. Sayonara!
Liz Kelly: Thanks for sharing.
Lay off Tom Cruise: We need SOMEONE to play Phil Spector in the movie (and if you read Ronnie Spector's autobiography a few years back, you'll see what I mean)
Liz Kelly: Well, I'll give this some thought over the weekend.
Thanks for all the questions today. Some good stuff and I hope to answer a few in Monday's comment box.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's special Friday feature, which is a surprise, but which will make you feel good and even make you feel alright.
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