Celebritology Live: Jessica Simpson; J.D. Salinger; The end of 'Ugly Betty'

Liz Kelly
Washington Post Celebritology Blogger
Thursday, January 28, 2010; 2:00 PM

Join Celebritology blogger Liz Kelly LIVE every Thursday at 2 p.m. ET to gab about the latest celebrity pairings (and splittings), rising stars (and falling ones), and get the scoop on the latest gossip making waves across the Web.

Celebritology Live Archive


Liz Kelly: Afternoon. I need to start today's show with breaking news from Us Weekly: Oops! Jessica Simpson farts during business meeting. As a colleague here at work just pointed out, stars... they really are just like us!

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the

Susan Sarandon man-pig spanking video

I wrote about in the blog today. I'd hate to think there is someone out there who hasn't had seen it yet.

In other news, Mel Gibson -- with his new movie "Edge of Darkness" and an indication that he's ready to take on more film roles -- seems to be in the midst of a full-on comeback bid. Will he make it?

Let's get started...


Nosy Parker: Celebritology-wise, when a notorious recluse like J.D. Salinger dies, is it like the proverbial tree in the forest that no one's there to hear fall?

Liz Kelly: I'm thinking not in this case. No matter how much Salinger wanted to not be of this world, someone whose book is required reading for generations of high school kids -- kids who grow up to kind of revere the guy -- can't just die unnoticed.

And, as is often the case, his stubborn desire to live the life of a recluse only added to his mystique.

J.D. Salinger dies at 91





Irvine, Calif.: Any idea why Brad Pitt has that hideous goatee and gnarly hat look going on? He looks ridiculous. I'm finding it hard to believe I ever found him attractive. Please let me he's growing out the beard for a movie role and not just folly.

Liz Kelly: Nope. It certainly doesn't seem to be tied to any upcoming film roles. Maybe he just likes it. Remember, he's been through some scruffy phases in the past -- "12 Monkeys"-era Brad was particularly dirtbaggish. Maybe he just likes it.

Or maybe he's doing it to drive yet another wedge in his relationship with Angelina Jolie, who we know only likes clean-shaven men.


I hope Brangelina sticks it out to save us all from Brad + Jen reuniting stories: ...Seriously the "Lonely Jen wants Brad" storyline will just be too exhausting as a newsstand magazine reader. Ugh.

Liz Kelly: I am with you. Star magazine already ran with a story claiming Jen is ready to take Brad back as soon as that nasty Angelina spits him out.

I'm no Jennifer Aniston fan, but I do feel for her in this instance. I know these people are somewhat desensitized to tabloid headlines after a while, but that has got to be at least a little bit annoying or embarrassing.


A Masterclass in the Science of Celebritology...: by none other than loopy old lady Cindy Adams. Seriously. Her take on the powerlessness of people around actors to say "no," and the celebrities' voracious hunger for more of everything is the most trenchant analysis on the subject I have read in ages. A must read.

An excerpt: "The Hollywood mantra. First it's, "Who's Angelina Jolie?" Then it's, "Get me Angelina Jolie." Next up, "Find the next Angelina Jolie." After clawing out of anonymity, these are people who live behind gates, behind dark glasses, behind spokespeople. Behind yes men. With the industry perks -- CDs, DVDs, marketing, product placement, videos, international distribution, percentages, books, documentaries, TV shows -- actors make more than $20 million a picture. With that kind of money, who's going to argue with them? To tell them, no. You can't. You can't do this, can't do that. Even parents keep still. Parents need that income. An assistant can't tell them. An assistant wants the salary and Rolodex and connections and access and castoff clothes or guys or freebie goody-bag gifts. And managers want the commission."

Liz Kelly: Thanks for passing along. Can you share a link to the rest?


washingtonpost.com: Cindy Adams: Brangelina doomed (N.Y. Post, Jan. 26)


Why do Hollywood journalists agree to play along with PR flacks with obviously gay person+beard fake realtionships?: Are the scoops they receive from PR folks in the future that awesome? When are we going to get to the point where the celebrity machine stops feeding fake relationship stories to the American public?

Liz Kelly: But the speculation can be half the fun.

Seriously, tho, I'm not supportive of outing someone who isn't ready to come out of his or her own volition. Is it sad that some actors and other celebs work overtime to obscure their true lives behind a flurry of fake romances and planned events? Yes.

Maybe the better issue to examine is why these people feel compelled to lie. Could it because middle America wouldn't be all that gung-ho about a gay action hero?

So what really needs to change?


Arlington, Va.: I can't believe Ugly Betty is getting the ax. But isn't it counter productive for a network to move a show with low ratings to Friday night, and then Wednesday, and expect fans to tune in or keep up with all the moves (the show initially ran on Thursdays)? The target audience was probably not around to watch it on Fridays.

Liz Kelly: Coming to ABC next fall: Ugly Jay.

I'm not an expert on TV timeslot shifting and success. So better to save this question for Lisa De Moraes's Friday chat. I am sorry to see the show go, though, truth be told I only watched the first couple of episodes. Love America Ferrera, but it just didn't rise to the level of a "show I must watch." Another ABC show that did/does: "Modern Family."


Liz Kelly: Producer Rocci (sitting in for Paul today) wants me to tell you about a J.D. Salinger-themed chat we just added for 2:30 p.m. ET.

He'll post a link. I'd just like to remind you that you can follow more than one chat at a time.


washingtonpost.com: J.D. Salinger chat at 2:30


Washington, D.C.: What do you think will happen to Brittany Murphy's family's law suite against Warner Bros.?

Liz Kelly: Well, I'm thinking it's a long shot and the fact that he (along with her mother) is even pressing this case only adds to my skeptical impression of the guy. For anyone who missed it in the Morning Mix, Murphy's husband is claiming that Warner Bros. is to blame for Brittany's death because she was fired from a film project, which then caused her to stress out and have a heart attack. I'm not buying it.

But this sounds like the perfect question for the Celebritology legal team to tackle. What say you?


Jessica Simpson: Maybe she can be the new spokesperson for "Beano" or "GasX?"

Liz Kelly: Now you're cooking with gas!


Those Magazines that say Jen: is going to take Brad back must think very little of her. Most people get over their exes after 5 years, those who don't are usually in a lot of therapy. She seems to be pretty well adjusted, so I'm guessing her willingness to take him back might be a little overstated.

On a totally different note, having read Dreamcatcher (which was a wonderful book) any respect I had for J.D.S. is long gone.

Liz Kelly: Re: Jen. I would tend to agree except for the fact that she herself has dredged up the break-up every single time she has a new movie to peddle. So she's hardly blameless when it comes to keeping the whole Jen vs. Angie story rolling for the past five years.


"Could it because middle America wouldn't be all that gung-ho about a gay action hero?": I dunno. I buy Neil Patrick Harris as a huge womanizer. And there's a popular British sci-fi show with a bisexual lead.

Liz Kelly: Agreed. Neil Patrick Harris is a perfect example of a guy who has managed to cross over into mainstream acceptance.

But remember, NPH too,

didn't choose the timing

of his outing.


Above the Apple Store: Liz, what did you think of the Angelina Jolie/James Haven video tribute to their mother? I thought it was really sweet and moving. I can't be so cynical as to think it came from any other motive. But why the need to post it for one day?

Liz Kelly: It was very sweet and the footage was really an amazing look at Angelina's young life. I was as surprised as you that she and her brother were willing to share something so intimate with the whole wide world. I can only guess they viewed it as somehow expressing how much their mother meant to them in that they were willing to give up some of the comfort of their privacy in order to honor her.

I would link but the video was removed from YouTube after only a few hours.


The adoring fans: Any Andy, Opie, and/or Page photos for their adoring public today? :o)

Liz Kelly: Shoot, I'm at work today and don't have any new pix on me. I'll work on getting some good stuff for next week's chat.


Glenwood, Md.: I seem to recall hearing that Brittany Murphy was fired from the production because of her husband's behavior (not hers). Wouldn't that mean that the ultimate responsibility lies with him?

Of course, he can't be expected to hold himself accountable for his own behavior...that would just be silly.

Liz Kelly: As I recall, both Murphy and her husband were rumored to be behaving erratically on the set of "The Caller."


Tinseltown: We in the spanko community (yes, there really is a community) thank Susan Sarandon. While we believe we are the largest ridiculed group, as it is practiced by a large proportion of the population, we are sad that few will admit this interest. Thank you Susan Sarandon, and we hope more celebrities will express themselves similarly.

Liz Kelly: I'm a little bit scared now. Spanko community?


Way to go Mike!: Can I just say that I was VERY surprised and happy to see Mike Rowe on Forbes Most Trusted Celebrities list? The list is a dumb concept, and the rest of the nine were totally obvious A-list people (or at least A-list at one time) who have been around forever. Then there's #4. Who knew an opera-singing, dirty-job-doing, truck-selling Maryland guy could be listed ABOVE Sally Field and Morgan Freeman. Congratulations to him!

Liz Kelly: Yep, way to go, Mike.

I did think our list of the

least trustworthy celebs

was much more edifying.


Jessica "Toot" Simpson: I don't know which is worse: That Jessica Simpson unapologetically farted during a business meeting, or that she confessed to being a fan of Dutch ovens.

And no, I'm not referring to crockery.

Liz Kelly: Is there anything good about Jessica Simpson at this point?


Reston, Va.: Have you seen the trailer for Hot Tub Time Machine?

What the heck is John Cusack thinking? Does he really need money that badly?

Liz Kelly: I'm really confused. I was worried when he agreed to co-star with Julia Roberts in "America's Sweethearts." Then there was the horrid "Serendipity." Then, he kind of disappeared for a while, only to turn up in "2012." I figured he needed the cash. But, man, if anyone is ripe for a career reboot ala John Travolta in "Pulp Fiction," it's Cusask.

Movies editrix Jen Chaney is hoping that perhaps "Time Machine" will turn out to be smart and funny in a "Hangover" kind of way. I've seen the ads, though, and I'm not so hopeful.


Brittany Murphy: Something's rotten in Denmark. 32-year-olds don't generally drop dead of a heart attack unless they have a congenital heart condition, are anorexic, or have a drug problem. The husband is really not doing himself or the Murphy family any favors at this point.

Liz Kelly: Again, we're still awaiting the toxicology report.


Quatch Cave: Perhaps we can create a list of Celebrities We Would Most Like to Spank Us.

Liz Kelly: Or not.


Celebrity Death Pool: Surely Pete Doherty has to top the list. Bringing over a dozen hits (if they're called that) of heroin into a courtroom for a DUI hearing?

Liz Kelly: The guy does have a certain reckless panache. I'll say that for him.


New York, N.Y.: It seems like it's tell-all time for the former staff of "Page Six." Did you see Paula Froelich's article in New York magazine a couple of weeks ago? The Casey Johnsons I Have Known

Basically, she quit the gig when she couldn't stand the dirty feeling of fame-pimping people like Casey Johnson.

Liz Kelly: I did read that and although I'm sure Froelich is totally on the level here, is it a case of maybe being sorry a bit too late? I mean, not only is she trying to say she's sorry, but she's continuing to share dirty little details about those she covered while doing it.


Nosy Parker: How about a shout-out to ScarJo for the rave reviews that she and cast of the revival of Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge" are garnering on Broadway? Proving that she's more than just another pretty face (etc.).

Liz Kelly: Consider it done.


Jen and John: Who needs Brad when John Mayer claims he still has a thing for you?

Liz Kelly: Judging from John's continued reputation as a ladies man, I'm not putting too much credence in his regret over losing Jen. If anything, the guy is just being nice.


Miramax?: It closed? What what?

Liz Kelly: The word from movies editrix Jen Chaney: Without the Weinsteins, it stopped being a major player. But that's sad.


Movies editrix Jen Chaney is hoping that perhaps "Time Machine" will turn out to be smart and funny in a "Hangover" kind of way. : I don't see John Cusack as "smart and funny" anymore. I see him as angry and bitter. He needs to find a role we can believe him in.

Liz Kelly: Say Anything 2?


Not a Fan of the Kardashians but...: I liked that Kourtney came out and said that the OK mag cover was completed redone. On the Mail Online they show the actual picture that was taken and then one that was on the cover. They even changed the color of their clothes. I just don't understand how these mags get away with this, all it does is make women obsess about their weight even more!

Liz Kelly: Sure, score one for Kourtney. But that whole family is built of silicone and Botox, so I wouldn't start calling her Nature Girl or anything.


Jersey Shore: So, have the Jersey Shore kids renegotiated a contract or have powers-that-be recognized that there are enough ill-mannered (insert preferred descriptor) to keep franchise going with whole new pack of faces?

Liz Kelly: According to The Hollywood Reporter a deal could be in place by week's end locking the cast into a second season. The last offer from MTV was $10K an episode per person. Not a bad day's work for a bunch of yahoos that sleep until 1 p.m. and seem to be mainly occupied with hooking up.


Hot Tub Time Machine: is an actual movie? I saw an ad, but I thought I'd hallucinated it during a late-night Cheetos bender. (Or maybe that was how they wrote the script.)

Liz Kelly: No, it's for real.


Couplings: In the what does she see in him category, I am stunned (and spending way too much time mulling over) January Jones and Jeremy Piven. ugh!

I love the Jon Hamm and "Kissing Jessica Stein/Reporter from 24" coupling though. Except I think he'd like me more.

Liz Kelly: At first I was totally astounded by the fact that January Jones might be attracted to Jeremy Piven. But the more I think about it, the more I think they might be a perfect couple. Both strike me as liking life in the shallow end of the pool.


Scorched earth: So -- it's a bit old, but I still like the phrase: "hot mess." But I want to propose a new phrase for when someone graduates from mess status into something truly absurd and pathetic.

Man, I used to think that Snooki chick was a hot mess -- but now I think she's scorched earth!

Liz Kelly: Oh come on -- Snookie's not that bad. She's just, umm, different.


Say Anything 2? : What, when he's back in the states 20 years later, with no girlfriend, living the life of a bitter couch potato who talks to himself? That I could believe.

I don't believe him as funny, quirky romance guy. There's an aura of hatred around him.

Liz Kelly: No -- it's 20 years later and having failed in his bid to become a champion kickboxer, he takes over his father-in-law's nursing home, finding happiness with the geriatric set. Lily Taylor co-stars as the quirky, but lovable rehab nurse who helps one stiff senior get back on his feet.


Jessica Simpson and dutch ovens: I'm losing the will to live.

Liz Kelly: Yeah, between Jessica's toots and Susan Sarandon's pig spanking, this is a rough day.


Celebritology lawyer weighing in: Brittany Murphy's ex will have some trouble proving causation. Did stress cause her to die of a heart attack? And if it did, what caused the stress?

Liz Kelly: Good point. This could be a long, protracted court battle.+


Any news on Jeff Conaway?: I'm assuming he made it through the surgery after the terrible fall he had. I heard brain damage and several broken bones. Haven't seen anything since -- any word?

Liz Kelly: Haven't seen any post-surgery updates. I did note that he made provisions -- should he die -- to be seen into the hereafter via a viking funeral.


I adore you Liz: Thank you for your Kardashian comment. You made my day which was pretty crappy before reading your chat.

Liz Kelly: Dude, likewise.


Celebrity Match Made in Hell: Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse.

Liz Kelly: Oh, you must not have seen this when it surfaced two years ago:


Shallow end of the pool: Apparently January Jones once dated Aston Kutcher; I think that makes Piven a step up. I'm grateful I know how to swim.

Liz Kelly: I dunno. I think I'd have to back Ashton in a fistfight.


Say Anything actress: Ione Skye? Where did she go? Donovan's daughter, I think...???

Liz Kelly: Well, she did give birth to a baby girl back in September.


Odd Person Out?: The Hangover was smart and funny? Really?

I saw it as a bad knock-off of Dude, Where's My Car?

As in, "didn't laugh once during the movie" bad.

Liz Kelly: Wow. Tough crowd. I almost hemorrhaged, I was laughing so hard from start to finish.


Falls Church, Va.: So, Tila Tequila's Eggo is supposedly preggo... Are we going to go there today or just wait and see what happens? Has there been a sighting of the supposed ultrasound?

Liz Kelly: Yep, Radar Online posted an ultrasound sent to them by Tila which she claims is proof of a bun in her oven.


Jones: I know she used to date Josh Groban. Not sure about the Ashton thing though.

Liz Kelly: I remember the Ashton thing being mentioned in an interview a few months back. Didn't he (Aston) tell her he didn't think she had much of a future in acting or something?


Did you see that SNL digital short?: When I saw "Motherlover" on SNL last May, I kind of though Susan Sarandon was really getting into it (almost to a scary degree, but hey, it's Justin Timberlake). Now that we know she was just getting started...that video seems less amusing and more like the opening scene to a horrible fetish movie.

When did she and Tim Robbins separate again?

Liz Kelly: Over the summer, but we didn't hear about it until November.


Detroit, Mich.: Hey Liz,

I was out Saturday night hanging out, and happened to check Facebook on my phone during a lull. A Facebook friend posted that Brangelina had split. I then told the friend I was with and we both combed TMZ, Us Weekly, and People on our phones to try to get confirmation (and we had BlackBerrys, not iPhones).

Does this make us devoted celebritologists, lame, or both?

Liz Kelly: Well, in my book it just makes you hungry for knowledge and that's a good thing, right?


Seattle, Wash.: Maybe I'm behind the celebri-curve, but the other day, I was watching "Ghostbusters" on video with my kids. And it occurred to me that I hadn't seen Rick Moranis in a long long time.

Turns out that, after tragically losing his wife to cancer in the early '90s, he took a break from acting to raise his kids, and decided he didn't miss it, and wasn't coming back. And hasn't.

So good for him for getting off that train.

Liz Kelly: Thanks for the Rick Moranis update, eh?


into the hereafter via a viking funeral...: Unfortunately most health departments make this hard to pull off, but if some municipality would bend the rules, someone would make a mint offering the service.

Liz Kelly: I, of course, immediately went to Google to see if there was anyone out there offering the Viking option. All I could find was this page -- which I assume is some kind of satire -- that purports to be a funeral home set to offer Viking funerals starting last year. They estimate the costs -- after homeland security fees, a ship to burn, costume rental, etc. -- as upwards of $30,000 per ceremony.


Pregnancy Central: Tila Tequila claims there's a bun in the oven? I hope it's not a Dutch oven.

Liz Kelly: It all comes back to Jessica Simpson.


Last week's chat: male hot mess over 45: What, no Mel Gibson? He's a total hot mess over 45 if I ever saw one...

Liz Kelly: Right you are.


Washington, D.C.: Liz, I think I saw you today around lunchtime -- noonish, crossing 15th St. at L? If so, you're a lot shorter than I thought!

Liz Kelly: Gee thanks. I'm not exactly a little chocolatier.


Liz Kelly: Okay folks, that's it for today. thanks for all the fun, as per usual. I'll be back next week -- same time, same place. See you then.


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