Joaquin Phoenix, Katy Perry, 'DWTS,' more -- Celebritology Live

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Jen Chaney
Thursday, September 23, 2010; 2:00 PM

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Jen Chaney: Much to talk about today -- Joaquin Phoenix's appearance on Letterman, the Katy Perry/Elmo controversy, the fact that Boone from Lost is our office. So enough jibber-jabber -- let the chat begin!

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Lindsay Lohan: Lindsay should do DWTS. After all, they offered it to Bristol Palin. She's not a star and certainly doesn't have any talent (besides riding on her infamous mother's coat tails and milking her 15 minutes of fame).

Jen Chaney: Honestly, I don't think it's a bad idea. But Lohan needs to get her life together first, as evidenced by the fact that she's back in court tomorrow for failing a drug test.As far as DWTS goes -- how right was I about the "Dirty Dancing" references?? They hit "Time of My Life" in the premiere, used "These Arms of Mine" from the movie as Grey's dance song and included gratuitous crying over Patrick Swayze. I can't wait until next week, when presumably Grey will perform to Mickey and Sylvia's "Love is Strange," while reminiscing about all the great times she and Swayze had making "Red Dawn."

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Boone stalking: Hmmm.... the chat is starting late and Boone is at the WaPo office.... coincidence?

Paul Williams: Ian Somerhalder talks oil spill, Twitter, his 'Sexy Beast' status, 'Lost' and more

Jen Chaney: Hmmm ... could be.So far, Somerhalder has not been given a tour of the office. I'm just waiting for the embarrassment that will ensue if he walks by my desk and sees that his face is part of my screensaver.

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Joaquin Phoenix: Bottom Line: does the year-long charade hurt or help his career?

Jen Chaney: I definitely don't think it hurts. And the fact that Clint Eastwood wants to cast him in that J. Edger Hoover movie is evidence of that.Maybe a few people will feel like they were duped. And perhaps some will note that "I'm Still Here" didn't do very well at the box office. But I think most will admire his commitment to playing this "role" and happily continue offering him parts because he's a good actor. And whatever he does next as his first return to real movie acting will automatically get some buzz around it.

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byoolin: I'm pretty sure there's a word missing from the phrase "Boone from Lost is our office," but that's hardly a question. Neither is this: you've done an admirable job flying solo while ol' Liz Whatsername was off on mat. leave. Now, Inquiring Minds Want To Know: did the Elmo/Katy thing get kiboshed because the Sesame Street people were worried that parents were going to ask why Elmo kept using the word "motorboat," or did he try to take some pictures from unusual angles?

Jen Chaney: Ah, byoolin, you're right. The missing word is ... in! In my excitement, I forgot all about prepositions. (Although I will say this: if Boone from Lost was our office, I would be here ALL. THE. TIME.) Perry -- I think some people online expressed concern that her outfit seemed a little inappropriate. I'll delve into this further in our next question, which also touches on the same subject. good news: she's back next week. And that means we can resume the blog as nature intended, with two entertainment-obsessed heads instead of just one.

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Katy Perry: I like Katy Perry a lot, and don't consider myself a prude at all. But when I saw the still from her Elmo song, I couldn't believe the outfit. What were they thinking? The song is cute (my 5 year old sings it, but doens't quite know all the lyrics) especially with a learning opposites spin. Any chance they'll reshoot? (I really hate how the act like they were blindsided by this. How many people were there during filming and not one though it would be good for her girls to be under control?)

Jen Chaney: I hear what you're saying. And in my post earlier this week, I implied that the outfit might not have been the best choice.But I don't think it's so offensive that it should have been pulled from broadcast. It's more funny for the wrong reasons than genuinely offensive.I also suspect that in person, Perry's dress may not have looked so suggestive because there is nude-colored fabrice above her chest. In the video, though, you can't see that very well.And this also may be a case of Perry's provocatively spunky image preceding her. Moms and dads may want to keep their little ones away from any and all things "California Gurls"-ish.

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Idol's Judges : Hi Jen, I know American Idol is kinda Lisa de Moraes's domain, but what's your take Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are celebrities. Musicical artists, yes, but not really starmakers a la' Simon Cowell. Anyway - I think it's celebritology question, this J-Lo and S-Ty thing.

Jen Chaney: There was so much talk beforehand about who would or would not be a judge that I already am bored of the whole thing. I'm not an "Idol" fan to begin with, and I'm not sure Tyler or J.Lo will do much to inject new life into the enterprise.Of course I could be very wrong. If Lopez brought her "Out of Sight" co-star George Clooney onto the show, I might be vaguely interested. Odds of that happening? Zero.

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Sesame Street: Is being asked to host Sesame Street like being asked to host SNL? Does the person do multiple skits throughout the show, or just a song?

Jen Chaney: No. Celebrities routinely appear on Sesame Street, usually in little songs or sketches. There are several more examples of other celeb appearances from the upcoming season in the post I linked to earlier.

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Paul Williams:

Paul Williams: If you didn't think I was going to link to this video, you haven't been reading this chat for very long.

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Washington, DC: If Sesame Street thought Katy Perry's outfit was too revealing, why didn't someone in the costume department fix that, or was it not a problem until after they finished filming and editing? And why would it even matter?The target audience for the show would more likely react to cleavage by thinking, "Ah yes, breast-feeding, I was doing that last week," rather than, "Horror upon horrors, ladyskin!" I don't even like Perry and I feel really gross defending her, but come on.

Jen Chaney: Again, I suspect the dress didn't telegraph in person the way it did in the video.And as I noted before, I don't think it's that it's terribly shocking or anything. It's more that the sight of Perry in that outfit just seems sort of funny given that she's on a kids' show. And that doesn't offend so much -- at least not me -- as distract from what's going on in the video.Too much is probably being made of it at this point. That being said, I agree, a different outfit probably would have been wise. She's not spilling out of it, but Sesame Street, it's probably wise to go a little more conservative. Clearly.

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Bill and Ted: I am very excited at the prospect of Bill and Ted Adventures 3. But they have to retire the phone booth, and dear Rufus (G. Carlin) is gone, and those two feckless boys are a bit long in the tooth now. Maybe not such a good idea as I wonder how their innocence has survived? What if they're homeless? Or worse, what if they are hedge fund managers?

Paul Williams: I think it would explain a lot about the economy if Bill and Ted grew up to be bond traders.

Jen Chaney: It would indeed, producer Paul.If they do a Bill & Ted 3, I guarantee it would involve Keanu and Alex Winter playing the parents of two very Bill & Ted-esque sons. And maybe the sons would travel back to learn about history from the '80s, when "Excellent Adventure" was released.Hey, maybe I should write this screenplay!

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American Idol: Can we do a poll? Used to watch and will now, used to watch and won't now, didn't watch but will now, didn't watch and still wouldn't evenif you paid me...

Jen Chaney: Good idea. For the time being, let's do a survey in the chat: do Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have any bearing on your decision to watch "American Idol" this season? Operators are standing by and eager to hear your opinion.

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Mstreet: Big Bird doesn't even wear pants! Where's the outrage over all that plumage on full display?

Jen Chaney: I'd also like to state, for the record, that both Steven Schirripa and Tony Sirico from "The Sopranos" appeared in a "Sesame Street" video. And they were flashing all kinds of cleavage and cursing up a storm -- no one batted an eyelash.

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AI judges: One local L.A. station's entertainment reporter called Tyler the former leader of the biggest American rock band ever.Aerosmith bigger than the Beach Boys, Doors, Eagles, Chicago, Air Supply, The Monkees, etc.?And Jennifer Lopez doing a weeky TV gig? Think she would have done this 5 years ago?

Paul Williams: What exactly is your pro-Air Supply argument?

Jen Chaney: Yes, biggest American band seems like a stretch. I mean, look, they're no Def Leppard.And to your question: no way.

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Washington, DC: "Moms and dads may want to keep their little ones away from any and all things "California Gurls"-ish."They've also had Jason Biggs on Sesame Street...think about what he's famous for. Think about the ONE SCENE that everyone knows him for, regardless if they've seen the movie itself.

Jen Chaney: True. Colin Farrell is also on the upcoming season, and his past behavior has not exactly always been exemplary.But Farrell isn't holding a flask in his segment and, as far as I know, Biggs didn't show up on Sesame Street with an apple pie. With Perry, that dress -- even though it isn't that revealing by broader, everyday standards -- reminds people of Perry's provocative image. And that makes people uncomfortable, apparently.

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Gervais vs. Elmo: And, as Ricky Gervais wanted to know, why does Elmo wear pajamas to bed when he's naked the rest of the time?

Jen Chaney: Great question.Oh, and if you want to talk provocative clothing, don't even get me started on Abby Cadabby.Honestly, this is the most pre-season press Sesame Street has probably gotten in a long while.

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Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez: they both annoy me. Now that I have a DVR I'll always have a gazillion options before settling for Am-Id.

Jen Chaney: So that's one no on the "Idol" question.BTW, correction: I should have used Bon Jovi as my example in the previous "greatest American band" question. Def Leppard is of course British and therefore disqualified from consideration, despite the genius that is "Foolin'."

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American Idol: Never watched. Never will. Never 'got it.' And the last thing I'd choose to spend an evening doing is watching more washed up has-beens like STy and JLo. I know. I don't really belong here, do I?

Jen Chaney: I'm kinda with you. So yes, you totally belong.

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William & Theodore's Satisfactory Outing: Bill and Ted's kids find the old phone booth covered by a tarp in the garage. Never having seen a phone booth before, Bill, Jr. and Ted, Jr. climb in and adventures begin. A younger version of George Carlin (maybe Sam Rockwell?) plays Rufus, Jr., the post being inherited within the family....

Jen Chaney: Oh, we're so writing this.

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Jennifer Anniston: Did you see her on "Cougartown" last night? Maybe not a face made for high def? She looked so swollen and not her usual perfect.

Jen Chaney: Shoot, I missed "Cougartown." I knew I was forgetting something. I had the audacity to leave my house and hang out with a friend last night, and the main thing on my mind was: must get back in time to see Joaquin Phoenix.I've seen Aniston in high-def before and she usually looks fine.

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And Def Leppard: was/is British!

Jen Chaney: I know, I know. I corrected myself. had a brief brain freeze.

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Joaquin Phoenix: I know we're all going to say "I knew it!" But I had a feeling the whole time that Casey Affleck wouldn't have participated if Joaquin was truly on a downward spiral. The whole thing seemed kind of stupid really. If people want to compare him to Andy Kaufman fine, but I never liked the whole Tony Clifton thing. Seemed like an excuse to be a jerk.

Jen Chaney: I hear your point. But in this case, Phoenix was mostly hurting himself instead of other people.And yes, it did indeed seem like an elaborate ruse, but Phoenix was convincing enough (in my book) to keep a seed of doubt planted that, "Hey, maybe this is real."For some reason, I enjoy being duped by pop culture phenomena. It's why I also loved The Blair Witch Project.

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Honestly, this is the most pre-season press Sesame Street has probably gotten in a long while.: It's a publicity stunt?

Jen Chaney: No, I'm not saying that. I'm just suggesting that this little "mistake" could wind up working in their favor.You know, because "Sesame Street" has always been made for one reason only: ratings.

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The Grateful Dead: is the gratest American band. End of discussion.

Jen Chaney: You're high right now, aren't you?

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Leesburg, Va.: So, will Ashton Kutcher shut up now and concentrate on his legal battle? We can only hope...

Jen Chaney: No, he'll probably continue talking, largely about his legal battle. (We're referring to his possible lawsuit against Star for printing what he and wife Demi Moore say are falsehoods about Kutcher cheating on her.)

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AI: Watched the first two seasons, haven't watched it since, will not watch it with JLo and the Mouth.

Jen Chaney: Okay, not many "Idol" fans in the chat today...

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Boone!: Congratulations! Does Ian have ANY idea that you were chained to your chair so as not to jump him?! Well done, I didn't think you had so much restraint when in came to Boone. And I think Ian is every bit as sexy and cool as his Lost character. That's for a fine looking (and sounding) eight minutes!

Jen Chaney: Come on now, I'm a professional ... even if I do have a Lost screensaver.Glad you liked the video -- thanks!

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LiLo & Paris: Isn't there a reality show in here somewhere? Stick 'em both in a house for 90 days with cameras? I'm not sure what it would be called though.

Jen Chaney: Ooh, great question. How about..."The Sober Life"?"Big Bother"?"Flava of Lohan"?

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Please, No More: Jen, can we please have this board as refuge from Sarah/Bristol Palin bashing? I happen to like them (call me crazy, but I do), and I resent this nastiness. Couldn't you have edited the post a little? Why must Sarah be referred to as "infamous?" And how does the poster know that Bristol has no talent? That's just wrong.

Jen Chaney: I generally don't edit the question. In Celebritology, the bashing often happens on both side of the aisle. I'm pretty sure our readers have accused some Democrats of lacking talent, too.That said, I always try to be mindful of language getting *too* nasty and I'll do my best to continue to be.

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"Desmond" as bad guy on L&O:SUV (whatever): I was surprised to see Henry Ian Cusick as a (very) bad guy on Law and Order: The Other One Set in NYC last night. He was very good as a very bad man. What next, Michael Emerson as a good guy?

Jen Chaney: Crud, I missed this, too.Will have to check it out online.Apparently I should never go out. Or buy multiple DVRs.As for Emerson -- what's next is him reuniting with Terry O'Quinn for a show on NBC, which I could not be more excited about.

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Commitment to a role?: But didn't Phoenix overplay it by just a bit? After a point it looks like just a craving for attention. And just "some" might point out that the film bombed at the box office? Does it not matter whether the charade went towards furthering a work that people actually wanted to see? Was it any less a vanity project than, say, Mariah Carey's "Glitter"?

Jen Chaney: I don't get the "Glitter" comparison.Sure, it could be perceived as a vanity project and maybe some people will think he craved attention -- all the things you mention.But the previous reader asked whether Phoenix's career would be dead as a result of this, and I don't think it will be, even if some people have the same perceptions you talked about. Enough directors will want to cast him that it probably won't matter.

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RIP Miss Blankenship: I was hoping you would post something on the scene from "Mad Men" when Miss Blankenship passed away. That scene from the conference room wheeling her out and using Harry's blanket I think beats the "John Deere" episode from last season. On a side note the actress who played her was also Ralph Maccio's mom in The Karate Kid.

Jen Chaney: Wow, I did not recognize her *at all* until you just said that. A round of applause for Randee Heller, everyone!I did mention the Blankenship moment in my "Boardwalk Empire" post, but yes, perhaps I could have given it more attention. A great episode of "Mad Men" last week, no question.

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30 Rock: Is back tonight. Will Liz Lemon find happiness with Carol (Matt Damon) the heroic pilot? If only something would go right for her....

Jen Chaney: gotta remember to set the DVR. I am seeing "The Social Network" tonight and won't be home.

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Lilo: Which member of the Celebritology community guessed the date when she would return to jail? I recall someone said before Labor Day, but it's still well before Halloween.

Jen Chaney: Someone did say pre-Labor Day and I can't remember who. In any case, it did happen pretty quickly -- assuming she actually goes to jail -- so whoever predicted it deserves partial credit.

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Damon: So...am I a bad person for watching that whole video without any sound? Seriously, I've heard he's smart and all, but he definitely doesn't need to be : )

Jen Chaney: Do me a favor. Go back and watch it with sound.Somerhalder is a smart guy and worth listening to.That being said, he is stunning. I am pretty sure his eyes can see through time.

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Little Mermaid: I'm assuming parents upset by Katy Perry's outfit did NOT allow their kids to watch The Little Mermaid? Did no one care about that outfit?

Jen Chaney: Ha! Good point.

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AI: Ok, I'll slip this in. I will watch to see how Steven Tyler talks to potential contestants. I'm tired of the pop focus of the show. But I expect J Lo and Tyler to actually pick out real talent. AI lost me on the season that Fantasia won because I cannot, for the life of me, understand why someone with a singing voice like fingernails on a chalkboard could be so heralded and win. When I heard her audition, I was sure they were going to be mean and instead they essentially proclaimed her the coming of Jesus. That is when I stopped watching. Now that Simon and Paula are gone, maybe there will be some real judging and real talent coming out. So yeah, I'll watch.

Jen Chaney: Finally, someone is on "Idol's" side. Taking just a couple more and then I have to wrap.

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11150 Westwood Gateway: Speaking of DWTS, I was actually (pleasantly) surprised by Bristol Palin's performance on Monday. I was expecting a Kate Gosselin/Master P-esque train wreck, and Mark Ballas (all credit to him) got her to do a pretty fair cha-cha.Now, having said that, someone PLEASE tell Margaret Cho (whom I happen to love!) to please not try to mix comedy and dancing? She was doing so well until she veered off into comedy and her routine got all pear-shaped.

Jen Chaney: She was adequate. And adequate was all she needed to be to not make a fool of herself.Yeah, I could not look at Cho's outfit without thinking -- "Red Bull gives you wiiiings!" I actually think she could have danced it fine with no comedy, as did the judges.Crap, do you realize you've all suckered me into watching this nonsense? Next thing you know I might actually care about it.

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Little Mermaid: but her breasts didn't jiggle!

Jen Chaney: Well, Perry's didn't much either. As I said before, I don't think that's really the issue.

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Jon Hamm: Now that he has revealed that he used medication to help cope with depression, will Tom Cruise be offering him unsolicited pharmaceutical advice?

Paul Williams: Well we can assume Hamm's wasn't post-partum...

Jen Chaney: Also, Cruise has stopped doing that.Signed,The Defense Attorney from Tom Cruise Court

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Passion Play: Hello Jen, You made a reference on your Monday blog to the the Mickey Rourke film Passion Play. I saw this at the Toronto Film Festival a couple of weeks ago, and my husband and I agreed that this was our least favorite of the 5 screenings we attended.It was a bizarre story that was told with mediocrity. Rourke is a terrific actor though. Favorite to least favorite. All were good - no real stinkers of the five.Love Crime - French film with Kristin Scott Thomas Submarine - Sally Hawkins co-stars in coming of age comedy Illusionist - French animated film, beautifully executed, better than anything Pixar Stone - Robert DeNiro, Ed Norton Passion Play - Rourke, B. Murray, M. Fox BTW, my aunt saw the world premiere of King's Speech and said it was fantastic. Filmakers had wanted to make this for a looong time but had to wait for the Queen Mum to die, as she would never allow it.

Jen Chaney: Thanks for this. I've seen "Stone" and thought Norton, as always, gave a really layered, compelling performance in that, even if the movie was a bit disturbing.Am very eager to see "King's Speech." I like Colin Firth very much and he's supposed to be phenomenal.

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BZZZZZ: Air Supply is Australian, and Def Leppard is from England -- they don't qualfiy as "American rock bands", biggest or otherwise. Maybe we should stay away from the music stuff and stick to Celebrity/Lost stuff. Just sayin....

Paul Williams: Everyone knows the greatest American band is Rush...

Jen Chaney: Oh, Paul, don't upset the Canadians.And I *know* Def Leppard is British. I just made a mistake and corrected it almost immediately in the chat. Sheesh.And the important thing about Air Supply isn't that they're Australian -- it's that they stink and shouldn't be part of a greatest band conversation in the first place.Clearly I'm all out of love for today, so with that, let's wrap up the chat. Thanks for all your great questions and comments. We'll reconvene next week at this time, when Liz will once again join us and bring back some level of order to this chaos.Thanks, everyone! And remember: it's better to burn out than fade away. A great American rock band once sang that ... I'm KIDDING. I KNOW THEY ARE BRITISH.Ta-ta!


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