Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I Like About You

This post could also be called: Ten Things I'm Loving About American Idol, but that's not a real song title. I must shout out to my friend Carey, who pointed out the beauty of lists.

You can go through previous posts in my blog to see that I was adamant in my position that there was no American Idol without Simon Cowell, and I cringed anytime I heard anyone discussing the future of the show. Well, about a month ago, I had some crow for dinner. I can honestly say, as much as I loved Simon and what he brought to the show, the show is GREAT this year. I have enjoyed it more this year than I have probably since crazy people started winning the competition (Taylor Hicks, I'm talking to you.) So, in no particular order are ten reasons I think, if you had written Idol off, that it deserves another chance.

1. Shiny and New. The powers that be wisely realized that overhauling the judges was essentially overhauling the show. They've not tried to be "AI 1-9 With New Judges". They've completely overhauled it, and AI is a lot fresher than the show has been in years. Tonight is a great example - performing in smaller groups to earn your way into the top 24 is great. I still don't think America needs to be voting until its down to 10, but I'll take what I can get.

2. Hollywood Week. Not new, but still so incredibly awesome. It's like cheetos and grape soda television. No redeeming qualities whatsoever, but it's still great.

3. The judges as a whole. They have tremendous chemistry this year. They work well together, and they seem like they are all having fun. Moreso than in previous years, it seems like we have a ringside seat. The other thing about the judging trio - with all of them being performers, I get a sense that they "get it". They know what an opportunity like this is to these kids, and they respect it. I think it makes the contestants respect it too.

4. Steven Tyler. He's got his own brand of batsh!t crazy, but I. Love. It. He is so crazy sexy cool that *I* want to go try out for the show. Or maybe I'd just like to run my hands through his hair. And of course, the drama of exactly when the story's going to break that he's doing naughty with one of the contestants makes for great reality television, indeed. Seriously, I was so underwhelmed when I heard he was going to be a judge, but I was so wrong.

5. Jennifer Lopez. You know, I've never been a huge J-Lo fan. I am the first to admit that she is smokin-ass hot, but really, something about her just didn't appeal to me. I think she went full-throttle to diva too quick. But this AI gig is working for her. Maybe she's fallen down a notch in her own eyes that she's on the small tube (has she been on a regular tv show since she was a Fly Girl?) I never believed it before, but during this season I see Jenny from the Block once more, and she is so genuinely likable on AI, it makes me wonder if I've been too harsh on her all these years. I still think her husband has control issues though.

6. Nicer, more constructive critiquing. Now that Hollywood Week is over, we get to hear a lot more critiquing from the judges. Just on the first night, I like that neither Randy, Jennifer, nor Steven feel an overwhelming need to pile criticism on top of criticism. One "it sucked" seems to be enough from them. That's a refreshing change.

7. Aging like wine, not seafood. Something else that gives the show a different feel is that some of the kids that are on the show this year were FIVE when the show started. FIVE. So for the younger contestants, Idol is as much a part of their pop culture as Happy Days/The A Team/Friends was in mine. I can't explain, exactly, why it's different, it just is. Sometimes this makes me feel old, particularly when the contestants sing Miley Cyrus. But mostly I find it makes me appreciate them more - like I don't roll my eyes anymore when they admit to never having heard the Beatles. Okay, maybe I roll my eyes a bit there, but you get my point.

8. The contestants. There are more likeable kids in this group than in several of the past years. Obviously, there were a few that they put through for the dramatic value (like Tiffany with the stars on her boobs?) just because it made for great tv. But for the most part, I think these contestants are very very talented. I think this group of 24 will make for good music.

9. Buh-bye mentoring. Rumor has it they are doing away with mentoring. Thank all that's holy. Because quite frankly if they were to trot out Justin Beiber as a mentor, I'd go write a manifesto. Beiber Fever? Yes. Mentor, no.

10. Ryan Seacrest. Because why should this year be different than any other year?

See you next week!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

All By Myself

Okay, so, a couple of weeks ago, I announced to Walter that I thought it would do me some good to get away. Nothing’s wrong, or out of place. I am not escaping to meet with Julio, my Latin masseuse (although if Matthew McConaugHEY happened to be free, I could probably get a pass. Just sayin’.) No, it’s nothing so clandestine. I am just feeling run down, and thought it would be nice to get away to shed the title of wife, mom, friend, working woman and simply, be. You know, sleep until noon, exercise at my leisure (or not), take myself out to eat. Do a little writing, turn in. Repeat. Cast away the cares of the world for 48 hours.

I had been thinking this for several weeks, but it took me a while to give voice to it…why is that? Is it because I want to believe I’m Superwoman and never need to recharge? Is it because time flies so quickly as it is and do I really want to take a precious weekend away from the family? It took me a bit, but ultimately I decided it was either that, or go away for a long time where they give you pills in a cup, no shoestrings, and everyone talks in really gentle voices except for the woman who won’t stop screaming.

Walter told me to go, alleging he was fine with it. He was even telling another friend about it. Together, they both decided that marriage is patently unfair to the husband – that should a husband decide that he wanted to go away for a weekend it would be a big THING where he would have to assure his wife over and over again that it had nothing to do with his state of mind or his feelings toward the family.

And while that might be true FOR HIM, because I tend to be a worrier, and still think that I am responsible for the happiness of those close to me, I can’t help but wonder if…is that true for every marriage out there?

What say ye?

I compared my weekend away to the weekend he took very recently with his best friends from college. He says it’s too different things, and then asked why I never went away with my girlfriends. Lest we awaken the comatose battle between the sexes, I stopped to think, and came up with the following:

- Most of my friends are in the process of raising families and running households. Some of them don’t feel a need for a chick-cation; in fact, many of them find all the nurturing they need within the walls of their home.

- Planning a girls’ weekend, while fun, is also work, and when you get to wherever “there” is, there will likely be activity involved. And while that ordinarily sounds like a blast, it’s not what I had in mind for this particular weekend. (Are you wondering what type of weekend I have in mind? Do you remember that episode of the Cosby Show when Claire “had nothing left to give”, so Cliff sent her to a cabin in the woods? Swap out cabin in the woods for a 4-star, and you’ll get where I’m going with this)

- If I were up for planning a girls’ weekend, I said that while I think any woman could run her household without the husband, but perhaps the opposite of that is not always true. Now before you get on your boxes crying sexist, I don’t mean it that way. The delicate balance of who does what to run a household is unique to every house, and what works for some may not work for others.

- Am I the only person who finds it impossible to stay in my house and do nothing? Something is always clamoring for my attention – be it the stack of outgrown clothes in Alex’s closet, or my own quest to reorganize. I would never just leave the house, take myself out to lunch, then come home and watch tv or read. Even though as I typed that I felt a bullsh!t coming on, so I must do that at some point, right?

So I’ve decided it’s important to take the time. Create a to-do list and put at the top of it “whatever the hell you please”. For two days at least.

What I find interesting is this – I never, ever hear any of my guy friends complain for the need to recharge. Maybe they recharge on a regular basis, no apologies necessary, either out with the fellas for a night, or in their man cave while the rest of the house buzzes on. Maybe the nurturing nature of their spouses leaves them with no need to recharge.

Yeah, right.


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