With the women 'Sunset Daze' spicing up retirement-life, we reflect on some other naughty small-screen grandmas
If "Sex and the City" was cross-pollinated with "Kendra," but the stars were older than Hugh Hefner, that's ostensibly the gist. It's fun, inspiring, a bit shocking and, at times, incredibly disturbing.
But just in case the platinum-haired, septuagenarian divas in "Daze"'s Arizona retirement community think they're the only menopausal small-screen females who've preferred a romp in the sheets to a day with crochet, here are a handful of our favorite dirty old TV ladies.
MONA ROBINSON ("WHO'S THE BOSS?")
Raven-haired and ready to put unsuspecting males under senior-citizen's arrest, Mona was the classic ageless mother who outwardly embarrassed but secretly inspired her daughter, Angela. She was also a clear inspiration for the double-entendre deviance of "SATC" man-eater Samantha Jones.
BLANCHE DEVEREAUX ("GOLDEN GIRLS")
Rue McLanahan broke the mold on this whole overdone "cougar" phenomenon. But what made Blanche Devereaux so memorable was the way her promiscuity left her open to endless, hilarious downgrading from Dorothy and Sophia. And in truly divine moments, the equally belittled Rose.
LUCILLE AUSTERO ("ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT")
In both an obvious mockery of reality TV's cradle-robbing trend and an impeccably self-effacing send up of her notorious loopiness, Liza Minnnelli gamely portrayed Lucille Bluth's archrival, Lucille Austero (or "Lucille Two," as she was frequently referred to). And in one of the series' best storylines, Minnelli took sheepish Buster Bluth and turned him into someone only slightly less Oedpially conflicted.
MOTHER WINSLOW ("FAMILY MATTERS")
Did any woman on TV over 60 ever live on their own or with a living husband? Anyway, the "Family Matters" matriarch was as sweet and buttoned-up as could be, but was also a former world-traveling, swinging hipster who was getting more action than teenage son Eddie.
CLORIS LEACHMAN (HERSELF, "DANCING WITH THE STARS")
Watching the 80-something starlet prance around the ballroom stage in sparkling mini-dresses, while tossing off unsettling innuendo during post-performance interviews, you got the feeling that ol' Cloris had quite a few men Leaching onto her back in the golden era. By which we mean in-between "Facts of Life' rehearsals.
On a holiday weekend overflowing with cable marathons, History Channel's bargain-hunter series proved most addictive
On Memorial Day Weekend, Americans pay tribute to their veterans the most solemn way they know how: by consuming dead flesh and digesting it with endless marathons of basic-cable programming. Whether it was Bravo bringing us up to speed with "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" or WE instigating countless broken engagements with its 12-hour arcs of "Bridezillas," there was plenty for over-stuffed TV buffs to chew on.
But the History Channel may have given viewers the real icing on their red-white-and-blue Tiramisu by airing dozens of consecutive "Pawn Stars" episodes, in advance of the Las Vegas-rooted show's Season 3 premiere on June 7.
My full disclaimer here is that, prior to the holiday, I had yet to watch a single installment of "Pawn Stars," and presumed it to be an interesting concept that probably had little reason for airing beyond its clever title.
As it turns out, the bargain-hunting show---which is ostensibly an everyman's "Antiques Roadshow" crossed with "The Price is Right" and set in Richard, Rick and Corey Harrison's Gold & Silver swap shop---is both instantly gratifying and remarkably educational.
None of this is news for the already addicted, but there are few reality spectacles more rewarding than watching customers bring in everything from ancient battle axes to vintage Indian motorcycles, which then get authenticated by minutiae-prone niche experts before the Harrisons commence negotiations.
Each episode of "Pawn Stars" has a reliable arc that almost never lacks for novel information and historical insight, and unlike so many of its Memorial Day marathon competition, is crisply produced and moves along at remote-proof pacing.
So I thank you, History Channel. Both for reminding me that you broadcast more than Nazi documentaries, and for offering yet another summer anecdote to the post-May sweeps blues. That, my fellow couch-potatoes, is priceless.
'Diff'rent Strokes' Star Coleman Dies of a Brain Hemorrhage
"Diff'rent Strokes" star Gary Coleman -- best remembered for capturing hearts as a child Arnold Jackson, with his catchphrase "Whatchu talking about Willis?" -- died today of a brain hemorrhage. He was 42 and is survived by his wife, Shannon Price.
"Child actor Gary Coleman died at approximately 12:05 p.m. Mountain Standard Time at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center," said Janet Frank, a spokeswoman for the hospital, in a statement. "Family members and close friends were at his side when life support was terminated."
Coleman, who had fallen on hard times financially and also suffered from a host of medical ailments, was admitted to the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo on Wednesday evening for a "serious medical condition." He was talking and lucid as of yesterday, but lapsed into a coma earlier today. A spokesperson from the hospital stated earlier today that Coleman was placed on life support after lapsing into the coma, caused by the condition revealed to be an intracranial hemorrhage, possibly caused by a fall the actor took on Wednesday.
Coleman played the iconic Arnold Jackson on "Diff'rent Strokes" for nearly a decade, then went on to star in comedies like "On the Right Track" and "Jimmy The Kid" in the early '80s and ran for California governor in 2003. In recent years, however, the former child star suffered both financial (filing for bankruptcy in 1999) problems and physical set-backs, including kidney disease and seizures earlier this year. He was also arrested in January in regards to a domestic disturbance with his wife Shannon Price, an actress he met on the set of their 2007 film "Church Ball."
Poor guy, never could catch a break. Rest in peace, Gary Coleman.
The TV icon talks on-set friendships, misbehaving marrieds and the mean streets of Morocco
Okay, so the HBO classic may be gone -- but you can catch bastard stepchild "Sex And The City 2" in theaters tonight. So MSN TV Buzz Blog took a break from it's regularly scheduled programming to catch up with TV icon Sarah Jessica Parker -- during a press conference in the shoe department at the legendary Fifth Avenue icon Bergdorf Goodman, naturally -- to get the inside scoop on men, her friendships with her Sex costars, and taking on the mean streets of Morocco!
Sarah, who has played New York writer and fashionista Carrie Bradshaw since the original HBO hit's 1998 inception, said working with the girls in Morocco took their already tight friendship to a whole new level.
"We had this chance to live together and to know one another in a way that we never had the opportunity to do so in New York," Sarah explained. "In New York, we'd go home to our friends and our family and our children and our animals. For me [shooting in Morocco] just changed everything. I just came away loving them more than I ever have because I got to see them in a new way -- and I was so reliant upon them!"
She said it's remarkable how well-loved these characters and their friendships remain, especially considering the fact the characters were unlikely allies. "Their DNA is so radically different from one to the next and they have founded incomparable friendship that is really truly inspiring to me and it changes the way that I think about my friendships constantly," Sarah said. "It is the writing, but I look at a lot what's available on television and I see how women treat each other, it's stunning to me. It's arresting and I like that there is someplace that we still like to illustrate that women would much rather be allies than adversaries."
"I just came away loving them more than I ever have because I got to see them in a new way," Sarah continued. "I was so challenged by the work they were doing and how good they were and what thoroughbreds they were and how, you know, nothing could get us down no matter how hungry we were or how much we had to go to the bathroom. [Because] we didn't even have a bathroom!"
The experience of shooting in Morocco was also life-altering. "It
was hard -- laborious and Herculean," she said. "But we could not have
done it anywhere else, this way. It was one of the greatest experiences
of my professional life...To live and work with this cast and that crew
every single day to see the sun rise and set over our locations in the
most far flung places. To lie in a bed all day with these women
exhausted and laughing. To be on a camel with Kim Cattrall,
which disobeyed all orders."
But it wasn't all girl-bonding. Your favorite SATC hunks, like Chris Noth as Mr. Big and John Corbett as rugged sweetheart Aidan, got some serious screen time, too. This time, though, SJP reveals, it's the girls who got a bit naughty. "There is not a villainous move by any man in this movie," Sarah said. "Any consequences are on a part of us and the choices [the women are] making and some momentary reckless behavior... It's all us, and we come home, frankly, a little wiser."
Because, as we know, Carrie has had some commitment-phobe tendencies of her own -- and they just might rear their ugly head here. "There was a wedding and now there has to be a marriage and the two are very different," Sarah said. "Why do we run toward it and why do we push it away and why when we so willingly want to commit to conventions like the institution of marriage? And how do you redefine tradition for ourselves? And how do our friends around us redefine tradition? Do they want to? And what better place to ask these questions than in the Middle East?"
So will Sarah share her latest effort with son James Wilke (dad is SJP's husband, Matthew Broderick), who's now seven? She just might. "If I can manage to take him out for popcorn for two certain moments, I think he's ready for it," Sarah said. "I wouldn't say this movie is for seven year olds, but we'll find a way of figuring it out."
The 42-year-old former child star is in a comatose state, and will hopefully fight his way out
Just over two weeks ago, we heard the tragic news that late "Diff'rent Strokes" star Dana Plato's son, Tyler, had committed suicide. And yesterday, reports spread quickly that the show's oft-troubled principal star, Gary Coleman, had collapsed in his home and was brought to the hospital in critical condition. He had, at one point, regained consciousness, according to ABC News. But unfortunately, the 42-year-old actor's manager, John Alcantar, confirmed this afternoon that Coleman is unconscious and on life support due to a massive brain hemorrhage.
While this announcement makes it seem unlikely that Coleman will be with us for much longer, here's to hoping he finds the same miraculous resolve that had recent hemorrhage victim Bret Michaels up, around and performing on the 'American Idol' finale. Because a man who suffered so much indignity in his later life deserves the opportunity for an equivalent redemption.
Illinois native Lee DeWyze beats out Crystal Bowersox for the Season 9 crown
Lee DeWyze scored a stirring victory Wednesday night, as he beat out season-long favorite Crystal Bowersox in the Season 9 finale of "American Idol." In the final showdown pitting a paint salesman versus a single mother, "Idol" voters threw their support behind the 24-year-old Illinois native, who had impressed the judges of late with his artistic growth throughout the course of the season. With his win, Lee ended Crystal's bid to become the show's first female winner since Season 6. It was a close contest: According to host Ryan Seacrest, less than two percent separated the finalists.
Lee's victory proves that "Idol" nation tends to prefer the underdog to the season-long juggernaut. Lee was a fan favorite throughout the season, but really gathered steam in recent weeks. With his raspy voice and blue-collar appeal, he impressed early on, but lacked polish. It took a couple of strong vocal performances and some encouragement from the judges to get his confidence going. But when it did, Lee delivered some of this season's most memorable performances. And no other contestant surged with as much momentum as he did in the run-up to the finals. Crystal's defeat continued a trend that we've seen in recent years on the show, where voters rewarded the up-and-comer over the prohibitive favorite. Crystal sparkled early and seemed a shoo-in to win many weeks ago. But Lee continued to plug away and just kept stealing buzz for himself, while she settled into cruise control. Even despite her three masterful performances Tuesday night, it was clear that America was ready to reward the finalist who had shown the most dramatic improvement throughout the course of the season.
Lee's win comes on the heels of a final performance showdown Tuesday night that seemed at times more a Crystal lovefest than a singing duel. Both singers did their best to win over "Idol" nation, and the judges, seemingly more easygoing than usual, served up nothing but warm fuzzies. If the judges' feedback was any guide, Crystal was the more effective of the two finalists, going three-for-three with each of her vocal performances. Her second song, "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles, earned a personal standing ovation from Ellen. Crystal's final offering, a gospel-y take on Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain," was perhaps her strongest of the season. Simon, in the final judging critique of his "Idol" career, said of the effort, "It was by far the best performance of the night." While Crystal wowed the judges with her easy showmanship and shoot-from-the-hip vocals, Lee, on the other hand, seemed to battle nerves right from the get-go. His three onstage turns were atypically cautious, prompting a bit of a pep talk from the judges after his second song. While Lee was able to find his musical sea legs in his final song, U2's "Beautiful Day," it appeared too little, too late in comparison to Crystal, who threw down the gauntlet early Tuesday night. It all didn't matter in the end.
Producers pulled out all the stops with their roster of guest celebrities. This season's top 12 singers returned to the "Idol" stage to perform with numerous recording stars, including Alice Cooper, the Bee Gees, Michael McDonald, Christina Aguilera, Hall & Oates, Alanis Morissette and Chicago. One of the night's highlights was a surprise appearance by recent "Celebrity Apprentice" winner Bret Michaels, who continues to wow his growing number of fans with his public appearances since suffering a brain hemorrhage some weeks ago. And yes, fans were treated to another performance of "Pants on the Ground" by General Larry Platt, accompanied by William Hung (yup, you read that correctly). Also performing solos were Kris Allen and Carrie Underwood, while Janet Jackson, new short hairdo and all, treated the audience to an extended set consisting of two songs toward the end of the show. The night's final guest performer was Joe Cocker, who shared the stage with Crystal and Lee for a vintage rendition of his iconic "With a Little Help From My Friends." At 66 years of age, he's still got some of the biggest, most soulful pipes in the business.
Wednesday night also marked Simon Cowell's last official "American Idol" appearance as judge. As such, tributes rolled in regularly throughout the episode with varying degrees of humor and good will. Early on in the episode, Ryan introduced a tribute video that showcased a mash-up of the Brit's most acerbic and irreverent moments from behind the judges' table. The montage also featured reflections from judges past and present. Later on in the show, comedian Dane Cook presented "Simon Said," a musical tribute to Simon's best insults that also included cameo appearances by past "Idol" whipping boys such as Nick (aka Norman Gentle) Mitchell and Renaldo Lapuz. Also saluting Simon Wednesday night was Ricky Gervais, who took great relish in roasting his fellow Brit. Later video montages focused playfully on Simon's penchant for flirting with former contestants and on his love-hate (OK, mostly love) relationship with Paula Abdul, who made the night's biggest splash with her much anticipated "surprise" appearance. The former judge, still well regarded by many "Idol" followers, addressed Simon and the rest of the judges in a quasi-standup routine that teetered on the edge of being a train wreck. Paula proved to be unpredictable and loopy as ever. Her time on stage provoked more than a handful of awkward giggles. After the producers seemingly cut her off by quickly shifting to another video montage, Paula was seen climbing onto the judges' perch and landing snugly in Simon's lap. The final tribute was a vocal performance by past "Idol" champs Kris Allen, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Jordin Sparks, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks (David Cook was the only one missing). They were joined on stage by a bevy of former contestants, including the likes of David Archuleta and Justin Guarini. Ryan then summoned Simon to the stage, where he took a moment to thank the fans, the singers and his fellow judges.
Lee's win provides a satisfying finish to what has been, by most people's accounts, an underwhelming year for the "Idol" franchise. This off-season will surely be a pivotal one for the show, as producers ponder Simon's replacements and other tweaks to shore up flagging ratings. We'll have to wait and see how that all shakes out. As for Crystal, don't shed too many tears. If past seasons are any indication, it doesn't hurt to finish in second place. Given her talent and her determination to become a star, I'm certain we'll be hearing big things from the big-voiced, dreadlocked, hippie rockster. MamaSox will be just fine. It's too early to tell what type of success Lee can expect as a recording artist (and whether he'll go the way of David Cook or Taylor Hicks), but you can count on a heavily marketed pop album with a rock edge. There are no complaints here about the result: Lee's a worthy champion who has demonstrated tremendous growth in the past many weeks. Many will argue about Wednesday night's outcome, but most "Idol" viewers can agree: Lee's as likable and humble a winner as we've seen.
It's time for you to sound off. Did America get it right? Why did Lee win?
Nevermind Sandra Bullock, here's her soon-to-be ex-husband sex pistol
- Hey, Vicki Mabrey, here's a thought: Without condoning James' actions, it's fairly likely that his "perfect life" with Sandy was actually incredibly emasculating for a guy who built his career on refurbishing his sense of masculinity, hence he cheated to overcompensate and feel like a real man. It indicates James is a pretty selfish, undeveloped human being, but it's not rocket psycho-science.
- The Aryan brotherhood should just re-brand the initials "WP," as meant to represent White Power on Michelle Bombshell's tattoos, to "WL," as a tribute to once-great Danish glam-metal band White Lion.
- How come Arizona is so much more welcoming to rehabbing celebrities than hard-working immigrants?
- Just to reiterate, I'm no advocate for digging your way through personal weakness by bringing others down with you or expecting them to live through your self-destructiveness and save you from it. But the prying, judgmental need to confirm our values by forcing public figures of minor consequence to eviscerate themselves on national television is getting a little bit gross.
- I still think Bullock is hiding a weird double life of her own as some kind of S & M fetishist, but kudos to James for making it a priority to confirm public perceptions of her America's Sweetheart status. Now if only he could keep a lid on his other, confirmed-wacko ex-wife (who you can get James made ABC promise wouldn't come up in the
Nicole Scherzinger wins the mirror ball trophy
She's been the favorite since the first week of this competition, but nothing's certain until it's certain. After some of the finest performances in franchise history, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and her partner Derek Hough have won the mirror ball trophy. As much as I loved Evan Lysacek and Erin Andrews's performances, the result just felt right. Nicole and Derek are both fabulous performers and Derek is probably the most innovative of the show's professional dancers. This is his second championship. The first win was with Brooke Burke, who now co-hosts the show. This time around, Derek may have suffered some hearing loss in his right ear, because Nicole was so excited that she screamed at the top of her lungs for a good 40 seconds after the results were announced.
Also: 'Dancing' Season 10 gallery | More: 10 Best Dances of the Season | Twitter: MSN TV
After his final dance, runner-up Evan said he wanted to do it all over again and wouldn't change a thing. You know, I believe him. It's easy to forget who came in second after these shows are over, but I think people will remember Evan as one of the greats. (And, let's be honest, Kate Gosselin's crazy "Paparazzi" dance probably won't be forgotten either.)
Did you miss part of the show? Well, here's a quick guide to all the action:
At the start of the show the three finalists reprised their Argentine tangos. Erin was at a bit of a disadvantage going in, because both Nicole and Evan scored perfect 30s with their routines the first time around. (Erin scored a 28.) Well, going head-to-head -- foot-to-foot -- tonight shook things up. The judges had to rank the routines and Erin and Maks got third (26 points), Evan and Anna came in second (28 points) and Derek and Nicole got first (another 30).
After that, some really weird stuff happened: Aiden Turner returned to dance and then -- please understand that I'm not joking -- Buzz Aldrin did this crazy dance to the "Star Wars" theme, complete with spotlit Obi-Wan in his Jedi cloak intro. And the dance? Well, if I had to guess I'd say it was a waltz. It was very short. Also, Buzz's spacesuit was covered in rhinestones and it was distracting. After that, Jake and Vienna from "The Bachelor" did the waltz, but they each started out with a pro partner and only danced together for like 10 seconds. I have no idea why.
We had to say goodbye to one couple at the end of the first hour: Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy. Erin said she came to the show "under really crummy circumstances," and thanked her fellow competitors and the viewers for helping her get her smile back. Maks seemed more genuinely disappointed than his partner, though he was all smiles during their final cha-cha.
Before the final round of competition, Tom and Brooke announced the winners of the college dance competition. Top honors went to Utah Valley University. After that, Kate Gosselin came back to reprise her anti-paparazzi paso doble. It was as stiff and awkward as ever ... but she wasn't wearing the scary eye makeup this time. She and Tony didn't stop there! No, they did a quick strut to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" which was supposed to be our movie montage moment of triumph. It wasn't. Because Kate still can't dance. We were also treated to a sexy cha-cha from Pamela Anderson and Niecy Nash. Pam was cute but Niecy stole the show (as always).
For the dance-off round, Nicole and Derek turned in a spirited and inspired jive that was totally frenetic and pitch-perfect. All season we've seen Nicole match her partner Derek step for step and this jive was no exception. It was every bit as magical as their now legendary paso doble. The judges' scores were a mere formality. Everyone in that ballroom knew this was a perfect 30.
Evan and Anna went with a quickstep for their final dance. It was light and energetic. Anna's choreography was filled with subtle touches that showed strong and limber Evan at his best. Any other season, this dance would have won these two the mirror ball trophy.