Channel Surfing with C.T.

When CASHMERE MAFIA premiered, I commented that it felt like a show written by men about women. Well, the same can’t be said for the show its creator was attempting to rip-off before it could even air, LIPSTICK JUNGLE. Everything CASHMERE got wrong is done right on JUNGLE, especially smaller moments. Take, for example, the scene in which ticked exec Nico (Kim Raver) casually over-peppered a rival’s salad while talking to their mutual boss. Once Nico left the table, the victim of her little prank took a bite of the newly spiced salad. Where CASHMERE no doubt would have played this scene big, with a coughing fit and perhaps chugged water, JUNGLE went with a very quick, subtle reaction shot before moving on. And that’s the difference here. The leads feel like people as opposed to caricatures. I wasn’t completely sold on Lindsay Price’s Victory at first, but by the midway point, she’d grown on me. And Brooke Shields hasn’t been this appealing since… well, ever. Sure, there were credibility issues… I mean, would a woman hoping to move up the corporate ladder really allow herself to be manhandled — no matter how hot the man doing the handling — in a public bathroom during a party she was hosting? But when, after pushing the hottie away by proclaiming herself a married woman, Nico went home to a husband so oblivious to her as a sexual being that he failed to notice the phone number written in magic marker upon her thigh… well, you just had to cringe on her behalf. I wasn’t thrilled with Andrew McCartney, who seemed terribly miscast (although someone at NBC was definitely trying to get the most bang for their buck where he’s concerned… the night before the show debuted, LAW & ORDER CRIMINAL INTENT showed scenes for its next episode trumpeting that it starred “LIPSTICK JUNGLE’s Andrew McCartney!”). I’ve tried to get into CASHMERE, but found it tough going. I suspect JUNGLE is going to quickly become a favorite. Hey, what do you know, even with the strike, NBC has managed to turn Thursday back into Must See TV night!

Last week’s episode of LOST left me underwhelmed and convinced that it had originally been part of a two-hour offering, and after this week’s boffo installment, I’d bet cash money I was right. Given the relative debacle that unfolded after the show introduced the “tailies” last season, I was worried when upon hearing so many new people would be coming aboard in this episode. But each and every one of them were welcome additions, adding to the canvas as opposed to the tailies, who seemed designed as little more than a water-treading plot device. Heck, five minutes after we met Charlotte, I was in love with her… which was extremely important in order for the moment when Ben shot her to have an impact. Now some of the people who take LOST a whole lot more serious than I do tell me that the flashbacks in this episode don’t play be previously established “rules” regarding points of view and such, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m not one of the viewers who looks for hidden meaning or freeze-frames shots to figure out who’s hiding out in that freaky-deaky cabin. All I want is a good, exciting story, and even when I can’t necessarily remember every detail of what’s come before, LOST tends to deliver.

Answer me this, PROJECT RUNWAY fans: Was this week’s outing not the funniest ever? I swear, by the time Christian and Sweet P started arm wrestling, I was half convinced the contestants had been slipped some kind of drug. Even dour Jillian cracked a few smiles! During the runway show, it was obvious that Michael Kors and Nina Garcia had no clue what to think of the spandex numbers being worn by WWE divas. “I feel like the pope at a sex club!” said Kors at one point. Christian was obviously disappointed that his leather-and-lace outfit didn’t win, and rightly so. While he’s usually overconfident to the point of being obnoxious, this week, the kid rocked it and was — as he loves to proclaim — fierce. But I’m afraid the judges made the right call: There was no denying that Chris’ leopard-in-a-cage outfit was a total winner. By the way, is it just me, or should Chris totally be cast as Edna Turnblad the next time Broadway is looking to recast Hairspray? And that’s a compliment, people! Heck, I wish he’d played the role in the movie instead of John Rivolta.

How incredibly pissed do you think the producers of SURVIVOR are that Johnny Fairplay got himself booted the first week? As much as I might hate the guy — and I do — you know he’s great for ratings. Producers brought him back because they expected him to stir things up as only a true reality-tv whore can do. (Think Omarossa, THE REAL WORLD’s Trishelle and PARADISE HOTEL’s Toni Ferrari.) And what does Fairplay do? Get all weepy and ask to be sent home! Meanwhile, over on the fan side of the island, riddle me this, Batman: If Kathleen is such a big fan of the show, how can she not know that going around making idiotic remarks like “I have never had a homosexual male friend” and “I’ve never seen implants before” will get your flame extinguished quicker than one of those torrential downpours soaking the island?

Regular readers could probably guess this, but I am majorly stoked about the new season of BIG BROTHER, which begins next week. While last season’s “twist” — in which supposed enemies secretly wound up under the same roof — turned out to be a big ol’ bust, this cycle’s is promising. Let’s face it, there’s nothing we voyeuristic viewers love more than seeing a showmance develop. By sending 16 singles into the house and pairing them up with potential “soul mates” whom they must work, scheme and — oh, yeah, we almost forgot — sleep with, the producers have pretty much guaranteed this’ll be the steamiest season yet.

Oh my God. Every time I think I can’t possibly hate Bill O’Reilly more, he does something to prove me wrong. What this time? Well, first, let me offer a little backstory: During the final days of John Edwards ill-fated presidential campaign, he made a speech in which he mentioned that thousands of homeless veterans sleep under bridges. The next day, O’Reilly took Edwards to task, denying that vets were sleeping under bridges and basically challenging someone to prove him wrong. Well, of course, someone did by rounding up a group of homeless vets who Bill-O not only refused to meet with, but whom he actually made fun of on his broadcast. He took them to task for not having heard his inflammatory words themselves (apparently not understanding that homeless people under bridges don’t generally have televisions) and then listing a series of statistics about poor people in this country owning their own homes and having televisions, again apparently failing to understand the difference between “poor” and “homeless.” As criticism was fired at him from all directions, suddenly, Bill declared that on Thursday’s show he would be making “a major announcement” about veterans. What was it? Transparent is what it was. In an effort to stem the tide of fury being unleashed at his callous and inane remarks, Bill has “joined forces” with politicians looking to have a bill passed which would provide vets important new benefits. On Thursday morning, Bill’s website proclaimed, “We are proposing a new GI Bill with the help of Senator John Kerry.” Um, yeah, that’s great… except that this proposed Bill had been in the works since May, long before O’Reilly, in a desperate attempt to make himself look better, had even thought about getting involved. And on THE FACTOR Thursday night, Bill-O made clear that his soul involvement would be to criticize those who might try and stand in the way of the legislation being passed. In other words, Bill will do exactly what he always does. Way to put yourself on the line, dude! Look up “shameless” in the dictionary and you will find this pinhead’s picture there.

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  • Man, I completely agree with you about Lipstick Jungle. I loved it. I like Cashmere Mafia but loved LJ so much more. 🙂

  • I wasn’t as won over by Lipstick Jungle–the incessant crying annoyed me on a level I can’t explain.

  • ct

    I didn’t really feel there was necessarily that much crying… other than by Lindsay Price’s character. Or at least I didn’t feel that way at the time… now that you mention it, I can see what you mean, as I reflect on it. But in the end, I still really, really enjoyed the show.

  • CT,

    I have to respectively disagree with you. I find CASHMERE mindless fun (caricatures or not), while LIPSTICK is trying too hard to be serious.

  • I disagree about Lipstick Jungle. But I agree about Cashmere Mafia. I think those two shows are filled with clichés, take themselves way too seriously, and have unrealistic characters/situations.
    I’m not sure which one is worst, but it doesn’t really matter.

    I’m also quite certain that Lost was NOT supposed to open with a two-hour episode. They’ve never done that, using a recap then a premiere has been a “long tradition” for the show and I don’t think it would have been any different here, strike or not.

  • ct


    You may well be right about Lost’s premiere. If that’s the case, I’d have to say that it SHOULD have been a two-hour offering. The cliffhanger at the end of the first episode wasn’t exactly a stunner. “Are you Jack?” asks the new guy, as opposed to this week’s stunner with Ben admitting that he has a plant amid the supposed “rescuers.”

  • CC

    I think I prefer CM just because to me the characters, while completely fake, are more fun and likable. They seem more young and interesting, while LJ’s girls seem to be portrayed rather old and boring. I dont know, both series are far fetched and I agree filled with cliches. None of them would become one of my must sees.

  • Josh Emerson

    I watched the pilot of Cashmere Mafia and I couldn’t possibly subject myself to any further episodes. I didn’t bother watching Lipstick Jungle.

    I really enjoyed Lost, which I had given up after last season’s opening six episodes (I know, I know. Lost fans think the rest of last season that I missed was the most brilliant TV in the history of television lol).

    Couldn’t agree with you more on Bill’O. It was great that Keith Olbermann really went after him over this homeless veterans story.

  • It’s Andrew McCarthy, not Andrew McCartney.

  • Stef

    I will continue watching Cashmere Mafia….I reallllly didn’t like Lipstick Jungle. I’m not sure what it was, but I couldn’t get into the characters. I think I agree, it tried to be too serious. CM is just mindless fun!

  • scsc

    Lipstink Jungle was dry and boring. They would have been better if they had cast complete unknowns. Brooke Shields will never have a successful show on tv. There won’t be a second season.

    Cashemere Mafia is the apitomy of mindless fun. Although Mia Mason(Lucy Liu) isn’t the best character out there, the other three more than make up for it. It’s funny, witty and well paced.

  • CT:

    I don’t know, sure the “are you Jack?” may not have been the greatest cliffhanger ever, but it was pretty good because it was a symbol : Jack made a phone call last season, and now someone coming for them (or so it seemed them) was on the Island !!

    It was huge, and I refuse to believe that by that time you didn’t want to know what was coming next, that you didn’t want to see Jack asking questions and finding out about that guy, etc

    (Plus, the second episode with the discovery of the wreckage wouldn’t have worked as good, I think, in the middle of a 2 hours episode…)

  • Common Sense

    “…relative DEBACLE” of the Tailies? Are you serious? Any criticism of LOST is so unwarranted and, frankly, insane. How about you just sit back and enjoy the ride…and quit nitpicking about the greatest show ever?

    P.S. Brooke Shields is so appealing, I want Lipstick to succeed. If only to shut Tom Cruise and his fat piehole, who thinks anyone who used antidepressants couldn’t possibly have a career. Wonder what Katie thinks when he goes off on his bizarrrrrro laughing fits?

  • ct

    Common Sense:

    Are you serious? “Any criticism of Lost is unwaranted and, frankly, insane?”

    Um, what planet — or island — are you living on? I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but this site and about a billion others practically exist so that people can express opinions — including criticism — of television shows. Also, while I’ll say that Lost is great television, I’m not sure I’m willing to just hand over the title “greatest show ever.” There’s been a whole lot of television over the years, a lot of it crappy, most of it mediocre, and some of it fantastic and groundbreaking. Lost definitely falls into that category… but GREATEST SHOW EVER? Hmmm… I’ll have to think on that one.

    But I’m glad that I’m not the only one who found Brooke wildly appealing. I just thought she was adorable and real and fun! (As for Katie, I have it on good authority that when Tom goes off on his weird tangents, she excuses herself politely… and then washes down two happy pills with a big-ass jug of wine.)

  • ct


    Sorry, but I expect more than a “symbol” at the end of an episode of so highly-anticipated a show. Damnit, I want a genuine, honest-to-God cliffhanger. Preferably, one that will leave me sock free, because they’ve been knocked across the room. When the guy took off his helmet and said, “Are you Jack?” I thought, “and… WAIT? THAT’S IT?”

  • Lauren

    how odd everyone else things lipstick jungle sucks and cashmere mafia sucks less. I watched the first 10 minutes of both theses shows and… lipjunglejungle was more interesting but anyway i can’t watch tv at 10pm. but nonethless