Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
$20 Million Persuades Jennifer Lopez to Stick With American Idol
Bonnie and Clogged Pores
Fran Liebowitz once said, "If you're going to watch TV, watch TV."
It's amazing how a comment made in passing on Late Night with David Letterman had the power to change the way I look at things. These eight words, two of them repeated twice, gave me license to pretty much disregard anything of so-called quality on television and immediately set sail on The Love Boat.
I'd rather mate with a pencil-sharpener than sit through a derivative, Emmy Award-winning network "drama," and Glee is my Kryptonite. A friend asked if watching American Idol is my one way of staying in touch with television "kulture." Did she think I was in it for the talent? Jerry Lewis recently dubbed American Idol contestants, "McDonald's wipeouts." I watched Idol for the same reason I worship Howard Stern: he and Simon Cowell appear to be the only two honest pricks left in broadcasting.
When Simon left my face grew cold and I started bawling. My one concession to the boob tube had lost its brightest boob! The show is nothing without Cowell. Steven Tyler flaps his liver lips and all that comes out is praise and barreling metrical compositions that make Nipsey Russell, the Poet Laureate of the American Game Show, sound like e.e. cummings.
They may have traded up in the looks department, but when it comes to insight, Jennifer Lopez and Paula Abdul tied for first in the Umbday Derby. Randy sits off to the side throwing out an occasional "dog" or "pitchy" so viewers know that he still has a pulse. Put them all together and there hasn't been this much ass-kissing on TV since Arsenio Hall left the airwaves.
Actors are paid largely for their faces. If given a choice between plastering their pusses across a forty-foot screen or a fifty-inch monitor, which do you think the average Hollywood narcissist will choose? Those of us who have seen Gigli and Maid in Manhattan know that it would be wrong to refer to JLo as an actress. She barely qualifies as a movie star. It was just a matter of time before television came a-courting.
The bad news is JLo is coming back. The good news is there will be no more performances by Marc Anthony.
Jenny heard from the blockheads at Fox that they were willing to cough up $20 million in exchange for her autograph on the dotted-line.
$20 million is a lot to pay someone who isn't starring in a Planet of the Apes sequel to spend three-quarters of their day in makeup, but I don't begrudge her the money. If people are dumb enough to pay the same amount to a guy who can dunk a ball through a hoop, why should it be any different for a performer?
Last season was my last season with Idol. People always complain about Curly's superiority to Shemp and Joe, but for me, Larry is the glue that holds The Three Stooges together. Remove his frizzle-top from the equation and the Stooges become Wheeler and Woolsey. While Simon strikes me as more the Moe type, without his caustic presence, Idol became a leaden throwback to Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour.
Onward to X Factor!
More like this:
- The Title or Trailer Game III: The List is Life — Feb. 2, 2012
- Never Mind The Muppets, Here's Starship! — Aug. 8, 2011
- Never mind the Killer Elite, here's the Scorpions! — Aug. 4, 2011
- Anatomy of a Press Photo: First Look at John Cusack in The Raven — Aug. 2, 2011
- Dog With a View — Aug. 2, 2011