Posts By Jonathan Durbin

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Ellen DeGeneres Adds Heartbreak to Our Afternoon

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres broke down into tears this morning on her talk show as she was explaining the story of a dog that she and her partner, Portia de Rossi, had adopted: After training the puppy to live with the couple’s cats, it seems that they found Iggy too high-energy to be compatible with their old pets. They decided to give the dog to her hairdresser, whose two daughters became attached to it. Unfortunately, according to the adoption agreement Ellen had signed, donating the animal was a violation, and so Iggy was repossessed, which made some little girls very unhappy. In this clip Ellen pleas for the dog to be returned to the girls. This isn’t exactly above-the-fold news, but she’s so clearly distraught that she lends this little clip high-impact sentiment. But by the same token, do you think owners should be allowed to exchange pets without anyone providing oversight? After the jump, check pictures of celebrities and their dogs in happier moments. Note: Michael Vick not included.

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Kristen Wiig Is the New Will Ferrell. Period.

We’ve been watching Saturday Night Live funnywoman Kristen Wiig for a while, and let’s just say, we’re impressed. This past weekend she mocked inscrutable Icelandic elf Bjork (opposite Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley) on a spoof of IFC’s Iconoclasts. The two get together at a Cheesecake Factory, where Bjork tells Barkley that in her dreams her “fingers are made of butter” and asks him if he’d like to hold her “invisible baby.” Years ago, former SNL cast member and then head writer Tina Fey said that her period of the show would always be known as the Ferrell era. Although early signs pointed to the current era belonging to Andy Samberg, we’d actually argue that Kristen Wiig has it locked. Between her tiny turn in Knocked Up, her various characters on the show, and the fact that we haven’t seen The Brothers Solomon, Wiig is the funniest funnylady to come along in a long, long time. We dare you to name someone funnier.

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Meanwhile, Across Town, Samantha Was Hosing Down A Different Sort of Fire

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As you’ve probably heard by now, Sex and the City is in the process of becoming a major motion picture. If you believe what you read in Blogville, the movie, which is being shot right now (OMG!), has brought New York City to a stand-still. Sadly, this is not true, as your loyal reporters here have yet to have even one sighting of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha or Big. But rest assured, the film’s happening. It’s going to be released May 30th, 2008, and plot lines may or may not revolve around pregnancy (Charlotte), marriage (Carrie and Big) and promiscuity (just try to guess). If you can’t wait that long — and the suits at the networks are betting you can’t — then you’re going to love Cashmere Mafia, a new ABC show that debuts in September. Here’s the teaser paragraph from that show’s press release:

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Friday’s Reviews Rage — Elizabeth: The Golden Age

elizabeth.jpgEvery week we round up selections from the funniest and most brutal film criticism out there so that you don’t waste your cash at the theaters and laugh a little at Hollywood’s expense. This week: In Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Cate Blanchett reprises the role that made her a star. This sequel, however, isn’t going to alter her Q rating. But the clothes are pretty, and in a Hollywood on the verge of a writers’ strike, that’s something.

“It seems Elizabeth’s reign wasn’t so much about resolving matters of the heart, maintaining the love of her people, dealing with her scheming cousin Mary Queen of Scots and defeating the Spanish Armada, so much as wearing the right costume for the right event.” — The Washington Post

“An unholy mixture of the banal and the bombastic.” — New York

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The End of Music As We Know It (And We Feel Fine)

madonna4.jpgThis just might be the week the music industry changes forever. Fresh on the heels of Radiohead digitally releasing their seventh album, In Rainbows, and offering fans the chance to pay whatever they want for the download, Madonna is reportedly close to leaving her long-time home, Warner Brothers, to sign with Live Nation. If you’ve been to a stadium show any time recently, you’ll probably recognize Live Nation’s name — they’re a concert-promoting business, and they’re betting $100 million on Madonna’s power as a performer (the Material Girl gets half up front). It’s a solid bet: Her tour last year grossed about $195 million. Even if she’s pushing the big Five-O, Madonna’s still money in the bank. This will make her only the latest in a long string of artists to have bucked tradition in favor of something weirder and more dynamic. We refer you to:

  • The Eagles (yes, we actually just wrote the words The Eagles in a VH1 blog) are selling their new album directly to Wal-Mart.
  • Not only did Starbucks release Paul McCartney’s latest, the coffee conglomerate also seduced Sonic Youth. The New York art rockers, whose contract is up with Geffen, will release Hits Are For Squares exclusively through the beanery.
  • Dissatisfied with simply forgiving Third World debt and editing Vanity Fair, Bono really is writing the Broadway musical version of Spider-Man.
  • Rufus Wainwright wants to be Judy Garland, and he’s hellbent on making it happen.
  • Gina Gershon released an album. Crazy times!

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Our Disappointment, Tila Tequila, Is Boundless: Premiere Recap

Oh, Tila, it is as we feared. There are fundamental flaws with A Shot of Love. But before we delve into the nitty-gritty, we’d like to point out the positive: You are a radiant and sophisticated presence on screen and your physical beauty is simply unparalleled. We know of no other star who has the ability to exude sex and innocence and worldy wit – all at the same time. Just look at these screenshots from MTV!

As for the production itself … We are sorry to see that the executives at MTV have foisted upon you a group of 16 absurd men and 16 “women” who are undeserving of your attention. We cringed as we watched last night’s premiere, sympathetic to how you must have immediately intuited the crux of your dilemma: You will not find love here, not among these barnyard animals, these bouncers and strippers, these reality-program dregs who would not last one commercial break on a decent network. No, you will not find love.

You might, however, find a disease.

This is something we do not wish for you, Tila. Hear our plea: If your show were to air on VH1, things would be very, very different. (Dear faithful readers: If you agree, you should visit www.vh1wantstilatequila.com.) We implore you to bring your show here, Tila. Before it is too late, before you become so disillusioned with relationships, so deadened to the real and fulfilling nature of deep human connection, you become anhedonic and require serious medication simply to function.

Yes, your contestants are that bad. This is not hyperbole.

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Tila Tequila Seduces MTV

Oh, Tila. You are the queen of the Internets, the Maharani of MySpace, the raison d’etre behind MTV’s most gripping program since Johnny Knoxville unwisely lit out for the brighter (?) lights of B-movie tripe. You have won our hearts, our souls, and, more recently, our eyeballs.

Tonight your show debuts. We are counting the minutes. Every second seems a smelly, unreasonable eternity. We should explain: We will be watching A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila very, very closely, for we will be recapping the show here at the VH1 Blog. We will thrill to the sight of your bisexual dating program, wherein men (if you can call them that) and women (whose average mien appears influenced by and promotional of Human Growth Hormone and the San Fernando Valley) compete for your affections.

It is, we say, an historical moment. We have been waiting far too long. So, apparently, have certain frothy elements of the culture, whose right-wing sensibilities and conservative spending habits have been offended by your young, lithe, nubile, tanned . . . er, ambitions. We are proud to see you taking a stand for diversity — not to mention dignity, a staple that’s lately gone missing from the larder — on your MySpace blog. You write:

“Ever since the announcement of my new TV show(about being bisexual) I know that it has raised quite the controversy…especially with the conservatives, but even more recently, THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH!!! They have made it clear that what I am doing is wrong and that I am ‘cooperating with the adversary’ It’s ridiculous!”

Oh, Tila. At VH1, we would never assume you were colluding with Satan.

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Style Watch: Smartest Model‘s Mary Alice Stephenson Behind the Scenes

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Mary Alice Stephenson is the co-host of America’s Most Smartest Model, the game show where chiseled specimens of humanity compete to discredit a musty pop-culture cliche: that pretty people are dumb. (Guess what? They’re not.)

We caught up with Mary Alice after the premiere to learn the inside dope on what went down, and to get her take on style in general. Interview after the jump.

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