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Friday, April 30, 2010

Deeper Dish with Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes


Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes is an interesting guy - to say the least. The singer/songwriter describes himself musically as a blend of "George Michael, Emmylou Harris, The Handsome Family and Elvis with a splash of author Louise Hay and filmmaker John Waters" - and he recorded and toured for many years as Yolanda (his fabulous transgender persona) and The Plastic Family (his indie/alt/cult/jazz/rock/pop band). Now I will let him tell you in his own words all about his fascinating life and career, but I must mention what he's been up to lately. A few years ago Tony decided to take his music in a different direction and return to his bluegrass gospel folk and Southern rock roots. The wonderful result is his new CD, House of Joy, which combines Yolanda and Roger Anthony Mapes into one entity while sharing his transformative and spiritual journey with us - and it won "Best Produced Record of 2009" from Pride In The Arts Music Awards. He's also featured in the forthcoming documentary musical, What's the Name of the Dame?, about New York City's top drag queens performing ABBA tunes. So I am delighted to have the one and only Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes here on the Dish to discuss where he's been and where he's going and, of course, answer a few pop culture questions.

Dish of the Day #390: Vote for your Favorite


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day will be featured, and beginning today you can vote for your favorite Dish this week in the poll below. The photographer of today's Dish is Dan Skinner (for more of his groovy pics, go to danthedanimal.deviantart.com).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hanging Out in Happy Town


Last night's debut of Happy Town, ABC's new mystery drama, intrigued me enough to tune in again next week. However, it got dismal ratings, lagging far behind NBC's Law & Order: SVU and a CSI: NY rerun on CBS, despite the endless and creepy promos for the show. Oh well, I'll keep watching if only to see Frances Conroy as the town matriarch, who shows up next week (loved her on Six Feet Under).

With any first episode of a series, it takes awhile to get acquainted with all the characters and learn how they're related to one another - especially on a serialized drama. I spent most of Happy Town's premiere trying to connect the dots of who's who in Haplin, Minnesota, where the air always smells like fresh baked bread (due to the town's main source of income, a bread factory). There seems to be two main characters - Tommy Conroy (Geoff Stults), a handsome family man/deputy whose father is the sheriff, and Henley Boone (Lauren German), the pretty new girl in town who's using her inheritance to open a candle shop. Or so she says. By the end of the episode, we learned that her real name might be "Chloe" and that she's very interested in the mysterious third floor of the boarding house where she's living. Meanwhile, Tommy and the rest of the police department investigated Happy Town's main mystery - who murdered the town weirdo with a hammer to his head?

Everyone seems to think that the Magic Man is somehow involved in this recent murder. And who is this man? Nobody knows, but for seven consecutive years a resident of Haplin vanished into thin air - and then it just stopped happening. I'm not sure how this mystery is connected to the recent murder since the Magic Man's victims simply disappeared. And I'm also clueless about what Dot Meadows, the nasty boarding house proprietor, is hiding upstairs, why the sheriff wants the "eternally dashing" Merritt Grieves to leave town, and why he went off the deep end and chopped off his own hand after babbling about someone named "Chloe". Obviously the sheriff has some sort of connection to Ms. Boone, but it's way too early to figure any of this out.

For the most part, I enjoyed the performances of the large cast, especially Sam Neill as Grieves (whom you may remember from Showtime's The Tudors and such films as Jurassic Park, The Piano and A Cry in the Dark) - but I do find it strange that his character would open a movie memorabilia shop in a small town. Steven Weber (Wings) didn't have much to do as John Haplin, the bread factory owner whose young daughter was the final victim of the Magic Man, but I'm sure he'll be featured more in the future as his teenage son is secretly in love with the daughter of a man he apparently hates. It was also nice to see actor Abraham Benrubi (ER's Jerry the desk clerk) again as Big Dave, the owner of the local pizza joint.  And, finally, Stults and German make an attractive and charismatic duo - even though their characters are not a couple. Perhaps if the writers had the 32-year-old Stults remove his shirt in every episode, the show's ratings might improve. Just an idea (the above photo is an old one of the former 7th Heaven actor).

As you can see, there is a helluva lot going on in Happy Town and so far not much of it makes sense. But that's part of the fun of a good mystery. However, I'm not sure yet if this series is a "good" mystery - like Twin Peaks' Laura Palmer murder - or a muddled mess like that show's second season eventually became. I guess only time will tell - but at the moment they only have eight episodes to resolve everything. And my gut instinct is that we won't be seeing the folks of Haplin again after their debut season ends on June 23.

I give Happy Town a grade of B for its debut. I like a show that makes you think - but hopefully it won't give me a headache by the end of its run.

Dish of the Day #389: Rub-a-Dub-Dub Week


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Of Glee I Sing: A House Is Not a Home (without Burt Bacharach)



Give me a little Burt Bacharach music and I'm happy as a clam. Seriously, that's all it takes to put a smile on my face. So last night's Glee was quite pleasing to my ears - except for one brief scene - as a few of his and Hal David's groovy tunes were sung. If only they would do an all-Dionne Warwick show, I would be in seventh heaven. And in response to the critical comment I read today in another review, in which the person didn't seem too happy about the Bacharach songs not being familiar "to those born after 1975", all I can say is: "Gosh, that's too damn bad. Glee isn't just written for 'young' people. There are plenty of us over 35 who enjoy watching the show, too, even though we might not recognize some of the more current tunes that are being sung. But you don't hear us complaining, now do you?"

So here's what I loved the most - and the least - about the 16th episode of Glee:

Favorite character: Amber Riley's Mercedes, who made me feel her pain as she tried unsuccessfully to lose weight in order to remain a Cheerio.

Most welcome return: Kristin Chenoweth as Will's sassy friend, April Rhodes, who was on her way to Branson, Missouri, the last time we saw her back in September. But her plans changed, and she became the mistress of a strip mall tycoon who owned the cabaret roller rink where Will ran into her again. In addition to her amazing singing prowess, Chenoweth is a very funny actress, and she continually cracked me up throughout the episode with April's candid remarks - "I just had a sex dream about you" (which she announced to everyone at the roller rink when Will showed up). And she and Matthew Morrison have great chemistry.

Best new couple: Kurt's father, Burt (Mike O'Malley), and Finn's mother, Carole (Romy Rosemont), who struck up a romance with a little help from Kurt (who just wants to be close to Finn). I'm glad that Finn and Kurt (who changed his mind about his matchmaking effort) did not succeed in breaking up their parents, who deserve some happiness together.

Best unexpected friend: Quinn Fabray, who told a surprised Mercedes that she was beautiful just as she was. This was a nice moment between these two characters.

Best musical performance: It's tough to choose only one this week, but I'm going to go with Mercedes' powerful rendition of "Beautiful" at the school's pep rally.



Best musical performance runner-up with one unfortunate interruption: I loved Kurt's "A House Is Not a Home", which he sang to an uncomfortable Finn during glee club. However, Finn's brief daydream of singing the song to his father's chair and ashes was a very weird moment - and it was painful to listen to Cory Monteith try to croon this tune. The guy can sing, but maybe he should stay away from Bacharach from now on.

Best duets: Morrison and Chenoweth were fabulous together singing The Pointer Sisters' 1978 song "Fire" and a mash-up of Bacharach's "A House Is Not a Home" and "One Less Bell to Answer".




Best promo for a Broadway musical revival: Chenoweth also sings "A House Is Not a Home" in the current Broadway revival of the 1968 Burt Bacharach/Hal David/Neil Simon musical, Promises, Promises. Just a happy coincidence? Or an intentional plug?

Least favorite musical performance: Chenoweth's "Home" from the 1975 Broadway musical, The Wiz. She was fine, but the number just didn't do much for me - especially after all the great tunes that proceeded it.
Best and most amusing plot twist: After her tycoon unexpectedly died, April received $2 million in hush money from the man's wife, which she used to buy the school auditorium for the glee club - and then go to Broadway to launch the first all-white production of The Wiz.

Most predictable plot twist: Kurt being jealous of his father's new friendship with Finn. I think Kurt should be happy about his own new friendship with Finn's mother, who seems like a nice lady.

Best non-musical scenes: There were many great moments in the episode, but I especially liked Carole and Finn's scene in which she admitted to liking Burt - and later when Finn allowed Burt to sit in his father's chair.

Best facial expressions: Watching Sue's face during the pep rally and later when the journalist from Splits Magazine called her a "visionary redefining cheerleading" was a hoot. She wasn't in control of the situation, which obviously made her somewhat uneasy.

Best pinky linking: Brittany and Santana, who also put her head on her friend's shoulder during Kurt's solo.

Best "too much information" remark from someone's mother: "You were conceived on a pinball machine" - Carole to her son, Finn

Best bizarre Brittany line: "I'm pretty sure my cat is reading my diary" (I think I'll make this a regular category from now on)

Best line runner-up: "I feel like the guy who set up Liza and David Gest" - Kurt

Best line: "How do you two not have a show on Bravo?" - Sue to Kurt and Mercedes

Most abrupt ending: For a second week in a row, the episode just ended after a song - and my partner turned to me and said, "Is that it?"

That's my Glee review for this week. Next week is Olivia Newton-John - and rumor has it that she and Sue Sylvester will be recreating the "Physical" video. I can't wait! Until then, keep singing!

Dish of the Day #388: Rub-a-Dub-Dub Week


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Remembering Dorothy Provine


Actress Dorothy Provine, who died on Sunday at age 75, married director Robert Day in 1968 and soon retired from acting. However, her films were featured on The Dialing for Dollars Early Show every weekday afternoon while I was growing up in the 1970s. And That Darn Cat! - the original 1965 version starring Provine - was frequently shown on The Wonderful World of Disney, which I always watched every Sunday night. She was one of my favorite actresses as a child, so after hearing the sad news about her tonight, I knew I had to pay tribute to this lovely lady.

Provine's other movies included It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) as Milton Berle's wife and Ethel Merman's daughter; Blake Edwards' The Great Race (1965), in which she sings the Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer tune, "He Shouldn't-A, Hadn't-A, Oughtn't-A Swang on Me!"; Good Neighbor Sam (1964) opposite Jack Lemmon; Who's Minding the Mint (1967); and Never a Dull Moment (1968) with Dick Van Dyke. She also starred in The Bonnie Parker Story (1958), in which she was cast as the notorious bank robber just three days after arriving in Hollywood, as well as two television series - The Alaskans (1959-60), during which her co-star Roger Moore fell in love with her, and The Roaring Twenties (1960-62). Two roles that Provine almost played were Young Belle Poitrine in the original 1962 Broadway production of the musical, Little Me, and Jean Harlow in the 1965 film, Harlow (which went to Carol Lynley).



If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean


Every Tuesday I post five questions relating to television or film, and the first person who sends me the correct answers wins the highly coveted Auntie Mame Award (for excellence in trivia).

Please send your answers for this week's questions to deepdishdrama@aol.com or via a private Facebook message at www.facebook.com/marcharshbarger (DO NOT post your answers on here where everyone can see them or they will be deleted).

This week's theme is director Robert Altman's 1982 film, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean:

1) In what state does the movie take place?

2) What is Sissy's occupation?

3) What movie was James Dean filming in a nearby town when the characters were teenagers?

4) What actress was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance?

5) Who plays the newly rich Stella Mae?

Last week Mark Briner answered the following questions correctly about the 1988 film, Hairspray:

1) In what city does the movie take place? Baltimore

2) What is the first name of Tracy's mother? And who plays her? Edna, Divine

3) Who plays Velma and Franklin Von Tussle? And what rock band does "Velma" still sing with? Debbie Harry and Sonny Bono, Blondie

4) Where do the Von Tussles plant a bomb in order to sabotage the Miss Auto Show pageant? In Velma's bouffant hairdo

5) Who plays Corny Collins' assistant Tammy? Mink Stole

Dish of the Day #387: Rub-a-Dub-Dub Week


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week.

Monday, April 26, 2010

See Mario Cantone, Andrea Martin & Scott Adsit in Celebrity Autobiography This Weekend




Celebrity Autobiography, the New York hit comedy show, is coming to Chicago this weekend for two shows only with appearances by Mario Cantone (Sex and the City), Andrea Martin (SCTV), Scott Adsit (30 Rock), Laura Kightlinger (The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman), Tim Kazurinsky (Police Academy, Saturday Night Live), Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters), and co-creators Eugene Pack and Dayle Reyfel. It will be performed at 8 pm on Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1, at the Royal George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted Street).

Celebrity Autobiography features comedians performing and interpreting the unintentionally hilarious actual words and stories written by celebrities. Past autobiographies read have included the works of Tiger Woods, Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Ivana Trump, Vanna White, Mr. T, Star Jones, Zsa Zsa Gabor, David Cassidy, Suzanne Somers, Loni Anderson, Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor. Playing to sold-out houses and rave reviews Off Broadway for the past two years, the show has been called "the funniest show in town, hands down" (New York Post), "a cool night out" (Rolling Stone), and "one of NYC's most buzzed-about shows" (Entertainment Weekly). Sounds like a fun evening to me - especially if I get to see Sex and the City's Anthony Marentino, 30 Rock's Pete Hornberger and SCTV's wonderfully wacky Edith Prickley live on stage!

Deep Dish readers are being offered special $25 balcony tickets to Celebrity Autobiography with the code LAUGH, which can be redeemed by calling the Royal George Box Office at (312) 988-9000 or ordering online at www.ticketmaster.com. PLEASE NOTE that Mr. Ramis will only be performing on Saturday night.

Below you can watch SNL's Kristen Wiig read from Suzanne Somers' book of poetry and The View's Sherri Shepherd read from Madonna's autobiography.


TV Flashback: The Carol Burnett Show


In honor of Carol Burnett's 77th birthday today, I thought it would be fun to revisit some of my favorite moments from her variety series, The Carol Burnett Show, which debuted on CBS on September 11, 1967, and ran for eleven seasons and 278 episodes. Carol and her brilliant ensemble of regulars - Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, Tim Conway and briefly Dick Van Dyke - kept me and the rest of the country laughing hysterically every Saturday night. Back in the 1970s there were actually TV shows worth watching on what is now known as "the evening of barren wasteland" - All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and Carol - but before I get all misty-eyed for the past, let's quickly proceed to some clips:

Carol always began her show with a question-and-answer segment. Here's a hilarious video of her singing with an audience member who looks like Bea Arthur.



The following musical clip features Carol singing with such guest stars as Steve Lawrence, Ethel Merman, Bing Crosby, Liza Minnelli, Perry Como, Lucille Ball, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Rita Hayworth, Jim Nabors, The Pointer Sisters, Steve Martin, The Carpenters, Cher and Eydie Gorme.



Carol and Vicki sing Peter, Paul and Mary's groovy 1967 tune, "I Dig Rock and Roll Music", and Carol sings Debby Boone's 1977 hit, "You Light Up My Life", to Tim Conway.




Carol plays the mother of guest star Charo in an amusing sketch that originally aired on September 22, 1973.



Carol Burnett spoofed many movies on her show, but her Gone with the Wind with guest star Dinah Shore was the best one in my opinion. It originally aired on November 13, 1976.




My favorite regular comedy sketch was Carol's parody of soap operas, "As the Stomach Turns", in which she played Marion, who lived in the town of Canoga Falls. The following sketch from September 27, 1975, pokes fun at the 1975 Warren Beatty film, Shampoo, with Tim Conway as swinging hairdresser Warren Pretty, Cher as Pocahontas Pirelli, and Harvey Korman as the fabulous Mother Marcus.




I, of course, loved "The Family" sketches with Carol and Vicki playing Eunice and Mama. The following clips feature them playing the board game, Sorry! (from November 16, 1974); an outtake from the sketch; and another funny "Family" outtake with Tim Conway.






And, finally, here is Carol singing her memorable theme song (written by her second husband and the show's producer, Joe Hamilton) during the final episode that aired on March 29, 1978.

Dish of the Day #386: Rub-a-Dub-Dub Week


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Let's Get Lost: Reunited and it feels so good



I apologize for the delay in this week's Lost post, but I wasn't able to watch the episode online until this afternoon. Life just got in the way, but better late than never - and I thought this week's show, "The Last Recruit", was wonderful because everyone was in it. There wasn't any featured character so we got to see all of them in both the island and the Parallel Time (PT) sequences. I especially loved the unexpected ways that the characters' PT lives kept colliding with each other - it was just so much fun to watch. So here are some of my random thoughts about the episode:

1) Was it just me or were all the guys looking especially hot this week? I couldn't help but notice Matthew Fox's sinewy arms, Sawyer in his black leather jacket and the smooth-talking Desmond in PT (the latter wasn't so attractive lying wet and bloody at the bottom of the well on the island).

2) It makes perfect sense that The Man in Black was the one who impersonated Jack and Claire's father on the island.

3) Obviously Sun recognized Locke upon her arrival at the hospital after being shot - "It's him!" And at the end Jack realized that he knew him as well as he was about to operate on the guy. I'm so looking forward to seeing how the writers bring the characters of both PT and the island time period together.

4) I love crazy Claire, who's been "drinking Locke's Kool-Aid" (according to Sawyer). She said two of my favorite lines of the episode in her husky, ominous voice: "Whether you like it or not, you're with him now" (to Jack) and "He finds out we're gone, he's going to be mad" (about Locke). She's a hoot - but watch out when she starts feeling abandoned and squints with fury. And I seriously doubt that the nutty girl will be reunited with her son. I predict that Kate will continue to be Aaron's mother after something happens to Claire.

5) Speaking of crazy, I don't know if I would've gone with Desmond in PT if I was Claire, who was giving him some looks that clearly said, "Who is this stalker guy?" Then again, if some handsome, smiling hunk was following me around, perhaps it would be kind of difficult to resist him.

6) Poor Ilana, we hardly knew ya when you were blown up real good in last week's episode - but apparently the writers weren't done with you yet since you appeared this week as Desmond's PT attorney friend who brought siblings Jack and Claire together for the first time.

7) Sayid didn't kill Desmond. No way. And I find it hard to believe that MIB Locke is so dumb to believe that he did.

8) Best line: "That pilot who looks like he stepped off the set of a Burt Reynold's movie" - Sawyer about Frank Lapidus

9) Runner-up for best line: "Get off my damn boat" - Sawyer to Jack, who did as he was told because he doesn't think the island is done with them yet - at least not for another four episodes.

10) Best moment of the episode: I was convinced that Sun and Jin were not going to get back together until the series finale, so I was pleasantly surprised when the couple was finally reunited at the end of the show, causing Sun to regain her voice - and even Sawyer got a bit verklempt (he was probably thinking of Juliet).

And, finally, this week's cliffhanger: Widmore's evil henchwoman, Zoe, told a surprised Sawyer and his gang that their deal was off, and then they began blowing up the main island, injuring poor Jack, whom MIB Locke rescued. So who's the bad guy? Widmore or the Man in Black - or both of them? I have no idea. Lost isn't on this Tuesday, so until May 4 when the series returns, get lost.

Sunday Funnies: Betty White Lines



I know everyone is looking forward to seeing the fabulous Betty White host Saturday Night Live on May 8 - but right now you can enjoy "Betty White Lines", a groovy new video by the St. Olaf Glee Club (aka writer/comedian/radio host Frank DeCaro, singer/songwriter/gay porn star Fredrick Ford and entertainment writer [The Q Guide to The Golden Girls] Jim Colucci). Written by Colucci and directed by Ford, the video is a camptastic tribute to our favorite Golden Girl and Happy Homemaker!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What's so bad about Archie having a gay friend?



Yesterday I wrote about Archie Comics introducing a gay character this fall into the lives of the Riverdale gang. I think it's great - but not everyone does. Another blogger, Warner Todd Huston, also shared his opinion on this subject, and apparently he's so well-known in conservative circles that our local CBS news sought him out for his response, which was the opposite of mine. No surprise there. You can read his entire post by clicking here, but here are a few of his statements:

The 50 Hottest Hunks of Daytime Soaps: The Top 10



Today I'm featuring the Top 10 in my countdown of the hottest daytime soap hunks. To see what guys I chose for #11-50, click here.

Now here are the ten Hottest Hunks of Daytime Soaps:

10) David Fumero
Cristian Vega, One Life to Live (1998-present)



9) Cameron Mathison
Ryan Lavery, All My Children (1998-present)



8) Frank Grillo
Hart Jessup, Guiding Light (1996-99)



7) Adrian Bellani
Miguel Lopez-Fitzgerald, Passions (2006-07)



6) Brandon Beemer
Best Role: Owen Knight, The Bold and the Beautiful (2008-present)
Other Roles: Seth, General Hospital
Shawn Brady, Days of our Lives (2006-08)



5) Mark Lawson
Brody Lovett, One Life to Live (2008-present)



4) Dylan Bruce
Best Role: Chris Hughes, As the World Turns (2007-08)
Other Role: Edna's Dream Guy, Passions (2005)



3) Tuc Watkins
Best Role: David Vickers, One Life to Live (1994-96, 2001-present)
Other Roles: Reggie, Santa Barbara (1992)
Dr. Pierce Dorman, General Hospital (1996-97)



2) Timothy Adams
Best Role: Casey Mitchum, Sunset Beach (1997-99)
Other Roles: Rob Layne, Guiding Light (2000)
Ron Walsh, One Life to Live (2003-06)
Dr. Clayton, All My Children (2010)



1) Eddie Cibrian
Best Role: Cole Deschanel, Sunset Beach (1997-99)
Other Role: Matt Clark, The Young and the Restless (1994-96)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Groovy Gay Comics: Queer Eye for Riverdale High



Will Veronica Lodge become Riverdale's first "fag hag"? I certainly hope so - and maybe Betty Cooper will join Dykes on Bikes. Oh, there are so many groovy gay places that Archie Comics can explore now that they're introducing a hunky homosexual into the lives of the Riverdale gang this September in the 202nd issue of Veronica. The story, "Isn't It Bromantic?", will center around the openly gay Kevin Keller, the new blond boy in town who catches the eye of the rich and snobby Veronica. Obviously things don't work out between them - but I'm hoping that Kevin will stick around for awhile and become romantically involved with Reggie Mantle. Okay, I know this will never happen, but they would make a cute couple, don't you think?

Dish of the Day #385: Vote for your Favorite


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day will be featured, and beginning today you can vote for your favorite Dish this week in the sidebar poll. Today's Dish is Michael Churchill.



Last week's winner was #378 with 25.9% of the 85 votes cast. Coming in second was #379 with 22.4%, followed by #376 (20.0%), #377 (18.8%) and #380 with 12.9%.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coming to your TV this fall . . . maybe



Last spring I featured a list of TV pilots being filmed for the 2009-10 seasons of the five major networks that sounded interesting to me. I selected 21 shows, and only 10 of them made it into our living rooms. Eastwick and Melrose Place both bombed in the ratings, while ABC's My American Family received a better name - Modern Family - and became a hit. So I'm making another list this year and adding in a few cable series that caught my eye:

Beach Lane (NBC): A comedy about a celebrity author (Matthew Broderick) who is hired by an irresponsible millionaire to run a struggling newspaper in the Hamptons. The series also stars Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock from the Sun). Since I like both Broderick and Johnston, I'm willing to watch at least one episode.

The Damn Thorpes (The CW): Created by Gilmore Girls' Amy Sherman-Palladino, this drama is about a horse trainer (the hunky Sean Faris) who has to take over the family ranch in Wyoming and look after his three younger sisters after their parents die. The series also stars Kathleen Chalfant.

Enlightened (HBO): Laura Dern stars in this comedy about a self-destructive woman who has a spiritual awakening and decides to lead an "enlightened" life. The show also stars Dern's mother, Diane Ladd, and Luke Wilson.

It Takes a Village (ABC): This very gay series sounds great.  It's about a divorced couple (Christopher Sieber, Leah Remini) who are raising a teenage son - and the gorgeous Cheyenne Jackson plays Sieber's boyfriend (see photo). I wonder if Hillary Clinton will tune in.

Keep Hope Alive (FOX): A comedy about a young woman who has to raise an infant with help from her quirky family. I'm only interested in this show because Cloris Leachman and Martha Plimpton are starring in it.

Love Bites (NBC):
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty's Amanda) stars in this romantic comedy.

Luck (HBO): A drama set in the world of horse racing starring Dustin Hoffman, Jason Gedrick and Nick Nolte.

Matadors (ABC): A Romeo and Juliet love story with two feuding families - one works in the district attorney's office and the other owns a private law firm. It's set in Chicago and stars Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights), Jason Behr and David Strathairn.

The Miraculous Year (HBO): Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) is directing the pilot episode of this drama about a New York family as seen through the eyes of a charismatic, self-destructive Broadway composer.

Mr. Sunshine (ABC): A workplace comedy set in a sports arena starring Friends' Matthew Perry and the fabulous Allison Janney.

Open Books (CBS): A comedy about a book editor and her friends starring Laura Benanti and - drum roll please - Miss Patti LuPone (I'd love to see her in a sitcom - as long as it's funny).

Savage Love (HBO): A non-airing presentation pilot was taped last August with openly gay author Dan Savage hosting a talk show based on his syndicated Savage Love advice column.

Southern Discomfort (ABC): It's being called a modern day All in the Family with Don Johnson (Miami Vice) playing the Archie Bunker role. The series also stars the wonderful Mary Steenburgen as "Edith". I like the title.

Strange Brew (FOX): I adore Laurie Metcalf, who stars in this comedy about a family-owned brewery.

The Strip (NBC): Created by and starring Reno 911's Thomas Lennon, this comedy is about a former child star who now runs a Hooters-style bar in Las Vegas.

Wright vs. Wrong (ABC):
Debra Messing stars as a conservative Christian pundit in this workplace comedy, which also features Cheryl Hines as Messing's liberal sparring partner and Carrie Fisher as Messing's manager. Love the cast - hope it's funny.

The following shows are only in the script development stage - no pilot episodes yet. I think eventually we'll see a few of them - especially the HBO and Showtime series - but the rest will never see the light of day:

Bitches in Britches (The CW):
I LOVE the title, but I have a feeling we won't be seeing this family soap set in the equestrian world.

Clive Barker's Hotel (ABC): A drama about a series of ghoulish incidents at a haunted hotel.

Dallas (TNT): A revival of the beloved CBS soap opera about the wealthy Ewing family. If they get any of the original cast to appear, I might tune in - especially Linda "Sue Ellen" Gray.

The Follower (HBO): Author Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, Less Than Zero) is adapting Jason Starr's novel into a dark social satire about the lives of a group of twentysomething New Yorkers as seen through the eyes of a stalker. Sounds kinky enough for me to tune in.

Heathers (FOX): The 1988 cult film returns in this updated remake.

Howl (FOX): An epic saga about warring families of werewolves in a small Alaskan town.

Rapture (Showtime): Lisa Kudrow is developing this comedy based on actor Craig Chester's book about growing up as the gay son of born-again Christian parents.

Sellevision (NBC): Based on Augusten Burroughs' first book (which I enjoyed reading), this dramedy is about people working at a home shopping channel.

St. Elmo's Fire (ABC): I seriously doubt we'll ever see this contemporary remake of the 1985 movie that starred Rob Lowe, Demi Moore and Ally Sheedy - but I did love the film when it was first released.

Torchwood (FOX): This drama based on the popular British series recently got torched, so we won't be seeing an American version - at least not on FOX.

Untitled Broadway Musical Project (Showtime): Now this drama sounds fascinating. It's about the development of a Broadway musical from the inception of the idea through the opening night - and Hairspray's Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are planning to write the songs.

Three shows about horses? This seems rather odd to me, but maybe horses are hot these days. Anyway, we'll find out next month whether any of these series get picked up when the networks reveal their 2010-11 schedules. And below you can vote for which shows you're hoping to see this fall - or sometime in the future (choose as many as you want).


Dish of the Day #384: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. Today's Dish is Matt Woods.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Of 'Glee' I Sing: The 'Vogue'-ing of Sue Sylvester


I loved last night's Madonna episode of Glee. Of course, the music was great, but I also was delighted that the fabulous Jane Lynch was given a chance to really shine on the show. She got to sing, look marvelous and, most importantly, be funny. Before the series went on its hiatus, I was beginning to grow weary of Sue Sylvester, who was becoming more nasty and less amusing with her outrageous comments. Fortunately, last night the writers filled in a few blanks about the character's background to help us understand her a little better. Now here's what I loved the most - and the least - about the 15th episode, "The Power of Madonna":

Best musical performance: I have to begin with this category because Jane Lynch's "Vogue" was to die for. We saw a preview of her number last week, but last night we got to see how it fit into the show as Kurt and Mercedes gave Sue a total makeover after Will insulted her hair with a great line: "How is the Florence Henderson look working for you?" Nothing against Ms. Henderson - whom I adore - but I couldn't help but laugh out loud. As for Kurt and Mercedes' "Vogue" video featuring Sue with many new looks, it couldn't have been better as Lynch showed off some decent dance moves while impressing us with her vocal abilities. And her "Will Schuester, I hate you" line was priceless. This definitely ranks as one of my favorite Glee performances ever.

Dish of the Day #383: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. Today's Dish is Matt Kirkham.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

DVD Dish: Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island



Writer and director Mark Jones has given the old familiar serial killer on the loose genre a groovy gay twist in his film, Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island, which is being released on DVD today. The plot centers around Jack (the very cute Tyler Farrell), a closeted young man who is pledging Zeta Alpha Rho fraternity, and he and the other pledges have to spend their "Hell Night" hazing initiation on a river park island that is closed for the season. Of course, you already know what happens next - the boys start dropping like flies as a psycho killer clown wants them all dead.

So who is this deranged murderer? Jones successfully sets up many possible suspects, including:
  • Johnny Brooklyn, an escaped mental patient.
  • Roger, Jack's secret lover who is ridiculed by his frat brothers for liking Dr. Who and other sci-fi stuff.
  • Andy, Jack's odd roommate who likes clowns and whose father was the fraternity's president 25 years ago until he went insane and poisoned 10 people.
  • Sarah, the girlfriend of the current frat president who's obsessively jealous of the time he spends with his brothers.
  • Dean Jones, the Dean of Students who takes pills whenever he has headaches and hears his dead mother telling him to harm the frat boys (think Psycho's Norman Bates - and his name reminds me of my favorite Disney actor as a child).
  • Or is it one of the four ghosts who haunt the island ever since they were killed on the island in 1984 after performing a patriotic 4th of July show?
The whodunnit storyline does keep you guessing until the very end, but for me, the best part of the film is its gay sense of humor, which has a few fraternity brothers making some unexpected homoerotic confessions - and two guys chasing each other around the island in order to remove one another's clothes. The movie also does a good job with Jack's coming-out subplot as well as featuring a couple of bare backsides for our viewing pleasure.

Although a few of the actors look a little too old to be in college, I did enjoy the performances of Farrell, who makes a handsome leading man, as well as Kaleo Quenzer and Billie Worley as two frat brothers, Tosh Newman as another cute pledge, Jim Eikner as Dean Jones, and Ashley Howell as Debbi, a crazy girl who lives on the island.

Most of Fraternity Massacre was shot on Mud Island River Park in Memphis - the same location that was featured in the 1993 Tom Cruise film, The Firm - which I think is an interesting bit of trivial information. And I must mention the movie's great music by a Memphis-based band called The Central Standards - especially a catchy tune called "Greatest Day".

Finally, it's nice to see some hunky frat boys being killed for a change instead of the usual screaming sorority girls. But don't worry, Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island isn't that gory - I don't think clowns like getting too much blood on their costumes.< You can watch the movie trailer below, become a Facebook fan of the film, check out its official website at www.fraternitymassacre.com, and purchase the DVD on Amazon or TLAvideo.

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Tracy Turnblad


Every Tuesday I post five questions relating to television or film, and the first person who sends me the correct answers wins the highly coveted Auntie Mame Award (for excellence in trivia).

Please send your answers for this week's questions to deepdishdrama@aol.com or via a private Facebook message at www.facebook.com/marcharshbarger (DO NOT post your answers on here where everyone can see them or they will be deleted).

In honor of director John Waters' birthday on April 22, this week's theme is his 1988 film, Hairspray:

1) In what city does the movie take place?

2) What is the first name of Tracy's mother? And who plays her?

3) Who plays Velma and Franklin Von Tussle? And what rock band does "Velma" still sing with?

4) Where do the Von Tussles plant a bomb in order to sabotage the Miss Auto Show pageant?

5) Who plays Corny Collins' assistant Tammy?

Last week Phillip Brock answered the following questions correctly about the TV series, Glee:

1) What 1984 hit song did the glee club perform in their Mattress Land commercial? "Jump"

2) Whose body is like a rum chocolate souffle - "If I don't warm it up right, it doesn't rise"? Kurt's

3) What is the first name of Terri Schuester's annoying sister? Kendra

4) What song did Puck sing as his first solo to the glee club? And what singer originally wrote and recorded it in 1969? "Sweet Caroline", Neil Diamond

5) What bizarre name did Finn suggest for "his" and Quinn's baby? Drizzle

6) What song did both April Rhodes and Rachel sing? And in what 1972 film is it also performed? "Maybe This Time", Cabaret

7) What singer admitted that he "loves a blowsy alcoholic" during his cameo appearance as himself? Josh Groban

8) What 1974 hit song did Finn sing to Quinn's parents? "(You're) Having My Baby"

9) Whose bedroom "looks like where Strawberry Shortcake and Holly Hobbie come to hook up"? Rachel's

Dish of the Day #382: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. If you haven't voted for last week's Dish yet, choose your man in the sidebar poll. Today's Dish is Rusty Joiner.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dish of the Day #380: Vote for your Favorite


Click here to vote for your favorite Dish of the Day last week.

Groovy Music: Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael's 'That 60's Show'



Ooh child, I know a place where you can hear a "symphony" of groovy music. God only knows in these trying times, we need more folks like the amazing cabaret duo of Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael, who are so happy together while crooning tunes together. The way they do the things they do is a joy to behold, so you got to get them into your life by going to see them in their fabulous new show, That 60's Show, at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret in Chicago.

Deeper Dish with Steven Brinberg (aka 'Simply Barbra')


I first saw the fabulous Steven Brinberg perform as Barbra Streisand at Don't Tell Mama in New York back in the mid-'90s, and the audience - including my partner and I - loved every moment of his hilarious but honest cabaret show. He poked fun at the legendary star but was never mean. My favorite part was his amazing rendition of the 1978 hit, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", which he did as a duet with himself - singing as both Barbra and Neil Diamond. I still think of Steven whenever I hear the song.

Steven has performed as Simply Barbra all over the world as well as appeared on The Rosie O'Donnell Show and with composer Marvin Hamlisch. A two time MAC and Bistro Award winner, he has recorded two CDs - Simply Barbra Live in London (which features his Barbra/Neil duet) and Simply Barbra: The Duets Album, in which he sings with Karen Mason, Mimi Hines, Kaye Ballard and many others. And this Thursday, April 22, he will be bringing Simply Barbra to The Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan, and on Sunday, April 25, he will be performing as part of the Lake Shore Salon Series in Chicago. I am so delighted to feature the talented Mr. Brinberg here on the Dish today to discuss his career and answer a few pop culture questions.

Dish of the Day #381: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


This week's Dishes are for my friend Steve just because he's a groovy guy.

Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week. Today's Dish is Ethan Reynolds.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

10 Groovy Movies to See This Summer



I'm not a summer movie fan. Big action-packed blockbusters don't do much for me, so I rarely see the most popular films of the year. I'm much more of an autumn/holiday season moviegoer - but there are usually a few flicks that are released between May and August that catch my eye. So when I received the "Summer Movie Preview" issue of Entertainment Weekly in the mail the other day, touting "all the buzz on 96 new films", I decided to make a list of the ones that looked interesting. Unfortunately, Meryl Streep doesn't have a summer movie this year after appearing in 2008's Mamma Mia! and 2009's Julie & Julia - but I was still able to come up with 10 films that I might see. Here they are in order of their release dates:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dish of the Day #380: Vote for your Favorite


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day will be featured, and beginning today you can vote for your favorite Dish this week in the sidebar poll.



Last week's BIG winner was #375 with 52.9% of the 102 votes cast. Coming in second was #371 with 20.6%, followed by #374 (12.7%), #373 (11.8%) and #372 with 2.0%.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Betty



Well, at least they didn't kiss. If Betty Suarez and her former boss, Daniel Meade, had locked lips in last night's final episode of Ugly Betty, I would have turned off my TV because those two characters were never meant to end up together. I don't care that the Betty in the original Colombian telenovela became romantically involved with her boss - the American version was never written that way. Instead Betty and Daniel were more like siblings who cared deeply for each other - and to make them a couple would've been so wrong.

I am still disappointed that creator Silvio Horta decided to have Daniel suddenly develop romantic feelings for Betty and follow her to London, where she accepted a new job. Fortunately, I think Betty is too smart to ever fall for Daniel and his smooth charm - she seemed more surprised and amused by his interest in her.  If I was to predict Ms. Suarez's future, I see her having a few fabulous love affairs over the next decade before getting married and having a kid - but never giving up the career that she's worked so hard for.

Anyway, that's enough about the non-romance between Betty and Daniel. Here's what else I liked and disliked about the show's final episode:

I liked that the gorgeous Grant Bowler returned as Connor Owens and that Daniel gave Wilhelmina the position of MODE editor.

I loved the relationship between Amanda and her long-lost father, Spencer (played by Mad Men's Bryan Batt). It's too bad the writers waited until the last minute to bring these two wonderful characters together (I wasn't a fan of Amanda's previous "father", KISS rock star Gene Simmons).

Alec Mapa was hilarious as usual as Suzuku St. Pierre with his "Rouge Alert".

I enjoyed Amanda throwing the ashes of her dead dog, Halston, all over the MODE office.

And I confess that I got a bit verklempt as Betty said goodbye to her family before moving to London. I also thought Betty and Marc's last conversation and hug were sweet as well.

Oh, and the title, Ugly Betty, simply became Betty in the final shot - a very nice and appropriate touch.

As for what I didn't care for, why didn't Betty's father, Ignacio, end up with Elena (Lauren Velez), who was his date at Hilda's wedding the previous week? Very strange.

I also found it odd that Claire's son Tyler, who was so prominently featured in the previous episode, didn't even say one word in the finale. I didn't care much for his character, but it still would've been nice to see some sort of reconcilation scene between him and his mother.

So I give Betty's last episode a grade of B+ for giving most of the characters a proper send-off, but it would've received an A if only Daniel hadn't become so attached to his former employee.



However, as much as I liked Betty's ending, the series lost me as a regular viewer during its third season. I think the show jumped the shark in the first episode of that season when after a long summer of anxiously waiting to see whether Betty would marry Henry or go off to Rome with Gio, we learned that she wasn't ready for a serious relationship and kicked both guys to the curb and off the series. Her romantic life was never that good again as she first flirted with her cute but dull neighbor, Jesse, before finally entering into a serious romance with the terminally boring Matt Hartley (one of my least favorite characters on the show). Besides Henry and Gio, other great characters were let go as well, including Cliff St. Paul (Marc's delightful boyfriend), Coach Tony Diaz (Hilda's hunky boyfriend played by Eddie Cibrian), Christina (Betty's best friend at MODE), and Alexis Meade (Daniel's transsexual sibling). And I couldn't stand the depressing storyline of Daniel's dying wife Molly that went on forever, and Karate Kid Ralph Macchio was not a good replacement for the sexy Mr. Cibrian as Hilda's new love interest.

So I stopped watching Betty. It just wasn't the same show that I once adored. During its first two seasons, the series was able to successfully balance its campy cliffhanging telenovela tales with its sweet and often schmaltzy dramatic storylines - but in its third season, I noticed far more schmaltz and much less camp. The show just wasn't as fun anymore - and I don't think I was alone in this opinion since its ratings reflected a serious drop in viewers from 11.3 million during its first season to 8 million by season three. And by moving Betty to Friday night for its fourth season, ABC drove the final nail into its coffin.

But I was curious to see how the show would end, so I tuned in to the last two episodes - and I'm glad that I did. Watching Justin and his boyfriend dance together at Hilda's wedding was one of the best moments of the entire series. And I loved that Ugly Betty was extremely gay-friendly throughout its run. I must also mention its terrific ensemble, who were perfectly cast in their roles: Eric Mabius (Daniel), Judith Light (Claire), Ana Ortiz (Hilda), Tony Plana (Ignacio), Mark Indelicato (Justin), Michael Urie (Marc), Becki Newton (Amanda) and, of course, the divine Vanessa Williams as one of TV's best villainesses, Wilhelmina Slater, and the lovely America Ferrera as Betty.  To end this farewell, I've selected my 10 favorite episodes (in chronological order) out of the 85 that were produced:

1) "Pilot" (Episode 1, Season 1 - September 28, 2006)
More than 16 million people tune in to see Betty's debut as she begins her job at MODE magazine. I don't care much for Betty's first boyfriend, the nerdy Walter, but I love the mystery of the bandaged person with whom Wilhelmina discusses their sinister plans to take over Meade Publications. I also like Salma Hayek as an actress on a telenovela, which the series eventually stops featuring. And I will forever think of Ugly Betty when I hear K.T. Tunstall sing "Suddenly I See".




2) "The Lyin', the Watch and the Wardrobe" (Episode 5, Season 1 - October 26, 2006)
Betty dresses up as a butterfly for Halloween and learns that her father came to the United States illegally, Marc dresses up a "Halloween Betty", and we meet Henry from accounting (Christopher Gorham) and Daniel's mother, Claire Meade, for the first time.



3) "In or Out" (Episode 13, Season 1 - January 18, 2007)
This episode introduces Rebecca Romijn as the mysterious bandaged woman whom Wilhelmina has been meeting with. In one of the show's best plot twists, she turns out to be Daniel's presumed dead brother, Alex, who has had a sex change. Comedian Kathy Griffin also appears as a Fashion TV reporter.



4) "I'm Coming Out" (Episode 14, Season 1 - February 1, 2007)
Octavia Spencer is a hilarious hoot as Ignacio's crazy case worker, Daniel hits on his own brother and later kisses Hilda (I always thought they would make an interesting couple), and Alexis finally reveals herself to her father, Bradford, who is arrested for killing Fey Sommers.



5) "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (Episode 18, Season 1 - March 22, 2007)
The one and only Patti LuPone guest stars as Marc's mother, whom he comes out to. I would've liked to have seen more of her.



6) "East Side Story" (Episode 23, Season 1 - May 17, 2007)
This first season finale has a lot going on: Kristin Chenoweth guest stars as Diane the orthodontist technician (who reveals that Betty's orthodontist has been dating Henry's pregnant ex-girlfriend), Daniel and Alexis are involved in a car crash, Claire escapes from prison in order to stop Wilhelmina from marrying Bradford, Amanda discovers that the late Fey Sommers was her mother, and Justin's father, Santos, is shot.



7) "How Betty Got Her Grieve Back" (Episode 24, Season 2 - September 27, 2007)
It initially seems as if Santos has survived the shooting in this season opener, but by the end of the episode, we learn that he did indeed die. Meanwhile, reporter Suzuki St. Pierre makes his first appearance, Amanda eats way too much junk food, Alexis wakes up from her coma and believes that she is still "Alex", and Henry returns to New York City.



8) "A Nice Day for a Posh Wedding" (Episode 30, Season 2 - November 8, 2007)
Betty tries to stop Wilhelmina's wedding to Bradford, who ends up suffering a heart attack (Alan Dale was great as Bradford).



9) "Crimes of Fashion" (Episode 44, Season 3 - October 9, 2008)
Coach Diaz takes a shower in Betty's apartment and then decides to surprise Hilda when she arrives - but Ignacio is at the door instead. A naked Eddie Cibrian is enough reason to list this episode, but the main storyline centers around who pushed a pregnant Christina down the stairs. It turns out that Alexis is the culprit, and she's arrested.



10) "The Past Presents the Future" (Episode 84, Season 4 - April 7, 2010)
Justin comes out to his family by dancing with his new boyfriend, Austin, at Hilda and Bobby's wedding. Meanwhile, Marc discovers Spencer's Tweety Bird tattoo, which means he might be Amanda's father, and Wilhelmina is shot during a confrontation with Claire and her son, Tyler. This episode has a perfect balance of sweet family drama and cliffhanging excitement. It's too bad the series lost touch with this unique combination that made it so special during its first two seasons - but at least it ended on a high note.


Dish of the Day #379: April Showers


Every Monday through Friday a new Dish of the Day is featured, and beginning on Friday you can vote for your favorite Dish of the week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let's Get Lost: I kiss dead people who are now alive



Last night's episode of Lost was so sweet as Hugo "Hurley" Reyes was reunited with the late but now living (kind of), Libby. Actually I'm not sure what exactly is going on with her character, but that's okay. Being "lost" in Lost is all part of the fun.

So this week I'm going to do something a little different with my review of the show. Lately it's become more of a straightforward synopsis as each episode this season is very much about a single character in both the 2007 island period and the 2004 Parallel Time (PT). And I must confess that I'm getting a bit bored with just recapping everything from start to finish. Since I assume anyone who reads my weekly review is probably a fan who watches the show, I really don't feel the need to provide a detailed synopsis. Instead I'm just going to list some random thoughts about the episode, which I hope you will enjoy reading (yes, I know, yet another list - but I love them). So let's begin:

1) I love Mr. Cluck, Hurley's successful restaurant chain in PT (the restaurant was hit by a meteorite in real life). The name just makes me smile.

2) I liked the unexpected cameo appearance of Dr. Pierre Chang, Miles' father and a Dharma Initiative scientist, who introduced Hurley as the Man of the Year at an awards ceremony for being such a great philanthropist.

3) You gotta love actress Lillian Hurst as Hurley's sassy mother, who just thinks her son needs a woman and sets him up on a blind date.

4) I was quite surprised by Michael's appearance on the island to warn Hurley that if the group blew up the plane, everyone would be killed and it would be Hurley's fault (Hurley later blew up all the dynamite in the Black Rock ship). He also revealed that he's stuck on the island because of what he did - murdering Libby and Ana Lucia. And we finally learned that the whispers in the jungle are the voices of deceased island inhabitants who are unable to move on. At least Michael apologized for killing Libby.

5) It was great to see Cynthia Watros again as Libby, who was now a mental patient in PT. She told a confused Hurley that they were soul mates and that she remembered them meeting following a plane crash on an island.

6) I've always liked actor Bruce Davison, who played Libby's doctor. He appeared as the older Patrick Dennis in the 1974 film, Mame, and he was wonderful in the 1990 drama, Longtime Companion, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

7) Poor Ilana, we hardly knew ya. At first I didn't even realize that she was blown up by the dynamite she was carrying around to destroy the plane. Of course, this happened while she was arguing with Hurley about this plan. Kind of reminded me of the old Farm Film Report sketch on SCTV, in which John Candy and Joe Flaherty's characters would blow up a celebrity. Ben later said that the island was done with Ilana - but maybe Lost's writers were done with her, too.

8) Another brief cameo that I liked was by actor Samm Levine, who played a Mr. Cluck's employee. He was great on Freaks and Geeks as Neal Schweiber - and he pretty much still looks the same even though he's now 28.

9) I like what Desmond is now doing. He's tracking down everyone who was on the flight back from Australia and making them remember their other reality on the island. Desmond encouraged Hurley to continue seeing Libby, who finally got the guy to remember their past together by kissing him. However, on the island, Man in Black Locke pretended to be all friendly with Desmond after the creepy Sayid brought the man to him - and then he pushed Desmond down a well. I'm not sure what this is all about, but I expect we will learn more next week.

10) Best moment of the episode: When Hurley asked Libby out on a date, and she replied, "I'd love that." And, of course, I liked their picnic on the beach, where she kissed him and he remembered. They make such a nice couple, don't you think? If Hurley ever has to choose between 2007 and 2004 PT, I would hope that he chooses to stay with Libby - especially since she's dead in the "alternate universe".

11) Who was the boy that Desmond and MIB Locke saw in the jungle? He certainly upset MIB Locke.

12) Best line: Hurley's "How do you break the ice with the smoke monster?"

And, finally, this week's cliffhanger: Hurley and Jack and the rest of their group showed up to chat with MIB Locke, who gave Jack a mean look. Jack, meanwhile, made goo-goo eyes at Kate (these two kids have to end up together). And in PT, Desmond went to spy on Locke at his school, where he then ran over the guy in his wheelchair and drove off. Locke's frantic colleague, Ben, was planning to take him to the hospital as the episode ended. Will they bump into Sun, who was shot two weeks ago? We'll have to wait and see. Until next week, get lost.