Today's News: Our Take


Gilmore Girls Okay, I'm a sap,...

Gilmore Girls
Okay, I'm a sap, but loved Lorelai and Luke coaching Rory through her "first college date" via cell phone. Yeah, like I've said, this mother/daughter duo is waaay codependent. Still, they're sweet. And it's a really good thing Lorelai's coping with her empty nest syndrome by spending more time with Luke.

Meanwhile, Rory's tale of "urine mints" was both an amusing and disturbing cautionary tale. Are you one of those people who "forgets" to wash your hands after visiting the loo in a restaurant, then shakes hands with folks and fishes around in the mint bowl on the way out, like Rory said? Well, if so, you know who you are. I hope you feel ashamed. And I hope that shame burns its way into your wretched soul. Or, um, at the very least, may it compel you to use antibacterial hand soap more often.

P.S. Ever since she wrote that Underneath It All memoir, Traci Lords is everywhere! Here she is on Gilmore read more

FAREWELL

Big-screen character actor Jack Elam, best known for his roles in Westerns such as Rawhide and Wichita, died Monday at his home in Ashland, Ore., of an unspecified illness. He was 84. read more

SENTENCED TO LIFE

The WB is once again posing the question, "What happens when celebrities stop being polite and start getting real... desperate?" Yes, folks — the Frog network has rounded up a new batch of D-listers for its second installment of The Surreal Life. Among the has-beens moving in together this time around: rapper Vanilla Ice, mascara queen Tammy Faye, porn legend Ron Jeremy, CHiPs star Erik Estrada, ex-Baywatch babe Traci Bingham and Real World grad Trishelle (they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel with that one). The five sub-lebrities began their 10-day sleep-over on Monday, and rumor has it some surprise guests may pop in. Although the WB has not given The Surreal Life 2 an air date, read more

Jennifer Jason Leigh's Not Crazy!


After three decades of acting, Jennifer Jason Leigh could fill a hospital with all the crazies, drug addicts and alcoholics she's portrayed. "They're all complex characters," insists the star of Single White Female and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, who continues her troubled trend by playing Meg Ryan's unlucky-in-love sister in the thriller In the Cut (opening in select theaters tomorrow). Does it bother Leigh that we've started to think maybe she's one of these damaged damsels, herself?

"It doesn't affect me," says the 41-year-old. "It's other people's perceptions, it's not going to change who I am. It might disappoint people when they meet me, I'm sure. I certainly have had dates where guys wanted some crazy lunatic girl. I'm not that. I'm sooo not that."

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RECOVERING

M*A*S*H star Alan Alda remains hospitalized in South America following emergency surgery Sunday for an intestinal obstruction. The actor — who is reportedly recovering well — was in Chile working on a TV documentary. read more

Why Survivor's Michelle Smells Fishy


On last week's Survivor: Pearl Islands, the dwindling Drake tribe blamed Michelle Tesauro for their recent immunity-challenge loss and gave her the boot at tribal council. Hmm... We can't exactly say we disagree with their decision!

Here's the sitch: The strong-stomached gal offered to play decoy in the "sardine smoothie" food challenge. If she pretended to freak out over the task, Michelle reasoned, their Morgan rivals would wrongly peg her as Drake's weak link and pick her to drink a second disgusting fish-filled smoothie. She would surprise them by doing just that, and defeat them. Voila! But, um, that's not what happened.

Instead of faking wimpy like she was supposed to, Michelle eagerly downed her first revolting concoction. Natch, that led Morgan to choose the obviously squeamish Sandra to swallow another sardine shake. They figured Sandra couldn't beat Morgan's Darrah in read more

CANCER BATTLE

Robert De Niro has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the Oscar-winning star of Raging Bull and The Godfather Part II is expected to make a full recovery. "Doctors say the condition was detected at an early stage because of regular checkups," the actor's spokesman said in a statement. "Because of the early detection and his excellent physical condition, doctors project a full recovery." The rep gave no details regarding De Niro's course of treatment. read more

TUNA 101

Jessica Simpson got a crash course in tuna fish Monday when the endearing dimwit attended a staff meeting at Chicken of the Sea's San Diego headquarters. (Simpson admitted on a recent episode of her MTV hit Newlyweds that she thought Chicken of the Sea was actually made of chicken. Cue laugh track.) "We wanted to bring her down and make sure she understood the difference," says company exec Don George, who kept mum on rumors that Simpson is still trying to find her way out of the building. read more

PROBLEM CHILD

Miami-based record producer Terrence "T-Robb" Robinson is suing Beyonce Knowles, her father and fellow members of Destiny's Child for $200 million, claiming they stole his music for the hit song "Survivor." At a news conference today, Robinson said the song would have made him "one of the biggest, most sought-after producers" in the biz. read more

CALLING A TRUCE

The MPAA is thisclose to announcing that it has reached a compromise with the major movie studios over its controversial screener ban. According to Variety, the Motion Picture Assoc. of America — which touted the ban as an anti-piracy measure — is expected to allow VHS copies (not DVDs) to be sent to Oscar voters and other organizations. read more

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