Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
I haven't written about Queer Eye for a while, since it's been in reruns for ages. Now that it's back with fresh episodes, let's revisit the Fab Five, shall we? Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the series these days. So let the backlash begin!

Carson is still amusing when he makes with the quips. (See our Quote of the Night below.) At the same time, I still haven't forgiven him for ruining Pepperidge Farm Goldfish for me. Have you seen those repulsive commercials where he makes the fish lips, sticks a goldfish cracker on 'em and moves into the camera for his close up? Never has an otherwise tasty snack food appeared so unappetizing. And I've already complained about Thom Felicia stealing what was left of Kirstie Alley's career by replacing her in those irksomely perky Pier One ads, but it bears repeating. Guess you can't blame these guys for moonlighting to earn some easy money. Well, maybe you can't, but I can, 'cause it's my column. Nyah, nyah!

As I say, I have mixed feelings about Queer Eye. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of cute moments. Inevitably though, it's lost its novelty, and feels so formulaic and predictable. Take this week's straight guy with chronic halitosis, David Goldman. Like so many others before him, David G. has disgusting personal-grooming habits and his home looks like a train wreck. Ho hum. Been there, done that. Here's what I'm sick of:
1. David G.'s a Jewish guy from New York City's outer boroughs. Last week's hunky Puerto Rican twins, Brandon and David Bravo were, too. Even if the show's production is based in the Big Apple, can't Bravo budget some "foreign aid" trips to help style-challenged hetero dudes in other parts of America? Enough with the New Yawkers.
2. As the show begins, the Fab Five always frolic their way through the straight guy's house, making fun of everything and acting like mischievous, fun-seeking pixies. Later, as they shepherd their makeover subject around to various shops, they always have to jump out of the SUV and run in the door of their destination. It started out fun, but has gotten same old, same old. Sorry to be cynical, but does their "whimsy" ever feel forced to you?
3. Ted's still funny and full of useful foodie info, while Jai's still as useless as a Bible in a whorehouse. When this vacant-eyed doofus isn't making someone a mix tape or playing amateur psychologist, he's doing arts 'n' crafts. This week, he taught David G. how to make his wife a bracelet made of strung beads. What are they, 5-year-olds at summer camp? Stupid!
4. I still like Kyan, but it's getting hard to watch Mr. Gorgeous Grooming Expert deal with people's scary bathroom issues. Like this week, when he picked up that Rubik's Cube he found. Rather than read, David apparently plays with the puzzle box whenever he's perched on his toilet bowl for the long haul. (Did I need to know this?) Anyway, David's wife warns Kyan, "I wouldn't touch that. It's covered in fecal matter." UGH! And remember last week, when Carson found the booger-encrusted rag in the Bravo twins' bedroom? Or that Gatorade bottle filled with urine — from the brother who's too lazy to get up and relieve himself at night? This is where reality TV gets too real. Unless you're producing Fear Factor, such moments should definitely be relegated to the Realm of the Unnecessary. Leave it on the cutting-room floor!

Quote of the Night
"Did they shave your matzo balls?" — Carson asking David G. about removing his unwanted body hair at the laser place.

The Shield
Although he's an active participant in the Strike Team's treachery, Lem (Kenneth Johnson) has emerged as the "conscience" of the group. Check him out swiping the money-train stash — so he can burn it up in that notorious furnace! He's well-intentioned in wanting to protect himself and his friends from prison (and the Armenian mob's wrath), but is he crazy?! When Vic, Shane and Ronnie caught up with him, I really thought Lem was about to be whacked Sopranos-style, especially when Shane pulled the gun on him. The final scene — where these supposed "friends" are all writhing on the ground, struggling over the money like animals — was poignant. It really said it all. Now, I counted about four boxes full of cash, and Lem had torched the contents of all but one. Vic may not have pulled a Tony Soprano yet, but I wouldn't be too surprised if he did whack Lem (or Shane) soon. Not that I know, mind you, it's just a guess. If you're a Sopranos fan, don't forget it took a while for Tony to off his beloved-but-disloyal cousin Tony B. (Steve Buscemi), but he got around to it.

Blow Out
Every hairdresser I've ever known — gay or straight, male or female — has a dramatic life. My pal and former hairdresser Scott ran through men like Kleenex (including some clients) before marrying a nice doctor and traveling the world. And Gina — the chick who cuts my hair now — loves catty gossip, looks like a dead ringer for Cher and even has her own stalker! Seriously, she does. Thus, a Beverly Hills hair salon seems the perfect setting for a reality show. And whether they'll admit it or not, I've always thought most hairdressers and makeup artists secretly wanna be Hollywood stars, which is why they get into the beauty profession in the first place. If they can't be Julia Roberts, they can at least enjoy some sort of connection to glamour and fabulousness in their daily lives. Hence, you needn't twist their arms to be on TV.

That said, Blow Out has a major problem: Hair guy Jonathan Antin isn't nearly as likable as, say, The Restaurant's Rocco DiSpirito. Say what you will about Rocco, he's cute and personable. That goes a long way toward helping the home viewer want to root for him and take an interest in his entrepreneurial problems. Jonathan, on the other hand, is far less appealing. As gorgeous as he feels he is, he ain't all that. His face has that too-tight, pulled-back look that suggests plastic surgery. His fakey "dude" voice, cell-phone addiction and too-cool-for-school image are so stereotypically L.A. metrosexual. Yeah, he's straight, as the show takes pains to let us know. After all, he runs a salon in West Hollywood — lovingly known here in L.A. as "Boys' Town" — so maybe the producers figure we'll jump to conclusions? To play it safe, they must show him hitting on anything in a skirt. Constantly. Oh, and just in case you TiVo'ed this, Jon's issues with the salon's building contractor were definitely fast-forward material. Zzzz... This egomaniac does not warrant so much screen time.

The Jonathan handicap aside, I'll still give the show a chance. After all, I've always found the other Restaurant characters more interesting than Rocco, and watched it for them. Brandon is clearly supposed to be Blow Out's "cocky, bad boy" character — he's cute, and his tattoos and poor grammar make me laugh. Gay guys Daniel and Jason (aka "J.Lo") may also have dramatic potential. Hmm... And shameful though it is to admit, I'm intrigued to see next week's botox party.

The Jury
This new Fox drama really reminded me of jury duty. You're taken away from your normal everyday life, thrown into a jury box with strangers and asked to listen to hours of testimony and attorney arguments. The whole thing is at turns fascinating, boring and frustrating. You're never allowed to talk or ask questions in the courtroom, while everyone else gets to! (Mainly, you just stay awake and pay attention.) Every time the attorneys "approach the bench," they're whispering intently with the judge and you're dying to know what they're saying. It's like watching a play. You're always overanalyzing the lawyers, defendants, plaintiffs and witnesses, and reading into their body language. Then, there's legalese jury instructions that leave most folks' eyes crossed. Later, in the jury room, you must vote to decide someone's fate — along with "peers" who will vary widely in their education and intelligence levels. Plus, there are the social dynamics — you're temporarily best friends with some fellow jurors (even if you'll never see 'em again after the trial's done), while you can't stand others (whom you can't be rid of soon enough). In fact, it's not unusual to "have words" with another juror you can't relate to. The Jury's debut episode captured all that messy stuff. (I just didn't care for the gooey lovebird jurors, Chris and Maria. Too cheesy and fakey.) As you can see, I was way less interested in the fictional case — a teenage boy's shooting death — than the very realistic peek inside the process. Though it was sad how they struggled over voting the kid guilty, and we learn he didn't do it, though the jurors never got to know that for sure. Good stuff!