American Music Awards Red Carpet Coverage
My colleagues at the TV Guide Channel are paid to be nice to the celebs, but I ain't. Bon Jovi are "musical geniuses"? Merriam-Webster defines genius in this context as "extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity." Well, let's take a look: "Tommy used to work on the dock. Union's been on strike. He's down on his luck. It's tough."

Uh... no.

But I gotta hand it to Gwen Stefani. She handled the old are-your-band-mates-freaking-now-that-you're-doing-solo-work? question with aplomb, assuring us (and them) they have nothing to worry about, which oughta make them feel a little better. Unless, of course, she's lying.

Jimmy Kimmel says his goal for the night is to not get punched. Hey, welcome to the world of a Watercooler writer, pal.

And Duff tells us he's wearing Armani? Whoa. Rock 'n' roll, dude.

American Music Awards
Let's go stream-of-consciousness, shall we?

  • Lenny Kravitz brings out my inner Gertrude Stein: There's no there there.
  • Usher, like many who'll come after him, thanks his Lord and Savior for his AMA. How very red-state.
  • Is Jessica Simpson OK? I keep thinking someone oughta run on stage and jam a pencil between her teeth.
  • A friend of mine insists Rod Stewart should be tried and convicted for his crimes against the songs of other people — Tom Waits, Robbie Robertson — but I don't think that's fair. Nothing short of vigilante justice will do.
  • What the hell is that on Gene Simmons' head?
  • I don't know... Fantasia's just not the same without the marching brooms and the water.
  • And what the hell is on Toby Keith's face? I haven't seen a beard quite like that since Emmet Kelly or Fred Flintstone.
  • It's official: I'm my father. Dad, I still can't admit you were right for mocking the crap out of my tunes when I was a teen. But you'd be dead-on for mocking these. If you weren't already in bed and snoring like a wood chipper, that is.

Category 6: Day of Destruction
So. Much. To. Say.

First Vegas gets taken out by tornadoes, and then nobody seems to mention it much after that. I mean, it was only the 30th-most populous city in the U.S., not even a Top 10 or anything, right? (Yes, I looked that up.) Who cares? We've got Dharma's Greg, The Facts of Life's Jo, plus Brian Dennehy and Randy Quaid? And there's a good chance any one of them — or, dare I hope, all of them — could get blown to hell? This is gonna be better than sex.

Not even 10 minutes in, Dennehy says he's retiring from his Emergency Weather Guy job, so his chances of surviving are looking mighty bleak. (Later, he complains about the office coffee, which doesn't change his odds at all, but it's still a beauty of a moment, clich&#233-wise.) Meanwhile, Electricity Guy Greg makes his teenage daughter go back upstairs to put on something decent before he heads to work and unloads this doozy: "I'd say good morning, but that has yet to be determined. Give me a status report, Bob." And that's after Journalist Jo yells that she wants to report the stories that matter, and before Quaid shows up as the crazy storm chaser. The writers are setting a triteness pace that'll be hard to maintain, but I believe in them.

"If there is at least a suspicion that a hacker is sabotaging our power system, don't you think the public has a right to know?" asks Journalist Jo. (So this is a hacker movie and a deadly-weather flick? Thank you, TV gods!)

Doesn't the copilot of that endangered airliner look just like Barry Diller? And hey, Weather Guy Dennehy just mentioned the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald! Y'know, the legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee. (I know all the words, but will spare you the rest. My wife, however, will now have to weather my best Gordon Lightfoot for the next 10 minutes.)

Say, if no one in town's got power, who's gonna watch Journalist Jo's story on TV?

"This could be a Category 5... or worse," Dennehy says. (Anyone want to bet me how much worse? No looking at the title!) Then he and Quaid agree their guts are telling them the same thing about the storm. (Well, they've gotta be telling them really loud — just look at those guts!)

How prescient are their tummies? Only Part Two can tell us for sure.

The Wire
One thing this show has in common with The Sopranos: I find myself rooting for one side over the other, then wondering what in god's name I'm thinking. Avon sets Marlo up, using a girl as bait, and I'm actually nervous about it being too obvious a ploy (which, as we see when Marlo's guy shoots Avon and his guys, it is). It's not like I'm consciously pulling for the "good" murdering drug dealer over the "bad" one, but where's my head at, exactly?


Film School
I'm not sure what bugs me more, that the producers think the audience needs subtitles in order to cut through Vincenzo's thick Italian accent, or that I actually do. Of course, you don't need to understand what he's saying to feel bad for him when they screen the wrong copy of his film, and screw up the audio to boot.

I've got my favorites, though. Alrick, because he's got a good heart and works hard. And Leah, who has one of the best moments in the whole series when she says, after everything turns out well for her, that she's not so sure she even wants to be a filmmaker. Admirable, hon. But talk to me once Hollywood starts waving the big money around and you can still say "no."