Tag Archives: TV

Why are we so addicted to reality TV?

The Real Housewives of Atlanta - Season 6

Has it been six seasons already?

It seems like only yesterday we met NeNe Leakes’ big personality and Kim Zolciak’s wigs.

Now the entire case of Bravo’s mega-hit “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is back — and stranger than ever.

NeNe re-married her ex-husband, Gregg. Kim is off the show and pregnant with her fifth child. Kandi Burruss is getting married to a guy who worked in production on the show — and her mom isn’t happy about it. And Porsha Stewart, who’s battling her NFL husband Kordell, claims that he might be gay.

It was a pretty heavy episode last night. (I’m sure Bravo execs were happy.)

But it left me thinking, “Why did I just waste an hour of my life watching this?”

A friend of mine posted on his Facebook wall last night — I’m assuming after watching the premiere, too — “An hour and a half spent watching Bravo and I think I’m now 25% dumber.”

It was, well, depressingly true.

There was nothing I gained from watching it except that prenups are awesome and false lashes work miracles.

But Bravo’s onto something.

Apparently, we love reality TV. (Or most of us.) There aren’t many people who have never heard of reality celebs like Omarosa Manigault (“The Apprentice”), Bethenny Frankel (“The Real Housewives of New York”) or Elisabeth Hasselbeck (“Survivor”). These people have become mainstream brands and they have reality TV to thank for that.

Since 2006, Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise, to date, has run 40 seasons, totaling more than 580 episodes. It has spawned spinoffs — “Vanderpump Rules,” “Bethenny’s Getting Married,” “Don’t Be Tardy,” “I Dream of NeNe” — with millions of viewers watching with bated breath for the next drama-filled episode.

But why?

I, too, am enthralled with reality TV. When it’s on, I’m glued, my brain shuts off, I turn into a VanderZombie. But like eating a box full of cheap chocolate, I’m never satisfied when it’s done. In fact, I feel a little sick.

Anyone else feel the same way?

Please tell me it’s not just me.

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Super Bowl audience was the real winner


Millions of people around the world watched one of the most exciting Super Bowl games — at least in the second half — I can remember.

And though Ravens are celebrating today — Baltimore edged out San Francisco, 34-31 — the real winner was audience sitting at home.

While we were stuffing our faces with hot dogs and seven-layer dips, we were entertained right from the start: the emotional rendition of “America the Beautiful” by Jennifer Hudson and — hold back those tears — the Newtown, Conn. school chorus just two months after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School; Alicia Keyes singing (and playing piano because yeah, she’s that talented) the national anthem; and the highly anticipated halftime show with Beyonce who promised at a press conference that “I will absolutely be singing live.”

Then, of course, there were the commercials.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t stayed glued to the TV during every commercial break. But I did manage to catch a few that I really liked — and a lot I didn’t. Taco Bell was memorable with its geriatric “Live Mas” spot; Go Daddy tried to merge sexy and smart, but that only made audiences gag.

Still, that’s what makes the Super Bowl so much fun to watch (or not watch) every year.

Here are some of my favorites:

Comedienne Amy Poehler can do no wrong, and she proves that in this Best Buy commercial.

“Don’t Tell” by Hyundai. This made me want to have parents like these!

How can you go wrong with funnymen Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd? They made this Samsung commercial.

“Dude, you got Montana on your shirt.” New catchline of the year. Plus, I’m biased, being a huge Joe Montana fan. (Was hoping for the cameo). The ending on this was priceless.

The tag was great: “You can’t have football without the hut.” Clever. And I love that these videos were submitted by fans.

The clear sentimental favorite, “Brotherhood” by Budweiser hit you at that emotional level. Loved it.

This Audi spot was a hit among fans BEFORE the Super Bowl — and I can see why. Not my all-time favorite, but still it leaves an impression (and a mark).

Your picks?

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Stop my infomercial urge!


Some mornings, when I wake up before the morning news is on, I wind up watching infomercials.

And lately, it’s been about the Wen Hair Care System.

Did you know it’s a revolutionary new concept in hair care? Just this one product takes the place of your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner. It cleanses your hair without lathering and doesn’t contain all of the harsh ingredients that are found in ordinary shampoos.

And Alyssa Milano uses it. I’m sold.

wen2I’ve been “this close” to throwing down my credit card for a 30-day supply — 60-day money-back guarantee! — to get Milano’s perfect, shiny tresses.

I’ve always been a bit, uh, enthralled by infomercials, from the Jet Stream Oven to the Magic Bullet — both of which our family owns. I’m so mesmerized by the bad acting and terrible reenactments that I tend to watch them a lot longer than I probably should, especially for someone with two college degrees and more than 10 years in journalism.

But when you watch that Yoshi Blade Ceramic Knife slice through a tomato with its diamond-hard zirconium oxide blade, you’d want to buy one, too.

I’ve been tempted to order the FURminator deShedding Tool, the EZ Slider and Slim Away.

Good thing I’m leery about giving my credit card number to a stranger over the phone.

And good think I have a mild case of attention deficit disorder; I get distracted pretty easily.

I will say, though, infomercials have provided some comic relief, especially late at night when there’s nothing else to watch.

Does anyone remember The Hawaii Chair?

Here’s Ellen DeGeneres trying out The Hawaii Chair — still one of my favorite infomercial products of all time

Anyone else have an infomercial addiction like me? And, more importantly, anyone bought something from an infomercial — and liked it?

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Great Debate: McGarrett vs. Danno

Great Debate: McGarrett vs. Danno

It’s almost like choosing between Team Edward or Team Jacob.

(Thanks to all the “Twilight” fans who got that reference.)

Turns out, there are clearly distinct camps when it comes to the two leading men in CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0″, its second season set to premiere on Monday, Sept. 19.

You’re either with the cool, collected Det. Steve McGarrett (played by Alex O’Loughlin) or the fast-talking, high-strung Danny “Danno” Williams (played by Scott Caan).


Watch this montage by CBS

I mean, you can’t find more contrasting characters, down to their hair color. One is single, the other divorced. One is stoic, the other emotional. One is by-the-book, the other is by-his-own-book. It’s the Odd Couple recast.

Personally, I’m all about Danno. He’s witty, biting, brutally honest and delivers such gems as this: “You’re like a devourer of dreams. You eat them. You’re like a little Pac-Man in cargo pants.” I vote for him.

So what about you? Are you on Team McGarrett or Team Danno?

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The most unlikely competitive eater

The most unlikely competitive eater

Lauren Takao is a 30-year-old fifth grade teacher at Christian Academy who helps coach the school’s cross country team. She’s a Beachbody — think P90X and Insanity — coach and part-time yoga teacher. And she just had a baby seven months ago.

Not exactly the person you’d expect to to finish 12 scoops of ice cream or 2 1/2 boxes of cereal in one sitting.

Yet Takao is one of those unlikely competitive eaters, now a finalist for an upcoming episode of the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food Nation.”

Her video is one of five selected in a recent casting call, and folks have until Aug. 11 to vote. (To cast your vote — one a day until the deadline — click here.)

Takao is the only female finalist, the only one from Hawaii, and, well, the only one who doesn’t seem like she could finish 12 hot wings in six minutes in the Buffalo Wild Wings Challenge.

So you know I had a few questions to ask!

CAT: I’m assuming you’re a fan of the show.
LT: Huge fan!

CAT: How did you hear about this challenge?
LT: I heard about the challenge through the Internet. I love the show and thought, “Hey, I can do that!”

CAT: What compelled you to submit the video
LT: I submitted the video on a whim. My husband and I are huge Man v Food fans, and would go to the restaurants (host) Adam (Richman) went to whenever we traveled. Also, we tried doing many food challenges, and I figured I might as well submit a video, and God willing, I would get picked. Never actually thought it would happen!

CAT: So, you were you surprised you were named a finalist?
LT: I was totally shocked that I was named a finalist! When I first got the call I didn’t recognize the number and thought it was a telemarketer!

CAT: I gotta admit, the other finalists are pretty impressive. You concerned at all?
LT: I think all four are pretty impressive. When I saw their videos I thought mine was not that great. They had terrific editing, pictures, etc. My video was just shot in my living room with the TV on in the background and car seat on the side! All five of us can eat; it’s just now a matter of who the public would like to see and what city they want the crew to shoot at.

CAT: So what are all the eating challenges you’ve won or participated in?
LT: Tried Mac 24/7 pancakes but the most I ate was a little more than three-fourths. Finished the 12 scoop sundae at Sweet Krevz in Aiea in about 20 to 30 minutes, finished the Buffalo Wild Wings Challenge, finished the Sharkey’s buffalo wing challenge (only woman to do so), came in second in the Waikiki Speed Eating contest, came in third at the Bayfest burger competition last month, finished third in JJ Dolans pizza competition this past year, only person to finish the Cereal Remix Megamix challenge (2 1/2 boxes of cereal, milk, 6 toppings). So far, those are the only ones I remember doing!

CAT: OMG. I’m sure you get this ALL THE TIME: You’re so damn skinny! What’s your secret?
LT: Ha ha, I was always pretty skinny — my mom was small, not even 100 pounds when she got married! — but breastfeeding also helps lose that pregnancy weight. I have always been active, too — done many marathons, triathlons, yoga competitions, etc. After giving birth I also became a Beachbody coach and did the 60-day Insanity workout and that really helped me lose a lot of weight (although I didn’t do it with the intention of losing, just to gain strength).

CAT: Uh, still. That’s just not fair. So what do you enjoy about competitive eating?
LT: I love the fact that I’m so small but can eat and amaze people. I also love food, and it takes a lot of mental strength and determination to do these challenges. It fits my personality because I’m pretty competitive and will push myself to do the best I can.

CAT: So I’m envisioning your daily meals to be gorge-fests. Very Paul Bunyan. No?
LT: Breakfast is fruit and yogurt. Lunch varies but is usually something fast like sandwich, sushi, salad. Dinner is great because it’s with my husband and daughter. I’m not a great cook, and if we go out we go to kid-friendly places nearby like Big City Diner. I like fish a lot, but sometimes really crave a thick steak. And we always have vegetables with dinner. Pretty standard diet. Lots of fruits, veggies, good proteins and whole grains, but I also love having a glass or two of wine with dinner. Just discovered Morimoto’s beer and am liking that, too.

If you want to see Lauren represent Hawaii on an upcoming episode of “Man V. Food Nation,” vote for her video. You have until Aug. 11.

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