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Quick Draw

‘Quick Draw’ Review

On Monday, Hulu premiered its latest original comedy series, the semi-improvised Western parody Quick Draw, from the creators and star of TBS’ 10 Items or Less. Is it worth streaming the first two episodes, which are available now? Check out m…

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‘America’s Next Top Model’ Cycle 20 Features War of the Sexes

America's Next Top Model logo

When America’s Next Top Model Cycle 20 premieres tonight (August 2nd) it may seem more like Make Me A Super Model then its own previous Top Model seasons. That’s because  ANTM is launching a “Guys and Girls” edition where eight men and eight women will live in the model house and compete for the title of “America’s Next Top Model.”

While the short-lived, Tyson Beckford-hosted Make Me A Super Model pitted girls versus guys from the start, this is the first season of Top Model to do the same.

This war of the sexes is just the latest attempt to revive Top Model‘s sagging viewership. It comes on the heels of Cycle 19′s “College Edition,” which represented a complete overhaul of the modeling competition following the firing of three longtime cast members.

Top Model is positioning this boy/girl experiment as an opportunity to “explore” the impact of gender on the modeling experience. Rumor has it that one of the contestants is transgender, which could give the show even more to explore. (Top Model hasn’t had a out trans contestant since Isis, who competed in Cycle 11 and on Cycle 17′s All Stars.)

I’m all for examining gender roles, and how models are perceived/treated because of their sex or their gender presentation. But the cynic in me thinks the inclusion of male models in Cycle 20 has less to do with an analysis of cultural norms and more with the opportunity to parade half naked guys in front of cameras in order to capture viewer attention.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sexual parity in the number of half-naked beautiful people we see on the small screen. If we’re going to insist girls force their bodies into these standards of beauty that can be viewed and exploited, maybe we should make boys do it to. If female models have to get naked to sell a product, let the guys strip down too! (I know, I’m tossing aside my feminist ideals for a chance to see male models drop trou–but I can’t help it.)

Additional soft-core pornish opportunities (not to mention added drama) will undoubtedly occur once 16 hot, horny and half-naked teenagers are crammed together under one roof–especially once you add alcohol, hot tubs and the rivalries and stresses of competition.

(If you’ve watched Top Model as long as I have, you’ve already seen a half a dozen girls end up in bed with male models–even though they haven’t previously lived and competed together).

Tonight’s special two-hour premiere episode, features this Cycle’s semi-finalists posing on the streets of Hollywood, vying for public votes before judges narrow the field to sixteen finalists.

Will this latest attempt to save Top Model succeed? Is the Guys vs Girls format just a one-time gamble, or will it become the new normal from here on out?

What do you want to see on Top Model? Are you going to tune in this Cycle? Who will win: one of the women or one of the male models? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

America’s Next Top Model premieres tonight, Friday, August 2, 2013 on the CW at 8/7PM Central with a special two-hour episode. Learn more about Cycle 20 here.

Photo © CW.


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An Epic Kids’ Camp

My oldest daughter has been wanting to plan a service project. She decided to do a kids camp so a few moms we know can have a day out. After hearing that the movie Epic will be available on DVD/Blu-ray on August 20th, she decided to make the movie the theme of her camp.

She wrote out a plan of activities including watching the movie, making a leaf/nature craft, doing a movie scavenger hunt, reading the William Joyce book the movie is based on, and having some related snacks like pretzels (to look like twigs), berries and other fruit, and maybe some dirt cups (chocolate pudding with Oreos crumbled on top). She’s also going to help the kids write a poem about nature. She based some of the activities on the Epic activity guide we created when the movie came out in theaters.

The movie lends itself so well to related crafts and activities, we just had to take advantage of it. I love that she created a kids’ camp that is educational and fun for the kids who will be coming. I think this will be a great experience for her, especially since she is getting close to the age where she can start earning some extra money babysitting. Not only that, be she and her sisters will have fun doing the activities as well.

And speaking of keeping kids busy… In celebration of the movie’s release on Blu-ray/DVD, the studio has also released a free Coloring Book & Story Book Builder app for the movie. The app is available now, and if you get the movie when it comes out, there will be codes to unlock additional app components. Here are links to download the apps:

  • Android Download of Epic App
  • iTunes Download of Epic App
  • Amazon Download of Epic App

Learn More About the Movie:

  • Epic Movie Review for Parents
  • The making of Epic

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(Photo © Fox)


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Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom — Bring on Fall!

Room on the BroomI need to start out by saying, that Room on the Broom (available August 6th!) is not a Halloween movie. The movie is based on a marvelous Julia Donaldson book and is a great read for any time of year. But, seeing a witch on a broomstick reminds me of Halloween. I can’t help it. And that reminds me of fall — my favorite time of year. But alas, we’re still in the middle of summer so I better enjoy that while it lasts.

Room on the Broom comes from the same people who brought us the fantastic Gruffalo DVDs (also based on Julia Donaldson books). If you have a young child and haven’t seen these movies, you and your kids are missing out. I don’t say that lightly and not very often, but these movies are just that great.

They are high quality and meaningfully done. Not only that, but your kids will be absolutely captivated by them. As a bonus, they are educational because you can read the books with your kids and then compare and contrast the stories and talk more about the characters and little literary or visual devices such as rhyming, description, and interesting background visuals in the movies.

Here is more info about Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo DVD:

  • Room on the Broom – Movie Review
  • The Gruffalo – Movie Review
  • The Gruffalo – Book Review
  • Gruffalo Story Sack (crafts and activities to go with the book)
  • Gruffalo gift box and diorama (pictures and instructions)
  • The Gruffalo’s Child – Movie Review

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(Photo © NCircle Entertainment)


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Wheel of Fortune’s Newest Wedge: Express

According to posters over at the Buy a Vowel boards, Wheel of Fortune will be adding a new wedge to the board next season.
Apparently this wedge is called “Express,” and is worth $1,000 for a correctly-guessed consonant. After that, the contes…

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How Should Jeopardy! Celebrate Season 30?

Everyone’s favorite quiz show Jeopardy! enters its 30th season in September, and of course there will be various ways that the show will recognize this milestone. What we know is that there will be a new set (though I’m very fond of this one),…

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David Alan Basche

Interview With David Alan Basche of ‘The Exes’

Tonight at 10:30 p.m. EST, TV Land airs a new episode of the sitcom The Exes, which just had its third season extended by 10 episodes. I recently had the chance to talk to The Exes star David Alan Basche about his role as Stuart Gardner and ho…

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Teresa Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey

‘Real Housewives’ Star Indicted on 39-Counts of Fraud

Teresa Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice have been indicted on 39 counts of fraud.

New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement to The Star-Ledger. “Everyone has an obligation to tell the truth when dealing with the courts, paying their taxes and applying for loans or mortgages.”

“That’s reality,” he added, making an obvious reference to Giudice’s role on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Teresa has starred on the reality show since it launched in 2009. Her brother, Joe Gorga is married to RHONJ cast mate Melissa Gorga.

Teresa also competed on The Celebrity Apprentice Season Five.

The Giudices appeared in federal court Tuesday morning for a hearing and were each released on a $500,000 bond pending their arraignment August 14, 2013.

No word yet how this might impact RHONJ.

Get the full story here.

Photo © Bravo.


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Tim Gunn Mentor on Project Runway

‘Project Runway’ Unveils Game Changing Alterations

Tim Gunn Mentor on Project Runway

I’m loving the game changing alterations to Project Runway!

Season 12–which ditched last year’s team approach for a return to the traditional every-designer-for-themselves game–has finally given Project Runway fans what they really want: More Tim Gunn.

Project Runway‘s mentor, Gunn has always been one of my favorite elements of the design competition. Gunn comes across as level-headed and sincere, really caring and interested in helping the designers reach their highest potential. But the way Project Runway has operated in the past, meant Gunn had little or no influence on judging.

While Gunn frequently visited the work room, saw what went into the creation of garments and got to know designers personally, the judges missed all those things. Sometimes this led to judging decisions that were at odds with what fans wanted to see.

This was always particularly painful when we saw Gunn explicitly warn a designer to change something and they ignored his advice and yet were given a pass by the judges.

In the new system, Gunn meets with the judges and offers insight during their deliberations: and this can have immediate impact.

This season’s unconventional challenge offered the idea situation to demonstrate the advantages of the new system. When designer, Miranda Levy, failed to use enough of the parachute material, Gunn warned her it could get her disqualified and sent home. Levy ignored him and was originally in the top three, primarily because her outfit benefited from her use of regular, non-parachute fabric.

But, after the designers left the room, Tim Gunn arrived and–once judges knew that Levy had been made aware of the potential problem–they reversed their previous decision, demoting her to the bottom three and making her at risk of elimination.

Gunn also gains the power to “rescue” the one designer he feels deserves a second chance this season–which will be a fun new twist. Gunn often sees potential or the hard work of a designer that judges might miss. It will be interesting to see how the rescued designer performs in the competition.

Two other changes also have the potential to make a significant impact on the competition:

  • Judges no longer know who designed which outfits until after the models have walked the runway and judges have scored the garments. This blind judging reduces the likelihood that certain biases will play a part in the decision-making.
  • When Gunn comes to meet with judges he brings the designs with him, offering judges the chance to inspect garments up close. Considering how often over the years we’ve seen designers staple and even glue garments together at the last minute, this up-close examination could be game changing.

What do you think of the new changes? Do you like them? What would you like to see different?

What did you think of sustainable fashion designer, Timothy Westbrook sending his model down shoeless while he teetered on high heels?

Photo of Tim Gunn © Lifetime.


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Desiree Hartsock, star of The Bachelorette Season Nine

Spoiler Alert: ‘The Bachelorette’ Desiree Dumped

Desiree Hartsock, star of The Bachelorette Season Nine

First let me just warn Bachelorette fans that I’m about to reveal a key element of tonight’s episode.

If you don’t want to know spoilers look away now!

Did you look away?

Consider yourself warned.

Although The Bachelorette and The Bachelor are supposedly shows about finding love, they do seem to leave a trail of broken hearts in their wake. After all, Bachelorette Season Nine star Desiree Hartsock was heartbroken when The Bachelor Season 17 star Sean Lowe sent her home after an awkward hometown date. And before that, Sean had had his own heart broken by Bachelorette Season Eight’s Emily Maynard.

Now Us Weekly is reporting that, Desiree is dumped during tonight’s episode when one of the final three contestants walks out in the middle of a date.

My bet (or maybe it’s my own wishful thinking) is on Drew, the 27-year-old marketing analyst from Scottsdale, Arizona, who told ABC that he becomes “uninterested in boring conversations,” considers himself “spontaneous” and would cast Tom Hardy or Christian Bale to play him in a biopic.

Read the whole story about Desiree’s pending heartbreak here then tune in tonight, July 29, 2013, on ABC at 8/7PM Central to see it for yourself.

Photo © ABC.


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