A Nation of Village People {Judge Judy}

January 14, 2009

hillary-clinton-book1

hilary-clinton-bwSenator and soon to be Secretary of State  Hilary Clinton could probably feel her ears (and cankles) burning when Mr. Weston, a defendant on Judge Judy, gave his exit interview  yesterday.  Judge Judy had dismissed Mr. Weston’s case of false arrest for assault with a deadly weapon when his neighbors claimed he had allegedly tried to run over his son with his car after being challenged to a fight.

Did he have anything to say to his neighbors?

Ready to Raise Your Child

Ready to Raise Your Child

“IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD, AND THEY ARE NOT VILLAGE PEOPLE


Next case….

PJ



Gretchen and Tamara compete in a 6 karat boxing ring {The Real Housewives of Orange County}

January 7, 2009

Tamara tries, but can't compete with Gretchen

Tamara tries, but can't compete with Gretchen

Gretchen is getting on my nerves.  OK, so she received a 6+karat diamond “engagement” ring from Jeff Betizel, but what bugged me is that in between worrying about him in the hospital, she exclaimed,”I love my ring!” (Gag).  I wonder what happened to that ring?  Bravo has yet to officially report Jeff’s untimely death on September 13, 2008 at the age of 54. Instead, next week’s previews show Tamara feeding tequila shots to Gretchen and Gretchen flirting with Tamara’s son.  Gretchen appears to be the smartest at media manipulation: she garners sympathy from the viewers while making anyone who questions her motives look bad.

However, If you really want to know the Real Housewives of Orange County, search the blogs.  It turns out, people who know them (or know of them) off camera weigh in regularly on blogs like absurdtosublime.blogspot.com Will tabloid journalism be necessary when anyone can find out the scoop from “sources close to” the stars?  Case in point:  Here is a blog post and some selected comments regarding Gretchen Rossi and her relationship with Jeff Beitzel.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gretchen Rossi, The Newest Orange County “Housewife”

From Pop Tower:

Gretchen Rossi is one of the housewives featured on Bravo’s series, “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

Gretchen Rossi on Bravo's

This season’s newest housewife is a 30-year-old blonde bombshell with a sparkling personality, dazzling smile and—something very few Orange County women have—real breasts.

Gretchen’s outward beauty is obvious, but is her beauty only skin deep? She was engaged to Jeff, a wealthy businessman who made his fortune in the automotive industry – and who just happens to be 23 years older than her. Jeff’s been married and divorced five times, has four adult children and is very rich. Jeff also has acute Leukemia.

Gretchen openly admits that she’s not physically attracted to Jeff – he’s not her type. But she also says that he is her “prince charming” and the kindest man she has ever met.

She did not expect that she would become Jeff’s primary care giver during his cancer treatments. Is she a saint, after money….or both? She is a party girl who likes to go to nightclubs, drink and dance. But there is more to her than meets the eye as she switches gears to becoming Jeff’s nurse, learning how to give Jeff injections and managing his demanding daily care.

Gretchen grew up in La Crescenta, California, and attended Baylor University in Dallas, Texas, where she studied psychiatry. She meets the housewives through fellow realtor, Jeana Keough.

Postscript: Jeffrey Paul Beitzel died September 13, 2008. Age 54. How much of this will be included on the show, scheduled to premiere November 25, is not yet known.

Judy Fike said…
I happen to be Jeff’s sister and although I knew the kind of relationship they had — he seeking the “Malibu Barbie” armpiece & her seeking $$$$$ and someone to take care of her, her flaunting & lack of concern for him shown in this article only confirms her insincerety. I’m just glad he wasn’t able to see how superficial this relationship was. At Christmas when he first found out about his illness & limited chance of survival, he had no intentions of marrying her or anyone else. She was his West Coast armpiece whom he managed to keep seperate from his interest in the east. I’m glad she was with him when he died only because he wouldn’t allow anyone else to see him in such grave condition. At least he wasn’t alone at the end, although I know he spent many lonely hours in his hospital room. In the 3 or 4 years he dated her, his mother & I were never introduced to her. Unforunately he was never smart enough to appreciate a good wife when he had one.
Tournament Drive Neighbor said…
Judy my condolences to you and your family. I knew Jeff and I knew in some sense all of his wives except #1. I can assure you that #2 through #5 were not gold diggers! To even consider grouping his wives with that narcissistic, shallow, self serving, self absorbed, vacant (in every sense of the word) wannabe reality actress is not only wrong but insulting on every level: Wife #2 and #5 who loved and married him when he was poor! Yes, he was poor at one time. There was no gold to dig then! Wife #3: The mother of his THREE children not Four as it is has been reported. Wife #3 also married him before his millions..again no gold. Wife #4: Although Jeff was on his way to the millions, she helped in the role of step mother and was more intrested in that role than the role of pampered princess. NOW, let’s talk about Gretchy…When Jeff was first feeling ill, he actually was in a relationship with wife #5. Wives #3 & 4 were aware of this. In fact, all of those women talk and actually get along with each other. Wife #5 was taking care of him, drove him to the hospital and was making arrangements with the hospital staff. Jeff was in the hospital for a week before Gretchy could find dog sitters for her precious pups. Upon arriving and finding out much to her amazement that Jeff was not as dumb as she thought and knew exactly why she was with him she completely FREAKED OUT! It was quite the scene with all of his ex’s and children witnessing… She promptly demanded that she be the center of attention and threatened Jeff. At the time, many people were hurt to find out that Jeff would be receiving treatment in CA when U of M was literally down the street and is very well respected hospital with a leading cancer treatment center. His kids were floored. His ex wives especially the mother of his children were shocked consdiering the treatment would be so intense and CA is so far and it would be difficult for the kids to see their father. I remember sitting around talking about WHY would Jeff do this. A few months later it became clear…The Real Housewives of Orange County. Gretchen didn’t give a shit about Jeff it came down to her ruining her wannabe acting career. Now, I will admit that I have not met Gretchen. She clearly was not someone Jeff cared to introduce to people here in Michigan, and there are many of us. I was stunned to hear at the eulogy that Gretchen had been with Jeff for four years. I think the woman he was still married to four years ago was stunned as well. So, although Jeff lived his life to the fullest and I mean that in every sense…he made some really bad choices. Ultimately, he hurt himself and people (wives, ex wives, children, sisters, friends) he would give you the shirt off his back, he was generally a good natured person. I am with Judy Fike that I am glad Jeff can’t witness the circus that Gretchen Rossi has created at the end of his illness and now in his death. She is still gold digging through his death. She doesn’t need to worrry about casting for season 5..she will get a spin off “The Real GOLD DIGGERS of Orange County” starring just her!
Anonymous said…
I was a very, very close friend of Jeff Beitel for many years. As for the comment on his ex wive’s, I never met his first wife, that was only a one year marriage, when he was very, very young. I do however know the other three, I only know #2/5, #4 very well. I only met #3 a few times, they’re all very nice, classy, educated women and I can assure you, they DIDN’T marry Jeff for his money because he didn’t have any money when he was with these women. They were with him because they truly loved Jeff for Jeff. He may have made some money after years of being with each of these women, but this is many years after being with him when he was basically broke AND when he did make some money it wasn’t anywhere near the tune of what he made in his last few years alive. So, you, who made the comment that these women are “older gold diggers” you couldn’t be any further from the truth. These women loved and supported Jeff in every sense of the word when he had NO money. They didn’t care about money or fancy material things and when he did make some money, none of these women changed their ways, or their attitudes, they stayed charming, nice, approachable, classy women…. Unlike Gretchen. Gretchen didn’t love Jeff, she loved his money, his connections, and the lifstyle that he could afford her. I also know for fact that Gretchen didn’t spend the time she claims she did taking care of Jeff. Jeff spent way too many hours and days alone in the hospital while Gretchen was out partying it up with her friends and doing promotional things for this show (that she has no business being on). She wasn’t the loving, caring person she claimed to be towards Jeff. Everything Grtechen does is for show purpose only, why/how he every got hooked up with her still remains a mystery to many of us (his close friends and family. Not to say that Jeff was an angle, but she’s basically trailer trash compared to the other women & his ex wive’s.
Judy Fike said…
I would like to thank Tournament Drive Neighbor for your insight. Without elaborating on the saga of the ex’s, I would like to verify a few facts. Jeff’s choice to go to the City of Hope for treatment was not based on the persuasion powers of Gretchen — he was actually smarter than that! He decided to go to LA for treatment only after several agonizing days of phone calls & consultations with various doctors from UM, City of Hope & others only because they were the only doctors who offered him any glimmer of hope through treatment. He didn’t want his children or others to know he had been given only a 15% survival rate & his decision was to go with the only doctor who offered him any chance at all. He knew the hardship it would place on his family, but ultimately was grasping at the only straw offered. Suffice it to say that his children were his main priority & while making hospital preparations, he also updated his will & all financial assets to make sure his children & family were taken care of. The Gretchen fiasco has obviously mushroomed due to her attempt at fame, but her importance in his family’s life has not changed — I only met her once at his funeral & although I keep in touch with other ex’s, she’s definately not in their category or our future.
Tournament Drive Neighbor said…
Judy thanks for the insight. I am glad you were able to clarify some facts. I would have been interested to see what you would have thought of Gretchen if you got to know her. I am surpised that there is very little sympathy or defending when it comes to her. I know wife #2/#5…I am disappointed that Jeff gave up the love of his life for that whore. I stood by wife #2/#5 when Gretchen made such a scene at St.Mary’s. Wife #2/#5 loved him with all of her heart, she left so it would be easier on Jeff. I hope Jeff knew how much she cared and the pain that she felt then and her lonliness at times now. He had such a long history with her and GRETCHEN knew the facts but was not willing to leave it alone. Judy don’t know how well you know that wife, but thought you’d like to know
Judy Fike said…
I keep reading the responses here & telling myself not to respond, but I can’t help putting my 2 cents worth in, again! Wife #2/5 is the only one of his wives that has ever been a sister-in-law to me & encouraged family contact. I appreciate Tournament Drive neighbors input, and I am fully aware of her feelings — we will always keep in touch. As for Gretchen, Jeff was ready to end that relationship due to her excessive partying & mainly her “recreational drug” use. Jeff was no stranger to alcohol, but had told her it was either the drugs or him because he wouldn’t live with it. Somehow she managed to convince him, and I even found this unbelievable at the time not even knowing her, that she had given up her partying & drugs for him & had returned to her religious upbringing. How or why he wanted to believe this is beyond me, but obviously he was deceived. The “Malibu Barbie” image seemed to overrule all reason.
tournament Drive Neighbor said…
I wish Jeff would have ended the relationship prior to the engagement bullshit. I think the show and Gretchen are making a mockery of him. I think it is hard to move on when the promo’s are running and GRETCHEN IS MAKING money off the show! She is a shrew! Someone should warn photoglu guy before it is too late!

There are far more sordid comments about Gretchen on this site if you care to now more.  I don’t and I’m missing the days when we gathered around the water cooler and talked about Melorse Place!
PJ


Rush Limbaugh dishes about Caroline Kennedy

December 21, 2008
The Photogenic Rush Limbaugh

The Photogenic Rush Limbaugh

On Friday Rush Limbaugh added his two cents about the Al Sharpton Lunch in Harlem and took on the role of Miss Manners by giving  Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg advice about

Caroline Kennedy looking lovely at a New York Public Library fundraiser luncheon with Jeffrey Rosen and Stephen Schwarzman

Caroline Kennedy looking lovely at a New York Public Library fundraiser luncheon with Jeffrey Rosen and Stephen Schwarzman

being photographed eating in public.  According to Limbaugh, it’s a “rookie mistake” to be photographed eating, let alone in public.  He said no one wants to look at a picture of someone with their mouth full of food;  however, because Caroline Kennedy is so thin, he was apparently happy to learn that she was actually eating in the first place.  Limbaugh looked to the Pope as a role model in this public relations arena;  Pope Benedict refused a dinner invitation to the White House because he doesn’t eat in public.

El Rushbo then moved on to reveal Burger King‘s latest product: Beef Scented Cologne.  Apparently market research revealed that people enjoyed the smell of  the inside of a Burger King restaurant, and wanted to carry the scent with them between meals.  (Be be on the lookout for these scent wearers

The effects of Eau de Burger King

The effects of Eau de Burger King

running down the street from a pack of dogs)!  Limbaugh said that Burger King’s customers “smell bad enough” anyway, so it isn’t going to make a difference.  I think Limbaugh should help out the economy by hiring anther joke writer;  El Rusbo’s next bit was offering his own line of bath and beauty products for purchase on-line through the EIB Network: Trans Fat Soap-on-a-Rope.  No Thanks.

PJ


Thongate’s a new segment on “The Soup”

December 17, 2008
Mankini and McHale on The Soup

Mankini and McHale on The Soup

Inspired by a viewer’s email last week, The Soups Joel McHale introduced a new and ever more bizarre segment called “Thongate“, a clip from All My Children where actor, Cameron Mathison, turns around and reveals the top a black thong before making a dramatic exit from a room.

Just when I think no one watches this stuff but me, this week The Soup revealed that the mainstream maidens of The View sanctioned a few seconds of their precious airtime to Thongate.  However, The View one-upped The Soup with a “surprised” entrance by Mathison who walked onstage, and stopping next to Barbara Walters, turned around, pointed to his backside exclaiming, “This is how it was–here we go: T-shirt! T-shirt!  It was a T-shirt caught in the pants! T-shirt!”

McHale and his co-stars, Mankini and the Spaghetti Eating Cat, didn’t buy it. “You are a lying freak, Mathison!” said Mankini.   Accordingly, McHale said a viewer survey showed that 94% agreed.

The Soup's Spaghetti Cat

The Soup's Spaghetti Cat

Check Out My Thong

Check Out My Thong

Decide for yourself:  Click here for video clip and story.

Sloppy editing and talent improvisation continue to provide material for The Soup.  Another Soup segment, Is Al Roker Talking About Semen? featured  The Today Show‘s Al Roker exclaiming, “Live on Five: Hold the Mayo!” after Ann “Good morning- Good morning” Curry was cold and had just asked Roker and Lauer to hug her, thus making an “Ann Sandwhich.”

Ann Curry chillin'

Ann Curry chillin'

Producers need to encourage their talent to stick to the script, less they become future fodder for E!‘s  and VH1‘s popular clip shows.

PJ


Lauri leaves Bravo’s O.C. {The Real Housewives of Orange County}

December 10, 2008
Lauri Waring Peterson is the newest ex-housewife

Lauri Waring Peterson is the newest ex-housewife

Lauri Waring aka,”Mrs. George Peterson,” has left The Real Housewives of Orange County in the middle of the fourth season.  Bravo TV had preempted this episode as “shocking,” but Lauri exited quietly to spend more time with her family.  From the previews, I was expecting Vicki to have a hissy fit and leave the show amid some kind of scandal, but that didn’t happen.

I think Lauri’s reasons for leaving Housewives are similar to Tammy Knickerbocker’s; she and her kids need time to deal with things privately.  She said that she hopes she doesn’t offend anybody by leaving, but why would she?  Lauri has been an easy target of criticism by fans of the show, yet any negative remarks probably stemmed from jealousy.

Vicki, Quinn (a one season housewife) and Lauri at last season's cocktail party

Vicki, Quinn (a one season housewife) and Lauri at last season's cocktail party

Even during the first season Vicki remarked that it is easy to be jealous of Lauri because Lauri is prettier, skinnier, and has bigger boobs.  But Vikki goes on to say, “I’m rooting for her..I just want her to succeed in life.”  At the opening of the first season, Lauri had been working for Vicki’s insurance company for 3 years.  Newly divorced and living outside the gates in a townhouse, Lauri said she didn’t need to work when she was married, but now she had to work to support her family.  We all could see that Lauri wasn’t happy with her change in lifestyle, especially when everyone around her seemed living on easy street.  But I had to give her credit for making the best of her situation, and striving to be a good parent to her less than perfect kids, and many viewers could relate to  Lauri’s day to day adversities.  But when Lari met her soon to be husband, real estate developer, George Peterson, the collective claws came out and Lari was labeled a “gold digger.”

This photo is from "georgeandlauri.com"

This photo is from "georgeandlauri.com"

Lauri’s wedding was beautiful, almost dreamlike in atmosphere, and George remained laid back and in love throughout.   Their married life seemed so serene…I would love to stop over to Georges unpretentiously decorated house for ice tea and prune roses with Lauri before heading out their ranch to ride horses.  I think fans were waiting for change in Lauri, and she has changed a little bit.  On the first episode of this season, while she was eating dinner with George at The St. Regis and calling him “Babe” every other breath, she said that she didn’t want to go to Dubai for their honeymoon because it was “too commercial.”  (Gag)  The titanium credit card (another gift from George) was another vapid moment.

However, Lauri has remained true to herself: honest, humble, strong, beautiful, and in my opinion, the one of the more REAL housewives in  Bravo’s  Housewives series.  I will miss her and I wish her all the best with her family.

PJ


Rock of Love Charm School vs. Playboy Mansion

December 1, 2008

It’s sometimes not easy to explain the differences between one Reality TV show and another, even when the differences are obvious.  Side by side, here’s a look at two shows that couldn’t be more different, yet are strangely similar:

Rock of Love Charm School vs. Playboy Mansion’s Girls Next Door

Charm School Cast Dressed in Uniform

Charm School Cast Dressed in Uniform

1) Bitches in Heat vs. Bunnies in Love

2) Fuchsia Highlights vs. Pampered Peroxide

3) Sharon Osbourne, Headmistress  vs. Hugh Hefner, Headmaster

4) Charm School Pins vs. Playboy Bunny Diamond Necklaces

5) One Girl Eliminated Each Week vs. One (or more) Girls Move in Each Week

6) Censored language vs. Pixilated Body Parts

7) Competition for $100,000 Prize vs. Share Million Dollar Enterprise

The Girls next Door

The Girls Next Door Share the Love at the Playboy Mansion

8) Bret Michael’s Former Girlfriends vs. Hugh Hefner’s Past, Present,and Future Girlfriends

9) Learn New 10 Commandments vs. Live By The Golden Rule

10) Former Strippers vs. Former Hooters Girls

Although The Girls Next Door have moved on, and “random-ass hoe’s” have moved in, according to Kendra Wilkinson in an interview with Chelsea Handler, viewers will be able to reunite with their favorite Charm School girls on “Rock of Love Bus” premiering January 4th on VH1.

Pj


Is a Real Life Exorcism the Ultimate Docu-drama?{Paranormal State}

October 29, 2008
Ryan Buell and his Freak Force

Ryan Buell and his Freak Force

Sci-Fi (Horror, Mystery and Suspense) is a popular genre, especially around Halloween; there is a thrill in being scared from a safe distance, and as a fan, I watched last night’s episode of A&E’s Paranormal State with the same chilling uneasiness I felt when I watched The Exorcist for the first time. I never thought I would witness (nor wanted to, really )a real life exorcism, let alone one on TV; it’s easier to digest this stuff when it’s made up. However, while I watched with interest, I felt uncomfortable for being “entertained” by the content of this episode.  Paranormal State both blurs the line between life and art, as well as bridges the gap between paranormal hoaxes and true human experience.

The success of Paranormal State is two fold: 1) “I Am Six” was entertaining as a classic horror drama and 2) “I Am Six” appeared to responsibly document the rite of exorcism, with empathy toward the victim. By airing this episode, PRS hoped to encourage open dialogue on a subject that, in the past, has been relegated to the Science Fiction genre“I Am Six” was a story that was presented honestly and edited seamlessly with minimal (thankfully) lame special effects from previous episodes.

Blogger, “Dr. Atlantis,” a skeptic, criticized the producers of Paranormal State for using these effects to up the “scary factor” of the show.  He compared Paranormal State to Ghost Hunters, a Sci Fi Channel hit series, by the ways they both cut to commercial just as the investigators discover something spooky.  The producers have yet to realize that with the invention of TiVo, we can fast-forward to the next segment. Thankfully, these effects were kept to a minimum (with the exception of the annoying reminders that the number “6” is associated with evil). The difference between Ghost Busters (TAPS) and Paranormal State (PRS)is that TAPS sets out to “de-bunk” false claims of paranormal activity, whereas PRS focuses on a client’s personal experience with the paranormal.  Ultimately, both organizations want to help people not to let the paranormal world prevent them from leading happy and productive lives.

What was intrigued me about this particular episode was that the normally stoic Ryan Buell was visibly shaken by

Chip Coffee hanging out with "the other" paranormal guys Jason and Grant of TAPS

Chip Coffee hanging out with "the other" paranormal guys Jason and Grant of TAPS

what was happening to the victim, Lara. On his blog, Buell, director of the Paranormal Research Society (PRS), stated his reservations about airing this episode.   He was smart enough not only to call in his usual reinforcements, but to be humble enough not interfere nor take credit for the process.  Assisting (or “co-starring”) with Buell and PRS were psychic medium, Chip Coffee,an Episcopalian priest, a psychologist, an ENT, and renowned Demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Walden.

For “personal reasons,” Buellchose not to promote “I Am Six” on the media circuit, a decision that surely affected ratings.  To his credit, Buell’s motives are not to achieve celebrity status from the notoriety of PRS, especially in light of last season’s possession episodes “The Name” and “The Devil in Syracuse”  helped to put PRS on the map. Buell clearly states he has a calling to help people and has managed to stay true to his calling amidst the sensational abet  exploitative nature of reality television.

However, it is the impetus, Ryan Buell’s own experiences with the paranormal, that remains a mystery.  A book by Buell, due out in February 2009, will hopefully disclose more about the event(s) that gave him a unique direction and purpose.

On his blog, Buell states in so many words that he did not appreciate the “shit” people wrote about him in their blogs as a reaction to the possession episodes.  He especially does not appreciate bloggers who hide behind their avatars in order to spread negativity.  However, not all bloggers are “haters” and my personal reasons for writing under an avatar have less to do with subterfuge, and more to do with wanting to write from a certain perspective.  Ironically, it is easy for one to tell Ryan, lighten up–you put yourself out there-deal with it, for precisely that reason.  I am interested to see how Ryan Buell handles the ensuing public reaction to “I Am Six.”  Perhaps he will serve as a role model and pave the way for those “shit writing” bloggers to emerge from behind their avatars and stand up to

One of Buell's hobbies is making fun of Paris Hilton.  Here she is "mugging" for the police camera

One of Buell's hobbies is making fun of Paris Hilton. Here she is "mugging" for the police camera

scrutiny.

PJ

p.s. Buell does have a sense of humor and is a fan of the sci-fi genre himself: his favorite pastime is making fun of Paris Hilton, and The Exorcist is one of his favorite movies.


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