Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chuck Kissed a Boy...on Gossip Girl

Chuck Bass Ed Westwick Gossip Girl screencaps suit pictures images photos screengrabs captures
Wow. No sooner did I get roped into watching Gossip Girl than a juicy new headline appeared on TV Guide. Seems our favorite bad boy Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) will be snogging another guy in the upcoming season of Gossip Girl. Of course, it's all about manipulation rather than attraction, but we'll have to see how the episode turns out.

Aside from kissing boys and girls on Gossip Girl, sexy Hertfordshire native Ed Westwick will be breaking hearts with upcoming film Wuthering Heights with Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, RocknRolla).

Season 3 of Gossip Girl begins on Monday, September 14 at 9/8c.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gina Torres to Join Gossip Girl

Gina Torres Zoe Washburne Firefly Gossip Girl news
There have been few female characters on TV as awesome as Gina Torres' kick-ass Zoe on Firefly. That's why I was thrilled to hear that Torres is getting a regular gig on the popular CW show Gossip Girl. I've written all the details up at TVOvermind news.

I've managed thus far to have never watched 90210 (either version), Melrose Place, or Dawson's Creek. The buzz on Gossip Girl kept intriguing me, however, and I kept thinking I might succumb and try out the first season.

Once I heard Gina Torres was signing on, that sealed it for me. I took a look at a couple Gossip Girl episodes, and I have to tell you, folks--I'm hooked. It's trashy and soapy, but it's also smart and funny and ridiculously addictive. I have no idea how they managed to find so many uber pretty trust fund boys and girls for one series, but it's practically blinding. Torres will bring the beauty level up yet another level, and here's hoping it's also a great role for her. Torres deserves something she can sink her teeth into, and there is definitely plenty of scenery-chewing to be had in Gossip Girl.

The new season of Gossip Girl starts Monday, September 14 on the CW, at 9/8c.

PHOTO: Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne, Firefly screencap, c2002 20th Century Fox.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

America's Got Talent and Hairo Torres

With a wink and a grin, Hairo Torres lets us
in on the joke on America's Got Talent.


If you're not watching America's Got Talent, you should give it a try. The key is to not take any of it too seriously. Sure, it's corny, and over-produced, and emotionally manipulative. And The Hoff is a bit crazy. But it's just so darn entertaining. Like the variety shows of the past, you've got all these wonderfully talented (and some not so talented) folks of all ages, shapes, and sizes giving it their all to make you smile, laugh, or gasp at their ingenuity and skill.

Take Hairo Torres for example. This charming break dancer/contortionist/comedian has to be seen to be believed. He does things with his limbs that defy explanation and drops himself into some crazy situations. He's energetic, skilled, and incredibly appealing. With his unusual combination of skills, where else could he get noticed than on a variety show of this sort? Thank you, America's Got Talent. For all your flaws, you've given us entertaining moments like this:



With all the blood, guts, and car crashes on TV these days, it's nice to see a little more old-fashioned TV with acrobatic dance troupes, flaming guitar jugglers, and 8 year old guitar prodigies. So just ignore the manufactured melodrama, and enjoy the America's Got Talent acts who've been training their whole lives to bring you these few minutes of spectacle.

And hey, The Hoff is crazy in the most fun way.

Watch America's Got Talent on NBC, every Tuesday and Wednesday night at 9/8c. You can find links to all my AGT write-ups here (including Hairo Torres' audition video) and here.

PHOTOS: Hairo Torres during his America's Got Talent Semifinals performance, screencaps c2009 Fremantle Media, Syco TV, NBC.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cake Boss Finale -- "Fireworks, Falling Fondant, & Fathers"

Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers Frank Amato Buddy Valastro Libby Klein skyscraper cake screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs capturesTonight on the season finale of Cake Boss, "Fireworks, Falling Fondant, & Fathers", Buddy and the Cake Boss crew made a spectacular cake, the crew had some fun with fireworks, and Buddy paid tribute to fathers.

The client tonight was the Grucci family, whose fireworks company has put on spectacular displays for major New York holidays and events. They wanted a cake for the celebration of their late father's birthday, and hoped it would include some of the monuments they've lit up with fireworks in their business's lengthy career.

Buddy was excited about creating a cake that the Gruccis would later add pyrotechnics to. Having recently honored his own father with a celebration, Buddy was happy to help another family remember where they came from and rejoice in their family success. Buddy came up with a cake of a miniature New York City, with the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State building, and even Carlo's Bakery.

As they began work, Buddy decided he wanted to see how the cake would react to fireworks. They sent Frankie off for a sparkler and then Buddy set it up in the cake. You can see what happened in the progression below (*Click* all Cake Boss pics for larger images!):

The crew waits at a safe distance:
Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers exploding cake images photos firecracker blow up screencaps screengrabs video capture

The innocent cake and sparkler:
Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers exploding cake images photos firecracker blow up screencaps screengrabs video capture

Kaboom!
Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers exploding cake images photos firecracker blow up screencaps screengrabs video capture

The stunned crowd:
Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers exploding cake images photos firecracker blow up screencaps screengrabs video capture

This cake went the distance!
Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers exploding cake images photos firecracker blow up screencaps screengrabs video capture

Once the fun and mayhem were over, the Cake Boss crew got to work. The skyscrapers were going to be 4-5 feet tall, which took a lot of cake. Daniella made the Statue of Liberty out of rice crispy treats covered in green fondant. The Cake Boss crew used plastic forms to press brick shapes into the fondant, as well as paint little windows in a perfect grid pattern.

Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers Frank Amato cake tower skyscraper screencaps screengrabs capture images photos picturesCake Boss Tony Tone Tone Albanese Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers images photos pictures screengrabs screencaps capture video
It's always a joy to watch Buddy and the Cake Boss crew with all their clever creations that make each detail so realistic. My favorites were the stadium decorated with multi-colored round sprinkles inside to simulate the dotted blur of a crowd inside, as well as the black fondant covered in a layer of poppyseeds for the building roofs.

Buddy's favorite part of the scene was a mini-replica of Mr. Grucci, sitting at the foot of the Statue of Liberty with a little wire, ready to detonate some fireworks. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, showing you the magnificent masterpiece the Cake Boss crew put together for the Grucci family celebration.

Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers New York skyscrapers figure Statue of Liberty photos images pictures screencaps screengrabs video captures Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers New York skyscrapers figure Statue of Liberty photos images pictures screencaps screengrabs video captures

Cake Boss Grucci Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers New York skyscrapers figure Statue of Liberty photos images pictures screencaps screengrabs video captures Cake Boss Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers New York skyscrapers figure Statue of Liberty photos images pictures screencaps screengrabs video captures

Cake Boss Grucci Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers New York skyscrapers figure Statue of Liberty photos images pictures screencaps screengrabs video captures Cake Boss Grucci Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers New York skyscrapers figure Statue of Liberty photos images pictures screencaps screengrabs video captures

Buddy went with his son to Take Your Dad to School Day, and brought mini cakes for all the kids to decorate with their dads. Buddy also shared a pic of him with his own father in the bakery.

Buddy Valastro and Buddy Senior Sr. Cake Boss Carlo's Bakery screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs video capture Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers Buddy Valastro and Buddy Junior Jr. son school Cake Boss Carlo's Bakery screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs video capture Fireworks Falling Fondant and Fathers

Cake Boss went through a short montage of the highlights of the past season, with the incredible cake creations and occasioinal mishaps that come out of Carlo's family bakery. It's been a fun and exciting journey with Buddy and the Cake Boss crew, and I'm looking forward to more fancy fireworks in the upcoming season.

Cake Boss skyscraper Fireworks Falling Fondant & Fathers images photos pictures screengrabs screencaps video capture celebration Grucci
PHOTOS: Buddy Valastro, Frank Amato, and Tony "Tone Tone" Albanese working on the skyscraper cake, c2009 Libby Klein, TLC. Screencaps of "Fireworks, Falling Fondant, & Fathers", Cake Boss, c2009 TLC.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

HawthoRNe in, Saving Grace Out

Grace Hanadarko Holly Hunter Saving Grace screencaps photos pictures images screengrabs capturesI would say TNT has made a very odd decision regarding which of these female-led shows to keep, but it appears FOX made the decision for them. The Hollywood Reporter notes that FOX Studios decided that the Holly Hunter drama Saving Grace was just too expensive to make, so after this season ends in Summer 2010, it's canceled.

Saving Grace was never really my cup of tea, and I always found it a bit ludicrous to have the 75-lb. Hunter punching out suspects that were three or four times her size. Aside from that, I did think it was over all a quality-made show with good acting and an interesting premise.

Not so with HawthoRNe. I really tried to like the new Jada Pinkett Smith nursing drama, with its cast of likable quirky characters, but it's just too too much. Smith's Nurse Hawthorne is Miss Perfect, running from crisis to crisis, saving the day wherever she goes. All the doctors are evil, idiots, or evil idiots, but the nurses are sensible yet cynical saints who know the Truth.

I also hate to harp on small points, but it's gotten to be funny watching the previews for HawthoRNe, in which every week she has three new hairstyles. Yes, not only is Hawthorne a tireless nurse who works around the clock to save lives, but she uses what little time she has to herself to get her hair just right.

HawthoRNe has potential if it could reduce some of the nurses' smug superiority. I don't mind having an admirable nurse to watch each week, but I'd prefer it if she worked more in concert with the rest of the staff. Sure, maybe there're a few idiots or jerks to deal with, but there should be more than one decent doctor in the whole hospital.

While HawthoRNe has gotten largely negative reviews, TNT is pleased enough with its performance to order up ten new episodes for next summer. So while HawthoRNe will be celebrating its second season, Saving Grace will be running out their last.

You can catch HawthoRNe and Saving Grace on TNT, Tuesday nights beginning at 9/8c.

PHOTO: Holly Hunter as Grace Hanadarko, Saving Grace screencap, c2009 Fox Television Studios, TNT.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cake Boss -- "Leaning, Lobsters, and Lectures"

Buddy Valastro Cake Boss Leaning Tower of Pisa screencaps photos images screengrabs pictures captures Leaning Lobsters and Lectures
Tonight on Cake Boss, "Leaning, Lobsters, and Lectures", Buddy and his Cake Boss team may have outdone themselves. But before I get into that, let me just tell all you Cake Boss fans that our favorite show has been renewed for another 18 episodes--and should air on TLC in the fall. So, more Buddy and the gang and fantastic cake creations!

The main cake in the episode was for a bridal couple who wanted The Leaning Tower of Pisa, but only if it could be very accurate. Buddy told them that a leaning cake would definitely be tricky, but he was excited to do it and he knows they'll love the final result.

The work that Buddy and the Cake Boss crew put into this was incredible and a joy to watch. Buddy smartly made the cake level, then shimmed it up at the end to add the leaning effect. The cake was layered and frosted around a center support pipe, with cardboard circular supports in between.

The detail was amazing. The Cake Boss crew laid out fondant, then spun a patterned roller over it that made a perfect brick design. They then wrapped the brick sheeting around each layer of cake. Buddy added long toothpick supports between the layers, then wrapped each one with fondant. Then the Cake Boss crew added arches, and Buddy cut out little tiny pillar caps and wrapped them around each little support beam for perfect accuracy.

The whole Cake Boss crew was excited about this amazing project. Buddy thought it needed a more rustic look, and so they added edible highlighter dust to add shadows and an aged look to the "bricks".

Daniella Storzillo Leaning Tower of Pisa Cake Boss vespa couple sculpture screencaps images photos pictures captures screengrabs Leaning Lobsters and LecturesOnce it was all done, Buddy carefully added tapered blocks of wood to raise one side of the Tower of Pisa base. Then the Cake Boss crew carefully slid another base over the top to make a level floor and hide the shims. Once covered in fondant, they added Daniella's sculpted masterpiece--a mini replica of the bridal couple themselves riding a Vespa next to the Tower.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa cake was an absolute masterpiece. Not only did Buddy and the Cake Boss crew create a beautifully ornate representation of the Tower, but the added personalization of the couple on the Vespa was inspired. The happy couple were thrilled beyond belief, and there was mad applause from the crowd from the moment the Cake Boss crew entered the room with the cake. Buddy said "They were cheering like we were Bon Jovi!"

For the second Cake Boss creation, we had a best man who came to the consultation with no idea of what he wanted. The guy honestly seemed a little stoned, and Buddy did his best to come up with an idea for the lobster/clam bake engagement party. The best man was thrilled when Buddy came up with a bride and groom lobster getting ready to "take the plunge" into a pot of boiling water.

Things seem fine until the best man reappears some time later in the week and tells Buddy that he confused the dates for the engagement part. It's not next week, after all, it's tonight. Now I'm convinced the guy is/was stoned. Buddy is stunned. His first instinct is that it's not going to happen; there's not enough time. The best man begs for forgiveness and help, and Buddy is way too nice, so he agrees to do the best he can.

Buddy Valastro lobster groom pot Cake Boss Leaning Lobsters and Lectures images photos pictures captures screengrabs screencapsThe Cake Boss crew thinks Buddy is crazy and tells him he's on his own. So Buddy whips up a few layers of cake and wraps them in gray fondant to make the pot. He adds handles. Then he creates bubbles by boiling candy sugar and pouring it over a flat tray of ice--the ice melts, but the candy retains the shape of the crushed ice chips and gives it a frothy appearance. Buddy is thrilled that it looks just like a bubbling water and adds it to the top of his cake.

There's a cover partially over the pot, and then Buddy needs to make up his lobster. The Cake Boss crew has a bit of fun when Buddy's cousin brings in live lobsters for Buddy to use as models for his sculpture. It's a hilarious image, seeing a table full of cake making tools, dough, and fondant, with two live lobsters staring up at Buddy.

He finishes up his lobsters with a little shading, then a top hat for the groom and a veil for the bride. He interlocks their lobster claws to show them holding hands. He adds a little edible sign at the bottom that congratulates the couple on "taking the plunge".

The cake is adorable, and Buddy gets applause from the small gathering as he brings over the lobster cake. Buddy's job as Cake Boss is to make people happy, and he once again scores high marks in that category.

Watch the season finale of Cake Boss next Monday, August 17, at 10/9c.

PHOTOS: Buddy Valastro works on The Leaning Tower of Pisa cake; Daniella Storzillo works on the bridal couple and Vespa sculptures; Buddy's lobster. Cake Boss, c2009 TLC.

Monday, August 10, 2009

In Plain Sight Finale

In Plain Sight Mary Shannon Mary McCormack screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs captures
Wow. The In Plain Sight season finale, "Don't Cry for me Albequerque," hadn't been what I'd been expecting at all. I try not to be spoiled for episodes, so I had no idea what was coming at the end of this season.

*SPOILER ALERT* Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) got stuck babysitting Francesca, a revolutionary in her country who was rescued by the American armed forces just before her dictator had her killed. Francesca has to be one of the most annoying witnesses Mary Shannon has ever faced. She's arrogant, self-centered, and difficult. All she's concerned about is her own cause, and getting Mary drunk and stupid--to prove she's not a square. Because you'd want the woman protecting your life to be completely wasted, right?

Which of course means Mary dislikes her, but respects her for her bullying ways. After all, Mary is once again bullying her fiance Raphael (Cristián de la Fuente) about his work for Peter's car dealership. I think it's fine for her to not be thrilled that he's filmed a corny Spanish language car commercial with bimbo girls, but she doesn't have to get so nasty about it. Raphael continues to stand up for himself, telling her she doesn't get to decide where he works--just as he doesn't have to decide or like where she works. That actually gets through to her a little bit, but who knows how much.

Things with Francesca go from bad to worse when she decides to move to a gang-infested area so she can be amongst "her people". She laughs off the dangerous flirtations of the drug dealers across the street, saying she grew up with boys like him. When Mary brings up the fact that they're criminals, Francesca says it's only because of the laws that they're criminals. Talk about rose-colored glasses.

Since the CIA is in charge of Francesca, Mary has no say in the matter. Marshall (Frederick Weller) is not happy with the arrangement, but he gets Mary's permission to take off for a date. After all, it's Mary and she can take care of herself. When the crowd on the street starts to get rowdy, Mary calls the police and then takes Francesca out for dinner.
Marshall Mann Frederick Fred Weller In Plain Sight images photos pictures screencaps screengrabs capturesThe one moment I did like with Francesca was that while they were in the dance club, Raphael's commercial came on the TV. Francesca thought it was wonderful, and told Mary she was so lucky to have him. It was an interesting moment, when Mary saw Raphael through someone else's eyes.

Back at the house, Mary is dismayed to find that the police have never come by. She calls her police contact Detective Dershowitz (Todd Williams) and asks him to send a black and white by to at least scatter the thugs on the street. Dershowitz comes by himself, just as a drunk is on their porch threatening them. The situation escalates, and Dershowitz and Mary are outnumbered. Then Mary sees one of the gang reaching for a weapon. She calls "Gun!", but before she draws her own, she's shot in the stomach and falls abruptly to the ground.

The gang finally scatters and Dershowitz is left wondering what just happened. Marshall is at the hospital as they're rushing Mary into surgery, saying she's stopped breathing. Marshall kisses her on the forehead just before they wheel her in, then he breaks down as Stan (Paul Ben-Victor) arrives.

My favorite part of the In Plain Sight episode was when Stan conferred with the CIA agent in charge. The agent just started to blame Mary for the situation, and then suddenly Stan was shoving him into an office and slamming him up against a wall. Get him, Stan!

Stan let the agent know very clearly that they were the ones that put Mary in danger--giving her a witness to protect with no say in a location that put both hers and Francesca's lives at risk. Despite being a good deal shorter than the agent, Stan threatened him well enough that the guy knew to keep his mouth shut after that.
Mary Shannon Marshall Mann Frederick Fred Weller Mary McCormack screencaps images pictures photos screengrabs captures In Plain SightAnother great scene was Marshall interrogating the gang leader. He knew that this guy knew who had shot Mary, but that no threats would ever work on such a hardened criminal. So Marshall offered sugar instead, letting the gang leader know that he could be in Hawaii tomorrow leading a new life. There was a sweet moment when it looked like the guy might actually give in--but then he reverted back to his old ways. He felt that destiny was destiny, and he was meant to live and die right where he was.

As if Francesca wasn't bad enough, she had the nerve to tell Marshall that she thought this was all Mary's fault. She felt that the guys would have just wandered away if they'd been ignored and it would be okay. While I honestly have to wonder if Dershowitz and Mary's interference may have stirred up the situation more than it warranted, it also felt like it could have gone very badly either way. These guys aren't children, after all--I'm not sure they would allow Francesca to ignore them. Either way, it wasn't the right thing to say to Marshall at that moment, when they still had no idea if Mary was going to make it or not.

Of course Marshall had his own perceptions. He realized that Francesca had been once again driven by her own causes. If her people had found out that they'd been in a revolution while Francesca sat in a mansion in America, it would not have looked good for her. So she risked her own and Mary's life for appearances.

So, In Plain Sight fans are left with a cliffhanger until next season. Along with Mary's precarious condition, there's also the plot that's been building with Marshall's obvious feelings for her. There's also a real question of whether Mary and Raphael belong together. I've been feeling for some time that Mary's relationship with Marshall is far more real, and on equal levels, than hers with Raphael. In Plain Sight either needs to show us a legitimate affection for Raph from Mary for more than five minutes, or they need to break them up.

I also ask that they not give Marshall any more big emotional scenes. Weller didn't exactly sell the teary breakdown, and it didn't seem in character for Marshall anyway--which is maybe why Weller had trouble selling it. Sure, Marshall is more sensitive than Mary, but he's still very stoic and laconic and a big display didn't seem to fit. It was much better when he was pissed and determined to find the shooter, but still you could see the anguish in his eyes.

Unfortunately for us, we've got to wait for In Plain Sight until Spring 2010 to see what happens to Mary and Marshall, and find out who the shooter is--if we ever find out.

PHOTOS: Mary McCormack as Mary Shannon and Frederick Weller as Marshall Mann, In Plain Sight screencaps, c2009 USA Network.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Burn Notice Finale -- Long Way Back

Fiona Gabrielle Anwar Michael Westen Jeffrey Donovan Burn Notice screencaps images photos pictures screengrabs captures
Ah yes. All is right in the Burn Notice realm. Tonight in the finale, "Long Way Back", we got back exactly where we needed to be.

*SPOILER ALERT* Things looked grim for the Burn Notice we know and love as Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) continued his quest to be reinstated by working with the uber slimy Stickler (Ben Shenkman). Beloved Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) was on her way back home to Ireland, and Michael's mom (Sharon Gless) was selling the family house.

Complications ensue when one of Fiona's old enemies from Ireland (played fiercely by Dresden Files' and Lipstick Jungle's Paul Blackthorne) pops up to kidnap her and auction her off to her other Irish foes. Her brother Sean (Gideon Emery) shows up to warn her, and together they try to put together a plan to save Fiona and get the bad guys arrested.

The first problem is, Sean and Fiona are a lot more prone to violence and nearly get themselves killed. Only Michael's launching of Sam's beautiful vintage Buick off of a parking garage saved them. Argh! That was painful to watch!

The second problem was that Stickler foiled all of their plans by turning Fiona in to the bad guys. Sean got shot, Fiona kidnapped, and Michael eventually got held at gunpoint by Stickler. I admit I was totally shocked when Michael simply pulled his gun and took Stickler down with two hits to the chest. It showed us that side of Michael we sometimes forget about--the cool operative that can kill without flinching.

Fiona nearly drowned as she escaped the bad guys, but Michael pulled her out of the water. Someone, somewhere has to explain to me why in all movies and film, no one ever has water in their lungs. The hero always drags the victim onto shore, lays them on their *back*, and then they open their eyes and recover. Rarely does anyone ever turn them on their side so they can expel all of that water they breathed in. I guess it's not glamourous enough for Hollywood to choke out some reality.

But I digress. Sean survived, and Fiona has to stay in Miami to avoid all the heat she'll get in Ireland. It's Michael's reward for choosing Fi over revoking his Burn Notice--if Stickler could have even done that for him. Somehow that whole thing seemed hinky from the start. The only proof Michael had that Stickler was doing what he promised was from Diego (Otto Sanchez), and I never felt like that guy was on the up and up. And now he's mysteriously murdered, and Michael has no idea who may have done it--and who may be after him now. We'll have to see what Burn Notice brings us in the winter episodes, but previews suggest that Michael is now more burned than ever.

It was nice to see the balance this week on Burn Notice, of Michael's spy skills and his everyday life. I'm glad that he wanted to look at the box of his old model airplanes and other souveniers of his childhood, and he acknowledged to his mom that maybe he wasn't ready for her to move just yet. It was a good episode for all the characters to let each other know how much they cared about one another--even Sam (Bruce Campbell), but hey, don't tell Fi.

PHOTO: Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona and Jeffrey Donovan as Michael in Burn Notice, screencap c2009 USA.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

3 Ways to Save Medium + My August Entertainment Articles

Patricia Arquette as Allison Dubois on Medium, c2009 Grammnet Prod., CBS Paramount.

"Psychic drama Medium is heading into its sixth season, a crucial time when a series has the potential to wear out its welcome or go off the rails with too many new "twists". Medium has the additional challenge of being moved to a different time slot–on a different network. While the lead-in from similarly themed Ghost Whisperer could prove to be a bonus for Medium, only time will tell how good a dreaded Friday night slot will work out..." Read the rest at TVOvermind!

Along with my analysis of ghost-seeing crime-solver series, I'm also keeping up with reality TV over at AC:

HGTV Design Star White Room Grocery Challenge Recap

Design Star Garage Makeover Challenge Recap

HGTV Design Star Homes of the Brave Recap

HGTV Design Star Kids' Bedrooms Challenge Recap

America's Got Talent Hollywood Semifinals Day 1

America's Got Talent Semifinals Results Day 1

America's Got Talent Hollywood Semifinals Week 2

America's Got Talent Semifinals Results Week 2

America's Got Talent Semifinals Results Week 3

America's Got Talent Hollywood Semifinals Week 4

America's Got Talent Results Week 4

What Not to Wear: Lexa the Weird Lolita

What Not to Wear Disa: From Childlike to Chic

Check back often for new blog posts and articles! You can always find links to my latest articles in the right sidebar, or click on My TV Articles at AC in the left sidebar to find the monthly posts with full listings of my entertainment reviews.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ultimate Cake Off Premiere on TLC

Ultimate Cake Off Ashley Tariq Richard screencaps Shark Summer pictures photos images screengrabs capturesThe Ultimate Cake Off contestants wait to hear the judges' verdict.

Tonight TLC premiered their new show Ultimate Cake Off, which will take over for the Cake Boss after his season finale at the end of the month. Ultimate Cake Off features cake designers of varying styles, backgrounds, and experience to compete against one another for a cash prize and event feature.

For this premiere episode of Ultimate Cake Off, the three cake designers were competing to be the featured cake at Aquarium of the Pacific's Shark Summer Celebration. The first odd thing about the show was that the contestants were told that the client's opinion was the dealbreaker--yet there was no discussion between the clients and designers. There may have been some interaction off-camera, but it seemed jarring not to see it. On Cake Boss, we always get a glimpse into Buddy's conference with his clients.

Ultimate Cake Off Tariq screencaps Shark Summer pictures photos images screengrabs capturesThe competing designers, Ashley, Tariq, and Richard, had to create a shark-themed cake that was kid-friendly, 5 feet high, and 60% edible. Richard set out to make a tower cake with a tubed water feature at the top, adorned by a shark fin. Tariq worked on a traditional stacked cake with multiple layers adorned with shark sculptures, including a shark bursting out of the cake. Ashley had a wildly ambitious design with a sculpture of coral, seaweed, all manner of sea creatures, and a rotating shark at the top.

Ultimate Cake Off followed the three designers as they worked with their teams. Then suddenly the judges broke in to give them a cake sculpture "contest". The person who sculpted a realistic crab replica would get to boot another designer from the cake-making for 30 minutes. Ashley looked furious, and I couldn't blame her. This was a needless bit of "drama" inserted into an already interesting contest.

It also seemed silly to test contestants that they selected for the show. It was almost like they were saying they hadn't vetted these people at all for Ultimate Cake Off, and weren't sure what the client was going to get.

Later they inserted another challenge, a taste test of their cakes. This made a little more sense, since it's fine when a cake looks pretty, but who wants it if it tastes awful? The only confusing thing was that it didn't look like the designers actually used those style of cakes in their designs, but perhaps this was something that wasn't shown.

Both Ashley and Tariq lost a half hour due to these Ultimate Cake Off contests. Personally, I would have much preferred that the winner *gained* a half hour. This way it would be good for the winner, and wouldn't generate unneded animosity between contestants.

The usual mishaps ensued, as happens when you have an unrealistic deadline. Ashley cut her thumb severely. Tariq's cake was crooked. Richard's water feature broke. In the end, Richard felt his finished cake was not up to par, and the judges agreed.
Ultimate Cake Off Ashley Tariq screencaps Shark Summer pictures photos images screengrabs capturesTariq's cake was bright and cheery and a little cartoonish. Oddly, the Ultimate Cake Off client who had seemed somewhat put off by the idea of a cake-eating shark now complimented that very feature. The judges also felt the event logo was prominently and properly displayed on the cake. They were worried by the odd tilt of the cake, however.

Ashley's cake was, in fact, a master work. Even both other cake designers acknowledged it as such. The myriad of spun-sugar sea creatures and seaweed was astounding. The client complimented the accuracy of the sharks portrayed on the piece. The judges found fault with the dark colors of the cake, and were upset about the logo not being more on display.

At the end of Ultimate Cake Off, Tariq's cake was chosen, for what seemed very flimsy reasons. The client actually didn't seem like she agreed with the decision but was pressured by the judges. If the criticism of Ashley's cake had been that it wasn't as easily edible as Tariq's more traditional cake, I would have understood. But with the lame excuse of it being "too dark" (because the depths of the ocean are so bright) and the logo not being front and center? Erm, what? As if the people standing at the shark event eating the shark cake weren't going to know it was for the shark event?

Ultimate Cake Off has the potential to be a fun show that gives us more of what we love about Cake Boss--watching talented artists create amazing edible sculpture. I just hope that they find a way for this competition to be move away from the more negative tone, with harsh judges and back-stabbing contestants. The premiere episode had contestants who just wanted to make a beautiful cake and please the client, and get some rewards for their hard work. That's not a bad premise for a show at all.

Watch Ultimate Cake Off on TLC, Monday nights at 10/9c beginning August 31. Check your local listings for the abundance of repeat showings of the premiere episode, "Shark Summer".

PHOTOS: Ultimate Cake Off contestants Ashley, Tariq, and Richard, c2009 Eric Biermann, TLC.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lost Boone News and Screencaps

Boone Carlyle Ian Somerhalder Lost All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues screencaps images blue eyes photos pictures screengrabs captures
Ms Terri at the Lost for a Reason blog has made my day by announcing that Boone (Ian Somerhalder) will be back--if all goes well--in the upcoming finale season of Lost. Yes, there are polar bears and hatches and ghosts and smoke monsters--and Boone, oh my. He of the preternaturally blue eyes and quizzically arched brows and you know, just general rich-boy good looks.

While Boone could be punky and a bit thick-headed at times, what I liked about his character was his determination to improve himself. He didn't want to be useless, he didn't want to have this bizarre relationship with Shannon--he wanted to toughen up and be a strong man. Which put him into an unlikely partnership with Locke, a partnership that begins in this awesome premiere season episode, "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues".

This is the one where Charlie and Claire get kidnapped by Ethan, and Locke, Boone, Jack and Kate go after them. There's backstory on Jack and his dad, and also an interesting sideline with Sawyer and Sayid.



Now for your pretty screencaps, so you remember the lovely Boone Carlyle:

*CLICK* all Lost Boone pics for larger versions.
Boone Carlyle Ian Somerhalder Lost All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues screencaps images blue eyes photos pictures screengrabs captures
Boone Carlyle Ian Somerhalder Lost All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues screencaps images blue eyes photos pictures screengrabs captures
Boone Carlyle Ian Somerhalder Lost All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues screencaps images blue eyes photos pictures screengrabs captures
Boone Carlyle Ian Somerhalder Lost All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues screencaps images blue eyes photos pictures screengrabs captures
I loved this scene, where Boone laments about the parallel between their situation and the red shirt guys who always get killed in Star Trek...
Boone Carlyle Ian Somerhalder Lost All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues screencaps images blue eyes photos pictures screengrabs captures
...and Locke's answer is: "Sounds like a piss-poor captain."
Boone Carlyle Ian Somerhalder Lost All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues screencaps images blue eyes photos pictures screengrabs captures
Locke asks Boone to guess his profession, and Boone replies "You're either a taxidermist or a hit man," which gets a genuine chuckle out of the enigmatic Locke.
Boone Carlyle Ian Somerhalder Lost All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues screencaps images blue eyes photos pictures screengrabs captures
Hope you enjoyed the Boone from Lost screencaps. Here's hoping we see more of the lovely Ian Somerhalder on Lost, carefully scheduled in between his filming for Vampire Diaries.

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