Celebritology Live

May 03, 2012

Celebritology blogger Jen Cheney gabbed about the latest celebrity gossip and pop culture news making waves across the Web.

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Office Jim THIS GUY

Let's discuss "Avengers," Ashton Kutcher, the correspondents' dinner or whatever else is on your mind. And let's discuss it now.

You know, that gif would have made more sense if the heading above it actually showed up. Let's try it again.

Look who's starting the chat almost on time today.

Office Jim THIS GUY

Have you seen the criticism of your coverage of the Popchips controversy?

I have seen some criticism. But please share in case the criticism I've seen differs from the criticism you did.

I'll hop into this fray by stating that Sarah, who wrote the main post on Kutcher yesterday, wrote it after the initial clip of the ad was posted, which featured only 15 seconds of Kutcher as Raj.

My initial reaction to it was that it was unfunny and misguided but not the racist boondoogle it became.  The reactionary world of Twitter magnified the issue, as it tends to do. I made a call yesterday to update Sarah's original post rather than posting a second item on the ad, which would only call more attention to it.

You are welcome to burn me alive now, if you wish.

Prince Harry will be in DC on Monday to accept an award. Is that Celebritology or Style?

Uh, yes?

Jen: In Baltimore, we are bombarded with ads for "The Immortal World Tour" a Cirque du Soleil production about Michael Jackson. The ads say, no kidding, "His tours were the greatest events in modern history." Not "music events"--there's no qualifier. This makes Michael Jackson's tours more significant than the atomic bomb, the moon landing, the election of the first African-American president and....you get the idea. I mean, I've worked in advertising and PR for 40 years, but even I recognize marketing overkill. Yeesh.

What, you don't think the Bad tour was a bigger deal than the March on Washington or the assassination of JFK? Because most people do.

I kid. I like Michael Jackson's music but yes, that seems like hyperbole, to say the least.

I mean Jaleel White?

Don't know. I'm sure he'll get work of some kind out of this, either commercials, a reality series, a book deal -- something.

I honestly haven't been keeping up as closely with DWTS this season. Not sure why I've lost interest -- perhaps the lack of a Gen X 80s movie icon?

Oh fine Jen. Will you be covering Prince Harry's visit or some other WAPO blog that I don't bother to read?

I was being sarcastic before. Because sarcasm is how I cope with all things.

I assume Style is covering it. I am sure we will mention it in the mix, at the very least.

As an Iowan, I have to say that Ashton Kutcher (an Iowa native) certainly did NOT inherit the common sense we expect of our young people.

Wait, you're just realizing this now?

Has there ever been a more over-discussed show? For me, the show is ok, nothing I'd DVR, but I'd watch if I was flipping through. Still, I can't believe how certain media outlets are jumping at any chance to scrutinize it. Can we please move on now and discuss another show for a while?

No. We cannot.

We haven't tackled it much in Celebritology mainly for the reason you mention -- what's left to say, at least at this juncture? Sarah and I are both watching. I am still not sure how I feel about the show, but I am intrigued enough to keep tuning in.

I read all your recaps on TV shows I like, but gotta complain about the spoiler in this week's Game of Thrones recap. When its Monday morning, and I'm sure plenty of folks, like myself, haven't seen Sunday night's episode, its pretty much not cool to throw a title like "The Shadow Monster claims a king" at us. I would never have opened the article- this is the title that pops out at us if we subscribe to your RSS feeds. I was a little less miffed that this event occurred very early in the episode and wasn't at the end, but still- don't spoil us with your headlines... And when you open the article, it cracks me up that you would throw a "definite spoiler alert" in the middle of the article- if we are reading your recap, it's pretty much assumed we aren't afraid of seeing a spoiler. I get that we always have the choice of not reading your articles, but at least don't make us regret subscribing to your feeds or "liking" on Facebook... thanks

I'll totally take the blame for that spoiler alert, as I tossed it in there. And I appreciate the feedback about the headline. We try to be careful about spoilers, which is sometimes a fine line. But we'll be mindful next time.

Thanks for your understanding.

I'm not sure which is worse: being named something very out of the ordinary (Apple) or being given a name commonly used for the opposite sex (Maxwell Drew?? BOTH names are boys names). Of course there are names that are used for both boys and girls (Shelby) but the first thing I thought when I heard JS's daughter's name was that they wanted a boy. What are these people thinking?

Well, Drew is not specifically a boys name, as I'm sure Drew Barrymore would be quick to point out. It traditionally is, but there are girls with that name.

Maxwell is a bit more unusual for a daughter, but I don't think it's that bad. She may go by Max, which is something plenty of girls and women have done in the past.

That's just my opinion, though.

I have never found him to be the least bit appealing. I remember one movie, Just Married, in which he was the world's biggest goofball who absolutely ruined the honeymoon and yet Brittany Murphy stayed with him rather than the (IMHO, granted) infinitely more attractive and (in the movie) successful Christian Kane, who also shared her interests and had her parents' approval. I could not believe it.

I never saw "Just Married" so I can't entirely share in your outrage. I felt similarly betrayed by "Dude, Where's My Car," though, so I feel like you and I probably have some overlap on our Ashton Kutcher Venn diagrams.

So Jen, are you reading Fifty Shades of Grey? I just finished the third one. It makes me laugh because people are either super amped about them or they think they're stupid and disgusting. I will say the sex stuff started getting to be "enough already" in the second one, but they were entertaining.

I haven't read Fifty Shades. They sound so ridiculous from the excerpts I've read, but I feel like I have to read it just to be conversant on the subject. (And also to prepare for the movie.)

Right now, I am actually reading a Sissy Spacek memoir that I will be reviewing for Style.

This season DWTS had FRISCO! From General Hospital! Frisco and Felicia were sooooo romantic together back in the early 80s.

Well, that's true. And Half Pint is a Gen X icon in a way.

I don't know, maybe that's not why I wasn't as engaged in it, then. Maybe I was just busy.

Actually they've said they're going to call her Maxi. Like Maxi Pad?

Maxi is not terrible, but you're right, that nickname will inevitably follow her around during her preteen years, if not earlier. So she has that to look forward to.

I always thought "Apple" was kind of sweet. It has a nice sound to it. Not the worst celeb name by a long shot.

What is the worst? Pilot Inspektor? Bear Blu?

Do you think there would be interest in a film based on the John Edwards story if it were handled along the lines of "Match Point" (Woody Allen/Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and/or the "Ides of March" (George Clooney/Ryan Gosling). It's seems how this tale is unravelling is the most compelling part of the story.

I mean, it's certainly got all the drama one would want in a political thriller. I think it could be handled as a somewhat sophisticated theatrical release, as you suggest, or just as easily as a smarmy straight-to-DVD flick. It all depends on who handles it.

Since you mentioned the Spacek book, are you planning to read Ryan O'Neal's latest attempt to justify himself?

I was not planning to, no. But in Ryan O'Neal's defense, I always liked the movie "Irreconciliable Differences" for some weird reason.

Today, Ashley is a girl's name, but until about the 1960s, it was almost exclusively a boy's name (Ashley Wilkes!). And then there's Shirley Povich (father of Maury and a greater sportswriter) -- anybody know any boys named Shirley today? In England, Vivian is a boy's name, but not in the US. Styles just change . . .

All very true. There is a lot of fluidity in terms of what's considered gender-appropriate on the name front.

And I think kids, at least at a young age, are totally accepting of just about any name unless it's like, Snot, or something.

So, it seems that I am one of five people in America faithfully watching "Awake" each week. It's most likely going to be cancelled, and, well, I'm bummed about that. I think it's a good show that, much like Damien Lewis' "Life," takes a fun spin on procedurals. The cast is great, especially B.D. Wong and Jason Isaacs, who has quite the impressive American accent. Who knew Mr. Malfoy had it in him to play an American and a good guy?

I'm afraid I never got into it. The bits and pieces I've seen are more subtle and restrained than your typical procedural, which is not a bad thing. But maybe it didn't win people over quickly enough for NBC.

Moxie Crimefighter - by a mile.

It's definitely weird, but it's also kind of awesome at the same time.

Related question: if your name is Moxie Crimefighter, if you grow up and play that "what is your porn name" game, will the result always be something totally normal by comparison?

I have a certain soft spot for Ryan O'Neal based solely on "Paper Moon."

Oh, I like Paper Moon, too. That's a given.

I mention Irreconciliable Differences because I might be its only fan. Or one of maybe five people who even remember it.

I vote for Pilot Inspektor. Everyone knows that Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl) is the father, but did you know that Beth Reisgraf (the fantastic Parker on Leverage) is the mother?

Fun fact of the day!

Eli Manning this week, Will Ferrell next week and then the redoubtable Mick Jagger for the last show of the season. Will Jimmy Fallon come back to reprise his Mick Jagger routine? They should have Judi Dench and Helen Mirren pop up with him. What a pity that Mitt Romney won't be doing a cameo on that show--the collision of cultural sensibilities would be cataclysmic.

I would bet good money that Fallon and Jagger will reprise that sketch, which was very funny.

I also wish they would bring back Will Forte to do with Eli what he did during that locker room sketch with Peyton Manning. I can't find good video of it online right now, but I crack up every time I watch it.


Hi Jen - in your opinion, who was the most incongruous celebrity invitee at the Washington Correspondents Dinner? Y'know - the person who makes you say, 'well this has gotten silly?"

I think we got past the point of silly a few years ago, so honestly, I have no threshhold for this sort of thing anymore.

Lindsay Lohan or Kim K seems like an obvious answer, but Kardashian had been there before. And I wasn't surprised by Lohan either, really.

You just HAD to open that door, didntcha Jen? <grin> Now some celeb will name their kid Snot. Appropos of nothing, but here in my hometown we have had two funny-named people run for public office: James Bond and Dick Rider. Now why oh why, I ask, would he not go by RICHARD or RICK? Perhaps because we all still remember him? LOL.

That's funny.

I remember having dinner with a good friend and her family, and her father kept referring to a guy named Dick Shifter. I honestly thought food was going to come out of my noise due to the attempt to supress laughter.

Does anyone under the age of 40 go by the name Dick anymore? I can't think of a reason why anyone would, but certainly younger people, for whom that name is synonymous with another term (one that rhymes with grass and pole), would definitely opt out.

Please don't forget John Wayne, whose given name was Marion.

Ah, yes, good call. Not exactly the most manly name ever, hence his decision to go with a different screen name.

is "Dweezil," hands down. Sounds like a rainforest insect or a bizarre tropical malady.

OK, there is a lot of anti-Dweezil sentiment being expressed right now. That name and Moon Unit are definitely bizarre. And yes somehow they no longer faze me.

I got used to them in the '80s. Now I think more people should name their kid Dweezil. Or perhaps Zowie Bowie. (Yes, I know he's now Duncan Jones.)

Terry Gross just did a killer interview with Sissy Spacek on NPR's "Fresh Air" a few days ago (part of Spacek's book promotion) -- one of the best of the best interviews ever! See if you can find either the transcript or audio online.

Oh, I missed that. I will do that -- thank you for the tip!

Does anyone ever wonder if the crazy names the celebs give their babies are for our benefit? Maybe Moxie at home is just Jeff, Pilot goes by Bobby? Is it just me?

Rule of thumb: in the Celebritology world, it is never just you.

My brother's scout master was Dick Holder.

Oh dear Lord. That is terrible -- a scout master???

Go by Richard, sir. I beg of you.

I think Prince Michael and Priince Michael II really have to go down as two of the worst names. I mean, not only are these kids NOT royalty, so the whole "Prince" thing is tacky, but ya can't even come up with an original name for the 2nd one? Poor kid is always going to feel in the shadow of Prince Michael The First.

But Prince Michael II went by Blanket. Which is ... not at all better.

In general, I agree that naming two siblings the same thing is probably not the best idea.

If we're allowed a vote for silliest invited guest, I'm gonna go with Kate Upton. At least LiLo and KimK have some social relevance in pop culture, given their film/TV careers, tabloid presence, etc. Ms. Upton is a 19y.o. swimsuit model and... well, that's about it.

Oh, that's a good call, actually. I forgot all about Upton.

Again, though, not surprised by that one. No threshold anymore. None.

Oh! If we're going down this path, I know a Rick Shaw. And my high school guidance counselor was Lars Larsen.

Oh, we are apparently going down this path. And I'm fine with that.

How does one go through life with the name Rick Shaw? Poor guy. If he ever has to speak publicly, he gets a laugh the minute he introduces himself. Then again, maybe that can work in his favor.

I never heard, why was he axed from SNL? If he's good enough for Tina Fey on "30 Rock"...

I thought he left of his own accord. Maybe I am wrong.

I miss him, though. I think he's a riot.

Hands down, the best, most original, most delightful and inventive invite was Uggie. Kudos to the Washington Times. (Am I allowed to say that on a Post chat?)

You are indeed, and I agree. Too bad he couldn't come into the dinner, though.

Personally, I wish we had invited Ron Swanson, aka Nick Offerman. No one ever asks for my opinion on these matters, though.

This might be a little late, but I heard somewhere that the producers of "5 Year Engagement" said Jason Segel had to lose like 20-30 lbs, because "Emily Blunt's character wouldn't be into a fat guy". On hearing this, I thought "Yay, the sexism in Hollywood is finally balancing out", then I realized "wait a second, I really shouldn't be applauding the fact that the Hoolywood body image/lookist regime is expanding its grip". So, it this development a win one, lose one wash?

This is true; Segel actually said this on Letterman, I think it was.

The sexism isn't balanced out, though, so it's definitely a wash. That's the problem. How many times have we seen a rom-com with an overweight guy who had a crazy-attractive, stringbean wife? Constantly, right?

That said, poor Segel. I think he's adorable.

It was the married name of Drew's great-grandmother, who led an acting company in Philadelphia She practically raised Drew's grandfather John Barrymore, who died many, many years before Drew was born.

Yes, thanks for the context.

I love the name Drew for a girl. I'd use it if I ever had a daughter, except that my nephew is already named Drew. And I'm not going to name a kid Drew II.

Following the point about Prince Michael I & II -- didn't George Foreman name something like 5 of his kids George? (I think they all went by their middle names, though.)

You are correct. And I think they go by nicknames to avoid confusion.

True, she's just a model, but I think her uncle (Fred) is a Congressman, which arguably makes her a more appropriate fit for a Washington media event than, say, LiLo.

Duly noted.

C'mon "Moon Unit" is soooooo much worse than "Dweezil", which, in an inappropriate and totally just made up this very minute aside, I contend was supposed to just be "Weasel", but Zappa was so "feelin no pain" (if you know what I mean), that he slurred the pronunciation and it stuck.

Just one theory here, people.

Couldn't they have declared him some sort of assistance dog?

It's  crowded enough with all the wild people running around in there, let alone adding animals to the mix.

Although I would love to see a dog running loose in that dinner.

Did you watch their live show last week? Those boys and girls were definitely schooled in improve and live theater to pull it off. Always a joy to Jon Hamm with them, too.

I did and I thought it was a riot. I thought Donald Glover from "Community" was great, too.

"My coccix!"

And on that note, I am going to sign off for the week. Join me again next Thursday for more riffing about weird names and other crucial matters. Until then, stay classy, Moxie Crimefighters.

In This Chat
Jen Chaney
Jen Chaney anchors The Washington Post's Celebritology blog, The Post's online window into the world of pop culture and celebrities. She also frequently writes about entertainment trends, filmmakers and other Hollywood-related matters for the print edition of The Washington Post.

A Post staffer for more than a decade, Jen also can be seen reviewing movies on WETA's "Around Town," where she is one of the show's regular film critics. Last year, she contributed a series of essays to the book, "The Friday Night Lights Companion."

When she isn't blogging, at the movies or watching a television show, she's ... um ... probably at home watching a movie or a TV show.

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