Celebritology Live

Jun 21, 2012

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

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Sorry for the delay but welcome to the Celebritology discussion. I am happy to talk about whatever is on your minds. But if you're game, I'd also like to pick your brains during the hour or so that lies ahead.

Specifically, I'd like to know how you're feeling about Celebritology these days: what you'd like to see more or less of. The blog is at something of a crossroads right now. I'm sorry to report that Sarah Anne Hughes is moving on after next week, and she will be dearly missed.

I'll be handling this crazy gig all by myself. And in addition to panicking, I'm also trying to rethink how we do things. As our readers, I definitely want your feedback. Do you want fewer posts? More? Additional TV recaps? A longer morning mix? Something I haven't even thought of yet?

Please share. And feel dree to do so offline as well by e-mailing me at jen.chaney@wpost.com. I want as much feedback as you are willing to provide.

All right, let's chat.

Hello - You haven't yet made your formal request on that chat so I may be somewhat off in what you're looking for but since you mention it in the Morning Mix, I am going to go ahead with submitting my thoughts on "More & Less" in Celebritology: More: - Sarah Anne Hughes - let's get her on the chat the way you and Liz used to tag team. I appreciate input from you both and think it would add a lot to the chat. - Pictures of hot men. - Lists - I love when you do list features. Less: - Anything related to reality TV, especially anything pertaining to anyone living in NJ or being associated with a Kardashian (or a Palin for that matter). These people have no talent so I just don't understand why they are celebrities, let alone worth reporting on. - Occasional domination of chats around TV shows - if you want to do a specific chat or post related to specific TV show, I totally get that but when you're not a fan of certain shows (Mad Men, Lost, etc.) and a chat occasionally is ALL ABOUT THAT SHOW it gets boring for non-fans. Some references to the latest episode, yes. Half the chat about it, no. - Twitter - not a fan, never plan to use it and feel I miss out when it is the primary communication method for some items, posts, etc. Those are the first items that came to mind. Thanks for asking for the feedback!

This is a very robust list of suggestions, which I completely appreciate. Thank you.

Believe me, I wish we could fulfill your request for more Sarah. That's one I don't think we'll be able to do, for obvious reasons.

Do I need to read the book again before seeing the movie so I know how much it strays from the original story? I think I liked the book, but boy was it a slow read. Looks like a good movie.

It might be worth doing, yes. I read it so long ago now, when I was in college, that a refresher would probably help me, too.

It's a thick book, but I remember really enjoying it. You have until November to get it read. So plenty of time. Plus, think of how studious you'll look reading Tolstoy on the beach.

I can't begin to tell you how sad it made me to hear that Kristin Stewart is the highest paid actress from last year.

I think a lot of people shared that sentiment. I wonder if she'll maintain that top spot next year.

I read a review of Mad Men recently that praised the past season with the exception of Glen. The author explained he thinks Matthew Wiener has a blind spot when it comes to his son, and I have to agree. I realize he's set up as one of the only consistent people in Sally's life, but I don't find the actor very talented, and he always has this creepy, unsettling vibe. I hope they at least limit the amount of Glen next season, but I'd be happier if they left him out all together.

Well, he's supposed to be a little creepy. And whether it's a Weiner blind spot or not, I think Glen has to continue to some extent because, between Sally and his former obsession with Betty, he's been a consistent issue.

I doubt he's going to dominate screen time so much that we never see Joan anymore or something.

Drop the morning mix and tv recaps. Start chatting every day instead. Hooray!

Interesting idea. I don't think an everyday chat is an option because the blog has to to keep running.

Less TV recaps and less focus on the chat on specific shows. Sorry, but spending most of the chat talking about a particualar TV show seems out of the scope of what this chat is about ... snarkin' about celebs!

I try not to spend too much of the chat on a specific TV show. (And yes, I recognize the irony since I just answered a Mad Men question.)

Honestly, that may be reflective of a bias of mine. When I first came onboard with Liz Kelly, Liz was our resident celeb snarker and I was our pop culture person. I can certainly snark about celeb matters when necessary -- see here -- but the pop culture analysis has always interested me more.

That said, I try to satisfy both sides of the Celebritology court as best as I can. But I can always try to do better. Thanks.

So, I absolutely loved The Avengers when I went into it with low expectations and thought Snow White and the Huntsman was just OK when I was looking forward to it. What other upcoming summer releases can we look forward to as an escape from the heat (I obviously tuned out the massive previews)? I am not a Batman series fan and doubt I will spend $12+ to go see Dark Knight Rises. Thanks!

I am looking to two films I am slated to see next week: "Magic Mike" and "Amazing Spider-Man." Hearing positive things about Spidey in particular.

I also didn't like "Snow White" very much, so I feel you on that one.

So sorry that SAH is leaving and think having a second Celebritologist is a good idea. Not that you aren't enough, but having another take is a good thing and having two helps allow for vacations, other assignments, etc. while maintaining continuity. Perhaps a male Celebritologist? That would really provide another perspective! The Morning Mix is my favorite feature and I look forward to it every morning as a mid-morning break so I would like to see that expanded, if that is an option.

I could not agree with you more that a second Celebritologist is a good idea. I am not getting a second Celebritologist, though.

I am hoping to pull in contributions occasionally, though, and finding some male perspectives is a very good idea. We used to have that with Paul Williams, but he also left the company. (Stop leaving, people! It's killing me!)

I think you do a fine job--I like all the extra posts-- but I miss the days of interacting in the comment section. Not sure what happened but that was a lot of fun.

I feel this way, too. It seems to me that when the site got redesigned, the whole commenting interaction went kaputz. But maybe it happened before that.

The morning mix used to be an all-day digital watercooler and it's not anymore. I miss that, too.

Did you get any advance screening? Other than Cars and Cars 2, I've loved all the Pixar movies. The reviews seem to be middling. I'm sad!

I did see it. It's beautifully animated and as a piece of family entertainment, it's just fine. But it's not up to Pixar snuff, in my opinion. This is what happens when you do so many outstanding movies in a row: the standard you set is impossible to meet.

I'm writing something about Brave that, at this rate, will probably not go live until tomorrow. Keep an eye out for it.

Maybe beef up the morning mix? That's my favorite part of the blog, because it aggregates the interesting celebrity news and lets me get my fix without having to truck around to different gossip websites.

A few of you have said this. The problem is that it takes a really long time to do the morning mix, not because the writing is so sophisticated but because the discovery of links is so time-consuming. When Liz first started it, she was doing that and one other post a day and that was it. So there was more time to max out on the mix.

That being said, I may rethink how I am doing it and try to opt for greater brevity with each item and a greater number of items than we have now. So a compromise between what it was and what it is now, if that makes sense.

Skip all reality TV. I know that's unreasonable because some people like it and you have to try to cater to (almost) everyone, but it's all just sooooooo bad and I hate that I know some of these people just from reading Celebritology. Can't remember how to conjugate past tense in French but I can name every Kardashian and Jersey Shore idiot. Not a good use of my brain!

I am not a fan of reality TV either. I don't think I can completely ignore it always, but I can certainly dial down on it since I don't care about it myself.

If it makes you happier, we are not recapping Jersey Shore this summer. Katie Rogers, who did it for us last summer, also left the company a couple of months ago.

It's starting to sound like I'm the only one here, isn't it? I assure you that is not the case. Some days, it just feels that way.

Jen, please don't go nuts on group-thinking this. You will never please everyone. Liz couldn't and she was the Queen of Lizard Island. I have to say, I've always viewed Celebritology as a haven of celebrity snark, not where one goes for pop culture analysis. I miss the Friday lists.

Thanks. You're right, I could easily drive myself nuts. And it will be a darn short trip since I'm a half-mile from the next Beltway exit for Totally Off Her Rocker.

A number of you have mentioned Friday lists. That's an easy thing to start doing it, especially since I love making lists. I even have one in mind for tomorrow that I started to compile earlier this week. See? Instant gratification!

Jen you're dead on about the site redesign as the death knell for interacting in the comment section. I was suddenly no long "methinks" but some person who had signed up on WaPo years before. I didn't like commenting under my user name. :( I know there's nothing you can do about that but it did change the vibe. I really hate that you're losing SAH and not getting anyone to replace her. As a member of the Atlanta Press Club I am condemning that plan in the strongest possible terms.

I think every press club should find something worth condemning today.

Thanks for your support. I do hope you'll start commenting again. There is a way to set up your old user name, I believe. EPJD and others have done it. I always comment as me because, well, I gotta be me so I haven't needed to address this.

I know I'm a little behind the times, but I just finsihed the Hunger Games trilogy on vacation last week. Have you read the book and seen the movie? I love the books and was wondering if the movie did the first one justice. And I'm cranky that I have to wait until August for the DVD, but not much I can about that.

I have read the first book and seen the movie. Am planning to read Catching Fire this summer in anticipation of the second film.

I thought the movie definitely did the book justice. Certain details were changed and events were condensed. Some of that condensation left a bit to be desired, like the way the intimacy between Katniss and Peeta evolved. But in general, I thought Gary Ross and co. did a very good job.

I'd like more television talk than just Lisa's, especially as I would rather stick needles in my eyes than watch American Idol. As a genre, I like the USA/TNT type of light-hearted detective/mystery/caper shows such as White Collar, Leverage, Drop Dead Diva (yes, I know it's on Lifetime). My reality shows are things like Breaking Pointe, Say Yes to the Dress, Next Food Network Star, & Dance Moms. I find the Nationals more interesting than the politicians &/or the "socialites," and I'd love to know if Gio Gonzalez got his "Twitter date" to the Nats' gala.

Because Lost was such a success in Celebritology, our approach had been to tackle more shows in that vein, hence our coverage of "Walking Dead," "Game of Thrones" and "American Horror Story." I picked up "Glee" because Lisa and Emily Yahr stopped doing it after last season. And I picked up "Mad Men" because I like "Mad Men."

I have no idea how we will tackle this going forward. A lot of things are being rejiggered and reconsidered right now.

Please get rid of the links to outdated news articles ("Coal", Michael Jackson jury selection, etc.)

The blog needs to be redesigned and will be soon. In the meantime, I'll try to do some pruning. That is indeed totally annoying.

I'm sure you'll have plenty on your plate being a sole Celebritologist, but please keep the chat! I really enjoy visiting with you (as my Grandma would say) on Thursday afternoons! I also like the morning mix - I tend to read my news mostly in the morning when I'm still waking up at my desk!

While I can't chat every day, I definitely plan to continue doing this weekly discussion. Absolutely.

Less: reality "stars," train-wrecks (please please please with a cherry on top, no more posts dedicated to LiLo, please! If she has to be included as a lower item in the mix, fine, but no individual posts) and please, sincerely, please stop linking to TMZ. They routinely cross the line in invading people's privacy, they gloat over the misfortune of others, they cause scenes, and are entirely reprehensible. Simply by linking to them, they are getting more traffic. More: interviews! Lists! (Friday lists, please?) More chats! More recaps! More opinion pieces! Special event chats before opening weekends for highly anticipated movies (Dark Knight Rises, etc)

This has turned into feedback fest. It's incredibly helpful for me, but I hope it's not too boring for you guys.

I think there's another Kristen Stewart question/comment I need to address. Let's see if I can find it....

I don't get her at all. Granted I am not a teenager and so perhaps I just don't appreciate her on that level. And I have not seen or care to see any of the Twilight movies (don't get vampires either). But the only time I saw her speak was on Jay Leno recently, and she is just a totally odd girl. She is mopey/brooding in all of her photos and came across in the interview as disinterested and dispassionate about her career, life, etc. What am I missing about her that makes her the highest paid actress?

Found the Stewart question!

In terms of payment, a lot of that is because of the Twilight money. Once she established herself as Bella and that franchise blew up big, she could demand higher salaries because they can't replace Bella now, can they?

In terms of her appeal, though, I think what you find frustrating (and I sometimes do too) is what actually makes Stewart endearing to her fans. She seems like a real young woman, who says what's on her mind, sometimes seems uncomfortable, wears Converse high-tops, yadda yadda. There are times when I like that about her and other times when I don't. I'm self-contradictory that way.

I love the Morning Mix; its what I read to get me in the mood to work every morning. I don't care so much about the reality stars themselves, namely because they don't exist in a vacuum, and so you can't pretend like they don't exist right up until they start dating Ashton Kutcher. The reality show recaps are kinda strange to me and I don't care for them. I love the TV show recaps, though - having just been cheated on in a long-term relationship I can't get past the first two episodes of Mad Men, but I lovelovelove reading about it for some reason. And I don't have cable. And I'm working fullt-ime and in school. You watch so I don't have to! Seriously, I love what you're doing, I love the Morning Mix, and I think that interest/disinterest ebbs and flows with whatever your subject matter is up to at any given time. This blog is a lot of work, and I really appreciate all you do to make it great.

Can I hug this person?

Thanks for your feedback and kind words. Appreciate it.

Sorry to say that Celebritology hasn't been the same since Liz left and the powers that be decided that running a bunch of small posts was more important than fostering discussion on a larger Morning Mix or similar post. Now, it seems most of the regulars are long gone and stories that were posting this morning are now inconveniently or inaccessably (depending on whether the server is working at any given moment or not) locked away into the Archives. It's just terribly frustrating to read and participate in any of the (formerly great) Celebritology family discussions. Well, there it is, you asked for it.

I did ask for it, and honestly, I think you're dead-on right about a lot of this.

Liz and I were indeed asked to start posting more frequent items to the blog. And I don't think that's a wrong call. A blog cannot exist with just two posts a day anymore. It just can't. That said, there was an emphasis on driving traffic to such a degree that sometimes we had to post more than what might otherwise have opted to do.

Re: the archive issue: I hate this also. Something happened in the blog templates a while back that reduced the number of blog posts that are visible on the landing page. It used to be 10-ish or so. Now it's only four or five, with a crummy archive.

The good news is that we're supposed to get a redesign soon that will address these issues. I know I've said that before, but that's what I am told and I am sticking to it.

If it helps M Street, I'd like to find a balance between where we were when Liz first started this thing and where we got to now, in terms of number of posts and discussion. I do hope you'll become a regular again and help me make Celebritology better, or at least the parts of it that I control (not the archives, but I swear it's going to be fixed. That's what they say and surely "they" can't be lying).

How many second chances does he get after another round of boorish behavior?

A lot, apparently. I will say that this particular situation is challenging because, without seeing the entire episode from beginning to end, it's hard to know how much Baldwin was provoked. Either way, it was not wise for him to lunge at the guy. He should have kept a lid on that.

However, both the Daily News and Baldwin have both gotten a truckload of press out of this. So if either side was looking for attention, it's a win-win there.

The Runaways. If you haven't seen this movie, stop complaining about Kristen Stewart. She steals the show, start to finish. If you don't like the Twilight series, you ain't gonna like her in it, either.

Good points.

Sorry I'm late, but I wanted to get this in. I vote less (much less in the case of boring shows like Mad Men and Lost!) pop culture and more celebrity. I know you said the latter was more Liz's interest than yours, but that's what originally drew me to this blog and I miss that. Don't make me have to buy US Magazine to get my celebrity gossip fix!! Give me more stuff like this morning's Mix. Pretty please? Sad to see Sarah Anne is moving on. I enjoyed her sense of humor; she'll be missed.

Well, I can certainly aim for an equal portion of both celebby stuff and more pop cultural stuff. Does that sound fair?

We still cover that stuff. This week, we were on the Baldwin thing and the Johnny Depp split, for example. I can certainly try to do better about getting more of that into the mix as well.

The Home Front chat has guest hosts from time to time; would that be an option for you? I agree a male perspective would be interesting, too.

Guest posts from readers is an interesting idea that I'd like to explore more. So yes, that's on my mind.

Thanks for suggesting it.

Try clicking your username (in the upper left corner of the page header--you'll have to scroll up) and providing your password. The resulting screen will give you an opportunity to choose a screen name. You may be able to supply Methinks or--if it enforces a Catch-22 of "that name is already in use," "Methinks too" or something. Something to consider: Have you created 2 WaPo accounts with different emails? Could Methinks be associated with your other email? Try logging in with it first, and see if you're Methinks again.

Methinks this is helpful advice.

God, I can't believe I just wrote that. But it is helpful. Thanks. And Methinks, let me know if this makes a difference.

I hope you read all of these suggestoins, even if you can't post them all during the chat! I love the morning mix - great one-stop-shop for celeb news. I also love that you post new movie trailers. I love seeing them and often Celebritology is the first place I notice they're out. (That being said, I almost think you could post them without much accompanying text.)

I definitely can't post them all but I am definitely reading them all. And thanks for that rtailer feedback. That is helpful. I'm a writer at heart so sometimes I prattle on when I should just shut-up.

You know. Like right now.

Speaking as a young girl myself, I do NOT get Kristen Stewart either. I don't find her endearing. I don't find her real. I think she is fronting. I think she wants to be seen as a rebel or slacker who's so above it all and not a slave to the machine, and not comfortable in the limelight, but then she pops up constantly on the cover of beauty and fashion magazines, red carpets, in interviews where she comes off like a complete twit. Which is it, KStew? Either you reject the establishment wholesale (stop going to premieres in expensive borrowed gowns and getting makeovers to appear in photo shoots), or admit that you aren't really much more than an entitled one trick pony who got lucky that a famous book featured a main character that was perfectly tailored for your "bite lip, roll, eyes, touch hair, then sigh" method of "acting." Ugh. Give me Jennifer Lawrence any day.

I just knew this would eventually come down to a Hunger Games vs. Twilight issue.

""Because Lost was such a success in Celebritology, our approach had been to tackle more shows in that vein, hence our coverage of "Walking Dead," "Game of Thrones" and "American Horror Story." I picked up "Glee" because Lisa and Emily Yahr stopped doing it after last season. And I picked up "Mad Men" because I like "Mad Men." I have no idea how we will tackle this going forward. A lot of things are being rejiggered and reconsidered right now." The Devils Ride! The Fakest Show Ever!

This was submitted to the chat at least four times, so I felt obliged to acknowledge one of those posts. I have never seen this show but I can try to check it out.

I've loved all their movies. We just watched Toy Story 3 with our 3-year old and I laughed until I cried at the scenes with Ken and Barbie. (My son got very concerned because he thought I was upset.)

He must have been really concerned at the end of that movie then. I think it's pretty hard not to cry during the conclusion of Toy Story 3, or at least get a little teary.

Speaking of Pixar and teary, hey, here's an old list!

The 5 Pixar movie moments most likely to make you cry

Adventureland. If you haven't seen this movie, stop defending her. If you liked her in the Twilight movies, you'll prolly like her in this, too.

This is a solid point. She was good in Adventureland.

I'm guessing you are NOT going to ask Ann Curry to team up with you. She is looking for work you know.

I think Celebritology needs a blogger who is determined to elicit emotion from everyone. So maybe this is a good idea.

Jen, I agree with almost everyone who said the addition of to many posts a day has been a huge problem. And I agree I miss interacting with the regulars (shout out to byoolin, sasquatch, methinks, curmudgeon et al). The interaction usually happened on the morning mix but if I get to the blog too late I can't easlily find the mix anymore. Maybe the Friday list idea will bring some of that back. I miss the days when I would fall out of my chair just reading the comments section of Celebritology. But still love you almost as much as ponies!

The commenters were what made me love this blog, too, and so excited to join it. The Friday List will return, starting tomorrow. (You all persuaded me.)

I am very glad to be loved almost as much as ponies though. I do not take that lightly.

I'm now officially methinks!


assumed you weren't doing it

We still do it, the format is just different.

I'll start tagging every mix "Morning Mix" so, if nothing else, you can bookmark that link.

I agree with the poster who said you won't please everyone no matter what you do. In reading the chats (in my opinion) many people think Reality Television doesn't have a place. It does. Celebrities of today are famous, infamous, or well-known for reasons no one sure about, It is what it is, so they get coverage. Also, Mad men (and other shows) get lots of coverage here,but they are not a ratings juggernaut. Yet week after week... Other than suggesting an additional host, you don't really need to change a thing. This is FREE interaction with writers of the Washington Post, it's nice you want to be accommodating, but you really don't have to. Thanks.

Good point on the reality TV. Thanks for this.

Jen, I think you do a fabulous job! I wonder why people have to be so negative about people. Someone is sad that Kristen Steward made the most money last year. Why? She has been in over 20 movies in her young career. I bet I could name 5 actresses and over 50% of "you" would say I am so sad she makes money. Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Zooy Dechanel (sp?), Chalize Theron. I bet there a whole lof of you out there who love/hate each of them. Same thing with music "stars". Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Journey, Air Supply, Katy Perry, and on and on. I am sure tons of people hate some of them and tons love some of them. If you say how could anyone like such a person/show/singer/group/movie just remember there are probably millions of others who don't like the person/show/singer/group/movie that you like and are saying the same thing about you. So after all of that I say we need more polls about readers likes and dislikes. someone.

What's beautiful about this comment is that it plays right into tomorrow's Friday list. Oh, the whole room is really being tied together now, my friends!

There are so many times I wish the Celebritology chat had a like button. Your Ann Curry comment was one of those times.

Thank you so much. (Said in soft voice, while patting your hand and looking super-super sympathetic.)

I wouldn't recognize Kristen Stewart if she bit me, but in her defense, I imagine some of the red carpets and magazine covers are required by her movie contracts in the name of "promotion." See Johnny Depp's bio for how much control young individualistic actors have over their image in the early stage of their careers.

Hey, she's a vampire now. She genuinely might bite you.

And that's very true. When you sign on to do a movie, you pretty much commit to the junket stuff. It's not like Kristen Stewart wakes up and goes, "You know, I think I'd like to hang out on a red carpet today."

But to the other reader's point, the way she presents herself is up to her (and her handlers). Whether her image is an act or just how she is obviously a matter of (clearly strong) opinion.

Personal lives of celebs, more professional updates on celebs, like upcoming projects. I don't want to know about their sad court appearances or apparent nervous breakdowns, I want to know what festivals and premieres they are attending, what they have in the works.

As proof that you can't please everyone: another poster gave me the opposite advice. Tell us more about their personal lives and offscreen exploits and less about projects.

Best I can do is use my judgment to bring you what seems most important on both sides of that equation. I appreciate the feedback, thanks!

Very sorry she's leaving - I enjoyed her posts and her times hosting the chat. I hope she is going on to great things and wish her the best!

I am really sorry, too. She will be hugely missed. I am hoping that she can join me in next week's chat so we can all send her off in the appropriate fashion.

I'll keep you up to date on matters of Hughes after she leaves, as long as she's cool with that. She'll probably write a best-seller about what it's like to be a celebrity blogger. Then we can bring her back so we can interview her!

And with that, I am shutting this down for today. Thank you so much for all of your feedback. As I said earlier, I am reading all of it even if I didn't post it. It means a lot to know that you all have strong opinions about what we do in the blog. It may sound excessive to say I love you all but darn it, I really do heart you guys.


Uh-oh. Now I'm sounding kind of like Ann Curry. Time to go. Talk to you next week, if not sooner in the comments section that is just going to be en fuego now that methinks is back. Bye!

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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