Tag Archives: Hayden Christensen

What’s in the celebrity box? Ooh, lemme guess, lemme guess.

A box arrived by mistake at our house yesterday. The address on the label was correct, but the mailman delivered it to the wrong place, that’s all. 

Anyway, en route to the store mid-afternoon I decided to drop it off to its rightful owner. Didn’t know who that was, mind you, because the intended recipient was strange:  the name of a Beatles tune, followed by three initials. Odd, right?

Turns out that the address was movie-star Rachel Bilson’s house! You know her – the future Mrs Hayden Christensen. Or maybe she’s already married him, I have no clue. Now, I’d better not give you the name of the tune, in case it means something really important and I have to show at least some neighborly allegiance, but the initials in brackets were hers, I now realize.

First, I rang the bell on the gate. There was a car parked in the garage, so I knew someone was in. However, nobody answered. So then I walked around to the side gate, tried that and….oh my lordy, it was open! Friends of ours used to own this house, so I’d been through here many times. I walked in, went up to the front door and paused. Should I knock? What if I did and Rachel herself answered the door – what then? She’d look at me and say, “Who the hell are you?” and I’d look at her and say, “Why the hell was I nervous about knocking? I have no idea who you are or what you’ve done.”

In the end, though, that never happened. Assuming whoever was in there didn’t want to speak to callers, I dropped the box on the step and left.  

And what was in the box? I can’t tell you, obviously. It was very light, had the outline of a sneaker on the side, and was about the size of a woman’s shoe, without actually containing a shoe. So now you know.

 

http://www.cashpeters.com

Cash’s New book: Naked in Dangerous Places. Watch video below.

Leave a comment

Filed under Television commentary

Is it wrong to steal a celebrity’s fruit?

I ask, only because our prestigious (I’m told) and extremely popular (I’m guessing) actress neighbor Rachel Bilson has an ornamental Japanese fruit tree in her front yard that overhangs the sidewalk.

Every April, the tree is a prodigious producer of yellowy, rubbery fruit called loquats, most of which drop to the ground, turn bad, and get squished. So, as a public service to keep the street clean, when my partner and I go for our evening stroll, he will usually reach up, pick a couple, and eat them – while I walk ahead in a jaunty manner, whistling, and trying to pretend nothing illicit is going on behind me, just as I do when he decides he needs to pee urgently and rushes off into someone’s garden.

Anyway, in the event of a court-case, let it be known that I neither approve of stealing, nor participate in it. Not for reasons of conscience, but because I happen not to like loquats.

Still, the qesstion remains: is my partner really committing a felony here?

My lawyer would say no. And if he didn’t say no, I’d fire him and get another. Here’s why.

Being in movies, Bilson – who is marrying Hayden Christensen, for reasons not obvious to the rest of us – struts the public stage. In that sense she is the property of us, her adoring (and in one particular case slightly puzzled as to who she is or what she’s done) fans.

Now extend that idea. If she’s going to let fruit hang down outside her home into a public area, doesn’t that kinda make that fruit ours in the same way?

My replacement lawyer, if he knows what’s good for him, would say yes.

Sidebar. Our friends used to own Bilson’s house. They, in turn, bought it from Noah Wylie, the E.R. actor. According to them, he left the place a real mess. For instance, when he had the kitchen installed, apparently, he didn’t buy regular units like the rest of us would do. Instead – again, according to our friends; this is just a passed-along rumor snippet – he had NBC set-builders come in and construct a kitchen set in his house, one that was so badly done that it had to be ripped out in its entirety and replaced with a real, workable kitchen our friends could actually use. 

And before you go rushing off and telling this to people, I am immediately distancing myself from the information. I can’t confirm that it was a TV kitchen set, or that Wylie was the one who installed it. Maybe the owners before him were amateur set-builders and they did it. But I certainly saw the room before our friends did the ripping, and it was pretty crummy. 

Anyway, my point is, the loquat tree used to belong to Noah Wylie, then to our friends, and that’s when we started taking fruit off it. So, in a sense, we’re really just carrying on that same sacred tradition with La Bilson, right? I mean, every tradition has to start somewhere.

At the very least, R.B. should consider this a pay-off for the massive weirdness and inconvenience she’s causing by being popular. 

I say this because in recent weeks the paparazzi have resurfaced in the street. Damn, it’s so annoying. Creepy little weaselly foreign-looking men in unmarked cars hog the curb for hours and hours and hours on end each day, waiting for her to emerge, hoping they can grab a couple of snaps of her walking, or staring up at her loquat tree, wondering where all the fruit’s gone, and sell them to TMZ and Entertainment Tonight

Walking by yesterday, I could tell she wasn’t even there. Her truck had gone, the place was empty. Yet still they sat and waited and watched. It’s very unnerving.

I wanted to go up to them and yell, “Get a life!” Or at least take a photo of them for a change and post it on here for you; teach them a lesson. But I thought they might see me and beat the crap out of me. These little thugs are like a sissy mafia; they’re very temperamental. 

Worse still, we have to make sure they’re not out there with their cameras when we pass the loquat tree. To take fruit under cover of darkness is one thing. To have it appear on the front page of The Enquirer next week is another.     

Oh, the shame.

 

TV Swami – he say YES to fruit theft.

www.cashpeters.com.

3 Comments

Filed under Television commentary

The Ayn Rand Traffic Experiment, Part 1

Someone on Facebook recently told me that the greatest number of hits they’d ever had on their blog was the day they mentioned everybody’s favorite mother of Objectivism, Ayn Rand.

“Oh really?” I said. “Ayn Rand, eh?”

You’ve heard of Ayn Rand. Russian woman. Screenwriter and novelist. Wrote Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Smoked too much and contracted lung cancer – natch. Got famous by opposing fascism and all absolute forms of rule. In which case, in all fairness, I should be just as famous as she is, because I oppose them too. Alas, I’m not, so it doesn’t work for everyone clearly. 

Anyway, although she died in the early 80s, Ayn’s books continue to sell by the hundreds of thousands – Atlas Shrugged was 1,100 pages long, and therefore makes a handy step up when you’re trying to reach a high shelf; which accounts for at least 80% of sales –  so clearly she’s a popular blog search. Therefore, in the spirit of our quest to draw traffic to TV Swami by hook or by crook, and in particular by mentioning famous people more or less at random – celebrity nobodies Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson come to mind – I am throwing Ayn Rand into the mix today, to see how many grazing readers will inexplicably find themselves outfoxed and caught up in this net of intrigue.

A-ha!!

Result tomorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Television commentary

Everyday life in Celebrity Central.

Oh boy, did we strike gold yesterday or what?

Each day a fair number of people stop by to see what the TV Swami is up to, which is nice. But yesterday, thanks to a clever combination of the tag word ‘spanking’ and the names Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson, which are like catnip to celebrity-snoopers, apparently, traffic skyrocketed in previously unimagined ways, and was still heading into the stratosphere when I went to bed.

Why is this? Why are we, the general public, even the remotest bit fascinated with a guy in a yellow Mercedes putting the roof of his car down? Truth is: we’re not. At least, not generally. But fame is a magnifying glass and, as boring as it would be if you or I did it, Lord Darth Vader attempting the exact-same thing makes it seem a thousand times more interesting.

Given that I live in a nice, leafy, high-end part of Los Angeles, it’ll come as no surprise to you that our area tends to be Celebrity Central. I often mention it on my BBC broadcast, much to the annoyance of half the audience. We see them all the time.

For instance, Rachel Bilson’s house used to be owned by Noah Wylie, the ER guy. David Hyde-Pierce from Frasier still has the house on the hill. Danny Bonaduce was a neighbor too, until his divorce. Now he’s gone and the stark prison-camp-like house is sold.

Meanwhile, Courtney Love is holed up along the street. Our neighbors claim she came trick or treating a couple of Halloweens ago (then again, they also swear Robert Downey Jnr arrived at their door one night asking for candy, then danced away up the street when he got some – so I’m beginning to think they’re nuts, quite honestly, and not to be trusted!)

Probably our most famous celebrity residents right now, though, are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. According to several high-level sources (local gossips who can’t keep their mouths shut), they bought the house next door-but-one from David Hyde Pierce. It’s just a tiny fragment of their worldwide network of homes, so of course, if they do actually live there, we never see them, though I must say their Christmas lights last year were a feast of Hollywood self-indulgence. About twenty trees in the grounds and on the house itself, all lit up and visible from miles around. Stunning.  

Anyway, speaking of spotting people, which is the point of this post….

Yesterday, to celebrate the fevered Times-Square-like traffic of the blog, I had lunch at a local cafe. While I’m eating, in walks a black guy swathed in bandages. Poor thing, he’s obviously been in a horrendous accident, because his head’s wrapped up and he’s wearing a big foam neck brace.  Together with another guy, he sits at the table opposite, then – and here’s where things got strange – began chatting away as if he wasn’t hurt. Moving his head. Moving his neck. Getting up, sitting down. Extremely animated. Which was very suspicious, and led me to believe that he wasn’t injured at all and the bandages and neck brace were an affectation to get attention.

But then I realized – there’s a TV studio complex just behind the cafe. It’s where they film General Hospital and also Gray’s Anatomy. So obviously he was an extra on one of those shows. When he left the set, the continuity person must have told him, “Hey – you. You in the neck brace. Don’t take it off.”  He had to keep the pretend dressings on his pretend wounds, or they wouldn’t be able to match them later in the next shot. 

Or, just as likely, this being Hollywood, he kept them on to let people know he’s on TV. It’s so much more discreet than standing up and shouting,  “Everyone, look who’s just walked in – it’s ME. A total non-celebrity. That guy you wouldn’t notice otherwise, from that show you probably don’t watch anyway.”

Of course now I AM going to have to watch the wretched show to see if I can spot him. Hospital set. Guy in background on stretcher with head bandaged. Should be easy enough.  

TV Swami – he say YES to living a few doors down from Brad and Angelina.

www.cashpeters.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Cash Peters, radio, television, Television commentary

No blog. Car wreck. Sorry.

Normally,  I sit here merrily drinking coffee, eating cake, carping about US TV shows, and loving it. This morning I can’t. 

Yesterday some freak totaled my car on the freeway. I walked away shaken and dazed but unhurt for the most part, which was lucky. It means, though, that I have to spend the morning attending to more boring matters.

If you’re new here, welcome. Sorry our relationship’s beginning on such a sour note. But hey, we’re adults, we’ll push past this. In the meantime, why not take a look at a few of the previous entries, written in more innocent times?

The blog will return Monday.  

Oh, and in the time-honored tradition of this page: Rachel Bilson, Hayden Christensen, Hugh Laurie, and American Idol.

Leave a comment

Filed under Television commentary

When TV hosts attack…Star Wars…Jonas Brothers

I’m going to talk about this feud between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart that’s all over the news.

First, though, I want to say something else. About blogging.

It’s not hard to tell when somebody is new to something. They’re very, very enthusiastic for the first couple of weeks, right? Positively brimming with fresh ideas that they’re eager to communicate to you. Not only that, but they’re willing to sacrifice a dozen other, less boring activities in order to get down and do this new special thing they’ve discovered. My dad’s passion for bird-watching comes to mind.

But then the initial burst of activity is over. What was, to begin with, fun, stimulating, and a challenge, starts turning into a small chore, and they find that the novelty doesn’t just wear off but turns yellow and gathers traces of mildew on it, like last week’s towels. That’s the critical watershed. It may take a year,  it may take only a few days to reach the damp towel moment, but once it’s happened, there’s no going back. From that point on, every time they embark on what was once such a bright, shiny, exciting new activity suddenly becomes a grind and they want to quit. My dad’s passion for bird-watching comes to mind.

His explosion of interest began the day he bought the book at the store and lasted well into the following week when he got around to reading it and discovered how unremarkable and dull birds are – they hatch, they fly, they make nests, they eat, they crap, they get attacked and eaten by cats, and they die horribly; that’s the average life-cycle. Once he knew that, he never picked the book up again and we gave it to a charity shop.

As you probably guessed, I was about to draw a parallel here between my dad’s shortlived hobbies (remind me to tell you about his clock-making binge) and writing this blog. But actually it’s not quite like that. I’m not bored with it at all. In fact, it’s been quite gratifying on one level to have so many people stop by and read my thoughts every day. It does an ego good to feel wanted and know it serves a purpose.

Or rather, it did. Until I took a look at the blog statistics and spotted something interesting.

People aren’t really coming here for me. I hoped they were, but they’re not. I get the most hits on this site, it turns out, when I mention somebody else. Anybody, it seems, will do. As long as it’s not me.

Rachel Bilson is a good example.

Dropping Bilson’s name, for no other reason than that she’s my neighbor and marrying Hayden Christensen from Star Wars, instantly attracts traffic from fan sites and other blogs around the world, curious to know what I’m saying about the (presumably) happy pair. And look! See what I did just then? I just mentioned Star Wars too. That’s a biggie. I can expect a huge response to that now, I’m sure. In fact, I’d better go doll myself up and put a clean shirt on. This blog’s going to be like Home Depot on a Sunday morning; I need to look my best.

Another sure-fire visitor-count winner is The Simpsons. A passing reference to them got a lot of people very excited the other day. So they stopped by as well, just to see what I was saying about Homer. Which was nothing, it turned out; I’d stuck his name in at the end of something else for no particular reason.

Oh, and let’s not forget Hugh Laurie. For some reason, House fans trawl the web at all hours of the day and night, hunting down any reference to the show or its lead, and their diligence brought them here, to the TV Swami blog, where they became instantly disillusioned to find that there was nothing of any substance about House and Hugh Laurie at all, I’d simply shoe-horned them in for the sake of it. I’m not expecting those people back again. They’re upset. We’re not speaking.

And perhaps I should also mention the Jonas Brothers and Rihannah.Y’know, just because.

The reason I’m telling you this, in case you’re wondering, is because the whole issue of how to gratuitously whip up public interest happened to cross my mind last night as I tuned in for the very public brawl between CNBC’s Jim Cramer and The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart. You probably heard about it. And how the result was not just a bloodbath, but the best TV bloodbath EVER. Or at least the best since Jon Stewart did the exact-same thing in 2004 to Tucker Carlson on CNN’s Crossfire, a show that never recovered and died soon after.

If you don’t know how we got here, let me give you a summary: Jim Cramer’s an ex-hedge fund manager who’s made it big as a crazy-shouting-manic financial advisor on TV. I’ve only followed two of his tips.  Both times I lost what was, for me, a ton of money. So I don’t trust him at all. And now I find I’m not the only one.

Jon Stewart was on fire yesterday. He blamed CNBC and Cramer for being in bed with the very Wall Street criminals they’re reporting on and supposed to be exposing. Caught in the crosshairs, unable to run away, Cramer was high-pitched and helpless. He had nothing rational to say. He was dithery, stuttery, lame. Worse, he’d made the mistake of trying to defend himself on The Today Show and even Martha Stewart earlier in the week, where he dared mock Jon Stewart for being just a comedian and hosting a variety show.

Bad move. TERRIBLE move.

Cramer was booked as a guest on The Daily Show Thursday. He said beforehand that he was nervous. He was right to be. But even then, he didn’t see what was coming. Stewart tore him apart, not only limb from limb, but cell from cell, molecule from molecule. It was horrendous to watch, squirm-making, both funny and sad, diabolical and delightful, all in one.

The bout was also peppered with commercials. More commercials than I ever remember seeing on this show. Why? Because Comedy Central knew they had a winner. The media had chattered so much and for so long about this escalating feud that it became headline news, and people who normally aren’t interested in Jon Stewart and don’t even know who Jim Cramer is, much less invested in Best Buy a couple of years ago on his advice and watched it tank, tuned in to see this contest of heavyweights.

Actually, to be fair, there was only one heavyweight in the match. The pairing wasn’t fair last night. Then again, fairness didn’t come into it. We’re in a deep recession. People have lost their savings and houses and pensions and security. They’re angry. They wanted blood. And they got it.

Now, enough about them. Famous people. Back to me.

In a simple TV blog I can’t do any of that. I can’t give you a bloodbath every day. But clearly, good writing and interesting topics alone are not enough to make this page a magnet to web traffic.

However, what I can do, I now realize, is up the ante by riding on the back of other people’s bloodbaths. I can namedrop like fury whenever the opportunity presents itself, and sprinkle famous people, noteworthy people, newscentric people, throughout the blog – Barack Obama, Katie Couric, Doctor Who; there, see? – to draw in readers.

So that’s it. From now on, this will be my plan.

That way, the blog will stay popular, new people will come constantly, and The TV Swami will stay fresh and alive and exciting, and not go the way of my dad’s momentary fascination with bird-watching. And, later, clock-making. And winemaking. And caravanning. And playing the organ. And, come to think of it, being a father.

The Daily Show showdown gets five magic carpets out of five.

TV Swami – he say YES.

The Cramer/Stewart fight is here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/12/jim-cramer-on-daily-show-_n_174503.html

Stewart’s take-down of Crossfire and Tucker Carlson is here:

http://www.spike.com/video/jon-stewart-on/2652831?cid=YSSP

4 Comments

Filed under Television commentary

I’m not going to lie to you: we’re screwed

They’re showing an episode of new cop drama Lie to Me on hulu.com. Episode 6. A young girl has gone missing. In order to track her down, the main character in the show, played by Tim Roth, is given the job of striding around various houses and offices being quirky and unpredictable for an hour, as main characters in dramas have to be now, if they’re to compete with Hugh Laurie in House.  

Roth plays a human lie detector who uses body language and other psychological tics to tell if people are being deceptive. And we the viewers play a group of people who have to sit through sixty minutes of this stuff, of actors clearly acting and reciting words they’ve learned from a script, and try to pretend we’re enjoying it.

So unriveting is this show, in fact, that, leaving it to play in the background, I skip the visuals and only half-listen to the dialogue while switching to another screen and writing emails.  

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding dramas like this harder and harder to focus on these days. And it’s all the fault of reality television.

Such is the pervasive, even insidious presence of reality TV in our lives, from the good ones like Amazing Race  and Kathy Griffin, Life on the D-List (and even those are contrived to a certain extent), right down to the lowest of the low, such as I Want to be a Hilton, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Hey Paula, Kid Nation, and Sons of Hollywood – clunkers all – that anything less than real people on screen yelling at each other and facing constant rejection and upset in real environments (mostly Hollywood mansions), is starting to seem phony and dull and performed.

I’ve said this before, but actors need to watch out, because they’re going to be surplus to requirements soon. In fact, a word to Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen about their wedding: I hope someone’s filming it, my dears. You may need the income.

Luckily for us, TV networks are in a recession too, and since top dramas cost around three mill an episode to produce, and reality shows cost…I don’t have an exact figure in front of me, but let’s say fifteen bucks. And also since recent tentpole dramas that were supposed to be huge – Christian Slater’s My Own Worst Enemy, for instance – tanked badly in the ratings, the focus is shifting away from scripted tosh to less costly ways to keep us entertained. Or if not entertained exactly, then at least preoccupied, diverting our minds from how this ghastly economy is impacting our lives, which nobody wants to think about.

Anyway, according to ABC News today, when the fall season rolls around in September, one of the networks’ prime responses to the deepening recession will be a raft of programs about…the deepening recession.

Kelsey Grammer’s in one of them. He plays a Wall Street financier who becomes a nanny. Totally believable, that. Another is about young investment bankers who quit the world of finance to become something else. What that might be is unspecified – though unemployed and living under a bridge is probably the most realistic option. And there’s a sitcom about a Detroit car worker who’s down on his luck. Of course, if he were to move out of Detroit, his luck would change immediately and he would be a lot less depressed, it’s a terrible city. But I don’t think that’s part of the story arc.

So you get where I’m going here. TV is downsizing. Even NBC, to save money among other things, is about to replace its entire 10PM drama strand five days a week with Jay Leno’s new talk show. A bad idea? Sure. And believe me, I’ve told them a thousand times in my dreams. But one we’re stuck with. 

Interestingly, though, the crisis we see playing out on TV is a reflection, not only in content but actual substance, of what’s going on out here where it matters, in the real world.

Hard times like these are good for us. They’re cleansing. The tide of prosperity has gone out and it’s going to stay out for a while. That forces us to reevaluate our priorities. Losing your savings, being laid off from a job, getting thrown out of a house you couldn’t really afford because you overextended – all of that is traumatic and a major shock to the system, natch, but believe it or not, it’s a good thing. It helps you regroup, prioritize, clean out the cobwebs. You’re compelled to ask yourself, the way the networks are doing: what job do I really want? Where would I like to live in future, now that this unwanted and unexpected choice has been thrust upon me? Am I in the right relationship? Have I been happy up to this point or do I need to make changes? Was it wise to put Jay Leno on at 10PM, given how bland, uneventful, and anemic his talk show usually is?

All of this is a vital step towards a better life. So that when the tide comes back in again, and it will, you’re ready for the next stage. That’s why there’s no point complaining about it, or getting depressed, or, worse, taking it out on society by shooting up a post office or shopping mall, or whatever your plans were for today. Instead, get a grip. Make the big changes now, and when everything stabilizes again, you’ll be glad we all went through this. Trust me.

By that time, of course, Lie to Me will have been canned, as will that Kelsey Grammer sitcom probably, reality shows will represent 95% of all TV output, and the only memory our children’s children will have of these gruesome, difficult, depressing times will be that Jay Leno will still be on at 10PM and nobody can figure out a way to get rid of him.   

Lie to Me gets two magic carpets out of five for being slick. Otherwise…

TV Swami – he say NO.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Cash Peters, television, Television commentary