Monday, March 5, 2012

The Deification of Whitney Houston

The beautiful and talented Whitney Houston, looking the picture of health

Saturday, February 11, the night before the Grammy Awards, the news broke that Whitney Houston had died that afternoon. Apparently, she was found dead in her bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, hours before she was due to attend a pre-Grammy party hosted by music mogul and long-time Houston mentor, Clive Davis.

Houston with long-time mentor, music mogul Clive Davis

Clive Davis opened the event, saying, 
By now you have all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney’s passing. I don’t have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years. Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight even though she wasn’t scheduled to perform. She loved music and she loved this night that celebrates music. My heart goes out to her daughter Bobbi Christina [sic], to her mother Cissy, to all of her relatives and to so many of you here tonight, her extended family who loved and cherished her and her spirit. Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on. I ask that you join me in a moment of silence as we dedicate this evening to Whitney.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Karl Lagerfeld vs. Adele

Well, it’s been a busy few weeks in pop culture…

Karl Lagerfeld vs. Adele

Put it this way, is Karl’s mouth big enough to fit his foot? See more about this ridiculousness on my other blog,

L: The lovely and talented Adele. R: The creepy and rude Lagerfeld.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Super (?) Bowl XLVI - Belated Wrap-Up

Needless to say, the lead-up to the Super Bowl is always interesting…
My fave parts?  Jimmy Fallon cum Shaq running in pink bikini bottom with “Jimmy” emblazoned on the butt because he lost to Jimmy at a basketball video game.  See it at
Shaq, just before handing Jimmy
the gym sock inside the bikini bottom.

Another precious moment?  The Giants prematurely claiming — as of early Saturday night that they’d already won the Super Bowl!  They had all the Super Bowl championship merchandise up on their site, ready for the ordering, and kickoff was still a day away. 
I know New York and New Yorkers can be obnoxious, but this was an EPIC failure.  Wonder if someone lost a job over that – YIKES!

Screenshot of Giants website Sat. night
It may be called the Super Bowl, but, was any part of the event actually super this year?  I kinda didn’t think so, despite the fact that it was, apparently, the most-watched TV event of all time – with 166.8 million total viewers, according to statistics released on Twitter by the New England Patriots (#NewEnglandPatriots, @Patriots) early this week.

The game
I’m not a sports commentator, so, all I’ll say is that it didn’t seem like either team was playing really well; it was more a question of who was playing worse.  Feel free to dispute this, but I did hear “real” sports experts saying this, instead of just talking about how the Pats (have I mentioned I’m from Boston?) “played dropsy.”

Half-time show

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few months, you know that Madonna was the star of the half-time show.  IMHO, not a great choice.  The Boss?  YES.  The Stones?  YES. Aerosmith?  YES.  Tom Petty?  Yes.  Madonna?  NO.
I heard they actually had to lengthen the half-time break in order to have enough time to get her elaborate stage set up.  Americans waited with bated breath as Madonna and an army’s worth of dancers took to the stage wearing Egyptian-inspired (read: stupid looking) costumes. 

Madonna and LMFAO
She performed a 5-song set, including hits “Vogue,” “Music,” “Open Your Heart” and “Like a Prayer” with a new song, “Give Me All Your Luvin” — complete with cheerleader-like moves and repetition — thrown in.  One of my fave Tweets of the night referred to this new ditty, saying, “Madonna, the 80’s called...Toni Basil wants her sound back.”

L - U - V Madonna
Then, there were her guests, LMFAO, M.I.A., Nicki Minaj and Cee Lo Green.  This American, for one, was underwhelmed.  They didn’t add anything to the performance, except when M.I.A. flipped the bird at the camera, eliciting apologies from NBC and giving tabloids fodder for days to come.

M.I.A. flips off America

Madonna was great when I was in junior high, and, arguably, still is great.  Kudos to her for her ability to continually reinvent herself over the years and for bringing a new perception to “The Big 50.”  As someone Tweeted, “She may be the sexiest AARP recipient ever.”  Super Bowl-worthy half-time entertainment though? No.  Even advertising/branding maven Donny Deutsch commented on The Today Show, “Males don’t go for Madonna, the show was over-produced, and it was not Americana a la Bon Jovi or The Stones.”
For me, the best part of the half-time show was the video intro which featured Madonna in an elevator with Jay Leno whose smartphone ring, we learn, awkwardly, is “Like a Virgin.”  In case you missed it, you can watch the full performance on YouTube at

All that having been said, according to Billboard, 114 million Americans watched the half-time show, 3 million more than watched the game itself.  Moreover, despite the wildly mixed reviews the performance garnered, Madonna succeeded, as always, in boosting her own brand, said The Hollywood Reporter, even if not my viewing pleasure.  So, who am I to judge?
The Ads – aka Brand Bowl

There were very few tech ads (How many years running can “Go Daddy” repeat the totally neither here nor there, as far as marketing a product goes, hot girl ad?) and not too many celebrities, Deutsch noted.  There were LOTS AND LOTS of dogs and babies though.  YAWN.  “Cars, babies and dogs dominated,” Deutsch commented on Access Hollywood Live.  “You saw real back to basics stuff this year.”

What WAS great?  The Matthew Broderick “pulls a Ferris Bueller” ad for Honda CR-V.  It gave us children of the 80’s a piece of welcome nostalgia and showcased the product amazingly well. 

Matthew Broderick calls in sick to play in his Honda CR-V

Also super clever?  The VW Dog/Darth Vader follow-up to last year’s Kid Vader.  Another auto ad, bringing us nostalgia — this time, in the form of Star Wars — and playfully piggybacking on last year’s uber-successful ad. 

Cue Rocky theme as newly-slim dog runs beside VW

Doritos, too, succeeded.  Their crowd-sourced ad — flying baby steals Doritos from snarky older brother thanks to Granny and super-slingshot — was a HUGE crowdpleaser.  All three of these ads will be remembered, and the products they advertised will be remembered.

Go get those Doritos!
Oh, honorable mention…must throw in H&M’s David Beckham ad…because, why not?  YUM.  Apparently, the ad inspired more than 850,000 Tweets (!) and, additionally, earned H&M the “8th most talked about” company slot, according to social media experts, Mashable.

The Aftermath
Three words:  Gisele, Gisele, Gisele.  The Brazilian supermodel stood by her man, Pats QB Tom Brady, publicly slamming hubby’s teammates in the face of hecklers.  Us Magazine shows the recap: 

Gisele Bundchen consoles hubby Tom Brady

Now, now, Gisele.  I love Tommy (even though he did break my heart Sunday night and the hearts of all my New England family and friends), but Gisele should know better than to engage in the fray.  It’s not like she’s not a super-celebrity in her own right.  Some praised her.  More bashed her.  Personally, I thought it sweet — yet simultaneously emasculating — that she came to his rescue, but the way she did it was wrong.  Don’t slam the team, Gisele.  Stick to modeling.

That’s all I got.  Here’s hoping next year will be just a little more super…

Monday, January 30, 2012

Gossip Girl's Clever Pop Culture Cross-Reference a Miss for Most?

First, yes, I have now officially admitted that I watch Gossip Girl. Oh, well. I also watch CNN, Presidential debates and sports...I'm quite the renaissance gal.

There's only been what - a tedious six-month (or more???) build-up - to tonight's episode, in which Blair FINALLY wed Louis?

Blair and Louis at the altar

The storyline was really beside the point though. The gem of this episode was when Dan Humphrey (aka "Lonely Boy," played by Penn Badgley), anticipating a potentially rocky wedding, filled with some surprises, made a reference to "pulling a Braddock," a nod to the EPIC wedding scene in The Graduate, one of my all-time faves.

Dustin Hoffman's "Benjamin Braddock" - "ELAINE! ELAINE!" in The Graduate

As I praised this clever bit of writing, I wondered how many fans in Gossip Girl's demographic (females 12-34 is what I've read on average, though I suspect that 34 needs to be taken down a notch - like 10 years) got the joke. My guess? Not many. Still, nicely played, GG writers. You scored points, including a blog post and a Tweet from me.

On a totally separate note, Observations of a Pop Culture Junkie has been dormant for much of the year. Mea culpa; life got in the way. That's all over now though. Come back, and come back often to hear this blogger's take on everything from the Kartrashians to this weekend's Super Bowl XVLI ads.

To whet your appetite regarding the latter, let's close with a bit of Ferris Bueller...

After all, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."