The Week in TV: The Situation Officially Asked to Remain Shirtless
The Situation was in the news last week. That's how rough the summer TV season can be. This was the week in TV Land:
• I do most of my shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch. I just can't help myself: I'll start thinking I need some distressed cargos, then I'll feel the thirst for shirtless men that's driving a wedge into my marriage, and before you know it, I'm at the Galleria. So my heart goes out to The 'Crom for their recent dust-up with The Situation. A few days ago, it was announced that the clothing line had apparently offered The Situation, né somebody whose name you don't care to learn, cash to stop wearing A&F clothing on MTV's Jersey Shore. They said that Mr. Situation's personality and behavior were "contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand," which is totally true because they're much better suited to soul-grating teen pop, porn stars and underage drinking. I mean, their shirt about "The Fitchuation" was just ironic to begin with! They have standards, people!
• The CW, in a bold programming move, is considering a series about sexually promiscuous teenagers obsessed with fashion. The network that once actually aired a program as well-crafted as Veronica Mars is now the leading contender to get The Carrie Diaries, a prequel series to Sex and the City that would be based on Candace Bushnell's book about Carrie Bradshaw's teenage experiences as a bad writer and armchair philosopher. Deadline Hollywood's Nellie Andreeva reminds readers that "there are no deals in place" and that "talks are in preliminary stages," so who knows, this might just be a pipe dream for the network before they green-light another modeling show. Still, if they land the show, viewers will finally get a glimpse into Carrie Bradshaw's formative years. Spoiler alert: They're about shoes.
• Bad news for masochistic viewers with questionable taste: TLC is canceling Kate Plus 8, formerly titled Jon & Kate Plus 8 and originally pitched as Two Awful Parents Searching for the Proper Format With Which to Exploit Their Innocent Children. The reality show will have run for seven seasons and more than 150 episodes by the time it ends, a sobering reminder that a lot of people talk a big game about wanting good TV but will really watch anything with lights and sounds. The network's press release about the cancellation included a haunting line: "TLC hopes to check in with Kate and the family periodically with specials in the future." Be afraid.
• Russell Armstrong killed himself a week ago. I didn't know who he was when I read the story. He's the husband of one of the cast members of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, one of the six current brands in Bravo's Real Housewives franchise. (The Real Housewives of D.C. lasted just one season, August to October 2010, likely because some of the characters crashed a White House event.) The troubled relationship between Russell and his wife, Taylor, was one of the plot lines of the series' first season, though that's obviously something that's a lot more difficult to deal with now. What's Bravo doing in response? Are they postponing the series premiere? Canceling the show altogether? Working to make sure that everyone involved is coping as best they can? Accepting some level of responsibility for fostering a culture of fame and artifice?
Nope. They're currently in the process of re-editing the season premiere to work with the suicide, but that's it for now. A source involved with the show told The Hollywood Reporter that "people are concerned with being associated with the show and his passing," which is the bluntest way anybody ever turned one man's suicide into their own scheduling conflict. The source said the show's getting pushed back, though Bravo hasn't confirmed anything yet. Someone at Bravo should also figure out what's going to happen with their already nonsensical "tour" for the Real Housewives characters, where regular people can buy tickets to see these women in person, for whatever weird reason you might have to do so.
It's just an ugly situation all around. If you haven't read Matt Zoller Seitz's stellar Salon piece about reality TV in the wake of Armstrong's death, do it.
• In lighter news: I have to figure out how to make Anderson Cooper's giggle my ringtone.
• "Do you know what my lipstick is called? 'Cherries in the Snow.'" "Goddamn. You're all woman." I can't wait to see Patricia Clarkson on Parks and Recreation:
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