Whitney's Dookie Bubble

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Mark my words, two words will take the country by storm by the end of this summer, and those two words are dookie bubble. And we will have the one and only Bobby Brown to thank for that expressive new entry into the American English vernacular.

In the second episode of Being Bobby Brown, the troubled singer's much-talked-about reality show that recently premiered on Bravo, Brown is in a hotel bathroom, sitting on the toilet -- just sitting -- as his wife, Whitney Houston, has her makeup applied. When Houston tells her boo that he should consider getting his colon checked -- she goes on these insane, internal-cleaning rants for most of this episode -- Brown checks her by exposing a deep, dark secret.

"I've seen worse," he says. "I've had to dig a dookie bubble out of your butt."

"All right, he's trippin'!" a visibly shocked Houston tells the camera. But ol' boy doesn't stop there. He reminisces that once when "her turd was too big" for her to excrete, he had to pull it out with his fingers his damn self. Houston, officially embarrassed, raises her arms up around Brown and starts yelling, "Defense! Defense!"

"That's love," the makeup lady tells her.

Houston -- eventually -- concurs. "My sisters were going, 'That's love! That's love! That's love -- black love!' "

That is love, because I sure as hell have never loved anyone enough to do something like that. I don't even love myself enough to do that if I ever got that constipated. It does bring up a good parlor game, though. Ask your friends and/or co-workers about the most disgusting thing they've ever done for love. Then drop in the dookie-bubble tale.

At any rate, it's hard to tell what's more shocking about Being Bobby Brown: that surprisingly scatological moment, or that Whitney and Bobby have officially morphed into the hilarious ghetto caricatures Aries Spears and Debra Wilson used to do of them on MAD TV, or that you may end up understanding why Brown has had to put Houston in check over the years.

The show may be called Being Bobby Brown, but the minute Whitney showed up in the first episode, it officially turned into The Whitney & Bobby Show. Wrapped in a headscarf and sunglasses, looking like a black Greta Garbo, Houston is in full diva mode throughout -- she rebuffs photo ops and autographs from starstruck fans and launches into frequent tirades about the pressures of stardom. "Why can't I just be a normal person!?" is her most common complaint.

But that heart-cry often rings more than a little false. In the episode's most cold-blooded moment, Houston arrogantly tells her husband he has no idea what it's like being a star. "Be me for a minute," she tells him, blithely blowing off that brief era when Brown was the Usher of the '80s. When Brown reminds her that he was, at one time, as big as she was, she dismisses him. "No, you [weren't]!" she yells. "You're you!" Whereupon Brown chillingly lets her know what to expect when the cameras are off. And to paraphrase Chris Rock, I'm not condoning spousal abuse, but in Brown's case, I understand.

And yet even as Houston is laying on the prima-donna act thicker than Tammy Faye Bakker's makeup, Brown spends most of his own reality show expressing how much he loves this woman. And ultimately, Being Bobby Brown may be less about Brown himself than it is about this unaccountably enduring love affair. After all, when you manually dig a dookie bubble out of your girl's ass, there's no way you two are breaking up.

Being Bobby Brown airs on Bravo every Thursday at 9 p.m.


When Alanis Morissette stormed out of Canada with 1995's Jagged Little Pill, she was a bundle of neuroses, screaming about (supposedly) fellating Full House's Uncle Joey in a theater and annoying grammar nerds by misusing the word "ironic." Over the course of the past decade, however, the ex-teen-pop queen mellowed into an earth-mother figure -- a happily married woman who embraced Middle Eastern-tinged textures and her Magnetic Poetry for Hippies set.

Morissette attempts to meld her yin-and-yang personae on Jagged Little Pill Acoustic, a newly released version of her landmark U.S. debut. Until July 26, the disc is available only at Starbucks stores, although this hasn't hurt its sales. The album broke the single-week sales record at Starbucks by selling 61,000 copies during its first week on the shelves.

At the same time, the concept of merging Morissette's twentysomething angst with a corporate establishment is a little too Reality Bites for Wack. So we visited our local Starbucks to investigate whether listening to the album in its natural habitat enhanced the experience.

Settling in with a tall iced chai and an Alanis-stocked iPod, Wack lurked among the business-casual-clad men and tourists jonesing for a caffeine fix. We soon discovered that the mid-afternoon lull matched the soporific mood of the disc, which screamed Indigo Girl more than riot grrl.

Our mind wandered to the repairman fixing the fridge and what we needed to accomplish at work during a string-dusted "All I Really Want," while the whirring clatter of the coffeemaker was the most angry-sounding thing about a Zero 7-ish "You Oughta Know." We flashed back to high school afternoons watching MTV while doing algebra during the twinkling "Hand in My Pocket," then marveled at how pissed-off string arrangements magnified the kiss-off "Right Through You."

About halfway through the disc, though, Acoustic's plodding tempos and Morissette's oddly phrased caterwauls started to grate on our nerves. The onetime champion of diary-entry bloodletting became so bland and even-keeled that she might as well have been channeling the Coldplay album also for sale near the register. Her refreshing emotional meltdowns, vibrant yowls and kick-ass headbanging skills were all reduced to an album suitable for family-ferrying minivans. Wack didn't think it was possible, but Starbucks feels way too hip to be endorsing Ms. Morissette's Acoustic endeavor. -- Annie Zaleski


All hail Janis Joplin and bow down to Madonna and the Slits. For we have a pretender in our ranks, and we must call her out. Lindsay Lohan, you are under critical fatwa!

Make no mistake: We do not take umbrage with your decision to flit about like a drug-addled strumpet. That is your right as a star. For this is rock and roll, and we prefer Nico and Debbie Harry to the Indigo Girls, just as we prefer Jimi Hendrix to John Denver. So, by all means, keep up the drinking, feuding, partying and spectacle-making, as that is all in accordance with the laws of rock. (You might want to eat something, though.)

No, it is not your harlot act that has offended the gods of rock. It is your song "First," from the Herbie: Fully Loaded soundtrack, that we must take issue with. You were angered when the movie execs pulled "First" from the film. Perhaps, young lady, they just happened to listen to it. It does not sound like second-rate Avril Lavigne. It wouldn't be a Kelly Clarkson B-side. No, what you have turned into is a poor man's Ashlee Simpson, and that is a step too far. At long last, Miss Lohan, have you no shame?

Fatwa! A day will come when no VIP-room velvet ropes will part at the sight of you, and you shall gnash your teeth and pull your hair, but to no avail.

It is written. -- The Ayatollah of Rock

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