Thursday, August 17, 2006

Catty Night

My wife claims I’m not a normal male… In the same breath, she tells me that most men are pigs, (True enough), and that for the most part, I am an amazing exception. Now, she rescinds this praise when I belch or fart audibly, but the fall's not long-lived; I regain Sensitive Lout status quickly...

Without a doubt, some part of her approval of me is my willingness to watch Catty TV with her. What is Catty TV? Well, there are many variations, but in general, to qualify as Catty a show must be watchable, (Which instantly discounts most reality TV, thank God.) Next, there must be a genuine exposure of shortcomings, in some way, shape, or form: This does not mean stupid or embarrassing exposure a la America’s Funniest Whatever, it means shining the spotlight on things such as your incredibly horrid wardrobe, complete lack of talent, general cluelessness about social niceties, incredibly slovenly housekeeping, or some endearing combination thereof.

Catty also requires a host or hosts who are fully capable of not only exposing and highlighting shortcomings, but of putting an uppity shortcomer in their place, and/or lifting them above it all in the end.

Fairly simple, really, but that’s the winning formula.

As fate would have it, I’ve come not only to be willing to watch Catty with her, I look forward to each and every approved version available to us. Let’s take a leisurely stroll through the best of Catty TV, shall we?

Now, first off, weekends are not good for Cattiness, unless you’re talking movies. The plastic surgery shows can be OK, but they're often reruns, the Doctors are sleazy, the customers are pathetic, and tummy tucks don’t make for engaging dinnertime fare anyway… Sundays used to be OK, because Flip This House had a fun, dysfunctional but successful company with at least one employee who you could spend weeks trying to figure out what exactly they got paid for; but they’ve switched to a new outfit from San Antone who are so completely obnoxious as to be unwatchable, (How’s that for Catty!?)

Mondays are a treat, because that’s when Anthony Bourdain holds court. Bourdain is urbane, intelligent, and funnier than hell. He is always willing to be a stooge, but still pokes fun at the dumb stuff his TV crew makes him do. He is a fearless eater and a gutsy traveler, and watching him mix with locals is often a riot. He sits cross legged with Hmong villagers in Viet Nam, eating unidentifiable bits and drinking scorching local hooch that leaves everyone woozy by the nights end. From Iceland to China, he does it all with sardonic wit and a cast iron gut – And he’s a better writer than he is a TV host – If you’ve not read Kitchen Confidential or A Cooks Tour, do it, they’re fabulous reads.

Tuesdays brings a real surprise, a sleeper that I’d discounted until a friend told me it was a must see: It’s called Rock Star Supernova and it is a riot. First off, you have a band formed of Dave Navarro, (Jane’s Addiction), Shelby Clark, (Guns & Roses), Tommy Lee, (notorious, period), and Jason Newsted, (Metallica): I heard that group and thought, Gawd, looser ne’er-do-well rockers with half a brain cell and absolutely nothing to say… Wrong, Eben! They’re articulate, brutal, funny, and engaging. The contest takes a bunch of rocker wannabe’s, (Always a good time), and the winner will tour as the band’s lead singer. Each week, they pick a song to do and work up their own arrangements, etc. The House band is kick ass; super talented and locked to the pocket. And the performers? Well, some are painful, some are very talented, and it’s never been boring yet – And they axe one every week in response to voting from the worldwide voting audience!

On Tuesday nights, Its cut night for Rock Star Supernova. The ones who didn’t fare well in the voting have one more chance, and then one of them gets cut – Tommy Lee, (The Tommy Hawk) does the honors; it’s a riot! Later that night comes a stalwart of Cattiness – Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: Yes, the Fab Five are still at it, and Carson still says shit that’ll make you double take if you’re not paying attention. Granted, it’s formulaic and predicable, but they’re so… Catty, how can you say no?

Wednesdays bring The Runway, a bastion of vicious, fur-flying cattiness if there ever was one. Vying for $100k, their own clothing line, and headline status at New York Fashion Week, the show coops up a bunch of designer wannabe’s, gives them something to make every week with a little money and a little time, and throws a few cameras around to see what happens – It is catfight central, I can tell you, and I love it! And I know they’re only leaving that drudge old guy with the stupid glasses in as cannon fodder…

Thursdays are slow, but you gotta have at least one night for Baseball, right?

Fridays are the promised land, cattiwise, ‘cause that’s when you get back to back episodes of What Not To Wear. Stacy and Clinton are brutal, funny, dry, and never over the top. Contestants are nominated by friends or family, and the show secretly tapes them for two weeks prior to springing the big surprise on them. Once confronted, they watch their secret tape and then decide if they want a $5000 Visa card with their name on it – The trade off being they have to bring their wardrobe to New York, shop with Stac and Clinton, and give up whatever those two determine needs to go; and they gotta do the full hair/makeover thing. It’s funny, contentious, and occasionally touching.

So there you have it, my World ‘o Catty Review.

As Crissy Hind once said: Prrrrrtt Nrooowr!

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