Friday, June 26, 2009

Were You a Farrah Girl?

Farrah Fawcett, the actress who starred as female detective Jill Monroe on the hit TV show, Charlie’s Angels, had a significant impact on my life and the lives of all women everywhere.

It was the hair – the iconic Farrah Fawcett feathered hairdo.

Farrah’s hair had such a huge impact on women, that while doing research for what I thought would be a quirky, but original and entertaining little blog, I discovered that I’d been beaten to the punch! In fact, 5712 blogs showed up this morning containing the word string, “farrah fawcett hair,” even one on ABC!

No television star since, not even Jennifer Aniston of Friends, has had such an effect on young women changing their looks. After Charlie’s Angels debuted in 1976, women everywhere began to grow their hair long, bleach it blond, cut it at an angle, and curl it back from their faces. I have photos of my older sisters attempting the look. While too young to see the show when it originally aired during prime time on ABC, I watched reruns after school and begged my parents for the look-alike Barbee doll. A few years later in the 1980s, a well-meaning mother of one of my friends, also a beautician, cut and attempted to style my long hair like Farrah’s. It was a disaster because my hair curled the wrong way (in, instead of out). I was too young to get a perm, so I ended up pinning it back with hair clips until it grew back out.

Farrah Fawcett made a huge imprint on American culture by breaking the stereotype, that yes, a beautiful woman can be intelligent, strong, and serious. Her 1984 made-for-TV movie, “The Burning Bed,” had a significant impact on how I would later view relationships with men. A list of her many television appearances can be found on

I haven’t yet seen her latest works, “A Wing and a Prayer” on seeking cancer treatments, and “Farrah’s Story,” on her unfortunate relapse and acceptance of her disease. A wonderful description by Michael Ventre is posted on I admire Fawcett’s courage for her willingness to go public during such a traumatic experience. It will be difficult to watch the film since I know the ending.

Sadly, Fawcett lost her battle with cancer yesterday.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don’t Miss the NBA Draft --
A Reality Show With
More Drama than a Soap Opera

Darrell Arthur didn't take his draft pick disappointment lying down. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images)

Last year, despite my grumbling, my husband convinced me that we should watch the NBA Basketball Draft. I assumed it would be more boring than watching golf or tennis. Boy, was I surprised! Talk about drama!

Tonight, the draft will air at 7 PM EST, ESPN (Channel 29 on Brighthouse in Orlando), broadcast live from Madison Square Garden.

Whether you like basketball or not, the draft offers a peak into the world of the celebrations and bitter disappointments of the hopeful soon-to-be-rich-and-famous of the athletic world. Dressed in their Sunday best and surrounded by loving and proud, mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunts, are the players who believe themselves to be the best of the very best.

The 30 NBA teams will get to pick in an order based on their season record, with the worst teams picking first and the best teams picking last in an attempt to even the playing field. The actual order is determined by a complex lottery. (An explanation is on Wikipedia. Here’s the 2009 draft pick team order on the NBA website.) Teams can also sell and trade away their “picks” as is the case with the Orlando Magic, who traded their picks to the Oklahoma Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies. No one knows in advance what exactly will happen.

Although most players have an idea of their potential value, some will sadly be passed over. It can be gut wrenching. Last year, I watched as Darrell Arthur, a 20-year old who had just won the NCAA championship at the University of Kansas, got passed over time and time again. He was expected to be picked first or second. But, Round 1 was almost over and Arthur still had no team. Arthur’s family had come to celebrate with him and were now consoling each other in tears. Everyone at home, watching on TV, was rooting for Arthur. “Why won’t they pick him?” we all wondered.

Sports commentators hypothesized that he was rumored to have a health condition. It would be risky for a team to pick up a player who ends up too unhealthy to play – they would still be required to pay him over the length of his contract.

Arthur was finally picked 27th by the Charlotte Hornets on behalf of the Portland Trailblazers (God Bless team owner, Paul Allen), but then traded away. He’s now a healthy power forward for the Memphis Grizzlies. With Memphis having one of the most dismal records this year, they get the number 2 pick for two rounds, plus one of Orlando’s picks. Surprise, surprise, Arthur could be on a playoff winning team next year.

Some players drop out before the draft rather than face public humiliation. Others take the gamble that they could be picked just to fill up a roster.

From your armchair, you’ll find yourself yelling, “Pick Ty! Pick Jeff!” from your favorite college teams. When another player is chosen, you’ll yell, “No, not him, you idiot!” and throw Cheetos at the screen.

Here’s a great list of who’s who in the draft compiled by Chad Ford of ESPN.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Good Morning America! --
You’re Missing a Great Opportunity to Broadcast Live From Orlando!

The NBA Basketball Finals are being held in Orlando this year, thanks to an incredibly talented Orlando Magic basketball team. The City of Orlando, in typical “O-town" entertainment-style has rolled out the blue magic carpets and spared no expense welcoming all of the wonderful NBA fans and reporters with blue and white balloons, banners, manicured gardens, clean streets, fresh paint, free Lymmo buses, and comfortable outdoor seating. Except for the time zone (and no volcanos), you’d think you were in Waikiki!

TVgrrrrl, thanks to a cleverly-worded sign and an ambitious ABC roving camera crew, managed to get herself and her posse of friends on ABC TV last night as the Magic beat the Lakers 108 to 104! How very cool!

However, the ABC presence stops there. Where is the Good Morning America crew? Back at home in NY, safely shielded behind the sterile blue windows of their studio on Broadway with a subdued “live” studio audience standing like statues in the background. Ah, snore… No wonder the show always lags behind NBC’s “Today Show” in ratings. (According to Nielsen, on May 14, 2009 the Today Show marked it’s 700th week as network television’s most popular morning show. Do the math – that’s over 13 years!)

Why isn’t Good Morning America here in Orlando broadcasting live from Amway Arena during the NBA finals? Or perhaps from the quaint brick-lined restaurant and business district, perhaps in the Orange County Historical Museum park at Central and Magnolia? Or on Lake Eola? Or perhaps from outside their own affiliate studios at WFTV Channel 9 in downtown Orlando?

Or, here’s a thought – Disney World?

ABC is owned by Disney. It’s not like they’d have to get permission and pay stiff royalties. It’s the same company. Even their websites show the melding of their identities. (ABC TV, Walt Disney World)

While ABC is broadcasting for the NBA, they might want to look around and think about possibly setting up permanent shop in Orlando. Strategically located on the opposite end of the United States, but still in the eastern time zone, Orlando, a city built around Disney World, is a major entertainment destination, a family-friendly city, and a regular stop on celebrity tours. The cost of living is lower than New York City, so employees can live quite comfortably on lower salaries. ABC Disney already owns several buildings where the network could build their sets. Despite all the bad publicity about hurricanes in Florida, the city of Orlando is actually in the center of the state, far from the coast, and 98 feet above sea level. Yes, it can get quite hot in the summer, but mornings are usually cool and you simply can’t beat our balmy winters and moderate weather 8 months out of the year.

I suppose that at one time, it would have been next to impossible to base a major television network, much less a morning show, in a city other than New York. However, due to improved technology, television shows can now broadcast from the ends of the earth – literally.

Rather than continuously compete for viewership and a live, vivacious audience in densely network-populated New York, why not break the mold and move to Orlando? O-town welcomes you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Conan Completely Hilarious

For his debut as NBC’s Tonight Show’s newest host, the Conan O’Brien team pulled out all the stops to ensure that Conan’s premiere would be one of the funniest shows ever on television.

The fun began after a somber homage to NBC’s peacock logo, which marked this incredible landmark transition from host number 4, Jay Leno, to host number 5 Conan O’Brien in the 55 years since the show has aired in 1954.

Conan, nervously getting ready for his big debut, suddenly realizes that he forgot to check off one of his big To Do’s: Move to LA. Whoops! After failing to hail a cab, Conan runs west across the continent: through the streets of New York City, through Amish country, through a Chicago Cubs game on Wrigley Field, swims across the Mississippi River, and only stops for a short moment to visit a Victorian Doll Museum where a doll has real corn silk for hair (any idea where this museum is?), before finally arriving at the studio only to discover that he has left the keys on his desk back in Manhattan. Whew! No problem: I’ll just bulldoze down the door.

Most of the jokes were completely funny, and only a taco joke fell flat. (I have to imagine that this joke was an inside reference to Cosita Taco where the staffers like to order lunch). Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was given an unexpected cameo, a film clip grabbed where she simply said, “hello,” which I have to imagine even her own staff was unaware would be aired.

Will Ferrell marked his first guest and serenaded the audience with a surprisingly good rendition of “Never Can Say Goodbye.”

Seattle based Pearl Jam closed the show in raucous style, typical of Conan’s edgier former time slot.

I have to admit, I really didn’t watch Leno much and instead watched Letterman on CBS. First, Leno’s opening monologue of political jokes seemed a bit too right wing. Second, the show sometimes seemed a bit… well, boring? However, I always changed the channel back to NBC to watch Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Now that I’m older and it’s harder for me to stay up late, it’s only fitting that O’Brien move into the 11:30 PM slot.

The new “Conan” website offers an extremely easy to read schedule. There are also numerous other features, blogs, photos, and recap videos (the volume could be louder) available for the high-tech generation viewer.

This is not my father’s “Tonight Show.” This Tonight Show belongs to my generation.