The above is to start getting you in the holiday spirit. "Dancing With the Stars" and other topics after the jump.
I will say it one more time: If Bristol Palin wins "DWTS," the show and the judges have to bear some responsibility. If Kyle's first dance was a 9 last night, then Bristol's was more like a 7 -- not a 9 as the judges claimed. In fact, the show is encouraging her self-delusion with kind comments and scores, when it's clear she has plenty of people around her boosting her beyond all reason. (Think of her commments vis a vis Brandy on last night's show. I liked her much better a week ago, on the results show, when she at least looked as if she knew she had outlasted a better dancer.)
But Bristol is neither the first nor the only case of judges inflating scores. As I Tweeted during last night's show, Jennifer's perfect 10s were questionable, especially on an awkward second dance; even I could see the mistakes. The show expects someone to be perfect on the final performance show, so I'm not surprised by the scores; but they were excessive. I think that if you judge solely on what happened onstage last night -- which no one ever does, but let's be idealistic -- then Kyle wins. But we don't live in an ideal world.
I will have some comments about tonight's results in this blog at some point. Not sure yet if I will live-blog or just do a post-show post. (Update: I'll just post when it's done.) And look for me at 6:45 a.m. tomorrow on WEWS's morning show, where I'll be talking "DWTS."
Kristin Chenoweth is backing a specially designed shoe, with charity to benefit. The official word:
Partnering with another fashion-forward celebrity for a good cause, ShoeDazzle is segueing from Kristen to Kristin – Bell to Chenoweth that is – in offering limited-edition, celebrity-designed shoes exclusively to its well-heeled members, with 100% of the profits donated to the star’s charity of choice.
Putting her best foot forward this month is Kristin Chenoweth, who has designed a grey, suede-like bootie that she has affectionately named “Little Diva.” The Tony and Emmy-winning actress found inspiration for its curvy, voluptuous design in the demure sexiness of vintage styles, a tribute to the early 1960s timeframe of her current Broadway play, Promises, Promises. The musical comedy revival, also starring Sean Hayes, Molly Shannon, Tony Goldwyn and Dick Latessa, is based on the Academy Award-winning Billy Wilder film The Apartment.
Sales of Chenoweth’s “Little Diva” will benefit the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national not-for-profit organization devoted to improving the lives of children and families through development of better adoption-related policies and practices (www.AdoptionInstitute.org). An adoptee herself, Chenoweth serves on the Honorary Board of the Adoption Institute and recently received a congressional Angels in Adoption award for her commitment to the cause.
Bell was the first celebrity to work with the company.
The new issue of People magazine, now available, is mostly about the royals but there are actual other stories in the issue, including one about Jason Ritter. Here's the magazine's promo:
PEOPLE sits down with the son of late actor John Ritter as he steps out of his father’s shadow and into the action in TV’s The Event. He made his debut at the age of nine in a TV movie alongside his parents, actress Nancy Morgan and comedy legend John Ritter. “I still remember this scene where we ate tapioca pudding,” he recalls, laughing. “I was so nervous. I didn’t want to mess anything up.” Now, at age 30, Ritter says some things still haven’t changed. “Your fears never go away,” he says. “You just get more comfortable ignoring them.” Now, Ritter can enjoy a rare sense of stability thanks to the success of The Event. But he’s ready for whatever curveballs come next. “I like being challenged, “Ritter says. That’s the only way you grow.” I n't like "The Event" but I liked Ritter when I interviewed back when he was on "Joan of Arcadia,' the January after his father, John Ritter, died.
Here's that 2004 story:
CBS drama Joan of Arcadia has been a big piece of comfort food for viewers, an intelligent and well-written drama that also soothes the soul.
It has also been comforting for one of its actors.
The series stars Amber Tamblyn as Joan Girardi, an adolescent whose life has undergone many changes. Her father Will (Joe Mantegna) is the new police chief in a town with a lot of snakes under the rocks. Her oldest brother, Kevin (Jason Ritter), is in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident not long ago. Kevin's reassessment of his life parallels that of his mother Helen (Mary Steenburgen).
Then there's the way God has started talking to Joan -- in many different human forms, with guidance that is often ambiguous, even when Joan follows it.
The show has delighted many critics, me included. (A rerun episode airs at 8 tonight on CBS.)
But there was no delight last year when Jason's father, actor John Ritter, died.
Jason has a tough part on the show under any circumstances, trying to play a character who is slowly coming out of the shell he built around himself after his accident. But when asked whether being on the show had helped him through his father's death, Jason said, "Oh, yeah, immensely."
It helped that he was already close to Steenburgen, since they had been in Tom Donaghy's play The Beginning of August in New York. He knew her before that -- having gone to school with Steenburgen's children -- but their relationship changed while doing the play.
"She became more of, like, a mentor to me," Ritter said at a CBS gathering of stars and press in Hollywood on Saturday. "With your friends' parents, you don't really talk to them. But she would come up and blow my mind every day with her wisdom during the play."
While making Joan, he also connected to Tamblyn and Mantegna and Michael Welch, who plays brother Luke.
"The day (John Ritter died), we all reached out," Steenburgen said. "I called Amber and I called Joe and I called Michael. And the commitment was, whatever he needs, we're there."
"Before I had even gone back to work for the first time, I knew they would come together and be such a web of support," Jason said. "I knew they would just envelop me with love, and they did."
Not that it was all easy. Series creator Barbara Hall recalled that, when John died, the show was going through a script dealing with death. At first she thought about keeping it away from Jason, then decided that "there might be something in it that might resonate with him."
"In fact, he told me later that there were a couple of things in there that actually helped him," Hall said. "So that was a little eerie."
Of course, life has long been eerie for Jason, who is in his family's business, not only through John but through his mother, actress Nancy Morgan.
"I wanted to act when I was very, very young. . . . I told my dad and mom that I wanted to leave elementary school," he said with a laugh. "And they told me I was going to finish elementary school and high school and, if I was serious about it, go to college and learn how to do it."
He tried to make it on his own, and never asked John for roles. Still, there was that name and a face that looks very much like John's from certain angles. He didn't even blink when a reporter accidentally called him John.
"I will go into a room (for an audition) and someone will say, 'Oh, I love your dad,' or, 'I knew your mom a long time ago,' . . . and that helps break the ice. But there are other times where there's giant expectations of me," Jason said.
He has talked about bloodlines on the set with Tamblyn, daughter of actor Russ Tamblyn, and with Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Sidney's daughter, who has a recurring role on Joan as Kevin's boss and potential romantic interest.
"My dad and Sydney's dad and Amber's dad are in completely different realms of the entertainment industry," Jason said. "But there's such a core of similarities, that it is cool to talk about it."
And Jason proved cool talking about just about anything, including the media focus on Amy Yasbeck, John's wife at the time of his death, instead of Morgan, to whom he was married for 19 years.
While Jason likes Yasbeck and repeatedly said that his father loved her, he added that "it was sort of hurtful that my mother was ignored. . . . I would think that my parents' marriage was more than a footnote in his life. But you know, I had no control over that."
He is more in control on the show, where romance is in the air for Kevin and he has come to accept that he is in a wheelchair.
Yet even there, ambiguity creeps in. Hall said matter-of-factly that Kevin will remain in the chair. But there was an episode where a psychic told Kevin he would dance at his wedding.
"That's one of the big mysteries of the show," Jason said. "It could mean that he dances in his wheelchair . . . (that) he's accepted his disability to such an extent that he's free to dance in front of everyone in his wheelchair."
And however many knocks he has felt in life, Jason knows that other people have had harder ones. Asked about having to work in the wheelchair, he said, "I do have to get up and stretch my back. But it's weird for me to complain a little bit about back pain when I am able to stand up out of the chair. I'm grateful that I can stand up."
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