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Teresa and Joe Giudice on 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Teresa and Joe Giudice on 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Credit: Andrei Jackamets/Bravo

Recap: 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' season four premiere

Picking up before last season's reunion left off

The last time we saw these housewives they were slugging it out on the third season reunion show.

It was Teresa versus... everyone else. Caroline, Melissa and Kathy still held grudges over Teresa's mudslinging cookbook (and unspecified subsequent events). Relationships had become so strained that Jacqueline couldn't even attend the reunion. But they couldn't "go there" and fill us in on what happened because they were in the midst of shooting season four.

That was quite an advance teaser for what's to come. But first, we'll have to settle for the set up. The season premiere opens four months before that dramatic reunion showdown...

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<p>Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

'Girls' - 'Vagina Panic': We're the ladies?

Hannah and friends suffer the consequences of good and (mostly) bad sex

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I make the continent of Africa on your arm...

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Phaedra Parks Sheree Whitfield on Real Housewives of Atlanta

'Real Housewives of Atlanta' puts a wrap on season four: Phaedra, we love you. Sheree, we'll miss you.

Credit: Wilford Harewood/Bravo

Recap: 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' season four reunion, part 3

This year's reunion went a hour too long

Did we really need three hours for this year's "Real Housewives of Atlanta" reunion? Based on what happened in the final hour, apparently not.

Some key topics were touched on, including NeNe's new gig on "Glee" and more indecent behavior from Marlo. But most of this either could've been shoved into a supersized second half of the reunion, or saved for online exclusives.

So, what did we learn?

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<p>Anna Chlumsky in &quot;Veep.&quot;</p>

Anna Chlumsky in "Veep."

Credit: HBO

'Veep' - 'Fundraiser': Plastics!

What did everybody think of HBO's new political satire?

I posted my review of HBO's "Veep" on Friday morning. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as V-POTUS? If you're a fan of Armando Iannucci's UK work, did this stack up, or did you miss the presence of Malcolm Tucker? Were any "My Girl" fans scarred by seeing Ann Chlumsky in this kind of role? How do you feel Tony Hale did? And, most importantly, are you going to watch again? 

Though I enjoyed this show a lot, I'm not planning to do weekly write-ups of it. Not only are Sundays a complete bear, but the three episodes I've seen are all very much of a piece, and I doubt I'd have interesting/different things to say each week, even if my time was less constrained.

So have at it, and I'll check back in either later in the season if they do an unusual episode, or else at the very end.

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<p>Dave teaches Rachel to drive by yelling at her on &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Dave teaches Rachel to drive by yelling at her on "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Bollywood Travolta'

On Sunday's episode, we learned Men and Women are different
It was an amusing coincidence that Sunday's "Amazing Race" aired on the same night as a Battle of the Sexes episode of "Mythbusters."
 
The "Amazing Race" episode, titled "Bollywood Travolta," spent 40 minutes on very vocally establishing a slew of gender-based stereotypes (and at least one oft-repeated cultural stereotype). Then, in the last 20 minutes, several of those stereotypes were seemingly debunked, but only somewhat. 
 
That left me with really mixed emotions at the end of the episode. I'd prepared myself for a rant-filled recap focusing on said stereotypes and then I was left conflicted on at least some of what was put on display. 
 
Also... Well... You know how the episode ended.
 
So let's talk about Sunday's India-set episode and gender stereotypes, after the break...
 
 
GENDER STEREOTYPE: Women can dance. Men cannot dance. 
 
ILLUSTRATION: This week's Roadblock asked one player from each team to learn a Bollywood dance number and perform it for a demanding choreographer. Three teams had female contestants available to participate in the Roadblock and, in all three cases (Vanessa, Rachel and Rachel), they did. Art & JJ and Mark & Bopper, however, were stuck. JJ did the challenge because Art previously did the bottle-dancing. Mark did the challenge because Bopper's knee prevented him from that kind of activity.
 
POINT: Tiny Blonde Rachel was a dancer all through school. She arrived at the Roadblock, studied diligently and completed the routine her first time through. Vanessa and "Big Brother" Rachel had a little more trouble, but even at their worst, they looked semi-competent. The men, however, flailed, particularly Mark, who suffered from his ongoing motion sickness and then struggled to breathe in the thick Cochin air. As Art put it, "Dudes can't dance like chicks." As Brendon put it, "This is a great day to have a female partner on your team." 
 
COUNTERPOINT: None, really. Then again it took JJ the same number of attempts as it took "Big Brother." We'll leave aside that JJ got an insanely generous bit of judging on his fourth attempt, which didn't appear to be even close to synchronized or properly executed. Mark didn't get that generous of a judging until his 12th attempt, by which time Bopper had begged him to quit, he had decided to quit and then Bopper had begged him not to quit.
 
"AMAZING RACE" VERDICT: Women can, in fact, dance. Men cannot, in fact, dance. [I am a man. I cannot dance. I feel guilty, but I would have confirmed the heck out of this stereotype.]
 
 
 
GENDER STEREOTYPE: Women are emotional. This is bad.
 
ILLUSTRATION: No specific illustration required. Brendon, a PhD student, just explained it as an article of faith: "It's good to have a girl on your team because they can do things like this, but it's bad, because they get emotional."
 
POINT: "Big Brother" Rachel finished her second or third dancing failure and jumped off the stage in Rachel-esque misery, face red and blubbering. On the Rachel-Tantrum-O-Meter, this barely registered a "2." But again, if PhD Student Brendon says it, it's got to be true.
 
COUNTERPOINT: The last 15 minutes of the episode were spent largely on Bopper crying for the pain he was putting Mark through in making him dance.  And crying about how he wants a million dollars, but he wants his friend more. Then Bopper and Mark both cried about the importance of proving to their children that they didn't quit. And then they got to Phil at the mat and the cried more about how much they'd proven to themselves and their family. Phil's beautiful co-greeter seemed to be on the verge of crying with them. 
 
"AMAZING RACE" VERDICT: Women are emotional and this is a bad thing. It causes them to throw temper tantrums. They require their husbands-to-be to coach them through the importance of trying. Blue Collar Dudes from Kentucky are emotional, but this is a good thing. Their emotion is based on adversity that they've overcome and the desire to do right by their families. If a man cries, it's nearly heroic, darnit. 
 
 
 
GENDER STEREOTYPE: Women cannot drive. They can, however, be badgered into something that somewhat resembles driving through shouting from male counterparts.
 
ILLUSTRATION: The Detour was a choice between Cricket and Clutch It. In Clutch It, teams had to learn to drive Indian rickshaw cabs and navigate around a small course.
 
POINT: Rachel could not maneuver the cab. She found this funny. Dave did not find it funny. He yelled at her and eventually did the course first, completing it on his second attempt. Rachel got back in the drivers' seat and Dave yelled at her on every turn and she successfully finished the course, allowing them to win their fifth Leg. The lesson, as Dave bellowed it? "Listen to your frickin' husband!" Ralph & Vanessa also did Clutch It and we learned that not only did Vanessa fail Drivers Ed, but she also allegedly hit The Alamo. However, with Ralph yelling at her from the backseat, Vanessa succeeded in driving. 
 
COUNTERPOINT: None, really. But I'll give Rachel credit for how relentlessly she was teasing Dave along the way. I can't tell if she's started being amused by Dave's belligerent attitude or if she's stopped caring and this is all preparatory for a divorce.
 
"AMAZING RACE" VERDICT: Men drive well. Women should not drive at all. If Women *must* drive, yelling at them improves performance.
 
 
 
 
GENDER STEREOTYPE: Men are better at sports than women are.
 
ILLUSTRATION: In Cricket, teams had to bat against a cricket bowler and successfully whack the ball past a fielder. Art & JJ and Brendon & Rachel opted to do the Cricket Detour. Art & JJ were convinced they could do it faster because there was no way Rachel would ever finish the task.
 
POINT: JJ and Brendon finished first. They're both totally dudes.
 
COUNTERPOINT: But Rachel finished THIRD! And she doesn't have a penis! That we know of! "It was a good feeling to know that they both got beat by a girl," Rachel gloated, forgetting that she didn't, in fact, beat JJ. 
 
"AMAZING RACE" VERDICT: Stereotype Debunked! Or maybe Art just stinks at baseball.
 
 
 
So that's what I learned from this week's episode of "The Amazing Race." I also learned that India is a frantic, loud and smelly country, but "The Amazing Race" teaches us that literally every time they go there. 
 
Oh, and guess what?
 
Non-Elimination Leg!
 
So even though Mark & Bopper finished presumably hours behind the other teams, they'll live to fight another day. This is the second time this season they've fallen hours behind at the end and been rescued by an NEL. Last time they were rescued by a travel equalizer. We'll see if they get as lucky this time. 
 
On one hand, I got really emotional for Mark & Bopper during this episode and I was absolutely impressed with their never-say-die attitude in a challenge that was tailor-made to mess them up. I get that these two guys probably need the money more than the other teams and they're the only team I'm rooting for without reservations.
 
On the other hand, Bopper can't run and he can barely walk. He's basically passing all of the Roadblocks along to Mark, which will blow up on them eventually. Also, Mark isn't doing especially well. He's puking any time they drive anywhere and he has some sort of respiratory problem. That respiratory problem may just be "Being out of shape and no spring chicken," but it could be something more serious. So anything strenuous has to be done by Mark and Mark can't really do anything strenuous. So that's not a good combination. 
 
 
Some other thoughts from this week's episode:
 
*** "Bollywood" really doesn't refer to the Indian film industry. It refers to the industry located in and around Bombay/Mumbai. Cochin (or Kochi) is a solid 825 miles from Mumbai. I'll let you decide if you feel like that counts.
 
*** I loved the sitar-ized versions of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" and "Charge" that played during the cricket scenes. 
 
*** I look forward to asking Vanessa about the time she hit The Alamo with her car when their inevitable exit interview comes around. Speaking of Ralph and Vanessa, how were they they only team that was offered that alternative flight through Kenya that was supposed to have gotten into Cochin over an hour earlier? It didn't end up mattering, because their flight got in only seconds ahead of the other flight. But that still would have been a weird turn of events.
 
*** I like that even Team Kentucky, possibly the nicest and least judgmental guys ever, called Art & JJ babies for their ongoing kerfuffle with Rachel and Dave.
 
 
Anyway, what'd you think of Sunday's episode?
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<p>Liam Cunningham as Davos in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Liam Cunningham as Davos in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

'Game of Thrones' - 'Garden of Bones': I smell dead people!

Joffrey sends Tyrion a message, Robb launches an attack, and Melisandre shocks Davos

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as mathematicians rule the world...

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<p>Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in &quot;Gone with the Wind&quot;</p>

Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in "Gone with the Wind"

Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

It's been a while since I've given a damn about romance in Hollywood

Where is the love, Tinseltown?

Guy and I have something in common (other than the fact that we both write for In Contention). Producer David O. Selznick’s seminal Civil War epic “Gone with the Wind” stands out for each of us as one of our most beloved films of all time. The film won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and has remained a significant part of our cinematic history for over 70 years.

I was introduced to the adaptation one Sunday afternoon as an 11-year-old and soon found myself obsessed with all things to do with the production. I had biographies of Selznick, each of the film’s stars, every “making of” special I could get my hands on and even a “Gone with the Wind"-inspired cookbook.

I was fascinated by Selznick’s compulsion to see his own vision fulfilled, his attention to detail down to the petticoats that each of the O’Hara sisters wore beneath their elaborate dresses and with the directorial hirings and firings along the way. (Although Victor Fleming ultimately received the credit, both George Cukor and Sam Wood took turns at the helm).

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<p>Richard Madden of &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;</p>
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Richard Madden of "Game of Thrones"

Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

HitFix Interview: Richard Madden talks 'Game of Thrones'

HBO's King in the North discusses the evolution of the TV Robb Stark
When I chatted with him last week in a Santa Monica conference room, The King in the North was satisfied.
 
No, Robb Stark hadn't avenged his father's death, nor reunited with his sisters. He hadn't consolidated power in Westeros and taken his place on the Iron Throne.
 
He'd simply found out that the cookie he thought contained marshmallows, actually contained white chocolate chips. And that was satisfactory. 
 
In truth, it's very easy to tell Scottish actor Richard Madden apart from his character on HBO's "Game of Thrones." His hair is shorter. His wardrobe goes beyond furs and armor. Oh, and Madden's also prone to laughing and joking, which hasn't been a part of Robb Stark's emotional range lately. Who has time to smile when, as you may have heard, winter is coming.
 
As "Game of Thrones" moves deeper into its second season, things are getting darker and darker in war-torn Westeros and Robb Stark is moving into uncharted territory. Robb's exploits are largely discussed second-hand in George R.R. Martin's "A Clash of Kings," but to keep Madden in the fold, series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss chose to depict moments that were only referred to in passing before.
 
In our conversation -- the cookies only came into play at the end -- Madden discusses Robb's evolution, the honor of having scenes added to keep him around and his season-by-season approach to reading Martin's novels.
 
[Note: There are some minor spoilers in this interview. They're very minor, but if you want to remain pristine, tread with caution.]
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
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<p>Colton Dixon of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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Colton Dixon of "American Idol"

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Music Power Rankings: Tupac comes back from the dead to top the list

'American Idol's' Colton Dixon and Taylor Swift make this week's survey

1) Tupac Shakur: His hologram steals the show at Coachella and makes plans to go on the road. Celebrities everywhere amend their wills to dictate post-death image usage and declare which is their best side.

2) Taylor Swift: So she didn’t end up playing Eponine in “Les Miserables,” but now comes word that she may play Joni Mitchell in the adaptation of “Girls Like Us.” I’ve looked at this from Both Sides Now and I just don’t see it.

3) Lionel Richie: He has to wait a few weeks, but justice is his as “Tuskegee” makes it to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after Madonna’s crafty concert ticket tie in propels “MDNA” over him.

4) Dick Clark: The World’s Oldest Teenager is rating records in the sky.  New Year’s Eve will never be the same

5) Colton Dixon: Fan fave on “American Idol” is voted off.  Record label deal to come in 5...4...3...2...1 (or as soon as the season is over).

6) Ted Nugent: He hasn’t made a decent record since “Cat Scratch Fever”  and now he may have a police record if he keeps up the trash talk about the president. Or as one of my friends joked, the secret service may have cleared him, but we bet he gets audited by the IRS for the next 20 years. 

7) Bob Marley: The largest musical star in the world gets treated right in Kevin MacDonald’s documentary, “Marley.”  Interesting factoid: Marley fathered 11 children with seven different women. That’s not “One Love,” that’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

8) Record Store Day: In five short years, it has become THE day for independent retailers. More than 400 artists are participating in this year’s April 21 extravaganza. Did you go hug your local retail store on Saturday? 

9) Willie Nelson: At 4:20 p.m. on 4/20 (no kidding), an 8-foot tall bronze statue of Nelson was unveiled outside the W Hotel in Austin. That’s nice, but we think he belongs on Mt. Rushmore #sodoesjohnnycash

10) Levon Helm: The Weight is off the best drummer/singer ever. Take a load off, Levon and thank you.
 

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<p>Leif of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Leif of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Leif Manson talks 'Survivor: One World'

The latest bootee discusses being wishy washy and sleeping in a crate
In writing his name down on Wednesday's (April 18) "Survivor: One World," Chelsea faulted Leif Manson for being wishy washy. 
 
That may confuse some viewers, because in some cases, Leif's "Survivor" sin appeared to be staying too devoted to harmful alliances, like when he kept faith with Colton, even as the season's primary villain was calling him a munchkin or an Ooompa Loompa either to his face or behind his back.
 
In truth, though, Leif's real "Survivor" crime was just being a man in a season that started with a Men vs Women split, but has become a rout, with five consecutive men sent home for various reasons.
 
In his "Survivor" exit interview, the 27-year-old phlebotomist discusses being wishy washy, his relationship with Colton and how he came to find himself sleeping in a crate.
 
Click through... 
 
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<p>James Cameron in London following the release of "Titanic 3D"

James Cameron in London following the release of "Titanic 3D"

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

‘Avatar’ director James Cameron backs a space venture to expand Earth’s resources

Is life imitating art?

James Cameron is not a man who believes in boundaries. He’s been pushing the edges of technology as well as his own creative limits (and those of his crew) for years. He recently returned from a journey to the Mariana Trench (a 7-mile-deep canyon and the ocean's deepest known point). He was in fact the first person in history to make it a solo trip.

Equally impressive is the fact that he helped to design the vessel that made the heretofore impossible journey.

I happen to love Cameron. For me, he is the best possible version of bonkers and gives "no limits" a very good name. Many of us spend our lives imagining the extraordinary. Cameron spends his in relentless pursuit of it. Amidst his other achievements, he is, of course, responsible for the top grossing film of all time: “Avatar.”

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<p>Lionel Richie</p>
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Lionel Richie

Credit: CBS

Can Lionel Richie make it two weeks atop the Billboard 200?

Who is primed to steal the Commodore's crown?

Predictions can be wildly uneven, as we saw last week when it looked like Adele’s “21” was a lock to go back to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as of the Friday before the chart’s Sunday close.

However, Lionel Richie’s CBS special, which aired Friday night after Hits Daily Double had already run its predictions, propelling “Tuskegee” to the top spot.

So this week, it’s even more of a horserace to see who will snag the No. 1 spot when the chart is released on Wednesday. Right now, “Tuskegee” and “Love is a Four-Letter Word” from Jason Mraz are in a dead heat, with both targeted to sell between 100,000 and 110,000.

Mraz will be joined in the top 10 by two other debuts, Train’s “California 37,” which will likely bow at No. 4 and hip hop artist Future’s debut studio set, “Pluto,” looks strong for No. 7.

Adele’s “21” continues to be in the Top 5, and should easily claim the No. 3 spot with up to 90,000 copies sold.  Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” rounds out the top 5 at No. 5 (although at this point, “Roman Reloaded” and One Direction’s “Up All Night” are too close to call, so she may be at No. 6 and the boy band at No. 5.

Top 10 veterans round out the rest of the top slots:  Gotye, whose “Somebody That I Used To Know” is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, will likely be at No. 8 with “Making Mirrors,” Bonnie Raitt at No. 9 with “Slipstream” and Rascal Flatts at No. 10 with “Changed.”

 

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