Sisterhood of the Useless Degrees

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I’m going to date myself by saying this, but I grew up watching Joey “Joseph” Lawrence, starting with the Nell Carter sitcom, Gimme A Break, which once featured him in blackface as a mini Al Jolson. We’re only three years apart (He’s older). His brush with overt racism notwithstanding, I have always loved Joey Lawrence. Loved him through Blossom, his ill-advised foray into pop music performance, and his hair loss.

I’m equally devoted to Melissa Joan Hart, dating back to Clarissa Explains It All–and though I haven’t caught that show’s Nickelodeon revival, it’s oddly comforting to know that it’s back on TV.

So when ABC Family paired them in their original movie, My Fake Fiance, I sat through it, certain it would suck. It kind of did, in that predictable way all ABC Family, Lifetime, and Hallmark flicks suck: the awesome way. But the film was effective in conveying how well these two former child actors work together. So when ABC Family started running promos for a sitcom featuring the pair, I knew I’d give it a whirl. It’s been a long haul, but I’ve managed to slog through the entire first season (broken up by an eight-month hiatus), which ends tonight.

I’ve found myself chuckling at the show a few times, mostly when Joe deadpans a punchline. He’s surprisingly great at sarcasm. His skin/”hair” combo can be a bit distracting–as can Hart’s frequent references to his baldness (though he’s almost always wearing “hair”), but it’s a passable sitcom in a way that, say, According to Jim or Yes, Dear were not. It’s as formulaic as they come and super-old-school, in that it’s recorded in front of a live studio audience and follows a very predictable trajectory, but it’s comforting in that way.

Okay, so this isn’t a ringing endorsement. But hey, there a few shows these days that deserve one of those. Amirite?

Because a Celebrity Career Diagnosis was long, long overdue, feministdonut and I teamed up to take on one of all-time favorite nearly 40-year-old actresses whose development seems tragically arrested at post-adolescence.

feministdonut: Winona…Whatever happened to her?

slb: Kleptomania.

fd: lol

slb: Is she ever gonna look old enough to start playing moms? Because that’s the only way I can see her getting hired these days. She’s over forty, isn’t she?

fd: That’s very true. Wait… she’s over 40??? Maybe she’s still late 30s….

slb: I’m looking it up. She’ll be 38 in october. I thought she was Johnny Depp’s age.

fd: Wow.

slb: … or Keanu’s age or something. Didn’t they all come out around the same time?

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Anyone who really knows me knows what a huge Alias fan I once was. I have all five seasons on DVD. I will still watch bad Jennifer Garner movies on the strength of her work on Alias. And I mean really bad things. Like Elektra and Catch and Release.

My Alias love knew no bounds, which means anyone who appeared on that show during its run endeared themselves to me so much that I tracked (and supported) their career for years thereafter.

Said all that to say: Bradley Cooper used to be my homeboy.

As Will Tippin, the bespectacled reporter-friend of Sydney Bristow, Cooper was equal parts probing and patient and paranoid (and rightfully so, Sydney’s dad had to shoot him up with heroin in order to get him fired from his newspaper gig, after he snooped too much into their CIA double-agency and made SD-6’s assassination list…).

He was also in love with Jennifer Garner’s character and regularly said things to her like, “I don’t love you because of what you do or don’t do. I just love you.”

Bradley Cooper used to be awesome.

But then he left Alias and it was like one wrong move after another. (Mind you, I didn’t know his work before Alias. I hear he was great in Wet Hot American Summer or whatever, but that’s kind of beside my point here.)

Here are a few of the reasons Cooper’s racked up for induction into our infamous Tool Shed:

1. Leaving Alias in the first place–especially since he kind of did it on slightly pretentious terms. Let’s look at this IGN interview real quick:

“Cooper says that his departure from Alias was a mutual decision. “It was me, actually. It was a combination. We just decided that the character was going in a sort of corner and there was nowhere to go. So we [decided] the best thing to do was to not be on the show anymore and maybe come back and be able to do a lot in one episode as opposed to, you know, peppered throughout 22 episodes just fixing ketchup bottles and flipping pancakes with Francie. You know what I mean? And just saying, ‘Hey, how was your trip?'”

Um, here’s the thing, Brad. It wasn’t like you were a highly-sought-after, deeply well-respected thespian like, say, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Or Ryan Gosling. It wouldn’t have killed you to stay on a gig, collecting a steady check, being part of a convoluted and campy, yet deliciously entertaining spy family mythos, okay? You may as well have stayed and “flipped pancakes” if you were gonna be forced to take:

2. Kitchen Confidential as your next steady gig. This Fox dud about “a bad boy chef running wild in his NYC eatery” disappeared faster than Sydney Bristow after a completed mission.

3. Then, somewhere in there, you decided to take the role of Sack the uberjerky jock boyfriend of Rachel McAdams in The Wedding Crashers. You were starting to play tools, back to back. I sensed a pattern. Art imitating life, perhaps?

4. Somehow, you found time to meet, woo, and marry actress Jennifer Esposito all in the space of two years. Then you two divorced all in the space of four months. She filed.

5. I kind of stopped paying attention to you after that. But suffice it to say between She’s Just Not That Into You, where you play a husband cheating on Jennifer Connelly with Scarlett Johansson (of all people) and your unwarranted hosting of Tool’s Paradise: Late Night, also known as SNL, it’s really not lookin’ good for you, buddy.

6. Now we hear you might be dating Drew Barrymore which, if true, would make you the second costar she’s dating from that ridiculous-looking film, which seems to be set in a “Baltimore” where only three people are Black.

7. (Update!): Yesterday, we saw the trailer for your new film, where apparently you seem to be rejecting a pratfalling Sandra Bullock. Signing on for any film that requires the forty-something Bullock to behave the way she did when she was twentysomething, only *now* she has to cut her hair into an embarrassing blonde bob to do it, is a total tool move.

8. Did we mention Failure to Launch?

It is for these reasons and these alone that we warmly welcome you to the Tool Shed, my friend.

With the screen version of Mamma Mia! opening this Friday (like it stands any kind of chance against The Dark Knight for winning the weekend…), we thought we’d take a minute to herald the burgeoning stardom of Amanda Seyfried.

If you don’t know her yet, you will. She’s one of the few actresses we really like around here, so excuse us for setting aside our snark to draw your attention to her.

amanda seyfried

Maybe you know her as girl who claimed she could predict the weather using nothing but the power of her boobs in Mean Girls. Or maybe you came to love her in bloody-headed flashbacks as semi-skanky Lilly in Veronica Mars. Perhaps you think she’s the most sane member of the Henrickson family on Big Love.

But for those of you who don’t know her at all, know this: we’re almost willing to put aside our extreme hate of all things ABBA to see this girl do her thing opposite Meryl Streep (although feministdonut is probably gonna focus more on simultaneously gouging at her eardrums and swooning over Colin Firth the whole time. You know, priorities).

Anyway, we’ve been seeing a lot of her, looking starry-eyed and smiley in all these over-the-top ads featuring Meryl doing sky-high side splits or herkies and whatnot. And we’re hoping this will provide Seyfried with her star-making turn.

Trust us: she deserves it.


Could you please hold off on announcing your pending new arrival until you’re starting to show? This is what normal expectant mothers tend to do. Aside from announcements to close family and friends, they like holding off on telling the general public that they’re expecting until the end of the first trimester or so.

See, if you wait three months, then we don’t have to spend a whole nine inundated with pictures of you buying really big frozen cappuccinos while some toolish journalist speculates on the possible effects of your caffeine intact on your unborn child.

It also means that, by the time you start showing, we aren’t already so sick of the “countdown to Baby Whatever” that we involuntarily gag whenever we see your Baby Bump. More…

I spent about two hours today watching three episodes of ABC’s midseason series, Miss Guided. I don’t know why. It stars Judy Greer, and I’ve never liked Judy Greer in anything I’ve watched her in, but whatever; I watched it.

Here’s my hypothesis: this show’s getting canceled after eight eps, if that. It reminds me of those Disney sitcoms, circa Lizzie McGuire (not those unwatchable, brain-cell-deadening ones they’ve got now [The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, I’m looking at you.], but the ones you could kind of get through, if you were super-bored, and emerge unscathed and slightly amused)…. Where was I? Oh, okay, yeah: this show sucks. It’s like a bad knock-off of Never Been Kissed (if such a thing can even be imagined), without the plucky, cutesy, do-no-harm appeal of Drew Barrymore.

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slb: Okay. Why do we hate David Duchovny? 

FeministDonut: Because of his face. 


slb: I thought his face, too!  That’s sick. 


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Oh, Cuba.

Posted on: February 1, 2008

Dear Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr.:

While I can’t say that you were ever one of my favorite actors to begin with, I really must say: you have a few qualities that’ve endeared me to you (your dad being in The Main Ingredient and your breakdancing abilities among them).

I was one of those people who thought the over-the-top elements of your Jerry Maguire performance were more Cameron Crowe’s fault than yours. I didn’t mind that you couldn’t pull off the words, “You are my ambassador of quan.” Because that was just bad writing. In fact, I didn’t mind you back-flipping at the Oscars when you won that dubious Best Supporting Actor statuette.

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SLB: Okay. What happened to Christina Ricci? She was so cute in Mermaids!

Feministdonut: And awesome in The Addams Family.

SLB: And let the records show that her hair back then was almost blonde… not this jet black monstrosity of a hair hue she’s been rockin’ for the last decade. She’s not Wednesday! Or, Winona Ryder…

Now, I don’t want to touch on Christina’s weight…

FD: I do.

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From time to time, throughout our tragically underemployed days, we find a few minutes (or hours) to ponder things that don’t really matter to other people. Oh, sure. Everyone wonders whatever happened to someone they used to see on TV or in a film or on the radio when years have passed and that person’s career has become a non-entity. But does anyone go several steps further and try to figure out how to get that C-lister or one-hit wonder back on the right track?

Don’t worry. We’re here to do it for you. Feministdonut and SLB: spending their time frivolously so you don’t have to.

Upon seeing Clueless “star” Brittany Murphy on today, we traveled down the following road, looking for the poor girl’s answer to recovery:

SLB: Okay, see… Brittany Murphy? That’s a problem.

Feministdonut: Wow. She looks really baaaaad.

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