Category Archives: Fav TV

Remembering Mary

In my current job as an entertainment news producer I report on many celebrity deaths. Mourning becomes a casualty to getting the news out quickly and getting reaction from family and fans. But when I heard Mary Tyler Moore died Wednesday, I took a moment to grieve.

I was too young to watch “The Dick Van Dyke Show” when it was in its original run, but I watched reruns and always liked Mary’s spunk. Then she became a feminist icon starring in the very originally-titled “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”


Mary Richards was one of the reasons I wanted to become a journalist, and more specifically, a TV news producer. I’m sure I’m not the only one of my sister colleagues who was inspired by her moxy and independence….her work ethic and heart.

And how about that cool apartment and enviable wardrobe? She was the first to have a giant letter “M” on the wall, and no one ever looked better in a suede vest.

She knew how to deliver a punch line with a quiet power, and how to stand back and let her quirky co-stars have their moments. She and Rhoda created a road map for female friendships, while proving you could have a successful, happy life without needing a man.


Thanks for that Mary.

I met Mary once, while covering the red carpet of the Tony Awards in New York in 2002. I jumped at the chance to talk to her.

She was taller than I thought she’d be and impeccably dressed in a classic black suit that was sophisticated, and age appropriate yet sexy. I asked her a bunch of questions which she answered dutifully.


As we wrapped up we had an exchange that I will never forget. I asked her if she enjoyed getting dressed up for big events like the Tonys and she looked me straight in the eye and said “No, I hate it!”

I was so surprised, as she seemed so in her element. But she said she’d rather be home with her dogs. Then I said ” But you look fabulous!” and she cocked her head to the side and smiled and said, ” Well, there’s that.” And then she glided away.

That dame knew how to take a compliment!

I’ll miss Mary, and what she represented to young girls like me: Someone who was smart and capable, glamorous and self-reliant. She made many of us believe we’re gonna make it after all.




Golden Globes 2016: a forgettable year



The 73rd Golden Globes ceremony was a bit lackluster, even for this TV and movie fan. The film that swept was one I’m not sure I can endure, and many of the TV winners were for shows I’d never heard of (Mr. Robot, Mozart in the Jungle, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend )?!

Makes it harder to get excited when you don’t have horses in the race.

One ongoing theme was the seemingly genuine surprise of winners, apparently convinced someone else would take home a Globe. (“I can’t believe this! Wait. am I really up here? I was not expecting this!”)  Perhaps that speaks to the talent level in every category.

Let’s get to the deets…..

The show:

Ricky Gervais was back as host. Many stars looked terrified as he took the stage and started spewing insults. His indiscriminate barbs spared no one, including the show’s network NBC, which he gleefully pointed out did not get one nomination.

He was wry, sarcastic, and funny…but kind of an anti-host. Not deeming the event worthy of a tux, he went with a blazer and no tie. No one felt welcome or comfortable when he was on the stage, and he often spoke some hard-to-hear truths about Hollywood, quipping “it’s funny cuz it’s true!”


When introducing presenter Matt Damon, he called him “the only person Ben Affleck hasn’t been unfaithful to.”  Midway through the show, he came on and said with disgust that the ceremony was “waaaay too long. Let’s get through it!”

But the one-note “I’m so over you people and you need to get over yourselves” routine got old after a while, and I was yearning for the creative and playful Amy and Tina.

–Happy to see Jon Hamm win for best actor for playing the miserable Don Draper for seven seasons, on “Mad Men.”

Lady Gaga won for a guest role in American Horror Story: Hotel. I don’t watch that show and don’t doubt her talent but find it hard to believe she was actually the best actress? Holding back tears, she gave a very, very dramatic acceptance speech so maybe she is.

Mr Robot poster

–This Mr. Robot show has now intrigued me,  after it won for best TV drama and Christian Slater won for best supporting actor in the series.

Standout moments:

–The crowd went nuts when Sylvester Stallone won for reprising his Rocky role as best supporting actor in Creed. 

Denzel Washington winning the Cecil B Demille award. Man, watching that clip reel was incredible. So many great movies and he brings gravitas to every role. I was a little disappointed by his speech. I like that he brought his whole family on stage but he seemed overwhelmed and too off the cuff to say what he really meant. He stumbled around on his speech and realized aloud he should have brought his glasses. Not as inspiring and strong as I expected.

–Taraji P Henson gave out cookies on her way to the stage after winning best actress for playing Cookie on “Empire.” When they tried to wrap her up she wasn’t having any of it: “No, no, I waited 20 years to be here you’re going to wait!”

The Revanent poster

Leonardo DiCaprio got a standing O after winning for growing a long, fuzzy snot-filled beard in “The Revenant.”  Seriously, that movie also won best picture and best director for Alejandro González Iñárritu— but it looks hard to watch: cold, violent and not a woman or laugh in sight. Not sure I can do it. Leo was the only winner who got political, saying we have to “protect indigenous lands from corporate interests and protect this planet for future generations.”

Moments that made my kids laugh:

Jonah Hill donning a furry hat and pretending to be the bear from The Revenant, doing an insulting bit so foul-mouthed  and inappropriate he got bleeped and started a “what did he say” frenzy on Twitter.

Jamie Foxx did a spoof of Steve Harvey‘s Miss Universe gaffe by claiming that “Straight Outta Compton” won for Best Original Score … before admitting he didn’t “read the card right” and it was really “The Hateful Eight.”

Full list of winners here.

The clothes:

I noticed that the always reliable and smooth Ryan Seacrest was specifically not asking women who they were wearing as often as usual and sometimes not at all. This must be due to the #AskHerMore campaign from last year that demanded actresses be asked more about their work than their fashion choices. Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls started their own campaign on Twitter #SmartGirlsAsk where fans could pose substantive questions on social media to ask stars on the red carpet. Definitely made for more interesting chatter.

I’ve been doing these awards wrap-up posts for years and I sometimes feel like a broken record picking the same gals as best-dressed, but when you know what looks good on you, you make good decisions. Perhaps some of my winners may sound familiar….

Vogue victors:

My three favorite looks of the night were:


Julianne Moore never disappoints. This year she brought designer Tom Ford and wore his custom navy sequined sheath with a sleek design and subtle details. She wore her red tresses long and slightly messy to complete the look. Glamorous, modern, perfect.

Kate Hudson has become more known for her style than her acting, no? She definitely made a statement in a light pink Michael Kors beaded sheath that from the front looked like a bandeau top was separate from the long skirt but was actually attached in a sexy twisted back. The cutouts were accentuated by her unbelievable body. She topped off the look with messy bed hair and jewels.

attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.

attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.

The ever svelte Olivia Wilde in a burgundy sequined sheath with deep halter top: Beautiful, lustrous yet with old Hollywood flair.

Amy Adams usually does it right and her long, tight orange Versace dress with an interesting sequined pattern at the belt line popped on the carpet and off the stage. Also loved her long loose wavy red hair- like a fiery sunset.

Also liked Kirsten Dunst’s black velvet Versace sheath with very risqué, cleavage-bearing cutouts and a delicate strappy back, accentuated with a messy bun and diamonds.

And speaking of big-time cleavage, Jaime Alexander ( from “Blindspot”) had a memorable emerald green and black gown that was tight and open on top and flowing on the bottom. Her updo added to the striking look.

It’s hard to talk about a red carpet and not mention JLo but frankly it was not one of my favorite looks for her. The mustard yellow skin-tight Giambattista Valli sheath had beautiful texture and lines, balanced by an attached cape on top. She went with very minimal makeup and flat hair so it wasn’t a wow. Don’t get me wrong– she still looked good, just not a standout.

Taraji P. Henson stood out in a sexy, sleek white strapless Stella McCartney sheath and long dangle giant emerald earrings.

Helen Mirren looked elegant in a black velvet sheath with a sweetheart top and sexy diamond necklace that seemed to be paving a path right to her ample cleavage.

Best dressed men for my money were Rob Lowe– aging well  with salt and pepper coiffed hair and a gray tux that fit snugly and perfectly….Jason Sudeikis in a handsome tux and Air Jordans, with socks to match wife Olivia Wilde’s gown….and Will Smith who knows how to wear a suit.

Fashion fails: 

I love Jane Fonda, but she made a fashion faux pax in a white dress with some kind of dust ruffle clown costume on top. It was a risk that did not pay off and overshadowed how great and real she looks in her own skin.



Rooney Mara had a rather severe hair look with a tightly pulled braid, which she coupled with a pale pink dress crowded with tassels and fringe that was more Spanish dancer than young starlet. I don’t think dressing up is her thing.

Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) looked like she was going to a 19th century funeral all buttoned up and lacy in black.

Lady Gaga had a nice frock but for her, it was rather ho-hum. The look was channeling Marilyn Monroe with platinum blond bob hair and a black velvet Versace 40’s style dress with a sweetheart tip. Snore.

Melissa McCarthy may be hilarious but she really needs a new stylist.  She lost weight and her face was glowing but the silver, drapy garbage bag of a dress was not doing her any favors.

I know I say this every time, but seriously, Giulianna Rancic looks not well. She made the mistake of wearing a dress with cutouts and standing sideways on camera and 1) you could almost see through her and 2) her head looks so large teetering on those bony shoulders and that frail body, if she keeled over and face planted into the red carpet I would not be surprised. Hope she’s ok!

To see all the red carpet looks click here.

That’s a wrap kids. I need some sleep!



Emmys 2015: the year of heat and history

It was a night of sweat and sweeps at the 67th annual Emmy awards! Those poor, pampered TV stars spent all day getting made up and coiffed only to melt in steamy L.A. temps Sunday night.

emmys-logo on

The always-in-need-of-a-sandwich Giuliana Rancic claimed it was 106 degrees on the red carpet, prompting Allison Janney to swipe the sweat from her brow and declare them the Bikram Emmys.

But the show must go on so the stars persevered as they perspired down the carpet, fanning themselves and taking swigs of water from bottles held by eager publicists.

Who glistened:

–January Jones  aka Betty Draper was anything but 60’s conservative in a bright emerald green strapless jumpsuit with flared pants and pleated sash. She won the night IMHO. Three words: Fab U Lous.

Emmy fashion

John Shearer/

— I loved Taraji P. Henson‘s Alexander Wang dress. The black sheath had metal chain-link straps and a long sheer, patterned skirt. Edgy and different. Straight hair,  simple makeup, and little jewelry completed the minimal look. And her cheekbones are insane.

–Another winner for me was “Downton Abbey’s”  Joanne Froggatt (Anna) in a
romantic pink J. Mandel gown with black trim and cutouts and dramatic black chiffon trains on each side.  Perfect for her shape and complimented by long Juliet tresses with flowers pinned in. Unlike anything else on the carpet.

–If I were to ever hire a stylist, it would be whomever dresses Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Her simple black sheath with angular one shoulder top and big dramatic diamond earrings were simple, chic and looked amazing.

— I wasn’t sure if I liked Amy Schumer’s Zac Posen grey/green strapless dress and messy hair but it grew on me. She was very boobular and had no problem adjusting the girls on live TV. She also proudly told Ryan Seacrest she weighed  “a buck fifty” which made me love her even more.

–“Orphan Black” star Tatiana Masleny had a notable look in a very low cut white tuxedo suit.  Sexy, simple, sophisticated, sublime.

Laverne Cox of “Orange is the New Black” got voted best body by many style watchers in a Calvin Klein green halter dress with cutouts and a bare back. I loved her long blond hair too.

–Another gal I can count on to kill it on the carpet is “Modern Family‘s”  Sarah Hyland, who looked gorgeous in a burgundy Zac Posen off the shoulder sheath  with cutouts, a low back, and a flared bottom that hugged her in all the right places. She paired the dress with cool bejeweled dangling earrings and a Hollywood tan. Very glam.

Kerry Washington was channeling 1980’s Diana Ross in a beaded silver metallic mesh dress with shoulder pads and a sexy slit up her leg. It  looked like Halston but was actually Marc Jacobs and fit her beautifully.

–Probably the most shocking arrival was Lady Gaga, who seemed to be taking her role as Hollywood actress seriously in a very sedate but classic black off the shoulder sheath and Jean Harlow hair and makeup.

As for the men, there weren’t any standouts but Seth Meyers reminded me of Dean Martin in his navy tailored tux, and Anthony Andrews of “Blackish” looked svelte and handsome in his classic black tuxedo.  John Stamos doesn’t look like he should be starring in a show as a grandpa– he never seems to age. Great tux,  great dimples.

Who let the heat affect their fashion sense: 

Andy Samberg’s wife, musician Joanna Newsom’s ensemble was bizarro. My 12 year old son asked why she had a ring stuck on the top of her dress and I had no good answer for the giant appliqué on top and gauzy fringe curtains on the bottom. In different colors of pink. The Jane Eyre hairstyle didn’t help.

Emmy fashion 2015

–“Happyish” star Kathryn Hahn‘s dress had a flattering shape, but the flowered velvet looked like a carpetbagger purse, and the style brought the Chiquita banana lady to mind. At least her hair looked pretty.

“Mad Men” star and fashionista Kiernan Shipka had an oops with this yellow embroidered Barbie ballet dancer dress on top and black cigarette pants on the bottom. Huh?

Emmys fashion 2015

Getty / Jason Merritt

–The gorgeous Nazanin Boniadi of “Homeland” wore a weird white long dress with a nude side panel that looked more Olympic skater than Hollywood couture.   One side long sleeve sheath, one side sleeveless, flowy panel. It was like two different dresses sewn together. No good.

–It was disappointing to see model and fashion show host Heidi Klum make the mistake of choosing  a canary yellow Versace with way too much going on.  It was short, it was long, it was sheer, and embroidered. It had one long flared sleeve and one spaghetti strap. She should tell her stylist Auf Wiedersehen!

For more Emmy fashion click here and here.

After sweating on the red carpet, the stars had to sweat it out inside to see who took home a statue. Several shows swept the night, winning in several categories and making for repetitive speeches. Here are my highlights…..

The goofy and talented Andy Samberg did a great job hosting. He was funny, just the right amount of bitchy, and comfortable in the role. His opening bit was a pre-recorded music video that managed to acknowledge almost every TV show  ever produced and poke fun at the industry. I LOL-ed quite a few times and the audience seemed to get him.

Andy Samberg hosts emmys 2015


Viola Davis became the first African American woman to win for lead actress in a drama for “How to Get Away with Murder.”  In a tearful acceptance speech,  Davis said “the only thing that separates women of color from anybody else is opportunity.” She went on to thank all the writers and producers creating roles for black women on TV and for redefining “what it means to be beautiful, sexy leading women.”

The brilliant Allison Janney also made history taking home an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in “Mom.” She is now tied with Ed Asner for most performance Emmy wins, with seven.

Game of Thrones” won best drama but leading actor went to the long suffering Jon Hamm, who had been nominated for his role in “Mad Men” since its first season in 2007 but never won. He earned that standing ovation.

HBO’s “Veep”  won for best comedy and also swept the best writing, actress and supporting actor awards.

Olive Kittredge won best mini-series, director, writers, actor (Richard Jenkins,) supporting actor (Bill Murray,) and actress– for the least vane celebrity in L.A. —Frances McDormand. With no make up or hairstyle, her speech was short and sweet: “My colleagues have thanked everyone. We are all here for the power of a story well told, sometimes that’s enough. Thank you.” I told Wilson we must watch it this week to see what all the fuss is about.

Jon Stewart’s team of writers on “The Daily Show” won their 9th and final Emmy with Jon at the helm. TDS also nabbed best director, and variety series. That’s a tough category, going up against Letterman, Schumer, Colbert, John Oliver, etc.  I love “TDS”  and already miss Jon, but I think Jimmy Fallon needs some props. He’s killing it every night with original skits, songs, games, and social media. Maybe next year Jimmy. You’ve got my vote.

Inside Amy Schumer won for best writing which made me really happy. Schumer’s speech was random, funny, and spontaneous like she is. I love her. Authentic. Hysterical. Smart. Girl power. Finally.

Other remarkable moments included Tina Fey and Jane Krakowski getting weepy as Tracy Morgan came on to give the last award of the night. He explained what he’d been through since a terrible car accident last year but he looked good and got a few jokes in.

Jimmy Kimmel had one of the funniest moments of the night making Jeffrey Tambor really work for his Best Actor in a drama award for Amazon’s “Transparent”. Before Kimmel read the nominations, he dared the Emmy producers to stop him from peeking at the envelope before he announced the nominees. He saw the winner’s name and then proceeded to cut the name out of the card, put it in his mouth and chew it up, claiming he could now choose whichever winner he wanted. (He picked Tambor.)

Show runner Jill Soloway won for best director of a comedy series for Transparent and took the opportunity to advocate for trangender civil rights in her acceptance speech.

Amy Poehler is quickly becoming the Susan Lucci of primetime, losing for the 16th time. She’s apparently been nominated for writing and acting in “SNL”  and “Parks and Rec” but has NEVER WON. How is this possible??  In anticipation of the loss, she donned a hoodie and sunglasses and slumped down in her seat when they announced the nominees. Buzzfeed called her the best loser of all time. Her day will come.

emmys 2015

She was beat by six-time winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who won for Veep for the fourth year in a row. I’m kicking myself that I’ve never been able to stay with that show. Every time I watch it I laugh. I’ll try again. In her acceptance speech, Louis-Dreyfus shouted out thanks and kudos to her fellow nominees, saying ” I love powerful, funny women.”

Me too Julia, me too.

What were your favorite Emmy moments? Tell me in the comments.

So long Jon Stewart, it’s been real

The host of The Daily Show has written us all a “Dear Jon” letter. I’d like to send it back but I don’t think it would do any good. There’s not much to say except I’ll miss Jon Stewart dearly.

the daily show with jon stewart logo on

That short little bucket of brains made me see things more clearly, while keeping me laughing for 16 years. I’m a journalist who has written and produced news stories for a very long time (saying the number of years just makes me feel old)  but Jon Stewart often helped me digest and understand the news in a way traditional news outlets could not.

He and his amazing writing staff were able to boil down the facts and make sense of them, often when world events made no sense at all.

He got us through 9/11 and the Newtown school shooting. He made us laugh at Bush 43’s awkward snicker and reminded us relentlessly that Dick Cheney– whom he pegged as the Darth Vader of the Iraq War — shot his friend in the face.

He hammered at ObamaCare, even challenging HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to log on to the glitch-plagued website on a laptop during her interview. He had a way of nailing lots of politicians who dared to sit in his hot seat, while showing the utmost respect… and winking at us, his loyal audience.

daily show jon stewart ticket on

My ticket to see The Daily Show last year. (sigh) The last time we would be together.

Not just a comedian and host, he was an agent of change. Many hold him largely responsible for drawing attention to Congress failing to pass a bill to help veterans and 9/11 first responders get health care. After TDS devoted several segments to the debacle, a bill got passed.

I’m sure Trevor Noah is a talented, smart guy. I trust the people at Comedy Central know what they’re doing, and I’m certain Stewart wouldn’t allow that desk to be sullied by someone who couldn’t handle it.

daily show jon stewart studio on

Here I am on the set of the show, eagerly awaiting Jon, who was funny and easy with the audience. This set will be donated to the Newseum for posterity.

But I’m going to miss tuning into TDS and seeing Jon and his team giving us their unique take on current events, and asking the intelligent and less obvious questions of celebrities and newsmakers. He created a cultural phenomenon that has hugely influenced comedy and politics forever.

One of Wilson’s big complaints about me is that I hoard TV shows on the DVR, often leaving no room to record essential Michigan football games or historical documentaries. Right now, I have no less than 60 TDS episodes stacked up. I’ve tried to weed through and delete but I’m too worried I’ll miss something (there’s that FOMO again!)

His bits are funny even months later and you get a lot of bang for your buck: he makes me laugh and I always learn something.

Now I’ll treasure these old episodes and parse them out slowly, so I don’t have to rip the band-aid off tonight, when he appears for the last time.

Stewart’s final episode will be star-studded, nostalgic, and undoubtedly very funny. And I hear Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are playing, so that could soften the blow.

I’m going to miss you Jon. Hope this break gives you the moment of Zen you deserve.


My pilgrimage to say goodbye to David Letterman

Another of my favorite pop culture icons is about to walk off into the sunset.

I’ve been watching David Letterman for as long as I can remember. My mother always loved him, and I remember wanting to stay up late with her watching Stupid Human Tricks or the Top Ten list while she painted her nails in front of the TV.

Letterman show logo

Then I went to college and stayed up late watching Dave on many nights I should have been studying, or at least drinking beer. He was always there, that awkward, gap-toothed, smart aleck When he moved to CBS and a better time slot I was psyched that I could watch him more, until career and babies got in the way.

I’ll admit in recent years I haven’t watched Dave much. But I’d often check who he had on and sometimes record it for later. Unlike Leno, he was a terrific interviewer who asked great questions and actually listened to the answers. A rare bird in TV talk shows, he seemed quite happy to go off script and take the lead of his guests down a path of uncertainty that almost always ended up in some funny place.

When I heard the news that Dave was retiring I wanted to see him live one last time. (I went once in the 90’s when the guest was Rosie Perez and we sat right up front and laughed all night.) I turned to my own personal TicketMaster, Wilson’s brother, Jon. As it turned out, Jon had not given me a birthday gift yet so he was happy to make a few phone calls and get me tickets to see Dave.

letterman ticket

A parade of celebs have visited the Dave set in the last few weeks, saying goodbye to the legend. Howard Stern tried to make out with a disgusted Dave who ran away, Julia Roberts giggled and kissed him one last time, Tom Hanks told funny stories, and Tina Fey made quite an exit by whipping off her dress to reveal just a leotard-spanxy thing that said “Bye Dave” on the front and #LastDressEver on the back.

One of my favorite last guests was Ray Romano, who choked up several times while recalling how doing standup on Letterman 20 years earlier led directly to the creation — by Worldwide Pants, Letterman’s production company — of Everybody Loves Raymond, which made him a star and very, very rich.

There were amazing musical guests who paid homage with performances on Dave’s show this month, and credited him with launching their success, including Dave Matthews, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Eddie Vedder.

In the present all-Jimmy landscape it’s easy to forget that Dave was a powerhouse with an eye for talent.

With all that star power I was hoping for a good guest on the evening we went to see the show. On the Late Show website it looked like Bruce Willis, but when I got there, it was Jack Hanna, the director of the Columbus Zoo. Waaah, waaaah.

"Late Show with David Letterman"/CBS

“Late Show with David Letterman”/CBS

But you know what? Hanna was great. He brought a ton of exotic animals and reminisced with Dave about all their goofy segments over the years. Hanna has appeared on Letterman 104 times! (The only two people who appeared more were Marv Albert and Regis.) Hanna got weepy and hugged Dave a lot and when the segment was over, he went around and shook hands with every single member of the crew, which was really sweet.

It was fun to see Paul and the CBS Orchestra, and I had forgotten all about Biff and Rupert. John Popper of Blues Traveler played all his hits with Paul and the band, which was cool. The other musical guest– John Fogerty– played a medley of old songs and proved an old guy can still rock.

The CBS pages were very clear that no photography/cell phones were allowed inside the Ed Sullivan Theater, which was a huge bummer. As you know, I like to document such things. But I’m also a wimpy rule follower and getting kicked out of the show would be mortifying, and might hurt Jon, who got the tickets from CBS.

letterman stage

So this was the best I could do… at the end of the show… from my cell phone camera… from inside my purse. You can kinda make out the stage below, right?


Dave seemed relaxed and at ease, if not a little nostalgic and embarrassed at all the fuss. It was good to see him, like putting on an old sweater you love but haven’t worn in a long time.

brooke at late show NYC on

In 2013, Dave surpassed Johnny Carson as the longest running late-night talk show host in TV history. Jimmy Fallon had a really nice bit on his show Monday night about what Dave has meant to him… and out of deference for the last show, Jimmy Kimmel will air a rerun Wednesday night.

Chances are, you watched a lot of Letterman over the last 33 years. So even if you haven’t been able to stay up late enough to watch Dave recently, you’ll be happy you were there when he says goodbye Wednesday night. I hope he gets huge ratings for his farewell.

Thanks Dave, for taking risks, and showing us you can be silly and smart at the same time. Late night won’t be the same without you.



Oscars 2015: the posh and political

It was a night of platform heels and platform speeches at the Oscars.

Hollywood insider film “Birdman” swept the 87th Academy Awards (winning best picture, director, and original screenplay)  and many of the night’s winners used their acceptance speech time to stump for causes close to their hearts. Here’s the lowdown on a very long night….

birdman promo


First-time host Neil Patrick Harris breathed new life into an old show as Oscar producers took a more positive tack that paid off. Less snark and more sugar, the show intended to celebrate our love of movies, not just the celebrities who make them.

neil-patrick-harris-oscars promo

I won’t pretend I’m not a huge NPH fan from his How I Met Your Mother days and I expected him to be lengen (wait for it) dary. (sorry, how could I resist?!)

The opening musical number was well-rehearsed, clever, funny and a love letter to movies, instead of the standard teasing/humiliating stars routine. I loved seeing NPH inserted into movie classics and the Anna Kendrick and Jack Black cameos.

With no less than five costume changes, including three different colored tuxes, he was a compelling and affable steward throughout the show. I loved the bit where he spoofed Birdman and Whiplash and wound up on stage in tight-whiteys.


May fav looks of the night….(for pix click here) 

Once again, five-time nominee Julianne Moore wins in a white beaded strapless Chanel with black accents with an impeccable fit that complimented her alabaster skin. Her makeup, up-do and diamond earrings were also perfection.  Glad she looked so good the night she finally won!

Many of the best dresses were white, including Lupita N’yongo’s Calvin Klein white beaded sheath with a sexy halter of pearls. She looked like an oyster goddess.

— I wasn’t sure about Reese Witherspoon’s strapless white Tom Ford gown with two black lines, but it grew on me as the night progressed.  It was her typical simple, elegant, modern fare. Not imaginative or risky, but solid, and she gets extra points for being one of the few who let her hair down, despite the rain.

–I was soooo disappointed with Jennifer Aniston’s Globes dress last month but she completely redeemed herself in a gorgeous nude sparkly Versace dress that hugged her body like a Band-Aid. The sleek design had subtle cutouts that showed off her phenomenal body.  Her loose shiny hair completes any outfit.

–Although black is never as exciting as color, if you’re Cate Blanchett you find a deep velvet sheath with rough, frayed edges and a sexy keyhole back, and pair it with a giant turquoise necklace that matches your eyes perfectly… and you pop right off the screen.

–Another exception to “black is boring” was Sienna Miller, who can do no wrong. Her Oscar de la Renta short-sleeved dress with flared peekaboo skirt and velvet bows was sweet and ethereal and different.

–Although I’m not impressed with Dakota Johnson in interviews or for starring in 50 Shades, I was impressed by her YSL one shoulder red dress and diamond jewels. Perfect Oscar fashion: classic and timeless with a nod to old Hollywood but sexy and fresh, with a sassy ponytail.

Felicity Jones, nominated for best actress for Theory of Everything owned the moment with a gorgeous grey Alexander McQueen ball gown with a hand-sewn beaded bodice and giant satin skirt with classy updo. Channeling Audrey Hepburn, the look was flattering, elegant, regal.

Zoe Saldana looked amazing in a blush pink Versace dress with stiff, artful lines. She paired the dress with loose curly hair pulled up.

Guys who know how to wear a tux, the tighter, the better: Eddie Redmayne in navy, John Legend in Gucci… and Adam Levine in Armani. Whiplash’s Miles Teller is my new boy crush. Handsome, confident, talented, he spoke intelligently on the carpet like an old pro.

Scarlett Johanssen popped off the red carpet in an extremely tight-fitting emerald-green Jessica Rabbit hourglass dress by Versace, and funky green beaded necklace.

But there were some couture catastrophes….

Lady Gaga made quite an entrance in a white beaded Alaia ball gown with red leather spacegirl gloves. The look was very Jane Jetson meets Grace Kelly. Odd.

–Much like how I feel about Gwyneth herself, I couldn’t decide if I loved or hated Paltrow’s pale pink, one-shouldered sheath. It was sexy and flattered her sick Tracy Anderson bod but why oh why did she add the giant organza flower on the shoulder? Too much or avant garde like a Carrie Bradshaw accessory?

—Not sure what the usually best-dressed Nicole Kidman was thinking. She looked like a slimy Rainbow Fish in an iridescent strapless gown with an unexplained red belt.

-Kerry Washington looked more mother of the bride than belle of the ball in a strapless white dress with dowdy beading.

–Loved David Oyelowo in Selma but he looked like he was missing his pals from the barbershop quartet in is tight red tux.


–I was disturbed by the lack of movement in Melanie Griffith’s face. She couldn’t express her pride and amusement over daughter Dakota Johnson’s new success because she’s spent too much time at the plastic surgeon’s.

Faith Hill you’re so pretty but your hair’s too short and you and Tim McGraw need to eat a few IN and Out burgers– he looks old and manorexic!


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–By far, the best speech was given by John Legend and Common when they won best song for Selma and Common talked about the famous bridge where MLK’s march took place  “This bridge is a symbol for change. Its spirit is built on hope, welded with compassion, sealed by love for all human beings. Selma is now. The struggle for justice is right now. Our voting rights are being compromised,  and our struggle for freedom and justice is happening now.”

–I wanted to stand up and cheer like Meryl Streep and JLo when best supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette used the end of her speech to forcefully demand wage equality and equal rights for women.

–Graham Moore won for best adapted screenplay for The Imitation Game and used part of his moving speech to speak to gay teens who feel hopeless and alone: “When I was 16, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird, different, like I didn’t belong. And now I’m standing here. I’d like this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or different. Stay weird. stay different and then when it’s your turn and you’re standing on this stage, pass that message to the next person who comes along.”

– In her classy acceptance speech for best actress for Still Alice, Julianne Moore said she’s glad the movie has drawn attention to Alzheimer’s Disease, which still has no cure.

Alejandro G. Inarritu, who wrote and directed Birdman used his best picture acceptance speech to ask for respect for his fellow Mexicans and all immigrants.

–J.K. Simmons made his wife the highlight of his acceptance speech forWhiplash (amazing must-see performance in a disturbing but compelling movie) and told us to call our moms– not text or email– call! Thanks dude.


Most of the musical numbers were sleepy, except best song winner “Glory,” performed by John Legend and Common with a powerful reenactment of the Selma march on stage that had the whole crowd on their feet– many in tears–  by the end.

Lady Gaga beautifully sang a medley of songs from The Sound of Music to commemorate the film’s 50th anniversary.  I admit I sang along and wept nostalgic tears when Julie Andrews came out afterwards to thank her and introduce the nominees for best score.

Idena Menzel and John Travolta acknowledged their unusual connection (he famously butchered her name at the last Oscars) and gave out an award together. But instead of making up for last year’s gaffe, he continued his weird streak by pulling her face too close to his very pulled, rubbery face, and spoke to her in a creepy voice that gave me shivers. Ick.


Richard Linklater in the Best Director category. I loved Birdman but best picture and screenplay should have been enough. Linklater came up with the concept and executed shooting a beautiful, relatable film about an American family experience over a 12 year period. He should have been recognized.

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Michael Keaton as best actor for Birdman. Eddie Redmayne was wonderful playing ALS-affected genius Stephen Hawking in Theory of Everything, but he’s young and has a long career ahead. Keaton’s an old timer who was great in this movie and may not get another shot at gold.

What were your favorite moments and looks of the night? Tell me in the comments.

Pop culture potpourri

Yeah, I saw all your Facebook photo posts of your fabulous white beaches in Aruba and gorgeous views from the ski lift in Vermont. I was happy for you, really I was.

But one of the great things about staying home for the holiday break was a chance to catch up on all the TV, movies, and other crap I’ve meant to get to but never seem to have the time.

There’s an overwhelming amount of media to ingest, and much of pop culture popularity now is through word of mouth buzz, so thought I’d share some of the stuff I’m digging at the moment.

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Serial    I can’t explain why listening to almost 12 hours of one woman talking about a 15-year-old murder case is fascinating but it is! We were driving to Boston for New Year’s and I plugged the podcast into the car stereo. My kids groaned as soon as the top 40 stopped, but within 20 minutes, all 5 of us were entranced.

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– By the Way, In conversation    I’ve raved about actor/comedian Jeff Garlin’s podcast before but then it went silent while he was shooting The Goldbergs. But he’s back baby, and better than ever. It’s not an interview show, it’s literally just 2 people onstage before a lucky live audience– chatting about anything from pilates to bad movie endings. He gets the best guests, but I’ll listen to any episode–even unfamiliar names — because it’s always entertaining. Who loves Garlin most? Brady, who’s getting some nice long walks.

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–The Imitation Game   This movie is a fascinating piece of little known history, and an interesting character study of Alan Turing– an odd codebreaker who helped end World War II.  Wilson and I give it two thumbs up for a riveting story and excellent acting. I know ladies swoon for Benedict Cucumberpatch but I don’t quite get it. I preferred to admire the flawless skin and effortless style of Kiera Knightly. Without giving too much away, there’s also a powerful social/cultural statement about the lack of human rights at that time that resonates today.

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–Boyhood    There’s been a lot of hype surrounding this movie but I liked it and appreciated the creativity, foresight, and endurance required to make such an innovative film. As the mom of three boys, it was interesting to see their common behaviors and attitudes, but this boy’s parents’ divorce was central to the story and will likely speak volumes to single parents and blended families. The characters were appropriately gray– not all good or bad– and showed growth as they lived with the choices they made. It’s a quiet movie though. Half the time I was stressed while watching, expecting a big dramatic turn of events, but it never came. I’d like to see it again, knowing the outcome, and appreciating the pop culture references and details. It’s groundbreaking in film history, and significant in modern culture.

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–Boardwalk Empire    I don’t know many people who watched this HBO series that ended last fall, and that’s a crime. We finally finished the last season and put it in our top 10 best dramas of all time. Each episode– exec produced by Martin Scorsese– was like a mini movie. The cinematography, art direction, costumes, and attention to historic detail was flawless and the writing was brilliant. Every season had its own intensity, and featured mafia legends including Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano and Arnold Rothstein.  Season 3 with Bobby Cannavale as the psycho mobster Gyp Rosetti was one of the sickest characters I’ve ever seen on TV.  I’m telling you, watch it. Or I’ll break your legs.

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–Parenthood     If you stuck with it through all six seasons as we have, it was well worth it. It’s been called “appointment crying” and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten through an episode with a dry eye, because creator Jason Katims and his excellent writers know how to yank at those heartstrings like he’s playing a bass. It got a little soapy in the last couple seasons, but the characters are complicated, the acting is excellent (shoutout to Ray Ramano, who knew?) and the stories are often relatable. Episode 11 was especially great as they started to revisit the past and wrap up the series in a subtle but powerful way. I’m eager to see how they end it. Even if you gave up a few seasons ago, I’d recommend watching the last two episodes. But be sure to bring a hanky.

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–Into the Woods soundtrack   This was my dad’s favorite Broadway show of all time and we saw it with Bernadette Peters back in the day, so I was thrilled to see it was coming to the big screen. I haven’t even seen the movie yet (soon!) but am loving the music. Sondheim is the most clever theatrical rapper there is. The lyrics are beautiful and poetic, and the bigger message about life in and out of the woods is timeless. (Cinderella: “How can you know who you are til you know what you want, which I don’t?)  As Eli told me– he’s my one kid who loves show tunes as much as I do–  the story is about what happens following “Happy ever after.”  Careful what you wish for!

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–Real Housewives of Beverly Hills    Sooo much better this season! They got rid of the two creepy weirdos from last year and scored the goofy, fun, candid Lisa Rinna and her pal, soap opera actress Eileen Davidson. The houses. parties, and shopping sprees are still outrageous, the hair and makeup completely over the top, and the cat fights extra scratchy. Sure, Yolanda is out of touch with reality, but somehow she’s still endearing and a good mom. Brandi is trashy and so clearly in need of therapy it’s like watching a tall white Cadillac Escalade with blinged out wheels crash in slow motion.  Great TV.

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–The Affair    A lot of fellow TV junkies are raving about this show but Wilson and I thought it was mediocre. The concept is compelling– a story of an affair of two married people, culminating in a murder mystery, told from his and her points of view. But some of the writing was lame and the way they bopped around the Hamptons and Brooklyn when they should have been hiding in hotel rooms was bonkers and unrealistic. Oh but did I mention Joshua Jackson is unbelievably hot?? I don’t care how good The Wire was, I can’t imagine a world where one would choose the overcompensating greasy curls and weak character of Dominic West over Jackson, the brooding cowboy. I will say that the last 3 episodes were great and hooked us in for next season.

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–Trivia Crack     Jacob introduced me to this app on my phone and it’s an addictive diversion when on-line at Trader Joe’s or commuting home. You answer questions in several different categories in less than 30 seconds, and can play against friends. The questions aren’t that hard (yet) so it’s a nice little ego boost and feels like a better use of brain juice than say, scrolling Facebook.

Are any of these sucking up your time? What are your latest pop culture obsessions? Tell me in the comments.

I rubbed elbows with Jon Hamm at HBO’s Girls party

That’s right kids, I was partying with the stars last night. My entertainment producer-friend Alicia, invited me to be her plus 1 at HBO’s extravaganza celebrating the premiere of the fourth season of Girls. 

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HBO invited what seemed like nearly a thousand of its nearest and dearest to Manhattan’s Museum of Natural History to view the first two episodes of the new season and eat, drink and be merry with all the pretty people associated with the show.

Seriously, it was hard to find anyone even plain at the event, it was so jammed with long leggy models, wanna-be starlets, waifish “serious” actors and actresses, and many of their astoundingly attractive significant others.

There was a red carpet– complete with paparazzi and screaming fans desperate for a selfie with anyone recognizable–  although we missed that part and headed straight into the screening. Creator, writer, director, and actress Lena Dunham came out with writing-producing partner, Jenni Konner to intro the season, thank everyone for coming (you’re so welcome,) and subtly poke fun at the press.

Both episodes were great and made me laugh a lot. They reminded me a bit of the first season, with the opening scene of Hannah and her parents at dinner discussing her life choices and making some pointed, insulting remarks about how they chose to show their “love and support,” while she was figuring things out. Then she heads to the famous University of Iowa writers workshop, which is fodder for all new quirky characters and chances for Hannah to humiliate herself in her unique way.

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After the shows, we strolled through several displays of taxidermy and artifacts to get to the hopping party. There were many star sightings on the way: Natasha Lyonne (Nicky), Alysia Reiner (the evil warden) and Pablo Schreiber, (aka Porn-stache) from Orange is the New Black, Questlove and Steve Higgins from Fallon, John Oliver, a bunch of SNL-ers, including Cecily Strong and Jay Pharaoh, Rita Wilson, and many more faces you would know more than names.

We got a couple of cocktails and took a loop around the balcony, where there were tables set up for guests to get free manicures, hand massages and make up applications.

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Alicia and I got hand massages and free Bliss products!

Then we made our way downstairs and pushed through the sea of people. It was a gorgeous party– the food, flowers, lighting– but not over the top or glitzy. Very New York. Very Girls.

As we made our way around the room, we noticed certain tables were reserved for every star of the show.  So we might have lingered longer around Zosia Mamet’s table, where exec producer Jenni Konner was standing in a hot red strapless jumpsuit, yapping with Lorraine Bracco.

I so wanted to approach her and tell her she has my dream job. I thought she might enjoy hearing she’s inspiring to other writers and TV fans. But Alicia advised me against it. So instead I just stood near her trying to overhear her conversation for a few moments, in hopes of gleaning some life advice that would set me on a path to writing riches.

That’s the thing about going to parties like this. We didn’t know anyone there enough to chat with them, so we just wandered around looking for famous faces and acting like it was all completely normal.

We walked past Allison Williams’ table and I got a little flutter when I saw my newsman Brian Willliams there supporting his daughter. I would have loved to tell him we watch him every night and my kids say “Goodnight Brian” to the TV at the end of every newscast, but I would have sounded like a nerdy super fan, so I just kept walking.

Williams looked amazing. All the stars of the show were glammed up and lovely up close. We stood about 20 feet from each of them at different points in the evening, and each was striking, with glowy skin– particularly Jemima Kirke. I guess it helps that they’re all still so damn young.

Here’s a photo of all four stars mugging on the red carpet.

We had heard Jon Hamm was there but didn’t see him until we were almost leaving. I was strategically leaning against a table in Lena’s area when she walked in with her boyfriend, fun singer Jack Antonoff.

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That’s Lena talking to Adam Driver & girlfriend. Her bf Jack is behind her on the right.

There was a little buzz, and then the gobs of minions jammed at the bar parted like the Red Sea as Hamm walked towards her table. He had to pass me to get through and for about five minutes he stood talking to someone behind me and we were back to back (elbow to elbow) in a cramped area.

Alicia and I just kept talking about work and TV shows, like it was no biggy. The proximity was actually rather anticlimactic. (Although I admired the snug fit of his jacket which hugged him in all the right places.) Shortly after, we decided to go.

As we were exiting the building, Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley– who is extremely hot up close– smiled as he held the door open for his stunning girlfriend, and then for us. It was a great way to end the night.

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I almost forgot about the swag bag! It was heavy with Girlsy goods, including:

I love wine tote bag (totes cute) 
Wade and belle not too tights (will definitely wear these)
Sunglasses (typical giveaway crap but good for kids)
Argyle Happy socks (classic Hannah wear)
Post shaving/waxing lotion for girls  (probably will never use)
Base coat/top coat nail polish in sparkly bag (very useful!)
Bliss anti-aging mask (fancy!)
Dark chocolate covered caramel (ate one on train home)
Flowered le sportsac (retro chic)
Loreal redlip gloss  (not my color)
Tinted moisturizer/Sunscreen  (will try it)
Eyebrow oil (didn’t even know that was a thing, much less how to use it!)

For photos of boldface names (and some randoms I didn’t know) plus party decorations, check out Vogue’s slideshow here.

FYI, HBO announced at the party it has picked up Girls for a fifth season, before the fourth has even started. Who knows who I’ll rub up against next year?!

Mazel of the week goes to “The Andy Cohen Diaries”

If you wanna know what it’s really like to hang in the celebrity crowd– from the Vanity Fair Oscar party to weekends with the Seinfelds and Fallons in the Hamptons– late night Bravo host Andy Cohen’s new book, “The Andy Cohen Diaries,” will be your new guilty pleasure.

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The book is a take off of “The Andy Warhol Diaries,” a gigantic tome of the artist’s daily activities and bitchy impressions of all the celebrities he encountered partying nightly in Manhattan in the late 80’s.

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Cohen was fascinated by Warhol’s commentary and thought it would be fun to detail a year in his life at the epicenter of pop culture in New York today.

It is fun.

The book’s subtitle,” A Deep Look at a Shallow Year,” suggests Cohen knows that some of the minutia– daily weigh-ins and workouts, two-hour massages, selfies galore– is frivolous.

But it’s all real, and if you want to know if stars are really like us, this is your book.

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A pop culture moment: selfie with Kim Kardashian’s ass on the set of his show,   “Watch What Happens Live” (Instagram)

In many ways, Cohen is still a fan and gets excited and even nervous to interview and hang with his childhood idols like Cher and Madonna, but he’s also an insider who finds himself in some crazy situations that bear sharing. He’s chatting at a party with Malala Yousafzai and Lady Gaga, he’s pigging out at Sasha Seinfeld’s bat mitzvah, he’s hitting the beach with Sarah Jessica.

Here’s an excerpt from my review:

Cohen — host of a late-night talk show on the Bravo network and executive producer of “The Real Housewives” series franchise — worked hard to get where he is, but he makes it look easy. A typical day in his downtown Manhattan playground includes a workout with his personal trainer, a romp at the dog park, lunch with friends, a meeting or conference call, a nap, hosting his show and drinking with pals until the wee hours.

His writing style is conversational and tight, infused with snarky and self-deprecating humor. He sticks to a diary format, which includes everything from activities to weigh-ins, to random thoughts and dream analysis. But he often uses only first names, and no explainers, so an index or family tree of his Algonquin round table of pals would be helpful.

An engaging storyteller, he creates a narrative with reappearing characters, including his hilarious, bossy mother, Evelyn. Other players range from the famous — talk-show host Kelly Ripa, actress Sarah Jessica Parker and musician John Mayer — to the amusing — his loyal doorman Surfin, an overly chatty flight attendant and his butt-kicking personal trainer, affectionately called “the Ninj.”

Cohen addresses the obvious risk in recording his every move and mood in the book’s subtitle, and in the introduction. He owns the name-dropping and navel-gazing, but has the honesty, wit and confidence to pull it off, striking a balance between being self-involved and self-aware. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and isn’t afraid to point out behavior gaffes and personality flaws.

You can read the rest here.

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Andy fell in love with a rescue dog this year he named Wacha, after a player on his
beloved St Louis Cardinals (Instagram)

Cohen’s been promoting the book all over. Here’s a funny interview he did with Stephen Colbert this week.

I loved the book. Not only is it a gossip fest and a peek into the lives of the rich and famous,  it also captures a moment in pop culture and in New York, like Warhol did. Maybe Cohen’s book will inspire some young kid watching Bravo tonight to dream big. I’ll look for his diaries in 2039.