Friday, July 28, 2006

Snakes on the Motherfucking Catwalk

Look people. I get it. I'm a great disappointment to you all. We had a few giggles, shared some digital sushi and Diet Coke, we made New Line an extra fifty million dollars and had a good time doing it. I bared my malignant soul and made you believe I understood, and then I fucked off for three months.

It's annoying. But that's what you get for hitching your blog star to the fat lazy fuck that is the Infinite Monkey. John August said I would burn out and if we know anything in this crazy world it's that John August is NEVER wrong. Of course, John has an assistant that brings him breakfast and a house that is immaculate and his life is organized and witty and light-filled like a Richard Curtis movie. Meanwhile, my desk is covered in loose pennies, baby toys, bottles of antiseptic canine itch spray and a number of snot-filled hankerchiefs from when my son had a cold two weeks ago.

Jesus Christ what do you expect? Even my child is embarrassed to be kin to me, recently changing his name to "Ernesto" and mine to "Franny the Dog."

But I have not forgotten you people. I read your comments. I appreciate your input and for the most part cannot find fault with your opinions. I resolutely delete my incredibly voluminous spam, wondering if it is simply a pox upon my house brought upon by my various blogging sins. Megabytes of binary lamb's blood marked on my door calling to the Angel of Death to wipe out any record of me while I meekly beg mercy to Blogger Help because my files won't republish. I betrayed you by abandoning Hollywood anecdotes and writing about my illness; most of you take Hollywood more seriously than cancer and why shouldn't you? Cancer can only kill you but a funny blog entry can make Dr. Pepper shoot from your nose. And fuck knows we could all use a laugh these days. The world's exploding in a fireball--a planetary IED buried by a wrathful God and triggered by mankind's jackbooted footstep.

And believe it or not I've had things to do. I owe Mr. Fox Broadcasting Company one very large Terminator script and was determined to get it done before our very own nuclear apocalypse made the one in the script feel "dated."

(Note to self: Find/Replace: Skynet/Bush Administration).

But I'm back. Not in a statistically significant way, and maybe never again, but today. And what could bring me out of retirement? Well nothing short of this.

Seriously. Because there's something you don't know about me (very little, but this is some of it): I love America's Top Model. Love it. I love Tyra, I love Jay. I love the other Jay. I love Nigel Barker and think he kicks the shit out of world-renowned fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon. God knows I love Janice and don't think I didn't watch her spinoff show where she started her own modeling agency.

The only problem I've ever had with Top Model is that there's never been any top models on the show. Not a one. While they've always had the staples of any good reality series--drunks, rubes, lesbians, catfights, drag queens, makeovers, confessional cameras and at least one crazy bitch from Brooklyn, the only accurate part of the title "America's Next Top Model" has been "America."

So finally last year on Season 5 there's this girl Nicole and every time she did a photo shoot she whined like Chris Webber but at the end of the day her pictures were great and my wife and I would turn to each other after the episode with this knowing sort of look and say: "Well, that Nicole. She's a fragile little flower. But goddamn that pansy can MODEL." Of course I thought there was no way she could win--Tyra's all about the positivity and Nicole sort of projected this Shleprock loser vibe when she wasn't in front of the camera. But I remember keeping her in my prayers at night and hoping for a little justice in the world.

At some point I decided I wanted to go to that season's finale party so I could root that sad little Nicole on in person. Now the only premiere I've wanted to go to in five years is War of the Worlds and we all know how that went. Most industry events give me the heebie jeebies, and if you ever go to one of these parties I'm easy to find. All you need is the address to my house.

As usual, I waited until 24 hours before the event to decide I wanted to go. My wife asked a friend of ours who was on a UPN show and while she was going she couldn't get us in because it was a "tough ticket." I called TV Agent, who obviously has nothing better to do than bug UPN and try to get me and the wife into a party which is, also according to him, "a tough ticket."

Think on that a minute.

But damn I wanted to go to the America's Next Top Model Finale Party. First of all, and maybe this seems obvious, there were going to be Top Models there. But don't get them confused with "top models"--the ones you see in magazines--you can see that kind pretty much ANYWHERE IN LOS ANGELES.

No. These are Top Models. And Top Models are first and foremost REALITY TELEVISION STARS. And that means two things: a) I know them all intimately from my time spent with them every week and b) they're all fucking crazy.

I don't think I need to explain to you the special kind of insane that comes when you combine nicotine, a desperate need for television acceptance, and less calories per day than those spoiled bitches get on Survivor.

And here's more reasons I wanted to go: a) there was a pretty good chance I wouldn't know a single fucking person there and b) they were showing the finale on a big screen.

So basically it'd be like watching my favorite show at home but eating other people's food. And I don't think I need to write any more about free food.

I still don't know how but TV Agent begs and wheedles and gets me two "tough tickets". I'm jumping up and down at home chanting "Top Model! Top Model!" but the wife finds that a little scary and I stop. Later that day I put on a clean shirt and my one pair of black pants and drag the wife out the door an hour before the event begins.

By the way, I had never even considered wearing sweatpants to the America's Next Top Model finale party. At the time I had too much respect for Tyra to do that. Tyra was like Oprah if Oprah was Tyra.

As usual, because the wife and I (okay, I) are absolute dorks, we arrived before the doors opened. Waiting in line I get a call from Variety wanting to interview me about my part in the Snakes On a Plane phenomenon (I hear there's a phenomenon). The interview goes well but eventually includes this exchange:

VARIETY: It's sort of loud where you are...
ME: I'm waiting in line.
VARIETY: What are you going to see?
ME: Tyra.
ME: I'm waiting to be let in to the finale party for America's Next Top Model.
VARIETY: Huh. Well, we'll just keep that between us.

Whatever, dude. Just because at the time I'd been too sick with the flu to work or play with my child but I was standing outside the Avalon in shortsleeves waiting to watch wannabe models be fierce on the runway doesn't mean you have to assume I'm in some sort of horrible shame spiral. Because I wasn't. And I'm not. Really.

While in line I begin thinking of poor little model Nicole as the screenwriter in the Hollywood that is America's Next Top Model--talented, original, a lone voice of excellence in a world where every one else is too short, too old, or can only make that one face where they don't look you in the eye but want you to look at THEM. She was also immature, self-absorbed, self-loathing and completely unaware how her bitching looked to the people who pay her bills. Like I said, screenwriter. I loved her.

So we finally get in to the party and we're within the first TEN people there and the wife and I cannot be happier. There's free liquor and table service and fried chicken and make your own guacamole and taquitos and pasta and corn bread and lemon squares and brownies and holy shit there's a make your own sundae bar where honest to goodness TOP MODELS are actually EATING! They've got Season 5 sequestered from us but all of the rest of them are out there and goddamn those girls are tall and even a few of them look like MODELS except they'll actually talk to you because remember they're not really models they're REALITY TELEVISION STARS. So if you sidled up to one of them with your camera phone you wouldn't actually have to wait 'til they turned the other way to sneak a picture of the two of you standing together as if friends. Not that I would do that.

And then we all settle in and watch the finale on a big screen - hundreds of UPN employees, transvestites, gay guys, industry bitches coming to see if they're hotter than the Top Models, and me.

We get to the end and holy shit my poor little Nicole charges past Nic and Bree and wins! There is justice in the Top Model world. Talent will win out in the end, and perhaps there is hope for the rest of us little shlubs who simply want to take our little box of beans and sell them for a fair price at the market.

Tyra came out and spoke and goddamn she brought a tear to my eye and I thought I truly loved and was inspired by her AS A PERSON and maybe this was what it felt like to be on the Freedom March or to hear Kennedy speak or maybe it was the lemon square dipped in the brownie sundae and I should just let my wife carefully walk me out of the building before a restraining order was issued.

But that was then. Not anymore. This is now.

And now, well, now she's FUCKING WITH MY FELLOW MONKEYS. She's sitting in her trailer, hair weave more expensive than a week's worth of a writer's salary, footloose and fancy free with her SAG HEALTH CARE and SAG RESIDUALS. She's a suit. That suit may be Balenciaga, but she's a suit nonetheless. My ex-hero Tyra, she of the patent leather bootstraps that she is so fond of reminding us that she pulled herself up by... My ex-hero Tyra, the champion of justice and hard work and keeping your original breasts and smiling with your eyes...Remember on her talk show when she dressed herself up in the fatsuit so she could feel what it would be like to be discriminated against for her looks? I guess that was more fun than dressing up in a WRITERSUIT and feeling what it's like to work sixty hours a week for The C/W's flagship reality show WRITING and not get a proper wage, writing credit, residuals, health care, or the OPPORTUNITY to have your contract negotiated by the Writers Guild of America while your supermodel boss says nothing and hides behind Executive Producer Ken Mok and his legalese doublespeak horseshit.

You have done something miraculous, Tyra, what with your silence and indifference towards those who work for you. Something my wife hasn't done in seven years. You've made me change my mind.

I used to love you, Tyra. I thought you were someone I could follow. But now I know better. You may think there's nothing sexier than watching a dozen underweight and oversexed models work it out on the catwalk, but I will tell you that there's nothing hotter than watching a dozen overweight and undersexed writers work it out on the picket line.

Be fierce, Tyra. Do the right thing.

I'll be watching.