The Anatomy of Success

Tony Phelan wanted to be a professional actor. Unfortunately, one of his acting professors at Yale, where he was getting his undergraduate degree in theater and medieval history, told him, “You will never be an actor. You’re just not good enough.”
It is probably safe to say that at Cornell, a majority of the study body has probably felt as though they weren’t good enough. But how many students have actually had a professor say it to their faces — maybe I’ve just had nice professors — but I’m guessing not that many. It’s gotta hurt. Thankfully, all was not lost for Phelan. His professor suggested the possibility of directing, and then he landed the job as the co-executive producer, writer and director of the hit television show Grey’s Anatomy.

Documenting the Brooklyn Blues

Students take pregnancy tests, hand over drugs and run from cops all in the hours before they trudge into class on the first day of school. These are not the typical scenarios that we see on television teen dramas nowadays. On Monday afternoon, Cornell alum and writer/director Trac Minh Vu ’97 presented a screening of his TV pilot Red Hook High, where students are as far away from the luxuries of the good life as they can get.

The Neverending Story

I’m going through a TV crisis right now and I blame it all on Scrubs. Well, not really just on Scrubs, but on the prevailing belief that the longer a television show runs, the better the show. Think about it. Friends, for instance, will be forever known as the sitcom that ran for ten seasons. But really, Friends could have ended after its eighth season. It would have been remembered just as fondly, perhaps more so.

Class It Up, Tyra

Since you might not be buying new Trina Turk tops and Tory Burch sandals for spring break this year due to the recession or a yanked trip to Mexico, I am going to rant this week about America’s Next Top Model. Yes, this is a fashion column geared to the Cornell community, but I thought that in the spirit of vacation I’d take a break from ripping into the campus clothing mistakes. So this week, feel free to fake ’n bake or wear leggings inappropriately without risking a call out on your orange glow in print.

Livin' the California Dream, Boobs and All

Showtime really messed up the other day, for which I am ecstatically grateful: when my roommates and I went to watch our On Demand, ready-for-viewing copy of the Californication premiere, there was not one but two episodes of Californication in my On Demand box. Two. As in: the premiere and next week’s, not aired yet episode. Showtime, I love you, and I promise to not say anything bad about you for at least another 3 to 6 months.
I was so excited about this that I called my mom to tell her (my life is not very exciting these days).
“Mom, guess what!”
“One of your stories got picked up by The New York Times?” (She likes to dream big.)
“Noooo … Showtime screwed up and gave us the second episode of Californication.”

The Timely Death of Total Request Live

MTV has recently announced that it will put Total Request Live (TRL) on indefinite hiatus this November. As sad as I am to say goodbye to a show I haven’t watched since I was about 14, it’s 2008, and the program deserves to be put to sleep.

TRL has been the stage for not only budding celebrities and “buzzworthy” videos, but also for movie promos and falling stars’ meltdowns. In 2001, Mariah Carey scared the pants off of host, Carson Daly, when she ran, completely unannounced, across the TRL stage in her pajamas. Just days later, the singer checked herself into rehab for extreme exhaustion.

Backstreet Boys perform on TRL on Spring Break

Fringe: A TV Show That Might Not Suck!

I’ll be the first to admit — I had given up on Señor J.J. Abrams a while back. I loved Alias until about the third season, when Jennifer Garner’s character lost her memory and Lauren came and everything got wayyyyy too angsty. Then apparently Vaughn died and Sydney got pregnant with Rimbauldi’s baby or something crazy and it all just got to be too much for me and I quit. I gave up on Lost much earlier — around midway through season two, because the TV in Dickson 4-5 was annexed by these kids who only played video games, and I was too lazy to walk over to Donlon and watch. In fact, the only Abrams show I’ve made it through entirely is Felicity, which to this day remains my favorite of all of them (and is the least Abrams-esque).