Saturday, April 7, 2012

Burning Questions: The Thai-TV Edition, Vol. 1

When did Jada Pinkett-Smith become such a strong actress? Her TNT series Hawthorne was cancelled last year after three seasons, but like a number of defunct U.S. and UK shows (including Must Be the Music, a British TV star search that might be more suspenseful had it not originally aired way back in 2010), it's still in rotation on Thailand's Sony channel, where it's now in its final season, and which only just finished airing the Desperate Housewives season in which Edie Britt was killed off.

I know exactly how it feels to have your safety zone turned into a danger zone after being invaded by thugs, and when Pinkett-Smith's title character, the head nurse at a Virginia hospital, was brutally attacked outside of her workplace, the actress nailed the emotional turmoil that follows (much like the astonishingly un-Emmy-nominated KaDee Strickland did last season on Private Practice). Even more impressive: She sells the notion of a romantic competition between Marc Anthony (as a good-hearted cop) and Michael Vartan (as her surgeon husband), which would seem to be a no-brainer choice, if you ask me. (Yes, I'd pick the one who's fluent in French, not Spanish!)

Has Kelly Ripa always been so appealing? I have no illusions here. As much as I enjoy The Marriage Ref, which I also caught on TV in Melbourne, I am well aware that the American Idol for warring spouses wouldn't attract such impressive guest judges if it weren't for the involvement of Jerry Seinfeld.

But who knew that of all the panelists -- which have included Emmy winner Alec Baldwin, Grammy winners Mary J. Blige and Patti LaBelle, and Oscar nominee Julianne Moore, all fantastic -- one of the the ones I'd remember and enjoy the most would be Ripa, whom I caught when she was on with Seinfeld and Baldwin? (LaBelle and Bill Maher were equally appealing, but one expects to be thoroughly entertained by them?)

I never saw her daytime talk show when I lived in the U.S., and to my knowledge, it doesn't air anywhere I've lived since, but I'm beginning to feel regretful, like maybe I was missing out on something. Please feel free to reassure me that I wasn't.

Do I have to be rich to get on The Millionaire Matchmaker? No, I'm not looking for my millionaire match -- or any other kind of match. Not at the moment, at least. (Another reason why you won't find me Dating in the Dark.) But despite the abrasiveness of Patti Stanger and the utter stupidity of her clients, one of whom came across as creepily and predator-like as she warned him he was being, I find myself watching and wondering what she'd have to say about -- and to -- me.

Will I ever overcome my addiction to crime-time TV? Who needs Law & Order, Criminal Minds and Damages, when the real-life stories on the Crime & Investigation Network (minus Dog the Bounty Hunter, which I'd find unwatchable if it weren't for Dog's hot sons) are so compelling and, well, real.

Why are people into cranky reality-TV stars? I'll pass on Flipping Out (which I actually first saw in Melbourne), The Rachel Zoe Project and The Real Housewives of New York because, frankly, if I wanted to watch cranky, bitchy, entitled Americans, I never would have left New York City.

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