Monday, December 28, 2009

What's In and Out for 2010: Entertainment

Our annual review of everything that’s in and out in society, politics, fashion, the arts and life in general. Today: Entertainment.


1) Taylor Swift. Swift is all of, what? 12? 13? But she seems to have taken over the known universe with her pithy country numbers about love stories and white horses and, um — oh, who am I kidding? I’ve never listened to any of the words. But I do know that Kanye West thinks that Beyonce did a better video than she did, and that’s what matters.

But it’s not all-Taylor, all-the-time. Lady Gaga has filled the bizarre outfit gap left when Christina Aguilera started wearing real clothes, and Susan Boyle has sold more albums than The Beatles, Elvis and Slim Whitman combined. And older artists continue to plug away, with Bruce Springsteen coming off one of his most successful tours ever and Paul McCartney still selling out stadiums. Rod Stewart, unfortunately, has now covered every song ever written and has been forced to retire to his yacht with his 20-year-old wife.

2) Vampires. If you’re watching a movie or a TV show or reading a book right now, I can only hope someone in it is getting his or her blood sucked, or else whatever you’re watching or reading is out. Vampires are everywhere, thanks to “Twilight,” “True Blood” and books like the Darren Shan saga — they’re the new black. But 2010 will see the release of the “Wolfman” reboot, so you can expect werewolves to come roaring back in as well. Frankenstein is still out. Sorry, Frank.

3) Smart TV. TV in general is out, although recording shows on your DVR and never watching them is in. But some good TV, including droll dramas like “Mad Men” and “Glee” and intelligent comedies like “30 Rock” and “Modern Family” are in, at least among smart people, i.e., the ones who aren’t watching “Jersey Shore.” As for reality TV, it seems like it will never die — sort of like vampires — but the truly exploitative stuff is out. Sorry, Guidos.

4) 3-D. Let’s face it, unless the characters appear to be reaching out of the screen to forcibly bludgeon you, why would anyone go to the movies? We can only hope that in the future all films are 3-D, even ones like “Julie & Julia,” so audiences of middle-aged women can scream when the boeuf bourguignon flies out of the oven — AIEEEE! (Middle-aged women are also in, as long as they’re Meryl Streep.)

5) Michael Jackson. Turns out dying was, if nothing else, a good career move. Unfortunately, to paraphrase Daffy Duck, he could only do it once.


1) Kanye West. It probably goes without saying that he’s out, for interrupting Taylor Swift (see “IN,” above) at the MTV Video Music Awards, which amazingly are still on every year. Although it seems to me we should be thanking Kanye for coming up with the single most spoof-able public moment since Neville Chamberlain came back from Germany waving the Munich Agreement.

But he’s not the only one who’s out. Our tween girl moles tell us the Jonas Brothers have fallen off their pedestal, owing at least in part to their Disney Channel show, “Jonas,” in which they play morons. Nick Jonas is even starting a side band he says he’s modeling on Bruce Springsteen’s; interesting that the Jonas Brothers keep citing influences like Springsteen and Elvis Costello, but they keep making music like the Jonas Brothers. (Elvis Costello is in.)

2) Oprah. Well, it may be a little misleading to say that Oprah is “out.” It’s more like she’s off, as in off her syndicated talk show, which ends in 2011. She says she wants to retire, travel the world and spend more time with her Stedman. Oh, wait, I read my notes wrong: She wants to take over the world with her own TV network (appropriately called OWN). Let me be the first to welcome our new Oprah overlords.

3) Crime dramas. After killing off unfortunate victims using every imaginable method, and some unimaginable ones, it seems oddly fitting that the SVUs of the world would be dispatched by — Jay Leno, of all people. But even though Jay is taking up five hours a week of formerly scripted drama, he’s not “in” either; in fact, most people watching “The Jay Leno Show” spend the whole time waiting for Mariska Hargitay to show up with the autopsy results.

This left poor Conan also out (remember him?), just in time for David Letterman to come out with his sex scandal. The only truly in late-night hosts are Stewart, Colbert and Tom Snyder. Yes, I know Tom Snyder’s been dead since 2007 — that’s how bad it is out there.

4) Creepy 3-D. Remember what I said about 3-D? I meant cool, peppy 3-D like “Up,” not creepy motion-capture 3-D like “A Christmas Carol.” Not that the way Scrooge’s ultra-realistic wrinkly and pockmarked skin contrasts with his glassy, dead eyes isn’t impressive. It’s just not in a good way.

5) Aging actors. Are the John Travoltas, the Denzel Washingtons, the Robin Williamses losing their luster? And did I really just write “Williamses”? Regardless, go see one of their films, for old time’s sake. They’re in all of each other’s movies anyway, so you only have to see one.

Next: In and Out in Sports

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