"Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

 "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"

Credit: TLC

Watch Mama's mayo-phobia take hold in this 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' clip

In a show dedicated to weird moments, this may be one of the weirdest

If you've missed "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" since the first season ended, take heart. Not only is the show back for an oddly timed Halloween special Sun. Jan. 6 at 9:00 p.m. (upcoming specials include a Thanksgiving-themed show Sun. Jan. 13, a clip show Sun. Feb. 10, and a Christmas special Sun. Feb. 17), this latest episode features a very weird highlight -- Mama's mayo phobia. Yes, she's afraid of that staple of redneck cuisine, mayonnaise. Watch this clip to see her personal struggle. With mayo. Also of interest? The family debate over whether or not mayo is a form of meat. 

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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Past Suppers'

Will the risotto curse strike again as the chefs recreate past recipes?

Before we get started, a real moment with the chefs. Sheldon sharpens his knives every day. Stefan applies wrinkle cream every day. Discuss.

Anyway, Padma welcomes the chefs to a Quickfire Challenge with Master Bladesmith Bob Kramer. He makes custom knives that sell for $500 an inch. So yeah, you're not picking up any of these at Williams Sonoma anytime soon. To prove they're worth the money, Kramer demonstrates that he can cut an inch-thick knife with a single thwack. Holy crap. These would be great murder weapons for the discerning serial killer. 

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"American Horror Story"

 "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' recap: 'The Name Game'

Monsignor Timothy and Sister Mary Eunice go head-to-head
As the proverb goes, it's always darkest before the dawn, but I suspect dawn will never come to Briarcliff. Instead, the asylum seems pitched into an eternal state of gloom, and while some brave souls try to fight the system, I don't hold out a lot of hope for them. The darkness of this place is so oppressive, so unrelentingly black, it overwhelms at least one character this week. No spoilers here, but I will say this is one episode that demands your full attention, even as it skips over more details than I would have liked. 
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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: 'Press Down and Strip Bare'

Things get skeevy when Phaedra, Apollo, Cynthia and Peter head to a strip club

Last week, we saw Kenya and Walter end their tortured (and possibly fictitious) relationship in dramatic fashion, a tragic (or, depending on your perspective, richly deserved) car wreck to wrap up the gals' trip to Anguilla. Or maybe we just thought we saw that, because apparently, it ain't over 'til it's over, and the fat lady has yet to sing. Oh, she's gotten naked and flapped her flabby nether regions at a strip bar with many of her toothless friends, but we'll get to that later. Anyway, no singing. 

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"Project Runway All Stars"

 "Project Runway All Stars"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'There's No Business Like Sew Business'

Elie Tahari guides the designers through a ready-to-wear challenge

So, the designers walk down Fifth Avenue (or, as Josh calls it, Fifth Ave, which makes me want to smack him to death with a designer purse) and end up at Elie Tahari's flagship store. Their challenge is to create a "wow" ready-to-wear look that can retail at $500 to $700. The winning design will be sold at all of the Elie Tahari stores and proceeds will go to Save the Garment Center. Mondo won this challenge last season. No pressure. 

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"Downton Abbey"

 "Downton Abbey"

Credit: AP Photo

Watch the first 10 minutes of 'Downton Abbey' and get wedding fever

Mary and Matthew get ready to wed in this taste of season three

Can't wait another minute for the third season of "Downton Abbey"? Really, the first episode airs Sun. Jan. 6, so it's quite unrefined to get that keyed up. Consider drinking some tea or something. Luckily, knowing how high strung we Americans are (not so high strung they couldn't hold off on broadcasting the season here more than three months behind its U.K. air dates, but whatev), the powers-that-be have posted ten minutes of the first episode on Facebook. As you might have guessed, the place is buzzing about the long-awaited nuptials of Matthew and Mary, but that doesn't mean there isn't drama and an ominous sense of foreboding.

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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: AP Photo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Jalapeno Business'

It's a roller derby duke out and Josie loses her cool
I love it when "Top Chef" forces our cheftestants out into the big, bad world, blinking and shivering like frightened moles. This week, they get to frolic in the bay, shucking oysters, slurping them down, and then worrying about what awaits them back in the test kitchen. Probably something involving oysters. Just a guess.
 
The Quickfire Challenge is simple: the chefs must make oysters for Emeril! Five will make hot dishes, five will go cold. And how will that be decided? Chefs who grab a red apron get to cook hot, the rest get stuck with blue aprons and cold food, as it seems the appeal is really to make a hot dish. The winner will get $5,000, and they get 25 minutes. As expected, there's a rush on red aprons. I've never been an oyster fan, I have to say, so I don't have much to add on this challenge, I have to say. 
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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Is 'Real Housewives of Atlanta''s Kenya the queen of denial or did Walter lie?

Kenya's quest for a ring goes awry, but whose fault is it?

Before we get into the issue of The Proposal That Never Was, we might as well address the fact that the world wideness of the Interweb is crackling with the suggestion that the whole relationship between Kenya Moore and Walter Jackson is (gasp!) fake. Quelle horreur! How could a reality TV show present something that isn't 100 percent true? That was, yes, manufactured for our entertainment? I'm having a touch of the vapors, I tell you! Someone fetch me a fan! 

Actually, if this is true, it would be a huge relief. Walter seems so thoroughly bored as Kenya flutters and twirls around him like a psychotic Disney princess that I want to believe she's humiliating herself on national television for a greater goal than a crappy ring and a bad marriage. If she's doing it for money and a book deal like every other woman on these shows? Well, then she's just one of the gang!

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Top 10 of 2012 - Reality TV by Liane Bonin Starr

Reality TV Top 10 of 2012: The year things got lowbrow and I liked it

Polygamists, conspiracists and rednecks all make the cut this year

This year, like so many years before it, was overflowing with reality TV. But, amidst the usual screaming Housewives and singing competitions, a new niche really took hold in a substantive way. Yes, 2012 was the year of redneck reality, and just as you might expect, it's something you either love or hate. I'll admit that I veer into the love end of the spectrum pretty often (and a few of these shows even made my top ten). Some of these shows do tend toward exploitation, but more often they capture something sorely lacking in so-called reality TV these days; people who don't appear to be acting. It turns out a little reality in our reality TV can be compelling. Go figure.

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"Jersey Shore"

 "Jersey Shore"

Credit: MTV

'Jersey Shore' ends it all with some decidedly icky 'Icing on the Cake'

A gross prank infuriates Mike 'The Situation' and a plastic duck has to die

The time has come to say good-bye to Vinny, Pauly D, Sammi "Sweetheart," Mike "The Situation," Ronnie, Jenni "JWOWW," Nicole "Snooki" and Deena… except for spin-off shows, cameo appearances on sitcoms, future reunion shows and God knows what else. While the "Jersey Shore" cast doesn't seem to be fading into the background anytime soon, there was still a poignancy to the final episode. And, yes, some infantile pranks and pointless fighting and the death of a defenseless duck phone, but poignancy nonetheless.

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