Friday, January 18, 2008
BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
I love Hannah Montana. Not in a creepy Roman Polanksi way, but in a hearking-back-to-simpler-times way, when kids were Hooked on Phonics not narcotics, when they went to recess not rehab, when Greg smoking cigarettes was cause for A Very Special Brady Intervention.
For those outta the loop, Hannah Montana is the titular character on a popular Disney Channel show starring Miley Cyrus, daughter of Billy Ray “Achy Breaky Heart” Cyrus, who also plays her onscreen dad. Miley’s a normal ninth-grader with a secret known only to her family and two best friends: She’s pop sensation Hannah Montana! As the theme song proclaims, she’s “got the best of both worlds.”
Sure, the secret alter-ego premise has been flogged senseless, and the show’s homespun homilies border on Clampett-esque cornpone, but it has a certain appeal largely attributable to Cyrus’ goofy-sweet charm and her palpable bond with Dad.
It might seem odd, even childish, that a Mature Grownup Adult like myself gets a kick out of a kiddie comedy, but so what? Don’t judge! The simple truth is: It’s refreshing to see a kid act like a kid, both onscreen and off.
So it was with sorrow that I learned of the “scandal” currently rocking Hannah fandom. While other celebri-kids ignite controversy over nude photos, drugs or a bun in the underage oven, Cyrus is on the hot seat for the comparatively innocuous crime of using a body double in concert. Holy Vanessa Hudgens, say it ain’t so!
On her sellout tour, the entertainer employs a double for less than a minute while Hannah changes costumes. The stand-in dances and makes singing motions, hiding her face to eliminate the need for lip-synching, exiting quickly when the star returns as Miley.
News flash: Miley Cyrus is an actress. Actresses frequently use body doubles. The only difference here is that she did it onstage rather than onscreen. It's not like she got caught pantomiming to recorded vocals because her "acid reflux" (cough, Ashlee Simpson, cough-cough!) was acting up.
Is the media so desperate for dirt that this is all they can dig up on a 15-year-old so wholesome she makes the "High School Musical" cast look like the tough kids hotboxing Marlboros behind the gym? Would they rather she had a rap sheet instead of Hello Kitty bed sheets? (A fact I know only because I watched Billy Ray’s “Home at Last” reality show once at my mom’s when I was really bored and there was nothing much on TV and again, don’t judge!)
Some are taking the exposé in stride. "I don't think they were trying to fool anyone,” says an online message board poster. “She needed a breather … to make that particular outfit change.” Others, however, are crushed. “She was my role modle!” writes a devastated, spelling-challenged fan.
Cheer up, Hannah-maniacs … Miley's still a great role model. Just ask any teenage boy who’s had to wait 45 minutes instead of 45 seconds while his girlfriend changed clothes.
Friday, January 04, 2008
BY BELINDA M. PASCHAL
New Year’s resolutions. I don’t make ‘em. Never have, probably never will. After all, I’m like Mary Poppins: Practically Perfect In Every Way. But without the cool, aerodynamic bumbershoot.
Of course, I’m kidding. I’m the first to admit I’m far from perfect, but I don’t see the point in choosing a specific day to make a significant, life-altering commitment … which might explain why I’ve unloaded three wedding gowns on eBay in the last decade.
Seriously, though … if I’m determined to change, I can do it just as well on Groundhog Day as on January 1. Sure, I understand that New Year’s Day symbolizes a fresh start, but for me, every day is a fresh start. And not just because of my rapidly advancing short-term memory loss.
I see myself as a work in progress, unbeholden to the constraints of time. I’ve watched friends have nuclear meltdowns because they’ve jazzercised and Tae Bo’ed till their teeth sweat, but haven’t shed X-number of pounds by a certain date. Lemme tell ya, it’s a lot less stressful to take it one day at a time, ‘cos if you’re still fat on Monday, there’s always Tuesday.
When it comes to resolutions, I say, “If you don’t make ‘em, you won’t break ‘em.” Actually, I do make a few resolutions … just not for myself. I make them for those lacking the sense to know what’s good for them: Celebrities.
Last year, Britney Spears told “Extra” that her resolution for 2007 was “to take care of me more.” Yeah, that worked out real well. This year, she should shoot for more realistic goals like, “Start a therapy fund for little what’s-his-name and the other one” and “Don’t give Jamie Lynn parenting advice.”
Paris Hilton, given a new lease on life after a stint in the slammer, told Larry King she wanted to “do something humane.” Here’s an idea: “Retire from acting and singing; take up needlepoint.” Or perhaps pottery. She’s less likely to hurt herself with some nice, soft clay.
Extolling her own virtues in a September interview with Q Magazine, Avril Lavigne said: “I’m a very giving person. When the hurricane thing happened, I went to my closet, filled six boxes of stuff and said to my assistant, ‘Take it to Katrina!’” Avril, honey, you’re all heart! For 2008, I suggest: a) Buy a ladder to help you down from that high horse; b) Send money to victims of “the hurricane thing” instead of size-zero Hot Topic hand-me-downs; and c) Ask the Wizard for a brain.
Other proposed resolutions:
* Lindsay Lohan: Two words. “Designated” and “driver.”
* Amy Winehouse: Next time they try to make you go to rehab, say, “Yes, yes, yes!”
* Don Imus: Ditch the radio gig and join the rap world, where racist, sexist remarks equal big money.
* David Hasselhoff: No more videos of you drunkenly eating hamburgers on the floor. At least not without a napkin.
And last, but not least, to Pamela Anderson: Put those things away, will ya? You’re gonna put out somebody’s eye one of these days.