Kursed by Kardashian; Garry Marshall turned 80

Garry Marshall is probably best know for being the creative force behind such TV shows as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork and Mindy, and The Odd Couple.

kim-kardashian1There is infotainment in popular culture that I chose not to know, such as just about anything about the Kardashians. I can’t help but know there’s a bunch of sisters, some the daughters of the late OJ Simpson murder trial attorney Robert Kardashian. All their names begin with the letter K. They have (had?) a reality show that must be popular. Kim has a child named North West.

There becomes a time, though, when “everyone’s talking about it.” I was watching this ad for a new game show called Celebrity Name Game, hosted by soon-to-be-former late-night talk show ringmaster Craig Ferguson. Courtney Cox is giving a clue, “She’s on TV and she’s got a big butt,” and the contestant immediately responds, “Kim Kardashian.”

I would have had no idea. Seriously.

Shortly thereafter, I become inundated with KK news. She’s on an ad for the show Two Broke Girls, playing herself. Kim sues an actress for copying her poses and having a large butt; apparently, she’s very litigious.

Then, there are the recent magazine shots, which Mark Evanier helpfully described as having “her bare butt glistening with oil and, it would seem, her waistline photoshopped down to make it thinner, therefore making her butt seem bigger.” And then she showed even more.

Fortunately, KK’s bottom did not get as much social media response as the recent comet landing, so she failed to “break the Internet,” whatever that means.

Not knowing about Kim Kardashian was really nice. And now I can’t unknow it.

Garry-MarshallIn general, I’m just not that social media aware. Of the 50 items listed in The Best Memes of the Last 15 Years, I had not heard of 2/3s of them. I’m perfectly fine with that.

Oh, I do need another topic here.

I managed to miss the fact that Garry Marshall turned 80 on November 13. In case you don’t know him, he’s an actor. He was a writer for the Dick Van Dyke Show in its later years. He directed several movies such as The Princess Diaries, Runaway Bride, Pretty Woman, Beaches, and The Flamingo Kid. He’s probably best known for being the creative force behind such TV shows as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork and Mindy, and The Odd Couple.

Thanks to newspaper writer Mark McGuire, I discovered something. Those of you who watched The Odd Couple might remember the intro (WATCH): “On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife.” Thus that date, November 13, was not random, but rather self-referential.

For next year, know that, according to McGuire, “Happy Odd Couple Day… can celebrate the fact that opposites attract. It can be a day to give a shout-out to old friends. It can commemorate one of the all-time great comedies. Really it can mean just about anything you want it to mean.”

Here’s the Password episode
Speaking of Jack Klugman (sort of), Glen A Larson has died. I was an avid watcher of Quincy, M.E., as well as McCloud, Switch and It Takes A Thief. He was also involved with Magnum P.I., Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, and much more.

F is for Fame

The impressive skill about Lady Gaga is, whether you’ve heard her music or not, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ve heard of HER.

I was reading some news aggregator one morning late last year, probably MSNBC, when there was a tease about “pre-fame Courtney Stodden pictures.” Naturally, I said to myself, “Self, I have no idea what a Courtney Stodden is.” As it turned out, though, I had heard in passing about the event that provided her greatest notoriety. She is the now 17-year-old would-be singer/model who married actor Doug Hutchison, best known for his appearance on the X-Files, who was 50 at the time of their marriage in May 2011.

So Courtney Stodden is “famous”?  I don’t THINK so.

Famous is, to steal a phrase from the lyrics from the CHEERS TV theme, “where everybody knows your name.” Or at least most people. The President of the United States, by virtue of his title, is famous. Muhammad Ali is famous. Paul McCartney is famous, although Who Is Paul McCartney was trending on Twitter last week after the Grammys. Tiger Woods was famous before he became infamous. Certainly in the United States, Oprah Winfrey. Elizabeth Taylor (pictured) was surely famous. This has less to do with whether you LIKE a person, and more about if most people can identify them.

Some entertainers go through an arc, where only a handful of people know them, then – if they are lucky – lots of people know them, but if they are around long enough, they may recede in fame. I saw the recent Muppet movie, and I wondered how many people recognized Mickey Rooney, an octogenarian actor, and knew who he was.

Back in 1992, I used to read PEOPLE magazine. 20 years ago, the number of potentially famous people seemed fairly manageable. But with the explosion of cable programming and the deluge of reality television, all sorts of people are vying for my attention. As a result, I know far fewer “celebrities”, percentage-wise, than I once did. This is neither a complaint nor a boast, just a fact.

So Michael Jackson was famous, but not sister Latoya (from The Apprentice). Sylvester Stallone may be fairly famous, but his brother Frank? Not so much.

I’d never seen a picture of Khloe Kardashian (was she REALLY her father’s daughter? don’t care) until 2012. I seriously don’t know/don’t care/can’t keep track of which Kardashian is, or is not married to which sports star. (And if you don’t know what a Kardashian is, don’t worry about it. Really.) This not to say that if you DO care, you oughtn’t to; it’s just that it’s beyond MY understanding.

Of course, repeated exposure will make someone famous, or at least noteworthy, whether you want to care or not. I remember taking the JEOPARDY! test back in 1998 and getting a clue about some young woman who married some old guy. I could not come up with the name of Anna Nicole Smith. But eventually, her constant exposure (so to speak) drilled her presence into my mind.

The impressive skill about Lady Gaga is, whether you’ve heard her music or not, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ve heard of HER. She is great at self-promotion.

I’ll end with the obvious, FAME by David Bowie, who turned 65 last month and is fairly famous, still.

ABC Wednesday – Round 10

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