cracked actors

June 1, 2008

the LA times continues to deliver on “hills” related news. their story today? “Former cast members of ‘The Hills’ complain of bad editing, sudden exits”. it’s about the frustration of forgotten secondary characters as lauren and co. leave them in their wake. there is, of course, the requisite bitching from gavin. there is also the sad, sad story of elodie:

Hoping to capitalize on her 15 minutes, Otto quit Bolthouse and started a line of bath and body products, but nothing worked out according to plan. Her time on the show was cut back, and as she waited for a loan to clear on her fledgling company, she tried to find work elsewhere.

“It’s just hard,” she says. During job interviews, prospective employers ignore her resume and just want to know what it was like to work with Montag.

“Everybody thinks my whole life is great,” she says, “that I have my own company and I live at the beach and have a boyfriend and I have my own line and I’m a gazillionaire. But no.”

i don’t really think anybody thinks that, but, still, awfully sad. for me, though, the real joy of the article was the focus on jessica trent, the publicist at people’s revolution who was made to look stupid so that whitney would look comparatively smart. my take on this, from a couple of months ago:

…and either way, the drama is real because la publicist jessica is getting totally bitchslapped by kelly cutrone here. she is not only getting bitchslapped in real life, she is getting bitchslapped on television. it’s similar to the elodie situation: this is not some fake job for her, this is her real job, and at her real job, she is getting upstaged by a TV character. it would be like if i was the cool guy at my office and everybody liked me and then my boss hired jim halpert, like, literally, jim halpert from “the office,” and then i was by comparison forced to be a total loser, even if i was a cool person and i was great at my job. look at jessica’s face in this scene after whitney upstages her. like that is discomfort and hatred and jealousy and just bad feelings all at once and it feels so real. all her friends know she’s on “the hills” and they watch it and i’m sure to reassure her they will say things like “oh, that show is scripted, it’s so fake” and she will say the same thing, but even if that is all completely true, she still got bitchslapped by her boss on television for everybody to see, with her name in a chyron under her so it is tied to her identity forever.

and of course, because of the editing, this is all TOTAL speculation (that should be the alternate title for this blog). we have no idea how long this meeting was, what was discussed, what and who were cut out. it is so highly compressed that who knows what kind of truth it represents. yet we (ok, i) still speculate and search for something in it.

i also made a catty comment about her lipstick, which i regret now that i am trying to write a rhapsodic post about her. her take, from her personal blog:

Well friends….what did you think of tonight? Some day I will have the most amazing book to write. For now, only allowed to say so much. A sweet girl from VA swallowed up into the firey gates of fashion hell. I am laughing as I knew these scenes would be coming up. Though maybe not to the degree they became. I’m sorry my family was so worried about me. Ah well, for some it probably gave them great pleasure to see me appear dimwitted or sad on the mocu-drama, and you know thats fine if it gives some folks some satisfaction. Honestly. For others with more developed minds, they’ll see crafty editing turning a real person into some faux dolt persona for the entertainment sake of the televised machine..

(aside: it seems that we continue to hear this, over and over, time and time again, that editors are the real villains in hollywood, that editing is the deadliest weapon. has that been a horror movie yet? it should be. the evil editor – he splices, he cuts, he renders! i remember being really disturbed by that movie “the final cut” with robin williams but i don’t think it was on purpose. are editors socials pariahs on the reality scene? are they ostracized at cocktail parties, do they get drinks thrown in their faces by celebutantes and realitards?)

jessica trent’s blog is called “la steel magnolia” and is subtitled

l’officiel blog of jessica trent (you may have known me as jessica trent nichols). so many lives in this one life. moved around too much and here’s a way to keep in touch.

yes, all of that. i clicked the link in the LA times article and devoured the contents immediately, in their entirety. it was pleasurable in that obsessive, binge-y sort of way – clicking the “older posts” button again and again is like the sort of decadent sugar trance of digging farther and farther into a pint of ice cream until you convince yourself that there’s not enough to save so you might as well finish it. the feeling i got reading it was a weak echo of the feeling i got the long afternoon months ago when i read the whole of julia allison’s blog. i love doing this sort of thing, even though i rarely am moved enough by a person’s voice to want to. when i do, it’s like the internet equivalent of really connecting with a person and having one of those amazing conversations with them where time just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. of course it’s not really that thing, it’s virtual, it’s voyeuristic and one sided and i’ll admit kind of creepy. it’s not the same as a real relationship. the risk is eliminated, which for a loner like me is wonderful, but then without risk there’s no possibility for anything tangible, anything other than a simulation of epiphany and an imitation of happiness. wow, that’s negative and depressing.

(okay, but now i am coming back to this after ten minutes of idle image grabbing and i thought of memoirs, like the kind you get at the library or at a bookstore. my thought is: if i read a memoir in a long afternoon, if i read speak, memory or experience or my beloved everybody’s autobiography, i wouldn’t be an obsessive weirdo wasting time, i would be a reader, broadening my horizons and filling out my personal canon. i wouldn’t have to feel guilty about it, i could hold the glow of that virtual friendship and empathy and love without self consciousness, i could even be proud of it. so what is the difference? the medium? i read fear of flying in college because i was in love with a girl who loved it and while i thought it was pretty good, i don’t see how it’s any better than julia allison’s blog (i know FOF is a novel, whatever, i don’t need facts to make my points). you read memoir because you want to feel close to someone or you want to understand them more deeply or you want to hear their story in their words. why does it matter if that experience comes on a paper page or on one made of pixels? obviously julia allison is not gertrude stein and leonora epstein isn’t even candace bushnell, but if i get something out of reading them, what’s wrong with that? why must pleasures be guilty?)

((is it perhaps the possibility of communication that makes it feel weird? like, i know i will never be able to talk to martin amis or gertrude stein, but it’s not inconceivable that i could exchange an e-mail with JA? is that why it’s weird, because in a way it’s a little too real and not virtual enough? is it because instead of the dead tree finality and closure of published books, blogs are always living and changing and being updated? is it because, to get back to editing, personal blogs don’t have editors besides the person writing them – there’s no one at 12:38 a.m. when that person’s drunk or horny or alone telling them not to hit the post button and because of their instantaneous nature there’s a lack of polish to them that’s human in an oft beautiful yet also vaguely unsettling way?))

anyway, here are my favorite parts of jessica trent’s blog, for your consideration. what i’m doing is editing, too, but i’m doing it for good, out of love. does that make it any more right or wrong, any more true or false? who knows. it’s at least a little more productive than staring at myself in the mirror and that’s enough for two in the morning.

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