As the year ends and we reflect on all that's transpired, it's easy to forget the Hollywood follies. Yet when I consider all that has gone on in La-La Land, it warms the cockles of my TV-shaped heart.
But I will say one thing: Thank goodness this year is almost Oh-Ho-Ho-ver!
This year has been marred by rude behavior, wacky surprises, ridiculous programs and tragic deaths. The few pearls of light were dim compared to years past. That said, I'll give you my Top 10 Entertainment Stories for 2002.
1. The Courtship of J.Lo and Ben Who would have guessed that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck would hook up? She says this is really it, but I thought she said that with Cris Judd, her second husband, whom she married and ditched within a year's time. She says she and Affleck are meant for each other, although he looks like he's been completely overhauled! (His undies never stuck out of his jeans until J.Lo.) I don't think this is a match made in heaven — or Maid in Manhattan for that matter. Don't be surprised if J.Lo and Julia Roberts end up next to each other in rocking chairs one day wondering where they went wrong.
2. Winona Ryder's Shoplifting Trial
I don't know if I'm more shocked that she finally got caught (rumors are this wasn't her first time "lifting" merchandise) or that her misdeeds seemed like major news. Ryder's now B-list, at best and if she's dropping pills and picking up free sweaters, then she's another good girl gone wrong. So what? No jail time for her, of course, so at best she kicks the habit (habits?) and has a career resurgence in, say, 2005. We'll be waiting.
3. The Rise of Eminem, the Actor
His exorbitant album sales were certainly not a shocker. After all, the kids have to have someone to follow, but who'd have thought the guy could act? Some critics said his stint in 8 Mile wasn't much of a stretch, but others hailed him as the new James Dean. Either way, the movie was a smash hit. The guy's talented, no doubt, but can he write another 12 songs about his mama? I will say this: Anyone who can rhyme a lyric with "Munchausen syndrome" is doing something right!
4. Reality TV Hits New Lows
It's not that I never heard the "f-word" before. It's just that I'd never heard it used as a verb, noun and adjective, all in the same sentence, until The Osbournes came along. The utter crassness of Ozzy's clan might explain the show's initial success, but we've since learned to love them as a realistically fiendish family. Now our greatest concern is not the cursing, but the cancer that has stricken the family matriarch, Sharon.
Then there's Anna Nicole Smith. Until her show came along, I didn't think it was possible for me to care to care less about a human being than, say, a grain of rice — and I know I'm not the only one. Her pathetic excuse for a show about her life, or lack of one, has her babbling on and on about nothing in particular to a couple of stragglers she calls her entourage.
It started as a ratings blaster that seems destined for disaster. The buxom blonde is gearing up for another season, but based on the previous episodes, she's running out of nothing to do.
5. Predictable Breakups What was less surprising: Angelina Jolie filing for divorce from Billy Bob Thornton, or the three-month marriage of Lisa Marie Presley and Nicolas Cage?