Showbiz Commentary: Heidi Oringer

Melanie Griffith is a wee bit … how shall I put it? Freaky! Yes, that’s it. Freaky! There, I said it. Plain and simple and I won’t take it back. I have plenty of reasons to feel this way, though.

Why Freaky? Reason No. 1:

Let’s start with those inner tubes on her face … I believe the scientific term is lips. She had a perfectly nice pair. They did what they were supposed to do (and probably what they weren’t!). I never heard anyone say they saw food drop out of her mouth because her lips were an inadequate size, but Ms. Griffith felt it necessary to increase their volume again, and again.

Now she looks like a cartoon character with an allergy. Or like she’s wearing wax lips as an accessory. (Remember those? You put them on for fun, then chewed them up and spit out the whole tasteless wad in about two seconds.)

For the record, Griffith denies having anything done to her face. She does admit to having had a boob job after breast-feeding her daughter Dakota (from the second of her two marriages to Don Johnson). “I didn’t make them bigger — just had them put back where they belong,” she told the Orlando Sentinel in August.

Griffith even laughed off a tabloid story that claimed she had undergone a $100,000 makeover. “How could anyone have that much work done on their body?” she told Liz Smith. “I mean, wouldn’t you notice?”

Well, I for one notice a difference. And it sure seems like plastic surgery to me … unless those killer bees we keep hearing about finally made their way to Hollywood, and she attempted to kiss them into submission.

Of course, Melanie is free to distort her face however she deems necessary. And she apparently does deem it necessary, because those lips aren’t the only thing that looks different to me. Now, if she’s had work done, that’s OK if that’s what she wants, but the doctors obviously did a crappy job. And when you come out looking all strange, don’t pretend you don’t. That’s just weird.

Why Freaky? Reason No. 2:

There are the addictions. Or what I like to call the “Many faces of Melanie.” She was treated for an addiction to alcohol. She was treated for an addiction to cocaine. And now, her most recent spin, an addiction to painkillers. (What’s left — paprika?) She has sworn off all these vices and now contends this is really it. She’s finally sober and happy.

I’m not saying you’re a “freak” if you become addicted to something. It happens to lots of people. The thing is, if you’ve been addicted before, and you have had “bad luck” with other drugs, why would you try yet another? And if you know you have an addictive personality, why would you come out swinging and add the extra burden on yourself when you’re already fragile?

You may be thinking, “You’ve got some nerve and what’s your beef with Griffith?” So I’ll tell you: I’d gladly let the woman live her personal “La Vida Loca.” Make tailor-like alterations to her face. Toot, shoot and reboot. Whatever. Except for one thing. She’s decided to share her battle with her fans via the Internet. Yes, Ms. Melanie has her own site at www.melaniegriffith.com.

And why has she so courageously decided to spill her addicted beans? Because she says this can happen to anyone.

Hello! Calling Melanie Griffith! You’re not just ANYONE!

Spiritual Shill

Let’s review: Her mother was a famous movie actress (Tippi Hedren, as in The Birds). She’s been nominated for an Oscar. She lives a Hollywood life. She’s been a spokesmodel for a major cosmetics company. And, she’s been married to some of the hottest men on earth — Steven Bauer, Don Johnson and Antonio Banderas. I’m afraid these things make Mel a little different from the rest of us.

“But Heidi, we’re all just humans trying to get along!”

Not exactly!

You see, on Melanie’s Web site, which is also part of a bigger organization called “OneWorldLive.com,” she shares more than just her recovery journal. She also talks about her inner goddess, gives some tips on how she exercises her spirituality and, oh yeah, did I mention she sells lots of stuff from her Goddess Collection? (This would be a great time for the Church Lady to yell, “How conveeeeenient!”)

Melanie has gotten together with a whirlwind of “advisers” and “gifted” friends to present a variety of ideas and, yep, things to buy. And you know what else? Every time you go into a different room on the site, there’s some more advice and something else to buy. Starting to see the pattern here?

If you enter the Web site’s “Dream Room,” Melanie draws you in with an intimate look at how she gets away from her crazy life and enters her own “Avalon.” She offers a special little prayer that she finds helpful and kindly proposes one for her visitors to use. (With instructions that say “insert your name here.” I’m not kidding.) And low and behold, next to the Dream Room, there’s the Meditation Room, and that leads you to various Web sites that sell things.

Next to the Meditation Room is Goddess Candles. Guess what they sell there?

Defending Melanie

In her defense, she does have a “Goddess Giving” section in which she focuses on a different charity every month. Now it doesn’t say anywhere that the “Goddess” proceeds go to the specified charity. But Melanie does say she will use her celebrity status to call attention to people in need. Brava!

So what is it I’m trying to say here? Celebrity is celebrity, and common folk are common folk, and never the twain shall meet. I’m sure Melanie means well and thinks she may be able to reach out to someone, somewhere who may be going through a similar situation. Unfortunately, the “Who are you kidding, the glass is practically empty” side of me says this is just another way for another star to make another dollar.

And please understand that I am in no way making light of addiction. I know many people who have had to face those demons. (I myself am addicted to sarcasm, which at times can be extremely toxic.)

I say if Melanie is really interested in helping, she should talk about it, up front and personal. No gimmicks, no candles, no goddesses … just her.

Melanie, if you want my advice: Get out in front of the cameras as you so gladly do for all your celebrity events. Open your heart, open your mouth, and don’t ask people to open their wallets.

Let’s hear Melanie talk about the ugly side of things … the side that lets people see when you’re addicted, you’re not a movie star, you’re an addict.

If she does that, people will listen. Big lips or not!

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.

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