Happy Wednesday, the world is over. Someone, a "major character," will soon be kicking the bucket on be-Missoni'd teen soap Gossip Girl. So says the internet, at least! But who will it be, and how, and why? I guess we'll have to worry ourselves into anxious little balls of cigarette smoke and sadness until the funeral episode drops during November sweeps. In the meantime, though, we can speculate. Take a stupid hump-day poll after the jump and tell us who you think is going to that big, sprawling, but cheap! for poor people! DUMBO loft in the sky.
Guillaume Depardieu, the estranged son of renowned actor Gérard, died today from complications relating to pneumonia at a hospital outside Paris. He was 37. An actor himself, Depardieu received acclaim early in his career for the 1995 film The Apprentices. He costarred with his father in several films, most notably Aime ton père (A Loving Father) in 2002. Though, dark clouds seemed to often occlude his successes. Depardieu had problems with heroin in his early 20's, serving a year-long prison sentence for smuggling. Also, a year after he won the César Award for Promising Newcomer for Apprentices, he badly injured his leg in a motorbike accident. In 2003, suffering from years of pain due to a bacterial infection, he decided to have the leg amputated. It was the same year that he had a public falling out with his father, writing a tell-all book in which he called Gérard a drunken miser, essentially. He also revealed that he'd once acted as a prostitute in his teenage years, partly to rebel against his father. There's no evidence yet to suggest that his death was related to either his injury or his drug use. Either way, a difficult, scrutinized life ended too soon. [AP]
Oh dear. Last week we told you about that actor who killed himself in Korea partly in response to some homophobic online attacks. And now, when looking at a larger trend of suicide in that country, it appears that Korea may have a dangerous internet bullying problem on their hands. The International Herald Tribune reported yesterday about the death of Choi Jin Sil, a Korean actress who committed suicide after a series of vicious internet attacks:
I guess there are probably two camps on this story, about an Indian reality show star who will have her reaction to a cervical cancer diagnosis broadcast around the entire subcontinent. Some feel that Jade Goody, a British woman on the Big Brother-esque reality program Bigg Boss, should have had her tearful reaction to the news she received over the phone kept private. Others, like me, feel that these are the few moments when reality television actually feels like, well, reality. Remember when Danny's mom passed away on Real World: Austin? It was terribly sad and awkwardly on camera, but it also transformed Danny from complete drunken buffoon into actual, sympathetic person. I'm not saying that he needed his mother to die in order to become "real," rather that we on the on the other side of the glowing box can be pretty jaded-we forget that, beyond the silly feather ruffling and preening, these really are people with lives and mortality and family. It's a bitter little pill to swallow, sure, but I think it lends an air of legitimacy to a landscape that is, for the most part, lacking in that department. Well, except for Beauty and the Geek which is sweet and lovable and all about feelings and makes me happy. That show is pure gold. But these other ones, especially this Bigg Boss where I hope Ms. Goody makes a speedy and full recovery and that maybe she's helped raise awareness for vigilance in detection and prevention, shouldn't be at fault, in my opinion, for airing these difficult moments. Reality show "stars" (contestants? participants? guinea pigs? victims?) may mostly be signing up to have their drunkenest hot tub kadoodle flicker on their horrified parents' television set, but once in a while something true and difficult and all-too-relatable will happen and you remember that, despite all the silliness and Jell-O shooting and gonorrhea having, in the words of High School Musical, we're all in this together. And that's a good thing. (Also you should really just read the article because it's sort of crazy and reads like a book about magic. India!)
Tim Russert died. I'm not sure if you've heard. But, yes, the Meet the Press moderator and dedicated D.C. journalist passed away, at a too-young 58, last week and the media has been in a frenzy since. Jack Shafer at Slate (among many others, I'm sure) feels that the coverage is a bit overdone. Yes Russert was by all accounts a good guy and a good worker and just one of those decent people that feel in short supply, especially in Washington, especially in the media. But isn't it still a bit much? All the tributes and montages and teary testimonials. I mean, nearly every life deserves parades and fireworks and tears and montages when it ends. But, because this is on TV and people are being paid, somewhere, doesn't this seem all a bit circusy? Maybe that's cynical, but television has, to some extent, earned our cynicism. If this is indeed a "circus," then where does it rank among other notable, much-covered celebrity deaths? A writer for Psychology Today says it's the biggest death since John Lennon. We disagree. We'll put this all in some context after the jump.
Britney Spears, the living embodiment of Slimer from Ghostbusters, was very moved by last night's Idol Gives Back. She donated $25,000 to aid malaria relief in Africa: "She didn't know much about the disease, so she Googled it. She was horrified to realize kids were dying from mosquito bites. So she went online and donated after getting [her dad] Jamie's permission. She used her Amex." [Showbiz Spy]