And thinking about it makes me cringe. Every day for the past week, we have been hit with dozens of new stories: "Swine Flu in Iowa?" "Swine Flu in Johnson County?" "Swine Flu in Iowa City?"
But because this is an arts blog (and I don't really buy that we're all going to die from a virus named after an animal--read: avian flu scare), let us distract ourselves with the pandemics that are taking over Hollywood.
So what is a Hollywood pandemic? Well, it's sort of a trend, only more sickening and costly to the health--mental, emotional, and yeah maybe even physical--of popular culture. It's a widespread addiction. Much like a virus, it hits and takes hold of its recipients under the radar, and one day, we realize, "Hey, I think I may have something."
1. Reality Skank Spin-Off Pandemic- This terrifying wretched virus has been slowly creeping through entertainment media for years. However, it has reached a new low. Bret Michaels' reject Daisy De La Hoya now has her own show. Nevermind her obnoxious voice, fake-boobs/lips/nose (?), and acting skills that give away the 'reality' ploy (is it just me or is this show scripted?)... What about the guys vying for her? Tools, old greasy rednecks, rockstar wannabes, and high-school/college dropouts.
Hef's cooky ex-girlfriend Kendra Wilkinson premiers her reality show in June, titled *Kendra* (clever, no?), because she's engaged and planning a wedding with soon-to-be hubster Hank Baskett. Although I'm not sure exactly where the producers are going with this show, I'm thinking Kendra and her obnoxious laugh will only grace the reality world with their presence for one season.
And we all knew that Tiffany "New York" Pollard would never graduate from VH1, despite her best attempts to break into showbiz in Hollywood. Her new show, *New York Goes To Work* premiers Monday. Viewers can vote each week to choose what job the HBIC does next. Uhhh.... *Simple Life*?
Symptoms: An inability to change the channel during the show, accompanied by in-depth discussion and/or analysis of characters' motives, emotions, inner beauty...
Warning Level: Yellow (i.e. High-risk, but can be prevented with mind-sanitization techniques and/or acquiring a real a social life)
2. My Baby is my New Accessory Pandemic- Want to know who's pregnant in Hollywood? Pretty much everyone. And if they're not, we suspect they're just not admitting to it, as the tabloids have so aptly revealed with constant 'baby bump' photos. The next-generation of beautiful people is booming. Nicole Ricci is due with her second baby in the late summer/early fall; Broadway power-duo Idina Menzel and the ever-so-sexy Tae Diggs are expecting their first around the same time.
Other cases include Miss Katie Holmes and the adorable Suri Cruise. The mommy-tot team are almost always photographed together. Is it just me, or does that baby have amazing style?
So instead of new bags or new fashion statements, celebrities are turning to designer babies, and we are gobbling them up in the press.
Symptoms: The intense desire to be 'with child', especially for years at a time; the purchase of one or more Fendi/Prada/Luis Vuitton diaper bag(s)
Warning Level: Red- I don't see this one ending until the tweeners take-over Hollywood
3. "I used to be hot, now I'm super hot" Pandemic- Celebrity make-overs. We've been seeing them more and more in the tabloids as of late--maybe because Britney hasn't done anything scandalous to warrant press lately or the paparazzi are running out of things to photograph. Angelina Jolie, Demi Moore, Katie Holmes, Brittany Murphy, and Carrie Underwood are just a few of the celeb ultra-hotties that have changed over the past few years, whether through natural or unnatural means. And of course, we ALL want the idealogical beauty bar to be raised.
Symptoms: An increasing number of flawless people
Warning Level: Orange (danger is imminent!)