Between the hard-hitting investigative journalism, humanity-revealing candid shots and gimlet-eyed fashion criticism (i.e. "Hilary puts the Swank in swanky!") that are the bread-and butter of the celeb weeklies, there are always dozens of pages of miscellaneous, evergreen filler that we occasionally read and think, "Someone actually had to write this." [Yes, and one of us here has, thank you very much! -Ed] These stories are to the weeklies what wheat germ and
lips 'n assholes unspeakable body parts are to white-meat McNuggets, and in a slow news week like this one, it's where the difference between a $3.49 and $1.99 cover price really shows. After the jump, we assess the quality of this week's celebrity throwaways.
- Star's juiciest filler feature is about Rachael Ray's crusade against studio audience members who dress tackily. On-set, she bans prints, velour pantsuits, sweats, T-shirts, sequins, capri pants, ripped jeans, and tank tops. This is the best kind of filler: While clearly based on a single horrified email sent by a sequined, denim capri-pant-wearing reader from Tuscaloosa, the weirdness of the story makes it seem juicy. Grade: B+
- In a more prototypical filler feature, Star runs a four-page guide to picking up celebs which "stars" Steve-O and Lost actress (wait, someone gave this ho an actual job? On an actual network television show?) Bai Ling divulging the top 5 pickup lines that worked on/for them, respectively. Bai: "Are you gay?" Steve-O: "Can I tempt you with this joint?" Grade: C
- InTouch gets the prize for most dubious filler content for the two pages it runs this week suggesting the contestants of this season's American Idol are actually hybrids of two previously-established celebrities, with Sanjaya being the cross of drunk churchgoer Paula Abdul and Harold & Kumar Kumar Kal Penn. Grade: D
- US fills two spreads, starting on page 66, by resurrecting celeb yearbook photos you've seen on 1,000 reruns of E! True Hollywood Story and using them to pose the question "Would They Have Dated In High School?" to Mo Rocca. This type of filler is a favorite of writers, obviously, because they get to e-mail Mo Rocca, and we enjoy being reminded that some celebrities are older than 23, and some even existed in the era of overteased-hair. Grade: C
- Life & Style, a magazine not long ago almost wholly comprised of filler, runs a story (page 72) on celebrities and hypnotherapy, detailing how Fergie, Martha Stewart, Drew Barrymore and Debra Messing all used hypnotherapy to conquer addictions and fears (Debra was afraid of being underwater!) Another page is devoted to fun facts like about how the average woman spends 385 hours a year shopping, which we think sounds low, since we spend at least that much time per year standing in checkout lines trying not to buy these fucking magazines. Grade: D.
- Finally, US devotes an entire page (70, for those of you following along!) to asking Ashlee Simpson how she manages to stay thin (Ashlee says if she wants bread, she doesn't eat a whole loaf... just a few slices!). We also learn that Ashlee wants to collaborate with The Cure. Grade: A+
Rachel Ray Enforces Strict Dress Code [StarPulse]