Welcome to Midweek Madness, our weekly binge on the sort of celebrity content we usually try so fastidiously to avoid every other day of the week. In which we "read" the Wednesday tabs. So you don't "have" to.
This week — in part to protest the media dominance of Time Warner properties in the ongoing saga that is the life of a certain hotel heiress, in part because it is summer and they are lazy — the tabloids mostly eschew Rhymes-With-Ferris to tackle woefully-undercovered subjects such as Tom and Katie [It's 'Kate' now, dammit. -Ed.], Angelina and Brad, babies and... the occasional government contracting controversy! In fact, Star brings us the most improbable sentence in a Wednesday tabloid ever: "Crist has decided to replace them with 16 field nurses and 7.5 call center nurses — which is a 77 percent reduction in the nurse-to-patient ratio" while In Touch brings us... Shar Jackson's pregnancy test! After the jump, we tackle the Big Stories with Intern Maria.
Us Weekly ("100% Paris Free!")
•Cover story: "Hollywood Baby Album!" Us clearly put a Herculean effort into coming up with Paris substitutes this week, starting with this eleven-page spread on Hollywood babies — the very definition of "filler topic"! A semi-creepy "My Life So Far!" sidebar on baby Suri (page 45) is written in Suri's imagined first-person voice.
•Although week's "hot story" for all of the magazines was Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake's romantic Scandinavian getaway (pages 30-31). Us isn't as dick-sucky towards Timberlake as the rest of the tabs — early to the backlash, wethinks? — noting that he "turns women into Debbie Downers" and that he threw a tantrum in Sweden when some fans asked him to pose for pictures with them.
•Us also sports a preview of an upcoming interview with Nicole Richie in Nylon (page 56), which is a more refined twist on the "exclusive about an exclusive" feature. Nylon — unlike Atlanta Peach and Genre two magazines whose "exclusives" are reported "exclusively" this week by Page Six — is a magazine we have actually heard of.
•More filler! "Us Investigates" probes deep into the minds of 100 women at Rockefeller Center as to whether they would "rather date Prince Harry or Prince William" (66% said William!); "Have Michael Lohan or Joe Simpson as your dad?" (78% said Simpson, because making inappropriate comments about his daughter's tits is a lot classier than securities fraud!); and "Share custody with David Hasselhoff or K-Fed?" (63% said K-Fed). (Pages 58-61.)
•In more substantive content (not!) Us brings in the big guns of Hulk Hogan to declare "winners" in celebrity feuds (pages 62-63). [SPOILER ALERT: Tom Cruise beats Germany, Samantha Ronson beats Candy Spelling and Elizabeth Hasselbeck beats Rosie on grounds of "Rosie isn't a true friend."] A "bonus section" features LeAnn Rimes' "Hot-Weather Hairstyles" (pages 64-65), which, in our opinion, beats Paris news any fucking day of the week!
•Cover Story: "Hollywood Baby Secrets!" (pages 48-55). More baby filler stories, which include the following huge secrets: Britney might not be the most mature mom (page 50) and Angelina lets Shiloh suck on a diamond-encrusted pacifier (page 52), because nothing says "I Am Africa" like a pacifier mined by child slaves!
•Meanwhile, on page 47, Star reports on more details of Timberlake's tantrum in Sweden, which involved the tossing of water bottles ping-pong balls and spitting on fans who had gathered below his hotel room. Jessica Biel reportedly "watched in horror" but she's still gonna stick with the asshole because this is pretty much the only thing her career is riding on right now.
•In its strangest story Star reports on an AIDS-related, health-coverage scandal in Florida we'd never heard about (page 38). It is, according to an "insider" at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, "the kind of stuff that has Hollywood up in arms." Too bad it, uh, doesn't! The story quotes nary a celebrity, celebrity representative, celebrity flak or Hollywood "insider" professing "outrage" over the scandal, which basically amounts to Florida Governor Charlie Crist awarding a health care contract to a for-profit health care firm.
•Cover Story: "World Exclusive! Inside Tom and Kate's Marriage!" (pages 36-39). Could Kate [That's better -Ed.] and Tom actually be living normal and happy lives together? Could Suri's cuteness factor be the reason that the celeb weeklies have decided to flip their opinion on the couple? Or did the editors at In Touch decide to suck it up already and try Scientology? Also, what's up with Katie's [Here we go again. -Ed.] new haircut? It's pretty, right? But isn't it weird when ladies get their hair cut suddenly after having babies?
•Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie's rivalry is back because they're both promoting products at the same time! This could only mean that they are still at each other's throats about Brad Pitt! (Pages 40-43.)
•Shar Jackson gives In Touch an exclusive denying her pregnancy rumors (pages 26-27). Can someone explain to us how this can be "exclusive" when Shar already filed a lawsuit against Star denying the selfsame pregnancy, and lawsuits are public documents, so it's like "exclusively" between her and ALL OF AMERICA? Must be that video of Shar "taking the test" at intouchweekly.com! Wow. It's really hard to make Britney Spears seem classy, but Shar really excels at it.
•Speaking of classy, In Touch documents stars' boobs from smallest to largest (pages 72-73) by guesstimating their sizes with the aid of some dude from The Swan and a random gynecologist. Bonus! Includes the famously creepy quote from Joe Simpson on his daughter's massive sweater puppies!
Life & Style
•Cover Story: "Angie vs. Brad's Family: It's War!" (Pages 28-31). Uh, in case you glossed over the news reported for the past three weeks in the celeb weeklies, Life & Style is here to spell it out for you: Brad Pitt's mom likes his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston! A lot! They hung out recently! At Jen's house! We'd feel like we'd read this same Angie-is-jealous-of-Jen story fifteen times now save for the new sidebar of, "Meanwhile, Jen's Dating" (page 31).
•Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo were photographed nekkid in a hot tub in Mexico, where they went to escape all the media attention from those Lindsay knifeplay photos. (page 24-27). (Question: Why is "knife play" a phrase that just sort of rolls off our keyboards now? Is this even a real thing?) So we guess this means Nick forgave her, right? We can just sort of see him saying, all cheesy-like and whispery: "Next time some sexy photos of you wind up on the internets, baby, it's going to be pulling MY clothes off, got it?" Ugh. Puke.
•Ashlee Simpson spent a reported eight-hours at a salon (pages 52-53), which is controversial because she shouldn't neglect her very promising career in... whatever the hell it is she does!
•Lastly, it looks like the ombudsman over Life & Style is still upholding the validity of Spencer Pratt as a news subject. Who knows, you know: People made fun of the Washington Post for pursuing that two-bit burglary for so long; maybe The Hills is their Watergate! At any rate, Spencer's silicone-stuffed girlfriend Heidi Montag pops up on page 64 (get it? "pops up"?), while Spencer-nemesis and Teen Vogue cover-girl Lauren Conrad is dissed as a "Style Slipup" (page 81) by the likes of Road Rules "star" Theo Von. Ouch!