Friday, December 16, 2005

Us Weekly Photo Death Match - Issue 566 - Dec. 19, 2005 (Simpson-Federline Tie)

As with last week's Match, I had to pick up this issue off the newsstand. You'll be surprised to know there's really not a lot of money in Robotech-themed celebrity obsession, a fact I partially credit for yet another delay this week. Take heart in knowing that our subscription is back on track, Gloval having assigned no less than a task force to assure its timely delivery in the future.

(1) Jessica Simpson. 11 images.
Us will milk a good seventeen feature articles out of Jessica's separation from that stubbly fellow without even breaking a sweat. That's sort of why I love them, actually. Are the estranged couple talking? Are they torn up on the inside? Or are they just shopping and golfing? These are the questions fielded in this week's installment. (Answers by the way are: Depends On Who You Ask, Yeah Sort Of I Guess, and Most Definitely, respectively.) But while we're talking about Jess, what's up with that pic in the above right of the cover? Girlfriend looks like a gangbang star crossed with a velociraptor.

(tie) Kevin Federline. 11 images.
Meanwhile, every other half -blonde couple in L.A. are scrambling to keep up, putting their troubled-relationshipiest foot forward. Far and away the best and brightest of the bunch, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline continue to tantalize with the wild uncertainty of their feud. Did Britney confiscate the Federrari? Is Kevin shopping for a divorce lawyer? Did the two cuddle through Memoirs of a Geisha? Are they fighting in those vague gas station photos of the pair with ominously open mouths? Can any of us remember the name of that kid of theirs? Us contributes impressively little to the discussion, but cackles wildly at every opportunity to print the word "marijuana," or any of its vernacular approximations. But for all of Us's efforts to cast Britney sympathetically as a "a devoted mom" struggling with an irresponsible husband, the simple fact is that K.Fed outperforms Britney two to one, Brit mustering no more than five shots. Fascinating indeed, and truly an MVP performance on Federline's part.

(3) Jennifer Aniston. 9 images.
Much as I'd love to shrug this one off, Jen really earns it this issue, bouncing back from a couple pitiful weeks by running up in all sorts of pictorials, and without the aid of a substantial feature story. I'm compelled to admire her hustle.

(4) Oprah. 8 images.
Apparently there was some sort of Cold War going on between Oprah and David Letterman. I guess if you don't show up on a talk show for sixteen years, it's considered an act of aggression. Admittedly, that's always been my excuse, but I sorta figured that in Oprah's case it had more to do with hosting her own goddamn talk show. Finally, on December 1st, Oprah tore down the wall, appearing on Letterman's program amid absurdly elated media fanfare. To this day, reports persist in suggesting that this was some kind of major moments of broadcast history, and not simply a Best Week Ever teaser item. As it happens, I had cause to pass by Letterman's studio twice that day. Television reports made the scene out to be some sort of near-riot, fans frothing rabidly to be a part of this milestone. You know what it looked like? Any other Thursday, that's what. Letterman, by the way, nets four images.

(5) Angelina Jolie. 7 images.
Still covering Brad Pitt's efforts to legally adopt Jolie's children, Us gives the lippy one the lion's share of the page space, granting three shots to Pitt and two each to Maddox and Zahara.

(tie) Madonna. 7 images.
Who's more totally awesome? Madonna? Or Gwen Stefani? Ohmigod, that's a tough one - hey, let's do a pictorial feature about that! Stefani earns six shots.

(tie) Nicole Kidman. 7 images.
Is she, or is she not, engaged to country star Keith Urban? And is she, or is she not, maniacally compelled to entangle herself with the most random assortment of zeros? (Q-Tip, I should mention, is excused from that dubious distinction.)

(tie) Russell Crowe. 7 images.
Seriously, enough with the Cinderella Man ads.

Other notable showings include Lindsay Lohan's five, Nicole Richie's four, Paris Hilton's two, and Jeremy Piven's one. Mary-Kate Olsen achieves four, narrowly besting twin Ashley's three. Naomi Watts scores five shots, as does Jessica Alba, the latter telling the magazine of her youthful trials with buckteeth and pigeon-toes. "I really had my moments with the ugly gene," says she. But for once it's Us, not the multi-talented starlet herself, that offers the week's most comically unlikely Alba factoid: Us rates her a C-cup. But perhaps that where she keeps that copy of the complete works of Christopher Marlowe translated into Farsi that she's always talking about.

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