#trudeau2015

What do you know, eh? Stephen Harper holds majority government. Canada, WHY?

Read my 1500 word analysis/rant at the Recently Trendy blog – Top 7 Trends in Canada Election 2011 – Still Harper, Eh?

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American Idol vs. The Voice vs. X-Factor

The premiere of The Voice drew record high broadcast ratings for NBC in recent times, while American Idol continues to dominate among television viewership.  What is it about these televised talent shows that draw our attention?  Read an extensive 1800-word pop culture essay on my Recently Trendy blog!

First of all, let me issue an apology – I totally missed the mark with one of the hottest trends this month. The media has been buzzing with Royal Wedding news for weeks, and I had fully intended to analyze it, but this topic just didn’t inspire me for some reason…even though large-scale celebrity weddings have always capture media frenzy in the past.  I may dabble in a short analysis later this month to summarize the aftermath of the quirkier online trends: the hats, the bald spot, and of course the royal couple.

There are a lot of talent shows on TV lately, although the trend probably won’t sink in right away, since X-Factor won’t premiere until later this September.  I’m personally not a big fan of these reality TV talent shows, but it amazes me that so many people are still watching American Idol into its tenth season.  A lot of people predicted the show would be dead after Simon Cowell’s departure, but that’s obviously not the case.  Despite a lot of criticism about the new judging panel (consisting of three judges who coddle the contestants way too much), there’s still much viewer interest in these types of talent shows.

Take The Voice, for example.  Its star-studded judging panel is obviously a major drawing point (Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine are arguably A-List household names), but the concept itself isn’t entirely too different from what American Idol or X-Factor.  There’s an audition round, followed by weekly live performances, and then followed by routine eliminations.  The Voice’s gimmick is that it focuses on the singer’s ‘talent’ first rather than their ‘image’, which has been a common criticism of American Idol in the past few years.  Nonetheless, it’s not exactly innovative television, yet the show drew over 12 million viewers during its premiere, earning lots of media buzz and positive reviews.

Then again, this trend isn’t just limited to reality TV.  More and more broadcast shows are integrating a musical component in its programming.  Glee is the most obvious example as a comedy/musical hybrid.  Grey’s Anatomy also attempted a musical episode in its most recent season (albeit with mixed reviews).  Incorporating a song and dance routine is a common trend in programming these days.

I’ll look more carefully into this trend once X-Factor airs in the United States, but I’m guessing that FOX will have another hit on their hands.  If so, how long until the other networks take the easy route and copy its success?  Will CBS drag Star Search back from its grave and revive the format once again?  Will the CW integrate a singing component in its Top Model shows?  Will NBC just fill its television schedule with repeats of The Voice 24/7?  These ideas might sound exaggerated now, but don’t be surprised if more and more talent shows spring up in the upcoming years…

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Welcome to the World of Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen

If you ever need to deconstruct the concept of Charlie Sheen (or read his early obituary), visit my 1500 word essay on Charlie Sheen at the Recently Trendy blog.

What is it about bad boys that draw our attention in the media?  By all means, Charlie Sheen shouldn’t be a popular figure.  He’s a drug addict, alcoholic, sex addict, criminal, disgruntled employee, and much worse all rolled up into one.  His notorious reputation precedes him, yet Charlie Sheen always seems to rebound from his scandals with a revived career.

Will he be able to rebound from his latest scandal after being terminated from Two and a Half Men?  I have my doubts.  It’s one thing to order escort services behind closed doors.  It’s another thing to get overdosed on cocaine inside the privacy of your home.  It’s a whole different matter by getting into a nasty heated splat with your employer on a very public media platform.  Unless Sheen claims that he is addicted to making a fool out of himself, he might have crossed the line and ended his television career for good.  Who would be willing to work with him after such an ugly display with his former employer Chuck Lorres?

Charlie Sheen is going to milk this termination for all it’s worth, and he’s going to enjoy a consistent stream of media attention for a while.  However, this trend will soon fade away, and he will eventually find himself unemployed. Not that he needs the money, although he seems like a pretty hefty spender based on his “personal interests”.  Nonetheless, it will take a long while for Charlie to redeem himself from this public disgrace.

I didn’t think I have such a strong opinion on Charlie Sheen until I actually sat down to write the essay.  It was a surprisingly lengthy piece, yet I didn’t have a hard time writing it at all.  I still can’t believe that he’s the highest paying actor in the television industry up until that point. He was paid $1.2 million for a thirty minute episode?  Really?  Is he really that popular?  Is he really worth it?  Talk about an unfair allocation of wealth!

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A Game of Numbers

Hi there. I just came back from my Nth session at Video Games Anonymous. Ever since I got a XBox Kinect, I’ve been slacking off from my online writing duties. As part of my twelve-step recovery program, I published a 800-word pop culture trends essay on the rising popularity of motion gaming in my official blog.  Man, these video games are too addicting.

Introducing the XBox Kinect - I lost 60 days in my life because of this. (I actually never owned a XBox prior to this, so I had fun catching up on older games too.)

It is with great regret to report that I wasted away the end of 2010 by playing on my brand new toy, which sucks because I originally planned to write a series of ‘retrospective’ posts documenting the hottest trends in 2010. Coulda, woulda, shoulda – it’s much too late to write about the iPad and adulterous celebrities (even mentioning them now feels so last year, you know?)

The article itself is pretty self-explanatory, but I don’t think an essay about video games will generate much reader interest. As an ongoing experiment, I duplicate a few of my essays on different platforms to determine the level of popularity for each topic. I get the most traffic from my fluff celebrity pieces on Twilight, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, while the more serious technological babble (the social media & 3-D Entertainment posts) hardly get any attention at all. It might have to do with the fact that my blog leans more towards the ‘pop culture’ side, but sometimes it feels like: why should I write about the Wii when people clearly care more about what the Bieber ate for breakfast this morning.

Anyway, today marks the half-year anniversary of the Recently Trendy blog (celebrating at least 8000+ rambling words and counting). I’m getting into the groove for writing again, and I already have an idea for my next ‘recently trendy’ essay. Can there be too many superhero movies, anyone?

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Why I Love Betty White

Why I Love Betty WhiteI wrote a 1000-word essay analyzing Betty White’s recent upsurge in mainstream popularity.  Check out my love letter (barely disguised as an academic essay) at the Recently Trendy blog.

Last week, I experienced an unusual epiphany while watching television.

It all began when Betty White showed up during the second season premiere of the NBC sitcom Community.  Like any TV junkie, I was caught up in the latest entertainment news, so her guest role (as an anthropology professor) did not take me by surprise.  I remembered fondly of how much I enjoyed her librarian role in The Middle just a while ago; and who can forget her saucy part in Hot in Cleveland?  Of course, this was the same Betty White who starred in classic sitcoms like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, so the comedy genre had always been her realm.

Anyway, Community was off to a great start with its usual clever humour.  I already laughed out loud a few times when the first commercial break came along.  Lo and behold, the first commercial that I saw featured Betty White as well.  It was a pretty popular Snickers advert which played during the Super Bowl this year – you probably know the one.  In the ad, a fatigued soccer player was mistaken as Betty White on the field, but rejuvenated and transformed himself after eating a Snickers bar.  The ad became an instant classic on the Internet; in fact, you can find it on the top page of Google search results if you type in “snickers commercial”.

It was a cute commercial, and I thought to myself what a clever marketing ploy it was, to insert a Betty White commercial during her guest role on Community.

Then, the next commercial passed by.  It was a movie trailer for a comedy called You Again , starring Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and…Betty White?  Betty White again?  Sure enough, the trailer used the comedic actress to deliver the stron

In the span of ten minutes, I have seen Betty White in at least three different capacities.  Can you fault me for thinking that it might be overkill?  Am I wrong in saying that there is too much Betty White?

Am I getting tired of Betty White?

Long story short, that was what inspired me to write the essay in the first place.  I’m sorry if my tone comes across as a bit critical, but I really do admire her as an actress, a character, and a person.  I think she’s naturally witty, so warm and charismatic, and still manages to stay classy in spite of her sudden fame.  I don’t think she’ll fade back into obscurity – she may be less popular than she is now – but she’s still the star of Hot in Cleveland and she has plenty of projects underway.  Screw the haters – there are always haters.  Betty White is awesome, end of story.

In the worst case scenario, we can always start a Facebook campaign to promote Betty White again.  This time, I’m in.

Old Ladies with Spunk – A Love Letter to Betty White

Last week, I experienced an unusual epiphany while watching television.


It all began when Betty White showed up during the second season premiere of the NBC sitcom Community.  Like any TV junkie, I was caught up in the latest entertainment news, so her guest role (as an anthropology professor) did not take me by surprise.  I remembered fondly of how much I enjoyed her librarian role in The Middle just a while ago; and who can forget her saucy part in Hot in Cleveland?  Of course, this was the same Betty White who starred in classic sitcoms like The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, so the comedy genre had always been her realm.


Anyway, Community was off to a great start with its usual clever humour.  I already laughed out loud a few times when the first commercial break came along.  Lo and behold, the first commercial that I saw featured Betty White as well.  It was a pretty popular Snickers advert which played during the Super Bowl this year – you probably know the one. In the ad, a fatigued soccer player was mistaken as Betty White on the field, but rejuvenated and transformed himself after eating a Snickers bar. The ad became an instant classic on the Internet; in fact, you can find it on the top page of Google search results if you type in “snickers commercial”.


It was a cute commercial, and I thought to myself what a clever marketing ploy it was, to insert a Betty White commercial during her guest role on Community.

Then, the next commercial passed by.  It was a movie trailer for a comedy called You Again , starring Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and…Betty White?  Betty White again? Sure enough, the trailer used the comedic actress to deliver the stron

In the span of ten minutes, I have seen Betty White in at least three different capacities.  Can you fault me for thinking that it might be overkill?  Am I wrong in saying that there is too much Betty White?


Am I getting tired of Betty White?

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Who the Hell is Justin Bieber?

You Can't Stop the Bieber FeverI have caught the Bieber fever.  Writing a 1000 word essay on Justin Bieber is no easy feat, but I managed to keep my sanity intact.  Check out the article “Explaining the Bieber Fever – Who is Justin Bieber?” at my Recently Trendy blog.

Before writing this article, I actually did not know a lot about Justin Bieber.  I heard of his name floating around the Internet many times, but the only facts I knew about him were: a.) He’s a teenager, b.) He’s a singer, c.) He’s a Canadian.  Upon some quick research, I realize that’s sadly all there is to him.  You’d think from all the Internet buzz that he gets, especially on Twitter, that he was some legendary superstar.  But nope, he’s a pretty ordinary teenager thrust into an extraordinary situation.

He seems like a nice kid though.  I watched some of his interviews on Youtube, and he came across as very down-to-earth, which I noted in the article.  You’d think the fame would boost his massive ego, but he seems so appreciative and thankful for his abrupt success.  I especially like how he frequently interacts with his fans on Twitter, even dedicating a personalized Happy Birthday for one of his followers (among 5 million of them!)

In the article, I wanted to include my doubts about whether his popularity would last.  After all, teenage sensations and Internet fads often fade away pretty fast.  I’m not quite sure if Bieber has the staying power – he probably won’t be as popular in the year 2011, and may be entirely forgotten on the year after that.  But he’s still young, and he’s suave enough about the industry, so I ended the article on a more positive note.

I admit that I’m still not a fan of him, but I can definitely understand the origins of his success.

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