Dalton Ross on his dream homie: Stephen King
Working at Entertainment Weekly is flat-out awesome. Let me tell you about a typical morning: I walk in, bid a big good morning to receptionist Sandie Baum. She asks how my kids are, I say fine, and she tells me to bring ’em in sometime so she can stuff their faces with candy. Then I pass by Assistant Managing Editor Kristen Baldwin’s office on my way to put that day’s homemade peanut butter & jelly lunch in the fridge. Next, I circle around to the water cooler to hydrate before the morning meeting. For some reason, music correspondent Michael Endelman always seems to be hanging around there. Maybe because it’s next to the bathroom. I’m really not sure. But there is one person I never seem to run into during my early morning rounds (and yes, 10 a.m. qualifies as early morning in the publishing world), and that person is…Stephen King.
This is odd, because Mr. King writes for Entertainment Weekly — has for a few years now. I know he works for the magazine because every few weeks I look on the back page and see an illustration of him. Used to be a picture, now it’s an illustration — not sure what that’s about. I also know he works for the magazine because his name even appears on our masthead. Now, granted, our masthead only appears about once every six months, but still, he’s on there.
For a while, I figured he must just work out of our L.A. office, but then I did a little investigating (I am a journalist, after all, or at least I pretend to be), and no one out there had ever seen him either! And these are Los Angeles people — they would know a celebrity if they saw one.
I have to admit, I’m a bit bummed by all of this. I was pumped when I heard that King was going to become a columnist at the mag. At the time, I wrote a weekly column as well (What to Watch, and then The Hit List), and thought he and I would become best new buddies. I envisioned him setting up shop in the office next door, him schooling me on horror movies, me schooling him on why Univision is even more entertaining if you don’t speak Spanish — you know, just hanging out, me and my homie…Stephen King. I would go to the urinal, and who would that be peeing next to me? Stephen King! Run to catch an elevator, and who is that sticking his arm out to keep it from closing? Stephen King! Going out for beers and mozzarella sticks after a long day at work with who? Stephen Freakin’ King!
People would see we both wrote for the same magazine and ask, ”Wow, what is he really like?” And I would answer, ”Who, Stevie? That’s my man you’re talkin’ about. Hey, let’s give him a call right now and see what the freak is up to.” And I would have his cell phone number. You know why? Because we work together!!!
The problem is, I do not have Stephen King’s cell phone number. We do not have offices next door to each other, I’ve never seen him pee, and honestly, I don’t think he even has any idea who the hell I am (unless he remembers the tall skinny guy with long black hair stalking him as he dropped his daughter off at Smith College back in the 1990s, but that’s another story). Instead of toiling away in New York City, he files his articles from his house in Maine. I least I think it’s Maine. It’s not like I’ve been there or anything.
So I guess I never will meet the master of horror. Then again, maybe if he were around EW, strange crap would start happening — you know, blood randomly spilling out of the conference room, people being chopped up by paper shredders, our managing editor being replaced by a killer dog. Plus, if I saw him on a regular basis, I might start to have flashbacks of when I read It as a teenager and how much it scared the absolute bejesus out of me. But I’m wiling to risk all that, just to one day hang with my dawg SK. Because he is my dawg. Because we work together at the same magazine…if not the same office.
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
I hold the not-so-proud distinction of being the only EW staffer to ever appear shirtless in the magazine — twice! (Once for when I boxed against Oscar de la Hoya; the second time for my one-night stay on Exile Island.) Anyone who had the unfortunate luck to see either of these stories knows that I have no business appearing shirtless anywhere, unless it’s as some sort of toothpick mascot. But I am not nearly as brave as some of the contestants on my new obsession — Fuse TV’s Pants Off Dance Off, which just may be the most bizarre show on television. Basically, Pants Off Dance Off consists of people — everyone from wannabe strippers to dwarfs to fat middle-aged white dudes dribbling their shirt in between their legs like a basketball — standing in front of a video screen and taking their clothes off to music. It sounds dirty and risqué, but mostly it’s just insanely goofy. Unlike the early American Idol auditions, where you watch just to make fun of people who can’t sing, these dancers are so uninhibited — if untalented — that you can’t help but be impressed. The show’s now in reruns, but you can also catch clips of the dancers (including grand champion Masta Wong) online at Fuse’s website. I’ve spent enough time without clothes on for this magazine, so my goal is to instead get Stephen King to perform. (If I ever meet him, that is.)
I’ve been playing it pretty straight up with the Lists recently, but it’s time to honor what has to be one of the most inane categories in film: animals playing sports. Here, then, are The 5 Worst Animal-Playing-Sports Films Ever.
1) Ed (1996)
A chimpanzee who plays baseball with Matt LeBlanc — what’s not to love? Everything!
2) Soccer Dog: The Movie (1999)
Lets’ face it: Nobody in this country really cares about soccer, so why should they care about a movie about soccer? Especially when the thing scoring the goal is a freakin’ pooch. Believe it or not, this actually sported a sequel, the equally forgettable Soccer Dog: European Cup.
3) Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch (2002)
Honesty, I could pick any installment of the Air Bud franchise, but the awfulness of this title coupled with the fact that Bud’s puppies are stolen by a pesky raccoon (named ”Rocky,” of course) kinda seals the deal.
4) Gus (1976)
What could be more ridiculous than a horse that kicks field goals? Having said horse show up for a game drunk off his ass. Actually, what am I talking about? That totally rules!
5) MVP: Most Valuable Primate (2000)
Animals playing soccer, baseball, and football is just plain absurd, but a monkey playing ice hockey? Now that I could see. I do have to admit, though, I am kinda impressed at the skating skill of Jack the chimp. Not a lot else to be impressed with here.
Last week’s column had an international flavor (or flavour, as it were) to it, as I wrote about foreign editions of reality shows and Australia’s apparent hatred of Barry Manilow. What was interesting about it is that I noticed that the amount of letters received was way down. This means that one of a few things is afoot: (a) My column kinda sucked; (b) The rest of the world can go to hell, as American readers only want to read about what goes on in America; or (c) A little bit of both. That’s not to say that some good questions and comments didn’t come in regarding my Top Spin-Off Show List and attempts to become a lame white-boy rapper. In fact, Winona has something to say about my comments regarding Star Trek: The Next Generation…
Don’t dis the Wesley. He’s the reason I became a low-level geek. I’m sure I wasn’t the only 13-year-old girl with a crush on Wil Wheaton, and therefore began tuning into TNG… but then something miraculous happened: I became a fan of the show itself and developed a crush on Patrick Stewart in the process, but that’s another story for another day. My point is: Yes, Wesley was an annoying junior member of the crew of a starship… but would you have been any less annoying in the same role? ;-) — Winona Patterson
Winona, I would have been much better than Wil Wheaton, and I’ll tell you why: Because I would have simply pretended that I was on Benny Hill the entire time and patted Jean-Luc Picard repeatedly on his head as if he were that old bald dude who was constantly abused on the randy British program. True, I may have been kicked out of Starfleet for such behavior, but then I could have traveled the universe searching for hot Vulcan chicks like T’Pol. Who knows, they may have even given me my own spin-off of a spin-off and titled it Star Pimp: The Next Mack Daddy. This also would have had the added bonus of tremendously expediting my success as a below-average white rapper.
Could The Simpsons really count as a spin-off? I thought a spin-off was when characters from one show moved on to their own show. The Simpsons was The Simpsons on The Tracey Ullman Show too — it was just a sketch rather than its own show. I think that’s bending the rules a bit. You know you just wanted your precious Simpsons in there. —JuLo
Hell yeah I wanted The Simpsons in there! I see your point, JuLo, in that a spin-off usually takes one character from one show and then puts them somewhere else for another. In that sense, The Simpsons (or The Next Generation, for that matter) may not fit, but it still was a small part of one program that was then expanded into its own show, so there is a justification for it. We’ll have to share a Duff sometime and come to some sort of agreement.
I really don’t think any white-boy rapping could be complete with out the ”faux beatbox” language my friends and I invented in high school. Obviously, were were TRYING to be cheesy, but I can’t even believe we ever uttered the following ”words” out loud:
If that doesn’t sound like a beatbox, I don’t KNOW what does… —Megan Moorhouse
P.S. I was reminded by a recent Ebert & Roeper episode how often Robin Williams is the prime offender in the perpetuity of white-boy rapping.
Megan, I’ll take Robin Williams attempting to rap any day as long as it means he is not wearing a clown nose and tending to sick children. Now, should he decide to wear a clown nose and tend to sick children while rapping, well, I think that is grounds for being kicked in the shazbut.
I think America’s reality shows are a little uptight. I’ve watched U.K. Survivor, and this season’s Big Brother — both are ”cooler” than America’s. Because the BBC is gearing to 20- to 40-year-olds rather than Middle America, they can really swear, and talk about sex or drugs or whatever. I actually really like seeing American live Big Brother feeds. Howie is a filthy man. America would watch more if CBS broadcast him as he is. —A Canadian watching TV on the Internet in Japan
Wow, a Canadian watching TV on the Internet in Japan and e-mailing an American website — the international flavor is still alive and kicking! One who has only seen U.S. reality shows would never accuse them of being uptight, but (as I wrote last week), compared to some international versions, they do actually seem a bit tame. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing, however, considering what I have seen and heard overseas. As for Howie and Big Brother: All-Stars, my feelings on that are pretty clear in the new issue of EW currently on newsstands. Ooooooh, check me out — plugging my own magazine! Do I get paid extra for that?
That’s it for now, but I welcome all your questions, comments, and quibbles, as well any suggestions as to how I can get my coworker Stephen King to notice me. (Yes, I have slowly evolved from plain-old doofus to full-blown stalker.) Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill in the handy-dandy order form below to weigh in with your two cents. See ya next week!