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Right on, J. Love!

Jennifer Love Hewitt takes a stand on body image — and the Glutton’s got her back. Plus: an amazing ”Race,” The Five, and your mail

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Jennifer Love Hewitt
Robert Voets

Jennifer Love Hewitt is angry. And you wouldn’t like Jennifer Love Hewitt when she’s angry. (Actually, it’s kind of a nice change of pace for the perma-perky Party of Fiver.) Apparently, Hewitt is upset about some paparazzi shots that surfaced on the Internet of her on vacation with fiancé Ross McCall. More specifically, she is distraught over snarky comments that accompanied the photos. Comments that insinuated that she had packed on some pounds. Comments like ”We know what you ate this summer, Love — everything!” Others have wondered if the extra weight means Hewitt has one in the oven. (I’m talking about a baby here, not food.)

Well, the less famous J. Lo fought back on — where else? — her blog. An entry dated Nov. 29 stated, ”I’ve sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women’s bodies are constantly scrutinized. To set the record straight, I’m not upset for me, but for all of the girls out there that are struggling with their body image. A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size 0 doesn’t make you beautiful…. And like all women out there should, I love my body. To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini — put it on and stay strong.”

Check out Hewitt going all Dove-marketing-campaign on us! Look, I haven’t seen the pictures in question, because I don’t make it a habit of scanning through bikini shots on the computer…at least not when my wife’s home. But in this instance, I support Jennifer 100 percent, and that’s not simply because I have been hypnotized by her breasts. As a society we criticize the fashion and entertainment industries for promoting beauty and perfect proportions as the be-all and end-all, setting up an unrealistic template for impressionable young girls. But then that same society takes a perverse delight in mocking celebrities who don’t look like a Barbie doll every single second of their lives. I always get a sick feeling in my stomach when I’m standing in my A&P supermarket checkout line and am assaulted with cover images from tabloid and gossip rags making fun of celebrities for having cellulite or some other physical imperfection. I don’t get it. Is Jennifer Love Hewitt’s body supposed to look the same at 28 as it did when she was 19? It’s almost like if you don’t have plastic surgery these days you are considered some sort of Neanderthal. And if you do have plastic surgery, well, then you are simply setting yourself up to be on next month’s ”Botched Botox!” cover.

I have always felt that the day you decide to be a public figure such as an actor or musician, you knowingly sign up for all the things that come along with it — namely, a loss of privacy as well as a ridiculous amount of scrutiny. If you want to be put under the microscope, people are going to find blemishes. But there is a difference between taking celebrities to task for stupid stuff like driving drunk or driving with their babies in the front seat (well, pretty much driving anywhere…hey, here’s a hint: hire a driver!), and simply not looking hot enough in a bikini.

Plus, if you want to pick on Jennifer Love Hewitt, there is simply so much other material at your disposal. Like her piss-poor Party of Five spin-off, Time of Your Life. Like her truly unfortunate musical career. Hell, the woman stars on Ghost Whisperer, for crying out loud! All of that is fair game. Mocking her for a square inch of cellulite, however, is just cheap and mean. (I wonder how the people taking shots at her look in swimwear?) It’s sad how women are not allowed to age gracefully in Hollywood — how so many feel the need to go under the knife to stay relevant. Here is yet another ugly example of that pressure being applied.

As for Hewitt, it’s nice to see her fight back and actually take a stand on the body-image issue. It’s certainly a bolder message to the masses than her Nov. 9 blog post about the People’s Choice Awards. (”I don’t normally beg for votes, but I’d love to see you — the fans — just support the show in general. Please take the time to vote on behalf of Ghost Whisperer and help keep us on the air for another season.”) I don’t plan to vote on behalf of the show. Hell, I don’t even plan to watch it. Sorry, Jennifer, but my support extends only so far.

NEXT PAGE: Obsession of the Week, The Five, and Reader Mail!

OBSESSION OF THE WEEK

There are few things I hated in life more than the The Amazing Race: Family Edition. Maybe rats. And the word moist, which has always freaked me out. But Family Edition was right up there. Even with the enjoyable All-Star edition, the program has suffered something of a two-year hangover from that kid-infested debacle. I am happy to report that that long, national nightmare is now over: The 12th season of The Amazing Race is like an old friend that you forgot how much you liked. Of course, it helps that the show replaced musical drama Viva Laughlin, one of the worst programs in recent memory, but for whatever reasons, I welcome it back with open arms. Like all reality shows, the key to a successful season is in the casting, and Race has the perfect mix of teams you want to root for (like lovable Goths Kynt and Vyxsin) and against (Jennifer and Nathan, who pretty much spent the entire first episode yelling at a donkey; they’ve since decided that wasn’t very fair to the animal and now spent all their time yelling at each other instead). It all makes for great fun, and hey, it beats the hell out of Viva Laughlin.

THE FIVE

In this week’s Glutton video, Dalton reveals The Five Shows I Can’t Believe Are Still on the Air.

READER MAIL

Readers got medieval on my ass this week in response my last column about visiting Medieval Times. People also weighed in on favorite Christmas specials, as well as my (lack of) fashion sense.

If you can believe it we actually had a junior high field trip to Medieval Times. Best field trip ever! Also, once when I went, one of the knights was handing back his weapon to his squire to get another, and wound up bashing the squire in the face with a mace. Sure, it probably wasn’t a real mace, but there was still blood! Better than hockey! —Stacy M.

The whole show was so ridiculous. I loved it. Unfortunately, there was no accidental blood spillage at my performance, but the fake disemboweling was good enough for me. I also thought it was amusing how certain ”actors” were totally into it, delivering each line with power and gusto, while others were completely flat and monotone, clearly wanting the whole thing to end as quickly as possible.

Medieval Times = Best. Dinner Theatre. Ever. Where else can you eat dinner medieval style (hands only, no utensils) while drinking beer by the bucket? And the ability to choose whether half-assed actors get to live or die is like being a screenwriter for a soap opera. Plus, I managed to snatch a flying rose thrown by our victorious knight and I only had to knock over a few chairs, one grandmother, two ushers, and a waiter to get it. My wife did a great job of feigning amazement and appreciation when I presented said rose to her so I could kid myself that I had been heroic. Since she had taken me there as a birthday present, I realized it might be perceived as bad form to give it to a serving wench. —Kevin Kane

As far as I could tell, the entire place was filled with families and drunken frat boys. For your wife to bring you to Medieval Times for a romantic birthday meal…well, she is truly a maiden among wenches. Hang on to that one, Kevin. The same way you hung on to that rose.

While we may not agree on Pushing Daisies, you and I are totally in synch about Year Without a Santa Claus being the greatest Christmas special of all time. Gotta love how the elf’s socks are red-and-green-striped on him but a simple beige when turned inside-out to become Rover’s ears. Also, need to give some love to how Cold Miser and Heat Miser are stepbrothers according to Snowy but both are apparently the biological children of Mother Nature. I’m also with you on Rudolph’s Shiny New Year‘s inherent superiority to the original. Finally, a shout-out to Santa Claus Is Coming to Town for my favorite line of the bunch: ”A jo-jo? For me?” —Kerry Schmitz

I still don’t get why Year Without a Santa Claus has to play on the B-team of ABC Family every year, while Rudolph and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town get to air on network television. Year is clearly the most enjoyable Rankin/Bass production. And speaking of Mother Nature, ever notice how she tells Snow Miser to let it snow in Southtown and instructs Heat Miser to allow a spring day at the North Pole? Those instructions are backward and therefore make no sense. Just another reason to adore this truly underappreciated gem.

I just watched your video about the Christmas specials, and I always laughed at the ”bright young man” line too, because Charles Lane seemed to have been born 45 years old and balding. He had a very long career, and was actually 41 at the time of It’s a Wonderful Life. He was in 20 movies in 1941 alone, and I found his CV on IMDB by looking up Petticoat Junction. I think he specialized in playing accountants. —Cynthia Schmidt

Thanks for the info on Charles Lane, Cynthia. That’s amazing he was only 41 then. He looks 60 at the youngest. Another amazing thing is that it turns out Lane died just this past July at age 102! Turns out that ”bright young man” had a bright long life as well.

Hey Dalton…Just watched your clip on the 5 Christmas specials, but I didn’t catch them because I was distracted by what has to be the ugliest-looking sweater I’ve ever seen. Sorry…but it has to go. —Kaiulani Watson

Okay, first of all, it’s a shirt. You may have been thrown off by the black tee I was wearing under the shirt, but trust me, it’s a shirt. Secondly, it’s not that ugly — I swear! In fact, it has received several compliments. And not an ”I’m kind of uncomfortable standing next to you right now so I’ll throw a token polite comment your way about your shirt to ease the awkwardness”-type compliment either. I’m talking real compliments. But I will say this, it doesn’t translate that well on screen. The camera doesn’t do it justice! That’s right — I’m blaming the camera for any perceived ugliness. Don’t worry. Due to my severely limited wardrobe, you will no doubt be seeing it again soon.

Sooooo, are celebrities fair game when it comes to mocking their body shape, and should certain things remain off-limits? Rooting for anyone on The Amazing Race? And what TV show can you not believe is still on the air? Send your questions, comments, and quibbles to theglutton@ew.com, or just fill out the handy-dandy form below. See you next week!