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January 20, 2012 - Image 8

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8 - Friday, January 20, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Glittery 'Toddlers'
deserves no crown

Addicted to 'Little
Liars' and proud of it
Senior Arts Editor -__ _ _

Questioning the
TLC show's cultural
Daily Arts Writer
Currently, there is a surfeit of
horrifying happenings on televi-
sion, but TLC takes the cake (the
low-fat, non-cake type of cake
that's acceptable for toddlers try-
ing to make it big). This channel
runs the gamut of shows, from
"I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant,"
to one chronicling untrained tat-
too artists starting a shop, to the
show that takes the word exploit-
ative to the extreme: "Toddlers &
When "special juice" and pad-
ded butts aren't being depended
upon for the toddlers' success,
they have to rely on their dance
routines and personality. This
season there is a clear title-taker
of personalities, and it very much
borders on creepy - Carley, or
rather, Carley's alter-ego: Darley
or Darla. "I'm not a diva, Dar-
ley is," Carley says , her mother
beside her, proud as can be.
The part that makes this even
more pathetic is how vicariously
the moms are living through
their daughters - something
that possibly shows up even more
obviously in a similar show called
"Dance Moms." While that show
airs on Lifetime, this vicarious
living is definitely a characteris-,
tic of "Toddlers & Tiaras" as well:
"Carley is as close to an exact
replica of me as there could ever
be," the toddler's mother tells
national TV. "I feel like her and I
are the same person. We live the

"I'm a Barbie gir, in the Barbie world."
same life, and we're best friends.
Ijust feel like that is me on stage."
Watching baby beauty pag-
eantry is an immensely odd fas-
cination of our generation, along
with a number of questionable
enthrallments including Lolcats,
diet protein shakes and www.
morphthing.com, but it's undeni-
able ... and unavoidable for cul-
tural characters like Tom Hanks
to poke fun at.
Hanks produced a short spoof
on "Toddlers & Tiaras" intro-
duced on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
As he prepares his make-believe
daughter Sophie Hanks - whom
he named Sophie because it
rhymes with "trophy" - for Miss
Ultimate Sexy Baby Nevada com-
petition, the satire rings rather
Hanks screams, "Sexy feet!
Sexy feet!" at his daughter as she
tries to imitate his exemplary
pageant walk, sprays her away
when she tries to eat a cookie and
adorns her with a wig and exces-

sive makeup until she appears
"Just like a Bratz Doll!" If you
didn't know it was a spoof yet,
shame on you, but you'd have to
realize it when Sophie Hanks
loses the title to none other than
Rhonda Howard, "daughter" of
Ron Howard ("The Andy Griffith
It puts me more at ease with
the way our society is headed to
know that famous figures public-
ly humiliate programs like "Tod-
dlers & Tiaras," but after four
seasons of the show have aired,
it's impossible not to question
how the public's interest has sus-
tained itself.
What is most amusing but also
terrifying to ponder is: Who are
these bejeweled toddlers going
to be when they're adults? Will
they fit in the real world, will they
try out for "The Real World" or,
because of the presently astound-
ing superficiality in today's cul-
ture, will they assimilate just fine
into the normal working world?

I've got asecret. Can you keep
it? Last spring, I discovered the
ABC Family teen drama "Pretty
Little Liars," and blew through
the first season at an embarrass-
ingly rapid pace. I then followed
the first half of the second sea-
son on a weekly basis, lamented
over its several-month-long
break and celebrated when it
returned earlier this month.
My favorite shows can be found
on esteemed networks such
as AMC and FX, so what am I
doing investing so much time
in a high school soap based on a
young adult book series?
I love "Pretty Little Liars" "Oh Go(
for a lot of the same reasons I
loved "Gossip Girl" in its heyday more!
(a.k.a the first three seasons) - the rid
it's lavish, full of twists and has becaus
an ethereally beautiful cast. On so del
top of that, "Pretty Little Liars" pensef
is darker than "Gossip Girl" and crave i
sometimes downright frighten- I'm
ing. I'm actually more afraid of the mi
the ubiquitous text-stalker 'A' of the
and his/her/their overuse of Little:
the word "bitches" than I am of Before
any of the vampires, werewolves Meliss
and witches that frequent popu- Hastin
lar teen dramas these days. ty Lit
The dialogue is often ridicu- teen se
lous ("Why are you talking to teen d
me like Ben Franklin?") and the compa
story can at times be absurd. shows.
Why have the Liars still not
informed their parents that
someone has been stalking them
for more than a year? Why do
Spencer's parents serial-aban- C
don her? Why does Toby act like
a serial killer 100 percent of the w
time? Why do the Marins have
a fax machine in their kitchen
- no one has fax machines any-

R r z.



But I'm willing to forgive he's not ready. But just the idea
iculousness and the gaps, that teen girls are interested in
:e ultimately this show is having sex just like teen boys
iciously twisty and sus- is something television doesn't
ul that I can't help but often give us. While "Secret
t. Life of the American Teenager"
also willing to forgive repeatedly insinuates that sex
ore problematic elements leads to bad things, "Pretty Lit-
show, because "Pretty tle Liars" recognizes the sexual
Liars" is groundbreaking. aspects of high school in a way
you call me crazier than that says having sex isn't neces-
a "worst-sister-ever" sarily a bad thing and not having
igs, let me explain. "Pret- sex also isn't necessarily a bad
tle Liars" has handled thing ... what a novel concept!
exuality better than most The Liars are all played by
ramas, particularly when stunning 20-somethings who
red to other ABC Family look not a thing like your aver-
age high school girl. They some-
how always have time to do
their hair and apply their lip-
gloss in between the mystery-
solving and trying not to get
1haracters murdered. These things aren't
realistic, but the way these girls
1ak dialogue. care about each other is true
g to real-life teen female friend-
ships. They have their drama,
but they would never do any-
t notably, it's the only TV thing to hurt each other. Even
currently airing that fea- more refreshing is the realistic
not one, but two homosex- portrayal of strong platonic girl-
men of color. Right away, guy friendships.
her Liars are completely Maybe it's because I need
rtive of Emily's relation- to know who 'A' is. Maybe it's
with other girls, and the because I'm still waiting for
e when Emily is basically the musical episode show cre-
out of the closet when ator I. Marlene King suggested
nted by her homophobic might be forthcoming. Maybe
r was heartbreaking and it's because I'm secretly envious
that my high school life wasn't
ile many shows preach nearly as action-packed as the
'en boys are pushy when Liars's - OK, I'm not jealous of
tes to sex, the opposite the murders, stalking and black-
in season one of "Fret- mail but, hey, running around
tle Liars" when Hanna like little detectives, hanging
es frustrated that her reli- out in graveyards and dressing
boyfriend won't have sex like designer catalogue models
er. Of course, this arc isn't to school every day looks like
fits problems - the only fun.
Hanna wants to have Whatever the reason, I'm not
because her best friend going to stop watching "Pretty
it's weird that she hasn't Little Liars," even if it means my
y, and she also shouldn't television street cred has been
ssuring her boyfriend if revoked.

I n --- I I

Approximately 40 percent of every incoming PharmD class
consists of former LSA students.

So. You want
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pharmacy degree
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Here are 12 good reasons,
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tures n
ual wo
the ot
that te
it com
ty Lit
with h
free of
sex is
be pre

Choosing the right career requires equal parts knowl-
edge, insight, and planning. If you are weighing your
career options, please be sure to attend one of the pre-
pharmacy counseling sessions listed below.
To learn more about Michigan's PharmD Program, visit
the College Web site at www.umich.edu/-pharmacy.
Or contact the U-M College of Pharmacy at 734-764-
7312 or at mich.pharm.admissions@umich.edu.
Pre-Pharmacy Sessions at the U-M College of
Pharmacy: Academic Year 2011-2012:

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011-
Room 1019
Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 -
Room 1567
Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 -
Room 1567
Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011 -
Room 1567

- 4-5 pm, Pharmacy Building,
- 4-5 pm, C.C. Little Building,
4-5 pm, C.C. Little Building,
4-5 pm, C.C. Little Building,

From Page 1
thetic and distinctive working
methods onto a new genera-
tion of performers," Musicology
Prof. Mark Clague and direc-
tor of research at the School of
Music, Theatre & Dance, said.
The original team's noncon-
ventional approach extends
beyond the narrative and into
the production's underlying
music. Glass's arrangement
forsakes traditional orchestral
instrumentation for an eerie
combination of synthesizers,
woodwinds and voice. In lieu
of intermissions, audiences set
their own breaks and are free to
walk in and out of the theater at
When "Einstein on the
Beach" premiered in 1976, as
Clague explains, the opera's
style was misunderstood and
over-simplified, described as
Minimalist and more than a lit-
tle off-putting. Musicians strug-
gled to perform the play as much
as audiences struggled to wit-
ness it due to its lack of a clear
narrative structure. However,
Clague said he believes that
modern musicians and popular
taste have since caught up.
"This ... is anything but (Min-
imalist)," Clague said. "The
opera was prophetic and today,
artists have developed the tech-

nical understandings to play it
and audiences can embrace the
concepts in ways that are fresh-
ly intriguing."
When asked for suggestions
on how to comprehend "Ein-
stein," Clague said the audience
shouldn't concern itself with
meaning. Instead, it should try
and interact with the opera,
because its core theme isderived
from a combination of the per-
formance and the person.
"The most important thing
to know about 'Einstein on
the Beach' is that the audience
member brings the story to the
theater," Clague said. "Einstein
was a cultural icon - a concep-
tual physicist certainly but also
a philosopher, humanitarian
and a figure of worldwide noto-
After all, theoretical relativ-
ity fundamentally changed the
way we understood the uni-
verse, shifting from an absolute
notion of time to one dependent
on perspective, which Clague
explained is a central focus of
the opera's visual elements.
"Watch the stage change;
experience it as a kind of medi-
tation on symbols and signal-
ing itself," Clague said. "It's all
fascinating - the light, the slow,
detailed movements, the musi-
cal environment. It'll be slightly
different for everyone, but an
audience member willingto give
him or herself to this artwork
may well be transformed."


Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 - 4-5 pm, C.C. Little
Building, Room 1567
Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 - 4-5 pm, C.C. Little Building,
Room 1567
Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012 - 4-5 pm, C.C. Little Building,
Room 1567
Friday, Apr. 6, 2012 - 4-5 pin, C.C. Little Building,
Room 1567

I Your future never looked brighter. J

A 4

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