Illustration by Bob Aul Global capitalization. The U.S. presidential race. El Toro International Airport. Mere squabbles compared to the most divisive issue in the history of divisiveness: the Fox Network's Feb. 15 Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? "It took something like this to make the Miss America pageant look good to me," said Patricia Ireland, National Organization for Women president. "I think the show brings gutter television to a whole new low," said Elizabeth Toledo, NOW's veep. "At the end of those two hours, if you turned down the volume of your TV and you listened real carefully, you could hear Western civilization crumbling around you," said Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television. The show was so appalling that 16 million people tuned in during the height of the February ratings sweeps to watch 50 wannabe brides parade before sequestered multimillionaire Rick Rockwell, a 42-year-old San Diego real-estate developer, motivational speaker and former standup comic who appeared in three direct-to-video sequels to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. The thought of another spectacle like the one that ended with Rockwell wedding 34-year-old emergency-room nurse Darva Conger of Santa Monica was so repellant that thousands of other women crashed the Fox Web site with their e-mailed requests to be future contestants. Unfortunately for them, the network shitcanned new telecasts amid revelations that a past fiancee—one who actually knew Rockwell for more than five minutes—accused him of violence. Guess we better nix that lunch with Fox execs to pitch the spin-off When Multimillionaires Attack.
DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION As you're inching through the Orange Crush, making that 10-mile, two-hour drive home, ever wonder what those crazy cats in the cars next to you are doing? Plenty, according to the Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey, which discovered that 76 percent of all drivers do something other than pay attention to the road. The survey released on Feb. 15 found that 32 percent of drivers read and write behind the wheel, 29 percent talk on the phone, 17 percent comb their hair, 16 percent fight with another passenger, 10 percent apply makeup, 3 percent put in eye drops or contact lenses, and 1 percent read Clockwork while talking to their mama on the phone and yelling at a passenger to hold the mirror steady so they can part their hair, slap on their lipstick and plop in their contacts. Okay, we made up the last one. But we didn't make this up: 20 percent admit to being so busy inside their cars that they wind up steering with their thighs. Rejoice in your roomy interiors and thunder thighs, America!
DAMN DIRTY APES It may be time for Irvine's closeup again. Twentieth Century Fox, which toyed throughout the '90s with remaking Planet of the Apes, has the project on the front burner again, according to the Feb. 17 Hollywood Reporter. Tim Burton was reportedly close to a deal to direct. Exteriors of then-futuristic UC Irvine were used for the original Planet of the Apes in 1968. Or was that one of the gazillion sequels? We can't remember. We're also unsure whether Irvine's sufficiently cutting-edge anymore. Perhaps producers will have to choose a more futuristic OC locale, such as the Block of Orange or the Oakley headquarters in Phillips Ranch. Or better yet, the toll-road booths—no one uses those.
RETURN TO WACO U.S. law enforcement said on Feb. 17 that the Waco tragedy will be re-created at a cost of $750,000 at an Army base south of the Branch Davidian compound that went up in flames in 1993, killing 74 people. It may sound morbid and expensive, but we'd gladly buy season tickets if Waco revivals replaced those lame-ass, geekified Civil and Revolutionary War reenactments.