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Test Pattern: Five-link Friday

High-def woes; dagger or donut; rappin' Easter bunny; products from the past; make a word. By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

Five-link Friday

More weekend linkage.

• Is that a dagger or a donut I see before me? "Macbeth" meets "The Simpsons" in

• Back when movies became talkies, some actors' careers were ruined because they just didn't have good voices. Will the same thing happen as HDTV spreads? Because apparently some actors Cameron Diaz and Britney Spears, we're looking at you. (Thanks to for the link!)

• Longing for products from the past? One of your best places to check is the , which offers such old favorites as , , and . Sadly, they can't really bring back most of my favorite products since they're not made any more. Pepsi Lite and Marathon candy bars, we hardly knew ye.

• Fun but frustrating: with these refrigerator-magnet type letters, but beware: Someone else wants that "A" just as much as you do, or maybe more. (Link via .)

• Yeah, I'm usually not big on the cutesy, but this was a little funny. Happy Easter, if you celebrate. We'll be having the traditional Easter lasagna.

‘Idol’ blows it

The one person you would not want to be today is whoever is in charge of the on-screen phone number captioning for Fox.

As you've probably already heard, "American Idol" on last night's show and will be rebroadcasting a hybrid version of that same show tonight. Fox's Web site says the show "will combine new live elements with encores of Tuesday's performances."

I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I visualize poor Ryan Seacrest standing in an empty auditorium, cracking lame jokes and pushing buttons on a remote control to show reruns of Tuesday's songs. (Naw, they'll round up another live audience ... maybe they can create a partnership with NBC and hire the to recruit viewers ... Chris can dress in a and chew tobacco, since that worked so well for the mini-golf challenge.) Anyway, I suspect Fox is kind of making it up as they go along, because they definitely didn't plan for this.

It's funny, but the numbers were listed incorrectly only because someone at Fox tried to be overly helpful when setting up the numbers originally. Someone thought it would be easier for fans to remember if part of the numbers spelled out IDOLS. But then in an extra-eager helpful gesture, in case callers are unable to make the number-letter transition, Fox reprints each number in all numerals. I'm all in favor of that, honestly — phone numbers spelled out with letters are a wee bit cutesy, and I'm usually capable of remembering 7 numbers long enough to plug them into a phone.

If I were an "Idol" voter (which I am not), I'd have likely jotted down the all-number version of the phone number for my favorite crooner. And then, if my favorite crooner were Jessica Sierra (it is not) or Mikalah Gordon (it is most definitely not) or Anwar Robinson (it just might be), I'd have been one of however many viewers who dialed the wrong number.

You could certainly build a conspiracy theory around Fox's goof. Yet that's ridiculous at its core. If the show wanted to keep certain singers around and ditch others, the names here are all wrong. Jessica Sierra and Mikalah Gordon are probably going to be among the very next singers booted anyway — Gordon almost bit it last week, and Sierra was also in the bottom three (although granted, Sierra was on this week).

And even if you put your tinfoil conspiracy hat on and convince yourself that Fox wanted to throw votes to its favorites, note that the three singers whose numbers actually appeared in place of Gordon/Sierra/Robinson's were Anthony Fedorov, Carrie Underwood and Scott Savol. Fedorov is a Clay Aiken lookalike with a great double-punch backstory — born in the Ukraine, he had a tracheotomy as an infant and was told he'd never speak, much less sing. Carrie Underwood is the cleancut farmgirl who was told by Simon Cowell that she is likely to win it all, and to sell more records than other "Idol" winners. Fedorov and Underwood don't need any help. Sure, maybe chubby Scott Savol could use the votes, but come on.

It'll be interesting to sit back and watch how the new vote unfolds. I bet Mikalah Gordon will get booted, but would that ouster be forever marked with an asterisks?

It'll also be interesting to see how the Nielsen ratings reflect this week's shows. Last week, the performance show of "Idol" beat all other programs, and the results show came in second. With two performance shows and a Thursday results show this week, will "Idol" have the top three Nielsen shows? Because even if you're not a rabid enough fan to want to watch the exact same performances you already saw, you might want to tune in anyway just so you know when to vote.

Say one thing for "American Idol," with first dropping out and now this, the show always keeps itself in the news.

Readers bite back

Turns out I (It needs an exclamation point, don't you think?) Here are some of your thoughts:

HEY, WHERE’S ASHLEY?“I think the movie was a good reality check for spring breakers. If your friend doesn’t show up the next morning don’t assume they scored and shacked up.  Half-a-dozen kids were eaten up early in the movie and no one seemed to worry too much.”    --Brad

DUMBING DOWN“Yesterday morning, my boss walks in and asks if I watched ‘Spring Break Shark Attack.’  I sheepishly admitted that I did, so he does the same followed by ‘and when it was over, I felt like I was a little dumber than before I watched’.” --Missy

MOVIE OFFSPRING“This movie was the child of a marriage between ‘Bikini Beach Party’ and ‘Jaws.’  I remember both very well, but their child never matured.”  --Robert

GET BACK TO ‘GIGLI’”One day TV and movie producers will learn that, in the genre of shark attack movies, there is ‘Jaws’ and there is everything else.  I await the day when these producers can tuck their egos in their pockets, realize they are not the next Spielberg, armed with a mechanical Great White shark,  and get back to making cinematic masterpieces like ‘Gigli’ and ‘10.5’.  –-Barry

MOUNT MIAMI“I believe that the Kathy Baker’s assets were the only generous thing about the movie. And those mountains in Florida make that state the ideal year-round vacation spot. Swim with sharks in the summer, snow ski with retirees in the winter!”  --Doc

MANSQUITO“The cheesiest TV movie in the last two weeks by far was MANSQUITO on the Sci Fi Channel. That was truly awful.”  --Rick

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES“Our personal favorite scene was the one in which the marine scientist/nerdy brother is pulling dozens of half eaten giant turtles out of the water...we were trying to figure out if the sharks thought the turtles looked like tasty, bathing-suited teens until they took that first bite...why else would there be so many with just one bite out of them...unless the back halves managed to swim away after the front halves got chomped...those sneaky turtle rears.  Or maybe only the front halves taste good...”  --Michael

JELLO SHOT ATTACK“I believe that in ‘Spring Break Shark Attack” the underwater footage was stolen from my grandmother’s trip to Sea World 5 years ago when she went through the giant glass shark tube. At one point the heroine is fixing the electronic shark repellant thingees and we see these sharks behind her, which are looking to be about 5 feet long or so, pan up to the surface and BAM they are magically about 12-15 feet with huge fins. I would have been more scared if they made ‘Spring Break Radioactive Jello Shot Attack.” --Laura

SUPPOSED TO BE CHEESY”I think you missed the point—it was SUPPOSED to be cheesy—it was listed in TV guide as ‘a spoof on Jaws and classic bikini movies.’ If anything, it wasn’t quite cheesy enough, but I was laughing pretty hard at most of it. I loved how the shark fins were barely moving in the water and about 6 inches apart—Three 20 foot sharks in the area of a bath tub. Awesome. And the heroine goes right in the water at the end with sharks everywhere—no problem. Yes, it was indeed cheesy—I just wish it smelled even more.”  --Dwight

TALKING SHARKS“It’s like I could hear the sharks talking. They sounded like Homer Simpson and they said, ‘Mmm-coeds.’”    --Anonymous

Spring Break Shark Attack!

If you missed on CBS last night, I don't really know what to tell you, except maybe you can hope for a rerun.

This TV movie was the biggest helping of cheese I have ever seen, and I have watched : Battle Cheese," which featured a 100-pound wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano.

OK, so I missed the very beginning of the movie, and maybe one bit in the middle, but I got the gist, which was that someone at CBS was sending their kids off on Spring Break this week and they started thinking ... sharks + bikinis + Spring Break + the best TV movie title outside of the New York Post = ratings! Or, maybe not, but how fun is it to say "Do you know my work? I produced 'Spring Break Shark Attack.' "

Classic scenes include one where a windsurfer is sucked from about two miles away straight into a shark's mouth. There's another where a guy slides off a pontoon into the fin-filled water and a second later a massive geyser of blood erupts from the ocean. There's another where our three young heroes boat out to try and draw the sharks away from the swimmers and one of the sharks manages to harpoon one of the guys. And another where the sharks somehow start pulling our heroes' boat right towards them and one of the kids actually says "They're reeling us in!" Yes, these are brilliant sharks indeed.

The movie also featured a slimy guy who was feeding roofies to the pretty women, as if to say "See, Spring Breakers? Not ALL the sharks are in the water!" And our lead actress wore some kind of ... swimsuit-corset combination that made her already generous breasts look like beach balls, and apparently the only acting direction she received was to keep her arms folded under her chest at all times, to keep her assets prominently displayed.

She's lucky, though, her character actually got a name, unlike poor Miss Jessica Knight, listed in the credits merely as "Hot Girl." Never has a movie needed the 'Bots from "Mystery Science Theater" more.