IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Test Pattern: Hepburn falls into The Gap

Should footage of late actress be used in commercial?

• Oct. 4, 2006 |

Audrey Hepburn falls into The Gap

Yes, that's Audrey Hepburn, as gracious and lovely as ever, in those commercials for The Gap. Yes, that's really her dancing, in scenes from "Funny Face." (Though AC/DC's "Back in Black" has been spliced in as Hepburn's dancing music.)

"I really feel like expressing myself now," says Hepburn. "And I could certainly use the release." And then she leaps out of the movie footage and onto a white background, advertising the Gap's black pants.

There's been controversy about the use of late entertainers in commercials for some time now — remember Fred Astaire dancing with a vacuum for Dirt Devil? This ad was approved by Hepburn's son, Sean Ferrer, and , Gap had to make a "significant donation" to the Hepburn Children Foundation.

A Gap executive says "Any time we can do anything that elicits passion is great." Sound like a theme we've discussed the past three summers in ? It remains an issue up for debate: If an advertiser can get us talking about their ads, does it really matter whether we love or hate them?

I maintain that it does matter, that has turned us off so much that we'll never buy the product, no matter what it cured. So if you think The Gap shouldn't be using Hepburn in its ads, whether or not her son approved and no matter where the money goes, I maintain that you won't be inclined to shop there.

As for the ad itself: I'm torn. I love Hepburn, and seeing her on screen, even in an ad, is a million times better than seeing another of those creepy Volkswagen ads where out of nowhere, cars crash into the yammering VW drivers. (They've gotten so horrifying, those ads, that a friend of mine has taken to yelling "Look out! It's a VW! They attract accidents!")

But even though I love Hepburn, she feels like too cherished an icon to be hawking clothes. The quotes her biographer as saying that being used in an ad "directly contradicts her own sense of values, which did not place clothes very highly on a list of important things."

Isn't that a lovely thing to say about a lovely person? The more I hear about Paris Hilton and things like $5000 pairs of shoes and $15,000 handbags, the more I miss Hepburn and her grace. Real style, real elegance such as hers cannot be purchased at the mall.

MORE NEWS FROM THE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD (My co-worker spotted McDreamy yesterday, another saw Isaiah Washington.)• Show returns Jan. 14 (Via TV Tattle.)

Multi-link Monday

October? Who gave the year permission to move on to October already? I wasn't done with September yet! While I'm reeling from the calendar change, enjoy today's random linkage. And remember to for links to use in upcoming weeks.

• One good thing about October: It possesses one of the year's best holidays, Halloween. Every October, my pal Matt over at X-Entertainment does a wonderful online countdown in which he regularly features hilarious online articles about Halloween foods, costumes, movies, toys and more. My favorites are his features on candy. So far he's done two this year. includes spookily shaped Tootsie Pops, Hubba Bubba Mummy Tape and the like; includes orange and black Whoppers, Fear Factor gross-out candy and Marshmallow Peep spooky black cats. This sugar high might take a while to come down from.

• Remember when pipecleaners were a huge part of art-class and scout-troop projects? Well, !

• If "Law & Order" is your TV addiction, click on and submit your own trivia question about the show. Too bad more shows don't offer this: I couldn't do this with "Law & Order," but there are a few shows I'm addicted to where I know I could stump the band. Overall, that is one great site for fans, I have to say.

• I stole this from my pal Will over at . is a game where you draw a line, and a goofy little person who looks like a penguin rides it like it's a sledding hill. It's fun to give him/her/it a nice long ride, but it's also fun to torment him/her/it. Wheeeee can turn quickly to auuuuuuugh.

• Reader-submitted link o' the week: Beth says "I love Lite Brite! Here is a link to an that I thought you might like!" Everybody, sing along: "Lite Brite, makin' things with liiiiiight! What a sight, makin' things with Lite Brite!"

1-2-3-4, novelty tunes are no more

Update: Apparently Paul Vance -- the songwriting Paul Vance -- . Now there's a novelty song in the making.

OK, that headline isn't really true. We still do get the occasional novelty song — "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and the "Macarena" come to mind. But about the death of Paul Vance, who co-wrote "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini," started me thinking about the great novelty tunes of the past, and how that seems to be a musical fad that's died a quiet death.

If you're like me, once you read the linked story above, you'll be unable to get "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" out of your head alllll day long ("She was afraid to come out of the locker/she was as nervous as sheeeee could be..."). I wasn't around until quite a while after it was a No. 1 hit in 1960, but it was a mainstay of summer radio regardless. As a kid, I actually had a yellow polka-dot bikini, and I can only assume it was inspired by the song.

When you're young, you can't tell the Top 40 from the old, dusty tunes your parents play. All music is novel, and novelty songs, with their goofy lyrics telling crazy stories, are irresistibly catchy. (Here's , to spark your memory.)

You sing them on the bus ("Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah") or in the car ("100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall").  Some of them feature as much talking as singing ("The Streak"). Some are interactive ("The Name Game" comes to mind — but don't ever try it with "Chuck" or your parents will tan your hide, Clyde). Dickie Goodman featured a number of songs ("Mr. Jaws") where he played a reporter asking questions, and then plugged in snippets of other songs as answers to the reporter's questions. We couldn't get enough of those as 1970s kids. Little did we know of rapper sampling, You Tube mashups, and the whole wide world to come. They seemed fresh and funny and yes, novel.

Some novelty songs come from the strangest people (think the Chicago Bears' "Super Bowl Shuffle"). Others are from real comedians — Weird Al Yankovic ("Another One Rides the Bus," "Eat It," etc.) and Adam Sandler ("Lunch Lady," "Hanukkah Song") are two of our modern practitioners of this lost art. helps keep them alive. But I wonder if some of our current tunes from regular musicians won't be remembered more as novelty songs -- "Hollaback Girl" or "Gold Digger," anyone?

I guess you could say all songs are stuck in their era, but novelty songs seem especially so. They often play off a news event, tease a big star, or mock a popular song. (Dickie Goodman has one about the 1974 energy crisis.) So it's harder, I guess, for them to maintain their popularity. They burn bright for one short blast and then we're all slightly embarrassed that we ever Macarenaed. But because of that, they're inseparable in our heads from that part of our life — “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” reminds me of the baking sun on my childhood beach, before we all knew tanning was bad for you. And “The Macarena” reminds me of Julie and Steve's wedding, and how much fun we all had on the dance floor and at the open bar, until it was discovered that someone had stolen a bunch of the wedding gifts (true story).

What's your favorite/least favorite novelty song?

•• (Via )

Readers on 'Grey's vs. 'CSI'

Last week I wrote about the new , in which CBS's "CSI" and ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" are now facing off in the same Thursday night 9 p.m. (ET) timeslot.

(And to plug our own content, you can follow both shows via our weekly recap charts. "CSI" is always at , "Grey's Anatomy" is always .)

I skirted around making a prediction as to which show would win in the ratings, but finally cast my vote for "Grey's," saying "Not that "CSI" is a worse show or its fans are less loyal, but the shows have different styles. As caught up as viewers are in the personal lives of the CSIs, that show is first and foremost about the crimes. "CSI" is the kind of show you can watch a day later without losing much."

But as I pointed out, "Grey's Anatomy" is currently offering reruns of each week's new show on Fridays, whereas "CSI" is not offering instant reruns, so a person could easily watch both shows just one day apart.

The rerun factor doesn't seem to have been a factor, though. The came out the next day and showed that "Grey's Anatomy" drew in 25.4 million viewers to 22.6 million for "CSI."

Here's another prediction: I think that "Grey's" may have the advantage for now, but that it could also lose it. See my quote above about how character-driven "Grey's" is? That could also hurt the show. If Meredith and McDreamy seem too happy, or the other couples start to bore people, "Grey's" could lose its pull. "CSI" is less affected by plotlines, I believe, and should hold steady.

That's just my opinion. Here are some of yours. Want to discuss it further or defend your choice? Check out our .

“Grey’s is just another soap opera! I will stay with CSI.”    --Dolores

“No way is Grey’s Anatomy better than CSI. Just can’t compete in my book. Who cares about their personal lives, we all have them. The crime and drama on CSI is too good to pass up.”    --Polly

“I’ll watch CSI. I cannot stand shows about “personal relationships.” Who cares? These are fictional people who don’t actually exist so I cannot dredge up a single nano-second of interest in their personal lives. Give me the who-dun-it every time and pray the the who’s-doing-who gets canceled.”    --Hairdog

GREY’S ANATOMY“Sorry, but I don’t care what night Grey’s Anatomy is on this year... I watch it no matter what! I love CSI, but Grey comes first... it is so suspensful that it gives you something to look forward to the next episode. Where CSI is the same people, but a completly different crime/story plot. So if you miss an episode and watch the next one, you don’t feel like you missed something. That’s a reason to love CSI, but it’s also a reason to miss it for something else... Grey’s Anatomy!”    --Erin

“I think Grey’s will get a boost from the viewers not interested in watching the Daddy and Electra show. Incest is never pretty.”    --Dani

“Is Grey’s Anatomy going to be rerun every Friday night or just sporatically? I am a diehard viewer of both shows and am very dismayed at what they have done pitting the two against each other. That would be a solution to the problem if they do rerun every Friday. Then I could watch CSI Thursday and Greys on Friday.”    --Ricki

“I record both CSI and Grey’s Anatomy and watch them when I want later in the week. On Thursday night I am usually watching something recorded earlier in the week. I rarely watch any show at its original broadcast time.”     --Anonymous

NONE OF THE ABOVE“NCIS is the show that you should be comparing. All the action and drama of CSI. More interesting characters. A little humor. All done without turning the show into a soap opera.”    --Jim

“Can’t imagine watching either show.”    --Anonymous

“Don’t forget about Supernatural also airing on Thursday at 9pm ET! It is a great show as well. That leaves 3 totally different shows to watch/record!”    --Rich


Multi-link Monday

How about some fun random linkage to start off the week? Remember to your favorite sites for possible consideration. Thanks!

• Readers of Multi-link Monday (and its predecessor, Five-link Friday) love them some quizzes, both the online personality type and the test-your-brain type. Can you locate Tonga on an unlabeled map? How about Benin? That's the kind of challenge you'll get from this .

• Speaking of international knowledge, Americans claim our cats say "meow" and our dogs say "bark," but in other lands, cats' noises are translated as "nyan nyan"; dogs' as "hev hev." Check out this and see if you recognize any of your own pets' vocalizations.

• "Talk Like a Pirate" day was last Tuesday, but you don't have to wait for it to come around again to . Or, as they would say, "You don't have t' wait for it t' come around again t' translate anythin' from English into pirate."

• For 36 weeks, two artists in New York and two in Northern Ireland sent a sketchbook back and forth. Between the four of them, they came up with some amazing and odd images. Through the wonder of the Web, you can now .

Reader-submitted link: Last week I linked to the gorgeous views offered by the Yosemite Web cam. This week, a reader sends in another great Web cam. Says Skyler: "My favorite . My 2 year old loves "Finding Nemo" and loves to watch the Sharks and "Mr. Ray" swimming around."

CSI’ vs. ‘Grey's Anatomy’

Doctors vs. death, Seattle vs. Vegas, Grey vs. Grissom. The battle royale is about to throw down.

Some nights there isn't much worth watching on TV even if you're hunting through hundreds of channels.

But Thursday, so coveted by movie studios buying commercials for their Friday-opening movies, has always been a hot spot. Even more so this year, as Thursday sees two television behemoths battling it out at 9 p.m. ET: "CSI" and "Grey's Anatomy."

"CSI" has been staking out that Thursday spot for years now. The original-recipe Vegas version of the series is unquestionably the most popular scripted series on television, with only "American Idol" beating it out regularly.

"Grey's Anatomy" is just beginning its third season, but it for that show, and its McDreamy-Meredith on-again, off-again romance, to practice some serious dissection on viewers' loyalties.

Is it really such a big deal that the two shows are duking it out in the same time slot? After all, this is 2006. Many homes have VCRs or DVRs, practically every show ends up online anyway, and full-season DVDs come out almost before the sets have been dismantled for the summer. And, sure, many folks will just solve this dilemma by recording one show and watching the other live.

But even if you record one show, and watch it immediately after the other, that's 11 p.m. ET at the absolute earliest before you can head for bed. (Lucky Central Time zone folks get an extra hour.) Assuming you have two hours that you can devote to TV -- many of us don't.

So you don't watch them on the same night. Then you risk the chance of having one or the other show's plot developments spoiled for you the next day at work or by surfing the Net and coming across a spoiler. (Fair warning: will cover both shows, so while that's a solution for some, for others, it's a spoiler-fraught minefield.)

I never thought I'd vote against ratings powerhouse "CSI" in a TV fight that didn't involve "Idol," but I think more people might watch "Grey's" live.

Not that "CSI" is a worse show or its fans are less loyal, but the shows have different styles. As caught up as viewers are in the personal lives of the CSIs, that show is first and foremost about the crimes. "CSI" is the kind of show you can watch a day later without losing much.

GREY'S ANATOMY - \"I Am a Tree\" - Cristina meets Burke's parents -- and in the most awkward of circumstances -- the interns campaign for Izzie's reinstatement to the surgical intern program, Addison takes a break from her hospital duties, and a surgical patient lives what may be her last day to the fullest, on \"Grey's Anatomy,\" THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/VIVIAN ZINK) SANDRA OH, ELLEN POMPEOVivian Zink / American Broadcasting Companies

"Grey's," on the other hand, is less about hospital patients than about the personal lives of the doctors — who's McDreamy choosing this week, what will Izzie do after leaving surgery, what about Burke's recovery from the gunshot wound? I hate the term "watercooler talk" (so 1960s! my office has a water dispenser, not a cooler, and the good gossip is never there, anyway) but there are the kind of topics people buzz about with their friends the next day.

However, if you want to be logical about it, it might be smarter to watch "CSI" on Thursdays, because "Grey's Anatomy" will rerun on Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET. And I really should know better than to ever underestimate those Vegas types — no one can play the odds like they do.