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July 20, 2006

I burn to a degree of 130.

The new wristband: W.W.DMX.D?

The networks are dead to us this summer, each of them preoccupied with "America's Got....A Serious Dearth of Talent"-type embarrasments. So it's up to basic cable to save prime time, and it's coming through.

Best by a mile is BET's "Soul of a Man," a "reality" show that follows around lye-throated MC DMX. Anyone who's followed his career since It's Dark and Hell is Hot knows that one of X's biggest accomplishments has been his crafting of a direct and unavoidable persona, a stance as the conflicted shadow that stands between light and dark, heaven and earth, the streets and the penthouse. That persona appears here and there in "Soul of a Man," usually when X is meting out threats on hentchmen and the like. But what makes the show so watchable is how it dismantles the legend the man has built. X becomes a volatile but regular guy with a punctuality problem (and very possibly severe ADD) who drives all the people in his life - his management, his label, his wife - bananas as they try to reign him in. But he doesn't want to be reigned in. He just wants to go target-shooting in the Arizona desert. Or at the very least be at the Gas 'N' Sip just as the fresh donuts arrive. "Soul of a Man" is event television not because of the crazed DMX-ocity that constantly burbles just off-camera, though that's highly watchable, too. It's important because it succeeds at humanizing its subject, instead of letting him hang himself with his own hijinks (as most reality programming would.)

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Unfakeable
How Julie Roberts floats above the pop-country fluff

"[Roberts makes Men & Mascara's] title track even better than its already terrific central phrase "'Cause men and mascara always run" because she delivers it with a wink and a rueful sigh, like she's resigned herself to the fact men will be idiots for as long as beauty maintenance is a chore."

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JTL

Posted by Johnny Loftus at July 20, 2006 11:21 AM