The Fix

Howard Dean likes dirty jokes, Robert Redford doesn't care about fashion, and Salman Rushdie likes 'em young. Plus: J.Lo goon grabs wrong camera!


Afternoon Briefing:

Judy Dean laughed, and the rest is history: Presidential candidate Howard Dean told People magazine that on his and his future wife’s first spaghetti-dinner group date someone told a “ribald” joke and he told himself that if Judy laughed he could see her again but if she didn’t it might be their last date. She laughed. (People)

Robert Redford says Sundance is still all about independent film: It’s festival time again, and the same criticisms of commercialism and too much fabulousness are hitting founder Redford, who says, “They say … there are too many cellphones on the street. Well, that’s not our invention. And [they say] they’re all wearing black. Well, we’re not in the fashion business.” (CNN)

Go Salman:“Satanic Verses” author Salman Rushdie is set to write the screenplay for his short story “Firebird’s Nest” and the film will star his gal pal Padma Lakshmi (a former Food Network and Bollywood babe who is 25 years his junior). What’s the movie about? A romance between an older man and a younger woman, of course! (BBC)

Don’t go near J.Lo if you value your snapshots: A woman celebrating her birthday in Miami near where Jennifer was hanging got her digital camera snatched when it went off within reach of the full-figured fellas protecting Jen and her date for the evening, Mr. P.Diddy. The woman and her date weren’t interested in anything but taking photos of each other, but they lost all of their vacation shots so they filed a police complaint. (NY Post)

Money (Honey) Quote: Halle Berry on why she’s in therapy to help her get over her tendency to fall for the wrong men: “So far, my relationships have all been the kind that make you throw up.” (Ananova)

Karen Croft

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Ending sitcoms, like breaking up, is apparently hard to do. In fact, the producers of both “Frasier” and “Friends” say they’re still not sure how they’re going to wrap things up on their last episodes.

“We don’t have a clue how we’re going to end, to be honest with you,” “Frasier” producer Christopher Lloyd told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour this week. “I think we’d like to … do something sort of classy, something that isn’t dragging in a lot of celebrities or too much hoopla, just sort of a nice simple ending.”

“Friends” executive producer and co-creator Marta Kauffman has similar aspirations. “One of the things that was important to us was that it still felt like an episode of ‘Friends’. That it wasn’t some gimmick superimposed on the show,” she said.

“We didn’t want to do something high-concept,” added David Crane, the show’s other creator and executive producer, “or take the show out of the world of the show.”

Good thinkin’, Mr. Crane. While all last tableaux can’t be as apt and poignant as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s” group hug, it can certainly be less boring and bizarre than the final episode of “Seinfeld,” which left legions of confused and disappointed fans in its wake.

And heaven help us, it has to be better than the final episode of “St. Elsewhere,” where the camera zoomed out to reveal that the doctors we’d all been watching scurrying around, stanching wounds and saving lives had existed only in the imagination of a little autistic boy staring into a snow globe.

Hell, even Tom Fontana, the veteran TV writer who co-penned that unforgettably awful ending to “St. Elsewhere,” now agrees that the bubble-boy image was probably a sucky, self-indulgent way to go.

“The problem is that the viewers have been living with one set of rules for eight, nine, 10 seasons, and the final episodes that break those rules are very disturbing to people,” Fontana told the Chattanooga Times Free Press last year. “It may be fun for the producer but it’s not so much fun for the people watching.”

He can say that again.

Morning Briefing:

Runaway bride … found: Britney Spears — who, her handlers insist, is not in rehab — breaks silence about wedding. Says, “I do believe in the sanctity of marriage, I totally do. [But] I was in Vegas, and it took over me, and, you know, things got out of hand.” (MTV’s “Total Request Live” via People magazine)

The baby boom rattles on: Jennifer Aniston says she and Brad Pitt want two kids — “at least.” Adds that having babies will “be probably the most important job I’ll ever do.” (“Primetime Thursday” via Fox News)

Brush up on your Aramaic: Mel Gibson announces that his controversial film “The Passion of Christ” will be released independently next month, heading onto about 2,000 screens in the U.S. — a huge release for an independent film. (Reuters)

Amy Reiter

With additional reporting by Christopher Farah.

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Karen Croft is the editor of Salon Sex.

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