Frolicking on the beach during a weeklong vacation, Keeping Tabs couldn't help but wonder what those crazy kids in Tabloidland were cooking up during her absence. Alas, it seems we're not the only ones who checked out for Labor Day.
The first clue that the pickings might be slim was last week's Globe (always the first in Keeping Tabs' pile), which saw fit to include cover stories on Jerry Lewis (who, happily, did not "keel over" during this year's annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon as friends supposedly feared he might) and on the "red-hot" new romance between actors Suzanne Pleshette, who's 63, and Tom Poston, who's well into his 70s. Why the Globe's exclusive interview with 83-year-old Phyllis Diller—who lets on that her new 75-year-old beau is an "excellent kisser"—wasn't seen as cover-worthy still remains a mystery, but Diller can take comfort in knowing she's in good company: This week's photos of Tony Randall sniffing honeydew melons at a New York City grocery store were inexplicably relegated to inside status as well. Randall will no doubt be pleased to hear that his melon shopping still somehow merits considerably more space than a Globe story claiming that Britney Spears was held up at gunpoint at a Utah gas station.
Keeping Tabs' heart stirred a bit to learn that the Globe had snapped out of its stupor and scored those sought-after "heart-tugging first photos" of Madonna and her newborn son, Rocco, but it was hard to muster the same enthusiasm upon seeing those same "first photos" in both the National Enquirer and the Star, which called them "the photos the world has been waiting to see." The Globe says that the new parents "look relieved" in one photo, while the Star's caption for the same image says that "worry [is] still etched on their faces," although the accompanying story splits the difference and says that "relief and concern mingled" on their faces. As for little Rocco, the Globe decides that he "appears hale and hearty—and cute as a button." (Keeping Tabs can't really make out any distinguishing features on the swaddled bundle of joy in question, but his forehead is indeed one of the cutest and most buttonlike we've seen.) And thanks to the Star for drawing one of those ever-helpful red circles around baby Rocco, as if we might find ourselves unable to pick the infant out of the crowd.
Although it doesn't get the red circle treatment, the Star has a truly shocking photo: an exclusive shot of what is said to be—gasp!—cellulite on actress Elizabeth Hurley's left thigh. The "puckered" bit of flesh even merits its very own cover line: "Can You Believe It! Liz Hurley's Got CELLULITE," a conundrum Keeping Tabs is certain that the entire staff of Nightline is feverishly investigating this very minute. The Star tries to make it sound as if publishing the photo were a public service: "Don't feel bad, ladies, if your thighs have more dimples and bumps than a sheet of bubble wrap," because the photo "proves" that "stunning" Hurley "is just like any other mere mortal." Hurley is not alone; this story follows in the esteemed footsteps of the "Sharon Stone Cellulite Shocker," the Clint Eastwood varicose veins imbroglio, and the hmmm-doesn't-Pamela-Anderson's-tummy-look-pregnant controversy.
If you were hoping that the Anne Heche-Ellen DeGeneres split would generate some tabloid heat, think again. The tabs all have pretty much the same story, claiming that the breakup was caused by Heche's reticence about parenthood and by DeGeneres' jealous belief that Heche was still interested in men. Mercifully, none of the tabs bite on that ridiculous "sunstroke" explanation for Heche's oddball hike through Fresno the day the split was announced; tabloid consensus is unanimous that Heche was under the influence of Ecstasy. The Globe's second-week story on the breakup claims that Heche was never really gay: "Whenever she got close to a good-looking guy, she started to feel the vibes and began imagining what it would be like to kiss him," says a source. (Those damned vibes! They'll get you every time.) The Enquirer breaks the news that Heche "cr[ied] on the shoulder" of singer k.d. lang in the week after the split. "Anne has had a rough ride since she and Ellen broke up" says one of those keenly observant "insiders." Indeed, things are so bad that "even a shopping spree couldn't lift [her] spirits."
The tabs can't even muster any good post-finale Survivor dirt, except for the Enquirer's claim that contestant Jenna Lewis is not only determined to steal Sandra Bullock's boyfriend but also asked (married) Christian Slater on a date. "Jenna's sex drive is in high gear!" says an insider. The "Gay Survivor Winner's Wedding Plans" promised on the cover of this week's Star turn out to be Richard Hatch's hopes that he will meet someone and settle down in a committed relationship. Even so, this is a noticeable improvement over last week's lame "Survivor Winner's Surprising Secret"Star cover story, given that that story was clearly written before the winner was revealed and safely reports "secrets" about all four finalists without ever saying which one is, in fact, the winner. Being a grandfather "totally softened and changed" Rudy Boesch, in case you were wondering.
More barrel-scraping you say? How about the Enquirer's story about Dustin Hoffman's troubled sister-in-law? The Star's pathetic exclusive interview with Al Gore's high-school sweetheart, Donna Armistead, now beset with health problems and regrets? How Andy Williams saved his voice by mooing? Wake us when it's over, will you?