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Well, it’s late November, and that means one thing for me: traveling back East for Thanksgiving! After my unfortunate dalliance with American Airlines back in September, I wound up back on my home turf: Jetblue, baby. But all was not the same. My journey revealed many unpleasant changes: new snacks, messy trays, MALFUNCTIONING SATELLITES!
The whole sordid mess after the jump…1:57 PM
Okay, so here’s the deal so far. Nothing too eventful has happened on this flight. For a brief moment, I thought Erika Christiansen might be joining us for this airborne adventure, but it turned out she was merely gabbing with a friend at the gate — she had just arrived from NY in Burbank, not the other way around. Sadly, this meant the celebrity quotient for this trip was at a firm zero. Usually the Los Angeles to New York flights at Thanksgiving are chock full o’stars, but I clearly didn’t compensate for the Burbank/JetBlue factor (considerably less appealing than first class American Airlines from LAX). One time, I had Matthew Perry, John Stamos, Lilly Tyler, and some other celebrity on my post-Thanksgiving flight. It was very exciting; although, nothing could compare to the time when David Hyde Pierce, Sarah Clarke (Nina from 24), Xander Berkley (Mason from 24 — they’re married in real life), Paul Tagliabue, and Gwyneth Paltrow all clogged up my plane with their star power. Anyway, I’m just name dropping now because there really is nothing eventful going on. Oooh! I almost forgot! The star quotient for this flight might not be zero. I think I spotted Jerry Ryan. Further reconnaissance at the baggage claim will be necessary.
In terms of the dining situation, I learned the hard way that Burbank is not what one might call a haven for pre-made sandwiches, which is what I really wanted. The first place I checked into sold only salads (not in the mood), wraps (ditto), and paninis. Now, paninis are nice and everything, but by the time I’d be ready to enjoy my mid-flight meal, the thrill of the grill would be gone. Chances are it would be either soggy or crusty or both. Point is, I didn’t have faith that the panini would serve me well; so I did a private eye-rolling and moved onto my next option: Tully’s Coffee.
I was hoping that maybe Tully’s would have some basic sandwiches for sale, but alas, all they had was coffee (natch) and crappy pastries. Pass.
Last and certainly least on my culinary travels through the Burbank airport was some sort of hamburger station that also sold bagels. Because that makes sense. I’m never one to turn down a bagel, but I am one to turn down a bagel sold at a hamburger stand. It’s like buying sushi in an Armenian restaurant: not a good idea. It became very clear to me that my dreams of a sandwich would not be coming to fruition.
Well, I needed to get something, and that’s when I realized what I had to do. Of course! TOBLERONE! An airport tradition. I crossed my fingers that I’d be able to find a dark chocolate Toblerone, naively assuming that I’d be able to find any Toblerone at all. That’s right. I couldn’t find one. An airport without a Toblerone! My entire perception of the world just changed. How could this be? No Toblerone??? Well, now I was heading into emergency territory. No sandwich. No Toblerone. What, pray tell, could fill this void?
I needed to improvise. Think outside of the box. What would my next step be? I walked all the way across the terminal, back to the first panini place to draw inspiration. Luckily, I found my friend Lisa, who just happened to be on the same flight as me. I explained my dilemma to her, and the two of us perused the offerings together, but again, nothing appealed to me. She tried to sell me on the salads, and I should have listened — seeing that salads are healthy and all — but I wanted something more substantial.
We eventually wound up back at Tully’s where I realized the best I was going to do was one of the chocolate croissants. Normally, the prospect of a chocolate croissant gets me very excited, but I know better than that. This was an airport chocolate croissant. A whole new beast. They’re pretty much the cockteases of pastries. They look savory and delicious on the outside, but one bite, and you realize that this bad boy’s been sitting out a while. Still, it was better than nothing, and so I purchased the middling pastry, somewhat disheartened that my odyssey had concluded in this way.
Now here I am on the flight, my croissant happily tucked away in the seatback pocket next to the iPod. The good news is that while my food isn’t optimal, I do have plenty of space, thanks to the seat next to me being vacant. I was really scared because the last guy to get on the plane was really, really fat. Knowing my luck, I figured he’s be next to me. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with being overweight, but this guy was obese, and I thought for sure I would be in for a flight sans left-armrest. However, the seating gods looked down on me favorably today, and disaster was averted. For now, at least. Fat man wound up several rows behind me.
Okay, time to watch TV!
At the Food Network, Ina Garten informs us that she’s been playing bridge with her gal pals, but it’s time for a change. You guessed it: she’s renting a French film. Oh the exciting life of the Barefoot Contessa! Might Amélie be on the menu??
Ina’s obligatory gay friend shows up. He kind of looks like Phil Keoghan. But gayer. Hence, gay friend.
Beverage service has arrived. Time to put away the laptop, bust out the croissant, and go to town!
Well, it’s been an eventful half hour. My Diet Coke arrived, which meant it was time to take the plunge and try the croissant. Well, a surprise was in order. The airport chocolate croissant was… delicious! Well, not delicious delicious, but considering its lowly origins, I had to give it props. Oh, Tully’s Coffee! To think I ever doubted you!
After I finished eating my croissant (which caused my fingers to become quite chocolatey), the flight attendant came by with the famed JetBlue basket o’ snacks. What to pick? Usually, I select a combo of the chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip biscotti, but considering I had just gorged myself on a chocolate croissant, I figured I’d change it up with the old standby, Munchies Mix. Oh, but how could I deny cookies too? At the last second, I asked if I could get some cookies as well, and the flight attendant dutifully honored my request. The big news was that JetBlue seems to have changed cookie providers because gone were the standard double-pack of chocolate chip cookies. Now we had a little bag of, well, I don’t remember the brand (and I’ve already thrown out the wrapper). Here’s all you need to know: the new cookies claim to be “Cookies with a Cause,” which should have been my first red flag. I assumed this meant that every bag sold would lead to a donation to some wildlife charity. No, the cause was to make our lives healthier because these cookies were made with all organic ingredients. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m all for healthier living (as I stuff my face with Munchies Mix), but I tell you what I am not for: AWFUL COOKIES. And that’s what these bad boys were. Imagine a Frookie gone bad. Very bad. These cookies were not only tiny, but chewy and, well, weird. Their only redeeming quality was the faint flavor of chocolate that came through every three bites. Who would have thought? Airport croissant was delectable while airplane cookies were horrid. A reversal of culinary fortune.
Let this be a lesson to you all: do NOT waste your JetBlue snack selection on the chocolate chip cookies. DO NOT.
In the meantime, I spent my snack break watching Family Feud, an old favorite. During the bonus round, Richard Dawson asked a woman “Name an animal you can fit in your palm.” Instantly, I’m thinking hamster, gerbil, parakeet. What does this lady answer with? GOPHER. Well done, idiot.
By the way, unfortunate news. The satellite is all funky, which means half the networks aren’t working, including MTV and VH1. Blast. But the worst casualty of all this? No VH1 Classic. How will I get to watch classic Shannon videos???
You know, I still don’t get Mad Money. Seriously. What is the deal with that show?
Oh no! BBCA isn’t working! And here I thought I could spend the afternoon enjoying the comic stylings of Judi Dench!
Silly Richard Dean Anderson. He just tried to throw a stick at some alien robot humanoid jerk on Stargate Atlantis. Too bad he didn’t realize there was a forcefield around him. IN YOUR FACE, MACGUYVER! By the way, for all you wondering, this episode is called “DEADMAN’S SWITCH”. More like Non-Deadman’s Forcefield, if you know what I’m saying. High-five, alien robot humanoid jerk!
On A&E, an episode of Crossing Jordan is just starting up. Funny story. Back in the day, I used to work on a show called Three Sisters (you know, with Dyan Cannon, Vicki Lewis, A.J. Langer. Eh, okay, never mind). Anyway, one day, Crossing Jordan needed to use our soundstage; so I was put in charge of guarding the Three Sisters set, lest any of those hooligans tried to — you know what? This story is just dumb and boring. I guess that’s what happens when you watch Crossing Jordan for more than two seconds.
I’m seriously struggling without my full slate of channels, but at least I have Rachel Ray to keep me company. She’s squawking about something. This reminds me: about that Rachel vs. Giada Iron Chef. I’ve been receiving several emails about it. The answer is yes, I did see it, and no, I’m not ignoring it. I was going to recap it last Tuesday, but a wrench was thrown into the plan (nothing too provocative — just an unexpected guest dropped by), and I haven’t had time since then. I will, however, do my best to put together a photo recap when I get back to Los Angeles next week. Better late than never, right?
Awww. Crocodile Hunter. This is sad. And not particularly entertaining either. Time to change the channel before the veritable sting ray of boredom stabs me in the chest. OH, THAT WAS MEAN!
The weather shows that it’s 35 degrees in New York. Perfect. That means when I gloat about how it’s been in the nineties for the past week or so in Los Angeles, it will be that much more effective.
I love watching about how the terrorist alert level is high when I’m on an airplane.
Dana Tyler of CBS News in NY asks us if the key to spicing things up in the bedroom involves spicing things up in the pantry. We then see an image of an onion bagel. ROMANCE INCARNATE! Don’t even get me started on the aphrodisiac powers of an old fashioned egg bagel with jam!
Okay, someone’s phone just rang behind me. WTF, people? Do you want us all to crash and die??
Another assassination in Lebanon. So why is the NBC correspondent reporting from Fairfield, CT? Is there a Hezbollah outpost in Old Greenwich?
Am I the only one who always gets Andrea Mitchell and Andrea Kremer confused?
Current affairs are cool and all, but like OMG John Tucker Must Die is on! Hey, remember when Jesse Bradford used be a promising new star? Yeah, that was funny. [ed. note -- I meant Jesse Metcalfe, not Jesse Bradford, although, the same comment still applies, swimfan].
Here’s a shock. John Tucker Must Die features the song “Dirty Little Secret” by the All American Rejects. Wow, how original for teen programming!
I think there’s a glitch. I’m not supposed to see John Tucker Must Die, and yet, I can. I’m supposed to swipe my credit card, but it appears as though my TV is fighting the system and showing me the movie regardless. Unfortunately, I have the words “Please Swipe Your Credit Card To Continue Watching This Service. Charge is 5.00″ plastered on my screen. Kind of annoying. Almost as annoying as this movie. I want to change the channel, but I’m afraid if I do, I won’t be able to come back. Is it worth it? Probably not. And yet, I can’t deny free access to a pay-per-view movie!
Turns out Ashanti acts as well as she can sing. That’s not a good thing.
WTF?? The man in front of me has just put his hand behind his head and ON MY TELEVISION. Lay off, old man!
Okay, the hand’s gone now. Hey, jerk: in case you were wondering, that warm feeling on the back of your headrest was MY TELEVISION SCREEN!!!
Among the more contrived elements of this movie, Ashanti just happens to be addicted to… estrogen? Oh, okay. That makes sense. And guess who’s gonna get a dose of estrogen too? That’s right: John Tucker! Oh Ashanti with your revenge schemes!
Brittany Snow is talking to a “nerd” (read: attractive guy who’s clumsy) about meniscuses and whatnot in chem class. Get it? Because they have chemistry. The many layers of John Tucker…
Booo! Hiss!! JetBlue finally figured out that I was offloading free John Tucker Must Die. Just when things were getting (un)interesting, the LiveMap suddenly appears on screen. Amazingly, this is already more entertaining than the past twenty minutes. Ooh look! Various states and lakes!
Damn you, John Tucker! Because the PPV movie was so quiet, I had to pump my volume up super high. Too bad I forgot because when I changed channels, I wound up at ESPN — just as a referee’s whistle pierced my ear drums. I blame you, Ashanti, and your quiet movie.
Ah ha! Free PPV continues, this time with My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Blast! It’s already gone.
The Insider has footage from the Ed Bradley funeral. And guess who’s there? CHENBOT. Yes, Julie Chen arrived hand in hand with her husband, Les Moonves. I wonder if she delivered a eulogy. I imagine it probably went something like this: “Hello funeral guests. Today’s eulogy is called ‘Ed Dead.’ I’ll be reading a series of statements. For each one, if you think it’s true, raise the green paddle. If you think it’s false, raise the red paddle. But be careful, funeral guests. There is a twist. The Funeral Spider is hungry and ready to feed!” At this point, a giant spider descends over the crowd and begins spewing a milky substance. Chenbot then continues: “Okay, funeral guests. Let’s begin. True or false: Ed Bradley enjoyed scuba diving. Funeral guests, I need an answer. I need an answer right now. Mike Wallace, you need to show me your paddle. MIKE WALLACE.” And so on and so forth…
Time to get serious on The Insider. It’s Mo’nique’s “uphill crusade” against her weight. Literally. We see her marching up a hill. Brought a tear to my eye. Then I realized it was just a speck of leftover Munchies Mix.
Ah, a sneak peak for the next season of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. She’s searching for male models. Oh, and Perez HIlton is there too — not in his underwear THANK GOD.
Okay, this is NOT cool at all. JetBlue just handed out the second round of snacks, and previously, round 2 was always a snack box. You know, cheese, crackers, raisins, a cookie. WELL. Not anymore! Now it’s just a lame bag of Wheat Thins. First the organic cookies, now this? What is going on??? I’m not eating these crackers on principle.
The guy next to me just asked what channel ABC is on. Hey, idiot. In case you haven’t noticed over the past THREE HOURS, but there is no ABC on Jetblue.
What’s going on with celebrity controversies lately? First OJ, then Michael Richards, and now Clay and Kelly and Rosie? It’s Thanksgiving, people. Everybody’s gotta just chill out. Thankfully, there’s happy news too. Tom and Katie’s wedding cake! Does anyone really care about this? You know, beyond women in Wisconsin named Maude?
God bless Entertainment Tonight. Somehow they managed to turn a puff piece about Tom’s wedding into a promo for Deja Vu. I can only imagine what they’ll do with their eye-opening portrait of a three-hundred pound model later in the show. I’m not even joking.
Ah, the Junior Mint episode of Seinfeld. I wonder if this show is still funny knowing that Michael Richards is a lunatic racist.
Okay, I caved. I opened up the Wheat Thins. Turns out these weren’t just Wheat Thins. They were Wheat Thins Chips. And I’d like to add that they were not good at all. I stopped eating and am now sneering passive aggressively.
A commercial for Apocalypto featuring Mel Gibson explaining the movie. Huh. Funny how suddenly Michael Richards takes the crown as bigoted celebrity jerk just as Mel needs to start looking better. Conspiracy? I think so!
A message from the captain: On the right side of the plane is Chicago. On the left is Milwaukee. Ha! The lefties totally got screwed! (I got Chi-town).
Dilemma: I’m two episodes behind on Friday Night Lights. Do I throw caution to the wind and watch this week’s episode regardless? It goes against my TV principles. But then again, after those Wheat Thin Chips, I wonder if I even have principles anymore. Who thought this flight would cause so much introspection?
Problem solved! Friday Night Lights isn’t even on. It’s that Tony Bennett special that all the old, crusty reviewers have been jizzing over. I kind of feel badly for Stephen Colbert now. Clearly Tony Bennett’s gonna win the Emmy for Outstanding Variety/Musical Performance, simply because he’s old and voters are dumb.
Just watched ten minutes of a Daily Show rerun. Meanwhile, back on NBC, Tony Bennett’s singing with John Legend, who I irrationally hate. I don’t know why I hate him so much, I just do. You gotta admit, he is fairly overhyped. And if you love him, well, I guess you’ll probably send me hate mail. I mean, his last name is “Legend.” A bit presumptuous, yes? I personally am shocked that The Gap overlooked him for this year’s Christmas ads.
A new lowpoint: watching Who’s Line Is It Anyway on BBCA.
Ooh! LiveMap revelations! Detroit draws near! I bet those jerks on the left side of the plane get stuck staring at a cloud or something.
Hey idiot woman sitting in front of me: thanks for yelling your thoughts about dumb things. Next time, take off your headphones.
A flight attendant comes by, asking, “Can I take anything?” Yes. How about your remove your ABHORRENT WHEAT THIN CHIPS.
Okay, I shit you not. The guy next to me just asked another stewardess if ABC is available, and now he’s trying to be passive aggressive, saying things like “They have all the other networks. You’d think they’d have ABC too. Wouldn’t ABC want to be here?” Maybe he should discuss this with DirecTV owner Rupert Murdoch and not Joannie, the flight attendant. (I don’t know if that’s her real name. I just decided it was.) Anyway, he’s now talking about how much he wants to watch The American Music Awards. So he’s the guy!
Here’s some great news: Fox In Flight is airing ‘Til Death. Perfect! I was just thinking about how awesome it would be to not laugh for the next twenty-two minutes.
I guess it’s appropriate that ‘Til Death would elicit terrible turbulence. Thanks, Brad Garrett.
Half hour until House. Of course, I’m expected to land right in the middle of it. Could anything be more frustrating? Well, I guess there could be plenty more frustrating. Especially if I were in dire need of watching ABC all flight long.
By the way, it’s crazy hot in this cabin. A little airflow, people? Or did Jetblue get rid of that with the old chocolate chip cookies too?
7:16 PM, er, 10:16 PM
Okay, well, here I am in my parents car. As you can see, there’s been a minor time gap. Basically, the combination of nothing good on TV and my laptop being too entirely warm for my legs left me wanting to simply close up shop for the duration of the flight. It was all for the best anyway because no sooner had I put this baby back in its bag than we were suddenly besieged with some slightly terrifying turbulence. Again, I blame ‘Til Death.
I really don’t know how I spent the next half hour as I wait for House to come on. I think I simply was in a state of chronic channel flipping, occasionally pausing to grasp my armrest as if that could ever save me from a catastrophic plane crash. By the way, I forgot to mention this before, but my tray table was quite possibly the dirtiest tray table I had ever seen on an airplane before. This was funny because before I had pulled it down, the guy next to me (the one who LOVES ABC) wiped down his tray table with some water an a napkin. At the time, I thought to myself, “OCD much?” but then of course two seconds later, I pulled mine down and secretly wished that I had some sort of handi-nap to take care of the situation. Alas, I did not, which meant each and every one of my snacks had to stay far away from that nasty tray. Wasn’t that hard actually. It’s not like I was forming sushi rolls or anything like that.
Anyway, nothing too eventful happened the rest of the way. Oh, well, there was House, which I was totally into, but about 35 minutes into it, we landed, which meant I’d have to wait until next week to see what ailed Patrick Fugit (don’t tell me). I’m assuming his condition has something to do with his precocious sister, and I’m really hoping it’s not some disgusting, incestuous, pedophiliac twist.
Oh, and for those of you wondering, I did a little follow-up on Jerri Ryan — or Faux Jerri Ryan, as it were. That’s right. False alarm. Star wattage for this flight = zero. Alas.
So yeah, I’m back on ground. Time to watch more TV!