The posts contained herein are not necessarily the opinions of Justine Bateman, herself, but are rather inspired by her character on the web-series "Easy To Assemble."

Welcome to the Club Conan - Bitter Is Better!

Here’s a trend for 2010 It’s lean and it’s mean!

The clock struck midnight on Dec 31st 2009 and there was a brief moment when I was afraid 2010 would be less bitter then 2009! Three weeks into the new year and I can confirm that has not happened. I didn’t win Co-Worker of the Year despite having invented the Bateman vegetarian meatball at IKEA and then we have the epic smack down of Conan O Brian vs. Jay Leno. The latter has, by the way, in itself become a metaphor of everything that is wrong with network TV. Forever cannibalizing itself TV has finally run out of bodies to eat from as we watch host eat host.

Bitter, table for one.

Conan has a right to be bitter. When local NBC affiliates threatened to preempt the Jay Leno show if it was not taken off the air they never mentioned The Tonight Show with Conan O Brian. So why is he being punished for Jay’s failure? NBC decides to keep Jay over Conan?

Conan has been going on a nightly Howard Beale tirade against his bosses for stripping him from the show he was promised. By telling the truth in a funny self-deprecating way he has gained fan support and ratings. . But is still being let go. Artists are replaceable right? Who needs them. Let’s just CGI them. No messy feelings to deal with.
Bitter has a new name.

Jay Leno is another story. His show was a failure so he is being rewarded for his failure by getting another chance. It’s the American way (bank bailout anyone?) Rather than just going away in the first place this Norma Desmond of the airways is happy to return to the job he retired from 6 months ago, only to kill Conan O Brian in his crib along the way.

Here’s the thing about Jay Leno that I’m glad is finally being revealed.  His I wear a denim shirt so I’m a nice guy image, is being broken into bitter gleaming shards pointed directly towards Conan O Brian.  Night after night he dutifully represents “the man” as he portrays himself the innocent victim of,” a business decision”. You can relax Jay, you got the job. Corporate hack.
Speaking of bitter, In an interview on Charlie Rose Jeff Zucker, President and CEO of NBC/Universal described the network that brought us Bob Hope, ER, West Wing, Friends, Seinfeld, Conan O Brian, and Jay Leno as, “a very small piece of the portfolio of NBC/Universal”.

When the people that bring you entertainment describe entertainment as,” a very small piece of the portfolio” it trivializes what artists do and makes the audience who crave and need entertainment…bitter indeed.

12 Days of Bitter Holidays

There’s a lot to be bitter about this Christmas.

First of all I’m bitter you can’t call it Christmas any more! I fret every time I send out a Christmas card worrying I’ll offend someone by not using the politically correct “Holiday greeting”. It’s about as much fun as getting “clean coal” in your stocking.

Next, I received 6 cards this year because everyone is so concerned about the environment that no one sends Christmas cards any more. A mass email to 100 colleagues plus me does not fill me with the Holiday spirit!

The annual Christmas parties I get invited to were all cancelled because it was decided, “In this economic climate having a big party just didn’t seem right”. Didn’t seem right to whom? Let me get this straight. It’s been a bad year so let’s not even attempt to end it with some optimism that things are getting better. Ba Humbug!

Every year I look forward to eating persimmon pudding that one hostess makes. Another Holiday party boasts the best turkey chili I’ve ever had. I start thinking about it in November! I can’t even complain I packed on holiday pounds after weeks of and drinking champagne and eating fudge, cheese logs, and rum balls. I’m just fat!

My brief attempt to Christmas shop was met with pessimism and utter rejection. The usually chipper over eager sales staff are now replaced by bored; you aren’t going to buy any thing anyway so why should I stop my personal conversation to help you find a grey sweater that you probably won’t buy anyway!

There’s no great present to look forward to under my eco friendly artificial tree anyway. We all have our iPhones so this year’s must have’s are a toy hamster, a snuggie, or a cheo-pet that grows like President Obama!

Usually by this time of the year if I hear Charlie Brown’s Christmas music one more time I’m ready to shoot myself, but this year it’s like no one is interested in hearing anything accept Tiger Woods voice message put to music. It’s as if we’re too bitter to even sing.

Bob Dylan released a Christmas cd and it was panned! Bob Dylan! Singing Christmas carols! Bob Dylan singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas gets a collective ho hum!

The final nail of the Christmas coffin came when I saw a TV commercial that announced, “Join us for our special holiday presentation of The March of the Penguins”…March of the Penguins??? A Christmas movie?? A “Holiday presentation”??? The only thing that relates March of the Penguins to a Christmas movie is that it has snow it it! Animated snow!

With Merry Christmas, Christmas carols, Christmas music, Christmas trees, Christmas cards, Christmas lights, Christmas music, rum and egg nog, 3 Wise Men, The manger, Santa and his reindeer or anything meaningful stripped out of the holiday season why celebrate at all?

If, “The true meaning of Christmas”, is replaced by, “The true meaning of “the holidays”?

What is that true meaning of anything?

Ba Humbug is in! Bob Cratchet is actually a role model!

Here’s to 12 Days of Bitter!

The Un Bitter Defense Against Inga D

I’ve been hearing a lot of bitterness out on the dating scene from single women.

Men can’t appreciate strong, bitter women. No, they want “a perfect woman”. Trust me, it’s not easy being in a Swedish workplace, being held up against blond bombshells such as Sparhusen’s Inga D. But don’t despair, the man of your dreams might not be so interesting in reality. So, here are a few lines to keep you un-bitter for a few hours.

Oh. Try to exit before he starts to tell you about that great road trip he went on with his  college buddies. You can only keep that fixed smile on your face for so long before the bitterness comes back!

1.You’re not late! I just eat fast!

2. You’re staring at my breasts. How flattering!

3. Yes, I can’t wait to see the new Three Stooges movie.

4. Burning man? I go every year!

5. You’re learning to play the guitar? That’s fascinating.

6. I agree, it’s so important to stay in touch with your ex.

7. No, I love older men! They’re so knowledgeable, so intelligent, and they tire easily.

8. That’s a tough one, I’d guess I’d have to say Megan Fox is hotter.

9. Party at Dawg the Bounty Hunter’s house? Sure!

10. Hmmm Bowling or Karaoke?? I’d have to say Bowling!

and finally

11. You’re right! Why should the man always pay!

Steal Some Dignity OJ Simpson and Illeana Douglas!

Winona Ryder, Peaches Geldof and even OJ Simpson - Ever wonder why so many celebrities steal things? I don’t. They take things because we all take things. We take shampoo and soap from hotels, packets of sugar, and matches from restaurants. Have you ever accidentally walked out of a store with something and realize you didn’t pay for it? Did you go back in and tell them. No, it’s one of God’s freebies.

I had a roommate that used to steal toilet paper! He’d come home from work with this industrial sized roll of toilet paper-like a wheel of cheese-only it was toilet paper, stolen from where he worked! 

Don’t laugh. How many office workers reading this have pocketed pens, paperclips, and post-it’s from where they worked? What’s the point of working an office job unless you can come home with a few supplies? Free printing anyone?

So let’s not be so hard on celebrities with sticky fingers. Most of them, from Hedy Lamar to Farrah Fawcett to tennis star Jennifer Capriati get caught shoplifting clothes. I think the public has this idea that actresses steal things because they have a sense of entitlement. No. Actresses, in particular, take things because they can’t afford to buy them.

The constant pressure from the media to be outfitted in the latest expensive designer duds causes actresses to risk shoplifting rather than face the embarrassment of having the public realize they can’t afford the very designer duds they’re taking!

I don’t think actress Bai Ling swiped 2 celebrity magazines and some batteries because she had a sense of entitlement. I think she swiped them because she couldn’t afford to buy them. If she did have a sense of entitlement I’m totally on her side. Why should Bai Ling have to pay for celebrity magazines that she’s in?

I remember hearing about an A-list actress from the 40s (still alive) notorious for lifting props from the sets of movies she was in.  I once had an actress greet me on a set wearing my own wardrobe from the day before!

Actresses are like squirrels. Leave it lying there and they are bound to run off with it.

You know what makes me bitter? Randy Quaid may have skipped out on an overpriced Bel Air hotel bill but Wall St. steals millions from us and it barely gets the same ink. 

Talk about entitlement.

All that said – stealing stuff at IKEA, where everything is a steal anyway, is shameful. So don’t let Illeana Douglas off too easy for her cookies-and-jam-scam. She is not the only actress working in the store, so put your vote for “Co-Worker of the Year” on the one that at least has enough street-smartness not to get caught in the act, so to speak…

Miley Cyrus is a Bitter Twitter Quitter!

16-year-old Miley Cyrus has quit twitter. Wow! I had no idea Hannah Montana was so bitter. With her statement. “I can’t have my personal life be other people’s entertainment,” Miley Cyrus proves you don’t have to be 40 to be bitter. As much as I love the idea of a 16-year-old bitter celebrity you might want to pace yourself girlfriend. There are many bitter years ahead.

So here are a few tips to get you through the bitter teen years.

1. At 16 You’ll have the realization that once your personal life is not other people’s entertainment people will no longer be interested in you.

2. At 17 you’ll start reading books like The Bell Jar and Anne Sexton’s autobiography and realize it’s really really depressing to be a women and an artist. You’ll also begin to notice they make a lot of movies about baseball in this country and very few that star female’s.

3. At 18 you’ll finally be able to vote! That’s when you’ll have the realization that voting for the first African American president won’t really change anything. You’ll also wonder what happened to Hillary Clinton and find out she’s serving out her term in Siberia. That’s where men like to send smart women. It gives them a giant brain freeze.

4. At 19 you’ll realize boys suck and they make up half the population. You’ll also come to understand that boys will be boys for a very very long time. Then abruptly at 60 they stop being boys and just become old men.

5. At 20 your teen years are behind you!  You’ll now start hearing the phrase “she’s too old for this.” At this point call me. I’ll help you through the next 20 bitter years! First step - you join my houseband The Traveling Linonberries. You won’t get paid, but the nice folks at IKEA might hook you up with some Swedish cookies. It will help you to fight the bitterness. Ask Illeana.

Bored to Death by Vampires and Kelsey Grammer

So far the new fall TV season has been about as exciting as dodging dog poop on Melrose Ave. As if to signal TV’s enthusiasm for their own medium there is actually a show called Bored To Death.

Talent shows, dancing shows, shows about losing weight, a show about cleaning your house? What is this — public access?

Juliana Margoles has a new show. Not sure about the new straight hair. It’s throwing me off. At first I thought she was Sela Ward. Her show is called “The Good Wife”. Apparently good wives all have straight hair.

Jenna Elfman has a new show. She now has curly hair. In fact she has Christina Applegate’s hair from last years  Samantha Who?

Why did they cancel Christina Applegate’s show only to replace it with someone who looks just like her and has the same hair? It’s even called Accidentally on Purpose!

It’s confusing. It’s like the same 10 people are on TV all the time and one of them is always going to be Kelsey Grammer! Pretty soon he’ll be announcing for the Dodgers. “Hi, This is Kelsey Grammer, it’s the bottom of the ninth and I’m going to be on TV whether you like it or not!”

Here’s something I’m bitter about. When shows all have the same title. Mentalist, Mental, Medium, Mercy, The Middle.

Here’s an idea. Carol Burnett Show.  Mary Tyler Moore Show. Rosanne.

I’m also bitter about this decision. I’ve been told that cop shows, doctor shows etc. They are now called “procedurals”. Like a colonoscopy. “Hey, Have you seen the new CSI”? It’s just like having a colonoscopy!

This makes me bitter. 3 shows about Vampires. Is there some Vampire demographic out there that I’m not aware of? Are Vampires in Pasadena clamoring for a piece of the rating’s pie?

Maybe people who work in TV are even bitterer than I am. Maybe there is some great master plan to confuse and irritate people enough  so they’ll stop watching TV all together.

Guess What TV. It’s working.

My Top 5 Anti-Botox Heroes in Hollywood

I am tired of sticking needles into my face so you’ll accept me. This is what a 40-year-old women looks like who hasn’t had any Botox.

Botox makes me Bitter!

Did it have something to do with a bad economic year?  Of course. Spending 1,000 dollars on something that lasts a few months when I won’t buy the expensive Greek yogurt that I love is crazy. When you’re choosing Botox over eating out or paying the rent it’s not good. I don’t know what’s more painful, the injection or the bill afterwards. Ouch! And Yeaooouchhh!!!!

Next the realization that I wouldn’t have to make up stories about how I got that bruise like, ” A door hit me in the head or I punched myself in the mouth while brushing my teeth, or I was dating Chris Brown”. 

Botox is faux beauty.  Do women look prettier with Botox? Some actresses puffy wax faces look like marzipan. (A waxy pink candy that resembles some actresses). Does it really make you look younger? And why is it sooo important to make women feel that, unless they are younger, they’re not important!

It’s Bo toxic!

Since I got off the needle I get more compliments about how great I look than I ever did when I was on Botox. Suddenly have guys flirting with me - telling me I glow. I mean it’s weird. Alec Baldwin said, “What’s your secret? You look so rested’! It was awesome because now that my face wasn’t frozen I could actually smile at this genuine compliment.

Forced to accept my inner beauty without Botox I made an amazing discovery. I actually have inner beauty! And the outside looks pretty good too! At least that’s what my three boyfriends tell me.

So in that spirit, here’s my hero list of actors and actresses who do not use Botox (and actually are able to move their faces and express feelings, something that might actually be an asset when acting!).

1. Marilyn Monroe. Sure, Botox might not have been around when she was alive, but imaging if it was, she might never have become the legend she is today, but rather another fake-blonde wanna-be.

Read more here.

2. This one is a tie between Ms. Piggy and Nick Nolte. Ms. Piggy is a prime example of someone totally satisfied with her own sense of natural beauty and glamour. I give Nick props just because, if he was a user, the best mugshot ever taken in Hollwood could never have been quite as impactful.

Read more here.

3. Colin Firth. For lashing out against plastic surgery and Botox injections, calling the procedures “a disaster” for actors, whose faces he says are “supposed to move.”

Read more here.

4. Tina Fey. Not only is she one of the funniest fellow moms around, she is also against Botox. She thinks that people with Botox “look like their faces are full of candles — a shiny, shiny face. Festive. A holiday candle.”

5. Tim Meadows. My friend known from Saturday Night Live, is a non-botox user. He told me that his decision not to be a user has forced him to try and get a job at IKEA.

Update - Turns out that my anti-botox heros are even smarter than I gave them credit for. Recent reports indicate that Botox might actually be a serious medical threat to patients. A recent study show that the Botox poison can travel from the face to the brain! I guess that explains a lot about why so many Hollywood stars act the way they do, pun intended :-)

Cry Me a River Oprah!

I’m a crybaby. I cry at commercials, songs, and sporting events. I used to be embarrassed about it but now my philosophy is Cry me a river! If I had an Indian name it would be Great Cry.

One of my great models for behavior is Oprah. Granted, she’s not bitter, but she has shown us time and again that it’s ok to cry, most recently during Barbara Streisand’s performance of “Evergreen”, during which Oprah let loose the waterworks.

Recently during a discussion with a male friend I found my self getting very emotional. He looked at me really strangely and said,” you know when you cry it makes me think your unstable”. Wow! Welcome to the new emotional ice age.

We are so pent up and plugged in that we are afraid to show an actual real emotion for fear of being called “unstable”. I’ve had friends tell me they could never cry in front of people because they don’t want them think they are weak. Weak as opposed to what, passive aggressive. Yea. Better to send a break up email. Why confront when you can just delete.

Have you ever seen a guy start to cry and when you go to comfort them they raise their arm like, Stop! Do not reward me for crying!

Smile though your heart is breaking? 
Have a nervous breakdown when your heart is breaking! That’s my motto.

You know what makes me bitter. The only time people cry these days is when a celebrity dies.  I had people calling me during Michael Jackson’s funeral just weeping. “It’s so sad, the children, waaaaa, Janet’s hat is so tasteful”.

Yes, There’s nothing like the passing of a celebrity to make it acceptable for all of us to have a good collective cry. Makes you wonder about all that pent up emotion everyone is carrying around.

Try to talk about your own sorrow though and your accused of being a downer- Get misty eyed on a date and you’ll get a “Check please!”

It’s funny because in the movies couple’s are depicted opening up to each other as a way of getting closer. He lost his wife, she had an unhappy marriage-their shared emotion and intimacy brings them closer. I remember breaking up with someone because he didn’t cry at Harold and Maude. I considered that “unstable”.

"I made myself a promise", said a man on 60 minutes the other night." I promised myself I would not get emotional." Considering he had stolen millions of dollars a few crocodile tears would have probably meant something to the innocent victims he had stolen from. It would have made him human — and these days that’s the last thing anyone wants to be accused of.

The Age of Bitterness

In my 20’s I was ironic. In my 30’s I was self-deprecating. Now that I’m 40 I’m just plain bitter.

You’ve heard of the age of innocence. We are now entering the age of bitterness.  Take issue with the little things: A fight over an in-flight armrest is no longer childish but valid and satisfying. Embrace it!

I’m 40 and bitter!

Why waste time with all this feigned politeness? Unleash the hounds! Taste the acrid fruit of bitterness!

Recently while on a bitterly tedious cross-country flight, I had to get up from my airplane window seat to go to the bathroom. I gestured to the 40+ man next to me to please get up now. He was so afraid I wouldn’t catch his irritation that he overstated his bitterness. It was all very third rate actor stuff. Sighing loudly, rolling his eyes, slamming his hands on the seat every time I made him get up.

What a shame. I wanted to whisper to him, It’s OK! It’s OK to be bitter. I’m bitter too! You don’t have to overplay it.

It’s like this. Being bitter is natural when you’re 40. If only you allow them, these years can be the most carefree and wonderfully exuberant times of bitterness. So many sad souls deny their inner bitter and wait until old age to realize it. I, for one, don’t want to wait until I’m too old and decrepit to enjoy my vinegar years. Life, my friends, is just too short.

Recently, I experienced a magnificent example of a woman displaying a rich and robust sense of bitterness. First, she procured three dogs, then she kept them confined in a small area. Finally she got them to bark day and night. When her neighbor (me) complained, she screamed, “Deal with it! You’re with the real people now!” At first I thought it was a dig, but then I realized, it was code. Like,” Get in. The bitter water is fine”.

Since then both my neighbor and I have gleefully engaged in a bitter competition of garbage can snatching and leaf blowing worthy of the Olympics. On Wednesday her Gardner blows her leaves into my driveway. On Thursday I blow them all back. It’s very satisfying.

This neighbor thinks that I hate her because I once caught her throwing a plastic cup of ice tea on my lawn. I don’t hate her. I admire her. I wish I had thought of that.

No grudge is too small. I’m 40 and bitter!

Adult Films

I’m sitting here watching Point Blank (1967) with Lee Marvin (43) and Angie Dickenson (38). Halfway through their fleshy old person sex scene with grey-chested Lee Marvin and JFK-shagger Angie Dickenson it hit me why it’s such a turn on.

I am so sick of watching young people have sex in movies! They have no idea how to do it. Their arched backs and carefully choreographed positions make me cringe.

Why am i being subjected to this pornography of ineptitude?

Give me pot bellied and appendix scarred Lee Marvin. This man could leave scars on your heart! And Angie Dickenson blows any 20-something off the screen with her ballsy sex appeal.

Please. Can we send the kiddie’s with their vixen glances and half parted lips to bed and let grownups start taking off their clothes for a change!?

It’s called “the adult” film industry for a reason.

It makes me bitter.

The posts contained herein are not necessarily the opinions of Justine Bateman, herself, but are rather inspired by her character on the web-series "Easy To Assemble."