Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

Queer Factor

They're our latest superheroes, expertly coiffed and outfitted, ready to blaze a path of good hygiene and high fashion through the Animal Houses of America. Grooming guru Kyan Douglas, fashion maven Carson Kressley, food expert Ted Allen, interior designer Thom Filicia and "culture vulture" Jai Rodriguez are the gay miracle workers on Bravo TV's new series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy . Otherwise known as the "Fab 5," they barrel into a different straight guy's home each week to perform a brilliant, bitchily witty exorcism of their victims' pleated pants, prune butter, nose hair and nasty underpants, just in time for some special event like a wedding proposal. It's too bad that they can't clean up the god-awful mess that airs just one hour before, that dating-show monstrosity known as Boy Meets Boy . Bravo TV debuted its two queer-themed shows within weeks of each other, with Queer Eye arriving first. Boy Meets Boy , the first gay dating show ever, was originally conceived as a...

Cut Below

Cable channel FX has decided to give professional life -- as shown on TV -- a makeover. Literally. FX wasn't about to trot out any of the old gray mares of workplace shows -- the comforting cops-n-lawyers format of Law & Order , the faux drama of ER 's doctors, the ludicrous hysterics pumped into The Practice to make lawyering look sexy. Instead, the characters on FX's newest show are practitioners of that most au courant of professions: plastic surgery. Nip/Tuck , which is a drama, comes on the heels of a slew of makeover-themed reality shows -- make over your face, body and house, thereby making over your whole life! -- that have only grown more garish with each new incarnation. The front-runner in this category is currently ABC's Extreme Makeover , which takes normal humans and turns them into anatomically enhanced mannequins or facsimiles of plastic talk-show hosts and toothpaste-commercial actors by dint of nose, boob, jaw and cheek jobs. Name a body part and there's a job to...

Graphic Equalizer

The Iranian regime has its visions of Iran, which it expresses in public art that hangs above Tehran's traffic-snarled streets: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the thunderous-browed father of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, scowls down from a giant mural; young men who perished in the eight-year war with Iraq, barely bearded, gaze out from their martyrs' fields of painted red tulips; protesters throw rocks at an Israeli flag; a Statue of Liberty sports a skull for a head; more mullahs, more martyrs. We Americans have our visions of Iran, too: seething crowds besieging the U.S. embassy, fanatical women in chadors. For us, the images add up to a nation with which we have no official diplomatic relations, only bitter words. To hear her tell it, Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi is doing battle with these images -- the ones produced by both the United States and Iran. Her ammunition? The memoir of her childhood, Persepolis , a "comic," as she calls it, that tells the story of her coming...

Toy Story

The Carpenters were already strange enough. The brother and sister duo churned out hit after relentless hit in the 1970s, all perk, sweet harmonies and Karen Carpenter's eerily smooth voice. But that contralto seemed to mask a yawning emptiness; Karen crooned about melancholy in much the same way she sang about joy -- with the flattened affect of the medicated. Filmmaker Todd Haynes found the perfect way to heighten that strangeness and illustrate the incongruity of Karen's heavenly voice by telling the story of her hellish life. The "actors" in his 1987 film, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story , are not real people but Barbie dolls, whose painted-on smiles and unrealistic bodies underscore the tragic nature of the tale. Karen Carpenter, you might recall, died after years of battling anorexia nervosa -- that voice, in later years, wafting out of a ravaged face. Haynes' film is being shown as part of the Illegal Art tour -- a showcase for paintings, etchings, sculptures and fake...

Almost Famous

American Idol had scarcely wrapped up its season before yet another talent show sprang up: NBC's Fame, starring the indomitable Debbie Allen as part judge, part boot-camp instructor, part mom to a group of aspiring singer-dancers. There's not much new in showbiz these days, as Allen's career trajectory will attest. Here she's reprising her art-school teacher role from the 1980 Fame movie, which she followed up by directing a TV series spin-off. You might say this is Allen's third attempt at living forever, and one can only hope the third time's the charm. The show also proves that there's not much new in the world of "reality" TV, where producers have sown rows of talent-show dragon's teeth in the hope of duplicating American Idol 's smash success. In commercial breaks for Fame , NBC let us know what other treats it has in store: a show for the funniest person in America and most talented senior citizen. "Go Grandma," hoots one spry woman. "It's your birthday!" Grandma easily has more...

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