Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

Fashion Forward

The Learning Channel (TLC) comes on like a bossy best friend -- clucking over your curtains with disapproval, pointing out your flab, making you watch her birthing video. She's insufferable and doesn't understand the meaning of "too much information," but the combination of tough love and shared intimacy hooks you every time. To fulfill the intimacy part of the equation, TLC's "Life Unscripted" programming showcases a staggering array of transformative events -- liposuction, weddings, babies, house makeovers, people makeovers. But many of these potentially sappy moments are given a campy, bitchy, drag queen-turned-fairy godmother touch. With this magic formula, TLC has softened some of the sadomasochism inherent in much of "reality" television, while leaving just enough bite. Yes, I can make you beautiful, the Rupaulian godmother might say, but only if I get to trash you first and gloat in my own fabulousness. TLC's latest offering, What Not to Wear , has distilled this essence to its...

The Gambler

The star of FX's new half-hour show Lucky is pretty lucky himself. Things are looking up for actor John Corbett -- now that he's wandered out of fluffy romantic-lead land and into the wilds of dark and depraved comedy. Corbett started strong in the early '90s as the musing DJ Chris Stevens on CBS' dearly departed Northern Exposure . But then the actor took a wrong turn and wound up trapped between two neurotic, curly-haired women, his own personal Scylla and Charybdis: Sex and the City 's Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 's Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos). During this unfortunate (yet probably profitable!) period in his acting career, Corbett mugged affably, mud-wrestled Carrie's old flame Mr. Big (Chris Noth) and eventually got dumped. In Wedding , he mugged affably, wrestled with Toula's big fat Greek family and eventually got married. In truth, Corbett hasn't really left his haplessly pleasant shtick behind; he's just allowed it to sour a little,...

Platinum Hit?

UPN's new Tuesday night lineup might help the network achieve the TV producer's dream: a racially integrated viewing audience. America's boob-tube viewing preferences and TV-show casts are deeply segregated -- a divide that would trouble Martin Luther King Jr. and, for far less noble reasons, should trouble TV execs looking to make big bucks. In this almost literally black-and-white world (Latinos, Asian Americans and other minorities don't seem to figure as strongly in TV execs' demographic obsessions), UPN looks the most poised to bridge the gap. The network already appeals to African Americans with sitcoms such as Girlfriends . And many of its shows -- Enterprise , WWE Smackdown! and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer -- probably draw some of the whitest audiences around. But these days, Buffy viewers who keep their hands off the clicker will be richly rewarded with more of the witty, politically conscious TV writing they've come to love -- but on a show with a primarily African American...

Will and Testament

Abbas Kiarostami was philosophical about the whole mess. U.S. officials had just denied the world-renowned filmmaker -- and "axis of evil" Iranian citizen -- a visa to attend last fall's New York Film Festival. "I certainly do not deserve an entry visa any more than the aged mother hoping to visit her children in the U.S., perhaps for the last time in her life," he responded in a letter to the festival director. "[A]s a privileged person with access to the means of public expression and media, I feel profoundly responsible for the tragic state of the world." Iranian Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi was less understanding. Just one month after the Kiarostami fiasco, Ghobadi was refused entrance to the United States, where he was to receive an award at the Chicago Film Festival. The director forwarded his prize to the White House in protest. The situation plays like something out of an Iranian art film -- all thwarted journeys, missed connections, poetic resignation and Sisyphean...

Filmic Face-lift

fracas n a noisy, disorderly fight or quarrel; a brawl The white guy had no idea he was about to do filmmaker Justin Lin a huge favor. After watching Lin's tale of Asian American high-school overachievers gone bad, the journalist didn't stand up to applaud the young director. He got up because he was furious . "How could you ... make such a bleak, negative, amoral film?" the critic asked Lin. "Don't you have a responsibility to paint a more positive and helpful portrait of your community?" Mayhem broke out until a portly man clambered onto his chair. Round glasses, round figure, it was none other than the famous-thumbed Roger Ebert, who tore into the questioner. "You would never make a comment like that to a white filmmaker!" he thundered, pumping his fist in the air. The audience roared with approval. It was only the third showing of the film at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, and the buzz was already thick on Better Luck Tomorrow , or BLT , as the movie is also known. It got...

Pages