Beliefnet
Idol Chatter

“I would never steal anyone’s boyfriend. It’s bad karma, and I’m a big believer in karma–hence the fact that I’ve studied kabbalah. I’m very true to the ‘Treat people the way you want to be treated’ sort of thing.” –Lindsay Lohan

Hollywood’s favorite tabloid starlet appears on the cover of this month’s Elle magazine, disarmingly frank and honest about her experiences with the paparazzi, dating various men, visiting Iraq, and–surprise–religion, among other things.

Going the way of Madonna and Britney, Lindsay seems to embrace Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, as the faith that prevents her from committing relationship adultery. Problem is, Lindsay mistakenly points out Kabbalah helped her understand karma, a reincarnation concept usually associated with Buddhism and Hinduism.

Even though Madonna and Britney also flirted with Hinduism, Lindsay seems unaware of her religious gaffe. Still Lindsay seems to be having a true New Age, multifaith experience.

Aside from getting in touch with her spiritual side, L.Lo has also set Iraq as a top destination spot for her next trip out of the states:

ELLE: Any big plans for the next year?

LL:
I’ve been trying to go to Iraq with Hillary Clinton for so long. Hillary was trying to work it out, but it seemed too dangerous. I wanted to do what Marilyn Monroe did, when she went and just set up a stage and did a concert for the troops all by herself. It’s so amazing seeing that one woman just going somewhere, this beautiful sex kitten, who’s basically a pinup, which is what I’ve always aspired to be. So I tried to go there. I’m not afraid of going.

At 20, L.Lo’s desire to go overseas and entertain disheartened soldiers seems admirable, especially when she admonishes the paparazzi, “Stop writing about me and start writing about how people are dying overseas for our country!” Unfortunately, her confessed aspirations to be a pinup à la Marilyn Monroe is self-serving and unlike the enlightened mystic beliefs of Kabbalah… or karma.

Perhaps Lindsay should take a page out of Evangeline Lilly’s book. Raised as a Baptist and Mennonite, the “Lost” actress and May 2006 Elle cover girl seems to be truly making headway in her faith. As a former Sunday School teacher who would prefer to be stranded on a desert island with her Bible, Evangeline has traveled to Rwanda for missionary work and wept at the thought of being a sexy pinup girl. She also expresses hopes of imitating another Hollywood icon, albeit one who was known for her humanitarian work just as much as her acting: Audrey Hepburn.

Fox’s brainless sitcom, “Til Death,” a comedy about “love, death, and marriage,” starring Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), has a lot of positive things to say about the institution of matrimony today. None of them, however, are contained in the pilot’s drab depiction of neighboring suburban couples nagging and sniping at each other over the husband’s right to install a pool table in the dining room. Nor are they in the wan closing scene, which concludes that love means having someone to drive you to the hospital.

No, the upbeat news from “Til Death” is that since “The Honeymooners,” which clearly inspired this show, series like Paul Reiser’s ’90s hit “Mad About You” or the more recent “The King of Queens” have recognized there’s more to satire in how couples try to work with, rather than around, each other. Televised marital relations, in other words, have come a long way.

That said, Garrett does a fair impression of Jackie Gleason’s knowing oaf, dedicated to enlightening Norton-ish newlywed Eddie Kaye Thomas (“American Pie”) about the facts of married life. But his insights, over Thomas’s protests about the value of communication and mutual respect, are little more evolved than Ralph Cramden’s of 50 years ago, and, despite that, lack even Ralph’s “Bang! Zoom!”

Starting this Saturday, NBC’s new morning children’s programming will feature a goofy cucumber, a spunky tomato, and some very cute French peas. Yes, Big Idea Productions, the force behind the hugely successful VeggieTales series of videos, recently signed a deal to provide a two-hour block of programming on NBC as well as Spanish programming for sister network Telemundo and other VeggieTales programming for the “I” network–formerly known as the Pax Network–every Friday afternoon.

Not all of the VeggieTales episodes on NBC will be original stories–at least not at first–but carefully edited versions of previous Veggie adventures, including the “Larry Boy” and “3-2-1 Penguins” series, that will align with NBC standards. Gone will be the Bible verse at the end of each story but the messages about sharing, being thankful, and other wholesome themes will remain intact.

More importantly for those of us adults who are closet Veggie fans, the shows will feature a silly song or two, like “The Bunny Song” and “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Happy Hour” premieres tonight on Fox, and it’s not worth rushing home for. Get some more work done, or tune into a game, or just enjoy whatever real-life Happy Hour you’re coming from. This show’s a dud, at least at first review.

“Happy Hour” tries to be “Cheers” and “Friends” at the same time, and it is neither. I don’t remember seeing the first episodes of those sitcoms, but I sure remember the characters as being more endearing than Henry, Heather, Larry, Brad, Tina, and Amanda. Perhaps time will help and their chemistry will improve, but I’m not raising a glass to this show yet.

The premise is awesome, though: “Whatever happens on the way to Happy Hour, around 4 o’clock, there will always be an excuse to raise a glass.” Fellowship and relationships among friends is at the heart of the spiritual journey and Jesus himself enjoyed reclining at the table with his friends, or turning plain water into the best wine anyone had had.

But “Happy Hour” will need that kind of miracle to succeed over the long-haul.