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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 10/ 8/2007

Comment Box: Leave Hannah Montana Alone

By Liz Kelly

I can't wait til Hannah Montana gets a little older and then crashes like Britney and Lindsay and Paris and Nicole. She's headed there. What do you think? -- Submitted to last week's Celebritology Live chat

I'm including this crass question because it reminded me of a perception that I see pretty often -- usually from folks who profess a certain distaste for celebrity news: The belief that all starlets are on an unstoppable collision course with what we will hereby dub "The Brit-down."

Definition: Brit-down
The period of time in which a young female celebrity may experience one or more of the following:
-- An ill-advised romantic entanglement resulting in an Internet sex video, a short-lived marriage or an obsession with Marilyn Manson.
-- An addiction to drugs, alcohol, paparazzi cameras, plastic surgery, hair extensions, tanning salons or Taco Bell.
-- Jail time, rehab or an alcohol-monitoring anklet.
-- Public humiliation in the form of: a botched performance, a disjointed interview or one's own category on

While we tend to concentrate on starlets we can openly scorn, they are truly the exception, not the rule. For every Britney Spears or Tara Reid there are 10 Scarlett Johanssons, Liv Tylers, Christina Aguileras, Raven Simones and, yes, Miley Cyruses (aka "Hannah Montana") who manage to weather their teenage years in the spotlight to emerge as steady, solid performers and human beings. But, like the thousands of planes that fly every day without incident, we don't necessarily start paying attention until there is a cataclysmic crash. It all goes back to that schadenfreude thing we talk about here again and again.

But there's a difference between simply observing these train wrecks and actively wishing one on a young star. Based on your question, you seem to be particularly keen on seeing the 15-year-old Cyrus screw up, but big. And this, I can't abide. Sure, Miley's a cheesy, Disney-minted TV star who is so sickeningly sweet as to induce Diabetes, but I don't see any indications that point to a Brit-down. And despite an Olsen-sized empire in the making, Cyrus strikes me as relatively grounded. And she's got dad Billy Ray, who has been in the music biz for years, to help her over the rougher parts of the business:

"I tried to discourage Miley from pursuing the entertainment business because it's a double-edged sword, " said Billy Ray in a 2006 interview. "For everything that makes you happy, there's something equally heartbreaking. I see her being Miley Cyrus. She will never be somebody else. She's got her own thing. I think she takes and borrows and hints at a little bit of a lot of people. ... But she's her own person."

And when this bogus pregnancy rumor made the rounds a couple of weeks ago it was quickly dismissed. Thankfully, never reached the ears of my Hannah Montana-loving seven-year-old niece.

An actor that I love but is never in the media is James Franco. So cute. What's he up to these days? (besides cameos in Judd Apatow movies...) -- -- Submitted to last week's Celebritology Live chat

I have to admit, I'm not incredibly familiar with Franco's body of work and a quick scan of his IMDB credits reveals why: I haven't seen most of the movies in which he's acted. (No, not even any of the "Spider-Man" trilogy. Sosumi.) And, alas, I still haven't gotten around to watching the highly recommended short-lived series "Freaks and Geeks" on DVD. Maybe I should give him a try, though. This expletive-laced "Knocked Up" outtake reveals a keen sense of humor and his roles seem to be transitioning from teen snacks ("Tristan + Isolde," "Mean People Suck") to more mature fare (Paul Haggis's"In the Valley of Elah") with a dash of hipper-than-thou comedy thrown in -- look for him next year in "Pineapple Express," a comedy co-written by "Knocked Up" co-star Seth Rogan.

Creative Captioning

This week, top captioning honors go to Irish_Ed for this succinct zinger:

You can't handle the receding hairline.

Click here for the full top five and all submissions.

By Liz Kelly  | October 8, 2007; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Comment Box  
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