Jeremy Helligar

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“Congratulations, Bangkok!” I said to the city as we exited and beelined to DJ Station, where the thrills were more PG-13. “You’ve accomplished the impossible. You’ve made sex totally unsexy.”

Start the Facebook campaign now! For all the pomp and circumstance of his music, Groban has the sort of sharp, self-deprecating humor that many of his superstar peers lack. When people make fun of his classical-pop musical style (and I will admit, I’ve taken some shots at it), I can imagine Groban laughing right along with them.

Here we go again. The years may change, but every December 31, the questions remain the same. Do I splurge on an overpriced, underwhelming dinner at a restaurant where the criminal intent is to rob special-occasion thrill-seekers blind?

Once again, I respectfully dissent. This time, with the Oscar prognosticators, whose general consensus is that Annette Bening is egregiously overdue. I understand where they’re coming from: She’s a first-rate actress and one of the few who has allowed herself to age gracefully onscreen. She also accomplished the seemingly impossible Hollywood task of taming Warren Beatty. But how overdue is she?

The downside: If it’s possible to pay your bills, watch movies, listen to music, or have an entire romance by pressing a keypad, why bother leaving the house at all? Feeling horny? Get laid with Grindr, or have text sex. Pretty much the only things we can’t do with online technology are exercise and go to the bathroom, but I’m sure someone is working on it.

Unlike the Dawson’s Creek gang, who worked phrases like “statute of limitations on mourning a break-up” into everyday conversation, these teens actually talk like teens, and this L.A. zip code isn’t populated by the sort of stereotypical archetypes that dominated The O.C. Liam is supposed to be the tortured, brooding hunk (see Dylan and The O.C.’s Ryan), but he isn’t just that.

When it comes to Gwyneth Paltrow, I’ve always been in something of a gray zone. She’s beautiful and talented, and I loved her in movies like Emma, Sliding Doors and even Shallow Hal. But she’s always kind of annoyed me, too. Maybe it’s the combination of physical perfection and her affectation of superiority and extreme erudition in interviews.

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