2005: A Year of Couch-Jumping Madness

Top Ten Wolf Files


Dec. 27, 2005 —  Perhaps the problem with America is that we treat our animals like celebrities while our celebrities behave like animals.

With that in mind, here are the Top 10 Wolf Files of 2005, a year of couch abuse, talking T-shirts and calls for compassionate cockfighting.

1. Celebrity Talking T-Shirts

As if some stars don't get enough attention, "Talking T-shirts" became the rage in Hollywood. We suddenly had to deal with the likes of a pregnant Britney Spears in a midriff-revealing top that bore the message, "I have the golden ticket" — punctuated with an arrow pointing toward the baby in her tummy.

In one of the summer's biggest celebrity mea culpas, Eva Longoria of "Desperate Housewives" apologized to Jennifer Aniston for walking around Hollywood in a shirt that said "I'll Have Your Baby, Brad," shortly after Aniston and Pitt announced they were separating.

Pitt may have left Aniston for Angelina Jolie, but in the High Court of Public Apparel, Aniston was clearly winning sway. T-shirts that read "Team Aniston" were outselling "Team Jolie" on the Internet by a 25-to-1 margin, according to No word yet if anyone's joining "Team Longoria."

2. Paris Hilton vs. Nicole Richie

The bitter feud between Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton left heiresses around the world crying in their caviar. Still, when you consider other celebrity battle royals — Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford, Elton John vs. Madonna and even Michael Jackson vs. Corey Feldman — you'll see that many stars are defined by their rivalries.

As the Wolf Files gave its rundown of the greatest star-studded catfights, Hilton and Richie managed to patch things up enough for another vacuous season of "The Simple Life."

3. Celebrity Endorsements That Backfire

Several years ago, when Rafael Palmeiro started advocating America's most celebrated performance-enhancing drug — Viagra — the baseball slugger-turned-pitchman got kudos for admitting he needed some off-the-field help.

But when the baseball star tested positive for steroids this summer, his time as a pitchman for Pfizer's little blue wonder drug took on a cruel irony. But was it any more ironic than seeing Mary-Kate Olsen's face on a McDonald's Happy Meal box just before the bone-thin Olsen twin checked into a Utah rehab center for an eating disorder?

4. Cruise Couch-Jumps Into Hollywood's Age Gap

So what if Katie Holmes was 8 years old in 1986, when Cruise was starring in "Top Gun." That's nothing compared to the 25-year age difference between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, or, for that matter, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Interestingly, big-screen action heroes aren't Hollywood's greatest marital adventurers. The Wolf Files found that comedians account for some of the wildest May-December relationships — and that might account for some of Cruise's strange, couch-jumping antics.

Consider: Charlie Chaplin was 54 when he married Oona O'Neill, the 17-year-old daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill. Heather Harlan, Tony Randall's second wife, was born in 1970, the same year Randall, then 50, rocketed to TV immortality as America's favorite fussbudget, Felix Unger.

"A man is only as young as the woman he feels," Groucho Marx once quipped, and he should know. He was 64 when he married his third wife, who was 40 years his junior.

5. Go, Rocky, Go

While many celebrities vied for the honor of most pathetic fading star, Sylvester Stallone is always hard to beat. After a string of bombs that you'll only find in the "So Bad They're Funny" section of your DVD shop, the 59-year-old sequel machine announced that he's preparing to film the sixth "Rocky" sequel. While plot details are under wraps, in this final epic battle, the Italian Stallion may be battling a leaky bladder.

In another career booster, his Royal Slyness is also in pre-production for "Rambo IV." Perhaps someone should remind our favorite addled Vietnam vet that in "Rambo III" he was aiding the Afghan mujahedeen — a group that counted Osama bin Laden as a member. Let's just assume Mr. Tough Guy has one more reason to feel betrayed and go on a rampage.

6. There She Went … Miss America

After 84 glittering years of strutting in high heels and a bathing suit, Miss America has fallen on tiara-ble times. Declining TV ratings forced pageant organizers to postpone what was once TV's biggest non-event, and now, America begins 2006 without a freshly crowned beauty queen.

Finally, Country Music Television stepped in, and a new contest will be held Jan. 21 in Las Vegas. While beauty pageants might seem out of step with the times, the Wolf Files looked back on many of today's notable women — such as Oprah Winfrey (Miss Fire Prevention, 1971) and Diane Sawyer (Miss Junior America, 1962) — who competed for such honors early in their career.

When judges asked a 16-year-old Oprah, "Who do you want to be when you grow up?" the future talk show queen had no hesitation, telling the crowd, "Barbara Walters!"

7. SpongeBob's Sex Life

It doesn't mean you're gay, just because you live in a pineapple under the sea and like to wear square pants. When some conservative groups worried about SpongeBob's sexual orientation, the Wolf Files countered by getting another cartoon hero to make a startling admission. It turns out that the Lucky Charms leprechaun now says that he's not really Irish.

By December, SpongeBob's sex life seemed to fade in importance as "Brokeback Mountain," the saga of two gay cowboys, dominated the headlines. Who even knows what cartoons these caballeros were watching.

8. Hairy Animal Control Tactics

Overwhelmed by a fast-growing population of stray cats, Wisconsin held statewide hearings in April to consider whether to allow cat hunting. Public outcry squelched the bill, but all around the world, humanity was challenged by animal control issues.

Earlier in the year, Australia gave the green light to golf club-wielding toad vigilantes. Officials in the Northern Territory urged citizens to start smashing cane toads with anything they could get their hands on, as the country struggled to deal with the toxic little creatures that were killing other animals and multiplying quickly.

Back in the U.S., Kentucky unveiled a pigeon cannon, while the University of Texas announced that doctors are developing an oral contraceptive for rats and mice. After all, preaching abstinence to rodents is hardly an alternative.

9. Friendly Cockfighting

In January, one Oklahoma lawmaker figured that if chickens could be outfitted with miniature boxing gloves, cockfighting might not be seen as animal cruelty.

Cockfighting was banned in the state in 2002, as it has in 48 states, but one California company, Gamecock Boxing Inc., went ahead and designed boxing gloves and chicken-sized protective gear to take the blood out of this sport. Electronic sensors in the chickens' vests would allow these feathered gladiators to score points, instead of tearing out each other's McNuggets.

While Oklahoma was considering this new rule, the Philippines was hosting the World Slasher Cup, a three-day Super Bowl of beak-breaking action, where some 260 featherweight champions — boasting names like "Johnny Jumper" and "Foe Fire Fly" — faced each other in one-on-one battles, armed with steel talons, with wagers of more than $50,000 often riding on each match.

10. Hunter Thompson's Bang-up Salute

Legendary "gonzo" journalist Hunter Thompson wanted to go out with a bang — and he got his wish. In August, Johnny Depp, who played Thompson in the movie version of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" picked up the reported $2 million tab to have his friend's cremated remains blasted out of a cannon.

Americans have become increasingly creative in their final salutes to their loved ones. Later in the year, James Doohan, who played Mr. Scott on "Star Trek" had his ashes sent into orbit.

Of course, as a final resting place, it'd be hard to top Frisbee inventor Ed Headrick. The man who patented the flying disk put a new spin on the afterlife by having his remains molded into a series of plastic playthings. As Headrick once observed: "When we die, we don't go to purgatory. We just land up on the roof and lay there."

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at "The Wolf Files" is published Tuesdays.