One night this week, I got in the mood for some tough camp, so I shot “Death Becomes Her,” the 1992 dark comedy that in no way deserves the cast it ended up getting (Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis).
It’s about two constantly feuding women — Madeline (Streep) and Helen (Hawn) — who enter into an ill-advised contract in an attempt to stay young forever.
Twenty year old spoiler alert: Madeline steals Helens man (Willis) from her, so she gets into an emotional spiral. During her darkest moments Helen appears to be heavy (Hawn in a fat suit), in an apartment with too many cats live, eat pie for television, obsessed with the idea of taking revenge on Madeline. She was arrested and sent to an institution.
Yes, the movie is camp, but considering there were some big packs in the brain this week (see the section below), I just couldn’t believe I’d watched this scene casually for so many years and had no problem with the oh- so -many problematic and malicious messages it sent.
Then I started thinking about television and all those characters who look so different with glasses for 2021 on.
There’s, of course, Monica Gellar, whose “friends” on “Friends” tease her for being overweight as a teenager. The story point is labeled as “fat monica” and has been completely gutted in recent years. I also grew up completely crushing trash human Zack Morris, whose unflattering properties are well described.
However, if you think more deeply, there are so many more, for example:
- The TV sitcom is creepy – I’m watching you “How I Met Your Mother’s” Barney Stinson, who introduced a generation of men to something called the “hot/crazy scale.” You too, Dennis Finch from ‘Just Shoot Me’. The point is, these guys were never not recognized as creeps on their shows, but attempts were made to make the audience look past them rather than have the characters stop acting.
- The ‘stupid’ blondes — Poor, Chrissy Snow and Kelly Bundy. Your creators owe generations of blondes an apology. In the meantime, Heidi from “Home Improvement” wasn’t blonde, but I wish someone would write a reboot in which the woman once minimized as “Tool Girl” runs a multi-million dollar construction company that employed Al and Tim until they died after unfortunate electrical accidents tools . (A reminder that Pamela Anderson, who is blonde, was the original tool girl Lisa and gave way to Heidi.)
- Everything about “Two and a half Men” — I was once in a bar when I heard a Wall Street brother at another table bellowing about how “Two and a Half Men” was his favorite show and then calling the bar he was sitting at “the affair bar.” I left. No further comment.
- And let’s not start with older shows, as CNN’s Brian Lowry reminded me. “‘the newlyweds was a comedy classic, for good reason,” he wrote. “But even if it’s understood that he would never actually do it, it’s not great to see Ralph Kramden threatening to drag Jackie Gleason away and his wife Alice (Audrey Meadows) completely. the road ‘to the moon.'”
That’s not even going into the graphics that were meant to be groundbreaking, but ended up representing mistakes that we don’t want to see repeated. Like it Maura Pfefferman on “Transparent,” which took center stage in a groundbreaking show, but was played by a non-trans actor. Or Artie Abrams from “Glee”, who used a wheelchair but was played by an actor who has no disability.
The good news: television is doing better. The bad: mistakes are still made. The truth: I’m not even sure this paragraph will age well, so all we can do is try to learn from mistakes.
Speaking of images that I don’t think will age well, count me among those who had issues with the first episode of “American Crime Story: Impeachment,” especially Sarah Paulson’s portrayal of Linda Tripp. It was the thick suit. It was the show’s seemingly constant focus on what the character was eating and consuming — from her morning Slim Fast to her candy-stealing ways — that went beyond creating a portrait of a woman with self-esteem issues in the realm of bullying. It was all.
There has been a lot Good pieces
written on the subject this week, but I can’t get over my disappointment. (Tripp’s real daughter
had no problem with the image.)
In defending herself for taking the role, Emmy winner Paulson told the LA Times
that she disagrees with the idea that “the only thing an actor should offer to play this role is his physical self” calling the notion “a real reduction in the offer the actor has to make.” That may be true, but then I wonder, how does “Crime Story” defend reducing Tripp to her physical self?
The TV and film history is littered with examples of people who are not exactly looking like the people they portrayed. Have you ever seen the real? Maria von Trapp
? Or does anyone have Michael C. Hall
with false teeth to play John F. Kennedy? No, because the versions transcended the differences.
I also hear people say that a curvier actress should have played the part, if physical accuracy was so important to producers. Using the excuse that their choice was simply better for the role — and no one can argue that Paulson isn’t an extraordinary talent — sounds a lot like the words from producers who don’t want to bother casting people of color — or in this case an actress who physically looked more like Tripp.
Some have praised the show for giving the women in this scandal their voices back, but one episode later, only Monica Lewinsky really sings here. Lewinsky, who is the show’s producer, manages to reclaim her story. Otherwise, the show’s visuals are louder than intended, leaving it a little starved for grace.
‘American Rust’ is quite rusty
I liked the trailer for this miniseries, but after watching a few episodes, Lowry gives this message: “‘American Rust’ feels like a kind of sequel to ‘Your Honor’, in terms of a Showtime miniseries that combines a strong cast with rather uninspired material. the previous case was a judge (Bryan Cranston) trying to save his son, here it’s a world-weary sheriff (Jeff Daniels, fresh off his turn off the pay network in ‘The Comey Rule’) who must decide how far he’s willing to protect the adult son of the woman (Maura Tierney) he loves.Only three episodes have been made available, so maybe it will air after that, but for starters, “American Rust” (which premieres Sunday) just sort by meals.”
A few more rounds with Muhammad Ali
Hungry for some Muhammad Ali content? Why wait, says Lowry. Ken Burns’ four-part, eight-hour ‘Muhammad Ali’ doesn’t come until September 19, and it’ll be worth the wait. But for those who can’t, Netflix just premiered ‘Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali’ .,” a documentary that focuses on the complicated relationship between the two men, and how Ali distanced himself from the civil rights activist. The Burns doc covers much of the same material, and follows the 2019 two-part “What’s My Name / Muhammad Ali” — produced by LeBron James’s company — on HBO Max Finally, if you haven’t seen it yet, there’s the (somewhat speculative) movie “One Night in Miami,” directed by Regina King, available on Amazon. say, soar like a butterfly, flow like a couch potato.”
7 Things I Do and Don’t Want to See at the VMAs
I’m a millennial who remembers the MTV Video Music Awards being one of the biggest nights of the year. And while I wouldn’t say the same is still true, it’s safe to assume they’ll attract more viewers than that “Beat Bobby Flay” rerun that airs on the Food Network and less than football. With these modest ratings in mind, I modestly present to you my hopes for one of the biggest nights of the weekend.
Nods to MTV’s historic 40th anniversary. Hey Nick Jr. gave us Steve from Blue’s Clues, what if MTV surprised us with Mark, Nina, Alan and Martha? (JJ Jackson died in) 2004
TO DO: Explain to me what a Machine Gun Kelly is.
DO NOT: Come on. Grandma has to go to bed.
Lil Nas X takes advantage of being one of the most anticipated performers of the night (up there with Normandy
!) And having his Britney Spears with a snake icon moment.
Speaking of Spears, let’s not joke about her current court drama. Like a wise woman
once said, leave Britney alone.
A performance by host The cat of Doja Cat.
TO DO: Remind people why the MTV VMAs are fun.