“Fashion. Trashy books. Show business. Food. I could call these subjects ‘popular culture,’ but I like writing about them so much that I hate to think they have to be justified in this way – or at least I’m sorry if they do.”
No, I didn’t say that. But it’s exactly how I feel, and I have the great Nora Ephron to thank for summarizing so succinctly what I love about writing what some might consider “frivolous things.” Nora penned that quote in 1968 (as part of the introduction for one of her fabulous collection of essays, Wallflower at the Orgy), but it feels just as relevant today. Thanks to Ms. Ephron blazing the trail, we have Claire Downs, Hunter Harris, Dame Brian Moylan, Vulture TV recaps, numerous podcasts, and many, many more artists (and artistic endeavors) that have followed in her wake – myself included.
And what a joy it is! It might feel like clutter to some, but to others it is the spark of joy that threads so many of us together. It’s through tweeting about The Bachelor franchise that I’ve met so many cool women online that have transitioned into real-life pals. It’s because of Vanderpump Rules that my sister-in-law and I found a common language when we first met and immediately became closer, thanks to gossiping about Jax Taylor. It’s the knowledge that my bestie and I are watching Joe Millionaire at the same time. Even though we’re not in the same household, or even the same state, the energy of a shared experience bonds us and gives us an excuse to greedily divest our opinions to one another the next morning. All of these moments have brought lightness to my life.
We often deem these things “guilty pleasures.” But why do we have to belittle what we love? (This is not to say to only consume these things at the expense of leaving yourself ill-informed about world events. I’m making the point that we can have both: we can have fun and still be good citizens.) As Nora suggests, there’s validity in all of this. Pop culture is still culture. So, I must ask: Is it really trash if it connects us? We’re here together in this newsletter, and I’m hoping your answer is no. :)
In that spirit, here we go!
Speaking of Joe Millionaire – the show watched by few, but deeply enjoyed by those who indulged: it may come as no surprise that Kurt Sowers, the lead who was not the millionaire, is suddenly single after splitting from his final pick, Amanda. The show has wrapped, but one mystery I am obsessed with still lingers: the mural of Kurt, that adorns the side of a brick building in Kurt’s hometown. (Yes, please do enjoy the photo above in all of its glory!) During the date, he took the ladies on a stroll and casually mentioned, “Oh, there’s my mural.” And the girls were like, “That’s cool. You look hot.” DID NO ONE WANT TO ASK WHY??? But WHY is there a mural of Kurt and the center of town, and HOW did it happen? It haunts me to this day, almost as much as his hairstyle. I need another season, based on these issues alone.
Despite my explicit wishes otherwise, the romance* between Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian rages on. The latest being that Pete went “above and beyond” his normal M.O. of getting a tattoo of his recent beloved’s name (an honor that has been bestowed to many), to “branding” Kim’s name on his chest. It’s through this I learned that you can buy a device that will brand you… at Hobby Lobby. Meanwhile, an eagle-eyed fan caught Mama Davidson giving a thumb’s up under a comment claiming Kim would be pregnant with Pete’s child by the end of the year. If you thought it wasn’t end of days, perhaps all of this will change your mind!
(*By “romance,” I mean a deal forged by devil/momager Kris Jenner, Hulu, and Saturday Night Live. The Davidson/Kardashian alliance means a media frenzy storyline is at the ready when the family kicks off their new show on Hulu. And rumor has it that Lorne Michaels is happy to let Pete roam rogue. Even though he barely appears on the show these days, his ever-growing fame is bringing a fresh demographic to SNL, making head honcho Lorne very happy indeed. Bonus: look at all these shiny things! They might be serving to distract you from the devastation still reverberating from Travis Scott’s deadly Astroworld concert. Kylie Kardashian’s baby daddy has been mired in lawsuits and scandal since the tragedy. But funny how it’s barely mentioned in the press anymore…)
On to a vintage celeb couple: Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee! My husband and I recently finished Pam & Tommy – the Hulu original series, created by Seth Rogen. Those who know me are aware of my massive Motley Crue fandom; I’ve been salivating over this series since it was announced two years ago. And man, it was worth the wait! I knew it would be fun, but I wasn’t prepared for how it would absolutely slay me emotionally. I am working on a longer post to address all the things that came up, but in the meantime, I hope you invest in watching it so that we can discuss. It was so well-done: both Lily James and Sebastian Stan are outstanding in their lead roles. Lily James especially wowed as Pamela Anderson, inhabiting every nuance of the real Pam. I was worried about the lack of, um, physical attributes when I found out Lily nabbed the role, but the makeup team did us proud! Anyway, I could – and will – go on, so I’ll save the rest for the next installment. (Also fun: thinking of Lily allows me to relieve the glory days of early Celebricate columns, of which many were allotted to James’ fling with Dominic West. West appears to have retreated back to his wealthy wife with his tail between his legs, while Lily’s star continues to rise.)
[This paragraph contains spoilers about the film Deep Water. Not that there’s much of a plot, but don’t read this part if you want to be surprised.] The infamous pandemic pap strolls between Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas has finally bared its fruit. Ben and Ana (yes, of course their portmanteau was BenAna) were one of the few celebrity pairings during our early days of quarantine who were actually out and about. That’s how thirsty we were for gossip – gorgeous masked celebrities walking their dogs to & from Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee counted as front page news. And now the movie they filmed together, Deep Water, has been released. (You can stream it on Hulu, if you dare.) And OMG, you guys – I don’t know if I have enough words to describe how bad it is. Sallow. Vapid. Lacking in plot, pacing, and any hint of a nuanced storyline. Ben’s character literally announces he’s the killer. And guess what? He is! That’s it. Meanwhile, Ana’s role is to swan around looking gorgeous while taunting her husband with a parade of men. Oh! And there is a side story about snails. Seriously. It’s hideous, and I remained stunned at all of the talent that signed up for this and yet this is what they walked away with. How did this get made? It’s an even bigger mystery than Kurt Sower’s mural.
What I did enjoy watching was Wedding Planner Mystery, a delightful Hallmark movie I stumbled upon that kicked Deep Water’s ass. If you’re looking for a night in on the couch, this is my official recommendation.
As of this writing, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings are in progress, and I remain excited and hopeful! Unlike Senator Marsha Blackburn, Honorable Judge Jackson knows the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Suck on that, Ted Cruz.
More happy news: MacKenzie Scott has donated $275 million to Planned Parenthood! Women’s rights are under attack, and this hefty dollar amount will go a very long way in helping many.
The Sex & the City follow-up, And Just Like That, has been renewed for another season! Don’t even come at me with anything less than joy. Yes, so much of AJLT was a hot mess – but once I got in the groove, I loved it. I’m not naming names, but I’m not the only one who weeped during many of the episodes. More is more, and I’ll always take more of these women and their evolving stories on my screen.
Spring break is here, the Oscars and the Grammys are around the corner, and the upcoming April newsletters will bring us much to chat about. Until then, my friends! (Btw, I’d like to note: this email is not brought to you by Hulu! Though that would be amazing. I don’t know why everything I brought up happened to be on their streamer. But let’s put it out in the Universe that they’ll sponsor me for something one day. I am clearly a fan! Xo)