This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
- The Good Fight: Still great!
- Britney Spears, Instagram hero.
- The best thing on Quibi.
- Trying to recover from the Schitt’s Creek finale.
- A very important Sex and the City discovery.
Welcome to 2020, where BRITNEY SPEARS is the voice of reason.
Using the word “quarantine” when talking about the pop superstar is a little dark, considering the legal shackles that have been on Spears for over a decade. Her career and finances have been under the control of a conservatorship since 2008, but suspicions over the extent and healthiness of those constraints escalated in recent years, culminating in the #FreeBritney movement. In some fans’ eyes, life is a quarantine for Britney Spears.
That said, the singer’s Instagram account has long been a salve for the Britney Army, an unfiltered outlet to witness Spears be, for better or worse, her earnest, dorky, down-to-earth self.
Mostly, her feed has been filled with the innocuous posts we’re used to: photos of outfits she likes, exercise routines and dance videos, #TBTs, or nature shots, usually with corny, goofy captions. But lately they’ve been dotted with rare acknowledgments of real-world news, and, when parsed, packed with surprisingly progressive political messages.
A recent meme-style post—a truly great one, at that—promoting social distancing, for example, would be ruled a rudimentary celebrity PSA had it not followed several more conspicuous posts.
Amidst fairly frequent posts sending positive vibes to everyone in self-isolation, she reposted a poem from Brooklyn-based artist Mimi Zhu with a glaring socialist message.
Zhu’s poem was a call for connection that included a plea for the government to enact wealth distribution programs in the wake of the coronavirus and encouraged striking. Spears posted it with the caption, “Communion goes beyond walls.”
It wasn’t long before “Comrade Britney Spears” became a viral meme and the “Oops!...I Did It Again” singer became a Marxist hero. (“Work Bitch” suddenly takes on deeper meaning.)
Whether or not any sly political messaging was her intent, it’s been refreshing that Spears’ Instagram feed has been consistently clarifying, inspirational, and wholly reasonable—especially as her fellow celebrities lose their minds, flailing with embarrassing and tone-deaf attempts at using their platforms during the pandemic.
Anyway welcome to the new reality, where we’re at home losing our minds and shaving our own heads, and it’s Britney Spears who’s the one getting us through the crisis.
The fact is that Nicole Richie is a comedic genius. I don’t know how! I don’t why! It shouldn’t make sense!
The Simple Life last aired 13 years ago—I recoiled in horror at that number and it made me throw out my back—yet we still conjoin Richie and the Coach bag to Paris Hilton, and an era of barely ironic worship of celebrity vapidity.
Most neglect the fact that, even then, the socialite heiresses were very much playing the part, and as such exhibited a canny sense of comedy, particularly what was so funny about them. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Richie, now a Hollywood and fashion multi-hyphenate, would prove to be reliably hysterical each time someone takes a chance on her.
She was great in a guest arc on the geek-spy-comedy-thriller Chuck, and stole every single scene of Tina Fey’s return to NBC, Great News. She sent-up the “Nicole Richie” of it all brilliantly in guest spots on Camping and Grace and Frankie, and now she’s doing it again on, uhhh, Quibi.
In Nikki Fre$h, she plays a version of herself whose latest whim is to be an eco-conscious trap queen, making rap music in celebration of plants. It’s absurd, but so specifically absurd—it’s not far-fetched that a celebrity might take up this venture—that you can’t help laughing. It’s the best performance in the best new show on the brand-new streaming service.
Is it worth subscribing to Quibi just for it? Luckily, the company is offering a free trial to new users, which means I don’t have to be mean and truthfully answer that question.
The series finale of Schitt’s Creek aired this week. It was, like everything to do with this show, wonderful.
I’m the first to admit that I tend to be hyperbolic about these things, but I legitimately cried real, continuous tears for the entire last 15 minutes of the episode. (Once the Jazzagals stood to sing while the grooms walked down the aisle, I was done.) What a blessing that, at this time specifically, they were exclusively tears of joy.
How unexpectedly resonant, this celebration of a family who, once disaster forced them to be essentially trapped with each other, grew to become the best versions of themselves. How hopeful and necessary to watch and see that there are happily ever afters to be had in the time ahead, once we all get through this. And to be reminded that a world of love, sans judgement, is one we can have and deserve.
In any case, somewhere in the midst of saying goodbye to this show, co-creator and star Dan Levy, who plays Daniel Rose, shared this tweet from his mother, and I got choked up all over again.
I am a white gay in his thirties and therefore, as contractually obligated, have seen every episode of Sex and the City a number of times so high there is no safe space in which I would ever be comfortable admitting it into. And I am a person who has his own newsletter.
That context is necessary to explain the extent of my shock, confusion, and delight for what may ultimately rank as one of the most ludicrous inconsequential details of the season’s run to be brought to my attention. My friend Becca was in the midst of a quarantine rewatch when she noticed a scene in which Miranda and Steve are in bed and Steve is reading a book titled Aquarium Owner’s Guide.
I have roughly 750 questions.
What to watch this week:
- Insecure: I am very secure about recommending the new season!
- Killing Eve: Still killing it!
- Run: Don’t walk to this next great series from the producers of Fleabag!
- Mrs. America: I don’t have a joke here. It’s just very good.
What to skip this week:
- Trolls World Tour: Though if you have kids, you don’t have the choice.
- The Baker and the Beauty: What a title!