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 Borat breakout star.
- Just say no to Halloween.
- An epic Shonda Rhimes story.
- Miley & aliens.
- Blake Lively’s shoes.
Someone asked me this week what I was going to dress as this year for Halloween. In a twist worthy of a horror movie, they were not kidding.
It has come to my attention that, even now, even in a pandemic, even with everything going on, people still plan to celebrate the worst holiday of the year, Halloween.
In normal times, the whole enterprise is annoying: the Hocus Pocus trivia nights, the straight people arguing over which Nightmare on Elm Street is the best one, the Twitter name changes, and the people whose entire personalities are spending too much money on costumes. (Make your personality spending too much money on wine like a grownup.)
The one nice thing about it being a life risk to be around other humans at the current moment was supposed to be that we were going to skip over this nightmare this year. Apparently that is not the case. Actual adults are figuring out how they can finagle COVID-safe Halloween hangs, or throwing caution to the wind and not worrying about social distancing at all. The threat of an Instagram feed wallpapered with costume selfies is real, and it’s terrifying.
I’m not a total spooky Scrooge. I insist you dress your children and dogs in adorable costumes and I insist you send me the photos. What a fun time of year for kids! It’s heartening to hear that communities are trying to find ways to responsibly allow trick-or-treating. It’s almost too much to comprehend how much joy has been zapped out of children’s lives because of the pandemic, and they deserve this sliver of normalcy and fun. The rest of you are out of your minds.
I haven’t always been this way. There was one year in my twenties where my friend and I went to a party dressed as Dead Danny and Sandy from Grease, with face paint to look like zombies and the whole thing. A cute boy asked me if I was a sexy ghost, and it is a memory I will cherish forever and one day tell to my grandkids.
But as the butt groove in my couch threatens to swallow me whole as the time I’ve been trapped in my one-bedroom apartment drags on because the president is a moron and the people in this country can’t be bothered to sacrifice any inconvenience so that this pandemic will go away, it sends me into a rage-spiral to hear that actual adults are planning to celebrate Halloween. Get a life! Boo, bitch!
The Tale of Shonda Rhimes and Disneyland
It’s been three years since Shonda Rhimes signed her groundbreaking deal with Netflix, which paid her the kind of millions where the endless zeroes start to resemble eyes bulging out of your head. It meant leaving ABC, where she had created Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and basically saved the network.
The money was one thing, but it turns out that the last straw that motivated the exit from ABC was an epic display of pettiness from Disney, which owned the network.
As Rhimes revealed in a new Hollywood Reporter interview, she was given an all-access Disneyland pass as a perk for her work making 719 shows for ABC and earning Disney billions. The labor required to do that, of course, meant she was unable to use the pass herself, so she asked for an additional pass for her sister so that she could take the family to the park. The exec she called (allegedly) replied, “Don’t you have enough?”
Well, the most valuable showrunner in television swiftly called her agent, said “get me to Netflix or you’re fired,” and now there is a Disney executive sitting somewhere in Hollywood whose soul left their body and made a beeline to the moon after reading this interview. Imagine being the asshat who lost Shonda Rhimes because you didn’t want to let her family ride Splash Mountain for free. Who is this person? Call Harriet the Spy because I need this fool to be named and shamed.
The Truth Is Out There, Y’All!
Miley Cyrus revealed this week that she and a friend were once chased down by a UFO while driving through San Bernardino, Calif. “The best way to describe it is a flying snowplow,” she said. There was a being in the front seat piloting it, and she and the alien made eye contact. “I think that’s what really shook me, looking into the eyes of something that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around.”
She also revealed that she had just bought weed wax from a man in a van in front of a taco shop before this sighting, conceding that perhaps the two incidents just might be related.
But the point is Miley Cyrus is a weirdo-celebrity treasure, and her brilliant cover of Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” as part of MTV’s Unplugged series should indeed be the piece of American culture we send to aliens to make them think we’re actually a worthwhile people.
Blake Lively, an Artist
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds voted this week and posted photos on their respective Instagrams to celebrate the civic deed. Yay for them! One quick question: Why did Lively choose to, for her photo, draw a pair of heels on her feet, with all the technical prowess of me using Microsoft Paint in the middle school computer lab?
What to watch this week:
Borat Subsequent Movie Film: Very nice! (No, really, it’s actually that good.) (Friday on Amazon)
The Undoing: Watching Nicole Kidman play a rich lady whose life spirals out of control is a passion of mine. (Sunday on HBO)
The Queen’s Gambit: They finally made chess fun! (Friday on Netflix)
Time: One of the best documentaries of the year. (Friday on Amazon)
What to skip this week:
The Witches: It is against my religious beliefs to criticize an Anne Hathaway film, but here we are. (Thursday on HBO Max)