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.
- A reminder that some things this year were actually nice.
- Your weekly And Just Like That… update.
- A trip down memory lane.
- Patti LuPone comes out as having diarrhea.
- And Katy Perry unveils her giant toilet.
And Just Like That… manages to be both the cringiest thing currently airing on TV and also brilliant, a major accomplishment that has earned the Sex and the City sequel status as the TV series I currently most look forward to each week. [Insert Marie Kondo’s “I love mess” gif.] And this week’s episode was it’s cringiest and most brilliant one yet. It’s also the one that felt most like a classic episode of Sex and the City.
(Warning: Spoilers ahead.)
Listen, everything to do with Sara Ramirez’s character’s woke gender podcast and her stand-up “concert” (whatever the hell that means) are embarrassing to the point of unwatchable, and not even fun. That said, it led to two of the most consequential plot twists.
I hadn’t banked on two of And Just Like That…’s most obvious and inelegant storylines evolving into something so profound. They were really hitting us over the head with Miranda’s alcoholism and the foreshadowing that she would have a lesbian affair with Ramirez’s Che. But when it all came to a head in this week’s episode, which featured the world’s most traumatizing sex scene—fingering and pee, all in one sequence!—it coalesced into one of the more meaningful moments of the series.
Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker were spectacular in the scene, which has Miranda having to answer for her drinking, her affair, and neglecting her friend. That’s why I have and will always defend this series.
Sure, the quality of the episodes have been all over the place. But there is something magical and irresistible about these actors in these roles with that chemistry that, even with Kim Cattrall’s absence (I loved the way that plot line progressed this week, and that they keep mentioning her instead of ignoring her), makes watching them together again so satisfying.
There is a thread that went viral on Twitter this week that is a recap of all the events that happened this year that, even if for a day, absolutely dominated the news cycle—the biggest news of the time that was completely forgotten about in a matter of weeks.
The Armie Hammer cannibal thing? That was this year, folks. The whole thing where people were gobbling up GameStop stock? Yep, that too. You cannot convince me that the lawyer who accidentally had a cat filter on his Zoom call was in 2021 and not several years ago (apparently it was), and I refuse to acknowledge the fact that the ship got stuck in the Suez Canal not even six months ago.
In any case, it’s a fun, if somewhat traumatizing memory jog through the year that seemed both endless and practically a blip in time. (Read it here.)
New York City right now is in a really cool space where the question is no longer if you’re going to get COVID, but when. That explains the semi-crisis happening on Broadway, where cast and crew members are contracting the virus at the same rate that the rest of us are—which is to say that everyone is getting it—and shows have had to cancel performances because too many people are out.
It sucks, because this spring it really did feel like Broadway and the arts were making a strong comeback, and it was enough to start defrosting our icy cynicism and feel hope for the future. Well, that was fleeting!
Two major moments went viral this week, owing to these COVID-related cancellations. Hugh Jackman gave a generous and emotional speech during the curtain call for The Music Man after understudy Kathy Voytko filled in for star Sutton Foster, who had contracted COVID. Jackman paid tribute to the swings and understudies on Broadway whose contributions are often undersung and for whom the level of difficulty of their jobs far surpasses the leads whose names are on the marquee.
It was a beautiful sentiment. Days later, The Music Man canceled several upcoming performances because Jackman himself tested positive.
Then there was Patti LuPone, who was defending the revival of Company against rumors that the show’s own cancellations were due to COVID. In fact, that was not the case. It is because LuPone was among several cast members who had explosive diarrhea. “My toilet can confirm this,” she said in a statement—just about as iconic a moment as we’ve had in this pandemic.
Katy Perry opened her Las Vegas residency this week. Here she is twerking on a mountain of toilet paper rolls next to a massive toilet from which a poo with a corn kernel for a tooth sings along to “California Gurls.”
Happy New Year, everyone.
Queer Eye: Start the new year the same way we’ve started every day of the last one: Sobbing. (Fri. on Netflix)
Abbott Elementary: The most promising new series on broadcast TV. (Tues. on ABC)
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts: These reunions are all dumb and boring, and I will watch every second of all of them. (Sat. on HBO Max)
Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer: This show was tacky two decades ago. What are we doing here? (Thurs. on Fox)