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.
- “Why aren’t you watching The Good Fight?”—my dying words.
- MTV turning 40 and feelings.
- Christopher Meloni’s ass and FEELINGS.
- Your St. Dolly Parton update.
- The Taylor Swift-Simone Biles mashup we didn’t know we needed.
Saying “I’m so old I remember when MTV played music videos” ages a person more than the sentence itself. It’s lame. It’s cliché. It’s also so true.
The network turned 40 this week and, like all 40-year-olds, faces its irrelevance. The remembrances that poured in chronicling its impact on music and culture, its rebellious and provocative edge, and the voice it gave to a silenced younger generation only made more glaring how out of step MTV is with today’s culture.
Sure, in the age when pop artists tease their new music videos for weeks on their Instagrams, a touted MTV premiere loses its splashiness.
When no one gathers to watch anything live anymore, tweens don’t sprint home from the school bus to make it to the TV in time to watch TRL, depriving them of a singular generational experience and also the formative mortification of being walked in on by a sibling while performing a choreographed dance to Britney Spears’ “Sometimes.”
And with celebrities’ words and actions more heavily controlled in the age of “cancel culture,” the prospect of stars behaving badly on live MTV programming is nonexistent. (What we’d give to see Lorde hurl a shoe at Olivia Rodrigo.)
To the network’s credit, even attempts to revive the tenets of nostalgia—a borderline unwatchable TRL revival, increasingly boring Video Music Awards, and an impossible-to-find Real World: New York reunion on streaming—have shit the bed. The MTV of yesterday can’t exist today, and that’s fine. But like all things about getting old, it’s depressing. And nothing more depressing than this schedule of programming on the day it turned 40: a full 24 hours of nothing but the series Ridiculousness.
It is always a good day when Christopher Meloni is trending on social media.
No pop-culture storyline has been more gratifying than Meloni fully engaging with our collective fascination with his magnificent double-wide dumpster, an ass that God shed a single tear after creating and said, “My children, appreciate this gift, my greatest work.”
This week, the 60-year-old actor—just need to fully record-scratch here over learning his age—appeared on the cover of Men’s Health to bask in his sculpted body and its unprecedented cultural impact. (When we look back at what’s influenced us most as a modern society, I’d say we’ll probably mention Oprah, the MAGA movement, and Christopher Meloni’s beefy thighs.)
The photos belong in the Louvre. The one of him doing the splits while gazing into the camera lens, specifically. I also just need to bring attention to this quote, which will occupy at least 60 percent of my brainspace until the day I die: “I catch flies with my ass cheeks, like a Venus flytrap.”
For this week’s update of all the ways in which Dolly Parton is a flawless human being, we learned that, in the 1990s, she used the royalties she earned from Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” cover to build an office park specifically for the Black community in a Nashville neighborhood. Just canonize her already.
Taylor Swift narrated a video in tribute to Simone Biles’ tenacity and legacy after coming back to medal in the final gymnastics event as clips of the athlete’s tough week and Swift’s song, “This Is Me Trying,” played. Of course, I cried. Watch it here if you would like to as well.
The Suicide Squad: People who care deeply about things like this movie have told me it’s good! (Fri. in theaters and on HBO Max)
Reservation Dogs: A historic all-indigenous cast and writers but, more than that, a perfect summer-vibes show. (Mon. on FX on Hulu)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: If you aren’t hip to these show’s irresistible charm, hurry up. It’s the final season! (Thu. on NBC)
Mr. Corman: I asked a friend who is a critic if I should check this out and was told, “For the love of God, no.” (Fri. on Apple TV+)
Family Game Fight!: This replaces the diarrhea-postponed Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide on the schedule. I just really needed to write that sentence. (Sun. on NBC)