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.
- Crying with the Crawleys.
- Bowing down to Billy Eichner.
- All-in on whatever Mindy Kaling’s doing.
- A perfect video.
- A terrible tweet.
I Can’t Stop Watching the Bros Trailer
There is something that happens every time a new trailer for a rom-com or romantic film or TV series with gay leads comes out. I cheer. Obnoxiously. I tweet about it and write about it and sing its praises as if I’m Jennifer Holliday unhinging her jaw to belt out the final riffs of “And I am Telling You I’m Not Going.” This is amazing! This is important! This deserves our praise!
I would never take any of that back, especially after observing how, in recent years, each of those projects would be met with an equally passionate and impressively vocal—think, in this case, Jennifer Hudson unhinging her jaw to belt out the final riffs of “And I am Telling You I’m Not Going”—criticism.
It’s not just the expected backlash from conservatives and homophobes, but attacks from within the LGBT community from people who are frustrated that the characters might not represent a kind of queerness they identify with, a diversity that reflects reality, or falls into traps like relying on the trauma of a coming-out narrative or being too chaste, a compromise often made to be more “palatable.”
Those are all valid issues to take with any project. I’m the first to admit that I tend to be overly excited in my cheerleading of these shows and movies, because I do see such value in their existence, even if they’re imperfect. But the Bros trailer radicalized me.
Billy Eichner’s historic film, the first gay rom-com from a major studio, left me slack-jawed.
It’s not just that it’s raunchy and frank about what gay dating life is like for a certain kind of man, but about the sex aspect as well. It’s not just that it stars actual out gay actors; in fact, the entire principal cast, even those who are playing heterosexual characters, are actors who identify as LGBT. It’s not just that the word “butt-fucked” is casually tossed off in a movie trailer.
It’s the shrewd meta deconstruction of everything I had been describing before that seems to drive the narrative. Eichner’s character is asked to pen a movie script about two gay men falling in love, but is asked to make it, as he surmises, “something a straight guy might like.”
It’s a film that is the product of years of bottled-up exasperation. Even if I probably won’t be able to shake my insistence on screaming from the rafters how great any piece of gay content is, even if it might actually be a prime example of what Bros is exposing, I feel awake to it now.
Or maybe this is just me doing the same thing again: Being overly effusive over a gay rom-com that seems like it could be exciting. Whatever. At the very least, it’s a good trailer, y’all. Watch it here.
What in the World Is Going on With Mindy Kaling’s Velma?
It is “upfronts” week, which in the TV industry means it’s the time when networks and streamers make decisions about renewals and cancellations and make splashy presentations to advertisers attempting to sell the new shows they’re announcing.
That’s why there was a pile-up of news surrounding the cancellation of, well, just about everything on The CW and the announcement of a final season of Riverdale. It’s also why there seemed to be an avalanche of press releases touting new projects that are being greenlit, like a CBS TV adaptation of True Lies, yet another Yellowstone spinoff (starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren?!?), and whatever in God’s name this new Velma animated series is from Mindy Kaling, which through one photo alone has already become my favorite TV show of all time.
The news itself is exciting, but not life-changing. Kaling, whose recent projects Never Have I Ever and The Sex Lives of College Girls are so freaking good, is going to executive produce and star as the voice of Velma in a spinoff animated series of the Scooby-Doo cartoons for HBO Max.
I’m into it! Then I saw the photo of Kaling presenting the series at upfronts, which included a massive still of a scene in which cartoon Velma walks in on what appears to be a woman with the top of her head chopped off bleeding out on the floor of a locker room while naked women gawk from behind her, soap bubbles in all the right places for (cartoon) modesty.
“What in the world?” is a phrase that was crafted specifically for this. I haven’t the slightest idea what’s going on, but it’s entirely unexpected and I cannot wait.
The Most Delightful Thing You Will Ever Watch
By some miracle—a blessing from God in return for a good deed I hadn’t even known I’d committed—a video of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey doing the final dance from Dirty Dancing was tweeted into my timeline this week. Instead of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” the music is replaced with the theme song from The Muppet Show.
I know we’re not supposed to like Twitter anymore. While I was writing this newsletter, even more upsetting Elon Musk news broke.
But…and hear me out…what if a site where a video in which the final dance from Dirty Dancing is posted but it’s The Muppet Show theme song instead is actually the greatest place on earth and we should make sure it lasts forever?
The Week’s Most Incomprehensible News
Shortly after writing that endorsement, I read a tweet that said, “Tom Cruise introduced a series of performances at the finale of a horse show that kicked off celebrations to mark the platinum jubilee celebrations of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth,” and changed my mind.
I could have the combined brain trust of NASA, NATO, and every Nobel winner of the last 20 years, and I still wouldn’t be able to comprehend or make sense of that tweet. Burn it all down. Not worth it.
What to watch this week:
Downton Abbey: A New Era: A delightful time. Don’t overthink it. (Fri. in theaters)
Mexican Pizza: The Musical: The Dolly Parton Taco Bell Mexican Pizza TikTok musical is real. Can someone teach me how to use TikTok? (Thurs. on TikTok)
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: Everyone’s a winner! No really, that’s the conceit—it’s all past winners. (Fri. on Paramount+)
Men: Nothing scarier than men. (Fri. in theaters)
What to skip this week:
2000 Mules: D*n*sh D’S**z*’s new movie and let’s not give it attention. (Fri. in theaters)