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 guide to all the TV shows you’re never going to watch.
- The Molly Shannon Fan Club now in session.
- An ode to the art of episode plot descriptions.
- Mickey and Pluto, outed as lovers!!!
- The musical pairing that might heal your soul.
More Reasons to Love Molly Shannon
It’s mere pages in when you start crying reading Molly Shannon’s memoir, Hello, Molly!
Maybe that’s not what you expect from a book by the Saturday Night Live alum, who has made a name for herself being the funniest person on TV, the most valuable player of any project she’s in, or, how she’s referred to my inner society, “Molly Shannon OH MY GODDDD I Love Her So Much She’s So Good I Can Barely Take It.” (It’s an official title.)
Hello, Molly! is as funny as you’d crave from Shannon. It’s incredibly heartfelt and emotionally honest, which also maybe shouldn’t be a surprise, especially if you’ve seen her work in films like Other People, in which she proved that the same way every frayed nerve in her body crackles and flares in the name of great comedy, she’s as fearless in exposing her humanity.
It could be that it is simply jarring that the book begins with a story so impossibly sad. When she was 4 years old, her father was driving under the influence and crashed their car, killing Shannon’s mother, sister, and cousin.
But the memoir had to begin this way. It is an event that shaped everything in her life going forward: how she came of age in school; the ways in which she acted out and sought attention; her attraction to comedy and the melancholy that simmers underneath even her wildest characters; the warmth and joy she intends to give; her experience as a mother; and even her Sally O’Malley character on SNL. Her father had to walk with a leg brace after the accident. Sally’s limp is an homage to him. When she can “kick, stretch, and kick,” she’s triumphantly kicking the brace off for her father.
If you’ve ever watched Shannon tell a story on a talk show, you’ve marveled at the way she can flit through an anecdote, doing funny voices and channeling the different characters, veering into an important aside that moves her to tears, laughing at herself over that, and then continuing to share the lovely, vibrant memory. She’s an emotional gymnast, tumbling through the entire human condition in every story, a skill she brings to Hello, Molly!
There seems to be a surge of appreciation for Shannon, following raves she received for her performances in The Other Two and The White Lotus, and with her new series I Love That For You premiering next month. This book only sweetens the moment.
Atlanta Episode Descriptions
I’ve always been curious about the little plot descriptions of TV episodes that show up on your TV guide or next to the episodes on streaming services. Who writes them? Who decides what to include? How often do they think about wanting to make them seem interesting or stylish, or when is it just a rudimentary service for the reader? Someone, somewhere was given the job to write them. Tell me everything!
One series that always tickled me with this is Pamela Adlon’s Better Things on FX. Its fourth season gave us “Sam picks up the girls from a trip,” or “Sam takes Duke to ballet and Frankie to Pinkberry,” referencing two of Adlon’s character’s (Sam) daughters. On the one hand, they’re so mundane as to be a meta commentary on the art of a plot description. On the other, they’re wonderfully perfect for this show, a series that celebrates and dignifies the enormity of life’s everyday tasks, just muddling through. I love it.
This week on Twitter, Mindy Kaling pointed out that Atlanta was doing similarly cheeky things with its plot descriptions. The new season’s third episode: “This one was cool. Going to rich parties and meeting weirdos. Season 1 was better.” Episode 4: “I was legit scared watching this.” The most recent one to air: “Sometimes shows just be over my head acting fake deep.”
Amazing show. Amazing plot descriptions. No notes, just a question: Are you the person who wrote these? Please get in touch with me! I will only need four-to-seven hours of your time to discuss your process in extreme and intense detail.
Ted Cruz Thinks a Lot About Gay Cartoon Sex
I don’t like to talk or rant about the current state of politics in this country. That is something I reserve solely for rare, appropriate occasions, like anytime I am in a room with another human being at any time of any day no matter if they asked me for my opinion or not. Barely ever.
In any case, Ted Cruz was speaking about Disney opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” law and offered a take so dumb that it is my civic duty to ensure than every person I know hears or reads it. “In every episode now, they’re gonna have Mickey and Pluto going at it… You can always shift to Cinemax if you want that.”
Yes, that’s what this conversation has always been about. Not to stop a law that would contribute to the alarming rate of suicide and depression in LGBTQ+ youth and maybe, just maybe, finally validate that LGBTQ+-identifying people in this country exist, deserve dignity, and shouldn’t be ashamed, othered, or endangered. No, it’s always been about making sure that flaming queer Mickey Mouse can finally buttfuck his dog.
When Harry Met Shania
Over the weekend, a cultural event that shifted the axis of entire existences occurred, and I fear we have not been talking about it enough. Have you watched the videos of Harry Styles performing with Shania Twain at Coachella at least three dozen times today? If not, is there a reason you are denying yourself of the one guaranteed true path to happiness?
What to watch this week:
Barry: One of TV’s truly good shows continues to be very good. (Sun. on HBO)
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent: Nicolas Cage being meta and weird, always a welcome treat. (Fri. in theaters)
Gaslit: We support Julia Roberts unconditionally in this newsletter. It’s the founding bylaw. (Sun. on Starz)
What to skip this week:
Selling Sunset: It was fun. (Kind of actually wasn’t.) But I think we can be done. (Definitely should be done.) (Fri. on Netflix)
The Offer: Here’s an offer you shouldn’t refuse: Just watch The Godfather instead. (Thurs. on Paramount+)