This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by editor Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
- Becoming a surprise Last of Us convert.
- Extreme American Girl doll drama.
- The Real Housewives we’ve been waiting for.
- The TV apocalypse is nigh.
- This is an Oscar nominee?!
The New American Girl Dolls Are From When?
For a while, we were all having fun with the American Girls dolls. That was until they united in an unforgivable act of violence.
We all know what those dolls are. Launched in the late ’80s, they double as a history lesson, with each “girl” sold with a corresponding book recounting her story. When they launched, there was Kirsten, who represented the pioneer era, and Felicity, whose backstory was about life in colonial Virginia.
As a gay millennial, I was obsessed with these from a distance: eavesdropping on my girl classmates to pick up details on who Molly and Samantha were and what their stories were, wondering what it would be like to play with them, and clocking who in school clearly had rich grandparents. (American Girl dolls were very much a rich grandparents’ gift; today, I imagine that’s evolved to “whose rich grandparents are taking them to New York City to eat at the American Girl Doll café.”)
Most recently, the dolls were in the news because they had inspired so many viral memes. That tracks: The ’90s babies that played with them as kids are now the internet creators using them for content.
But now things have gone too far. While I am not one to silence or dismiss women, an exception must be made. It is time to cancel the American Girl dolls.
Apologies for the long build-up, but what is to come is so shocking, I wanted to make sure that readers were eased into it: It was announced this week that American Girl will be releasing new “historical” dolls… from the ’90s.
Yes, we have gone from what it was like to survive the Revolutionary War to the trials and tribulations of trying to get comfortable on your inflatable bedroom chair while keeping your Discman from skipping (actual accessories sold with the dolls). It is a wild circle of life that is both fitting and cruel: The little girls that the original line of dolls were made for are now the prototypes for the newest dolls themselves, 35 years later.
The Dream Team Has Arrived
I recall the great excitement there was when the U.S. men’s basketball roster was selected for the 1992 Olympics: the Dream Team. Michael Jordan! Scottie Pippen! Karl Malone! Larry Bird! Patrick Ewing! The country was in awe at our great fortune in being able to witness not just the greatest players of the time, but clearly some of the greatest there ever was—all playing together, representing our country.
I remember going along with the hype and hysteria, but I didn’t really get it until now—now that we’re once again assembling the all-time greats of our culture and sending them as U.S. ambassadors to another country, for us to then watch in amazement from our homes. I am referring, of course, to the Real Housewives.
For years, Bravo fans had been clamoring for an all-star season of Real Housewives, after having delighted in similar stunts on shows like Top Chef, Survivor, and Project Runway.
The first iteration of Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip was surprisingly anthropological, with women from across the franchise bonding over the pressures and curiosities of being on reality TV—all while causing drunken havoc. The second season, which featured all former Housewives, was a portrait of trauma, revealing how the experience of being on the show (and maybe being desperate to return) scars these women—all while causing drunken havoc.
Finally, the first trailer for the new season of Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip has arrived, along with a release date (Mar. 23!). (Watch it here.)
Cast members from Potomac, Miami, Salt Lake City, New York, and Atlanta head to Thailand, where they experience paradise as their precarious existing friendships erupt under the pressure cooker of intense travel—all while causing drunken havoc.
I screamed at escalating volumes when Candiace called out Porsha for stealing her friend’s husband, when there are multiple references to drug smuggling and Brokedown Palace (what happened in Thailand?!!), and, naturally, when the resort worker chastised them all and called them fake. An icon:
Clear Some DVR Space
You have one week to run to Costco and grab the cubicle-sized box of Cheez-Its. Make sure those couch cushions are fluffed and sturdy. Check the batteries in your remote and make sure you have backups. It might be good planning to preemptively take a week or three off of work, and definitely make sure you have a solid rotating plan in place so that you don’t get bedsores.
I hope you don’t intend to do other things in March, because here is just a sampling of all the TV series that are coming out or returning next month: The Mandalorian, Yellowjackets, Succession, Ted Lasso, Survivor, Top Chef, Daisy Jones and the Six, Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip, The Voice, Perry Mason, You, Shadow and Bone, Great Expectations, and, because it’s never not airing a new season, Love Is Blind. Godspeed to you all.
Suddenly, the Best Animated Shorts category at the Oscars is very interesting to me.
What to watch this week:
Party Down: One of the funniest shows ever is back—and still very funny! (Now on Starz)
The Mandalorian: Critics haven’t gotten to see the new season yet, but this is Pedro Pascal’s time, and we’re blindly supporting it. (Wed. on Disney+)
Cocaine Bear: It’s a movie about a bear that does cocaine. Don’t overthink it. Enjoy it! (Now in theaters)
What to skip this week:
Cocaine Bear: On the other hand, once you do think about it… yikes. (Now in theaters)