THE DAILY BEAST’S OBSESSED
The ‘Broad City’ Finale Was Just About Perfect
The Daily Beast’s Obsessed: Everything we can't stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
- Crying through the Broad City finale.
- Freaking out over an Us fan theory.
- The Elton John biopic’s gay panic.
- Avengers: Endgame trying my last nerve.
- But Chris Evans remains perfect.
- Adele and J.Law’s big night out.
The Broad City Finale Was Just About Perfect
On Thursday night, Abbi and Ilana had one last adventure. It was very them: walking a $10,000 toilet over the Brooklyn Bridge. It made me cry.
Broad City, if I ever take the time to look back and take stock, will likely rank as one of my favorite shows to write about, and most definitely to watch. It was for a time grouped with shows like Girls and Inside Amy Schumer, coming at a time when TV and the culture at large craved content that parsed changing attitudes about millennials and, more specifically, millennial women. But it ended up unique in its own identity, and on its own terms. It’s certainly the only series to devise entire plots around pegging, or sneaking weed past airport security dogs in period pants.
It arrived at a time when the “millennial comedy” needed the pointed lunacy of its perspective, depicting the stage in two best friends’ lives as magical and messy as it really is for so many people. Some people grow out of that phase faster. Some friends fall out of touch sooner. Some people leave New York faster. But no comedy managed to distill the wackiness of that time in a generation’s life with such specificity and truthfulness. It was powerful and transgressive. More, it was a laugh riot.
The final season was about what happens when you make the brave decision to move on to the next phase of your life, and how thrilling and upsetting that can be. Without hammering the point home obnoxiously or being overly sentimental—though there were the tears you crave when Abbi moves to Colorado and says goodbye to Ilana—it landed a perfect arc for these characters, not to mention the audience who has watched and identified with them.
It put a button on what Broad City ultimately became: a journey to being OK. Not erasing the mess of a life you have when you’re in your twenties and thirties, but tidying it up a bit and learning how to navigate between the piles. And not that Marie Kondo nonsense, either; why would you get rid of any of those memories, that mess? It all sparked joy, in certain ways.
It’s an interesting time in TV, specifically for shows about a certain generation of women that explored their psyche in progressive, which is to say, realistic ways. Broad City and The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend both end this week after brilliant series runs. Jane the Virgin, monumental in its own ways, launched its final season this week, too. Yet it’s not so much an end of an era, thankfully, as it seems to be a passing of a baton.
As The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum tweeted this week noting the timing of these shows ending, “I'm encouraged by the rise of PEN15, Russian Doll, Shrill & S2 of Fleabag. Call me a goofball optimist, but those shows suggest this isn't the end of a trend, it's a redefinition of what TV can do.” I couldn’t agree more.
The Us Theory That Is Blowing My Mind
Us is so good. Lupita Nyong’o is a star. Breakout turns like Winston Duke’s is the reason a newsletter about pop culture obsessions exists. It’s a Jordan Peele film, so that means that you—as in, I—likely missed about 400 hidden themes, metaphors, twists, and subtexts. (I fully expect dissertations to be written about The Tethered.)
That’s an entire pastime for many people, parsing entertainment for all those secret things and developing fan theories about them. Me? I hate that shit. At least, I used to, until my attention was brought to this wild fan theory that spread on Reddit about the last scene in the film and what it means in terms of everything we thought we knew about two of the main characters.
I am not a monster, so I’m not going to spoil exactly what that theory is here. But I implore you to all head over to this great Vulture piece that lays it all for you and had me uttering “holy shit” to myself three different times when I read it at my desk.
Did You Know Elton John Was Gay?
I don’t want to stop any hearts and blow any brain-gaskets with this little newsbomb I’m about to drop on you, folks, so brace yourselves. Ready? OK. Deep breath. Here goes: Elton John is gay. I know. I know. It’s a harsh truth to be confronted with. If I wasn’t typing this right now I’d be clutching my pearls, too. First there was Freddie Mercury. Now this. What, next you’re going to tell me the Spice Girls were doing the zigazigah the whole time? Oh, wait...
This breaking news is comes in light of rumors circling the buzzy Elton John biopic starring Taron Egerton coming out (heh) later this year. The Daily Mail reported last week that Paramount Pictures is allegedly “forcing” Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher to cut a 40-second “nude cuddle” scene featuring Edgerton and Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden from the film. Apparently, it’s to nab a PG-13 rating from the MPAA instead of R. A nude guy-on-guy cuddle! Heavens no! My eyes!
It’s frankly exhausting to read this in light of Bohemian Rhapsody’s alternately menacing and exploitative treatment of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality. As I’m sure Paramount noticed, that movie was rewarded for it, to the tune of box-office records and Oscar wins. At the same time, imagine purchasing a ticket to a film about a young Elton John and being turned off by a gay love scene or male nudity.
After the Daily Mail report sent Gay Twitter a bedazzled Bat Signal, summoning the requisite “are you serious?!” exasperation, Fletcher took to his own social media to clarify: “Seeing much speculation about ROCKETMAN!! That’s good! It’s still unfinished so it’s nothing but rumors. It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in. See for yourself May 24.” (Fletcher, it should be noted, is the director who stepped in to rescue Bohemian Rhapsody in the last weeks of production after Bryan Singer was fired.)
That’s all well and good, except The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that, while there is expected to be an intimate love scene and a R rating, there are currently discussions between the production and Paramount about how much of the nude scene will remain intact. Oh damn, my eyes just spasmed from being rolled too hard.
In any case, this venting is really just an excuse to share with you perhaps the best PR damage control any pop culture crisis manager could ever have conducted. In the midst of all this controversy, Egerton posted this photo of himself in costume as John. Distraction technique? Good-natured thirst trap? Marriage proposal to me? Whatever it is, it’s a success.
The Final Avengers Movie May Just Kill Me
Turn me into dust and evaporate me into the sky or whatever the hell happened at the end of the last Avengers movie because the latest news about the next movie in the franchise may just kill me. Not like, “Oh my god I’m so thrilled I could just die!!!!.” More like, “You’ve got to be kidding me with this shit.”
Friends, countrymen, those of you Marvel seems to think have actual eternities to burn on your nights and weekends off: Avengers: Endgame was just announced to have a 182-minute running time. That is three hours and two minutes, making it the longest Marvel movie yet and the greatest test of my patience in the Universe’s 22-film history.
I could spend three hours and two minutes listing things you could do in three hours and two minutes besides watch an Avengers movie. You could watch Sister Act twice. Or you could do the Sister Act, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit double feature, but you’d miss the last “Joyful, Joyful” performance scene, which frankly you could watch on loop itself for three hours and two minutes and it would be time well-spent.
You could go outside. There are people who run actual marathons in that amount of time. (Not me. It took me much longer than that; however, I just wanted to remind everyone of the fact that I once ran a marathon. *Bows to your applause.*)
Let Chris Evans Sing!
Chris Evans wants to be in a musical! We should let him! In a Hollywood Reporter interview, Evans talked about how it’s his dream to play the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. If this isn’t manifested immediately, then I no longer believe in Hollywood, The Secret, or the power of prayer. Or, hey, there’s a Guys and Dolls remake that was just announced. I can’t decide if he’s more of a Sky or a Nathan but I will entertain the reality of either!
This is all to say that if Marvel wants me to spend three hours watching their Avengers movie, there better be a Captain America-led production number in there somewhere.
Jennifer Lawrence and Adele Drunkenly Crashed a Gay Bar
Jennifer Lawrence and Adele drunkenly went to the West Village gay bar Pieces over the weekend to take in a drag show, and the gays dutifully recorded nearly every second of it. It is my favorite thing ever, and made me regret for the first time since I was 25 that I wasn’t sweatily packed into Pieces at 1 am on a Saturday night.
What to watch this week:
Veep: I lasted roughly 90 seconds before I had to pause and rewind the premiere because I was laughing so hard I started missing jokes.
Barry: Bill Hader as a hitman is still maybe the most interesting performance on TV.
The Beach Bum: Matthew McConaughey, Martin Lawrence, and Zac Efron are absolute lunatics in this.
Hostile Planet: All this talk about The Avengers and blockbusters, while National Geographic is still offering the most spectacular action set pieces on TV. It just happens to star animals.
What to skip this week:
Dumbo: They remade Dumbo, but made it about twice as long as the original and focused on the humans. (???)
Santa Clarita Diet: The Drew Barrymore zombie family comedy was quirky and weird and worthwhile in its first season. Yet you probably had no idea it’s about to premiere season three. Drew deserves something buzzier.