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.
- I’m on vacation! I’m obsessed with nothing but eating and sleeping and not answering emails. My friends on The Daily Beast’s Culture team, however, have graciously stepped in and offered their thoughts on the things happening right now in pop culture that they can’t stop thinking about. They are the best; read their recommendations then go read all the rest of their brilliant work. — Kevin
It’s been three weeks since Netflix dropped the final half-season of BoJack Horseman, and I still can’t stop thinking about that second-to-last episode.
Without giving too much away, “The View From Halfway Down” takes place in a surreal purgatory dream-state of sorts in which we aren’t quite sure whether the titular horseman has accidentally drowned himself or not. Surrounded by the most important people in his life who have perished over the course of the show’s six seasons, BoJack ultimately has to choose between succumbing to the darkness or reaching out for help.
It’s just one of several episodes from creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s hilarious and deeply moving Hollywoo(d) satire that have completely upended what animated comedy can be, from Season Three’s near-silent “Fish Out of Water” to “Free Churro,” the Season Five episode in which Will Arnett delivers a career-defining voice performance as BoJack, delivering an unbroken 20-minute eulogy for his mother.
By the time BoJack and Diane (the equally impressive Alison Brie) are sitting together in silence on a roof in the series finale, there really is nothing left to say about how much of a game-changer BoJack Horseman really was. — Matt Wilstein
This Valentine’s Day, I got a text from my landlord saying the exterminator needed access to my apartment. Rachel Bilson and Bill Hader, thankfully, had a much better time together. According to E!, the unlikely couple took a “quick getaway” to Orange County “to be together without any distractions.” This is the first we’ve heard of them since the Golden Globes last month, during which they both walked the red carpet looking so cute but also terribly uncomfortable together, like high-schoolers posing for their parents before prom.
The Barry star, who E!’s source said “treats [Bilson] very well and is adorable, hilarious, and fun,” first publicly wooed the actress in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they hit up a Starbucks. There are no other two people whose mundane errands I am more interested in following. Less Orange County getaways, you two, more Target runs and laundry days!
Though they met in the most eye roll-y, Hollywood way—by staring together in 2013’s The To-Do List, a romcom directed by Hader’s then-wife, Maggie Carey—Bilson and Hader have entered into a low-stress, easy to root for, decidedly millennial coupling. They buy bulk LaCroix together! And what is love, really, other than finding an “adorable” and “hilarious” other human who's willing to carry your 24-pack of seltzer home? — Alaina Demopoulos
What makes gay men tick, dish, and sometimes combust? In Drew Droege’s very funny and sometimes piercing Happy Birthday Doug at SoHo Playhouse in NYC, Droege himself plays a collection of gay men attending the eponymous Doug’s 41st birthday in a bar. They’re variously (including Doug himself and a cameo from Oscar Wilde) vain, drunk, catty, self-deluded, sweet, kind, intelligent, judgmental, nervy, and hilarious.
It’s only an hour long, and yet you’ll see a vivid variety of gay life and character on stage. You may recognize friends or even yourself in the beautifully written and played characters. But the harsh mirror Droege holds up is ultimately more holistic than mean. The play proposes that gay life contains multitudes, very curious and necessarily complex multitudes—and ones we should embrace. Book tickets here. — Tim Teeman
OK, I’ll admit it—I’m one of the unhinged people who adores Love Is Blind. I love everything about it: the bonkers concept, the players who proclaim their love for one another despite having never met in person, and even the forehead vein I now get every time someone mentions Barnett, one-third of the show’s most obnoxious love triangle. (Keep watching; you’ll see why.)
The first batch of episodes began last week, but the series will debut in pieces, so there’s plenty more to come in all the featured relationships. And that even includes a runaway bride! As a reality-TV fan, I cannot fathom what more anyone could ask for. — Laura Bradley
As a half-Korean still basking in the glow of Bong Joon-ho and Parasite’s triumphant night at the Oscars, I’ve been busy re-watching some of my favorite Korean films of late, many of which are available to stream on various sites. There’s Bong’s one-two punch of Okja and Snowpiercer (both on Netflix)—the former a madcap satire on the grotesqueries of meat production (bolstered by a truly batshit-insane Jake Gyllenhaal turn), the latter a dystopian class-warfare masterwork that introduced us to Chris Evans’ Cap beard, Tilda Swinton’s dentures, and a stunning night-vision hatchet battle.
There’s also Train to Busan, the finest zombie film in recent memory (also available on Netflix, and featuring the talented young actor Choi Woo-shik, who played the tutor-son in Parasite), and The Villainess (streaming on Hulu), a Raid-style actioner boasting a kickass heroine on par with John Wick. — Marlow Stern
Last November, Disney+ debuted The Mandalorian, a Lone Wolf and Cub-style saga about a hot single space dad and his tiny, adopted charge, the latter officially known as “The Child” but collectively rechristened “Baby Yoda.” The baby was the heart of the show: Aggressively adorable, rascally, perfectly meme-able—and born to raid the wallets of Star Wars fans in the form of toys and other merch. I mean, obviously! Star Wars fandom was forged by its desire to own pieces of that universe; it revolutionized the toy industry in 1978, and has spent a full twice as much money on Star Wars-based toys as it has on the films themselves. We were all clear marks for the funny little gurgling alien.
Yet, in an uncharacteristically non-exploitative fumble, Disney failed to capitalize on Baby Yoda fever. Only now, a full three months after the show’s debut, has it unveiled a full line of Mandalorian toys and costumes. Some of the stuff is, uh, unexpected. I don’t know what demand there is for Baby Yoda-themed editions of the board games Operation and Trouble. (???) But while perusing the offerings Disney debuted Thursday at this year’s Toy Fair—oh-so-convinced I am an adult capable of restraint—I laid eyes on the image that’ll haunt me until I own it, unbox it, and start cooing at it every day inside my living room.
Look at this animatronic plush Baby Yoda. Watch him close his shiny little eyes, extend his weird three-fingered hand, and use the Force, lifting $60 directly out of my hands and straight into the pockets of our Disney capitalist overlords. I hate how much I want this thing. Yet I’d die for him all the same. — Melissa Leon