- Losing my mind over the Jeremy Renner app.
- Losing my mind over Ryan Murphy.
- Losing my mind over British baking.
- Losing my mind over tennis and crying.
- Losing my mind over Hillary Clinton in a sweater.
It cannot be overstated how hilarious the news this week is that Jeremy Renner’s app for superfans was closed down after the actor was trolled too hard by pranksters. I could spend the time it takes to watch the entire Marvel film output unpacking that sentence. Jeremy Renner had an app. Jeremy Renner has superfans. Jeremy Renner had an app for those superfans to interact with each other and with him, Jeremy Renner, who inexplicably had an app and also superfans.
This app has been around since 2017. I can’t even.
Jeremy Renner is my favorite kind of celebrity, someone who stars in the biggest movie franchise there has ever been, has two Oscar nominations, and if you stood him in front of me and said, “Name this man and tell me your feelings about him,” I’d ask you why you have kidnapped the barista from my local Starbucks. He’s that... meh. There has never been more of an “oh, that guy” than this guy.
Yet there are people who watched The Avengers and said, “Him. The one who has that bow and arrow and I think is named Johnny? Jimmy? Or is it Jeb? I want to have access to a non-stop feed of photos and messages from him. It would be ideal, too, if I could spend actual money to up my status in this app so that he might see my comments.” And they have been doing just that. FOR TWO YEARS.
Those blissful two years were thwarted this week when Renner announced the app is closing. In a font not used since the receptionist at your childhood dentist’s office printed out a sign stating the bathroom was out of order in 1992, he explained that “the app has jumped the shark. Literally.” It had been pillaged by “clever individuals that were able to manipulate ways to impersonate me and others in the app.”
What was meant to be a safe space for those among us who just wanted to spend some money for the privilege of commenting “looking good!” in a Jeremy Renner-only app had, according to the man himself, “turned into a place that is everything I detest and can’t or won’t condone.” As of Wednesday—Rennsday, the lord’s day—the app is no more.
What happened? I’m so glad you asked.
The Renner app had popped back into the zeitgeist for the first time since superfans alleged censorship and contest-rigging back in its early days—the drama!—as screenshots revealing how absurd the comments section had become started circulating on Twitter. Not only were people pretending to be Renner, they were pretending to be an absurd array of celebrities ranging from Brendan Fraser to Casey Anthony.
Things got real dark over these last few weeks, however, when comedy writer Stefan Heck jokingly responded to a post by Renner asking what everyone’s weekend plans were by saying, “I will be looking at porno on my computer.” Soon fake Renners sprouted up “sowing chaos and pretending to like porno.” Real fans were offended by the sudden rise in porn preaching. There was nothing to be done about it. Heck had, as he wrote in Deadspin, “single-handedly obliterated, uh... the official Jeremy Renner app.”
I love this story so much. First of all, it is all, every single detail of it, patently ridiculous. It is the perfect encapsulation of how toxic internet and troll culture has become, incinerating anything even remotely earnest, such as a Jeremy Renner fan app. It also illustrates just how asinine celebrity ego-driven ventures have become.
Gone are the days when your favorite stars would just open terrible restaurants that closed in a year or two. Now everyone is a lifestyle brand. It’s not their name or fame that has value. It is, dear god, THEIR THOUGHTS.
Things have only gotten worse since the launch of GOOP, when Gwyneth Paltrow first peddled aspirational wellness through separate bedrooms, positive sweating, a plate of couscous paired with a shot of leprechaun blood each morning, and indulging in one American Spirit a day, smoked through your vagina.
Since then, Blake Lively romanticized the fashion and style of America’s slavery history, Reese Witherspoon twanged something or another about whiskeys and tea cups, and Catherine Zeta-Jones started a design line that, from what I can tell, suggests that true taste is matching your clothing to your furniture.
Now, Jeremy Renner has an app. Or, had. Porno rennered it obsolete. (Get it!?)
The Netflix era of Ryan Murphy begins later this month with the launch of The Politician, an Election-meets-Succession series starring Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Lange as a bunch of rich people. But in an interview with Time this week, Murphy went into detail on his future programming plans for the streaming service. I am excited and exhausted.
In addition to Ratched, about Louise Fletcher’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest character, and adaptations of the Broadway productions of Boys in the Band and The Prom, he’s planning a 10-part miniseries version of A Chorus Line, a Halston bio-series starring Ewan McGregor, a project centering on Marlene Dietrich starring Lange, a docu-series about Andy Warhol, a documentary called A Secret of Love about a lesbian couple who came out in their eighties, and Hollywood starring Patti LuPone and Holland Taylor.
Listen, say what you want about Netflix, the current era of #TooMuchTV, or even Murphy’s output. This thrills me. After a lifetime of “he’s a doctor, but cranky” and “they solve crimes, but with their minds” or “they’re lawyers, but they’re children,” I can’t believe there is this much programming in development that is actually for me. It’s not easy to break from the ranks and risk whether anyone will follow you. I most certainly will.
The most important show on television, The Great British Baking Show, finally returned this week. In times like these, you don’t just want, but NEED a series in which quaint British people bake sponge cake under a tent in the bucolic English countryside. This show is my self-care.
For the first time, Netflix is posting one episode each week, soon after it actually airs in the U.K., rather than all at once months after the winner has already been announced. It’s as if the service clocked my lack of self-control and knew that I’d need to space out this polite goodness and not devour it all in one sitting.
There’s something so appealing about the niceness of it all, and its simplicity. There are no smoke machines and flashy production numbers or Jenny McCarthy screaming that she can’t figure out who the celebrity is in a fever-dream version of a hippopotamus costume singing a Sam Smith song. There is no recording contract or modeling deal or even cash prize for the winner. Just a bunch of pleasant people excited to show off, in the humblest of ways, that, hey, they’re pretty good at baking things. It’s all so... nice.
NPR’s Linda Holmes will always have my favorite summation of the show’s appeal: “There are days in which you find yourself more in the mood for a relaxing evening having drinks with low-key, charming friends than for an hour spent watching a skunk and a rat fight over who gets to drag a rotten potato into a hole in the ground.”
There’s something unexpectedly poignant about it all. Sometimes you get a good bake. Sometimes you get a soggy bottom. You’ve got to shrug it off, and move on. It’s just cake. Or, when you think about it, life, too.
I will watch this video of Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff once a day, every morning, until I am sure I have developed even an iota of the grace, goodness, and understanding that is on display. Watch the video here. You won’t regret it.
Cause of death: This photo and this caption.
What to watch this week:
Couples Therapy: Live your nosy bitch fantasy with this series showing real-life couples in therapy.
The Deuce: Maggie Gyllenhaal gives what might be the most underrated performance on TV.
A Very Brady Renovation: It’s just fun, people!
What to skip this week:
It: Chapter Two: It cannot be stressed enough that this movie is two hours and 50 minutes.
The Spy: Sacha Baron Cohen just how you like him...in a serious spy drama.