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.
- That’s not hot, Dave.
- Losing my mind over the Mr. Potato Head nonsense.
- A very important Dolly Parton update.
- The only Oscar campaign I care about.
- Bowing down to Jane Fonda, as always.
The emails have not found me well this week.
Email sender: “I hope this finds you well!”
There are several reasons for this, most between myself, God, my therapist, and my bank statements. But there is also the swan dive into madness after being pushed off the cliff, once again, by Fox News’ Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee of dumbass faux-outrage talking points: Wokeness and Cancel Culture.
The Dr. Seuss stuff is honestly too ridiculous to even get into, such a naked and lazy attempt to manipulate truth and logic into political scandal that it’s like watching a blindfolded person search for a “triggered” button. On the other hand, the Mr. Potato Head stuff is SO ridiculous, I delight in mocking the lunacy.
Everyone’s sensible Target-brand panties got into a bunch over toy company Hasbro’s recent announcement that it was removing “Mr.” from the Potato Head brand name to be more inclusive.
All the people on Facebook from your high school who failed biology but suddenly are experts in gender said a quick prayer to their patron saint Marjorie Taylor Greene and furiously typed out their social media sermons, furious about woke-liberal cancel culture and their ungodly insistence that everything, including their children’s precious toys, be gender non-conforming.
The reason I can’t stop laughing is because these people are so stupid. They’re so eager to seize any talking point for their political agenda and performative anger that they didn’t bother to read what is actually happening. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head aren’t going anywhere, and neither are their designations as Mr. and Mrs. The brand is just no longer going to be called Mr. Potato Head.
Playsets and potato homes and whatever else there is in the “broader Potato Head universe,” as Vox called it in its explainer and which I need to learn every single thing about, will be under the umbrella of the renamed “Potato Head” brand. Yes, the goal is to be inclusive, so that kids can choose to play with families of two Mr. Potato Head dads or two Mrs. Potato Head moms, but can you imagine being pissed off about that?
Besides, wait until they learn that spuds, in general, fall all over the Kinsey scale. Russets are typically heterosexual leaning, which explains why they have no taste. Of course, all sweet potatoes are gay. Purple potatoes: Mostly straight! Who’d have thought?
We can, as a nation, finally breathe a collective sigh of relief. Dolly Parton has received “a dose of her own medicine,” as her Instagram quipped in a caption for a four-minute video in which the legend narrates her experience receiving her COVID vaccine, taking a violent knee to the groin of anyone who refuses to get one while she’s at it.
Parton, you’ll recall, saved us all, as is her wont. She donated $1 million for research into what is now the Moderna vaccine, and in the video, she gets her first dose.
She’s wearing a purple top with peekaboo shoulder cutouts, and I cannot stress enough how much she needs to market this. I would buy the Dolly vaccine blouse immediately. But more importantly, she is brandishing a flame torch of such passive-aggressive savagery, she might as well have been your sixth-grade bully on the playground.
It starts off subtle. “I’ve been waiting a while, and I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it,” she says, before breaking out in a rewritten version of “Jolene”: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine / I’m begging of you please don’t hesitate / Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine / Cuz once you’re dead, that’s a bit too late.” She laughs, but then lays down the law: “I’m dead serious.”
Then the boss-level parting shot: “I just want to say to all of you cowards out there, don’t be such a chicken squat. Get out there and get your shot.” Somewhere in the Smoky Mountains right now, Dolly Parton is slow-motion walking away from an exploding building where presumably anti-vaxxers met to plan their rally.
Anyway, all hail Dolly, and this made me laugh:
It is my firm belief that the masterpiece of unabashed silliness Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga should be an Academy Award-nominated film. The people of Iceland stand with me.
The people of Húsavík, the remote Icelandic town the characters played by Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in the Netflix movie are from, have launched their own FYC campaign to get the climactic ballad from the film’s climax—aptly named “Húsavík”—nominated for Best Original Song. They even made an adorable video to explain why the song, the film, and a potential Oscar means so much to the town, which relies heavily on tourism dollars and had been economically hurt by the pandemic. (Watch it here.)
Gotta give the Icelanders credit where it’s due: They’re so creative and authentically themselves they manage to make even an award-season campaign, among the crassest tenets of the entertainment industry, seem cozy, cute, and noble.
On the occasion of Jane Fonda being among the only watchable parts of last week’s disastrous Golden Globe Awards ceremony, I would like to share with you one of my favorite Jane Fonda moments, ranking just higher than when I watched her deliver a speech at the Women’s March during a blizzard at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. (I nearly passed out because it was so cold but stayed conscious because the fabulousness of the cowboy hat she was wearing sustained me.)
I worship her. (Make sure to scroll down.)
The Real World revival: What a time to stop being polite! (Now on Paramount+)
Coming 2 America: Completely nostalgic, fan-servicing, and fun. (Friday on Amazon)
Critics Choice Awards: Legitimate in every way the Golden Globes are not. (Sunday on The CW)
Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special: This is my Super Bowl. (Sunday on CBS)
Boss Level: They really think we have any patience for Mel Gibson trying to be an action star again. (Friday on Hulu)