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.
- People are speaking ill of my husband, Ted Lasso.
- The movie clip that just about broke me.
- A Molly Shannon appreciation, always and forever.
- Good news about me living forever.
- Princess Diana defeats Spider-Man, every time.
I’m not sure if we needed yet another Cinderella movie, but that has never been a concern for Hollywood before. And I’m not sure if we needed to make Camila Cabello a movie star, but putting an end to the pop star’s tyranny hasn’t been a concern yet either.
A clip released this week of Amazon’s upcoming Cinderella film, featuring the “Havana” warbler in the titular role, didn’t do either of these things any favors. In fact, the only need there is now is to call the police. The FBI. Olivia Benson. Olivia Pope. Harriet the Spy. The reporters who got the dirt that got that dude fired from Jeopardy! I don’t know or care who, but someone needs to step in and make sure justice is served for this.
It’s not fair to judge an entire movie based on a clip, except for the fact that releasing a single teaser scene from an upcoming movie invites us to do just that. (Watch it here.)
In this one, Billy Porter plays Fab G, the film’s version of the classic tale’s fairy godmother, who makes over Cabello’s Cinderella with a ball gown and slippers. “Yasss, future queen. Yassss!” Fab G coos at the transformation. Cinderella echoes with neck-rolling, finger-waving confidence and sass. But what about her shoes? They’re so uncomfortable. Can’t Fab G do anything about it? “Women’s shoes are as they are. Even magic has its limits.”
I have no idea what messy thesis about gender is being shared here. It’s so refreshing and progressive to cast Porter in the typically female role and to outfit the performer in gender-noncomforming costumes. But painful high heels? We must stick to that gender norm at all costs.
It doesn’t help that the dialogue is written as if a computer built in 2009 was fed transcripts of episodes of the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and the first few seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and then generated its own script. This isn’t a personal vendetta. Social media reaction was, let’s say, less than kind. Maybe the actual film won’t be so cringe-worthy. To borrow more circa-2010 LGBT lingo, there’s always hope that it gets better.
There is never a time when we’re not obsessed with Molly Shannon. But occasionally the intensity of the adoration spikes on the Appreciation Richter Scale, and lately there’s been some real seismic activity.
Her small role as spoiled brat Shane’s mom on The White Lotus, the woman who crashes her son’s honeymoon because he can’t get over the fact that he and his wife were put in the wrong suite, was a masterclass in subverting stereotypes. She’s an impossibly rich society woman with encyclopedic knowledge of the best four-star tropical resort destinations who is narcissistic enough to tell her new daughter-in-law that she was so consumed with the stress of her wedding that she doesn’t even remember it.
Every line that came out of her mouth made me want to scream in horror at the crass entitlement. But Shannon found a way to deliver them so that they were not just unapologetic, but—God help me—reasoned. When her daughter-in-law says she wants to return to work, the way she so reflexively and casually responds, “No, why would you do that?” sent me hurtling through the back of the couch, my living room wall, into my neighbor’s apartment.
And then her aghast reaction to the idea of a “trophy wife” being a bad thing poofed me into dust: “A trophy shines. It’s a source of pride. A trophy’s made of gold.” Never has a character so monstrous been so rationalized.
It’s a two-part triumph for Shannon this summer. The Other Two, one of my favorite shows, premiered its second season this week, marking the return of Shannon’s wholesome Pat Dubek, a supportive mother who is now a popular talk show host. It’s a tour de force comedy performance, and the premiere has one scene that I can’t stop thinking about—one that could be a throwaway in other actors’ hands, but which Shannon spins into gold.
She’s interviewing a grieving widow on her talk show, and as she listens to the woman’s story, keeps interjecting with two words. “Oh no.” “Oh good.” Describing it doesn’t do it justice. It’s masterful. Go check it out on HBO Max, and then give me a call so we can spend the appropriate three-to-five hours gushing about Molly Shannon.
There are some who saw reports of a study this week disturbing, with its findings that eating certain foods, like one hot dog, could take 35 minutes off your life. I, however, was inspired. I’m no mathematician, but if eating one hot dog could take 35 minutes off your life then apparently my original lifespan was 147 years, at least. It turns out I’m a medical marvel!
The study, which I take with a grain salt (something that, it turns out, will also take time off my life), alleges that eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could add 33 minutes, should anyone be alarmed by the strict hot dog and PB&J diet I am putting myself on as I live to eternity.
This week, the trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home shattered records for the most views in 24 hours. All I can say is, good luck getting me to learn what the hell a multiverse is. Also this week, a teaser trailer and poster for the Kristen Stewart Princess Diana film Spencer was released. All I can say is good luck getting me to talk about anything else for the next six days, at least.
PEN15 Animated Special: A little one-off treat while we wait for a new season to delight/traumatize us. (Fri. on Hulu)
9/11: One Day in America: I don’t have the fortitude to withstand the flurry of 9/11 docs coming out for the anniversary. But I’ve heard great things about this one if you do. (Sun. on Nat Geo)
Only Murders in the Building: A series about crime podcast enthusiasts recording their own crime podcast, but starring Steve Martin and Martin Short, so it’s not insufferable. (Tues. on Hulu)
What We Do in the Shadows: My answer to everyone’s, “What’s a great funny series to binge?” question is back! (Thurs. on FX)
He’s All That: Are no semi-problematic ’90s nostalgia pieces sacred anymore??? (Fri. on Netflix)
Candyman: Nothing says nature is healing like a mediocre reboot. (Fri. in theaters)