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.
- Dash & Lily on Netflix: Cute!
- The Weeknd at the Super Bowl: Meh!
- Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones: Iconic!
- Nicole Kidman’s green coat: To die for!
- Celebrity interviewer Leta Powell Drake: A legend!
There is a segment of the population for whom it never once crossed their minds that, with the pandemic only getting worse, there would still be a Super Bowl this year. I am president of this population. With everything that’s going on…football? Really?
This week I learned that a) this would indeed be happening, and that b) The Weeknd has been selected to perform at the halftime show, as holy an honor as there comes in the music world. No disrespect to The Weeknd—he reps the best days of the week, and we salute that—but what a disappointing choice!
How do you get the people who I represent to care about football in the midst of a pandemic? Not with The Weeknd!
For one thing, I am devout in the belief that only women should be allowed to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show. There’s unimpeachable reasoning behind this: pop divas make better music and I would like to see them play it on TV.
The roster of artists booked for the biggest gig in entertainment has been so eclectic over the years that I’m not sure there’s any argument, audience-wise, for appealing to women (and gay men) with one act versus appealing to heteromasculine stereotypes with, like, a legacy rock band.
No matter who they book, the ratings are through the roof. So book a pop diva. That’s who I want to see.
Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, even Katy Perry: They put on some of the best live shows I’ve seen with their Super Bowl gigs. They worked way harder at producing a worthy spectacle than their male counterparts (Justin Timberlake, what the hell was that!?), and what do we deserve as a people right now if not a spectacle?
Sure, I like The Weeknd’s music, and thought his opening for the MTV VMAs this summer was thrilling. But a whole Halftime Show of it? Meh!!!
There are exceptions to this “only women” rule, of course. Prince gave the best Super Bowl Halftime Show of all time. And, of course, there’s Michael Jackson. But going forward? I want Diana Ross exiting the stadium in a helicopter energy only, and the men are just not capable of that kind of drama anymore!
Even when someone’s not a superfan of Lady Gaga, for example, there doesn’t exist a single person—young, old, gay, straight, male, female—who wasn’t at least curious what she was going to do on the Super Bowl stage. Are those same people fidgeting with excitement over what The Weeknd is going to bring? Is it really fair to put us through the labor of explaining to our parents who The Weeknd is? Have we not been through enough?
The Week’s Most Thrilling On-Set Photo
Filming has begun on Ryan Murphy’s Impeachment: American Crime Story, about the impeachment of Bill Clinton following his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Clive Owen will play Bill, Beanie Feldstein will be Monica, and we will be sitting mouth agape that this series is even happening at all. Something to live for!
We bring this up because an on-set photo was taken this week of Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones. Ashford is a Tony-winning treasure, currently starring on CBS’ B Positive, who has had bit roles in around 750 things and is reliably the best part about each one. People either fall in the camp of not really knowing who she is, or becoming absolutely obsessed superfans. Maybe this series will bridge that gap!
In any case, here she is as Paula and it is very important that you notice the baby.
The last week has been a wild ride of uncertainty and stress, then bliss, then frustration, then back to uncertainty and stress again. As a coping mechanism, I’ve had to occasionally disassociate from all of it: the election circus, the idiot’s tweets, the terrifying escalation of the pandemic, the news that Emily in Paris got renewed.
And so every so often I would turn off my brain, and each time I did, an image came to me. It was visceral. Crystal-clear every time. I would be visited by the image of Nicole Kidman in her red curly wig and floor-length green coat from The Undoing.
We are all too lucky to have Nicole Kidman starring in a mystery-thriller in which she titularly becomes undone to entertain us in the middle of a pandemic. The show is so pulpy and addicting, and so generous with its scenes featuring this gorgeous green duster, a glamour piece befitting a classy witch, or, in this case, a rich Manhattan therapist whose husband maybe did murder. A fan club for Nicole’s coat!
I can’t remember the last time I laughed as hard as I have watching this montage of celebrity interviewer Leta Powell Drake being obtuse and insane while talking to major stars. It’s impossible to pick a best moment. “Well now he’s dead” right off the bat is a classic, but accusatorily asking Tom Hanks how he kisses underwater without making bubbles is the current favorite. Watch it again and again here. It is my gift to you.
The Crown: Diana arrives and, not to spoil things, but she really shakes things up! (Sunday on Netflix)
Ammonite: Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan fall in love while talking about fossils. (Friday in theaters)
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey: A charming holiday musical that shares the same name as the illicit drug on Riverdale. (Friday on Netflix)
The Nest: Carrie Coon and Jude Law being sexy and confusing and yet somehow I didn’t like it. (Tuesday on VOD)
The Princess Switch 2: Switched Game: You’ll never convince me this is good. (Thursday on Netflix)