- The infuriating Sean Spicer casting.
- Mourning Bethenny Frankel.
- Cheering Miley Cyrus.
- Preparing for a Bombshell.
- A very nice story!
- A very good music video!
Why dance with the devil when you can samba with Sean Spicer? We imagine that’s the only rationale that went into ABC’s decision to cast Trump’s former White House press secretary on the new season of Dancing With the Stars.
I think I skipped class the week of journalism school where they talked about how unapologetically promoting fascism was the most reliable springboard to a media career, but here we are, with the news that the first press secretary of the Trump administration will be waltzing across your TV Monday nights this fall. News that broke the same day as the announcement that Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be a commentator on Fox News.
The Sanders hiring is so predictable it’s not worth wasting oxygen over. The Spicer casting, however, deserves every last breath in your lungs as you scream into the void.
Listen, it’s not the first time that DWTS has attempted to appeal to conservative viewers by dressing up right-wing figureheads in polyester and making them do the paso doble to a P!nk song. Past seasons have included Duck Dynasty cast members, Geraldo Rivera, Tucker Carlson, Bristol Palin, and, for the love of God, Rick Perry, who has since cha-cha’d his way to the Department of Energy.
But there is something particularly vile about this Spicer casting, just as it was when he was peddling his book, just as it was when he was shopping around a talk show, just as it was when he was a comedy prop in Stephen Colbert’s Emmys bit.
Sean Spicer doesn’t get to be a folk hero. He doesn’t get to be the fun-loving, humanizing catalyst that bridges a cultural divide. It’s inane to even type out, yet somehow meaningful: He doesn’t get to be on Dancing With the Stars.
Spicer lied directly to the American people on behalf of the government, strong-armed the press, cast doubt on the 2016 vote total, and defended Hitler. Now he just wants to have some fun and do a jive alongside Dawson Leary, the Bachelorette, and the worst of the Queer Eyes.
The show’s host, Tom Bergeron, made headlines in the wake of the casting announcement when he posted on social media his frustration with the casting, saying that he had advised producers to keep the series a “respite from the exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliation.”
It’s about as fierce a rebuke of his bosses as they'll get from the affable host, short of quitting the show over it. Of course, hosting Dancing With the Stars is not a choice. It is a calling. A duty. A person who could quit, however, is any of the other celebrity cast members who will appear along Spicer, though, thus far, none have taken the brave stand of not appearing on Dancing With the Stars season [checks notes... can’t possibly be right...] 28.
The question looming over all this is, why? What exactly did ABC think casting Spicer was going to accomplish? Unless it just needed someone who would shamelessly lie about the size of the show’s ratings, I don’t see what value he brings.
This is more of a desperate, “hey, we’re still here!” press release than it is a shrewd programming move to bring in more viewers. Yes, you can bet that each week—or, at the very least, after the premiere—every website (likely including The Daily Beast) will clip his embarrassing dance and make fun of it in a clickbait post. Maybe that will spread, like this casting news, on Twitter. But I don’t think that will translate into any tangible spike in actual audience size for the show on a weekly basis.
It’s hollow and cynical, at best. On face value, it’s legitimately shameful and the latest example of just how wildly network executives are missing the mark when it comes to understanding how to program for a passionately polarized country. (See also: NBC’s $69 million Megyn Kelly misfire.)
Spicer told The Hollywood Reporter this week that he hopes the DWTS stage will be a “politics-free zone,” which is frankly not a privilege the man who lied on behalf of the president for six months is afforded. Career rehab does not come in the form of wholesome normalization for someone like him. Just because you’re the first one to abandon ship doesn’t mean you’re owed a seat in the lifeboat.
I do not have the space or the energy to transcribe for you the seven-minute monologue I delivered to/screamed at my boyfriend when I came home from happy hour the night Bethenny Frankel announced that she would not be returning to The Real Housewives of New York City next season. But know that a) I made several profound, perhaps even moving points and b) I am absolutely devastated.
I also received roughly a dozen texts that night that simply said, “Hey. Just heard. Are you OK?” so that’s something about myself I’m going to have to deal with.
The last two seasons of The Real Housewives of New York City were arguably two of the best seasons of reality television ever, largely owing to Frankel’s presence and genre know-how for creating memorable moments and resonant story arcs. This last season, especially, was a delight, with Frankel, who often drove wedges and rifts between castmates, using her leader-like role on the show to bring the cast together.
In one moment, I think it could be interesting to see how the series, the strongest of Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, evolves without Frankel receiving the amount of attention she tends to naturally receive. On the other hand, her return to the series proved how much it needed her in that role. Moral of the story, I am bereft. You can find me sitting shiva and scrolling through Bethenny gifs.
My favorite thing celebrities do is address rumors or scandals that most of us didn’t even know existed in a public manner that draws attention to said rumors or scandals and suddenly we’re all obsessed with them. (Related is my favorite publicist gaffe: Requesting that I not ask their client about a relationship/rumor/controversy I had either not known about or had no plans to bring up but now would very much be bringing up to their client because they clearly have something juicy to say about it.)
In any case, Miley Cyrus took to Twitter to clear up rumors that her marriage with Liam Hemsworth ended because she had cheated. It’s an 11-tweet, admirably frank, and self-aware thread that launches with her saying, “I can accept that the life I’ve chosen means I must live completely open and transparent with my fans who I love, and the public, 100% of the time. What I cannot accept is being told I’m lying to cover up a crime I haven’t committed. I have nothing to hide.”
What follows is veering-on-powerful reflection on mistakes made as a young person finding her way in the public eye as well as the pathetic and oppressive moral policing that Hollywood subjects its ingenues to, while at the same time exploiting them. “I lost a massive Walmart deal at 17 for ripping a bong,” she writes in one tweet. “I got kicked off Hotel Transylvania for buying Liam a penis cake for his birthday and licking it,” she writes in another, referring to being fired from the 2012 animated film.
Ultimately, the thread’s purpose is to defend her marriage, even as it’s ending. But it’s also a reflection on one celebrity’s maturation and accountability, and how one of the most unforgiving industries treats its women.
The teaser for Bombshell, the sure-to-be-explosive movie chronicling the women who made the brave decision to take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the network’s toxic male culture, was released this week. (Watch it here.)
It reveals Charlize Theron in uncanny Megyn Kelly makeup, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson—the same role her friend Naomi Watts plays in Showtime’s Roger Ailes series, a move that would make me stop being friends with someone, to be honest!—and Margot Robbie as a whistleblower based on several different women. They take the world’s most intense elevator ride and then the teaser ends.
The whole thing looks very good, but hey! I just have a small idea! Bombshell is written by Charles Randolph and directed by Jay Roach. What if, like, movies and television aimed to mine money and awards from the #MeToo movement were, I don’t know, actually written and directed by women?
Patti LuPone, who guest starred on this season of Pose, gave her co-star Indya Moore the dress that she wore to the Tony Awards the night she won for her performance in Evita. On this week’s Pose finale, Moore wore that red dress in a ballroom scene as Angel. That’s all! Just a nice story!
If you haven’t yet watched Normani’s music video for “Motivation,” I’m sorry for all the happiness that’s been missing from your life. (Fix your life here.)
What to see this week:
On Becoming a God in Central Florida: Kirsten Dunst, pyramid schemes, and early ’90s Florida.
Brittany Runs a Marathon: A very fun movie with a very fun star turn from Jillian Bell and a very fun occasion to remind everyone that I once ran a marathon.
Ready or Not: Andie MacDowell with a crossbow!
What to skip this week:
MTV Video Music Awards: Unless you think feeling old for three hours sounds like a good time.
The Affair: WHY DID RUTH WILSON LEAVE, SHOWTIME????