Keep Calm and Get it Off Your Chest

A Grim Fairy Tale

So, I took a little break from TV and media, anything going on? 

Just kidding.

Blimey! And also, GOOD LORD!  What the fish-and-chips just happened??  We were all just going along, minding our own coronavirus/quarantine/vaccination-schedule business, and WHOOSH!  Our daily news cycle is completely taken over by a couple of rowdy outliers trying to take down the royal family! 

I thought those two were done with big, disruptive moves that get a lot of attention.  I thought they were looking for Privacy.  With a capital P.  But, it turns out there is a difference between Privacy and Security, plus they had a few things they really needed to get off their chests. And if you thought, like I did, that this was NOT essential viewing, and if you also thought, like I did, something along the lines of “Holy hell! Go away! The world is going through so much trauma and difficulty, the last thing we need is to hear from the privileged, self-serving likes of YOU!”, let me just say: you and I were both wrong. Turns out this was

The Interview of the Century

This television event was shocking, troubling, disruptive, and certainly audacious. It covered so much territory that I had to create a Venn Diagram to sort out my thoughts about it:

And do you see that teeny tiny little triangle in the middle of the diagram? Well that would say SKIN TONE, wouldn’t it? What we have here is A Grim Fairy Tale, with all the classic archetypes, except the Princes and Princesses are not “symbolic” or “representational”, they are ACTUAL Princes, etc! Who the characters are in this story depends on how you view this whole mishigas. But think about it: every single person falls into more than just ONE of these archetypes. Take a look:

  • The Hero – This one is quite clear, and I’m sorry, but if you can’t figure it out then your heart is a cold, hard, small thing. Like the Grinch.
  • The Villain – Depends who you ask. I think it rhymes with Marles. But that’s just me. There are quite a few to choose from actually.
  • The Damsel in Distress – Don’t cringe! See “Cinderella”, and even though “We’ve Come A Long Way Baby” and “Girl Power” and “You Go, Girl”, there are still distressed damsels out there.
  • The Ice Queen – I know, right?
  • The Trickster – Mischievous, and a rule-breaker or trouble-maker, who either aids the hero or messes with the hero’s head.
  • The Fairy Godmother – A nurturing, maternalistic presence and a wish-granter, with an interesting backstory of poverty and resentment.

And! There is a Situational Archetype as well: The Battle Between Good and Evil. Now, before I lose you completely, let me clarify that there is plenty of BAD/EVIL/WICKED to go around in this world. And plenty of GOOD/KIND/DECENT as well. It’s not as clear-cut as it is in fairy tales, and not as black-and-white. Pun intended. But there is no denying we are going through a global reckoning with race, right along with our global pandemic, and there is now a new awareness in every corner of every country. Consequently, a new standard is being set. I have certainly learned some stuff myself, and the royal family, that ancient and insular institution, is grappling with it too. They have failed on many levels, but there is always opportunity for change.

Most fairy tales have a “…and they lived happily ever after” ending. Do you think that will happen in this scenario? Is it possible? Hmm. I have a friend who says “Never say never, and never say always.” That may be the most realistic, as well as the most forgiving, view.

Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist (from the Broadway musical “Avenue Q”)

Everyone’s a little bit
Racist, sometimes.
Doesn’t mean we go around committing
Hate crimes.
Look around and
You will find,
No one’s really
Maybe it’s a fact
We all should face.
Everyone makes
Based on race.

If we all could
Just admit
That we are racist
A little bit,
Even though we all
Know that it’s wrong,
Maybe it would help
Us get along!

Everyone’s a little bit
Racist, it’s true.
But everyone is just about
As racist as you!
If we all could just admit
That we are racist a little bit,
And everyone
Stopped being so P.C.,
Maybe we could
Live in — harmony!

About Bruce

Well!  How do you like THAT!  Reality TV has gotten me again.  But THIS time the underdog character, the sort of unhip, laughable, ponytailed side-character… the unimportant one if you will, has COMPLETELY STOLEN THE SHOW!

At least for me.

The Kardashians, God love ’em, have built this huge multi-media empire on the most frivolous and transient subjects:  fashion, beauty, club appearances, flying around the world, and like, hair extensions.  (Don’t get me wrong, I love ALL those Hot Topics and they ALL have their place in life, but the Ks take on things is so wispy thin and insubstantial as to just be, like, well… it doesn’t take up ANY space in your brain.)

So this whole time, apparently all 8 years that this show has been on the air, the emotional tone has been self-absorbed, glib, occasionally vulgar, and very, very insular.  Most of the scenes are filmed in one of their huge houses in So California, and involves their latest marital or professional escapades, and they all seem to live in just their own little worlds of wealth, access, and entitlement.  And the whole MACHINE runs on moving through things FAST… they will have a meltdown-y melodramatic moment about something and then, as they like to say repeatedly “It’s, like, SOOO time to move on.”

Now a storyline has emerged that, like, nobody saw coming.  One that is so big, so freakin important that they have had to have TWO special episodes and a Diane Sawyer interview just to cope with!  The patriarch of this entrepreneurial clan, the out-of-step but likeable Dad, will soon be living publicly as a WOMAN!!!!

Now I am old enough to remember Bruce Jenner on the Wheaties box.  Arguably, one of THE top male athletes of our time.  OLYMPIC athlete in all those intense and uber-masculine events.  (I mean discus throwing??  Who even DOES that?)  He is so familiar in THAT arena that this news really throws you back.

And the fascinating thing to watch is the juxtaposition of this Superficial Franchise Operation dealing with such a… well, let’s be honest, WTF kind of situation.  Because they’ve had to show, like, REAL EMOTION.  And tolerance.  Not to mention delicacy!

All the Kardashian/Jenner kids obviously adore Bruce, and he gets so tickled and excited when talking about his future… letting his hair grow, painting his nails, putting on cute clothes… he is SWEET and SINCERE and GOOFY and… well…it is like, SO MOVING!  This man that we all thought we knew… we had a category for him:  All-American Olympic Hero… he has been living with a huge and painful secret his WHOLE LIFE… and now, at the age of 65, he has the courage to change everything about himself… well I just thought to myself:

“Huh!  So the REAL story of the Kardashians has been going on between-the-lines and off-camera this whole freakin time!”

Wow.  Good luck Bruce… we’ll try to Keep Up…

Their hair may MOVE, but their faces sure don’t.

Got sucked into The Vortex this week.  I was in a weakened and vulnerable state, and that is when it is most likely to happen.  It has probably happened to you…if you are stuck at home sick, with a remote in your hand.

I don’t know what made me even turn it on, except as I’ve already stated, I was in a weakened state.  That is when one is most likely to resort to pleasure-seeking, or more accurately, avoidance behavior.  My husband would come home from WORK, and I would be slumped on the couch surrounded by little piles of used tissues, a glass of juice, some nasal spray, and a glazed look in my eyes.  He would take in the pathetic scene, watch for a few minutes, shake his head and leave the area.  Strong!  And unwilling to become another victim.  Beware the Beverly Hills Vortex!  Those REAL HOUSEWIVES!

It was awful.  I couldn’t turn it off.  I couldn’t take my eyes off them.  Sooooo much Botox!  Sooooo many fried blow-outs and tousled extensions.  Listen:  their hair moves, but their faces sure don’t.

Ugh.  I feel skeevy.  Like I’ve been hanging around with some rough trade.  This went on for pretty much the WHOLE WEEK.  Right through to the Season Finale!  Agony!

This is what I learned… those ladies have been through some HELL in 90210.  But their problems are entirely SELF-GENERATED, like, failed marriages, and financial snafus, and bad book deals.  They are survivors!

These are the women I spent my week with and became strangely obsessed with:

Lisa Vanderpump is clearly playing the VILLIAN in the piece, manipulative and COMPLETELY out for herself.  Her denial of reality is as shocking as it is convenient.  Her face is frozen.

Brandi Glanville is the VILLAGE IDIOT, inappropriate and always saying the wrong thing, then when she is “called out” getting flustered and telling everyone to F**K OFF!  And also to GO F**K THEMSELVES!

Kyle Richards is kinda the HERO figure, Paris Hilton’s Auntie is clearly the moral center of the show, believe it or not.  Pretty decent with a nice, hearty laugh.  But not when it comes to her sister…

Kim Richards, who is the DAMAGED one, like a smashed and smudged butterfly.  She clearly needs to get the hell out of there.  My prescription?  And I’ve given this some thought… she should move to Manhattan and go to MEETINGS, and ride the subway, and study like, guitar, and walk around a lot, and get GROUNDED.  It is her only hope!

Yolanda Foster is the ICE QUEEN, gorgeous and self-righteously superior.  Apparently she used to be a supermodel.  I wanted to scream at the TV “Do you think you’re better than them??”  Lecturing people about botox when you’ve got this weird forehead just doesn’t ring true.

Taylor Somebody is a HOT MESS, working on a nice alcohol problem.  Her Botox/Filler situation is dire!!

Camille Grammer seems NICE actually, she looks like she is thinking “How the HELL did I get involved with this??  Can I just sit here quietly, let my Botox settle, and not start a fight with anybody?”

And I don’t even want to talk about Adrienne.

When Andy Cohen, the executive producer and self-promoting mouthpiece of the Real Housewives franchise, was asked recently WHY he thought these women were willing to expose themselves in such a tacky way, he said “I have honestly not figured that out.”

I have.  Money, ego, celebrity culture, lack of vision, wondering how to pay for more Botox.  It is transparent and yucky, and I sure hope they don’t put THAT in the time capsule for future generations to be appalled by.

Oh and BTW, don’t miss the new Season Premiere Tuesday night @ 9pm.  On Bravo.