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.
Can I Also Be Paid Tens of Millions to Not Do My Job?
This week it was announced that Chris Harrison, a department store mannequin who was accidentally brought to life when a teen witch lost control of her powers after a frustrating Jamba Juice experience at a suburban Oklahoma mall, was officially fired from The Bachelor after 20 years. Or he and the show “parted ways”—whatever the hooey-speak a boardroom of publicists cracked out on matcha lattes crafted to disguise the scandalous development as meaningless.
In news that was just about as shocking as my decision to skip my workout this morning, reality TV’s foremost haircut in a suit was sidelined amid backlash for his defense of a racist contestant, dismissal of people of color’s criticisms, and grinning bolstering of TV’s systemic anti-Blackness. The real twist here, however, is that on his way out the door, he negotiated an exit package worth a rumored $25 million—at least—for his failures. In other words, he is being paid eight figures for being fired.
The reason is that he and his lawyer reportedly threatened to unleash a “Shiva of lawsuits,” airing all of the show’s dirty laundry. Laundry so skidmarked, it seems, that it’s worth that much damn money to save embarrassment.
To that, I say, when do we go excavating for bodies at the Bachelor mansions? Like, what in the name of God’s green-ish earth happened on that show??? I don’t know why I put so many question marks there, because that insinuates that I actually care. I really don’t. This series should be buried alongside whatever else is being kept hush-hush because it is toxic.
What I really want to know is how this keeps happening? How do we live in a world where these people who are fired for morally reprehensible behavior—Matt Lauer, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, Les Moonves—are handed paychecks this astronomical on the way out? People may message me annoying “well, actually…” explanations about contracts and such. On principle, I do not care.
I consider myself a bargain. I’m occasionally problematic, but I’ll allow myself to be fired for the low, low price of just $5 million or so. Mr. Daily Beast, let me know if I should leave a forwarding address or if we’ll do direct deposit.
NBC’s Extraordinary Fail
After 15 years of working as an entertainment reporter and covering the television industry, I have come to the conclusion that I have no idea how television works. What may actually be more accurate is that I know better than most how it works, which is that it doesn’t. At all.
News came this week that NBC’s standout musical dramedy Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist—a breath of fresh air, a beacon of inclusivity, a tender triumph—was canceled after two seasons, with talks of moving to the network’s affiliated streaming service, Peacock, also falling through. (It’s reportedly being shopped to other networks.)
Sure, big deal. TV shows that people like are canceled all the time. That’s true! And I’m tired of it.
My email inbox is a torrent of press releases touting the greenlights of new, dumb-sounding shows and screeners for new, dumb-sounding series hoping to make an impression with audiences or critics in a landscape with so many television options that sometimes when I’m thinking of what to watch or cover next I get so overwhelmed that I instead leave my apartment and go for a slow, moody walk along the water instead of sampling anything at all.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a show that’s garnered a lot of attention. Critics are huge fans. Its audience is extremely passionate. And instead of sticking with it, executives decided to risk the gauntlet again with more untested material. I hate it all, and I will channel that rage into an Alex Newell Emmy campaign.
Have You Appreciated Ana Ortiz Today?
What will all deserve this Pride Month, every Pride Month—everyday, really—is to cry while ace actress Ana Ortiz warmly plays the mother of a teenage gay son.
The new season of Love, Victor is incredibly charming, and one of the easiest, most pleasant binges I’ve done in a while. Out on Hulu this Friday, the series is a spin-off of the groundbreaking coming-out teen romcom Love, Simon, with the series focusing on a working-class Latino boy struggling through his feelings for a cute boy at his high school.
Season two has him adapting to life now that he’s out at school and to his parents, with Ortiz playing his religious mother confronting her own internal battles while working to accept the son she loves unconditionally. She is so, so good in a complicated arc, one that comes 15 years after she played the heartwarming, supportive mom to a gay teen on Ugly Betty. This marks a decade-and-a-half of me quietly weeping while watching her hug gay sons on TV.
Ortiz is also on the new season of Special (the taste!) and never misses. This is an Ana Ortiz appreciation post.
Truly, Thank You, Chris Meloni
Here is a photo from Interview magazine of Christopher Meloni in a crop top lifting a dumbbell while eating a slice of pizza, inventing an entirely new sexual orientation to which we as a society now all belong. We are all homelonisexuals now. Happy Pride.
What to watch this week:
In the Heights: Go see this on a big screen! Laugh! Cry! Dance in your seat! It’s so good. (Now in theaters and on HBO Max)
Love, Victor: There are identity politics to debate, but that is annoying and this show is just plain nice. (Fri. on Hulu)
Tuca & Bertie: This wonderfully oddball animated was canceled but then saved because sometimes we really do deserve good things. (Sun. on Adult Swim)
Dave: In my opinion, one of last year’s most underrated comedies. (Wed. on FXX)
What to skip this week:
Celebrity Dating Game: Celebrities don’t need help getting dates, we do. (Mon. on ABC)
Awake: Netflix will bait you into watching this. Resist! (Now on Netflix)