Sadie is Even More Adorable than All That

Of course as soon as I posted, I thought of a few more things and she did a few more things and now I’ve got to get them down.

1. We’re doing a thing where we sign and say “I love you” together. One of us usually initiates it but sometimes she does, and she makes the cutest little “love” gesture and has even started saying the word “love,” and then is extremely exuberant about the “you,” stabbing her finger at you like she’s fencing and drawing out the word “you” like a victory cry.

2. We went to the UPS store and she kept getting upset at the door. It took me a while but I finally realized that she was upset that people kept leaving without properly interacting with her or saying goodbye. She was very pleased when one man did.

3. A few months ago, we took the girls to a Chicago Wolves (minor league hockey) game. I don’t think anyone in the whole arena was having as good a time as Sadie. The crowd, the music, the excitement, the popcorn – it was all exactly her wheelhouse. Plus the family behind us was quite enchanted with her and interacted with her a lot, even letting her play with their foam hockey puck. She even seemed invested in the game.

4. She also went wild when we took her to mini-golf a couple of weeks ago. Balls, first of all, are wildly exciting to her. Watching all the action was greatly engaging. She loved swinging her club around. I did have to take her down to the practice green because Dad, Jason, Zoe, and Otis couldn’t really play with her running around the green and getting in the way of their balls and clubs. She loved the practice green. Then when we rejoined them, she was wildly enthusiastic about every aspect of the game and the grounds. I mean, “wildly enthusiastic” is sort of her default setting, but this was especially exciting for her.

5. She also loves performances of any kind, to the point where she needs to be taken out of them. At Zoe’s 4th grade Shabbat service, she kept running in front of the bimah and shouting “Ta-da!” at the congregation. At Zoe’s recent school play, Sadie expressed her amazement and excitement for all of the goings-on that I had to take her in the hall, because parents were glaring at me. She gets so dramatic, holding her hands to her face Kevin Arnold-style, with great big gasps, and then pointing and shouting, like, “Can you believe it, Mama?! There are people! On that stage! They sing and talk and dance! Oh my goodness I’ve never seen anything like it!!!”

6. We went to Target on Mother’s Day because what is a day without Target? (We also went to Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner and I had a beer shake, which you would think would be too weird but it was very tasty.) Sadie went wild for the big rubber balls. Our whole trip ended up revolving around which rubber ball she wanted (orange), and walking the ball through through the aisles shouting “Ball! Ball! Mama! Ball!” She got it home and displayed similar enthusiasm, although she mainly likes carrying it, as opposed to bouncing or throwing or catching it.

7. A few months ago, we took her to the Shedd Aquarium. For those of you who are not Chicagoans, I must tell you, I am not normally wild for aquariums. I mean, sure, they’re fine and pretty and whatever. But they’re usually fish swimming around in a tank. But this aquarium is mega-cool. And they have belugas, which is basically enough for me. And a lot of the displays have things that are at Sadie eye-level. Boy, did Sadie love that. Absolute and total astonishment at all of the fish. And then she liked splashing in the touch-the-plastic-starfish section, but she did not like her hand being all wet, so she kept sticking her hand in, and then wiping it on my scarf. It was, as you might imagine, adorable.

8. Have I mentioned how much she loves our friend Otis? She loves our friend Otis so much. Any time Otis is around, Sadie wants to play with him. She laughs and smiles and smacks his face and has the absolute best time with him.

Okay, I think that’s it. For now. She’s a pile of adorable and it’s hard to keep up.

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In Other News, Sadie is Adorable

I used to do a lot of this for Zoe (my now nine-year-old, for those of you who don’t know me, which I think is some of you now?), making blog posts of all the ridiculously cute things she did. I haven’t done it for Sadie yet (my one-and-a-half-year-old), because I usually post that stuff to Facebook, but I thought I’d do it here, too, for posterity’s sake.

So what is the adorable little smish up to?

1. A lot of this second-time-around parenting – especially given the age gap – is remembering where and what Zoe was doing around this age, and comparing. So Sadie has fewer words than Zoe did at this age, which I’m assuming is fine. She certainly has a lot of ways of expressing herself and getting her message across, and she seems to understand things we say to her just fine. So what words does she have? Well, her first was “hi,” followed by “hey” and “hello!” Which is really not surprising given her general personality. She is a very social baby. And she has since added “ba-bye!” She also says “no” (and nods her head for yes), various body parts like “head,” “hair,” “ear,” “eye,” “nose,” and “toes.” She can also identify her cheeks, her chin, and her shoulders. She kind of gets her belly, her butt, and her vulva mixed up. But she loves the Belly Button song! She has a lot of prepositions, like “on,” “down,” and “out.” She says “this” and “that”. She identifies dogs with “Woof!” She says “wait, wait,” with her little hand up. “Whee” is the swing. And she makes the little hand gesture and says “C’mere.” She’s got “Mama”, “Dada”, Zoe thinks she’s hearing an “Oh-ee,” and she has said “Ah Kay” for Aunt Kate. Generally speaking, “Mama” is not necessarily me, but “person whose attention I’m trying to get.” She’s also got “more” and something that sounds sort of like “water” which applies to any drink. And Zoe taught her to say “art” when they’re coloring on the easel. We’ve heard “door,” “house,” “doll,” “ball,” and maybe even “baby”. There’s “yay” and “ta-da”, although she hasn’t used those much in a while, preferring to express those sentiments with clapping and general one-syllable, emphatic exclamations. Oh, and of course there’s “mine.” “Mine” is a very important concept.

2. Sadie and Zoe have their little routines together. One is where Zoe goes, “Are you giving me attitude?” and Sadie shakes her hips and goes “Ti-tu!” and then Zoe goes “That’s hi-LAR-ious!” with her hands going above her head and then down, and Sadie goes, “Hi-LAAAR” with the same hand gesture as her sister. And this morning they were doing a thing where they were both going, “Di-doo” over and over again while stomping and shaking their hips. Then they had to do their usual Zoe-going-to-school routine, in which they have to give each other kisses with the door open, then through the screen door, then say “Ba-bye!”, then kiss each other a few more times, either through the glass or with the door open, and then even when I have to command Zoe to get a move on because the bus will be here, Sadie likes to stay by the door waving “ba-bye!” a few more times.

3. She and our cleaning ladies are having an enormous love affair. Sadie gets so excited when they come over, and they just about lose their minds over her. Then they give Sadie cleaning clothes and Swiffer dusters – she knows; if they don’t give them to her right away, or they forget to spray her cleaning cloths, she will remind them – and she cleans alongside them. This week, the lead lady, Erica, was also sort of kissing/tickling her shoulder, and she kept giggling and shrugging away but then, if Erica stopped, she’d point to her shoulder and make a sound to indicate that Erica should keep going.

4. She likes going into the dark upstairs bathroom and then popping out and saying “Hello!”

5. She likes popping out of anywhere and saying “Hello!”

6. She also loves clapping. Clapping goes with any good thing and she will look at you and nod as if to say, “You clap, too.”

7. Her favorite thing to do is those little Mommy & Me classes. We go to our library’s story time, and up until last week we were doing a jBaby Tots & Tunes Shabbat program. She loves the songs, she loves the activities, and she LOOOOOOOVES the dancing. Her moves – especially her extreme hip shakes – get admiration from the crowd. Who can all see her, because in any group, she moves directly to the center of the circle.

8. She’s into books of all kinds. She likes taking grown-up books – one for me, one for her, and “reading” them together.  Her favorite kid’s book to have read to her right now is In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, which is, as a piece of writing, truly and deeply weird. But it’s kind of fun to say, which was, I think, his point in writing it. And she also likes Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, which I quite enjoy reading out loud, so that’s fun. Her favorite board books have been the Joyce Wan ones, with their adorable illustrations, and I Love You, Stinky Face, which is kind of what Runaway Bunny would be without the creepy factor, and Sandra Boynton’s Blue Hat, Green Hat. 

9. She loves to “get cozy”. She loves to snuggle up on a pillow or some other surface and have someone put a blanket on her. Then she likes to snuggle into that blanket and make this super-smug, pleased face. It’s pretty cute.

10. Have I mentioned her curls and her big blue eyes and her sweet little cheeks and her adorable baby self? Because she’s so cute.

11. She imitates just about anything Zoe does. Today, Zoe was lying on the floor crying because she just had her first truly deep “I’m sad because I finished the book I was reading” moment (such a special moment!) so Sadie lay next to her and cried, too. Then I stood up so Sadie indicated that I should get on the floor with them (“Down! C’mere! Down!” While patting the floor beside her.) So we all cried on the floor until we were laughing.

12. She has friends all over the place. The people who work at The Fresh Market by our house. The waitstaff at our local Egg Harbor Cafe. She was beloved by our Chicago Sinai family and she’s already making herself a part of the Or Shalom family.

13. She likes fist bumps as a method of making friends. But if she gives one fist bump, she must give many fist bumps. Everyone in the immediate vicinity must give a fist bump.

14. She also loves to “cheers” with drinks. Which is adorable until she’s doing so vigorously with the nice wine glasses and the purple grape juice over your cousin’s white tablecloth at your family’s Passover seder. Then it’s nerve-wracking. But also cute.

15. Sometimes she holds my face and mashes her nose against my nose and gives me the sweetest kisses.

16. She likes for people to sit down next to her, say, on the staircase, and then lean back and relax. Or lie down with her on the floor, then go to sleep, then pop heads up together like we’re startled, then lay back down. She also likes to pretend to drink or eat (or actually drink or eat) and then say, “Ah!” with a big grin.

17. She likes making her stuffed animals and toys eat.

18. She’s actually a pretty good eater and even likes broccoli.

19. She had a thing for a while about hugging the newel posts in the stairwell on her way downstairs every morning. It seems gone now but it was cute while it lasted.

20. I particularly love it when she sits on my lap and places my arms around hers. That’s my favorite.

21. She got a Moana beach towel, which she picked out at Target (Well, she wanted any number of Moana things, but I figured we could use another towel.). When we brought it home, she insisted on us draping it around her like a cloak. She indicated that she wanted this by pointing to her shoulders and saying, “On!”

That’s all I’ve got for now – not because it’s all there is, because she is full-time cuteness – but because I am tired. See y’all later.

Misogyny & Aaron Sorkin, “The West Wing,” Episode 1.22, “What Kind of Day Has It Been”

I’m a little blocked so I’m writing this instead. Hope you all enjoy.

Remember that a) I f-ing love this show, and b) that won’t stop me from criticizing it. Here’s what we’re looking for:

  1. Physical comedy is used to undercut a female character’s competence.
  2. A female character’s sexual appeal or sexual/romantic relationship (or, sometimes, maternal qualities) with a male character is primary.
  3. A female character displays “feistiness”. “Feistiness” is a frequent shorthand in liberal misogyny for “See? She’s strong and independent and we find that adorable! What’s the problem?”
  4. Femininity or feminine concerns are disparaged, by male or female characters.
  5. Any character is rude to his/her female subordinate with no consequences.
  6. A male character is lauded and glorified in an unlikely way by a female character or characters.
  7. A female character screws up at her job.
  8. Anger (or other emotions/behaviors) coming from a female character is unreasonable or mysterious, either to the audience or to another character.
  9. A female character plays the Exposition Fairy. Note: Having Exposition Fairies is not in and of itself a problem. It’s necessary in most fiction. But in The West Wing, the Fairy is almost always a female character, and is almost always asking a male character for explanation, and would almost always certainly know the information she’s asking for, so that the fact that she’s asking indicates that she’s not that good at her job.
  10. An episode goes by that does not pass the Bechdel test.
  11. Lip service is paid to female power or agency or simply the existence of females in this world without, oh, say, actually casting one or giving one something cool to do.
  12. A male character or characters act(s) as white knight to a female character or characters.
  13. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! – A display of homophobia

And a ! for every piece of evidence that Toby and C.J. are FwB, and a TNFTS for every time the boys are Too Noble For This Shit.

Previously, on the West Wing, I forgot that India and Pakistan WERE NOT actually on the verge of a nuclear war when I woke up after watching that episode; CJ wasn’t properly prepped because Toby doesn’t trust her enough; death threats regarding First Daughter Zoe’s relationship with President’s Body Man (and black guy) Charlie are worrying the president and the Secret Service.

Shit, you guys, it’s this one.

We’re in Rosslyn, VA and Jed is giving a live Town Hall Meeting at the Newseum, which I would very much like to visit some day. He makes a joke about lying politicians, on the way to making a point about apathetic young voters. Hey, there’s something that’s less true now than it was then! Go, Progress!

While he talks, we see Gina, Zoe’s Secret Service person, worrying, and then we’re in the press room and Josh is shouting about something. Then we’re back on stage and Jed wants to know if he can take his jacket off without making anyone think it’s a statement. They can. In the control room, Bonnie asks Sam where Toby is, because he’s got a call, but Sam decides to take it. A beat later, Sam calls to Toby across a balustrade and makes a hand gesture at him. Toby then makes that same gesture to Josh, who is in the atrium below Toby, and Josh turns to make it to Leo, who is a few feet away from him. I have a hard time describing physical spaces so I know I’m not doing well here, but be assured, it’s a cute and well-shot sequence. Leo thought the gesture was the signal for “the other thing” but according to Josh, it is now the signal for “this thing.” Leo confirms that they are “totally out of the woods,” and Josh encourages him to go tell the president. So something good happened, this much we know.

In some other control center/press room thing, CJ distributes something to a bunch of reporters and then smacks Danny up the backside of the head and calls him out of the room. CJ is giving information to Danny before anyone else as a peace offering. “Call your science editor,” she says. “It’s about the space shuttle Columbia.” They should have done a better job of including her in the hand gestures so we knew that this was related to that. It’s a small thing, but I’m giving it an 11 anyway.

Back in the speech, Jed is quoting a poll from Third Millenium saying that a large proportion of people my age believe the soap opera General Hospital will outlast Medicare. Well, that’s possible.

Outside, the guy in charge of the Secret Service people tells Gina that the president isn’t going to work the rope line because there’s a softball game on TV that the president wants to watch. Gina is incredulous about all of the things contained in this statement – that the president will avoid the rope line, that there is softball on TV, that the president watches it – but also seems concerned about the crowd gathered outside the Newseum.

Back inside, Charlie is excited that the president used the information he contributed – presumably that bit about General Hospital. He tells Josh that Josh was right (a thing Josh never needs to be told) – “It doesn’t go away.” Aw, Charlie. You may or may not remember that in the episode in which Charlie was introduced, he gets a little awestruck about standing in the Oval Office, and Josh assures him that that feeling doesn’t go away. Okay, my cold, cynical heart is melting a little.

The speech is over and everyone is cheering. Charlie and Josh go to get the president, while outside, Gina tells someone else that Jed is not working the rope line, and that she’s got “Bookbag,” Zoe’s code name, which is adorable. But Gina is still suspicious of something, and the foreboding music backs her up. Even as Gina walks Zoe out, and Zoe chatters about the speech, Gina’s face and the music aren’t happy. Zoe observes that her father is, after all, working the rope line, because Jed has never met a group of people he doesn’t want to gladhand. Gina and the music don’t like it. Gina says to her headset that she saw something. Zoe remains unfazed, but Gina saw something. And then Zoe notices and Gina spins around just as the foreboding music smashes into the opening credits.

Damn. Look, I don’t love the misogyny, but Sorkin can write a teleplay like no one’s business.

After the break, we’re twelve hours earlier, a storytelling technique I’m quite fond of. We’re in the Sit Room with Admiral Fitzwallace and Leo. Fitzwallace hangs up the phone and tells Leo that a Nighthawk – an F1-17 – didn’t come back to an airbase in Kuwait from a patrol in Iraq. Leo will bring in the president in ten minutes.

In that outdoor hallway that someone told me the name of this week but I still can’t remember, Jed is happily anticipating that if the event tonight is over early enough, he can get back in time to watch the girls’ softball game and then surmising that Charlie is mocking his desire to watch the softball game. Which he is. There’s an extended pedeconference between Charlie and Jed about what men do and cricket and softball and beer. 4 for this whole thing.

Jed finally makes his way to the press room, which they’re using to rehears the town hall. CJ is trying to go over certain stage-manager-type details and Jed mocks her, saying “And when I speak, I should face the audience, right?”, which, 4 and 5, I think. I’m feeling this as a woman and as a former stage manager type. Everyone thinks it’s so stupid to go over basics, then gets flummoxed by the presence of a stool or whatever.

Jed asks Sam why the space shuttle Columbia didn’t land last night, and Sam has no idea. Jed tells Sam to ask Toby. Sam asks why Toby would know, and Jed reveals that Toby’s brother was on the space shuttle, working with red-bellied Japanese newts. “Know what they call them, CJ?” Jed asks. “Astro-newts,” she replies, without a hitch. It’s a very cute moment.

Jed takes the dais, still mocking CJ for her stage managing. Another 5.

In the Toby area, Toby is talking through a bit of prep work or something regarding China with the assistants. Sam comes in and Toby frets about needing an answer on Cuba. Sam says the kids won’t ask about Cuba but Toby says there will be faculty there. Sam reveals that he did not only not know that Toby’s brother was on the Columbia; he didn’t know Toby had a brother. Sam walks through a few questions about the space shuttle’s schedule, and Toby reacts with hostility. Sam promises to find out what’s going on. Toby says “Thank you” in a tone that implies no gratitude whatsoever, and also wants an answer on Cuba.

We cut to the Josh area, where Josh is unhappy to learn that the only meeting Donna could get for him with the VP is one involving jogging. See, Hoynes wants to go pedeconferencing but a little faster. Donna reminds him that he’s supposed to be in town hall prep ten minutes ago. Josh wants to know what happened to his chair. Donna seems reluctant to talk about it but reveals that it’s in the shop because one of the wheels was wobbly. Well, not a shop. Her friend Curtis. 4 for this nonsense.

In the press room, Mandy is heckling the president about health insurance for children, not because she’s being feisty, but because it’s her job. The president repeats a phrase from her question, which Josh tells him not to do. The president gives a better answer and then asks for permission to blame Congress, which Josh and the laughing assembly agree to. Leo comes in. He needs the president in the Sit Room. I guess the ten minutes are up.

The president must have been briefed by Leo on the way in, because the first thing he does in the Sit Room is ask Admiral Fitzwallace if the pilot is alive. Fitz and some other dude say a bunch of words I don’t understand but the president is there to sum up for me – the pilot is probably alive but in the middle of hostile desert, ten miles from anyone, and “anyone” is the enemy. Does Fitz have a rescue scenario? He sure does. A whole bunch more words and letters and numbers spill out that I don’t understand, but that’s okay. Rescue is on its way! Except some other dude – not in uniform; in a suit – thinks they should check with the embassy before sending in a rescue team. Leo thinks this is stupid and tells the suited dude so. The president wants to know the pilot’s name and personal details. He says there’s a bounty on American soldiers in Iraq and that if we have to call this kid’s parents, we’re invading Baghdad. “Get him back,” he orders.

CJ comes in to Leo’s office, where Leo spills out the pilot story the minute she glides in. Can’t ask her to take a seat first? She rolls with it, asking if the pilot is alive. Leo tells CJ and reminds us that he is; he’s just in a desert surrounded by the Iraqi Republican Guard. CJ briefs Leo on what there’s going to be on television about this if the Iraqi Republican Guard have footage of themselves shooting down an F-117 (?). Leo asks if CJ understands what he’s asking her and reminds her of a problem a few months ago with India and Pakistan and them not telling her shit, therefore making it harder to do her job. Only Leo says it like it was her fault. 5. CJ also points this out and Leo non-apologizes.

Josh comes in to ask Leo about the F-117. Josh points out that it’s a stealth fighter and they should probably talk at some point about how the Iraqi Republican Guard took down a stealth fighter. Excuse my stupidity, but stealth fighters can only make themselves invisible to radar and other detecting machines, right? Not to the human eye? Okay, cool. Anyway, Josh tells Leo he and Hoynes are jogging. Leo reminds Josh to tell Hoynes why “it” is” bad for Hoynes, not bad for them. We don’t know what “it” is yet. Josh is not worried, but Leo is, instructing Josh to come see him after the meeting.

In the hall, Toby finds Josh and also worries about why the stealth fighter wasn’t so stealthy. Guys. Could the Iraq Republican Guard not … look up?

Josh splits off and Toby finds Sam in his office. Sam informs Toby that one of the payload bay doors on Toby’s brother’s rocket ship wouldn’t close. Toby greets this news with hostility, and Sam illustrates what he’s learned from his research on Toby’s brother, such as, a) he’s a doctor, b) this is his fourth trip into space, and c) Toby has a brother. Sam reassures Toby that this is all going to be fine, per NASA dude Peter Jobson, and Toby continues to appear not to give a shit, telling Sam they’ve got to move prep to the Roosevelt Room. Sam responds by saying they’re still looking for an answer on Cuba, and on teachers. As Sam leaves the room, Toby asks him to keep in touch with Peter Jobson and keep Toby informed.

Jogging with Hoynes and his Secret Service detail. This appears to be about campaign finance, and they’ve been noticing that Hoynes is playing a lot of racquetball with members of the party opposed to same. Also Josh is noticing he’s not in good enough shape to jog with Hoynes. Then Josh goes on about the president’s numbers rising, and it’s all going fine until he says something about bringing the pilot home alive being worth another ten points. Oof. Josh. That’s not good. He does cap off his little out-of-breath speechifying by saying, “You’ve had some experience battling Jed Bartlet when he’s right, and you’ve had some experience battling Jed Bartlet when he’s popular. Why in the world would you want to trywhen he’s both?”

Hoynes says he wonders, if he listened to Josh two years ago, would he be president right now? Josh says he doesn’t wonder it, he knows that Hoynes would be. Then he staggers off, unable to run with Hoynes anymore.

CJ is at her press briefing with some military brass. She fills the press in on the F-117. Leo watches her handle the briefing with her usual fucking aplomb, Leo, because she’s good at her fucking job. 5. Because I’m pissed.

Misogyny Points Thus Far: 8

In the Roosevelt Room, Mandy is giving some instruction to the president, and the president is using this opportunity to make some more fun of CJ for her stage-management concerns. 5. Then the team devolves into the debate about his jacket that we heard referenced in the cold open.

Zoey comes in and the president is eager to speak to her, although not about the jacket. Zoey is concerned about her father’s medical condition, and he is dismissive, because stupid girls and their stupid girl things. 4. Jed wants Zoey to come tonight, and she doesn’t want to because it’ll be embarrassing, but he insists. Zoey tells him Charlie had something he wanted to say during prep, then confirms that she’ll be there that night.

The president dismisses everyone in the Roosevelt Room, then asks Charlie about Zoey’s thing. Charlie denies all. Sam stops the president to suggest that they have a signal, in case good news about the pilot comes through while the president is on live TV. Sam makes the sign we saw him make to Toby in the cold open. The president mocks him so subtly, Sam misses it. I’m going to go ahead and give this a -5, since a male underling is being mocked.

Josh goes to Leo’s office, where Leo has just gotten off the phone with Hoynes. Josh did well; Hoynes is going to do what they wanted him to do with the FEC guys. But did Josh really say that they’d get a ten-point bump for getting the pilot out alive? Yes, Josh did say that. Boy, would the president have been pissed if he found out about that. Because does Josh not understand that this is srsbsns and not just a political thing. And actually, Leo is pretty pissed, because Leo flew planes. I’m giving this a 7. If Donna or CJ ever screwed up this way, it’d be a catastrophe. In fact, part of this episode revolves around the time CJ “screwed up” because it was her fault somehow that the men she works for don’t trust her to do her job.

Josh apologizes, Leo accepts, and Josh leans in for a hug, which Leo was in no way inviting. It’s pretty funny. (Also, John Spencer must be pretty short, because Bradley Whitford is not a tall man, and he’s, like, towering over Spencer.)

Josh turns to go, but Leo asks him about the signal. Josh shows him, and Leo thinks it looks terrible, like a hip-hop gesture. Racist? Maybe. Anyway, they quibble about the gesture, and I guess there’s some generational thing going on, because Sam and Josh are into the gesture, and Toby, who I think is a little older than them, is pretending not to be, and Leo and Jed are dismissive. I don’t know what that’s about.

Josh apologizes again and Leo thanks him. BTW, if anyone is looking for my life-coaching advice, I’ve heard that “Thank you” is a better response to “I’m sorry” than “That’s okay.” “That’s okay” implies that, well, what the other person did was okay. That you are willing to accept that same behavior in the future. Whereas “Thank you” is a gracious acknowledgement of the apology without allowing the apologizer to believe nothing was wrong in the first place.

In a hallway, Charlie is mad that Zoe told her father that Charlie has something to say. Charlie doesn’t believe it’s his place to take part in policy discussions. Zoe thinks he’s being a chicken. There’s a cute little sitcom-y set-up where Charlie says he works in a building with the smartest people in the world just as Josh, whose office they’re using, comes in and falls to the floor because he tries to sit in a chair that isn’t there.

Sam knocks on Toby’s door. Toby immediately asks what he knows, and Sam says there was a screw-up with the door, and now there’s a problem with the engines. Toby appears to know more than he has let on so far about what the back-up plans are for when a shuttle malfunctions. Sam assures Toby that if it were a big deal, they’d have called the president. Toby reveals that he had been embarrassed when Sam first asked about this, because Toby had forgotten his brother was up there. He’d lost track of the schedule. Sam’s assistant Cathy comes in to tell Toby that Peter Jobson is on the phone for him.

After what would have presumably been a commercial break. Jed is asleep on a couch in the Oval when Charlie comes in to tell him that Admiral Fitzwallace is on his way. Jed takes the opportunity to press Charlie about what Zoe had been saying before. Charlie reluctantly brings up a report that had been sitting on Jed’s desk about youth participation in voting. Mrs. Landingham interrupts to announce Admiral Fitzwallace, so Jed tells Charlie to put the report in his suitcase.

Fitzwallace says they’ll be calling in a minute, and asks if Jed is feeling okay, as Zoe did before. The weird thing is, I don’t remember Jed’s health being relevant this episode. Anyway, Fitzwallace starts talking about the eagle seal on the carpet in the Oval Office. Sometimes the eagle is facing the olive branch, but when Congress declares war, it faces the arrows. How do they do that? Fitzwallace is dying to know. Me, not so much. Jed, neither. Fortunately the call comes through.

The pilot is safe! Hooray! Nothing more than a sprained ankle! Jed promises to get an answer on the carpet in gratitude. He then gets on the phone with the pilot, and asks for his parents’ phone number, because “I never get to make this call.” Aw, Jed.

CJ is reporting the good news to the press and promises to answer more questions when they get out of the town hall over at Arlington. She talks about buses and it strikes me that part of the press secretary’s job is camp counselor for the reporters. I would watch a show about White House reporters and their camp counselor/nemesis press secretary, wouldn’t you?

CJ quibbles with Carol about spelling which I guess counts as the Buechele test passed. -10. That’s good, because I couldn’t figure out if Gina and Zoe’s conversation in the cold open counted. Zoe was talking about her boyfriend (no) and her father (maybe?) and Gina wasn’t really talking to her at all.

Danny bellows at CJ and CJ orders him loudly into her office. Danny is pissed that CJ told him in an earlier press briefing that they were trying diplomatic solutions. CJ points out that she can’t really tell the press about super-secret rescue plans as they are underway. But Danny is pissed that she called on him for the question she knew she was going to lie about. Like, all of them were going to ask the same question, so why did she call on him? I gotta say, this is interesting inside baseball, and also sounds petty as shit to an outsider. Danny shouts that he’s covered the White House for “the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and the Dallas Morning News,” and CJ teases him that it was very hot the way he said that just then, but that she doesn’t know “why you decided to be your most haughty on the Dallas Morning News,” and it’s cute. Carol reminds them that the buses are leaving for Arlington now.

Leo is side-eyeing Jed’s desire to watch women’s softball 4 and even Mrs. Landingham is dismissive 4 although I suspect for her it’s more the “sports” than the “girl sports”. It’s time to go, though, Mrs. Landingham reminds the president. Before getting there, though, Jed has to stop by and talk to Toby, who is worried about his brother and therefore also not getting in the car yet. Jed just spoke to someone about Toby’s brother’s shuttle, and reassures Toby that there’s lots of things to try and it’ll all probably be fine. Toby is worried, though. Because Toby is Toby and I love him. Jed also implies that part of the problem is that Toby and his brother are not on good terms. Toby is appreciative of the president’s comfort and understanding, but he’s still worried. “The shuttle flies itself, Toby,” Jed says. “No, it doesn’t, Mr. President,” Toby replies. Jed agrees. “No, it doesn’t.” I love Toby. The shuttle does not fly itself and it’s not a comfort to pretend it does.

And now we’re at the Newseum and back where we started. We see some of the same stuff. The joke about lying politicians, the jacket, CJ smacking Danny, Toby’s phone call. The signal that means his brother’s home safe. But we see more of Toby’s relieved face.

Then Gina and the other Secret Service dude and the exchange about softball, same as before, only this time we go in close on a kid in the crowd straight out of White Nationalist Central Casting. We see him listen to Gina, then look up at a window in an office building nearby, which is lit up red, and someone’s inside.

Jed is closing his speech by thanking whoever called him a socialist and reminding everyone that his ancestor signed the Declaration of the Independence. I can now no longer hear the opening lines of the Declaration without rapping them in my head and promising to tell Thomas Jefferson to “include women in the sequel – WORK!”

The music is getting ominous. That teenager looks threatening. Someone is locking and loading up in that office building. “Straight to the car,” Gina tells her walkie.

Charlie is still pretending to be mad at Zoe but Zoe sees through him. Jed uses the hand gesture for Toby and Toby laughs and smiles, which is so delightful because it is so rare. More gun stuff, more scary teen. Jed walking out, as viewed from the teenager’s POV and then the guys in the office. Rope line. Gina. Ominousness. Gina spotting the teen. The teen walking away, Gina sees the shooter and shouts “Gun!” Just as the people in the window start shooting.

All is chaos. We see several of our key people being pushed to the ground but it’s hard to tell what’s going on. The screen goes black as we hear Secret Service agents shout, “We’ve got people down. Who’s been hit? Who’se been hit?”

Oh, my God, you guys, who’s been hit? How do we talk about silly things like sexism now?

Well, needs must.

Total Misogyny Points: 11  A respectable episode. And a really, really good one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

hello hello hello

 

I am Done with Ross Douthat

 

(Lots of salty language ahead. Dad, you’ve been warned.)

Let’s be honest; I’ve always hated the dude. See, for example, all the other times I’ve ragged on him.

But now I’m fucking done. Because you don’t get to write an apologia for the theories of misogynist terrorists and have me come away going, “Look, we can agree to disagree. I can respect other people even when I disagree with them intellectually.”

I’m not linking to this particular column because fuck him. Go to NYT.com, go to the search bar, and look up “stupid asshats who should shut their faces”. I’m sure he’ll be in the first few hits.

But I’ll explain what’s going on for those of you who don’t know. A couple of weeks ago, this dude Alek Minassian drove his van into several people on the streets of Toronto, killing ten people and injuring sixteen. Right before he did that, he posted to his Facebook page that the “Incel Rebellion” had begun, which would overthrow the “Chads and Stacys,” and also we should all hail “Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodgers.” Elliot Rodgers, for those of you who don’t remember, was a dude in Santa Barbara who killed six people and injured ten, after posting a manifesto about how no one would fuck him, not even when he put on his most expensive and fancy shirts. For real. I read the manifesto, all 160,000 words of it (Well, I skipped the many, many paragraphs detailing his progress in various video games.) and he seemed genuinely confused that he could show up at class in a brand-new Ralph Lauren button-down and no girls jumped on his dick, no matter how hard he glared at him. And it would all be hilarious if he hadn’t then killed six people and injured ten before killing himself.

So Elliot Rodgers and Alek Minassian and apparently, like, 40,000 other people consider themselves to be “incels” which stands for “involuntary celibates.” “Involuntary celibate” was a term originally coined by a Canadian lesbian who meant it to be a bonding term for people who were sad and lonely and bereft of romantic partners, but these asshole men on the Internet stole it, shortened it, and let it rot and fester in their fetid little corners of the Internet until it turned into a rabid monster intent on the destruction of women who dare to have sex with people other than these so-called “incels”.

Stacys are hot women who don’t have sex with incels. Chads are the men who, because they are hotter, richer, and/or more charming than the incels, get to have sex with the Stacys instead. There are also Beckys, who are not as hot as Stacys, but either the incels don’t want to have sex with them because they’re not as hot as Stacys, or the Beckys have managed to trick the Chads into having sex with them via the evil plots of makeup and the “healthy at any size” movement.

I am not making any of this up. I am merely summarizing posts I’ve seen online from incel.me, their current internet hub.

Anyway, this isn’t a rant about incels, although, boy howdy, do they deserve a rant. This is a rant about Ross Douthat, who entitled his latest column “The Redistribution of Sex,” which is part of the incel community’s ethos. And he asks the question “If we are concerned about the just distribution of property and money, why do we assume that the desire for some sort of equal redistribution is inherently ridiculous?”

For real. A man paid by The New York Times, the “paper of record,” the “grey lady,” and a paper frequently accused of a liberal bias, asked that. Well, he’s presenting us a question that was asked by economist and stupid asshat who should shut his face Robin Hanson, but he’s presenting it approvingly.

He goes on to quote Hanson as saying that these incels might, just as poor people do, organize around this identity, “lobby for redistribution along this axis and to at least implicitly threaten violence if their demands are not met.”

There’s just so much wrongness it’s hard to break it all down, so let’s start with, when did avowedly conservative men like Ross Douthat start advocating for poor people who demand a redistribution of money?

Then let’s glide right past the notion that discussing “redistribution of sex” in relation to these incels would mean forcing women, who are people, to have sex with men they don’t want to have sex with, and that’s wrong. We’re going to glide past it because it should be obvious, and because I’m not going to say that part any better than Bitch media’s Dahlia Grossman-Heinze already did. But also because fucking duh, dude.

So let’s land on the fact that the incels are not “implicitly threatening” shit. They’re killing people. So far, the numbers are small, especially if you only count those who are explicitly calling themselves incels as part of the rebellion. And Ross Douthat and his buddy Robin Hanson know that; they’re talking about Alek Minassian, the guy who just killed ten people.

But even worse than being a misogynist terrorist apologist is being a STUPID misogynist apologist. In his justification for the incel philosophy, Douthat says, “The sexual revolution created new winners and losers, new hierarchies to replace the old ones, privileging the beautiful and rich and socially adept in new ways and relegating others to new forms of loneliness and frustration.”

The sexual revolution did this. The first time that the beautiful, rich, and/or charming had any advantage sexually and romantically was 1960. According to Ross Douthat, columnist for The New York Times.

And what were the old hierarchies? Who are the “others” who have been relegated to loneliness? Douthat doesn’t say, but the incels sure do. Very explicitly and clearly, they say that pre-feminism, women had to get married, so even ugly losers like them were likely to get wives, but now, women have sexual and romantic relationships with whomever they want, and they mostly want men who are … wait for it … beautiful and/or charming and/or rich.

So, Douthat, do you not understand this? Do you not understand that the complaint you’re supporting is that women have more freedom now to sex with people they like? Or do you agree with the notion that women having sex with people they like is bad, and you’re just not being as clear about it in your column?

Which kind of asshole are you, Ross Douthat?

Even stupider is Douthat’s proposed solution to this problem. He feels that, as commerce and technology progress, we’ll have a solution to these incels’ problems – prostitutes and sex robots.

I’m not even going to address the sex robot thing. It’s too stupid. I’m going to focus on this: we already have prostitutes. We’ve had them for millennia. We even have them at a wide variety of price points, such that there are prostitutes who are potentially accessible even to these fetid, useless piles of puke who call themselves “incels”.

So I’m done. I promise to never rant about this asshole again.

(Hahahaha.)

Misogyny & Aaron Sorkin, “The West Wing,” Episode 1.21, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics”

NB: The title doesn’t have the third comma in it, according to Netflix. But I am a proud supporter of the Oxford comma, so I put it in. Go ahead; @ me.

What are we looking for?

Remember:

  1. Physical comedy is used to undercut a female character’s competence.
  2. A female character’s sexual appeal or sexual/romantic relationship (or, sometimes, maternal qualities) with a male character is primary.
  3. A female character displays “feistiness”. “Feistiness” is a frequent shorthand in liberal misogyny for “See? She’s strong and independent and we find that adorable! What’s the problem?”
  4. Femininity or feminine concerns are disparaged, by male or female characters.
  5. Any character is rude to his/her female subordinate with no consequences.
  6. A male character is lauded and glorified in an unlikely way by a female character or characters.
  7. A female character screws up at her job.
  8. Anger (or other emotions/behaviors) coming from a female character is unreasonable or mysterious, either to the audience or to another character.
  9. A female character plays the Exposition Fairy. Note: Having Exposition Fairies is not in and of itself a problem. It’s necessary in most fiction. But in The West Wing, the Fairy is almost always a female character, and is almost always asking a male character for explanation, and would almost always certainly know the information she’s asking for, so that the fact that she’s asking indicates that she’s not that good at her job.
  10. An episode goes by that does not pass the Bechdel test.
  11. Lip service is paid to female power or agency or simply the existence of females in this world without, oh, say, actually casting one or giving one something cool to do.
  12. A male character or characters act(s) as white knight to a female character or characters.
  13. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! – A display of homophobia

And a ! for every piece of evidence that Toby and C.J. are FwB, and a TNFTS for every time the boys are Too Noble For This Shit.

Last time on “The West Wing,” CJ was pissed at Mandy because people were pissed at CJ because of a paper that was going around that Mandy wrote; Leo was mad at CJ; CJ was mad at Danny because she was having a rough day, what with everyone ganging up on her over a mistake Mandy made; Jed wanted Josh to find candidates for the FEC who back aggressive campaign reform; Jed spoke passionately from a podium about restoring democracy; CJ didn’t want Sam to see his call girl because he’s going to get caught. Think he’ll get caught this episode?

In the Josh area, Josh and Donna banter about what time it is. Really? Yes, really. Donna says it’s 7:05; Josh thinks it’s 6:50. It actually matters a little, though.

Toby is arguing with CJ about the wording of a survey question. Josh, who has stopped by, thinks Toby is right. Donna thinks it’s 7:05, which means the call-making for this survey should have started five minutes ago. Also, the redheaded assistant who is a Sheen and the black assistant whose name, I’m, like, 90% sure is Bonnie, both get lines, so that’s nice. CJ thinks the wording of the question is unimportant, as the question has proven effective. (The question is, “Do you think the country is headed in the right direction or have we gotten off on the wrong track?” Toby thinks the question is rhetorically asymmetrical; you should stick with either right track/wrong track or right direction/wrong direction. I think he’s favoring rhetorical style over connotative nuance, which makes sense, as he is a speechwriter, but I also think it’s 7:05 so the time for bringing up this problem is long over.)

Josh also has a problem with the phrase “average people,” which Josh thinks is a pejorative phrase, because of course he does. CJ insists that most Americans do not consider “average” to be pejorative. They pedeconference over to the meeting room where Leo brings up the “people like me” phrase in the statement, “President Bartlett cares about people like me,” wondering if it might be confusing to the listener. (People like the surveyor or the surveyed?) Toby challenges CJ, saying “Since when are you an expert on language?”

“In polling models?” CJ asks. “Since 1993. Since when are you an uptight pain in the ass?”

“Since long before that,” Toby responds. So I’m giving this a 5 because why does Toby have to question CJ’s competence, especially in front of all their colleagues, but also the back-and-forth is great and CJ does not need me to defend her honor.

Leo is back on the “people like me” line. Ed and Larry go back and forth on this but CJ insists everything is fine. Josh informs CJ that it’s an important poll, like, tell her something she doesn’t know, Josh 5 but CJ insists that it’s five past time-to-start-o’clock.

Leo asks for predictions. Ed and Larry think they’ll hold steady; Josh would be happy about that; Toby thinks they’ll drop a few points but be inside the margin of error. CJ thinks they’ll gain five points. Leo says even the president thinks they’ll just hold steady but CJ says the president is wrong. I love her.

Sam and Mandy get the call to start the calls going. Credits!

Misogyny Points Thus Far: 2

It’s Three Hours Into Polling according to the chyron. Bonnie and the redhead ask Sam how it’s going and he jokes that he popped Mandy with a tranq gun because these crazy women, they’re so crazy 8. I mean, when Leo, Toby, and Josh are freaking out about this Very Important Poll, it’s because they understand the gravitas of working in the White House, but Mandy is a zoo animal that needs to be subdued. Then Bonnie and The Redhead (whose name might actually be Ginger) get to play Exposition Fairies 9, asking Sam why they need 48 hours, and Bonnie expresses surprise that they need to make about four calls to get one response, which, I feel like, assistants would understand even better than Sams. Again, I don’t have a problem with exposition fairies. But when it’s always women, and always women who would definitely know the answers, it’s a problem. Like, why isn’t Charlie asking this question? He’s new; he would have no prior experience in polling. Or, why isn’t Veteran Bonnie explaining to Newcomer Redhead? Or maybe Sam could explain condescendingly while the ladies roll their eyes and say, “We know,” as happens when a male character explains something to another male character on this show. I’m saying, these are choices available to the writer, and the writer makes the same choice over and over again.

Oh, and, if you’re curious, 1 response per 4 phone calls was a pretty reliable number back in 2000. Now it’s apparently more like 1 per 10. I learned this by listening to The West Wing Weekly, which you should check out.

Toby pulls Sam into his office and closes the door. He mentions that the GW law school graduation is tomorrow and asks Sam if he plans to attend to see his friend the call girl graduate. Then he says that Sam can’t because people are going to be staking it out. Sam keeps insisting that Toby use her name, “Laurie,” instead of “your friend” or “this girl”. Sam says he’s not disagreeing with Toby but proceeds to disagree with Toby. Then he says he’s not going and walks out. You guys, graduation tickets are usually limited. Doesn’t Laurie have parents? Siblings? Or anyone closer to her than the dude she knocked boots with one night who wants to rescue her?

Margaret comes into Leo’s office to tell him someone is here and Leo plays a little game of making Margaret wait in his office for a few minutes before telling the guy to come in. Margaret clearly feels uncomfortable with this and I’m giving it a 5 because this should be a Leo-and-Margaret tag-team moment, not a Leo-makes-Margaret-feel-awkward moment. Finally Leo gives her permission to go out and send whoever in.

Leo greets Barry Haskell, played by Hey, It’s That Guy! Austin Pendleton, warmly. Barry Haskell is on the FEC already and Leo is making a big deal of welcoming him into the august environment of the west wing. The West Wing? Is it capitalized when you’re referring to the place and not the TV show? We may never know. Well, me. I might never know. Because I’m not going to look it up.

Leo wants to talk to Barry about campaign finance reform and Barry is nervous. He asks for fruit juice and mentions the dress marine he walked past to get into Leo’s office. Leo informs Barry that the marine’s name is Rodney and calls Rodney in to do something impressive and ceremonial with his gun. It makes Barry even more nervous. But Leo knows that Barry secretly favors a ban on soft money contributions, because Barry said so to the Newark Star Ledger, which is the paper I grew up with, so yay! and another paper I don’t care about. Barry says he gave those quotes anonymously, and Leo points out that he was also in a twelve-step program anonymously and look how that worked out for him. Barry says he never said it out loud because then he wouldn’t be on the FEC, but Leo says he can say it now because that’s what got him invited to the West Wing. Barry is aware that he’s being manipulated by all the pomp and circumstance, but also, it’s working. It works even better when Leo “accidentally” lets him into a convivial Oval Office, where the president and some of his cabinet and administration officials are having a nightcap.

None of the participants in this conviviality are women, I’m noticing. 11? Sure. I’m moody lately.

Jed leaves Barry with his male cabinet members to talk to Leo. He asks what predictions were made about the poll. Actually, he asks what predictions “the guys” made. 11. Look, I refer to mixed-sex groups as “guys” all the time, but I don’t care. I’m in a mood. Leo reports that they think he’ll hold. Jed ribs Leo about the dress marine, who isn’t usually guarding Leo’s door. Leo promises to be back in ten minutes.

In a library, Laurie is studying for her bar exam while her best friend, whom we’ve never seen, bothers her and half-laments about being a waitress. Then her cell phone rings and it’s Sam breaking the bad news. Laurie a) answers the phone much more like they’re lovers than like they’re friends, and b) takes it pretty well, although she’s pretty sad. So, if they have been lovers, that’d make sense, but if they’re just friends, this is a pretty big reaction. Does she or does she not have parents?

Tuesday morning, Bonnie and Red get to hear Sam wax poetic about the joys of jogging, sculling, or watching others jogging and sculling on the Potomac in the morning. Toby comes in and demands things from the ladies, including “the next two minutes the president’s got.” Sam says, “You found one?” One what? I don’t know but it’s “Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia,” which is a real country and not a place in a Marx Brothers movie. The president, it turns out, has two minutes now, while he pedeyells at CJ.

They land in the Oval, where the president is yelling about drug treatment, and CJ is saying, “It’s the same memo that’s been generated for thirty years.” Sam and Toby arrive and tell CJ how to do the job she already knows how to do. It’s, like, a joke, because they all tell her to say that it’s the same memo that’s been generated for thirty years as if she herself didn’t already say that, but also it’s not a joke. “Kidding on the square,” as Al Franken taught me to say, and I know I’m not supposed to like him anymore but I think I still do. Anyway, just because you acknowledge the situation doesn’t mean you didn’t create the situation, Aaron. Another 11 for you, sir.

Jed says to the group that Leo told him that they all said he’d hold steady in the poll and asks if they were just being optimistic. Toby and Sam affirm, but CJ says she didn’t say that; she said they’d gain five points. Jed does not believe her, nor do Sam and Toby. And then Jed tells her, as if it was his idea, to tell the press that it’s the same memo that’s been generated for thirty years, even though, before Toby and Sam said it, when it was just CJ saying it, Jed dismissed this line as sounding “soft”. 4. And 5.

MPTF: 10

So it turns out that The Federated States of Micronesia is where they want to put someone as ambassador. Jed doesn’t like it; he can’t fire the ambassador who’s already there. No, that’s okay, though, because they won’t. They’ll just promote him to being ambassador to Paraguay. Is that a step up? I’ve never been to Micronesia or Paraguay so I don’t know. Anyway, So what happens to the ambassador to Paraguay? He goes to Belgium. Jed likes this; if everyone just moves up a step, he can go home. What about the ambassador to Belgium, who, Jed mentions, is named Ken Cochran? Oh, it turns out they’re going to fire him because he’s banging the Belgian prime minister’s daughter. Which upsets Jed because Jed knows Mrs. Cochran. So they have to come up with some way to fire him without saying why. I’m giving this a 12.

Jed dismisses Toby and Sam and calls in Charlie. He tells Charlie he needs to meet with Ambassador Cochran, making clear his disdain for the man, and then detects in Charlie’s tone that Charlie knows Ken Cochran. But Charlie won’t say anything because Charlie is a man. (Sometimes.)

Off in the polling area, Josh is arguing with Joey Lucas (and, sort of, Kenny, her interpreter). Joey is insisting that it doesn’t matter how English-as-the-official-language polls, since Republicans are not going to put it on the table. Josh does not care if she thinks they’re not going to put it on the table; he wants to know how it will poll. This fight is broken up when Donna comes in to let Josh know that CJ’s talking about the drug memo, and Josh is surprised to learn that it’s at least a half an hour later than he thought it was, because, as Donna had earlier pointed out, his watch sucks. Apparently even more than we had suspected. So Josh is leaving but not before yelling to Joey, “When I get back, we’re going to argue about the things I want to argue about, and your’e going to do your best not to annoy me too much.” Joey says it’s hard to believe Josh is not married, and Josh claims that many have tried, which I don’t even think we’re supposed to believe. I know I should probably give this a 2, but I won’t, because, as Sorkin-y as it is, I find their banter charming.

In the hall, Josh asks if Toby found a country, and if the Federated States of Micronesia is a real country. Also I just realized that I still don’t know what they need the Federated States of Micronesia for. IIRC, it’s to get someone off the FEC, but I guess we’ll find out. Donna claims that Josh is supposed to have taken her to Hawaii, as it’s something bosses do. Just in case we’re confused about where Josh and Donna lie on the appropriate boss-assistant relationship scale. 2.

CJ is in the press room talking about how mandatory minimums and the whole crack/cocaine differential are racist. Danny asks if the White House isn’t making a crusade out of the rights of drug users. CJ says, “Oh, please,” and tries to move on to Katie, but Danny interrupts. CJ answers his interruption with a good speech about treatment vs. killing/incarcerating black drug users. (In case you can’t tell, I am 100% on the side of the fictional White House on this issue.) Then another reporter – who is not Katie and is a dude – asks a question about the memo, and CJ delivers the response she told the president she was going to deliver, and then was told by Sam, and Toby, and the president, to deliver, as if she hadn’t though of it herself. Then she closes the briefing without going back to Katie. I’m giving that an 11.

Out in the hall, Danny gets mad at CJ for being dismissive of his utterly stupid question, and then insists that it wasn’t a stupid question because CJ can’t count on “everyone being able to understand what the hell comes out of your mouth when even I can’t do it half the time.” Oh, my God, Danny. Oh, my God, Aaron. That’s how you have a reporter talk to the g-d press secretary? The person whose actual job it is to get people to understand “what the hell comes out of [her] mouth”? 4? I don’t know what to give this but 4 seems closer and I’m giving it two 4s because holy shit. One for the line and one for the attitude that this is all supposed to be part of their adorable banter. Oh, and an 8, because Danny clearly believes, and the show wants us to side with him, that CJ did not shut him down because his question was stupid (it was)(like, drug users are American citizens who have rights; why wouldn’t the White House be in favor of standing up for those rights, Danny?) but because she’s still pissed at the memo. 8. (For those of you who forgot, last week it was revealed that before Mandy came to the White House, she wrote a memo about all the ways that the Bartlet administration is f-ing up, as part of her job trying to get her boyfriend elected president. And Danny was the one who had it and was going to publish it.) And you know what? It’s fine for her to be pissed about the memo! To some extent, the press secretary and the press are enemy combatants. They shouldn’t always be, but a lot of the time, it’s the press secretary’s job to present the activities of the White House in the best possible light, and it’s the press’s job to see around that light and expose the nooks and crannies. He did his job by publishing the memo; she’s doing hers by not making his life that easy. So 8 for that too.

MPTF: 18

CJ invites Danny into her office and exposes that she thinks the memo thing makes the people in the White House take her less seriously. Why is she telling Danny this? 7. Then Carol comes in and tells her she’s late for something. CJ tells Carol to check the polling, so that’s a -10.

Margaret comes in to Leo’s office and tells him CJ is here. Then she tells him a joke (Wanna know why they only eat one egg for breakfast in France? Because one egg is in ouef.) and Leo is predictably rude about it 5. CJ comes in, dithers a bit, and then asks Leo why he didn’t include CJ’s prediction when he talked to the president. CJ (correctly) calls out the sexism of this (“It wasn’t women’s intuition”) which Leo denies is a factor and tells her not to worry her pretty head about it. 4. CJ pretends to be fine, as women are required to do all the time forever.

I think the #metoo movement is making me saltier.

Josh is trying to tell Joey what Theodore Roosevelt said about English as the official language and Joey doesn’t give a fuck. Mandy, in the foreground, also couldn’t give a fuck, and wants to know why they can’t shut up. Josh calls her tightly wound – as if this poll is unimportant and not a huge part of her job 8 – and then CJ walks in and asks what they’re doing here and Josh implies that she’s high-strung as well 8. This is a man who was just screaming about Teddy Roosevelt, btw. CJ accuses Josh of only being there to flirt with the female callers so I’m going to be generous and give that a -2. Josh leaves, volunteering to get coffee, but not without another dig at everyone’s high-strung-ness 8, and also tells Joey she should be impressed with him for being able to quote Teddy Roosevelt 6. (Not that he got the adulation. But he expected it.)

Laurie and her BFF are walking down the street giggling. Sam is waiting on the doorstep, and it turns out the BFF arranged for them to meet here. Laurie drunks her way through questions about the gift he bought her, which it turns out is both a space pen and a briefcase, the latter being the standard law-school-graduation gift. And an important one. Laurie is drunk-happy. And then someone from across the street takes a few pictures and peels out, and both Sam and Laurie recognize that this is A Problem.

It’s Wednesday morning, 36 hours into polling. Sam is looking pensive. Toby comes by and they start pedeconferencing. Sam has his letter of resignation ready to go, but Toby doesn’t want him to use it because it would deprive Toby of the pleasure of throwing Sam out a plate glass window. Leo breaks through and says he’s talking to CJ and then he’s talking to Sam. I don’t think it will be a good conversation. Toby continues to list the ways in which he will control Sam – putting him on a leash, chaining him to his desk. Sounds like a fun weekend, Toby. We understand that all of this means that Sam is 100% not getting fired.

CJ is on the phone saying important things about the stock market when Leo slams in and yells at her for not telling him about Sam and the photos sooner. 5. CJ calmly points out that she’s not going to call the Chief of Staff at two am because a car started; she had to do her actual job and find out what was going on first. Which she has, and the London Daily something-or-other is publishing the photo; American press will have it in the morning. Because it’s still the year 2000 and even though the internet exists, pictures of senior advisors and their escort friends take slightly longer than the speed of light to make it around the world. Leo laments that Sam was just giving his friend a graduation gift.

So, CJ somehow doesn’t magically erase a memo she didn’t know Mandy had written and she’s being treated like she’s out of the club. But Sam knowingly hangs out with an escort and gets photographed doing so and he’s just a Nice Guy doing a Nice Thing. Don’t be mean. 7.

Toby is in the White House defending Sam to the president. So another 7 and also a 12 for the part where Jed Bartlet is going to come to the defense and aid of Laurie should there be any negative effects from this story.

Sam leaves and Charlie comes in to announce that someone named Labell and his apparently enormous staff (of people, you perverts) have arrived. Jed tells Charlie to put them in the Mural Room. But Charlie can’t because Ken Cochran is in the Mural Room, and Jed detects yet again, from the way Charlie says his name, that Charlie knows him. Charlie continues to deny this and leaves.

Jed signs something that some nameless woman puts in front of him – what did she, win a contest and get a walk-on? 11 – and then a black man named Ted? Tad? Who may or may not be Labell? Gets a big hug from the president when he comes in. He needs the black man to hire Ken Cochran, whom the president is going to speak to while Ted/Tad hangs out in the Oval Office. “Isn’t Ken Cochran the current ambassador to Belgium?” Tad asks. “Not for long,” the president answers. “Look, he’s a good man, a smart man. I think he’d make a very good corporate officer.” Tad quite reasonable asks why he’s being fired. “Gross incompetence,” the president answers. It’s just a solid, classic bit of Sorkin dialogue I wanted to share with you because I’m not 100% mean.

The president runs into Nancy on his way to the Mural Room to see Ken Cochran. Turns out Tad/Ted was not Senator Labell, who is also not Labell, but Lobell. Sorry. So Tad (who is really Ted Mitchell) is in the Oval, Senator Lobell is in the Roosevelt, and Ken Cochran is in the Mural Room. And now, so is the president. He seems jolly and cheerful but when Ken Cochran asks what he can do for the president, the president says, “Resign.” He lays out the affair, the desire for discretion, and the job offer from Ted Mitchell, then whirls out again. Ken says this is outrage to Charlie, who I didn’t even realize was in the room. After blustering for a minute, Ken realizes Charlie looks familiar. Turns out Charlie was a waiter at the Gramercy Club, where Ken Cochran was a member. Although, he assures Charlie quickly, he has resigned because “exclusive clubs are repugnant.” Charlie, very pleasantly, says he noticed it didn’t stop Ken from joining in the first place, and Ken goes from affable to very “Don’t get uppity with me, boy!” very quickly. (Also, I am way more woke than I was the first time I saw this because the first time I saw this, the whole conversation flew completely over my head. I didn’t understand that by “exclusive” he meant “whites only”.) Charlie appears not to care because he gets to watch Ken Cochran’s downfall (into a cushy corporate position, but whatevs). Ken asks to speak to Charlie’s supervisor, and Charlie gets to say that his “supervisor” is “busy looking for a back door of this place to shove you out of,” and Dule Hill really sells this line, by delivering it in the same polite tone and the same polite expression he’s been using the whole time. Then the president comes in and Ken starts saying that Charlie must have said something to the president about their “past,” and the president becomes elated at the discovery that he was right about Charlie knowing Ken. Then he reminds Ken that he, Jed, likes Ken’s wife and would hate to see her made a fool of. Ken tells Jed that he, Ken, never voted for Jed, and Jed says, “Well, thanks for trying, but here I am anyway.” Then he leaves again.

Now Jed and Toby head into the Roosevelt Room with Senator Max Lobell and his fourteen staffers, whom Jed does not want to meet. He tells the senator that while they agree on almost nothing, because Jed is a self-described “lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal, egghead communist,” and Max is a self-described “gun-toting redneck son-of-a-bitch,” they do agree on getting soft money out of politics, which can be done through four votes on the FEC. Jed is putting two anti-soft-money people on the committee, then they brought Barry Haskell out of the closet, and now Toby is opening up a fourth seat, presumably by offering one of the remaining pro-soft-money people the ambassadorship to the Federated States of Micronesia. If Senator Lobell will support the president’s candidates, he will get in exchange “the thanks of a grateful president,” which is all Senator Lobell wanted.

We see Toby indeed offer that abassadorship. Now it’s Wednesday night and the polling is completed. Josh entered CJ’s office and CJ tells him she’s sent the sealed results by courier over to “him,” who I thought was the president but is actually probably Leo. Josh says he heard she and Joey had a talk, which, why could we have not seen it? Should I take back the Bechdel test passing? Anyway, Josh says that Joey told him that CJ is afraid she can only say she’s sorry to the president so many times. Josh thinks she’s wrong, that the poll thing was left in her hands (except in the beginning of this episode, when Leo and Toby and Josh were mitchering her to death on all the ways she screwed up this poll thing 11) and that she shouldn’t expect to go up five points. Then Josh tells CJ that Jed thinks of her like a daughter, which is exactly how you want your boss to think of you. 12?

In the Oval, Leo, Toby, Josh, Sam, Charlie, Mandy, Joey, Kenny, and Jed are all waiting for CJ to bring the numbers. Jed asks Toby if the FEC chairman that they just punted to Micronesia is okay. Toby says he is, although they are both talking as if a) he’s not and b) they don’t care. Josh brings up that he and Joey are working on an argument against de Tocqueville, and Joey makes an extreme “Leave me out of this” face. Josh does not leave anyone out of this and asks for her counter-argument to the idea that English as the official language will shore up a sense of American identity in the face of ethnic warfare. I don’t know what he’s talking about. Joey responds with a very eloquent raspberry. Jed enjoys this. Then Joey tells the president the same thing she’s been telling Josh, that, given they want Hispanic people to vote for them (snort), Republicans will never put English as the official language on the table. But also, that the language of Shakespeare needs no protection. Josh says that’s the line he’s been looking for, and it took her four days to come up with it. 5. She blows him another raspberry, which is the correct response. Silence settles over the room again, and then Jed asks what kind of briefcase Sam got Laurie. Sam is rather stunned to be discussing this, but answers that it was a Coach Beekman in British tan with brass hardware. Sounds nice. To Jed, as well, who also mentions some other nice briefcases, over Toby’s bellyaching.

Then CJ enters. She’s got the top sheet results. She says she was wrong; they went up nine points. So take that, stupid boys who don’t trust her. Which is clearly the point of this moment, so -7. Leo gives the best John Spencer smile in the world and everyone is pretty happy. Then the president says, “Okay. What’s next?”

I feel inspired, y’all.

Total Misogyny Points: 29  That’s pretty high, y’all, but it’s possible I’m just crankier.

 

 

 

 

Oscars 2018

Kate: Previously on Fashion Police: Everyone wore black to the Golden Globes to show solidarity for the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, and just a few weeks later they wore white roses to the Grammys to signify similar solidarity. Tonight, those same celebrities…Do absolutely nothing differently with their outfits for any sort of political movement.

Erica: I think the best thing they did was take activists with them to the Globes, so that they/we had something substantive to talk about it. Everything else is just kind of silly.

 

Allison Janney

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Kate: This would be a pretty boring red dress without the extremely dramatic sleeves, but they are extremely dramatic, so I don’t know.

Erica: I’m into the dramatic sleeves and the neckline that makes her look fabulous.

Kate: I do not like the matchy-matchy-ness of the clutch, nor do I like the length of the necklace. It should have gone better with the neckline of the dress.

Erica: That is accurate. But honestly I usually don’t love her red carpet looks. I like this quite a bit.

 

Allison Williams

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Kate: Hmmm…I like that this is softer and more romantic/girly than some of the weird-a$$ sh!t she usually wears, and she doesn’t look as frighteningly skinny as usual, but something is still not working for me with her.

Erica: Is it the skin thing? That the dress and her skin are the same ivory?

Kate: Perhaps. I think I would like it if the skirt were either more or less full; it’s like it doesn’t quite know what kind of skirt it wants to be and that is throwing the whole look off.

Erica: I rather like it for the romantic girly-ness of it, although I think it would make an even better wedding dress.

Kate: I was thinking the same thing!

 

Ashley Judd

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Kate: I am commenting on her appearance in this photo and ONLY her appearance in this photo: I hate it.

Erica: Oh?

Kate: I’m saying that because I know she has been one of the more vocal #MeToo #TimesUp people and I am just not getting involved.

Erica: Okay. That is not necessarily what these posts are for. But I still am not feeling your hatred.

Kate: No hatred, I just don’t want my commentary on her looks to be mistaken for commentary on her recent activities. Anyway, her hair is too drastically parted, the work she’s had done on her face freaks me out, the earrings and necklace look terrible together, the silhouette of the dress — particularly where the waistline falls — is dreadful. The color is nice, but I hate it all together as one not-cohesive Look.

Erica: Okay. I feel that her hair always looks like that and it’s fine with me. From what I’m seeing, I rather like the silhouette and color of the dress. I think she looks nice enough.

 

Elisabeth Moss

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Kate: Oh, this is different. For her. I think I like it!

Erica: I do, too! It’s very Oscars glam!

Kate: I still don’t like her hair that color, and the style is a little…limp…as is the makeup, but the dress? The dress is lovely. (I know I usually flip out about belts, but this belt is doing exactly what it needs to be doing for this dress/Overall Look.)

Erica: I feel like the belt could be better but the existence of the belt is not offensive. And it’s all so much better than what she usually wears.

 

Emily Blunt

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Kate: Porcelain doll and not in a good way. I think only Cate Blanchett could wear something like this and get a pass from me; sorry, Emily.

Erica: I hate it, and I like porcelain doll looks.

Kate: It is a good Overall Look, though, in terms of how the hair and makeup go with the porcelain doll dress, I just don’t like it. Great earrings, though!

Erica: It makes her look permanently slumped. And the material around her neck and the white…flowers? They look really cheap. I’m annoyed because the kind of Look this is trying to be is the kind of Look I like, and yet, I do not like this.

 

Emma Stone

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Kate: Ugh. Hate it.

Erica: I mean, this would be fine for some other event. Some, like, dinner for the #TimesUp Hospitality Workers Appreciation or something. But you’re at the g-d Oscars. Bring it!

Kate: When they first showed her and started panning down I was hoping it was a full-on red tux/suit thing, but that pink sash and those black pants and all the satin-ness I just can’t even. It looks like a Halloween costume! A bad, wrinkly one! AND I LOVE HALLOWEEN!

Erica: Like, a bad costume for a bullfighter? Yeah.

Kate: Yeah. Great hair, though. Eyeshadow too red.

Erica: Hair is lovely but it’s just her normal hair.

 

Gal Gadot

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Kate: I feel like the long-sparkly-necklace-with-a-deep-V thing is a very Charlize Theron thing to do.

Erica: Until tonight, at which point it has become a very Gal Gadot thing to do.

Kate: And, I mean, I can’t even comment on the rest, for I am a mere lowly peasant mortal and Gal Gadot is the Goddess of Beauty herself, and I cower before her unbelievable perfectness. She’s TOO GOOD to even be a Best Dressed nominee.

Erica: For real. The dress should feel honored to have been chosen to grace her body. (Which is to say I don’t love it but I don’t care because it’s on her.)

Kate: Same.

 

Gina Rodriguez

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Kate: Although I’m confused as to why she’s here being that she’s mostly TV and this is THE OSCARS after all, she definitely stepped it up for the occasion. This is a very beautiful dress by itself and on her.

Erica: I think I have that dress on Covet.

Kate: The hair is a bit severe and the makeup a bit plain, but I suppose she wanted to give all attention to the dress, and rightfully so. And, again, a belt is not pissing me off, so I think I’m overall growing as a person.

Erica: The belt is kind of necessary to tie together the skirt. And she can really work a low neckline.

Kate: The skirt is actually reminding me of Audrey in Sabrina, which as you know is a very high compliment coming from me. And yet, something is holding me back from making this a Best Dressed nominee…

Erica: I think it’s quite beautiful but not especially interesting.

 

Greta Gerwig

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Kate: Oh, this is a surprising color. I like it a lot on her. I even like the jeweled detail throughout, and her makeup is great.

Erica: Yeah, I usually hate yellow on white girls but this color looks good on her and I’m into the makeup and hair. Her brows are gorgeous.

Kate: This is yellow, not orange?

Erica: I would also accept orange.

Kate: The only thing I don’t like is that the dress has spaghetti straps, which feel a little casual to me, but I don’t know what other type of strap or sleeve would make sense here.

Erica: I feel the top looks structured enough that it works. But also should I cut my hair?

Kate: Should I?

Erica: You could definitely pull off something short.

 

Helen Mirren

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Kate: I mean, WHO ELSE could wear just a plain blue/grey long-sleeved gown and look THIS GOOD? Damn!

Erica: It should be boring and yet it looks great.

Kate: I even like the matchy-matchy jewelry!

Erica: Never, you say! No, really, it looks good. She looks good.

Kate: The dress she wore to present the jet ski (you have to watch the telecast to get that) was quite a bit more over the top, and she still looked fabulous.

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Erica: I felt Jimmy Kimmel’s big mistake was telling everyone Helen Mirren didn’t come with the jet ski.

 

Jennifer Garner

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Kate: Oh my GOD, DAMN! YAS JENNIFER! This is freaking amazing!

Erica: That is quite a bold color. And her hair. Her hair. I’m so damn jealous of her hair.

Kate: She is so tan and her hair is so voluminous and her arms are so muscular and that dress is so BLUE and flowy I freakin’ LOVE it. I know this drapey type of look is kind of so 2-3 years ago, but…Best Dressed nominee!

Erica: Best hair. For sure.

Kate: Ooh, should we start awarding Best Hair and Best Makeup, too?

Erica: Maybe. But only if someone really deserves it.

 

Jennifer Lawrence

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Kate: Ooooooh.

Erica: She kind of looks like an Oscar.

Kate: Her hair looked very similar to this on WWHL last week, although maybe with a side part instead of middle (wow, I’m sick), and I loved it. It’s ALMOST a little Carrie Bradshaw, in a good way. This MAKEUP though is everything to me. Very dramatic but not too dramatic and a little reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen aka the girl on fire.

Erica: I think I’d prefer it with a side part but it’s pretty and sexy and she looks more confident than she has for a while.

Kate: The dress actually doesn’t do that much for me, especially in the hip area; I think the color/material/pattern would make for a better tight, cocktail-length, going-to-the-club type of dress, and in this format it’s just a little to heavy on the bottom. But the hair and makeup are doing MORE than enough for me. Wow.

 

Laura Dern

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Kate: White looks extremely lovely on her, but, and this is more a comment on the designer than the actress, I really don’t like the two different sleeves/straps, or the silhouette of the skirt. If it’s a column dress, make it a TRUE column, you know? This falls somewhere between column and modest A-line, at least the way she is wearing it/posing.

Erica: Oh, I like the two different sleeves. And also I super-love her hair. Almost as much as I like Jennifer Garner’s.

Kate: Oh, yes, fab hair.

 

Lupita Nyong’O

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Kate: Fantastic. Perfect play on her Black Panther character while still being elegant and Fashion. Although, I am biased toward all things related to the color gold. 🙂

Erica: I haven’t seen that yet. And likely I won’t for a while. I’m interested, but I have yet to see a single Marvel Universe movie. The dress is interesting and a beautiful example of the thing it is, but it is not my kind of thing.

Kate: Marvel movies are the only ones I see in theaters anymore. Oh, I don’t love the blue eyeliner, though.

Erica: Her skin is perfectly luminous. And I’m into the hair.

 

Margot Robbie

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Kate: Oh, yes. Yup. Mhm. Yes.

Erica: She’s so beautiful. Just so beautiful.

Kate: White seems to be the theme tonight (it was also the theme a couple years ago…), but no one looks as good in it as Margot does. Damn. PERFECT hair and makeup. Perfect dress silhouette for her perfect body. BEST DRESSED NOMINEE!

Erica: I find the dress really interesting. I’m not sure I feel that the interesting skirt necessarily speaks to the interesting beading on top, but she’s so incredibly gorgeous.

 

Mary J. Blige

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Kate: I love it a whole lot from the waist down, but that asymmetrical neckline is really throwing me off.

Erica: I think I don’t mind it but here’s the thing about her look tonight: I feel like most of the time, her clothing is drawing the attention, for good or bad. This is the first time I’ve noticed her actual face and she is quite lovely.

Kate: I do NOT like the purse at all; it looks like something you’d pick up at a cheap dye-to-match shoe store. Oh, her performance dress is a zillion times better. Should have just worn that on the carpet, MJB!

 

Meryl Streep

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Kate: Oh HELL YES MERYL! I LOVE THE RED! (Sorry Allison Janney, you just lost the whole red thing.)

Erica: She looks great. Just as easy and comfortable as she always does, but in red. And also you can see that she does have a body, with, like, a waist and everything, and it looks terrific.

Kate: Absolutely love it.

 

Nicole Kidman

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Kate: I actually gasped when I saw this. She might have just won Best Dressed right here right now.

Erica: She looks super-tiny but also amazing.

Kate: This blue is the bluest of all blues in the best possible way, and everything about the dress INCLUDING the oversized bow is just so FASHION and COUTURE. It looks so perfectly made. And I absolutely love her hair and makeup, as usual. Nicole really brought the fire with this one.

Erica: I have to say, I agree with everything you are saying. I love the structure, I love that it is both the thing it is and a reference to the thing it is, if that makes any sense, which it probably doesn’t, but I love it.

 

Octavia Spencer

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Kate: I’m not entirely convinced she hasn’t worn almost this exact thing before, but it’s very pretty, and I love the color.

Erica: Love the color. Don’t love the neckline.

 

Rita Moreno

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Erica: Apparently this was the same dress she wore to the Oscars in 1962. I feel it holds up. She looks fabulous.

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Kate: I read that too and it warmed my heart, almost as much as when they played a clip of “America”. ❤

Erica: When they do things like that, I feel they are kind of screwing themselves, because then I’m like, “Yeah, let’s watch West Side Story instead of this boring crap”.

 

Salma Hayek

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Kate: This is one of those things that Fashion People are going to love and I just won’t get.

Erica: I first saw it in the little black-and-white thing they did to open the ceremonies. I liked it then.

Kate: I do get that it would look absolutely ridiculous on almost anyone else, I just don’t like the almost-neon purple with all the ruffles and draped jewels, it’s too much. I also don’t like the piecey hair.

Erica: I don’t like the color but I kind of like the look. I mean, it’s a Look, and she’s committed. And I came of age in the mid-90s; piecey hair doesn’t bother me at all.

 

Sandra Bullock

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Kate: Oh well hello there Sandy, didn’t expect to see you here!

Erica: Her hair, as ever, looks beautiful, but I am less in love with the straight flat thing than I am in love with Jennifer Garner’s volume.

Kate: I love this. I feel like I always love everything she wears. I think she’s one of the most gorgeous people. This reminds me of something JLD would wear, another one of the most gorgeous people.

Erica: I think the dress looks sort of casually slinky in a very beautiful way. Kind of perfect for a glamorous vet like her. I don’t love the matte lipstick but I love the thick brows. Is that a thing right now? I like it. As you know.

Kate: Oh, yes, the thicker the better. And as gorgeous as her hair is down and straight and shiny, up and a little less structured might have worked better with this dress. Excellent makeup, as always.

 

Saoirse Ronan

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Kate: This is kind of a combination of every other baby pink dress that has been worn by a celebrity on the Oscars red carpet.

Erica: It’s like an homage, though. It’s an homage to Gwyneth Paltrow’s look when she won for Shakespeare in Love (which we now have to, like, give huge side-eye to because she was sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein to be in that movie, right?) and it’s an homage to Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend look. I approve.

Kate: I like it, kind of, but mostly I like how much effort she put into the Overall Look with the hair and makeup and shoes (LOVE the shoes!) going all so perfectly together, even though it’s not my usual preferred Look.

Erica: It’s one of mine so I give it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

 

Taraji P. Henson

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Kate: This is so Taraji I just cannot even.

Erica: It is the apotheosis of her look. I like it because I like her.

Kate: I like it, too, especially the very sleek bob (been thinking about doing that to my hair…!), and even the lipstick, but those sleeves I just cannot. They’re not even sleeves, they are upper-arm bracelets with dangly pieces of fabric down to the floor that are not attached to any other part of the dress, which begs the question: WHY?

Erica: No, here’s what begs the question WHY?: She’s starring in a remake of What Women Want, only it’s going to be What Men Want, and she’s going to hear men’s thoughts. Why is this happening? Who wanted to remake this movie? Who doesn’t already know what men want? Who exists in a universe in which what men want ISN’T broadcast 24/7 over every conceivable medium?

Kate: Oh, I kind of loved that movie, mostly because it so perfectly represented the perfectly silly type of romantic comedy from that era. A golden era, if you will.

 

Tiffany Haddish

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Erica: I’m including her because I find her amusing and her look on the red carpet, she claims, is to honor the people of Eritrea, where her father is from, and a) I now know how to pronounce Eritrea, and b) I’m into the look. It’s like a not-real-person ensemble, like the formal gown for a character in a fantasy movie, and I’m into it.oscars 18 tiffany haddish on stage.jpg

Kate: It is very princessy, but it’s not what she wore to present, which I don’t understand. I like what she wore to present a lot, though, especially how perfectly the necklace went with the neckline (maybe it was part of the dress?), and that she even looked good in it with Uggs instead of heels.

Erica: When she presented, she had changed into a white formal number that she has worn before, and joked on SNL about how she loves wearing it, so I find that amusing, too. I don’t know how much of her persona is real, but it’s a charming persona.

 

Viola Davis

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Kate: She and Allison Janney both decided to bring the same clutch in different dye-to-match colors. I hate this dress more than possibly anything.

Erica: This is the third dress I saw, and I will say, if this is the low bar, the ladies have done well for themselves this evening.

Kate: This color shouldn’t be seen anywhere outside the Barbie universe, and I would say this about any woman of any age or race wearing this color. It REALLY sucks!

Erica: The material is very weird and making a very strange effect on the TV screen. And I did assume when I saw the dress and not the person — which is a problem right there, that the dress is just SO MUCH — that it was a much younger person wearing it.

Kate: Yes, the hairstyle and big shiny hoops are way too young for her. And the dress is also not tailored very well to her body in the strap and boob area, right? Is that just me?

Erica: It is not just you. Somewhat disappointing ensemble. I also don’t love the hair style. I feel like it’s the thing I try to prevent my hair from doing — flattening on the top and frizzing on the bottom. If it looks good on anyone, it’s teenagers, but it’s not my favorite look on anyone.

 

Wendi McLendon-Covey

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Kate: I’m including her because I feel like we never do or she’s never at these things and I LOVE this dress, ESPECIALLY on her!

Erica: I have no idea who this person is.

Kate: Yes you do, look it up. She was in Bridesmaids and other things. This is a beautiful silhouette in a beautiful color that is actually pretty hard to pull off, but everything she did with her hair and makeup and jewelry make it work.

Erica: Oh, yes, I do know who this person is, and yes, she looks gorgeous. Good job, Wendi McLendon-Covey!

 

Whoopi Goldberg

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Kate: I like that it’s not a blue or black smock/potato sack, which I feel like is what she usually wears, but it is quite insane-looking nonetheless.

Erica: Whoopi is an EGOT?

Kate: She’s, like, one of the most known EGOTs. (So is Audrey!)

Erica: The dress is made by Christian Siriano so I want to love it but I do not. At all. Her daughter looks pretty, though.

 

Zendaya

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Kate: This is kind of giving me Gone with the Wind vibes, no?

Erica: She is so tall. So incredibly tall.

Kate: I wouldn’t normally like it, and I don’t totally like it, but for once I actually GET why this is Fashion and it does look very well-made and beautiful on her, if a little baggy.

Erica: I like it because I like flowy things and because she strikes me as delightful.

Kate: I also don’t normally like top knots that are that tight/high up, but it works on her, and great makeup.

Erica: I would like crazier hair but it’s fine with me. I thought she looked very nice. So, Worst Dressed?

Kate: Emma Stone? Viola Davis?

Erica: Yes. Signing on for Emma. And Best Dressed? I don’t know if this is because I’m grading on a curve, but I’m into Nicole Kidman’s look.

Kate: 100% for sure yes, although Margot Robbie and Jennifer Garner are VERY close second and third for me.

Erica: And Sandy.

Kate: And that does it for the 2017-2018 award show season, folks! See you after the Met Gala, maybe!

Grammys 2018

Kate: Tonight we are not bringing activists with us or wearing all black but we are wearing white roses. Because…

Erica: #metoo and Time’s Up. I don’t know. Look, Time’s Up is a good organization (I think). It’s a good cause (for sure). And if wearing white roses does something to help, then great. White roses. I still think activists on the red carpet, from whom you never move an inch so that everyone who covers the red carpet has to at least mention their name, was a better idea.

Kate: Right. Anyway, this is the award show where neither Erica nor I know many of the guests anymore, therefore, this post will only cover people with names we recognize. Sorry, relatively-new artists!

Erica: Wow, that’s going to limit us. A lot.

 

Anna Kendrick

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Kate: Well damn! I love it. It’s a fun and interesting new way to wear these suits everyone’s been playing out; I like the sexy fitted camisole underneath. The only thing I would have changed is the shoes — the soft pink color throws off the rest of the vixen vibe. But would black shoes have been TOO obvious?

Erica: I’m actually going to applaud the color of the shoes specifically because they are not obvious. I don’t know what is happening to me right now. I want to hate this. I want to hate the shape of the jacket and the shape of the pants and the fact that the sexy camisole is, like, actually underwear. But I kind of love it. I think she looks great.

Kate: Because she does look great. Also very much love the hair.

 

Ashanti

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Kate: I feel like I maybe said this last year, but, she’s here because…She’s still making music? This very poofy dress is very fun, though, and I like her hair short like that.

Erica: She has been famous since I was the right age to care who she was (not that I did even then, #lifelongnerd) and yet I have no mental image of her. She slips right out of my memory every year. That said, the dress would be super fun if I couldn’t see her nipples through it. Also, where’s your white rose, lady?

Kate: Oooh.

 

Beyonce

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Kate: I fear saying anything about her because of getting attacked by her fans.

Erica: We’ll probably survive.

Kate: She didn’t do the red carpet and showed up next to Jay-Z about halfway through the show, so I only caught glimpses of the outfit, at first. The dress itself is…Interesting…But I am anti-hat and sunglasses while indoors at night in NYC. It’s just too much of a statement.

Erica: I can’t see it super-well but the glasses-hat-sunglasses is a little weird. Also, Jay-Z is looking old.

Kate: And those earrings look like they weigh 100 pounds. That can’t be good for her earlobes.

 

Cardi B

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Kate: I had no idea that this is what she looks like. She has a very pretty face, and a very Gaga-esque dress on, which I love. Very…Misunderstood angel? Or some such?

Erica: This is insane and I applaud it. Also, I only know who Cardi B is because over the last month, I’ve been seeing posts in my Facebook feed that say things like, “Cardi B has now sold more records than the Beatles!” and I have gone, “Who?”

Kate: I don’t like the piecey-ness of the hairdo, but I get how it goes with the overall thing.

 

Chrissy Teigen

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Kate: Oh, I forgot she’s pregnant again.

Erica: Me, too. I thought she had trouble getting pregnant?

Kate: I don’t love the length of this or the drapey sleeves, but for once I do not mind the belt because of the baby bump. The two work well together.

Erica: I don’t love this, but I just don’t love it. It’s not my thing. What is my thing is that she and her husband, whatshisname, donated $200,000 to Time’s Up on behalf of all the U.S. gymnasts who have been abused by their doctor. That’s pretty good.

Kate: John Legend. Yes, very good. Those shoes look new levels of uncomfortable, and I don’t like the red clutch with the silver sparkly dress.

 

Cyndi Lauper

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Kate: I mean, what ELSE would she wear?

Erica: Look, you do you, Cyndi Lauper. You’ve never shown any inclination to be less than 100% who you are, and you shouldn’t stop now.

 

Eve

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Kate: I feel like this is something she would have worn, and possibly did wear, to this exact award show when her music was popular, but I’m not sure what to do with it in 2018.

Erica: Do I know who this person is? Her face looks familiar. Does she possibly have cheetah paw print tattoos on her chest? Anyway, yeah, either this is dated, or we’re old now and the stuff that was popular when we were young is having a revival.

Kate: She does! And the similar-but-different sparkly pantsuit she wore to present an award was MUCH better.

 

Hailee Steinfeld

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Kate: Yup. This is what you should look like at the Grammys when you are this age and this gorgeous. Do I like the bright turquoise eye shadow? No, not by itself, but it works with the loose wavy dark hair and tight bright white dress and above-the-knee shiny purple boots. Props to her stylist.

Erica: I really love the hair. I would like the boots to be a slimmer fit under such a slim dress. But I appreciate them.

Kate: Move over, Dorit Kemsley, THIS is how you do purple boots!

Erica: Ugh, I hate Dorit. Even if Dorit wore purple boots to perfection, I would still prefer Hailee Steinfeld wearing them because I prefer Hailee Steinfeld existing in my consciousness.

 

Heidi Klum

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Kate: I did NOT recognize her when she came onto the red carpet to talk to Giuliana. Took me SEVERAL minutes. Maybe it’s the darker, longer hair?

Erica: Yeah, I’m not loving the hair. I mean, I think she could go darker, but I hate that way-dark-roots look.

Kate: Also, it looks like she kept one of her Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show costumes and threw some sheer material over it. She obviously looks phenomenal, but it’s not my type of thing.

Erica: It’s kind of my type of thing, at least for the Grammys. It’s, like, her level of weirdness matched the level of expected weirdness and kind of found a mellow spot.

 

Janelle Monae

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Kate: Standard.

Erica: Oh, really? I like this. I like this very, very much. It might be my favorite so far. I wish her hair was not blonde but I’m into the look. Maybe because it’s making me think of Ferdinand.

Kate: Standard for Janelle Monae, I mean. She always wears some combination of black and white, so I like that this has pops of color, and she often wears a pantsuit, but so does everyone else these days. Like Anna Kendrick’s, I like how this is different with the wider leg, and when she introduced Kesha the camera zoomed in on her very-cool makeup.

 

Jenny McCarthy

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Kate: I thought this was Katy Perry, at first.

Erica: Ugh. Vaccinate your kids. I know, I know, evil Big Pharma and Western Medicine, but once upon a time, losing at least one of your kids to a childhood disease was, like, an everyday occurence and now it’s fairly rare in countries with access to vaccines and also Jenny McCarthy is a former co-host of an MTV dating show and not a doctor.

Kate: Ummm, I have no opinion on this issue. Honestly, this is very kooky, but somehow it works. Not Best Dressed works, but, works.

Erica: I will give her no credit. The top looks weirdly baggy.

 

Katie Holmes

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Kate: I am stumped as to why she is here looking fresh off the set of The Great Gatsby.

Erica: Well, just the hair. The dress is sort of sad 1950s.

Kate: I don’t love her hair short and slicked like that, the dress is ok, and I hate the shoes so much. You can’t tell from this photo, but those heels are so thick they look ridiculous.

Erica: I don’t like the dress. At all. The whole thing is like she’s trying to unpretty herself.

 

Kelly Clarkson

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Kate: I guess this black-and-gold concept is her thing, now? There’s too much going on here. We don’t need all these instances of gold — maybe just 2 of the 4 — and we certainly don’t need the fringe.

Erica: You know what? I would like this if it were for the Met Gala. For the Grammys, it’s a little too regal.

Kate: Fair.

 

Kesha

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Kate: This feels like a wasted opportunity to me.

Erica: This just feels kind of ugly to me.

Kate: She is back on the scene with an amazing song this year, and she went through some serious struggles over the last few years, so her first red carpet moment after all that should have had more pizazz, more elegance mixed with her quirky personality, but this is just a blue suit with a silky white button-down and long wavy hair. Wasted opportunity.

Erica: I kind of hate the suit. I like her performance outfit better. PS, now both my kids are in love with her old songs.

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Kate: But her performance outfit was just a white suit over the same silky button-down! All of the other women on stage had much more interesting all-white outfits. (I remember Zoe liking her when she was Ke$ha, perhaps because of the Glee episode dedicated to her?)

Erica: Yeah, and we have a bunch of her songs on Just Dance. Sadie likes them.

 

Lady Gaga

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Kate: I love it — it’s a mix of her old wackiness and more recent red carpet elegance. Very much love the dramatic eye makeup.

Erica: Yeah, she’s got the whackadoo-but-done-well thing down.

Kate: The only thing I don’t like is the hair, which looks like French braid pigtails a la Little House on the Prairie.

Erica: Well, it’s an added bit of whackadoo.

Kate: Her performance dress (again, why wear a different one on the red carpet if you are just going to change in 5 minutes?) is even more Gaga, an enormous pink number that on anyone else I would hate.

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Erica: I guess I understand why she wouldn’t want to debut her big performance look on the carpet, because for Lady Gaga, the costuming is so much a part of the performance that it would take something away from the moment she appears on stage. But then why do the red carpet at all? Why not just show up at the back of the theater in your PJs and get dressed backstage? This is why I’m not a celebrity.

 

Lana Del Rey

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Kate: Now this is my type of dress, but probably not a Grammys type of dress. It also probably doesn’t need the necklace. It’s very lovely and light and fluttery. I maybe would have done an updo, though.

Erica: I quite like the dress. I’m fine with it at the Grammys. The hair thing is also weird and cool and I like it although it looks a little like maybe she got it at Claire’s, although I’m sure it’s more expensive than it looks. My thing is, is that what she always looked like? I feel like I have a very different picture of her in my head.

 

Lisa Loeb

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Kate: Well who knew she was still around, eh? Her skin looks amazing, but not as amazing as her arms. I want those arms.

Erica: I definitely didn’t know she was still around and I definitely didn’t know she was still doing things that could win a person Grammys but I am so happy to see her and I think she looks great! Her hair looks adorable like that. She invented that glasses trend the first time around and can still rock it now, and the dress maybe could use a better hem but looks great on her tiny, rock-hard little body!

Kate:The casualness of the hair and glasses is kind of in juxtaposition with the fanciness of the gown (which I like very much), but somehow, it…Works. And I kind of love it!

Erica: Yeah, I’m with you. Love!

 

Lorde

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Kate: She’s looking very Anne Hathaway with that red lip and equally red dress. I like her hair like that.

Erica: Did you know Anne Hathaway was also the name of Shakespeare’s (possibly estranged) wife? Do you suppose her parents knew that when they gave her that name?

Kate: Oh, dear.

Erica: I like her hair but I don’t like the dress. I think it makes her boobs look weird and the bottom looks cheaply put together.

 

Miley Cyrus

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Kate: I…Don’t know what to do with this.

Erica: I mean, I like the dress. I think it’s very pretty. It’s a weird dress for her to be wearing, but on another person, and/or on another occasion, I think it’d be one of my favorites.

Kate: Do you mean her performance dress?

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Erica: Ah, yes. Yes, I do. Sorry, I couldn’t actually watch, so I’m just looking at pictures. So I like the red/pink flowy dress. I wish she had done something more with it — or been about thirty years older while wearing it — but it’s a pretty dress. 

Kate: It’s ok, a little much, but it doesn’t at all go with plain-Jane hair or makeup. Everything about her red carpet ensemble says “I don’t want to be here”, and, if that’s the case, Ms. Attitude, then…Don’t. Be here.

Erica: Now that I am looking at the red carpet look, I am thinking about my distinction between Wearing a Dress (or Outfit) and Creating a Look. The Grammys is an event where, if you’re on the border, you should choose Look. And her red carpet ensemble created the opportunity for a Look, which she did not commit to. So, yes, it then comes across as not wanting to be there. Even if she did have the biggest white rose.  

Kate: But she sang with Elton John! Isn’t that a reason to want to be there? (Why did she of all people get to do that, by the way?)

 

Pink

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Kate: She couldn’t have worn a more Pink dress if she tried. It’s not my favorite but it’s the right thing for her to wear.

Erica: I mean, it’s insane. But that’s fine.

 

Reba McEntire

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Kate: I know some ladies like wearing these types of dresses because they create the illusion of a slimmer waistline, but this one is freakishly slim. Otherwise, fine.

Erica: I think it’s boring and makes her boobs look droopy. Did you see that she’s, like, Colonel Sanders now or something? Is that a real thing or some nonsense on my Facebook feed I didn’t investigate hard enough to realize it was a joke?

Kate: This is why I don’t go on Facebook anymore.

 

Rihanna

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Kate: Ok, I’ll start with something positive: I like her hair.

Erica: Her hair does look amazing.

Kate: Everyone in the entertainment world will be falling all over themselves about how great this shiny brown raincoat dress and matching boots are and I will never understand why, but I suppose that’s why I’m not the head of a fashion magazine or anything.

Erica: I don’t mind it. I’m not seeing a good picture of it but from what I’m seeing, it’s interesting and a little outlandish but still well-made and well-fitted and everything. I kind of like her performance outfit better, although it is boring and obvious. It just makes her look amazing. Was Rihanna always so va-va-voom curvy?

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Kate: Her hair also looked good during her performance, but the dress was a little too middle-school-dance-recital for me. No, she is looking curvier than usual.

Erica: Well, I like it.

 

Rita Ora

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Kate: Hmmm, she is usually a little wilder than this. It’s pretty, but you can’t even see the fun sparkly accents in the photo that you could see during the pre-show.

Erica: I have heard her name a million times and it’s still not clear to me who she is. I actually like the idea of the outfit, and the white rose looks good on it, but what’s with the weird gaping at the top? And I hate the hair color situation.

Kate: She is a singer? She always has weird hair color situations.

 

Sarah Silverman

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Kate: What. The. Actual. F*ck.

Erica: She’s going to the Grammys dressed as 1986 Madonna!

Kate: What the f*ck!!!!

Erica: You saw her last week. She was, like, poised and proper-looking. It made her nuts. She had to brat out.

Kate: Worst Dressed. Not even worth a discussion.

Erica: Okay, who for Best? If we’re going with “Outfits I would definitely wear if I had all the money and no f*cks to give,” I’d go with Lana Del Rey, but I can be persuaded to favor someone else.

Kate: How about Lisa Loeb because now we’re both old?

Erica: Yes! Embrace the aging! See you for the BIG shindig!

Kate: She means the Oscars, people! March 4! Tune in here March 5 for our very qualified opinions on all the fashion and political statements, since apparently these go hand in hand now!

SAGs 2018

Erica: So no black this time.

Kate: Everyone will judge me for saying this, but, thank god.

Erica: I mean, not no black. But not, like, on-purpose all-black. My thing is, you were right; the more important part was bringing activists with them. Did they do that this time?

Kate: No, they did not.

Erica: By the way, I didn’t realize this, but the guys were all in black for the Golden Globes, too. You just couldn’t tell, because they were in tuxes.

Kate: People were very into the sparkle at the SAGs. I like it.

 

Alison Brie

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Kate: Again, I feel like she is just too skinny, it’s freaking me out.

Erica: She is very skinny but I also just adore her face. And I think she’s very talented.

Kate: I hate every possible thing about this dress so very much. I get how it could be some kind of nod to her 80s-era TV show but the cutouts are ill placed and do not match the rest of the dress, the slit is too high and the shoes are all wrong. I haven’t even seen everyone yet, but, Worst Dressed nominee!

Erica: Yeah, this is definitely supposed to look like the TV show she is on, which is not a good aesthetic choice IMHO. Oh, wait, we’ve dedicated years of our lives to this blog. My O is not H at all. It’s a bad dress.

 

Allison Janney

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Erica: Her makeup looks perfect.

Kate: Does it? Is she very tan?

Erica: I hate the dress, of course.

Kate: Of course. It looks extremely uncomfortable.

 

Allison Williams

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Erica: I’m not loving the structure, but the beading is very pretty. You hate the hair, right?

Kate: I hate all of it — hair too dark and in a very strange ‘do, lips too dark, eye makeup too dark, skin too pale for makeup and dress, dress too structured — it’s scaring me.

 

Brie Larson

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Kate: Curtains.

Erica: I am trying to come up with a way to say something nice about this dress. I am failing.

Kate: Sparkly curtains. Why is she frowning?

Erica: She doesn’t like the dress, either. She’s going to fire her stylist when she gets home. Her hair and makeup look pretty.

Kate: Yes, they do.

 

Connie Britton

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Erica: Okay, so she wore her hair down.

Kate: This is classic Connie Britton! Just what I needed. Love.

Erica: The dress is…Just…I can’t. I literally can’t even.

Kate: Wait, what? Why? I like it!

Erica: Really? Maybe it looks better on the red carpet, but when I saw it on stage, I just hated it.

Kate: See? What should they dress for, the telecast or the photos? It’s all so unclear.

Erica: No, wait a second, I’ve seen pics and I still hate it. She’s too young to dress like my grandma.

Kate: Oh, which of our grandmas had this dress? 🙂

Erica: Grandma Edith would have ROCKED this.

Dakota Fanning

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Kate: It’s very weird that she is a grown-up now. This dress is actually quite lovely, although too close to the color of her skin (and you know how I feel about THAT), and she’s almost too tall for it. Ya know?

Erica: I do not have your problem with the skin color issue. I think the dress is just a little too prom-y for her but she looks lovely.

 

Elisabeth Moss

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Kate: That damn length again!

Erica: We can’t talk her out of it. And the skirt’s shape and slit make it almost look like a jumpsuit in some pics and it’s not very flattering to her figure and I hate it.

Kate: Agree about the jumpsuit thing. And, she still wore black. I do like it better than most of her usual red carpet choices, but…Meh.

Erica: I don’t like it at all.

 

Felicity Huffman

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Erica: Her makeup is even better than Allison Janney’s.

Kate: Um her everything is even better than everyone’s…Everything! I absolutely adore this dress, and I’m not even bothered by the necklace and the long earrings. It all looks so fantastic, I want it.

Erica: If she and William H. Macy break up, it will break me in half. I will never believe in love again.

 

Frances McDormand

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Erica: I like the…Color?

Kate: No, you don’t.

Erica: I accept that assessment.

Kate: It bothers me that she’s wearing some crazy-@ss dress, nice jewelry, but absolutely no makeup. Her hair is crazy but crazy hair is “in”, so all she needed was a touch of foundation and she would have looked acceptable.

 

Gabrielle Carteris

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Erica: I didn’t realize who this was she was at first. If you don’t know, it’s Andrea from Beverly Hills 90210. And she looks amazing.

Kate: I thought it was Lizzie McGuire’s mom. Her boobs are NOT fitting into that dress. Good color, though.

Erica: She could be Lizzie McGuire’s mom, too. And where we know her from would let people know exactly how old each of us is.

Kate: She’s not, though.

Erica: Well, then, never mind. We’re both 25. I kind of enjoy her extreme cleavage, although not the cut-out under it. And I enjoy the cape situation.

 

Geena Davis & Susan Sarandon

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Kate: Since they appeared on the carpet together (I guess they squashed the beef?), let’s critique them together.

Erica: Or maybe we are making up the beef in our head. Still, this is very unorthodox. (Deep sigh.) Okay, I’m ready. Let’s do this.

Kate: Geena’s dress looked like a very nice dark green on the telecast but here it looks black, and I think it looked better in the very nice dark green. Either way, it’s pretty, but the amount of work she’s had done on her face scares me.

Erica: Oh, yeah, I’m seeing black, and dark green would be nice. I pretty much like the dress. It’s her usual thing, but it’s her usual thing done well.

Kate: Susan is wearing cat-eye shades on the red carpet, so I love that, but it’s probably because she was high. I like that she ditched her usual pantsuit for a sparkly (!) blue number, which looks quite nice on her. I didn’t realize how tiny she was, but I guess everyone is tiny next to Geena.

Erica: The trouble with sparkles is they are hard to tailor, and her dress looked a bit long to me and awkward in the skirt, but it could be that I’m looking for things to critique. The dress is a nice color and shape and it looked good on her.

 

Gina Rodriguez

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Kate: I hate that top black bra part oh so very much. It makes the dress look unfinished. Although I don’t think I would like it without that, either.

Erica: Whereas I would have liked it very much without that black bra thing. BTW, I couldn’t get a pic of her without her costar Yael Grobglas from “Jane the Virgin”. Kate, have you seen it? It is bonkers and I love it.

Kate: I have not watched it and am currently overwhelmed by all the shows I need to watch (and rewatch) right now.

 

Goldie Hawn

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Kate: While this color is universally gross, she actually looks nice and age-appropriate and comfortable.

Erica: You don’t like this color? I like this color fine and I think she looks lovely.

Kate: Sky/powder blue? So 90s, and not the 90s that is always in the process of making a comeback.

 

Greta Gerwig

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Kate: Hmmm…I only saw this from the waist up on the telecast, and I liked it (including the hair, makeup and jewelry, because it all suits her and her “thing” well), but now I feel like it’s too much. Perhaps if the waist were nipped in and the skirt flared out a little/had something different going on? Different pattern? Different material? Maybe I just like the top as…A top?

Erica: Yeah, I don’t like it. At all. On any level. Still want to see Lady Bird, though.

 

Halle Berry

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Erica: Lovely. Special. Very revealing but Jesus Christmas, I’d reveal that if I had it, too.

Kate: During the pre-show she kept like, fluffing out the sheer black overlay of the skirt, but in a way that said, “Here, I’m here, wearing a dress, happy?” It was very not-Halle. For the second award show in a row this year, I don’t like her hair, but, yes, everything else, Jesus Christmas.

 

Kate Hudson

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Erica: Okay, I’ve come up with a few plausible explanations of this look: 1) She really wanted her mom to be the shining, sexy star tonight, so she deliberately made herself look insane; 2) She really hates her mom and wanted everyone to say, “Sure, Goldie looks good, but what did she do to her daughter that her daughter would appear in public dressed that way?”; 3) She has a young daughter who is going through a deep Little House on the Prairie phase and she allowed that daughter to dress her; 4) As the creator of an athletics line, she has to have a perfect-looking body at all times, but when she woke up Sunday morning she discovered a tiny little flab of fat on her upper arm and she could not wear her usual lovely, slinky, fashion-forward gown, and the only one she could find to cover up her imperfection was this.

Kate: 5) Rhett Butler vomited chocolate-chip cotton candy all over one of Scarlett O’Hara’s dresses. I. Can. NOT. !!!

 

Kristen Bell

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Erica: Her red carpet look, pictured here, is gorgeous and special and I love it. (Okay, it’s a little long on her, but I still love it.)

Kate: Yes I like it a lot, the color is perfect for her.

Erica: Of course she always looks lovely. She’s the most adorable person.

Kate: Great teeth, great smile. Her first presenting dress is even better — ooh la la!

Erica: See, I prefer the red carpet look, partially because black bores me. But she continues to be adorable.  

Kate: But the deep sparkly (!) v makes it not-boring. Her second presenting dress is pretty, too, but, indeed, kind of boring. Except for the pink collar. More sparkle!

Erica: I just don’t understand why women have to change their outfits for these things every 15 minutes. Do angels get their wings every time you redo your hair? Aren’t these looks labor-intensive? Explain.

Kate: Kristen, we’re waiting!

 

Laura Dern

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Kate: Belt!

Erica: Oof, I am not liking this, belt or no belt.

Kate: The material and neckline of the dress is lovely, but, BELT, and length. And her hair looks like it’s almost completely out of its ponytail holder, which drives me nuts.

Erica: It doesn’t look like a finished dress. It looks like an idea for a dress that they haven’t finished making yet.

 

Laura Linney

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Erica: I appreciate that not everyone wants to look super-duper sexy all the time, but this is fundamentalist Mormon levels of modesty.

Kate: But that soft pink color and sparkly (!) feather design are kind of in contrast to that. Freaky. I think she looks alarmingly like Ginny Weasley all grown up.

Erica: Interesting assessment. I can see that. She looks lovely — like, her hair, her makeup, she’s generally pretty glowy. But it’s weird.

 

Leslie Mann

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Erica: It’s a little figure-skater-y.

Kate: I think she looks kind of fab. See? Everyone’s in sparkles.

Erica: Yeah. It’s fine. It’s just not my favorite.

 

Lupita Nyong’O

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Kate: Oh, yes. Yes yes yes.

Erica: Were her arms always that ferocious?

Kate: This is very, very beautiful. I think it would look great on just about any of these red carpet ladies, too.

Erica: I do like it. It’s the right amount and shape of feathers. The sparkle is lovely. The shape looks amazing on her. The hair and makeup and jewelry are perfectly restrained. Just lovely.

Kate: And when she presented the final award with sparkly-curtain-wearing Brie Larson, she wore these adorable cat-eye glasses (regular, not sun, like Sarandon) that looked like they were made to go with that dress. Hey, maybe they were! Ahh, to be rich and famous and have people make things for you.

 

Mandy Moore

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Erica: I like her hair lighter/redder.

Kate: Is it redder? Both her hair and makeup are flawless right now.

Erica: No, I’m saying, I like her hair when it is lighter and redder than it is right now. But that’s a personal preference.

Kate: Oh, no, this is fantastic.

Erica: The dress read a little flat on stage.

Kate: It’s flat in photos, but when she walked on the carpet in the pre-show? Damn. Perfection.

 

Margot Robbie

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Erica: This is very different for her, I think.

Kate: Yea, softer, and I like it a lot. I don’t want to like the feathers (perhaps they are a bit too high?) but without them the dress would be boring. Perfect hair and makeup, of course. Always. Hard not to when you have a perfect face.

Erica: The feather placement is very strange. Very strange. But I like the softness. And yes, the face, it’s a keeper.

Kate: Best Dressed nominee!

 

Marisa Tomei

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Erica: Her hair is still ridiculously fabulous.

Kate: So is her skin! Holy sh!t. Goals.

Erica: I’d like her dress better if it wasn’t weirdly short.

Kate: Ya but mostly I only see her perfect hair and face and the fact that she is 53. 53! (The perfect hair and skin was more evident during the telecast than in this photo.)

 

Mary J. Blige

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Erica: Well, I’ll give her this. It’s very interesting. I think I actually like it.

Kate: Yes interesting to look at. Like a piece of art. Not my favorite dress.

 

Maya Rudolph

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Erica: No.

Kate: Curtains.

Erica: Why? Explain yourself.

Kate: Curtains.

 

Millie Bobby Brown

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Erica: Her sparkly eye makeup is cute and very age-appropriate.

Kate: Very, and it matches her dress, and her hair is very Sporty Spice, in a good way. And she is wearing Converses. She is freakin’ adorable.

 

Molly Shannon

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Erica: I just want to hike it up a bit. Like, it needs to be three inches higher.

Kate: Why? Then it would look silly. Her boobs aren’t falling out or anything. I think she looks great. I don’t know if we’ve ever even had her in one of these posts, but I am surprised by how good she looked.

 

Nicole Kidman

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Erica: I mean, I hate the dress, a lot. It reminds me of the terrible dress I had to wear in a play in summer camp when I was a teenager. But her hair and makeup are amazing.

Kate: The dress is a bad color, but the back is cool and the shape is such that only she could wear it. To me her hair feels TOO blonde and her makeup TOO perfect, like something is just off. AND I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH THESE LOW SIDE BUN THINGS?!

Erica: Oh, I love the makeup. But I will always prefer her — and everyone on the planet — as a redhead.

 

Olivia Munn

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Kate: A similar idea to Mary J. Blige’s dress, no?

Erica: Yes, but more conservative. I think Mary J.’s was more intriguing.

Kate: She is very gorgeous but this is overall not working for me. I would like her hair pulled back off her face a little.

Erica: She has such nice cheekbones, it’s good to show them off. I feel like the dress was flattering to her but not particularly beautiful or special.

 

Reese Witherspoon

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Erica: The color is very nice.

Kate: Oh I love the whole thing, I think it’s such a refreshing change from her usual very-fitted frock. The earrings are a little matchy-matchy, but the makeup is peachy and lovely and the hair is soft and excellent.

Erica: My only thing is the chevron-ness. I think I would have loved it if not for that. But I do like the softness and the shape and the color.

 

Rita Moreno

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Erica: That dress looks like she’s reminding us that she was Anita in West Side Story.

Kate: Yes. Perfection. (For her.)

Erica: I mean, like we would ever say anything bad about Rita Moreno. She could wear something Heidi Klum’s stylist rejected as being too weird, and we’d be all, “Rita looks amazing!” But, yes. She looks good.

 

Saoirse Ronan

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Erica: I’m sorry, I like her, but this is not a good look. The dress is so weird and confusing. And her hair…You often criticize hair for not looking any better than yours does on an average work day. But your average-work-day hair is ten times better than my average-day hair. And her hair doesn’t look any better than MINE on an average day.

Kate: Oh, see I think the the dress is a little, like, as if Game of Thrones were happening in 2018, but in a way that I kind of like. Agree about the hair. Lovely makeup and earrings, though.

 

Sarah Silverman

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Erica: Belt!

Kate: I don’t expect much from her, TBH. I actually like the dress (minus belt), though; very Audrey.

Erica: Yes. I think that’s why the belt is so frustrating to me in this instance.

Kate: Ok, so, Best Dressed?

Erica: For my money, Lupita. I felt the dress was alchemy.

Kate: OH yea, I’m cool with that. Worst Dressed?

Erica: Kate Hudson. Insanity. On a puzzling evening, a stand-out weirdness.

Kate: Lots of possibilities, but sure I’ll go with Kate. See you after the Grammys, folks!

And One More Thought on Enthusiastic Consent

Even if you are employing the dorkiest, most straw-man-y language to ensure enthusiastic consent (“Please state for the record your level of desire vis-a-vis us boinking. Initial here, here, and here; sign here; date here. Month then day, please,”), it’s still not going to “ruin the mood” because it’s like when you hear the click of the safety harness on a roller coaster being properly locked. It’s not the fun part – but it’s the part that ensures that the rest of the parts will be fun, as opposed to being traumatizing.

Enthusiastic Consent

(Please do not read this post if you are a person who doesn’t want to know that I’ve ever thought about or had sex. Please especially don’t read this post if you are a person who doesn’t want to know that I’ve ever thought about or had sex AND THEN yell at me for having written this post, considering that you don’t want to know that I’ve ever thought about or had sex.)

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So here is my question. How is it that getting enthusiastic consent is not sexy? How is it even remotely possible to think to oneself, “Asking a person I want to have sex with if they want to have sex with me and them saying, ‘Hell, yeah, baby, give it to me!’ is super duper unsexy and will kill the mood.”

I mean – will it kill the mood more than randomly sticking your fingers in a woman’s mouth? Or pointing to your dick as an indication that you’d like a blow job? Is that creating an extraordinarily sensual and seductive mood that will be killed if you say, “You know, if you want to?”?

I don’t mean this to be about Aziz Ansari and Grace. I think he’s a normal guy who did a normal guy thing, which, given the culture we live in, is also an atrocious and violating thing, but he’s about my age and I grew up with the same TV and movies he did so I know that the culture he was raised in generally considers that to be sort of okay. I mean, not totally. There have been voices pointing out that it’s not okay. See Lindy West’s column in the Times to see what I’m talking about. But the louder voices have been, “Men, getting sex by any means necessary is totes cool.”

But there’s also a fairly clear model for what enthusiastic consent can look like in a sexy way. It goes like this. You’re together. You’re in close quarters. Maybe you’ve even started making out. You say, “What do you want?” or “You like that?” or “Tell me what will make you moan.” You can throw in a “baby” or some other endearment if you like.

Maybe your partner is shy. Maybe your partner doesn’t know how to say what s/he wants. So you pull back a little. Just a little. You’re still there. And you say, “I’m not going to touch you until you tell me you want it.”

And then don’t. If your partner wants you to touch them, they will say so. Or they’ll move your hand. Or they’ll resume kissing you. Or maybe they’ll be too shy and they’ll turn away. Wait, is that shy, or is that, seriously, I don’t want to? Try maybe holding their hand or stroking their leg. Do they lean into it? Do they stroke back? Or do they sort of stiffen and go still? Or even pull away a little bit? See, if they lean into it, they want more. And if you’re not sure, was that a lean in or just a shift, you say something like, “You like that?” If there’s an immediate affirmative response – an actual “Yes, I do,” a soft moan, a more assertive leaning in, a return touch, then probably they like that. If there’s hesitation or further pulling away, or, you know, “No, not really,” then the answer is no.

But shouldn’t a woman – or a man – just say “no” if they don’t want something? Shouldn’t they make it obvious by screaming in your face or kicking you in the balls or running screaming away from you?

Dude, come on. Come on. Maybe they like you but they’re just not sure they want to do THAT. Maybe they deliberately wore granny panties or have some sort of monster zit on their inner thigh. Maybe they thought this was going to be a one-night thing but now they kind of really like you but if you Do It, then maybe you’ll think they’re a slut, but if you say no then they’ll think you’re not Chill. Maybe they like you but the tacos you ate are not sitting nicely in their tummy and they want to go home so they can shit in private but they don’t want to tell you that a poop tsunami is about to come out of the butt you’re aggressively grabbing. Maybe you’ve been so rape-culture-y that they don’t know if saying “no” is going to trigger you to violence so they’re trying to be polite. Maybe notice.

And honestly, if nuances like “leans in to this kind of touch, kind of freezes when I do that” are too subtle for you to pick up on, you’re probably a lousy lay. Like, even if your partner is really into you and really wants to fuck like bunnies and is hoping it’s all going to go well, s/he can’t be giving explicit instructions the whole time. I mean, some people are into that sort of thing and it can probably be fun sometimes but sometimes you just have to catch on to the idea that if s/he’s pushing your hand from one location to another, then wherever your hand was, it wasn’t pleasing. AND THE FACT THAT YOU REFUSE TO PICK UP ON THAT IS WHAT’S RUINING THE GODDAMN MOOD, YOU FUCKSTICK.

And not for nothing, but do you want the highest standard you’re achieving to be “What I did does not meet the legal definition of rape.”? Or do you want it to be “I am an actual Sex God who makes all of my partners see the stars in the heavens in all their glory.”? Or at least, “My sex partners and I enjoy ourselves together.” Like, shoot for at least that. Please.