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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.)

sexy making out.gif

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.

Golden Globes 2018

Erica: First things first: Yesterday was Kate’s Big Birthday. She is an Old now. Welcome to the club; we hope you enjoy your new 9 p.m. bedtime.

Kate: By “Big” and “Old” she means 30. I just don’t really FEEL 30, and I WISH I could fall asleep at 9 p.m. I wish.

Erica: And on to the…Well, I don’t really know what to do with the Golden Globes outfits this year. They’re all wearing black. Which, like, solidarity, sister, yay! But also, boring. But also, we are and always have been part of the problem, judging these women on how well they perform a very specific brand of femininity. On the other hand, it’s not like they’re wearing sackcloths now. They’re wearing the same superglam gowns and diamonds mined by poor children that they’ve always worn. Just, you know, black dresses.

Kate: I’m not going to comment on the movement itself, I am just super-bored by all the black dresses, and that’s coming from someone who loves wearing black, particularly black dresses.

Erica: But, many of them brought the fire tonight. Obviously the queen was Oprah, our next president. But we also had Debra Messing holding E!’s feet to the fire, and Natalie Portman pointing out the very masculine Best Director roster and Amy Poehler pwning Seth Meyers during his monologue. (Pwning, right? Am I internetting right?) So, umm…

Kate: I just had to Google “pwning”, so maybe I DO feel 30, and I also had to rewatch those 3 bits because I didn’t notice them during the telecast. Good for those ladies. Also, I am embarrassed that I didn’t know ahead of time about the everyone-wearing-black thing. Also also, I don’t understand why this movement meant no one could talk about the designers they were wearing IN ADDITION to the “Me Too” and Time’s Up” stuff. Did dozens and dozens of designers and stylists and seamstresses and other workers not spend a sh!tload of time on these black ensembles?! DO THEY NOT DESERVE CREDIT?!

Erica: Oh, and by the by, I know I have never seen any of the movies, etc., for any awards show, but this year, I’ve never even heard of most of these movies. But that’s cool.

Kate: Samesies.

Erica: Alright, well, dresses.

 

Alexis Bledel

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Kate: Even though everyone is doing these pants things, this feels dated to me. Like, didn’t Emma Stone kind of already wear this?

Erica: Oh, that is very similar. Although I like Alexis Bledel’s better. Well, maybe. I like the leafy thing she has better than the sparkles Emma Stone has, but also, I don’t love Alexis Bledel’s toreador belt. Or maybe I do. I am confused because I hate jumpsuits and I hate black-and-white formal wear but I like leafy things and not-boring things. But that belt looks like she’s going to trip on it.

Kate: But is it TOO much white for the everyone-wear-black thing? WHERE IS THE LINE, HOLLYWOOD?

Erica: I don’t know. Maybe she gets a pass because she was in A Handmaid’s Tale, that feminist-y blockbuster based on the feminist urtext by Margaret Atwood, and her character was significantly developed from the book in that she became a lesbian and was severely punished for it? I don’t know if I can give the lipstick a pass, though.

 

Alicia Vikander

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Erica: I saw she’s going to be Lara Croft in the reboot of the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider franchise, which is interesting to me because I’m old enough to remember that when Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, the video game, came out, everyone made a lot of noise about Lara Croft’s unrealistic body proportions, and then they cast Angelina Jolie in the movie and everyone was like, “Oh, okay, unrealistic body proportions except for Angelina Jolie.” Alicia Vikander doesn’t exactly have those proportions, but I’ve also heard rumors that millennials don’t like big boobs, or something.

Kate: I don’t know about all that, but when they said they were worried that the everyone-wearing-black thing would look too funeral (I looked it up), this is what they were talking about. I get how this could work on a runway, but on a lovely young girl on the red carpet of a major awards show? Notsomuch.

Erica: I guess I get how this could potentially work on a runway. Because on a runway you wouldn’t have done — or not done — your hair as if you were going to a funeral.

 

Alison Brie

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Erica: Alison Brie is nominated for her role in Netflix’s GLOW, which is about female wrestlers in the ‘80s. I’ve heard good things. Also feminist-y things. And she seems like a good egg. If you haven’t seen Sleeping with Other People, you should.

Kate: I just remember her as stupid Pete Campbell’s wife on Mad Men. She has gotten a bit too skinny for my taste.

Erica: Oh, I’ve been binging Community as my cooking/laundry/etc. show. I like her lots. Now, the outfit…I mean, she looks lovely but I hate pants/skirts. But maybe I hate pants/skirts because I’m married to a too-narrow definition of femininity.

Kate: It’s a huge Thing on the red carpet these days, and I don’t usually like it but I actually don’t mind this one, and the shoes look absolutely fab. So does the necklace. I do not like her hair at all. I have severe Bangs Issues from my childhood.

 

Allison Janney

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Kate: I actually really love this.

Erica: Yeah? I’m not a fan.

Kate: I love how she broke up the black without having too much not-black, and her hair looks simple yet lovely, as does her makeup.

Erica: I guess the dress is just not my thing. Yes, hair and makeup look good. And Allison Janney, you are and always will be my thing. It’s not just about The West Wing for me. I’ve loved you since 10 Things I Hate About You.

Kate: Yup, I’m doing it: BEST DRESSED NOMINEE! *Cue Erica’s shocked face*

Erica: I am, indeed, making a shocked face.

 

Amy Poehler

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Erica: I don’t even need to get into her feminist cred, right? She’s Amy Poehler. She Amy Poehlers about town, Amy Poehlering. She “called out” Seth Meyers for mansplaining their bit (which was of course part of the bit; I’m not trying to shade Seth Meyers here). She created Leslie Knope. And this. She is the very model of a modern female superstar. She rocks.

Kate: I don’t know if it was ALL part of the bit, though? It felt very awkward to me. Also, I can’t find a picture of her without this other lady in it, and her dress makes Amy’s dress look navy blue, not black. No?

Erica: She brought with her Saru Jayaraman, founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which is promoting fair wages for restaurant employees. Which may seem at first only tangentially related to Time’s Up, the specific organization with which actresses are aligning themselves by wearing all black tonight, but if we want to talk about an industry where sexual harassment and assault are RAMPANT, and the women being mistreated have very little recourse because they wouldn’t be waitresses if they didn’t need the money, hello, then let’s talk restaurants. So you go, Saru Jayaraman.

Kate: She still makes Amy’s dress look navy blue. It is pretty, though.

Erica: Okay, clothes. She looks fine. Could have used more makeup, I guess. But also she’s Amy Poehler and I’m not.

 

Angelina Jolie

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Kate: One wonders why she has chosen to show up to one of these things for the first time in years, but my first reaction to seeing her face on my screen was “Well damn, she still looks good.” Puffy 50s bathrobe sleeves aside.

Erica: Yeah, her face is gorgeous and her dress says “I’m ready for the Norma Desmond phase of my career now.” I don’t know what that’s about.

Kate: Mostly I just love the makeup.

 

Caitriona Balfe

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Erica: So, I have not seen Outlander, of which she is the star, because I have not read Outlander, because it is very long and I understand there are upsetting things in it and I’m trying to keep my life 100% happy puppies and falling in love, preferably in the Cotswolds. But I am inclined to like her because she is one of the 300 signers of Time’s Up and I support the idea of Outlander even if I have not participated in it. Oh, and, also, apparently news that she is engaged was broken by her wearing her new sparkly bauble on the carpet tonight. But however. This dress looks to me like she still wanted to look “interesting” even if she did have to wear black and it is awful.

Kate: I had never heard of this person or that show before writing this post, and I do not like her dress one bit. The bodice, length, upper-arm ruffle bracelet things and jeweled straps all make me want to scream.

 

Catherine Zeta-Jones

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Kate: We had not seen her in such a long while but damn, she still looks great.

Erica: She does, she does. I miss her, I think. I would see a thing she was in. You know. If you’re listening, Hollywood.

Kate: She looks better in this lingerie-turned-dress than most ladies half her age would, and I love her subtle pop of (another dark) color with the green earrings. Really, really fab.

 

Christina Hendricks

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Kate: This is very similar to her Mad Men co-star Alison’s dress, no?

Erica: Very. Different necklines but otherwise quite the same.

Kate: She looks fantastic, as usual, but I think the pants are a bit too cropped and not tapered enough for the shoe/overall look.

Erica: I’m still not a fan of this concept.

 

Claire Foy

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Kate: Dammit, I keep thinking they make her look terrible on The Crown and that she is actually fabulous in real life, but this doesn’t prove that theory. The black pantsuit thing has been so done and these pants are way too baggy. Come to think of it, so is the jacket. And her hair is too slicked back.

Erica: The slicked hair would look fine if the jacket fit properly. But what is that on her wrist? It’s a badge of some kind but I can’t make it out. I assume it’s in support of something. Is it just a Time’s Up badge? Or is there a British equivalent of Time’s Up? Or is it something else entirely?

Kate: One wonders.

 

Dakota Johnson

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Kate: I hate this oh so much. That BELT? Where did she get it, Charlotte Russe?

Erica: I keep forgetting who she is. I mean, I know who she is when I see her face, I just forget that that’s her name.

Kate: And the back is so beauty pageant gone wrong. And does she always have to wear her hair like that? Hate hate hate. Worst Dressed nominee!

Erica: Her commitment to the low pony is astounding. Alas, I cannot give much feminist cred to the person who plays Anabella Swansteele. I mean, I know it’s not really her fault. An actress has got to act, and all. But still.

 

Debra Messing

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Kate: This is also very terrible. The cat eye is too catty, the hair is too red (it has a nice wave to it, though) and the dress-pants thing is terrible. Very unflattering around the hip area. Another Worst Dressed nominee.

Erica: Well, I hate the outfit and the eye makeup is a bit much but I love the hair (don’t mind the too-redness) and I love the “Hey, E!, how come you don’t pay your female cast as much as your male cast?” red carpet moment.

 

Elisabeth Moss

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Kate: This is very pilgrim-y, in a bad way, and you know how I feel about that length on the red carpet! Elisabeth! Hey, did you know that she’s a scientologist? I didn’t until last night.

Erica: I think it’s one of those things I hear and forget about her regularly. Man, that’s weird. How’s she making TV about weird-@ss cults and then being in a weird-@ss cult and not noticing? And how do you show up to the Globes in an outfit Serena Joy might wear to something way less formal than the Globes if, in addition to wanting to model some retrograde, prim, uber-Christy form of Christianity, she also wanted to not be fabulous anymore?

 

Emilia Clarke

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Kate: So, it’s kind of true what they say: She looks best as Daenerys. She looks weird when she is not Daenerys. She is also making a weird face here. And she recently chopped off all her hair, so it’s in that weird-growing-back phase. The dress and necklace are nice, though; I actually like the very structured strapless V + bow. You probably don’t, though?

Erica: Oh, no, I don’t mind it. The only thing I don’t like about her look here is the hair.

 

Emma Stone

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Kate: Another one I can’t find a photo of alone on the red carpet, what’s going on people?

Erica: I think it’s your sources; Emma was there. With Billie Jean King, who I believe she plays in that movie she’s in with Steve Carell? And who also does activism stuff.

Kate: Anyway, this is boring and ugly, and when they zoomed in on her face several times during the show I thought her makeup looked absolutely dreadful — eyeshadow too green, lipstick too purple.

Erica: Oh, in pictures in the sunlight I think it looks nice. The makeup, I mean. I don’t know what’s going on with the bottom of her dress.

Kate: So for me, that begs the age-old question: Should celebrities dress for these things for the PHOTOS, for the LIVE TELECAST, for the IN-PERSON-ness, or what? Clearly they all require different levels of hair, makeup and dress.

 

Emma Watson

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Kate: And…yet…another…person…WITHOUT A SOLO PHOTO ON THE RED CARPET! Is this part of the “movement”?!

Erica: Yeah. She showed up with Marai Larasi, executive director of Imkaan, a UK-based organization dedicated to ending violence against black, minority, and/or refugee women and girls. She also co-chairs the End Violence Against Women Coalition. Apparently Michelle Williams had the idea of actresses bringing activists to highlight the activists’ work, and look, it’s working. Good job, actresses, and good job, activists.

Kate: So I think THAT does more than wearing black because then we Google who their guests are and consequently know more about their organizations. I just want some solo shots, too. Anyway, this is not boring but it is ugly, and I hate hate hate her hair. Bangs should never be that short. And does she always wear that shade of lipstick, or what?

Erica: It is an ugly ensemble, and the bangs are weird. And yet, she is still lovely.

 

Gal Gadot

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Kate: She is truly on another level of beauty, but I feel like I only ever see her with her hair like this when it is more than gorgeous enough to be down and loose and wavy, and the mini-jacket over the tight dress makes me feel like she’s going to an expensive restaurant for a lunch meeting rather than the Globes.

Erica: I don’t mind the hair. I don’t much like the outfit. But she is so damn beautiful.

Kate: But…Has red lipstick ever looked better on anyone? Nope.

Erica: Has humanity ever looked better on anyone? Nope.

Kate: Nope.

 

Geena Davis

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Kate: What was going on with her and Susan Sarandon when they were presenting? Did they beef after Thelma & Louise?

Erica: Yeah, that was weird. There’s a concept in improv that Tina Fey has made well known called “Yes, and,” that’s basically about, your performing partner is your partner and you should build the performance together instead of being in opposition. Susan Sarandon seemed like she was kind of in opposition to Geena Davis. I don’t know if it was the lines as written or Susan Sarandon’s delivery. Or maybe I’m just mad at Susan Sarandon still. Maybe Geena is, too.

Kate: I actually like Geena’s dress a lot better than most of the others tonight, but I feel like that lacey neckline has been done a LOT and I don’t like the lace + fringe + sparkle — pick ONE. Or maybe two. Not all three!

Erica: I feel like she, specifically, has done this before. I would say go lace and sparkle, Geena. The fringe is not good.

 

Greta Gerwig

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Kate: A pretty yet safe, therefore boring, choice; it’s not doing all that much for me in either direction (positive or negative). The chunky gold necklace breaks up the black nicely, though; I just don’t like her hair.

Erica: I only put her in because I really want to see Lady Bird.

Kate: Samesies.

 

Halle Berry

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Kate: She is obviously one of the most gorgeous people to have ever lived, but this is so inappropriately short for the Golden Globes I just cannot even.

Erica: It’s a very strangely structured dress for her body type, too, because she’s got a sort of athletic build which makes the shape of it look like something you’d wear if you were a warrior in a Xena: Warrior Princess-y movie, but in black lace.

Kate: Her hair is also — don’t kill me for saying this — too young for her. It would look better in a slick medium-height pony.

Erica: I won’t because by “too young” you mean that hairstyle is best suited to people who have yet to be given legal permission to drink. She’s still so beautiful, though.

 

Issa Rae

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Kate: That leg slit is very Angelina Jolie, so I am automatically skeptical of it. I think I would like this without the sleeve decoration and cape, and necklace, but I also think the shoes are too delicate for the dress/person.

Erica: OMG you’re right I forgot about that dress. Her smile might be the best smile in show biz, though.

 

Jennifer Aniston

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Kate: There are some people who probably didn’t love the all-black thing on a fashion level and some who were like “YESSSSSSSSSSSS!” and I think Jennifer Aniston was part of the latter group. She probably would have worn this anyway.

Erica: Totes. They had the meeting and she was like, “Okay, so, normal day for me? Great.”

Kate: Exactly! Hair is a weeeee bit too messy, otherwise gorgeous.

Erica: Hair also looks a little too light. Was there a weird thing with her and Carol Burnett at the podium? I’m seeing headlines but no video.

Kate: It was just awkward. Everything everyone said all night was awkward.

 

Jessica Biel

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Kate: Her arms are everything I want in my life.

Erica: They are impressive.

Kate: I think I would like this more without that swoopy sash across the front, but then would it be too boring? I very, very much do not like her hair.

Erica: It would be somewhat more boring but still better, I think.

 

Jessica Chastain

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Kate: Um, wow. Wow wow wow. She is sort of hit or miss at these things but I think she chose perfectly — not too much black, sparkle on fleek, hair and makeup perfection. Best Dressed nominee!

Erica: So…Okay. It’s fine. Hair is perfect. I am not super in love with the dress. I feel like the shape of the top is very Speedo-in-sequins. But. I mean. It’s fine.

Kate: What!? Crazy talk.

 

Kate Hudson

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Kate: This is…interesting…but…I don’t think I like it? I definitely don’t like the necklace, it’s not necessary. Let the neckline speak for itself. And I don’t like her new very short hair and I’m not sure why she did that to herself. There’s also a headband in there somewhere; completely unnecessary.

Erica: This is a big no from me. I get that we’re making a stand against sexaul discrimination, but that dress looks like it didn’t all make it out of Harvey Weinstein’s hotel room. I’m sorry. That joke is wildly inappropriate. And yet I can’t stop myself from making it. I don’t mind the hair, though.

 

Kelly Clarkson

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Kate: Yikes.

Erica: That sleeve is pretty weird.

Kate: This is just too much dress, and the gold details are poorly done, like it was put together during a 1-hour mini-competition on Project Runway.

Erica: Actually, the construction looks pretty good, at least in the picture I’m looking at. The concept is just weird.

 

Kerry Washington

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Kate: I usually don’t like her red carpet looks at all, but I really loved this when I saw it on the show. It moved beautifully and had the perfect fit, and her hair was perfectly tousled. In this photo, I hate the shoes with it. A lot.

Erica: First, she is looking way skinny. Second, the dress is much nicer and more normal-human than she usually wears. Third, I hate the shoes so much. But you know what? I hate them as much as I normally hate her red carpet fashion, and they are just a teeny-tiny portion of it.

 

Laura Dern

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Kate: This is interesting, to say the least, and I think I like it. I definitely like the loose wavy hair, but I’m not sure it goes with this dress, ya know?

Erica: The dress is not my thing but it’s a very well-done version of the thing it is, although it does kind of illustrate that wearing all-black is not, like, prohibitive of looking like a regular red carpet walker. I think the hair is fine because I think every person has to decide: are they Wearing a Dress or Committing to a Look? You can do either one, but you have to do one or the other. The loose waves with this dress means she’s Wearing a Dress, not Committing to a Look.

 

Maggie Gyllenhaal

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Kate: You can’t even really tell that this has sparkles, asymmetrical fringe AND pants unless you look really closely. I hate it. So many people did this look for the everyone-wear-black party, and I really don’t like it.

Erica: I kind of think everyone should have gone with a black men’s suit so that it would look like a thing. Now these weird-length jumpsuits are almost their own thing and they are not a good thing.

 

Margot Robbie

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Kate: So I think this is TOO much not-black, and I don’t even like the not-black parts anyway. From the waist up, it’s lovely; everything else is poo.

Erica: Oh, I’m not into the shoulder-pad look.

 

Mariah Carey

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Kate: Common was so terrified of her during their award presentation, which is so funny; he obviously watched Mariah’s World and knew not to mess. This is actually a pretty safe choice for her; I don’t love the strap across the chest, but without it it’d be a very boring strapless black mermaid-style dress, so fine.

Erica: Yeah, I think it looks nice and the major problem with strap is that it’s too high above her boobs and it looks a little awkward. It should be thicker and/or lower. But overall it looks nice.

 

Meryl Streep

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Kate: I am pretty sure she wears this to literally every single award show.

Erica: Yeah, that’s just her dress. She has it in the closet for Wearing to Award Shows. Then she puts it back. Now, she’s with Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and she’s also a MacArthur Genius. Poo led the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York State, so that’s pretty cool.

Kate: But…Her last name is Poo. (See? Not feeling 30.)

 

Michelle Williams

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Kate: I feel like this SHOULD have looked good, but it didn’t. Something is off and I just can’t put my finger on it.

Erica: I am not sure what should have looked good. I don’t like it. Also she looks crazy pale. I mean, I’m a pale woman myself, and I’m not saying she should fry herself or anything but, man. Pale.

Kate: I do think that neckline with that hair required some more interesting jewelry, though.

Erica: She’s with Tarana Burke, the woman who is often uncredited with having started #MeToo, and she is currently the director of Girls for Gender Equity, a NYC organization that aims to help communities “remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives.” So. Another awesome woman getting well-deserved publicity for her important work.

Kate: Woo!

 

Natalie Portman

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Kate: Her face is one of the most lovely, but this is just another velvet pilgrim dress. Do not like.

Erica: Yeah, I do like that she called out the phallocentric director nominees and also that she is beautiful and smart, but this dress is very “I’m going to a funeral at the Ren Faire.”  

 

Nicole Kidman

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Kate: I like this much better in this photo than I did during the show, except for the back. The only lace needed is at the very top of the sleeves, more than that and it’s just too much.

Erica: Oh, I like the back. I feel like she’d been getting so weird lately and this is finally something I could have pictured the old Nicole in.

Kate: Hair and makeup great, though, as usual.

 

Octavia Spencer

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Kate: This is very, very pretty and looks lovely on her, especially with the hair and makeup, but, again, this length! Not appropriate! Even if we are all wearing black and there are only so many black evening gowns in the world!

Erica: See, I usually hate this length, but I think she looks good in it. Is it because she is larger? Does this length look good on larger ladies? Should I be wearing this length? I shudder. Then I laugh because I am a stay-at-home mom with a 16-month-old kid. I wear yoga pants.

Kate: I’m not saying she doesn’t look good in it, I’m saying it doesn’t look good at this event. It’s not appropriate!

 

Oprah

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Kate: Honestly? Probably one of the best dresses of the night. I also love the voluminous hair and sparkly glasses — why do some people look so good in glasses, even when dressed up at award shows?

Erica: Yeah, she looks absolutely amazing. And she knows it, too. That dress is perfection, her hair is fantastic, and her skin is flawless. She’s gotta have a hideously aging portrait of herself in her attic. Or maybe not. Maybe she’s truly living her best life and it’s just showing in her complexion.

 

Penelope Cruz

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Kate: Um, gorgeous. This is how you do everyone-is-wearing-black but still stand out. Love it love it love it, Best Dressed nominee! I don’t even NEED to comment on the hair and makeup. Because DUH.

Erica: I feel like I’ve seen this dress before but also it looks amazing.

Kate: …Yes, because everyone is wearing some version of it.

 

Reese Witherspoon

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Kate: Another person who I feel like this is what they would have worn anyway, everyone-wear-black or not. It’s very pretty and looks well made and suits her body well, but I did not like her hair or makeup. A simple dress like that deserves more interesting hair, and honestly during the telecast it looked like she wasn’t wearing enough makeup. I don’t feel good saying that, but it’s the truth.

Erica: Well, but I think she’s trying to be more in the spirit of the thing? Yes, dress is red carpet appropriate, but I’m not making a big deal of performing my femininity here; I’m just showing up to a formal work function? Plus am I crazy or is she one of the major drivers of Time’s Up? Anyway, I think she looks fine.

Kate: She is. Being passionate about a movement does not mean you shouldn’t look as nice as possible.

 

Roseanne Barr

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Kate: Um, wow? She looks really good? I’m kind of, like, blown away by how good she looks.

Erica: She really does.

Kate: It’s a perfect dress for her, and I really like her hair coloring and makeup. I also had no idea they were reviving Roseanne — are there no new ideas anymore? It’s just the Century of Revivals of TV Shows and Movies?

Erica: Yes. But also. I have to link to my friend Jenny Trout’s column about her. Because I thought I was in favor of Roseanne but maybe I’m not.

 

Salma Hayek

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Kate: Oh god, this looked so very uncomfortable that when I saw her on stage it made me start to itch. So tight! So neoprene! Like a wetsuit with a skirt!

Erica: I have claustrophobia issues. This dress makes me feel like I can’t breathe.

Kate: I also hate the hair. It looks like she did nothing to it after waking up with it in a messy bun on top of her head all night. Why is this somewhat-wet-hair look coming back?

Erica: See, in some pictures it looks good and in others it looks a little bedraggled.

Kate: I do like the necklace, though. A lot.

 

Saoirse Ronan

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Kate: This is not my style at all but I think it really works on her, personality and physique-wise. The jewelry is fantastic, too.

Erica: Yeah, it’s not my thing but it’s a perfect example of the thing it is.

Kate: Also, how Jessica Chastain pronounced her name when she won cannot be right: Sher-sha?! SHER-SHA?!

Erica: Yeah, that’s it. Saoirse Ronan did a whole bit about it on SNL.

Kate: Oh, whoops. Sorry, Jessica.

 

Sarah Jessica Parker

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Kate: I normally love her, so it hurts to do this, but…Completely inappropriate length, too much going on in the dress and her hair color looks cheap. Good shoes, though; probably from her line.

Erica: I feel like we love her but also bag on her red carpet looks a lot. And this is the opposite of Saoirse or Laura Dern, in that it is my thing, or would be, if it were done better. If the top were a little higher so it didn’t actively make her boobs droop. If the netting at the sleeves didn’t look so cheap. If the skirt were pressed. If her hair and makeup were better and she threw on a necklace. And so on.

Kate: I feel like we love her because we see her as Carrie Bradshaw (not that Carrie was a loveable person, she actually kind of sucked), so our love for SatC clouds our judgment of SJP the person.

 

Sarah Paulson

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Kate: In terms of making the everyone-wear-black thing more interesting and fun for me to look at, this is one of my favorites. I do not like her hair at all, though; too blunt.

Erica: Yeah, it’s not bad. It would be nice if something had happened to her hair. It very much looks like she ran some distracted fingers through it while it was still half wet on the way out the door.

Kate: That is what I meant by the somewhat-wet-hair trend coming back. Do not like.

 

Shailene Woodley

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Kate: What we have here is a sparkly plaid turtleneck with a poofy skirt AND A BELT. Worst Dressed, no doubt about it.

Erica: I don’t even understand. Maybe, like, there were two dress bags, and one was for the 87-year-old grandma you were supposed to take, and one was for the talented young star you are, and then the grandma couldn’t come so you grabbed a dress bag and boarded a plane and only when you arrived at home, mere minutes before you had to hit the carpet, did you discover you had the wrong dress? Because then I’d understand.

 

Susan Sarandon

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Kate: I actually liked that her hair was in a pony during the show, but it doesn’t look so good from the front, and this is another ill-fitting pantsuit. Ladies, just because we are all wearing some form of black does not mean we all have to look bad! Black usually looks nice! Come on!

Erica: Pantsuits can even look great! But not when you borrow the one your somewhat portly nephew wore for his bar mitzvah. But honestly, Susan, I can’t even look at you anymore. Sorrynotsorry. I’ll look at your guest instead, one Rosa Clemente, who doesn’t seem to have a specific organization right now — she is described on her website as “an Afro-Latinx political commentator, community organizer, independent journalist, and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate” — but came as Susan Sarandon’s guest to raise awareness about how truly, truly terrible things are in Puerto Rico, a problem she’s documenting through her PR on the Map program. (And listen, I don’t mean to be a jerk about this, but if you want to help Puerto Rico with something other than getting Rosa Clemente’s cameras on the ground to document their misery, donate to the AFT’s Operation Agua. They need water.) They also talked up Time’s Up’s legal defense fund for women who can’t afford to prosecute their harassers.

 

Viola Davis

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Kate: One of the more boring black dress choices, and she tried to spice it up with the necklace — which is too sparkly and has too many layers — and hair. I almost think it would have been better with the hair and dress as is, and no necklace? Or a more delicate one? IDK anymore.

Erica: Oh, I disagree. I like the hair; I like the necklace. I’m fine with all of it.

Kate: So, with Worst Dressed obviously being Shailene Woodley (despite a ton more than usual to choose from), who does Best Dressed go to?

Erica: Oprah. I think hands down.

Kate: I’m good with that. We will see YOU at the SAGs, people! (I wish we would actually see people AT the SAGs, but alas, we’ll be here, on our couches, and in WordPress.)

SYTYCD Season 14 – Finale

Kate: Ok, NOW it’s the finale. I think.

Erica: Yes. Yes, this is definitely it.

Kate: And we’ll be doing everyone’s favorite dances throughout this less-than-thrilling season. Yippee.

Erica: I hate that there’s nothing new. Except group routines. I’m happy about new group routines.

Cat Deeley’s Ensemble

Kate: Love the tousled long waves, as usual, but the makeup feels too heavy and smoky for such soft beachy waves.

Erica: Well, but it was right for the dress, right?

Kate: Yes, the sparkly dress and tall black boots (which feel inappropriate given that it was 85 degrees today) required the smoky makeup, so…The hair was the wrong thing? Say it ain’t so!

Erica: Nah, let’s just say it was all good.

Kate: As for the rest of their ensembles, it looks like an evil daffodil threw up all over Hudgy, and I HATE red/orange eyeshadow like that. It makes you look ill, no matter what.

Erica: You know I tried to do pinkish eyeshadow a few times way back when I worked for Aveda and wore makeup often enough to get bored and try new things, and some makeup thing somewhere told me that pinkish reddish was good for people with blue eyes. It was not.

Kate: It still is not. And I don’t hate what Mary Murphy is wearing, I just hate her hair with it. It’s too flat on top/slicked back away from her face.

Erica: Makes her forehead look too big.

Kate: We’re so mean.

 

Group Routine (All): Jazz, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Dancing On The Ceiling” by Nick Wells

Kate: This felt VERY High School Musical to me. Like, intentionally so.

Erica: Yes. Good description. It was kind of adorkable. But I would say it was feel-good without requiring or showing off that much skill. Like, I could do half those moves. Not with only one week of practice, and I wouldn’t look as good in booty shorts and a crop top, but it didn’t look significantly more challenging to me than a Just Dance routine.

Kate: I had the same problem with the sharpness that we’ve been having all season, except for Koine. She looked perfect and should absolutely win.

Erica: Yeah, she sort of embodies this number in that it’s exactly suited to her cuteness. But also she’s capable of more than this choreography gave her. I did like the newsprint clothes, though. Which should tell you exactly how much of a dork I am.

 

Group Routine (Academy): Every Dance Genre Ever, choreo by Mandy Moore

“Brand New” by Atwater Men’s Club feat. Luke Wade

Kate: Well, this is a first.

Erica: You mean, the whole pre-filmed-ness of it?

Kate: Yea. But of course it was cool, it was every style ever with 100(?) dancers, AND they had time to edit it and do cool camera work that we get so mad about during the live telecasts.

Erica: If anything it really illustrated how much luck goes into who gets on the show and who doesn’t. Because if some of these people are the people who didn’t make it, then damn. They’re pretty good. (Koine and Taylor still stood out in their group, though.) But I am confused. This was seen before, right? When they started the academy episodes? I didn’t watch the academy episodes. I probably should have. Because if it wasn’t shown then, this doesn’t make any sense.

Kate: This song was played a lot, but not this entire routine with everyone in it.

 

Koine & Kiki: Salsa, choreo by Val Chmerkovskiy
“Dança Molengo” by Bonde do Rolê feat. Rizzle Kicks

Kate: Interesting choice by Mary, but glad I got to see Koine in this again. Even Kiki was more tolerable in it this time.

Erica: She is just the embodiment of joy. You’re right, he seemed a little more dynamic this time around. Maybe now that the pressure is off, he can let loose.

 

Group Routine (All): Disco, choreo by Mandy Moore & Val Chmerkovskiy

“You Should Be Dancing” by The Bee Gees

Kate: Figures this would be Hudgy’s choice, of all routines.

Erica: Well, when this routine originally aired, I said it was the routine that would have been in a turn-of-the-millennium remake of Saturday Night Fever, had one existed. And, had one existed, Vanessa Hudgens would have aspired to be in it. So that makes sense.

Kate: I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it now, I just think she could have chosen a more interesting or difficult routine.

 

Taylor & Lex: Broadway, choreo by Spencer Liff

“An American In Paris” by James Levine & Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Kate: For some reason their romance is bothering me. I don’t know if it’s them talking about it too much, or if I suspect it’s fake/just for the show, or what, but it’s just not doing it for me.

Erica: It’s cooked up. Right? It’s got to be.

Kate: This was quite adorable, again, though.

Erica: Yeah, it was nice, but I also wonder if Nigel chose it in part because it evokes one of the most memorable routines of the show’s run, the Hok-Jaimie bird routine.

 

Group Routine (All-Stars + Top 9): Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Ya Ya” by Jonte

Kate: I now agree with you that I don’t like the hip-hop routine being done in tribal costumes.

Erica: Given that I largely know things about dance because of this show, it makes me think that the distinctions between genres of dancing are largely superficial.

Kate: The dancing was pretty much fine, though.

Erica: Yeah, they did well.

 

Dassy & Fik-Shun: Hip-Hop, choreo by Popin’ Pete
“Shake Your Pants” by Cameo

Kate: Didn’t like it then, don’t like it now.

Erica: Kinda liked it then. Still think it’s fine. I have to say, Fik-Shun has never been my guy. His face is more mobile than the rest of his body and it’s sort of exhausting.

 

Group Routine (All-Stars + Top 8): Jazz, choreo by Mark Kanemura

“Call Me Mother” by RuPaul

Kate: I guess I didn’t like this much the first time around, but this time I did! Despite an obnoxious song, the moves and the costumes and the hair and makeup created quite the dramatic production that I really appreciated and enjoyed.

Erica: Nigel was really pimping how amazing the show is when he was introducing this routine. “Millions watched it online! The lighting guy is amazing!” I liked this routine, though. It’s so weird and silly. It’s like the word “frivolous” in dance form.

 

Koine & Lex: Broadway, choreo by Al Blackstone

“L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole

Kate: See, this is weird. We JUST saw this for the first time last week. This season has not been long enough/there haven’t been enough DANCES for us to be picking all of our favorites, FOX!

Erica: I mean, there’s sort of no way to avoid this. If your favorite dance was last week, then that was your favorite. And this, I can’t complain about this being reprised. Nothing else was really something I was looking forward to seeing again. But this? I love this.

Kate: But, again, Koine was adorable as ever.

Erica: I really love the way she gets off the couch in the beginning. Like, she’s even cute when she’s being purposefully not cute. This is maybe the only routine from the season that I will think about when this season is over.

 

Group Routine (All): Contemporary, choreo by Mia Michaels

“Hyper-Ballad (Paky Di Maio Remix)” by Paola Canestrelli

Kate: Now here’s the Mia Michaels we know and love, er, are most of the time weirded out by. It was supposed to be a meeting of addicts, yes?

Erica: I think so. Or boxers.

Kate: Well, powerful message/sob story aside, it was danced beautifully and sharply and with great transitions and drama and tricks and leaps and kicks. Finally, a little of the old SYTYCD!

Erica: Yeah, this was beautifully choreographed and very well danced. Interesting and weird and pretty intense. A bit of a weird note to strike in the finale, but I’ll take it. If this isn’t the last season, they should do whatever it takes to get Mia Michaels to be around more.

Kate: AND A BASKET TOSS AT THE END! YAY, CHEERLEADING!

 

Robert & Jasmine: Hip-Hop, choreo by Chris Scott

“Perm” by Bruno Mars

Kate: Oh, Robert. Forgot you existed.

Erica: I didn’t because I was never not missing Jasmine.

Kate: This was a fun routine then and now, but the constant hairspray spraying really grossed me out. (Although I’m assuming the cans weren’t filled with real hairspray.)

Erica: Hah. But it was super cute.

 

Lex & Travis Wall: Contemporary, choreo by Travis Wall

“TEAR, Part 1” by Son Lux

Kate: Did we seriously expect me to watch anyone or anything besides Travis in this routine?

Erica: No. Very exciting to see him dancing again. So is Son Lux a person who is a big deal other than on this show? Because there have been like 82 Son Lux songs this season.

Kate: I have only ever heard his/her/their songs on this show. Super-cool routine. It felt very Peaky Blinders, but probably just because of the costumes.

Erica: Holy mikeys, that was intense. Very, very, very good choreography. Well danced. See, that routine should let Nigel know that, to the extent that this show is getting stale (it is — I’m sorry, I love it, but it is), it’s because he will not back away from a boy-girl-pair format. I’m not saying that there should be no boy-girl pair dancing, but play with the format, for God’s sake! More group dances! More same-sex pairings! More trios and quads and whatever! There’s nothing about the show that requires nearly every dance to be two dancers, one boy and one girl. Mix it up!

Kate: YEAH!

 

Koine & Marko: Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Korpinen & Elizabeth Petrin

“You’re The Last Thing On My Mind” by Aron Wright

Kate: Still love these 2 together, still love her, still love this routine.

Erica: Oh, no, not this routine! It makes me so nervous! Seriously, though, I thought that there were some great moves but that this as an overall piece was a bit lacking. This time around, I felt the transitions were a little more fluid, but I still think this was almost a great routine.

 

Lex & Gaby: Hip-Hop, choreo by Luther Brown

“Humble” by Kendrick Lamar

Kate: I liked this A LOT better than last time. He was still a tiny bit too stiff in his back in some areas, though.

Erica: He may have danced it better but to me this was still not a particularly memorable routine.

 

Kiki & Jenna: Cha-Cha, choreo by Dmitry Chaplain

“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes

Kate: Still love this song, still want to do a dance (like this) to it, still hate her a lot.

Erica: She really works my last nerve. It’s at least 85% unfair of me but it’s there and I can’t seem to stop it. Hot outfit, though.

 

Taylor & Robert: Contemporary, choreo by Mandy Moore

“To Make You Feel My Love” by Mick McAuley & Winifred Horan

Kate: I mean, DUH! Her legs are so twirly.

Erica: This was quite beautiful and she was quite beautiful in it (as was he). I also really like this version of this song.

Kate: I prefer Koine, but I would not be mad if she won at all. (And I prefer the Adele version of this song.)

Erica: Yeah, either one of them would be fine with me. Taylor was my first favorite but Koine stole my heart. But they are both blessings to dance and deserve America’s love.

 

Results

Kate: Oh MAN, no one picked last week’s Mi Gente group hip-hop routine as their favorite?! 😦

Erica: Oh, yeah, that was a good one. I complained at the time but it was still fun.

Kate: I feel less “Oh MAN” about Kiki being in 4th place, though.

Erica: Yeah, that’s fine.

Kate: Oh my god, Hudgy is performing. She sucks. She’s not even DANCING. NOR IS SHE A GOOD SINGER. DAMMIT HUDGY!

Erica: God, she’s so annoying. It’s too bad because I think I’d like this song if it were sung by someone else.

Kate: Oh, there she goes, with the dancing, with ROBERT!? Not fair. Does not deserve him. She barely did anything, he did everything, obviously.

Erica: I mean, if I were allowed to pick anyone, I’d pick him. But yes. If I ever have jillions of dollars I will buy you a dance with Robert.

Kate: Ian often watches this show and repeatedly complains that he and I could do these dances no problem. For this one, he is absolutely right.

Erica: Video or it didn’t happen. (No, but you probably could.)

Kate: And Nigel’s face while everyone is clapping (and he is not) plus Mary Murphy’s forced smile SAY IT ALL. They don’t like you either, Hudgy!

Erica: He’s trying so hard to keep it together. Poor Nigel. Hoisted very much on your own petard.

 

Kiki, Koine, Mark & Taylor: Contemporary, choreo by Sean Cheesman
“Still I Rise (Maya Angelou)” by Alexis Henry

Kate: Oh, I thought we were done with routines, but we had to squeeze in one more because of Trump and hurricanes and #TaketheKnee and every ISSUE the world is currently facing.

Erica: This show is going to save us all. Nigel told me so. I like this routine, though. It’s interesting, even if they flubbed it a bit. (Again, Nigel, the show is better when you break format a bit.)

Kate: It was pretty funny when Cat chased them off stage. Lots of weird live show errors this season…

Erica: Mark didn’t want to leave. I liked Cat comparing them to “boxes of frogs”. I don’t know if that’s an Australianism or just a Cat-ism, but I like it.

 

More Results

Kate: TAYLOR is in 3rd place?! LEX COULD POTENTIALLY WIN THIS SH!T? America, we are in worse shape than I thought. And I thought we were in the absolute worst shape possible.

Erica: I do not believe that they accurately report results. A boy went so now a girl does because Nigel is so very dedicated to boy-girl evenness.

Kate: Oh my god, screw this. I give up. I’m done with this show, and I blame Trump.

Erica: MFer. It’s Lex. It’s because he’s a boy. We probably can’t exactly blame Trump, but they are symptoms of the same disease. Which is misogyny, in case you don’t realize it. Koine is a queen and she deserved it and Lex is dumping Taylor with no scruples right now.

Kate: Booooo!