Misogyny & Aaron Sorkin – “The West Wing,” 1.10, “In Excelsis Deo”

There are many things I should be doing right now (like going to bed) but I am choosing this instead.

To remind you, I am using these posts to a) recap a much-beloved (by me and in general) TV show, and b) point out the misogyny in it. Because I like to combine my two favorite activities – watching TV I love, and hate-watching! 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 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,

!. When we see evidence that Toby & C.J. are doin’ it. Not misogynist, just entertaining to me personally.

Previously, on “The West Wing,” Danny brought C.J. a goldfish; Sam tried to save his escort friend from her degrading lifestyle; and Leo revealed to Josh, after a Congressman named Lillienfield started talking about drugs at the White House, that not only is he addicted to alcohol, he has also gone through addiction to prescription medication.

It’s Thursday, December 23 at 7:30 am. Oh, shit, it’s the Christmas episode. You guys, I have to warn you, I have . . . allergies, okay? Hay fever.

Anyway, we’re in the foyer and there’s Christmas decorations and Mandy is telling C.J. something to do with Christmas media event plans. Dickensian costumes and Santa hats. Yeah, I’m agreeing with C.J. that they will, in fact, clash. But already we passed the Bechdel test! Go episode! -10!

And then Toby grouses about why he has to be there because caring about Christmas stuff is for girls. 4. 

Sam seems significantly less cranky about Christmas planning than Toby. Then Sam and Toby get into a stupid fight about the year 2000 not being the actual start of the new millennium. I didn’t care in 1999 and I’m certainly not going to care now. Toby is adorably grumpy, though.

As they are pede-arguing, one of the assistants – Bonnie, I think? – stops Toby because she’s got the D.C. police on the line. Shit. It is this episode. I have a dust in my eyes, people! Dust!

Toby peels off and Sam tries to get C.J. to care about when the millennium starts. She does a decent job of seeming like she cares, until she informs a Secret Service agent that she’s on her way to the Oval Office and the Secret Service agents says into his wrist-thingie, “Flamingo is on her way.” I’m giving a 1 to this Flamingo-as-C.J.’s-code-name thing. It’s not exactly slapstick but it’s using her body for comedy.

Credits!

Misogyny Points Thus Far: 1 

Park. Park bench. Dude sleeping on park bench. Toby approaches a total “Hey, it’s that Guy!” I know he was the dude in “Fringe,” the, like, head of their department or something? And other stuff but I don’t remember what right now. Anyway, he is the D.C. police guy, and he reveals that it was not a dude sleeping on a park bench. It was a dude dead on a park bench. A dude by the name of Walter Hufnagle. Because Aaron Sorkin loves his names. Toby doesn’t know the guy, but apparently he had Toby’s business card in his jacket pocket. Because Toby gave a coat to Goodwill and the coat had his business card in it.

Toby is sort of horrified that the dead body is still there, and is also disgusted that the guy, despite being a veteran (as evidenced by a tattoo on his forearm), isn’t receiving a whole lot of respect.

We’re back at the White House, in Josh’s section, where Donna has greeted Josh. Donna has apparently prepared a list of things she’d like Josh to buy her, all ski-related, despite the fact that she doesn’t ski. Because girls, right? 8. Then Josh tells Donna he has to meet with Leo to talk about Donna’s Christmas present and Donna goes, “Really?”, all hopeful, like she believes him. 8. Then he promises Donna to think about the skis and, as soon as her back is turned, he throws her list in the trash. 5.

Leo is at Margaret’s desk, signing Christmas cards with Margaret and being irritable with her 5 despite the fact that Margaret is no happier about this activity than he is. Leo sends Margaret out of the room so that he and Josh can talk about Lillienfield having the information about Leo and his pill addiction. Josh speculates that Lillienfield is going to wait until after Christmas, when people are paying attention, to drop the other shoe. So he wants to go on a preemptive strike – using Sam’s escort friend. Ugh, Josh. Just ugh. Let’s give this a 2 and see if there are any other numbers we can use as this plot line progresses.

Leo is against this plan, because “we don’t do these things”. Good for you, Leo.

Josh is about to leave when Leo fills him in on a recent hate crime against a gay teen. I’m assuming this is the fictional version of Matthew Shephard. Although Matthew Shephard’s assailants were not thirteen years old, as these fictional assailants are. So, Leo tells Josh, they are going to have to talk about hate crimes legislation, and C.J. is going to send up a “test balloon” at her briefing to get a feel for where the public is on this.

Josh goes and Leo bitches at Margaret some more. 5.

C.J. is giving the press the president’s holiday schedule, with a cute line about how he’s leaving at 5 a.m., no delays, so that means probably noon. One of the journalists brings up not-Matthew Shephard – whose name is Lowell Lydell – and C.J. confirms his condition and, in response to a question about whether this will bring up hate crimes legislation, C.J. says she supposes it would have been better to bring it up before Lowell Lydell was assaulted.

Toby is on the phone trying to get information about Walter Hufnagle. It’s not going well. Mandy is knocking on his door. Toby tries to explain what’s going on and Mandy doesn’t care because she’s soulless. 8? Apparently she wants to talk about the Dickensian costumes/Santa hats issue. Toby mocks her. 4 & 5. Not because he’s wrong, but because what function does this exchange serve other than to illustrate that Man Toby is dealing with Sensitive, Important Things like Homeless Vets whereas Stupid Girl Mandy is dealing with Stupid Girl Stuff. Toby goes back to his phone call.

MPTF: 10

Josh is walking and Donna joins him for a pedeconference. Only they actually stop walking because Donna does not, as Josh assumes, want to talk about her Christmas list, but instead wants to know what’s going on with Leo. Josh closes the door to his office and gets a little pissy that Donna was talking to Margaret about this but Donna does not feel bad and Josh doesn’t really look that surprised or angry. Donna is disappointed that Josh isn’t doing anything about it. Josh feels bad about that. It’s the first exchange EVER between Donna and Josh that hasn’t set off my Misogyny Meter.

C.J. is leading a group of kids into the foyer with all the Christmas stuff and instructing them on how to talk to the president. The president enters and the kids, as instructed, give a hale and hearty, “Good Morning, Mr. President!” The president makes dad jokes at them and it’s adorable. C.J. smiles and is also adorable. But then Charlie gestures and C.J. escorts him away so that Charlie can inform them that Lowell Lydell has died of his injuries. Everyone is sad. Then the president has to go back and make some more dad jokes at the kids.

In a hallway, C.J. is walking when Sam joins her. He feels she didn’t so much send up a test balloon as a test firework. She doesn’t see why that’s bad, and Sam says they’re not sure where they stand on this. C.J. knows exactly where she stands on people throwing rocks at the heads of gay teenagers. Sam tells her to pull back anyway.

C.J. wants to know what Sam’s new Secret Service nickname is. It’s “Princeton.” C.J.’s is, as you may recall, “Flamingo.” Yeah, I’m keeping the going for this. Sam is trying to extricate himself from this conversation because 8 and they peel away from each other.

MPTF: 12

Another assistant – who is actually maybe Bonnie and the other one from before is Nancy? – asks Sam how he’s doing. Sam claims he is 27 hours from Bermuda and therefore doing fine. I, having watched TV before, am going to bet a whole lot of money that he will not, in fact, be in Bermuda in 27 hours.

Josh approaches Sam and follows him into his office. Josh wants Sam to introduce him to Laurie, his escort friend, so that he can get information from her. Sam initially protests, but then Josh reveals the thing about the pills and that it happened while Leo was Secretary of Labor. Josh reminds Sam that they “owe Leo everything,” and Sam agrees to call her and go see her with them.

In the office that’s right outside the Oval Office, Mrs. Landingham reminds Charlie to remind the president that the president is allergic to eggnog. Charlie agrees, and comments on how festive the White House looks. Mrs. Landingham looks disinterested, which is, of course, why Charlie brought this up. He notes that she seems a little down this week.

You guys. Allergies. Mrs. Landingham reveals that her twin sons chose not to defer when they were drafted for Vietnam, instead joining as medics (as they were in medical school at the time). Then they were killed in battle on Christmas Eve. “It’s hard when that happens so far away, you know, because, with the noises and the shooting, they must have been so scared. It’s hard not to think that, right then, they needed their mother.” ALLERGIES, YOU GUYS. IT IS SO DUSTY IN HERE. I cannot praise Kathryn Joosten (Mrs. Landingham) enough for her work in this scene. She’s so matter-of-fact, so plainspoken in her description. It’s spare and quiet and I’m going to be crying all night now.

Toby is at a memorial – I think the Vietnam one? But then it must be the Korea one because that was where Walter Hufnagle fought? There is a Korean War memorial, right? Toby talks to a vendor about Walter to get more information. The vendor tells Toby that Walter had a community that hangs out at “Capital and P”. Toby asks if the vendor is a veteran and, when he says yes, Toby introduces himself and shakes his hand. God, his puppy eyes in this storyline break my heart.

Mandy is in the Oval Office yelling at the president for not letting her send a couple of (press) guys to photograph him shopping at a rare books store. 3 for her general demeanor and 4 and for the president’s dismissiveness towards her for trying to do her job. Josh comes in and the president asks him to come along. Josh is astounded that the president manages to sneak out for excursions like this every once in a while. The president asks Josh if he knows about the underground tunnels out of the White House. Josh does. The president says he hasn’t found them, even though he looks almost every day. Hee. Josh for some reason is hesitant to go because these people I guess don’t want to write books or have any fun. I’ll go with you to a rare books store, Mr. President. Josh asks if he can be dropped off the Washington Monument instead. The president gets in the line of the night when he says, “It’s Christmas, Josh! No reason we can’t do both!”

C.J. is pulled into a pedeconference by Danny, who knows all about the president’s secret excursions, because of course he does. He’s like the opposite of 9 in that he’s a male character who should actually be kept in the dark about many things but of course knows them anyway. So any time he does that I think I’m going to give it a reverse 9. It’s my system and I can do what I want, that’s why.

MPTF: 16

Anyway, Danny didn’t want to talk to C.J. about work, of course. He wants to talk to C.J. about the list he put together on why they should date. C.J. tells him to give her a few hours to put a list together of why they shouldn’t and complains again about the code name “Flamingo” 1. Danny goes and Sam comes up and C.J. asks what Sam and Josh have going on tonight. Sam assumes she knows about their plans with Laurie but in fact C.J. was inviting them over for dinner. This is stupid. Why wouldn’t she ask Josh separately if that were the case? I mean, why would she assume that Sam would know what Josh’s plans were for dinner? And now, because Sam is acting suspicious, C.J. knows something is, in fact, up. Sam is not super-quick. But Sam insists that it’s nothing, again, and the scene ends.

At the rare book store. The president is very excited about a book he’s found and Leo is not really entertained. Mandy complains to Josh that they couldn’t bring some press, and Josh complains about how boring the selections here are, while describing what sounds to me like a perfectly interesting book.

The president wants Leo to come up to Manchester with him for Christmas, but Leo wants to stay back and work. Then Leo tells the president that after the holidays, they’ll have to deal with his Lillienfield situation, but the president ain’t tryin’ to hear that. Charlie ushers the president out while very politely making fun of the president’s gift of choice for Zoe. Leo reminds Josh not to talk to Sam’s escort friend and they go.

Toby walks down to Capital & 9, where bunch of homeless guys are in line for soup. One of the homeless guys points out Walter Hufnagle’s brother and tells Toby he’s a little slow.

Toby finds the brother under a bridge or overpass or something, where George Hufnagle identifies himself. Toby tells him his brother is dead and George Hufnagle reacts like a slow, sad man in a Frank Capra film. Toby very awkwardly tries to explain what he’s doing while George Hufnagle focuses on the northeasterly winds off the Chesapeake and does not understand at all what it means that his brother was a veteran who got a purple heart. (Purple Heart?) George also reveals that he slept at the shelter to avoid the winds but there weren’t enough beds for Walter.

Toby decides to tell George that Walter deserves a proper funeral and very uncomfortably tells George he is very influential and wants to make sure Walter gets that funeral. One of the other guys – the guy who pointed George out to Toby – assures Toby he’ll make sure George is there to be picked up for the funeral the next day and then refuses to take Toby’s money.

We’re in C.J.’s office with Danny and C.J. is reading her list. Danny, it turns out, only made a mental list. Danny gives C.J. fish food as a Christmas present and tells C.J. that he’s going to ignore her list because he thinks it’s ridiculous (his words!) and because he has a crush on her. Blergh. Argh. Danny, it’s not even remotely within the vicinity of “ridiculous” that the press secretary doesn’t think she should date a White House reporter. 4. And calling her “ridiculous” is rude. 8. Also, you have a crush on her and that’s supposed to make your total disrespect for her professional and personal boundaries okay? 12 and STFU! (I’m using 12 for now but I may need another number for Nice Guy phenomena. We’ll see.)

Leo comes in to C.J.’s office (wouldn’t she normally be called in to his) to tell her to dial down the hate crimes talk. He doesn’t know what side they’re on when it comes to hate crimes. C.J. continues to know what side she’s on. Leo understands her argument – that this was a crime of entertainment, fueled by pathological homophobia – but isn’t sure we should legislate how people think.

You guys, when I first saw this episode, I thought this was a valid argument on both sides. Now I know it’s kindergarten stuff. The issue with hate crime legislation is not “legislating how people think,” it’s about whose jurisdiction the crime is in, since a community with citizens that hold virulent enough homophobia (or racism, or sexism, or anti-Semitism, or what have you) may also have police, judges, lawyers, and jury members that hold virulent homophobia and therefore they may not be able to be trusted to investigate and prosecute the case fairly. And it annoys me when this show, with all its pretensions of high-minded debate and intellectual rigor, goes this immature on important and substantial issues.

But this is not about misogyny. Although now two men who are higher on the totem pole than C.J. have told her to sit down, shut up, and keep her opinions to herself. So maybe I think it’s time for an 8.

MPTF: 21

C.J. is also dismayed that Leo has no plans for Christmas and offers to come cook him something. What? And Leo is dismissive of this. 4.

Oh, good, the boys are at Laurie’s place. She looks suspicious. As well she should be. Sam explains the situation condescendingly and Laurie, who gets more than he thought she would, is fucking pissed, as well she should be. Then Josh gets really rude and threatening and Sam tries to defend him and then Josh tries to pretend he didn’t mean to be rude. Then he actually does apologize and Laurie tells him they’re the good guys and they should act like it.

I don’t even have enough numbers to throw at this scene. A 6 for her calling them the good guys. A 2 for the entire plan and maybe an 8 for how Josh talked to her and a 4 for Sam being surprised that she understood what was going on and an extra for when Josh said he didn’t want to take civics lessons from a hooker. Good God, y’all, that was bad.

C.J. is arguing with Leo some more about hate crimes legislation and it continues to be the junior high debate team version of this issue. Then Sam and Josh come in and Leo sends C.J. out and then hollers at the boys for going to Laurie. Which is great but I’m also giving this a 7 because this should be two guys who screwed up at their jobs by doing something boneheaded and stupid and mean and awful that their boss told them not to do. But of course, they are valiant, noble guys who were only doing it to protect Leo. Josh says they meant well. Leo asks, “Is that supposed to mean something to me?” Josh says, “No,” but then Leo says, “It does.” They proved their loyalty. A screw-up but for a good reason.

Sam leaves but Josh stays to talk more to Leo about how miserable this is all going to be. But Leo knows. And Josh will be working through Christmas.

C.J. says Merry Christmas to the press corps then pulls Danny over. She is looking for him to agree with her on hate crimes, in exchange for which she will go on a date with him. Ugh. 2. He does not agree, even more vehemently than Leo didn’t agree. For some reason, C.J. wants to go on a date with him anyway. 2 again. And then she fixates on the Flamingo thing again and glares at him. Women who have interest in men in Aaron Sorkin scripts behave in the oddest ways towards them. 1. For the Flamingo thing.

Josh is right outside C.J.’s office and asks how Danny is doing. Danny doesn’t know. Because women, they are so confusing. 8. Donna opens her present from Josh, which is a rare book about skiing. He tells Donna he wrote a note inside. He wrote on the inside cover of a rare book?! The fuck, Josh?!

Anyway, Donna starts to read the note and she gets weepy because it’s sweet, even as Josh tells her not to get weepy. 4. “You see? You spend most of your time being, you know, you, 3 and then you right something like this to me.” And she goes in for a big hug and then says, “Skis would have killed you?” 8.

MPTF: 35

The president comes in to some room where there are Christmas decorations and a choir and people clapping.

Mrs. Landingham wishes Toby a good morning and says the president would like to see him. She asks if he used the president’s name to arrange a funeral with a homeless veteran. Yes, in fact, he did. Mrs. Landingham tells him he shouldn’t have done that but I think the looks that pass between them indicate that she’s really glad he did.

As they listen to the choir sing “Little Drummer Boy” (which, incidentally, is Zoe’s favorite Christmas carol. I myself prefer Bruce Springsteen Christmas – although I am also fond of my sister’s fiancé making fun of Bruce Springsteen Christmas – but of the traditional carols, “Little Drummer Boy” is my favorite, too.), Mandy continues to natter on about the rare book shopping excursion and the PR opportunity the president is forcing her to miss and he’s telling her to can it. A 3 and a 5, I should think.

Then the president brings Toby into the Oval. He kind of gives Toby a little shit for arranging things in the president’s name but he’s obviously not really angry. Toby explains what happened. The president says, “You don’t think if we pull strings like this every homeless veteran will come out of the woodwork?”

“I can only hope, sir,” Toby replies, quietly. I swoon a little.

Mandy comes in to tell the president his absence in the other room is conspicuous. They leave the office, and Mrs. Landingham, already in her winter gear, asks Toby if she might come along. You guys. THERE IS DUST. So much dust.

So now we cut between scenes of the military funeral, and the choir of children singing “Little Drummer Boy,” and also the rest of the senior staff gathering, lined up in profile like a Norman Rockwell painting, listening to the choir. I give it up. It’s not dust or allergies. I’m openly sobbing in front of my computer at midnight. Heartstrings? Effectively pulled.

Total Misogyny Points: 37. A pretty heavily misogynistic episode. But also a great one for Richard Schiff and Kathryn Joosten.

 

Oscars 2015!

Kate: It’s here it’s here it’s here!!!

Erica: Tonight, we will be joined for a few looks by my resident fashion expert, Zoe. She drew some pictures of outfits, and of the hairstyles and jewelry she thinks they ought to have worn. I will present them below, but first, since we’re not including them in the official look, here are her drawings of Kelly Osbourne’s dress:

oscars 2015 zoe kelly osbourne

Zoe: The back of her dress could use a little cut. It could just take away one frill. The shoes should be a high heel.

Erica: But they are a high heel.

Zoe. I mean like a total high heel. And less black.

 

Erica: – and Giuliana Rancic’s:

oscars 2015 zoe giuliana rancic

Zoe: I feel sort of weird that her body shows. I think it needs to be a little more covered up. It could be a little trimmed — a tiny bit, but not too much. Her hair should be in a bun-braid. The earrings should be a little fancier and longer.

Erica: And also Jason has a comment or two to make.

Kate: Ian does too, when he’s not having an aneurysm while watching Illinois basketball. My favorite Oscars ever is still the one Billy Crystal hosted when Titanic was nominated 30000 times.

Erica: Was that the same one that had Matt Damon and Ben Affleck nominated for Good Will Hunting and he sang, “Matt and Ben/You are so young” to the tune of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”? Because that was my favorite, too.

Kate: I believe so.

Erica: Also, one quick question for the evening: Am I the only person in the whole wide universe who sees Bradley Cooper and goes, “Fine”? “Fine” as in, “I mean he’s nice looking and all, but does absolutely nothing for me,” not as in, “Fiiiiiine.”

Kate: Stop it, he’s sexy. And awayyyyyyyyyyy we GO!

 

America Ferrera

oscars 2015 america ferrera

Zoe: I think that wherever it needed to be sewed or patched, there should be a gemstone line, silver, like the middle of her dress.

oscars 2015 zoe america ferrara

Erica: I think the dress is really, really lovely. I am impressed.

Kate: Really? I don’t like it at all. I’m not completely sure why, but I don’t. Her hair looks like Katharine McPhee’s at the Grammys, a.k.a. half up and bad.

 

Anna Faris

oscars 2015 anna faris

Kate: Oh this is just so sparkly and pretty. She looks like a twinkly glass of champagne and stardust.

Erica: Yeah? I mean, I think she looks nice enough but I’m not enamored.

Kate: I don’t like her hair that much, but the dress is so freaking adorable I almost don’t care. (Almost.)

Erica: I like her a lot, but I feel like her hair always looks a little meh.

 

Anna Kendrick

oscars 2015 anna kendrick

Erica: Damn, she looks good.

Kate: GORGEOUS! Omg I love this. It’s kind of Ancient Grecian/Egyptian? Love!

Erica: I think it’s more modern than anything else, but it is really flattering on her.

Zoe: I think there should be an opal-studded belt at the middle and a silver necklace with an opal at the end, with a gold frame around it. I think there should be another opal at the top of the neck triangle.

oscars 2015 zoe anna kendrick

Kate: Too much opal, Zoe, and you know how I feel about belts. In some pictures the dress looks pink/coral, in others it looks more red/orange, and the red/orange looks better. The hair is a little more structured than I like hers to be, but she probably had to do that because of the neckline of that fabulous dress. Best dressed nominee?

Erica: I’m not actually as enamored of this. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it (except that the color looks weird with the red carpet). It looks flawless on her. I just…I don’t know. I don’t love it.

Kate: Giuliana Rancic and Khloe Kardashian were discussing this dress on the pre-show and Khloe said it’s not an “Oscar color” and it looks like she’s “going to a dance”. DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON WHAT YOU WEAR YOU EFFING HORRENDOUS DECREPIT PIECE OF GARBAGE! I’m back on my I-want-to-kill-a-Kardashian rant.

Erica: Oh, I am fast-forwarding but I thought I heard someone say that. It sounded to me like someone looking for something negative to say.

Kate: Well I’ve got lots of negative things to say about the person who said it!

 

Cate Blanchett

oscars 2015 cate blanchett

Kate: Not my favorite from Ms. Blanchett, but she might be close to if not already in that “I don’t give a f*ck” category with Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.

Erica: I kind of love the statement necklace.

Kate: The boring dress would look a lot worse without the statement necklace, but I think the necklace itself is more I’m-going-to-brunch than I’m-going-to-the-Oscars, so I’m conflicted about it. Don’t like the hair and makeup.

Erica: I think her lip gloss is flawless and I think, once you put the necklace with the dress, you’ve got Oscars.

 

Dakota Johnson

oscars 2015 dakota johnson

Kate: Remember Er, she didn’t write 50 Shades, and she is not actually Anastasia Steele. She just chose to be in the movie. Let’s leave that aside and be objective in our judgment of her outfit.

Erica: I can put that all aside (although, if she wanted me to put aside her 50 Shades connections, maybe she shouldn’t have worn a silver rope on her dress). I still feel like, meh.

Kate: I think this is a little too night-out-on-the-town and slinky for the Oscars. Also, that ponytail? That’s what my hair looks like when I’m in my apartment and I know no one else will see it (minus the bangs, thank God I got rid of those).

Erica: Yeah, I’m not super-excited about the hair or anything to do with the outfit.

Kate: I am overall a little bored by her, I just don’t think she’s that pretty or interesting. But her mom is Melanie Griffith, apparently?

Erica: Yeah, I know that. Her and Don Johnson. She actually looks a lot like Melanie Griffith.

 

Emma Stone

oscars 2015 emma stone

Erica: Oh, man.

Kate: Hate it.

Erica: I don’t hate the hair but I hate the dress A LOT. She continues to be a charming and pleasant person, though.

Kate: Hate the hair, hate the color, hate the silhouette, very upset about the downhill-ness of her red carpet looks from year to year.

 

Felicity Jones

oscars 2015 felicity jones

Kate: Hmmm…I don’t think I love this as much as her Globes and SAGs dresses.

Ian: She’s wearing the wedding cake from Seinfeld.

Erica: So, it’s interesting. And, like I said in our Grammys coverage, I’m into not boring lately. But…I don’t know. I don’t like it. But it is interesting.

Kate: Let’s see. I like the color on her. I think it’s a beautiful and dramatic gown that looks expertly made — very Alexander McQueen — but something about the overall look is just not doing it for me. I’m sad about having that feeling because I love her.

Erica: You know what, maybe I do like it. The more I see it, the more I think, you know, it’s glamorous and well-made and a little cutting-edge and I am looking forward to her red carpet future.

 

Gwyneth Paltrow

oscars 2015 gwyneth paltrow

Kate: Ewwww!

Erica: Heehee.

Kate: That was my exact reaction upon seeing the first picture of this dress: EW. You can do better, Gwyneth!

Erica: My first reaction was, Heehee!

Kate: That shade of pink looks nice against her skin and hair but it’s so yay-we’re-having-a-girl, I can’t stand it on the Oscars red carpet. And that SLEEVE? No.
Erica: I do not like it but I am massively entertained by it. She’s looking kind of orange, no?

Kate: Orange and wearing ice blue eye shadow. I canNOT with you right now, Gwyneth.

 

Jennifer Aniston

oscars 2015 jennifer aniston

Kate: Well this just knocks it out of the park now doesn’t it?

Erica: Very sexy.

Kate: I love it. I don’t love it enough to give her a best dressed nomination because I wish she had done something else with her hair, but I love it.

Erica: I feel like it’s a little too boring for best dressed, but I like her hair. It’s her, you know?

Kate: It must be tough to show up after getting a nomination snub. #TeamJen forever. Why is the world so out to get her?!

 

Jennifer Lopez

oscars 2015 jennifer lopez

Kate: Holy cow. Now that’s an Oscars dress!

Erica: For real.

Kate: I sort of wish one of the nominees had worn this — maybe Felicity Jones, or someone with flat boobs — but it looks great on J. Lo. I really like her high bouncy pony. Makeup is a little too neon.

Zoe: That’s a winner for the night, don’t you think?

Kate: I like it a lot, Zo!

Erica: Me, too. And you know, I like that she usually looks like a sex goddess, and this is more princessy (albeit with a lot of cleavage), but it also looks amazing on her. And it’s my kind of dress, you know? I like Elie Saab. Although Emma Stone is in Elie Saab, too, and I hate that.

 

Jessica Chastain

oscars 2015 jessica chastain

Kate: Ooooh I like. I think?

Erica: I love. I really really really love. She looks fantastic. I already love that color, and I thought I loved it best on blondes but it looks damn good with her red hair.

Kate: It’s very sexy and flattering, and yes the blue looks great on her. Very Christina Hendricks. But the hair and makeup may be a bit too casual/plain, and I do not think she needs the necklace.

Erica: No way, no way, no way. This is in the top five for me.

 

Julianne Moore

oscars 2015 julianne moore

Kate: There’s something about that curved strapless silhouette that is very flattering. I just wish it only had the embellishment on top and bottom and not near the hips; the one near the hips breaks up the dress in a weird way.

Erica: Oh, I think the embellishment at the hips is very flattering and glam.

Kate: I am not so into this color on her, but the sleek low bun with the deep side part might make up for that. Yeah, I think the hair is making up for the color. #Weddinghairpossibility

Erica: I totes think your hair should look like that for the wedding. I mean, except, yours should be brown.

 

Keira Knightley

oscars 2015 kiera knightley

Kate: Her Golden Globes gown was atrocious, then she almost redeemed herself with the SAGs frock. Now she’s back to sucking. I hate this whole entire situation.

Erica: Really? I like this one. It’s romantic and pretty. I would like it if the color were just a little more fine-tuned — it looks like Silly Putty, a bit — but I love the look. I like romance and floral and embroidery. Also, pregnancy is looking good on her.

Kate: Completely disagree.

 

Kerry Washington

oscars 2015 kerry washington

Kate: Oh I’m so glad the peplum is back on the red carpet, said no one ever.

Erica: The thing is, she looks great, even if the dress does not.

Kate: This dress is half mother-of-the-bride, half quilt. Hate it. I feel like Anthony Marantino on that episode of SATC when he goes wedding dress shopping with Charlotte: “HATES IT!” I like her hair, though.

Erica: Yeah. I don’t like the dress. But her hair and makeup and general personality are flawless.

 

Lady Gaga

oscars 2015 lady gaga

Kate: Theeerreeee’s the Gaga we all know and love. She looks quite out of her mind.

Erica: No, but for real, what is going on with her face? I know she’s never been stunningly pretty or anything, but something is happening that looks severely unhealthy.

Kate: I think she has just gained weight, she was alarmingly skinny before. Alas, I hate the gloves. Way to start a stupid trend, Amal!

Erica: Please. On Amal, they were classy and glam. Lady Gaga’s are just…Well, whatever. She’s Lady Gaga. That’s what she does. Most of the time.

Kate: I just don’t like the looseness — elbow-length gloves should fit you right.

 

Laura Dern

oscars 2015 laura dern

Kate: Wow! This is much more interesting than what she usually wears. We never even include her in these posts even though she is at every single award show, but I felt like we had to include her tonight because she is nominated.

Erica: That is interesting. I don’t like it, but it’s interesting.

Kate: I don’t think she needs that big necklace with so much going on all over the dress, and the clutch is too matchy-matchy. Hair also a little too casual, very Jennifer Aniston, but this is overall a good look. Not the BEST, but good.

Ian: She looks like she’s going into a joust match. She’s dressed in a medieval suit of armor.

Erica: In that case, she’s leaving a lot dangerously uncovered. I actually like her hair. I mean, yes, I guess it’s casual, but it also looks really nice.

 

Lupita Nyong’o

oscars 2015 lupita nyong'o

Kate: She would be the one to wear a dress made partially of pearls, and I would be the one to say I do not like it, not one bit.

Erica: I want to like it, I do. I like the concept. And I love stark white on very dark skin. And I like her. But yeah, no.

Kate: There’s a scene in the truly amazing film Burlesque during which Christina Aguilera’s character performs a sexy routine in a shorter version of this. I like the Burlesque dress better. Worst dressed nominee.

Erica: I can’t do it. I can’t give her worst dressed. I like her too much.

 

Margot Robbie

oscars 2015 margot robbie

Kate: Smoke show.

Erica: She looks like sex walking.

Kate: This dress could be too old-ladyish, but I think the hair, makeup, necklace and deep V actually prevent that and make it pretty hot.

Erica: Yeah, totes agree with all of your points.

 

Marion Cotillard

oscars 2015 marion cotillard

Kate: I think you cannot look like this if you are American. There is just something about Europeans, they have an extra layer of elegance and chicness Americans can never even hope to achieve. Maybe that’s why Audrey Hepburn was so perfect.

Erica: She looks amazing and perfect. The dress is daring and interesting and high-fashion. It looks great on her and it’s interesting and glamorous.

Kate: This dress is actually pretty extreme couture — like, it would be great on an American at the Met Ball, but on Marion Cotillard at the Oscars? Effortlessly striking perfection. Best dressed nominee!

 

Meryl Streep

oscars 2015 meryl streep

Kate: Her usual flawless black-and-white, I-don’t-give-a-f*ck elegance. Could do without the belt, but Meryl does not give a f*ck about what I could do without.

Erica: She is the Grand High Duchess of Not Giving a F*ck.

 

Naomi Watts

oscars 2015 naomi watts

Kate: I do NOT like that it looks like she’s wearing a bandeau under her dress. I hate bandeaus. If you’re wearing one, you’re wearing a shirt you bought knowing you couldn’t wear a normal bra under it, and that’s just too silly for me to approve of. I get that the bandeau may just be part of her dress, but I still don’t like it.

Erica: Is she at all comfortable? Like, isn’t she awfully itchy in that? I was reading something regarding what to dress little ones in for weddings (for no particular reason) and it advised that a whole bodice with sparkles, while pretty, was going to itch under their arms like crazy. And that’s all I could think about looking at this.

Kate: I don’t like the dress at all, and I really don’t like the dark purple lipstick against her fair skin and light blond hair. It doesn’t even match the ugly dress!

Erica: Naomi Watts is very pretty but I hate all of this.

 

Nicole Kidman

oscars 2015 nicole kidman

Kate: So I still really enjoy her long bob, but I cannot help but wonder if she has worn this dress before?

Erica: I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t much like it.

Kate: I’m also not sure if it’s white or gold or iridescent or all three? The hideousness of that clutch is making me very angry. I blame Covet for my noticing the clutches more than I usually do.

Erica: Blame? Or thank? I really hate the color on her.

Kate: But WHAT COLOR IS IT?

 

Patricia Arquette

oscars 2015 patricia arquette

Kate: This dress is nice and she looks fine, but I was really hoping for something else from her. She knows she’s going to win!

Erica: But I think her thing is to look, basically, fine. I get the sense that she just tries to look appropriate for the occasion, and not, like wildly sexy and glam and amazing. That said, her hair? Not really acceptable for the occasion.

Kate: Agree on the hair. This is actually a very Meryl dress, and Meryl she is not.

oscars 2015 zoe patricia arquette

Zoe: I think there should be better silver earrings. I want the purse replaced with a necklace and a bracelet. I think there should be a repeating frill on the higher sleeve.

Kate: I am not sure how I feel about “repeating frill”.

 

Reese Witherspoon

oscars 2015 reese witherspoon

Kate: The hair, the makeup, the jewelry and the dress are all so very Reese. It’s interesting that she chose to wear white to every award show this year, white is a bold choice.

Erica: She really looks flawless.

Kate: Many will say this is boring, and maybe it is a little bit, but she still just looks so good. I love her. I can’t wait to watch Wild.

Erica: I don’t know, it’s just so smooth and perfect. Her hair, her makeup. It’s not a remarkable dress, but it’s a really great look on her.

 

Rosamund Pike

oscars 2015 rosamund pike

Kate: I do like me some red on the red carpet.

Ian: I likes it!

Erica: Holy moly she looks AMAZING. Very, very, very tiny, but I FREAKING LOVE THIS DRESS. And this whole look. LOVE.

Kate: Agree, she looks fantastic. I like that the dress is less “out there” than most of her other choices, and her body looks hot-damn incredible. I also really like the very simple makeup and hair. Another best dressed nominee! (So far it’s Anna Kendrick, Marion Cotillard, and Rosamund Pike. Just so we’re keeping track.)

Erica: So for me, it’s Rosamund Pike, Jessica Chastain and Marion Cotillard. And maybe Jennifer Lopez, though I agree with you that the makeup is a little much. But I have to say, I feel like these ladies brought it tonight.

 

Scarlett Johansson

oscars 2015 scarlett johansson

Kate: The color and silhouette are fantastic on her. I cannot figure out what is happening on her neck.

Erica: The neck thing looks weird.

Kate: The neck thing is probably too much for me, and the hair is way too punk for the Oscars, but if I just focus on the dress, it’s perfection.

Erica: I don’t know. It’s a good color but the neck and the neckline just look super-weird.

Jason: She looks like an alien.

Erica: And Jason usually loves her.

 

Sienna Miller

oscars 2015 sienna miller

Ian: Ooooh! What’s she in?

Kate: She played Chris Kyle’s wife in American Sniper, and we like her better as a brunette, remember?

Ian: Oh yea.

Kate: I like this dress and extremely fierce makeup. The multiple bows are a little much, but it’s overall nice on her. I HATE the hair — what is this, Little House on the Prairie? When they zoomed in on it during the pre-show it was either a) still wet, b) hairsprayed within an inch of its life or c) both, and that irked me. A lot.

Erica: I’m not sure why I can’t stand her and have, like, visceral euch reactions to her every time I see her. I might be a bad person.

Kate: When do you see her besides at award shows? But that’s how I feel about all the Kardashians. And Miley Cyrus. And Rihanna and Beyonce. Hmm…

Erica: I think you are carrying a lot more anger towards all of those people than I am towards Sienna Miller. But there is something about her that just makes me go bleh.

 

Zoe Saldana

oscars 2015 zoe saldana

Erica: She looks amazing.

Kate: The color looks absolutely beautiful against her skin, but the detail on the hips and the necklace and the hair are extremely unflattering. The spaghetti straps make it look like lingerie.

Erica: Really? I think this is so flattering on her. She doesn’t look as twig-like. This is actually on my best-dressed list.

Kate: No, we have to remove it from that list. She is not twig-like because she just had a baby.

Erica: Oh really? Mazel Tov! The extra pounds look GREAT on you, hon!

 

Kate: So, Best Dressed?

Erica: Rosamund Pike! And I say this without really knowing anything about her. I didn’t see (and probably won’t see) Gone Girl and I don’t know anything else she’s done and I have never read an interview with her or anything. I just love, love, love her dress.

Kate: I am ok with that, but can Best Dressed be a tie between her and Marion Cotillard?

Erica: Yes. Absolutement.

Kate: Yay! Worst Dressed?

Erica: You know, I really feel like they all stepped up their game tonight. I’m not giving it to Lupita, partly because she has too much credit with me and partly because, yes, I don’t like the dress, but, I feel that the dress accomplished what it meant to accomplish. I don’t want to give it to Gwynnie because, as stupid-looking as it was, it made me laugh. Kerry Washington’s done worse, and her hair and make-up were perfection. I think that leaves Naomi Watts for me.

Kate: Or Emma Stone?

Erica: Yeah, but I liked Emma Stone’s hair and make-up better than I liked Naomi Watt’s hair and make-up. It should be noted, though – the credit Emma Stone has as my dream bff DOES NOT COUNT toward red carpet looks. And she has ZERO credit there.

Kate: Well then who do we give Worst Dressed to!?

Erica: I want to give it to Naomi Watts. You can give it to Emma Stone if you like. Or we can have another tie.

Kate: Ok, I can give it to Naomi Watts. That does it for us for award show season, folks — sad face! But don’t you worry, the dynamic duo will be back this summer for So You Think You Can Dance season 12 — auditions are already under way!

Erica: You guys, I’m doing Zumba now, so by May, I might think *I* can dance!

Visiting

Greetings, friends! If you can’t wait until Sunday (well, Monday morning) for another dose of my wit and wisdom, head on over to Land of Lost Books, where Lynne and I have been talking first love. Book first love. http://landoflostbooks.com/portfolio/the-potential-hazards-of-re-reading/

Grammys 2015

Kate: I feel like this may be a bit prejudiced, but I care a wee bit less about the Grammys than other award shows.

Erica: It is the awards show where I go, “Who is this person?” more than any other.

Kate: I just do a better job of keeping up with movies and TV than music — I don’t even know what kids listen to these days. I took a looksee at the nominees while writing this post, though, and I hope Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran win absolutely everything because I a) actually know who they are and b) like their music very much. I also miss Adele.

Erica: Oh, Adele always dresses so pretty, too.

 

Anna Kendrick


grammys 2015 anna kendrick

Kate: SMOKIN’!

Erica: She most certainly is.

Kate: I have to say I’m a little over the suits-on-ladies red carpet trend, but she looks GORGEOUS. I love her hair like that. I want mine to look like that. Best dressed nominee!

Erica: I am always in favor of suits on the red carpet when they look this good. She really looks amazing.

 

Ariana Grande

grammys 2015 ariana grande

Kate: So does her hair just not do anything else?

Erica: I actually just saw one of those listicle things that showed her hair when she first was doing whatever it was she was doing — she’s another Disney Channel refugee, right? — and it was, you know, different. But this has been her look for a while now. I mean, she looks pretty. I don’t know if it’s just her face or she’s affecting that sexy-baby look all the time. It’s a little annoying.

Kate: I don’t think she’s Disney. She looks lovely, but I don’t love the asymmetricalness of the dress. That silver fabric thing looks like it’s stuck to the white dress because of static cling, or something.

Erica: I am not a fan of the dress, really.

Kate: What was even the point of her arriving in that dress? Her performance dress was gorgeous, much better. I kind of want it.


grammys 2015 ariana grande performance

Erica: Oh, yeah, I like those kinds of dresses on you. And it is gorgeous, and it’s not really different enough from the red carpet dress to warrant changing, you know? I mean, it’s different, obviously, but a similar shape and overall look.

 

Beyonce

grammys 2015 beyonce

Kate: I’m not even saying this because I’m a Beyonce hater, but she doesn’t look that good.

Erica: Are you a Beyonce hater? I am not particularly a Beyonce hater — I’m not a fan, but I respect and admire her talent, her self-control and her business acumen. I’m not loving this, though.

Kate: I am 100% a hater. Her hair is too long and flat, her makeup looks barely done and she has definitely already worn this dress or 20 others just like it. OVER YOU, BEYONCE!

Erica: The dress is nice but nothing special, the hair could be better, and yeah, the makeup is practically nonexistent. But also — every picture I saw of her was of her standing like this. Are her hips in danger of falling off if she doesn’t hold them in place? Is there something wrong with her elbows and she needs to keep them in exactly that position for the rest of forever? What’s going on, Bey?

 

Charli XCX

grammys 2015 charli xcx

Kate: Do we even have to discuss this one?

Erica: Ah, it’s my first “Who the f is this?” of the evening!

Kate: She sings songs that are currently popular, I think. This COULD work if the suit weren’t so effing wrinkled and ill-fitting, and if the bowtie were not such a vomitous shade of pink, and if the fur were a) clean and b) more of a contrast to the suit. But all of that awfulness with that gross hair gross makeup and even grosser attitude? No thank you. (Unfortunately, I do like the shoes If only her toes weren’t STICKING OUT OVER THEM.)

Erica: I would just lose the fur entirely, iron the suit, and then I think you’ve got something. Something a little whacky, a little off, but I like whacky and off at the Grammys. The hair, yes, the hair needs improvement. By which I mean shampoo.

 

Ciara


grammys 2015 ciara

Kate: I don’t understand why Ciara is all of a sudden a fashion person — she hasn’t had a popular song since I was in high school, and she didn’t dress all that well then.

Erica: Wait, before we discuss the dress, can we discuss her arms and shoulders for a minute? Because holy hell, woman. You look good.

Kate: Ya. But this is pretty but way too over-the-top couture for the Grammys, for someone not even nominated. I would rather see Beyonce in this, even though I am a Beyonce hater.

Erica: See, I love over-the-top couture for the Grammys. And I like this and I think it looks awesome in it. And okay, yes, this is a lot of look for someone who’s not even nominated, but hey, why not look awe-inspiring anyway?

 

Gwen Stefani

grammys 2015 gwen stefani

Kate: What DOES she do to her face? She keeps getting prettier!

Erica: I am feeling so many things right now. Things I can’t seem to put in order.

Kate: I do not like the pants, or pantsuit, whatever it is, but I like the top of it a lot. And I love her makeup. I feel like her hair always looks like that, so that’s fine.

Erica: I don’t mean to love this. It is a jumpsuit. A capri jumpsuit. With that awkward bagginess in the hips, thighs, crotch area. As I am typing this, I recognize that these things should be vomitous. And yet…and yet. I think I love it. I think it may be the Platonic ideal of Gwen Stefani Grammy outfits. I don’t know what’s happening to me right now. I’m having some sort of existential crisis.

 

Iggy Azalea


grammys 2015 iggy azalea

Erica: I know who she is. And I’m not a big fan. And do we not think her face doesn’t look quite human? Is it the makeup here? Because she looks like what would happen if an alien tried to disguise itself as human and got it almost right. She is the personification of the Uncanny Valley.

Kate: I absolutely hate the hair. Really, I wish she had shaved it all off rather than done that awful braid crown thing. The dress, however, is excellent.

Erica: It is a cool dress.

Kate: It flatters her body incredibly, and I adore that color. (Have I said that enough this award show season?) It could have been a tad longer since she’s so tall and it has that mesh part on the bottom, but overall a great dress. Also, I like the very natural (but tan) makeup. Not alien-y to me.

 

Jennifer Hudson

grammys 2015 jennifer hudson

Kate: Remember when Jennifer Hudson was, like, THE highlight on all red carpets at all award shows for a couple of years?

Erica: Yeah, those were good times.

Kate: Unfortunately, this is way too casual. I like her edgier hair and makeup, I am even mostly ok with the choker necklace, but I really don’t like the dress. It doesn’t even look like a well-made too-casual dress.

Erica: I think she looks nice, if not remarkable. The dress is a good silhouette for her and I like her hair short. She could use a better bra.

 

Jessie J

grammys 2015 jessie j

Kate: I am not a fan of the slicked back hair, but this is a great Grammys dress — elegant with a little edge. Her performance dress was alarmingly similar; like, why bother with both?

Erica: This is pretty much the perfect Grammy dress. Glamourous and flashy and a bit edgy. The hair is a mistake and this picture makes her look like the joker. Also, is she wearing those talon-esque nails? A lot of them were, weren’t they? I hate those nails.

Kate: Agree.

 

Katharine McPhee

grammys 2015 katherine mcphee

Kate: Hmmm.. I like the color, but it’s overall a liiiiiitle too cheap prom for me.

Erica: I loathe the dress.

Kate: Also do not like the hair at all. And are the things in the middle of the cleavage gold or bronze and her earrings are silver? Come on.

Erica: Yeah, come on, Katharine McPhee. You cannot act to save your life, but you are a very pretty girl and you can sing very well. Do better.

 

Katy Perry

grammys 2015 katy perry

Kate: She is actually an extremely pretty girl, and I always want her to wear something a little weird that is still stunning. This dress is not that — the length paired with the shoes is not at all flattering. Maybe if it were more of a sleeveless sweeping ballgown, in that same material/color? AND THE BELT. DAMMIT WITH THE BELT.

Erica: Maybe. I feel like she makes a lot of choices that are weirdly old-lady-ish. She is very pretty, though.

Kate: The hairstyle is nice, if not a little casual, but the color? Come on. I don’t like it on Kelly Osbourne, I sure as heck don’t like it on Katy Perry. Fab makeup though.

Erica: I hate that the color has those black roots, like, on purpose.

Kate: Actually, it must have been a wig, because she had very slicked-back black hair for her performance.

Erica: I kind of thought her performance ensemble was cool.

grammys 2015 katy perry performance

Kate: I thought this was a great performance — no bells and whistles, just singing. Yay Katy!

 

Kim Kardashian

grammys 2015 kim kardashian

Kate: If everyone were allowed to kill one celebrity, I might choose Kim Kardashian. Or her mom, or her sister (Khloe). Truly some of the worst possible human beings on the planet.

Erica: I do not feel the rage you feel towards her. Probably because I’ve never seen her show so I don’t actually know how terrible a person she is.

Kate: She looks absolutely ridiculous. Worst dressed nominee.

Erica: Look, Kim, you wanted sexy bathrobe, but you missed it. You missed it because of those stupid pockets and the overall shapelessness and the fact that your hair looks like you might actually have recently gotten out of the shower and your makeup isn’t really helping that impression at all. But mostly you missed because J. Lo already did sexy bathrobe. She did it 15 years ago and she did it way, way better than you.

grammys 2015 grammys 2000 jennifer lopez

Kate: KIM ALWAYS TRIES TO DO A SEXY BATHROBE AND SHE LOOKS HORRIBLE EVERY TIME! GRRRR!

Erica: To my friends — yes, that was 15 years ago. Yes, we are very, very old now. Sorry.

 

Lady Gaga

grammys 2015 lady gaga arrivals

Kate: I miss when the Grammys were all about Gaga — what creature/machine she was going to ride in on, what type of edible product she would decorate her body with, what mindf*ck of a performance she would deliver. Did she simply just out-crazy herself?

Erica: What is happening with her face?

Kate: This is crazy in that it is so normal (for her). Probably a little too sexy, and it doesn’t need the necklace or the matching green earrings. I think I am most alarmed by the normalness of her hair.

Erica: No but what is happening to her face? This looks like a drag performer doing Lady Gaga.

Kate: Also, are she and Tony Bennett sleeping together? Very touchy-feely during their pre-show interview.

Erica: Ew, Kate. How am I supposed to sleep with that image in my head?

 

Madonna

grammys 2015 madonna

Kate: Oy vey.

Erica: Whatever. I love it.

Kate: I’m ashamed to call her my neighbor.

Erica: It is very much not boring. You go on with your crazypants self, Madonna. You are welcome on any red carpet I’m looking at.

Kate: But it was uncomfortable to watch her perform. She looked like she was about to fall over any second.

 

Meghan Trainor

grammys 2015 meghan trainor

Kate: I have obviously heard her quite catchy “All About That Bass” song, but I always thought it was by a non-white girl, so whenever anyone said “Meghan Trainor”, I pictured Megan McCain, as in Senator McCain’s daughter. So there’s that.

Erica: Really? You’d never seen the video? Or heard one of her complaints about the song, that a white girl claiming to be the one who was “bringing booty back” was a bit appropriative?

Kate: Oh, and this dress is horrible.

Erica: It looks like a less attractive version of the on Jessie J is wearing.

 

Miley Cyrus

grammys 2015 miley cyrus

Erica: I kind of think this is perfect for her.

Kate: She looks a hair classier than usual, but the dress could do with, like, 4-6 fewer cutouts.

Erica: You know, it’s the Grammys. The dress is totally Grammys appropriate and I like that it’s simple and that she kept the hair and makeup and jewelry simple and just kept the point of interest the insane amount of cuts.

Kate: I would have liked it more with better makeup. She’s still a bag of trash.

Erica: Kate! That isn’t nice! And she isn’t a bag of trash! I really think something happens to the girls who go through the Disney mill. That is not a healthy place to be.

Kate: She brags about doing drugs and instagrams naked pictures of herself in the tub. Trash.

 

Miranda Lambert

grammys 2015 miranda lambert

Kate: I like how her lipstick coordinates with those pink straps, but other than that this falls a little flat for me.

Erica: It’s her hair. That’s what’s falling flat.

Kate: I like her hair shorter, but the style itself is too casual for a red carpet, even if it is “just” the Grammys.

Erica: Well, her husband wore blue jeans.

Kate: Don’t even.

 

Nicki Minaj

grammys 2015 nicki minaj

Kate: I am not a Nicki Minaj fan — personality or music — and I usually hate her red carpet fashion. I’ve always felt like she’s a lesser version of the old Gaga. She has, however, toned it down lately, as evident here, and I really don’t hate this dress. Her boobs and butt are OUT of control, but I really don’t hate this dress. (This is about as positive as I can get about her.)

Erica: There is something about her I find appealing. I don’t know why. This dress is not awesome, but I don’t hate it either.

 

Nicole Kidman


grammys 2015 nicole kidman

Kate: Another SMOKIN’!

Erica: Yeah, she’s looking pretty good.

Kate: I normally don’t like anything resembling a turtleneck on the red carpet, but somehow it works on Nicole. I love the dress and her shorter sleeker hair, and I fully acknowledge that on anyone else I would probably say this dress is too casual, but…Best dressed nominee!

Erica: She’s nominated? Oh, wait, you’re saying, she’s a nominee for Best Dressed. Now I get it.

 

Rihanna

grammys 2015 rihanna

Erica: That is a whole thing unto itself.

Kate: Borrowing from my friends’ group text message: “Rihanna looks like a froofy cupcake”. And not in a good way.

Erica: Hey, I’m not bored. And maybe we’ve been doing this for too long but Not Bored is very big with me these days.

Kate: This monstrosity took up about 3 seats during the show. I hope Fashion Police rips her a new one with this.

Erica: She didn’t show up with that dreadful accessory on her arm, so I’m happy.

Kate: He was there, though, and nominated, and there was a lot of talk/singing about domestic violence.

 

Sia

grammys 2015 sia

Kate: You know something, if her white-blond bob with blunt bangs were not so extremely exaggerated, I might love this outfit. Even with the pants.

Erica: I couldn’t find any pics without the sidekick.

Kate: I’m just not sure why she did this — does she have that Daft Punk thing where she doesn’t want to show her face?

Erica: I don’t think so? Don’t you see her face in music videos and the like? Anyway, I do actually kind of like the cape thing and it looks appropriate with that length of pant even though I do not favor formal capris and the shoes are great and…You know what, I’m even going to be in favor of the crazy hair. It’s a look. It’s an outlandish look, but it’s the Grammys. Why not be outlandish?

Kate: I have confirmed that she does in fact have the Daft Punk thing where she doesn’t like showing her face. She didn’t show it during her performance, either.

 

Taylor Swift

grammys 2015 taylor swift

Kate: I absolutely love the pop of purple on the shoes — like, really love. I want them. I don’t not love the dress, but the short part is just a little too short, and the earrings are too matchy-matchy.

Erica: I see what you mean about the earrings, and I’m not loving the structure of the top. I do flipping love the color, and I agree with you 100% on the shoes. That purple is everything.

Kate: The dress did not need the extra straps, but that’s Elie Saab’s fault not Taylor’s.

Erica: I think the straps look fine. It’s the neck and the lack of any femininity to the top that I’m not super-loving. But I think we are being nit-picky because Taylor’s red carpet game is always on fleek. (Can you tell I learned new slang this week?)

Kate: I do not even know what fleek means.

 

Zendaya

grammys 2015 zendaya

Kate: She is a very pretty person. I usually don’t like the darker purple lipsticks, but it works with her skin and hair. Right?

Erica: I also do not know this person. And I’m not loving the lipstick, not so much because it’s dark purple, but because of the dark liner-lighter lipstick look that I thought had gone quietly into that good night in the late ‘90s.

Kate: The dress is a little curtain-esque, but I think it would be pretty great if the one sleeve were shorter.

Erica: Yeah, I kind of weirdly like it, even if it does look like she just wrapped a piece of fabric around herself and tied it with a matching belt.

Kate: So, best dressed?!

Erica: Oh boy. See. The person who popped to my head first was (sigh) Gwen Stefani. Gwen Stefani. In a capri jumpsuit with baggy crotch! But there it is. That’s who I liked the best tonight. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My saner self would go Anna Kendrick.

Kate: Then let’s go with Anna! I am ok with Gwen as runner-up. Worst dressed, also worst human?

Erica: I’m guessing the answer is Kim Kardashian?

Kate: CORRECT! Ok people, the next time you hear from us will be the morning after the mother of all red carpets, the award show we wait all year for, say it with me Er!

Both: THE OSCARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SAGs 2015

Kate: So at the end of our Golden Globes post when I said we’d be back for the Oscars, I totes forgot about the SAG Awards and the Grammys. Shame on me!

Erica: And I forgot to Tivo it. So I’m using photos to judge the outfits. Not as accurate, I’m afraid.

Kate: Let’s get right to it.

 

Amy Poehler

sag 2015 amy poehler

Kate: Pretty, very Amy, but hold on — is she pregnant? Were we right about that with the blue dress at the Golden Globes?

Erica: Now, I’m only looking at pictures; I missed the telecast. But I’m voting…Yes? Pregnant? Because normally she’s kinda boxy, so I can’t imagine that she’s just gaining weight in a round shape on her tummy.

Kate: If she’s not pregnant again, I feel extremely mean saying that, but it looks like a very pronounced bump (from the side) that she is purposely showing off. What are we supposed to think, Amy?!?

Erica: I honestly don’t think we’re being mean because she doesn’t look fat, she looks pregnant. And a quick Google search indicates that we’re not the only ones wondering. Either way, she looks great. Did the dress look midnight blue during the telecast? Because at first I thought it was black, and, black, this dress is lovely and more feminine and glam than her usual looks and I am in favor. In midnight blue, I am in majorly more favor.

Kate: Methinks midnight blue.

 

Anna Chlumksy

sag 2015 anna chlumsky

Kate: Well I guess she got rid of that baby weight, dayum Anna! …On second thought, she actually looks too skinny, way skinnier than usual. What happened, Anna?

Erica: I think her weight looks alright; I’m not loving the dress.

Kate: This is a dress I wouldn’t normally like, but it looks very good on her. Perhaps needed one more inch off the hem, though.

Erica: She kind of looks uncomfortable. That “What am I doing here?” look we sometimes see on stars who don’t know they’re stars.

Kate: I do wish she would change up the hair a little — another blowout for the red carpet? We can do better, Vada Sultenfuss.

Erica: Can I tell you, I have legit reasons for not changing my last name when I got married that having nothing to do with Anna Chlumsky, but I also have Anna Chlumsky-related reasons? Because in My Girl 2, when she’s trying to find her dead mom’s high school friends, she keeps running into walls because they got married and changed their last names. So, you know, if one of my high school friends dies and her daughter comes looking, I want her to be able to find me.

 

Claire Danes

 sag 2015 claire danes

Erica: Nope.

Kate: WAY better than the Golden Globes. Way. (Ignoring those scales on the sides.)

Erica: Are you also ignoring the color, the cut and the BELT? Which doesn’t even look like a belt; it looks like something you’d use to fasten the duffel bag you’re taking to sleepaway camp in 1992?

Kate: Ok I am ignoring the scales on the sides and also the belt. I like the color, and I love her hair that way.

Erica: Yeah, her hair looks nice.

 

Danielle Brooks

sags 2015 Danielle Brooks

Kate: Oh my gosh she looks so pretty.

Erica: Taystee? Holy moly she looks awesome.

Kate: Excellent choice for her, very elegant, I love the color and her hair and makeup and accessories. The dress was pulled a little too tight in the belly area, but otherwise perfect.

Erica: Gorgeous color, great shape, love the one-shoulder thing, and her hair and makeup are pure class.

 

Emilia Clarke

sags 2015 Emilia Clarke

Kate: So this looks like an extraordinarily well-made dress and nice and everything, but it’s overall just a little boring for me. I do not like the two-tonedness of it.

Erica: I really totally hate the two-toned thing. And these particular two tones? Dark blue and black? I mean, do I really need to explain what’s wrong with this? Look, people, you can mix neutrals, but you have to be careful. It’s almost never acceptable to mix two DARK neutrals, okay?

Kate: There also seems to be a kind of half-cape thing in the back, which I get is very Khaleesi, but I do not like it.

Erica: She should just dress like Khaleesi all the time. Khaleesi has style.

Kate: I have a Khaleesi bracelet!

 

Emma Stone

sags 2015 emma stone

Kate: No Emma. No.

Erica: I feel like, I get it. I get what this was supposed to be. It’s just…It’s not good.

Kate: I tried to get behind her Globes look, but I cannot with this. It takes “menswear” 70 steps too far. Worst dressed nominee.

Erica: I love her very much but I almost never like her red carpet looks.

 

Felicity Jones

sags 2015 Felicity Jones

Kate: Best dressed nominee. Amazingly chic and elegant. She is rocking her red carpet debut season.

Erica: She looks darling.

Kate: But I still need to see her movie, dangit.

Erica: Who is she again?

Kate: She plays Stephen Hawking’s wife in The Theory of Everything.

 

Jennifer Aniston

sags 2015 jennifer aniston

Kate: I like this green even more than I like Claire Danes’ green — yay green!

Erica: Yeah? I like neither green. Also, hello, boobs.

Kate: That necklace is very Covet IRL. (No one else knows what that means, but that’s ok.)

Erica: I need more people to know what that means. I need more closets to borrow from.

Kate: Hey loyal Fashion Police blog post readers — download Covet and let Erica and I borrow from your closets! Thanks in advance.

 

Joanne Froggatt

sags 2015 joanne froggatt

Kate: It takes very specifically shaped and sized boobs to pull off those pointy cup things. (Very technical fashion term.) I love the dress, and I adore her hair.

Erica: Again, is this reading as black or as midnight blue on the telecast? In black? Elegant and lovely. In midnight blue? ALL THE GOLD STARS, JOANNE FROGGATT. And I’m sorry I don’t watch your show anymore. You’re fabulous; the whole crew is fabulous. I just could not handle the emotion.

Kate: It sometimes looked black and sometimes looked very dark grey and also sometimes looked midnight blue, so I am really not sure. I may be a bit biased toward her red carpet looks now because I know Brad Goreski styles her.

Erica: Who in the what now?

Kate: Brad Goreski was Rachel Zoe’s assistant way back when and then he had his own show on Bravo and now he replaced George Kotsiopoulos on Fashion Police. Duh! (I adore him.)

 

Julia Roberts

sags 2015 julia roberts

Kate: Smokin’.

Erica: I love that “I’m Julia Roberts; I do not have to give a f*ck!” look. It gives her a very special glow.

Kate: THIS is how you do “menswear”, Emma Stone! Take notes!

Erica: To be fair, I think Emma Stone’s dress was going for something completely different. I feel I should mention Julia’s hair, because it looks fabu, but there’s some breaking news for you: “Julia Roberts’ Hair: Fabulous!”

 

Julianna Margulies

sags 2015 julianna margulies

Kate: Fab fab fab fab color. You know I love that royal blue, especially on us dark-haired ladies.

Erica: My computer screen doesn’t even know how to handle that color. It’s pixel-shocked! (That is a compliment. I love the color.)

Kate: Hairstyle is a little too casual for me, and I don’t know how I feel about the skirt in and of itself, but it works for her. Also great makeup.

Erica: I can’t see anything but that color. Good job there.

 

Julianne Moore

sags 2015 julianne moore Kate: She is one of very few people who can actually pull off this color.

Erica: It is a classic green for the redheaded ladies. And it’s a classic for a reason.

Kate: I do not so much love the actual dress itself, but she overall looks very good.

Erica: I think the dress is very pretty but could use some structuring in the bodice area. But she looks fantastic.

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

sags 2015 julia louis-dreyfus

Kate: Oooh she’s giving me a little Elaine Benes here!

Erica: Yeah? Because the hair?

Kate: Yes, I love that she did her hair curly. I very much like this dress, but her makeup is a tad lackluster. And it takes a lot for me to say that because I love her so much.

Erica: I like the hair. I like the dress. I agree with the makeup, but this is another event where I feel like we’re seeing a lot of too much makeup and a lot of not enough make-up. Maybe it’s just the sun? Or lack of sun? Whatever the weather is doing to the lighting in LA?

Kate: Or all these HD cameras and HD TVs picking up what people’s faces actually really look like?

 

Julie Bowen

sags 2015 julie bowen

Erica: I kind of like this?

Kate: This is something we have come to expect from Julie Bowen, so it’s fine, but I like how she made her hair a little edgier than usual. No?

Erica: I think this is a lot better than we usually get from her, in that it doesn’t look ill-fitting or like something a crazy person would wear and it’s not a dreadful color. And yeah, I like her hair. But I know she’s messing with me. I know she’s setting me up, giving me a false sense of security so she can really wham me over the head with whatever she’s got cooked up next.

 

Keira Knightley

sags 2015 keira knightley

Kate: Leaps and bounds better than her STUPID Golden Globes dress, but still not all that impressive.

Erica: Is she sporting a bump?

Kate: Yes, she is confirmed pregnant. It’s a great color, obviously one that I like, but it has weird stringy things around the sleeve area, and that half-up hairdo is how I wear my hair to work when it’s dirty or just weirdly wavy. It doesn’t look bad, it just doesn’t look red carpet-y.

Erica: I do love the color, and I love the lace, and since she is pregnant, I love the shape, but if she were not, then that front ruffle would be a little bit of a problem. But you’re right, it doesn’t look red carpet-y. If you got rid of the mesh inset and shortened the whole thing to the knee, it’d make a lovely summer frock. You could even keep the sleeve ties then. But as a red carpet gown, it is not great.

Laverne Cox

sags 2015 laverne cox

Kate: So I get this look for her, like I get it, but it’s not properly tailored. I see actual wrinkles and gaping in the material that shouldn’t be there.

Erica: Even if it were properly tailored, it would be very pageant-y. Although I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Kate: Interestingly enough, I like her hair? Am I losing it?

Erica: Yes. Yes, I think you might be.

Kate: I accept that.

 

Maggie Gyllenhaal

sags 2015 maggie gyllenhaal

Erica: This makes her look very boxy.

Kate: I am not feeling this at all. Why are these celebrities so into squishing their boobs into submission with these dresses?

Erica: I think she has a weird relationship with her boobs. They never look right in the red carpet gowns she chooses.

 

Maisie Williams

sags 2015 maisie williams

Kate: Adorable!

Erica: I love love love the dress. I am not big on the gothy makeup or the messy hair.

Kate: A bit too sexy though with the boobs? How old is she IRL?

Erica: I just checked; she’ll be eighteen soon. I think this is perfectly appropriate for an almost-eighteen-year-old.

 

Meryl Streep

sags 2015 meryl streep

Kate: So Meryl.

Erica: Continuing to not give a f*ck.

Kate: I just love that I worry about wearing my (new) glasses to a friend’s party at her apartment, and Meryl wears her glasses to red carpet events, like, all the time.

Erica: She is a boss b*tch. She does not have to give a f*ck. Hey, look here!

sags 2015 meryl and julia

Erica: TWO boss b*tches who do not give a f*ck! One with great acting chops, the other with great hair, both with that golden glow that career security and not giving a f*ck lends to one’s skin!

Kate: When I saw that they were sitting at the same table, I was like, “Yup”.

 

Naomi Watts

 sags 2015 naomi watts

Kate: Eh.

Erica: Midnight or black?

Kate: Definitely midnight, this one. Boring, wrinkly. I need something else from her hair; I’m over the deep side part.

Erica: Whatever, she’s pretty and she looks fine. And if it’s midnight, I’m in favor. I love midnight, and I REALLY love midnight on the fair-haired.

 

Natalie Dormer

sags 2015 natalie dormer

Kate: Erm…

Erica: You know what? I like it. It’s girly and it’s silly and it’s fun and it’s not boring.

Kate: The dress is OK, but something about it just isn’t doing it for me. What’s really throwing me off is the fact that a) her hair is the same color as her face, and b) that hair looks like it was braided when it was wet the night before and the braids were taken out just before she got out of the limo.

Erica: Okay, I do not like the hair. She looks much better as a brunette and those eyes and cat-like face are better shown off in an updo.

 

Rashida Jones

sags 2015 rashida jones

Kate: Fun! Not my personal style, but super fun on her. She’s so tan.

Erica: Ooh cute. I really, really like it. Like Keira Knightley’s, you could cut it off at the knees and have a fun summer dress, but unlike Keira Knightley’s, it still looks red carpet-y in its current incarnation. And I love the pop of red lip!

Kate: Ian loves her.

Erica: I approve of him more and more every day.

 

Reese Witherspoon

sags 2015 reese witherspoon

Kate: Ooooh I love a bouncy Reese ponytail.

Erica: It does look cute. The blush is a bit much.

Kate: I loved her Golden Globes dress so much and I don’t understand why no one else did, and I love this just as much. I SEE YOU, REESE! I SEE YOU!

Erica: I feel like you and she would get along really well.

Kate: I don’t know why we’re not besties yet.

 

Sarah Hyland

sags 2015 sarah hyland

Kate: This is a fun sparkly young dress that I don’t hate, but her face frightens me. It was more obvious on the pre-show than in this picture, but her face is soooo heavily made up and her eyes so bugged out of her head to the point where it looked like she was about to pop a blood vessel.

Erica: I like the dress. I like the layers of translucent black over a nude underskirt. and it’s tailored well, at least as far as I can see. I’ll have to take your word for it on the makeup. In pics it looks good.

 

Sofia Vergara

sags 2015 sofia vergara

Erica: It’s not that I wish this dress were a different color. I just wish the carpet were a different color. But then it wouldn’t be a red carpet.

Kate: I am finally off the I-hate-Sofia-Vergara bandwagon. I’m not sure why or when it happened, but I am. I think she looks very lovely. Also I would like to borrow that dress, if only she would tell me how that left boob stayed covered and supported.

Erica: There is some serious support in that bodice. That is structured out the wazoo. Yes, she does look very nice tonight.

Kate: I do, however, prefer her hair bouncy and voluminous instead of pin-straight, and I feel like she wears the same earrings to every red carpet event. That is all!

 

Uzo Aduba

sags 2015 Uzo Aduba

Erica: Oh, dear.

Kate: Mmmm, nope. Not good. Crochet = inappropriate for red carpet. Yellow crochet = inappropriate for everything.

Erica: I mean, she deserves every acting award and accolade she gets. And her bod is something fierce. But this dress. This dress. Well, at least it’s not boring.

 

Viola Davis

sags 2015 viola davis

Kate: Beautiful dress, but not for her.

Erica: Yeah? I feel it’s a little young for her, but not too young. And I love bright white on dark skin.

Kate: I think it’s too bright, I didn’t consider the age-appropriateness of it. I do not like her hair that way, and she looked extraordinarily unhappy to be there.

Erica: Her hair I am not overly fond of. But she did? I saw a nice quote from her acceptance speech?

Kate: She looked unhappy to be on the red carpet, then she won, so I’m sure she felt better. So, best dressed?

Erica: I don’t know. I think my personal fave is Rashida, although that doesn’t mean she’s the best, it just means she’s the most appealing to me. If Joanne Froggatt’s dress is midnight and not black, then for sure her. If it’s black, she’s still a top contender. Although maybe the total preciousness of Felicity Jones should be considered? Or Danielle Brooks for being so on point and exactly what you should look like while walking the red carpet?

Kate: I was thinking Felicity Jones, but shoot let’s give it to Taystee! YAY TAYSTEE GIRL! Worst dressed?

Erica: Man. I don’t want to do this. I don’t. I love her acting and I think she deserves a ton of recognition. But Uzo. I mean. That dress is just awful. It’s just awful.

Kate: Uzo’s dress is not good, but it doesn’t offend me like Emma Stone’s, so I’m giving it to her. Ok people, catch us after the Grammys!

Golden Globes 2015

Kate: And we’re BACK with the 2015 award show season! WEEEEEE!

Erica: Oh boy oh boy oh boy.

Kate: I am a tad upset that I haven’t seen enough of the nominated films. I tried to see The Theory of Everything Saturday and it was sold out…At 2 p.m. What the h?

Erica: Me, I have become very accustomed to the notion of having seen none of the nominated movies.

Kate: And away we go!

Allison Williams

Kate: Sooo she was upset about the mess that was Peter Pan live on NBC and went straight to the nearest Christmas store and wrapped herself in red tree skirts and said, “This is what I’m wearing to the first award show this year, guys!”.

Erica: That was a serious mess, yo. The Peter Pan thing, I mean.

Kate: This dress, too. She is a lovely human being, but this is absurd. Completely absurd.

Amal Clooney

Kate: I know she’s not nominated or presenting, but we have to include the new Mrs. Clooney, right?

Erica: Absolutely.

Kate: She is related to Anne Hathaway, right?

Erica: What? Really?

Kate: I just feel like they are twinsies. She just looks freaking perfect. In addition to looking perfect, she looks completely over this whole thing, and completely over Giuliana Rancic’s crush on George. She’s so European.

Erica: Yeah, their whole thing is like a romance novel in real life. Well, real-ish life.

Amy Adams

Kate: So I actually love this dress, and I feel like it’s a surprising dress for me to love because of the color. I do not love the color against her pale skin and red hair, but the style is soooo me. Like, I have that dress in a darker blue and shorter. So that overrides the color thing.

Erica: I actually like the color on her just fine. And I like the color in general. But I don’t understand what this movie is.

Kate: Her hair could have been a bit more “wow” — she could have gone for wavier waves — but overall this is a lovely, if very safe, choice for her.

Erica: I thought it was safe from the front, but I loved it from the back when she came up to get her award. Congrats, Amy!

Amy Poehler

Kate: So I love the first dress color. I love it. Power blue, all about it. But the silhouette is so unflattering on her, and the high neckline mixed with the mini-version of Naomi Watts’ necklace (see below) is a terrible combination.

Erica: Is Amy Poehler pregnant? Because, if not, yeah, that’s a really unflattering silhouette. And even if she’s not. Because why must she wear such high necks all the time?

Kate: I thought that, too! She’s not pregnant, though. I just read her book and am filled with all sorts of love for her, and I know she has costume changes throughout the night, so I won’t completely rip this apart.

Erica: Do you have the book? Can I borrow it?

Kate: Sure. What was even the point of wearing that blue dress? Her next one, the purple one, is so much better! It looks fab on her! Keep that on, Amy!

Erica: Yeah? I like it better but I’m sort of bored. Still.

Kate: Third look is ok, second one is still winning for me.

Erica: I will go with that.

Anna Faris

Kate: Super cute! Tailored yet loose fit, good amount of sparkle, great hair and makeup and subtle jewelry.

Erica: It’s so grown up for her. Makeup is perfect.

Kate: This might be a best dressed nominee for me.

Anna Kendrick

Kate: ER this is so similar to that one Covet dress, except longer!

Erica: I so very much love this. I don’t think I’ve ever really loved her on the red carpet before. (I love her in terms of acting and singing and all.) This is dreamy.

Kate: So pretty. It’s not my favorite of the night, but she looks fantastic.

Erica: It might be mine.

Claire Danes

Kate: Angelllaaaaa.

Erica: I mean, I don’t love it, but it’s very her and in a good way. Previously she’s been very her in a bad way.

Kate: She must be over the whole Homeland/award show thing because this dress so obviously says, “I don’t care about anything happening right now”.

Erica: I think “I don’t care” looks kinda good on her.

Ellie Kemper

Kate: I love! But…Have we seen this before? Like, on her?

Erica: Bra! Which I feel like I say to her a lot.

Emily Blunt

Kate: YAS! YAS YAS YASSSSS!

Erica: Oh excuse me, I thought someone hated braids?

Kate: Michael Kors made this for her, which is super nice, but he actually made it for me because after the show Emily is dropping it off at my apartment so that I can wear this to the wedding (as dress #2/reception dress, obviously).

Erica: Didn’t we discuss the little midriff cut-out thing with respect to bridesmaid dresses? Totes inapprops for a wedding. But she does look crazy fantastic.

Kate: The turquoise earrings are the perfect accent to the white — a bit beachy, but that’s ok because they’re in California — and her makeup is always good. Yes, I normally hate that hairstyle, on and off the red carpet, but I appreciate that it’s a nod to her Into the Woods character, even though I didn’t like the movie. Oh man I love this dress.

Emma Stone

Erica: She’s hilarious.

Kate: I love this.

Erica: I am okay with it? Her hair looks good.

Kate: Hold on, hold ON. Those are pants. I thought this was a dress. But those are pants. This is a jumpsuit on the red carpet, with a big bow on the back. Minus the bow, it is actually one of my elementary school dance costumes, so I take it back: I DO NOT LOVE THIS.

Erica: Yeah! I remember that costume! Mom was totally flummoxed about underwear. Wait, hold up, she’s in Cabaret on Broadway right now?

Kate: Yeah, where have you been, not in New York? :(

Erica: You think you’re sad? Imagine how I feel.

Felicity Jones

Kate: I am including this newcomer because I really want to see her movie, and I think her dress is extremely interesting.

Erica: What movie is she in? I like it. I like the color, I like the shape, I like that she kept the hair simple and the makeup very girlish and natural.

Kate: The Theory of Everything, about Steven Hawking, which I tried to see Saturday at 2 p.m. The color is fairly unique for the red carpet, I think, and the structure and detail is amazing — a bit 19th century, in a good way, no? I feel like this is a very you dress, Er.

Erica: Well, thank you, Kate.

Kate: I mean that in a good way!

Heidi Klum

Kate: Hot damn.

Erica: I mean, she looks hot, as always, but the dress isn’t a little pageanty?

Kate: I feel like it’s not fair to give someone like Heidi Klum best dressed, but she looks phenomenal.

Erica: Well, she started by being Heidi Klum, so that helps.

Jenna Dewan-Tatum

Kate: I wouldn’t normally include her because I’ll always hate her for marrying Channing Tatum, but — and this pains me — I like the dress too much to ignore it.

Erica: Yeah? I mean, I like the drapeyness.

Kate: It’s the right yellow, you know? And a lovely strapless swoopy silhouette.

Erica: It is a good yellow on her, although not with that hair color.

Kate: I do think her hair is too dark in general. But when they arrived on the red carpet you could see Channing help her fix her hair and blow an eyelash off her face and it was just so cute I couldn’t stand it.

Erica: I was gonna say her hair looks a little dark. I like it when stars go dark — I’m a fan of brunettes — but you have to make sure there’s, you know, tones and highlights and whatnot so it doesn’t look so flat.

Jennifer Aniston

Kate: I love that BUN! Oh my oh my I love that bun. Can that be my wedding hair bun?

Erica: It’s quite lovely. I would go a little lower. For your wedding, I mean, not for Jennifer Aniston.

Kate: The dress is nice but does slightly weird things to her boobs, and the earrings are just a touch too long for that neckline. But it’s been a while since she was at an award show because she was actually nominated, so overall I think she looks swell.

Erica: I actually think that, for that neckline, her boobs look pretty good. Did you see that slit when she walked up to the stage? Holy moly, man.

Kate: Additionally, she seemed to be in a fairly foul mood all night. Why do we think that is?

Erica: Really? I was watching her with Carson; she seemed alright.

Jennifer Lopez

Kate: Oh that is just so JLo.

Erica: Seriously.

Kate: The hair, the CAPE, the jewelry that is basically cut from the dress. So. J. Lo.

Erica: It’s almost like she is afraid we’ll forget who she is. I must say I like her hair.

Kate: Hah, me too.

Jessica Chastain

Kate: Va-va-voom, Jessica!

Erica: Holy moly. Has she ever done the Jessica Rabbit thing before?

Kate: I do feel like this is a combination of Meryl Streep’s 2012 Oscar dress and Angelina Jolie’s 2012 SAG dress, but that combination looks very good and sexy on her.

Erica: Have we been doing this too long?

Kate: Never!

Joanne Froggatt

Erica: More braids! Happy for me, sad for you?

Kate: I don’t watch Downton Abbey so I don’t know who this lady is, but I really like her dress. I like Emily’s braid better.

Erica: I don’t really watch it. Jason does. I got too emotionally invested and had to stop. But yes, I like her dress and I like her overall gratitude and obviously her accent.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Kate: My girl!

Erica: This is not my favorite on her. In general I like her better in her business suits on her show than on the red carpet.

Kate: It’s a little pageanty, but I don’t particularly care. She’s showing off that fabulous tan and that fabulous body, and rightfully so.

Erica: Her hair looks good. And her shoulders are fantastic.

Kate: Her everything is fantastic.

Julianne Moore

Kate: Ok, this is Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2011 Oscar dress re-cut with some feathers added to the bottom. Which is not to say it’s not a great dress/doesn’t look great on her, but that’s what this is.

Erica: Gwyneth’s was better. I say this while adoring Julianne Moore and not particularly feeling one way or another about Gwyneth.

Kate: Everyone seems to be doing that deep-side-parted, semi-wavy hair, though.

Kate Beckinsdale

Erica: Well, yes.

Kate: It’s just not fair that there is a human on this planet who looks like that.

Erica: It’s really not. And she gets to have that accent, too.

Kate: I also think she maybe borrowed this from JLo.

Erica: It’s definitely on the sexy end of things she wears.

Kate Hudson

Kate: Jesus H. Christ her body is absolutely insane.

Erica: She hasn’t aged at all.

Kate: I don’t even like this dress that much, but it looks so good on her, you know? She does wear white a little too often.

Erica: It does look like a very Kate Hudson dress.

Kate: When she arrived on the red carpet she ran over to Jennifer Aniston to say hi, and then they were interviewed back to back and were excited to see each other again, and I didn’t know those two were friends, so I thought that was kind of adorable.

Erica: I’m not sure why, but that makes total sense to me. That those two are friends.

Kate Mara

Kate: Hold on, are she and Kevin Spacey dating IRL? He was very handsy with her during his Ryan Seacrest interview (when he claimed to be wearing JoS. A. Bank, which was hilarious).

Erica: They cannot be dating. Can they? He’s old enough to be her grandfather.

Kate: Well, it’s a good color on her and I always love the way she does her makeup, but the hair is weird and the BELT? THE ORANGE BELT? Come on.

Erica: There is speculation on the internet right now that maybe they’re dating. So, they were not known to be dating before but everyone else is noticing the extreme not-just-friends demeanor of these two tonight. Ugh. Gross.

Katherine Heigl

Erica: Wow, she looks good.

Kate: Because it’s navy and structured it’s a bit too businessy for me, but I like how her hair is loose and sexy in contrast. Overall pretty good, Isobel Stevens! (I’m re-watching Grey’s. Terrible [wonderful] idea.)

Erica: Businessy? I feel like nothing with that neckline can be described as businessy. And I like navy, especially on blondes.

Katie Holmes

Erica: I love that color, both on her and in general.

Kate: Good, because that’s one of the wedding colors! But her side pony upsets me because it’s so obviously fake.

Erica: The side ponytail — I mean, why have a fake side ponytail when a side ponytail is not really a great formal look? Also, earrings.

Kate: Actually, she kind of looks like a bridesmaid. Which doesn’t mean she looks bad — hey, I want my bridesmaids to look fabulous — but she just doesn’t look like she’s on the red carpet.

Erica: Agreed.

Keira Knightley

Kate: Oh come on now.

Erica: Look, it’s obvious what’s happening here.

Kate: Is that a bib? And are those BIRDS on her dress? BIRDS?

Erica: No, butterflies. But come on, Kate. She’s punking us.

Kate: This is just a big fat NO for me.

Kerry Washington

Erica: I can’t make up my mind.

Kate: I can: NOPE. Not cute.

Erica: I don’t know, I think it kind of is cute? I mean, it’s not boring, and the silhouette is cool, and I’m not so in love with the side panels and it’s making complete pancakes of her boobs, but her hair and makeup look good?

Kate: Not cute at all. I am officially anti-Kerry Washington on the red carpet, and I would like everyone else to just get over her with me.

Lena Dunham

Erica: I mean, this is one of the best from her. Great color.

Kate: What she has done to her bangs makes her face look quite scary, and the too-dark makeup job doesn’t help.

Erica: I’m not disagreeing. Actually, I’d be fine with her eye makeup if she had a little bronzer or something. And I like the color of her hair right now.

Kate: The color of the dress is nicer on her skin tone than her usual choices, but the fit is not right. It looks like a tent, but not like it’s supposed to look like a tent. Can we not afford a quick alteration or two?

Erica: Yeah, there needs to be some structure in the torso there.

Lorde

Kate: Hey look, there’s a human person underneath all that wacky hair!

Erica: I’m so out of it, I’m not even sure what you’re talking about with the hair.

Kate: She actually looks very nice. Separately I’m against pantsuits and midriff-baring tops, ESPECIALLY on the red carpet, but this whole thing together looks sleek and glamorous (minus the silly face she is making in this photo).

Erica: Yeah. I mean, she’s a young, alternative musician, so from her, I accept pants and midriff.

Lupita Nyong’o

Erica: Oh my goodness that is some craziness.

Kate: I feel like this dress is very her, and the purple is very fun, but it’s not WOWING me at all. I don’t really like her hair more grown out like that.

Erica: I feel like only she in the whole entire world can pull that dress off. I do not like it, but I appreciate its nuttiness and she looks very nice in it. Plus, can we talk about her arm and shoulder situation?

Kate: She actually looked adorable in her glasses when presenting!

Erica: She really did.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Erica: She looks nice.

Kate: Great color on her, but overall a pretty boring dress.

Erica: I like the structure. I mean, I like it on her. I don’t love it as a general rule.

Melissa McCarthy

Erica: Feh.

Kate: I should hate this, but I totally don’t. She has worn the same three dresses to award shows for the past few years, and this is something fun and different and very I-wear-what-I-want. I think she looks great.

Erica: I think the dress is feh. I like her hair. I’m sort of liking the makeup.

Meryl Streep

Kate: I didn’t think Meryl was in attendance because she didn’t do the red carpet, and I don’t even have a photo for her, but she snuck in there in her fab glasses and classic black-and-white dress with a half-cape. Oh, Meryl!

Erica: I think she kind of doesn’t do red carpet.

Kate: And she was the FIRST person to stand up during the HFPA president’s speech. Oh, Meryl!

Michelle Monaghan

Kate: Ugh, I wanted more from her. This is, like, baggy and dull. Meh.

Erica: She is itsy-bitsy. This is also going to sound mean, but I’m going to say it anyway: She’s pretty in a very regular-girl way, but she doesn’t even remotely look like a movie star. Or TV star, or whatever.

Naomi Watts

Kate: I just feel like the whole snake jewelry thing, as well as the whole yellow dress thing, is so been-there-done-that.

Erica: I am with you on the dress. Yellow is not her color and I don’t know why she persists in believing it is. But I kind of like the necklace. I mean, it’s silly, but I like it.

Kate: The silhouette is very nice on her, but I think I’d like the whole thing more without the snake. It’s just too much.

Erica: I think the silhouette is boring. I will say she is aging incredibly gracefully.

Reese Witherspoon

Kate: Perfection.

Erica: I have to be honest. I’m a little…Bored.

Kate: But you’re wrong. It’s the exact right kind of sparkle, perfectly tailored to her gorgeous body, great hair and jewelry and makeup — best dressed nominee.

Erica: I mean, she looks very nice. I’m not saying she doesn’t. And I didn’t know she and Mindy Kaling were friends. That’s cool.

Kate: I also very much like the dress on Cheryl Strayed (Reese’s date) as a simple, elegant, I’m-the-author-of-a-book-that-was-turned-into-a-nominated-movie look.

Taylor Schilling

Kate: Eh…No. The top cuts her weird in some areas from some angles, and I feel like on the red carpet you need something that looks good from every angle, and the skirt is just bad. It’s also a very blah red.

Erica: Oh, I like the red, but I agree that it looks like the dress might not be cut really well.

Kate: I do love a sleek low bun, which is the other main hairstyle of the evening (or afternoon, for them).

Erica: I want yours somewhere between Jennifer Aniston’s and this one.

Kate: For the wedding, or for when I am finally nominated for a Golden Globe?

Tina Fey

Kate: Look #1 is not doing it for me — it’s a jeweled, strapless French maid outfit! Diggin’ the slightly poofed high pony, though.

Erica: That skirt is unfortunate.

Kate: I will give her the same pass I gave Amy because I know they have more than one look tonight.

Erica: Well, her second dress isn’t any better.

Kate: The second dress is just the first look just reconfigured? And I like the hair less. Come on, Tina!

Erica: Oh, I kind of like the second hair. Whatever. These ladies are hysterical. Who cares what they wear?

Kate: WE DO! The third look is silly and great, and probably my favorite of the night (for her).

Erica: Yes. I am enjoying it the most. She looks really adorable like that.

Kate: So, best dressed?

Erica: I mean, I’m really into Anna Kendricks’ princess look. I could go Emily Blunt, though.

Kate: Let’s agree on Emily Blunt, then! Worst dressed?

Erica: I mean, I’m a little inclined to give it to Keira Knightley, but I think she’s punking us, so I’m not sure we should. I might give it to Melissa McCarthy. I don’t like to, because I understand that formal wear for larger ladies is difficult, but I really hated it.

Kate: Nope, let’s go with Keira. Folks, catch us next month for the OSCARS! Yay!

MISOGYNY & AARON SORKIN, “THE WEST WING”, 1.09, “The Short List”

Another head cold, another turn at recapping “The West Wing”! Here we go!

To remind you, I am using these posts to a) recap a much-beloved (by me and in general) TV show, and b) point out the misogyny in it. Because I like to combine my two favorite activities – watching TV I love, and hate-watching! 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 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.

And,

!. When we see evidence that Toby & C.J. are doin’ it. Not misogynist, just entertaining to me personally.

 

Previously on “The West Wing,” Leo told his wife that being the president’s chief of staff was more important to him than their marriage; Danny the reporter flirted inappropriately with C.J. the press secretary; and the veep wanted to know when Leo had last been to an AA meeting and invited Leo to his.

There is some banging over the episode title and we are told that it’s Monday morning. Josh is on the phone saying “Yes” a number of times. C.J. is leaning over him, on another extension, with her hand over her mouthpiece, evidently listening to the same conversation. They both seem tense with anticipation. They get the answer they’re apparently hoping for and start excitedly – but silently – dancing and pumping their arms and such while Josh’s voice remains calm, telling the person on the other line that s/he should expect a call from the president later. They both hang up and start cheering. “It is done and we did it!” they crow. Then Josh immediately says, in front of his whole staff, “I did it.” Because he is an enormous dick. 5. C.J. insists that Josh made one phone call, and Josh responds that he “masterminded” a series of phone calls and that the important thing to remember is that “it is done and I did it.” C.J. seems unfazed and actually congratulates him. 6. Then he’s gracious enough to say “we did it” to her. Away from his staff. Privately. What a charmer.

Donna scuttles after him as he gets himself over to the Oval Office and asks if he wants to know about the banging coming from the floor above his office. He is not interested. Being interested in the details of the world around you is for icky, stupid girls like Donna. Josh is far too important to notice or care; he was on the phone trying to (and succeeding in) filling a seat on the Supreme Court. So nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah. 4. Also for pretending Donna might not understand he’s talking about the United States Supreme Court because he is very, very important.

Sam and Toby meet up with Josh and they bump chests and Josh cries, “We the men!” because Josh has no problem sharing credit with his fellow male colleagues. 5. And lest you say, “Hey, you don’t know what each of the members of the senior staff contributed to this particular problem; for all you know, Josh and Sam and Toby did, in fact, do more than C.J.,” let me say, you’re right. I don’t know. The script never tells us. That’s kind of the point. The default is to assume that the boys have every right and reason to take this credit, and that either the girl did in fact do less than the man, or that she should be pleased to be included even on the outskirts of the group, only acknowledged off to the side.

Anyway, Josh then insists on some more adulation from Mrs. Landingham, which, in an extremely un-Mrs. Landing ham way, she provides. 6. Then Josh and Sam chest-bump again as they chant, “We the men!” Because, again, Josh can share credit generously with his bros. In front of people. 5.

They enter the Oval to a very pleased president and chief of staff. The president wants to know which one of them is “the man.” Because even the terms for having been successful have to be masculine. I don’t know where to put that so I’m going with 4. And you know what? I’m not usually one of those feminists, who needs to change “You’ve got balls!” to “You’ve got ovaries!” and “chairman” to “chairperson” or even “chairpersun” or what have you. I use “guys” as an intersex term with nary a second thought and, try as I might to break myself of the habit, I still refer to God as “he” when using a pronoun. But in this particular case it’s irritating me. C.J. – who evidently had something to do with the whole process – isn’t even in the room! And again, that’s a storytelling choice. They could have not had C.J. in the room, on the phone along with Josh in the first scene. It could have just been him. They chose (and by “they” I mostly mean Aaron Sorkin) to put C.J. in the room, and then have Josh take credit away from her. And to present this all as adorable office comedy and not at all as a jack-ass being a sexist shit-head to his colleague.

Okay, okay, I’m moving on. Plot. The boys move from the Oval to Leo’s office (minus the president, who stays behind to make the phone call). Mandy is already in Leo’s office and she tells them they rock. 6. Leo wants to make some phone calls and realizes belatedly that C.J. isn’t in the room. 5. Then she appears behind him and he tells her she should wear a bell or something. 5. Gross, Leo. Toby issues a bunch of directives – including that the announcement will be made Thursday and not Friday, because, though Josh wants more time, people watch TV on Thursday. I wonder what day of the week this show originally aired?

The senior staff exits Leo’s office with Toby commanding Josh to get him all the information on this Supreme Court future nominee. Josh says they vetted him for two months but Toby wants to use the next four days to do some more vetting. He orders everyone around but only yells at C.J. 5. But then C.J. tells him he’s hot when he’s like this. Which seems a bit 6 to me, and, given the nature of the relationship they have in my head, also a bit 2, and I’m giving it both of those numbers because Josh has already put me in a bad mood, but I’m also throwing in a ! and squeeing a bit.

Toby yells at the room in general and goes into his office. Josh and Sam congratulate themselves some more – the president was so happy! They made Papa proud! – and split. Mandy asks to speak to C.J.

Donna rejoins Josh and tells him that the banging is a maintenance crew working upstairs. Josh continues to give 0 fucks and gives us the Supreme Court nominee’s full name – Peyton Cabot Harrison III – a few times so we can appreciate the extreme Sorkin-ness of it. He loves his WASPy ’50s names, he does. And I kind of do, too. Donna is doing her best to pretend to give a shit about Josh’s roll call of Peyton Cabot Harrison III’s qualifications – Exeter! Yale! Rhodes! – and then points out that Peyton Cabot Harrison III is just another WASPy old man. I’m loving Donna in this scene and giving this a -5 just basically for her calling Josh on his shit. Josh doesn’t care, though, because this means a smooth confirmation process. “There’s many a slip twixt the tongue and the wrist,” Donna reminds Josh, which, truth, because I am, as has been previously established, a HUGE fan of not counting one’s chickens. Josh calls this “fortune cookie wisdom” 5 and Donna begs him not to get his hopes up because when he’s upset he shows up to her apartment drunk in the middle of the night and yells at her roommate’s cats. This is a detail that never goes anywhere and I love it both in itself and BECAUSE it goes nowhere. Donna advises cautious optimism and Josh insists nothing will go wrong this week. Then a piece of ceiling falls on Josh’s desk. It’s both predictable and pretty funny.

Wow, that was a long teaser.

Misogyny Points Thus Far: 14 So a pretty sexist teaser as well.

Swelling music! I am feeling uplifted and inspired!

The president and the retiring Supreme Court Justice sit in a very old-man-lawyer office and share pleasantries. The justice asks if they’re going with Harrison and the president is being cagey, which doesn’t fool the justice. He wishes they’d taken a closer look at Mendoza, who the president insists was on the short list. The justice thinks they put Mendoza on the short list so they could show they had “a Hispanic” on the short list. Burn. The pleasantries quickly sour as the justice tells the president exactly how disappointed he has been in President Bartlett, saying he drove to the middle of the road right after he was sworn in, to a line “painted yellow”, and also that he wanted to retire under a Democrat, “and instead I got you.” BURN. I like this guy. Let’s give him a spin-off.

Outside the Supreme Court building, reporters mill and Danny spots C.J. He walks over to her and they pedeconference – well, he pede-flirts/interrogates; she pede-stonewalls. Danny also knows already it’s going to be Harrison.

Back inside, the president is running out of pleasant and the justice could give a shit. “I took my seat the year you started college,” he tells the president. “I believe I’ve earned the right to say a word.” You sure did, Justice. I am willing to listen to all the words.

Seriously, can’t you see Retired Justice Cranky-Pants and his live-in home health care worker Berta? Maybe Berta ends up having to bring her three children over from Barbados to live with them? The two teenagers drive him nuts, but he forms a bond with the eight-year-old? I want this to be a sit-com. Let’s get on this.

The justice pleads with the president to reconsider Mendoza and points out that he won’t win his reelection without guts. The president whines about his job and the justice continues to give zero fucks. For some reason, when the justice calls him Mr. Bartlett, the president corrects him with “Dr. Bartlett,” not “President Bartlett.” Maybe this is a subtle piece of writing to tell us how Jed is feeling about his job?

Outside, Danny offers C.J. his gloves and then continues to interrogate and inappropriately flirt. Then a nameless black woman strides toward them and declares that it’s time.

We go back to the White House, where Josh and Donna are staring at Josh’s ceiling and Josh is marveling that it could have been his head that was hit with a piece of ceiling. Donna is all, get over it, Drama Queen. And she’s right, and also, a massive head wound could only improve his character, but also . . . I mean, wouldn’t they cordon off sections of the office if this were going on? In case something like this happened and Josh sued the federal government for millions of dollars? Josh thinks it should be Donna in the danger zone. 5.

Mandy comes in and Donna goes out. Mandy wants to know why Lillienfield is holding a press conference? Josh doesn’t care and yells at Donna. A 4 for how he’s treating Mandy’s concerns and a 5 for how he’s talking to Donna.

Sam comes in to Toby’s office and Toby tells him that he’d like Sam to play up that Peyton Cabot Harrison III clerked for a Republican judge back in the day, despite himself being a Democrat, and to play down that Peyton Cabot Harrison III has never given an opinion on abortion. Sam already gets this, and sees Lillienfield on Toby’s TV. Toby and Sam also seem unconcerned about Lillienfield although we are still listening to him as he namechecks “Rumsfeld” as one of the members of the halcyon days of White House staff and I ask you all to marvel with me about the difference a decade and a half makes. Lillienfield then claims that one in three White House staffers use drugs on a regular basis. Now Toby is interested. He picks up his phone and barks, “Get her.” 5.

Carol, C.J.’s assistant, knocks on C.J.’s door and C.J., without turning or needing further explanation, says, “Tell him I’m watching.”

Now everyone is gathering in Leo’s office, and they’re all upset. Sam wants to know, if Lillienfield tried a little harder, could he be a bigger horse’s ass? And it’s delivered in such a Sam-like fashion. I really do love Rob Lowe’s portrayal of Sam Seaborne.

Josh comes in and makes light, demanding that the 1.6 staffers in the room who are stoned right now stop bogarting the good stuff. (Really, WordPress spellcheck? Bogarting is a word? Okay.) Mandy is not amused. Josh continues to make light and I’m giving his attitude toward Mandy a 8. God, lighten up. Girls just don’t have a sense of humor.

Toby comes in and yells about nobody having seen this coming. C.J. returns that she’s shocked her psychic didn’t tell her. Josh thinks they should ignore it; Mandy and C.J. think that’s impossible, because if she denies it, and then it turns out some guys in the photo room shared a joint over the weekend, “which is not, like, out of the realm of possibility” then she has to account for that, and the closet junkie in the catering department, etc., and C.J. and Mandy spit out scenarios along this line for a little bit. Toby doesn’t appreciate it. 5.

Misogyny Points Thus Far: 20

Leo cuts this off with a “We’re looking into it” line for C.J. Josh asks if they’re actually looking into it and Leo says yes and Josh is upset. Then Margaret comes to call Leo out of the room.

As the gang leaves Leo’s office, Toby goes over talking points with C.J. and orders Sam back to work. The gang splits but Josh doubles back and Toby asks him, “What do they know? What do we know?” Josh does not like the idea of becoming in the know as regards drug use among White House staffers. Toby says he’s tired of being “the field captain for the gang that couldn’t shoot straight!” I love Richard Schiff. And I wanna bang Toby. In case I haven’t made that clear.

Sam looks like he’s taking a nap in his darkened office when the phone rings. He takes the call, looks stunned, then asks for the caller’s name, assuring the caller that he’s not a cop. I am confused. Wouldn’t this call come through a call center of some kind? Wouldn’t Sam’s assistant have found out who the caller was? Wouldn’t the caller know s/he wasn’t speaking to a cop? So many questions. But I will suspend my disbelief for the sake of drama. And brevity. (“To make a long story short-” “Too late!”) Oh, then Sam says he’s alone in the office, so that’s why no secretary to field the call. He decides to go meet the caller and then trips adorably over a carton on his way out.

Leo and the president are pede-conferencing through that outdoor hallway that I never know how to describe. They are optimistic about the smooth confirmation process that nominating Peyton Cabot Harrington III assures them. In the office, the president sends Charlie out for gifts for the nominee and his wife (cigars for him, perfume for her, and maybe I should add a number for just good, old-fashioned gender stereotypes? But I think I’ll give Sorkin a break on that. For one, it’s believable that Jed and Leo hold those stereotypes; for another, it’s not exactly misogyny to have the stereotypes unless one values them differently. That’s why I have number four on my list. It’s not for when things are coded as feminine, but for when things that are coded as feminine are disparaged. It’s a fine line but I’m accepting it for now.)

Jed wants to know what’s going on with Lillienfield but Leo advises Jed to stay out of it. Leo and Jed are called in different directions but then the president if they gave Mendoza a good look. He dismisses it a second later and then strolls over to Toby’s office. He asks Toby to put together information on Mendoza so that Jed doesn’t have to feel like he just had a Hispanic on the short list for appearances. Even though he totally did. Jed also asks Toby about Lillienfield and Toby also tells Jed to stay out of it.

Sam busts in in his winter coat with bad information from his phone call with regard to Harrison. Toby asks him to close the door.

After the commercial break that would have existed had I been watching this on regular tv, Sam is telling Toby that what he’s got is an unsigned note that every member of a law review is required to prepare. (Harrison had been the editor of the Yale Law Review.) Toby says he knows what an unsigned note is even as Sam goes on to explain that it’s “like an article,” 40-50 pages of well-researched, footnoted, revised by advisors, etc., and then published with no name.

And here I have to break in and explain another element of my numbering system. Sam’s explanation of the law review unsigned note is exposition, sure. But Toby insists he knows what it is even as Sam is explaining it, so Toby is not functioning as an exposition fairy here even though something he should already know is being explained to him. Because we must go out of our way to show that male characters already know everything they ever need to know. Keep that in mind when Donna’s all, “Explain to me what taxes are, Josh?”

Anyway, Toby is agitated and wants to know how they know Harrison wrote it; Sam says he’s spent the last three months reading everything Harrison has ever written and this is definitely something Harrison wrote. Toby calls for his assistant Bonnie to get him the next five minutes the president got.

Ah, here’s our favorite Exposition Fairy now. Donna wants to know where Lillienfield gets his information and Josh informs us that he’s on the House Government Oversight Committee, the committee that “literally decide(s) if we get heat and electricity in the White House.” Now, I don’t know what the House Government Oversight Committee is, nor could I name who’s on it. But do we really think that Donna, the assistant to the Deal-With-Congressmen senior staffer, who herself works in the White House, doesn’t know which committee controls her paycheck and who its members are? No. No, we do not. So 9. And again, let us keep in mind that, if the point of exposition is to catch the viewer up on stuff they wouldn’t know, which it is, they could choose, as they did one scene before with Toby and Sam, to have Josh blather on about it to Donna while Donna says, “Yes, I know this already.” I’m not saying that they sat in the writer’s room going, “Well, but Toby is a boy and therefore smart and Donna is a girl and therefore dumb.” I’m saying that, consciously or not, they made storytelling choices. This is how I, one viewer, am experiencing and interpreting those choices.

Donna assures Josh that he needn’t feel bad about interviewing her. “You know anyone around here who uses drugs?” he asks. She does. “You gonna tell me who they are?” She will not. He says to consider herself interviewed and Donna thinks he’s a “good boy.” Also, apparently Donna gets a lot of parking tickets. Once in college my dad called me up and demanded to know how I’d wracked up somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 parking tickets in one semester. I went down to the campus police station and talked them down to two. I was very proud of myself at the time. Now I am wondering if they actually gave a shit about any of the twenty.

Mandy is in Josh’s office and they are arguing. Mandy thinks everyone should take a drug test and that anyone who can’t pass will just resign. Josh thinks people would be more comforted to know that they will never be asked to turn over evidence against themselves. I don’t know how seriously I’m supposed to take all of this, btw. My husband is an employee of the federal government. He has to take drug tests. It’s not uncommon in the working world in general and it’s pretty standard for government employees. Right?

Josh says Mandy only wants to preserve the spotlight for the Supreme Court thing, which he says like it’s a bad thing but which is actually the job for which she was hired. 5. Finally Josh settles down enough to ask Mandy what she thinks Lillienfield is really after. Mandy tells him to go talk to whoever it is he talks to. Not like a shrink, though. Like an informant.

C.J. is briefing the press. They apparently are not satisfied by the “We’re looking into it” line. One reporter has the audacity to ask C.J. if she uses drugs. She says she does not. Another reporter says it’s been 24 hours; how long do they need? C.J. says they need more time and then says that since no one has been subpoenaed and Lillienfield has not offered up his evidence, they’re not in a big hurry to get it done. Apparently being the first person to say “subpoena” is a very bad thing, which Danny follows her out of the press room to point out. Then he asks her out and offers to explain basketball patronizingly and slowly in a way a girl would appreciate. Yes, those are his actual words. Mr. Sorkin, self-awareness does not always lead to self-correction. Or, even if you know and acknowledge that you’re being an asshole, that doesn’t mean you’re not being an asshole. You know?

C.J. agrees with me and leaves him alone in the press room. Josh appears and asks to speak to Danny. They take a walk together. Because all conversations on this show must be had while people are in motion. Danny is offended that Josh is asking him for intel, but says that Lillienfield wouldn’t be talking like this if he wasn’t trying to hit something big. So basically Danny just helped Josh solidify what he already knew. In exchange, Josh tells Danny that C.J. likes goldfish. 2. Because come on, why would Josh be helping his press secretary get with a reporter? It’s an obviously bad idea if you think of C.J. as primarily a press secretary. But if you think about her as this chick you know from work, and Danny is your bro, then this is the kind of thing you would tell him.

The president is looking at the unsigned note. It’s apparently an argument that privacy is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution. The president is perturbed, both by the paper and the fact that they didn’t know about Harrison’s position on privacy. Toby thinks it’s NBD; maybe he didn’t write the paper, maybe he doesn’t feel this way any more. Sam thinks that “maybe” is not good enough for someone they’re putting on the Supreme Court. The president wants to see Harrison ASAP and tells Toby and Sam to get ready.

Leo is talking numbers with some folks when the president interrupts. Leo orders his folks out and the president tells Leo he wants to meet Mendoza. Leo says yes, sir.

It’s Wednesday morning. Toby, Sam and Mandy are all tensely in the assistant’s area outside the Oval. Inside the Oval, the president asks Peyton Cabot Harrison III if he’s the author of the unsigned note. He is. The president mentions some paper about trade barriers he wrote at 26 years old – the age Harrison was when he wrote the unsigned note – that he says was the result of youth and stupidity, apparently hoping that Harrison will go, “Yeah, these young and stupid things supernerds like us do!” Harrison does not say that. The president calls Toby and Sam in.

But apparently before they do, Josh speaks to Toby about the privacy thing. Josh is pissed. “When did we get the idea that Harrison was our guy? When we used to talk, it was never Harrison,” Josh says. Charlie comes for Toby.

Leo’s alone in his office when Margaret comes in and asks if he has a minute for Josh. He does. Leo sympathizes with Josh about how much it sucks to be interviewing people about their drug habits this week. Josh tells Leo that he thinks Lillienfield is after Leo for Leo’s alcoholism. Leo is not entirely surprised to learn that Josh – and everyone in D.C. – pretty much knows about it. But Josh knows there must be more than alcohol. Leo confesses to a pill addiction, for which he went to a facility six years ago. Leo says the records are confidential but Josh is convinced Lillienfield has them. Then Josh claps Leo on the shoulder and says, “You’re Leo McGarry. You’re not going to be taken down by this small fraction of a man. I won’t permit it.” Music swells. If anyone ever says to you, “What is the heart, the essence, the sum total of Aaron Sorkin’s psyche?” just show them this clip.

Harrison, the president, Toby, and Sam are in the Oval having an incredibly amateur conversation about interpretations of the Constitution. I’m not going to recap it. It’s way too American Government 101.

C.J. is in her office with a pile of papers. Danny walks in and C.J. tells him he was right about the subpoena thing, but notes that he did not make it a big point in his. Danny has a goldfish in a bowl for C.J. He reveals that Josh told him she liked them. But Josh meant the crackers, not the fish. C.J. thinks this is adorable and hilarious. It’s a little hilarious. She wants to keep the goldfish – the goldfish named Gail – anyway. C.J. kisses his cheek and thanks him. Danny advises her to keep her head in the game. Which is a little patronizing. I don’t know what number to give it so I’ll go with 7.

More Constitutional conversation on the level of your tenth grade debate club carries on in the Oval Office. I’m still not recapping it. Harrison is insulted that he even has to be in this conversation. The president excuses Harrison. Toby and Sam continue to argue about whether or not Harrison should still be their guy. Sam believes that privacy debates are going to define the next twenty years. He’s not wrong. Toby agrees to meet with Mendoza.

This is a meeting Mandy has apparently heard about, and she comes in to whine at Josh. Josh continues to be rude about Mandy doing her actual job. This whole scene is 3 and 5. And exposition about Mendoza. Who’s the little guy. Went to law school while recovering from an injury sustained doing police work. Public schools. Hispanic. Blah blah blah. And Mandy’s worried that the senior staff isn’t up to fight for him, especially not if they get bogged down in the Lillienfield thing. They resolve their fight only to have Mandy 3 a little more.

Edward James Olmos is paraded down the hall looking badass. Margaret informs some dude that he’s Roberto Mendoza.

Harrison is climbing the walls in the room they’ve put him in. Charlie’s in there with him. Charlie, as it turns out, caddied at the golf club Harrison belonged to.

Now we’re in the Oval with Mendoza, Sam, Toby, and the president. Mendoza is just as arrogant and condescending as the rest of them; he’ll fit right in.

Leo calls the president out of the room and we discover that the president already knows about the pills. Leo wants to resign in order to save the president the trouble but the president is going to stand by Leo’s side, because this storyline is Aaron Sorkin’s mission statement.

The president comes back and they ask Mendoza what he thinks of firing someone for failing a drug test. Mendoza would order that the employee be reinstated. Everyone likes him and the president tells him he’s being nominated for the Supreme Court. Mendoza accepts. Everyone is up for a “good fight.” Huzzah!

A whole bunch of people outside the office applaud as the president announces, “Mr. Justice Mendoza!” to the crowd.

I swear, somewhere in the back of my mind is a memory of Harrison arguing with Charlie about that golf club. I guess it’ll come up next episode?

Anyway, in misogyny terms, the beginning of this episode was completely dreadful. It evened out by the end but it still totaled 27 points on the misogyny scale, which is definitely on the high end.

If I still feel like utter crap, I’ll do another of these tomorrow!