Grammys 2014

Erica: So . . . I don’t know who any of these people are. I’m really trying to keep up with contemporary music, but . . . yeah.

Kate: Since I don’t even listen to the radio anymore I am often 3 months late on “new” songs, and barely have any idea who these people are myself. Doesn’t mean I can’t critique their fashion (or lack thereof) choices!

Erica: Also, my theme of the night will be, “No one got funky enough!”

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys Grammys 2014

Erica: See, this is a little boring. I mean, I’m appreciating that this bright cobalt is apparently the color of the year, and that’s great, but . . . haven’t we seen this dress on Alicia Keys before? In black?

Kate: Yes this is her usual style, and I do love the color, but this looked very unflattering when I was watching on TV so the photo is misleading.

Erica: Her hair and make-up look very nice. Well, her make-up does. Her hair is a little too . . . structured? For my tastes, anyway.

Kate: The hair is a little too Danny Zuko for me.

Anna Faris

Anna Faris Grammys 2014

Erica: See, she looks beautiful . . . for the Oscars. The color looks great on her, her choices when it comes to accessories, hair and make-up are understated and strike the right note. But it’s the Grammys!

Kate: I like the dress itself but I actually think the color is a little drab, as is the color of her hair (too close to the color of her skin!), and up close her makeup looked awful. Like grey soot was around her eyes.

Erica: I mean, it’s not clear to me what she’s doing there in the first place. She’s a comedic actress, not a musician. But, being that she’s known for her goofball persona, couldn’t she have goofed it up a little here?

Kate: My thoughts exactly.

Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick 2014 Grammys

Erica: Well, this is definitely more Grammys-ish – but I don’t love it. The color is a little me and it doesn’t really fit her persona or body type.

Kate: Disagree, I love this! She looked pretty hot when she presented on stage, and I need those shoes. I do think it would have been just fine without the holes in the middle.

Erica: That, by the way, is what I wish my hair looked like every day.

Kate: Well, duh. It’s totes Tammy Taylor.

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande Grammys 2014

Erica: It is not clear to me who this person is, although I did learn that she has an opinion on Justin Bieber, which I suppose tells me everything I need to know. But I think she looks adorable. I’m not a fan of the dark-on-top, light-on-the-bottom “reverse ombre” that seems popular this season, but overall I like it. It’s got a distinct personality and character and she seems to have a little attitude.

Kate: See this is a little too Jessica McClintock prom for me. The shape works, and I do like the pumps, but it’s just not working for me. People were raving about her “pony tail”, which drove me mad because it’s really a half-pony, which is WAY too casual for any event fancier than cleaning your house. In the 80s.

Ashanti

Ashanti Grammys 2014

Erica: On the one hand, this is doing all kinds of weird things to her hips and damn, it is short. On the other hand, Grammys! I like it.

Kate: Good grief I didn’t see this last night, it’s terribly unflattering on her. Cool pattern, though.

Beyonce 

Beyonce Grammys 2014

Erica: She is the queen of everything, isn’t she?

Kate: No, no she is not. The only thing about her that impresses me these days is her body – specifically her teeny-tiny waist in proportion to her massive (in a good way) butt and thighs, and nice-sized boobs.

Erica: Again, HATE the hair color situation. But other than that? This is how you do it.

Kate: The dress is fine, but I really don’t like her hair like that, nor do I like the dark red lipstick. She looks better in a pale lip.

Beyonce Grammys 2014 stage

Erica: No, wait, I made a mistake. THIS is how you do it.

Kate: Humping a chair, and then your husband, on stage, in a thong bodysuit, with wet hair, is how you do it? No. Dislike.

Erica: It was totally hot.

Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat Grammys 2014

Erica: This is so weird. The combo of the figure-skater bodice with that . . . shoulder thing? And the hair? Too weird.

Kate: I know, it almost worked as edgy and fun for the Grammys, and the color is fab, but that half-turtleneck is killing me. Top knot is too casual.

Erica: I think I’m abusing the ellipses in this post. I’m sorry, ellipses.

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper Grammys 2014

Erica: Okay, one of two things is happening here. Either Cyndi Lauper is the only person who knows how to do the Grammys, or I am the oldest person ever.

Kate: Kate: I can get behind the top, even the cape portion, but the jewel thing is way too aggressive and I HATE the way the bottom of those pants hit those shoes! So unprofesh!

Giuliana Rancic

Giuliana Rancic Grammys 2014

Erica: This is a hard color to pull off. I don’t think her skin tone is quite right. But it’s not bad.

Kate: She is honestly one of my best dressed of the night. I love her hair like that and she wore the perfect earrings for that hairstyle and dress. She usually wears too-elaborate dresses for award shows when she is just the interviewer, whereas this is the right amount of I-should-not-be-in-the-spotlight fab.

Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan Grammys 2014

Erica: Oh, Gloria Estefan. You are so fabulous. This dress is decidedly not.

Kate: It would be without the sleeves, I think. But she has not aged badly!

Erica: I’m sorry, but the lace looks like something she got off an aging courtesan at a brothel gone to seed.

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves Grammys 2014 arrivals

Erica: So I didn’t know who this person was. And then I put on the Spotify Grammy nominees playlist while I wrote this post and realized I did know who she was and I kind of like her. She’s a little young and child-like in her music but also cute and pleasant.

Kate: She is gorgeous. I dig the fabric of this dress, but I hate the silhouette.

Erica: This dress is an unfortunate choice. I like what she wore on stage and later to the after-party (Yes, the same outfit! On stage and to the after-party! It can be done!) in that it’s very silly and has  lots of personality and she’s young and pretty enough to pull it off.

Kate: Oh yes I kind of adore this and think she should have worn it on the red carpet, on stage and to the after-party. She seriously has a gorgeous face.

Kasey Musgraves Grammys 2014

Erica: Plus her shoes are all kinds of insane. In a good way.

Kasey Musgraves Grammys 2014 shoes

Katy Perry

Katy Perry Grammys 2014 arrivals

Erica: This is very silly. In not as good a way as Kacey Musgrave’s silliness.

Kate: Yup I hate it.

Erica: Her hair is also very structured. I guess it’s a thing this season. I don’t like it.

Kate: I am actually a big fan of the quinceanera bun, when done right. This is outrageously over-the-top. Like, I feel like it may fall off.

Erica: This is what she wore to the after-party.

Katy Perry Grammys 2014

Erica: I mean, I like the color on her. But that’s doing some super-weird things to her boobs and waistline.

Kate: This looks like an adult-size version of something on one of Zoe’s toys. Hate. And the bun is clearly fake hair as her hair was down and wavy after her performance and the remainder of the show, and then magically put back up in this bun for the after-party.

Erica: Tricksy!

Madonna

Madonna Grammys 2014

Erica: Madonna still does what she does best – attract attention.

Kate: She looks decrepit. Like I actually winced watching her on the pre-show and during her performance.

Erica: Do you suppose her other kids were pissed or grateful to be left out of this?

Kate: Decrepit.

Madonna Grammys 2014 stage

Erica: And if you’re going to wear something else for your performance, shouldn’t it be, like, actually different?

Kate: Not when you’re decrepit Madonna.

Erica: Whatever. She’s Madonna. Nothing will dim her star status.

Kate: Except maybe her newfound decrepitness.

Mary Lambert

Mary Lambert Grammys 2014

Erica: Pretty! Although – and now you’ll know I’m about 187 years old – I feel like the tattoo messes it all up. It’s not part of the elegant-glam look.

Kate: Completely agree. I like this a lot better than her VMA dress.

Erica: I feel like we can’t really do this post if we don’t comment on the mass wedding that took place during her song with Macklemore, though.

Kate: At first I thought it was really sweet, and then I thought it kind of made a spectacle of gay marriage. They have a good message, though, so I won’t get too up in arms about it.

Erica: I still don’t know how to feel about it. On the one hand, Yay, gay marriage! Yay, weddings! Aw, did you see those two girls crying as they kissed? That was so nice! On the other hand . . . something about it left a weird taste in my mouth. Maybe because mass weddings have cultish overtones?

Kate: Maybe because of the spectacle aspect.

Miranda Lambert (with Blake Shelton) 

Miranda Lambert Grammys 2014

Erica: I have lately come to like these two. I know it’s country for people who don’t really know country. But I am a person who doesn’t really know country. But they look like people going to two different events. They look very nice for those events, but different.

Kate: Ditto, I actually really like this dress. I do not like her hair and earrings, though, and I really like her performance look, probably better than this dress:

image001

Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton Grammys 2014

pErica: Okay, yes, I don’t know why she’s there, or why she continues to be famous at all, blah blah blah. But seriously? This is awful. And awful in a way that’s not usual to Paris Hilton.

Kate: I know, and people friggin’ loved this! Same hair as Alicia Keys, makeup fine whatever, dress? BLEH! YUCK!

Erica: This is what she wore to the after-party:

Paris Hilton Grammys 2014 afterparty

Erica: And it’s much more in keeping with her overall personal and for that alone I kind of like it.

P!nk

Pink Grammys 2014

Erica: First of all, your name is P!nk! You can’t wear red!

Kate: Oh see I like this.

Erica: Second of all, it’s the Grammys and you’re P!nk! Funk it up a little!

Kate: True, but I think this fits her well. Better than her usual looks.

Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah Grammys 2014

Erica: You look very nice, Queen Latifah.

Kate: Loooooooooooooooooove. Lerve lerve lerve.

Erica: Like I would ever say anything bad about you. Do you want go out for a cup of coffee some time?

Kate: Sure she does!

Erica: With me, I mean.

Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles Grammys 2014

Erica: She’s a very beautiful woman normally. Right now, she looks like an anti-Semitic caricature. (I’m allowed to say that; I’m Jewish.) Also that dress is awful. I’m NOT fan of the mullet skirt or the fluffiness or the general unflatteringness of an actually fantastic body.

Kate: Yea this is a little much. Would it be cute without the tail thing? Like if it were just cocktail length?

Erica: Since I like her in general, I must give props to the red-orange heels with the white. I like that decision.

Kate: True.

Erica: She doesn’t look any better on stage, although she does get to sing with Carole King and I don’t.

Sara Bareilles Grammys 2014 stage

Kate: Oh I like this dress better than the white!

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift 2014 Grammys

Erica: So I’m not a big Taylor Swift fan or anything. I can bop to some of her songs just fine, but I don’t (godforbid) actually like her or anything. And I hate her public persona. I mean, really, girl? Your first big hit is about how you’re so much better a girlfriend than that cheerleading slut and you’re going to call out TINA FEY and AMY POEHLER for not “supporting” other women? Because they gently teased you about your boyfriends? Come on. And I know that she’s usually held up as a better “role model” for her teen audience than all the trashy sluts who are also pop stars. But for my money, “prissy, judge-y hypocrite” is not really better than “trashy slut,” and I dislike the “trashy slut” persona of pop stars more for its inauthenticity and puerile appeal than the notion that pubescent girls and their post-pubescent role models should pretend never to have had a sexual feeling or thought in their lives. And now I’m going into a whole ‘mother blog post, when all I really mean to say is, much as I don’t love Taylor Swift (although I don’t heavily object to her music), I think she really has a handle on dressing herself.

Kate: Yes, I like this dress a lot, and I really like her pony tail and the darker hair (for her) in general. I think the makeup is fantastic. My issue with her is her overpresence in life. Grammys, she should be there. She’s nominated almost every year. Golden Globes and Oscars? No. If she’s invited, I should be invited.

Erica: I like what she wore on stage better, actually – but she always looks very pretty and well-put-together.

Taylor Swift Grammys 2014

Kate: Yes I adore the on-stage dress and hair, and am grateful she did a nice sit-down piano routine instead of her usual spectacle.

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SAGs 2014

Erica: Welcome to SAGs 2014. I have to confess, I didn’t watch, so I’m just judging the dresses on how they look in pictures. For all I know, they looked way better in motion.

Kate: I watched (on a Saturday night, what a wild life over here) and everything looks pretty much the same here as it did on screen.

Amy Adams

Amy Adams SAGS 2014 
Kate: Okay, so I luurrrvee the color.
Erica: Yeah. That is a GREAT color on her.
Kate: And I honestly think it would have been perfect had it been just the structured strapless thing or just the off-the-shoulder-with-a-sexy-slit thing up top, but instead it is both and therefore somewhat awful.
Erica: I don’t know, I’m kind of going for it with all of those things. I’m even not minding the belt.
Kate: I also can’t stand that hair — faux bobs, puh-lease.
Erica: Yeah, I’m also going to go ahead and disagree there, too. I get that the concept of a faux bob is annoying, but if one is not thinking about the concept, the hair itself looks great.

 
Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett SAGS 2014
 
Kate: I’ve gone back and forth on this, and I’ve decided I like it. I almost love it.
Erica: I wish I had seen this in motion, because in a still picture, I just . . . I’m not sure if I can fully get behind it. The color is great, the concept is interesting, but it’s really saggy in the middle, right?
Kate: Her hair and face are just effing perfect, and the color of the dress could only work on her and, like, Audrey Hepburn. I just wish that sparkly pink detail had been somewhere else other than front and center.
Erica: Yeah. Her hair and face are absolutely perfect, and I like the color. For me it’s less about the sparkly pink and more about the sag.
Kate: And not to sound like a super-@asshole, but when she was accepting her award (yay!) I noticed her earrings matched that sparkly pink detail, like, perfectly, and I didn’t like that. Corny.
Claire Danes
Claire Danes SAGs 2014
 
Kate: Well I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything else like this on the red carpet.
Erica: Yeah . . . and I’m kind of digging that about it. I mean, it isn’t, like, a dress I’d dream of wearing myself. But it looks really cool. Look at it from the back:
Claire Danes SAGs 2014 back
Kate: It’s not amazing, but it’s not offensive. I’m happy she’s back to red hair, at the very least.
Erica: Yeah, her hair and make-up look much better than usual.
 
Elizabeth Moss
Elizabeth Moss SAGs 2014
 
Kate: A vast improvement over the Globes dress, I think.
Erica: Okay, she hired a new stylist this year. I hate to say it, since I hated her more “interesting” looks in the past, but this is kind of boring. Nice, but boring.
Kate: I agree we’ve had enough of these stars wearing the same red as the carpet on which they are walking, though. And the shape is a little meh.
Erica: Also, posture!
Emilia Clarke
Emilia Clarke SAGs 2014
 
Kate: Bah!
Erica: I think you mean, BRA! Like, get one!
Kate: This fits her TERRIBLY! Oh no, she’s got to step up her red carpet game immediately. What would Khaleesi say!?
Erica: Khaleesi would say, “What the f are awards shows? And can I bring my dragons?”
Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson SAGs 2014
 
Erica: Vast, vast improvement.
Kate: Again, an improvement over the Globes dress, and her hair no longer looks like a wig, but what is going on with the bottom there?
Erica: Yes, bottom should be longer.
Kate: Wait, BREAKING NEWS, she was wearing flat sandals! To an award show! OMG that is like, sooooo crazy.
Erica: I love it. Because at the Globes she took off her high-heeled Louboutins because she couldn’t walk in them. She walked on stage with them in one hand and a martini in the other. But I don’t know if they serve martinis at the SAGs. Maybe she figured she’d rather be comfy if there would be no alcohol to numb the pain.
 
Hannah Simone
Hannah Simone SAGs 2014
 
Kate: So like, why is she there? New Girl wasn’t nominated for anything, and Zooey wasn’t there, right?
 
Erica: Yeah, I don’t know. At first I thought I didn’t know who she was. But then I saw a closer picture and realized I did, and she can look way more awesome than that.
Kate: Either way, it’s a little much. I love her hair and makeup and think she is generally gorgeous, but the dress is too long and shmancy for a not-that-important actress (sorry) at a not-that-important award show (sorry sorry).
Erica: I just think it doesn’t highlight how beautiful she is. And the make-up is a little too pale.
Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren SAGs 2014
 
Kate: This is basically what Jiulianna Margulies wore to the Globes, which we adored, with long sleeves, no?
Erica: Yeah.
Kate: Well, I think I like it. I obviously like the first one better, though.
Erica: I think Helen Mirren doesn’t usually dress this much like an old lady.
 
Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence SAGs 2014
 
Kate: We have yet another drastic improvement over the Globes dress, yes?
Erica: Yes. Certainly.
Kate: I still think she could have done better/did in fact do better last year, but she has an incredible body that looks great in this dress.
Erica: I just want us all to bear in mind for a moment that this completely frickin’ fabulous and slim body is considered “curvy” by Hollywood. And we all know in Hollywood, when they say “curvy,” they mean “kinda fat, but for some reason people in Peoria still find her sexy.” And that is super-weird.
 
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus SAGs 2014
 
Kate: Holy moly
Erica: Really?
Kate: I am flabbergasted by her amazingness. I mean, I know she has serious money, but I don’t think she’s had serious work done, right? She’s just that flawless?
Erica: I think she looks great. But I don’t really love the dress. I really love her hair, though.
Kate: I really love the dress. I would totes wear it.
Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts SAGs 2014
 
Kate: I like the black strapless dress with the sparkly belt over a white button-down much better than this.
Erica: Yes.
Kate: I’m sorry but even if you’re Julia Freakin’ Roberts, ladies of a certain age should cover up their arms. This really doesn’t flatter any part of her body, except maybe her skin tone. The pink is nice.
Erica: Oh, Kate. Her arms look fine.
Kate: Also, these are pants. Unless they are on Diane Keaton, you know how I feel about the presence of those at award shows.
Erica: They are not just pants. They are a jumpsuit. JUMPSUITS ARE NEVER APPROPRIATE, PEOPLE. NEVER, EVER, EVER. Not even when you’re Julia Roberts. Even little kids shouldn’t wear them, because the younger the kid, the fewer the obstacles should be when getting to the potty. True facts, I used to think bikinis for toddler girls were gross. Until I was potty training Zoe. Then bikinis were the best idea ever.
 
Julie Bowen
Julie Bowen SAGs 2014
 
Kate: Hmmm…
Erica: She’s fucking with me.
Kate: The concept is there. I like the bottom patterns, I like the orange in contrast with the black and white, the silhouette is not bad, but something is just not working.
Erica: It’s the fact that she’s fucking with me. That’s what’s off.
Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington SAGs 2014
 
Kate: So she cut the top off Drew Barrymore’s Globes dress and added a hid-ay-ous black floofy skirt?
Erica: No, she cut off the top of something Drew Barrymore wore in Never Been Kissed.
Kate: I think this looks extraordinarily awful. Worst dressed nominee.
Erica: This is . . . I love her so much. I don’t . . . I don’t understand what happened in her brain and/or the brain of her stylist to make this ensemble appear.
Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita Nyong'o SAGs 2014
 
Kate: I don’t want to like all that business on top, but I do.
Erica: I’m fine with liking it. The rest of the dress is so simple, it works.
Kate: The color is freakin’ stunning, especially on her dark skin. That business on top could be somewhat reduced, but overall I think she looks fantastic. Everything just fits her so WELL — she must have a tight little body under there, amazing undergarments, an excellent tailor, or all of the above. Probably all of the above.
 
Erica: I haven’t even seen 12 Years a Slave, but I hope her acting career continues and prospers, if only to see more of her on the red carpet. This is phenomenal.
 
Meryl Streep
 
Meryl Streep SAGs 2014
Kate: I kind of wish she hadn’t worn this because it’s kind of potato sacky, but…
Erica: But she’s Meryl Streep and she sure as hell does not have to give a damn.
Kate: I do love that she wears her glasses to almost all award shows. I feel at my complete ugliest when I wear mine.
Erica: Aw, Kate. Your ugliest is still a lot of other people’s best day.
Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling SAGs 2014
 
Kate: I love this.
Erica: Me, too.
Kate: It’s flattering and she looks like she’s straight chillin’ in it — not nominated, just presenting and hanging out with her friends whilst looking great. Yayyy Mindy!
Erica: Yeah, this is very much “Oh, this old thing? Just something I had lying around.” In the best way possible.
 
Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno SAGs 2014
 
Kate & Erica: ANITA!!
Kate: So when I say I want to look like Julia Louis-Dreyfus at her age, I want to look like Rita Moreno at her age. Holy smokes this woman is perfect! She is 82 for crying out loud!
Erica: Seriously? Then yes, wow, she looks amazing.
Kate: Ok, the outfit. I think it’s a pretty bad-@ss jacket over an OK dress — I hope it’s long-sleeved — but overall she looks so bloody fantastic I can’t take it. Look at her SKIN! Can you EVEN?
Erica: I think the outfit is kind of dreadful, but when you have this much sass, who cares? Plus, she’s ANITA!
Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock SAGs 2014
 
Kate: Damn, she is ripped. Don’t you like this much better than her Globes dress, Er?
Erica: Well, yes. Yes, I do.
Kate: I love the color and the texture of the dress, and I’d much rather see her awesome leg than Queen Slutbag Angelina’s. (So happy Brad was there without her.)
Erica: Oh for crying out loud. There is nothing wrong with Angelina. Anyway, yes, crazy good body. Good make-up, too.
Kate: I just wish she would start smiling with her teeth again. 😦
Erica: Yeah, I haven’t seen her look happy at an awards show in what feels like forever. Boo-boo, we all sometimes fall for mean, cheating Neo-Nazis. You rock so much harder than that. Cheer up!
 
Sofia Vergara
Sofia Vergara SAGs 2014
 
Kate: So this is the definition of “be careful what you wish for”, because her in a non-mermaid-esque dress is not all that great. I guess she had the right idea before.
Erica: Yeah, she was pretty much wearing the thing that looked best on her.
Kate: It’s very ill-fitting in the middle, and just too much overall. Especially that matchy-matchy necklace.
Erica: Well, she’s kind of a matchy-matchy person.
Kate: Also, she’s seriously getting too skinny. Also also, I want her to go back to her naturally(?) darker hair.
Erica: I think she actually is that skinny; it’s just that when a dress or a particular photo doesn’t highlight her massive boobs, it’s more obvious.
Tina Fey
Tina Fey SAGs 2014
 
Kate: My new obsession with her is probably clouding my judgment a little, but I think this looks great on her. And there is nothing more precious than her bringing her daughter, Alice, as her date, who is so adorably excited and matching her mommy.
Erica: Best accessory of the night!
Kate: Ok so, best dressed?
Erica: I’m thinking Lupita. You?
Kate: I’m comfortable with that. Worst dressed is Kerry Washington no question, yes?
Erica: Yeah. I mean, I love her. I love her so much. I think she’s fabulous. I just don’t understand what happened here.
Kate: Ok folks, tune in next week for the Grammys, where things will probably get a little weird (ahem, Rihanna, Gaga, etc.)!
Erica:Weird is my favorite flavor!

Golden Globes 2014

Allison Williams

Allison Williams Golden Globes 2014
Kate: I absolutely love this. I feel like it’s a pretty unique dress.
Erica: It’s definitely unique. I didn’t see this during the actual event, so I’m not sure how the fabric looks, but it’s interesting while still being fairly elegant. Not my style, really, but I get what she’s going for and it works.
Kate: But I don’t love the slicked hair — her hair is gorgeous, why would she do that?
Erica: I like volume. As a general rule.
Amy Adams
Amy Adams Golden Globes 2014
Kate: This dress is very American Hustle in that it shows 60% of each boob. I wish she had not added that necklace.
Erica: I don’t love this. She’s a beautiful woman, and her hair and make-up look great, and I think she’s a really good actress. I just don’t like the dress. The low-cut-ness of it doesn’t look particularly well-made.
Kate: I like it fine enough, but she looks so much better in the movie than here. Also, when she arrived and when she was sitting she put this like matching coat/cape on, which was insanely awful.
Erica: I didn’t see that. Nor did I see the movie. I am so behind.

Amy Poehler, Dress #1

Amy Poehler Golden Globes 2014 1
Kate: Fantastic!
Erica: Yeah? I think, fine.
Kate: Great hair, very sleek dress.
Amy Poehler, Dress #2
Amy Poehler 2 Golden Globes 2014
 
Kate: I like the first one a lot better, but this is also fine.
Erica: I liked this one better, and I also appreciated that it looked like it went with Tina’s.
Amy Poehler, Dress #3
Amy Poehler 3 Golden Globes 2014
 
Kate: Did they have this many changes last year?
Erica: I think so. I don’t get it. I mean, why bother dressing for the red carpet at all? Why not just get there early for your hosting duties and wear what you’re going to wear on stage?
Kate: I like this one too, but the first one really knocked it out of the park.
Erica: This one is fine, but my favorite is the second. But – winning sure looks good on her!

Cate Blanchett 

Cate Blanchett Golden Globes 2014

Kate: I do not love this, but she can’t possibly look bad in anything.
Erica: Wow, I do love this. I think it’s my favorite of the night.
Kate: I think it’s that one layer of lace at the top — without that, it’d be much better. Also, how is her ass crack not showing in the back? Is there ass crack-erasing makeup now?
Cate Blanchett Golden Globes 2014 back
Erica: Oh. Oh, wow. I did not see that. Although I think I still like it. Also, a) double-sided tape is keeping that thing carefully in place, and b) yes, there probably is ass-crack-covering make-up.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Absolutely horrid.
Erica: She’s very pregnant. I didn’t know that.
Kate: She looks like an actual cupcake, and one that I would never eat. Hate.
Erica: I feel like, I don’t necessarily like it, but it’s so her that I don’t really mind. But can we talk about ombre hair for a minute? And how it’s not okay?
Kate: It’s the reverse of skunk hair, right? And equally as awful? Yes. Gross. Stop doing this, ladies.
Elizabeth Moss
Elizabeth Moss Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Boy am I glad she’s not blond anymore.
Erica: Me too! Just that is making me rank this look higher than it deserves.
Kate: The dress is a good shape for her, but I am so over the whole sequin thing. And I hate that length.
Erica: Grading on a curve of “Things Elizabeth Moss usually wears on the red carpet,” I give this an A-. Which is not to say I don’t love her! But I don’t love her style. As her style goes, this is . . . fine.

Emilia Clarke
Emilia Clarke Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Mmmm channeling a little Daenerys here, are we?
Erica: Is she? I don’t really like this at all.
Kate: I don’t think the dress itself is phenomenal, but I do think she is an extremely attractive human. It’s really too bad her Breakfast At Tiffany’s on Broadway was so  terrible.

Emma Stone

Emma Stone Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Ew! Emma Stone, you are too skinny! What’s happened?
Erica: Yes. Hollywood, please stop skinnifying our already delightfully shaped humans.
Kate: The dress (or skirt and shirt?) is very ill fitting. It would be a whole lot better if that top color/material were the whole thing.
Erica: I don’t really understand this whole look at all. Dreadful.
Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson Golden Globes 2014
Kate: The ensemble is not my style, but it suits her.
Erica: No. It is awful. From head to toe. And I say this as a deep, deep admirer of Emma Thompson and I was totally delighted with her loopy presentation and the taking off of the shoes and bringing her martini on stage and everything. She is a wonderful human and a talented individual and in my Top 5 of “Living Persons with whom I’d like to knock back a few”. But everything about this look besides her beautiful and perfectly made-up face is awful.
Kate: Also, it kind of looks like she is wearing a wig?
Emma Watson 
Emma Watson Golden Globes 2014 front
Kate: I really love that red, and I need to get the name of her makeup person, but the dress looks like a backwards ’50s house dress. Pants underneath? Come on.
Erica: So I saw her present and thought she looked fine, if unremarkable. I hadn’t seen the back.
Emma Watson Golden Globes 2014 back
Erica: What the fuck? Honestly. But, look, she’s young, she’s experimental, and at least I am not required to be her gynecologist.
Kate: Her hair is way too casual — that’s, like, how I wear my hair to work almost every day.
Erica: Do we like her In Style party look any better?
Emma Watson 2 Golden Globes 2014
Erica: Me, I feel like it’s a little schlumpy and too short.
Kate: No, no we do not.
Hayden Panettiere
hayden panettiere golden globes 2014
Kate: Seriously? Is that from dress from Wet Seal circa 1998, or what?
Erica: I don’t even. She’s so pretty! How does she make these choices?
Kate: And again with the slicked back hair! Gross! She looks 13 years old. Such a shame.
Erica: You know, I do think she’s one of those people who just looks better in cut-offs and a tank, hair in a messy ponytail, playing football with her puppy on the beach. You know?
Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence golden globes 2014
Kate: Ughhh Jen, I hate the dark lipstick! And honestly the dress is a little too similar to last year’s.
Erica: You know, I didn’t like the make-up, but I thought it was done well, if that makes any sense. Like, I’m not big on the goth look, but hers was skillfully applied. But yeah, I hate the dress.
Kate: I still adore her, though, so I’ll let this one slide. I hope she turns it UP for the Oscars.
Erica: Her hair looks super-cute that short, though. She doesn’t have much of a chin and this makes her face look round and cute; the longer hair I feel maybe lent her a sort of “mushy” look.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain Golden Globes 2014
Kate: This is what she should have worn last year. Fab.
Erica: Can we discuss the necklace? It looks good here, but when she was presenting, it was pushed a little bit more to the shoulders and looked FABULOUS.
Kate: But AGAIN with that slicked back hair! Who told you people this looks good?!

Julianna Margulies
Julianna Marguiles Golden Globes 2014
Kate: LOVEEEEE!
Erica: Yes. All things are right with the world.
Kate: Love the black and gold, love the neckline, love the waist, love the hair jewelry makeup, this is a best dressed contender!
Erica: Also she either has the best professional care in the universe, or she is aging super-well. Her skin looks fantastic!

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Kate: Oh, excuse me Ms. Amazing.
Erica: Really? I thought she looked good but I didn’t think she looked particularly remarkable.
Kate: Like, what does she look BAD in? (Please God let me look remotely like her in 15-20 years.)
Erica: Is she not more than 20 years older than you?
Kate: Whatever, I’ll look like her now too!

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts Golden Globes 2014
Kate: So it’s a black strapless dress with a sparkly belt over a nice white button down, but she is Julia Roberts so who gives ONE f*ck? Not her!
Erica: Yeah. I saw this and it was like, “On anyone else, I’d hate it. On Julia Roberts? You go on with your bad self, Julia. Do you.”
Kate: Great hair, makeup and jewels though, very classy.
Erica: Yeah, I loved her hair and make-up.
Julie Bowen
Julie Bowen Golden Globes 2014
Erica: Whatever. I give up.
Kate: I don’t like the sleeves, velvety top or those two colors together, but I’m happy she is wearing something different than her usual.
Erica: I know you don’t like braids, Kate, but I thought her hair looked good. I just don’t understand how a woman this pretty, this funny, this smart could continue to dress herself like this.

Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington Golden Globes 2014
Kate: For the first time in several years, Kerry Washington has failed on the red carpet. You heard it here first.
Erica: Oh, I’m more hit or miss with her in general. I thought she looked, like, okay.
Kate: Well, it’s a nice color on her, and her face finally looks normal again (re: fuller), but she’s at that awkward stage of pregnancy where the bump is not cute but can’t be hidden, and she picked a dress that highlighted that fact.
Erica: Whatever, she was glowing. I also continue to be super-impressed with her whenever I see her speak in public. She always comes across as so gracious and sharp. Like, I could see her as a 1960s political wife, very proper and the perfect hostess, but with that edge that will keep her parties lively and interesting.
Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Hasn’t she worn this already?
Erica: I don’t know. I don’t know how to handle her style, really.
Kate: Her makeup is finally better and award show appropriate, but I am not a fan of the dress. Color yes, everything else no. And I really hate her tattoos. Call me a square, but they are just too much.
Erica: I agree. I’m a little ashamed of myself, but I agree.

Lupita Nyong’O

Lupita Nyong'o Golden Globes 2014 
Kate: Ok so this is kind of what Gwyneth Paltrow wore in white, what, last year? Two years ago?
Erica: Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about that.
Kate: But it’s quite lovely. Although it’s a very “wow” color it looks elegant and understated on her, and she did makeup and jewelry very minimalistic, which was definitely the way to go.
Erica: Yeah, it’s pretty perfect. I think, though, we need to get rid of the “red” carpet. Do ivory or black or something. It’s too hard to see all these ladies in red.
Margot Robbie
Margot Robbie Golden Globes 2014
Kate: (I really need to see Wolf of Wall Street.) I actually think this is quite fabulous.
Erica: I do too. It’s va-va-voom but classy and she looked just great.
Kate: Not everyone can pull off the gems lining the armholes like that, and said gems really break up the ivory color nicely.
Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis Golden Globes 2014
Kate: I really like the dress except for the flower sh!t around the neckline.
Erica: Oh, yeah. And I think I’d like the transition from sparkle to no sparkle to be a little more gradual. But overall, good look.
Kate: And her hair and makeup are way too severe — lighten up, aren’t you Ashton Kutcher’s girlfriend? That’s not too shabby.
Erica: Wow, I think we have very different ideas on what constitutes “shabby” in a boyfriend. Ashton Kutcher has always struck me as that guy at the frat house who seems cute and funny at 1 am when you’ve had a whole lot of punch, but a week later he won’t get off your couch and he still thinks pretending he’s Mario and you’re a Koopa Troopa is hilarious and you’re like, “Dude, nobody is hot enough to put up with this. Least of all you.”
Olivia Wilde 
Olivia Wilde Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Ok so again with these these sequins which I am so over, and aGAIN with a bad baby bump dress! Did pregnant celebrities attend a class last week in which they learned the ugliest possible things to wear?
Erica: I would hate this dress with or without the baby bump.
Kate: Also, no matter how many celebrities she dates or has babies with or how many movies she stars in, I still can’t look at her without thinking about Lucas Scott.
Erica: Oh, I can. I like her, actually. But dress? Ombre hair? No. And how high exactly are those heels she’s wearing?

Paula Patton

Paula Patton Golden Globes 2014
Kate: That’s a joke, right?
Erica: Who is this person?
Kate: I refuse to waste any more blog space on this.
Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon Golden Globes 2014
Kate: You know what? I don’t like this.
Erica: I knew you wouldn’t.
Kate: I don’t like saying that I don’t like it, but I just don’t. The color stinks, the shape doesn’t flatter her, and the new haircut is upsetting me very much.
Erica: I think she looks fine. That material looks a little thick.
Sandra Bullock 
Sandra Bullock Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Absolute perfection, until you get to that gross blue on the bottom of the dress. So I’m just going to ignore that.
Erica: I can’t. And I didn’t like it before that. And what’s with the lipstick? I know you shouldn’t be matchy-matchy, but I’m also thinking a brick-y red with the hot pink right next to your face is a mistake?
Kate: That is also the most perfect side pony I have ever seen.
Erica: Yah. That’s true.

Sofia Vergara
Sofia Vergara Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Oh is Sofia Vergara wearing a strapless dress with a sweetheart neck and flared bottom, paired with a statement necklace and straight yet bouncy hair? How new and different for her!
Erica: I thought you’d be so excited that it was a princess skirt instead of a mermaid! And I like the necklace.
Kate: It actually does not look that good on her, I think it’s the skirt part that throws it off.
Erica: Well, she changed for the after-party. Do you like this better?
Sofia Vergara Golden Globes 2014 2

Kate: Actually yes, but much like how I feel about Amy Adams, I have seen way too much of this person’s boobs.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift Golden Globes red carpet 2014
Kate: No. Just no.
Erica: Really? I was unoffended by this.
Kate: I am offended by the fact that she is at every stinkin’ award show that has absolutely NOTHING to do with her — she was sitting at a table like, dead center! What has she done to deserve that spot?
Erica: I’m not saying I like it, just that I don’t care. It’s a hell of a lot better than her after-party dress.
Taylor Swift Golden Globes 2 2014
Erica: Although I do like her hair better here.
Tina Fey, Dress #1
Tina Fey Golden Globes 2014 1
Kate: So the dress is really fun, I like black and hot pink together. Hair is a little Palin-esque, but overall a very fun look for her. I’m happy it’s full length, she does that awkward ankle length a lot.
Erica: Well, her hair is pinned so it can easily be taken down for the show. But yeah, I like this. It’s different for her and very pretty.
Tina Fey, Dress #2
Tina Fey 2 Golden Globes 2014
 
Kate: Oh my god YES! Best she has ever looked at one of these things. Sexy sexy hair, perfectly styled dress. These sequins I am NOT over. Love! Best dressed nominee!
Erica: Right? Damn, girl. Also, can we talk about your waist for a second? Seriously, what are you doing to stay in that kind of shape? In between writing, performing, maintaining awesome friendships with women like Amy Poehler, carrying on a seemingly fine marriage and mothering two children? God, I suck.
Kate: Read her book and find out!
Tina Fey, Dress #3
Tina Fey 3 Golden Globes 2014
 
Kate: I like that it looks like she literally just threw her hair up in a clip without looking in a mirror.
Erica: It’s fine.
Kate: I don’t love the necklace, and now that several other people are in that red I am kind of over it. There was just no outshining her second dress.
Erica: Yeah. For real.
Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Hot mess. It’s like Betsy Johnson and Free People had an ugly love child, and forgot to finish it.
Erica: It’s like you’re a high school sophomore in 1993 and this senior just asked you to prom! Which is in two days. And you don’t have any money and everything left on the rack in that pop-up prom store in the mall by your house – the one that also has a place to sell your gold and not one but two novelty gift shops? Yeah, they’re all hideous. But you have a spunky auntie and a needle and thread, so you negotiate with the store’s owner to get three dresses off the clearance rack for the price of just one of them and also you’ll do inventory next week for free! And then you cut up those dresses and sew them together so that you look totally unique and also like you will absolutely put out at the after-prom party, unlike his stupid ex-girlfriend who is at the prom with his best friend.
 
Zooey Deschanel
Zooey Deschanel Golden Globes 2014
Kate: Well, this is pretty much very lovely. I really like the skirt.
Erica: I wouldn’t mind a more form-fitting top but it’s cute and it’s her.
Kate: The side bun is ok, but the flower wasn’t necessary. And her lipstick is bordering on too dark.
Worst Dressed
 
Kate: It has to be Paula Patton, right?
Erica: I continue not to know or care who that person is.
Best Dressed
 
Kate: I have to go with my girl Tina, as I am completely in love with her after reading her book.
Erica: Alright. I’m between Cate Blanchett and Julianna Marguiles.

Misogyny & Aaron Sorkin – “The West Wing”, 1.05 “The Crackpots and These Women”

So I’m watching my favorite TV series for the purpose of criticizing its tendencies toward misogyny, tendencies that are exacerbated in creator Aaron Sorkin’s later works. 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 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.

And,

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

Just from the title, you know this is going to be a good one, right?

Last time on “The West Wing”, you didn’t want to see laws or sausages get made, and we saw the former; Sam wouldn’t let C.J. protect him or the president from rumors that Sam’s palling around with a hooker; Josh put on his sunglasses in an excessively cool-guy manner and threatened a congressman; and Toby hated everyone. Also, Charlie! And gun control.

Title Card. The title alone deserves a 4.

The boys are playing basketball. C.J. isn’t. ‘Cause she’s a girl. C.J. may be tall and we’ve seen her work out before, but she doesn’t get to play ball with schlubby Jews or men twice her age, ’cause she’s a girl. 4. The president is winded and the boys are making fun of him for it. Toby wants him to cry uncle. The president won’t. Toby claims that the poets will write that President Bartlett “had the tools for greatness, but the voices of his better angels were shouted down by his obsessive need to win.” Line of the night. When it comes to talking smack, Toby is a poet.

The president calls in a ringer, who, it so happens, is a former college basketball star. And maybe the actor or the character or both is a recognizable basketball star that I’d know if I knew anything, which I don’t. If I haven’t already, remind me to tell you the story of Jason and I taking basketball for gym class at Brandeis. Anyway, they make Charlie guard the ringer because Charlie and the ringer are black.

Credits.

Sunrise shot of D.C. Then Josh is in a hallway and Donna pops up to remind him that he has a staff meeting. He says that’s where he’s going, and if she sees that’s where he’s going, why is she reminding him? 5. She thinks doing so is adorable because she’s also feisty! 3. He says she’s trying to control him which is, as Oz would say, “a radical interpretation of the text” so 8. Then she starts talking to him about some dude who hasn’t called her. 2. Josh says, “Can we clear up a few things about my level of interest in the local Gomers you date in the free time you create by not working very hard at your job?” Ugh. 5, 2, 4, in no particular order. Then Donna withholds his folder until he says she works very hard at her job and she’s not at all controlling. 3 and another 8 for implying she’s being controlling in the first place. Then she has something else for him and he is rude about waiting for her to find it in her folder 5 and she tells him he is supposed to meet with Lacey from the NSC (National Security Council) after the staff meeting. She asks what he thinks it’s about and, because he’s Josh and cannot resist being rude, he says, “I don’t know but this is the White House so it’s probably not important.” 5.

Misogyny Points Thus Far: 13  And we haven’t even had a Mandy scene yet. Told you guys this was going to be a good one.

C.J. comes up behind Josh as he departs Donna with an article she wants him to read in The New Yorker about smallpox. He says, “The disease?” and she says “No, the dessert topping,” so, just because we’re five minutes into the episode and already have 13 points, I’ll give that a -5.

MPTF: 12

Margaret’s voice is explaining that they do “this” every month, and the voice the credits claim is Cathy says they’ve missed a few, and Sam says they generally try to do “it” on the first of every month, and Toby points out that they’ve done it twice in twelve months, and Mandy, who I guess they were all talking to, doesn’t know what they’re talking about. So, I guess Margaret and Cathy were talking to Mandy and that passes the Bechdel test? But Sam and Toby were there, too. And we don’t actually see Margaret or Cathy’s faces while they’re talking. We’ll see how I feel at the end of the episode. But I am going to go ahead and give this a 9 for Mandy being in the position of asking on behalf of the audience what’s going on. Not that it’s exactly diminishing to her that she doesn’t already know, since she’s new. But so is Charlie. And Charlie actually works there, whereas Mandy is an image consultant, so why is Mandy even in this meeting?

Toby says it’s ” ‘Throw Open our Office Doors to People who Want to Talk About Things We Could Care Less About’ Day” which is a less punchy and amusing way of putting it than either Toby or Aaron Sorkin thinks it is. Mandy thinks that’s goofy. Sam says it’s not so bad; you humor people for a minute and give them a special White House pen and go about your day. Mandy thinks this is a waste of time, and Cathy nods as Margaret confirms that it is an enormous waste of time but it’s one of Leo’s pet office policies. We can see their faces now, though Cathy’s is a little blurry, so I guess I feel comfortable giving this a -10. Bechdel test passed!

Leo walks in and gives his speech about Andrew Jackson putting a 2-ton block of cheese in the foyer of the White House so anyone could come in, have some cheese, and get their voices heard. As he talks there are scoffing noises being made and Leo says he will make mental notes of the scoffers and prepare retribution. (I am not giving the scoffing a -4 because it is in no way implied that Cheese Day is a feminine activity in any way. Both male and female staffers think it’s dumb; its proponents are Leo and Andrew Jackson.) Toby wants to know if this day couldn’t be better spent planning a war against a country that couldn’t possibly defend itself against us, which is a little wordy but funny, and Leo promises they can do that later. Sam makes a comment and goes on Leo’s list. Sam asks, “What about Toby?” and Leo says he’s unpredictable. Hey, me too! That’s what I’ll say whenever I can’t justify my numbering system in these posts!

Mandy snarks and also doesn’t go on Leo’s list. (Not giving a 3 because it’s very much in keeping with the tone of the room.) Leo assures them all that “listening to the voices of passionate Americans is beneath no one, and least of all the people’s servants.”

Josh enters and asks if it’s “Total Crackpot Day” again, which also doesn’t seem to faze Leo and is a better way of putting than Toby’s.

Margaret is told to hand out the assignments and Leo leaves with Josh.

In the hall, Leo hits Josh upside the head for the “Total Crackpot Day” remark, and Josh laughs. Then Leo introduces him to Jonathan Lacey. How stupid of me to assume that, when Josh had a meeting with a person named “Lacey,” it would be a girl. (Then again, if it was a girl with the first name Lacey, she’d be a prostitute.) (Then again, Sorkin boys only have very honorable reasons for hanging out with prostitutes, so what would it matter if she were?) Leo closes the door and Jonathan Lacey gives him a card to keep in his wallet at all times and call them – the NSC – if he loses his wallet. The card is directions for where to go in the event of a nuclear attack. Josh is nonplussed. After a few moments, he asks about where his staff goes. Leo and Jonathan Lacey just stare at him until he gets that his staff doesn’t get protection in the event of a nuclear attack. That clearly throws him even more. Sad music plays as he walks out into the hall.

MPTF: 12

Now we’re in the press room. It is devoid of members of the press and instead populated by Sam, Leo, Mandy and Toby. Sam asks a question in a rehearsed voice. From the podium, the president addresses Sam as “Helen” and answers the question. I’m not reporting the question or the answer because they are about economics things and I don’t understand them/care. I mean, I care in real life, and I’d care if this were a major plot point, but it is not. Sam interrupts to point out that he wasn’t being Helen just then; he was being Sandy King. They quibble about this for a minute and then the president answers the question. Sam suggests he add something to his answer, and then Mandy suggests, “If you could  further see clear to not answer that question like an economics professor with a big ol’ stick up his butt, that would be good, too.” Wow, brevity is not Aaron Sorkin’s friend this episode, is it? Not that he’s known for his terse dialogue, but this is excessive. Also 3. Someone sure is secure in the loyalty of her only client.

The president says he is, in fact, an economics professor with a big ol’ stick up his butt, and they all laugh. Toby wants to talk about guns and the president doesn’t. The president agrees to take a few practice questions about guns and then answers one unsatisfactorily. The tension between the president and Toby grows and Leo tries to derail it. We go outside the press room where Josh is leaning against a door with a blank expression on his face. C.J. approaches and asks why he isn’t in the practice session. A clearly addled Josh says he was just going in. Mrs. Landingham comes out to greet them and C.J. asks her, “Where are we in the saga of Toby and the president?” A lot of these lines feel really phoned in. Not from the actors; they’re giving it their all. But the words themselves are unwieldy and not as funny or punchy as they are intended to be. Mrs. Landingham says they’re having a disagreement, and then we hear the president shout, “Oh, for God’s sakes, Toby!” and Mrs. Landingham leaves and C.J. tries to get Josh to focus long enough to go in.

The president is telling Toby he’s not going to say that the bill they just passed is worthless. Toby wants to admit its weaknesses. Mandy thinks that’s a terrible idea. “It’ll infuriate the left, it’ll energize the right, and everyone in the middle’s gonna feel like they just got yanked around.” Yeah. I think we’re familiar with that feeling.

Anyway, Toby’s pissed, the president’s pissed, and Leo is tired. Sam is supposed to leave for his first Cheese Appointment but he thinks prepping for the press conference is more important. C.J. backs him up but the president thinks this press conference is just about they haven’t had a press conference in a while so no, Sam has to go to his Cheese Appointment. And then Charlie comes to get the president so Toby is left there wanting to yell more and having no one to yell at.

So Sam is meeting with Bob from United States Space Command, whom he is mocking right off the bat for being nerdy. Bob is not impressed with his attitude. He wants the White House to pay more attention to UFOs. Sam is happy to hear that they aren’t paying any attention right now, as they “already have enough trouble with the first lady and her Ouija board.” What? No. 4. I mean, I know this is only episode five and we haven’t met her yet but even if we never met her, having that as our one piece of information about her is diminishing, and also, when we do meet her and get to know her character, she’s not really the type to use a Ouija board a lot, so it’s bad writing, too, for the sake of making a joke about women and the silly nonsense they get up to. Boo.

Anyway. Bob has some data he wants Sam to show the president. Sam says he will not do that because the president will either laugh at him or yell at him. Bob, who is being very calm and professional, by the way, starts talking about some specific UFO near Hawaii that’s up there right now. Sam makes fun of Bob some more and snottily gives Bob a pen.

Mandy is asking C.J. for her support to take the president and staff to a Hollywood fundraiser. Okay, so this episode definitely passes the Bechdel test. Fine. C.J. says it’s not her Mandy has to worry about; it’s Toby. Mandy knows that. They talk about the last one of these they went to, I guess during the campaign. Apparently Roberto Benigni pushed C.J. into the swimming pool.

Actually, this is one of the things that confuses me about the Bechdel test. They are talking about Hollywood fundraisers and being pushed in a pool and all, but they’re talking about convincing the president (a man), and Toby (a man), and about the person hosting the fundraiser (a man), and about the person who pushed C.J. into the pool (a man), so are they talking about “a man” and therefore not having a Bechdel-test-passing conversation? Or would it be far too extreme to expect that female characters exist in a world completely devoid of men in any capacity, and therefore can have conversations about their jobs, their kids, their lives without those conversations including men? Then again, I bet men in movies and TV can, in fact, have conversations that include nothing about any women in any capacity, so isn’t that kind of the point of the Bechdel test?

But for the purposes of this show, the president is, in fact, a man, so if the ladies are talking about work, they are directly or indirectly talking about a man, and I’ll just let that slide and say they’re talking about “work,” not “a man.”

Leo and the president are in one of the conference rooms with a bunch of economists to talk about the budget. I don’t know what they’re talking about and I’m not supposed to. Charlie comes in with a message for the president that makes him happy. The president rattles off a bunch of numbers about deficit and debt and again, I’m not paying a lot of attention to this. One of the economists in the room – the only female economist I see – simpers that the president knew “all those numbers in your head?” 6. Blergh. Then we learn that the note says that Zoey, the president’s daughter, is coming for dinner. The president excuses himself to, as he says, go let his staff bother him, and he and Leo exit.

In the hall, the president gets all excited, saying he’s going to make chili for everyone and bellowing for Charlie. Charlie reminds him that the first lady doesn’t want him to – and the president cuts him off by declaring that, with the first lady in Pakistan, he can eat whatever he wants. 4. Girls. Always with their trying to make men healthy. So annoying. Anyway, Leo is skeptical that President Bartlett can cook.

The president sends Charlie away, and Leo also marvels about him knowing those numbers, too. The president says, “I was right?” and Leo laughs and says, “That’s what I thought.” Which kind of makes that one woman simpering even more gross.

Anyway, the president calls the staff in and announces that Zoey is coming in that night and he’s making chili for everyone. The staff for some reason does not seem enthused about this idea until the president instructs them to look at the seal on his office carpet, then back up at him. He makes the same announcement in the same tone of voice and gets ultra-fake cheering. I don’t really get this. If I worked for the president, I’d be thrilled to death to have chili with him and his daughter, if only so I could put it in the book I’d write one day, but also just because that’s cool as hell.

The meeting proper gets underway, with Leo saying he wants this meeting to last somewhere between three and five minutes. He calls on Mandy, who brings up California and the possibility of going to the fundraiser she asked C.J. about earlier. Toby doesn’t want to because the president will be giving a speech decrying violence in movies, and it’s hypocritical. Sam doesn’t think they should be giving the speech at all. Sam and Toby get into it about violence and Hollywood movies and whether the quality of said movies affects whether or not we think the violence in them is justified. C.J. just makes adorable faces. Toby finally says they can’t admonish Hollywood on Tuesday and cash their check on Wednesday because it’s hypocritical. The president, who is perusing the paper, says being hypocritical to Hollywood is okay. Toby is not pleased. No one cares. Toby makes an analogy about McCarthyism. The president demands to know if he looks like Joe McCarthy to Toby. Toby says, “No, sir. Nobody ever looks like Joe McCarthy. That’s how they get in the door in the first place.” Wow. Toby is also incredibly secure in his job. Although, fair point.

C.J. says they’ve wandered from the point. Leo says time’s up and everyone is dismissed.

I just want to note that, even though this is Mandy’s thing, and she talked to C.J. about it earlier, neither of them participate in the debate. Mandy introduces it and C.J. ends it, but they don’t jump into it. I mean, neither does Josh, and that’s pretty rare, but still. He’s having a weird day. And there are two women in the room, one of whom is the source of this idea in the first place, and neither of them has anything to say on the subject. I don’t have a number for that, so I think I’ll give it a 4 and determine later if I need a new number.

MPTF: 17

Josh and Sam pedeconference out of the office. Sam wants to know if Josh is okay. Josh says he is. Cathy, Sam’s assistant, tells Sam she ate her donut. I think this is the first example of an ongoing weird thing this show has about women and a craving for baked goods. I’ll give it a 4. Sam asks Cathy if “that thing is still out there,” referring to the UFO he dismissed earlier. It is. He and Josh speak dismissively about it some more and Josh mentions Mrs. Bartlett’s Ouija board, too. Ugh.

Josh closes the door as Sam babbles about the UFO and Josh stops him. Josh asks Sam if he’s close to Cathy. “I haven’t seen her naked, if that’s what you’re asking,” says Sam. I’m giving that a 2. I’m in an unforgiving mood today. Sam says Cathy is like a younger sister to him, except she gets paid and frightens Sam. Just like the relationship between Josh and Donna. I’m sure this conversation is sexist; I’m just not sure how. Let’s go with 4. Anyway, Josh asks Sam if, when Sam got his card (from the NSC) and realized Cathy didn’t get one, how did he feel? Sam has no idea what he’s talking about. Josh realizes Sam doesn’t have a card, either. Oh, man, Josh. You not only can’t protect your little sister, you can’t protect your brothers-in-arms.. Sucks to be you.

MPTF: 20

C.J. is in with her Cheese Appointment. A gentle man with a ’70s haircut wants to tell her about Pluie the wolf. C.J. wants to tell him to go fuck himself. But nicely. Another guy – Oh, my God, it’s Ron Swanson! – talks about Pluie’s annual trek and ’70s dude shows all the modern challenges to the wolf’s trek – denuded forests, highways, etc. A humorless, make-up-less woman running the slideshow says, “Not to mention the United States-Canadian border,” and C.J. jokes, “Yeah, ’cause no photo ID.” The woman is not amused. 8. They explain that the wolves need to migrate to find non-related wolves to breed with. None of the three are amused when she jokes about inbreeding and the British royal family. Honestly, I’m not that amused, either. It’s a cheap joke.

’70s man tells C.J. that they are proposing a Wolves-Only Freeway. C.J. clearly thinks this is hilarious. She thinks the wolves will leave the freeway and eat her cat. Well, not if the freeway is going from Canada to Wyoming and your cat is in D.C., I would think.

Ron Swanson tries to change the subject but C.J. wants to talk about how this won’t happen because ranchers. The sour-faced woman informs us that a rancher shot and killed Pluie last month. C.J. says she’s sorry to hear that, and the sour-faced woman says, “I’m not sure you are.” 8, again. Of course the Cheese Appointment dudes are having no trouble keeping this professional, it’s just the stupid girl who’s getting rude and inappropriate.

C.J. asks how much this will cost. ’70s man thinks they can do it for “only” $900 million. C.J. thinks that is the most hilarious thing she’s ever heard. The sour-faced woman continues to be belligerent and stupid. She wonders how C.J. thinks they should spend the money – “Another war plane? Another S&L bailout?” Dude, for serious. She’s in the upper echelon of an organization that wants to actually get this done. She’s sitting down with the White House press secretary. The two dudes with her are calm, professional, direct, and positive. She’s talking like an impassioned co-ed at her first rally. 8.

MPTF: 23

Mandy knocks on Toby’s door and greets him. Toby is not happy to see her. They discuss the fundraiser. Well, not really. They exchange, like, two sentences. They establish that they don’t like being on opposite sides. Then Mandy says, “I’m glad David Rosen passed on the communications job. They couldn’t have done better than you.” Not feeling so secure in your job now, are you, Toby?

We cut to him pedeconferencing with C.J. He reminds her that he asked her a few months ago if he was the president’s first choice for the communications director job. C.J. is surprised they’re back to this. And a big, fat ! for this, because under what conditions is C.J. the person Toby goes to when he’s feeling insecure? Wait, I know! The conditions in which they’re doing it!

C.J. assures Toby that he was the first choice. C.J. doesn’t know about David Rosen. Toby believes he’s become the kid in the class with his hand raised that no one wants the teacher to call on. Oof, Toby. I feel your pain. I probably was that kid sometimes, too.

Actually, I bet the kids in class were happy when the teacher called on me because I did a whole bunch of talking and they didn’t have to. Yeah. Let’s go with that.

Anyway, Toby decides to drop his protest against the fundraiser and wants C.J.’s help with the gun thing for the press conference. C.J. thinks he doesn’t need her help and he’s being silly.

The press conference, the fundraiser, the guns, Josh’s freak-out, Toby’s relationship with the president, Cheese Appointments, Zoey and chili – there are a lot of fucking things going on in this episode. It makes for a good show, but a very difficult recapping experience.

Josh is in an office we’ve never seen before, grateful that someone could squeeze him in. Actually, that someone – Stanley – had to cancel someone to fit Josh in. Gosh, Josh, there is no end to the people whose loss is your gain this episode, is there? We learn he hasn’t been to see Stanley in 10 months. We’ve all caught on that Stanley’s his therapist, right? I don’t have to pretend not to know? Okay, cool. Josh hasn’t even taken off his overcoat, btw. He says he’s absented himself from therapy because his going to therapy might make some of the people he works with nervous.

Josh starts by talking about the smallpox article C.J. asked him to read earlier. Then he says he can’t get “Ave Maria” out of his head. His sister who died used to play it in her room all the time, apparently. She wanted to be an orchestra conductor. Then he talks about the card and how he’s the only one who got one. He lists the people who didn’t get one and includes his dead sister. Freudian slip! He can’t tell his therapist about the card because he works for the government. Then he wants to go. Stanley isn’t letting him get off that easy. He says Josh has never told him how his sister died. It turns out there was a fire in the house while she was babysitting him and Josh ran out and his sister didn’t. Poor Josh. Responsible for everything.

We cut to Josh in his darkened office listening to “Ave Maria” and ignoring C.J.’s knock. She finally comes in and invites him to the chili party already in progress. Josh tells her about the NSC card and how they want to save him and not her and he didn’t want to be friends with her and have her to not know that he has a card and she doesn’t. C.J. laughs this off – kindly – and says of course they don’t want the communications department in the event of a nuclear attack, as they won’t be issuing press releases or writing speeches. Um, they won’t? But they will need someone to harass Congressmen? I mean, I’m sure this is accurate – I’m sure Aaron Sorkin had a source who could tell him who got cards like that and who didn’t – but it seems odd reasoning. Still, C.J. is being reassuring without being patronizing and it’s nice. She tells him again to come have some fun/chili.

Josh redirects her attention to “Ave Maria,” which is, in fact, quite lovely. C.J. just sips her wine and looks at him. Then C.J. says the Cold War is over and Josh scoffs and says it’s not going to be like that, with bombs and red phones. “How’s it going to be?” asks C.J. and I’m calling a 9 here. It’s an invitation to him to explain to her something that she in fact pointed out to him by showing him that article. Josh talks about how scary biological warfare is. And it is, absolutely. I really don’t know how something like the scenario he’s envisioning – a terrorist dropping some smallpox in a New York City subway – hasn’t happened yet. C.J. says they’ll make more vaccine. Josh says they’d better hurry; he’s the only one with one of those cards. Well, him, the president, Leo, the First Family, maybe Charlie and probably some Secret Service agents, probably the Speaker of the House, the cabinet, maybe the Supreme Court justices, probably some other congressional officials, I don’t know. C.J. says he’s very sweet and goes to have chili.

Hey, it just hit me that this episode predates 9/11 and this discussion about biological terror has much more resonance now.

At the chili party, the president is harassing Sam about the fundamentals of basketball, and then he and Leo talk about these kids these days. The president accuses Mrs. Landingham of being drunk, which Mrs. Landingham denies. She starts to say something but the president cuts her off with an “Oh, give it up.” 5. Mrs. Landingham tells the president Zoey is in the kitchen.

C.J. is telling Cathy and Donna about wolves, having apparently now come around to sympathize with them. A fact which displeases Toby, for reasons that could only have to do with the fact that C.J. is his secret girlfriend. ! She quotes the statistic that more people get killed getting change out of a vending machine than by wolf attack. Donna asks the question on EVERYBODY’S MIND – “How do people die from a vending machine?”

The president greets some more staff we don’t know and is approached by Toby. Toby asks about David Rosen and the president admits he was the first choice. Apparently Leo and Josh wanted Toby from the beginning but the president held out for David Rosen. Then David Rosen wanted a job that paid actual money and the president thanks God for that. He wouldn’t be able to handle life without Toby mitchering him all the time. I know how you feel, Mr. President. I’d like a Toby to mitcher me, too.

The president, for his part, wants to know if Toby meant it about the fight between his demons and angels. Toby says he did. But that for the first time in a long time, he thinks the battle between a president’s angels and his demons might be a fair fight.

Nice.

We meet Zoey, played by Elizabeth Moss, who has a very comfortable relationship with Josh. They yell at each other. Then Charlie comes in and is adorably formal with Zoey. Josh gets obnoxious about it and Zoey gives permission to Charlie to call her Zoey instead of Ma’am, and they flirt subtly but adorably about what spice is needed to fix the chili. I’d go into more detail but I’m busy squee-ing.

C.J. is speculating with the president and Leo about vending machines when Josh comes up. C.J. absents herself and the president marvels to Josh about how much he likes to see colleagues enjoying each other outside work. I have to say, as sappy as this is, I feel that. I really like a lot of the teachers at my religious school and I’d love to spend more non-work time getting to know them.

Then it takes a turn for the weird when they all “can’t get over these women”. C.J. is like a ’50s movie star? Not only 4, but also inaccurate? I’d say more ’30s-’40s? The age of Rosalind Russell and tough dames? And Mandy is, um, talking “in a world that tells women to sit down and shut up.” Yes, Aaron Sorkin. You are an incredibly progressive male. How fabulous. 3 is the best number I can give this item. Mrs. Landingham lost two sons in Vietnam but still hasn’t missed a day of work in 14 years. I mean, I love me some Mrs. Landingham, but that’s not healthy. Sheryl Sandberg would advise against using that as the benchmark of awesomeness. 4. Then the president lists the three female assistants we know without saying anything specific about them. I mean, just the fact that they’re there, supporting the menfolk, that’s awesome, right? Ugh. 4. Sometimes being put on a pedestal is just as bad as being thrown in the gutter, Aaron Sorkin.

Josh turns in his NSC card because he’s so noble. I mean, this is a genuinely noble act (I think) but it’s pretty paternalistic in the context of this conversation.

Zoey and Charlie signal to the president and the president calls everyone to attention. He makes a joke about ordering them to enjoy the chili and then says his wife is in Pakistan but he doesn’t know why and he doesn’t want to ask because women, right? 8. Also, that can’t be true. I have to imagine that a first lady’s activities – especially her visits to foreign lands – have to be vetted by the president’s people, too? Everyone claps for Zoey entering Georgetown in the spring, and then the president expresses his wish that Zoey be celibate her whole life which is so gross and then Josh says, loudly, “Yeah, right,” which is also gross and 2 to this whole thing. The president expresses a wish to fund higher education for all Americans. Then he talks about the Cheese Appointments and how everyone starts so cynical and ends up persuaded. He tells C.J. it’s not the cost of the wolves-only highway that bothers him; it’s the segregation. Wolves only? Won’t the ACLU represent the reindeer and sue? That’s such a dad joke. Which is entirely in keeping with President Bartlett’s character. The president also tells us that the UFO was an abandoned Soviet satellite and wasn’t the Cold War sad but the space race also kind of cool? He asks Toby what the next challenge will be? And how maybe it will be the next smallpox vaccine. Let’s touch the hand of God, people. And scene.

Total Misogyny Points: 31 The highest score so far! And also not a terribly good episode. I loved seeing Charlie and Zoey, and Josh having feelings, and the angels and demons line and Toby and the president’s relationship in general, but overall there were too many plot points and too many badly worded phrases and lines. I mean, for any other show, an A+ episode, but for this one? C-. Don’t worry; there will be better!