Sunday nights for me are generally spent on the couch in sweatpants and glasses, yelling at myself for never leaving the apartment—even briefly—for some fresh air. It’s kind of like flying on an airplane when you realize all the fresh oxygen that existed has been inhaled and now you’re all breathing recycled air and the thought of it makes you a little claustrophobic so you take a few gasps near the window where maybe fresh oxygen still exists in tiny pockets. That makes sense, right? Is that how a scientist would explain it? Anyway, yesterday was different as I spent all afternoon out and about, running errands with my mom (I bought a jump rope!), taking the train back to the city, stopping by the grocery store, and then walking home. It was so nice, my skin never even felt like an orange peel disintegrating on a dirty kitchen counter, another side effect of Sundays indoors. When I arrived back at my apartment, waiting outside the front entrance for me was not the Old Town homeless man to whom my roommate occasionally offers her leftover french toast, but my friend Daniel! We had arranged a get together the night before over margaritas and, lucky me, he remembered. The best thing about our friendship (if I do say so myself, Daniel) is that we are the perfect sounding boards for each other’s obscure pop culture references. We were once a team for the game “Celebrity” and in the second round when you can only use one word to get the other person to guess the clue, he said “Hillary” to which I immediately shouted back, “Condoleezza Rice!” It was amazing. [ed. note: This line was updated at 9:15 AM on Tuesday, as I my memory of the event was slightly muddled.]
While selecting our TV viewing schedule for the night, Daniel reminded me the SAG Awards were airing at 7:00, so we decided to supplement that lowbrow selection with a slightly more informative program, like 60 Minutes at 6:00 (that way we wouldn’t feel like such nincompoops for having conversations about Viola Davis’s glittery skin later in the evening). After the ultra-efficient, two-hour SAG broadcast concluded, we cued up the episode of The Good Wife that had aired at 8:00, and once again contemplated careers as in-house investigators for a major law firm. Think of all the black and purple we would get to wear! By that point it was fairly late so Daniel left, but I couldn’t bare the thought of going to bed without watching the Kourtney and Kim Take New York season finale. And I needed to paint my nails. So with those five hours under my belt, here are 10 Things I Learned Last Night Watching Television.
1. No one is more amused by our military operations than Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Correspondent Scott Pelley brought us a profile on the Secretary, who was tickled pink by the question, “In how many countries are we currently engaged in a shooting war?” Hahahaha! No, seriously, Mr. Secretary. Ballpark figure. Scott Pelley, dressed in his best Brawny man ensemble for portions of the interview, went so far as to put together a montage of Secretary Panetta laughing in a variety of presumably serious settings. It was supposed to put the minds of Americans at ease, that a man with such a stressful job would be able to maintain his sense of humor, but as an at home viewer, it kind of made me feel like the only one in the room who realizes something’s burning in the oven.
2. There is a ranch in Texas that breeds exotic animals from Africa so that they may be hunted for sport. It’s only a matter of time before Texas secedes from this nation. What is going on down there? Correspondent Lara Logan, showing a great deal of journalistic objectivity, asked a hunter on the ranch who was out stalking the endangered scimitar-horned oryx, “HOW DO YOU KILL SOMETHING YOU LOVE?!” She would be a terrible poker player. Actually, the most unsettling part of the segment was that at it’s conclusion, I had sided with the ranchers. While many of these animals are on the endangered species list, in Texas, they’re thriving. Don’t get it twisted…anyone who seeks the thrill of hunting a zebra makes me a little sick to my stomach. But if we are to understand that this ranch restricts hunting to only 10% of each species annually, and they are making a concerted effort to breed animals that are on the path to extinction in their natural African habitats, then their’s is a business model I almost regretfully admit I understand. As Angelina Jolie said in Wanted, “Our purpose is to maintain stability in an unstable world – kill one, save a thousand.” She’s always my go-to when it comes to animal conservation.
3. The announcer during the red carpet montage at the start of TNT’s broadcast of the 18th Annual SAG Awards, momentarily forgot these celebrities were not her friends. I imagine this woman to be the type who uses a rhinestone hair claw to keep her hair back at the gym and flirts with her friends’ husbands at block parties. As the camera moved from celebrity to celebrity, the announcer spoke to each as if she were mingling at a middle school fundraiser: “Hey there Brad and Angelina!” A shot of Melissa McCarthy waving at the camera: “We’re waving at you Melissa McCarthy!” Kristen Wiig, Busy Phillips, and Michelle Williams standing in a group, not looking at the camera: “Hey there, girlfriends!” I imagine the producers’ were going for some kind of “Look how much fun we’re having and the party’s just getting started!” vibe, but it ended up feeling more like a scene from a Christopher Guest movie, mockumenting a small town film festival.
4. Viola Davis’s win last night for Best Actress was a game changer. Moments before the winner was announced last night, I rolled my eyes and yawned my prediction, “Meryl Streep.” And no sooner did the words leave my mouth, than Sir Ben Kingsley was announcing Viola’s name. For anyone within an ear shot of my apartment, you would have thought a world leader had just been assassinated. We were floored. This scenario we now face leading up to the Oscars reminds us of the neck-in-neck Best Actor race between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke back in 2008. Only these actresses are lovely and have never been so narcissistic as to date Scarlett Johansson.
5. I always thought that SAG, as a collective Union, offered a really sophisticated point of view when it came to television and film, and then Betty White won the award for Best Actress in a Television Comedy. For the second year in a row. You guys this show is on TV Land! Wendie Malick’s character’s name is Victoria Chase! Betty White has to say things like, “You better buck up and bug down, bitch!” WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! We’ve already shown our appreciation for her career in television through lifetime achievement awards. Why are we kidding ourselves by thinking she gave the BEST comedic performance by an actress this year? Is it out of guilt? Are we all too afraid to admit she doesn’t deserve so much as the nomination because she’s 90 years old and it feels like telling grandma we can’t make it to her house for Christmas? I mean, God bless Betty for proving to Hollywood that we are better off looking like her at 90 than Mary Tyler Moore at 75, but really, this win is so far off the mark, it’s insulting.
6. Whoever was in charge of selecting the clips for each award presentation, needs to be fired. Literally, the clip introducing The Good Wife as Best Ensemble Television Drama consisted of Diane Lockhart saying to Will Gardner, “I’ll hold.” Edie Falco’s Best Actress Television Comedy clip for Nurse Jackie was her telling a young patient, “You should be a nurse. They’re smarter than doctors.” And poor Jonah Hill, his clip for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture was from The Sitter! No, I’m kidding. But has anyone else come to terms with the fact that now and forever Jonah Hill will be announced as “Academy Award Nominee?” Me neither.
7. Last night, The Good Wife reminded all of us why it belongs on CBS in a single moment. In one of the best episodes of the season, The Good Wife just could not escape the puritanical cheesiness their host network is best known for, when duped Assistant State’s Attorney Dana Lodge approaches Kalinda in a bustling court house hallway and Kalinda tells her, “Hit me. It’ll make you feel better.” AND SHE DOES. If only it was immediately followed by the CSI: Miami “YEEAAAAHHHHH!” (See the 0:22 mark for a reference.)
8. If you ever find yourself in a combative situation with another woman, follow Julianna Margulies’s lead. When Alicia takes the stand during the Grand Jury hearing of her boss/former lover, Will Gardner, Wendy Scott Carr (lead prosecutor for the case) insinuates Alicia’s professional success as a third year associate was due to her sexual relationship with Will. Insulted, Alicia removes herself from the stand before being dismissed and tells Wendy in a calm but firm voice, “You are out of control.” Is there anything more effective a woman can say to retaliate against a woman making offensive and baseless accusations, in order to take back her power? I would say that to someone everyday if I could. It makes me want to audition for a Bravo reality show just thinking about it!
9. Despite losing major points when he kicked over a waste basket filled with his own urine a few episodes back, last night Scott Disick proved himself to be the only sane one in the bunch. To Kim getting hysterical in her make-up chair over the idea of husband Kris Humphries shipping boxes of his belongings to her home, Scott asks, “You know you’re married, right?” Right.
10. If it was the intention of the editors to use Kourtney and Kim Take New York to make Kim Kardashian look sympathetic in the wake of her divorce, they failed. Attempting to spin the downfall of Kris and Kim’s 72 day marriage in Kim’s favor backfired last night on the season finale, as anyone who has ever been in a relationship, considered being in a relationship, or watched a relationship unfold on a 90s sitcom, can tell you that the reason this marriage failed is because there was no sustainable relationship to begin with. As much as they would like to argue that anyone would want to get a divorce if they realized that the person they married is an immature goon, they can’t explain away a 31 year old, formerly married adult, getting married because she felt ready to check that off her to-do list. “I feel awful that I feel this way! I feel awful that I fell in love with a guy and it’s not what I thought it would be!” All of this nonsense from Kim about wanting a fairy tale ending and being a hopeless romantic, reads like a page out of a PR Crisis Management Handbook. I appreciate the 10 episode-arc Ryan Seacrest and Kris Jenner formulated as a point of reference for how miserable Kim’s life had become with that wretch Kris Humphries and how much it pained her to concede the fact that the only way to regain her happiness was to get a divorce, but Kim is an adult. And no matter how in love Kim is with love, she should have known better than to marry a man she hardly knew she liked.
I hate to say it but anticipate a delay with The Bachelor post this week! The boss’s boss is in from LA!