Celebritology Live

Nov 15, 2012

Celebritology blogger Jen Chaney gabbed about the latest celebrity gossip and pop culture news making waves across the Web.

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The chat is starting. Let's hope this goes better than it did last week.

Since I feel down a flight of stairs yesterday, I assume I used my bad juju for the week. Then again, I should never assume. Let's get started.

There has been a lot of ink spilled in the last two days about People's competence or lack thereof in choosing the Sexiest Man Alive. In the meantime, Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender are running around Mexico slow dancing with each other and and being adorable with small children. I think this proves, in some way, that SMA is completely irrelevant.

Actually the big thing that points to a chance in SMA's culturally currency is the fact that we knew it was Channing Tatum a fill week-plus before the announcement.

Social media and the proliferation of entertainment outlets -- including Gossip Cop, which revealed the Tatumness of this year's choice -- makes it even harder to keep these things secret and "own" them.

I also think People really, really needs to choose a Latino or an African-American or even just a musician or a TV star. The SMAs have been white guys who star in Hollywood movies, which isn't really reflective of the broad spectrum of celebrities who are popular with the masses.

I hereby announce my boycott of the Sexiest Man Alive (which I'm sure is a crushing blow to the SMA), considering who was chosen. I am baffled.

Baffled because you don't find him sexy? Or baffled because you completely have no idea why he was chosen?

On the second point, People tries to choose men that they think are "of the moment" or classically sexy. Tatum is certainly of the moment: three big movies in one year, not to mention two other, smaller films. He's been a topic of conversation among the People demographic.

Still, as I noted earlier, I do think they need to branch out.

I didn't really like it all that much. What did you think? I do love Daniel Craig though! Remember when your producer used to post pictures of him during the chat? Good times.

Remember when chats used to have producers? Those were the days.

I thought Skyfall was excellent. What didn't you like about it?

That's there's going to be a Jen/Monica/other people groupd IM review of Breaking Dawn Part 2. The first one you guys did was EPIC.

There is! Monica Hesse, Melissa Bell and I will be sharing our epic -- or at least vaguely amusing -- gchat in Celebritology tomorrow. Here's the one we did for Breaking Dawn Part 1 to help us all get in the proper frame of mind.

Did you see the pics of one of the Olsen twins with her much older boyfriend the Sarkozy scion? It looks like he was holding her hostage. In one his hand is wrapped around her forehead while he kisses the top of her head, she does not look happy. In the other you can't see her at all because he is holding her head down. How is this a healthy relationship?

I did and they are just freaky, mainly because he looks old and vaguely sinister and she looks like a Kewpie doll.

Here are said photos, which are rated TV-MA for mature audiences.

O.M.G. Last night's episode was THE MOST AMAZING ep of the show EVER!!! I couldn't get to sleep afterwards...and it wasn't bc I was so disturbed, it was bc I am SO EXCITED to see what happens next week!

I watched it twice -- once a few days ago and again last night. The reason I thought it was the best episode was because it was so fluid. As distubring as it was, there was an elegance and some moments, as usual, of really excellent acting. I know we all think of this as a guilty pleasure show to some degree, but I as wack-a-zoo as AHS is, I think the writers and directors do a pretty great job.

Who cares about regular ol' celebrity news when we have the amazingly complex web of everything but the kitchen sink surrounding David Petraeus, General Allen, Jill Kelley, Paula Broadwell, their husbands, et al.? Wow. Thank goodness USA Today published a graphic depicting who's who. (Tongue is wedged firmly in cheek for those who might be offended by this post.) Latest news today is that the Pentagon revoked Paula Broadwell's security clearance and the military revoked Jill Kelley's pass to access MacDill.

One of the things I love/hate about my hometown: the way we pretend that everything -- even sex scandals -- are important and serious issues. That way, all of intelligent wonky Washington can discuss them without seeming vapid.

Did I miss the Robert Pattinson interview? I was sidelined all weekend with a migraine so I didn't have much time to think about my barely age-appropriate crush.

You did. But here it is.

I'm not sure if I should applaud the makers of "Silver Lining Playbook" for making Bradley Cooper look like every stark raving mad and unattractive Eagles fan I've ever met, or weep that someone as beautiful as Bradley Cooper can be so easily transformed into an unattractive, stark raving mad Eagles fan. I need your judgement call on this, Jen!

This made me laugh.

Well, his character is not "mad" because he's an Eagles fan. He has a legitimate mental illness and also happens to be an Eagles fan. (That was a set-up to the joke of your choice, Redskins nation.)

What I will say is that I liked a lot of the performances in that film. Cooper is very good -- I talked with him about the movie, in fact -- but Jennifer Lawrence is the one attracting the most buzz.

I'd guess that their readership is okay with cute white guys who do big movies, and for the most part have maintained nice, clean reps (except for Mel Gibson). Wouldn't you say that the usual SMA is "micro-targeted" to their reader base? How often do you see a person of color on their cover unless it's related to some scandal? And don't they have a Latino-centric edition of People?

They do have a Latino-centric People and what you say is right. Definitely micro-targeted.

I just think even that demographic is changing. How many people in their 30s and 40s have celebrity crushes on actors they watch weekly on television? A lot. Limiting the winner to the movie star set just seems like old thinking to me. Same goes for the whiteness of the whole thing.

Part of this is about generating buzz for the magazine. Think of how much more buzz they would generate if they went with someone who is a refreshing surprise.

I thought they satisfied (or thought they did) the non-movie star nod by having a bunch of TV actors, musicians, athletes, etc. in the print edition. Or have they stopped doing that?

No, they do. They have a whole list of people they highlight in addition to the official Sexiest Man. I just think it would be nice to choose one of them instead of making him a runner-up.

Ok fellow Celebritologists - As the serious students of popular culture that we are, just an FYI that social critic Camille Paglia is going to be on Bravo TV with Andy Cohen and one of the real housewives (they all look alike to me so not sure which one.) This should be a great way to indulge our pseudo-intellectual interests while enjoying Andy's usual "drinking game" alerts. Seriously, doesn't this sound awesome?

This does sound awesome. Passing along...

So excited for this scene!!! I hope it's everything Leslie dreamed it would be.

I predict it will involve Joe Biden smiling a lot and Leslie making awkward guttural sounds.

They are quite creepy. For me it's mainly the PDA. It's just too much and too forced. Doesn't she need to come up for air occasionally? It's like they're putting it all out there on display in an attempt to tell someone else "hey, look what I'm doing NOW!" There's also the fact that he's kind of used up looking, and she looks like she's 13.

Amen to all this.

Yes. I loved the Onion's "People shocked to discover war in Afghanistan while reading about Petraeus scandal."

I haven't read that Onion story yet. Love that headline.

I picture the three of you sitting in a row on a couch, each with a laptop perched on legs that are propped up on an ottoman. Laughing and sipping wine while answering chat questions at a feverish pace. Is that how it is?

No. We're in our separate homes, on gchat. Some of us may or may not be drinking wine.

The notes I took last night during Breaking Dawn should really be a poem. Individually they should be the name of indie rock albums. Here's one: "The baby is digital."

I think she's unhappy that they're not being allowed to enjoy the event they're attending, so they're alternating between performing for the camera and her kind of hiding behind him while he pantomimes sheltering her. The weird expressions just look like rolling her eyes at the photographer, to me. It wouldn't be so creepy if Sarkhozy didn't look a lot older than 42.

I just want Mary-Kate to have control of her own head again.

I was kind of disappointed by the the WaPost review of Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 this morning. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I have no illusions that it's going to be Citizen Kane. But I think Michael O'Sullivan's review missed the point? So I guess 2 questions: (1) Do you think movies like the Twilight movies, or comic book movies, or rom-coms, should be reviewed on their own terms? On the one hand, it means grading on a curve, which may be overgenerous, but on the other, I think it's kind of just to judge a movie based on how well it accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish. For me, if Breaking Dawn Part 2 is fun, kind of ridiculous, and gorgeous to look at, it will be a success. And (2) what is the reasoning behind sending someone who is patently not the film's target audience to review it?

A few thoughts on all this.

1. I was at the same screening last night and I don't think Michael's review was off-base. I do think there was some stuff that was so crazy that it made the movie campily enjoyable, but one and a half star is probably right.

2. To your point, though, I think there's a difference between reviewing it for "regular people" vs. Twi-hards, a distinction Michael mentioned. I agree with you that these movie should be reviewed on their own terms. So I think you can say that as a cinematic art, they are lacking. But as far as whether it will satisfy the base, it works.

3. Michael has reviewed most of the Twilight movies, so I think that's why he reviewed it. I don't think you have to be in a movie's target demo to review it necessarily, although sometimes that is helpful.

4. Based on your criteria -- fun, ridiculous, gorgeous -- I believe you will probably like Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Have you seen the movie yet, Jen? I know it's not out yet but since you're a famous journalist and all I figured you probably went to the preview.

I am not famous but I do see a lot of movies, so yes, I saw this a few weeks ago.  It's excellent. Highly recommend.

Did Jessica Biel change her name to Timberlake? Isn't that the kiss of death for the marriage. (think Farrah Fawcett Majors, Pamela Anderson Lee....) I am woman of a certain age when the world's most eligible bachelor was JFK Jr and remember clearly a conversation wtih gal pals where we all said we would never change our names when we married UNLESS it was Mrs. JFK Jr.

That is an excellent policy, said the women who kept her maiden name.

I don't think Biel is changing her name, at least professionally. So perhaps she'll be safe.

Social critic, hmm. Nice try Cammille Paglia, but that's sort of like Jill Kelley referring to herself as an honorary consul. Snort.

I should have realized there would be strong opinions about Camille Paglia.

For some reason, I keep running into this ad. I almost thought this was a joke. I had read about it but I didn't realize just how scruffy he would appear. Seriously, who is the demographic for this ad? I think he is good looking man, but not in this. Its just weird.

It is the most pretentious commercial in recent memory, perhaps since the Calvin Klen's Obsession days. Remember those?

Hmmm. I don't know. On the one had I guess you don't want someone who is such a fan that they will miss glaring flaws. On the other hand, I've read reviews by people who were so clearly not going to like the product no matter what, that reading the review was pointless. I'm thinking specifically of music reviews where the reviewer has never been a fan of the band or that type of music. I don't get why that review would happen.

Good point. I think that's a different question, though, then being in a band's or film's target demo.

A critic should walk into a movie as someone knowledgeable about the material, open-minded and unafraid to bluntly say what's great and/or terrible about the film.

Whaddaya think -- a publicity stunt because one or both has something to hawk to the adoring public, or a publicity stunt because neither has anything to hawk and they wanted to keep their names acitve in the celebrity universe?

I feel like both of them are already pretty active. But maybe both are at a point where they want to seem more mature. A break-up could be the first step in that direction.

Also, they might have just broken up. There is that possibility.

I decided long ago (as in before Cal was married) that he was the only person I would change my name for. Why? Because we would have been Val and Cal Ripken.

Another valid reason for the name change.

Jennifer Aniston changed her name on her driver's license/in private life, but kept her own name professionally. And look what happened there.

Clearly Hollywood marriages have a shaky success rate as it is. The name situation probably won't be the determining factor.

Do you believe that Janeane Garofalo really was married to that guy for 20 years, all unaware?

That is a little weird. I guess I can believe it. If they got married while drunk and assumed they needed to do something more official, they probably never thought about it again.

Then again -- to make this about Aniston again -- Ross and Rachel realized their error immediately.

Okay, so who would we put out there for SMA that isn't a white movie star?

We've talked about some in the past: Javier Bardem, Idris Elba immediately come to mind. Someone suggested Daniel Dae Kim, although I'm not sure that made it into the live chat or if I saw it in the queue after the fact.

I also nominate Matthew Bomer, who is in both TV and movies. I suppose he's not a recognizable enough name for issue-selling purposes. But he is about as handsome as it humanly gets. Also would be interesting for an openly gay actor to receive the designation.

Oh my. How old are the guys in that? They look like kids.

In that one, they are kids.

How those ads got made without someone pointing out their absurdity is beyond me. Then again, they were iconic and memorable, so maybe the joke -- and the smell of it -- is on me.

What about those of us who have no idea who she is? (And are probably grateful for that.)

Here's a summary. She's a writer, among other things, and some of her opinions on women's issues may not jibe with those of others'. She's a bit of a provocateur.

She and Naomi Wolf do not get along.

I used to review court petitions. One of the odder couples were Mr. Citronbaum and Mrs. Lemontree.

They should start their own line of flavored teas.

As did Britney and that guy.

Jason Alexander, the non Costanza version. Yep.

In the People cover story about Justin and Jessica's wedding, she said she would legally change her name to Timberlake but still use Biel professionally. (Bought the issue with two friends at work, along with some chocolate.)

I thought I had read that somewhere. Thanks for verifying.

And the Susan Lucci of SMA (and the Emmys): Jon Hamm. I mean, COME ON, PEOPLE!

Right? What does he have to do, rap the theme from Taxi AGAIN?

I love seeing the old Hollywood assumption that openly gay actors woul not be viewed as sexy and wouldn't get straight parts tumble. Dear Hollywood, it's about fantasy. It's not like I would have a shot in with a straight actor in real life.

I completely agree.

So, if Chanel is channelling (see what I did there?) Calvin Klein's prior level of pretention, can they claim it's an homage to the earlier perfumier (now there's a word you haven't heard since 18th C. Paris)?

It's not quite an homage. If there had been a random staircase behind Pitt, then it would have been an homage.

And on that note, I bid you adieu. We won't be chatting again until two weeks from now, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy your caloric meals, and we'll reconvene the week after, if we don't chat first in the blog, that is.

Thanks, all!

In This Chat
Jen Chaney
Jen Chaney anchors The Washington Post's Celebritology blog, The Post's online window into the world of pop culture and celebrities. She also frequently writes about entertainment trends, filmmakers and other Hollywood-related matters for the print edition of The Washington Post.

A Post staffer for more than a decade, Jen also can be seen reviewing movies on WETA's "Around Town," where she is one of the show's regular film critics. Last year, she contributed a series of essays to the book, "The Friday Night Lights Companion."

When she isn't blogging, at the movies or watching a television show, she's ... um ... probably at home watching a movie or a TV show.

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