My Week In Pop Culture is a new feature here on the Seanologues. Since I consume film, television, books and music like Pac-Man does little dots, I thought one weekly ramble about it would be cool. Each Sunday, I’ll tell you what I’ve been reading, watching and listening to and hopefully you’ll be inspired to do the same.
It’s been a week since my heart basically fell out of my ass. It’s been 7 days since I went to a meeting on Sunday morning feeling like a lost lamb with crying the only thing I was capable of doing. It’s been a week. Fuck has it.
In addition to the people in my life who’ve graciously nestled me like a baby bird for seven days, I’ve relied on a lot of outside help. Meetings. Meditation. Prayer. Animals. Flowers. Chocolate. And lots of bad television and a juicy, trashy novel. I’d say they’re my guilty pleasures but in the words of the immortal Barbra Streisand, “We’ve got nothing to be guilty of.” I mean I also love highfalutin arty stuff too. But it’s all about balance. Back in the day, in order to ease the pain of modern life I’d simply drink enough tequila and snort enough cocaine until I couldn’t feel anything. This is obviously a healthier route. After all, hours of reality TV never made me throw a shoe at someone or get kicked out of a bar. My Sunday ritual of Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley was entertaining although I kind of don’t remember them because I still felt pretty sad and numb.
Monday, I needed an extra heaping helping of brain rot. Enter Food Network Star. Now, by all accounts this show should probably be against the law seeing as it is solely responsible for thrusting the food and television plague that is Guy Fieri onto the global consciousness. Yet I can’t stop watching this bizarre combination of Star Search and Top Chef. The idea is that the contestants should be able to cook and be able to present themselves like cohesive human beings in order to win their own show on Food Network. Weirdly enough, they’ve cast some people who can barely do either. It makes for foodie trainwreck complete with the douchey guy obsessed with bacon, the scary skinny lady who wants to teach healthy eating and the sassy girl who speaks in Internet clichés. (Yaaasss, Tregay!) The whole thing about reality TV (spoiler alert!) is that they often pad the cast with people who make for good television but some of these people are so boring and so untalented that it almost has the opposite effect. Like Anna, for example. She apparently was a Real Housewife of Wherever the Hell but what she really wants to do is be a chef. Uh. Okay. So boring and uncharismatic, Anna’s food must taste really incredible or she’s using some Miami via Stepford sort of mind control to stay in the competition. Really though, I think I actually watch Food Network Star to see itty-bitty judge Giada De Laurentiis make a stank face while she chokes down disgusting food and raise her perfectly waxed brow as the hot mess contestants try to present garbage to the camera.
Speaking of food reality shows, I should probably attend a 12 Step meeting for Gordon Ramsay shows. Listen, I don’t even love Gordon Ramsay. I think his whole goofy empire of yelling at people cooking shows is really ridiculous. And people who think he’s sexy?
I’ve somehow managed to quit watching his other 187 shows but every year I get pulled into MasterChef. This summer is no exception. I caught the premiere and I’m toast for the rest of the season. Unlike the aforementioned culinary sideshow, MasterChef presents normal folks who can really cook. Or they tell us they can. This being television we can’t actually taste the food so the whole thing could be a big Milli Vanilli style lie but we trust our judges Christina Tosi and Gordon Ramsay. This season they’re doing faster eliminations, head to head cook-offs and have trimmed it down to just two judges allowing space for guest judges. This Wednesday kept the action moving while trimming the fat of contestants that seemed to be taking up space. It’s a better format so far but honestly if they held it in a swap meet parking lot and had six weeks of contestants frying corndogs I’d probably watch it and still love it.
Elsewhere this week, I watched more Girls reruns on HBO Now, continued my brain-sizzle with America’s Got Talent, caught up on movies for the new season of Sloshed Cinema and tore through a really juicy book. The novel in question is 2014’s Little Big Lies by Liane Moriarty. This Australian based potboiler is one party mystery, one part suburban confessional and all parts addictive. I haven’t finished it yet but am looking forward to doing so as I take a little train ride up to the mountains today. After reading several depressing ass books in a row about rape or World War II, Moriarty’s little elixir is just what I needed plus it’s really, really funny. Next year, you’ll see it as a series on HBO with Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern. Can’t wait.
I’m writing a piece celebrating 30 years of Madonna’s True Blue so I listened to that a few times. This was a wise move. As a gay kid from the 1980’s Madonna is often my musical therapist during times of strife. From lip synching “Dress You Up” in my basement as a kid to voguing at gay dance clubs as a teenager, Madonna has always been there for me. This week was no exception. It occurred to me was that True Blue was the very beginnings of Madonna starting to develop a narrative as a pop artist and songwriter. I’ve got lots to say on this record but we’ll get into it (as well as the groove) next week when I publish it.
So the answer is no. No, the candy-coated dance songs of Madonna nor the delights of reality tv didn’t make my pain go away but they did help me move through a tough week. But that’s enough out of me. Please. Tell me what you’ve been reading, listening to or watching over the last week. Also, I wanna know what’s your go to movie or album when you feel terrible. Also, share with me some hidden pop culture treasure you’ve recently discovered. Finally, share with me your guilty pleasures. This your safe space to tell me the crap you unabashedly love. No judgement.