THE DAILY BEAST’S OBSESSED
The Monsters at Netflix Made Their Most Infuriating Programming Decision Yet
The Daily Beast's Obsessed: Everything we can't stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.
- Netflix once again pisses everyone off.
- Aunt Becky gets arrested.
- The best movie I saw at SXSW.
- Julianne Moore lights Gay Twitter on fire.
- There is a Britney Spears musical and it is not to be believed.
The Monsters at Netflix Make Its Most Angering Programming Decision Yet
In one of the first of these The Daily Beast’s OBSESSED newsletters, we called Netflix’s One Day at a Time “the best show you’re not watching.” I’ve never been so annoyed to be right.
Netflix made the decision Thursday to cancel the family sitcom after three seasons, posting an infuriating series of tweets about how agonizing the decision was and igniting the hot fury of a thousand suns on social media among those of us who don’t take good things for granted and actually watched and supported this brilliant, funny, warm, important show.
There was a TV series in which Rita Moreno was giving the performance of her—Rita Moreno’s!!!—lifetime, and you didn’t bother to watch it. You should all be in jail.
This is maybe one of the most angering cases yet when it comes to Netflix’s refusal to be transparent about viewership numbers. Yes, those of us who watched One Day at a Time loved it with a pasión. But we’re not idiots. We know how TV works. We know that shows need ratings, no matter how much critics love them, to financially justify their existence. If there were any numbers available for ODAAT and other shows to compare it to, we’d be disappointed but not as pissed. With no context and this ratings mystery, every programming decision Netflix makes seems arbitrary, devious, and offending to fans.
So all we’re left with is optics. A show that gives tender, nuanced, humor-filled representation to minorities, immigrants, queer people, mental illness, veterans, substance abuse, and PTSD is canceled. A show that aired three seasons with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 94, 100, and 100 is axed. A show with the rare combination of an invested, vocal fanbase and critical accolades, just as with Everything Sucks! and American Vandal, is sent to pasture. But Insatiable gets renewed. The Kominsky Method gets full support. The Ranch still exists.
Again, we know how TV works. It’s not a “the money from this show should be going to that show instead” situation. But in this ratings vacuum, that’s the only logical thing for viewers to think. Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, the Obamas, and Kenya Barris have Netflix deals cumulatively approaching a billion dollars—and have all yet to produce anything for us to judge those paychecks against. Netflix spent $100 million to keep Friends, a show that is airing on at least one TV channel (but probably three) at any given time, streaming for one year. It makes the idea of ODAAT being financially untenable laughable.
Sony, which owns the show (ownership is likely the real reason it was canceled), is reportedly shopping the series to other networks, and maybe it will get picked up. But here’s the one nice thing about all this. One Day at a Time is a wonderful show. Three seasons of episodes exist, and they are available right now, at this very moment, for you to watch. I’m sad that you didn’t watch them sooner. But lucky you: You get to experience them for the first time now. Enjoy.
Aunt Becky Should Have Listened to Her Own Advice
It is a shame that the college admissions cheating scandal, because actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are implicated and because it is so outlandish, is the subject of so much comedy when this should be a time for outrage and a call to action over the privilege, corruption, and class inequity plaguing our higher education system. That said…God, it’s so funny. Where were you when you learned that Felicity Huffman wrote “Ruh Ro!” in an email attempting to orchestrate testing fraud on behalf of her daughter?
When it comes to celebrities, there’s a damning tweet or show clip for everything. So bless you all for finding the tweet in which Huffman asks her followers for back-to-school “hacks.” And try not to guffaw while watching this Full House scene in which Loughlin’s Aunt Becky chastises John Stamos’s Uncle Jessie for lying on an application to get twins Nicky and Alex into a fancy pre-school. Too rich. Watch it here.
Get Excited for Booksmart, the Next Coming-of-Age Masterpiece
This newsletter is coming to you bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived, and while online shopping for bigger pants after an exhausting, exhilarating, barbecued-meat-fueled week at the SXSW festival in Austin.
The movies were great this year. Jordan Peele’s Us proves that Get Out was no fluke and that we’ll all be closer to true enlightenment once we do the right thing and accept Lupita Nyong’o as our personal Lord and Savior. Long Shot may be the first great Trump-era rom-com. Kathy Griffin’s concert film, Kathy Griffin: Hell of a Story, is must-see viewing. But the best thing I saw at SXSW? Without a doubt, Booksmart, Olivia Wilde’s feature directing debut and a coming-of-age film so good I don’t regret calling it a masterpiece.
Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird) and Kaitlyn Dever (Short Term 12) star as Type A best friends. Feldstein’s Molly is Valedictorian, while Dever’s Amy is so world-conscious she’s spending the summer after graduation in Botswana helping local women gain access to tampons. Both are rattled by the revelation that they’re not the only students going to great colleges. Everyone managed to kill it in the library while also having sex, partying, and having fun. They have one more night to make up for lost time.
That the bones of the story are so familiar actually plays to Booksmart’s advantage. You know each box that the arc is going to check, so when it pivots, or stages a wild set piece, or bludgeons you with the comedic force of some truly wild dialogue, you’re pleasantly surprised.
The film is inclusive; there are queer characters, characters of color, sex-positive characters, and Molly and Amy talk frankly about lady things. But this isn’t a “Superbad, with girls,” as we dread inevitable comparisons when this hits wide release in May. It is a movie for anyone who’s ever stayed home on a Friday night and done their homework, but has never seen themselves as a real person in a teen movie. If you’re that person, you felt that endorsement. And, oh boy, will you feel Booksmart.
Julianne Moore, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and the Greatest Mystery of Our Time
It’s hard to imagine any other version of the nearly perfect Can You Ever Forgive Me? after watching Melissa McCarthy in a performance so beautifully directed by Marielle Heller. But there was at one point a version of the project with Julianne Moore set to star and the screenplay’s co-writer, Nicole Holofcener, directing.
Moore detonated a Gay Twitter atom bomb last week when she revealed that she wasn’t just attached, but days from starting principal photography when her involvement with the project ended. And she didn’t leave the project, she was fired by Holofcener, who didn’t like what she was doing with the character. It begs the question: What the hell was Academy Award-winning actress and Gloria Bell legend Julianne Moore doing that was so insane that she got fired???
Bits of information have come out. Apparently, there was a prosthetic nose that Moore was insisting on using that Holofcener wasn’t into. And Holofcener reportedly went to Frances McDormand after firing Moore, but McDormand turned down sloppy seconds. But we need to know more. What I’m saying is I can’t comprehend how Woodward and Bernstein, Ronan Farrow, and those people from the Spotlight movie aren’t all on this case.
The Britney Spears Musical Sounds Like a Trip...
The just-announced new musical Once Upon a One More Time has eyes set on Broadway, with a score using the catalog of Britney Spears and a book inspired by Betty Friedan.
According to The New York Times, “Unlike many jukebox musicals, this show will not be about Ms. Spears’s life (which has not been a fairy tale), but instead will offer a revisionist look at some legendary characters. In the show, a fortnightly book club whose members include Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty, is working its way through a collection of the Grimms’ fairy tales—the only book they have. But when the women wish for new reading material, a fairy godmother brings them Ms. Friedan’s feminist classic The Feminine Mystique, and their lives are altered in unexpected ways.”
I have no jokes. The world just needs to know.
What to see this week:
The Good Fight: TV’s most brilliant Trump-era drama.
Catastrophe: TV’s most brilliant relationship comedy.
Queer Eye: TV’s most brilliant traumatizingly inspiring makeover series.
Shrill: Aidy Bryant is just plain brilliant.
What to skip this week:
The Fix: A TV series loosely inspired by Marcia Clark has no business being this bland.
Five Feet Apart: End the tyranny of Nicholas Sparks movies that aren’t actually Nicholas Sparks movies.
Wonder Park: If you love your kids, spare them this movie.