Hump: One day, they’re going to start giving out Lifetime Achievement Oscars for Best Physical Body Transformation for Multiple Roles (sorry, Renée Zellweger, one chick-lit heroine isn’t enough). The short list of recipients includes Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Chris Pratt, and Matt Damon. Those guys have been all over the map in terms of body-fat percentage, muscle mass, actual mass, and hairstyles, all in the name of disappearing into a part.
And boy, did Matt Damon give it the old Jason Bourne try for his role as Scott Thorson in Behind the Candelabra. Damon lost weight, worked out, and donned a fat suit and prosthetics to play a character from the ages of 17 to 28 — a time during which he went through drug addiction, plastic surgery, and weight fluctuations galore. Damon himself is 42. While he looked a little long in the tooth to be playing a 17 year old, there’s no denying the great lengths the actor went to for the Speedos, feathered blond locks, and copious amounts of guyliner required to play Liberace’s young lover.
Marry: Speaking of high camp, the Disney Channel has been airing all three High School Musicals repeatedly this week, and don’t you worry, I set my DVR for every second of the amazingness. If the 20th century had Liberace, Paris is Burning, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for amazing examples of high camp in our still somewhat dawning 21th century, you need look not further than Disney’s HSM trilogy — especially High School Musical 2.
HSM presents a school of essentially neutered teenagers who all just want to get along and focus on being good at their God-given talents. They all happen to be amazing singers and dancers, too, expressing their feelings and learning life lessons through music and movement. When a boy likes a girl, some hand-holding, chaste kisses, and a smile are all they need to consider their relationship deep and serious. There would never be a Teen Mom sitch at East High. It’s almost jarring when the boys display armpit hair during basketball games.
Vanessa Hudgens plays our heroine, Gabriella, a genius who can also sing. She first catches the eye of our hero, Troy Bolton (Zac Efron in the most riveting performances ever — I mean, this guy gives it his all, and his sincerity is part of what makes it all err on the enjoyable side of campy versus the such-a-disaster-it’s-funny one), when they’re “forced” to do karaoke together on New Year’s Eve. Hudgens is always dressed in virginal white because, well, we know what sorts of shenanigans the actress gets into offscreen, and Disney won’t have any of that nonsense besmirching Gabriella Montez’s good name.
I’ll spare you the rest of what has turned into a college paper on camp; I’m off to rewatch “I Want It All,” High School Musical 3: Senior Year’s beyond amazing Fosse-inspired number that actually has Vanessa Hudgens in a French maid costume, which makes my head explode. They also have her dancing in the rain in a sopping wet dress. Disney, you tease, you know exactly what you’re doing. Oh, and the lip-synching is epic. A Tom Hooper production, this is not.
Kill: America has finally reached the bottom of the horrendous reality show concept barrel. There’s now a show on Fox called Does Someone Have to Go?, in which upper managers at a company pinpoint the three worst employees, and then the rest of the staff participates in an epic bitchfest about those employees — plus give one-on-one interviews with the bosses and cameras about why each of the three should get the axe — and everyone’s salary is revealed. So, best of luck to the people who actually do get fired ever getting a job again after having their work weaknesses broadcast on national television.
When you spend all day in an office dealing with the politics, neurosis, and everything else that comes with working in a competitive environment with other people who are essentially strangers, what you really want to see on TV when you finally go home is a show about another office’s same exact issues. Also, you know how it’s not at all interesting when your spouse or friend start complaining about his workday and the annoying guy in the cubicle next to him plays fantasy football all day, but the second your boss comes over, he always manages to pretend he’s hard at work.* Yeah, it’s also not interesting to see that all play out on television with people you really don’t know or care about.
How are these employees supposed to recover from this? Why is it automatically assumed these three scapegoats are the problem with these companies, not upper management or anything else? I think the only reality concept worse than this one would be a show called Throwing People Under the Bus, where contestants literally throw each other under buses, instead of just referencing the act figuratively about 50 times in a given episode.**
*This is what I imagine other offices are like; I work in a place that’s 98% female, and I don’t think anyone’s setting her fantasy lineup on the job. Also, in this dream scenario, I appear to be a character on The League.
**BRB, pitching this to Fox.
Photo: Courtesy of Claudette Barius/HBO; Courtesy of Disney; Courtesy of Chris Tomko/FOX