Update, January 5, 2020: Phoebe Waller-Bridge just won her second Golden Globe for Fleabag (Best TV Series - Musical or Comedy), and she couldn't resist showing the former president even more love for including her on his 2019 list of favorites.
"Thank you to Obama for putting us on his list," said Waller-Bridge onstage with a grin, Golden Globe in hand. "As you know...he's always been on mine."
May this inappropriate but hilarious joke never, ever die.
This article was originally published on December 30, 2019.
Former President of the United States Barack Obama has had quite a bit of free time since vacating the Oval Office in 2016. Aside from his work with the Obama Foundation and being his wife Michelle's number one fan, 44 has been spending his days much like the rest of us — listening to music on an endless loop and binge-watching his favorite television series.
The former president continued his yearly tradition of sharing his favorite songs, books, TV shows, and films of the year, and as usual, the taste jumped out! Many of the 2019 titles that made the cut were absolutely spot on; Obama gave shoutouts to “Binz” by Solange (*chef’s kiss*), Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evangeristo, and the star-studded adaptation of Little Women.
Some of Obama’s favs, however, left many wide-eyed in wonder. The president’s enthusiasm for Atlantics and Watchmen is perfectly understandable, but do you really mean to tell me that the 44th president of the United States is out here streaming Summer Walker's dick appointment duet with Usher? Or bopping to DaBaby???
Most pearl-clutching of all is the inclusion of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dramedy Fleabag. Not that the show isn’t good — it’s amazing, hence the fact that it’s won so many awards. It’s just that if you’ve watched the provocative BBC series, there’s one Obama-related scene that makes the president watching it more than a little scandalous.
In the very first episode of Fleabag, Waller-Bridge’s character is watching the president give a speech about the Arab Spring. Eternally inappropriate, Fleabag is turned on and decides to masturbate to Obama’s press conference...as her boyfriend lays fast asleep right beside her. The scene in itself is hilarious, but the mental image of our president watching it (likely with the FLOTUS beside him!) is fully freaking the internet out.
While the list may come as a pleasant surprise, it's also important to note that many of the works mentioned on it are the products of women across the industry whose efforts haven't received the recognition that they deserve.
Just weeks shy of the kickoff of what may be the whitest, most male-dominated award season in years (justice for Ava DuVernay and Alma Har'el), Obama's list is a nice reminder that the powers that be in Hollywood don't determine what qualifies as art. Lulu Wang, director of The Farewell, tweeted her excitement at being included as one of the president's favorites, and Olivia Wilde (who directed Booksmart) shared her sentiment with an appropriate Beanie Feldman gif.
As for Waller-Bridge...well, she has yet to react to the honor. But given that she herself created and wrote Fleabag, I'm pretty sure we can guess how she feels.