Over/Underrated 2013: Part Seven

7 Jan


Coverage of Cory Monteith’s Death

— Andrea (@prettyandink)

When it was announced that Cory Monteith, the actor who portrayed Finn Hudson on the popular FOX show Glee, had been found dead in his hotel room on July 13, 2013, I was as shocked as the rest of the world. Monteith was a handsome and charismatic actor, and he was only 31 years old. A combination of heroin and alcohol took him from this world too soon, and there’s no denying that his death was a tragedy.

But, and please don’t hate me for saying this, was his death really worth the insane amount of media coverage that followed? I’m not so sure. It’s always a sad event when someone so young with so much promise dies, but Monteith was hardly the first celebrity to pass away unexpectedly due to an addiction-related death. And yes, the guy had promise, but he was hardly the stuff of legends. He wasn’t exactly raking in the Emmys.

He may not have garnered any actual Emmys, but he was the recipient of an extended in memoriam tribute at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards this past September. And here is really where I really take issue. There were only four other celebrities who received extended tributes: Jonathan Winters, Jean Stapleton, Gary David Goldberg, and James Gandolfini. These other four tributes were leaving behind well-established legacies in Hollywood. In their time spent in the spotlight, they had changed the face of the entertainment industry. Again, please don’t hate me, but the same cannot be said of Monteith. The pilot episode of Glee aired in 2009. Before that, no one knew who Monteith was. Is four years on a creative but mediocre teen musical dramedy worth the same amount of mourning and prestige as the death of legends? I’m sorry, but the answer is no.

I’ll miss Monteith’s chracter Finn as much as the next Gleek, and the series is undoubtedly not the same without him. But, while the Emmy’s and the tabloids presented his death as the passing of an entertainment luminary, to me he’s just another man, one of hundreds, who died too soon.



Secret Acts of Celebrities

— Brook (@brooklynhofstad)

When Paul Walker died just over a month ago, we were all pretty shocked. Gone was the 90s heartthrob I first fell in love with as Lance Harbor, star quarterback of the West Caanan Coyotes in Varsity Blues. Walker went on to enjoy celebrity status in spite of a largely flawed movie career (Varsity Blues and She’s All That were clearly the high point of his career).

His bad taste in scripts does not make it any less tragic that he is gone way before his time, and the more I learn about his life, the more I am bummed about his passing. But after he died, reports started to circulate that in 2004 he purchased an engagement ring for an Iraqi war vet to give to his girlfriend.

Here it is, essentially ten years later, and we haven’t heard about this until just now. And that’s the way it should be!

This right here is a perfect example of why I have a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY for celebrities who complain about their lives in the spotlight. They are insanely privileged brats who pull PR stunts for attention, bitch about the fact that they are followed, then leave bags of dog poop on paparazzi vehicles (I’m looking at you, Anne Hathaway).

It’s so unbelievably hypocritical, and I wrack my brains to try and understand why we glorify and idolize Kim Kardashian.

It is possible for celebrities to keep things under wraps and enjoy a private life. Beyonce recently dropped a secret album, and JK Rowling wrote another hit novel under a pseudonym.

When I see how easy they make it look, I can’t help but assume that the latest Katy Perry single that was “leaked” was leaked by non other than the ex-Russell Brand herself.



Off the Mark

Television Specials

— Andrea

Specialized television events are as much a part of my childhood as edible playdough and library books. That is to say, a large part. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was more important in my head than the turkey itself, and dang it if I didn’t wait all season for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to be on TV. These television events are staples of the holiday season. Nevermind the fact that I can now watch Rudolph on DVD anytime I feel like it, it’s just not the same. These events on television were merely pit stops on the way to the big event, and for that reason I waited with childhood joy and anticipation every single year.

Now that I’m a parent myself, I am so happy to share these TV specials with my own child. It’s a bonding experience that proves that these television classics can transcend years and still be beloved despite their lack of CGI. As with most things that are sacred to my youth, the 21st century is trying to capitalize by modernizing these things that are meant to be timeless.

Take, for example, the Muppets. I love and adore the Muppets. A Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, and I laugh more than a full-grown adult should at their slapstick and classic humor. I even loved Jason Segel’s 2011 reincarnation The Muppets. But Lady Gaga & The Muppets Holiday Spectacular? No thank you. The Muppets are revered, and should only be tampered with by someone who truly understands their very special brand of camp. Lady Gaga is no such person. She spent most of her onscreen time with the Muppets looking uncomfortable, and the best parts of her “spectacular” were when she was absent from the screen and the Muppets were allowed to be the sole focus of the screen.

Even more painful was NBC’s The Sound of Music Live!, which aired to massive ratings on December 5, 2013. As I’ve said before, some things should just not be messed with. The Sound of Music is one of those things. No one can perfect the childish innocense of Maria quite like the incredible Julie Andrews. Don’t get me wrong. I like Carrie Underwood. I think she’s an amazing singer. But is she Maria? Uh, no. I give her and the rest of the Sound of Music Live! cast mad props for taking on something as stressful as a three-hour live performance. That takes balls. But watching them perform was like watching a high school production of something meant for The Great White Way. It was awkward and just all kinds of wrong. Even more maddening is that NBC chose to bump the Jimmy Stewart classic It’s a Wonderful Life from its scheduled slot in order to replay it. Why NBC would subject viewers to such torture twice is beyond me.

So to you, television networks, I say, “Shame!” Stop trying to replace childhood staples with newfangled notions of family “classics.” TV Specials like Lady GaGa and the Muppets Holiday Spectacular and The Sound of Music Live! are things I would prefer to forget, not remember, and certainly not experience year after year.



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