not in our stars, but in ourselves
Last night, I tuned into TCM just as Gold Diggers of 1933 started playing. I was thrilled with my luck, since it’s a film I enjoy very much, and so I watched it for probably the 1,933rd time. No matter how many times I see it, I’m still amazed by how terrible (but adorable) Ruby Keeler is; I’m still delighted by Aline MacMahon and her wisecracks; I’m still more than a little flustered by the Shakespearean comedy overtones of the romance between Joan Blondell and Warren William; and I’m still in awe that a musical with numbers about cats and public canoodling can end with “Remember My Forgotten Man.” Really and truly, you should see it if you haven’t. It is fabulous.
As you know if you’ve ever seen TCM, when they play a film during primetime, they have an introduction and a little postscript from Robert Osborne. He’s a man who knows his stuff. A million years ago, I worked (as an intern) at TCM in the Program Production department, and I got to meet him. I also got to see his hand-scrawled notes on scripts for those intros and outros, correcting and clarifying and re-phrasing what the scriptwriter had written in the first place. My point being: he’s got it.
Gold Diggers was on last night as part of TCM’s The Essentials series: special presentations of films that, according to TCM and the Great and Powerful Ozbo, you cannot miss. For 2013, his co-host is Drew Barrymore. I had never tuned into The Essentials before last night, and since it was quite by accident, I missed the introduction. I got to see the postscript, however, and all I can say is this: WHO LET HER IN?
You would think that someone representing the storied Barrymore clan would know her stuff, too. You would think that she might be able to correctly quote the film she was talking about. You would think that she may understand that OBVIOUSLY all of these ladies look fabulous even though it’s the Depression, because they are in a MOVIE with COSTUMES designed by Orry-Kelly. Alas. During the minute or so that she and poor Bobsborne chatted “amiably” about Gold Diggers, she botched the “cheap and vulgar!” gag – which is my FAVORITE in the whole piece – and cooed enthusiastically about how “back then,” ladies really took the trouble to dress nicely even though there was a Depression on.
No. No, Drew, you’ve got that wrong.
Normally, I don’t have anything against her. She seems nice enough; she’s overcome plenty of personal demons; she’s cute and bubbly; and she seems to use her fame mostly for good. But is she the right co-host for The Essentials? No. Quentin Tarantino would be the right co-host. Martin Scorsese would be the right co-host. The right co-host is, I’m afraid, unlikely to be an attractive young woman. If you can name me a reasonably well-known, attractive female film buff, then I’ll eat my hat. But please, TCM, don’t embarrass yourself. If you insist on continuing to embarrass yourself, at least brief your eye candy before she starts running her mouth.
[I suppose it goes without saying that I would LOVE to co-host The Essentials, or just to host TCM full time, whenever Osborne decides to retire, but that is the dreamiest of my pipe dreams.]
Ho hum. I don’t know why I let sixty seconds of television send me into a rage, but sometimes it happens. I am just so tired of seeing mediocrity and misinformation go unquestioned and unpunished. Even when it’s something as seemingly harmless as a TV show about movies – it’s indicative of a much more pervasive problem. And so I will continue to sip my haterade, fuming over here in my powerless state of obscurity.
N.B. If you don’t know what the “Playa Hater’s Ball” is: watch and learn.