This Week You Will Get a Kick Out of:
- an old funnyman
- three failsons
- prestige soap
- the battle for the Internet!
Thanks to scb0212, Ruck Cohlchez, and clytie for kicking articles this way! Send articles throughout the next week to ploughmanplods [at] gmail, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
At Bright Wall/Dark Room, Luke Sutherland pontificates on male pregnancy through 1994’s Junior and 2021’s Titane:
The (un)naturalness of trans bodies is often evoked as the justification for our destruction. We are unnatural because we modify/maim/make ourselves in opposition of our original configuration, whether designed by god or gametes. And what the state deems unnatural cannot survive. At the time of this writing, over 500 bills have been introduced across the country attempting to eradicate trans people from public life this year alone. Sex cannot be defined in a legislatively meaningful way, and yet the state insists, violently, on trying. When his pregnancy is eventually discovered by the university for which he works, Alex [Arnold Schwarzenegger] is declared “university property.” His employer arrives, police in tow, to assert ownership over his employee’s body. What does Alex say after slinging his boss into a cart of beakers? “My body, my choice.”
For The Atlantic, Judd Apatow interviews a 96-year-old Mel Brooks:
Once, I interviewed Mel at an event where he was so funny that I locked up completely and didn’t dare attempt a single joke. After I wrote the foreword to his book about the making of Young Frankenstein, I got to watch him record the audio version of it. Fifteen minutes into the reading, he stopped and shouted, “Why did I make this thing so damned long?! This is going to take forever!” Then there was the time that I took my friend and fellow comedian Bill Hader to Mel’s office just to chat. He regaled us with stories for several hours. When we were getting ready to leave, Mel said, “Come and visit again, but not soon! Wait a few months.” As we walked to our car, he screamed from the far distance, “Get the fuck out of here!”
Just in time for Sunday’s season 3 premiere, The Ringer‘s Alan Siegel interviews the Gemstone children – Danny McBride, Edi Patterson, and Adam Devine:
Do you all have siblings? And I’m curious, what do you take from your real-life sibling relationships into this show?
Devine: I go the opposite route. I take things from our show and interject it into my relationship with my sister. I was like, “I should be cruel to her more often.”
McBride: I have two sisters, and we definitely didn’t go at each other as hard as this. My wife doesn’t have any siblings, and so me and my sisters, we’ll get into fights sometimes, and my wife is like, “Oh my God, are we never going to see them again?” I’m like, “Nah, this is the shit we do all the time. You can say the worst shit to them and they still have to fucking show up at Christmas. It’s fine.”
Patterson: With your siblings, you know where every button is, and even if you’ve made it your goal to never fucking push those buttons, it just happens sometimes because the second they nail one of yours, you’re going to come back with something you know, and you know such weird stuff about each other.
Devine: It can be a super, super deep cut. You could be just like, “Oh yeah, ham sandwich.” And they’re like, “Why would you say that to me?”
Back to The Atlantic, Mayukh Sen investigates the often ignored origins of prime-time prestige television in daytime soap operas:
And longtime viewers of The Young and the Restless will recognize the melodramatic sweep of Succession’s basic conceit, with siblings warring over the future of a media conglomerate spearheaded by their father, Logan Roy (Brian Cox). Succession’s Waystar Royco has a daytime analogue in The Young and the Restless’s Jabot Cosmetics, a beauty brand begun by the family patriarch, John Abbott, and fought over by his children after his death. The tension between the Abbott siblings sometimes comes to a thrilling head: One scene from 2018 involves Jack (Peter Bergman) admonishing his sister, Ashley (Eileen Davidson), for besmirching the family’s legacy, and throwing their late father’s favorite chair through a glass wall before Ashley’s horrified eyes. The gesture is objectively hilarious—the kind of sequence that, shorn of context, might confirm prejudices against the genre of daytime soaps. But it’s not hard to imagine how such a scene might play on Succession, with its handsome HBO production values. Even brawls between the siblings—like the volcanic scene in the finale where Kendall (Jeremy Strong) lunges at Roman (Kieran Culkin) in a conference room—have a whiff of these high-octane daytime-soap sibling fights.
At Mother Jones, Ali Breland talks about the battle between Reddit users and the web forum’s owners as they prepare the road for selling out:
But regardless of which way this battle for the soul of the internet goes, the war has probably already been hashed out. Even if Reddit’s protesting users win, their victory isn’t likely to last. In time, the company’s shareholders will learn to care less about user backlash, or new ones who have priced it in will step up. Until that day, Reddit will be a small holdout surrounded by behemoths who have already given themselves up to the path of enshittification. It would just be like one of those homeowners you hear about who refuses to sell as their lot is swallowed up and surrounded by a massive development. Those people don’t lose their houses—but they don’t win either.