Open Thread for June 4, 2010

Rue McLanahan, the Gore divorce, Tilda Swinton’s perfume, and more.

If you have any access to Twitter, Facebook or other social media networks, then you doubtless heard about the passing of Rue McLanahan yesterday at age 76. She was cougaring it up as Blanche Devereaux long before Kim Cattrall or Courtney Cox made it a thing. With her death, Betty White becomes the last surviving Golden Girl.

Care of Jezebel, here’s a Rue McLanahan burlesque dance from 1968, remixed to the Pixies. Technically SFW but possibly not.

They’re barely pop culture figures, but: Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper Gore have separated after 40 years of marriage. The separation was announced this week through an e-mail from the Gore family and is, by all reports, completely amicable. The two are expected to remain friends for the remainder of their lives, or until the Earth’s surface is covered by water in 2029, whichever comes first. Question: who do you predict Al and Tipper will shack up with now that they’re back on the market?


In retrospect, this just sounds painful.

Catering to OTI’s known fascination for Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton announced her own celebrity fragrance, Like This, this week. The new scent will blend “neroli, mandarin, pumpkin flesh, powdered ginger, immortelle, rose, heliotrope and vetiver,” as versatile a melange as the Oscar-winning actor herself. Pending the success of Like This, Swinton plans to release Comment, Share and Friend Request next year. Question: which Oscar laureate deserves her own fragrance? what would it be called? what would it smell like?


Poised to outsell Meryl Streep's 'Versatility.'

Will Tipper Gore douse herself in Swintonesque fragrance and move in with three other saucy single seniors? Or is there another topic we failed to address? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

28 Comments on “Open Thread for June 4, 2010”

  1. stokes #

    Heh. I read “mandarin, pumpkin flesh, [etc.]” as “mandarin, pumpkin, flesh, [etc.]” Disturbing and surreal – isn’t the whole point of perfume so that you don’t smell like flesh?


  2. Gab #

    Sad how this fairly sudden surge in Betty White’s popularity is cleaved in such a way.

    Q1) Tipper and Michael Moore will have a brief affair, but she’ll ultimately settle down with Dan Aykroyd. Al will retreat to the mountains and live out the rest of his days as Paul Bunyan, complete with a giant ox he’ll dye blue every so often with toxic chemicals that will seep into the ground water.

    Q2) Robin Williams. “Primal.” Use your imagination.

    Donald Glover for Spider-Man, c’mon, folks! I know there are a number of “Community” fans reading this. There is a FB group with over 10000 members already, and a group (or something) on Twitter.


  3. Gab #

    Oh, and I apologize for double-posting, but McDonald’s just recalled the Shrek 4 (drinking) glasses they have been advertising the past few weeks because they contain cadmium. I just find that really funny in a messed up kind of way.


  4. Chris #

    Oh wow, a clip from Hollywood After Dark, one of the four movies from The Film Crew, Mike Nelson’s brief project between MST3K and RiffTrax.

    I don’t know about fragrances, but Cuba Gooding Jr. should have his own cologne called “Boat Trip” and it should smell like failure. Glorious failure.


  5. Timothy J Swann #

    I guess Gwyneth Paltrow could provide some kind of raw vegan fragrance?

    I’m increasingly curious as to how one acquires an avatar, especially one starring Tahmoh Pennikett.


  6. Trevor #

    Abe Vigoda could cash in on the celeb scent market, his most famous character is ready-made for it…”Fish”.

    I was talking to my aunt about the Golden Girls and used the analogy that Rue’s passing is akin to Paul McCartney croaking and leaving Ringo as the last surviving Beatle. I had thoughts years ago of somehow turning the “Golden Girls/Beatles Paradox” into an article for some website or another, but never saw it through. Really, though, you could make the argument that, in some demented half-ass way, the GGs were similar and complimentary to the Fab Four in terms of how they related:

    John/Dorothy – the smart one

    Sophia/George – George was the youngest, Sophia was the oldest, and both got the best lines in their respective onscreen turns (George in “Hard Day’s Night,” Sophia’s immortal “Picture it: Sicily (Random year Here” pretty much every episode)

    Blanche/Paul – The yin to the leader’s yang, a foil and yet necessary bulwark against the harsh reality of John/Dorothy who exuded sex appeal and was in some ways almost more important to the group’s overall success (plus, it was Blanche’s house they were living in)

    Ringo/Rose – the lovable dim bulb (or perceived as such) who nevertheless somehow commanded the loyalty of the fans despite him/herself. A trooper and game for anything, a peacemaker when arguments threatened to split up the group before they did so for good.

    What’s more, Dorothy’s marriage to Special Guest Star Leslie Nielsen/Neilsen (not sure how he spells it) pretty much split the group up as John and Yoko’s partnership drove a wedge between himself and the other three Beatles.

    Why am I not writing this down for a potential article for the website, instead of blabbing it here for anyone to purlion for their own nefarious uses? Curse me!


  7. cat #

    @Gab I just listened to a great podcast that convinced me of how that casting could work. I think he at least deserves an audition though they probably don’t have the creativity to pull it off well if he were to get the role.

    @Timothy J Swann Doesn’t she already advertise for Estee Lauder?

    If Meryl Streep had a fragrance it would probably be very complex and somehow layer rich, sexy scents like patchouli and gardenia with light, flowery ones like rose and peony and sharp, citrusy ones. It would be long-lasting but have slightly unpleasant undertones for those with incredibly discerning sniffers and some perfume afficionados would call it contrived and overthought. It would probably be called Timeless or Multifaceted. Those are not really perfume names so actually it’d probably just be called Meryl or a mixture of her children’s names.

    If Anne Hathaway had a fragrance it would smell sweet and innocent like puppies and fresh baked cookies with a balanced mix of fruits and florals and subtle darker base notes that prevent it from being too girl and linger once the initial sweetness fades. It would be called Annie or Ingenue or Sweetheart.


  8. Gab #

    @Trevor: Dude, that’s *great* fodder for a piece! Do eet, doooo eeet!

    @cat: What podcast?

    There are tons of blogs out there already, arguing why it makes sense and he could do a good job and stuff. The FB group has a bunch of links I read through, and I posted one there myself, actually. It’s really interesting (and, imo, depressing) how there is so much visceral opposition to the idea, though. The pro-side comes down to a baseline argument of, “The essential characteristics and traits of Peter Parker in no way necessitate his skin color as white,” while the baseline of the anti-camp is, “He has always been portrayed as white, and portraying him as black would create a fundamental and irrevocable change in Peter Parker.” I obviously think the former is much more solid than the latter, and perhaps it’s the uberliberalhippieleftist in me, but I am disappointed that there are people with so much of what basically comes down to *fear* (of the unknown and change, to be really gracious) with regards to it.

    And really, the people asking questions they obviously want to have taken rhetorically, crap like, “What if they decided to make Blade white?” or, “Why has he always been drawn as white, then?” are presenting examples of dumbassity that hurt my soul. (And their poor spelling and grammar don’t help them, either. Call me pretentious, but I take that stuff seriously when I’m trying to have a conscientious and thought-out debate- which is why I tend to avoid most public forums.)

    Sorry- I really need to edit myself better.

    ::end rant::


  9. Darin #

    Re: Rue McClanahan – I’m watching Starship Troopers for the ~10th time and I head to imdb to look up something on Michael Ironside…

    Did you know Rue McClanahan was in Starship troopers? Can you guess who?

    Hint 1: She wore crazy glasses

    Hint 2: It was at their high school

    Hint 3: She respected the bugs

    She gets 10th billing so don’t knock yourself out if you still can’t get it.

    Do celebrities really die in threes? This obviously can’t be so, but some urban myths have a point somewhere. Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper, and Rue McClanahan. They almost go together… maybe even a movie. I could see Dennis Hopper as the drug dealing dad who went to Mexico to avoid being busted, who comes back to his technically still wife Rue McClanahan. She has adopted Gary Coleman who is trying to find his way in and hopes that he can keep the help and guidance of his mom by keeping Dennis Hopper away.


  10. Timothy J Swann #

    @Gab – well, they changed Nick Fury’s ethnicity for Ultimate Marvel (but essentially for Samuel el Jackson), and I do love Community, so if there has to be a remake, he’d be a good choice… but I’d rather see X-Men remade than Spiderman…

    @cat – I can safely inform you I had no idea.


  11. lee OTI Staff #

    *cough* still waiting for an Asian superhero *cough*


  12. Gab #

    @Lee: Ditto. And also praying they don’t actually use The Mandarin in the next Iron man flick.

    TOTALLY RELATED SEGUE: Mickey Rourke as Genghis Kahn? *Really*?


  13. RiderIon #

    I don’t really have a problem with Peter Parker being black. It can work as you need to get his personality and circumstances for the character to have the same impact. A possible upcoming example of this is The Karate Kid remake landing next Friday.

    My problem with the new Spider-Man movie is that it’s way too soon to reboot it. The first three are still in the public’s pop culture awareness. It’s immediately going to have detractors as a result of that (myself being one of them).

    @Lee Buckaroo Banzai was of Asian descent according to Wikipedia.

    Kidding aside…Are we talking on the big screen or in the public awareness at large? The two biggest I can think of (at least in my area of nerdy expertise) are Ryan Choi, the newest Atom (and to my understanding, newest deceased Atom) and Damian Wayne who has taken over the role of Robin in Detective Comics. The only one I can think of on the Marvel side is Amadeus Cho, whose super power is being really smart. Make of it what you will.


  14. cat #

    @Gab I was just listening to another podcast on that website, LEOG which you might want to check out but it’s more of a discussion and less eloquently put. :)


  15. mlawski OTI Staff #

    Midnight thread hijack!

    After all my whining about this season of Doctor Who, I enjoyed “Amy’s Choice.” Did you?


  16. Timothy J Swann #

    Amy’s Choice was good… especially so in light of developments in the next double bill. I think they’re building a lot that is better in retrospect, maybe this is a Moffat characteristic.

    And I just read this fascinating article in the Guardian by Victoria Coren (if you ever get the chance to see Only Connect, you will see the world’s greatest quiz show of the present day and a truly odd presenter in Coren), which while I’m not sure if I agree with, seems like the sort of thing Overthinkers should be engaging with.


  17. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Timothy: That article is great, not the least because of the phrase “venal, vacuous slags.”

    I would write an Overthinking It article about Sex and the City 2… except that it would require my going to see Sex and the City 2.

    Re: DW. “Better in retrospect” is the exact phrase I’d use to describe “Amy’s Choice.” As I was watching it, I was thinking, “Yawn, both worlds are dreams, and Amy is still a cipher. Moving on…” But the reveal at the end made the whole thing quite good in retrospect, because I’m endlessly fascinated by the character of the Doctor. Who knew that 11 was as screwed up as 9 and 10? And here I thought he was getting over his issues.


  18. Timothy J Swann #

    I really thought that the Dream Lord was going to be the Master, because of the whole line about who could hate him enough to do it to him, and then of course it made sense in the end. But trust me, Amy’s Choice has a really important place in the series that only becomes clearer as it goes on. I’m looking forward to watching Vincent and the Doctor (Episode 10) tonight…


  19. Gab #

    @RiderIron: The problem I have with this so-called “Karate Kid” thing is Karate is Japanese and Kung Fu is Chinese. Daniel meets Mr. Miagi and learns about JAPANESE culture in the original. And he’s a poor Italian kid with a single mom in a rich white neighborhood (or at least close enough to them so he goes to school with rich white kids- I know what that’s like). He’s an “other” in a lot of ways and finds some togetherness with another “other” and by learning about an entirely different culture altogether. And part of why he’s able to win in the end is he really tries to learn about it, whereas the people he comes up against only use it as a tool. This new “version” is a black kid with a single mom that gets transplanted to China and learns kung fu. Yes, he’ll still be an “other,” but in a completely different context and in extremely different ways (apart from having a single mom, I suppose). AND, the culture he learns about is a completely different one, one the people he’s up against are already a part of. From what I have gathered over time, reading up on it and such, the contrived way the phrase “karate kid” gets worked in is the bully and arch-rival guy calls him that in a derisive way- why that particular phrase, I can’t even fathom, given how, once again, Karate is JAPANESE, and they’re in Beijing, and I can’t possibly imagine Chinese teens confusing the difference between the two fighting styles. While both are pretty ignorant, it’s far more offensive to do this than having someone with Korean descent play someone with Chinese (for example): it’s substituting an ENTIRE CULTURE by saying there’s hardly any difference between karate and kung fu, ergo the Japanese and Chinese cultures, because karate derives itself from kung fu (to paraphrase Will Smith, for serious). And I think there’s something to be said for how Jackie Chan and everybody else on-set is calling it “Kung Fu Kid” instead.

    RE: Dr. Who- This Doctor has gradually gotten on my nerves more and more. The previous two knew when to be serious, yes, but they didn’t seem nearly as… crotchety? He snaps at everybody a lot and is just plain rude sometimes. And I’m glad Amy and Rory had their little moment after waking up, but it seemed pointless when she still didn’t do what she said she hadn’t yet, and that bothered me- if it meant so much to her, why not? She made all that progress and character development, only to go back to how she was before.

    We’re still on “The Hungry Earth” here in the States, so no spoilers, please.


  20. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Gab: You know, you’re right; this Doctor IS mighty crochety. Not as crochety as the First Doctor, but he’s up there. Most interesting to me is the fact that Eleven seems to travel throughout space and time out of a sense of duty rather than for fun:

    The Eleventh Hour: He crash lands there
    Victory of the Daleks: Gets called in to help win WWII
    Time of the Angels/Flesh & Stone: Gets called in to solve the Angel problem
    Vampires of Venice: Drags Amy and Rory there to “sort them out”
    Amy’s Choice: Gets trapped in a dream world

    So far, then, this Doctor only got to choose a destination for himself once, and where did he go? He went to the dystopian future of “The Beast Below.” Once there, he didn’t spend any time enjoying the sights or the people like other Doctors would. Instead, he launched straight into Professor-Mode so he could lecture Amy about the evils of totalitarianism.

    “Amy’s Choice” suggests that this is all on purpose: this Doctor won’t allow himself to have fun, because his subconscious doesn’t believe he deserves it. You can also argue that he snaps at people because (despite his childlike face and happy, floppy hair) Eleven is an incredibly angry person, and most of that anger is pointed at himself. That doesn’t mean we should like this Doctor, but it does make him interesting to watch.

    I’ll probably watch “The Hungry Earth” later, so maybe that’ll change my views on things.


  21. Brian Williams NBC Nightly News #

    @Gab RE: Karate Kid – I agree with most of what you said, and the whole Karate is Japanese thing was the first thing that popped into my head when I first saw Jaden Smith’s weird muscley 8-yr-old body on the poster.

    But I’m over that aspect, however there are things about the concept that trouble me even more now:

    1) In the real Karate Kid, Daniel was an awkward (AWKWARD) teen, who wasn’t just trying to survive high school and fit in, but he was trying to get laid. That was his motivation for everything, aside from the fact that nobody likes getting beat up. But really, without Allie there, he’d have just hugged the walls at school and avoided Billy Zabka. In the upcoming abomination, Jaden will be just trying to make it home so he can watch Ben 10 Alien Force.

    2) With the kids being so young, how are we supposed to cheer when Jackie Chan starts kicking butt? “They’re 10-yr-olds, broseph, relax.” We won’t get that feeling of satisfaction we had in the real KK when Mr. Miyagi beat up the physically-mature Cobra Kais dressed as skeletons.

    3) No skeleton costumes.

    4) Lastly, and really, this is the big one. I hate, hate, HATE that kid. It’s an obvious gimmick by the studio to get mini Will Smith in there to say things like “Daayumn,” and “Aaaaaaaaaaaagh!” as he’s trying to pull off some big move. I’ve seen a longer trailer, where Jaden is trying to show Jackie what he knows already, and of course he screws up and trips all over the place. It’s probably supposed to be comedic, but even from the trailer I could tell that the kid has NO comedy chops whatsoever. Daniel was never a clown in the original; he screwed up constantly and wasn’t very skilled, but we felt more embarrassed for him than anything. We didn’t laugh at him, despite his jeans pulled up to his belly button.

    And for godsakes, get that kid a haircut.

    But yeah, they’re in China, I think we could’ve made the connection in our minds if they’d called it “The Kung Fu Kid.” It’s like studios think we’re all children (complete with dreads and weird little kid muscles–sorry, I just really hate that kid).

    However, I must say that Will Smith wasn’t entirely wrong when he said that Karate was derived from Kung Fu. In my karate school we learned that Kara-Te (“empty hand”) came to Okinawa from across the sea in China, where at the time it was only called Te (“hand”). Whether or not it had roots in the Shaolin Temple is always a debate, but it most likely did come from China. Whether you want to say “Te” was Kung Fu is probably just a matter of semantics.


  22. Gab #

    @Mlawski: I was suspecting that, as well, the anger thing. And I think that’s why he’s getting on my nerves so much- projection bothers me in real life (a lot), and I think this predisposes me to be kind of pissed at the Doctor for doing it, to the point where while yes, I see his attitude as very human, it makes it difficult for me to *enjoy* watching the case study.

    The sense of duty thing hadn’t occurred to me before, though, and *that* fits nicely with the anger part. “Fun” is the word my friends and I use a lot when talking about this one. As one of them put it just last night, “He’s not really having *fun* with the danger any more, he’s just scowling and yelling a lot whenever it gets even a *little* dangerous, usually.” But in that context, in conjunction with the anger stuff, it all kind of comes together- he’s not really traveling for fun and THEN getting caught up in his sense of duty because he happens across something any more (which is why he used to make a lot more jokes and seem to have a good time, even when it was a life-and-death situation), but traveling purely because of that sense of duty and TRYING to find something to fix, seeking it out. Hence why the Doctor as a person/character isn’t as fun this season- he’s sniffing himself into the danger, not stumbling into it accidentally. Sad. Interesting. And maybe thinking of it that way will enable me to enjoy *him* again.

    Thanks. I have more hope now. ;p


  23. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Gab: So I just watched “The Hungry Earth” (which I liked — two in a row, woo!), and it pretty much demolishes our arguments. Here, the Doctor seems to be in a much more cheerful, in-love-with-the-Universe mood, even though the stakes are quite high. I don’t know where this came from — you’d think after “Amy’s Choice” he’d be feeling a bit bummed out — but whatever. I, for one, welcome back Happy Doctor!


  24. Gab #

    @Brian: I do understand that karate is derived from kung fu, but that happened waaaay back there in history- and they’re saying it’s “the same thing” NOW, TODAY. He’s moving to MODERN China, not ANCIENT China. I mean, saying modern Karate (or Kara-Te- I don’t think this is really an argument about semantics) and modern Kung Fu are “the same thing” because the former is derived from the latter is like saying modern American culture and modern Greek and Roman culture are “the same thing” because the latter two are considered the “birthplace of western civilization.” It would be preposterous to do it about western culture, so it should be just as preposterous to do it about any other, as well. So yeah, I’ll agree that Smith “wasn’t entirely wrong” when he said that (and the producers and such backed him up) in terms of facts, but it’s certainly “wrong” with regards to propriety and respect, imo. It’s insensitive, at absolute best, to make that kind of a leap. However, I know I’m a flaming liberal sometimes, so maybe it just pisses me off more than your average person- and I’ll admit that, too.

    Oh, and I also take issue with how they’re turning the “Master” character into kind of a clown. It’s Jackie Chan, and again, from what I’ve read, it sounds like he’s going to be plucky and funny and borderline, if not outright, slapstick. So maybe he’ll shoot spit-wads at the kids? I don’t know, but it makes any love or appreciation for the character come from a different place internally.

    @Mlawski: “The Hungry Earth” hasn’t aired on BBC America yet, so I’ll have to hold off on deciding whether I agree with you or not until next week. Sorry. But I’m already curious as to where the Happy Doctor would come from, then- random happiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would be better if it gets explained, even if not until some future episode. Perhaps he just got out of his funk?

    Oh yeah, and I’m totally hoping for some sort of explanation about his connection with Elizabeth I. I mean, come ON, can they dangle that carrot more? Another reference to it in “Amy’s Choice.” It’s particularly painful for me and my crowd, since we all were/are Ren Faire geeks together. Even if the Doctor goes back to being a jerkface, I’ll keep watching, if only for the lone and isolated purpose of getting an episode about her.


  25. Count Spatula #

    @Gab “projection bothers me in real life (a lot), and I think this predisposes me to be kind of pissed at the Doctor for doing it, to the point where while yes, I see his attitude as very human, it makes it difficult for me to *enjoy* watching the case study.”

    Interesting point there about the Doctor being “human” since much of the series has spent time looking at how the Doctor doesn’t understand humans, and can’t do the stuff Amy does because he’s not human, which bothers me. I just think the Doctor’s been acting more and more human since 2005, but only now do they really decide the Doctor can’t solve human problems.

    The series has been annoying me mostly because of Amy not reacting the way a companion should. For example, in The Beast Below, despite suddenly finding herself in this strange future world, she wasn’t bowled over in wonderment like all the other companions before her, she just wandered off straight away into a whole plethora of trouble and then saved the day. Maybe this is meant to be a part of the “Amy’s only afraid of a crack in the wall” thing, but it still doesn’t feel quite right since the companion, since the dawn of Who, has been the audience stand-in first and foremost before being a character we have to come to understand.


  26. Gab #

    @Count Spatula: Well-said, both about the Doctor and Amy.


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