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I Can’t Believe We Actually Laughed This Summer

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Everything we can’t stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture. , you

Everything we can’t stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture. [Manage newsletters]( [View in browser]( [Image] with Kevin Fallon Everything we can’t stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.     This week: - Thankful for the comedies that made summer bearable. - Thankful for the greatest show there is: Bluey. - Thankful for Olivia Newton-John’s most random videos. - Thankful for Bravo memes during the FBI raid. - Thankful for what’s next!   In Spite of it All, There’s Been a Lot to Laugh About I couldn’t tell you how many times this summer I felt like Vicki Gunvalson. If you’ve ever watched [The Real Housewives of Orange County](, you’ll understand that no one wants to feel like a kindred spirit to the series’ polarizing former star. But this has been a relentless summer. As record temperatures boiled the globe, a record time of 3.25 seconds was reached for my back-sweat to soak through my shirt as soon as I stepped outside. The escalation of gun violence has made it so there’s not a single public space I enter without an overwhelming feeling of unease. All of our rights are being stripped away. We all got COVID, and then immediately after I had to fight for a monkeypox vaccine appointment like I was trying for Adele concert tickets. I didn’t win the [Mega Millions jackpot](. On top of everything else, [Christine Baranski wasn’t nominated]( for an Emmy. That is to say that, by the time the Peacock reality series [Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip: Ex-Wives Club]( rolled around and we were treated to a [now-classic moment]( and line reading from Gunvalson, I felt her. I couldn’t believe it, but I really, truly felt her. “If I die now,” she told her castmates, with an almost unsettling stoicism, “tell them she died sad.” Histrionic? Morbid? Attention-seeking? Yes, yes, and duh. But relatable? Vicki, yes, I see you! But I’ve turned a corner. Because of some projects we have coming up here at The Daily Beast, I’ve been revisiting recent TV series and major pop-culture moments, and have been reconsidering these past few months. I’m shocked, really, by how much fun they’ve also been—by how much I, and hopefully we, have laughed. As such, I have decided to embrace a different iconic Real Housewives moment that, as the kids would have said several years ago and old people like me still say now, “lives rent-free in my head.” Let us never forget the time Jamie Lee Curtis channeled her inner QVC host to show off charity tchotchkes to the women of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and [Dorit Kemsley couldn’t contain]( her hilarious fawning: “Jamie, let me just say, that is the chicest wind chime I have ever seen.” So in the spirit of Dorit, I choose to gaslight myself and all those around me into thinking that a bunch of crap was actually fabulous. This summer so far? So chic! Mostly, that chicness—and the aforementioned laughter—has been owed to one of the strongest summers for TV comedy that I can remember. It’s still relatively recent that new series and new seasons debuted during the doldrums. I remember growing up when NBC used to tout its three months of reruns with [the desperate commercial campaign](: “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!” Now, some of the strongest series—specifically comedies—of the year are airing during this hellacious season. I sometimes wonder if we don’t [cherish What We Do in the Shadows]( enough. Of course, the people who I know that watch are evangelists. But I don’t think there’s a show on TV with the laughs-per-episode quotient that this one has, and it mystifies me that Natasia Demetriou, Kayvan Novak, and Matt Berry aren’t gracing magazine covers that herald them as modern comedy geniuses. That’s not exactly to slight the trio occupying most of those covers. Steve Martin and Martin Short are…Steve Martin and Martin Short, while Selena Gomez has been a [revelation on Only Murders in the Building](, particularly during this new season—which, coincidentally, I’ve been enjoying much more than its more careful, slower-paced first. [Barry](, a comedy that maybe should be called a drama, was nothing short of brilliant. [Evil](, a drama that maybe should be called a comedy, was the same. [The Boys](, a gruesome superhero TV series that is an allegory for the dangers of Trumpism and also included a shrinking man spelunking into a urethra and then [exploding inside of the penis](, is perhaps unclassifiable. But it sure is fun. [The Bear]( exposed the chaos and ultimate reward of working in a restaurant. [High School Musical: The Musical: The Series]( exposed the chaos and ultimate reward of being a teenager at musical theater camp. [Uncoupled]( exposed the chaos and (dear god, I hope) ultimate reward of being a gay man who is suddenly single in New York. I’ve never loved anything in this life the way that straight people love Nathan Fielder. Let’s just say that [The Rehearsal]( wasn’t for me. Though, as I mentioned, these are trying times, so who am I to judge anyone who manages to find their bliss. But as for the comedy that gave me the fortitude to keep going this summer despite the number of times cashiers looked at my physical state after arriving at their establishments in this heat and asked, “Sir, are you OK?”: I have to give it to reality TV. I do not care to admit how many times I have watched the clips of those Gunvalson and Kemsley moments, and I still howled as I wrote this piece. That’s not to mention how often the likes of Phaedra Parks and, surprisingly, Brandi Glanville pulled off comedy bits and one-liners better than most sitcoms on TV. (May we all learn to tell who is [a lesbian by their eyebrows](.) The greatest comedic performers we have in society assembled for the all-winners season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. If you’ve seen the series, you’re familiar with Ru’s uncontrollable giggle fits. That was me every single time Jinkx Monsoon was on screen, and never more so than during her Snatch Game [performance as Judy Garland](. It’s the TV moment of the year as far as I’m concerned. (Similarly, the Discovery+ series Trixie Motel, featuring [Drag Race alum Trixie Mattel](, is more than worth your time.) And that’s only counting official TV series. How many times have I gotten out of breath laughing at the viral video of the Dirty Dancing finale [set to The Muppet Show theme](? Or stared entranced and bewildered at [Drew Barrymore dancing in the rain](? (Related: [Be careful, Drew](!) Or cherished every [Keke Palmer clip](, and every meme about [Nicole Kidman’s AMC theaters monologue](? I hate to say it, folks, but I’m glad I am: This summer, we lived, we laughed, and we loved. Almost inexplicably. In any case, something’s coming soon in this space—and out of it—that we hope will bring you joy. Hopefully this reminder of all the laughs we’ve already experienced has been a fond warm-up for it.   A MESSAGE FROM THE DAILY BEAST’S OBSESSED Streaming fans, cinephiles, and TV devotees: get ready to be obsessed. The opinionated pop-culture takes you love are expanding out of your inbox. Stay tuned for your next great entertainment obsession, launching August 15th.   Bluey Is So Good—Even for Grown, Single, Childless Adults It is with no irony, sarcasm, or attempt at trolling that I say that Bluey is one of the greatest shows on television. The Australian animated series is, yes, “[for kids](.” But that is a reductionist and exclusionary label, as it is one of the TV shows I enjoy watching the most and I am most certainly not a parent. (Well, I am a proud dad to my thriving fiddle-leaf fig tree. My therapist and I have talked about not selling myself short.) I will not be told that this series that brings me such immense pleasure is “not for me” because I “am not four years old.” Bluey airs in the U.S. on Disney+, and the third season finally arrived this week. (Not that I was counting down…) It’s phenomenal in the way that it’s both, again, appropriate for and hilarious to the extremely young demographic, but boasts sophisticated and inventive writing befitting the best TV sitcoms. It’s not one of those shows that kids like, but at least there’s some stuff for the adults to laugh at that might go over younger people’s heads. With Bluey, we’re all laughing at the same jokes. Bluey herself is a dog who lives in Australia with mum, dad, and little sister Bingo. Like [a lot of kids’ shows](, most episodes follow Bluey and Bingo as they attempt to make each day an adventure, and there’s usually a lesson to be learned at the end of it. But Bluey gives a 360-degree view of what that day entailed, showing the effort it took for mum and dad to pull off the activities, the fun, and the education. It’s an inspiring portrait of what “play” means to children, and how adults can be a vital part of it. There’s an episode in which the whole family pretends every household object is almost too heavy to carry. Physical comedy gold. “Rain” is incredibly moving, revealing how great it is when a parent embraces their child’s sense of wonder. An episode set in a Big Box store where the family shops for a pizza oven is as uproarious as it is a powerful lesson about jealousy and responsibility. Don’t even talk to me about “Sleepytime.” I’ll get emotional. The new season sees Bluey and Bingo wanting to make a Father’s Day breakfast for dad, messing everything up [Lucy-at-the-conveyor-belt]( style, but it being OK anyway. “Bedroom” spotlights the difficulty of growing up and learning to be an individual when you have a sibling. In “Mini Bluey,” Bingo dresses up as her older sister and she teaches her how to be like her. “I like to talk a lot,” Bluey says. “It doesn’t even need to make sense. Sometimes I just make sounds.” Then they just start honking and screaming gibberish. Have you met a child? That’s brilliant writing. I was with my family when the new episodes “dropped”—the first time that phrase has been used about kids’ programming. My young nephews started cackling when they began making the noises. I laughed heartily. My father roared and kept repeating the line, marveling at its truth. It’s a perfect observation, made funny for everyone. It’s not a novel take to say that Bluey is so good. It’s popped up on many critics’ Top TV lists, particularly parents, and countless essays have been written about its brilliance. I’m just happy to add to the pile. My New Favorite Olivia Newton-John Videos   There is no better character entrance in a movie than when Olivia Newton-John struts into the carnival as “Bad Sandy” in Grease. More sophisticated cinephiles will bristle. Moralists will protest the almost inexcusable lesson the scene teaches: Change who you are and get rid of all your values to appease a man, and you’ll be happy, too. I don’t care. There’s a reason it’s so indelible, so lasting. And only a star with the magnetism of Newton-John could have pulled that off. I thought that would be the clip I’d be thinking about the most in the wake of Newton-John’s passing this week. Then I saw the footage of her duetting to [“Hopelessly Devoted to You” with Mariah Carey](. (Sensational.) My colleague Coleman Spilde brought to my attention the music video for a Christmas song [she recorded with John Travolta]( in 2012. (Mesmerizing and baffling, which I say with love.) Then several celebrities posted the same clip that I had no idea existed. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before, and I will never go a day without watching it again. It is from a 1990 benefit for the organization Mothers and Others for a Livable Planet. Newton-John is part of the unlikely supergroup of Bette Midler, Cher, Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, and Lily Tomlin performing “What a Wonderful World.” ([Watch it here](.) It is cheesy. It is beautiful. And, most of all, Newton-John is radiant. As she always was.   The Best Way to Report the News If there’s one way to get me to pay attention to the news, it’s to report that Mar-a-Lago had been raided by the FBI, but explained through [reality-TV memes](. They said there’d never be a service like the one provided by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, finding ways to get young people engaged with the news by marrying politics and entertainment. Well, whoever “they” were, they’d clearly never [heard of Bravo fans](, or witnessed their incredible talent at making memes.   Exciting Stuff Is Dropping! Normally I end this newsletter with a photo of a shirtless celebrity, or Anne Hathaway looking flawless, or a very funny pop-culture-related tweet. I am deeply sorry that, this week, it’s not the case. However, I promise that if any of those things is of interest to you—or anything you’ve ever read in this newsletter is, for that matter—then there’s good news coming on Monday. Shameless plug! Stay tuned!   I Love My Dad: This movie is one of the wildest rides I’ve gone on this year, and it’s worth it. (Fri. on VOD) A League of Their Own: One of my all-time favorite movies gets a refreshingly lovely reboot series. (Fri. on Amazon) Never Have I Ever: A precious jewel of a TV series launches its final season. (Fri. on Netflix) The Princess: Anyone obsessed with Princess Diana—so all humans—should tune into this. (Sat. on HBO)   Day Shift: Jamie Foxx made a vampire comedy for Netflix. I am stunned that it isn’t good. (Fri. on Netflix) Mack & Rita: Someone please rescue Diane Keaton from her agent!!! (Fri. in theaters)   Advertisement   [Daily Beast]( [Facebook]( [Twitter]( [Instagram]( @copyright 2022 The Daily Beast Company LLC I 555 W. 18th Street, New York NY, 10011 [Privacy Policy]( If you are on a mobile device or cannot view the images in this message, click here to [view this email in your browser](. To ensure delivery of these emails, please add emails@thedailybeast.com to your address book. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, or think you have received this message in error, you can [safely unsubscribe](.

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