Could this have been one of the dullest weeks in pop culture history? Maybe it's the fact that there have been far more pressing matters to concern ourselves with, but it seems as though the usual flood of tabloid news and celebrity gossip has slowed to an impotent trickle, with everybody mostly acting like actual human beings to each other and next to no outrageously stupid projects in the works. Seriously, what the fuck? We'll admit right up front that this week's Friday Buzzkills doesn't offer its usual bumper crop of schadenfreudeny goodness, outside of the predictably boorish behavior of a few repeat offenders. Audible sigh. Perhaps next week will suck more? (And we promise this is the absolute last time we'll write anything about Mike Myers. Almost probably.)
- The reviews are in and it's official: Everybody hates Mike Myers. No, really. Everybody really, really hates Mike Myers, not only for trying to pass off his latest exercise in jokeless pop-culture references, naughty-sounding names, and unabashed midget tossing as part of his new, Deepak Chopra-inspired mission to "impart uplifting messages about love, joy, and self-acceptance," but mostly just for being an insufferable prick who's impossible to work with. If you read only one article this week painting Myers as an arrogant, needy brat whose "way of getting what he wants is to emote and threaten and express anger" (according to So I Married An Axe Murderer director Thomas Schlamme, anyway), make it this excoriating Entertainment Weekly piece, which interviews pretty much everyone who's ever had beef with him and compiles a portrait of the artist as kind of a dick. While it's filled with the usual "yeah he's a total asshole–but c'mon, Shrek made lots of money"-style hedging from various producers who delicately spin Myers' megalomania as unusually tenacious artistic commitment, you'll also get choice on-set anecdotes from people like Wayne's World director Penelope Spheeris, who plainly states, "I hated that bastard for years" and details the lengths she went to in order to keep him happy–including forcing her daughter to sit on a cooler and "make sure he had whatever snack he needed at any moment."
But hey, that was years ago! Surely his newfound spiritual centeredness means he's probably lightened up a bit since then, right? Actually no, not according to staffers at Late Night With Conan O'Brien, who claim in a Page Six piece that Myers spent his backstage time leading up to his Wednesday appearance acting every bit the fussy dressing-room diva, including sending interns on a "wild goose chase for Silk nondairy creamer, Twizzlers, and raspberry seltzer." The article then recounts how Myers "sent one of the interns back out to get a new drink when he realized his seltzer was not the brand he requested." Well yeah, but the resultant comic genius of Myers' appearance was totally worth all that selfish, demanding behavior! Um, right?
- While it's easy–and fun!–to dump on Mike Myers, of course, his various singed bridges are nothing compared to this week's King Of Beef, 50 Cent, who somehow found the time in between filing a defamation suit against his ex-girlfriend (in addition to denying claims that he had anything to do with the fire that conveniently consumed his Long Island mansion just as it became a point of legal contention) to pick two other, totally unrelated, wholly unnecessary fights: Unamused by Taco Bell's tongue-in-cheek proposal that he change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent, or 99 Cent for one day, then make an appearance at any Taco Bell in the country to "rap his order" at the drive thru–in exchange for which the company would reward everyone in the store with free food and then donate $10,000 to the charity of his choice–the man whose artistic integrity won't be compromised for any cheap-ass endorsement (unless it's Vitamin Water, Right Guard, Reebok, Sirius Radio, or BMW) said the Bell could lick his litigation lollipop, boasting, "When my legal team is finished with them, Taco Bell is going to have a new corporate slogan: 'We messed with the bull and got the horns.'"
Chief among his gripes is that Taco Bell leaked the letter to the press before 50 Cent's team ever even got wind of it–which might actually be a justifiable complaint on any week where Fiddy hadn't gleefully taken a big leak of his own in the form of a surreptitiously recorded phone conversation (embedded below) where emotionally frazzled ousted G-Unit member Young Buck starts crying. While the "battle" between Buck and Fiddy has certainly gotten heated as of late–marked by Buck yelling "Fuck G-Unit!" from the stage and bitterly dissing him in interviews–it still takes a certain kind of man to open a heart-to-heart with one of your estranged friends under the auspice of hashing out your mutual problems, encourage him to share his true feelings about it all, and then secretly tape the conversation and hand it over to Miss Info so that everyone can weigh on how he "sounds like a little bitch." Well done, 50. Now could you please take next week off?
- Speaking of beefs, [tiresome and hyperbolic music journalist trope] the rise of file-sharing and bands adopting the Radiohead model has obviously redefined the music industry as we know it [/tiresome and hyperbolic music journalist trope], but of course, not everybody is excitedly embracing the world of digital downloads. Take Kid Rock, whose defiant stand against iTunes has given the rapper/rocker/occasional ravager of Pamela Anderson's loins yet another excuse to compare himself to more talented artists: "Back in the day, we all know the stories of the Otis Reddings and Chuck Berrys and Fats Dominos who never got paid," Rock told BBC News, serving the dual purpose of explaining why he believes the current system is engineered to shortchange artists and giving black people yet another reason to hate him. "I will be on iTunes eventually because I can't avoid it," he added, "But I like to always stick to my guns and prove a point and do something original and because I believe in it." Yeah, stick it to 'em! So, uh, when you say "doing something original," do you mean like your new single "All Summer Long"–which nicks the verse from "Werewolves Of London," the chorus and signature guitar riff from "Sweet Home Alabama," and borrows its textbook "those were the days" nostalgia from Bob Seger? That kind of "original"? If it's that definition we're working with, then, you know, that might explain why Rock's song was already on iTunes the day he gave that interview.
- But while Kid Rock's kinda-sorta-not-really problem with the way iTunes supposedly treats its artists gave him ample opportunity to once again slip into his "I'm just a straight-shootin', brawlin'-in-Waffle-House kind of guy" persona–even as he ended the interview by declaring, "I'm rich!"–it was nothing compared to the tantrum KISS bassist/professional reality show blowhard Gene Simmons threw this week where he blamed Radiohead–and you!–for ruining the music industry. In a widely circulated statement, Simmons said, "The record industry is dead. It's six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this." Naturally you may be saying, "Nuts to you, gramps! This file-sharing thing is our happening and it totally freaks us out!" But Mr. Simmons has a punishment that should shut you up faster than he joylessly bangs energy drink spokesmodels: No new KISS material. "We're going to wait until everybody settles down and becomes civilized. As soon as the record industry pops its head up we'll record new material." So you heard it here, kids: Get back out there and start paying for $16 CDs again, otherwise KISS refuses to embarrass everyone by trying to recapture its former glory. In the meantime, you'll just have to make your own damn "gun = penis" metaphors.
- Unfortunately, news of the record industry's demise apparently hasn't dissuaded John Lydon–and in fact seemingly nothing can stop the formerly semi-interesting punk icon from talking these days, despite the fact that umpteen "anniversary" shows, casino gigs, and Guitar Hero sponsorships have all but ensured that no one will ever take him or the Sex Pistols seriously again (assuming they ever did, of course). After headlining the Isle Of Wight recently, Lydon applied his increasingly calculated, eminently boring coquettish approach to rumors of a new Sex Pistols album, saying, "It's a nice rumor and it might possibly be true we are attempting to. It's like all things Sex Pistols–it's riddled in chaos. Who knows what the future holds. Maybe no future." Oh, I see what you did there. You know, John, I liked you a lot more when you acted like an asshole for no apparent reason, not as a blatant marketing strategy. At this rate you're going to be doing Dennis Hopper-style AARP ads within the year. ("Hi, I'm John Lydon. I used to say there was no future–but then I turned 50!")
- Still, it's not as though Lydon could possibly do anything more to ensure that the formerly firmly anti-institutions institution known as "punk" becomes just as bloated and riddled with corporate influence as the dinosaur rock culture it was intended to replace. Not when each passing minute brings news of another nostalgic cash-in or synergistic deal bent on appropriating the punk/emo/indie-rock "lifestyle" and using it to, say, move some Moons Over My Hammy–like Denny's new All Nighter program, a venture that seeks to draw in a younger crowd by hipping up the senior citizen hotspot, swapping out Muzak for "alternative rock" every night from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., adding a "dimly lit club ambiance," and asking its waitstaff to dress in black "Get Your Crave On" T-shirts and jeans. In what Brandweek gaggingly refers to as a "Pete Wentzification" process, the new All Nighter program hopes to create a late-night home for blogging and "social networking" (you mean, like, talking?), fueled by special additions to the menu such as the H.R. Giger-esque french fries/nachos hybrid "Potachos" (made with sausage, bacon, and two kinds of processed cheese) and–speaking of gagging–something called the "Sweet Ride Nachos" (cinnamon sugar-dusted flour tortilla chips, strawberry topping, raspberry sauce, hot fudge, caramel, seasonal fruit, white chocolate chips, and whipped cream). Somehow we're guessing your average manorexic, skinny jeans-wearing emo kid isn't coming anywhere near these, no matter how much dim light and dungarees you promise them.
- The rule of threes has already robbed us of Tim Russert, Stan Winston, and Cyd Charisse this week, so there's really not much more to report in the world of celebrity deaths–that is unless you're a fan of contemporary jazz, in which case you're probably already aware of the accidental drowning of pianist Esbjorn Svensson at the age of 44. Svensson's eponymous trio won various awards for its 2002 album Strange Place For Snow, and is credited with helping shape modern jazz through his "fusion of lyrical melodies and rock-inspired electronics."
- And finally, if you ever spent a sick day home from school in the healing arms of daytime syndicated television, you have workaholic TV writer Mark Tuttle to thank for keeping your mind off of vomiting. Tuttle, who died this week at 73, wrote hundreds of scripts for shows like The Beverly Hillbillies (which he also co-produced), Petticoat Junction, Three's Company, and The Facts Of Life in a career spanning nearly three decades, ending with a single episode of 227 in 1989. His most lasting legacy may be co-writing the famous Hillbillies episode "The Giant Jackrabbit"–in which Granny boxes a kangaroo–which remains one of the highest-rated half-hours of TV of all time (and as an odd footnote, features a cameo from Sharon Tate, seen below).
Have a super weekend!