Saturday, February 27, 2016

Judd Apatow continues to kick the corpse of romantic comedy after he's already killed it

The New Yorker and New York Magazine both tell us how much we should love the same old shit from Judd Apatow.

The New Yorker's Ian Crouch, who clearly adores Apatow's Netflix show "Love" makes it clear in his review that this is absolute Apatow - the hot responsible woman paired with the ugly man-baby:
Rust, a thirty-four-year-old comedian and writer, who created the series along with his wife, Lesley Arfin, and Judd Apatow, has a mop of dark hair, a beaked nose, and a not especially strong chin, which he accentuates by slinking his head back into his body when he talks. He walks with his hands dangling at his sides, like a sullen child, and he slumps his shoulders forward while leaning oddly backward—like a figure on the left side of man’s evolutionary chart, or like a tranquillized Groucho Marx. Rust is surely somebody’s sex symbol, but his initial effect is to make Woody Allen, in his “Annie Hall” days, or Billy Crystal, in all those terrible sweaters from “When Harry Met Sally,” look like Paul Newman. 
The disparity in conventional physical attractiveness between Rust and Jacobs has not gone unnoticed. But the saving grace for the Woodys and Billys of the rom-com world has typically been a plausibly irresistible wit or charm—what blind-date matchmakers used to refer to as “personality.” Yet, even in this department, Gus does not seem to be much of a catch. At one point, Mickey, in a line that has been seized on by many who have written about the show, describes Gus as a “forty-year-old twelve-year-old.” But even that doesn’t quite go far enough: as Gus, Rust seems more like an eighty-year-old seven-year-old, prone to tantrums that combine geriatric bitterness and juvenile irritation. Gus’s frustrated outbursts, peppered with “fucks” that sound more like whines than true expressions of anger, are mostly evidence that the no-longer-quite-young man needs a time-out. Gus is, as Mickey later calls him, “a weird little dude.” Yet this weird little dude starts off the first episode in bed with one beautiful young woman and ends it in an improbable and awkward threesome with two other beautiful young women. So it seems, initially, that Gus is just another ostensibly nice nerd-king man-child of the Apatow universe, who, by dint of a little effusiveness and a lot of just being there, manages to seduce—or, at least, capture—the women around him, who happen to be better looking and more interesting than he is.
And no, don't mention Trainwreck - Bill Hader is not hotter than Amy Schumer. Not even as Stefon, his hottest character.

It's all good though, as far as Crouch is concerned:
"The Apatow ethos is essentially optimistic: people are meant for each other" 
And yet somehow the people are never, ever hot men paired with ugly unlikeable women. Funny how that works, isn't it? 

Crouch links to a Vulture article where the attractiveness disparity of "Love" "has not gone unnoticed" - but the article's author Pilot Viruet, who I believe is a woman, basically makes excuses at the end of her piece:
But TV's hot girl/ugly guy pairings typically go unchallenged, largely because standards for female attractiveness haven't budged much over the past 60 years. More than just another TV trope, these pairings are a reflection of the culture: Women must be conventionally physically attractive, while men aren’t held to the same standards. And as long as that's a reality, this trope is here to stay.
But that's a lousy argument - since when has TV been exclusively about reflecting the world as it is? Has this alleged media critic never heard of Bewitched?

Sure, hot girl/ugly guy pairings exist in real life -  but not nearly as frequently as they do on TV.  The hot girl/ugly guy trope caters to straight male fantasies. Last I heard, women watch television too - so why no fantasies for women?

Because, duh, men still completely control the entertainment industry. Straight white men

I hate so much having to live in a world that caters exclusively to the fantasies of people like Judd Apatow and Ian Crouch.

And she's still got the goods on him:

But she's not the only one - there are some great quotes from this article:
Let's Talk About the Hotness Double Standard on Netflix's 'Love,' Shall We? by E. J. Dickson - I worship you now, E.J.

Great quote #1:
We rarely, if ever, see the female version of Kevin James whining about how her sexy broad-shouldered stockbroker husband won't sleep with her, even though these couples do exist and are perfectly happy together IRL. The closest we've ever come in the past five years is the episode of Girls where Lena Dunham sleeps with former Gap model Patrick Wilson, a scenario that struck critics as so improbable many wrote the episode off as an actual dream sequence.

Great quote #2 - even greater!
It's so obvious that it almost goes without saying that in Hollywood, women are held to an impossibly high standard for youth and beauty, while men are not held to any standard at all; if someone swapped out Adam Sandler for a literal musk ox, no one would bat an eyelash so long as the musk ox hit his mark and didn't slobber on Brooklyn Decker during their love scenes. In an industry run almost exclusively by nerdy white men who perhaps grew up slobbering after the JV volleyball captain at their high school, the Gus/Mickey pairing makes total sense.