“While You Were Out” is a Friday feature of short notes and commentary from the week. Whether it’s something you’d discuss at the watercooler or at happy hour, you’ll find it on our grid, together with our opinion as to whether it’s praiseworthy or cringeworthy. We’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on this week's happenings.
Taylor Swift Wins Big at the Billboard Music Awards
Taylor Swift’s year just keeps getting better: The top-selling artist took home eight trophies from the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night, including the coveted Best Female Artist and Artist of the Year. The music video for her catchy new single, Bad Blood, also premiered that night, in all its Sin City/Sucker Punch/Tron: Legacy–referencing glory. While I'm not a fan of the super-sexualized vibe, it's kind of fun to see women throwing the punches for once. —Sophie Caldecott
Law Journal Publishes Issue Devoted to Breaking Bad
OK, Walter White fans: A University of New Mexico School of Law student journal published a special edition dedicated entirely to the highly acclaimed AMC show Breaking Bad. The publication focuses on what might have happened had any of the drug-cooking and -selling characters of the show encountered the real-life legal system.
Editor Matthew Zidovsky said that he and other law students noticed a number of legal problems in the show with everything from DEA misconduct, unethical lawyering, and police misconduct to the prosecution of Walter White in states with no death penalty such as New Mexico. —Hannah Allen White
Happy Memorial Day!
Yes, it’s OK to say that. Despite some disagreement around the idea of pairing the word “happy” with the thought of loved ones dying in military combat, it’s the remembrance that counts. While much of the country may be staying indoors this weekend thanks to wet weather, forecasts promise that the East and West coasts will get some sun. Which reminds us, it’s time to start making SPF your BFF. —Mary Rose Somarriba
Seth Cohen Is All Grown Up and Having a Baby
It seems like just the other day we were all teenagers, binge-watching The O.C. during summer vacation. Now Adam Brody, the actor behind our favorite lovable nerd Seth Cohen, is all grown up and has just announced that his wife Leighton Meester (who played Gossip Girl's Blair Waldorf) is pregnant with their first baby. TV universes collide! —SC
The Reviews Are in for Pitch Perfect 2
Pitch Perfect 2 opened in theaters to a whopping $69 million in box-office sales, beating out its main competition, Mad Max: Fury Road (which some have interestingly argued is the more feminist of the two films). While reviews for Pitch are mainly positive and point to an abundance of girl power and laughs in the film, I have to agree with the AP coverage that notes, “Much less funny is a no-means-yes sex joke; we could have done without that one, particularly in a college setting.” —MRS
Salma Hayek’s Take on Tackling Hollywood Sexism
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter this week, actress Salma Hayek shared her thoughts on how Hollywood can get men involved in “creating more spaces for women in the film industry.”
“There’s a very simple answer,” Hayek replied. “You get [men] involved the same way that you get men involved in anything and the only way you can inspire them: money. [Some in Hollywood] are forgetting that there is this generation of smart women that [has] a huge power of economical power. We are successful, we work, we make our own money, and we are a very strong consumer.” Hard to argue with that! —MRS
Speaking of Hollywood Sexism . . .
Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal revealed this week that she was rejected from an acting role recently because at age 37, she was deemed “too old” to convincingly play the lover of a male character aged 55. Really? C’mon, people. Let’s get back to reality. —MRS
A Nod to B. B. King in The Voice Finale
We all kinda knew that Ray LaMontagne–obsessed Sawyer Fredericks was going to win The Voice, right? The 16-year-old fan favorite, coached by music-producing juggernaut Pharrell Williams, took home the prize this week.
As part of the finale, NBC pulled out all the stops with an incredible tribute by the four judges to bluesman B. B. King, who passed away last week. It's always a treat to watch seasoned performers show the audience how it's done after watching contestants hold their nerves at bay all season. In this case they performed a version of King's hit “The Thrill is Gone” in a fitting tribute to one of music's greatest legends. —HAW
Rumer Has It
Another winner this week: Actress and singer Rumer Willis was crowned ABC’s Dancing with the Stars champion with pro dancer Val Chmerkovskiy. Performing her freestyle dance to a track she herself had recorded—a haunting cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”—Willis wowed the crowds and even made dad Bruce Willis tear up. Willis’ siblings and mom, Demi Moore, were also there cheering her on. After receiving the trophy, Willis dedicated her win to all the fans, especially those with low self-esteem or insecurities. “[This is] for anyone who didn't think that they deserved to do something, or couldn't do something, or wasn't capable . . . that is who this mirrorball is for.” —MRS
We Have a Pope
This week it was announced in Cannes that Jude Law will play a pope in a forthcoming HBO miniseries directed by Italian film director Paolo Sorrentino. Can’t say Law has ever struck me as pontifflike. But, whatever the case, this should certainly be interesting . . . —MRS
Goodbye, David Letterman
This week David Letterman said goodbye to his Late Night show after thirty-three years at the desk. Stephen Colbert will take on the comedian’s famous CBS spot starting September 8 this year. Now I might just tune in! —MRS
The Bachelorette’s Ugly Female-Competition Vibe
I tend to avoid ABC's The Bachelor and its counterpart The Bachelorette. But I've been seeing endless headlines about “the latest twist” in this week’s Bachelorette season premiere. Just when you thought ugly girl-on-girl competition had reached its breaking point, producers managed to up the ante by introducing two women pitted against each other; the fate of their stay on the program relying on the votes of allegedly lovesick male contestants after just one episode. Gross.
Britt and Kaitlyn met twenty-five men who were asked to vote for whom they would like to see continue. Britt ultimately got the boot. Through tears she said how grateful she was for the experience. Is it just me, or is it doubtful that any woman would be grateful for the experience of twenty-five men she just met rating her worth as a prize? —HAW
Supergirl Trailer Weirdly Similar to an SNL Spoof
Had the SNL team already seen this trailer for CBS’ new series Supergirl when it did this spoof trailer for a Black Widow film a few weekends ago? Not unless the team wrangled a sneak peek of it ahead of the general release last week. So maybe it's just a hilarious and awkward coincidence, then, that Supergirl looks like such a spoof of a superhero show aimed at women; from the “Oops, I'm such a klutz!” vibe that Kara (aka Supergirl) gives off to her interactions with the editor of the fashion magazine where she works—it all screams bad rom-com. I think I can speak for many female comic book fans when I say it doesn't really look like what we had in mind when we asked for more female superheroes. I guess we'll find out when the series airs in the fall, but until then I don’t have high hopes. —SC
Game of Thrones’ Latest Controversial Rape Scene
This week’s Game of Thrones episode ended with a scene that reached a new low. Before closing credits, the villainous Ramsay Bolton forced his mentally manipulated pawn Theon Greyjoy to watch as he raped his new bride Sansa Stark. And HBO asked viewers to watch too, causing countless fans to respond with disgust and to debate about when enough is enough with showing rape on screen. It’s one thing when a filmed story line deviates from the original books. But when such a bizarre turn of events is added by the HBO producers and not the original author, it reveals their motivation: not a good story; just shock factor. But maybe we should have seen this coming. —MRS
Good News of the Week
Women with Down syndrome are making strides in the fashion world. In February, it was Jamie Brewer, the first model with Down syndrome to strut down the runway for New York Fashion Week. Now 18-year-old Madeline Stuart from Australia has launched a social media campaign via her Facebook page in hopes of launching a modeling career. In an interview this week in the Daily Mail, her mother said Maddy’s goal is “to change the way people discriminate against disability.” We hope women like Maddy and Jamie can continue to show the fashion and modeling industry that beauty comes in all forms. —Blanca Therese Morales