“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 water cooler 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 the happenings of this week.
The Cold Never Bothered Her Anyway
After going slightly off key in her Times Square performance of “Let it Go” on New Year’s Eve, Idina Menzel spoke up on social media to defend herself. The Frozen singer pointed to an interview she had given a few months earlier in which she had stated, “I am more than the notes I hit, and that's how I try to approach my life." This was in response to the question, "How do you define success?" "You can't get it all right all the time, but you can try your best," she said. "If you've done that, all that's left is to accept your shortcomings and have the courage to try to overcome them." Amen to that!
Macklemore announced to fans this week that he’s expecting to be a dad. The short video features not only the rapper and his fiancé Tricia Davis, but also their little baby in utero on the ultrasound screen.
A Baby Girl For Blake!
And if that isn’t enough to get your baby rabies flowing, one lovely Blake Lively and husband Ryan Reynolds have welcomed a baby girl into the world! This is the couple’s first child since marrying in 2012.
Lively reported to US Weekly, “I never knew what I wanted to do for a living, but I knew I wanted to have a lot of kids because I had come from a big family so it was always important to me.” We hear you!
In Other Baby News...
Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt is expecting again! Hewitt has described pregnancy in the past, saying “You wake up in the morning and you go, 'Wow, this is no longer my body,'" she said. "What's going to happen today? It teaches you to not be in control, and I've been a control freak for a long time." This is baby number two for Hewitt and husband Brian Hallisay, coming just a little over a year after their first.
Wedding Bells for Cameron!
At least doorbells, anyway. Longtime bachelorette Cameron Diaz tied the knot this week in a secret ceremony in her home with about 90 attendees. The actress, who has openly talked about her single life in the past, married Benji Madden of the band Good Charlotte.
The People Have Spoken
The People's Choice Awards are a relative newcomer to the pantheon of awards shows, but not an altogether unwelcome one. Decidedly less stodgy (classy?) than the Oscars, the awards allow the consumers of entertainment to actually choose what they did and did not like instead of being told what to like. For the 2015 awards, this meant voting the fabulous Melissa McCarthy as favorite comedic movie actress, letting Chloe Grace Moretz take favorite dramatic movie actress away from the likes of Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon (really, people?), and including accolades for non-traditional category winners such as "Favorite TV Icon" (Betty White) and "Favorite TV Character We Miss the Most" (Sandra Oh).
But perhaps just as buzzed about as the winners were the pointed comments by Viola Davis and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting during the broadcast. Davis landed a delightful jab to New York Times journalist Alessandra Stanley, who in a profile of Shonda Rhimes late last year, observed that as the latest leading lady in a Shondaland drama, Davis was "older, darker-skinned, and less classically beautiful" than Kerry Washington in her acceptance speech for "Favorite Actress in a New TV Series." Davis, looking stunning as always, made sure to thank Rhimes for "thinking of a leading lady who looks like my classic beauty." Point, Viola Davis!
In other topical joking news, Big Bang Theory’s Cuoco-Sweeting, who has drawn criticism for a recent article in which she declared not to need feminism, was jabbed as she started to present the award for “Favorite Comedic Movie Actress.” One of her co-presenters asked if she wanted to present the category due to her "anti-feminist" views, to which Cuoco-Sweeting replied, "Yeah, I have to, it's a part of my apology tour."
Downton Dumbed Down?
The root of “historical drama” is “history”—that is, it has to be believable that characters in a historical drama inhabit a particular time and place. Increasingly, it’s just not easy to believe Downton Abbey. In the restrained first seasons of the show, world-historical events such as the sinking of the Titanic or the run-up to World War I occurred off camera, and writer Julian Fellowes excelled at showing you how those events exerted a subtle influence on the daily life of the inhabitants of Grantham. By the season five premiere, Fellowes has decided to simply let the characters tell you, repeatedly, that the times are a-changing. Carson even intones sonorously that he feels “a shaking of the very ground I stand on.” Fellowes would never have allowed himself that shortcut in season one. It’s anachronistic, about as subtle as a flashing neon sign, and not all that interesting to watch. Here’s hoping that Downton returns to its first season form!
IMAX is Coming
HBO announced this week its show Game of Thrones will be the first TV show to come to IMAX theaters. That's cool for great graphics, but still doesn't fix the show's continued objectificaiton of women.
This week TV viewers saw the premiere of Agent Carter, a spinoff of the Marvel show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While some might remember her as primarily the long-lost girlfriend of Captain America, Agent Carter shows her as a heroine in her own right—which I have to say is a nice thing to see in the comic genre.
In a recent interview, actress Hayley Atwell describes that, to prepare for the role, she “watched lots of old movies that star the great Hollywood classics like Rita Hayworth and Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall. These are very strong women, and they were very intelligent women—there was a dignity and an integrity and spirit. They knew what they wanted, but they found themselves in a different time where they couldn't get what they wanted because of the constrictions that society put on them, yet they still fought. So, there's a fighting spirit in [Agent Carter]; I was looking at any films that depicted that kind of spirit.”
Thank You, Jen
In a recent interview with InStyle, Jennifer Aniston offers some self-loving words of wisdom: “I never ate pasta. I’ve been allowing myself a lot more in the past few years. Which does make it harder to lose those last few pounds. But you have to live. And so what? You go up a size. What’s the big deal?” Preach, girlfriend.
The 45-year-old actress also reveals more about her relationship with former husband Brad Pitt whom she divorced in 2005. She says self-care and spending time alone were important parts of her healing process post-breakup. Aniston is now engaged to Justin Theroux, and it seems she’s truly found happiness—beyond that which any dress size or over-the-top wedding can provide.
Selma Opens in Theaters
Listed among films to keep your eye on in 2015, Selma opens nationwide this week after causing quite a stir after its limited release around Christmas. The film, which focuses on the campaign to secure equal voting rights for African-Americans and stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Tom Wilkinson as LBJ, has already garnered critical acclaim for its actors, criticism for its (debatable) historical inaccuracies, and buzz for its timely subject matter and frank depiction of racism. This is a film that you should see—both to celebrate its artistic achievements, and to be a knowledgeable participant in a national conversation that isn't going away anytime soon.
Bono’s Bad News
Bono, who suffered injuries from a bike crash in New York City in November, has revealed this week that it might affect his music abilities. “Recovery has been more difficult than I thought,” the U2 musician stated. “As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again.”
Angelina Meets the Pope
Former wild child turned global humanitarian/film director Angelina Jolie screened her new film Unbroken, based on the life of track star and WWII hero Louis Zamperini, at the Vatican last week, and although Pope Francis was unable to attend, Jolie and two of her children were able to have an audience with the pontiff later that evening.
Have You Heard of a Little Band Called The Beatles?
This week saw some laughs after a few of Kanye West’s vocal fans on social media appear to have never heard of his latest musical collaborator, Paul McCartney. “Kanye West really knows how to expose great new talent. Bet this Paul McCartney guy is gonna be HUGE after this song,” read one of the tweets. While it’s hard to say if the many “Who’s Paul McCartney” tweets were written in ignorance or in jest, it definitely has created a teaching moment for those who have not yet been initiated.
More Like Ew-Tastic Heart
I love the music of Sia’s latest album 1000 Forms of Fear. I admire her ingenuity and resilience as a performer, not compromising her needs when signing with a big label on her own terms. But now I’m grossed out. In a music video for “Elastic Heart” intended to depict two “warring ‘Sia’ self-states,” 12-year-old Dance Moms performer Maddie Ziegler and 28-year-old eccentric actor Shia LaBeouf appear in nude bodysuits and strange personas. With eratic dance moves that many have said evoke pedophilia, the video left me wondering what’s up for her next video, Charlie Sheen and teenaged Sadie Robertson from Duck Dynasty? Sia has since publicly apologized for what many have perceived as inappropriate sexual overtones. I understand Sia is an unconventional artist, but a little foresight and responsibility would be appreciated.
Tragedy in Paris
In a tragic massacre that appears to be an act of Islamic terrorism, three hooded gunmen attacked the editorial offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people—including the magazine’s editor Stéphane Charbonnier, four cartoonists, two columnists, a copy editor, a building worker, and two policemen. One of the gunmen is in police custody, while two others remain at-large.
Charlie Hebdo is famous for publishing controversial stories and cartoons—including those making jabs at religion. But there is no excuse for violence like this, certainly not in a free society. The Onion published a response in its classic satirical form, while seriously highlighting how absurd it is to suggest a published article could be responsible for putting lives at risk: “to somehow use this article—or indeed any article or any piece of self-expression—as a pretext to violence, let alone deadly violence, is simply impossible to justify.”
As The New Yorker put it, “this was an attack on a publication and a neighborhood, a country and its press, and on any journalist, in any city.” Our thoughts and prayers are with those in Paris.