Television

Lori Loughlin

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America’s beloved TV sweetheart is not going to go down without a fight:

 Actress Lori Loughlin has lost acting gigs and been the subject of public wrath after being charged in the college admissions scandal.

But beyond the court of public opinion, how strong is the legal case against Loughlin and her fashion designer husband?

That is the question her legal team is now trying to answer.

Loughlin and her husband have refused to plead out to federal charges, and it appears they aren’t in any hurry to do so as their legal team hunts for errors in the prosecution’s case.

“Her attorneys have made it clear that they are not going to be rushing into any deal with the prosecution,” said Louis Shapiro, an experienced federal litigator. “They want to perform a thorough analysis of the evidence and then help their client make an informed decision about what is in her best interest to do.”

The couple feel they were genuinely duped by William “Rick” Singer, the admitted mastermind of the scheme, into paying $500,000 to help get their daughters into the University of Southern California, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, had no sense they were engaging in any kind of crime, hence their not guilty pleas and continued reluctance to plead out, said the source, who spoke to the Los Angeles Times on the condition of anonymity.

The real threat here is not to Loughlin’s acting career but the future of her daughters on social media. All of that has collapsed. What looked to be an extremely lucrative future as an influencer has ended up being a nightmare run through the back alleys of fraud and money laundering. The actions of the parents have tainted the future of their children. Instead of owning up to a mistake, they’re going to weasel their way out of this by exploiting technicalities.

I can guarantee you—the case against Loughlin probably has some holes in it. But what’s missing here is at least a tacit admission that rich kids get into colleges and college admissions officials don’t seem to dig very hard when it comes to figuring out who should or shouldn’t get it.

America is not a meritocracy. America is rapidly becoming a kleptocracy separated by the same kinds of class barriers found in old European nations. We have always known that there were universities like Yale and Harvard that would crank out mediocre human beings that would be gifted with outlandish expectations and achievement goals upon graduation. This has given us our current political situation—a stumbling, incompetent trio of generations that failed to stop Trumpism, fascism, and nationalism.

You can hardly fault a TV actress for trying to set her indifferent kids up for a lifetime of skating by on their rather thin accomplishments. Perhaps Americans would have seen some benefit from experiencing the leveling grace of the guillotine. Who knows?

Meghan McCain Isn’t Worth the Aggravation

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I get what Seth Meyers is trying to do here, but Meghan McCain is a howling mess:

Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late Senator John McCain, struggled through an awkward interview with NBC host Seth Meyers on Tuesday, with much of the conversation focused on McCain’s past comments about Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

McCain drew criticism after appearing on the This Week program with George Stephanopoulos just one day after the April 27 Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego. She brought up Omar’s criticism of the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. when discussing the synagogue attack.

"When we’re having conversations about anti-Semitism, we should be looking at the most extreme on both sides," McCain said on This Week. "I would bring up Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and some of her comments that got so much attention, and in my opinion Nancy Pelosi wasn't harsh enough on her for trafficking in anti-Semitic language, talking about ‘All about the Benjamins’ and how Jewish people had ‘hypnotized’ the world.”

On Tuesday, Meyers put it to McCain that linking criticism of the pro-Israel lobby in America to anti-Semitic violence was irresponsible, Mediaite reported. “I do think it’s fairly dangerous, and you brought it up after Congresswoman Omar had also had some death threats against her,” he said.

McCain’s public persona really does suggest that she could be the Princess of Arizona, and nothing has been more apt as far as describing why she needs to join her husband at The Federalist and write unhinged rants all day long about Democrats who live their lives like everyone else.

The Senator’s daughter illustrates perfectly why there are laws against nepotism and why using a dead man’s reputation to stake out the high ground when it comes to moral superiority is a bad business strategy. I don’t see where she has any experience, ability, or talent, but she does explode right on cue while on television.

It was a fantastic trick that John McCain pulled on the American media complex. Universally dismissed as a Senator, he ingratiated himself with media personalities who were gullible and could be manipulated and they, in turn, created a nonsensical place for him as America’s Maverick Truth Teller. Nothing could be further from the truth. McCain whored himself out to every conservative special interest that would pay him. He was a reliable cog in the GOP’s Senate machine, casting one admirable vote out of thousands.

I think it’s safe to say that we ignore Meghan.

We Need Another Show Like The Sopranos

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The Deuce has a lot of things going for it, and this is as close as you’re going to get to actual adult programming these days:

“Who would have thought the most boring part of this whole thing would have been the fucking?”

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s prostitute turned adult filmmaker gets the line of the episode in Sunday night’s season two premiere of The Deuce, the ‘70s-set look at the sex workers and vagrants populating Times Square from The Wire’s David Simon and George Pelecanos

The quip doubles as a keen mission statement for a subtle, culturally mandated redirection in the series’ new season. To continue to merely titillate, scandalize, or expose the seediness of the sex industry, no matter what truths or humanities are revealed along the way, would be mundane to the point of problematic. 

This is a season that centers around female sex workers finding their agency, learning that they have a right to be protected, discovering their worth, and taking control of their rights and bodies. 

It’s a slight shift. Season one of the series was always headed in this direction, but season two accelerates down that path with showy purpose. And, despite his continued presence and entertaining dual performance as brothers Vincent and Frankie, you can’t help but suspect that the person—or at least the story—The Deuce is speeding away from is James Franco.

When The Sopranos appeared, it was actual adult entertainment for thinking people. It wasn’t just the sex and violence; it was the thinking that went into how the sex and the violence were used to tell the story. The same thing can be said of Breaking Bad and whatever else you like, but there is a real absence of television for thinking adults.

Anywhere you find David Simon, prepare to use your brain. My brain tells me James Franco probably isn’t going to make it to a third season, if it happens at all.

Yes, You Can Ignore Roseanne Barr From Now On

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I'm so glad that I don't have to pay attention to anything Roseanne Barr says after her recent foray into American political discourse. I don't get the sense that she actually believes what she is saying. I think she's smart enough to know that there's a market for her show's revival and that, if she can tap into the audience that Tim Allen's show had, then that's what she is going to do.

The audience for Last Man Standing is perfect for what she's selling now. I don't get it--I really don't. Roseanne was supposed to be about working class people who knew that the coastal elites didn't care about the so-called heartland of this country. She made a brilliant show out of the ordinary and she made art out of something as common as can be. What she's doing now is a masterclass in trolling people and carving out a niche market in a wasteland of fractured attention spans.

Why not be honest and say, look, there's a conservative audience for a sitcom and this audience is being under-served? Go for it. Everyone is entitled to make a living. But don't try to bullshit people by pretending to be all Make American Great Again. No thinking person actually supports Trumpism. There are those who believe in it, and they know nothing about this country. Then there are people who are complicit and won't admit it. Fuck them.

And, no, the person who put this on TV back in 1994 wouldn't have anything to do with the Trump regime today. There's a cognitive dissonance here that speaks to how ugly Roseanne's thinking is today.