Recently, due to my brain producing adequate levels of mood-regulating chemicals, I decided to rewatch the hit television program Friends from the beginning. This was a choice that I made because of my extreme mental wellness and overall contentment. Again, I am well.
Regrettably, I did not learn anything in the process.
It did not teach me anything about culture in the 90s (the first 38 episodes do have at least one gay joke each, but that is absolutely not a revelation).
It did not teach me anything about love (everyone except Ross and Rachel keep falling in “love” absurdly quickly, but that is primarily owing to the fact that this is a multi-camera sitcom written by television writers).
It did not teach me about life (I already knew that no one told me it was gonna be this way).
And it sure as hell didn’t teach me anything about friendship (“living across the hall from your besties would be tight” is not a learning).
No, in the end what I mainly learned was this: my HBO Max subscription provides me with access to the full Warner Bros catalogue of programming. You can subscribe at hbomax.com or in your preferred app store, and be sure to use code LEFTONREADHEAD for a 0% discount.
Can you tell The Real Housewives of Atlanta from The Real Mousewives of Ratlanta? Put your pop culture expertise to the test by guessing which reality show is real and which is fake.
A Very Brady Renovation: Actors from the TV show The Brady Bunch reunite to renovate the interior of the house that was only used for the show’s exterior shots.
Billion Dollar Boogie: Twelve wealthy socialites attempt to find love over the course of a six-week competition. The catch: They can only talk to each other while dancing.
Celebrity IOU: Celebrities thank former teachers, coaches and other individuals who helped them in the past by giving them surprise home renovations.
I Hate My Bath: A celebrity renovator transforms people’s houses—but only their bathrooms.
Brown but Not Out: Former California Governor Jerry Brown revisits his childhood passion, boxing, to get back into shape.
Too Hot to Handle: Sexy singles are sent to an island to meet, mingle, and win money. The catch: If they kiss or have sex, the amount of money they can win is reduced.
The World’s Worst Toilet: Celebrity plumber Mike Fresca visits the worst restaurant bathrooms in America and renovates them from the pipes up.
LegenDairy: Ty Pennington helps independent farmers modernize their homes and rebuild their businesses.
Blown Away: Master glass blowers compete over ten weeks to win exactly $60,000.
Dragula: Ten queens put on their fiercest and spookiest faces to be crowned the world’s top drag supermonster.
Smell Ya Later: Contestants sniff five different individuals. After being sent to a sensory deprivation chamber, they are blindfolded and must identify each person by smell only.
The Casketeers: Quirky funeral directors help grieving family members through the burial of their loved ones while hijinks ensue.
The American Bible Challenge: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy grills contestants over their knowledge of all things biblical.
You’ve Got Male: Ten divorcees are given one month to decide if they’ll marry or dump their new mail-order husbands.
Word to Your Mother: Famous hip hop artists’ moms compete in a three round rap battle, hosted by TV personality Lil’ Mama.
Key: 1. Real 2. Fake 3. Real 4. Real 5. Fake, but god do I want to see it 6. Real 7. Real 8. Fake 9. Real 10. Real 11. Fake 12. Real, and apparently quite heartwarming 13. Real 14. Fake 15. Fake, but I’m accepting offers from studios for production.
How have we let this happen? How have we, as a nation, allowed Jesse Plemons, a.k.a. Meth Damon, to fail upward like this?
There were warning signs. All it took was his second film appearance, as Tommy Harbor (younger brother of star QB Lance Harbor) in Varsity Blues.
What do we call this? Bullying. Pure and simple. And the only thing bullying produces is more interpersonal violence:
Fool me once, shame on you. But fool me twice?
The red flags were all around us. This bullying behavior by Plemons’ character Ox in Like Mike is textbook. The aggression. The lack of empathy toward a height-challenged Lil’ Bow Wow. Look at how he thrives on the insecurities of others (to hide his own insecurity at being an orphan, perhaps?) while misusing his power over other foster children.
America appeared to be on to this shitbird after Like Mike. Plemons spent the remainder of the early 2000s schlepping it from CSI to Grey’s to NCIS. But somewhere along the way we lost our focus, and we allowed this bully to continue to fail upward. Worse, we let him continue to think that his antisocial behavior was okay.
Like most bullies, Landry Clarke’s pals on Friday Night Lights might not have thought there was anything wrong with him. But just tell that to the man he MURDERED. How does a kid go from a stable, football-loving home in Texas (Varsity Blues), to an orphanage in Los Angeles (Like Mike), to committing involuntary manslaughter back in Texas (FNL)? BECAUSE WE ALLOWED HIS WORST CHARACTERISTICS TO DEVELOP WITHOUT CHECKING HIS UNWANTED, AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR, THAT’S WHY.
And don’t for a minute think that Landry’s killing (not the last murder Plemons would commit on screen, either) was a once-off, spur-of-the-moment type of thing. No, Plemons would continue to commit ever-more heinous acts of violence against those less powerful than he:
Like most bullies, Plemons’ Todd in Breaking Bad flirts with white supremacy. Based on his meth-slave relationship with Jesse Pinkman, it’s clear that he also struggles with letting his friends be independent from himself.
The bullying would continue. Take Plemons’ appearance in Black Mirror, in the episode “USS Callister,” for example. Plemons’ intimidation and coercion has progressed into middle age, where he takes out his frustrations and resentments on sentient digital clones of his coworkers. Unsatisfied with bullying on a terrestrial stage, Plemons now appears to have taken his abuse to galaxies unknown.
And the behavior persists to this day. It was only last year, in fact, that Plemons portrayed Chuckie O’Brien—the man who may have been responsible for Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance—in Martin Scorsese’s lauded TV mini-series The Irishman.
What can possibly be next for this heinous bully? What new heights will we allow him to climb? Will Jesse Plemons next portray Regina George in a gender-reversed recasting of Mean Girls? Will he transport back in time to join Cobra Kai?
Whatever he attempts next, it’s time for the American moviegoing public to just say no. Plemons’ bullying has to end. It must end.
Love is dead. You heard it here first, or maybe a few days ago when the boys’ group chat lit up with the news that Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari are divorcing after six years of marriage and three years of occasionally meme-worthy TV.
So what should come next for the newly single Cutler? Should he return to the broadcast booth? Or endorse his favorite brand of smokes? The people have a different idea: Make Jay Cutler the next Bachelor. Our panel of experts weighs in on whether that’s such a good idea:
Pro: Make the Cut with Jay Cut
Years of living in Chicago should have primed Cutler for the institutional racism of The Bachelor
He’s already used to people talking shit about him behind his back
No child should be able to live and die in the United States today without knowing, once and for all, if Larry King has always looked like Baby Yoda in suspenders. That’s why Left on Read is calling on CNN to use the de-aging technology from The Irishman to see if Larry King has always looked that way.
For too long have we wondered what the nation’s most-trusted interviewer and worst tweeter would look like as a young man. Would it be like if you stretched a white raisin thin, then gave it Buddy Holly glasses and a wife who’s half its age? Or would it be like if we CGI’d Ryan Gosling’s face over Mark Zuckerberg’s body and had it lob softballs at a recently me-too’d celebrity? We deserve to know.
We have the technology. Thanks to noted Marvel truther Martin Scorsese, we have the power to de-age stars like Robert De Niro to see what a young mobster would look like. It’s time we use Netflix’s unholy power for good. And if Scorsese wants to set this de-aged Larry King on a Rolling Stones–scored montage of cocaine abuse and paisley ties, well, then that’s his right.