November 8, 2006

Celebrity Low in the 310

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Hey guys. I like to think that most of the time I’ve got a pretty solid handle on things. I mean, I find myself able to operate most household electronics and able to sustain a somewhat stable pattern of living despite curveballs like “mangy throwback side ponytails feigning haphazard sexiness” or “tights masquerading as pants” being thrown in to the mix every now and then. That is until last week when halfway through a handful of almonds and a leisurely web surfing session, I spotted this shocker: Witherspoon and Phillippe legally separate. What? What was going on? Gasping mid-chew, I was suddenly overcome by a wave of apprehension. Had I entered the Twilight Zone? Was this some sort of cruel joke aimed at nothing less than the heart of America? What next? Would Splenda be revealed to actually contain twice the carbohydrate count as regular sugar? Was Jessica Alba actually a man? Can ankle boots actually not make people look like a robot alien or Sienna Miller (same difference)?
It was like that episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel’s breakup somehow led Chandler to chain smoke and constantly declare, “You’re not my parents!” Except this was sadder since, you know, I have no actual contact or connection with either of the involved parties. It’s been a bad year for America’s golden couples from the classy (Jenn and Brad) to the bubblegum pop-y (Nick and Jessica). It seemed no one was safe from the separation bug, not even Reese and Ryan, our favorite Barbie and Ken combo. Of course others tried to console me by offering explanations: “This is what happens to relationships when the woman makes more money than the man,” my former roommate offered with a cynical gleam in eye, “Ryan just couldn’t handle it.”
Others had a more spiritual chain of logic: “Duh! Of course it wouldn’t have worked out! She’s an Aries and he’s a Virgo. Those just don’t mix,” reasoned an apartment mate whose analysis is substantiated by the fact that she very well could moonlight as a fortune-telling sorceress. Nevertheless, my faith in the carefully constructed scenery of Hollywoodland was dealt a fatal blow, and further reflection revealed that the trend had been going strong for quite some time. Consider Mathew McConaughey who, over the past few months, has slowly been morphing into Luke Wilson’s character in The Royal Tenenbaums: striking young star turned grizzled, sweatband-favoring eccentric who travels the world by sea and harbors romantic attraction towards his own sister. Okay, so the last bit was a stretch but mentally inserting “drunken” and “Lance Armstrong” a few times should make it more believable. Or there’s Zach Braff, who has suddenly achieved some sort of geek godhood complete with thinky-hipster-movie (The Last Kiss) and frequent linking to out-of-his-league love interests. Gosh, Zach Braff, who do you think you are? John Mayer?
Alas, perhaps the golden image of celebrity has changed. Celebutantes and reality show stars have morphed the traditions of power couples and Julia Roberts-style branding. We are left, instead, with a lackluster Bennifer, the suspiciously friendly Willis-Moore-Kutcher trifecta and, of course, who could forget J-Lo and Skeletor? Not to fear fellow shallow entertainment news-mongers, the light has not yet faded. There is always Canadian Ryan and Reese (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) or the daily developing adventures of globetrotting superheroes Brad and Angelina (A rickshaw sabotage? Chased by Al Qaeda? Too legit to quit?). Even more amazing is that CNN’s breaking news ticker (always relevant and always timely) has just reported the well-it’s-about-time Spears-Federline divorce. So, for now, the storm has passed and life will go on — but remember, tomorrow is another day.