Celebs to reconsider in '11
The new year is a time for fresh starts and reevaluations. I present two lame-seeming stars you might want to reconsider in 2011.
James Van Der Beek
First and foremost, I present James Van Der Beek. Twentysomethings best know him from Dawson’s Creek where he played the title character, a wussy but heartbreakingly handsome prep hung up on Joey (Katie Holmes). Recently his face has become synonymous with maudlin breakdowns. An animated gif circulating on the Internet shows the actor bursting into tears in an especially emotional scene of Dawson's Creek.
Although I admit he’s attractive, he’s an all-American cheese ball and about as dangerous as Hello Kitty. Or that’s what I thought until the Vandermemes.
He’s embraced the bawling ridicule (though what else was he going to do, cry about it?) and posted videos of his reenactments of popular emotions, from an “awkwarrrd” side-glance to a dismissive “Lilo eye roll."
He explains, "The more I saw [the gif] in website comment sections mocking the sadness of others, the more I realized what the Internet was really demanding: more intense emotional close-ups of my face." He even revisits his crying clip in his "10 year anniversary crying edition." Watch his video for the full Van-Der-feelings experience:
As if one-upping those who popularized the crying gif wasn't enough, he even makes fun of his role as the goody two-shoes, pushover Dawson. In his "Hire an Asshole" video, he addresses the men of the world:
"Hello men. My name is James Van Der Beek, and I’m sorry. For years I played sensitive do-gooder Dawson Leery on Dawson’s Creek. Now you may not have watched the show but your girlfriend did. For years she’s been secretly comparing you to a very unrealistic standard. You see, Dawson was sweet, kind, loving, eloquent, generous, romantic. He never made a move and always apologized whether it was his fault or not. Well, I’m making it right. Maybe you forgot your anniversary or you didn’t call her enough from your friend’s bachelor party. I’ll make you look like a hero by lowering the bar."
Van Der Beek then cops feels and heckles waitresses, to the disgust of onlooking girlfriends. A satisfied customer attests, “My wife was crazy about Dawson ... until he punched her mother in the face.” Check it out:
Van Der Beek shouldn't receive full credit for the clever spoofs (they're all part of FunnyorDie.com, the celebrity humor website of Will Ferrell), but he deserves a pat on the back.
He has flawless comedic timing, and his willingness not only to revisit his past, but to ridicule it in ways his critics never touched upon has me smitten.
I used to abhor Ke$ha, dismissing her as another industry-produced pop princess using sex to sell shitty songs. She looked like a drunk Blake Lively dressed up as Lady Gaga for Halloween. While I'm still not too keen on her self-described “white trash dumpster-diving chic” fashion, I have newfound respect for the singer ever since her sex photos.
Yes, it's a rarity that sex photos garner any sort respect, but these aren't the subservient images you'd expect. She's not bent over a couch or on her knees in dutiful service. No, a guy is servicing Ke$ha, the picture snapped from her point of view with her foot curled around his head in dominance. Publicity stunt or not, that's sort of awesome.
As an article on EqualWrites.org explains, Ke$ha doesn’t merely flout the hyper-sexualization of women; she satirizes and undercuts it. We know girls who get drunk and have sex, and we know girls who don't (think Taylor Swift or Jessica Simpson in the time of promise rings). Ke$ha, though, is a chick who gets drunk without having sex. In the video for “Tik Tok” she uproots the conventional party narrative, waking up not half-naked in the arms of some rando but fully clothed in a suburban family’s bathtub.
I won’t advocate passing out in a bathtubs (though if you do, remember turn the water off — your landlord will get way pissed when it leaks through the ceiling trust me), but I will encourage young partiers to think twice before stripping down for a drunk idiot who won't call.
Even the dollar sign in her name, which used to annoy me (OK, it still annoys me) is emblematic of a roll reversal. We generally see dollar signs on rappers' chains, not in the names of skinny white girls.
While I won’t argue anything ludicrous like that Ke$ha is the next Madonna. Rather I urge you to consider the fact that maybe she’s not that horrible.
As I listen solely to post-apocalyptic neo folk, I’ll never be a real fan of her sound. Her thin, often computer-manipulated voice makes it hard to tell where the vocals end and Vocoder processing kicks in.
She’s not fully writing and producing her own music, and we’ll never know how much of her act is personal dogma or simply the result of a record label’s image consultant partnering with a clever lyricist. Either way, I'm amused.