How Netflix’s gender-swapped remake of ‘She’s All That’ compares to the 1999 original
Welcome to Screen Gab, the newsletter for people who are more than ready to admit what bugs them about “Ted Lasso.”
We can’t reprint every reaction to this week’s “‘Ted Lasso’ backlash,” as it’s come to be called, so suffice it to say that Season 2 of Apple’s Emmy-nominated comedy about an American football coach (Jason Sudeikis) at the helm of an English soccer club has provoked surprisingly strong reactions — especially for a series whose most recent points of reference are Christmas movies and romantic comedies.
At issue is whether “Ted Lasso,” now at the halfway mark of its second season, has sustained the form of its freshman run, or whether it’s embraced its reputation for niceness so ardently that it’s rendered itself inert. Is this season’s prevailing sunniness a flaw in the story structure, or a slow burn with a big payoff?
While it should be noted that many of the complaints about “the discourse” have come from members of the media whose job it is to discourse, we here at Screen Gab have no official position on the matter — we’ve been too busy finishing our guides to the fall TV season and film schedule, anyway. But only a TV series at the height of its influence can dominate the pop culture discussion as “Lasso” has lately.
Of course, there’s a lot more to gab about this week than inspirational sports stories, so read on. Screen Gab No. 2 has arrived.
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What should you watch this weekend? Our experts recommend a dysfunctional family saga and a bingeworthy French crime drama.
“Animal Kingdom” (TNT, Amazon Prime Video). Bad parenting, bold heists and the changing culture of Oceanside, Calif., as it evolves from a working-class surf town to an upscale beachfront community are still at the heart of “Animal Kingdom,” TNT’s dysfunctional family crime drama now in its fifth season. Yet the stakes couldn’t be higher for the Cody boys in the wake of matriarch Smurf’s (Ellen Barkin) death. Pope (Shawn Hatosy), Deran (Jake Weary), Craig (Ben Robson) and J (Finn Cole) are struggling to keep it together as kin and as an underworld operation, but their minds, money and street cred are slipping. It doesn’t help that their late, gaslighting mother/grandmother bequeathed most of her estate to a woman they’d never heard of, the mysterious Pamela Johnson (Charlayne Woodard). Replete with broken noses, black eyes, a love for dive bars and a hatred for e-scooters, the Codys are still a thrilling, car-crash study in sibling rivalry and family honor.
“Candice Renoir” (Acorn TV). This long-running police series set in a picturesque Mediterranean resort/port town delivers just what the name suggests: It’s French, fizzy and temperamentally and literally sunny, murders notwithstanding. Cécile Bois plays Candice, an outsider imported, after a long sabbatical, to head a tightknit team of investigators not quick to trust her. Her chirpy demeanor, skill in interrogation and “feminine” self-presentation — she’s called “Barbie” behind her back — may remind an American viewer of “The Closer.” But Candice is less of a flibbertigibbet than Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Leigh Johnson, and she’s also managing four kids (sullen teenage daughter, younger son with a genius for cooking, still younger conspiring twin boys), a nearly ex-husband and the cute guy next door. There is eating and drinking, because you have to live. The first two seasons (of nine, with a 10th on the way) stream via Acorn TV; I advise you to pace yourself, as I could not. —Robert Lloyd
Plenty of TV shows — “Gossip Girl” 2.0, for instance — attempt to capture the patois of a culture shaped by social media. Others — like the late, lamented “Difficult People” — have tried to pin down the indignities of modern showbiz. But none to date has combined the two as effectively as “The Other Two” (HBO Max), a series so full of laser-like one-liners about our absurd media landscape (“The Burger King account is, like, ripping him apart!”) I need to force myself not to share every last quip on Twitter.
From former “Saturday Night Live” writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, “The Other Two,” which premiered on Comedy Central in 2019, follows two siblings unmoored by their teen brother’s overnight fame: Cary (Drew Tarver), an aspiring actor with a thwarted crush on his hot, gay-baiting roommate (Andrew Ridings); and Brooke (Heléne Yorke), a directionless former dancer still entangled with her hot, dunderheaded ex-boyfriend (Josh Segarra). The cast also features Ken Marino as a cringeworthy talent manager and the irrepressible Molly Shannon as their mother, a painfully earnest Midwestern widow learning to enjoy the finer things in life.
With its rapid-fire humor about a highly specific cultural moment — most of its gags have a shelf-life of approximately 24 minutes — “The Other Two” will appeal to anyone as baffled by TikTok trends, YouTube stars and influencer culture as this almost-geriatric millennial. Plus, in Season 2, now streaming, Shannon’s Pat Dubek tries her hand on the daytime talk show circuit. (Who needs “The View”?)
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out the series’ especially perceptive satire of modern gay culture. It’s not just that, having had an unbroken string of hot, unavailable men in my life dating back to college, I often feel personally attacked by “The Other Two” and have filed a complaint with the FCC. Or that I’ve found myself at a pool party with a bunch of Instagays and felt self-consciously flabby. Or that I’ve winced at straight people’s “It’s OK to be gay!” back patting.
No, it’s that “The Other Two” understands when two gay men are on a date, only one of them is eating the pizza. —Matt Brennan
FX’s groundbreaking drama “Pose,” which explored New York’s ball culture during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s and early ’90s, wrapped its run earlier this summer. But there’s another ball in its sights: the Emmys. The show is up for 10 nominations, including best drama and a history-making nomination for Mj Rodriguez, who plays Blanca, the stern but nurturing mother of the House of Evangelista. The lead actress in a drama series nominee is the first transgender performer to be nominated in a lead acting category.
I spoke with Rodriguez for the latest episode of the L.A. Times podcast The Envelope — and I can’t thank her enough for not judging the purple walls of my childhood bedroom during our video call. Here’s a preview of our chat. —Yvonne Villarreal
You are an Emmy nominee and you’ve had some time now to process it. What has surprised you about being on this journey?
What I think most surprised me about being on this journey and being nominated as — it’s kind of crazy to hear myself say it — “an outstanding leading actress in a drama series” was being received as an actress, being taken seriously within my craft and actually being accepted. And the awareness of myself as an Afro-Latina trans woman. It’s kind of astounding to me because for so long I had my own insecurities, but I was also subjected to a lot of discrimination, obviously, as a trans woman. So to see the change happen over time and quicker than I expected, I’ve just been so flabbergasted by it. I’m really proud of myself, but I’m also proud of the human race — actually getting it together and knowing that we as trans women are humans, too, that we walk this Earth just like they do, that we love like how they do.
Blanca’s journey in the series is really centered around leaving a lasting legacy. With the position that you’re in and the visibility that you have, is it something that you think about?
I always think about the lasting legacy that Michaela Jae wants to leave on the world. This was the first show that I actually got to lead; I got to be No. 1 on [the call sheet] — girl, I ain’t never been No. 1 on a show! I gagged. When Ryan Murphy made me No. 1, I was like, “Oh, my God, this is a lot. OK, pressure’s on! Show up!” You have so much responsibility in a show like this, when you’re leading it. First and second seasons, I didn’t want to see myself. I was too scared to actually notice myself and I was too scared to even look at myself, to dig deeper into really understanding Blanca. This season happened for me and her strength, her perseverance, her striving to be the best so that her kids can be the best — that was my goal when it came to my legacy. I wanted to be the best for the people who are watching around me. I needed to be the example.
In this week’s edition of Yes, You Are Actually That Old, we are here to inform you that there is a remake of the 1999 teen classic “She’s All That” coming out on Netflix this weekend. It’s called “He’s All That,” and it’s a gender-swapped take on the OG version starring Rachael Leigh Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr. Senior writer Amy Kaufman explains everything you need to know:
What happened in the original again?
A high school jock (Prinze Jr.) gets dumped by his cheerleader girlfriend, who moves on quickly with a cheugy reality TV star (Matthew Lillard). In an effort to prove to his buddies that he’s still the coolest guy on campus, he accepts a bet that challenges him to turn an outcast into the prom queen. His pick is Laney Boggs (Cook), a nerdy painter who works at a local falafel shop. He helps to make her over into a total hottie — read: takes off her glasses — and then they fall in love.
How is the new one different?
A high school social media influencer (actual TikTok phenom Addison Rae) is livestreaming to her followers when she walks in on her boyfriend cheating on her. To avoid becoming the laughingstock of the whole school, she tries to show she has the power to make any guy sexy AF. Her target? A long-haired photographer (“Cobra Kai’s” Tanner Buchanan) who spends his free time working at a horse stable. I think you can see where this is going.
Besides the plot, does the new movie have anything in common with the ’90s version?
Yes. It was actually written by the same screenwriter, R. Lee Fleming Jr., and produced by Jennifer Gibgot, who oversaw the original. And Cook is in it, although, confusingly, not as Laney Boggs. In “He’s All That,” she’s a new person altogether: a nurse who is a single mother to Rae’s character. Lillard is also back, this time as the high school principal. And remember how Cook had that legendary scene in “She’s All That” where she walked down the stairs to reveal her makeover while Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” played? Well, there’s a cover of it in “He’s All That” from an artist named Cyn, who Katy Perry apparently discovered.
I’m sorry, but why would Cook agree to be in this?
The actor, now 41, said she took the fact that filmmakers “thought it made dollars and cents” to remake the original as a “retroactive compliment.” “Their sale price was very impressive,” Cook told me in an interview for this story I wrote about Rae. “I just knew that instead of being asked how I felt about it for years and years to come, I’d rather be forward-facing and visible in my support. If people have feelings of affection towards the movie that Freddie and I made a million years ago, I will always say thank you. It was the reason I was able to get a hold on the industry.”
Here are some other movies and TV shows coming to a sofa near you before the next Screen Gab lands in your inbox.
Friday, Aug. 27
“Pen15” animated special (Hulu). Dish of cartoon sherbet halfway through Season 2 finds Maya and Anna on vacation in Florida, transformed.
“See” (Apple TV+). Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodward in a post-apocalyptic future in which all are blind, as you may have been to Season 1.
“Vacation Friends” (Hulu). Mild-meets-wild comedy with couple Lil Rel Howery and Yvonne Orji adopted by Meredith Haner and John Cena (there will be abs) on a trip to Mexico. Movie.
Sunday, Aug. 29
“9/11: One Day in America” (NatGeo). It was 20 years ago, nearly today. Six-part series.
Tuesday, Aug. 31
“Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu). Steve Martin co-created and stars with Selena Gomez and Martin Short in a 10-episode comedy mystery with a podcast theme.
“Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo” (Netflix). So much tidiness. The minimalist invites you into her personal space.
Thursday, Sept. 2
“A.P. Bio” (Peacock). Badly behaved staff-centric high school comedy enters its senior (though not necessarily final) year.
“Q-Force” (Netflix). Q as in LGBTQ, with Sean Hayes heading a spy team. Animated.
“What We Do in the Shadows” (FX). Season 3 for those lovable Staten Island vampires.
Want to know more about one of the filmmakers we’ve interviewed? Need a new show to binge now that your fave is done for the season? If you have a question about TV or streaming movies for the pop culture obsessives at The Times, send it to us at email@example.com and you may find the answer in next week’s edition.
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