Cause a Scene: Eric Reads the Week, #57

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

This week: potty humor, Allison Janney is a superhero, an interview with a quilt, and Fox News Oscar summaries.

Yesterday my mother and I saw a matinee of Once On This Island, my favorite show in the genre "Broadway musicals in which the lead characters' troublingly terrible life choices are smoothed over by incredible singing and the extreme force of a great personality." If you don't know this musical, it's basically the Little Mermaid but with the original sad ending. (Runs in yelling "Spoiler alert" late and disheveled). It also has a really beautiful score and is being given an incredibly vibrant revival on Broadway starring Lea Salonga, Norm Lewis, an INSANELY GOOD Alex Newell, and newcomer Hailey Kilgore. Hailey is giving you Heather Hedley in Aida meets Sutton Foster in Thoroughly Modern Millie and I basically wanted to scream in delight the entire time. She is a QUEEN and I am prepared to stan.


ANYWAY, we had really good seats that I paid a lot of money for and Hailey Kilgore was giving us a full afternoon belt-while-sobbing and I was getting my entire life except these two people behind me felt the need to Mystery Science Theater 3000 the entire experience. One person kept trying to explain to the other person what was going on and giving their assessment of what just happened and I almost had to stop the show to get them straight.


"I'm sorry, Lea Salonga, but you are an actual legend and these two people think they're binge-watching a Kevin James sitcom on Hulu in the privacy of their homes and I've called the police. So, if you could just hold the show until the authorities arrive, that would be great."

Generally, in public, I tend to live and let live. When people have very loud conversations on speaker phone on the train or in the Starbucks, I just quietly tweet my shade and put my earbuds in. When people walk too slowly for my liking, I usually feel a huff rising in my throat but I tend to swallow it and just walk around them (Fun fact: when you swallow a huff, it turns into one gold doubloon from Chuck E. Cheese. Collect enough huffs and you can cash them in for a Walkman.)

But I've found myself unable to contain my displeasure at bad behavior during live performances and movies lately. And, contrary to what Megyn Kelly would surely think, I'm not talking about unpleasant encounters with "urban youth" taking a break from terrorizing these streets. Most of the time, when someone is behaving badly near me at a play or a movie, it's an older white person.


What's CRAZY to me is that, at Once On This Island, one person felt the need to explain the plot to the other. Pero like the entire musical is exposition. Literally. A group of people on a hurricane-ravaged island try to calm a scared little girl by telling her a story with a problematic resolution. If this traumatized 6-year-old can follow along, maybe your friend can, too, person in seat C234.

I grew so frustrated that I kept turning around to give them pointed glares but I would chicken out mid-glare so I was basically that person in the second row who kept whipping his head back and forth like he was testing out a new bob. I was just really afraid of causing a scene which is weird because on my business card it reads "Scene Causer. Will Cause a Scene Anywhere. Especially on THE BROADWAY" and then has an explosion emoji, a confetti emoji, a musical note emoji, and a shrug emoji.

Anyway, they shut up by the time Alex Newell's solo came along. Either they'd finally gotten a handle on the plot (woman gaslights self into falling in love with terrible, but extremely hot, person) or they knew better than to try to blabber over a truly bombastic version of "Mama Will Provide." Wars have been started for less.

This week, a whole bunch of things you better not talk through, including all of the Best Picture nominees as summarized by Fox News, a Jenner pregnancy interview, Samira Wiley in full Marvel mode. But first, all rise for the greatest art shade ever...

The Guggenheim's Trump Shade Is, Literally, a Work of Art

White House: Gimme a painting by the ear guy.
Guggenheim: You are literally a piece of doo-doo lol.
White House: No, the ear guy! Pretty. On paper.
Guggenheim: Van Gogh eff yourself.
White House: Isn't it pronounced Van Guff?
Guggenheim: Fine. Go Gogh yourself. Better?
White House: Can I have the painting now?
Guggenheim: Heard you like pee pee and gold. Enjoy! Fund the NEA, bish! [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

What If Fox News Summarized All of the Best Picture Nominees?

Black Man Rejects the Hospitality of His Girlfriend’s White Family: In this portrait of liberal dysfunction, a black man is graciously invited to enjoy the bounty of his girlfriend’s Obama-loving parents’ estate and decides to ruin their family business and kidnap their maid after a garden party. A textbook example of liberal aggression toward small business owners, the working class, and the Tea Party. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

We Found So Many Videos of Oprah Dancing and They're All Glorious

This is literally perfect. Dance teacher Donovan teaches Oprah and crew your basic party dance moves on a set with a neon sign that reads "Club Oprah." CLUB OPRAH. Take me there immediately. Oprah's got her Michelle Obama sculpted arms on full display in a sleeveless sheer top. 90s realness, timeless fabulousness. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

All Your Faves Came to the SAG Awards as Superheroes

Apparently the theme of this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet is Superhero Chic with a dash of Your Fave Could Never, and I am so here for it. No shade to every Chris in a cape but literally all I've ever needed was some of Hollywood's most powerful and talented women giving you comic book cosplay and casually screen-testing for your new favorite Marvel movie. Everyone is serving such fierce lewks. Call is SAG: Ragnarok. Capes are in! Sequins are in! If Salma Hayek suddenly takes flight I will lose it. You hear me? I will absolutely lose it. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

We Spoke to the Quilt Who Starred in the Kardashian CK Ad

In another photo, Kylie is conveniently toting a quilt around whilst wearing a jumpsuit like a pit boss at the NASCAR of napping. While the idea of the NASCAR of napping sounds extremely appealing, science has not yet perfected this concept. So, we're left to conclude that, by not sending us a message, the Kardashian/Jenners are actually sending us a message. The quilt is coming from inside the farm house, as it were. While Kylie and family continue to refuse to comment on their messaging, we were able to reach a figure intimately involved with the photo shoot: the quilt itself. Here's what it had to say about the mystery. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Sophia the Robot's Extreme Makeover Is Too Much

I mean, good for this robot for having a glow-up but also, how dare this robot get a glow-up. I'm over here texting my plastic surgeon trying to figure out how to get Jane Fonda's face and this actual machine is giving easy, breezy, bot-iful. It's enough, Sophia. (Can I call her Sophia or do I have to use her whole government name Sophia the Robot, of House Beep-Beep-Boop, First of Her Name, the Unrebooted, and Mother of iPhone?) [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

90s Kind of Girl: Arbitrary Rankings from The Bachelor, Ep. 4

This week’s episode of The Bachelor was preempted by a series of dramatic monologues by Krystal, the frontrunner/villain who always speaks with the kind of breathless wonder of someone who just left a really intense tarot card reading. Krystal paints herself as the Jean Valjean of the contestants, constantly wronged by people and fate but fueled by righteous indignation. Honestly, I would pay good money to hear Krystal croak out “One Day More,” preferably on a group date. While wearing a costume. [READ THE FULL RECAP]

Random thing from the internet...

I'm obsessed with the podcast Switched on Pop, in which a musicologist and a songwriter do deep dives into pop music. I learn so much about the artistry behind producing and the brilliance of some of our top pop stars. The hosts' super accessible, engaging way of communicating sophisticated ideas about music is put to great use in their analysis of Justin's single "Filthy." They actually made me a respect some of the ideas behind a song that is, actually, not good lyrically but possibly brilliant musically. Surprises! Here's the link!


Let's hang out in Chicago March 1 through April 7! Purchase tickets.

Let's hang out in Philadelphia May 2-20! Tickets are pay-what-you-decide after the show! Reserve here.

Stares pointedly,