Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
Y'all, I have been on the battlefield, fighting valiantly to avoid being drawn into this national controversy around the M&Ms. Alas, like a full candy bowl three days before Halloween, it's irresistible to me! Call me Dido cuz I'm waving my white flag.
In case you did not see the White House press conference about it, the M&Ms characters from the commercials are getting updates to their styles and personalities to reflect a "dynamic and more progressive world". (You know how sometimes you'll just going about your life, minding your business, and a random instance of the word 'progressive' will just jump out of an alley at you? Like, sometimes it's all copacetic but every once in a while 'progressive' is code for 'honey, it's about to be a whole mess'. [Is this is a controversial thought? I grew up in the 90s and I'm a Black playwright; I've been in a lot of fraught focus groups and talkbacks. These are my war stories!])
Anyway, the M&Ms. The Green M&M (whom I exclusively refer to as The Vanessa Williams M&M) will not longer where Nancy Sinatra boots but instead be switched to sneakers and will have a more friendly relationship with the Brown M&M (were they feuding???). The Brown M&M's heel will be lowered to a "professional heel height" (I can't get into this right now!). The Orange M&M will embrace his anxiety and the Red M&M will stop bullying the others.
And I? Me? Will be checking out.
Whenever companies announce mascot adjustments like this I always feel like "Okay...? Thanks for telling me... Is it possible that this is a conversation that can happen internally?"
Mr. Potatohead is getting a divorce! Wendy from Wendy's is going to try wearing her hair in a bob! Beloved, I say this with kindness: I do not care. Can you move me to bcc on this email chain, please? I have other work to do and I trust you to figure this out.
This M&Ms announcement has the energy of one of those Facebook posts that's so long you have to click "See more" to get the rest. One of those from a friend you haven't talked to since you both worked at Outback Steakhouse 15 years ago but whose trials and tribulations you've casually kept up with. And now they're on Facebook telling God and everyone, "after careful consideration I am replacing the backsplash in my kitchen. Here's why..." Of course you click "see more" because you're thinking "well, I do need to know what this is about!" But at the end you're like "Hm. Well, alright."
Why is the Eminem company giving us homework? How am I supposed to adjust my life to make space for the personal growth of these chocolate orbs? Why am I sitting around thinking about the friendship between the Green and Brown M&Ms and wondering about how feminism can intersect a candy-coated shell?
I know that I don't need to weigh-in on this. But here I am, stepping on the scale like a pugilist.
The thing that a lot of people have latched on to is the boots removal. My version of Purgatory is being in a meeting where they discuss whether a pair of boots makes a piece of candy too sexy.
Please release me from this delicious controversy, I beg!
I just don't think that the solution is fewer fierce boots. Why aren't all the M&Ms booted and zooted? You'd give up a opportunity to put that anxious Orange M&M in some Julia Roberts-in-Pretty Woman thigh highs and watch that confidence soar? Big mistake. Huge.
Why are the M&Ms in tennis shoes anyway? Are they prepping for a charity walk? Do they need better arch support? This feels like a costume dramaturgy emergency and I am getting stressed! And why does the Brown M&M have glasses? Is there healthcare in the M&M world? Does it include vision and dental? If so, can I go there?! Put me in boots, I'm ready to go!
This week in my pop culture column I wrote about Must-See TV in the age of the binge model and how I entertain myself by making my own TV Guide-style lineups
And in this week's paid subscriber thread we discussed Cardi B's shocking allegation that being famous is kinda boring.
Let's hang out!
OMG, it's been so long since I had upcoming events to tell you about!
Two new plays coming your way (with a third in the spring!)
Individual tickets are on sale now and both will have a live-streaming option for those who aren't local or aren't venturing out. I'll let you know about live-streaming when I have more details!
A comedy about community, falling in love in a world falling apart, the magic of mixtapes, and more.
March 3 - April 9, 2022
The Folks at Home
A comedy in the style of Norman Lear's groundbreaking 70s sitcoms about a couple, their in-laws, a full house, and the American dream.
March 17 - April 10, 2022
Baltimore Center Stage
Random Thing on the Internet
I love the poet Jericho Brown and I love the poet Claude McKay and I love this article by Jericho Brown on Claude McKay.
Is it possible that this is a conversation that can happen internally?,
My new YA novel, Kings of B'more, a contemporary riff on Ferris Bueller's Day Off, is out everywhere on May 31, 2022. Pre-order it here or from you favorite indie bookstore, or request it from your local library!