DOPE Digest is a weekly roundup of pop culture miscellany, with succinct analysis from our contributors.
Real Housewives of Dallas Trailer
syvo: It almost feels to me like Bravo is starting to panic that it’s Housewives empire is starting to go the way of all great empires, approaching the historical inevitability of decadence, decline, and dissolution. As key sub-franchises in Orange County, Beverly Hills, and Atlanta seem deflated and strangely distracted (an entire season about faked cancer, convenient sudden preoccupation with the OJ trial), New Jersey has been on hiatus following Thersa’s incarceration, it seems reasonable to conclude that these shows’ best days are behind us.
Meanwhile, the new wave of cities-with-women is netting mixed results. No one seems particularly inspired by either Potomac or Cheshire, but maybe they just need time to develop. All of this is to say that Dallas is the most hotly anticipated Housewives in a long time. So far, I like what I see.
BK: The whole ‘Everything is bigger in Texas’ line is pretty lame, but then I watch a Real Housewives set in Dallas and suddenly it makes sense again. This show doesn’t have the same pop as New Jersey or Orange County, but it does have a lot of potential. The Dallas scene with all their Cowboys and Oil seems ripe for the Andy Cohen treatment.
The first season of any reality show is usually a drag, and this will probably be a lot of ‘world building.’ What even happens in Dallas, besides some stuff with JR? There is a lot to dig into here, and I’ll be watching (while also playing FIFA – gotta multitask).
Julia: It really feels like a huge effort to add a new Housewives branch to the rotation. It’s almost as if I am actually moving to the city and need to make new friends. It’s so hard to fit in; I don’t know who to trust! And I’m not a huge fan of small talk or pool parties. For this reason, I’ve maintained strict loyalty to three cities – OC, NYC, and Beverly Hills – though indeed some of these are running out of steam. I think once the ladies get too real-world famous and start introducing their brands to the show, the storylines don’t hold together as well. Thus, I am willing to take a chance on Dallas, and even Potomac. New city, new life – it’s time to make some changes! My only hope is that either of these can recapture the legendary insanity of the short lived Washington DC outpost.
Lana Del Rey – “Freak” Video feat. Father John Misty
syvo: Hmm. On the one hand, this video reminds me that I love Lana Del Rey and that she is, in my book, essentially above reproach. On the other hand, the majority of this video feels about as stale as most of Honeymoon itself, which felt to me so much less exciting than her maximal debut Born to Die or her complex, provocative follow-up Ultraviolence.
This video is a good example of how Honeymooon fell short for me; it’s essentially just another opportunity for Lana to express jaded passivity while flanked by some vaguely suspicious looking male. A repeating motif of her videos, (see, e.g. Born to Die, Blue Jeans, West Coast, Shades of Cool, etc.) at this point it’s somewhere between running joke and creative exhaustion.
In this latest spin, the “Freak” video features a shaggy, bearded, folk musician dude isolated from society, doing acid and surrounded by young girls. I’m getting a definite Charlie Manson vibe here.
BK: This song is DOPE. I can’t totally get into the whole plot of the video, but I don’t hate it either. The second portion (called the Ocean’s 11 section by… me) is quite lovely, but mostly because Claire de Lune is one of the most perfect songs ever recorded for human ears.
Father John Misty makes me thing exclusively of Aziz and that detracts slightly from my interest in the video, but not enough to discount Lana’s work here. She’s got her special place in pop music and she is always the hipster, monotone, drama queen we need.
Julia: LDR x FJM! I actually can’t believe it has taken this long for these two to work together. They are like the Rihanna and Drake of deadpan Los Angeles Americana ennui – a highly specialized indie genre that I have just coined. I must agree that despite loving Ultraviolence, I ultimately found Honeymoon completely forgettable- in the way that I forgot it existed and thus am not familiar with this song. I don’t mind it though; the bridge is pretty terrific. I am a huge Father John Misty fan – I Love You Honeybear was one of my favorite albums of 2015 – and while he didn’t do much here besides play a very credible cult leader type, he and LDR seem to be a natural match and hopefully this indicates more collaboration to come.
Pussy Riot – “Chaika” Video
syvo: Back in 2014, it appeared that Pussy Riot had broken up (or something) based on ideological objections lodged by the band’s remaining anonymous members against overnight celebrities Masha Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova. In an open letter, the rest of the band essentially claimed that since gaining fame and noteriety after their unjust arrest, they had changed; they were no longer punk enough.
Maybe they were right. This latest song is most certainly not punk. There’s something strangely interesting about it. Though unlistenable at first blush, for some reason it stuck with me. There’s something infectious here, almost annoyingly so.
BK: This is a seriously wild song. It’s not in English which OK – I’m not asking Pussy Riot to sing in my native tongue – but that alone makes it feel a little alien. The content and the video itself, however, is a bizarre mix of western sensibilities and anti-Russian lyrics. It is so extreme that it almost gives the feel of pro-Russian propaganda, because the song is so weirdly commercial and generally bad.
But maybe that’s what they WANT you to think, sheeple.
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice – “Final” Trailer
syvo: We already went IN on discussing our excitement (or lagging lack thereof) for this movie, but I just wanted to include this one last trailer. The first portion features some totally awesome Batman action. It really reminded me of Snyder’s keen talent for fight choreography. Like we saw in Watchmen (2009), he creates an excellent sense of space, and resists the urge to over-edit his action scenes into a blur of montage (*cough* Marvel *cough*). He’s an auteur I tell you, an auteur!
BK: I want to keep this positive, so let me just say I’m 100% IN on Wonder Woman. She looks so badass that this movie can’t possibly screw her up. The general monotony and laziness of Big Spandex could so easily be broken up by, oh I don’t know, giving the lead to a female character (at least they were trying something with Elektra! It’s not Jennifer Garner’s fault!) and I am looking forward to seeing Gal Gadot give it a shot.
And lets be honest – for all the shit I talk about Zac Snyder and super hero movies in general, I am still definitely going to be there opening night, likely with a utility belt on just in case.
DOPE Throwback: Janet Jackson – Together Again
BK: First and foremost, this song kicks ass. It’s one of those tracks that was so ubiquitous when it came out that everyone – your mom, your dad, your weird aunt – will instantly sing along and probably even do a little car dance. (I’m bop bop bopping along right now!)
But even more than that, this is the perfect song for a little weekend reunion! And on Valentine’s day of all days!? How adorable.
Happy V-day. Happy Friday.