Samberg Delights, Sarah Jessica Dismays in Elle

It’s hard to feel engaged with celebrity profiles.  They’re often so carefully orchestrated, so relentlessly false that we might as well be reading a press release. When is the last time you felt like you actually understood someone better after reading about them in a magazine?

Even so, we were unexpectedly pleased by this bit from “Born to be Wild,” the profile of Andy Samberg in the August edition of Elle.Elle_august_sarah_jessica_parker

“I feel like there’s so much accepted sexism,” Samberg says.  “Everyone talks about doing R-rated movies, and it’s like, ‘Well, you’re going to have some titties!’  And it’s like, ‘What?  No!  That’s not a sacrifice that we would ever want to make.  We love to have cursing, but it doesn’t mean that you have to have a girl take her shirt off…”

So could it be that the Lonely Islanders, who can at times seem a bit unduly preoccupied with their man-flesh…are…feminists?  “Ha,” Samberg says, and then turns serious.  “Absolutely.”

Andy Samberg is a feminist?  As soon as we finish this post, we are going to re-watch “Lazy Sunday.”

Our sudden rush of affection for Samberg is the opposite of our reaction to the Sarah Jessica Parker article in the same issue.  Enough with the canonization of her, already.   There’s something inherently frustrating (not to mention dull) about an actor who repeatedly tells reporters she won’t talk about her private life.  Honestly, we’re contemplating taking up residence in an underground bunker when the Sex and the City movie is released.  Quotes like this one from “SJP Inc.” certainly don’t help our raging case of Parker-phobia:

“Don’t you just love Chinatown?  Doesn’t it smell amazing?”  Sarah Jessica Parker is standing slightly downwind from a stand selling nickel-size, briny dried scallops, acrid tree bards, and a selection of shriveled mushrooms labeled simply CHINESE HERB—in truth, probably not the sweetest-smelling spot in Manhattan.

It’s probably just a personality clash (or, you know, her finely honed sense of smell that she developed in the process of creating not one but two successful perfumes!), but anyone who can wax rhapsodic about the aroma of shriveled mushrooms is far too perky for us.  Indeed, we may not be the only ones suffering from Sarah Jessica Parker overload.  Coty Prestige exec Catherine Walsh, who works with SJP on her ever-expanding collection of perfumes, tells this story about the star to Elle’s Maggie Bullock:

“I used to send her weekly ratings [for Lovely],” says Catherine Walsh…“When they dropped, she would say, ‘Oh my gosh!  Do I need to go to Dadeland Mall and make a personal appearance?’”

Which would seem to be a genuine revelation about Parker’s character, except for the fact that Walsh told that exact same story nearly a year earlier to a different magazine.  Here’s the tale as it appeared in the October 2006 issue of Marie Claire:

“When we launched,” says Walsh, “we started to send her sales reports weekly, by store.  She would read them, and if we weren’t in the top three names, she’d e-mail me and ask, ‘Is there something I need to do?  Do I need to go there?’  I mean, who does that?  Even I don’t do that!  Carlos and I just looked at each other and said, ‘She’s really going to go to Macy’s in Dadeland, FL, because we’re number nine there?’  She just puts you to shame.”

We don’t know what’s stranger, that anyone at Elle found Walsh’s boosterish anecdote worth repeating or the fact that we actually remembered reading the story in Marie Claire last year.  Not that it matters much, since “SJP Inc.”  is full of rehashes.  The piece contains another explanation about the genesis of Bitten and several paragraphs about the SATC film, along with our personal favorite celebrity article trope—the ultra-thin celeb orders multiple entrees, in this case “with gusto,” as if to attest that she actually does eat normally.  Yawn.  If there’s one thing that’s still interesting about Sarah Jessica Parker, it’s her ability to keep the  publicity juggernaut alive, even though there’s nothing new to say.  Can the next journalist to interview her please ask about that?

7 thoughts on “Samberg Delights, Sarah Jessica Dismays in Elle

  1. this blog is on the ball with this post. sjp is a finely crafted image, nothing more. ‘sex and the city’ was great but i read that same article and there is no progression from her persona! she just seems like she is presenting another image of herself in the hope of selling bitten + her perfumes. did you see how at the back of ELLE there is an advert for her perfume? i bought the magazine in jamaica so i dont know if the adverts differ but i definitely think ELLE are endorsing her, instead of providing neutral journalism.

  2. I’m not sure what Andy’s saying in his little dialogue, because he doesn’t name anyone:

    It’s like, “You should have tits!”

    It’s like, “What? No!”

    Is the first “It’s like” the studio and the second “It’s like” Andy? Or is the first the public and the second the studio? Is the FIRST speaker Andy? It just isn’t clear.

    I also find it hard to swallow his statement “that’s not a sacrifice we would ever want to make.” Nudity is a sacrifice? That he’d NEVER want to make? Not even in the name of comedy?

    He might want to remember that in the 90′s, a film with “titties” won the Best Picture Academy Award three years in a row: “Titanic” (’97), “Shakespeare in Love” (’98), and “American Beauty” (’99).
    It might make the “sacrifice” a little easier.

    And when a women’s magazine asks him if he’s a feminist, he of course says “Absolutely.” Either people think he’s joking or they think he’s serious; either way, he wins.

    I DO like “Lazy Sunday,” though.

  3. Is it possible that SJP’s comments about Chinatown were sarcastic? It seems that way. And that is certainly the only possible way I can interpret them, unless she has had a brain transplant in which all things wonderful are transmuted to terrible, and vice versa.

  4. Aulelia, it’s the same ad here, complete with fold-out.

    Steven, perhaps we should have included more of the quote. We don’t have the magazine right in front of us, but he goes on to say that people have told him nudity is what does box office. Our interpretation was that he was unwilling to compromise his vision for money (at least insofar as money requires nudity). Also, just because quality movies have had nudity doesn’t mean that nudity is across the board a good thing in films. Those three films you cited wouldn’t have suffered if the actresses had kept their tops on.

    As for the feminist thing: Look, we live in an era where the very term “feminist,” let alone the values it implies, has been vilified. We don’t know any woman who’ll call herself a feminist. Celebrities in general don’t embrace the term–Gwen Stefani has denied being a feminist in Allure and Bust, and Hilary Duff just made some incredibly misguided comments about feminism. (See for yourself: http://www.dollymix.tv/2007/07/hilary_duff_not_a_feminist_or.html) So Samberg calling himself a feminist (or, to be fair, letting the writer call him one) isn’t exactly a failsafe way to promote himself.

    TLC, the author didn’t treat the comment as if it were sarcastic at all.

  5. Some other annoying celebrity article tropes:

    1. Mention diners in the restaurant who notice the celebrity’s presence, while the celebrity feigns ignorance that they’re currently the center of attention.

    2. Mention the celebrity’s “freshly-scrubbed face” or their “perfect skin, without a stitch of makeup.”

    3. Mention how polite the celebrity is to the waiter.

    4. Mention how terribly gracious the celebrity is when the waiter screws up the order.

    So predictable. Now I only read the celebrity articles to see if the tropes are covered. They are. Every single time.

  6. There will always be shows which promote sex and fan from sex. And it is normal because it is really not that bad! Another thing is to teach teens how to get fun from sex and avoid problems. Such movies like “Sex and the City” ( http://rapid4me.com/?q=sex+and+the+city ) can hardly do that. all responsibility it still upon parents.

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