Lady Problems is a weekly column that looks at how the entertainment industry — and its corresponding culture and constituents — is treating women in a given week. (Hint: It will almost always be “poorly.”) Every Thursday we’ll review the week’s most significant woman-centric conflicts, then provide a brilliant solution to each problem that nobody in Hollywood will ever listen to or enforce.
The Lady Problem: Last night, I had a dream that it was the actual apocalypse. A massive, frothing tsunami was hurtling toward me; I braced for the icy seawater that was soon to fill my lungs and slowly end my life and subsequently extinguish the entire human race. Having this dream was exponentially more pleasant than what I am about to do right now: write about Woody Allen. Again. I can't believe I'm writing about Woody Allen again. Let's get this over with so I can go back to the sweet escape of dying in the apocalypse.
This week, multiple celebrities weighed in on whether Allen is a child molester and whether this alleged child-molesting should be considered when watching or criticizing his work. Most of them said supremely stupid shit. First up, we've got Blake Lively, who expelled a biblical flood's worth of wildly ignorant, wildly privileged, wildly Blake Lively–esque remarks about the whole thing. At a Cannes luncheon for Café Society, Allen's latest that just HAPPENS to star Lively, Lively told Variety that she was offended by a rape joke directed at Allen during the festival's opening ceremonies. "I think any jokes about rape, homophobia or Hitler is not a joke," said Lively, who has clearly never heard my Hitler jokes. "I think that was a hard thing to swallow in 30 seconds [unlike Hitler's tiny D]. Film festivals are such a beautiful, respectful festivals of film and artists, and to have that, it felt like it wouldn’t have happened if it was in the 1940s [a great time in our world's history, when actresses were being treated like dogs and Hitler was systematically murdering millions of Jews ;)]. I can’t imagine Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby going out and doing that [no, Bing was just drinking and beating his children and cheating on everyone; meanwhile, Hitler was killing Jews by the millions]. It was more disappointing [than Hitler's tiny D] for the artists in the room that someone was going up there making jokes about something that wasn’t funny [unlike Hitler's tiny D].”
Later later, Lively — who plays a surfer named, stunningly, Nancy (Nancy!) in the upcoming shark movie The Shallows — told the L.A. Times that Allen's films are "empowering to women": "It's amazing what Woody has written for women," said Lively. "It's very dangerous to factor in things you don't know anything about. I could [only] know my experience, and my experience with Woody is he's empowering to women." You know what else is dangerous, Blake Lively? Child molesters.
Adrien Brody had similarly infuriating/obtuse thoughts to share on the matter. While inexplicably appearing on Jenny McCarthy's inexplicably existing podcast, Brody told McCarthy,
Life is very complicated. I look to collaborate with artistic people and to go into an endeavor without judgment and to hopefully be treated with the same. It's an artistic pursuit, and [Roman] Polanski, for instance, had a very complicated and difficult life. It would be unfair of me to delve into something as complicated as the past that was brought up in the media.
I don't even read about these things, to be honest. It's not that I stay in my lane. I choose not to indulge this kind of fodder. I think there's a lot of catastrophe in this world and a lot of cruelty and a lot of carelessness. Of course it's horrible what comes out sometimes, and people have done things in their lives that may be inexcusable, but it's not something to focus on.
Adrien Brody can't read, stay in his lane, or focus, is what I'm hearing here. Adrien Brody, u ok bro?
Thank God for Susan Sarandon, our Holy Mother, who is apparently the only sane and moral human left in Hollywood. "I think [Allen] sexually assaulted a child and I don’t think that’s right," Sarandon said during Variety and Kering’s Women in Motion talk. "I have nothing good to say about him. I don’t want to go there."
The Solution: Woody Allen is still on the ghost ship I banished him to a few weeks ago, but this no longer feels like an effective punishment. I'm going to send in my dream tsunami to swallow him whole, then ferry him magically back to land, where I will handcuff him to Bing Crosby's grave. When Woody finally dies, God willing, he and Bing Crosby will take turns haunting each other on and off for all of eternity, arguing over whether it's more fun to sexually or physically abuse children. Blake Lively will change her name to Nancy permanently. Meanwhile, Susan Sarandon will henceforth snatch every role offered to both Adrien Brody and Nancy Lively. Actually, fuck it, Susan Sarandon will star in The Shallows. Nancy Lively can play a big-booty shark (named Nancy).
The Lady Problem: Some pointless white dude on a pointless website proclaimed via the most embarrassing video I've ever seen that he is not going to review the new Ghostbusters because women. Nobody cares about this man or his opinions or his collection of human ankle bones, least of all me, but he does represent a shitty contingent of white American virgins who have never masturbated anywhere but their own parents' basements or ejaculated without crying. So we must address it, albeit briefly. I won't link to the video, but suffice to say that this dude paints his decision to patently ignore Ghostbusters as brave and iconoclastic. More importantly, he is wearing a gray pullover/gray T-shirt combo that, paired with his thinning pouf of hair, rimless glasses, and small gumball machine, is so profoundly depressing that it nearly drove me to suicide.
The Solution: This alleged human male doesn't need any help from Lady Problems. He is already the most tragic figure in American history.
The Lady Problem: I haven't seen Iron Man 3, so I'm not going to pretend to know what exactly I'm talking about here, but Shane Black told Uproxx this week that Marvel "reduced the characters" of both Rebecca Hall and Stéphanie Szostak because, being women, they wouldn't sell toys. "There was an early draft of Iron Man 3 where we had an inkling of a problem," said Black. "Which is that we had a female character who was the villain in the draft. We had finished the script and we were given a no-holds-barred memo saying that cannot stand and we’ve changed our minds because, after consulting, we’ve decided that toy won’t sell as well if it’s a female ... We had to change the entire script because of toy making ... In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian — and they didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian. I liked the idea, like Remington Steele, you think it’s the man but at the end, the woman has been running the whole show. They just said, ‘no way.’" To recap: Toys are for boys. Being child molested is for girls.
The Solution: Fans of that thing where massive corporations treat female characters like trash will recall that this isn't a first for Marvel, which has previously delayed or denied merchandising for the likes of Black Widow and Gamora. Black clarifies that this wasn't the work of current Marvel president Kevin Feige, but sorry, Kevin Feige, you're here now, so I don't really have much of a choice. I am going to commission an old-timey toymaker to make a toy of every male employee at Marvel, including Kevin Feige. I'll put these toys up for sale online. Nobody will buy these toys, because they'll be extremely boring due to their extremely boring human inspirations. Point proven, I'll burn all the toys in effigy in front of Marvel Studios.
The Lady Problem: Remember that Nancy Drew pilot starring the luminescent Sarah Shahi that seemed too beautiful for this world? It was. Wait, no, sorry, it was "too female." According to Deadline, CBS has passed on the pilot — even though it "tested well" — because it "skewed too female for CBS’ schedule." "In the end of the day," writes Deadline, as elegantly as usual, "I hear the network had no 8 PM or 9 PM slot available." Here are some things that did get picked up by CBS: a comedy starring Kevin James. A comedy starring Joel McHale. A comedy starring Matt LeBlanc. A drama starring Dermot Mulroney. A MacGyver reboot starring George Eads. A drama based on Dr. Phil starring Michael Weatherly. Returning shows include The Big Bang Theory, a comedy starring 1,000 men that handily demonstrates everything that's wrong with America in only 20 minutes on a weekly basis; The Odd Couple, about two men mired in homosexual panic; Thursday Night Football, about dozens of men mired in homosexual panic; NCIS: New Orleans, I don't even fucking know; Scorpion, help, someone help, oh god please.
The Solution: Stuff your mouth with Sad Virgin's gumballs until you can only make guttural sounds. Scream into the void forever.