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: Variety published a study late last week revealing that, for the 2016–17 TV season, 90 percent of showrunners are white, and almost 80 percent are male. Women make up 22 percent of the showrunning pool, which is only 4 percent better than the 1997–98 TV season. Which was, to be clear, almost 20 YEARS AGO. Things are even bleaker, naturally, for nonwhite women: Out of the 50 showrunners in the study, only five are people of color; there are approximately zero nonwhite female showrunners on new shows for ABC, CBS, or The CW. As Variety puts it, "Showrunners not only determine the creative direction of their programs; they also oversee the hiring, firing, and mentoring that gives the next generation of creators a chance to ascend. Shows run by white men tend to lead to more shows led by white men."
The Solution: We are barrelling toward a potential future in which every show is run by a white man, stars a white man, is populated by white men, and features plotlines exclusively focused on the way white men avoid considering their own mortality — i.e., baseball and date rape and elaborate drinking games. It is important that we head this off at the pass (which is a thing old-timey white men say in movies directed by other white men). So I will distract all the white male showrunners at the major networks by walking by their windows and loudly screaming, "Can somebody please explain the difference between Scotch and whiskey to me I'm so confused I'm but a woman???" When they all race outside to mansplain fermented grains, all you Lady Problems readers will walk into their offices, shut the doors, and steal their jobs.
The Lady Problem: The misogynistic backlash against Amber Heard continues. This week we have another #DeppBro, Benicio Del Toro, weighing in on a situation about which he has zero knowledge or insight. (This, by the way, is another way in which privileged white men disengage from thoughts of their own deaths: by bloviating ignorantly in public, nearly as transfixed by the sounds of their own voices as they are by the very existence of their penises.) At an event promoting Heineken (because of course), Del Toro told the New York Daily News, "What I know, there’s a lot of trouble from the girl that sounds a little manipulative. It sounds a little bit like there’s something really twisted about that girl ... but I don’t know the specifics.” THAT'S RIGHT BENICIO, YOU DON'T KNOW THE SPECIFICS. Why are you speaking out loud about a very serious thing you literally just admitted you know nothing about?
He continued: "It seems the fact that his mom passed away and she filed for divorce two days later and then she wants money and she's saying she got hit, it’s almost like, wait, I saw them not too long ago. Maybe it was January, a dinner for the Oscars or something like that. He was there with her and they were fine." Let's rewind that one and play it again. It's almost like, wait, I saw them not too long ago. This is how Benicio is certain Johnny doesn't hit Amber: because he saw them not too long ago, at some event he can't even recall. Who needs hard proof of domestic abuse when you have It's almost like, wait, I saw them not too long ago?? (According to Celebitchy, Heineken's PR team asked that the outlet remove mention of the beer from the story about Benicio. You know you sound like a fucking idiot when even Heineken — The Official Beer of White Boy Showrunners — distances itself from you.)
Meanwhile, Amber has withdrawn her request for spousal support from Johnny because the request was being "used against me to distract and divert the public away from the very serious real issue of domestic violence." So good job, Benicio Del Toro and Doug Stanhope and Terry Gilliam and Paul Bettany and TMZ and Mickey Rourke and the deeply pathetic Depp Bros who told me to go fuck myself after reading my first piece on the importance of believing Amber's allegations. You should all be extremely proud of yourselves: You've done the very honorable deed of maligning a woman to the point of denying her access to important resources — a woman whose life you ADMIT to knowing absolutely nothing about, who has publicly testified to being afraid for that life, who has provided photos that document what appears to be a very real threat to that life.
The Solution: Benicio Del Toro and Doug Stanhope and Terry Gilliam and Paul Bettany and TMZ and Mickey Rourke and tragic Depp Bros and Johnny Depp himself will all star in a sequel to Excess Baggage titled Excess Baggage 2: The Reckoning. The twist is that this time around, the excess baggage is THEM. The other twist is that this isn't a movie, it's real life, and you're all locked in a fancy car trunk forever, bye!!!
The Lady Problem: Meg Ryan appeared at the Tony Awards this weekend, and as has become tradition when Meg Ryan does anything except hide inside her home wrapped in a black shroud, nobody could talk about anything other than her face. Cosmo has a fun breakdown of the resulting tweets and media responses (like this gem), which were so abundant that they incited a goddamn Twitter trending topic. Hilariously — but also not at all hilariously, because this is our actual planet and we can't get off — most of the commentary appears to have come from aging men.
As Cosmo points out, Ryan has been subject to shit about her face for years, ever since she had the gall to succumb to the optional but undoubtedly seductive forces of time and gravity. Perhaps she's made some questionable plastic-surgery choices along the way, but goddammit, if this is anyone's fault, it's that of the aging Twitter dudes of the world who insist on publicly tracking and commenting on the ways famous women's faces change as they age. Since apparently neither aging nor plastic surgery are acceptable choices for women, all that's left for them to do is buy said black shrouds and hundreds of cans of Campbell's chunky soup, Ted Cruz style, then stay inside for the remainder of their lives, never again besmirching the world with their crumbling façades.
The Solution: All right, staff of Hollywood Life and its related knock-offs and all the other non-young men on Twitter who find it necessary to shame a woman for having the audacity to age in public: Let's see some photos of you 20 years ago. We'll do a side-by-side comparison — that's fine, right? Because of course you still look the same, which is to say, much better than "Joker Face" Meg Ryan? No, go get them from your mom's garage, I'll wait. Oh, you already live there? Perfect! Do you mind if I sit on this giant crate filled with your tears? Oh, this is your bed? Sorry. I'll stand.