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: First and foremost, it is important to clarify that I stood by Grey’s Anatomy for approximately 11 seasons and more than 200 episodes. I stopped watching just before Derek died — not because Derek died, because Derek is basic, but because I missed a few episodes in a row and they started piling up like back issues of The New Yorker and every time I thought about them I felt a deep stress, the kind of stress that is in and of itself stressful because it is stemming from a television series and thus indicates a profound lack of priorities. All of which is to say that the following is in no way a knock on Grey’s Anatomy, a show so beautifully realized and patently insane that it made me, for a brief period of time, consider medical school solely for the purpose of slammin’ my wildly attractive coworkers in well-appointed on-call rooms.
Ellen Pompeo, who has stood by Grey’s for one season longer than me, told People this week that, years ago, she decided to stay on Grey’s for the long haul because she knew that, due to her age, she would have few other career opportunities. She was 33 at the time. THIRTY. THREE. Y’ALL. “My decision to stay on Grey’s was based solely on age,” Pompeo said. “At 33, I was wise enough to know my clock was already ticking in Hollywood.” Pompeo, who started acting professionally in her twenties, adds that had she’d gotten started younger, “I probably would have done my time, then gone out to search for other things.” Instead, she stayed put because she “was definitely aware of how challenging it would be to find other roles in my late thirties and early forties.”
On its face, this is a ridiculous statement. It is the metaphorical equivalent of a 33-year-old woman proudly and willfully stepping into her coffin, but leaving the lid cracked open just slightly, just enough for a bit of fresh air to reach her lungs before she shuffles off her rapidly decaying coil. The bleakest part, though, is that Ellen is right. All one need do is skim the brief history of Lady Problems to recall that, in Hollywood, to age is inhuman, and to visibly age demonic.
The Solution: Every nubile young actress in Hollywood (ages 0 through 18) will, before they know it, transform into a desiccated crone-husk (ages 18 through death or 34, whichever comes first). Thusly, nobody is safe, not even Jacob Tremblay’s inevitable baby sister. The only way to handle this systemic problem is to nip it in the bud, i.e., temporarily cut off Hollywood’s supply of youthful actresses so they are forced to cast everything with crone-husks. We will do this by sending all of the youths to the Rainforest Cafe for a few weeks (0-year-olds love Rainforest Cafe). In this interim crone-husk universe, Viola Davis and occasionally Holly Hunter will star in everything. Everything will be fucking amazing. When the youths return, aglow from their thousands of Raging Thunder Buffalo Wings, they’ll return to a more balanced Hollywood, a Hollywood in which they will not be cast as the ghost of Jared Leto’s grandmother the moment they turn 34.
The Lady Problem: Speaking of horrendous casting that makes me want to trudge into the desert, lie upon a hot rock, and melt back into the earth from whence I came, Jennifer Hudson will play the love interest of one Adam Sandler in Sandler’s upcoming “film.” Titled Sandy Wexler, the movie will follow Sandler as the titular character, a “talent manager with a group of eccentric clients”; Hudson will play one of his clients, a singer named Courtney Clarke who Sandler “falls for.”
Help me, God, or whoever hath forsaken me and Jennifer Hudson. Help me see. Help me understand how, in the year 2016, the international population is supposed to actively watch and enjoy and BELIEVE a film in which Adam Sandler — profligate racist, shameless misogynist, perpetually starring in his own real-life version of Big — successfully woos Oscar-winner, Grammy-winner, Broadway star, and actual goddess Jennifer Hudson. Can you picture it? Can you? Adam Sandler and Jennifer Hudson kissing? Adam Sandler climbing onto Jennifer Hudson? Adam Sandler sweatily thrusting atop Jennifer Hudson? Jennifer Hudson saying, “Thanks, Adam, that was a great take,” then running to the bathroom, splashing cold water on her face, staring at herself in the mirror, placing her hands on her cheeks, and screaming and screaming and screaming like the Home Alone poster?
Putting aside, for a moment, the fact that he is a sentient expired condom, Adam Sandler is 49 years old. Jennifer Hudson is — you already know, don’t you? — 34.
The Solution: First: There shall be no more Adam Sandler movies. This is non-negotiable. Adam Sandler movies are a scourge upon the planet. They are America’s own hidden-in-plain-sight weapons of mass destruction. Every time an Adam Sandler movie gets green-lit, thousands of babies get tetanus. Second: I am assuming that Jennifer Hudson did this movie because she wants a boat. It’s summer. We all want boats. This is acceptable to me; in fact, it is the only reason that I think Jennifer Hudson, in all of her infinite wisdom, would actually agree to this movie. After Jennifer buys her boat, she will invite me on it, and we will sail it around the world for years and years, laughing uproariously and drinking thousands of bottles of wine and singing “and you, and you, and you, you’re gonna love meeeeeee” over and over again. When we tire of the boat, we will attach a bust of Adam Sandler’s body — wrapped delicately in a corn husk, coming forth from it as if being born from the husk — to the front and burn it down.