So, this is my swan song for Mad Blog. (I will let my colleague Bob Garfield explain the nuts and bolts here.)
But I’d rather not look back.
Instead, let’s touch on some of the petty/bitchy stuff that I never got to cover.
Now, I know this is hardly an issue facing the nation.
Besides, the intense, eyeball-based acting she’s forced to do here takes guts.
But really, Jen, aren’t you slightly off-brand with this rather imperious script?
“My friends know me so well,” Aniston opens up to the camera, while curling up on the floor with a good script in a cozy Malibu-ish living room.
“They can tell what I’m thinking just by looking at my eyes,“ she glares.
Wow. That’s amazing! Because we mortals have all sort of depended on these exact same orbs for eons! Plus, these face parts have already been dubbed the windows-to-the soul, and all that.
But Jen, if you tend to use your own, personal ice-blue sight organs (which seem color-corrected here to about 11) as gamma rays to punish friends who have made you “not-so-happy-and-excited,” well, that’s TMI.
But the actual reveal, EyeLove-wise, comes later in the spot.
“What they didn’t know was that I had dry, itchy eyes,” Jen says.
I understand. It’s all about keeping secrets from the “Friends.” (Get it?)
See, Eyelove means never having to say you’re sorry, or even not-so-happy, with your peeps. We’re not in Central Perk anymore. And obviously, we get an intimate glimpse into how important your eyes are to you, given the way you like to use them when eyeballing scripts at home and all.
This isn’t the first time Ms. Aniston has come off as a bit too snooty in an ad. She did one spot for Arab Emirates Airlines that critics on Fox News called “elitist.”
She followed that up with a truly awkward attempt to befriend a regular, (less well-heeled?) family in Emirates coach, while she runs around the plane in 6-inch golden stilettos. (Their son, Sucralose, I mean Cooper, provides the too-cute-for-words entrée.) As with the tabloids constantly announcing her phantom pregnancy (with twins, even) I guess the point here is to show Jen as a kindly, twinkly, superstar, but still natural mom!
Then there’s the work she does for Aveeno lotion, Glaceau Smartwater, and L’Oreal.
My advice? Jen, honey, lay off the endorsements for a while.
I have normal, old, but not-terribly dry-peepers, but even I can see that as a pitchwoman, you might be getting overexposed. Save some acting time for a really sad, soapy, future movie, where there won’t be a chronic dry eye in the house.
Now on to my never-ending sources of fascination and soap opera, the Trumps. (Hey, don’t blame me. I won’t have them to kick around anymore with Mad Blog gone.)
After their grand trip abroad, with all of the wardrobes, family headgear, and Kabuki-like hand movements on display, I became mesmerized with the Don Dynasty, particularly his bizarre hold on, and (father-substitute?) relationship with (chronically overloaded ) Jared.
It’s all so Sins of the Fathers Biblical, or Shakespearean Learian, or (you could name about 100 movies here, but I nominate “The Great Santini"). Or the opposite of Oedipal.
I fixated on this because I had just watched the HBO one-shot drama, “The Wizard of Lies” about Bernie Madoff and sons.
It’s very well done, and DeNiro is great as Madoff. I thought I knew the story pretty well, and had always imagined that the sons and Ruth had to have been in on that $65-billion-dollar Ponzi-osity, or at the very least had turned a blind (not dry) eye.
But this production convinced me that they didn’t know.
It would appear that they, like all of his investors, were endlessly duped and manipulated by their paterfamilias, an abusive sociopath. And had 2008 not happened, Madoff probably could have carried the lie on for at least another decade. His sons, Mark and Andrew, each died, tragically (suicide and cancer.)
But even in jail, (a 150-year sentence) Madoff would not cop to having done anything so terrible. His clients were greedy, he said. And by having his sons run an actual brokerage firm on a different floor, he was both spoiling and actually protecting them, he felt. Other people did much worse, he claimed, still full of fury, denial, projection and self-preservation—all the touchstones of a malignant narcissist.
Not coming from wealth myself, it’s hard for me to imagine not wanting to make your own path outside of the family business, from the beginning.
But in the end, Mark and Andrew were the ones who turned their dad in to the Feds and refused to speak to him or visit him in jail. They also cut off their mother for having any contact with their father.
Meanwhile, Jared Kushner, also the son of a man who’d built a financial dynasty, remained a loyal son to his own father, Charles, while he was in the slammer in Alabama for his own lurid crimes. Just out of college, Jared dutifully visited once a week, ran the family business, and actually defended his father in public (just as he would later defend Trump publicly from charges of anti-Semitism.)
And, as with the so famous it’s now a cliché Michael Corleone line, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” I thought Ivanka and Jared (both of whom I used to be impressed with) would want to separate, and live their own lives.
At one point, President Trump even admitted that he “stole” Ivanka’s husband from her, to install him as his right hand in the White House with an impossible portfolio.
Of course,Trump has publicly lusted after Ivanka and Jared perhaps lusts after a father. And maybe Trump sees himself in Jared, while he disses his own sons.
I don’t know. Perhaps they are both seduced by the con, never thought it would last, and ultimately want to get caught, like Bernie.
It will unfold in due time.
I am very grateful to all the people at MediaPost for giving me the chance to write about anything I wanted, with no editorial meddling. I’m indebted to my editor, Phyllis Fine, and her patience. I also thank top guys Joe Mandese and Ken Fadner.
I want to salute my readers, and commenters, who made life so delightful and whose feedback I always so appreciated.
This column was named for the TV show that I deconstructed each week: “Mad Men.”
That was the most fun assignment I ever had.
So I’ll leave with a quote from Don Draper. While he was still lucid and a rising star, he told his protégé, Peggy, “The living is in the not knowing. “
And if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye.