by DICK CHENEY
While waiting for Game of Thrones to come back so I can dash off 1000-word essays about how the lack of subtlety in the performance of Daenerys Targaryen irks both me and my wife for completely different reasons, I have been watching a lot of bad television. I have also been preparing some reaction gifs for when Littlefinger and Lady Stoneheart consummate a most delicious union.
Outside of Game of Thrones, where Arya Stark prepares for the day when she can let a man run her life, heroines are hard to come by. Not even the Lifetime network is capable of creating a sympathetic one, although they give it the old college try in the new series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.
Ricci is deeply experienced at acting wacky and crazy, and The Lizzie Borden Chronicles takes advantage of this by showing her killing her father and stepfather in flashback a lot. Jonathan Banks is also involved, and what remains of Cole Hauser’s career – he really should have been nicer to Vin Diesel on the set of Pitch Black.
Borden has a few fun lines scaring the local children, but I guess the real secret is that she isn’t all that out of her mind – it’s the world that surrounds her that is. This means she is deeply familiar with the work of Sheryl Sandberg. As incredibly unfun as The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is to watch, at least one person is enjoying herself.
I was on the ground floor of the feminist revolution. I co-wrote Patricia Arquette’s speech at the Oscars, and I also personally knew Elizabeth Cady Stanton. We loved to watch Matlock together and eat what she called crisps, which I later learned were fried lentil beans. I once parked Gloria Steinem’s car — the inside smelled like wet paint and chromosomes.
If you look at so many shows on television, a new female archetype has emerged. It is capable, confident well-rounded woman who talks sense and gives peace of mind to the swirling winds of change that surrounds her. Jimmy McGill’s love interest on Better Call Saul, Gillian Anderson in The Fall, Mireille Enos in The Killing, the woman playing the zombie detective, any female character that Matthew Weiner writes, every single role ever portrayed by Anna Gunn or Blake Lively…
Actually, I will now retract all the awful things I ever said about Blake Lively. If The Age of Adaline is successful, think of all the wonderful roles Blake Lively will be associated with in the years to follow: Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Bradley Manning, the Chelsea Handler biopic.
Sure, it’s a little late to become a movie star — I believe Blake is 43 or thereabouts — but she has so many of the things we have come to expect in our leading ladies. Charm, and vivaciousness, a low ask, and the capacity for “amicable silence.” We will need strong, feminine women like Blake in the time to come, because all our heroes have died (Clint Eastwood has been dead for over eight years) or desiccated into this:
But what am I saying… Harrison Ford is still definitely a person, and Blake Lively can only carry his career to new heights. Blake’s husband’s career has crashed and burned after he unwittingly accepted a bizarre role where he played Helen Mirren’s love interest.
It will be up to Blake Lively to carry the financial end of things in the relationship until the inevitable sequel to The Proposal materializes when Sandra Bullock enters her 60s and needs to provide for her kids.
You see Adaline has looked “29” for a long time, and she can’t let anyone know about this awful secret, because I guess they might get jealous? Then she bumps into a “charismatic” philanthropist whose dad is played by whatever is left of Harrison Ford.
About half of the women in Hollywood passed on The Age of Adaline, although it might have been good luck for the producers as both Katherine Heigl and Natalie Portman lack the charm that Blake Lively last captivated audiences with in…um…OK, Katherine Heigl would have been fantastic, but her aging would have made The Age of Adaline a bit nonsensical.
Apparently heroines can only actually exist in the past. The real stories of women who are doing things other than living a long time are being swept under the rug. I don’t know how Suki Waterhouse put up with Bradley Cooper for that long. Who is lining up to tell her story? Harrison Ford’s agent is too busy torpedoing his client’s careers by letting him being viewed onscreen as Father Time to get this important project off the ground.
Women are capable, more than capable, of having other virtues. They are not just crazy or modest, ageless or aged, Jewish or gentile. They possess other, more subtle aspects to them that are apparently not evident to a diseased Hollywood afraid to cast a woman as anything other than a young starlet or a senior citizen. The 50s were a wonderful time for me — it’s when I started my first blog.
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.
“Lilacs” – Hannah Cohen (mp3)