AfterEllen Huddle: Pop Culture Blind Spots

Last week, Vulture asked their writers to confess their pop culture blind spots, iconic books and movies and films and music that they’d never read or watched or listened to. We decided to put our own spin on pop culture blind spots in this week’s Huddle, so we asked our writers: What pop culture thing is pretty universally considered to be terrible, but you don’t care because you love it so much you’re blinded to its true nature? Brace yourself for a lot of Showgirls references.

Erika Kimpel: I seem to have what is known as bad taste in movies. I don’t know that I’ve ever been completely blind to that fact but I’d much rather re-watch my arsenal of questionable comedies before seeing any of the supposed classics. I saw the movie Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day, I watch Independence Day every July and have seen Whoopi Goldberg in Jumpin’ Jack Flash more times than I can count. Quite recently, my girlfriend brought home Men In Black III from the ol’ Redbox and it was in that moment that I knew she was a keeper. I’ll save seeing things like Annie Hall or Harold and Maude for when I’m older and obviously wiser.


Grace Chu: Today both Beyonce and Justin Timberlake announced new music. Beyonce announced that Destiny’s Child will be releasing their first original track in eight years, and Justin Timberlake is working on a new album. But what really excited me was that Pharrell will be working on the Destiny’s Child track, and Timbaland is producing Timberlake’s entire album. Remember when you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing a Neptunes or Timbaland produced track? Remember how it drove you nuts? Guess what. It never drove me nuts. Bring back the Top 40 sound between 2000 and 2007!

Elaine Atwell: My blind spot is big enough to cover a decent chunk of the lesbian film canon. Of course, there are films that are triumphs of writing, acting, and production values, but my love is not restricted to them. I will take whatever cinematic scraps are thrown at me, slather them in A-1 and call them filet mignon. Even if your movie was shot on consumer-grade video, your actresses wear mom jeans with 40 buttons apiece, and your soundtrack was culled from performers playing for change in the Lilith Fair parking lot, I will watch it. Twice.

Jill Guccini: I love Hanson. As in, traveled over 600 miles to see them in concert on my 16th birthday love. And I still love them. But I don’t actually think their music is shitty. I probably don’t have to say more, right?

Emily Donofrio: Since Hanson is taken, I’ll go with The Twilight Saga. I’ve gone to see 3 out of 5 movies on their opening weekends, two on the actual opening night, and I haven’t regretted a single one of those experiences. Sure, the storyline is lacking but it’s a series of books written for preteen girls for f*&%’s sake! The cinematography and telepathic wolves are all I need.

Dara Nai: I love Showgirls with a passion beyond explanation. Elizabeth Berkeley‘s over-the-top performance is a national treasure. You can almost hear the director yelling at her, “Act harder!” Gina Gershon slithers through the film with catty glee as if she’s the only one in on the joke. Which she probably was. Hilarious choreography, ice cubes and nipples, aggressive lady-on-lady lap dances. It’s all so wrong. And yet, so right.

Dana Piccoli: If you read my Twitter feed, you will notice that I drop a lot of Showgirls references. And that is because it is the greatest movie ever made. From the script to the plot, to every single acting choice Elizabeth Berkley makes, it’s all complete dreck and I love it. Gina Gershon is everything. I know this movie by heart, and I’ll cherish it for eternity like a couture Versace dress.

“There is always someone younger and hungrier coming down the stairs after you.” — Cristal Conners

Bridget McManus: My shameful love is the 1987 classic film Overboard. Whenever it’s on TBS I have to watch it and it’s on TBS a lot! The story is stupid and implausible, the acting is painfully 1980-ish, and yet Goldie Hawn keeps me coming back for more. I also go through phases of being obsessed with watching marathons of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, Sex and the City, and Judge Judy. All three shows give me a visceral reaction and I even went wedding dress shopping three years after I was already married just to have the “Say Yes to the Dress” experience. (I said “no” to the dress in the end.)

Valerie Anne: It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even know a show is bad anymore until someone says, “Wait, you actually saw the three episodes of Charlie’s Angels that aired?” Or when I lament that Secret Circle was cancelled and everyone is all “I’ve never even heard of that.” Or I’m like “Seriously?! How was everyone not watching The Playboy Club?” So all I can do is keeping loving the shows I love with all of my being, despite not knowing if they’ll be ripped away from me too soon because of my own poor judgment (Hellcats) or eventually devolve into something I hate myself for loving (Glee).

Lucy Hallowell: I loved the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie enough to own a copy of it on VHS. Hilary Swank (before she won two Oscars) saying “get out of my facial!” is classic cinema and the mean girls making fun of Donald Sutherland by saying “nice ensemble, what a homeless” will never stop making me laugh. Keep your eye out for a young Ben Affleck, before he put Morgan’s burger on layaway and married my lady love Jennifer Garner. It’s terrible and amazing and I love it. It also may have made me love Kristy Swanson in ways that made me uncomfortable as a not-yet-cool-with-being-gay kid.

Ali Davis: I know that modern Bond movies are darker and grittier and have more real acting in them and stuff, but HOLY SHESUS do I love the old campy Bond films and the old terrible Bond films. Girls in improbable bikinis, ridiculous (but cool!) gadgets, fast cars and boats and planes and so many close calls and then a villain’s lair completely blowing up at the end.

Daniel Craig experiencing a dark night of the soul and coming out the other side with personal growth is all very fine and dandy, but in my mind, it’s never going to beat murdering a woman by painting her gold.

I know that they are terrible and that the ones with Roger Moore are extra terrible and when I was a little kid I couldn’t even figure out why all those women were kissing him. Yes, they are awful and sexist and awful again.

But we’ll have to talk about how terrible they are another time, because the completely insane voodoo one is on and I need to watch it.

Heather Hogan: Disney Princesses. I know, OK? I know. Unhealthy focus on physical beauty, promotion of patriarchal stereotypes about gender roles and femininity, social currency derived solely from privileged identity. But I’ll be damned if I don’t buy every Disney animated feature on DVD every time they’re available because I am terrified of that “Disney Vault,” and also, I will spend a whole Sunday sometimes in the company of Ariel and Jasmine and Mulan and Snow White and Belle — especially Belle — like the little girl I used to be, camped out on the floor of my bedroom wearing feety pajamas, face pressed against my 12″ TV, overplayed VHS tape fritzing and skipping and bugging out, just singing my heart out about “How many wonders can one cavern hold? Lookin’ around here, you’d think, ‘Sure, she’s got everything!”

OK, ‘fess up: What’s your pop culture blind spot?