There may only be nine days left in the year, but man, 2019 really is doing everything it can to cram a lot into its sunset. Like what? Well, a new Star Wars movie hit theaters and disappointed critics, Scotland asked for independence from the UK again, and Wakanda was finally removed from the US’s free trade list. Oh, you only think that last one is a joke. (It’s not.) Meanwhile, the internet has been talking about North West’s Christmas card mystery, that amazing Watchmen finale, and the fact that J. K. Rowling is a fan of TERFs. Oh, then there was that whole impeachment deal. Let’s get caught up together, shall we?
President Trump’s Letter to Nancy Pelosi
What Happened: President Trump sent a surprisingly lengthy letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
What Really Happened: All last week, the White House—and the man in the big chair therein—was acutely focused one thing: Christmas. No, wait, sorry, we meant “impeachment.” As the week began, the House of Representatives was preparing to vote in the wake of the publication of the Judiciary Committee’s 658–page report that recommended impeaching President Trump for “multiple” offenses. In response, the president did this.
Ah, yes; the letter! There’s something charmingly old-fashioned about sending a letter in this age of tweets and emails, especially one written about such an important subject. So, how’d it go over?
Still, surely it had the desired effect, right?
…Oh. Are there any other possible ramifications here?
…Oh. Is that all?
The Takeaway: Considering how bonkers last week was, it was hard to keep track of all the possible impacts of the letter, but this one definitely stands out.
President Trump Makes History
What Happened: President Trump became the third president in US history to be impeached.
What Really Happened: Let’s spoil the ending for once: Midweek, President Trump was, in fact, impeached. Guess that letter didn’t do the trick after all.
It happened, finally, on Wednesday. After a lot of discussion, the impeachment matter came to a vote before the House. Yet, even though nearly everyone knew what was coming, both sides found it necessary to lay out their cases on the matter one more time before it was concluded.
This is the point where we point out that impeachment isn’t actually undoing an election, but instead holding an elected official accountable for their actions, and has been part of the US Constitution since the country’s inception. Nonetheless, ahead of the vote, debate continued about whether or not impeachment was a good idea, with Republicans firmly entrenched.
There was, because of course, a kerfuffle over the use of the word “irregardless” in the speech of congressmember Doug Collins (R-Georgia), but such things are trifles in the grand scheme of things. Thankfully, not for the first time in his career, representative John Lewis (D-Georgia) reminded everyone what they were actually there for.
While all of this was going on, the president was, well, doing this:
While the White House had claimed he would be working that day, the reality was somewhat different.
As it happened, Trump was actually at a rally in Michigan when the vote took place, making for a surreal televisual event.
But, of course, he was being impeached at that very moment.
The Takeaway: As the impeachment was unfolding on Wednesday, Trump tweeted this, and then retweeted it again at least once last week.
Kumail Nanjiani’s Shirtless Pic
What Happened: As if The Big Sick wasn’t enough to win your heart, now Kumail Nanjiani has gone and gotten buff in an attempt to make you fall even more in love with him.
What Really Happened: So, it all started when Nanjiani shared a photo of his swole Eternals look on Instagram.
Man, he’s completely let himself go since Silicon Valley came to an end, hasn’t he? As the new Nanjiani quickly spread across the internet, it’s fair to say social media lost its collective mind, just a little.
The transformation was even enough to start people wondering who was next.
Still, at least Nanjiani was taking it in stride.
The Takeaway: Now that Kumail has become a thirst bucket, there’s one important question that still hasn’t been answered.
Let the Interview Die. Kill It If You Have To
What Happened: When is diva behavior not diva behavior? When it involves an actor leaving an interview to avoid an anxiety attack.
What Really Happened: When it comes to unexpected Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker promotional tour moments, it doesn’t get much more unexpected than this.
Key to the story was the context, in a couple of ways. Firstly, the interview he abandoned was with celebrated interviewer Terry Gross for NPR’s equally celebrated arts show Fresh Air. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the reason he walked out was because the show played a clip of him performing, something that Driver has openly discussed being an unpleasant experience for him.
Many on social media were ready to defend the actor in light of what had happened, framing it as a self-care decision.
Not everyone saw it that way, however—particularly because Terry Gross is a beloved radio host.
A re-run was aired in the slot where the episode was scheduled to run, and the producer of the show told The Washington Post, “Honestly, we’re surprised this has become such a big deal. We always play clips when we have on actors—that’s just standard procedure for any broadcast or podcast interview.”
The Takeaway: Look, let’s just agree that it could’ve been a lot worse.
What Happened: Turns out, the trailers for Cats were actually underselling how horrifically bad (and surreal, and surprisingly creepy) the movie was.
What Really Happened: As we head into an overstuffed holiday season, at least there’s one thing we can all do to escape the stress: Head to the movie theater. After all, there’s a massive, star-studded event taking place at your local multiplex that seems to defy logic, description and taste right now—and, no, it’s not Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Yes! Cats! The weirdly CGI-d movie musical that somehow stars Idris Elba, Sir Ian McKellan, Taylor Swift, and Dame Judi Dench—all pretending to be cats, because that’s the name of the film—has arrived, and based on early reactions, it seems as if the online response to those trailers was just the start of something both awesome and terrible.
The response wasn’t limited to Twitter snark, either; reviews of the movie are just as bad as you’d think. Suddenly, the drubbing of the final Star Wars movie—well, the final one for awhile, at least—feels apathetic by comparison. To be fair, maybe we’re just looking at this all wrong.
Look, at least that’s something.
The Takeaway: Turns out, the whole thing is a very unexpected false flag operation. I’d say that we’re not going to stand for it, but most of us have already started shredding a nearby chair leg.
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