The girl-on-girl kiss has become a primetime mainstay, since writers realised most people really like to see one All-American starlet frenching on another. So, which PG girl-on-girl kisses are going to be burnt onto our retinas for the rest of time?
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair, Cruel Intentions
The thrill of girls next door gone wild is potent. (PS. if you live next door to a vampire slayer and a Party of Five star then we’re coming to your next bridge tournament).
Winona Ryder and Jennifer Aniston, Friends
This vanilla screen kiss, aired at a time when girl-girl snogging was much less common, is a sneaky callback to an unseen and presumably less PG college makeout session that Ryder's character memorably describes. The image of their ‘coconuts knocking together’ ensures that just because this quick peck is the one we see, it’s not the one on everybody’s dirty little mind. Good job, shifty screenwriters!
Allison Williams and Jemima Kirke, Girls
If you live in Brooklyn and you haven’t seen your ‘free spirit’ hipster buddies kissing by now, just zoom in on Lena Dunham’s brat pack for the girl-on-girl-on-Girls experience.
Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, Xena: Warrior Princess
The ultimate Amazonian found perennial solace in the leather jerkin of her BFF. (And to their credit, the show's producers did eventually acknowledge that Xena and Gabrielle were offscreen lovers...the characters,that is, not the actresses.)
Mischa Barton and Olivia Wilde, The O.C.
Listen to the crashing of the waves. Hear the soft murmur of girls, bonding. Pretend you don’t know the Sapphic action is as inevitable as the tide....
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UPDATE: The Onion's CEO Steve Hannah has since apologized to outraged and upset readers. The letter, which has been posted on The Onion's Facebook page reads, "On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting. No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire. The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again. In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible. Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry."
"You just don't get it, do you?" It's likely the argument you'll hear the most from both sides of the already raging Quvenzhané Wallis/The Onion tweet battle. Onion defenders will say that all those upset simply don't get the joke, while those standing up for the adorable Beasts of the Southern Wild star continue to ask how anyone could find it funny.
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The online uproar, in case you missed it, happened during last night's Oscar ceremony broadcast when satirists The Onion sent out an ill-advised joke at the expense of 9-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis: "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c**t, right?" Only, there was no asterisks and the only response that seemed to follow that question was, "When are you going to take this down and apologize?" After being online for over an hour, The Onion did something they rarely do, they took back a jab. Of course, this is the Internet, where controversy will follow you forever and screen shots of the tweet are still out there. Case in point, the original, unedited tweet here:
Now, let's get the obvious out of the way first: no decent human being in their right mind would think that of the adorable Wallis. It's clearly a riff on the culture of ripping on celebrities — even women and children — and that Wallis is just about the sweetest thing in Hollywood.
The problem — aside from the jarring sight of that vulgar word next to Wallis' name — is that the joke isn't particularly funny, nor does it really stick it to those celebrity bashers. The only person who looks attacked here is the innocent Wallis. (If you'll recall the Daniel Tosh rape joke incident, a major point of contention was that the comic was mocking rape victims, not finding a way to find humor in the light of those atrocities). There have been some arguments that The Onion didn't actually call her the c-word, but the thing is, they did. Yes, it was a joke, but would we say that Oscar host Seth MacFarlane didn't say the Kardashians had dark facial hair?
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There were plenty of people who didn't find the joke funny and took to Twitter to air out their grievance with The Onion. The Wire and Treme star Wendell Pierce wrote from his page, "@TheOnion Identify the writer. Let him defend that abhorrent verbal attack of a child. You call it humor I call it horrendous...I will never lose the ability to be offended and let anyone verbally abuse a child. Especially a child of my community in NOLA...They have the freedom to say whatever they want and I have a right to say it's offensive. I won't stand by and watch the abuse."
Pierce was hardly alone in his outrage, Russell Simmons urged his followers to retweet the "the very offensive tweet about Quvenzhané Wallis that @TheOnion doesn't want you to see" and Chelsea Clinton responded with the hashtags, "#Unacceptable #Outrageous." Keith Olbermann tweeted after finding out what the Wallis joke was about, "they DID wrong. Retract, apologize, dismiss."
Of course, for everyone that was upset, there will be just as many who say that people are simply being sensitive, that The Onion is satire and they missed the joke entirely. Perhaps, sometimes there are words that have a harder time hiding under the guise of the sake of comedy (see: Lisa Lampanelli's unapologetic n-word tweet) and, you know what, yeah, people can be a little sensitive about when 9-year-old girls are called c**ts. It doesn't necessarily mean they are humorless drones.
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Look, The Onion is no stranger to controversy, whether they're being mistaken for a legitimate news source (it happens way more than you'd think) or being accused of, you guessed it, insensitivity. Not to mention the fact that popular, beloved comedian Louis C.K. uses similar language when it comes to kids (granted, for the most part, he's talking about his own). Either the cries of "Won't somebody please think of the children?" or "Why so serious?" will ring louder in the coming days and weeks — and they will all just continue to play out over Twitter. If there's anything to get worked up about, it's going to be that.
[Photo credits: Todd Williamson/Invision for Fox Searchlight/AP Images; Twitter]
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There is something particularly unnerving about demon possession. It's the idea of something you can't see or control creeping into your body and taking up residence eventually obliterating all you once were and turning you into nothing more than a sack of meat to be manipulated. Then there's also the shrouded ritual around exorcisms: the Latin chants the flesh-sizzling crucifixes and the burning Holy Water. As it turns out exorcism isn't just the domain of Catholics.
The myths and legends of the Jews aren't nearly as well known but their creepy dybbuk goes toe-to-toe with anything other world religions come up with. There are various interpretations of what a dybbuk is or where it comes from — is it a ghost a demon a soul of a sinner? — but in any case it's looking for a body to hang out in for a while. Especially according to the solemn Hasidic Jews in The Possession an innocent young person and even better a young girl.
The central idea in The Possession is that a fancy-looking wooden box bought at a garage sale was specifically created to house a dybbuk that was tormenting its previous owner. Unfortunately it caught the eye of young Emily (Natasha Calis) a sensitive artistic girl who persuades her freshly divorced dad Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and Grey's Anatomy) to buy it for her. Never mind the odd carvings on it — that would be Hebrew — or how it's created without seams so it would be difficult to open or why it's an object of fascination for a young girl; Clyde is trying really hard to please his disaffected daughters and do the typical freshly divorced parent dance of trying to please them no matter the cost.
Soon enough the creepy voices calling to Emily from the box convince her to open it up; inside are even creepier personal objects that are just harbingers of what's to come for her her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) her mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and even Stephanie's annoying new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show). Clyde and Stephanie squabble over things like pizza for dinner and try to convince each other and themselves that Emily's increasingly odd behavior is that of a troubled adolescent. It's not of course and eventually Clyde enlists the help of the son of a Hasidic rabbi a young man named Tzadok played by the former Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu to help them perform an exorcism on Emily.
The Possession is not going to join the ranks of The Exorcist in the horror pantheon but it does do a remarkable job of making its characters intelligent and even occasionally droll and it offers up plenty of chills despite a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it's because of that rating that The Possession is so effective; the filmmakers are forced to make the benign scary. Giant moths and flying Torahs take the place of little Reagan violently masturbating with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Gagging and binging on food is also an indicator of Emily's possession — an interesting twist given the anxieties of becoming a woman a girl Emily's age would face. There is something inside her controlling her and she knows it and she is fighting it. The most impressive part of Calis's performance is how she communicates Emily's torment with a few simple tears rolling down her face as the dybbuk's control grows. The camerawork adds to the anxiety; one particularly scary scene uses ordinary glass kitchenware to great effect.
The Possession is a short 92 minutes and it does dawdle in places. It seems as though some of the scenes were juggled around to make the PG-13 cut; the moth infestation scene would have made more sense later in the movie. Some of the problems are solved too quickly or simply and yet it also takes a while for Clyde's character to get with it. Stephanie is a fairly bland character; she makes jewelry and yells at Clyde for not being present in their marriage a lot and then there's a thing with a restraining order that's pretty silly. Emily is occasionally dressed up like your typical horror movie spooky girl with shadowed eyes an over-powdered face and dark clothes; it's much more disturbing when she just looks like an ordinary though ill young girl. The scenes in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn look oddly fake and while it's hard to think of who else could have played Tzadok an observant Hasidic Jew who is also an outsider willing to take risks the others will not Matisyahu is not a very good actor. Still the filmmakers should be commended for authenticity insofar as Matisyahu has studied and lived as a Hasidic Jew.
It would be cool if Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures were to release the R-rated version of the movie on DVD. What the filmmakers have done within the confines of a PG-13 rating is creepy enough to make me curious to see the more adult version. The Possession is no horror superstar and its name is all too forgettable in a summer full of long-gestating horror movies quickly pushed out the door. It's entertaining enough and could even find a broader audience on DVD. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can read the Old Testament to me any time.