The director of a controversial TV documentary about One Direction fans has defended the project after the team behind the show was bombarded with abuse and death threats online. Crazy About One Direction caused a stir when it aired in Britain last week (ends18Aug13) as it featured obsessed fans who follow the band's every move and fantasise about a romance between Louis Tomlinson and his bandmate Harry Styles.
Gossip began to swirl that members of the 'Larry Shippers' sub-group had committed suicide after the programme went out, but no official cases have been confirmed.
The rumours prompted band member Liam Payne to lash out at bosses at Channel 4, the network behind the show, and now the director Daisy Asquith has spoken out to condemn the vile messages her team has received from many of the band's online devotees.
She says, "Their response to the film is so much more extreme than anything I chose to include. It's really been quite shocking. I think the response itself is proof that we didn't just pick the most extreme fans there are.
"Channel 4 have had threats and masses of hate directed at them. I've also had masses of hate directed at me."
A statement from Channel 4 adds, "This documentary, made by an award-winning filmmaker, followed a number of fans who, by their own admission, are obsessive about the band.
"Whilst not suggesting that the girls featured represent all 1D fans, it examined the impact social media has had on teenage fandom and how it has developed a new form of idol worship for many teenage girls.
"Both Channel 4 and the film makers took the utmost care to produce a documentary with genuine affection and respect for the fans."
Happy Memorial Day, boys and girls, where we all get the day off of work so that we worship our national architectural treasures like the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, and Mad Men. Since we have today off instead of watching the show on Sunday night and then thinking about it for hours and hours and having dreams of '70s fashion and mid-century modern furniture then spending several hours writing about Mad Men on Monday, I decided to try something different. I'm going to write this recap while I'm watching. Basically it's my day off and I'm too lazy to watch TV, take notes, and then write up a whole thing so I'm just going to watch and write the thing as we go along. I hope it's educational for everyone.
Don and the rest of the boys (including Ginsberg, who will one day grow up to be a shape-shifting alien who takes Don's place) are in a room figuring out what is going on with Jaguar. The most noticable thing is that Peggy is not in the room. Don takes a break and runs into her in the hall and she needs him to sign off on Secor Laxitives and he tells her she is in charge. If Jaguar is a sexy car, then Secor is like a rusty supermarket cart and Peggy. Sure, Peggy is in charge, but she's in charge of the stupid cart. Speaking of which, Joan then rolls in lobster for the boys working hard courtesy of Mr. Roger Sterling. Peggy wants lobster and doesn't get any. Calling the obvious metaphor police.
Pete and Ken are out to dinner with some fat cat from Jaguar who says he wants a date with Joan. Ken wants to shoot down the idea because he is a nice decent person, but Pete, who thinks it is OK to finagle with his friends wives if they were on The Gilmore Girls, says that he might be able to set it up. Knowing Joan, she'll give them all dirty looks and a stern rebuke when they tell her about the plan and then go along with it, because Joan will always do what is right for the agency and so she can be the one to save the day. Her days of "being adored" might be over, but I have a feeling she can rely on her old skill if she needs to.
Don goes home after a long day and finds Megan on the bed preparing for an audition she is excited for/nervous about. It's sort of like her Jaguar. Don says he wants to watch Carson and go to bed, but he asks Megan a few questions about it, but then she wants to hear about his day. He prompts her to help him figure out the slogan, but she's pissed because they are liking the car to a beautiful mistress saying that it's the sexy thing to have other than a fat nasty wife at home, the proverbial Buick in the garage (or the rusty shopping cart). Then Megan puts on Carson and goes out of the room. It's obvious they can't be what the other needs them to be and that Megan, though he has given her no reason to be, is still preoccupied with Don cheating on her.
Pete brings the Jaguar date proposal to Joan but does the smart thing and couches it like it's some sort of gross affront that he doesn't want to be a part of. Making Joan think she can save the day is the way to appeal to her ego, but she's appalled at the proposition and says that she's married, even though we all know that she is one signature away from being rid of Sgt. Dr. Rapist forever. Pete tells her that this is her chance to be a queen, like Cleopatra and asks Joan what it will take for her to be a queen. She says, "You can't afford it." Oh, I love that Joan. The best part of the scene is their mutual sarcasm as Pete says he hopes he didn't offend Joan while giving her a face that says, "Thanks for screwing up my whole account, you whore," and she says she understands in a tone that says, "You are a nasty, dirty creep and everyone knows it." Joan is right. We all know.
Ken and the TV guy whose name I can't quite remember right now have a call with Gay Rick from Chevalier Blanc, the cologne. They want Peggy to pretend to be Ginsberg inferior on the call, but she insists she be told that she is his supervisor which is, you know, the truth. More indignities for Peggy. When he talks about pulling the ad, Peggy has to step in and come up with a new ad on the fly to sell cologne to women so they'll buy it for their men for Valentine's Day. She comes up with a humdinger about a guy being rescued by Lady Godiva, something that will appeal to men and women. Everyone is happy. Those gays do love Peggy. The scene is dripping in gender norms, where they want to pretend Peggy is a powerless subordinate so as not to upset the client and they all discount the idea of selling to women. Peggy not only disrupts their idea of what a woman's place should be in the workplace, but also subverts a woman's place in the marketplace.
Pete convenes all the partners to talk about Joan slutting herself out for Jaguar. The odd thing is that every man in the room already has a vested interest in Joan's happiness. Lane has a crush on her and she is his "work wife," Roger is the father of her illegitimate baby, and Don may or may not be falling for her after their excursion in last night's episode. They all think Pete is disgusting, because he is. Don disagrees and trots out the canard that she's married with a baby, because we know he knows the marriage is over, but righteous indignation is one of the acts Don plays the best, so he goes with that. Roger says he doesn't want to pay for it, but won't stand in the way, because, well, that's what Roger would do. Lane disagrees, not out of some sense of decency to Joan, but because Pete proposes paying her off with their Christmas bonuses and Lane has already embezzled his for the tax man. He's the only one who objects on a merely selfish basis, when he should be the one really defending Joan's honor. God, Pete is a real creep.
Don decides that they're not going to do the mistress thing because it's vulgar. It took him this long to figure out something that Megan knew intuitively, and Peggy probably would too. He takes a break and Ken and I Can't Remember His Name, oh wait it's Harry! Ken and Harry and Peggy go into the office and Don is not impressed that Peggy came up with the ad and says that Ginsberg can handle it when he's done. Peggy is pissed she's not getting the credit for the idea and that she's not really in charge of everything. Don says if she wants to go to Paris, then she should just go to Paris and throws a wad of money at her face. God, Don is such an asshole. Apparently the theme of this episode is the shades of prostitution all these women are forced to endure, the way that men just throw money at them and expect them to do what they please. Peggy, Ken, and Harry (yes, Harry!) leave embarrassed.
Ken goes to comfort Peggy and she is in the same pose that we just left Don, drink and hand staring out the window. He says that if Don doesn't get her to Paris then he will and if not, they'll both find a new agency. She scoffs at his "stupid pact," having to lash out at a man because a man just lashed out at her.
I don’t think it’s any secret that the state of the modern romantic comedy is a dismal one. I can’t think of a single RomCom in the last year that truly tickled me or warmed my heart. At best, I’ve enjoyed a saccharine smile or a disappointed chuckle here and there, but nothing like the first time I watched When Harry Met Sally or Say Anything. Instead we’re dealt things like Valentine’s Day – it was cute, but just throws together celebrities and stale plots until we can’t help but muster a smile – or Just Go With It – it assumes we’ll believe that Adam Sandler can get Brooklyn Decker to marry him and that the combination of him and Jennifer Aniston is inherently funny. When this happens, we tend to lash out at “the formula.” Well, that complaint stops here and now because in Jean-Pierre Amèris’ Romantics Anonymous (Les Emotifs Anonymes), we find nothing but the strictest romantic comedy formula, yet it is one of the most enjoyable films you may see this year.
Sure, it follows the prescribed steps: Boy meets girl, boy woos girl, boy and girl enjoy a little “honeymoon” happiness, an unlikely conflict tears boy and girl apart, and a dramatic resolution brings boy and girl back together so they can live happily ever after. It’s no secret that this is how the story goes in Romantics Anonymous; it’s what you sign up for. Jean-Renè (Benoit Poelvoorde), the owner of a failing chocolate factory, hires Angèlique (Isabelle Carre), a master chocolatier, and their almost impossible romance begins. However, we find one essential aspect that lends humor, sweetness and heart to a plot that by all rights should be dismissed as overused: an emotional handicap. Both of our lovable characters suffer from a lack of self confidence and a fear of intimacy to the greatest degree.
It’s this handicap that allows the plot to be more of an exoskeleton than a real guide for how the audience should react or feel. Sure, we’ve seen Bridget Jones explore her own emotional incapacity, but that was more in the name of comedy than it was a method for truly tapping into the way insecurity actually makes you feel. She’s a caricature of those feelings. With Angèlique and Jean-Renè, however, we find another form of exaggeration that manages to stay grounded in the emotional issues that provide for the copious comedic situations in the film. We don’t all have such deep-rooted emotional fears that we need to attend a weekly support group, like Angèlique, but we’ve all felt that crippling fear of opening yourself up emotionally to another person. It’s a harrowing first experience, and it’s something we can both feel and laugh at in Amèris’ lovely film.
This is also true of the dreaded conflict in the film. It’s not some overblown emotional breakdown over a case of mistaken identity or a tiny white lie; it’s not an out-of-nowhere miracle job offer that tears the couple apart; and it’s not a blow-out at an unrealistically extravagant gala. It’s simply an issue of emotional capacities reaching the brim and the characters’ lack of faculties to deal with them. It’s something that even if we’ve never experienced the specific situation, we can empathize – and I mean truly empathize. It’s not the way we “empathize” with Carrie Bradshaw when Mr. Big gets all hesitant on their wedding day forcing her to stuff her Manolos, designer wedding dress and crocodile tears into a stretch limo while she’s wearing a bird on her head. We empathize with Jean-Renè and Angèlique because the issue is truly emotional instead of just spectacle or melodrama.
Finally, the characters complete this little puzzle. They are both regular folks. Angèlique is a lovely, normal woman, looking for a normal job and she just happens to be adorably, emotionally inhibited. Jean-Renè is not what I’d call a looker. He’s not tall, dark and handsome; his physique isn’t what it used to be. He’s an older man in a movie but he’s not the mythical foxy 40-something that George Clooney teaches us to expect. He’s a normal guy, he’s just got a few emotional problems. We find these two normal folks getting themselves into perfectly normal embarrassing and endearing moments. We see them on an incredibly awkward first date. We see Jean-Renè go to therapy. We see Angèlique go to her support group. Essentially, the audience can’t enjoy the lovely, romantic parts until they make it through the awkward, unsure moments that come before them and that’s what real life is like.
That’s why even though we know where the plot is going and it gets there exactly the way we think it will, the film is still infinitely enjoyable. It makes you giggle like an idiot, laugh like your friend is telling you their own romantic story, and it ultimately produces one of those unrelenting smiles that feels as it sprouted right out of your core. Essentially, the formula isn’t dead; everyone else is just doing it wrong.