Friday, November 25, 2011

Let's all talk about the Lady Gaga special then.

There is no escape.
So last night something happened and we all know it happened and we might as well just talk about it.

That something was the Lady Gaga Thanksgiving special and it was nonsense.  Not nonsense in that it was bad, but nonsense in that it even exists in the first place. 

First off, let's get this out of the way:  Gaga is ridiculously talented.  She can sing.  She can dance.  She holds her own singing jazz songs with goddamn Tony Bennett, for chrissake.  But the woman is also batshit insane, and not in the "oh-em-gee my outfits are made of meat, you guys" way.  She is batshit in the "I wholeheartedly believe that all of America gives a crap about all of this" way.

It kicked off well enough, to be fair, with a straightforward performance of 'Lady Is A Tramp' with Tony Bennett.  We say straightforward, but with Gaga that means "Tony sang while Gaga made weird faces and seized," but it was good and fun and got things off to a good start. 

Then, friends, it "TOOK A TURN." 

"a turn."

All of a sudden we were meant to care about whatever neural misfire Miss G was having at the time, and had to listen to a bunch of stories for no reason.  She did some things and said some things that for whatever reason must have seemed interesting at the time, and then she cooked chicken and waffles with a chef on national television while wearing some seriously fierce couture, BECAUSE OF COURSE.

Things looked up again, thankfully, when she sang some more and danced some more, and then she sat down with Katie Couric for a KIND-OF-PAINFUL-TO-WATCH interview and plopped a giant fabric strawberry on her head and tried to pretend like it was completely normal, because in Gaga's world that is just the way things are done so fuck you.  

Now, full disclosure: after the Couric interview we tuned out a bit because by that point we had done some (a lot of) tequila shots, so we can't say a whole lot about the last 20 minutes or so, but from what we remember, taken all together it was an oddly appropriate-feeling special.

It was traditional with a twist and - even though it got its ratings ass handed to it by last night's airing of 'The Big Bang Theory' - probably managed to get a few more grandmas in the midwest on board the Gaga train. Because if there's one thing midwest grandmas like, it's a show in which the star self-servingly does all the things that she knows midwest grandmas will like.

Sure, she looked amazing, sang amazing, and managed to hit on an oddly appropriate tone for the holiday, which really is what Gaga is about - taking our preconceptions of something and twisting them into her own grotesque interpretation of them.  But every time she spoke, the whole thing took this air of entitlement and posturing about it that we just couldn't get past until she started singing again. 

But good for Lady Gaga.  We came in to the special expecting to hate it and left only hating the parts where she was herself.  Our 90 minutes with her confirmed once and for all that she is a brilliant musician, fashion icon, and performer, and also that we never, ever want to hang out with her.  And that was what made the special a success in the end.  It was meant to give us a glimpse into Gaga's softer, real-er side, and it did just that - it's just that Gaga's soft, real side is completely insane and self-involved. 

And we wouldn't expect any less.

Our personal favorite from the show was, oddly, her completely lip-synced, by-the numbers performance of 'Bad Romance' because no matter what happens ever it will still be one of the best songs in the history of literally everything, and not even the fact that last night saw it performed on what we assume is the set of an upcoming rococo-themed Cascada video can take that away.

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