In media, sometimes the simple fact of longevity breeds something in between sweet nostalgia and semi-ironic accolades. I’ve been making media for so long that I frequently get to reflect on something that I feel like I was working on yesterday. But it turns out it was a long time ago. Sheesh.
For its 20th Anniversary, I really enjoyed participating in this oral history of KIDS, the film by Harmony Korine & Larry Clark. You spend two or three years of your life trying to get one film made. This one turned out to be meaningful, if disturbing, and launched a ton of “scare the parents” tv content, too, from ‘Girls’ to ‘Euphoria.’ I was talking to the writer for this, remembering things from two decades ago, which were hazy to begin with, and this is the pull quote. Sheesh:
Lauren Zalaznick: “That last scene was about rape, it was about non-consent, it was about HIV. And most of that sex scene, the entire freaking night we spent having a meltdown with the sound guy, who was out of his mind because the couch that had been established in the master party shot was this white, cheesy, awful vinyl thing and when it came to do the actual rape scene, the squeaking of their bodies on this couch was rendering the entire audio track absolutely unusable. We couldn’t swap out the couch because we had seen it in a million other shots. The gripping, devastating scene at that (climactic) moment was all about making sure a robe was out of sight but within [Chloe Sevigny’s] arm’s reach, and then worrying about this squeaky freaking couch the whole time.”
Oral histories are really popular now. Lots of people tell their story to a good writer and it really builds a three hundred and sixty degree picture of the process. I think I mentioned this Vanity Fair piece for 20th Anniversary of Zoolander a few weeks ago, but I just loved how it came out. Just like the film, it was amazing to see how much of the cast came out for Ben to share their remembrances. From Justin Theroux to Fabio. Sheesh.
But absolutely nothing in the pop culturezone comes close to the coverage and excitement—usually with a touch of nose-holding— of recognizing just how long and how deeply the Real Housewives franchise has been going. These shows still really resonate, but the art of Season 1 is really something to behold. Yes! 2006’s own ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County’ debuted fifteen years ago! A terrific writer (and fan) wrote a book which just came out. Much of the press has focused on the fact that Season 1 barely made it on the air. We had to throw it on because we didn’t have anything else in the development pipeline. And hardly anyone was watching, anyway, It was called “The Real Housewives” from the start, a play on the wildly popular but fictional Desperate Housewives of network TV at the time. I made our marketing team throw “…of Orange County” on the end of the title because I thought we would have only one season there and then move on to produce one season per City (…of NYC, …of Atlanta, …of New Jersey). We were convinced none of the casts or storylines would last more than 8 episodes. 16 Seasons and ~200 episodes later there’s a chance— a small one— that I could have been wrong. Sheesh.
Here we are at the Season 1 press luncheon:
Kadoos to me and Andy who have owned our looks every day of our lives. Sheesh.
Oh and don’t worry, even though I told the nice writer so much about the origin story of the OC, there is plenty of material left — from my KIDS, Zoolander, and certainly Bravo days — for TBTIWLNW**
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**The Book That I Will Likely Never Write