Episode 1: "Oscar Madison Won't Let You Pack Your Bags"

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The first-ever episode of How Was Your Week? features an interview with authoress/ provacateur Natasha Vargas-Cooper, a rundown of the Best Picture nominees from Julie's parents, an unfavorable review of The King's Speech, and lots of caring and sharing.

Produced by Chris Spooner Artwork by Marcia Neumeier Theme Song and Incidental Music by Ted Leo


Hello. This is Julie Klausner. Welcome to How Was Your Week. This is the first episode of.. my podcast, I guess. Here are my goals for this podcast: I am going to talk to a guest. and ask them how their week went; and hopefully in the process, we will. learn. This is a very pedantic endeavor. We’ll learn about each other. and uh, get to know each other, and what have you.

On this episode, I talk to my friend Natasha Vargas-Cooper. I went out to Los Angeles. Not for the express purpose of talking to her, but, um, it was a “fringe-benny” as uh an older, gay man once, used that expression around me, which stuck with me. He was interviewing me to be an intern for him; he wrote a book about fashion. I did not take the job. He was like “’fringe-bennys’ include: delivering things to Isaac Mizrahi’s house”. And I said “No thank you.

So, um, this is an episode in which, I also speak to my parents, about the films that were nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars, which are over, as I speak. now. to. you. They were terrible, we’ll never mention them again. But. This is all I will say about the Oscars. I am glad to see that Celine Dion no longer needs introduction. That we can just, cut back from commercial, and.. see her.. sing. She scored the death reel… and it was beautiful.

I also wanted to, talk a little bit about, one of the.. films that were nominated, which we now know is the Best Picture, according to The Oscars. The Kings Speech. I saw it.. a couple weeks ago, and, I had this to say about it. So, please enjoy. me. now. And thank you for listening to my, to my podcast.

Saturday I went up to Westchester, which is where I grew up, and I hung out with my family, who I hadn’t seen in a while, and I took my grandmother to see The King’s Speech. And my grandmother is 92 and she’d wanted to see it. And I. It was one of the movies that I hadn’t seen for Oscar season. Sort of. I’d seen Social Network; I’d seen all of them. And I said “OK this is gonna clearly win. I’ll see it, Grandma wants to see it, it’ll be a mitzvah, it’ll be cute, it’ll be fine.

I went to see it. And I hated it. I hated… The King’s Speech. I don’t even know where to begin.

I just, I found it to be so boring and just like predictably Oscar-y in the sense of like British people, and period stuff, and you know, Colin Firth, I get it. I think he’s great and fine and all of that. But. It was just, to me, such an over-dramatization of the most irrelevant—not the most irrelevant thing that happened around that time, but like Hilter---God, if I could ever talk about a movie without mentioning Hitler--- Hitler shows up in the movie, in the Third Act. He makes like the Jack Nicholson in Broadcast News entrance. And, you realize, that the speech, the titular King’s Speech that he is making is like: “We’re going to war with Hitler because by-the-by it’s like 1936 and this madman is taking over the world.” And then…There’s like a happy ending because... King George… gets over his speech impediment, for enough time to make a pretty lousy speech, and everyone says “Hooray!” and the subtitle or the, what is it, not an epigraph, it’s the opposite of the epigraph when the text comes on, at the end. It said oh you know Jeffrey Rush, or you know the guy, Jeffrey Rush plays a guy, Lionel, Lionel and King George were friends for the rest of their lives and everyone goes “aww”. And then, meanwhile, my relatives were burning alive in ovens. Just how is that---it’s just not an important—OK, I understand that most human beings, I was gonna say Americans, but most people, I think their number one fear is public speaking. So I do understand how this was a popular movie in that regard like “Oh! Even a King can.. be.. nervous.. about speaking if he has a stammer

And I get that. I don’t share that fear. My um, I’ve never been afraid of, I mean I’m always like nervous, but I don’t have a fear of public speaking in the sense it’s my #1 fear.

My number one fear is my own emotions. [6:10]

The other thing I hated about the King’s Speech—oh my god where do I---the jokes, like the cutesy little like “oh here’s that Shilling I owed you” like uhhhh or like um Jeffrey—by the way, is there any uglier person than Jeffrey Rush? I just, I’ve never seen a face so asymmetrical, unappealing, and his entrance of like, he’s like flushing the toilet, that’s like his comedic, he’s like, “I’m in the Lou!” And he shows up and people are like “oh titter titter, comic relief”.

I hate jokes in a non-comedy context. In a period context. When people are like “Well what’s always been funny? Toilets.” Top hats. Top hats have always been funny but they didn’t use Colin Firth’s top hats to comic effect. It was a missed opportunity. It’s not. Look. If I was gonna give notes, [laughs] I wouldn’t start with the top hats. I would start with the Corgis, because those dogs, also, completely wasted. Very cute. Always shown with the daughters. If you haven’t seen this movie, by the way, this is probably.. useless to you.

What else did I hate about the King’s Speech? I did wonder if Helena Bonham Carter is like that in real life. I do feel like she’s always sort of scurrying in and out and being like “Yes, it’s me.” You know, very supportive and very loving and understanding and kind and you know completely accepting of her really really handsome husband and adorable stutter and wads and wads of cash. But. I do think she is like that, with Tim Burton, at home. I get the sense that she’s sort of, popping in and out, and wearing tiny hats and being intermittently supportive and like just vanishing. Just kind of, not making herself present.

The guy who was also in it-- as an extra with the Terry Jones face—when he was like wearing that mustache, in the like, part of meaning in life, where he’s like “fishy fishy.” That guy, I like him. [missing word at 8:20] run for its money in the cinematography. And the guy [laughing] I was going to make an oral sex joke but I didn’t think Blue Valentine is memorable for any kind of oral sex. It was just memorable for being.. terrible.. in so many different ways.

OH, I liked it when they put that Arch Bishop in his place. But the absurdity of the, the methodology..you know there’s that whole montage where he’s like “brrr oooo put marbles in your mouth” you know that kind of like Rocky montage, but for public speaking in the 30s.

It was just so stupid. It’s like. Could you find a lower stakes conflict during a higher stakes time? Wh—and I know World War II is not the Holocaust. But to me, they always will be, the same. And when you--when you read about the Mengele twins and the experiments and the—I mean---I didn’t want-- I didn’t intend for the first episode of this podcast to be like “alright Mengele Twins, GO!” but I do think the stakes themselves inject---when Colon Firth is pacing around and he’s trying to get through the speech and he’s going “bugger bugger bugger shit shit fuck fuck” Even old people were like “o-hoo-hoo!” You should just be going “Hitler Hitler Hitler” and he should have just made that speech. Because--Because Fucking Hitler. I don’t know. Jeffrey Rush had him sing some parts of the speech to the tune of “Camptown Races” to get through it. Because of the theory you can’t stammer if you’re singing. So he would be like (this is a spoiler), he’d be like: “my nanny didn’t feed me.. do dah” that’s not exactly what he says but he goes through some childhood—you’re like oh, it must have been really hard growing up as the, you know, your nanny was nicer to the--Ok also look. You have a speech impediment. I know that’s hard. I know that sucks. Kids are monsters, assholes. That’s a terrible terrible thing and it’s an accomplishment to get over it. I did think that it would be funny to have like other movies where they sang revelations, like character’s revelations, to the tunes of the, of other like songs in the Public Domain. Like [to the tune of Camptown Races] “I chainsawed off my father’s hands” That’s from a –that’s another spoiler. So that was my Saturday night. A very hot date with my Grandma. Grandma Mitzy. And Colin Firth and Jeffrey.

Is there a King’s Speech porno? Because those two guys were in that room a lot.

If there is a King’s Speech porno, I will watch it. But I might not enjoy it. That’s how I feel about the Real Housewives of Miami. I’m going to watch this, but I’m not going to like it. Or if I like it, I’m not going to be happy about liking it. That’ll teach ‘em. So that was my experience with the King’s Speech

My grandmother by the way, loved it. The lights came up as soon as the credits started to roll. She looked over to me and I said, “What do you think grandma?” and she said “stupendous.” So that’s her review. A little different than mine. [12:00]

Now I want to play for you an interview I did with my parents… about their opinions.. so please enjoy that now. And I know the Oscars are over. Please be patient with the timeliness of this broadcast. We know things now that we didn’t know then. We can put that together in our heads. We can process and be em-path-ic. Is it em-path-ic or em-pathetic? I don’t like the second choice, even though I--I have an inkling it is correct, because it has the word pathetic in it. Hidden. Like so many. Goose Eggs on Easter Day. Anyway, yes, there are some time disparities but you-you understand. Anyway, here are my parents.