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There are lots of anxious questions swirling in our minds this Election Day. How long will the line at my polling place be? Will we know the results of the election tonight, tomorrow, or even this week? Will there be post-election violence? What authoritarian shenanigans will Trump pull at, well, any and every point? It's all ... emotionally exhausting.
If you, like us, want respite from the compounding drama of the election, the news cycle and, God help us, the New York Times needle, then we have a glimmer of good news for you: Help is on the way! Here, we've assembled some of our favorite pop culture aficionados, gossip hounds, and celebrity obsessives to take your mind off the existential dread by sharing the low-stakes pop culture drama that their minds wander to when they need a moment of Zen. From feuding Potomac housewives, to the simpler times of wall-to-wall Brangelina coverage, to trying to suss out Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio's relationship, they've got you covered with enough Wikipedia rabbithole fodder to distract you at least until Florida is called.
Casey Wilson & Danielle Schneider, Bitch Sesh
They're actors, comedians, writers, and renowned scholars of all things Real Housewives whose podcast, Bitch Sesh, is required listening for Housewives obsessives—or even for those who are Housewives curious.
Which Housewives franchise is serving up enough drama to distract us from our doom scrolling?
Casey: Three words … Potomac, Potomac. Potomac. It's near D.C. but could not be farther. Housewives of Potomac has blossomed into the franchise of our dreams. It's what you need. It's what you want. And, honestly, you're foolish at this point if you're not watching it.
Danielle: It's giving us big drama and small drama. It's giving us crazy fights, but it's also giving us those small, real-life moments of marriages crumbling, people getting back with ex-husbands who have done them wrong.
Casey: There's a disgusting husband who keeps pinching cameramen's bottoms.
Danielle: There is a man who, instead if giving his children the love and affection they need, gives them basically the equivalent of a TGI Friday's chain.
Casey: It's really quite something.
What’s one big drama and one small drama you can’t stop thinking about?
Casey: The big drama is between a wildly unhinged woman named Candiace and a mom named Monique. The two of them get into a huge physical altercation, as you do, at a wine tasting. Now, one of them is suing the other one. It's gotten just real crazy. But we don't know who's to blame, who provoked who.
Danielle: I've literally watched the footage from the fight like it's forensic evidence. I'm looking at angles. I'm looping it back, I'm looping it forward. I'm slowing it down. Because I don't know who started it! And I've watched it a hundred times.
Casey: It's a sweeping drama in my life. It's all I think about.
Danielle: And there are so many smaller dramas. There's Karen, who has always been a stay-at-home wife, and now she's gotten into the perfume industry. But she only has, like, one bottle of perfume. I don't think it takes up a lot of her time. But her husband feels like she's giving too much of her time to the perfume business and not enough time to the family. And again, we haven't seen her give a lot of time to this perfume! Eventually, he said to her, and I quote, "I'm not sure I love you anymore."
Casey: All I want to say is that it's not worth it! We've tried the perfume. In fact, during a live show before quarantine, we got big industrial fans and wafted it into the crowd—and some people had to leave. It's … a stronger scent. I don't want Karen to lose her family over this scent, is what I'm saying.
Danielle: This is not the battle. Let's not stake our family on this battle. Maybe another one! Maybe a wine business! But this perfume is not it.
Casey: And the thing is, in terms of scale, of what's happening on that show, this is one of the smaller side stories. And it's devastating! That's what we're working with.
For the uninitiated, what makes Housewives so obsession worthy?
Casey: A lot of people like to say, "I don't watch Housewives!" But then the minute you bring up one thing from one episode, they say, "Oh, yeah, yeah, I saw that!" So you do watch or you don't watch? The shows have a way of permeating the culture. You can't escape them, so you might as well watch.
Danielle: Everybody knows where they were when Teresa flipped over that table in New Jersey all those years ago.
Casey: We all know where we were when we found out Denise may or may not have slept with Brandi. These are seminal moments in reality television. I take the day off on the anniversary of the table flip, to reflect.
What’s one thing happening in Housewives post-election that you're desperately looking forward to?
Casey: No matter what happens on election night, there is one thing we can hold onto in this world. And that is that Salt Lake City is coming.
Danielle: There is a woman on the show who married her step-grandfather. I need to be in the right place to process that.
An anonymously run Instagram account, Deuxmoi shares user-generated celebrity stories and sightings. The account stresses that its tips are completely unverified and not fact, but it’s still become the go-to celebrity gossip account in quarantine, sucking pop culture lovers, industry insiders, and maybe even a celeb or two into a community that’s expanding into places like Facebook and Reddit to discuss the posts on the mothership of Deuxmoi’s never-ending Instagram Stories feed.
Your account features a lot of user-generated gossip, sightings, and questions posed to the community. What's one obsession your followers had that now you're obsessed with too?
There is something that comes up a lot on the Deuxmoi Instagram: celebrity friendships that are no longer. One that's a big mystery is the friendship between the Seinfeld family and the Ripa/Consuelos family. Apparently, Kelly [Ripa] and Jessica [Seinfeld] were BFFs—they vacationed together and called each other "sisters"—and fans noticed that their bestie status might have cooled based on their lack of interaction on social media. Andy Cohen (who is obvi Team Ripa) and Howard Stern are two names that come up whenever this subject is discussed in an Instagram Stories Q&A, but I'm not sure how they're related to the story. The followers are dying to get to the bottom of this—so obviously, I'm invested.
What's some low-stakes drama your followers have brought to your attention that you can't stop thinking about?
Deuxmoi followers have noticed a pattern of weird interactions between Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, and I've been dying to find out more. After I posted a DM from a follower describing an awkward run-in they witnessed between Jay and Leo, a couple of other people came forward who had witnessed some awkward interactions between them too.
What makes it obsession worthy?
It’s two major power players—one in music, one in Hollywood. And, like, why are they so awkward with each other?
What's the weirdest detail a follower has submitted that you can’t get over?
I don't know if he still does this, but apparently, Jared Leto used to send pies to his neighbors during the holidays. Someone said it was specifically blueberry pies, but I cannot confirm if that was the flavor!
Elaine Lui, Lainey Gossip
One of the godmothers of celebrity gossip in the Internet age, the founder of Lainey Gossip is also a staple of talk show television like eTalk and The Social in Canada, where she resides, and where Canadians are also anxiously monitoring the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
What's the low-stakes drama you can't stop thinking about?
I really love classic gossip. One story that I love is from when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie first came out as confirmed lovers. You know, it was through a set of paparazzi photos of them on a beach in Kenya. And then, there was this hilarious story that went around about how there were all these loud sounds coming from their suite at the resort—because their lovemaking was so ferocious. The story was that other guests woke up because, allegedly, they had made so much noise. The sounds of lovemaking coming out of their suite were so loud that security knocked on their door to see if everything was okay.
And at the time, these were the two hottest celebrities. Like, they're so beautiful, right? And the whole narrative was that they worked on Mr. and Mrs. Smith together, they played spies-slash-assassins, they were at the top of their game, and their relationship was super volatile. And so the whole idea around this couple was that their passion and their attraction to each other was like a supernova, it was so explosive. And then, of course, this crazy story comes out, and it's probably been debunked since.
They never addressed it publicly. You know, it was just some tabloid story. I mean, this was 15 years ago. The gossip was them. Every story, every headline, every magazine cover. Everybody cared about Brangelina. Even though the story came from some ragtag-y publication, people were just like, "Oh, my God, they fuck so hard!" Listen, in these times, why not?
What's the detail you can't get over?
I guess that people believed it. It's the kind of thing that people believed back then; you wouldn't believe it now, because if it actually happened now, we would all be able to turn on our phones and record the sound. And then it would be real and it would be crazy. It would just explode on Twitter, Instagram, right? But back then, all you had to go on was what you read in a tabloid.
What made it obsession worthy then, and worthy of revisiting now?
I think Brad and Angelina inspired a level of obsession from all of us that we haven't been able to find again in celebrity couples. The formula of Brad + Angelina = the ultimate celebrity story for our time. Who they were, their status, all of that in combination. You have to remember that these were two mega-mega-A-list people. Celebrities hook up all the time. But how many times does it come around that you have an A-plus-plus-plus star and another A-plus-plus-plus star? And they looked the way that they did. And there was all kinds of speculation about whether or not he stepped out on Jennifer Aniston to be with Angelina. And the fact that they were in a movie together. We were all obsessed. Their story was so intoxicating and their breakup was maybe equally as shocking. The fact of the matter is that we have not seen a couple like this ever since. People have tried.
Emma Diamond & Julie Kramer, Comments by Celebs
The creators of the highly popular Instagram page have turned it into a social media cottage industry, and launched a podcast in 2018 to feed their fans' voracious appetites to know what celebrities are doing on IG and in real life.
You have a keen eye for what celebrities are doing on social media. What's happening in celebrity social media that we can distract ourselves with while waiting for the returns?
Emma: I say this with embarrassment yet complete honesty, we physically cannot get enough of all things TikTok. When we first joined the app, it was with much speculation and even a bit of confusion. Fast-forward six months and we're hooked. (To clarify: Neither Julie nor I post ourselves. We're just spectators.) The way these teenagers have skyrocketed to fame, now making their way into the mainstream media landscape, is fascinating.
Perhaps the element we find most captivating, from a business perspective, is the way that the music industry has come to rely on these TikTok stars. There is now a direct correlation between a song charting and its TikTok presence. We're seeing massive record labels paying big money for the talent to dance to their music or create challenges to make it trend. It's a tangible representation of the way social media and digital talent is changing the game—in more ways than one. As we always say on the podcast, you don't have to care about or like these people to recognize the waves they're making. It's a completely new generation and definition of celebrity, and I'm very invested in watching it evolve.
What's the low-stakes celebrity drama you can't stop thinking about?
Emma: The thought of whether or not Kourtney and Scott will ultimately end up together is a constant reel in my mind.
Julie: Unfortunately, mine too.
What makes it obsession worthy?
Emma: Everything. The fact that we've seen their ups and downs in such an intimate, transparent way over the years. The fact that we've recently seen Scott rise to the occasion and exhibit the exact type of behavior Kourtney has wanted him to for so many years. There's also a real sense of camaraderie among the Internet that arises when discussing this potential rekindling, and that's something we find fun.
What's the detail you can't get over?
Julie: Recently, we've seen them posting photos of just the two of them. And, yes, that shouldn't necessarily be a big deal, considering we know how much time they naturally spend together. However, them posting each other is normally in conjunction with the children. During Kim's birthday trip, none of the children with the exception of Mason were even there, so the post was less child-oriented. Thus, our minds wander …
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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