4 Highly-Specific Festivus Grievances For This Trash Fire Year
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After a long, hellish year filled with things like “bean dad," an inexplicable, generation-wide obsession with a 14-year-old Starburst commercial, and two (2) brand-new Covid variants with names that respectively sound like a mediocre airline and a beloved singer-songwriter, Festivus – Seinfeld's signature holiday for “the rest of us” -- is just two days away.
Popularized by George Costanza's dad, Frank in season nine's “The Strike,” Festivus marks the time of year where we give a giant middle finger to the agonizing consumerist stresses of the holiday season by donning now our gay apparel ("apparel" in this context specifically meaning a plain metal pole), beating the absolute s--t out of each other in the name of “feats of strength," and airing our grievances, laying out the ever-growing list of ways our loved ones have managed to let us down over the course of the past 360-something odd days.
Considering how much some of you – including Succession's costume designer, Disney World's bartenders, and even the mainstream media overlords -- have failed me, its arrival is not a single second too soon. Folks, I've got a lot of grievances this year, and in the continuation of Cracked's very own Festivus tradition, I am most definitely about to air them here for your amusement – and my much-needed catharsis.
As the late, great Jerry Stiller once put it in all his angry, Costanz-ian glory – "I've got a lot of problems with you people, and now, you're gonna hear about it!"
Time Magazine's Person of the Year Committee
Elon Musk. Really? That's the best you could do?
Out of all the things that happened this year -- medical researchers, doctors, and nurses distributing life-saving Covid-19 vaccines, Britney Spears sharing her story and finding freedom after 13-years in an oppressive conservatorship, and hell, the Ever Given getting stuck in the Suez Canal -- you've settled on Elon Musk to take home your most coveted prize?
Was it his Saturday Night Live appearance? Pete Davidson did that too *and* managed to date Kim Kardashian. Was it his passion for hyping up Dogecoin in what may or may not be a thinly-veiled F-U to his arch-nemesis, the SEC? You could have honored all of r/WallStreetBets with the coveted title to the same effect. Was it his various SpaceX Launches? I would say give it Jeff Bezos just for the space cowboy meme, but like come on -- Cowboy Bebop, did it first – and they don't force their cast and crew to piss in bottles.
Look, I get it. I think “Player of Games” is an absolute e girl-breakup banger just like the rest of us, but we all know you can do a whole lot better. To paraphrase Homer Simpson's bulletin board, “Do it for her” – and by her, I mean Dolly Parton, because if anyone deserves this highly-coveted honor, we all damn well know it's her.
Succession costume designer Michelle Matland
“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility," an adage as old as time – or, well, as old as Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. While these words have inspired several iterations of Peter Parker to use their spidey-senses for good rather than taking joy-swings around New York City, the meaning behind this sentiment was apparently lost on Succession costume designer Michelle Matland, who did nothing but choose absolute chaos while costuming Sarah Snook's Shiv Roy this year.
As the show's third season hit the small screen this fall, testing the logical limits of just how invested human beings could possibly be in whether someone will sign a piece of paper, another plotline inadvertently mozied its way to the forefront of the series: The Waystar Royco heiress's absolutely banging form-fitting dresses.
Now, reader, I want to preface this thirsty rant with a disclaimer. Snook is an incredible actress. She deserves an Emmy award both for her stellar performance throughout this entire season as well as for that glare in the show's final shot. Just like Daniel Radcliffe was seemingly made to bring the role of Harry Potter to life, the same can be said of Snook and Shiv Roy. Her talent and apparent passion have helped turn Shiv into a truly stand-out character, one that will go down in history as one of HBO's most iconic roles. We all have our celebrity crushes – Snook, Dev Patel, and of course, Pete Davidson -- are mine. I know, I have excellent taste.
Now, with deepest, kindest respect, I must say that Matland's costuming was so good this season, it somehow managed to emerge as the Beyoncé to Snook's Michelle Williams, entirely stealing the show at various points throughout the series – namely, that white dress in the season three finale. Described as “unflattering” and “frumpy" by The Daily Mail, I, alongside my horny Twitter comrades, begged to differ. That dress looked so good, it essentially existed as its own character -- the fourth Roy sibling that will damn well walk away with the title of Waystar Royco's CEO.
As her Kendall sobbed in a Tuscan alley, Shiv squatting down to comfort her brother, all I, and apparently, half of social media could see was the dress. As the Roy siblings confronted their father as he tested the fate of the family business, the gown once again managed to eclipse the drama unfolding on screen. Hell, as the armchair reviews from HBO enthusiasts began pouring in following the show's finale, the dress dominated the conversation, so much so that “the dress" began disintegrating even further in its final resting place of BuzzFeed's NYC foyer.
Look, Matland, we get it. You're excellent at what you do – perhaps a little too excellent. You made your work truly stand out … but at what cost?
The Creative Team Behind 2017's Father Figures
In honor of the holiday spirit, I've decided to dedicate one of my grievances to a dear friend of mine who we'll call Ryan. A few years ago, Ryan was once deeply scorned by short-sighted Hollywood shills who thrive off of baiting and switching their audiences, a slight which he says still stings to this day.
The year was 2017. Legend has it that Ryan and his Ivy League fraternity brothers had grown tired of flip cup and beer pong, craving a new way to get hammered that would not get them kicked out of their university fraternity row. After brainstorming for hours, it seems one brother finally had an idea – why not see Owen Wilson's latest family comedy Father Figures, turning their day at the movie theater into a meme-inspired drinking game. Their mission was simple – they'd sneak a water bottle full of vodka into the cinema and take a sip every time Wilson says the one-syllable catchphrase we've all come to know, love, and use to score epic lightsaber battles – “wow.”
Centered around twin brothers, played by Wilson and Ed Helms, searching for their biological father, the film seemingly lends itself to the challenge, filled with twists and turns that would generally prompt anyone to say “wow” – especially Owen f--king Wilson. Yet instead of letting the three-letter word slip from his lips even once (despite its inclusion in the “wow” supercut, below, the Hawaiian proverb does not count) the star spends a good chunk of the movie standing around looking absolutely dumbfounded with nothing to say – not even “wow.”
Two odd hours later, Ryan and his brothers emerged from the theater stone-cold sober and deeply disappointed, a let down that still haunts them four years later.
So, Father Figures, producers I want to know, Why the f--k would you go to the trouble of casting Owen Wilson if you're going to refuse to let him do the one thing he does best?” Would you hire Harrison Ford only to bar the “finger of doom?” Would you dare to cast Will Smith just to forbid him saying “oh hell no”? Would you tap Stanley Kubrick to direct your movie, only to tell him he could under no circumstances include his iconic stare? Let the man say “wow,” goddamnit – your frat bro audience depends on you.
Bartenders at The Disney Parks
Reader, I regret to inform you that one of my lifelong dreams was finally crushed earlier this year: No, not being a talented writer – that aspiration died the moment I took my first breath -- but rather, successfully drinking around the world at Walt Disney World's EPCOT park.
This June, a dear friend and I headed into the park with high hopes, donning our best Hawaiian dad shirts, a bottle of water, and a deep desire to get hammered on overpriced alcoholic beverages, a longing we thought could help sustain us upon our journey into Disney-themed obliteration. Yet despite our best efforts, carefully pacing ourselves, keeping hydrated, and having a selection of healthy-ish snacks on hand, by 4 p.m., we were cranky, sweaty, and in the midst of a full-blown sugar crash.
“How the hell did that happen?” you may be asking yourself. Well, my dear reader, the party at fault is none other than Disney's bartenders. Basically every drink at each of Epcot's pavilions can be summed up as either A) milkshakes/slushies with a single drop of Vodka or B) wines so sweet, they make the Manishevitz taste like a bitter Bordeaux. No shots. No twists on classic drinks like Gin and Tonics. Just pure sugar topped with more sucrose and what is probably the smallest amount of alcohol they legally have to add to label a beverage as being “alcoholic.”
I get it. EPCOT, in its glorious, decaying state, had gained a reputation for being the on-property locale where parents and the widely-loathed “childless millennial” crowd convened to get hammered. The park had become a drunk fest, defined just as much by illegal urban exploring as it was mommies throwing up into the lake after drinking one too many Gray Goose slushies.
It was bad, but come on now, these newly-tightened restrictions are an aggressive overcorrection. Disney World, in all honestly, is nothing more than a 100-degree hellhole, complete with screaming kids and 90-minute wait-times to board a slow-moving log-flume about agriculture. The food is so aggressively sugary, it can only be truly savored by either small children – presuming they have $100 burning a hole in their pockets to snag them roughly one (1) donut – or any of the park's trash containers, where everyone over the age of 7 tosses their snack after two bites for being too sweet. There's a lot going on and frankly, sometimes you just need grown-up juice to help cope with the unending chaos unfolding before you.
My point is, dear Disney bartender, is that if there was ever a time to down alcohol with reckless abandon, it would be at your fine establishment. After all, without The Maelstrom, everyone's favorite Norse-history-themed roller coaster, and Buzzy, the park's resident abandoned animatronic-turned urban exploring mascot, what the f--k all else is there to do in EPCOT? Now, in all fairness, I understand that you're probably already damn well aware of this. I know this isn't your fault, rather that of your corporate overlords (Bob Chapek strikes again!), but someday, I hope that as the working class rises up to reclaim fair treatment, the kind people of the Disney parks also fight to include more than a single drop of vodka in their alcoholic beverages. We f--king need it.
Happy Festivus to all, and to all, a good night.
Top Image: NBC