Shade Court is here, let’s all exercise the good sense. I don’t have much to muse about before we dive in, other than: Hallelujah, we are free from Donald Trump this week.
In this week’s Shade Court, I begrudgingly hand out compliments, CNN needs to stop, and bros are being bros.
The Case: Caroline Manzo continues her around-the-clock hypnosis of Andy Cohen and the rest of the Bravo TV development team, I assume, because I cannot, for the life of me, imagine any other reason why Manzo’d With Children continues to exist.
In a clip from this season’s premiere, Caroline and her adult children, who still depend on her for their professional wellbeing, visited some old jail in New Jersey which at one point housed Al Capone.
Caroline was later asked a baiting question by a producer about whether celebrities receive preferential treatment in jail—of course hoping she would slam her old co-star Teresa Giudice.
“I don’t know any celebrities that have been in jail – real celebrities that have been in jail,” Manzo says as she takes a jab at her former RHONJ cast mate.
The Defendant: People magazine
The Deliberation: It’s nice when people and organizations for whom you have comically low expectations surprise you on a sunny Friday afternoon. I was fully prepared to give this a quick glance and award People yet another losing verdict, but when you make plans, the shade gods cackle and death drop all over your silly plans.
The beauty is in how Caroline delivers the line. Had she been too extra with it, “I don’t know any REAL CELEBRITIES HAHAHAHA who’ve gone to jail,” or misplaced the emphasis, “I don’t know any real celebrities who’ve gone to jail,” she would have destroyed the delicate balance of shade.
Instead, she dispenses the jab with little inflection and very matter-of-fact tone as if barely even knows who Teresa is let alone remembers that she went to jail. *Chef kiss* for your Caroline Manzo even though I still am not happy about your show.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: As much as it pains me to admit it, Kim Kardashian delivered the ether of the year when she exposed Taylor Swift’s lies on Snapchat.
This week, Kim and North (I still cannot believe that is her actual name) overdressed for her husband’s concert at Madison Square Garden. What makes this even vaguely interesting is that she was wearing the same dress Taylor Swift modeled in the editorial to accompany her 2016 Vogue cover story. Taylor reportedly gushed that the May story was her favorite cover story she’s ever done.
At this point, I have to assume almost anything from either camp that has even the slighting tinge of a reference or message to the other is likely intentional because, really, what else do they all have to worry about?
The Defendant: Fashionista
The Deliberation: One thing I have to give Kim is that she is very patient with her revenge, and she really does her research. The pettiness involved here is what really gets me.
She had to, one, recall that Taylor wore the dress, or at least scour through every fashion spread Taylor’s done in the past year to discover it. She also had to make sure she would look better in the dress than Taylor did. After all that, she still had to procure the gown, get her child involved in all this—just to add insult to injury, I assume.
Again, I hate even kicking a compliment anywhere near this family, but Kim knows her strengths. She didn’t try to say or tweet something clever. Instead, she did was she spends probably 45% of her life doing: she simply got dressed.
And now, doubtlessly, Taylor will forever link one of her favorite professional moments to Kim Kardashian attending a Kanye West concert.
The Ruling: Shade
The Case: President Barack Obama schlepped overseas for the G20 Summit. While there, other world leaders exhibited behavior that ranged from childish to “oh wow, that dude seems super erratic and maybe shouldn’t be running a country!”
Meanwhile, Barack Obama continued counting down the days until he wouldn’t have to put up with disrespectful shit like this any longer.
The Defendant: CNN
The Deliberation: Curiously, CNN used this headline on their landing page, but not on the article itself. I see this error often in my line of work. A writer crafts perfectly fine copy, and then an editor swoops in to punch things up—self-awareness and accuracy be damned—with a shade reference.
Let’s also take a moment to reflect on the fact that we now live in a world where CNN is comfortable enough—possibly even proud—to use “shade” in a headline.
The Ruling: Not shade
The Case: Remember when Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston were dating? It was around the time you put that carton of milk in the fridge. (Don’t worry, it probably hasn’t gone bad yet.)
During their brief romance, some speculated that Tom was using Taylor in part to raise his public profile so that he’d have a better chance of becoming the next James Bond, even though we very seriously do not need any additional James Bond movies that aren’t starring Black Zeus AKA Idris Elba.
Daniel Portman, an actor from Game of Thrones, sort of agrees with me, and recently argued that Tom Hiddleston shouldn’t be the next James Bond:
Speaking ahead of his Oz Comic-Con appearance this weekend, the 24-year-old bachelor said: ‘I like Tom Hiddleston as an actor but he’s... I’d like to see a more macho Bond.’
After saying that he’d like to see Idris Elba in the role, Daniel added that he thinks Bond should be ‘a proper bloke’.
The Defendant: Daily Mail
The Deliberation: Let’s break down Portman’s comments for a minute becuase this obviously isn’t shade and I barely understand what he’s trying to say.
I wonder if Daniel realizes that the actor who plays James Bond doesn’t actually have to possess, at the time of casting, the skills of a fictional character. Like, they can teach Tom how to shoot a gun and roll out of a moving car and load him up with Muscle Milk and BAM: you got a James Bond. Half of these lookalike white dues in Hollywood could play James Bond if pressed.
Perhaps I simply don’t understand what’s un-macho about Tom Hiddleston. I haven’t considered him much, but he seems pretty in line with most of the heteronormative standards we have for men in this world.
Oh wow, it just hit me that this dude is babbling a bunch of nonsense and none of us really care about any of this.
The Ruling: Not shade