It’s already been a year paved with milestones for Megan Thee Stallion, whose four Grammy nominations last week felt almost like an afterthought amid her ongoing cultural domination. In addition to racking up myriad awards and Time covers, Beyoncé collaborations, and fashion collections, Megan has also broken quite a few records in the past twelve months: most streams for a song in its first week. First woman to lead the rap songwriters chart. First female rap collaboration to nab a top single in the U.K. First person to think that 2020 was (for the most part) actually pretty good. And this week, the Houston rapper had yet another landmark achievement, with her recently released “Body” making Megan the first woman to ever land three number-one songs on Billboard’s streaming charts in a single year. It’s an achievement that puts the Houston rapper in exceedingly rare company, bested only by Drake’s nabbing five number-one singles in 2018—and, just to put it out there, the year’s not over yet.
And again, that’s Houston rapper: this week, Megan made it abundantly clear that—despite what it says on her birth certificate or Wikipedia page—she does not consider herself to be from San Antonio. “I am 100 percent from Houston, Texas, but my mother was pregnant with me in Houston,” Megan explained in a new video interview for GQ. “My grandmother is from San Antonio, and she was like, ‘You need to come have this baby in San Antonio.’ So my momma drove me to San Antonio, had me in the hospital, and took me right back to the H.” This is a minor but apparently devastating biographical quibble, considering Megan’s former friend Kelsey Nicole recently released a diss track, “Bussin’ Back,” that calls Megan out as a “b—h from Bexar County,” which is an insult we weren’t aware existed. Have all those myriad East Coast/West Coast/Dirty South rivalries fully descended into turf wars between counties? You know Texas has 254 of those, right? That’s bound to get exhausting.
Jim Parsons Reveals He Auditioned for The Office
Straight outta Harris County, Jim Parsons has really been stretching out as an actor this year with his dramatic roles in Netflix’s Hollywood and The Boys in the Band. Still, he could spend the next ten years being tortured in Lars von Trier movies and he’d still be known as “Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.” This week, Parsons revealed just how close he came to missing that career-defining role, recalling that he once auditioned for NBC’s The Office, where he might have ended up being locked into grudgingly discussing a different series for the rest of his life. Parsons shared his anecdote during a panel for Fox’s upcoming comedy Call Me Kat, for which he serves as executive producer, and recalled how he didn’t think much of The Office’s prospects at the time. “I was like ‘How stupid, it’s about an office,” he said. “If America wanted their own office show, they would have already made it by now.” Instead he was free to go on to give America what they really wanted: a show about nerds who are nowhere near an office. Unfortunately, Parsons wouldn’t say which Office character he auditioned for, although it was clearly Dwight. Just say it was Dwight, man.
Saved by the Bell Reboot Faces Wrath of Selena Gomez Fans
Peacock’s recently debuted reboot of nineties kid-com Saved by the Bell is facing an even more daunting obstacle than streaming audience fragmentation, growing fatigue for self-aware reboots of old TV shows, and the advancing ravages of time. Last week, fans of Selena Gomez descended on the show, marshaling their considerable social media forces to register their outrage over a reference the series made to the singer’s 2017 kidney transplant. As Deadline reports, one of the episodes featured a subplot about two students who have their phones confiscated, leaving them unable to google the name of the person who donated the life-saving kidney to the Grand Prairie star. The students then engage in a prolonged squabble that, at some point, escalates to someone spray-painting “Does Selena Gomez Even Have A Kidney” on a wall, for … comedic reasons.
Although the streaming platform insisted in a statement that “it was never our intention to make light of Selena’s health” with its quasi joke, Gomez’s devotees took offense anyway, deluging Peacock’s Twitter feed with “RESPECT SELENA GOMEZ” messages until the company finally relented and apologized for its poor taste. In addition to making a donation to Gomez’s Lupus research fund, the network said it would remove the offending scenes from the show, marking a victory for fans of both Gomez and comedy. Imagine: if only Twitter had been around in 1990, there might never have been a Saved by the Bell to revive in the first place!
Joe Rogan Has Spotify’s Most Popular Podcast of 2020
Now that Joe Rogan has relocated to Austin, the state can officially lay claim to being home to the world’s most popular podcast, for whatever tangential clout that might be worth. Spotify announced this week that The Joe Rogan Experience was its biggest show of 2020 in terms of global streams, an achievement that would certainly seem to justify the $100 million the service shelled out in May to nab exclusive rights—thus spurring Rogan’s move to our decidedly more tax-friendly state. While neither Spotify nor Texas can take full credit for Rogan’s success—yet—it’s notable that since arriving, Rogan has been quickly working his way through a roster of homegrown celebrity guests, including Matthew McConaughey, the Geto Boys’ Willie D, Mike Judge, and Whole Foods founder John Mackey, all while only allowing Alex Jones to spread dangerous vaccine and COVID-19 misinformation for a mere three hours. We expect Rogan’s first full year as a local to be just as triumphant, provided, y’know, everyone lives to see it.
Caleb Landry Jones to Play Australian Mass Shooter
Speaking of controversial things that Alex Jones may or may not believe actually happened, the 1996 mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, is the subject of the new movie Nitram, in which Garland-born actor Caleb Landry Jones will take the lead. The project has already attracted its own share of outrage, with both survivors of the gunman’s attack and even the Tasmanian premier denouncing the film as “inappropriate” and exploiting a subject that remains an “ongoing raw issue,” a quarter century later. Regardless, production is moving ahead with Jones starring as Martin Bryant, the man who killed 35 people and wounded 23 others in one of the world’s deadliest massacres—a casting choice that’s already raised eyebrows for putting an American in the role. As The Guardian notes, some have speculated that the part could well be “a career killer” for an Australian actor, and that Jones would obviously have no such reservations about adding yet another unsettling creep to his oeuvre—this time with a fun, Aussie accent.
CBS Developing Medical Drama Set in Typically Backward Texas
On the polar opposite end of the controversy spectrum, CBS has put into development a Texas-set medical drama whose premise sounds as comfortingly formulaic and fall-asleep-in-your-chair soothing as you might expect. Adorned with the temporary yet perfectly apt working name Untitled Texas Medical Project, the show will concern “a renowned San Francisco pathologist more invested in research than patient interaction” who leaves West Coast civilization behind for one of the many backwoods Texas wastelands that Hollywood producers are convinced exist throughout our state. He or she then becomes the sole doctor for miles around, as, obviously, most of us get by just fine with our mud plasters and prayers. The show sounds like it’s a little bit Doc Hollywood, a little bit Hart of Dixie, and a whole lot of likely condescension from what sounds like yet another show where city slickers come to appreciate the down-home realness of their pig-slop surroundings, all while the locals gawk at their alien technology and newfangled “medicine.” But hey, maybe a few Texans will get some work, at least, unless they pull another 9-1-1: Lone Star and film the whole thing in California.
CBS All Access Gives Texas 6 Another Season
At least CBS is still committed to delivering some authentically Texan television with its docuseries Texas 6, which just received a second season order on the network’s CBS All Access streaming platform. Debuting just last week, the show follows the Greyhounds team in the Palo Pinto County town of Strawn, whose tiny population spurred the local high school to take up the rare sport of six-man football, then ride it to two consecutive state championships. CBS renewed the series quickly after the Thanksgiving premiere, clearly believing that Texas 6 could become its very own Cheer, what with its similarly addictive story of young athletes and their hypercompetitive coach, and an entire town that’s caught up in its struggles and victories on and off the field. The current series, documenting Strawn’s 2019 season, ends on New Year’s Eve, while the next batch of episodes will presumably chronicle the team’s current season. (Spoiler alert: it’s going pretty well.)
Did Post Malone Get a New Tattoo?
He did not, though he did get something just as lasting, and arguably just as unsightly. TMZ reports that the Grapevine rapper recently purchased a $50,000 Dallas Cowboys pendant, rendered in fourteen-karat gold, 29 carats of diamonds, and at least three gaudy accoutrements too many. In addition to the classic, blue-and-white Cowboys logo, Malone’s new piece also features a diamond-encrusted American flag, the words “Since 1960” emblazoned on its underside, and the phrases “A Star Is Born July 4th” (referring to Malone’s birthday) and “#1 Fan Posty America’s Team” engraved on the back. It’s definitely a strong show of support, particularly for a team that’s currently 3–8, although it lacks the discerning taste of, say, getting Mike McCarthy’s face tattooed on your stomach.
THIS WEEK IN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY
As he whiles away his time as a handsome movie star and best-selling author before finally moving on to the big leagues of state politics, Matthew McConaughey has kept himself occupied on the interview circuit, sitting down most recently with the likes of Gayle King and Russell Brand to talk Greenlights and his rosy vision for a utopia that’s based in shared values and slam poetry. And perhaps in light of his potential gubernatorial aspirations, those talks have taken on a noticeably more political bent of late. As the actor explained to Time this week, his most pressing concern right now is figuring out how to heal the rifts that have left us so deeply divided. The answer, he believes, is as simple as calling on everyone to find basic common ground again. “My hunch is that moving forward in this time where people have run to the extremes is that there’s a common denominator of values that we can all agree on that are bipartisan and nondenominational,” McConaughey said, sounding like a politician already.
To that end, McConaughey gave a forthcoming interview to Empire, in which he revealed his passion for spending the better part of an hour just trimming his actorly fingernails. “I’m an extremely talented fingernail clipper,” McConaughey reportedly said. “I’ll get a headlamp on, glasses. Sit down with a cocktail and have a nice 45-minute session. It’s very relaxing to me for some reason.” And while it’s true we may be opposed, on so many things both personal and political, surely we can all come together in agreement that we didn’t need to know that.