Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Brad and Jen and Angelina, ad infinitum

As a former member of the broadcast news media, I understand a little about what type of story resonates with readers and viewers. A lot of recent stories that made a big splash on TV and in the tabloids I knew would be big, and I could see why. The runaway bride story? No doubt people would be interested in that. A young, healthy sex symbol like Lindsay Lohan showing up looking like a skeleton? I understand why people want to know what happened. The Weekly World News reporting that Bat Boy has run off with Hillary Clinton again? Hey, let me read that.

But there is one story that remains at the top of the news list for TV and magazines that for the life of me I can't understand. It's the story about the love triangle between Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie. For those of you just emerging from a 50-year stint in the bomb shelter, here's the basic story: Brad marries Jennifer, Brad takes an interest in Angelina, Brad dumps Jennifer for Angelina. Jen feels bad, Brad and Angelina are happy. Angelina gets pregnant. That's it.

Now, I understand why all of that news would be of great interest to the media eager to fill pages or 30 minutes of air time a night. But why, oh why, is the story still apparently the hottest thing around, long after the big revelations have already been made, and analyzed, and analyzed again? It's been many months now since the original infidelity and subsequent switcheroo took place. So why is this story apparently the No. 1 news event in the solar system?

You think I exaggerate? I do my family's grocery shopping each week, so I see all the tabloids and magazines at the checkout counter. Last night, I wrote down what each one had as its cover story. Not a cover story, but the cover story, the one with the huge headline and the cover photo. Here's this week's roundup:

People: "Brad and Angelina: Inside Their Love"

US: "How Jen Found Out"

Star: "Pregnant Angelina COLLAPSES" (and a secondary cover head: "Humiliated Jen Proposes to Vince!"

In Touch: "What She's Not Telling Brad" (she being Angelina)

Celebrity Living: "Brad and Angelina: TWINS!"

OK!: "Who Really Told Jen?"

There was not a single magazine on the stand that did not have the Brad-Jen-Angelina story as its cover. And believe me, it's like this almost every week. Another story will occasionally grab the covers for a week here and there -- the Lindsay Lohan anorexia revelations, the Jessica and Nick divorce -- but after those stories burn out, it's back to Brad and Jen and Brad and Angelina and Jen and Angelina.

I truly can't fathom that there are significant numbers of people in the United States so caught up in this non-story that they have to spend good money each week to avail themselves of every scrap of gossip and every idle speculation by "unnamed sources" about what Jen might think about what Brad and Angelina are doing, or what Brad might think of what Jen is doing, or what any of them think about anything at all.

Can any of you readers help me figure this out?

I tell you, it's almost enough to make me wish for another O.J. trial.


Kristen said...

We're a nation of voyeurs.

Laura said...

Oh, oh, I have an answer! I think it's like this:

Brad is an ideal kind of guy; in the movies, that is. He can play Mr. Sensitivity, the Bad-Boy-with-the-Sweet-Interior and Ultra-Sweet Exterior, Muscle Man, Hero, Comic, whatever, and women, whether they want to or not, love him. I try really hard not to have crushes on movie stars, but I cannot deny his appeal. So . . . who did he pick to marry? Jen, the funny, silly, kinda clumsy, imperfect girl-next-door. How many chick flick movies has Jen done? Oodles. And so, the Great American Female Psyche says, we love Jen, Brad loves Jen, Jen is like us, therefore, a BRAD COULD LOVE US! All is right with the world, there is hope.

But then, enter Angelina. How many chick flick movies has she done? Zip. Angelina is an actress for guys--she's Laura Croft, she's a Barbie Doll, she weilds a gun and a knife and has legs up to here, oh, and she's smart, tough, a little dangerous, but still somehow maternal in an Oedipal kind of way (baby number three coming). We, the Greater American Female Psyche, don't like this. We cannot be Angelina. We don't even want to be, except there's this problem of Brad . . . This is a threat to us--and therefore, fascinating. What DOES Brad WANT? And how can we become it?

And to think, I developed this brilliant theory entirely while standing in checkout lines at the grocery store.

Kristen said...

Wow, Laura. That about sums it up.

Except that I think Brad is a dolt...but maybe that's just my latent aggression against Angelina!