Every single day I wake up, open Instagram before my eyelids are even operating at full functionality, and am cursed to find yet another Reel of a millennial in tie-dye sweatpants comparing the TikTok famous dance moves for “Savage” to the routine from N*Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” to demonstrate just how different teens are now than they were back in the early 2000s. It’s not much, but it’s honest work.
While I understand that those who were forced to face their middle school years armed with nothing more than a chunky layer of Maybelline’s Dream Matte Mousse foundation feel they are entitled to compensation, I am begging you to stop taking your millennial anger out on choreography. I’m pleased to share that there’s a new place to direct that rage, and no, it’s not at Olivia Rodrigo for committing the unforgivable crime of *checks notes* writing a complete banger of an album too many years after you graduated high school. Let me introduce you to a show called Cruel Summer.
Cruel Summer is Freeform’s latest teen thriller. Produced by Jessica Biel, it’s centered on the mystery a fictional small town in Texas faces when Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), the most popular girl in school goes missing, and Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia), your stereotypical “just got her braces off” baddie, seemingly takes her place. Despite the fact that this show is oddly addictive, you need to pay attention to it because Cruel Summer is coming for the sanctity of the decade you can’t stop reviving.
Set across the years 1993, 1994, and 1995, Cruel Summer is about as authentically ‘90s as the faux-vintage Friends merchandise that has been licensed to every major retailer as of late. And the fact that this ‘90s drama is extremely un-’90s is even glaringly obvious to me, a person who had not yet lost a single baby tooth by the turn of the millennium. Sure, each episode begins with a note explicitly telling you that the episode takes place on a specific date in the years 1993, 1994, and 1995… but that’s about as much effort as went into it. Whereas recent throwback shows like Stranger Things, Pen15, and Derry Girls clearly went to painstaking lengths to ensure not a single gel pen or rollerblade would expose the fact that the series was actually created after the dawn of the iPhone, Cruel Summer basically just crimped a few strands of hair and called it a day. With a soundtrack full of covers of songs that are widely accepted as ‘90s classics, but weren’t necessarily released in the years in which the scenes takes place (shout-out to “Wonderwall,” which came out in 1995 but appeared in a scene set in 1993), it’s seems like Cruel Summer’s research budget pales in comparison to what the average individual shelled out for unused streaming subscriptions to boutique fitness cults companies throughout the pandemic.
The music could maybe be overlooked (how many of us know the exact year a song came out without having to Google it), but there are even more glaring issues. As Reddit users have pointed out, the use of technology is inconsistent with what high schoolers would have experienced during the decade. Unlike what we see on the show, teens didn’t really have their own computers in their bedrooms (the computer room erasure…) and weren’t yet fully obsessed with checking email or instant messaging. FYI, AIM didn’t roll out until 1997, and even though there were earlier instant messaging platforms, the dramatic away messages are really what encapsulated the era of virtual chat.
It’s just pretty bizarre that a show whose entire personality rests on taking place in the early ‘90s does such a bad job of… taking place in the early ‘90s. The home interiors are suspiciously neutral; I simply refuse to believe that any kid who had their own bathroom in 1993 didn’t also have a fish-themed shower curtain. How am I supposed to be transported back to the past if the bathroom doesn’t look like something an independently wealthy young couple on Fixer Upper would immediately gut? I simply cannot. I’d believe you if you told me that the wardrobe department solely sourced everything from Charlotte Russe’s 2017 collection—you know, that year in which we all wore clothes covered in checkered prints and embroidered roses. A few black velvet chokers and oversized flannels does not a genuine vintage outfit make!
Besides the dodgy attempt at creating a period drama, there are also plenty of other things that simply make no sense in Cruel Summer. Admittedly, my knowledge of Texas stops at The Real Housewives of Dallas and Sandy Cheeks from Spongebob Squarepants, but it does seem peculiar that only like, one character (Kate’s mother) bothers to speak with a Southern twang. I won’t throw any major spoilers at you, but there are also some pretty huge red flags in regards to the way the media covers a court case that are used to drive plot but are just straight-up illegal and would never happen IRL… outside of maybe Fox News, that is.
With that said, Cruel Summer is still definitely worth a watch if you’re into dramatic thrillers full of plot twists—just don’t expect it to accurately reflect your childhood or adolescence. If you’re looking for epic Levis and iconic Calvin Klein dresses, just rewatch Friends or Full House. But if you’re down for a cheesy mess that’s inexplicably binge-worthy, Cruel Summer is where it’s at.
Image: Freeform/Bill Matlock (2)
Nineties babies, I hope you haven’t thrown out your Trapper Keeper bedazzled with “Mrs. Timberlake” just yet, because you might still have a shot! That’s right, your middle school crush Justin Timberlake was just caught getting touchy with a woman who was decidedly not Jessica Biel. The Sun exclusively reported on Saturday that Timberlake was out in New Orleans drinking heavily and holding hands with his costar Alisha Wainwright. They’re in town filming a football movie named Palmer, for which Timberlake will not win an Oscar. Call it a hunch. They have photos and video of the incident, which I did watch despite the fact that there was an ad every nine seconds. I do this for you. Based on the content of this evidence, I suspect someone is about to be in a lotttt of trouble back at home.
Let’s talk about what happens in this video. JT appears to be pretty drunk, and oddly he’s more attractive to me than he’s been in years. One has nothing to do with the other, I’m sure. He and Alisha are out drinking on a balcony together, and at one point Alisha sits next to JT, and he grabs her hand and puts it on his leg and SHE CARESSES IT. Now, I don’t know how you all interact with your married coworkers, but I usually just ask them to send me pictures of their home renovations, no caressing involved. There are also photos of him holding hands with Alisha under the table. And that’s not all! In the video he is grabbing hands and getting playful with another woman as well. All in all, not a good look for JT, but also not definitive proof he’s a cheater. I mean, it definitely proves he’s a douchebag, but I think we already knew that.
Another problem JT is going to have to deal with? He’s not wearing his wedding ring in this video. Now, this, along with his behavior, could be an indication that he and the most annoying Camden sibling (fight me) actually have broken up, he’s a single man, and they just haven’t announced it yet. Celebrities usually keep that sh*t on lock until they drop the news strategically on Friday night or right before a long weekend. We see you. And neither of the Timberlakes have posted about each other on Instagram since Halloween, which is not necessarily a long time, but like, Starbucks has already rolled out their Christmas drinks, so maybe it is?
On the other hand (not literally, the ring was on neither hand), maybe JT wasn’t wearing his ring because he just wanted to be like a regular married man looking to score and slid it right into his pocket before hitting on someone way too hot for him. Or, if you are not like me and prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt, maybe you think he just left it at home because he knew he’d be out drinking and didn’t want to lose it. That’s sweet.
People immediately followed up this report with one of their own, with a source claiming that it was “completely innocent,” and that Justin and Alisha are filming a movie together and “they’re cool.” And this source’s name was Shmustin Dimberlake. Timberlake himself is yet to make a statement about what happened, but he was caught having the decency to look mildly embarrassed the next day.
Regardless of whether he is a cheater or not, this is a pretty embarrassing situation for JT. He’s visibly drunk out in public, acting way too flirty with women who are not his wife, and let himself be photographed and videoed without anyone knowing! He’s super rich and super famous, he should know better than this—or should have at least surrounded himself with people who know better than this. It’s sloppy. I doubt he and Jessica are separated, but I do hope that she rips him a new one when he returns home. Maybe if we’re lucky she’ll ban him from being in that movie and none of us will be subjected to his terrible acting ever again. A girl can dream!
It’ll be disappointing if the cheating rumors turn out to be true, but Justin would be far from the first famous person to be caught in bed with someone who’s not their spouse. Just for old time’s sake, let’s reminisce about some of the messiest celeb cheating scandals. There are honestly way too many to choose from, but I’ve done the tough work of narrowing it down.
Tristan Thompson & Khloé Kardashian
Perhaps the most notorious cheater of the last couple years is none other than Tristan Thompson. Who could forget when he was spotted with another woman while Khloé Kardashian was in Cleveland, literally about to give birth to his baby? For whatever reason, Khloé stayed with him, until almost a year later, when the Jordyn Woods news hit the fan. He and Jordyn may not have slept together, but their inappropriate behavior was finally enough for Khloé to ditch his ass. Thank f*cking god.
Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner
Even four years later, I’m still not quite over the way things went down with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. They seemed like a normal, happy couple, which is why it was so disheartening that Ben cheated on Jen with their nanny, Christine Ouzounian. Ben’s team tried to deny the rumors, but you know some shady sh*t is going down when the nanny gets fired one day after you announce your divorce. Jen is now dating a super normal guy, and Ben can kick rocks.
Tiger Woods & Elin Nordegren
It’s been 10 years since the great Tiger Woods Cheating Scandal of 2009, but it’s no less crazy a decade later. After an initial tabloid report about Tiger having an affair, an avalanche of mistresses began coming forward, with nearly a dozen women accusing Tiger of sleeping with them. If you’re going to cheat, you should probably try to keep the number of mistresses to like, one hand at least. Tiger’s wife Elin divorced him the next year, and this year she gave birth to a son with former NFL player Jordan Cameron. Good for her.
LeAnn Rimes & Eddie Cibrian
This cheating scandal was M E S S Y, and there are so many layers here to unpack. LeAnn and Eddie were both married to other people in 2008, when they started hooking up while shooting a Lifetime movie together. Honestly, how all great relationships begin. They eventually went public and left their spouses to be together. They’re still together, so maybe this was for the best? Also, you might remember that Eddie Cibrian’s ex-wife is a woman by the name of Brandi Glanville, who would go on to be an iconic Real Housewife, and also one of the root causes of the drama that gave us Vanderpump Rules (because Scheana also slept with Eddie). This cheating scandal is so deep, and its ripple effects have greatly benefited my life, even years later.
What’s the craziest celeb cheating scandal you can remember? And do you believe that Justin Timberlake cheated on Jessica Biel? Let me know in the comments, because I need conspiracy theories about this.
Images: giphy, justintimberlakebelge,jessicabiel/Instagram
Ah, my favorite time of year is finally here: The Oscars aka The Plastics of awards seasons and a day celebs spend starving themselves and holding their makeup artists hostage for 23 hours straight. Coincidentally, it’s also a day I spend 23 hours straight in yoga pants and building a cheese plate for my viewing party. I guess we all have our crosses to bear.
This year was the year of Meh: a lot of gold dresses, red lips, and the palest people I’ve seen outside of Brooklyn. No one’s look was as fucked up as the announcement for Best Picture, but there were definitely a few losers I’ll be shaming for their awards looks. But before we get into that let’s talk about the looks that stole my breath and my motivation to get up in the morning:
Taraji P Henson
Cookie Lyon slayed at the Oscars this season. The tousled lob, the smoky eyes, the cheekbones you can probably see from those seven new planets NASA just pulled out of their asses—it’s all working.
Somewhere on sorority row Chanel Oberlin is internally screaming because Number 5 fucked up her dye job AGAIN. At first I couldn’t decide if the orange hair made her look like a sad clown, but after s
everal glasses of wine taking a deeper look I’ve decided it’s working for her. The red lips, the glam waves, those stunning drop earrings, she looks like a vampy Jessica Rabbit and I’m about it.
If only my life was as put together as those eyebrows. *Pours another glass of wine*
Ah, the cat eye aka the go-to look for people with resting bitch face who want to blame their side-eye and judgemental gaze on makeup. Tbh I forgot this betch even existed until she showed up to the awards ceremony dressed like a goddamn Oscar herself. Not really sure what’s happening with her hair, but also not really sure I care because her cat eye is making my year rn.
Let me just start by saying I was rooting for you Halle, we were all rooting for you. Normally you look like an ageless goddess, but this year I just have so many questions. Like, what are you hiding in that hair? Secrets? Your career? Also which second-row actor do we think drew the short straw and ended up sitting behind this hair?
So, like, I know this guy won an Oscar and everything but is he, like, okay? That scraggly-ass beard makes him look like a street person and those eyes say “I have seen the inside of way too many courtrooms.”
Real talk though, my favorite part of the evening was during his red carpet interview when the interviewer straight-up asked him why he looked homeless and he casually blamed it on a “movie” he’s working on. Lol K.
Interviewer: So… how are you?
Casey Affleck: I HAVE TO LOOK LIKE THIS BECAUSE OF A MOVIE
This is like when I showed up to Thanksgiving dressed like an Orthodox Jew in an attempt to hide the fact that I blacked out and had a one-night stand the night before and almost didn’t wake up in time for dinner. Dakota, it doesn’t matter how boring you make your hair and makeup look, we all still know what your nipples look like.
Read our full Oscars 2017 recap here!