Musings about Math & Mangos

cb4tb:

This post will be mostly about Cait since this is her news.   I tried to be thoughtful but at the same time I was forthright and honest even if it was an uncomfortable thing to think or say.  I found  myself writing sometimes in my usual musing style and sometimes as just a fan.  So, it may come across as a bit rambling from time to time so hopefully you won’t be bored or confused.  (Plus, I think I’m getting my husband’s flu so I’m a little woozy.)

I was thinking about all of this, the weekend and the last few years as I was stuck in traffic on the commute to work today.  It seems to me that we’re being asked to believe two things.

1.       Sam and Cait aren’t together despite everything I’ve seen off-screen and heard (both privately and publicly) from them, their friends and colleagues.  The on-screen chemistry and the vast majority of the routine Twitter banter (like today’s tone deaf exchange) are not part of that for me.  Some special occasion social media activity is.  

 2.       Cait and Tony are happy, in love and engaged despite everything we’ve seen and heard and despite being the clear winner for most apathetic, negative chemistry couple since Charles and Diana, the later years.  So much so that one article stated he wasn’t with her at the GG.   ( just realized I used the Charles and Diana metaphor to describe Sam and Skipper at the outdoor NYC concert.  Ironic, eh?)

 If that’s what we’re being asked to believe, then common sense and math does not apply .  1 +1 does not equal 2 here, it equals the square root of a grapefruit.

But today,  we’re being asked to believe 1, 2 and the grapefruit.  So, if they are trying so hard to get me to believe it, despite the most awkward engagement evening and release that I’ve seen in a long time of following pop culture-I’ll act like I believe it.  In keeping with the math theme…

|| Cait and Sam receipts including within the “Tony dating period” || divided by Tony looking indifferent to her at every turn X the cosign of Cait not having any chemistry with Tony=Tony and Cait are engaged. 

I get it Cait, whether or not the grapefruit is true, you want that as the answer to an essay question on my mid-term exam.  So, you got it.  

But with that grapefruit comes consequences.  And so, regardless if this is their truth or their “truth”, then here are the consequences with this action.  The primary one is I would no longer be able to, in good conscience, immediately give her the benefit of the doubt.  I save that for people I respect and who I feel respect me in return.  

It’s a different playing field when you are strangers but the ecosystem of fan and celebrity seems to fall partway between real people in your real life and “regular” total strangers.  Their success depends upon keeping the fans happy with their performance and how they engage with the fans.  Both have to be authentic.  And both have to provide the experience that the fans/customers want or they become casual fans/customers.  Or worse, they move on and make sure their friends know about it.  I know this strategy very well, it’s literally what I work on every day in my professional life.  

 Cait is an interesting person.  She’s got the greatest laugh in the business and seems like some unique combination of outspoken and shy.  I did not warm up to her in S1, I’ll be honest it took me awhile but eventually I did. Part of the reason was that I felt she did the minimum of promotion and fan interaction in S1 and S2 and I think if you look at my early blogs, I actually noted that I wished she would do more of it.  Sam did all the heavy lifting.  Yes, the Sam onlys were not always kind to her (and some were downright cruel) but she did not help her own cause by being too distant in the first couple of years.  I don’t know if this was a combination of her being shy or getting bad advice.  Either way, it was not the right choice, IMO.  But I’ve never had to deal with that kind of sudden fame so who knows how I would have reacted.   It was actually really nice seeing her break this mold in the last year.  I think she started to enjoy it too.

At the same time, I was very offended by her saying that fans confuse the show and reality because a smart woman should never insult other smart women.  And yes, she looked at Sam with total heart eyes and the rest of body language doesn’t lie. If I ever saw her with a tenth of that with Tony, then I would say that I don’t get it but everybody makes choices they feel best for them.   Last night? I actually felt genuinely sad and pitiful toward her, before the People magazine blurb came out.   It’s simply not there with him so that just added insult to injury whenever we got that fact versus fiction crap in an interview.   (I won’t get into the fact that I have no idea what this man actually does for a living but I want his vacation package.)

As aside: since when does someone with a niche show and a rabid but loyal and dedicated fanbase  think it’s necessary to give an exclusive to People especially when she’s engaged to a non-celeb?   Yes, it’s a tabloid but it’s the top of the food chain.  It was obviously pre-planned.   I couldn’t find that picture of her playing the plastic flute on Tony’s lap from several NYE ago if I tried, but People had it right away?  Publicist fed.   It felt like a cowardly way out versus announcing it on her social media but then again, her publicist controls the statements.   But it turned out to be a mess.  We’ve got announcements that say Tony wasn’t there, we’ve got announcements showing the wrong ring.  You would think the happy couple would pose for a picture last night or provide one more recent than when Obama was still President.  The whole thing was anything but standing in your power and being proud of your next step and your choice.  

I admire her passionate stances on politics and positions that mirror my own.  Initially, I think she was smart to stay out of the blue-check Twitter fiasco, even though it was unfair of her to let Sam hang out to dry in the less than optimum way he handled that mess.  But in the safe environment of #Metoo and #TimesUp and President Oprah, what better time to tell the twin bullies to leave the women in her fandom alone? That is a #Fail for me.  She may have worn black at the GG but she is missing the real opportunity to walk the talk in her own backyard.

I was a Sam first fan but while I’ve never been on the Cait is Queen train, I did become a fan of Cait’s in many ways.  Sam always looked in love with her and never even in “like” with any of the others he was pictured with. He looked like he was getting a root canal at times.  (We won’t get into how staged it all was right now, you all know that story.)   And she’s only ever looked in love with him.  She treats Tony sometimes even less than a friend and the chemistry is at best brotherly.  He seems indifferent to her, never more so than last night.  I guess I will believe her if she says she loves him or claims him, after all it’s the most personal of choices.  But why is it so hard for her to show?  We’ve seen her show it before, we know what it looks like on her face and in her movements.

She’s in an industry that is intrusive yes,  but where more so than most, perception is reality. And the perceptions here don’t paint her in the best light.  Or as we often say at work, the optics aren’t good.

So, if you want us to believe the grapefruit? Then best be prepared for when perception is reality makes that grapefruit start to rot.  You know, those pesky consequences again. 

Do I think she is a manipulative person by nature?  NO, at least not in a nefarious way.  But, there is now a perception problem when her charity courted shippers right after she took a trip with the woman who runs WCC social media.  There is a perception problem when she crosses a line from flirting to something more with her co-star on social media time and time again (lemons and fists and shrimp, oh my).  There is a perception of manipulation when she posts such an obviously fake birthday party picture from SA while reaching across the guy next to her to touch Sam, who was leaning as far away from the under-dressed visitor to his left as possible.   There is a perception problem when the “dating for two years” claim falls right smack into Flirty Thursday where they looked more like a couple on their honeymoon after Cait’s Costa Rica pigeon-toed silhouette and Sam’s broad shoulder and man bun silhouette next to her missed the PCA together.  You all know my standard for shipper gold was high but there was still plenty of it there.

Honestly, I think they all have tried to play a game that they couldn’t win.  Sam got in too deep, she got in too little but enough to play badly.   And yet, they didn’t have to play at all.  You can do PR without crossing a line.  You can do PR, even as good actors, but your body language will rule your inner thoughts.  Exhibit 1: The leads of The Crown who have struck the right tone of PR and good friends. And that’s what their body language confirms.  Sam and Cait were just the opposite.  And I don’t think it was a lie.  There were too many things we probably weren’t supposed to see.  And too many things that go beyond the show that they did want us to see from time to time.  But more importantly, too many things that they just couldn’t hide.

Am I angry?  Not really.  Intelligence insulted?  Yes, and that’s a big deal for me.  Sad? Yes but not in a “I feel like crying way”.  More in a what a shame way.  And how disappointing in both the alleged outcome and behavior of those involved.  Sad for fans who are smart, fun and who had way too many receipts to be considered delusional.  Sad for them/us.  If the magic is supposed to end, why did it have to end in such a pathetically incompetent rotting grapefruit kind of way.

Watching her last night at her table reminded me of a wedding we attended a few years ago.  The bride was the daughter of some of our oldest friends, we’ve known her since she was 3 years old.  Coincidentally, the groom worked at the same place as my husband. And on the way home, I said to my husband that I have never seen any chemistry between the two of them. That I hoped she was happy but I was kind of baffled.  They were divorced two years later.

I’ve read some very eloquent opinions this week and one word that I thought represented it well besides totally weird and confused was distaste.  The events of the last week and in hindsight some things leading up to it are distasteful for me.  The Australia thing was tacky (mistake or not).  The timed exclusive posted by People while she tweets for the next 24 hours about anything but, is as tone deaf as the bantering with Sam today.  Or maybe it’s a deliberate, pay no attention to that People exclusive behind the curtain kind of thing.

I’ve felt that she tried hard to keep her hands from getting dirty and ironically in the end, may have inadvertently stained them permanently.  It will be very interesting to watch what happens next.  I do love the show and will continue to watch but I don’t know yet if I will still care about the actors going forward.  I wish none of them ill but the opposite of love is indifference.  And that’s where I am today. ( I vacillate from feeling so badly for Sam to dude, what were you thinking?)

I’m kind of glad we are in Droughtlander, I don’t think I could watch an episode right now.   I’m a (confused) fan of them but more importantly I’m a fan of us.  And oh by the way to “us”.  You are not required to like your celeb’s SO.  I’d would also say always be kind on his social media but that’s kind of a moot point, eh?  (Despite the fact that at least three of his wheel of fortune jobs should have a massive social media presence.)

So, since they worked so hard to get me to believe the grapefruit.  I will believe the grapefruit.  But I’m not taking a bite because I think the grapefruit might be a mango.  

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