Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Teri Garr Should Shut Up and Be Grateful

I promise I'll shut up about Katherine Heigl after this (my promises on these kinds of things are generally not worth much, but I'll try), but Vulture just did a quote feature exclusively on Teri Garr's recent, spectacularly candid interview with the Onion A.V. Club. I can't recommend it enough. Particularly this comment, speaking about the character she played in Tootsie:

"I thought that [Sandy] was caught between trying to have a career and trying to be a sexual woman, and it just doesn't work. At least it didn't in that movie, because it was made by sexist men. I can say that now, because Sydney [Pollack] isn't with us anymore. [Laughs.] But he was a fine director."

Now before you start bitching, of course I'm not saying that Katherine Heigl is anywhere near as accomplished as Teri Garr. And this is of course decades after the fact, and Sydney Pollack isn't alive anymore. But if we start raining shit down on actresses who speak in anything less than calculated niceties, how are we going to end up with such fantastically mouthy broads like Teri Garr? Don't we want more women like this?

Okay, I'm done.


Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I've been ranting & raving about what an incredibly sexist movie Tootsie for more than a quarter of a century now, and I'm delighted to hear that Teri Garr agrees with me!

(although Bill Murray was mighty funny)

Deirdre said...

After reading Mark Harris's piece in EW, I'm feeling I may have been too harsh about Heigl. She apparently did say quite a bit more than what's being quoted. However, there is a politic difference between talking about a show you're on now and talking about a movie you did 25 years ago.

I'm not sure what Garr means by "caught between trying to have a career and trying to be a sexual woman, and it just doesn't work." I can barely remember Tootsie, so I'm not saying that to be snarky, I genuinely don't know what she means by that.

And whatever else there is to say about the film, I've always thought Hoffman's discussions about how much women are valued for their looks are quite touching. I'm sure he probably experienced that when he was younger (cuz, God knows, the man is not a looker) but maybe by that time he was so successful he'd forgotten what that kind of rejection feels like.

Rinaldo said...

I would say that "after the fact" makes all the difference in the world, and there is a qualitative difference -- a definite line we can draw, no problem.

If Heigl wants to badmouth her writers once the series is no longer in production, she can be my guest, and more power to her.

Linda said...

I can't imagine why it would be more wrong to do it at the time, while the writers have a chance to respond, than it is to do it much later, when they've all moved on to other things. I mean, as I've said before, my answer is that neither one bothers me, partly because I couldn't have less sympathy for those particular writers, given what they write. If I were a writer in that situation, I would hope my writing would speak for itself, and if it can't, then that's my problem, not Katherine Heigl's.

I don't see why it would be better for Heigl to come back when the show is over and say, "Hey, that show was really shit." Among other things, the stuff Heigl said was about four billion times more measured and less accusatory than what Teri Garr said.

I'm with you, Joe.

jessica said...

PLEASE more women like this. I don't see what the problem is with women having opinions but some people obvioiusly get pretty riled.

During production or after the fact is irrelevent as far as I'm concerned. Her Knocked Up comments were after the fact and she still took shit. I think haters will always be haters, no matter the situation. Katherine Heigl should speak her mind and if she doesn't think her current material is strong enough for Emmy contention, so what? Neither does anyone else.

Grunt said...

I think it's about airing dirty laundry of people you are CURRENTLY working with.

I work in a large company, I have a boss. Part of my JOB is to make my boss look good. It means if I have a problem I deal with it internally. If I have a problem with a co-worker, I talk to the co-worker. If the co-worker doesn't listen, I talk to my boss. If my boss doesn't listen, I talk to her boss.

You know what I don't do? I don't blog about it. I don't tell it to the competition. I don't put it in the company-wide newsletter and only after everything that can be done is done, do I go to HR.

Katherine Heigl has a legitimate complaint about her crappy-crappy storylines. She should talk to the writers (co-workers), she should talk to the Producer (boss), she should talk to the network executives (Boss's boss). She should not be broadcasting it for everyone to hear. She should not be talking the competition or talking to reporters or blogging about it. It makes EVERYONE look bad and hurts careers and is inappropriate. If she can't get the problem solved then she should go to "HR" and see if she can cancel her contract.

This, really, is what this is all about. She wants to be released from her contract early and has to give them a reason to fire her ass for mouthing off inappropriately -- something which people get fired for in real life too.

I'm all for direct actresses and writers and producers who talk about why something happened the way it happened and what went wrong. If Katherine Heigl had left the show and then said she didn't put herself in for an Emmy because the writing was crappy I'd be all for that information and applaud her honesty. I'd be the first one lining up to say "you go girl!". But she didn't. She decided to do it when she was working with these people in this completely passive-aggressive, shitty way which leads one to think she has ulterior motives other than 'I'm just being honest and direct with you...' which is bullshit and we all know it. If she were being honest and direct she would have informed the producers she wasn't putting her name in for best supporting actress because she didn't feel her storylines warranted it and asked them how they wanted to handle it. It would have sent the same message and allowed for some damage control and not made EVERYONE look bad. It also would have allowed her to fix whatever problems she had directly. But she didn't do that. She wanted to get “fired” for inappropriate behavior, so she did it this way.

Teri Garr didn't do that either. She said what she said years later, because she didn't want to make her "boss" look bad until after the whole thing was over. And I'm fine with that. I talk smack about my old job and old boss all the time now, because they sucked and I know why, but it would have served no purpose to go bashing them while I was still there. It just would have made things more unpleasant for me and my co-workers.

What Teri Garr (and a number of others, one of the best interviews I ever watched was an episode of LATER with Bob Costas where he interviewed Harvey Korman who decided he was never going to work in show business again because he was too old, and simply dished dirt on everyone he ever worked with. It was amazing and funny. And it seemed like people started hiring him more after that) just did there was telling stories AFTER the fact. ‘I had this job, it sucked, here’s why, no one cares anymore anyway’. That’s what people do. And it’s a great deal different than, ‘I have a job, it sucks, here’s why, now I have to work with these people tomorrow.’

Which is just mean.

jessica said...

Do we know that Heigl hasn't talked to her producers and writers about the material over the past year? I was under the impression that she was asked a direct question by a reporter as to why she didn't submit her name and she gave an honest, succinct, polite answer.

She didn't throw the show under a bus or call them all hacks or say that her show and coworkers are the shittiest bunch of egomaniacal drama queen asshats ever to draw breath. She said she didn't feel her most recent material warranted consideration. Her material. This is not saying that her costars' material was sub-par, just hers. Her shitty George-and-Izzie-love(gag)-story that EVERYONE hated and thought was shitty. So really, her statement wasn't even a slam on the writers or show in general. Just disappointment and/or resignation that her storylines -- hers and hers alone -- weren't as good as they could've been or have been in the past.

Assuming this is all some grand malicious scheme is reading a LOT into a situation we know nothing about and is extremely unfair to everyone involved.

Grunt said...

How do we know she didn't talk to the writers and producers before hand? Easy. The woman who WON the award last year decides not to put in for it this year. You don't think the press is going to be interested in that why?

Just as a reference, when John Larroquette didn't put his name in after he had won 4 of them in a row the press asked why and his answer was simple and funny (something about having enough to complete the 4 legs of the coffee table he was making).

So she knew when she didn't submit her name that someone was going to ask. Anyone who works in the entertainment industry knows that (and many who don't). If she had any manners she would have informed someone before so everyone could get their story straight. Yes, the supposed reason is that the writing sucked and we all agree that it sucked. But if THAT is the problem you want to solve do you say to the press "the writing sucked" or do you say to your producers and writers that that's why you're not putting your name into consideration.

And if you did tell your writers and producers that do you think they would have a) not come up with a better line for her than 'the story for her sucked' or b) would have come up with a better reaction to her comment than 'no comment' or just complete dis-belief?

It is clear from the reaction of ABC and the producers and writers that this was not the case. They were caught off-guard. It is equally clear that she didn't bring up the (very) crappy story lines to them, not because she was mad about them, but because she wanted a big kerfuffle so she could get out of her contract.

It's not a case of her being brave. It's a case of her being mean to people she doesn't much care for to get what she wants. It's shitty. It's Hollywood. But it shouldn't be commended and there is a big difference between this passive-agressive approach and Teri Garr commenting on a movie that is over 25 years old.

Linda said...

"It is clear from the reaction of ABC and the producers and writers that this was not the case. They were caught off-guard. It is equally clear that she didn't bring up the (very) crappy story lines to them, not because she was mad about them, but because she wanted a big kerfuffle so she could get out of her contract."

This is all clear to you, but it's rank speculation to me. That's how this kind of thing goes -- none of us were there, none of us really know what happened, so we're all guessing. And I'd rather not take the position that anyone deserves to be dragged through the utter shit that has been directed at her based on a situation in which none of us actually has any idea what happened.

jessica said...

I'm sorry, but I fail to even see why her answer was all that bad. Would it have been better if she'd been stupid and glib, saying she'd won enough? That would make her seem ungrateful. Should she say she wanted the other actors to showcase their great performances? She would sound arrogant and full of herself, like nobody stands a chance if she's in the race. Should she submit her name anyway so the stupid Emmys can nominate her and we can all bitch about THAT? She didn't submit her name because she didn't think her material this year warranted it, which is exactly the reason you don't submit your name and exactly what she should've said when asked.

Anonymous said...


triv said...

Mr. Pollack was the one who tried to tongue her without her consent. So, she should be a bitch. I'm grateful for her because she is an equal opportunity one with no dorky white nice guy making her happy which makes me happy. She does have color. She grew up Irish and poor.