Aaron R. Davis
I read this week that Katherine Heigl said she wanted back on Grey’s Anatomy. Katherine Heigl stories in the gossip media are always hilarious to me for three basic reasons. 1) Katherine Heigl obviously (and wrongly) thinks she’s a very popular actress and person, 2) there are these bizzaro lady fans she has who troll the news feeds for any remotely negative thing anyone says about her so they can jump to a pointless and impassioned defense of this actress they’ve decided to make the symbol of how everyone obviously hates successful women who speak their mind (doubly hilarious if these people aren’t actually working for Heigl, which I’m not convinced they are), and 3) seriously, it’s Katherine Heigl, if she weren’t such a gigantic bitch, no one would even be talking about her in the gossip media, anyway.
I was also going to add that Katherine Heigl has a crippling lack of self-awareness, but she’s shown an amazing media-savvy for the last five or six years now. It’s just that her presupposition that people like her is the flaw in this savvy that brings down everything she wants to do.
Example 1: she gets herself cast in the movie Knocked Up after Anne Hathaway drops out. After years of crappy television and Lifetime movies, she has her first major hit playing an irredeemable, self-centered jerk, because you should play what you know for the sake of authenticity. It makes a lot of money, and it makes her look bankable to Hollywood, and they start building romantic comedies around her assuming that she’s now a movie star.
But then, she decides to go on record talking about how Knocked Up was a terrible movie and it made all women look like bitches. So while she’s smart about how being in a hit film can pay off in other aspects of her career, she’s also publicly an ingrate. That doesn’t make you friends in an industry that is surprisingly over-sensitive about what people think. You’d think money would help you get over it, but I don’t know personally. I’d love the opportunity to find out. I mean, if Katherine Heigl really hated it that much, she’s free to give me some of the cash she made of off degrading herself playing professional make-believe. Just a suggestion.
And so what if her movies are crap? I mean, 27 Dresses, Life as We Know It, The Ugly Truth … yeah, they’re all the same movie, but who cares? All actors and even directors do is make the same crappy movies over and over again. Makes Michael Bay millions. Gets Steven Spielberg called, for some reason, the greatest director of all time. Tom Cruise makes the same movie over and over again, and people go to see those. Hell, Christopher Guest has basically remade This Is Spinal Tap four times, and this supposedly makes him a comedy genius. Her movies make a respectable amount of money, and they probably don’t cost much to make, so more power to her. She found a job that pays a lot of money compared to the actual work that goes into it. (Let’s face it, it’s not like movie stars are teachers, or something where people aren’t compensated in relation to the actual, exhausting work that goes into the damn thing.)
Anyway. Katherine Heigl’s kind of a movie star. I’ll give you that. And she’s got this One for the Money that’s come out, which is going to be a failure, obviously, because the books were popular 20 years ago or something and no one goes to see a movie just because Katherine Heigl is in it (despite whatever you’re going to screech about in the comments section, Heigl defenders, because she was probably someone’s ninth choice to star in this), and there’s not going to be enough profit to justify a sequel (much less a franchise), and if it’s such a great movie with a bankable star in the lead, why is it being dumped in the last week of January when everyone’s going to see whatever got nominated for the Oscars instead? This leads me, roundabout, to my second example.
Example 2: she gets a regular role on Grey’s Anatomy, a show which is inexplicably popular and inexplicably still running. Whatever, not my cup of tea, doesn’t matter. It’s a big ensemble, so when she sees an opportunity to pull focus, she does. She goes out and protests during the writer’s strike when there are cameras present, so she looks like she really cares. When Isaiah Washington calls TR Knight a homophobic slur, Katherine Heigl is there telling the media that this really hurts KATHERINE HEIGL because tr knight is KATHERINE HEIGL’s friend and KATHERINE HEIGL really cares about gay people. She’s smart at recognizing opportunities for Katherine Heigl to make the world (or the few people in it who care) see what a kind and caring person Katherine Heigl is. An orphan baby has a curable heart defect? Make it known that KATHERINE HEIGL SELFLESSLY ADOPTED A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD. I’m kind of amazed she didn’t decide to frame it as “adoption by Katherine Heigl heals the sick.” Someone at work is an asshole and says something nasty to a gay actor? Tell the media: KATHERINE HEIGL WON’T PUT UP WITH GAY-BASHING! Because what’s the point of being a good person if everyone in the world doesn’t see how good a person you are? It’s not like kindness is its own reward, or anything. Not when there are shitty romantic comedies that need leads and a race for the film quality bottom against Jennifer Aniston to be won!
But here’s the real flaw with it all: she’s still an ingrate. Because she comes out and very ungraciously says “Oh no, I know you Emmy voters think I’m incredibly talented, but don’t vote for me this year because the Grey’s Anatomy writers didn’t write anything good for me, and instead of talking to them or to producers about it, I think it’s much more polite and professional to whine publicly about it.” So when no one wanted her around anymore because she burned all of her bridges there, she just said she was too big for the show and was going to have a grand movie career, anyway.
It’s an astonishing character flaw in a person who is otherwise pretty smart about the way she handles her business. It’s seriously, just rubbernecking it online when people report on her, like looking at someone who has selective self-awareness. Someone who knows how to make her career work, but can’t stop herself from saying really stupid things about the people she works for because she thinks she’s a special little princess and has all of the love in the world. I mean, seriously: was she just hoping to be fired so she could move on, or did she genuinely think that Grey’s Anatomy writers were going to look at what she said and realize she was right and they should do better by her?
I think it shows a real self-awareness on her part that she realizes One for the Money is going to do about as much for her career as VI Warshawski did for Kathleen Turner’s. But it shows a real lack of said self-awareness for her to publicly opine that Grey’s Anatomy should have her back on when she’s done her best to make everyone there never want to see her face again.
Seriously, Katherine Heigl: what is your deal? You should really just stop talking to the media for a few years.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org