When Tina Fey penned Mean Girls for the big screen, we laughed. They got their come-uppance. And everyone learned a lesson.
If only life were so simple. The world, these days, seems to be full of mean with few lessons learned.
Actor and director, Tyler Perry, recently said he’s “exhausted from all the hate and the division, the vitriol … from one to another.” He was speaking directly to the latest murders of black citizens at the hands of police.
But he easily could have been speaking about the individuals who attack the BLM protestors in the streets. Or the protestors who go after the government officials who try to support their cause.
Or the various celebrities being accused on social media every day with sexual crimes. Or the health officials who attack and contradict other health experts about COVID. Or the news anchors pick and choose their “facts” to report in order to demean the other side.
Apparently, we’ve all got a mean girl with a Burn Book inside us. Even the “Queen of Nice” herself, Ellen DeGeneres – who closes every show saying “Be nice to each other” – has been outed as a mean girl.
When DeGeneres moved her show’s production to her home in March, more than 30 crew members were left hanging. There was no communication with staff regarding salaries, no interest shown in their physical or mental health for weeks. An outside, non-union company was then quietly hired to tape the show remotely. And once they were contacted, staff received reduced salaries.
That’s not the Ellen we thought we knew. And that’s not the standard for other shows.
Jimmy Kimmel paid his stagehands out of pocket during the initial shutdown. ABC has since picked up the tab to pay their full rates. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee are also paying their staff full rates despite their scaled-down production.
The industry outcry then inspired others to speak up about DeGeneres’ off-camera demeanor. Several former staff including her Oscars bodyguard called DeGeneres “demeaning” and “cold.” Transgender YouTuber NikkieTutorials was initially thrilled to appear on the show. However, afterward she said, “Don’t meet your idols.”
Of course, meeting someone while they’re busy prepping for a show can often go very well or very badly. Given the nearly three thousand shows Ellen’s done over the past 17 years, there are bound to be a lot of bad moments. Who can be excessively nice all the time?
And who else is expected to do so every moment of every day?
But Ellen’s “mean” side seems to be costing the show as ratings have dropped to a record low. Of course, it could also be the fact that the exceptionally upbeat and positive energy that her viewers come for just isn’t there anymore.
And how could it? The whole world is sick and/or protesting and everybody’s being mean to each other.
So when do we get that lesson? And who’s left to teach it?