‘Welcome to Chippendales’ Makes You Realize They Don’t Get the Credit They Deserve

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

This week:

Long Live the Chippendales

I have come to the conclusion that we as a society have failed the Chippendales.

My whole life, I was led to believe that the troop of male dancers was embarrassing. With their cheesy costumes—nothing but a bowtie, sleeve cuffs, and breakaway pants—they were portrayed as a pop-culture joke, immortalized by the Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley Saturday Night Live sketch. To attend one of their shows, even ironically, would be shameful. They were trotted out on daytime talk shows as the epitome of scandal.

Well, I will no longer be clutching my collar. After watching the new Hulu series Welcome to Chippendales, I have learned a few things. The Chippendales’ rise was a gender victory, normalizing female desire and sexual expression, and acknowledging that men could—and should—play a role in that pleasure. With that encouragement, they at least attempted to strip (heh) sexual shame away. Their dances were goofy, but often impressive. They put on a good show!

Moreover, they were about hotness. As a culture, we don’t celebrate hot people doing hot things enough! We’re always trying to silence hotness!

What I’m saying is that there is more than meets the eye to the Chippendales. The same is true of the Hulu show, which premieres Tuesday.

When Welcome to Chippendales was announced, it’s fair to say the giggly assumption was that we were going to get a semi-porny comedy about the silly male dancers; a poor man’s Magic Mike. What I don’t think anyone expected was a true-crime series, based on a real story.

The story of the Chippendales empire is that of an immigrant desperately seeking the American dream, but losing control of his ambition. Played by Kumail Nanjiani, Somen Banerjee (who later changed his name to Steve) saves up to buy his own club, only landing on male exotic dancing after seeing its financial potential by chance. An egotistical choreographer (Murray Bartlett), free-spirited costume designer (Juliette Lewis), and brilliant accountant (Annaleigh Ashford) all eventually team up with Steve to improve, legitimize, and expand the franchise.

There’s a dark underbelly of sex and drugs, and certainly of greed. There’s also a sweetness—Irene and Steve fall in love—and a hilarity: Lewis and Bartlett are a crackerjack pairing. But as the club flourishes, the series’ joy evolves into a portending doom. A Wikipedia search would explain why, but I would also caution against spoiling the storyline that becomes the crux of the series.

Girls’ Jenni Konner and Pam and Tommy’s Robert Siegel are Welcome to Chippendale’s showrunners. It was around when Tommy Lee’s anthropomorphized penis began talking to him in Pam and Tommy that I realized just how fun it is that subject matter once considered trashy or juvenile has now been elevated to the level of prestige TV. Welcome to Chippendales is further proof of that.

The Daily Beast’s Obsessed

Everything we can’t stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.

Give It the Oscar Now

Here is a running list of every time I gasped, squealed, winced, yelped, and cheered while watching the trailer for the cinematic event of our lifetime, the upcoming film 80 for Brady, which stars Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Lily Tomlin as octogenarians who are obsessed with Tom Brady and journey to watch him play in the Super Bowl.

The first shot of the four of them together. Jane Fonda’s wearing the fakest wig I’ve ever seen in any film. When Jane’s character explains that she writes Rob Gronkowski erotica (in a better but still shocking wig). Rita shoplifting a life-sized cardboard cutout of a football player, and then hitting on it. Sally making a joke about a strap-on. Harry Hamlin shows up!

Lily dabs. Guy Fieri shows up!!! Jane and Harry Hamlin making out. Billy Porter is in this too? Billy Porter leads them all in a dance. When they do a synchronized cheer for Tom Brady. Rita takes acid by accident and hallucinates a roomful of Guy Fieris. The last words of the trailer: Rita saying, “I’m Guy Fieri?”

Watch the trailer here.

Some Royal Concerns

There is movement, finally, on a third Princess Diaries film. At first, I cheered so loud you could hear me in Genovia. Assuming the deals get made, I can’t think of more of a delight than getting Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews back for another one of these movies. The Crown wishes!

But then I remembered how ho-hum all these straight-to-streaming sequels and reboot series have been for so many beloved, nostalgic properties, and I changed my mind. We must protect Crown Princess Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi at all costs. Keep her far away from this.

A Very Serious Wakanda Forever Talking Point

It has come to my attention that 10 seconds of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is being censored in Kuwait because of a gay kiss. It turns out that is not the most homophobic thing to happen to this movie.

They flattened Namor’s dang penis.

#BringBackThePenis. We must get this trending.

What to watch this week:

Limitless: A bunch of scientists keep trying to kill Chris Hemsworth. It’s surprisingly moving. (Now on Disney+)

The People I Hate at the Wedding: Kristen Bell, Ben Platt, and Allison Janney in a family comedy. A present to me. (Now on Amazon)

The Menu: It’s creepy and it’s funny and it’s got Ralph Fiennes. (Fri. in theaters)

What to skip this week:

Disenchanted: It gives me no pleasure to report! (Now on Disney+)

Spirited: Insert “bah humbug” joke here. (Now on AppleTV+)

The Daily Beast’s Obsessed

Everything we can’t stop loving, hating, and thinking about this week in pop culture.

Read More: ‘Welcome to Chippendales’ Makes You Realize They Don’t Get the Credit They Deserve

2022-11-19 04:17:19

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments