Celebrities, they’re just like us. You can irrationally hate them, like you do that jerk Sharon down the street. Other times, though, that revulsion comes from someplace pure, someplace honest, someplace Katherine Heigl. Every review of her new NBC show, State of Affairs, which premiered last night to less than stellar reviews and likely indifferent ratings, revolved around this being her “comeback,” how she bottomed out with Zyzzyxxxxzyyyzzxzxxzz Road, then proceeded to make a dozen more crappy movies, but now she’s back on top, baby.
Not so much. State of Affairs isn’t going to be the show that makes people have a positive association with Heigl. Let’s revisit some of the reasons that got us here.
1. Heigl vs. Shonda Rhimes/Grey’s Anatomy
Where to begin? Maybe when she told David Letterman, “Our first day back [at Grey’s] was Wednesday, and it was — I’m going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them — a 17-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean”? Or when she explained she wasn’t submitting herself for an Emmy nomination, because she “did not feel I was given the material…to warrant [it]”? Or when she didn’t show up at her job, which paid her millions of dollars, and was soon released from her contract? Or when Shonda told the Hollywood Reporter, in reference to Scandal being a smooth operation with a tight cast, “There are no Heigls in this situation”?
(Heigl does deserve some credit, though: when Isaiah Washington allegedly called his co-star T.R. Knight a “fag,” she came to Knight’s defense, telling Access Hollywood, “I’m going to be really honest right now, he needs to just not speak in public. Period…I’m not okay with it.”)
2. Heigl vs. Knocked Up
Even Heigl haters like one thing she’s in: Knocked Up, Judd Apatow’s movie about a fun-loving fat guy who impregnates a shrill skinny girl, or in the words of a much-discussed Vanity Fair profile on Heigl, “an underlying [misogynistic film] that made female characters into unappealing caricatures while romanticizing immature and irresponsible male behavior.” Here’s her review of it:
“It was a little sexist,” she says. “It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you’re portraying women? Ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.” (Via)
She’s not wrong, and if she had gone on to make better movies, her criticisms might have been taken seriously. Instead, Heigl starred in 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, Life As We Know It, New Year’s Eve, One for the Money, and The Big Wedding. Offensive rom-coms, all of them.
3. Heigl vs. Good Taste
Did you see the films I just listed? Again, they’re: 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, Life As We Know It, New Year’s Eve, One for the Money, and The Big Wedding. Here’s a fun image!
Honestly, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory might be her second best movie.
4. Heigl vs. Seth Rogen
While on The Howard Stern Show in 2009, Seth Rogen and Apatow were asked about what Heigl had to say about Knocked Up. Apatow remained cordial, explaining her criticisms with a simple, “[She] probably was doing six hours of interviews and kissing everyone’s ass, and then just got tired and slipped a little bit.” Rogen was having none of that. His response: “I didn’t slip and I was doing f*cking interviews all day too. I didn’t say sh*t!”
Then he sarcastically praised Heigl’s The Ugly Truth: “That [movie] looks like it really puts women on a pedestal in a beautiful way.” Apatow joined in a little: “I hear there’s a scene where she’s wearing underwear with a vibrator in it, so I’d have to see if that was uplifting for women.” (Via)
Rogen eventually forgave her.
5. Heigl vs. Everyone Who Isn’t Her Mother
If you have to play the “well, my mom thinks I’m cool” card, you’re either Milhouse from The Simpsons or someone whom the rest of the world thinks of as “being difficult.”
“I can’t really speak to that. I can only say that I certainly don’t see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. I don’t think my mother sees herself as being difficult. We always…I think it’s important to everybody to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully and kindly. If I’ve ever disappointed somebody, it was never intentional.” (Via)
6. Heigl vs. Brevity
It’s one thing to do a nice deed, like standing up for a co-worker. It’s another to constantly jabber on about it. That, Newsweek surmises, is one of the reasons why people turned away from Heigl — “she shot herself in the foot with her delivery.” Also, sexism.
Everybody applauded her defense of Grey’s costar T. R. Knight after costar Isaiah Washington called him a “fag.” But then Heigl kept prattling on and on, even after Washington was fired in disgrace. People started to wonder if Heigl’s comments were less about Knight and more about her. Last July, in an attempt to be noble, she removed herself from the Emmy race because, she said, she had not been “given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination.” The press again slammed her for the diva attitude (did she really need to issue a statement? And did she have to insult the show’s writers and producers while she was at it?). (Via)
Could be, could be. But it’s probably the whole “face of bad rom-coms” thing.