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The Real Star of Sharp Objects
An ode to Camille’s cunty messenger bag
There’s a lot wrong with the current timeline, but every once in a while I feel a gust of gratitude that I live in a world where Sharp Objects exists.
The HBO show, adapted from Gillian Flynn’s book of the same name, turned five years old this summer and so I put on my metaphorical roller skates and commenced my first rewatch. Taking another spin around Wind Gap, I couldn’t help but marvel at what a treat this show is. We don’t deserve this sweaty gothic-horror filled to the brim with women you wouldn’t want within 100 miles of you, the best of which is Mommy Dearest Adora (Patricia Clarkson) who is a vision in Vinyard Vines, an emotional sadist who says incredible things like “…and that’s why I never loved you, I hope that’s some comfort to you.”
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One word to best sum up this series: ripe. And gloriously so. A peach left sitting out in the Tuscan sun, so rotten you want to paint it. The scenery! Every shot of this muggy Missouri small town (filmed in Los Angeles, but all the better if you ask me) you want to take a bite out of, like Clarkson takes a bite out of her newborn. There is a bloated, alcoholic Camille (Amy Adams), a roller skating and wild Amma (Eliza Scanlen playing the scariest thing you can be: the hot youngest sibling), and a gossiping, drunken Jackie O’Neill (Elizabeth Perkins, who pops in to do her very best impression of Stockard Channing in Practical Magic).
There are so many dead little girls, one of which is Sydney Sweeney, and they all linger in the periphery of Amy Adams’ mind when she’s not too busy whipping out cornball zingers like “I don’t do boyfriends.”
This show was a blip, a wrinkle in the universe. It was so good. It never should have been that good and nothing will ever compare. Amy Adams did not win the Emmy and the ripple effects of that should be studied. Think about all the bad things that have happened since 2018. I’m not saying that’s where we went wrong, but I’m not not saying that.
Anyway, Sharp Objects is just as rich a text on rewatch. There were so many things I had forgotten, so many lines that I latched onto and that now play in a loop in my head. Madison Davenport’s aggrieved delivery of “Nobody reads the newspaper anymore!” Adora’s loving “Even the lawn is not safe from her.” But what I truly cannot stop thinking about is that cunty, cunty messenger bag.
Adams’ Camille Preaker is a journalist who escaped her hog-slaughtering small town of Wind Gap (which her mom, Adora, essentially owns) to the big, big city of St. Louis. She’s an alcoholic with PTSD and her body is covered in cuts she’s been carving into herself since her little sister died young of a mysterious malaise. Her newspaper editor dispatches her to her hometown to cover the murders of two little girls. So she saunters right back into Wind Gap and interviews her entire town like someone who has been through maybe one year of journalism school. She recites various iterations of “don’t you want the chance to tell your own story before I get it from somewhere else?” and follows up the most couched or cliched sentences with “can I quote you on that?” She’s very much drinking on the job and eventually she ends up standing on a crime scene with the lead detective (Chris Messina)‘s hand down her pants. A model reporter she is not. A model cunt, though?
Something about the all black attire. The bombastic side part. The one Butterfinger bar she bought among a dozen airplane bottles of Fireball. The many baths. The one-inch heeled booties. Or her responding to being told she’s not allowed to question a minor with “I was just going to hit on him.” Somehow she’s everything Aaron Sorkin wishes he could write, everything Woody Harrelson in True Detective wanted to be. And this is no small thanks to that droopy brown (maybe green) messenger bag.
This bag got more screen time than Patricia Clarkson. It had more charisma than Adora’s husband Allan and his four separate sound systems (though it would pair nicely with the magnifying glass Allan uses to read).
Camille wore it crossbody, as God intended, when she was feeling an extra perk in her step, or hanging far too low on one shoulder when she was in distress (like when she left that motel room after Messina called her “a slut and a drunk”), and when she was in full panic mode she clutched the top of it with one fist like when you realize all your friends have already gotten up from the restaurant table and you have to scramble.
Even when the bag was not on screen you could feel its presence. It was somewhere nearby, watching the drama unfold. Maybe even creating the drama? No one ever suspected this Fossil Defender Waxed Canvas East West City Bag of foul play?
I don’t recall Camille ever using it as a weapon but the insinuation that she could, in my mind, was heavily implied.
You know you’ve gotten the right actor for a part when it’s impossible to imagine anyone else doing the job. Close your eyes and imagine a sassy Amy Adams, perpetually leaning against a door frame because she’s ~always got one foot out the door~. Tell me you don’t see that bag at her hip. Now imagine it’s an orange JanSport instead. A New Yorker tote bag. A navy/gold Longchamp. It doesn’t work! And even this specific iteration is perfect, it’s not too stiff and narrow like the all-leather messenger bags. It’s got just one clasp because her drunk ass isn’t about to fumble with two! Half the time it’s not fastened anyway, and as a messenger bag girl with the shoulder sprains to prove it, I appreciated this accurate attention to detail.
Simply no other bag could carry the weight not just of Camille’s emotional baggage, not just of the Moleskin leather notebook she uses to report with like some kind of Tumblr explorer (someone tell this woman it costs $23 for a pack of 12 Portage top bound spiral notepads on Amazon and that’s in today’s inflation price, it was probably $15 in 2018), but of her cuntiness. Without this messenger bag, there would be no strut, no swagger, no door frame leans. Without this bag, our girl would be straighter than a flagpole and what fun would that be? Her Parliaments do not belong in a Herschel backpack, they do not FIT in a Lululemon fanny pack. There is no Camille without her cunty Fossil messenger bag and I’ll go as far to say there is no cunty messenger bag without Camille.
Question: What’s a television show that makes you super nostalgic?
Mallika: There is no feeling in the world like being on middle/high school summer break and having a crush — not that it always went well for me. I once thought I had a crush on a boy at sleepaway camp but when he reciprocated, I panicked, sent hopes and prayers into the ether that he would have to be sent home, and then he famously fell off his bunkbed and broke his leg. (Truly wishing him well.) But that is neither here nor there. There is one show on TV right now that can make you relive that nervous excitement like no other and that is The Summer I Turned Pretty season two. I am OBVIOUSLY team Conrad.
Rachel: I have SO much to say about The Summer I Turned Pretty but I’ll save it for a later date. The obvious answer for me is of course Gilmore Girls, especially as we approach feral girl fall. As I’ve talked about before, I started watching this show at 8 years old and it made me insufferable. My favorite make believe game was “college” and “coffee shop.” I named all my Ken dolls Logan and Jess (not Dean, never Dean). I dropped off from watching it on a loop in perpetuity in college, but when the leaves start to change it’s hard not to want to go back to Stars Hollow.
What do you, Leonardo DiCaprio, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Dwayne Johnson all have in common? You’re all donating $1 million to the SAG-AFRA Foundation! Just kidding, but if you’re looking for a way to support the people who bring you the TV you love amid the writers and actors strikes, this could be a good way. You can donate here.
Special Episode: What’s HOT in reality TV land
If there is one thing we are known for, it’s not knowing enough about reality TV, so we brought in the big guns: Haleigh Hoff, host of the podcast “HOT CONT with haleigh hoff” where she’s interviewed Zachary Reality of TikTok fame, dancing mom Erica Coffelt of America’s Got Talent and more. Here’s Haleigh in her own words on what's HOT and what's NOT in the world of reality TV this week:
- We've got a lot going on in Bachelor Nation lately! Former Bachelorette Gabby Windey comes out on The View sharing her partner, comedian Robby Hoffman with the world! MAJOR! 💓 Current Bachelorette Charity Wilson has narrowed her pickings down to 4 great men, who in a shocking turn of events, all seem mature, wholesome, and very well suited for her. But what will happen after hometowns? Buckle up and get ready for some 'I'm falling in love with you" exchanges. 🌹 Former Bachelor in Paradise couple Abigail Heringer and Noah Erb are engaged! 💍 Former Bachelor and Bachelor Nation's biggest frenemy Nick Viall has two big announcements this past week: He and fiance Natalie Joy just announced they are expecting a baby! 👶 And Nick will be on a new show! 📺
- Fox's big reality hit Special Forces, where contestants challenge each other in extreme physical and mental challenges (like the military's special forces) announces the second season and it is stacked! Contestants include: Tyler Cameron, Jojo Siwa, TOM SANDOVAL!, Nick Viall, TARA REID, Black Chyna and more. Consider me seated for the drama, sweat and menty b's. 🪖
- Speaking of Tom Sandoval, Vanderpump Rules is currently filming season 11 and the fans are EXCITED. Is the cast mad at Ariana? Seems like it... 🎭
- More in Bachelor Nation, another Bachelor couple has called it quits, this time it's Kaitlyn Bristowe and Jason Tartick 💔
- Love Island UK is coming to a close / has already come to a close (depending on where you are in your 60-episode viewing or what country you are in.) No spoilers of winners here just in case! But what are we going to do with all that time back??Time to pull someone for a chat by a real life fire pit... 🏝️
- Former Vanderpump Rules stars Jax Taylor and wife Brittany Taylor are rumored to be a part of a new off-shoot show with other former Vanderpump Castmates who got kicked off the show back in 2020 for accusations of racism... Do these people really need another show? ... Probably not. 🤐
On a side note, I went to go see Drop Dead Gorgeous at The Metrograph last weekend for their Kirsten Dunst summer series (a movie theater after my own heart), and there’s a dance teacher in it with strong Miss Patty energy. That movie feels to me like a more realistic depiction of what all those crackpots in Stars Hollow would be up to.
Meanwhile Rachel has made it three episodes in with at least 50 to go, please send your thoughts and prayers for her on this difficult journey.