For the last few weeks, the cast of the widely panned Dear Evan Hansen has had to pretend to be proud of a movie many are calling “disgusting.” Speaking to Vulture, writer of both the film and the original play Steven Levenson said that he was “struck by the vitriol for Ben Platt. Especially the cruelty.” As someone who had the unique displeasure of seeing the film at its TIFF world premiere, I am not. Sometimes, I begin feeling bad for the cast, and then I remember they’re all millionaires.
Their latest stop on the publicity tour from hell? The Drew Barrymore Show. Maybe you’re thinking, “Drew Barrymore is an actor who has been through so much. Surely she is sensitive to how poorly this movie was received and will make them look good.” But no. She did not.
This ten-minute segment starts off normally, with Barrymore introducing Ben Platt as an in-studio guest for her show. But you know it’s going to only go downhill from here when she introduces him as “someone who’s able to challenge humanity better than anyone I’ve ever seen in my life.” But then it gets even worse at the 3-minute mark, when Barrymore says there was a budding journalist in high school who got to interview the cast during a press junket. Which is when it is revealed Barrymore made the decision to dress up as Josie (Grosie) from the 1999 hit Never Been Kissed, and interview the cast in character. In Never Been Kissed, Barrymore plays a 25-year-old journalist who was a nerd in high school, and goes back to school undercover on an assignment. For the DEH segment, she dressed up as Josie (aka “Josie Grossy”) in a scene in which popular boys threw eggs at her before the prom. I guess I see what she was going for here, but the whole thing is just so deeply disturbing. I had to watch it for my job, so you should, too.
To give you an idea of how deeply uncomfortable this video is, I am the only one of my coworkers who has watched it all the way through. It’s so confusing, so embarrassing, so out of touch — I don’t really know where to begin:
- The interview begins and the cast very graciously plays along. I am under the assumption they are playing along because this is going to be a nice, light-hearted gag that won’t last very long.
- The premise is that Josie, a teenager, got an opportunity to interview the cast. She is very excited, and nervous. So, as to stay true to the character, Drew asks bad questions only a teenage nerd would (like, “What did you want to be when you were in high school?”), rather than decent questions that Drew Barrymore would ask.
- In what I am guessing is an effort to get people to instantly recognize Josie, she is wearing her prom dress from the movie, which is from the early 80s. But this is a 2021 version of Josie. Nobody thought this through!
- It would have made more sense to just let 25-year-old Josie interview the cast.
- They are treating Josie like she’s a kid who won a Make a Wish, or Elmo, and not Drew Barrymore in character.
- At around 6 minutes and 39 seconds, Barrymore makes this even more surreal: she makes Josie get very sincere about the story and looks like she’s holding back tears??
It ends with going back to Platt and Barrymore at the studio, where she calls it a “dream collaboration.” Platt, eyes dead and face expressionless, replies with, “I’m so happy we can finally give it away that I got to meet her.” Chills.