There's a fresh sensitivity in evidence, and a renewed dedication to honesty and factual accuracy.
No, this week's tabloids are as irredeemable as ever.
And with the New Year comes New Year's resolutions, which invariably means a new weight loss regime for many tabloid readers, long overdue judging by the ads for compression socks to improve circulation, weight-loss supplements, liver detox supplements, walk-in bathtubs, and personal weight loss plans.
'Us' and 'People' magazines both predictably devote their covers to diets.
"Diets That Work!" promises 'Us,' which brings readers 11 pages of celebrity weight-loss programs.
"Half Their Size: How We Got Healthy," boasts the cover of 'People,' bringing us 15 pages of non-celebrity diets, all-star diets, and even pet diets for your hefty cat or dog.
Weighty issues feature heavily in the tabloids as always, where despite popular belief, you can actually be too thin.
"Renée Zellweger Skin-&-Bones Scare!" raves the 'National Enquirer. "'Judy' Star Wastes Away to 97 lbs."
It's yet more proof that the tabloids have hacked into the bathroom scales of celebrities across Hollywood, providing irrefutable evidence of the stars' exact weight. How else could the 'Enquirer' know that Zellweger weight precisely 97 pounds, and not 96 or 98 pounds?
Or could it be that the tabloids simply love the concept of 97 pounds? It's distinctly below the benchmark of 100 pounds, and the figure's precision suggests an accuracy that can only come from insider knowledge.
In fact, the tabloids love to pin the weight of 97 pounds on any celebrity who looks a little peaky.
Among the stars who have conclusively weighed in at 97 pounds, according to the 'Enquirer': 'Michael Jackson in June 2015, who was "a frightening 97 pounds,"; Paula Abdul who was a "scary 97 pounds" in August 2011; and Angelina Jolie who was a "skeletal" 97 pounds in early 2019. Sister tabloid the 'Globe' assured us that Duchess Kate was 97 pounds in February 2017, and Celine Dion a "scary thin" 97 pounds in October 2019.
And Michelle Obama allegedly lost 97 pounds – not a pound more, or less – in August 2016, according to the 'Enquirer.'
The British Royal soap opera continues into the new tabloid decade with the same dedication to factual accuracy as ever, which is minimal at best.
The 'Enquirer' reveals Prince Philip's "Deathbed Advice to Queen: Never Forgive Andrew."
It must have come as something of a blow to the 'Enquirer' when "dying" Prince Philip roused himself from his deathbed and left hospital, despite supposedly summoning "his last bit of strength" to tell Queen Elizabeth "to banish their scandal-scarred son Andrew forever!" Can we expect next week's headline to read: "Philip's Miracle Deathbed Recovery"?
The 'Globe' brings us "William & Kate's Public Spat Over His Other Woman! Prince humiliated during TV interview."
Duchess Kate appeared to shrug off William's hand from her shoulder during a TV interview – a move endlessly analyzed and interpreted by pundits days ago. The couple has since appeared together with loving body language and no indication of any rift, and there's zero evidence that Kate's TV interview shrug had anything to do with William's apparently long-ended friendship with Rose Hanbury.
"Baby Archie's First Christmas – Inside Their Canada Hideaway" promises 'Us' magazine, but fails to deliver. We learn nothing of what happened "inside" the Royal retreat, other than that Harry & Meghan were in Toronto, and then in Vancouver with Meghan's mother. The Royals bought baby Archie building blocks and a baby ball pit for Christmas, so if that counts as an "inside" scoop go ahead and alert the Pulitzer committee.
Dubious medical stories are as popular as ever in this week's tabloids.
Simon Cowell's "Man Boobs Go Missing!" reports the 'Enquirer.'
Has Cowell reported them missing? Have the police been alerted? Apparently he didn't leave them in the back of an Uber, nor did they slip under the seat of a private jet. Unnamed "medical experts" tell the 'Enquirer' they suspect he's had surgery. After all, he couldn't possibly have just lost weight, could he?
Rocker Ozzy Osbourne is "in agony – and begging to die!" reports the 'Enquirer.' Osbourne was allegedly injured following a fall, and "just lies in bed all day, moaning in pain 24/7."
And is he begging to die as the headline states? Not quite.
The best the 'Enquirer' can come up with is that unnamed "pals . . believe he's waiting to die." Oh, right. That certainly sounds suicidal.
George Clooney's medical woes are explored in the 'Globe,' which reports "Crippled Clooney's Broken Back Agony!"
Is his spine actually broken? No. Is he crippled? No. But the 'Globe' assures us that the actor is allegedly "trapped in a living hell" after a motorcycle spill in July 2018 aggravated an earlier injury. This "nightmare" is "straining his marriage," claims the 'Globe,' "and some of his friends worry it may not survive." Because that's what friends are for in Hollywood: to reveal their unfounded fears to tabloid reporters.
And of course it wouldn't be a new decade without a couple of stories that have no discernible basis in fact.
"Hillary Clinton – The Truth About My Gay Flings," reports the 'Globe' on its cover.
And the truth about her lesbian romances? She hasn't had any, the story reveals. Hillary evidently told Howard Stern in a radio interview that she's "never been tempted."
The 'Globe' brings us the latest update in the saga of the late billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, with its story: "Epstein Suicide Video Vanishes!"
Unfortunately for the 'Globe,' the jailhouse video was never missing, and was "found" days before the Globe went to print – but why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
The 'Globe' devotes its main cover headline to country queen Dolly Parton's 53-year marriage to Carl Dean: "Dolly's Husband Moves Out!" The report claims that Carl moved into the guest house on Dolly's Tennessee estate, so the duo are still living as neighbors, if the story is accurate – which is questionable.
Sister rag the 'Enquirer' has the same story, under the headline: "Dolly Hiding Her Hubby Heartbreak! 53-Year Marriage Shaken As Frail Recluse Carl Fights Alzheimer's." If it's true that Carl Dean has Alzheimer's and can't sleep at night, as the report claims, then the couple living in separate bedrooms, or even separate neighboring houses, may be kinder for them both. But nobody looks to the tabloids for compassion or understanding.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Eva Longoria wore it best (though she'll never wear that Balmain tank top again after it was also pictured on four other actresses), that Scott Eastwood is "a horrible dancer," that model Delilah Belle Hamlin carries a crystal, pepper spray and eye gel in her Prada purse, and that the stars are just like us: they swim in the ocean, take public transportation, and drink bottled water. Revelatory, as ever.
The biggest disappointment of this week's tabloids comes courtesy of the 'Globe,' which reports on the widely-covered mass beaching of thousands of phallic-shaped sea creatures commonly known as "penis fish."
Beneath a photo of a California beach littered with the organisms, and an inset photo of a pair of hands holding a good eight inches of penis fish, the best headline the wags at the 'Globe' can come up with is: "Man, Oh, Man, These Fish Are Gross!"
If you can't think of a good dick pun for a headline, you really shouldn't be working for the tabloids.
Onwards and downwards . . .