Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, but the tabloids are getting thinner and are stuffed full of nutrient-lacking filler.
"What Shocked & Rocked in 2020" reports the 'National Enquirer,' which manages to fill seven pages with a repeat of highly questionable stories from the past year.
"Farewell," screams the cover of the 'Globe,' bringing us "93 Legends We Loved & Lost in 2020."
It's a cheap and morose way to fill 11 pages with repeats of stories about celebrity deaths through the year, with the final chance to kick the stars when they can't kick back.
Tributes they ain't.
"Robert Conrad Died Broken – & Bitter!" . . . "Naya Rivera Didn't Have To Die!" . . . Little Richard Couldn't Pray Away Being Gay." . . ."Regis Took A Grudge To His Grave!"
If you thought that would only leave space for the week's primo tabloid stories, you'd be sorely mistaken.
"Ghislaine Maxwell Scandal Explodes!" proclaims the 'National Enquirer' cover story. "Epstein Madam Seduced Bill & Hillary."
It's an incredibly misleading headline, as the 'Enquirer' uses the word "seduced" in its loosest sense, claiming that Ghislaine wooed the Clintons as friends, but absolutely did not have sex with either of them.
Maxwell allegedly "used a powerful cocktail of sex, influence and cash to seduce Bill and Hillary Clinton," claims the report – but then never mentions any suggestion of sex with either of them, notes that Maxwell and Epstein made modest contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and completely fails to substantiate the use of the word "seduced."
Maxwell features in the equally dubious 'Globe' story: "Epstein Madam: I'm Going To Be Murdered In Prison!"
Maxwell's lawyer claims that she has lost weight and is losing hair while incarcerated awaiting trial – troubling, but not exactly a murder plot – and a suspiciously unnamed source claims that Maxwell worries that a guard might be bribed to kill her, just as her billionaire pedophile pal Jeffrey Epstein died under mysterious circumstances in his prison cell. Right.
The British Royal Family supply their usual filler material for this week's rags, with stories of typically doubtful provenance.
"Charles Guzzling Gin At Breakfast!" the 'Globe' tattles on the heir to the throne, while still managing to get in a dig at his wife.
"Camilla's taste for an early morning tipple has rubbed off on hubby Prince Charles," claim unnamed insiders. His Royal Highness allegedly "starts the day guzzling a powerful gin martini with breakfast!"
Frankly I'm surprised the 'Globe' isn't claiming that he pours his gin martini over his Kellogg's cornflakes, olives and all. The rag claims that "alarmed staffers and pals are talking about an intervention" – because that's what Palace staff do: they tell Prince Charles how to live his life, and when to stop hitting the bottle. As if.
The 'Enquirer' dives into fresh fantasy with its headline: "Harry & Meghan Marriage Therapy! . . . Henpecked Harry & mean Meghan bank on couples counseling to save crumbling marriage."
Yet another unnamed "insider" claims that their "marriage is hanging by a thread," and homesick Harry is supposedly feeling guilty about abandoning the Royal Family in Britain while he's swanning it up in California where he's signing multi-million dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify . "Finally he begged Meghan to join him in counseling before their problems crushed their marriage," claims the source. There are only a handful of staff working at close quarters with Harry and Meghan, so you'd think by now they would have figured out who it is giving the tabloids details of their most intimate conversations every week. After all, these "insiders" couldn't possibly be making this stuff up, could they?
The 'Enquirer' tells us that "George Clooney Cheats Death! Hospital drama after losing terrifying 28 lbs." The actor allegedly lost weight for a film role and developed "life-threatening" pancreatitis days before filming was to begin in Finland. Yes, the 59-year-old actor did indeed suffer pancreatitis after a rapid weight-loss program to prepare for his latest movie 'The Midnight Sky,' but he wasn't at death's door, nor was he even in the vicinity of death's neighborhood, not even for a minute.
'Life & Style' magazine, a tabloid notably devoid of either attribute, is of interest this week for including on its cover, in addition to the lead story about Jennifer Aniston "In Love With 3 MEN!" and Liam Hemsworth warning Miley Cyrus to "Stop Talking About Our Marriage!", a front-page advertisement for Zest soap. "Refreshingly clean" is the caption beneath a photo of a bar of Zest, which is pictured larger than the photos of Gerard Butler, John Mayer and Jason Sudeikis: the trio who Jennifer Aniston is supposedly lusting after.
What the heck is an ad for soap doing on the cover of a celebrity tabloid magazine? Apart from the fact that it's the most interesting thing in the rag this week? Is this their idea of good clean family entertainment?
'Us' magazine devotes its cover to a heavily airbrushed photo of the late Princess Diana, with its story: "Revealed after 25 Years – The Lost Diana Tapes.'
But there are no "Diana Tapes," lost or otherwise, as the story ultimately makes clear. The report examines the investigation sparked by Princes William and Harry into the BBC's alleged manipulation and possible fraud and lies employed to coerce Diana into sitting down for her shockingly revelatory television interview with reporter Martin Bashir in 1995.
The only "lost tapes" mentioned belong to Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, who the report says is: "believed to have recorded all his conversations with Bashir leading up to the televised sit-down." So if the tapes exist – which is far from certain – they were never "lost tapes" to begin with, but were simply tapes that Spencer secretly recorded. And since 'Us' magazine doesn't have the tapes, and has no idea of their possible content, it seems a stretch to claim they have been "revealed after 25 years."
'People' magazine devotes its cover story to the distaff side of the Royal Family: "Kate's Private World. New Details."
But those "new details" of the intimate life of the Duchess of Cambridge amount to telling us that she drops the kids off at school while wearing her gym clothes, shops at the local Sainsbury's supermarket, and enjoys hunting parties. Eye-opening.
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Izabel Goulart wore it best, that Heather Graham admits: "Sometimes I sing to my food," and that the stars are just like us: they shop online, dine out – though not under pandemic lockdown – and are addicted to their smart phones. Riveting, as ever.
The 'Globe' brings us the breaking news that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln "has been spotted – and documented – by White House staffers and visitors since 1903!" How they documented this spiritual apparition – stop and frisk? checking its immigration papers? – isn't clear, but it's good to finally get the story after 117 years.
Onwards and downwards . . .