Julia Allison Breaks Down — “They Call Me Donkey” — On “Miss Advised”
I watched last night’s episode of “Miss Advised” from the American Airlines terminal bar at San Francisco’s airport while tossing back three glasses of prosecco before my red eye flight. It was really quite perfect. I had been looking forward to this episode, in as much as it’s possible to look forward to an episode of “Miss Advised,” because previews indicated it would feature Julia Allison reading her hate site in the company of a love coach named Annie Lala. As a regular reader of that hate site — Reblogging Donk, read it, it’s hilarious — I was eager to see how it would be presented and how it would fit into Julia’s storyline.
But first! Julia had a date with her manager, who she says is a good friend and that he also secures writing assignments for her. (Do “journalists” usually have someone else getting them work? Just curious.) But before they could get down to business, Julia vents bout the no good very bad day she’s been having. It seems a Page Six reporter had emailed her to either confirm or deny a rumor that Julia’s ex boyfriend — JACK MCCAIN, SON OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT — dumped her because he caught her snooping through his emails and phone. This, Julia insists, is straight up lies! She broke up with Jack because he was being stationed in Guam and she didn’t think she could pursue her dreams while he was pursuing his. Or something.
There wouldn’t be much point to discussing the hows and whys of their breakup if not a for a few things: 1) Another excuse to namedrop the McCain name, and 2) to allude to people being “out to get” Julia by spreading lies about her. The latter is clearly to illicit sympathy from viewers which, based on the reactions I’ve seen to the show on the web, Julia reallllllly needs. But more on that shortly.
Back to Manager Steven, who’s requested to meet with Julia about her Elle.com writing gig because he heard back from her editor about her first assignment and that the consensus is it’s just “fine.” Steven, who, if I may remind you, is a manager not an editor, has tons of feedback on Julia’s piece, mostly that she comes off as phony. Ya think? Julia insists she is doing her best. Steven says that if that’s the case, they are fucked.
I should probably take a moment to talk about the other two women who are this show, Emily and Amy. Amy’s scenes I skipped through because as much as I think Julia is THE WORST, Amy makes me viscerally uncomfortable. It kind of amazes me that a woman who is so desperately insecure could be a successful matchmaker. I did notice that she went on a date in this episode and was bothered that he talked about his apartment so much. This from the woman who shamed her last date for ordering chicken pot pie.
Emily, meanwhile, has headed back to her hometown and is excited to go on a date with a guy she had a crush on in high school who is recently divorced. Her friend is setting them up, but she’s so enthusiastic about it that I can’t help but wonder if SHE has the crush on the dude and is just in denial. Do you remember that Sweet Valley High book where Elizabeth Wakefield tries to set up Jeffrey French with her BFF Enid and she’s sooooo insistent about it that Enid is finally like, “Dude, it’s totally obvi that YOU are in love with Jeffrey French?” That’s what this reminded me of.
Back to Julia. So, for her Elle “column,” which is horrifically titled “Guinea Pig of Love,” Julia is meeting with a love coach by the name of Annie Lala. Annie Lala has flippy short hair and an ugly scarf and based on the fact that she is a “love coach” and her name is “Lala,” I assumed I would hate her and think her advice was the kind of shit doled out of the back of a van at Burning Man. But I was wrong! Annie Lala was kind of on point! She immediately zeroed in on the fact that Julia has a “schtick” she performs
in life on a date and that she comes off as fake as a result. Annie’s main advice to Julia for her upcoming date with an entrepreneur named William? That she chill the fuck out, listen, not suck up all the energy in the room, and, for the love of christ, not laugh out loud in the insane way she normally does. Usually I would scoff at advice like “Don’t laugh out loud” but I’m pretty sure that bit of Annie Lala advice was Julia-specific.
So, Julia’s date with William starts with a bike ride. Julia decides within the first five minutes that she would like to get naked with him. After bike riding, they go for lunch and you can tell that Julia is trying her best to stick to Annie’s advice by not being shrill and obnoxious and talking about herself nonstop. William talks about having recently “hung out” with a girl which I guess means he kind of had a girlfriend? Shit, he may still have a girlfriend. Does it matter, though, considering these dates are all fake? Then he starts asking Julia all sorts of questions about her past dating history, including the fact that she once actually blogged about a relationship with a boyfriend. (That would be JakobAndJulia.com and it is a lammmmmme relic of internet history that you could google if you want.) Julia, by the way, hates the term “blogger” and thinks of herself as a journalist because most of her work has appeared “in print.” All in all, the date is sort of awkward, but Julia seems less “on” than usual and that’s a good thing. Still, I don’t see much hope for these two, except William says he would like to see her again so he must have signed a two episode contract.
Julia decides to meet with Annie Lala again so she can tell her about her date with William and how her advice worked. But Annie has other plans! Sensing that Julia has serious issues with people not liking her, Annie suggests that Julia get out her laptop so they confront the hate that’s so gotten under Julia’s skin together! (Something tells me Annie Lala has been lurking on Reblogging Donk during her own time.) Julia brings up the unnamed hate site (again, it’s Reblogging Donk and here’s the link!) and talks about all the awful things the haters say about her: that she has a raft ass, that she has sausage fingers, that she stalks her ex-boyfriends, and, oh yeah, “They call me Donkey.”
“Why?” Annie Lala probes. Julia says she thinks it’s because of her laugh and her big teeth. I’m not sure about the latter, but remember, even Annie Lala thought Julia should keep her laugh to herself on dates.
Anyway, it’s totally true that Julia’s looks are criticized on the site and I’m not gonna go to any great lengths to justify that, except to say that Allison has always presented herself as someone who prizes external beauty over most things, including in herself. To her critics, she’s shallow and has earned the shallow criticism. Or something.
But really, the bulk of the criticism on Reblogging Donk (and previous Julia Allison hate sites) has been about her behavior, particularly that she acts like an entitled princess. This is where Annie Lala straight up earned her fee. She basically tells Julia that because she’s heard that critique so much throughout her life that it must be somewhat true and that she needs to own up to it. In short, “If this many people think that you’re awful, maybe you kind of are?” Julia starts bawling and part of me thought that it was actually a real, genuine display of raw emotion, and maybe some of it was, but when she choked out a strangled, “This is sooooooo haaaaaaard,” it felt really performative and I was reminded that I am watching a reality show and nothing is real except my growing annoyance.
Last but not least, Emily finally has her big date with the Guy From High School and he is cute! Her date gets off to a weird start, though, as Guy From High School seems to think that going out with a sexpert means that talking about anal sex is an appropriate topic of first date conversation. And Emily, who is truly the only tolerable person on this shit show, flips the script on him by saying that many men like to be anally penetrated by their girlfriends. Guy From High School appears to be titillated by the topic of pegging, because he goes in for a kiss. Julia and the Other Sad Lady (Amy) need to take notes.