Last night’s Met Gala was another triumph for sartorial adventurousness, offering the year’s rare opportunity to see the wealthy and beautiful liberated, for one night only, from the burlap smocks we force them to wear to maintain their humility. It certainly did not disappoint. Some dresses were very long, pants were creased outrageously, and everyone got to think about Elon Musk’s sex life. Even better, Piers Morgan squeezed another angry op-ed out of it.
But while these joys are palpable and enough to sustain whole minutes of listlessly clicking through slideshows at your desk, I posit this: The Met Gala was, and always will be, a drunken, sweatpantsed stumble through a CVS at 3 a.m. compared to the intellectualized glitz and conceptual glamour that was the 1995 opening of Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure. Don’t believe me? Fuck you. Or rather, allow me to illustrate.
It was a sunny, sexily synergistic March 3 when Disney invited a veritable who’s who and who’s available to come be the first to experience its newest theme park ride into the heart of 1935 India, promising them their customary celebrity indulgence of not having to wait in line with plebes. Like the Met Gala, the overarching theme was religion—for the Met, Catholicism; for Indiana Jones, the wrathful temple deity Mara—and the stars really took it and ran with it, along with offering their own idiosyncratic plays on the character’s own swashbuckling style. Truly, these were famous people wearing clothes in a way you could expound upon for the length of an article.
For example, here we see Brendan Fraser—coming off a blockbuster year of starring in both Airheads AND With Honors—insouciantly posing as though he doesn’t know, or care, how to use a bag. He could have just put that bag over his shoulder, of course, but it takes genuine, mid-’90s derring-do to just sort of suggestively drape it in the crook of your elbow and contort your spine, sexily suggesting that you might squash the sandwich you stashed in there for later. Can you say that anyone at the Met Gala took half as much risk without choking on the acrid, cat-piss burn of your lies?
The Nanny star Fran Drescher wears a funky, color-blocked sweater with bell sleeves compressed under tight denim skirt, all topped off by clunky rain boots for a look that symbolically captures the cultural forces defiantly asserting themselves beneath the denim-skirt-like oppression of British rule in India, and the metaphorical shit one must wade through to square your political sympathies with the pampered life of a celebrity. Fran Drescher holds her head in mock agony at the cognitive dissonance.
Her fellow performance artist Tony Danza holds aloft a state-of-the-art Sharp Viewcam camcorder to record the cameras recording him—for you see, now the observed has become the observer, and the roles we all must play in this grand pageant are ever in flux. What happened at the Met Gala again? Blake Lively wore a big fucking dress? Great.
Actress Ellen Barkin dresses simply, allowing the muted colors and clean lines of her outfit to be the canvas that spotlights her accessories—one smiling with the innocent optimism of youth, and one frowning, her spark prematurely snuffed out by the impending realities of the encroaching 21st century.
HELLO I AM ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AND THIS IS ME WALKING INTO THE AMUSEMENT RIDE FOR FUN. COME TO PLANET HOLLYWOOD, WHERE YOU CAN EAT A HAMBURGER LIKE THE MOVIE STARS. I TOOK THESE CLOTHES HOME FROM THE SET OF TWINS AND THEY DID NOT STOP ME. OKAY THUMBS UP, GUYS!
There are like five separate photos of Full House star Jodie Sweetin in this gallery, all in this exact same pose, and it’s probably best not to dwell on why that is.
Still, that’s nothing compared to the 13 (!) photos of Blossom actress Finola Hughes, across which you can literally track her confusion and eventual exhaustion at being waylaid by a photographer for this long. She almost seems to be saying, “Seriously? I play the stepmother on Blossom.”
Speaking of Blossom, here are Matthew and Andrew Lawrence—the “good” Lawrences—having made the daring aesthetic choice to murder Joey Lawrence and swaddle themselves in his enormous clothes. Not one ritual sacrifice at the Met’s so-called “gala,” btw.
Blossom’s Jenna Van Oy was there, too. Holy shit, Blossom really was some kind of genuine cultural force in 1995. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh right, how the opening of the Indiana Jones Adventure in 1995 was superior, aesthetically and spiritually, to yesterday’s Met Gala.
Actor C. Thomas Howell wears the enormous Yankees hat he spent most of the ’90s hiding under after Soul Man. You know, some of you might be saying, “This seems like just some ham-fisted attempt to draw a comparison between a topical, SEO-friendly event and some random images you clearly downloaded from Getty under your company’s subscription that you now must justify by actually using them in an article where you make lame, 20-year-old digs at celebrities. I don’t actually see any genuine connection here.”
Right! As though showing you this picture of Danny Bonaduce and his then-wife, Gretchen—just a few years removed from Bonaduce’s arrest for beating and robbing a prostitute, here all scrubbed and stonewashed-jean-squeaky-clean in the Happiest Place on Earth—was somehow not a provocative commentary on the power of cultivated image that these kinds of events represent, but rather just my cheap, slapdash attempt to make good on the fact that I used up like a dozen of our monthly allotted Premium image credits downloading these because I thought they were funny and it’s only May 8. Come on, guys.
I mean, can you honestly tell me that there is more inherent semiotic value in deconstructing the iconography of Sarah Jessica Parker’s gaudy fucking nativity scene headpiece than there is in talking about Keenen Ivory Wayans’ cool hat here? I certainly know which one I would rather spend the afternoon discussing for a minimum of 1,000 words, but no greater so as not to dramatically offset the cost per pageview in this unusually tumultuous time for our digital media organization! Those sunglasses are pretty cool, too!
I don’t want to go off on a rant here, but I haven’t seen this kind of rush to judgment since Stalin went to open mic night at the Moscow Zanies and the big closing act was Osip Mandelstam. Loosen up, cha-cha.
Seriously, if you can look at this photo of 1995-era Dan Aykroyd wearing a “U.S. Border Patrol” hat and not extrapolate that this is a cutting, eerily prescient commentary on our current sociopolitical climate, born of the noblesse oblige of one of our most glamorous celebrities—a bold fashion statement that makes the Met Gala look like a needlessly self-indulgent parade of empty, extravagant waste by clueless elites in these, the rapidly waning days of our empire—then clearly I don’t know how to convince you that the 1995 opening of the Indiana Jones Adventure represents the pinnacle of our modern society, never to be surpassed or equaled. Maybe I should just shout at you in exclamation points until it feels like I’ve accomplished something!
Or, I could show you this photo of Elliott Gould jauntily tipping a fedora.
There. Now you get it. Now we agree.