A previous version of this article incorrectly said the Shubert Organization owns the National Theatre. The organization manages the National for the nonprofit National Theatre Corp.
Upper-Crass Video: Maybe the Rich Aren't Different
Thursday, April 17, 2008
At first the video looks like just another shaming-by-YouTube. A scorned wife (blond, British, bug-eyed), fearful of being evicted from her Manhattan pad by her estranged husband, decides to air her grievances online. She rants about their nonexistent sex life and her husband's family.
But consider the subjects.
He: Philip Smith, 74, president of the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 Broadway houses and the National Theatre in Washington.
She: Tricia Walsh-Smith, 25 years younger, an actress and playwright best known for writing the play "Bonkers."
The video is 6 minutes and 22 seconds of utter and annihilating embarrassment, a low-production-value romp through the intimate lives of the rich and desperate. Walsh-Smith, who says that her tarot cards predict "victory," lights into Smith for "hacking my computer," and at one point refers to herself as the "biggest . . . idiot in the world" for believing that Smith's blood pressure prevented intimate relations.
Oh, and the entire video is annotated: Walsh-Smith gets the label "Good Egg." Smith gets "Mean, Bad."
As of yesterday the video had earned nearly 300,000 viewers, a mention on the "Today" show and the juicy bits quoted in the New York Post.
It's like Jerry Springer, like America's Most Horrifically Awkward Home Videos.
But somehow, not like that at all.
We are, after a decade of reality TV and two years of YouTube, quite accustomed to seeing sad sacks spill their hearts on screen. This display feels so much more uncomfortable.
Watch the guests on Jerry Springer and you think, "I can't believe she slept with his sister." Then you watch a while longer and you think, "Oh wait. I can."
You kind of expect it on a show like that.