Man. Barbara Walters is fascinated by some weird shit, right?
Last year when Babs announced her retirement I thought we’d never again know who fascinated her. But she’s back again, which means the big farewell production for 2013’s Most Fascinating list was just the swan song of a silly goose.
Here’s who fascinated Ms. Walters this year:
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Fasci…wait for it… I guess fascinating? He wrote a book.
I think Neil Patrick Harris is just adorable. While normally I’d reserve the word “fascinating” for people with an air of mystery or intrigue, he seems more like the more-lovable version of the guy next door. But then again, I wouldn’t this closely follow the Instagram feed and picturesque family life of someone I didn’t think was fascinating, would I?
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Would an un-fascinating person have these people at her birthday party? I rest my case.
You don’t even have to like Taylor Swift to be at least a little fascinated by her. This year she released a hit record, cultivated a media empire, and deftly recrafted her image from spiral-permed perma-teen to sass-mouthed tumblr sweetheart. Love her or hate her, that’s all pretty interesting.
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: your mom thinks she’s fascinating
First of all, it’s been a while since you checked in with your mom after George Clooney’s wedding, and now’s a good time to make sure she’s still holding up okay. Second, I both like and dislike this pick. Amal is an accomplished human rights attorney with a five-star education and a gold-star wardrobe, and that alone makes her pretty darn fascinating in my book. But on the other hand, she wouldn’t be on the list if she hadn’t married George Clooney. So Barbara still, at some level, thinks she’s fascinating because she married a famous guy, but just a reminder: Barbara Walters is really, really old. Super old.
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Too Easy.
You know how, when people used to fill out their favorite books on Facebook, some people would write “The Bible”? But it was always someone who clearly hadn’t read the whole Bible, that was just the only book they could think of. Or when asked who they’d pick if they could meet with anyone living or dead, and they say George Washington? But they’re not a big George Washington buff, it was just the only historical figure they remembered from third grade Social Studies. Anyway, that’s what it’s like putting Oprah on the Most Fascinating list. Nobody can argue that she doesn’t belong there, but it’s also not a pick anybody put a lot of through into (see also: the person you know only read Romeo And Juliet in 9th grade English saying that their favorite writer is Shakespeare).
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: your mom also thinks he’s fascinating
Like NPH, I think that Strahan is an affable fellow who just happens to be more famous and charming than your average guy. But then again, making the switch from pro football player to the man that moms across the country have breakfast with is a fascinating career change, so I guess your mom is right.
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Passes The Airplane Test
I don’t talk to people on airplanes, if I can help it. Because although they’re expensive, flights are still just public transportation, and public transportation is for avoiding eye contact and reading with your headphones in. But are you ever on a flight next to someone who’s intriguing enough that you at least want to talk to them? That’s the airplane test, and Chelsea Handler passes with flying colors. I wouldn’t actually bother her on a plane (because unlike people who exchange pleasantries on mass transit, I’m not an animal), but if I was next to her for 4 hours I’d want to strike up a conversation. So yeah, I’d say she’s fascinating.
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Fails The Airplane Test
This is moot because I’m sure he has his own fleet of airplanes. But although I guess I should want to pick his brain about finances and politics and the social responsibilities of the mega-wealthy, if he was on my redeye Southwest flight I’d just pop in my earbuds and pretend to be engrossed in whatever I grabbed from the Hudson News.
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Very Pretty
There are a limited number of things I know about Scarlett Johansson. I know that she has two sets of double consonants in her name and I always forget where they go. I know that she has or had a side project with Pete Yorn. I know that she was once a child actor, and is now an adult but is still an actor. And I know that she has a better face than most people. Evidently Johansson had a baby this year, and gave it a nice name, which is unusual enough in Hollywood that I’ll call it fascinating. Like NPH and Michael Strahan, she does seem pretty likable and friendly overall, which is refreshing if not fascinating.
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: Nah
Like Koch, I understand that he’s a very big deal and incredibly important and I should be fascinated. But nah.
Fascinating Or Not Fascinating: You will find out in five books if we all live that long
Game of Thrones, huh? So much suspense! You have to wait for all of these books to find out what happens to your favorite characters, and hang onto the hope that the characters, and you, and Martin himself live through the whole thing. Okay, so I haven’t actually read any of The Song Of Fire And Ice, but anyone who can create a whole (twisted, death-y) world and put it to paper is fascinating to me.