It was a glimpse of American life, TV-style.
People raged over the death of an unarmed black man in police custody. They chanted, marched, threw rocks and bottles.
Also, Kelly Osborne worried about her hair color. And Rebecca Romijn fretted about her roots. And Lindsay Lohan (shown here), happy with her reddish hair-coloring, wanted to get just the right wave.
Both things were happening simultaneously Friday on our TV sets. Switch back and forth and you might decide that television is pretty strange. Or life is pretty strange. Or, at least, that social critics are correct when they say there are two Americas.
One America was all over the news networks, expressing rage. From Minneapolis to Atlanta, from New York to Los Angeles, crowds swarmed.
And another America was on CBS. It was, as the special said, “Haircut Night in America.” Pretty people worked at getting prettier; in between, there were lots of hair-care commercials.
Now, let’s be fair about this: “Haircut Night” was taped in advance; the people involved had no idea that their nice-hair worries would air alongside real-life agony. To their credit, they included some good-hair moments for frontline heroes.
And yes, we admire any effort to find fun in tough times. Amid a pandemic, the search for beauty – in art, in music, in hair – is admirable. CBS has had seven social-distance specials (good ones, mostly) in prime time – five of its own and two shared with other networks – and has two more on the way.
So we won’t blame anyone. Instead, TV has helped remind us that this is a far-flung world. There is pain, poverty and a pandemic. And there are pretty people, getting prettier.
As it happened, everyone’s hair turned out well – Osborne, Romijn and her husband (Jerry O’Connell), Lindsey Vonn and her fiance (hockey star P.K. Subban), the frontliners … and, especially, Lohan. She stepped onto the balcony of her apartment, to celebrate her beautifully wavy, red locks.
That apartment is in Dubai. (Technically, this should have been “Haircut Night in America and United Arab Emirates.”) Some 7,211 miles away, Minneapolis was in agony.