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Vinay Menon: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle trashed their Hollywood dreams by dishing to Oprah

Vinay Menon: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle trashed their Hollywood dreams by dishing to Oprah
Entertainment
Prince Harry and tattletale Meghan Markle will regret sitting down with Oprah.

Not because of the bad blood now boiling inside Buckingham Palace. Not because of the Argentina-sized wedge that interview shoved between the royal family and the Sussexes. And not even because of the plunge in approval ratings they suffered in the U.K. last month.

No, they will regret that blockbuster because it was a blockbuster.

And now everything they do will be measured by blockbuster.

Do you know how to tell when People magazine is feigning enthusiasm? It’s simple. Those celebrity-obsessed freaks will add an exclamation point to a headline. For example : “Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Announce First Netflix Series — and Harry Will Appear on Camera!”

That exclamation point is a dead giveaway of simulated excitement.

It’s the fake orgasm of punctuation.

You think anyone at People is really hot and bothered by “Heart of Invictus,” the first collaboration between Netflix and Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Productions? Give your head a shake. They will be drawing straws to see who gets stuck reviewing this upcoming docuseries.

That is not a shot at the project. Let me be clear. We should absolutely celebrate this “group of extraordinary competitors from around the globe, all service members who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses on their road to the Invictus Games …”

As I’ve said before, we do not value our soldiers nearly enough. We take their sacrifices for granted. If your freedom depended on my combat skills, tie your pillowcase to a stick and fill it with socks and underwear because we are both headed to the gulag. I get a paper-cut and my first instinct is to beg off chores for 48 hours. I am a weakling and a coward.

But the wounded warriors who compete in the Invictus Games? As Prince Harry put it so eloquently this week, they do indeed “contribute in their own exceptional way to a mosaic of resilience, determination and resolve.”

Here’s the problem: by running their yaps to Oprah, Harry and Meghan cast a shadow over that mosaic. They created an enduring sideshow that is more powerful than the philanthropic blueprint of their foundation or their wish to make the world a better place.

I have no doubt Harry and Meghan believed the Oprah interview would provide closure. But all I see now is busted windows and kicked-open doors. The tabloid scrutiny they claim to abhor is amplified. Piers Morgan has all but put a fatwa on their heads. And they are now trapped in a purgatory where the nutritional value of their do-good intentions, in terms of public interest, is no match for the beans they could still spill.

The massive deal Harry and Meghan signed with Netflix last year is a blank slate of content freedom: documentaries, scripted fare, children’s programming. But this only makes sense if viewers are not more interested in the personal lives of the executive producers. The documentaries that have gained cultural traction in recent weeks — “Framing Britney Spears,” “Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil,” “Allen v. Farrow” — have done so by putting the narrative focus squarely on the celebrities involved.

Take Michael Jordan out of “The Last Dance” and all you’ve got is a tango with who cares.

You can’t give viewers a taste of “The Crown” and then offer up “Heart of Invictus.”
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