There’s a prosaic reason why movie sequels are so often disappointing. It has nothing to do with curses or writers running dry. It’s because most movies are disappointing, so by the law of averages, most sequels are going to turn out disappointing as well.
But it gets even worse than that for sequels. Many sequels would make pretty good movies all by themselves were it not for one thing: they are constantly being compared, and usually not in a good way, with their predecessors. (Yes, and Godfather II is the exception that proves the rule.)
So it’s for this reason that I do not envy Karine Jean-Pierre, Jen Psaki’s Deputy Press Secretary and her replacement on — speaking of sequels — Friday the 13th. Ms. Jean-Pierre has some mighty boots to fill, and by the law of averages she’s going to have a very tough time doing so.
I don’t know of anyone in the world who could replace Jen Psaki. She has class, grace, facile command of facts and suave good humor that hasn’t been seen at that press podium since John F. Kennedy himself gave his frequent and famous press briefings. I’m hoping Karine Jean-Pierre will be the exception that proves the rule. I’m hoping she will be another Godfather II.
One thing gives me faith in her. She was hand-picked by Jen Psaki, and that makes her a force to be reckoned with all by herself. But could anyone do what Psaki did? Will Karine be able to disarm and skewer Peter Doocy with the same easy wit, gentle sarcasm and devastating factual-bombardments? I guess we will have to see. I hope so. I really want her to do well.
One thing is certain. Karine Jean-Pierre will be light years ahead of the parade of horribles trotted out during the Trump years, starting with the SS brigade (Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders) followed by the invisible Stephanie Grisham and the all-too-omnipresent Kayleigh McEnany. It was as if some idiot in Hollywood had decided to make 3 sequels to “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”
Ms. Jean-Pierre, 44, comes to the podium with brilliant credentials. Apart from being Jen Psaki’s deputy, which is impressive by itself, Karine Jean-Pierre is both a graduate of Columbia University and a former member of the faculty. I have no doubt she will acquit herself admirably.
While I will join the rest of the good people of America by missing Jen Psaki terribly, let’s nevertheless welcome and support this courageous woman who has stepped into Jen’s considerable shoes. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.