[In this feature, we  periodically checked in to see what is up with Topher Grace.]

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the column “Hey, What’s Up With Topher Grace?”, the Internet’s premiere resource for up-to-the-minute Topher Grace information. It’s funny to look back at that first column, which addressed the important question of who invented wearing a baseball cap pulled slightly lower over the brow first, Topher or Leonardo DiCaprio and realize how many of Topher’s ups and downs we’ve shared over the year (but mostly ups, really!) and yet we are still no closer to solving the mystery of who invented wearing a baseball cap pulled slightly lower over the brow. It is the Sphinx of hat styles! Mysterious and entrancing!

In addition to today marking the one year anniversary of the column “What’s Up With Topher Grace?” today also marks the FINAL column. I think we’re done here. If even I am losing enthusiasm for this, then I believe I have made my point. Last spring, I was actually interviewed about the column for some reason, over email by some dude at some magazine who was writing about Topher Grace. I explained a little bit about where the column came from and what the POINT of it was (or at least what the POINT of it was SUPPOSED to be). But that interview never appeared anywhere, I don’t think. Until now! There is probably no real point in posting this, but it’s a look at how the sausage is blogged, and it can perhaps stand as the final word on what happened over the past year.

Here is that interview:

Q: How was the idea conceived? Was this a planned-out feature or was someone drinking at a bar and said, “You know what we should do…”?

A: When we were having our very first pitch meeting about Videogum, months before it was ever launched, I had said I wanted to do a regular feature where I interviewed the same celebrity every week or two about what was new with them, and the celebrity I had in mind from the very beginning was Topher Grace. It really seemed doable at the time, because all it would have required was five minutes over IM every week or two, which is not a lot of time, even for a famous person. I sent an email to Topher’s management at the time, but no one got back to me. It turns out that people in Hollywood don’t jump at the chance to be interviewed every week over chat for an unlaunched pop culture website for some reason. Anyway, I gave up on the idea, but always wanted to do it, and then I was talking to my friend Max one day, and he was like “you should just do it anyway without his help.” So I did.

Q: Out of all the people you could’ve picked, why him?

A: There’s something entirely benign about Topher Grace. He’s attractive and charming. He’s not so successful as to make the feature nonsensical, but he’s successful enough that it’s not sad either. He’s got stuff going on. People know who he is. No one really loves him or hates him, he’s just a prototypical working celebrity.

Q: How serious/snarky is the intent of the feature? From a reader’s POV, it’s sometimes hard to tell where the line is between sincerity and mockery and was hoping you could clarify.

A: I don’t see the column as being snarky AT ALL, at least as far as Topher Grace is concerned, and I really do my best to keep it from becoming that. I know the line is a fine one, and blurry at that, and it’s not surprising that people would misread it. But there’s nothing really to make fun of about Topher Grace. He’s an actor. He’s in movies. He was in a hugely successful sitcom that remains popular in syndication. What’s the punchline there? However, the column does, obviously, have a bit of a meanstreak to it, which is directed at the modern celebrity-industrial-complex and its obsession with up to the minute Starbucks Updates on anyone who has ever done anything. It also pokes fun at the entire notion of “Where Are They Now” reporting, which is so alienating and dehumanizing. Like, mind your own business! Where are YOU now?

Q: I know you’ve been doing it fairly regularly since last year. How long do you plan to keep it up or just play by ear?

A: There is no end date on it. Unless Topher dies, I guess. Or I get bored.

Q: If you could ask Topher Grace one question, what would it be?

A: If I had one question for Topher it would be “where do you get your ideas?”

So there you go. That’s just sort of where I was at with the whole thing. So, for the final time, we ask “What is up with Topher Grace?” And the answer is: I don’t know. I don’t write this column anymore. Best of luck to Topher Grace and all of the human beings trying to make it in this world.

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Comments (119)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. So next week is “What’s Up With Jessica Alba”? I mean, Steve won, right?

  3. Everything’s coming up Winwood.

  4. R.I.P. HWUWTG

    *sniff

    I’ll always ask this question. It can never be silenced.

  5. Wait a minute, is the answer that he SUX BUTTS? Can we confirm this? Is that why this column is ending?

  6. There, but for the Grace of Gabe, goes this feature.

    Godspeed, sweet prince.

  7. Oh man, what if Topher Grace disappears and noone can find him anymore!

  8. Usually, that portrait of Topher looks sassy, but today it just looks sad.

  9. I’ll miss this :(

  10. so sad to see it go.

  11. Q: Gabe, where do you get your ideas?

    A: Max.

  12. O Topher Grace! my Topher Grace! our fearful column is done;
    The blog has weather’d every Winwood, the prize we sought is won;
    The ‘net is near, Die Antwood I hear, the monsters all exulting,
    While follow eyes the steady Gabe, the blogger grim and daring:
    But O heart! heart! heart!
    O the bleeding drops of red,
    Where on the deck ‘Hey, What’s Up With Topher Grace?’ lies,
    Fallen cold and dead.

    Clearly, I am too affected by this news to bother making sense.

    • It was many and many a year ago,
      In a kingdom by the breakfast place,
      That an actor there lived whom you may know
      By the name of Topher Grace;–
      And this actor he lived with no other thought
      Than to love and be loved by Steve.
      He was a child and Gabe was a child,
      In this kingdom by the sea,
      But they loved with a love that was more than love–
      Steve and his Topher Grace–
      With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
      Coveted while eating in that breakfast place.

      • And once this Grace was beguiling my ‘net surfing scowl to smiling,
        By the smug and folded arm decorum of the striped .jpgs he wore,
        “Though thy career be quiet, unshaken,” I said, “and the .gifs of you are ravin’.
        Sad and proud, your face is staring at me from my gummy haven -
        Tell me when Gabe will detail your weekly exploits, I implore!”

        Quoth the Topher, `Nevermore.’

    • Stop all the blogs, cut off the internet,
      Prevent the trolls from barking with a juicy bone,
      Or with a .jpeg of a juicy brunette
      Bring out the final column, let the monsters come.

      Other stars are not wanted now: let us only make fun;
      Pack up this thread — dismantle — it’s done;
      Pour on the upvotes (or downvotes for Winwood.)
      For nothing now can ever come to any good.

    • A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

      As Topher and Gabe pass mildly away,
      And whisper to their column to go,
      Whilst some of the monsters do say,
      “Now his fame goes,” and some say, “No.”

      So let us now comment no more,
      No discussion of Jessica Alba’s boobs ;
      ‘Twere profanation of our joys
      To tell the laity our love (for teen stars of the 90s).

      Changing of the blog brings harms and fears ;
      Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
      But upvoting a classic gif,
      Though greater far, is innocent.

      Dull Jessica Alba lovers’ love
      —Whose mind is dense—cannot admit
      Of absence, ’cause it doth remove
      The thing which elemented it.

      But we by a love so much refined,
      That ourselves know not what it is,
      Inter-assurèd of the mind,
      Care less That 70′s Show to miss.

    • Do not go gentle into that good ‘net,
      Old columns should burn and rage at close of day;
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light (reading).

      Though wise Gabes at their end know dark is right,
      Because their monsters had forked much comments they
      Do not go gentle into that good ‘net.

      Good monsters, the last wave by, crying ‘What’s up with TG!’
      Their frail pleas will be stored in an internet cache,
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light (reading).

      Wild Steves who trolled and complained of the Grace in flight,
      And learn, too late, they grieved him on his way,
      Do not go gentle into that good ‘net.

      Grave columns, near death, who see with blinding sight
      Blind eyes could blaze like meteors [shooting_star.gif],
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light (reading).

      And you, my Topher, there on the sad height,
      Curse, bless me now with your sassy looks, I pray.
      Do not go gentle into that good ‘net.
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light (reading).

      • That’s awesome–villanelles are hard!

        • My english degree is awesome for re-writing Dylan Thomas poems so they’re about Topher Grace! This might be the best use I’ve found for it so far. *Sigh*

          Speaking of poetry… every try writing a sestina? Sestinas are the worst.

          • Yay for English degrees! I’m applying to doctoral programs in English right now (my Masters is in Spanish though, lit and film).

            I have not tried a sestina, but now I’m totally going to. However, I absolutely wrote a whole play in iambic pentameter when I was a teenager. Nerdgum!

          • I will have you know that I plugged “English Major” into google images, and this came up on the second page:

            Yeah, we’re cool

          • I tried my hand at the sestina in college and was not very good at it. Aoide the Muse IMed me and said “Back 2 blank verse for u, K Thks Bye!”

    • These poetry threads are the best. Thanks, lilbobbytables, for kickin’ it off.

  13. And, of course, That ’70s Show remains popular in our hearts. This is a sad day.

    • The last line of this poem confuses me. Is she implying that in heaven her dog will be there? Don’t dogs have their own heaven? If dogs go to people heaven, what do they do for all that time before their owners die? Maybe find other dead people to play fetch with them, but then I bet the other dead people get attached to the dog and are upset when the owner dies and gets to heaven. But you can’t be upset in heaven, right? This is why I’m glad I’m not religious.

  14. I know why the caged Keanu weeps.

  15. You know how you used to do Friday Fights with Lindsay? I really liked those. It would be fun if every week you have a Wednesday Fight (but with a better name) with a different guest about…oh I don’t know, could be anything really! Maybe debate the shit out of some old movie, like you did with Salo.

    But you probably have something else planned.

  16. The end of an era.

  17. Gabe said He would quit if Topher died or he got bored which leads me to belive our sweet prince has passed. R.I.P. Toph you will be missed.

  18. One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with Topher Grace.
    Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
    This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life
    I could see only one set of footprints,
    I said to Topher
    “I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
    there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
    Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
    Topher replied,
    “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.”

  19. And, of course, That ’70s Show remains popular in syndication.

  20. “Hey, What’s Up with Twofer from 30 Rock?”

  21. Might I submit the following replacement feature: “Hey, What’s Up With Birdie?”

  22. good riddance, i hope you had the time of your life.

  23. woozefa  |   Posted on Sep 22nd, 2010 -40

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  24. What if nothing happens to Topher Grace ever again?

  25. hey, what’s up with my sad, sad heart?

  26. I still miss Friday Night Fights. :(

  27. Just when I figured out that I could start a blog and write about a fake Topher sighting for Gabe to find, he pulls the rug out from under me. (Yes, it took me a year to think of that.) It was going to be so meta.

    • Ooh, what do you think you would say in the comments section if Gabe reported on your site?

      • Well, I was hoping that at the bottom of the fake blog post, I could give myself away (as an insane Videogum fan with way too much time on her unemployed hands). And that Gabe, appreciating my clever plan, would include it anyway because he saw how meta it all was, and then the internet would explode. Or some such. Or I’d just comment “THAT WAS ME” and be downvoted into infamy. (It’s probably for the best that he ended the column today. I clearly didn’t think this through all the way.)

  28. Not to be a jerk, but this was definitely my least favorite feature. The point was made after only a few weeks and the amusement wore off shortly thereafter (for me, at least — it is clear that many monsters hold this column near to their hearts). I celebrate the end of this column with the hopes that something newer and better may replace it. Gabespeed, Topher Grace.

    • I liked it partly because the opening paragraph would give Gabe a chance to do commentary/followup on some big or small current RL events that probably wouldn’t merit an entire VideoGum blogpost, and then segue to Topher. The laffs were there, the seriousness was there when needed, and I think it served as a much needed constant reminder of <>>. But I can certainly understand that for some this feature wore out its welcome more than 11 months ago.

  29. I can’t wait for the next Wednesday end of day feature. May it be as wonderful as the last. WUWTG? will forever fill up the top results of Topher Grace search engines in memoriam.

    Now I’m curious about what the official videogum google news alerts list looks like…
    Louis+C+K
    Tracy+Morgan [+horrible+disaster]
    kids+dancing
    kids+singing
    trampoline+accidents
    terrible+movie+poster+trailer
    celebrity+racist+sexist+homophobic+retiring+”has a picture of a minority in their pocket”
    xbox+zune+pogs

    I think that’s probably pretty close.

  30. After getting a haircut this week, I was told that I looked like “that guy from ‘That 70′s Show’ and ‘Win a Date with Tad Hamilton.’” That marked not the first, but the second time in my life that I had been compared to Topher Grace. I’m honored, but oh so unworthy.

  31. “But there’s nothing really to make fun of about Topher Grace. He’s an actor. He’s in movies. He was in a hugely successful sitcom that remains popular in syndication.* What’s the punchline there?”

    *Punchline in bold.

  32. *double chest-pat with peace sign and head bowed in rememberance*

  33. What if next Tuesday Topher does the most ridiculous thing ever done in the history of the world? Just to spite us. What then, Gabe? Will we continue to ask or will we be silenced by our pride?

  34. What Up With What’s Up With Topher Grace being cancelled?

  35. Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

    • That phrase always reminds me of an action movie one-liner contest Slate had awhile back. The winner was “Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, pissant.” Could be a fun BNPG.

  36. I think Gabe should start a new column called “What’s Up With Mark Brazill?” (Mark Brazill is the creator of that show Topher graced, which is why I bring him up.) From the following article, I have a hunch that we would all be far better monsters were Gabe to update us on his affairs:

    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2002/03/0079095

  37. Say it ain’t so!

  38. Well I thought this was an awesome skewering of “Where Are They Now?” pieces, but if the ‘experiment’ has ended, then it’s ended.

    This column inspired me to do my own version for indie rock band Animal Collective on my blog:
    http://draindesert.blogspot.com/2010/09/hey-whats-up-with-anco.html

    Not that anyone cares, but yeah.

    I only feel sad thinking about the time 6 months from now or so when the legitimate question “What’s going on with Topher Grace?” pops into my head. And there will be no one to answer my question, only silence.

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