A Very Gaga Holiday – Lady Gaga proved her mainstream outreach on a holiday evening with her Thanksgiving debut, a 90-minute special that dialed back the wacky fashion-sense and “little monster” talk in favor of Tony Bennett and making construction-paper turkeys with third-graders.
Tony Bennett, with whom Gaga sang “The Lady Is A Tramp,” said he saw “a touch of theatrical genius” in her, that “she might become America’s Picasso.” Across America, families who’d been eating while watching TV suddenly began performing the Heimlich Maneuver on each other, choking upon hearing Bennett’s grand encomium. While Tony was being excessively generous (or maybe still stunned at having sketched her in the nude recently), this show was shrewdly conceived by Gaga (she directed it) to be a warm, low-key collection of solid performances of her hits and pop standards.
The secret to Gaga’s success here was her willingness to throw back to an earlier era. Cheerfully overdressed like Arlene Francis on a 1950s variety or game show, the singer engaged in a charming cooking segment with chef Art Smith. He and Gaga made fried turkey and waffles (the food looked delicious).
Some of the special was filmed at the singer’s alma mater, Sacred Heart Catholic School in Manhattan, including a scene in which the singer engaged in arts and crafts with third- and fourth-graders.
In a nicely spontaneous-seeming moment, while the little girls scissored and pasted, Gaga decided she’d do a little educating, and asked the children if they knew who Jackson Pollock was. Turns out they all had. “I ask you what you eat for Thanksgiving and you don’t know, but you know who Jackson Pollock is,” Lady Gaga said, nonplussed.