Nothing kills our arousal like the mention of Xenu.
We here at Nerve strive to promote diversity and acceptance whenever possible, but even we have a hard time finding a place for Scientology in our culture rainbows and bi-weekly non-heteronormative multiethnic hug circles. (Every other Friday at five p.m. at the Learning Annex!) Maybe it's our insecurity over our thetan levels, but Scientology is an instant turnoff, and it's a drag when a favorite celebrity lust object turns out to have bought into the whole money-sucking space opera. So in honor of Paul Thomas Anderson's kind-of-sort-of-but-not-entirely-a-biopic-of-L.-Ron-Hubbard, The Master, we'd look at those celebrities who've broken our suppressive hearts.
8. Leah Remini
Nine seasons of King of Queens were very nearly enough to kill any of our lingering fantasies of working at the Malibu Sands Beach Club with Remini during her Saved by the Bell days. But the former Ms. Stacey Carosi's close ties to Scientology — she hosted the opening gala for the church's one-stop family destination, the "Psychiatry: An Industry of Death" museum — make her bedroom-eyed, acerbic sex appeal just seem like garden-variety crazy.
7. Jenna Elfman
What is it with sitcom stars and Scientology? Elfman, whom you may remember from Dharma & Greg if you're comfortable with admitting that you watched Dharma & Greg, is one of five former sitcom stars on this list. Maybe the neverending slog of wacky hijinks and zany plots causes them to completely break from reality. Or most likely in Elfman's case, maybe L. Ron Hubbard comes across as a sound, rational mind when compared to Chuck Lorre. Either way, back in the day, Elfman was neck-and-neck with Debra Messing for the title of "most gorgeous actress in a middling prime-time sitcom," and now she's just another blonde enemy of psychiatry. Sigh.
6. Will Smith
How better to break the spirit of an entire generation than by having the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air declare Scientology "brilliant and revolutionary?" Smith maintains that he's still a Christian man, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars he donated to Scientology organizations were only part of the 1.3 million he gave to a number of different religious groups. But even if he's defended the world against countless alien incursions, we'd rather let the fresh-faced, jug-eared object of millions of '90s-era wet dreams remain just that, not a megaphone for L. Ron's nutso fiction.
5. Jason Lee
We liked Jason Lee. We enjoyed his turn as the exact same character in every Kevin Smith movie, and we liked that he's a really good skateboarder. He was the smirking bad boy we all wanted to get insulted and bedded by, in that order. But then we found out he abused his ex-wife. And named his human child Pilot Inspektor. And was in three Alvin and the Chipmunk movies. At this point, being a Scientologist is probably the least offensive thing he's done. Well, maybe after that mustache.
4. Laura Prepon
We should be eternally grateful to Laura Prepon for all the false hope she gave us with her years spent fictionally dating Topher Grace. She helped nerdy, socially awkward twentysomethings pretending to be high schoolers everywhere believe that they too could nab the hot girl next door. But while gifting us all with a false sense of confidence (and a fixation on redheads, dye-jobs or not) was enough to forgive her for then playing a fake Chelsea Handler, it wasn't enough to stem our disappointment at learning that Prepon is a devout Scientologist. Now reruns of That '70s Show at 2 a.m. on our local CW affiliate will never be the same.
3. Isaac Hayes
If you traveled back to 1971 and told people, "One day, we won't find Isaac Hayes sexy," you would have gotten punched right in your damn mouth. We're talking about the guy who wrote "Theme from Shaft," "Soul Man," and "Hold On, I'm Comin'." We're talking about the man who named an album Hot Buttered Soul. But after walking out on religion-skewering South Park because it decided to pick on his religion, Hayes deserved the horrible end Trey Parker and Matt Stone threw at his character. They, did, however, give him the best eulogy possible: "We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us. We should be mad at that little fruity club for scrambling his brains."
2. Elisabeth Moss
Peggy, no! The only kind-of-out-there thing we can imagine our favorite advertising wunderkind doing is giving the occasional anonymous theater handjob. (And we've imagined that many, many times.) But the Mad Men star and inexplicable one-time Fred Armisen spouse is unfortunately a sworn enemy of Xenu. It takes a little of the fun out of watching that "Pizza House!" clip, knowing that Peggy's words are just the faint, echoing cry of dead alien souls.
To be fair, we'd probably be a little disappointed in the alt-rock pioneer if he weren't a part of a religion deeply steeped in sci-fi lore. That said, Beck's lanky sex appeal came from his awesomely idiosyncratic music, pillowy lips, and doe-eyes, not his status as a religious authority. He might have found a religion that's as weird as he is, but that doesn't eliminate the twinge of disappointment we get now whenever we blow the dust off our CD collection to give Midnite Vultures a spin. This is worse than Prince becoming a Jehovah's Witness.