Who’s having a good week? Who’s having a bad one?

Every week we track the highs, lows and everything in between. We give you … What’s Up? What’s Down?

DOWN: JAMIE LYNN SPEARS

The one-time Nickelodeon star had all but faded into obscurity after Zoey 101 abruptly went off the air in 2008 — until this week, when she and older sister Britney began sparring on social media

Jamie Lynn Spears just so happens to be in the process of promoting her memoir, Things I Should Have Said, which hit shelves on Tuesday.

Things came to a head on Wednesday, when Britney’s lawyers sent Jamie Lynn Spears a cease-and-desist letter demanding that she stop spreading “false” and “fantastical grievances” to sell her book.

Adding insult to injury, the attorneys noted that Britney, through her musical career, supported her younger sister and the rest of their family for years. 

Picking a fight with Britney Spears when her recent emancipation from a 13-year-long conservatorship earned her so much goodwill definitely has Jamie Lynn Spears trending down. 

UP: JON STEWART

Jon Stewart, soon to win a Mark Twain award for Humor, is trending up. Meanwhile, Jaime Lynn Spears is trending down.
Jon Stewart, soon to win a Mark Twain award for Humor, is trending up. Meanwhile, Jamie Lynn Spears is trending down. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The former Comedy Central host took a hiatus from television after signing off from the Daily Show for the last time in 2015 but returned with an Apple TV series last year. 

Now, he’s back in the spotlight, and will soon have a prestigious award to show for it. Stewart is slated to become the 23rd recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington this spring, joining the likes of Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and more recently, David Letterman and Dave Chappelle. 

For years it seemed like the late-night icon had retired for good. But between his new show and the Mark Twain award, Jon Stewart is trending up again.

DOWN: MARTIN SHKRELI

Martin Shkreli is trending down, much like Jamie Lynn Spears.
Martin Shkreli is trending down, much like Jamie Lynn Spears. While the “pharma bro” is out $64 million, Jamie Lynn Spears got a cease-and-desist letter from Britney. Photo credit: YouTube

America’s least favorite “pharma bro” has suffered an embarrassing series of legal and professional setbacks since he was first launched into the public consciousness in 2015. 

At that time, Shkreli stoked outrage by jacking up the price of Daraprim — an antiparasitic generally prescribed to HIV/AIDS patients — from $13.50 a pill to $750. 

In 2017, he was convicted on an unrelated charge of securities fraud, and sentenced to seven years in federal prison, where he remains today. 

Then, in 2020, the Federal Trade Commission and the governments of seven states sued Shkreli in civil court. That case ended this week, when the judge ordered that Shkreli must pay back $64 million in wrongfully obtained profits to his victims across the country. 

What’s more, the court has forbidden him from ever working in the pharmaceutical industry again. 

It’s a fitting end to the Shkreli saga, which was on a downward trend from the start. 

UP: MICROSOFT

Microsoft is trending way up after its multi-billion dollar merger. The same can't be said for Jamie Lynn Spears.
Microsoft is trending way up after its multi-billion dollar merger. The same can’t be said for Jamie Lynn Spears. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The original tech monopoly got back in touch with its roots this week, acquiring video game publisher Activision Blizzard for a cool $68.7 billion — all cash.

Not only does the merger give Microsoft ownership of tentpole franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, it makes the company the third largest in gaming. 

While the deal is sure to draw some perfunctory scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, Microsoft is reportedly confident that the courts will rule in their favor (just like they more or less did nearly 23 years ago.) 

As is increasingly the case in all media, the game industry is consolidating into a handful of mega-companies. Will it be good for the consumer? Historically, no. Will it be good for the medium? Probably not. 

Will it be good for Microsoft? You can bet your bottom $68.7 billion. That’s why the company is trending up.

DOWN: THE NFL

Move over Jamie Lynn Spears, because the NFL is trending down too.
Move over Jamie Lynn Spears, because the NFL is trending down too. NFL players keep getting arrested, while Jamie Lynn Spears got a cease-and-desist letter from Britney. Photo credit: Shutterstock

It’s not just you — there have been a lot of football players getting arrested this season. 

This week alone, four NFL players were charged with various crimes and infractions in a series of unrelated events. 

First, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith was booked in a Washington jail on suspicion of driving under the influence. Then, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Lerentee McCray was taken into custody after a high-speed chase through Lake County, Florida.

Next up was Cleveland Browns’ defensive tackle Malik McDowell, who was charged with exposing himself at a learning center, also in Florida, followed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr., who stands accused of property damage. 

It’s not a good look for the league, and it’s not a good look for this generation of players, either. Until next season, they’re trending down. 

UP: JOYCE WATKINS

Joyce Watkins is trending up after her official exoneration. Jamie Lynn Spears is trending down.
Joyce Watkins is trending up after her official exoneration. Jamie Lynn Spears is trending down.

After spending 27 years behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit, Joyce Watkins was officially exonerated this week for the 1987 for the sexual assault and murder of her 4-year-old great niece. 

Watkins, now 74, and her boyfriend Charlie Dunn picked the child up to watch her for the night. When she was unresponsive the next morning, they took her to the hospital where she soon died. Both were convicted of her death a year later. 

In 2015, Watkins and Dunn were each granted parole, though Dunn died in custody before his release date. 

Since then, Watkins has embarked on a quest to clear her name, and her efforts finally paid off this week, when a Davidson County Criminal Court Judge officially dropped the charges against her and Dunn. 

Nothing can make up for 27 years of wrongful imprisonment, but despite the best efforts of the U.S. justice system, Joyce Watkins is trending up. 

DOWN: WASHINGTON COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, ARKANSAS

Washington County jail in Arkansas is trending down, just like Jamie Lynn Spears.
Washington County jail in Arkansas is trending down, just like Jamie Lynn Spears. Photo credit: Google Maps

Authorities at an Arkansas county lockup are in hot water, after four inmates filed suit, claiming they were given antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat their Covid infections — a medically dubious and potentially dangerous fringe theory — without their knowledge or consent. 

In court filings, lawyers for the inmates claim they suffered vision issues, stomach cramps and diarrhea from being given “high doses” of the drug. 

It’s not clear what damages they’re seeking, but the case has real potential to be costly and embarrassing for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. They’re trending down, and there’s no effective treatment for that. 

UP: TRANS VETERANS

While things are looking down for Jamie Lynn Spears, trans military veterans scored a small victory this week.
While things are looking down for Jamie Lynn Spears, trans military veterans scored a small victory this week. Photo credit: Shutterstock

In a small but symbolic victory for LGBTQ veterans, federal officials announced this week that former service members can now list their gender as “transgender male, transgender female, nonbinary and other on medical forms filed through the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

The individual’s chosen gender identity, along with their preferred name, will appear on medical and personnel records, reports added.

It appears to be part of the Pentagon’s continuing effort to wash away the stink of the Trump administration’s ban on trans membership in 2019. 

But whether it’s a cynical PR strategy or not, this small clerical revision is going to make life materially easier for countless people, and that’s enough to trend up. 

DOWN: JOSS WHEDON

Like Jamie Lynn Spears, things are looking down for Joss Whedon.
Like Jamie Lynn Spears, things are looking down for Joss Whedon. Photo credit: Shutterstock

After the Buffy creator was accused of being unprofessional and generally rude by several members of the Justice League cast in 2020, production company WarnerMedia was forced to step in and investigate. 

They found the allegations to be substantial and said that they’d taken “remedial action” against the director.

But the controversy didn’t end there, as more actors who had worked with Whedon  — including Gal Gadot — shared stories of what one called his “casual cruelty” on set. 

Things got even worse for Whedon this week, when he put his foot in his mouth while addressing the accusations. He said Gadot, who is Israeli, misunderstood him because English is not her first language, and said the Justice League cast was the “rudest group” he’d ever worked with.

If people are accusing you of being a jerk, you’re probably trending down.

UP: CARDI B

Cardi B is trending up this week. Jamie Lynn Spears, not so much.
Cardi B is trending up this week. Jamie Lynn Spears, not so much. Photo credit: Shutterstock

When 17 people perished tragically in an apartment fire in the Bronx earlier this month, the rapper and borough native stepped up to do right by the bereaved. 

In a statement this week, Cardi B said she would partner with New York City officials to pay for the funeral cost of each victim lost in the blaze. 

The Grammy award-winning artist said that while she “cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing,” she “hope[s] that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones” with help them heal. 

It’s a poignant gesture and a genuinely good deed — for that, Cardi B is trending up. 

See you next week for What’s Up? What’s Down?