Matt Lauer (JUST GONNA GO AHEAD AND REFER TO HIM AS TRASHBALLS MCGEE FROM HERE ON OUT IF THAT’S COOL WITH YOU GUYS) is a walking and talking pile of pretending-to-be-human garbage, but this moment is LEGIT INCREDIBLE:
Trashballs McGee starts the question off like it’s a genuinely concerned softball, all “oh, the fans are so WORRIED, they’ve been tweeting, are you sure it’s nothing more serious?” like he’s asking whether Zayn has a 24-hour bug vs something he’s gonna need to be hospitalized for, and Liam’s already got the mic to his mouth to give the expected “no worries, he’s gonna be fine, we really appreciate the fans and their concern and the trends though” answer when Trashballs changes course and drops the “RUMORS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE [THERE WEREN’T REALLY BUT THERE SURE AS HELL WILL BE NOW THAT I HAVE SAID SO ON NATIONAL TELEVISION]” bomb - like really, REALLY going for the GOTCHA moment, because he set that question up to make Liam mentally prepare to give one answer and then tried to pull the rug out from under him at the last second.
AND FUCKING WATCH HOW HE HANDLES IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The mic comes down while he waits to see where this is going. He gives himself a second to have an “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW, TRASHBALLS?” moment. And before Trashballs has even finished his sentence, Liam’s already thought about how he’s going to handle it and decided on the best way to proceed. He doesn’t give Trashballs the satisfaction of a silence while he tries to figure out what to say, he doesn’t rush his response and make it look defensive - he is RIGHT THERE and ON IT at the exact right moment.
AND SPEAKING OF NOT GETTING DEFENSIVE - I talk a lot about how Liam fielding the questions no one else wants to answer with frees up the rest of the band from having to deal with that, but I’ve never thought about it the other way around, how knowing the other boys will act out means Liam can go ahead and give the PR-friendly answer even though he wants to give Trashballs a piece of his mind. Watching this you can FEEL them handling this as a unit, how Liam knows that even though he obviously doesn’t want to dignify Trashballs and his bullshit with a civil response, it’s okay that he has to - because he knows he’s got Louis and Niall right beside him, and they’re gonna pull faces, and they’re gonna make fart noises, and they’re gonna plot murder, and they’re gonna make it known how fucking awful Trashballs is while Liam makes sure Trashballs doesn’t get the HA HA MADE YOU REACT TO MY BULLSHIT satisfaction he’s looking for.
I! LOVE! MY! BOYS!