Category: Entertainment News

The 12 Weepiest TV Moments of 2021

Here’s the catch: To stop the meltdown, they need to fix some cables that are outside the base — in the vacuum of space — AND THEY HAVE NO SPACESUITS. He’s been dealing with the disease for a while, and by the end of the episode, we know that he knows that the end is nigh. “We’ll say hello again.”

WandaVision (Disney+), “The Series Finale”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the whole “What is grief if not love persevering?” thing really cut to the core of a lot of us. Weddings, man! Lunar Base who can stop the nuclear reactor that powers it from melting down, killing everyone there, and rendering the area around it uninhabitable for 1,000 years and basically stopping the space program in its tracks. We had been building up to it for so long. 8. Ricky (Dyllón Burnside), who had tearfully shown Pray a lesion he found, realizes that Pray was giving his meds to him (he had told him he had extra from the trial). 2. 7. Trying to get a fancy new EMT–mental-health program off the ground! — actually a show about the exploration of grief and loss (and also women who love robots and TV, what up). While there are moments of joy throughout the series, and it is very much about the power of community, you almost don’t want to get attached to anyone knowing how it is all going to end up. As Wanda allows the sitcom-friendly neighborhood she created in order to be with her dead great love close in on them, knowing that Vision (and their sons) will disappear once she does, Vision talks about how they’ve beaten the odds before. And not for nothing, but that extended scene of Pray Tell taking all of his makeup off while “I Say a Little Prayer for You” plays is Billy Porter at his finest. Leon, especially, is carrying around immense guilt — he hasn’t been able to go hunting since Daniel’s death. They could very much “say hello again” one day. He’s been so afraid to tell everyone, and what do they do? (So many spoilers below!)

12. Also, when Josh Pence cries about Dennis’s dead son, I cry. Cry away! This is especially true when it comes to Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), perhaps the most chill and bearing the toughest exterior of our four main teens. They both miss him, and how annoying he was on hunting trips, more than they can really say. The season packs some real emotional punches (how dare this show make me crush on Watson Brewer!), but the standout is the penultimate episode in which eighth-grader Claudia Kishi’s (Momona Tamada) beloved grandmother (Takayo Fischer) dies. I mean, the guy’s a being made of wires and blood, so really anything could happen. They’re bleeding everywhere, the duct tape is melting, as one of them falls to the ground the other stops to help them back up. Over the course of two and a half seasons, Dennis (Josh Pence) has been keeping a secret from most of his friends at the Coterie — he had a son, Jacob, who died of cancer when he was 6. Photo-Illustration: Vulture

Grab your tissues, friends, because it’s time to cry again. They will have to do it in under 15 seconds lest they explode or whatever. They have to say good-bye for now, but who knows? Now, you might be like, Holy hell, woman, it’s 2021. Finally, when Mary Anne (Malia Baker) tells her she needs to deal with her grief, Claudia breaks down. Don’t worry — even the show makes a Nicholas Sparks joke. It is a gorgeous, heartbreaking, so-true-it-hurts portrayal of grief as told by a 13-year-old. More From This Series

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Tags: We’ve watched Dennis stumble through trying to deal with his grief and depression on his own and then slowly open up to a few people thanks to his relationship with Davia (Emma Hunton), but it’s this season-three episode in which he takes some major steps toward healing. Their deaths were shocking and heroic and unbelievably moving, providing some gorgeous payoff for the arcs of two beloved characters. Click here to see selections for every subject and more. It’s a fact of life. But what really left me reeling was the final (???) good-bye between Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in the finale episode of WandaVision, which is — surprise! Best of 2021

The best entertainment of the year, as chosen by Vulture’s critics. It ends with Mohan looking right at the camera and saying, “I already love you so much, my perfect girl.” Bless and curse these videos! And also know that I even went back and watched this scene multiple times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Hey, this year, you can even cry at group-dance numbers. It is so overwhelmingly full of joy and love and very good dancing how does one not weep? It’s the fact that they still hold on to that little bit of hope, even after everything Wanda has suffered in her life, that will really make you want to bite into a pillow. Holt, usually not one for talking about feelings, tells Jake, “If I had had a son and he turned out like you, I would be very proud of him.” And then he follows that up with a “title of my sex tape” joke. They did not do it for us olds in season two of The Baby-Sitters Club. Because if so, I could be into that. 1. But the show knew that people were able to find instances of joy throughout all that sadness, and it gave its biggest moment of joy to two characters who have been through so much: Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) and Darla (Bianca Lawson). Having him be the first of the group (but not the last because, Jesus Christ, this show is sad) to contract AIDS drives home for both his friends and the audience just how pervasive and senseless this epidemic was. Unfortunately, not getting attached is impossible, especially with sweet Colin (Callum Scott Howells), the quietest and kindest of the Pink Palace crew. And then, finally, they aren’t waiting any more — they’re getting married. Holt and Jake say good-bye

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “The Last Day”

Brooklyn Nine-Nine really primes longtime fans for a nice cry session by the end of the series finale. Devi and Nalini have a heart-to-heart

Never Have I Ever (Netflix), “… Stalked My Own Mother”

Sure, a major draw of this series is the high-school love triangle, but the real heart of Never Have I Ever is the relationship between Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) and her mother Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan). The emotional peak of the episode comes during a conversation toward the end, when Leon wonders if he failed Daniel and then holds his daughter as she cries. Davies’s miniseries It’s a Sin, you know you’re signing up for heartbreak going in; it’s about the AIDS crisis in the U.K. And it is! The Heist is full of callbacks and cameos from the previous eight seasons, so we’re already feeling nostalgic. Willie Jack goes hunting with her dad

Reservation Dogs, “Hunting”

Reservation Dogs feels so laid back at times that even though poignant, emotional moments are par for the course in coming-of-age stories, the ones on this show catch you off guard. 5. “I feel like my chest is going to explode, like I can’t breathe,” she yells. Seattle did Dean dirty! Add to all of that the fact that most of this episode is about Vic being seriously injured and no one saw that secondary blast coming for Dean. Pray Tell dies

Pose, “Series Finale (Part 1)”

The category is: “crying your fucking eyes out.” It’s not so much that the death of Pray Tell (Billy Porter) owing to complications from AIDS is shocking. Ralph Angel and Darla get married

Queen Sugar, “May 19, 2020”

Season five of Queen Sugar closely followed the Bordelon family through the onset of the pandemic and the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, so things got bleak. And perhaps most heartbreaking of all, he was just beginning to gather up the courage to tell Vic (Barrett Doss) that he had been in love with her for a very, very long time. They do make it back inside, but later other astronauts find them dead in each other’s arms; they were out there too long. The man has lived. 3. 9. These two! After a big blow-up, the two sit down and talk it out. Regardless, the rest of the cast surprises Mike and Paula with a choreographed group dance to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” at the reception. during the 1980s. The shock of it all turns to gut-wrenching heartbreak when it winds up being Dean’s two best friends, Jack (Grey Damon) and Ben (Jason Winston), who are left in the ambulance, trying to do everything they can to resuscitate him only to realize he’s not coming back. Do it for us olds, okay? Haven’t we cried enough? Colin dies

It’s a Sin, “Episode 3”

If you’re watching Russell T. She’s afraid she’s going to forget what he sounded like. What happens to Colin is, simply, awful: He’s locked up and isolated in the hospital, he suffers neurological symptoms, and completely, and quickly, fades away in front of his mother and friends. Envelop him in the warmest, most loving group hug you’ve ever seen. Gordo volunteers immediately, but you can see it in his eyes, in everyone’s, that there is little chance he survives. Claudia Kishi grieves

The Baby-Sitters Club, “Claudia and the Sad Good-Bye” 

It would just be, like, very cool if the tiny teens could stop making us cry. Not for firefighter Dean Miller (Okieriete Onaodowan). A daughter whose mother abandoned them! It’s the final Halloween Heist, and Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) uses the occasion to announce that he’s leaving police work altogether in order to become a stay-at-home dad so Amy (Melissa Fumero) can take a promotion. “This is just about happiness and hope,” Darla says. Still, the heartbreaking part comes after, when his friends begin to wonder how this could happen so suddenly since Pray Tell was in a drug trial that seemed to be working. We never truly deserved Holt, did we? It’s such a huge moment for the character. And to that I say “No.” There is never enough crying, especially at fictional characters who have no real effect on your actual life. The cast dances to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” at Mike and Paula’s cancer wedding

The Big Leap, “What Prevents Us?”

Yes, I cried while watching a flash mob this year. It has imprinted itself on me, okay? Honestly, I can’t believe I just relieved that trauma for you. They fall in love quickly, and when Paula’s breast cancer comes back and she realizes she doesn’t have much time, they decide to say “screw it” and get married. He sacrificed himself to save his friend, Pray Tell until the very end. We’ve heard him tell Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) about how he accomplished everything he set out to do when he moved to New York, how he’s happy, how he is overjoyed to see his best friend so happy, too. To comfort her daughter, Nalini plays a video of her and Mohan deciding what to name Devi before she was born. Cry at the joyful celebrations, the bittersweet good-byes, and the heartbreaking losses. Ralph Angel builds a trellis for them to get married under, there are yellow flowers everywhere, and in their vows they both talk about how they shine for and with each other. It may not be the wedding anyone dreamed of — only the Bordelons are there, everyone aside from the bride and groom is in masks, etc. Then the final few moments are used so that several character pairings can have their good-byes. I’ve never been hunting before, but does it always end with gorgeous displays of emotion? Momona Tamada’s performance — the tear welling! Dennis tells everyone about his son

Good Trouble, “Shame”

Group hugs and character growth are, apparently, the perfect recipe to make a person sob. The most moving one is easily between Jake and his mentor–father figure Captain Holt (Andre Braugher). He had so much going on. 4. No— instead, they doubled down. During a Coterie group meeting, he tearfully tells everyone about Jacob and admits that while he’s not totally okay, he’s working on it. Devi is upset because it feels like her dad is “disappearing” both metaphorically and quite literally — all of her dad’s voice-mails on her phone are now gone because of that hot-tub incident. After all these years, a “title of my sex tape” joke! Life is emotional, and so is good TV, so once you’ve steeled yourself, have a look through these 12 TV moments from 2021 that moved us to tears and let it all out. 10. — but it ends up being perfect and romantic and lovely. Mike (Jon Rudnitsky) and Paula (Piper Perabo) are two characters who met on the dance-reality show within the show of The Big Leap (also called The Big Leap: Stay with me here). Many times it felt as if it didn’t matter how much they loved each other; they’d never get here. Gordo and Tracy sacrifice themselves

For All Mankind, “The Grey”

For All Mankind’s stunning season-two finale aired in April, and I think I just stopped crying over it, like, last week. As she and her dad Leon (Jon Proudstar) go off hunting one morning, it’s clear both are still processing their grief over Daniel (Dalton Cramer), Willie Jack’s cousin, who took his own life a year ago. Please leave me alone; I’m fragile. Nalini explains that she isn’t ready to start dating; she was just so tired of feeling awful and sad and physically hurting from her grief. They are in this together. It’s the surprise that sometimes makes those moments so overwhelming. It’s devastating for them as a group and for us as an audience. In season two, Nalini decides to dip her toe back into the dating world for the first time since the death of her husband, Mohan (Sendhil Ramamurthy), and when Devi catches wind, she loses it (it involves her falling into a hot tub naturally). Artsy Claud is an outsider in her own family, but it was always Mimi who made her feel understood, so this loss — the first real one in her life — hits hard for a lot of reasons. 11. We watch as she tries anything she can to distract herself from feeling everything. Tracy knows the only minuscule hope of pulling this off is if she goes too. Dean gets his heart stomped on, then dies

Station 19 (ABC), “Things We Lost in the Fire”

Many times a character’s death is telegraphed by the fact that all seems to be going well in their life and most of their conflicts have resolved themselves. There aren’t enough “Las” in the world. Maybe don’t answer that. Plus he gets to walk in one last ball. It is an intense 15 seconds as we watch them change over the cables and stop the meltdown, but it gets bad out there. Astronauts and exes Gordo (Michael Dorman) and Tracy (Sarah Jones) Stevens, who clearly still love each other, end up being the only two people on the U.S. They cover themselves in duct tape — the only protection they have — tell each other “I love you,” then run out into the vacuum of space. 6. Nope — tears every time. — is gutting here.

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Wayne Thiebaud, 1920–2021

Until that moment, however, I’d never really thought about his work much. He told the New York Times, “I don’t agree with Duchamp that the eye is a dumb organ … I think the eye has a mind of its own and there are different ways we see. Afterwards he told me he felt this work in his nerves and muscles. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings of cakes, bathers, landscapes, paint cans, pastries, and cityscapes represent a luscious American sublime. He only painted tamed, manmade landscapes, but he released something feral within them. To this he added the formalism and oddity of Morandi’s still lives, the intimacies of Chardin, and techniques of the old masters. Following brushstrokes, lulled from surface to surface, you experience a release of internal rapture from form. Gaping holes open in space as city streets in rows and houses and on hills recede into infinity but force their way back to the surface of the work. We are lost in time, suspended in deserted cities and the California noir of Raymond Chandler. How we see was paramount to Thiebaud. I respected it. I become nostalgic for things I will never know. He asked if I would like to play tennis with him (he played his whole life). He is a master of scorched sunlight and sapphire watery blues. The darkest day he ever painted was only partly sunny. That both were younger than him tells you he wasn’t stuck in any ideological aesthetic rut. I have never lived in year-round light, warmth, and the outdoors. His paintings are sundials. Nothing stays put, everything is amorphous, molten, forming. “The more ways you can put together in a picture … the richer it becomes, the more like life.” He is most widely known for his juicy pictures of voluptuous confectionary in shop displays and on countertops. These are the things of dorm-room posters and fridge magnets and made him immensely popular. Soon there’s no space here at all. He combined this with the painterly West Coast figuration of his peers like David Park, the abstraction of Richard Diebenkorn, and the materiality of ceramicists like Peter Voulkos and Robert Arneson. Thiebaud was born in Arizona, lived in New York for a time where he tried to shop his illustrations and commercial art, knew de Kooning, Kline, Guston, and Barnett Newman, and was taken by the new energies in artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Henry James wrote of California and “the general aspect of that wondrous realm [that] kept suggesting to me a sort of prepared but unconscious and unexpected Italy … in perfect condition, but with the impression of history all yet to be made.” Thibaud’s art is that for me, an unwinding book of hours that reveals a stilled state of mind, something inexhaustible, internal, beckoning, and resilient. He sat in the front row. But it felt off to one side, not as edgy or relevant to the moment as someone around his age, who also painted in California, and in his own colorful idiom, David Hockney. His hallucinatory surfaces, uncanny perceptual intelligence, thick buildups of rich color, hard light, luminosity, tonal control, and Hopperesque remove create eye-worms that make you meld with the paintings, participate in how they were made. (Bruce Nauman was his student.) At this distance from New York, sifting through a raft of influences and art history with one of the most distinctive optical styles in all of American painting, Thiebaud synthesized Pop Art’s everyday commodity culture, strong color, ironies, and commercial realism. Calling him a “California painter,” as many do, would be like calling Albert Pinkham Ryder a “New York painter.” Thiebaud’s work is universal. No matter. The works that pull the rug out from under me are his cities and landscapes. I showed slides of emerging artists like Matthew Barney, Janine Antoni, Chris Ofili, Kara Walker, Robert Gober, and Jeff Koons, he was rapt. These wetlands, undulating causeways, planted crops, rows of fences, pear shaped aqueducts are rendered in this trustful equanimity. It’s an American version of a Chinese landscape where you see vast distances and single trees at the same time and the work turns into a cloud. Then there are his landscapes, my favorite of all. There’s peripheral vision, the myopic close-up sensation, focused seeing,” and went on to list the glance, stare, squint, and closed-eye daydreaming. I am sorry I didn’t. Photo: Susan Watts/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Tags: Here, Thibault unleashes his visionary powers. There, he taught at UC Davis. Even his indoor scenes have the outside pouring in, keeping you alive, in awe, surrounded by and part of nature. It’s an eternal dinner in these works. As a son of Chicago and the Great Lakes, a New Yorker for the last 40 years, I look at these paintings with longing. It never rains in a Thibaud painting. No, not really — I was just jealous. His worlds are populous, lived in, but always empty. His work sold for millions. See the edges of objects wobble, come in and out of focus, flowing one into another, all in this strong graphic field that releases dopamine rushes of pleasure. He spent nearly the entirety of his 101 years in California, specifically in Sacramento. He told students who didn’t want to learn these, “It would be great if you could make a brilliant end run around all that stuff, but with painting there’s no such thing …”

I met him, once, when I lectured in the 1990s at Davis. Geometric shapes reform before your eyes into textured pavement, orange trees, and shadows that always tell you the time of day. All my fantasies of places I will never live come to me: Los Angeles, Spain, Arizona, Italy, the Caribbean, Mexico. And us.I hated him for these works.

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Yellowstone Recap: The Hunter Most Hunted

Kayce left with his family, but Beth took his place as the current favorite, moving into the lodge and becoming a sounding board for John’s passions and his fears. Sure, the plot still isn’t exactly catapulting forward, and there are a million directions the finale could go. I’ve accepted that Kayce’s story this season is fundamentally separate from the show’s main action, and that’s okay. Garrett has just voluntarily made himself scarce from Jamie’s life, knowing his time in prison could endanger Jamied’s “pragmatic progressivism” stance and tank his campaign. During their banter this episode, Jimmy speculates that Mia liked him for the potential she saw in him, while Emily likes him for exactly who he is. This has been a slow season of Yellowstone, but the penultimate episode begins to pay off the character relationships built all season long. He’s attracted to the life of spectacle and fame, but Travis reminds him that the real cowboying happens when you’re alone with the animals. When Rip looks on with concern as Beth sobs during Walker’s performance of his (Ryan Bingham’s) song “Hallelujah,” it’s a foreboding ending. Jimmy’s story is much more minor, but there’s a sort of climax there, too. “You have really disappointed me, honey. But John, for all his monstrous qualities, has a code, and this isn’t right. So I should’ve known one of them would go to shit. “No Such Thing As Fair” may not have a ton of fireworks in the typical sense, but the moment when Summer tells John that Beth was the one to suggest she “take one for the team” at the airport protest made my heart sink. We kill wolves,” he insists. It’s a pretty big shake-up of the status quo for this show, all things considered. This season has had its issues, and the pace is still too erratic for my tastes. And I’m still intrigued by Jimmy’s identity crisis over what makes you a cowboy. John still doesn’t know Garrett’s role in the hits, but his poaching of Jamie is reason enough to loath the guy. In the dining room, John shouts at Beth for throwing an innocent woman under the bus. That may be true, but it’s hard to feel heartbroken over their impending separation throughout the episode, especially since it’s clear he’ll be back before long. He does say, for some reason, that Riggins ordered the Dutton hits to prove his authority to rival gangs, like “an animal trying to convince other animals he’s still strong.” I’m actually not sure where he got this information — did he just assume it when he didn’t hear any information otherwise from Jamie? And I never thought I’d say that about you.” He suggests that she find another home while he deals with this debacle. Still, the final scene is nicely romantic, with Jimmy asking Emily to wait for him, at her own suggestion. In the first, Beth admonishes John for his rash diner vigilante moment, accusing him of ignoring the real people he should be going after. “I raised your son with love and respect, and I made him what he is today,” John says. One aspect of Yellowstone that I’ve enjoyed throughout this season is the warmth between John and his two biological kids. Luckily, they tie back into it this week, when Travis tells Jimmy the Sixes are sending him back to the Yellowstone, and Jimmy has to choose whether to stay or go. It has been nice to see those two relationships take center stage, with past resentments falling away. His family has been through a lot of trauma in the past couple of years, but they’ve managed to achieve some peace. It’s a bit of a silly point, honestly, because John was actually headed to talk to the sheriff about arranging the murder of Terrell Riggins, but John doesn’t mention that. Early in the season, Kayce was his main companion on the ranch, and it was nice to see how far they’d come since the beginning of the show. He has a good relationship with his dad and both of his siblings. (For the last time, I ask: Why did Kayce never follow up with his brother about that meeting with Riggins?)

Then John makes that trip to visit Summer down at the station, where she’s facing at least 30 years in prison, maybe life. I have to say, Carter has been less of a drain on the show’s narrative energy than I expected. He’s settled down in a nice home with his wife and son, and another kid is on the way. • Speaking of the bunkhouse, I guess they’re back to being background characters for the rest of the season, since the Frank-Walker feud is over. VULTURE NEWSLETTER
Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! • Bill Ramsey, the interim sheriff, could introduce a really interesting new dynamic to the show if he follows through on his plan to actually enforce the rules Sheriff Haskell was ignoring. That aside, I haven’t had much of a problem with Kayce’s separation from the main story this season. Do diner stick-ups typically lead to massacres? If he wants to understand why and when the wolf follows him, he’ll have to ask — by undertaking a four-day Lakota vision quest. But this one feels more serious, as though John’s perception of his daughter has shifted in some significant way. The Last Round-Up

• Carter Corner: John teaches him to ride a horse and gives him a surprisingly forthright lesson about the 19th-century culling of buffaloes by the Army, which wanted to force natives onto the reservations by destroying their food source. Chief Rainwater and Mo insist that the wolf is his protector, his spirit animal. But going into the finale, I’m excited to see what happens and how the stakes can be upped for season five. Her mission is to destroy the enemies of the Duttons, and an unexpected martyr for the Yellowstone like Summer could make the difference between continuing their way of life and losing their land forever. “If he chooses to let you unmake it, I can’t stop that.” He signs off with a standard threat and heads home for the real blow-up of the episode. I do wish we’d get more time with Chief Rainwater outside his relationship with the Duttons; there has really been no follow-up on his potential deal with Market Equities, and it’s a bit frustrating to see him mostly serve the role of Kayce’s family’s go-to guide for spiritual remedies. If everyone else has more urgent, immediate concerns — John and Jamie running for governor, Beth scheming to tank her company’s development on her family’s land, Jimmy choosing between keeping a promise and being with the woman he loves — Kayce has kind of reached all but the top tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Beth has an honest response to John: She doesn’t care. I’ll start by saying this: I’m not yet at the point where I feel attached to Jimmy’s relationship with Emily, which is still ultimately only a week old, no matter how magical that week has been. Later, Carter plays poker in the bunkhouse, and he’s a hit. • The reporter on Jamie’s TV insists that “The armed robbery would have certainly led to a greater loss of innocent life had [John Dutton] not intervened,” but I’m not so sure. Again, the weekly visits to the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas haven’t been unbearable this season — in fact, they contain a lot of the peaceful, beautiful ranching scenes that are this show’s bread and butter — but they feel disconnected from the rest of the show. And it hurts all the more after the strange but consistent camaraderie they’ve had all season. It’s the rare story that directly carries over from the previous episode, showing the immediate and brutal consequences of the plan Beth hatched to use Summer. His scenes feel less essential than ever, but they provide a nice contrast in tone. Sure, John and Beth always bicker; just last episode, she was throwing a tantrum in the same dining room. “We don’t kill sheep. But we’re approaching a number of turning points. There’s a pair of John-Beth conversations in the episode, one before the revelation and one after. Instead, Kayce focuses on the wolf he has seen four times now. We don’t yet know how long this break will last, but it has real weight. Email

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No Such Thing as Fair

Season 4

Episode 9

Editor’s Rating

4 stars



Photo: Paramount

That’s more like it. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Besides, Beth points out, it’s not like John’s offering an alternative solution, with his stoic refusal to sell the land. And his absence will have enabled the biggest potential relationship rupture if John and Beth don’t make up. Maybe in the Yellowstone world. Tags: I think this is the perfect use for him. Danger doesn’t feel as ever present as it used to. Sure, Summer went along with it voluntarily, so maybe Beth didn’t force her to do anything, but it was her push and twisted logic that convinced Summer it was the right move. She drops the bombshell that Beth manipulated her into doing this, and he visits a diner, where he shares a tense conversation with Garrett Randall.

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Jean-Marc Vallée, Big Little Lies and Dallas Buyers Club Director, Has Died

It doesn’t make sense.”— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) December 27, 2021

Reese Witherspoon also shared her thoughts, tweeting, “My heart is broken. Vallée began his career directing music videos. In the ’90s, he expanded working into feature films in Quebec. “Jean-Marc stood for creativity, authenticity, and trying things differently,” Vallée’s producing partner Nathan Ross said in a statement. Sources



Jean-Marc Vallée on Why Sharp Objects Ended With a Shock

Jean-Marc Vallée’s Evolution to Sharp Objects From Big Little Lies

Tags: “complete and utter shock. He would move into television with HBO’s Big Little Lies, on which he and Witherspoon served as producers along with Nicole Kidman and others. one i cant wait to read & to watch when my times comes. Everyone who worked with him couldn’t help but see the talent and vision he possessed. My friend. His next film, C.R.A.Z.Y., won five Genies — including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Director. The maestro will sorely be missed but it comforts knowing his beautiful style and impactful work he shared with the world will live on.”

Shailene Woodley remembered her Big Little Lies director in a series of posts to her Instagram story. it doesn’t make sense though dude. my fucking god death is the worst. that it’s not real.”

Shailene Woodley reacts to the passing of ‘Big Little Lies’ director Jean-Marc Vallée: “I am in shock. Vallée began collaborating with Reese Witherspoon with 2014’s Wild. Complete and utter shock. His next HBO series, Sharp Objects, won Vallée a DGA Award and the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing. I love you. I love you.”

My heart is broken. He was 58. My friend. it doesn’t make sense. His 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club earned acting Oscars for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Photo: Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Winn Slavin Fine Ar

Jean-Marc Vallée — the Canadian filmmaker, writer, director, and producer behind such works as Dallas Buyers Club and Big Little Lies — has died. but i guess somehow i know you will turn it into a grand adventure … one for the books. “i am in shock,” she wrote. Deadline is reporting that Vallée died suddenly in his cabin outside Quebec City on December 26. maybe when we wake up tomorrow you’ll be there laughing saying it was just a satirical short film you made.— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) December 27, 2021

This post has been updated throughout. “He was a true artist and a generous, loving guy. His debut film, Black List (Liste Noire), was nominated for nine Genie Awards.

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Paper Boi’s Going on Tour in the Atlanta Season-Three Teaser

They attend a press conference in Paris where Paper Boi rolls his eyes at the line, “We believe racism will be done by 2024.” And it looks like they get into some pup-play kink shit in what I’m just assuming is Berlin. Beetz got Joker-pilled. When Atlanta, season three, premieres on March 24, 2022, it will have been four years since we last saw Earn (Donald Glover), Van (Zazie Beetz), Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) in Robbin’ Season. A lot has happened since then. DONALD GLOVER CAST JIM RASH IN ATLANTA TO REPRISE HIS ROLE AS DEAN PELTON OMG— Camden Ostrander (@MetamodernCam) December 26, 2021


Atlanta Season 3 Finally Has a Premiere Date

Tags: Back in the world of Glover’s FX series, their characters are on the come-up, too. Community crossover event confirmed? Tyree Henry is now a Marvel character. They get confused by a British person. A new teaser released on Christmas shows the crew on tour in Europe. Stanfield got an Oscar nomination for Judas and the Black Messiah.

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Dexter: New Blood Recap: It Feels Good to Be Bad

We pick back up right at that point in this episode, and it doesn’t take long for Dexter/Jim to free himself from Elric’s truck by using his hand ties to give his captor a nasty new Joker-esque makeover, causing him to slam his truck into a pole. Looking back at the span of the fictional life of this character, he’s had a good run. He was, at times, a good brother and, at times, a good partner. After backtracking on Dexter/Jim’s handy work with the dealer and at-home chemist who sold and made the drugs that Harrison overdosed on, Angela comes to learn that they both have needle marks on their necks. The only problem is that Elric has a huge fancy rifle, and Dexter only has a screw. On the Kill-Room Floor

• Is anything of a grander scale going to come from all the effort put into constantly bringing Matt Caldwell up? I was not expecting to feel so strongly for Harrison when he first showed up, having traveled a great distance to hunt down the man who abandoned him. His real grave this time, not another fake-out do-over where he pops up in a new city under a different name. This is New Blood, though, and I’m bracing for the disappointment of none of this happening and for the last scene of the series being Dexter driving into the sunset, giving the camera a little wink. The only place he has to go from here is his grave. Oh, did I mention that this was the Christmas episode? Dexter/Jim, with circus level dexterity, jettisons from the back window of the truck and scrambles off in the snow, using Matt’s surgical screw, still in his pocket, to cut off his leg bindings and make his way back to Elric with the intent to put him down. He made an interesting and lucrative career for himself. And, if my theory about Dexter/Jim dying at the end of this is correct, will it be him, Angela, or Harrison who does it? Dexter
Unfair Game

Season 1

Episode 8

Editor’s Rating

4 stars


Photo: Robert Clark/SHOWTIME

Since the very first episode of New Blood, I’ve been rooting for the death of Dexter Morgan. But he did in this episode. I think we’re about to find out. But what will that look like for Harrison, who has come all this way to suffer so much? Don’t be silly. He couldn’t have killed him. He resurfaced the Miami Beach seafloor with the bodies of hundreds of evildoers. In this in-between time, Kurt sets Harrison up, again and again, to be forced to admit to things he never got to experience with his dad. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. And he brought a son into this world, Harrison, whom he is just now letting into his life not out of guilt but out of love. Barf at the thought of it. I can’t imagine we had to hear about how he lettered in three sports just for the hell of it. He’s fantastic. Email

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Terms of Service apply. Harrison would be the most dynamic option out of the three, but my money’s on Batista. The only possible outcome for New Blood that will leave fans with the sense of this all having been worth something is for this character to die and make way for something new in the form of his progeny. What would we have spent our time doing for the next two episodes? Tags: While Dexter/Jim and his kid are bonding over wanting to kill people, Police Chief AngelaBishop is doing some research on Dexter Morgan. Now in safety, for the time being, Dexter/Jim and Harrison share what looks like the first genuine hug of their recent relationship, and Dexter/Jim opens up to his son about his own dark urges, promising to teach him the code that his father taught him. Any number of other more exciting things? He was taught a code to give a purpose to his murderous inclinations. Just as he’s starting to get that father figure he’s been desperately seeking out his whole young life, what will it do to his emotional psyche to lose it all over again? Harrison’s open-faced willingness to please, and to have that feeling of sitting next to a father figure, any father figure, right up to the point where Kurt comes out in his hunting attire ready to kill him, is heartbreaking. You gotta wonder at this point when Angel Batista is going to be summoned into the picture. Those aren’t good odds, even for a killing machine like Dex. Kurt is out there somewhere with Harrison, and he knows exactly where they’re headed, doo-wop dungeon deux. While at Kurt’s cabin, Harrison tries his first sip of single-malt scotch, which he turns his nose up at, saying it tastes like band-aids, and is taught the hard way how to navigate a batting cage all while Kurt stalls until Dexter/Jim gets there. Kurt has Harrison running through the snow and is just about to gun him down when Dexter/Jim revs toward him, sending him running off instead. Didn’t it occur to him that he needed to swivel around to come anywhere near close to being able to hit one of those “curveballs?”

• Dexter/Jim’s hasty decision to just cover Elric’s body with a tarp and leave him at the camp is going to come back to haunt him. • It seemed like Harrison was doing some sort of self-punishment by allowing himself to repeatedly get gobbed in the side by baseballs in that batting cage. And where’s that other surgical screw? If there’s one good thing to come from New Blood, aside from the comic relief of ghost Deb, it’s Jack Alcott in this role. He dicks around in the snow for a bit in a cat-and-mouse of hiding from Elric while also trying to get close enough to overpower him, but he doesn’t have time to waste. VULTURE NEWSLETTER
Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! When we last saw Dexter/Jim, he was just about to be nabbed by Kurt Caldwell’s creepy henchman, Elric Kane. Kurt’s under the assumption that Elric is bringing him to the cabin to watch his son get killed, but what he doesn’t know is that he’s barreling through the snow in that very truck, hoping to both save his son and kill his son’s captor. When Dexter/Jim finally does make it to Kurt’s cabin, it’s just in the nick of time, naturally. Doing what would in real-life be an entirely too broad Google search of “ketamine + Miami” Angela comes to a page about the Bay Harbor Butcher. And I was doubly not expecting Jack Alcott’s performance as Dexter’s heir apparent to summon deep emotions in me, strong enough to bring me to tears. He’s just doing whatever now, kill table be damned. Sure, Kurt was making every attempt to make Harrison feel shitty about not having those types of opportunities and experiences in his own life, but come on. And I’d be comfortable at this point in placing a wager on that very thing taking place in episode ten. In the case of the chemist, who Dexter/Jim killed, his autopsy report indicated that he had ketamine in his system in addition to the fentanyl that supposedly killed him. He survived a bloody and traumatic childhood.

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‘It’s Always Been a Show About Growth’

And so Prentice, unbeknownst to me, had Yvonne actually talk to me as Yvonne and say words to me. You can freeze your eggs, you can do all these things, but there’s just something. But this is a part of her, and this is a part of her journey, and you do feel cheated in not knowing why and how much this relationship means to her. Initially, we jumped five years into the future and had Issa and Molly reunite in Morocco and told the story of what happened through this adventure — misadventure — in Morocco. And then I went into the makeup trailer and I see Yvonne with tons of tissues with our makeup artist. Maybe what I thought I knew the entire time wasn’t necessarily true. It is one of my favorite episodes because it’s a state I live in. It was so much fun to shoot, and everybody looked beautiful. How do you know you’re on the right path? I know you majored in African American Studies at Stanford, so I was curious to hear how her work influenced you or if you ever got to meet her.No, I never had the privilege of meeting her, but I studied her work obviously in high school and have looked up to her, have aspired to her. Everything happened the way it was supposed to with time. But I don’t know — maybe she didn’t! The most important choice she’s making is to be happy with who she is and where she’s going. Or, Would it have been better? And they were the best versions of each other for that moment, and they’ve only done more growing since then. And then even that first scene with Prentice directing, I started crying with him telling me to, like, move across the room. To see Molly and Taurean just be great together. My understanding is that the finale you shot differed a lot from the original idea. She would give it a solid chance. That’s the growth, that they can laugh about what was a truly traumatic moment for Molly and Issa’s friendship. Issa Dee has worn her heart on her sleeve in a way that has inspired me. [Laughs.]

How did you and the writers decide to go with Taurean? Please! Learning to love in friendships empowers us in ways that enable us to bring this love to other interactions with family or with romantic bonds.” That statement really resonates with the core relationship of Insecure. I thought about the pilot and even the third season in the show: Birthdays have been such a source of significance for Issa and our characters, and when I think about my own friendships and getting older, birthdays are the only promise we have to hang out. You didn’t have to, but you did, and I’m better for it.”

“Ee have shown the beauty and ugliness of relationships, and love in particular, in a way that hasn’t been done in a long time for our story.”
Photo: Merie W Wallace

After bell hooks passed, I saw a quote from her book All About Love going around Twitter: “Friendship is the place in which a great majority of us have our first glimpse of redemptive love and caring community. And there’s a point where you’re kind of cried out. To be secure in what her flaws are. It didn’t make sense for him to come back. What was the reaction like at the table read for the finale?There were tears. How did you come to some of the other big moments like Kelli getting pregnant? When we spoke at Vulture Festival in L.A. And the rest of the haters — as I like to call them — shut it down. Yvonne goes first, and I’m all crying during her take. I think over time, her defenses broke and she was like, Okay. There’s about three Daniel lovers in the room, myself included. And from the pilot, Issa lives in the what-if. Did you ever consider bringing back Daniel somehow?We talked about bringing him back in the final season. If I’m not happy, if I’m miserable, or even if I’m feeling doubtful, then it will cause me to take a step back and figure out what it is that I really want. But I wanted to see Molly get her dream wedding. Yvonne is such a beautiful speaker and such a generous person. Okay!I am exploring in real life. for such a long time felt wrong. if we were selected as finalists. From breaking the first season and presenting that to HBO, we knew we wanted to be at Molly’s wedding. That felt missing in the table read. If anything, we have shown the beauty and ugliness of relationships, and love in particular, in a way that hasn’t been done in a long time for our story. And to see her surrounded by her friends and family, and obviously reunite the characters for one last time. That was part of her journey, but it wasn’t her entire journey. And thank goodness, because it was actually Jay Ellis’s last day on set, Yvonne came to send him off. The romantic in me wanted that for them. Yo, that’s so funny because normally, there would be a stand-in doing it. I don’t know. I have nothing figured out yet, but I have just enough to be confident where I’m going. And we really have a time to decide. [Laughs.] It’s very vivid in my mind, but you have to ask her. And it’s such a tremendous loss. What did you want to do first? And they keep me up; they scare the shit out of me. It’s always been a show about growth. Or left just a second earlier? It was Yvonne and Prentice’s last day, and, you know, I’ve been talking a lot of shit the entire season about how more sweet it is than bitter that this show is ending, and I was ready to move on. You’re talking about season four, episode eight, when Issa and Lawrence come back together, right? Yeah, eight and nine. So you had to come around on Issa and Lawrence, too? The brief bliss they shared. So that shut it down. So much of it overlaps with who I am and who I’ve become. I feel secure. We watched them recommit to each other with the hopes of being able to hold on to that but not necessarily counting on the fact that particular events in their lives might keep them from each other. I get picked up by a van every morning, and I was crying in the van on the way to set before we had even started anything. I have had to be confident that things are gonna work out and confident about what I don’t know, who I’m not, and where I’ll never be, but optimistic that things will work out the way they’re supposed to and secure in the fact that I have these insecurities and these flaws, and I have so much more learning to do. Kelli had been on this journey throughout the season, just thinking about her legacy and what she wanted to leave behind, and she ultimately found that in the new profession she takes on with Molly: the estate-planning division.  [Laughs.]

I have a guess. And so I was always like, What the fuck! Sometimes I wake up in cold sweats. Initially, the episode was a girls’ trip to Morocco for Issa and Molly five years into the future; instead, it evolved into a zip through time punctuated by birthdays, weddings, and pregnancy announcements — big life moments encapsulating the nature of friendship in your 30s. Especially — and since it is so present in my life right now, and I’m curious about it — I do wish we could’ve explored motherhood through Issa. There was even talk of not seeing it and just focusing on the moment with Issa and Molly in the bathroom post-wedding, committing to each other and thanking each other for being in one another’s lives through all the ups and downs. Hell, yes. I’m very in tune with what makes me happy. Ugh, it was devastating. And while the episode was funny and exciting and different, it just didn’t pay homage to what — you know, the show is set in L.A., and they went back to L.A. That episode was very close to me. It’s so corny, but I do. Does anything in particular stand out to you from the experience of making the show?I realize how special my experience has been and how unique it is. Hell. Yes. Maybe we’ll explore it with something else. Hopefully. [Laughs.]

Can you give me an example?It’s gonna sound so stupid and Lauren Conrad of The Hills. Please.” So then when we did the rehearsal, we couldn’t even say the words. So it ultimately would have to come down to me, and it really came down to writing the finale. Our people can own. I don’t know why it was so dire, but I had to choose: Do I go to Paris and be with this person and explore this relationship? It’s not a sad broken pussy. Some people were very adamant that they should not be together. in the last couple of pages. What was the lay of the conversation in the writers’ room?We were pretty split. And she has a revelation of her own that she can change her mind. That conversation between Issa and Nathan changed, and the moment with Issa and Lawrence at the Blocc office did not exist pre-table read. I had a couple of friends lose parents, and the friendship in some cases shift — feeling helpless in terms of helping them and seeing the distance grow between us and having to work to close that gap. This is a happy day, and Yvonne’s really keeping it together. To have her understand and empower the state of Black womanhood, to acknowledge and make it so beautiful and so human, was just a gift. I didn’t think it was gonna work. And recognizing that I have so many more choices to make. Everybody had their own ideas. How do you feel like you’ve changed since starting the show? I think everything happens for a reason. It’s never been a show about four women; it’s never been an arguing show; it’s never been a gender-war show. There are certain fork-in-the-road moments that would’ve altered my life, and I’m happy now, but I could’ve not been. Inshallah. At the beginning of this season, I was not sold on Issa choosing Lawrence. You know, I think we both came around on our love interests this season. A lot of that montage you see in the finale currently was still there, but setting the show away from L.A. She’s bawling. I think that’s what I’m most proud of with the rawness of Issa and Molly’s friendship and the ups and downs and how we have showcased love in this show. Oh, God. Is there any way she can come read it?” And she happily did. Of course, Molly’s mom passing was another thing that progressed as we were writing. Episode eight has Issa Dee imagining the paths different decisions might take her down. Related

Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji Reflect on 5 Years of Issa and Molly 

How Kelli Prenny Went From Insecure’s ‘Eye-Roll Friend’ to Zany Voice of Reason

Blowjobs, Breakups, and Beychella: The Insecure Writers’ Room Says Good-bye

Tags: Despite my frustration of being in development for such a long time, I think about the show that could’ve been and the show that is. You have to guess. How don’t I? You know, if it ain’t broke. Do you feel like that long development period was ultimately good then? This is her person. Love takes work.Yes, it does. So you were just gonna raw-dog it.[Laughs.] I mean, that’s pretty standard for us, so it would’ve been on brand. We’ve seen Molly struggle with explaining her career and work obligations to love interests. It was like, And here we are together. The journeys are different, but where we are is very similar. What did she say?I’m gonna cry thinking about it. I know that can be crippling, and I have been way more intentional about living in the present and the now and practicing gratitude for the choices I have made. Even if you don’t want kids, you still feel that clock. But ultimately that led to me continuing to create. And so much happened in my own life as I was developing the show, creatively and personally, that helped add to it. Because it made me tap deeper into myself. I wouldn’t compare Insecure in any way to the works of bell hooks. And I realized deep down that I did want them to be together. I’ve never really thought about it or questioned it. It just gutted me by the time we yelled “cut.” And that was the very last take, and we came out and said good-bye to everyone. She was a bit surprised that she was ending up with Taurean because, on behalf of Molly, she was holding on to some of that Taurean hatred. I live in it less, but there are times when I think, Oh my God, what if I had done that? And it was just so somber. It’s the road less traveled, it’s the path not taken, it’s the what-could’ve-been, the what-if. There was something beautiful in following that. The creator, star, and ultimate scribe of the show, Issa Rae, found herself writing and rewriting scenes until the day they were shot. That does not happen. That was part of her journey, but it wasn’t her entire journey. As the season progressed, I started to unpack what that meant and why they could not work it out if this is what she wanted. How do you get in touch with that part of yourself?I’m not a guru. It’s a happy broken pussy. I remember Yvonne actually crying while reading that final speech Molly gives Issa in the bathroom, and being like, “These are words that I would actually say to you.”

But I remember being like, Uh-uh, I need to rewrite some of the script. And how much better the show is because of time and what it went through and what I went through. We’ve seen her be overzealous. Did you know you wanted Molly and Taurean to get married? One of the other things I will say about our show is that a lot of people have projected what they wanted our show to be as a result of it being a Black show. Why did you think it was important for them to have that conversation? Sometimes we put so much weight on these decisions of love interests. There was an interesting discussion that happened in the room that men were enlightened by — annoyingly so — that the women in the room really bonded over: Oh my God, you feel this way, too? It’s always been a show about this friendship and this central love story between these two women and how they’ve helped each other become who they’re supposed to be. I was bummed about the fact that I wasn’t gonna be seeing them. Or do I stay in L.A. But if he was down to revisit it and she was single and available, why not try and say that you tried? What would have been? from New York. She really finds solace in leaving her job behind but also realizes that she wants her own legacy and needs someone she feels is worthwhile of carrying that through. Is it that you get to do it onscreen through a character in some ways? In thinking about the series as a whole, and about the growth that they’ve experienced and the love they do have for each other, and thinking again about my own life, I felt like she would try it out. Our resident, like, “Come on, be real for the Black women in L.A.” officer, Amy Aniobi, is just like, “Okay, all the n- – – -s can’t keep coming back to Issa’s life.” Just fine men everywhere who keep coming back? In college, I got this opportunity to study abroad in Paris, and there was someone I was seeing. Just as a naïve promise that the girls make to each other, and Issa and Molly in particular, to always be there for each other’s birthday is — it is just that. Even for some members of the Insecure writers’ room, the precise emotional turns of the series finale would be a surprise. What was it like shooting that conversation with Yvonne in the bathroom getting out of the wedding dress? And I kinda don’t want to! And the fact that she was ready to move to San Francisco for him. “I went on my own journey as I filmed the season and lived as Issa Dee,” says Rae. They can be like, Yeah, I’m 53, it’s time to have kids. I ended up taking time off of school, came back harder, created my first web series. This show has made me more openhearted and less closed off — though you’d have to talk to my friends about how true that is. There are so many pivotal moments where I could’ve said yes or no and my life would’ve been drastically different. What is Issa to you? And they have such great chemistry that it felt right. And if it doesn’t work out, at least you can say you’ve really given it a shot. Pour her a drink and ask.  No. But to me, it’s made me more vulnerable. She felt so fully formed in a way that one can only dream to be. I didn’t go to Paris, and we weren’t Sundance finalists. And to the point of being on the right path, so many things have to go right, and so many of the right people have to be involved to make this show. She can own it. It was something we decided a couple seasons ago — that Molly and Taurean were equally yoked, and he was the person to ultimately understand her. But I love it. And there’s such a pressure in the back of your mind of having to decide. And simultaneously, I had a script with a friend that became a semifinalist selection at Sundance, and we would have to be in L.A. And it is sad when we can’t make that happen. I mean, we’ll see. So I did have a stand-in reading with me — and God bless our stand-ins, I love them — but I was like, “This is the last conversation of the episode; I want Yvonne. And to be fair, that’s kind of what it was in previous drafts, too, because we didn’t wanna focus on them getting back together. But everybody doesn’t see it for him. It was an important decision for her, but for me, it was the least important decision for her to make. I mean, we all thought of ways it could work and ways it wouldn’t. She was ready to uproot her life. I think so much of what we attempt to do is the same. And you know, this is the acceptable pussy break. Her words really moved me to tears, and so it was not only a moment between Issa and Molly, but me and Yvonne. We were all very aware of the fact that this was the last table read we’d ever have together. Or I’ll explore in real life. And I can be fine with just deciding, Never mind. And that’s kind of my barometer. The moment of being with Nathan and thinking about Issa’s future and what it meant for her to be happy, it dawned on me that she really does love and miss Lawrence and had never been able to give it a proper shot. I think if you love these characters, then you’ll feel satisfied by the finale. Or, Oh my God, what if I had taken that door? Are there pivotal decisions you’ve made in the past that you still dwell on? I already miss every part of this show and every part that went into making it happen and truly do feel grateful for the people who’ve been along for the ride. It’s naïve, and it discounts all the events that can happen in life, and it’s still the one thing you hold on to as the celebration of your friends and the commitment you have to them. And who actually love these characters. To see Molly and Issa go through that and overcome that was something that felt representative of things that happen in friendships in your 30s. I don’t know that I have been unhappy in a very long time even when things aren’t going according to plan. I really wanted to go, and I got admitted last minute. That day, I had a very early call time. And deciding to or not to. Prentice and I were discussing what they’d be joking about on the phone, and he just pitched that, and it cracked me up. We put so much weight on these decisions of love interests. When you shot that call, was someone else reading her lines to you? And so on my coverage, I was tearful, but I wouldn’t say that it was my best performance. You know, let’s save this, but we had to kind of run it. This is a journey of being uncomfortable with the uncertain, and we’re watching her do just that. She can decide what’s best for her, and that’s just fine. Yeah, actually. Did you know the final scene of the show would be a reference to Issa and Molly’s first conversation about a broken pussy at Merkato in the pilot? And so I had to choose whether or not to wait. And Yvonne was fine all day; she was great, and I was like, Maybe I’m tripping. How do you relate to that? [Laughs.]

It might be better not to futz with it! Molly thinks it’s funny now. [Laughs.] Definitely, definitely that. He’s such a no-nonsense, balanced person, and to have someone who is equally as ambitious as her and accepts her — and has seen the ugliest parts of her and still wants her — felt really appealing to us. And I think if she had moved, the Blocc would’ve never taken off in the way that it did, and she wouldn’t have been able to find her own footing. Where would I have been? Some of this didn’t hit the way I want it to. I think she was right to take a break from him. You know, it made more sense for him to come back in season four, which I also advocated for. You feel it too! Or, Oh my God, what if I had been caught doing this? Is it putting Molly together with Taurean? Because the words were true about me and Yvonne too. Before, Lawrence just showed up at the wedding. But tell me, what was Yvonne’s reaction when she first heard that would be the trajectory?You have to ask her. That is something super real that we discussed in the room: Women having this ticking time clock that’s so unfair that men will never experience. From the start, this show has been centered on the story of a girl trying to figure out who she is and where she’s going. with Yvonne Orji, she said something would happen in the final season that she found very “surprising.” I was curious about what that was. Why not?In Mirror Issa’s words, I thought she was being a dumb bitch. As in a different show?Maybe. You have to. And so raw and honest. I have a man and a husband that broke my pussy. I almost didn’t want to do the rehearsal. What was the most important decision for her to make? Are there any other plotlines you wish you could have done? [Laughs.] But I think what we do have in common is showcasing our humanity and showcasing our love and normalizing that in a way that people can own. She was just off-screen talking to me on the phone, and it made a world of a difference. I like to think I’m on the right path, but it’s really terrifying. That’s the growth in their friendship, that they can laugh about what was a truly traumatic moment for Molly and Issa’s friendship. “Issa and me are overlapped circles on a Venn diagram.”
Photo: Natalia Mantini/The New York Times/Redux

The following interview contains spoilers for the series finale of Insecure. Who knows? In working with Larry Wilmore early on — that was for the workplace-comedy version of the show — being able to take that and what we discussed and tap into who I was at that time, that was a journey. So when it came to that night, I was like, I have gotten my tears out; I’m gonna be okay for this scene. And these were just circumstances that happened — you know, him having a baby with someone else. We knew she was having this stroke, but experiencing personally some of the events in friendship with loss, that really hit close to home. And then even the decision to come back to L.A. So I am rarely unhappy. “And I decided that I wanted a different ending that paid tribute to the season as a whole.” On the phone, we discussed those decisions — pairing Molly with Taurean and Issa with Lawrence — shooting the final, tearful scenes with Yvonne Orji, and the story line Rae wishes she could have explored that she might just have to pursue in another form. The last time we saw them give it a shot, they were interrupted. Stupid-ass decision! and hopefully I get selected? And I was vindicated, I was like, Aah! I assume you’re processing things in your life through her.This season finale, Issa and me are overlapped circles on a Venn diagram. Is that how you came up with the structure of moving through big events like birthdays and weddings?Birthdays was just the core. And then during the scene, we do coverage. I wanted to stay out there and hustle to make things happen, and if I hadn’t come home for a weekend on a whim and gone to the beach with some friends — they were the ones who convinced me to move back. That’s something I wish we were able to explore. I think we can think that we’ve made up our mind about things — I certainly have — and then decide, Oh, wait. And she was like, “Don’t do this right now. She was basically like, “Thank you for seeing me and for taking a chance on me. I was like, What the fuck is this? But, yeah, I’m just — I’m so happy that people are taking this show into their heart.

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Yellowjackets Recap: Red River

Taissa, Natalie, and Shauna are getting closer to finding out who has been blackmailing them, and they use a tracking device purchased on Amazon to help them out. • The fake reporter tells Misty that she was at Travis’ house right before he was killed, and she seems to imply that she knows who did it. Everyone is stressed, low on sleep, eating weird things, and shit’s gonna get real weird. Email

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No Compass

Season 1

Episode 7

Editor’s Rating

5 stars



Photo: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME

Believing that this show is about a group of teens resulting to cannibalism to survive being stranded in the wilderness after a plane crash is wild enough, but this show is so much wilder than even that. Like Taissa said, “If this was a horror movie, she’d be the villain.” I think there’s more truth to that than we know right now. Misty, Mari (Alexa Barajas), and Akilah (Keeya King) tag along as well. In the book, which is about a group of boys becoming stranded after a plane crash, things start to go south when the two main characters, Jack and Ralph, become leaders of two very different groups. Hiding the device in an empty chip bag, they place it in a duffel bag that Shauna’s daughter Callie made for her dad, Jeff (when she was “still cute”), along with a stack of hundred-dollar bills from Natalie totaling the $50,000 the blackmailer requested. There are mysteries we’ve been presented that I hope won’t get solved easily. If that’s the level of mystical mysterioso we’re headed towards, then everything else is on the table, too, in terms of time travel, witchery, and whatever else. And I’m not entirely over it yet, so there are more viewings of that scene to come. Jackie later sneaks into Shauna’s journal, which was hidden up in the rafters, and based on her sobbing, we can tell that she now knows who the real father is. Back at the main camp, Jackie forces Shauna to tell her what she’s been hiding, and she makes up a story about getting pregnant after losing her virginity to some guy named Randy. Plus, he kinda just seems like a shitty little worm. Even weirder. This segmenting of the larger group is another comparison that can be made to William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Once the tracker starts to move, they follow it and end up face-to-face with the driver of a truck who Natalie threatens at gunpoint. More From This Series

Our Spooky, Sexy Yellowjackets Theories

Yellowjackets Recap: The Woman in the Tree

Yellowjackets Recap: Welcome to Club Flow

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Tags: Real soon. Honestly, I haven’t been this excited about a show since Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and that’s something I didn’t even think was humanly possible. But as I’m playing Citizen Detective, spending countless hours thinking about the mysteries of Yellowjackets which is, hands down, my favorite show of the past untold number of years, I have to remind myself that the fun comes primarily in the wondering. Misty says that she thinks the animals in the area are migrating, and that’s why they haven’t been able to hunt down anything other than that maggot-filled deer we saw last week. I love not knowing where a show is headed, and this all has me pretty deep in the weeds, which is beyond exciting. Not since the days of Lost and Twin Peaks has there been a show so rich in mysterious possibility and, after watching episode seven, I feel like my eyes are just loosely rolling around in my head as I attempt to make sense of all of the numerous hints, clues, and symbols served up in what we’ve been shown so far. The timing of the wolf carving and the wolfattack at the second camp seems a bit close. After Lottie gives Van her weird bone, she tells her that she had a dream about red smoke and a river of blood. After dumping this in a clothing-donation box, they sit in the car making small talk, sharing a bottle of booze that Natalie brought along because, of course, she did. VULTURE NEWSLETTER
Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! Javi seems to also be after Shauna’s journal, but when she catches him going through her bag, he says he was looking for the hunting knife to work on a project. We flashback to them stuck in the wilderness and witness Taissa’s decision to split off from the group in search of help or, at the very least, more resources. At the end of the episode, Shauna finds a little wolf figurine that he’d carved out of wood for her. If you were to ask me how many times I re-watched the scene from this episode where adult Taissa and Natalie chase down their blackmailer through racks of clothes, pool noodles, and art supplies, the answer would be an embarrassing amount of times. While she’s doing so, a guy in a ski mask jumps out the back, and this is where we get to see the level of foot race two former champion soccer players are capable of. None of the Yellowjackets are trying to raise hell just yet, aside from maybe Misty and Lottie, but you can see it coming. We don’t know if Van is dead or not, but since you can now see her teeth through her cheek, it’s not looking great for her. This episode jumps back and forth between timelines, even more so than the previous episodes, as the Yellowjackets’ past and present collide. The thing I obsessively loved about Buffy, which I’m finding myself loving just as strongly in Yellowjackets, is the continued showcasing of strong women characters and how they held onto that strength regardless of flaws, hardships, and impending doom. And some that I hope I get to wonder about forever. Can Javi see the future too? The compass the new group is carrying starts mysteriously going round and round, and they’re reminded of what was said before about the woods not wanting them to leave. Buzz Buzz Buzz

• Just like I bet we’ll see some glitter on Jeff down the line, I bet we’ll see the ring that Travis had Natalie pull from his dead dad’s hand to give to Javi on Adam or in his stuff somewhere. The one to really keep an eye on here is Lottie, though. Not since the first Charlie’s Angels movie in 2000 has pop culture put a Prodigy song to better use. The girls are starting to look to Lottie as a sort of all-seeing figurehead, and you can all but see her planing her antler queen outfit. I mean, I know from experience that girls/women have intense friendships, but there’s another thing I know from experience, and it’s that sometimes girls seem like great friends because they’re experiencing inner gay. Speaking of that bloody horned ghoul, Lottie does some Lottie stuff and digs around in its charred remains to pull out a perfectly un-singed bone to present to Van as a talisman as she sets off with Taissa on her journey. One group wants to peacefully self-govern until they’re rescued, and the other wants to raise hell. The new group comes across both of these things down the line when they encounter a red-tinted stream, and then, later, Taissa uses a flare gun to scare off a wolf that was chomping on Van’s face, clouding them all in a plume of red smoke. Hopefully, Misty comes up with something better than fentanyl-filled chocolates to get her to tell what she knows, if she knows anything at all. • Am I the only one who thinks Shauna and Jackie have major gay energy for each other? Maybe he has blamed him for something all these years and got revenge? A tickle in my brain tells me we’re going to end up seeing this glitter on something that Jeff is wearing down the line. They’re after this guy like two wolves in a cornfield, and it’s not long before Taissa tackles the blackmailer, but he elbows her in the face and gets away. • If Adam is in fact Javi, what if Adam was the one who killed Travis (his brother) and cleared out his bank account? He’s having money problems, keeping odd hours that, I don’t think, are occupied entirely by cheating, and he has open access to all of the secrets they’re trying to hide.

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Insecure Series-Finale Recap: Last Time for the Birthday Bitch

Their friendship has been an anchor for the show for five years, and seeing how happy and dedicated they still are to each other is more than enough to put a little lump in the throat. I want them both to feel shame.” — Kelli

• “If you black out, you did it right. Conspicuously switching subjects, Issa tells Molly that the day is about celebrating her and her achievements. Months later, Issa has organized a small shindig in Molly’s apartment for her birthday. 5Gs like the cellphone.” — Quoia

• “Girl, when I have bad sex with a n- – – -, I glare at him and his dick. Tags: And a confrontation with Mirror Issa leaves her even more despondent than ever. She hops into her car and drives through Los Angeles, passing many of the landmarks this show has made so visible: Thug Yoda and his daughter are spending time together on the steps of the Dunes, Sarah and Frieda working with kids at We Got Y’all, and even the Best Buy where Lawrence used to work. Week’s Best Woot Woots

• “I spilled a candle on myself while I was getting ready. Lawrence takes her hand and guides her to the dance floor. Catching her eye, Molly asks her what she would have said to him that night at the party if Nathan hadn’t interrupted them. But Issa’s just happy and proud. He’s on FaceTime with his parents telling them about his day when Issa calls. They wonder if Tiffany will be okay and recommit to showing up for her. is finally starting to feel like home and apologizes for how things ended between them. Issa is setting up the Blocc’s offices, and Molly’s back at work. The wedding is lovely, with a small table dedicated to Carol’s memory. As Issa gets ready for dinner in the mirror later that evening, Molly calls from (one presumes) her honeymoon in Greece. They don’t work as well as they want to, and it’s time to move on. If he blacks out, call for help.” — Kelli

Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. And in a beautiful bit of synergy from the pilot, Molly jokes that he might have broken her pussy from all the sex they’re having. Later in the evening, Molly works in the kitchen when Issa walks in. Issa’s not in the mood for company, though. They’re grown now, so she’s claiming it. They hug, and Nathan leaves, while Issa rejoins the party. “I just want to fast-forward to the part of my life when everything’s okay.” So we do. We jump to Lawrence’s birthday sometime later. Issa says she doesn’t want to be inconsistent and that it’s too late anyway. The next morning, Molly wakes her up with food and liquor. Issa is happy for her friend, but it’s clear she feels left behind and left out. Taking their moment alone, Molly thanks Issa for her friendship and loving her even when she made it hard. If he’s free, she’d like to take him out for his birthday. Molly and Taurean have just gotten hitched. Issa tells her it’s okay if she’s not okay yet, and they commiserate on how much harder things have gotten in their lives now that they’re older. But then Lawrence calls, and Mirror Issa insists she has to move on because things will never work with him. Insecure
Everything Gonna Be, Okay?! But when Issa opens the doors to the space, it’s a surprise party for her birthday. She isn’t working yet and doesn’t feel like she has a community to support her. Issa comes to encourage her to join the party, but let’s slip that she’s tired of Los Angeles. She lets the call ring out and meets Nasir in the bedroom. He’s noticed her watching Molly wistfully from across the courtyard. It’s exciting to imagine what more she has to offer. Set the bar real low.” — Issa

• “Wait, so there’s no busted pipe. Later in the evening, Issa is still at the office when Lawrence walks in. Kelli says she didn’t, but after her “death” in episode one, she started reflecting on her life and came to a different conclusion. It’s a sad echo of the final scene of the season’s first episode when Issa broke up with Lawrence. Issa gives him a truncated tour of the unfinished space, but Lawrence congratulates her on how far she’s come. But Issa doesn’t pick up. Today is for celebrating. And Molly isn’t even there to help her carry the burden. For her part, Issa seems to be in shock. They laugh and chat, and Molly tells her Taurean won’t leave her side. Then they start in on the wine. Later that night, Issa’s at her place with Nasir getting ready for bed. It seems she did take that estate-division job after all. Back in her bedroom, Molly can’t decide what to wear. Last week’s episode ended with Lawrence and Nathan’s fight. In the moment, Kelli agrees. Looking regal in a loose-fitting green kaftan, Kelli calls the party to attention and announces that she and her boyfriend are having a baby. On her way to get fresh glasses, Issa sees a framed photo of Derek and his friends with their kids — including Lawrence and Elijah. The women tear up, but Molly pushes through: “As long as you’re around, I’ma be okay.” It’s a bittersweet moment even as it’s filled with love. Then, Kelli walks in to tell Molly to get ready for her date with Taurean and the surprise he has planned. There’s a busted pipe that they need to tend to. Months later, we’re at a wedding. Issa tells him that she keeps thinking about how much time she spent doubting herself, only to realize that she needed to believe in herself to make her dream come true. As she goes over to chat him up, Molly raises a conversation she’s clearly had with Kelli before: Her firm is ready to start an estates division, and they want Kelli. A few months later, the gang is gathered at a restaurant for Kelli’s birthday. Over the years, the show had its issues and more than a few missteps, bringing authenticity to the Black millennial experience onscreen. She feels like a mess, but Molly assures her that she should be proud of how far she’s come. She tries calling Molly one more time but still gets no answer. She’s done her duty by seeing her bestie off to the next phase of her life. I do got a flat-booty fetish!” — Issa/Molly

• “We already at 5,000 dollars. But as her phone starts ringing, Molly tells her that working things out isn’t that hard if it’s what she really wants. Watching these characters over the last few years gave us avatars for our own relationship issues and qualms, as well as people we could root for despite their mistakes. When she gets inside, Lawrence texts her to apologize for creating a scene. It turns out that, as predicted, she hates living there. If this is a test, Issa fails it. Later in the night, Molly and Kelli try to set Issa up for some “birthday dick” with one of the attendees from the Blocc community. She falls asleep on the couch in her party clothes. She’ll call Molly in the morning. When she answers her phone, it’s her brother Curtis calling with devastating news: Their mom has died. After Molly and her dad have their father/daughter dance, the other guests join the dance floor, but Issa stays behind at their table. When he picks up, she’s surprised that he answered and, in typical Issa fashion, makes it awkward. It doesn’t help that her daughter Simone is the only Black girl in her class. Molly’s been free with her I Love You’s all season long, so it makes sense that on her wedding day, she’s still making time to thank the person who has been holding her down since long before Taurean entered the picture. It hurt pretty badly.” — Issa

• “Don’t you have to date Daniel Kaluuya for it to be a rebound?” “Don’t try to make it make sense.” — Tiffany/Issa

• “If they don’t [love you], I’ll make them hate me. Lawrence has plans, but he suggests they get dinner sometime instead as Issa hastily gets off the phone. And in the end, Insecure permitted us to root for ourselves (and everybody Black). Issa brings her new date Nasir, and Tiffany has dyed her hair brown. Issa cackles and heads out to meet Lawrence as the camera holds frame on the mirror. He tells her that L.A. It might have taken an unconventional path, but it seems like Issa finally managed to create the life she’s always dreamed of. Issa helps Molly out of her wedding dress at the end of the night. And they’re on that path too. Lawrence brings her a drink and asks if she’s okay. She calls Molly instead, but there’s no answer. The happy couple looks beautiful in their matching white gown and tux. The progress feels good. Mirror Issa tells her that she’s excited all their friends are going after what they want and making decisions about their lives. Molly admits that she’s still struck by her mother’s death and how much she misses her. Just then, Nathan walks in, and the mood in the room shifts. I don’t have to start an OnlyFans?” “I would subscribe. But she also knows that Nathan might have a point. Email

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Terms of Service apply. She asks for the gossip she’s missed, and we find out Issa is seeing someone new. Tiffany is predictably elated at the prospect of another friend to navigate motherhood with, but Issa is confused. And when Lawrence pointedly asks if she thinks things will work out, she answers him honestly: “I’m okay with finding out.” Lawrence strides toward her, and they kiss, finally reuniting. They’re a picture-perfect family, and given the flashy engagement ring on Issa’s finger, we’re left to assume that they managed to find a way to make their lives work together. But Tiffany doesn’t want to dwell. Issa takes it in stride and heads inside, but Nathan looks devastated. Issa, Kelli, and a visibly pregnant Tiffany are all decked in red as a few of her bridesmaids. But she does get over the hump and tell him that she’s been thinking about him a lot. Tiffany has come down for the occasion as promised, and her family and co-workers are all there too. Issa greets her with warmth and love on a phone call and inquires about how she’s been feeling. As predicted, this episode has a lot of loose ends to tie up, so we’re staring down the barrel of a double-length episode, with plenty of time jumps. With the show’s end, Issa Rae’s legacy is set. A while later, Issa shows up at Crenshawn’s warehouse after a call from Quoia. It’s Issa’s birthday again, and this time she’s coming back to a scene of domestic bliss in her new home with Lawrence and his son. This week, we start with the aftermath — as Nathan and Issa pull up to her place, Nathan declares that their relationship is toxic to him, and he doesn’t want to be part of it anymore. And with that, the beautiful, imperfect Insecure comes to an end. Quoia and Molly set aside their beef to do it big for Issa, including a fundraiser for the Blocc. Issa tells him that she has no regrets, and she hopes he doesn’t either. Sometime later, the women travel to Denver to visit Tiffany. She thought Kelli didn’t want kids. A year later and it’s Molly’s birthday again. He and Issa head to a quiet area to chat, and Nathan gives her a donation from the other barbers at the shop. Molly is conspicuously absent, but otherwise, all is well. Taurean’s family has even joined for the occasion, and Kelli has a new man in her life — a rebound from Daniel Kaluuya. Sometime later, Issa is at the Blocc’s now completed office on her HBIC tip in a gorgeous red suit. Season 5

Episode 10

Editor’s Rating

5 stars



Photo: Merie W Wallace/HBO

Here we are at last — the end of an era.

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Succession Recap: No Confidence

If Roman can summon the courage to support his own cause, the vote definitely succeeds. “It’s like this 900-pound gorilla has finally stopped fucking me,” he says, a line made funnier by the fact that Shiv can’t even give it a third of her attention. • The exchange between Greg and Tom over California Pizza Kitchen is an instant classic, demonstrating the money gulf between them. • Tom looks happy and liberated all episode, having escaped (for now) the cruises scandal that had been nipping at his feet. Logan is certainly feared at his own company, but he’s also hated, and the combination of his weakening health, falling stock, and uncertainty about his leadership decisions creates the best possible opportunity to knock him off the perch. There are many opportunities to talk about the failings of the Roy children because that’s part of what Succession is about — a company (and a country) bequeathed to the dipshit scions of the superelite. They’re embarrassed to be associated with the old man’s business. Of course, they’re not cool at all. He believes the future is about “tasty morsels from groovy hubs” like Vaulter. “It’s pretty delicious,” says Greg. With enough money, you can shield yourself from the opinions people might have about you. (“You’re fucking with my money, Ken.”) But Stewy is in the position that many other board members — a lot of them future abstainers, like him — occupy, which is that he isn’t well-served by voting in either direction. Being rich affords you that level of status, which is a lesson Tom tries to impart on Greg by taking him for an evening of illegal birdsong consumption and $2,000-a-bottle service at the most exclusive corners of the most exclusive nightclubs. It’s the terrorists who beat him on this day when he cannot catch a quick copter back to headquarters. He talks about laughing in the middle of a bookstore, with all its hilariously antiquated writing on bound pieces of paper. Tags: • Ewan coming all the way down from Canada again to vote in favor of the brother he hates is almost impressively principled because Ewan can see Kendall’s move as a move rather than an act of concern. The narrative gods do not want him to win. Vaulter represents the cool, new-media vision Logan’s sons are trying to push forward over his ancient, legacy-media instincts, so Lawrence is caught between a CEO hostile to his outlet and Kendall, who he doesn’t respect in the least. (Roman doesn’t pick up on Lawrence’s wry joke about him going “post-literate.”) He also thinks they are both “disrupter” types who share a hunger for newness for its own sake, anything to bust up the stodgy old models for profitability in the past. The two share some fun, half-nasty/half-flirtatious banter about the business and their love lives, but it isn’t folded into the rest of the hour that elegantly. Terms & Privacy Notice
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Terms of Service apply. If there isn’t some unidentified threat that shuts down the airspace over Manhattan, the vote likely succeeds. To the very reasonable question, “What’s your vision?” Roman launches on what he believes to be the hip, cool answer that will impress the hip, cool Vaulter guy. He believes that the publisher of a “groovy hub” like Vaulter surely has contempt for books and for the exhausting ordeal of reading or writing the paragraphs and pages necessary to bring ideas across. “No, it isn’t.” The young man living in a youth hostel and tucking office pastries in doggy bags not long ago will have to learn how to be rich. The true power is not caring, and it belongs entirely to Logan. That same area would appear in Barbara Kopple’s landmark 1976 documentary Harlan County, USA, about a months-long strike that turned violent, with Kopple herself in the middle of the action. It’s possible that this voter, Ilona, who we’ve never seen before, hasn’t spent enough time around Kendall to have the proper lack of faith in him, but his personal visit turns out to be the right call. He doesn’t care about honoring the protocol of recusing himself from a board vote, especially if it’s a fatal threat to his leadership. With typical frankness, Stewy tells Ken, “I can promise you that I am spiritually and emotionally and ethically and morally behind whoever wins.” And with typical cluelessness, Ken counts this as a vote in his favor. The same night his grandfather makes him eat every bit of a noodle dinner he doesn’t want, he sits down at a prix fixe restaurant with Tom, who immediately tells him, “When I had their monkfish, I thought I was gonna shit, puke, and cum all at once.”

• The title of the episode is a protest song written around a mining strike in Harlan County, Kentucky, in the ’30s. Though Roman and Kendall don’t agree on much, they understand Waystar as a vehicle for their own relevancy and status. Roman sees this as his time to shine, however, so he persuades Kendall to allow him to meet with Lawrence to secure his vote. If Logan recuses himself from the board meeting as he’s supposed to do, the vote likely succeeds. Stock Options

• The other major subplot in this episode is Shiv possibly reviving her working/other stuff relationship with Nate, an ex-boyfriend in the political consulting world. A board vote against him is a clean and well-timed way to do it, too, and Kendall and Roman have the benefit of old hands like Frank and (more quietly) Gerri helping him strategize a coup. “No,” replies Tom. Even still, the siblings inevitably fumble the ball. The one thing he does care about is winning. VULTURE NEWSLETTER
Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! And in “Which Side Are You On?” he hangs another W on the board. He does his usual best to lose, too. When a brief greeting proves insufficient, Kendall wants his assistant to remind the man who pays his checks in the chillest way possible. Connor, Kendall, Shiv, and Roman have neither the qualifications nor the wisdom nor the temperament nor the basic competency to run a popsicle stand, yet they stand to inherit the world because meritocracy is an idea that may be promoted on ATN opinion shows, but not in the actual halls of power at Waystar. Succession
Which Side Are You On? “It’s a wanton act of egregious selfishness,” he says, “in keeping with everything else I’ve come to loathe about this rat’s nest of a family.”

• Poor Greg. When the four of them meet in a diner — one that does not have a cortado with almond, alas — they have sound reason to believe that they’ll be successful. In the riveting “Which Side Are You On?” Kendall and Roman’s efforts to drum up support for a vote of “no confidence” against their father result in the expected comedy of errors, but the fundamentals of the move are strong. On the morning of the vote, with one “maybe” hanging in the balance, Kendall gambles on missing the meeting altogether by driving out to a Long Island hospital to persuade a crucial board member to join the cause. He doesn’t care that his sons think buying up local news stations isn’t cool. He believes that he’s telling Lawrence what he wants to hear. Instead, it ends in a tie, and all those who voted against Logan are ejected from the board — and, if present, from the building. But with all that throat-clearing out of the way, let us admit this: Logan Roy is lucky to still have a job. Kendall opens his campaign inauspiciously by mentioning the “no confidence” vote to Stewy, who makes no effort to mask his displeasure about the move because he knows that Wall Street will view such upheaval kindly. Rewatch along with us and check back every Sunday night for the next pair of episodes. Bit of an odd touch to include it here, frankly, but it does offer a jarring perspective. He even openly roots for cancer as an emphatic display about how much he doesn’t care. That’s why “Which Side Are You On?” opens where it does, with Kendall backstage with Stewy at a hip-hop show, no doubt mentally calculating the amount of time it might take for him to say that he “hung out” with the talent. (Though again, if the winds of change were blowing more favorably the morning of the vote, and Kendall isn’t making his case through traffic tunnels and honking horns and dropped reception, then Stewy is probably a “yes.” Others, too.)

It’s hard to believe that Lawrence, who delighted in torturing Kendall into an exorbitant fee for Vaulter, could be listed among the persuadable, but his digital outlet is in a lose-lose situation at the company. It feels like Logan got final approval on the cut of “Which Side Are You On?” because Kendall’s biggest triumph as a vote-wrangler is reduced to a wordless montage sequence. Roman reads the situation hilariously wrong. Season 1

Episode 6

Editor’s Rating

5 stars



Photo: HBO

With season three of Succession now in the books, Vulture is returning to where it all began with weekly recaps of season one.

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Wanda Young of the Marvelettes Dead at 78

The Marvelettes are best known today for “Please Mr. All 213 Beatles Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best

Tags: The Man on “Feel It Still” in 2017. The song was interpolated by Portugal. Postman,” on which Young sings. Chuck D eulogized Young on Twitter, posting a deeper Marvelettes cut, “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game.”

RIP Ms Wanda Young The Marvelettes "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game"Extended Version! 1, and was covered by the Beatles and the Carpenters. Young died December 15, Deadline is reporting, from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The song was Motown’s first Billboard Hot 100 No. As the first crossover megahit for Motown, “Please Mr. She was 78. via @YouTube— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) December 25, 2021




Would You Believe Not Everyone Was Into J.Lo’s Motown Grammys Tribute? Young was one of the original members of the Marvelettes, which recorded on Motown’s Tamla imprint. Photo: James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Wanda Young, one the founding members of Motown’s Marvelettes, has died. Young did not take lead on “Postman,” but did on the single’s B-side, “So Long, Baby.” She also provided lead vocals on the band’s other big hit, “Don’t Mess with Bill.” Young sang with the Marvelettes until 1968, going on to steady solo success in the ’70s, eventually retiring from the biz. Postman” laid the foundation for singers like Diana Ross and the soundtrack to every ’90s rom-com ever. She later became their main singer.

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How Kelli Prenny Went From Insecure’s ‘Eye-Roll Friend’ to Zany Voice of Reason

After an awkward drive and an uncomfortable decision about the weekend’s sleeping arrangements, Issa snaps at Kelli about her inability to shut up. Both are loyal, unapologetic, and opinionated, but the degrees to which those qualities come to the surface are varied, and Rothwell found it rewarding as a performer to calibrate parts of herself that made Kelli feel real. “But at the end of the day, it was a real moment where Kelli had a goal she had been working toward and didn’t achieve, and she was disappointed. “She took the ball and ran with it.”

Once cast, Rothwell says she put “all of” herself into Kelli, though their personalities manifest in very different ways. “When we went back to read each others’ scripts at the end of the day, I remember [everyone’s] eyes on me as we were doing the table read. Kelli is there for Issa when her friendship with Molly is crumbling, nudging Issa to reach out and make amends, even though it’s the last thing she wants to do. It doesn’t require a lot of exposition, and you’re not forcing a joke. Her antics (and Rothwell’s line readings) offer some of the most quotable, laugh-out-loud moments in the show; from getting Tased and peeing her pants at Coachella to adopting a British accent to impress a boy at Issa’s block party, Kelli is the character whom fans are constantly clamoring around for a spinoff. But Rothwell and the other writers wanted to make sure Kelli was more than just the wisecrack. I had pretty serious blinders on,” Rothwell recalls. Season two made Kelli into a meme. After Kelli accidentally breaks the news that he’s dating someone else, Issa insists she doesn’t want any details about this other woman. Both have filters, but Kelli’s is “more porous” than Rothwell’s. Photos: HBO

The Character: Kelli Prenny, the fourth corner of Issa Dee’s close college friend group. Rothwell brings a confident, warm energy to the role; Kelli’s antics are positioned as funny party stories and she employs her signature comedic timing to rag on her friends, from “awkward bitch” Issa’s attempt at open-mic rapping to Tiffany’s “flawless-ass face.” But even in these somewhat broader, cliché character lines, Kelli immediately shows a thoughtful, more feminist side when she holds court about the type of man she’s looking for. The biggest challenge was pulling back and remembering that Kelli is a real person.” In the season-two finale, Kelli tries to run a marathon but has to stop midway when she gets her period. But at the end of the day, she is deeply kind and caring,” she says. It’s a moment of character building that shows Kelli’s life is more put together than what Molly and Issa perceive: She’s not only drinking heavily and trying to get laid, she’s out here training for a marathon and striving towards personal goals when she’s offscreen. For Dougan, striking this balance was one of the harder parts of writing for the character. In his notes, Dougan has a quote written down from the early days of her conception: “She’s used for comic relief, but there are things she says that have meaning.” Infusing her with depth was critical. When the gang attends an art exhibit in “Hella Questions,” the conversation turns to Issa’s hope for a reunion with Lawrence. The Actor: Natasha Rothwell, 41, a longtime improv performer and comedy writer whose résumé includes a stint on SNL. She’s abstaining from alcohol, asking herself (and her podcast listeners) deeper questions about life, and searching for her true happiness. “She loved to perform in the room as much as she loved to pitch jokes for the show,” Dougan remembers. “I was super excited to have Kelli shepherd us into that idea for the last season.”

Even though fans never saw as much of Kelli’s world as they would have liked, Rothwell thinks that means she’s done her job. We didn’t go all the way, and it was more satisfying as a result.”

The final season has seen substantive growth for all characters, including Kelli’s own journey toward enlightenment. Rothwell then spoke with creator and star Issa Rae and showrunner Prentice Penny. When Kelli gets fingered under the table at the diner in season-two episode “Hella L.A.,” Rothwell had been in another room working on a different episode. I didn’t want to fall into clichés or stereotypes.”

In Rothwell’s hands, Kelli contains multitudes: She is “unapologetic and irreverent, she has no filter and is self-possessed. Casting Natasha Rothwell

Rothwell on set in season four: ”When Natasha was cast, she took the character to entirely different levels,” says Insecure writer Ben Dougan. Dougan recalls a few lines of dialogue from a now-scrapped dinner-party episode in the first season that helped solidify who Kelli was. Finding Her Depth

A comedy with its fair share of drama, Insecure needed a character like Kelli to cut through tense moments. Photo: Merie Weismiller Wallace – SMPSP/Merie Weismiller Wallace – SMPSP

When Kelli arrives onscreen in the third episode of the first season, “Racist As Fuck,” she is clearly filling the role of the “funny friend” who is boy-crazy and looking to take advantage of the open bar. The ‘Eye-Roll Friend’

When Insecure was pitched and picked up by HBO, it was a show focused on best friends Issa and Molly navigating life and love in Los Angeles. I wasn’t suspicious or even excited about the prospects. I had no idea it would actually make the episode.” Years later, fans were delighted when the podcast Prenny’s Preguntas got its own scene in the season-five premiere. “Then we started using the phrase ‘eye-roll friend’ in a different way: like the friend you roll your eyes at.”

Establishing Kelli’s voice was crucial to understanding the character and her function within the larger story. You’re just responding organically and honestly.”

In the season-one finale “Broken As Fuck,” the four girls go to Malibu for Kelli’s birthday, but tensions simmer in the group. Essential Traits: Unfiltered, off-the-cuff one-liners; a ride-or-die mentality for her friends (keeping it real when they’re out of line but going to bat in front of enemies); an inexplicable beef with Issa’s brother, Ahmal; the life of the party, whether she’s drinking and flirting or stoned at her goddaughter’s birthday celebration. When we got to the page that it happened, they just started laughing. “You’re just reacting to the world around you like they would. “Not in a mean way, but in a loving way that only a friend could,” says Dougan. She was the first writer hired on Insecure and was later cast as Kelli after a table read during the show’s first season. Kelli is sexually free and won’t compromise when it comes to dating; from her first scenes, she’s the confident friend who will speak her mind no matter the circumstances or outcome. Once the room was assembled, writer Ben Dougan helped formulate the origins of Kelli Prenny. “It’s easy to take things too far. “I was relieved when I knew I was going to be able to do both and felt supported,” she says. “Do you hear yourself?” Issa asks. Issa started that improv run by saying ‘Do you hear yourself?’ That was unscripted. A natural hand-talker, Rothwell included the movement in the first and second takes, dropping it for the third in order to provide some variety for the editing room. “Initially, ‘eye-roll friend’ was supposed to be judgmental, which ultimately became a version of Tiffany,” says Dougan. The Venn diagram of Rothwell and Kelli has many overlapping portions — some obvious, some subtle — which ultimately led to a more nuanced portrayal of the character. Still, Rothwell had to establish her actor boundaries separate from the character’s. In one season, someone pitched a scene in which Kelli would have a nip slip, which wasn’t something Rothwell felt comfortable doing on camera. Growth,” with a hand gesture that resembles a flower blossoming. “The character we were initially brainstorming … wasn’t one-note, exactly, but served a specific function. I spoke with her,’” Rothwell remembers joking. Always prepared with a clever quip or comeback, Kelli was originally introduced as the “party friend”; in the final season, she’s California sober (minus Champagne, which “ain’t alcohol”), on a path to enlightenment, and intent on becoming BFFs with all her friends’ moms. Rothwell not only managed both, but thrived while pulling double-duty. Supportive, Kelli remarks, “You know what that is? I was like, It’s too good not to do.”

Meme Queen

It’s no secret that improv was encouraged on the Insecure set, and Rothwell improvised for every episode she appeared in. It was hilarious.”

Rothwell read for the part of Kelli during the production’s first table reads, bringing the spunk and perfectly timed line delivery needed for the role. Even though writers in the room often read for different parts, somehow, Kelli always belonged to Rothwell. “I take it as a compliment that I’ve created someone who’s interesting, and who’s full and rich enough that [viewers] know there’s more to her.”

Tags: She was the first writer hired for the writers’ room, before Kelli was even the seed of an idea. “For a season that tried to answer questions like What do you want your legacy to be? Rothwell never had aspirations to join the cast. It wasn’t until Rae and Penny asked her to play the part three months later that she realized the character was hers. She also has an ongoing, inexplicable beef with Issa’s brother, Ahmal, which Rothwell believes stems from an unrequited crush before Ahmal officially came out (“Hell hath no fury like a Kelli scorned”). But director Penny, sensing a winning bit, encouraged Rothwell to follow her instincts after the third take. In the season-five premiere, she offers advice to Molly about how to restore their rapport, citing rough patches in her friendship with Tiffany that they worked through. Photo-Illustration: Vulture. “I never wanted her to be hypersexualized. Rothwell wasn’t scared to take the role, but she was nervous it might pull her away from the writers’ room. “I didn’t know if I was gonna get it, but I knew I loved talking to both of them and their thoughts about this world they were gonna create,” Rothwell remembers. “I started reading for Kelli in every episode she appeared in. and Am I happy?, Preguntas was a good framing device,” Rothwell says. There was a need to fill Issa’s world with real people aside from Molly and Lawrence, Issa’s longtime boyfriend, and Dougan pitched Kelli as the “eye-roll friend”: a truth-teller who says what she thinks and thinks what she says. Kelli retorts, “Of course I do, I have a podcast.” That was a Rothwell improvisation: “The scene actually ends on the page a couple of lines before, but the director didn’t cut. “When you understand the psychology of a character, it’s really easy to improvise from their point of view,” she says. So I was like, What’s the most Kelli response possible? ‘Of course, I’ve got a podcast.’ I thought it was just a throwaway. Though she is a seasoned performer and never hid that part of herself, she was focused on bringing her best writing to the show, as it was her first scripted series writers’ room. When Natasha was cast, she took the character to entirely different levels,” Dougan says, noting that Kelli’s distinct voice became fully formed with Rothwell’s performance and ad-libs. Fresh off writing for SNL, Rothwell took a meeting with HBO’s comedy chief Amy Gravitt, who identified Rothwell as a good fit for the room. “I was like, ‘I think that’s great for the character, but the actress is not gonna do it. So she pitched jokes and focused on crafting the season’s arc, while often doing bits that showed off her comedic timing and improv skills. “That’s a situation where we had jokes that were all blood-related, like calling it the ‘Red Wedding,’” Dougan says. They get a new couch and attempt to repaint the walls, but in true Issa fashion, she only has time to paint one wall. She tries to pass it off as an accent wall, but Kelli sees through her bullshit and was scripted to call her on it: “What happened, you run out of paint?” When Issa asks everyone to take their shoes off upon arrival, Kelli retorts: “Oh, you’re a shoes-off bitch now?” The writers’ room recognized that Kelli could be the straight-shooting friend to push buttons. In the episode, Issa and Lawrence decide to throw a party to prove that they are adults. However, set pieces occasionally made it into the script without her express approval. Rothwell would use the office phone to place fake calls whenever a joke she pitched landed or bombed; when it bombed, “she’d take the phone and turn away from the rest of us, and pretended to field a call from her agent saying she just got fired. “I didn’t want her to be the butt of a joke,” Rothwell says.

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Don’t Toss Coins at Henry Cavill, You Guys!

Swordplay, for one; coin tossing, for two. But it shouldn’t start. “Don’t throw anything at me,” he said directly to camera. A BBC One interviewer read a YouTuber comment that said, “I feel sorry for Henry Cavill. You appreciate his acting, his computer-building, and his nerd bona fides. Related

Toss a Coin to Jodie Turner-Smith’s Witcher Prequel

The Witcher Is Anime, Now

Tags: For the rest of his life, wherever he goes, people will toss coins at him.” According to Cavill, that hasn’t happened yet. You like Henry Cavill. Maybe make a charitable donation in honor of your Witcher? “I’ll throw it back.” There are many things that happen in The Witcher that aren’t appropriate to enact in real life. But the way to show your appreciation is not — and we cannot stress this enough — to toss coins at him.

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Succession Recap: Nest of Vipers

While screwing around in Hollywood, Roman had argued strenuously against the green-lighting and was overruled, and now he’s sulking over a company line item that’s making him that much richer. And stopping to settle Greg’s “rumbling tum” would be too great a disruption to the silent 12-hour drive ahead. On the main stage, the Roy family ends the occasion with a light memory game with heavy implications. Passing around a simple can of cranberry sauce — Logan apparently likes it, so everyone has brought him one — each person has to add to a list of mostly silly items, ending with “and this,” the cranberry sauce in their hand. Yet the real fascination of the episode is how much attention it pays to romantic partners outside the immediate family, most of whom have likely never experienced anything like this before. When he catches Grace showing the film to a couple of kids, all of them giggling happily over it, Roman treats it like she’s cheated on him. Each of the siblings arrives with someone under their arms, save for Kendall, whose estranged wife, Rava, turns up late with their two children — a subtle sign that she knows how these things typically go and wants to limit the torture. Or worse, really, since Roman has shown this beautiful young woman zero sexual interest in the past six months. He doesn’t like chatter or music, either, because it would keep Greg from concentrating on the road. The notion of either of them humbling themselves enough to reconcile with anyone, much less each other, is beyond imagining. It gets much worse for Greg, however. Logan Roy is Waystar, and she works for him. Roman’s girlfriend, Grace, last seen being shooed from one of his five bathrooms for the crime of making the moves on him, draws fire from him over a Waystar holiday smash called The Biggest Turkey in the World. Stock Options

• The main rift between Logan and his kids is over the company’s future, so news of Waystar purchasing a packet of local TV stations, where most people still get their news, is anathema to cord-cutting cool guys like Kendall and Roman. Email

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Terms of Service apply. Tom is told that a service will come to drive the tattered evidence away into the night, quietly and discreetly, but the person who actually does the shredding may be up for future, uh, legal scrutiny. However, what frustrates him the most isn’t the presence of odious business clauses “like tiered share option tie-ins for my sperm count,” but the absence of any conditions related to infidelity. Ewan doesn’t like to fly. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. Logan’s reputation may have taken a permanent hit. Rewatch along with us and check back every Sunday night for the next pair of episodes. • In case the Fox News allusions weren’t clear enough, Ewan calling Logan “a carnival barker for all the wars we didn’t need” makes it unambiguous. Granted, the worst is yet to come, when everyone gathers together for a family game in the living room, but the tenor of this Thanksgiving is familiar to the Roys, who routinely humiliate each other for sport. So on balance, Thanksgiving was a win for Kendall. (For her wisdom and caution, she’s treated to the lowest moment of the night.) Connor attracts whispers for bringing Willa, who most seem to know as a call girl and aspiring playwright making the exceedingly awkward transition into being his girlfriend. It’s called ‘Make more than you spend and you’re King Cunt.’”

• A small detail, but the only words we hear from Marcia’s son Amir at Thanksgiving dinner is his gratitude over a position in the company roughly equivalent to the VP job Logan eyes for Kendall in the farthest global backwater he can imagine. Not long after arriving in New York, Tom goads him into the special Thanksgiving Day mission of shredding all the company files related to the cruises scandal. Meanwhile, Gerri surprises Kendall by offering her own vote to him in confidence — “I work for Waystar, not Logan Roy” — but it seems a likely repeat of the last episode when she pretended to talk to Logan on his behalf at the benefit. They’ll wrap themselves around you and they’ll suffocate you.” “I’m pretty sure that’s boa constrictors.”

Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! But just like the last episode, when he spilled Tom’s press conference idea to Gerri, Greg isn’t dumb enough to take the fall for his fake-buddy. The boy’s wounds will heal, however. Ewan and Logan are two sides of the same brotherly coin: Morally and ideologically opposed, yes, but the same joyless, irascible brute at the core, seemingly devoted to making those around them as miserable as they are. In a true cursed monkey’s paw scenario, Kendall gets his wish when his dad can’t even see to remember the game they’re playing but winds up expressing his frustration by accidentally hitting Kendall’s son in the face. “Yeah, this was in no way our worst Thanksgiving,” says Shiv, after a Thanksgiving that would, in any semi-normal family, lead to multiple divorces or breakups, rewritten wills, and hundreds of hours of therapy. But a highly lucid Logan won’t hear it: “There’s this fancy new business theory. Tags: • Kendall appears to have Frank’s support for the “no confidence” vote, but it seems obvious that Frank simply doesn’t like the old man, not that he buys Kendall’s concerns about health or his own fitness as CEO. Infidelity is central to a burbling dispute between Shiv and her fiancé, Tom, over a prenuptial agreement that Tom’s lawyer/mom has dubbed “a little unconscionable.” The eager-to-please Tom stands ready to sign anyway — or so he says — because he genuinely seems to love her and realizes that equal partnership in this relationship was never a possibility, even though the career opportunities are rich. Her answer all but confirms it: If any affairs do happen — and she’s not saying they will, though “shit happens” — then hey, “we’re both grown-ups.”

But no outsider has a more miserable Thanksgiving than poor Greg, who’s been summoned to Canada by his grandpa Ewan (James Cromwell) to drive him down to New York for dinner with his brother Logan at Marcia’s behest. Should a whistleblower come forward and these documents have gone missing, the authorities will want to check the logs, so Tom should find someone he trusts — you know, a sucker. When the can falls to Logan, there’s a tremendous amount at stake because his fitness as CEO is under question — at least from Kendall, who wants to use his dad’s health to force a “no confidence” vote at the next board meeting and perhaps get himself installed as head of the company. Much of the greatness of “I Went to Market” derives from seeing the Roys in close combat, where they sometimes respect the formality of the occasion enough to tuck their hostilities into passive-aggression, but more often it spills over into open warfare. • Exchange of the hour, between Ewan and Greg: “This whole family is a nest of vipers. So he holds back some incriminating papers for personal insurance reasons, singing, “This saves the day, the other goes away.” He may have no solid foothold in the family business, but Greg is a survivor. Succession
I Went to Market

Season 1

Episode 5

Editor’s Rating

5 stars



Photo: HBO

With season three of Succession now in the books, Vulture is returning to where it all began with weekly recaps of season one. None of the Roy siblings want to say a word to her, which leads to a bit of forced small talk with Greg that goes badly until he breaks the ice with a most delightfully inane “Would you rather?” question: “Would you rather be trapped in swimming pool with a shark or a cage with a tiger?” (They seem genuinely happy that they’d both rather be in the pool.) Later, Connor proposes to bring an end to their escort-client relationship by offering to bankroll her theater projects in exchange for “going steady.” So nothing fundamental about their dynamic changes at all. He wonders, reasonably, if this means that Shiv intends to cheat on him during their marriage.

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Memoria is Curious, Complex, and Almost Undone by Its Third Act

(Kalayanamitr deliberately tweaks each of Hernán’s attempts so they’re slightly off, maintaining the singularity of Jessica’s noise until its cause is revealed.)

As Jessica tries to understand what is happening to her, Weerasethakul follows her daily routines, building a portrait of a woman who might be losing her sense of the world around her and her place within it. Weerasethakul is enthralled by the contrast between movement and tranquility and by the actions and choices that push one into the other. The image of him sleeping on the grass, his eyes wide open and his brown leather boots a jarring interruption to the otherwise-green landscape, is one of Memoria’s most uncanny inventions. During Memoria’s prolonged third act, though, which subverts the limits of “real time,” this request becomes less satisfying than trying. Jeanne Balibar is enjoyably matter-of-fact as an anthropologist studying skeletons unearthed by a tunneling project in Bogotá, the revealed bones from 6,000 years ago at odds with gigantic pieces of modern machinery. The film’s ensemble is small, but practically everyone is a scene stealer. She hears it in the morning, as Weerasethakul pans around her dark bedroom to adjust our eyes so we can see the same frames and doorways Jessica does, portals leading inside and outside. “It’s like a rumble from the core of the Earth,” she tells sound engineer Hernán (Juan Pablo Urrego), but no recreation can quite capture the fullness or roundness of it. And Elkin Díaz, as a peculiar man Jessica meets in the verdant jungle of a remote village, handles the gargantuan requests of the script’s conclusion with quiet confidence. The director’s experimental methodologies have always demanded engagement, whether in previous Cannes winners Tropical Malady and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, or his insect-focused segment of this year’s anthology film The Year of the Everlasting Storm. Swinton conveys this through her beleaguered physicality: the slump in her shoulders, the hesitancy in her body, the way she leans and twists and jolts whenever the sound reappears. (Exploding head syndrome is a real medical condition, one that Weerasethakul experienced while working on Memoria.) The resulting film is propelled by the quiet magnetism of Swinton’s performance, punctuated by the aural textures of sound designer Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr, and infused by the melancholy of Weerasethakul’s narrative, which collapses space and time in its imagining of not just who we are, but why we are. But that ending! So much of Jessica’s journey of self-discovery plays out in the minute changes in Swinton’s expressions and reactions, from her quiet delight at Hernán joining her on a shopping trip for a new refrigerator to “un-age” her flowers to her deadpan “I think I’m going crazy” as she takes a bite out of an empanada. A Scottish woman living in Medellín, Colombia, she runs a flower business, reads books about fungi, and is open to learning about the history of the country where she now resides. Distributor NEON has said Memoria will never receive a digital or physical release but will instead only ever be shown exclusively in theaters, which feels like a mistake for a film that would benefit from repeat views in intimate quarters to sort through all its angles. The quiet poignancy of the film’s previous vignettes are almost overshadowed by the goofiness of Weerasethakul’s final explanation. But her normal life is upended with the prevalence of an echoing, reverberating noise that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere. (That worked for me; my nonplussed initial reaction in a theater grew substantially warmer upon rewatch at home.) Weerasethakul smartly interrupts his film’s solemnity and serenity with moments of joie de vivre (the uninterrupted jamming of a jazz quartet) and dark humor (a doctor played by Constanza Gutierrez who smugly refuses Jessica’s request for sleeping pills and instead lectures her on staying unmedicated so she can feel “the sadness of this world”). It is a hurdle that inches the film from profundity toward tediousness, and it is only through Díaz and Swinton’s steady performances and Weerasethakul’s unshakeable respect for the wild and its mysteries that remain untouched by human influence that Memoria manages to right itself into a film whose challenges are still worth taking on. And though that doesn’t ruin the film, it doesn’t quite match Memoria’s other layers of curiosity and complexity, either. More From This Series

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Tags: Jessica (Swinton) is, in the limited way that modern people with responsibilities can be, an explorer. Photo: Neon

Memoria, the latest from director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, luxuriates and languishes in that sliver of space that Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell describes in Steven Spielberg’s Hook: “that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming.” There’s nothing else these two films share in common, I’m sorry to say, as a Hook-is-good truther. But their shared sense that reality is ever slippery, and that our bodies are ever-transforming in reaction to change, is particularly foundational to Memoria. The actress’s androgynous, otherworldly vibe, amped up so often in films like Snowpiercer and Suspiria, is laid bare here, and her rawness complements Weerasethakul’s peeling-back-layers approach to the significance of Jessica’s haunted sound. Coaxing out the film’s answers requires a not-insignificant amount of patience, however, as Weerasethakul stations his camera and lets conversations unfurl for five, 10, 15, 20 minutes at a time with few compositional changes, perspective shifts, or edits. He centers Tilda Swinton as Jessica, a woman who hears a mysterious banging (or maybe booming, or thwack-ing?) noise one morning and then begins to hear it everywhere. How smoothly Memoria loops together all its unexpected moments is mostly rewarding. Jessica’s sister Karen (Agnes Brekke) wonders whether she’s been cursed by a stray dog and then has absolutely no memory of her lengthy theory, leading to Jessica’s own panicked reaction to a German Shepherd that seems to follow her into a park. And she hears it at a busy intersection, where a man drops down to the ground, his sole reaction amid a crowd of otherwise unbothered people signaling to Jessica that she’s not entirely alone.

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Frank Ocean Gifted Us Nearly Nine Minutes of Previously Unreleased Music

The heartfelt track is currently only officially available to listeners via Apple Music, and there’s been no word yet on whether it will be uploaded to other streaming platforms. “I came back and added a few words and parts over the top of that take more recently. Related

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Frank Ocean to Headline Coachella 2023

Tags: Merry Xmas everyone.” In the final product, Ocean raps over a piano for nearly nine minutes. Felt like it fit the wabi sabi of Wim’s words. The latest installment of the artist’s Apple Music 1 show features a previously recorded conversation about grief between Ocean, whose brother died last year, and motivational speaker Wim “Iceman” Hof. In the meantime, it’s been preserved in fan recordings like the one below. And perhaps we’ll hear it again when Ocean headlines Coachella in 2023. Photo: Josh Brasted/WireImage

Long time no see. “I could be great, I’m on my way / If I wanna escape, I can escape,” he declares in the refrain’s lyrics. After two years, Frank Ocean has returned with a Christmas episode of blonded RADIO — and yes, it includes unreleased music. “I added some writing at the end that I did a single take of w Cory [Henry] in the summer of 2020,” Ocean explained in an Instagram story before the surprise episode dropped.

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Celebrities Having Normal Christmases in 2021

Photo: archewell_hm/Instagram

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the ’gram,The celebs were all posting, decked out in full glam;

The captions were penned by PR teams with careIn hopes that some sponsor cash soon would be there;

The children were wrangled to pose in their jammiesFor curated visions of rich happy families;

We shook from our mid-winter’s scroll with a startleWhen a new post was posted — from Harry! Harry and Meghan released their first-ever picture of daughter Lilibet in their family Christmas card. And Markle! We gasped at the sight and we shook at the thrill of itFor there was the first pic of new baby Lilibet! Henson:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by taraji p henson (@tarajiphenson)

Chris Hemsworth:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth)

Janelle Monáe:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Janelle Monáe 🚆🔲👽🛸⚪️⬛️🤖🚀⚫️⚪️🪐 (@janellemonae)

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Janelle Monáe 🚆🔲👽🛸⚪️⬛️🤖🚀⚫️⚪️🪐 (@janellemonae)

Dua Lipa:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by DUA LIPA (@dualipa)

Elliot Page:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by @elliotpage

Tags: This year has been fucked, but celebs are consistentThey’ve all kept on posting (with help from assistants);

So here’s a quick list of their holiday toastingHappy Christmas to all, and to all happy posting! Harry and Meghan:

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have released their 2021 family Christmas card, featuring the first photo of their daughter Lilibet Diana:— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) December 23, 2021

William and Kate:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@dukeandduchessofcambridge)

Mariah Carey:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Mariah Carey (@mariahcarey)

Gwen Stefani:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani)

Heather Rae Young and Tarek El Moussa:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tarek El Moussa (@therealtarekelmoussa)


View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating)

Billie Eilish:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by BILLIE EILISH (@billieeilish)

Olivia Rodrigo:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Olivia Rodrigo (@oliviarodrigo)

Courtney Love (and a picture of Madonna):

Ho Ho Ho. Happy Hanukkah 🕎 Merry Christmas @madonna & everyone in the world 🥸😘👙😎😄 (except #teamcon) Fave song of year @wolfalicemusic 🖤🖤🙇🏼‍♀️🛸— Courtney Love Cobain (@Courtney) December 24, 2021

Victoria Justice:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Victoria Justice (@victoriajustice)

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Victoria Justice (@victoriajustice)

Tracee Ellis Ross:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross)


View this post on Instagram A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri)

Nicki Minaj:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj)

Chlöe Bailey:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Chlöe (@chloebailey)

Halle Bailey:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Halle (@hallebailey)

Millie Bobby Brown:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Millie Bobby Brown (@milliebobbybrown)

Colton Underwood:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Colton Underwood (@coltonunderwood)

Meghan Trainor:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Meghan Trainor (@meghan_trainor)

Taylor (and Tay) Lautner:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Taylor Lautner (@taylorlautner)

Halle Berry and Van Hunt:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Halle Berry (@halleberry)

Jamie Dornan:

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jamie Dornan (@jamiedornan)

Taraji P.

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JoJo Got Engaged to Dexter Darden on Her Birthday

“celebrating Christmas a whole fiancé!!!” she wrote in an Instagram post. Photo: Alberto E. “Yupppppp🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥, thank you for being my forever 💍❤️,” Darden commented. After giving us iconic break-up anthems like “Too Little Too Late” and “Leave (Get Out),” a happy relationship is nothing less than what JoJo deserves. View this post on Instagram A post shared by JoJo 🍀 (@iamjojo)


JoJo Reveals New Song ‘Creature of Habit’ After Being Revealed on Masked Singer

JoJo on New Music, Fighting the Major-Label Man

Tags: R&B singer JoJo has announced that she is engaged to Saved By the Bell’s Dexter Darden. Rodriguez/Getty Images

To borrow the title of her last album, good to know! “the most thoughtful, creative, positive, handsome, strong, loving, uplifting human being asked me to marry him. The actor also flew out family and friends to come admire JoJo’s sparkling new ring in person. so obviously I said YESSS!!!” The couple got engaged earlier this week — JoJo, who turned 31 on December 20, thanks Darden in her caption for “the most epic birthday surprise ever.” The post includes celebratory photos and videos of the newly engaged couple at a resort in Puerto Rico where Darden proposed at the end of a trail of roses.

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Outlander Season 6 Teaser: Caitriona Balfe Is Sam Heughan’s Angel

Claire notes that while more food and spare clothes will be necessary, they will make do, as always. Taken from the first episode of the upcoming season, the teaser stars Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as Jamie and Claire. “It’s what got me through it. Jamie then confesses that while he was in Ardsmuir Prison (which is where he met Tom in the Diana Gabaldon books that the show is based on), he saw his wife. Och, aye! Season six of Outlander is set to premiere exactly 34 years after Gabaldon started writing the series, on March 6, 2022. You were always with me,” he says, concluding that he sometimes thinks she’s an angel. “Would an angel do this?” she replies, and they kiss. Not everyone can time travel like a certain public-health hero, so Starz has released a clip to hold fans over until the season six premiere of Outlander. Related

What to Expect in Outlander Season 6, According to Diana Gabaldon’s Books

Tags: In a conversation that runs just under two minutes, the time-defying couple discuss the impending arrivals on Fraser’s Ridge — presumably referring to Tom Christie and his children).

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Bridgerton and Its Sex Scenes to Resume This Spring

Instead, the new season of Bridgerton will focus on the romantic pursuits of his close friend, Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey). To celebrate, Netflix has gifted us with the return date for season two: March 25, 2022. Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

Christmas Day marks the anniversary of the release of Bridgerton, the show that we all appreciate for its, uh, costumes. In case you haven’t heard, the next installment in the adaptation of Julia Quinn’s steamy Regency-era book series will be sans Regé-Jean Page’s Hot Duke. In search of a debutante wife who meets his impossible standards, the eldest Bridgerton sibling begins to court Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran). Edwina’s older sister, Kate (Simone Ashley), is displeased to discover that his motivations have little to do with love — we’ve already seen her reprimanding him down for viewing women “merely as chattels and breeding stock.” But sometimes a dressing-down leads to undressing, and per the show’s logline, “Kate and Anthony’s verbal sparring matches only bring them closer together, complicating matters on both sides.” Meanwhile, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) will still be keeping everyone updated via her goss-sona, Lady Whistledown. Related

The Library Is Open in This Bridgerton Season-Two Clip

What to Expect From Bridgerton Season Two, Based on the Novels

Shonda Rhimes Was ‘Shocked’ Fans Revolted After Regé-Jean Page Left Bridgerton

Tags: That includes letting the Bridgerton season two cast know when the show is returning, as seen in the date announcement clip below.

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Joan Didion and the Courage to Say What You Mean

Here was a society that would both elevate the existence of an unresponsive 41-year-old Terri Schiavo to a matter of electoral significance and flatten it to a matter of punditry. Photo: Christopher Felver/Corbis

What does the world want in a woman writer? (“This cookie,” writes Didion, “is worrisome.”) Didion on the Left Behind books:

“What might seem to be the lesson of the Christian litany, that only through the acceptance of a profound mystery can one survive whatever spiritual tribulation these poetic fates are meant to signify, is not the lesson of the Left Behind books, in which the fates are literal rather than symbolic, and the action turns not on their mystery but on the ingenuity required to neutralize them: a surprising number of the series’ beleaguered band of Christians turn out to have been trained, conveniently, as pilots, computer hackers, document forgers, disguise experts, black marketeers, interceptors of signal intelligence, and medical trauma specialists.”

This is hilarious and it is virtuosic, the delicious showmanship of someone many steps ahead in her decades-long defense of the unknowable. Related

Writer Joan Didion Has Died at the Age of 87

Toward a Unified Theory of Joan Didion

Tags: An extra clause is a kind of deceit, a syntactic opportunity to hide the ball, contrary to the straight-shooting world of the TED talk, of counter-intuitive factoids delivered with Gladwellian regularity. One accepts it in this single case because this writer keeps a kind of terrifying command; the sentences jump ahead of even the most perceptive reader, with a syntactic thrust sufficiently forceful to overcome the aforementioned rules. Each sentence is drenched in perspective; no fact could overcome the gravitational pull of her narrative voice. And yet she stood ever bewildered at the strange wonder of the world. The lesson is to claim a position from which to judge and defend it against all comers, to resist the simplicity of the polished political anecdote, the skeletal sentence, the lesser men at the big table, the received wisdom of which Georgia was clean. One asks for self-deprecation or one asks for its narrative twin, the confessional. She wrote admiringly of Joan Baez (“an interesting girl”) and Georgia O’Keeffe (“a woman clean of received wisdom.”) She did not enjoy the work of Thomas Kinkade, the film Manhattan, faux marble, or the transformation of grand moral questions into vulgar political “issues.”

The love of literary women for Didion is cliché verging on embarrassment, but women are frequent objects of loud condescension, and thus well positioned to enjoy the quiet evisceration of a self-satisfied subject via the passive voice. Efficiency was never her aim; rather, it was a kind of casual density of thought, profound insights tossed off as easy asides. In “Varieties of Madness,” an essay that compares the Unabomber to his mail-bomb victim David Gelernter and finds Gelernter wanting, Didion speaks of “a society that would reduce its own deepest mysteries to opportunities for striking an attitude.”

Mystery over takes. Much of the time she was questioning other people in their absurdist certainty, stringing them up with their own takes. “Joan Baez was a personality before she was entirely a person,” Didion wrote in Slouching, “and like anyone to whom that happens, she is in a sense the hapless victim of what others have seen in her, written about her, wanted her to be and not to be.”

The lesson to take from Didion is one of wild conviction: the kind of authority rare in contemporary prose, discouraged in women, ravaged by albeits and to-be-sures. Once, someone asked Didion why people preferred her early essays to the later. “No one likes a know-it-all,” she said. “Her syntax is like a steel trap,” essayist John D’Agata once said. “That’s hard to measure.”“I think it’s the Westerns on television.”“I tend [pause] to agree.” 

So much of the humor derives from this slightly undermotivated malice. But every book—and nearly every sentence—is about courage. What one does not countenance, except in this rare case, is the authoritative woman generalist. We live in a world diminished by Strunk and White, in which the simple sentence is taken not just to be stylistically but morally superior. It was an omniscience that did not so much risk unlikability as render it irrelevant; you wouldn’t ask whether nature were likable, or God. “Do you find this,” an ancient male professor asked the class the first time I was taught “Goodbye to All That,” “annoying?”

Her most technically adept work was not her most beloved. One accepts the studious specialist perhaps. Nancy Reagan is a very attentive listener.” The beginning of Didion’s profile of Newt Gingrich is simply a mortifying list of books and people he says have influenced him; the end is a meditation on a cookie Gingrich said he wished someone had left for him as a four-year-old. I read, bewildered, takes that position Didion as “stylistically influential.” No one of whom I am aware even tries to combine Didionesque music (“Havana vanities come to dust with Miami”) with syntactically acrobatic cultural analysis. Didion on Nancy Reagan: “She was listening attentively. All the obits will note that she left behind a book about grief. This is, in our time, suspect. She had a reputation for being obscure, but she was given to say precisely what she meant, albeit at the end of an essay, wherein the statement might backlight all that came before in new knowledge. You had to plant a flag, stake your ground, even in a state of terror at the fragility of the social order. What Didion understood was that the defense of the unknowable required, unexpectedly, a kind of absurd all-knowingness, something solid enough to take down the certainty-havers. “Don’t make the mistake of taking a seat at the big table,” someone tells Joan Didion in “California Dreaming,” absolutely the meanest thing anyone has ever written about a think tank, “the talk there is pretty high-powered.” She goes on merely to quote men as they go about, in their own words, “clarifying the basic issues”:

“Is there any evidence that living in a violent age encourages violence,” someone was asking at the big table. “Once you enter into it there’s no chance of coming out on the other end not believing what she wants you to believe.” Which is what? If she has somehow become the poster girl for the confessional essay, this is the kind of myth she would have enjoyed unmaking.

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Watch Bad Bunny Go Simpsonic in New Music Video

Bad Bunny is the latest entity to collab with The Simpsons, joining Star Wars, Marvel, Disney+, and Balenciaga this year. Showrunner Al Jean thanked Vélez and Motta on Twitter as well as director David Silverman and Bad Bunny himself. Bad Bunny has become the latest celeb to interfere in Homer and Marge’s relationship, helping Homer get back together with Marge after he gets addicted to his smartphone. The video is for “Te Deseo Lo Mejor,” off Bunny’s 2020 album El Último Tour Del Mundo. Homer walks the streets of Springfield bereft and haunted by (1) his bad decisions and (2) Bad Bunny. Related

Watch the Simpsons Walk the Balenciaga Runway

Bad Bunny Off Cycle

Tags: The video features members of the show’s original Latin American–dub cast: Humberto Vélez and Claudia Motta. Besides getting Simpsonized, Bad Bunny joined the WWE this year and acted in the Netflix show Narcos.

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Let Jimmy Kimmel Introduce You to Zuck on a Truck


Watch Jimmy Kimmel Insert Himself Into Spider-Man: No Way Home

Tags: Festive! He’s going to sell your info whether it’s naughty or nice. Jimmy Kimmel Live! The sketch shows how Zuck on a Truck (or Meta on a Jetta, depending on who’s in charge of branding) uses your web activity to know such things as what presents you’re getting, whether your mom is cheating on your dad, and when you’re going to die. released a Christmas Eve sketch introducing Zuck on a Truck. He’s scraping your metadata, he’s scraping it twice. You’ve heard of “X on a Y” memes, here’s an “X on a Y” sketch!

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These Are the Shows Closing or Canceling Performances Because of Omicron

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child plans to return on December 28. Hamilton canceled its Christmas week of performances and tweeted that it “will have more information on upcoming performances as soon as possible.” Aladdin tweeted that performances are set to resume December 26. In a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly, the show’s producers called the closure “not the outcome we had hoped for.” However, they “remain undeterred, unflinching, and unstoppable. Waitress and Thoughts of a Colored Man are the latest to announce COVID-mandated early closures. Photo: Getty Images

Several shows, both on and Off Broadway, have canceled holiday performances or closed altogether because of surging COVID cases. We have never been prouder to be theater-makers than at this very moment.”

As of now, The Lion King is expected to resume on December 27. We feel so blessed to have been able to continue playing when Broadway returned in September of this year,” producer Barry Weissler said in a statement. And in Los Angeles, the production of A Christmas Carol starring Bradley Whitford has also closed (per the Wrap.)

Jagged Little Pill was the first show to announce an early closure “due to the detection of multiple positive COVID-19 cases within the company,” the show’s producers said in a statement. MJ, the Michael Jackson musical, announced it will not resume previews until December 27. “It has been such an honor to bring Waitress to Broadway. “We are heartbroken that the COVID virus won’t allow us to finish our glorious scheduled run.”

Thoughts of a Colored Man is ending its historic run as the first show starring, written, directed, and lead produced by Black men. Waitress, the Sara Bareilles–scored musical, was set to reopen after canceling performances on December 21 but instead will end its run early. This post is being updated as new details emerge. All shows are refunding canceled performances at their point of purchase. The Omicron variant has swept through the theater world, affecting Ain’t Too Proud, Freestyle Love Supreme, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jagged Little Pill, Moulin Rouge, Mrs. Related

More Broadway Shows Cancel Holiday Performances Due to Omicron Variant

SNL’s Final Episode of 2021 to Feature No Audience and ‘Limited Cast’

Tags: Its last show was December 22. Doubtfire, Waitress, Thoughts of a Colored Man, Six, Hadestown, Aladdin, The Lion King, the Rockettes’ Christmas show, Candace Bushnell’s one-woman show Is There Still Sex in the City?, and Tina.

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Deadwood Season-Finale Recap: Bloody Thoughts

And it’s here that we might have a laugh recalling how Seth’s story began: in Montana, where he had just tendered his badge in advance of relocating to Deadwood. Everybody on Deadwood is more than one thing at any moment, and making choices that mean more than one thing. Seth is appalled by Con’s corruption and opportunism but decides not to get involved (understandable, given what happened to Otis mere moments ago), and returns to the thoroughfare to hear the General’s self-aggrandizing, nakedly white-supremacist boilerplate about how he and his men avenged Custer by punishing the Lakota and Cheyenne who “scorched the prairie.” The General’s speech climaxes by promising that Deadwood will join the union soon. He was always wearing a badge in Deadwood, even when he wasn’t. Most movingly, this is an episode where the second of the season’s unifying Christ figures, the Reverend H.W. The yin-yang of Seth and Al is rendered in such an unaffected and open-ended way that you can spend hours thinking about all the contradictions and variations and crossover points without getting hung up on whether you can slot each individual choice into a moral/ethical/philosophical spreadsheet and label it good, bad, both, either, or neither. “The exact type murder you preach, Al,” he tells his boss later. VULTURE NEWSLETTER
Keep up with all the drama of your favorite shows! Seth’s assumption of lawman’s duties despite awareness of his ruinous temper and moral/sexual hypocrisy is mirrored by Al’s willingness to step into the breach and do horrible but necessary things that that respectable people can’t bear to consider. Lo and behold, on the other side of the camp, via cross-cutting that implies cause and effect while maintaining deniability, Al kills the pastor. Its wearer is Seth Bullock, who quits his sheriffing job in Montana and relocates to a place with no law at all and tries to convince everyone, himself included, that he’s not the sheriff of anything anymore, only to end up pinning the badge to his coat again and snarling, “I’ll be your fuckin’ sheriff!”

Sure, there’s genuflection toward struggle. “Sold Under Sin” is the culmination of the first season of Deadwood, a tale of civilization carving itself out of the wilderness and the wilderness creating a new home for itself inside of civilization. Bigger than all, in fact. Cosmic forces are afoot in Deadwood, and they are bigger than any one person. The final leg of the hero’s journey begins when Alma’s parasitic reprobate pedophile daddy Otis Russell moves simultaneously on her fortune and her ward Sofia, doubly refusing to take “no” for an answer. Smith, breathes his last. His final act before leaving town (technically off-the-clock) was to hang a horse thief “under color of law” to break the fever of a lynch mob, reassert the state’s monopoly on violence, and impose order on chaos. And now, here we are. They are, at the same time, law and order personified, lawful evil sanctified by uniforms. Tom Nuttall, who got Con the job, seconds Seth’s revulsion: “Leave it there, you bought-out son of a bitch.”

The badge stays in the mud for maybe two minutes. Wu.” “Drawing up proposals for refuse disposal.”

“Unsolicited,” adds Sol. Dan is amused by Seth’s lack of self-awareness and contemptuous of his self-importance, pressing him to just come out and say what he wants rather than nudge others to extrapolate it. These soldiers have come to the camp to quarter after avenging Custer’s defeat on behalf of “the white man” (Crook’s phrase). Then Bill was murdered and Seth avenged him by tracking and arresting his killer, risking death himself in the process. Thus is Seth’s fury recontextualized, again, as an addiction, one that he can manage and even control if he puts his mind to it. A morally righteous and often exhausted local doctor who sometimes sounds like a pastor goes to the local gangster drug-lord pimp to ask him to take care of the town’s actual pastor as he succumbs to a brain tumor, only to have the gangster immediately assume the doc wants the pastor mercy-killed, then be disabused of that unacceptable idea, at which point the doc goes back to his office and gets rip-roaring drunk while flashing back to the agonized screams of soldiers he couldn’t save during the war and beseeching God to take the pastor’s life. Email

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Terms of Service apply. Although it only lasted four days, the pairing of Seth and Bill was a master-apprentice platonic love story for the ages. This wouldn’t have happened without Sol playing Jiminy Cricket to Seth’s Pinnochio. Like writing “egg” on an egg. Deadwood’s hive mind is at its most hummingly insistent during the episode’s key Seth and Al sequences: respectively, the one where Seth moves back and forth between Chinatown and the thoroughfare, his repetitious, circuitous motions suggesting the machinations of a mind trying to puzzle the right course of action; and the end sequence cross-cutting the Doc’s prayer and Al’s act of euthanasia, the former seeming almost to predict or conjure or impel the latter. An infinite array of contradictions are woven into this idea, and they all converge in the badge, which is simultaneously a prop, an insignia, a symbol, and an invitation to dream. (“Gentlemen, mind the felt,” says Eddie.) Then he glides past Alma, seeming less like a publicly approved romantic hero than a deranged vigilante leaving a crime scene, heading into the thoroughfare just as an Army unit led by General Crook (Peter Coyote) rides into town, as if summoned by Seth’s righteousness. Deadwood
Sold Under Sin

Season 1

Episode 12

Editor’s Rating

5 stars



Photo: HBO

Welcome to 12 Days of Deadwood, in which Matt Zoller Seitz, author of the upcoming A Lie Agreed Upon: The Deadwood Chronicles, revisits the first season of the landmark HBO drama one episode at a time. “Head off trouble down the road.” But when Seth protests “I don’t swim in that shit” even as he pours a shit river and installs a diving board, Dan can’t resist busting chops. Any time a scene or moment threatens to seem a little bit too tidy or didactic, the sandworm-sized ouroboros of David Milch’s thematic, political, and historical imagination swallows it again, and we’re back to dreamworld stage-play dynamics, wherein a shot of a man contemplating a muddy badge can seem to unify every single thought a series has had during the preceding twelve hours about good, evil, chaos, order, civilization, and the frontier, while at the same time serving as a snapshot of a guy doing a thing in a place and not having a clue what possessed him. The day Seth arrived in Deadwood, folks started treating him like a sheriff or a prospective sheriff. He susses out Seth’s greatest psychological flaw just as fast, listing control of one’s temper as a prerequisite to doing the job right, and dismissing Seth with the phrase “We all have bloody thoughts,” a half-statement that completes itself in the mind. For all the gore, madness, and opportunism showcased in this hour, we come away with a feeling of hope for the camp, for its characters, and for us. People see one anyway. He moves in mysterious ways. That same horse thief had admiringly described Deadwood as a place with “no law at all,” but it turned out not to be true: Seth is the sheriff wherever he goes. Having established Al’s affinity for and understanding of the preacher, then built out an affecting seriocomic relationship that became funnier and sadder as the Reverend declined, Deadwood constructs a warped-mirror version of Seth’s struggle to figure out who he’s supposed to be in Deadwood, and resolve to be that thing rather than fight it. Distraught, Alma goes to the hardware store and asks Seth for his help, and he offers it without hesitation, beating her smug, hateful father to a pulp in front of the craps table at the Bella Union. Al assumed he’d come to take over the camp, perhaps in cahoots with Bill Hickock, also an ex-sheriff. “I’m sensing you’ve done things today that you wish you could amend, Seth,” he says. After Seth’s return to camp, he could barely walk down the street without being offered an unpleasant task and accepting it without hesitation. “You can go now, brother” alone resonates on multiple levels, from Al’s own biography to the Reverend’s invocation of Corinthians and the idea of the camp as one body, no part of which can say to another, “I have no need of thee.” Al was never present for the Reverend’s scripture-based moral lessons in the cemetery, but the decisive way he behaves here makes it seem as if he’s somehow accessed Seth’s experiences and put those teachings to work. Tags: “Sold Under Sin” showcases him at his peak as a half-noble, half-demonic civic leader, protecting both himself and others. That’s the joke of the episode, and of the show, and of Seth’s life, and it’s a mythic one. (Remember how he captured Jack McCall in lieu of lynching him.)

Like Al, and like Alma, and like the Reverend, and like so many other inhabitants of the camp, the General takes one look at Seth and thinks: Sheriff. Just as Seth has been the camp’s shadow sheriff all this time, Al has been the shadow mayor. He’s a Greek hero fleeing his fate only to crash straight into it. “You should pin that on your chest,” he says, indicating the tin. He always said yes. “Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh,” Al says. “What I’ve done, Sol—and you have to admire me for it—is move 300 miles to set the same damn situation up I left Montana to get away from,” Seth said in “Mr. “You’re hypocrite enough to wear it.”

Seth eventually does pin it, but only after neutralizing his previous bad judgment by persuading the General to defend Otis against Al and Dan overnight, just in case they act on his wishes. Terms & Privacy Notice
By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Notice and to receive email correspondence from us. “What kind of man have I become, Sol?” Seth replies, not making eye contact. This is the kind of show that can establish a commonality of trauma and survival between women that transcends class lines by having one bring another her father’s teeth. Putting on a star just makes things official. It doesn’t matter that there’s no star on his chest. “I don’t know,” Sol says, then adds, “Day ain’t over yet” — a merger of the Christian belief in the eternal possibility of redemption, the American belief in perpetual reinvention, and the Alcoholics Anonymous credo of taking things one day at a time. Their fife-and-drums entrance music might as well be Seth’s personal soundtrack: It is relentless, monotonous, martial, and bound up in America’s manufactured self-image, and it cranks up the moment Seth leaves the saloon. The mechanics that set this up are as fluid and complex as the ones that end with Seth Bullock putting tin to tit. If Seth’s embrace of his core identity as a lawman is the backbone of this episode, the story of Al and the Reverend is its heart. Then Con pops up again like a dancing hemorrhoid and makes the mistake of trying to commiserate with Seth, who advises him to take off the badge the next time he commits a crime, then pulls it from his coat and flicks it into the mud. It’s also an episode in which an ex-sheriff almost kills a pedophile grifter with his bare hands, then nearly influences local criminals to finish the job before coming to his senses and appealing to a general, who assigns men to prevent Seth’s id monsters (Al and Dan) from realizing his darkest impulses. As Seth—married stepfather, healer of widows, newly re-anointed lawman/avenger/instrument of civic growth—stares at his new love in the window across the street, carving a secret outlaw space in the center of his identity as a lawman, the town’s most feared outlaw, Deadwood’s sulfurous daddy, instrument of mercy and profit, stands at at a balcony railing, gazing down upon the saloon floor like a prince surveying his fiefdom, watching Doc and Jewel dancing nimbly as forest creatures, making eye contact with Trixie long enough to to realize what it means that she looks away first. He presides over two killings within minutes of each other. Thus Al becomes the instrument through which Doc achieves the result he wants deep down and knows is right, or at least correct, but cannot just come out and request, of God or Al, because, per Cy Tolliver, that would be wrong. As always, the soaring grandiosity of the show’s vision of life is tempered by disarming moments of humor, some scabrous and satirical (that scarred cavalryman in the crowd, Holy Fooling the General’s speech), others tenderhearted (Al twice dehumanizing his newly lost love Trixie as “the other one,” only to have his audiences clarify that he means Trixie). As if in a fog, Seth wanders into Chinatown, where one of Cy’s instruments, the paid-for sheriff Con Stapleton, has murdered one of Wu’s laundry workers: phase two of Cy’s scheme to use Leon to stoke a race war so he can clear the Chinese from Chinatown and take it over. He always griped. This is an episode with a political hack turned sheriff who kills a man for money and clout and is stripped of his badge as a result. But it’s mostly in service of delaying an outcome that even Seth seems to realize was inevitable. Then Seth picks it up, puts it in his pocket, and takes it with him to the Gem, gripping it in his fist as he passive-aggressively tries to pressure Dan Dority to tell Al that it would be better for everyone, including Brom Garret’s killers, if Alma’s father “died” in camp rather than returning to New York. Like Seth muddying, retrieving, and cleaning a badge before finally pinning it to his coat, Al’s brutal actions in this episode are charged with secondary meanings and associations. You can remake yourself, but you can never escape yourself. They spent a day and night together and killed a man at the crack of dawn, shooting almost simultaneously. First he euthanizes the Reverend while inviting Johnny, a road-agent-in-training, to study his asphyxiation technique, which is “like packing a snowball.” Then he lures Claggett into his office and verifies his possession of the warrant before signaling Silas Adams (a prospective new employee) to ventilate him. When he finally puts on a badge again, he’s not becoming someone new or reverting to something he believed he’d left behind. In both sequences we are oriented by the actions of a single lead character while at the same time remaining keenly aware of other characters buzzing about the perimeter (each act of violence occurs before some kind of audience), and feeling certain that there’s more going on here than Drama 101 cause-and-effect equations or specious moralizing about what one ought to do in this or that situation. He’s making things official. Today our journey concludes with season finale “Sold Under Sin,” written by Ted Mann and directed by Davis Guggenheim, which originally aired on June 13, 2004.

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Suga of BTS Tests Positive for COVID

Photo: Cindy Ord/WireImage

Troops of the BTS Army got some unpleasant news Christmas Eve: Suga has COVID. They also recently performed a crosswalk concert on The Late Late Show With James Corden. In November, the band had their first in-person concert since COVID hit in Los Angeles. He was already quarantining and hadn’t come in recent close contact with his bandmates. Suga, whose birth name is Min Yoon-gi, is double vaccinated and not showing any symptoms. A concert in Seoul is planned for March, barring further pandemic surprises. BTS is currently taking an “extended period of rest” after a super busy 2021. Sources



BTS Is Taking a Vacation

Tags: According to The Guardian, the singer tested positive in South Korea on Friday after returning from concerts in the U.S.

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All Ariana Grande Wants for Christmas Is to Be Off Twitter

Maybe she’s tired of Spider-Man: No Way Home discourse. The problem with cutting off a line of communication is that the line of communication is cut off. We may never know. Her Instagram, on the other hand, is alive and kicking. The last possibility is that Grande wants to spend her first married Christmas as offline as possible. Pop Crave discovered this Christmas Eve morning that Ariana Grande has deactivated her Twitter. We wish Ariana Grande a very offline holiday, full of touching grass and family togetherness. What finally drove Miss Ari off the bird app? It’s also possible this is step one in releasing some new music. Ariana Grande’s Twitter account has been deactivated. Maybe she’s sick of Twitter Spaces. Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Ari has logged off.— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) December 24, 2021


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Tags: Therefore, we as a society can’t go, “Hey, why’d you do that?” and expect a response. Musicians often scrub their social media right before entering a new era. Maybe she realized that we are, alas, due for another Kevin Spacey Xmas Eve video and wanted to get out before it dropped.

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Join Us In Deadwood

The series premiered in March of 2004 and became one of the greatest-of-all-time dramas despite having been cut short just three years into its run, for reasons that even students of TV history have been unable to fully parse. All gave performances that rank among the strongest of their careers, and the vast majority have publicly stated that Deadwood was among the best, if not the very best, working experiences they’ve ever had, despite the chaos built into Milch’s wildly unconventional working methods. The gigantic ensemble furthered the stardom of veteran character actors like Ian McShane, Keith Carradine, William Sanderson and Brad Dourif, and gave decisive career boosts to up-and-comers such as Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, Kim Dickens, Jim Beaver, Robin Weigert, Dayton Callie, Ray McKinnon, and Paula Malcomson. Both those series were about the workings of institutions and the individual’s place within them, and they centered most of their action on the police station. They’re themes that, like Deadwood in general, are always worth discussing, and so we did, over the course of a dozen posts. Episode 1: "Deadwood"

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Episode 2: "Deep Water"

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Episode 3: "Reconnoitering the Rim"

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Episode 4: "Here Was a Man"

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Episode 5: "The Trial of Jack McCall"

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Episode 6: "Plague"

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Episode 7: "Bullock Returns to the Camp"

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Episode 8: "Suffer the Little Children"

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Episode 9: "No Other Sons or Daughters"

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Episode 10: "Mr. Set almost entirely within the confines of Deadwood, South Dakota during the gold rush of the 1880s, Deadwood plays like Our Town by way of a bloody revisionist Western. Enjoy your own 12 days of Deadwood on HBO Max

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A former Yale literature professor and scholar, Milch came to Deadwood after a twenty-plus year career in network television, the highlights of which were two groundbreaking cop shows, Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue (respectively created and co-created by Steven Bochco). The result is a unique drama that’s set in another time but feels as if it’s happening right in front of you. That quality is furthered by the show’s quasi-documentary handheld photography, which at times gives the show the feeling of a live TV drama from the 1950s, but with horses, six shooters, f-bombs, graphic sex and violence, and torches and oil lamps providing the lighting. It foregrounded the concept of community, examining it in philosophical, political and theological terms, showing how law and order grew out of chaos, and how chaos continued to exist within the institutions that people created to manage the messiness of life. Photo: Doug Hyun/HBO

We’ve spent the past couple weeks rolling out 12 Days of Deadwood, our collection of recaps for the first season of David Milch’s HBO western — a show that no one ever needs an excuse to revisit, or watch for the first time. You can check out the show on HBO Max and then find the recaps here or below. Wu"

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Episode 11: "Jewel’s Boot Is Made for Walking"

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Tags: Deadwood adopted the same strategy but enlarged the scope to cover an entire town (called a “camp” in the early years). Milch’s ornate and often magnificently filthy language is not period accurate, exactly, although it’s true to the more poetic/literary way that people expressed themselves in the era before electronic media, when books basically were television. The show had a writing staff, but only to work out the plotlines. All of the dialogue was ultimately reworked and obsessively rewritten by Milch, usually on the fly and often on the same day that scenes were scheduled to shoot, with big changes being made according to what the actors and filmmakers were doing at that instant.

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Stream Kris Jenner’s Cover of ‘Jingle Bells’

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Tags: Apparently the song is coming to streaming platforms courtesy of Kravis Records, which is moderately bone-chilling. She’s not alone in wanting the song brief. Incidentally, did you know that “Jingle Bells” wasn’t originally a Christmas song? This time, it’s a rendition of “Jingle Bells” with Kourtney and future son-in-law Travis Barker. At the start of the track, we can hear her asking to do the song faster, so the short length is by design. Jenner’s version of “Jingle Bells” is a tight minute-thirty. Barbra Streisand’s famously fast-paced version of the song isn’t even two minutes long. You can listen to Kris Jenner’s Thanksgiving carol, courtesy of Kravis Records, below. It may have actually been written for Thanksgiving. Photo: Kravis Records

Santa Claus to the foyer. Kris Jenner has a little surprise for you. No one should internalize their couple name, especially one the press gave you. Bringing all the musical chops from the iconic “I Love My Friends,” Kris Jenner has again blessed us with a novelty single.

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David Krumholtz Answers Every Question We Have About The Santa Clause

Let’s go back to keeping it to ourselves.Yeah. But, he wasn’t above being grumpy Santa sometimes. I will say it is very peculiar to really think about why the character is so popular in a sort of sexual perspective. And I was just happy to be there. I just see him as a cherubic little glint in the eye of Santa. He falls off the roof, hurts himself badly and disappears magically. I don’t know why it’s become a sexualized thing, though. It’s a different kind of pressure. No, I would never. This year, a lot of people online are calling him a queer icon, claiming that he made them wake up to things. So I didn’t carry myself that way. It was only when Numbers was on that there was this mention of sexiness and what have you. Yeah, the phrase “sexual awakening,” it’s so strange. Santa Claus dies. And when I turned her down for the boob shot, she dropped to her knees, lifted my shirt up and bit me on the belly. I had to figure this out. And I think it’s kind of fun to mess with people around Christmas time and make their Christmas. And I thought, ooh, that’s strange, because so many people commented on the article saying, “Yeah, me too. “I don’t know, the elf that made me queer?” I could not explain what I was talking about, so I turned to Twitter:

rt if this character was formative to your sexual orientation or gender identity— LIVE in Chicago 1/20/22, Kate Winslet’s Vape Coach (@theeashleyray) November 15, 2021

Again, I found a community of almost 17,000 weirdos across the gender spectrum who all said, “Absolutely.” And, well, that’s just too many people with a shared attraction to an elf. Watching a movie, cozy with their families together and then I came and made something special happen for them, I suppose is what I’m being told. More From This Series

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Tags: I felt bad for him. Now he’s flying to Canada to shoot this thing, where he’s in hellish prosthetics for a good portion of the film, and, you know, working very, very hard. Look at him with respect.Yeah, stop looking at my Christmas ass. It wasn’t just the prosthetics, it was the fat suit. Bernard was in the third movie. That my face, it’s practically been sewn into the great American pop culture quilt. As a child, the person I pictured in this scene was Bernard the Elf. Yeah, across the gender spectrum, everybody was kind of into it.And that’s not to say kids that watched the movie who felt a certain way are pervs or were perverted at that time. And as an answer to the question you asked earlier (laughing), about whether or not I would go back and kill Bernard if I could, I haven’t not thought about it. It’s a nice thing that Bernard was around. We did work out the schedule, which was going to be hellish on me, but I was going to make it work. And I do love being Bernard and having some association with something that people really cherish every year and a holiday that’s associated with family and gratitude. He was under a tremendous amount of stress. And that was my M.O. But I look at it now, and I kind of see what it might be. I had no idea when I was making it what the hell I was doing, you know, relative to who I am as an actor now. [Laugh]

How do you view Bernard as a character now?I try not to think about Bernard too often. But John Pasquin’s The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen, became an unexpected Christmas classic anyway. It was the second year of SXSW in Austin, Texas. I guess so. And it was all set to go. And perhaps stop admitting it publicly. So, I strongly feel that … yes, I’ve made a major sexual footprint on society at this point. Why do you think that is?It’s ratcheted up a bit. It has lived on not thanks to its sequels or some unique yuletide message — no, it’s mostly because of David Krumholtz, who plays Bernard the Elf. And I didn’t carry myself with any sense that I was attractive. I thought I was quite unattractive for a very long time. When I ran into Krumholtz at VultureFest in November, he was happily taking pictures with fans who were ecstatic to talk to him about Freaks and Geeks or any number of projects he’s worked on over the years that are actually cool. He had just finished a full season of a show. Do you ever feel as though his story was left unfinished?Well, the story about my scheduling is true, but somehow also untrue. Not to kink shame anyone.Not to kink shame, I didn’t even know that was a thing. In coming-of-age films, there’s usually a moment when the protagonist sees the target of their affection. But what is this thing they were feeling there to begin with? I could never have imagined that I’d be having this conversation years later. But you know, it is weird. Just maybe take the perviness for him down. Something about maybe the dreadlocks? Role Call

Role Call is a series in which Vulture talks to actors about performances they’ve probably forgotten by now, but we definitely haven’t. But for the most part, I hide Bernard. The first signal I received was a Buzzfeed article a few years ago about it. That’s terrible. And now I look back at it. But certainly, it’s a nice little thing now, I guess, because I can sort of lean back on it. A woman came up to me after the premiere of a small indie that I made. So I spoke to Krumholtz about being a formative part of so many childhoods, working with Tim Allen, and Bernard’s mysterious disappearance from the third film. So, I’d be grumpy too. I don’t know. It’s hard to kill a little Christmas elf. What a tragedy!” That would be bad. It was a phenomenon rarely acknowledged until 2014, when Alexis Nedd wrote a Buzzfeed listicle detailing Bernard’s part in her own sexual awakening. I was 23. Have you seen this type of excitement over Bernard around the Christmas season before? I’d done a couple movies prior and then this one. People who didn’t grow up with The Santa Clause mentioned other characters of yours they had a similar experience with. She was quite a bit older than me. I did a thing with prosthetics and it drove me out of my mind. I was eight years older, and I had to dress up as an elf again. But if you can do it, you can do it. Don’t assault him. This has been difficult, being a sexual icon that’s an elf. And at the same time, what can one say? I love that it’s about divorce. He’s a boss. But at the same time, I have to avoid controversy. He was constantly overheating. Was there an effort to build on Bernard and push your image as a teen sweetheart? “I never told a soul,” remarked one commenter. Maybe it’s not just Bernard, David, maybe it’s you. Have you had any bad Bernard-related interactions with people?Yeah, I had one woman hug me at an event and not let go for a while. I was a kind of handsome kid doing like, a thing in a Bernard elf outfit. Like those who’d read Nedd’s piece, I’d never spoken of my childhood infatuation with The Santa Clause’s Head Elf. Yeah, maybe keep that to yourself. Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo: Buena Vista Pictures

There was a time when few saw the story of Santa Claus falling off a roof and being replaced by a toy salesman as the kind that would endure beyond the 1994 holiday season. She must have been in her mid-50s, not that it matters. Because it was hard. I, however, could only mumble, “It’s Bernard the Elf” to my confused friends. But I would say that the character got devalued a little bit and I couldn’t in good conscience do it. How did it feel to kind of outshine Tim Allen?I don’t think that’s what happened by any stretch of the imagination. Although, the truth is that I do feel a lot of pride in that. Perhaps the secret you have about lusting after a small Christmas elf — a white boy with dreadlocks? According to the internet, Krumholtz’s performance as the sarcastic, maybe-Jewish, grumpy head of Santa’s workshop turned him into a sex symbol for a generation of weird and, often queer, young adults. What was meant to be an eccentric piece of holiday content instead triggered mass understanding: it turns out everyone was “Hard for Bernard,” as proud fans started putting it on t-shirts and tote bags. Everything slows down and something like “Boys Wanna Be Her” by Peaches plays. I’m like, Oh, I was pretty handsome. You’ve put me in a position here where I’m sort of left only to toot my own horn or throw myself off the balcony. It’s not the same. While making noises. There are many methods. What do you think your career would look like if you had never played that character?I don’t think it’d look any different. And for the most part, you know, perhaps I had a swagger when I was 16 years old. Don’t admit that in every comment section. And we got a sad single dad and child abandonment at the end. I have no shame about it. It was a secret I kept myself. I will tell you that. I thought that really grounds the film. Did they try to get you on the cover of Tiger Beat or anything?No, there never was. I have a lot of regrets about Bernard. in the movie. I think the first two are really special. And he’s very safe, obviously, too. I never saw him as dying. As a kid I was like, he’s dead. Christmas is heartwarming shit. And her friend took a picture. I mean, he’s in charge. It wasn’t just that I wanted to date Bernard the Elf — I wanted to be him. It’s embarrassing more than anything else to have to play to the sexiness. I said, “No, that’s not gonna happen.” And she didn’t, but she threatened to lift up her shirt and goes, “How about I pull my boob out and you grab it and my friend will take the picture?” And I said, “That’s most certainly not happening!” And I was amused, but it started to get a little creepy. So no matter what you see in it after that point, once the film earns its foundation as a divorce comedy, then it becomes okay to have animatronic reindeer and little Jewish elves running around

After that, you did Freaks and Geeks and 10 Things I Hate About You. Maybe people need to calm down a bit.Yeah, look, I get the Legolas thing, he’s a hot elf. It’s really about divorce at its core. And it’s not like I haven’t thought about it. Not in the least. In fact, I thought the opposite. I don’t know, you call that dying? The third one, I’ve tried to watch. But she came with a friend who had a camera on the ready. I feel bad. He’s also very safe. The first one’s a classic, obviously. Because it’ll always be, “David Krumholtz, Bernard From The Santa Clause Arrested For Public Indecency!” Then on social media, it’ll be like, “Oh, my God, Pervy Bernard, I had such a crush on him as a kid, now look what happened! I’m proud of it. It was a lot of fun. I think it appeals to the weird kids because it is like a dark Christmas movie. I don’t know. And he loves the kid. Yes, I feel that way. So, in all truth, I am Bernard the Head Elf. I just admired his work ethic. What was Bernard but a role in a movie that was a job? I had that experience too with him!” How do I explain it? I’m a bloody Christmas elf. I had anxiety issues. But I will say, I do carry the spirit of Christmas in my heart. We had a good time. They sent me the script, I had a pretty significant role. It was the summer of that year that we shot. I had a tough time making the second movie. I don’t know. And I didn’t know the whole time. So, somewhere out there, there’s a picture of me with a woman attached by the teeth to my belly and me, horrified. I’ve paid for this. I thought, Oh God, I look like Nosferatu with hair. I believe you were filming a TV show? I’ll just put it this way: I pop on screen. I’ve lost track of why. I’m dead serious. I kind of blew my shot at the Disney World Christmas Parade, but that’s a story for another time. I also got bit by a woman once. I didn’t want that kind of stuff. And so it wouldn’t surprise me. But he’s got a really good heart. It proves one thing: that any gender can perv out. I don’t think my performance in that movie matters much to the industry. He was the epitome of cool — everything I wanted and wanted to be. What I’m saying is that being Bernard, The Head Elf, has its penalties. She said, “Hey, if you make out with me, my friend will take a picture of us making out.” And she was very drunk, mind you. A lot of people wonder why Bernard isn’t in the third film. That’s where everyone needs to take it down a notch. He was just hot the whole time. There’s Freaks and Geeks, 10 Things I Hate About You….You know what? Nobody’s remembering him from the film.Come on, leave Tim Allen alone! It’s wild to be part of something that’s lasted this long, that plays every single year and has become tradition in people’s homes. As well as pride. [Laughs] I’ve been told a few times before that I was born to play sexy. And on the second movie, he was lovely. But I respect your love of Bernard.

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