Category: Entertainment News

Colin Farrell Reunites With His Lobster Director for the Terrifying Killing of a Sacred Deer

Perhaps it feels a little counterintuitive, given that these characters for the most part speak in the director’s trademark dry banalities (with some variation — Nicole Kidman as Steven’s wife, Anna, is a desperately needed island of sanity). A lover? When Steven starts to neglect Martin, the boy “retaliates” with a mythical sort of revenge of a supernatural nature, which, in typical Lanthimos fashion, is never quite explained: Steven’s family will die, one by one, in stages. In the tradition of Ringu or the Final Destination films, it first tells you what dreadful fate awaits its characters, then lets you spend the rest of the film agonizing over when it will go down. Photo: A24

Cannes’s competition lineup is typically light on genre fare, but at a certain point in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer it’s abundantly clear that the artful thriller you’re watching has actually been a full-throated horror movie all along. (Insert joke about similar side effects on day six of Cannes.)

Lanthimos has excelled at bizarre violence and general off-ness before (including his English-language breakout The Lobster), but here he’s flexing his talent for genuine scares, and he turns out to be quite good at it. First, they become paralyzed from the waist down — hence that dreadful collapse I was waiting for — then they stop eating, then their eyes bleed, then they die. That’s why, about midway through the film, during a stark wide shot, I found myself nearly covering my eyes in anguished terror when it seemed like a teenage girl was about to collapse on the floor. Neither, it turns out, but they’ve nevertheless been drawn together both by tragic circumstances and Martin’s own psychotic willfulness. By the time Steven and Anna’s son Bob (Sunny Suljic) is dragging himself across the family’s living room floor, broken but preternaturally resigned to his fate, the absurdity and the horror are working in tandem to build to something uniquely chilling, a portrait of a family literally melting due to the sins of father. Related
Colin Farrell and Yorgos Lanthimos on Their Bond, Iran-Contra, and Prosthetics

Tags: The girl is Kim (Raffey Cassidy), the oldest child of Steven (Colin Farrell), a cardiologist and recovering alcoholic who has brought a curse of sorts on his family stemming from the fate of a former patient. The cinematography, by frequent collaborator Thimios Bakatakis, is exquisitely icy and built on long, slow pushes and pulls. Colin Farrell in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. I’m not sure if Lanthimos has much to say here that hasn’t already been said by Luis Buñuel or Michael Haneke (at this very festival, no less) or any other bards of bourgeois hypocrisy, but still: To see an unfettered nightmare like this from such an idiosyncratic director feels like a cruel treat, and a welcome stylistic stretch. The dialogue is wrapped in quotation marks, which serves as both a hedge for the mechanics of the curse, and a buffer for the film’s more brutal moments. Not to bludgeon an overused word of late, but it’s a very Lynchian route toward dread: Wrap it all in a dream so as to sink even further into the abyss. When the film opens he’s meeting with a teenage boy named Martin (a deeply unsettling Barry Keoghan), whose relationship to Steven leaves us dreadfully uncertain for a while — is he a son from another mother?

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Categories: Entertainment News

Stephen King on His New Netflix Movies, It, and His Big Year

Just a fantastic job. There was another original miniseries I did called Golden Years that I have a place in my heart for, and some of the books like Lisey’s Story and 11/22/63 and Under the Dome mean a lot to me because I can remember writing them in this kind of dream state, feeling like nothing could go wrong. They just make them. The other part of it was the decision to do a PG-13 feature adaptation of books that are extremely violent and deal with violent behavior in a fairly graphic way. You just never know until it’s gonna happen, but the VR thing is still percolating away. Mercedes, which is on TV now, there are some terrific changes from the book. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes you get pictures like the Children of the Corn sequels. Sometimes you make those changes and they don’t work really well, and I’m always sorry when that happens. I love the movies, Kyle. Even the worst movie I saw was fuckin’ terrific. Cain, who did The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce. 1922, adapted from a King short story and out October 20, stars Thomas Jane as a flinty-eyed farmer named Wilfred who plunges into madness after the murder of his wife. There’s talk about doing The Stand as an extended TV series, possibly for Showtime or CBS All Access, and there’s been some interest in developing Salem’s Lot as a feature, probably because people are saying, “Well, we took an old miniseries called It and turned it into a phenomenon, so maybe we can do it with something else.” Nothing succeeds like excess! I care about some of them more as books than as movies. Do the directors ever ask you for advice?Well, that’s not my job. Mercedes, or Hulu’s upcoming show Castle Rock. Tags: My idea is, “If you’re going to make changes, hopefully they’ll work.” There are changes in It that work very well, and with Mr. There’s talk about another thing, an animated feature, but I can’t tell you anything further — it’s a secret. It’s like buying a launch pad and putting your own rocket on it: Sometimes that works, and sometimes it explodes. Now, what Hemingway said is that the best thing that can happen to a writer is when they pay you a lot of money for it but never make the movie. I do have a special place in my heart for a miniseries called Storm of the Century because I thought everything worked there — it was a dream project. And as far as I’m concerned, the story behind Gerald’s Game stays pretty current whether it was published then or in the early ’90s. I’m not that guy, I’m just not. It has the same kind of flat, dead-eyed, affect to it, so it made for a really good suspense picture, and it’s a movie that won’t leave my mind. Photo: Getty Images

Stephen King turned 70 last week, and he’s got plenty to celebrate. The attitude has to be, “I will get involved if you want me to get involved and I have these controls over who’s going to be in the cast and who will write the screenplay. What was the challenge there?The major challenge was to do a film based on a series of books that’s really long, about 3,000 pages. I keep them all with me, and if somebody asks me about a character or a piece of plot from the books, I’m never in a position — and I bet James Patterson would be in this position — where I’d have to say, “Oh, gee, I don’t remember that at all. River Phoenix in Stand by Me was amazing, Kathy Bates in Misery did a terrific job, and you know, Tom Jane in 1922 really did it. Everywhere you look, though, there’s some new King project in the works, whether it’s the recent movie version of The Dark Tower, the limited series Mr. There are other factors: Some of the recent things have been successful, like the miniseries of 11/22/63, and I think when that happens, people say to themselves, “If X succeeds, maybe Y will.” But I’d like to think a lot of it is just the material, that people see something in these stories that would be visually arresting. I do! Not right in the present day, but pretty close to it. He was terrific, but he only wrote four novels, so when Polanski wanted to make Rosemary’s Baby, Levin was very anxious that he follow the book very closely, right down to the kind of shirts that the John Cassavetes character wore. The prolific author is having a major moment this year as the film It, adapted from his 1986 novel, has become a box-office phenomenon. And you know, what 1922 reminded me of was a film called There Will Be Blood. A few years ago, you told Rolling Stone, “The movies have never been a big deal to me. He’s terrific. I mean, you can’t get anymore on-the-nose than a woman in handcuffs, can you? With Gerald’s Game and 1922, they both follow the course of the books pretty closely, and the films that these guys made stand and fall on that. Even with Carrie, my feeling was, “They’re gonna make this movie. Do you think that a generation raised on your books is newly eager to bring them to the screen?I don’t know! How did you feel about Carla and Bruce in Gerald’s Game?I had casting approval and I approved them immediately. As King told me on the phone a few days ago, he couldn’t be more pleased about the movies and his banner year. The themes of the book — repressed memories, and the way women are treated and abused — they’re important today, and you’ve still got a lot of issues that have to do with how society treats women. Bruce Greenwood had worked for a while on [the King-penned musical] Ghost Brothers of Darkland County and I’m just sorry he didn’t get to sing in Gerald’s Game, because he has a terrific singing voice. What is it like for you when you see some of your older stories, like Gerald’s Game and It, placed into a more contemporary time period for their adaptations?With It, it made sense to simply take the idea of the book — which has this 20-year gap between the children and the adults — and move it forward so that we could set the adults in the next movie pretty much in the present-day. Now, maybe that’s egocentric, but that’s the way I feel. It’s kind of a perfect storm, isn’t it? Once she decided that she wanted to do it, she just went right to the wall with it. I’ve said this before, but Jack Nicholson in The Shining, not so much. With 1922, was I a little surprised that somebody wanted to make it? Who’s done it well, in your opinion?Carla in Gerald’s Game is a good case in point: She understood that character and, frankly, she played the shit out of it. That’s all I can tell you. I knew their work, of course. The movies are the movies. He really got that stiff-necked, “I’ll do anything to keep my land” character. I was, and I was also pleased by the challenge of it and anxious to see what would come out. I’ve never felt that way, I’m always anxious to see what they do with it. And there are some juicy lead characters in these. If it’s a success, it will help me do what I want to do, which is to write books.” When I was in college, I read something that stuck in my mind from James M. He did an interview near the end of his life where the reporter said, “They ruined your books for the movies,” and Cain snapped his head around and pointed at the bookshelf and said, “No they didn’t, they’re all right there.” In a way, the book is untouchable. How long do your stories linger with you once you’ve finished them?I care about them all. That looks like it might happen. Same thing with Ira Levin, who did Rosemary’s Baby. [Laughs.] In 1922, when Wilfred says, “We had a really good year for corn then,” well, I had a really good year for corn this year. I’ve been down this road before in the sense that a movie like Gerald’s Game or 1922, it’s easy to say, “This would be really difficult to make into a movie,” but I felt that way about Cujo and they did a terrific job, so you never know what’s going to happen. I would imagine there’s been renewed interest in some of your adaptations in the wake of It. It’s like a farmer having a really good year. If they’re not, they’re not.” But did you always feel that way?I never had a problem with it, from Carrie onward. Related Stories

Every Stephen King Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best

Stephen King on the Controversy About It’s Child Orgy: ‘It’s Fascinating’

How do movies like Gerald’s Game and 1922 get pitched to you? You’re on the record as having a very sanguine attitude toward adaptation. A lot of times, I feel like the filmmakers are better off if they follow the arc of my stories closely. I know that directors like Ben Affleck and Josh Boone had flirted with a two-film version of The Stand, and I’d heard that your novel Insomnia would be potentially turned into a virtual-reality series. It has this sort of poisonous effect, it just sort of sticks there because some of the images are so good. You’re now on the other side of The Dark Tower, a movie that was so long in the making but didn’t completely work. You weren’t writing these stories with the actors’ faces in mind, so what is it like when you see people bring these characters to life? It would be like a complete reboot, so we’ll just have to see. If they’re good, that’s terrific. Is there any common thread you’ve been able to figure out when it comes to good adaptations of your work?I think that sometimes when people buy a book, they just want the situation and then they’ll build the movie off it. In addition to his latest book Sleeping Beauties — written with his son Owen — King has two other new, well-reviewed movie adaptations hitting Netflix: Gerald’s Game, based on his 1992 novel and available now, casts Carla Gugino as a woman who’s handcuffed to a bed by her husband (Bruce Greenwood) in a role-play scenario gone wrong. The script broke the book open to get to the interior part of the story in a way that I thought was terrific. That was something that had to be overcome, although I’ve gotta say, I thought [screenwriter] Akiva Goldsman did a terrific job in taking a central part of the book and turning it into what I thought was a pretty good movie. Any updates? Take a guy like William Peter Blatty when Friedkin made The Exorcist: That was his baby, so it was probably an extremely important event in his life. A lot of these things came up all at the same time, and I don’t think there was any particular reason for it to happen. I don’t think it’s dead or anything like that, although I haven’t heard about it lately. As far as I’m concerned, if somebody wants to make a movie [from my stories], I’m behind that idea and I’m always interested to see what they come up with. I’m happy to do that when you understand that 90 percent of the time, I’m going to say, ‘That’s fine, go ahead.’”

I think part of my laissez-faire attitude comes from a) I’m doing okay financially so I can afford to take a risk, and b) I’ve been prolific enough so that I don’t feel upset about it. It was so long ago!” I remember them all. They’re all my friends, and some of them are my lovers, if you know what I mean. This is a real boom time for you when it comes to adaptations of your work. The TV series they’re developing now … we’ll see what happens with that. It was a no-brainer for me.

Empire Recap: Me, Myself, and Lucious

THE. But who? If you told me I dreamt the next images I saw, I would believe you. She wants to take him there as part of his crossroads therapy, but Demi Moore says it’s too soon. Li’l Baby Jamal wanted to come visit Cookie in prison so Lucious brought him too, but that was the last time Lucious ever came to visit her. Again, who are all these people? Dwight can’t bring himself to come and then Demi Moore takes him to — gasp! Jamal continues to work on his Love/Drug song, but this time with Warren, who says it’s fake for the lyrics to be about smudged lipstick. That baby is completely unimpressed. Dwight calls his music “burnt umber.” Cookie sends Dwight home if he can’t handle her style. His wife’s death was in his file. In the present, Dwight starts to refer to himself in the past as Lucious and “he/him.” Dwight says that Lucious never would have abandoned Cookie. Cookie wanted to change the channel back and when Pound Cake wouldn’t, Cookie started a fight. The mysterious flowers he got weren’t from his family. Angelo shows up to bother Anika and offer his services in taking the Lyons down. Everyone loves it and they’ve found their alpha. Tori runs off to Jamal and they collaborate on a song where they compare love to … get this … A DRUG. DOING. Everyone gives Dwight a hero’s welcome and he has to pretend he remembers everyone and weirds everyone out by being supportive and kind. Everyone is dressed like a different Prince, including baby Bella, who is dressed in a purple velvet suit and doesn’t crack a smile. Anika stops by the office to help plan Bella’s birthday party and Andre snaps at her and charges at her because Bella’s birthday is also the same day Rhonda died. At the end of Bella’s party, Anika strolls over with Angelo. Great use of Fox programming. — THE LYON STATUE! Jamal is ready to present the song to Cookie, but he ditches Tori Ash at the last second to bring in Warren. Dwight is going to make up for everything he/him didn’t do for Cookie. This is heating up in the best way possible, and it all happened while Cookie was wearing a preposterous Prince wig and pink velvet. Cookie throws Tori Ash out of the audition because a white girl isn’t going to kick off the 20 for 20. They’re having fun. Cookie tries to apologize to Demi Moore and tells her about the Lyon statue where Lucious slept as a child. Lucious wanted to have the guards explain what happened to Cookie, but she wanted him to focus on their time together. He calls Tiana the branch, but not the roots. She’s doing a whole ratchet Sweet Charity thing. He’s serving papers so Anika can get sole custody of Bella. He decides he wants to be something different. He has to do a full choreographed number in the studio while he eats cheese popcorn like a fucking maniac while he lip-syncs to the song. He can’t just play his song or rap. I know the actor is a rapper, but he plays all the music scenes in such an over-the-top way that I can’t stop rolling my eyes. They’re all more concerned with hiding the family secrets. Hakeem and Jamal perform “Let’s Go Crazy” and if there’s a Smash-esque version of this show where every episode included a cover, I want to live in that reality. Guys, Kesha literally did a song called “Your Love Is My Drug.” But fine. This episode starts with more flashbacks than is reasonable as Cookie tells Lucious the story of one of her fights in jail. It’s too much and he needs to calm down. Dwight agrees to go with Cookie to Empire. Tags: Who else is putting out albums for Empire? They whisk each other away. But all in all, it’s a pretty solid episode. Then, as if Empire couldn’t introduce any more strange elements, Dwight starts referring to himself in the third person and we get a bizarre third-act Prince tribute. What more could you want? MOST. No one else in the family seems to be concerned about the anniversary of his wife’s death. There’s the Solange doppelgänger and a rapper called “Paintbrush” which would NEVER be a rapper. Dwight doesn’t agree with Cookie’s strategy to break the artists down and he even sends EMPIRE’S TOP GRAMMY WINNER away because he’s dealing with his brother’s death so he can process. Jamal refuses to compete and he runs off to the studio. For the last three seasons, there’s been Hakeem, Jamal, Tiana … and that’s it. Photo: Chuck Hodes/FOX


Bleeding War
Season 4

Episode 4

Editor’s Rating

4 stars

Complete Series Coverage

Finally, Empire is answering the question: Who else is a recording artist at Empire Records? Lucious starts his introspective ramblings to show that he’s changed. That sneaky bitch. But before they leave, Demi Moore shows up. At the end of the party, Andre slips away to meet up with faux Misty Knight and she reveals she sent the flowers. She was watching him on 106 & Park when another inmate, Pound Cake, changed the channel to the chicken-fight episode of Family Guy. Pound Cake slashed her hand and unfortunately, it was a day before Lucious was coming to see Cookie. We get some strange “artists” to fill out the roster. Tiana performs a song called “Put That Sexy on ’Em” that definitely sounds like a Beyoncé reject from 2009. They all go to listen to Hakeem’s song and Hakeem needs to STOP. This season feels like a real television series. Cookie says it’s not good enough to be the alpha of the 20-for-20 roll-out so she’s holding tryouts. Has Andre ever tried his hand at atmospheric R&B? The song is called “Shut Up, Bitch” and it’s about “the hypocrisy of democracy.” Guys, can we not? They act like it’s some revolutionary new concept. Oh shit, dis bitch. Cookie is putting every other artist through the wringer and making them appear before her. She’s just being like he/him after all.

Kirkus Editor-in-Chief Explains Why They Altered That American Heart Review

Its protagonist, Sarah Mary, is a 15-year-old from Missouri who doesn’t question the validity of the ban until she meets a Muslim woman on the run, an Iranian immigrant and professor named Sadaf. For some members of the YA community, the premise was objectionable from the get-go (the first Goodreads review, left on September 7, begins with “fuck your white savior narratives”). A statement on the Kirkus website reads:

“[Because] there is no substitute for lived experience, as much as possible books with diverse subject matter and protagonists are assigned to ‘own voices’ reviewers, to identify both those books that resonate most with cultural insiders and those books that fall short.”

The implementation of these policies hasn’t been without hiccups, but overall, Kirkus had more or less successfully positioned itself as a reviewer striving to be sensitive to pressing contemporary concerns about diversity and representation in YA — right down to the use of the word problematic to describe books that aren’t adequately woke. Or did she feel pressured to alter what had proven to be a deeply unpopular opinion when asked if she wanted to, even without explicit instructions to do so? Would Kirkus’s reviewer have changed her mind independently, even if the review hadn’t been pulled for evaluation? American Heart takes place in a dystopian future where the U.S. The sentence added to the review indicates that writing the book from Sarah Mary’s point of view remains an admirable choice from a craft perspective (“an effective world-building device”), but wrong from a moral one (“it is problematic that Sadaf is seen only through the white protagonist’s filter”). She made that decision on her own.” (The word choice in question likely refers to text in the original review that referred to Sadaf as “a disillusioned immigrant,” which some commenters took exception to.)

Kirkus’s critics are skeptical of that claim; among the more cynical takes on the controversy is that Kirkus used the reviewer’s identity as a shield, only to then suppress her voice when it didn’t toe the line. And while the Muslim woman who wrote the original review was involved in the editing process — “the decision to retract the star was made in full collaboration with the reviewer,” he says — altering the review does not appear to have been her idea in the first place. Around the time when diversity became the cause célèbre for young adult fiction’s most passionate activists, trade reviewer Kirkus implemented some unique rules to establish its bona fides at the forefront of the movement: characters were to be explicitly identified by race, religion, and sexual orientation in every YA book review moving forward; furthermore, the writers of those reviews would be selected according to their race, religion, and sexual orientation as well, critiquing texts for sensitivity in addition to entertainment value. “As you know, we’re no stranger to controversy,” he says, referring to the recent outrage surrounding Kirkus’s starred review for The Black Witch. In a story loosely modeled on Huckleberry Finn, Sarah Mary ends up traveling north with Sadaf in the hopes of helping her escape to Canada. What is clear, though, is that the choice to un-star American Heart reflects something noteworthy about Kirkus’s framework for critique — one in which a book’s value is determined not just by the quality of its storytelling, but also by its politics. “The plan is to beef up our editing of reviews in this section, to have further eyes before it goes to print.”

In the future, I ask, is the goal that no problematic book will escape un-called-out? But as the controversy heated up and questions began to swirl about the potential suppression of the original reviewer’s opinion — and what this means for future reviewers, of any background, who unreservedly like a book that YA’s influencers find offensive — Smith spoke exclusively with Vulture to explain the magazine’s perspective. If anything, Kirkus has a compelling reason to assert itself even more strenuously as a progressive tastemaker; the magazine just launched Kirkus Collections, where librarians can purchase titles that have been prescreened for quality, entertainment value, and problematic elements. And while Smith says the call-out of said problematic element is not meant to dissuade readers from reading the book — “If readers don’t care that this novel is only told about a Muslim character, from the perspective of a white teenager, that’s fine” — he acknowledges that Kirkus does care, and does judge books at least in part on whether they adhere to certain progressive ideals. When I ask if the book’s star was revoked explicitly and exclusively because it features a Muslim character seen from the perspective of a white teenager, Smith pauses for only a second: “Yes.”

The way this latest controversy has unfolded suggests that the magazine hasn’t fully figured out how to navigate a shifting literary landscape where issues of free expression, reader expectation, literary quality, and diversity of both identity and opinion are all jostling for position. “We wanted her to consider if changing what we thought was sort of reductive word choice, and adding deeper context, is something she thought might be appropriate,” he says, though he emphasizes it was ultimately her call: “I did not dictate that to her. It was with these policies in place that Kirkus published its review last week for American Heart, a YA novel by author Laura Moriarty. According to Smith, Kirkus concluded internally that edits would be made before reaching out to the reviewer. Published on October 10, it described American Heart as “terrifying, suspenseful, thought-provoking, and touching” and “a moving portrait of an American girl discovering her society in crisis.”

Only a few days later, the review was pulled amid continued criticism of the book from community members. Kirkus was well-aware from the start that American Heart was something of a lightning rod, which Smith says was not a concern. The review was replaced by a statement from Kirkus’s editor-in-chief Claiborne Smith explaining that the editorial board and the reviewer — described as “an observant Muslim [woman] of color” and “expert in children’s & YA literature [who is] well-versed in the dangers of white savior narratives” — were “evaluating” the review. But after a research and review process including multiple sensitivity reads, Moriarty was prepared to stand by her work, and the notoriously prickly Kirkus gave the book a starred review. “Sarah Mary’s ignorance is an effective worldbuilding device,” read the new review, “but it is problematic that Sadaf is seen only through the white protagonist’s filter.”

On Tuesday, after Moriarty posted the text of both reviews in a comment thread on her personal Facebook page, the magazine reportedly called her publisher repeatedly to demand that she take the comments down. Smith bristles at that: “It’s like no one believes that this reviewer has a mind and can change her opinion. has rounded up and relocated its Muslim population to internment camps in Nevada. Smith continues to describe the change to the American Heart review as a “correction.” He readily agrees that Kirkus’s response to the American Heart backlash has left virtually no one satisfied, but he says the magazine won’t be changing course. (Smith describes this as a standard fair-use issue — authors and publishers are only permitted to excerpt 35 percent of a review for marketing purposes.)

In an emailed statement, Kirkus initially framed the amended review as a simple editorial correction. “That’s certainly the goal!” Smith says, with the caveat that Kirkus’s critics aren’t infallible. “I mean, we’re human beings.”

Tags: And while “every case of negative reaction is a little bit different,” they’ll continue to monitor criticisms, Smith says. “Obviously we don’t like having to make corrections after the publication of a review,” Smith adds. And if it comes to it, to revoke stars, although they’ll be taking steps to avoid that. And the response to this controversy, according to Smith, stemmed from a long-standing policy of listening when readers have something to say: “We do investigate [criticisms] and consider all of those claims.”

Yet while investigating criticisms may be business as usual, Smith admits this is the first time during his tenure that a review has been pulled and altered in this way. Shortly thereafter, Kirkus published an amended review that retracted the book’s star and condemned Moriarty’s choice to write the story from the first-person perspective of a white teenage girl. Is that so difficult to believe?”

The answer isn’t necessarily clear.

South Park Recap: Trappin’ at the Old Folks’ Home

But a conclusion that feels a bit abrupt and predetermined still lands a square critical blow, succinctly getting at the Sisyphean element of America’s continuing struggle to eradicate drugs. Tags: It’s more exacting than that; those lured with the promise of leisure must sacrifice every remaining semblance of self-determination in their lives. Assorted Thoughts and Questions

• Of course, no episode about pushing drugs would be complete without a needle-drop of a fitting trap anthem; a snippet of “Brick in Yo Face” by Miami-bred hustler Stitches ties one early scene together, but better still is the original song written by unofficial Atlanta ambassador Killer Mike for the episode. Because it is. Where’s the MP3 download, Comedy Central? The HBO show identified a more acute institutional sickness in the culture of these “retirement communities” than the simple fact that they’re very sad and often smell unpleasant. And then the deepest laugh of all, finished with a bitter note, when Stan’s father reassures him about his pop-pop, “He’s old, he’s supposed to be miserable.”

Just as the comic premise of octogenarians behaving like kingpins begins to wear thin, Parker and Stone shift gears into something that’s not quite a heist story, but occupies the same general neighborhood. But again, this is an episode content to take a step back and let someone else fight the great culture war for a week, while it’s busy making armpit farting noises. Seemingly the only kid in town with an ounce of compassion left in his heart, Stan formulates a plot to boost all of McGillicutty’s figurines and give them to his granddad, making him the new top dog around Shady Acres. (A vice to which we’ve already watched Linda Belcher fall victim.) A longer, deeper laugh hits when the audience realizes that Stan is handing off heroin to an oversized Swiper from Dora the Explorer before the young boy does. Over this half-hour, the contrast between the soft-spoken niceties of oldsters and the grittier nature of drug-runners proves a sturdy source of comedy. All’s well that ends well, as Stan manages to install his granddad as Shady Acres’ new kingpin and the episode ends before wearing out its welcome. There’s the incredulous snort when Stan’s grandpa rasps to his grandkid that “Ms. But McGillicutty’s never-ending stream of flatulence gets overplayed, a running joke run into the ground. They’re just such weak, airy farts. This episode plays like a procedural that Trey Parker and Matt Stone dreamed up after watching Orange Is the New Black while slugging codeine, an inspiredly idiotic marriage of the gritty narco drama and The Golden Girls. Cheese (that’s Charles Entertainment Cheese, for those of you still on formal terms with the giant animatronic rodent) shows up to Marcus’s birthday party thoroughly wasted on pills, only to OD and die like Jimi Hendrix in front of a gaggle of scandalized children and parents. Like any good episode of Law & Order, it starts with the good stuff: Chuck E. A thriving black-market economy propped up by the unstable commodities of secondhand painkillers and creepy porcelain tchotchkes known as “Hummels” forms the basis of this episode, and yet South Park isn’t all that interested in seriously addressing America’s current opioid crisis or the insidious menace of elder abuse. (To the extent that South Park has ever been serious about anything, that is.) After a string of episodes addressing the Trump administration, this half-hour shoots for a style of comedy hermetically sealed by its pop-culture referents, goofing on genre rather than current events. Because, after all, South Park isn’t the news, and its first obligation isn’t keeping the populace well-informed on the day’s big issues. His foolproof plan involves disguising his buddies as a barbershop quartet and using them as a distraction, a bit that would’ve been worth it just for this exchange: “Are you with the Protestant youth group?” “Yes, yep, we’re young prostitutes looking to help out any way we can.” How generous, then, that the quartet goes on to warble out surprisingly harmonious covers of Cypress Hill’s “Insane in the Brain,” Kelis’s “Milkshake,” and Nirvana’s widely beloved capitalism satire “Rape Me.” Cartman’s little waxed barbershop mustache helps. — it’s nice to see a South Park concerned chiefly with being funny. If they want to string Peppa Pig out on Oxycodone for a dark, uncomfortable laugh, then I say all power to them. • From the moment Stan’s grandpa warns, “You know old-lady farts, where they’re so loose they don’t even acknowledge they happen,” the audience knows the episode is going to work blue. Satan is shown to hoard the kitschy little collectibles in the season-four episode “Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?” along with his boyfriend, obsessively cataloguing and reordering them. Transferred there from house arrest, the show posited the old folks’ home as its own sort of prison, both in a literal sense (introduced as a ruthless killer, Junior ends the show stripped of all agency) and a psychological one (he was ultimately left to drift through the purgatory of his own deteriorating mind). McGillicutty is top bitch!” before explaining that she runs the game by virtue of owning the most extensive collection of Hummel figurines. Likewise, “Hummels & Heroin” compares the delicate dynamic of power among the essentially powerless residents to a jailhouse turf war, and raises the drama a few semitones until it breaks into the register of absurdity. • This is not the first time Hummel figurines have popped up in the South Park universe. Having valiantly defended the mantle of American political satire — we all remember the fidget spinner parody, yes? He’s the latest casualty of a thriving drug trade centralized around the Shady Acres Retirement Community, introduced with a humorous smash cut after the paramedic muses, “Whenever there’s a drug epidemic, you can usually trace it back to people who have been thrown away by society and forgotten about.”

The critique doesn’t get much more pointed than that, but a viewer doesn’t much mind when they’re preoccupied with their own chuckling. Take down one cartel and another will rush in to fill the vacuum. Photo: Comedy Central

South Park

Hummels & Heroin
Season 21

Episode 5

Editor’s Rating

4 stars

Complete Series Coverage

On The Sopranos, the final fate of geriatric wiseguy Corrado “Junior” Soprano sent him to an elder-care facility for the mentally infirm following a dementia-related incident. • Hot take: Are Hummels just Beanie Babies for old people?

Demi Lovato’s New Documentary Reveals the Severity of Her ‘Breaking Point’ With Addiction

“I guess I always searched for what he found in drugs and alcohol because it fulfilled him and he chose that over family,” she says. “I remember thinking, I’m about to beat this bitch up,” Demi says. “I didn’t feel anything. Nobody knew.” She describes the two months that followed rehab as a “bender” where she abused drugs daily. “And then this episode happened …”

She punched her backup dancer for revealing her Adderall use.In 2010, Demi Lovato made headlines for punching her backup dancer Alex “Shorty” Welch on a plane, and entered rehab shortly thereafter. “It’s embarrasing to look back at the person I was.”

The last time she ever drank, she performed hungover on American Idol.At her lowest, Demi says she invited two “random people” to her hotel room and got “really, really drunk” with them before a flight. Now sober, she confesses to this at the start of the latest documentary about her: Simply Complicated. But in her personal life, the entire time while on the show she was residing in a sober apartment, sans access to a phone, with two roommates helping her get clean, assisted by her manager and specialist. She’d been warned by her mother that it could stop her heart, but “did it anyways.” “I loved it,” she recalls. “I felt a bit of pride about it. “When I feel lonely, my heart feels hungry and then I end up bingeing,” she says. “I was either craving drugs or on drugs,” Lovato now admits. Selfishly, maybe I thought I’m helping her come back to being the Demi we all know and love. She believes the relapse was brought on by the end of her six-year relationship with Wilmer Valderrama, in 2016. “I wasn’t working my program. Nick Jonas thought he’d gotten Demi’s substance abuse under control.While sucked into the Disney Channel vacuum after two shows and a hit movie, Camp Rock, Demi’s team says she began to crack under the pressure of being positioned as a teenage role model. I didn’t feel guilty, I didn’t feel embarrassed,” she says. She believes the disorder began after a group of “pure fucking evil” girls at her school started a campaign urging her to commit suicide. Demi is still battling an eating disorder. “I just knew that I needed to be high to get through whatever I was going through that point.”

She got clean after her management threatened to drop her.Her manager arranged a phone call with her entire team — agents, business managers, attorneys — informing Demi that they would be quitting immediately if she didn’t get help. “I was so drunk, I vomited in the back of the car service on the way to the airport to perform on American Idol,” she says. Her manager recalls her being hungover for the entire performance, in 2012. “Food is still the biggest challenge in my life,” she says. “The nurse is checking her in, the bottle of pills is there, she grabs the pills, she then downs all the other pills,” he remembers of the incident, “and says, ‘You fucking bitch, if I just tried to kill myself, why would you give me access to pills?’” She was then admitted to the hospital’s psychiatric ward, but remained unfazed by the experience and refused to get clean. “I don’t wanna give it the power to say that it controls my every thought, but it’s something I’m constantly thinking about.” She says her ongoing treatment involves therapy, addiction programs, and a newfound passion for boxing. Her frequent co-stars, the Jonas Brothers (Demi was dating Joe Jonas at the time), attempted to intervene. Photo: Youtube

The last time Demi Lovato made a documentary, she was high on cocaine. Her manager still has the destroyed phone, seen in the doc. “I was sneaking [drugs] on planes, sneaking it in bathrooms, sneaking it throughout the night. “‘There’s nothing more we can do for you.’” At her specialist’s request, she handed over her cell phone — to cut off her access to drug dealers and bad influences — but not before smashing it on a plate and submerging it in a vase of water. Drinking escalated to drugs, and Demi says she first tried cocaine at 17 around the time she was working for the Disney Channel. “It was the beginning of the process of surrendering,” she says. Tags: “I remember thinking, Oh my god, I might be overdosing right now.” Her manager, Phil McIntyre, recalls Demi doing interviews about her sobriety while high. Nick Jonas, who remains her close friend, thought he’d helped her get back on the wagon without realizing it was already too late. “I felt like that was a moment in my career, where I didn’t care,” she says. “And I don’t know how to figure out how to be alone.” Demi says she has a longer history with her eating disorder than her addiction to drugs and alcohol, due to stress and anxiety that developed as a child when she was subjected to intense bullying. She was hospitalized for drugs and admitted to a psych ward.While in Palm Springs, Demi’s specialist says she had to be hospitalized after locking herself in her bedroom and ingesting pills. She’s not gonna do anything crazy and it’s gonna be fine,” he says. “I’d lie straight to their faces,” she says. A cocktail of cocaine and Xanax one night nearly turned deadly: “I started to choke a little bit and my heart started racing,” she says. But unbeknownst to almost everyone around her, as well as the people who watched the film at the time, she wasn’t clean while filming it. Demi reveals what sparked the assault for the first time in Simply Complicated: While touring Camp Rock 2 in Colombia, she says she arranged a hotel rager with her band and dancers where alcohol and marijuana were present, and during which she took Adderall. “Demi was on the road to suicide,” one says. For the first time, she’s divulging the truth in explicit detail about the severity of her addiction at the height of her overnight fame when she was a teenager. Demi wasn’t sober after rehab.Though Demi’s team says she emerged from treatment with a “glow,” it faded fast. “It wasn’t a matter of if they’re going to leave, it was they’re leaving,” she says. In her first doc, 2012’s Stay Strong, we followed Demi’s recovery after a stint in rehab at 18 for drugs, self-harming, and an eating disorder; she’d been admitted after publicly assaulting her backup dancer. In that relationship, Demi says she went three years without purging, but relapsed shortly after the breakup. Demi says she “manipulated” Kevin Jonas Sr. As told by Demi, her manager, her specialist, and even Nick Jonas, here’s what we learned about Demi’s self-described “breaking point.”

She did cocaine for the first time at 17.Seeking a way to fit in after years of bullying at school, a popular student advised Demi to start partying. “She was on air promoting this new way of life,” he says, “and I was like, ‘you’re so full of it.’” Ill-equipped to deal with this level of addiction, he brought in specialists. After the hotel staff questioned her dancers about the trashed room, word got back to Demi’s team, as well as the Jonas Brothers’ father, about her drug use. The discovery prompted Demi to rush past her team on the plane and deck Welch. Demi. Simply Complicated, she says, is both an apology to her fans for not being forthright about her continued drug use in Stay Strong and, finally, an explanation. “She’d have bags of pills and an eight ball of coke.” Demi says her behavior deteriorated to the point that she became too volatile to work with and was sneaking drugs under the watch of her “sober companions” — so much so that she went through 20 of them. “I felt out of control with the coke the first time that I did it.” Lovato attributes the feeling to her birth father’s own addictions. I wasn’t ready to get sober,” she now admits. Demi admits she continued to sneak drugs and faked drug tests with other people’s urine. Though sober for five and a half years, Demi reveals she recently suffered a relapse with her eating disorder. into telling her who blabbed. She spent her first year of sobriety judging X Factor.At 19, Demi took a job hosting X Factor.

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Your Guide to the 2017 Boy Band Renaissance

While their following isn’t as big as either Prettymuch or Why Don’t We, the act is notable for featuring an openly gay member in Percario, a distinct departure from the past, where coming out of the closet was a risky proposition for fear of alienating a fan base of crushing teenage girls. A generational rite of passage since the days of Beatlemania and continuing into the ’80s with New Kids on the Block, the ’90s with the Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync, and more recently, the multi-pronged One Direction phenomenon, the stars are aligning and singles are rising to signal another burst of boy bands to soothe a weary world. It’s the perfect antidote for those who want to escape.” That particular escape not only continues the boy-band trends of the past, but expands on them as the genre has evolved along with the culture at large. Modern-day celebrities are created in their own bedrooms instead of by a record label and that’s the coolest part of Why Don’t We. “They can bust out a capella song and just kill it, and then I saw them dancing and thought that the world needed this right now. This is the boy band to place all your bets on.”


Best described as: Modern-day Menudo. “We live in a time that is dominated by introverted pop that in many ways is a reflection of our current political and cultural climate. By the end of the season, the five finalists formed the group. Reception: Considering the show was an under-the-radar facet of the summer TV landscape, don’t count on a built-in fan base once the band moves beyond their meager debut single “Eyes Closed.” “All I will say is that you can never bet on a boy band made off a TV show,” says Duran. Kotecha says it plainly: “Everything in music is very cool now and I think you need some fun guilty pleasures. “They perfectly encapsulate the new era,” says Timmermans, who’s been proactively including debut single “Would You Mind” on Apple’s litany of playlists. Reception: Despite a lack of viral infamy or radio hits, the quartet recently lost a member in Josh Levi, who pulled an “early Zayn” and left the band to pursue a solo career. Listen to: “These Girls”

Backstory: For a perfect example of how social media is fueling the genre, and vice versa, look no further than Why Don’t We. He was replaced by the singer Mikey Fusco who decided to take the opposite track. (More about them later.) But like a dormant volcano, inconspicuously waiting for the perfect time to blow its top, the industry has finally given way to a lava flow bubbling with teenage emotion and saccharine melodies. Reception: The group has become a global pop force and holds the unique distinction of garnering an impressive one billion views for their runaway hit single “Reggaetón Lento (Bailemos).” Now, the group is aiming a U.S. But just ask the countless Vine and YouTube stars whose mainstream careers have never taken off as a result of their massive followings. However, the guys immediately reminded him of One Direction. Duran, however, is less skeptical. Music needs a bit of a shake-up.”


Best described as: ’N Sync, but with early-’90s vibes. They made their image by being themselves.”

Reception: Impressive, if you’re only looking at their viral infamy on social media. Why Don’t We

Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for MTV

Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to enter a golden age: a triumphant musical revolution full of screaming fans, earworm melodies, and harmonizing. “I didn’t want to bring a boy band in while they were there because I didn’t want to lose cool points,” he said. When the next one comes along, they get theirs as well.”

Kotecha, like most of the music industry, had lately been resistant to boy bands, going so far as to swear off working with them until One Direction godfather Simon Cowell introduced him to Prettymuch, a band who would later be at the forefront of the burgeoning surge. Kotecha, who came of age during the glory days of Backstreet Boys, has been at the forefront of the niche genre for the past decade. Notable song: “Eyes Closed”

Backstory: The revolution was televised, and it was on ABC this past summer in the form of Boy Band, an American Idol for the genre that featured Backstreet vet Nick Carter as one of the judges alongside producer Timbaland and Spice Girl Emma Bunton. “It just feels like the right time,” points out producer Savan Kotecha, a self-described 39-year-old-in-a-teenage-girl’s-body. (Most notably, he helped turn One Direction into a global musical force in 2009 after co-writing their debut smash “What Makes You Beautiful.”) “Not to generalize too much, but teenage girls are teenage girls,” Kotecha notes. “It’s a tightly produced song with an instantly catchy hook that is driven by pitch-perfect vocal harmonies, intricate dance moves, and just the right amount of swagger.”

Why Don’t We

Best described as: If teen superstar Cameron Dallas was every Backstreet Boy. “I told Simon that if he found guys I’d at least meet them, but I had every intention of not doing it,” says Kotecha, who secretly first brought the members to his home in lieu of a studio, where he was working alongside Justin Timberlake and the Weeknd. As of now, Citizen Four is still working a way to carve out a unique niche in the industry and, if all goes well, are getting those earplugs ready for future masses of yelping tweens. Listen to: “Reggaetón Lento (Bailemos)”

Backstory: A force in Spanish-language pop for the past year, the five members of CNCO (who come from all over the United States and Puerto Rico) shot to fame after winning La Banda, a Univision music reality series produced by Simon Cowell and Menudo vet Ricky Martin himself. Listen to: “Would You Mind”

Backstory: Spearheaded by music svengali Simon Cowell, the five guys who make up Prettymuch lured a skeptical Kotecha to foster another boy band after spending years in the trenches with One Direction. “I’m not sure if you could ever be prepared for loads of screaming supporters that allow us to live out the vision we see for ourselves,” says Fusco. “The current pop landscape is the perfect breeding ground for the return of boy bands,” says Arjan Timmermans, who currently serves as Apple Music’s head of pop and points to the current radio landscape as one reason for the renaissance. “It’s definitely something we’re looking forward to.”

In Real Life

Best described as: One Direction lite. “Their sound is really what’s driving the charts right now,” says Duran of Why Don’t We’s musical style, which bridges the gap between modern pop and throwback vibes. “They remind me of Shawn Mendes in terms of turning that internet fame into huge worldwide success. They’re also a favorite of industry insiders like Elvis Duran, the pop champion and legendary radio personality at New York’s Z100 who’s constantly on the search for what’s hot and what’s next. (Think: 98 Degrees during the days of Backstreet and ’N Sync.) “We came together through Island Records and our manager Tim Byrne, who also worked on jump-starting the careers of Fifth Harmony and One Direction,” says member Austin Percario of Citizen Four’s origins. “Time will tell if the group rises to the same levels of success as a One Direction.”

Tags: Listen to: “Testify”

Backstory: While Citizen Four’s sound is more rooted in modern-day pop than any other group on the come-up, the four-member act continues the grand tradition of a quartet playing third banana to two bigger acts. Citizen Four

Best described as: The 98 Degrees of the pack, for better or worse. We need real entertainers and they make me think of why I love music in the first place.”

Reception: After memorable appearances on the debut episode of the TRL reboot, the Teen Choice Awards and the Video Music Awards pre-show, Prettymuch is leading the boy-band resurgence, thanks to their throwback vibes that bridge the gap between boy-band fans of the past and the current generation. “One generation has their heartthrobs, and then they grow up. Lots of harmonizing. “I love their image and I think it’s interesting they have a huge social following. Boy-band pop is immune to that. takeover by releasing a “Reggaetón” remix with Fifth Harmony. Their partnership with YouTube star Logan Paul helped catapult the group’s slickly produced videos to viral status, with hundreds of millions of views, without a single song on the charts.

Fresh Off the Boat Recap: Kid Jail

Photo: Byron Cohen/ABC

Fresh Off the Boat

Season 4

Episode 3

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Complete Series Coverage

Are you a soda mixologist or a soda purist? Best ’90s reference: “Honey’s part of that new Generation X I read about in Newsweek.”

Worst ’90s reference: Pogs and Tamagotchis by default, I guess, but only because they’re such overdone callbacks. But we’ve never really met them as non-parental individuals, and “Kids” disappointingly squanders the opportunity to get to know them as people beyond sitcom high jinks. I’m with Eddie’s ex Alison. Don’t worry about Honey’s plumbing. Emery figures out Grandma Huang’s scheme to weaponize his inauspiciousness, but he’s more than sympathetic when Jenny explains, “I have so many enemies … I can’t take them on all by myself.” With his help, though, “I can make a real dent in my list.” If Emery has to be unlucky, he’ll be unlucky in support of his grandmother. (Fact: The best song to get your over-emotive French Canadian on is “Because You Loved Me.”)

Since they’re loyal friends (and, apparently, terrible neighbors), the Huangs sneak into Honey and Marvin’s house to apologize for trying to convince the dentist out of a second round of fatherhood. Tags: (Either Jessica or Evan definitely has the keys to every house on their block.) Honey and Marvin make up and look forward to welcoming a baby into their home, and right on cue, Nicole walks in and declares that she needs to attend the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (RIP). Eddie finally figured it out: He can place his Shaq cup on the coffee table before sitting down on the sofa. And so the 14-year-old girl guiltily spends time with her former boyfriend’s little brother in the kind of circumstance you’d only find on a broad comedy. Seeing the possibilities of long-awaited nights out fade as Honey and Marvin suddenly fall victim to baby fever, the Huangs decide to dissuade the dentist from reversing his vasectomy. “I’ve never had a problem getting pregnant,” she insists. Meanwhile, the Emery Suck Zone was a little less sucky this week with Grandma Huang in the mix. Eddie’s story line falls flatter, with a contrived situation that involves the high-schooler and his ex pretending for little Evan’s sake that they’re getting back together. What we do discover is this: Eddie was a bad boyfriend. This episode was actually full of evocative madeleines: Nilla wafers; Leno versus Letterman; Alison’s ribbed sleeveless turtleneck; and the fire-haired, seemingly anemone-fingered, wailing land-mermaid Tori Amos. The next day, Louis and Jessica offer to take Marvin to the doctor — part of a larger plan to remind him how horrid the early days of parenthood can be. Someone travel back in time and print adorable baby lesbian Nicole a “Tori & Ani & Joni & k.d.” T-shirt, please. But Eddie, ever the suburban rebel, has hatched his own recipe for a murky sugar sludge called Soda Suicide, made of Dr. Pepper, Squirt, Fanta, Mountain Dew, and a single tab of a cherry-flavored Jolly Rancher. Marvin wasn’t all that sure he wanted to “shoot bullets” again, but now he’s overcome by certainty: He doesn’t want any more kids. Cool-as-a-cucumber Alison suddenly flails, lying that she and Eddie are dating again and taking Evan to ride ponies to make him happy. Twisted sweetness is one of Fresh Off the Boat’s smartest updates to the family-friendly sitcom, and this resolution is a great example of it. Septuagenarian Marvin digs a few decades back to chant the song that best captures his mood: Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” As no one is extremely drunk or shaking the glow-in-the-dark tambourine or belting Céline Dion, every one of these characters is doing private-room karaoke wrong. “All that I want … is one baby,” Honey sings along to Ace of Base. Why are there so many homeless people in the park, wonders Marvin. They’re not homeless; they’re new parents “exhausted from taking care of their kids,” he’s told. Later, at karaoke, Louis and Jessica watch the fight they’ve inadvertently caused between their best friends. He didn’t listen to Alison when she talked — which meant he’d missed that she was Jewish and a child of divorce — and he’d totally forgotten that they went to that same horse stable on their second date. Still cursed by his unlucky year, Emery does as his grandmother requests and spends more time with her. I wholeheartedly doubt my abilities — and anyone else’s — to improve upon the market-ready concoctions created by industrial flavor scientists. There’s more than one way to get over a girl, Eddie learns. At the senior center, she has him stand by her nemesis, so that the boy’s misfortune will rub off on a rival mah-jongg player. In a sly reveal, we learn that Jenny has figured out how to turn Emery’s bad luck into her advantage. It might be more emotionally convenient to convert your pain into bitterness and hostility, but it’s not fair to the other person, and it’s certainly not being honest with yourself. Early in the series, Louis (the optimist) and Jessica (the hater) argued about how much of America to accept and adopt for their family. Evan and Alison had previously promised that they’d stay friends after her relationship with Eddie falls apart. Hearing their firstborn son (and the last to mature) make his way from the kitchen toward the couch, Louis and Jessica await the inevitable spill, which, actually, never happens. In the episode’s funniest gag, the Huangs walk their horrified neighbor through a park filled with troubled slobs napping on benches and the grass. She asks her middle grandson to handle the ugly knickknacks in her room, like a truly hideous Kermit mug, knowing that Emery will break them by dropping them on the floor. And with that stain-preventing epiphany, the adult Huangs are finally out of “kid jail.”

Eddie is technically Fresh Off the Boat’s protagonist, but the heart of the show has always been his parents. Worst of all, he’d chosen to remember the thoughtful Alison as a screeching mini battle-ax, railing against the “wrong” way to drink soda. When the Huangs drop him off at the hospital entrance, he gets out of their minivan, then speeds toward a bus to get as far away as he can from the reverse vasectomy.

American Horror Story: Cult Recap: Scum of the Earth

Still, I’m happy to keep the cigar-puffing Bebe around for a few more episodes. Solanas did write the SCUM Manifesto, shoot Warhol, go to a home for the criminally insane, and die alone in San Francisco (in 1988, a little more than a year before Warhol’s own death). Photo: FX Networks. She wants to throw the populace off-kilter so they can really create change. While they disagree about tactics, Valerie is really upset because she’s not getting the shared power that Kai originally promised her. It was so sad when Solanas imagines her bête noire Warhol sabotaging her work in her room. As she rants again and again in the episode, all of the world’s problems are caused by men. “You’ve taken my work. You’ve taken my life. We only have that on Bebe’s authority, and now that she is compromised as an agent of Kai, we can no longer believe anything about the yarn she spun for the Girl Power Group. But she did it, at least in this recounting, by starting a cult of her own. He’s lost the only copy of her play, Up the Ass, and has generally dismissed her so she wants to take her revenge. American Horror Story

Valerie Solanas Died For Your Sins, Scumbag
Season 7

Episode 7

Editor’s Rating

2 stars

Complete Series Coverage

Well, boys and ghouls, you knew we weren’t going to make it through an entire season without American Horror Story repeating the sins of its past. She gets Ivy and Winter together to meet with Bebe and they all complain that this is what men always do: They fool women into helping get them elected and, as Winter says, “They defund Planned Parenthood and force them to get transvaginal ultrasounds before they can have an abortion.”

Bebe has a cautionary tale about how men always take the credit for the hard work of women. If only for that, it’s probably time that we reconsider Solanas and her memory. Not only did I not believe any of this was true, I was also bored by the whole thing. At first, I was there for it. Here was a woman who was trying to put an end to the cult of Warhol and the patriarchy all at once. That’s when he turns to his unseen companion and says with a smile, “They’re at their best when they’re angry.” The camera pans and we see its Bebe. She tells them what the people really need is fresh blood. It starts out with Valerie selling herself in the back of a car in 1968, making $5 from a “little dicked piece of dog shit” so that she can afford some bullets to shoot Andy Warhol. I won’t order any dumplings in the next week because they very well may contain the baby browns that once resided in Brian James Moylan’s skull. Don’t worry, the little turd was murdered for his transgression: The SCUM women cut him up, stuffed his penis and balls in his mouth, and left him for the police. As I watched the rest of the episode, I was just tapping my fingers waiting for it to be over, while we learn all of the ways that Valerie Solanas could possibly have masterminded the Zodiac killings and how one of the gay dudes in her cult took credit for it. Now that Ryan Murphy has given Marcia Clark a feminist redemption, it seems like he is trying to do the same with Solanas. (She also approached Beverly in the television-station parking lot to warn her about what would happen with Kai.) Beverly then shows up at Kai’s house and is stopped at the front door by a bunch of white-nationalist-looking jerks with Hitler Youth haircuts and Rag and Bone rip-off shirts buttoned all the way up. Is he going to pit these women against the alt-right heroes that invaded his house? And her philosophy is not entirely wrong. They dispose of the body in a swamp and Beverly goes on the news and basically tells Kai that she did this and that the Women’s Auxiliary is coming for him. When Bebe said that, I must admit that my eyes rolled so hard that they fell out of my skull, tumbled down the stairs, and ended up on the floor of the dumpling shop under my Chinatown apartment. Here is a mentally ill woman who was abused and widely dismissed by men. And so, Bebe and her friends went out and started killing people on lover’s lane. I don’t know, but this is the only part of the episode that was surprising or exciting to me. It just seemed like a very long non sequitur meant to enrage the think-piece police that love to write essays starring Lena Dunham. “Even now, when they hear the name Valerie Solanas, they think Andy Warhol,” she tells him. “Aren’t we all?”

That clever twist is the only thing that saves this episode. Either Kai is somehow working for Bebe, or, much more likely, Bebe is part of Kai’s master plan. An in-depth historical analysis — and by that I mean skimming Wikipedia and once falling asleep to I Shot Andy Warhol when it played on IFC — shows that all of this is true. Here we have one of the show’s classic follies: jumping through narrative hoops in order to accommodate a famous guest star. She tells them about how Valerie wanted to start killing men to make her SCUM Manifesto a reality and that the members of her cult would start the murders when they got “the signal,” which was her attempted murder of Warhol. You’ve taken my legacy.” This echoes the sentiment we heard last episode about how cults are really a reaction by the patriarchy whenever women get too much power. Anyway, Winter, Ivy, and Beverly decide that they’re going to get revenge for Meadow and lure her husband Harrison to Ivy’s restaurant. She gets to deliver this season’s best line yet: “I’m Beverly motherfucking Hope and you’re going to get the hell out of my way.”

Kai dismisses Beverly, telling him that the people need law and order after the mass shooting and he is going to give it to them from his city council post. It also means that all of that stuff about the Solanas crew being the Zodiac killer is total nonsense too. While she is excellent in the role of wannabe Andy Warhol assassin and radical feminist Valerie Solanas, this was, by far, the weakest episode of an otherwise strong season. Yup, it turns out they were the Zodiac killer. We learn this from Bebe Babbott (Frances Conroy), who says that she was Valerie’s most devoted acolyte and lover. Tags: This time it’s Lena Dunham. They knock him out and tie him to a table, where they get some answers about Meadow out of him before hacking him to pieces with a butcher’s saw.

Kristen Stewart Speaks Up for Below-the-Line Employees Who Are Sexually Harassed

“And when I say ‘saved,’ I mean momentarily been like, ‘Don’t, fucker!’ And they are embarrassed for one second, but it just keeps going every single day. Stewart. “I want to express how thankful I am to hear what is typically a murmured sotto conversation,” Stewart said, referring to the Weinstein scandal. Those girls are as duct-taped as one could possibly be because they are in fear of getting their next job, as every actress is, too, same deal.”

Women Share Their Experiences With Sexual Assault and Harassment



Tags: Many of those women have been recognizable actresses and other well-known figures, but in a speech at an Elle Women in Hollywood event, Kristen Stewart encouraged people to also focus on the below-the-line workers subjected to similar forms of abuse. So I’d say, let’s be aware of this on every level. “We’ve all been talking about this forever, not to make it specific, but it is, ah, about this motherfucker.”

She then brought up the crew members who are regularly harassed by higher-ups. Photo: Frederick M. “Can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved makeup artists — because it trickled down, too — and camera assistants from DPs who are like, ‘Hey, babe,’” she said. Brown/Getty Images

Hollywood has started to wake up to the grim realities of its industry as dozens of women have accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment and assault over the past few weeks.

Sitcom Writer Janis Hirsch Recalls Being Harassed and Humiliated While Working on Garry Shandling’s Show

I felt a tap on my shoulder, I turned, and there was that actor’s flaccid penis draped on it like a pirate’s dead parrot. She writes:

One day, I was sitting in Garry’s office across the desk from him. Hirsch reports that shortly afterward the show’s producer asked her to quit in order to solve “the problem.” The other writers and the cast member who brought his genitalia to a work environment were able to stay on. While she went on to write and produce on The Nanny, Frasier, Will & Grace, and many other sitcoms, the unnamed actor’s career has had performance issues. “Then they started excluding me from the table, instead assigning me ‘the slit scenes,’” Hirsh explains. A few of the writers and one of the actors were in the room, too. Women Share Their Experiences With Sexual Assault and Harassment



Tags: Still, it’d be great if her storied career didn’t include a flaccid penis. Photo: Gail Oskin/Getty Images

In further proof that the sexual harassment in Hollywood goes beyond Harvey Weinstein and “the casting couch,” comedy writer Janis Hirsch came forward with her own deeply unsettling story from the early days of her career. However, Hirsch believes karma was on her side. “Even though these scenes were the ones that featured the only female cast member, it didn’t occur to me exactly what slit they were referring to until one day in the ladies room.”

If that misogynistic behavior wasn’t enough, it got grosser for Hirsch. Riotous laughter ensued from all but one of us. Hirsch wrote a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter detailing her experience working on the first season of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show for Showtime. Despite receiving favorable reviews for the episodes she wrote, she claims that shortly after the show began airing the other writers, all men, began excluding her from meetings.

This Is Us Recap: Parenting Isn’t Easy

Would it be too clichéd? Instead of getting emotional at seeing Kevin watch Jack’s cameo in his reel, I was just confused and distracted. When she comes down to breakfast, Randall is stunned and the hurt on Beth’s face is so palpable that nothing needs to be said. So it’s official then: Randall has always been the best Pearson. Just because you don’t work out every day, Toby, doesn’t mean it’s wrong of Kate to do so. Did he convert it to Blu-ray? Her signature type of hat, no less! The first misstep is that Randall takes Deja, Tess, and Annie bowling. Although I hesitate to use the word “pleasantly” when discussing something so heartbreaking, the final act in Deja’s plot this week was so authentic and emotional, and so not where I thought it was headed, it was a very welcome surprise. “Took you long enough,” Randall replies. • Sorry not sorry, but does Kevin just travel with a copy of the high-school football reel Jack made for college recruiters? • Jack and Little Kevin growling at the chickenpox. What happens next is the little plot turn I was so jazzed about. They can be so emotionally affecting that they turn you into a sobbing piece of human trash who cannot get out of the fetal position for two to four hours. Except for us, who get to watch Sterling K. Kevin had a real shot at a football career until he fractured his knee in high school. So much is said about the big, series-changing twists, that a much subtler but better crafted plot turn in an episode can be overlooked. • This is my truth: I would take hundreds of cute little family scenes in video-rental stores over finding out how Jack dies. She dresses up her negativity with smiles, but she is still doing things like telling Kate to consider her too-small Little Mermaid costume a “goal” dress, and giving Randall his third basketball even though he doesn’t and has never played. Foster parenting isn’t easy, and it’s nice to see This Is Us isn’t trying to wrap it up neatly with a bow. Brown take off his glasses in anticipation of a physical altercation which is a hilarious spin on the “oh, I’m taking off my earrings” fight escalation. She doesn’t force anything on Deja, she shares a little bit about her past and her family’s tradition of doing each other’s hair, and she even offers up a trip to the salon, if Deja would like that. She won’t be exposing her son to such awful behavior anymore, so once the snow clears up, she needs to leave. It’s the early ’90s, the Big Three are the Little Big Three, and Jack’s Hot Dad Mustache is back. The next morning as she packs her things, Rebecca’s mother attempts to apologize. • Brian Grazer tells Kevin to fix his knee situation, so he has a quickie surgery. Maybe Beth is someone she can rely on and trust. Would they make such extremely complicated subject matter too simplistic? Beth’s words resonate with Deja, who almost assuredly thought that it was something to be ashamed of. She’s trying, she says. Beth thinks it’s time to have a hygiene heart-to-heart, but Randall is worried Deja will feel even more alienated than she already does. Let the woman live! This Is the Rest

• Big news: Kate is pregnant! Unfortunately, Randall overhears the entire thing, which leads to an awkward conversation between Randall and his parents about how racism can take many forms, and leaves him with a new outlook on his grandma. Because she threw away junk food? • Old news: Toby is terrible and Kate deserves better. For some reason that Randall and Beth have yet to figure out, Deja won’t wash her hair. It’s alopecia and it’s not anyone’s fault; some people are just born with it and it can flare up due to stress — like, say, moving to a new home with strangers. That tiny bit of trust is immediately gone. Related
This Is Us Just Delivered the This Is Us-iest Twist Ever

Tags: His plan is make Deja feel comfortable as a part of the family, and then have the awkward discussion with her when she may be more receptive. Thanks to the practice from braiding her sister’s hair, Beth is sure she can braid Deja’s to cover her patches. Everyone has their own thoughts on the matter. And so she does. What could be a bonding moment is completely destroyed because all Deja hears is that Beth shared her secret with Randall. To which Rebecca responds, “You shouldn’t have to try.” Not all hope is lost: When she says good-bye to Randall, he shows her his science-fair project, quotes Newton’s Second Law, and she tells him that he’s a very special boy, as if finally seeing him for the first time. Also, there’s a terrible snowstorm, the Pearson house is infected with chickenpox, and Rebecca’s overbearing, hypercritical mother has arrived to “help.”

We already know Rebecca and her mother don’t get along: She criticizes Jack, she perpetually separates Kevin and Kate from Randall when discussing her grandchildren, and she is basically an evil she-beast hidden by the disarming face of Elizabeth Perkins. Later, Deja is so hurt that she takes scissors to her beautiful braids and cuts all of her hair off. They get into it, Deja pushes her, and then Randall and the other girl’s dad get into it. He doesn’t give himself much healing time and confides in Toby that he will not allow his knee to curtail his dreams again. In a scene with an excellent performance by Mandy Moore (the girl is bringing it to season two), she tells her mother exactly that. It’s been two weeks. If she has a boy and names him Jack, the inevitable discussions about Kate’s weight and Toby’s insufferableness going next level as a father-to-be may just be worth it. Let’s talk about the Deja story line. Something had been missing from season two and I finally figured it out: MANDY’S HATS. Jack and Little Kevin everything. (You know, the Sign of Jack’s Death injury.) He’ll do whatever it takes to keep his acting dream on track, so he pops some painkillers and heads back to set as if nothing happened. Randall, aren’t you supposed to be the gifted one? That gift, paired with comments about being surprising that Randall is the one in private school, makes it overwhelmingly clear to Rebecca that her mother is very much a racist. And as if you expected anything less, Beth is wonderful about the whole thing. Related Stories

This Is Us Just Delivered the This Is Us-iest Twist Ever

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This Is Us and The Good Place Signal a New Era for the Mystery-Box Show

The Randall and Beth Pearson household is having some hygiene issues. I honestly thought Beth and Randall would get one of those “highs” they were talking about in foster parenting, but instead they get a very low low. Or because she wants to finish the last 15 minutes of her workout? That small win doesn’t last long. When Beth starts combing Deja out, she discovers why Deja’s been so reluctant to do anything about her hair: She has bald patches. Also, if Jack made that video around 1997, it would most definitely be on VHS. When This Is Us decided to tackle a foster child story line, I was admittedly worried. Like, a tiny bit. It’s the first time we see the hint of a smile on Deja’s face. Does Kate have a VHS player? People only willingly go bowling for the cheap beers and deliciously gross nachos and the ability to say that they had cheap beers and deliciously gross nachos somewhere other than their couch. Randall is having a rough go of things in another timeline, too. But harping on her because she wants to make her yoga class? BOWLING. After Randall hears from Beth about what’s going on with Deja, he attempts to make a connection with her by sharing that he’s had nervous breakdowns, and that he runs to alleviate stress, should she ever be interested. Jack and Little Kevin shoveling a path in the driveway so grandma can get the hell out of town. It doesn’t take long for Deja to make up her mind: She wants Beth to do her hair. They can be manipulative. Yes, if Kate were working out for ten hours a day or throwing out every piece of food in the kitchen except for baby carrots, he should be concerned. This plan backfires spectacularly. • Praise be! Photo: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

This Is Us

Still There
Season 2

Episode 4

Editor’s Rating

4 stars

Complete Series Coverage

The plot twists on This Is Us can be exciting. Knowing he has failed, Randall passes the Operation Hair Wash baton to Beth. (Unless you’re in a bowling league or something, which, good for you for having activities.) As they wait in line to get their bowling shoes, another young girl makes a comment under her breath about Deja’s hair. Beth doesn’t miss a beat, and lets Deja know that her sister has them too. The hat drought is no longer, because Mandy is sporting a heavenly teal knitted beret. Now we get to see her in action. The evening is a disaster for everyone. Randall wants to take the lead on this.

A Defense of Difficult Art at the Guggenheim’s Controversial Exhibition

To the extent that the show surveys art and society in China from 1989 and on, the “Coda” asserts that the night of June 4, 1989, remains the defining event of these times. Returning to the final room of the exhibition, “Coda,” Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Dogs that Cannot Touch Each Other sits in the furthest corner of the space. When the museum reluctantly announced it would be altering the display of the disputed works, it fell back on what is by now a tired and conservative defense of “freedom of expression”: “As an arts institution committed to presenting a multiplicity of voices, we are dismayed that we must withhold works of art,” they wrote. Some chalked up the use of animals to an indifference toward animal life somehow specific to Chinese culture. Only five days after the Times preview appeared, the Guggenheim announced they would not display the three works as originally intended, citing “concern for the safety of its staff, visitors, and participating artists.” For Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other, this means the screen of the television is frozen on the video’s title card in a compromise decision to physically include the work, but not the parts that were offensive. More important, though, the violence and coercion enacted upon animal bodies is part and parcel of the violence and coercion that defines the entire show. Of the nearly 150 works included in the show, the last piece, titled Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other, has attracted by far the most attention. For many reasons, yes. A petition accusing the museum of displaying animal torture as art racked up more than 750,000 signatures, and the museum seemed caught off-guard by the intensity of the criticism. Animal-welfare activists were disappointed that the museum had not conceded that the works amounted to animal torture, and critics elsewhere noted that the manner in which the museum responded to the controversy closed off the possibility of any substantive engagement around questions of violence, animals, and the display of art. After the New York Times published a preview of the exhibition, pet owners and animal-rights activists immediately took notice and began circulating petitions and social-media campaigns calling for the removal of Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s piece, as well two others involving animals, by Xu Bing and Huang Yong Ping. To be clear, the video piece by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu relies on the use and abuse of animals. Wang Xingwei’s 2001 painting New Beijing. Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s 2003 video piece, Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other. “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World” is on display at the Guggenheim through January 7, 2018. The exhibition had always been intended to be about the effects of violence and brutality on art and society, and the works selected for the show — including those involving animals — embraced that difficulty. At least two additional works in the show depict violence against animals, but escaped notice by social-media activists: Wang Xingwei’s 2001 painting New Beijing, in which penguins shot in the chest stand in for wounded protesters at Tiananmen Square, and Liu Xiaodong’s 1998 painting Burning a Rat, of two idle men who set a rat on fire for amusement. For what was the Tiananmen massacre if not a trauma of China’s transition out of socialism and into neoliberal world order? In an interview conducted prior to the exhibition’s opening, lead curator Alexandra Munroe told Artnet that “We wanted to open the show with [Huang Yong Ping’s Theater of the World] because … it introduces the visitor to an artist’s thinking that is embracing chaos, that is filled with questioning, that is atheistic, that is fearless of any governing ideologies, that is asking tough questions, and that is brutal.” Referring to central space in which the work is installed, Munroe cautioned viewers, “If you can’t survive the high gallery, don’t bother seeing the rest of the show. As China’s urbanization deepens and spreads, a greater number of households own pets. In this case, an American understanding of animal rights that is largely defined around our relationship with our pets came into conflict with art from a time and place that does not share the same understanding of the relationship between animals and humans. Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s performance-installation work comes at the tail end of a post-Tiananmen-to-new-millenium period of art practice, in which many artists were reconciling with the breakneck social changes — from globalization to urbanization — and trauma that were a byproduct of the country’s integration into a neoliberal world order. “Freedom of expression has always been and will remain a paramount value of the Guggenheim.” It’s a conclusion that misses the larger point. Photo: Wang Xingwei/M+ Sigg collection, Hong Kong. Ben Davis has written an excellent commentary for Artnet on the subject, noting that the artists work within a genre of installation and performance art noted for its brutality and macabre spectacle. Animals including African millipedes, Goliath beetles, hissing cockroaches, stag beetles, leopard geckos, and Italian wall lizards were intended to live and die in the same space, and often at each others’ hands — not too unlike anything that happens in homes with pet reptiles. The museum’s inability to control the narrative surrounding its own exhibition speaks to both a missed opportunity for a larger, more nuanced conversation, as well as an inability to make the exhibition intellectually accessible in a media landscape of fake news, memes, and social-media campaigns. Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other and the other works included are, for one, impossible to separate from the context they were created in. Sun Yuan and Peng Yu have not staged major works featuring live animals in the last decade. Before the social-media outcry, the Guggenheim seemed to understand this, and were prepared to defend Huang Yong Ping’s work in particular, given that it was originally meant to anchor the show. The room is otherwise dominated by the two other works of art in it: an ink painting by Yang Jiechang, Lifelines I, which depicts the paths taken by volunteers carrying away the bodies of the injured on Tiananmen Square the night of the massacre, and an installation by Gu Dexin which covers the four walls of the room in bold red Chinese text. It reads, without punctuation:

We have killed people we have killed men we have killed women we have killed the elderly we have killed children we have eaten people we have eaten their hearts we have eaten their brains we have beaten people blind we have beaten open their faces

The room is a profoundly dark note on which to end an exhibition that also begins in 1989. The room is marked “Coda,” and visitors arrive to it after viewing artwork by artists spanning more than two decades of practice. In the end, what’s at stake is not the freedom to display animal torture as art, but whether or not the museum is still a site for staging difficult conversations around difficult works of art. There are only three works in the room: an installation by Gu Dexin, an ink painting by Yang Jiechang, and a video piece by the couple Sun Yuan and Peng Yu. A growing number of Chinese count themselves among the animal-rights movement, and there have been two attempts within China to introduce animal protection laws. They were strapped in place, able only to run forward. The work in the show is intense.”

Huang Yong Ping’s Theater of the World, which the Guggenheim exhibition takes its title after. So do the two other works that were protested: Xu Bing’s 1994 video A Case Study of Transference features two pigs mating with gibberish Roman letters and Chinese characters tattooed over their bodies, while Huang Yong Ping’s Theater of the World, which the exhibition takes its title after, planned to stock a cage shaped like a tortoise’s shell with live insects and reptiles. It seems possible that without the inclusion of this piece, the show might not have been the subject of significant public outrage. Photo: Huang Yong Ping/Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Ultimately, any exhibition purporting to represent important art from China during the last two decades needs to address the themes represented in works by Huang Yong Ping, Xu Bing, and Sun Yuan and Peng Yu. Related
Guggenheim Won’t Show Art Accused of Depicting Animal Cruelty Following Threats

Tags: “Critics, both inside and outside of China, have often read the nihilistic extremes of Chinese performance and performance-installation from this period as morbid symptoms of a society wrenched by stunning change combined with a lack of any sense of political control,” writes Davis. Photo: Sun Yuan and Peng Yu

At the end of the exhibition “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World” there is a small room that sits at the top of the Guggenheim’s ramped white rotunda. Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other documents a performance held in 2003, where eight dogs identified as “American pitbulls” were escorted by private limousine into an art space in Beijing and placed on treadmills facing one another. The controversy is also impossible to separate from the differing sociocultural and legal frameworks that buttress attitudes toward animals in China and the United States. By donation

Was it necessary to include these works in the exhibition? Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other is Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s commentary on the competitive, often exploitative structures of sport and commerce that felt most relevant in 2003, just two years after China entered the WTO and Beijing won the bid to host the 2008 Olympics. (It’s especially telling that social-media campaigns primarily reproduced images from Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s video work featuring dogs.) But what’s missing from the conversation around Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other is that since 2003, the context for performance installation in general, and Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s work specifically, has decidedly shifted. It can also be assumed that still other works in the show were created using animal products and byproducts, a situation that would not be unusual to any particular exhibition of art. It is a deliberate curatorial choice both to start and end the exhibition on 1989, and one that is obscured by the public focus around animal rights. Today, both the Guggenheim and the artists featured in “Art and China After 1989” have plenty of access to artistic expression, even an abundance of it, and serious challenges to an artist’s ability to express themselves through exhibition are usually fiscal.

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Cher Joins Meryl Streep in the Gay Fantasia That Is Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

The sequel will also include flashback sequences with younger versions of their characters, led by Lily James as the young Meryl. WELL…IM IN MOMMA MIA2 🎂— Cher (@cher) October 16, 2017

💋— Cher (@cher) October 15, 2017



Tags: Photo: Evan Agostini/Getty Images

As if having the best sequel title in recent memory weren’t enough, the gay fantasia that is Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again has also managed to land Cher. We assume that Cher could play both the young and old versions of herself, because Cher doesn’t age. Plus, even if former Silkwood co-stars Meryl and Cher don’t get to share scenes together, the press tour will be perfection. This is a very weird Silkwood sequel. The singer slash actress slash future subject of a Broadway musical has joined the cast of the movie, out July 20, 2018, which will reunite Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, and Pierce Brosnan.

DWTS Recap: When You Wish Upon a Dancing Star

Would you like some eggs?”

Nick: “What I’d like is a 27! Kermit. For me, this season of DWTS has become a weekly contemplation of what goes on in the Lachey home during the days between the shows. Plus, the new guy they have voicing Kermit sounds like a prepubescent Ray Romano. I imagine it’s something like:

Vanessa: “Good morning, honey! The Lion King is set on the savanna. Lisa Lampanelli can be seen in her play, Stuffed, at the Westside Theatre in New York City. I’m hoping for a Reservoir Dogs dance where one of the contestants ties Bruno to his chair while cha-cha-cha-ing to “Stuck in the Middle With You.”

Here comes Nick Lachey, doing a quickstep to “Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book. Up next is violinist Lindsey Stirling doing a fox-trot to “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio. Some of us don’t even have the energy to get their slippers out of the bedroom, even though their feet are freezing. You don’t need a shirt. Tags: NONE! Like everyone else in America, I grew up with Disney movies. Not Donald. In her close-up after her dance, I’m noticing that Vanessa has no beads of sweat on her face. I have to admit, I’m feeling guilty for having more negative thoughts than a person watching a show about Disney dancing should probably be having. Seeing how graceful and elegant Lindsey looks as she performs her fox-trot makes me want to jump off my couch and go take dance lessons. Stop bragging, honey. Next up is Frankie Muniz. He’s doing a great job, but I’m a little disappointed that he’s keeping his shirt on. Right now, I wouldn’t mind Malcolm in My Bedroom. Next is Vanessa Lachey. Vanessa scores three eights for a score of 24. He’s also very sweaty after his dance, unlike his wife. Here comes Jordan Fisher, dancing a fox-trot to his own song, “You’re Welcome,” from the movie Moana. ELIMINATION TIME! A five-foot-four guy named Frankie who starred in Malcolm in the Middle isn’t sexy? THAT’S WHAT I’D LIKE!!!”

Next up is Drew Scott doing the Viennese waltz to “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie. But nope, he remains fully clothed for the entire dance. Deep breath. And …

Sasha goes home. And guess what? Come on, Terrell! Tom is telling us that each contestant will do a dance based on a Disney film. None of them picked Mary Poppins, which doesn’t help my mood. She gets three eights for a 24. This DWTS episode has pushed more Disney products than the gift shop in the Magic Kingdom. This kid is way too talented and, in keeping with MY theme of the night, I’m annoyed again. Nick gets a seven, eight, and seven for a score of 22, once again a lower score than his wife received. The judges love Lindsey’s performance and award her with a nine, ten, and nine for a score of 28. WHAT GIVES HIM THE RIGHT? Drew does a nice job with his waltz, and I will go out on a limb and say that Drew is the best dancer this season who has a reality show about real estate. Plus — fun fact — it’s the film that Larry King took his fourth wife to on their first date. But let’s be serious: If I’m not going to get up to get my slippers, there’s very little chance of me running out to take dance lessons anytime soon. Seeing a Muppet on a Disney-themed show is like having your second-cousin-once-removed show up at your Thanksgiving dinner. Photo: ABC

Dancing With the Stars

Week 5
Season 26

Episode 5

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Complete Series Coverage

It’s Disney Night on tonight’s Dancing With the Stars! Victoria, if you remember, was in a vegetative state for nearly four years and, after that, was paralyzed from the waist down. If you told me six months ago that I’d be writing about Vanessa Lachey doing a waltz while wearing a sequined Snow White costume, I probably would have kicked you in the nuts and called you an unprintable name. Head judge Len Goodman gives her the ten, which surprises me because he’s usually so cranky. I’m taking one star away because Kermit had to stick his nose or whatever frogs have at the end of their faces into the show. Some of us don’t have the opportunity to be on a dance-competition show. Finally, WWE star Nikki Bella comes out to perform a jazz dance to a song from the upcoming Disney movie Coco. Carrie Ann Inaba is all worked up, too, and gives him a ten, and with a nine and another ten, he earns a 29. And even though I don’t have kids, Disney is still a big part of my life, mostly because I live in New York City and it’s impossible to walk more than three blocks without passing a theater hosting a musical based on a Disney movie. The opening dance is being done to “It’s a Small World After All,” which brings back a painful memory of going to Disney World with my parents and being forced to go on that annoying ride. But I digress. In her pretaped segment, she mentions that she’s lost 37 pounds since she started this show. What? His Disney film is Pirates of the Caribbean and, in his pretaped segment, Frankie says he’s worried that he won’t be able to pull off being a “sexy pirate” for his Argentine tango. I know that the Muppets are now owned by Disney, but they’re not Disney Disney, if you know what I mean. That movie is notable because it features the first-ever appearance of Mickey Mouse. Drew gets a nine, eight, and eight for a score of 25. If I had done that dance under those hot studio lights, I’d look like I’d just crawled out of the Hudson River. The judges love his dance and give him a 30. By the way, I just saw Jordan’s music video for his new song, “Mess,” and it’s really good. For tickets, go to See you next week, everybody! After years of hard work, she learned to walk again. Plus, I’ll bet she’s going to get off her couch later tonight to get slippers if her feet get cold. Here comes Terrell Owens doing a quickstep to a song from The Lion King. I wonder if this has ever been a point of contention in their bedroom. The bottom two are Sasha and Frankie. What gives him the right? Show-off! But knock me over with a feather — the little schmuck WAS sexy! Her story makes me feel kind of guilty about being too lazy to get off the couch to get my slippers, but not guilty enough to not just jam my feet between the cushions to keep them warm. But here I am. Not because of her magical powers, but because I wanted to be able to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” without biting the side of my tongue. Maybe there’s something to this “Happiest Place on Earth” Disney crap after all. I have to be honest: Nick is so stiff on the dance floor that he looks like the “before” picture in a chiropractor’s ad. Tom Bergeron, you better have some whimsy on deck to cheer me up quick. I’m giving this episode three out of five stars. Okay, Lisa, deep breath …

Sportscaster Victoria Arlen and her dance partner are doing a jazz dance based on the 1928 cartoon Steamboat Willie. It’s hot there! Not Mickey. Pretty Little Liars star Sasha Pieterse is up now, doing a rumba to a song from The Little Mermaid. Nikki does a great job and gets three nines for a score of 27. When I was a young girl, I wanted to be Mary Poppins. Victoria does a fantastic job and earns three nines from the judges for a score of 27. We’re 20 minutes into the show, and Kermit the Frog has already made two appearances. All those creepy little puppets, singing that dopey song over and over and over and … great, now I’m in a bad mood. Tom Bergeron announces that next week’s theme is a Night at the Movies. Despite his unnecessary modesty, he gets a nine, eight, and eight for a score of 25. Not Goofy. Sure, technically he’s family, but I don’t want him eating my candied yams. I could make a joke that her new show should be called Pretty Little Loser, but I’m much too compassionate to say something that callous. Deep breath, Lisa. Kermit is sitting at the judges’ table.

6 Must-Visit Knoxville-Area Spots, As Told by Country Star Kelsea Ballerini

The amusement park celebrating country music legend Dolly Parton is less than an hour’s drive from the city. For more information, you can also visit Since her dad lived just above, it was a memorable backdrop of her younger years. The concert is part of Tennessee Tourism’s Snapchat Concert Series and “The Soundtrack of America. 3. While in town for the show, be sure to stop by these hot spots for a dose of local flavor. “It’s such a beautiful place, especially in the winter when it’s snowing,” she says. Civic Coliseum for good tunes

Ballerini credits the Civic Coliseum, a multipurpose event facility and auditorium, with inspiring her to pursue her own musical dreams. The restaurant’s popularity is still soaring today, and diners rave about the Thunder Road burger and the coconut cream pie. “It was the place to go get a burger,” she recalls. 1. Litton’s Market and Restaurant for comfort food

This spot, explains Ballerini, held prime real estate right next to her middle and high schools. “It was really important that my first hometown show was there,” she says. Gatlinburg and the Smokies for a dose of nature

For an escape from the hubbub of the city, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, about an hour from Knoxville, provides a dose of serenity. “I remember seeing Kelly Clarkson there when I was 13, and it was one of the biggest moments for me,” she says. Dollywood for country music nostalgia

Like many Knoxville kids, Ballerini and her family took numerous trips to Dollywood. “I grew up going to Dollywood,” explains Ballerini. On Saturday, October 28, she’ll perform some of her hits as well as new material from her upcoming album, Unapologetically, on stage at Central High School, where she first got her start. Rita’s Bakery for sweet treats

Ballerini recalls munching on delicacies from Rita’s as a kid, where the bakery’s thumbprint cookies — shortbread cookies with buttercream frosting — were a staple of Girl Scout and youth group meetings. As a child, Ballerini would visit the Smokies during Girl Scout outings, and during the holidays, she and her family would rent cabins and spend the festivities in the shadow of the majestic mountains. Today, Ballerini may be racking up award nominations, but she hasn’t forgotten her Tennessee roots. Before country singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini was topping charts, she was a Knoxville girl singing her heart out on stage at her local high school. This is paid content produced for an advertiser by New York Brand Studio. One year we went and she was on her float, literally floating in Dollywood.”

6. In preparation for the event, Ballerini shared a few of her favorite haunts in and around Knoxville. Made in Tennessee” campaign. TN Theatre for the memories

The Tennessee Theatre, a 1920s-era movie palace turned entertainment venue, is another favorite. What Is a Paid Story? Be sure to follow the Tennessee Tourism official Snapchat account for more insider information from Ballerini, as well as a chance to score free tickets to her upcoming show — and keep up with the conversation using the hashtag #MadeinTN. Tags: “It made me realize that [singing was] exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up.”

4. As Ballerini’s own career began to take off, she says, she turned her memories of the venue into a career milestone. “[Dolly Parton] comes there every Christmas and does a Christmas parade. 5. 2. The editorial staff of Vulture did not play a role in its creation. She still remembers the awe-struck feeling of catching sight of the country music star in the flesh.

The Mindy Project Recap: The True Meaning of Frozen

Even though Brendan ridiculously thinks that doulas should make more money than movie stars and doesn’t even know who Ryan Reynolds is (Just Friends?!), Mindy and Morgan decide to help the down-on-his-luck midwife. And to think this whole thing started out with Mindy trying to help Brendan. Will she find love again? Jeremy and Anna can’t help themselves (Anna has a real thirst for office gossip now), so they go to Mindy with the news. The gasps are as audible as you’d imagine. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about Mindy’s daily intake of doughnuts and cheesesteaks, because even if that does herald in her slow “march to diabetes,” it is such a core part of Mindy Lahiri, nothing could ever change that. Although the other doctors aren’t too thrilled to have a midwife who decides chairs won’t be allowed in staff meetings, they have to admit that Brendan’s pricey services are beneficial, now that they’ve learned the practice is having some money issues. They pause their debate about content versus content versus contempt long enough to stop him from taking his own life. But, in a surprise, it’s Mindy who offers the practical advice to her friend: It’s easy for them to encourage Tamra to do the romantic thing, but Tamra’s the one who will have to live with those consequences. Once Morgan comes to, he wants Tamra to know that he’s fully in. Brendan is depressed because his brother, Duncan, pushed him out of the practice. Mindy tries to explain that Frozen is actually about sibling love conquering all, and Morgan offers his own interpretation — it’s about the fact that reindeers are better than humans — but it is of no use. While on their daily commute, Mindy and Morgan come across a man who looks like he’s about to jump onto the subway tracks. She and Jody aren’t secretly dating. She’s going to yell at every guy in the office until one of them confesses he’s the father. Blige Guide to a No Drama Pregnancy. Naturally, Tamra’s family said, “Hell, no, he’s a Shrek,” which is hilarious and accurate, but Tamra wants the opinion of the people who really know Morgan, so she gathers the office outside on the rooftop courtyard. Turns out, she doesn’t have to go too far. Hallelujah! Plus, there is some much juicier drama overtaking the office. Jody and Mary Hernandez hit a bump in the road toward their coupling when Mary learned about Jody’s rampant womanizing, but something tells me Jody will make up for his less-than-attractive qualities. Tags: Thanks to a late-night flour excursion to keep his office bread-maker in use (anyone else want an “Over My Bread Body” apron?), Jeremy spotted Tamra and Jody holding hands and walking into a screening of Tyler Perry’s A Very Madea Independence Day. As Tamra takes it all in, Morgan shows up on the ledge above the courtyard with his grandmother’s ring to make a more formal proposal. Does she even want to? Cousin Sheena is pissed. More important: Is this necessarily a good thing? And also, if you play with fireworks, you gonna get burnt. She’ll be fine on her own. We still have a whole mess of exes to revisit, so maybe we’ll see if the answer lies somewhere in her past. When they go to talk some sense into Duncan, they discover that he’s gone full 1930s New York banker and there’s no turning back. He’s been inspired by the movie Frozen, which, according to Duncan, is about one sibling getting all the attention. Unfortunately, when Brendan walks by and sees Morgan hugging Tamra in congratulations, he assumes Tamra told him the info Brendan just discovered thanks to Collette: Morgan is the father. Tamra informed her that the father is someone from work, but she’s raising her baby on her own. Jody just loves Madea movies, and if he goes alone, everyone thinks he’s a cop. If you’re keeping track, so far in the final season Jeremy and Anna and Morgan and Tamra have found their way to happily ever after. Me, dating a woman of my generation.”) So, where does that leave Mindy? Blige’s parenting book, because I, too, would like to know how to stop babies from hollerating. So is the crash that Morgan makes when he immediately faints. She fills her co-workers in: Yes, she’s pregnant, but she used a sperm donor. Before Tamra Brandy Monica Webb (!!) can answer, Morgan topples over the ledge. As Tamra’s doctor, Mindy won’t tell them anything due to HIPPO (“everyone’s hungry, hungry for some medical secrets”), but they have a pretty good idea they are on the right track thanks to the book they found on Tamra’s desk: Family Affair: The Mary J. Who would’ve ever guessed this happy ending? Tamra’s cousin Sheena is back (finally!), and she wants some answers. Brendan’s suggestion that she not completely close her heart off when he comes in to quit the practice (it’s too dysfunctional and close-minded) seems to really affect our girl. The second time Morgan comes to, this time in the hospital (and with tales of a group-sex dream that no one wants to hear about), it’s Tamra who makes the romantic gesture. Brendan stays! It’s a question that will surely be explored throughout the rest of this final season, but kudos to Brendan for bringing it up. Until then, I’ll be searching for Mary J. Jody must be the father. But like all of those delicious, delicious calories, is Mindy’s romantic spirit also a core piece of her character? Duncan declares that he’s “the Elsa now, bitch.” So, instead of mending Brendan and Duncan’s irreparable relationship, Mindy offers Brendan a job at Schulman and Associates. Photo: Jordin Althaus/NBC Universal Television/Hulu

The Mindy Project

The Midwife's Tale
Season 6

Episode 6

Editor’s Rating

4 stars

Complete Series Coverage

Holy smokes, has our little Mindy really changed as a person? That man turns out to be Brendan Deslaurier. She’s doing her friend a solid. (Is Garret Dillahunt ever better than in his delivery of “Who would’ve thought? He may have feet so smelly they made his podiatrist quit the business, but his heart works and he will love Tamra and their baby forever. She tells Jeremy and Anna that after Tamra passed on a bellini at brunch, she figured out that Tamra is pregnant. Nor should it. Case closed, right? You guys, Tamra and Morgan are getting married. (I’m loving all these trips down Mindy memory lane.) Jeremy thinks Tamra should go for it because Morgan will always be obsessed with her. Her answer is yes! Mindy’s ex and everyone’s favorite midwife Brendan Deslaurier sure seems to think that her romantic idealism is one of her more charming qualities, and even though it’s good to be practical, she shouldn’t cast aside her heart completely just because she’s had some tough breaks. It’s genuinely sweet, but it’s a lot and Tamra needs to think about it. The gang takes their inquisition to Jody, and when he denies it, they go directly to Tamra for answers. Cheesesteaks always and forever! Or has all the heartbreak and divorce crushed that spirit for good?

The Big Bang Theory Recap: Papa Don’t Teach

• “And to anticipate your next questions, roasted pork and sideways missionary.” Beverly, to Penny, after telling her she spent the previous evening with a man, eating Cuban food and having unsatisfying intercourse. There are a zillion things the writers could have had Raj say or do to try to prove his toughness to Bernadette, and that’s what they went with, a harsh statement that feels out of character, out of the blue, and completely out of touch. While talking to Bernadette about the impending birth of her second child (which Bernie and Howard learn at the beginning of the episode is a boy), Raj says her son could turn out to be a little boy who is both “rough and tumble” and “sweet and sensitive.” Like him, Raj says. THEOR-EMS

• Bernie’s doctor asks if Halley is hoping for a little brother or sister. Sheldon asks Howard if he can drive them home — he’s had his driver’s license for a few years, he reveals — and while nervous at first (or maybe pretending to be, for his friend’s benefit), Sheldon gradually gains more confidence behind the wheel as Howard encourages him and praises him when all goes smoothly. This isn’t the first time TBBT has gone askew with its characters in terms of the way the men treat, and talk to, the women. While Sheldon and Howard are out in the desert, setting off a model rocket together and bonding over their poor relationships with their fathers, Raj is spending the evening with Bernie, helping her pack up the clothes baby Halley has outgrown, and busting out a sewing machine to help her redesign some of the castoffs for the new baby. That is not to defend that dialogue at all; it’s to say that it piled on to what has been an increasingly disheartening couple of weeks, and made me think that a network sitcom should be a half-hour escape from that, at least. Leonard’s problem with this is twofold: He’s jealous that his mother tells Penny she’s proud of her, and he’s upset that his mother likes Penny, because he married Penny to hurt his mother. Howard is fretting that because his father abandoned his family when Howard was young, he is unqualified to teach his son how to be a good guy. “Well, she’s 9 months old, so unless it jingles or is in my bra, she doesn’t care,” Bernie says. Ignoring it is at the core of why lazy, flip dialogue like that seems acceptable to writers who have proven many, many times, in some classic episodes of The Big Bang Theory, that they are capable of better. With the two women taking the time to really get to know each other, they realize they like each other: Beverly confides in Penny about her recent dating woes, and Penny chats with her mother-in-law about her job. Recent events demonstrate we all could use more sensitivity to this, and systemic problems have to be addressed throughout the systems. But Raj is supposed to be the “sweet and sensitive” one. When Bernie questions if Raj really believes he’s rough and tumble, his response is, “You bet I am, bitch.”

He apologizes immediately, but, boy, those words — that word — tumbling out of that character’s mouth, for the purpose of proving to his pregnant female friend how tough he is … it made me wince. If this seems like a really big deal to be making about one line of dialogue, it is, because it is a big deal. Because you were full.”

• Sheldon got his driver’s license exactly three years ago, he tells Howard, when he was on a bit of a “license kick.” “I’m also a commercial fisherman,” he says. As for Sheldon and Howard, they are the one genuine bright spot. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

The Big Bang Theory

The Explosion Implosion
Season 11

Episode 4

Editor’s Rating

2 stars

Complete Series Coverage

I wonder if the writers of The Big Bang Theory would have changed a line in this week’s episode if they’d written it a couple of weeks later. So again, I wonder: If the writers were creating this script now, would they write that same line for Raj to say? “You’re a good teacher,” Sheldon says. “Your son is going to be lucky to have you as a father.”

It is easily the nicest thing Sheldon has ever said to Howard — one of the nicest things he’s ever said to anyone — and it probably makes up for the fact that Sheldon soon thereafter gets pulled over by a cop for driving 112 miles per hour. Leonard’s admittedly frosty mama, Beverly, begins communicating with Penny after Penny answers a phone call meant for Leonard. And the women are capable of dishing out disrespect as unfortunately as they receive it. Tags: The episode was taped, so it was written well before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. That’s something he actually says to Penny while throwing a hissy fit about the women’s new friendship. The Raj developed across the last ten seasons would not say something like that to one of his best friends, nor to any female, and the fact that he did is lazy, flip writing. I hope not. The two truly connect. And if I, or anyone else, is more sensitive to it right now, good. Penny, meanwhile, is still married to a baby who begrudges his mother and his wife a friendship that fulfills something both are missing from their relationships with other people. All’s well that ends well — for Leonard anyway — as he confronts his mother about why she’s never told him she’s proud of him, and she finally does say she’s proud of him for whom he married. Penny: “Sure, sure. In the episode’s other big story line, women are bonding with each other, but that leads to yet more bad behavior from one of the men.

Michael Fassbender on The Snowman, Doing a Rom-Com, and Kissing Himself in Alien: Covenant

I enjoyed it, actually — it was invigorating. I think if you want to be good at something — to find happiness in it — you have to have a passion for it. Related Stories

David in Alien: Covenant Is the Best Blockbuster Villain in Years. Do they have a speed limit?Yes, I’m sure they do. I was doing X-Men: First Class at the time and we couldn’t make it work, scheduling. When Fassbender joins a splashy franchise, he adds gravitas. You really did shoot this in Norway in the winter. The Snowman has a subplot related to abortion. The Oslo-set thriller, directed by Let the Right One In’s Tomas Alfredson, is a slightly goofy serial-killer mystery in which Fassbender plays an alcoholic detective named Harry Hole, the star of 11 gory novels by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø. So there’s a lot going on there, and then some of the stuff is in contradiction, which is interesting to play with. Did Rebecca win?Is there ever a winner on those things? No matter how cold it gets, he never zips up his jacket. For sure. Lots of snowball fights, though. Even when you see yourself turned into a unicorn sparkle GIF.I don’t really look at that much of it, so I’m not really aware of what’s out there. As Fassbender perches on the couch, he seems very present, but protective, even for this deeply private actor. His Magneto survived the Holocaust; his Alien android attacks the hubris and frailty of mankind. That’s right. I had no reference point before, so I couldn’t really tell. I’d been planning to congratulate him on his upcoming Ibiza wedding to Alicia Vikander. How does 40 feel at this point in your career?Really good. I have a car similar to what Katrine [Rebecca Ferguson’s character, another officer] was driving. For me, if I’m lying on my back resting, I always like to have something under my head. In 2010, Tomas and I were sitting down seeing if we could work together on Tinker Tailor. The intensity is expected. I liked it because before I went out there, I was thinking, “Ugh, it’s going to be brutal.” But it wasn’t that bad. Depends on the day. There’s a lot of time in between setups when I just read. He’s shaking hello with his right hand and scrubbing off photo shoot makeup with his left. That non-awareness of the cold that that guy seemed to have, he wanted to incorporate that into Harry, as well. Fassbender became famous playing a zealot in Hunger, and since then has shunned the sugar-coated crowd-pleasers Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper splice in between Oscar attempts and bombastic blockbusters to assure audiences they have a sense of humor. Even the ones that maybe I don’t like so much. Harry’s a drunk and an iffy father figure and a misanthrope who pushes chairs away in his office cafeteria so he doesn’t have to talk to people. Yet, at the center of the silliness, Fassbender gives a straightforward performance of a man just trying to do his job. Compared to Fassbender, Christian Bale looks playful. Why not?Cause I don’t have an interest in it. He doesn’t carry things on him a lot. I read in the evenings, whenever I have free time. It was cold, but not really that bad. How fast have you gone on the Autobahn?On a motorcycle, I did 140 miles an hour. It’s fun — and if people are getting pleasure out of it, then cool. It’s unusual. I love the fact that he’s not an action hero. I thought, “Wow he’s an original and a really intelligent man. When he goes into a scuffle, he usually comes out the worse for wear. You know, you sit around set a lot. (Even while gifting Tumblr a Fassbender-on-Fassbender smooch – more on that later.)

His new film, The Snowman, is a half-step off from his serious path. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at these things. What did you like about him? Jo has said that the 2011 Anders Breivik mass shooting both deeply affected Norwegians and affected the way he saw violence in his own books. If a script is good and it interests me, then I’ll do it. But once you do something, I always feel like it doesn’t belong to me. What he has, he has on him. I think, “Okay, I won’t do that.” But yeah, all the time just soaking up information and just trying to learn as much as I can. First, he carries his files in a plastic grocery bag.It just felt right. What did you think of the reaction to the Fassbender-on-Fassbender kiss in Alien: Covenant?Uhhh … I guess I was surprised by it because I didn’t think much of it when I was doing it. Would you want this to turn into a movie franchise like the Jack Reacher books?Yes, I would, yeah. I was like, “Maybe the plastic bag?” I just like those quirks, you know. I’m not that caught up in it. A detective is a genre that I wanted to do. Absolutely. I don’t think there’s ever been a decade that I’ve been around where there hasn’t been romantic comedies. I’d like to work with him and I feel like I could learn things from him.”

How do you feel about doing romantic comedies?I haven’t really thought about it that much. But I just remembered his intelligence and the way he talked about storytelling. Yeah, I had some beautiful drives there. In person, it seemed safer just to talk about death. I think everybody gets their moments. Norway has a reputation for being progressive. On the set, was there a meta-moment where you guys made snowmen?Yeah, I remember briefly trying to make a snowman and it being a bad effort. But it was just something that happened on the day. When you’re on the set with someone like Tomas, are you taking mental notes of what they’re doing? There’s an obsessiveness that is part of his personality and part of his relationship to the job. But I don’t think it’s something that needs to be respected and revered and taken seriously. Here’s Why. The movie has amazing aerial shots of cars speeding down skinny, snowy, slippery Norwegian roads. Once I make the film and we send it out there, it’s out in the public domain — it’s there for people to take whatever they will from it. Do you think you’d make a good detective?No. I think there’s always been a market for them. Jo had such an investment in this character. Was that weird for you, especially being from Ireland where abortion is still illegal?I didn’t think about it that much, to be honest, until you bring it up now. Still, it’s unusual to hear a movie talk about abortion as a normal fact. Cleansed, he looks exactly the same: vivid blue eyes, electric copper hair, stubble so bright and bristly it seems impossible it didn’t serrate his makeup wipe. The air was so clean. I couldn’t to be honest, no. It doesn’t matter anymore. You seem like you’d win.No. So, fine. You’ve read all the books in the Harry Hole series except The Snowman, which you avoided so it wouldn’t interfere with how you interpreted the script. Then reading the books, I just really like the character. I think he hates his job. It’s a very dry cold there, so it was quite refreshing. Tags: I always feel like talking about something is kind of pointless because the audience will see it, and it is whatever it is to the individual. Is there a limit to how many series you can handle?As long as I feel like I want to do them, I’ll participate. If the person says it’s about this, then it is about that for them, regardless of whether that’s actually the case in the film. And I just thought there’s something interesting and temporary about a plastic bag, something very naff, not organized, but in a way still just very practical. Most countries have a speed limit. I always think of Scandinavia as a progressive place, socially. I think he’s just listening to music. Photo: Getty Images

Michael Fassbender is multitasking. Can you explain them? It no longer belongs to anybody. Harry has some weird quirks. How cold did it get? We felt that it was interesting. When he takes a nap, he sleeps on a pillow made of record albums. That’s just to make him look like a tough guy. You know, it’s funny because Tomas talked about not putting on the jacket. A lot of fun driving on ice roads. And the drinking thing is just him self-medicating. The Snowman boasts identical twins and motorized garrotes and severed heads stuck to snowballs and a surprising amount of Aphex Twin. But of course, it is something that people are going to ask about. He’s really human, and I could imagine him as somebody who is living and breathing and existing. All the time with all the directors that I’ve worked with. I don’t even take it that seriously. He said he was on a bus trip one time and the bus driver stood outside the bus having a cigarette in short sleeves. In a car, I did about 160. As a person who loves race-car driving, Norway looks like a great place to do it. Germany’s Autobahn doesn’t have the speed limit in certain sections, but I don’t know any other place in the world that doesn’t have a speed limit. He’s brilliant at it, and he can’t step away from it. I take it seriously in terms of, I come to work well-prepared and I want to do my best and I definitely put my heart and soul into my work. How do you make time to read? You’ve talked about wanting to direct.Yes, I’d like to do that in the next couple of years. That’s just the way it is and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Could you feel that while you were there? Norway, what’s interesting is they made most of their money from fossil fuels, but they invest most of their money in green, renewable energy, which says a lot about the country. And they’re right.

America Ferrera Writes About Being Sexually Assaulted When She Was 9-Years-Old

He would smile at me and wave, and I would hurry past him, my blood running cold, my guts carrying the burden of what only he & I knew — that he expected me to shut my mouth and smile back.” Ferrera’s story joins those of literally thousands of other women, including fellow performers Gabrielle Union, Evan Rachel Wood, Anna Paquin, and so many others. “First time I can remember being sexually assaulted I was 9 years old. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Sparked by the actresses coming out to share their stories of sexual-harassment and assault at the hands of producer Harvey Weinstein, women started sharing their experiences of sexual abuse and misconduct on social media with the hashtag #MeToo. I told no one and lived with the shame and guilt thinking all along that I, a 9 year old child, was somehow responsible for the actions of a grown man,” Ferrera posted to Twitter and Instagram, hours after tweeting a simple “#MeToo.”

The actress explained, “I had to see this man on a daily basis for years to come. The hashtag was suggested by Alyssa Milano to gauge the magnitude of our societal sexual-abuse problem. In a heartbreaking post, Superstore actress America Ferrera shared her story Monday night, which began when she was in elementary school. Concluded Ferrera, “Ladies, let’s break the silence so the next generation of girls won’t have to live with this bullshit.”

#metoo A post shared by America Ferrera (@americaferrera) on Oct 16, 2017 at 6:52pm PDT


Vietnamese Actress Vu Thu Phuong Says Harvey Weinstein Suggested He Teach Her How to Perform Sex Scenes in Hotel Room

Harvey Weinstein standing before me with only a towel around his waist, smiling,” she alleges. “I can teach you, don’t worry. “It’s time that I can explain about the Shanghai failure and why I shelved my ‘American dream’ as well as the contract with Weinstein’s film company.”

In 2008, Phuong says, the now-disgraced studio head expressed interest in her for a role in 2010’s Shanghai, a historical drama starring John Cusack and Gong Li. She hopes other performers will continue to expose the entertainment industry’s sexual-harassment problem. It’s time that I liberate myself,” she wrote in a Facebook post, translated in Saigoneer. Disappointed after her role was all but excised from the final cut of the film, the actress agreed to meet with the producer about a possible opportunity in a future Weinstein Company film. Vietnamese model and former actress Vu Thu Phuong is the latest woman to open up about a distressing encounter with the producer. “I encourage other females who were abused to tell their story to caution others.”

7 High-Profile Men Accused of Sexual Harassment Over The Past Year


Page Six/NYP



Tags: My head was tensing up. “I decided that I didn’t want to sell myself to enter Hollywood,” says Vuong. “It was an extremely horrifying feeling. It felt like my nerves would snap.” Rattled and embarrassed that her big break in Shanghai had resulted in less than a cameo, Vuong went home the next day; she says the experience was part of the reason she later walked away from acting. “I believe that I can’t be silent anymore. “Everything suddenly turned dark when I saw Mr. “Weinstein should be punished for disrespecting and devaluing women,” she writes. Photo: Facebook/vuthuphuong99

Another day, another deeply perturbing story about Harvey Weinstein’s seemingly unending history of sexual misconduct. Many stars have also been through this,” Vuong recalls Weinstein telling her. He then purportedly attempted to convince Vuong to let him instruct her on how to properly perform in a sex scene, as there would be several in the film he fancied her for. “I was thinking at the moment that if he were to rape me or kill me, would anybody find out and stop him?” Phuong wrote on Facebook. Unfortunately, once Vuong arrived, Weinstein quickly tried to turn the meeting sexual. “Just treat this as necessary experiences so that you’ll have a stronger foundation in the future.”

Appalled, the actress rejected his advances.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Recap: Honk If You’re Thorny

Or at least it’s a fact. “No one’s above the beep!” Larry bellows, a foreshadowing of his grandstanding before an unsympathetic Judge Ranheim. And if Rushdie hadn’t had Larry swooning with fantasies of “fatwa sex” and the “fatwa boys” staring down danger at every opportunity and turning Greater Los Angeles on its head, he might have reconsidered wooing Elizabeth to begin with, let alone sacrificing life and limb (okay, limb) to recover Jeff’s Cubs hat from the roof. In fairness, fault for this entire sequence of events can be laid at the feet of either or both Ted Danson or Salman Rushdie. That last story thread, unlike the restaurant manager’s neatly bookended reverberations, is a bit of a loose end. He’d already been to court in protest of a minor (though costly) traffic violation, specifically honking too aggressively while waiting for Office Jenkins to move through a green light. • Fun fact: The actress playing Elizabeth’s friend at Estate is Lucy Walsh, daughter of the Eagles’ Joe Walsh. In the end, however, Larry is caught red-handed as the man responsible for vandalizing Officer Jenkins’s car, thanks to Elizabeth Banks’s less-than-Elizabethan face-plant of a performance orating their alibi, down to an unmerited closing bow. But then, Larry could have heeded the chef’s advice to mind his business and beg off ludicrous analogies likening family crises to an inexplicably prolonged lunch. That is, if Susie were less prone to overstating the talents of not only her own daughter (“You think Sammi was talented at this age?” Susie poses rhetorically. And it turns out the cagey restaurant manager (Rich Fulcher) nearly saves Larry’s hide while detaining Officer Jenkins (Damon Wayans Jr.) with his artfully evasive patter. “No, I don’t,” L-Vid counters), but also a wayward teenager they’ve taken in who has already run away. Good thing? Kind of like how Salman, as in Rushdie, might roll off some people’s tongues if it were the phonetically similar fish, while the author himself insists there’s accent is on the “a.” But since when does Larry quibble? Tags: He also should have heard the judge’s words to “take your un-sucked candy and get back to your desk” as a subtle suggestion to be a bit less brazen. It could also be Elvid, or L.Vid, à la J. It’s not as if he’s the type of guy to litigate semantics with restaurant managers, chefs, and beat cops while obscured behind a wig and mustache that make him look like an understudy in a play based on Albert Einstein’s life. This isn’t Larry’s first run-in with that particular patrolman. In what Elizabeth may have recognized as a truly Shakespearean delivery, Larry manages to malign the common jackass for its “stolid, slack-jawed gaze,” liken himself to Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks, and finally run afoul of the judge by “yoo-hoo”-ing him to order. • At times this season, Larry has seemed more senile than self-righteous? Lo. Bad thing? “A Disturbance in the Kitchen” never does reveal what keeps Larry and Jeff waiting for their food at the trendy Estate restaurant in Santa Monica, a real location that’s now destined/doomed to a future of tourist patrons asking if there’s any unrest among those preparing their meal. And this probably isn’t the last we’ve seen or heard of Swat’s sensitivity to people talking under their breaths. Apart From All That

• Not watching Katie’s dance recital is, apparently, on a par with skipping Susie’s house tours. Katie (Eryn Pablico), Susie’s Big Brothers Big Sisters little sis, is sure to stick around and torment Larry in some fashion. Photo: HBO

Curb Your Enthusiasm

A Disturbance in the Kitchen
Season 9

Episode 3

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Complete Series Coverage

“Fuck you, L-Vid!” At least that’s one assumed spelling of Elizabeth Banks’s nickname for Larry. Ditto for Larry’s continued hectoring of Swat, who creates a mild kitchen disturbance of his own in Larry’s house and nearly flares up with rage when Larry mumbles a derisive aside to Leon. For now, with Elizabeth no longer in the picture and his buddies hiding from their fatwa’d pal, Larry is left to an increasingly familiar scene: he and Leon, sipping on Stellas, wondering when they’ll live the life of Riley. If Ted’s stupid Tesla didn’t have such a sensitive honking mechanism, Officer Jenkins might have let Larry off with a warning (though Ted gets his comeuppance later, perhaps learning that he should always lead with Sam Malone before John Becker). And when Susie comments on him being “back to normal” sans disguise, only to note, “I like the other look better,” it just as easily could be construed as a metaphor for retreating back into the timid modesty of his post-fatwa lifestyle. • “I didn’t think there was any condition that they’d be attracted to me,” Larry tells Salman bemusedly while processing “fatwa sex.”

• Turns out a fatwa is an even better social excuse than Larry’s mother dying.

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Star Trek: Discovery Recap: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Captains

Sergio: But there’s no money in the Federation? The tardigrade dehydrates itself into a hibernating husk to avoid the whole situation, and Saru orders the crew to, essentially, “Just Magic Sponge him back to normal,” so they can rescue the captain already. After a brief round of perfunctory Clockwork Orange–style eyeball torture, Lorca and Tyler team up and take out their sleepwalking-on-the-job captors the next time they demand one of them “choose their pain.” They also leave Mudd behind after Lorca determines he was feeding prisoner secrets to the Klingon command, which is sort of understandable, if not exactly on Starfleet brand. After that terrifying giggle-collapse, Dr. Saru offers a conciliatory gesture of his own and gives Burnham the freedom to care for the tardigrade however she thinks best, so she releases it into space on a total hunch. I don’t mean to sound snarky; I’m trying to figure out how to relate to a Star Trek series that, thus far, seems relatively interested in being a show about Star Trek. Harry Mudd has an angry beard, this Captain blew up his last crew to spare them all from Klingon torture, and we’re swearing now. Saru’s not willing to go that far, but he does seem pretty chuffed at his excellent captaining strategy, which seems to be, essentially, “Make sure the computer gives me a periodic pep talk.” Which is not a bad strategy, as those things go! I’m not wild about it! Related
Every Star Trek TV Show, Ranked

Tags: You can either take your torture yourself, or “volunteer” one of your co-prisoners to get beaten up on your behalf. This both worked (the crew gets away!) and did not work (he collapses and starts giggling in a very upsetting way). Lorca and Lieutenant Tyler come tearing out of Klingon space under hot pursuit, get beamed aboard, and Saru orders the team to jump. This week’s episode is a bit of a mess, but I’d like to start by talking about what I loved first, and that is, hands down, temporary Acting Captain Saru’s attempt to Seven Habits of Highly Effective People his way to success using the ship’s computer. Anyway, Captain Lorca is kidnapped by the Klingons and held in an ill-lit prison cell, where the Klingons have their prisoners routinely beaten on a weird shared-pain round-robin system. The last thing we see is legitimately great, like Event Horizon–level great. It was delightful and a little embarrassing and extremely on-brand for Saru. Mudd also delivers a “maybe Starfleet is to blame for all this conflict, with their relentless expansionism; no one ever thinks about the little guys like me!” monologue. Stamets calmly walks after his husband, leaving behind his own image standing perfectly still in the mirror. (Guess which option Mudd routinely chooses. And you think, I don’t know, you think he’s going to have weird eyes, or giggle again, or do something that lets the audience know that he Came Back Wrong, and he does, but it’s not what I expected at all. (Please feel free to substitute Victor Garber’s “Very wool” and “That’s not wool” line readings from his episode of 30 Rock whenever I declare something “Starfleet” or “not Starfleet.”)

Back on the Discovery, Burnham finally finds someone willing to listen to her concerns about the toll all these jumps are taking on the tardigrade in Dr. Burnham offers him Georgiou’s telescope, which she received merely a single episode ago, because this show seems anxious to burn through as much plot and dramatic capital as quickly as possible. It works out, but it’s not even a hypothesis, she just thinks being outside will make it feel more relaxed. Culper can’t stop fussing over Lieutenant Stamets in their quarters, and you know that something Weird is going to happen once he finally heads to bed, leaving Stamets alone in front of the mirror, weirder than talking after brushing your teeth without rinsing. I’m skeptical that anything could have prepared him to deal with the genetic manipulation of living Starfleet members in order to fuel a mushroom-based warp drive, but fair enough. Meanwhile, Burnham dreams she’s electrocuting her own double in the spore-navigational chamber (if you can think of a better word for it, please God, let me know), which really sets the tone for how the rest of the episode is going to go. I’m sure Starfleet has some sort of, I don’t know, dissolving toothpaste at this point, but it was all I could think about for hours afterward. Between that, and the moment where Burnham tells Saru that “his culture” leads him to mistrust her (since he’s from a planet where everyone shares the same basic character traits due to, you know, evo-psych), it feels like the show is really heavily leaning into the whole immediately-post-9/11 discourse thing. The general consensus was that Norah is right. Lots of Trek shows start off with a rocky first season or two, and of course “being about Star Trek” is a concept with variable interpretations. The second Stamets said simply, “We’re ready,” after Saru asks if the tardigrade is fully functioning again, Norah and Sergio exchanged Significant Looks and I pretended to have guessed what they had, too — namely that Stamets had uploaded the genetic sequence into his own body, and powered the jump himself. Saru’s response is, not incorrectly, that upgrading a human’s genetic sequence in order to power a starship qualifies as eugenics, and therefore Not On. Culber, although he kind of hilariously bails on her to perform an Andorian tonsillectomy the second Lieutenant Stamets pushes back. I found this viscerally upsetting, as I kept imagining how his mouth would have filled with toothpaste as he tried to speak without rinsing. Captain Lorca gets intercepted by Klingons on his return from a profoundly unsuccessful strategy meeting with Starfleet Command, and gets thrown into a cell with a full gritty-upbraid Harry Mudd, who I am going to do my best not to refer to as Dwight Schrute for the duration. Photo: Michael Gibson/CBS

Star Trek: Discovery

Choose Your Pain
Season 1

Episode 5

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Complete Series Coverage

Say what you will about tonight’s outing, it was certainly an episode of television. It haunted me as I brushed my own teeth hours later. Norah: I mean, if you’re buying your girlfriend a moon, I think you’re operating outside of standard Federation parameters already. Also, they get to say the F-word twice, and they all seem very pleased with themselves. Culber are standing around brushing their teeth and catching up after the day’s events, and Lieutenant Stamets pulls his toothbrush out of his mouth mid-brush, starts talking, and fails to either spit or rinse his mouth. My greatest objection to tonight’s episode, while we’re talking about high and low points, came during the closer, when Lieutenant Stamets and his husband Dr. There’s some more Bad Discourse, Lieutenant Stamets says, “You say portobello, I say portabella,” for some reason (is that a thing?), and ultimately they decide it’s worth trying to upgrade the tardigrade’s genetic sequence into a willing, sentient host in the hopes of finding a better long-term solution to powering the spore drive. You have guessed correctly!)

There’s also an extremely unsettling dude sharing their Torture Quarantine named Ash Tyler, a broken-down lieutenant who practically begs to get beaten up and left behind to die at every opportunity. This isn’t network television! Afterward, Burnham and Saru have another rehashing of old resentments in her quarters: Saru clarifies that he isn’t afraid of her, and he’s jealous he didn’t get to experience Georgiou’s mentoring once Burnham had gotten her own command because it would have prepared him better for today’s events. He orders the computer to run a How to Be the Best Saru Possible protocol (sure), and the computer tells him about the “negative element” holding him back from achieving his full potential (your first two guesses about the identity of the negative element don’t count), and recommends he remove the element. Which, in her defense, it does! “Computer,” he says, “compile a database of the most highly decorated Starfleet captains, living and dead.” (Jonathan Archer made the list, in case you’re wondering.) Then he asks the computer to cross-reference “the qualities that made them successful,” which is such a wonderfully vague thing to ask a ship’s computer, sort of like asking Watson to analyze your Myers-Briggs type. It’s a great moment, and it freaked me the hell out. What were the ineffable personality traits that contributed to the achievement of strangers, and why aren’t I like that? Mudd’s backstory — he got into trouble borrowing money to buy his girlfriend a moon, and angry creditors handed him over to the Klingons — brought up a rousing economic debate between my friends Sergio and Norah. It’s like a game of closure hot-potato!

Vice Principals Recap: Lady Vengeance

It’s a look at Russell at his most vulnerable. Revenge may feel good, but it always comes at some personal cost. He apologizes to Robin for not sticking up for him at the party, but laughs when Abbott tells him that Brian fainted because she slipped a roofie into his drink. Abbott home. The clock starts ticking as soon as the episode opens. “You don’t care who you hurt as long as Lee Russell gets what he wants.” Then, in tears, she takes a baseball bat first to his birthday cake, and then to his car. His regret seems to be genuine — “I cleaned it, Christine,” he tells his sleeping wife — though it’s likely too little, too late. In a surprise twist, the guest list has a last-minute addition, courtesy of Christine: Kevin. It’s too true to life for that. Russell doesn’t fare much better as his party turns into a powder keg. If this is what we’re getting just halfway through the season, the payoff is guaranteed to be worth the wait. When Christine asks Russell point blank if he was responsible, he dodges the question, instead blasting Avril Lavigne on the car stereo and singing along. It wasn’t Robin — it was Christine. “Stop making up lies,” she cries. As Gamby takes Abbott home with him, Russell cleans up the party, spending the last part of his night scrubbing poop from his wedding portrait. There’s no forgiving that, and for once, Russell seems to realize it. Gamby does his best to disperse the party, offering Russell his sympathy before driving Robin and a wasted Ms. This week’s episode establishes itself as a full-on tragedy, as Christine confronts her husband in front of the entire crowd. The catalyst is Kevin Yoon (Keong Sim), Christine’s college boyfriend, who interrupts Russell and Christine as they’re out to dinner. He may be able to fool Gamby time and time again, but Christine’s not an idiot. It’s quickly cut short as Brian faints dead away, and Russell’s entreaties to ignore the incident and continue the toast are met with indifference. As Russell’s birthday party gets under way, she grows more and more suspicious (and drinks more and more wine on top of a tablet of Klonopin that Russell gives her), unable to shake the feeling that there’s something rotten in her marriage. After berating her, he enlists Nash (who notably reveals to Gamby that she’d once worked as a private investigator in Miami) to kick Kevin out, though she has as much success as she’s had in disciplining the students. So, how do you solve a problem like Lee Russell? Once again, he’s grown, but not enough. For men like Russell and Gamby, never growing up means never adjusting their horrid behavior and never facing the consequences for it. As it happens, those rumors only started when Christine told Russell that she loved Kevin. Meanwhile, Gamby has brought Robin to the party in an attempt to impress Snodgrass with his mentorship skills. However, she’s on the arm of her new beau, Brian (Fisher Stevens, giving one of the best low-key sleazy performances on TV). The last 20 years of her life are built on a lie. Photo: HBO

Vice Principals

A Compassionate Man
Season 2

Episode 5

Editor’s Rating

5 stars

Complete Series Coverage

There’s a certain amount of romanticism in a phrase like “here’s to never growing up,” but when Lee Russell sings it, it lands less like an affirmation of life and more like a punch in the gut. The scene is one of the few times we’ve seen Russell completely alone, and it’s strange seeing him in a position where he isn’t performing for someone else. The party is a bombshell, and a particularly impressive one given the fact that it makes absolutely no headway as to what is ostensibly Vice Principals’ main plot of figuring out who shot Gamby. In some of the show’s more lighthearted moments, it’s easy to forget the impact that Gamby and Russell are having on others, but as Christine says as she dresses Russell down, he’s completely altered the course of her life. Tags: She knows what kind of man she married — or at least, she’s learned. This week’s episode sees decades-old repercussions come home to roost, but Vice Principals isn’t the kind of show to let us off so easy. His odd behavior doesn’t escape Christine’s notice, and on the car ride home, she starts to paint a damning picture. But if this show has proven good at anything, it’s setup. When Gamby approaches Brian and brings up their prior encounter, he turns Gamby’s insincere apology right back on him, saying that he pities Gamby for letting Amanda slip through his fingers. It’s a difficult scene to watch, close in impact to the sequence in the first season in which Gamby and Russell got Belinda Brown drunk. Christine and Kevin are thrilled to see each other, but Lee looks like he’s seen a ghost, going so far as to say that Christine doesn’t have Facebook when Kevin says they ought to connect. Now that she’s confronted with a specter from their past, it’s hard not to wonder how much he may have lied to her, too. Upset with how poorly the evening is going, Russell goes looking for his wife, only to find that someone has utterly trashed his bedroom and shit on his wedding portrait. Vice Principals has always walked the fine line between tragedy and comedy, and that balancing act only makes it more affecting when it stops straddling the line. With Christine gone, Russell asks Gamby to deliver his birthday toast. Kevin, now married with kids, left school and broke Christine’s heart when rumors started to circulate that he was gay. The evening sours further as Superintendent Haas (who, as always, is happier to see Gamby than he is Russell) points out the inequity between her and Russell, suggesting that Christine’s salary is paying for Russell’s new, extravagant lifestyle. Christine, now even more certain of Russell’s past deception, retreats upstairs to cry in the privacy of their bedroom. Charging back downstairs, he immediately blames Robin, but we all already know he’s got the wrong person.

Ray Donovan Recap: The Brothers Donovan

Thanks for sticking with me and let’s hope Ray Donovan closes season five out in style. In the waiting room, Daryll and Mickey have a talk about the script, which Daryll still wants to turn into Mister Lucky. I don’t think he even had any real lines. He tells the cops that Natalie was pregnant with Doug’s child, blowing up two professional relationships that likely would have paid him well in the future. Even Bridget Donovan “plays daddy” this week, doing something awfully similar to what her father did to save a loved one, allowing emotion to make her break the law. Can he really survive the season? He doesn’t bite. Particularly the Sam-Doug negotiations, in which Hollywood power players use each other to keep criminal behavior from coming out? Daryll knows it’s going to all fall apart if Mickey keeps pressuring Jay and the studio to make the movie he wrote, instead of the movie they want to make. Sam calls Ray with Doug listening in the background and tells him not to mention Landry’s relationship with Natalie. “Bob the Builder” opens in Ray Donovan’s apartment, now a crime scene after the deaths of Natalie James and her creepy ex in what looks like a clear-cut murder-suicide. I wonder if the writers of Ray Donovan will directly address Weinstein next season with a character who’s “pulled from the headlines” Law & Order style. What do you want to see happen to save this season? What makes Ray Donovan the best clean-up man in Hollywood? Meanwhile, Sam Winslow and Doug Landry are negotiating. He’s meeting with Jay White, drinking coconut water and trying to assuage Jay’s nerves, but the cops are there and the narrative is already turning. And what about Sam? • Only two episodes left! He refuses, even though Doug could screw Ray too. Might as well take advantage of it.”

As Bridget begs the doctor from Sloane-Kettering to let her boyfriend into the trial, eventually pulling a gun on her, her father and her uncles are about to have a violent day. First, the Bunchy saga: He won’t go to the cops, so Terry calls Ray, and the brothers Donovan have a little adventure. He tells his dad later that the cops wanted him to wear a wire, and Mickey doesn’t really believe him when he says he’s not. After getting patched up, Bunchy convinces his brothers to go get his money back. She doesn’t go as far as her dad, but the emotional drive is the same — that Donovan fearlessness and need to protect. He goes to urgent care with Daryll, using a copy of Four Leaf to hide his boner. A fight ensues, ending in Terry saving Ray’s life with a gunshot. It’s basically a game to these two power players: They know each other’s skeletons and are seeing what they can get from one another. Daryll Donovan was blinded by stardom and didn’t see the tables turning in a way that never would have happened to Ray. That damn script could destroy his always-tenuous relationship with his son. Because they were entranced by the bright lights of La La Land, which never did anything for Ray. He’s picturing that awful event, seeing Natalie’s eyes as the life got choked out of them. Who’s your MVP? Sam comes in to castigate him about ratting out Doug Landry — now, she wants Doug killed because he might blab to the police. Do you miss Abby yet? But Ray is not a hired killer. He mentions that his mother made him learn those silly details when she was dying, and it dawned on me for the first time that Terry was better emotionally equipped to handle Abby’s needs because he handled his mother’s while Ray fled. The episode closes with Ray on a leather couch at the boxing club, watching a home-shopping channel. It’s the best scene of the week. Although Mickey isn’t distracted enough to forget to harass the doctor who’s fixing his penis: “It’s never gonna be this big again. Why? As we see in “Bob the Builder,” that’s a special skill set. If you remember the night before, Mickey had a little fun with some hired ladies and took a few “gas station boner pills.” Now, he can’t get rid of his erection — not by masturbation, frozen veggies, or a hair dryer. There’s a great bit of character development here in that Terry knows everyone’s blood type. Is it just because of what’s morally right, or does Ray sense that Sam and Doug could target him next? And now we get to Mickey Donovan’s boner, which is actually a major plot point! As Ray later says, it won’t be enough to make up for taking Abby’s. At first, it appears empty, but the danger of the environment is well-executed in the way we see shots of awful, gruesome things, including a dead dog hanging from a pipe. He needs it not just for his family, but because of what he endured to get it. Ray finds the money in a barely buried metal box when the same growling lunatic who shot Bunchy gets the jump on him. Why? It would certainly fit this show and maybe give it some of the veracity it often lacks. Other Notes

• The episode ends with “Doing It Right” by the Yawpers. • Jake Busey, always an interesting actor, basically played a grunting lunatic who shoots one Donovan last week and gets shot by another this week. It’s not just his willingness to do virtually anything for his clients, but the fact that he can remain detached while doing so. In the end, Mickey and Daryll are suspicious of each other, Bridget is arrested for pulling a gun on a doctor, Bunchy comes home with his money, and Terry and Ray are still fighting. Jay wanted to call the cops, but it was Daryll who threatened him and insisted they get rid of the body. • Did anyone else find it interesting to watch this show in light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal? Are they framing Ray? While this long night is getting longer for Ray, Bunchy is bleeding out in Terry’s club and Bridget is tracking down the only person who might be able to save her boyfriend’s life. Mickey and Daryll Donovan’s attempt at being fixers to the stars is falling apart. They go to Ray’s favorite veterinarian, where Ray even gives blood to Bunchy for a transfusion. Photo: Paul Sarkis/Showtime

Ray Donovan

Bob the Builder
Season 5

Episode 10

Editor’s Rating

4 stars

Complete Series Coverage

The subtext of this week’s Ray Donovan makes it more accomplished than most previous episodes in this disappointing season: Everyone is trying to be Ray, but they all let emotion and desire get in the way. They go to the junkyard where Bunchy’s money has been stashed. He’ll have to go downtown and answer a few questions. Daryll Donovan is about to realize how screwed he and Mickey are. Tags: We’ll know for sure in two episodes.

Poldark Recap: A Widower For One Week

But Morwenna and Jeffrey Charles DO attend, and Demelza rather hypocritically reminds Morwenna that Drake is too far below her station and she needs to get over it. (There’s also a boring storyline about Morwenna and Jeffrey Charles going to Truro for Christmas, and how Drake will miss them, etc. The thrill of the chase and all that. Demelza and Pug Lady proceed to shake down the gentry for donations. I am worried that George is going to marry her off in a fit of pique to this horrible Whitworth man who’s been a widower for one week and is already happy about a new waistcoat and a party. George offers him 2,000 guineas to take her off his hands, Whitworth wants 6,000. etc. To no one’s surprise, this was a Warleggan ship, so you can imagine George shows a lot of mercy to the surviving villagers who get dragged before him in court. Yet again, Ross has pissed George off at the cost of others: George proceeds to close Wheal Leisure just to spite him, sending 70 miners’ families into deep poverty. Does he break out “stealing from your betters”? Meanwhile, Pug Lady has reason to believe that Enys will be home by Christmas, though Ross (reasonably) looks more than a little doubtful. Pug Lady and Ross decide to go to Trenwith in person to pick up Aunt Agatha — Pug Lady being there to keep George’s men from shooting Ross on sight — and they discover her in a freezing house, underfed and fractious as ever. The discovery that Morwenna took Jeffrey Charles to the Poldark’s christening. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s going to result in a scandalous elopement with Drake. Whitworth, invited to entrance Morwenna with his personality, really works his charm, being both boring and ugly and gross and horny. As he’s being gross, Drake and Morwenna run sexily to each other across the beach. George packs her off back to Trenwith as a punishment, one she gleefully accepts. Also annoying the shit out of George? We cut to the French prison, which looks a lot like the hospital in Gone With the Wind. Yeah, Elizabeth, you seem so happy. Collins, poor Morwenna. Elizabeth gets the fun job of breaking the news of her upcoming wedding bliss to a weeping Morwenna. She dishes out some #realtalk to the girl about how her first marriage was for love and it sucked, but her second, for convenience, has been far more successful. They even get 50 guineas out of George, guilted into it by Elizabeth, who’s mad at him for dropping 3,000 on Morwenna’s dowry. That’s why you’re hitting the laudanum so hard. (Flash to Dr. He does! Ross hires 30 of the Wheal Leisure miners to help him explore extra lodes near Wheal Grace, mostly just to pay them wages, but they’ll probably find something. Make out or don’t, kids, you’re too young for me to care about your romance.)

Ross, who has surprisingly good handwriting, pens a letter to his Aunt Agatha to invite her to the baby’s christening. Watch this space for more. Stop talking about how the Godolphins aren’t inviting you to dinner! I mean, she’s not a great governess, let’s be clear. Tags: (Please know that every few scenes, we flash to Dr. PICK UP YOUR BABY. Morwenna flees the room, which doesn’t seem to put Whitworth off one jot. This does not prevent her from frenching him in the empty church, however. Ross and George get to trade insults at each other for a while, including a “Maybe you should ask ELIZABETH” in response to a “How do you sleep at night?” which made me gasp. They go back and forth about 80 times (it’s very funny, I must admit) and eventually arrive on 3,000 guineas. She proceeds to birth her daughter solo, bathe her, wrap her up, and be sitting up in bed, looking glowy and beautiful and non-sweaty and without burst blood capillaries in her eyelids when Ross wanders in for lunch. George’s sleazy henchman observes Ross and company dispatching the corn, and George merrily prepares “to send the lot of them to Botany Bay.” Happily, the church/storehouse gambit is successful and George departs with a flea in his ear. Whitworth is like a hornier Mr. Enys eating a rat or picking bullets out of a festering wound.)

Ross comes up with a sweet but obviously ruinously expensive plan to feed most of Cornwall, which involves turning Sulky Sam’s proto-church back into a storehouse for corn. “Your hesitancy does you credit!” Bro, does it? He wants them to inspire in his bride “awe and anticipation.” UGGHHHHHHHHHH. PICK UP YOUR BABY, ELIZABETH. Enys sobbing hysterically as the French shoot the prisoner he just worked to save.)

Now I have to share with you the grossest thing Whitworth says, to his tailor as he requests tighter breeches. A now hugely-pregnant Demelza is digging potatoes in the garden when her labor starts. Speaking of babies, Elizabeth continues to be a crummy mother to hers, who unreasonably insists on crying while no one picks him up or snoogles his little head. Prudie delivers it to Trenwith with some of the best bitchface I’ve ever seen, when George’s man crumples it up as soon as she leaves. Ross begs her to come live at Nampara, but she refuses to give up her one true joy: annoying the shit out of George by refusing to die. Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Screen for BBC and Masterpiece


Episode 4
Season 3

Episode 4

Editor’s Rating

4 stars

Complete Series Coverage

In keeping with Poldark’s favorite theme, we open on starving villagers ambushing a corn delivery to feed their children, only to be promptly gunned down by the authorities. Will their attractive, young love prevail? Because I am a genius, George instantly proposes it as a plan to Elizabeth. That’s absolutely how birth goes.

The Making of Donna’s Big, Series-Ending Speech on Halt and Catch Fire

“That’s what I’m scared most about.”

In her speech, Donna touches on the history of computer science, and how women, who once populated the field, started to get pushed out as it grew in importance. “I was like, You’re so Ann-Margret. “I’ve been begging Karyn to direct all season,” said Bernstein. “I am a woman who voted her female partner out of her own company — the company she founded,” Donna says in the speech, as Cameron listens on. The makeup played off of the same tones. Related Stories

Kerry Bishé on Donna’s Last Words in the Halt and Catch Fire Finale

Lee Pace on Joe MacMillan’s Fate in the Halt and Catch Fire Finale

The heartfelt two-page monologue about being a woman in tech was one of the hardest parts of the finale for Christopher Rogers and Christopher Cantwell, the co-creators and showrunners, to write. The production did one test run with her double doing the fall before Davis took her turn, which she nailed in one take. “I felt it was a really good fall,” Mackenzie Davis said soon after she fell into the pool in the closing moment of the scene. Donna’s speech in particular proved to be one of the biggest writing challenges. Executive producer Melissa Bernstein finally got her wish to have Karyn Kusama direct an episode for the final season. The Writing

Always backup your work! The real trouble, though, came after sunset, because it’s easier to take away light and create shadow than it is to add light to darkness. You fight hard, you make sacrifices, and it hasn’t been easy. “I imagine what the scene calls for and the best spatial relationships to set up,” said Kusama. In other words, with the backyard under shadow, they could amp up the light coming from inside the house so the entire scene would look darker on camera. All Rights Reserved. “The scene is really moving to me, because it’s about this imaginative space where women acknowledged the struggles, the hardships, the accomplishments that other women have made.”

The Lighting

Annabeth Gish (center), who plays Diane Gould, looks on during the speech. “I used to stress about the weather when I did day exteriors the night before,” said Brown, the director of photography. “We decided we were just going to use it as the location because it’s easier to have a beautiful pool than imitate something onstage.”

It was important to convey a certain status for Donna, who emerges in this final season as a rising executive at the VC firm where Diane Gould (Annabeth Gish) brings her on. All Rights Reserved. I get to talk to Mackenzie and look in her face and tell her what a great partner she’s been, and it’s all just so true. At the center of the swirl of extras, cameras, and crew stood Kerry Bishé in a light pink terrycloth bathrobe and slides, going over the speech her character, Donna Emerson (previously, Clark), was about to deliver. The dolly came into play for Davis’s coverage: The camera would sweep over the pool as she walked alongside it. “I did a million versions of the speech because one of the worst sins you can commit is to come off as preachy, and we’ve really tried to live our principles with that versus advertising them,” said Rogers. People like my last, and best, partner, Cameron Howe.” It’s around this point when the two lock eyes and a tear trickles down Cameron’s face. “Eventually, I think she just folded to wanting to be a part of bringing this series to a close. To the west side, they set up charcoal solids to block out the sunlight, making the backyard a dim cocoon. Bernstein pushed to bring Kusama on in the first season, and the Girlfight director has done one episode per season since. Maslik and set director Lance Totten built a raised wooden platform that they then would cover with sod so the lawn would be level. The knowledge of that journey and the bumps on the road afford her the ability to speak about it in a personal way.”

Much of that has to do with her relationship with Cameron. It was a replica of a mid-century modern home in a quiet neighborhood in the northeastern part of Atlanta. What follows is a behind-the-scenes look at how Donna’s big scene came together. Photo: © 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. “So you have three hours there that you have to make look like dusk when the sun’s out.”

How do you make it look like dusk when there’s a 94-degree sun beating down on you? “It’s the overt ‘messaging’ that we try to make subtextual in a lot of what we do,” said Rogers. It takes a village, especially on a television set. I can’t, like, orchestrate a beautiful fall, but I can trip into something,” said Davis. Bishé stood on the dais in the dark of night surrounded by equipment — two cameras, lights, and reflective solids with the grip cloud hovering overhead — while giving the speech; only this time, there weren’t scores of women surrounding her: just the cameramen, Kusama, Rogers, and the overeager homeowner looking at the monitors in the video village directly in her sight line. “We lit the shit out of it,” said Brown. It was 6:55 p.m. Grips laid down about 20 feet of track along the west side of the yard so they could do sweeping shots with a 15-foot Super Techno Crane, suspended over the pool like an arm hanging on a sofa. Photo: © 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. This was so meaningful earlier.”

Still, Bishé powered through, and when they got the shots they needed, Kusama exclaimed, “Kerry, you’re a fucking cyborg.”

The Reacting

One fall, one take! “And I’ll tell you, especially as you get older, I don’t want to waste my time working with assholes.”

“As I was listening to Kerry speak,” Gish continued, “I felt like everything was synonymous with that journey. It’s us. I can look at the crew that I love and say how proud I am to be on this journey with you and mean it 100 percent. It was a wretchedly hot afternoon in Atlanta; at 94 degrees Fahrenheit, it would go on record as the hottest day of the month. They liked its clean, unfussy lines, which would be able to accommodate ornamental touches to tailor it to Donna’s taste and the time period. “It is textual tonight, but I think we’ve earned it because of Donna’s journey from this housewife who put her own ambitions away in the first season to the head of this VC firm, where she ends up at the end of season four. Kerry Bishé gives Donna’s big finale speech. All Rights Reserved. The first draft the actors read is white; depending on how many drafts they write, the sequence that follows is blue, pink, and yellow. “No matter how hard you try, you’ll never make it look like the sun, but you just do the best you can, and in the final color they help you out a little bit.”

The Look

Kerry Bishé, in coral. They’ve been splintered apart, the ‘will they, won’t they’ of getting back and working together again threads through the whole season.”

The Location

Kerry Bishé and Mackenzie Davis shoot their next scene late into the night. It allowed them to place small bars behind Donna as she speaks to the group, but it also meant that all nonessential personnel needed to stay off the platform lest it break. Photo: Copyright_2017

The costume design, makeup, and hair teams worked to complement the dusky-rose color palette that Maslik had created for the production design. by the time shooting began, and only a few clouds dotted an otherwise still-bright summer sky. They lightened her hair to a “light copper” from the deeper red it had been since they moved the show to California. “Now I just don’t look anymore. Christopher Rogers and Christopher Cantwell, simply known as the Chrises on set, got into the yellow pages for the finale episode, which is fairly typical for their writing process. One feature they had to contend with was the slope at the back of the yard. “It makes textual what should be subtextual,” said Rogers. Related
Kerry Bishé on Donna’s Last Words in the Halt and Catch Fire Finale

Tags: The costume designer, Jennifer Bryan, outfitted Bishé in a chic silk-wrap dress in a deep coral color. “There are certain lines that are pretty fucking heartbreaking when you think that, even though this is all an imaginary world, it’s still 1994!” she said. The color palette was very ’90s: dusty rose and emerald green, which appears on the backsplash in the kitchen, the tablecloths outside, the blinds, furniture, and other accents. Having played the character of Donna Clark for four seasons meant she had a trove of memories to draw upon. “Then it’s just a matter of balancing the interior lighting with the higher ambient light levels from outside,” explained Brown. But I’m here. Bernstein wanted to continue the tradition for the fourth and final season, but Kusama was navigating some scheduling conflicts with her film with Nicole Kidman, Destroyer. “It’s sad thinking that this was very relevant then, relevant now, will still be relevant in ten years.”

For Gish, who plays Donna’s mentor, Diane, it was an opportunity to think about the current sea change happening in Hollywood. People like my husband and my first partner Gordon Clark. “That’s my lifestyle.”

As for the speech itself, Davis thought a lot about her own career and the fact that women have to keep having this conversation in every sphere. “There wasn’t going to have to be a whole lot of technical pretending or acting, really,” she said. “That speech was easy to do 100 times when everyone was there,” said Bishé. “It’s funny because TV demands you think pretty quickly of actual, basic spatial understanding, so even though it gets a bad rap that you have to work this quickly, for me it’s a great exercise because I have to be thinking about cinema language in the most effective, efficient way.”

In terms of what the space is supposed to convey thematically, “it’s really about the emotional piece that Cameron and Donna have arrived at,” Kusama explained. The script, though, called for dusk, which inevitably raised a production question: How do you make four hours of shooting time look like five minutes of twilight? But no one needed to explain this to the 50-odd women outfitted in brocade pantsuits and satin dresses, trying to stay cool in the backyard of a house on the set of the series finale of Halt and Catch Fire. “I’m just a very clumsy person. You know, big and sexy and powerful,” said Yarbrough. The project gets us to the people, because it’s people that got me where I am. “Being that this was a party, we pumped her up a bit more than if this was just an everyday 1994 look,” said Donna Premick, the head of makeup. “I needed a house which had minimalist architecture so we could do whatever we wanted,” said Maslik. Photo: © 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. Photo: AMC

Episode director Karyn Kusama, DP Evans Brown, and production designer Ola Maslik scouted the house where Donna would live. “Everything is very earthy tones, like your rust colors and burnt oranges.” Meanwhile, the hair design by Joani Yarbrough was conceptualized with Bishé. When it was time to film it, the gaffer, Rick Crank, used a 120-foot condor, a giant panel of light attached to a crane, to light the treeline behind her as a way to add light to the scene. However, they always have the option of smoothing things out in postproduction. As Donna talks about the challenges of working as a woman in a male-dominated industry, the resonance wasn’t lost on Bishé or any of the other actresses assembled that night. “I wish I’d asked them to keep some of the background around, because I was trying to look at a flowerpot here, and then there’s a grip scratching his butt over there, and I’m like, Oy. Photo: © 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. Kerry Bishé didn’t want to over-prepare for her speech; she let herself feel the words as she said them. “I don’t like to overtly moralize in the show, but it felt like we’d earned it.” The speech was text as meta text, too. It was a triumphant punctuation for Donna, who by all appearances began as a secondary character in the pilot of Halt and Catch Fire — a nagging foil to the troubled geniuses of the show like Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), and her ex-husband Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy). “I think the old egomaniacal, patriarchal, power-hungry executive way doesn’t work anymore,” she said. You think about all the ‘Women in Hollywood’ dinners and cocktail parties.”

Still, reciting a two-page speech multiple times can be an exhaustive feat. It’s a very honest confession and celebration.”

That, and the fact that the words she was saying could be easily applied to her own experiences in Hollywood. “They make this emotional reconnection in the aftermath of Gordon’s death, but the professional one is scary and touches all the old wounds. All Rights Reserved. “[Donna] used to live in a house, and now she’s like, ‘Oh my god, I’m just going to buy this amazingly designed mid-century modern house and decorate it with a designer,’” said Maslik. “One of the lines in it that always gets me is when she’s like, ‘I hope that when my daughters are my age, they don’t have to have gatherings like this to remind themselves they’re actually here.’ And what’s hard about that is … that’s me,” said Bishé. People like Diane Gould. The Acting

Subtext as text as metatext. By the time Bishé began shooting her coverage, it was 9:09 p.m., the sun had set, and the cicadas were chirping in the background. For the party, they wanted to convey a serene sense of luxury, with bouquets of off-white peonies, strings of paper lanterns, and floating lights in the pool. It just felt right.”

For this scene in particular, Kusama was analyzing space and how to shoot the two central characters, Donna and Cameron. At the very least, it meant that episode director Karyn Kusama and the DP (director of photography) Evans Brown were chasing the sunset. Clustered in the shade outside, the women dabbed themselves with cocktail napkins the PAs had passed out, while others huddled around a fan inside. The key grip, Bill Merrill, set up a truss tower that allowed them to tether a giant, helium-filled mattress balloon called a grip cloud that floated over the entire backyard. Photo: Copyright_2017

Each script of Halt and Catch Fire is color-coded according to which draft it is. Since the scene took place during dusk, an overcast day would have helped; instead, it was hot and bright with barely any cloud coverage, otherwise known as “the worst nightmare.” “The scene takes about four hours to shoot, and you have an hour of dusk,” he said. There’s something to be said for enduring.”

Kerry Bishé, Mackenzie Davis, and Annabeth Gish on Gish’s last day of production. I’ve been doing this for 35 years, you know? Donna would stand near the edge of the pool, facing the group of women looking back at her house, with Cameron moving from inside the house along the edge of the pool toward Bishé. All Rights Reserved. The lighting gods will be with me or they won’t be.” That day, they weren’t. “My generation is those daughters, and we’re still having these gatherings and conversations. “The one constant is this: It’s you. “Essentially, this season is a love story between them,” Rogers said of the Cameron-Donna relationship. Photo: © 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. Photo: © 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved. And because it’s much easier to adjust colors for close-up shots than it is for wide shots in post, they held off on shooting Bishé’s close-up until the end. “There was so much about that speech that’s completely, totally truthful and honest. The Direction

Episode director Karyn Kusama discusses a scene with Kerry Bishé.

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Halt and Catch Fire Series Finale Recap: Phoenix

A box breaks, and that’s how Cameron and Donna finally come to an understanding again. Cameron looks back at her, with all the love Bos could see in her just spilling out everywhere. It doesn’t matter that much, really; it’s amazing that the show’s truest, most lasting, most meaningful relationship is a friendship and partnership between two women. Boxes and time, beginnings and ends. Joe’s time is up and he didn’t make it. I was sure Kevin and his terrific uselessness would be far and away the funniest thing about these episodes, but then Donna tried to play hacky sack in her slip-style red cocktail dress and declared that she just did not “get” it. At the end of the final episode, we return to Joe, who has given up tech and turned to a world of ideas and abstractions. And if the thing Joe has always wanted to do is open a door, it’s hard to imagine a more catastrophic ending for him than picking up a chair and hurling it through the glass of Gordon’s office, smashing his way across the boundary in order to reach Gordon’s still-beeping alarm. Comet and Rover were always going to end because this show exists in our real lived history, and there was never any way around Netscape launching with Yahoo built into its browser toolbar. I’ve so loved spending time with Donna and Cameron for the last four years. Bos, walking out of the doctor’s office to “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Bos, slow dancing with Diane. When he turns it on, music plays and he and Diane dance in his immaculate garage workshop. She’s dressed in red again for this scene, but now it’s less like a flag and more like a beacon, an image of defiance and power and unapologetic existence. Perfect. • Runner-up for funniest moment: Joe getting his fortune read by Lillian from Kimmy Schmidt (Carol Kane!), who notes that his salsa line looks pretty good. But mostly, things end, and then everyone tries to figure out how to move forward. This time, they’re both wearing red. Afterward, when she’s dry and clothed again, Cam and Donna sit and talk some more. Halt and Catch Fire

Search; Ten of Swords
Season 4

Episodes 9 and 10

Editor’s Rating

5 stars

Complete Series Coverage

It was always going to end. Halt and Catch Fire tries to teach us how to say good-bye (“To stay is hard. Cameron shows up at Joe’s apartment with a box and is left holding it in the doorway, blinking in shock at the emptied space. But Halt and Catch Fire knows that this is not what tragedy looks like. It’s Donna and Cameron starting a new company and already being able to see how it will fall apart. Cam is on the verge of departure, just about to head off to somewhere she hopes will be a fresh start. Halt and Catch Fire plays with the negative vision of recursion first, exploring the idea of trying the same thing repeatedly, saying good-bye and starting over, failing and then trying it again. They were all always going to end, because everything does eventually. They’ll start again, as we knew they would. In the negative, it’s a vision of being stuck and never escaping, like Captain Kirk in a time ribbon. There are reasons for each ending, different ways of explaining what happened. So the end of Comet is also the end of them. I want to go back and hug all of those people and tell them I am so happy for all of their dreams, but they should somehow figure out how to stop 2017 from ever happening. We’re actually here, she tells the gathered women. She waves, and then she falls in the pool. Halt and Catch Fire’s vision of life is not about some false construction of an end point, though. Not just because they have to, but because these two episodes are all about ending and starting over. Now, the final shot of the two of them together is a gasp-inducing image of them once again outlined in separate spaces, walled off from each other forever. That scene where Donna and Cameron look at the empty box from the old Mutiny office and envision the whole cycle of a new company? Halt and Catch Fire was always going to end because it’s one of those shows that existed on the bubble forever, perpetually tilting on the edge of cancellation. But the vision of the two women at the end of this series, committed to each other and the desire to make something together, is the most optimistic thing I can imagine for right now. Again. It’s all hard”). They try, it ends, and they figure out how to start again. Haley comes storming into the house with her definitely real boyfriend Kevin, and yells from her room that her computer’s having a meltdown. She’s mustering the energy to say good-bye to everyone all over again, but she can’t. For this series, recursion is what a real hero’s journey looks like: It’s the process of coming to an end and then figuring out what comes next. Joanie takes off for Thailand, tearful but courageous. Comet, Rover, Joe and Cam, and Halt and Catch Fire itself. It’s probably because he just breaks my heart too badly? In the montage that follows, Donna gets out of the elevator, glances happily at the firm’s new name, Symphonic, and heads into the new space. The timer has gone off. This is what life looks like. Many things happen in these last two episodes. People are the constant, Donna tells them, looking out at the group. Joe goes to see a fortune-teller. And Joe and Cam? They look like they’re praying. Photo: Bob Mahoney/AMC Film Holdings LLC. I’ve written a lot about boxes this season, and the way Halt and Catch Fire has been nimbly juggling metaphors of boxes, encasement, doorways, and portals. • I have not spent nearly enough time on Bos. Tags: Cameron finally ditches Alexa, who was more interested in trotting around Cameron’s brilliance than she was in actually supporting any of her work. In this season’s second episode when Cam and Joe reunite, they sit in their separate boxes connecting over the phone before Joe finally crosses the threshold. What did we do to deserve him? From the start, the show has been about the computer (yet another kind of box) not as the thing, but as the way of getting to the thing. It could be them already seeing an end. But in the moment, when he’s scrambling to keep Comet in the game, when he can’t see past his own pain to focus on the person next him, he goes too far. Things change, time moves on, and no matter what you do, there’s always a better version of it around the next corner. • Yes, Donna, we think Haley’s probably gay. She does it publicly, in front of a crowd of women in the tech industry. It’s a fitting end for him: At last, he can go live in a world where connection and idealism don’t need to be interrupted by who got there first. Random-Access Memories

• What a glorious treasure of ‘90s things: Bagel Bites, Bob Ross, Natural Born Killers, Veruca Salt, hacky sack, Star Trek: Generations, and the promise of living into the 21st century. She has taken down all the walls between each person’s office. Or, as Cameron explains it to Bos, they’re stories about recursion. That scene with the Phoenix sign lighting up over their heads is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a long, long time. “I have an idea,” she tells Cameron. And Joe has never been able to put the person ahead of the idea. Earlier this season, Donna wore a red blazer to circle a conference table menacingly, and I described it as looking like a bullfighter’s flag. I get why this is the end the creators chose — it is a mirror of the first scene from Halt and Catch Fire’s pilot — but I wish the order had been swapped so we’d ended with Donna and Cam. Bos lovingly dusts off an ancient Cardiff Electric radio and Donna solders it back into working order; it’s the exact model Bos used to pack into boxes on the Cardiff factory floor, he tells her. Donna swims back and forth, back and forth inside her swimming pool, before finally getting out and going back to work. She and Donna bow their heads over a busted hard drive, considering the damage. It could be a sad scene. He wheedles Cam, he stretches her, he cannot help but pull on the strings of her talent even though she’s straining to get back to her own space. He’s tried to make something that will endure beyond him. (It’s not the thing, it’s how you get to the thing). This series was always going to end — everything does. Halt and Catch Fire has always been about nostalgia and the past, even within its own run, and it feels unfair and unnecessary to try and force it into a connection with today. This is the circumstance that leads Cameron to blurt out her desire to work with Donna again, and this is how Donna finally apologizes to Cameron. Bos, thinking back to packing radios into boxes, and how far the world has come. Toby Huss is astonishingly good, the kind of good that just socks you right in the solar plexus and prevents you from thinking straight. He’s tried to change. I will always think of them as still being out there somewhere, ending things and starting again. It’s ruining her project. As Bos tells her, Cam is just too full of love — it’s overflowing, bursting, exploding out of her. But she is still here and the constant is never the work. This is what it looks like when people love each other, and when they try to make things together. There’s a problem with a box. But in the truest Halt and Catch Fire turn, it ends with a moment of something starting again, as Donna looks around a diner and has a moment of epiphany. TV shows and tech start-ups are alike that way. Haley screws up her courage to ask out the girl from Hound Dog, and then she strikes out. It’s all over these final two episodes.

Kerry Bishé on Donna’s Final Line in the Halt and Catch Fire Finale

And part of that has been starting to do some work about unconscious bias. It really is an act of faith, but you trust that they’ll mean it, that they’ll invest in it. And it’s so hopeful, and beautiful, and forward-looking. She could envision where technology was going and be the one to get you there. They’re dumb requirements. Do you feel like your own journey as an actor in Hollywood is reflected in what Donna is saying?For a long time, I really blithely walked around in the world imagining that gender didn’t matter any more and behaving like I was on equal footing with other people. It is great that behind the scenes we got that equality eventually. It can’t be. Like, why don’t girls like math and science? Is that something you’ve advocated for yourself on this show? She’s the one with the inspiration at the end. You think about all the ‘Women in Hollywood’ dinners and cocktail parties. Not a word. And I’m worried everyone is going to hate her, you know? The metatextual thing really comes to the fore, especially in that scene. I was like, I want to be a part of this for sure. And so I’ll just do my actor job and just try and find something in it that I feel I can do honestly. Because I was like, you can’t put them back together again. Donna provides the human lens on this world. “My generation is those daughters, and we’re still having these gatherings and conversations. How did you feel about her arc of trying to be more of a shark this season?Oh, it was so heartbreaking. We don’t know what the idea is, which I love. The idea doesn’t matter. Oh, she’s the wife of the guy.” Scoot [McNairy] is never defined as, “The husband of the lady.”

What was your first reaction when you took the role in the first season to how Donna was written? In this interview, Bishé looked back at the past four-and-a-half years on the show, and the final line Donna says to Cameron. But that’s less fun for me to play, a little bit. Pay parity is increasingly an issue in Hollywood. Related Stories

The Making of Donna’s Big, Series-Ending Speech on Halt and Catch Fire

Lee Pace on Joe MacMillan’s Fate in the Halt and Catch Fire Finale

Halt and Catch Fire Was the Most Quintessentially Gen-X Show on TV

What was your reaction when you first read the final script? But what’s so great is that it’s like an infinite ending. It was nice to not have to ask. It’s cool. It’s okay if you fumble a little with the screws. You think about all the “Women in Hollywood” dinners and cocktail parties. And then the other part is what a beautiful thing to get to articulate how hard it is for working women and some of the conflicts they have. And so what’s great is she has the idea. We talked a little about all of the allegories between the content of this show and making a TV show. But it’s great, we don’t have to know what the idea is. Photo: Getty Images

In the end, it was Donna. My generation is those daughters, and we’re still having these gatherings and conversations. She has to work for a living, you know? There’s no way. Like, a TV show, it doesn’t have to be that good. So I worked with the props people, because I was like, I need to look like preternaturally good at this. And this year I was so uncomfortable. And, at a certain point, I realized there’s information I’m missing if I’m not paying attention to what my gender is doing in the world. But I was like, I’m not going to ask to change anything. That’s not how she’s a powerful person. Really? It was so hard, because I love her and I don’t want to see her make horrible mistakes and be such a bad person. I get to talk to Mackenzie and look in her face and tell her what a great partner she’s been, and it’s all just so true. It’s not one idea. Donna is really the silent weapon in the show.You know, the other characters in the show are borderline sociopaths at times. You’re so stupid. It was a really nice commitment — literally putting their money where their mouth is. They did this cool thing where they had different lenses, and Joe had this green-lens filter. We shot it a bunch of different ways. Because it could be anything. She’s not the freaky genius savant kid that all of these other characters were. I do think the principle is important, no matter the size of the numbers we’re talking about. But it matters. They’re, like, on the spectrum. I remember talking to them and having conversations, and I was like, “I’m going to have to just trust you, but it feels like what’s in here is she’s got the potential to be something other than the wife. It’s hard to separate yourself from the character after so many years, which is a unique experience for me. And then it’s like a lightning bolt. What’s the future for them?” The show is the show, and this is the end of the show. The future that we’re living and the future that we’re yet to see. The women of the BBC just had to organize to try to get equal pay. I want you to root for her as much as I root for her, and she’s just so awful. It’s 2017, you know?” And she does. Karyn [Kusama, the director of the episode] has this great idea about it. In the finale episode, Donna, played by Kerry Bishé, delivered a Joe-like speech that looked back at what she had accomplished while looking ahead. And one of my favorites is if it’s an apology. Yeah, it really helps. So you needed to have that to compare it to. Pay parity is a really hard one to talk about because truly I get paid great. That’s going to go horribly.” But what they do is they spend the whole episode talking themselves out of it, and they list all of the reasons why it’s a terrible idea. Because I can’t trust myself to be objective about it, because I don’t like any of it. It’s the moment of them coming together and Donna having the inspiration and sharing it with her, with this person. It’s so hard. What a beautiful way to end the show. Who knows, the way the industry is right now, nobody’s honoring quotes. It’s all things, and everything anyone could possibly imagine, you can imagine for them. I want to talk about the final line Donna says to Cameron: “I have an idea.” I’m so happy with that ending. And in the midst of making dinner I take apart the Speak & Spell. Amid the bombastic charisma of Joe MacMillan, the frantic genius of Cameron Howe, and the fragile ego of her ex-husband, Gordon Clark, Donna Emerson emerged as the one who could see the future. She gets to have all of the things. One of the lines in it that always gets me is when she’s like, “Hey, you know, I’ll hang out with you and eat good food whenever. The actors do these read-throughs, just on our own, which has been one of the most satisfying things about doing this job. Those are great characters, but it was so easy to relate to Donna. In the past seasons, if there were things we didn’t love about the script or the language, we would lobby to change it to varying degrees of success. It’s so deep and beautiful and about being a person, your ambition, and struggling with yourself. Without having to ask this final season or renegotiate our contracts, they paid the four of us the same, which I thought was really generous. So we get to be smart, we get to acknowledge the truth about the history of these two people and know it’s a bad idea. It’s one of the best pilot scripts I’ve read. And also, you needed her to be able to look at the other people and know that their behavior was abnormal. All of it is so tied up in my mind. I feel like it’s in the script.” And they were like, “Yes, it is.” It’s really important to us that she isn’t just the mom and the nagging wife, the wet-blanket wife at home that we’ve seen on TV before. It’s all of the ideas. It was really important to me from the get-go to make it very clear what kind of person we were dealing with. And I think, for a long time, it was easy to live in the world that way. And I feel like part of what does make her powerful is being really open and vulnerable about her feelings. And Karyn’s like, it’s everything. And usually we get the script in our email and we’ll all read it, and then we’ll find a time that we can all get together, and then we work on it — hash it out. It all feels bad. I knew where it was going, and you very quickly see the direction it was headed. And, I mean, did they ever. But the line that really got Bishé was when her character says, “I hope that when my daughters are my age, they don’t have to have gatherings like this to remind themselves they’re actually here.”

“What’s hard about that is … that’s me,” Bishé said to me on the penultimate day of shooting the series finale of Halt and Catch Fire. And she’s always been the workhorse, the old reliable, practical one. And in the moment I was reading it, it didn’t totally register. I remember I’m picking [Gordon] up at jail and I’m on him about drinking in the afternoon, and I’m doing dishes. There’s this whole system of, you have your quote, your quote is based on prior work that you’ve done. This is the moment where I need to express that this person isn’t what you think she is. Donna’s problem has been that she doesn’t feel appreciated. I know I’m not going to start appreciating this until I read other scripts, but we blow the Bechdel Test out of the water, which is the point of the Bechdel Test: It’s a stupid bare minimum. And it’s been nice the last few episodes to get back to what feels like good Donna, where she learns that lesson and she finds out what does make her powerful. And it turns out she was kind of a drunk. Donna sees the future when all of this human interaction will be technological. But I hope that when my daughters are my age, they don’t have to have gatherings like this to remind themselves they’re actually here.” And what’s hard about that is… that’s me. I understand why it’s complicated with TV. Tiny little baby steps, you know? You’re harried. And then they were like, “We gave you the Joe lens.” That’s a really subtle but powerful way to suggest something like that. And then I reread it later in my car and I wept. She becomes a mirror of Joe from the first season.Yeah. And I was shocked that they managed, in a way that I buy, to have it both ways. She’s not that way. Still on the show I’m “the wife,” when people are like, “Which of the two girls are you? I’m paying for the food in our diner, and she sees somebody reading the newspaper, and she sees the jukebox, and she’s the waitress taking an order, and she sees the cash register. To play the role of someone who’s so complicated and smart and Donna hasn’t had a love interest — it’s not about that kind of relationship. Related
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Tags: I can look at the crew that I love and say how proud I am to be on this journey with you and mean it 100 percent. And that’s so fucking cool. It’s okay.” And I was like, No. You can’t really argue with that. It is a step that helps truly even the playing field now. There are more men that are leads of shows so their quotes are higher faster. And the director, Juan Campanella, was like, “It’s okay if you struggle a little bit. On this show I’ve always gotten paid great and I’m doing what I love. We’re wrapping up this four-and-a-half years of my life, and there’s so much about it. If you are the lead of the show, your quote will be higher. That’s the beautiful thing. The trauma that these two people have gone through together, we’d be like, “You’re idiots. Behind the scenes, gender equality was a part of the conversation: Bishé and her female co-star Mackenzie Davis got paid equally to their male co-stars Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy for the final season. You’re like, oh, she’s just going off the deep end. It also felt a little bit like it got to this point where the only kind of person that would do that is a lunatic or a drunk. And I’m trying to, like, fix the Speak & Spell. Also, roles for women are often so relational. She’s the human heart. I remember I loved the pilot script. She’s the one who’s in the driver’s seat, making the choices. When we first read it, we all got together and read it. She’s trying to be Joe, and it doesn’t work for her. I don’t usually have that. And there was so much about that speech that’s, like, completely, totally truthful and honest. It’s a meaningful thing and also that’s my quote going forward. Truly. That’s so vanishingly rare. The system leans to favor a certain direction. It’s 2017. Do you think that they’ll work together?Yeah, totally… I’m not one of those people who are like, “What do the characters do after this? They can’t relate well with others. Is it Venmo?I made some joke like, is it the iPhone? So we decided to not read the last episode until we were all together and read it out loud together for the first time, which was really fun and weird. How do we talk to girls versus boys? I really liked, “I have an idea,” which is a really hard thing to act. Mackenzie cried, and I was like, Yeah, it’s cool. So that part’s kind of sad.

Lee Pace on Joe MacMillan’s Fate in the Halt and Catch Fire Series Finale

He takes the shape of the vessel.Yeah, exactly. The directors come and go. But I think he’s just curious about people and he likes to be very intimate with people that he believes in. But that’s that feeling of failure. Photo: Getty Images

In between takes during a scene in Halt and Catch Fire’s final season, Lee Pace comes over and shows me a chimpanzee’s penis on his phone. This is the tool that people need, and he just goes about solving the problem. Well, no, that’s not true. And there are moments in our lives where that form becomes obsolete, and you feel like, “That’s not necessarily the right fit for me in my life right now.” And I’ve felt that over the past five years. With Comet, it’s the same thing. How did I get to be a grown-up?” It gets me all the time. When we started, I wrote this email to everyone and I was like, “The writers are on the West Coast. I’m the one who created everything, I’m the one who hired everyone. So it’s surprising that it didn’t work out for him. That’s what I mean about him failing. Not everything makes sense. I don’t know if I did that to the character that was written, or if it was there and it just made its way into my own life. He’s a questioner and a disrupter. I think love and intimacy are very important to him and also very challenging for him. Like, Scoot [McNairy, who plays Gordon Clark] has become one of my best friends. He wants them to be in service to his world. Certain things that I thought were important are just a little less important now. With that another venture ends, but another begins. So we should really make a company of people here, like actors.” I come from theater, and that’s my favorite part of doing a play, just rehearsing it. Because I hold the Chrises [Cantwell and Rogers, the co-creators of Halt and Catch Fire] responsible for the fate of Joe. That’s a good way to put it. I guess that’s the way that they understand it. This show fell on a complicated few years in my own life, personally. Like, with the computer, he needs Gordon to do one thing, he needs Cameron to do one thing, and then he’s got 100 other people who are doing other components for making the computer happen, and he delegates all of the pieces to people. Like, he never expected to fail. I like the questions that are asked at the end of the story now. I’m making an anti-virus software company.” Because he understands the big picture. I definitely had that feeling when I read it, and that made me sad. You’ve said that playing Joe in the first season was personally impactful, and I was wondering why or what it was about it. I don’t understand this; it doesn’t make sense to me why this is all falling apart right now. It’s out of your hands. He believed passionately in what he was pursuing, and he had every reason to believe each time around that it was going to be the thing that hit. She always kind of had a foot out the door. Related Stories

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What did you think of the way the show rebooted itself for season two? But I think he’s got too much dignity and self respect to be someone’s doormat. Did you feel like you had to play a role as you, Lee Pace, the person?Yeah. That’s weirdly hard to play, because there’s always a moment in the season when I just don’t understand how you’re doing this to him. He changes the way he looks, and he’s one of those people that, if you see him after a couple of beers, he’ll look different. He’s a failure. If he finds someone sexy and interesting, he’s going to pursue them. But he’s not really. He is his environment and the people around him. He’s a mutable thing, and he doesn’t really have much of a persona himself. I’m actually an adult.” It sounds insane coming out of my mouth, but I tell you it happens all the time. They’re unreasonable people. He depends on being around people who are smarter than him and more capable than him. Like, there’s no reason to think that’s going to last forever, and so it falls apart in the way that it does. And so, we do a read through every Sunday. He’ll be talking about different things. It doesn’t have the obligation like if a bunch of people were watching it, so we had the opportunity to reboot it. He loves her and wants her in his life, but at a certain point, he’s just not going to beg her to stay. It just started this conversation: We’re talking about the characters and decoding them and getting to know each other in a really close way, so we’re making connections between our lives and the characters. I don’t understand the whole story, but that’s life in a way, you know? You don’t have to succumb to this pressure that you’re putting on yourself.” That all felt very relatable to me at this time in my life. I don’t think that it’s another twist, this ending. He’s a mutable person. He’s like water. It finds its way into the work in a really satisfying way that I’m really proud of. I’ll be driving and I’ll be like, “I’m an adult now. He had no doubt about it. That feels very appropriate and interesting. I think everyone does, don’t they? That’s what he does. My understanding is that you started hosting table reads at your house for the show.We all always were very close. That’s what he does, so those institutions of the heteronormative world are just not of interest to him. Were you part of that conversation?Well, every time we finished a season, I never thought we would get picked up again because not many people were watching. This time around too, he just expects the best out of it, and it fails. The chimps were in heat. If she wants to go, she can go. He’ll be fine alone, you know? I mean, the way the Chrises described it when they were adding this aspect to the character, they said he operates on all systems. So that story I find very interesting. When Joe describes his vision, there’s a very sexual energy as he’s trying to convince people. Let me take control of this, and you, for a little while.”

He’s like, “Come into my boudoir.” [Laughs.] Yeah, yeah. He’s got a magician’s alchemy: If we mix all these things, I have the feeling something good is going to come. Yeah. You’re just a human. Do you feel like the ending is a fitting one for him?I do think it’s fitting. He was just hopeful and optimistic every time around, no matter how badly it went before. He doesn’t feel like he’s taking a political role in it. His answer to that question would be, “I do everything. It makes me put my head in my hands to think that, because he’s such a sociopath in a lot of ways. What do you think Joe actually does? But that’s life in a way, isn’t it? He knew how good his ideas were. I’m that person who wears that shirt, and these are his friends, and that’s what he does all day.” I think there’s a side to that with everyone. Yeah, I don’t know. This person in his life is done when she treats him the way that she does in those last moments. With Gordon dead, he’s not going to pursue technology anymore. The fact that when he’s done, he’s done. He’s actually just unlucky. We just embraced the opportunity of getting to tell a story over a long time and getting to really know each other, as you do when you get to work together for a long time. Having to feel like fulfilling a certain role?In the first season, he felt like he had to be like Steve Jobs, for example. I really like that. He becomes what they need. The questions that we’ll ask about Joe MacMillan: who he is and what he’s about, seeing him in the role that he’s in, choosing to do this. So in that respect, it makes him sad. I’m, like, 38 years old and it catches me by surprise. His bisexuality also felt like he wanted to encompass everything — or that’s how it read to me. He then explains that he went to a chimpanzee sanctuary supported by Judy Greer’s husband, Dean Johnsen. He zooms in on the “pencil thing” thrust between the bars of a cage as the male chimp grinned widely. Did you feel that? He doesn’t feel subjected to those rules; he doesn’t feel like he owes anyone an explanation for it. I’m a grown man now. He is. He doesn’t necessarily require monogamy. You figure out a version of yourself that’s like, “That’s who I am. I think he wants people to do what he wants them to do, you know? In the second season, he felt like he had to say, “This is who I am now, and I have to play this role for a while.” And that kept him from understanding who he was, you know? Joe just is finished with her. There’s just no point. The relationship with Cameron is unreasonable. It just did. Related
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Tags: But at the same time, he’s like, “If you wanna go work with Donna, you two are well suited for each other.”

It did feel a little bit like Joe was being put out to pasture.Yeah. And that’s one of my favorite things about the show. She needed a safe place to be after her divorce, and he was happy to do whatever it took to make her stay as long as she was going to stay. And misunderstood. I’m like, “How did this happen? That feels right to me. Joe MacMillan’s career over the past four seasons of Halt and Catch Fire took on a cyclical quality of birth, destruction, and rebirth, so it’s fitting that Joe ends the series how he began it, by saying to a roomful of students, “Let me begin by asking you a question.” Only this time, he has lost his Gordon Gekko bombast, and is gentler and more generous. And that’s kind of written into what Joe is about. Yeah. That’s what sex means to him. Like, this was going to be the success. He chuckles softly and then goes back to shooting the scene — a somber one where his character Joe MacMillan has decided to end his company and is saying farewell to his employees. So I guess there is an element of seduction to that, like, “Drop the reality that you see and come into mine. He’s not really interested in what their ideas are. Well, I think Joe believes it’s all him, first of all. An intuition. If he finds their mind interesting, he’s going to want to know more about it and sleep with them and get close to them. It’s really heartbreaking for him to see people he thinks are less qualified or are grabby and ambitious get the success that he has fought so hard to get. There’s this expectation that he has to fulfill a certain role, and he rejected that. But when I think about where he ends up now — much humbler and much more gentle with himself and generous to other people — I definitely feel close to that with the character and relieved for it. And it’s all you are. After Pace wrapped that scene, we sat at his character’s old office and discussed the end of the show as the crew broke down the set outside. It seems like Joe doesn’t do anything, but he does everything, actually. It makes sense to me that he doesn’t feel limitations. When did this happen? But he wants people to come on board his thinking. It never felt permanent this season. I’m a grown-up now. That was just not something that he … I don’t know why that came up. I think it took Ryan dying for him to be like, “Oh, this is who you are. He understands all of the parts that go into making the project. The thing about Joe, too — and this has been hard to play, actually — is that he loses. He’s going to just do what he wants to do. Not that I was trying to keep the character separate from my life, but you end up using it as kind of a laboratory to think about things that are going on in your life. I’m making the web browser. And he’s right about things, but he’s not able to execute the way that it should. You don’t have to be perfect. We would get together and read the episodes that we were working on. And I think that’s what it’s about. And you think about it with the character in a way that … I don’t know. He’ll be hanging around different people. It wasn’t intentional, but I think you’re right about that.