Friday, November 30, 2012

This Year's Rockefeller Tree Lighting Featured A Surprise Confederate Flag

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 11:20 AM

A lot of people forget this, but Christmas in America doesn't have its roots so much as a "fun, albeit expensive, time of year where everyone tries to forget their differences and just be nice," but rather as "the perfect time dredge up disputes that should be long-dead re: the civil war." It's sort of what we unofficially refer to as the Reason for the Season.

Trace Adkins, however, has not forgotten, and made the bold move of wearing a confederate flag earpiece for his otherwise unremarkable performance at this week's Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

The Strangest Moments of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM


Everyone loves the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's a tradition that brings us all together as Americans, provides something innocuous to talk about while you spend the entire day with your relatives, and keeps rents extremely high for apartments that line the parade route. A good time is had by all!

The whole thing is sort of a logistical nightmare, though, and things don't always go that smoothly. Because Thanksgiving (and in particular, Black Friday) isn't exclusively a time of good will, a few of the odder, more embarrassing things that have happened over the years.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Nashville's Real Bluebird Cafe Is Becoming More Popular, Thanks to the Fake Nashville

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM

For anyone following along to Nashville, the addictive new TV drama spearheaded by Connie Britton's likable face/uncertain singing voice, you are no doubt becoming increasingly familiar with The Bluebird Cafe, home to Deacon Claybourne's weekly residency, unrequited love, and so much more.

The Bluebird Cafe, as you may or may not have heard, is not just a set in TVLand though. Situated in a strip mall outside of downtown Nashville, the 100-seat space has long prided itself on being a "listening room," famously providing the songwriters who have penned chart-topping hits for other artists with the opportunity to share their other songs to a live audience, in addition to hosting an open-mic night and early career appearances by the likes of Garth Brooks, John Prine and T. Swift. It's very much a real thing, is the point, and guess what? It's being affected by the attention brought on by the make-believe Nashville.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Duke University's $43,000+ Tuition Now Includes a Course on The O.C., As It Totally Should

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM

So collegiate.
  • So collegiate.
Duke University, a place for smart kids, is now offering a class on mid-aughts teen soap opera/California lifestyle ad The O.C., using the series as a way of looking at the post-postmodern world and other things smart kids are supposed to be interested in discussing ("hyper-awareness," for example). Creator-producer Josh Schwartz tweeted a photo of the syllabus last week, along with the note, "This is a class taught at Duke! Think I could pass." (Probably, but, man, it might be a struggle if your brain is stuck in whatever mind-set was happening during the writing of seasons three and four.)

According to the syllabus, the course—titled "California, Here We Come: The O.C. and the Self-Aware Culture of 21st Century America"—sets out to explore this so-called "hyper self-awareness" unique to The O.C. and "analyze Californian exceptionalism and singularity in history and popular culture, girl culture, 21st century suburban revivalism, the indie music scene, the meta-series and more." After dissecting the Great Luke-Marissa-Ryan Love Triangle of Season 1 and Ben Gibbard's likable doughiness (one can hope), studies will touch on such other cultural hallmarks as Laguna Beach, The Real Housewives, The Hills and their high-heeled East Coast equivalent, Gossip Girl.

Study up. A few suggested test questions:

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Monday, October 29, 2012

The 6 Greatest Halloween Episodes Of The '90s

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM

We don't know if you've heard yet, but the 90's are very hot right now. So is Halloween! You may have done all your themed partying this weekend, but there are still two days until the actual holiday, you know.

And yes, Halloween specials of beloved TV shows are a longstanding tradition, not confined to everyone's favorite nostalgia decade of the moment. However, in the interest of narrowing things down and revisiting the spooky joys of my youth, we're confining this particular best-of to the 1990s. Truly, it was a golden age for this stuff. Plus, as long as the internet is up and the MTA is down, you'll need something to keep you busy during this (spookily named) Frankenstorm.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Co-Creator of Park Slope Lesbian Satire Developing New Show

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Ingrid Jungermann, cocreator of The Slope, a popular webseries about "superficial, homophobic lesbians" in Park Slope, is developing a new show, F to 7th, which will feature celebrity guest stars like Michael Showalter, while her former collaborator Desiree Akhavan is at work on a film adaptation of the original series. "Same neighborhood," goes the tagline. "Different gay." We spoke by email to Jungermann, who's trying to raise money on Kickstarter, about which subway lines are gross, how she knows Showalter, and about the "better-looking, more interesting version" of herself.

Do you still live in Park Slope?

How long have you lived there?
I've lived here for three years. In Brooklyn for seven and a half. Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights, Kensington for one week because I moved in with a gal who wanted to break up four days after we moved in together. That was awesome. Before Brooklyn, it was North Carolina and before that Florida, where I was born and raised Jehovah's Witness and handed out Watchtowers door-to-door.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chaos Erupts on the Set of American Idol, or Something Like That

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Hang on to your hats, America. Our most sacred talent competition, doubling as FOX's most sacred cash cow, is about to be soiled with pop stars' bad attitudes and profane language. Or! Pop stars' colorful personalities and self-confidence! The public servants at TMZ released the above video of a spirited confrontation between new judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey at an American Idol audition in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nicki was all, "I love dressing kooky," and Mariah was all, "I love butterflies," and the two just could not agree on who loved what more. Upon further inspection, it seems as I might've misheard the involved parties, however. posted this helpful translation of the argument, quoting Minaj saying, "I’m not fuckin’ putting up with her fucking highness over there," gesturing in the direction of butterfly lover Carey. Unless these girls can tone down the language and hug it out, my Mom is just not going to be into this season of Idol.

Somewhere out there, American sweetheart Paula Abdul is cheerfully mumbling into the dark that she really loves to snack on crackers. We miss you, girl.

Way to hold down the fort, Keith Urban.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

The Best Show You're Not Watching: Fringe

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 1:35 PM

At this point, Fringe, an X-Files-ish show that used to be about multiple universes, could basically just be the actors sitting on benches, gazing at one another meaningfully, and I would cry throughout most of the episode. That's how exacting a job its actors and writers have done over the last four seasons (especially the first three) of crafting characters you adore not only as individuals but as a web of friends, family and lovers. So Friday's season premiere, the show's last, was especially moving, as more happened than silent staring contests: picking up in a dystopic future, like where Dollhouse was headed before Fox pulled the plug, season five promises to be plotty and action-packed—and, narratively, much different from previous seasons. But the premiere was as ever rooted in its characters, spending more time in teary conversations than with car chases and impossible rescues: the reunions between Peter and Olivia, between Olivia and her daughter, between Walter and Olivia—whose eyes could stay dry?

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Even James Van Der Beek Does Not Understand the Immense Popularity of Dawson's Creek

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Im sorry, I couldnt help it.
  • Sorry, I couldn't help it.
Joey: So we were friends, then we were a couple, then we were friends again, then we were a couple... what are we now?
Dawson: We're Dawson and Joey.
Joey: You think every Joey has a Dawson and every Dawson has a Joey?
Dawson: I hope so. For their sake.

So in retrospect, maybe Dawson's Creek wasn't worthy of inciting one of the most dedicated teenage followings of the 90s. The dialogue was bloated, the characters weren't all that likable, the theme song was a little too blatant in its heart-tugging. But the high schooled masses kept coming back for more.

James Van Der Beek can't seem to really wrap his head around it either. In an interview with New York Magazine's Vulture touching on the Dawson's reunion reported to unfold on the season premiere of Don't Trust the B—— in Apartment 23, in which Van Der Beek plays a hilariously exaggerated version of himself attempting to get the ol' gang back to together, he muses on how the show's popularity did not add up:

But being on something that has the impact that that [Dawson's Creek] did, it's just — I don't know. There's almost kind of no place to put it in the realm of normal, sensible life experience. It's just one of those things that just does not compute in a lot of ways. So it's been really interesting to touch base with a lot of those guys this many years out, and laugh about some of the things we thought we knew, and just kind of joke about, Boy, how crazy was that? It was just a very unique experience. But we've all kind of come to a good place on it.

Oh, man. We were all so dumb in the 90s!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Playlist for Our Favorite City Councilwoman, Leslie Knope

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 1:21 PM

With just hours to go before the (critically praised) season premiere of Parks and Recreation, we culled together a mix to honor easily one of the most likable characters on television, Ms. Leslie Knope. Go forth, homegirl, and lead Pawnee, Indiana into a comfortably middling, standard-achieving future. We're all rooting for you.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Adam Scott's In-Depth Analysis of "Ice Ice Baby" Is Right on Point (and Also Hilarious)

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Stopping by the set of Conan last night to promote the coming season of Parks and Recreation, Adam Scott took some time to contemplate one of the overlooked mysteries of the 90s: What, exactly, was Vanilla Ice thinking when he wrote "Ice Ice Baby?" Could it be that Robert Matthew "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle's genius is not a streamlined, logical genius? Watch above as Scott offers a line-by-line breakdown of the song, maybe the best thing you'll watch all day.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

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Banding Together to Dethrone Justin Bieber From the Top of Saturday Night Live's Crowdsourced List of Musical Guests

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Not a crowdsourced suggestion
  • Not a crowdsourced suggestion
Last Tuesday, Saturday Night Live announced they'll be assigning one day a month for fans to suggest hosts and musical guests for the show via their social networking forums. (This comes after having booked Karmin and Lana Del Rey last year. We'll never forget.) Because humans tend to struggle with following "designated day" rules, campaigning for certain performers has been going strong since last week. A quick perusal of top tweets with the dedicated #SNLMusic and #SNLHost hashtags indicates the masses—or at least the very eager, excitable, Twitter-proficent masses—are rallying around Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez to be future musical guests, though we assume trolls are lurking around the corner ready to make Rob Zombie happen.

We have an opportunity here. We, as a community, can do better than Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez, I'm almost sure. In this light, we offer up a few names we'd like to encourage the world to nominate for SNL notoriety, but only on the designated day, of course.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Things I Learned From Watching Tavi Gevinson on Jimmy Fallon Last Night

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 12:34 PM

In keeping with Late Night's hipster-friendly narrative, Jimmy Fallon hosted once-upon-a-time fashion blogger, current editor-actress-alt-pixie-high-schooler Tavi Gevinson last night, in town to promote Rookie Yearbook One, a compilation of pieces from her online magazine's first year. There was a lot to be learned from the little one.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Brief History of Awkwardness at MTV's Video Music Awards

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 1:28 PM

MTV prides itself on letting celebrities (A-list and B-list alike!) do and say as they please on the network's annual Video Music Awards jamboree. This has made for more than a few memorable pop culture moments over the years. It's also given rise to ample opportunities for jokes to fall flat, head-scratching performances, and cameras to catch horribly uninterested looks from unsuspecting audience members. Ah, awkwardness. It wouldn't be the VMAs without it. To gear up for tomorrow's 29th installment, we take a look in the YouTube vault and shine a light on some of the show's most magical ill-at-ease moments.

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Bored to Death Season Three: "Half Brooklyn, Half Mystery"

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM

In the first season of Bored to Death, the joke was on Brooklyn: a writer becomes a private detective, but the city has been so sanitized, so gentrified, that the only cases he can get are, say, a mom who wants him to track down her son's missing skateboard. New York's noir days are over, the show suggested; the one time Jonathan Ames had a serious case that season, it was in New Jersey.

The second season was less about place and more about character—more about the internal mysteries of the show's closed-circle of friends (and New York media) than Kings County. The third season, released yesterday on DVD, is a mix of the two: as Jonathan Ames says of himself in episode seven, "I'm half Brooklyn and half mystery." He's also summing up the show.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Doctor Who Off to an Inauspicious Start

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Thats a lot of Daleks!
  • That's a lot of Daleks!
Hipsters love Doctor Who, so let's recap.

Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor. I was initially skeptical, but the 11th actor to play the iconic character won me over last season, one of the best seasons of television I've ever watched: the intricate storylines, the moral ambiguity, and the grand emotions—I think I wept at the climax of, I dunno, every episode?—provoked by the cast through its strong rapport. Smith may not be history's greatest Doctor. But I've begun to think of him as my Doctor.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Arrested Development Is Coming, For Real, Next Spring

Posted By on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Hey Mom, here I am on the set!
  • Hey Mom, here I am on the set!
Calming the nerves of skeptics thinking that the fourth season of Arrested Development is an enigma created by Ron Howard in a grand scheme to take over the world—all those snapshots of the set could've been photoshopped, you guys—a spokesperson for Netflix, who will be releasing all episodes of the season in bulk, has confirmed a premiere date sometime in spring 2013.

Oh, and then there's this: "According to Netflix, the episode order could grow beyond the 10 installments the company originally ordered," Huffington Post reports.

So now we're going to watch this:

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Monday, August 6, 2012

A Hipster Triumph: Parker Posey to Appear on The New Girl

Posted By on Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM

A silver lining for those distraught that Parker Posey's two-episode guest role on Louie has come to an end: She'll continue casting her high cheekbones and comedic goddess glow on the season premiere of The New Girl, where she'll play "a shot girl" at a party for Schmidt celebrating the removal of his penis cast (congrats, Schmidt!), TVLine reports. This is important because it will mark the first time that Zooey Deschanel and Parker Posey will share time on a television screen, which is something I imagine quickens the heart rate of the average 19 to 35-year-old living in north Brooklyn. It's Monday, and we all need something to look forward to.

Follow Lauren Beck @heylaurenbeck.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Currently Winning the Olympics: This Video of Gymnast Aly Raisman's Parents Watching Her Bar Routine

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Nevermind Ryan Lochte's diamond-studded American flag grill or any of the dozens of athletic feats that went down over the last few days. In a weekend crammed with Olympic coverage from every conceivable corner of the media, this clip takes the cake. In it, we watch the parents of U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman reacting to their daughter's bar routine, which, to the benefit of their mental and physical health, was strong enough to advance her into the individual all-round competition later this week. They might also be driving an imaginary race car? Hard to tell. Deadspin has the video in HD, but for a quick peek, watch above.

What's that thing that Morgan Freeman always says? Oh, yes. Go world.

Follow Lauren Beck on Twitter @heylaurenbeck.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gay Weddings Have Made the City Lots of Money, and Five Other Lessons We Could Learn From The Simpsons

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Legalizing gay marriage in New York has not only made the state that much more civil rights-ful, it's made the city big wads of cash—an estimated $16 million in revenue in just a year, with a $259 million overall bump. Just like Homer in the classic Simpsons episode There's Something About Marrying, gay weddings have been a huge paycheck the city. So what other great advice for NYC is hidden in show's 24 (!) seasons? Lots! Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, sit yourself down and let TV teach you a thing or two.

(Note: apologies for supplying images and not clips. Hulu doesn't give any of the good stuff away for free.)

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