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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    After a 10-month hiatus, The Gregory Brothers gang is back with the fifth installment of Songify the News. And, well, lots has happened since these folks last scoured the TV talking heads for the most singable sound bites.

    New track, "Bang The President," comes from a Rick Santorum speech at the Republican Convention, and it proves a perfect sample to morph into an Auto-Tune epic. This installment focuses on ISIS, the midterm elections, bourbon, and Ferguson, Mo., among other topics.

    What's the most important fact we learn from this installment of the news? That gorilla has an amazing singing voice (especially at 1:59). Hopefully we won't have to wait another 10 months for the next jam.

    H/T Digg | Screengrab via schmoyoho/YouTube

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    Accepting the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the annual Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast, Shonda Rhimes delivered an inspiring, eight-minute speech about industry glass ceilings and progress. 

    She recapped recent Hollywood history and spoke to the rampant barriers broken by women of color over the last 50 years.
    From then to now, we’ve all made such an incredible leap. Think of all of them. Fifty years ago trying to get out of separate rooms, 30 years ago trying to not serve breakfast or be groped by their bosses, 15 years ago trying to make clear that they could run a department as well as that guy over there. All the women, white, black, or brown who woke up like this, who came before me in this town. Think of them. Heads up, eyes on the target. Running. Full speed. Gravity be damned. Towards that thick layer of glass that is the ceiling. Running, full speed and crashing. Crashing into that ceiling and falling back. Crashing into it and falling back. Into it and falling back. Woman after woman. Each one running and each one crashing. And everyone falling. How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice? 

    You can watch the whole thing below.

    Screengrab via The Hollywood Reporter/YouTube

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    Netflix is no longer the sole streaming site among the Hollywood elite.

    The Hollywood Foreign Press announced the nominations for the Golden Globes this morning, and among the mix of usual names and surprises came multiple nominations for digital studios, including recognition for Amazon.

    House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, no longer rookies in the awards-show circuit, received three nominations apiece in the TV Drama and TV Comedy categories. Along with Best Drama and Best Comedy respectively, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are among the Best Actor and Best Actress nominees for House of Cards.

    OITNB’s Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba are vying for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Miniseries, or Motion Picture. Laverne Cox, who was nominated for the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy over summer, was shut out of the Golden Globes.

    Derek’s Ricky Gervais is also up for Best Actor in a Comedy.

    Amazon’s Transparent has taken the Internet by storm for its portrayal of trans people, and now it’s been recognized by the HFP. The show is up for Best Comedy. Star Jeffrey Tambor, who portrays a trans woman transitioning later in life, has been nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy.

    While Netflix has basked in the nominations in the past, it has had less success at the actual ceremony. Wright won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama last year and Aduba won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series earlier this year.

    The Golden Globes ceremony airs Jan. 11, 2015.

    Screengrab via Amazon Studios/YouTube

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    You wouldn’t think that a popular podcast and a satirical news show would compete with each other, but then you might be underestimating the competitiveness of Stephen Colbert.

    He had Serial host Sarah Koenig on his show Wednesday night to talk about the podcast and the case surrounding Adnan Syed, which has millions of fans listening and has given way to a wealth of conspiracy theories; recently, the Best Buy store mentioned multiple times in the podcast become a tourist attraction. As Colbert pointed out, the first season of Serial is ending on Dec. 18, the same day that Colbert’s final show airs. To which we say:

    Even if Koenig is competition, she easily managed to become Colbert’s “favorite guest of all time” by the simple act of sucking up to him. She may not get paid in iTunes gift cards, but she was on the show.

    Colbert revealed himself to be fan of the podcast as well, but he’s more interested in finding out the answer to a pressing question regarding a well-known advertisement.

    H/T Vulture | Screengrab via The Colbert Report

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    Let's just get straight in and explain the premise, OK? Jameson whiskey have set up a kind of artist's bursary and then contacted sweet artists to see if they wanted money to make, wait for it, sweet art! 

    According to singer Hayden Thorpe, Wild Beasts were approached and given total free reign—no agenda, no limitations. Daunting stuff. After a thoughtful sit down with a cup of tea (we imagine) they concluded that "It’s more important that art gets made than not," which is something we agree with wholeheartedly.

    Ultimately, after seeing the video for Plurabelle's song "Our Fires," helmed by Parisian illustrator and animator Mattis Dovier, the band reached out. He's around the same age as Wild Beasts and had similar touchstones—Dragon Ball Z, Master Systems, Nintendo—as well as a shared interest in Manga, which was, in part, a source of inspiration behind Wild Beasts' most recent album, this year's Present Tense. 

    Manga was actually an influence we missed when we interviewed them way back when, but Hayden explained that the connection was to do with Manga's "subverted eroticism," adding, "It’s the Japanese inversion of the West: a lot of the things they take on and twist are often far more interesting and darker than the Western palette will allow." 

    The result is two stories, in the form a a GIF novel. The images were sketched out by Dovier while Wild Beasts provide the soundtrack in the form of two unreleased songs. 

    There's "Blood Knowledge" about human's innate instincts and "Soft Future" which, according to the band "was an experiment on our part to make a human song on laptops. We took those two songs apart, boiled them down and built them back up as soundtracks and each scene is accompanied by a piece of music."

    Read the full story on Noisey.

    Screengrab via The Jameson Works/Vimeo

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    The trailer for the workplace/stoner/generally awesome Comedy Central series Workaholics has hit the Web, and it goes a bit against the grain of what we've come to expect from the show. 

    It leads with series regular (and writer/director/editor of the show) Kyle Newacheck being drug from a car by nameless thugs and shot in the head. It also includes a Mad Max take on Ders, Adam, and Blake's 1985 Volvo 740 (with great timing, considering the new Fury Road trailer hit yesterday); a lot of whiskey drinking with topless women; briefcases full of cash; a mountain of cocaine; rocket launchers, flame throwers, and bloody chainsaws; skydiving; and the deaths of nearly every supporting character in the show. It's all-out gang warfare in a desert that's very much NSFW:

    Of course, before cutting to the guys walking away from an exploding gas station, a title card appears to clear up that "NONE OF THIS HAPPENS" in the show's fifth season. Which is kind of a shame, really. I have no doubts that the new season will be fantastic, but, against the more logical portions of my brain, I was really hoping that Comedy Central had gone completely mad and given the green light to a $90 million season of Workaholics

    Maybe we'll get Mad Max-meets-Workaholics extravaganza in the show's final season. But I hope the final season is still many years away. 

    H/T | Screengrab via YouTube

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    There's finally a Public Service Announcement about one of America's most dangerous obsessions: bangs.

    "Every year thousands of Americans harm themselves in an attempt to look 'different,'" the PSA begins, chronicling the devastating effect that bangs have on America. One girl fueled by bang jealousy burns down her sorority house, another does a stint in juvie after stealing a thousand dollars' worth of bobby pins. Bangs obscuring one girl's vision ends in the death of her boyfriend.  

    For everyone who's considered bangs, this video is an important wake-up call. Say no to bangs! Don't get caught up in our bangs-obsessed society. Not all of us can be Zooey Deschanel. Bangs are a gamble that's just not worth taking.

    Screengrab via Dolly Sketch Comedy/YouTube

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    In a disturbing video project reportedly leaked last month, horror director and actor Eli Roth violently raped pop singer Lana Del Rey. The footage was attached to shock rocker Marilyn Manson and his brand of daring music videos. However, Manson has rejected the footage and laments its association with his corpus.

    "It wasn't a Marilyn Manson video," Manson told NME: "The editor of the company that put it out was somebody who's edited my videos, that video was something that was done with a camera that Eli (Roth), who's my friend, and I both wanted to test out, so I let him test it out... what they filmed was put in context seemingly as if it were a Marilyn Manson video, and that was in no way the intention."

    Manson also told NME that working with Del Rey was a priority, but one that quickly dissolved over creative differences and general rapport. He says the rape scene was filmed without his knowledge: "Eli and I wanted to do a music video with her but she was being such a problem... Although I still respect her, I'm friends with her. I just left, I was tired, I was not willing to make that part of the video. Eli and I originally had intentions of making a video with her, but that is not the intention that is represented in that film clip because that is not what I filmed, not for my video."

    To hammer home his disgust with what he says is third-party editing, Manson expressed disdain for the notion of rape scenes as artistically central to anything the singer would condone: "...the people put it together with my other clips. And it really strongly stands out of place, it doesn't really make sense. I would not make a video of that nature, nor would Eli. I don't think either of us were ever intending for that to be seen, it was more of a camera test. I'm a person that would beat somebody's ass if they raped somebody that I know."

    H/T NME | Photo via Kmeron/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Happy couples embracing on a white background, talking about how a dating site brought them together for longterm love. That's the advertising trope for most online dating companies, but what about hookup apps like Tinder? What would Tinder say about itself if it was advertised just like eHarmony?

    A parody video from comedy channel Scotch Moses gives us a look. The "happy" couples elaborate: "When you're swiping left and right, you're not really thinking about what you want or who you are." The fictional Dr. Tinder pipes in, "All these other dating sites ask you all these questions about your 'personality.' At Tinder, we're on a binary scale. We just show you a couple pictures and ask, 'would you hit it?'"

    Get to swiping, and let Dr. Tinder find you the less-than-perfect one night stand. Or, you can have a machine do the swiping for you.

    Screengrab via Scotch Moses/YouTube

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    Tackling mockumentaries is a tough task. For every Spinal Tap and Best in Show, there’s an A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration.

    The recently launched Kickstarter-funded webseries Tour Girls London hits the mark on some of the mocku ingredients—a good iconic, baseline topic to spoof and first-rate camera work. The off-camera narrator finds the right balance between asking serious questions and not taking himself seriously. The acting, script, and some of the plot themes in the 14-minute pilot episode, on the other hand, need work.

    We follow the story of three young women who ride those red, double-decker buses in London around the city for more than two hours and speak to the wonders of Big Ben and the Tower of London. Microphones in hand, the trio try to be informational and clever. Ashleigh (Grace Blackman) is a hopeful actress who is told by her agent she might want to gain some weight or feign a disability to become more memorable in her auditions. Karen (Amelie Owen) is a rough-and-tumble sort from Wales who lacks and drive or passion and secretly wants to return home. Scarlet (portrayed by series creator/writer Charlotte Cooper-Garcha), is a ditzy worker who has trouble remembering facts and appears to be one strike away from being fired.

    If you've watched either version of the classic TV mockumentary The Office (British or American), you'll immediately see what’s missing in Tour Girls. Attempts at the unintentional humor that is the hallmark of this genre fall flat in this webseries. Mockumentaries also require a total acting buy-in from cast members who are unafraid to look foolish in the spotlight of fake, look-straight-in-the camera interviews. These young actors are far too tentative in the opening episode.

    Tour Girls London is the well-made suit that appears too baggy during the initial fitting. Some simple alterations and redesign could easily elevate this webseries into a more enjoyable experience.

    Screengrab via Tour Girls LDN/YouTube

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    The last great fire drake of the Third Age made quite the appearance on The Colbert Report—and he may have damaged half the studio in the process.

    After teasing a “surprise guest” from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Stephen Colbert revealed that it was Smaug, the great and terrible, chiefest of calamities, visiting New York to promote the new Hobbit film with help from Benedict Cumberbatch and some impressive CGI. As you can imagine, the two fiscal conservatives got along famously—they shared a passion for sleeping on giant piles of money.

    Having already eaten the ladies of The View, Smaug was more than willing to discuss his utter greatness while bemoaning the injustices directed at him because of “Hollywood liberal bias.” He was as slick as ever, with perfectly good explanations for why he attacked Bilbo Baggins and turned down a role in Sherlock.

    Of course, the interview ended the same way most encounters with Smaug do: in flames. Hopefully those parts of the studio fans can bid on remain undamaged.

    Screengrab via The Colbert Report

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    Following the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and last week’s grand jury decision not to indict the cop who killed Eric Garner, social media has been abuzz with commentary on race in America. Much of the conversation has been duly serious as communities both online and off process the weight of these decisions. Even notoriously quick-witted comedian Jon Stewart, took a break from slinging jokey political commentary to weigh in on the gravity of the state of our decidedly non-post-racial society. But Issa Rae, the creator of the hit webseries Awkward Black Girl, is tackling the tragedy with the tools she knows best: creativity and humor.

    Days after the announcement of the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, Rae released a teaser for her new webseries, The Legend of Human Black Guy. The series poses the very topical question: Can a black guy simply be human?

    The teaser shows the lead actor, enimaL, chatting on the phone with his mom about whether he should buy flowers for his grandmother. His neighbor, an older foreign white woman emerges from her apartment with her laundry basket. When he casually asks if she’d like to join his bowling league, we see what the neighbor sees. He’s distorted into a different person entirely, his eyes lazily threatful, his language reduced to thuggish interjections. The neighbor responds with outlandish aggression: "I have a set of three heavy duty locks on the inside of my apartment!"

    The scene is brief, hilarious, and cutting. The interaction is absurd, but all too real. The encounter points to the deeply ingrained and routinized smaller injustices that allow larger injustices to prevail.

    Issa Rae spoke to the Daily Dot about her inspiration for the series, the pain of seeing distorted images of young black men in the media, and her hopes for a better media to come.

    You’ve had huge success with your webseries Awkward Black Girl. What inspired this next project? Is this the male version of Awkward Black Girl?

    In a sense, but it’s also very much separate. The project is inspired by the images of black men that the media perpetuates. Every time I hear about a boy or a man being shot down by the police, I think about my younger brother, [eminaL]. He could very well fit the stereotype of a black male, but he’s not that at all. I always think how devastated I would feel if his image was distorted by the media.

    [When I heard about the grand jury decision], I felt helpless. What could I do? So this is my tool—creating a narrative and creating images. This is my way of humanizing black men.

    Awkward Black Girl explores a lot of taboo subjects: for example when J relieves stress by rapping in secret and uses the N-word, in her rhymes. What kind of taboos will The Legend of Human Black Guy explore?

    I will explore all the taboo subjects that I can. A lot of this will [come from] conversation[s] with my brother. I’m not projecting [my experience onto it]; this is stuff that he’s been through anyway.

    I can see already a lot of black guys are like, “This is my life.” And it really hasn’t been addressed in this way before. The approach will be satirical. This guy is black and human. This is a legend: Does he eat the same food as us? Does he work a 9 to 5?

    When young black men are portrayed by the media, it’s always, “Obviously they’re criminals because they’re smoked weed.” Our last three presidents have smoked weed.

    So I want to explore the differences between him and his white friends—what happens there, and how are they perceived?

    Some of the most-loved protagonists in recent years have been white men who are doing criminal or deviant things, like Walter White on Breaking Bad or Don Draper on Mad Men. What do you make of that?

    Whenever there are white men who are dealing drugs, it’s like this brilliant character. He has to do it because he has cancer and it’s the only way he can take care of his family. If a black guy did it, it would be like, “Well, that’s what they do anyway.” Or if there is a show that deals with it, it’s not seen as groundbreaking; it has a different tone.

    It sounds like the most subversive thing is actually to just make black protagonists very ordinary.

    [Laughs] Yeah, sadly that’s the truth.

    How did you choose the lead actor?

    enimaL is my little brother. He has already been in a lot of my stuff. My sister has a board game coming out called Black Blocks... You’re put in the position of a black player and all these blocks are in your way.

    We shot an infomercial for it last January, and that [laundry scene] was one of the scenarios.

    Obviously this is a time where people are speaking out and pushing for change. Do you think comedy and entertainment can be used as a tool for social justice?

    I wouldn’t put myself on the same level as a social justice lawyer. I’m just doing what I feel like I am capable of doing. I do think indirectly [Awkward Black Girl] has an effect on how the media portrays women, especially black women. And the feedback I’ve gotten from people in general has been very positive. People say, “This is how I felt.”

    I'd love to see more images that I can relate to. I hope to have the same effect here. [Awkward Black Girl] came from being tired of not seeing representation. Why are black women always the same in television and films? This is kind of the same thing.

    What would be your ideal outcome for how black men are portrayed in the media?

    I hope that black men will one day get the Will Smith treatment. Will Smith is black, and he’s achieved a certain level of success where his blackness is still elusive in a way. He’s seen as a human being. At a very core level, I want the media to treat black men as human beings. I want this to open doors; I’d like for black men to have options outside of being an athlete, a ballplayer or even law enforcement. Dream Hampton has a very interesting theory about what black people are allowed to be in television. Whenever they’re allowed to be leads, they have to be agents of the state. I want black men to be able to exist peacefully without having to represent the entire race.

    Screengrab via Issa Rae/YouTube

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    Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’ documentary on Edward Snowden, has been seeing wider release in theaters, and it’s also landed an R rating. What does this mean for politically minded and socially conscious teens who want to see it? New York City’s IFC Center has something to say about it.  

    The theater's website now includes a disclaimer:

    While the MPAA has assigned CITIZENFOUR a rating of R, recommending that no one under 17 be admitted without a parent or guardian, IFC Center feels that the film is appropriate viewing for mature adolescents. Accordingly, we will admit high school-age patrons at our discretion.

    It’s not clear what “discretion” means in this case: Perhaps teens will have to prove they follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter, or that they’re OG Snowdenheads. Still, this is a progressive move on IFC’s part. There's even a physical disclaimer outside the theater, explaining that teens who might vote in the next election should be able to see it.

    As the AV Club pointed out, IFC also shrugged offBoyhood’s R rating and allowed teens to see Blue Is the Warmest Color.

    H/T AV Club | Screengrab via Film Festivals and Indie Films/YouTube 

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    Having trouble getting into the holiday spirit? If carolers make you want to scream, “Go elf yourself,” comic relief is on the way. 

    A clever new video from UCB alum David Craig sends up the sappier side of the season by reimagining the infamously saccharine scene from the much-loathed holiday rom-com, Love Actually.

    Craig stands in a doorway and recreates the bizarre cue card love letter scene between Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln, beat for beat, while comedy partner Lily Du looks on wide-eyed and smitten. Before she can chase him down the hall and reward his intrusion with a completely implausible kiss, a choose-your-own-adventure-style menu pops up and lets you pick your own sardonic ending.

    You can go with Love Actually... Is Blind, if you fancy the absurd, or Love Actually... Is Honest, if you want to see that creeper get the tongue-lashing Keira Knightley failed to deliver.

    Craig, who created the very funny What to Expect series, fumbles haplessly to justify his actions and Du serves up the kind of dry unsentimental retorts the real-girl version of Knightley’s character would definitely have for the would-be stalker at her door. 

    If you can’t stomach the cloying sweetness of holiday, pour yourself a stiff drink and press play.

    Screengrab via David Craig/YouTube 

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    Unless you fall within the targeted demographic of young-adult fiction readers, you’ve likely not heard of Night School, C.J. Daugherty’s series of heroine-led boarding school novels. It's a suspenseful collection, filled with love-triangles and mischief and held together by the ominous threat of the school’s secret society—the name of which gives the series its title. Daugherty cites for inspiration the Bullingdon Club—Oxford’s dining society long associated with wealth, privilege, trashing restaurants, and burning money in the faces of the homeless—but the best point of reference might be all those other things your aging self didn’t know existed until they started to appear on billboards.

    Night School hasn’t yet hit the silver screen, but it has launched a webseries, written by Daugherty and hoping to tap into the same market that embraced The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Rachel Caine’s Morganville.

    Initially the series will consist of six original short films set within the Night School universe—both present and past—that follow the book’s lead character, Allie Sheridan, as she navigates the strange happenings of Cimmeria Academy. The stories are not taken directly from the books, but they're a good chance for Daugherty to contextualize existing narratives. For example the first episode, “Flashback,” delves into Allie’s backstory and the reasons why she has moved to a new school.

    It’s unashamedly not for everyone, but it’s a nice-looking production—and the first young adult webseries, Daugherty claims, of this scale to be produced in the United Kingdom. And while her reasoning for its creation—because she wants “kids to turn off the Internet for a few minutes and read a book”—seems contrary to her methods, at the very least treat this as a heads-up as to what your younger sister or daughter will be talking about in a few weeks. 

    Screengrab via Night School/YouTube

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    What better way to get in the holiday spirit than with a clip of beloved New Girl character Schmidt lip-synching to Rihanna's "We Found Love," while in a fat suit?

    Max Greenfield, who plays Schmidt, made the video while in prosthetics on set, and is goes from a simple, funny lip-synch to a dance number on a hill overlooking Los Angeles. In short, it's beautiful.

    The clip is old, but Greenfield's costar, Zooey Deschanel, re-shared it on her site HelloGiggles, igniting a wave of nostalgia. We have no clue what prompted the re-share, but we aren't complaining. Turn this on and try not to smile.

    Screengrab via iamgreenfield/YouTube

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    While others might be donning Santa hats and elf ears in their videos to celebrate the season, approximately 30 different YouTubers created the largest living nativity scene in the world, in partnership with the multi-faith Radiant Foundation, and broke a Guinness World Record in the process. 

    The event took place is Provo, Utah, and was lead by a cappella darling Peter Hollens, former American Idol runner-up David Archuletta, and The Piano Guys. They also involved the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to help create the lush sounds and massive scope of their nativity, which was set to a mashup of hymns “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Angels from the Realms of Glory.”

    In less than a day the feel-good video has clocked almost half a million views, especially thanks to the participation of other high profile YouTubers like ShayCarl and his family, Working with Lemons, and Devinsupertramp.

    H/T Tubefilter | Screengrab via ThePianoGuys/YouTube.

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    Thanks to a Reddit, we now know any moment can be a thug moment, with the correct soundtrack.

    It's called UnexpectedThugLife, and to achieve an ideal version of a video it's simple. Just combine a perfect out-of-context reveal moment with a track by Snoop Dogg or N.W.A. Take the documentary Magic Camp, which follows teenage illusionists at summer training. Add Snoop and it's the perfect unexpected thug moment.

    Commercials are also a great breeding ground. This clip for Lunchables only gets better when "Fuck the Police" comes out of the school loudspeakers.

    There's an entire subreddit dedicated to these video gems, which means you won't be leaving the house anytime soon.

    H/T Reddit | Screengrab via Kaley Dickenson/YouTube. 

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    While a plethora of YouTubers have made the jump from computer screen to traditional outlets like TV, bookshelves, and beyond, Meg DeAngelis is perfectly content with where she is.

    “I think I love the Internet so much that I kinda just want to stay on the Internet for now,” she told me. “With Web shows and stuff, I have a lot of creative freedom there.”

    The 19-year-old certainly has a lot of creative freedom on her hands. She started making gymnastics and cheerleading tutorials on YouTube after being inspired by the ones she looked up more than five years ago, but since then she’s geared her channel more toward lifestyle how-to videos and vlogs.

    Initially, DeAngelis only did it for herself. While she watched other tutorials online, she never thought people would actually watch hers, which were more a means of getting better at gymnastics. But the more her flips took over that section of YouTube, the more her growing fanbase wanted to learn more. She offered a few snippets about her life in videos, almost as an aside—mentioning she’d just come home from school before she started rolling, making a quick comment on how she looked.

    People started asking her questions about her life, and she divulged. To her, the viewers weren’t just blank faces watching her on a screen.

    “[It was] kinda like becoming friends, like what you do when you become friends with someone,” she explained. “I started doing other videos like updates on my life, and I realized I had this whole group of Internet friends and I can do whatever videos I wanted, and it was just really fun.”

    Like many YouTubers, DeAngelis dabbled a little bit in vlogging, but the more she did it, the more she enjoyed it—enough to eventually abandon the videos that got her some of her subscribers in the first place. And while she lost some subscribers, those who were interested in her stayed.

    She started making more vlogs about her life while focusing fashion videos and focus on DIY. After visiting a friend in Los Angeles and discovering the YouTube community, she dropped out of college and moved across the country to try and make it.

    DeAngelis is among a generation of teen YouTube stars who largely grew up on the service, offering an up close and personal look into her life to thousands of subscribers (which is now up to more than 1.6 million). They’re being compared to reality stars, but unlike the shows that have taken over TV, where what makes the cut is up to a group of editors or the people producing the show and things may be taken out of context or played for the sake of drama, everything on a YouTube channel is up to the creators themselves. You’re opening up to a bunch of Internet strangers, but you’re in charge of the content.

    As far as what that content is, DeAngelis is essentially an open book—except for the obvious.

    “I think of [my fans] as friends, so I pretty much share everything, except [if] it has to do with my safety and my address; I’m not gonna share that,” she said. “But everything else, I’m really, really open about, to be honest.”

    And how she delivers it is captivating audiences left and right. Her creativity stands out, especially when it comes to her crafts.

    “One day I was at a craft store, and I was looking at a shelf and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I could literally any of put hundreds of these things together in hundreds of different ways,’” DeAngelis said. “So I bought a lot of it—too much of it, probably—but then, from that day forward, if I want to think of ideas, I just go to the craft store and look at the shelves.”

    She signed up with AwesomenessTV in February, which allowed her to test the waters by acting in sketches and now a scripted webseries in Royal Crush, which takes place on an actual cruise ship and follows two cousins as they fall for the same guy. It premiered Nov. 23 on AwesomenessTV’s YouTube channel and updates weekly on Sundays.

    While she got to shoot on a cruise ship, she says she didn’t get to see much of it during filming.

    “I didn’t really get to see much of the ship, but it was so much fun because we all became really good friends—the cast and crew—and everyone was really easy to work with,” she said. “And I had an amazing time.”

    And when it comes to creative content, that’s all you can really hope for.

    Photo courtesy of Meg DeAngelis

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    Bilbo Baggins works at a paper company in Saturday Night Live’s epic mashup when host Martin Freeman reprised his roles as both Lord of the Rings’ Bilbo Baggins and the suit-clad paper salesman Tim in a parody dubbed The Office: Middle Earth.

    Freeman is probably best known for playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, and the third film in the series, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, hits theaters this week. Freeman also played Tim in the U.K. version of The Office, a character U.S. viewers will better know as Jim.

    Freeman as Baggins joins other friends from Middle Earth including Gandalf, Legolas, Gollum, and an elven secretary as Baggins’ love interest.

    Gandalf, the general manager played by Bobby Moynihan, describes himself as “chilled out entertainer,” and “Lord of the Reams.” Moynihan’s Gandalf is a dead ringer for Michael Scott, the eccentric Dunder Mifflin manager.

    Gollum, played by Taran Killam, wears nothing but a necktie and khaki shorts, clearly still Baggins’ nemesis, and viewers of the comedy will recognize his character loosely as Gareth Keenan (or Dwight Schrute). Throughout the skit, Gollum suffers through “tricksies,” including when the One Ring appears in a mold of Jell-O.

    Freeman’s SNL debut put his comedic genius on display, and a variety of other clever skits, including a partially improvised opening monologue, almost made us forget The Hobbit isn’t a comedy. 

    Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/Hulu

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