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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    YouTube is giving credit where it's due to singers who have redefined the art of the music video.

    The company announced Monday that it’s planning to reward the biggest musicians on YouTube with a YouTube Music Award (YTMA), which will be just one of many programs that YouTube plans to launch in 2015. The collective winners have quite the resumé: they hail from 10 countries around the world and have more than 146 million subscribers and 44 billion lifetime views.

    The winners include Beyoncé, Lindsey Stirling, Taylor Swift, One Direction, Pentatonix, Nicki Minaj, and Troye Sivan, so it’s a healthy mix of mainstream artists and YouTube personalities. The 50 winners come from all genres and all walks of life, and they were chosen by the fans. They have demonstrated the biggest growth in subscribers, views, and engagement on YouTube in the past six months.

    “These artists prove that YouTube is not only a place to launch new music and be discovered by fans around the world, but also where artists and fans truly connect,” a Google press release said.

    In addition to presenting these artists with an award, YouTube is planning an even bigger reward for the fans. On Mar. 23, the day of the ceremony, it will release a series of new, exclusive music videos from both established and up-and-coming musicians. The videos will drop at 1pm ET/10am PT. A list of participating artists has yet to be revealed.

    The YTMAs will take place on Mar. 23, with YouTube releasing behind-the-scenes sneak peeks on its YouTube Music Awards channel.

    Illustration by Max Fleishman

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    In 2012, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” became self-aware. It went viral. It was covered by everyone from Dan Deacon to Kelly Clarkson to Overly Attached Girlfriend. It became part of the zeitgeist. President Obama even had opinions about it: In an interview with a New Mexico radio station in 2012, he admitted he’d heard the mashup created by YouTube channel baracksbubs, and said of the original, “It looks like a cute pop song.”

    YouTube is where Jepsen’s song flourished, where countless parodies made the song take on a life of its own. Three years later, with “Call Me Maybe” sitting at more than 650 million hits, Jepsen is hoping that trick can be replicated once again. Like, really, really hoping.

    “I Really Like You” is another attempt at a cute pop song, but it lacks a bit of the dynamism of her viral hit. The abundance of reallys in the chorus seems to be taking the place of the oppressive “Whoa-oo-oh” present in every pop chorus now. As with “Call Me Maybe,” the song is tailor-made to accompany the credits of an MTV reality show. The race to cover it is already on.

    Yes, it’s as mindless as “Call Me Maybe.” But there is a well-tread formula at work here, a residual effect. That chorus is still pinballing around in my head an hour after I said, “Ugh,” then played it three more times. 

    Screengrab via CarlyRaeJepsenVEVO/YouTube 

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    Whether she’s walking the streets of King’s Landing or seducing Henry VIII, one thing’s for sure: Natalie Dormer knows how to charm onscreen. That’s precisely why rock crooner Hozier chose the Game of Thronesbeauty to star in the music video for his latest single, “Someone New.”

    Directed by Anthony Byrne, the video indulges the fantasy of every hopeless romantic who can’t help but dream about falling in love with the stranger across the bar or finding a soulmate on the subway. In "Something New," we see a sultry Dormer silently slide through a night out in the city, going unnoticed as she imagines what it would be like to be a apart of every happy couple she comes across. 

    "It was a joy to be a part of the 'Someone New' video, which for me explores the struggle in all our heads between the real and imaginary," the 33-year-old actress told "It plays with ideas of how loneliness and isolation are two different things and the weight or lightness we can attach to loving another person."

    So the question remains, will Dormer return the favor and get Hozier a musical gig in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones? We can only hope that the Irish artist will follow in the steps of Sigur Rós and give us a folksy follow up to "The Rains of Castamere." 

    Screengrab via HozierVEVO/YouTube

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    Lady Gaga has spent the last few weeks launching the first phase of her comeback plan. Now, after absolutely slaying her performance at the Oscars and announcing her appearance on the next season of American Horror Story, Gaga has completed the publicity trifecta with a bit of charity work.

    On Sunday, Gaga joined her fiance Taylor Kinney at Chicago's North Avenue Beach and jumped into the chilly waters as part of the yearly Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics.

    Her hair froze.

    "Feels so good to do things for a good cause like the Special Olympics." Gaga wrote on Instagram. "It's great [to] donate money, but also great to donate a gesture of love for those who deserve to be showered with it."

    Most importantly though, this was perhaps the first time ever that Gaga has been photographed out in public in sweatpants and a T-shirt.

    In 2013, Gaga appeared on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live and The Daily Beast quoted her telling host Andy Cohen that flip flops were a "gateway drug" to sweatpants and no sex, as well as the "downfall of many relationships."

    Photo via Lady Gaga/Instagram

    Our editors curate the top news and analysis on topics that matter. Sign up for the Daily Dot digest newsletter. 

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    Want to settle your fandom-related dispute in front of a judge and set that flame war aside for good? The good folks at Skybound have made that fantasy a reality with Nerd Court, a new webseries that's a nerdy play on classic show The People's Court.

    All cases will be presided over by Malcom Barrett, with help from YouTube personalities like Tessa Netting, Steve Zaragoza, and Joe Penna, among others. Guests will present their case and agree to abide by the judge's ruling, and the loser is bound to "never to post about the subject on the Internet again." Of course, debate in the comments is highly encouraged.

    In an upcoming episode "The Trial of William T. Riker," Jonathan Frakes, who played Riker on the Star Trek series, makes a guest appearance as an expert witness.

    The series debuts March 4 on Skybound's YouTube channel. "The Trial of William T. Riker" premieres on March 11.

    Screengrab via Skybound/YouTube

    Our Tumblr has everything: fandom, comics, longreads, GIFs, free pizza, and more. Follow us

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    This article contains spoilers for season 3 of House of Cards.

    My husband Jason and I are both major fans of House of Cards (specifically Kevin Spacey’s iconic character, Frank Underwood), so of course we were excited for the new season. We had carefully avoided any accidental spoilers, courtesy of the accidental leak of the series last month, and we were completely ready to start watching the show and not stop until we absolutely needed to.

    Armed with nothing but beers, snacks, and our excitement for Kevin Spacey awesomeness, this is what happened when we dove into 13 episodes of the Underwoods and what we hoped would be a healthy dose of American political dysfunction at its finest.

    Feb. 27

    Episode 1, 12:34pm

    We both refer to this as the “What the hell happened to Doug Stamper?” episode. Much of this season’s first hour was devoted to following Doug’s fight for recovery. Lots of hospital scenes, lots of close-ups of Doug’s effed-up face (thanks, Rachel). He breezes through therapy in the hopes of getting back to work, but it ain’t happening. He’s suffered a bit of brain damage, rendering his motor skills sluggish and his emotions erratic. He even takes a fall in the shower and breaks his arm so horribly.

    Instead of going to the hospital, he makes a duct-tape splint and goes to the White House to see the president, who assures him he’ll have a place on his staff after full recovery. It already took him six months to get to that point, so waiting for “full recovery” feels like a dismissal of sorts, a long-term benching of Frank Underwood’s most loyal subject. To celebrate, Doug hires a prostitute, drinks a syringe full of bourbon, and takes pain meds despite his history of addiction.

    Other things: Claire wants to be U.N. ambassador. Frank’s approval ratings are on the decline, and he’s desperate to get a jobs initiative up and running.

    Me: Aside from the unbearable Colbert Report scene, this was a pretty boring episode.

    Jason: (in a Frank Underwood-ish accent) This is only the beginning.

    Me: Also, that arm break. The duct tape. Go to the hospital, you idiot. Who can last that long with that kind of fracture? I would faint.

    Jason: Sometimes you have to break a few bones to get ahead.

    Me: I can’t wait for him to go to Freddy’s for ribs. Can we have ribs for dinner?

    Episode 2, 9:19pm

    The Underwoods heavily push for their own agenda, Claire with her nomination as U.N. ambassador and Frank with America Works, a project that promises 10 million jobs, which he hopes will make his 18-month presidency matter. The leadership won’t have it, telling him they don’t want him to run for president in the 2016 elections.

    Me: He finally looks at the camera! (exhale) What?! Why don’t they want him to run?

    Jason: They are underestimating Mr. Underwood.

    Me: President Underwood. Don’t be disrespectful.

    This is the “crash and burn and revival of Claire Underwood” episode. She goes through the U.N ambassador nomination process, gets goaded into losing her cool, looks terrible, and gets denied by the Senate. Not taking no for an answer, she asks Frank for a recess appointment to make the job assignment happen anyway.

    Meanwhile, Frank tries to rally backers for his presidential campaign and is unsuccessful. Absolutely no one is willing to give him money to run. He cries on the floor like a big baby and Claire pity-fucks him.

    Me: I guess vulnerability is a turn-on? Snot is so not sexy.

    Jason: He needs his groove back, and she’s giving it to him.

    At the end of the episode, we witness Frank toy with the idea we all know was bound to happen.

    Jason: He’s probably going to announce he’s not running, but in a passive aggressive way so people will want him to run. It’s like a judo move!

    Ding ding ding! Frank does exactly as Jason predicted: He makes a pretty awesome speech on TV explaining his jobs initiative and how he plans to use methods politicians seeking re-election would definitely shy away from, because he has no plans of running. He doesn’t want to spend his presidency campaigning; he wants America Works!

    Other things: Doug is still pretty messed up. He thinks drinking liquor by syringe is keeping his alcoholism at bay.  

    Episode 3, 10:16pm

    Jason hums the House of Cards theme song with a goofy grin on his face. We both can hardly wait for the season to start ramping up.

    The whole episode is about power. Frank invites Russian President Viktor Petrov (whom we immediately dislike) to the U.S. in the hopes of enlisting his support for a peacekeeping plan in the Middle East. Petrov outright shits on this notion, saying he has nothing to gain from the plan or from working with the U.S. Frank doesn’t buy it.

    Me:Men like you don’t show up for dinner with an appetite. What a line!

    The whole episode has Frank and Petrov doing the political cha-cha, which got very boring until everyone started taking shot after shot of Russian vodka. Frank sings the blues and Petrov gets handsy with Claire, kissing her full on the mouth. Everyone acts like this is normal behavior. Frank ends up saying hell no to Petrov’s conditions.

    Meanwhile, Claire very much wants to get on the good graces of Cathy, the secretary of defense who was initially against Claire’s appointment as U.N. ambassador. They bond over beer pong and their distrust of Petrov. They’re instant best buds.

    Me: Old lady beer pong? WTF is going on?

    Jason: Liquor is a great tool for forging political relationships.

    Other things: The band Pussy Riot makes an appearance. Doug is still obsessed with Rachel, his almost-killer, and he meets up with Gavin the hacker for more information on her.

    Jason: Oh, what was the deal with everyone at the FBI standing up when the deputy director walked through? What a joke.

    Episode 4, 11:35pm

    Frank meets his main opponent for the season, in the form of stickler-for-the-Constitution Solicitor General Heather Dunbar, who is suddenly interested in running for president after being tricked into vying for a spot on the Supreme Court, which was offered to her as a consolation prize. Nope, she would rather run for president than have job security for life.

    Meanwhile, Doug is slowly making his way back into the inner sanctum. He applies for a job with Dunbar, which we secretly hope is a ploy to spy for Frank. He also coerces Gavin into finding Rachel by making contact with her ex-lover Lisa to find more usable info that’ll narrow down the search.

    Jason: Clearly, this show’s version of the Machine from Person of Interest is not as sophisticated.

    The episode ends on a high note. Frank goes to church for a chat with a pastor on how to rule. He approaches a giant crucifix at the altar in a way that will make you think.

    Me: Is he about to accept Jesus in his life?

    Nope. He spits on the Jesus statue. He does feel bad, though, and leans in to wipe it. The statue crashes to the floor. He picks up a piece before exiting. Cue Underwood-ism: “I’ve got God’s ear now.”

    Other things: Ayla (the new Zoe) gets her White House press privileges revoked by Seth (in a very mic-drop-worthy moment) for shaming the president for his wishy-washy stance on gay rights.

    Me: Yeah, what’s up with that? Isn’t he “experimental” and a Democrat? Shouldn’t he be pro-gay rights? Why isn’t he saying that outright, regardless of whether he runs again? Also, do you think he and Claire will have more hot threesomes with Meechum?

    Jason: Underwood is a southern Democrat, which is the political equivalent of a platypus.

    Me: I need more Meechum in my life, tbh.

    It’s also worth noting that Claire is kicking ass in the U.N.

    Feb. 28

    Episode 5, 12:22am

    Me: Good morning!

    The Dunbar campaign is in full stride. Doug insists on being let in on Dunbar’s campaign, and she considers it, because “a mole accepts the first offer, and [Doug is] negotiating,” so he can’t have an ulterior motive.

    Jason: That’s probably why he’s negotiating! Brilliant.

    Doug, at some point in the episode, also does a Liam Neeson. He gives Dunbar a Frank tutorial.

    Frank makes strides with his America Works project and proposes that the massive unemployment rate be considered an “emergency” that warrants use of the disaster relief fund. Claire confronts the Russian U.N. ambassador by forcing him to enter the ladies room for a conversation while she’s on the toilet.

    We also get a peek into Frank and Claire’s marital life in the White House.

    Me: They sleep separately?

    Jason: He wanted to get some and she sent him away! She wanted him to leave.

    Later, they share a cigarette (a symbol of their bonding) and talk about their issues. America Works finally begins. The camera pans through the people in the queue awaiting for employment assistance. We finally see Freddy.

    Me: Crap. I forgot. Did Freddy lose his business?

    Jason: I guess?

    Me: I still want ribs.

    Jason: (yawns) Let’s continue this tomorrow?

    Other things: Ayla’s replacement Kate (new Zoe 2) is poking around in a way that’ll make you think she’s another obstacle Frank will have to deal with. Also, Jackie (the congresswoman who took Frank’s place as the whip, who also wants to be Frank’s V.P. for the 2016 elections) has sex.

    Jason: She is trying very hard not to expose boobage.

    Me: It’s not in her contract.

    Episode 6, 9:46am

    Frank and Claire travel to Moscow to appeal for the release of American citizen Michael Corrigan, imprisoned for illegally protesting on behalf of gay rights.

    Me: OMG remember him [Corrigan]?

    Jason: Killer in Dexter season 1? Yep.

    Petrov is unshakeable. He wants Corrigan to issue a public apology, which Corrigan of course refuses. The Underwoods work as a tag team to fix the growing mess; Frank tries to soften up Petrov by improving the language of the apology while Claire reminds Corrigan of the life he’s missing in the States, where his husband is actively campaigning for his release.

    Frank finally convinces Petrov to let him read the statement instead of Corrigan (because all Petrov really wants is the illusion of power and respect the apology affords him), but his work amounts to nothing when Corrigan hangs himself in his cell using Claire's scarf, while Claire was sleeping in his bed.

    Petrov and the Underwoods face the media, with Claire asking to go first so she can provide Corrigan’s family with warm words. Instead, she shames Petrov for Russia’s stupid gay propaganda law, thereby ruining Frank’s deal for peacekeeping support in the Middle East.


    Frank is understandably enraged: “I should never have made you ambassador.” She shoots back: “I should never have made you president.”

    Jason: (gleefully) Ahhh, we’re at the halfway point, so of course everything is on the decline. It won’t be long till things ramp up again.

    Me: Who the hell falls asleep in a jail cell, leaving an on-tilt activist with means to off himself? Ugh.

    Other things: Gavin makes contact with Lisa and pretends to be HIV-positive to gain her sympathy and trust. Frank hires Thomas, an award-winning writer, to follow him around and write a book about America Works.

    Me: That’s Mickey Doyle from Boardwalk Empire! He sounds weird without the weaselly laugh.

    Doug starts talking strategy with Dunbar. Also, he seems to be into his physical therapist.

    Episode 7, 10:40am

    This episode alternates between real time and flashbacks to a month ago, marked by Claire’s hair color change. Things aren’t great between the couple: Claire recoils to Frank’s touch during a photo shoot, and he notices. Frank shoots down Claire’s idea during a cabinet meeting. In between this back-and-forth doling of hurt, we see monks—who are visiting for a month for a cultural exchange—working on an intricate sand painting in the White House.

    Me: Look at how elaborate that is!

    Jason: One sneeze and it’s all over!

    More fighting between Frank and Claire ensues. More scenes of the sand art are shown.

    Jason: I’m only waiting for Frank to rage and sweep all that stuff up.

    Me: (blow sounds)

    America Works is successful, and is commended by congressmen on TV.

    Jason: #winning!

    Frank walks around the National Mall, sees Eleanor Roosevelt’s lonely statue (she was the very first U.N. ambassador to the United States), has thoughts that make him see the error in his ways, and approves Claire’s plan. They finally make peace. Claire dyes her hair brown (her original hair color when she first met Frank) and they renew their vows.

    Me: When are we getting our vows renewed?

    Jason: What? We just got married.

    Me: We got married three years ago. So what, in 10, 15, 20 years?

    Jason: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Other things: Gavin finds Rachel and uses it to barter for his release from the FBI. Doug’s physical therapist is moving to Seattle, so they have goodbye sex and that’s totally OK. Also, the monks freaking destroy the sand art, as expected. Frank asks Meechum for a photo of the finished product and has it framed for Claire, with a note that says, “Nothing is forever, except us.” Claire sleeps next to Frank.

    Episode 8, 2:08pm

    A hurricane threatens to hit the Eastern seaboard. There is a massive need for financial relief for the hurricane's would-be victims, but the disaster relief fund is almost depleted because of America Works. Congress is willing to replenish the funds on one condition: The disaster relief fund can never be used for America Works again, and Frank has to sign a bill enforcing that. After much consideration, he signs the bill.

    All throughout the episode, we hear Kate's burning piece on "Hurricane Francis," a biting portrayal of Frank as a tyrant. We also hear excerpts from Thomas's book, which Kate is extremely curious about. They go out for drinks and sleep together.

    Jason: Uh-oh.

    Me: Do you think Thomas will leak info?

    Jason: I hope not. I like his character.

    We also see more of Freddy (yay!) in this episode. He visits Frank in the Oval Office and asks for a job as a groundskeeper for the White House, in lieu of losing his America Works job as a dishwasher.

    Me: I feel sad that his rib shack is no more.

    Jason: You’re too obsessed with ribs.

    Me: You know they’re my favorite!

    Unfortunately, the hurricane turns, and Frank realizes that he signed the bill killing his jobs initiative for nothing.


    Jason: Hahaha, Kate says she can’t write her “Hurricane Francis” piece anymore. That’s what you get for using a could-be disaster as an angle.

    Frank calls Thomas to the White House and tells him to get serious about the book… because he’ll need it to bolster the America Works initiative, the central component of his presidential campaign, which he finally intends to announce to the public.

    Me: (sings a few bars of CeCe Peniston’s “Finally”)

    Other things: Doug finally admits what we already knew: He’s working for Dunbar “to look out for the president.” He’s still pretty obsessed with finding Rachel and spends his time watching out for her through a traffic light feed. Also, Meechum has an aww moment, telling Thomas, “Don’t fuck [the president] over. He’s not foolish.”

    Episode 9, 2:55pm

    Frank starts campaigning, finally. However, trouble derails his progress as eight Russian soldiers are killed in Jordan Valley, where the peacekeeping mission was supposedly in place. Petrov blames Frank and blocks access to the blast site, impeding plans for further investigation. Israel blames Palestine. It’s a shitshow.

    Claire tries to fix it by talking to the Russian ambassador, who tells her that Petrov was behind the killing of his own men in order to disrupt the peace he was never behind to begin with. Claire believes him and convinces Frank as well.

    Me: Wow, Petrov is one cold motherf**ker.

    Jason: So is Putin.

    Frank arranges for a U.S. team to infiltrate the blast zone to try and get proof of this accusation. The team’s cover is blown and a soldier is killed in action; the team is forced to retreat. Petrov shares footage of the U.S. troops infiltrating Israeli soil, causing Israel to send its own troops in, thereby killing the peacekeeping mission.

    Meanwhile, Gavin gives Doug information on Rachel so he can finally negotiate his freedom: She’s dead.

    Doug gets shitfaced, abandoning the syringe delivery method for actual bottles of booze. He sees Frank in the Oval Office and tells him about Rachel’s death and his plan to spy on Dunbar. Frank really wants Doug to get better first before re-joining the gang. Frank calls Dunbar to tell her off for messing up Doug’s recovery. Doug’s brother comes to care for him.

    Other things: Remy is on tilt mode after being called a chauffeur by a possible donor to Frank’s campaign. He gets stopped and frisked for speeding because he didn’t have his wallet on him. He goes to Jackie for comfort and kisses her. She sends him away. Kate and Thomas, however, keep sleeping together.

    Me: Ewwwww why?

    Jason: She’s playing the long game!

    Episode 10, 3:49pm

    The shitshow that is the Jordan Valley situation is still in full effect, but Frank soldiers on and keeps campaigning, while Claire mediates between Israel and Palestine behind closed doors. Things don’t go well. Israel goes ahead and issues a no-fly zone over Jordan Valley before Frank is able to talk with the prime minister. This angers Petrov and prompts him to give Israel the middle finger by flying over Jordan Valley anyway. Frank plans to meet Petrov on the ground in Jordan Valley, despite discouragement from Claire, to try to convince him to leave Israel face-to-face.

    Petrov agrees to leave, on one condition: Frank must fire Claire as U.N. ambassador. Petrov then shows Frank why he needs to. The revelation the Russian ambassador told Claire—the one where Petrov killed his own men—was false. (Or is it? Petrov is sketchy as hell.) Frank fell for it completely because he trusts his wife too much. When he gets home, he tells Claire she’s been played; she agrees to resign, but she's butthurt about it.

    Plagued by thoughts on his loss of control over everything, Frank calls Thomas for company, who opens up about turning tricks in his youth. They hold hands.

    Me: Oh-fuckin'-boy! HERE WE GO!

    Jason: Nope, not happening. Thomas is no Meechum.

    Other things: Gavin sort of confesses to Lisa, telling her he needs to leave because he’s in danger and that everything he said about himself was a lie “because he had to.” Doug has a moment of clarity when he overhears his brother talking to his family on the phone: He has no one. So he agrees to have the entire family for a visit and loves it.

    Me: You think this is it, the beginning of his “real” recovery?

    Jason: (Southern drawl) Can a leopard shed its spots?

    Episode 11, 7:59pm

    The entire episode is centered on preparations for the upcoming presidential debate. Claire, relieved from her duties as U.N. ambassador, goes back to blond to appeal to Frank’s constituents.

    Frank plans the debate with Jackie, who is still in the presidential race because of two things: Frank’s instruction to distract Dunbar and his promise to make her his running mate. Frank wants Jackie to go after Dunbar by calling her a sexist. Jackie is hesitant because she cares for her reputation too much, but she relents after further badgering from Frank.

    Secretly, however, Jackie meets with Dunbar to negotiate. She promises to bow out of the presidential race and endorse Dunbar; in exchange, she wants to be Dunbar’s pick for secretary of defense. She also reveals that Frank has offered her to be on his ticket. Dunbar doesn’t budge; she wants to win clean.

    Jason: Well, now we know she’s gonna lose. Miss Morals is gonna get her ass kicked.

    Me: This show makes you want the good people to fail!

    Meanwhile, Doug is still watching the traffic light feed, hoping to see Rachel.

    Me: Move on, brah.

    Jason: Can’t blame him. The evidence that she’s dead was super sketchy.

    Jason is a freaking psychic. Gavin infiltrates all of Doug’s devices to show him that Rachel is, in fact, not dead. In exchange for info, he wants his hacker friend released from the FBI, like he was. Doug wrecks his laptop in anger.

    The debate commences. Everybody has a great start, and it all seemed pretty generic until Dunbar goes after Frank for hiring Claire to be U.N. ambassador, prompting Jackie to launch her attack on Dunbar as a sexist who doesn’t really have women’s interests at heart.

    Jason: She’s about to get ripped to shreds!

    Me: Definitely a deer in headlights.

    The two female candidates go after one another, bringing their kids into the mix. In an unexpected move, Frank throws Jackie under the bus and attacks her for being a hypocrite.

    Me: My mistake. She’s the deer in headlights. Frank didn’t really do much in this debate, huh?

    Jason: His only move is sitting back and letting them go at it.

    Jackie confronts Frank and has reality shouted back at her: This isn’t a partnership, girl. You do what Frank tells you to do. This, of course, prompts Jackie to bow out of the race and endorse Dunbar instead. This, in turn, prompts Remy to quit (whoa!) as Frank’s chief of staff.

    Other things: Doug’s brother finally leaves after 60 days of successfully keeping Doug sober. Thomas spends time with Claire and gets her to admit—while woozy from donating blood—that she’s unhappy with her arrangement with Frank. She passes out.

    Episode 12, 8:52pm

    Jason: Episode directed by Robin Wright?

    Me: She’s awesome.

    Jason: I only recently realized she was Buttercup in The Princess Bride.


    Dunbar is ahead in the polls. She visits Justice Jacobs—the one with the Alzheimer’s—and is again offered the opportunity to replace him in the Supreme Court. She refuses, again. She really wants to be president.

    To solidify her lead in the race, Dunbar tries to find a way to attack Claire, whose popularity is causing Frank’s numbers to rise. She remembers that Doug once offered to give her Claire’s journal that reveals she wasn’t actually raped in season 2. She negotiates with Doug for the journal and uses it to blackmail Frank into bowing out of the race. Frank is pissed and Claire freaks the fuck out and asks him to do whatever it takes to recover it.

    Meechum finds Doug and brings him to the Oval Office. Doug then reveals that he never gave Dunbar the journal and never intended to.

    Me: Dunbar was totally lying! I did not see that coming.

    Jason: Me neither. Doug’s back in the game!

    Yes, he is. He proves his worthiness and Frank accepts his proposal to be his new chief of staff. They have a celebratory bonfire using the journal.

    Jason: He should’ve been brought back earlier! There’re only a couple of eps left.

    Claire doesn’t take the news of Doug’s rehiring well. She confronts Frank about it, as well as the lie he told on TV regarding her resignation as U.N. ambassador.

    Other things: Jackie joins Dunbar’s camp. She offers Remy a job, which he refuses. Jackie sees him again to let him know she can’t stop thinking about him. Remy tells her to move on. They have sex anyway.

    Thomas shows the Underwoods the first chapter of his book. Instead of making it about America Works or even a profile on Frank, the chapter focuses on Frank and Claire’s marriage, which angers Frank. Claire, not so much. Frank kills the book.

    Me: Ugh, just like that, one likeable character down the drain.

    Episode 13, 9:43pm

    Jason: The final chapter…is this really it? No one has died or has been killed yet!

    Newsflash: Rachel is still alive! The finale’s intro focuses on her new life in Santa Fe.

    Jason: Doug should’ve just gone there to find her. It would’ve been so easy.

    Me: He wasn’t in the proper head space to do any sleuthing, though.

    Jason: He should go there now and look for her, instead of focusing on the hacker.

    Doug finds Gavin and beats him up until he tells him where Rachel is. Doug finds Rachel and buys “supplies.”

    Me: Oh, shit.

    Jason: Obvious body disposal shopping trip! Don’t forget the plastic wrap!

    After what seemed like forever, Doug finally gets Rachel and puts her in the back of a van unconscious. When she comes to, she freaks out until Doug removes her gag.

    Me: That’s a mistake.

    Jason: Why doesn’t he just knock her out again?

    Rachel apologizes to Doug for trying to kill him. Doug digs a grave in the desert and hesitates. He goes back to talk to Rachel.

    Me: WTH Doug? This ain’t no time for a gab sesh! SHE FREAKING CLOCKED YOU WITH A ROCK!

    Doug decides to let her go. He tells her to walk toward the nearby town and he drives in the opposite direction. He changes his mind and does the job he set out to do.

    Jason: Why did they drag that scene out? He could’ve killed her earlier.

    Me: There ya go. The season’s first (and maybe only?) death.

    Meanwhile, Frank and Claire are clearly on the rocks. She tries to talk to him but decides not to. Instead, she tells him, “I want you to fuck me, Francis,” and slaps him.

    Jason: I just watched Fifty Shades of Grey!

    Me: Be my Christian, Francis.

    Frank tries to do what Claire wants, but in the end he just can't. He instead sends her back to D.C. to await further instructions, where she lets out her frustrations via the rowing machine (a gift she gave Frank in season 1). Claire doesn’t go back to Iowa despite Frank’s orders for her to be by his side when he gives his speech. (He wins in Iowa, with Dunbar gracefully conceding.) When Frank gets home, he and Claire finally talk. What do you want, Claire?

    Me: She wants to be Frank’s V.P.

    Jason: Nah, she wants to be president.

    After an exchange of harsh words, Frank clutches Claire’s throat and yells for her to do her damn job as First Lady: “If we lose this because of you, there is no backup plan.”

    Me: Whoops, looks like a common marital fight. Thought she was gonna stand up to Frank for a second there.

    Season ends with Claire walking out on Frank, saying, “I’m leaving you.”

    Post-binge analysis, 10:40pm

    (blink blink)

    Jason: THAT’S IT???

    Me: Uhh…what the hell?

    Jason: Meh. Not enough happened.

    Me: They obviously dragged it out to warrant a fourth season.

    Jason: They must be planning on ending the show soon. Maybe have Frank lose the election next season?

    (We both stare into the TV)

    Jason: The whole season focused on their marriage—

    Me: —and that made the overall plot a bit boring, huh?

    Jason: Claire was obviously always the root of every problem introduced, her and her desire to be important, independent from her powerful husband.

    Me: Right. She fucked up negotiations with Russia, the liberation of the gay activist, the peacekeeping mission. Her instincts were pretty much off every step of the way. It’s almost unbelievable how out of sync she was with what’s really going on.

    Jason: Season 2 was clearer because it was Frank versus Zoe, you know?

    Me: I thought Kate would be the new Zoe, the new formidable opponent disguised as an ally. Nothing really happened with her. What a waste of a character.

    Jason: Also, way too much time spent on Doug’s storyline. You can only tolerate so many scenes of his recovery! And at least 20 minutes of the finale was devoted to Rachel’s killing. For what? We already know that Doug is a cold ass motherf**ker, and he hasn’t changed, not one bit.

    Me: Except for Thomas and Claire, most of the characters were unlikeable or underdeveloped, including Frank. Unless you can count his utter lack of power and control over the entire season as “character development.” That was not the Francis Underwood we signed up for. [Knocks twice on the table].

    Jason: Yeah, this season was definitely off the rails. Probably the show’s worst season. I'm very disappointed.


    Me: So… wanna watch The Blacklist?

    Illustration by Jason Reed

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    For fans hopeful for a musical moment from YouTube superstar Tyler Oakley, his joking rap duo with actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson might be as close as they'll ever get.

    Oakley welcomed the Modern Family star on a recent video, where the pair joked about being "just two teens hanging out," chatted about Ferguson's theater career, and gave their best QVC impressions while hawking Ferguson's bowtie line.

    Oakley has played host to big-name stars before, including One Direction and Darren Criss during his annual Auguest series, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama. Oakley and Ferguson are pals outside of the confines of the YouTube video, and Ferguson jokingly explained how taking Oakley with him on a Disneyland trip was more stress than it was worth. 

    "Because I work for ABC, I get special treatment at Disney," explained Ferguson. "I had a lady who helped us get around quickly. I was not the problem, though. I had no idea I was taking the most famous person in the world. By the fourth hour I was like, 'Leave him!'"

    Ferguson joined Oakley to promote his own bowtie line, Tie the Knot, which supports marriage equality initiatives. The guest appearance is definitely in line with Oakley's admitted goals for 2015. 

    “I think a lot of what I wanted to do in 2014 was build a repertoire or a portfolio for what I can do with traditional celebrities or with brands or whatever," Oakley told the Daily Dot earlier this year. "Maybe 2015 is the year I start reaching out to people I always dreamed to do stuff with.”

    If amping up the celebrity quota on his channel is in the cards, you can't go wrong with a Modern Family star.

    Screengrab via Tyler Oakley/YouTube

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    Master of the motivational and life-affirming message, Dr. Seuss has inspired generations with his children's books. Now those messages can be found on YouTube thanks to his dedicated fans.

    Those fans are today celebrating what would have been Seuss' 111th birthday. He died at the age of 87 in 1991, but his work has lived on through more than 40 books he created over his career, many of which were turned into beloved cartoons. Fans have uploaded several classic Seuss cartoons to YouTube, perfect for satisfying your Seuss craving in celebration of his birthday and perhaps winning over a new generation of fans.

    The Cat In the Hat

    Green Eggs and Ham

    The Lorax

    Horton Hears A Who

    Screengrab via Colin Macleod/YouTube

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    Move over, Meredith and Olivia! Taylor Swift has a new bundle of joy in her life and it doesn't shed! 

    On Sunday evening, actress Jaime King asked thesinger to take on the most important role of her career and become godmother to her unborn second child. Overjoyed by the honor, Swift took to Instagram to share her new title by posting an adorable snap of her cupping the 35-year-old actress' belly. 

    By accepting this responsibility, Swift joins a prestigious group of individuals. According to, King's first child, 16-month-old James Knight, can call Jessica Alba and Topher Grace his doting godparents.

    The announcement of Swift as godmother comes only weeks after King and husband Kyle Newman announced King's second pregnancy via social media. After struggling with fertility issues for years, the couple was overjoyed to announce that they were expecting for a second time. 

    Let's just hope that Swift is available to give rides to the birthing suite when this kid decides it's ready to enter the world, because no mom should have to call an Uber to get to the hospital.

    Photo via rwoan/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    If anyone thought that the Leda and Castor clones would just play nice on Orphan Black’s upcoming season, they’re surely mistaken by the looks of the show’s first full trailer.

    With Helena kidnapped and placed into a box—which will end well for absolutely no one—the clones we know and love will struggle to get her back and keep it together as they try to piece together the mysteries before them. Of course, there’s also the looming threat of the male clones introduced last season, who are all military trained. There’s at least four of them (played by Ari Millen) to pair off against Tatiana Maslany’s clones, although aside from the tiniest of glimpses we’re still left wondering what happened to Rachel Duncan.

    It’s gonna get messy, and if Helena has her way, there will also be plenty of bullets flying.

    The third season of Orphan Black premieres Apr. 18.

    Photo via BBC America

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    When Chance the Rapper isn’t covering the theme to PBS kids’ show Arthur or teaming up with Mark Ronson, he’s beatboxing with Alec Baldwin.

    Over the weekend, the rapper posted a video to his Instagram showing Baldwin rapping the words to Carl Sandburg’s poem “Chicago,” while Chance beatboxes. The two were apparently both in Chicago for a Young Chicago Authors event, and, as Chance relates, Baldwin is “for the people.”

    Baldwin needs to work on his flow a bit, but we’ll applaud his effort. Sandburg’s poem is really beautiful, and here’s the passage he’s reciting if you can’t make it out:

    ...for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys/And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.

    Baldwin then attempted to spit rhymes on Twitter.  

    In other rapper/actor chill sesh news, Bill Murray and Rick Ross also hung out this weekend.

    H/T Pitchfork | Photo via (CC BY ND 2.0)

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    Between burger-themed cookbooks and animated Sleater-Kinney music videos, the teams over at Fox’s Bob’s Burgers are always finding new ways to delight their fans. This Sunday’s show was no exception.

    It all began during the episode “The Gayle Tales.” Looking for a way to escape unfair grounding, Tina, Gene, and Louise compete for a chance to accompany their Aunt Gayle to “Yarnival,” the cat equivalent of Cirque du Soleil. To win the prize, the children write short stories starring their aunt and of course, her crush Scott Bakula.

    While Gene and Tina’s tales delight, it’s Louise’s imaginative cat-centric take on Game of Thrones that truly takes the cake. In the aptly named epic “Gayle of Thrones,” Louise paints her aunt as Queen Gayle of Catsteros. Accompanied by her beloved catdragons, the powerful Queen Gayle rules over all of the nine cat life kingdoms with an iron fist. That is until Gene, a Warlock from the House of the Unfarting, comes to steal them.

    From there, the vignette quickly spirals into madness as the Bob’s Burgers writers find a way to spoof every aspect of the HBO hit. From Teddy as a mindlessly boring White Talker, to Mort as The Mortan, this Game Of Thrones crossover has all your favorite characters and then some. But forget about evil Lindaria and her Moon Door, the only thing we want more of is Bobdor, the show's homage to everyone's favorite feeble-minded giant. 

    If you didn't catch last night's amazing homage, then have no fear. Some Internet hero has condensed the whole tale for your viewing pleasure. 

    H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via VidMe

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    Former CNN host Piers Morgan spent part of Monday night tweeting insults about Cher's appearance, just in case anyone was wondering if he was still a classless jerk.

    The whole thing began with a tweet from Perez Hilton asking if Morgan still hated Madonna. (Answer: He does, because she does not wear enough clothes for Morgan's satisfaction.)

    A fan then brought up Cher, who famously refuses to let age dim her love for sequins, fishnets, and extravagant formalwear.

    To which Cher replied:

    Twitter is indeed a marvelous place. Where else would you get to witness Cher arguing with a British journalist about her right to wear fishnet stockings?

    Throughout the evening, Piers Morgan also tweeted about the recent L.A.P.D. shooting, which made for a bizarre juxtaposition with his public insults of a woman's clothing choices. It was a pure, textbook example of a man offering his unsolicited opinion on the Internet.

    Thankfully, Twitter monarch Cher came out as the clear winner here. Cher, we salute your always-appropriate emoji usage.

    Photo via David Carroll/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    Some of Jimmy Kimmel’s viewers aren't happy about his stance on vaccinations.

    Kimmel made his position clear on Thursday night’s episode, saying that he fully supported vaccinating kids, and he even brought in a bunch of doctors to drive home his message in a blunt, expletive-filled PSA.

    But not everyone agreed with the PSA, and viewers made sure Kimmel knew they disliked it. Their angry tweets and messages did nothing to sway him, but they did inspire him to do a follow-up segment. Even though he thought the anti-vaxxers were wrong, he gave them a platform to speak for the sake of fairness.

    Of course, that just gave him the fuel to mock them even more in the form of the argument that it should be up to the child to choose. And between a vaccination and a lollipop, they'll choose the latter every time.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube

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    The zombies are finally out to play, as new webseries Zombie Basement releases its first episode this week. For the show's creators, it's already been a long journey from idea to sharing their vision with the world.

    The series follows a pair of pals, Joel and Guffy, who are broadcasting their own Wayne's World-style YouTube show from their basement in the face of the apocalypse, collecting a cast of survivalist characters and worrying about typical teenage things in the face of zombies out for delicious brains knocking right on the basement window.

    The show's producers released a teaser for the series the week of Halloween 2014, but didn't have a plan in place at that time for actually bringing the show to the world. The teaser was the first step in them finding potential partners to help produce their idea. They'd already assembled a top-notch team of cast and crew thanks to the Hollywood background of screenwriter David Schneiderman and director Brian Dannelly. Their missing piece was a producing partner who knew the space and knew how to make their webseries happen.

    "We made this show and we're proud of it, I think the thing we're having trouble with is finding that new party to come on board and help us further it," said Schneiderman. "Somebody who knows that space, someone who is invested in the YouTube space and wants to help us push it there." 

    Part of the glory of the webseries is with a camera and a computer, anyone can try their hand at the medium. However, as the genre grows, the line between webseries and television series begins to blur. Productions like Video Game High School or The Guild have elevated the genre. For the Zombie Basement group, their vision needs support. After months of meetings, they've decided to put YouTube to work for them, building notoriety off episode one while they decide their next steps.

    "The hope is showing people what it is might help it get in front of the right person," Schneiderman said. "Or if we bump into somebody who asks what we're doing, we can tell them to go check out the pilot. It makes it way easier than having this hidden product. We have to use YouTube for what it is, which is put your work in front of other people and let the audience decide if it's worthwhile to move forward."

    Schneiderman says the team already has the second episode ready and waiting, and its online fate will depend on how well the first episode does. Either they will find a partner and hold back on releasing any more until they've got a production schedule planned, or they might be able to move forward independently. Schneiderman says they hope to bring future Zombie Basement productions more in line with the current YouTube atmosphere.

    "Our hope in the future is to take the guys and the world, and start bending it toward what's happening on YouTube right now," he said. "We would build our show around the structured episodes, but also our guys in their world commenting on what's happening around them on YouTube. Then we can be constantly generating the type of content that YouTube thrives on."

    That means Guffy might do a top 10 list spelling out ways zombie movies are not at all like the actual zombie apocalypse, or they might conduct challenge videos while they're bored in their basement. The ultimate goal of all this extra content is to build a community for potential fans.

    "We want to reward the fans," Schneiderman said. "We want to get them in the door, then make them want to get everyone else in the door. We need to hope this leads us to a place where we can constantly build content for the show."

    Of course, this all hinges on the right eyes getting on their pilot episode, hence the public release. If fans flock, Schneiderman and team hope that along with those fans come interested parties who can make their show a reality.

    "I think that we're at a place where I think we need to show what it is, and see if that helps us figure out where we can take it," he explained. "Or find the right audience or somebody in the audience who can help us continue the journey."

    Screengrab via Zombie Basement/YouTube.

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    Throughout the year, we'll be revisiting acclaimed albums month by month as they turn 10. Thanks to services like Spotify, these works are readily accessible, and we can process them in a bubble, sans a time-sensitive and superlative-laden media boost, to see if they are any good. Along the way, we'll explore how then-nascent technology changed the way we move as music fans.

    The music industry will descend upon Austin, Texas, this month for the 29th annual South by Southwest music conference. For the disinterested or uninitiated: It's like a car show where the business shows off its new line of models before they hit the sales floor, and you get to see Amy Winehouse play in a room that holds 100 people. 

    This year, 2,200 bands from all over the world will turn dive bars into time capsules. The point nowadays is to generate a groundswell of support for an imminent release, and the golden trump card is to forge a viral moment by way of a spellbinding performance (or, more likely, by causing some sort of scene). At SXSW, you'll be remembered more for the city rejecting your permit to perform in a giant Doritos vending machine (Lady Gaga, 2014) than for what the final gig actually sounded like when it was held down the street. 

    Ten years ago, this was a completely different conference. In 2005, the process was streamlined—a moist coffeecake for journalists to tackle. You'd hang out for four days watching bands and taking notes. You'd file a few days later, and a majority of daily arts sections were littered with meditative reports from the field in, say, the next Thursday's weekender insert.

    The field was more narrow (about 1,300 bands showed up in '05). Blender Magazine was an important tastemaker that existed. Reporters wandered and listened as opposed to flying to Texas with a scavenger hunt checklist of SEO-optimizing trending terms.

    Bored college kids could roam freely across unofficial side gigs that they'd read about on nerdy, fringe music blogs. Bloggers were themselves unofficial nobodies who could hardly afford a general admission wristband, let alone land accredited badges. Without Twitter charting every flicker of energy, without livestreams from the Fader Fort, SXSW was a comfortable insider bubble.

    Twitter caused a scene at SXSW two years later as a showcasing startup, and nothing was the same. Modern SXSW leads with its tech conference and the music component is, by comparison, a mainstream afterthought. The mass proliferation of social media means that everyone has the RSVP link to everything, and loose, unscripted, secret performances don't stay quiet.

    In 2009, Kanye West hijacked proceedings by skipping the major label showcases and headlining the unofficial Fader Fort as a surprise guest (he returned to SXSW in 2011 and 2014 with increasingly wider lenses and elaborate one-offs). Ever since, SXSW has been a must for pop's biggest rappers. The Fader Fort was the heart of the conference for area partygoers, offering free wristbands to civilians and, once inside, free alcohol to couple its free entertainment.

    The party bubble burst in 2014, particularly when Rick Ross gave a sort of keynote address to close out a conference during which four people were killed by a drunk driver who drove through the pedestrian barricades days earlier. The civilians swarmed the scene before that Ross performance; important people couldn't get in and tweet. This year the Fader Fort will be an invite-only gathering. In general the city is actively minimizing the unsustainable Mardi Gras side effects that accompany unlicensed performances.

    It is both sad and necessary. But if there's an immediate upside, it's that it'll be easier for the press to find and fawn over the next M.I.A.

    5) Various Artists Atticus: ...Dragging the Lake, Vol. 3

    What critics said then: "The third compilation in a series by the folks at SideOneDummy Records and the Atticus clothing line—owned by Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 fame—is about as good as modern day, punk-tinged compilations get. Featuring a number of rarities along with previously released tracks by punk, emo, and hardcore vets and newcomers alike, the disc's only real flaw is its lack of musical flow."

    Most dated thing about it: The clothing that this punk compilation sells, and how that makes you think about shopping at Pacific Sunwear

    Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 6.7332 

    The biggest developmental contribution that Blink-182 offered its children was to act as a gateway drug toward other strains of punk rock. The band did this by constantly propping up the proverbial scene and, more tangibly, by spearheading these compilations that were often handed out freely at concerts as CDs. This is the last one I cared about, and it's a quiet storm of B-sides: Gratitude's skateboard punk epic "This Is the Part," a token Taking Back Sunday gem that simultaneously makes you nod along and cringe ("spend the night late, listenin' to Miles Davis"); an urgent, off-the-rails jam by Motion City Soundtrack. Memphis, Tenn., alt-country gamblers Lucero are welcome here, ditto the two-year-later placement of Death Cab for Cutie's "This Is the New Year." Your two key cuts: "Bad Timing" by Recover, easily the most enduring Texas-based emo act, and "Not Now," which lives as the last good Blink song and was released just as the band said goodbye to fans and broke up.

    4) Beck — Guero

    What critics said then: "On Guero, his eighth album, he returns to what he does best, hopping from genre to genre, hustling for scraps of beat and rhyme. He has reunited with the Dust Brothers, the producers behind his 1996 masterpiece, Odelay, for his liveliest and jumpiest music in years."

    Most dated thing about it:  The notion of Beck recording a mid-career masterpiece, a narrative that surrounded not only Guero, but 2006's The Information, 2008's Modern Guilt, and last year's Grammy-winning Morning Phase.

    Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 6.995

    Beck dove into East Los Angeles barrio aesthetics on this record a bunch ("guero" basically means "white boy," and he grew up there). It's a hat that doesn't fit as effortlessly as others he's worn, like dialed-in stoner, '70s R&B player hater, sad wanderer, Laurel Canyon mandolin bro, or even ironic hip-hop purveyor. When he samples curt, blaring car horns or sings "see the  vegetable man in the vegetable van with a horn that's honking like a mariachi band," it's neither endearing or moving. But the Dust Brothers produced "MMMBop," and Guero is a diverse, pop-laden supermix. Even the dirty intro rocker "El-Pro" pops with "So Watcha Want" drums. The freshest line item here is "Girl," a winking, 8-bit assisted take on "I saw an attractive woman in a casual setting and now I must approach her" songwriting. Beck's muse had "a fist pounding on the vending machine, toy diamond ring stuck on her finger." We don't know if Beck's singing "my sun-eyed girl" or "my cyanide girl" on the hook, and at the time he blocked out the lyrics on his website.

    3) Beanie Sigel — The B. Coming

    What critics said then: "'I’m stressed out,' confesses Sigel on The B. Coming, his third album. You can’t blame the rugged MC for being a tad overwhelmed. Currently serving a yearlong prison sentence on gun charges, he was clearly inspired to balance his usual crack-’n’-gats talk with unvarnished self-reflection."

    Most dated thing about it: Thinking about how Jay Z thought he could self-appoint a successor to the rap throne and do it by offering up a pudgy bulldog from Philadelphia without an ounce of mainstream charisma.

    Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 7.001

    This is an easy record to rally behind—rushed to completion just as Sigel was headed to prison for weapons and drug possession charges. The hip-hop lover's dream is that the demons would manifest in the tracks, and you'd feel more gravity for one of Jay Z's most talented protégés as he tells all. The practical reality is that The B. Coming was stuffed with guest performer purchases (Snoop Dogg, Cam'Ron, beats from Just Blaze and the Neptunes), strays from its strongly branded message, and its high-dollar production was castoff work from in-demand names, so it hardly pops these days. Thing is, Sigel is one of the best living rappers, and despite his limited commercial ceiling, his blue-collar snarl and comfort on the mic remain freshly brilliant. Forget the swings and misses; when Sigel raps about not having union benefits or a dental plan as a signed artist or makes a Rae Carruth jab, there's resonance from Philly's most Crisco-slick tongue-twister. 

    2) The Mars Volta — Frances the Mute

    What critics said then"Before we say anything else we should say that Frances The Mute is a staggeringly accomplished work, both as a multi-dimensional of music and narrative, one that would reward both serious academic study and being listened to under the influence of hallucinogens. If it were judged purely on scale and ambition it’d be the album of the year."

    Most dated thing about it:  The yearning that came with waiting on Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedrix Bixler-Zavala to become irrefutable rock gods.

    Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 8.3314

    Check out this prog monster's mystical backstory:

    Jeremy Ward, audio artist for The Mars Volta until his death, had previously worked as a repo man. One day, Ward discovered a diary in the backseat of a car he was repossessing, and began to note the similarities between his life and that of the author—most notably, that they had both been adopted. The diary told of the author's search for his biological parents, with the way being pointed by a collection of people, their names being the basis for each named track of Frances the Mute

    The Mars Volta had an opportunity to punch its way through and become an international Led Zeppelin savior of traditional muscle car rock. Proof is on lead single "The Widow": There's starry plucking, sorcery-infused storytelling, big drops, bombastic riffs. Unfortunately, that leaves Frances the Mute with only four other songs strewn across 70 minutes of smoldering forest fires. The uppers—particularly the Spanish language murder mystery "L'Via L'Viaquez"—are brazen bombs. But for the rest of it, you're stuck in the woods without a compass. 

    1) M.I.A.  Arular

    What critics said then: "Despite her ticking time bomb collages of beats and infectious hooks (in and of themselves enough to pledge allegiance to the M.I.A. consortium), it would behoove even the casual hipster to educate themselves on the tumultuous history that informs much of the album. Born Maya Arulpragasam in London, M.I.A. bounced back and forth between the civil war-torn Sri Lanka and India before settling in the projects of South London and discovering—and learning English via—hip-hop music. While filming a tour documentary, Canadian electro-rapper Peaches introduced Maya to a Roland groovebox, with which Maya frantically wrote most of Arular, and the rest is, as they say, history. Flash-forward to reactions like mine at a runway show and you've got the critical darling of '05."

    Most dated thing about it: The pop-up armchair political hipster conversations about Sri Lankan civil war.

    Arbitrary rock critic score after 10 years in the earbuds: 9.2111

    It's OK to continue to wonder if M.I.A. is a king's robes situation where left-leaning critics fawned over her music because of its defiant symbolism. Anyone that read Lynn Hirschberg's 2010 New York Timesprofile (and followed its subsequent Twitter beef) can't help but wonder if the style outweighs the substance here. Former collaborator, boyfriend, and part-time Web troll Diplo cast her as a sort of Megan Draper character with a stubborn artist's temperament: "In the end, Maya is postmodern: she can’t really make music or art that well, but she’s better than anyone at putting crazy ideas into motion. She knows how to manipulate, how to withhold, how to get what she wants.” The reality is that M.I.A. is an expert editor with a vital, active voice, and more importantly a stocked bar of production talents. Arular is her hole in the speaker.

    Photo via themostinept/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed 

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    After plenty of back-and-forth, Jon Stewart finally took on WWE wrestler Seth Rollinson his own turf.

    The public feud started around the time that Stewart announced his retirement from The Daily Show. Rollins claimed on Monday Night Raw that he could easily take over Stewart’s job and make the Comedy Central program "watchable." Even though Stewart is now a lame duck of late-night, he couldn't take that insult lying down.

    The feud escalated last Thursday when Rollins interrupted Stewart’s “Moment of Zen” and challenged him to appear on the next Monday Night Raw.

    And so Stewart showed up, but not before Rollins took some digs at Stewart at the anchor’s desk first. With the audience watching, they took turns insulting each other. Boundaries are pushed, feelings are hurt, and Stewart delivers the knockout blow seen around the world, delighting both wrestling fans and skeptics.

    Sure, the whole thing was probably scripted and expertly executed, but we can't help but watch and laugh anyway.

    H/T Screengrabber | Screengrab via WWE/YouTube

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    If you’re in need of a duet partner, look no further than Jimmy Fallon.

    Already a historian of rap and dance, he and Kelly Clarkson took on some of the most iconic duets of the past 50 years in a medley packing a punch of powerful ballads and ditties. They’ve not only got the vocals for it, but they’re bringing the dance moves, too.

    They cover everything from Sonny and Cher to the Human League, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty, and Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, and they’re willing to commit to the bit no matter what it takes. Even if it involves Fallon putting on a fake birthmark for his Aaron Neville impression.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

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    Remember last weekend, when we couldn’t stop watching the video of a naked man shimmying down the side of Buckingham Palace? It was too good to be true, but we weren’t quite sure what it was marketing. People got really into dissecting the hoax.

    Wonder no more: The clip was a bit of viral marketing for a fake TMZ-esque tabloid, D-Throned, which covers the headline-worthy ins and outs of the fictional royal family from E! show The Royals, which debuts March 15.

    The extended clip alleges the man was escaping from the bedroom of Princess Eleanor, who paparazzi previously caught “dancing wildly” and “snogging a member of the Cabinet.”

    Her “reign of error” is chronicled on D-Throned, as are Prince Liam’s Tinder escapades. Oh, and Elizabeth Hurley plays the Queen. We agree with the guy being interviewed at the 1:11 mark. 

    H/T E! | Screengrab via E! Entertainment/YouTube 

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    Everyone wants to know what Joseph Gordon-Levitt will look like when he dons the trademark spectacles and whistleblower demeanor of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. On Tuesday, Gordon-Levitt—who will play the titular role in the Oliver Stone biopic Snowden—shared a publicity still of himself in Army fatigues with the name tag "SNOWDEN."

    "I was surprised when I first learned this about Snowden--that he enlisted in the US Army in 2004," Gordon-Levitt wrote on Facebook. "He wanted to go fight in Iraq, but during basic training at Fort Benning, he broke both of his legs and received an administrative discharge. After that, he was still determined to serve his country (love him or hate him, you gotta admit the guy's strong-willed) and so he ended up getting a job at the CIA, which is where his career in Intelligence began."

    Gordon-Levitt added that the Army scenes "felt like a really good way to start this shoot. It was hard, but of course, nowhere near as hard as real basic training."

    The Snowden biopic, which will also star Shailene Woodley as Snowden's girlfriend Lindsay Mills, is set for release on December 25, 2015.

    Photo via Open Road Films

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