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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Hosted by comedian Hannibal Buress, the Webby Awards return this spring to honor nominated content that exemplifies the best and the brightest the Web has to offer. 

    At last year’s Webbys, the selfie was declared “dead,” although with the growing popularity of selfie sticks, it’s clearly resurrected itself for 2015. Last year’s winners included Jamie Oliver for best personality and Zach Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns episode featuring Justin Bieber. This year’s nominees are a mix of established mainstream content from major networks, like Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets series, and dominant Web-only content creators like Mashable’s “Kevin Bacon Explains the ’80s to Millennials” or individual projects like Rob Cantor’s “Shia LeBeouf” and Bo Burnham’s “Repeat Stuff.” Between Two Ferns could go for a repeat award, this time with the President Obama edition nominated in the longform or series category. It’s up against the Fine Bros.’ Kid React series, as well as Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

    In the personality or host category, 11-year-old Kid President is nominated against television veteran Adam Savage and Emily Graslie of Chicago’s Field Museum. Eddie Huang of Vice is also nominated in the category, with Vice Media leading the list of nominations. With 17 nods, it dwarfs other outlets like College Humor, Funny or Die, HBO, and Mashable, who are all under the double-digits.

    The awards received entries from every state and 60 countries, totaling nearly 13,000 entries. In addition to the academy-voted awards, fans can also participate in the People’s Voice Awards, which will be announced in advance of the May 18 show. 

    A complete list of the nominees is available at the show’s website.

    Photo via Webby Awards | Remix by Jason Reed


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    Jon Stewart picked a hell of a week to go on vacation.

    Comedy Central’s announcement that Daily Show correspondent Trevor Noah would be taking over his chair went off without a hitch last Monday, but that same night people started discovering some of Noah’s more problematic tweets from the past few years about women, domestic violence, and Jews. Comedy Central stood by his side, saying that “to judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair.”

    But after returning to the show this week, Stewart finally took on the Noah controversy. He’s standing by his successor, and he hopes that Noah will earn the audience’s trust just like he did when he first started out. 

    “I do hope you give him an opportunity to earn that trust and respect because my experience with him is that he is [an] incredibly thoughtful and considerate and funny and smart individual,” Stewart said. “And man, I think if you give him that time it’s gonna be well worth it. I’m excited for where he’s gonna take his thing.”

    Screengrab via The Daily Show


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    Say you’re in a band that has a new album coming out in May, and you want to get people to engage. How do you circumvent the traditional social media channels and get people to click? 

    If you’re New York City duo Tanlines, you turn your website into Netflix

    Tanlines’ latest album comes out May 19 via Matador, and while there’s an option to preorder Highlights, there’s also a very familiar scrolling feature: 

    The second row links to the band’s Spotify and website, but the first row includes faux movies like Pieces. The tagline: “When bae is away, all hell breaks loose in this dramedy of love, loneliness, and longing.” They also got quite creative with Netflix genres: 

    There’s also a row dedicated to band member Jesse Cohen’s podcast, No Effects. Now regular Netflix seems so boring.  

    Photo via Windish Agency 


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  • 04/07/15--09:26: How to get HBO Now
  • HBO Now, the premium cable network’s long-awaited standalone service announced last fall, is finally here.

    If you want to get everything set up in time for your Game of Thrones/Veep/Silicon Valley triple-header watch party on Sunday, here’s what you need to do.

    With Apple TV

    1) Boot up your Apple TV and open the app

    You'll see a new HBO Now app in the top row of your icons on the home screen.

    2) Open the app and enter your email address

    You can either log in to an existing HBO account or start a new one. After that, you'll need to agree to the terms of service, which, let's be honest, you're way too excited to read.

    You'll get this in your inbox shortly thereafter:

    3) Log in with your Apple ID

    This takes you to a screen that details the terms of the service: Your first month is free, and your iTunes account will be charged $14.99 a month automatically after that. If you want to bail, simply turn off auto-renewal on your computer or other Apple product.

    4) Dive in

    The HBO Now homepage is now at your fingertips.

    Without Apple TV

    You're not entirely out of luck if you don't have an Apple TV. Any ol' computer or iOS device will do.

    1) Go to hbonow.com

    The free trial option is still available, or you can log in to an existing HBO Go account.

    2) Pick your provider

    If you have an Apple product, you should be good to go with the instructions above. In theory, you'll simply download through the App Store on your laptop or iPad, and off you go. As of right now, unfortunately, the App Store isn't showing HBO Now as available in the U.S.

    If you run into that error, try manually searching for HBO Now in the store; the iPhone and iPad apps came up for me.

    If you have Optimum broadband (which you probablydon't, sorry), you can add the service to your account there. Stay tuned for support for more providers at a later date.

    3) Start streaming


    Once you’ve launched, you’ll see a scrolling bar of some of the channel’s most popular offerings at the top: Jersey Boys, Going Clear, Game of Thrones, and The Jinx were top of the charts this morning.

    Below that, you’ll see icons for must-watch HBO series (led off by the three returning on Sunday with new seasons), followed by movies (Neighbors, Grand Budapest Hotel), comedy specials (Louis C.K., Chris Rock), sporting events, documentaries (Citizenfour), “Collections,” new offerings, romance picks, selections for kids, and late-night shows. (I find it a little amusing that kids' choice Dolphin Tale is immediately adjacent The Atomic Hotel Erotica, but hey, nobody asked me.)

    All told, the Apple TV app works a bit like you’d expect Netflix or Hulu or any other streaming service to work. You can search the service, sort by series, add shows to your watchlist, and even configure parental controls in the top menu bar.

    I think we all know you’re heading straight into a Game of Thrones marathon, though. You can resume exploring the app on April 13, after all, with 24 days on your free trial to spare.

    Photo via bm.iphone/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III


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    BY BREE BROUWER

    Online video fans will soon be able to enjoy more Japanese period dramas on YouTube. Google’s online video site transformed the YouTube Space Tokyo into a samurai-themed movie set for select creators to develop their own jidaigeki (literally “period dramas”).

    To create the set, YouTube partnered with TV and film production and distribution company Toei, known for its work on jidaigeki like 13 Assassins. Toei developed the multi-functional space, which has adjustable lighting, two rooms with four possible designs, and an outdoor “garden.” The production company is also providing resources, such as sword-fighting and styling tutorials, to the group of 10 video creators approved to use the Space for filming.

    YouTube and Toei also brought on board Japanese director Toshio Lee (of Detroit Metal City fame) to dole out filmmaking advice to the YouTubers aiming to make their own jidaigeki. And according to the Verge, a few of these video creators will also have the chance to film at Toei’s Eigamura Studios in Kyoto.

    “Toei has responded to the changes of the times to continue the tradition and technology of jidaigeki,” explained Kyoto studio head Yasuto Takemura at a press conference as reported by the Verge.

    No specific project titles or release dates have been announced by the YouTube creators. However, based on pictures of the samurai set on the Verge, we have a feeling the final products will look incredible.

    Photo via indi.ca/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Like a pouty-lipped moth to the flame, Kylie Jenner can't seem to stop stirring up controversy on social media. Only days after coming under fire for posting blackface photos on Instagram, the youngest member of the Kardashian brood is making headlines again, this time for getting too touchy-feely with sister Kendall on Snapchat

    On Monday, the 17-year-old shocked her Snapchat followers by posting a video that depicts her slowly sliding her hand down the front of sister Kendall's jeans, before being caught and reprimanded. 

    The video is just one of a handful of sexual shots that Jenner posted to her Snapchat story on Monday. In addition to uploading clips of her older sister suggestively sucking on a straw and the two grinding together, Kylie also posted an image of herself insinuating that she may have had her nipples pierced. 

    Shockingly, the sly reach-around isn't the only instance of sisterly affection going down on Kylie's Snapchat. Just a day after Jenner joined Snapchat under the username kylizzlemynizzl, she posted a video of her locking lips with Kendall as the two hung out poolside with Scott Disick. "Rare sister affection," she wrote, as the two Jenner sisters shared a loving peck. 

    The video is still live on her Snapchat story. 

    H/T SugarScape | Screengrab via GraziaUK/YouTube


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    It's been nearly two years since new episodes of Arrested Development materialized, and there have been a lot of rumors about how it would return. Now, fans have a little peace of mind.

    In a South by Southwest interview with Grantland's Bill Simmons, which was released today, co-executive producer Brian Grazer said they're doing 17 more episodes of the show. He starts talking about it at around 24:25,-and seems pretty confident about it. 

    Netflix had no comment about the alleged fifth season, but reactions on Twitter seemed to vacillate between excitement and exhaustion. The format of season 4 was so divisive, this is either the best or worst idea.  

    H/T Splitsider | Photo via Netflix 


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    As much as your OTP may feel out of the blue, in the new webseries OTP: One True Pairing, the duo of unlikely friends seems even more far-fetched to the people in their lives.

    Laura Jordan, who created the series, stars as Sheila, a single mom fresh from a divorce, who takes in Jeremy, a 19-year-old who's looking to break free of his previous child-star life and strike out on his own. While they might seem like an unconventional duo, the pair bond over fandom, and specifically writing erotic fan fiction. Through their connection they help each other "at a crossroads in rebuilding their lives," according to the series press release.

    The series debuts April 15, and features various Broadway alums including Jonathan Groff, Jennifer Cody, and Hunter Foster. The combination of Internet fan favorites and pinging on familiar fandom "feels" might just be the sweet spot OTP: One True Pairing needs to make it big.

    H/T Playbill | Screengrab via OTPTheShow/YouTube


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    The smooth, vintage stylings of YouTube's Postmodern Jukebox are back again, this time applied to a classic Radiohead track with the help of an American Idol alum.

    Singer Haley Reinhart fronts the group for "Creep," a cut the band covered previously on the channel. The new version is the one they performed on their recent European tour, and the band and fans loved it so much that PMJ took Reinhart into the studio in Zurich on an off-day.

    The only downside to the new video is the lack of our favorite tambourine guy, Tim Kubart. Of course, "Creep" is a much more difficult song to work a tambourine solo into than "Joy To The World."

    Screengrab via ScottBradleeLovesYa/YouTube


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    Six months after Craig Dillon's ex Tate Wolverson made public rape claims against the YouTube star, London police have halted their investigation citing a lack of case evidence.

    In November Wolverson published a video, which is now private, alleging Dillon proceeded to have sex with him after Wolverson refused during an overnight stay. Several others followed with videos, leaving comments describing their own alleged sexual assaults at the hands of Dillon. YouTubers Mike Jerry and Jamie Pine both shared stories on YouTube about Dillon—both of which remain live.

    Dillon maintained his innocence throughout the process, which included posting a video defending himself against the accusations. Dillon was arrested 10 days after Wolverson's public accusation, and his computer and mobile phones were seized. The police declined to continue with the investigation on April 2, Dillon said in a statement.

    "After the worst 6 months of my life, I am finally pleased to hear that the truth has prevailed," Dillon wrote. "I suffered massive losses with my friends, my studies and my work because of these false claims. I cannot begin to explain the trauma I experienced over the past six months, however I am happy that I can now begin to rebuild my life and career."

    Even with this particular charges cleared, the problem of sexual abuse and coercion in the YouTube community looms large. In 2014 a variety of popular male YouTubers were accused of misconduct, though many of these claims did not progress to any level of law enforcement. From Sam Pepper's inappropriate forceable touching of women while filming his videos to accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct with minors against Alex Day and Danny Hooper, many cases remain open-ended while the same creators continue to flourish on the platform. 

    "I would also like to add my voice to the calls for anonymity for those accused of rape," Dillon continued in his statement. "We need to prevent rape accusations becoming an easy way of revenge and we must maintain the respect and support for those victims who truly experience the horrendous crime of rape."

    Wolverson could not be reached for comment.

    Screengrab via Craig Dillon/YouTube


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    Vin Diesel loves his franchise characters—he's known for making video games and new installments for them to keep them alive at impossible odds. 

    Evidently, though, it took some time (and probably some money) for Dom and the Fast & Furious franchise to become favorites—he left the franchise after the first film, and ended up returning for the fourth only after the studio, debating whether to send future installments direct-to-video, begged him to make a cameo in Tokyo Drift.

    The audience response to his cameo was so massive that the studio not only canned the direct-to-video idea, but also decided to give Diesel a much greater amount of creative input on the future films. He wasted no time: For his big return in the fourth film, Fast & Furious, he took it upon himself to write and direct a preclude to the film that gave a glimpse at what he'd been up to during the past few outings. The wonky continuity is part of the Fast franchise's charm, which is why it's surprising that a short Diesel made in 2009 actually contains some small spoilers for the newest film, Furious 7, released six years later. 

    If you haven't seen Furious 7 yet, do so, and then check out Los Bandoleros.

    Aside from the sheer coolness that Diesel wrote and directed a prelude to his return to the franchise, a few short lines also fuel speculation that director Justin Lin, who directed three of the Fast films, intended Han to be the same character (also named Han) that Sung Kang played in his breakout film Better Luck Tomorrow. If so, this short would be his first meeting with Dom, and where his luck did indeed get better tomorrow (until he later died in Tokyo).

    H/T Cinema Blend | Screengrab via Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez/Vimeo


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    If you happen to recognize Kate Upton, it's probably for one of three reasons: 1) You're a big fan of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue; 2) You can't escape those damn Game of War trailers (no matter how hard you try); 3) You watched her star in a video in which she's demonstrating a dance called the Cat Daddy that she now says was released without her knowledge or consent.

    Upton—now a 22-year-old supermodel—told Vogue UK for the June issue that she was appalled that the video was released online and proceeded to go viral.

    Writes author Alexa Chung in her profile of Upton:

    Upton's sweet, girl-next-door face (depending on where you live) is the perfect foil for her personality: she's a woman with strong opinions. Terry Richardson found himself on the receiving end of her wrath in May 2012, when he uploaded his now infamous video of Upton in a teeny-weeny bikini doing the Cat Daddy, a dance craze that appears to involve a lot of grinding, "paws" aloft. The video received millions of hits on YouTube — not to mention a number of slow-motion versions for the more discerning customer — but, at the time, Upton was horrified because the behind-the-scenes video had been filmed for fun, not something she expected would make the final cut.

    So, that sounds sleazy, right? It's not the first time Richardson has been accused of that.

    This from a 2014 New York magazine profile: "He has cultivated a reputation of being a professional debauchee, a proud pervert who has, outside his commercial work, produced a series of extremely explicit images—often including himself naked and erect—that many find pornographic and misogynistic, and which can make viewers distinctly uncomfortable. In recent years, a number of the models in those images have indicated that they, too, weren’t altogether comfortable, filing lawsuits and, increasingly, speaking up in essays and interviews."

    Said Richardson in that profile, "When people call me a pedophile and fucking bullshit, that’s a horrible thing to say about someone.”

    And now this Upton accusation. Me? I'd never seen the Cat Daddy video until 15 minutes ago, and after watching it, I can see why Upton thought she was exploited. Sure, she knows she's on camera and that she's wearing a tiny bikini, and she knows that whomever is behind the camera is actually filming her while she dances.

    But she stops after 16 seconds of performing, she covers up, and sheepishly says with a smile, "That's it. That's all you guys get." And if she really believed it was a fun behind-the-scenes video that would not be released to the public, yeah, she's got a good case for thinking Richardson treated her poorly.

    More from Vogue:

    Did she stand up to Richardson when she discovered it had gone viral? "Yes, I did. I was like, 'That was disrespectful, you could have told me!'" She couldn't stay angry: the video helped to secure Upton's global fame. "Now, obviously, it's fine," she says. I ask Richardson whether he feels somewhat responsible for Upton's rise to fame. "No," he demurs, "Kate was born a star."

    A star who apparently got to know the downside of the supermodel business real fast.

    Screengrab via Terry Richardson/Vimeo


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    If you like watching preteens playing heavy metal, you might already know about Unlock the Truth. But if you want to watch preteen girls rock out to Metallica, well, we've got just the video for you.

    Witness three Monterrey, Mexico-based girls (aged 14, 12, and 9)—who call themselves The Warning—cover the hell out of "Enter Sandman."

    Pretty good, right? While singer Daniela's voice doesn't have the grittiness of James Hetfield (nor does she have the cool microphone he uses), she kicks out a fairly faithful Kirk Hammett impression on the guitar solo. And make sure you pay attention to the "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer at 3:26, because 12-year-old Paulina on drums and 9-year-old Alejandra on bass perform it rather impressively.

    Check out the band's official website where you can help fund a trip for the sisters to attend a summer program at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. And if you're interested in more covers from The Warning, click on the band's YouTube page, where it's posted videos of the trio playing Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" (which I think might actually be better than the Metallica cover), AC/DC's "Back in Black," and Katy Perry's "Roar."

    All in all, we're just thankful there's no cover of "MMMBop" anywhere to be found.

    H/T to HeavyMetal.com | Screengrab via The Warning/YouTube


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    Nearly 20 years after it happened, Louis C.K. revealed that he ruined one of Jimmy Fallon’s auditions with a crazy story that could probably be its own episode of Louie.

    Fallon was up for a role on The Dana Carvey Show back in the 1990s, and C.K. was the show's lead writer. From the moment Fallon stepped onstage with a guitar and some troll dolls, the comedian despised him. Everything Fallon did annoyed him, and although the women on staff loved him, he threatened to quit if Fallon got hired.

    “I was dead against you,” C.K. told Fallon on The Tonight Show. “Yes, because you had all your hair, you were in shape, you were a  young kid, and I was just already kinda just sweaty and balding and I was depressed and it was pure jealousy.”

    C.K. may have crushed Fallon's dreams, but considering that The Dana Carvey Show got canceled after seven episodes, it ended up working out for Fallon anyway. So thanks for that, Louis C.K.!

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube


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    The Daily Dot is celebrating Woman Crush Wednesday, better known as #WCWon Twitter and Instagram, by highlighting female creators on YouTube whose work we admire.

    There are very few things comedian Bree Essrig won’t do in the name of a perfectly timed joke. She’s licked a tree while hosting SourceFed; she’s combined the cinnamon, chubby bunny, and Cup Song challenges into one and lived to tell the tale; and most importantly, during the time when Frozen covers were as popular on YouTube as sweaty palms at a junior high school dance, Essrig—bless her golden comedy heart—exposed the truth about Anna and her love of “snow.”

    Essrig originally started acting for the sketch comedy channel Totally Sketch, where she gained millions of followers through her interactive video adventures and role in the Internet sensation and horror movie Smiley. In 2009, she finally decided to make her own YouTube channel and has since become known for her drunk movie and book reviews; hilarious commentaries about life, sex, and relationships; popular webseries Gillian and Scout; and most notably, her personal conversations surrounding issues of sexual assault, bullying, and mental illness.

    When watching her videos, it feels like Essrig is about to pop through the screen, as if her authentic, over-the-top personality can barely be contained within the confines of one video. So it was tremendously good news when, on March 25, the popular news show SourceFed hired her on as a full-time host. Essrig previously hosted the Young Turks’ pop culture show Poptrigger before making this move over to Phil DeFranco’s news channel. SourceFed was originally started in 2011 and has since grown a loyal audience of 1.5 million subscribers who tune in everyday to hear some of YouTube’s best (and most manic) personalities deliver the news.

    In the short time Essrig has been a part of the cast, she’s already made a name for herself as both a comedian and a strong activist, writing and delivering pieces about Bill Cosby and the ridiculousness of victim blaming. This is not the first time Essrig has used YouTube to start a conversation: Late last year, she uploaded a video to her own channel sharing with viewers her own experiences with sexual assault and stalking. Her video inspired an important discussion in the comments about victim blaming and how best to support a friend who has been assaulted. But most importantly, Essrig demonstrated to viewers by example that although sexual assault is an event that will change you, it does not define the person you are.

    Through her growth on YouTube, Essrig has become a role model for young comedians trying to  make their own opportunities for themselves. So to Bree Essrig: Keep living life as a game changer, and please never stop uploading photos to Instagram with the caption “I wish you were beer” instead of “I wish you were here.”

    Screengrab via BREEessrig/YouTube


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    Less than a month into his tenure as host of The Late Late ShowJames Corden has already gotten out from behind his desk and taken his talents to the streets. 

    Before appearing on the silver screen, Corden’s home was on the stage, so he decided to bring that skill to the people of Los Angeles with Crosswalk the Musical.

    The premise of Crosswalk is simple: Basically, it's Grease, but, you know, in the middle of a crosswalk. Corden and his band of performers delighted passing motorists by performing classic tunes from Greasewhether the motorists like it or not.

    Musicals make everything better—even an L.A. commute.

    Screengrab via The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube


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    To think, only five short years ago you couldn’t skip out of a boring advertisement on YouTube. Now that you can avoid those commericals, brands and agencies pull out all the stops to keep you watching.

    YouTube launched TrueView in 2010, an ad format that introduced a five-second ad preview and allowed viewers to skip promotions after that time. It only charges advertisers if viewers stick around for 30 seconds of video (or to the video’s end, whichever is longer). 

    With the threat of losing potential eyeballs after the five-second preview, advertisers stepped up their game. One of the first big triumphs of 2010 and the new ad landscape was Old Spice, whose “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad sparked 50 million views, countless memes, and a series of ads that continued to delight viewers who didn't much consider what they were watching as advertising.

    The focus became ads that felt like YouTube, instead of ads imported from TV formats into the YouTube space. While this still happens all the time, and often ads that are launched on YouTube find television homes, the most successful YouTube ad campaigns after the advent of TrueView feel uniquely digital, like the hunter shoots a bear choose-your-own-adventure-style ad from 2010 or emotion-driven campaigns that ping on social justice issues, like Always’ “Like a Girl” series. 

    Recently, Geico even found ways to play within the YouTube ad format and create unskippable ads that frontload all the pertinent information in the first five seconds. If users keep watching, the ad shifts surreally. 

    The system introduces something of a win-win for advertisers and consumers. If viewers are quick to click out, they only have to endure seconds of an ad they don’t care about, and advertisers don’t have to pay for eyeballs that are already tuning out of their content.

    As YouTube continues to take up larger chunks in advertising budgets, it’s likely that creating content suited to the ad formats of the platform will take center stage for more brands. Until then, you can experience the best of YouTube’s ads on a handy playlist curated by Google.

    Screengrab via Old Spice/YouTube


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    Last week, David Lynch walked away from a highly anticipated deal that would have brought Lynch's cult classic Twin Peaks back to our TV screens, 25 years after it originally aired. But don't count out a Lynch-helmed Twin Peaks revamp just yet: Porn director Lee Roy Myers has extended a formal invitation to Lynch to direct a porn parody (NSFW) of the show instead.

    Myers's movie studio, WoodRocket (NSFW), is well-known in the adult entertainment world for its pornographic parodies of pop culture staples. There's The Humper Games, Sailor Poon, Game of Bones, and so on. So what would be better than adding a Lynch-approved, Lynch-directed parody of his groundbreaking 1990 television series to the WoodRocket oeuvre?

    "Maybe it’s not necessarily a murder that kicks things off, but a crime of nymphomania."

    "[David Lynch] would definitely be a dream get," Myers told the Daily Dot on the phone. "I had nightmares when I saw Elephant Man, then Eraserhead after that. I grew up thinking 'This is some scary, strange stuff.' I used to watch Twin Peaks with my parents and it only got weirder and weirder. But what's weirder than the porn we make at WoodRocket?"

    As for what a Twin Peaks porno would actually look like, Myers says he would completely defer to Lynch to bring his X-rated vision to life. But if Myers were to take up the mantle himself, he said, "You have to have Laura Palmer discovered, and there can't be high schoolers. These need to be barely legal but legal people. And maybe it’s not necessarily a murder that kicks things off, but a crime of nymphomania."

    Because WoodRocket doesn't have a direct line to Lynch, the company made its offer in a public blog post. But Myers remains optimistic that Lynch will at the very least respond. "You never know what will happen in the age of social media, who will reach out to who," said Myers. "We put [this offer] out there and our hopes are there."

    So can we expect a Lynch-helmed production of Twin Cheeks? (Yes, that is indeed Myers' working title.) Probably not. But then again, it would be just like David Lynch to defy our expectations at every turn.

    Photo via tomatemaravhila/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    A consumer watchdog group is calling for DirecTV to pull its ads featuring actor Rob Lowe and his many alter egos after Comcast filed a complaint.

    It’s easy to picture Comcast, which is often cast as the villain in almost every news story, as being overly sensitive about being mocked by the less normal and attractive Rob Lowe, but its complaints weren’t entirely without warrant. The commercials, which have been running for the past few months, claimed that DirecTV had “better reliability than cable” and “shorter service wait times.”

    Well, that’s not exactly true, the Better Business Bureau National Advertising Division said. The claims made by DirecTV are actually “unsupported." Since airing the ads, DirecTV has gained subscribers, plenty of buzz, and even controversy.

    In response, DirecTV said in a statement that “the various Rob Lowe advertisements are so outlandish and exaggerated that no reasonable consumer would believe that the statements being made... need to be substantiated,” demonstrating that maybe the best way to handle a situation is maybe not to insult your potential customer base.

    Although DirecTV doesn’t have to stop running any of the ads because of the National Advertising Division’s findings, it did plan to pull the ads by the end of the month—but it could bring them back if it wanted.

    Until then, we’re left with the Rob Lowe ads in bite-sized form, often in a place where we have to watch ads to watch an ad: YouTube. Lowe has created plenty of characters, and since the Internet is forever, we can still admire and cringe at them even when DirecTV moves onto the next celebrity endorsement, left to mourn the best and worst of them.

    (Of course, you could always just hang out with regular Rob Lowe and geek out about The West Wing, but that's what Netflix is for.) 

    1) Creepy Rob Lowe

    You don’t just not want to hang out with him. You might also want to get a restraining order; cable’s the least of his problems.

    2) Total Deadbeat Rob Lowe

    He may be fun for an hour or two, but you wouldn’t want to spend anymore time with him than that. Also, how does he even have cable?

    3) Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe

    It was Lowe’s character’s comments about not being able to pee in public that drew ire from an advocacy group for people who suffer from shy bladder syndrome, but once he’s with the right people he may hopefully feel more comfortable. And if not, that’s OK too.

    4) Overly Paranoid Rob Lowe

    It’s easy to laugh at him thinking that there are listening devices hidden in our cheese (because, well, it is silly), but considering how much the government can legally listen in do you really blame him?

    5) Poor Decision-Making Rob Lowe

    Stay out all night, head home before he wakes up full of regret.

    6) Meathead Rob Lowe

    He’s a bro. Bros are pretty cool. Keep him away from the electronics when his team is down, but otherwise he should totally be DTP (down to party) after GTL.

    7) Peaked in High School Rob Lowe

    He’s kinda like Meathead Rob Lowe. Since mostly nobody cares about high school cliques, you’ll always know someone at the local bar when you come home for the holidays and someone guaranteed to relive that nostalgia trip.

    8) Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe

    He may be useless when bringing in everything for a party, but upper arm strength isn’t everything. Plus, there’s squeeze bottles so opening jars is kinda obsolete now.

    9) Crazy Hairy Rob Lowe

    Even though he can’t always groom himself, he’ll be able to clean up the hair around him, which is something that shedding pets can’t do. And who knows, he might be a great person with the hair—with plenty of undiscovered talent. Remember Teen Wolf? Everyone loved him.

    H/T CBS News | Screengrab via DIRECTV/YouTube


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    Fans of Serial, the runaway hit podcast from This American Life producers Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, may have been disappointed by its oblique ending, but the story isn’t over just yet. A new podcast featuring additional information pertinent to Adnan Syed’s case will debut on April 13.

    With Syed still seeking a retrial, the podcast is likely to adopt a far less ambiguous stance on Syed’s case. And, while it is produced by a team of legal experts rather than journalists with a knack for dramatic storytelling, its promise of answers in Syed’s case may be enough to lure fans back in.

    Unlike Serial, which assumed a neutral position on the issue of Syed’s guilt or innocence, Undisclosed looks to be openly in support of Syed. The podcast is produced by Rabia Chaudry, Syed’s longtime loyal advocate, as well as lawyers Susan Simpson and Colin Miller.

    While Chaudry has long stated her conviction that Syed is innocent, her partnering with Simpson promises an incisive presentation of factual evidence. Simpson authors a blog in which she expertly documented the evidence presented in the Serial podcast and analyzed the credibility of key witness Jay Wilds’s testimony as matched against the call records presented at Adnan’s trial.

    The podcast has been funded by the Adnan Syed Legal Defense Fund, which gained significant financial backing due to the success of Serial. To date the trust has raised nearly $93,000.

    Will newfound attention on the case ultimately see get Syed’s conviction overturned? Will money and a loyal fan base be enough to Undisclosed on the map? Will Undisclosed be able to match the momentum and mainstream success garnered by Serial? Time will tell. But diehard fans may find solace in Undisclosed’s promise: finally, a clear-eyed portrait of Syed’s original trial.

    H/T Baltimore Sun | Photo via Patrick Breitenbach/Flickr


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