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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    The late Paul Walker's 16-year-old daughter Meadow was forced to celebrate Father's Day without her dad for the second time on Sunday. Adding only the 24th entry to her guarded Instagram account, she posted the perfect tribute.
    Paul Walker died in a car accident on Nov. 30, 2013, after leaving a charity event. Meadow had lived with her dad full-time since 2011. His Fast & Furious franchise costar Vin Diesel is Meadow's godfather, and he named his daughter "Pauline" in tribute to his late friend.

    For her part, Meadow has dedicated numerous posts to intimate memories of her dad on other special occasions:

    Screengrab via Fast & Furious/YouTube

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    When you have a story as preposterous as the one that broke Monday evening, expect the Internet memes to be just as ridiculous.

    On Monday, UCLA announced that Sean Combs—you might know him better as P. Diddy—had been arrested at the school's Acosta Athletic Training Complex and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

    "I'm thankful that our staff showed the level of professionalism that they did in handling this situation," UCLA coach Jim Mora said in a statement. "This is an unfortunate incident for all parties involved. While UCPD continues to review this matter, we will let the legal process run its course and refrain from further comment at this time." 

    TMZ reported that Combs—whose son, Justin Combs, is a junior defensive back—was watching football practice, and strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi was "riding Justin, screaming intensely at him."

    Later, Combs reportedly confronted Alosi in his office. More from TMZ:

    Our UCLA sources tell us Diddy confronted Strength and Conditioning Coach Sal Alosi while Alosi was on the phone. We're told Diddy was told to "hang on" but he wasn't having it and picked up a kettlebell and swung it, narrowly missing Alosi. One source said if Diddy had connected it could have killed Alosi.

    Adding to the ridiculousness of this entire story is that Combs' allegedly went after a man previously best known for this.

    Alosi was fired by the Jets for tripping Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll. And then he went to UCLA, where he got to meet an even bigger celebrity face to face. And now, the memes.

    The moral of the story is this: Still can't nobody hold down Diddy — unless, of course,  it's a UCLA police officer.

    Photo via Leo Brunvoll/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    When you load Unicorn Island, the app from YouTube star Lilly Singh—aka IISuperwomanII—she immediately thanks you in a video. Singh refers to her happy place as “Unicorn Island,” so it’s fitting that she’s designed a bright and welcoming place as her digital hub for all things Singh, allowing you to easily purchase a ticket to an upcoming show alongside backstage snaps and question-and-answer settings.

    You start out just following Singh, with access to exclusive videos and photos that she doesn’t share elsewhere on social media, but you quickly realize that Unicorn Island is definitely an island full of unique “unicorns”—Singh’s name for her fans—with their own content and creativity. You can follow those fans and invest in their own content right alongside the app’s originator.

    “The app enables my fans to create new things in one place, which is really cool—whether it's a GIF, images, polls,” said Singh via email. “I think they feel like they have more control over what they create in the app because more people who matter get to see it. Because those who downloaded my app are true super Unicorns, the number of engagements and other metrics mean a lot more to me than my numbers on Facebook and Twitter.”

    That app is a product of Victorious, which offers a new way for digital celebrities to further connect with their ballooning audiences. When it launched, YouTuber Ryan Higa’s version was the No. 1 trending app in the App Store, with no paid marketing. His 14.3 million-strong community led the charge. For Singh, choosing Victorious to power her app came down to an understanding between creator and fan.

    “I'm not going to lie—a lot of people offered to help me build an app,” she said. “But I chose Victorious because I like their vibe. I think they really understand, as a creator, what I want to do with my fans and what connection I want to have. They understand our connection and understand that as creators we have so much on our plates—and make it easy for us to do more.”

    The company was created by Bing Chen, YouTube’s former global head of creator development and management, who spent time as Google’s “creative whisperer.”

    “What that meant was, ‘Can you get creators to do what we want them to do?’” Chen laughed. “But really my job was to understand the pain points.”

    That led him to start his own venture, Victorious, which aims to put power in the hands of creators and their most dedicated fans.

    “We are all superfans of something,” Chen explained. “Superfans don’t have a meaningful place to congregate. They have to go to mass-market platforms with casual fans, [but] there’s trolls on those platforms. We enable each of these superfan apps to be a micro social network around content and community. Every fan has a profile and can be followed. This also benefits the creator because now this is their own community and own audience.”

    As Chen explains, the power of community is in the creator's hands.

    “No longer do they have to rely on someone else’s algorithm and platform,” he said. “We know that superfans don’t just come to portals for portals. They come to portals for specific creators and specific content. So we empower fans to have one-touch access to their fans. In addition, we also empower creators to have direct access to their audience.”

    For Mother’s Day, Ryan Higa asked his legion of fans to chime in with some words for their moms using the hashtag #DearMom. He took these submissions, combined them with his own words and the words of several other big-name YouTubers, and produced a video that racked up almost 2.4 million views in less than three weeks.

    But Higa didn’t turn to his broad fanbase for this input, or even traditional social media. He used his own app to solicit these responses, and took the product he created with his fan community back to YouTube.

    Victorious isn’t the only entrant in the game to court creators and the fans who love them to supplemental platforms or outlets for their creativity. Earlier this year, Vessellaunched premium and first-look content with creators while charging fans a $2.99 monthly fee to connect with anyone on the platform. Even YouTube is laying the groundwork for a paid subscription model with new terms of service updates. Another company, VHX, is branching out from paid one-off downloads from content creators to a subscription service model. Victorious falls more in line with these platforms, betting that fans who are willing to pay will happily drive the majority of engagement and revenue.

    “It’s the 20 percent that drives the 80 percent,” Chen said. “They’re the first in line for the movie, first one to buy the CD, first one to watch the YouTube video. We did quite a bit of research. What we learned is people are not ultra fans of 10 things; they are ultra fans of two to five things. That’s tenable. We also want to help other creators help each other. So on Ryan Higa’s app, he’ll cross-promote creators he loves. It’s like building your own Comedy Central, where you can swap out and incubate new [content].”

    Chen emphasizes the safety of the apps, especially in the current climate of cyberbullying.  

    “We like to think of these apps as safe havens,” Chen said. “Cyberbullying is a big issue now. One of the things I’m excited about and proud of is these are not just for superfans; these are for safe fans [with whom] you can share your opinions and be elevated.”

    It’s that connectedness that he thinks will drive apps over other platforms for fans and creators. He points out that when digital celebs are tweeting, they’re talking to the masses. In a closed app, the biggest fans can be treated differently. It also gives them a place to show off that they are more than just fans—they’re creators.

    “If you’re a superfan of Michelle Phan, you are a beauty and fashion tastemaker yourself,” Chen explained. “If you look at Ryan Higa’s app, a lot of it’s not about Ryan Higa; it’s the next generation of content creators.”

    For creators, he sees Victorious as a partnership. While the apps have various ways to generate revenue, from in-app purchases and advertising to branded content and ecommerce, they only share a revenue split on the purchases and ads. Creators with audiences smaller than 500,000 subscribers get a 60/40 split, while those above the threshold enjoy a 70/30 split, both in favor of the creator.

    “We want this to be an ongoing partnership,” Chen said. “We do not just produce apps. Building the app is the easy first step. The bigger part of our job is ensuring the app is successful over time and a part of the creator's career.”

    For Singh, she says she’ll be using the app for special moments between her and her “super Unicorns.”

    “I'm also going to do secret meetups through the app—but you'll only know if it's happening through the app,” she explained. “For example, I'll post exclusively that in 15 minutes, I'm going to be in this location, and only super Unicorns in the app will know. I can't wait.”

    More apps from digital stars are launching, but Victorious is also branching out into the TV network and film franchise space—and finding that its needs and wishes are very similar to those of digital creators. The goal is to help all forms of entertainment evolve from the platform on which they were born, be it TV or Vine, and expand their brands.

    “If you are a creator of anything, you want to be a sovereign entity,” Chen said. “The term Vine stars hate is ‘Viners.’ At some point, you’re not a viner; you’re a comedian. We see the Victorious platform as a place for people to expand their brands beyond where they were born.”

    Illustration by Jason Reed 

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    We have to wait until July 31 for Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, but there are some sweaters to fondle in the meantime. 

    Netflix just released the first trailer for the original series, which acts as a prequel to the 2001 film, Wet Hot American Summer. Photos released last month show most of the original cast is returning, and the trailer, narrated by Jon Benjamin and tweaked to look like a warped '80s VHS tape, goes even deeper, stating that Camp Firewood is more than a camp—it's an "idea." 

    Screengrab via Netflix/YouTube 

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    Coming off the heels of the release of their documentary, a cappella group Pentatonix is back in a big way by covering one of the greats.

    This time around, they’re taking on the catalog of none other than King of Pop Michael Jackson. He’s got decades of hits under his belt, and with plenty to choose from, Pentatonix dove in and covered some of his biggest hits, from the Jackson 5's “ABC” to “Man in the Mirror.”

    It’s five-and-a-half minutes of glorious harmonies throughout 40 years of music. It’s a thriller, alright.

    Screengrab via PTXofficial/YouTube

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    Seth MacFarlane’s impressions are usually on fire, but even he can surprise you with just how good they can be.

    Like Christina Aguilera before him, MacFarlane showed off his chops with an old-fashioned game of impressions with Jimmy Fallon. Fallon and MacFarlane both have some keen impressions, but his take on Liam Neeson having a conversation as a Time Warner Cable employee easily takes the cake.

    He will look for you, he will find you, and he will kill you—but you won’t be any closer to getting your cable fixed even if he does come to install it.

    H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

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    Last week, Chershared in the eye-rolling frustration of Donald Trump's bit of promotional theatre disguised as a presidential run announcement by saying she'd move to Jupiter if he was elected. 

    It wasn't the first time Cher's called out injustice on Twitter: She's tenaciously political. Her tweets often read like mind-searing chunks of puzzle-poetry, and her penchant for random capitalization and emoji use has made her the butt of jokes, but maybe you just have to be fluent in Cher to appreciate it. 

    Is the account really run by Cher? I want to believe. It's cleaved open a truly wonderful space in the Twittersphere. Here's a look at some of her greatest hits.   

    1) In March, she took the wind out of known windbag Piers Morgan when he made a comment about her appearance and age: 

    2) She had some very controversial thoughts about the Sony hack and release of The Interview back in December:  

    3) She warned about the dangers of Pinterest, but you wouldn't listen:  

    4) This is basically the 2015 version of "We Didn't Start the Fire":  

    5) She's got great ideas for Hollywood movies: 

    6) Zing! 

    7) She's... ready for Hillary

    8) Maybe she was tossing around album titles?

    9) She's taken a stand for Madonna before: 

    10) OK: 

    11) And she let us in on her workout routine:  

    Illustration by Max Fleishman 

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    Sean Combs, aka Diddy, is facing charges after allegedly assaulting a UCLA coach with a kettlebell, and frenemy 50 Cent saw an opportunity to take some shots at the fellow rapper, while not-so-subtly promoting his vodka line, Effen.  

    50 Cent posted a video to Instagram showing him clowning on Diddy while counting out "bail" money for him. Unfortunately, he took the video down and replaced it with this photo, in which he states he "didn't say nothing about puffy," lest he get a kettlebell to the dome. #EFFENVODKA

    However, TMZ saved the video for posterity. Someone get these two their own sitcom. 

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

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    It's been just over two years since the death of Roger Ebert, but as the latest animated interview from PBS Digital's Blank on Blank series proves, the legendary critic still has plenty of wisdom to share with the rest of us.

    The source material for this episode comes from a 1990 interview Ebert gave to Lawrence Grobel, whose recordings also provided the Robin Williams episode of Blank on Blank, among others. In the interview, Ebert discusses what he looks for in a great film, shares his passion for the then-underrated Say Anything, and shares some less-than-conventional wisdom about the benefits of a good ego.

    Here's Ebert discussing what makes him most excited as a critic:

    I'm looking for films that come out of a director's quixotic, personal, passionate imagination, and not films that are manufactured to entertain large numbers of people efficiently—even though I am often among those entertained. I love to be entertained, I love those films, but the ones that really move me are the ones where a director felt that something had to be said and he said it.

    As he's done for other great artists in previous Blank on Blank interviews, animator Patrick Smith brings to life Ebert's wry personality, as well as his earnestness. "Bad criticism... can be just as constructive or destructive as good," he states. When Grobel asks Ebert who has the biggest ego in Hollywood, Ebert dodges what he thinks Grobel's really asking—who's the biggest asshole in the business—and instead explains that for a legendary filmmaker like Ingmar Bergman or Woody Allen, a healthy ego is part of a complete directorial vision. "I would want that to be seen as praise."

    Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the interview is the discussion of Ebert's distaste for episodic television. "Life is too short to watch the same thing more than once," he says, going on to describe a litany of superior social pleasures that underplay his own commitment to and love for the fans of such media.

    You may talk like an egoist, but we were never fooled, Roger.

    Screengrab via Blank on Blank/YouTube

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    Alaska Thunderfuck, the drag queen best known from season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race, has released her debut album ANUS today. The record already shot to No. 2 on the iTunes dance charts

    But it's the accompanying videos for Thunderfuck's top tracks that set this drag star apart from the pack. A series of music videos were released on YouTube in advance of the ANUS release, starting with "Your Makeup Is Terrible" in June 2014 and "Nails" in December. Last night, the trifecta was completed with the release of the latest masterpiece, "This Is My Hair." 

    Basically, the videos put together are a lesson in the rules of drag: watch your makeup, never tell a queen you can tell her hair is a wig, and "If you're not wearing nails, you're not doing drag."

    Yes, hunty. For maximum educational impact, we've presented all three videos in the series starting with the new release.

    Screengrab via Alaska Thunderfuck/YouTube 

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    By now, you’ve surely heard of the open-letter Internet war involving Taylor Swift and Apple Music. Yesterday, freelance photographer Jason Sheldon published his own open letter to Swift, and called her out for being a hypocrite.   

    On Sunday, Swift published a Tumblr post asking Apple to change their artist compensation policy for their upcoming Apple Music service. Given her public opinion of streaming services like Spotify, it's no surprise she chose to forgo streaming her latest album, 1989, on the tech giant’s service. In her letter, Swift claimed to be fighting for the small artists by pleading fair compensation during Apple Music’s 90-day free trial, and she got her way.

    The next day, she was called out for hypocrisy by freelance concert photographer Sheldon, who claimed Swift doesn’t practice what she preaches when it comes to artist compensation and copyright agreements.

    “I have read your open letter to Apple where you give your reasons for refusing to allow your album ‘1989′ to be included on their forthcoming Apple Music streaming service,” Sheldon wrote on his personal blog. “I applaud it. It’s great to have someone with a huge following standing up for the rights of creative people and making a stand against the corporate behemoths who have so much power they can make or break someone’s career.”

    While Sheldon is grateful to have a megastar fighting for the little guys, and talks about how Swift’s stance could potentially help him and others alike, he also goes on to write about his frustrations as a freelance photographer in the industry—and why Swift doesn’t seem to fully get it. 

    He included a photo contract for Swift’s live concerts, stating, “Now, forgive me if I’m wrong, but if you take points 2 and 3 in that contract (which is provided to photographers who need to agree to those terms before they are allowed to do their job in photographing you for editorial outlets), it appears to be a complete rights grab, and demands that you are granted free and unlimited use of our work, worldwide, in perpetuity.”

    Not surprisingly, the Internet ate the post right up and it got the attention of Swift’s camp, which claimed the contract was “misrepresented.” While social media has already taken sides, photographers everywhere are hoping this call-out will help improve their job prospects.

    To break it all down, music photographer Rebecca Reed, who’s shot artists for Alternative Press, Rock Sound, and New Noise Magazine, explains how concert shooting and an artist’s photo rights from a live show are agreed upon.

    “Most music photographers will not sign contracts that steal the copyright to their images,” Reed told the Daily Dot. “[Sheldon’s] blog post is not about the resale of images, it's about the fact that Taylor doesn't agree with Apple not paying her for the use of her music and her doing the same to photographers. The photographers are hired by outside publications. They are NOT hired by Taylor Swift or her management and PR. If they are, they are her touring photographers.

    “This is about how people—hired by someone else—are being forced (if they sign the contract) to release all images worldwide and forever over to her company, management, and label so that they may use those images for free for her publicity when she didn't hire them or PAY THEM for it—which is her exact gripe with Apple.”

    Reed goes on to explain the slew of other reasons photographers are upset by the contract’s policies:

    The photographers are not allowed to post images they take anywhere, whether it's Facebook, Instagram, their personal website, etc. As a photographer, your work is your PR. If you can't show that you are working, you can't get work.  

    Another qualm Reed has with these strict contracts is that photographers can't take an image for one publication and then later let another publication use it. What usually ends up happening is that the publication is redirected to the artist’s staff for the photo rights. In turn, the staff provides the image to the publication, after the photographer was unable to resell it because the image was provided for free in the first place.

    Judging by the response to Sheldon’s post, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding this process and copyright issues. Photographer Keeyahtay Lewis, who’s shot huge artists and bands like Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Jay Z, and Foo Fighters, explains why.

    “In my time in the photo pit, I have seen some pretty bad contracts,” Lewis said. “On the one hand, I know a band has to protect its image. The problem with that is that we are living in an age where everyone literally has a camera in their pocket at all times. You can't control all the fans who are posting terrible photos that they took with their phones all over the Internet. So it makes no sense to me to try to control the professionals—the ones out there to do a job, who are there to make you look good, to make your concert seem like one they just can't miss. People have told me time and again that my photos make them want to go to shows. That is my job and I am glad when I can do it well.”

    Reed says that while she’s been asked to sign similar contracts, she knows photographers don’t have many choices when it comes to pursuing their passion.

    “You have three options,” she said. “Take a red pen, cross out what you don't like, and see if they will comply; sign it; or walk out. It is hard to walk away from photographing major artists like Taylor Swift. But if she can take on Apple and they can change their ways, then maybe if enough photographers walked away from providing her with press, things could change for us as well.”

    Lewis says his problems with the current situation spring from the fact that things haven’t been improving for him and his colleagues.  

    “It’s 2015,” he said. “If anything, the contracts are getting worse. I’ll photograph a band that has no contract, then four months later I have to sign something for that same band that would be insane to anyone else. If I asked my plumber to work for free, they wouldn't. But I get asked to work for free all the time. People don't even blink.”

    Despite the ongoing struggles, Reed says she hopes this will help make a real difference for people like herself and other music photographers.

    “There is very little money in music photography,” she explained. “A small handful of photographers are able to make a living off of it and even those also photograph other things. We photograph music because it's a passion. It is for the love of the music, the artists, and capturing amazing moments that fans can look back on [and] remember the amazing nights we all shared. When our rights are taken, it not only takes what little money is possible for us but also a little bit of the magic and joy of the music.”

    Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

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    It was his moment, and he was going to take it. As Hannibal fans mourned the loss of their favorite show last night, one man was getting his payback for years of trolling.

    Like every human fortunate enough to be named after a Carthaginian emperor, comedian Hannibal Buress has spent years, and probably decades, fending off "cannibal" jokes.

    So when news broke Monday night that NBC would not be renewing Hannibalfor a fourth season, Buress seized the opportunity to get his own life back.

    First, the obligatory Highlander joke, combined with promo for his upcoming series Why? 

    Then, affectionate trolling:

    As one person pointed out, Hannibal the comedian and Hannibal the cannibal may have more in common than one might suspect:

    I think it's safe to say Hannibal Buress probably didn't kill and eat anyone at NBC in order to make Bryan Fuller's show disappear. Probably.

    Photo via Fuzzy/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    What do you get when you mix one of the biggest stars from Jackass with a popular Icelandic rap group, and you shake it all together at an overseas music festival? You get Bam Margera apparently taking a beating.

    As Vice explains, Glacier Mafia got into a fight with Margera at the Secret Solstice Festival in Iceland last weekend. You'll probably want to read more, so here's how Vice writes up the incident:

    Bam Margera was said to have been harassing the female security guards there. The Glacier Mafia noticed and took revenge. Every artist and crew member at the Secret Solstice I asked about the incident seemed to agree on one thing: Bam Margera was being a jackass. Speaker Ósk Gunnarsdóttir from the festival said that Bam was "in a strange condition" and tried to enter a production area. Two female employees tried to stop him, it got an [sic] little bit rough, and rapper Pálmi and his crew intervened.

    Here's what the fight looked like (Margera is wearing the black coat with the red insignia on the back).  

    But Margera—who apparently spends plenty of his time in the country and who got married in Reykjavik—has a different take. In the video above while speaking to Visir News, Margera said the fight had nothing to do with the Secret Solstice Festival or a female worker. Instead, Margera points the finger at festival organizer Leon Hill—a publicist who used to work with Margera and who Margera now calls a "scumbag"—and said he got beaten up by the Icelandic rappers on Hill's order.

    Margera also recorded this Instagram video.

    Unfortunately for Margera—who according to Icelandic media pressed charges before changing his mind and dropping the matter before leaving the country—this is how he looked earlier on Tuesday. But apparently, there's good news for the youth of Iceland.

    H/T Vice | Photo via Bam Margera/Instagram

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    We all know what Magic Mike is about, but if you only know the title, you could imagine an entirely different movie.

    That's what a bunch of elementary school children did when they wrote scenes for the movie based only on the title. Jimmy Fallon and Channing Tatum then acted out those scenes on The Tonight Show, and the results can only be described as glorious.

    The youngsters' scripts are innocent and inventive, ranging from a literally magical man named Mike to an alien Magic Mike to a magic bird. Fallon and Tatum can barely keep a straight face throughout the bit. But leave it to these adults to find something the innuendos “hidden” between the lines.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

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    Jon Stewart has been gracing our TVs for much of his younger audiences’ lives, but we might not realize just how much he’s changed until we look back.

    Stewart’s colleagues have been doing that for him every week until he goes, but a fan named Billy Chasen took it to another level and made a supercut of Stewart (and a little bit of John Oliver) at his desk for the past 16 years. The hairstyles, the color, and the facial hair may change, but his determination to mock politics and the media have always remained the same.

    Even with the constant reminders that Stewart is leaving, we won’t be ready for when the time actually comes.

    H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via The Daily Show

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    Nowadays everyone has a vlog, and that includes Barbie.

    That's right, the much-beloved Mattel doll is jump-starting her YouTube career with a new vlog, which kicks off in true novice style: a little bit of nerves but a lot of heart. In it, Barbie shares 10 things her viewers may not know about her, including that she sings when she does her homework, loves to paint her fingernails, and started to dress herself at age two.

    If Barbie has success as a virtual vlogger, it's only a matter of time before more brands migrate their mascots from ads to YouTube channels.

    H/T Tubefilter | Screengrab via Barbie/YouTube

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    More than 17 years after the last episode aired, Seinfeld is still everywhere.

    Even if you didn’t hear about the show’s gigantic $180 million deal with Hulu, its residual effects on pop culture have become hard to escape. Be it in the form of classes, interviews, Super Bowl commercials, or speeches from politicians, we are reminded of the ’90s’ most acclaimed sitcom wherever we look. On the Internet too, Seinfeldhasretained a certainfascination; new technology, same nothing, if you will. And it’s been interesting to see how Jerry Seinfeld himself has embraced entertainment’s changing landscape with the popular webseries Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

    However, while Seinfeld is still everywhere both online and off, it’s hard not to feel that for the digital generation, the show’s influence has been waning. Consider the disparate sensibilities that led to what is easily the strangest episode of Comedians in Cars, starring YouTube sensation Miranda Sings. Or look at the outrage certain teens felt when Tumblr imitated the Seinfeld logo in honor of Festivus last year. And of course, Jerry Seinfeld’s recent attack on political correctness didn’t exactly help frame his sense of humor as fitting in with modern comedy. Sadly, for many millennials, Seinfeld is just confusing.

    According to the Daily Dot’s Ben Branstetter, in addition to the fact that Seinfeld is mostly unserialized, and therefore not ideal for binge-watching, it’s because TV shows like Friends essentially watered down what Seinfeld did and spread that formula throughout the masses. “The babbling humor of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer has aged very poorly, precisely because it was so influential,” writes Branstetter. “Shows like Friends… copied much of Seinfeld’s format and writing style, and in fact, the first season of Friends was largely made up of rejected Seinfeld spec scripts.”  

    But fear not, millennials. Although there are plenty of episodes from Seinfeld that have not aged well, many others still work splendidly. Why? For one thing, the characters of Seinfeld aren’t that far off from the antiheroes younger TV viewers have grown up with over the past decade. “Before Seinfeld, there were never any sitcoms that let their characters be purely selfish, treating the rest of humankind as a resource or obstacle while standing back and observing their shenanigans with a jaundiced detachment,” writes Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz.

    However, there is another reason that Seinfeld should be able resonate with the Internet generation. As Daily Dot Opinion Editor Nico Lang points out, “the genius of Seinfeld isn’t just that it transgresses social norms, but that it’s firmly rooted in the common experience of the everyday.” According to Lang, Seinfeld is less a show about nothing than it is a show about everything.

    Although the world has changed a lot in the 17 years since Seinfeld went off the air, some things will always be the same. With all 180 episodes of the show going up on Hulu today, here are 11 which prove that to be true, presented as a kind of beginner’s guide for the Internet generation.

    1) Season 2, episode 6: “The Chinese Restaurant

    “The Chinese Restaurant” is the rare Seinfeld that takes place in only one space, and it is all the better for it. While a subplot about George trying to call his girlfriend from a pay phone doesn’t work as well in the age of cellphones, the story’s true impetus is just as familiar as ever. For anyone that’s ever been trapped in a long line, or stuck on the phone, or waiting for a table, this episode is for you—which is also to say it is for everyone.

    2) Season 3, episode 13: “The Subway

    “The Subway” is significant because it is the first episode of Seinfeld to give each character their own storyline, a feat which the showrunners went on to accomplish again and again. But it also plays well framed through the lens of the the mundane turned into a hellish nightmare. Simple tasks like a city commute often become meticulous and arduous tasks on Seinfeld. The journey our four main characters experience in this episode becomes an all-out odyssey, and while your own routine trip to work might not yield such comical results, it is the claustrophobia of the situation, similar to the scenario in “The Chinese Restaurant,” that really makes the humor soar.

    3) Season 4, episode 11: “The Contest

    It is at this point, in season 4, where Seinfeld really gets going. Perhaps the show’s most famous episode, “The Contest” also remains just as resonant as ever. It’s funny in some ways to think of Jerry Seinfeld being so concerned with PC culture, because “The Contest,” which is probably Seinfeld’s riskiest episode, is fairly innocent by today’s standards. In the end though, “The Contest” doesn’t need to be too racy, because it’s also so purely goofy. Although Jerry’s girlfriend, Marla, ends up thoroughly creeped out by the end of the episode, there’s something incredibly relatable about watching Seinfeld’s four central characters trying to resist self-satisfaction (Kramer is out the fastest, pleasuring himself in record time once he gets the inkling to.) To be fair, the whole thing is a little creepy, but it’s also undeniably hilarious. And the fact that Seinfeld has to dance around it all for network standards actually makes it that much more hilarious, as if the audience is in on the lurid competition themselves.

    Bottom line: Masturbation will always be funny.

    4) Season 4, episode 17: “The Outing

    Seinfeld couldn’t care less about social justice. But “The Outing” succeeds in spite of this, because its discussion of sexuality is so brutally honest.

    When Jerry and George are mistaken in an article for lovers (Kramer's reaction:“I thought we were friends! I mean, how could you two keep this a secret from me? Come on, Jerry, the masquerade is over!”), they immediately go into straight-guy panic. The writers inserted the phrase “...not that there’s anything wrong with that” so LGBT viewers wouldn’t get offended, but what this mantra really did was show how even when straight people try to be accepting of homosexuality, they can end up coming off as pejorative and misinformed.

    Besides being a thoroughly clever spin on the sitcom trope of misunderstandings, “The Outing” is a fantastic piece of television about the nature of identity as well. George and Jerry are not gay, and even though there isn’t anything wrong with being gay, they remain desperate to affirm their heterosexuality. This episode also asks questions about privacy, and how much we really need to show the world to express who we are.

    5) Season 5, episode 2: “The Puffy Shirt

    The thing that really makes “The Puffy Shirt” stand out today is the way the Internet has made embarrassing incidents like the one in this episode’s climax that much more common. When Jerry agrees to wear a puffy shirt designed by Kramer’s girlfriend, Leslie, on the Today show, he ends up humiliating himself and her in the process. It’s easy to imagine how if this episode aired in 2015, Jerry’s public meltdown would have gone viral, pushing his shame even further. But “The Puffy Shirt” works as it is because when it comes to fashion faux pas, no one is ever very forgiving—especially when you’re wearing something that ugly.

    6) Season 5, episode 10: “The Cigar Store Indian

    Like most sitcoms of the ’90s, Seinfeld is an almost blindingly white show, so its discussions on race were, naturally, infrequent and very limited. However, going back to the whole “PC culture” issue, “The Cigar Store Indian” provides an interesting diversion about how white people think, or rather don’t think, when interacting with individuals of a different skin color.

    The main conflict here surrounds Jerry’s crush on Elaine’s Native American friend, Winona. At first, he offends her, when he tries to give Elaine a cigar store Indian as a gift, not even pausing to consider how offensive this object really is. Eventually, he ends up correcting himself, and trying to win Winona back, but he still can’t get out of his own way when talking about matters of race. As is the case with many white people, Jerry becomes living proof that most of the time, “well-meaning” just isn’t enough. This is Seinfeld though, so there’s no hugging and no learning when it’s all over. Just a lot of bad decisions, and the cosmic hilarity surrounding them.

    7) Season 5, episode 20: “The Hamptons

    The best thing about “The Hamptons” is how female-centric it feels. The primary focus of the episode (other than a really ugly baby and Kramer poaching lobster traps) is the concept of “shrinkage”—another very useful Seinfeldism. George is embarrassed when Jerry’s girlfriend, Rachel, sees him naked after getting out of the pool and accidentally catches a glimpse of his, shall we say, shrunken manhood. She laughs awkwardly and apologizes, but it doesn’t end there for poor George, as Rachel tells his girlfriend, Jane, about his size problems, prompting her to leave their Hamptons getaway in the middle of the night. George eventually decides to get back at Rachel by putting lobster in her eggs, which, as a kosher-keeping Jew, is a big no-no.

    George comes out looking even worse than usual in this episode, which is really saying something. You’d almost feel bad for him if he wasn’t, well, George. Seinfeld frequently discusses the difference between men and women, but given that the show does this more often than not through a male perspective, it’s nice to see the guys literally cut down to size in this one.

    8) Season 6, episode 11: “The Switch

    Ah, the dating world. Seinfeld was never better than when it was exploring the myriad ways people screw up and overanalyze relationships, and this is on full, glorious display in “The Switch.”

    It’s a simple premise, really. Jerry is dating a woman who doesn’t laugh. This of course offends his delicate sensibilities as a comedian. However, when he meets his girlfriend’s roommate, who not only has a great laugh but possesses many of the other qualities prized by the superficial man, he begins to consider the unthinkable. He enlists George to help him come up with a plan to break it off with the current girlfriend, so he can begin seeing the roommate, and they arrive at an absurd scheme wherein Jerry proposes a ménage à trois. However, the plan backfires when both women end up being into the arrangement, leaving both Jerry and George forced to admit that neither of them would have the sexual competency to pull this off.

    What makes the central plot of the episode great is that you probably know someone that this has happened to. Heck, maybe it’s happened to you. You meet someone, you like them, and then you meet their friend, whom you end up liking better. As Seinfeld concluded, there’s no good way for this kind of situation to end, and all we can really do is laugh in our collective misery.

    9) Season 7, episode 6: “The Soup Nazi

    This is another episode that you’ve probably heard of, even if you’ve never seen it. Seinfeld’s seventh season is its most plot-heavy next to its fourth, and when all’s said and done, one of its most well-executed. But what makes “The Soup Nazi” great is that it doesn’t rely on the storyline from the rest of the season to set up what is surely one of the show’s many instantly memorable episodes.

    Penned by Spike Feresten, one of Seinfeld’s more distinctive voices, “The Soup Nazi” is that rare piece of pop culture that just lingers after you finish watching it. There are a million different occasions when you can bust out the phrase “No soup for you!,” and almost all of them will be fitting. If you’ve merely heard about this one, but never taken the time to sit down and watch it, stop what you’re doing and put it on right now. It’s a surefire winner for those of us that get hangry when we’re unable to get the food we so desperately want.

    10) Season 8, episode 19: “The Yada Yada Yada

    Another episode which coined a phrase that went immediately into the lexicon, “The Yada Yada Yada” is interesting because the storyline revolving said phrase may actually be the least interesting part of the entire episode.

    For those not in the know, the episode’s title refers to a non sequitur George’s girlfriend, Marcy, uses when she wants to skip over a part of a story during conversation. Neurotic that he is, George soon becomes convinced that she is using “yada yada yada” as a fill-in for sex—with her ex-boyfriend. The best part of the discussion around the phrase comes when Elaine admits that she’s yada yada’d sex before. “I met this lawyer, we went out to dinner, I had the lobster bisque, we went back to my place, yada yada yada, I never heard from him again.” “But you yada yada’d over the best part,” Jerry retorts. “No, I mentioned the bisque,” quips Elaine slyly.

    With the departure of Larry David after season 7, seasons 8 and 9 of Seinfeld took a detour into increased absurdity, and this episode is also a prime example of that. The other great storyline in “The Yada Yada Yada” revolves around a recurring character named Tim Whatley, played brilliantly by Bryan Cranston. In this appearance, Jerry becomes convinced that he’s converted to Judaism for the jokes. Once again, this offends Jerry as a comedian, and he responds with some dentist humor which convinces Kramer he’s the one being prejudiced. "You're an anti-dentite," he tells Jerry. The episode ends with Jerry making a crack about dentists to a prospective love interest, played by Will & Grace’s Debra Messing, who turns out to be a real anti-semite/racist.

    Once more, as we continue to discuss where the lines are in humor, “The Yada Yada Yada” proves that you don’t have to be “anti-PC” to have a frank, not to mention hysterical discussion about what’s acceptable in comedy.

    11) Season 9, episode 8: “The Betrayal

    “The Betrayal” is basically Memento before Memento. As a story about about Jerry sleeping with George’s girlfriend unfolds backwards during a trip to India, Senfeld executes one of its most ambitious and more fascinating episodes.

    For anyone that thinks of Seinfeld as the epitome of the “traditional” sitcom, this is an essential episode to look at. It demonstrates that the boundaries of television were already being pushed long before the structurally ambitious shows of our current golden age. And it should also demonstrate to any Seinfeld detractors out there that the show is not only still funny, but still revolutionary when held up to anything that’s come before, or since.

    Photo via Orin Zebest/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

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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.

    Towering in five-inch heels above a screaming, sold-out crowd, Kirstie Maldonado moves in sync with her fellow Pentatonix (PTX) band members as their a cappella acrobatics leave the crowd simultaneously mesmerized and hysterical.

    The sole female vocalist of the Grammy-winning a cappella group Pentatonix, Maldonado is known for her eight-part harmonies, rock and roll style, and down-to-earth nature that has made her beloved by both the group’s fans fans and her fellow band members—Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kevin Olusola, and Avi Kaplan.

    Raised by a single mother, Maldonado found her love of music during their long car rides together; by the time her eighth birthday rolled around, Maldonado had convinced her mother to enroll her in voice lessons. Her performing résumé only grew from here: eight years touring with Theatre Arlington, classical training, Texas All-State Choir, show choir, dance, enrolling as a theatre major at the University of Oklahoma, and in 2011, forming Pentatonix.

    The acclaimed a cappella group was originally put together by Hoying, a long-time friend of Maldonado, who hoped to compete on The Sing-Off, NBC’s a cappella answer to American Idol. Despite the group meeting for the first time less than 24 hours before the audition, the quintet went on to win the show’s third season and soon after, began gaining international attention as their viral song covers began changing the way how the public viewed a cappella. Among my personal favorites are “The Wizard of Ahhhs,” “Royals,” and “Evolution of Music.”

    In the past four years, the members of Pentatonix have leveraged their YouTube success to create opportunities for themselves off the platform, including a Grammy win for their futuristic cover of “Daft Punk,” international tours, a Pitch Perfect 2 cameo, and released this week, their documentary On Our Way Home.

    As a group, Pentatonix’s accomplishments are incredible, and their future as musicians is limitless. But it’s the group’s close-knit relationships and hilarious personalities that have launched an almost Beatlemania-like fandom among the group’s audience. It’s through this dedicated following that Maldonado has come to shine as a role model to young girls interested in pursuing music—and pursuing it their own way. In a past interview with Asian Fusion Girl, the singer stated: “You need to find your best self. I want people to see that I'm just a girl who went for her dreams. I want to inspire people to tear down their walls, especially for teenage girls. So many people don't believe in themselves; people are worth so much more than what social media shows.”

    Kirstie, from your incredible vocals to your quirky personality and infinite love of of your pup, thank you for being such an incredible example of strength, perseverance, and courage to young women around the world.

    Screengrab via PTXofficial/YouTube

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    If you're like me and you're a genuine fan of the Paranormal Activity series, the new trailer for the latest film comes with some disappointing news. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension will be the last film in the franchise, according to the trailer release and an interview producer Jason Blum gave USA Today earlier this week.  

    Blum, whose production company Blumhouse has overseen the entire horror franchise, told USA Today that he wasn't going to "grind [it] into the ground" the way Kristi ground her sister's photo into ashes while passing her a terrible demonic curse, presumably because that would be bad. Then again, having been treated to Katie Featherston creeping around and being evil for five films now, we can't say that we see the downside.

    However, there is plenty of good news for fans who've been waiting forever to get answers to all-important questions like: Does their grandma just keep a herd of witches in her backyard? Where the heck is Kristi's stepdaughter? Why did Katie/Toby give Hunter to his new family if she was just going to squat next door waiting to steal him back anyway? Are there supernatural portals just sitting around Los Angeles that all lead back to Katie's suburban kitchen? Even shadowed by a horrifying demonic entity, why would anyone ever date Micah?

    None of these questions are answered in the latest trailer, which appears to be focusing on a new family unlucky enough to move into Katie and Kristi's childhood home. But we do get more of the thing the series does best—terrifying children.

    If you're among the many fans who praisedParanormal Activity 3, the film which introduces us to Katie's family and the sinister demon "Toby," there's plenty of evidence here that we're finally going to be getting more info about this part of the franchise's mythology. Though this trailer is definitely low on scares compared to earlier parts of the series, we'll show up just to finally see Toby (shudder) and glean more insights from that terrifying collection of home videos. 

    And who knows? Even if the series ends after this film, there's nothing to prevent other spinoffs and expansions of the concept.

    We'd sign up for a TV series called On the Road With Toby and Katie, for example, or Eight (demon-possessed children) Are Enough.

    Make it happen, guys.

    Screengrab via Paranormal Activity/YouTube

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    Fans of the iconic show about nothing, get ready to treat yourself to a whole lot of everything. Not only is every episode of Seinfeld available for streaming on Hulu starting today, but Hulu is also pulling out all the stops to celebrate the launch with a pop-up installation in New York City.

    The Daily Dot visited the exhibit on Wednesday, and dozens of fans were already lined up around the block, eager to be transported to the world of the beloved sitcom.

    Housed in an over 3,500 square foot space below the Highline, the exhibit features a real-world recreation of Jerry Seinfeld’s fictional Upper West Side apartment, a memorabilia gallery, and interactive elements that will put a smile on any Seinfeld-lover’s face.

    Visitors can snap a candid with the Soup Nazi himself.

    Or strip down to their skivvies and strike a seductive pose à la George Costanza. Although of course, removal of clothing is entirely optional when staging your very own boudoir portrait.

    The exhibit also contains carefully chosen memorabilia from the series’ best-loved episodes. Several are paired with hilarious clips that highlight the selected artifacts.

    Once fans have enjoyed the memorabilia, they can move on to the apartment itself, which only allows a select number of visitors at a time. At the entrance to the apartment, fans can peer in Kramer’s peephole and view clips of Kramer’s neighborly (and not-so-neighborly) antics.

    The apartment is a pitch-perfect mockup of Jerry’s familiar living room and kitchen. The kitchen is stocked with Jerry’s favorite cereals, while authentic ’90s reading materials, and sports car artwork lining the walls bring the living room and its signature blue sofa to life.

    After touring the apartment, fans can marvel at the signed wall from Seinfeld’s final wrap party. 

    Look carefully and you’ll spot signatures from famed guest stars like Bryan Cranston, Kathy Griffin, and the Soup Nazi. 

    The exhibit ends with a sweet treat: Jerry’s favorite Junior Mints are complimentary on your way out.

    It's near impossible to leave without feeling a rosy nostalgic glow for all things Seinfeld. As we left we overheard one woman say, “That’s the best thing I've ever done.” If Hulu was hoping to get us hooked on the old favorite again, mission accomplished.

    Seinfeld: The Apartment is located at Milk Studios, 451 W. 14th Street, New York, New York. The exhibit is free and open to the public Wednesday, June 24 through Sunday, June 28 from 10am to 7pm.

    Photos by Nayomi Reghay

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