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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Never tell anyone who you think they resemble, even if it’s a celebrity. Not everybody has the same beauty standards and they could take it the wrong way. Unless, of course, you’re Ruby Rose.

    When the Orange Is the New Black actress appeared on Conan Wednesday, O’Brien asked her how she felt about the comparison she often gets to Instagram lothario (and singer) Justin Bieber. “I hear that he gets asked a lot if he’s Ruby Rose, and it must be very frustrating for him,” she retorted. Rose commiserated with O’Brien who she says bears striking resemblance to the lovechild of Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep, and Joel Edgerton.

    “I’m glad you threw one guy in there, just to butch it up just a little bit for me,” a disappointed O’Brien said, feigning discomfort about his apparently feminine features.

    Rose and Bieber, who get this comparison frequently, have been previously documented hanging out together. 

    I can’t say that I see the resemblance between Bieber and Rose, but whether or not she takes that as a compliment, beauty remains subjective.

    Watch the clip below. 

    Photo via Conan/TBS


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    We here at the Daily Dot love our streaming TV and movies, but we also know how easy it is to become overwhelmed by the massive lists of comings and goings on streaming platforms each month. Here’s our curated take of what’s new on Amazon and Hulu this month.

    Check our for Netflix list for more streaming picks.

    August

    Pick of the Month: Curb Your Enthusiasm (Aug. 6, Amazon Prime)

    Amazon Prime has added the full run of the HBO classic to its streaming catalog. That’s eight seasons of crankiness and misanthropy from and starring Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld. Just as Jerry Seinfeld did in that legendary series, David plays a fictionalized version of himself in Curb: a retired TV writer/producer whose hobbies include social anxiety and being irritated at everything everyone around him does at all times. Cheryl Hines co-stars as his wife, and Jeff Garlin plays his manager Jeff. The show was heavily improvised and—also in the spirit of Seinfeld—features a revolving door of celebrity cameos, including Mel Brooks, Martin Scorsese, Ben Stiller, and Ricky Gervais, to name a few, not to mention all four Seinfeld leads: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards.

    Best of the rest:

    1) Difficult People (Aug. 5, Hulu)

    Hulu has been running a distant third behind Netflix and Amazon; it has yet to find its House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, or Transparent. Hopefully Hulu will get a little time in the spotlight with the new Amy Poehler-produced comedy Difficult People, which earned a straight-to-series order from Hulu after USA passed on the pilot. Created by author/performer/podcaster Julie Klausner, Difficult People stars Klausner alongside Billy Eichner (Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street) as a pair of struggling New York comedians “who hate everyone but each other.” Klausner cites the aforementioned Curb Your Enthusiasm as a major influence on the show, and also describes it as “Will and Grace, if one was a six and the other was a seven.”

    2) 52 Tuesdays (Aug. 6, Hulu)

    Shows such as Transparent, Orange Is the New Black, and Sense8 have all featured transgender characters prominently, shining a light on a community that is still widely misunderstood and discriminated against. For those seeking another intelligent and insightful exploration of the topic, look no further than the acclaimed Australian coming-of-age drama 52 Tuesdays. Tilda Cobham-Hervey stars as Billie, a teenager whose lesbian mother Jane (Del Herbert-Jane) announces her plans to transition to a male. She sends Billie to live with her uncle (Mario Späte) during the transition process, and for the next year, Jane/James and daughter see each other only on Tuesday evenings, a situation that further strains their already troubled relationship. 52 Tuesdays premiered to much critical acclaim at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and earned director Sophie Hyde the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award.

    3) A Most Violent Year (Aug. 7, Amazon Prime)

    Rising star Oscar Isaac stars as Abel Morales, an immigrant in 1981 New York City who is building the American dream, having taken his father-in-law’s heating oil business to the heights of success. Even more impressively, he’s done it all honestly and above-board in the midst of an industry with a substantial criminal element. Now a new business deal could expand the family business even further, but a series of robberies and attacks of Abel’s workers could threaten that future. To make matters worse, Abel’s father-in-law didn’t run nearly as clean a ship as Abel does, and now the company is being targeted by an assistant D.A. eager to root out corruption. Abel tries to save his company without sacrificing his ethics, but even his own wife (co-star Jessica Chastain) believes they need to do whatever it takes to protect what’s theirs. Critics praised both Isaac and Chastain’s performances, and A Most Violent Year currently sports an impressive 90 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    4) Doctor Who: Season 8 (Aug. 8, Hulu)

    See our recommendation from this month’s Netflix picks.

    5) You’re the Worst: Season 1 (Aug. 10, Hulu)

    Continuing the “cranky people doing cranky things” trend of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Difficult People, we come to FX’s You’re the Worst. Created by former Orange Is the New Black/Weeds producer Stephen Falk, You’re the Worst explores the relationship between writer Jimmy (Chris Geere) and PR exec Gretchen (Aya Cash). Jimmy excuses his assholish nature as blunt honesty, and Gretchen is determined to self-destruct in a variety of creative ways. The pair meet-cute as he’s being kicked out of a wedding and she’s sneaking out with a food processor stolen from the bride’s gift pile—it’s a match made in self-obsession. Critics praised the show’s writing and the chemistry between the two leads, and You’re the Worst will return for a second season on FXX Sept. 9.

    6) Misery Loves Comedy (Aug. 16, Amazon Prime)

    Curb Your Enthusiasm, Difficult People, You’re the Worst… The strange truth of the matter is, unhappy people can generate some of the best comedy. Given the inclusion of those shows on this list, it’s oddly appropriate that we round out the month with this Kickstarter-funded documentary, which asks the question: Do you have to be miserable to be funny? Directed by comedian Kevin Pollak, Misery Loves Comedy enlists a ridiculous lineup of talent to dissect that central question, including Judd Apatow, Janeane Garofalo, Kevin Smith, Jon Favreau, Stephen Merchant, Jason Alexander, Lewis Black, Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Gaffigan, Paul F. Tompkins, Christopher Guest, Bob Saget, Martin Short, Marc Maron, Penn Jillette, and (bringing it full circle) Larry David. And that’s not even close to everybody involved. This is pretty much a must-see for comedy fans.

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Air New Zealand is going above and beyond to ensure the safety of every passenger on its domestic, international, and even intergalactic flights.

    Having already visited Middle-earth three separate times to spice up its safety videos, the airline is back with a safety video that pays tribute to Men in Black while demonstrating its aircraft's safety procedures.

    While Agents J and K are nowhere to be seen, singers Israel Dagg and Stan Walker are fully prepared to save the world (and channel Will Smith's "Men in Black") with help from Rip Torn, Frank the Pug, the New Zealand rugby team the All Blacks, and other famous rugby players.

    Everything goes off without a hitch—and without the destruction of Earth—but getting those worms to stop smoking might be harder than it looks.

    Screengrab via Air New Zealand/YouTube


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    The stereotype of a Vine star is a young guy being idolized by equally young teen girls who dutifully watch their raunchy six-second comedy bits. Zach King breaks that mold.

    The 25-year-old filmmaker still trades in the six-second payoff, but his vines are elaborate tricks, with King flying out of a laptop screen and directly onto a Slip ’N Slide or morphing a piggy bank into an actual pig in front of your viewing eyes. They’re true movie magic, encapsulated in loops and viewed over 1 billion times and counting; indeed, their video trickery earned him his chosen moniker, Final Cut King. While other vines might need a few props or some clever camera cuts, King’s productions can take weeks of planning.

    “We like to come up with an idea … that we think is relatable to a lot of people,” he said. “Once we hone in on the ideas—and sometimes the ideas can take a minute, or it could take weeks to flesh out what it is—it takes from a day or two to film, and a couple days for post-production. Lately they’ve been ranging on the really long side.”

    With 3.5 million followers on the platform, not to mention his 289,000 on Instagram and 879,180 on YouTube, it’s safe to say King’s particular strategy has paid off. Unlike other Vine stars, King said he’s focused on building his following organically, instead of through the tried-and-true method of collaboration with popular channels.

    “I’ve noticed in the past when you collab a lot, it’s good for instant growth, but in the long term it doesn’t really stick,” said King, adding that despite the fact that his home of Anaheim, California, is only an hour away from Los Angeles, it still keeps him apart from the other big-name viners. Another divide between King and the rest of the Vine set? Content.

    “The viners I’ve worked with in the past are so creative, and I admire what they do, but their jokes are somewhat on the dirtier side,” explained King. “My content is clean, and ultimately I want my kids—someday, when I have kids—to watch what I do.”

    While many of those other Viners are the type that attract hoards of screaming fans when they appear in public, King said his crowd is more of the aspiring-filmmaker type, although he admits there are a few screamers in the mix.

    “I think there’s a few screaming teens… I’m not sure why they’re screaming,” he laughed. “The ones that are our main fanbase are the filmmakers or the editors; a lot of them have watched our tutorials in the past. I was attending a wedding last weekend, and the videographer came up to me, he was a 20-year-old I think, and he said, ‘dude, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t watched your tutorials five years ago.’ That’s really cool, to meet those people and hear those stories. That’s what keeps me going, to know that people are learning from our stuff and being inspired by it.”

    King started off in the pre-Vine era as a YouTuber, making short films during college. He credits his YouTube channel as the way he paid for college, both from Google AdSense money for viral videos like Jedi Kittens series, and from simply teaching people how to do Final Cut and filmmaking in general with tutorials and selling educational programs. When he made the transition to Vine after graduation, he was shocked to see how quickly brands came on board with him.

    “I noticed all my roommates had stopped watching YouTube, or even Modern Family, and were scrolling these clips,” explained King, who said he thought mistakenly that they were just audio clips at first. “I fell in love with it as a new creative spark for me. Brands started coming within three or four months. On YouTube it had taken me years to get to that point, so it was interesting to see how quickly brands were wanting to try it out and adopt it.”

    “I fell in love with [Vine] as a new creative spark for me.”

    Now King is working with Best Buy to help launch the #BESTCOLLEGE challenge, where fans can submit videos with college tips and advice for a chance to win $2,500 in tech supplies for their dorm room.

    “When I was a film student, I would enter these film contents,” said King. “That’s how I got my initial camera in college. I paid for school with some of those scholarships and grants I won through those contests. Now I can help host that content and know that the filmmaker geeks out there [are] entering to win some awesome tech.”

    While King is a star in his own right because he’s been in front of the camera—mostly an accident, he said, because there were no actors around—his ultimate fantasy is to film a feature-length production, keeping himself in the background.

    “The dream would be to do it as a blockbuster movie and blow stuff up and have a cool story,” he explained. “I think it’s going to be a journey. I don’t want to abandon the audience; you’re going to want to bring them along with you. That’s a tricky balance: how you get your audience to follow you while you’re not spending a lot of time making as much personal content.”

    In the meantime, he’s continuing to produce short form projects across several mediums, trying out new platforms like Snapchat and techniques like 360-degree video. His biggest change has been trying to be more professional, which includes using stunt people.

    “Vine loves physical impact, so if we have to jump through a wall, we’re able to use really talented stunt people for that,” he said. “We’ve been trying to be professional and safe about what we’re doing.”

    The one exception: King. He still does his own stunts.

    “I love it,” he exclaimed. “You watch the behind-the-scenes in movies and go, ‘I want to be the stunt man.’ That’s me living out a second fantasy at the same time.”

    Photo courtesy of Zach King


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    It’s “stranger danger” for the modern age.

    New viral video “The Dangers of Social Media” purports to show how easy it is for a pedophile to pick up an underage girl using social media. However the video also underscores the flawed nature of YouTube’s “social experiment” trend, even when a creator believes he or she has the best of intentions.

    In the clip, prankster Coby Persin decides to conduct a “social experiment” in which he poses as a teen boy on Facebook, connects with three pre-selected girls, and attempts to get them to meet up with him in person. The girls featured in the video do meet Persin—and are confronted by their angry parents at the last minute. In the final confrontation, a young girl enters a car with Persin, and he grabs the girl’s arm while she screams and her parents, disguised in ski masks, clutch her from behind.

    “It really teaches you a lesson,” Persin, who has 1.1 million subscribers, told the Daily Dot. “I get shivers when I watch it because I feel like I was there… even though I was there!”

    Persin said he was inspired by a video he watched of a 27-year-old man who attempted to abduct a girl he met online from her home. He was thwarted by her father, who subsequently beat him up on camera. That video has since been deleted from YouTube.

    Persin is far from the first person to document potentially illegal online interactions between teens and adults, although he’s flipped the script: Most pose as the teen themselves and attempt to catch adults engaging in illegal activity. The practice was made most famous by To Catch a Predator, which functioned under legal supervision and ended when a suspected pedophile committed suicide mid-sting. Dark Justice, two 20-something U.K. residents who pose as teens online to expose pedophiles, are cautious to never start conversations themselves lest they entrap one of their targets.

    “Once you start to engage in deceit of some sort, presenting yourself as 14-year-old girls, even if you’re not soliciting somebody, that’s getting tricky. You’re getting into the issue of ‘is there some entrapment going on there,’” David Finkelhor, a professor at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire told The Kernel. Law enforcement officers are expected to understand those rules, but vigilante YouTubers might not.

    Persin said he’s not concerned about any legal ramifications, since he obtained parental consent to contact each girl in the video and did not discuss anything sexual with the young women. The parents in the video all responded to an ad Persin posted on Craigslist asking for people with daughters between the ages of 11 and 15.

    “I posted a generic ad on Craigslist for parents who knew their teens were on Facebook,” he said. “I just said ‘PSA’; I didn’t give anything away.”

    After texting with six different parents and eliminating three who weren’t responding quickly enough, Persin settled on his three featured families. Each family was compensated for their participation in the video, although Persin declined to say how much.

    The video only focuses on the young girls, who are predominantly scolded by their fathers after they are caught attempting to meet up with the strange boy. Persin said he only solicited women for this particular video, but he promised a follow-up next week that’s already in production featuring young boys.

    “It’s going to be scarier, let’s just say,” Persin offered. “It’s going to be crazy.”

    Meanwhile the original video skyrocketed to more than 10 million views in a single day, and Persin expects it to be his most successful video ever.

    “It’s projected 100 million views on this video,” Persin said. “It’s getting right now 500,000 views an hour.”

    Persin’s no stranger to a viral success. According to Persin, all of his videos in the last year are viral ones. Currently his third most popular video is one filmed last year that pitted two homeless men in New York against each other in arm wrestling. The winner was supposed to win $100, but before Persin could reveal the twist that the loser also won money, the winning man shared his money with the loser himself.

    His most popular video, with 32 million views, is of a woman who walks around New York pants-less, only covered in paint meant to look like pants. Videos like these are supposed to fall somewhere along the scale of shocking to heartwarming, and have been called out by those in the YouTube community as exploitative, devised solely to drive up traffic numbers.  While some such videos might have been created with only the best intentions, social experiment videos also often ridicule women, LGBTQ+ people, and racial minorities.

    The “Child Predator Social Experiment” video fails to address the fact that only 25 percent of female victims of rape or sexual assault were victimized by strangers, according to 2010 U.S. Dept of Justice study. In essence, these girls are more likely to be assaulted by a family friend or classmate they already know than someone who targets them on the Internet. However, 1 in 25 youths receive sexual solicitations online that do include suggested offline contact, according to a paper in American Psychologist.

    Persin said none of the parents believed their daughters would respond, but at least in his limited sample, it wasn’t difficult to encourage these young girls to meet in person with someone they only know on the Internet. (It shouldn’t come as a surprise: Children and teens are told not to talk to strangers on the Internet—but then at age 18, they’re told the best way to meet someone to date is probably going to be an app like Tinder, where they’ll meet a stranger for dinner or, perhaps, simply for a somewhat anonymous sexual encounter.)

    Persin said he hopes people walk away from his video aware about the realities of teen actions (which, although unadvised, were in this case wholly legal).

    “People should know this is what their kids are doing,” said Persin. “This is what all kids are doing. They really need to just watch out.”

    Persin is not currently affiliated with any advocacy group or teen Internet safety initiative. The video’s success has inspired him to change the format of his channel away from pranks and toward social experiment programming. It’s a far cry from Persin’s original intent in joining YouTube a little over a year ago.

    “It was just to get my name better out there,” he explained. “I was doing acting, waiting in line doing castings. Now I actually have casting directors call me directly. [YouTube] is a platform; it’s a game-changer.”

    Screengrab via Coby Persin/YouTube


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    No buzzworthy millennials this week. Not into mystery indie musicians who hide behind deft Tumblr curating, Instagram filters, and lonely SoundCloud islands. Instead, we’ll lean out and use this safe Daytrotter space to tip our ball caps at the hardest-working man in alt-country.

    That would be Austin, Texas, legend Dale Watson. 

    Locals no doubt run into the 52-year-old’s outlaw strut, silver hair, and six-string-wielding tatted arms early and often. And not just because he inexplicably endorses AT&T sometimes. 

    Hell, my wife and I were having a burger before a movie the other day and suddenly Watson shows up in a white tux with a brass ensemble and plays an intricate set of jazz swing. That’s residencies on residencies, buck-o. 

    To be clear: When we call it the Live Music Capital of the World (a self-proclaimed badge of honor sanctioned by the city in 1991), that means lots of venues and, more importantly, lots of people playing instruments. It’s what sets Austin apart from places like Brooklyn and Portland; ’round these parts, whatever you play, be prepared to play five nights out of the week in five different dives. Do you think we have Stevie Ray Vaughan and Willie Nelson statues because they look good? No, they honor mouth-foaming work ethics. 

    For the national conversation about Austin’s live music scene dying off at the hands downtown real estate developers who raise rent and kill iconic venues, what will seal the tech and gentrification hub’s fate is whether or not people still feel the urgency to grind out a reputation on stage. Or are they like, say, these ATX clowns thatFader profiled four years ago who look down their noses at the idea of playing live: 

    “That’s why we don’t really play Austin that much,” says Pure X drummer Austin Youngblood of the insular scene. “There’s no point in playing with anybody except the people that we like playing with. I think the last time we played some random show, it was like, Why the fuck are we here?” 

    To be better musicians? To make fans out of bartenders and passersby? 

    But when you can brand online, playing to townies in unbelievably charming holes like C-Boy’s too often takes a backseat. And, sure, it doesn’t help that even at concerts by household names, half of people there got tickets because their startup’s boss knows a guy; they are the people who talk incessantly during the show, and leave venues likes Stubb’s immediately after their Instagram uploads. 

    But Watson is still out here, man. You can probably catch him live tonight. 

    The Daily Dot has partnered with Daytrotter to highlight one session a week, which will be available to stream here exclusively. Now let's all get drunk and play Ping-Pong.


    For nearly a decade, Daytrotter has been recording some of the best talent around, and now you can stream half of this incredible (and growing) archive, featuring thousands of band sessions, for free—or join for full access and free downloads.

    Illustration by Johnnie Cluney/Daytrotter


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    Sesame Street, the children's show that has been a mainstay of PBS' educational programming for decades, will premiere its next five seasons on HBO and the premium cable service's digital platforms instead of the public-broadcasting network that it has called home for four decades.

    The Sesame Workshop, which produces the show, announced Thursday that the next five seasons would debut on HBO, HBO GO, HBO On Demand, and HBO NOW. PBS will get episodes of each season after it has aired exclusively on HBO for nine months.

    Sesame Street's HBO seasons will be almost twice as long as its PBS seasons—35 episodes each, up from 18. The Sesame Workshop will also produce a Muppet spinoff series for HBO and a new original child's educational series.

    As a result of the HBO deal, Sesame Street will no longer stream on Amazon Instant Video or Netflix.

    “Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO, said in a statement. “It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of Sesame Street and secure its nonprofit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder; it gives HBO exclusive pay cable and SVOD access to the nation’s most important and historic educational programming; and it allows Sesame Street to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years.”

    New Sesame Street episodes in English and Spanish will begin airing on HBO in late fall. While those episodes won't air on PBS until nine months later, the network will continue airing the show this fall using older episodes.

    “We are absolutely thrilled to help secure the future of Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop’s mission for the nation’s kids and families,” Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO of HBO, and Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming, said in a statement. “Home Box Office is committed to bringing the most groundbreaking and creative shows to its audience. Sesame Street is the most important preschool education program in the history of television. We are delighted to be a home for this extraordinary show, helping Sesame Street expand and build its franchise.”

    The move to HBO is a way for the Sesame Workshop to grow its operation amid shrinking public-broadcasting money. The New York Times reported that PBS dollars funded less than 10 percent of Sesame Street's programming; in order to make up the difference, the Sesame Workshop had to rely on its licensing revenue. But because so many people are now watching Sesame Street on streaming or on-demand services—the Times reported that two-thirds of children who tune in to Sesame Street don't actually watch it on PBS—that licensing revenue, from sources like DVD sales, has significantly declined.

    Declining revenues and shrinking public-broadcasting budgets had forced the Sesame Workshop to cut the number of episodes it produced per season.

    Asked for her comment on the deal, this reporter's 5-year-old daughter said that she didn't think anything about Sesame Street would change, though she admitted that she had never heard of HBO.

    "Are there other kid shows on H-P-O [sic]?" she asked. "No? Just grown-up shows? Oh, OK." 

    Photo via Sesame Street/Facebook


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    I love Drake. Odds are you do too, considering If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was the first album to go platinum this year. This marks the fourth-consecutive album by Aubrey “Drake” Graham to sell more than one million copies in the United States. To honor our Champagne Papi, I thought I’d go back to the place where it all started: Degrassi Junior High.

    For the record, I had Drake’s non-hit, circa-Comeback Season single “City is Mine” auto-play on my MySpace page. This is the only credential I hold (and need) to provide you with an annotation of Wheelchair Jimmy’s first televised rap performances.

    In season 3, episode 18 of Degrassi: The Next Generation, titled “Rock and Roll High School” Jimmy Brooks and Gavin “Spinner” Mason (Shane Kippel) freestyle a rap they believe can win the upcoming battle of the bands competition against, Craig (Jake Epstein) and Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend Ashley Kerwin (Melissa McIntyre).

    I won’t hold it against him, but Drake has never been much of a freestyler. So understand that at the ripe age of 17, he was much worse.

    [Jimmy Brooks]
    Our homey is a player and that is all    
    so why’d you have to go and kick his

    [Spinner]
    Balls. And Jane ain’t that your name?
    Cuz you a playa hate and that’s a shame.

    [Jimmy Brooks]
    And chicks like you ain’t worth too much.
    So shut up girl and

    [Jimmy & Spinner]
    Make my lunch. YEAH!

    *proceeds to cross arms like a tool*

    I’m going to overlook the blatant misogyny and chalk this up to Drake’s worst ghostwriters thus far. Everyone knows Aubrey is too sensitive to address any woman in that tone. Nay, the Aubrey Graham we know and love is more likely to fashion a woman’s portrait out of tears and tissues. This is not an insult. Let’s remember that Drake’s feelings are exactly why he’s the hottest rapper in hip-hop right now.

    These lyrics are abysmal, the flow is basic, this rap (and I use the term loosely) is the best example of how bad Drake is at being someone he’s not. Aubrey Graham may wear baggy clothes, but he is not a gangsta. He may date many women, but he is not a player. He may want some lunch but the only person who is making this thin Jewish boy’s lunch is his mom, Sandi Graham. As far as first performances go, this shows a fraction of Drake’s true talent. All artists must start somewhere, and clearly, Drizzy started from the bottom.

    In episode 4, season 7, “It’s Tricky,” Ashley tries to break into the music industry despite her limited talent. At a talent show, she sings “Tell Me Lies” and is publicly shamed because she is the human manifestation of vanilla pudding. Always the gentleman, Wheelchair Jimmy Brooks literally rolls on stage and spits a verse that merits a standing ovation (an ironically cruel joke by the folks at Degrassi).

     *Jimmy rolls up and steals the spotlight* 

    Thankfully, this rap is much closer to our present day Drake than the garbage he vomits in season 3.

    Look me and the mic we co-exist

    Brooks and his microphone live in harmony together, because Drake is Canadian and he tries not to have beef with anyone (unless of course you send for him, and in that case Toronto Councillor Norm Kelly has his back).

    Ma flow is a glass box with no exits
    So you could observe why you trapped in it

    This is Drake’s first use of metaphor. It can’t get more clear—glass is for looking. We’re supposed to observe Drake’s flow and be wildly impressed. In all honestly, I’m most impressed with his wheelchair mobility. It’s hard for me to keep rhythm without tapping my feet, and Drake is doing just great keeping time with his erratic hand gestures.

    Took my ladies track and sprinkled some rap in it

    Do you see these people?

    They are angry. They are used to the Canadian talents of Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, and Sarah McLachlan. They don’t want to see this D-list talent show, they need a pop star. Drake understands that and that’s why he re-ups Ashley’s trash song, and gives her a certified classic remix.

    They tellin' me lies

    Someone, somewhere isn’t keeping it 100 with Drizzy Drake. He’s not easily fooled, though. He sees the future as clear as the glass box he’s trapped in and it’s going to be full of expensive champagne and songs about his breakup with Rihanna.

    They like please, please tell me your reality J 
    We can't fathom how it feel to be forever confined

    Degrassi is really pouring salt. Jimmy’s classmates can’t understand what it’s like to be in a wheelchair. What a sick-freaking-joke! I thought Canadians were more sensitive but obviously people at Degrassi Junior High keep flaunting their flexibility at Jimmy Brooks. Disgusting. This is Drake method acting. Contrary to popular belief, he can walk and is only pretending to be paralyzed. However, like a true artist, he harnesses “J” (Jimmy’s) pain and channels it into beautiful music.

    Ma mother always told me what to do with my best foot
    So to this day you know that it ain't never behind

    Oh my goodness. Wait, I didn’t think this could possibly go on. His mother is telling him to put his best foot forward knowing he can’t even walk? Are people in Toronto just so sadistic that they can’t bare the thought of ignoring the wheeled elephant in the room? Yes, Jimmy is in a wheelchair. But that’s not his fault, Spinner is to blame for this. They all need to move forward and pray for medical advancements.

    And metaphorically I'm ahead of the rest
    And proud of the fact that I've accomplished that

    This is Drake’s second metaphor of the rap. I know this because he used the word "metaphorically." It’s a complex moment because he acknowledges that while he physically can’t be ahead of the rest he can be figuratively. This foreshadows Drake’s eventual rise to superstardom, becoming the rapper that everyone wants to be or knock out of the game.

    And every time I say that I can do it myself
    In the same breath, I wonder where my accomplice is at

    On the one hand, Drake believes he can do it on his own. We see that notion repeated throughout his career especially on "All Me"—“Came up, that’s all me. Stay true, that’s all me. No help, that’s all me, all me for real.” But on the other hand, Drake just needs someone by his side, whether that’s Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, or Courtney from Peachtree and other various Hooters employees/strippers he’s met.

    It's like tell me anything but the truth cause
    I don't really know if I can take it now

    Twist. Drake has changed his mind about lies. He’s pretty fickle which comes with being a rapper in touch with his emotions. This time Drizzy doesn’t want to hear the truth, because he can’t handle it.

    Note: In the second version of the song at minute 1:36, Drake ends his rap differently.

    Cause the fabrication would help to settle that
    And imagination would ease the pain
    I came into this world as honest and pure
    But can't guarantee to you that I'mma leave the same, so

    He’s worried that he won’t leave this world as the wholesome Canadian that he started out as. But look at this beautiful face!

    Drake will never forget where he came from. And if you’re a Degrassi/Drake fangirl like me, take a look at the behind the scenes for this glorious rap scene right here.

    Photo via champagnepapi/Instagram


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    It’s just like any other gay bar: sweaty dancers crammed into a writhing circle, generic dance music thumping, a too-cool DJ holding court above the crowd.

    Except none of it is real. 

    A crowd of about 20 people is jammed into the center of the Metropolitan, a queer hotspot and dive bar in Williamsburg. But most are extras, surrounding comedians and longtime Saturday Night Live writers Paula Pell and James Anderson, who are shooting a scene for their webseries Hudson Valley Ballers. As SNL’s in-house gay writers, Pell and Anderson have been close friends for over 30 years; it was only natural for the pair decided to branch off and do a sketch comedy of their own. Hudson Valley Ballers premiered in 2013 for Above Average the digital arm of Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, and is now in its second season. The second half of the latest season premiered earlier this week.

    The extras surround Pell and Anderson, arms waving in the air, hands held together in a sort of Maypole dance as the film crew huddles off to one side barking instructions into the crowd.

    “Shots! Shots!” yells writer and series co-creator Michelle Lawler. Assistant director Nicco Vitelli chimes in, herding the extras into a breakdance formation around the two stars.

    “Everyone in a circle!” shouts series director Silas Howard (Transparent, By Hook or By Crook). He stumbles over some sandbags and laughs to himself with an air of exhaustion, saying quietly, “We’re making this up as we go along.”

    Everyone in the cast and crew is exhausted. They’ve spent the past week frantically filming around the clock at the country set in upstate New York, and this is the last day of shooting. Pell’s hoarse voice crumbles in response to a question. She’s sick with a cold, and the shoot is speeding up in order to get her home and into bed to rest. When the gay bar episode premiered on Aug. 12, most of Pell’s lines had been dubbed by voiceover to hide the fact that she was barely able to squeak out an audible note.

    Weeks later, after Pell has recovered and season 2 of Hudson Valley Ballers has posted online, I talk with Pell about shooting a party scene while seemingly on her deathbed.

    “I hated that I was sick because it was such a joyful romp at every turn,” Pell said later. “I went back to the hotel that night and stopped at Katz’s Deli to get some soup, and a young handsome man who worked there asked me if I had a husband. I lied and said yes and he gave me his phone number anyway, ‘just in case.’ It made me laugh so hard. Young handsome men never flirt with me. I get heat from old dudes that run the parking garages.”

    Pell is relentlessly funny, but in a self-consciously weirdo way. She and Anderson have a total of 33 years between them of writing for SNL, and both now have homes in the Hudson Valley. The two met in college, at the University of Tennessee, and quickly became one of comedy’s strongest platonic marriages.

    Like many queer marriages, Pell and Anderson’s comedy partnership has opened up to include new partners—notably, L.A.–based lesbian writer and cinematographer Michelle Lawler. Pell and Lawler recently parlayed two seasons of Hudson Valley Ballers into a new series deal with HBO, a half-hour comedy about an Olympic figure skater who falls from grace.

    “There is something deeply special about the gathering of these people,” said Pell of Hudson Valley Ballers’ polymorphic queer family. “James and I playing out our ridiculous and loving friendship that makes me so happy. It refreshes my soul, truly. I hope we do it until James and I are just staring off on shower chairs. I have worked with many, many talented and dedicated people. James is the funniest person on the planet, and Michelle and Silas are just an incredible creative pair. They are both so good at what they do and bring so much tireless passion to it from beginning to end. They are my super handsome heroes.”

    Howard, who is a “super proud queer and trans” man, toured for years as the drummer for ’90s dyke-punk band Tribe 8 before moving on to Hollywood. He told the Daily Dot that working on a queer comedy show with friends was a total no-brainer—just like becoming the first transgender person to direct an episode of Transparent. 

    “My work really centers in queerness, and humor as a way to prevail is a big factor,” Howard said. “All my past DIY work is somehow connected to my current work for hire, but with both Transparent and Hudson Valley Ballers, it’s all about friends and family making art together.”

    At 52, Pell is just entering her breakout period, developing a strong lineup of her own projects after years in the writers’ room for shows like 30 RockHer first screenplay, Sisters, was made into a film released this year starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. But Pell’s comedy work with Anderson stays close to home: On Hudson Valley Ballers, many of the jokes center on the pair’s self-deprecating sense of being aging gays surrounded by hot young studs and hip celebs who make them feel uncool and obsolete.

    Pell’s character decorates an entire room with tributes to the many pets she’s taken in over the years, a send-up of older lesbian loneliness and the trope of the crazy cat lady. In an episode that features Tina Fey as “Gingie,” a cruel Midwestern ruler of a corporate empire suspiciously similar to Angie’s List, Fey accidentally powders her décolletage with the ashes of a cremated cat.

    Part of the charm of Hudson Valley Ballers is the way the show’s setup allows for a constant stream of guest stars (it is a bed and breakfast, after all). In season 1, Paul Rudd and Kate McKinnon dropped in to play the hired help that Anderson and Pell take on as younger lovers. The current season is bursting with comedy celeb appearances: SNL alums Ana Gasteyer, Cecily Strong, and Rachel Dratch all take on roles, and Orange Is the New Blackstar Natasha Lyonne drops by too.

    One of the season’s more memorable roles is fleshed out by Lena Dunham as “Humane Jane,” an odd, country-butch exterminator who professes to love animals but may be nothing more than a fraud in a freaky coonskin cap.

    Pell said her personal highlight was the episode in which Gasteyer plays a holier-than-thou liberal neighbor who is horrified after Pell and Anderson poop in her yard.

    “One of my favorite days was when James and I go to the neighbor’s chili party and we think that we are going to be the stars, but they are all socially conscious intellectuals and we are stone-cold dumbasses,” Pell recalls. “We lay in bed at the end of the night and eat a giant wang of bread and realize that we may be dumb.”

    Dumb, they are not. “Awkwardly hilarious” is more fitting. And as opportunities continue to expand, it seems pretty likely that another season of Hudson Valley Ballers is in the future. The current slate of episodes were sponsored by Lexus’ L Studio, which Pell said allowed the show to expand into more locations, hire more guest stars, and use “fancier cameras.”

    Of course, the stars were treated like prima donnas too.

    “James and I were provided with all the Spanx we requested,” said Pell.

    Clarification 4:02pm CT: The latest version of this article has further clarified the relationship between Lorne Michaels and Above Average.

    Photo via orsorama/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III


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    We’re furious on Furious Pete’s behalf.

    The YouTube fitness expert and competitive eating champion announced on his channel that he’s battling cancer for a second time.

    Pete, whose real name is Peter Czerwinski, previously underwent treatment for testicular cancer, and unfortunately that cancer has returned and spread to his lymph nodes.

    Czerwinski fights to keep from crying during the emotional video as he speaks to his 2 million subscribers about his diagnosis and plans to document his radiation treatment on his FuriousTalks channel.

    “I’m being open about all this because I’ve been open about everything in my life on YouTube,” said Czerwinski in the clip. He said he went online himself after his diagnosis looking for information about what it’s like to live through radiation, and he said he couldn’t find that kind of content, so he decided to make it himself.

    Czerwinski holds several world records for competitive eating, and his doctors told him there’s no tie between his YouTube exploits and his cancer diagnosis.

    “It just sucks,” exclaims Czerwinski as he breaks down in tears at the end of the clip. “All of this fucking sucks. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing. Try and inspire and motivate and try and make an impact on this world. I keep having these obstacles along the way, but I know I’ve always got you guys. It’s no joke; you guys have changed my life.”

    H/T BroBible | Screengrab via Furious Pete/YouTube


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    Black Entertainment Television (BET) is reviving Punk’D, and the new hosts all lined up. The cable and satellite TV channel has revealed Viner Andrew Bachelor (aka King Bach) and YouTube star DeStorm Power as the leading men in the reboot of Ashton Kutcher’s MTV celebrity pranking series from the mid-2000s.

    BET had originally announced the return of Punk’D back in April 2015. At the time, the cable channel told Vulture the show would be “tailored” to the channel’s audience, but didn’t clarify what that meant. BET didn’t really give any more information about the series over the next few months, either.

    Then, during the week of Aug. 3, 2015, BET said it was going to bring back its adult-themed music video show Uncut. On August 11, the cable channel released Uncut’s premiere episode… supposedly. After viewers were re-introduced to the original intro and disclaimer for Uncut, Bach and Power appeared on-screen and told the audience they’d been punk’d.

    BET’s Stephen Hill, the programming director for Punk’D, made sure to clarify on Twitter the channel wasn’t really bringing back its original series Uncut.

    Punk’D debuts on BET on Aug. 18 at 10:30pm PST/1:30am EST.

    Screengrab via BET/Twitter


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    The trailer for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight finally landed online Wednesday, and the Internet wasted no time mashing it up

    Specifically, the existence of Kurt Russell as The Hateful Eight's swarthy John "The Hangman" Ruth offered an easy way to stitch the trailer into the snow-covered hellscape of The Thing, John Carpenter's 1982 horror film, in which Russell plays swarthy protagonist MacReady. 

    Garrison Dean, an io9 contributor, created this wonderful homage to bearded Kurt Russells in films full of menace, pairing dialogue from The Thing with the Hateful Eight trailer. It's almost like Tarantino was willing this mashup into existence with Russell's line at the end. 

    H/T AV Club | Screengrab via Paul Garrison Dean/YouTube 


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    If a band releases an album on an app that only plays when you’re in the woods, does it make a sound?

    The short answer: It’s complicated.

    Earlier this summer, John Moose, an otherwise unremarkable Swedish folk band, garnered attention from Rolling Stone and others for its ingenious release strategy for its self-titled debut. Ahead of its official April 24 release, the band made the album available in entirety via an app, designed by drummer Tobias Norén, that unlocks the tracks if (and only if) the phone’s GPS coordinates verify you’re in a forest.

    Norén explained how the app works to Rolling Stone: “The app uses Google Maps where forests have a specific green color. GPS coordinates are sent from the smartphone to a web service which scans the map through Google Maps Static API and uses a specific algorithm to determine if the user is in the woods ‘enough.’”

    Intrigued, I downloaded the app last month, strapped on my Keens, and headed deep into the woods. I hiked part of the Pacific Coast Trail near my place in Ashland, Oregon. I wandered into Lithia Park and out past what locals call the “faery ponds.” But no matter where I went, or how secluded I was in my surroundings, the app always displayed the same screen, taunting me, telling me my journey was not yet complete.

    I reached out to John Moose via email. Norén said that Google had adjusted Google Maps after the app’s release, which forced him to make some changes on the back end. He encouraged me to download the app again and elaborated on its initial inspiration.

    “The app is an interactive extension of the ideas and feelings we want to share with the listener,” he wrote. “We want people to think about nature—what it is and how we should relate to it. So the best way—we thought—was to force people into the woods if they want to listen to our album before it was officially released.

    “Listening to our music in the woods activates other senses than the music alone—the vision of the trees, smells and maybe some birds singing through the headphones. The whole band comes from an area where the large forests are always present and have been historically important for people making a living. So we guess we have it in us and that affects what the music and the concept becomes.”

    With the app reinstalled, I headed back out into the wild, more curious than ever about what exactly this album would entail. This time, I was met with a different screen, one that told me the app couldn’t pull the coordinates from my smartphone.

    At this point, the album was available in every major format, but I was more curious about the experience the app provided. I hacked a solution: I downloaded the album on Spotify and hiked back to a place I thought would be most appropriate for the occasion.

    “Listening to our music in the woods activates other senses than the music alone—the vision of the trees, smells and maybe some birds singing through the headphones.”

    John Moose has all the markings of a “concept album”—that delicate balance of earnest pretension and loose narrative that defined the format’s golden era in the early 1970s. It has a prologue and epilogue of sorts, songs broken up into parts, and moody interludes that stitch it together. The record tells the story of the titular character who, fittingly, attempts to restart his life in the woods, only to lose himself in the process. It’s more pastoral than psychedelic, rooted in the tradition of Swedish folk music, but I kept thinking how much better it might be if the lyrics weren’t translated to English (see Swedish contemporaries Dungen).

    The band has potential, but its heavy-handed ambition hasn’t quite caught up with its dev skills. I couldn’t fight the urge to listen to the trickle of the stream instead.

    And for that, John Moose actually deserves to be applauded. We’re in an era of the music industry driven by virality and big data—where SoundCloud spins and Wikipedia searches are being used to find the next big thing, not in rock venues but in spreadsheets. Album releases have been reduced to trending topics, worth approximately one email address.

    John Moose took the path less traveled, turning its album’s release not into an event but an experience. And god knows I needed to get outside.

    Photo by Austin Powell


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    One lucky Foo Fighters fan just got the highest possible praise.

    As most bands likely would tell you, bringing up an audience member to either play an instrument or sing a song during a massive arena show is a risk. If that audience member turns out to be a bust, the band has just wasted everybody’s time. Riots have started over less.

    But sometimes, the unknown performer is so special, so talented, and puts out such a winning performance that the rock gods howl in triumph while the angels of metal weep with joy.

    At Wednesday’s Foo Fighters show in Edmonton, singer/guitarist Dave Grohl invited a man named Brian Roberts—who, according to the CBC, is a field service technician for a construction company—to the stage to sing the iconic Rush song “Tom Sawyer.”

    Grohl knew the risk he was taking, especially since as Robert climbed on the stage, Grohl laughed and said, “You're trying to tell me that your big ass can sing those high notes? You can do it, right? ... Don't fuck it up.”

    To the crowd, Grohl declared, “Welcome to my nightmare.”

    Then, Roberts proceeded to dominate.

    Look, Roberts can hit those high notes, even if it’s not quite as melodic as Geddy Lee during his prime. But Roberts did himself, his country, and his country’s favorite band quite proud. Just look at Grohl’s face when he discovered that Roberts could hit those Geddy-ian levels of vocalization.

    As Roberts recalled to the CBC, the band had been hinting for much of the concert that it would play a Rush song, and when Grohl asked for a volunteer to sing “Tom Sawyer,” Roberts remembered thinking, “Well, I’ve sung that song in karaoke so many frickin’ times that I just jumped up and said ‘I do, I do!’

    “It was a very epic experience,” Roberts said. “I was nervous pretty much the whole time. ‘Don’t screw the song up, don’t screw the song up.’ I think I mixed some of the lyrics up there but I just about nailed ’er bang on.”

    Here’s a thought for Roberts’ next step as a musician: Combine forces with this dude who once played drums for Foo Fighters and travel to Italy to join this 1,000-member Foo Fighters fan club and tour the world as the greatest Foo Fighters/Rush cover band we’ve ever seen.

    Screengrab via Roxann Therres/YouTube


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    With the recent news that a Full House spinoff will be coming to Netflix, a few members of the San Francisco Giants opted to display their excitement by performing their own version of the iconic TV show's intro.

    And their takeoff—which includes not-so-candid smiles, a picnic in the outfield, and a cameo from the most-beloved male character from the show whose name is not John Stamos or Bob Saget—is rather outstanding.

    First, in order to reacquaint you and to insure that the Giants' homage makes sense, here's the Full House intro. In case you've forgotten, the show is set in San Francisco. Which also happens to be where the Giants play baseball.

    And the Giants' spoof, cleverly (and obviously) titled "Full Clubhouse."

    Nice work, everybody. The only regret the Giants probably have is that neither the Beach Boys nor Steve Urkel make an appearance.

    Screengrab via MLB/YouTube


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    In the new Hulu series Difficult People, its main characters, played by Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner, shine a light on the indignity of bombing at an open mic night in NYC. It's funny because they just don't understand why no one laughed

    A new sitcom called Thanks For Having Us shines a similar light on the Austin, Texas, comedy scene, where one can attempt to go up on stage every night of the week. 

    The pilot is being funded via Indiegogo, and writer/director/producer Sara Reihani, who's been doing open mics for about three years, says she and fellow writer Katherine Swope started writing the show last year as a webseries, but scenes were eventually distilled into a pilot. 

    "The whole premise of an open mic is hilarious," Reihani admits. "Especially when you take into account that there's nobody there except other comics. It just makes it even more ridiculous. ...The only way you can get better is just to fail a bunch." 

    The four main characters—Christina (Christina Parrish), Lex (Caroline Bassett), Pia (Cené Hale), and Bridget (Natalie Shea)—are comedians, but their stage time and jokes aren't exactly the focus; their relationships and connections with each other are. 

    "I think if you have a show with four girls, it's going to inevitably be compared to Sex and the City," Reihani said. "But I think it's a great number, because then you can have two weird pairs. There's a lot of shows where it's one weird pair, but I like groups of four. And then you can assign each of them an element." 

    Writer and actor Parrish admits she's playing a version of herself, with, of course, the worst parts heightened. 

    "I do a lot of dark comedy," she said. "My jokes are kind of dark, but I'm trying to lighten them up with some dog stuff." 

    As the Indiegogo page explains, one "impact" the creators are hoping to have is to eradicate the old "women aren't funny" line. Parrish says she's gotten the backhanded compliment "I usually don't like female comics, but you were really good," but they see that the tide is shifting, and women are getting more visibility. 

    "I think also a lot of old-world people have died," Parrish explained. 

    "Oh, all the old people are dying," Reihani added. "That's a big one. Old people who will like never, ever believe that a woman will make them money as a comic. They're dying, which is nice." 

    Screengrab via Sara June/Vimeo


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    Trying to keep up with all the quality television being produced in America is downright Sisyphean. But there’s another whole country producing amazing shows across the pond, and—sorry to say it—you’re going to need to watch all of those, too.

    The following are the best British shows currently streaming on Netflix, along with your ticket to having something to say whenever somebody brings them up.

    1) Top Gear (1977–present)

    The Top Gear you see on Netflix may be officially dead now, but its ghost still lives on in the company’s servers. The downside: It’s only five seasons of the famous Clarkson/May/Hammond run of the show. The upside: That’s still about 33 hours of material, and it’s all fantastic.

    Top Gear is one of the most highly viewed programs on the planet, and it’s not because of the cars. That may be hard for a newcomer to believe, but you really don’t need to know anything about cars to enjoy it. It’s the chemistry between the hosts—and the hijinks they get into—that makes the show accessible to everybody from the most diehard car enthusiasts to somebody who’s never even driven one. In the spirit of irreverent British humor, some of these hijinks went too far—and were partly responsible for the BBC’s hands being tied when it came down to firing host Jeremy Clarkson. (This is one of those such moments, which, lucky for you, can be seen on the currently streaming India special.)

    Hijinks aside (and I promise that’s the last time I’ll use that word), Top Gear is about much more than its shenanigans: The program itself, like many of the cars featured on it, is absolutely beautiful. The production value on it is through the roof; they could film my 2012 Kia Soul going through a Wendy’s drive-thru and make it look a vision that Moses himself would have while atop a mountain. During their famous specials, which usually involved the hosts being given a relatively small sum to each purchase a car and attempt to drive across a country, historic and cultural details are seamlessly interwoven into the commentary. Yes, some of Top Gear’s trips outside of the U.K. may have caused international friction, but damn were they fantastic.

    Although you needn’t be a gearhead (or, as the hosts would say, “petrolhead”) to enjoy Top Gear, you’ll be hard-pressed to come away from a series (that’s British for “season”) without a greater appreciation for cars than you had going in. Add in some global culture from international specials, and you have a twofer for expanding your precious mind—all while eating pretzels on your bum.

    2) The IT Crowd (2006–2013)

    The best way to describe The IT Crowd is that it’s a lot like The Big Bang Theory, except it’s funny. You see, in the U.K., they have a knack for producing programs with about six episodes per series, which gives the shows a much better chance of not having to do-over sitcom plots that have existed since the 1950s in order to fill a contractual obligation for 24 episodes. This also means you can binge watch a lot of shows very, very quickly. If the stars align and you can go off the radar for a bit, this particular one can be conquered in a mere two or three days.  

    This the only show on the list that includes a laugh track, but the thing is: I’m pretty sure it’s a real track of an audience laughing. Remember when Louis CK had a brief run on HBO with show Lucky Louie, which took place on a set in front of a live audience, and had real people laughing? This show’s like that: dignified.

    The show’s about a woman who joins a giant, Orwellian sort of company, and—as her job doesn’t include many real duties—her office is located in the basement, where the IT department resides. That department is made up of Chris O’Dowd, that bloke who played a romantic copper (that’s British for “cop”) in Bridesmaids, and Richard Ayoade, who’s directed music videos for Vampire Weekend and the Arctic Monkeys, and also directed the very good coming-of-age film Submarine.

    Much of the humor derives around the female Relations Manager being a fish-out-of-water in the midst of the nerdy IT guys, which is, as I explained earlier, much like the comedic dynamic of the Big Bang Theory. That basic premise may sound a bit inherently sexist, but I assure you it’s not, because every single character has an accent. Accents make everything OK, right?

    3) Peep Show (2003–2015)

    Just because a show is British and filled to the brim with ingenious humour, that doesn’t mean it’s safe from the axe, and somehow Peep Show’s poor ratings had it permanently positioned on the chopping block from the moment it hit the airwaves. Somehow, though, it still managed to get a whopping eight series of six episodes apiece.

    Peep Show is shown entirely through the perspective of the characters interacting onscreen, so every shot is through somebody’s eyes, although we only hear the internal monologues of the two main characters, Jez and Mark (played by Robert Webb and David Mitchell). That may sound like a gimmick, and one that would get old fast, but the format is unbelievably smooth in execution.

    Peep Show’s cancellation was, despite hanging over its head throughout its entire run, an abrupt one; I suppose that once you think you’ll be cancelled seven times, and then you aren’t, you just get comfortable with being renewed at the last moment. But fans will get some closure this September when the ninth series airs after a three-year hiatus. Shockingly enough, this is happening without Netflix having to purchase the show: The original network is actually behind the show’s resurrection from the dead!

    Like The IT Crowd, it only takes one extremely brief bout of depression to get through the entire run of Peep Show, so there’s really no excuse to not watch it. With the program coming back in September, you’ll even have a ray of hope when you finish binge-watching it: Yes, you’re out of episodes to watch now, but you can look forward to when the ninth series wraps up, and to when the show comes to DVD in the United States after the obligatory several years of copyright law red-tape.

    4) Black Mirror (2011–present)

    You may know Black Mirror from stories that you’ve seen shared on your Facebook feed that were titled something like GET OFF YOUR ASS AND WATCH BLACK MIRROR BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST SHOW, HOLY SHIT. Personally, I feel threatened by online writers telling me what to do, so those stories just made me hide from Black Mirror and pretend that it didn’t exist. This was a terrible mistake.

    After watching the entire series, when I’d only planned on watching one episode, I only have one thing to say:

    GET OFF YOUR ASS AND WATCH BLACK MIRROR BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST SHOW, HOLY SHIT.

    It’s a tough show to describe, which may have led to my hesitation to watching it in the first place (and God knows how they pitched it to Channel 4), but I’ll do my best. It’s a sharp-witted, satirical look at our society’s relationship with technology; it’s also an anthology series, with each episode following entirely self-contained plots with no recurring characters. But after watching the first episode, you’ll say to yourself “That was brilliant,” (that’s British for “very good”) and find yourself game for whatever the other episodes have to offer. It’s like going to a restaurant, ordering an appetizer, and absolutely loving it: You know the next course won’t be related to what you just ate, but the chef’s already won over your confidence, and you’re absolutely positive that whatever comes next will be absolutely smashing (that’s also British for “very good”).

    5) Peaky Blinders (2013–present)

    Basically, Peaky Blinders is the universe’s way of saying:

    “Hey! I’m sorry that Deadwood got cancelled prematurely, so—and I know that nothing could ever take that pain away, I really do!—here’s another show where everybody has really, really weird accents, gangs are on par with the law, people drink tons of whisky in places that are made from wood, and it takes wits and long cons to survive.”

    Peaky Blinders might actually be better than Deadwood by the time its run has finished. You might not agree with that prediction when you finish the two series currently out (both of which are streaming, with a third series in the works), but I guarantee you one thing: If you’re a fan of Deadwood, you might not like this show more, but you will definitely not be disappointed. 

    Try this on: Tom Hardy casually pops up in the second season, like it’s no big deal at all that fucking Bane is acting on television. Do you think Tom Hardy does television work because he’s having a hard time staying busy? 

    No. There is only one reason that Tom Hardy appears in the second series of a show on the BBC: He sees the first one and falls completely in love with it. (It also stars Cillian Murphy as the lead character, so maybe he wanted to join his fellow Batman villain on the small screen.)

    Anyway: This show is fucking brilliant. Sam Neill plays a villain, for shit’s sake. It’s simply fantastic. Hopefully, its status as a “Netflix Original” means we won’t have a long wait between the third season airing on the BBC, and us yankees being able to stream it.

    6) Happy Valley (2014–present)

    If you loved the first season of Fargo, and you’re going mad waiting for the second to premiere in October, have no fear: Happy Valley is here. Like Peaky Blinders, it’s presented as a Netflix Original, but don’t be fooled—it originally aired on the BBC.

    It’s six episodes long, with each one running an hour, and I’m warning you, very seriously, to wait on watching the first episode until you have six hours to spare. If you watch one episode and then head to work, your body might be at a desk, but your brain will be back at home, thinking about what will happen next on Happy Valley.

    Like Fargo, the story takes place in a small town, in which a few people make very dumb decisions that completely ruin their (and others’) lives. I’d even say it’s more layered than Fargo: Side characters that would usually be there to simply serve the plot have deep and detailed backstories. 

    Also like Fargo, I’d expect the second series to have so many A-list actors that it’ll make your head explode. With writing this good, even Sir Ian McKellen would champing at the bit to play a small role.

    I can’t say much more without giving things away, so I’ll just say this: There’s kidnappings, ordinary people getting in over their heads by mixing with criminals, criminals getting in over their heads by being too greedy and stupid, and one person who’s just pure evil. And that person who’s just pure evil? You’ll end up feeling, if only fleetingly, sympathetic toward them, because that’s just how good this show is.

    Did I mention this is a good show? Because this a good show.

    7) Sherlock (2010–present)

    Like the other series Steven Moffat’s currently helming, Doctor Who (which is also streaming on Netflix, but I'm not writing it up, because if Doctor Who’s for you, you already know about it), I have a theory that most people spend a lot of their time watching Sherlock completely lost but unwilling to admit it. Even if I’m not distracting myself by eating or Googling an actor I swear I've seen in another show, I still find myself wondering, at least twice an episode, what the fuck is going on.

    But in the end, that doesn’t really matter. The show has so much propulsive energy, the acting so remarkable, and every frame so gorgeous, that you’ll get over the fact that it’s occasionally confusing. Plus, by the end of each episode (which, in miniseries form, are about 90 minutes a piece), you’ll usually be comprehending the plot enough to fully appreciate the incredibly awesome part where the mystery is solved. 

    The fourth series is currently scheduled to film in 2016 , a full two years after the series 3 broadcast (likely because Moffat, Cumberbatch, and Freeman are insanely busy these days), and the last series ended in a way that makes it absolute torturous for fans to wait that long for the next piece of the story. Since half the fun of watching television is the part where you torturously wait for more episodes, it’s probably best to start binge watching the currently available episodes ASAP. 

    Bonus: A non-canon episode that takes place in the Victorian period is set to air this Christmas, so at least there's some sort of new material to look forward to (even if it’s unrelated to the show’s plot, it’s still going to be fantastic).

    8) The Inbetweeners (2008–2010)

    The Inbetweeners is a bit like if American Pie and Skins had a baby, and it came out looking much more like the former. It beings with the main protagonist, Will, starting his first day at a new public school, after his parents’ divorce has resulted in his departure from his private school.

    Will has a terrible first day, and he’s made fun of a lot by three schoolmates who, by the end of episode 1, you can safely assume will keep their distance from him in the future. By episode 2, it’s clear they’ll be his closest friends throughout the series. Will isn't popular, and neither are they, and this is presumably why their friendship continues through three series and two movies, even though they’re constantly screwing each other over, and generally being complete dicks to one another.

    Each episode is different, but also more or less the same: The four friends (by the second episode, Will is only our protagonist by way of being our narrator) think of something to do, they set out to do it, and the end result is at least one of them being mortally embarrassed, with things very rarely working out well for any of them at all. But despite being very formulaic, the dynamic between the four leads makes the show endlessly watchable.

    The show struck gold with these four characters and the actors portraying them; an American version of the show never made it past an evidently terrible pilot episode. The perfect balance between the friends makes for something sweet, laugh-out-loud funny, and extremely addicting.

    Screengrab via imal360/YouTube


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    Classic horror themes are ominous and generally dread-inspiring for a reason: They are written in minor keys. Find a nifty melody, go minor, and watch the goosebumps pile up. For composers, sometimes it's almost too easy.

    To prove that it's the minor key and not the melody that is eerily accenting the work of cinema's most murderous villains, musician/writer/filmmaker Ian Gordon re-recorded five iconic themes in major keys. What comes next will definitely not frighten you.

    A quick rundown:

    The X-Files theme sounds like the beginning of an inspirational journey across side-scrolling Nintendo worlds. (One where you're searching for a magic flute.)

    Halloween sounds like the side A, track one of an indie-pop outfit's meadow-frolicking breakout record. 

    Saw recalls the music that scores when the football game is getting out of hand and only the underdog protagonist can bring you back. 

    The Exorcist sounds like a Styx breakdown.

    Nightmare on Elm Street sounds like you're at Sea World, and Shamu is doing a night show. (The ones with lasers.)

    H/T A.V. Club | Photo via Yuliya Tsukerman


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    Everyone knows that some of Kim Kardashian's poses are over the top. Now one comedian is taking the voluptuous entertainment socialite and other celebs to task.

    Celeste Barber has dedicated her Instagram account to side-by-side photos of stars doing whatever ridiculous pose and her own reenactments. She started it off with the hashtag #celestechallengeaccepted.

    She told ABC Australia, "People are so obsessed with celebrities and celebrities seem to be so obsessed with portraying everyday people." So she used her own humor to poke fun at these celebs.

    And while someone might misread Barber's parodies as mean-spirited, she wants people to know that she's "pro-woman." She respects the most famous Kardashian for being an intelligent businesswoman who knows how to use her assets. But that doesn't mean she's spared from being the butt of some of Barber's jokes.

    You can check out the rest of her hilarious photos on Instagram

    H/T Uproxx | Photos via Celeste Barber/Instagram


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    Teletubbies, the psychedelic kids’ show from the '90s, has finally found its contemporary soulmate: the South African rave-rap group Die Antwoord.

    Though the Teletubbies have already been injected into a Joy Division video, this hilarious mashup is hopefully the rebirth of a meme: the Teletubby hip-hop music video.

    Bonus: Here’s an inferior but still largely entertaining video of the ‘tubbies rocking out to “Swing,” posted in 2008. 

    Screengrab via Robert Jones/YouTube 


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