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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Beyoncé has inspired the culinary world and reshaped the alphabet. Now she’s influenced another classic form: the high art of emoji.

    The lyrics to “Drunk in Love” have been translated and animated in all their highly sexual glory. The song’s been awkwardly danced to by Vin Diesel and turned into a tribute to Dunkin’ Donuts, but this emoji realization might be the purest form of tribute yet.

    Austin artist Jesse Hill posted the “unofficial emoji video” yesterday, and it’s already seen more than 15,000 plays.

    There have been emoji music videos before, never has the salsa dancer emoji been so efficiently employed to convey passion. Plus, no one ever uses the surfboard emoticon. Emoji might be the new love language.

    Photo by AlexKormisPS (ALM)/Flickr (CC By 2.0)


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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, Emmy Feldman presents her personal guide to South By Southwest.

    Since the Daily Dot asked me to make a SXSW playlist in 2013, a lot's changed. Music used to be strictly extracurricular for me, but it's now a full-time job, and I'm constantly (and literally) surrounded by it.

    Rough Trade has been a London record shop and institution for 30-plus years, and we now have one in Brooklyn, which is where I'm the marketing manager. In my free time, I also write a music blog called Don't Need No Melody. So between those two things, I have little to no time for anything else (not complaining), and am fortunate enough to be relentlessly exposed to acts that are brand new to me, whether it's older punk bands (or 50 of them), or a group of 15-year-olds making their first demos out of a garage in Australia.

    Truthfully, the kids are what get me out of bed every morning - finding these teens, the best ones from around the world, feeding off the overwhelming passion that they have - it's been the most rewarding thing for me.

    Hopefully you'll find some of them in this playlist that energize you in the same way.

    Looking back, my most memorable SXSW experiences have revolved around witnessing foreign bands playing their first U.S. shows. I have an admittedly unhealthy obsession with U.K. and Australian acts, but if I could bottle the amount of emotion that they must feel while playing these debut gigs (or that I have while watching them)... I'd be a rich woman.

    I've tried to include as many of those artists as possible in this Top 100 list, because it's an experience I hope everyone finds a way to partake in (at least a tiny bit) while they're in Austin this year.

    Thanks for listening.

    Photo of Sylvan Esso via Tumblr

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    Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything community Q & A sessions) have historically provided redditors with all sorts of things, from interesting tidbits about the interviewee's life to shameless, blatant movie plugs. Now, one celebrity has managed to wonderfully blend both concepts in a deal exclusive to Reddit.

    Actor Jason Bateman hosted a Reddit AMA on March 5, with thousands of comments and questions pouring into the thread. The star of such fare as Arrested Development and Juno joined the AMA to promote his upcoming movie Bad Words, which is slated for a March 14 release.

    At the conclusion of his session, he revealed a special surprise to the community.

    "We're doing an exclusive free screening for you guys in NY and SF," Bateman wrote.

    The screening, which is scheduled for March 13, is only open to redditors in New York City and San Francisco. So far, close to 200 redditors have RSVP'd to the screenings.

    A few other facts we learned about Bateman during his AMA session:

    1) He hopes to one day work with Bill Murray.

    2) His biggest fear is bees.

    3) A punch he threw once ruptured a kid's spleen.

    4) He once managed to throw eggs into a house on Halloween.

    5) He knows nothing about the future of Arrested Development.

    Photo via Courtney/Flickr

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    Last year, the “Harlem Shake” was YouTube’s dance phenomenon of choice, one that celebrated the culture of parody more than the actual  moves or history of the dance. Since that fad died out, there hasn’t really been a new dance to take its place. Could it be the “Wiggle Jiggle”?

    Silmeon Maldonado and Quinton Campbell, two brothers from Corpus Christi, Texas, are behind the line dance known as the "Wiggle Jiggle," which has been quite popular in South Texas clubs for the last year or so. Once younger kids started to do the dance, they released an official video last fall.  

    “It was just something we would just do for fun in the clubs with our friends to random songs,” Maldonado explains. “More and more people started to ask about it, so, being a music producer, that's when I decided to do an original track to it almost a year ago. We wanted to give it a funny, funky name so that's when ‘The Wiggle Jiggle’ was born. We started to do the official 'Wiggle Jiggle' line dance in the clubs in Corpus shortly after we released the first version of the song last April.”

    Of course, once a dance trend starts in the clubs, it doesn’t take long for YouTube to take notice.

    “Dance crews from France and Holland have made YouTube videos doing it,” Maldonado said. “People from the Philippines and Dominican Republic have made a YouTube video of them doing it. I've been out of town to San Antonio and Austin and have heard a few clubs play the track. … People who have friends from other states have heard it played where they were at and recently more and more people are hearing about it. It's been played on quite a few radio stations, which is unheard of for it to not be backed by a label.”

    He says celebrities like DJ Steve Aoki and Danny Green of the San Antonio Spurs have given the dance a bump by performing it on YouTube, and now even newscasters from Corpus Christi stations have attempted the dance. Will the “Wiggle Jiggle” go viral in 2014, or will it be rediscovered decades from now, much like the “Harlem Shake,” and parodied by a new generation? Maldonado thinks the time is now for us to "Wiggle Jiggle" as one.

    “Line dances never die so with the attention it's getting now I'm sure it can grow into the next YouTube phenom within a few months and be one of the line dances for the books!”

    Screengrab via the Sizzler/YouTube

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    The mystery of the “Yellow King” on HBO’s True Detective has made us all a little crazy, as we’ve exhausted hours of mental bandwidth and spare time wondering who it could be. Detective Hart? The lawnmower guy? Is the the Yellow King... us?

    Right before the final episode of True Detective on Sunday, the mystery has finally been solved. The folks at Big Meeting have unleashed an explosive theory on the Yellow King, which proves it really was right under our noses the whole time. Finally, the past seven episodes make sense. [Major spoilers ahead.]



    How did we all miss this? 

    Screengrab via Big Meeting/YouTube


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    In an attempt to widen the show’s appeal, HBO has recruited a variety of hip-hop and Latin artists to rap about Game of Thrones for a curated mixtape set to be released on SoundCloud Friday, well in advance of the season premiere.

    Catch the Throne will feature Big Boi, Common, Wale, Daddy Yankee, and Bodega Bamz, among other performers, contributing Game of Thrones–themed songs to the mixtape.

    While Game of Thrones averaged about 14.2 million viewers per episode last season, Nielsen reported that the audience was 76 percent white. HBO is trying to spread the outreach of the show through rap music.

    “Our multicultural audiences are a very important part of our subscribers, and we don’t want to take them for granted,” HBO’s Senior Vice President for Multicultural Marketing Lucinda Martinez told The Wall Street Journal.

    HBO did not disclose how much the project cost or what it paid the artists.

    Many of the artists working on the mixtape are Game of Thrones fans themselves. Rapper Magazeen loves King Joffrey, while Common, who compared the mixtape to early Wu-Tang Clan albums, is more of a Tyrion Lannister fan. Big Boi has already rapped about Daenerys Targaryen, and he’s even reading George R.R. Martin’s books and is just happy about being included in the process.

    “I’m really happy,” Big Boi said. “I get to be part of the process of one of my favorite shows.”

    H/T Rolling Stone | Photo via VIBE Magazine/YouTube

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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, Brooklyn’s Ava Luna introduces some key influences for the band’s incredible new LP, Electric Balloon.

    The speakers in our 20-year-old van are long gone, so we get our music from a set of computer speakers duct taped to the dashboard and powered through the cigarette lighter.

    These are all songs that we have discovered together, or that one or more of us has loved deeply and put on for the others. Some are tied to a particular time and place. "The Israelites" is the first night we spent upstate together, a turntable in a cozy living room in the woods, working on the material that would become Electric Balloon.

    "Small Car" is a drive down to Mississippi, sun long gone; truck stops, then strip malls, then dirt roads and fields of cotton. "New Toy" is a stop at a thrift store in San Francisco, when all we had was a tape player with one built-in speaker and every new tape purchase represented a great improvement in our circumstances.

    Some just feel like they've always been in rotation, like "So Good At Being In Trouble" and anything off Tusk. And some are just championed by one person and graciously borne by the others. All of them have been consumed and digested and regurgitated through our own creative choices; sometimes in an explicit way, sometimes oblique.

    Ava Luna’s new album, Electric Balloon, is out now on Western Vinyl.

    Photo by Emily Pick/Western Vinyl

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    Scientific data has brought us many technological advancements in the new millenium. Now, we have science to thank for one of this century's greatest achievements: Identifying the most “hipster” bands of our time.

    Web data “crawlers” Priceonomics sifted through our most important, defining generational dataa musical act’s Facebook likes and its Pitchfork reviewsto find the true essence of a “hipster” band, i.e., a band or act you’ve probably never heard of. Or maybe you know their “early stuff"? Oh, you don’t know them? They’re really good. But the early stuff. The third album was crap. A Priceonomics data analyst describes the criteria:

    “So, the first scientific criterion for identifying a hipster band is that Pitchfork likes them. Pitchfork reviewers like a lot of mainstream music, however, so that’s not enough. The second criterion is that not many people should like that band. The music must be obscure so that people can say, “My favorite band is X, you’ve probably never heard of them.”

    To measure obscurity, we looked at the number of Facebook likes the Pitchfork review received. All else being equal, we expected a hipster band to get fewer Facebook shares than a non-hipster band with the same score.”

    Based on this aggregation, they plotted the resulting data on a chart, the red dots showing acts that might be labeled “hipster,” but aren’t, based on their popularity. The blue dots plot the truly “hipster.”

    By this plotting, the most “hipster” acts include Julia Holter, the Field, Iceage, These New Puritans, and Fuck Buttons in the top five. This also continues the heated debate about whether Vampire Weekend is a "hipster" band, or just a really awful, derivitive one. They follow up the chart with more scientific reasoning:

    “The model appears adept at separating critically acclaimed but mainstream bands (Arcade Fire, The National, et al) from the critically acclaimed but obscure (Fuck Buttons, Sun Kil Moon, et al). We gave Sun Kil Moon’s last album a listen, and not only was it excellent, but it was filled with depressing lines like “Carissa was thirty-five, you don't just raise two kids and take out your trash and die,” which make it unlikely it will ever become a mainstream hit!”

    What does this tell us? Well, mainly that “hipster,” much like "indie," is a tired, lazy descriptor for bands, that it never really identified bands (or people) in the first place, and that it should be given a Viking funeral. This also might have been some expert-level trolling disguised as data mining. Check out the comments on the post for the beehive of dissent it created. 

    Image via villunderlondon/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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    True Detective may be the Twin Peaks of the Southern Gothic. In between gorgeous cinematography and tantalizing mysteries, it trades on cryptic meanings, creepy iconography, and loaded, sometimes borderline incomprehensible dialogue.

    All of which, of course, makes it perfect parody material. And no one does parody like Joel McHale and his fellow Community comedian, Oscar-winning screenwriter and comedian Jim Rash. The two have teamed up on McHale's The Soup to deliver a hilarious take on HBO's Southern noir masterpiece. From McHale's McConaughey drawl to Rash's garbled take on Woody Harrelsons grizzled speech, everything about this spoof is pitch-perfect.

    H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via YouTube

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     Get unlimited data and messaging for $35 a month.

    For 2007’s In Rainbows, Radiohead staged an economic coup that saw the first major instance of a name-your-price major release. Pay what you want, we trust you’ll find merit in the medium and be moved to contribute what you reasonably can. The move made news, and history has proven the model to be viable—as a publicity stunt if nothing else.

    Acts from hip-hop pioneers De La Soul to optimistic garage rockers White Denim have released free albums. It’s a good-will gesture that pays for itself in the form of exposure, but the window on those links to the releases often closes quickly. (For De La Soul’s classic back catalog earlier this month, it lasted only a day.)

    But thankfully, there are free albums still floating around on the Internet. Here are 10 classic albums you can download right now—guilt-free.

    1) Drake, So Far Gone

    I wrote five years ago that this was basically Nirvana’s Bleached. I’ve never been more right: Drake is hip-hop’s leading superstar and also its most reliable purveyor of anthems and choruses. But what you won’t find streaming on Spotify is his breakthrough mixtape, early 2009’s So Far Gone. It crashed servers, featured the single of the year, and did it all with unauthorized samples, covers, and favors. The thing was so rampantly downloaded that the label eventually released a condensed physical version, but the original’s meandering heart is still a freely available whole.

    2) David Byrne and St. Vincent, Brass Tactics

    It wasn’t too long ago that outtakes and live recordings were considered rarities, appealing to super fans that scoured stores for limited pressings. I remember being excited about Weezer’s Lion and The Witch EP and it was just five throwaway versions of Pinkerton songs recorded on stage in Japan. No more. In the age of the deluxe editions, such tracks extend the shelf-life of new albums. Here, David Byrne and St. Vincent offer a bonus track, two live recordings, and remixes for their terrific collaborative record, Love This Giant.

    3) Kanye West & DJ LRM, Ego

    It’s astonishing how laissez-faire major rappers can be about unauthorized compilations and mixes that permeate rap mixtape websites like and Maybe it’s because they’ve routinely benefitted from the creative side hustle. Case in point: Kanye West, bored with writing songs for Mission: Impossible III in early ’06, collaborated with DJ LRM on a breathtakingly vital batch of unearthed material, remixes, and rants. At just over 20 tracks, it’s a cumbersome project full of loud drops and interludes (the intro is his circa Late Registration Grammy rant). But very quickly it turns into a classic, College Dropout-era rap stroke of genius: John Legend cooks soul food, Consequence raps with a chip on his shoulder, Little Brother (the defunct rap clique) drops by during its 9th Wonder-fueled sonic apex, and T.I. drops a great verse on “Drive Slow.” But it’s Kanye rapping like a slam poet heavyweight about yellow diamonds, cheating on his fiancée, and clashing with gatekeepers over marketability.

    4) Sound Team, Marathon

    Austin’s Sound Team was a trendy stock that crashed quickly—buried in major label woes and rude reviews upon the release of 2006’s quietly stellar Movie Monster. It caught flack for excelling at making crowd-pleasing, big heart rock music in sheep’s clothing. It didn’t help that Capitol Records sold Monster for almost $20. To subconsciously cleanse the mid-aughts mayhem, former member Bill Baird dropped the band’s 2005 lost-to-vinyl-only-pressings gem on his Bandcamp page. This is the band at its peak, taking all of the right cues from Spoon’s A Series of Sneaks.


    5) El-P & Killer Mike, Run the Jewels

    This collaboration between career backpack rapper El-P (“8 Steps to Perfection”) and armchair philosopher Killer Mike (Outkast’s “The Whole World”) is more of a parody than a project, with old-school tracks about banana clippers, heroin dealers, and Christmas miracles. But their debut, released as a free mixtape, actually goes as hard as some of the ‘80s classics it nods to.

    6) Lil B, Six Kiss

    There are artists that take chances on free dissemination of specific collections, and there are those that live on the Internet. Lil B is a meme machine of funny ideas, a Keystone Pipeline flow of unparalleled output. He’s the most positive and funny (humor is so underrated in hip-hop) rap artist of the 21st Century. In April 2009, rap critic Andrew Noz shed light like an explorer that just returned from a cave inhabited by elves. At the time, Lil B had 114 Myspace pages of music. “The pages are numbered chronologically,” he wrote, “listening to them in order is like reading an abandoned space journal, a slow descent into madness.” He later wrote the definitive origin feature that’s worth checking for scope. Six Kiss is the starter jetpack to a world of irreverent anthems and stark, Imogen Heap-sampling rap beats by Clams Casino. If nothing else, listen to “I’m God.”

    7) $hy Glizzy, Young Jefe

    Washington, D.C.-raised rapper $hy Glizzy has a tangible subculture under his belt. He’s got the feds watching his YouTube videos, shaking their heads as his fans indict themselves in “Glizzy Gang” T-shirts. His mysticism: Glizzy’s father was shot dead at 19, the same age Glizzy was when he was emerging on the circuit. His bundle of free mixtapes (2011’s Law, 2012’s Fxck Rap, 2013’s Law II) are learning-on-the-job epics about what it’s like to put a target on your back when you’re from a small, violent place. The fourth Book of Glizz dropped this month, and like the rest, is delicious, vital, and free.  

    8) Various Artists, Free Music: A Carpark Record

    This holiday compilation from bands like Cloud Nothings, Memory Tapes, and Toro y Moi, was an in-store freebie that had seasonal covers. Check Dan Deacon turning out “Silver Bells.” It’s just an example of the brand loyalty that this sort of marketing—holiday cheer from the clubhouse!—can bring an indie label. As Carpark writes on its site: “Feel free to look this gift horse in the mouth as long as you want.”


    9) Demilich, Nespithe

    From Finland with love comes an extreme metal masterpiece that has crept its way back into the metal consciousness in January upon turning 20. It’s one of those benchmark works that’s worth hearing. Demilich doesn’t have a label, so they nonchalantly harbored their album online for anyone to drag and drop its files like it was a 401k distribution form.

    10) Frank Ocean, Nostalgia, Ultra

    Before he was a Grammy award-winning, American modernist genius, Frank Ocean was a caged bird. His job was to write songs for figures like Justin Bieber and hope that something netted him a lucrative credit. On the low, Ocean was using Def Jam’s private property to flesh out his vision. Frustrated at the indefinite label shelving, Ocean blasted Def Jam on his Tumblr in early 2011 and dropped his low budget masterpiece. Nostalgia, Ultra is still floating around for free—and still a bulletproof rundown of instantly signature melodies (“We All Try,” “Swim Good”), Marvin Gaye-level politicizing (“I believe that marriage isn’t between a man and woman but between love and love”), and making flatly bad ideas into bold adventures that work (covering Coldplay while singing about aliens). But it’s also an important footnote to the decorated follow up, Channel Orange.

    Bonus: Anything from Windian Records

    When you have a vinyl-based record label that appeals to a small, punk niche it only makes sense to put the bulk of the catalog up for streaming on your Soundcloud page. Windian is one of my favorite labels. Tragically, its founder Travis Jackson was killed suddenly this year in a work accident. People liked the guy so much that friends collectively raised $38,000 for Jackson’s family. The guy was an ambassador for great music. His Soundcloud page neatly lays out his legacy into a matrix of playlists.

    Illustration via Run the Jewels/Tumblr

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    Tom Waits doesn't just write songs. He tells stories—of vagrants, orphans, tramps, and brawlers—with scenes so vivid you can almost smell the stench of scotch and cigarettes in the room. 

    Now there's an interactive map that pinpoints every place Waits has name-dropped in his six-decade-long career, from Maine to Malaysia. There's a marker for Cuban jail ("Jockey Full of Bourbon"), the Ganges ("Lucinda"), and "Putnam County." There’s even a pin in the middle of the ocean, a reference to “Starving in the Bell of a Whale" from 2002's classic Blood Money.  

    The map is the work of an enterprising Swedish man named Jonas Nordström. The premise is simple: When you click on a location, the song lyrics referencing it pop up, in addition to the song name, the album it appears on, and the date it was released. 

    If this Tom Waits Map looks familiar, that may be because another more famous but equally raspy and cantakerous singer-songerwriter has already had his geographically far-flung lyrics mapped out in a similar way. Slate made a map of all of Bob Dylan’s references to place in honor of his 72nd birthday.

    In fact, Nordström told me that’s where he got the idea. “I’m a member of a Tom Waits mailing list where someone suggested 'we should do one with Tom.' And I did,” he noted on Twitter. Nordström said he worked on the project over a few late nights about a month ago.

    He doesn’t plan to do any more, but that’s a shame, because I’d love to see one for Leonard Cohen.

    Screenshot via TomWaitsMap

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    In case you haven’t noticed already, people are having a lot of feelings about this week's How I Met Your Mother.

    The episode, titled “Vesuvius,” revolved around Ted and the titular Mother having dinner at the Farhampton Inn in 2024, where they realize they have told each other all their stories. That is until Ted realizes he hasn’t told her the story “about the lamp” (which, later, she remembers she has in fact heard as well). Most of the rest of “Vesuvius” spends its time on typical How I Met Your Mother silliness, including references to classic episodes like “Arrividerci Fiero,” “Three Days of Snow,” and “The Wedding Bride.”

    But as the episode persists, an air of melancholy sets in. At one point, the Mother tells Ted she doesn’t want him to be a person “who just lives in his stories.” Later, Ted mentions that sometimes it’s best to just leave the most serious problems unspoken because they’re too hard to deal with. “Vesuvius” concluds with Robin’s mom (Tracey Ullman) making a surprise appearance at the wedding weekend back in 2014. Ted refers to this as a “surprise ending,” which the Mother questions: “What mother is going to miss her daughter’s wedding?” And then Ted starts crying.

    Those last few moments of “Vesuvius” have caused nothing short of a firestorm of emotions and questions around the Internet. How I Met Your Mother has always generated a huge amount of fan discussion and theories, especially for a sitcom (take a look at the subreddit for the last episode alone), but the speculation surrounding “Vesuvius” is on another level. That’s because to many, it seemed to confirm one of the darkest theories surrounding the How I Met Your Mother mythology: that the Mother has been dead the whole time.

    This theory has been around for awhile, with fans pointing to various pieces of evidences to support it. For instance, there’s the fact that the Mother is always referred to in past tense. Some felt Alyson Hannigan gave credence to the theory last month, when she tweeted a picture from the show’s final table read, picturing her script surrounded by used tissues.

    Jason Segel discussed the theory as far back at 2010. This was in the same GQ interview where he basically insulted the show by saying the most complex storyline he would get to do would probably be something like eating a bunch of cake that wasn’t his (In fact, it’s brought up in “Vesuvius” that his character actually did eat a bunch of cake that wasn’t his, may as a nod to Segel’s complaints.)

    The death theory really started to gain traction following an episode that aired last year called “The Time Travelers.” At one point in the episode, Ted runs to the Mother’s door during a fantasy sequence and tells her:

    "Exactly 45 days from now, you and I are going to meet. We're going to fall in love and we're going to get married, and we're going to have two kids. We're going to love them and each other so much. All that is 45 days away, but I'm here now, I guess, because I want those extra 45 days with you. I want each one of them…I am always going to love you. Until the end of my days and beyond."

    People seemed to quiet down about the “Mother has been dead this whole time” theory for a little bit, but post-”Vesuvius,” it can’t be ignored.

    Reactions on twitter have spanned the gamut. Some love the idea. Josh Kurp of Uproxx has been championing the theory since he first heard about it. Although he did suggest after last night’s episode that there’s a chance Ted’s mom died before he got married, or that Ted has Alzheimer's, or even that the Mother is a ghost, like many he’s all but ready to confirm that the fate of the Mother is sealed. Others have been slightly fainter with their praise; over at the A.V. Club, Donna Browman gave “Vesuvius” a restrained but marked amount of credit, writing,

    “This isn’t a great sitcom episode; it’s not even a great episode of this sitcom. But it contains a seed, something that sticks with you and puts everything around it in a different context for a moment. The story doesn’t end when Ted met the Mother, and the stories that they’ve accumulated since must include some tragedy.”

    Of course, there are ton of people that flat out hate the idea. Like many, Time Magazine TV critic James Poniewozik laments that the show would do this especially in light of the fact that “this season has done such an excellent job introducing Cristin Milioti as a believable love interest.” He goes on from there:

    “Love stories end, life is bittersweet, and HIMYM has always been willing to confront that…  but this feels like a twist for its own sake, rather than one that actually makes sense in the context of the narrative and tone of the eight seasons that preceded the last one… Best case scenario, “Vesuvius” is screwing with us for the sake of some tension in a few episodes and a feel-good ending. Worst case, it’s whacking us with an emotional 2-by-4 that the series (which is told in retrospect, after all), has done nothing to prepare us for.”

    Margaret Lyons of Vulture is even harsher. Lyons isn’t alone in her frustration over the show’s last few seasons, nor in her displeasure at the decision to set the last season over the 56 hours making up Barney and Robin’s wedding weekend. But “Vesuvius” crossed the line for her. After it aired, Lyons warned, “Let's also be clear: If the mother dies or turns out to have been dead, I will never forgive this damn show.”

    But not everyone seems to be convinced just yet that the Mother is going to die. At Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan observes the tonal problems this theory presents, pointing out, “If the whole framing device for the show is a father telling a story to his kids to help them remember their dead mom, then why would Ted's long, 9-season-long story about a dead woman be so focused on, uh, Ted's dating life before he met her?”

    Perhaps the most sensible alternative to this theory was spelled out by Erin Strecker at Entertainment Weekly, who stated, “I think the show’s creators want fans to think that perhaps the Mother dies — but in the final episode we’ll find out she had cancer but ended up recovering, or something.”

    Unsurprisingly there are many out there who have more elaborate, even far-fetched ideas about this theory. Some have claimed that Ted and Robin will actually get back together in 2030, and Ted has been telling his kids all these stories as a way to introduce them to their new step-mom.

    In general, it’s a strange time for the world of How I Met Your Mother. Not only do Bays and Thomas have to contend with fan reactions about the fate of the Mother and the contingent of people who feel the show has proven itself insensitive, they also have to brace themselves for the coming reactions to their HIMYM retread, How I Met Your Dad. The reaction from critics following the announcement that indie darling Greta Gerwig would play the lead in said show has mostly been extremelypositive. But it shouldn’t come as a shock that there have been some out there who have cried sellout upon hearing the news too.

    Bays and Thomas have a lot riding on the end of How I Met Your Mother, and they should be careful when toying with people’s hearts. After nine seasons on the air, it’s impossible not to admit that HIMYM has been a wildly successful show. If they really think killing off a character who fans have been waiting years to meet, played by an actress who they seem to almost universally love, truly fits with the story they’re trying to tell then more power to them.

    But they should beware that the fallout from doing such a thing may be swift and brutal, not to mention extremely vocal. Assuming they want How I Met Your Dad to last nine seasons, too, it would be wise for them to learn from their mistakes. In the age of the Internet, fans huddle around their favorite shows with greater fervor than ever. The discussion becomes more intense, and so does the love.

    However, if the reaction to the Mother’s potential death is any indication, that love can be very fickle; there ain’t no fury like a group of diehard fans scorned. 

    Chris Osterndorf is a graduate of DePaul University's Digital Cinema program. He is a contributor at, where he regularly writes about TV and pop culture. 

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    Megan Amram has mastered the art of comedy on Twitter. Her tweets are perfectly conceptualized jokes that benefit from Twitter’s 140-character delivery and don’t focus on current events or reference celebrities. Rather, they subtly convey observations that would make Steven Wright smirk.

    Before 2010, the 26-year-old was relatively unknown in the comedy world, but her talent on Twitter landed her more than 400,000 followers and a writing job on NBC’s Parks and Recreation two years ago. The show’s creator, Michael Schur, is quite active on Twitter and plucked her out of the noise for a full-time writing gig.

    Her career arc is proof that Twitter’s become a professional launching pad for funny people who aren’t necessarily working the standup circuit or trying to be famous. They just need to be consistently clever. Amram’s responsible for one of the best Parks and Rec episodes ever; snagged jobs writing for the Academy Awards in 2011 and Comedy Central’s hit series Kroll Show; and she wrote this amazing sketch for Dannon birth control yogurt.

    Amram will be talking about this transition from Twitter to “real-life” gig at SXSW on March 7, along with fellow tweeter/writer Jenny Johnson, Resource’s Josh Hara, and Mashable’s Matt Silverman. We asked her a bit more about her Twitter discipline—and having to tell her mother what a “blumpkin” is.

    I know when a lot of people tweet; it’s kind of like a brain fart they want to share with everyone, but it seems like you have a bit of discipline. Is there a flow or timing to it?

    I used to be so obsessed with that kind of thing. I try to tweet at least one joke that I like a day. I never have been a super-heavy tweeter, which I think kind of works to my advantage, and people don’t get sick of me. I used to be really obsessed with the timing of it, but then I realized it doesn't matter at all. I like tweeting at like three in the morning, just seeing who wants to talk. That sounds like a depressed person, but I’m very happy!

    What about the wordplay?

    I have a love-hate relationship with puns. My entire family is good at puns—and I’m saying good with air quotes, because nobody can really be good at puns—and we make a ton of puns, and I think in puns all the time, and therefore never want to tweet them, but people seem to love them. My most popular tweets have been puns or wordplay. So I shouldn't be knocking it. Give the people what they want.

    Puns come off better on Twitter than in a standup set.

    It’s so much better to read a pun than to hear it. Twitter is the absolute right place for a pun, which has no lasting power in the world of comedy.

    Do you discard a lot of tweets, or edit yourself?

    I’m a big tweet deleter if I think it’s a bad joke, which is partially why I haven’t tweeted a ton. I have a twin brother, and I test every tweet on him.

    I read your mom also comments on your tweets?

    My mom, like all good Jewish moms, is very honest when she likes or dislikes tweets. There are a few times when she just doesn’t understand a pop culture reference, and then I have to explain to her like I’m a teenager.

    Can you remember one of those times?

    Oh, I once tweeted about a blumpkin. I was a good daughter and explained it to her without making her look it up, then she thought it was a funny joke.  

    What does it take to cut through the noise and stand out, when there are so many people on Twitter trying to be funny?

    The thing about Twitter is it’s so overwhelming, and it makes me feel very grateful because I was very lucky to cut through the noise, and I think there are a lot of people with not very many followers who totally could have done the same thing. I think trying to say things that haven’t been said before is really exciting, and I like following people who are truly talking about their lives.

    Do you stay away of talking about trending or topical events?

    I never tweet about celebrity deaths, and I didn’t tweet anything about the Oscars. I think some people are great at it, but that’s why I don’t. Everyone is saying everything that could be said about this event.

    I’ve read some of your poetry, and I’m wondering if there’s some connection between the poetic verse and the verse of Twitter.

    There’s a certain playfulness between language and space. I think the same part of me likes doing both things, but when I’m feeling more contemplative, I’ll write a poem rather than a tweet. Both of them are a game to see if you can either make a joke in a short amount of space, or if you can capture an experience in a short amount of space as well.

    You have a book coming out, right?

    It’s coming of this fall. It’s called Science For Her, and it’s a female science textbook, because science is very hard for our brains, so I wrote one that’s very easy for ladies to digest.

    Right. So is it just a lot of pictures?

    Oh, there are so many pictures. You can probably just skip the words. It’s laid out like a Cosmopolitan magazine, so that it’s a comfort zone for all women everywhere. Lots of quizzes and diagrams.

    We love quizzes is what I’ve been told. I wouldn’t know who I was if not for quizzes.

    Well, you still won’t after reading my book, but it will be funny.

    • How Twitter Humorists Landed Sweet Real-Life Gigs
    • Friday, March 7, 5pm
    • Austin Convention Center, Room 12AB

    Photo by Megan Amram/Twitter remix by Jason Reed

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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, experiment rap trio clipping. explores the seedier tracks in Spotify's vaults.

    While searching Spotify for tracks by the techno artist Female (Peter Sutton), we stumbled across some weird shit.

    Browsing the search results, we kept coming across titles like “Female Orgasm Sound.” That’s a fucking dumb name for a song, we thought, because we certainly couldn’t imagine that that title was actually a literal description of a piece of audio. Turns out it was.

    All at once we were exposed to a deep, dark corner of Spotify’s vast library. Who is this stuff for? And moreover, why is it recorded so terribly? Most of it sounds like it was taped off old porn VHS tapes using a handheld recorder pressed up against the TV speaker. Others seem like they were encoded at the wrong bitrate, or reduced to such tiny mp3s that they’re full of glitches and digital artifacts. Is there no quality control in the erotic audio recording industry?

    Personal favorites include “Female Orgasm Sound 8”—where the titular ‘female’ seems to be a guy whose voice has been pitch shifted up—and “Girl Orgasm Porn Sound 29,” which, we think, is just a mislabeled crowd ambience from a different, non-sex, sound effect library.

    Some tracks we picked because of the weird-ass titles: What the fuck is a “Beerpong Female Orgasm”? Is she playing beerpong while fucking— f so, way to go, I guess—or is “beerponging” some filthy sex act we don’t know about yet? And why does it sound so much like the “Yacht Orgy”— which, by the way, consists of only one voice, and contains no seafaring sounds whatsoever? They couldn’t bother to throw a fog horn and some seagulls on that shit?

    On top of all that, what with all the recent discussion of how artists get screwed by Spotify on royalties, and how millions of plays per month net an artist a percent of a penny, we wonder if these talented ladies and men see any income from their performances. It’s an outrage. Is David Lowery fighting for them, too?

    So here’s our gift to you. clipping. has curated a sampling of some of the most fucked-up sex sounds available on Spotify. Our own music features field recordings and sound effect techniques, so our interest in this stuff is in some way related to clipping.’s practice. It might seem like a stretch, but really, we wear our influences on our sleeve, and if you wanted another playlist of E-40 and Geto Boys tracks, you can find one on your own, I’m sure.

    This mix concludes with a subliminal therapy recording you’re really gonna need when you’re done. (For another mind-blowing rabbit hole, check out all the releases by Binaural Beat Brainwave Subliminal Systems.)

    clipping.’s Sub Pop debut will be released in 2014. You can listen to the band’s album, midcity, on Soundcloud.

    Illustration by Jason Reed

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    This week’s episode of Community was about a social networking app so addictive that it transformed Greendale Community College into some kind of Hunger Games-esque dystopia.

    Now, for some inexplicable reason, some Community fans have decided that Meowmeowbeenz should become a reality.

    The app, Meowmeowbeenz, allowed users to rate each other out of five, which eventually led to a nightmarish social hierarchy where popular Fives wore togas and hung out in a futuristic lounge while Ones were banished to the parking lot. So the a real-life version of the app will presumably appeal to Mean Girls, Slytherins, and anyone else who prioritizes social climbing over, well, everything else.

    On the Meowmeowbeenz subreddit (yes, it took less than a day), redditor pnewhook has already decided to design the real Meowmeowbeenz app, with more than 1,300 people pre-registering on its website overnight. “I'm a full-time software engineer so I'm capable of doing it,” wrote pnewhook, “but if anyone would like to join, I'd love help.” Several other redditors immediately signed up to the task.

    Considering the fact that Meowmeowbeenz is basically a glorified upvoting system for real life, it’s no real surprise that Reddit was the place that decided to take it seriously. The question is, will Community fans still be interested once the app is actually out there?

    Screencap via part2of3 / Tumblr

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    In the penultimate episode of HBO’s True Detective, Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle, clearly on the edge of madness, shows his estranged former partner a storage room plastered with all the details of their unsolved 17-year-old murder case. Even though we’d never seen this before, the sight had a familiarity to it. Yes, TV’s wild-eyed southern nihilist cop of the moment had constructed a real-life, three-dimensional Pinterest page.

    Luckily, you don’t have to recreate the crime drama’s set to linger over some of its finer objects—someone has gone and created an actual Pinterest board for the brooding character, complete with “Paraphilic Love Maps” and DIY ideas about how to carve empty cans of Lone Star beer into miniature aluminum men. Also, two different wardrobes: undercover and “casual.”

    Will Cohle survive his reckoning with pure evil? Maybe not, but his creepy, drunken aesthetic will live on. Not to mention his baseball analysis and OkCupid profile.

    Photo via theaccidentalexecutive/Tumblr

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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, The Bright Light Social Hour shares the music that's pushing the Austin indie band into bold new territory. 

    The unending rhythms of the road became our crucible of change.

    Following the bawdy party-rock of our first record, we toured for nearly four years, growing increasingly restless with doing the same thing on repeat. As convivial as the nights-on-end could be, we found ourselves looking deeper, and the van stereo became the spot where we would forge the kind of music that would matter to us after the party.

    Comfort and inspiration first came as we fell headlong into electronic music. The pulsing urgency and glittering neon of Kraftwerk's "Tour de France" or Groof's "Islands" felt autobiographical among the city-light swirl, mirroring in their stately, minimal repetition the never-ending miles of highway we managed to rack up. Countless imbibed mornings-after found us falling into the arms of more delicate music as well, whether getting lost in Beaches' snaky lines of feedback-addled reverb or the bleary plush of Toro y Moi's "Campo."

    We found solace in even stranger places, like the quaking cacophony of Coltrane's "India" or the thundering, angular shards of Can. Most of all we came to admire fearlessness.

    After listening to an audiobook of Miles Davis's autobiography, we started on a marathon of his music that hasn't yet subsided. Records like On the Corner encouraged us that dramatic transformations can be vital, important, and even necessary to keep going. Similarly, the Flaming Lips became heroes to us. How many would be so brave to nestle passages of wistful ‘70s soft rock among a record of bellowing sonic carnage as in their "Silver Trembling Hands"?

    The Bright Light Social Hour's debut album is out now. The band has three official SXSW showcases:  

    • Tuesday, March 11, 10:30pm, The Main II
    • Wednesday, March 12, 1:15am, Holy Mountain Backyard
    • Friday, March 14, 1am, Soho Lounge 

    Photo by Chris Apollo Lynn

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    If you follow Justin Bieber on Twitter, you know he usually tweets pithy, elegant, Dorothy Parker-esque bon mots such as these: 

    So needless to say, if you were following Bieber’s Twitter this afternoon, you were probably surprised to find that his latest tweets looked something like this:

    Our sweet prince, it seemed, had been hacked.

    Although the tweets were deleted almost immediately,“Justin Bieber Cemberut” started trending, and loyal Beliebers jumped to action. News that yet another misfortune had fallen on their hero’s shoulders was too much to bear, and they immediately swore to get vengeance on the miscreant hacker:

    Some sought to use Bieber’s plight to their advantage:


    Others took a more proactive approach:

    We’ll never know whether emergency responders heeded these desperate Beliebers’ calls. But either way, we’ll always remember those 15 terrifying minutes when it seemed the fate of our national cyber-security hung in the balance, thanks to three simple words from a rogue hacker: Justin Bieber Cemberut.

    Photo by Adam Sundana/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    In Spotify Essentials, the Daily Dot curates custom playlists created by some of our favorite artists and writers. In this installment, punk trio the Coathangers shares songs for and from the road.  

    When we first started the Coathangers, it was a little rocky due to the fact we didn't exactly know how to play our instruments. However, that never stopped us.  

    The band has gradually and organically morphed from a joke (almost 8 years ago when we began) to who/what we actually are as human beings, today. Over the years, we started adding to the madness: From Julia's apartment to a practice space with friends to a 7-inch on Die Slaughterhaus Records and a 12-inch on Rob's House Records, etc., all the way to three full-length albums on Suicide Squeeze Records, the newest one being Suck My Shirt, which comes out March 18.

    Basically, if you want something bad enough and practice every damn day things can happen. We have been extensively touring the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe for the past five years, meeting incredible people, places, and bands, and we plan on continuing to tour as much as our bodies and minds will allow us to.  

    We just recently released a video to our first single, "Follow Me," with our good friends NewMerica (based in ATL) and Mastodon, and it rules so check it out.

    We will be embarking on a two-month tour on March 10. Those dates include SXSW, a two-week stint on the west coast with the Black Lips,, and a four-week push with Audacity.

    We love to play live We love to tour. We love to destroy, create, inspire, torment, love, etcetcetc... Join us if you dare.

    You can follow the Coathangers on Tumblr and catch the band during SXSW:

    • March 12, 1:15pm at North Door
    • March 12, 6:15pm at Gypsy Lounge
    • March 14, 8:45pm at Gypsy Lounge
    • March 14, 11pm at the Liberty
    • March 15, 4pm at the Long Branch
    • March 15, 6:30pm at Hotel Vegas

    Photo by Ryan Russell

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    Did you know? HBO’s True Detective, an Internet favorite, has its season finale this Sunday at 9. To honor its passing, Jess Zimmerman and Brendan O’Connor spent way too much time close-reading the opening credits and chatting about them.

    Here’s what they found.



    Brendan: That's Woody in the overlay, right?

    Jess: I think it's Rust.


    Jess: I honestly can't tell which one of them it is! I'll trust you that it's Marty, but what we've learned is that people shouldn't be giant ghosts in the sky if they want me to recognize them.

    Brendan: I mean, it is deliberately ambiguous. As is life. So right from the jump we get:

    1) ambiguity

    2) fossil fuels

    3) mist

    Jess: Giant Ghost WoodConaughey represents ambiguity and masculinity, and the fossil fuels represent death.

    Brendan: Also we have this guy, whoever it is, gazing over the landscape.

    Jess Zimmerman: Right, he’s gazing at the landscape and looking concerned! As though he is DETECTING something. TRULY DETECTING. I note also that there is an antenna in his nose.

    Brendan: Do you think it's a drippy booger?

    Jess: I think it may REPRESENT drippy boogers, but also it may represent his nose for TRUTH.



    Brendan: Michelle Monaghan is hot and also refined, and here she is at a refinery. No, that’s not a refinery. That seems more farm-y.

    Jess Zimmerman: Yeah, those could be... silos?

    Brendan: Whatever they are, they are towering structures looming over a low structure.

    Jess: The low structure is a house, so, like, domesticity overshadowed by vast machinery. 

    Brendan: The patriarchal machinery of post-industrial capitalism. It’s even rusting.

    Jess: Right! And also the subtle machinery of wealth and influence and conspiracies.

    Brendan: Also it’s a big phallus punching through her skull.

    Jess: Also that.



    Brendan: This shot, for me, is evocative of the film taken from targeting cameras in jets and helicopters. This could be Baghdad.

    Jess: Yes! Totally. It looks at first glance like the inside of a computer, so you have the idea of machinery again, but also surveillance. A panopticon.

    Brendan: This is the perspective of the ghostly man from the first shot. It could also be New Jersey. 

    Jess: Could be a computer, could be New Jersey.

    Brendan: Could be Baghdad. There's literally no way for us to know.

    Jess: And then this panopticon-machine Jersey-Baghdad image is circumscribed by a woman's anonymized face and shoulders. So here's this anonymous woman sort of setting the boundaries in which the surveillance machine operates. Perhaps an indication that the Yellow King is a Yellow Queen?

    (But probably not.)

    Brendan: I wonder if she is more representative of the anonymized women of the show. Woman’s body as land—regulated, colonized, surveilled space.

    Jess: Right, she's not acting as a boundary for the machine so much as a background. This is the territory on which we operate.

    Brendan: She is the ground upon which all of this horrible machinery is built. She carries its weight.


    Brendan: So here we have Rust being literally torn in half. A man bifurcated or disappearing, fading away into the landscape.

    Jess: He’s like the memory of a man and the memory is fading. It takes you a minute to even realize that it’s another refinery because the horizon is rotated 90 degrees. But like, isn’t that part of Rust’s genius, and also his madness? He can alter his perspective. Marty is straightforward; Rust is able to come at things from a different angle.

    Brendan: Interestingly, in this shot he also serves as the ground upon which the machinery operates. Like if you rotated it 90 degrees to the left, he is the landscape. He’s buried…

    Jess: …In contrast to the god's-eye view from the earlier shot. Or Floating Ghost Head Marty! Which puts him in contrast to the surveillance panopticon too. He's not above, he's below.

    Brendan: That line, “Everything grows at wrong angles here”—it’s like he's decomposing and becoming part of the landscape, which is... strange, given his disdain for the area.

    Jess: BTW, I just want to go on record saying it doesn't look like Rust. It looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I recognize he is not in this show

    Brendan: What if the Kindergarten Cop is the True Detective?

    Jess: Maybe the Yellow King is a tumor.


    Brendan: I think this just drives home the idea established by the previous shot. 

    Jess: Right, the main difference here is a train.

    Brendan: Yeah: Routine, structure, regularity. RULES.

    Jess: Movement, transit. LINEARITY. Also, note that there's a cross over his right eye—like, just exactly where his eye would be.

    Brendan: What this shot does is move what was an external experience inward.

    Jess: That's right! This is taking place entirely within Rust's silhouette. And so, by symbolic interpretation, within him, whereas before it was spilling out and tearing him apart.

    Brendan: The use of the train is really interesting. Trains don't really come up in the show. But trains are powerful symbols of industrialism, of time, of routine.

    Jess: Its meaning has to be purely symbolic since it's not significant in the show. Routine, but also connection! Trains move things from one place to another.

    Brendan: And the regularity of trains and their connection to time is hugely satisfying to people with obsessive/compulsive tendencies, as Rust clearly has.

    Jess: I think there's maybe also a nod to the fact that Rust is liable to go, well, off the rails.

    Brendan: Visual puns!

    Jess: Also he is highly trained.

    Brendan: OK, next.


    Brendan: The next one is PHENOM. It’s a freaking crown.

    Jess: This is Marty, right? Counting on you to tell white men apart for me.

    Brendan: Yeah, I think so.

    Jess: Ao the fact that he is literally crowned here lends some credence to the people who think Marty is the killer, even though those people are wrong and do not deserve credence.

    Brendan: Yeah. I don't think Marty is literally the killer.

    Jess: The crown structure destroys his head.

    Brendan: It's eating away at him. Or is it growing out of him?

    Jess: He's essentially being transformed into this crown structure. It’s also related to the machine imagery we saw earlier.

    Brendan: Right, but! Unlike Rust, the perspectives are aligned, which reinforces the idea that even if Marty isn’t literally the Yellow King, he is, shall we say, his liege lord, a member of the Yellow King’s realm.

    Jess: He's aligned with the Yellow King in the sense of being a reasonably wealthy white man who can afford to ignore or hurt women and children. Not to get all feminist up in here, but yes to exactly that.



    Jess: This one is roughly what we said before about Rust and trains, except with the addition of dark clouds in his head, which is so obvious as to barely require close reading. I like that this is the first one in which I can definitively identify Rust, because those cheekbones will not be denied.



    Brendan: Is this the first one with no people?

    Jess: Yeah I think so! What is this wheel? This is from another show. This is the donkey wheel from Lost.

    I think there's a clear indication that the machine and religion are closely intertwined (as though we doubted it). Like, here's a mechanical component that is A) overlaid on a church, and B) incorporates a cross in its basic design.

    Brendan: But the wheel isn't really a wheel, it's part of a pipe. Like a release valve or something. Religion as a release valve for REALITY.

    Jess: It's a wheel, but not one that you use to steer. You can't control direction with it. It only controls intensity.

    Brendan: What.

    Jess: Bam.


    Jess: Is this an observatory?

    Brendan: I thought the same thing, but no. It's oil storage, spherical, something that looks like a circle from one perspective but isn't.

    Jess: We have no way to tell whether this is Rust or Marty, so it must be about them generally. I was thinking observatory = detective, but that would be TOO EASY.

    Brendan: Here's an interesting thing: In none of the overlaid landscape shots have there been any OTHER people. This is a world deserted but for these particular individuals. Just structures, crumbling.

    Jess: Well, it's an interior world! At least in shots like this. But it is still significant that neither of these guys has other people in his interior world.


    Jess: Ah, the one with Bert.

    Brendan: Poor Bert.

    Jess: This is the first time that we see a scene that is straight out of the show.

    Brendan: Okay, cross of light plunging into his stomach.

    Jess: Cross of light plunging into his NETHER REGIONS.

    Brendan: Or erupting from them?

    Jess: Right! Maybe Bert isn't as above suspicion as we thought. I mean, he's significant enough to appear in the credits, surrounded by dark clouds, with a neon cross dick. Just saying don't rule Bert out.

    Brendan: Don't sleep on Bert.

    Jess: Really, really do not sleep on Bert.

    Brendan: Wait, but also, wasn't he castrated? Literally? In prison?

    Jess: Yes.

    Brendan: Oof, okay, so you have this big bloody dick, and this storm swirling around him, and he is prostrate… well, not exactly, because he's standing, but physically vulnerable.

    Jess: He's having some kind of ecstatic fit. I mean, this is him in a moment of religious ecstasy in which his penis is symbolically restored to him. Or, well, we don't get the details of what "castration" entails in this case, but you know.

    Brendan: OK, but hear me out.

    What if it's not a fit of ecstasy, but pain. Bert is as much a victim of Toxic Masculinity as any of the women. Because he is not as highly functioning as other men, and as such gets "culled from the herd," so to speak. And the big red cross/penis/sword is impaling itself upon him. And by cross/penis/sword, I mean, of course, patriarchy.



    Brendan: JELLYFISH

    God dammit.


    Brendan: I hate jellyfish.

    Jess: I feel fine about jellyfish but these particular ones are NOT ADEQUATELY EXPLAINED. I mean, I feel like i can interpret the idea of a head full of jellyfish, but the jellyfish imagery is totally out of place in this show specifically.

    Brendan: They are clearly gendered feminine, overlaid against Maggie. They float along, borne by the currents of the sea, appear pretty and harmless, and then, bam, they kill you.

    Jess: I mean, we do see that Maggie grew up near a body of water, or anyway her parents live near one. So maybe this is significant for people who think Maggie's dad is the Big Bad.

    Brendan: I mean, I think jellyfish are so compelling symbolically because they are so purely organic.

    Jess: Ooh yes, first scene with no machinery at all. Which seems to absolve Maggie.

    Brendan: Like, they are just lumps of nerves and pain-inducing things. They are the antithesis of the mechanical. (Which is why the fact that they are taking over the oceans as a result of climate change is so freaky.)

    Jess: You know what they do sometimes?


    Brendan: OH GOD THEY DO

    Jess: BOOM

    Brendan: Jellies are the True Detective.



    Jess: So, this naked torso. Is this Dora Lange?

    Brendan: Is it? I can't tell.

    Jess: I feel like it's the same body structure.

    Brendan: Yes, similar for sure. Headless, almost totally naked.

    Jess: Headless and armless!

    Brendan: What's going on with her hips/waist? Are those tattoos? They look like starfish.

    I really don't know what to make of this shot.



    Jess: OK, so this is an actual location in the show.

    Brendan: Is it?

    Jess: Rust goes to a truck stop to interview girls about Dora.

    And that truck stop is inside a lady's eyeball.

    Brendan: So this is the first allusion to the importance of sex work in this show/this region.

    Jess: Right, yes! And actually kicks off a series of related images.

    I mean, we just had a naked torso but it was ambiguous. But the truck stop is unambiguously connected to sex work by the plot.

    Brendan: We pass through this eyeball into the truck stop.

    Jess: Which sort of puts the truck stop inside this anonymous woman's mind.

    Or maybe just reflected in her eye, I guess.

    Brendan: I think the latter. She is an observer.

    Jess: Right, passive but also looking directly at something that will show itself to be significant. Which goes along with the idea that if the men could pay more attention to the women they encounter, if they could follow the women's gaze, they'd learn something.

    Brendan: Mmmmmmmmmm, yes.

    Jess: Giant lady eyeball is the True Detective.



    Jess: This is such a specific image, but as far as we know doesn't appear in the show at all. Unlike the other very specific images—Bert, and the woman in the American flag swimsuit.

    Brendan: Right. HOWEVER, the overlay of the landscape is the same as the first shot.

    Jess: Oh, you're right! OK, so the landscape that was once watched over by a godlike figure is now... inside a butt.

    Brendan: We should all be so lucky.



    Jess: This is... almost certainly Dora Lange? But she almost looks charred.

    Brendan: A weird thing: The antler crown is not directly visible? But! The branches above her look like the antler crown, but an even bigger/heavier one.

    Jess: Well, they hark back to the antler crown, and also to the stick structures and the wreath.

    What is this that's overlaid on her? It has numbers: 75, 76.

    Brendan: Oh, it's upside down.


    Brendan: OHH

    And then the lines are those tall lights.

    Jess: No, the lines are lines. They’re markings on the ground in a parking lot.

    Brendan: No, they are rising up in the air.

    Jess: That's also why she's sort of asphalt-black.

    Oh, hmm, I turned my laptop over and I can sort of see both. Maybe I'm wrong about it being parking spaces, but I swear it is.

    Brendan: I think you are correct.

    Jess: Why would she be overlaid with a parking lot? Oh, that's where the fight takes place!

    Brendan: The truck stop?

    Jess: The truck stop, but also Rust and Marty's fight! The proving ground for their masculinity, fighting over a woman.

    Brendan: And also, re: the truck stop, the space in which women are commodified.

    Jess: Which sort of raises the question of how much of that fight was about Maggie, and how much was about Dora. Or if not Dora, then what she represents.



    Brendan: OK, this is great because it's another visual pun. Women are always in the back of Marty's mind.

    Jess: This is specifically a woman they interview at one point. I believe, though I'm not sure, that she points them to the bunny farm.

    Brendan: Yes, I think that's right. This and the next shot definitely have to be taken together.



    Brendan: One is Marty and the other is Rust. Their obsessions, preoccupations.

    Marty's mind is a mess, full of women and the machinery of modernity.

    Rust’s is bare but for the murderer, because he is obsessive.

    Jess: Single-minded.

    Of course, if you wanted to, you could also read this to imply that Rust IS the murderer, since this shadowy figure is contained within him.

    Brendan: Yes, you could, But I do not think that you should. Is Marty a scantily clad woman?

    Jess: Yes.



    Brendan: Also, this pair of shots is inverted with the next pair.

    Rust consumed in flames, contemplating the moment in the garden of self-sacrifice.

    Marty weirdly rendered as this kind of Old Man Highway, overlapping and knotted constructions.


    Jess: The highway shot is amazing. It looks like the musculature of his face is made up of highways. If Rust is a train and Marty is highways, that says a lot about how they get from one place to another in their lives.

    Brendan: Also! Marty always drives when they are together.

    Jess: Oh that's true! Actually there's a lot to be said about vehicles in True Detective. That shot from the perspective of Rust's broken taillight! But we can't cover all that here. 

    This shot of Rust in the flames is weird because it's SO religious.

    Brendan: I know, I love it! And Marty is so modern. He looks like brutalist architecture.

    Jess: Yes! Which is really an inversion of the way they present themselves. Marty the traditionalist, Rust the nihilist.

    Brendan: But Marty's traditionalism is… the… y’know...

    Jess: True Detective?

    Brendan: Hypocrisy of liberal democracy/modernism.

    Jess: Or that.

    Brendan: The horror that is the inevitable end of humanism. Whereas Rust's barren nihilism is almost monastic.



    Jess: This one is beneath us. Anonymous man containing corpse with crown antlers snore.

    Brendan: OMG like we get it. We are all the murderer.



    Jess: Next we get another butt. And on this butt, a playground. Is this playground a location in the show at all? Or is it just sort of hand-waving at lost innocence and dead kids? It could in theory be a playground at one of the defunct schools but I don't think it's one we actually see.

    Brendan: In a way, all butts are playgrounds. You know? Butts are fun, so are slides, you slide down a slide on your butt.

    Jess: I'm not sure your heart is in this anymore.


    Jess: In seriousness though, this shot does feel like a phone-in. Like, oh, a lady's butt, and WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN? THEY ARE MURDERED.

    Brendan: A phone-in. Yes. Which is why there is a phone in the next shot.



    Jess: I think this shot is just locating the series in time the way all the refineries locate it in space. Like, oh, we're looking at something that happens in the rotary phone era.

    Brendan: Did people really use rotary phones in the ’90s?

    Jess: Not really, I guess. I had a rotary phone in the ’90s, though.

    Brendan: Why?

    Jess: Oh, because my parents never get rid of appliances that still work. They also had a TV where the knob fell off and you had to turn it on using tweezers.

    Brendan: This phone has a face in it. A lady's face.

    Jess: Is it supposed to be Marie Fontenot? It looks like a child to me.

    Brendan: It is a young face.

    Jess: Could be one of Marty's kids.

    This whole shot is weird. It's the first time we've seen anything that could even plausibly be used for communication between people.

    Brendan: And then the next shot is of Rust being interrogated (i.e. in a state of communication).

    Jess: So maybe the phone just stands for communication, introducing the idea of interactions between people. Because then later there's a shot with MORE THAN ONE PERSON in it! Like, more than one person occupying the same physical space. We have people alone, then people with other people in their heads, then people in a position to talk to other people, then people able to stand together. I may be reaching more than usual here. Probably they just had leftover stock images of a phone.

    Brendan: I mean, I don't think anything's accidental in this show, but I have no idea what to make of this.

    Jess: Not in the show, but maybe in the credits. But we must push on as though there are no accidents.

    I bet we're missing something. I bet someone uses a rotary phone.

    Brendan: "Does someone use a rotary phone? Tell us in the comments!"


    Brendan: Rust, again torn into two: this time by flame—flame that renders half of his face yellow.

    Jess: So yeah, the last time Rust was bisected, it was on a light background. Now it's oppressively dark. In fact the only light is the light that's splitting his face.

    Brendan: Fire, from a refinery. It's spewing out exhaust. Also it makes him look yellow.

    Jess: AND LIKE A KING. (But not like a king.)

    Brendan: Like a scepter. It also makes him look older, I think?

    Jess: Older, almost diseased.

    Brendan: Similar to the shot of Marty with the roads in his face.

    Jess: These are the things that age them.



    Jess: There's something really stark about this image, like it could be a Terry Richardson photo.

    Brendan: This is the cover of the next issue of Vice.

    Jess: Or, you know, a ’70s-era amateur porno snapshot, which is what Terry Richardson stuff evokes.

    Brendan: Heh. Gross.

    Jess: That neon cross is the same one from Tuttle's office.

    Brendan: It is! It looks like a huge earring.

    Jess: Yeah, when it showed up in the show, I was like, WHOA.

    As far as I know, this is the only woman in the credits who has a face but who isn't someone we hear from in the show. Is that right? That we haven't seen her? So that's interesting.

    Brendan: Maybe she is the True Detective.

    Jess: I mean, she's standing in for women/sex work/etc., but she's not doing it anonymously. She has a face. And a giant neon cross earring.



    Brendan: So the next image, you have this upside-down spherical storage tank containing these church-y people, and then in the image after that you have these female bodies all tangled up together.

    Jess: Bryan Goldberg's office decor.

    Brendan: I think there is something very birth-y about it all.

    Jess: Like the storage tank is a womb, or what?

    Brendan: Like, you have this woman in sexual ecstasy (maybe?), and then a womb, and then bodies in the womb.

    Jess: The upside-downness harkens back to what we said about Rust's ability to see things from different perspectives. And then the one with the pile of women seems to have highway interchanges again?



    Jess: So we may have another Rust-Marty pairing. The inverted infrastructure indicates Rust, and is associated with religion. The highways indicate Marty, and are associated with sex.

    Brendan: I do think there is something like… female fertility running through it all.

    Jess: Although I can't totally tell whether both these unclad bodies are women! But yeah, in general there's a lot of female nudity and it's not all disempowered, or not necessarily.

    Brendan: Yeah the leg on top might be a dude leg. That's a pretty big quad. But so smooth!

    Jess: It also sorta looks like a dude hand.

    Brendan: That butt's definitely a lady butt though.

    Jess: It's hard to see leg hair against a background of highways.

    Brendan: I've always said that. Also, what is this cross thing?

    Jess: I think it’s a rifle sight.

    Brendan: If you have sex, someone will shoot you.

    Jess: I mean, it's not a very sex-positive show. Although this may be largely because nobody is having very positive sex.



    Brendan: “Hi Marty! What do you think about domesticity?” “It scares me, Brendan. It scares me real bad.”

    Jess: That about sums it up.



    Jess: Here is a dude we don't know standing inside a dude we don't know.

    Brendan: Oh, it's the killer/fire/anonymous viewer who observes all and most ponder the mystery.

    Jess: Water is there, and clouds and fire.

    Brendan: Dumb.



    Brendan: In this shot, Rust is the devil. Sorry Rust!

    Jess: In this shot Rust has ceased to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and begun looking like Bill Nye the Science Guy. If Bill Nye the Science Guy were also the devil.

    Brendan: Bill Nye the Science Devil.

    Jess: These credits get lazy towards the end! Because this shot is lazy, and the next shot is THE LAST SHOT.

    Brendan: Wait, but on the flames bit. In the previous Rust/flames shot, he was penitent, prayerful. In this, he really is demonic.

    Jess: I mean, I read it more as tortured, but he literally has horns of flame at the beginning. He is crowned with flame.

    His face looks tortured, but there's a lot of peripheral symbolism that is demonic, as if there's more evil in him than he can cope with.

    Brendan: And the black eyes/white skin looks like a skull.

    Jess: Yeah, especially on him because he's gaunt.

    Brendan: Mmhmm.

    Jess: OK, I take it back, it's not lazy.



    Brendan: OK, now it's the name of the show.

    Jess: Yeah, it's the name of the show. But also landscape, and al fire, and also rifle sight, and also cross. It's a little ungapatchka to be perfectly honest.

    Dial it back, True Detective. Dial it back with that rotary phone you had.

    Brendan: Hello operator? Yes, this is the True Detective. Patch me through to the Yellow King.


    Jess: Rust has a giant erection.

    Brendan: HE TOTALLY DOES.

    Jess: Can't unsee that, can ya?

    Brendan: Is this the first time we see them together? With the car, iconic, on opposite sides.

    Jess: Yeah, there's another shot of them from closer up first, and then this static shot. First they're getting out of the car, and then they're standing apart but in the same shot. 

    This is only the second vehicle we've seen: lots of roads, only this car.

    Brendan: The space for silent reflection.

    The space for giant erection.

    Jess: I like how easily they could blend into the refinery skyline behind them with just a little shift in contrast. They're the same size as the buildings, at these relative distances.

    Brendan: Yeah the foreground/background thing going on here is really cool. Is the mist receding or is it encroaching? Will things become more or less clear?

    This shot is also very Walking Dead.

    Jess: Walking giant erection.

    Brendan: OK, well. The end.

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