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Oh No They Didn't! - LiveJournal.com

older | 1 | .... | 326 | 327 | (Page 328) | 329 | 330 | .... | 4830 | newer

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    Britney Spears is not a happy lady!

    The singer apparently went berserk when she heard that her ex-husband Kevin Federline married his baby mama Victo­ria Prince in a top secret ceremony at a Las Vegas hotel suite.

    “When Britney was told the news, she screamed uncontrollably,” a source told American tabloid the National Enquirer.

    “Then she collapsed in tears. The wedding caught her by surprise. She wasn’t invited and she didn’t even get a call from Kevin to let her know he was marrying Victoria.

    “Britney had to hear about it from one of K-Fed’s friends after the ceremony was over.

    “It was hard for Britney because she’s long suffered from the delusion that she and Kevin would one day get back together and raise their two boys (Sean, 7, and Jayden, 6).”

    Britney and Kevin finalized their divorce back in 2007, but the star always hope they’d reconcile — even after she got engaged to her agent Jason Trawick in December 2011, said the insider.

    Britney has since been dating 27-year-old David Lucado, a former bartender and insurance agent who now works for a Los Ange­les legal firm.

    Kevin and Victoria met nearly five years ago and have a 2-year-old daughter, Jordan.

    “Even after Jordan was born, Britney held onto her fantasy of rec­onciliation with Kevin,” said the insider. “But the wedding has crushed her, and she’s angry that she definitely won’t be getting Kevin back.”

    Britney also finds it hard to ac­cept that the couple is essentially raising her boys.

    “Sean and Jayden even call Victoria ‘Mommy,’ and it sets Britney blazing with anger,” said the source. “She’s called them up screaming about it.”


    this fanfiction. we could always use another Brit Brit post, though.

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    If you’ve never seen “Bob’s Burgers,” the particulars alone might keep you from tuning in when its fourth season begins on Aug. 25. It’s an animated show on Fox, for starters, sandwiched between banality (“Family Guy”) and toothlessness (“The Simpsons”), and the notion of a half-hour comedy based on the antics of a nuclear family is far from cutting edge. There’s a short-tempered but harmless father — check — a loving and indulgent mother — check — and three kids, one of whom is endearingly simple, one who mostly plays the straight man, and one whose manic and precocious energy precipitates many an adventure. (Check, check, check.) The show is ostensibly about the Belcher family’s struggles to raise their children while running a business that turns a slim profit. But underneath the unremarkable exterior beats one of the most fiercely liberal hearts steering any show on television today. “Bob’s Burgers” is a Trojan horse full of sexual progressivism and radical acceptance for trans prostitutes, hell-raising bikers, geriatric swingers and awkward adolescent girls. If given the chance, it will subvert your expectations at every turn.

    That includes exceptions of how many “laughs” a comedy should contain. It’s exceedingly rare for “Bob’s Burgers” to move its audience into belly-aching, gasping-for-breath territory. While the writing is witty, intelligent and original, you may not LOL at all in the course of a single episode. (Light chuckling is usually my response.) There’s a gentleness to “Bob’s” humor, even when dealing with anuses and street workers. And in a climate where so many jokes hinge on cruelty and propping up existing power structures (see: the rape joke debate, the bigoted rants of Michael Richards and Tracy Morgan, the proud racism of the Jeselnik Offensive) a punch line that doesn’t go for the “outrageous” or “offensive” almost makes one do a double take. Every line here is crafted with loving attention to do service to the actor who utters it; all the characters are richly realized and treated with respect, both by the writers and those who provide the voices. And all characters are sincerely weird, eccentric in a way that somehow maintains a semblance of believability.

    Take Mr. Fishoedor, the hamburger joint’s mellow, eye-patch-wearing landlord, whose funniest quality is his inability to discern or care about how children should be treated. “I think all kids like bullets,” he confirms to a gun-happy old flame in one typically confident moment. And his response to finding the kids running a casino underneath Bob’s restaurant is sheer delight: “Looks like you’re in trouble … because I’m a gambling man!” Then there’s Gene, the music-loving only son who is shameless, perpetually positive, and embraces most of his siblings’ suggestions with minimal resistance. When Louise, the wild youngest child, tells Bob “it’s time to focus on your good daughter — Gene,” Gene obligingly replies, “I’m pretty!” (In a later episode, he briefly daydreams of posing nude while another man sketches him, à la “Titanic.”) He happily pees in the sink, can entertain himself for hours with a tambourine, and doesn’t bat an eyelash when his mother shares a dream she had about breast-feeding him again, only he had a long white beard. (“That should be our next Christmas card,” he says.)

    The real triumph in this fantastic cast of characters, though, comes in the form of Tina, the deadpan, excruciatingly awkward oldest daughter. While Louise, voiced with manic genius by Kirsten Schaal, is the most reliably funny character, Tina’s story lines are among the most memorable for how perfectly they capture the sex-crazed innocence characterizing the transition from kid to teen. In “Bad Tina,” one of the series’ best episodes, Tina daydreams about touching the butts of her classmates, even going as far to as imagine a butt-touching threesome, and wakes up early before school to write erotic fan fiction as well as erotic friend fiction. (In her mind, she directs: “Zeke, don’t talk anymore. Tammy, spill that. Jimmy Jr., mop it up with your pants.”) Yet in the midst of her heightened awareness of the bodies of her peers, she’s still attached to her porcelain horse (“Horselain”) and tolerates her mother singing her self-affirming songs without complaint. She’s not a girl, not yet a woman — self-conscious enough to notice the “huge” single hair on her upper lip, yet unable to bring herself to cut it. “It’s beautiful. You’re beautiful,” insists her mother. “You are beautiful,” confirms her dad.

    The sweet expressions of the Belchers’ boundless love for their children are one of the many reasons to keep watching. Bob sometimes can’t help himself from revealing his discomfort or confusion with a family member’s behavior, but there’s a theme of acceptance running throughout the show that dissolves almost any character’s initial judgment. And while Bob’s wife, Linda, occasionally lays down mom-law, her default mode is one of relentless affirmation. Of Gene’s Queen Latifah Halloween outfit she enthuses, “So specific and political, I love it,” after she praises Tina for being a mummy. (“Sexy!”) In anticipation of receiving her first kiss, Tina tells the family, “When I kiss Jimmy Jr., you’ll all be kissing him with me.” “I’m first,” literal-minded Gene says, not wanting sloppy seconds. “I’ll go last, I’m fine with that,” Linda says, adorably. She’s the most lovable mom on TV.

    Ultimately what makes “Bob’s Burgers” so special is its conviction that most people are good, most problems are minor, and other folks’ weirdness can be taken in stride. Gene’s mild gender play, for instance, is a source of comedy but never mocked, just as Tina’s burgeoning sexuality is funny, but never pathologized or minimized. The two older children are undoubtedly experiencing the first pangs of sexual awakening as opposed to some type of puppy love or platonic attachment; “my pants feel funny!” Gene says when he encounters a voluptuous female ventriloquist’s dummy (who happens to be a manatee). Tina’s wish to be kissed by her crush at her birthday party is taken up as a cause by her entire family, not treated as a shameful or disconcerting desire. And when Bob discovers that his father-in-law has a balloon fetish, he does his best to remain supportive and helpful, and encourages his father-in-law to share his turn-on with his wife. In other words, sexual urges are regarded as harmless quirks as opposed to opportunities for punishment or humiliation. There’s nothing new about the standard, feel-good ending to most half-hour comedies, where all conflicts are resolved and all non-villain participants are satisfied.  But the tender, live-and-let-live nonchalance guiding the silliness of “Bob’s Burgers” makes it a welcome addition to a tired formula.


    Here is another essay that deals with the topic better that this article does and is worth a read also.

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    According to my sources, Saoirse Ronan has passed on the role of Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch, in The Avengers: Age of Ultron despite being, at some point or another, Joss Whedon‘s top pick for the role.

    Unfazed, however, Whedon and Marvel then moved their attentions on to Elizabeth Olsen.

    I always feel awkward reporting on these “second choice” moments, but then I remember how Harrison Ford probably hasn’t ever woken up in a cold sweat from a Tom Selleck nightmare and I feel a bit better about it.

    Olsen is a great choice, I think, because she’s a pretty good choice for anything. The girl can act, she’s got charisma and she’s smart.

    Now, the concept of Wanda that Whedon is playing with can’t incorporate the part of her comic book history where – surprise! – Magneto was revealed to be her father. He’s got everything else to play with, however, not to mention whatever he can invent himself.

    As I understand it, Olsen would need to adopt a “European” accent for the role, but that’s not such a big deal. Tougher will be standing her ground amidst an established cast of top-drawer actors and crowd pleasers that everybody in the audience already loves from the first Avengers film, not to mention their own pictures.

    But then, she’s pretty darn likeable, and it’s reputedly a real scene-stealer of a part, so…

    In short, I think it’s coming up roses for the Scarlet Witch. Now let’s see if Olsen ends up officially signed on…

    Production on The Avengers: Age of Ultron should kick off in the first few weeks of 2014. We’ll next be seeing Olsen in Kill Your Darlings – for a few scenes anyway – Oldboy, Therese, and Godzilla.


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    also lol:

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  • 08/20/13--19:05: Who went home on SYTYCD?

  • Bottom 2 guys:

    Bottom 2 ladies:



    Remaining Top 6:

    What did you all think of the all-stars both choreographing & dancing tonight? I thought Travis, Mark & Comfort did the best!

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    Oscar Pistoriuswill go on trial on March 3, accused of premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. At a hearing Monday, prosecutors indicted Pistorius in the Valentine's Day shooting death. Pistorius has been charged with planned and premeditated murder, which comes with a mandatory sentence of life behind bars.

    The indictment says "the accused did unlawfully and intentionally kill a person." Pistorius also was indicted for allegedly violating South Africa's firearms control act.

    In South Africa, people can possess ammunition only if they're licensed to own a gun, and their ammunition must be specific to that weapon. Pistorius has acknowledged storing ammunition for a gun his father owned.

    Steenkamp would have turned 30 on Monday.

    The indictment follows the completion of the police investigation into the case.

    The double amputee track star killed the woman he calls the love of his life in his home. He denies the murder charge and says he mistook her for a home invader.

    The first phase of the trial will take place in March, but the entire trial could take place at various times across a year or more because of potential motions and postponements along the way.

    In the indictment, the prosecutors included a list of more than 100 witnesses the state might call. The Pistorius legal team has not released a witness list.

    The police investigation team "is convinced that the accused has a charge to answer," a police statement said last week.


    RIP Reeva

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    Looks like Jason Segel has caught the eye of Cameron Diaz!

    Life & Style can reveal that the pair were caught cozying up in East Hampton, N.Y., on Tuesday night.

    "They were at [upscale eatery] Nick and Toni's and seemed to be on a date," one eyewitness tells the mag.

    And that's not the only place the Hollywood hot shots were spotted — they were also seen shopping at Citarella food market in the same area!

    "They bought groceries and then drove off together," an eyewitness on Instagram revealed.

    Cameron has been in town as she films The Other Woman alongside Leslie Mann, Taylor Kinney and Kate Upton.

    The blond beauty, 40, and How I Met Your Mother star, 33, are spending quite a lot of time together. And that will continue as they're set to begin filming their next flick together, Sex Tape.

    In the raunchy movie, the two play a married couple whose sex tape goes missing. "It is R-rated," says the actor, who recently shed a lot of weight for the role. "And I'm not in shape for no reason."

    The duo first co-starred in the 2011 comedy Bad Teacher, where they shared a smooch. The funnyman jokingly said of the experience, "It was very good for her."

    It seems this could be the next big romance for Jason since splitting from actress Michelle Williams earlier this year.


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    GOING TO THE MASSES: The theme of Nicola Formichetti’s first ad campaign as artistic director of Diesel is “reboot,” but it could easily have been “power to the people.”

    Instead of focusing on models or actresses with big names, Formichetti relied on Tumblr and word of mouth to cast the subjects of the campaign. The 20 people chosen primarily live in New York, work in artistic fields and clearly aren’t wallflowers, with tattoos, varying body shapes and sizes, colored and shaved hair and androgyny heavily represented. Examples include Michelle Calderon, a 22-year-old pink-haired graffiti artist; Helen Primack, a 15-year-old aqua-haired aspiring filmmaker and student at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in New York, and Benjamin Ackermann, a light-eyed 23-year-old photographer, musician and collage artist. There are a few models in the mix, notably Loulou Robert, Omahyra Mota and Casey Legler, the former Olympic swimmer who broke gender barriers as a woman being contracted as a male model.

    “I wanted to find people who reflected the diversity of the creative community today and not just the typical model. I wanted the campaign to showcase a variety of characters, people who are beautiful in their own unique way,” said Formichetti. The ads will break in the September issue of Vogue and will run in additional books in October. Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin shot them, and Formichetti styled them with Diesel denim and leather.

    Formichetti explained the photos are meant to merge classic portraiture with the sensibilities of the current generation of digital influencers. “It was less about capturing fashion and more about getting an insight into these people’s souls. No one captures people better than Inez and Vinoodh. They construct a photo with so much care and compassion to always pay tribute to the subject. Personally, it was a pleasure to work with them because when I was starting out they were my heroes,” he said.

    Moving on from the campaign to the clothes, Formichetti has designed a capsule collection inspired by Diesel’s DNA that will be out in October. “The way we will present the collection will be something totally new. It will be very digital and physical at the same time. The whole experience will be about instant gratification,” teased Formichetti, who noted his runway debut for Diesel would be in March with full ranges for men’s, women’s and accessories.





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    Physiyoga, nicknamed 'fizzy yoga' by the 'Sex and the City' star, is a mix of physical therapy and yoga. Diana Zotos, Kim Cattrall's New York-based yoga instructor, explains how the practice helps realign the body and prevents injuries.

    “Sex and the City” star Kim Cattrall might owe her figure to cardio, but she says physiyoga is the workout that saved her life.
    A blend of physical therapy and yoga — which the 56-year-old actress nicknamed “fizzy yoga” — the practice is designed to heal and prevent injuries by restoring natural alignment in the body.

    “When I meet someone for the first time, I do a physical therapy evaluation,” New York-based yogi Diana Zotos, who introduced Cattrall to physiyoga, told the Daily News.
    “Then we customize a yoga program around that. It targets deficits, will strengthen muscles that are weak and stretch muscles that are tight, while focusing on the core.”

    Kim Cattrall said she hasn’t been this excited about a fitness trend since Jane Fonda’s aerobic videos from the 1980s.

    Zotos, a trained physical therapist for seven years, became a certified yoga instructor in 2009. Her physiyoga classes, which also include meditative breathing, are one on one and hands on. She began working with Cattrall about a year ago.
    The British-born actress, currently in London for the three-month run of Tennessee William’s play, “Sweet Bird of Youth,” recently credited physiyoga with “saving” her during the grueling performance schedule.

    “As I get older, I find that cardio is less important to me,” she told The Times of London. “What I want to do is more intense stretching. I’m not worried about injuring myself because a regular yoga instructor isn’t versed in the way of the body like a trained physio is.”

    Kim Cattrall (second from right) as the sex-crazed social butterfly Samantha Jones in the HBO hit, ‘Sex and the City.’

    Cattrall said she hasn’t been as excited about a fitness trend since Jane Fonda’s aerobics classes in the 1980s. She even encouraged Zotos to rename the practice “fizzy yoga” because it sounds like more fun.
    “She respects her body,” Zotos said of the blond star. “She uses her body in her day-to-day life to perform. What physiyoga has done for her is what it’s done for everyone — it’s helped her realize how to constantly make adjustments in the way she moves and uses her body, to protect it.”
    Zotos adds that the practice can be “insightful” by teaching clients how they became injured in the first place, and how to prevent additional injuries.
    “You learn to take ownership of your body,” she said.

    Girl looks fab

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  • 08/21/13--14:20: Tabloid Cover Wednesday
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    Many have noted similarities between “Roar” and Sara Bareilles’“Brave.” The comparisons have drawn attention to “Brave.” The song sold 51K digital copies this week, up 80% from 28K last week. The song rebounded from #65 to #61 on last week’s Hot 100 and may move up again this week.

    (You do get the sense that Perry is steeped in pop history. Her hit echoes lyrics from two former #1 hits: Helen Reddy’s“I Am Woman” (“hear me roar”) and Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger,” as well as Queen’s top five hit “We Are The Champions.”)


    Bless Katy's wretched light.

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    Actor Wentworth Miller, of Prison Break, came out as “a gay man” in a letter sent Wednesday to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, declining his participation because, he writes, “I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government.”

    GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz noted in a statement, “Wentworth’s bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and persecution: you are not alone. As people from across the globe continue to speak out against Russia’s horrific law, more celebrities and corporations should follow his courageous lead in openly condemning Russia’s anti-LGBT law.”


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    Blink-182 have announced plans to release a new album in 2014.

    The punk-pop band's bassist Mark Hoppus revealed to Kerrang! that they hope to return to the recording studio early next year.

    He said: "We haven't thought about any new songs yet. It always happens when the three of us are together in a room.

    "Because when [we're not touring], Tom lives in San Diego, Travis lives in Los Angeles and I live in London, so we don't really talk all that much."

    He added: "But then when we get in a room together, it all falls into place and we start making jokes. That's when we start writing songs and reconnecting with everything."

    Blink-182 released their previous album Neighborhoods in 2011, with their last output being the Dogs Eating Dogs EP last December.

    The group split from their record label Interscope back in 2011.


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  • 08/21/13--15:29: New 'Catching Fire' Poster
  • victor-banners-peeta-katniss-1

    Check out Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in this brand new The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Victor’s Poster!

    The film’s Twitter and Facebook account’s will be revealing new victors from each of the Hunger Games districts throughout the week to be displayed on the poster! We can’t wait to see all the competitors on the poster.

    Here’s a synopsis of the flick, due out in theaters on November 22: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

    The flick also stars Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Alan Ritchson, and more.


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    Full Moon Features is proud to announce the world premiere of brand new subscription-based video streaming service, FULL MOON STREAMING (www.fullmoonstreaming.com), which will be home to the entire Full Moon Features library; including brand new world premieres and resurrected film treasures, from the convenience of a computer or mobile device. FULL MOON STREAMING is one of the world’s first and finest interactive video experiences, and will provide fans with unprecedented access to exclusive content: webisodes, behind-the-scenes footage, Full Moon merchandise tie-ins, contests, and much, much more. Viewers who watch closely will be rewarded as they seek out the hidden interactive elements built into the very fabric of the films.

    Puppetmasters 1-10, Subspecies, Trancers starring Helen Hunt (a new sequel!), Gingerdeadman Starring Gary Busey, Unlucky Charms featuring Burn Notice star, Seth Petersen and The Walking Dead's Jeryl Prescott...

    For only $6.99 per month, subscribers can stream titles directly and instantly on all devices, allowing them to watch their favorite films anywhere, at anytime. A mobile-friendly version is optimized for iPhone, Android, iPad, and tablets that is nearly identical to the desktop version. Titles include such cult favorites as Band’s Puppet Master series, Subspecies, and Demonic Toys. Plus the lost Trancers sequel will premiere as part of a three part anthology known as Pulsepounders, including a sequel to cult favorite The Dungeonmaster, which was shot in 1988 and never released until now. FullMoonStreaming.com will be interactive in ways that fans have never seen before, including opportunities to bring home items featured on screen and see rare exclusive extras.

    “The fans speak, and we listen,” explained Charles Band, legendary founder of Full Moon Features. “I’ve been asked for a comprehensive Full Moon digital universe for eons, and now the technology has finally caught up to what I had envisioned. Fans will now have the ability to totally engage and immerse themselves into our Gonzo universe, and witness the world’s most beloved film treasures in the comfort of their own homes.”

    Also on tap for Full Moon is a new acquisitions label as part of the streaming site, to showcase the work of upcoming filmmakers. “I see so much young talent out there with such a dearth of distribution,” continued Band. “At Full Moon, we have a full-scale distribution arm including home video (DVD and Blu-Ray) and on-demand access, and we’d like to give these aspiring filmmakers a chance to show their stuff on our site, and keep it in the Full Moon family.”

    Subscriptions will be 6.99/month with unlimited streaming.


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    There's really no other way to set this up than to just say it:

    What follows is a video made by the group Official Comedy where they spliced a bunch of clips from Breaking Bad and turn it into a cover of R. Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)." It's not a particularly good cover, and it's certainly not an especially original idea. It is, to be clear, an entirely kitschy, superhero-novel kind of thing.

    Still, it is unstoppable clickbait, because you either think that Breaking Bad is brilliant (it is) or that R. Kelly is brilliant (he is) or both (ding, ding, ding).

    You can't NOT click it. Didn't you watch the final episode the other night? This is infinity infinities.

    the amount of time things like this would take to make...

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  • 08/21/13--16:06: 'BRONY: The Movie' Trailer

  • Love them or hate them, bronies, the adult fans of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, are fascinating. And people love to talk about them. To figure them out. It’s a fandom that has, at this point, been meticulously documented. And now, there’s another documentary on the way: Brony: The Movie first launched its first trailer (above) at this month’s BronyCon in Baltimore, and now it’s made its way online.

    An earlier documentary, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony, came out in 2013 after hitting a Kickstarter goal five times what the filmmakers asked for. More than one brony documentary may seem like overkill, but in the roughly two years since the subculture emerged, bronies have taken over web forums, become a massive meme, and infiltrated everything from dance music to the U.S. military. They’re the epitome of fandom in the post-modern, post-irony, internet age, and according to Brony: The Movie director Brent Hodge, there’s enough culture in the My Little Pony fandom to fill more than one documentary.

    “As I was filming this, I saw a lot of different people filming brony documentaries,” said Hodge, who self-funded his documentary and hopes to take it to festivals in the next year. “I look at a company like Uber – there’s like five different kinds of Uber [now]: There’s Sidecar, there’s Lyft, there’s taxis. If it’s a good idea a lot of people are going to jump on it.”

    What’s interesting about both of the documentaries is that they tell the brony tale from the point of view of the voice actors on the show. Bronies was actually the passion project of MLP voice actor John de Lancie (aka Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation) who worked with producer Michael Brockhoff to make the documentary. Similarly, Hodge’s documentary focuses on voice actress Ashleigh Ball (Applejack and Rainbow Dash), whom the director got to know while filming a documentary about her band Hey Ocean!,

    “The voice actors are the celebrities of this fandom,” said Hodge, who follows Ball throughout her first Bronycon in the documentary. In the trailer she notes that “the pervert alarm, for sure, went off in my head when I first heard about [brony fandom]” but after attending conventions and meeting fans she realizes My Little Pony is a really important part of a lot of these people’s lives.”

    Like de Lancie, show creator Lauren Faust, and voice actor Tara Strong (Twilight Sparkle), Ball ultimately embraced the fandom despite her surprise. Hodge says that she provides a good lens for the documentary, particularly she initially struggles to understand the subculture the way many people watching it might.

    “People relate to it because she’s just a normal girl,” Hodge said. “She’s a normal girl who’s going through the same experiences the audience is going through with this.”

    And really, aren’t we all going through this together?


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    Lady Gaga steps out of her hotel showing off her long curly hair on Wednesday afternoon (August 21) in New York City.

    The 27-year-old “Applause” singer was on her way to rehearsals for the 2013 MTV VMAs, which she will open with a performance of her hot new song this Sunday evening

    Source: JustJared

    I love her glasses.

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    Netflix streaming subscribers wondering what happened to their "Instant Queue" on Wednesday morning can rest easy -- it's not gone, it's just been rebranded and re-engineered as “My List,” which an algorithm will reorder depending on what you're most likely to watch first.

    The method to save films and TV shows to watch later is the same, and the list is still accessible across multiple platforms, Netflix said in a how-to video explaining the change Wednesday.

    The most obvious difference is that the list of titles now appears on the homepage in gallery form. Depending on how often you use the list, it will move up and down the homepage.

    And prepare for some "helpful" meddling: Netflix’s recommendation algorithm now organizes titles based on what it thinks users are most likely to watch. But unlike Amazon's "you might also like" feature, it doens't insert anything users didn't choose -- and it can be overridden.

    “My List” rolled out Wednesday, but isn't on all platforms yet; that'll happen over the next two weeks.


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    By Michelle Dean

    Six Feet Under left us eight years ago today, on August 21, 2005. Perhaps that’s a minor anniversary for some, but I am a member of the cult, small in number and quiet in voice though we are. I still rewatch the entire series every year or so. Call it the point of a too-rabid fan, but I feel we can all agree that people are too quick to neglect Six Feet Under’s role in the development of prestige cable. The Sopranos and Mad Men are endlessly analyzed, the subject of endless books and blog posts, but no one writes long nostalgia posts about Six Feet Under. Except for me.

    That’s never made sense in my world. Of all the shows I’ve watched religiously, only Six Feet Under bore the aftereffects of gospel for me. It’s the only show I still think of as having wisdom to impart about my life. Hyperbole, perhaps, and I am certainly not a fundamentalist — Six Feet Under has many flaws. But the Holy-Book metaphor still fits well on a show that was so directly engaged with questions of mortality. Most shows dance around it — David Chase’s famous cut-to-black ending for The Sopranos essentially thumbed his nose at the whole business — partly because they worry about falling prey to exactly what Six Feet Under is often criticized for: maudlin sentimentality. Six Feet Under barrelled head-on into that risk.

    But if you could overcome your initial sense of ick at all the emotion, Six Feet Under was pretty adept at staying on the right side of the melodrama line, and particularly so, I think, when it came to its women. It’s not that its portrait of confused masculinity (Nate) and gay monogamy (Keith and David) weren’t equally worthwhile, but it strikes me that most of the major Six Feet Under fans I know are women. (N.B. Men: I’d love to be proved wrong on this.) And women on Six Feet Under aren’t like other women on television melodramas, which is to say they act and think and feel like recognizable human beings. They aren’t stylized in the least. And I have spent the rest of my life living through what I think of as the Six Feet Under stages of development.

    Your average Six Feet Under fan starts out relating strongly to Lauren Ambrose’s Claire Fisher. Claire had that kind of wonderful intelligent-deadpan sense of humor — “Mom, apparently you want a child with an eating disorder” — which can only come from a team of screenwriters, but it’s not like she was perfect. Like a hell of a lot of people, she spent her 20s trying to be an artist and was never quite sure that she was talented enough for it. Plus, she ended up dating a hell of a lot of terrible boyfriends along the way, some of them also artists, though also some just garden-variety jerks. In other words, Claire had all the virtues of Hannah Horvath — and a fair dose of intelligence and actual interest in art on top of them. She talked about the trouble she had “breaking her eye open”; she openly feuded with Russell over which of them had come up with her career-starting collage photography technique. Claire Fisher forever, you guys. Particularly when she finally realized for herself that Brenda’s brother, Billy Chenoweth (Jeremy Sisto), was not worth the mess.

    Then comes the Lisa Kimmel Fisher phase. Lisa, played by Lili Taylor, was not particularly popular with fans as the show was airing — Virginia Heffernan, at the time, went so far as to term her a “villain.” Her oops-I’m-pregnant routine pushed several cultural buttons about “predatory” women, and her perpetual commitment to veganism gave her a daffy quality that seemed to annoy a fair number of fans. But when I watch the show now, from this side of 30, I feel nothing but sympathy for her difficult, passive-aggressive self, and the torch she carried for Nate. He wasn’t worthy of such long dedication, which of course he promptly proved when he gave into her pressure and married her. The scene (whose details I’ll remain silent on for those who have not yet watched, but yes I know) where she tells him, “Nate, I’m not a chance. I’m a person,” kind of haunts me still.

    These days my own headspace is closest to Brenda Chenowith’s, which makes her a little hard to write about. Rachel Griffiths’ Brenda, like Lisa, is a “difficult” woman. It always spoke well of Nate, I thought, that he seemed to be attracted to women who really put him through his paces, which Brenda certainly did. First there were her experiments in Buddhism, which turned out, as many experiments in Buddhism do, to be complete bullshit. (I maintain that my own experiments in Buddhism are still completely genuine, for the record.) Then there was her total ambivalence about monogamy. She was so shrewd in seeing just what monogamy might solve in her seriously screwed-up psyche, which is to say that it would solve nothing. And then so completely, relatably human in the way that she wielded that observation. It’s been love for Brenda and me ever since she sighed, “I can’t believe how much money I’ve spent fucking up my life.”

    And then there’s the mother, Ruth (Frances Conroy), a study in the beautiful but also ambivalent experience of defining yourself as a wife and mother. When Six Feet Under was in its first season I once spent an hour with a classmate just marvelling over this “crazy” woman on television. We were specifically shocked, to be clear, at how much we loved her. From outbursts like, “All I want is for us not to be strangers. I want some intimacy. Give me intimacy! Won’t any of you have intimacy with me?!” to her dreadful widow-dating choices, there was something about Ruth’s lack of equipment that was so true. Characters on television are typically articulate and have some presumed emotional self-awareness. But Ruth was neither in control of her feelings, nor was she able to explain them except in the bluntest terms imaginable.

    There were other examples of femininity in the supporting cast, too: Justina Machado’s Vanessa Diaz presented the other side of Ruth’s archetype, the woman in control of her marriage and her home up to the moment that life got to her, and things swiftly unraveled. Patricia Clarkson’s Sarah was the failed artist we all hope we won’t be if we don’t take Ruth’s safe path, though we’d certainly take Sarah’s beautiful Laurel Canyon house as a consolation prize. Kathy Bates’ Bettina is still often my favorite, egging Ruth on to loosen up just a bit. All of those are stages I haven’t reached yet, but I am glad to have known these characters, if only so that when I get there, I’ll still have something to hold onto.

    Sure, the writers led the show down some pretty convoluted garden paths at times. Plot suffers when there’s pressure to constantly bring the story up against big questions about life and love and death. The degree of mortal peril and spectacular breakups on the show tended to defy plausibility. No one life contains all those travails.

    But all the exquisite acting and writing that happened around the slightly implausible plot twists more than rescued it from the maudlin. The show became, instead, something of a handy guide to how much you will completely screw up your life, and how that is 100% possible to survive. I’ve often suspected that rather than problems of craft, one reason that Six Feet Under is relatively under-discussed is exactly that: a show of big, uncomfortable emotions will naturally give rise to, well, uncomfortable emotions. But in Six Feet Under, as anywhere else, getting through the less-than-pleasant stuff means that eventually it will teach you something. And then you’re left with the truth of the cliché: that learning is never a waste of time.


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