Things I’m Willing To Believe About The New Ken Dolls

Barbie’s boyfriend Ken is getting a makeover. Mattel’s classic dolls, which all look completely different but are all somehow still Ken, now represent a range of heights, skin tones, fashion mistakes and hairstyles — most notably, a man bun. [Sidebar: A few weeks ago I saw a child wearing a man bun at my suburban nephew’s fourth grade band concert. I surmised that this meant the trend had descended into, to quote Lin-Manuel Miranda, the pits of fashion; Ken’s new ‘do confirms it.] In this edition of Things I’m Willing to Believe About – where we provide baseless conjecture about heartthrobs, politicians, and apparently toys – we’re going to look at Barbie’s toy boy-toy, New Ken.

 

According to their Twitter bios, six of the Kens’ actual job is “influencer.”

These Kens were all in the same frat, and they really are all named Ken. And they all go by Kenny.

The Ken on the far left is actually a rejected Rachel Maddow Barbie prototype.

Actually, Maddow, the one with the black skinny tie, the one with the opaque sunglasses and Malibu 01 are all from a failed line of Lesbian Hipster Barbies. Optional add-ons included a rescue pit bull, a Subaru and hummus.

The Kens have a boys’ cottage weekend every summer and planning the rental is always DRAMA.

Man Bun Ken in the blue shirt got his hair cut before Man Bun Ken in the cactus shirt. He says it’s cool but it’s, you know, not.

When you tell Blue Checkered Ken you’re a fan of the Mets, he says “okay, name their best infield lineup.”

Pink California Shirt Ken tells you how to use the machine you’re already using at the gym.

Polka Dot Ken got his blouse at Zara and he insists on pronouncing it with a Spanish ‘z.’

It’s not even that Tropical Pineapple Shirt Ken likes Coachella so much, it’s that he says shit like “taking my soul up to Coachella for the weekend.”

Yellow Plaid Maddow Ken wrote a blog post about why the praise for Wonder Woman was overblown and unwarranted. Wrote a follow-up post on the women’s only screening. Wrote a follow-follow-up post after he actually saw the movie. Charitably confided that he’s “still do Robin Wright.”

Red Plaid Ken is your friend’s boyfriend who will help you change your tire or put in your air-conditioners, but he’s not hitting on you or anything, that’s just how his mom raised him.

Bernie Sanders.

Opaque Sunglasses Ken’s favorite rapper is Macklemore.

9 out of 11 Kens prefer vinyl. 4 out of 11 Kens actually own a record player. 3 out of 11 will make you come over and listen to a new record on a second date.

You made out with blue-shirted Man Bun Ken at church camp when he had a floppy skater haircut, and he acts like he doesn’t remember you when you run into him at a bar but you know he does.

That reminds me. In ninth grade all of The Kens had floppy skater haircuts.

When you get your hair cut and leave with a fresh blow-out, The Kens will be sure to tell you that it looks so much prettier naturally curly.

The Kens’ favorite book is Catcher In The Rye.

Cactus Ken wrote his senior thesis on Ginsberg’s Howl.

The Kens are surface-friendly, but they go hard on anybody who deigns to wear cargo shorts.

Malibu 01 Ken is on an office kickball team that he takes rather seriously.

A few of The Kens have girlfriends, all of whom refer to themselves as a “girl boss” and frequently post about how they “hustle;” the girlfriends have coffee mugs emblazoned with some kind of slogan about working hard.

When A Ken proposes marriage, he will do it on a mountaintop and Instagram it.

A handful of The Kens have instagrammed Airstreams but no Ken actually owns an Airstream.

It’s funny, Cactus Ken actually does have a lot of succulents.

If you want to meet The Kens, they will be at your nearest Farmers’ Market this Saturday, early but not early-early.

11 Things I Never Noticed About My Best Friend’s Wedding

“We’ve known each other for what, 20 years? That’s a long time.” Yes, Julianne. It is.

Does a big anniversary of major pop culture moments in your life ever make you think about your own mortality? No? Just me? CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S BEEN 20 YEARS SINCE ICONIC ROMANTIC COMEDY MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING WAS RELEASED? I totally can. Because I am young and youthful and have so much life to look forward to.

I was 11 when this movie came out. Fifth grade was coming to a close and I was about to move on up to middle school. Helping me through that process was Julia Roberts and the cast of My Best Friend’s Wedding. I remember seeing Julia, Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett and Cameron Diaz on Rosie’s My Best Friend’s Wedding Day-themed show (as you’ll recall, Molly & I were both big Rosie nerds), and thought that they all looked like they were genuinely friends and there was singing in it, so obviously I would love it. I eventually watched it and fell in love. By the time I got the VHS tape, I played it on repeat. So much so that I’m surprised it still works. Yes, I still have a VHS player. Yes, it ate the tape when I tried to put it in. Yes, I spent 15 minutes trying to fix a VHS player in 2017.

This was just the beginning of my Julia Roberts phase. Next year we can talk about Notting Hill. Anyways, I loved this movie so much, but TBH it’s been years since I’ve seen the film in its entirety. Would it hold up watching as an adult? Would I find it as endearing? Would some jokes finally make sense to me? I got down to the bottom of all my questions and finally got my VHS player to work. Here’s what I learned about My Best Friend’s Wedding, two decades later.

The Foreshadowing

Honestly never realized that this opening sequence is basically what it looks like inside Jules’ brain. I guess I just thought it was a fun wedding-themed song???

You won’t get him Thinkin’ and a-prayin’ Wishin’ and hopin’…
Plannin’ and dreamin’ his kiss is the start
That won’t get you into his heart

So if you’re thinkin’ how great true love is All you gotta do is
Hold him and kiss him and squeeze him and love him
Yeah, just do it and after you do, you will be his

Marriage Goals Were Different in the ’90s

Julianne (Julia) is 28 (turning 28 in three weeks when the movie starts), which means she and Michael made the pact to marry each other if they’re still single when they’re 22. I don’t know about you, but when I was feeling 22, I wasn’t making any wedding pacts, and at 28, I sure as hell wasn’t wishin’ & hopin’ that I was engaged and heading down the aisle. But hey, that’s just me.

“Angelique broke her pelvis line dancing in Abeline during spring break.” Kimmy, who is still going on spring break.

Speaking of which, Kimmy (Cameron Diaz) is 20. She’s a junior at the University of Chicago. She orders an Amstel Light at the karaoke bar but isn’t even old enough to drink. She seemed so old and put together when I watched this as a burgeoning 6th grader. At 20, I was galavanting around Europe looking for the best place in Amsterdam to have weed. Get weed? Smoke weed. Actually, eat weed.

Gypsy Traded in Cars For Dresses

The movie came out a few years before Gilmore Girls even started, so it never occurred to me that Rose Abdoo was even in this movie! But now, it’s obvious that it’s her – could it be the similar accent? Possibly. Also, Mara Casey, Gilmore Girls casting director and sometimes actress, is also in the movie as “Karaoke Girl”!

Even More Before-They-Were Stars Cameos!

Paul Giamatti pre-Sideways plays Richard the Bellman at the hotel Julianne is staying at, and he provides some comfort to her as she thinks about what she’s done to hurt Michael. He does some excellent smoking work in this scene. Also, there are before-they-were-stars cameos from Rachel Griffiths and True Blood’s Carrie Preston, who played the gossipy and slutty cousins of Kimmy, Private Practice & Scandal star Paul Adelstein as an (uncredited) family member – sitting at the head of the table during the Say a Little Prayer scene, and Grimm’s Bree Turner was one of the gals in the opening title sequence of the “Wishing and Hoping” trio!

But Michael’s Like, Leading Her On

“You look really good. Without your clothes on.” Michael walks into Julianne’s dressing room while she’s half naked, and that’s what he says before he gives her a long once-over then moseyed out the door. And don’t even get me started on the romantic dance/serenade on a boat ride down the river. “You’ve sort of been the woman in my life.” “And you’ve been the man in mine.”

*Or maybe this is just his way of finally letting go of Jules? Let’s go with that. Why? Because…

But Also Like, Juliette is a Bitch

“It’s amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy.”

You know, because it’s Julia Roberts, and the movie is written in a way that we’re supposed to view the situation through her lens, and I never really stepped back from the whole picture and acknowledged that Julianne is being a bitch. I know, I know.

She sets up Kimmy at the karaoke bar, then practically shoves her in the cab to go home just so she and Michael can have some alone time. During that time, Jules casually asks if he’s marrying her just to get a high-power job at the conglomerate/White Sox organization Kimmy’s dad owns, and Michael was adamant that he isn’t.  Cut to: Jules convincing Kimmy that Michael hates his traveling sports reporter job and wants a job with her dad. Conniving plan begins.

What a crazy move to involve your best friend, his fiancee, his fiancee’s dad, and his boss in a giant ruse just to make him love you back. It’s cuckoo bananapants and I still can’t believe Michael forgave her so quickly.

Julianne ‘I’m completely out of sneaky ideas’ Potter successfully reunites Michael with Kimmy and they agree to get married after a 5-hour breakup, Jules thinks it’s the right time to tell her BFF that she loves him, and kisses him as Kimmy looks on. The music swells in a way that leads us to believe this is the couple we should be rooting for. Instead, this is exactly what we should not be.

“I’m the bad guy.” Yes, Jules. You are. I can’t believe I’ve been blind to that for 20 years. Yes I can. I was 11 when I watched this. Julia Roberts could do no wrong. Her playing a villain was never a possibility. But actresses are dynamic, Trace. As a 31 year old, I definitely believe it now.

Just How Good Rupert Everett Is

From the moment he arrives in Chicago and pretends to be Jules’ fiance, Rupert steals the show. The scene in cab where he’s all over Jules, in the church where he charms the family members, then of course, the whole I Say a Little Prayer scene and him meeting Jules in a mental insitution while he was visiting “Dionne Warwick”. I feel like he should’ve been given more credit for this role!

***Apparently he was nominated for a lot of things playing George, including a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and an MTV Movie Award nomination, so I guess that’s better than nothing.

HER E-MAILS THOUGH

LOL at the entire scene where Jules is compiling an email using Kimmy’s dad’s laptop. It’s so archaic-looking, but I guess it was 1997. I didn’t even get AOL until a few years later. It makes sense that only this successful businessman only has easy access to email.

And why is she typing in their whole names and occupations in the To: field? Why would she save a draft for “Michael to see later”?? It’s a v risky plan.  And why would Walter be sending Michael’s current boss an email basically telling him to fire him so he can work for his own company? V unprofesh. And how is it that Walter doesn’t find out?

Brunch Before The Wedding

I’ve never been married, but I have been to a number of them, and I know full well that a wedding is an all-day thing. The ladies have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn to start getting ready. And even if Michael and Kimmy are set for to tie the knot at 6pm, that does NOT mean they should hold an elaborate brunch the morning of the wedding. They went all out as if it was a mini-wedding before the wedding. The egregious amount of balloons! What even is that! And also, Michael and Kimmy are attempting to not see each other on their wedding day, but still planned this brunch for their families? No.

The Ice Sculpture of David

Never really got *why* this was so funny. Now I do.

Julia Roberts Wears a Wig

Imagine a world where this wasn’t the final scene of the movie. Because that could bet he AU we’d be living in. In the first pass, the last shot featured Jules met a new guy to potentially find love with – John Corbett of Sex and the City fame. But after producers screened it for the first time, viewers “hated” Jules by the end because they “couldn’t understand her motives”, according to director P.J. Hogan. So the writer and director went back to the drawing board and expanded George’s role as her Gay Best Friend to play more of her conscience throughout the movie.

As part of that expanded role, Rupert and Julia did reshoots eight months after they wrapped, including the final scene (in which Julia is wearing a wig because she has a pixie cut IRL) where George surprises her at the reception. It’s heartwarming, lovely, and makes you root for Jules again, knowing she’ll be ok with the other love of her life – George.

“Maybe there won’t be marriage. Maybe there won’t be sex. But my god, there will be dancing.”

.

.

.

Real Talk: Kimmy and Michael are divorced now, right?

How To Throw A Canada-Themed Party

Happy 150th Birthday, Canada! The true, north, strong and free marks a century and a half this week with #Canada150, and it’s not just Canada that’s celebrating. The whole world – and especially the rest of North America – owes Canada a debt of gratitude for its strong yet kind example: Canada cares for its citizens, welcomes refugees, expands human rights and learns from its mistakes. Although I’m an American, I’ve always been proud of my Canadian ancestry (my grandmother’s family was in Quebec since the 1500s) and have been grateful to live near the border of such a fantastic neighbo(u)r. If you love Canada too, maybe you’d like to celebrate Canada on its sesquicentennial anniversary  … or get a jump start on your Canada Day planning. Like our American-Themed Party, these ideas aren’t intended to replicate a “typical” Canadian party. Instead, they’re some fun ways to boost Canadian pride, celebrate a beautiful country, and maybe even learn a bit of trivia.

Games

Polite Water Balloon Relay

This is basically a normal balloon relay. Each team forms two lines and players toss a water balloon back and forth to each other to reach the end of the line. If you break a water balloon, you have to start back at the beginning. The first team to send three water balloons successfully down the line wins.

Here’s the twist: each team member needs to say thank you before passing the balloon off. Each player must also say sorry if they drop the balloon AND if the person before or after them drops it, even if it’s not your fault. If a player forgets to say thank you or sorry, you have to start over (sorry).

Duck Duck Canada Goose

Here’s one for the kiddos. This is just like Duck Duck Goose, but when a player is chosen as “Canada Goose” it either goes apeshit or stands directly in the pathway of whoever is trying to catch them without moving. If you really wanted to be accurate, the Canada Goose would also drop improbably large poops absolutely everywhere, but let’s not. The Canada Goose is the one Canadian export I could do without.

Money Mix-Up!

To really recreate the life of the millions of Canadians who live near the U.S. border, bring a piggy bank of Canadian coins and mix them up in everyone’s wallet (riddle me this: if Canada got rid of pennies in 2013, why do I have SO MANY CANADIAN PENNIES in my wallet always?).

The real games happens after the party when you find out which machines will and won’t accept your currency.

Cottage Invite Blitz

Please correct me if I’m wrong – and maybe this is totally just my experience – but I feel like everyone I’ve met from Ontario has a cottage, has a friend with a cottage, or just generally loves cottages.  But what to do if you haven’t nailed down a summer cottage invite?

In Cottage Invite Blitz, half of the players have a card that says I Have A Cottage and half say I Need A Cottage. The card is on your forehead and there is no peeking to see what you got. By talking to each other, players have to pair up – one player who has a cottage with one who needs one. The tricky part is rather than explicitly telling another player that they have a cottage or need one, you have to sort of indirectly work out the invitation in a friendly and polite way. Is the other player being nice to you because you have a cottage, or are they being nice to you because they are Canadian?

Canadian Or Not Canadian

You can either make a set of flashcards or use photos on your phone. Players must guess whether the celebrity pictured is Canadian or Not Canadian. A lot of modern celebrities may prove challenging: Ryans Reynolds and Gosling, Keanu Reeves, Seth Rogan, Joshua Jackson, Michael Cera… it’s a very, VERY long list, but you can make the game tricky by including Americans who seem kind of Canadian.

Canadian Spelling/ Vocab Bee

Canadian spelling: not really British, not really American. Have a fun spelling bee with the following words:

grey, travelling, colour, honour, neighbour,  axe, lincence, moustache, eh, anything with a ‘z’ in it because you’re out if you say zee instead of zed.

Or, have players provide the definitions to the following words in a vocab bee:

toque, chesterfield, loonie, toonie, poutine, double-double, and eh again (because it can mean so many things!)

Fill In Map Of Canada

Inspired by our map game in the American-themed party, have guests fill in the names of the provinces and territories on a blank map of Canada.

I thought I had it on lock because there are only 13, but I swear nobody ever told me there was a thing just called Northwest Territories. Sorry, Northwest Territories. Sorry that I called you The North Place.

Can You Say That In French?

In this elimination game, you make conversation as normal – but you have to repeat everything you say in French. The last person standing wins.

Dans ce jeu d’élimination, vous parlez normalement – sauf que vous devez répéter tout en français. La dernière personne qui reste gagne.

[I CLEARLY would not be the last person remaining. My apologies to the French language for that.]

Winter Wear Bonanza

In this pairs relay, the first player must run to the station, put on a selection of winter outerwear (scarf, hat, gloves, coat, earmuffs, etc), then run back to their partner, change out of the winter clothes and have their partner put them on. The partner then runs to the station and back. First team to finish wins.

 


Entertainment

On The Screen

My first thought was to just play all of the Anne Of Green Gables movies – and while I liked the new series, you know I mean the Megan Follows ones. Then I realized I was remiss in excluding Canadian fav Degrassi, both the O.G. ’80s series and the reboot staring Drake.

It’s also never wrong to air a hockey game, particularly a Hockey Night In Canada broadcast.

Particularly if you don’t speak French, it could be fun to play a soap opera from Quebec and fill in the dialogue yourself, a la that classic scene from Friends with the telenovela.

You can’t beat Canadian comedy, and if that’s more your speed you can tune in to The Kids In The Hall, SCTV (the Catherine O’Hara era is my personal favorite), The Red Green Show or Trailer Park Boys.

Finally, for a bit of childhood nostalgia, try The Elephant Show or You Can’t Do That On Television.

(You could also watch nothing because that is what is available on Canadian Netflix, and Hulu blocks your IP address on half of everything.)

In The Speakers

Just play The Tragically Hip the whole time.

Okay, fine. If you’d like to expand further you still may want to stick with a mix of musicians who are typically associated with Canada – even though there are excellent Canadian musicians of every genre. This means Drake, Alanis Morrissette, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, the Barenaked Ladies, Justin Bieber, Bryan Adams, Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah McLachlan and Crash Test Dummies. Please include at least one play of Let’s Go To The Mall from How I Met Your Mother, as it is the only time the phrase “rock your body ’til Canada day” has appeared in music thus far.


Refreshments

Food
Maple Anything

Canadians don’t really eat wacky maple-flavored treats, but in keeping with the theme you can serve maple candy or some refreshing maple ice cream. You can even find maple mustard dip and maple jerky.

Ketchup Chips

It’s true: these are very hard, if not impossible to find in the U.S.A. If you live near Canada, swing up and grab a few bags for your bash. If you live IN Canada, can we get married so I can have health care? I’ll pay for the chips.

Poutine

Cheese. Gravy. Fries. Good.

Tim Hortons

Assuming you live someplace where there’s Tim Hortons, provide guests with an array of all the finest Timbits and a big box of hot coffee, with sugar and cream for the classic double-double. It’s probably not a Classic Canadian Icon but the iced cap is also legit.

Kraft Dinner

Yes, it’s the same as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but you have to call it Kraft Dinner.

Hickory Sticks

… I guess. Does anybody like these?

Nanaimo Bars, Beaver Tails and Butter Tarts

If you’re a good baker or can get to a Canadian bakery or cafe, these Canadian treats are must-haves, particularly if your guests haven’t had a chance to try them before.

Drinks
Canadian Beer

This might be a great time to try some delicious Canadian craft beer, but to keep your budget low and your party Canadian, maybe you should provide a standby like Molson or Labatt.

Canadian Mixed Drinks

I’ll defer to this MentalFloss piece, as well as my own memories of going across the border to drink as a 19-year-old. For liability reasons I should tell you that Canadian drinking ages only apply in Canada.

Screech is a real only-in-Canada rum, and of course I have to recommend anything using Canadian whisky.

I’m still never trying a Bloody Caesar, though. Blech.

Wine

If you run with more of a wine crowd, Niagara wines from Ontario are always a great bet. There are also some good selections from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Try an ice wine if you haven’t already.

Other

I have no idea. Canada Dry and Canadian Club?


Canadian Style

Decor

It’s kind of a no-brainer, but a lot of Canadian flags and maple leaf insignia would be a good way to go. You can also include hockey posters and memorabilia or tack up pictures of Canadian wildlife (a moose and a beaver, at least).

In our American-Themed party post, we suggested hanging up pictures of great Americans and having guests name as many as they can. That would work well for great Canadians as well. You can include everyone from Justin Trudeau to Wayne Gretzky, Margaret Atwood to Lucy Maud Montgomery.

If you don’t play the Fill In The Map game, you could hang up a large, blank map of Canada (oh Canada…) and have guests fill in the names of the provinces and territories, major cities, places they’ve been, or just draw snowflakes and moose and those goddamn geese everywhere.

Fashion

Canadians just dress like regular humans, but you can have some fun here. Clothes in Canadian colors or with the Canadian flag on it would be great – Roots even has a Canada 150 line. You could also dress as an inoffensive Canadian stereotype, which is probably just a person with warm clothing.

If you really want to go for it, I’d have each guest dress as a Canadian, past or present. You can have everything from Anne of Green Gables to Robin Sparkles. Guests can be a hockey player or a Tim Hortons cashier if they want to go more generic. For an ’80s vibe, you could dress as a classic Degrassi character, and more modern TV fans can reuse their Orphan Black cosplay from Halloween. Deep cut references include the girl in the Steal My Sunshine video from the 90s or a group costume as Sharon, Lois and Bram.

If full costumes are too much to ask, name tags can add a bit of Canadian fun – everyone can pick a Canadian name like Jim Carrey, Megan Follows, Don Cherry, or Gordon. Any Gordon.

 

 

 

Onion Ring Instagrams and Other Secret Celebrity Accounts

Celebrities, they’re just like us.

The MSM (Mainstream Media, you dummies) has been under a lot of heat from the current administration, and maybe it’s about time they look to international news outlets, where they’re getting down to the nitty gritty.

Perhaps they can learn a thing or two from New Zealand’s news site Newshub, which was the first outlet to report that their native daughter Lorde may just be secretly running a food-related Instagram account.

While the state of our nation continues to slowly disintegrate into tatters of the United States constitution, the MSM  has at least one priority straight – the alleged secret Instagram account run by Taylor Swift’s BFF Lorde.

New Zealand news site Newshub first reported the story on Tuesday, with the headline “Is this Lorde’s secret onion ring Instagram account?”, noting they received a tip from a 17-year-old fan. The account, @onionringsworldwide, seemed fairly new, with only four posts and 24 followers, including Lorde and a number of her friends.

While @onionringsworldwide, whose bio read, “Every onion ring I encounter, rated”, only had four posts, those four posts each gave plenty of clues leading back to Lorde, according to this 17-year-old fan. Like any good food Intagrammer, each caption included the name of the restaurant said onion ring was acquired from, and a review of the ring. That alone, plus knowing where Lorde is on her promotional tour (and knowing the look of her nails?), helped the fan build a strong case that this account was actually run by Lorde.

Even more evidence that this account was run by non-Royal Lorde? Newshub reached out to her management and they didn’t respond. Instead? The account has since been deleted.

Newshub contacted Lorde’s management to ask whether Lorde likes onion rings, whether she prefers a light batter on her onion rings, and whether she runs the account.

Management had not responded at the time of writing, but shortly after questions were sent through, we’re sad to report the onionringsworldwide account was removed from Instagram.

A few things about this: A) why does it matter if she secretly runs this innocent account? It’s not going to effect her popularity. Why are they treating this like she ran a pro-life Instagram? B) why didn’t her management give a statement or respond at all to Newshub? C) She reviewed a Burger King onion ring, and that just seems like a lost cause.

Listen, if Lorde wants to have some semblance of normality in her life, let her just have an anonymous account, maintaining it while she flies private between Bonaroo and Bev Hills. But she can’t be the only celeb who has a secret social media account, right? I don’t know for sure, but here are my best guesses as to what type of accounts these famous people are managing under the shroud of internet secrecy.

EDIT: LORDE IS ON JIMMY FALLON AS I’M WRITING THIS AND SHE CONFIRMED IT WAS HER ACCOUNT.

She said, “I sort of naively didn’t realize it would be a thing.. it was like a good past time… I deleted it because now people are going to be throwing onion rings (at me) on tour… I don’t think they get enough credit for how delicious they are.”

Ugh. Well, I’m guessing fans are still going to throw onion rings at you. But enjoy this post anyways.

Taylor Swift // Bughead Tumblr

When Taylor is active on her official Tumblr, it’s actually her and she knows how to use those hashtags, so it would only make sense if she had another Tumblr. I imagine she’s one of those hardcore shippers on the site, maybe for Riverdale, specifically for OTP Bughead aka Betty and Jughead. It’s mainly a fanfic site, but she’ll RB a gifset or two – maybe even featuring her own song lyrics.

Kylie Jenner // LOL GOP Twitter

I have no doubt Kylie can be savage af, but it would delight me to no end if she was super into politics and anti-GOP to the core enough to run this account.

Zooey Deschanel // Miniature Food on YouTube

It’s just so twee, just like Zooey’s whole aesthetic.

Adam Scott // Fat Jewish-esque Instagram

I hope that macaroni guy wins 🇫🇷

A post shared by 💦🙇🏽 (@moistbuddha) on

If you follow Adam Scott on Twitter, you know two things about him: 1) he’s not afraid to say how much trump sucks balls. 2) he is ridiculous and absurdly funny. I will never forget this dumb peanut butter and jelly joke that lasted lit’rally two years. So it’s not entirely out of his realm to run a comedy/meme account on Instagram.

Rosie O’Donnell // Toy Review on YouTube

We love Rosie. We loved her talk show. As tweens, we were enamored with her love for not only kids like us, but she had a kidlike quality that enabled her to constantly shoot koosh balls in the audience without it being awkward or gimmicky. Plus she loves a good nostalgia item, so these reviews of old toys would be right up her alley.

BJ Novak // His Teen Sister’s Twitter

Well, OK, this is actually true. BJ has been running an account under the name “Keough Novak”, who is supposedly his snarky teen sister. I started following her years ago, when I noticed that BJ’s BFF/Soup Snake Mindy Kaling had been tweeting at her a lot. I obvs stalked her profile and thought she was funny, and it wasn’t until like 2 years later that I found out that BJ had been running the account with his two brothers – I grew suspicious after realizing she wasn’t getting older an was a perpetual 16 year old. BJ said of the account, “If I have a thought that’s superficial or immature, that’s a good thing for Keough to say.” Not only that, but HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A SISTER. Lies. Deceit. Hilarity too. Bless.

Kanye West // Slime Shop on Instagram

He may have quit Twitter, but for a guy who calls Steve Jobs one of his idols, I hardly believe he’s completely off social media. Plus, given his love for art, and creativity, I can picture him making these popular slime videos – and perhaps even selling tubs of them out of their Bel-Air mansion.

Barack Obama // Secret Snapchat

In general, he just has a secret Snapchat account. Followers include Malia, Sasha, Joe Biden and Jay Z (who also has a secret account).

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Babadook

When The Babadook took its rightful but confusing place as a gay icon after Netflix included it in its list of LGBT films, I had a real dilemma. I hate horror movies, but I love when everyone on the internet is joking about the same thing. As usual, my love for internet won out. It’s time for me to learn about the Babadook, a scary basement demon recently outed by Netflix.

The Babadook opens with a mom, Amelia,  dreaming about a car accident and waking up to her creepy Australian child wanting to read his favorite book. Australian children are less creepy than British children in horror movies, more than American. Fight me on it. If you were a British child, you wouldn’t have to. You’d just say something fairly innocuous like “I’m awake, mummy” and I’d run screaming.

The entire house is decorated in shades of gray and midnight, like they interior decorated for the comfort and preferences of the ghost. Demon, monster, whatever.

demon chic

Samuel (creepy-but-not-British-creepy child) tells a random supermarket lady that his “dad’s in the cemetery. He got killed driving mum to the hospital to have me.” Gay means happy and this is NOT.

Sam stands on the tip-top of a swingset while being a Babadook, I guess. Still not clear on what a Babadook is. A small white dog scratches at a locked door, which I gather is where the Babadook lives. Is it a closet??? Is the Babadook in the closet? I’m trying.

and dorothy. of you and me and dorothy.

Maybe everything is gray and colorless so it can become rainbow when the Babadook comes?? Kind of like The Wizard Of Oz… starring gay icon Judy Garland?? I’m reaching.

It turns out the Babadook is a terrifying pop-up book Sam has. For the record, they say Babadook to rhyme more with “look” than “Luke.” PLOT TWIST: the terrifying pop-up, which ends with the words “you’re going to wish you were dead,” ends up looking like a generic colorful children’s book when they pull back, and Amelia is reading a different story entirely. Amelia hides the book (rhymes with Babadook!) above her wardrobe.

Amelia watches black and white tv because that’s her aesthetic.

Sam throws firecrackers in anger.

Amelia: Where’d you get those firecrackers?

Sam: You got them for me on the internet.

Amelia: That’s the end of the internet.

Why did I love that exchange so much?

Samuel loves to play in a sequin cape,  a nod to Liberacci??

NOPE

Sam, or a Babadook, hung up an empty men’s suit on the wall and it’s very spooky. Also I KNOW that a hanging suit is, or should be, empty but that’s really the only way to describe it:

There’s glass in Amelia’s soup or thickened boiled milk that she’s eating. Sam said the Babadook did it. Maybe the real Babadook is SAM.

Sam watches an unsettling magic DVD. How does Sam keep getting these age-inappropriate forms of media? Don’t say the internet. Amelia swore off of Amazon.

Amelia goes upstairs to find the photo of her and Sam’s dad all scribbled out. Scribbled out like … bi erasure??? Guys I am so sorry but nothing’s gay yet.

At Sam’s friend Ruby’s birthday party, all of the moms wear black to look creepier for the Babadook.

In another feat of color coordination, the girl party guests wear pale pink with black accents. The party decorations are maroon, every child’s favorite color. There’s a clown because this is a horror movie, why not.

Amelia’s friend Claire doesn’t like going to Amelia’s house because it’s depressing, possibly because every surface from floor to ceiling, including the stairs and Sam’s bedroom, seems to be covered in black chalkboard paint. I really hope there’s a big reveal at the end at it was colorful all along.

Ruby taunts Sam for not having a dad. Maybe the real Babadook is CHILDREN’S CAPACITY FOR CRUELTY. Sam pushes Ruby out of a tree house which was still very unwarranted. Sam then appears to seize in the car, which makes me wonder why Sam hasn’t had a neurological and psych eval yet??

Amelia gets a new pop-up book… is something that should be a caption on a mommy blogger’s instagram, but which is actually a scene where Amelia gets a new gift from the Babadook about how the Babadook will take her over.

AHHHH. The Babadook calls Amelia on her land line and says “Babadook…dook…dook” in a croaky demon voice.

Let’s talk about acting. Essie Davis is fantastic as Amelia, who half thinks her child is losing it and half thinks she is. She’s extra fantastic in the scene where she goes to the police to report a children’s book. You can see her genuine belief that she’s correct right alongside her realization that what she’s saying sounds ridiculous. Noah Wisemen is also marvelous as Sam and he really does seem like an actual child, not a spooky horror movie child cliche. Also, this was Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut and it’s absolutely beautiful — not too scary, despite my protests against horror movies, but really thoughtful and nicely styled.

Amelia finds a hole in her kitchen wall. Beetles crawl out. She has made references to being poor but she has an expensive-looking vintage replica fridge so that doesn’t quite check out.

The Australian child Sam watches on TV sounds so much more Australian than Sam.

SHIIIIIT. The Babadook sneaks into Amelia’s bedroom by way of creaky door and croaks “Babadook…dook…dook” again. He kind of stop-motions around on the ceiling for a bit. Amelia has an outfit, complete with hat, on a mannequin in her bedroom. What is WITH this family? Anyway, it was a “dream” but surely it wasn’t really.

In keeping with her aesthetic, Amelia watches a black-and-white silent film that looks kind of like A Trip To The Moon, except with Babadooks all up in it.

this is why i don’t have cable

Amelia shouts at Sam to “eat shit,” but I’m certain that’s just the Babadook or the mean older brother in a John Hughes movie talking.

Amelia: 1. crashes a car because the Babadook was Babadook-dook-dooking her; 2. takes a bath fully clothed; 3. attempts to nap while cuddling a violin; 4. tromps around her house with a butcher knife; 5. forces Sam to take pills; 6. watches aesthetically-consistent black and white cartoons.

The dog won’t hang with Amelia, which is how we can be sure she’s harboring the Babadook.

SPOOOOKY. Amelia watches a news report about a woman who stabbed her 7-year-old to death; cut to Amelia in the news report looking out her window with an eerie frozen smile. NOPE NOPE NOPE. This is neither about the Babadook or the Gay Babadook, but when I was little my brother used to open my bedroom door and stare with an eerie frozen smile while singing that circus song, which was some clever sibling bullying. It’s a tattle-proof trick. “Mom, Matt’s smiling and singing!”

Amelia’s dead husband is in the basement. He’s surely a Babadook. He says “bring me the boy” in increasingly Babadookish tones.

Amelia kills the small white dog 😦  Then she Babadook-floats at Sam, who says she isn’t his mother and throws a firecracker and some darts at her.

The kind, elderly neighbor comes over and says that she knows this time of year is hard for Amelia. Maybe the real Babadook is HOW SAD SHE IS.

Sam brings a knife down on his mother with the most unsettling confused grimace/smile.

After some stuff, Amelia voms a black tar-like substance so who knows, maybe the real Babadook is an intestinal bleed and a bowel obstruction.

Amelia relives her husband’s gory death, and tells the Babadook that he’s nothing and not welcome in her house. The Babadook goes back to the basement. The real Babadook is grief and PTSD, just like I’ve been saying this entire time.

Almost right away, Amelia’s hair is MUCH fluffier, and a birthday banner is hung in the living room. They speak freely about Sam’s dad. Ruby was Sam’s… cousin? Which I did not realize. They feed the Babadook worms in the basement, because they somehow learned that he eats worms. The Babadook, which is grief, will always exist in their lives but that doesn’t mean it’s always invited to the party.

Sam does a worryingly good magic trick.

Fine.

Okay, so I still don’t know why the Babadook is gay but he doesn’t owe me an explanation. The Babadook is more than just gay, he’s also a basement grief-demon who eats worms and hangs suits up. I hope he has fun at all the parades and parties!

 

 

The Highs and Lows of the 2017 Tony Awards

Another opening, another show. Another chance to joke about the Oscars mix-up.

The 2017 Tony Awards, our annual Super Bowl, were last night and proved to be a journey of excitement and disappointment all at the same time. While I don’t think anything will beat the excitement from last year’s #HamilTonys, this ceremony did have its good bits, but for every good bit there was a bad Kevin Spacey one. Here are some of our highs and lows from this year’s Tony Awards.

Lows: The Opening Number

I know Kevin Spacey is a respected actor/human etc. etc. but…. I was just not left that impressed with his Groundhog Day-inspired montage, highlighting all the nominated shows (although 10 points for Griffyndor for the tap dance break). Is it because we’ve been blessed with James Corden and Neil Patrick Harris in the past few years? Yeah, probably. I just expect to be left in tears by the end of the opening number. I don’t want it to end with a pun including “Your host is found”, no matter how many Dear Evan Hansen refs I long for.

High: It’s Been A Long Time Coming For Gavin Creel

Longtime Broadway and stage star Gavin Creel FINALLY won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Hello, Dolly! He was previously nominated for Hair and Thoroughly Modern Millie (which made his win even more special because Sutton Foster handed him his trophy) but he’s one of those actors that has been around for so long (he’s only 41) that he’s got a strong fan base (and support from fellow actors) even without the Tony. I saw him in the national tour of The Book of Mormon a few years ago and couldn’t stop raving about him. Did you watch him last year in She Loves Me? Come on. His speech was perfect and awkward (1:45 THAT IS ME) and admirable (SUPPORT ARTS EDUCATION!). I love when well-deserving actors who’ve been in it a while finally get recognition. Also goes for Dear Evan Hansen’s Rachel Bay Jones!

High: Performances to Give You The Chills

The Tonys are the only major award show that is site specific. You can easily go to your local cinema and watch an Oscar-nominated film. Turn on the TV and tune-in to an Emmy-nominated show. Pop in a cassette tape and listen to a Grammy-nominated album. But with the Tonys, you have to physically be in New York City to see these Broadway shows. So when the casts take the stage to perform, they’re performing for everyone around the world watching the show, who can’t necessarily get to the Big Apple. It gives a visual to fans who have only listened to the soundtrack, or maybe have never even heard the show at all. Which is why I always look forward to the actors getting a chance to show their talents off for the millions watching at home. Some standout performances this year were legend-in-the-making Eva Noblezada and the cast of Miss Saigon, Josh Groban and the cast of  The Great Comet throwing the best Russian party, and cast of Bandstand, making me want to take swing dance classes.

Low: Random Celebs

Former pro hockey player and Canadian Ron Duguay was the first rando to introduce the performance by the cast of Come From Away, because it takes place in New Foundland. And he is Canadian, you see. It makes sense. I was also confused because it kinda sounded like he went off script, and winged the intro… but what do I know, I’m American. And for some reason, Keegan Michael Key introduced the Great Comet cast, and I’m still trying to figure that one out. I love the guy but, if anyone has any insight, that would be supes helpful.

High: Playwrights in the Spotlight

As I previously mentioned, the Tonys are a chance for casts to give viewers a small sliver of what they do 8 times a week. But what about all the plays? It’s hard to just recreate a scene from a play just to show that they’re nominated for Best Play/Best Revival of a play. But this year, they did it right (or wright?) and had the playwrights take the stage and describe the show they wrote in their own words. More of this please.

High: Rachel Bloom, Future Tonys Host

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star and renowned Broadway geek Rachel Bloom served as a backstage correspondent and to quote someone on Twitter, “Rachel Bloom is actually hosting this year’s Tonys, briefly interrupted by a man doing dated impressions.” Rachel was basically representing all of us nerds watching at home, with no chill for how exciting it is to be at the Tonys. Please host next year. CW is in the CBS brotherhood.

High: Oh, Hello!

This particular part of the show was quite the rollercoaster. First, the Oh Hello dudes came on stage to bring some actual humor to the show. If you watched John Mulaney and Nick Kroll host the Independent Spirit Awards earlier this year, you already know how hilarious and entertaining they are as a co-hosting duo. So when they came on stage to introduce the Radio City Rockettes, it brought the show back up, and quite frankly much better than Kevin Spacey’s opening number ever was.

Low: Rockettes

Andddd then the Rockettes did a few high kicks – like I get it, they’re at Radio City – but why. Why? Oh, because it gave Leslie and Cynthia a reason to sing.

High: Leslie Odom Jr. & Cynthia Erivo Saving the Rockettes

Except it lasted approx 1 minute, which was way too short. They could’ve stayed on stage and sang all the winners and it would’ve been totally fine. Get these two in a show or on tour together, SOMETHING. I WILL GIVE YOU MY MONIES.

High: Dr. Biden and Joe

Dr. Jill Biden was on hand to introduce a performance by the cast of Bandstand, which centers on a group of veterans coming home after World War II. With Dr. Biden’s long support of the military and their family, it was a no-brainer that she was there. But what I loved is that she got a standing ovation, clearly in appreciation for her service, as well as the service of her hubs and the entire Obama administration, and it made me long for the days of pre-Election 2016 Tonys. But the best part? Seeing Uncle Joe in the audience proudly watching his wife on stage, just as her date and nothing else. God bless.

Low: Kevin Spacey’s Impressions

If you didn’t know that Kevin Spacey does a real good impression of Johnny Carson, well know you know (if you watched the Tonys). And because he needed material, of course he pulled out the wig, since a Carson impression is relevant to the interests of all the people watching the Tonys. It was then that I texted Molly and mentioned that Carson is one of the party tricks Spacey’s got in his bag, and as you’ll see in the message below, I totally called the next impression.

During his Clinton impression, he called out Ben Platt and made a few Hillary jokes because THAT’S STILL FUNNY. Us, and most of the people watching the bit:

And because third time’s the charm, he had to come out as fake U.S. President Frank Underwood (along with Robin Wright & Michael Kelly, for some reason – the bit didn’t need them tbh it still sucked) to hand LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA THE ENVELOPE FOR THE WINNER OF BEST MUSICAL. We had already been Lin-less for the entire show, I didn’t need Spacey to ruin this too. But alas, he did.

High: Bette Midler Refuses To Be Played Off

The Divine Miss M won her first Tony (she’s an O away from EGOT) for Hello, Dolly! and because she’s Bette Midler, she didn’t give a crap about playoff music. There are few people in the world that can get away with telling an orchestra to stop, and she is one of them. It was everything I expected and more.

Sidenote: The Tony producers are S A V A G E for getting Glenn Close to present the category, since there was a possibility that Patti LuPone (rumored rival) could’ve won. It might have been an epic face-to-face that us drama-loving nerds died over.

High: Words Fail for Dear Evan Hansen

Dear reader, it’s gonna be a good day, and this is why – Dear Evan Hansen won six Tonys and all is right with the world.

First off, the production went into the ceremony with 9 noms – 3 less than top show Great Comet, making me think DEH could be beat out by Josh Groban. But the show all about social anxiety and connection clearly connected with Tony voters, and won not only Best Musical, but Best Book of a Musical, Best Score (by our boys and La La Land’s Pasek & Paul), Best Orchestrations (BACK TO BACK WINS FOR HAMFAM ALEX LACAMOIRE), and acting prizes for Rachel Bay Jones (MOM) and dreamy angel of an actor Ben Platt. He was the favorite going into the show, but seeing this 23 year old win and give his speech was everything I wanted in a Tonys acceptance speech, including an inspiring quote that teens will be inking on folders today – “To all young people watching at home, don’t waste time being anyone but yourself, because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”

And thennn earlier in the show, Ben, who was out of DEH for a few performances and put on vocal rest – made a triumphant return by singing signature song Waving Through a Window.

If you don’t have your tickets now, guess you’ll be waiting along with us until the tour (or when more Broadway seats become avail) and playing the soundtrack on repeat.

Low: Go Home Bobby Darin

Does Kevin Spacey think hosting the Tonys is going to help his Emmy For Your Consideration campaign? I feel like he treated the entire ceremony like a talent show. Between the impressions (did I mention he also did James Earl Jones in front of James Earl Jones – who won a lifetime achievement award? AND MORE AIR TIME WAS GIVEN TO SPACEY RATHER THAN JAMES EARL JONES??), mediocre bits and underwhelming opening number, it was all just a bit… trying too hard that it made me not like Kevin Spacey. And I LIKE Kevin Spacey!

But the thing that sealed the deal for me was the closing number, in which Kevin returned to his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of 1950s singer Bobby Darin and invited Patti LuPone and all the winners to sing The Curtain Falls – a ballad, a FRIGGIN BALLAD. I don’t want to end Broadway’s biggest night with a ballad! Give me an uptempo! Give me a rap that was written minutes before by Lin-Manuel and included things that happened in the show! This isn’t a funeral. This is a celebration of all things theater!!!! In what I’m assuming was meant to be a lovely, community inspiring final song, it just came across as awkward since no one knew the song or even knew what was happening.

Spacey hosting proved that a host steers the ship to success. If he fails, then it kind of brings the entire show down. Sure, there were bright spots like Dear Evan Hansen and Bette Midler. But the best well-rounded award shows included hilarious and fun bits from the host – WE MISS YOU JAMES CORDEN – not just chuckle-worthy jokes and impressions you’ve been doing for years. Give me dance numbers, give me more singing, give me DRAMAAAAA – it IS gay pride month after all. Something Kevin probably should know about, right?

 

Can You Use That In A Sentence? Wacky Words Of The 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Can you bee-lieve it?

Sorry for that offense to both puns and spelling, but the National Spelling Bee was a whole week ago. While I wasn’t a super-speller as a kid, I loved reading and words and was always thrilled to add a fresh $2 word to my vocabulary. The kids in the Scripps National Spelling Bee take it to the next level, though: they are whizzes not just in spelling, but also in etymology, languages, culture and history. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the choice words of the 2017 finals. Yes, these are actual words, and all definitions are courtesy of Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Marocain

Definition: a ribbed crepe fabric used in women’s clothing

But it sounds like it means: a type of ointment you use for bone injuries

Can you use it in a sentence? Beulah changed from a black crepe mourning gown to a lavender marocain one – and so SOON!

Poulaine

Definition: the long pointed toe of a crakow (which I thought was the nerdy guy in My So-Called Life, but which is apparently “a shoe, boot, or slipper made with an extremely long pointed toe and worn in Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries”)

But it sounds like it means: chicken gravy

Can you use it in a sentence? Hildegarde tapped her poulaine to the rhythm of whatever kind of music they listened to in Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Hypapante

Definition: a feast celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on February 2 commemorating primarily the presentation of Jesus and his meeting Simeon and Anna in the temple and secondarily the purification of the Virgin Mary

But it sounds like it means: those color-changing pants that were popular for 5 seconds in the 80s

Can you use it in a sentence: If the groundhog sees his shadow on Hypapante we have six more weeks of winter.

Marram

Definition: any of several beach grasses (genus Ammophila and especially A. arenaria)

But it sounds like it means: the way someone on The Beverly Hillbillies would say what a bride is going to do on her wedding day

Can you use it in a sentence: Bob walked barefoot in the marram and now he needs a tetanus shot and a rabies shot.

Gifblaar

Definition: a perennial shrub (Dichapetalum cymosum) of southern Africa that is deadly poisonous to stock

But it sounds like it means: a person drunk-texting about Gibraltar; a tertiary character in Game of Thrones

Can you use it in a sentence: This beach visit pales in comparison to our African safari, when Bob picked a bouquet of gifblaar.

Cheiropompholyx

Definition: a skin disease characterized by itching vesicles or blebs occurring in groups on the hands or feet

But it sounds like it means: Actually, this pretty much sounds like a gross skin disease

Can you use it in a sentence: While being carted to the leper colony, Fran protested that she merely suffered from cheiropompholyx.

Wayzgoose

Definition: a printers’ annual outing or entertainment

But it sounds like it means: a goose’s rap name

Can you use it in a sentence: We’ve been calling it a “company picnic,” but I work in publishing so I guess my wayzgoose is next Thursday.

Naassene

Definition: a member of one of the Ophite group of Gnostic sects noted for its worship of the serpent as the principle of generation

 But it sounds like it means: how they write what a horse says in Swedish
Can you use it in a sentence: Brenda wrote a senior thesis on Naassene influences on the Harry Potter series.
Potichomania

Definition:  the art or process of imitating painted porcelain ware

But it sounds like it means: a 1930s scare-tactic documentary about marijuana

Can you use it in a sentence: Potichomania is a hobby, not a job, Karen.

 

 

 

 

 

#TransformationTuesday: Ariana Grande

Hi. It’s Tuesday and we’re still talking about Ariana Grande.

Yesterday, we recapped some of the our favorite moments from the One Manchester concert, which Ariana helped put together to benefit the victims of last month’s attack. It was beautiful, full of tears, and best of all, raised over $3 million. Since the deadly event, Ariana has been praised for her compassionate eloquence in response to a heartless tragedy (unlike certain world leaders).

We will never be able to understand why events like this take place because it is not in our nature, which is why we shouldn’t recoil. We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win. {x}

For many of those who just thought of Ariana as another female pop star, their minds changed after she released that statement (per the posts I saw on Twitter, at least). And when she took the stage on Sunday, it was evident that the attack had a profound effect on her, and she wanted to do anything she could to try to lift spirits and help the victims and their families in any way she could. That’s the day Ariana Grande wasn’t just an international pop star anymore. I’m not saying she wasn’t before, but to a lot of people who weren’t paying attention, she became a respected celebrity idol that day.

For the uninitiated, Ariana, 23, has been in the game since she was a teen, and has gone through many career changes to get to where she is today. So on this Transformation Tuesday, let’s take a look back at all the major points in Ari’s life that have led her to become the (Dangerous) Woman that she is today.

2001: Rite of Passage

You know how when you go to a kid’s dance recital or see a community theater show and there’s one, maybe two kids who are actually really good or have the potential to be? That was Ariana. Growing up in Florida, her main connection to the arts was the theater, performing in shows like Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, and of course, Annie.

2007: Slaying Judy Garland

When you’re an aspiring pop star, you obvs have to make the rounds at random events, like singing the National Anthem at a sports game, or singing at a birthday party for a 95 year old. Can’t turn down a gig.

2008: The (Great White) Way

When she was 15, Ariana was cast in 13, a musical by the genius that is Jason Robert Brown. She was in a supporting role as a cheerleader called Charlotte, and it even earned her a National Youth Theatre Association Award. Being cast in any Broadway show is maj, but to be a part of the Original Broadway Cast is an honor. I mean she’s on the OBC cast album! What does it say about me that I think this is one of the more impressive feats in her career?!

2009: The Nickelodeon Machine

The following year, Ari was cast as Cat Valentine in Victorious, a Nickelodeon sitcom starring Victoria Justice and set in a performing arts high school. Now, I’m not above telling you that I watched a lot of Disney Channel shows way past the age I should’ve been (#BestofBothWorlds), but I never got on this Nickelodeon train. It’s a total blind spot for me. But what I can say is that Ariana made the right decision in going through the Nickelodeon machine, which is v similar to the Disney machine (see: Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, etc.). Ari gained a fan following by playing a slightly ditzy yet lovable character, who would help her get her first starring role. More on that later.

2011: YouTube Star

Keeping music in the foreground, Ariana continued to connect with her fans by posting covers on YouTube. And just like the teens who posted their covers online all over the world, Ariana did the same, asking her fans to “tweet her”. Also, I remember watching that Emotions cover and thinking, “WHO DA FUQ IS THIS CHICK??!” Get into those whistle tones!!

2011: The First Single

Ariana released her first single, Put Your Hearts Up, in 2011. It’s a sweet bubblegum pop track that was fit for her Nickelodeon persona (and still features her signature Cat Valentine red hair). But as you can tell, this is definitely not the same music she’s singing today.

June, 2013: On To The Next One

In 2012, Victorious was not renewed for a fourth season, but Ariana still had a job because it was announced that she would star in a spin-off called Sam & Cat, which starred iCarly’s Jennette McCurdy (Sam). This is obviously next level stardom, but the show only lasted one season over the course of one year, and there was a lot A LOT of drama towards the end. It involved salaries, reported feuds, and the rise of Ariana’s music career, so Nickelodeon just cut the cord and the last Sam & Cat ep aired in 2014.

August, 2013: The Breakthrough

As mentioned, Ariana had still be working hard on her music career, and worked on her first real album over the course of three years. It was finally released in September, 2013, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making her the first female artist since Kesha to have her album debut at the top of the charts. The lead single, The Way (ft. now boyfriend Mac Miller), was a jam for the summer of 2013. For me too. Remember when I told y’all to add her to your playlist?!

2013: Just Beliebe

It was all happening for her in the fall of 2013 and at that point there was no stopping her flow. Ariana, who shares manager Scooter Braun with Justin Bieber, joined him for a few dates on his massive Believe Tour, and she also embarked on her own headlining mini-tour, called The Listening Sessions.  But it was the American Music Awards where she blew the crowd away with a stripped down performance of Tattooed Heart, and she won her first major award for Best New Artist.

August, 2014: My Everything

Ariana released her second studio album, My Everything, that August, led by the mega hit Problem. The song became one of the best-selling singles of all time with 10 million sales, and the video itself has been viewed over a billion times. Her second single, Break Free ft. Zedd was yet another charttopper, and just because she’s that talented, the song she featured on, Bang Bang with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj was also a hit. All three songs hit the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 in the same week, making her the only female artist besides Adele to have three top 10 hits simultaneously as a lead artist. Get it girl. My Everything also included jams like One Last Time, Love Me Harder ft. The Weeknd and Best Mistake, ft. ex-bf Big Sean.

2015: World Domination Continues

Ariana embarked on The Honeymoon Tour in support of the album, which was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammys that year (her other nom came in the form of Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for Bang Bang). She also returned to acting with a guest-starring role in Scream Queens, and gave fans a little holiday treat by releasing an EP called Christmas & Chill (which is V GOOD). Oh, also she did the Wheel of Impressions game on Jimmy Fallon and I’ve watched it like 5 times since.

January, 2016: Returning to Her Roots

Hey remember when I said I was the most impressed when I found out Ariana was in a musical by Jason Robert Brown? It’s because I think he’s a genius who created one of my favorite musicals of all time, The Last Five Years. And I’m the type of nerd who would go to one of his cabaret shows, but when he played in LA, I decided to be “smart” and save my money. Turns out I’m a dumb-dumb, because that night Ariana was a surprise guest and she sung a song from 13. I love this so much because it shows that she hasn’t forgotten where she came from, and is willing to sing at a random small venue in LA for her friend. In fact, she asked JRB to write a song for her that ended up being a bonus track on her Dangerous Woman album, called Jason’s Song (Gave It Away). She even performed it on Jimmy Fallon – and asked JRB to play piano. Read all about it on his blog.

March, 2016: Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!

To promote her new Dangerous Woman album, Ariana was the host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live. It was hands down, one of my favorite SNL episodes ever – she killed in each sketch (and all of them were actually funny – Jennifer Lawrence you guys!) and her musical performances  were perfect (I think about the Be Alright performance a lot).

December, 2016: A Checkerboard Chick

Ari got to live out a lifelong dream of playing Penny Pingleton in the annual NBC live musical, Hairspray, and was one of the standouts from the entire show. And again, my love for Ariana runs deep yet again, because she confessed her love for OBC member Kerry Butler, proving yet again, she’s a theater nerd just like us.

2017: Full Circle

Ariana has been on her Dangerous Woman World Tour since February, and that leads us to Manchester, where she brought the show on May 22nd. Here she is at the One Manchester show singing Over the Rainbow once again, filling us with emotion to see just what a Dangerous Wonder Woman she’s become.

Great Moments From One Love Manchester

One Love Manchester, a star-studded, beautiful benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester attack, was a resounding success. First of all, the concert raised over $3 million for victims and survivors. Second, One Love Manchester sold out: 50,000 tickets. This matters because the attacker specifically targeted a concert popular with young children. Not two weeks later, audiences – including some of the same children injured in the attack, like fantastic 8-year-old Lily Harrison – flocked to yet another concert in Manchester, showing that they will not react in fear or anger; they will react by living as they always have. This city sang and danced in the face of terrorism. Plenty of adults we’re supposed to respect have been far more cowardly. Last, the success of One Love Manchester were a personal and career triumph for Ariana Grande. These two weeks will come to define Ariana’s career: not the thing a small, terrible person did to her fans, but how she reacted. There were a lot of things to love about One Love Manchester, so here are just a few, in no particular order.

This Crowd Moment During Justin Bieber’s Set

Okay, Justin Bieber did a nice job. His set was reminiscent of Bieber’s rise to YouTube fame with simple arrangements, and his speech was surprisingly heartfelt and sweet. But did you see this police officer dancing in a circle with little girls during his speech? One of the sweetest moments of the night.

Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande’s Adorable Friendship

Don’t Dream It’s Over is an underrated ’80s classic, and Miley’s voice really knocks it out of the park on exactly this sort of song. You also couldn’t miss how cute Miley and Ariana are together. They’ve both been famous for some time now, and this clip reminded me that they’re also just nice, supportive friends in their early 20s.

The Parrs Wood High School Performance

Parrs Wood High School’s cover of My Everything, in honor of the Manchester Terror Attack victims, made the rounds last week. They performed beautifully at One Love Manchester, and were joined by Ariana herself. 12-year-old soloist Natasha Seth’s reaction was precious, and Ariana’s reaction to Natasha absolutely made me cry.

Olivia Campbell And Her Mum

15-year-old Olivia Campbell was one of the 22 murdered in Manchester, and Olivia’s mother had some words for Ariana. In her intro to Side to Side, Ariana said “I had the pleasure of meeting Olivia’s mommy a few days ago, and as soon as I met her I started crying, and I gave her a big hug. And she said that I should stop crying because Olivia wouldn’t have wanted me to cry. And then she told me that Olivia would have wanted to hear the hits. So that means that we had a totally different show planned. We had a rehearsal yesterday where we changed everything.”

Suddenly, Side To Side was a touching tribute to a teenage girl who just wanted to go out and listen to pop music on a school night.

Don’t Look Back In Anger

Oasis is as associated with Manchester as Man United (at least for those of us living across the ocean). Don’t Look Back In Anger is one of their most recognizable songs and one that has made me well up even during good times. After the attack, a crowd at a vigil even broke out into the chorus after a moment of silence. Chris Martin of Coldplay did an admirable cover. You could feel that all 50,000 audience members, at least at that moment, believed that the best way forward was not to look back in anger – at least not today.

Take That and Robbie Williams

It’s probably a pop culture personality test: do you associate Manchester with Oasis or Take That? Or are you more of a solo Robbie Williams fan? At One Love Manchester, you didn’t have to choose: crowds were treated to both Take That and solo Robbie. My ’90s heart will always love Robbie Williams singing Angels.

Niall Horan’s Crowd-Talk

Niall has the sweetest, humblest variety of boy band polish. He didn’t say anything groundbreaking, it was more the way he just sounded like a boy… standing in front of a city… telling it that he loves it, instead of like a schmoozy musician.

This Finale

Ariana ended the concert with Somewhere Over The Rainbow. She cried, I cried, we all cried. It – like the night as a whole – was a beautiful tribute to the Manchester victims, survivors, and to a city that sings and dances in the face of terrorism.

The Man Behind the Meme: White Guy Blinking

Memes come and go into our lives. Some may be fleeting and some stick around for years. But how often do we know their origin story? Where did it start? Why has it become so popular? If there’s a person in the meme, what do they think of becoming an (internet) household face? Well I can help solve the mystery of one meme – this guy:

Here’s White Guy Blinking, a GIF used to express disbelief, and in most cases a well-known fact or relatable situation.

But who exactly is this guy? Well his name is Drew Scanlon and for certain types, he was already a well-known dude on the internet. He’s a video producer at Giant Bomb, a popular gaming website, and stars in multiple videos and podcasts for the site. So Drew was already used to fans clipping out GIFs of himself from the site, but never as fervent as this.

In fact, the blinking GIF is from a 2013 Giant Bomb show called Unprofessional Fridays. In the video, Drew is watching a co-worker Jeff Gerstmann play a game called Starbound, and while he’s playing, Jeff says, “I’ve been doing some farming with my hoe here…”

Drew’s reaction is naturally the one anyone with a dirty/comical mind would have, and if you’re a GIF maker, you know it’s a perfect reaction shot. But Drew told UK’s The Guardian that he doesn’t really remember shooting this particular video.

“I think a lot of our effort in these videos is spent on getting each other to laugh, to provide things for other people to react to or riff off. My reaction was, I think, part of that.”

And of course, he had no idea that this GIF would resurface four years later. “People have passed around gifs of us for as long as I’ve worked at Giant Bomb,” he told the Guardian. “It’s certainly a first for me.”

And it first recirculated earlier this year with a tweet that has nothing to do with video games, but rather biology class:

A fan sent Drew the biology meme to let him know his GIF lives on, and from that point forward, the RTs were endless and he soon became an international meme.

So how does Drew feel about being right-click saved all around the interwebs? He’s totally cool with it. “I like what memes can do for people. They’re such fun, throwaway things I see. These memes have been generally positive. It’s a little scary because there’s always the danger someone could change it to something different. It’s not like I’ve a say in what the internet does with a gif of my face. But I’m pleased to see people are enjoying it.”

Oh, they are.

Related articles