Saturday Spotlight: Miley Cyrus Did A Dance This Week

If you watched the news this week, it was all  MILEY CYRUS IS CORRUPTING THE YOUTH (blah blah blah Syria) MILEY CYRUS FOAM FINGER (yada yada wildfires) MILEY CYRUS DID A DANCE YOU GUYS. Believe it or not, things did happen during the past week other than Destiny Hope emerging out of a giant teddy bear, like the world’s worst version of Puppy Surprise.

Puppy Surprise was an early 90s toy that simulated a dog giving birth to a litter to puppies via Cesarean section. I had like 3 of them.

If you missed the actual news stuff, head over to NY Times. But if it’s our blog that you missed out on, you’re in the right place.

Monday:

  • Miley Cyrus  tweets a photo of herself wearing a shirt that reads “#bangers,” in celebration of those pub-food sausages from the British isles.
  • We post this:

5 Things You Missed At The VMAs

1) Justin Timberlake proves he’s meant to be a solo artist aka *NSYNC reunites

First off, my boy Jimmy Fallon is (fittingly) giving this award to JT. We start off in the lobby and it looks like a love lip dub – and ironically similar to the opening number Jimmy did at the Emmys a few years ago. Basically I just want a posse of dancers to follow me everywhere I go. He then goes into an epic medley of his greatest hits and it is amazing. I had the chance to go to the Legends of Summer tour at Fenway Park in Boston a couple weeks ago, and it was seriously the best concert I’ve ever been to. I think sometimes we forget that JT has so many hits until he sings them in succession and you end up knowing every single word to all his songs. That’s a legend right there. At the VMAs, he spent a minute or two cover a bunch of his hits, making each one seem like its own mini concert.

Tuesday

  • MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski appeared on the Today Show, declaring Miles’ act “a 20 year old women literally in the process of her undoing.” Leaving that there without comment.
  • We post this:

How To Be Taylor Swift At An Awards Show 

Wednesday

  • Miley tweets “Mile, if twerkin woulda been invented… And I had a foam finger… I woulda done the same thang you did.” – DAD. I applaud Cyrus’s use of the Hurston-esque colloquial voice, but we all know that Billy Ray was into line-dancing and line-dancing only.
  • We post this:

Seven Minutes In (Comedy) Heaven

Kristen Wiig

In another life, Kristen Wiig makes soup in California.

Thursday

  • Miley spells L.A. “El Lay.” Undoubtedly the worst and most embarrassing thing she’s done all week, but hey, I’m just glad all the creative spelling choices I made at 20 aren’t out there for everyone to see.
  • We post this:

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Call The Midwife

First things first. The show is called “Call the Midwife,” and the promotional images feature nuns on bicycles. This probably sounds great if you’re into the whole tea-and-twee thing, but I promise there’s a broader appeal to it if that’s not your thing. I’d venture to say if you like Downton Abbey, Grey’s Anatomy, or Orange Is The New Black, you should give Call The Midwife a try.

Friday

  • Robin Thicke’s parents (including Alan Thicke, tv father of us all) bemoan Miley’s little dance, forgetting that their married 37-year-old son was totally in on it? Ugh, nevermind…
  • We post this:

Liveblog: Escape From Polygamy

MM officially ties the knot with her old guy husband, in a creepy way which involves dresses that look like Lane Kim’s from Gilmore Girls before Lorelai altered it. What’s even worse is that the guy’s latest wife, so his third, is the one that “gives away” the new wife. Polygamy, y’all.

Live Blog: Escape From Polygamy

Ah, another week another ridiculous Lifetime movie. Now I don’t watch anything on Lifetime to know that this movie even existed, but I was flipping through Entertainment Weekly and this was a featured item on their TV guide. All I read was the title and I knew I had to report on it.

I went in not really knowing anything, but this description per the TV info: “Deeply in love, a young man and woman plan to run away from their polygamous community and its leader.”

Yeah, because that gave me more information than I had before. Anyways, the only name I recognize is Mary McCormack, who played Kate Harper on the later seasons of The West Wing, and is making her polygamy debut as the mom, Leann. The rest are relative unknowns, which I suppose is good, because I always get distracted with that kind of thing, especially in movies such as this (see: Sharknado Live Blog & the dad from Home Alone).

Alright, polygamy. Let’s do this.

Meeting the family

Mary McCormack/Kate and her daughter Julina get picked up on the side of the road by an old guy in a truck – on purpose. He’s MM’s new husband, to which Julina responds, “He’s old.” MM says, “He’s my salvation. The Prophet doesn’t make mistakes.”

Okay, so this is supposed to be like Warren Jeffs, then? Got it.

Warren Jeffs 101

Founder of the  Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church)

Called the ‘President and Prophet’ of the ‘church’. He was the one who assigned the (polygamist) marriages within the community, no matter how old or if they were related

It was reported that Jeffs himself had 70 wives

In 2006, he was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List for fleeing Utah to avoid getting arrested from charges stemming from his alleged arrangement of illegal marriages between the adult males & underage girls in the community.

He was arrested last that year and in 2007, he was charged with 8 more counts, including sexual conduct with minors and incest. He was eventually convicted of 2 counts of rape as an accomplice and sentenced to 10 years to life. But apparently there were incorrect jury instructions so the conviction was overturned.

Buttttt, he was sent to Texas, where he was found guilty of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault of children in a FLDS owned West Texas ranch in 2009. He was sentence to life plus 20 years in prison.

Speaking of The Prophet, we are introduced to him when a whole gang of kids run down a dirt road following another pickup truck (vehicle of choice in the town of Hillcrest?) and they’re all yelling, “Daddy! Daddy!” That’s not creepy at all. What Is creepy is when he introduces himself to Julina and it’s as if he’s eyeing her to be his own wife.

MM officially ties the knot with her old guy husband, in a creepy way which involves dresses that look like Lane Kim’s from Gilmore Girls before Lorelai altered it. What’s even worse is that the guy’s latest wife, so his third, is the one that “gives away” the new wife. Polygamy, y’all.

Julina meets Ryder

Per my research, this movie was actually supposed to be titled Ryder and Julina, but because it’s on Lifetime, it has to be called something that’s juuuust scandalous enough to garner your attention. So Ju goes climbing on this big ass mountain and finds Ryder sitting pensively with his shirt all unbuttoned – a big no no in the community. Obviously. Sparks are flying everywhere and at her mother’s ‘wedding’ the two dance all romantic and kiss in the wedding barn.

I’m starting to think that this is a play on Romeo and Juliet except without you know, all the polygamy. Besides the obvious R(omeo/yder) + J(uliet/ulina) similarity, there was a window involved, frequent flirty glances at each other, etc. etc. Not related to R+J, but they are communicating by cell phone. Like a flip phone with T9. What year is it??? And are they allowed to have cell phones??

After an awkward inappropriate hair touching scene in a church service, we find out that Ryder is The Prophet’s son. Ah, star-crossed lovers if you will. To make matters worse, The Proph tells his Ryder that God told him he’s the next in line to be The Proph but he clearly doesn’t like this news…

The Revelation

In a really unsurprisingly turn of events, creepy Proph tells Ju that God has sent her to Hillcreek for a reason – to be his next wife. FYI she’s like 16.

Obvs, Ju starts to freak out and goes to Ryder for help, but his efforts seem wasted. He goes to confront his dad about this new revelation, and The Proph doesn’t back down (and even slaps his son), telling him that he and Julina are moving down to Mexico to start a new community. Mexico? Really? Because starting a polygamist community in Mexico is exactly what the country needs right now.

The Proposal

Both The Proph and MM are soooo gung ho about this new venture, so much so that Ju’s supposed to get married in ONE WEEK. Listen, you can take all the 200+ family members in this family and still wouldn’t be able to pull that off. I guess under these standards, all you need is a nasty wedding dress and a barn. Are barns like symbolic of something in the polygamist world or something?

Anyways, to try to stop the marriage, Ryder proposes to Ju and she says yes. They then seem to have their ‘wedding’ later that night in the same barn, but pretty sure it’s not legal since there is no officiant and no witnesses. Then they have sex and a bed suddenly appears. Taking a page right out of The Notebook, folks (if that empty house was a barn).

One of Ju’s sisters, Esther, creeps on them in the barn, saying ‘it’s a sin!’ before running away like a little bitch. Loose lips sink ships, Esther.

And a Baby Makes Three (or 20)

Shit’s going down now. The next day, Esther runs to Ju, and while she’s trying to convince her not to tell anyone about her and Ryder, there’s a cut to Esther’s feet and water coming down it. Um, yeah. she’s pregnant (note, Esther is also 16 years old-ish). She says, “The Prophet’s blessed us both now. Once he sees this baby, maybe he’ll take me for his next wife. Don’t tell him I want it to be a surprise.”

what the what??

Esther is legit hemorrhaging because of this baby, and The Proph comes in, says they can’t take her to the hospital. Basically, he’s all save the baby, idec about Esther. Hey how about we address the fact that you committed statutory rape?? Unfortunately his wish came true and Esther dies while her baby girl has to live in this messed up family.

Parenting 101

The Proph takes Ryder on a long ass road trip to the middle of no where and leaves him there because he finds out about Ryder and Ju (thanks, Esther). The Proph tells him that ‘Julina must give birth to a prophet a prophet he’ll never be.’ Yeah, okay that sounds like a great idea.

The Proph drives off to conduct the memorial service for Esther, and has the balls to blame it on someone else. “Help us learn our lesson from this immoral girl and the wicked boy who seduced her into sin.” Aka me. I seduced her into sin. He’s an asshole, basically.

Ju is NOT happy about that and ran the eff out of there. When confronted by The Proph, he tries to kiss her and she pushes him off and runs to her house to pack her bags and leave for good. Except some large men say she attacked The Proph and drag her away to The Proph’s house and won’t let her leave.

Sin City

Meanwhile Ryder is still on his Moses walk through the deserts of Utah, and somehow finds himself in Las Vegas. They filmed this scene as if he’s on an acid trip or something, because honestly it would probably be like that if you went from polygamy country to Sin City.

Earlier in the movie, Ryder shows off this postcard of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign from his friend Micah. So he finds the sign that’s in a “sketchy neighborhood” (in reality it’s on a meridian at the end of The Strip and not sketchy at all), and starts knocking on doors until he finds Micah. Because this is the movies, it’s the third door he knocks on. And also because it’s the movies, this guy is a third rate version of Emile Hirsch and Shane West put together.

Micah had a similar situation in that he didn’t run away from the community, but The Proph got a couple of guys to beat him up and drop him off in the middle of nowhere, and that’s how he got to Las Vegas. Also, Micah might be gay, which I’m assuming is also a big no no in their community. Ok he actually might be a male prostitute after he ‘jokingly’ came on to Ryder and took a line of coke. Not that doing coke and being gay is mutually exclusive.

The Escape (from Polygamy)

Micah agrees to help Ryder by going back to Hillcreek and save Ju from marrying The Proph, despite an outcry from some guy who says he runs an organization for ‘lost boys.’  They head back and Micah is the one who’s gonna sneak in and get Ju. He creeps in and doesn’t see her in her room, because she’s in the corner with her wedding dress bawling her eyes out.

Ju, probably. If should could drink.

MM wants to say goodbye to Ju before The Proph marries her and takes her to Mexico, and after a few stern ‘No’ from him, he finally agrees…

Which is good timing because Ju just ripped a piece of her wedding dress off to hang herself with. MM walks in and sees her lifeless body, and they take her body out and put it in the back of a pickup truck.

Micah sees this, but some of the guys catch him lurking and run after him. They catch him and bring him back to talk to The Proph, who tells his thugs to send him to “the canyon” which is obviously the place where people go to die. Micah escapes yet again but this time he is stopped by old man – the guy Ju’s mom is married to, whose first wife is Micah’s mom. make sense?

Ryder, who knows nothing about Ju yet, hears someone coming to the barn and it’s The Proph who attacks him with a metal bar, telling him it was his fault he didn’t stay away from Ju when he said to and now she’s dead. Just as he’s about to hit him and kill him for good, Ju comes running in – because PLOT TWIST her mom made her fake her death so she could leave the community – and The Proph is all “I thought you were dead” and she was all, “Well Jesus isn’t the only one who can rise from the dead!” (<- not verbatim) She’s about to hit him when old guy shoots him with a gun and Ryder miraculously wakes up. SHAKESPEARE.

The Aftermath

With The Proph dead, old guy turns into the next  Prophet, but he decides to make the community all wholesome again, and only do the polygamy thing. Micah is apparently accepted back into family, essentially giving up his dreams and day job of being a gay prostitute? TBH, I’d rather be a gay prostitute.

MM willingly takes Ju and Ryder to meet the lost boys guy to meet in the middle of the desert so they can live a life together in peace.

Random Thoughts:

“This whole thing’s crazy.” um yes, it is.

“t’s a sin…” “So let me sin again.” Shakespeare? Is that you? I used to watch Romeo + Juliet at least once a week when I was in sixth grade, don’t even play.

The music in this movie is akin to the stuff you would hear in a coffee shop in a small town or like Providence, Rhode Island near all the Brown students. Or if you turned on the Coffee House station on Sirius XM. Or if you put together all the Best Of songs from Zach Braff’s movies.

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Call The Midwife

First things first. The show is called “Call the Midwife,” and the promotional images feature nuns on bicycles. This probably sounds great if you’re into the whole tea-and-twee thing, but I promise there’s a broader appeal to it if that’s not your thing. I’d venture to say if you like Downton Abbey, Grey’s Anatomy, or Orange Is The New Black, you should give Call The Midwife a try.

This show follows Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine – and narrated in the present day by Vanessa Redgrave), a young midwife working in East London in the late 1950s. Jenny lives at a nursing convent, so her colleagues are a mix of old nuns and young nurses. The East End was super-poor at the time, and super-fertile as well, apparently. So, what does this all have to do with Downton, Grey’s, and OITNB?

Downton Abbey

Let’s start with the obvious. These shows are both set in England in the past. The thing is, although the late 50s is usually considered a pretty modern era, the East End was still struggling to recuperate from World War II, and the area had a lot more in common with Downton in the teens and 20s than modern London.

Then, there’s the class thing. Jenny’s from somewhere in the comfortable classes, and she has good intentions to help out in the East End. Like plenty of well-intentioned 22-year-olds before her, though, she can’t help but feel a little judgmental towards some of the less-privileged folks she meets. You can see her journey from sympathy to empathy as the seasons progress. Then there’s Chummy, a nurse from the upper-upper class who seems to only make positive assumptions about everyone she meets. There’s also plenty of screen time given to the patients from the East End, and not all of them are exactly fawning over the upper-class nurses. The nuns, of course, are sort of in a class all to themselves. If you want to see how the upstairs-downstairs thing would play out 40 years down the line – say, when Ethel’s and Mary’s children are adults – you should probably watch this.

Grey’s Anatomy

… or E.R… or Chicago Hope… In many ways, Call The Midwife is a historical medical drama. There’s none of the mystery of House, because – surprise! – all of the patients are pregnant. Nevertheless, Call The Midwife follows a different patient or two each episode. Of course, sometimes a more compelling patient will show up again later on.

I should mention that childbirth is really not my thing, but you don’t see any of the gory details. If you think medical problems and procedures are interesting, but can’t stomach too much blood and guts, this is a good bet.

Sometimes, Call The Midwife reads as a love letter to the NHS. It kind of feels like that kid in fourth grade who would brag about having an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and you’d be like “you don’t really have to brag about it, I was already jealous of you.” But don’t mind me, I just have a high-deductible plan and am bitter about it.

Orange Is The New Black

I’m sure there’s some sort of analogy there between nuns and prisoners, but that’s not exactly what I mean. I mean, there’s this great, diverse group of characters, and you get to learn about every one. Everyone – nuns, nurses, or  disadvantaged patient – is presented on equal footing. You don’t get the full backstory of every character, but between the writers and the actors, everyone does such a wonderful job of presenting each character as a full, complex person.

If you want to watch Call the Midwife, act fast. Season One is on Netflix, but season 2 is only streaming on PBS through September 3. It watches fast, though, because there are only 15 episodes in all. Both seasons (series, they call them in the UK, because they’re just a bunch of cuties) are available on DVD, so hopefully season 2 will make it to Netflix soon.

Seven Minutes in (Comedy) Heaven

With three (soon to be four) SNL cast members not returning this fall, Lorne and co. is on the hunt for the next big sketch comedians. A few names have been released, but most importantly among them is Mike O’Brien – or as he’s being listed now, Michael Patrick O’Brien. Irish much? Mike/Michael has been a part of SNL since 2009, when he audition to be a player on the show, but was ultimately hired to be a writer. Seems like Lorne is changing his mind and putting Mike in the forefront just like he did Tina Fey. So if you’re not already, let’s get acquainted with this guy.

Don’t know who Mike/Michael is? Maybe if you’ve got a keen eye, you’ve seen him on SNL before:

Screen shot 2013-08-24 at 1.03.29 AM

Or you might know him as the guy who hangs out with celebrities in closets and tries to make out with them in the hilarious web series, 7 Minutes in Heaven. He started in 2011, and it’s slowly become popular over the years. He’s interviewed everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to Patricia Clarkson to a Juggalo from the Insane Clown Posse. Here are just a few to get you pumped up for his (reported) debut as a featured player on SNL this September. And yes, kissing is involved…22famous1-articleLarge

Kristen Wiig

In another life, Kristen Wiig makes soup in California.

Amy Poehler

Honestly, some of Amy’s best hat work she’s ever done.

Jason Sudeikis

Jason was Mike’s office buddy at SNL (bc NBC can’t afford to give EVERY cast member & writer their own office), and it looks like that they proved the unimaginable – they got even closer than ever before.

Ellen DeGeneres

Still can’t believe Ellen agreed to do this.

Jack McBrayer

In another world, Jack McBrayer and Mike O’Brien are brothers. In this world they’re two guys who awkwardly kiss in a closet.

John Hamm

Ron Draper is Dick Whitman’s alter ego.

Seth Meyers

In which Mike quizzes Seth in alllll the movies he’s been in and his lines in the said movies.

Paul Rudd

Rudd’s got a lot of experience in kissing men – especially thanks to the Vogelchucks sketch from SNL.

Tina Fey

I know the queen Tina Fey is in this video and everything, but Mike’s pornstache is wayyy too distracting.

How To Be Taylor Swift At An Awards Show

Let’s imagine some kind of Freaky Friday thing happened. Or Big thing. I guess that part depends on your cultural frame of reference. The point is, you are now Taylor Swift, and have an awards show to attend. What do you DOOOO?!

Fortunately, T. Swift follows some hard-and-fast rules for awards show behavior. Follow this guide, and you’ll be all set:

(1) Wardrobe

Wear something sparkly! You can NOT arrive to the red carpet on the back of a unicorn or a pegasus. God knows you’ve tried. Sparkles are the next-best thing.

See, e.g.:

If you look like your kid sis is on Toddlers and Tiaras, your uncle invented the bedazzler, and your grandmother was a fairy duchess ( a step down from a fairy princess, because you’re REAL, y’all), you’re doin’ it right.

(2) Red Carpet

Posing:

  •    Arch your back waaay back on one side. Untreated scoliosis is to the 2010s as deportment classes were to the 1930s.
  • Smile with your eyes, and a liiiitle bit with your mouth. Channel the Mona Lisa or a middle schooler trying to conceal that she’s chewing gum in study hall. Resist the urge to smile widely. You have to rest your face for later — you have a lot of expressions to make.

Interviews:

  • You may want to mention something that makes you seem endearing and goofy. You will not SAY “oh, little ol’ me!”, but it will be an undercurrent in all that you say and do.
  • Other topics: people who used to make fun of you, boys who have broken your hearts, kittens.

(3) Performance

Are you performing tonight? Sit on a stool (or dance around and get rained on), then sing your song in a way that sounds absolutely NOTHING like it does on the album. As in, the key is here, and you are waaaaaay over there. Try not to get too down on yourself when the applause afterwards sounds like a slow-clap.

(4) Awards:

Win:

  • YOU ARE SO SURPRISED. Practice a face of utter, overjoyed, humbled amazement. If getting an award doesn’t surprise you at this point – and it shouldn’t – now is your chance to do some acting. Imagine this: a beautiful pegasus flies from under a rainbow. It lands at your feet, kneeling before you, and doffs its cap. Under the cap is a tiny orange kitten. The kitten is a swashbuckling pirate with an eye patch and a tiny sword. He presents you with a single, perfect, miniature rose. What kind of face would you make if that happened to you?

  • Now it’s time for your speech. Spend the first 10-15 seconds making your  surprised face. You deserve it. You’ve practiced so hard.
  • You should refer to yourself as blessed and humbled, whether explicitly and implicitly.
  • For extra Swift Points, please mention your mom, God, or your fans.
  • If you’re going for bonus points, please call out either an ex-boyfriend or mean girls from junior high.
  • Is it an ex you dated for such a short time that most ladies your age would have to think for 30 seconds before being like “oh yeah, that guy I was seeing for a little while?” So much the better.

Lose:

If you don’t win, you have to look like you’re excited for the person who did. Not just “okay with it,” but actually excited. Use Justin Guarini as your guide:

The smile doesn’t have to reach your eyes.

Draw:

  •  If you win, but someone interrupts your speech, this is the best-case scenario EVER. You don’t need to say anything at the time, but you also don’t need to shut up about it anytime in the next four years. Great songwriting fodder.

.

(5) After:

– Don’t be photographed doing anything unseemly or embarrassing at the after parties. Say what you will about TSwift, she is really great at avoiding appearing shambly-drunk in public.

I hope you realize that while you’re being Taylor Swift At An Awards Show, Taylor Swift is being you. That means she gets to watch one of these things from her couch with a bowl of popcorn, her cat, and some pajamas. Despite all her “blessed and surprised” faces, I bet she’d like that, sometimes.

Oh. Feel free to leave her some notes about your ex-boyfriends. She’ll probably write some songs about them during the commercial breaks. They might sound insipid, but they’ll be catchy as hell, you’ll be singing along in spite of yourself, and Taylor Swift will have yet another awards show to attend in a few months.

5 Things You Missed At The VMAs

Missed the VMAs yesterday? Don’t worry, because I got you covered. And it’s probably for the best because there was a good amount of people on the red carpet that I had absolutely NO IDEA who they were. I am old.

Also, before I go into the top moments from the show, can I just share something that’s annoyed me since I started watching this awards show back in the day? WHY is it called the VMAs – as in Video Music Awards? Shouldn’t it be MVAs – Music Video Awards?? Someone from MTV get back to me on that.

Anyways, the storied “VMAs” headed back to NYC and for the first time were held in Brooklyn at Barclay’s Center – aka the place where Jay Z’s basketball team plays. To me, MTV goes hand in hand with New York, probably because of the TRL days, so it’s great that the show was back in the Big Apple.

People are probably going to be talking about things that happened during the show, so here’s a breakdown of the things that went down on Sunday so you can talk to your 20-year-old co-worker/intern about what happened…

5) Amen! Hallelujah! Praise Yeezus

^click for video^

Kanye is on hand (without North or Kimmy K) to sing Blood on the Leaves. He starts off with a red light on his face as he raps into a mic, and then pans out to show just his shadow against this background, and it’s actually really great. Just him performing without all the extra shit. If anyone saw him on Kris Jenner’s show on Friday, he talked about how he went to art school, had three scholarships, and considers himself an artist above anything else. This performance just proved it.

4) Taylor Swift is still an asshat (see here)

So the very first award of the night is for Best Pop Video. Presenting is One Direction, and among the nominees is Selena Gomez. If you haven’t put it together yet, Selena is BFF with Taylor (hence them sitting next to each other) and Taylor used to “date” Harry in 1D (the most famous one with the brown shaggy hair). As 1D was talking, the cameras went to Taylor and Selena, and Taylor said this:

You first.

Selena incidentally won the award, and politely kissed Harry on the cheek.

Later, Taylor won the award for Best Female Video, and said this during her speech:

When winning Best Female Video, Taylor says, “I want to thank the person who inspired this song – who knows exactly who he is – because now I got one of these.”… CUT TO HARRY STYLES LOOKING AWKWARD.

TAYLOR YOU ARE 23 YEARS OLD. GET IT TOGETHER. Even Selena’s over your complaining – look at her face. You always make it look like you’re the victim, but here you are standing in front of the world practically bullying your ex-boyfriend. Just a simple ‘thank you’ would have been sufficient. The girl really needs to learn the art of letting go…

3) Lady Gaga out Gagas Gaga

Gaga opens the show and the very first sight you see of the MTV VMAs is this:

And then this:

 Okay Stefani, you look creepy even for Lady Gaga standards. You look like an extra on a kids’ daytime show like the Teletubbies or something. But if you’re not disturbing by that sort of thing, watch the whole performance.

Oddness aside, I appreciated the fact she kicked off her performance by singing without overproduced beats in the background and just showcasing her voice. But then she broke out into Applause. Through a series of quick on stage costume changes she kind of goes through her discography from Poker Face to Telephone and finally to Artpop. Also all her dancers look like Mike Myers’ Sprockets sketch from SNL.

PS: Another reason to love Gaga despite her odditties – when One Direction won for Song of the Summer, apparently people were booing, and she was not okay with it. She even told the boys themselves.

2) Miley Cyrus twerks with Robin Thicke

click on image for the performance that will damage your brain

First off Vanessa Bayer shows up with her Miley Cyrus impression and it’s the best thing to happen so far (you know, like 20 mintues in). If you wanted more Miley twerking besides that one video of her in a onesie, here it is. Miley’s been toting around this huge stuff bear Boo (like the one in the video), and now the entire stage is filled with bears. Miley breaks out into We Can’t Stop in her furry swimsuit and her mohawk pulled into tiny buns like Gwen Stefani during the Tragic Kingdom days.

Incidentally, this was at the VMAs in 1998

And then she sheds the furry thing off to reveal a bathing nude bikini akin to the girls in the Blurred Lines video, and she begins to twerk on Robin Thicke while they duet on his song. I am uncomfortable, mainly because Hannah Montana should be wearing more clothes and not humping a married man that maybe could be her dad. If Liam hasn’t broken up with her yet, he should now.

But really, the audience reactions were the best. And they were more or less the same.

if your eyes haven’t burned out yet…

Drake bobbin his head, but not being able to actually look at her out of longterm damage

Second hand embarrassment from 1D and high as a kite Rihanna barely understanding what’s happening and if Miley is stealing her moves

Jaden’s face is usually like that, but entirely appropriate for this occasion…

1) Justin Timberlake proves he’s meant to be a solo artist aka *NSYNC reunites

look into JT’s eyes & click the pic for video!

First off, my boy Jimmy Fallon is (fittingly) giving this award to JT. We start off in the lobby and it looks like a love lip dub – and ironically similar to the opening number Jimmy did at the Emmys a few years ago. Basically I just want a posse of dancers to follow me everywhere I go. He then goes into an epic medley of his greatest hits and it is amazing. I had the chance to go to the Legends of Summer tour at Fenway Park in Boston a couple weeks ago, and it was seriously the best concert I’ve ever been to. I think sometimes we forget that JT has so many hits until he sings them in succession and you end up knowing every single word to all his songs. That’s a legend right there. At the VMAs, he spent a minute or two cover a bunch of his hits, making each one seem like its own mini concert.

And then came *NSYNC. Too bad they couldn’t keep that a secret, because it would have been awesome to be surprised when these four other guys joined him on stage. But I get it – they wanted to make sure they got the *NSYNC fans to watch – slash any viewers they could get. Speaking as a Backstreet Boys fan, I even felt like they could’ve been up there longer. But as my friend Meghan (a *NSYNC fan) said, ‘Pretend you hadn’t seen BSB for 10 years. That 90 seconds was well worth it.’ So I suppose the 90 seconds was better than nothing. But at least they came out singing songs I actually liked (Gone, Girlfriend). Chris proved that he should’ve been training for this reunion since the day they broke up because boy needed to keep up with the rest of the group (also, apparently Chris’ trap door failed…). And what was with JC sneaking in a riff at the end? But since JT wasn’t done, the four others went back on their platforms, and slowly descended back down into the pit of being in Justin Timberlake’s shadow.

JT continues his 20 minute medley and the cameras keep showing Taylor Swift singing and dancing in the audience. Okay, so at the Grammys and the CMAs (or country like awards show) they kept doing the same thing and showed TSwift awkwardly dancing. THIS IS A FORMAL PETITION TO START BANNING HER FROM DANCING AT ALL AWARDS SHOWS. NAY, THIS IS A PETITION TO STOP ALL PRODUCERS OF AWARDS SHOWS FROM SHOWING HER IN THE AUDIENCE EVER. I WANT TO SEE AS MUCH JT AS POSSIBLE. GOOD DAY SIR.

Finally it comes to an end and Jim Jam comes back on the stage hyped as ever and legit going to lose his voice from pumping up JT so much. Worth it. Bros ❤ JT is as humble as ever, even thanks his boys of *NSYNC for being the reason why he was up there in the first place. “I don’t deserve this ward but i’m not gonna give it back” Fair.

Honorable Mentions

 – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis promote equality with Mary Lambert and Jennifer Hudson. Those harmonies between the ladies tho.

Katy Perry roars under the Brooklyn Bridge. NGL, I love that song. I felt like I could wrestle a lion after that.

– A collective ‘Who da fuck is that??’ from all the millennials who were tuning in to see the *NSYNC reunion.

ICYMI: I Workout

Look, we all know it’s not easy to lose weight. But you know what doesn’t help? ‘Diet foods’ that are so useless that we might as well just give these companies money in exchange for air, because honestly, it would taste better than some of these foods.

World’s Worst Diet Foods (and what they taste like)

The phrase “diet foods” is really a misnomer, and we all know it. These aren’t foods that you eat while trying to lose weight — at least, not for everybody. Instead, these are lower-calorie approximations of real foods. In college, finding these foods was like a hobby. It was probably the only hobby I’ve had that was even a little useful, actually. Considering a typical college Saturday would find me getting a diner breakfast sandwich at noon, snacking on Goldfish crackers while watching afternoon tv, getting Chinese for dinner, drinking until 2 a.m., then getting pizza and garlic knots — well, a few aspartame-laden cancer puddings probably offset things. Having the rapid-fire metabolism of a 19-year-old didn’t hurt, either.

So, yeah, diet foods are not really foods for being on a “diet.” And — well — they’re not really foods in the traditional sense. They’re factory produced food-equivalents. These are the worst of them:

Better’n Peanut Butter

What could be better than peanut butter?! I don’t know. Probably not this shitty spread that was made of like 50% crushed peanuts and 50% crushed hopes and dreams. Maybe, if I weren’t expecting this to be a little bit like peanut butter, it would have been okay. Maybe if my expectations were more on-point, it wouldn’t have tasted like peanut butter cut with plain gelatin and desperation. Just call this Creamy Self-Loathing Spread instead, and I’d be all over it.

Diet Bread

At 45 calories a slice, it’s better not to think about this as bread in a traditional sense. After all, it does taste like reconstituted sawdust. It’s more of a vehicle — a vehicle to make it easier to swallow egg salad, sliced turkey, or your self-esteem.

So to make you feel better about your diet and fitness routine, we’re bringing back a post about going to the gym. It may not always be fun to go, but at least you’ll have a story to tell when you leave.

Characters From My Gym

Judging from how many long, unnecessary stares I get at my gym, people are there for one reason and one reason only: fitness. Hahahah no. People watching. And as annoyed as I get when I can tell that somebody is, let’s be honest,  mentally re-dressing me in more clothing with their eyes, I probably do it too. It’s only natural. You are in a room with dozens of other people, or, if I go by smell alone, HUNDREDS of unwashed people. Nobody is really paying too much attention to how they look, because they’re focused on the task at hand. You’re watching humans in their unnatural habitat. It’s like putting land  lions in the sea lion tank at the zoo or something. Just fascinating.

If you are nervous about working out and think that people at your gym will judge you, the answer is probably no. There is a very, very small population that is so ridiculous-looking that, rest assured, nobody will even glance your direction. These people are doing a public service, and in this post, I salute them:

* Uncle Olsen

There’s this guy at my gym who looks like an extra from Little House On The Prairie. What I mean is, he looks like he’s trying to be from the 1800s, but as interpreted as a man from the late 1970s. I’m not calling him Pa Ingalls, because he doesn’t look like Michael Landon, but he looks like he could be a tertiary character. Nellie Olsen’s visiting uncle, maybe. He is about 50-something, tall, lanky, but kind of seems like he’d be handy at welding or whittling, or a-workin’ on the railroad. The primary feature, though? Long, fluffy, glorious mutton-chop sideburns, clearly maintained with as much love and care as his quads and triceps. He probably knows a lot of folk songs.

* Regina Phalange

She grips the arms of the elliptical with fingers spread so far apart that they look like the wingspan of a proud bald eagle. That shit looks almost dislocated. I probably would never notice this, but she tends to work out near me.

* The Ridiculously Attractive Nerd Couple

I had seen this one couple several times, and I always thought “aww, it’s so cute that those two such nerdy people have found true love. It really gives me hope.” Then, one day the nerdy boy walked by me, and oh my GOD. Nerd boy was attractive. Like really, really good looking, just with glasses, like a girl who falls in love because she was tricked in a teen movie. So I started to wonder how the heck the nerd girl landed him, until she took the elliptical next to me one day. Good Lord. She is the most beautiful lady-nerd I’ve ever seen. I think that, as a couple, they have adopted geek chic as a defense mechanism against a world that will otherwise never leave them alone, because for real, they are one ridiculously attractive nerd couple.

* Androgynous Gym Girl

AGG belonged to my college gym, and she was my arch-nemesis. Somehow, although my college was the crown jewel of the SUNY system, the gym facilities were pretty paltry my first few years. They weren’t free to on-campus students, and there were not a lot of machines. There was a strict time limit on the exercise machines for that reason. But did androgynous gym girl care? No. She would spend like 50, 60 minutes over her welcome on that g-d elliptical. My friends and I devised an elaborate back-story that AGG was so fitness-minded that she only ate foods in bar and shake form. And I don’t think that her androgynous style was any sort of a nod to gender identity or anything, I just think she wore whatever was most practical, and if that makes you look like Peter Pan, so be it. But with Matrix sunglasses. And I say Peter Pan because she resembled nothing so much as a 9-year-old boy — I’m like 5’2 or 5’3 and positively towered over her.

* Go Go Gadget Neck

That girl that stands next to you and tries, Inspector Gadget style, to extend her neck so that she can see what is on your machine. For real girl, if you are that curious about what I weigh, I will just tell you.

Saturday Spotlight: It’s All About Popular

Every person, show, song, and food we wrote about this week fell somewhere on the great continuum of popularity. See, the world of popular culture resembles nothing more than a middle school cafeteria, and it’s good to know at which table everyone sits. If you like what you see, click the link to view the full post:

 

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Degrassi: Those Kids Who Everyone Used To Like But Who Became Uncool Somewhere Along The Way

In elementary school everyone used to hang out together, pretty much. Then, seventh grade hit and some of the more unfortunate kids got re-sorted to the bottom of the heap. Degrassi used to be the king of Canadian television. How the mighty have fallen.

Degrassi TNG: Where Are They Now.

Adamo Ruggiero – Marco Del Rossi

Marco was in a “gay-themed Christmas flick” called – wait for it – Make The Yuletide Gay. And you KNOW the producers went back and forth on that title and something with donning “gay apparel” for weeks. It was NOT gay-themed Christmas porn, which the title made me worry about a little. I guess people liked it, because a sequel is forthcoming.

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Bill Clinton: The Student Council Table

Remember those kids who knew and loved everyone and whom everyone seemed to know and love? They were like the charismatic politicians of Junior High, which is probably why most of them ended up on student government. See how everyone loves Slick Willy:

Bill Clinton Converses With Celebrities

Bill Cosby: Now sir…. have you heard the joke about the penguin and the spaghetti… Jerry Seinfeld: What’s the deal with the spaghetti? Billy C: I honestly have no idea what either of you are saying right now.

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Orange Is The New Black: That Kind Of Weird Alternative Kid Who Everyone Thinks Is Cool Because He Discovers All The Cool Stuff Before Everyone Else

OITNB doesn’t have the viewership of shows that actually appear on, you know, television. Still, it’s the darling of every television critic, blogger, and all of the people on my Facebook feed.

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Orange Is The New Black

Quick plot summary: Based on a true story, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is a yuppie, Connecticut-raised, New York City resident who is engaged to her fiance, Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs). In the pilot, she is sentenced to a women’s correctional facility after being convicted of carrying drug money for drug smuggler Alex Vause (Laura Pepon) – who also happens to be her ex-girlfriend. Piper is introduced to an eccentric group of fellow inmates, and learns the ropes of living in jail.

I think what makes this show special is that although Piper is the main character and the story revolves around her, the magic of the show is the outstanding ensemble of actors that come together to create a group of people you care about – even though they are all criminals. Besides Piper, I believe, you get to know each person before it is revealed what they did in order to spend time in prison. We get to know these characters on a human level, not a criminal one.

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All Of These Popular Songs: That Girl Who’s Popular But Nobody Can Figure Out Why Because She’s Not Nice, Or Anything, Or Funny, Really, Or Even Pretty

Sometimes a song comes on the radio, and you can’t help but cringe at how awful it is. Then, you notice the song getting more and more airplay, and you get confused and frustrated. Do other people like this? Am I supposed to like this? Maybe, like in middle school, nobody else really gets it either.

Playlist Of The Month: Songs That Need To Not Be Popular

Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey

Here’s the problem, Lana Del Rey: you are WAY too depressing for me. Every time I listen to one of your songs I feel like I need to take a Prozac after it. The words Summertime and Sadness shouldn’t even be in the same sentence.  AND there’s also a remix dance version that’s being played on the radio and it’s still not peppy enough for me to dance around in the club to it. Not that I even dance in clubs anymore.

Playlist of the Month: Songs That Need To Not Be Popular

If you listen to the radio at all, you’re familiar with a bunch of pop songs that are played way too much. And by too much, I mean played at all. For every good pop/guilty pleasure song, there’s another tune that doesn’t deserve to be put on repeat in cars or boom boxes across the country.

Here are a few of our picks for songs that should not be played as much as they are – so we’re just going to tell you about them so you can listen to them even more.

{Listen to all the tracks on Spotify!}

Traci’s Picks

We Are Never Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I strongly dislike Taylor Swift. So is it any surprise that she would be on my list? As I’ve stated previously, she does make catchy tunes (see: the time I listened to Trouble while singing outloud and shaking my head in shame). However while many point to her outstanding lyrical skills, I don’t think you can qualify this track for ‘Song of the Year’ at the Grammys. For any TSwift superfans that may be reading this in outrage, I’ll point out that this song earned her a ‘Record of the Year’ nom – which is the award for overall production of the track. ‘Song of the Year’ is reserved for the best song in both overall quality and LYRICS. Anyways, I just can’t get behind a track that has the phrase “We are never ever ever ever getting back together… Like, ever.”

Bubble Butt by Major Lazer

Call me crazy, but I am usually not a fan of songs that repeat the same two words over and over again for about 90% of the time, and not to mention, the song is about big booties on women.

In related news, this is the most disturbing video I’ve ever seen. I honestly can’t tell you why I watched all of it, either.

Stupid Hoe by Nicki Minaj

Nicki. I defended you when Super Bass came out, because that song was my JAM. However, this is not. The first two notes irk me so much and then she goes for that long ass “note” about 30 seconds in and I want to stab myself in the eye with some BARBed wire. GET IT???

Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey

Here’s the problem, Lana Del Rey: you are WAY too depressing for me. Every time I listen to one of your songs I feel like I need to take a Prozac after it. The words Summertime and Sadness shouldn’t even be in the same sentence.  AND there’s also a remix dance version that’s being played on the radio and it’s still not peppy enough for me to dance around in the club to it. Not that I even dance in clubs anymore.

Gentleman by Psy

The thing about Psy is… he should have been a one hit wonder. I get why Gangnam Style swept the world. He was a brand new artist from Korea – which besides the cult of K-POP, has not been mainstream in America. You have to hand it to the guy. Create a viral video with a song that only people who speak Korean can understand, and create a stupid dance, and you become a worldwide sensation.

But how did he manage to get a second song so popular? The video has over 500 million views and has broke some kind of YouTube record. Society, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Also, I suggest you watch the video with the sound off, and then ask yourself the question: WHY IS THIS FOOL POPULAR??

Molly’s picks

22 by Taylor Swift

Congratulations, Taylor. You’re 22. That’s great for you, but can you stop being so showy about it?  The only thing you’ve done to earn your relative youth is not dying for 22 years. Time passes all too quickly, and in a blink of an eye you’ll be 27, wondering how it could possibly be fun to dress up like hipsters and make fun of your exes when you can dress up in business casual and internet-stalk your ex’s The Knot profile, instead. From there, it’s just one foot in front of the other until the grave. So, enjoy 22, Tay!

What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

My main issue with this is the logical fallacy. Not knowing she’s beautiful is what makes this girl beautiful, so then the One Directions go and TELL her which I think makes her ugly by the end. Also, I’m pretty sure that if you’re beautiful, you know it. Because people will tell you – like, for instance, One Direction. If you have been waiting forever for a pop tune about a girl with body dysmorphic disorder who eventually gets made ugly by a flock of little British boys, you probably like this song.

Redneck Crazy by Tyler Farr

This summer there was a lot of outrage about Blurred Lines, and I was like “guys, can we please get mad about Redneck Crazy instead, because it’s way worse and also I think Robin Thicke is really appealing?” This song is narrated by a man who was cheated on, so he drives his car to her front lawn, drinks on the hood of his car, shines his headlights through her windows, throws beer cans at her shadows, and is the kind of man “that shows up at your house at 3am.” The last part is the worst. I hate when people use “that” instead of “who.”

Crazy Kids – Ke$ha

All of Ke$ha’s songs sound the same, and she always looks like she slept in garbage then threw glitter at herself. I don’t feel bad for saying that because I think it’s on purpose. Also, I hate that she styles her name with a dollar sign in the middle because typing shift+4 really slows down my typing. This one’s awful because of that part where she whispers “we are the crazy people” and sounds like a pop star from a bad dream — only we’re all far too awake.

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

There’s nothing exactly wrong with this, I’m just sick of it. It sounds like it was recorded to play in one of those dark indoor roller coasters. The band name “Imagine Dragons” sounds like the fake band of three 8-year-old boys who are really into Lego.

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Orange Is The New Black

Raise your hand if you were apprehensive about the idea of Netflix creating original programming. I thought it was a smart idea for Arrested Development to make its big comeback online after the networks gave it the heave ho, but when I heard the people behind Netflix were going to continue their venture into alternative programming, I didn’t really think it was going anywhere.

Boy was I wrong.

I watched House of Cards, thought it was brilliant, and then it gave me hope that Orange is the New Black would be just as good. After hearing from a bunch of people and seeing the fandom grow on Tumblr, I decided to give it a try. And in all honesty, I loved it more than Kevin Spacey looking straight into my soul in House of Cards.

Created by the woman behind Weeds, Jenji Kohan, I knew that if OITNB had any of the same drama/weird comedy her previous show did, it would at least be pretty decent. And for you Weeds fans, I expected it to be as good as at least the first 2 seasons in Agrestic.

Quick plot summary: Based on a true story, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is a yuppie, Connecticut-raised, New York City resident who is engaged to her fiance, Larry Bloom (Jason Biggs). In the pilot, she is sentenced to a women’s correctional facility after being convicted of carrying drug money for drug smuggler Alex Vause (Laura Pepon) – who also happens to be her ex-girlfriend. Piper is introduced to an eccentric group of fellow inmates, and learns the ropes of living in jail.

I think what makes this show special is that although Piper is the main character and the story revolves around her, the magic of the show is the outstanding ensemble of actors that come together to create a group of people you care about – even though they are all criminals. Besides Piper, I believe, you get to know each person before it is revealed what they did in order to spend time in prison. We get to know these characters on a human level, not a criminal one.

Here are just a few of the standout recurring characters from OITNB,

Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson

played by Danielle Brooks

Taystee is probably the liveliest, most energetic inmate in the prison. In fact, she’s so upbeat that she’s the main reason why at times, you forget you’re watching a show that takes place behind bars.  Taystee also is an excellent employee in the prison library (as seen above), which makes me love her even more.

Poussey Washington

Played by Samira Wiley

  Poussey is Taystee’s best friend, and their friendship is one to be jealous of. In a place where the ladies often look to each other for ahem.. sexual relief… Taystee and Poussey’s friendship is endearing, natural, and at its heart – a story two lifelong sisters.

Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett

played by taryn manning

This bitch cray. There’s no other way to describe it. She’s like The Situation or Sarah Palin – you know what they’re saying and doing is wrong, but you can’t help but watch it all go down in flames. Pennsatucky is a former drug addict who turns herself into a self-proclaimed evangelist for God. Except everything she does is not Christian at all.

Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren

played by uzo aduba

Oh Crazy Eyes. She has the most fitting nickname, because all you have to do is look at her. She quickly becomes obsessed with Piper, but things go awry once she tells her she’s engaged – to a man – and does not want to hook up. Let’s just say, don’t get Crazy Eyes mad when she’s had a lot to drink.

Sophia Burset

played by laverne cox

Sophia is a transgender woman who is the hairdresser for many of the inmates. As if living as a transgender isn’t hard enough out in the real world, it’s even more difficult in prison. But Sophia has this exceptional confidence that she always carries that would make any woman – or man – jealous.

Nicky Nichols

played by Natasha Lyonne

I feel like Natasha Lyonne was made for the role. Nicky Nichols is a former drug addict who provides snarky commentary and A+ advice to her fellow inmates.

BONUS: John Bennett

Played by Matt McGorry, Bennett is a correctional officer who is in a secret relationship with inmate Daya. I did not include a picture because I graduated college with him and it’s weird to see his face everywhere. I got freaked out and had to stop searching. But he’s included so I can compare my success in life with his (not as impressive as his).

BONUS x2: The cast members are people you actually want to hang out with IRL. Case in point: TWERKING.

BONUSx3: Even though we’re nearing the end of the summer TV season, there’s still plenty of time to fit in another series before fall TV kicks up again. So after you watch OITNB and are left wondering what to watch, we suggest using this awesome TV show generator to find your next fave series!

Click image to open interactive version (via CableTV.com).