Podcast You Should Be Listening To If You Aren’t Already: 36 Questions

Going to a theater to see a musical? That is SO old school.

With 36 Questions, it’s taking musicals to the next level – an audio only story that you can listen to anywhere at anytime. CRAZY, I KNOW. Yes, the idea of musical podcast is novel in and of itself, however 36 Questions is the perfect piece of art to be the first of its kind in this platform, because it’s… actually good.

What’s It All About

In this three-part podcast musical starring Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton, a couple attempts to bring their marriage back from the brink of divorce using 36 revealing questions designed to make strangers fall in love.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more reasons that hooked me into the pod, and I hope they do for you too!

Groffsauce

Sure, he has the singing voice of an angel, but Jonathan Groff has the type of speaking voice that will make you wonder why you’ve ever listened to anyone else’ dumb voice all these years. The way Groff talks is like a silky blanket gliding over your person in a way that makes you feel fuzzy and warm inside yet slightly aroused. Sure if you’re a Broadway nerd, you’re used to hearing him in your ears on soundtracks like Hamilton and Spring Awakening, but this seems different. It’s more personal. And you can *hear* him acting in a way I’ve never felt before with Groff or any other musical theater soundtracks before. Every breath, every sigh, every silent pause is loud and clear, and it only elevates his performance even more. Also, as a friendly reminder, it’s JONATHAN FREAKING GROFF.

Jessie Shelton

The other half of this 3 hour couple fight is played by Jessie Shelton, who is a relative unknown outside of those who attend a lot of Off-Broadway shows (Hadestown, anyone?). Although you may not know her name, you’ll never forget her voice once you listen to this. At first, you think she has this child-like innocence to her, but there’s a worn-in feeling to her tone that makes you think she’s lived a lot of lives – which is perfect for this role. There’s so much pure and unforced emotion that comes out of Jessie that makes you feel for her with every word. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jessie finally makes it onto Broadway as a breakout star one of these days.

The Score Is Fantastic

There are two masterminds behind 36 Questions: Ellen Winter – a composer and playwright, and Christopher Littler – writer, director and composer. Together, they’ve created music and lyrics that fit perfectly in the contemporary genre along with Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, Edges), Jonathan Larson (Rent, Tick Tick Boom), Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Songs For a New World), and Kerrigan-Lowdermilk (The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown). Groffsauce even has a few jazz-infused numbers that area a great complement to his character.

The Book is Fantastic

36 Questions has a The Last Five Years feel in that there are only two (human) characters throughout the entire musical – and it’s the conversation between two people who know each other so well. This history between them gives the podcast an even more intimate feel, not to mention there are heartbreaking moments, as well as scenes of pure hilarity that really just hit the sweet spot of the dramedy variety that I love so much. Not to mention, this musical was MADE to be a podcast, so it was written with audio only in mind, making each word even more important than the last.

The Play Is Happening In Your Ears

I’ve only really listened to talk show-type podcasts – your Pod Save Americas, your Gilmore Guys, your Serials. None of these have ever had foley artists working on the sound of creaking doors and furniture falling over from a room downstairs. Each individual sound is placed in the podcast for a reason, and it’s so vivid and clear that it actually makes you feel like you’re in a rural house (no spoilies). Podcasts already give a level of intimacy that other entertainment platforms like TV or movies can’t give, but when each sound you hear is intentional, it’s hard not to be drawn into this world.

A Happy Ending?

One of the great things I loved about this story is that I never actually knew how it was going to end. Obviously it’s a will they won’t they situation, but which way would the writers actually go? A three part, three hour musical that keeps you guessing is quite the feat, and one revolving romance? Well you’ll just have to find out if they get their happy ending or not.

Listen to 36 Questions  [subscribe on apple podcasts here or elsewhere]
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TTYL, AIM. LYLAS.

Well, it’s the end of an era. Our childhood is dying and we are all dinosaurs.

Last week, the folks at AOL announced that its trailblazing program, Instant Messenger, would be shutting down for good in December.

Like many millennials, I haven’t used AIM in years, but it was such an integral part to our lives when the internet was just becoming a thing in the late 90s/early 2000s. Before Snapchat, Instagram, GChat, Twitter, Facebook, and kinda before texting, there was AIM. It was social networking before we knew what social networking was. We’d spend all day at school with friends, only to go home and turn on AIM to talk to friends some more. We’d perfect our AIM profiles with the right quotes and shoutout to friends using their initials – it was a precursor to perfect a Facebook profile. It’s where we first learned how to abbrev – “brb”, “a/s/l?”, “nm, u?” etc. AIM let us make our first internet identities with vague SNs (screennames duh) that gave others a hint of our interests and/or hobbies (one of my first ones had “BSB” in it). We’d sneakily put our crush’s SNs on our buddy lists and get giddy when we heard the sound of the door opening and their name flash up on our ~*u kNo wHo*~ buddy list (1/1). If we were super bored, we’d open a new window for Smarter Child and see what they were up to. We’d put up elaborate away messages with way more info than we ever should’ve given out. Or if you’re like me, you’d just keep an away message on 24/7 even though you’re sitting in front of your computer and not, in fact, away.

Because I’m a hoarder of sorts – I like memories, OK – I was one of those people who installed a secondary program which automatically logged conversations with my friends. My archive only goes back to like, 2004 right before I started college, but boy oh boy did I find some gems. Re-reading all these got me thinking – why? Just why? But also, making an away message was like a first generation Facebook status update (IE: “Traci is… really upset that her VCR decided not to tape the last 5 minutes of the American Idol finale.”) It told a story about your mood, what you were doing, where you were doing it, who you were do it with, who you were thinking about while doing the thing – it gave a lot of details away – information superhighway, amirite?? After going through my archives, I noticed a few trends that made AIM the iconic fly trapped in amber that it is. Here are some of my favorite/questionable away messages, not only of my own, but also of some of my friends. Don’t worry, your identities are protected. To reiterate, these are REAL.

Various Ways to “Hit the Cell”

Following the popularity of AIM, cell phones became more and more common, specifically for use of the texting feature, which was basically like a portable version of AIM. So when you couldn’t sit and have a conversation with your friend because you’re in class, hit them on their Motorola Razor and you’d get in touch instantly. But what we needed to put at the end of the away message was the prompt. And as for me, I know I wanted variety. I can’t say, “leave love or hit the cell” all the time. Which is why some popular variations of this included, “cells good”, “hit the digits”, “make it vibrate” “make it ring”, “cell’s avail”, just in case you were confused that my phone WASN’T available. These days I don’t want anyone to contact me at all.

Deep Song Lyrics

“Deep” is a relative term. Here I am using lyrics from underrated Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin'”, which in my defense, was like our high school group’s theme song.

Ashlee Simpson? Yeah I guess I can’t really defend that.

I was a theater nerd. I went to a college with other theater nerds. This is actually too mainstream theater for school standards.

A Convo Between Friends IRL

First off, I’d like to say I was not offended by this conversation. Second, this was what AIM was really for. Having funny convos with friends and showing it off online to your other friends.

A Convo Between Friends on AIM

And the other half is having “hilarious” convos with friends online and copy and pasting into an away message because that’s cool. This isn’t even that funny. But it was funny to us at the time. A majority of our away messages were inside jokes that 5% of your buddy list would understand. But we did it anyways.

Taking a Shower

Like, why? Why did we do this?

Legitimate Schedule of Events

To continue from the shower bit, why? It was certainly a different time in terms of people being able to easily find your information and cyberstalk you, but we got so specific with our schedules. This was my friend’s day as an acting major.

this is my friend/co-worker who specifically asked his friends to call him, because, yes, that’s right, he has a life.

Meanwhile, I also gave a breakdown of the imporatant events in my day – a nightly TV schedule. And the last line isn’t a shout out to my homestate. It’s literally the VH1 reality TV program “I Love New York” featuring Tiffany “New York” Pollard.

Some Kind of Countdown

The away message not only told people when you were away and what you were doing when you were away, but it told a story of your future. Another popular trend was a countdown to whatever event you were looking forward to. “6 Days Until Spring Break!”, “1 More Day Until DF, TW, & SP ARRIVE!”, and “T-Minus 4 days until Project Turkey”, which was a thing I used freshman years of college for a v embarrassing thing.

Elaborate Text Art

I was such a sucker for these. It took creativity and skill to make an elaborate away message, even if it was just a few words (that could’ve been shortened to BRB).

Remember wingdings?! Or was this a webding? I could never tell the difference.

Farewell AIM, we’ll miss you. Put up a good away message for us before you go, ok?

Top 10 Videos That Defined The OG TRL

Today, a new generation of kids will be introduced to Total Request Live, a fan-voted music video countdown show on a network that’s become known for not showing music videos. Of course, for millions of millennials across the country, TRL is a trigger for a time in your life where you either watched it religiously, or didn’t give a shit about the most popular TV show amongst your peers.

For me, I fell into the first category, making it a point to be sitting in front of the TV home alone at 3:30pm, relaxing after school and hoping my faves would make the countdown. I taped it when I wasn’t home, voted multiple times on the phone and online, and true story: was even the “TRL Fan of the Week” in 2002. Carson Daly said my name, my profile was featured on the website, and I use it as the one-line bio for my internet profiles.

Carson Daly not only hosted the show and introduced all the videos, but he interviewed the hottest stars in not just music, but TV, movies and more in the heart of Times Square. Today, Carson is a permanent fixture a few blocks away at The Today Show and the hosts of the new TRL are DC Young Fly, Tamara Dhia, Amy Pham, Erik Zachary and Lawrence Jackson, who are all apparently people that would entice the kids to watch TRL. Oh, but that’s not all. The revamped TRL also includes “content creators” Liza Koshy and the Dolan Twins, while Eva Gutowski, Gabbie Hanna and Gigi Gorgeous will be the show’s social media correspondents. Because it’s 2017. Again, I had to vote for music videos via telephone.

I might be slightly out of touch with the youngins these days and not recognize a lot of the artists on TRL’s new countdown, but what I can tell you is that our TRL featured iconic artists and music videos that defined a generation. Here’s (my) list of top 10 videos that made a huge impact on the show and will always be remembered in the TRL era.

10 – Ricky Martin, Livin’ La Vida Loca

Ah, the song that introduced the Latin heartthrob to anyone that wasn’t a Menudo or General Hospital fan. He was sexy, his songs were catchy, and his bon bon shook that made women (and men) fall intro a trance. Livin’ La Vida Loca is arguably Ricky’s biggest hit, but it helped also reintroduce Latin music into the mainstream again, with stars like Marc Anthony, Shakira and Enrique Igelsias becoming chart-toppers too. The video was a staple on TRL and even won Best Pop Video and Best Dance Video (because there’s a lot of dancing?) at the ’99 VMAs.

9 – Limp Bizkit, Nookie

I admit it: I was a teenybopper. I had an aversion to rock bands (white guys), but jumped on the bandwagon if said rock bands were featured on TRL (or were liked by the boys I had crushes on in middle school). Nookie of course was one of Limp Bizkit’s biggest mainstream hits, but it was also their first number one video on the TRL chart, and I still think Carson Daly had something rigged to get his pal Fred Durst on the show.

8 – Destiny’s Child, Survivor

Destiny’s Child had been around long before Survivor – in fact, the first iteration with Letoya and Latavia made the rounds early on with hits like Say My Name and Bills, Bills, Bills but they hit the jackpot when Michelle came in and because DC3 as we know them today. Survivor was all about strong independent women, and the camo lewk was one that many teen girls attempted to create.

7 – Christina Aguilera, Come on Over

You know what MTV should actually reboot? Making the Video. I specifically remember Xtina giving us a behind-the-scenes look for this music video, which made it all the more exciting to watch when it was on TRL. This era was prime time for pop princesses like Christina, which is why it’s hard to choose just one for her on this list. Genie in a Bottle? Yup. What a Girl Wants. Yessir. Dirrrty? Mhm. I really miss the late 90s.

6 – Kid Rock, Bawitdaba

Listen, I hate that I have to even put Kid Rock anywhere on the blog but here we are. This song still makes no sense to me, but it was catchy and crossed the line of rock/metal/rap that the TRL generation hadn’t really seen before. It deserves a spot on this list, and now I’m done talking about Kid Rock.

5 – Blink 182, What’s My Age Again?

TRL was the accessible way for non-pop pop stars to make it in the mainstream, and Blink 182 took advantage of this by parodying all the pop stars who topped the TRL list. It was meta and it worked and was one of the most iconic videos (I know I keep saying that, but it’s true) of the TRL era.

4 – Britney Spears, Lucky

The real pop queen deserves multiple spots on this list, so like Christina, it was difficult to choose just one. Lucky featured Brit as a Hollywood star who, while she seemed happy, wealthy and healthy on the outside, wasn’t so much on the inside. #2007. I think this best describes the fame that came with her being one of the biggest stars to come out of the TRL era.

3 – Eminem, The Real Slim Shady

There weren’t many (if any) shows in the late 90s/early 2000s that allowed Eminem to be played next to Britney Spears in a daily countdown, but that was also the magic of TRL. Eminem (another one of Carson’s cronies) blew up during this time, and over the course of the decade the show was on, Em was number one nearly 100 times with various songs, so it was clear Slim Shady was the real deal.

2 – *NSYNC, Bye Bye Bye

I have only listened to Bye Bye Bye maybe like 10 times max in my entire life. Why? I was a teenybopper/Backstreet Boys fan who refused to hear *NSync’s biggest hit. I’d turn the station or channel any time it was on and have legit sat down at a wedding because it played at the reception (that happened this past June). But real recognized real. Boy bands dominated TRL, no more so that BSB and *NSync. I couldn’t tell you anything about this video because I’ve never watched it, but I CAN tell you I’m v familiar with the gif of JT as seen in the above still. V FAMILIAR WITH JT.

1 – Backstreet Boys, I Want It That Way

Am I biased? Yes. But am I wrong? Probably not. IWITW is easily the boys’ biggest hit and it was the song that started the mania. By the time their Millennium album released, IWITW was already a huge hit, and to celebrate, BSB took over TRL – and so did their fans who took over Times Square. It was insane. But it also showed the power that fans had over this show. TRL was ours. We felt like we had power in what we wanted to see on TV. We got to see our heroes either on TV or in person with some sort of weird ownership that we hadn’t felt before. And for the next generation’s sake, I hope they feel the same way too.

What To Do If You Can’t Watch Spice World in the Cinemas This Weekend

Across the UK this weekend, thousands of people will to the cinemas to watch special screenings of iconic film Spice World, in honor of its 20th anniversary. Despite the fact it was panned by critics, it made $77 million worldwide and in the U.S. alone, it broke the record for the highest-ever weekend debut for Super Bowl Weekend with $10.5 million. Obviously at the height of Spicemania, it makes sense that it made so much money, but it also had no right making that much money.

It’s one of the most ridiculous movies I’ve ever seen, but it’s also meta, self-aware and just a fun, grand old time. If you’re a millennial who was into the Spice Girls, this movie was an important marker in your personal pop culture history. It wasn’t a Razzie-winning film. It was a movie that defined a generation.

So if you’re in the U.S. and can’t hop over the pond to see it in the movie theater, here are some Spice-inspired ideas that will fill the void.

Listen to the Spice World Album

The second studio album from the Spice Girls wasn’t just a regular album, it was also the soundtrack to the film, since an official movie soundtrack was never released. Just listen to this on loop.

Go to Karaoke and Sing a Spice Girls Song

If the karaoke bar you’re at doesn’t have Spice Girls, you’re at the wrong karaoke bar.

Watch This Meatloaf Video

http://dai.ly/x337wb

Acclaimed actor Meat Loaf played the girls’ bus driver in the movie, but if you don’t know his music, just start with this music video that REALLY tells a story.

Dress Like Your Favorite Spice Girl

Like, obviously, right? The 90s are back in!!

Dress Up As Your Friend’s Favorite Spice Girl

The girls had a ridiculous photo shoot, and ended up dressing in each others’ clothes. Grab a friend and do a switcheroo!

Find Out What Nicola’s Been Up To

She played the girls’ random pregnant friend in a plot line designed to encourage female friendship, and I’ve never seen her in anything ever since. But if you’re British, you might be familiar with Naoko Mori, who has been in shows such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Absolutely Fabulous.

Make a Documentary With Your Friends

Hire a few rando filmmakers looking to add to their sizzle reel and have them follow you around.

Or Watch This Real Spice Girls Documentary

First of all, I’d really appreciate a copy of the fake documentary they filmed in the movie. If that’s not available, just watch this real documentary about the Spice Force Five.

Go to Bootcamp

Get fit and get down get deeper and down just like the SG. Call up Barry’s and tell him you’re on your way in your platform sneaks.

Seek Out Aliens

Probably an easy feat to achieve.

Go to a Gay Club

ICONS.

Play with Toy Buses

… And recreate one of the most epic scenes in cinematic history.

Watch Rocky Horror Picture Show

There are two Rocky Horror alums in Spice World – Richard O’Brien, the creepy tabloid guy in Spice World and the creepy Riff Raff guy in Rocky Horror. Also, Meatloaf. Get a fix by watching another movie musical! Or don’t. In fact I take it all back, don’t watch it.

Watch the movie?

Seriously, just watch it from the comfort of your own home. It’s the best thing you’ll do this weekend, maybe even your life.

 

Unapologetic Minority: Arie For Bachelor

So everyone’s on the same level of excitement about the next Bachelor, right?

ps this is such a horrible pic of a handsome gentleman. the lighting is bad, he’s so awkward with the rose, ugh it’s embar

Ha. I kid, I kid. Ever since Arie Luyendyk Jr. was named the official Bachelor for season 22 earlier this month, a lot of people – members of Bachelor Nation or not  – were exclaiming into whatever device they read the news on and yelled, “WHAT?” and/or “WHO?!”

For those of you who haven’t been following along at home (welcome to an entire post about a reality show you don’t watch), the producers’ pick of Arie was kind of out of left field. Ok, REALLY out of left field. As in, he was a runner-up on The Bachelorette in 2012. He had kind of been in the running a few years ago, but never a real candidate since there were always other guys from more recent seasons who were “better”.

In fact, it’s been a trend for most of the seasons of the franchise to pick the next Bachelor/ette based on one of the finalists from the previous season. EG: Rachel Lindsay, the most recent Bachelorette, was a third-place finisher on season 21 of The Bachelor (featuring Nick Viall, who’s been one two seasons and recently split from the winner/fiancee he picked from his season). Naturally, fans were expecting the next Bachelor to come from Rachel’s batch of bros. But he didn’t. And I’ma break down why:

Dean

Oh Deanie Baby. So Dean had quite the journey on the Bachelorette. As you can see, he’s super cute and is the type of guy who’s always smiling and laughing (a lot of the time to hide the pain). He was the youngest of the finalists at 25, compared to Rachel’s 31. Now Age might be Nothin’ But a Number, but in this case, Rach gave it a try and it turned out – age wasn’t just a number. He still has so much learning to do. For starters, his mom died when he was young, and because of that, he’s had a tense relationship with his dad. Dean made it to hometowns and hadn’t seen his dad in two years. In fact, Rachel’s visit was the first time his entire family had been together in a long time, and knowing Dean had shit to figure out about his own life before dedicating himself to a wife, Rachel sent him home.

But that wasn’t the only problem. The other problem was that Dean signed up for Bachelor in Paradise, the summer show that features past contestants, many of whom weren’t too memorable during their season. In the beginning, Dean hit it off with Kristina, who had been on Nick Viall’s season. They spent a lot of time together during the first week, and during the few weeks the show was shut down (woof that’s a whole other thing) they spent time together off camera. Then when the show went back in production, they kept up their romance – until Danielle Lombard aka D. Lo, showed up. She’s gorge and also from Nick’s season, and Dean zeroed in on her. Obviously, it’s the nature of the show that people can have multiple paramores, but Dean went about it all the wrong way. He kept stringing along Kristina and Danielle, but Kristina eventually got fed up and left on her own accord. At the end of the show Dean admitted to Danielle he made a mistake by letting Kristina go and ended up with no one. Poor choices. And he admitted it. But these BIP love triangle shenans definitely ruined his chances of becoming the Bachelor. After Rachel dumped him, he was a top choice for Bachelor. After this, he barely got any “woos” at the BIP reunion from the audience.

Eric


It’s miracle season, baby! Eric, bless his heart. I was rooting for him the entire season, but knew Rachel was never going choose him. He didn’t become a frontrunner until mid-season, and he admitted he had never even brought a girl home to meet his family before Rachel, so it was obviously a big deal for him. He even professed his love for her! But it didn’t work out and he came in third place, with arguably the best goodbye in Bach history. The thing about Eric is that while he had the heart, he isn’t necessarily the type to become the star of the show, if that makes any sense. It was never really in the cards.

Peter


Oh Peter. TBH, The Bachelorette was never a good fit for you. He had been the frontrunner since the beginning of the season, and everyone expected him to be The One. That is until he admitted to Rachel that he wasn’t sure he could propose to her at the end of their journey. You’re telling me that you have doubts about proposing to a woman you’ve known for like 3 months? ABSURD. JK he’s the most rational human to ever be on the show. Their break-up was heartbreaking and it set up the actual winner, Bryan, to look like he was Rachel’s second choice. But as hot and perfect on paper Peter was for The Bachelor, his beliefs on an engagement – the crux of the show – is the exact reason he needs to find love anywhere else but TV.

Alright, so the three top contenders from Rachel’s season are duds. Now what? You go back in time (because picking a new guy is probs worse) and find other contenders. Jojo’s  (the bachelorette before Rachel) runner-up Robby has been off in Paradise fighting infidelity rumors, and her third place finisher, Luke Pell, was close to becoming the Bachelor but something weird happened and Nick became the Bachelor instead.

Which leads us to Arie. For me, I had watched the first few seasons of the Bachelor franchise then dropped off and got back into it when my job literally forced me to watch it. The season was Emily Maynard’s season aka the season Arie was runner-up. I still maintain it was one of the best seasons of the show. Unlike other seasons where it was clear who they were going to pick between the final two, it was truly a toss-up between Arie and eventual winner Jef. although Jef and Emily called it quits months after the show ended. Either way, Arie, at the time, was a dreamboat. Everyone loved him. Why?

He’s a Good-Looking Dude

It’s been five years since Arie was a prominent character on the show, but he’s still as good looking as he was back then. In fact, he’s got a salt-and-pepper hair situation going on and TBH, I AIN’T MAD AT IT.

He’s a Racecar Driver

Rumor has it that Arie was actually the first choice before Bachelor Chris Soules, but Arie wanted to focus on his racing career. And he’s pretty damn good at it. In fact, he comes from a racing family, since his dad is a two-time Indy 500 winner. Expect to see a tape piece of him slowly coming out of his car in the first ep. And a follow up group date on the track.

He’s Funny

On Emily’s season, there were a bunch of goofballs (which evened out with the number of assholes). And two of the biggest goofballs were Arie and Jef – Emily really enjoyed a guy with humor (sidenote: apparently Jef and Arie aren’t friends anymore and that makes me sad). There are a lot of instances in which Arie was a jokester, including the scene above. And for some reason, these bloopers are always at the forefront of my mind when I think of Arie, maybe because I watched it multiple times when it first aired. Basically, it’s bloopers of Arie giving a video message to Emily (as one of her three finalists) and even Arie realizes how ridiculous it is. WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY HANDS?

He’s Dutch

Like his parents are straight out of Holland. And they all speak Dutch. ::emoji with heart eyes::

Bonus: he has twin brothers who you’re probs going to see at some point during the show.

He Kisses Like This

Arie was known as the hottest kisser to ever be on the franchise and even dubbed “The Kissing Bandit”. Emily couldn’t even stop talking about kissing Arie. I mean, this clip of them on the streets of Croatia is forever burned in my brain. I’d sign up just to experience anything close to this with Arie. Amirite, ladies???

All of these reasons are why I think he’s going to be great as The Bachelor. I know, I feel like I’m in the literal minority here, but I think he’s a great choice. However, he’s definitely going to have to prove it. And I think he’s up to the task. In fact, I think he’ll even make jokes about it in the first episode, reminding people that he was actually on the show.

Of course, his post-bachelor life included dating people like iconic Bach villain Courtney Robertson, but all that drama aside, I think he’s really going on the show to find a wife. He’s 35 and probably feels like he’s ready to settle down for real. And if the process worked before when he fell in love with Emily, he knows he can find it again (hopefully) when the ball is in his court.

So yeah, he might not be Dean, who’s living life as the newest Bachelor alum/Social Media Influencer, and he’s definitely no Peter, who’s in Wisconsin working on his fitness and welcome to give me a call at any time. But he’s someone that has a lot of potential in that he’s working with a blank slate. A lot of fans might not know anything about him and that could be a good thing, but I’m positive they’ll be just as into the show and his love life just like any other season. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Fall 2017 TV Rookies To Watch

It’s that time of year again! Kids are going back to school, and we’re going back to our regularly scheduled programming. Well, new programming that is.

Every year, we break down which fairly new actors in new shows you should pay attention to (see: Chrissy Metz, Bryan Tyree Henry, Donna Lynne Champlin and Priyanka Chopra). This year’s talent is no different, and we can’t wait to see them at work. Which rookies are you most excited to see?

Brandon Micheal Hall {The Mayor}

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Previous Work: Search Party, Broad City

Why You Should Watch Him: Brandon Micheal Hall plays young rapper Courtney Rose, who decides to run for public office as a publicity stunt. Except he ends up winning and becomes The Mayor. Brandon is charming and charismatic both as the character and as an actor – it’s no wonder why he won the popular vote. He’s also got a strong bench on the screen with Yvette Nicole Brown as his mom and Lea Michele as a rival campaign manager, but also off – one of the executive producers is Hamilton’s own Daveed Diggs.

When You Can Watch Him: Tuesdays @ 9:30pm on ABC (watch the trailer here)

Iain Armitage {Young Sheldon}

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Previous Work: Big Little Lies, The internet

Why You Should Watch Him: Speaking of Hamilton and Daveed, enter nine-year-old Iain Armitage, who Broadway nerds might know as his online persona, Iain Loves Theatre. Don’t know him as that? Watch him rapping at a #Ham4Ham with an assist from Daveed. Or you might know him as Shailene Woodley’s son on Big Little Lies. He’s only nine but going from BLL to a starring role in a network spinoff show of one of the most popular sitcoms ever, yeah, Iain’s not doing too bad. And he deserves all of it.

When You Can Watch Him: Mondays @ 8:30pm on CBS (watch the trailer here)

Bobby Moynihan {Me, Myself and I }

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Previous Work: Saturday Night Live, Sisters, When In Rome

Why You Should Watch Him: Not gonna lie I was pretty sad when one of my fave cast members left SNL, but like the Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader before him, he had to leave in order to get the proper stardom he deserved. In Bibby’s first starring TV role, he plays the middle aged version of Alex, a character we see at 9, 40, and 65 years old. Of course we all known Bobby’s hilarious, but he’s also got a ~sensitive side too, and that comes through just in the first look. While CBS comedies usually have a bad track record in my book, I’m hoping this one sticks around.

When You Can Watch Him: Mondays @ 9:30pm on CBS (watch the trailer here)

Anthony Ramos {She’s Gotta Have It}

Stats

Previous Work: Hamilton, Younger, Law & Order: SVU, my dreams

Why You Should Watch Him: Never forget this tweet from Lin-Manuel Miranda in 2014: “This is Anthony Ramos. You don’t know him yet, but boy, will you. Kid’s a star.” Cut to a life-changing role in Hamilton, a role in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born remake, and a new (old?) Spike Lee joint, all making this kid from Brooklyn a true star. The trailer that’s out now isn’t that good, but Anthony’s scene made me smile obnoxiously to myself, and if he can make me do that in 45 seconds, he’s bound to do that for all of us with an entire TV series.

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Thursday, November 23rd on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Josh Hutcherson {Future Man}

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Previous Work: The Hunger Games franchise, Journey to the Center of the Earth franchise, The Kids Are All Right

Why You Should Watch Him: The movie stars just keep coming over to TV. And for the bread boy, he opted to go with a reliable streaming service in Hulu with an even more reliable premise: he plays a time-travelling janitor who’s attempting to change the future without messing up the past. Does this mean it’s an alternate dystopia and he WON’T act like a lil bitch in The Hunger Games?

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Thursday, November 13th on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Sarah Gadon {Alias Grace}

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Previous Work: 11.22.63, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Belle

Why You Should Watch Her: I don’t think I’ve ever seen this talented woman on screen before, but judging by the trailer for this show, I am all freaking in. Margaret Atwood (who wrote the novel Alias Grace is based from) is having a great year.

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Friday, November 3rd on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Pete Souza’s Got It Made In The Shade

You guys have morning social media routines, right? I tend to check Instagram first, and when I come across a post by former White House photographer Pete Souza, I usually groan and think, “Ugh, what did Trump do now?” Apparently I’m not the only one.

Pretty funny, actually.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Pete snapped President Obama back when he was a first-year Senator, and was by his side for the entirety of his presidency. His photos were acclaimed and became popular thanks to his ability of capturing moments big and small. But just because Barry left office, doesn’t mean Pete stopped posting photos of him online. In fact, he’s used it as a shady tool to comment on DT’s “governing” skills. And look, I don’t think Pete’s a bad guy for hitting back at 45 with cutting captions/photos of 44. I just think he’s “retaliating” in such a classy way that it’s worth giving attention to.

I don’t expect his posts to stop any time soon, so here are just some of my favorite shady comebacks by Pete over the past year, and DT’s jerk move of the day which prompted the post.

January 21st – Inauguration

I like these drapes better than the new ones. Don't you think?

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

January 27th  – DT Signs Executive Order for Travel Ban

Talking with a young refugee at a Dignity for Children Foundation classroom in 2015.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

January 31st – Neil Gorsuch Nominated For Supreme Court

Merrick Garland. Just saying.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 1st – DT Has ‘Worst Phone Call Ever’ With Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

February 6 – DT’s Cabinet and Administration Not Diverse

Meeting with top advisors. This is a full-frame picture. I guess you'd say I was trying to make a point.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 7th – Betsy DeVos confirmed as secretary of education

Visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom in 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

 

February 11th – Awkward Handshake Number One With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

With Prime Minister Abe after visiting Pearl Harbor last December.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 13th – Awkward Handshake Number Two with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Allies.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 15th – Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

Meeting with Putin in 2014.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 20th – “The Sweden Incident”

Remembering our great trip to Sweden in 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

March 17th – Third Awkward Handshake With German Chancellor Angela Merkel

First time meeting Angela Merkel in 2009

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

March 29th – DT Signs Executive Order at EPA Curbing Government’s Enforcement of Climate Regulations

2015 in Alaska, where climate change is not a hoax.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

April 4th – DT Orders Missile Strike In Syria

Meeting on Syria in the Situation Room with his national security team. 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

April 10th – DT Skips White House Passover Seder 

Last year's Seder at the White House.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

May 4th – House Passes ACA Repeal

May 7th – WH Tells Press DT Is In Meetings At His Golf Course, Spotted Playing Golf Instead

Meetings, 2016.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

May 23rd – DT Visits Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, Leaves Note Thanking Amazing Friends

Outside the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Bonus: Melania Swats DT’s Hand Away (and one of my fave ever pix of the Obamas)

Holding hands.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

May 25th – DT Pushes Aside President of Montenegro at NATO

Laughter at the 2012 NATO Summit. No jostling involved.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

June 1st – DT Announces U.S. Will Pull Out of Paris Agreement (This is part of a larger photo series)

This land is your land. This land is my land.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

June 10th – James Comey Reveals He Secretly Met With Trump in the WH Green Room

By request: this is the Green Room. Not a good place to hide things.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

June 29th – DT Mocks Mika Brzezinski; Says She Was ‘Bleeding Badly From a Face-Lift’

July 20th – DT Says He and Putin Spoke About “Adoptions” at G20

July 24th – DT Talks Winning (and other things) to Boy Scouts

July 25th – DT Calls Out “Beleaguered” Jeff Sessions on Twitter.

President Obama standing alongside Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

July 27th – DT Announces Ban Against Transgendered Soldiers in Military

July 28th – Senate Rejects ACA Repeal

August 8th – “Fire and Fury” Against North Korea

Words matter. Especially from this podium.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

August 12 – Charlottesville

August 19th – DT and Melania to Skip This Year’s Kennedy Center Honors

August 22 – DT To Extend Military Presence in Afghanistan 

Greeting our troops at Bagram, Afghanistan 2010.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

August 30th – Hurricane Harvey Hits Houston

 

The Man Behind the Meme: Distracted Boyfriend

Me. Work. The last viral meme of the summer.

You’ve seen it, the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme that made its rounds on the internet over the past couple weeks. It starts with the picture:

Then text is added to label each person in the photo. The guy is subject, the girl in red is whatever is distracting the subject, and the girl in blue is whatever the subject should be paying attention to.

According to The Meme Documentation Tumblr, the meme first started in January and used by a Turkish Facebook group dedicated to progressive rock (of all things).

But of course it nothing happened with this Turkish group’s meme for months, until August, when a Twitter user kept the format but rejigged the text, and it went viral:

So what’s the deal with this photo anyways? It’s clearly not a candid of a couple on the rocks. The man behind the meme is 45-year-old photographer Antonio Guillem from Barcelona. He works for a company which produces the stock photos we see online, and focuses on people as subjects, instead of objects like cups of coffee or picturesque landscapes. Antonio usually works with the same people, including the “couple” in this photo, who he’s deemed “Mario” and “Laura”. A couple years ago, Antonio felt like he needed to shake up the scenes of his photo series, so he went with this jealousy storyline. “We decided to take a few risks, planning a session representing the infidelity concept in relationships in a playful and fun way,” he told Wired Magazine.

So, Antonio, “Mario”, “Laura” and misc. model who doesn’t work for the company anymore, went to a cobblestoned city in Gerona, Spain, and proceeded with their photoshoot. Just imagine seeing this play out IRL. It obviously garnered some attention.

“It was quite challenging to achieve face expressions that were believable,” Antonio said. “Mainly because we always have a really great work atmosphere, and almost all the time one of the models was laughing while we were trying to take the picture.”

“Mario” added, “I remember that it was kinda embarrassing because there where people watching and laughing, and I had to make this silly face. But in the end, like we always do, I just forgot they were there and did my job. I remember it like a learning experience, and I had fun with my team.” In case you’re interested, here are some photos from the series:

And Antonio is the most surprised out of everyone that a picture he took two years ago has resurfaced in the weirdest way – he didn’t even know what a meme was until his pic went viral. “I never thought that one of my images will be that popular. I didn’t even know what a meme is until recently, when the models started to tell me about the memes that people were doing with our work.”

“Mario” and “Laura” also never saw this viral internet fame coming, but “Laura” says she appreciates the “imagination”people have when coming up with the text. Antonio added, “Regarding what I think about the photo has gone viral, I think the image was a good foundation to whoever had the great idea to turn it into a metaphor that works for almost everything.”

That much is true. Here are some standouts from the last big meme of the summer.

 

actually me while sipping tea:

Get Down With The #TheParentJam

It’s no secret I love a good marriage proposal, at least ones that are sweet, romantic and creative, not one that will make me second-hand embarrassed. Recently, a proposal which falls into the first category went viral, and it’s become my favorite one yet.

The gentleman in this video, Phil Wright, is a well-known choreographer, while his longtime girlfriend Ashley Lai is also a dancer. So it’s no surprise that he incorporated their mutual passion into popping the question, and the result is tear-inducing and will possibly make you transform into the emoji with heart eyes.

I’d heard of Phil before because he teaches hip-hop at some local LA studios, and there’s one class in particular that isn’t just your normal dance class. It’s for kids AND adults, particularly their parents. Let me introduce you to #TheParentJam.

When I was growing up, there was a section of our dance studio where parents (usually moms) would sit while their kids (usually daughters) had their class. I’m sure anyone who took dance as a kid can relate, but Phil wanted to get those same parents off their seats and onto the floor. His beginner hip hop class invites parents (or grandparents) to join the little ones and learn the same routine. It’s not about how well you do it, it’s about how much passion you put in and most importantly, enjoy the time bonding and dancing with your kids.

Let Phil (who’s dancing with his niece) show you how it’s done.

Ok, let’s get into it. These videos will immediately bring you all the joy, which is definitely what we need right now. First up, the father/daughter duo. Check out dad’s facial expressions (and Ham t-shirt).

Yes, ma! Get into those cabbage patches!

Mom ain’t worried ’bout NOTHINGGGGG

BEAST. I’m CRYING R U CRYING YET

Carly Rae bringing families together

They got the coordinated outfits DOWN.

Me as a mom:

When dad just HAS to show off the pop lockin skills he used to do in the ’80s

No, but this is my favorite. ❤ ❤ ❤

I’m starting to think the coordinated outfits are like *the thing*

#theparentjam – They Killed it 🔥🔥🔥🔥

A post shared by Phil Wright (@phil_wright_) on

Baby on the beat

Gangnam Style was actually recorded for this very reason. For parents to be able to dance with their kids to a popular tune.

Sorry mom, but your kids committed way more to the cause.

GRAMPS IS BACK

Um hey what’s up hello blue hoodie dad.

Serving face.

BONUS!

James Franco sans kid. No idea why he didn’t just go to a regular hip hop class. Get at me James. I know where you can go on Monday nights.

11 VMA Moments That Shaped My Adolescence

OMG U GUYZ THE MTV VMAS ARE THIS SUNDAY WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?!?!

Not me. But there was a time when that was me. When I was prime MTV target demographic, when I was impressionable and bought any artist that made it to the top 10 on TRL (see: Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. CDs in my childhood bedroom). Those formative years when I was a tween and eventual teen who was thriving at Backstreet Boys concerts and making websites on Geocities. Growing up, I was a teenybopper. I’m not gonna be ashamed about it. That’s just who I was. I was the girl who thought MTV was the coolest, the mecca of where all the celebs and musicians were featured. And the VMAs were my Super Bowl.

Back then, all my faves were either nominated, performing, or presenting, so it made sense that I was tuning in like a Michael Jackson popcorn GIF every year. And there were plenty of popcorn-GIF worthy moments that happened on the VMAs when I grew up. These are iconic and unforgettable performances – clips that takes me back to that time in my life when superstardom was out of reach and not a tweet away. Here are some of the MTV VMA moments that shaped my childhood. It’s crazy to think that Katy Perry and co. might have that same effect on tweens at this year’s ceremony. Guys, we are so old.

1994 ♦ Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Make Out

Isn’t it weird to look back and think that the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s daughter was married to the King of Pop? Like, what even did they pay the music gods to get that love connection? Apparently not enough since their marriage didn’t last that long. However, this kiss is burned in my brain for eternity.

1995 ♦ Courtney Love bombs Madonna’s interview

I remember watching this live and having NO IDEA what was going on. But I don’t think Courtney Love did either. She wasn’t doing great at the time, but nevertheless, this is still rude. But alas, makes for great TV. Remember Kurt Loder? He is also part of my adolescence, which would be a weird thing to say to him IRL, I think.

1998 ♦ Mariah and Whitney Double Up

At the time this aired, I legit thought this was real. Like they definitely accidentally wore the same dress to the VMAs. I was concerned. Of course, it’s just a bit. I love bits. And I love Whitney Houston. Prince of Egypt forever.

1999 ♦ Diana Ross, Lil’ Kim and Lil Kim’s Lil’ Kim

Lil’ Kim’s outfit was outrageous then, and it continues to be even to this day. The 1999 VMAs were (and maybe continue to be?) my favorite VMAs ceremony of all time, and this is definitely one of the reasons why. I admit, I barely knew who Diana Ross was at the time, despite being obsessed with Phil Collins’ cover of The Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love. I didn’t know it was the same person! Anyways, I my mouth was agape when Diana bounced Lil’ Kim’s boob, and hoped that neither of my parents saw what had just happened as I watched the VMAs in our living room.

1999 ♦ Britney Spears and ‘N SYNC Take It Back To School

As I mentioned, 9.9.99 (it was on September 9th obvs) was a big year, particularly for pop music. It felt like it was at its height again, thanks to my boys BSB, Christina Aguilera, Britney, ‘N Sync, all the other boy bands, etc. This was one year after Tearin’ Up My Heart was released, but right around the time …Baby One More Time was becoming super popular. We all know the Britney/’N Sync relationship, but this was everything you could’ve wanted in a pop music performance on the VMAs. Singing, dancing, a school story, a surprise element of the ‘N Sync boys at the desks! As a BSB fan, I willingly admit this is and forever will be one of the best VMA performances in the show’s history.

1999 ♦ Backstreet Boys win the Viewer’s Choice VMA

As I mentioned, I am a BSB fan til the day I die, and 1999 was the height of BSB mania. Millennium had been released earlier that year, and the boys had basically shut down Times Square during their MTV special on release day. I was also at the height of my BSB mania, and voted non-stop in hopes they would win the Viewer’s Choice award against their rival (and mine), ‘N Sync. I remember jumping up and down, so ecstatic that “my” hard work paid off, and that my boys earned the much-deserved moonman. And yes, that white dude in the beginning pulled a Kanye before Kanye.

2000 ♦ Eminem and A Fuck Ton of Real Slim Shadys

Eminem also was a hot commodity in this era, releasing hit after hit after hit, including The Real Slim Shady. The song posits that there are many wannabes but only one Marshall Mathers, and because of that, he invited a whole lot of white guys in white t-shirts and jeans to be extras in his performance. Is this where my real fear of white men started? JK. A little.

2001 ♦ Britney and the Snake

I mean, obviously, right?

2002 ♦ Eminem vs. Moby and Christina Aguilera

Eminem wasn’t necessarily known to be a congenial person that got along with every artist that came across his path. He had beef with DJ Moby, which is why this awkward exchange with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog happened – right before Eminem won a moonman. Which as you can see from the clip, was handed to him by Christina Aguilera. If you recall, Em name-dropped Xtina in The Real Slim Shady, saying:

“Yo Shit, Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs
So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst
And hear ’em argue over who she gave head to first
Little bitch, put me on blast on MTV
“Yeah, he’s cute, but I think he’s married to Kim, hee-hee!”
I should download her audio on MP3
And show the whole world how you gave Eminem VD”

Which makes this clip even more memorable (and chilly) thanks to the shade from Ms. Aguilera herself.

2003 ♦ Britney, Madonna and Christina, You Know

The Mickey Mouse Club Was nothing but a memory after this performance.

2011 ♦  Beyonce and Blue

This did not have a hold on my adolescence, but I was still very much awakened when B revealed she was preggo with Blue after singing Love on Top.