Saturday Spotlight: Kids In Summer, Then v. Now

  • Kids went to camp, mostly unsupervised, and created elaborate tales about noseless plumbers, culminating in wacky hijinks with rope traps. At least, that’s how it happened in Salute Your Shorts – which we live blogged, and which turns 25 this week (eep!)
  • If you want to relive those lazy summer days of the 90s, Rolling Stone has the biggest summer tunes of the 90s. Let me tell you, it was a strange journey from 80s-style pop to grunge to heavily produced hip hop.
  • Surely a staple of your childhood summers: ecto cooler. And guess what? It’s back!

Saturday Spotlight: Yes You Cannes

  • Can you pick just a shortlist of favorite outfits from Cannes? For this year, actually, yes. You cannes. But while there were fewer really amazing red carpet looks this year, when the fashion was good it was very, very good.
  • Can you take a college class from Angelina Jolie? Apparently, yes. Which got us imagining other celebs as professors, from the excellent (Lin Manuel Miranda) to the ‘get me out of here’ (Quentin Tarantino?).
  • Can you go to sunrise yoga, pick up groceries on the way home, make a full breakfast, go to the park, and conduct a children’s jazz ensemble all by 10 AM on a Sunday? Only if you’re one of the dummies from Sunday Routine, a regular New York Times feature where everyone lies.
  • Can you believe Sam and Diane had another fight? Because those of us who are up to our ears in Cheers episodes have a few things to say about their relationship.
  • Can you escape the Rachel? Jennifer Aniston changed her haircut 20 years ago but in one form or another, that thing lives forever.

Saturday Spotlight: Countdown To Back To TV Week


It’s May. Season finales are airing. And over here, our eyes are already on fall premieres (or, as we celebrate it, back to TV week.) There’s actually some good news: we looked at your new 2016 favorites and for the first time in a long time, there are a lot of new shows we’re really excited about! Since it’s network TV, there’s also bad news: CBS passed on Nancy Drew because it was “too female” – but really, I think, because they’re a network that grossly misuderestimates (thanks for that one, George W., what a gift) the average, Middle American audience.


I’m not even sure what I’m doing tonight, but in TV land, the fall schedule is already set in stone. So check now, before you find out your favorite show was moved to an “all new night and time” (they always say it like it’s a good thing, but I can’t be the only one with a finely-calibrated TV schedule).

We already gave you the best fall TV trailers but how about the worst? Also, remember when there was no such thing as TV trailers?

Funny Or Die has a spoof on the new shows of 2016. It’s reminiscent of- but in our biased opinion, not quite as good as- one of our favs from last Back To TV Week: Meet the new shows of 2019!


Saturday Spotlight: Broadway Babies

  • Theater kid in the 90s? Then you’ll remember the Annie Casting Controversy of 97, when contest winner Joanna Pacitti was replaced by an understudy just weeks before the Broadway opening. No? Brush up on the (now totally moot) scandal here.
  • Just assuming that if you’re reading this, you’re a current or former drama nerd.  If so, you should be listening to the Theater People Podcast, which has legit all of the best guests from the theater world. Former 90s theater kids will ESPECIALLY want to check out the episodes with OG Mary Lennox, Daisy Eagan, who is now a fun and quick-witted adult
  • Want to catch up on former Annie cast members today? There’s a great documentary about that – Life After Tomorrow – but here’s a 20/20 clip until you track it down:

  • Andrea McArdle and Aileen Quinn in one room… and they didn’t have a Tomorrow-off. Maybe next time:

  • Another sign you were a 90s theater kid: you knew of Lea Michele long before Spring Awakening, when she was just a Little Girl. This interview reminds me why so many people cannot stand stage kids, though.

Saturday Spotlight: Prom Season Link-Up

As high schools across the United States enter prom season, we look forward – to the adult “proms” we’d love an invite to – and back, to the dances that honestly were only so-so.

  • Last weekend was the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, AKA Nerd Prom, and unlike your real prom, the entertainment was chock full of jokes (OTHER than your vice principal making a “stay safe” speech).
  • And for something called “nerd prom” the fashion was pretty incredible – we couldn’t even come up with a worst dressed list.
  • But if fashion’s what you’re into, you ought to take a look at the best dressed of the Met Gala (AKA Fashion Prom). This year with 100% more robot arms and fiber-optic gowns!
  • Because we’re the oldest people ever, “promposals” weren’t a thing when we were in high school. Thank heavens.
  • If you didn’t get “promposed” to, or didn’t score that invite to the WHCD or Met (someday…), don’t fret: the prom expectations vs reality do not add up.

Saturday Spotlight: Everything Is Rent


Every time we do a theme week, we say it’s one of our favorite ones yet. Everything Is Rent week is no exception – whether revisiting our age-inappropriate ideas about the musical when we were 9-10 years old, or recasting it with our dream ensemble, we hold a special place in our hearts for this 20-year-old Broadway phenomenon. That’s right, kids: Rent is now older than Mimi Marquez herself.

  • I Should Tell You… that when we watched Rent as tweens, we had almost no clue what was going on. Mimi’s a stripper? Angel and Collins go from “nice to meet you” to “I’ll cover you” in one evening? Minds blown.
  • No Shame Playing The Fame Game… so if we want to create our Rent dream cast, we’re looking to the greatest of the greats to inhabit these roles. We’re talking Aaron Tveit, Renee Elise Goldsberry, the whole 9. (Note: we mostly eschew the OBC, because there’s no arguing that they defined the roles.)
  • America, at the end of the millennium… was a lot different from America a decade and a half into the next millennium. When Rent premiered it was a modern show, so when, why, and how did it turn into a 90s period piece? The decline of answering machines is probably a piece in that puzzle.
  • We rewatched the 2005 movie, and we love all things Rent but still hold a few questions, comments and concerns. Such as : how rank was that performance space, probably? And does aging the actors into their 30s change how the characters come across?
  • Tiempos De Amor… is actually just as good as Seasons of Love. One of the amazing things about Rent is how a musical with such a specific setting has touched audiences around the globe. So let’s meet Korean Angel, German Maureen, and Brazilian Joanne!


  • This tribute to yesterday’s ground-breaking musical (Rent) from today’s (Hamilton) has us a bit emotional.
  • Catch up with the original cast and relive their memories of their auditions, performances, and friendships. Cry, again.
  • Rent: eye-opener for suburban teens? Probably. But as I (Molly) remember growing up as an inner-city kid, Rent was important for a different reason: the drug pushers and grifters I saw in my everyday life were presented as real people with real stories.
  • Here’s a piece about Rent being “outdated” 20 years after its release. Looking at the same facts we did, they come to a very different conclusion: we saw Rent’s very dated nature as a victory for Larsen, who wanted to create a musical that encapsulated his time; they see it as a failure.

Saturday Spotlight: Pre-Lemonade Speculation

  • Life may give you lemons, but Queen Bey gives you Lemonade, a mystery program airing tonight on HBO. We have some wild guesses for what it might be – but I swear, this better not be like that time she appeared on morning television to tell us about a diet.
  • No HBO (or HBO GO password to steal from your parents)? No problem! HBO is free this weekend. Lemonade-related marketing ploy? Yes. Who cares. It’s great.
  • Clues: it has something to do with braids and a coat in a … parking garage maybe? Can anyone read the graffiti on the wall? Does it say couch? I’m going to need a Nancy Drew here because I’m not even Bess.
  • If you want a general spoiler about what’s in Lemonade, here it is. No details, but.
  • Remember when worlds collided and Bey performed Purple Rain with Prince himself? Almost too much for one stage.

Saturday Spotlight: Pop Culture Baby Names

  • Sometimes when you look at regular people’s terrible baby names, it feels a bit cruel. But celebrities are fair game, right? So how about some of the worst celebrity baby names.
  • In my day, we were named after things like saints or dead relatives. Now, Star Wars. But honestly, some of those are totally normal names, it’s fine.
  • Then there are these hilarious real names. I can vouch for one of those: my dad has a cousin or something named Candice Kane.
  • But before you chime in about your mom’s students Oranjello and Lemonjello, or La-a pronounced LaDasha, stop. Those are proven, really racist urban legends and hopefully you’re better than that.

Saturday Spotlight: Goodbye, American Idol


  • If you could go back in time to us in study hall c. 2002, we’d probably be chatting about the past week’s American Idol results (and NOT doing proper study hall activities, really ever). It’s both hard to believe that the show is over and hard to believe that it was on as long as it was. This week, Traci looked back at some of the Idol moments, controversies and contestants you may have forgotten over the years.
  • A few years ago, we also dredged up some of the AI contestants who have faded from popular memory, but not our hearts.
  • Could American Idol All-Stars have saved the franchise? Probably not TBH.


Saturday Spotlight: It’s April, Fools.