Tuesday June 25, 2019

A new season if Big Brother premieres tonight!

Mike Epps’ new stand up special is now streaming on Netflix.

Fox announced fall premiere dates.

So did FX.

Hot takes from last night’s premiere of The Hills:

-Heidi needs a new hair stylist
-Spencer needs a new wardrobe and personality
-That bathroom scene with the two of them was awkward and uncomfortable
-Whitney looked awful
-Brody seems to complain about being married a bit too much
-The years have been kind to Audrina
-They have not been as kind to Pamela Anderson
-MIscha Barton looks a bit older than 33
-Justin Bobby is still pretty cool IMHO
-Strahan and Sara hosting the after show? Couldn’t make less sense to me.

The aforementioned Anderson is single again.

WME filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the Writers Guild of America on Monday, accusing the guild of engaging in an illegal group boycott in its campaign to prevent talent agencies from collecting packaging fees. WME’s complaint against the WGA West and WGA East accused the unions of conspiring to unreasonably restrict competition by implementing its Agency Code of Conduct in April. The battle between the WGA and Hollywood’s largest talent agencies led to thousands of film and TV writers firing their talent agents in April. The WGA filed its own lawsuit against WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners, seeking to invalidate packaging fees under California state law. WME asserts that the WGA has engaged in a “concerted refusal to deal” that violates the antitrust exceptions in federal law that are offered to collective bargaining organizations. WME is seeking an injunction on the WGA’s enforcement of its Code of Conduct as well as undetermined damages.”

People seem to really like Yellowstone on Paramount Network. I need to dive in.

John Stamos is still handling his Fuller House co-star, Lori Loughlin's, current personal struggles with a lot of sensitivity and thought. ET's Nancy O'Dell spoke with the 55-year-old actor on Sunday as he debuted two pieces of art he's created -- which are going to be showing at Malibu Lumber Yard -- where he opened up about how Fuller House plans to address his onscreen wife's absence from its fifth and final season. Loughlin is not expected to return to the show after her and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get both their daughters -- 19-year-old Olivia Jade and 20-year-old Bella -- admitted to the University of Southern California. Loughlin and Giannulli both pleaded not guilty in April. As for how Loughlin could factor into the final season, Stamos says he's still trying to ‘figure it out.’"

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From EW: “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has long been one of television’s most audacious — and audaciously satirical — sitcoms. The FXX comedy’s writers have never been afraid to sink their teeth into a hot-button issue, expertly tackling topics ranging from white privilege (The Gang Turns Black) to the #MeToo movement (Time’s Up For The Gang) through the escapades of their politically backward, notoriously sociopathic bar owners.

“The series has also not been shy about tackling the conflict between religiously conservative ideology and LGBTQ+ acceptance — embodied by Rob McElhenney’s dopey, cognitively dissonant Mac. The core of Mac’s character throughout the series is his long-running internal struggle between his Catholicism and his sexuality. In season 12’s Hero or Hate Crime?, he came out to his closest friends — who had known about his repressed sexuality for years — so he could claim ownership of a $2 lottery scratcher. Mac entered 2018’s season 13 of It’s Always Sunny as a gay man, but not a proud one. He’d come out to his inner circle, sure, but he’d done so in the impulsive manner in which he does everything else, and he was still unsure of his place both among his friends and in the LGBTQ+ community.

“In season 13’s game-changing finale, Mac Finds His Pride, the show made perhaps the strongest choice it has ever made. While the first two-thirds of the episode is business as usual, with the gang grossly misunderstanding Pride and treating Mac poorly, it ends with Mac coming out to his father by performing a wholly surprising, beautiful five-minute contemporary dance. The dance is so profound that Frank (Danny DeVito), a frequent user of homophobic slurs and a man who claimed to have never ‘gotten’ Mac’s sexuality, is moved to tears. DeVito added a remarkable gravitas and sincerity to the episode’s final line: ‘Oh my God. I get it.’

“It isn’t exactly difficult to be critical of an overt public display of LGBTQ+ ally-ship. In television shows and movies, queer characters are often underdeveloped or sidelined, and their adversaries — often conservative homo/transphobes — are caricatures. But in It’s Always Sunny’s case, it’s different. The care with which the show crafted Mac and Frank as satirical archetypes of the sexually repressed Catholic and the transgressive rich man over the course of 13 seasons ended up, paradoxically, giving them multiple dimensions, full characters, and complex relationships.

“The beauty of Frank’s last line is that it’s a sympathetic epiphany from a man who, until that point, had not one ounce of sympathy toward Mac in his whole body. The audacity of the episode’s turn isn’t simply that it decided to feature an emotional dance number — it’s that it flipped the genre of a sitcom on its head by mining the depths of a 14-year relationship for the gold to take Mac and Frank out of stasis and move them forward on a fundamental level.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia returns for season 14 on Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. ET on FXX.”

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From The Ringer: “Toward the end of Stranger Things 2, all seemed quiet on the Hawkins front. Mike and Eleven got their kiss, Dustin and Steve had a budding bromance, Lucas and Max were experiencing some tween-age feels, and after a year-plus of visions, mind control, and coughing up slimy alien bits, Will was finally monster-free. Then, in true Stranger Things fashion, all that optimism vanished in a matter of seconds.

“This is the closing shot of Season 2, an image of the Mind Flayer—a giant tarantula-like specimen the kids named after a Dungeons & Dragons character—looming over Hawkins Middle School in the Upside Down. This creature (also called the Shadow Monster) unveiled itself as the show’s Big Bad last season, as it controlled all the demogorgons and demodogs and spread tentacle-like tunnels throughout the town. It’s also the monster that pulled Will over to the dark side and used him as a spy on our side of the world.

“Needless to say, it was a relief when Joyce and Jonathan Byers—Will’s mom and brother—sweat-lodged the Mind Flayer out of Will in the season’s final episode, and when Eleven sealed off the portal to the Upside Down. But it turns out that that was just the beginning. ‘Eleven closed the gate, but the Mind Flayer is still alive in the Upside Down,’ Matt Duffer, one of the show’s cocreators, told EW this spring.

“Matt’s brother Ross Duffer, the show’s other cocreator, also said after Season 2 that, ‘They shut the door on this thing but it’s still out there. And it wasn’t aware of Eleven [before], and now it very much is.’

“Last Thursday, Netflix dropped its third and final trailer for Stranger Things Season 3, which comes out July 4. And while the previous teasers largely left out any references to the Mind Flayer, this one made it clear that the creature has returned to Hawkins -- if it ever really even left? Now that we know the Mind Flayer will play a pivotal role in this season, two major questions loom: What does it want? And how does that relate to Eleven?

“The first question is probably the more difficult one to answer, given that we don’t know much about the science behind the Upside Down. But the third trailer includes some dialogue that, though the means of transmission aren’t clear, must be coming from the Mind Flayer. (Here is where I would like to shout out the Duffer brothers for learning from Game of Thrones’ mistakes and giving their Big Bad some lines! Your fave Night King could never!) In the middle of the trailer, as shots of the original gang, Hopper and Joyce, and families at a carnival whip by, a voice-over says, ‘We’re going to end you; we’re going to end your friends. Then, we’re going to end everyone.’

“I’m just assuming the Mind Flayer is using the royal ‘we’ (which is a nice touch) because the creature doesn’t seem like one that’s willing to share control. So basically it’s out for blood, and it seems that Billy—with his endless swagger reserves, sweet mullet, and side glances that send Mike’s mom into fits—will serve as the monster’s next host. In the first trailer, we see Billy look at his arm in the shower and notice a developing rash; the third trailer, meanwhile, flashes to Billy standing in what seems to be an abandoned warehouse, as Will says the monster is looking for someone new to inhabit.

“(Please allow me to pause briefly and throw on my tinfoil cap: This season Billy is working as a lifeguard at the Hawkins pool, extremely shirtless—thank you, Duffer brothers, sincerely—and we see his rash first start to develop in the shower. So, is the pool how he gets infected by the Mind Flayer? Is there some sort of aquatic connection between the real world and the Upside Down?? And if there is—COULD WE GET BARB BACK??? OK, OK, it’s a stretch, but unlike Nancy, I’ll never leave Barb behind.)

“So we know that the monster is looking to destroy humanity. Its motive—if there is one—isn’t clear, but it seems like a natural endgame for a creature the kids named after, as the Dungeons & Dragons wiki puts it, ‘alien humanoid-looking beings [that] sought to expand their dominion over all other creatures, controlling their minds to use them as hopeless slaves and devouring their brains for sustenance.’ Which brings us to our second question: How does all of this relate to Eleven?

“Even in the first trailer, it’s clear something was coming for Eleven. In a shot of her standing alone on a beach—which, we must be going on vacation this season, because I’m pretty sure there aren’t beaches in Indiana—there’s red lightning in the air, similar to the charges that surrounded the Mind Flayer at the end of Season 2.

“Then, the third trailer opens with dubbed-over dialogue, which presumably comes from the Shadow Monster: ‘You let us in. And now you are going to have to let us stay.’

“Both Ross Duffer and Stranger Things producer Shawn Levy have either said outright or alluded to the fact that there’s a connection between the Mind Flayer and Eleven. She was the only person who could stop the monster at the end of Season 2 (though I guess that didn’t actually work out), and now it knows who it’s dealing with. She seems to be the key once again for Season 3, as she’s pictured squaring off with other monsters, sinking into her black mind void, and talking with Hopper about fighting. Can she take down the Mind Flayer without the element of surprise this time? Is there another, even deeper connection between the two?

“There’s a lot we still don’t know ahead of this season, but we do know this: After the mall antics, carnival plots, and teenage hormones subside, the crux of this summertime adventure in Hawkins will revolve around Eleven vs. the Mind Flayer. And that’s a title fight I’m looking forward to.”

Clockwise from lower left_ “Jane the Virgin,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Killing Eve,” “Santa Clarita Diet,” “Shrill,” “The Fix” and “Broad City.jpg

Per Rolling Stone, “[t]he story of the year in television so far was told in the closing shot of Broad City. As Ilana descended into the subway and out of our lives, the camera followed a new pair of friends, then another and another, each of different ethnicities and gender identities, all with a dynamic similar to Ilana and Abbi’s. The message was clear: There are so many women’s stories to be told, and you’ve been watching only two.

“With the departures of Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, not to mention the ways that Game of Thrones failed Daenerys, Sansa and Arya in its own farewell season, 2019 could have marked a downturn for women on TV. But most of those shows concluded well. And they didn’t leave a barren landscape: Nearly all of this year’s best shows so far have been about and made by women.

“Start with Netflix’s inspired Russian Doll, in which Natasha Lyonne (who created it with Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland) plays Nadia, a coder who keeps dying and being resurrected around the events of her 36th birthday. Lyonne is a comic force of nature throughout. In one episode, Nadia survives long enough to make it to work, where her male colleagues scold her for an error. She points out that one of them made the mistake, fixes the bug quickly while they stare at her in puzzlement, then runs off to investigate her existential quandary. It recalls a line about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: She did everything he did, but backward and in heels.

“In Hulu’s Pen15, 31-year-old co-creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle play themselves at age 13, opposite a cast of actual middle-schoolers. What starts as a sketch-comedy idea goes much deeper into the messy dynamics of best friends experiencing adolescence at different speeds. It’s also gut-bustingly raunchy in a way that’s usually reserved for stories about boys. Female self-gratification has never seemed as hilariously all-consuming as it does in the episode where Maya learns how to masturbate.

“The year has offered one striking new female-centric debut after another, including Netflix’s Tuca & Bertie, an animated buddy comedy that’s emotionally rich and endearingly silly; HBO’s Gentleman Jack, starring Suranne Jones as a barely closeted 19th-century English landowner trying to figure out how to take a wife; and Hulu’s Shrill, with Aidy Bryant as a writer struggling to get the world to look beyond her physique.

“Not only that, many of 2019’s best shows have been returning female-fronted series that found ways to level up. Starz’s Vida, about two Mexican American sisters reuniting to save their late mother’s lesbian bar, returned more confident than in Season One, when it didn’t seem to fully grasp how to tell its characters’ stories. As a result, it’s been more satisfying and intimate. The third season of Pamela Adlon’s great autobiographical FX series, Better Things — without disgraced co-creator Louis C.K. — expanded the focus beyond the usual mother-daughter dynamics while maintaining the delicate command of tone and sentiment. And the belated second season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Amazon series, Fleabag, in which the title character fell for a hot priest (Andrew Scott), was a wonder, with remarkably keen insight on faith and love.

“At one point, Fleabag meets a businesswoman (Kristin Scott Thomas) who sums up the female experience as one driven by suffering: ‘Women are born with pain built in,’ she says. ‘It’s our physical destiny. Period pain, sore boobs, childbirth. We carry it within ourselves, throughout our lives. Men don’t. They have to seek it out.’ That’s just one of many female takes on the world that — despite the departures of Abbi and Ilana, Kimmy Schmidt and others — are leaving TV in secure hands.”

Per The Hollywood Reporter, “[i]n the works for three and a half years, the retooled third season of Scream is finally going to air — on VH1 instead of its original home on MTV.

“The six-episode season of Scream: Resurrection will debut Monday, July 8 and run for two hours per night starting at 9 p.m. and run through Wednesday, July 10. The cable network, which like MTV, is overseen by Chris McCarthy, has not aired a scripted series in a few years. Scream was the last remaining scripted series earmarked for MTV after Teen Wolf wrapped its run a couple years ago, though the network previously had announced some development in the space.  

“The third season of Scream was announced Oct. 14, 2016, with Brett Matthews (The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural) taking over as the drama's third showrunner in as many seasons. The rebooted series also added Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere and Yaneley Arty as exec producers on the series, which features an all-new cast, premise and location. Also new in season three is the actual Ghostface mask, which MTV's Scream had previously been unable to use. Roger Jackson, who voiced the killer in the Scream feature film franchise, will reprise that role for the VH1 take. This marks the first time the original Ghostface mask will be used on television.

“Season three centers on Deion Elliot (RJ Cyler), a local star football running back, whose tragic past comes back to haunt him and threaten his hard-earned plans for the future ... and the lives of his unlikely group of friends. The cast includes Mary J. Blige, Keke Palmer, Tyler Posey, Tyga, Giorgia Whigham, Jessica Sula, RJ Cyler, C.J. Wallace and Giullian Yao Gioiello. The first-look trailer for season three — watch that, below — also reveals that Paris Jackson will guest star. Wes Craven, Tony DiSanto, Liz Gateley, Marianne Maddalena, Cathy Konrad also exec produce. Matthew Signer and Keith Levine produce the series, with VH1's Maggie Malina and Dana Gotlieb-Carter overseeing.”