Who the Hell Is New Late Late Show Host James Corden?

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Hey look, it's ... that guy.
Yesterday it was announced someone named James Corden would be replacing Craig Ferguson as host of CBS' The Late Late Show when Ferguson leaves in 2015. Corden's response was appropriately enthusiastic:

"To be asked to host such a prestigious show on America's No. 1 network is hugely exciting. I can't wait to get started, and will do my very best to make a show America will enjoy."

Meanwhile, the response of many Americans to the news was possibly less animated: James Corden? Who the hell is that? Granted, Ferguson wasn't exactly known for much on these shores aside from The Drew Carey Show when he got the gig, but Corden is even more obscure. Fear not, I'm hear to help.


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Thoughts on FXX's Simpsons Marathon

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"Who knows what adventures they'll have between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable?"
FXX is currently in the middle of re-broadcasting all 552 episodes of The Simpsons, the longest-running sitcom and (American) animated program, and also the longest running scripted prime-time series ever (passing Gunsmoke in 2009). The show debuted in 1989, meaning anyone born that year has probably already earned a college degree and moved back in with their parents.

The marathon began last Thursday (8/21), and will run through Labor Day (9/1). Really puts those weekend-long Star Trek marathons Channel 39 used to run back in the day to shame, doesn't it?

Like many others, I watched my fair share of the first few days of the the marathon. It brought back a lot of memories, and also elicited a few observations. Some cromulent, some not so much.


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"Shark Week" Has Officially [Puts on Sunglasses] Jumped the Shark

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Discovery Channel's new Shark Week mascot.
Like the disembodied arm in Jaws 3-D you probably saw this coming. Last year's Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives was, as it turns out, nowhere near the low point for Discovery Channel.

As I wrote about at the time, that program didn't even try to toe the line between feasibility and speculation, instead taking a swan dive into a barrier reef of outright bullshit. Worse (or better, depending on how much of your existence is fueled by manufactured outrage), Discovery only fessed up after they were called out for trying to convince people a 60-foot shark that hasn't been seen at any point in human existence was still lurking about.

Discovery kicked of "Shark Week 2014" last Sunday with another fictitious exercise called Shark of Darkness: The Wrath of Submarine. Ostensibly an "investigation" into the existence of a supposed 30+ foot great white that's plagued the inhabitants of South Africa for decades, it was yet another example of Discovery's brand of "docufiction" (I can't believe that's actually a word), coyly hinting at "re-enactments" but otherwise presenting as proof testimony by actors passing themselves off as survivors and "experts" with no apparent bona fides. It would be hilarious if not for the fact they were featured on a channel that, once upon a time, acted like it gave a shit about conservation and science.


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In Memoriam: Six Less Heralded Robin Williams Roles

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Robin Williams, 1951-2014
Celebrated comedian and actor Robin Williams was found dead at his home yesterday, suicide was the reported cause of death. He was 63.

A brief perusal of Facebook and Twitter confirms what I initially suspected: everyone under the age of 80 has at least a handful of fond Williams memories. Catapulting to fame in 1978 with Mork & Mindy, Williams was already famous for his frenetic stand-up routines. His movie career took a little longer to get off the ground (*cough* Popeye *cough*), but soon enough he'd branched out from mere comedy roles to ones of greater emotional and dramatic heft.

Williams has been near to my heart for a very long time. My nascent comedy sensibilities were mostly informed by watching his and George Carlin's HBO comedy specials (1982's An Evening with Robin Williams is still spellbinding), and I probably saw every movie of his until the early 90s, and only stopped because I couldn't always afford rent, much less movies. He earned some ridicule, and rightly so, for some of his latter era choices (Jack, RV, Bicentennial Man, to name a few), but unlike other famous 70s comedians I could name, he never descended into utter schmaltz or remake hell, and generated some of the best notices of his career in movies like One Hour Photo and Insomnia.

On a more personal note, his stand-up specials and early movies were a common bond between myself and a childhood friend of mine who committed suicide almost four years ago. I've never suffered from depression, and I can't claim to understand why it drives so many to this end, but I fucking hate how it continues to take people away from us before their time. And yes, 63 years old counts.


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How to Survive a Pandemic, According to Hollywood

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Finally, all that time spent playing "Pandemic 2" is paying off.
The West African Ebola outbreak has, as of this writing, killed 887 people and is far from being contained. Two Americans who contracted the virus have been flown to Atlanta for treatment, a decision which has many questioning how long it will be before we're facing a similar situation as Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The short answer is: we probably won't. Health care, general hygiene, and awareness are generally much better here than they are in poor, rural areas of Africa. Ebola's relatively rapid onset and lethal nature (it kills up to 90 percent of its victims), along with the fact that contact with an infected person's bodily fluids, keep it from being a realistic global threat. Almost 900 have died, true, but 1.5 million will die of malaria this year as well.

But fine, Ebola is horrifying because it basically liquefies your internal organs and turns you into Sissy Spacek during the last 15 minutes of Carrie. Over a hundred thousand will succumb to the flu in this country this year, but by all means, continue to freak out about the non-airborne diseases out there. I mean, it isn't like the movies have already given us plenty of pointers for avoiding them.


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But Do We All Want to See Your Boobs? #freethenipple (NSFW)

Categories: Trending

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Scout Willis baring all in the name of equality.
When I first read about Scout Willis (Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's daughter) posting topless pictures of herself in an effort to shame Instagram's no-nakedness policy, I skimmed and then moved on. Apparently, Willis was aligning her mission due to recent efforts by Instagram that pulled images of Rihanna with similarly exposed lady parts off the site. I assumed this was just a passing fad, but I seem to be wrong.

Little did I know that much of this was started by a film, Free the Nipple, that describes itself as an "equality movement" and "a mission to empower women across the world." Because women across the world are oppressed -- which they certainly are -- pushing for equality through nakedness will help. Presumably. The film mentions that it is illegal in 35 states to be topless, which includes breastfeeding. (I am not quite sure where the filmmakers get this number from, since according to the NCSL, 46 states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that "specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location." Perhaps this law implies that you must have cover on or one of those backwards cape things, it doesn't say specifically.)

But I digress. This "movement" seems to have titillated others (such a poor pun, I know) into letting it all hang out in the name of gender rights and is now like...a thing. Just last week, model Cara Delevigne joined the movement, along with British model/actress Suki Waterhouse, among other people whom you may or may not know.

As with many movements lacking strong leaders, it's tough to say what they want. The point the film and it supporters seem to be making is why is it okay for men to walk around without shirts and not women? Why are women's bodies still being sexualized while men's are not? If we are okay with letting men walk around shirtless and not women, then we must also be okay with uneven pay scales between the genders, men affecting women's reproductive rights and all the other things that women have been fighting for. This is what I am gathering from the #freethenipple movement, although it's hard to say for sure. I don't know what they are hoping to gain, save exposure for these and other feminist agendas.

I'll say this right off the bat. This is a tough itch to scratch and I am a bit confused by my own feelings. I wanted to hash this out with a tried-and-true feminist, one who just happens not to have boobs such as I, and that person is Jef With One F. Jef is outspoken on this blog on his feelings about women's rights, and I assumed he might have some interesting thoughts. Naturally, he does.

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Oh, What the Hell; Let's Kill off Even More TV Characters

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The cast of HBO's "True Blood" in a rare, fully-clothed moment.
When I first brought up the subject of various television characters who could safely get bumped off with little impact on their respective shows, it was in response to Brian the dog's death on Family Guy. That was December of last year, and I really hadn't thought of revisiting the topic until HBO went and forced my hand with the "shocking" death in last Sunday's season premiere of True Blood. How did I know it was shocking? Because that's how it was described in every article that talked about it.

What's more surprising is that anyone still watches True Blood in the first place, but I digress.

Now that summer's officially here and most of your favorite programs are in reruns or about to be (none of you are actually Rizzoli & Isles fans, right?), it's time to look at more characters that should be put out to pasture. The Death Pasture.


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The Best of the "Topless Tour" Trend on Instagram

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Traveling to an exotic locale is awesome. There are new experiences, new foods, and new cultures, all at your fingertips. Or apparently your nipples. Well, if you're part of the new Topless Tour trend, anyway.

The brainchild of three college roommates, The Topless Tour is a social media movement meant to "unite people across the globe to feel the freedom and share their beauty with the world." So what does that mean? Well, precisely what it sounds like: The Topless Tour encourages people to go on a topless tour.


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Is the Word Faggot Still Offensive?

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Photo by Guillaume Paumier
The word "faggot" keeps popping up in the news, and each time it's taken just as poorly as the time before. Alec Baldwin used it derogatorily towards a photographer last year. John Lacy who was playing Big Daddy in a California production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was fired after an audience member screamed the slur at the stage during a performance and the actor jumped off the stage and got physical. And then earlier this month, actor Jonah Hill was caught on camera yelling at a paparazzo to "suck my d*ck, you faggot."

The last one surprised many as Hill is very open on his views of gay rights; he has been overtly supportive of the LGBT community.

Of course, after the incident, Hill went on a media blitz apologizing to everyone and their mom about how awful he felt, and he really didn't mean it, and he hoped that everyone would forgive him and go see his new movie 22 Jump Street.

Regardless of how sorry he is that it happened, or that he got caught, the incident raises a few questions. Firstly, where does this word even come from and why is it so offensive?

And, wait, is it still offensive?

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Game of Thrones: "I Am Your Son. I Have Always Been Your Son."

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Big impin'.
"The Children" is the title of Game of Thrones' 4th season finale. Though we can probably figure out who they were actually talking about (more on that later), the title could also refer to: a) the Lannister children, all of whom end up ... disappointing father Tywin in various ways by epsiode's end, b) the Stark children, who are (Jon Snow included) growing up and heading towards vastly different careers, or c) Daenery's dragons, no longer fully under their Mother's control.

Of course, it's *probably* in reference to the Children of the Forest, the legendary race the First Men made peace with before Aegon the Conqueror arrived on Westeros (another fact not divulged in the show for purposes of time). Looks like they've been keeping busy in the interim by taking fireball lessons from Tim the Enchanter.


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