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Oh No They Didn't! -

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  • 04/18/12--15:42: God(frey) Gao for CITTABELLA

  • lbr, he is the fairest ONTD boyfriend of them all. 


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    My how things change. Or do they? Sheree Whitfield has confirmed she has decided to leave "Real Housewives of Atlanta," after reports of her actually getting FIRED have been circulating for several weeks. Check out her statement about the matter on why she feels the show no longer "caters to her lifestyle"...

    Despite the fact that all reports pointed to Sheree getting fired from the ATL franchise of Bravo's Housewives, she claims it was her own decision to leave. She tweeted today:

    Yes it is official I'm leaving Real Housewives of Atlanta. I enjoyed my time working with everyone affiliated with the show.

    She states this show has taken a turn for the worse and no longer caters to her lifestyle. And she's tired of the fighting and cattiness. Guess she wasn't tired of it the first 4 years she was a major participant in it. In a statement today, Sheree says:

    “After four solid seasons of helping Bravo build the show into its most successful Housewives franchise, I have decided to leave. The direction the show is going in is no longer a fit for my lifestyle. I’m tired of the fighting and the cattiness.”

    “I want to be part of something that empowers and inspires women to not only be healthy, but to treat themselves with respect. I wish the rest of the women the best of luck. I’m thrilled to say I’m now a free agent and am already fielding offers.”

    the YBF

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    Kim Kardashian took a walk on the wild side as she stepped out in a black and white tribal jumpsuit.

    The 31-year-old Keeping Up With the Kardashians star was passing through LAX airport on Tuesday, April 18, in this fashion forward patterned ensemble paired with a bold neon yellow belt and gladiator sandals.

    What do you think of Kim’s comfy and chic airport attire? Play fashion critic, below!

    Kim was walking alongside friends Robin Antin and Carla DiBello. It’s unclear where Kim was jet-setting too, but she looked good doing it!


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      i know this isn't technically news but it was super cute imo  

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    Is there anyone who isn't a fan of The Hunger Games?!

    Just ask Twilight star Kellan Lutz. The hunky actor says he loves The Hunger Games so much, he'd jump at the chance to be in one of the franchise's blockbuster films...

    "I love the script, I love the movie, everything about it!" Lutz gushed to us last night at Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood bash at Greystone Manor in West Hollywood.

    Lutz said he's "always been" a fan of the franchise. "I got hooked reading all those books," he said. "I remember before they ever started making a movie, I was like, "I would love to be a part of this!'"

    Maybe Lutz could snag a part alongside Jennifer LawrenceJosh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire? "That'd be really special," he smiled.

    As for the never-ending Twilight-Hunger Games comparisons, Lutz said, "I feel like Twilight's kind of more girly and on the romance side and lacks the action and then Hunger Games is very much an action-packed movie that lacks some of the romance."

    "But those stories, it shows that you don't have to stick to one certain formula," he said. "If you have these keys ingredients in the caldron it will make a great movie. It's great that there's fans for both of them."


    He could play Gloss just because then we'd watch him die. 

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    Scholastic Acquires Five-Book Middle Grade Series by Bestselling Authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

    Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, has acquired North American rights to a five-book middle grade fantasy series by bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare; the first full-length collaboration between the authors. The first book in the series, The Iron Tria, is planned for release in 2014. The deal was negotiated by Barry Goldblatt from Barry Goldblatt Literary (for Holly Black), Russell Galen from Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, Inc. (for Cassandra Clare), and David Levithan, VP/Publisher and Editorial Director at Scholastic.

    "Millions of readers have already been enthralled by the worlds that Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have created in their own books," said David Levithan. “Now that they’re combining forces, it's even more magical. This series is going to be one for the ages, and I am honored and thrilled to be publishing it."

    "This project is the culmination of years of work and brainstorming with Holly," said Cassandra Clare. "She’s someone I've always wanted to write with, and I can’t express how proud we are of the story we’ve created, or how excited we are to work with Scholastic and David. And we can’t wait for people to read it, of course!"

    "We’re so excited to be working on this series with David Levithan and everyone at Scholastic," added Holly Black. "From the moment it crossed his desk, he totally got it. He’s been the perfect reader for the books and we know he’s going to be the perfect editor too."

    In this exciting new series, twelve-year-old Callum Hunt has grown up knowing three rules by heart. Never trust a magician. Never pass a test a magician gives you. And never let a magician take you to the Magisterium. Callum is about to break all the rules. And when he does, his life will change in ways he can’t possibly imagine.

    About Holly Black
    Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles, the Modern Faerie Tale series, the Good Neighbors graphic novel trilogy (Scholastic) and the Curse Workers series. Holly is the winner of the Andre Norton Award for her novel Valiant, and has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award. She lives in western Massachusetts. For more information visit

    About Cassandra Clare
    Cassandra Clare is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weeklybestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy. Her books have more than six million copies in print and have been translated into over thirty-five languages. Clare lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her online at


    Another YA post, because I know ONTD loves them as much as I do.

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    There's a secret behind JANET JACKSON's dramatic weight loss — marriage and children!

    The 45-year-old pop star has dropped 30 pounds on the Nutrisystem diet over a five-month period, and The ENQUIRER has learned that her motivation for shedding the weight was to slim down for a late summer wedding to billionaire Qatari businessman WISSAM AL MANA.

    What's more, Janet and Wissam, 36, are making arrangements to raise her beloved late brother MICHAEL's children — PRINCE, 15, PARIS, 14, and BLANKET, 10 — once her elderly mother KATHERINE can no longer care for them.

    "Janet and Wissam have been planning to marry for some time, but she wanted to fit into the perfect wedding dress," said a family insider. "And once she and Wissam are married and settled, she wants to take custody of Michael's children."

    The 5-foot-4 singer/actress, who now weighs a svelte 118 pounds, has seen her weight soar as high as 180 over the past few years.

    She has admitted that she packed on the pounds after Michael's tragic death in 2009. And just a few months ago, she was tipping the scales at 150.
    But after finally getting past the grief of losing Michael and the involuntary manslaughter trial of his physician, Dr. CONRAD MURRAY, Janet "decided to make a change in her life" and lose the weight, said the insider.

    Janet and Wissam had originally planned on having their own children, but after much consideration they decided that their best option would be take custody of Michael's kids. "Janet knows that there are huge risks in having children at her age," noted the insider. "She also wants this slim-down to be her last, and a pregnancy would cause her to gain a lot of weight again.

    "Wissam adores Janet and agreed to go along with whatever she wants.

    "Janet has a healthy new lease on life and is ready for anything, especially marriage and motherhood."


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    At long last marriage? Not so fast, OPRAH insiders say she’s “pulling a Kardashian” – staging a wedding to STEDMAN to boost her failing TV net. IN a desperate bid to save her floundering network, Oprah Winfrey is planning to stage an elaborate televised wedding to her longtime love Stedman Graham – and she’s offered him a staggering $100 million “prenup” to go along with the scheme.

    “You’re the only one who can save the day,” she pleaded with Stedman through tears
    recently, The ENQUIRER has learned.

    “Oprah’s realized that the shows she’s created are just not attract­ing interest – the fans want to see HER,” said a TV industry insider. “So she’s devised a secret plan to save OWN by getting married to Stedman on live TV.”

    The 58-year-old media mogul shared her bombshell idea with Stedman, 61, her boyfriend of more than 25 years, a few weeks ago at her estate in Califor­nia, a friend of Stedman’s revealed.

    “It was a beautiful afternoon and they were walking hand-in-hand in her gardens,” disclosed the friend. “Oprah said, ‘There’s something I really need to ask you, Stedman.’

    “She began to break down cry­ing, saying she had made a mess of OWN. Then Oprah looked at Stedman and said, ‘You’ve always been my knight in shining armor. Will you finally marry me?’

    “Stedman was absolutely floored and a little shell-shocked, but he didn’t hesitate and joked, ‘I thought I was the one who asked YOU – 20 years ago! What’s the big rush all of a sudden?’

    “They both laughed and hugged, and he began wiping away the tears from her eyes. He said to her, ‘You know I’d do anything for you, Oprah. You’ve always been my girl.’”

    The friend also revealed that over dinner that evening, Oprah stunned Stedman when she told him she was planning on giving him a $100-million “prenup” for becoming “Mr. Oprah Winfrey.”

    “Stedman told her, ‘You’re way too generous,’ but then joked, ‘Is this why you’ve waited all these years – because you didn’t want to change your name to Oprah Graham?’”

    Despite the light-hearted nature of the conversation, Stedman was well aware of the seriousness of the situation.

    “He knows the wedding idea may be the only thing that can keep Oprah from losing her struggling network,” said the friend.

    “Stedman plans to present Oprah with a very special engagement ring that was given to him by his late mother Mary before she died. It’s a small diamond, but he knows that the sentimental value will make her feel proud to wear it.”

    The Tv insider added: “By marrying Stedman she can not only give viewers a TV event that will rival the royal weddings, but also months of programming cov­ering everything from shopping for her gown and choosing the wedding site to selecting the food and band – everything down to en­graving the invitations.

    “There’ll be the bridal showers, even Stedman’s bachelor party will be televised on OWN!”

    All of this will lead to the blowout live wedding ceremony in the fall.

    “She can even hold contests for lucky viewers to attend the wed­ding,” continued the friend. “The ceremony itself and reception can run for weeks – and then she can take Stedman on an around-the-world honey­moon and televise all the exotic places they go.”


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    SF Excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Source 1 Source 2

    New Footage from WHYB video

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    Nate and Blair!! <3


    Something wicked this way comes for Dan and Blair! 

    Yes, Gossip Girl's newest relationship will be facing a threat soon, but is it her ex-boyfriend Chuck attempting to come in between them? That is the question. Plus, will the currently single Serena (or should we refer to her as Gossip Girl now?!) find love by the end of this season?

    HeartOfGlas007: Any Gossip Girl news, esp Chair or Dair related? Those pesky G.G. writers are being very tight-lipped…
    How about a little bit of both? In a shocking twist, we have a bit of scoop that will probably do little to please either couple's fan bases! Shocking, we know. Something is going to try to come between Dan and Blair soon…but that something isn't Chuck, who's kind of busy dealing with his mama drama. It's also not Blair's desire to retain her Upper East Side status. Any guesses? 

    Sooriclover: Any scoop on Dan andSerena? I'm hoping they get back together eventually.
    Sorry, Dan is kind of sort of dating her BFF at the moment! But we can tell you that Serena will have a love interest before season's end. In fact, she may even have more than one! That's the Serena we all know and love!

    via spoiler tv
    & watch w/ kristen

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    Network analysis of how music spreads from city to city has yielded evidence that Oslo and Stockholm are the first to discover new bands, and the first to dump them.

    "We find empirical support for the claim that a leadership network exists among cities," reads a paper (PDF) describing the research, authored by Conrad Lee and Pádraig Cunningham from University College Dublin. "Some cities are consistently early adopters of new music (and early to snub stale music)."

    Lee and Cunningham took data from known as " scrobbles", which register when a person plays a song, matching it with their geographical location. It then publishes lists of the most listened-to artists, divided geographically. The way those charts vary over time can show which cities are leaders, and which are followers.

    The pair took chart information from dating back three years for 200 cities around the world, numbering billions of points of data. They cleaned it up to remove noise from cities which, for example, might have only had a few people submitting data. They then adapted a method previously used to detect the leadership networks present in flocks of birds to work out whether a similar leadership network exists among cities, and found that it does.

    In Europe, Oslo and Stockholm lead musical taste, and it's interesting to note that London, Birmingham, Brighton, and Bristol have a much stronger follower relationship with Oslo and Stockholm than with each other. Similarly, Cracow and Warsaw in Poland do not follow each other, instead taking influence from German and Scandinavian cities.

    The pair also examined relationships within specific genres, finding that although Stockholm is very influential in music as a whole, it's surprisingly uninfluential when it comes to indie music. Oslo, on the other hand, kept its high ranking in that regard, but was beaten to the most-influential crown by Paris, which isn't especially influential when it comes to music as a whole.

    In North America, Montreal and Los Angeles proved extremely influential when it comes to indie music, but Atlanta, and Chicago were the most influential cities in terms of hip-hop. Toronto managed to attain second-place rankings in both genres, but fell below Houston, Pittsburgh and the other aforementioned cities for music as a whole.

    The researchers also examined two more hypotheses -- firstly that music preferences are closely related to nationality, language and geographic location, and secondly that large cities tend to be ahead of smaller cities. For the first, they found evidence that this might be the case, but with a few interesting exceptions -- most notably that New York and San Francisco are very close, despite being separated by a continent, Canada tends to be more similar to Australia and New Zealand than the United States, and that French-speaking Swiss cities are more likely to be influenced by German cities than French ones.

    As for the second hypothesis, the pair found only very weak evidence that this might be the case. "While these correlations between city size and leadership position are positive, most of these relationships are quite weak," the paper reads. "We were surprised that they were not stronger." The exception came in indie music, which had a strong correlation between leadership and city size. "We are not sure why this is the case," say the researchers. "Perhaps this genre is quicker moving or more urban than the others (although presumably hip-hop is also quite an urban genre)."

    It's worth noting, of course, that as all the data comes from, these results only reflect the demographic that wants to log everything it listens to to a central database on the web. That's going to skew the results a little, but it's not unfair to suggest that this is probably an audience that's at the forefront of music trends, so the conclusions drawn by the report aren't rendered entirely invalid.

    If you want to take a look at the full research paper, you can find it over at arXiv.

    Updated 15:25 19/04/2012: Paper author Conrad Lee left a comment below to the effect that his work isn't necessarily measuring influence, merely which cities appear to be "ahead of the curve". He's expanded on that a little in a blog post, where he also points out that the model isn't yet shown to be predictive. It's worth a look to see some of the charts from the paper blown up larger, if nothing else.



    Let's talk about our indie snobbish ways and our cities' music scenes and post screencaps of our charts?

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    Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Chronicle actor Michael B. Jordan are in various stages of negotiations to star in Fruitvale, a timely indie drama being produced by Forest Whitaker and his Significant Productions partner Nina Yang.

    Ryan Coogler is making is feature debut writing and directing the pic, which tells the story of Oscar Grant, a young black man detained on New Year’s Day 2009 by the Bay Area Rapid Transit police and shot in the back and killed. The event was captured by many cell phone cameras, with the ensuing trial and its verdict causing protests and riots. Fruitvale is the name of the station where the event took place.

    If deals go through, Jordan will play Grant, the 22-year-old man who crosses paths with friends and enemies, family and strangers on his last day. Spencer would play his tough and protective mother.
    The project is coming together amid the controversy surrounding the Feb. 26 death of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was shot and killed by a local neighborhood watch officer in Florida.
    A July production start in Northern California is being eyed for Fruitvale.


    also before anyone posts "who?" comments in relation to Oscar Grant please read this.
    Oscar Grant

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    Kim Kardashian debuts her new nail polish colors! She writes on her blog:

    I am excited to reveal my brand new nail polish collection for our Kardashian Kolors by Nicole by OPI line… Wel-Kim to My World!! There are six new colors, which are really feminine and flirty! My go-to nail polish colors are pale pinks, whites and nudes, so I wanted to give you guys a similar selection that represent my signature look. All of these new colors are available at CVS now!

    I love the names we came up with for the line!! Click through the gallery to see each color!! Which one do you like the most? Xo


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    They're shooting a new video in Doha, Qatar. Photos of Kanye and Cudi on the set of a video shoot popped up on HipHop-N-More.

    The video they're shooting is rumored to be a short film, but there's no information about the clip other than it's "top secret."

    A student from the production team leaked a little bit of information to the Doha News explaining:

    “The whole thing was pretty top-secret, It was interesting to see exactly how music videos were produced and how many takes they have to take,” he said, adding that the models’ attire was “culturally sensitive.”

    We know whatever Kanye and Cudi have up their sleeves is going to be epic, especially because it's top secret. We're also glad to hear Kanye is being respectful of the Muslim culture.

    i love when these two gods work together

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    Rashida Jones showed off her casual and stripe-y style in NYC yesterday. The Parks and Recreation star stepped out with a male pal in the East Village on April 18, where they grabbed a bite at a downtown eatery.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic


    I recently caught up with all of Parks and Rec on Netflix Instant after only becoming a regular viewer this season. I swear Ann has the worst taste in guys.

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    Taking the action-packed superhero flick to British fans, “The Avengers” cast rolled into London, England today for the UK premiere.


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    Levon Helm, singer and drummer for the Band, died on April 19th in New York of throat cancer. He was 71.

    "He passed away peacefully at 1:30 this afternoon surrounded by his friends and bandmates," Helm's longtime guitarist Larry Campbell tells Rolling Stone. "All his friends were there, and it seemed like Levon was waiting for them. Ten minutes after they left we sat there and he just faded away. He did it with dignity. It was even two days ago they thought it would happen within hours, but he held on. It seems like he was Levon up to the end, doing it the way he wanted to do it. He loved us, we loved him."

    In the late Nineties, Helm – whose singing anchored Band classics like "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Up on Cripple Creek," "Rag Mama Rag," and "The Weight" – was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent 28 radiation treatments, eventually recovering his voice. In recent weeks, however, Helm had canceled a number of shows, including one at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on April 27th and another in Montclair, New Jersey. A note posted to his website on Tuesday from his daughter Amy and wife Sandy said that Helm was in the "final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey. Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration...he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage."

    Born May 26, 1940 in Arkansas, Helm was literally a witness to the birth of rock & roll; as a teenager, he saw Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis in concert and was inspired to play drums after seeing Lewis' drummer, Jimmy Van Eaton. (Helm went on to play mandolin and other stringed instruments as well). In 1960, Helm joined the backup band of rockabilly wildman Ronnie Hawkins – a group that would eventually include Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson, all future members of the Band.

    The musicians broke from Hawkins to form their own group – their names included the Crackers and Levon and the Hawks – but it was their association with Bob Dylan that cemented their reputation. After Dylan saw the group in a club (either in Canada or New Jersey, depending on the source), he invited Helm and guitarist Robertson to join his electric band. "Bob Dylan was unknown to us," Helm wrote in his 1993 memoir This Wheel's on Fire. "I knew he was a folksinger and songwriter whose hero was Woody Guthrie. And that's it." Robertson and Helm were in Dylan's electric band for his controversial, frequently booed show at New York's Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. Afterward, various members of the Band played on Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and toured with him in 1966. (Helm left temporary in 1965, tired of the ongoing hostility from Dylan's folk fans.)

    Recuperating in Woodstock after his 1966 motorcycle accident, Dylan again hooked up with the band that would soon be the Band. Before Helm rejoined them, they recorded the landmark Basement Tapes, and the Band's crackling, homespun take on American roots music began to take shape. Rechristening themselves the Band, they signed to Capitol Records and released two classic albums, Music From Big Pink (1968) and The Band (1969). Although Robertson was the Band's principal songwriter, it was Helm's beautifully gruff and ornery voice that brought the Canadian Robertson's mythic Americana songs to life. He was also one of rock's earliest singing drummers.

    In 1976, at Robertson's urging, the Band broke up after its farewell concert, known as "The Last Waltz." In meetings before the concert and as recounted in This Wheel's on Fire, Helm was adamantly opposed to the group disbanding. "I didn't want any part of it," he wrote. "I didn't want to break up the band." He begrudgingly went along, but his relationship with Robertson was never the same. After the show, Helm formed his own band, Levon Helm and the RCO All Stars, featuring fellow legends Dr. John, Steve Cropper, and Booker T. Jones, and recorded several solo albums. Helm also ventured into acting with an acclaimed role in 1980's Coal Miner's Daughter, playing Loretta Lynn (Sissy Spacek's) father. But he couldn't leave the Band behind, and with Danko, Manuel, and Hudson, he formed a new version of the Band in the early Eighties, recording three new studio albums with them.

    The Band continued for a while after Manuel's suicide by hanging in 1986, but Danko's death in 1999 of heart failure ended the Band once and for all. By then, Helm was dealing with throat cancer. After his recovery, he began holding intimate concerts in his combination barn and studio in Woodstock, called the "Midnight Ramble," in part to pay his medical bills. The low-key, woodsy performances became must-see shows and attracted a rock who's who; Elvis Costello, Natalie Merchant, the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh and Donald Fagen were among the many who joined Helm and his band. (One of the best shows I've ever seen tbh.) The Ramble shows led to two acclaimed Helm solo albums – one of which, 2007's Dirt Farmer, won a Grammy in the Best Traditional Folk category. "This go-round has been a lot more fun," Helm told Rolling Stone in 2009. "Now I know I've got enough voice to do it."

    When the Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Helm didn't attend, revealing that his feud with Robertson was still on. "I thought Levon was going to show," Robertson told Rolling Stone a few years later. "Then that evening they said he changed his mind and wasn't going to come. And I thought, 'Oh, God, it would have been better if he was here.'"

    Helm's throat cancer had taken a toll on his singing voice. On stage and in recent interviews, his voice was sometimes strong but other times was reduced to a low rasp. But at one his last shows, in Ann Arbor on March 19th with a 13-piece band, the audience roared when he sang the Band classic "Ophelia." "I'm not the poster boy of good health," he said in an interview last year. "But I'm not doing too bad. I still got the energy to make music. As long as I can do that, I'm great."


    An absolute musical legend. SO glad I've gotten to see him live. If you haven't seen "The Last Waltz", DO IT. It's probably one of Scorsese's true masterpieces in film. Rest in peace, Levon<3

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  • 04/19/12--12:50: In Defense of "Girls"

  • The "Girls" Backlash Addresses Nothing New to Hollywood, But It Sure Was Quick to Hate on Women

    I’m not sure what crawled under everyone’s skin so hard after HBO’s ‘Girls’ premiered on Sunday, but I am not pleased. I am not pleased at all, Internet. Do you hear me? That’s the sound of my head swishing to and fro in saddened disappointment. The basic complaints are about how the cast of the show is nepotism central and that racial diversity is thin on the ground. While both points are valid, they also hold true for everything that comes out of Hollywood, but I guess such a female driven show gets special treatment.

    If it weren’t for nepotism (and let’s expand that a smidge to include folks who may not be directly related to, but are friends with, someone), nothing would ever get made in Hollywood. I’m not condoning the system as it does favor privilege, but I also know that I wouldn’t recommend anyone for a job worth the amount of time, work, and money TV and films entail who I didn’t trust to not make me look like an idiot by proxy, and the people I trust tend to be ones I know.

    I guess we’re at a point where having a cast of women who have all individually proven their talents in previous roles can be reduced to who their parents are, and while I don’t intend to make a sweeping generalization, I would like to mention that the majority of the people who shared the photoshopped “nepotism” poster on my personal Facebook feed were men. I am also curious as to where this outrage was over the past ten years when Judd Apatow (the producer of ‘Girls’) cast the same handful of white dudes in every TV show and film he made, but I guess it’s only an issue when women do it? Surely Hollywood has no double standards! Ultimately, anyone who is financing a TV show has too much at stake to hire talent they are not reasonably confident in – they wouldn’t risk ratings and the investments thereof just to do their buddy a favor. Both Apatow’s casts and that of ‘Girls’ are filled with great actors, regardless of who knows who.

    As for the issue of the show being mono-racial, representation is a serious issue on screens both big and small. It is absolutely valid and necessary to criticize the lack of diversity on TV, it’s just interesting to me that while women of color have been criticizing this for ages, white female and male bloggers have decided to join the fray all of the sudden (surprise, it was over a female dominated show!). Most shows barely have any diversity, and if they do it’s often manifested in a token secondary character or a fleeting one. I don’t think it was intentional, but the lack of diversity in the main cast also speaks to the overlap in racism and classism that exists in the social strata being represented – I don’t mean to say that there is no diversity in higher tax brackets, but it is definitely harder to find the further up you go, and that’s not only a serious issue in general, but there is a sad truth alluded to in the casting of ‘Girls.’ They had an opportunity to challenge that norm, but then, so did every other show that has failed to do so and didn’t get an endless tirade of appropriate backlash.

    One review of ‘Girls’ was disappointed because there wasn’t a black woman in the main cast, which is a great point, but  just one tip of a massive iceberg. Sure, Hollywood only cares about African American stories when they represent black struggle (frustratingly often solved by oh-so-kind white folk), and I guess Latinas don’t really need to be cast in anything. Asians – what? LGBTQ women can’t be classified by race so that’s just too hard, and Native Americans already got their fifteen minutes this year when America’s Next Top Model featured one of their own just long enough to shove her into a Pocahontas costume before sending her home. But ‘Girls’ is clearly at the heart of the problem and deserves to be tarred and feathered for imposing whiteness on the otherwise overwhelming diversity of the small screen.

    As for the pilot episode itself, we’re introduced to Lena Dunham’s character as she is stuffing her face fervently in a parentally financed meal at an expensive restaurant. She comes off as greedy and entitled, not without reason – she is writing her memoirs at the age of 24 and throws down quite the privileged tantrum when her parents decide to cut her off financially. Anyone who assumes that we are supposed to like or respect this character needs to spend some time with their thoughts and maybe note that this was the pilot and there is a whole season of character arch to go, with growth possibly foreshadowed by the painful vulnerability we glimpse in her later in the episode.

    Dunham’s character has also spent the last two years working as an unpaid intern, something many offices have taken advantage of via the anxieties spurred by the recession and parents’ ability to support their children post-college. It may be a product of privilege, but is nonetheless exploitation. What I found interesting was the parallel of the entitled 24-year-old who takes her parents support for granted, and her employer who takes her work for granted – both have entitled expectations that take advantage of someone they rely on.

    None of the characters are really likeable so far, and yet the show is wonderful to watch, an achievement unto itself. The conversation between Dunham and her skeevy non-boyfriend is viscerally relatable, as are several other great moments, and I can’t help seriously raising an eyebrow at how such a well-made show has gotten such a strong backlash. Maybe because the middle class, parentally-supported, self-involved characters hit a little too close to home for the show’s target audience?

    As for scoffing at such outlandish moments as eating a cupcake in the shower, I can’t even muster the energy to roll my eyes. First off, she was eating away from the water stream, no cupcakes were harmed. Second, am I the only one who’s eaten in the shower? Because everyone is missing out. I didn’t even notice the cupcake, I was too busy being excited seeing girls on TV hanging out in the bathroom. I regularly hang out while my best friend showers and vice versa, and if someone happens to be on the toilet, whatever. We have stuff to talk about, we can’t waste precious time worrying about nudity and bodily functions! The other nerve pincher seemed to be Dunham’s character calling herself “the voice of a generation,” which, come on, it was intentionally ridiculous and the character was high on opium when she said it.

    The show ends with the appearance of the first person of color, a homeless looking black man. There is indeed something unsettling about that fact. And yet, all I could think of was how much I know that experience. I lived in New York for half a decade, and every time I walked down the street miserably contemplating my life, a black gentleman with whom I was unacquainted would tell me to smile, like that would fix the fact that I had a massive ear infection but no health insurance and wasn’t sure how I’d be able to afford to eat whatsoever after the 24th of the month unless I made a burrito last for at least 4 meals. That moment wasn’t about degrading black people (though I see how it unintentionally sent the wrong message), it was about a specific part of the experience of a young white woman in New York. The issue is not that the only person of color was homeless, but that there were no diverse characters preceding his.

    The amount of backlash ‘Girls’ has garnered from men and white women, most of whom have yet to notice that their criticisms not only extend to the rest of the media, but have a history of being voiced by women of color, is frankly stunning. Is anyone serious in implying that Lena Dunham’s privilege, as well as her cast’s, is the only reason this show exists? The fact that she got a blind script deal from HBO based on the award winning film ‘Tiny Furniture’ that she wrote, directed and starred in herself at the age of 24, or that she wrote it while working in retail and writing on a rigid schedule from 8pm-2am is clearly not worth mentioning because her mother is a well known photographer. Now that the show she also wrote and directed has proven to have the same shortcomings that the rest of television does has also oddly overshadowed the reaction to her showing off her non-standard-for-Hollywood body, which has gotten little support from women and much hate-commenting from men, a bold move with an appalling reaction that deserves more mention.

    How does it makes sense to hold people in a socially disadvantaged position, in this case, women, to a higher standard than the rest of an industry dominated by men? As far as I can see, the backlash over ‘Girls’ is putting the weight of the racism and classism of TV on the shoulders of women, who are already marginalized in the entertainment industry. The fact that a 25 year old woman could write, direct and star in this show with a mostly female cast is a hard enough achievment on its own, yet overlooked in favor of quick and harsh criticism on such a female dominated project, more so than male dominated ones. Personally, I would like to watch the rest of the season before evaluating it fully.


    have we reached the limit on "Girls" posts? probably. 

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  • 04/19/12--13:02: Queen Amy P talks Parks

  • Leslie Knope has a whole lot to clear off her plate before "Parks and Recreation" closes out its season.

    The perennially upbeat Leslie (Amy Poehler) is still trailing Bobby Newport (guest star Paul Rudd) in her campaign for the Pawnee City Council, and she has only a few weeks to make up the ground. She's also still doing her job at the parks department, and that puts her in a tough spot in Thursday's (April 19) episode.

    She lobbies a councilman (guest star Bradley Whitford) to keep her department's budget intact, and he agrees. What feels like a win for Leslie, though, comes with some unintended consequences.

    "This episode is about realizing she has to make tough choices," Poehler tells Zap2it via e-mail. "If she wants to win she has to start thinking bigger. This might mean not being able to take care of her friends the way she used to."

    Which is not to say "Parks and Recreation" is suddenly becoming a political drama -- though because of Whitford's presence, there are a couple "West Wing" references in Thursday's episode, "Live Ammo." We also asked Poehler about the rest of the season and her forthcoming directorial debut with the April 26 episode, "The Debate." Here's what she had to say:

    Zap2it: How "West Wing"-esque is this week's episode? How much walking and talking is there?
    Amy Poehler:
    There is only one walk and talk, but it's with Bradley Whitford so it is a power-packed, star-studded "w and t" (that's what we call it in the biz).

    Aside from the climax of Leslie's campaign, what else can we look forward to in the final episodes of the season?
    Hilarious performances from Paul Rudd and Kathryn Hahn. Fighting, tears, pie and Ron Swanson [Nick Offerman] climbing a telephone pole. [Editor's note: That bears repeating, in italics: Ron Swanson climbing a telephone pole.]

    You shot two endings for this season. We don't want to know which one will air, but do you think one played better than the other, or are they about equal?
    They were totally different and both very emotional for us. It was really cool that win or lose, Leslie realized she was so grateful for her friends.

    How was your experience directing "The Debate"? Did the fact that you also wrote the episode make the job any easier?
    It was great fun and hard work. I made sure to have a lot of hushed arguments with myself in front of people just so people knew I was good at collaborating with myself.

    "Parks and Rec" isn't an especially guest star-driven show, but is there anyone you'd really like to get for next season?
    Every night, I light a candle and whisper the name "Bill Murray" into my pillow. The Gods must do the rest.

    "Parks and Rec" airs at 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday (tonight) on NBC.


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