Turns Out Shane Gillis Was SNL’s Terrible Attempt to “Appeal to More Conservative Viewers”

The cast of SNL dressed up as the members of the Trump administration, singing.

When evidence of  Shane Gillis’ racist comedy and podcast appearances began circulating last week right after the announcement that he’d been added to the cast of Saturday Night Live, there was some surprise that SNL had done such a poor job of vetting their new additions. After all, this stuff didn’t require a lot of digging. Journalist Seth Simons found the first and arguably most egregious example, showing Gillis on an episode of his own podcast from only one year ago, saying incredibly racist things about Asian people.

From there, Vulture’s Megh Wright found a whole lot more racist, homophobic, sexist content that they said was “very easy to find on Google.” On top of that, Wright spoke to his colleagues in Philadelphia who were surprised that someone doing his sort of material got a job on SNL. She even spoke to one club owner who stopped booking him “within the past few years because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage.”

When Gillis was let go only a few days after his hiring was announced, a statement from a representative of Lorne Michaels said that they “were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”

But according to Variety, they were very much aware of his prior remarks and they were the whole reason why he was hired in the first place. So their vetting process worked just fine, it was just terribly guided.

“According to sources, the long-running NBC comedy show and series mastermind Lorne Michaels were actively looking to cast a comedian for its new season who would appeal to more conservative viewers,” that report reads. “This was meant to counteract the appearance of a liberal bias on the show, given that it has seen a major resurgence in popularity in recent years with Alec Baldwin regularly portraying President Donald Trump while other cast members and guest stars have played members of his administration and those in his orbit.”

This is both-sidesism at its worst. To balance out a liberal-leaning slate of sketches, they brought in a guy who peddles racism as comedy. But bigotry is not the inverse of liberal politics. It makes sense that SNL’s sketches put Trump and other Republicans in their crosshairs so frequently–that’s who’s in power right now. If they can’t find a way to legitimately balance the political scales, there’s probably a reason for that and resorting to hiring someone who appeals to Trump supporters’ worst instincts off-camera is just a desperate and clueless move.

Plus, as of last season (I haven’t seen a change for season 45 announced anywhere), the two head writers of the show were still Colin Jost and Michael Che, who are about as middle-of-the-road as you can get. They might mock Trump onscreen but offscreen, they’ve made it clear their views of cultural politics range from nonexistent to downright terrible.

(via Variety, image: Will Heath/NBC)

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The New Halloween Trilogy Seems To Be Continuing To Explore Trauma

Jamie Lee Curtis_Halloween

Even with the shaky way her trauma is handled at certain points, the latest Halloween film is a story about Laurie Strode’s trauma and the way it affected her entire family. With Michael somehow surviving being incinerated and returning for two more films, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, we’ll be diving deep into more of Laurie’s story, as well as the story of others who survived Michael both in 1978 and in 2018.

While speaking with Collider, star Jamie Lee Curtis said of the film that “The ass-kicking part is the fan-favorite part, but from my standpoint, I didn’t go into it because I got to kick Michael’s bottom. I was particularly drawn because it was a movie about trauma. The trauma that occurs for these characters for forty years, I felt was very important that David understood that and was really giving Laurie great honor to acknowledge that her experience of her life was very challenged.”

She also talked about how the second film would dive into the other characters whose lives were impacted by Michael all those years ago. New additions to the cast are Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy Doyle, Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace, and Robert Longstreet as Lonnie Elam. Tommy and Lindsey were two children who Laurie and her friends were babysitting during the events of the film, and Lonnie was a childhood bully. His son, Cameron, was Allyson’s cheating boyfriend in the first film.

While Michael murdered several people that night in 1978, the impact on the survivors outside of Laurie hasn’t really been seen. We know Lonnie, from a passing conversation in the 2018 film, has had trouble with the law, and of course we see what happens to Laurie. But we don’t know what happens to Tommy and Lindsey, who also saw Michael. What does their trauma look like?

The slasher genre tends to be about trauma. We see a great deal of stories about final girls who are continuously faced with their very much literal demons. By centering the story on Laurie and what her trauma looks like, the new Halloween films not only present a case for why they should exist but take an adult look at what a world that has been frightened by Michael would look like, especially now with the inclusion of familiar faces from the original.

The question becomes then how they will resolve the story satisfactorily. Will Laurie get catharsis? Is it possible to get catharsis and move on after all of this? With Michael’s return, will she lose even more to him? I worry that the story will end in Laurie’s death, which would be a fairly grim note to go out on. Laurie deserves to move on somehow, with the help of her family.

By centering the story on the realities of what surviving such an event would do to a person, the creatives behind the film have grounded the film in reality and given them some serious emotional stakes. Hopefully, the coming films will continue to keep the human element and not just focus on spectacle for spectacle’s sake. Sure, the kills have to get grander in a sequel, but we can’t forget the human characters that keep us coming back for more.

(image: Universal)

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Beware! Word Is That the Newest Knives Out Trailer May Be Spoilery.

Chris Evans being a snack in Knives Out

There are people in this world who have seen Knives Out. Those people are my enemy (until I see it and we can all talk about it). The highly anticipated murder mystery debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival with much flare and chatter, and now, we just all want to know: Who did it?

What we know about Knives Out is very limited, maybe because we don’t want to be spoiled for the mystery that’s unfolding before us, or maybe it’s something strategic. Whatever the case may be, the mystery of Harlan Thrombey’s death takes us on twists and turns in the second trailer for Rian Johnson’s latest film. But beware! What I’ve heard (and I refuse to look into this, because I have yet to see the movie) is that this trailer is spoilery.

How exactly is it spoilery? Well … look away now if you’re still feeling unspoiled and would like to be absolutely sure you’ll remain that way. Apparently, when you’re watching the movie, you’ll realize certain points of this trailer haven’t happened yet, and that may spoil things, which … great. I watched it once, got the feel, and refuse to go back, mainly because Knives Out is one of the movies I’m most excited about this fall.

Is it because of our cultural obsession with Clue? Probably, but there is something about an old-fashioned murder mystery that has me on the edge of my seat, ready to dive into the mystery being presented before me. It also helps when Chris Evans is out here in cable knit sweaters and telling his family to “eat shit” because he showed up for the reading of Harlan Thrombey’s will and testament.

The trailer drop also came with Rian Johnson sharing a full cast poster to his Twitter account.

Earlier this week, Johnson shared character descriptions and posters for each of the main players, and while this family is full of those in it for their own gain, the detective crew (comprised of Daniel Craig and Lakeith Stanfield) seems to also have mysteries all its own that are going to intrigue us just as much as the murder of Captain Von Trapp himself. (Christopher Plummer plays Harlan Thrombey, and I am delighted.)

Maybe don’t watch this trailer more than once, unless you don’t care about the movie. Or maybe try to remember all the details to figure out the mystery before anyone else in your theater, if that’s your thing. At least we all know that Knives Out is going to send us all down our own detective paths and get us excited to figure out who murdered the patriarch of the Thrombey family!

Anyway, here’s what is really important.

Get ready to spend Thanksgiving begging your family to go to the movie theater, because Knives Out is definitely a movie we’re not going to want to miss.

(image: Lionsgate)

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As I Wish, Let’s Not Remake The Princess Bride

I’m Team Stop Remaking Everything, Original Work Exists, but I’m not opposed to seeing a good remake. That being said, leave The Princess Bride alone. There are so many potential movies out there from diverse writers that are not being made for … what? So we can remake something we already have instead? Yeah, sure, we can make this same movie again with a new cast and change the story for a modern audience—or we can adapt this idea into something completely new and let a different writer’s voice be heard!

It’s the same argument with television shows. Reboots rely on name recognition to bring in audiences rather than tell new stories that engage us, and I’d rather they just leave the originals alone. And I’m not alone in this mentality.

Luckily for us all, Twitter stepped up in defense of the movie. Everyone seemed on the same page: Don’t touch it.

Anyway, let’s all listen to the Dread Pirate Roberts himself and let The Princess Bride live, because the idea of a remake? Inconceivable!

(image: 20th Century Fox)

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Britta Perry Deserved Better Than Community’s Later Seasons

Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs) deserved better than being the butt of every joke.

Community, a show with the highest of highs and lowest of lows, had a great ensemble of characters, but none were torpedoed quite as badly as Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs). Britta began the show as a snarky, earnest feminist and ended it as the butt of nearly every joke. To coin one of the many in jokes from the show, they Britta’d Britta.

Every character on Community got goofier as the show reached new comedic heights. That’s partially the point, after all. As Jeff (Joel McHale) gets less and less cynical and grows with his classmates, they all become weirder and more wonderful. But Britta’s evolution from deadpan snarker to the gang’s personal punching bag isn’t cute like Troy and Abed’s adventures or Annie letting loose. Instead, it feels meanspirited.

In season one, the gang tells Britta she’s a killjoy, to which she responds by trying to pull an April Fools Day prank that backfires. As the mayhem escalates, she delivers a heartfelt monologue about feeling like she’s unwanted, with the killer line: “Knock knock, who’s there? Cancer! Good, come on in, I thought it was Britta!” And yes, Britta’s self-righteousness can be off putting, but if we learned to love womanizing jerk Jeff, we can sympathize with try hard Britta.

By mid-season two, the joke seems to be that Britta is naive to a disbelieving point, and she lacks the wit and intelligence that made her shine in season one. She’s easy to trick, makes simple mistakes, and her name becomes slang for making a mistake. Take the pillow fight episode, a parody of Ken Burns’ The Civil War. Britta’s only role in the episode is to be bad at photography, while the other characters get actual comedic beats. While we’re laughing with Troy, Abed, and the others, we’re supposed to laugh at Britta.

While the other characters develop positively, Britta regresses. A more natural change would be her loosening up and becoming more accepting, not whatever she turned out to be in the later seasons, no matter how hard they tried to play her off as being less than the butt of a joke.

But let’s face it, while Community featured great female characters, it never was quite as interested in them as it was interested in the male characters. Jeff, Abed, and Troy all got to grow and develop and get actual arcs, while Britta regressed and Shirley remained static. Annie got the most development, but usually when she was off causing mayhem with Abed and Troy, rather than serving as Jeff’s love interest.

This is not an attack on Community, which is a show I adored for the first three seasons. I think those early seasons are among some of the funniest, sharpest episodes I’ve seen on television, and I still watch “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” every year like clockwork. But I get sad during later episodes thinking about Britta’s treatment. There had to have been a better way to allow her to grow without making her into the permanent punchline she became.

Community had ups and downs.  I still rewatch my favorite episodes regularly, and think the paintball episodes are some of the funniest parodies I’ve ever seen. Even in the later seasons, Troy’s goodbye episode still brings a tear to my eye. But whenever I watch season one and early season two, I get a twinge for the Britta that could have been. So, today, let’s raise a toast to Greendale, and the Britta we deserved.

(image: NBC)

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The Trailer For Stephen King Adaptation In the Tall Grass Is Hauntingly Claustrophobic

Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) faces some supernatural evil in In the Tall Grass.

Stephen King is especially good at crafting haunting nightmares in one setting. Be it a bedroom a woman can’t leave due to handcuffs or a grocery store surrounded by monsters and mist, King is just as deft with his intimate settings as he is with his more sprawling epics. In the Tall Grass, the latest adaptation of one of King’s novellas that he co-wrote with son Joe Hill, looks haunting based on the first trailer. It features a fascinating single set: a field of tall grass that appears to be haunted. Check out the trailer below.

This looks like the best kind of Halloween watch. There’s something very folktale-ish about the idea of tall grass containing some sort of evil, which I’m 100% here for. The haunting image of an old church at the edge of the grass gives it a very middle America feel as well, which is, again, something I’m here for. King really can get to the heart of American terror with his imagery.

The film, written and directed by Vincenzo Natali, looks to capture some strong visuals, which is key to King’s horror. When you read a King novel, the visuals leap off the page as strongly as the characters do, sliding into your mind and staying there. Natali’s visual language already seems striking, with the grass looming high over the heads of the unsuspecting cast. I’m also already fascinated by the sound work, with the wind whistling through the grass or, at key moments, falling deadly silent.

Adaptations of King’s work can be hit or miss, and this year has seen division over whether big adaptations like Pet Sematary or IT Chapter Two were standout works or flat out terrible. A good trailer does not always a good movie make, so we can only hope that the final product lives up to the hype. Still, I’ll probably be waiting up until midnight to catch this the second it’s released, as I love a good (or bad) King adaptation and this looks decidedly and wickedly delightful and nightmarish. I’ll be avoiding any large fields of grass for the foreseeable future.

(image: Netflix)

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Let Jon Favreau Remake the Star Wars Holiday Special You Cowards

Han Solo hanging out with some Wookiees.

Talk of a new Star Wars Holiday Special coming our way is circulating on Twitter. A journey of celebrity cameos, Shyriiwook, toy destruction, and Chewbacca’s family that he just … left behind to hang out with Han Solo, the original was an interesting time for fans and, since its poor reception when it was released in 1978, it has become nearly impossible to find. Sure, you can watch it in parts on YouTube, but George Lucas tried his hardest eradicate it from existence.

Star Wars fans know what a holiday special entails. Itchy, Lumpy, and Malla (yes, Chewbacca’s family, two of whom are inexplicably named English adjectives like off-brand Snow White dwarves) deserve their time to shine in the modern era of the franchise, and now, it seems as if Jon Favreau is willing to give it to us. During Disney’s D23 expo this year, Ash Crossan, a host for ET Now, talked with Favreau and led to him revealing the most important information of all: He’d love to do a Star Wars Holiday Special.

Now, if you’re not one of the lucky ones, let me try to explain the Star Wars Holiday Special to you. I say “try” because it’s truly something everyone has to experience for themselves, despite being not exactly easy to find anymore. The special, which is mostly Chewbacca’s family preparing for him to come home with Han Solo, starts in Shyriiwook, the Wookie language. Why is that interesting? Because there are absolutely no subtitles and no Han Solo to tell us what is being said.

So … we’re basically watching Wookies make noises at each other with no idea what’s going on, when suddenly the Republic comes and destroys Lumpy’s (Chewbacca’s son’s) toys. Again, this is a work of art that everyone should just … experience.

Featuring an all-star cast for 1978, the special marked something interesting in the world of Star Wars that was never created again. Bea Arthur ran a cantina, Harvey Korman was having a time, and Jefferson Starship was just singing a song (?), and when you stop and think about it, that weirdly makes sense for 1978.

What I’m saying is … let Jon Favreau give us something new for the 21st century. With his connections in Hollywood, and Disney+ (if they let him do it) shelling out the money, just imagine the brilliance that a new Star Wars Holiday Special could have. Life Day is an important thing to celebrate, both for Chewbacca and Star Wars fans, and so, why not give kids the experience of Princess Leia’s Life Day Song?

It is a journey we can all go on together again and if Jon Favreau is behind it, I trust whatever Holiday Special he’d give us. Give Jon Favreau his own special! Justice for Malla, Itchy, and Lumpy!

(image: Lucasfilm)

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We’re Getting Yet Another Streaming Service and Endless Reboots With NBC’s Peacock

Battlestar Galactica reboot

It is a truth universally acknowledged that each day of 2019 will bring a hellish news cycle and a new streaming service. Today, that service is Peacock, NBC’s upcoming service which will feature old standbys such as Parks and Recreation and Friends, as well as new originals (well, mostly remakes) for those of us who decide that our need to binge The Office again trumps not paying for yet another streaming service.

First off, the name Peacock is truly silly. It’s just not a good name for the service, even if it does call to mind NBC’s “We Peacock Comedy” ads from 2012. The peacock has always been the NBC symbol, but it doesn’t mean it’s automatically a great name for an NBC streaming service. There has to be a catchier, better name for the service that isn’t so easily mockable. Seriously, it’s like Jack from 30 Rock designed the service and Kenneth picked the name. “Hey did you watch that show on Peacock last night?” is not something anyone wants to say at the watercooler, ever.

Also, they’re planning on rebooting classics like Saved By the Bell and Battlestar Galactica via this service. There are also discussions of an Office reboot happening. I guess nothing that dies on television ever truly stays dead. The BSG reboot is coming from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, who confirmed that the show would explore a new story in that universe and mythology, which means I’m a little more excited than I am for other possible reboot and sequel series that NBC will be producing.

The problem with so many different streaming services is that eventually, we’ll be paying as much for them as we did for cable. Streaming is supposed to make life easier, not increase the number of channels and things we pay for. With Warner Bros and HBO launching a new service, Disney+ launching with all the Disney properties we could possibly want, CBS All-Access and its ilk, and short-form shows from the Quibi app that’ll launch soon (which I still don’t quite understand), there are just too many streaming services. The whole point of this streaming thing was to be able to cut the multi-services cord.

However, Netflix is really in a precarious position now. They’re losing so many of their classic mainstays and really only gaining Seinfeld, all while canceling many of their popular originals like One Day At a Time and The OA. If Netflix can’t find a way to keep subscribers happy, they’ll head to other streaming services. Netflix has to have more to offer than canceling shows that people are just getting attached to while spending millions to try and keep nineties sitcoms on the platform.

The streaming wars are weird. As more and more networks and studios try to get in on streaming, we’re going to start paying more and more to get access to their channels. Gone are the days of there just being Hulu and Netflix and increasingly Amazon Prime. It’s our job to keep track of these developments here and even we are overwhelmed. Where does this end? Will it ever?

(via Variety, image: SYFY/NBC)

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How Did Spider-Man: Far From Home Ever Get Made With These Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland Bloopers?

Peter Parker looking confused, trying to figure things out in Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man: Far From Home

Fans of Marvel and Sony’s Spider-Man: Far From Home very quickly fell in love with the dynamic between Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal. Holland’s Peter Parker turned to Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck as another father figure to look up to, and as comic fans know, that wasn’t going to end very well—because Quentin Beck is Mysterio, a known liar and a terrible person all around. That being said, we still loved watching as Holland and Gyllenhaal doing press together for the movie.

It was a time filled with Gyllenhaal trying to scare Holland over and over again while doing very little to promote the movie—which, fair, they could barely talk about anyway while trying to do press. Instead, they just told wild stories about each other and had fun. Remember when Jake Gyllenhaal went on a radio show and talked about how much he loved Sean Paul, much to Tom Holland’s shock and awe?

Now that the movie has been out and press has been done, we long for the return of these two messing with each other, and lucky for us all, the Spider-Man: Far From Home bloopers have been released!

Now I have one question: How was anything actually done? I feel like all they did was laugh with each other throughout the movie and make jokes while trying to play onscreen foes. Everything in this blooper reel is just the two of them laughing at one another. My favorite part is when Tom Holland openly asks if his face is visible and then full body laughs at Jake Gyllenhaal like the camera won’t pick up his shoulders shaking.

From this blooper reel to the behind-the-scenes pictures that the cast has shared on their respective social media accounts, one thing is very clear about Spider-Man: Far From Home: It was a fun time for everyone involved!

Fans took this blooper real as an opportunity to remember the reasoning behind their love of both Gyllenhaal and Holland—and honestly, if you need a reminder, just watch the entire press tour for the movie again.

So how did Spider-Man: Far From Home get made when Tom Holland couldn’t stop laughing at Jake Gyllenhaal? The world may never know, but at least we have these beautiful bloopers to remind us of the joy that is Holland and Gyllenhaal’s friendship.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Things We Saw Today: Bless Rian Johnson for These Knives Out Posters

Chris Evans being a snack in Knives Out

On a day like today, when the world seems to be on fire just a bit more than usual, director Rian Johnson comes to our rescue. He released the character posters for his star-studded movie Knives Out and sent fans into a tizzy. A murder mystery for the ages, Knives Out was met with lots of fanfare and excitement at the Toronto International Film Festival. Those of us who were not at TIFF are anxiously awaiting the release of the film on November 27th, and these character posters are our aloe for the burns of not seeing the film with the critics in Canada

That being said, I have some questions about these colors. Is this a family of fashionistas? Did they all pick a color palette and run with it? Also, where can I get Chris Evans’ scarf? I need it for my fashion looks.

Johnson gave us an intimate look into these characters, with a beautiful breakdown of each. Maybe Meg Thrombey (Katherine Langford) is my favorite. She’s a liberal arts kid.

Without further adieu, I give you these beautiful posters that I am now very much obsessed with:

Is Knives Out going to kill me too? Yes, most definitely. Death to me and my heart because I cannot wait for this.

(image: Lionsgate)

Here are some other stories we saw out there today.

  • Charmed fans, get ready! There’s going to be a bit of a reunion on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy! (via EW)
  • Keke Palmer is the perfect kind of meme. (via Buzzfeed)
  • The “raiding” of Area 51 rages on as an airstrip is going to be closed to news helicopters during the “raid.” (via Gizmo)
  • Hustlers came in with a larger box office opening than expected, as it DESERVES. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

What did you see out there today, Mary Suevians? Let us know in the comments below!

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