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Naya Rivera and Her Son’s Last Photograph Before Her Presumed Death

Naya Rivera, as of this writing, has been presumed dead from drowning in Lake Piru, California. Unfortunately, she left behind her 4-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey.

Here’s the last published photograph they took together. Rivera posted it to Instagram with the caption: “just the two of us”

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just the two of us

A post shared by Naya Rivera (@nayarivera) on

Rivera divorced ex-husband Ryan Dorsey in 2017 and had been sharing custody of Josey.

Rivera initiated the divorce, but was also charged the day after with a misdemeanor domestic battery after allegedly hitting Ryan on a walk with their kid.

The post Naya Rivera and Her Son’s Last Photograph Before Her Presumed Death appeared first on The Blemish.

Can We Just Cancel ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is struggling to figure out how to move forward in light of the very sudden realization by large swatch’s of the population that most police are bad and most police departments are incurably corrupt. I have a suggestion for how the show should move forward: don’t.

You might think I don’t like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but you’d be wrong. I absolutely adored the early seasons for a number of reasons, especially the portrayal of Captain Holt’s early days on the force as some sort of 70s cop drama that never existed full of colorfully-named criminals and catch phrases. But as the show has gone on, it’s been more and more difficult to keep that magic alive. Plots became less interesting, all the will they, won’t theys either did or didn’t and while watching the characters grow has been interesting, it’s also left them with less story potential than they had early on.

Here’s what star Andy Samberg told People about the current struggles the show is having.

“We’re taking a step back, and the writers are all rethinking how we’re going to move forward, as well as the cast,” Samberg, 41, tells PEOPLE. “We’re all in touch and kind of discussing how you make a comedy show about police right now, and if we can find a way of doing that that we all feel morally okay about.”

“I know that we’ll figure it out, but it’s definitely a challenge, so we’ll see how it goes,” adds the actor, who plays Det. Jake Peralta.

The answer is simple. Don’t. 143 episodes over seven seasons is nothing to be ashamed of. The show ending with Jake and Amy’s baby being born would be fine, the show was mostly about those two characters and their dynamic anyway.

At its core, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an irreverent workplace comedy like The Office or WKRP in Cincinnati, only the workplace is a police precinct. This has allowed them to do stories based around the tropes of police procedurals as well as to use their structure. It’s fun to watch characters like Jake Peralta who are goofy idiots but are still highly competent and good at their job.

We’ve just all seen what that job is, and it involves a lot of improperly shooting people in the face with rubber bullets to permanently blind them because they were protesting all the other horrible s**t you’ve done.

I don’t blame the writers and actors on Brooklyn Nine-Nine for not wanting to be the people to put an “aw shucks, we’re just trying to help people” spin on that.

The problem is that you can’t be an irreverent workplace sitcom about the lovable goofs down at the police station and also be the show that seriously addresses topical issues of police brutality. It’s an impossibility. Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother could balance comedy and drama because they were able to unambiguously portray their leads as the good guys. Brooklyn Nine-Nine worked because the cops we saw on the show were the good guys who worked against the corrupt cops. If you’re uncomfortable presenting the cops as good guys, you can’t make an irreverent workplace comedy about cops.

But there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The show had a good run, produced some memorable characters and had some really funny episodes. It’s time to move on. You don’t want your eighth season to be the same as Scrubs’ ninth season.

The post Can We Just Cancel ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’? appeared first on The Blemish.

Kristian Alfonso Quits Days of Our Lives after 37 Years

A legend has left the building.

Kristian Alfonso, one of the the most recognizable and longest-tenured stars on all of television, has announced that she's leaving Days of Our Lives...

... a soap opera on NBC she joind way back in 1983.

Kristian Alfonso1

“I feel blessed and honored to have been invited into people’s homes for over three decades. However, it is now time for me to write my next chapter,” Alfonso said in a statement to Deadline.

Following the reveal that this beloved drama will resume filming again on September 1 -- following a hiatus related to the COVID-19 pandemic -- the actress added:

“I will not be returning to Days when it resumes production in September.

"I’ve already filmed my last episode several months ago.”

Kristian Alfonso

Continued Alfonso, who came on boarrd 37 years ago in the role of Hope, via Instagram:

Days of Our Lives has been a vital part of both my personal and professional journey.

I am forever grateful to NBC and the late Betty Corday, who took a chance on me many years ago and changed my life. I have built some lifelong friendships with my extraordinarily talented castmates.

Days has one of the hardest working crews in all of television, many of whom have become part of my extended family.

I feel blessed and honored to have been invited into people’s homes for over three decades.

Kristian Alfonso Picture

Without specifying the nature of her impending plans, Alfonso concluded as follows:

However, it is now time for me to write my next chapter...

To the incredibly loyal fans of Days, many of you have been with me on this journey from the beginning.

I cannot thank you enough for your generosity, love and support. I could not have done it without YOU!!!

Kristian Alfonso in 2017

The entire Days of our Lives cast was released from their contracts as a cost-cutting measure last year, three months before NBC renewed the soap opera for a 56th season.

It’s unclear at this time whether Alfonso’s exit is related to that controversial move.

But she did state above that she shot her final scenes months ago... so you can form your own conclusions.

Kristian Alfonso Image

While the character of Hope Williams Brady has been part of the long-running drama since 1974, Alfonso was the first actress to play her as an adult and has been playing her -- with just two breaks -- since 1983.

She left the show for two years in 1987 and returned briefly from April to July 1990, which culminated with the town of Salem believing that Hope had passed away.

Alfonso then returned again in 1994 as Gina, an amnesiac who had a stark resemblance to Hope.

The character turned out to be Hope after a complicated storyline involving the evil Stefano DiMera, who had brainwashed Gina into believing she was Princess Gina Von Amberg.

Kristian Alfonso Photo

Hope, a prominent detective in the Salem Police Department, was the one to finally kill Stefano, a decision with repercussions that weighed heavily on her conscience for many years.

Really.

These were storylines on Days of Our Lives and now we're left to wonder why we haven't been watching every day for the past several decades.

We wish Kristian Alfonso the best of luck in all future endeavors.

Ellen DeGeneres: Are She & Her Show About to Get Canceled?

Ellen DeGeneres may soon get canceled, according to a stunning new report.

Ellen DeGeneres in 2020

We don't mean this in the broad, social media sense, either.

We don't mean this in the sense that Ellen DeGeneres is being criticized by an online mob and users are saying she should be ostracized from the general conversation and/or the public stage.

We mean this literally.

Ellen DeGeneres Accepts

Rumors surrounding her future have been flying around that we never expected to entertain just a few months ago.

Ellen may actually get canceled as a talk show.

Amid insiders whispering about this possibility, The New York Post spoke to a represenative from DeGeneres’ production company, who simply said the following:

“Telepictures can confirm it’s untrue."

Ellen DeGeneres at Saint Laurent Fashion Show

How is this even being discussed at the moment?

How could Ellen, one of the most popular and successful figures in all of entertainment, have fallen this far so quickly?

Back in April, Ellen was accused of cruel behavior toward her guests and also toward her employees in a series of articles.

Ellen DeGeneres Wins!

These reports began to circulate once she began airing a stripped-down version of her talk show amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to insiders, the 62-year-old talk show icon allegedly communicated very poorly with her staff during this period.

And then ripped them off.

Ellen DeGeneres and Kevin Hart

Crew members "received no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month," said two sources.

According to Variety, both insiders spoke out only under the condition of anonymity because the situation was so toxic.

Ellen DeGeneres Speech Photo

Then, with the country in the grips of a long overdue conversation regarding income inequality, especially in the midst of the global pandemic, the real bombshell hit.

After weeks of uncertainty, "nearly all crew members were told last week to brace for a 60% reduction in pay, even as the show continues to air," the report continued.

For the record, Ellen is worth approximately $330 million.

Ellen DeGeneres in Mourning

In the wake of this backlash, ratings for Ellen have plummeted.

Is that because of the negative press? It's hard to imagine it's not, since Americans are at home watching TV more than ever, and Ellen's ratings recently fell 14 percent to a new season 17-low rating of 1.2.

The “stories are all true,” a former employee of Ellen's long-running daytime talk show has told the Post, seemingly confirming allegations of abusive behavior by DeGeneres.

Ellen DeGeneres is Happy

This remains a shocking revelation after many years of DeGeneres presenting herself on air as an especially friendly and benevolent celebrity.

“Is she always nice? No,” added a former staffer. “It irritates me that people think she’s all sweetness and light and she gets away with it."

Not so much any longer, it seems.

Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen DeGeneres

The contradiction between such accounts and Ellen's public persona is hard to reconcile, but perhaps that's why the push to unmask her (so to speak) has been so pronounced this year.

On March 20, comedian Kevin T. Porter launched a Twitter thread that went viral, calling for anyone who encountered DeGeneres to respond with “insane” stories about “Ellen being mean.”

Ellen DeGeneres on the Red Carpet

Replied TV writer Ben Simeon to that particular call to action:

“A new staff member was told, ‘Every day she picks someone different to really hate. It’s not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she’ll be mean to someone else the next day.’

"They didn’t believe it, but it ended up being entirely true."

Ellen DeGeneres on the Mic

If that were an isolated case, it would be easily dismissed.

But more of these stories began to emerge, and each one - even if only partially true - painted a worse picture than the last.

DeGeneres has not directly responded to these accusations, but a source told celebrity gossip magazine Us Weekly shortly after they started coming out that "Ellen is at the end of her rope."

Ellen Promo Pic

What does this actually mean and will we see any changes or statements from DeGeneres or her team?

We can't say at the moment, but it will be very interesting to see what happens, to put things mildly.

Duffy Wants Netflix to Only Have Shows and Movies She Personally Approves Of

I have a lot of empathy for singer Duffy after hearing her heartbreaking story of being kidnapped and raped. Just gut-wrenching, horrifying stuff no human should have to go through. But that doesn’t mean she can get away with saying some of the dumbest s**t I’ve ever heard with no pushback.

Duffy is demanding Netflix remove the film 365 Days, which was in their top ten most-watched programs this week, because she doesn’t like it. Her open letter to Reed Hastings was published by Deadline and it is a doozy, I would describe it as firmly in the genre of “Terry Rakolta but woke.”

‘365 Days’ glamorizes the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape. This should not be anyone’s idea of entertainment, nor should it be described as such, or be commercialized in this manner.

You’re certainly entitled to your opinion because it was obviously very popular. It doesn’t appear to actually be good but it is sexy and that’s enough to launch it to the top of the world’s most popular streaming service.

It grieves me that Netflix provides a platform for such ‘cinema’, that eroticises kidnapping and distorts sexual violence and trafficking as a “sexy” movie. I just can’t imagine how Netflix could overlook how careless, insensitive, and dangerous this is. It has even prompted some young women, recently, to jovially ask Michele Morrone, the lead actor in the film, to kidnap them.

We all know Netflix would not host material glamorizing pedophilia, racism, homophobia, genocide, or any other crimes against humanity. The world would rightly rise up and scream. Tragically, victims of trafficking and kidnapping are unseen, and yet in ‘365 Days’ their suffering is made into a “erotic drama”, as described by Netflix.

I don’t want to belabor this point too much, because she just goes on and on with the whole “I don’t like this so it shouldn’t exist” thing. Free speech is more important than people watching a movie you don’t like. It’s good that there are movies that shock and offend you and removing this movie opens the door for removing an actual good movie that people have similar complaints about.

Besides, I’m pretty sure that 365 Days doesn’t have anyone in blackface, so I doubt it’s going anywhere.

The post Duffy Wants Netflix to Only Have Shows and Movies She Personally Approves Of appeared first on The Blemish.

Animation Lovers Rejoice, ‘Beavis and Butthead’ and ‘Mission Hill’ Are Coming Back

Believe it or not, the first adult animated series was The Flintstones. I know, when I was growing up it was a kid’s show, we even had The Flintstone Kids and that weird show where Pebbles and Bam-Bam were teenagers. But originally the Flintstones were a prime-time family sitcom and before Fruity Pebbled came along, Fred and Barney were the spokesmen for Winston cigarettes, which was the brand I smoked before I switched to Nat Sherman as a way to look down on all the plebs who smoked Marlboros.

I am not making any of the up, either.

Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should. I smoked for years and I always thought all cigarettes tasted terrible, I had to have something like coke to drink while I was smoking to get the taste out of my mouth. But damn did it make me look cool.

Even though it started 30 years later and well after The Simpsons began as well, Beavis and Butthead still feels like an early pioneer of adult animation. It’s hard to explain just how taboo watching it felt, like you were getting away with something. It’s not like my parents ever told me I wasn’t allowed to watch it or anything, but the news and it seemed like society as a whole we’re trying to keep us from watching it. The media made a huge to-do about a fire set by a five-year-old supposedly obsessed with fire because of Beavis and Butthead that killed his sister, and not much mention at all when neighbors said the kid didn’t have cable TV and had never seen Beavis and Butthead.

Well, Beavis and Butthead is coming back. Comedy Central has announced they’ve committed to two seasons as well as spin-offs and specials. Comedy Central also picked up the Daria revival which now is just called Jodie and won’t feature Daria, so who cares now?

I don’t think that Beavis and Butthead will quite have the same cultural impact as it did in the 90s. It pushed the envelope and became the cool show to watch because most people’s parents were dead set on keeping them from watching it, but I don’t foresee that happening. I can’t even imagine what they could possibly do to push the envelope in the same way they did back then.

Along with the Beavis and Butthead news, though, we also got news that a revival of cult classic Mission Hill is also officially underway from original creators Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, which ran one season on The WB and eventually found an audience in reruns in the early days of Adult Swim.

You see, Dilbert creator Scott Adams complained about being canceled by UPN because the network shifted its focus to African-American viewers, so a lot of other creators who had short-lived adult cartoons at the time made fun of him for being a big racist baby. One of those people was Bill Oakley, who took the opportunity to say that unlike Dilbert, Mission Hill was coming back. Hopefully.

I was a little curious about what the Gus & Wally title meant, and I mentioned in a tweet that I was hoping for more of an ensemble where former supporting characters Gus and Wally, a scene-stealing elderly gay couple, would have an increased role but episodes would still feature characters like Kevin and Andy French, the main characters of the original run, along with their roommates Posey and Jim (played by the hilarious Brian Posehn). Oakley, who is an awesome guy, told me that was the plan for the show, which instantly erased any doubts I had since I’m not sure Gus and Wally could carry a series despite their strong showing in the series last episode (for now), Plan Nine From Mission Hill (Or How I Married a Gay Man From Outer Space), which was all about the couple.

My guess, based purely on instinct, is that there’s a better than 50% chance this eventually gets picked up and that when it does it goes back to the Mission Hill name, just with more episodes (but probably not even the majority of them) centered on Gus and Wally.

I also think that Mission Hill will ultimately be the more successful return than Beavis and Butthead because it was successful for a much different reason. Mission Hill wasn’t really pushing the envelope and challenging the status quo (though I believe Gus and Wally were the first gay couple shown in bed together on TV), it was a smaller, character-driven show that was essentially pitched as “The Simpsons but with 20-somethings from people who wrote The Simpsons when it was good.”

You can still achieve that and adult animation still doesn’t have a lot of shows featuring characters in that age group. Look at Rick and Morty or Bob’s Burgers. Kids and teens and parents. No college kids, college drop-outs, or fresh out of college kids anywhere. Mission Hill can still fill that niche and it doesn’t need to shock us or push the envelope to live up to its legacy.

The post Animation Lovers Rejoice, ‘Beavis and Butthead’ and ‘Mission Hill’ Are Coming Back appeared first on The Blemish.

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ is Scrapping All Its Completed Season 8 Scripts, Starting Over

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in a rough spot for years as the show has felt compelled to weigh in on social issues lest it be accused of simply being propaganda for the police department.  Now they’ve had to throw out all the scripts they’d already finished for season eight in light of the nationwide protests of the police.

Terry Crews related the news in an interview with Access, saying “They had four episodes all ready to go and they just threw them in the trash.  We have to start over. Right now we don’t know which direction it’s going to go in.”

The problem is that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has struggled with maintaining quality while wrestling with the issues the police department has in recent years. It seems as if certain plot lines are just shoved into scripts without planning or care for making them feel organic to the plot. This wasn’t always the case, though.

Let’s take a look at the season one episode Old School. Stacey Keach guest-stars as a journalist who wrote books glamorizing the police in the 70s which inspired Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta to become a cop. Keach’s character shadows Jake for an article on modern police methods and Jake gets drunk and vents about his problems with his new boss Captain Holt, which is generally minor because Jake genuinely respects him. Peralta tries to get Keach’s character not to use his comments and almost succeeds until he punches him in the face for calling Holt a “homo.”

The episode builds a believable situation that builds over the course of the episode and makes a point about discrimination without derailing the narrative.

Flash forward to the season four episode Moo Moo where Terry Crews’ character, also called Terry, is racial profiled by another police officer. The situation that sets the incident up is pretty contrived; Jake and Amy are watching Terry’s daughter and one of the girls throws a blanket out the car window. When Terry goes to retrieve it, another cop pulls a gun on him and nearly arrests him for being a black guy in a primarily white neighborhood.

Now I realize that this is a relatively common occurrence for black men in America. But that in and of itself doesn’t make it a good story. Sure it allows the show to talk about the politics around reporting incidents of racism involving police officers, but it’s not a particularly well-written plot. It’s. It isn’t set up organically to the story and while the resolution is realistic, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has never really handled these more serious plots as well as shows like How I Met Your Mother or Scrubs.

It doesn’t seem like Brooklyn Nine-Nine is going to change to be less heavy and play to the show’s strengths. It’s going to be more topical, which I just don’t think is one of the show’s strong suits, at least not in later seasons. At the same time, I understand why just being a show about goofy but ultimately good-hearted cops wouldn’t go over well in the current climate.

The post ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ is Scrapping All Its Completed Season 8 Scripts, Starting Over appeared first on The Blemish.

We Can’t Keep Making Media Disappear When the Political Winds Change

In the early days of television, there were no efforts being made to preserve the media of the day. A lack of forethought means that early episodes of shows like Doctor Who and Dark Shadows are gone forever because people could imagine there was any value in keeping them, leading the companies that own them to spend large amounts of money searching for and even recreating the episodes for fans who want a complete collection.

In the past few years, the opposite problem has arisen; episodes of TV shows are being disappeared intentionally to appease a small number of people complaining about them or in some cases no one at all.

There’s probably some incident of this happening earlier, but the most high-profile example I can find is the producers of The Simpsons pulled the episode Stark Raving Dad featuring guest star Michael Jackson from being shown or sold or even appearing on future DVD and Blu Ray reprints after activists wanted all of Michael Jackson’s work removed from existence after a documentary about the child abuse allegations against him.

Okay, that’s a lie. The actual oldest example I can think of is the Super Best Friends episode of South Park, which features Muhammad along with other religious leaders, as well as its 2-part sequel 200 and 201. This was obviously done because religious extremists threatened Comedy Central with violence because of the depiction of Muhammad in the episodes, but they were all available on the DVDs and Blu Rays of the show, although 201 was heavily censored, as it was on its network airing.

It’s important to keep that in mind, that when you decide you’re going to make media you don’t like for whatever reason disappear that your “side” won’t always be the side making the decision on what stays and what goes.

Something that’s being lost in the rush to erase anything that might be seen as offensive is that not all fictional depictions of racism are racist themselves. For example, some British streaming services removed both Little Britain and an episode of Fawlty Towers for having racist content. The difference between the two shows is that while Little Britain is just white guys doing brownface, the racism in Fawlty Towers is, in context, shown to be inappropriate. It comes out of the mouth of a senile idiot. It’s no more accurate to say that Fawlty Towers is racist for this scene that it is to say Roots is racist for depicting slavery. Once we decide context doesn’t matter that’s where we are.

Most recently, Tina Fey asked for four episodes of 30 Rock to be removed from streaming and digital sales because they depict characters in blackface. The problem is again that no one intelligent ever saw those episodes in context and said “Oh, this is being racist.” For example, Jon Hamm’s blackface scene, a parody of Amos and Andy was about the way blackface was used to have white actors degrade black people and it’s hilarious to watch Tracy Morgan react to it the way any normal, decent person would. Context is important.

But perhaps the main problem is that these shows aren’t going to disappear anyway. We’re still going to find them if we want to, watch them if we want to and that’s not going to change. If anything, you’re just drawing more attention to them.

People have spent decades looking for lost Doctor Who episodes, to the point where the BBC animated them using cleaned up home recordings of the audio. You don’t think people will spend the five minutes tops it takes to find pirated copies of these episodes of 30 Rock.

The post We Can’t Keep Making Media Disappear When the Political Winds Change appeared first on The Blemish.

Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart Deny Anonymous Sex Assault Allegations

There are a lot of sexual misconduct allegations flying around over the past week or so and they run the gamut of believability. On the low end of that scale is a little flurry of anonymous social media allegations against the stars of Riverdale, specifically KJ Apa, Cole Sprouse, and Lili Reinhart. The trio is reportedly looking into suing the people making the accusations if they can find them, and two of the accounts making allegations have already been deleted or suspended.

Sprouse responded to the allegations on Twitter.

Earlier today myself and three other cast mates were falsely accused of sexual offense by anonymous accounts on twitter. I take these accusations very seriously, and will be working with the right teams to get to the root of it.

False accusations do tremendous damage to victims of actual assault. Furthermore, I would never seek to silence anybody. I encourage that people look into the accusations themselves, as the events detailed were factually untrue.

This seems to be the latest claim in a series of incidents seeking to baselessly cancel my cast mates and me.

There is something to what he’s saying as Twitter users have pointed out all the tweets making these allegations, from different users had the exact same geolocation data.

Reinhart also responded, saying “I have always taken sexual assault allegations seriously. But it was proven that this account was created specifically to create false stories about me and my cast. I can’t think of something more twisted than lying about sexual assault. ”

KJ Apa didn’t even bother to dignify the accusations with a response.

The post Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart Deny Anonymous Sex Assault Allegations appeared first on The Blemish.

Let’s See What Ja Rule Has Been Up To

The post Let’s See What Ja Rule Has Been Up To appeared first on The Blemish.

HBO Made ‘Watchmen’ Free This Weekend, But it Was Still Terrible

In the middle of the ongoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and because Friday was Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States following the Civil War, HBO decided to let fans watch the Watchmen TV series for free this weekend as “an extension of the network’s content offering highlighting Black experiences, voices, and storytellers.” Which is weird because it was written by a white guy and the central messages of the show are that fighting against your oppressors makes you just as bad as they are and not all cops are bad guys.

Critic Leslie Lee III has already covered how the series drops the ball on racism, the main thing that the series has been frustratingly praised for, and if you’re not following Leslie’s work you should be. What I want to talk about is how the series also fails as a sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ groundbreaking Watchmen comic by not really showing an understanding of the plot or characters of that book.

There are some things the show got right about the comic, and the clearest one is that Rorschach sending his journal to The New Frontiersman would not have actually exposed that Adrian Veidt faked the alien attack on New York. One of the least subtle real world references in Watchmen was The New Frontiersman, a far-right tabloid owned by The Newspaper Corporation. While Fox News didn’t exist and Americans may have missed the reference at the time, Rupert Murdoch had already founded News Corp, the entity that published his British right-wing tabloids years before Watchmen was published. Imagine Alex Jones citing the journal of a known mentally ill vigilante to claim 9-11 was an inside job and you’ll see why no one believes Squid day was faked. Good job on understanding one thing Alan Moore was trying to say, guys.

One of the themes of Watchmen is that superheroes are fascists. Now, in the real world, superheroes were mostly anti-fascist propaganda during WWII but had they actually been real, masked operatives who operate outside the law and without oversight they would invariably uphold white supremacy and when they didn’t, they’d be made illegal. There is a reason that a paper shown being read by Hitler was so enthusiastic about superheroes; Watchmen doesn’t have a Chekhov’s Gun that no one thought to fire.

The most blatant, smack you-in-the-face example of this is Hooded Justice, dressed very much like a stylized Klan member, the most violent vigilante of his day and also a literal Nazi named Rolf Müller. He was the first masked hero and he was there so you’d all realize that maybe all the other heroes were the fruit of a rotten tree. Also, The Comedian implies Müller is sexually aroused by the violence he’s allowed to dish out as Hooded Justice and that seems to resonate with Müller; this is paralleled with Nite Owl II, one of the story’s nominal good guys and heroes along with Silk Spectre II, who can’t get his dick hard enough to have sex until he puts his on Nite Owl costume and goes adventuring again.

In the TV show, however, Hooded Justice is a black man “reclaiming” the iconography of the Ku Klux Klan, who he’s secretly fighting against because they’ve infiltrated the police force he works for. I’ve seen so many critics say how brave and important it is that the first hero was a black man in this world but it overlooks that Hooded Justice was super racist, and not in a fake “racist against white people” way. He explicitly didn’t want to oppose the Nazis during WWII. The TV show’s retcon was awkwardly shoehorned in because he’s the only Minuteman with a somewhat ambiguous identity in the comic and Lindelof had just learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre and thought he could film it to parallel the destruction of Krypton by Brainiac.

I mentioned Nite Owl, and he and Silk Spectre are the closest things Watchmen has to a moral center, which makes it all the more shocking he is not in the show at all. This was done because Lindelof didn’t want to have too many characters from Watchmen in Watchmen because that’s what kind of show this is.

Silk Spectre does appear as a main character and oh boy. While the ending of Watchmen implied that Laurie had started to forgive her father for raping her mother, she was definitely not going to take his name. I have a sneaking suspicion that the actors just didn’t want to pronounce Juspeczyk but if she needed a name to hide her identity she was already going by Sandra Hollis at the end of the comic.

The scene of Laurie pulling out the huge, blue Doctor Manhattan sex toy became somewhat icon and shows Laurie being so obsessed with her ex that her husband made her a dildo to replicate her ex’s giant atomic penis and while she barely mentions Nite Owl she’s seen to be regularly calling for Manhattan on phones set up to reach him.

Doctor Manhattan was a nerdy scientist who received the powers of a god in an atomic accident and his newfound status as the man who lives outside of time and can rewrite reality leads him to leave the love of his life for an underage model being pushed into a lifestyle she doesn’t enjoy who is mostly drawn to him for his power and the fact that her mother hates him. You’re telling that at 70 years old that’s who Laurie considers the love of her life? And that Manhattan changes his mind about leaving the galaxy and instead gives up his godlike powers to be a househusband to a woman in her 30s after sending Adrian Veidt to the new world he built after losing faith in humanity?

Speaking of Veidt, everything that happens in Watchmen is part of his plan to end the Cold War and stop the nuclear destruction of Earth. Parallel to the story of Watchmen is the play within a play Marooned, a classic story from Tales of the Black Freighter, a fictional pirate comic conceived because Moore and Gibbons figured that if superheroes were real, pirate comics would have become the most popular genre. As if that could happen.

The story shows a man’s increasingly desperate attempt to return to his home before The Black Freighter, a ship of the damned he feared would kill his family and entire town if he can’t save them. When he finally makes it home he attacks his wife and it dawns on him that The Black Freighter wasn’t interested in Davidstown, but only wanted to add him to its crew after his corruption. In the denouement, Veidt asks Manhattan if he did the right thing, saying he has nightmares about swimming towards something hideous and is left without an answer.

Veidt believed he was right to kill half of New York City and that in doing so he saved the world, but it weighed on him. Despite being someone who would murder millions, he didn’t do so without the guilt of that action. He’s not the Joker, he’s a hero gone astray because he represents the utilitarian foil to Rorschach’s Steve Ditko-inspired objectivism. Watchmen is the trolley problem with super-heroes and Veidt chooses to pull the lever and change tracks but he desperately wants to know that he made the right choice to a famously unanswerable moral quandary.

Yet the TV show portrays Veidt as a heartless jackass whose entire arc is the result of him trying to cure his boredom after Dr. Manhattan sends him to the paradise he created on Europa because Veidt wanted to be worshipped for saving the world even though he couldn’t tell anyone. Of course, he also recorded a video of himself explaining why he did everything he did to President Robert Redford because the world’s smartest man was being written by idiots here. And Laurie arrests him in the end, letting the audience know he was the bad guy instead of having to contemplate if his actions were justified in the face of planetary annihilation.

Watchmen ultimately feels like an attempt to shoehorn a story into the framework of an existing property, like a bad fan fiction story trying to fit in new characters because you don’t understand the existing ones. And once you consider that the new story it’s trying to tell is the sort of examination of race that largely appeals to people who don’t get why Bradley Whitford telling a black man he’d have voted for Obama a third time in Get Out was a hint he was a creep, you’re left with a train wreck of a story that people tell you is important because they failed to understand the less-than-enlightened view the creators were trying to espouse.

The cinematography was pretty tight, though, gotta give them that.

The post HBO Made ‘Watchmen’ Free This Weekend, But it Was Still Terrible appeared first on The Blemish.

BAFTA Talk – Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

BAFTA Talk - Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation

BAFTA Talk - Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Friday 28th June, 2019 at BAFTA, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

BAFTA Talk – Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

BAFTA Talk - Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation

BAFTA Talk - Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Friday 28th June, 2019 at BAFTA, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

BAFTA Talk – Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

BAFTA Talk - Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation

BAFTA Talk - Anurag Kashyap and Richie Mehta in conversation at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Friday 28th June, 2019 at BAFTA, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

LIFF Director’s Lunch at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

LIFF Director's Lunch at LIFF 2019

LIFF Director's Lunch at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Tuesday 25th June, 2019 at Rasa W1, Mayfair, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

LIFF Director’s Lunch at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

LIFF Director's Lunch at LIFF 2019

LIFF Director's Lunch at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Tuesday 25th June, 2019 at Rasa W1, Mayfair, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

LIFF Director’s Lunch at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

LIFF Director's Lunch at LIFF 2019

LIFF Director's Lunch at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Tuesday 25th June, 2019 at Rasa W1, Mayfair, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

LIFF Director’s Lunch at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

LIFF Director's Lunch at LIFF 2019

LIFF Director's Lunch at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Tuesday 25th June, 2019 at Rasa W1, Mayfair, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

LIFF Industry Event at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

LIFF Industry Event at LIFF 2019

LIFF Industry Event at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Sunday 23rd June, 2019 at BFI Southbank, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

LIFF Industry Event at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

LIFF Industry Event at LIFF 2019

LIFF Industry Event at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Sunday 23rd June, 2019 at BFI Southbank, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at LIFF 2019

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Saturday 22nd June, 2019 at Picture House Central, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at LIFF 2019

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Saturday 22nd June, 2019 at Picture House Central, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at LIFF 2019

Chai with Gurinder Chadha at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Saturday 22nd June, 2019 at Picture House Central, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

Radhika Apte Screen Talk at LIFF 2019

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

Radhika Apte Screen Talk at LIFF 2019

Radhika Apte Screen Talk at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Sunday 23rd June, 2019 at Cineworld Leicester Square, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

Closing Night

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

Closing Night

Closing Night at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Friday 28th June, 2019 at BFI Southbank, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

Closing Night

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

Closing Night

Closing Night at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Friday 28th June, 2019 at BFI Southbank, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

Closing Night

London Indian Film Festival posted a photo:

Closing Night

Closing Night at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2019 on Friday 28th June, 2019 at BFI Southbank, London ENGLAND

DARREN BRADE PHOTOGRAPHY
94 Derby Lodge, Wicklow Street,
London, WC1X 9LF
tel +44 (0) 7 713 648 085
email: [email protected]

Spongebob Squarepants is Part of the LGBTQ+ Community, Nickelodeon Confirms

June is Pride Month. This year, in particular, has reminded us all that Pride has always been about protest -- the parades only came later.

This year, Nickelodeon is honoring LGBTQ+ individuals who have been part of their programming ... including Spongebob Squarepants.

SpongeBob Squarepants creator

A lot of corporations have some sort of event for LGBTQ+ Pride month.

Sometimes they do symbolic things, like sponsor parade floats and put up a temporary, rainbow variant of their logo.

Other times, companies showcase their real policies and good works to help the LGBTQ+ community, including hiring decisions.

This year, Nickelodeon decided that part of their celebration would showcase characters in the community.

Nickelodeon Pride 2020 tweet Spongebob Squarepants

"Celebrating Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month," Nickelodeon tweeted on Saturday, June 13.

Spongebob Squarepants, shown here illuminated by rainbow lights, appears in the tweet.

Canadian actor Michael Cohen, who is transgender, appears on Henry Danger.

And of course Avatar Korra, from the excellent fantasy adventure series Avatar: The Legend of Korra, is bisexual, ending her series with a girlfriend.

Stephen Hillenburg in 2004

Many have interpreted this as meaning that Spongebob himself is gay.

After all, in multiple episodes, he has had quasi-domestic relationships with one or another male character.

In one episode from early in the series, he and Patrick Starr raise a baby together.

In fact, conservatives have often taken shots at the show for having characters who have seemingly gay characteristics.

SpongeBob SquarePants

Nay-sayers quickly pointed out that the tweet referred to "allies."

While Michael is a real trans man and Korra is a fictional bi woman, Spongebob could always be an ally.

Most people were quick to dismiss this pessimistic interpretation.

After all, Spongebob isn't waving a flag to cheer on others in the art -- he is radiating iridescent light.

Stephen Hillenburg Photo

However, late Spongebob creator Stephen Hillenburg, who tragically passed away in late 2018, has actually weighed in on this.

Speaking of his characters, he said "I consider them to be almost asexual."

Of course, context is king, and he was countering allegations of "promoting" some sort of "sinister" pro-gay agenda back in 2004.

At the time, allegations like that by bigoted groups carried even more weight than they do now, and networks were much less inclined to allow a kids' show to even hint at LGBTQ+ characters.

Stephen Hillenburg Picture

That said, the asexual community, often referring to themselves as "ace," are absolutely part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Ace folks exist on a spectrum of asexuality, with many experiencing no sexual desire at any point in their lives.

Like gay, bi, and trans folks, ace folks have been demonized and "treated" by the medical establishment in an effort to "cure" them of who they are.

Additionally, people with gay or bi romantic inclinations can be ace. Trans folks can also be ace. 

Stephen Hillenburg

Anyone who does not experience sexual attraction could identify as ace. And so, too, can Spongebob.

That said, it could also be a joke, as Spongebob (despite having two parents) can apparently reproduce by budding.

Or Stephen may have been using the term "colloquially," saying that he simply does not think about sexualities of the residents of Bikini Bottom.

Regardless, it seems that Nickelodeon has put more thought into the matter and decided to make a statement about their most popular character.

Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Starr in the snow

The network has not always been the most progressive, with former child actors speaking up about how they felt forced into the closet.

Additionally, they may be proud of Korra now, but the network seemed to sabotage the show.

The final season and a half, including Korra walking off hand-in-hand with girlfriend Asami Sato, aired only on the Nickelodeon website.

That said, it is never too late for a network to do the right thing, even if nothing can erase the past.

floyd2

Earlier this month, Nickelodeon aired a commercial for more than 8 minutes, explaining to their audience how long it took to murder George Floyd.

Some parents furiously complained, sayng that this was an upsetting topic for their children.

Nickelodeon's reasoning was simple -- many children, black children, already have to live with the real threat of police violence fueled by racism.

All people need to understand this so that it can be addressed. Children, too, need to understand how the world is so that they can grow up to improve it.

Nickelodeon Just Outted Spongebob

It’s Pride Month and that means lots of brands are tweeting about how much they love and support gay people in the markets where that won’t cause them issues with the local governments or popular anti-gay sentiment.

You can basically apply this to every brand. It’s why I like to remind people they’re not making some great moral stand by not eating Chik-Fil-A, whatever company they are eating food from is undoubtedly just as bad and probably treats their employees worse.

One of the more interesting Pride tweets this month was from Nickelodeon, featuring three LGBT characters; Korra from The Legend of Korra, Schwoz Schwartz from Henry Danger and… Spongebob?

Korra made headlines when the ending of the Avatar spin-off confirmed the heroine was both bisexual and embarking on a relationship with her friend Asami. Schwoz Schwartz is played by a transgender actor, Michael D. Cohen. But Spongebob, that’s news to me. I mean, kind of, I’ve seen the show and he’s pretty… flamboyant, it wouldn’t exactly be a surprise.

In fact, fifteen years ago some conservatives got mad at the show and said it was promoting a “gay agenda,” whatever the hell means. I’m pretty sure it involves brunch, but beyond that, I have no idea, they don’t let us bisexuals into the meetings.

At the time of the dust-up, Spongebob’s creator Stephen Hillenburg denied it, because that’s what corporations did in 2005 when someone said they were portraying gay people in a positive light. Hillenburg’s said at the time, “We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual. We’re just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show.”

Now, when he said that, that popular usage of “asexual” didn’t refer to a sexual orientation defined by the lack of sexual attraction, so what Hillenburg was saying was “it’s a kid’s cartoon, Spongebob isn’t a real person and he’s not going to fuck on the show so who cares?”

This actually means very little to what the show Spongebob Squarepants is like, but it probably meant a lot to some fans of the show. You’re not suddenly going to see Spongebob paint his pineapple in rainbow colors or start dating another male sponge or fish or whatever goes on in Bikini Bottom. Mister Krabs is a crab and his daughter is a sperm whale, so it’s just a free-for-all down there anyway.

Sure, it’s a hollow marketing tactic from an international brand and ViacomCBS doesn’t actually care about LGBT issues or really any cause or concern other than making money for their shareholders, but, I don’t know, letting kids who love Spongebob and maybe feel a little different from their peers feel like their favorite cartoon feels like they do sometimes isn’t a bad thing. Just don’t expect to see that reflected in the product they make the money on, that has to be sold to markets where access is granted by homophobes and they’re not committed enough to be good guys to jeopardize a single cent.

The post Nickelodeon Just Outted Spongebob appeared first on The Blemish.

David Chase Accidentally Gave Away the Mystery of the Sopranos Ending

“What happens at the end of The Sopranos?” is a question people have been asking since the second The Sopranos ended in 2007. Everyone involved has been mum for 13 years, telling you that what happened after the infamous cut to black was for you to decide. But David Chase accidentally gave away The Sopranos ending intended meaning during an interview for The Sopranos Sessions, a companion book to the beloved series, as reported by The Independent.

Alan Sepinwall [co-author]: When you said there was an end point, you don’t mean Tony at Holsten’s, you just meant, “I think I have two more years’ worth of stories left in me.”

Chase: Yes, I think I had that death scene around two years before the end… Tony was going to get called to a meeting with Johnny Sack in Manhattan, and he was going to go back through the Lincoln Tunnel for this meeting, and it was going to go black there and you never saw him again as he was heading back, the theory being that something bad happens to him at the meeting. But we didn’t do that.

Matt Zoller Seitz [co-author]: You realise, of course, that you just referred to that as a death scene.

[A long pause follows]

Chase: F*** you guys.

So Chase confirmed what you probably thought, that the cut to black the show ended on was meant to represent Tony getting killed. Everyone was very coy about that scene and had opinion son what it meant, but come on, we all knew. If it wasn’t meant to be Tony’s death, there wouldn’t have been armed guys about to bust in and shoot him. Chekhov’s Gun extends to Chekhov’s assassins here, there’s no reason to show them if you weren’t supposed to put together they were going to shoot someone.

The post David Chase Accidentally Gave Away the Mystery of the Sopranos Ending appeared first on The Blemish.