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'Mad Men' was designed to self-destruct
Credit: AMC

'Mad Men' was designed to self-destruct

“Mad Men” was designed to self-destruct
“Now that the subtext is the text,” says Sean T. Collins, "now that 'Mad Men’s' storyline has caught up to the countercultural moment that would eventually lead to works like, well, 'Mad Men,' the show's original aesthetic appeal has been tossed out the window like so much suicide foreshadowing. If you were the kind of Don-bro able to turn off your brain and just enjoy early 'Mad Men' for its lush portrayal of a jocularly misogynist time when men were men, women were women, and everyone looked amazing (even if they smelled like ashtrays), brother, you're out of luck now.” PLUS: Play the “Mad Men” drinking game for Season 7, recalling 7 seasons of “Mad Men” promos, 14-year-old Kiernan Shipka poses for Vanity Fair, how “Mad Men’s” style evolved, ranking Don’s women, the final season will look stylistically ugly, and a refresher for where "Mad Men" left off.


Why it’s OK that “Mad Men” characters never change
"We’ve invested in them, and sometimes the dividends seem puny,” Matt Zoller Seitz says of the final season. "But still we watch. At least, we masochists who don’t care about likability or happy endings watch. It’s not a self-help guide. But there is some value in Mad Men’s spectacle of misbehavior. The show has nothing to teach us. It’s just being honest about the truths people discover and then disregard, and the lies they tell themselves, as history moves around them. They’re doing the best they can.”


“Mad Men” is simpler in Season 7, like its earlier seasons
"Everyone’s where we’ve always known them to be,” says Richard Lawson, "and in that vein, the season premiere plays as straightforwardly as this show gets. Which comes as both a disappointment and a relief. The past few seasons of Mad Men have been so laden with symbolism and metaphor and all kinds of allusions that it’s been hard to find the point.”


Jon Hamm is taken aback when “Mad Men” fans tell him they want to be Don Draper
"I’m like, 'You want to be a miserable drunk?,’” he says. "I don’t think you want to be anything like that guy. You want to be like the guy on a poster maybe but not the actual guy. The actual guy’s rotting from the inside out and has to pull it together.” PLUS: Hamm hopes that an 88-year-old Don Draper would still be alive, and at peace, and Vincent Kartheiser on splitting the seasons.


“Mad Men’s” season premiere feels as exhausted as the ‘60s
“Many of the characters are repeating themselves or pedaling in place, and the historic underlay that was once so piquant is now dreary: This season it’s the inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon,” says Alessandra Stanley. "That sagging of energy happens to any long-lasting series, but it’s oddly apt in the case of 'Mad Men,' because the show’s trajectory so closely follows the era it portrays.”


Matthew Weiner answers the question: Is “Mad Men” Peggy’s story?
"It's very interesting to me,” he tells Rolling Stone. "She's a very important character. She's introduced in the pilot as "the new girl," and is sort of there to bring the audience into this world. She's so important, and so much of Don's story and her story are told in parallel to each other. But the story derives from Don, for me, still. I mean, her growth has been incredible, and I love that she's become a symbol, in a way. Because I don't see her like that – she's a person and a character."

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Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams in "A Most Wanted Man."
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams in "A Most Wanted Man."
Credit: Roadside Attractions

'A Most Wanted Man' trailer showcases Philip Seymour Hoffman's final lead role

Anton Corbijn's excellent espionage drama opens on July 25

I still find it painful to talk or write about Philip Seymour Hoffman -- no celebrity passing in the last couple of years has hit me quite as hard as his, and I know that goes for many of us. So rewatching Anton Corbijn's "A Most Wanted Man" is going to be a strangely melancholy experience, not least because it's as strong a reminder as anything of what cinema has lost: as a rumpled German intelligence agent weary of post-9/11 paranoia, the actor gives one of his finest lead turns.

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Ingrid Michaelson

8 things you need to know about singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson

Her new album, 'Lights Out,' arrives April 15

Singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson first came to prominence seven years ago after “Grey’s Anatomy” used her song “Keep Breathing,” followed by Old Navy appropriating “The Way I Am” to sell sweaters during 2007’s holiday season.

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"My Five Wives"

"My Five Wives"

Credit: TLC

Exclusive clip: The family prays for Rhonda on 'My Five Wives'

A family meeting about the cancer scare ends in tears - for Brady

Sometimes it's good to have some extra wives around, which Rhonda discovers on "My Five Wives" this week (airing Sun. April 13 at 10:00 p.m. on TLC). She's worried about her upcoming doctor's visit, but, as Brady reveals, it's not just pointless panic -- she's found a lump. In this exclusive clip, watch as the other wives come together for Rhonda, and Brady gets emotional. 

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Joan Jett performing with Nirvana
Credit: AP Photo

Why Nirvana struck just the right chord at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction

Kurt Cobain would have loved it

When the surviving members of Nirvana hinted that Joan Jett would join them for the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last night  (10) via a photo on Instagram, the internet jumped on the news that she would fill in for the late Kurt Cobain like lions on red meat.

But it turns out that by throwing fans and press that little snack to nibble on, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear were able to pull off something much more impressive: a Nirvana set featuring not only Jett, but Lorde, St. Vincent, and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. Furthermore, they were able to keep the last three names a complete secret until they took that stage last night. Each person was picked for a deliberate reason that made perfect sense without exploiting the occasion.

And it turned out to be an evening that I bet Cobain would have loved. In one short set (and in a later secret show at a Brooklyn’s St Vitus club), Nirvana accomplished so many things:

*They paid homage to Cobain’s vision of a world where female musicians were given as much credibility as male artists

*By including Lorde, they showed that Nirvana’s music speaks for the current generation as much as for the Gen X’ers. Not only that, but Lorde has an individual style that is all her own, just as Cobain had, and is an artist that is deliberately inclusive without pandering to current trends.

*With the inclusion of Gordon, Nirvana highlighted a women who served as an influence on the band, as well as a contemporary. There's very fun footage of them together at the Reading Festival in 1991, and their connection is a long-lived one.

*Like Gordon, Jett influenced the members of Nirvana, has become very close to Grohl, and produced an album by The Germs, Smear’s early band.

Lorde performed “All Apologies,” St. Vincent “Lithium,” Jett “Smells Like Teen Spirit, “and Gordon, “Aneurysm”: each song perfectly matched to the performer. In the videos below, it’s clear that each performer put her own stamp on the song, while still honoring the original’s intent (Gordon comes in around the 7-minute mark in her video).

In almost any other situation, it would be easy to dismiss the use of women singers as gimmicky, but, in hindsight, it seems like the most obvious and smartest decision possible in this case.

In various interviews, Cobain made it clear time and again that he preferred the company of women, identified closely with what it felt like to feel like an outsider—whether because you were female or gay —and was ardently pro-female. Most famously, as Charles Cross noted  in his  book, “Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain,” in the liner notes for “Incesticide,” he delivered a decree to grunge fans: “If any of you, in any way, hate homosexuals, people of a different color, or women, please do this one favor for us—leave us the fuck alone. Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.”

As Cross points out in an excellent essay for The Advocate, Nirvana played anti-rape and gay rights benefits. After “In Utero” was released, Cobain told Spin, he hoped the album “inspire[d] women to pick up guitars, and start bands — because it’s the only future of rock ’n’ roll.”

Nirvana’s selection of guests last night were spot on, though it  might have been fun to see someone even a little more daring, like Peaches, play with them. Otherwise, it’s hard to think of a better way for Grohl and Novoselic to have honored Nirvana’s past and its future.

 

 

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"Scandal"

"Scandal"

Credit: ABC

'Scandal' recap: Who's really to blame for the bomb?

Olivia thinks dismantling B613 was the right move, but maybe not

Oh, Olivia. I'm sure it seemed like a brilliant move to dismantle B613 while you had the chance, but of course it's all gone pear-shaped this week, as unplugging the phones over there made it easy for a bunch of bad guys to put a plot to kill Fitz into action. And, because there are only four terrorists in the known world, one of those involved in this plot is Mama Pope. Isn't that cozy?

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2014 MTV Movie Awards predictions: Is this the year for 'Hunger Games?'

2014 MTV Movie Awards predictions: Is this the year for 'Hunger Games?'

Jennifer Lawrence looks to make it three in a row for Best Female Performance

The MTV Movie Awards are coming your way on Sunday. The nominations this year, particularly for Movie of the Year, were interesting. I don't know that the wins will be, though, because frankly it seems like another young adult adaptation is poised to dominate after we got a bit of a breather from that sort of thing last year.

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ABC to celebrate 'Scandal' with a 'Jimmy Kimmel Live: Behind the Scandalabra' special

ABC to celebrate “Scandal” with a "Jimmy Kimmel Live: Behind the Scandalabra” special
Kimmel will interview Shonda Rhimes on set for a special edition of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Thursday after the "Scandal" season finale (Kimmel will be in repeats the rest of next week). PLUS: Long-haired Kimmel stars in the season finale of “Escandalo."

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Les Moonves says '12:30 is up in the air' and 'a woman would be great in late night'

Les Moonves says “12:30 is up in the air” and “a woman would be great in late night"
“Obviously, we’re considering all sorts of candidates and women are among them,” says the CBS boss of the "Late Late" timeslot.


Prediction: Stephen Colbert will never be able to beat Jimmy Fallon
There’ s no way a mass audience will watch Colbert, says Ken Tucker, who says CBS "put in place the most interesting host imaginable for the job that’ll likely come in second in the ratings for a good long time, if not for the entire length of his term.” He adds: "To anyone with a sense of talk-show history, the new dynamic is simple: Colbert will be the Dick Cavett to Fallon’s Johnny Carson — more intellectually curious, more poised and recondite in his humor, more prone to pull from a wider pool of guests than the latest star plugging his/her movie/TV show.” PLUS: Taiwanese animators weigh in on Colbert’s promotion.


Why not replace Stephen Colbert with Key and Peele?
The Comedy Central stars could provide serious competition to Jimmy Fallon with their ability to do sketches.


A painting of Ellen’s Oscar selfie now hangs at Twitter HQ
Was Samsung responsible for the painting?


How Peter Dinklage was pitched “Game of Thrones” 7 years ago — and why he hesitated
Dinklage says in a Reddit Ask Me Anything that co-creator David Benioff was an acquaintance who got him interested in Westeros. "I had one hesitation,” he writes, "because of the fantasy genre, I told him I didn’t want a really long beard and pointy shoes, and they assured me this character and this world wasn’t that. They told me about his complexity, the fact that he wasn’t a hero or a villain, that he was a womanizer and a drinker, and they painted a flawed and beautiful portrait of him, so i signed on.” PLUS: White House removed a petition to send an ambassador to Westeros, How much would “GoT” real estate cost in real life?, and watch the first three seasons summarized with maps.


Spike TV renews “Auction Hunters”
The long-running series will be back for a 5th season.


A new “Walking Dead” book series is in the works
“Walking Dead: Descent” will be released in October.


“Scandal” finally returns to form
Last night’s twist set up a promising season finale next week. PLUS: “Scandal” keeps disappointing, “Scandal” is at its best when it channels “Alias,” and Zyrtec takes advantage of “#Olitz."


“Suits” creator comments on that season finale twist
"Emotionally, I would imagine you’re feeling bittersweet about it,” says Aaron Korsh. PLUS: Meet Mike’s new secretary.


Bob Saget “loved” the “HIMYM” series finale
Saget, who was at the final table read, said on “Watch What Happens Live”:  "I loved the show. I thought they did a really beautiful job, so that's my opinion."

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"Sex Sent Me to the ER"

"Sex Sent Me to the ER"

Credit: TLC

'Sex Sent Me to the ER' feels the burn with gummy foreplay

What seemed like harmless kink goes horribly wrong

While some of the stories on "Sex Sent Me to the ER" (midseason premiere Sat. April 12 at 9:00 p.m. on TLC) seem like unfortunate mishaps, some suggest the frisky people involved needed a good, hard shake. Michael and Josi, for instance. Who really thinks dumping melted gummy candy on delicate skin is a good idea? 

In the clip below, we also learn that Josi has to call her mom before heading to the ER, just in case her boyfriend wasn't embarrassed enough. Can't wait for next Thanksgiving at her house! Oh, but do watch this re-enactment -- though Josi has the more serious burn, Michael's mouth is also hurting -- and the dialogue is a scream. You'll never look at butter the same way again, either. 

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Les Moonves: Letterman and I agreed Stephen Colbert was the No. 1 choice

Les Moonves: Letterman and I agreed Stephen Colbert was the No. 1 choice
Moonves talked about CBS’ pick on “CBS This Morning”: "It appeared to us that he was the only logical successor to David. And when I called Dave to ask for his blessing he said exactly the same thing. He said I can't think of anybody even a close second.” PLUS: Will Colbert be allowed to continue his stellar science interviews on CBS?, CBS should’ve picked Louis CK instead, Colbert agrees with Bill O’Reilly’s anti-Colbert rant, Jennifer Garner worked for Colbert as his babysitter after they met working on a 1996 "Spin City" episode, and why CBS screwed up by alienating conservatives.


“SVU” on the bubble: Is this the end of the “Law & Order” franchise?
Now in its 15th season, the Dick Wolf drama is having trouble convincing NBC to pay the hefty cost of renewal.


MTV Movie Awards will pay a special tribute to Paul Walker
"Well, I think we are just really happy and honored that they were willing to allow us to celebrate him in some way on the show,” says exec producer Garrett English. "And his family and friends were willing to have that happen.”


“Community” and “Parks and Rec” each hit a series low
Last night was the 2nd week in a row “Community” hit a series low.


“Parks and Rec” co-creator explains last night’s surprise
"I really think that the only weapon that TV has in this day in age is surprise,” says Mike Schur. "People have seen so many stories and so many incarnations in so many different shows. That's why we like to have our big moments be surprises.” PLUS: Can “Parks and Rec” make this trope work?


“24” unveils its full-length “Live Another Day” trailer
Check out the new “movie-quality preview."


Jimmy Kimmel puts Drake in disguise to meet his haters
Watch Drake dressed as a bearded news reporter.

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<p>Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons in &quot;The Big Bang Theory.&quot;</p>

Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons in "The Big Bang Theory."

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' & 'Scandal' lead to Thursday tie

Fast affiliate ratings for Thursday, April 10, 2014.

Even with its lowest rating of the season, "The Big Bang Theory" was still Thursday's highest-rated show, and carried CBS to a tie for first among viewers 18-49 — and an easy win in total viewers — with "Scandal"-led ABC.

For the night, , CBS and ABC both averaged a 2.4 rating among young adults, with CBS grabbing 9.76 million viewers and ABC 7.92 million. FOX was third with a 1.4 rating and 5 million viewers, followed by NBC (1.0, 2.95 million) and the CW (.04, 1.05 million).

8 p.m. -- The combination of "Big Bang Theory" (4.6, 15.99 million) and "The Millers" (2.6, 10.24 million) easily won the hour for CBS, followed by "Shark Tank" on ABC (1.6, 6.57 million), "Hell's Kitchen" on FOX (1.4, 4.08 million), NBC's combo of "Community" (0.8, 2.62 million) and "Parks and Recreation" (1.0, 2.56 million) and a "Vampire Diaries" repeat on the CW (0.3, 906,000).

9 p.m. -- ABC pushed into first place in the demo with "Grey's Anatomy" (2.5, 8.09 million), though CBS' combo of "Two and a Half Men" (2.4, 9.62 million) and "The Crazy Ones" (1.7, 6.92 million) averaged a slightly larger overall audience. FOX was in third with the shrinking "American Idol" (1.7, 7.53 million) and "Surviving Jack" (1.2, 4.33 million), followed by a "Hollywood Game Night" repeat on NBC (0.9, 2.65 million) and "Reign" on the CW (0.4, 1.19 million).

10 p.m. -- The penultimate "Scandal" of the season easily won the hour (3.0, 9.08 million), followed by CBS' "Elementary" (1.7, 7.91 million) and NBC's "Parenthood" (1.1, 3.62 million).

All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.

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