Category Archives: Television

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Offended By ‘Friends’? Millennial Oversensitivity Has Gone Too Far

Most people my age have seen all 236 episodes of Friends countless times and with each viewing it’s never failed to make us laugh. It’s a balm for worries, a stress buster after a horrible day and an exceedingly satisfying show to binge-watch when hungover with your own friends. The premise it is still relevant to all 20-somethings; a group of friends living in an aspirational city, trying to help each other through the trials and tribulations of struggling careers, complicated relationships and financial woes. So, when all 10 seasons were uploaded on Netflix at the beginning of this year, most people were delighted to know that hours of effortless binging were just a click away.

However, with the very first recitation of Joey’s infamous line, ’How you doin’?’, and with Ross’ first storyline centring around his lesbian wife, I predicted that millennial outcries of offence and political incorrectness would begin encroaching on the iconic TV show. Head to Twitter and you’ll see I was right, in the form of countless tweets of outrage labelling the show as transphobic, homophobic and sexist and questioning how it could have ever been allowed to air, never mind how it could be so successful. Here’s the thing – taking offence to a show which was written, produced and first aired in the 90s, (almost 30 years ago), because you feel it does not uphold the standards of political correctness and social awareness expected in 2018, is ludicrous. Assuming a series almost three decades old will or should be as socially aware as a show made today, is an incredibly shortsighted and bubble wrapped way of viewing the world.

That’s not to say the programme doesn’t have its flaws. Being set in a city as multicultural as New York, the primary casting has been rightly criticised for its lack of diversity, which is still a prevalent issue in the television and film industry today. However, flip your perspective a little and contextualise the story lines and it’s arguable that Friends was actually considerably progressive for its time. For example, a lesbian couple getting married and raising a child. ‘The One With The Lesbian Wedding’ was aired in 1996 – the same year which President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage and defining marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Another arguably progressive storyline is Chandler having a transgender parent. Yes, the character makes repeated jokes about his father’s gender issues and in some ways ridicules them, but identifying as transgender simply wasn’t as accepted or spoken about back then.

I, for one, had never heard of men dressing up as women for any other reason than fancy dress or playing a pantomime dame when ‘The One With Chandler’s Dad’ first aired in 2001. In addition, is it really so unbelievable that a young man may deal with his father identifying as a woman in this way? Of course the script uses humour around these story lines and character relationships – it’s a sitcom. If it were an in-depth exploration of issues surrounding gender and sexuality, it would be an entirely different show.

Had Friends been created in 2018 and received by today’s millennial generation, it would probably never have aired or been successful. In the context of today’s climate then, yes – it is somewhat culturally inappropriate and maybe the jokes and gags in there wouldn’t be so funny to fresh eyes and ears. However, as a 90s sitcom, it cannot be criticised for its failings to match the cultural appropriation of 2018. Failing to recognise that it is only in past five years we have become so acutely socially aware, and that anyone could predict what would and what would not be socially acceptable in two to three decades time is, quite frankly, delusional. If you’re so deeply offended by a TV show that wasn’t 30 years ahead of it’s time, then simply don’t watch it.

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TV channel Spike is no longer, so its social media manager had a field day

Better to go out with a bang than a whimper, we guess.

TV channel Spike is going to be rebranded as the Paramount Network on Thursday, as owner Viacom looks to general entertainment programming on the 34-year old basic cable network.

SEE ALSO: 10 TV shows we can’t wait to see in 2018

So, as the days become numbered, Spike’s social media presence has decided to well, not really care anymore. 

Viacom is killing off Spike TV & their social media person is having a fun type of meltdown pic.twitter.com/Xhr8fFoNGJ

— Kate (@kate_m_C) January 17, 2018

We don’t know if this Twitter-led meltdown is all Viacom-approved (look, we’re sure it is), but it’s not everyday a TV channel ceases to exist for good. Read more…

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Amazon’s ‘Electric Dreams’ is your new ‘Black Mirror’

Before we were transported to high-tech dystopia with Black Mirror, twisted sci-fi and fantasy anthologies thrived in the world of short fiction. 

In 2017, Channel 4 (the erstwhile home of Black Mirror) adapted 10 short stories by Philip K. Dick into the anthology series Electric Dreams, a beautiful portrait of worlds beyond our own with a thrumming thread of humanity.

SEE ALSO: ‘Black Mirror’ Season 4 confirms a long-running fan theory

Now available on Amazon Prime, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams presents 10 episodes – 10 fully-realized worlds which depart in different measures from our own reality, but all of which center around the concept of dreams. What do our dreams say about who we are? Can anything live up to our dreams? What do we make of a dream that feels more real than life itself? Read more…

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‘The Simpsons’ star hints at plans to address Apu criticism

Actor Hank Azaria, the voice of Apu from The Simpsons,  spoke at a TCA panel about Apu’s controversy over the years. Even as the series continues, Apu might not pass the bar for cultural sensitivity in 2018 and beyond.

SEE ALSO: ‘The Problem With Apu’ dives into the damaging effects of stereotyping

“As far as what’s going to happen with the character going forward, it’s really not just up to me,” Azaria said at TCA. “I know that The Simpsons guys are doing that too, they’re giving it a lot of thought and we’ve discussed a little bit. They will definitely address, maybe publicly, certainly creatively within the context of the show what they want to do, if anything, with the character.” Read more…

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7 random things we love about ‘Lovesick’

If you’re an avid reader of ye olde internet, you may have noticed a recent uptick in stories about Netflix’s Lovesick (formerly titled Scrotal Recall). The show’s third season released Jan. 1, but its spike in popularity isn’t just due to a timely premiere – it’s because Lovesick is a genuinely warm story of human connection, with more sympathy for millennials than most shows accumulate over years.

You can read plenty of essays about Lovesick‘s excellence (including our own take), but if you prefer a quick list, let us lure you in by way of that.

SEE ALSO: The best Netflix show you’re not watching is coming back on New Year’s Day Read more…

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HBO boss says ‘Game of Thrones’ had to push back to make the best show possible

The long winter is here, and by that we mean the agonizing wait between Seasons 7 and 8 of Game of Thrones. After HBO confirmed that Season 8 won’t premiere until 2019, network president Casey Bloys insists that this was a calculated decision – not just a way to draw out the pain of waiting for and losing this show.

SEE ALSO: It’s official: ‘Game of Thrones’ will wait until 2019 to kill all your favorite characters

“It wasn’t necessarily a delay,” Bloys told TVLine. “It was based on when they felt that they could deliver a show that they are most proud of.”

“They” of course means show runners David Beniof and D.B. Weiss, who must be eyeing an ambitious final season full of battling zombies, dragons, and more. Read more…

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Oh yus, ‘Flight of the Conchords’ is returning to TV

New Zealand’s best singing comedy duo is heading back to your screens.

HBO announced that Flight of the Conchords will make a return in the form of a one-hour special set to air in May.

SEE ALSO: 10 TV shows we can’t wait to see in 2018

The comedy special was taped in front of live sold-out audience during their UK visit, featuring classic songs and originals performed as part of the “Flight of the Conchords Sing Flight of the Conchords Tour.”

Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie first debuted on HBO in 2005 in an episode of the stand-up series “One Night Stand,” then reappeared again 2007 for their self-titled hit series.  Read more…

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Relying On Generosity Of Strangers For Six Months Taught Me So Much About The Power Of Kindness

“The key is on the dinner table, come and go as you like, help yourself to food, stay out of my knicker drawer.”

That is not the kind of note you expect someone you hardly know to write as she leaves you alone in her home, but wow, I was moved by her kindness. Without her, sleeping on the street was a real possibility.

In the short time I had known this woman, one of the few facts I gleaned about her was that she loves nothing more than her six-year old boy, yet still, here she was, welcoming a relative stranger into their home.

I’m CK – a content creator, presenter & photographer. In 2015, I set myself an unprecedented challenge. Armed with just a bag of clothes, my camera and £100, I left my Sheffield home and made my way to London – a city I had little experience of.

My aim was to find one hundred independent musicians [my favourite breed of human] and make each one an offer. The offer was, “Hi, would you like a photoshoot? If so, you can pay me whatever you consider fair… there is no minimum price!”

The only rule of my challenge was that if I ran out of money before I successfully photographed one hundred musicians, challenge failed.

On reflection, I must have been nuts. Independent music is hardly renowned for its monetary abundance, yet here I was, throwing myself at the mercy of one hundred unsigned musicians. Moreover, given my modest opening balance of just £100, living in hostels, eating cut-price supermarket food and walking everywhere to avoid exorbitant transport costs was to be my life for the next six months.

Yes, to my astonishment, the challenge would take me six life-changing months to complete, but against all the odds, complete it I did. With my seed money of just £100 and each artist’s voluntary contribution, I was able to survive in one of the world’s most expensive cities, but how? Truth is, this challenge would have been impossible without the stunning acts of kindness I experienced at the hands of complete strangers.

Firstly, there was the small family living in Barnet, North London. They heard about my challenge via their youngest daughter, Alex, who stumbled across my adventure online. Alex sent me the following text message:

“Hi, you don’t know me, but I think what you’re doing is amazing and very selfless. Unfortunately, I can’t offer you a bed as this is my parent’s house, but I would like to make you a home cooked meal if you’re ever in the area.”

This message made my heart soar – providing a timely distraction from the horror of my rapidly depleting funds.  I was three days into the challenge, and having not yet found an artist in need of a photoshoot, I had roughly £43 left

I would later travel to Barnet to meet Alex and her family – who lived in the most comfortable of London homes. From the outset, nothing was too much trouble for them – I was fed, watered and welcomed into the family’s evening tradition of board games and chat. The ‘old-school’ nature of their family togetherness was a beautiful thing to observe, somewhat heightened by the fact that my family were 170 miles away.

This was my first taste of true unadulterated kindness. I was overcome.

During the next six months, the many kind gestures I experienced would vary in size but were identical in heart. Alex and her family, for example, would give me a bed, food and shelter a dozen further times, but this was no more significant than the young ambitious singer who, due to having little money herself, paid for her photoshoot by buying me a beer and burger. All hearty food gifts were welcome on this challenge, I assure you.

A man sending me twenty-five pounds via PayPal after he discovered my electric shaver was kaput was no less remarkable than the singer who, following our photoshoot, gave me free use of his place while he went on a two-day fishing trip. Seriously, who leaves someone they’ve only just met alone in their house for two days? Well, as it transpired, a national radio DJ would display similar kindness just one month later.

This DJ found me via Twitter, swiftly hiring me to photograph the artists she managed and letting me sleep on her sofa many times during the challenge’s most difficult financial spells. She would leave me hilarious morning notes as she took her young son to football training while I slept deeply, utterly exhausted.  

Sure, this woman had got to know me over the course of three photoshoots with her artists, but welcoming me into her home and trusting me with her big TV, Macbook and other valuables… well, this is the reason I consider this challenge a defining moment in how I now see humans.

Oh, by the way, I respected her wishes, and never touched her knickers.

Everyone hates January. The post-Christmas comedown hits us hard, especially with 2017 being such a tough year. Kindness 31 is our antidote to that. Every day we’ll share a good news story about someone (or a group of people) and their act of kindness or how they helped others. If you want to get involved, email ukblogteam@huffpost.com. Alternatively if you’d like to nominate someone to be featured, fill in this form.

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HBO’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ will be your next dystopic distraction

HBO has released the first teaser for Fahrenheit 451, a film based off the Ray Bradbury novel and starring Michael B. Jordan as a rebel in a dystopia that burns books.

Like other dystopic narratives – did you not watch The Handmaid’s Tale? – Fahrenheit 451 feels uncomfortably close to reality in 2018 (see also: the Trump administration blustering about censorship and “fire and fury”).

SEE ALSO: Clever artist turns Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ into a hilarious pop-up book

HBO debuted the teaser Thursday for the Television Critics Association. It’s full of slow-motion takes and images of fire that make everything else seem much darker in contrast. Read more…

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