Are Any of truTV’s Weird New Shows Worth Watching?

The current lineup of programming on truTV doesn’t make much sense for a network that was recently known as Court TV. truTV’s roster now boasts sketch comedy, a gimmicky quiz program, a talking-head advice comedy, and a reality performance competition — a very long way from a channel that once mostly aired OJ Simpson-related programming. This rebranding aims to make the network more accessible and to appeal to a broader audience by putting a greater focus on comedy. Its mission is stated in the new tagline that must have taken dozens of executives and countless meetings to come up with: Way More Fun! This week, truTV rolls out four new series to coincide with its brand evolution. Here’s the rundown on all of them, both the good and the bad. … Read More

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‘Tinseltown,’ ‘Classic Hollywood,’ and the Secret, Sexy History of Movie Scandals

“To the boys and the girls of the land these mock heroes and heroines have been pictured and painted, for box office purposes, as the living symbol of all the virtues,” Ed Roberts wrote in 1922. “Privately they have lived, and are still living, lives of wild debauchery.” Roberts, a former editor of the movie magazine Photoplay, wrote those words in the introduction of The Sins of Hollywood: An Exposé of Movie Vice, a slender volume that cast a decidedly more cynical eye on the stars of Tinseltown than the worshipful periodical where he’d previously worked. Cataloging and detailing the gossipy whispers surrounding such figures as Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Rudolph Valentino, and Mabel Normand, Sins was aimed squarely at a public starving for dirty details, imagining their silver-screen faves drifting through Hollywood’s wild gin riots and cocaine soirees and outrageous orgies, readers simultaneously tsk-tsking their indulgences and living vicariously through them. … Read More

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“Mr. White’s Tighty Whitey Bites,” “Jesse’s Jell-O Acid Tub,” and Other Treats: Links You Need to See

You know the dangerous feeling of being in a supermarket on an empty stomach, where everything from the dregs of deli chicken salad to frozen tilapia to tabloids plastered in unflatteringly altered photos of John Travolta looking like frozen tilapia not only start to look delicious, but also crucial? Well, I unknowingly must have been hungry while perusing the internet today, because here I am with a shopping cart full of vaguely sustenance-related links. … Read More

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‘Benched’ Could Become USA’s Best Show

The biggest reason to watch USA’s Benched is to observe Eliza Coupe at work. She previously showcased her acting chops on the fondly missed Happy Endings by routinely commanding attention and standing out among an impressive ensemble cast — and now, on Benched, all eyes are focused on her. Coupe spits out one-liners with ease and effortlessly slips into the rapid-fire, circular jargon that’s required of all lawyer shows. She plays both the unhinged corporate lawyer in the midst of a breakdown and the exhausted, out-of-her-element public defender trying to figure her life out. … Read More

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Revisiting MTV’s ‘Fear,’ the Scariest Reality TV Show Ever Made

Generally, reality shows don’t lend themselves to the horror genre. The horror in reality programming often lies within the notion that people are actually willing to participate in them or the realization that we are actually willing to watch 30 (30!) seasons of The Real World. But true, chilling horror isn’t often explored, except in silly series like Celebrity Paranormal Project. That’s what made MTV’s Fear such a great watch: It was new and innovate in 2000 and, at times, it was legitimately scary. … Read More

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Talking Shit About Hemingway and Thoreau With The Toast Founder and ‘Texts From Jane Eyre’ Author Mallory Ortberg

To appropriately describe the power of Texts From Jane Eyre and Other Conversations With Your Favorite Literary Characters, the debut book by Mallory Ortberg — the funniest writer on the Internet and the co-creator of the wonderful website The Toast — it seems best to list the places where I laughed while reading it: on the subway, laughing hard enough that the L train glared at me; in bed with a wicked case of insomnia (my chortling woke up my husband); at the Flavorwire office, where we all fought over who got to read the book first. … Read More

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How Did the ‘Hobbit’ Movies Go So Horribly Awry?

Hello there, fantasy fans! As you may or may not know, this December 17th will bring us the release of the third and (hopefully!) final Hobbit film, The Hobbit: Can You Believe They’re Still Making These Fucking Things? The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — and just in case you were planning on sitting this one out (and seriously, who could blame you?), distributor Warner Brothers has a couple of strategically timed information leaks to lure you in. First, they’ve engaged fellow Time Warner subsidiary Entertainment Weekly to run an early feature on director Peter Jackson’s “battle plans,” trumpeting the film’s climactic, 45-minute battle sequence. And secondly, the studio has told Forbes that the film will be preceded by the first teaser trailer for Batman v Superman. Put together, these two announcements smack mostly of desperation — a quality that has come to overwhelm this increasingly irrelevant… Read More

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“Jian Ghomeshi Is My Friend, Jian Ghomeshi Beats Women”: Owen Pallett’s Refreshing Response to the CBC Host’s Firing

Canadian indie-rock musician Owen Pallett did something very, very rare today. In the wake of Jian Ghomeshi’s firing after a high-profile series of allegations from women claiming he assaulted them, Pallett acknowledged his friendship with the radio host.

But he also acknowledged the seeming veracity of the accusations against his friend. How often do you get that kind of nuance when celebrities are accused of domestic or sexual violence, that refusal to insist, “he’s not that kind of guy”? … Read More

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Shake It Off With These Adorable Photos of Puppies in Motion

Carli Davidson’s Shake Puppies is a shot of pure joy in book form, an adorable work of art where puppies are captured in motion in front of bright, colorful backgrounds. Is there really much more to say? It’s really, really cute, and I’m into this trend of happy, bright dog photos. Our exclusive gallery of shots from the book, available now, might just make your day. … Read More

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Let the Taylor Kitschaissance Begin! Why the ‘Friday Night Lights’ Alum Will Make the Perfect ‘True Detective’ Star

The news that Taylor Kitsch has finally, officially been cast in Season 2 of True Detective has fans of his many seasons of work portraying running back Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights cheering. And it’s not just because we’re happy to see Kitsch’s somewhat dreamy, looks-so-good-smeared-with-playing-field-dirt face back on the screen. In fact, it’s the opposite: we want to see Kitsch act, and get as deep and nuanced as fellow frequently miscast pretty boy Matthew McConaughey did in Season 1. Because with all its ultimate disappointments, the best part of True Detective was seeing McConaughey’s Rust Cohle get weird, dark, and tortured. … Read More

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