CULTURE

Sharon Osbourne Might Be the Worst Person on Earth

Ozzy used to seem scary, but Sharon's story about endangering and firing an assistant is pure nightmare fuel.

The Sun

Update 3/15/2021: Following an animated rant in which Sharon Osborne defended and friend Piers Morgan from accusations of racism, CBS's The Talk has been put on "hiatus."

Among the most stunning moments from the truly unhinged outburst was the use of a questionable accent to say "I ain't racist" and the insistent questioning of her co-hosts, asking "How could I be racist about anybody? How could I be racist about anybody or anything in my life? How can I?" before angrily lashing out at Black co-host Sheryl Underwood, saying, "don't try to cry, because if anyone should be crying it should be me!"

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FILM

12 Nature Documentaries to Celebrate Earth Day (Without Going Outside)

April 22nd is Earth Day, which means it's time appreciate the beauty of nature (from the safety of your home)

Netflix

It's Earth Day!

That special time of year when we take some time to appreciate Mother Earth in all her splendor, and it would be so nice to get out into the sunlight and enjoy some nature. But it's a trap! Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, your best bet of not catching/spreading the coronavirus is to stay indoors. So whether you're fully quarantined or just practicing social distancing, these nature documentaries can remind you of the outside world without risking any contact with other people.

Dancing With the Birds

Dancing with the Birds

Netflix

Is there anything that defines the beauty of nature more than birdsong? The sound of twittering and chirping filling the trees can make even an urban landscape feel connected with nature. But singing is just one of the ways that birds have of seducing each other as the weather changes. The birds-of-paradise that live in New Guinea and parts of Australia prefer a different kind of performance. With brilliant jumping, twisting displays of iridescent plumage, they dance for the future of the species. And for the future of your species, you will stay inside and watch them do it. Dancing With the Birds is also the only documentary on this list that your cat is likely to enjoy as much as you will.

Moving Art

Moving Art

Netflix

Oh wait, forgot about flowers. Flowers are the defining beauty of springtime, and in "Flowers" episode of Moving Art you can watch every variety and color of flower grow, bloom, follow the sun, and sway in the wind—almost like you were actually outside! The soothing imagery and wordless orchestral soundtrack make for great background viewing while you count out squares of toilet paper to make sure your roommate isn't exceeding their ration.

Planet Earth

Planet Earth

BBC

If you haven't seen Planet Earth, you've been missing out. There's nothing outside your door that could compete with this collection of some of the most spectacular sights in the natural world, all narrated by the incomparable baritone of David Attenborough (because we aren't heathens, and Sigourney Weaver can't say "water.") Until recently it was streaming on Netflix, but now you have to pay for it, so...

Our Planet

Our Pla

Netflix

Our Planet is Netflix's answer to Planet Earth, complete with spectacular sights and David Attenborough's narration. It's almost as amazing as the BBC classic, and it won't cost you anything but a Netflix subscription

Koyaanisqatsi

koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi

In the Hopi language, koyaanisqatsi means life out of balance, so you can probably guess that the entire film is just 86 minutes of nature imagery juxtaposed with surreal scenes of urban life and destructive industry set to a score by Philip Glass—duh. The only word spoken in the entire film is the title, repeatedly chanted in a voice that sounds like it's summoning dark spirits to bring on the end times. If quarantine has you in a particularly apocalyptic mood and really hating human civilization, then Koyaanisqatsi is the perfect way to celebrate our long-suffering planet.

Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell with a bear

Grizzly Man

The story of Timothy Treadwell is a cautionary tale on the dangers of underestimating a deadly threat—and of going outside. For 13 summers Treadwell camped in the wilds of Alaska and convinced himself that he could hang out and pal around with giant Kodiak bears without issue. Without giving away Grizzly Man's tragic twist ending (he's eaten by bears), you can count on this documentary to remind you of the majesty and wonder of nature while also making you thankful that you live indoors.

Blue Planet

Blue Planet

BBC

Imagine living in the dark depths of the ocean where strange creatures with glowing appendages subsist off thermal vents and nutrients that descend from the sunlit waters above, and they never have to wash their hands. Blue Planet is a documentary series that explores every aspect of life in and around the seas. Episode two, "The Deep" is particularly beautiful and eerie, and invites you to imagine the isolation of an angler fish that may go its entire life without seeing another angler fish.

Chasing Coral

Chasing Coral

Netflix

Chasing Coral would normally be a pretty depressing documentary. It follows a team of researchers documenting the disappearance of the world's vital coral reefs as a result of human industry. But if there is a silver lining to the current pandemic, it's that the reduction of human activity is mitigating the pollution and damage that we usually unleash upon the Earth's fragile ecosystems. If dolphins have started swimming in the suddenly pristine canals of Venice, then maybe some of the world's endangered coral will also see some benefit from this break humanity is taking.

Madagascar

madagascar

BBC

Remember international travel? People used to get on planes and fly all over the world to see exotic locales and experience natural wonders unlike anything they could see at home. Well forget about all that, because it's gone. The closest thing in our new reality is sitting really close to your TV while Madagascar (the documentary, not the cartoon) plays. And maybe you can smear some banana on the screen to pretend you're feeding the lemurs.

The Universe

The Universe

Netflix

It might seem strange to think of distant space as a part of "nature," but just as the moon pulls at the oceans, when we examine the workings of the universe we discover the interconnectedness of all things and gain perspective on the scale of human struggle. Also, imagine if you were out in space right now—no way you would get infected! The Universe is an ideal escape from the world.

Encounters at the End of the World

encounters at the end of the world

IFC Center

If it seems like the COVID-19 virus has turned the world into a barren waste, Encounters at the End of the World is a good reminder that there is an entire continent that remains completely unaffected—largely because it was already a barren waste. This exploration of the inhabitants and landscapes of Antarctica is the work of Werner Herzog, whose moody philosophical musings are the perfect narration for the end of the world.

Ghosts of the Mountains

snow leopard

Netflix

Snow leopards are rarely seen by human eyes. They live in remote mountain climates and maintain solitary existences cut off even from other snow leopards. In other words, they are masters of social distancing. Watch Ghosts of the Mountains and be like the snow leopards.

MUSIC

Bombay Bicycle Club Are At a Loss For Words With "I Can Hardly Speak"

It's the latest single from the band's forthcoming fifth album.

Bombay Bicycle Club have built much of their shapeshifting indie pop from poetic, expressive lyricism, but even still, finding the words to express themselves can pose a challenge.

The London band depicts these struggles on "I Can Hardly Speak," the latest single from their forthcoming record Everything Else Has Gone Wrong. Atop the march of a steady snare drum and a chugging synth melody, singer Jack Steadman relays how debilitating that muteness can be: "I got that ego, what do I know? / It don't mean much to me / Fall away now, on my way down / It's all I know and I can hardly speak."


Bombay Bicycle Club - I Can Hardly Speak (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com


With its mix of standard rock instrumentation and dashes of electronic production, "I Can Hardly Speak" falls in line with the sleek crossover of 2011's A Different Kind of Fix or 2013's emboldened So Long, See You Tomorrow. It feels entirely Bombay, and although they might be grasping for words, "I Can Hardly Speak" sounds incredibly eloquent.

Follow Bombay Bicycle Club Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TV

Our Picks for the 2019 "Fleabag" Awards (I Mean Emmy Awards)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge can have my house, just take my house, take everything.

The 2019 Emmy Awards will take place on September 22nd, meaning you only have a few more days to re-watch all of Fleabag before it sweeps the awards.

If you're anything like us, you've probably been sleeping and living in your Fleabag jumpsuit for the last few months, so it's probably time to give that bad boy a quick dry clean in time for your Phoebe Waller-Bridge-themed Emmy watching party! To get you ready for Fleabag's big night, we've compiled a list of the expected winners in the major categories!

Outstanding Comedy Series

Barry (HBO)
Fleabag (Prime Video)
The Good Place (NBC)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video)
Russian Doll (Netflix)
Schitt's Creek (Pop TV)
Veep (HBO)

Our Pick: While there are some stellar series on this list, it's really a no brainer who will be taking home the Emmy: Fleabag. While the other series may be funny, nothing can really compare to the funniest, most heartfelt show ever made. If you aren't convinced, just watch the opening scene of Season 2. Praise be to our lord and savior, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Fleabag Series 2: The Opening Scene www.youtube.com


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O'Hara, Schitt's Creek
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Our Pick: Are you even paying attention? It's embarrassing I even have to say it: Phoebe Waller-Motherf*cking-Bridge. How many times have you watched her monologue at the salon about the importance of hair? WRONG. The answer is not enough times.

"Hair is everything." Excerpt from Fleabag episode, Season 2. www.youtube.com

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul (AMC)
Bodyguard (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Killing Eve (BBC America)
Ozark (Netflix)
Pose (FX)
Succession (HBO)
This Is Us (NBC)



Our Pick: Okay, so this one is a really difficult call; after all, Waller-Bridge also wrote Killing Eve. But we're gonna have to go with...Fleabag. Yes, I recognize Fleabag isn't actually nominated in this category, but do you remember the scene between Fleabag and Belinda at the bar? DO YOU REMEMBER? Show me a more brilliantly well-crafted dramatic scene than this one. I'll wait.

Why You Should Look Forward To The Menopause | Fleabag Series 2 www.youtube.com

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry
Eugene Levy, Schitt's Creek

Our Pick: I know, I know. Neither Phoebe Waller-Bridge nor Fleabag are in this category, and it wouldn't have even been possible for them to be nominated. In light of that, our official pick is...Hugh Skinner! Skinner plays Harry, Fleabag's meek boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, and is undoubtedly one of the funniest parts of the show. Remember when Fleabag tried to prank him in the shower? Watch it again, anyways.

Fleabag Season 1 - Clip: Prank | Prime Video www.youtube.com


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Billy Porter, Pose
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Our Pick: Everyone knows This Is Us is one of the most dramatic, cry-inducing shows ever made, and it's hard to compete with anything Billy Porter does, but that's not gonna stop us from picking Andrew Scott! No, yes, Fleabag is technically not a drama series, and no, Andrew Scott is not eligible in this category, but I'm honestly tired of your negativity, so just shove it, okay? Watch the final scene of Fleabag season 2 and then try to tell me Andrew Scott doesn't deserve this award. Also, KNEEL.

Fleabag 2x06 - "I Love You" - Ending Scene (1080p) www.youtube.com


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Laura Linney, Ozark
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Our Pick: Look at me. Look at me. "Are you alright, Father?" "Oh, look at you calling me father like it doesn't turn you on just to say it..." Sorry, had to get that out of my system real fast.

Anyways, the Emmy goes to Phoebe-Waller Bridge! Also, can we throw a few of those golden statues Olivia Colman's way? She's just the best.

If you have ever questioned whether Fleabag was the best show ever created, let this revisitation of Waller-Bridge's confessional monologue set your mind at ease.

FLEABAG (season2 ep4) www.youtube.com


TV

The Impending Cancellation of "Fleabag" and Its Sophomore Success

"Fleabag" was a rare example of a breakout success getting better in its second season. Why, then, has creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge decided to call it quits?

STEVE SCHOFIELD/AMAZON

The second season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's devastatingly well-written tragicomedy, Fleabag, was made available to American audiences over the weekend, and critics can't stop gushing about it—for good reason.

Despite the raving reception of season two, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and real-life best friend and co-star Sian Clifford have announced that there will not be a season three.

Fleabag chronicles the life of its titular protagonist––a nihilistic 30–something–year old owner of a failing guinea-pig themed café, who attempts to fill the void left by her late mother and best friend with destructive behaviors. She searches for something to relieve the guilt of a complicated grief process that, most of the time, takes the form of reckless sex. Though it's not the first show to explore the inner workings of a woman trying to navigate love and loss––and the reckless behaviors that leave a trail of dysfunction in its wake––it is one of the few that does so with a wink and a nod.

Some shows find their footing a few seasons in (think Parks & Recreation), while others start off blazing hot until the fire dwindles and the plot lines putter out around the sixth or seventh season mark (Girls). Fleabag exists in neither of these camps. The show, which initially started off as a one-off adaptation of Waller-Bridge's play, wasn't conceived the way a regular series is. That's been both a blessing and a curse. After season one's release and critical acclaim in 2016, PWB was hesitant about a second season.

Season two maintains all of the aspects that made season one so compelling but somehow elevates them. This time around, the fleabag is still figuring it out, but she's starting to get a hold on things. The episodes revolve around a rom–com–esque arc between the anti-heroine and a hot priest with a drinking problem (Andrew Scott), as they dance around and find some solace in one another. As cute as that romance may appear, the show is still rife with all the messy tangles and hilarious missteps that make Fleabag so consumable. Along the way, the surrounding characters (namely the fleabag's dad and godmother and her sister Clare's skeevy husband) are given room to have their inner lives fleshed out and colored in by the chaos surrounding the family's dysfunction.

Waller-Bridge, who writes and stars in the show, often breaks the fourth wall, shooting the camera a knowing glance or making a wry comment. Her expressive facial features and deadpan delivery add a sense of levity as the audience watches her make mistakes she can't seem to learn from and relationships crumble around her. Season two gets meta when the hot priest begins to ask the fleabag where it is that she goes when she looks to the camera or mumbles under her breath, revealing that perhaps her use of the fourth wall indicates a darker dissociation, far beyond the realm of a gimmicky film tactic. Or, maybe it points to how the audience at home listening to these asides are the fleabag's own form of Catholic confession. As much as it is a show about suffering and the destructive lengths one can go to in order to avoid feeling alone, Fleabag mostly uncovers how even those filled with the most existential dread are invariably searching for meaning in the people around them.

Sian Clifford, who plays Clare and is PWB's real-life best friend, recently elaborated on the decision not to continue with the show on BBC Breakfast.

"It's closer to poetry," Clifford said. "I think people will accept this is the end when they see it because I think it is complete. I think the story is complete."

This sentiment sparks a larger conversation about the forms that television series can take. As a recent article in The Ringer points out, these collections of 6 episodes each are less like conventional TV seasons than a diptych to be viewed in parallel with one another. Perhaps season two isn't so much a continuation or a finale of the first than it is an equal but opposite way to portray the ways the fleabag (and humanity at large) relate to love and pain.

Quitting while ahead is certainly one way of looking at the creative choice to finish at season two. But maybe it's less about salvaging the show's legacy and more a way of challenging how and what we expect from a beloved TV show. Of course, this decision will help calcify Fleabag into a beloved cult favorite untainted by excessive seasons, much like Judd Apatow's Freaks and Geeks. But fans may find it hard to grapple with the lack of resolve. After all, there are still questions left unanswered: How will the fleabag's relationship with the Priest unfold? Will Claire find fulfillment? Will Olivia Coleman's godmother character ever stop being evil?

Does a TV show owe us these neat conclusions, or is it better to challenge its audience by asking them to look inward and think about why they want so badly to know what happens next? Perhaps the dissatisfaction is due to how deeply the show resonates with viewers, who see a part of themselves in fleabag's search for meaning, or maybe it simply speaks to how well-crafted the characters and story are.

Either way, PWB, and her stellar wit are not going anywhere. The writer and actress' work spans from writing on the British sitcom Crashing and developing the acclaimed spy thriller Killing Eve to most recently getting tapped to spruce up the forthcoming James Bond script. Perhaps this is the end of Fleabag, but it's still just the beginning for Phoebe Waller-Bridge.


Sara is a music and culture writer. Her work has previously appeared in PAPER magazine and Stereogum.

Politics Features

Watch Ben Shapiro, Overcome By Rage, Walk Out On BBC Commentator

Before he left, Ben Shapiro deflected Andrew Neil's tough questions about his hateful tweets and incendiary, polarizing commentary by accusing the well-known conservative interviewer of being left-wing. Naturally, Twitter is having a great time.

Ben Shapiro getting angry and storming out of a debate instead of actually confronting the issues at hand or actually listening to another person's perspective? Unheard of.

That's sarcasm. Of course, Ben Shapiro couldn't possibly sit through an interview with a commentator asking questions about his old tweets and bringing up the hypocrisy of his new book, which calls for a more civil America despite its author's history of incendiary and polarizing commentary.

SHAPIRO STORMS OUT OF INTERVIEW youtu.be

Instead of listening and engaging in an actual debate, Shapiro—famous for his harsh takedowns of liberal college students—walked out on BBC conservative commentator Andrew Neil after only sixteen minutes of discussion. From start to finish, like much of modern politics, the discussion was a useless, cyclical pile of wasted time. It all started to go downhill when Neil brought up Shapiro's abortion beliefs. "Some of the ideas that are popular in your side of politics would seem to take us back to the dark ages," said Neil. "In Georgia, new abortion laws which you are much in favor of, that a woman who miscarries could get 30 years—and a Georgian woman who travels to another state for an abortion could get 10 years," he said.

"Are you an objective journalist or an opinion journalist?" asked Shapiro.

"I'm a journalist who asks questions," said Neil. "My job is to question those who have strong views and put an alternative to them."

That's when things went off the rails. "Sir, sir, I'm happy to answer your questions," said Shapiro, who was obviously not happy. "Why don't you just say that you're on the left?"

"Mr. Shapiro, if you only knew how ridiculous that statement is you wouldn't have said it," said Neil, briskly moving on to the next question. "You position yourself as supposed tellers of hard truths. But haven't you all just really coarsened public discourse in America and exacerbated its divisions?"

"It's kind of odd to be hearing about me coarsening public discourse when you call policies you disagree with brutal and bringing us back to the dark ages?" said Shapiro.

Neil again tried to return to the issues at hand. "In your new book, you suggest America's largest struggle is the struggle for our national soul," he said. "We are so angry at each other right now. And I think that's true—I've just returned from the United States. But aren't you part of the problem with the way you go about your discourse, not the solution?" Neil then brought up Shapiro's old assertion that Obama's state of the Union in 2012 was 'fascist mentality in action.'"

"The problem that I have is not with charged language in politics...I like a robust and spirited public debate," said Shapiro, skirting around the content of the question. "What I'm talking about is the assumption that the people we disagree with politically are in bad character."

Neil continued to push, causing Shapiro to finally acquiesce, "The wording of President Trump's 2012 address was bad and wrong," using Trump's name instead of Obama's in an exquisite example of a Freudian slip.

Then, Neil asked Shapiro a few times about his hateful comments and tweets about Jews who voted for Obama, as well as tweets about Arabs and Palestinians, but Shapiro was too far gone to listen to a word. "Honestly, this is a giant waste of time in the sense that the entire interview is designed for you to shout slogans or old things that I've said at me...You talk about undermining the public discourse," said Shapiro. "It seems to me that simply going through and finding lone things that sound bad out of context, and then hitting people with them, is a way for you to make a quick buck on BBC off the fact that I'm popular and no one has ever heard of you."

Neil, a famously tough journalist known for asking all of his interviewee's difficult questions, tried one more time to get the interview back on track, but Shapiro wasn't having it. "You're lecturing me on Judeo-Christian culture?...Frankly I find this whole thing a waste of time," said Shapiro. "Frankly, I don't give a damn what you think of me since you've never heard of me. Honestly, sir… I'm not inclined to continue with a person as badly motivated as you. I think we're done here. I appreciate your time."

"Thank you for your time," said Neil, "and for showing that anger is not part of American discourse. Goodbye."

Twitter, naturally, is having a field day.








Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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