TV Lists

The 9 Best Thanksgiving TV Episodes to Watch on Turkey Day

Celebrate thanksgiving by hiding from your family and watching these fictional families enjoy turkey day!

Celebrating Thanksgiving usually entails a day of eating, answering uncomfortable questions from your family about your career and romantic life, hearing about your grandma's bunion surgery, and, if you're lucky, a well-earned doze in front of the TV. This year, given the social distancing guidelines, you may bypass the family time and go straight to the couch.

Regardless of your plans for Turkey Day, when that second helping of turkey starts to settle in your belly and your eyelids start to feel heavy, it's time to shove your cousin (or cat) over on the couch, settle in, and turn on one of these classic Thanksgiving-themed episodes.


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Music Reviews

Third Time’s the Charm with Sam Smith’s "Love Goes"

Sam Smith's artistry has always been most interesting when partnered with electronic soundscapes.

Sam Smith

On Sam Smith's third LP, Love Goes, the singer excels at exploring the LED glow and disco ball glitter of dance pop and electronica.

Although Sam Smith has made a name for themself in today's pop game as the chieftain of soulful, the multi-platinum singer-songwriter has best showcased their talent when their voice travels across enveloping, electronic soundscapes made for endless dancing rather than elegiac ruminating.
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New Releases

Billie Eilish Releases "No Time to Die" for New 007 Movie

The Grammy Award winner has added her name to the long list of artists to feature on Bond film soundtracks.

Billie Eilish is everywhere these days.

You can't turn on an awards show without seeing the 18-year-old clad in baggy designer clothes and sporting her signature thousand-mile stare. Now, her quiet, velvety voice will feature in the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die. The new single shares its name with the film and begins the way many Eilish songs do: quietly and hauntingly. But, as is customary with the songs that prelude 007 films, the track soon builds into a multi-instrumental explosion of suspense. It's not as overtly produced as your average Eilish track, but it's decidedly stirring in its simplicity.

Eilish sings, "You were never on my side / Fool me once, fool me twice / Are you death or paradise? / Now you'll never see me cry / There's just no time to die." The dark theme of the song hints at the movie to come, which is sure to be full of surprises, given that it's supposedly Daniel Craig's last turn as the iconic secret agent.

The movie is scheduled to be released in April 2020.

www.youtube.com

CULTURE

"They" Is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year, So Stop Being a Dick About It

This is a big deal for recognizing nonbinary folks.

"They" is Merriam-Webster's 2019 Word of the Year.

As a singular pronoun, "they" has exponentially risen in popularity over the last few years to refer to nonbinary people—folks who feel neither entirely male nor female. Other neutral pronouns like "ze" and "hir" can also be used, although "they/them" is most widely used among English-speaking communities.

Though so-called grammar purists have dismissed the use of the singular "they" on the basis of clarity, Merriam-Webster (as well as the Oxford English Dictionary) insists that it's totally OK. In September, Merriam-Webster officially added the singular "they," stating: "People have used singular 'they' to describe someone whose gender is unknown for a long time, but the nonbinary use of 'they' is relatively new."


According to Merriam-Webster, lookups for "they" increased by 313 percent in 2019 over the last year. Sure, everyone knows what "they" means in a pretty simple sense, but we still use dictionaries to look up different usages of words and how definitions change over time. A few events in the news this year likely spurred the sharp increase in lookups: Singer Sam Smith and Atypical star Brigette Lundy-Paine both announced they were using they/them pronouns. The American Psychological Association recommended that "writers should use the singular 'they' in two main cases: (a) when referring to a generic person whose gender is unknown or irrelevant to the context and (b) when referring to a specific, known person who uses 'they' as their pronoun." During a House Judiciary meeting in April, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal stated that her child is gender-nonconforming and uses they/them pronouns.

While there's still plenty of work left to do in recognizing and accepting trans and nonbinary folks, "they" being the Word of the Year is a huge start. Though recognizing gender identity outside of the male-female binary might seem a little odd to some—and our current administration continues to pretend like transgender people don't exist—it's crucial that they/them pronouns become normalized, and it's possible to adapt. If "they" can be one of Merriam-Webster's most looked-up words of the past 12 months, it appears that, thankfully, more and more people are getting on board.

Sam Smith has officially entered his 2.0 era.

Always a talented singer with a penchant for searing lyrics and earworm melodies, he's now added dance to his repertoire.

In the new video for "How Do You Sleep?" Smith shows off his new choreography skills, successfully leading a pack of professional dancers through a series of perfect tableaus and Fosse-like gyrations—all while effortlessly sporting sky-high heels.

Sam Smith - How Do You Sleep? (Official Video) www.youtube.com

The song itself is a package of mixed messages. At parts, it feels a little bit overly produced and synthetic, but in others, Smith's genuine emotion pierces through the gloss. In some ways, it's a traditional breakup song—but it also manages to be as empowering as any Lizzo tune, as liberating as the start of a road trip into the unknown. The first line, "I'm done hatin' myself for feelin'," reveals a newly self-aware Smith, no longer willing to be pushed around or minimized by a relationship or by anyone at all. "I've gotta leave and start healin'," he adds, an important message for anyone who's found themselves in an unhealthy relationship, or inhibited by societal expectations.

In March, Smith came out as non-binary and gender-queer. "Non-binary/genderqueer is that you do not identify in a gender. You are a mixture of all different things. You are your own special creation," Smith said. He's also been open about his longtime struggle with body image, so it's inspiring to see him so clearly embracing his body and his identity.

Overall, the video feels like a tribute to gender-queerness, to personal reinvention, and to letting go of anything that holds you back—be it a dishonest lover, pressures to look a certain way, or restrictive gender roles. Aesthetically, it's a triumphant, stylish tribute to Madonna, Mariah, and other great divas. To see Smith stepping into their (very high) heels is to see a person embracing newfound self-confidence, and it's a call for all of us to do the same.




MUSIC

Johnnyswim Shines Bright on New Album "Moonlight"

The duo perfects and reinvents their signature sound on their third studio album

The husband-and-wife duo, Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudaro, better known as their collective moniker, Johnnyswim, just released their third studio album Moonlight, and it is spellbinding.

The 12-song album is a result of writing and recording sessions that spanned much of 2018. Alongside Grammy Award-winning producer-songwriter, Malay (renowned for his work with Sam Smith and Frank Ocean), Johnnyswim provides a smooth and timeless blend of pop, indie, and folk, with subtle hints of R&B on this project. Moonlight marks the group's first release under Britannia Row Recordings/BMG, and longtime fans of the duo will hear just enough of the Johnnyswim they are familiar with while also discovering exciting new dimensions to their evolving sound.

In some ways, Moonlight sounds like the album that Johnnyswim has been aiming for since their 2014 full-length debut, Diamonds. A seamless blend of pulsating, upbeat pop-rock fun and dreamy, heart-on-sleeve ballads are exactly what fans have come to love and expect from the band. Moonlight revels in this characteristically cohesive juxtaposition of sounds but it also takes this sound a few steps further, branching out into some more sonically daring and complex territories than ever before. Part of this is almost certainly due to Malay's production and influence, which is audible on many of the songs. But another factor is that Ramirez and Sudaro have clearly matured as songwriters, providing a more nuanced, layered, and eclectically-influenced musicality to Moonlight that sets it apart from the rest of their discography.

If you've never heard Johnnyswim before, Moonlight will be the perfect introduction to the band. This album proves that careful, brave, and honest songwriting (along with some pristine production) is a surefire recipe for musical achievement.

Moonlight



Dustin DiPaulo is a writer and musician from Rochester, New York. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Florida Atlantic University and can most likely be found at a local concert, dive bar, or comedy club (if he's not getting lost somewhere in the woods).


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