TV

Could an At-Home Show Be a Turning Point for the Emmys?

'Watchmen' and 'Schitt's Creek' won big, but some snubs left fans feeling burned.

Emmys Nominations 2020

Last year, the Emmys logged its lowest viewer count ever.

Flash forward a year and the world has completely changed. A pandemic has shut down lingering dreams of a red carpet spectacle, and months of protests have re-terraformed the public dialogue about racial justice.

For many people, television has been a balm and a source of life during lockdown. Because of that, this year's Emmys could potentially be a turning point for the awards show, which—like many other awards shows—has felt increasingly out of touch over the past few years.


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"Watch the Eggs": Doctor Manhattan Gave Away the Twist Ending of the "Watchmen" Finale

Time Paradoxes Will Come into Play for Another Reveal of Hidden Superpowers

Vox

As a child, I remember hearing the idea of God as a being who knows not just what I'm doing or what I have done, but what I will do for the rest of my life.

My reaction was to stay up at night picking at that idea like a scab. I would think of doing something spontaneous and unpredictable—throwing a book across my bedroom—plan on it, prepare the muscles in my arms to follow through, then slam the book shut in my lap instead.


God scene from futurama www.youtube.com


But even at that age I could tell that my sudden shifts in intention were illegitimate. I had already planned to change my mind. The kind of God I'd been led to believe in would have seen right through my pretense. Free will—the freedom to follow a course other than the one laid out for me—was incompatible with such a God. Eventually I stopped picking at that scab, and the idea seemed to have healed over—until I watched the latest episode of HBO's Watchmen last night. It was like peeling back a scar to find the wound still festering underneath. Just so it's clear, from here on out there will be spoilers.

The particular wrinkle that the episode "A God Walks into Abar" has added to this old paradox is in making Doctor Manhattan both godlike and human. He has the ability to control matter at the atomic level, to create life, to exist in multiple places and to divide his consciousness across multiple times, allowing him to seemingly predict the future. But there are limits to his powers. He is vulnerable to tachyons. He cannot know anything outside of what he will experience while his powers are intact, and all it takes for him to be stripped of his powers is for his memory of them to be suppressed—by some dubious neurosurgery.


calvin jelani manhattan


Another issue that seems to be hinted at is that Doctor Manhattan does not truly experience all of time at once. He has access to all of it, the same way that a person with cable has access to every channel, but the number of channels he can watch at once seems to be limited, and they all seem to play out at a fixed pace.

The evidence for this is in Doctor Manhattan's laughter. When Angela Abar and Adrian Veidt contradict each other on the topic of his imagination, Doctor Manhattan chuckles at the coincidence of their synchrony, and when Angela interrogates him about the other times he's experiencing, he continually uses the verb "now," in the same way a human would use it to describe ongoing events to someone not present. If he was experiencing his entire life at once, there would be none of these coincidental synchronies—no surprises or organic reactions. Each moment would be equally tied to every other.


bar scene


So, while he claims not to experience the concept of "before," the truth seems to be that his "before" is just immensely more complicated than ours. His future contains moments of awareness that precede what he knows now, and his past contains moments of awareness that reach far into the future, but he is not constantly aware of everything he will ever know. Different moments play out together across time, like multiple TVs playing different channels in the same room.

So, just as we never see him embody more than a handful of physical forms, he seems to experience only a handful of separate moments concurrently, and while he can report from the future, his behavior throughout the graphic novel and now in the new series, has consistently suggested that he cannot act in a way that will alter the future he perceives. He tells Will Reeves, in this episode, that his powers to control events are limited. After all, if he changes the events that inspire him to make those changes, he erases the knowledge that allowed him to act. This is the kind of mind-melting paradox that makes time travel such a confusing topic.

But could a god-man like Manhattan navigate the mess in order to avoid catastrophe—like Cyclops gaining his powers? Has he even tried? Having been a god for so long, detached from human motivations, he may simply have lost the will to try to change things—to destroy a timeline he knows and has already experienced. Does he believe himself incapable of changing the timeline, or does he simply prefer not to take the risk of making things messy and confusing? Because that's something else we learned in this episode: It is possible for Doctor Manhattan to be confused.



With the tachyon device removed from his skull via hammer, Jon Osterman—AKA Doctor Manhattan, AKA Angela's husband Calvin—has to relearn how to live as a god, and incorporate what he's learned as a human. With all his tremendous knowledge flooding back to him, it seems he is once again putting himself back together— mentally this time. And just as the experience of physically rebuilding himself in 1959 taught him how to access his powers, coming back to his uninhibited form after ten years as a human seems to unlock new understanding for him to process. He tells Angela, "I am experiencing confusion as a result of the device being removed, and am not entirely sure when I am."

He teleports himself to walk on the water of their backyard pool, and tells Angela this will be important later, then he teleports their children to safety—anticipating the impending shootout. He operates as a walkie-talkie-through-time for Angela and her grandfather, Will Reeves. Angela, looking for answers, accidentally incepts the idea that Judd Crawford—whom Will has never heard of—is a member of the organization Will devoted his life to defeating. And this is the defining moment of the episode.


will reeves cyclops


Angela's distress about having caused the event she was trying to understand sets Manhattan off on a philosophical musing on the chicken or the egg, and the nature of his unique relationship to time—the paradoxical way in which a reaction to an event can become its cause. It no doubt also sets in motion the as-yet-unseen events of the finale, but Jon/Calvin/Doctor's immediate response is to go cook waffles.

"Watch the eggs," he tells Angela as the fridge pops open in front of her. She smashes the carton on the ground. He must have known she was going to do that—that he would not be able to finish making those waffles. He might as easily have conjured completed waffles if he had wanted to. He allowed the eggs to fall as a pretense for dropping a hint that Angela will no doubt pick up at just the right moment. Now, here come the real spoilers...

I have eaten the egg. I know what's going to happen in the finale.


watchmen eggs


What exactly does "watch the eggs" mean? The egg in the beer as Manhattan tells Angela that he can imbue a mortal with his powers through food. The egg of Calvin's suppressed memory, and of Adrian's comment that a moment of instinct may unlock his powers—which prompts Manhattan to say "Thank you, Adrian, now I understand what happened." The egg of the promised and insisted dinner—Manhattan spends his whole first night together convincing Angela to have dinner with him, yet with all the time jumps we never see the dinner take place. The chicken that will hatch is whatever tragedy is about to end their relationship.

Calvin didn't save Angela from the Kavalry shooter. He didn't zap that shooter away. Angela did it herself in that moment she blinked her eyes. Whether she knew it at the time or not, Manhattan gave her his powers at that dinner in 2009, their second night together. Perhaps she still didn't believe who he was then—he says, that first night, that he prefers for her to remain uncertain. She ingested those godlike abilities, but because she doesn't realize she has them, she cannot yet use them. When she learns what her husband has made her—when she can walk on water herself, and no longer relate to the humanity of her adopted children—will she be able to forgive him?


angela god


Jon's musing about the chicken or the egg—"The answer appears to be both at exactly the same time"—inspired him to meet Angela in the first place. To set up that dinner. To drink an egg while talking about passing on his powers. To go make waffles that he'll never finish, and tell her to "watch the eggs." Even to track down Will Reeves and have him dose Angela with Nostalgia. For all we know, he supplied the bomb that killed her parents in the moment she felt inspired by a VHS tape.


sister night den of Geek


It is all deeply confusing, but what has become clear is that whatever tragedy ends their relationship in the next episode, it will involve Angela coming to terms with the fact that she is a god. Perhaps a better god—for her traumatic life experiences—than Manhattan could ever hope to be. Sister Night. A god with the will to fight against evil even when events seem immutable. That moment—when Manhattan tells her that their tragedy is unavoidable and she decides to fight anyway—is the moment he falls in love with her, and it's no doubt why he chose to make her a god in the first place. For the first time in Watchmen history, a hero will have superpowers. And we will see how she flies.


Watchmen 1x09 Promo "See How They Fly" (HD) Season Finale www.youtube.com


Of course there is someone else whom Jon has been feeding. A man with an all-consuming will to power—to reshape the world according to his vision. Adrian Veidt has been eating food that Doctor Manhattan created for the last ten years—including the cakes that Phillips and Crookshanks presumably pack with eggs. Is the horseshoe baked into that last cake perhaps a clue that the good Doctor has created more than one god? A good, humble Angela to oppose an evil ambitious Adrian? For that, and so much more—the millennium clock!—I don't have an answer. So you should probably tune in for the finale.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The V for Vendetta movie came out in 2006 when I was a little teenage edgelord, and I absolutely loved it.

So what better day than The 5th of November to remember, remember the catalyst for ninth grade me starting to tell everyone that I was an anarchist? Sure, at fifteen years old I probably didn't have a particularly strong grasp on politics. After all, teenage edgelords subsist on diets of offensive Internet jokes and Mountain Dew, not polished political rhetoric. But how could a masked, alliteration-spitting, vigilante rising up against a fascist regime not burn a fire deep within my darkened, edgelord soul?

V––the titular antihero of the movie based on the Alan Moore graphic novel of the same name––was every edgelord's wet dream. He was a master assassin, capable of expert knife-play and hand-to-hand combat. He enjoyed old romance films and outlawed books, giving off the air of a misunderstood intellectual. But most importantly, V dressed in all black (with a stylish brimmed hat, m'lady), save for his white mustachioed mask based on the 17th century English revolutionary Guy Fawkes––the same mask that would become the calling card for all manner of edgy Internet men, from anonymous 4chan users to me on my Myspace profile.

Anonymous Mask Very cool.AFP/AFP/Getty Images

I wanted to be V with all my heart. But how could a young boy growing up in a safe, predominantly Jewish suburb stand up against an oppressive government? Easy. I had my mom drive me to Hot Topic, and I purchased a Guy Fawkes mask of my own. I later learned that the Time Warner media conglomerate owns the rights to the mask and profits off every purchase, but I didn't know that at the time. Perhaps if one wants to rise up against the system, one must accept the necessary evil that movie merch comes at the price of fueling capitalism.

Regardless, mask in tow, I rose up against the forces that reigned at my suburban high school.

Some days, I bore the mantle of V during lunch, approaching fellow students outside the cafeteria and reciting the poem: "Remember, remember, the 5th of November, the Gunpowder treason and plot! I know of no reason, the Gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot." These dimwitted children would stare at me with their mouths ajar, and I'd smirk to myself knowing that I just opened their minds to the wonders of anarchy. Down with the government. Rise of the people.

I began watching old romance films, too. In the same way that Natalie Portman's Evey fell in love with V even after he literally tortured her (for the good of the resistance, of course), I knew that girls would find me attractive if I was a total jerk but also had well-formed opinions on black and white love stories. I also bought a switchblade from an army story in Chinatown and taught myself tricks through YouTube videos. "Just like V," I thought.

Slowly but surely, I transformed myself from a young, wannabe edgelord into a full-fledged revolutionary. By the time I was eighteen, I had mastered the art of romance and perfected a few cool switchblade tricks after cutting my finger 1000 times. But it was 2009, and new Alan Moore graphic novel-based movie was on the horizon––a movie that would change my edgelordiness forever.

Rorschach Warner Bros. Pictures

Watchmen introduced me to Rorschach, a new masked vigilante with an ever-shifting ink mask (like a Rorschach test!) and an angrier ideology based around justice against a broken, immoral society: "You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it." Rorschach reflected me––broken, dark, and angry in my small suburban town, living an existence that nobody could understand.

By then, I was old enough to drive myself to Hot Topic. I bought a shirt with a picture of Rorschach on the front and that very quote on the back. It was time for me to don a new mask.

Over the decades, the meaning of the the 5th of November, or Guy Fawkes Day, has changed time and time again. Originally, the day was a celebration of Guy Fawkes' failure to assassinate King James I. Nowadays, in stark contrast, Guy Fawkes Day is a celebration of rising up against oppressive governments.

Much like Guy Fawkes Day, teenage edgelord me has changed a lot over the years, too. When I look back on my high school years, the first word that comes to mind is cringe. I no longer think wearing movie masks in real life is anything short of lame, and I've thankfully realized that trying to act like a badass movie antihero in real life is a pretty big hindrance to one's social standing. I'm also not an anarchist, not by a long shot. At the same time, I think I have a better understanding of the message of V for Vendetta now than I ever did as a kid––a message that is more relevant in Trump's America than ever before. Guy Fawkes masks might be out of fashion (or maybe they never were in), but maybe we should break them out for old time's sake. After all, what better day is there than today to rise up against fascism?

TV

The Mystery of Ozymandias in HBO's "Watchmen"

What exactly is going on here?

HBO

Episode three of HBO's Watchmen, "She Was Killed by Space Junk," premiered on Sunday and continued the show's general trend of extending the graphic novel's alternate history into the modern era, slowly adding loose connective threads to the original text.

Many viewers have been turned off by the slow pace, the relative lack of direct references to Alan Moore's work, and the show's heightened politics (as opposed to the graphic novel, wherein Nixon was president forever, a literal God fought for America's empire, and a fascist maniac ranted about washing the streets clean…). Others will find the show's moody, beautifully-shot dystopia to be a much more fitting tribute to Moore's work than Zach Snyder could ever hope to give it. And while the connections to the original story are slow to form, they are beginning to raise intriguing, spoiler-heavy questions (better stop here if you haven't watched yet)—how did Angela's wheelchair-bound grandfather get Judd Crawford up in that tree? What were Crawford's ties to the Seventh Kavalry? What's Doctor Manhattan up to? And what the hell is going on with the giant sky-magnet? But no question is more pressing than this: Where is Adrian Veidt being imprisoned?


HBO


In this episode we're introduced to FBI agent Laurie Blake, former Silk Spectre and current member of the Anti-Vigilante task force, as well as her unwanted sidekick known as Agent Petey. Petey is a useful stand-in for the viewer—in that he is generally detested by those around him, and he has an obsession with the familiar events of the novel, which allows him to fill in some of the blanks for us while fleshing out the intrigue of others. He cues us into a question of Veidt's whereabouts within the show's narrative, introducing the fact that he has been missing for long enough to be declared dead, as well as the rumors that persist about plastic surgery and a new identity in South America.


Laurie BlakeHBO


This only serves to add to the mystery of Jeremy Iron's "Lord of the Manor" character—finally confirmed to be Veidt in this episode—whose interludes have grown stranger with each episode. Here's what we know: He is isolated in a large and lavish estate in an undefined location. He has an endless supply of faithful and lobotomized clone-servants to do his ruthless bidding without emotion or fear of death. He has no outside technology, but can build some impressive stuff with the help of his clones. He writes plays while naked. His grounds are home to American Bison but also to tomato trees, so that probably doesn't tell us much. He wants to be Ozymandias again. And he is policed by a man known as "the game warden," who has a gun, wears a mask, flies a jolly roger, and in a letter, refers to the terms of Veidt's "captivity."

Initial thoughts suggested time travel or a Pablo Escobar-style resort prison, but the most telling bit of info comes from the game warden's response to Veidt's latest experiment. Veidt has begun fashioning a space suit from metal armor and leather—tanned clone-skin?—and launching clones into space with a catapult. When the leather fails and Adrian starts hunting buffalo for their "thicker skin," the game warden responds as though this is an escape attempt…


HBO


Okay, so that pretty much narrows the possibilities to two real contenders. Veidt is either in some kind of dimensional bubble-prison that he is trying to escape, or he is in space, possibly on Mars, almost certainly imprisoned by Doctor Manhattan. I also have little doubt that we will find out soon that the game warden is actually another clone, but my fan theories are always wrong, and considering Damon Lindelof's role in the show…there's a decent chance that none of Watchmen's intriguing mysteries will ever be resolved. Here's hoping he and I will both defy history.

FILM

Best Full Frontal Male Nudity in Movies

These leading men bare it all, completely naked on the silver screen.

20th Century Fox

Let's hear it for the boys!

After all, sex sells. But more than that, humans just like seeing other humans naked. Nakedness shows us in our most natural forms, and it makes sense that we'd want to see the most attractive people among us without clothes on. So Hollywood delivers, giving us beautifully composed shots of beautiful people in their most natural states of beauty.

But also, they give us schlongs—a surprising number of schlongs, extensive schlongs. And that's what we're really here to discuss. Have you ever wondered what movies contain Hollywood's best weiners? Wonder no longer.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Jason Segel

forgetting sarah marshall jason segel Universal Pictures

While most movies use full frontal male nudity for shock value or comedic effect (and let's be frank, weiners are very funny), Forgetting Sarah Marshall takes their dick imagery a step further by using it for narrative impact. When protagonist Peter Bretter's (Jason Segel) long-term girlfriend of five years breaks up with him out of the blue, it's a massive blow to his self-esteem. He feels raw, completely unprepared, and fully exposed, both figuratively and literally, because she does this while he's not wearing pants.

The Hangover - Ken Jeong

mr chow hangover Warner Bros. Pictures

2009's The Hangover did more than just skyrocket Bradley Cooper's and Zach Galifianakis's careers. It also gave the world Ken Jeong, who practically stole the movie with his turn as ruthless mob boss Mr. Chow. And no scene better embodies the sheer masculinity of Mr. Chow than the one where he bursts out from a car trunk completely naked, crowbar in hand (and by that we mean a literal crowbar, not a euphemism for his penis), and jumps on Bradley Cooper's face. What a crowbar! (This time, we do mean his penis.)

Watchmen - Dr. Manhattan

Warner Bros. Pictures

Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan may have transcended his humanity after being caught in a nuclear explosion, but he still retains his human anatomy. This means that he has fluorescent blue skin and a fluorescent blue weiner, which he displays in the cafeteria of his former workplace in all its big blue glory. He also begins dating his fellow superhero, Silk Spectre II, because of course big blue penises are somebody's fetish.

Shame - Michael Fassbender

michael fassbender shame FOX Searchlight Pictures

Shame is a serious drama about a sex addict. As such, it's not exactly aiming to portray sex as sexy, but as compulsive, addictive, and borderline disgusting—except it kind of fails, because the sex addict is played by the very sexy Michael Fassbender, and in the name of realism, he can't exactly be clothed. Multiple times through the movie, Fassbender displays his fast bender, and while “fast bender" might be a nonsensical term for his weiner, you still knew exactly what it meant.

It Follows - It

it follows man on roof RADiUS-TWC

While Michael Fassbender and Ken Jeong are certainly fine male specimens, nobody even comes close to the creature from It Follows, a monster that can take the form of any person as it just kind of leisurely walks towards you. So while it could presumably take the form of Michael Fassbender or Ken Jeong, it chooses instead to take the form of a naked old dude and stand on a residential rooftop, with its old dangling penis flapping in the wind. This is probably especially disturbing to the protagonist, Jay, as the old man in question happens to be her grandpa. And if there's one thing nobody wants to see, it's grandpa weiner.

B.S.

Something's Rotten in the House of Drew: Justin Bieber's Starting a Cult

Bieber's new fashion line screams of ripped off Yeezy, POW uniforms, and the lost innocence of 2010's "Baby" fans.

Justin Bieber is finally embracing his full potential.

On Tuesday, the singer's much-awaited clothing line, Drew House, debuted online. The apparel exacerbates the same slouchy, oversized look as Kanye's Yeezy line, but its mental asylum color scheme suggests that Bieber is evolving his cult following into an actual cult. Officially trademarked as the House of Drew, the brand is swathed in beige, corduroy, and Bieber's signature deranged smiley face logo bearing his middle name. The 24-year-old has created a fashion line that screams of ripped off Yeezy, POW uniforms, and the lost innocence of 2010's "Baby" fans.

But Drew House's inflated price points confirm that mega-success in the music industry qualifies anyone to market their bad taste as high fashion. Starting at $48 for a T-shirt and sliding up to $148 for plain corduroy pants, the brand's website captures its commitment to the comedy bit called fashion. Its About Us section reads, "Drew House is a place where you can be yourself. Blah blah blah blahsdbksjdfhl. Wear like you don't care. Come chill. K. Bye."

Some fans felt duped after looking forward to the full line's release since last month's preview, which featured a simple pair of slippers donning the branded emoji, that cost only $4.99. The company's marketing campaign seems hellbent on swaddling gangs of dead-eyed, unsmiling Beliebers (who have yet to find their purpose like the movement promised in 2010) in colors of prison-beige and one possessed doodle.

But aside from all that, the most irksome aspect of Bieber's clothing line is the lack of originality. Anyone who's ever shuffled into Walmart at 1 AM, sockless and in sleepwear, has borne a striking resemblance to one of Bieber's models. Come to think of it, so does Walmart's mascot:

So does the symbol of a fictional murderer in Alan Moore's Watchmen:

So does the symbol of real-life murderers from The Smiley Face Killers:

It's confirmed. Something's rotten in the House of Drew.


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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