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Don’t “Girlboss” the Squid Game Creator

Don't turn Hwang Dong-hyuk's success story into a capitalist parable

She IS the moment

Squid Game

With every day that passes, the term "Girlboss" becomes more and more pejorative. Good.

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TV News

The 5 Best and Worst Moments of the 2021 Emmys

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards were LIVE last night

Schitts Creek Emmys 2021

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards were LIVE last night, and, as is the case with many awards shows recently, it was filled with moments that were both cringey and rewarding.

We admit that it was kind of nice seeing a bunch of people gathered safely in a room again. But from another whitewashed winning streak to a bizarre ode to the "sexiness" of chess, here are a few moments from last night's ceremony's that were either appalling or worth applauding.


Best: An Awkward Schitts Creek Reunion

After sweeping the comedy category of the 2020 Emmys, the Rose family reunited this year for a hilarious back and forth bit that should have been nominated for an Emmy itself. "Thank you so much, there's nothing on the prompter," Dan Levy began. "Is there a tech guy or something?" Annie Murphy asked.

As the cast fumbled to make the most out of an awkward situation, the back and forth between them slowly revealed that Eugene Levy had caused the writers to pull all of their lines after he pissed them off. Considering most of the ceremony's other comedy bits were atrocious this year, this awkward Schitts Creek reunion was a much needed moment of levity.

Worst: A Lack of Diversity...Again

Ted Lasso Emmys

Ted Lasso Emmys

After once again blabbing on about championing artists and stories of color, the Emmys once again awarded most of their awards to white talent. Pose, The Underground Railroad, and others were severely overlooked. Sure, Cedric the Entertainer was the host, and the nominations weren't nearly as white-washed as they have been in the past, but the ceremony was still rank with white privilege.

For example, in an awkward show of said privilege, The Queen Gambit's Scott Frank ordered that Emmy producers cease their lead-out music, for which they happily obliged. By the time Michela Cohen got her long-overdue award, it all felt rather tokenizing.

Best: Michela Cohen's Award

But that tokenization did not in any way diminish the award itself! Michela Cohen, who was cheated out of a Golden Globe nomination and other well deserved awards earlier this year, finally won an award for her critically-lauded masterpiece I May Destroy You. After two hours of predictable victories for many of the (white) shows this year, Coel snagged a win for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series or Movie. Her speech was to the point and beautifully concise, and she dedicated her award to the survivors of sexual assault.

Worst: That Weird "Queen's Gambit" Speech

Queens Gambit

Queens Gambit

While The Queen's Gambit was one of the most widely watched shows of the year, the Outstanding Limited Series/Movie winner this year resulted in one of the oddest acceptance speeches of the night. While accepting the award, the show's producer thanked star Anya Taylor-Joy for bringing the "sexy back to chess," before going into tearing down the patriarchy.

It was an odd thing to praise someone for — not to mention that diluting a female artist's contribution down to just being sexy is right in line with what the patriarchy has done and continues to do?

Best: The Bizarre Biz Markie Tribute

When Cedric the Entertainer kicked off the show, he dove into a hilarious and charming parody of Biz Markie's hit "Just a Friend." Meant as an ode to the rapper, who died in July of this year, Cedric roped in other celebrities from around the room to partake in the song including Rita Wilson, who oddly stole the show with her cringe-worthy rapping abilities.

Every Emmys opening is undoubtedly awkward, but this year it was nice to see everyone in person having some fun and letting loose, even if the results were at times uncomfortable.

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Netflix's Virgin River captivated hearts with its dramatic romance and high drama.

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Journiest

Cancel Your Trip to Hawaii and Watch "White Lotus" Instead

A lesson in being less of an asshole

White Lotus

White Lotus is a lot of things: a comedy, a thriller, a showcase of career making performances, and, above all, a lesson in being less of an asshole.

If you haven't watched White Lotus yet, start it immediately.

The new HBO Max limited series delivers exactly what you want and need from an HBO thriller: a stellar cast, a convoluted web of lives, and the gripping, but aesthetically pleasing, downfall of the elite. It moves through the lives of different characters at a Hotel Resort in Hawaii, The White Lotus, from hotel staff to various guests.

White Lotus is billed as a satirical comedy with the undercurrent of a thriller. Directed by Mike White, it is as impressive as it is entertaining. According to Variety, it's "a fascinating trick of light that bends its interlocking stories with the kind of impressive dexterity we've come to expect from White. By the time you get used to this show's rhythms, it's already shifted into something else entirely."

But what really makes the show is the cast. Each distinct character comes through in compelling, embodied performances by the cast — Sydney Sweeny and Brittany O'Grady as the pretentious teenagers based on the hosts of the " Red Scare" podcast, whose haughtiness is balanced by both tenderness and turmoil; Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy as the newlywed rich couple, whose dynamic is so precisely delivered that I've started rating real life couples I see in the city based on how similar they act to the White Lotus couple; the inimitable Jennifer Coolidge as … a complete mess; the smug and self sabotaging hotel manager; as well as everyone in between.

But the show isn't just a vicarious deep dive into the lives of the wastefully rich; it's a satirical exploration of the more pathetic moments of the privileged, an intimate look into the flaws and foils of different archetypes of People With Money.

Though it's not prescriptive, there is no Answer or moralizing force, one thing is pretty clear: Stop being an asshole.

Some of the most cringeworthy moments aren't in the unimaginable — not the egregious missteps the characters make as the stakes escalate — they're the subtle but pointed glimpses of the daily lives of the guests, all their nonchalant arrogance and easy entitlement.

There are some big, obvious displays of nauseating privilege — a tantrum over a bedroom, the $75,000 bracelets — but more insidious are the small moments. More than once, the directorial gaze lingers on the guests obnoxiously eating at the breakfast bar, touching everything and leaving it out of place, or treating staff like idiots and props, trusting that they will be catered to despite.

The larger plot lines exaggerate these dynamics, but even in their daily habits, their casual conversations, the characters are, well assholes.

In a post-Covid world, this has larger implications. The show barely mentions the pandemic, but small one-liners glance at the privilege the rich have to feel as though the pandemic is "over," to abscond from the "stress" of the pandemic and splurge on a Hawaiian vacation.

What the series does explore, through brief anecdotes and subplots, is the colonization of Hawaii. According to the show's lore, the White Lotus Resort was built on an island sacred to native Hawaiians which the government illegally sold to resort builders. Yet, the resort uses elements of Hawaiian traditions to enhance the "authenticity" of their experience.

This tension shows up as a plot point in the series but is a real, current point of contention. In a case of life imitating art, the colonial undertones of the show are indicative of the current, real-life tensions in Hawaii right now.

Native Hawaiians have been speaking out about the colonial consequences of high tourism for decades. However, the personal impacts have been heightened over the past few months.

As travel restrictions have eased domestically in the US, many people immediately booked trips to Hawaii. However, local communities have been negatively impacted by the influx of tourists and are asking people to just … stop coming.

According to Insider in an interview, an interviewee on the island said it was "'maddening' how many people were there — with most disregarding Hawaii's public safety restrictions."

And this has largely affected the Native populations. A study from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa showed that "Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders account for 40% of the positive coronavirus cases on the islands, but they only make up 25% of Hawaii's population."

Meanwhile tourists get to come and go, ignoring the lives of Natives beyond what they can benefit from. White Lotus is a perfect display of this. Despite the chaos the characters cause, their lives are rarely impacted by the messes they make.So if you're considering a trip to Hawaii, cancel it. Just sit at home, watch White Lotus, and then, honestly, watch it again until it sticks.

TV Features

INTERVIEW: Ms. Pat talks Matt Damon, Ugly Grandchildren, and Her New Series on BET+

The Ms Pat Show premieres August 12th on BET+

via Ms Pat

Miss Pat is a comedian, author, and actress. Her new BET+ Series, The Ms Pat Show, premieres August 12th.

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The ending of Schitt's Creek left fans devastated, to say the least.

The show's sixth season culminated in an equally heart-warming and gut-wrenching finale that saw our beloved Johnny, Moira, David, Alexis moving into the next phases of their lives. Many people mourned the show's conclusion hard, begging its creators for more seasons, but creator Dan Levy was adamant.

"The reason we ended the show in the first place was because I never wanted it to get stale," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I never wanted to overstay our welcome. I wanted this show to have a legacy that people return to. I wanted it to be included in conversations about great series and not just a great season. And that requires making tough decisions about saying goodbye."

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