TIME Television

Bachelorette Finale: Andi Makes Her Choice

ABC

Big surprises are in store for Josh and Nick ... and Grumpy Cat!

Nick or Josh? Nick or Josh? Welcome to the finale of The Bachelorette, where Andi Dorfman must choose which of the two eligible bachelors will become her life partner. There’s Nick, the crazy-eyed stallion with the supposed heart of gold who makes Andi feel his passion for her and accent scarves. Then there’s Josh, the former pro baseball player who never misses a chance to flash his extremely white teeth, bulky biceps or his feelings for Andi. We’ve made our choice. But whom will Andi choose? As we join Chris Harrison in the studio, he informs us that the man Andi didn’t choose is not over her and has been trying to see her, and she has repeatedly turned him down. Sounds like fun to watch for the whole family.

Here’s what happened on the finale of The Bachelorette:

Nick Meets the Family: Nick is so nervous to meet Andi’s family that he is sweating all over the veranda. Her mother makes sure that Nick and the viewing audience knows Andi worked her way through law school. Nick spends all his time telling Mama Dorfman that he loves Andi. He says the L word about 20 times and until her mother begs for mercy. Then Nick turns his attention to Andi’s father Hy and asks for his blessing to marry his daughter. He pauses and tells Nick that in his family, commitment is for life and then shrugs and says sure, later interviewing that he would be O.K. with having Nick as a son-in-law. The one thing they can all agree on is this: Nick loves Andi. Nick and Andi make out on the couch to seal the deal.

Suave Hair Moments: Someone from Suave gives Andi a shiny coif. “Perfect for a rose ceremony,” decrees Andi. “Best of luck, Andi!” chirps Desiree. “You look wonderful,” notes Catherine. “Why did I watch this?” sighs a nation.

Josh Meets the Family: Josh notes that he only has one chance to make a first impression. He walks into the house and realizes that he is wearing the exact same blue button-down, white shorts outfit as Hy. Awkward! Despite the fashion faux pas, he hands Hy cigars, gives Patti flowers and hyperventilates all over the place. Patti rolls her eyes as Josh sweats through his shirt. They are all concerned that Josh is too much like Andi’s past boyfriends. Josh announces that he wants to marry Andi, and Hy gives him his blessing to propose to his daughter on prime time. Hy has no concerns about Josh whatsoever. In an interview, Josh announces, “Andi is my wife!”

Final Date With Josh: For their final date, Josh and Andi canoodle on a cruise around the Dominican Republic and Andi uses her law degree to grill Josh about what he said to her family. Josh flashes his pearly whites (is he sponsored by Crest White Strips?) and voice-overs that he wants to spend his life with his best friend. Then the producers make the wise decision to station a cameraman in the water to capture the moment that Andi’s bikini-clad behind enters the water after jumping off the boat with Josh and refraining from making a poignant metaphor about love and jumping. Back on land, Josh wants answers. Andi gives him a few without showing her hand or demanding to know why he thought red pants were a good choice for the evening. Josh hands her a baseball card with her name listed as Andi Murray, because of course she is changing her last name. Josh can’t imagine his life without her and Andi says “Josh is so my type” more times than Carl Gauss can count.

Final Date With Nick: For his final date with Andi, Nick opted to pair a blue V-neck T-shirt with blue athletic shorts for a Sad-Eyed-Smurf look. They go off-roading in the Dominican Republic, because it lends itself to the best marital metaphors. Andi and Nick do not canoodle. When Nick tells her that he’s going to marry her, she smiles politely; when they kiss, she holds her braid out of the way. That is not a good sign. Later, Andi stops by Nick’s hotel room and he overthinks and rambles and breathes heavily. Nick feels lucky and says he can’t wait to go grocery shopping with her. Nick hands her a box of sand from their first date. Sand? Sand.

Andi’s Choice: Andi feels passionately about Nick, but she also feels strongly about Josh. The men are nervous, and to prove this, the cameramen take a lot of photos of them staring moodily off into the middle distance. Then Neil Lane shows up to blow his annual promotional budget. Josh picks out an enormous rock.

The Drama: Then it is Nick’s turn. There’s a knock on the door, but it’s not Neil Lane. It’s Andi. The live-studio audience gasps. Chris polls the imported Bachelor/ette detritus about what it all means. Claire, who was loudly dumped by Juan Pablo Galavis, wishes that someone would have come to her door. Drew, who was abandoned by Desiree Hartsock, sadly reveals that it took him months to understand what had happened to him. In short: Andi’s arrival at Nick’s door is bad news for Nick.

The Big Talk: Andi tells Nick that she woke up this morning and just didn’t feel it. Something isn’t right, and she can’t go through with it. Nick is hyperventilating again and Andi joins him. Nick isn’t processing it. She apologizes a lot. Nick accuses her of “taking it too far” and wishing that she hadn’t said or done certain things. Then he takes his box of sand and goes home. But before he goes, he throws all of the roses he was going to scrapbook into the trash. Nick tears up in the limo, because he was in love. The studio audience cries with him. It rains as Andi thinks about what she’s done.

Josh and Andi Sitting in a Tree: At the final rose ceremony, Andi is bubbling out of her skin in excitement, which sounds like a special effect from a Guillermo del Toro movie, but isn’t that gross. Josh comes to find her and immediately launches into a well-prepared speech about how much he loves her. After pretending she was on the fence, she tells him she loves him and has loved him since the moment she first laid eyes on him. He drops to one knee and proposes. She says yes and kisses him while staring at the enormous Neil Lane diamond behind his back.

After the Final Rose: Nick wanders the streets of Wisconsin, heartbroken. He makes a decision and decides to go full creeper. He flies to L.A. to try and talk to Andi before the Men-Tell-All special. He has a heart to heart with Chris Harrison, who takes his message to Andi. She negs him and refuses to grant him an audience. Presumably that’s when Nick grabs a stereo and plays Elvis Costello’s stalker anthem “I Want You” outside Andi’s dressing-room window until the ABC security guards drag him away. Chris tells Andi that this was the second time Nick tried to see her and hands Andi a letter from Nick and suggests she read it (the “before we apply for a restraining order” is implied).

In the Studio: On stage with Chris, Nick blames Andi for giving him false hope and imbuing him with confidence. Nick swears that he likes Josh, stops to dry a tear and says he’ll always wonder about what he could have had with Andi. Chris reminds him that Andi can’t avoid him anymore. She comes out looking very guarded (or like she was wearing extreme Spanx). Nick’s hands shake as he pouts that Andi hurt him. She apologizes. He keeps talking about how hurt he is until he finally goes dark pointing out that if she didn’t love she shouldn’t have “made love” to him. Nick thought she did “fiancée kinds of things” in the Fantasy Suite, which is not a metaphor I am willing to unpack. (She made dinner for his unappreciative college friends?) Also, Nick: what happens in the Fantasy Suites, stays in the Fantasy Suites. Andi is not impressed with that one (Josh probably isn’t either). She tells Nick that she did care about him and that’s why she didn’t let him propose. She tried to be respectful. Chris calls the round after that, but the producers won’t let viewers pick it as “The Bachelorette Most Bleachable Moment.” Instead we are treated to a different awkward Nick moment from earlier in the season. Thanks a lot, Clorox.

The Sweet Ever After: The second Nick leaves and Josh joins Andi on stage, she starts to shine. They giggle, they tease, they hold hands and legs and knees and seem genuinely in love. Josh declares that the show works and to prove that, they randomly bring out Grumpy Cat. Because they can. Viva la Bachelorette!

MORE: It’s the Bachelorette Finale: Will Andi Pick Josh or Nick?

MORE: Bachelorette Watch: 11 Things We Learned When the Men Tell All

TIME Television

It’s The Bachelorette Finale: Will Andi Pick Josh or Nick?

CHRIS HARRISON, ANDI DORFMAN
THE BACHELORETTE - "Episode 1010" --Season Finale Javier Pesquera—ABC

Plus, watch a sneak peek of Andi's family meeting Nick and Josh

The Bachelorette‘s journey to love ends Monday night. If all goes according to script, over the course of the three-hour Bachelorette event, Andi Dorfman will end up with a strapping young gentleman kneeling before her, slipping a giant Neil Lane diamond ring on her finger. Not only will it be a great promotional moment for Neil Lane jewelers, but it will also be the crowning moment for the sultry Atlanta district attorney who started her fairy tale in the nightmare of sharing a fantasy suite with Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis.

After meeting a herd of producer-approved, gelled, bronzed and after-shaved bachelors, Andi has sorted, whittled, honed and thinned her flock of eligible life mates down to two possibilities: Nick V. and Josh M.

Nick V. is a software salesman from Wisconsin with an extremely large family, a predilection for poetry and a love of accent scarves. He wasn’t on The Bachelorette to make friends and proved that again and again. He did catch Andi’s eye early on, though, winning the coveted First Impression rose and sneaking many a quiet make out sessions with Andi. In his profile on ABC.com, he lists Dumb & Dumber among his favorite movies and says that “to feed off other’s [sic.] people’s energy is intense.”

Josh, a former pro baseball player, told ABC that if he was stranded on a desert island he would bring “a woman to be with and to have company, a gun to easily kill animals to eat, and a knife to carve them up,” which sounds delightful if you’re into that sort of thing and like a deleted scene from Silence of the Lambs if you’re not. Still, he and Andi — who has been known to take dates to target practice — have an unmistakable chemistry. Andi has already admitted that Josh is her type and since she liked his family, there isn’t much left in the “con” column. Plus, they are from the same part of the country. Long distances have been the death-knell for many a Bachelor-initiated relationship, but their Southern roots would eliminate that particular stressor. Also, he wears a size 13 shoe. (Just saying.)

So who will take the title? We’re Team Marquel, but as Andi already ditched him (and he was cast in forthcoming reality TV atrocity, Bachelor in Paradise), our money is on Josh.

Watch Josh sweat when he meets Andi’s family:

 

Watch Nick try to win Andi’s father’s blessing to wed his beloved daughter:

 

MORE: RECAP: The Bachelorette Watch: Three’s a Crowd in a Fantasy Suite

MORE: The Bachelorette Watch: 11 Things We Learned When the Men Tell All

TIME Books

The Gang From Always Sunny Has Written a Self-Help Book

FX Season Premiere Screenings For "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" And "The League"
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic / Getty Images

Because they're totally the kind of people who should be giving you advice

Dennis, Dee, Mac, Frank and Charlie from Always Sunny have already taught us plenty of things: how to sing a cappella, how to excel at the game of Flip Cup, and how not to act on a first date, for example. Since they’re so good at teaching people how to live their lives, they’ve written a self-help book, which will be released in January. (It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now.)

The book is called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today. Based on the description, it’s actually a bit hard to tell if it’s really a self-help book, or if it’s simply a book outlining the story of the gang writing a self-help book:

The Gang may have finally found their golden ticket. Left alone to close down Paddy’s Pub one night, Charlie Kelly inadvertently scored himself, and his friends, the opportunity of a lifetime—a book deal with a real publishing company, real advance money, and a real(ly confused) editor. While his actual ability to read and write remains unclear, Charlie sealed the deal with some off-the-cuff commentary on bird law and the nuances of killing rats (and maybe with the help of some glue fumes in the basement with an unstable editor on a bender). While The Gang is stunned by the news, and the legally binding, irrevocable contract left on the bar, they are also ready to rise to the task and become millionaires—and of course, help Charlie actually write the book.

But further details suggest that the book will indeed include some real advice:

In their own inimitable voices, Charlie, Mac, Dennis, Sweet Dee, and Frank weigh in on important topics like Relationships, Financial Success and Career, Fashion and Personal Grooming, Health and Diet, and Survival Skills, providing insane advice, tips, tricks, and recipes (Rum Ham anyone?) as only they can.

We already knew they were crab people — now we also know they’re book people.

TIME movies

Watch: This Trailer for the Final Hobbit Movie Is Ready for Battle

Welcome back, Bilbo

After a relatively last-minute title change that took the final installment of the Hobbit series from There and Back Again to The Battle of the Five Armies, Peter Jackson’s Tolkien adaptation is living up to its title with a suitably bellicose first teaser trailer, which premiered for a live audience at Comic-Con over the weekend. (Fun fact: the panel at which the trailer was shown was moderated by Stephen Colbert, who has a cameo in the movie, according to HitFix’s liveblog of the event.)

“Will you have peace or war?” the trailer asks — and even if Thorin weren’t there to tell us the answer (hint: war), it would be easy to guess, as the trailer is chockablock with archers, armor and dramatic music.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is due in theaters on Dec. 17, 2014.

TIME movies

See Brand New Avengers: Age Of Ultron Concept Art

Avengers assemble!

As a special treat for San Diego Comic-Con 2014, Marvel released concept art for the second Avengers movie, Avengers: Age Of Ultron. The art shows all of the original Avengers from the first movie, as well as newcomers Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), fighting off legions of menacing Ultron robots. As an added bonus, the artists snuck in Vision, a super android who will also be joining the Avengers, into the background of Quicksilver’s concept art. The android superhero will be played by Paul Bettany, also known as the guy who’s married to Jennifer Connelly, who has previously voiced Iron Man’s artificially intelligent supercomputer JARVIS in the Marvel cinematic universe.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron comes to theaters on May 1, 2015.

TIME Opinion

I Don’t Love Lucy: The Bad Science in the Sci-Fi Thriller

Maybe if the screenwriters had used 20% of their brains...

You use a whole lot more than 10% of your brain—but a common fallacy that says otherwise is nonetheless the central premise of a new movie

Now there are three Lucys I have to keep straight: The 3.2 million year old Australopithecus unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974; the eponymous star of the inexplicably celebrated 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy; and, most recently, the lead character—played by Scarlett Johansson—of the new sci-fi thriller straightforwardly titled Lucy. Going by intellectual heft alone, I’ll pick the millions-year-old bones.

The premise of the movie, such as it is, is that Lucy, a drug mule living in Taiwan, is exposed to a bit of high-tech pharma that suddenly increases her brain power, giving her the ability to outwit entire police departments, travel through time and space, dematerialize at will and yada-yada-yada, cut to gunfights, special effects and a portentous message about, well, something or other.

The movie poster’s teaser line? “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%.”

Let’s forgive the poster its pronoun problem (the average person—as in just one of us—uses 10% of their brain capacity), because the science problem is so much more egregious. The 10% brainpower thing is part of a rich canon of widely believed and entirely untrue science dicta that include “Man is the only animal that kills its own kind” (tell that to the lion cubs that were just murdered by an alpha male trying to take over a pride) and “A goldfish can remember something for only seven seconds” (a premise that was tested…how? With a pop quiz?).

No one is entirely sure where the 10% brainpower canard got started, but it goes back at least a century and is one of the most popular entries in the equally popular book 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology. There is some speculation that the belief began with an idle quote by American philosopher William James who, in 1908, wrote, “We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources,” an observation vague enough to mean almost anything—or nothing—at all.

Some people attribute it to an explanation Albert Einstein offered when asked to account for his own towering intellect—except that Einstein never said such a thing and even if he had it would not make it true. Still others cite the more scientifically defensible idea that there is a measure of plasticity in the brain, so that if the region that controls, say, the right arm, is damaged by, say, a stroke, it is sometimes possible for other parts of the brain to pick up the slack—a sort of neural rewiring that restores lost motion and function.

But none of that remotely justifies the 10% silliness. The fact is, the brain is overworked as it is, 3 lbs. (1,400 gm) of tissue stuffed into a skull that can barely hold it all. There’s a reason the human brain is as wrinkled as it is and that’s because the more it grew as we developed, the more it bumped up against the limits of the cranium; the only way to increase the surface area of the neocortex sufficiently to handle the advanced data crunching we do was to add convolutions. Open up the cerebral cortex and smooth it out and it would measure 2.5 sq. ft. (2,500 sq cm). Wrinkles are a clumsy solution to a problem that never would have presented itself in the first place if 90% of our disk space were going to waste.

What’s more, our bodies simply couldn’t afford to maintain so much idle neuronal tissue since the brain is an exceedingly expensive organ to own and operate—at least in terms of energy needs. At birth, babies actually have up to 50% more neural connections among the billions of brain cells than adults do, but in the first few years of life (and, to a lesser extent, on through sexual maturity) a process of pruning takes place, with many of those synaptic links being broken and the ones that remain growing stronger. That makes the brain less diffuse and more efficient—which is exactly the way any good central processing unit should operate. It also allows it to use up fewer calories, which is critical.

“We were a nutritionally marginal species early on,” the late William Greenough, a psychologist and brain development expert at the University of Illinois, told me for my 2007 book Simplexity. “A synapse is a very costly thing to support.”

Added Ray Jackendoff, co-director of the center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, “The thing that’s really astonishing might not be that we lose so many connections, but that the brain’s plasticity and growth are able to continue for as long as they do.”

OK, so the Lucy screenwriters aren’t psychologists or directors of cognitive studies institutes. But they do have the same 100 billion neurons everybody else’s brains have. Here’s hoping they take a few billion of them out for an invigorating run before they write their next sci-fi script.

TIME Television

Everything You Need to Know About the Third Season of Arrow

The trailer reveals that Oliver's next nemesis will be a familiar one to those who know their way around the DC Comics universe

Though there will be contenders this fall both new (Gotham, The Flash) and old (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), CW’s Arrow currently holds the crown for television’s best superhero series. The show’s Comic-Con panel over the weekend did little to diminish the belief that it’s a title that showrunners Marc Guggenheim, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg are keen to hold on to through next year and beyond (though the latter two will also be helming The Flash).

The first step in that direction was to introduce a villain worthy of the legacy that Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) and Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) had established in Arrow’s first two seasons. Guggenheim, Berlanti and Kreisberg certainly did that, teasing Ra’s al Ghul — name-checked frequently in Season 2 and perhaps best known to audiences as Liam Neeson’s villainous character in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins — at the conclusion of the Season 3 trailer. Whether Ra’s will immediately establish himself as the season’s big bad villain is unclear. Mention has been made of his bad blood with Oliver Queen’s nemesis Malcolm Merlyn, but it remains to be seen which of the two villains is a greater threat to Starling City. (Ra’s introduction also makes it likely we’ll see more of his daughter, Nyssa, as well as the recently departed Sara Lance.)

A little closer to home, Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver, says much of his focus for this season will be figuring out whether Oliver is able to balance his job as The Arrow with his life as Oliver. That’s been a struggle since the show’s first episode, but Oliver has yet to be put in a position where he really must choose between the two. Even if that moment doesn’t arrive in Season 3, it’s clear that the producers intend it to be a constant struggle at the forefront of the audience’s minds.

Oliver’s sister, Thea (Willa Holland), will also face some hurdles of her own. When we last saw her, she was riding off in a limo with Malcolm, her biological father, and appeared none too eager to return to Starling City in the immediate future. Of course she’ll have to come back eventually, because that’s how things work, but Holland indicated there would be some changes apparent in the youngest Queen upon her return: “The Thea that you guys saw in Season 1 and Season 2 is not the girl coming back in Season 3.”

Also arriving in Starling City this season is The Atom, played by Brandon Routh, who many will recognize as Superman from Bryan Singer’s 2006 version. Though his alter ego, Ray Palmer, will be a bidder for Queen Consolidated, it’s not yet apparent how The Atom will factor into the season’s developments.

A few other moments of note from the trailer: Roy (Colton Haynes) has a cool new outfit and seems to be doing just fine without the mirakuru; Oliver doesn’t seem to want Diggle (David Ramsey) in the field anymore for some as-yet-revealed reason; and Oliver will be taking Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) on a date (spoiler alert from Amell: it goes “horribly.”)

Perhaps most intriguingly, producers also revealed that this season will feature a double-crossover episode between Arrow and The Flash (the former airs Wednesdays, the latter Tuesdays), and that Oliver will appear in The Flash pilot.

Arrow returns on Oct. 8 on the CW.

TIME movies

Christopher Walken Joins Disney’s New The Jungle Book

Christopher Walken leaves the "Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater on June 11, 2014 in New York City.
Christopher Walken leaves the "Late Show with David Letterman" at Ed Sullivan Theater on June 11, 2014 in New York City. Donna Ward—Getty Images

Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad will also lend his voice

Oscar winner Christopher Walken is giving Disney’s The Jungle Book the bare necessities–his voice.

The actor has signed to work on the upcoming feature film, alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba and Ben Kingsley, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Giancarlo Esposito, better known as Gus from Breaking Bad, has also joined the cast. Walken will play ape leader King Louie while Esposito will play Akela the wolf.

The film, directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef), is a mixture of CGI and live-action footage. Only 10-year-old Neel Sethi will appear on-screen, starring as the young boy Mowgli.

The film, which swings into theaters on Oct. 9 next year, is one of two adaptations of the Rudyard Kipling stories in the works — a live-action version from Warner Bros. directed by Andy Serkis, a.k.a. Gollum from Lord of the Rings, is also on the way.

[THR]

TIME Media

The Sarah Palin Channel: $99.95 a Year, Comes With Salad

In her latest media-politics endeavor, the former governor seeks to escape the "filters," this time between her and her fans' credit cards.

In the welcome video to the Sarah Palin Channel, the former governor of Alaska explains her motivation for starting a personal subscription network: “We’ll go beyond the soundbites and the media’s politically correct filter to get to the truth.”

Over her six years in the national spotlight, Sarah Palin has not exactly lacked for media platforms, filtered or unfiltered. She’s had a reality show on TLC and one currently on Sportsman Channel. She’s been a paid contributor to Fox News. And should even Fox prove too much filter for her truth, she’s had no problem taking her message direct, on Twitter, on Facebook and in videos. For Palin to have less-filtered access to the consciousness of her followers, she would have to possess their very souls.

But the most notable distinction about this brand-new platform, so far, is that it allows the former governor to get a message out to the public without the traditional, mainstream filter between her and your wallet. A subscription to SarahPalinChannel.com is $9.95 a month, or $99.95 a year (with a two-week free trial period). That’s 96 cents more a month than a Netflix streaming subscription. It’s 95 cents more a year than an annual subscription to Amazon Prime, which also offers music, streaming TV and movies, Kindle benefits, and free shipping. Not here; if you’ve been mail-ordering your smoked salmon from Alaska (there’s no online store at the SPC site), you will still have to pay full freight.

So politics aside, it’s fair to ask what the value proposition is for a subscription to Sarah Palin Channel. At this early point–the channel launched Sunday and began collecting paid subscriptions at startup–much of SPC’s front-page offerings are repurposed and available in some form free elsewhere.

There’s the seven-minute video calling for President Obama’s impeachment from earlier in the month; various speeches, like her July 19 talk to the Western Conservative Summit, that are on YouTube; reproductions of conservative meme images; a link to her daughter Bristol’s blog at the religious site Patheos.com. There’s a national debt counter and a countdown clock to the end of the Obama administration. Getting a place of prominence is “Sally’s Word of the Day,” a feature “brought to you by my Scrabble-obsessed Mom and her friends.” (The inaugural word: “Rectitude”–“the quality of being honest and morally correct”–which reproduces the Merriam-Webster definition verbatim.)

But wait! There’s more! The marquee original content thus far is a collection of short videos in which–as she’s been doing via Facebook–Palin weighs in on current events hitting longtime talking points. The trouble in Ukraine, for instance, is evidence that we need to “unlock” our natural energy resources, or Drill, Baby, Drill. Another publicizes her book from last year re-fighting the “war on Christmas.” In others, she answers questions from supporters, such as, “How many things can you name that Obama has failed at?”

Many of SPC’s short videos recall Palin’s hits for Fox News, placing her in a home-office setting backed symbolically by a carven eagle, a flag and a globe, speaking in a single take, YouTube-style; others have her speaking at an angle to the camera, as if addressing an unseen interviewer. The tone is on-brand: the folksy, familiar speech (after last year’s Phil Robertson controversy, she tells fans, “You guys rose up and said, ‘Oh my gosh, enough is enough!'”), her knack for digs that will rouse fans and aggravate detractors (Obama is “addicted to OPM”–say it out loud–“other people’s money”), the Alaskan-mountain imagery on the homepage.

Beyond that, what SPC is trying to sell is community and connection. The site’s videos are shareable on social media–so depending on your friends-and-family list, you’ll be seeing them free on Facebook soon enough–but you can only see or post comments if you subscribe. The idea, an FAQ says, is that “the community would feel more secure”–secure enough, for instance, for one commenter to post on the Putin video that “Like most people who have been paying attention, I would trade our little Kenyan collectivist for Vladimir Putin any day.”

For my money, though–or rather, what will be my money if I keep my subscription beyond the free trial–the channel is most effective, like many of Palin’s past media efforts, when it takes her out of the talking-head chair, especially in a series of odd, often fascinating “Behind the Scenes” videos. In one, Palin, wearing a vest and an Oscar the Grouch T-shirt, shows off a painting in her home office of a tableau of Republican presidents–Ike, Reagan, both Bushes, Lincoln, Nixon–laughing around a pool table. In a little inset photo, she’s holding her son Trig at a Tea Party rally, where she says her appearance was misinterpreted by the media. “At that time, I didn’t have so much of a platform or a microphone to counter some of the falsehoods and goofy, stupid things that some of the news channels say and do,” she says. “But now I do!”

Thanks to you, subscriber! Really, you could make a good case that the biggest feature SPC offers subscribers for $99.95 a year is the ability to give Sarah Palin $99.95 a year–that is, to feel empowered, to feel like part of a movement, to defy the politically correct media that don’t respect you, to stick it to “the powers that be” by standing up for liberty and Christmas.

Whether Palin has any future in politics or SPC is one of the last efforts to monetize the brand that John McCain launched by naming her his running mate in 2008, Palin demonstrably still has that ability to home in on exposed nerves, to appeal to a sense of cultural besiegement and grievance, to make the personal archly, needlingly political.

Just look, for instance, at her video, “An Alaskan Garden and the Lessons for D.C.,” which promises “a behind-the-scenes look at the Governor’s kitchen garden.” For over six minutes, Palin stands in her kitchen, tearing up lettuce for her salad–bought at the store, she says, not grown in her yard–and talks about the abundance of sunlight in the Land of the Midnight Sun, and the richness of Alaska’s resources in general, and what it all says about what this country would be if those liberal bureaucrats would just get out of our darn way: “The sun and our volcanic soil that makes this area so rich, so rich in resources, this soil, our oil and our gold and all that God’s created for man’s use, the minerals, the fisheries, the resources in the state can help secure the union. And once the Feds figure that out and allow us to unlock the lands in Alaska and responsibly develop them? Well, our country will be more secure.”

Just one thing, though: you never do get that look at Palin’s kitchen garden. You just see her step away from her salad for a second and look at some unseen spot beyond her kitchen window. But pony up just $9.95 a month, or $99.95 a year, and who knows? Maybe someday, all will be revealed.

TIME Music

REVIEW: Tom Petty’s New Album Hypnotic Eye Stays Red, White and Blue

Hypnotic Eye
Warner Bros.

The veteran's latest critiques modern America while embracing the heartland rock of their early years

This post is in partnership with NME.

For almost 40 years, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers have been channeling the red blood and blue collars of the USA into their radio rock. Yet Petty has rarely come across more overtly American than on this, his 13th studio album. Through the gritty rumble of opener “American Dream Plan B,” the honky-tonk blues of “Burnt Out Town” and the vigorous “Full Grown Boy” and “Shadow People” especially, these 11 songs see Petty harness the grand ol’ USA more than ever before. It’s not patriotic, though. Rather, this album critiques modern America while embracing the heartland rock of Petty’s early years. It won’t convert the unconvinced, but Petty sounds as inspired as ever.

More from NME: Sex Pistols bassist reveals he hasn’t spoken to John Lydon in five years

More from NME: 26 Huge Autumn Tours To Get Excited About

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser