TIME Television

Here’s How Long It Will Take You to Watch Every Simpsons Episode

The SImpsons travel to the Big Apple in the "Moonshine River".
The SImpsons travel to the Big Apple in the "Moonshine River". Fox

Without commercials and not counting the movie

The cable channel FXX started airing every single episode of The Simpsons back-to-back-to-back on Thursday, 522 episodes through 25 seasons that won’t end until Sept. 1. When news broke that FXX was releasing all 25 seasons of The Simpsons via its site and app, TIME critic James Poniewozik proclaimed: “Hello, Simpsons World. Goodbye, the rest of your life.”

But what if you were to attempt this feat of binge-watching without commercials? Well, if you were to watch all 552 of the 22-minute episodes (sans ads) back-to-back, you would only need to say goodbye to a mere 12,144 minutes of your life. That translates to a more digestible 202 hours and 24 minutes, which breaks down to just under eight-and-a-half days.

Without sleep, that is, and not counting the movie.

TIME Music

VMAs 2014: What to Expect (When You’re Expecting Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and More)

"On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" - Pasadena
Beyonce performs during the "On The Run Tour Larry Busacca/PW—Getty

With an impressively star-studded line-up, expect the show to deliver over-the-top performances and wild antics

Much like Paul Revere riding his horse through town, we’re here to tell you: the VMAs are coming.

Yes, the show that brought the world Miley Cyrus twerking on Robin Thicke in a Beetlejuice costume, an abbreviated NSYNC reunion, and Lady Gaga dressed as SpongeBob SquareNun returns this Sunday, Aug. 24 at 9 p.m. ET, with scheduled performances by Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea and, of course, Beyoncé, who scored eight nominations. Hot on Queen Bey’s high-scoring heels are Eminem and newcomer Azalea, who racked up seven nods apiece.

Pretty Little Liars star and country singer Lucy Hale will be hosting the pre-show, but in keeping with tradition, the show itself will have no host, preferring the likable chaos of a steady stream of surprise guests and unlikely pairings. (What would you expect from a show that announced its nominees via Snapchat?) Non-surprise guest presenters include Lorde, Demi Lovato, Jason Derulo, Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev and cast members from Orange is the New Black.

You can check out a full list of the nominees here, but the real reason to watch the VMAs is to see if any twerking teddy bears appear to shock the children of A-list celebs and send people running to register complaints to the FCC (probably while shrieking, “The children! The children! Will no one think of the children?”).

Here’s the list of artists performing at this years VMAs:

Beyoncé

With eight noms, plus a special crowning — the coveted Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which puts her in such fine company as Justin Timberlake, Madonna and the Beastie Boys — don’t be surprised if Bey walks away with an armful of Moonmen.

Five Seconds of Summer

The boy band is in the house to support their Artist to Watch nomination — and to give the tweens something to scream about that’s actually in their age demographic. Their song choice has yet to be announced, but a medley of their greatest hits seems likely.

Maroon 5

It’s the first time the band, fronted by Sexiest-Man-Alive Adam Levine, have performed on the awards show. They will be performing their latest hit, “Maps.”

Taylor Swift

T. Swift will be debuting the first live performance of her new single, “Shake It Off.” Fingers crossed some genius will mash it up live with the award-nominated (!!!) DJ Snake and Lil John’s “Turn Down For What.” Shake it off for what, anyone?

Charli XCX

The Artist to Watch nominee is slated to perform “Boom Clap,” her hit off The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack, which will likely appeal to the show’s teen demographic. No word whether she will team up with Iggy Azalea for their track “Fancy,” which is nominated for Best Pop Video.

Sam Smith

Smith is slated to perform “Stay With Me,” but even he is probably slightly sick of the Best Male Video-nominated track at this point, so perhaps he’ll just take the stage to rant about how “Tinder is ruining romance.”

Ariane Grande

The My Everything singer will be performing her follow-up hit “Break Free,” but with Iggy Azalea in the house and multiple nominations on the table, a performance of “Problem” wouldn’t come as a surprise:

Nicki Minaj

Minaj is the evening’s triple threat: She’ll be giving Miley Cyrus a run for her money in the racy department by performing her new track “Anaconda.” (No word on whether Drake will appear on stage with her as he did in the NSFW video.) She’ll also team up with Ariana Grande and Jessie J for a show-opening performance of their song “Bang Bang.”Additionally, she’s slated to perform with Usher on his track “She Came To Give It To You.” Will she even have time to throw shade at Iggy Azalea?

Fifth Harmony

Fans of The X Factor know this girl group, who are quickly on the rise with their latest single “Boss.” Given that it’s their most popular tune to date, expect the quintet to perform the female-empowerment anthem.

Iggy Azalea

Whether or not she ends up joining Ariana Grande for a rendition of “Problem,” Azalea is confirmed as a performer: she’ll be taking the stage with Rita Ora to perform their new single “Black Widow.”

MORE: 9 Under the Radar Artists You Should Be Listening to Right Now

MORE: Watch Taylor Swift Show Off Her Dance Moves in New ‘Shake It Off’ Video

TIME celebrities

George Takei: ‘Being Optimistic Is Ensuring Your Success’

The star is the subject of a new documentary

+ READ ARTICLE

There’s a Japanese word that shows up repeatedly in the new documentary, To Be Takei (Aug. 22) about the life of George Takei: “gaman.”

“Gaman translates into English as ‘to endure with dignity, or fortitude,’” the Star Trek actor tells TIME. Gaman was, he says, a source of strength for Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps during World War II — and he would know. Takei spent his childhood, up until almost his 9th birthday, in such a place. Even after the internment ended, the young Takei found himself in a hostile world, where housing and employment for Japanese-Americans were scarce, and his family, penniless after the war, lived on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

And gaman continued to prove necessary as Takei got older. When he became an actor, his first roles were ones he regretted even before filming them, stereotypical Asian caricatures he says his agent convinced him were worth it for the visibility. And, even after his acting career was established, he faced different struggles as a gay man — first with concealing his sexuality, later with getting the right to marry.

But he endured. As he tells TIME, he did so with a smile.

“I think being optimistic is ensuring your success. If you start out saying ‘I’ve got this problem or I’m angry at that,’ you will not succeed,” he says. “My father said, ‘Be confident of who you are, but also work hard to be the best that you can be.’”

It’s clear by now that his optimism is well-founded. The science-fiction devices he used on Star Trek have become reality (except, he notes, for the transporter), he’s married, he’s enjoying a major wave of popularity — and, of course, he’s the star of a movie about himself.

“The future,” he says, “is today.”

Read more about George Takei in this week’s TIME.

TIME celebrity

Chris Pratt Visits Children’s Hospital in Guardians of the Galaxy Costume

Confirms suspicions that he's perfect

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We already knew Chris Pratt could rap, French braid, be hot, be hilarious, and be adorable with pugs.

Oh, what’s that? That’s not enough for you to have a mega-huge crush on him? Well, here’s something he did that is even more amazing.

In a recent interview with Panzer TV, the actor explained that he took home the costume he wore to play Peter “Star-Lord” Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy so he could go visit children’s hospitals and attempt to brighten the patients’ days. This week, he made good on that promise by stopping by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Here he is, letting a patient try on his coat:

Pratt also spent some extra time with a patient named Dylan Prunty, who is a huge Lego fan and knew Pratt from his role in The Lego Movie, E! reports. They hung out and recited scenes from the film:

Chris Pratt visits the Lego Kid at LA Children's Hospital

Alright, Pratt. We can’t possibly imagine what perfect thing you’ll do next to top this, but we have faith that you’ll figure something out.

 

TIME Video Games

Star Wars: Commander Is Slow-Going Unless You Pay Up

All of the game's content is available for free--so long as you're willing to wait for it.

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Disney’s new freemium real-time strategy game Star Wars: Commander just arrived on Apple’s App Store in the U.S. as a time-limited exclusive for iOS devices (there’s an Android version coming shortly).

Don’t confuse it with Star Wars: Force Commander, another real-time strategy game released back in 2000 for Windows by now-Disney-owned studio LucasArts. It was a mess of a game–one of several failed attempts to give players a thoughtful, strategic window into the iconic Star Wars universe. To this day, no one’s succeeded.

So Commander is interesting because it’s the closest thing we’ve had to a thoughtful, strategy-minded Star Wars game–boardgames notwithstanding–in years. The only downer: it’s a free-to-play-slow, pay-to-play-faster game.

I’ve been noodling with it this morning, and it’s your garden variety real-time strategy game: kit out a base, build and upgrade structures, then deploy troops to slug it out in Star Wars-ian locales. After stepping through a few tutorial exercises that illustrate where to tap to buy things and how to tap to deploy units in combat, you’re allowed to throw in with either the Rebellion or the Empire, the difference between the two a matter of campaign storyline and playable unit types. Choose the Empire and you can trot out AT-ATs and Tie Fighters. Favor the Rebellion and you’ll have access to individuals like Han Solo, Chewbacca and Princess Leia.

Underlying the economy are crystals, credits and alloy. Refineries and credit markets produce alloy and credits respectively. You purchase structures and units with the latter two, though these accrue at ridiculously slow speeds (as in “go-do-something-else-for-several-hours” slow), and which you have to harvest manually by tapping on the producing structures. Automation is apparently beyond warring factions with ultra-high-tech weaponry, but then that’s how the developers get you to pay attention to just how little your factories are generating at a given interval.

If you want to speed things up, you can pay real money for greenish “crystals” at price intervals of $100, $50, $20, $10 or $5, which in turn let you buy oodles of credits or alloy, as well as pay for protection (presumably against hostile incursions by other players, since the game also supports PvP battles). Fairly warned: if you dislike freemium games that lock most of their gameplay behind punitively slow resource generation clocks, you’re not going to like Commander at all.

What makes it feel like a Star Wars game? The retro gliding yellow-letter intro, of course. The character likenesses, with voice work not by the original actors but plausible analogues. Mostly John William’s unforgettable musical motifs, with signature flourishes from flutes, french horns and trumpets ebbing or swelling in the background obligingly. If you want some insight into the nerd-lore propping up the game’s logistics, GamesBeat interviewed one of the game’s producers about that (preview: it sounds like the Rebels are scavenging Clone Wars tech).

But since Star Wars was never about the battlefield minutia or the specifics of this or that piece of Separatist technology, it does start to feel a little like a generic real-time strategy template overlaid with a Star Wars-ian one. On the other hand, that sums up most Star Wars games: vanilla ice cream with dollops of Star Wars sauce. It’s also clearly Disney spooling up its Star Wars turbolaser in advance of Star Wars: Rebels, its animated Clone Wars TV series followup set half a decade before the events of the original Star Wars movie.

I should caution that Commander has launch quirks, in particular one where I minimized the game, then reloaded it, only to have it claim I’d launched a second instance on a second device, thus squelching the first one (in general, the game seems to hate minimization). It’s also arguably a poor fit, visually speaking, for a 4-inch iPhone: while you can zoom on the maps, the interface panels and text are just too small to use comfortably (like 22Cans’ Godus, Commander probably should have been tablet-only). Assuming Apple’s next iPhone has a significantly bigger screen, I’d reconsider that position. Barring that, I wouldn’t bother unless you have at least an iPad Mini.

TIME Television

Watch Jimmy Fallon Give Jared Leto an Unexpected Trim

The Tonight Show transforms into a barber shop

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Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon happened to have an electric trimmer when actor Jared Leto stopped by on Wednesday. Leto, who left a bit less scruffy, said during the segment that Fallon was “pretty good” at trimming beards.

Leto, who is touring with his band 30 Seconds To Mars as it promotes a new single, admitted during the show that he had been growing his beard out since the Academy Awards in March, when he won an Oscar for his supporting role in Dallas Buyers Club.

TIME Pop Culture

See How ‘Oh My’ Became George Takei’s Catchphrase

Say it with us now...

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Take a quick peek at the Twitter feed from George Takei — the actor famous for his Star Trek and advocacy roles, and the star of the new documentary To Be Takei — and it’s immediately clear that he has a catchphrase.

He uses it in a sentence:

He uses it as a hashtag:

He even has his own link shortener, which churns out catchphrase-inspired short URLs for him to tweet:

But how did “Oh my!” come to be his catchphrase? Here, Takei tells TIME.

TIME Television

Watch The Teaser For American Horror Story: Freak Show

FX's anthology series is coming back for a fourth season in October

+ READ ARTICLE

Here’s your first glimpse of the upcoming season of American Horror Story.

FX’s horror anthology series is set to return with a fourth season, called Freak Show, on October 8. Set in Florida, in 1952, the season centers on a travelling carnival troupe which rolls into the town of Jupiter just before strange things begin to happen.

Returning cast members includes favorites such as Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Emma Roberts, Evan Peters and Gabourey Sidibe. Newcomers include Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, John Carroll Lynch and Patti LaBelle. Jyoti Amge, the world’s smallest woman (pictured below with Lange in a Tweet from showrunner Ryan Murphy) is also set to appear, which has already been the source of some controversy.

TIME Video Games

Swing Copters Is Live, Not to Be Confused with Tube Revenge

The creator of Flappy Bird's next game is here, along with the first batch of apparent knockoffs.

Swing Copters, the guy who made Flappy Bird‘s next mobile game, is live now as promised, though you’ll have to search to find it (it wasn’t charting as this post went up), and that means sorting through all the soundalike (and in some cases lookalike) copycat versions.

On the Google Play store, you’ll find a bunch, including one that looks visually and functionally identical to Swing Copters titled “Copters swing.”

At this point, there’s just one turning up in my App Store results, a little tapper called Tube Revenge – Swing Copters. It’s not a last minute clone, either: its version history dates back to March 2014. Weirder still, its designer describes it as inspired by Flappy Bird. For the record, Flappy Bird debuted in May 2013 and went viral in January 2014, Tube Revenge – Swing Copters cropped up in March, and then Dong Nguyen’s Flappy Bird followup is hitting now, August 21. I’m not sure how that works. The phrase “Swing Copters” is fairly nonrandom, after all.

In Nguyen’s Swing Copters, you play as a little creature sporting a propeller cap and tap the screen to fly–slewing somewhat drunkenly side to side–upward through girder-like platforms that jut from the screen’s edges. Nguyen threw in dangling hammers that sway like pendulums and threaten to whack you as you motor past, just to keep it interesting.

Tube Revenge, by contrast, has you tapping to keep a tiny green pipe flying left-to-right, Flappy Bird-style. knocking into orange-colored creatures to score points while avoiding black ones. Unfortunately the game hung half the time I brought it up, and kept trying to send me to something called Boom Beach, so I’d give it wide berth.

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