TIME Television

Amy Schumer Shows Why Girls Should Stop Aspiring to Become Princesses

Incest, beheadings, misogyny...

On the latest episode of Inside Amy Schumer, we were treated to this fake trailer for a movie called Princess Amy, which stars Schumer as a “rancid peasant girl” who learns that she’s actually royalty.

Princess Amy thinks her life is going to become totally perfect and wonderful, but she soon learns that being a Disney-style princess isn’t as great as so many young girls think it is. For example: she is forced to marry her weird, creepy cousin. She’s only 14. Her one job is to produce male heirs. When that doesn’t happen, well, there are extreme consequences.

Maybe it’s finally time for girls to grow up dreaming about becoming lawyers or PR professionals instead.

Read next: Why It Matters That Inside Out’s Protagonist Is a Girl — Not a Princess

TIME Television

Emilia Clarke: I Think There’s a ’50/50 Chance’ Jon Snow Will Return to Game of Thrones

"There’s some very helpful people there who could bring him on back to life."

Spoilers for the season five finale of Game of Thrones ahead

Emilia Clarke says she, like Jon Snow, knows nothing. But the actress who plays Daenerys Targaryen believes there’s a chance Kit Harington’s character will return to Game of Thrones.

“Seriously, I can with all honesty say that I have no idea what’s happening,” Clarke told MTV, explaining that she is a terrible liar and could never be trusted with such a big secret. She says she was just as surprised as fans were when Jon Snow was killed in the final minutes of season five. She even cried when she read the script.

Pushed to name the odds of Jon Snow returning, she said, “If I had to bet, I’d say there’s like a 50/50 chance. There’s some very helpful people there who could bring him on back to life.”

Fans share Clarke’s skepticism and posited a number of theories about how the commander of the Night’s Watch could return.

Harington has insisted in interviews that he is done with the show, and the showrunners have said “dead is dead.” But George R.R. Martin, who wrote the A Song of Ice and Fire series upon which the HBO drama is based, was more coy about a potential Jon Snow return. (The character was also killed in the books.) “If there’s one thing we know in A Song of Ice and Fire, it’s that death is not necessarily permanent,” he said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

[MTV]

Read Next: Here Are All the Jon Snow Conspiracy Theories

 

TIME Television

Review: Humans is a Robot Chiller for the Smartphone Era

Humans
Des Willie/Kudos Gemma Chan as Anita in Humans

AMC's sci-fi drama leaves us wondering whether to be more scared of the androids or their masters.

Pop-culture robots come in a couple different models. There’s the Helper–the Wall*Es and R2-D2s who exist to serve. And there’s the Enemy–the malevolent, sentient killing machines like the Cylons and the Terminator. What distinguishes AMC’s Humans (premieres June 28) is that we don’t quite know whether its robots are the first kind or the second.

In the alternative present-day of Britain of Humans (a co-production with the UK’s Channel 4 and Kudos), the latest must-have gadgets are “synths,” synthetic humans exactly like us except they have metallic irises and are far hotter. We first encounter a group of them warehoused in a storage room, standing, inert and naked except for briefs (a concession more to the universe of basic cable than their own, it seems). There’s not an Apple logo to be seen on their flawless, multiethnic forms, but like the iPhone, synths have become ubiquitous in a few short years after their invention, in the workplace, medicine, and the home.

Home is where Anita (Gemma Chan) is headed, when harried family man Joe Hawkins (Tom Goodman-Hill) picks her up, in a transaction more reminiscent of buying an upscale used car than Uncle Owen haggling with the Jawas–she’s a bargain, slightly used, with a 30-day return policy. (“What if she’s not pretty?” asks his youngest daughter Sophie [Pixie Davies]. “Can we change her if she’s not pretty?”) A tap under the chin, and she comes to life with a sound not unlike a Macbook booting up.

Anita’s meant to be a surprise–Joe and his wife Laura (Katherine Parkinson) work and have three kids to manage–but in the manner of these stories, not an entirely pleasant one. Laura, returning from a business trip, is upset that Joe went behind her back and feels the purchase implicates her as a “shit mother.” (As in our universe, labor-saving tech comes with implicit judgment of working women pre-installed.) Teen daughter Mattie (Lucy Carless) is tech-savvy but sees synths as stealing her future; why train to be a doctor, or anything else, when a few OS upgrades from now machines will do the work far better? Sophie loves Anita too well–she’s protective, friendly, always available to read a story–but doesn’t understand the distinction between synth and human. And teen son Toby (Theo Stevenson) becomes attached to her–well, precisely the way you’d expect a teen boy would.

The Hawkinses, like everyone else in this fictional world, have been handed life-changing technology with a few simple setup instructions, but no emotional or social manual. How much is appropriate to ask of a machine that is, from all outward appearances, essentially a human slave? What are your obligations to it? (Is it an it, or a she, or a he?) Do you treat a synth more like a member of the family or a Roomba? Chan’s performance–composed, warm-ish, but just mechanical enough to be uncanny–goes a long way toward heightening the conflict. (The creepiest scene in the pilot comes when the family explains a joke to Anita and she laughs–and laughs, and laughs, until she’s commanded to stop.)

Like the dystopian British anthology Black Mirror, Humans is a sci-fi premise smartly reimagined for our own age of tech outsourcing. The synths combine our reliance on devices with the app-enabled cheapening of service labor: they are Amazon drones and Über (yes, they can drive) cheerfully embodied.

It’s not entirely a reimagining, though; the themes of hubris, morality and human obsolescence are cobbled together from the Asimovian stock parts of robot stories past. Humans struggles with a problem of much dystopian sci-fi: it asks the audience to accept that the fictional world has embraced this technology as a panacea, even as nearly every character has a foreboding sense that it’s a terrible mistake.

And indeed, there is synth-trouble big and small outside the Hawkins house. A melancholy subplot follows Dr. George Millican (William Hurt), a scientist from the original synth project who’s in the early stages of dementia, desperately trying to keep his ancient outmoded home-health-aide synth running because it retains memories of his late wife. The larger arc, meanwhile, concerns a small band of synths–to whom Anita is apparently connected–who have become sentient, and a network of humans hunting them, in fear that this will lead to the Singularity: self-aware machines begin replicating and perfecting themselves, and it’s goodbye Rosie the Robot, hello Skynet.

Intriguingly, though, Humans is not clear whether these smart robots are a threat at all, at least in the two episodes screened for critics. For the series’ real concerns, read the title: it’s us, the end users, and how access to artificial, programmable humanity, stripped of even the nominal obligations society shows to minimum-wage workers, can enable our worst tendencies. The synths are characterized less in terms of what they might do than how they reflect problems we already have, be it loneliness, sexual predation (of course there are synth whorehouses), anxieties about gender and spousal roles. They’re problematic in the way that the technology we already have is; they’re just more efficient at it.

Humans’ programming runs toward melodrama at times, especially in Hurt’s subplot, but it’s mostly restrained and chilling. It doesn’t threaten and scare but hums enigmatically in power-saving mode. The human characters too are effectively grounded. Laura’s worry about being replaced is more immediately sympathetic. (When she insists on reading Sophie a story instead of Anita, her daughter protests, “But she doesn’t rush!” Ouch.) But Joe isn’t cast as a Stepford husband so much as a bit naive and at the end of his rope. The Hawkinses have entirely human problems that predate Anita–Laura has been increasingly, mysteriously absent–and he bought the machine, he says, “To give us time.”

And isn’t that, in the end, what any technology promises to give us–the watch meant to liberate you from the smartphone meant to liberate you from your desktop? The real potential of Humans is in examining the stressors that our inventions are meant to relieve, the ones they create and the ones they pass along down the social scale.

In a way, after all, the most far-fetched aspect of Humans’ premise is not so much that people would invent robo-humans but that consumers would pay so much money for their labor, aid and companionship when we already have Taskrabbit, Grubhub and Tinder a finger-swipe away. (A scene of synths picking fruit in a greenhouse raises the cynical but inevitable question of whether they’re more cost-effective than exploited farm workers.) This sci-fi tale for the modern service economy purports to ask how dangerous it would be if apps took human form. But just as much, it’s asking us to reflect on a world in which we’ve made humans into apps.

TIME Television

Did a Briefly Leaked Tape Feature Juicy Dialogue From Season 6 of Game of Thrones?

HBO

Because if so, there are spoilers ahead

Game of Thrones fans are abuzz with tantalizing speculation that a video, which allegedly appeared on Vimeo before being quickly taken down, was a leaked audition tape.

According to the Watchers on the Wall, an online community for Game of Thrones fans, the tape reportedly showed English actress Tehmina Sunny trying out for the part of a red priestess, apparently named Kinvara. Both Tyrion and Varys feature in the script, which, the site says, was transcribed by a reader who saw the audition footage before it was taken down.

Caution. Spoilers ahead.

This is how part of the dialog appears on the site:

Kinvara: “You don’t have to persuade me of anything. I came to help. Daenerys Stormborn is the One Who Was Promised. From the fire, she was reborn … to remake the world.”

Tyrion: “Yes.”

Kinvara: “She freed the slaves from their chains and crucified the Masters for their sins.”

Tyrion/Varys: “She did indeed.”

Kinvara: “Her dragons are fire made flesh. A gift from the Lord of Light. But you’ve heard all of this before, haven’t you? On the Long Bridge of Volantis? The dragons purify nonbelievers by the thousands, burning their sins and flesh away.”

Tyrion/Varys: “Ideally, we’d avoid purifying many non-believers. The Mother of the Dragon has followers from many different faiths.”

Kinvara: “You want your queen to be worshiped and obeyed. And while she’s gone, you want her advisors to be worshiped and obeyed.”

Tyrion: “I’d settle for obeyed.”

Kinvara: “I will summon mummers and appoint priests. They will spread the word. Daenerys has been sent to lead the people against the darkness … for this war, and the Great War yet to come.”

Varys: “That sounds excellent. A man named Stannis Baratheon was appointed as the Chosen One by one of your priestesses. He too had a glorious destiny. He attacked King’s Landing, and was soundly defeated by the man standing beside me. Last I heard, he’d been defeated again. This time at Winterfell … and this time for good.”

Authentic or not, we can’t say. But we do know this about season six. Filming will resume in Spain, and George R.R. Martin won’t be writing for it.

Read what Watchers on the Wall says is the full transcript of the leaked video here.

TIME Television

PBS Puts Finding Your Roots on Hold Amid Ben Affleck Controversy

The show complied with Affleck's request to not reveal his ancestor's slave-holding history in the 2014 episode

(LOS ANGELES) — PBS put its “Finding Your Roots” series on hold Wednesday after determining an episode that omitted references to Ben Affleck’s ancestor as a slave owner violated its standards.

The public television service said it is postponing the show’s third season and delaying a commitment to a fourth year until it is satisfied with improvement in the show’s editorial standards.

PBS launched its investigation after it was reported that Affleck requested the program not reveal his ancestor’s slave-holding history in the 2014 episode. The Associated Press examined historical documents and found that Affleck’s great-great-great-grandfather owned 24 slaves.

The review found that co-producers violated PBS standards by allowing improper influence on the show’s editorial process and failed to inform PBS or producing station WNET of Affleck’s efforts to affect the program’s content.

In a statement, series host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates Jr. apologized for forcing PBS to defend the integrity of its programming. He said he’s working with public TV on new guidelines to ensure increased transparency.

Affleck’s request came to light last spring in hacked Sony emails published online by whistleblower site WikiLeaks.

“These reports marked the first time that either PBS or WNET learned of this request,” PBS said Wednesday.

PBS said it will withdraw the episode from all forms of distribution including on-air, digital platforms and home video. The show was also ordered to hire an additional researcher and an independent genealogist to review programs for factual accuracy.

Gates and PBS said in April they didn’t censor the slave-owner details. Instead, more interesting ancestors of the “Argo” and “The Town” actor emerged and Gates chose to highlight them instead.

But in an email exchange between Gates and Sony Pictures chief executive Michael Lynton, Gates asks Lynton for advice on how to handle Affleck’s request.

“Here’s my dilemma,” says Gates in one email, dated July 22, 2014, “confidentially, for the first time, one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors — the fact that he owned slaves. Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners, including (prolific documentary filmmaker) Ken Burns. We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?”

Lynton replied that it all depends on who knows that the information was in the documentary already.

Last January, PBS station WETA in Washington, D.C., succeeded WNET as the show’s producing station.

___

AP Television Writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

TIME Television

Watch Key & Peele Take a Pre-Game Football Ritual Way Too Far

They throw punches and pull swords out of nowhere

Comedy Central’s hit series Key & Peele released a new sketch online Wednesday called “Pre-Game Pump-Up” in which stars Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key are football players who lead their team in a rousing pre-game motivational exercise to get them energized for the game. It makes fun of the rough-housing among players, as the two throw punches until Key suddenly pulls a sword out of nowhere.

Just think of the sketch as a “pre-game pump-up” for the show’s season premiere July 8.

TIME Television

Read TIME’s Original Review of Seinfeld

Seinfeld
Andrew Eccles—NBC/Getty Images Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld

As the show begins streaming on Hulu, revisit our first take on the show about nothing

Wednesday is a big day for Seinfeld fans: rather than rely on late-night reruns to get their fix of the beloved sitcom, they can now binge watch the whole thing on Hulu.

It’s been more than 25 years since the show premiered in 1989, but interest in Jerry & co. shows no sign of flagging—something that TIME’s critic Richard Zoglin might not have predicted when he reviewed the show back in 1992. (Yes, it took more than a year for TIME to give Seinfeld more than a blurb review, but in fairness it took a while for the show to find its footing, too.) The characters’ tendency not to talk about their deeper feelings or concerns—one of the show’s signatures—meant, Zoglin guessed, that even viewers who loved to tune in for a half-hour a week wouldn’t really get attached.

Still, even when it wasn’t clear that Seinfeld would become a classic, it was obvious that something was working:

Stand-up comics can get chewed up fast in TV. First they are squeezed dry of material by Letterman, Leno and the other talk-show bloodsuckers. Then, if they grow popular enough, they are plucked from their solo job and awarded a sitcom. There, major pitfalls await them. Some are exposed as Johnny-one-notes (Kevin Meaney in Uncle Buck); others are simply unable to make the transition from joke telling to character building (Richard Lewis in Anything but Love). Only a few — Roseanne Arnold, Tim Allen — succeed without selling out. One of the brightest members of that small club is Jerry Seinfeld. The Long Island native was perhaps the quintessential yuppie comic of the ’80s: his larky, laid-back observations about the trivial pursuits of modern life — buying candy at a movie theater, riding with your dog in the front seat of the car — were funny, recognizable, nonthreatening. Now he is the centerpiece of NBC’s hottest sitcom.

Read the full review, here in the TIME Vault: Comedian on the Make

TIME Television

Amanda Peet Defends Treatment of Women on Game of Thrones

The actress says her husband David Benioff's show has "some of the greatest female characters that are on television"

Many fans (including this one) turned on Game of Thrones this season, complaining that the show had gone too far in its misogyny. The rape and abuse of women (not to mention the unnecessary nudity) had some high profile watchers like Sen. Claire McCaskill tuning out after five seasons.

But actress Amanda Peet, who is married to Game of Thrones co-creator and showrunner David Benioff, is defending the drama. She says critics of the series, which is based on George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, should instead focus on the strength of the characters.

“I think it’s really misplaced. They write some of the greatest female characters that are on television,” Peet told the Wrap. “It’s a misogynist world, this world that George R. R. Martin created, but we have to experience it without thinking that people are condoning this.”

MORE: Game of Thrones’ Woman Problem Is About More Than Sexual Assault

She went on to say that the powerful women on Game of Thrones actually have an impact on the plot—which Peet argues can’t be said of many of other shows.

“It’s much more insidious to have middling, ancillary female roles where the women are not part of the plot — where they don’t advance anything,” she said. “Wife roles, girlfriend roles, there are very few of those in Game of Thrones. If someone takes their clothes off and it’s a massive part of the plot? So be it.”

Peet currently stars in another HBO show called Togetherness, which is trying to combat the sexualization of women in media in its own way. The show’s creators, brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, deploy a rule they call “balls equality“: “For every boob that shows up, there should be a testicle to go with it.”

Read more: How TV Sex Got Real

[The Wrap]

TIME Netflix

Why Activist Investor Carl Icahn Dumped His Last Netflix Shares

Key Speakers At The Robin Hood Investors Summit
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Robin Hood Investors Conference in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.

Carl Icahn announced on his Twitter Wednesday that he’s sold his last Netflix shares.

Icahn Enterprises, which owned about 1.4 million Netflix shares at the end of 2015’s first quarter, made the move after Netflix announced approval of a 7-for-1 stock split, according to CNBC.

Per the publication:

The split will come in the form of a dividend of six additional shares for each outstanding share, Netflix said. It is payable on July 14 to stock owners of record at the July 2 close. Trading at the post-split price will start July 15.

CNBC reported, too, that Netflix stocks dipped slightly after Icahn’s message on the social media service.

Here’s Icahn’s Twitter message announcing the decision:

Netflix has expanded in recent years becoming not only a streaming service for television and film, but also a developer of new movies and TV shows.

TIME Television

Former Dukes of Hazzard Actor Defends Confederate Flag

Ben "Cooter" Jones
Bill Clark—Getty Images Former Rep. Ben "Cooter" Jones, D-Ga., speaks with reporters outside of the U.S. Supreme Court following arguments in the Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans case in Washington on March 23, 2015.

Ben Jones, now a store owner, says Confederate flag items will stay in his stores

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — The actor who played Cooter on the TV series “Dukes of Hazard” is defending the Confederate flag as a symbol of the spirit of independence.

Ben Jones posted on Facebook that fans of the show know that the flag represents values of the rural South including courage, family and good times.

Jones and his wife own two stores in Tennessee and one in Virginia that celebrate the show and its fictional Hazzard County. Jones also is a former U.S. congressman who represented Georgia. He served as a Democrat.

He says the flag is being attacked in a “wave of political correctness” that is vilifying Southern culture.

Confederate merchandise is being dropped by Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and other businesses after the shooting deaths of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston.

Jones said Confederate items will never be removed from the Cooter’s Place stores.

 

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