TIME Television

Lena Dunham Teases World With Shortest Girls Season 4 Clip Ever

Really, Lena, That’s it?

We guess we should be excited about the fact that Season Four of HBO hit series Girls is currently in production, but the clip the show’s star Lena Dunham posted on her Instagram account Friday wasn’t nearly enough to satiate our Girls needs.

Nevermind the terrible bike skills, why is Hannah even on a bike? Where is she going? Are those Timberland boots? We need more answers!

One thing is clear, though, Season Four production is underway, which hopefully means our favorite Girls are coming back soon.

MONEY

What The Simpsons Characters Taught Us About Money

Tune in to "The Simpsons" marathon for laughs—and also for lessons about careers, consumerism, college majors, and what should and shouldn't be used as toilet paper.

Thursday, August 21, marks the kickoff of an absolutely epic marathon of “The Simpsons” on the FXX channel. Starting at 10 a.m., the network will show every Simpsons episode ever (#everysimpsonsever in social media-speak) back-to-back in chronological order, with “The Simpsons Movie” thrown in as well. That’s a total of 552 episodes—25 seasons of the longest-running sitcom and longest-running animated show ever—running 24 hours per day for 12 straight days, ending on Labor Day, September 1.

In honor of the marathon, we thought it would be fun to reflect on what some of the most colorful and memorable characters on “The Simpsons” have taught us by their good (or, more likely, bad) examples. Here are 11 money lessons from “The Simpsons,” each with a memorable quote to bring the message home.

 

  • Homer Simpson

    Homer Simpson on THE SIMPSONS
    Fox

    Homer: “If you don’t like your job, you don’t strike, you just go in there every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.”

    Lesson: Job security can be wonderful thing. Homer said these words to his daughter Lisa during a teacher strike at her school, and they bring to mind how amazing it is that an inept, clueless worker like Homer can avoid being fired from his job at the nuclear power plant. By extension, the takeaway is that workers should not underestimate employment fields that come with decent job security. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer lines of work are immune to forces like the economic downturn and increased automation across all industries. So pretty much everyone should always have an updated resume at the ready, and be prepared to launch a second career at a moment’s notice. Oh, and do try to do your job well rather than “half-assed,” to limit the odds you’ll get fired in the first place.

  • Kent Brockman

    Kent Brockman on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Kent Brockman: “Things aren’t as happy as they used to be down here at the unemployment office. Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors—useful people are starting to feel the pinch.”

    Lesson: Choose a practical major and career. TV news anchor Brockman, the face of journalism in Springfield, is known for tone-deaf reports like this one, delivered during a season five episode when a casino was proposed to revitalize the local economy. (A concept that quite a few U.S. communities have glommed onto lately, by the way.) His offhand swipe at liberal arts majors obviously calls to mind how important it is for students to choose a college and college major wisely.

  • Marge Simpson

    Marge Simpson on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Marge: “We were using $50 bills as toilet paper and toilet paper as dog toilet paper.”

    Lesson: Don’t go overboard when success comes your way. Marge is usually the voice of reason on “The Simpsons,” but even she could go off the deep end—like in the casino episode mentioned above, when she became addicted to playing the slots. (Money-hungry Monty Burns, who of course owned the casino, explained that legalized gambling was “the perfect business: People swarm in, empty their pockets, and scuttle off.”) The quote above from Marge was related during a “Behind the Music”-type episode, when the gang reflected on how famous and rich they became at the height of “The Simpsons” craze. The simple moral is: Don’t let success or sudden wealth change who you are, nor what you consider appropriate material for wiping your butt. For that matter, the whole career of Springfield celebrity Krusty the Clown, who built and lost fortunes many times over—once betting everything he had that the Harlem Globetrotters would lose (“I thought the Generals were due!”)—is a cautionary tale about how not to handle success.

  • Waylon J. Smithers, Jr.

    Smithers on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Smithers: “Your new duties will include answering Mr. Burns’s phone, preparing his tax return, moistening his eyeballs, assisting with his chewing and swallowing, lying to Congress, and some light typing.”

    Lesson: Do what you need to do to impress the boss to get ahead. OK, so you might not want to mislead Congress or get quite as up close and personal with your boss as Smithers does with Mr. Burns. (Smithers’s quote is directed at Homer, who temporarily took over Smithers’s duties.) But less extreme ways of buddying up to the boss can yield serious benefits in your career.

  • Bart Simpson

    Bart Simpson on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Bart [speaking as Steve Mobs]: “You are all losers. You think you’re cool because you buy a $500 phone with a picture of a fruit on it? Well, guess what? They cost $8 to make, and I pee on every one! I have made a fortune on you chumps, and I’ve invested it all in Microsoft.”

    Lesson: Don’t be suckered into buying overpriced technology you don’t need. Bart skewers Apple—and trendy overpriced tech in general—by subbing in his voice for Steve Mobs, a turtleneck-wearing stand-in for Steve Jobs, speaking from a big screen to a crowd of over-the-top fanboys at a “Mapple” store. Guess who is also being mocked here? Early adopters who blindly buy whatever gadgets are hottest, most hyped, and splashed in front of them at the moment.

  • Millhouse

    Millhouse on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Millhouse: “I kind of traded your soul to the guy at the comic book store.”

    Lesson: Understand the true value of things. Bart sells his soul to Millhouse for a mere $5, and Bart thinks he took his pal for a sucker in the deal because there is no such thing as a soul. (“It’s just something parents made up to scare children, like the boogeyman or Michael Jackson,” Bart says.) After Bart realizes the error of his ways, it’s too late to get his soul back because Millhouse swapped it—for pogsfeaturing TV alien Alf, of all things. The “joke” here is that both the boys have dramatically and foolishly underestimated the value of the soul, which should not be sold at any price. If indeed the soul does exist, that is.

  • Mr. Burns

    Monty Burns on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Mr. Burns: “Eternal happiness for one dollar eh? Hmmm… I’d be happier with the dollar.”

    Lesson: Some things are more important than money. The richest man in Springfield is the ultimate miser, who loves money above all else and reluctant to part with a dollar even for a seemingly “eeeeexcellent” reason. Mr. Burns probably has more quoted lines about money than any other Simpsons character, including “What good is money if it can’t inspire terror in your fellow man?” and the one above, spoken in response to Homer’s telemarketing plea promising eternal happiness for just a buck. Occasionally, though, Mr. Burns gets his comeuppance for his stingy and crooked ways, most notably when he was shot by Maggie when trying to take her lollipop—yep, he was stealing candy from a baby.

  • Moe

    Moe on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Moe: “Sure, Homer, I can loan you all the money you need. However, since you have no collateral, I’m going to have to break your legs in advance.”

    Lesson: Borrow money responsibly, from a reputable source. After Homer loses all his money investing in pumpkin stocks when they tank after Halloween—another money lesson entirely—he goes in seek of a loan to keep up with his mortgage payments. He deems a loan from Moe, the local bar owner, as less than ideal, before turning to an arguably worse resource: his gruff, spinster sisters-in-law Patty and Selma. They give him the money, but turn him into their servant and make his life a living hell. All in all, if you need help with your mortgage or are dealing with debt collectors, try not to be like Homer, and steer clear of characters like Moe, Patty, and Selma.

  • Apu

    Apu from THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Apu: “Pardon me, but I would like to see this money spent on more police officers. I have been shot eight times this year, and as a result, I almost missed work.”

    Lesson: Have a strong work ethic. The Springfield Kwik-E-Mart seems to never close, and its proprietor, Apu, never takes a day off. Not even when he’s shot on the job. And sure, he’s overworked, but at least his dedication and hard work helps him run a successful business. In the quote above, Apu is weighing in on what Springfield should do with a $3 million fine paid by Mr. Burns for dumping nuclear waste illegally. The town doesn’t heed Apu’s suggestion, and instead falls for the pitch of a mysterious huckster named Lyle Lanely, who convinces Springfield to build a boondoggle of a monorail. There are some lessons to be learned in there too, of course.

  • Lisa Simpson

    Lisa Simpson on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Lisa: “My administration will focus on the three R’s. Reading, writing, and refilling the ocean.”

    Lesson: Your circumstances shouldn’t dictate your ambitions. In episodes that show the future, we find out that Lisa, the bright and plucky middle sibling stuck in the nutty, underachieving Simpson household, winds up being president of the United States. If she can make it given her surroundings, anyone can.

  • Comic Book Guy

    Comic Book Guy on THE SIMPSONS
    FOX

    Comic Book Guy: “I’ve spent my entire life doing nothing but collecting comic books… and now there’s only time to say… LIFE WELL SPENT!”

    Lesson: Follow your passion. While some say that “follow your passion” is horrible career advice, Comic Book Guy, quoted from “The Simpsons Movie,” seems to have no regrets doing what he loves most, even if others think it’s silly. Then again, awkward, friendless Comic Book Guy is basically a miserable character, and at times he admits as much. “Oohh, I’ve wasted my life,” he reflects on one Halloween episode. We still say follow your passion, so long as your passion isn’t a complete waste of time.

  • Making Homer and Marge Simpson Speak French

TIME robin williams

Hook is Hulu’s Top Film of the Week

Robin Williams in Hook in 1991
Robin Williams in Hook in 1991 Sony PIctures Entertainment

Fans turn to a family favorite in the wake of Robin Williams’ death

At least in Neverland, Robin Williams will always be with us as Peter Pan.

Fans of Robin Williams have turned to the beloved actor’s work in the days since his death of an apparent suicide, sending the movie Hook, in which Williams plays Peter Pan, rocketing to the top of Hulu’s most-watched list.

The streaming service confirmed to TIME that four clips including Robin Williams were among the top 25 most-watched clips of the week. With Hook the most popular film of the week, another Williams classic, Moscow on the Hudson, was the 9th most popular. The Best of Times was high on the list as well.

Even Williams performance in the television show Mork and Mindy, which broadcast in the 1970s and 1980s, rocketed into the top 80 most popular TV shows.

It’s no surprise that Hulu watchers are binging on some of their favorite Robin Williams flicks available on the site. For millienials, who are particularly likely to watch online streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, Robin Williams was the face and voice of some of the age group’s most cherished childhood characters.

Dante Basco, who played “Rufio,” the punk kid who takes over after Peter Pan leaves Never Never Land, said it well in a blog post after hearing of Williams passing.

“With Hook and so many other films, I, like millions of others became a fan and was always delightfully surprised by the performances he managed to produce. But with his passing, I can’t help to feel, along with my generation,” Basco said, “I can’t help feeling like it’s the death of my childhood. I guess we can’t stay in Neverland forever, we must all grow up.”

– with reporting by Ashley Ross

TIME Television

Watch Jennifer Lawrence and Alison Brie in a Ridiculous, Failed TV Pilot

They've both come a really long way

+ READ ARTICLE

Remember that time when Comedy Central made a TV version of Not Another Teen Movie? No? You don’t? That’s because it was a total flop — but they did manage to shoot a pilot.

It stars Alison Brie as a character called Muffy the Vampire Slayer (prepare for lots of vagina jokes) and Jennifer Lawrence as a generic hot teenager who a creepy janitor (who just got stabbed) refers to as “Sweet Tits.”

It’s genuinely shocking that this masterpiece — actually titled Not Another High School Show — was never picked up. Watch a few minutes up top.

[via Vulture]

TIME China

Want Some Entertainment in China? Don’t Turn On the TV

CHINA-ECONOMY
This photo taken on July 15, 2014 shows a couple watching TV in their apartment in Beijing. GREG BAKER—AFP/Getty Images

China’s TV and film watchdog has ordered a dull diet of nationalist fare ahead of the country's National Day in October

There’s nothing like coming home from work, plopping down in front of the TV and watching some relaxing antifascist and patriotic fare. That’s exactly the kind of prime-time programming China’s TV and film watchdog is ordering up for September and October, according to state media. One reason for this propaganda blitz? National Day falls on Oct. 1 and a line-up of TV shows glorifying, say, the Communist Party’s fight against the Japanese during World War II, will hopefully usher in a wave of jingoistic pride among citizens.

Earlier this year, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (commonly known by its previous acronym SARFT) also urged TV stations to present entertainment that propagated President Xi Jinping’s ideological catchphrase, the “Chinese Dream.” Applicable programming, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, includes such delights as a program on the navy’s activities in the Gulf of Aden and a 48-episode series on the life and times of Deng Xiaoping, the late leader who spearheaded the nation’s economic reforms. (Deng would have celebrated his 110th birthday on Aug. 22.)

What exactly constitutes patriotic programming? The China Daily, the government’s English-language mouthpiece and no stranger itself to jingoistic content, reported that “patriotic TV shows should promote the protection of the home country, as well as entrepreneurship and innovation.” As for antifascist TV material, anything to do with World War II, or what China calls the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, should do nicely.

Smaller TV stations will have more latitude than major networks in controlling their schedules. They can, for instance, reserve patriotic programming for prime time and relegate anti-fascist material to less coveted time slots, according to the China Daily. On Aug. 13, the China Youth Network also assured viewers that the premieres of a couple highly anticipated TV dramas shouldn’t be affected. Nevertheless, one user of Weibo, China’s microblogging platform, quipped “The authorities force the masses to watch such rubbish. Who is the fascist here but SARFT?”

Chinese viewers have been clamoring for TV programming with modern entertainment value in recent years — just as censors have begun clamping down. In 2011, as China celebrated the 90th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party, SARFT railed against films and shows that depicted time travel because they were “treating serious history in a frivolous way.”

Then, in April of this year, authorities began restricting foreign material that could be watched through streaming websites. A particular favorite was the geeky U.S. sit-com The Big Bang Theory, which racked up 1.3 billion views in China before it was banned. (The Good Wife, NCIS and The Practice were also targeted.)

Other areas of online space have been encroached on. Weibo has lost some of its edge because of industrious censorship and a crackdown on its more high-profile users. This month, the crackdown was extended to mobile instant messaging services, like the hugely popular WeChat.

As for the upcoming two months of antifascist and patriotic TV, even the Global Times, a Beijing-based daily that often takes a nationalist line, grumbled in an Aug. 15 article. “It is also an administrative order,” the story reported, “that many TV shows producers often see as ‘annoying.’”

Imagine how the people who are expected to tune in to such partisan programming feel.

with reporting by Gu Yongqiang/Beijing

TIME Television

Watch Jimmy Fallon’s Hilarious House of Cards Parody

A dead-on spoof with a shocking twist ending

+ READ ARTICLE

Jimmy Fallon has already parodied popular TV shows like Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey, so it’s about time he crafted a spoof of House of Cards too. He channels Frank Underwood by busting out his best southern accent, donning a pretty terrible wig and speaking slyly into the camera. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your new favorite show: House of Cue Cards.

The spoof features Ellen Barkin as a spot-on Claire Underwood, and also includes an extended reference to Freddy’s Barbecue. Be sure to watch the second installment below, which, in true House of Cards fashion, features a crazy twist ending:

 

MONEY Leisure

Shark Week Turns into a Feeding Frenzy for Consumer Eyeballs—and Cash

140801_EM_SharkWeek_Cupcakes
No "Shark Week" party is complete without a dozen of these cupcakes ($34.95 via Discover Channel store). courtesy of Georgetown Cupcakes

When there are shark-themed donuts and cupcakes for sale, it becomes clear that the marketing of "Shark Week" and sharks in general has, well, jumped the shark.

The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” kicks off on Sunday, August 10, bringing the frenzy of interest in the fascinating creatures of the deep to all new heights. The annual event is a ratings bonanza, and a hot topic on social media, complete with its own prerequisite hashtag #sharkweek.

While there’s nothing stopping “Shark Week” from being fun, entertaining, and informative all at once, some experts in the field—of scientific research, not entertainment or marketing—feel like the circus surrounding sharks is overkill, perhaps even exploitive. “I’m kind of disappointed, and I think most researchers are, too,” George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, told USA Today. “It obviously is a big draw, but I’m afraid that the programs have gone more to entertainment and less to documentary over the years. It’s kind of a shame, because they have the opportunity to teach good stuff in what’s going on with science.”

The Discovery Channel is hardly the only party that’s guilty of playing to the lowest common denominator by focusing on “blood and gore or animals performing tricks,” as Burgess put it. And it’s hardly the only player out there trying to hook consumers’ attention (and dollars) by way of the shark.

Sharks—or more precisely, the fear of sharks—have a long history of helping to sell stuff. Movie tickets, for instance. Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” not only kicked off the summer blockbuster as a phenomenon, but is also widely considered the biggest and best summer blockbuster film of all time. A series of sequels and other shark movies followed, as did the ever-expanding, factually questionable “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. In the so-called “Summer of the Shark,” in 2001 (mere weeks before 9/11, it’s often noted, when very different fears took over the American consciousness), unwarranted hype over shark attacks was used to sell magazines and keep viewers glued to 24/7 news channels, awaiting word of the next deadly aquatic encounter.

We’re still fascinated by sharks, and sharks are still being used to lure us into shops and TV shows and movies that we should probably know better than to watch. Lately, in an age dominated by memes and ironic-air-quotes “entertainment,” the cold-blooded mankiller of the deep has been replaced by an equally fictitious creature—the shark as adorable mascot.

This summer, “Shark Week” has been joined by the straight-to-cable arrival of the gag “movie” “Sharknado 2.” But given how much over-the-top goofball hype goes into “Shark Week” itself—Rob Lowe waterskiing atop two great whites anyone?—the Discovery Channel event seems to be its own best parody.

The merchandising of sharks and “Shark Week” has been, in a word, shark-tastic (the title of a book sold on the Discovery Channel, naturally). Among the roughly 150 items listed on the site as appropriate purchases for “Shark Week” celebration are shark kites, a Shark Week smartphone case, Shark Week bottle openers and coozies, “clever” shark T-shirts that say “Bite Me” and “I’m Hammered,” and Shark Week cupcakes that show Rob Lowe atop his pal sharks again.

Elsewhere in the ocean of summertime shark products, Dunkin’ Donuts is selling a Shark Bite Donut (the frosting resembles a life preserver), and Cold Stone Creamery has shark-themed cupcakes and ice cream sundaes, complete with colorful gummy sharks. Limited-edition “Shark Week”-inspired soap is available at one New York City boutique, while a “Shark Week” search at etsy turns up more than 1,300 hand puppets, pencil holders, custom-designed panties, pieces of jewelry, and other crafts. A whole other list of goods has been devoted to the frenzy around “Sharknado,” including a new perfume called “Shark by Tara,” created by one of the movie’s stars, Tara Reid.

The normally sober tacticians at Consumer Reports even got in on the action, using the Sharknado sequel as an excuse to run a review of chainsaws—the perfect weapon in the battle against sharks falling out of the sky.

Then there’s shark tourism. It might seem odd that any beach community would actively want to associate itself with sharks. Yet the effort to brand Chatham, Mass., the town on the elbow of Cape Cod—near plenty of seals and therefore sharks too—as something along the lines of the Shark Capital of America has been several years in the making. Starting in 2009, news spread that biologists were tagging great white sharks off the coast. Sure, it freaked some swimmers and boaters out, but it also drew the masses to the coast, bearing binoculars with the hope of spotting one of the beasts.

“The great white shark is sexy,” Lisa Franz, Chatham’s chamber of commerce chief, explained to the Boston Globe last summer. “Chatham as a town, I think, has embraced the whole shark concept,” she said. “As long as nobody gets hurt.”

Fast-forward a year, and the shark schlock business is booming. “Truthfully, we’ve probably grown about 500 percent in terms of the sale of our shark apparel,’’ one Chatham tourist shop owner offering “T-shirts, hoodies, hats, belts, dog collars and other accessories” featuring great whites for $10 to $45 told the Associated Press in June.

People seem to love the shark meme so much that local restaurants and shopkeepers understandably have a new fear: They’re scared about what would happen to business if the sharks suddenly went away.

TIME Television

Cast of The Big Bang Theory Now Earns Friends-Level Wages

Three of the leads will each make $1 million per episode

+ READ ARTICLE

The hit show The Big Bang Theory is officially set for three more seasons after three of the sitcom’s leads secured seven-figure paychecks.
 
Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco will each bank $1 million per episode, Deadline Hollywood reports, marking the first time since Friends that three actors in one program will each make that much per episode.
 
CBS has good reason to be dishing out the cash. Since the show’s premiere in 2007, Big Bang Theory has become television’s highest-rated comedy with more than 20 million viewers per week. It’s rated No. 1 among the 12-to-17 age group, as well as 18-to-49 and 25-to-54. That kind of audience diversity has allowed the network to charge upwards of $320,000 for a 30-second advertisement.  
 
The 8th season premiere is scheduled to air in an hour-long special on Sept. 22.

TIME

Beyoncé Will Perform at the MTV VMAs

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

BeyHive, rejoice!

Just in case Beyoncé’s schedule was looking a little thin between touring and dropping new remixes, MTV announced Thursday that Queen Bey will be performing at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards.

The VMAs will be a big night for Beyoncé: Not only does the artist have the most nominations, but she will also receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which has gone to Madonna and Justin Timberlake in the past.

The show will air Sunday, August 24 at 9 p.m. EST on MTV.

[MTV]

TIME Television

School of Rock Is Coming to TV

school_of_rock
Paramount

New cast, same plot

School of Rock fans rejoice: The film about a substitute teacher who turns his class into a rock band will soon be a TV show on Nickelodeon, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, which starred Jack Black, will take the form of a 13-episode series with the same plot. Production for the series is reported to start in the fall, and the show will launch in the spring of 2015. The cast will be announced shortly. The original School of Rock director Richard Linklater and original producer Scott Rudin will produce the show. Jim and Steve Armogida will write and also produce the series.

School of Rock grossed over $131 million during its October 2003 release, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

[THR]

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