TIME Television

Fall’s Best New TV Show Is Not on a TV Network

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Amy Landecker and Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent. Beth Dubber

Amazon's Transparent is a gorgeous, nuanced story of a person undergoing change--and a sign of a TV business in transformation.

It’s been a momentous end-of-the-TV-summer while I’ve been on vacation–the Emmys spun Sofia Vergara like a car-show model, Tony Soprano lived (or maybe didn’t), Full House might be coming back. But Labor Day’s over, which means it’s time to put away the white shoes (unless you’re Dr. John Thackery) and start thinking about fall.

While I was away, Time published its fall preview, including my feature on my top pick among the season’s new series, Transparent, which premieres all 10 episodes Sept. 26 on Amazon Prime Video. I know we’re already well into the Netflix age, but there still seems something significant about the most promising pilot of the fall being produced on the e-commerce site of a massively embiggened bookstore.

But Transparent would be worth seeking out no matter who made it. Created by Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, Afternoon Delight), it stars Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman, née Mort Pfefferman, who is preparing to come out as transgender to the three adult children who have known her as a father their entire lives:

“I had everything to learn,” Tambor says of his preparation. “I remember my first costume fitting. They asked, ‘What do you like?’ I thought, I have no idea what I like.” But he found that the process of becoming Maura was, after all, what the character goes through. Though in her 70s, “Maura is new,” he says. “All the mistakes Jeffrey was making, Maura had to make too.” Mistakes or no, Tambor is marvelous, capturing Maura’s warmth and grace, her anxiousness to be accepted by her children and see them thrive–an experience of parenting that goes beyond any gender identity.

As for Maura’s own identity, Soloway says, Transparent’s first season will explore–in the present and through flashbacks–exactly how far along Maura is in her process. “We’re asking that to ourselves,” Soloway says. “When does Mort become Maura? Is Mort changing into Maura? Is Maura allowing herself to be seen and pushing aside the character or costume of Mort?”

The full article requires a TIME subscription (only $30 a year!) but I’ll have more to say about the show when Amazon makes more episodes available for review before its premiere. In the meantime, I also recommend Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s profile of Soloway for the New York Times magazine, in which Soloway (whose own father came out to her as transgender three years ago) talks about making a show that questions traditional gender pigeonholing–not just in the story but in the way that it’s made. (Which, she says, involves a “more feminine” approach to direction as well as hiring transgender cast, crew and consultants.)

But above all, watch Transparent, whose pilot is screening now on Amazon Prime. It’s a nuanced, gorgeous first half-hour, brilliantly performed and laced with melancholy and humor; you could confidently put it up against the best HBO or Showtime half-hour pilots of recent years. And the fact that platforms like Amazon now exist to give shows like this a chance says that not only Maura Pfefferman, but the TV business itself, is going through an exciting transformation.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

A Study Shows That You Eat Way More When Watching Action Movies

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, from left: Dave Bautista, Chris Pratt, 2014.
Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Disney

Almost twice as much as when you're watching a talk show, in fact

It’s not watching what you eat, it’s what you watch when you eat if a study released Monday is to be believed.

CBS News reports that the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine, found that the amount of food people consumed while viewing television was determined by the type of content they were exposed to — people watching an action flick ate almost twice as much as people watching a talk show.

The researchers randomly divided 94 undergraduate students into three groups, each of which was put in front of a TV for 20 minutes. One group was made to watch a part of the Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson thriller The Island, while the second watched the same portion of the same film on mute. The final group watched a 20-minute clip of the interview program Charlie Rose.

All three sets of participants were given M&Ms and cookies, as well as healthier snacks like carrots and grapes, to enjoy while watching TV. Researchers weighed the snacks before viewing, and how much was left afterward.

While the people watching the interview show ate 104.3 g of food, CBS says, those who watched the clip of The Island consumed a total of 206.5 g — nearly twice the amount. Watching The Island on mute did diminish appetites, but at 142.1 g the amount consumed was still 36% more than that of the Charlie Rose group. The total calorie intake of both groups watching the action clip was also higher, at 354 calories with sound and 314 without, compared with just 215 calories for the third group.

Study author Aner Tal, a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, said that stimulating, fast-paced programs with a lot of camera cuts drew viewers in and distracted them from what they were eating. “They can make you eat more because you’re paying less attention to how much you are putting in your mouth,” Tal said.

The researchers suggested measures like bringing predetermined, finite quantities of food to the TV to avoid overeating, while the study’s co-author Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, offered a silver lining.

“Action-movie watchers also eat more healthy foods, if that’s what’s in front of them,” he said, suggesting that this could be turned to a viewer’s advantage.

[CBS News]

TIME Television

The Liberation of Lizzy Caplan

Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Masters of Sex
Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Masters of Sex Frank W Ockenfels—Showtime

How after dozens of false starts, the star of Masters of Sex finally got on top

A bone scraper and a sausage piper surround Lizzy Caplan, and yet she is nowhere near the set of her show, Masters of Sex. She is wearing jeans and open-toe sandals. This may have been a mistake, since she is walking into a refrigerator filled with dead pigs on hooks. It’s a tight fit into the meat locker of Lindy & Grundys, a posh Los Angeles butcher shop, and one of her human shoulders brushes against a pork shoulder. Caplan lets out a small yelp.

“This is horrifying,” she says with a grin. “I don’t eat a lot of pig because the outside is the same color as the meat. You need that disconnect you get with beef.”

Caplan is here for a sausage-making class, and, a little later, she is introduced to the Dickeron, a swordlike knife-sharpening contraption. Her hair, in a Fifties bob for her Emmy-nominated role of sexologist Virginia Johnson, starts, well, bobbing up and down.

“Pretty soon, I’m going to be making my own sausage,” says Caplan. She pauses, popping the giant greenish-gray eyes that have dominated multiple TV shows and movies that no one watched. “Once I get my own dick machine.”

Caplan picked the sausage-making class for our meeting, and I joke that I felt a tad uncomfortable writing about a female kneading pork. “I’m making it difficult for you because you’re going to have to figure out clever ways not to make innuendos about sausages,” says Caplan. But wouldn’t jokes be OK because she chose the place? Caplan gives me a withering stare. “I guess you could, but I’m expecting more from you.”

It was hard to tell if she was kidding or not. This is a vibe Caplan gives off to the uninitiated. “Part of her shtick is to come across as cold and standoffish at first, but it’s not at all what she’s like,” says Seth Rogen, who has known her since they were teenagers on Freaks and Geeks and who recently directed Caplan in the upcoming spy caper The Interview. “Lizzy’s very sweet once you get to know her. She has always played the smart, funny girl who cuts through the bullshit. That’s much harder than what I do, playing dumb.”

MORE: ‘Masters of Sex’ Q&A with Star Michael Sheen

In a way, the sausage-making conundrum is an apt metaphor for Caplan’s career. (No, really.) At 32, Caplan is best known for playing the anti-manic pixie dream girl (see Zooey Deschanel and Kirsten Dunst) in a bushel of little-seen but hilarious enterprises – get ye online and watch the caterers on Vicodin in Party Down or 2012’s girls-gone-wilding Bachelorette – where she’s the snarky girl with a heart made of some metallic concoction that is not gold. It was a great life, but Caplan felt hemmed in as “that girl” and wondered if that was all Hollywood had for her.

And that’s where sex came in. Caplan is winding up the second season of Showtime’s Masters of Sex, where she plays the research partner/lab partner/sex partner of Dr. William Masters as they delve into the study of sexual behavior during the 1950s. Eventually, their studies would land them fame, but the first years were harrowing, particularly for Johnson. There’s more than a little of Caplan in Johnson, not so much the sex part as wanting to be taken seriously in an industry more than happy to overlook her. The doubts of casting directors became her own doubts.

They remained even after she got the part. Caplan, co-star Michael Sheen and show creator Michelle Ashford met in L.A. with Showtime execs after the pilot was picked up in 2012. Sheen, a classically trained Welsh actor who has seemingly been playing Tony Blair his entire career, regaled the room with tales of portraying Jesus in a 72-hour re-enactment of the Passion play. Caplan listened closely and felt a roomful of eyes turn to her.

“Well, I once starred in a movie with Dane Cook,” she said.

Everyone in the room laughed. But when Caplan got back to her car, she thought, “I’m sitting across from Jesus, and everybody’s eating out of the palm of his hand.”

Then she started to cry.

At the shop, Caplan fires questions at Amelia the butcher, not unlike the way some of her characters might – “Have you ever gotten a pig and then cut it open and a baby fell out?” – and the conversation quickly takes a turn to the sexual proclivities of the American male as it relates to meat. Amelia recounts how strangers online send her messages about what they would like to do to her among the pork.

“Weird,” shouts Caplan above the sounds of pig-grinding. Ice is added to ease the transition from pig meat to sausage. “This was in the news recently, because somebody just got arrested for it. It’s like animal porn, but then they kill the animal. Like, pop a chicken’s head off while you’re jerking and shit.”

Amelia is horrified. “Oh, no. I am so turned off by this,” she says.

Caplan looks thoughtful for a second. “But doesn’t it sort of warm your heart that there’s something for everybody?”

Amelia doesn’t know what to say, so she just cleans up the pork snow-cone ice left over from our sausage-making. A little while later, Caplan exits the butcher shop with a bag of sausages that she’ll prepare for her dad tomorrow on Father’s Day. She takes a seat in a booth at a nearby restaurant, and while it’s not quite a wall, a reticence drops over her, making it clear she’s much more comfortable talking about choking chickens than her personal life.

MORE: In Pics: America’s Hottest Sex Symbols

She was raised not far from here, in the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. Caplan is the youngest of three kids whose father is a lawyer. She had the childhood of a typical Jewish L.A. kid, a bat mitzvah, a domineering piano teacher, a trip to Israel, and a liberal home where questions about sex could be asked. But then her mom fell ill and died when Caplan was 13. Through the grieving, Caplan first started thinking of becoming an actress.

“Strangely, from that age on I thought the only reason why I could even attempt to be an actress was because this horrible thing happened to me,” she says in a quiet voice. “Like something dark and terrible had to happen in order to earn your stripes as a human being and be able to be an actress. I don’t know where I got that from.”

Caplan went to an L.A. arts high school, and then started going on auditions. Her first role was on Freaks and Geeks, co-starring Rogen, who recalls her as “funny, Jewish and smart, pretty much the whole package for me.” She was supposed to appear in one episode, but her charm won over showrunners Paul Feig and Judd Apatow. “There was something unique about her performance,” Apatow recalls. “So we brought her back again. Then, when it was time to shoot the finale, we were so impressed by her work that we thought, ‘What if Jason Segel’s character started dating Lizzie?’ She was amazing as his rebound romance.”

The Freaks and Geeks experience set the tone for much of Caplan’s career as she ambled into her twenties: winning quiet acclaim playing the role of “who’s that girl?” in shows and movies that disappeared. Caplan estimates she shot at least seven pilots. There were moments of brilliance, but lots of no’s – her role in Mean Girls was followed by a year without work. She scored a part inTrue Blood in 2008, but that came with its own trauma. On her second day, she was required to do the first nude scene of her career.

“I remember all the many hours of pep talks required of my friends, like, ‘Tell me that my body doesn’t look weird,'” says Caplan. “I walked into my dressing room, and where your clothes are hanging on a rack was just one pair of underwear.”

Caplan did what most people would do in that situation: She swigged some vodka, got drunk and started asking crew members how they liked her ass. Caplan recounts the story with some reluctance, perhaps regretting that and some of the other stories she let out of the bag about when she was young and brash – including a tale about passing out on her birthday naked and splayed on her bed, compelling her gay roommate to move out – and it’s clear she wants to be seen in a more serious light now that she’s on Masters of Sex.

“Aiming for the stars becomes a bit soul-crushing after you’re told ‘no’ for the thousandth time,” she says. “I didn’t want to be continually rejected. I was right at the doorway of believing I couldn’t do anything else when this came around. It was right in the nick of time.”

Since Masters of Sex started, Caplan hasn’t let her character wander away. She persuaded Thomas Maier, author of the book version of Masters of Sex, to let her listen to some of his interview tapes with Virginia Johnson. She became fascinated with the contradictions of Johnson, who insisted she never loved William Masters even though they ended up married for two decades. “There hasn’t been one day that has gone by in those three years that I have not been thinking about this job,” says Caplan. “I don’t remember a time before Virginia Johnson.”

Caplan harbored fantasies of spending the night with Johnson at her assisted-living center in St. Louis, but it didn’t happen. Johnson died last year and was ambivalent about the show. But Caplan, who dated Matthew Perry for years and describes herself as “recently seriously single,” sees something of herself in Johnson.

MORE: ‘Mean Girls’ 10 Years Later: Where Are They Now?

“She wanted to be a mother, but she didn’t want to be a wife necessarily,” says Caplan. “I still have this idealized version where maybe I’ll get to be both simultaneously. That’s the goal right now. But she tailor-made her own life, picking and choosing from each category what she wanted. That was difficult for a woman in the 1950s. That’s how I want to live my life. It’s an act of bravery for women now who choose not to get married, who can have babies on their own and pursue their careers first.”

But it’s not just the feminist part of Johnson that connects with Caplan. Johnson was often derided in the book and on the show for getting by on sass and not substance. It’s not too far from the way Caplan was viewed in Hollywood before Masters of Sex. “I think Lizzy looked at Virginia and said, ‘There are so many things I can identify with,'” says show creator Ashford. “She’s lived much of this herself.”

The great irony is that the sex scenes in Masters of Sex are the easy part of the show for Caplan. After the vodka on the True Blood set, she’s reached a comfort level with her naked self. Before a recent taping of a scene where Caplan and Sheen copulate, Caplan reclined, put her legs up and yelled, “Ah, home again.”

The psychological strain of Virginia Johnson has been more difficult. Caplan seems exhausted by the experience in a way one is not exhausted by playing the love interest in Hot Tub Time Machine. A few weeks ago, she found herself sitting in her dressing room saying to herself, “I don’t wanna do this, I don’t wanna do this, I’d rather be doing anything but this.”

“It was a momentary ‘what the fuck, why am I here?’ kind of an existential crisis,” she says. “But it passed real quick. This is only my second Season Two. I’m so lucky.” Caplan flashes a quick smile. She then gathers up her bag of meat and heads for her BMW. There will be no crying tonight.

MORE: In Pics: 8 TV Shows You Should Be Watching Right Now

TIME viral

The Best News Bloopers of August

With a special cameo from the 'Apparently Kid' and a hilariously solemn "breaking news" announcement

+ READ ARTICLE

It’s been a pretty dismal month, as far as world events go, but the news wasn’t all bad thanks to some very entertaining on-air mishaps. So here you go: seven minutes of pure schadenfreude.

TIME Television

Zach Galifianakis to Star As a Clown in New FX Comedy Baskets

Festival Supreme
Actor Zach Galifianakis performs at the Festival Supreme comedy and music festival on the Santa Monica Pier on October 19, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. Michael Tullberg—Getty Images

The show was co-created by Louis C.K.

Zach Galifianakis is coming to a TV near you as—get this—a clown. FX has greenlit a pilot starring the Hangover actor in a show called Baskets co-created by Louis C.K., Portlandia’s Jonathan Krisel, and Galifianakis, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

A 10-episode run is set to air in 2016, starring Galifiankis as a man desperate to become a respected professional clown but who’s stuck working at a local rodeo.

The show has already garnered praise from FX executives, though that may come as no surprise thanks to the success of CK’s current show, Louie.

“To say Zach’s portrayal of the lead character Chip Baskets is hilarious/unique/riveting/fascinating would be an understatement. We can’t wait for the world to meet him,” FX’s president of original programming for FX Networks said in a statement, The Wrap reports.

[THR]

TIME Home entertainment

GOG.com Is Getting Into the DRM-Free Movie and TV Business

GOG.com, nee "Good Old Games," is throwing its hat in the DRM-free video ring, hoping to eventually persuade the big studios to liberate all movies and TV shows.

GOG.com–the encyclopedically stocked go-to site for older versions of PC games refurbished to play on existing Windows, Mac and Linux computers–is getting into the DRM-free movie business, or it’s trying to anyway. The company just announced that it’s going to pull the trigger on a slew of film and TV content that it’ll let buyers download or stream at leisure.

Movies and television shows would be completely new territory for GOG.com, media content and distribution mechanisms it’s had no experience with to date…save for one crucial component: the DRM-free part.

Today, say you want to watch movies at home, you have any number of options: stream from a service like Netflix or Hulu, buy and download from an e-tailer like iTunes or Amazon, or if you’re old-school (or like my wife’s parents who live at the ends of the earth in rural Iowa, stuck in an Internet black hole) you rent something on a physical disc from your local grocery store or Redbox vending machine.

But grabbing any of the above without digital rights management is essentially verboten. The content isn’t yours: It’s either borrowed or earmarked for use with a proprietary distribution mechanism. Short of poking around websites that catalog video in the public domain, attempting to decouple physical discs you’ve purchased and want to rip for backup or playback purposes from their copy protection bulwarks, or flat-out turning to piracy, DRM-free video isn’t an option in today’s world.

GOG.com’s position on DRM is, you could argue, its primary PR cachet. The site’s mantra is “you buy it, you own it,” period. No copy protection, no download or reinstallation or backup limits. Nada. That philosophy’s allowed the site to carve out significant space in the currently Steam-dominant downloadable PC gaming scene, and it’s apparently driving a sustainable business model.

In that light, wading into film and television with a DRM-free angle makes a certain amount of sense. It’s by no means clear the company’s going to succeed, of course. The deal starts with “over 200 partners in the gaming industry,” so publishers like EA, Square Enix and Ubisoft alongside various indie studios. That means documentaries, largely, at first, though much of it will start off unique to the site. GOG.com says the service will include world premieres like Gamer Age, The King of Arcades and Pixel Poetry, as well as award-winners off the festival circuit like Indie Game: The Movie.

But I’d wager most people see the phrase “movie and TV” used in a sentence with DRM and want to know when they’re going to be able to download a DRM-free copy of the first season of shows like Breaking Bad or True Detective. (That’s what I’d want to know, anyway.)

“Our initial idea was to start with the big guys, but the process is not easy,” says Guillaume Rambourg, GOG.com VP for North America. “In our first round of talks, the response was largely, ‘We love your ideas, but we do not want to be the first ones. We will gladly follow, but until somebody else does it first, we do not want to take the risk.’”

Rambourg claims most studio officials agree with GOG.com that DRM is “pointless,” but says they wind up punting to conservative legal departments, which of course have no intention of lowering their respective DRM drawbridges. GOG.com says it decided to regroup and prove the concept first, thus it’s launching its DRM-free film section “with documentaries catering directly to its existing community: gamers and geeks.”

GOG.com says these films, which can be streamed or fully downloaded as preferred, will include additional content, and that two of the launch titles–Art of Playing and TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard–will be available free of charge. Buy a video on GOG.com and you’ll get a file, says the company, which you can play whenever and wherever you want. New movies should arrive thereafter at a rate of at least once a week, and it sounds like the company’s starting with a flat price model: $5.99 a piece.

So no, not the place to go if you want to own shows like Treme or Fargo free and clear, but it’s a start, and who else is offering even that much? GOG.com says it’s “aiming high,” of course, and that its goal is to free “all movies and TV series from DRM.” It’s hard to imagine any of the major studios cozying up, but then the idea that you’d be able to buy hundreds of legacy PC games for peanuts, play them on modern machines and outright own them, DRM-free, after decades of code-wheels and pass-phrases and all sorts of other copy protection shenanigans, was just a pipe dream until GOG.com came along six years ago and proved it could be done.

TIME Gadgets

New $50 TiVo Box Targets Cord Cutters and Aereo Refugees

TiVo
TiVo's new Roamio OTA box costs $50 and pulls in free over-the-air broadcasts TiVo

The convenience of TiVo without the high monthly cost of a cable subscription

TiVo’s new Roamio OTA box will be available September 14 for $50. It’s being sold exclusively at Best Buy.

Like other TiVo boxes, this one sports an easy-to-use programming guide, you can set it to automatically record your favorite shows whenever they air and it hooks into online services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. You’ll also need to pony up $15 per month to access program listings, which are refreshed via a connection from the box to your home network.

The difference here is that the Roamio OTA only works with an over-the-air antenna, pulling in your free local broadcast stations. Aside from the $15-per-month TiVo fee, there’s no need to subscribe to Comcast or FiOS, in other words. You can record up to four shows at once, and the hard drive can store up to 75 hours of high-definition video footage.

Obviously, the sticking point for most people is going to be the monthly charge. But f you’re big on being able to record broadcast shows — complete with all the multi-show recording and commercial-skipping goodness that entails — you’re looking at shelling out less than $200 per year for the privilege of doing so.

Roamio OTA comes at an opportune time, with online TV service Aereo being run out of town by the entertainment industry. I recently rounded up a few ways to roll your own Aereo-like service, but most options were cumbersome and expensive. This new TiVo box could be the ticket, though.

[Fast Company]

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

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