Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

April 22 2015 9:44 PM

Aziz Ansari and Some Parks and Rec Friends Are Getting a Netflix Show

It’s only been two months since Parks and Recreation wrapped its seven-season run, but Netflix has already pounced on some of the show’s premier talent: Aziz Ansari will star in a new half-hour comedy for the company, and will share showrunning duties with former Parks and Rec writer Alan Yang. Joining those two as executive producers are three other members of the Parks and Rec family: Michael Schur, David Miner, and Dave Becky.

The show’s premise has yet to be revealed, but Deadline reports that it will be vaguely based on Ansari’s life and, like most shows on television, deal with “dating and relationships.” Netflix has ordered an initial run of ten episodes, and the cast will feature H. Jon Benjamin (Archer), Lena Waithe (Dear White People), Eric Wareheim (of comedy duo Tim & Eric), and SNL alumnus Noël Wells.

It’s worth noting that Ansari and Netflix go way back: The comedian has done two stand-up specials with the streaming giant, the latest of which, Live at Madison Square Garden, showcased perhaps his richest, most raucous material yet. Fingers crossed that this show is just as fruitful a collaboration.

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April 22 2015 6:23 PM

Here Are the Eerie New Posters—Er, GIFs—for True Detective Season 2

One of the things that made the first season of True Detective so gripping was the mood: Within the first few minutes of each episode, viewers were swept up into the show’s dark, edgy, almost tangible universe. HBO has already released a teaser trailer giving us some hints about the content of season 2—Colin Farrell with a mustache, Rachel McAdams with a sheriff’s badge—but it’s fitting that the new posters for the series emphasize feeling rather than substance.

April 22 2015 5:16 PM

New Muppets Show Will Be “More Adult.” Will We Finally See How Muppet Babies Are Made?

As previously reported, ABC is considering bringing the Muppets back to television, but the revival may not be what we’ve come to expect from Kermit and friends. According to Entertainment Weekly, the planned Muppets show will be filmed in a mockumentary style, and will take stylistic cues from 30 Rock and The Office. “For the first time ever,” according to ABC’s synopsis, the show “will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires.”

The new show will track Kermit, Piggy, and the gang as they attempt to put on a new television show, providing the kind of behind-the-scenes material that also was a signature of the original The Muppet Show. ABC began filming a pilot written by The Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady earlier this month. The show’s creators are saying this will be “a more adult Muppet show, for kids of all ages.” That may seem a little strange to fans, but really, doesn’t it make sense, since we’ve already seen the other stages of the Muppets’ lives?

April 22 2015 4:11 PM

Living in These Star Warz Is Everything You Could Ever Want in a Star Wars Novelty Album

The album of every Star Wars superfan’s dreams arrived almost four decades ago. After the seminal Star Wars film’s unprecedented box-office success, a host of musicians jumped on the bandwagon with Star Wars-inspired albums, and Dangerous Minds has dug up several of them.

The one that’s available to stream on YouTube, Living in These Star Warz by the Rebel Force Band, is a galactic treasure. The album comprises 10 songs, interweaving almost every musical style of the time, from disco to R&B to power pop. You’ll find upbeat songs offering practical advice, such as “Don’t Fall in Love with an Android,” and slower, more emotional jams, like the instant-classic power ballad “Leia,” (pronounced, inexplicably, LEE-ya). Every fan will have her own favorite track—but you must concede, “Chewie the Rookie Wookie” wins for best misspelled title.

And if the Rebel Force Band doesn’t quench your thirst for ’70s style Star Wars–themed music, you can always follow it up with “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “The Saga Begins.”

April 22 2015 3:40 PM

Watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus Celebrate Her Last Day of Being Sexy

At the risk of overdoing our love for Amy Schumer, whose Comedy Central show returned last night with an almost flawless string of hilarious, incisive sketches, here’s the one with the most star power and the most pointed message. In this sketch, Schumer happens upon Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Patricia Arquette having a picnic to celebrate the death of Louis-Dreyfus’ sex appeal. “In every actress’s life, the media decides when you finally reach the point where you’re not believably fuckable anymore,” Louis-Dreyfus patiently explains to a confused Schumer.

It’s a fairly straightforward takedown of Hollywood’s blatant double standard when it comes to men’s and women’s roles, but it’s peppered with sharp one-liners about hypothetical film projects that are absurd but not entirely unbelievable—like, for instance, Jennifer Lopez getting cast as Mrs. Claus. Watch above.

April 22 2015 3:32 PM

Celebrate Earth Day With This Supercut of Earth Defending Itself Against Lesser Planets

Today is Earth Day, the day we celebrate how much better our planet is than other planets. It’s not even close, really. We face some serious threats, of course—many of them from worlds in inferior solar systems—but none of them is a match for the big blue marble.

In observance of this holiday, let’s take a look back at the cinematic history of our world, and its residents, kicking alien ass—a reminder that there is nothing we cannot overcome. Earth: Third planet from the sun, but first by every other measure.

April 22 2015 10:52 AM

Rihanna Releases “James Joint,” a Lush New Taste of Her Next Album

On Tuesday afternoon Rihanna released another track off her forthcoming record. The interlude “James Joint” is just over a minute long, but it gives us a better sense of the range of sounds we can expect from Rihanna’s eighth album. Lush keyboards play over rising bass riffs to create a thickly textured groove. It has elements of both late ’90s neo-soul and mid-career Stevie Wonder, especially when a harmonica enters near the end of the track. You can listen to the track here.

Rihanna has mentioned wanting her next album to be “timeless,” with songs that she can still perform 15 years from now. With the combination of “James Joint” and “FourFiveSeconds” (though maybe not “American Oxygen”), she’s on track to meet that goal.

April 22 2015 9:17 AM

Foie Gras Needs Better PR Reps Than These Petulant Chefs

In January, a federal judge reversed California’s ban on foie gras, the French delicacy consisting of the fattened livers of geese or ducks that have been force-fed with a tube. Predictably, the judge’s ruling incensed animal rights activists, some of whom have taken to Facebook and Yelp to denounce restaurants that serve the dish.

There are reasonable debates to be had over whether foie gras production methods are meaningfully different from other meat production methods, whether a ban is the best way to discourage consumption of a product with unethical production methods, and whether Yelp is an appropriate platform for political statements. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in reasonable debates with protesters, chefs who serve foie gras have in recent weeks resorted to some pathetic tactics to defend their beloved liver dish.

First up was Mark Kalenderian, the chef at L.A. restaurant The Tam O’Shanter, who told one anti-foie-gras activist on Facebook, “I’d forego cooking any animal to use your disassembled corpse. I’d make a big ol’ batch of cunt stock out of your boney little frame.” Kalenderian was subsequently fired for obvious reasons—no one wants to go to a restaurant helmed by a potentially homicidal maniac.

The negative publicity his rant garnered didn’t discourage another restaurateur, Kurt Janowsky of Café Navarre in South Bend, Indiana, from speaking his mind on the matter last week.

April 22 2015 8:02 AM

What Is Filming Fresh Off the Boat Like for the 11-Year-Old Actor Who Plays Eddie Huang?

It’s been a full two decades since prime-time television has seen an Asian American family sitcom. But ABC’s new show Fresh Off the Boat, loosely based on celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s memoir, is changing that. Though the very first Asian American family sitcom, Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl, was canceled due to poor ratings and lack of interest back in 1995, Fresh Off the Boat has already stirred up considerable buzz. It’s also a significant moment for many Asian Americans, who have largely been excluded or misrepresented when it comes to the mainstream.

But testing the waters won’t be easy for Fresh Off the Boat. Will the show resonate with a non-Asian audience? Will it manage to undermine stereotypes or end up reinforcing them? Will its jokes be lame?

So we wanted to discuss the series from an Asian American point of view. This week, Slate’s Jennifer Lai will be joined by Phil Yu, creator of the blog Angry Asian Man, along with culture writer and Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang, coincidentally also the father of Hudson Yang, who plays Eddie on the show.

April 21 2015 11:03 PM

Amy Schumer Tackles Rape Culture in This Perfect Friday Night Lights Spoof

Tuesday night’s premiere of Inside Amy Schumer opened with a catchy send-up of booty anthems, but, like last year’s viral hit “The Foodroom”—a spot-on parody of every Aaron Sorkin show ever—the episode’s highlight is a return performance from Josh Charles. The sketch, a spoof of Friday Night Lights, is less an opportunity to mock the beloved show than a chance to call out rape culture in football. This is not a topic Schumer has shied away from—perhaps the best skit from last season, “A Very Realistic Military Game,” uses a female video game avatar to demonstrate how tough it is to report rape in the military. Somehow, it also managed to be hilarious.

If this Friday Night Lights spoof is any indication, Season 3 will be funnier, and more insightful, than ever.