Posts

TV

Ellen DeGeneres To End Her Talk Show In 2022

Ellen DeGeneres announced this week that she’s planning on ending her long-running daytime talk show in 2022. 

“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged, and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore.” 

Embed from Getty Images

A representative for DeGeneres confirmed the news this week as well: “‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ which has won 64 daytime Emmy Awards, is currently in its 18th season. The show will wrap after Season 19. DeGeneres will discuss her decision in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, scheduled to air on Thursday’s episode.”

The past year of the Covid-19 pandemic has also impacted the show, as it has the entire entertainment industry. The show went on a brief hiatus in December when DeGeneres was diagnosed with Covid-19. Staffing changes also were made last summer after some producers were called out for creating a toxic work environment. 

When her show returned in September for the Season 18 premiere, DeGeneres spoke about the negative reports and allegations and claimed that she was taking “responsibility” and “sorry” for anyone behind the scenes who had negative experiences. 

Embed from Getty Images

DeGeneres also emphasized, however, that the allegations and discussions of a toxic work environment isn’t the reason that the show is coming to an end, although it definitely had an impact on her. 

“If I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season. So, it’s not why I’m stopping, but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I saw a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I’m like, ‘OK, this is hilarious.’ Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn’t stop. And I wasn’t working, so I had no platform, and I didn’t want to address it on [Twitter] and I thought if I just don’t address it, it’s going to go away because it was all so stupid,” she said.

She also explained how one of the most difficult parts of her decisions is saying goodbye to her staff. 

“Listen, this is my family. They’ve become my best friends. I come to work and I laugh every single day.” 

HBO Max

HBO Max To Release Sitcom Inspired By ‘Multiple Scandals’ At Famous Food Magazine

Bon Appétit has been one of the most popular food magazines and online channels for cooking for quite some time now. After a slew of allegations that people of color working for Bon Appétit were unfairly treated and paid, the company lost a lot of its viewership, and now HBO is making a whole series inspired by it. 

While HBO Max is not mentioning Bon Appétit by name in the show, it does have a former worker serving as a consultant writer, and the streaming service is describing the show’s plot as “focusing on a cohort of young assistants of color who rise up to tear their cookie-cutter corporate culture apart.” 

Embed from Getty Images

The series will be called Enjoy Your Meal, and Ryan Walker-Hartshorn is the former Bon Appétit employee who is working on the series as a consultant. The show claims it will “draw inspiration from the multiple media scandals of summer 2020 and today. 

Waler-Hartshorn was once the only Black employee at Bon Appétit, and served as an assistant to the former editor-and-chief Adam Rapoport. Her role in the Black Lives Matter Movement this summer is what led to a reckoning of Bon Appétit as a publication, in fact, a photo of Rapoport was released last summer in which the former editor was shown wearing black face. Waler-Hartshorn left the publication in August 2020. 

“I feel so blessed, humbled, honored, and freaking excited to be on this journey with these incredible women! Time to eat,” she tweeted out this week. 

Embed from Getty Images

Amy Aniobi will be the writer for the series, she’s also known for her role as writer and executive producer on the Emmy-award winning show Insecure, also available on HBO Max. 

According to reports, “the announcement comes after a four part investigative series into Bon Appétit’s failings on diversity and inclusion by the podcast Reply All – The Test Kitchen – was cancelled, following allegations that some members of the podcast’s production team had contributed to a hostile workplace environment that one former colleague described as a ‘nearly identical toxic dynamic’ to the story they were reporting on.”

Within the first two episodes of The Test Kitchen, before it was cancelled, the hosts examined how Bon Appétit “sidelined” their culturally/linguistically diverse staff throughout its high profile relaunch in the years 2011-2018, and put all the white staff members at the forefront of the branding. 

After Rapoport resigned in June due to the black face photo, a multitude of other revelations regarding Bon Appétit’s unfair treatment of its staff members of color began unfolding, such as major pay disparities between white and non-white staff. By October of last year a majority of the magazine’s highest profile staff had quit due to the lack of progress shown within the pay disparities and other issues.

Glacier in Alaska

John Green’s YA Novel “Looking for Alaska” Adapted for Hulu Miniseries

For years, John Green has authored young adult novels which have received widespread acclaim, not only from his audience of young readers, but from critics around the world. The author’s success has led to the adaptation of several of his stories on the big screen; in 2014, Green’s book about teenagers with cancer who fall in love was adapted into a feature film, and the following year, Paper Towns, a romantic mystery comedy-drama film based on the 2008 novel of the same name, found its way to movie theaters around the world. Both films were financial successes, with the former movie receiving generally positive reviews and the latter film receiving mixed reviews. Their success has led to renewed interest in adapting Green’s other works, including his first novel, the Printz Medal winner Looking for Alaska, which is about a burgeoning romance between two teenagers at a boarding school that ends in tragedy.

Embed from Getty Images

John Green sold the film rights to Paramount Pictures in 2005, just a year after the novel’s publication, with the belief that it would never be adapted into a film. Paramount had shelved the project for years, due to a lack of interest, but started looking more seriously at the prospect of adapting the novel after the success of the film version of The Fault in Our Stars. In 2015 Paramount commissioned a screenplay of the book, and had begun actively casting the film, but plans to produce the movie were canceled indefinitely. In 2018, it was announced that Hulu would be producing an 8-part miniseries based on the book, and John Green announced the lead cast, with Kristine Froseth playing Alaska and Charlie Plummer playing the book’s main character, Miles. Production of the series has been completed, and all eight episodes are set to premiere tomorrow, October 18, 2019, exclusively on the Hulu streaming platform.

Initial reviews of the miniseries, which were released today, are mostly positive. Caroline Framke of Variety thought that the miniseries “wears its bleeding heart on its sleeve,” as its precocious and pretentious cast of teenage characters rings true to the experience of life as a teenager, even if the characters’ superiority complexes start to grate on the viewer. Nevertheless, she praised the miniseries for fleshing out its secondary characters, even though she felt the series’ protagonist was uninteresting. Though she felt that the series’ depiction of Alaska hewed closely to tropes of the genre, as she represents a variation of the infamous “manic pixie dream girl” archetype, the show uses its eight-hour runtime to expand on her character enough to make viewers genuinely interested in her character.

Embed from Getty Images

Jordan Julian, of The Daily Beast, was even more laudatory, claiming that the series is even better than the book, and characterized the show as “beautiful and idealized, foreboding, and entirely relatable to anyone who recalls the intensity of being a teenager.” According to Julian, the show excels in a genre that’s “notoriously difficult to get right,” as she felt that the characters’ dialogue was “natural and self-aware,” and applauded the show for developing Alaska’s character beyond the male narrator’s interpretation featured in the book. Kristine Froseth, of Hollywood Reporter, also praised the series, though she felt that the series “struggles to crack the title character.” Like the other reviewers, Julian praised the series’ decision to keep the events set in 2005 rather than updating the timeline for a modern audience, as this decision both solves the problem of characters not engaging with cell phones and social media as well as invokes a sense of childhood nostalgia among the series’ adult audience, helping them to connect with the youthful mindsets of the cast.

Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone gave the show a similarly positive review, awarding it four out of five stars. Sepinwall thought the show gave Green’s characters “the respect they deserve,” as they are portrayed by a talented and charming cast of young actors. Not every reviewer, however, was so positive. Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant complained that the miniseries failed to “escape its own artificiality,” arguing that the show came off as neither realistic nor significant. Yeoman felt that the characters were incompletely written, having a set of personality quirks rather than cohesive personalities. 

You can watch the trailer for Looking for Alaska here

Featured image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/discodoll/5729585285