Hey everyone! Another week into the Coronavirus quarantine and your boys Matt and Vince have nothing but time to Zoom chat about TheSopranos with all of their friends. Lucky you! This week our guest is comedian Brandie Posey of the podcast Lady 2 Lady. This is the first time she has ever watched an episode of the Sopranos to completion and boy did Matt and Vince pick a perfect one. From season 2, episode 7, it’s “D-Girl,” guest starring Alicia Witt as Amy Safir, which originally premiered February 27th, 2000.
This episode isn’t just one of the funniest episodes of The Sopranos so far, it’s incredibly relevant to both Brandie and Matt’s life, mired in the drab realities of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Whom amongst us hasn’t had the fate of our careers decided by a 20-something executive with no creative bone in their body and who name drops constantly? Very relatable.
With Anthony Jr.’s confirmation approaching, Tony and Carmela find their son’s growing apathy a cause for concern. Meanwhile, Christopher’s interest in show biz is reignited when he meets a well-known filmmaker through his cousin’s girlfriend.
BADA B STORIES
-Chris meets Amy Safir, his cousin Gregory’s fiancee
-AJ’s existential buffoonery
-Chris meets Jon Favraeu and llearns what it means to be used by Hollywood
-Big Pussy is forced to wear a wire to AJ’s confirmation
Hope this makes your quarantine a little bit more tolerable. Enjoy! Don’t forget to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and subscribe to bonus content at Patreon.
The coronavirus has caused changes in lifestyles around the world in a way that few historical events in recent memory have. Almost everybody’s schedules have radically changed from what they were a month or two ago, so some folks are using their time in differently productive ways. Such is true of Migos, as the group is apparently not doing much beyond working on their upcoming album, Culture III.
In a new interview with Billboard, Quavo said that he and his fellow Migos members are keeping their lifestyles simple for the time being, as pretty much all they do is go to the studio to work on Culture III and then head back to their homes. He says ultimately, though, Migos’ operations have been hampered, saying, “Of course, the business has slowed down because we perform in front of masses of people. Dropping music and all that, it’s at a standstill right now with us because we need to go out there and touch the people to push our albums to make our music work.”
He also spoke of working with Justin Bieber on “Intentions” and their friendship, saying, “We come from two different backgrounds, but when we get in the studio, we got a lot of similarities. We’ve been friends for probably like five years now. […] We got some more records in the vault. We both respect each other and that’s my guy.”
The ‘Westworld’ Confusion Index is your guide to what we know, what we kind of know, and what we don’t know aboutWestworld, one of television’s more confusing shows. We will make mistakes, surely, because we rarely know what is happening or why (and whenever we think we’ve figured it out, they go and change it on us), but we will try to have at least as many jokes as mistakes. This is the best we can offer. Here we go.
What We Know
Serac is still a huge supervillain and, quite frankly, we love it
When we first met Serac In last week’s episode, he appeared to be some sort of secretive billionaire who works in the shadows to manipulate people and systems to bend them to his will. That was incorrect. Serac is, in fact, a secretive trillionaire who works in the shadows to manipulate people and systems to bend them to his will. I apologize for this error. It will not happen again.
We learned more about Serac than his four-comma status, too. We learned he’s “a black hole,” a negative space operator who doesn’t so much exist as he inhabits an empty area where something should exist. This is… cool. I’m sorry, it’s cool. This guy is a weirdo who thinks he’s a god, and who acts and behaves like both, and I kind of love him. Everything he does just screams supervillain at the top of its lungs. I’m surprised he doesn’t live in a hollowed-out volcano. I mean, my dude did this out of nowhere.
We have no choice but to respect it.
More relevant to the proceedings, though, we learned that he had real Charlotte working as a mole inside Delos so he could access all the secret information about all the guests who came to fornicate and murder in the parks. And now he kind of has robot Charlotte doing it too, although it’s unclear if he knows robot Charlotte is a robot, even though it seems like something an all-knowing gravity vacuum in the cosmos should know. But I’m just a simple recapper. I couldn’t possibly understand his methods.
He also has another high-ranking mole in Delos, according to him. That’s interesting. The man is a menace and I adore him.
Dolores is basically a Terminator
Well, turns out Dolores survived, thanks to an assist from Caleb, who used real-life medical training to save her when the techno-ambulance’s systems couldn’t, and then used his RICO app to identify the cops that showed up as assassins. This gave Dolores enough time to recover and then do the thing in the GIF above and the thing in this next GIF, too.
She really is basically a Terminator this season. A Terminator with a little Morpheus going on. That’s what I took away from her repeatedly saving Caleb with resurrection scalpel strikes and speeding motorcycle guardian angel maneuvers, as well as her revealing the secrets of Incite to him at the pier where their system thinks he’ll commit suicide in a decade or so. The whole thing creates self-fulfilling prophecies. It only invests resources in people that “deserve” them, which spits out everyone else, who was then proven not to deserve the resources by their resources-lacking failure. Why, it’s almost like a comment on society.
Anyway, Dolores has not, traditionally, been a big fan of humans. Caleb doesn’t know she’s a robot. It’s like we’re in Act I of a rom-com over here.
What We Kind Of Know
Aaron Paul sure does end up in doped-up peril a lot
In Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul played Jesse Pinkman, a small-time criminal and troubled soul who fell under the spell of a ruthless charismatic figure with big dreams and a dangerous mission for the two of them, a mission that occasionally included his character getting kidnapped and threatened by underworld figures who doped him up and used his skills/information to try to thwart his partner’s big plan.
In Westworld, Aaron Paul plays Caleb Nichols, a small-time criminal and troubled soul who falls under the spell of a ruthless charismatic figure with big dreams and a dangerous mission for the two of them, a mission that occasionally includes his character getting kidnapped and threatened by underworld figures who dope him up and use his skills/information to try to thwart his partner’s big plan.
Dolores is Heisenberg. Heisenberg is Dolores. It would be hilarious if her whole big plan to destroy humanity just involves cooking a lot of meth and hoping it tears apart the fabric of society slowly over decades. Get a robot Saul in there. See what I care.
We did it?
In a development that matters to not a single soul on this entire planet besides me, Dolores said the thing in the above screencap to Caleb while they were chatting at the pier. This raises a very important question: Does “you and I are a lot alike” count as a “we’re not so different”? Because if it does, that means Westworld has done the unthinkable and continued its now three-season streak of including this scene in the action. Here it is in season one…
… and here it is in season two.
My gut reaction here is to count it. Same tone, same delivery, same vibe. It really is a remarkable accomplishment. And it only took them three episodes this season. I’m so proud of everyone involved.
What We Don’t Know
Who is Charlotte Hale, actually?
Charlotte is a robot, that much we know. And that much her son, Nathan, appears to know, too, if that’s what we’re meant to imply from the little boy’s statement about wanting his mommy back. He’s the only one who appears suspicious so far, although that could change at any moment if robot Charlotte keeps tearing away at her flesh in an unsettling attempt to do… something. This is unclear. Is the real Charlotte trying to claw the robot out of her? Is it a malfunction? Is she just very mad at her skin? No one knows. I mean, someone knows, probably, and they’re probably in the Westworld writer’s room. But I don’t know. That’s what I’m saying.
Another thing I don’t know: Which robot is inside Charlotte? The scene with her and Dolores seemed to indicate that, whoever it is, they are very close. Is it… no. It can’t be. He went to robot heaven at the end of last season. But it does seem… I mean… the way the personality is so subservient and in love with Dolores… could… could it be my sweet dull boy Teddy? Did Dolores somehow resurrect Teddy Flood and put him inside the body of a high-ranking Delos executive with an ex-husband and a child and a closet filled with stunning pantsuits and cocktail dresses? Dear God, I hope so. I’m going to be mad now if it’s not Teddy. I’m kind of mad already that they’re teasing it like this when they could just tell us and move on. But I’ll be less mad if it’s Teddy.
Whoever it is, they sure did find their mojo in the moment where we all collectively learned that Tommy, the sweet kid at the park who let Nathan play with his dog, was actually Tommy, a fully grown creep who was using his dog to lure children into an area with disabled cameras. That was a twist. As was “Charlotte killed him and stole his dog.”
Did not see a dog theft coming when this episode began. That’s on me, though. Just a failure of imagination on my part.
That “You Are My Sunshine” is actually a very dark and disturbing song
There was a running theme in this episode about real Charlotte recording a message for Nathan as the Westworld massacre was going down. The message was a kind of goodbye that involved her singing their song, “You Are My Sunshine,” as chaos developed behind her. It was sweet and sad and yet another reminder that people do not know what that song is really about.
Everyone knows the chorus. Mothers and fathers around the world sing it to their small children. It’s nice. But did you know that song has verses? And that those verses will ruin the song for you forever once you hear them? Well, it does and they will. Here, look.
The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cried
Well, that’s dark. Let’s see if it gets darker!
I’ll always love you and make you happy
If you will only say the same
But if you leave me and love another
You’ll regret it all some day
Is… is this song about a guy whose lover is leaving him and he’s making threats about it all? That’s certainly less cheery than the chorus. Well, at least there’s not a third verse that seems to imply the person telling the story has lost all hope and is teetering on the edge of severe depre-…
You told me once, dear, you really loved me
And no one else could come between
But now you’ve left me and love another
You have shattered all of my dreams
I am sorry for ruining this song for you. I feel like almost as much of a supervillain as Serac. Almost.
March may have lasted nearly 80 years but, at last, we’ve made it to the month of April and as a reward, we’re finally going to figure out what this Quibi thing is all about. The new streaming service, which promises bite-sized content you can watch on your phone whenever you want, has rolled out an impressive line-up of original content headlined by some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Liam Hemsworth, Sophie Turner, Christoph Waltz, Idris Elba… they’re all here, giving us movie “chapters” and reality competition series that are 7-10 minutes long. There are also cooking competitions with cannons, murder house-flipping series, queer game shows, and a new version of Punk’d hosted by Chance The Rapper that sounds very Black Mirror-ish.
If you’re curious, or just unbelievably bored during this weeks-long quarantine, you can sign up for a free 90-day trial of Quibi now and check out all of the shows and films coming this month.
Most Dangerous Game
Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz star in this dystopian action thriller that decides to play a very, well, dangerous game. Hemsworth plays Dodge Maynard, a man with a terminal illness who’s determined to see his son be born. To pay for some costly medical treatments he signs up to participate in a deadly contest that tasks him with staying alive for 24 hours as trained killers and competitive psychopaths try to kill him. Waltz plays the ringleader, who introduces Dodge to the game and gives him helpful advice along the way. He’s so good at playing these over-the-top creeps, which is why this feature feels like one of Quibi’s best bets.
Sophie Turner leads this epic survival story, playing a young woman named Jane who realizes her life’s worth fighting for just as her flight home crashes into a mountain. On her way home from a therapy retreat and contemplating suicide, Jane meets a man named Paul (Corey Hawkins), and the two just happen to be the only survivors of a deadly plane crash. To make it back to civilization they must scale mountains, brave subzero temps, and outrun wolves.
Chrissy Teigen’s coming for Judge Judy’s spot with this reality courtroom series that sees the TV personality and cookbook author doling out her own ridiculously funny brand of justice. Chrissy manages real, small claims cases with the help of her mom, who plays bailiff. All judgments will be legal and binding.
Elba v Block
Quibi takes us back to simpler times when a Coronavirus-free Idris Elba’s biggest worry was beating professional driver Ken Block in this reality competition series full of high-octane thrills. The two men keep upping the stakes, with tricked-out wheels and increasingly insane stunts to see who’s the better racer.
The minds behind Chopped bring us this new reality cooking competition hosted by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess. Sure, some famous names like Wolfgang Puck, Jane Krakowski, Antoni Porowski, Rachel Dratch, and Dany Levy are set to serve as judges but the real draw here is the name of the game. Two chefs are blindfolded before being cannon-blasted with a mystery food dish. They’ll need to use their culinary know-how to figure out what the meal was and recreate it.
Earlier this year, Puerto Rican pop icon Bad Bunny surprise-released his sophomore record YHLQMDLG. Upon the album’s release, fans from around the world streamed the record, pushing it to become the highest-charting Spanish-language album ever. To celebrate the impressive feat, Bad Bunny has been steadily releasing accompanying videos nearly every week. The latest, “Yo Perreo Sola,” was written from a female perspective. In order to get the full experience, Bad Bunny dresses up in drag for the colorful video.
“Yo Perreo Sola” translates to “I Twerk Alone,” and the singer dressed in full drag to get his point across. Directed by Bad Bunny and Stillz, the “Yo Perreo Sola” video shows Bad Bunny in a new light. “I wrote it from the perspective of a woman,” Bad Bunny said to Rolling Stone in a recent interview. “I wanted a woman’s voice to sing it — ‘yo perreo sola’ — because it doesn’t mean the same thing when a man sings it. But I do feel like that woman sometimes.”
In the visual, Bad Bunny dances across several set designs and even tries on two different drag personas. The singer further explains the video’s theme with a concluding message superimposed across the screen: “If she doesn’t want to dance with you, respect her, she twerks alone.”
Watch the “Yo Perreo Sola” video above.
YHLQMDLG is out now via Rimas Entertainment. Get it here.
Of the many “huh?” moments in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the biggest “what is happening?” sequence might be Bruce Wayne’s nightmare (or “Knightmare,” as it’s been dubbed online). In it, Earth is now a desolate wasteland, Lois Lane is dead, and after becoming susceptible to Darkseid’s Anti-Life equation, Superman has turned into a violent, tyrannical leader. “She was my world and you took her from me,” Superman tells an unmasked, beat-down Bruce Wayne before gripping his heart, presumably to kill him. That’s when Bruce wakes up, startled by the arrival of a time-traveling Flash.
It’s… a lot, so much so that even director Zack Snyder isn’t entirely sure what’s going on. During a commentary live-stream on Vero for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Snyder recalled, “I guess it’s boring for him waiting for it to decrypt so he fell asleep. Maybe. I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a by-product of Flash cracking on the cosmic treadmill or whether it creates some sort of rift where it allows Batman to see into the future. It could be a combo of those things.” It’s not the most help explanation, but at least he’s honest?
Elsewhere in the live-stream, Snyder, of #ReleaseTheSnyderCut fame, joked about Batman shooting hired goons with the Batmobile (“I’m sure these guys are fine. They’re going to be 100 percent okay, they’re not going to be dead. Those guys in the car there, they’re 100 percent fine”) and explained the notorious Martha scene. “That’s what the thesis of this thing is, that we’re all humans and that we all connect on a level,” he said. “Our mothers have the same name… That is really sort of this fundamental, ‘We both have a mother, so we are both human.’ Even though Superman is from another planet, his connection to humanity is so clean that Batman is able to re-energize himself.” If only everyone’s mother was named Martha, the world would be less of a “Knightmare.”
For many folks, R&B music is about emotions: love and heartbreak are often the primary focuses of the genre. But for Toronto crooner PartyNextDoor, it’s always been an outlet for him to address his lack of attachments, which can read at times like a stubborn refusal to allow himself to become attached. When he first emerged on the scene in the early 2010s which his unromantic version of anti-R&B, he helped spark a revolution (along with his countryman The Weeknd, who also recently released a coldhearted project earlier this year, albeit one with more polished pop leanings) in the sound. He and his fellows redefined the genre for a generation who suddenly had access to Tinder and a whole new vocabulary for relationships, including FWB, situationships, and ghosting.
With his long-awaited new project, PartyMobile, PND doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. He instead makes tweaks to the formula that has long served him as one of the frontrunners of this newer form of anti-R&B: Ambivalent, arms-distance ballads, dancehall-inflected ruminations on his inability (or his refusal) to form emotional bonds, and filtered-vocals on fractious f*ckboy anthems warning potential paramours of the dangers of getting too attached to him. Its mileage may vary based on how well you relate, but ironically, he may have crafted the perfect project for our socially-distant times — whether mandatory or voluntary.
Take “Savage Anthem,” the divisive album closer. “Don’t hold your breath,” he croaks over downtempo production by fellow OVO Sound OG, 40, “Don’t wait on my love.” It’s sort of thing his boss Drake sings or says all the time. But where Drake usually offers at least a halfhearted justification for why you should not wait on his love — he’s busy, he’s out of town, he’s working, he can’t trust you because of his stardom — Party’s thought process is much more cutthroat: “I put the dirt into dirtbag,” he either boasts or laments (or maybe it’s both), “Gave me your heart, watch me break that.” For Party, heartbreak is just part of the game — a part he has no intention of playing himself.
Speaking of Drake, the original sadboi crooner shows up on “Loyal,” which does double duty as the album’s lead single and its thesis statement, if there is such a thing. “We get it on and then you go” is tucked into the bridge in an otherwise sappy come-on. “I just don’t wanna let go.” PND is lonely (as is Drake), but while he fully expects availability, he doesn’t want anyone to expect reciprocity. Remember when Lauryn Hill sang about that on “The Ex-Factor” 20 years ago? It’s easy to imagine she was singing it to PartyNextDoor — or at least to a man who similarly subscribes to PND’s half-in, half-out philosophy of love in the 21st century.
“Trauma” is as good of an explanation for this behavior as any. Over a deceptively upbeat, almost tropical backdrop, Party speaks to the “trauma” of losing out after investing heavily in a lover who winds up leaving. “Traumatized, I can’t sleep at night,” he worries, “Traumatized, I need you by my side… I’ll never meet a girl like you again.” Isn’t that why we all spend our nights swiping until the wee hours? We all just want some company, but the risk of being hurt always feels way too great — especially when there are so many options out there and so many apps designed to feed our appetites for something quick, something easy, something that feels like something, but won’t feel like losing everything when it turns out to be nothing. We’re all just picking through the wreckage of our most devastating breakups and hoping we never have to go through them again.
Which is why Party makes the perfect music for the moment. It’s upbeat and it’s catchy, with the dancehall influences at its foundation giving a veneer of fun and frolic. It’s never enough to cover up the melancholy at each song’s center. The party next door is just a smokescreen for the loneliness of the neighbor throwing it. Party’s relative lack of evolution in this regard belies his institutional role in the music of today — does he sound like Gunna and Young Thug in the moments when he switches from crooning to rapping, or do they sound like him because of his early genre pioneering for hip-hop and R&B? While it’s easy to wish he’d switched up a little, picking livelier production or pushing his topical boundaries just a little — it’s nearly impossible to deny that this is the world we live in now. Everybody’s afraid to commit, everybody’s afraid to evolve, and we’re all just a little both lonely, hoping to connect with someone but always with one foot out the door.
PartyMobile is out now on OVO Sound/Warner Records. Get it here.
PartyNextDoor is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
Spoilers from this week’s The Walking Dead episode will obviously be found below, so here’s your chance to lurch away like a zombie.
For those unfamiliar with The Walking Dead, this week’s episode, “Look at the Flowers,” would be an out-of-context trip, even for anyone already familiar with zombie movies and television shows. Hell, what’s going on now would probably sound bizarre to fans of The Walking Dead who bailed after season seven.
Consider what has gone on the last season and a half: A messed-up cult of nameless wanderers who call themselves The Whisperers wear the skin of zombies over their own faces so that they can blend in and roam with other hordes of zombies, which they use as their own mindless, unkillable armies. A man named Negan — best known for bashing in the heads of two characters with a baseball bat wrapped in barbwire he named after his dead wife — ends up joining The Whisperers to take them down from the inside. This requires that he have sex with a bald woman who goes by the name of Alpha while she is wearing a skin mask, which is a turn-on for Negan because she reminds him of his late wife, who died of cancer.
Negan cuts off the head of the bald woman, though he gets tearful about it because (again) the mass murderer in the skin masks reminds him of his late wife. Negan, by the way, used to be a high-school gym teacher. Negan subsequently takes Alpha’s head and plants it on a pike, where it is discovered by Beta, a former world-famous country singer turned Whisperer. WHAT? He removes Alpha’s zombified head from the spike, throws it in a bag, and then distills meaning and direction from the hisses of the decapitated zombie head.
Alpha’s hissing leads Beta to an old dive-bar, where he listens to an old record of his, and psyches himself up to lead another horde of zombies into battle, but not before he removes the skin from Alpha’s face and plants it over half of his own face. The other half of his face is covered by the older, leathered skin of his dead friend from rehab. Now he looks like Zombie Phantom of the Opera.
If disturbing content is what viewers are looking for, there’s plenty of is in this season of The Walking Dead, and with Beta and The Whisperers marching toward Alexandria like they’re in a “Thriller” video, I expect there will be more, if not in next week’s episode, then in the season finale (whenever that airs).
Meanwhile, Carol’s storyline this week largely entailed wrestling with her own demons, and those demons took the form of Alpha, the ghost of whom haunted Carol into a structure that collapses upon her. As a zombie approaches Carol — pinned underneath the wreckage — the ghost of Alpha taunts her about the mistakes of her past. Carol has suffered more losses (mostly children) than maybe anyone else on The Walking Dead, and the ghost of Alpha needles all those sore spots, blaming her for sending Henry away to The Hilltop (which led to his death) and reminding Carol of the time she had to shoot mentally-ill Lizzie for killing her little sister, Mika. All of this, of course, followed the death of her biological daughter, Sophie. The Walking Dead has really done a number on Carol, who committed suicide in the comics. After her sequence with Alpha in “Look at the Flowers,” it’s easy to wonder who she avoided it here.
However, the television Carol pulls herself together just in time to remove herself from the wreckage and violently dispatch with the zombie before heading back to Alexandria, where Daryl is waiting for her, though their relationship is still uneasy and strained, and will likely remain so as long as Connie remains missing.
In the meantime, Daryl and Negan also had an adventure together, and by that I mean, Daryl is angry that Negan didn’t kill Alpha soon enough, and he remains deeply skeptical of Negan’s motives, at least until a couple of Whisperers stumble upon them and treat Negan as their new Alpha. Negan — who had been handcuffed by Daryl — does not use the opportunity to kill Daryl, but rather to save him from the Whisperers, which earns Negan Daryl’s begrudging respect. “[Alpha] took it too far,” Negan tells Daryl. “You don’t kill people for no reason, and you do not kill kids.”
“Is that supposed to make me like you?” Daryl asks?
“No,” Negan responds. “But what about my winning personality?”
I think, Daryl and Negan may someday become reluctant friends. We’re only two seasons away now from the Negan/Daryl bromance!
— Eugene, Yumiko, and Ezekiel’s storyline is more about setting up next season than it is about resolving The Whisperers’ arc. They meet Princess on the way to Charleston, which signals the next — and final — arc from the comics, The Commonwealth. Meanwhile, Ezekiel is struggling with his cancer.
— Carol and Daryl are really hard on Negan for taking too long to kill Alpha, which I think is unfair. It takes time to earn someone’s trust, sleep with them, destroy an entire community together, and then cut off their head!
— The title of Beta’s real-life country album is Half Moon, which is interesting considering what his face looks like by the end of the episode.
— Ghost Alpha mentioned Carols’ ex-husband Ed Peletier. It’s been a long time since that season 1 character has been mentioned.
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