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‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ Wins Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

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“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” the winner in this category for four years straight, secured its fifth win.

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

Lloyd Bishop / HBO

Political shows have dominated in this category over the last four years and they have only taken on added significance in 2020. All the series in this year’s category were among the first to transition to working from home in the wake of current events, and in the case of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” they have provided comfort and information to audiences who have felt a lack of both in the government.

So it’s no surprise that “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” the winner in this category for four years straight, secured its fifth win in the Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series category at tonight’s Emmys. The popular British host has regularly won for Outstanding Variety Series consistently as well, so this recent win seemed like a no-brainer.

Oliver’s show has been quick to discuss the pressing issues of an incredibly fraught year. His show has examined the protests around the Black Lives Matter Movement, has looked at the coronavirus pandemic, and recently looked at the state of the U.S. Postal Service. Oliver might have eschewed the wacky stunts and hijinks of season’s past this year — no wax presidents or Armie Hammer — but his show has remained incisive and confrontational about many topics that audiences have been clambering for proper information on.

Oliver’s win for this year came for an episode the team submitted involving Slapp lawsuits. In the episode, Oliver touches on the lawsuit brought against him and the show by coal baron Bob Murray. A song and dance ensures that is both hilarious and educational.

Despite Oliver’s win it was assumed that this category could be fair game for any of the nominees, all of whom have stayed in production throughout the run of the pandemic. “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” was one of the first late-night shows to figure out a socially distanced format, which many thought might translate to a win. Going further, this season marks the fifth anniversary since host Trevor Noah took over the show from long-time host Jon Stewart.

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has been on HBO for seven seasons starting in 2014. Oliver initially got his start as a correspondent on “The Daily Show” during Stewart’s tenure. The series has been a regular ratings draw for HBO, this in spite of Oliver recently ribbing the network’s new streaming service HBO Max.

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Does Stranger Things have jump scares?

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Hello, fellow Stranger Things fans! As you know, the series is a science fiction horror drama that follows a group of friends as they’re hunted by creatures from the Upside Down, a sinister parallel dimension that feeds off of death. The show is insanely popular and if you haven’t seen it by now, I would highly recommend giving it a try.

The series stars Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers, a single mother raising her two sons, Johnathan (Charlie Heaton) and Will (Noah Schnapp). When Will disappears, Joyce never gives up hope that her son is alive, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.

Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) initially doesn’t believe Joyce’s theory that her son is still out there, but he slowly comes to realize that something suspicious is afoot.

After Will’s disappearance, his best friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) are determined to find him. Along the way, they meet the mysterious Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), a young girl with a shaved head who has immense telepathic power.

Is Stranger Things scary?

Stranger Things has aired three seasons so far and if you’ve been hesitant to watch because you think the show is scary, I’m here to set the record straight.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like jump scares, then you’re in luck. The scariest scenes in Stranger Things are made so because something suspenseful or alarming is happening. However, the series is not particularly violent or bloody.

Almost every single character death or injury takes place off-screen and any brutality is implied rather than shown. Almost all of the “scary scenes” include an otherworldly monster called a Demogorgon, which lessens the fright for me because the viewer knows it’s fake.

There are very minor jump scares throughout the series, and I’m reluctant to even say that because they are so few and far between. When something negative happens on Stranger Things, you usually know it’s about to happen, whether it’s because of the tone, dialogue, or music.

You can stream all three seasons of the popular series on Netflix.

Next: 5 best Halloween movies on Netflix that aren’t scary

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The Best Trick in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2? Nostalgia

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Skating through a hi-def recreation of the late-1990s shopping mall in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is, uh, strange. Everything is right where you left it 20 years ago: the smash-able glass, the empty storefronts, the bizarre nouveau-art display that for so long seemed like the epitome of consumerist architecture. And despite the fact that the video game franchise has felt beyond dead, it’s all here in glorious, remastered detail. Yet none of that is what makes it feel odd. Not exactly.

What’s peculiar about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is its doubled nostalgia: nostalgia for the time when I obsessed over the original games, for that world, and also for the world itself, the place that existed before Covid-19 quarantines and pandemic isolation. It’s a nostalgia for the very thing that THPS takes as its greatest subject, its deepest inspiration and longing: freedom to move unrestricted, to go precisely where and how you want to.

Courtesy of Activision

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When Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater initially came out, late in 1999, it was at a moment where extreme sports—and skateboarding, in particular—felt aspirational for a lot of young people, myself included. It was a complex, difficult skill to learn, but not one outside of the bounds of possibility. My brother skateboarded, though not exceptionally well. Lots of people I knew did. All you needed was a board, a bit of balance, some open concrete or asphalt, and practice. No field or organization or help. It felt exciting and nearby, a big new reality just beyond the corner.

And if you could learn, if you could be good, good the way these famous skaters were good? Well, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and its sequel provided a larger-than-life imagining of what that might mean. In these games, every part of the mundane world is bent toward the singular purpose of letting you move faster and better. Each sharp angle is a point to grind, each bit of elevation is something to jump toward or from. Activision and Neversoft, in creating the original games, moved away from the standard blueprint of sports games to create something that feels, at times, more like a platformer. It’s all about managing momentum, balance, and routing through a particular level in order to get where you want to go and do it in as much style as possible, racking up points for tricks and accomplishing a set of discrete objectives. These objectives—collecting floating letters on the map, grinding or jumping off of obscure bits of level geometry—function as navigational challenges, encouraging you to figure out how to get there. Some of them seem impossible when you first see them. None of them are. You just have to figure them out. See it, plot it, make it happen for yourself. Like I said: aspirational.

Most of us probably never learned how to skateboard. But that sense of independence, that invigoration of mundane spaces, was something about Tony Hawk and skateboarding in general that could be taken into normal life. Almost all of the game’s levels take place in normal locations—schools, boardwalks, warehouses—and even though the games do move into some strange, goofy places (like a military base housing aliens or heaven—like, literally, just heaven), its use of basic repeatable types of geography—the straight line, the sharp curve, the ramp—lend the game a sense of grounding. That grounding, then, lent an imaginary joy to real places. Your school could be a place to conquer if you had the skill and freedom of a skater. Architecture became a space of possibility, of excitement. I used to look out the window of my mother’s car, imagining how I could traverse the obstacles we saw on the side of the road.

Now, like so many others, I’ve been quarantined for approximately six months, cut off from the world that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 renders with such precise imaginative potential. Maybe you’re like me in that way, spending most of your time occupying your home and other small, liminal strips of external space, maximizing safety while building a tiny, cloistered world for yourself. This is necessary, and wise, an important way to protect yourself and others. But it makes every depiction of the world beyond quarantine feel surreal, impossible in a way that would have been hard to imagine a year ago. Some theorists define uncanny as being that which was once familiar to us, a part of us, removed and made strange as a result. In September 2020, the outside world itself feels uncanny.

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Taylor Swift Fans Still Haven’t Forgiven Jake Gyllenhaal

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Taylor Swift may have moved on from her extremely short-lived relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal a decade ago, but it’s clear her fans still haven’t forgiven him for wronging their favorite pop star.

The actor shared a photo of himself as a young boy wearing glasses on his Instagram on Monday to promote the partnership between New Eyes for the Needy—an organization that buys prescription glasses for those who can’t afford them—and The Inspire Project and their launch of a new speaker series. Gyllenhaal wrote, “I’ve worn my glasses ever since I parted my hair meticulously with gel (see above), which is why NEW EYES has always been near and dear to my heart.”

Gyllenhaal clearly had good intentions with his social media post, but the image of pint-sized him in glasses proved too tempting for the Swifties who immediately flooded his comment section with lyrics from the Swift song “All Too Well” which is supposedly about his relationship with the pop star. But the actor sort of set himself up for this trolling given that one of the lines in the song is “You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-sized bed.”

While most commenters simply quoted the lyrics back to him, one wrote, “u posted this pic and thought that the swifties would do nothing???? mistake” and another demanded, “Give taylor swift her scarf back,” referring to the singer’s accessory Gyllenhaal supposedly never returned after their break up.

Needless to say, Jake will probably think twice before sharing another childhood memento without consulting all of Swift’s lyrics for potential references first.

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