Last week, Jill Duggar drank a piña colada during a date with her husband, Derick Dillard.
She didn’t punch a waiter, or get a DUI, and as far as we know, she called it a night after just one cocktail.
But Jill’s Instagram followers were shocked by her boozy indulgence, nonetheless.
The reason for their reaction is that the consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden in Jill’s family.
So Jill’s decision to not only imbibe, but to post the evidence of her night out on Instagram constituted a shocking act of rebellion against her famously overbearing parents.
To the shock of many Duggar fans — and the chagrin of quite a few — Jill didn’t later clarify that the beverage in question was as virginal as an unwed fundamentalist.
In fact, she doubled down by trolling those who criticized her for having one drink during a night out with her husband.
Now, Jill is addressing the controversy in a more serious fashion with an in-depth interview in which she acknowledges that the rest of her family remains staunchly opposed to booze — and makes it clear that she doesn’t really give a damn what they think.
“We have boundaries,” Jill tells People magazine.
“In our faith, we believe like we’re not supposed to get drunk. So, with drinking, it’s not like we’re just like going crazy. It’s more socially here and there, or at home, for a date or something,” she adds.
“Our kids are pretty young right now, but I think it’s good for them to see a healthy balance.”
Jill goes on to acknowledge that her decision to imbibe is likely to create some controversy within her family:
“Growing up, the whole idea of drinking was not encouraged,” Jill says.
“I know my parents would not be happy with it, and I know that my siblings, some more than others, would probably have an issue with it.
“Other ones would probably be like, ‘Whatever’s good for y’all, that’s fine. Live your life.’ So far nobody’s said anything to us about it.”
Believe it or not, Jill received quite a bit of criticism when it was first revealed that she enjoys the occasional adult beverage in social situations.
“She has a platform she uses on a daily basis to talk about Jesus and she can cause others to think He’s OK with you going out drinking and still being a Christian,” one follower commented.
“So disappointed…deep down you know God doesn’t want this,” another added.
“Then you’re gonna turn around and talk about God to everyone tomorrow!”
Jill shrugged the criticism off but acknowledged it in humorous fashion with her caption for the pic above:
“Morning coffee date with my hubby @derickdillard (& Sam tagging along too),” she wrote
“Oh, and since it seems y’all are interested in my choice of drinks recently (lol recent post)…yes, this was a REGULAR coffee (I.e. full caf) white chocolate mocha with coconut milk,” Jill added.
Those who have been following Jill’s story for the past few years shouldn’t be too shocked by the fact that she’s not overly concerned by her parents’ disapproval of alcohol.
For starters, Derick Dillard, has been feuding with Jim Bob Duggar for several months, and the situation has reportedly gotten so bad that the two families are no longer on speaking terms.
On top of that, Derick has gone on the record as believing that moderate drinking is not an inherently sinful activity.
“We don’t believe the Bible teaches that drinking is a sin,” Derick once told a fan who asked about his stance on alcohol.
“However, it does warn against/ condemn other aspects of alcohol.”
In her interview with People, Jill makes it clear that her decision to start drinking was not made lightly, and thus far, she has experienced no negative consequences:
“I think we’ve grown a lot as a couple, and I’m okay with people not being okay with it,” she tells the magazine.
“Sometimes it’s a good thing. I’m very much a people pleaser, so not doing something because I was afraid of what other people would think. Or keeping my opinion quiet because I don’t want to have to worry about conflict” Jill adds.
“The journey that we’ve been on as a couple, we’re being better about having boundaries and our own family life,” the mother of two continues, in an apparent reference to her feud with her parents.
“We’re okay with letting people see more of our life, and our journey. Just being at a healthier place and realizing that it’s okay to be transparent. It’s been really good.”
As for the criticism from her family that was so widely anticipated by fans — well, apparently it has yet to materialize:
“So far nobody’s said anything to us about it,” Jill tells People.
Let’s hope it stays that way.
How TV Animation Survived Mid-Pandemic: Zoom, Puppeteers and Voice Actors in Closets
“There was maybe a week of everybody being like, well, this is f—ing crazy,” “Star Trek: Lower Decks” creator Mike McMahan tells TheWrap
Animation has been a rare pillar of stability during the most chaotic time for Hollywood in a century, churning out new episodes while the rest of the industry figures out how to keep COVID-19 out of its sets.
But it faced some daunting challenges to resume production in the midst of a pandemic that nobody knows long it will last. “All the solutions we came up with at the very beginning of all of it — this was like in March — we were like, every solution we come up with needs to be a solution that could potentially last for years,” Mike McMahan, creator of CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” told TheWrap. “I didn’t want any three-month or two-week solutions.”
In interviews with a half dozen people, top animation creators described how they employed some very unconventional methods to complete episodes — from using puppeteers to recording an orchestral score piecemeal to voice actors bribing neighborhood children to be quiet. (More on that later.)
When “The Simpsons” became the first TV production to leave the office back in early March as the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to rear its ugly head at the United States, Al Jean had hoped it would only last three weeks.”Three weeks is now six months,” Jean, the longtime showrunner for the Fox animated comedy, told TheWrap. “The Simpsons” prepares to return for its 32nd season Sunday night, right on schedule with the rest of Fox’s Animation Domination lineup. “We’ve experienced zero delay,” Jean continued. “The premiere date is the same; the air schedule is the same.”
For years, animation has been unknowingly preparing for a situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic, producing series in a remote-working environment. Most of actual animating is outsourced to overseas facilities — “The Simpsons” is done in South Korea, for example — and even the in-studio work is completed digitally.
“We kind of built a digital pipeline,” explained Scott Greenberg, co-founder and CEO of Bento Box Entertainment, the animation studio behind series like “Bob’s Burgers,” “Duncanville,” “Hoops” and “Central Park.” “When this pandemic hit, because most of our staff works digitally on a computer and a drawing tablet, it was easier for [our shows] to send them home.”
Greenberg added that his staff was able to quickly set up with remote working tools and after about two or three hectic weeks, the workflow schedule remained largely unchanged. “We didn’t lose a beat. I think the nature of the type of work between designers and animators and alike enabled it to be more fluid for a digital pipeline.”
McMahon pointed out that their artists were already stationed in Vancouver, so they were working with them on a telecommuting basis anyway. When the artists had to switch to remote work up in Canada, nothing about the communication process was any different to the “Lower Decks” team in Los Angeles.
“We already had a pipeline where we would be communicating with the leads and Vancouver to our leads here. And it was all remote anyway,” McMahon said. “So to us, locally, that didn’t feel very different.”
That’s not to say the process was completely seamless. For starters, even though McMahan was used to dealing with the Vancouver team remotely, those up in Canada had to adjust to being apart from each other.
“All these different artists who were used to being able to just turn to the person sitting next to them or stand up and walk three feet and say ‘Hey, how are you drawing this? What part of the hallway is this in? Does this guy have sideburns?’ And all of that organic, sort of the ability to to just be around all the other artists and feed off each other’s energy and literally collaborate was shifted,” he explained. “They’re still able to do it, but you had to schedule time to do it.”
Most of the animation execs TheWrap contacted said there were a few weeks of adjustment — the writers’ rooms moving to Zoom was among the most challenging. But staffers also had to endure the mental aspect of being placed in isolation in home offices, without knowing how long it would be before it was safe to go back to “normal.”
“The first day of the city lockdown was our first day of writing season two of ‘Star Trek.’ And there was maybe a week of everybody being like, well, this is f—ing crazy,” McMahan recalled. After that, everyone quickly realized how fortunate they were to still be able to do their job, or even have a job at all. “It was a challenge that everybody understood at the very beginning, that it was going to be worth it.”
Scott Kreamer, showrunner for Netflix’s “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous,” said at the beginning of the pandemic they put a lot of effort into making sure everyone was doing OK, encouraging staff to take mental health days as needed. “It’s a hard time on everyone. So making sure that people didn’t feel isolated, doing whatever we could to make sure that everyone feels connected, that we’re still the same family,” he said. “We’ve had these virtual meetups, whether it was Quarantine Bingo, or I just go to meet with each of the departments, just to let them know, ‘Hey, your work isn’t just going off into the void.’”
Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in early March, most entertainment companies have signaled that a return to the office is not expected until January at the earliest. Everyone is holding out hope that an effective vaccine will be found by the end of the year. Even then, the general consensus is that it won’t be until the middle of 2021 when a vaccine can be rolled out widely to the U.S. population. Any hopes of a full return to “normal” are not expected until the tail-end of next year.
Even when offices do re-open fully, remote working has forced everyone to view the entire production process in a different light. Some things were even easier to accomplish remotely.
There are some parts of the process that are actually smoother, “Bob’s Burgers” executive producer Dan Fybel said. “There’s some editing, audio editing, that when you’re doing it over Zoom, you can circle some things on the screen,” he said. “Whereas weirdly, if you’re in the same room, you’d have to be like, ‘Oh, that was, I think that was the fourth or fifth take.’”
Kreamer even suggested that animation could make remote-working a permanent fixture. “There would have to be, you know, some modifications. But overall, can the animation industry move forward working from home? I absolutely think so.”
Others are less bullish. “It just feels like a temporary solution,” Jean said. “It doesn’t feel like something you would really — and again. We’ve been doing it six months, doing it as long as anybody — like something that I would recommend in the long term.” Though Jean is pleased with how seamless the transition has been and that the quality is unchanged, he’s wary of looking at so many screens all day.
“It is harder to connect to people. And I find at the end of the day, I have headaches. Sometimes I feel overstimulated, you know, and I have to just sort of like, take a break,” he said. “I don’t think the human being is exactly hardwired to work this way. So, I’m grateful, very grateful for the opportunity, but I wouldn’t recommend it permanently.”
McMahan says the key word is “viable.”
“It is viable. It’s just not what you would want to do. People that work in TV to some extent, we’re social people. We’re entertainers. You feed off of each other’s energy. You can tell what’s making people laugh in the room, you can tell what’s making people roll their eyes,” he said. “I don’t think any of us got into this because we like to work from home by ourselves and talk to people over the phone.”
When it came to getting the actors to record their lines, the process became downright comical at times. The shows were at the mercy of how well the actors could set up in-home recording studios. It did not always go smoothly.
“You have people recording in their closets,” said Kreamer. For star Jenna Ortega, Kreamer described that “it just looked like she was like in a dark room with a blanket over her head.” Kausar Mohammed, another voice actor, had to bribe her neighbors with brownies to keep quiet during her recordings.
Voice actors also had to moonlight as their own sound engineers. “In some cases, we have them on the line with an engineer, and others, there’s an engineer on Zoom, but he can only sort of advise them, depending on what setup they have at home,” Kreamer added.
For CBS All Access’ “Tooning Out the News,” the remote-working shift did more than just alter the voice performances. They had to rethink how they did a series that puts out short, seven-minute episodes four days week. “We were actually doing a live motion-capture of the performers playing the animated characters, in addition to the audio that would be captured at the same time,” co-showrunner RJ Fried said. The show had a lightning-quick turnaround. The idea is to mock the news of that particular day.
“Once we switched to remote, we realized that was going to be much more complicated,” Fried said. “So what we had to do was, we switched to just doing a radio play. We can only record the radio play, and then animators would take that radio play, and re-create a lot of the motion capture animation.”
It got even more challenging during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in August. “We realized, ‘Oh my God, we’re gonna have to record at 11:30 p.m., we got to get this process tighter,” Fried says. They hired puppeteers to animate the characters live, as the voice actors were recording their lines.
“The performers are just delivering their lines. Meanwhile, there’s a puppeteer assigned to each performer who is doing the animation live, so that we can actually get it to edit within you know, a few hours after,” Fried said. “It turns out to be almost like a live-to-tape situation, just like any other late-night show.”
McMahan described the voice recording process for “Lower Decks” actors “like slow-motion.” What used to take 30 seconds, now takes seven minutes. “It kind of felt like we were panhandling for gold. Like, who cares if we’re cold and wet, standing in a river as long as we get f—ing gold.” The recording gymnastics extended to the score as well. Chris Westlake, the show’s composer, insistently argued against using a synthesizer. “He was like, “No, no let’s keep hiring musicians, they can do it safely at home,” McMahan said. So Westlake had every musician perform solo, then cut it all together later. “It was a lot of extra work for him. But it really came together beautifully.”
The pandemic has fueled a boom in animation. Greenberg noted that Bento Box has actually been starting production on new series over the last few months. “During the pandemic, we started a show for Netflix ‘Mulligan.’ We were gearing up ‘Housebroken’ for Fox, and we’ve been gearing up some other shows.”
Greenberg argues that, if anything, the shutdowns have given animation more respect and visibility and allowed it break free of the stereotype that it’s only for kids.
“I think it gave animation this moment in time,” he said. “I think everybody knows there’s a huge audience for it, as you can see from the growth in commissioning from streamers and broadcasters. I think the moment in time for animation was nice. People can kind of stop and see the value and how it’s not just young kids or just a sitcom cartoon.”
The real reason Netflix’s Locke & Key town is different from the comics
That author is none other than the legendary H.P. Lovecraft, whose macabre works of cosmic horror and weird fiction are generally renowned by genre enthusiasts, and have influenced the work of everyone from Stephen King himself to cinematic maestro Guillermo Del Toro. Over the years, a deeply unsettling legacy has come to light regarding some of Lovecraft’s less influential work and the personal beliefs of the author, which are inarguably abhorrent. The sad fact is that — even though Lovecraft’s horror writing was revolutionary — the man leaves behind a disgraceful legacy of white supremacy and anti-semitism.
Seems that even Joe Hill himself wasn’t entirely conscious of that legacy prior to penning the first issues of Locke & Key. Armed with a new understanding of Lovecraft, the author decided it was time to take his name out of the Locke & Key equation, owning the decision for himself via a January 2020 post in his online newsletter.
“In the comic, our heroes move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts. For the series, however, I suggested changing the town to Matheson, Massachusetts. I’ve learned too much about Lovecraft in the time since I wrote those first issues to feel the same way about him. And the show seemed like a good opportunity to honor the work of another, different master of dark fantasy. So that’s what we did. My idea — don’t blame the TV guys.”
The “different master of dark fantasy” Hill mentions is Richard Matheson, perhaps best known for writing the sci-fi shocker that inspired both the 2007 Will Smith vehicle I Am Legend, and the 1971 classic The Omega Man. Matheson is also the scribe behind Steven Spielberg’s 1971 directorial debut Duel, and the egregiously underrated Kevin Bacon 1999 chiller Stir of Echoes.
While those titles may not conjure quite the same visceral dark energy as “The Call of Cthulhu,” it’s still hard to argue Hill’s choice to leave the Lovecraft name behind.
Performer of the Week: Jamie Chung
THE PERFORMER | Jamie Chung
THE SHOW | HBO’s Lovecraft Country
THE EPISODE | “Meet Me in Daegu” (Sept. 20, 2020)
THE PERFORMANCE | A show as fantastical and out-there as HBO’s sci-fi series doesn’t work unless it’s rooted in honest emotion. In Sunday’s episode, the bulk of the work in making that connection with the audience fell to Jamie Chung, and she was magnificent.
The hour spent a lot of time with Ji-Ah, Atticus’ wartime love, well before Tic and the rest of the United States Army arrived in Korea. That gave Chung ample time and space to bring us into Ji-Ah’s world, and the actress was compelling in every moment. Just watching Chung’s face as Ji-Ah viewed Meet Me in St. Louis was a master class in yearning: It’s been a while since we saw someone convey so much wonder, awe and longing without speaking a word.
As the episode unfolded and we learned Ji-Ah’s secret — she was actually a deadly fox spirit called a kumiho, who murders men during sex — Chung kept the storyline’s campier aspects at bay by sheer virtue of her deliberate, delicate acting choices. She was preternaturally still with grief and fear when the American soldiers rounded her up with her fellow Korean nurses. She nimbly balanced on the border between annoyed and interested when Atticus courted her at the hospital, Chung’s eyes going from scornful to spellbound and quickly back again, as if the nurse couldn’t help herself. And when Ji-Ah announced to her mother that the Black G.I. would be her 100th kill, the resolution in everything from the set of Chung’s shoulders to her flat affect made you know Ji-Ah meant it.
But then falling in love with Atticus meant that Ji-Ah didn’t go through with her plan to destroy him, and Chung’s full-fledged commitment to showing the character’s anguish over her choice was a gorgeous thing to witness. If you have a minute, rewatch Chung’s scene with Jonathan Majors outside the American camp: Ji-Ah is realizing there’s no escape from loving someone she should hate, Chung is crying and yelling yet drawing ever closer to Majors, and the actress is just so good at turning Ji-Ah’s torment into a thing of beauty.
HONORABLE MENTION | If you need further proof that Frenchie is The Boys‘ beating heart, look no further than Season 2’s sixth episode, which served as a tremendous showcase for his nimble portrayer Tomer Capon. Over the course of the flashback-heavy hour, we watched in multiple timelines as Frenchie confronted — and made peace with — both his guilty conscience and his archenemy Lamplighter. And through it all, Capon infused his alter ego’s deep-seeded, partially displaced fury with impressive nuance and authenticity. As he begged a gun-toting Colonel Mallory to spare Lamplighter’s life in the episode’s closing moments, arguing, “You cannot punish him as much as he punishes himself… trust me,” Capon reminded us that Frenchie’s limitless empathy is his superpower.
HONORABLE MENTION | Pleasures don’t come any guiltier than The Haves and the Have Nots’ queen of mean, Veronica, played just this side of camp by scene stealer Angela Robinson. And in Tuesday’s episode, she had an absolute field day with the unquenchable thirst trap as she invited dim-bulb pool boy Samuel to, ahem, “take a load off.” Subtle, Veronica ain’t! But as always, the actress saved her character from veering into caricature by offsetting her lust and cruelty with well-earned cynicism. When Veronica scoffed at Samuel’s insistence that he was happily married — “I always laugh when men say that,” she quipped, “because I know they’re lying” — Robinson’s smile betrayed a sadness that no young plaything could take away. Mind you, that didn’t make the vixen’s overtures any less wickedly amusing!
HONORABLE MENTION | It’d take a pretty remarkable performance to make us feel any sort of compassion for Utopia killing machine Arby — but that’s exactly what Christopher Denham managed to deliver as Episode 4 reached its deeply unsetting conclusion. Up until that point, Dr. Christie’s hitman didn’t have an accurate understanding of what it meant to be inhumane. What it ultimately took was the most inhumane action of all — killing a helpless child, who just so happened to look an awful lot like Arby, complete with his very own box of chocolate-covered raisins — to awaken the human deep inside this manipulated monster. At first, using only his body language, Denham conveyed Arby’s uncertainty. He trembled as he locked eyes with the boy. And after he took the shot, Denham managed to vocalize the asthmatic executioner’s shame and indignity with just one piercing scream. He took a reprehensible character and gave us reason to pity him, and that’s no small feat.
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!
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