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'Friday Night Lights,' 'Parenthood,' 'Private Practice' to be honored as 'Television with a Conscience.' Which shows changed you?

The Television Academy will honor eight programs this May for exemplifying “Television with a Conscience.” The fourth annual Television Academy Honors will single out Friday Night Lights‘ “I Can’t” episode for its handling of unwanted pregnancy; Parenthood‘s pilot for showing the impact of an Asperger’s diagnosis; Private Practice’s “Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King?” episode for its depiction of sexual assault, its aftermath and the long-term mental health effects that follow; The Big C’s “Taking the Plunge” episode for exploring the transition from denial to acceptance of living with life-threatening cancer; Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution for its movement to reduce childhood obesity; the Morgan Freeman-narrated documentary The 16th Man for educating viewers on how Nelson Mandela used the sport of rugby and the 1995 Rugby World Cup title to help heal South Africa; the documentary Wartorn 1861-2010, executive produced by James Gandolfini, for its chronicling of the lingering effects of combat and post-traumatic stress on military personnel and their families throughout American history; and The Oprah Winfrey Show‘s self-explanatory “Two-Day Oprah Show Event: 200 Adult Men Who Were Molested Come Forward.”

Thinking back, what would you have wanted to receive this honor had it existed before 2008? The first thing that came to my mind was “The Runaway” episode of The Fact of Life, which I’ve embedded after the jump for anyone who wants to see Tootie nearly be tricked into becoming a teen prostitute.  READ FULL STORY

Blake Lively is a mystery. Plus: What's your pick-me-up song?

When I started reading this WWD interview with Blake Lively, I assumed the thing I would find most fascinating was Karl Lagerfeld’s brilliant decision to photograph her from the side so the focus would be on the Chanel Mademoiselle handbag she was modeling and not her famous womanly curves. But then I got to the third paragraph and read this: “I’ve just always believed you should put a lot of positive out there… When I have bad days, I just eat lots of chocolate ice cream and dance to the Lion King soundtrack. It’s really odd, but it’s true.” Shockingly, the writer, who joined Lively at a dinner hosted by Lagerfeld, did not follow up: Is she talking interpretative dance to “Circle of Life” or simply goofing off to “Hakuna Matata”?

What’s your go-to pick me up song? I’m partial to the Cure’s “Mint Car” myself.

PopWatch Confessional: The song you can't bear to hear because it reminds you of high school mortification?

I recently purchased En Vogue’s “Hold On” off iTunes for $0.69. It played on my iPod for the first time this morning during my commute, and I had to shut it off immediately. I had a flashback to a high school dance marathon, and more specifically, to three friends and I “performing” that song in a lip-synch contest. We had our own choreography, but the only move I actually remember — one hand to forehead, one hand on waist, and step with hip roll — we did steal from the video, embedded below. Naturally, I need to hear your horror stories so I know I’m not alone. What song can’t you bear to listen to because it reminds you of high school mortification?  READ FULL STORY

Charlie Sheen on Twitter: Why I can't stop reading

I am senselessly fascinated by Charlie Sheen’s Twitter account. I know it’s bad — bad for me, bad for society, bad for the human race. And I pride myself on having somewhat good taste. In my spare time, I enjoy reading the first 100 pages of presidential biographies, and listening to classical music while falling asleep, and adding foreign films to my Netflix queue with every intention to watch them eventually. Also, not to make any moral judgements, but Sheen himself seems like a magnificent douche rocket. And yet I cannot turn away. I’m not the only one: On the heels of Sheen’s mega-rated 20/20 interview, the actor has already accumulated just over 1,001,000 followers as of the writing of this sentence. What are we reading, exactly, my brothers and sisters in the Sheen Twitter cult? READ FULL STORY

Cory Monteith saw 'Broken Arrow' 23 times in the theater. What's your record?

Cory-MonteithImage Credit: Everett Collection; Bob Charlotte/PR PhotosGlee star Cory Monteith has revealed that he saw the 1996 John Travolta movie Broken Arrow 23 times in the theater. “Me and one friend went over and over again and watched this movie. Sometimes we paid and sometimes we didn’t,” he tells Ellen DeGeneres on today’s show. “We would yell the lines of the movie at the screen, and people would be leaving and calling us names. When I met him [John Travolta] at the Super Bowl, I was like, ‘I have to tell you something. I saw Broken Arrow 23 times,’ which he was in with Christian Slater. And he was like, ‘Really, wow.’ He was super excited.” If you can’t remember this movie — and that was the goal for most who saw it — watch the trailer below. I recall despising Travolta’s performance when I watched it in theaters (though I did buy the movie’s soundtrack afterward), but viewing the preview now, I’m thinking my taste for the awesomely bad had just not yet been fully acquired. I think I need to revisit.

In the meantime, it’s time for you to confess: What movie have you seen the most times in the theater? If memory serves me correctly, my mother, sister, and I saw Dirty Dancing six times. (After that, I’ve just seen a number of films, including Waterworld, twice.) My colleague Kate Ward could have the best story ever: She saw Moulin Rouge! five times — and hated it the first three. What? “I actually saw it, walked out, then brought my dad to show him how awful it was, then brought my friends to show them how awful it was, and then, by viewing No. 4, realized I actually loved it,” she says. Your turn.   READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: 'Cars 2' toys are revving their engines, and I will hip-check you and your kid for first dibs

CARS-2Image Credit: DisneyDo you remember the thrill of anticipation when you raced through the aisles of a toy store to see if that one splendid piece of plastic you’d been obsessing over for weeks was waiting for you on a shelf? I certainly do, because I still feel it just about every time I’m in a toy store, a Target, or even the local food store. For I am, and have always been a collector — of Matchbox cars, of baseball cards, of music CDs, and now, as the father of a 5-year-old boy, of die-cast cars from the the Pixar film, Cars. I’m not certain how many little $3.99 vehicles we have in our home, but I can confirm that we have at least six different versions of Lightning McQueen. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: What's your stupidest and/or most dangerous distraction story?

Growing up, I remember my father always saying, “You need to be entertained 24 hours a day.” For the record, this was usually uttered on long car trips during which he refused to play the radio, looked in the rearview mirror, and saw me in the backseat wearing headphones. Today, however, entertainment can be a dangerous distraction, as we’ve been reminded in two recent viral videos — the woman who walked and texted and fell into a shopping mall fountain (or as ABC News put it, took a “digital dunk”) and, worse, the 10-year-old boy so engrossed in his video game that he walked right off the subway platform in Milan and fell onto the tracks (luckily an off-duty police officer standing nearby immediately jumped down and rescued him because the next train was due in under a minute). You can watch footage of the latter event below. We can watch these videos now because we know the victims are fine (at least physically). What is the stupidest and/or most dangerous thing a pop culture distraction has made you do? READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: What's the stupidest game you and your friends have ever made up to entertain yourselves?

cougar-townPeople think Cougar Town is about adults who drink wine. They’re half right: It’s about adults who drink wine and make up stupid games to entertain themselves. Penny Can is the go-to, but last night’s game of custom hide-and-seek (pictured) is another instant classic. I know I enjoy wine as much as these lushes, so I started wondering if I’d be as playful if I lived in a cul-de-sac with my best friends and rarely had to work. I think so. I few years ago, a few friends and I visited a former colleague who’d moved to a different city. We wanted to stay in, and drink, and we somehow came up with the game PERV. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Confessional: Your final playlist?

out-of-africaImage Credit: Everett CollectionRecently, I was listening to “I Had a Farm in Africa,” the main theme from Out of Africa, and when it hit that sweeping chorus, I got the feeling that the notes actually know how beautiful they sound and are grateful for having been put in that order. The more I played it, the more I started thinking that if the last sound I heard on earth couldn’t be the voice of a loved one, that song — from 1:10 on, on loop — would be a contender. Then I started wondering what other songs I’d want to hear, and spent far too many hours on public transportation debating my final playlist. See it below. Then share your own. Remember: These are songs for you, for whatever purpose you’d want them to serve. Nothing is too guilty, too cliché, or too sentimental. What 10 songs would you want to hear before you left this earth? Your list might surprise you. READ FULL STORY

Oprah ate 30 lbs. of mac and cheese after 'Beloved' flopped. What's your biggest mac and cheese moment?

Beloved-Oprah-WinfreyImage Credit: Everett CollectionWe’ve all had our bad days. We’ve all binged on something — food, shopping, Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathons — to pull us out of our funk. But what do you do if you’re the Most Powerful Woman In Media and your passion project feature film not only takes a major belly flop at the box office, but it gets beaten by the third Chucky sequel?

Apparently, you order up 30 lbs. of mac and cheese.  READ FULL STORY

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