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Pop the champagne, it's the one year anniversary of the Royal Wedding! How was pop culture royally influenced this year?

Dearly beloved PopWatchers, we are gathered here today on this joyous Sunday to commemorate the one year anniversary of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Exactly one year ago, all across the far reaches of the earth, we sat awestruck in front of our TV screens on that momentous Friday morning, and watched, mouths agape, tissues clutched, at the majestic union of love and commitment. Whether or not we could have predicted the pop culture impact that would follow the royal nuptials, let’s take a look back on what pop culture hath delivered to us this past year in light of the Royal Wedding:

My Little Royal Pony?
In most recent memory, royal festivities made their way to Equestria, where My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic‘s unicorn Princess Cadance declared her love for colt Shining Armor in the presence of all the ponies in the animated land. If you’re smirking, wipe that snarky look off your face, because this, my friends, was for real: The royal ponies advertised their nuptials in a New York Times announcement, informing the general populace that ponies from “Appleloosa, Galloping Gorge, Fillydelphia and even Manehattan” would be in attendance. So take that, braysayers.

READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Planner: 'Mad Men,' 'Game of Thrones,' and 'The Killing' return, and Spock beams down to 'The Big Bang Theory'

Judging by its record-setting opening weekend, the odds are ever more in your favor that you’ve seen The Hunger Games by now. Which means your schedule is that much more free to have it be overwhelmed by the DVR death-match looming next Sunday, when the second seasons of The Killing and Game of Thrones premiere, against the second episode of Mad Men‘s fifth season (and, oh right, there’s The Good Wife and The Amazing Race and The Simpsons and the final season of Desperate Housewives, too). It’ll be up to you to decide how the heck to navigate this scheduling minefield, but click here to see how EW TV critic Ken Tucker’s wading through it.

In between, Madonna’s newest studio album hits stores, Spock(‘s voice) comes to The Big Bang Theory, and Julia Roberts and Sam Worthington valiantly vie for second place against the Hunger Games juggernaut. But first things first, tonight marks the long-awaited, two-hour return of Mad Men. Enjoy your week!

SUNDAY, March 25
Mad Men season premiere — 9 p.m., AMC

We’ve waited 17 months, so the least Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger, and Pete can do is welcome us back with a two hour feast of gorgeous 1960s nostalgia and doleful glances into bottomless chasms of existential ennui, right?  READ FULL STORY

'Crazy, Stupid, Love,' 'Bridesmaids,' 'Modern Family,' '30 Rock,' lead Comedy Awards nominations

The nominations for the second annual Comedy Awards were announced today. Television series Modern Family and 30 Rock and films Bridesmaids and Crazy, Stupid, Love all lead the pack with five nominations apiece, while Louis C.K. also picked up five nods, three of which come from his FX series Louie.

Nominees for the awards were selected by the Comedy Awards Board of Directors, which include high-profile comedians like Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Carol Burnett, Ray Romano, Jon Stewart, and Lily Tomlin, according to Deadline. The Comedy Awards will be presented on April 28 in New York City and will air May 6 on Comedy Central. Choice nominees are below. The full list is available on the Awards’ official site. READ FULL STORY

'The Book of Mormon' wins a Grammy and cleans up Broadway box office

Joan Marcus

The Book of Mormon continues its clean-cut, white-shirted dominance of Broadway. Last night, the Tony-winning hit by Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez picked up a Grammy Award for best musical theater album (during the untelevised portion of the ceremony). Backstage, Parker said that he was gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response to the show — including by Mormons: “For some, it’s like their Fiddler on the Roof.”

And after topping the Broadway box office charts for the first time last week, Mormon slipped to second behind perennial powerhouse Wicked for the week ending Feb. 12. While Wicked raked in $1.509 million, Mormon broke yet another house record at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre with $1.485 million. That’s quite an achievement considering that the O’Neill seats only 1,066 people, far less than the theaters hosting such behemoth hits as Wicked (1,809 seats), Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark (1,930 seats), and The Lion King (1,677 seats).

Speaking of records, there was no box-office bump for Phantom of the Opera even as that Main Stem mainstay reached its record 10,000th performance on Saturday. Earnings dipped slightly to $638,467 for the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic that has grossed $875 million since its 1988 Broadway premiere.

Standing on the shoulders of f--ing giants: 'Modern Family' and the TV obscenity that paved its way

modern-family-lily

Modern Family was the most recent TV show to stir up controversy last night when 2-year-old Lily horrified her parents (and the Parents Television Council) by learning her first four-letter word (rhymes with “muck”). With those four letters, Modern Family joined a long tradition of small-screen swearing. In 1972, comedian George Carlin put forth a treatise called “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” Now, 40 years later, how many of those prohibitions have held up? READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: TV stars occupy NYC’s theater scene, 'Bonnie & Clyde' shoots and misses

What do Alan Cumming, Josh Radnor, Michael Urie, and Jim Parsons have in common besides appearing on TV? They are all returning to the stage within the next year. The Good Wife’s Cumming (who earned a Tony in 1998 for playing Cabaret’s Master of Ceremonies) announced this week that he’s bringing his one-man Macbeth to the Lincoln Center Festival in July. How I Met Your Mother’s Radnor spoke out about his voice preparations for singing in next Monday’s She Loves Me benefit at the Roundabout. Ugly Betty’s Urie revealed that he’s stepping in to How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the end of January.  And The Big Bang Theory’s Parsons signed on to play the lead in next season’s Harvey revival.

They’re not the only TV stalwarts currently in the limelight: READ FULL STORY

'The Book of Mormon' is in the black

Producers of  The Book of Mormon announced today that the Tony-winning hit musical has earned back its initial investment. What does that mean? It’s profit time, baby. Mormon—which is believed to have cost around $9 million to produce and $600,000 per week to stage—has been earning an average of $1.1 million weekly since it opened last March. Its total earnings are now upwards of $45 million dollars, thanks in part to an airline-style differential pricing policy that enables producers to charge top dollar for seats based on availability.

Some more Mormon numbers: The show, created by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone with Avenue Q‘s Robert Lopez, has had 310 performances as of Sunday. It’s sold more than 338,000 tickets so far and broken 22 house records at the relatively modest-sized Eugene O’Neill Theatre—which hosted fellow Tony winners Nine and Spring Awakening, as well as The Full Monty. It’s the fourth-highest-grossing Broadway musical this year (behind Wicked, The Lion King, and Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark). Average ticket price: $134.35. Highest ticket price: $470. Getting in to see it: priceless.

'South Park' tries to go for laughs with the Penn State scandal -- VIDEO

South Park wasted no time in getting around to the sexual abuse scandal which has shaken the foundation of Penn State to its core. But the questions synonymous with Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s button-pushing series — “Too soon?” and “Did they go too far this time?” — will no doubt be asked again after last night’s episode.

The episode, titled “The Poor Kid,” featured (a still alive) Kenny and his siblings being taken out of their parents custody when they got in trouble with the law. (All together now: Simpsons did it!) But South Park dared to cross the line once again and attempted to make the decidedly unfunny Penn State scandal funny by skewering the very people who attempt to make light of the horrific news. In this case, it was the kids’ social worker, a wildly inappropriate jokester named Mr. Adams. READ FULL STORY

Three more seasons of 'South Park'? The future just got a little bit more hilarious.

These are trying times, PopWatchers. The economy is still in disarray, there’s no pro basketball, and Courtney Stodden exists, technically, as a real human person. Thankfully, South Park is still around to skewer the hell out of the increasingly maddening world around us with their effortlessly blended brand of genius and juvenile humor. (This season alone, the animated series has parodied the Occupy Wall Street movement, challenged the hysteria surrounding the Royal Wedding, and taken aim at U.S. border patrol.)

The news was announced today that South Park has been renewed for an additional three seasons, ensuring that they’ll run all the way until 2016 to their 20th season. With the concerns of whether or not Matt Parker and Trey Stone would return as far back in our minds as Towelie, fans can only ponder, what now? What can we look forward to in the South Park arsenal in the coming years? READ FULL STORY

'South Park' skewers Broadway: Too late or right on the money?

Before their brilliantly un-PC musical Book of Mormon opened on Broadway and transformed them into Tony winners, co-authors Trey Parker and Matt Stone paid a visit to The Late Show with David Letterman. While there, Letterman joked to the duo about their show, “I think I just heard Eugene O’Neill turn over in his grave.” (Funnily enough, that sound bite has been used as a selling point in ads for the sold-out-until-the-end-of-time show.)

Of course, if their deliriously offensive musical didn’t make O’Neill do that yet, last night’s South Park probably did. The Broadway-themed episode — titled “Broadway Bro-Down,” which was co-written by Parker and Stone’s Book of Mormon collaborator Robert Lopez — suggested that not only do the toe-tapping shows we all know and love have subtext that makes women, er, perform for their dates, but that said shows are written by a bunch of high-fiving, beer-guzzling chauvinists. Those chauvinists being Broadway legends like Stephen Sondheim, Elton John, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. READ FULL STORY

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