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Ben McKenzie talks young fame on 'The O.C.': 'Of course you make mistakes'

Ten years after The O.C. became nothing short of a phenomenon, fans are still dying to know what went on behind the scenes. Who let the fame get to their head? Was the set full of bagels, bikinis, and good times? And after Tate Donovan spoke to Vulture back in August about how some of the show’s young stars became “very tough to work with,” more rumors started swirling. Luckily, one of those “young stars” has now offered a bit of perspective from his years spent brooding, punching people, and stealing our hearts.

Ben McKenzie, who of course played Ryan Atwood on the hit show, recently went on the Nerdist podcast Making It With Riki Lindhome, where he talked about everything from growing up in Texas to the “whirlwind” that was The O.C.

After being cast “with maybe like a week or two” before the pilot was shot, McKenzie was quite literally thrown into the world of Josh Schwartz’s Orange County. “We wrapped on Friday, and we were picked up on Monday,” he tells Lindhome. “They started building sets, and we were on the air in August … and we did 27 episodes our first year.” As Luke so elegantly put it 10 years ago: Welcome to The O.C., bitch.

Adapt This! Pulp's 'Common People'


There’s nothing new under the sun — but somehow, these awesome properties have never been adapted for screens big or small. Psst, Hollywood: Let’s change that.

It’s the plot of Titanic. And The Notebook. And Aladdin. Also, Good Will HuntingPirates of the Caribbean, Wild at Heart, Say Anything, A Knight’s Tale, Atonement, The Great Gatsby, The Princess Bride and thousands of other stories that we’ve seen and read time and time again.

She’s rich (and beautiful). He’s poor (and beautiful). And he worships the privileged ground she walks on. Obviously they must end up together.You’d think that all love stories were really about class.

Because what’s more appealing than a tale of a scrappy, devilishly handsome fellow from the wrong side of the tracks who lusts after the privileged, sheltered beauty raised with silver spoons and gold forks and strands of pearls and eventually wins her pretty little heart?  No, not a reverse gender take. We’ve seen that a million times too. (Hi, Love Story, Pretty Woman, Maid in Manhattan, etc.)

Maybe what we need is a devilishly handsome fellow from the wrong side of the tracks who realizes that the privileged, sheltered beauty raised with silver spoons and gold forks and strands of pearls was full of sh-t? That’s why we should adapt Pulp’s “Common People.” Here’s my modest proposal.


Swedish cinemas give movies a 'Bechdel' rating: Good idea?


We all know the Bechdel Test by now, right? Well, if not, it’s cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s three-pronged test to judge female characters in movies. Do more than two female characters have a name? Do they speak to each other? And, if the two named female characters have a conversation, is it about something other than a man?

But the “test” has basically only existed as a discussion point that we blog about occasionally as we wax poetic on the state of substantive roles for women. A few Swedish art house theaters would like to change that.

'Supernatural' recap: Dog daze

What do Sam and Dean do when their best witness in a case is a big, fluffy German Shepherd named The Colonel? Well, in the past, they would have been up a creek. But, these days, they’re armed with all sorts of Men of Letters tricks so, naturally, they found a way to talk to the dog.

In this case, it was Dean who took the hit and drank a hairy potion so he could communicate with animals, and the side effects were nothing short of hilarious. READ FULL STORY

Should 'Scandal' incoporate Kerry Washington's pregnancy into the story? A pro/con list

Oh, Scandal, how are you going to #handle this one?

On Wednesday, Scandal leading lady/upcoming SNL host Kerry Washington announced that she is expecting her first child with husband Nnamdi Asomugha. As expected, Shondaland is being tight-lipped about how they’re going to deal with the situation on-screen, which means we’re going to have to quell our curiosities with speculation for now.

Will they do the How I Met Your Mother-style hide-the-belly? Pull a Bones? Who knows! But we certainly have some thoughts, organized in a very Type A personality-way, because we think Olivia Pope would appreciate that. READ FULL STORY

Have 'Vampire Diaries,' other supernatural shows made TV deaths boring?

(Spoilers ahead for a slew of television shows; proceed with caution!)

A television show represents a fictional world, an escape from the drama that surrounds us in our real lives. Instead of dealing with our relationship problems, we discuss which brother Elena Gilbert should choose on The Vampire Diaries. And instead of reflecting on our own issues, we get lost in Walter White’s downfall or Olivia Pope’s family drama. Typically, these fictional worlds represent a more extreme universe than the one in which we live, and therefore a more exciting one. Most of us don’t have a meth cartel breathing down our necks or a father who runs a secret government spy organization. So every week, we turn on our televisions, and we put aside our boring drama to see what’s going to happen next to our fictional best friends, many of whom we invest real emotion in. And that’s the very reason why killing a main character leaves such an impact on viewers, because in a very real way, we lose a best friend (or at the very least, a piece of eye candy), and we then have to watch as our other friends grieve.

No, it’s not comparable to losing someone in real life, but killing a main character is still the most upsetting, most powerful card a show can play. Character deaths and the impact they leave, if done right, can lead to some of the best moments in television history. And there’s a variety of ways a show can make that mark. It can catch you by surprise and have a schizophrenic patient take the life of a young doctor, like when E.R. lost its beloved Lucy, or it can have a car accident ruin everything, much like Downton Abbey did with Matthew or The O.C. did with Marissa. Or a character can be taken from us by force (see Game of Thrones‘ Red Wedding or The Sopranos‘ Adriana). Then you have the longer, more drawn-out goodbyes. The character who gets cancer and says farewell to everyone they love, much like Jen on Dawson’s Creek or Bobby’s hospital goodbye on NYPD Blue after his body rejected a heart transplant.

If none of those work, there’s the character who sacrifices their own life to save the life of another, much like Charlie on Lost or George on Grey’s Anatomy. And don’t forget the deaths that appear as if from nowhere — the bat to the back of the head that killed Southland‘s Nate or the grocery store robbery that took Simon on The West Wing. No matter how a character is killed, the event and its aftermath greatly affect the formula of the show, not to mention the viewers’ emotional state. So what happens when the element of death is eliminated? How is a show affected when it loses the greatest trick up its sleeve?

Battle of the in-flight safety videos: Virgin's hip-hop vs. Delta's holidays -- VIDEO


Okay, so in-flight airline safety video battles are a thing now.

Virgin America today released its new Jon Chu-directed safety video, a sleek and stylish (not to mention incredibly catchy) production number that stars Todrick Hall (the brilliant mind responsible for yesterday’s viral Disney villain mash-up) as a hoofing flight attendant who delivers safety tips — with flair! All your favorite emergency instructions are there, including Oxygen Mask, Flotation Device, and the ever-controversial Electronics Power-Down. Also included in Virgin’s great video: an insane child rapper, a belting nun, a contortionist in the middle seat, and enough choreography to make Adam Shankman cry.

Netflix to launch original movies -- but will they be successful?

After the success of its original series House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, Netflix has now decided its next move. In the company’s Q3 Earnings Interview, CEO Reed Hastings, CFO David Wells, and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos confirmed that the company will add original movies to its résumé, doubling its spending on original projects in 2014.

Netflix is already looking at several documentaries, but according to Sarandos, documentaries aren’t the only thing they’re interested in: “On the movie side, I’d keep my mind wide open to what those films would be and what they would look like,” Sarandos said. “And really the driver of it is, like we were able to break convention on television by offering all episodes at once, something that consumers have really loved, we’d like to do more of that in the movie space, in that today we’re held to the traditional pay television model, meaning the movies are not coming to Netflix until they hit pay television, almost a year after they are in theaters. Even though that window is moving, I don’t know that it’s moving aggressively enough for people who really do have experience more in a demand or more on-demand lifestyle around their content. So I think that the more we could be aggressive with windowing by taking more control over the content earlier in the process, that would be good for our members.”

But after launching two successful television series, is now the time for Netflix to be expanding into more original content? Will the formula that made House of Cards successful apply to films? We’re not sure.

'Homeland' poll: Are you on board with Season 3?

[Spoiler alert!]

Sunday night’s Homeland revealed a shocking twist that seemingly solved all of season 3’s problems: By revealing that Saul and Carrie are working together to hunt Javadi, the show not only explained Saul’s motive for tossing Carrie under the bus but also outlined why Carrie has been trapped in a mental hospital for the past several episodes. By the end of “Game On,” Saul and Carrie looked ready to make their next move.


Dear 'Revenge': What is a love rhombus? PopWatch investigates!

When a colleague came over earlier today and asked if I’d seen last night’s Revenge promos teasing a “love rumpus,” I thought to myself, “That’s ridiculous and brilliant, and I have no idea what it means. Also, people don’t use the word ‘rumpus’ enough.” But after re-watching the promos, I realized what they were getting at: Emily Thorne is deciding amongst (not between — that implies two) three elligible men, including her fiance, her ex, and her true love. Spoiler: They’re all smokin’ hot.

I went back to my colleague and explained my discovery, which caused us to watch the promo for a third time. That’s when we finally understood that it wasn’t talking about “the Hamptons’ hottest love rumpus” — it was talking about “the Hamptons’ hottest love rhombus.”


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