Summary of “The 25 most important characters of the past 25 years, from movies, TV, books, comics, video games, theater, tweets, and more.”

Pixelatedboat aka “Mr tweets” June 12, 2016 Milkshake Duck, Ward’s imagined character representing how swiftly the internet can make a star and then unmask them as reprehensible, isn’t as fleshed out as some of Twitter’s other characters.
While the bird is not the only recent pop culture figure to enter the lexicon-Eminem’s “Stan,” for example, gave us a noun and a verb-no other character may have better or more usefully distilled the life cycles of our internet-driven era.
Thomas Jefferson, from Hamilton While Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, Billboard chart-topping musical may have helped restore its title character’s place on the $10 bill and in many Americans’ hearts, it threatens to make an even more dramatic impact on the way we remember his nemesis in George Washington’s Cabinet, redefining Jefferson in the cultural imagination as a villain.
As the first major Hollywood series headed by Asian protagonists, it expanded what the archetypal cinematic stoner looked like, then took the role into even more bizarre directions, with characters romancing giant bags of weed and sharing joints with George W. Bush.
The company’s characters have also reflected the child-focused evolution of modern parenting, from the debate over exceptionalism that illuminates the Incredibles movies to the explorations of independence and disability at the center of Finding Nemo and Finding Dory.
No Pixar character has taught American families more than Inside Out’s Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith.
Willow Rosenberg, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer If an infallible computer ingested all of teen and nerd culture, it could not spit out a character more perfectly designed to be fiercely beloved than Willow.
While Fey couldn’t stop the would-be veep from cracking open the Pandora’s box of our current nightmarish, reality-show politics, the character, too, remains influential: More than a decade later, SNL’s arms race of celebrity cameos to portray Trumpworld figures feels like an increasingly desperate attempt to recapture her lightning in a bottle.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Chinese Characters Are Futuristic and the Alphabet Is Old News”

He’s a historian of modern China and we’re perusing his exhibit of Chinese typewriters and keyboards, the curation of which has led Mullaney to the conclusion that China is rising ahead technologically while the West falls behind, clinging to its QWERTY keyboard.
How do you send a telegram or use a typewriter with all those characters? How do you even communicate with the modern world? If you’re a Cambridge-educated classicist enamored with the Greeks, you might just conclude Chinese script is “Archaic.” Long live the alphabet.
“It doesn’t make use of a computer’s processing power and memory and the cheapening thereof.” Type “a” on a QWERTY keyboard hooked up to a Chinese computer, on the other hand, and the computer is off anticipating the next characters.
Mullaney calls Chinese typists “Code conscious.” Dozens of ways to input Chinese now exist, but the Western world mostly remains stuck typing letter-by-letter on a computer keyboard, without taking full advantage of software-augmented shortcuts.
It’s China’s awkward history with the telegraph and the typewriter, argues Mullaney, that primed Chinese speakers to take full advantage of software when it came along-to the point where it’s now faster to input Chinese than English.
The idea of choosing characters by inputting an abstract code was part of Chinese technology from the start.
Different input methods require different ways of thinking about Chinese characters.
For reference, common Chinese characters are made up of nine strokes on average.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The “SpongeBob Squarepants” cast dives deep: On their iconic roles and humanity under the sea”

Salon spoke with the cast of “SpongeBob Squarepants” to describe what makes this silly sea show so enduring.
The main characters of the hit TV show “SpongeBob Squarepants” may be a bunch of fish – technically a sea sponge, starfish, cephalopod, crustacean, phytoplankton and squirrel, to be exact – but the key to the show’s enduring success could very well be that, for all of their silly underwater antics, the population of Bikini Bottom is endearingly human.
There is a scene in “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” the 20th anniversary special for the show that premieres on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, which plays with the underlying humanity of SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, Plankton and Mr. Krabs in a particularly clever way.
Rodger Bumpass, who voices the curmudgeonly Squidward Tentacles, observed how fans identify with the character’s existential malaise – how, in effect, they first identify with SpongeBob as children, and then with his cranky character as adults.
“There’s a passage of time that people go through coming into young adulthood – and that really is where people tell me, when I go to conventions and stuff – that when they were young they associated and identified with SpongeBob because of his youthful playfulness and innocence, and then as they get to be adults and learn what the real world is like, and for a lot of people, that’s a traumatic passage of time,” Bumpass told Salon, who speculated that a lot of young people struggle with “This adult thing” once they reach a certain age.
With 20 years under its belt, it’s difficult to imagine where SpongeBob Squarepants will go from here.
Of course, like other classic animated TV shows such as Looney Tunes, the likelihood is that “SpongeBob Squarepants” will stick with its floating timeline and allow things to remain in their status quo forever – with SpongeBob manning the grill at the Krusty Krab, Squidward muttering to himself behind the cash register, Mr. Krabs in the back counting his money, Plankton scheming and figuratively face-planting each time, Patrick sleeping under his rock, Sandy getting into adventures and saving the day.
“Some shows focus on the childlike aspect of SpongeBob and things they can do by fooling around in the back of the classroom or whatever, or getting bullied by Flats the Flounder. Or sometimes, like you said, it’s more about ‘Midlife Crustacean’ where it’s about other, more adult concerns.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Seinfeld at 30: 5 ways the “show about nothing” changed television”

Its pilot, “The Seinfeld Chronicles,” aired that evening in 1989, but the show wouldn’t return for nearly a full year – its second episode didn’t air until May of 1990.
1) Seinfeld changed the way sitcom stories are written It’s not terribly exciting to think about television in terms of its story structure – the combination of plot developments, scenes, and raw dramatic beats that make up any given episode of TV – but Seinfeld’s impact on television comedy is actually most pronounced in this arena.
The best Seinfeld episodes are marvels of story structure, with jokes and storylines dovetailing and tucking into each other in ways that can be as thrilling as any twist in a plot-heavy drama.
Not every show uses the Seinfeld structure, but the series gave other shows the option of pursuing far more than the typical two stories per episode.
Even a short year before Seinfeld debuted, a show like Murphy Brown had to essentially center everything on the fact that its protagonist was a single woman making her way through her life and work.
4) Seinfeld predicted the growing whiteness of network television Little of this is Seinfeld’s fault; television’s whiteness has far more to do with the Clinton-era repeal of the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules.
NBC actually forced creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David to make the show a multi-camera, but once the two were committed to doing so, they essentially broke all of the established rules of how multi-camera sitcoms worked, twisting and bending them so far that the multi-camera sitcom had essentially nowhere else to go if writers wanted to continue to innovate.
The longer Seinfeld ran, the more single-camera sequences Seinfeld and David inserted into the action.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Mark Hamill Became Most Sought-After Villainous Voice in Hollywood”

At the end of shooting Child’s Play, Lars Klevberg wrote Mark Hamill a letter.
Luke Skywalker is far from the only memorable character Hamill has played.
Hamill is one of the best, most prolific voice actors in the world.
Post Star Wars, Hamill could no longer disappear into live-action roles.
Hamill has said that he told his agent that he’d be up for playing one of the comic’s lesser-known villains.
“In animation, there’s an anonymity involved,” Hamill told The AV Club in 2011.
Since the ’90s, Hamill has reprised his role as the Joker many times over in movies, TV shows, and video games.
If there’s anyone whose presence could convince you to leave your house to see the reboot in the theater, it’s Mark Hamill.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Phoebe Waller-Bridge Interview On ‘Bond 25′ & ‘Fleabag’ Season 2 – Deadline”

It’s a gloomy Monday afternoon in Westwood and Phoebe Waller-Bridge is wrapping up Deadline’s cover shoot.
Only one woman in Bond history has ever been credited on a script-Johanna Harwood, for the first two entries, Dr. No in 1962 and From Russia with Love in 1963-and the franchise that has historically favored damsels in distress, doomed-to-die seductresses and catsuit-clad villains will surely benefit from a Waller-Bridge tune-up.
While Fleabag’s first season featured some nameless men with titles like The Hot Misogynist, that was, Waller-Bridge points out, about the Fleabag character’s own flawed tendency to reduce people.
Once Waller-Bridge did get stuck into writing, she developed a kind of quasi-system to make sure each scene was uncomfortable, gripping and compelling; to show her characters’ width and breadth.
For Waller-Bridge, Fleabag’s constant breaking of the fourth wall, where she directly addresses the viewer like a co-conspirator, had been the story of the show, and that story had been over at the end of Season 1, when Fleabag pushes the camera away, effectively ending the conversation.
Taking over from Fennell as showrunner for Eve Season 3 is Suzanne Heathcote, who, in the early 2000s, worked with Waller-Bridge and Jones on those writers’ nights above that London pub.
Fleabag the play, born in Waller-Bridge’s early years, spread its wings in 2013 at the Edinburgh Festival where it became a surprise breakout hit, then this year landed off-Broadway for what was meant to be its last ever run.
So how will Waller-Bridge follow up Fleabag, the one-woman play that not only morphed into one of Britain’s most important comedies, but became a smash hit in the U.S.? Rather biblically, the answer came in a dream the very same night she wrapped Season 2.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Dark Phoenix’: How the X-Men’s Magneto Became Jewish”

More than anyone else, one man was responsible for this change: a Jewish boy with the distinctly Gentile-sounding name of Chris Claremont.
Geeks of the world: Chris Claremont is Jewish.
Claremont used Israel as a backdrop for his stories on a number of occasions and introduced a variety of fascinating Jewish characters, including the iconic teenage recruit to the team, Kitty Pryde, as well as Israeli Jews like Holocaust survivor and diplomat Gabrielle Haller and her massively superpowered child David Haller, a.k.a. Legion.
In Claremont’s eyes, there was potential for Magneto’s future there, if only he could surmount one obstacle: a somewhat bizarre, pre-Claremont story that ended with Magneto de-aged to the point of a baby.
“We wanted to reenergize Magneto and redefine him in a way that made him a more credible adversary, but also a more credible person, in the same way that we embarked on doing that with the new team,” Claremont says.
In Claremont’s recollection, the next step was “Essentially sitting down and figuring out the who, what, where, when, and most especially the why of his life and his origin.” It had already been established in previous comics that Xavier had fought in the Korean War and was roughly the same age as Magneto.
Throughout Claremont’s run, it was never made explicit that Magneto was Jewish.
Decades on, Claremont has a larger problem with how the cinematic adaptations, capped off by Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix, shook out: He says the films didn’t focus enough on the kids.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Does reading fiction make us better people?”

Every day more than 1.8 million books are sold in the US and another half a million books are sold in the UK. Despite all the other easy distractions available to us today, there’s no doubt that many people still love reading.
With all this practise in empathising with other people through reading, you would think it would be possible to demonstrate that those who read fiction have better social skills than those who read mostly non-fiction or don’t read at all.
The number of writers people have heard of turns out to be a good proxy for how much they actually read. Next, Oatley’s team gave people the “Mind in the Eyes” test, where you are given a series of photographs of pairs of eyes.
At the Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab, psychologist Diana Tamir has demonstrated that people who often read fiction have better social cognition.
People who read novels appear to be better than average at reading other people’s emotions, but does that necessarily make them better people? To test this, researchers at used a method many a psychology student has tried at some point, where you “Accidentally” drop a bunch of pens on the floor and then see who offers to help you gather them up.
There is always the possibility that in real life, people who are more empathic in the first place are more interested in other people’s interior lives and that this interest draws them towards reading fiction.
So the research shows that perhaps reading fiction does make people behave better.
At the University of California Irvine, for example, Johanna Shapiro from the Department of Family Medicine firmly believes that reading fiction results in better doctors and has led the establishment of a humanities programme to train medical students.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How games conquered the movies – TechCrunch”

Worldbuilding has long been a first-class citizen in video and tabletop role-playing games; now it has graduated to movies as well.
Speaking of role-playing games, ensemble-cast movies are more and more like them as well.
Consider the Fast and Furious movies, or Game of Thrones.
Each has a core group who are clearly the “Player characters,” as well as disposable villains and extras who are “NPCs.” Each starts with the characters at a relatively low level of skill/power, and over the course of the series grow to worldshaking might.
In Game of Thrones we watch Arya become a high-level assassin before our eyes, and Jon Snow happens to become one of the deadliest swordsmen in all of Westeros, casually dispatching dozens of enemies, often several simultaneously, while rarely even breaking a sweat, because – well, there’s no real reason for it, other than that’s what happens to player characters, isn’t it? They level up and become the best.
It would be a shame if the only kind of action movie we ever saw from here on in was the stylized un/hyperreality of John Wick – but similarly it would be a shame if Hollywood had never made those movies on the grounds they were too brutally unrealistic.
Ultimately, video games have expanded Hollywood’s possibility space, and to my mind that’s always a good thing.
Is it a universal rule that when technology introduces a new medium of storytelling, old media soon adopts the new medium’s styles and tropes? Did plays become more like novels after Don Quixote? Did radio become more like television after TV was introduced? And if/when we figure out the most compelling structure(s) for AR/VR storytelling, will video games become more like that? It seems fairly inevitable to me that the answer is yes.

The orginal article.