Summary of “How SpongeBob SquarePants came to life on Broadway”

SpongeBob SquarePants, of the 18-year-old Nickelodeon cartoon, is a talking yellow kitchen sponge with a head that takes up more than two-thirds of his body.
This is all just to say, for designer David Zinn, when it came to bringing SpongeBob SquarePants to the stage, the question of the pineapple under the sea turned out to be the least of his problems.
SpongeBob SquarePants debuted on Broadway on December 4, at the Palace Theatre.
“You’re doing SpongeBob SquarePants, so at some point, you kind of have to use a kitchen sponge,” he said; for one backdrop, in an opening scene, he wound up using more than 4,000.
SpongeBob came with its own bizarre constraints.
In the end, it was less a matter of dressing up like SpongeBob than finding a way to transmit SpongeBob’s essence.
The earliest SpongeBob SquarePants workshops included actors, designers, a Foley artist, a choreographer, and a clowning expert.
If cartoons succeed by surprising a viewer with all in the world that is not possible, then this real-life version of SpongeBob SquarePants similarly surprises with all the things that are.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Most Influential TV Show of 2017”

What Big Little Lies can be credited with is breaking any previous record for Most Star Power in a Given TV Project by an order of magnitude.
Big Little Lies did have a marquee writer in David E. Kelley, the procedural don behind Ally McBeal and Boston Legal, but it was a showcase for actors first, big names whose participation grabbed viewers’ attention and, crucially, held it once they tuned in.
Before Big Little Lies, star-driven TV was a collection of Deadline articles.
It is important to say: Big Little Lies would not be the future of television if the show hadn’t been such a creative and commercial success; it’s worth establishing why and how that success came to be.
For nearly two months in late winter, typically a TV dead zone following the January midseason gold rush, Big Little Lies resurrected an experience that is almost extinct in the binge-watching era: the weekly time-stopping and note-trading that comes with following a show as opposed to merely consuming it.
Big Little Lies showed that the binary between melodrama and gravitas was always a false choice-that Celeste’s quiet woundedness and Madeline’s ferocious kind existed on the same spectrum, or that genuine horrors could come to light at an Audrey-and-Elvis-themed trivia night.
Before and after the actors’ on-screen chemistry as a pair of best friends helped make Big Little Lies a sensation, their off-screen collaboration worked to assemble, then sell the show.
Big Little Lies has set the tone for the phenomenon to come, and it provides a useful opportunity to take stock of that phenomenon before it becomes as ubiquitous as terms like “Prestige” or “Antihero.” Even if the Big Little Lies template doesn’t change the face of TV, it still offers a new direction for TV to grow into and explore.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Best TV Shows of 2017”

To read about what this year’s television shows meant to 2017, see Alison Herman’s accompanying year-end essay.
BoJack Horseman BoJack is often reduced to its de facto logline of “Depressed talking-horse show,” but I find that Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s animated dramedy is simply about what it’s like to be a person.
As always, BoJack found a way to articulate abstract and elemental anxieties-What if you know a relationship is good for you but still can’t make it work? What if you’ve staked your sense of self on independence, but need help anyway?-by rendering them in candy-colored 2-D. BoJack is a thoughtful show on every level, from tightly crafted episodes to the slow-but-steady progression of its characters’ spiritual journey.
Riverdale Sometimes, one must apply the KonMari principle to list-making: Does this show bring me joy? Minute for minute, no show on television brought me more joy this year than the CW’s knowingly absurd Archie adaptation, a power-clash of a show that brings together ’50s aesthetics, ’80s teen drama, and a thoroughly contemporary sense of irony and camp.
The plot can be messy, the character development inconsistent, the disregard for typical teen show bread and butter blatant.
The Keepers A confession: Excellent though it might have been, I wouldn’t have predicted Netflix’s true crime series landing in my top shows of the year when it arrived on the streaming service this May. But as sexual violence and its insidious systemic roots in some of our most prominent institutions began to dominate the news this fall, my thoughts kept returning to the television show that conveyed the problem more powerfully and empathetically than any other work in 2017.
In the process, the show achieved a near-miraculous balance.
Ambiguous endings can feel like an infuriating cop-out, but The Leftovers-in which grieving mother Nora Durst may or may not have discovered where the 2 percent of humanity who vanished into thin air actually went-felt perfectly in line with the show’s exploration of belief’s psychological power.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Matt Lauer’s Firing and NBC’s Theatre of Accountability”

If, on Wednesday morning, you had risen early enough and rejoined the torrid, infinite march that is Twitter, you might have first learned of NBC’s termination of its morning-news lodestar, Matt Lauer, through neutral channels.
At 6:52 A.M., the Times’s media columnist, Jim Rutenberg, tweeted, “BREAK: NBC Matt Lauer fired, inappropriate workplace behavior. . . story to come.” But, at 7 A.M., the “Today in New York” warmup ended, the friendly corporate bells chimed, and the “Today” show, as it has since 1952, started.
Stills of Lauer-bespectacled and reviewing notes in one, professorially inquisitive in another-crossed the screen as the voice of his co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, announced the breaking news that Lauer’s employment had been terminated overnight, after an employee had come forward on Monday “Reporting behavior in violation of our company’s standards.” Guthrie’s voice trembled as the camera captured the tableau-Guthrie and her guest co-anchor, Hoda Kotb, palpably sombre, the Popsicle-orange “Today” show logo floating between them.
The “Today” show’s artful transposition of grief where there would naturally be scrutiny continued into the 10 A.M. slot, in which the veteran host Kathie Lee Gifford spoke of how much she, too, loved Lauer and how sad she was.
On her final show, Curry wept and Lauer pretended to soothe her.
An ether of remorse already fogs the perception of Lauer’s ousting, though Lauer waited a day to issue a statement and in it said, “Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.” It seems likely that, at least when it comes to the fact of Lauer’s firing, Guthrie had truly been caught off guard.
The Times reported that NBC on Wednesday had received at least two more complaints from employees about Lauer’s behavior.
One woman told the Times that Lauer locked her in his office in 2001: “She said the anchor then stepped out from behind his desk, pulled down her pants, bent her over a chair and had intercourse with her.” She passed out and was taken to a nurse by Lauer’s assistant.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Science Says Kids Who Become Great Leaders Have Parents Who Teach Them 8 Things”

So teach your kids to focus not on jumping right to the end of their arguments but to start with statements or premises they know their audience will agree with.
Teach them to stop saying “I think” or “I believe.” Teach them to stop adding qualifiers to their speech.
Teach your kids to stand behind their opinions – even if they are just opinions – and to let their enthusiasm show.
In short: If your kids are preaching to the choir, teach them to speak slowly; if not, they should speak quickly.
Teach your kids not to push for instant agreement if someone’s personality style makes that unlikely.
Teach your kids to talk about the other side of the argument – and then do their best to show why they’re still right.
Most of all, teach your kids not to just say they’re right.
Teach your kids to be clear, concise, and to the point.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How ‘Frasier’ Found a Second Life on Streaming”

Frasier’s career and personal life cratered, as his wife Lilith cheated on him, and his practice had grown “Stagnant,” according to the opening monologue in his spinoff, Frasier.
The show had a gloomy launch point: After a public suicide threat and a painful divorce from Lilith, Frasier had abandoned his Boston life to slink back to his hometown of Seattle.
Even more remarkable, in retrospect: Frasier Crane does not have a particularly uplifting character arc on Frasier.
It’s not a hangout show, mostly because apart from Roz, Frasier’s only friend is his brother Niles, but also because Frasier and his cohort are usually too preoccupied with the “Situation” aspect of the sitcom to sit around for very long.
Frasier’s wheel-spinning is one of Frasier’s soothing pleasures.
In an essay called “Why Frasier Is the Best Show to Sleep To,” writer Lili Loofbourow lists Frasier’s soporific attributes.
While it is true that Frasier has not enjoyed the cultural revival that Friends has experienced, it has developed its own quieter second wind on Netflix, precisely because of its relaxing effect.
Streaming services have given plenty of other older shows new, devoted audiences, including The X-Files and The Golden Girls-but Frasier’s renaissance seems especially connected to its ability to calm as much as entertain.

The orginal article.

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Sesame Street’s parodies have always been delightful, but the show’s riff on Stranger Things is honestly some next-level awesomeness.
It’s damn near impossible to describe all of the ways the parody absolutely nails the original-those wigs, those teeth, those slightly differently-colored Ghostbusters costumes, but Sesame Street’s send-up of Winona Ryder’s performance as Joyce Byers is transcendent.
Like all of Sesame Street’s parodies, Sharing Things is fundamentally about teaching kids how to be good people.
The sketch also goes the extra mile by being stuffed full of clever winks and nods that are just obvious enough to make for the kind of jokes that land perfectly, regardless of whether you’ve actually seen the show.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Science Is Dry, Obscure, Complex? Well, It Makes for Great Comedy”

“You’re the Expert” is among a new crop of comedy podcasts and live shows that are mining science for laughs.
The podcast-live show “The Scientists,” as well as the New York-based event series “Monotony,” “Drunk Science,” and “Drunk Education,” treat subjects like astronomy, human evolution and even the physics behind urinal cakes as source material; and the more obscure, bizarre and complex the topic is, the better.
“My goal is for the show to be like ‘The Daily Show’ or ‘Last Week Tonight,’ where people come because it’s funny, but leave with this real information that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” Chris Duffy, the host and creator of “You’re the Expert,” said.
These types of shows have found a natural home at Caveat, which opened in September with a mission to foster what the owner, Ben Lillie, called “Intelligent night life.” Unlike most subterranean speakeasies, Caveat has small illustrations of scientists in the bathrooms and a calendar full of musical improv performances, debate nights and trivia competitions.
While Dr. Faherty sees this comedy as a form of public outreach – “Funreach” as she called it – not unlike her appearances at the natural history museum, the Hayden Planetarium or at local bars for the international event series Astronomy on Tap, Mr. Duffy said some scientists have declined to participate in his show for fear of losing respect in their fields.
Dr. Ravi Subramanian is a medical writer and microbiology Ph.D who performs stand-up and hosts the monthly live show “Monotony” at Caveat under the name Raj Sivaraman.
“The Scientists,” the podcast and live show hosted by the comedians Blythe Roberson and Madelyn Freed, recently did a show on cancer and the search for cures.
The women view their show, which is heavy on slides, as a forum for merging two disparate cultures: scientists, who, according to Ms. Freed, pursue their research because of “Some other mystical force that isn’t social pressure or, like, trying to be interesting”; and comedians, who are mostly motivated by a need for validation through applause and laughter.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The rise of D&D liveplay is changing how fans approach roleplaying”

Dungeons & Dragons, the grandaddy of role-playing games, dates back to 1974, but it’s never been more popular than it is today.
Increasingly, the new players who get in on the act are also streaming and recording video of their sessions, so fans can watch and interact with the games as well as listen to them.
According to Matthew Mercer, a voice actor who has become one of the stars of the this scene, thanks to his gig as the dungeon master for the massively popular liveplay series Critical Role, “Role-playing games are just an organic improvised space for storytelling.”
As a result, a vast ecosystem of liveplay series now populates YouTube and Twitch, the Amazon property best known as a platform for live-streamed video games.
“Generally speaking, I think right now the entertainment industry is coming to terms with how lo-fi a lot of these incredibly popular new media projects are,” says James D’Amato, an RPG live-streamer, games podcaster, and game designer in Chicago.
D’Amato got a foothold in the actual-play industry when he realized almost every tabletop streamer was focusing on Dungeons & Dragons at the expense of other RPGs. “[D&D is] very famous and very fun at what it does, but there’s this wide spectrum of possibilities in role-playing games,” he explained.
D’Amato imagines more such games will emerge in the coming years, thanks to the rise of liveplay.
Given their adventurous tendencies, maybe they’d also be among the visionary gamers turning the world of liveplay RPGs upside down.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Most Riveting Host in Late Night”

In his first years on TBS, Mr. O’Brien still seemed haunted by losing “The Tonight Show,” but his series now has the pleasing eccentricity of someone who doesn’t care about ratings or expectations.
Mr. O’Brien’s brand of silliness has always been delightfully, often gruesomely askew.
They won’t age well, and Mr. O’Brien, generally speaking, aims for jokes that depend less on the news cycle than his competitors do.
This even extends to how Mr. O’Brien handles politics.
While he does an ordinary joke or two about President Trump every night, he also produced one of the most truly daring episodes of political comedy this year, with a September show shot entirely in Israel and the Palestinian territories, one of his many episode-long forays into other cities.
Mr. O’Brien floated in the Dead Sea, engaged in some terrible haggling with street vendors and delivered a minute-long history of the area that covered thousands of years.
Much of the special was simply Mr. O’Brien unscripted, making a connection with game strangers and turning that into an amusing scene.
Comedy doesn’t need to serve a political end to be important.

The orginal article.