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The Romans’ Playful Side Revealed By Prank Mouse in Vindolanda

The Romans’ Playful Side Revealed By Prank Mouse in Vindolanda



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A 2,000-year-old ‘prank mouse’ has been discovered in a bag of Roman period leather offcuts in a collection of artifacts in Northumberland’s Vindolanda Museum.

The life-sized leather mouse, measuring about 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) long, was discovered in a bag of offcuts excavated in 1993 at the Roman fort of Vindolanda, just to the south of Hadrian’s Wall near Hexham, in Northumberland, England. Located on the first Roman frontier in the north, the Stanegate Road, the Roman army established Vindolanda before Hadrian commissioned his 73-mile (117-km) defensive barrier to guard the north-western frontier from invaders in 122 AD.

According to Vindolanda Charitable Trust ’s website, the cavalry barracks was demolished and completely re-built no fewer than nine times. In 1993, archaeologists excavated a bag of scrap leather offcuts from a commanding officer of a residence dating to about 105-130 AD. The life-sized leather mouse, which measures about the size of a real adult mouse, had been kept unnoticed in the Vindolanda Museum since 1993 and Barbara Birley, curator of the Vindolanda Museum , told the Observerit’s a fabulous little piece” that might have been a child’s toy, or maybe a practical joke.

The Vindolanda fort and excavation site where the prank mouse was found. (Andrew Curtis / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

The Leather Shadow of a Persistent Historical Pest

To put the functionality of this little leather mouse in proper historical context, we must think back to being about six-years-old and first becoming aware of practical jokes like fake blood, flies in ice-cubes and fake spiders. And if you have any problems recalling the terror a fake spider can cause, just have a quick look at this Simon Pierro YouTube clip of an elevator spider-prank, and just watch the victims explosive emotional responses.

Now, imagine a garrison of 20 Roman soldiers drinking heavily one night and someone accidentally admitted to a fear of mice, sometimes referred to as musophobia, well, this admission might well have inspired the cutting of the fake mouse, and anyone in the armed forces will be nodding in utter agreement with that last statement knowing the value of humor, and practical jokes in “squad” culture.

The prank mouse along with other leather items in the background found at Vindolanda. ( Vindolanda Trust )

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If the mouse was indeed a practical joke, “it was convincing,” said Barbara Birley, and she suggested that if you were working in a dimly-lit Roman room, because it’s not a caricature like Mickey Mouse, with exaggerated ears, “you could definitely see it as a little mouse,” she said. Putting this unique discovery further into historical context, Mrs. Birley’s husband, Andrew, is director of excavations and chief executive of the Vindolanda Trust , and he said in a Guardian article that the piece of leather represents an animal that was “a constant pest” in ancient Vindolanda.

An Ancient Artifact Inspired By Environmental Factors

Mr. Birley explained that Roman wheat granaries were often infested with mice and rats and that they fed on grains, which fell through the stone floors. This idea was proven in 2008 when the granary buildings at Vindolanda were excavated and the bones from thousands of dead mice were uncovered below the floors of the buildings. This is why Mr. Birley thinks it’s “rather wonderful,” that 2,000 years ago someone crafted a mouse from leather that had been directly inspired from the goings on in the immediate environment.

In July 2007, Current Archaeology published an article announcing that a “new cache of well-preserved Roman writing tablets” were discovered at the auxiliary fort of Vindolanda. The rare collection of around “25 fragile, postcard-sized pieces of wood” measuring a mere 2mm thick, was discarded towards the end of the 1st century AD, and it offered archaeologists fresh insights into the day to day workings of Romans living and working at the site 2,000 years ago. It was amidst a collection of rare cavalry swords, leather boots and shoes that the bag of more than “7,000 leather objects and offcuts,” were discovered, where the little leather mouse had snoozed undisturbed for almost two millennia.

Close up of the prank mouse found at the Vindolanda excavation site. ( Vindolanda Trust )

Mrs. Birley said it just goes to show that the collection of artifacts from Vindolanda “continue to reveal things that we weren’t expecting to find,” and while the research is painstakingly slow it is “thanks to the coronavirus lockdown” that curatorial staff at the Vindolanda Museum have had the time to deepen their studies into this sentinel of Roman power in their outpost of Britannia. What’s more, now archaeologists know a degree of humor was shared among the foreigners as they reshaped the entire culture of this island at the western extremes of the known world, Britannia.


The Romans’ Playful Side Revealed By Prank Mouse in Vindolanda - History

After reading an interesting Article of the Yale University about the increasing problem that we're not able to directly measure carbon emissions and have to trust the numbers reported by every country, i decided to try a different approach:

I combined the reported consumption rates for Coal, Oil and Natural Gas (Source 1, 2, 3) by selecting the year 2000 as the baseline and dividing the emissions based on this graph showing the percentage of emissions by fuel type. (20.3% natural gas, 43.8% oil, 35.9% coal in 2000)

As seen in the resulting graph here, it's remarkable identical for the most part, except that since 2010/2011 an increasing gap between consumed fuel and reported emissions can be observed.

Tools used: Google tables, Paint

I think the gap has to do with the classification of burning wood(wood is seen as a renewable energy source which got its status around that time)

Israel: Oil spill hits 100 miles of coastline as beaches shut after 'one of country's worst ecological disasters'

I think this is their cheap way of cleaning their tanks or ships for some reason.

It actually is (illegal) Tanks need to be cleaned easiest way to do so is tilting a ship from side to side with water in the tanks Europe is actually looking into gps data of ships to determine who is doing it

White House Alone: People call for ‘Home Alone 2 extra’ Trump to be removed from film

Ah the ol' scrubbed from history routine.

Yeah I always wondered why the ancient Egyptians and Romans scrubbed names from monuments and records.

Sadly there are so many images of him out there to scrub But thanks to the day and age we are living in were getting pretty close to DMAAS (damnatio memoriae as a service) Just look at the paper “Image completion using planar structure guidance”

New Evidence Suggests North Korea is training dolphins for military purposes

I worked with a guy who claimed he had helped train dolphins for the U.S. navy. Because of the way he told the stories and the kind of guy he was, I really don't think he was lying. Anyway, you could pull some stories out of him, but the only one that really sticks with me was that they rewarded the dolphins with sexual contact. He said they were taught it was way more effective than food.

Basically he said during training exercises they would have a strap wrapped around the dolphins penis and if they performed the appropriate task the trainer would give the strap a few tugs. I asked him if the dolphins ever got off. He just looked down and said, "Yeah. They were pretty in to it." in a way that I could tell that that wasn't something we were going to joke about.

Just google dolfinarium netherlands jerk off We’ve been jacking them off for a while now to keep them “calm”

Japan is proposing manually wiping down mangrove trees to remove from their roots any oil that was spilled from a grounded Japanese freighter off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, a source familiar with the matter said Saturday.

I think it’s a little crazy that a lot of the comments on here are pretty much saying it’s fine that this oil spill happened because the insurance will pay for the clean up. There’s so much that can’t be cleaned and so many wildlife that are already impacted because of this. You can’t bring those dolphins back for instance.

It doesn’t make it all better because they’ll throw some money at this.

Really doubt it The international maritime organization has been lobbying for over a century. This has lead to a law stipulating that the damages a ships can incur/had to pay can not be over a certain value which is calculated by tonnage. This comes down to a laughable amount in these situations especially since this is the maximum they have to pay unless it can be proven the shipping company intentionally took too much risk (as far as im aware this hasn’t happened for any of these kinds of incidents) This piece of legislation has been the legal max and Is refered in many other international laws


Contents

George Denis Patrick Carlin [5] was born in the Manhattan borough of New York City on May 12, 1937, [6] [7] to secretary Mary (née Bearey) and The Sun advertising manager Patrick John Carlin, who died when Carlin was eight years old. His mother was born in New York City to Irish immigrants while his father was an Irish immigrant from County Donegal, leading Carlin to describe himself as "fully Irish". [8] His maternal grandfather, Dennis Bearey, was a police officer in the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Carlin recalled that his grandmother's maiden name was O'Grady, but it was changed to Grady before she reached the U.S. He later joked that they "dropped the 'O' in the ocean on the way here". He named his character on The George Carlin Show "O'Grady" as a tribute to her. [9] He had an older brother named Patrick Jr. His parents separated when he was two months old because of his father's alcoholism, so his mother raised him and his brother on her own. [10]

Carlin said that he picked up an appreciation for the effective use of the English language from his mother, [11] though they had a difficult relationship and he often ran away from home. [12] He grew up on West 121st Street in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, which he and his friends called "White Harlem" because it "sounded a lot tougher than its real name". [13] He attended Corpus Christi School, a Roman Catholic parish school of the Corpus Christi Church in Morningside Heights. [14] [15] His mother owned a television, which was a rare and new technology at the time, and Carlin became an avid fan of the pioneering late-night talk show Broadway Open House during its short run. [16] He went to the Bronx for high school but, after three semesters, was expelled from Cardinal Hayes High School at age 15. He briefly attended Bishop Dubois High School in Harlem and the Salesian High School in Goshen. [17] He spent many summers at Camp Notre Dame in Spofford, New Hampshire, where he regularly won the camp's drama award. Later, at his request, some of his ashes were spread at Spofford Lake upon his death. [18]

Carlin joined the U.S. Air Force and trained as a radar technician. He was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana, and began working as a disc jockey at the radio station KJOE in nearby Shreveport. Labeled an "unproductive airman" by his superiors, he received a general discharge on July 29, 1957. During his time in the Air Force, he had been court-martialed three times and received many nonjudicial punishments and reprimands. [19]

1960s Edit

In 1959, Carlin met Jack Burns, a fellow DJ at radio station KXOL in Fort Worth, Texas. [20] They formed a comedy team and after successful performances at Fort Worth's beat coffeehouse called The Cellar, Burns and Carlin headed for California in February 1960. [5]

Within weeks of arriving in California, Burns and Carlin put together an audition tape and created The Wright Brothers, a morning show on KDAY in Hollywood. During their tenure at KDAY, they honed their material in beatnik coffeehouses at night. [21] Years later when he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Carlin requested that it be placed in front of the KDAY studios near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street. [22] Burns and Carlin recorded their only album, Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight, in May 1960 at Cosmo Alley in Hollywood. [21] After two years together as a team, they parted to pursue individual careers, but "remain[ed] the best of friends". [23]

In the 1960s, Carlin began appearing on television variety shows, where he played various characters: [24]

  • The Indian Sergeant – "There will be a rain dance tonight . weather permitting . "
  • Stupid disc jockeys ("Wonderful WINO radio . ") – "The Beatles' latest record, when played backwards at slow speed, says, 'Dummy! You're playing it backwards at slow speed!'"
  • Al Sleet, the Hippie-Dippie Weatherman – "Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued mostly dark tonight, changing to widely scattered light towards morning."

Variations on these routines appear on Carlin's 1967 debut album, Take-Offs and Put-Ons, which was recorded live in 1966 at The Roostertail in Detroit, Michigan and issued by RCA Victor in 1967. [24] During this period, Carlin became a frequent performer and guest host on The Tonight Show, initially with Jack Paar as host, and then with Johnny Carson. Carlin became one of Carson's most frequent substitutes during the host's three-decade reign. Carlin was also cast in Away We Go, a 1967 comedy show that aired on CBS. [25] His material during his early career and his appearance, which consisted of suits and short-cropped hair, had been seen as "conventional", particularly when contrasted with his later anti-establishment material. [26]

Carlin was present at Lenny Bruce's arrest for obscenity. As the police began attempting to detain members of the audience for questioning, they asked Carlin for his identification. Telling the police he did not believe in government-issued IDs, he was arrested and taken to jail with Bruce in the same vehicle. [27] In the late 1960s, Carlin was making about $250,000 annually. [28] As a tax shelter, he bought a twin-engine Aero Commander 1121 Jet Commander private jet and hired pilots to fly him to various tour dates. [29]

1970s Edit

Over time, Carlin changed his routines and his appearance he grew his hair long, sported a beard and earrings, and typically dressed in T-shirts and blue jeans. He lost some TV bookings by dressing strangely for a comedian at a time when clean-cut, well-dressed comedians were the norm. He hired talent managers Jeff Wald and Ron De Blasio to help him change his image, making him look more "hip" for a younger audience. Wald put Carlin into much smaller clubs such as The Troubadour in West Hollywood and The Bitter End in New York City, and later said that Carlin's income was thus reduced by 90% but his later career arc was greatly improved. [28] In 1970, record producer Monte Kay formed the Little David Records subsidiary of Atlantic Records, with comedian Flip Wilson as co-owner. [30] Kay and Wilson signed Carlin away from RCA Records and recorded a Carlin performance at Washington, D.C.'s Cellar Door in May 1971, which was released as FM & AM in January 1972. De Blasio was busy managing the fast-paced career of Freddie Prinze and was about to sign Richard Pryor, so he released Carlin to Little David general manager Jack Lewis, who, like Carlin, was somewhat wild and rebellious. [31] Using his own persona as a springboard for his new comedy, he was presented by Ed Sullivan in a performance of "The Hair Piece" and quickly regained his popularity as the public caught on to his sense of style. [32]

Starting in 1972, singer-songwriter Kenny Rankin was Carlin's label mate on Little David Records, and Rankin served many times as Carlin's musical guest or opening act during the early 1970s. The two flew together in Carlin's private jet Carlin says that Rankin relapsed into using cocaine while on tour since Carlin had so much of the drug available. [29] The album FM & AM proved very popular. It marked Carlin's change from mainstream to counterculture comedy. The "AM" side was an extension of Carlin's previous style, with zany but relatively clean routines parodying aspects of American life. The "FM" side introduced Carlin's new style, with references to marijuana and birth control pills, and a playful examination of the word "shit". In this manner, Carlin renewed a style of radical social commentary comedy that Lenny Bruce had pioneered in the late 1950s. [28]

In this period, Carlin perfected his well-known "seven dirty words" routine, which most notably appears on Class Clown as follows: "'Shit', 'piss', 'fuck', 'cunt', 'cocksucker', 'motherfucker', and 'tits'. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that'll infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war." On July 21, 1972, Carlin was arrested after performing this routine at Milwaukee's Summerfest and charged with violating obscenity laws. [33] The case, which prompted Carlin to refer to the words for a time as the "Milwaukee Seven", was dismissed in December when the judge declared that the language was indecent but that Carlin had the freedom to say it as long as he caused no disturbance. [34] In 1973, a man complained to the FCC after listening with his son to a similar routine, "Filthy Words" from Carlin's Occupation: Foole, which was broadcast one afternoon over radio station WBAI. Pacifica received a citation from the FCC for violating regulations that prohibit broadcasting "obscene" material. The Supreme Court upheld the FCC action by a vote of 5 to 4, ruling that the routine was "indecent but not obscene" and that the FCC had authority to prohibit such broadcasts during hours when children were likely to be among the audience. [35] [36]

The controversy increased Carlin's fame. He eventually expanded the "dirty words" theme with a seemingly interminable end to a performance, finishing with his voice fading out in one HBO version and accompanying the credits in the Carlin at Carnegie special for the 1982–83 season, and a set of 49 web pages organized by subject and embracing his "Incomplete List of Impolite Words". [37] On stage, during a rendition of this routine, Carlin learned that his previous comedy album FM & AM had won a Grammy. Midway through the performance on the album Occupation: Foole, he can be heard thanking someone for handing him a piece of paper. He then exclaimed "shit!" and proudly announced his win to the audience. [38]

George Carlin was arrested seven times for reciting " Seven Dirty Words" routine. [39]

Carlin hosted the premiere broadcast of NBC's Saturday Night Live on October 11, 1975, the only episode to date in which the host did not appear (at his request) in sketches. [40] The following season, 1976–77, he appeared regularly on CBS Television's Tony Orlando & Dawn variety series. [41]

Carlin unexpectedly stopped performing regularly in 1976, when his career appeared to be at its height. For the next five years, he rarely performed stand-up, although it was at this time that he began doing specials for HBO as part of its On Location series he did 14 specials, including 2008's It's Bad For Ya! [42] He later revealed that he had suffered the first of three heart attacks during this layoff period. [43] His first two HBO specials aired in 1977 and 1978. [44] [45]

1980s Edit

In 1981, Carlin returned to the stage, releasing A Place for My Stuff and returning to HBO and New York City with the Carlin at Carnegie TV special, videotaped at Carnegie Hall and airing during the 1982–83 season. Carlin continued doing HBO specials every year or two over the following decade and a half. All of Carlin's albums from this time forward are from the HBO specials. [ citation needed ]

He hosted SNL for the second time on November 10, 1984, this time appearing in several sketches. [46]

Carlin began to achieve prominence as a film actor with a major supporting role in the 1987 comedy hit Outrageous Fortune, starring Bette Midler and Shelley Long it was his first notable screen role after a handful of previous guest roles on television series. Playing drifter Frank Madras, he poked fun at the lingering effect of the 1960s counterculture. In 1989, he gained popularity with a new generation of teens when he was cast as Rufus, the time-traveling mentor of the title characters in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and reprised his role in the film sequel Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey as well as the first season of the cartoon series.

1990s Edit

Also in 1991, Carlin had a major supporting role in the movie The Prince of Tides, which starred Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand, portraying the gay neighbor of the main character's suicidal sister. [47]

He also played the role of "Mr Conductor" on the PBS show Shining Time Station and narrated the show's sequences of the American version of the U.K. television series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends from 1991 to 1995, replacing Ringo Starr. Carlin narrated the first four seasons of what would later become known as Thomas & Friends for use on Shining Time Station. According to Britt Allcroft, who developed both shows, on the first day of the assignment, Carlin was nervous about recording his narration without an audience, so the producers put a stuffed teddy bear in the booth. [48]

In 1993, Carlin began a weekly Fox sitcom, The George Carlin Show, playing New York City taxicab driver George O'Grady. The show, created and written by The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon, ran 27 episodes through December 1995. [49] In his final book, the posthumously published Last Words, Carlin said about The George Carlin Show, "I had a great time. I never laughed so much, so often, so hard as I did with cast members Alex Rocco, Chris Rich, Tony Starke. There was a very strange, very good sense of humor on that stage . [but] I was incredibly happy when the show was canceled. I was frustrated that it had taken me away from my true work." [50]

Carlin was honored at the 1997 Aspen Comedy Festival with a retrospective, George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy, hosted by Jon Stewart. His first hardcover book, Brain Droppings (1997), sold nearly 900,000 copies and spent 40 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. [51]

2000s Edit

Carlin later explained that there were other, more pragmatic reasons for abandoning his acting career in favor of standup. In an interview for Esquire magazine in 2001, he said, "Because of my abuse of drugs, I neglected my business affairs and had large arrears with the IRS, and that took me eighteen to twenty years to dig out of. I did it honorably, and I don't begrudge them. I don't hate paying taxes, and I'm not angry at anyone, because I was complicit in it. But I'll tell you what it did for me: it made me a way better comedian. Because I had to stay out on the road and I couldn't pursue that movie career, which would have gone nowhere, and I became a really good comic and a really good writer." [52]

In 2001, Carlin was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Annual American Comedy Awards. In December 2003, Representative Doug Ose (R-California) introduced a bill (H.R. 3687) to outlaw the broadcast of Carlin's "seven dirty words", [53] including "compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms)". The bill omitted "tits", but included "asshole", which was not one of Carlin's original seven words. The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution in January 2004, where it was tabled. [53]

Carlin performed regularly as a headliner in Las Vegas, but in 2004 his run at the MGM Grand Las Vegas was terminated after an altercation with his audience. After a poorly received set, filled with dark references to suicide bombings and beheadings, Carlin complained that he could not wait to get out of "this fucking hotel" and Las Vegas he wanted to go back east, he said, "where the real people are". He continued: "People who go to Las Vegas, you've got to question their fucking intellect to start with. Traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to essentially give your money to a large corporation is kind of fucking moronic. That's what I'm always getting here is these kind of fucking people with very limited intellects." When an audience member shouted, "Stop degrading us!" Carlin responded, "Thank you very much, whatever that was. I hope it was positive if not, well, blow me." He was immediately fired, and soon thereafter his representative announced that he would begin treatment for alcohol and prescription painkiller addiction on his own initiative. [54] [55]

Following his thirteenth HBO special on November 5, 2005, Life Is Worth Losing, [56] which aired live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City – during which he mentioned, "I've got 341 days of sobriety" – Carlin toured his new material through the first half of 2006. Topics included suicide, natural disasters, cannibalism, genocide, human sacrifice, threats to civil liberties in the U.S., and the case for his theory that humans are inferior to other animals. At the first tour stop in February at the Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, California, Carlin mentioned that the appearance was his "first show back" after a six-week hospitalization for heart failure and pneumonia. [ citation needed ]

Carlin voiced a character in the 2006 Disney/Pixar animated feature Cars. The character, Fillmore, is an anti-establishment hippie VW Microbus with a psychedelic paint job and the license plate "51237" – Carlin's birthday. In 2007, Carlin voiced the wizard in Happily N'Ever After, his last film. Carlin's last HBO stand-up special, It's Bad for Ya, aired live on March 1, 2008, from the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California. [57] Themes included "American bullshit", rights, death, old age, and child rearing. He repeated the theme to his audience several times throughout the show: "It's all bullshit, and it's bad for ya." [58] When asked on Inside the Actors Studio what turned him on, he responded, "Reading about language." When asked what made him proudest of his career, he said the number of his books that have been sold, close to a million copies. [ citation needed ]

In August 1960, while touring with comedy partner Jack Burns in Dayton, Ohio, Carlin met Brenda Hosbrook. They were married at her parents' home in Dayton on June 3, 1961. [59] The couple's only child, Kelly Marie Carlin, was born on June 15, 1963. The two renewed their wedding vows in Las Vegas in 1971. Hosbrook died of liver cancer on May 11, 1997, the day before Carlin's 60th birthday. [60] Six months later, he met comedy writer Sally Wade, and later described it as "love at first sight" but admitted that he was hesitant to act on his feelings so soon after his wife's death. [61] He eventually married Wade in a private and unregistered ceremony on June 24, 1998. The marriage lasted until Carlin's death in 2008, two days before their 10-year anniversary. [62] [63]

In a 2008 interview, Carlin stated that using cannabis, LSD, and mescaline had helped him cope with events in his personal life. [64] He also stated several times that he had battled addictions to alcohol, Vicodin, and cocaine, [65] and spent some time in a rehab facility in late 2004. [66] Although born into a Catholic family, he vocally rejected religion in all of its forms, and frequently criticized and mocked it in his comedy routines. [67] When asked if he believed in God, he responded, "No. No, there's no God, but there might be some sort of an organizing intelligence, and I think to understand it is way beyond our ability." [68]

Carlin had a history of heart problems spanning three decades. These included heart attacks in 1978, 1982, and 1991 an arrhythmia requiring an ablation procedure in 2003 a significant episode of heart failure in late 2005 and two angioplasties. [69] On June 22, 2008, at the age of 71, he died of heart failure at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. [70] [71] His death occurred one week after his last performance at The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In accordance with his wishes, his body was cremated and his ashes were scattered in front of various nightclubs he had played in New York City and over Spofford Lake in New Hampshire, where he had fond memories of attending summer camp as an adolescent. [72]

Upon his death, HBO broadcast 11 of his 14 HBO specials from June 25 to 28, including a 12-hour marathon block on their HBO Comedy channel. NBC scheduled a rerun of the premiere episode of Saturday Night Live, which Carlin hosted. [73] [74] [75] Both Sirius Satellite Radio's "Raw Dog Comedy" and XM Satellite Radio's "XM Comedy" channels ran a memorial marathon of George Carlin recordings the day following his death. Sirius XM Satellite Radio has since devoted an entire channel to Carlin, entitled Carlin's Corner, featuring all of his comedy albums, live concerts, and works from his private archives. [76] Larry King devoted his entire show of June 23 to a tribute to Carlin, featuring interviews with Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, Roseanne Barr and Lewis Black, as well as Carlin's daughter Kelly and his brother, Patrick Jr. On June 24, The New York Times printed an op-ed piece on Carlin by Jerry Seinfeld. [77] Cartoonist Garry Trudeau paid tribute in his Doonesbury comic strip on July 27. [78]

Four days before Carlin's death, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts had named him its 2008 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honoree. [79] He became its first posthumous recipient on November 10 in Washington, D.C. [80] Comedians honoring him at the ceremony included Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Lily Tomlin (a past Twain Humor Prize winner), Lewis Black, Denis Leary, Joan Rivers, and Margaret Cho. Louis C.K. dedicated his stand-up special Chewed Up to Carlin, and Lewis Black dedicated the second season of Root of All Evil to him.

For a number of years, Carlin had been compiling and writing his autobiography, to be released in conjunction with a one-man Broadway show tentatively titled New York Boy. After Carlin's death, Tony Hendra, his collaborator on both projects, edited the autobiography for release as Last Words. The book, chronicling most of Carlin's life and future plans, including the one-man show, was published in 2009. The abridged audio edition is narrated by Carlin's brother, Patrick Jr. [81]

The George Carlin Letters: The Permanent Courtship of Sally Wade, [82] by Carlin's widow, a collection of previously unpublished writings and artwork by Carlin interwoven with Wade's chronicle of their 10 years together, was published in March 2011. The subtitle is a phrase on a handwritten note that Wade found next to her computer upon returning home from the hospital after her husband's death. [83] In 2008 Carlin's daughter Kelly announced plans to publish an "oral history", a collection of stories from Carlin's friends and family. [84] She later indicated that the project had been shelved in favor of completion of her own project, [85] an autobiographical one-woman show, A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George. [86] [87]

On October 22, 2014, a portion of West 121st Street, in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan where Carlin spent his childhood, was renamed "George Carlin Way". [88]

Moneyball screenwriter Stan Chervin announced in October 2018 that a biopic of Carlin was in process. [89] [90]

On February 8, 2021, Judd Apatow stated on a podcast that he was working on a documentary about Carlin.

Discography Edit

  • 1963: Burns and Carlin at the Playboy Club Tonight
  • 1967: Take-Offs and Put-Ons
  • 1972: FM & AM
  • 1972: Class Clown
  • 1973: Occupation: Foole
  • 1974: Toledo Window Box
  • 1975: An Evening with Wally Londo Featuring Bill Slaszo
  • 1977: On the Road
  • 1981: A Place for My Stuff
  • 1984: Carlin on Campus
  • 1986: Playin' with Your Head
  • 1988: What Am I Doing in New Jersey?
  • 1990: Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics
  • 1992: Jammin' in New York
  • 1996: Back in Town
  • 1999: You Are All Diseased
  • 2001: Complaints and Grievances
  • 2006: Life Is Worth Losing
  • 2008: It's Bad for Ya
  • 2016: I Kinda Like It When a Lotta People Die[117]
  • 1978: Indecent Exposure: Some of the Best of George Carlin
  • 1984: The George Carlin Collection
  • 1992: Classic Gold
  • 1999: The Little David Years

Film Edit

Year Title Role Notes
1968 With Six You Get Eggroll Herbie Fleck
1976 Car Wash Taxi Driver
1979 Americathon Narrator
1987 Outrageous Fortune Frank Madras
1989 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Rufus
1990 Working Tra$h Ralph Sawatzky Television film
1991 Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Rufus
The Prince of Tides Eddie Detreville
1995 Streets of Laredo Billy Williams 3 episodes
1999 Dogma Cardinal Ignatius Glick
2001 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Hitchhiker
2003 Scary Movie 3 Architect
2004 Jersey Girl Bart Trinké
2005 The Aristocrats Himself
Tarzan II Zugor Voice
2006 Cars Fillmore
2007 Happily N'Ever After Wizard
2020 Bill & Ted Face the Music Rufus Posthumous release archival footage [118]

Television Edit

Year Title Role Notes
1962 The Tonight Show Himself 1 episode
1965 The Merv Griffin Show 1 episode
1966 The Jimmy Dean Show 2 episodes
The Kraft Summer Music Hall N/A Writer
1966 That Girl George Lester Episode: "Break a Leg"
1967–1971 The Ed Sullivan Show Himself 11 episodes
1968 The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1 episode
1969 What's My Line? 1 episode
The Game Game 1 episode
The Carol Burnett Show 1 episode
1971–1973 The Flip Wilson Show 6 episode
Also writer
1972 The Mike Douglas Show 1 episode
1977 Welcome Back, Kotter Wally 'The Wow' Wexler Episode: "Radio Free Freddie"
1975, 1984 Saturday Night Live Host Episodes: 1 and 183
1987 Nick at Nite N/A
1988 Justin Case Justin Case TV movie directed Blake Edwards
1991–1996 Thomas & Friends Narrator (voice) 104 episodes
1991–1993 Shining Time Station Mr. Conductor, Narrator 45 episodes
1995 Shining Time Station: Once Upon a Time Television film
Shining Time Station: Second Chances
Shining Time Station: One of the Family
Streets of Laredo Billy Williams 3 episodes
Shining Time Station: Queen for a Day Mr. Conductor Television film
1994–1995 The George Carlin Show George O'Grady 27 episodes
1996 Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales Mr. Conductor, Narrator 6 episodes
1999 Storytime with Thomas 2 episodes
1998 The Simpsons Munchie (voice) Episode "D'oh-in in the Wind"
1999, 2004 The Daily Show Himself 3 episodes
2000 MADtv Mr. Conductor Episodes: 518 & 524
2004 Inside the Actors Studio Himself 1 episode
2008 Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales Fillmore (voice) 1 episode archival recordings

Video games Edit

HBO specials Edit

Special Year Notes
On Location: George Carlin at USC 1977
George Carlin: Again! 1978
Carlin at Carnegie 1982
Carlin on Campus 1984
Playin' with Your Head 1986
What Am I Doing in New Jersey? 1988
Doin' It Again 1990
Jammin' in New York 1992
Back in Town 1996
George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy 1997
You Are All Diseased 1999
Complaints and Grievances 2001
Life Is Worth Losing 2005
All My Stuff 2007 A box set of Carlin's first 12 stand-up specials
(excluding George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy).
It's Bad for Ya 2008
Commemorative Collection 2018

Written works Edit

Book Year Notes
Sometimes a Little Brain Damage Can Help 1984 ISBN 0-89471-271-3 [119]
Brain Droppings 1997 0-7868-8321-9 [120]
Napalm and Silly Putty 2001 0-7868-8758-3 [121]
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? 2004 1-4013-0134-7 [122]
Three Times Carlin: An Orgy of George 2006 978-1-4013-0243-6 [123] A collection of the three previous titles.
Last Words 2009 1-4391-7295-1 [124] Posthumous release.

Audiobooks Edit

  • Brain Droppings
  • Napalm and Silly Putty
  • More Napalm & Silly Putty
  • George Carlin Reads to You (Compilation of Brain Droppings, Napalm and Silly Putty, and More Napalm & Silly Putty)
  • When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?

After Carlin's Seven dirty words routine and subsequent FCC v. Pacifica Foundation Supreme Court ruling in 1973, broadcasters started to use the "Carlin Warning" to remind performers of the words they could not say during a live performance. [125]

Many writings found on the internet have been falsely attributed to Carlin, including various joke lists, rants, and other pieces. The web site Snopes, an online resource that debunks urban legends and myths, has addressed these hoaxes. Many of them contain material that runs counter to Carlin's viewpoints some are especially volatile toward racial groups, gay people, women, the homeless, and other targets. Carlin was aware of these bogus emails and debunked them on his own web site, saying, "Here's a rule of thumb, folks: Nothing you see on the Internet is mine unless it comes from one of my albums, books, HBO specials, or appeared on my web site", and "It bothers me that some people might believe that I would be capable of writing some of this stuff." Weird Al Yankovic referenced these hoaxes in a line of his song "Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me" by saying "And by the way, those quotes from George Carlin aren't really George Carlin". [126]


Contents

Adam Spiegel was born in New York City, [3] the son of Arthur H. Spiegel III and Sandra L. Granzow. [4] [5] His father was of German-Jewish ancestry. [6] Jonze is the grandson of Arthur Spiegel and the great-great-grandson of Joseph Spiegel, founder of the Spiegel catalog. [4] Arthur H. Spiegel III was the founder of a healthcare consulting firm. [4] [7] Jonze's parents divorced when he was a young child and his father remarried. [4] [8] Jonze was raised by his mother in Bethesda, Maryland, [9] where she worked in public relations, [4] along with his brother Sam "Squeak E. Clean" Spiegel, who is now a producer and DJ, [10] and his sister Julia. [8] While studying at Walt Whitman High School, Jonze spent much of his time at a Bethesda community store, where owner Mike Henderson gave him the nickname "Spike Jonze" in reference to the satirical bandleader Spike Jones. [4]

A keen BMX rider, Jonze began working at the Rockville BMX store in Rockville, Maryland, at the age of 16. A common destination for touring professional BMX teams, Jonze began photographing BMX demos at Rockville and formed a friendship with Freestylin' Magazine editors Mark Lewman and Andy Jenkins. [11] Impressed with Jonze's photography work, the pair offered him a job as a photographer for the magazine, and he subsequently moved to California to pursue career opportunities in photography. [11] Jonze fronted Club Homeboy, an international BMX club, alongside Lewman and Jenkins. [12] The three also created the youth culture magazines Homeboy and Dirt, [13] the latter of which was spun off from the female-centered Sassy and was aimed towards young boys. [14]

1985–1993: Photography, magazines, and early video work Edit

While shooting for various BMX publications in California, Jonze was introduced to a number of professional skateboarders who often shared ramps with BMX pros. [11] Jonze formed a close friendship with Mark Gonzales, co-owner of the newly formed Blind Skateboards at the time, and began shooting photos with the young Blind team including Jason Lee, Guy Mariano and Rudy Johnson in the late 1980s. [11] Jonze became a regular contributor to Transworld Skateboarding and was subsequently given a job at World Industries by Steve Rocco, who enlisted him to photograph advertisements and shoot promotional videos for his brands under the World Industries umbrella. [15] Jonze filmed, edited and produced his first skateboarding video, Rubbish Heap, for World Industries in 1989. [16] His following video project was Video Days, a promotional video for Blind Skateboards, which was released in 1991 and is considered to be highly influential in the community. [17] The video's subject, Gonzales, presented a copy of Video Days to Kim Gordon during a chance encounter following a Sonic Youth show in early 1992. [18] Impressed with Jonze's videography skills, Gordon tracked down the young filmmaker and approached him to direct a music video featuring skateboarders. The video, co-directed by Jonze and Tamra Davis, was for their 1992 single "100%", which featured skateboarding footage of Blind Skateboards rider Jason Lee, who later became a successful actor. [18] In 1993, Jonze co-directed the "trippy" music video for The Breeders song "Cannonball" with Gordon. [19]

Along with Rick Howard and Mike Carroll, Jonze co-founded the skateboard company Girl Skateboards in 1993. [20] The following year, he directed the video for the Weezer song "Buddy Holly", which featured the band performing the song interspersed with clips from the sitcom Happy Days. [21] The video became immensely popular and was shown frequently on MTV. [22] A 2013 Rolling Stone readers' poll ranked it as the tenth best music video of the 1990s. [23] Also in 1994, Jonze directed the videos for the Beastie Boys' songs "Sure Shot" and, more famously, "Sabotage". [24] The latter parodies 1970s cop shows and is presented as the opening credits for a fictional show called Sabotage, featuring the band members appearing as its protagonists. [23] As with "Buddy Holly", the video attracted great popularity and was in "near-constant rotation on MTV." [25] In the same year, Jonze also directed videos for the hip hop group Marxman, The Breeders, Dinosaur Jr., and another Weezer song, "Undone – The Sweater Song". [26] Jonze made his film debut as an actor in a bit part in the drama Mi Vida Loca (1994). [27]

1995–1999: In demand video director and Being John Malkovich Edit

Jonze collaborated with Björk for the video for her 1995 single "It's Oh So Quiet", a cover of a 1951 Betty Hutton song. The video is set in an auto shop and sees Björk dancing and singing to the song in the style of a musical, inspired by Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. [28] in the same year, he also directed a television commercial titled "Guerrilla Tennis" for Nike featuring tennis players Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras participating in a match in the middle of an intersection in Manhattan, the "rapid-paced" title sequence for the sitcom Double Rush and worked on videos for R.E.M., Sonic Youth and Ween. [29] [30] Jonze sole video directing credit of 1996 was for The Pharcyde's "Drop", which was filmed backwards and then reversed. [31] In 1997, Jonze made a short film called How They Get There, starring Mark Gonzales as a man who is playfully imitating a woman's actions on the other side of a sidewalk before running into danger. [32] Jonze worked with the electronic music duo Daft Punk on the music video for the instrumental song "Da Funk" in 1997. The clip, titled Big City Nights, follows an anthropomorphic "man-dog" wandering the streets of New York City. [33] His video for The Chemical Brothers's "Elektrobank" (1997) starred his future wife Sofia Coppola as a gymnast. [34] Throughout 1997, he also worked on videos for R.E.M., Pavement, Puff Daddy, and The Notorious B.I.G.. [35] [36] [37] He made a cameo appearance as a paramedic in David Fincher's film The Game (1997). [38]

Jonze filmed a short documentary in 1997, Amarillo by Morning, about two Texan boys who aspire to be bull riders. [39] He was also one of the cinematographers for the documentary Free Tibet, which documents the 1996 Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco. [40] His 1998 commercial for Sprite is considered an example of subvertising for its spoof take on the brand's mascot. [41] Jonze developed an alter ego named Richard Koufey, the leader of the Torrance Community Dance Group, an urban troupe that performs in public spaces. [4] The Koufey persona appeared when Jonze, in character, filmed himself dancing to Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank" as it played on a boom box in a public area. [42] Jonze showed the video to Slim, who appears briefly in the video. [43] Jonze then assembled a group of dancers to perform to Slim's "Praise You" outside a Westwood, California, movie theater and taped the performance. [4] [44] The resulting clip was a huge success, and "Koufey" and his troupe were invited to New York City to perform the song for the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards. [45] The video received awards for Best Direction, Breakthrough, and Best Choreography, which Jonze accepted, still in character. [45] Jonze made a short mockumentary about the experience called Torrance Rises (1999). [16]

The first feature film Jonze directed was Being John Malkovich in 1999. It stars John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and Catherine Keener, with John Malkovich as himself. The screenplay was written by Charlie Kaufman and follows a puppeteer who finds a portal in an office that leads to the mind of actor John Malkovich. Kaufman's script was passed on to Jonze by his father-in-law Francis Ford Coppola and he agreed to direct it, [46] "delighted by its originality and labyrinthine plot". [47] Being John Malkovich was released in October 1999 to laudatory reviews the Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert found the film to be "endlessly inventive" and named it the best film of 1999, [48] [49] while Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called it the "most excitingly original movie of the year". [50] At the 72nd Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Keener. [51] Jonze co-starred opposite George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube in David O. Russell's war comedy Three Kings (1999), which depicts a gold heist by four U.S. soldiers following the end of the Gulf War. Jonze's role in the film, the sweet, dimwitted, casually racist PFC Conrad Vig, was written specifically for him. [52] Jonze also directed a commercial for Nike called "The Morning After" in 1999, a parody of the hysteria surrounding Y2K. [53]

2000–2008: Adaptation and Jackass Edit

Jonze returned to video directing in 2000, helming the video for the song "Wonderboy" by the comedy duo Tenacious D. [54] Along with Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine, Jonze co-created, executive produced and occasionally appeared in the television series Jackass in 2000, which aired on MTV for three seasons until 2002. [55] The show featured a group of people performing dangerous stunts and pranks on each other. At the request of Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000, Jonze directed a short video about Gore at his home. The video was shown at the Democratic National Convention. [56] He collaborated with Fatboy Slim for a second a time in 2001, directing the video for "Weapon of Choice", starring Christopher Walken dancing around a deserted hotel lobby. [57] The video won multiple awards at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards and the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Music Video. [58] [59] Jonze's second film, the comedy-drama Adaptation, (2002), was partially based on the non-fiction book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean and was written by Charlie Kaufman. [60] The metafilm starred Nicolas Cage in a dual role as Kaufman and his fictional twin brother, Donald, as he attempts to adapt The Orchid Thief into a film and features dramatized events from the book. It co-starred Meryl Streep as Orlean and Chris Cooper as the subject of The Orchid Thief, John Laroche. [60] Adaptation. was met with widespread critical acclaim from critics, who praised it for its originality whilst simultaneously being funny and thought-provoking. [61]

Jackass: The Movie, a continuation of the television show, was released in October 2002. [62] Jonze co-produced, contributed to the writing of the segments, and made a cameo appearance in the film. [62] [63] Jonze directed a 60-second commercial called "Lamp" for the furniture store IKEA in 2002, [64] which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, considered a prestigious award in the field of advertising. [65] Also in 2002, Jonze directed the Levi's commercial "Crazy Legs" [65] and the videos for Beck's "Guess I'm Doing Fine", [19] Björk's "It's in Our Hands" (filmed in night vision), and one of two versions of Weezer's "Island in the Sun". [66] Jonze co-directed the Girl Skateboards video Yeah Right! in 2003, which featured extensive use of special effects and a cameo by Owen Wilson. [67]

Jonze co-founded Directors Label – a series of DVDs devoted to music video directors – in September 2003 with filmmakers Chris Cunningham and Michel Gondry. Jonze's volume, The Work of Director Spike Jonze, was released in October and comprises his videos, as well as photographs, drawings and interviews. [68] Jonze made a faux documentary called The Mystery of Dalarö in 2004 as part of an advertising campaign for the Volvo S40. The film was credited to a fictional Venezuelan director named Carlos Soto, but was later revealed to have been directed by Jonze. [69] He directed a commercial for Adidas titled "Hello Tomorrow" in 2005, featuring the music of his brother Sam "Squeak E. Clean" Spiegel and Jonze's then-girlfriend Karen O of the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. [70]

After directing videos for Ludacris and Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Y Control" (which caused some controversy over its graphic images), [71] Jonze collaborated with Björk for a third time on the playful music video for "Triumph of a Heart" (2005), in which her husband was played by a housecat. [28] The second Jackass film, Jackass Number Two, was released in 2006 and saw Jonze dress as an old lady whose breasts "accidentally" keep becoming exposed while wandering around Los Angeles. [72] Along with Dave Eggers, he had a speaking part in the Beck song "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton" from his 2006 album The Information. [73] In 2007, he became the creative director of VBS.tv, an online television network supplied by Vice and funded by MTV. [74] Jonze hosted his own interview show on the service. [75] He directed ads for GAP and Levi's, [76] and co-directed the skateboarding video Fully Flared with Ty Evans and Cory Weincheque in the same year. [17] Jonze directed the music video for Kanye West's single "Flashing Lights" in 2008. Filmed entirely in slow-motion, [37] the video stars West and model Rita G, and sees her driving around the Las Vegas, Nevada desert in a Ford Mustang before stopping to repeatedly stab West, who is tied up in the trunk. [77] Jonze produced Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut Synecdoche, New York in 2008, which Jonze originally intended to direct. [78]

2009–2019: Where the Wild Things Are, short films, and Her Edit

Where the Wild Things Are (2009), a film adaptation of Maurice Sendak children's picture book of the same name, was directed by Jonze and co-written by Jonze and Dave Eggers, who expanded the original ten-sentence book into a feature film. [79] Sendak gave advice to Jonze while he adapting the book and the two developed a friendship. [80] The film stars Max Records as Max, a lonely eight-year-old boy who runs away from home after an argument with his mother (played by Catherine Keener) and sails away to an island inhabited by creatures known as the "Wild Things," who declare Max their king. [80] The Wild Things were played by performers in creature suits, while CGI was required to animate their faces. [81] James Gandolfini, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O'Hara, Paul Dano, and Michael Berry Jr. provided the voices for the Wild Things, and Jonze voiced two owls named Bob and Terry. [82] The film's soundtrack was performed by Karen O and composer Carter Burwell scored his third film for Jonze. [83] Where the Wild Things Are was released in October 2009 to a generally positive critical reception but did not perform well at the box office. Some reviewers were unsure whether the film was intended for a younger or adult audience due to its dark tone and level of maturity. [84] Jonze himself said that he "didn't set out to make a children's movie I set out to make a movie about childhood". [85] A television documentary, Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak, co-directed by Jonze and Lance Bangs, aired in 2009 and features a series of interviews with Sendak. [86] Jonze wrote and directed We Were Once a Fairytale (2009), a short film starring Kanye West as himself acting belligerently while drunk in a nightclub. [87]

Jonze wrote and directed the science fiction romance short film I'm Here in 2010, based on the children's book The Giving Tree. The film stars Andrew Garfield as a robot with a head shaped like an old PC who falls in love with a more sleekly-designed female robot, played by Sienna Guillory. [88] Jonze produced and provided his voice to a character in the short film Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life (2010), based on Maurice Sendak's book of the same name. [89] He co-directed the video for LCD Soundsystem's "Drunk Girls" with the band's frontman James Murphy [90] and directed the video for Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" in 2010, the latter being an edited version of Jonze's short film Scenes from the Suburbs (2011), a dystopian vision of suburbia in the near-future and an expansion of the themes of nostalgia, alienation, and childhood found in the song. [91] [92] A third Jackass film, Jackass 3D, premiered in 2010. [93] He was part of the main cast for the black comedy series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret as the supervisor to David Cross' character for the first two seasons in 2010 and 2012, before being replaced by Jack McBrayer in the third season. [94] Jonze resumed his longtime collaboration with the Beastie Boys in July 2011, directing the video for their song featuring Santigold, "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win", in which the band members are portrayed as action figures. [24] He then directed the video for Kanye West and Jay-Z's 2011 single "Otis", which saw the pair driving a customized Maybach 57 around an industrial lot. [95] Along with Simon Cahn, Jonze co-directed the stop-motion animated short film Mourir Auprès De Toi (2011), which is set in the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris. Jonze voiced a skeletal Macbeth in the film. [96] Also in 2011, Jonze played a small supporting role in the sports drama Moneyball as the husband of Robin Wright's character, who is the ex-wife of Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt). [97] In 2012, Jonze co-directed the feature-length skateboarding film Pretty Sweet with his Fully Flared co-directors Ty Evans and Cory Weincheque. [98]

Jonze's fourth feature film, the romantic science fiction drama Her, was released in December 2013. The film was his first original screenplay and the first he had written alone, inspired by Charlie Kaufman by putting "all the ideas and feelings at that time" into the script. [99] It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Scarlett Johansson. The film follows the recently divorced Theodore Twombly (Phoenix), a man who develops a relationship with a seemingly intuitive and humanistic female voice, named "Samantha" (Johansson), produced by an advanced computer operating system. [99] Samantha was originally voiced by Samantha Morton during its production, but was later replaced by Johansson. [99] Jonze provided his voice to a video game character in the film, Alien Child, who interacts with Theodore. [100] The film's score was composed by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett. [101]

Her was met with universal acclaim from critics. [102] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter praised Jonze for taking an old theme "the search for love and the need to 'only connect'" and embracing it "in a speculative way that feels very pertinent to the moment and captures the emotional malaise of a future just an intriguing step or two ahead of contemporary reality." [103] Scott Foundas of Variety opined that it was Jonze's "richest and most emotionally mature work to date". [104] At the 86th Academy Awards, Jonze was nominated for three Academy Awards for Her, winning for Best Original Screenplay and receiving further nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Song for co-writing "The Moon Song" with Karen O. [105] Jonze won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay at the 71st Golden Globe Awards. [106]

Jonze co-wrote, co-produced, and appeared in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013), a hidden camera comedy film starring Johnny Knoxville as the vulgar grandfather Irvin Zisman. Jonze played his wife late Gloria, but was cut from a majority of the film. [107] Jonze served as the creative director of the YouTube Music Awards on November 3, 2013. At the ceremony, he directed the live music video for Arcade Fire's "Afterlife", documented Lady Gaga's live performance of "Dope" with Chris Milk, and premiered a short film written by Lena Dunham that Jonze directed called Choose You. [108] [109] Jonze had a small role in Martin Scorsese's 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street as a stockbroker who teaches Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) the ins and outs of penny stocks. [97] Jonze got the part as the film shared the same casting director as Her, who asked Jonze if he wanted to appear in the film. [97] He directed the video for Kanye West's "Only One" in 2015, which was filmed on his iPhone in a foggy field and featured heartfelt interactions between West and daughter. [110] Jonze made a guest appearance in the fourth season of Lena Dunham's television series Girls in March 2015. [111] Jonze directed the short commercial film Kenzo World to promote a fragrance by Kenzo in 2016. The film starred Margaret Qualley as a woman erratically dancing around a large mansion, with choreography by Ryan Heffington. [112] Jonze is the creative director of multinational television channel brand Viceland, which launched in February 2016. [113]

In 2017, Jonze directed Frank Ocean's summer festival tour, which included 8 shows which took place in different cities around the US and Europe. Jonze also produced and decorated, alongside Ocean and artist Tom Sachs among others, an elaborate stage with a runway and central platform for the same concert. [114] Jonze wrote and directed the stage show Changers: A Dance Story, starring Lakeith Stanfield and Mia Wasikowska. Featuring dance choreography by Ryan Heffington, the show premiered at an Opening Ceremony fashion week presentation in September 2017 before opening to the public for a four-night run at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. [115] Jonze produced the documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017), which documents the production of the film Man on the Moon (1999). [116] The following year, he directed the short commercial film Welcome Home for Apple's HomePod devices, starring FKA Twigs dancing inside her apartment as its transforms into a surreal space and engages in a dance off with her doppelgänger. [117] In 2019, Jonze directed a commercial and accompanying short film for the website building service Squarespace starring Idris Elba, [118] as well a short film titled The New Normal advocating for marijuana legalization in partnership with the cannabis company MedMen. [119] In that year, Jonze also filmed the Aziz Ansari stand-up special Right Now, operating close-up shots himself onstage. [120] He won two consecutive Directors Guild of America Awards for his commercial work in 2018 and 2019. [121] [122]

2020-present: Beastie Boys Story Edit

Jonze directed the Beastie Boys Story: As Told By Michael Diamond & Adam Horovitz stage show, which took place in Philadelphia and Brooklyn for three nights in 2019 and saw the band's two remaining members tell the story of the Beastie Boys and their friendship. [123] A feature-length documentary, Beastie Boys Story, was also directed by Jonze and features footage from the shows. [123] It was released on Apple TV+ in 2020 to positive reviews. [124]

In 2019, film scholars Kim Wilkins and Wyatt Moss-Wellington published ReFocus: The Films of Spike Jonze, a collection of academic essays on Jonze's oeuvre.

On June 26, 1999, Jonze married director Sofia Coppola, whom he had first met in 1992 on the set of the music video for Sonic Youth's "100%". [4] [125] On December 5, 2003, the couple filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences". [125] The character of John, a career-driven photographer (played by Giovanni Ribisi) in Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003), was rumored to be based on Jonze, though Coppola commented "It's not Spike, but there are elements of him there, elements of experiences." [126]

Jonze dated singer Karen O throughout 2005, although the couple broke up shortly after. [127] People magazine reported that Jonze dated actress Drew Barrymore in 2007. [128] Jonze was reported to have begun dating Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi in 2010 and the couple briefly lived together in New York City. [129] [130] They separated in 2011. [131]


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'But to have the privilege of finding two real leather examples is exceptionally special.

'The hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you realise you have discovered something as astonishing as these boxing gloves.

The gloves were found alongside a hoard of writing tablets, swords, bath clogs and shoes.

It is likely that the caestu (ancient battle gloves) were used for sparring or practice, as each has a stiffened contact edge being a softer representation of the more lethal metal inserts used in 'professional' ancient boxing bouts

The pieces of leather are very similar but not a matching pair, and they could not be likened to any of the many thousands of leather items previously discovered at Vindolanda

The larger of the gloves (pictured) is cut from a single piece of leather. This larger glove was packed with natural material acting as a shock absorber and it has extreme wear on the contact edge and has undergone repair with a tear covered by a circular patch

They are similar in style, although are not a matching pair.

The larger of the two is filled with natural material, that would have acted as a shock absorber.

The smaller glove, which is 'in near perfect condition', is filled with a coil of twisted leather.

Dr Birley told the MailOnline that the gloves date back to between 118 and 120 AD.

'They were abandoned in a barrack which had to be evacuated by the regiment during the British rebellion,' he said.

They were remarkably well-preserved because they were concealed beneath a concrete floor laid by the Romans 30 years after the barracks was abandoned.

It is likely the gloves were for sparring as each has a stiffened contact edge - a softer representation of the metal inserts used in serious ancient boxing bouts, which Roman garrisons would have gambled on.

According to the Vindolanda Trust, boxing was a well-documented ancient sport that preceded the Roman era. In the context of the Roman Army, it was a recorded pursuit, a martial activity designed to increase the skills and fitness of the boxers

'The hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you realise you have discovered something as astonishing as these boxing gloves,' said Dr Andrew Birley, Vindolanda Trust director of excavations

Roman boxing gloves, thought to be the only known surviving examples from the Roman period, have been discovered at Vindolanda fort near Hadrian's wall in Northumberland.

The slightly smaller glove (pictured) was uncovered in near perfect condition with the same construction but filled with a tight coil of hard twisted leather

The larger of the gloves is cut from a single piece of leather and was folded into a pouch configuration, the extending leather at each side were slotted into one another forming a complete oval shape creating an inner hole into which a hand could still easily be inserted

A print from an engraving showing Roman gladiators boxing. Boxing was a well-documented ancient sport that preceded the Roman era. In the context of the Roman Army, it was a recorded pursuit, a martial activity designed to increase the skills and fitness of the boxers

According to the Vindolanda Trust, boxing was a well-documented ancient sport that preceded the Roman era.

In the context of the Roman Army, it was a recorded pursuit, a martial activity designed to increase the skills and fitness of the boxers.

Boxing competitions also took place, with crows and supporters, and it was the sort of activity that the Roman garrisons would have gambled on.

'What really makes Vindolanda so unique is the range of organic objects that we find, said Dr Birley.

'Every one of them brings you closer to the people who lived here nearly 2,000 years ago but the hairs stand up on the back of your neck when you realise that you have discovered something as astonishing as these boxing gloves.'

The gloves will go on public display on today at the Vindolanda museum , mounted on a pair of articulated hands, along with other finds from the cavalry barrack excavations.

It is thought that the larger glove may have been unfit for purpose due to prolonged use and may have survived alongside the 'newer' model resulting from a personal attachment given to it by the owner

WHAT IS VINDOLANDA AND WHAT WAS ITS ROLE IN ROMAN BRITAIN?

Vindolanda is a Roman fort south of Hadrian's Wall in northern England.

Soldiers stationed there guarded the Roman road from the River Tyne to Solway Firth.

Wooden tablets were discovered there which are considered the most important examples of military and private correspondence found anywhere in the Roman Empire.

The garrison was home to auxiliary infantry and cavalry units - not parts of Roman legions.

Vindolanda (pictured) is a Roman fort south of Hadrian's Wall in northern England

Roman boots, shoes, armours, jewellery, coins and tablets have all been found there.

In 2006, a richly-decorated silver brooch featuring the figure of Mars was found.

It belonged to Quintus Sollonius, a Gaul, whose name was inscribed on the brooch.

The Vindolanda Roman fort on Hadrians Wall, Northumberland. Soldiers stationed there guarded the Roman road from the River Tyne to Solway Firth


37 new British TV period drama series you need to see in 2020

British period drama fans have had another marvellous year of television to enjoy.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the new British period drama series, mini-series, and TV movies you need to see from 2020!

Agatha and the Midnight Murders (TV movie)

What’s it about?

Helen Baxendale (Friends) stars as Agatha Christie in the third of Channel 5’s Agatha and the… TV movies.

Set in London in 1940, the fictionalised story sees the author make the decision to kill off her most famous creation – Herucle Poirot – as the Blitz rages and her future is threatened by fallout from the war.

What did the reviews say?

“Channel 5 have once again solved the problem of not having the rights to any Agatha Christie novels by making the drama about Agatha herself … this sneaky Christie isn’t a patch on the real thing.” ★★ – The Telegraph

All Creatures Great and Small – Season 1

What’s it about?

Based on author James Herriot’s much-loved collection of stories, this new series from the makers of Downton Abbey stars Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells), Samuel West (Mr Selfridge), Anna Madeley (Patrick Melrose), and Rachel Shenton (White Gold).

All Creatures Great and Small chronicles the heartwarming and humorous adventures of a young country vet in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s.

What did the reviews say?

“Rest assured, this six-part All Creatures Great and Small [succeeds in] piling on the charm without ever getting cloying … The casting is smart and veteran Downton Abbey director Brian Percival knows his way around spectacular scenery. The sense of warmth and community, now more than ever, feels nigh on irresistible.” – The Telegraph

“But from the opening moments of tonight’s episode, it looks as though Channel 5 are on to a winner…” – York Press

The first season of All Creatures Great and Small is available on DVD on Amazon.

Belgravia (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has adapted his 2016 book as a new six-part mini-series for ITV.

The New York Times bestselling novel tells a story of secrets and scandals amongst the upper echelon of London society in the 1840s.

The cast of Belgravia is led by Tamsin Greig (Episodes), Philip Glenister (Life on Mars) and Harriet Walter (Downton Abbey).

What did the reviews say?

Downton follow-up is fun, frothy and fabulous on the eye.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

“For my money, Belgravia does the job, but not wildly well: there are absolutely zero standout performances, there is no zip to the scripted tete-a-tetes … But, you know, if you have a Downton-shaped hole in your life, Belgravia is here to fill it.” – The Guardian

Black Narcissus (mini-series)

What’s it about?

BBC One’s new adaptation of Rumer Godden’s 1939 novel Black Narcissus follows Sister Clodagh and the nuns of St Faiths, who travel to Nepal to set up a branch of their order in the remote palace of Mopu.

Starring Gemma Arterton (Their Finest), Diana Rigg (Victoria), Jim Broadbent (War and Peace), Gina McKee (Bodyguard) and Rosie Cavaliero (Gentleman Jack), the three-part mini-series returns the haunting love story to its original setting in the 1930s, as the western colonial order is about to explode into the crisis of World War II.

What did the reviews say?

Black Narcissus is a beautiful production but its melancholic tone is a hard sell to keep audiences sustained over three episodes.” – IndieWire

“As could be expected from a collaboration between FX and the BBC, Black Narcissus is a handsome production that takes itself seriously. But it’s also ultimately and frustratingly, a bloodless one that doesn’t quite know how to get hearts racing like its tenuous premise requires.” – Variety

Rumer Godden’s novel Black Narcissus is available on Amazon.

Bridgerton – Season 1

What’s it about?

From the makers of Grey’s Anatomy, this Netflix drama is based on the bestselling novels by Julia Quinn.

A romantic, scandalous, and quick-witted series that celebrates the timelessness of enduring friendships, families finding their way, and the search for a love that conquers all, Bridgerton is set in the world of Regency London high society in early 1800s England.

What did the reviews say?

“Netflix’s period drama is the shiny little stocking filler the world needs this Christmas … Shonda Rhimes’ historical romance series is all the better for putting entertainment before accuracy … Nobody’s going to mistake Bridgerton for Austen, but it hardly matters.” ★★★★ – The Independent

Bridgerton is so good! It cheered me right up at a generally awful time, and it will cheer you up too … The costumes are sumptuous, the locations are stunning, and the whole thing is full of bright colours.” ★★★★★ – Radio Times

Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels are available on Amazon.

Call the Midwife – Season 9

What’s it about?

The BBC’s long-running period drama series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London returns for a ninth season.

The show’s creator Heidi Thomas commented: “Even after all these years, it still feels as though Call the Midwife has more truth to tell, more tears to cry, more life to celebrate, and more love to give.

What did the reviews say?

Call the Midwife has long found entertaining ways of mixing soap with science, human interest with a political message. The series nine opener about the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House was no exception.” – iNews

Call the Midwife phoned in a lacklustre effort for Christmas Day (not a single tear from me unusual), but then kicked off its new year series with a five-tissue job. This series is at its best when it ditches the jaunty, whimsical subplots (zzzzz) and rides social issues hard.” ★★★★ – The Times

The Crown – Season 4

What’s it about?

Olivia Colman (The Favourite) returns in the fourth season of Netflix’s award-winning period drama series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Set in the 1970s and 1980s, the new episodes introduce historical figures such as Margaret Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson, and a young Princess Diana.

What did the reviews say?

“Yes, there is a shaky start and the odd historical inaccuracy, but it is in my view [writer Petrer] Morgan’s best series yet and, overall, five-star television.” – The Times

“As sumptuous and well-acted as ever, creator Peter Morgan continues to offer one of the most stunning and riveting dramas on television but this time with even more of a dramatic sense of momentum … Season 4 is the best season yet of the Netflix royal drama and boasts added momentum and marvellous performances…” – The Mirror

Cursed – Season 1

What’s it about?

This Netflix series is a re-imagination of the Arthurian legend, telling the story of gifted teenage heroine Nimue (Katherine Langford), who is destined to become the famous Lady of the Lake.

Cursed is described as “a coming-of-age story whose themes are familiar to our own time: the obliteration of the natural world, religious terror, senseless war, and finding the courage to lead in the face of the impossible.”

What did the reviews say?

Cursed never quite feels big enough to tell this epic story … but overall the storytelling does a good job of showcasing varied, interesting characters in a growing cycle of violence. However, it might be that some fans don’t stay long enough to find that out. Cursed is definitely a bit of a slow starter…” ★★★ – Radio Times

“It’s Langford’s charm and the aesthetics that sustain Cursed when the story feels too slow or the lingo too obtuse.” – USA Today

Dead Still – Season 1

What’s it about?

Set in 1880s Ireland, Dead Still follows a memorial photographer who investigates the murders of his recently deceased subjects.

The six-part Irish period drama series stars Michael Smiley (Luther), Kerr Logan (Game of Thrones), Eileen O’Higgins (Mary Queen of Scots) and Aidan O’Hare (Jackie).

What did the reviews say?

“Very Irish, very funny and boasting this unique hook of a very Victorian tradition, Dead Still is unique enough to stand out in the dense ranks of genre TV – and sharp enough to draw blood. Its humour, rooted in period detail, class-consciousness, and juxtaposition, is an endless pleasure…” ★★★★ – Ready Steady Cut

“For any with a soft spot for British drama, who are open to throwing in a bit of “ghost story creepiness” that can’t manage a PG rating, this is curious, but brilliant entertainment. It ultimately owes as much to production design as the wildly engaging cast, because the time and culture become a character…” – Are You Screening

Des (mini-series)

What’s it about?

David Tennant (Broadchurch, Doctor Who) stars in this three-part true crime drama for ITV.

Based on Brian Masters’ book Killing for Company, Des follows the arrest and trial of real-life serial killer Dennis Nilsen, known as Des, who murdered boys and young men in his flat from 1978 to 1983.

The cast also includes Daniel Mays (Line of Duty) and Jason Watkins (The Crown).

What did the reviews say?

“David Tennant excels as a perfectly ordinary serial killer. This sensitive, finely worked drama shows us the unrelentingly bleak reality of the monstrous narcissist Dennis Nilsen’s macabre murders.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“Mesmerising David Tennant has killer down to a tee.” ★★★★★ – The Times

Brian Masters’ book Killing for Company is available on Amazon.

Doctor Who – Season 12

What’s it about?

The BBC’s long-running time travel drama series is back, with Broadchurch star Jodie Whitaker returning as the Thirteenth Doctor.

The ten new episodes see the TARDIS travel through time and space once more, with historical adventures including encounters with Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, inventor Nikola Tesla, and 19th Century mathematician Ada Lovelace.

What did the reviews say?

Doctor Who at its best is a blend of belts and braces sci-fi and Horrible Histories strapped to a jet pack … It is brash, bonkers and unstinting – everything you want from Doctor Who, especially in the glum days of early January.” ★★★★ – The Independent

“There’s a sense of renewed confidence in showrunner Chris Chibnall’s writing and in the polished performances of the central quartet, returning for a second lap.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

Dracula (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Sherlock writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have teamed up again for a new version of Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic novel Dracula.

Set in Transylvania in 1897 as the blood-drinking Count draws his plans against Victorian London, BBC One’s three 90-minute episodes “re-introduce the world to Dracula, the vampire who made evil sexy.”

What did the reviews say?

“A blood-sucking delight that leaves you thirsty for more … Fun, smart, scary and with just the right whiff of ham … Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have served up a diabolic luxury.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian

“Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, creators of Sherlock, have adapted – loosely, it must be said – Bram Stoker’s classic as a New Year three-parter. The job they have done is quite bonkers … This shouldn’t work at all and yet it does, provided you’re here for entertainment rather than a good fright.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

Bram Stoker’s original novel is available on Amazon.

Endeavour – Season 7

What’s it about?

Shaun Evans returns as DS Endeavour Morse, alongside Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday, in three new feature-length stories.

Set in 1970, the seventh season of Endeavour “will test Endeavour’s moral compass to breaking point, both personally and professionally.”

What did the reviews say?

“Shaun Evans … gives us an excellently nuanced show as the younger Morse, adopting hints of some of the elder Morse’s little ticks and mannerisms, in a miniature homage to John Thaw.” – The Independent

“With the help of a mordantly funny script by writer Russell Lewis, [Shaun] Evans has proved that he has Morse’s measure.” – Den of Geek

The English Game (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes makes his Netflix debut with The English Game, a new period drama exploring the origins of football.

Set in the late 1800s, the six-part event series delves into how the sport crossed class lines and became a worldwide phenomenon despite its humble beginnings on the pitch at London’s Limes Field.

What did the reviews say?

“Julian Fellowes scores with winning drama about the birth of football.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

“It is Downton Abbey for boys.” – The Guardian

Father Brown – Season 8

What’s it about?

Set in the Cotswolds in the early 1950s and based on the stories by GK Chesterton, the BBC’s hit daytime drama series returns for a eighth season.

Harry Potter actor Mark Williams reprises his role as the crime-busting Roman Catholic priest, alongside regulars Sorcha Cusack, Emer Kenny, Jack Deam and John Burton.

What did the reviews say?

“…Father Brown was back on BBC daytime, solving sleepy riddles involving church choirs and Cotswold village fetes … Low on graphic violence, sex or profanity but high on bumbling eccentrics and mild misunderstandings … the comfy televisual equivalent of cardigan and slippers.” – The Telegraph

Grantchester – Season 5

What’s it about?

Outlander actor Tom Brittney is back as DI Geordie Keating’s new crime-solving partner in a fifth season of ITV’s crime drama based on James Runcie’s novels.

Picking up in 1957, a year after the events of Season 4’s finale, for many of the residents of Grantchester, it feels like they’re in a delightful new Eden, but for all the talk of paradise on earth and faith-in-action, Geordie Keating knows that trouble is never far away.

What did the reviews say?

“…as edgy as a toasted teacake, but there’s bite beneath the cosy surface.” – The Telegraph

The Great – Season 1

What’s it about?

Elle Fanning (Ginger & Rosa) and Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite) star in Hulu’s satirical, comedic drama about the rise of Catherine the Great.

Featuring “only occasional historical facts,” The Great follows Catherine’s rise from outsider to the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history.

What did the reviews say?

The Great straddles the line between period drama and slapstick comedy with acrobatic ease … The cast is uniformly strong, and the series’ brisk and deliberate pacing makes sure to let each central actor show it (and luxuriate in McNamara’s uniquely spiky dialogue, besides).” – Variety

“It is fun, somehow, which is extra impressive amid so much torture and death and critique of aristocratic privilege. It’s also not historically accurate, and it’s not trying to be.” – Vulture

In the Long Run – Season 3

What’s it about?

Created by and starring Idris Elba, the Luther actor’s semi-autobiographical comedy series is based on his childhood in London during the eighties.

The third season sees the welcome arrival of Walter’s mum from Sierra Leone, with Walter desperate to impress. Meanwhile, Valentine finally finds love and some developers start taking an interest in the Eastbridge Estate, threatening the very existence of the community.

What did the reviews say?

“Elba takes inspiration from his own family history in this gentle, accessible comedy … As a comedy this is not always laugh-out-loud stuff … but its warmth and charm is undeniable.” – Evening Standard

The Last Kingdom – Season 4

What’s it about?

Set in the late 9th century AD, when England is divided into seven separate kingdoms, Netflix’s epic historical drama series is based on the Saxon Stories novels by English author Bernard Cornwell.

After the death of Alfred, the alliances between the kingdoms are fractured. Uhtred believes the timing is right to challenge his uncle Aelfric, played by Joseph Millson (Casino Royale), and take back his ancestral home, Bebbanburg.

However fate shifts in a different direction, leading Uhtred to realise that his destiny is tied to Alfred’s dream of a united land. This, and Uhtred’s feelings for Aethelflaed, drive him back into the politics that threaten to break out into war.

What did the reviews say?

“If Season 3 felt like a possible ending for The Last Kingdom, Season 4 ushers in a new era for the series that readies it for many more stories. As a result, the pace sometimes feels less urgent as new characters are introduced and put in place, but rest assured that there are plenty more shocking moments to keep you hooked throughout.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

“The good news is that The Last Kingdom continues to fascinate and intrigue, even if it has lost a degree of emotional intensity.” ★★★★ – The Arts Desk

Little Birds (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Set in Tangier in northwestern Morocco in 1955, Sky Atlantic’s “playful and intensely evocative” six-part period drama series is based on Nin’s infamous collection of erotic short stories.

29-year-old English actress Juno Temple (Atonement) leads the cast as troubled American debutante Lucy Savage in the “provocative, intelligent, emotionally vibrant and unashamedly entertaining” series.

What did the reviews say?

“It’s unclear exactly which characters to focus on and what their motives are, and tonally the show is confused. On the one hand, it’s very silly and gloriously camp. On the other, there are serious themes of coercion, enforced medication and psychological manipulation, as well as a subplot about colonialism in Fifties Morocco.” ★★★ – The Independent

Little Birds is an unusual, ambitious and visually striking series about power and freedom. Its narrative strands may not all coalesce, but its imagery and force is unforgettable…” – Den of Geek

Anais Nin’s book Little Birds is available on Amazon.

The Luminaries (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Novelist Eleanor Catton has adapted her award-winning novel for BBC Two as a six-part mini-series.

Set on the Wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island during the 1860s gold rush, The Luminaries is described as “an epic story of love, murder and revenge.”

The cast includes Eva Green (Penny Dreadful), Eve Hewson (Bridge of Spies), Himesh Patel (EastEnders), Ewen Leslie (The Cry) and Marton Csokas (Lord of the Rings).

What did the review say?

“A compulsively complex novel becomes simply addictive TV … Eleanor Catton has adapted her New Zealand-set page-turner into a must-see full of intrigue, opium and political machinations.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

The Luminaries will be too frustrating for some, but even for those who haven’t read the novel, Catton and McCarthy have crafted one of the most visually arresting dramas of the year.” ★★★★ – The Arts Desk

Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries novel is available on Amazon.

Malory Towers – Season 1

What’s it about?

Based on the classic novels by English author Enid Blyton, Malory Towers follows the adventures of Darrell Rivers as she leaves home for the first time to attend an all girls’ boarding school.

Set in post-war Britain on the sun-drenched cliffs of the Cornish coast, the 13-part children’s series explores a nostalgic world of midnight feasts, lacrosse, pranks, a mystery ghost and lasting friendships.

What did the reviews say?

“It bowls along so smoothly and sweetly that you would be hard pressed not to love it.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“A thoroughly modern take on a classic Enid Blyton series.” ★★★★ – iNews

Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers books are available on Amazon.

Medici – Season 3

What’s it about?

This British-Italian series follows the Medici family, bankers of the Pope, in 15th century Florence, exploring the political and artistic landscape of Renaissance Italy.

Medici features a cast of familiar British actors, including Rose Williams (Sanditon), Bradley James (Merlin), Sarah Parish (Cutting It), and Johnny Harris (This is England 󈨚).

What did the reviews say?

“The series is thought-provoking, going beyond the realm of sheer entertainment value.” – Independent Catholic News

“More hysterical than historical, chronological accuracy obviously goes out the stained glass window … Yet as a soap opera in a fancy cape it is an unexpurgated hoot.” ★★★ – The Telegraph

Miss Scarlet and The Duke – Season 1

What’s it about?

Created by Grantchester writer Rachael New, Miss Scarlet and The Duke follows the first ever-female detective in 19th century London.

The six-part crime drama series stars Kate Phillips (Wolf Hall), Stuart Martin (Jamestown), Ansu Kabia (World on Fire), Andrew Gower (Carnival Row) and Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey).

What did the reviews say?

“Tongue-in-cheek, funny and pacy … Eliza Scarlet, played by Peaky Blinders actress Kate Phillips, is my new favourite private investigator, a refreshing break from the norm. A kickass Jessica Fletcher in ­bloomers and a bustle.” – Mirror

Miss Scarlet Etc is that very modern thing, a genre piece in a feminist bonnet, delivered in a tone that stays expertly on the chaste side of parody, while not taking itself entirely seriously.” – Evening Standard

Miss Scarlet and The Duke is available on DVD on Amazon.

Outlander – Season 5

What’s it about?

Based on the fifth book in author Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, the new season sees Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) “fight time, space, and history to protect their family.”

Establishing a home in the New World is by no means an easy task – and protecting it proves even more difficult – particularly in the wild backcountry of North Carolina during a period of dramatic sociopolitical upheaval.

What did the reviews say?

Outlander season five has all the elements fans love—romance, drama, insane circumstances that keep Jamie and Claire apart—while presenting them in new, refreshing ways.” – Glamour

“…the time travel period romance has truly found its footing. While the early seasons had a habit of wavering in quality, especially when it came to the pacing and an over-reliance on voice-over, the series has now found a new level of maturity which matches its central characters.” – Collider

The Pale Horse (mini-series)

What’s it about?

When a mysterious list of names is found in the shoe of a dead woman, one of those named, Mark Easterbrook, begins an investigation into how and why his name came to be there.

The cast includes Rufus Sewell (Victoria), Kaya Scodelario (Skins), Bertie Carvel (Doctor Foster) and Sean Pertwee (Elementary).

What did the reviews say?

“A twisted, thoroughly enthralling take on a classic Agatha Christie mystery.” ★★★★★ – Empire

The Pale Horse is a clever choice for TV, because the story will be a genuine mystery to most viewers … Sewell’s difficulty is to make his character likable, when clearly a bounder. He manages it by being Rufus Sewell: saturnine, strong of jaw and piercing of eye.” ★★★★★ – The Daily Mail

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels – Season 1

What’s it about?

Featuring all new characters, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful spin-off moves the action on from Victorian London to Los Angeles in the 1930s.

Rooted in the conflict between characters connected to the deity Santa Muerte and others allied with the Devil, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels explores an exciting mix of the supernatural and the combustible reality of that period, creating new occult myths and moral dilemmas within a genuine historical backdrop.

The cast includes Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones, Picnic At Hanging Rock), Nathan Lane (Modern Family) and Daniel Zovatto (Agents Of SHIELD).

What did the reviews say?

“Magnetic but messy escapism … The ‘spiritual descendant’ of the macabre Victorian series offers heavily plotted yet beguiling horror in 1930s Los Angeles.” ★★★ – The Guardian

“…while it’s unclear who exactly the series is meant to appeal to, the sheer power of its cast keeps things moving.” – IndieWire

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse (TV movie)

What’s it about?

The Vicar of Dibley star Dawn French plays Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter in this one-off TV movie from the makers of Sherlock and Dracula.

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse is inspired by the true story of when a young Roald Dahl met his hero, Beatrix Potter.

With Beatrix coming to the end of her career and Roald aged only six and having recently lost his father and sister, this meeting of two literary legends was to have an enormous impact on the lives of both writers.

When does it air?

Roald & Beatrix is a slow-burning yet heart-warming Christmas tonic for fans of all ages … Both uplifting and affecting … the touching dramatisation is still a soothing tonic that’s perfect for the frantic festive season.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

“Sweeter than a tin of condensed milk and just as retro, Kerr’s drama is a balm. Whilst full of sugar-coated magic, it retains just enough bitter reality to make it work.” ★★★★ – The Arts Desk

Roald Dahl’s autobiography Boy: Tales of Childhood is available on Amazon.

The Singapore Grip (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Oscar winning screenwriter and playwright Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liaisons) has adapted Booker Prize winner J.G. Farrell’s classic novel as a new six-part mini-series for ITV.

Set during World War Two, The Singapore Grip centres on a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion in 1941.

Luke Treadaway (Ordeal By Innocence) will lead the cast as reluctant hero Matthew Webb, alongside David Morrissey (Britannia), Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) and Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous).

What did the review say?

“ITV’s sumptuous new six-part ITV drama … is a satire, poking fun at the leading lights of the British Empire who party on, obliviously, as danger approaches. And in a gentle way, it’s really quite funny!” ★★★★ – Radio Times

“Even with its social commentary, the series has an easy vibe … and it’s a very digestible experience, especially when you also factor in the lush production design and costuming.” – News.com.au

J.G. Farrell’s novel is available on Amazon.

Small Axe (mini-series)

What’s it about?

From 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, BBC One’s new anthology drama series is set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early 80s.

Small Axe tells five separate stories, with a cast that includes John Boyega (Star Wars), Letitia Wright (Avengers: Infinity War), Shaun Parkes (Lost In Space), Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty), and Alex Jennings (Victoria).

What did the reviews say?

“[John] Boyega takes his career to the next level with a heroic and even tragic portrayal of Logan.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian

“McQueen’s gripping true-life drama compensates for some of its more heavy-handed beats thanks to Boyega’s staggering, career-best performance and the fiery tone that surrounds it at every turn.” – IndieWire

The Spanish Princess – Part 2

What’s it about?

Starz’s sequel to The White Queen and The White Princess is based on Philippa Gregory’s novels The Constant Princess and The King’s Curse.

The Spanish Princess tells the story of Catherine of Aragon (Charlotte Hope), the Spanish princess who became Queen of England as King Henry VIII’s first wife.

What did the reviews say?

“Like in the first installment, Charlotte Hope carries this series on her petite shoulders, summoning a constant inner strength from Catherine as she recovers from repeated losses.” – Paste Magazine

A Suitable Boy (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies (Sanditon, Mr Selfridge) has adapted Vikram Seth’s bestseller A Suitable Boy for BBC One.

Set during the 1950s, the six-part series tells the story of a young woman’s search for love and identity in a newly independent, post-Partition India defining its own future.

What did the reviews say?

“Settle down for an Indian summer of love with this ambitious adaptation … The BBC’s take on Vikram Seth’s epic novel is the perfect Sunday-night saga … [the director] has succeeded in creating a world with charm and drama.” ★★★★ – Evening Standard

“Seth’s saga becomes sumptuous Sunday night fare. Andrew Davies has stripped away all the fat from Vikram Seth’s enormous novel and left us with a gorgeous TV drama.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph

Vikram Seth’s novel A Suitable Boy is available on Amazon.

The Trial of Christine Keeler (mini-series)

What’s it about?

Amanda Coe (Apple Tree Yard) has written this new six-part BBC One drama, exploring the true story of the Profumo affair in the 1960s.

The Trial of Christine Keeler takes viewers “behind the headlines to tell a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of one of the most revealing and iconic stories of modern times.”

Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) will lead the cast as Christine Keeler, alongside James Norton (Grantchester), Ben Miles (The Crown) and Ellie Bamber (Les Miserables).

What did the reviews say?

“If The Trial doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of last year’s A Very English Scandal, about the 70s equivalent of Keeler and its fallout, it remains a furiously fast, fun ride which doesn’t let the deeper, darker issues fall from its grasp.” ★★★★ – The Guardian

“…it’s an extremely handsome, expensive-looking production that wouldn’t look out of place dropped into a run of The Crown. Indeed, two of Her Majesty’s Prime Ministers from that show, Anton Lesser and Michael Maloney, pop up here, in a cast that radiates class at every level.” ★★★★ – Radio Times

The Trial of Christine Keeler is available on DVD on Amazon.

Upstart Crow – Christmas 2020 special

What’s it about?

Loosely based on the life and times of William Shakespeare, BBC Two’s historical comedy series is written by Ben Elton (Blackadder, The Young Ones).

This year’s Christmas special is set in London 1603 and finds Will (David Mitchell) and Kate (Gemma Whelan) in lockdown due to the plague.

When will it air?

The episode is expected to air on BBC Two in the UK on Christmas Day.

Vikings – Season 6

What’s it about?

Inspired by the sagas of Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, History’s hit historical drama continues its final season.

After years of turmoil and tragedy, Vikings reaches its biggest climax yet with the Vikings traveling to never-before-seen locations thousands of miles from Kattegat, meeting vicious rivals worthy of their strategic combat and finally facing the consequences of Ragnar’s death.

When will it air?

The second half of Season 6 will air on History in the US later in 2020 and will premiere in the UK on Amazon Prime Video shortly after its US broadcast.

White House Farm (mini-series)

What’s it about?

From the makers of The Missing and based on extensive research, ITV’s six-part factual drama tells the true story of the fateful night in August 1985 when five members of the same family were murdered at a farmhouse in Essex.

The cast includes Freddie Fox (Parade’s End), Mark Addy (Game of Thrones), Stephen Graham (Line of Duty), Gemma Whelan (Gentleman Jack) and Amanda Burton (Silent Witness).

What did the reviews say?

“A masterful portrait of a cold, arrogant killer … White House Farm has maintained its high quality throughout, but you may, like me, think that as a six-parter it was one episode too long, last week’s seeming padded out.” ★★★★ – The Times

“The script is lacking in this bloated tale of a tragic true crime.” – iNews

The Windermere Children (TV movie)

What’s it about?

Iain Glen (Downton Abbey), Romola Garai (The Hour) and Tim McInnerny (Blackadder) star in this “stark, moving and ultimately redemptive story,” marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

The Windermere Children is based on the first-person testimony of some of these now elderly survivors of the Holocaust, whose filmed interviews also feature in the 90-minute TV movie.

What did the reviews say?

“It is rare indeed to find a television dramatisation, even one concerned, as here, with the Holocaust, that exercises such a raw emotional power.” ★★★★ – The Independent

“Every now and then, something comes along that reminds you just how powerful television can be just how much it can touch you and move you, leaving you emotionally battered and yet profoundly grateful for the experience of having watched. The Windermere Children is one such drama.” ★★★★★ – Radio Times


Dude, Not Funny!

Some tropes reference things that really should not always be Played for Laughs, but for some reason often are. One of the consequences of comedies using schadenfreude is that they can tread on subjects that are quite serious to some people.

  • Death: Whether it be natural causes, unfortunate accidents, or intentional homicide and murder, it is almost always completely unacceptable to talk positively about a real-life person's death. The sole exception to the rule is if the person was a despised criminal, bigoted extremist, dictator, terrorist, exceptionally mean-minded boss, or sympathizer for any of the former five categories.
    • The Sick and Dying: Similarly, speaking ill of those at Death's door is considered extremely bad form if not taboo. And never make light of the illness, injury, etc. that caused the situation.
    • Suicide: Although suicide is occasionally used for dark humor in some media, this can tread into very dangerous territory because it may trigger people who suffer suicidal thoughts. Even if one doesn't suffer suicidal thoughts, it may scare them or make them sad, especially if they knew someone who committed suicide. Moreover, telling someone to go kill themselves, even as a "joke", is considered to be completely beyond the pale not least because depressed or mentally ill people may decide totake you up on it.
    • Sitcoms' use of Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male variety has been gradually starting to get this reaction, although so far it hasn't been nearly vocal enough to convince the networks to stop using it.
    • Abusive Parents, particularly as it was used in professional wrestling where &mdash to mock a babyface opponent &mdash the heel claims that a beaten child wants to go live with said babyface "because he don't beat nobody!"
    • Hilariously Abusive Childhood
    • No Sympathy for Grudgeholders
    • Some of the more severe cases of Kafka Komedy (too much Kafka, not enough comedy)
    • Also alcoholism. While people often make jokes about characters being drunk (provided they're not driving, see below) or wanting to drink, implying that they actually have a problem is right out unless it's a parody using a non-alcoholic substance acting like alcohol.
    • Once Acceptable Targets, because times have changed.
    • Unacceptable Targets, because they are treated as too sacred and sensitive of a topic.
    • Diabolus ex Machina
    • Karmic Twist Endings if the audience believes that what caused "karma" to punish the character is too disproportionate.
    • Bullying
    • Exclusion
    • Loneliness
    • Therapy Is for the Weak, especially offensive to people who go to therapy, went to therapy in the past, or know someone who is or was in therapy.
    • Bestiality
    • Pedophillia
    • Anything having to do with the Nazis &mdash even if it portrays them in a bad light (there are some exceptions, but not many)
      • Adolf Hitlarious, treating Hitler as a buffoon when he was really a genocidal maniac.
      • Those Wacky Nazis, if The Holocaust is downplayed or treated too flippantly.
      • Blackface
      • Yellowface
      • Hollywood Natives
      • Sorry Ociffer: Ha ha, somebody behind the wheel is too drunk to speak straight.

      The academic terms "dark humor," "black humor," or "tragic farce" apply to some examples, although the exact execution is somewhat different. Black Comedy is not about making jokes at the expense of groups, but rather about using Irony and Fatalism to make them seem amusing while still showing their seriousness. A prime example is Paul Zindel's play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, which ends with the protagonist's mother having a psychotic breakdown and killing her daughters' pet rabbit. The natural reaction to such a description is "Dude, not funny!" &mdash but the way it's written, it is one of the funniest scenes in the entire play. (And after all, it was only a rabbit.)

      How do you know if something deserves linking to this page? Well, it might be overused, funny, or nothing to most people. If just a few people cringe at something, well. if more people are amused than disgusted, then it's not justified to put a stop to it. But if a large number of people are offended or outright traumatized, well, to them, it is not funny.

      Note that the fact something is not funny to some people does not mean that other people may not find it funny. Often happens when Black Comedy or Gallows Humor is mishandled. The creators may offer a "Just Joking" Justification, but this does not always soothe hurt feelings. This may also overlap with Values Dissonance as society in general becomes more sensitive to the reality that certain issues carry Unfortunate Implications &mdash a joke that wouldn't have raised eyebrows in the 1930s might be seen as appallingly racist or sexist today.

      On the other hand, outright forbidding people from saying anything that could be perceived as offensive may lead to Political Correctness Gone Mad. Where the line is between these extremes is a subject of much debate, so let's not, and just agree not to be Jerkasses, okay?)

      If something that was funny falls into this following some related event in the real world, see "Funny Aneurysm" Moment.

      Villains may get a free pass on these because Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humour and cracking a tasteless joke may be a good way to highlight this. It may also overlap with Comedic Sociopathy, in rather the same way that treating these subjects too callously in real life would overlap with actual sociopathy. Conversely, a villain who plays it with enough finesse may be considered Too Funny to Be Evil.


      Discredited Trope

      Tropes Are Tools, but some have aged better than others.

      Over the course of time, a trope may be overused, misused, opposed, made obsolete, out of fashion, subverted or deconstructed on many notable occasions, or just end up being widely disliked. Eventually, a trope may reach the point where it becomes one which no writer should dare use seriously outside of period pieces, though can still be played with in parody, satire, homage or pastiche. Often, if one of these is used straight, people will assume it's a Red Herring, and react with annoyance or disdain when it isn't.

      In some cases, a trope may be discredited due to changes in our knowledge of history or science. Use of the trope in fiction may change to reflect this. See the Time Marches On index.

      1. Just because a trope is discredited does not necessarily mean it is not Truth in Television, or that it's necessarily a Forgotten Trope.
      2. This is not bad writing because the writing itself is bad, but because the writer doesn't know its audience. After all, Tropes Are Tools.
      3. Just because a trope is not Truth in Television does not necessarily mean it is discredited.
      4. Just because a trope is used a lot does not necessarily make it discredited. (Take a glance at Overdosed Tropes, many of which are still popular and thriving, if you need any further proof of this.)
      5. Just because a trope falls in prominence does not make it discredited: it very well could have a niche that keeps it alive.
      6. A trope can be considered discredited in some parts of the world, but not in others, due to differing intellectual and moral commitments between cultures. For instance, Stay in the Kitchen is offensive to the sensibilities of modern Western liberals, but raises far fewer eyebrows in African and Asian countries, and some variant on such was widely-held throughout most of history even in the West.

      Omnipresent Tropes are immune to being discredited, mostly because those tropes are too natural to the medium of storytelling to ever be considered tired cliches.

      • Characteristic Trope, for tropes that have become so characteristic to a specific work that they can't be used without being automatically considered a ripoff or reference to said work.
      • Cyclic Trope, which displays tropes that after a period of disuse become relevant again. Note that in most cases, later uses of said tropes tend to be more subdued and/or carrying some degree of self-awareness about the tropes' more outdated aspects.
      • Dead Horse Trope, where subversions or parodies outnumber straight use in recent works.
      • Dead Unicorn Trope, for tropes that people believe are clichés and are often parodied, but actually had little to no use in serious form some may even have been discredited the moment they were created.


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