It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s often the most stressful too. If a gingerbread latte just isn’t enough to soothe you right now, why not try one of this week’s pop culture essentials instead.
1. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU LIKE A POP DIVA WHO SURE KNOWS HOW TO ACT LIKE ONE
Premiering Sunday on E!, this eight part docu-series has grander ambitions than Keeping Up with the Kardashians. “I refuse to call it a reality show,” Mariah Carey said recently. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to kind of, like, show my personality and who I am.” E!’s teaser trailers suggest Mariah’s World will offer a winning mix of camp and vamp: one clip even shows Carey throwing her diamonds at the wall in a mock-tantrum. At the very least, expect to see GIFs from the series all over your Twitter timeline for weeks to come.
2. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU’VE GOT A HIGH TOLERANCE FOR HOLIDAY SCHMALTZ
When it aired on NBC last December, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors attracted over 13 million viewers, a huge audience for a TV movie in the streaming era. This sequel premiering Wednesday (November 30) follows the Parton clan as they prepare for a tough winter in Tennessee’s Great Smokey Mountains and their young daughter Dolly begins to appreciate her songwriting talent. Expect some treacle-sweet sentiments, but don’t miss a game cameo from Parton herself, who appears briefly as a local.
3. WHAT TO WATCH FOR A WELCOME TASTE OF INTERNATIONAL HUMOR
Launching Friday on Netflix, this new animated series follows a squad of sexy undercover detectives working on Australia’s sun-soaked Gold Coast. The creators say it’s essentially a spoof of cop shows like Hawaii Five-0 and Charlie’s Angels, and they reckon the jokes will tickle teenagers and grown-ups alike. Animated comedy has long been dominated by brilliant U.S. shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, so it’s refreshing to see an Aussie series breaking through alongside them.
4. WHAT TO WATCH FOR A THRILLINGLY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON AN AMERICAN ICON
This super-buzzy Jacqueline Kennedy biopic centers on the famous interview she gave to Life magazine’s Theodore H. White just a week after her husband and President of the United States John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Yet aside from this familiar framing device, there’s nothing predictable about Jackie, which presents Kennedy as a contradictory mix of willpower, vulnerability and charisma. Chilean director Pablo Larraín also keeps us guessing by never sticking to an obvious chronology, and Natalie Portman’s complex, challenging performance in the title role will almost certainly earn her another Oscar nomination. Stunning stuff.
5. WHAT TO WATCH ON YOUTUBE FOR A QUICK LUNCH BREAK LAUGH
Earlier this year, Apple Music scored a viral hit with a clip of Taylor Swift falling off a treadmill as she jogged to Drake‘s tune “Jumpman.” Now Drizzy has returned the favor with an equally entertaining promo in which he pumps iron and shows off his dance moves to Swift’s “Bad Blood.” It’s a cute clip well-timed to capitalize on rumors the two artists are working on new music together and – gasp! – maybe even dating.
6. WHAT TO READ IF YOU LIKE THE IDEA OF WITTY BRITISH JOURNALISM WITH SOCIAL CONSCIENCE
This British writer won rave reviews for her clever, feminist 2011 memoir How to Be a Woman, but back home in the U.K., she’s best known for her regular contributions to the London Times. Moranifesto pairs new writing from Caitlin Moran with some of her best recent columns on everything from Benedict Cumberbatch to affordable housing. At her best, which is most of the time, Moran is frank, fearless and very, very funny.
7. WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM WHILE SHE’S STILL POP’S BEST KEPT SECRET
You probably know some of Julia Michaels‘ songs without realizing it. This talented singer-songwriter from Santa Clarita, California has co-written big 2016 hits for Justin Bieber (“Sorry”), Selena Gomez (“Hands to Myself”) and Nick Jonas (“Close”), among others. She’s due to launch her own recording career in the new year and rumor has it the tunes she’s keeping for herself are just as catchy.
8. WHAT TO START SAVING UP FOR IF YOU’RE, LIKE, REALLY GETTING INTO VINYL
As more of us stream music online, vinyl has become the new again alternative: it’s retro, it sounds great and those big wax discs are devilishly collectible. This lavish 15 LP box set containing every single Rihanna album, available to pre-order now, is surely the most desirable vinyl item of 2016. It even comes with a fancy turntable slipmat adorned with RiRi’s autograph. You could try putting it on your Christmas wish-list and Santa can pick up the tab.
9. WHAT TO ADD TO THE TOP OF YOUR MOTIVATIONAL PLAYLIST
When it first came out in May, Clare Maguire’s “Elizabeth Taylor” was a sublime, stripped-down piano ballad. This brand new remix, shared by the British singer-songwriter last week, turns the song into a classy club tune with a rousing ‘90s house-style chorus. If the original evoked images of Liz Taylor sitting forlornly by her Bel Air swimming pool, this remix has her throwing shapes triumphantly on the dance floor at Studio 54.
10. AND FINALLY, WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM FOR OH-SO STYLISH POP CULTURE FASHION PARODIES
Tom Lenk, the actor best known for playing Andrew Wells in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is now building a loyal Instagram following with his kitschy fashion rip-offs. Basically Lenk takes an outfit from a TV show, magazine cover or celebrity red carpet appearance, then recreates it at home with whatever random objects and materials he can lay his hands on. His “Lenk Lewks,” as he calls them, are super-budget, very tongue-in-cheek and often kind of impressive. If you like the fashion challenges from RuPaul’s Drag Race, this account is definitely for you.
How is your week shaping up?!Read More