Thirteen hours of betrayals, shankings, geriatric prison escapes, and nun protests later, Orange Is the New Black wrapped up its sophomore season in spectacular fashion, creating a more self-assured and deeper season of television than the first. While the show corrected some of the first season's biggest stumbles, there are still some adjustments to be made in creating an even better third season. Here are our thoughts on the best and the worst aspects Orange Is the New Black's second round in the clink.
Good: VeeLitchfield was hardly ever a place of racial harmony and tranquil repentance, but whatever semblance of peace that did exist in those grey walls, Vee smacked it in the head with a giant lock in a sock. Vee was the spark that lit all of the tensions floating around Litchfield ablaze, and her war with Red reverberated through every cell and bunk in the prison. It's going to be tough to find a villain as twisted and alluring as Vee for Season 3.
Bad: SosoVee wasn't the only new face at Litchfield. There's a really tricky balance at play when creating a character who is purposefully annoying. OITNB struggled to find that balance with its other new inmate, Brook Soso, whose long asides about Bonnaroo, gluten, cancerous deodorant quickly dovetailed from enjoyable to insufferable.
Good: Season 1's villains are given more depthOrange Is the New Black managed to find strands of humanity in the deep black pit of bigotry and gloom that is Mr. Healy, and even the bible-thumping psychosis of Pennsatucky. Even a character like Caputo is revealed to have a good amount of integrity. There's a war of good vs. evil brewing in every soul, and OITNB excels at creating dynamic, flawed characters that are believable.
Bad: ...But Larry is still terribleFirst, it should be known that I was a staunch defender of Larry during Season 1. His screw-ups were just as mean and twisted as Piper's, so really they were both semi-horrible people that were made for each other. Unfortunately, Larry has somehow found a way to become even more insufferable in Season 2. Larry's storyline took up a lot of real estate that would have been better used at the Litch.
Good: More PousseyIn Season 2, Poussey graduated from wisecracks and witty asides (as fun as those were) and became much more of a fully realized character. Her strengths, flaws, and passions were all on full display as her friendship with Taystee was stretched to its breaking point.
Bad: Less SophiaWhile Possey received a boost in screen time, we got a lot less Sophia. Sure, we got to see the sassy stylist give a full crash course on female anatomy, but the character was sadly left IN the background for most of the season. We did get a tender moment between her and her son, but not much else. Here's hoping we see more of her once Season 3 rolls around.
Another Bad: Where's the Big Boo backstory?We thought this season was sure to deliver a Big Boo flashback, but the season came and went without a glimpse into the character's past. We got a Black Cindy flashback for heaven's sake, but still no info on Big Boo's life before the Litch. A character as raw and entertaining as Boo certainly needs some fleshing out.
Good: The show is even more of an ensembleWhile the rundown to the Season 1 finale was very much about the battle between Pennsatucky and Piper, Season 2’s emphasis is much more focused on the other inmates at Litchfield. There's a mosaic of characters, rivalries, friendships, and relationships in place and Piper is but one little piece in a much larger and vibrant picture. Inmates that were mostly background fodder in Season 1 had their characters and stories fleshed out in Season 2, and the world of Litchfield feels deeper and richer because of it.
Bad: Piper's storyline was pretty gratingWhile the series did well stretch its focus to the other inmates this season, it feels like Piper's storyline got the short end of the stick. Next to the tense face-off between Vee and Red and Caputo's mission to expose Fig's corruption, Piper's little squabbles with Larry and her attempts to get furlough seemed petty and dull in comparison. There were simply way more interesting things going on this season.
Good: It's funnier and weirder than everThe world of Litchfield has managed to get even weirder in Season 2. Carrier cockroaches, hunger strikes, the gaggle of nuns at the front gate, and catholic candles straight killing people with the power of Jesus all helped make season 2 even weirder than the first.
Brad Pitt is being deployed once again. This time, in David Ayer's upcoming war drama Fury, which centers on a five-man tank crew making one last push against the Germans in the final weeks of World War II. But the team finds itself terribly outnumbered and behind enemy lines. Pitt's Sergeant Wardaddy (nope, that's not a joke, that's really his name) stands at the center of Fury. He's a hardened, weary-eyed patrol leader that has marched his tank squad across the numerous fronts of WWII. Now his team is preparing to strike at the heart of the Nazi war machine, but the long battle has chipped away at their souls. Through its grit and intensity, the Fury trailer serves foremost as a reminder that Pitt might very well be at his best when playing a war hero.
His rugged good looks, strong jaw, and steady voice perfectly mirror the type of brave men we imagine were really stomping through the fields of Europe and Africa during the real WWII. Wardaddy seems eerily similar to Inglourious Basterds' Lt. Aldo Raine, a man who also fought Nazis behind enemy lines... though we don't think Wardaddy will be as scalp-happy as Lt. Raine. Both men had scars that told stories and experienced events during the war that fundamentally changed them.
Pitt is great at giving these soldiers layers. Wardaddy is a man putting on a brave face, even as his foundations are cracking at the joints. Looking as far back as 1994's Legends of the Fall, Pitt has always been great at giving soldier characters a sense of duty, honor, toughness, and vulnerability; all things that seem to be rolled into Pitt's portrayal of Wardaddy. We'll have to wait and see to be sure, but Fury looks like the latest in a line of good war performances from Brad Pitt.
Fury hits theaters November 14.
Italian officials have introduced two new privacy laws banning unwanted visitors from approaching George Clooney's luxury villa in Lake Como. Laglio Council authorities announced the new legislation on Saturday (21Jun14), revealing they hoped the new laws would prevent snooping fans and paparazzi from lingering on the road outside his property and on the water directly in front of his home.
The protection rules will remain in place until the end of September (14), according to UsMagazine.com.
Mayor of Laglio, Roberto Pozzi, tells the publication, "It is now completely forbidden to stop outside the entrance to Clooney's villa.
"It's a question of traffic and security. It is very dangerous and it's also an issue of privacy."
Anyone caught outside the villa will face fines of up to 500 Euros ($680/£425), but Mayor Pozzi hopes prosecution will not be necessary.
He adds, "We have never penalised anyone in the past. This type of action is designed to bring about a change in people's behaviour and create a more peaceful environment. We have to guarantee privacy and security for George Clooney and his guests."
News of the protection laws have fuelled rumours Clooney will celebrate his upcoming nuptials with fiancee Amal Alamuddin at the Lake Como retreat, although previous reports suggested the couple was hoping to wed in Venice in September (14).
Michael Jackson's friends, family and fans joined together on Wednesday (25Jun14) to mark five years since the King of Pop's death. The Thriller hitmaker passed away on 25 June, 2009 after suffering an overdose of anaesthetic administered by his doctor, Conrad Murray, who served two years in jail on an involuntary manslaughter charge for his role in the tragedy.
The fifth anniversary of Jackson's death prompted a flood of tributes on social networking websites, with fans across the world sharing their memories of the pop superstar and making #MichaelJackson a trending topic on Twitter.com.
A number of stars also took to the website to mourn the loss of the singer five years on. British supermodel Naomi Campbell shared a picture of herself posing with Jackson with her hands on his face, adding, "I miss you #MJ #RIP with #angels #kingofpop #loyalfriend #legend# #Icon #MichealJackson in our hearts... (sic)."
Rapper/actor Ludacris adds, "R.I.P. The King Of POP M.J."
Jackson's pop star nephews, Taj, Taryll and TJ Jackson, of 3T, were stranded in Europe on the day of the anniversary due to a strike by French air traffic controllers, but they managed to add tributes to their late uncle before boarding a plane back to California to be with their family. Taryll writes, "To my idol, teacher, uncle and best friend... 'I love you more'. #alwaysinmyheart #love #foreverMJJ #bestofalltime (sic)," while his brother TJ, adds, "Not a day goes by where I don't think about him. And today even more so... His smile, his laughter, his walk, everything. Love you, Doo Doo."
The co-executors of Jackson's estate, John Branca and John McClain, also released a statement to mark the fifth anniversary of the singer's passing. The message, posted on Jackson's official website, reads, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael's loved ones today as we remember the kind, gentle and giving spirit who generously shared his amazing artistic gifts with the world along with a limitless empathy for those in need. Time has shown that with each passing year the world's appreciation deepens not just for Michael's talent but also for his lifelong passion to spread peace, unity, love and hope across every culture and society. Michael's friendship, kindness, humour and joyful warmth will always be missed. The world is a far better place for having known him."
A number of memorial events are planned around the world on Wednesday - American fans are set to come together for a candlelight vigil around his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, while other gatherings are planned in countries including Spain, Holland and the U.K. Fans are also expected to visit Jackson's childhood home in Gary, Indiana.
Singer Adam Levine has denied sleeping with Lindsay Lohan despite his name appearing on the leaked list of her former celebrity lovers.
The Maroon 5 frontman was just one of 36 male stars on the scandalous handwritten list which was posted online by a U.S. tabloid in March (14). Lohan later confirmed she wrote the list as part of her rehab treatment last year (13), but like James Franco, who also dismissed rumours he was sexually involved with the Mean Girls star, Levine tells shock jock Howard Stern he never slept with Lohan.
Levine insists, "That's not true. I did not have sexual intercourse with Lindsay Lohan. I will swear on anything that you ask that I have never had sex with Lindsay Lohan! "Here's the problem: I bet you if we brought her in here and you asked her to her face 'Did you have sex with James (Franco)?' she'd say yes."
In addition to Levine and Franco, other celebrities on Lohan's list included Ashton Kutcher, Heath Ledger, Justin Timberlake, Zac Efron, Colin Farrell and Wilmer Valderrama, who she dated for six months in 2004.
Country superstar Garth Brooks is planning to go ahead with an upcoming five-night concert stint in Dublin, Ireland, despite protests from local residents. The Friends in Low Places hitmaker is set to play Croke Park as part of a comeback tour in July (14). He was originally scheduled for just three nights, but extended the stay to five concerts due to high demand from Irish fans.
However, in March (14), residents living near the arena made it clear they weren't pleased with the extension - they had already agreed with bosses from the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which runs the venue, that no more than three concerts were to be held there each year due to concerns over noise and disruption.
But Croke Park director Peter McKenna tells the Irish Mirror newspaper that Brooks will proceed with the gigs as planned, since officials have secured the proper licences to extend his stay.
McKenna says, "In my view it will go ahead and the five concerts will happen. We had permission for the three One Direction concerts (in May), but you are allowed to apply for a license to run other events. That's what we've done for Garth Brooks. It’s not the first time, we've applied for various different events in the past."
Residents opposing the gigs were scheduled to meet with the members of the Dublin City Council regarding Brooks' shows in order to voice their concerns, but officials felt "they had sufficient information that a face-to-face meeting was no longer necessary", a decision that angered many of the residents, according to the Irish Mirror.
More than 400,000 fans are expected to attend the sold-out shows, which will take place from 25 to 29 July (14).
Former child star Haley Joel Osment and 90210 actress Jessica Stroup have taken part in a bizarre new video which features a group of strangers slapping one another in the face. The Amazing Spider-Man actress Hannah Marks and Victorious co-stars Matt Bennett and Liz Gillies also agreed to participate in Chronicle director Max Landis' new social experiment.
He says, "The theory I had was that violence minus aggression is intimacy. It's the idea of trusting someone to hit you and it being a social interaction. A slap, mitigated by permission, is a hug."
The Slap video was inspired by the recent viral clip The Kiss, which featured strangers smooching.
Amnesty International bosses have apologised to Iggy Pop for attributing a statement to him about Justin Bieber as part of an anti-torture campaign. The billboard, which featured a photo of the punk icon's beaten face, suggested Iggy had been tortured to endorse the Baby singer as "the future of rock 'n' roll".
However, it appears the human rights officials didn't ask for the Lust For Life singer's full permission before releasing the powerful new ad, and now they've apologised.
A new statement reads: "Even though we acted in good faith, we would like to apologise to Iggy Pop for having done so.
"The overall goal of this campaign is to try to influence people's ideas on the use of torture. According to surveys, a shocking number of people believe that 'torture may sometimes be useful' - more than 36 per cent of people even think that torture is justified in some cases. This is unacceptable, and we illustrate this reality with the message that a man who is tortured will say anything in order to escape this awfulness, using provocative images and statements to attract public attention.
"We would therefore also like to make it clear that the statement attributed to Iggy Pop that he believes Justin Bieber is the future of rock and roll does not represent Iggy Pop's personal opinion, but was part of the creative process for this campaign and was intended to be ironic."
"I was gonna have to get on top of this guy... film a love scene and then they were gonna put my skinny stand-in... and then CGI my face on my skinny stand-in. Somehow that didn't work out; they called me and they were like, 'I think we're gonna push production'." Actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum almost had to turn to filmmaking technology for love scenes in TV drama Witches of East End when she became heavily pregnant with her first child.
Rapper Ice-T refuses to perform in Milan, Italy after starting a riot there during a gig with his punk band Body Count. The Cop Killer hitmaker lost his cool when bandmate Ernie C was showered with spit at the concert and decided to track down the culprit.
Ice-T recalls, "Over there in the punk days they would spit on people... but that ain't (sic) OK with me... so I'd tell the Italians, 'Everything's cool, stage dive but do not spit on me'.
"We went off for our encore and I looked over and Ernie had spit just hanging all off of him and I said, 'Who's doing it?' and he pointed the guy out and so I went out and said, 'Hey, put your hands in the air', and I socked him in the face and started a riot.
"We were scared for our lives."