Anna Brand
Anna Brand officially began her career in journalism when she landed her first internship at the now-defunct Jane magazine (RIP). Since then, she's tackled everything from celebrity interviews and entertainment news to home décor and fashion trends. Reporting was her jam until she was matched with her biggest thrill, headline writing. Now, Anna edits the homepage for, where she crafts teasing copy so that all you people will click on our stories! When she's not in the office, Anna can be found gossiping about Bravo's Housewives like they're her friends, studying Oliver Hudson's jawline, and channeling Joey Potter while watching old Dawson's Creek episodes.
  • Justin Bieber Thinks Anne Frank Was Great, Hopes She Would Have Been a Belieber
    By: Anna Brand Apr 14, 2013
    Justin Bieber visited the sacred Anne Frank house while in the Netherlands for a concert on Saturday. One might think his trip to the museum would call for some self-reflection, but instead, he did something ridiculously shocking. According the museum's Facebook page (which Lord only knows why it would be promoted here), Bieber wrote a nice little note in their guestbook. It went like this: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber."I mean... what?! It's tough to say what the young star was thinking when he reportedly wrote these words down on paper. Could he possibly be so out of touch? In any case, the backlash in the comments section are hardly forgiving, most of which bash Bieber for turning what otherwise could have been an inspiring moment into something sad and obnoxious. The press office for the Anne Frank House reacted in a more forgiving way on Twitter.Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl 
  • 'Nashville' Recap: Family Secrets and Gross Hookups
    By: Anna Brand Apr 11, 2013
    Last week on Nasvhille, our friends found themselves in a very messy place. Deacon got a dog and a girlfriend (The Vet), Juliette found a sobriety coach to bone, Lamar had a stroke or something, and Scarlett continued on as the most annoying faux blonde in existence. But if you thought things couldn't get any more buckwild, just wait: this week brought an unraveling of drama and nonsense like we've never seen before in the land of hairspray and satin sheets. The Rayna and Everyone StoryPoor Rayna had to leave New York to be by her dad's side in Nashville, because — UGH! — he's not dead. She calls Deacon to tell him how distraught she is, but her perfect, glossy hospital hair says otherwise. Everything is going smoothly until Lamar tries to walk around the hospital like a crazy person and sees Watty in the lobby. He screams and frantically tries to punch him until the staff calms the old man down. When Rayna pulls Watty aside to get to the bottom of the freak-out, he drops a massive bomb: he had an affair of sorts with her mom. And, as a result, maybe he is Rayna's real dad. Rayna doesn't know how to handle this news, though of course she would be thrilled to know her dad is a standup dude and not a jerk with a drinking problem and an obsession with some bizarre stadium. So she widens her doe eyes, shutters her lashes, and applies some lip balm.RELATED: 'Nashville' Recap: Messy Love From New York to Nashville  Rayna needs to talk to someone, but she can't rely on her child of an ex-husband, her business-minded sister, or the nurse who appears to not give a sh*t about anybody. She needs Deacon, and Deacon comes to her side. He flies from New York just in time to lean into her freckled face and tell her he's there for her. They share a moment, as per usual, but apparently not enough of a moment for Deacon to stay with her instead of returning to The Vet. When will that story die? Alas. The Juliette and Gunnar and Luke From The O.C. StoryJuliette like you've never seen her before: NAKED. Yep, The Pout strips out of her white lace and bares actual skin for the first time. It is weird and unsettling. Needless to say, she and Gunnar are getting along just fine, especially now that he chooses to be pantsless most of the day. (He's a briefs guy, FYI.) The only think that can possibly get in their way is crazy, cowboy hat-wearing Luke. Oh Luke. What are you doing here and not with Marissa's mom, Julie, being disgusting and pretending you're not gay? I don't like you in Nashville! But if you refuse to return to Orange County, then at least stop wrecking everything around you.Wait, remember this?  Anyway, see, Luke is so jealous of Scarlett and Gunnar because he for some reason wants to date Scarlett (or at least mess up her rats' nest hair even more than she has), so he devises a genius plan to get into her lace. He buddies up to the both of them, and when Scarlett goes to sleep, he takes out Gunnar for a game of chicken or something where they almost get killed in his car. He begins laughing maniacally and tosses his slinky hair over to one side. Everyone is scared.RELATED: Proof Scarlett on 'Nashville' Has Only One Annoying Outfit The Teddy and Peggy StoryPeggy gets kicked out of Rayna's house when word spreads that Lamar is in the hospital. It's sad because there's a good chance she's homeless and sleeps on the street in her stewardess outfit. But, it's time for Teddy to stop being so selfish and concentrate on his family. As his daughters draw get well cards for their grandfather, Teddy prays for his death. It is sad, but it is true. Peggy calls to check in and tell him that she loves him, which is the grossest thing since the time she wore a trench coat and pearls and nothing else. Trust me. Of course he doesn't say it back because it is extremely inappropriate for her to be calling him at home while he's taking care of his kids, but she has no concept of what is normal. The most depressing of all is that Teddy trusts her. He trusts her up until the point when Rayna's sister barges in and tells him the truth: Peggy was the one who leaked those suspicious photos during the campaign. Kill Peggy. The Juliette and Sobriety Coach StoryJuliette has spent half of this season rolling around in satin sheets, perfecting bed head, and evenly applying bronzing lotion. It's usually the same old story, but this time she's really outdone herself by roping in her mom's sobriety coach. Now that he's getting what every man on a tour feels entitled to, his work here is pretty much done. Literally. Don't mind that Juliette's mom stole a bottle of vodka from the minibar or something and threatened to drink it. Don't mind that she's on the fast track back to looney land. Don't mind that he's wearing enough hair gel to hold up a crumbling city. Dante (yes, Dante) has a new focus, and it's strictly related to Juliette's career and making her "happy." He even picks an endearing nickname for her: Boss. The funny thing is, they should be trying to keep this affair a secret. After all, he is there to support her mother, and she is a professional in theory. But they don't. They fool around in the tour van, where Avery sees them and acts as though his virgin eyes have been scorned. (He is not a virgin.) They hold hands publicly. They order randoms around in unison. All of it is shady as hell and it's really pissing Deacon off. Dante attempts to fire Avery for walking in on him and Juliette, but his plan backfires when Deacon finds out and goes batsh*t crazy. There's a whole mess of nasty words and raised voices, but like most fights, the facial hair beats the smooth cheek and Dante assumes his role. Everything could have gone back to "normal" after this, but then Juliette's mom molests Dante and he doesn't exactly back away which is demented and gross. Juliette decides she hates everyone, but for some reason is still fine with Dante, and so she makes him her manager. This should be just grand. The Avery StoryThings keep getting worse for Avery, but don't you dare feel sorry for him! He doesn't deserve your pity! He's off the streets so that's good and now he's working on Rayna and Juliette's tour as a roadie. He listens to directions and loses his choker necklace like a real worker. Even Deacon is warming up to him; he helps him keep his job when Dante tries to take it away. It is very possible Avery could be teaming up with Juliette in the near future. Hopefully not in bed, although I wouldn't put it past either of them. Lord help us.[Image Credit: ABC] Follow Anna On Twitter @thebrandedgirl From Our PartnersJessica Alba Bikinis in St. Barts (Celebuzz)Pics of The Rock Making Things Look Small (Vulture)
  • 'Nashville' Recap: Messy Love From New York to Nashville
    By: Anna Brand Apr 04, 2013
    Nashville is finally giving the people what they want: absurdity. The songs and hair are all sweet and nice, but what we need, what the show was lacking, is some pure, ridiculous lunacy. And now, we are getting closer. Last week, everyone got their hearts broken. There were tears and slaughtered dreams and so much white lace. Deacon got a dog, and then a girlfriend, Rayna got a sh*t ton of family drama, Juliette realized she's all alone and Teddy, well he was probably the happiest of all. This week, half of the crew heads to New York for the tour, while the other half stays back in the land of beer and nonsense. In any case, there were no lack of surprises. And even one unexpected (possible) death.The Deacon and Vet Lady StoryFor more than 10 years, Deacon and Rayna haven't been able to admit their feelings to one another. But in a half a day, he's found himself a new girlfriend: the vet. She's will remain nameless, because Lord knows Deacon can't keep a new girl around for long. He's obsessessed with her cute freckles and strawberry blonde hair (sound familiar?) and the fact that she loves his dog, Sue. Deacon is so smitten, he asks her to come to New York with him, where he'll be performing with Juliette. Vet agrees to go, but also takes this invitation as a sign that she is now his girlfriend. Which is exactly how she introduces herself to Rayna when they meet at the hotel in New York for the first time. She follows him around, examining his interactions with Rayna and Juliette, when suddenly she cracks the code! He's slept with both of them! And he's kind of sleazy! Wait, he's a musician?! It all comes together for the vet, and she gets super emotional and curls herself into a ball in the hotel room while he's performing and waits for him to return. When he finally gets in bed with her, he tells her he's ready to give up touring and wants to settle down in Nashville. It's hard to trust the guy, since he's constantly changing his mind and he can't say no to a good gig, but she does. She's young. She'll learn. RELATED: 'Arrow' Recap: Vertigo and the Count ReturnThe Rayna StoryRayna finally gets to spend some quality time with her children, Maddie and Daphne, who up until this point served no real purpose. They both tell her they want to be famous singing superstars like their mom, but Rayna naturally doesn't want to hear any of it. She doesn't want her kids going down the same road she went down — saving a hot, bearded guitarist from alcoholism. She enjoys her sister's company for once, without their dad around, and does what she does best: lets her hair fly freely. No one can keep their eyes off of Rayna during her performance, even Deacon's new girlfriend. Especially Deacon's new girlfriend. Rayna decides to let her kids give the mic a go during a sound check and they were amazing! Everyone cried and the wheels started turning. It probably won't be long before the young duo gets more airtime on stage.The Scarlett and Gunnar StoryThey're growing up, these two! It's exciting and young and fresh and fun. Gunnar surprises Scar with just the cutest no-reason gift — pot holders! Since she just loves being in the kitchen and cooking up a good meal for her man, it's what she needs. How thoughtful that guy is. Everything is going peachy until a new, cowboy hat-wearing, gorgeous man introduces himself as their new neighbor. What are the chances? I would have never seen this coming. Nope. The three of them chat over a nice dinner that Scar whipped up using her new pot holders and share stories. It slips that Scarlett got the offer from Rayna's team to sign on with their label, and Gunnar flips. How could she not tell him? She feels horrible about it all and decided it would be best to not sign the deal and just stick by Gunnar and wait for their time to shine together. Gunnar luckily realizes how stupid she is and tells her that is simply out of the question. This makes her love him more. They kiss and make up and everything seems perfect... but the neighbor has his eye on something now, and it doesn't seem like he's about to give up.The Avery StoryHe is literally singing on the street behind an empty guitar case begging for money. He is still the saddest.The Juliette and Sobriety Coach StoryLeave it to Juliette to do the most inappropriate thing possible. Her mom, a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, brings her sobriety coach with her on Juliette's tour so that she can be with family. It's a shame she underestimates what her daughter is capable of. Juliette and Dante (yes, Dante) start bonding over her career. She starts listening to his advice, and begins getting what she wants. He's like her fairy godmother, only a ridiculously attractive man with the right amount of hair gel. Well, you've all seen this story before. It doesn't take long before Juliette is molesting the guy and he gives up trying to stop it. The worst part of the story: they both totally ignore her mom's counseling meeting to bone. What is that?! RELATED: The Least Normal Things About 'The New Normal': Season FinaleThe Teddy and Peggy StoryPeggy is such a cliche. It is so sad. The second Rayna and the girls leave for New York, Teddy invites his mistress over to play. She arrives in a trench coat, pearls and nothing else (gag), and says something absurd about being able to keep a secret (gag) and then strips down (gag). They play house for the days that they have alone, trying to keep it all under wraps. Now that Peggy is technically working for Teddy, sh*t could really hit the fan if anyone finds out. But of course, Lamar does find out. There are no secrets in Nashville. But he needs leverage. Luckily, Lamar gets a bit of knowledge just in time that'll help his cause. Remember those leaked photos of Teddy and Peggy during the campaign that got out? Well, Peggy was the one that leaked them. Yep. Just like that. So, Lamar trots on over to the house that he no doubt bought, and shoves them in Peggy's face. He threatens to tell Teddy the truth unless she agrees to convince him to keep the damn sports stadium alive. Like that is the major concern here. But seriously, what? She complies and all is well. For now. The Lamar StoryAfter the showdown with Peggy, Lamar drives himself home and sits cozily in his big-man chair. He holds a glass of brandy or whatever and makes a cryptic phone call in a silent room. He pets his head and smirks to himself, speaks softly with deep breaths. He thrusts his chest out confidently. He owns Nashville and everything is going to plan. And then, his chest tightens. He slowly drops his arm, the glass falls, and… roll credits. Dead? [Image Credit: ABC/Katherine Bomboy-Thornton] Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl  From Our PartnersSee 'Game of Thrones' as 'Mad Men' (Vulture)Hayden Panetierre Bikinis in Miami (Celebuzz)
  • Proof Scarlett on 'Nashville' Has Only One Annoying Outfit
    By: Anna Brand Mar 28, 2013
    Poor Clare Bowen has been given the sad fate of playing Scarlett O'Connor on Nashville — the pout-ridden, googly-eyed mess of whine, with soggy ramen hair and the ability to ruin any conversation with her awkward slur. Still, even with all that, all I can focus is why the lost soul with a constant furrowed brow only wears essentially one, annoying outfit. It's lacey, it's flowy, it's dainty, and it's pretty much always white. It doesn't make her the prudish, virgin-like child we are expected to buy into (right? Is that the reason?) — it does the opposite. We hate her. I hate her. If only for the costume choice forced upon the actress. It may not be nice, but the amount of white, off-white, eggshell, and ivory we are forced to look at during any given episode is also not nice. It is not nice at all.The time she looked sad in a white holey top, slight pout The time she played house in a white showcurtain dress, no pout The time she thought we wouldn't notice she wasn't wearing white lace because it was a skirt, half pout The time she made us nervous in a white leafy lace top, TEETHThe time she held books in a white grandma sweater over a white grandma dress, scared poutThe time she scrunched her face like this in a white doily top, major poutThe time she skipped down the stairs in a white stupid pajama dress, half poutThe time she added a touch of green to her white lace dinner top, 3/4 poutThe time she wore a white cowboy hat with a white dress and pondered silently, half poutThe time she tilted her head to the right in a white tank dress, half-poutThe time she wore white Victorian-era nonsensical lingerie, full pout And the one time she got drunk and wore black lace [Image Credit: ABC] Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl
  • 'Nashville' Recap: A Tale of Beer and Broken Hearts
    By: Anna Brand Mar 28, 2013
    It seems like it's been years since we last delved into the lives of our demented Nashville pals. It's not fair of them to leave us constantly wondering at which angle Deacon's sticking his jaw, or how Rayna's hair is parted, or the amount of white lace Scarlett is wearing at any given time. I need to know these things. We all need to know these things! But, alas. The last time we caught up with everyone, Rayna and Teddy were officially kaput, Juliette went all brat-mode and fired everyone who worked for her — except for her assistant, whose only other job was working at the mall — and Scarlett chose the perfectly appropriate moment to jump Gunnar's bones (just when he found out his brother had died). Everything made complete sense and no sense at all, and this week is much of the same.The Deacon StoryThere is nothing hotter than a guy with scruff, a flannel shirt, some cowboy boots, and a voice of apple-cinnamon butter. Unless he has a dog. A small dog. One that he sings to and plays guitar for; one that causes him to feel real, loving emotions. Deacon has gone and found a furry ball of joy — which he has so preciously named Sue even though it is a boy — and can't seem to figure out how to get it to stop whining. He sings every song he's ever performed, but as soon as his sweet lyrics come to an end, the pup cries. We all cry. Deacon brings the love bait to the vet to see what's up and instantly becomes smitten with a doctor who conveniently has the same strawberry locks and freckled skin as a certain unattainable Queen we all know and love. It doesn't take long — no, really, like, by the time the doctor's visit is over — for the two to wind up buck naked. It must be nice to be a musician or a vet, quite possibly the two sexiest professions of all time. After their quickie, Deacon realizes he has to get to a show with Juliette and totally bounces on the woman who says she can't stand country music (a challenge that he clearly loves). He sings some songs, breaks up some commotion at the supposed "mini" concert, breaks up some more commotion when Gunnar finds himself in some faux bad-boy trouble, and then circles back to the hair he cannot resist. He realizes that he should ask this new lover out on a proper date. Okay, so his buddy tells him he's a jerk and should start asking women he likes out on a proper date. So, he wanders into the vet and adorably proposes dinner or a concert or something that resembles a less whorish atmosphere. Perhaps Rayna is behind him after all. At least for now.RELATED: 'Nashville' Recap: Scarlett's Big Cupcake ControversyThe Rayna + Family StoryNothing makes sense in Rayna's life right now. She turns her back on Deacon, who is supposed to be her rock (and lover), agrees to some bizarre rule where she and Teddy can't be in the house at all — under any circumstances, at the same time — and isn't confused when her eldest daughter, Maddie, calls her a "bitch" out of nowhere. I mean, seriously, out of nowhere. Wasn't her daughter the one who warned her about Teddy's affair? And gave her a big hug? And said she was on her side? Since when did all of that change? And why isn't Rayna more bewildered? The one good thing going on in her life right now is her career. She's got this tour, and everyone is paying attention to her and her tight jeans just like she wanted. She lets Scarlett sing for her, and although it's obvious she's not a fan of her pathetic pout (I mean, who is? Step forward now), she decided to sign her to her label. Whether it's another ploy to get closer to Deacon, no one can be sure. Although, yes, I am pretty sure that is what it is.The Juliette StoryThis girl is in the midst of something of a quarter-life crisis. She fired her manager, looks to pursue her brand-new "voice," and is going berserk on her aforementioned mall-employed assistant. The poor girl is running fast into a brick wall and there's no stopping her. Her "intimate" show with Deacon? Well that all went to sh** when she texted the world about it, causing a massive flow of teens to flood the space. Of course there is an accident. And of course it was Rayna's daughter who gets hit with a bookshelf or something. What the hell was that doing in a bar anyway? Luckily, Deacon is there to save the day and bring Maddie to the hospital. Looking all distressed and a little sweaty, he waves her off to Rayna, flicking his hair across his brow and turning back with a smoldering look filled with lust and hope and pain. But back to sweet J. She's treating her mom like garbage, as per usual, and refuses to take the blame for the concert fiasco. It isn't until Rayna takes out all her anger on her during a quick phone call that Juliette realizes maybe she is a bit of a diva. She finally finds her inner goodness and repairs some of the damage she's caused. A small, fragile step, but one nonetheless.RELATED: Is Maddie on 'Nashville' TV's Newest Creepy Daughter?The Scarlett and Gunnar StorySo, after Scarlett sexually attacked Gunnar during the most inappropriate and awkward moment of his life thus far — when he found out his brother had died — they awake uncomfortably in bed. Scratch that — he awakes uncomfortably in bed. Scar, in white lace for days, is all like wow that was the greatest night of my life filled with butterflies and lisps. She wants to make him breakfast and sing him a morning song or something, but Gunnar isn't ready for that. He's not ready for anything! His brother just died! But of course Scarlett gets offended and pouts and pouts and throws her hair into a Bo Peep 'do and scurries out the door. She doesn't know how to connect with him, because suddenly she thinks they are a married couple. But Gunnar isn't having any of it. In fact, you might say he's even a little too cold. Too "typical guy the morning after." But he's allowed. He is ALLOWED. Anyway, he's all crazed about his brother that he skips the meeting he was supposed to go to with Juliette to sing for Rayna. Instead, he tries to get to the bottom of the mess of how his brother died and nearly gets himself into serious trouble. Deacon is there to save the day, thanks to Scarlett. The two share another ridiculous embrace, as Scar stands in the dark wearing nothing but an absurd lacy two-piece number. It could mean bliss for the pair, but when Scarlett finds out she's the only one joining Rayna's label, we know it won't end well. It will be another Avery situation all over again. Sans choker, God willing.The Avery StorySpeaking of our lost soul, Avery has found himself some balls this week and stands up for his music. Finally. After his cougar manager boss lady pretty much takes over his entire set and turns his music into pathetic techno-esque beats, he realizes he's had enough. No more trying to be trendy for the money and the fame — he wants to get back to his roots, dammit! And he does! Searching for the fluorescent spotlight and a quick deal isn't enough for the long-haired fool, so he goes back to the honky-tonks he knows and loves and burns the past. Literally, he throws all his tapes into a fire and never looks back. I think I like this Avery. I really think I do. [Photo Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC]Follow Anna On Twitter @thebrandedgirl You Might Also Like:Topanga's Revealing Lingerie Shoot: Hello '90s! 13 Most WTF Fan Tributes
  • 'Nashville' Recap: A Boring Death and Scarlett's Big Cupcake Controversy
    By: Anna Brand Feb 28, 2013
     Nashville made us wait two weeks (again) to get our country drama fix, but it was worth it. It was so worth it. When we left our friends, s*** was just starting to hit the fan: Rayna and Teddy sealed their divorce by both messing around with other people (namely Peggy and Deacon), Gunnar's convict brother crashed at his apartment (but forgot to mention he also brought a loaded gun), and Avery, well, he was just being Avery. This week, there were even more developments all around: Scarlett revealed a surprising new side and there was a death that no one saw coming. (But also no one really cared about.) Shall we?The Rayna StoryRayna is not having a good day. After she went to Teddy's office to confront him about his not-so-discreet phone call to Peggy that their daughter overheard, she heads to the only place of comfort she knows: the grocery store. She's picking up snacks and veggies and walking with her head high as usual — with her girls and sister by her side — when suddenly, news breaks of her and Teddy's split in the most unrealistic way possible. Now, I know this takes place in Nashville, and I don't know much about the way gossip is leaked over there, but it is 2013. A star couple splitting would surely be inundating Twitter feeds long before you could read about it in a grocery store aisle tabloid. But nevertheless, this is how it goes down on Nashville. Rayna scurries out of the store faster than a southern socialite can whisper "ya heard?", knowing full well that she has to stay under the radar, but still needing to see Deacon. It's been too long since they groped each other in the elevator and she got a glimpse of his chest hair. Plus, it's his birthday! How convenient! And what better way to stay out of the spotlight than to make a grand entrance at the Bluebird for his surprise party, and sing him a birthday song that not only describes their entire relationship, but also encourages pouring strong drinks, which as we know, Deacon should not be doing. RELATED: 'Nashville' Recap: Finally! The Kiss We've All Been Waiting ForThe Teddy and Lamar StoryOh Teddy, you think you are so strong and handsome and manly, but you are not. You are a scared little boy, and you are about to get ruined. He still doesn't know that Lamar almost certainly rigged the campaign to get him the Mayor seat, and he apparently still doesn't get that Lamar can break him with the snap of a finger. When Lamar stops by his office, Teddy immediately goes on the defense, demanding that their meetings revolve around business and not Rayna. Silly Teddy. Stupid Teddy. Lamar plays along with the charade in such a terrifying way it's a surprise he doesn't just strangle the poor kid with his own tie. But perhaps that's coming...The Scarlett StoryScarlett, otherwise known as the most annoying character to ever accidentally grace TV networks, may have just turned everything around this week. Not only did she cause controversy with her cupcake sandwich — which by the way, OMG — but she sexually molested Gunnar (something for which we've obviously been waiting for quite some time) after he finds out that his brother was beaten to death! Under normal circumstances, I might say, "WTF, Scar? Show a little decency!" But for some reason, this change of attitude is so refreshing that I almost forgot about her prissy, white-laced persona. I love seeing her breaking baked good rules and explode in a fit of sexual deviancy. It's sexy and fun and I want more of this Scarlett. A lot more.RELATED: Is Maddie on 'Nashville' TV's Newest Creepy Daughter?The Juliette and Deacon StoryJuliette and Deacon still have this bizarre father-daughter slash groupie-rocker slash stripper-oldie relationship that is hard to decipher. She wants to please him in so many different ways, it's hard to keep up or understand what her intentions are. In any case, it's Deacon's birthday, and Juliette thinks it would be a grand idea to throw him a surprise party, even though we learn that he would much rather celebrate by watching Old Yeller. But this just won't do. She gathers more than 2,000 of his closest pals and crams them all into the Bluebird. Her mom — who is trying so damn hard to be sober with the help of her hot Latin sponsor — helps in the festivities. Unfortunately, she also helps herself to some champagne at the end of the night.The Avery StoryAvery does what no one saw coming. What no one ever thought was in the realm of possibility. Something so dramatic and game changing that it will take weeks to fully settle in: he loses the choker.[Image Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC] Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl From Our Partners:25 Most Scandalous Celeb Twitpics (Vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
  • How 'House of Cards' Got Me to Give Up Twitter and Talk to a Real Live Person
    By: Anna Brand Feb 20, 2013
    Everyone's got an opinion about the way Netflix presented the first season of House of Cards. Some say it set the precedent for the future of TV. Some say it redefined the "spoiler alert" as we know it. Some say it was downright risky. But those are just words. A study (or quick data pulled from Google) from Feb. 19 essentially concluded that releasing all episodes at once ruined the show's chance to grow because it hindered the social media factor. As someone who sits behind a computer screen all day, following trends and interacting with colleagues via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and several social media sites that are barely past beta testing, I wholeheartedly agree. The format of the show did affect my engagement with social media. I barely commented about any of the House of Cards episodes — even that raunchy final scene in Episode 7 (your eyes are probably all !! right now if you know what I mean) — because I didn't know who I'd be talking to and didn't want to spoil anything. Instead, for the first time in a while, it forced me to talk at length out loud about a current show with a real live actual human being. Perish the thought! RELATED: Richard III's Bones Identified Right As 'House of Cards' Debuts I am constantly reading stories that highlight the downfall of my generation: How all we do is keep our eyes glued to our phones and computer screens, which leads to the conclusion that we have lost the ability to communicate, go on "offline" dates, or interact with our bosses. It's a nonstop double standard of "learn fast, grow, and change the world" met with "slow down, get off your devices, and have a real connection with someone." Critics are fast to negatively judge Netflix's strategic gamble of dumping all 13 episodes at once for mass consumption, but the fact that I had to actively find someone to chat with through each omigod moment brought the kind of conversation I realized my life was missing. It was like (pre-Twitter) high school, when I'd call my best friend at the commercial break and we'd gasp in unison about whatever life-altering Joey Potter moment had just occurred. (Thankfully she never married a Scientologist.) The data may prove that binge-watching House of Cards forfeited the advantage of sharing thoughts digitally, but it helped us to gain something far more valuable: human interaction. And it's not just about House of Cards — though how could you not dash to find someone when Underwood did that thing to Russo that I guess I still can't mention here — it's about binge-watching in general. When I sat home and faked sick so that I could speed through Felicity, Breaking Bad, Lost, Friday Night Lights, and other pop cultural touchstones, I made sure I had a pal to recap with. If not a friend binging at the same time as I was, then someone who loved these shows so much they were willing to go through all the details with me even years after they originally aired. Doing so made discussing Felicity and Noel's dorm room Boggle kiss, or Jesse and Walt's nice lunch with Tuco and Tio Salamanca, or everything about Coach Taylor that much greater. RELATED: Netflix's 'House of Cards': Is Traditional TV Viewing Over? These game-changing shows did not need social media to gauge a following, just as House of Cards does not need people on Twitter or Facebook making dumb jokes about Robin Wright being a "MILF." What sort of engagement does that really prove, anyway? Though numbers from social media are tangible, it hardly determines whether someone is genuinely interested in a show or simply waiting for the next idiotic parody account. And if we're more concerned with a show's numbers than we are with how engrossed viewers are — and how much they are actually deriving from each watch — then, really, we're all just one embarrassing contradiction. Whether or not the first season of House of Cards was a win on social media, it was not a "mistake." And it certainly doesn't mean people weren't actually talking about each episode, thoroughly and with emotion. In fact, there were fewer fleeting thoughts and sudden judgments and instead, more thought-provoking debates. On social media, there's always pressure to be witty and to say something that hasn't been brought up already — at least from what your timeline can tell — but when I'm physically facing a friend over a beer, we can discuss that cryptic spider comment for as long as we want, without a word count restriction. Perhaps, if the world can even handle such a backpedal, this is how we should be measuring a show's success after all. [Image Credit: Netflix] Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl From Our Partners:Bradley Cooper Dancing Is Surprisingly Awkward, Sweaty (Vh1)Kate Upton Bares All in Nothing But Body Paint: Video (Celebuzz)
  • Is Maddie on 'Nashville' TV's Newest Creepy Daughter?
    By: Anna Brand Feb 14, 2013
    There's a chance it may be too soon to officially declare something this monumental, but from the looks of last night's Nashville, it appears that Dana Brody could have some competition in the TV-daughters-that-creep-us-out category. Up until now, it's been second-nature to relate any and all cryptic child moments to Dana's awful existence. The Homeland daughter has become more famous for her annoingly pained expression — or "DanaBrodyFace," as GQ calls it —  and being a poster child for birth control than for her actual role on the show, which has been as integral to the plot as the windshield wipers are to a car's engine running smoothly. She's been nothing but a hit-and-run terrorist diversion. Anyway, it's time we shift our attention to the Devil inside Maddie Conrad (Lennon Stella), the little scamp on TV's favorite (and only) country music soap opera. RELATED: 'Nashville' Recap: Return of the Diva Maddie has played it safe so far. All she seems to do is bake cakes and play with her younger sister, Maisy. She wears glasses and safe clothing and doesn't do drugs, or give the world reasons to hate her. But she may have been been playing us for fools. All of us. Last night, Maddie — with her long Dana-like hair — ran into her father's room. "Dad. Dad? DAD!" she warbled out softly, just barely above audible, just like Dana. She then squeaked into his door and cracked it open seamlessly, Dana's signature move. Then she did a fair bit of snooping on his conversation. Ahem, classic Dana. Turns out, dear ole' dad is having an affair. What did she do with this information? She harbored it, deep inside. She let it bubble until she couldn't handle her furrowed brow any longer and then came clean. But not to her father. The ghoulish child clutched her mother, Ms. Rayna Jaymes, the Queen of Country, and revealed the sad truth in a whisper. That's just like Dana, to throw a bomb just when everyone is at their most vulnerable.  RELATED: 'Homeland' Finale Recap: [Back] Into the Woods She may have had good intentions in the past (or just hid it perfeclty), but now, nothing about this child screams safe anymore. Not her butterfly hair clips or even her abilitiy to perfectly frost a cake. I fear we have a new Dana upon us, my friends. Perhaps even a demon child just waiting to break free. When the time for exorcism comes, just remember that I warned you first.  [Image Credit: Illustration] Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl
  • 'Nashville' Recap: Return of the Diva
    By: Anna Brand Feb 14, 2013
    Last week on Nashville, we finally got the kiss we had all been waiting for. Yes, Rayna and Deacon's smackeroo was sexual and violent and everything in between. And they weren't the only two who got it on — Teddy and that crazy nut Peggy went all the way, securing the end of Rayna and Teddy's marriage. How did the Queen of Country and her politician husband handle the mess? Not as gracefully as she would have liked, that's for damn sure. The Rayna and Liam Story The sexy allure of our old pal Liam was back in full force when he conveniently planned a business meeting of sorts in the same hotel where Rayna was based for her tour. This was both dangerously amazing (considering Ray was mourning her impending divorce) and borderline stalkerish. The two had a hateful first embrace lined with sexual undertones and it wasn't long before they were back at a dirty bar table downing shots and revealing secrets. And like many alcohol-based friendships, it was only a matter of time before the two ended up making out in front of Liam's room. Rayna was all "what on holy land and sea am I doing here?" And Liam was all like "be my queen tonight." RELATED: 'Nashville' Recap: Finally! The Kiss We've All Been Waiting For And so they entered his room and started pouring the bourbon (from the minibar no less). But Ray went and ruined the mood by breaking into hysterics in the bathroom toilet. She was crying for everything: her failed marriage, her loss of Deacon, that she put Liam's skuzzy fedora on her head in public, and, of course, having to continue being nice to Juliette Barnes. She even let mascara run sloppily down her face and made squealing noises. After Liam decided that his buzz was wearing off, he barged into the bathroom to check in. They ended up bonding in a deeper way than we could have imagined, pun intended, and maybe even developed something real. The Juliette Story Juliette doesn't get to share her story with anyone this week because it was all about her. Everything was about the diva being a diva and forgetting her roots, once again. She was getting on the right track with her mom, Deacon, her manager, but that all went to s**t. The icy glow was back and she wasn't taking any orders from anyone, especially not mealy-mouthed manager Glenn. You see, J really wanted to get her acoustic songs in the tour, but she didn't seem to understand that changing her entire voice in the middle of her show might cause some confusion. But what J wants, J gets, and her nasty attitude came shining through, so much so that Deacon didn't even want to molest her in the elevator, where he's known to get frisky. RELATED: 'Nashville' Recap: A Sick Game of Truth or Dare In her biggest diva fit of the night, she was all amped up on energy drink (Rockstar? Country Star?) that she woke everyone up in the middle of the night to remind them that they all work for her. She yelled so aggressively that Glenn quit. Let's hope it sticks so we never have to look at his goatee ever again. At the end of the episode she was left back at her mansion in Nashville with no one by her side, finally grasping loneliness. She picked up the phone and did what any other lost and scared blonde girl with an all-white wardrobe does, she called her mom. RELATED: 'Nashville' Recap: A Sick Game of Truth or Dare The Scarlett and Gunnar Story Old Man Watty pulled through for these young things. He decided to make them big stars! It would be more exciting if Scarlett didn't continue to live her life with a large, permanent, pathetic pout. Now that she and Gunnar are living together, the lines have begun to blur in the most delicious way: shirtlessness. Despite the confusing "no naked" rule, Gunnar walked around freely in a barely-there towel teasing Scarlett in what seemed to be the most fun game ever. But of course, she didn't want to play because she gets off on being prude. The more serious plot line focused on Gunnar's fugitive brother, who happened to be a very lovely guitar player! Gunnar convinced Scarlett to let him stay with them and she ultimately obliged. It almost seemed like they were one big family when they sat around the couch and played some sweet tunes, until his brother walked over to his duffle bag and revealed the handgun he so neatly packed away. Oh, family. RELATED: 'Nashville' Recap: Two Faces to Every Demented Story The Maddie Story Who's Maddie, you ask? She's Rayna and Teddy's eldest daughter and she is looking more and more like Homeland's Dana with every episode. Maddie overheard Teddy on the phone talking to Peggy about how much he missed her voice and missed her touch and missed feeling "like himself." Thankfully he did not say that he missed "feeling himself" because that would have been an entirely different traumatizing phone call. When Rayna and Teddy sat the girls down to tell them about their divorce, Maddie didn't mention a thing. She acted surprised and didn't blow up her dad's spot. At least that's what we thought. It wasn't until the very last scene that Maddie ran up to her mom, threw her arms around her neck, and whispered that "dad is still seeing that woman." Let the games begin. [Image Credit: Katherine Bomboy-Thornton/ABC] Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl
  • 'Bros' Creator Talks New Trailer, Future of Web Series, and Where 'Girls' Got It Wrong
    By: Anna Brand Feb 08, 2013
    It may be "a show no one asked for," but new Internet series Bros is going to smack you in the face with the same saucy ingredients that makes Girls so lovable: honest one-liners, shaky relationships, and a unique kind of rawness among twentysomething friends. The kind of rawness everyone seems to relate to, in one way or another. The Girls parody finds a smart — and quite hilarious — way to illustrate a world where guys call their dads "bro," work out in subway cars, experiment with odd fashion, and ultimately struggle to make a living in New York City. Though they're blessed with all the cheap beer and "chicks" Murray Hill can offer, these dudes are still attempting to figure out how to act, thrive, and just plain be without steady jobs or any true accomplishments — unless you count being in the top one thousand on Call of Duty a victory (which, apparently, many do). We also get some solid advice, like the type of outfit that will "get" Williamsburg girls, how to escape a shady texting trap (trick: tell her you love her), and what it is exactly bros talk about behind the closed doors of their frat-like apartments. Anthony DiMieri, the creator and director of the series, didn't start getting familiar with Girls until around the middle of the first season, when his friend said he reminded her of one of the characters. "In retrospect, I guess she was referring to the lame boyfriend," he said. After binge-watching the entire series, the idea just dawned on him. "I knew there would be an audience, so I spent all of my money producing the trailer and the first episode." As DiMieri began writing the script, he looked at the friends around him for inspiration. "A friend of mine, a very real-life bro, once told me that he thinks he's going to marry a girl that hates him. And that really struck me," he said. If the series extends, DiMieri hopes to examine bros on a more psychological level. For starters: "I think the whole bro mentality has to do with daddy issues." But he'll get into that more down the road. DiMieri, who doesn't quite consider himself a bro, but instead, a "broster" (a combination of bro and hipster), realized what Girls was seriously lacking: a true depiction of NYC nightlife. "I don't think Lena Dunham got it when she did the coke episode at Greenhouse. It's like, Greenhouse doesn't look like that." What Bros will tap into is the Meatpacking bottle service scene, as well as what goes down in the dub step world at venues such as Webster Hall. As far as mirroring the much-beloved Girls characters, DiMieri explains that aside from the central throughline of one bro searching for a job, it's more the larger concept that draws parallels. "We're focusing more on the generation and situations of a post-college life. You're sort of an adult and you live in the city, but bros still act like they're in college." — he said it, not me — "Sometimes they have money to do things because they actually have a job, sometimes they don't." But DiMieri does wish he had more time to develop the characters, like Girls is able to do. With only around five minutes per episode (as opposed to Girls' 30), "the characters are more cartoonish. So, there probably won't be as many tears or major dramatic moments." In fact, the most dramatic moment we're going to get is when a bro gets caught snapchatting. "We really what to illustrate what relationships look like from a bro's perspective, because they mostly operate like they're at a seventh grade dance." Each episode will be around five minutes, providing just enough snark, beer chugging and bro-ness to keep us interested, rather than revolted. But so far, the team's only got its first episode, titled "Williamsburg," set to air. According to DiMieri, there's a laundry list of ideas ready for production as soon as more money comes through. Working with the Bros' production "dream team", including DP Mike Berlucchi and camera operator Jason Ano, DiMieri wishes he could quit his day job to work on creating additional episodes. But bro-ness and bro-dom aside, there is heart and soul at the core of this web series. There are subway kisses (between men!). And feelings. And real, albeit immature, love. And if the trailer is any indication of what the series will be like, Bros may have just mastered girls better than Girls. Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl From Our Partners: Justin Bieber Drug and Cheating Rumors?! (Vh1) 32 Most Outrageous Outfits in Grammy History (Vh1)