For once this week, there are no fresh allegations of sexual misconduct against men in Hollywood. Except that Harvey Weinstein’s assistant is alleging harassment. And there may be others by the time I publish this. But no big-letter-headlines. Weinstein is still not a good guy and there are doubtless many stories that will come forward…but in the meantime, fictional women (Murphy Brown and the sisters of Charmed) and real-life women (the brave Olympic gymnasts whose stories helped put away abusive doctor Larry Nassar – see the above photo from NBC News) are toppling the patriarchy, so read on!

Murphy Brown, the 1990s TV show about a news team, is getting a reboot with the original cast; this is great news not only because the show was so good back then – incorporating political themes of the time into the plot lines – but because today’s world of fake news and sensationalism demands the efforts of a news journalist like Murphy Brown. And it will also be awesome to have Candice Bergen back on TV again. To whet your appetite for the return, here’s one of Murphy Brown’s more famous moments: when Vice President Dan Quayle – the real vice president – mentioned Murphy Brown as an example of how family values were being undermined in America, and how Murphy responded. (I call her Murphy. She’s a friend.)

Because everyone gets a reboot, the Power of Three will be back as well: Charmed also gets a reboot with a new cast, and according to the CW, “This fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centers on three sisters in a college town who discover they are witches. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done.” Been THERE.

Emily V. Gordon (co-writer, The Big Sick, which was based on her illness) is writing “The Nest” for Amazon – Jill Soloway’s Topple will produce the show, based on a New York Times best-seller.

You know Big Little Lies: it’s Nicole, and Reese, and Shailene…and now, it’s also MERYL. In the forthcoming second season, Meryl Streep will play Nicole’s character’s mother-in-law. I did love the first season, but it felt mostly done to me – I don’t know if there needs to be a second season, but I know that a second season needs Meryl.

You may have read that some lovely anonymous internet person created a “de-feminized” version of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in which he (I’m assuming it’s a “he”) removed all the women. Well, no worries – the internet responded with a “Last Jedi recut without men” version.  Both links are below – feel free to peruse them in your spare time. 🙂 May the Force be with you, in either case.

This week in sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse and assault….

Former doctor for the USA Gymnastics team Larry Nassar was sentenced to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 girls and women over his years of serving the team as its doctor. After many of the girls – now grown women – appeared to tell their stories, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina rendered her sentencing decision saying, “I have just signed your death sentence.” That sentence will be carried out along with the previous 60 years that Nassar was sentenced to for his possession of child pornography. There are some who believe that the judge’s comments are a violation of a judge’s role as impartial arbitrator (notably, in the Vox article linked below), although you can see that she’s become a fierce advocate for the young victims. You can see Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman’s testimony here:

Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue – with its cover photo featuring a dozen celebrities and outgoing VF editor Graydon Carter – is now minus one of those celebrities: “We made a decision not to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover once we learned of the misconduct allegations against him,” a Vanity Fair spokesperson said in The Hollywood Reporter.

Casey Affleck, who won Best Actor at last year’s Oscars, would have traditionally presented the award for Best Actress at this year’s ceremonies on March 4. But even after walking away with the trophy last year, many in Hollywood became newly aware of the two sexual harassment lawsuits that had been filed against him in 2010. (He had denied the allegations and settled the suits out of court but didn’t admit any guilt.) So this year, he told the Academy that he wouldn’t be presenting. “We appreciate the decision to keep the focus on the show and on the great work of this year,” the Academy said in a statement reported in People.

After last week’s Aziz Ansari date controversy, think pieces have started to focus on some of the broader issues around social and sexual behavior differences between men and women. In The Week, culture critic Lili Loofbourow addresses one question that people are discussing: “Why didn’t she just get out of there as soon as she felt uncomfortable? many people explicitly or implicitly asked. It’s a rich question, and there are plenty of possible answers. But if you’re asking in good faith, if you really want to think through why someone might have acted as she did, the most important one is this: Women are enculturated to be uncomfortable most of the time. And to ignore their discomfort,” she said. In closing, she suggested that “next time we’re inclined to wonder why a woman didn’t immediately register and fix her own discomfort, we might wonder why we spent the preceding decades instructing her to override the signals we now blame her for not recognizing.”

Trump’s immigration proposal

Last week’s “Schumer Shutdown” or  “Trump Shutdown” – depending on who you ask – yielded a bit of a reprieve as both sides continue to discuss DACA. According to NPR, a one-page memo was sent to congressional Republicans Thursday afternoon suggesting a plan with a 10- to 12-year path to citizenship for DACA folks as well as for other “DACA-eligible illegal immigrants” – these are people who had been brought here as children but who aren’t part of the DACA program. They are currently of an illegal status, but including them in this citizenship path could help up to 1.8 million people. What’s the catch? The White House wants an immigration measure to include $25 billion for a border wall, “though the memo concedes that border security ‘takes a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, personnel, [and] resources.’ In other words, not necessarily the coast-to-coast physical structure on the Southern border that Trump promised at campaign rallies,” the NPR piece noted.

ICYMI/Wacky Internet Stuff

If you’re one of the people who saw the trailer for the newest sequel to Crocodile Dundee – the 1986 “that’s not a knife – this is a knife” movie about an Australian in New York City – then I have some bad news for you. That promo you’ve been seeing is a fake – or rather, there’s no movie behind it: it’s a teaser for a Superbowl ad promoting Australian tourism. Cute idea guys, but to promote Australian tourism, why not just line up the Hemsworths and then tag with: “Boom. Australia.” And hashtag it #everybodygetsahemsworth – guaranteed 1000% tourism increase. So you just keep making Hemsworths, Australia, and we’ll be wishing you a g’day in no time. 

One of the cool things about The Last Jedi is – and this isn’t really a spoiler at this point  – the lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren and the Praetorian Guards. @rachlikesbands who – according to her Twitter profile, has seen the Last Jedi four times – decided to set this battle to a number of different songs ranging from “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins to “Send Me on My Way” by Rusted Root. This simple concept is yielding some delight among fans – my personal favorite is below.

What are you talking about this week? Let us know!

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