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Before Or After?

26 minutes ago

Ask Me Another premiered on May 4, 2012, and wouldn't ya know it, things have happened in those nine years since! Oscar Award-winning composers Robert and Kristen Anderson Lopez guess if certain events occurred before Ask Me Another premiered or after. Sounds simple enough! Plus, there's no way our perception of time is in any way warped by this past year and a half...

Heard on The Penultimate Puzzles

TV Adaptation Theme Songs

26 minutes ago

Oscar Award-winning composers Robert and Kristen Anderson Lopez are the geniuses behind that WandaVision song "Agatha All Along," for which the world is forever indebted to them. So, it was only right to give them a chance to show off their TV theme song chops! In this music parody game, the lyrics of older TV theme songs were changed to make them about recent TV series, based on books. Step aside Marvel, there's a new "most ambitious crossover event in history."

That's How I Midroll

26 minutes ago

On TV, they're called "commercials." But on podcasts, they're called "midrolls." In this game, Welcome to Night Vale's Cecil Baldwin and guest house musician Julian Velard are read ads for companies that famously advertise on podcasts. The twist is— the person who wrote these midrolls has done no research into the companies... instead, they've given it their best guess based solely on the company's name. It's not lazy if it's on purpose!

This, That or the Other

26 minutes ago

In this TTOTO, Welcome to Night Vale's Cecil Baldwin and musician Julian Velard guess if something is a famous gemstone, Revlon lipstick color, or title in The Legend of Zelda series. Can they tell their Hyrules from their high-shines?

Heard on The Penultimate Puzzles

Real or Fake College Essay

26 minutes ago

Which is tougher, writing a college admissions essay or guessing which college admissions essay prompts are real? Ask Me Another is playing this game because two hosts and three producers are soon going to be out of work and looking for something to do. Maybe... grad school!?

Heard on The Penultimate Puzzles

Kidz Bop

26 minutes ago

Comedians Aparna Nancherla and Joyelle Nicole Johnson play this audio quiz packed with hit songs— ruined- uh, *ahem* covered by children. Can they guess the original lyrics after hearing the altered, family-friendly versions? Can they survive listening to these covers in the first place?

Heard on The Penultimate Puzzles

Check-In: Everything's Hot

26 minutes ago

Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton distract themselves from the show's impending end by talking about bagels.

Heard on The Penultimate Puzzles

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

It takes the second season of Apple TV+'s The Morning Show seven-and-a-half minutes to get real sweaty.

Let's step back: The first season, which aired a decade or so ago in late 2019, was the prestige drama project that Apple wanted to use to launch its streaming service: Big names! Current events! Finger on the pulse! Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston played a newbie and a veteran morning show host, respectively, who are thrown together after Aniston's former on-air partner, played by Steve Carell, is fired following a sexual harassment scandal.

Game Highlights

Beard goes out on the town after the team's big loss to Manchester City, and he finds adventure, danger, magic, new friends and a return to old patterns.

Play-By-Play

We begin at the end of "Man City," where Beard is telling Ted he's not going to come out with the team; he wants to "shake this off" on his own. But this time, instead of following Ted as we usually would, we follow Beard.

CBS thought it had a win when it announced The Activist, a reality show where six contestants would compete in a variety of activism-themed contests before appearing at a summit of world leaders in Italy — a format that press materials called "awe-inspiring," "ground-breaking" and sure to "inspire real change."

But in the week since the network's announcement, backlash has come from all corners — including an apology from one of the program's own hosts.

The game show Jeopardy! has announced that actress Mayim Bialik and previous winner Ken Jennings will co-host the program through the end of 2021.

"Not sure if you've heard but @missmayim and @kenjennings are hosting me until the end of the year," the show tweeted on Thursday. "Everyone on the staff is supralunar."

The announcement is the latest development in the show's troubled search for a new host following the November death of longtime presenter Alex Trebek.

The most nimble game developers borrow. Like Shakespeare himself, they rummage through venerated titles crafted by the old guard and snag anything useful to them.

The first time I opened My Sweet Girl, a debut psychological thriller from author Amanda Jayatissa, I instantly took to the main character, Paloma. She's unlikeable from the start — impatient, frustrated, and entirely disinterested in making a good impression on the reader or anyone else around her. Her simmering anger instantly spoke to me, because it's something that many Asian American people can understand: exhaustion from having to play the part of the model minority.

Blue Bayou moved me a lot more than I expected or maybe even wanted it to. Scene by scene, this story of a Korean American adoptee facing deportation is frequently heavy-handed and overwrought. There were moments when I was certain I loathed it — only for it to reel me back in. By the end, I found myself wiping away furious tears, a little angry perhaps at the filmmakers for their sledgehammer tactics, but much angrier at the injustice of what they show us: an immigration system that can tear families apart.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead does extensive background research whenever he works on a book. For his latest novel, Harlem Shuffle, that meant learning how stolen items get "fenced."

"There's not a lot of literature about fences," Whitehead says. "But there is actually a book ... [that's] a sociological a study about these guys in the Midwest in the '60s, and one of the first things that struck me was their description of [the fences] being a wall between the straight world and the crooked world."

On Tuesday, journalism and literature Twitter blew up after a user posted a 20-part thread decrying the lack of diversity among writers and editors at one of the most vaunted publications in the country, The New Yorker.

Tributes are pouring in for Norm Macdonald, the Canadian comedian best known for anchoring Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" segments in the 1990s.

Macdonald died at 61 on Tuesday, nearly a decade after a cancer diagnosis that he kept private (here's a clip of a stand-up performance in which he derides the phrase "battling cancer").

Editor's note: This report includes allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

Updated September 16, 2021 at 3:45 PM ET

Over the next few days, we'll be finding out which books made the longlists for this year's National Book Awards — beginning Wednesday morning with Young People's Literature and finishing up Friday with Fiction.

Check back with us throughout the week as we post each list to see who's in the running and find links to our coverage.

Updated September 15, 2021 at 1:56 PM ET

Comedian Neal Brennan has thought a lot about whether he's accepted in comedy — and whether or not he even should be. Now, he's tackling those feelings of self-criticism, harsh inner-monologues, and mental health in a new comedy show.

When the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and his band of 300 men reached the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in late 1519, they found a civilization of staggering beauty that dwarfed any western European city.

Stucco towers, "painted with colorful animals and sculpted on stone" were "a marvel to behold," drawing comparisons to Venice, one observer wrote. Tens of thousands of canoes dotted Lake Texcoco, "some, like great barges, carrying up to sixty people," writes Fernando Cervantes in Conquistadores, his masterful new history of the era.

It's time to find something good to watch.

Maybe you didn't have exactly the hot vaccinated summer we were all hoping for. While we can't fix the big stuff, our critics do have good news about staying entertained — and challenged, and invigorated, and curious.

A heist with a cast of zany characters, tongue-in-cheek dialogue, questionable criminal skills, and of course, a bumbling, incompetent thief or two are undoubtedly part of the charm of Colson Whitehead's Harlem Shuffle. But the novel is also a powerful tale of a man's love for his family and the neighborhood where he lives. And the man at the center of that tale is a devastatingly enjoyable character who has a true gift for words — if not always the smartest actions.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Comedian Norm Macdonald, a beloved Saturday Night Live cast member in the 1990s, has died. His management company confirmed that the 61-year-old had battled cancer for nine years.

Animals living among us often ignore the rules we try to impose on them. Science writer Mary Roach experienced this firsthand when a group of macaque monkeys accosted her in India.

"I was kind of asking for it," Roach admits. "I walked up this trail where I knew there were a lot of macaques, and I walked up holding a bag of bananas."

Born and raised in rural Alabama, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee for almost 35 years, Margaret Renkl loves the South. She revels in its glorious art and music, its rich ecology and stunning natural beauty.

These Chucks were made for walking: Timothée Chalamet filmed himself on Instagram Live hoofing it to th

Following the murder of George Floyd last year, the Paramount Network abruptly canceled the law enforcement reality TV series Cops. Now the show has found a new home.

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