Columns & Series 37 results

Pop Culture Decoder: Why I hate 21 Day Fix

Misty Harris longs to shed the dead weight of dieters from social media By Misty Harris I loathe 21 Day Fix with the fire of 1,000 Hades suns. Not because I’ve actually tried the fad diet, mind you; I have not. I hate it with the special kind of aversion reserved for things so repellent,* you know without a second thought that they’re not for you (think KFC’s Double Down Dog, or Donald Trump’s presidential bid).   Some background: 21 Day Fix is a “lifestyle” program marketed by Beachbody, the multinational responsible for P90X, Insanity, Focus T25 and other previous fitness/diet crazes. People pay to go on it, lose weight, then are given the option to become “coaches” – that is, recruiting others to buy into the program – in exchange for commissions and a company discount.   In summary: Friend goes on the Fix Friend posts fitness and food statuses five times a day on every social media account, and urges you to join his or her ...

Pop Culture Decoder: Top 10 Excuses to See Magic Mike XXL

Misty Harris finds socially acceptable reasons to see summer’s bulging tentpole By Misty Harris With the Magic Mike XXL debut just around the corner, haters are dialling up the discontent to a full Nancy Grace. Their main critique is that while the Soderbergh-directed original was dark and provocative, the sequel appears to be little more than a big-budget manspoitation film.   Incidentally, this is the precise reason I’ve already purchased tickets. The tentpole is real, people, and it looks spectacular.   On that note, today’s Decoder lays bare the Top 10 socially acceptable excuses to #ComeAgain for Magic Mike. Haters, consider yourselves warned.   1. Supporting the arts: This time around, the dance portion of the movie looks to be as enhanced as Joe ‘Big Dick Richie’ Manganiello (if you haven’t seen the trailer, it’s as if Step Up and Flashdance had a baby and named it Ab Flex). Getting your culture on has never looked ...

The Power of Makeup / Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup

Misty Harris plumbs two viral videos, and explains why cosmetics should be approached like sex  

Pop Culture Decoder: Children’s Books

Misty Harris deciphers the hidden messages in beloved kids’ tales to discover the secret meaning of Green Eggs and Ham, and Robert Munsch's ode to Psycho By Misty Harris Read the same children’s books night after night AFTER NIGHT and two things are likely to come to mind: suicide, and questions about what the respective authors were really trying to say.   From Lewis Carroll to C.S. Lewis, scribes of children’s literature are notorious for hiding political, religious and even mathematical messages in plain sight. Is this also true of more straightforward titles such as Everyone Poops and Mortimer? I watched enough Carmen Sandiego as a kid to feel comfortable playing gumshoe on this one.* Let’s detect!   Green Eggs and Ham: If you push something bland and unappetizing on people long enough, they’ll relent and accept it – a timeless message that explains everything from reality TV to the endurance of Gwyneth Paltrow.   Love You Forever: ...

Pop Culture Decoder: American Ninja Warrior

Misty Harris breaks down the appeal of TV’s best competition show that's basically the sports equivalent of dating George Clooney between 1994 and 2013 By Misty Harris American Ninja Warrior is summer’s best competition show that sounds like it was named by a six-year-old who just watched his first Chuck Norris movie. The series features increasingly grueling obstacle courses designed to test the mettle of America’s top athletes, and to shame everyone watching from their couch at home (those who can’t do, watch).   A part of me, childishly, wants to hate ANW for its hyperventilating celebration of all the people who would’ve picked me last in gym class. But as much as I’m a bitter old wannabe who can’t touch her toes, I find myself impervious to the charms of this show – the seventh season of which premieres May 25.   Contestants train like fiends year-round, will often wait days to audition, and have less fat in their entire bodies than I have ...

Pop Culture Decoder: Bad Blood

Misty Harris unpacks Taylor Swift's latest celebrity-filled video, which belly-flopped onto YouTube earlier this week By Misty Harris Confession: I was counting down to the debut of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video the way normal people count down to Christmas, or Kardashians to their next selfie. Say what you want about Swift’s love life, which has played out like a cautionary tale against dating songwriters, the girl has chops when it comes to producing killer music videos.   Imagine my disappointment, then, when Bad Blood finally landed and turned out to be all style, no substance (if you put your nose to your computer monitor, you can actually smell the aroma of “meh”). Though all the elements were in place for another hit – slick set design, more than a dozen star cameos, and a budget equal to the GDP of some small countries – the end result was more mess than masterpiece.   Let’s decode, shall we?     Too many celebri...

Pop Culture Decoder: The Catch

Misty Harris uses her forensic skills and pop culture instincts to dissect the new trailer for Shonda Rhimes’ new show featuring Mireille Enos as a feisty fraud investigator By Misty Harris In the bloody wake of McDreamy, whose death left a hole in our hearts and in the men’s haircare market, a nation comes together to ask: Can we learn to love Shonda Rhimes again? If the trailer for her upcoming drama The Catch is any indication, the answer is yes. Big yes. Yes on a Post-It yes. Here’s what ABC is telling us about Shondaland’s latest: “This thriller centres on the strong, successful Alice Martin (Mireille Enos). She’s a fraud investigator who’s about to be the victim of fraud by her fiancé. Between her cases, she is determined to find him before it ruins her career.” Ok, kind of a dull description; I’ve had bathroom breaks that were more compelling. But the slick trailer suggests there’s more to this show than White Olivia Pope™ risking (gasp!) ...