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Katya and Trixie Mattel Aren’t Sure Why You Want Their Advice, But They’re Ready to Give It

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Related: 6 Hilarious “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Celeb Impressions

Bust out your fans and dust off your Contact DVD because UNHhhh is finally back!

After a long, pandemic-induced hiatus, the brainchild of Drag Race alumni Katya and Trixie Mattel is picking up where it left off, resuming its fifth season with weekly new episodes released on WOW Presents Plus. And as the fan-favorite drag queens at the heart of the series made clear to E! News ahead of their big return, they’re just so happy to finally be in the same room again after a brief segue into remote filming for their short-lived spin-off Trixie and Katya Save the World.

“When we went back, we had to stay six feet apart always and no touching. No touching…But it’s much better to be doing in the same room instead of remotely because the energy is totally different,” Katya (born Brian McCook) said. “I don’t like the Zoom thing. I’m just so sick of that. Whether it’s six feet apart or 60 feet apart, it doesn’t matter–as long as I can see and react in real time in the room with somebody because it’s just strange on the video.”

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For the uninitiated, the short-form series features the two friends, who met as contestants on season seven of Drag Race, as they unleash their unique comedic sensibilities, riffing, ostensibly, on a new topic each episode before it’s all pulled together by some award-worthy editing. However, more often than not, the cross-talk quickly and hilariously veers off course to follow any and every train of thought because, as they like to remind viewers at the start of every episode, it’s their show “and not yours.”

After making their debut as co-hosts back in 2016 on YouTube before a short-lived foray into cable TV with Viceland’s The Trixie & Katya Show in 2017, followed by a return to the web as a staple of production company World of Wonder’s video on-demand service, neither can quite wrap their heads around the longevity of their show.

World of Wonder

As Trixie (born Brian Firkus) joked, “I knew I would be doing something. I didn’t know she would still be here. For me, it’s ‘tick-tock, tick-tock.’ We’re living on borrowed time.”

Keeping the gag alive, Katya replied, “I could go at any moment.”

Getting serious, Trixie added, “To be honest, it’s actually so weird to think that we’re on episode 130 or something. I don’t even know the episode number. Because I remember making the first one just for a fun a really long time ago. If you look at the first 30 episodes, don’t you think, Brian, when you go back, you can see the delineation of which batches are done when?”

After Katya agreed, Trixie continued, “Like the first 30 was one kind of bunch, the middle 20 or so was a bunch. ‘Cause usually it’s around touring. And this season, you’re gonna see the bunch we filmed before corona and after corona.”

As Katya noted, “It’s a journey.”

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And part of that journey moving forward is a new Q&A segment, where the queens attempt to offer advice to fans who’ve written in. When asked what gives them the authority to be offering anyone advice, both Trixie and Katya exploded with laughter.

Through the chuckles, Katya said, “Thank you. Thank you! Because–nothing!”

Trixie added, “You’re the first person to say that. Everyone else is like, ‘It’s great that people can hear from you and get real help.’ You’re the first person to be like, ‘Why are you asking these literal two pieces of s–t what to do with your life?'”

As authors of the new book Trixie & Katya’s Guide to Modern Womanhood, offering up their own brand of learned wisdom is something the pair have begun leaning into. But it doesn’t come without a very hilarious caveat.

World of Wonder

“In Trixie and Katya’s Guide to Modern Womanhood, something we touch on in the first chapter is, like, we’ve done a lot of cool things, so we advise you on some cool things,” Trixie said. “But we’ve done a lot of awful things. So whatever you think is your deepest depths, we’ve done it drunk and naked…So do as we say, not as we do. ‘Take it from me, kid.’ That’s the energy. ‘Take it from me, kid.'”

When asked what the craziest thing was that a fan has sought advice on, Trixie revealed, “People often try to get our attention by asking things that they know are through-the-roof too personal and crazy. It’ll be at a meet-and-greet or something, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, my girlfriend died and I’m trying to have sex with her ghost. What do you think about that?’ You know what I mean? It’s like, ‘What? Did you think this was gonna make me remember you?’ Because I guess it worked.”

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As for the best piece of advice they’ve ever received, Katya was succinct: “Mine is Dawn dish washing liquid. Honestly.”

After Trixie laughed, joking, “There’s no advice along with it. Somebody just told her, ‘Dawn…,'” Katya elaborated, explaining, “It’s $1.99 and it takes off all the makeup in less than 45 seconds. You just go right into the shower. It’s incredible.”

Trixie’s offering, on the other hand, was a bit more serious than the pearl of wisdom that came from her co-host. “Honestly, I get a lot of miles out of this. Katya said, ‘Die mad, haters.’ It sounds simple, but it’s the best,” she said. “It’s similar to some advice that [Drag Race season eight winner] Bob the Drag Queen gave me once which was just like, ‘Not everybody’s gonna like you and not everybody’s gonna like everything you do.’ Bob was just like, ‘Do your thing because there’s always gonna be people who don’t like it. F–k everyone.’ And ‘die mad, haters’ is kind of like a shorter form version of that. ‘Die mad, haters’ is flippant and psycho and funny, but it’s also extremely insightful. People hating has a lot more to do with them than you.”

World of Wonder

It’s a mindset that the pair have been able to put into action as they became first-time authors with the release of their book this summer. As Trixie explained, “I was looking at book reviews, which I know we’re not supposed to do, and there were so many reviews of Trixie and Katya’s Guide to Modern Womanhood of people who maybe bought it and didn’t know much about us. People giving it really low ratings because they’re like, ‘I didn’t find this helpful at all! I was looking for real help!’ They didn’t understand it was kind of jokey, so they kept going on tangents about things that didn’t even matter. I love the idea of somebody wanting to learn to French braid and sitting down with our book, and then reading stories about cat s–t and being like, ‘What?!'”

Unfortunately, coronavirus meant that the pair couldn’t enjoy a traditional promo tour for the book’s launch. As Katya joked, “We wanted to do a book tour with turtlenecks and sport coats and stuff. And thick glasses. But, oh well, what are you gonna do?” It didn’t stop them, however, from landing a spot on The New York Times Best Seller list, something the two admitted to fantasizing about while speaking with E! News.

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“If that happens, God willing, it is going to be said out loud to every single person I meet, regardless of how well I know them or how often I see them,” Katya said.

Trixie interjected, “Or if it’s even pertinent to the conversation,” after which Katya continued. “Yeah! The Grubhub order comes in, I’m like, ‘Hi! New York Times best-selling author Katya. Thank you so much. Goodbye,'” she joked. “That’s it.”

Getting serious, Trixie added, “The good thing about being a drag queen is we are afforded a certain amount of vanity that I think normal celebrities, it would be gauche for them to display. But for drag queens, when you like what you did, you get to sort of self-indulge because you’re still just a monkey in a wig.”

Katya advised, “You scream that s–t from the rafters, Mary. Absolutely.”

World of Wonder

As the two worlds where drag entertainers make their livings–the entertainment and nightlife industries–continue to face an uncertain future thanks to the pandemic, both Trixie and Katya insist they’re not sweating it.

“It’s not a problem for me. Every day’s a miracle. Every day is a journey,” Katya said. “I should’ve been dead long ago, so I’m just chilling.”

Trixie added, “Drag queens are scrappy. On Drag Race, we get given 99 Cents Store materials and we have to make a costume, but drag queens kind of do that all the time. We also work in an industry that was not meant to favor us to begin with. We’re not supposed to be celebrities. When Katya and I started doing drag, it wasn’t because this level of celebrity was at all possible for cross-dressers, you know what I mean?”

As long as they can keep making their little green screen show, even under the new, socially distant guidelines, the rest can wait, they say. “Katya and I have a lot of touring projects coming up, and it keeps getting pushed into the future, but it’s not like it’s been canceled. It’s not like it’s never happening. Besides, the first shows to get pulled off the road were gathering of over a thousand, so I was pulled off the road a long time ago,” Trixie continued, laughing. “When my shows were being pulled because they were gathering over one thousand, I was calling [Drag Race season five winner] Jinkx Monsoon like, ‘They said small gatherings are fine. You still having a show tonight?'”

However unsure the future may be, both have a vision for UNHhhh five seasons from now. And, fittingly, it’s a funny one. We’ll leave you with their back-and-forth about the look of a potential tenth season.

Katya: Completely naked.

Trixie: I think she’ll be a little thinner and I’ll be a little less thinner. And it’ll clear that, because of social distance, we didn’t have as much time for costume fittings.

Katya: I say less words, more skin.

Trixie: Less talking and more just slow removal of clothes.

UNHhhh returns to finish out season five on Wednesday, Aug. 5, with new episodes debuting weekly exclusively on WOW Presents Plus before censored versions drop on YouTube a week later.

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Netflix is developing a live action ‘Assassin’s Creed’ show

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Netflix announced this morning that it’s partnering with Ubisoft to adapt the game publisher’s “Assassin’s Creed” franchise into a live action series.

The franchise jumps around in history, telling the story of a secret society of assassins with “genetic memory” and their centuries-long battle the knights templar. It has sold 155 million games worldwide and was also turned into a nearly incomprehensible 2016 film starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which underperformed at the box office.

The companies say that they’re currently looking for a showrunner. Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik of Ubisoft’s film and television division will serve as executive producers. (In addition to working on adaptations of Ubisoft’s intellectual property, the publisher is also involved in the Apple TV+ industry comedy “Mythic Quest.”)

“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that Assassin’s Creed is beloved for,” said Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

It sounds like there could be follow-up shows as well, with the announcement saying that Netflix and Ubisoft will “tap into the iconic video game’s trove of dynamic stories with global mass appeal for adaptations of live action, animated, and anime series.”

Netflix recently placed an eight-episode order for “Resident Evil,” another video game franchise that was previously adapted for the big screen. And it also had a big hit with its adaptation of “The Witcher,” which is based on a fantasy book series that was popularized via video games.

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Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

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As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

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The short, strange life of Quibi

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“All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down,” Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote, closing out an open letter posted to Medium. “We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.”

With that, the founding executives confirmed the rumors and put Quibi to bed, a little more than six months after launching the service.

Starting a business is an impossibly difficult task under nearly any conditions, but even in a world that’s littered with high-profile failures, the streaming service’s swan song was remarkable for both its dramatically brief lifespan and the amount of money the company managed to raise (and spend) during that time.

A month ahead of its commercial launch, Quibi announced that it had raised another $750 million. That second round of funding brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

“We concluded a very successful second raise which will provide Quibi with a strong cash runway,” CFO Ambereen Toubassy told the press at the time. “This round of $750 million gives us tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”

Quibi’s second funding round brought the yet-to-launch streaming service’s funding up to $1.75 billion — roughly the same as the gross domestic product of Belize, give or take $100 million.

From a financial perspective, Quibi had reason to be hopeful. Its fundraising ambitions were matched only by the aggressiveness with which it planned to spend that money. At the beginning of the year, Whitman touted the company’s plans to spend up to $100,000 per minute of programming — $6 million per hour. The executive proudly contrasted the jaw-dropping sum to the estimated $500 to $5,000 an hour spent by YouTube creators.

For Whitman and Katzenberg — best known for their respective reigns at HP and Disney — money was key to success in an already crowded marketplace. $1 billion was a drop in the bucket compared to the $17.3 billion Netflix was expected to spend on original content in 2020, but it was a start.

Following in the footsteps of Apple, who had also recently announced plans to spend $1 billion to launch its own fledgling streaming service, the company was enlisting A-List talent, from Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Ridley Scott to Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and LeBron James. If your name carried any sort of clout in Hollywood boardrooms, Quibi would happily cut you a check, seemingly regardless of content specifics.

Quibi’s strategy primarily defined itself by itself by its constraints. In hopes of attracting younger millennial and Gen Z, the company’s content would be not just mobile-first, but mobile-only. There would be no smart TV app, no Chromecast or AirPlay compatibility. Pricing, while low compared to the competition, was similarly off-putting. After a 90-day free trial, $4.99 got you an ad-supported subscription. And boy howdy, were there ads. Ads upon ads. Ads all the way down. Paying another $3 a month would make them go away.

Technological constraints and Terms of Service fine print forbade screen shots — a fundamental understanding of how content goes viral in 2020 (though, to be fair, one shared with other competing streaming services). Amusingly, the inability to share content led to videos like this one of director Sam Raimi’s perplexingly earnest “The Golden Arm.”

It features a built-on laugh track from viewers as Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan lies in a hospital bed after refusing to remove a golden prosthetic. It’s an allegory, surely, but not one intentionally played for laughs. Many of the videos that did ultimately make the rounds on social media were regarded as a curiosity — strange artifacts from a nascent streaming service that made little sense on paper.

Most notable of all, however, were the “quick bites” that gave the service its confusingly pronounced name. Each program would be served in 5-10 minute chunks. The list included films acquired by the service, sliced up into “chapters.” Notably, the service didn’t actually purchase the content outright; instead, rights were set to revert to their creators after seven years. Meanwhile, after two years, content partners were able to “reassemble” the chunks back into a movie for distribution.

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