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Motion To Dismiss ‘Partner Track,’ Your Honor

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In December 2021, our culture desk at HuffPost assembled a list of “24 TV Shows We’re Looking Forward To In 2022.” One of the most highly anticipated series was Netflix’s “Partner Track,” starring former “Teen Wolf” actress Arden Cho. Since portraying Kira Yukimura in the critically acclaimed MTV series, Cho has appeared in NBC’s medical drama “Chicago Med,” the 2018 film “The Honor List,” and much more. But this would be her first lead role, spreading her wings as a legal eagle.

Starring Cho as Ingrid Yun, a Harvard-bred lawyer working at a prestigious “big law” firm in New York City, “Partner Track” follows Yun as she balances values, passion, and career. An adaptation of Helen Wan’s 2013 novel “The Partner Track,” the Netflix series is created by Georgia Lee and seeks to tell the story of “an Asian American woman trying to break the glass ceiling.” However, culture reporters Ruth Etiesit Samuel and Marina Fang found that the series’ lackluster ability to address identity and marginalization — along with a mismatched plot — actually eroded our excitement for the series.

Ruth Etiesit Samuel: Upon seeing the trailer for this series, I’ll admit I was upset. Since the “Teen Wolf” era, I hadn’t watched Arden Cho in a regular series role in ages. When the series was announced on Deadline, I was expecting a more serious, “HTGAWM” approach — not another story about a woman of color stuck between two random, medium ugly white men. Marina, you’ve read the book “The Partner Track,” which the series was adapted and it’s supposedly heralded in law schools, per the book’s description on Amazon. What are your thoughts?

Marina Fang: Oh, Ruth. I regret to inform you (and our readers) that I was disappointed by this series. I don’t want to spend too much time on the book versus screen comparison because there are a lot of ways to approach adaptations that have their various merits. But overall, I was underwhelmed by the series’ surface-level exploration of what the book is pretty centrally focused on: How race and gender and class intersect in a hierarchal and structurally inequitable industry like corporate law. It’s not that the series doesn’t get into any of that at all. But by foregrounding the rom-com plotline, it misses so many opportunities where it could have gone deeper. In the book, the rom-com elements are there but are far more secondary than they are here.

Look, I love a good rom-com! But I just did not think that was the right approach here. And even the rom-com plots were not good! I was not invested in which one of these mediocre white men she’d end up with.

I think there is a way to bridge all of these different elements: make a fun and entertaining rom-com AND get deep into the structural racism, sexism, and classism of corporate law. I did not think this series did either of those things particularly well.

I don’t mean to suggest this show is at all on the level of “Emily in Paris,” but it gave me some “Emily in Paris” vibes.

Ruth, I’ve outlined some broad topics. Where do you land on them, and which of these do you want to get into in more detail?

Nolan Gerard Funk as Dan Fallon, Dominic Sherwood as Jeff Murphy, Arden Cho as Ingrid Yun in Netflix’s “Partner Track.”

Samuel: Let’s start on the exploration of identity and marginalization in the workplace, or the lack thereof in a series that is allegedly about those topics. Watching “Partner Track” versus hearing and reading about it felt like a bait and switch. The marketing feels disingenuous — and the story feels too colorblind to be about breaking the proverbial glass ceiling as an Asian American female attorney.

Arden’s character Ingrid is a Harvard Law School graduate with six years of professional experience at this firm and is so damn naive. She genuinely thought her white bosses would do the right thing (Why would you ever believe that at your big age?) after being used and tokenized time and time again. Like, girl, STAND UP! The show does not legitimately grapple with identity until four episodes in. Moreover, she’s almost a side character in her own story and the struggle for those very average white men becomes a focal point. There are so many more interesting threads that could’ve been pulled — from respectability politics and the “model minority” trope to her relationship with her sister. I cannot overstate how annoyed I am with the execution of this show.

I think it would’ve been far more interesting to see her break the glass ceiling, while also navigating a competitive working relationship with her Black gay male colleague and unpacking what solidarity among people of color looks like, privilege, etc. The rom-com just seems so oddly placed in all of this! What do you think?

Fang: Totally oddly placed! And like I said, it’s not that you can’t do both.

You watched the screeners before I did, and I remember you telling me that it would get better about midway through — and you were right! But it was oh so fleeting. Without spoiling, there are moments where the series shows what it could have been and the substance it could have had! But it’s really limited and buried in the middle of the season.

Interestingly, several of the major plot points, where Ingrid comes up against racism and sexism and realizes how tokenized she’s been, are fairly similar to how they play out in the book. Some are slightly altered or presented in a different order. But for some reason in the series, they come out really watered down and just don’t land with the same force. In part, I think it’s because they are happening alongside this uninteresting love triangle.

Ruth, you and I are both “Industry” fans. It’s probably because of recency bias, but I couldn’t help but have “Industry” in mind while watching this. This could have been “Industry.” A wildly entertaining and riveting show that’s also a deep exploration of race, gender and class in a corporate setting, all seamlessly woven together.

I do wonder how much of this stems from us expecting one thing and getting something wildly different.

Arden Cho as Ingrid Yun in Netflix's "Partner Track."
Arden Cho as Ingrid Yun in Netflix’s “Partner Track.”

Samuel: HELLO! I wanted that – or a Michaela in “HTGAWM,” Olivia Pope in “Scandal” moment!

But it felt like the show was put in the incorrect order. From both a subject matter and plot perspective, just completely buried the most interesting parts. And I hate to be that person, but I’m going to be that person. I simply did not understand why everyone was so comfortable with their friends cheating on their partners. LIKE???

I was baffled! Because there was no reason for some of the things that occurred, other than to give us a messy “Emily in Paris”-esque storyline and create some faux-ambiguity for a second season. I swear Netflix will pay for its crimes. If another network picked this up, it’d be different — and arguably better.

Fang: Yep, I wonder about the Netflix of it all. The production quality could have had prestige drama vibes. But it’s honestly pretty mediocre. The aesthetic of the show is so one-note and bland. And the writing just doesn’t crackle. This is a minor example, but there’s a scene when Ingrid’s best friend Rachel finds out her client has died, and she says: “She’s dead.” That doesn’t have to be a written line. We know based on her facial expression! Yes, tiny moment, but I think it exemplifies some of the limitations of the writing.

As the episodes progress, it’s pretty clear the show is being set up for a second season (and Netflix’s head of drama recently hinted they’re hoping to renew it). There are several characters and plot lines that weren’t in the book, likely so the show can open up some multi-season storylines. And the last episode ends on a (not very compelling, I think) cliffhanger. By contrast, the book ends pretty definitively. Again, it’s fine to depart significantly from the book and create more storylines. Sometimes this works quite well, allowing for more depth than the original material. (On the other hand, sometimes you get a “Big Little Lies” Season 2.)

Without spoiling it for anyone who might want to check out the book (and you should), the book’s more definitive ending supports the thesis statement it’s asserting about whether it’s possible to change these entrenched systems. But again, the big problem with this show is that it lacks a clear point of view. It doesn’t feel like it’s trying to say anything substantive.

Alexandra Turshen as Rachel Friedman, Arden Cho as Ingrid Yun, Bradley Gibson as Tyler Robinson in Netflix's "Partner Track."
Alexandra Turshen as Rachel Friedman, Arden Cho as Ingrid Yun, Bradley Gibson as Tyler Robinson in Netflix’s “Partner Track.”

Samuel: The way the book ends is such a far more enthralling and richer way to delve into another season as well! Instead of all these odd love kaleidoscopes — because they’re barely triangles at this point — I’d want to see Ingrid in her Annalise Keating era!

Samuel: The truth is, I want to love this show. I wanted to, but I just can’t. Like, yes, I want to see an Asian American woman be sought after (though I’d like the suitors to be attractive at the very least… to each their own.) And yes, it’s so refreshing and much-needed to see a Black gay couple in love. And — because multiple things can be true here — it felt a bit… trope-y to make his character in charge of the luxe goods department. And overall, I’d like the story to not be cringy. The dialogue felt forced. The big law attorneys I know don’t willingly listen to M&A podcasts to put themselves to sleep. It’s not soothing!

Moreover, I know people are making the case that POC-led shows should be allowed to be mediocre since we have an abundance of terrible white television — and I get that. But it still does not erase how disappointed I am. I wanted better for Arden. I know she’s immensely talented and I wanted to see her in her character acting bag.

Now that we’ve dwelled on the bad were there any redeeming parts of the series in your eyes? It’s OK to say no, sis…

Fang: Lol. Everything you just said, I feel so deeply. And yes, I am one of those people who has sometimes made the case that maybe the true mark of progress is getting to be mediocre because there are so many mediocre white shows that get to exist. The more shows we get, the less weight each individual show has to carry. And then not every show will therefore be expected to be all things to all people. So maybe it’s OK that this one just didn’t do it for us. But like you said, it’s disappointing. I keep going back to the expectations versus reality. This show had all the ingredients to be an engrossing and juicy show. However, to borrow something from a very different Netflix show, they were overproved and underbaked.

Fang: So, should you watch it?

Samuel: My answer is no, but people will anyway.

Fang: I say yes, but only under specific circumstances: if you really, really adjust your expectations and prepare to mostly turn your brain off. I know, it pains me to say that.

Samuel: I second that 500%.





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Try Guys Will Edit Ned Fulmer Out Of Future Videos After Cheating Scandal

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The YouTube comedy quartet The Try Guys, now down to three after firing founding member Ned Fulmer for cheating on his wife, said they’re editing Fulmer out of unreleased videos and trashing others “due to his involvement.”

In a video uploaded Monday, the group’s three remaining members explained Fulmer’s departure to their nearly 8 million YouTube subscribers and sought to provide what member Zach Kornfeld said was “some transparency into our decision making.”

“Ned Fulmer is no longer working with The Try Guys,” Kornfeld said in the clip, alluding to the flood of publicity about Fulmer’s workplace affair with a producer.

From cooking without a recipe to eating everything on a fast food chain’s menu, The Try Guys’ stunts have amassed a huge YouTube audience. Fans noticed in recent days that Fulmer was absent in the group’s new uploads and had been erased from older clips.

“There are several videos that we’ve deemed as fully unreleasable,” Kornfeld explained. “You will never see them, and that is due to his involvement. And that’s a decision that has cost us lots of money. We will not be able to recoup that money, but it’s a decision we stand by proudly.”

Member Keith Habersberger explained that the crisis escalated when people saw Fulmer “engaging in public romantic behavior” with a colleague over Labor Day weekend. Fulmer admitted to the affair when other members of the group confronted him, leading to his exit, public apology and a statement from his wife.

This “was obviously very shocking to us,” Habersberger said in the video. “We just want you to know that we had no idea this was going on. All of that information was just as shocking to us as all of this has been for you this week.”

Member Eugene Lee Yang, whose scowl during the video betrayed a deep frustration that went viral on Twitter, explained that a three-week review of Fulmer’s actions included lawyers, human resources advisers and publicists. He assured fans they “refused to sweep things under the rug.”

“This is not who we are,” Yang said.

“We were obviously very shocked and deeply hurt by all of this,” said Yang. “This is someone who we’d built a brand and a company with for eight years. We feel saddened, not just personally, but on behalf of our staff and our fans who believed in us.”

Kornfeld added that they’re “losing a friend.”

“I’m sure many of you feel the same way,” he added. “It’s weird. We’re sorry that this ever happened and we don’t know what more to say.”

The group said they signed documents on Sept. 16 removing Fulmer as a manager and employee of their production company, 2nd Try.





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Stephen Colbert Gives Trump’s Ugly ‘Death Wish’ Threat A Brutal Reality Check

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In a post on his struggling social media site, Trump said McConnell has a “DEATH WISH” for supporting “Democrat sponsored Bills.”

A Trump spokesperson later clarified that it was a “political” death wish. But Colbert wasn’t moved.

“Okay, but it’s never great when you have to clarify that your death wish is a metaphor,” Colbert said, then offered up an example to show the absurdity of it: “I want this mob to march on my opponent’s house. Figuratively. Which is metaphorically at 471 Pine Cone Road, and leave a severed horse’s head in his bed ― as an allegory for his head.”

The “Late Show” host also spotted some “overt racism” in Trump’s latest post in his Monday monologue:





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Florence Pugh Rocks Another Sheer Valentino Look After Nipple Hoopla

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The “Don’t Worry Darling” actor stepped out at Paris Fashion Week in a stunning two-piece sheer ensemble embellished with gold sequins. She wore nude briefs beneath the Valentino skirt and nothing under the matching top, finishing off the outfit with gold jewelry, bronzed makeup and a wet hair look.

In July, Pugh wore a see-through Valentino design to the brand’s haute couture show in Rome, attracting negative and sexist comments about her exposed breasts.

Responding to the reaction at the time, Pugh told critics to “grow up.”

“Listen, I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it. Whether it be negative or positive, we all knew what we were doing,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.

“It isn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last time a woman will hear what’s wrong with her body by a crowd of strangers, what’s worrying is just how vulgar some of you men can be,” she wrote.

“I’m very grateful that I grew up in a household with very strong, powerful, curvy women. We were raised to find power in the creases of our body. To be loud about being comfortable. It has always been my mission in this industry to say ‘fuck it and fuck that’ whenever anyone expects my body to morph into an opinion of what’s hot or sexually attractive. I wore that dress because I know.”

“Fuckingfreethefuckingnipple,” she signed off the post.

Both looks were put together by Pugh’s stylist, Rebecca Corbin Murray.





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Here’s Why Cecily Strong Was Absent From ‘SNL’ Opening Credits

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Viewers can rest assured that Cecily Strong is still gainfully employed by “Saturday Night Live” despite an opening credits omission.

Season 48 of “SNL,” which premiered Saturday, got off to a rollicking start thanks to host Miles Teller and musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Still, Strong was notably absent from both the show and its opening credits, prompting many to question whether she’d departed the comedy show without fanfare.

Turns out that’s not the case. An “SNL” cast member since 2012, the comedian is currently appearing in the play “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” which opened last week at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

“SNL” creator Lorne Michaels is a co-producer of the one-woman comedy, which concludes its run Oct. 23. Entertainment Weekly and TV Insider confirm that Strong is expected to resume her “SNL” duties in New York shortly thereafter.

Cecily Strong as Kimberly Guilfoyle and Mikey Day as Donald Trump Jr. on the March 5 episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

Fans’ concerns regarding Strong’s future on “SNL,” however, were justified. Michaels previously hinted that Season 48 would be a “transition year,” and he wasn’t kidding.

Cast members Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon and Kyle Mooney collectively announced their exit from the series at the conclusion of Season 47, which wrapped in May. Last month, it was confirmed that Aristotle Athari, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd and Melissa Villaseñor were also leaving, bringing the tally of departing cast members to eight.

As a 10-season “SNL” veteran, Strong is one of the longest-running cast members in the series’ current lineup.

Last year, she won praise for her impressions of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle.


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Will Smith Returns To The Big Screen In Gripping First ‘Emancipation’ Trailer

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Will Smith’s next film will be released this year after all, with Apple Studios announcing that “Emancipation” is arriving in theaters next month, just in time for the upcoming awards season.

The historical drama from “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua will now open in theaters on Dec. 2 and be made available to stream on Dec. 9, contrary to reports that claimed the film would be delayed until 2023.

“Emancipation” is Smith’s first major project since he walked onstage during the Oscars ceremony in March and slapped presenter Chris Rock over a joke the comedian made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Will Smith attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

Future Publishing via Getty Images

Since then, Smith has apologized for his actions and voluntarily resigned from the Academy, which banned him from attending the Oscars for the next decade. However, he can still be nominated for an award should his Hollywood peers deem him worthy of one.

The release of “Emancipation,” which completed production just a month before the infamous awards show moment, was initially delayed in the fallout from Smith’s altercation with Rock, upending plans for a major awards season push behind Smith’s performance, which is already drawing praise.

But Apple Studios, which acquired the film for a record-breaking $120 million, has apparently changed course — and the gripping first trailer makes a powerful case as to why.

Inspired by real-life events, “Emancipation” stars Smith as Peter, a man who escapes slavery in Louisiana, journeys north and joins the Union Army during the Civil War. Photos of his whipping scars, including one known as “The Scourged Back,” become some of the most widely circulated at the time and ultimately help expose the brutality of slavery to the world.

The trailer unveils Smith’s powerful performance in the film, which also stars Ben Foster, Steven Ogg and Charmaine Bingwa.

“I will not be afraid. What can a mere man do to me?” Smith says in the clip amid flashes of Civil War battlefields and his character evading slave hunters through the swamplands. “I will look in triumph at my enemies.”

During a private screening of the film over the weekend, Smith gave his first comments about the period drama to a crowd at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st Annual Legislative Conference.

“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down many films that were set in slavery. I never wanted to show us like that, you know, and then this picture came along, and this is not a film about slavery,” Smith said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience.”

The screening was the “King Richard” star’s first major public appearance since he broke his monthslong silence earlier this summer in an apology video regarding the Oscars slap.

Watch the trailer for “Emancipation” below.





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John Oliver Reveals ‘Super F**ked Up’ History Museums Hope You Never Learn

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Some of the world’s leading museums are filled with plundered and stolen goods ― and John Oliver of “Last Week Tonight” has had enough.

“If you are ever looking for a missing artifact, nine times out of 10 it’s in the British Museum,” he pointed out. “It’s basically the world’s largest ‘lost and found,’ with both ‘lost’ and ‘found’ in the heaviest possible quotation marks there.”

A prime example: the Elgin Marbles, aka the Parthenon Marbles, taken from Greece in the 19th century by Lord Elgin and currently in the British Museum.

“They weren’t lost. They were taken, which is clearly worse. It’s like being unable to find the last puzzle piece and learning that you didn’t actually misplace it,” he said. “A British earl snuck into your house, stole it, and then sold it to a museum over 1,000 miles away.”

Oliver slammed the “unbelievably patronizing” arguments of those who defend the British Museum and other repositories of stolen goods. Some claim the objects were taken in a different time ― and that means there’s a different context to consider.

But, as Oliver pointed out, British Prime Minister William Gladstone in 1868 said he “deeply lamented” objects looted from Ethiopia by the British Army and called for their return.

“He was saying that in 1868!” Oliver said. “We didn’t even know how to fix a UTI without leeches back then, but we knew that raiding other countries for their shit was ‘deeply lamentable,’ which is British for ‘super fucked up.’”

See his full takedown below. And be sure to stick around for a tour of the “Payback Museum,” featuring Kumail Nanjiani:





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Bella Hadid Stuns As Dress Is Sprayed Onto Her Body At Paris Fashion Week

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Supermodel Bella Hadid stunned audiences at Paris Fashion Week on Friday when she stood on the catwalk topless, clad in only underwear, as a dress was sprayed onto her bare skin.

The 25-year-old moved slowly while three people used spray guns to coat her with a white, weblike material. Then, a fourth person sculpted the substance into an off-the-shoulder dress, and complemented it by cutting a high slit by her legs.

Hadid then walked the runway in the newly created fabric dress to close out the Coperni show for their spring-summer 2023 line at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris.

Coperni, a Parisian fashion label, posted a video of Hadid’s dress formation on Instagram. The magical moment was viewed more than 273,000 times, and went viral across the internet.

Coperni owners Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant told Vogue before the show on Friday that the inspiration for the dress came from wanting to merge fashion and technology.

“It’s our celebration of women’s silhouettes from centuries past,” Vaillant said. “And we wanted to update our aesthetic in a more grown-up and scientific way, too,” Meyer added.

The spray-on fabric used in the dress creation was developed by London-based fabric technology company Fabrican, according to The New York Times. After the fabric is sprayed, it hardens into wearable material.

Hadid thanked Coperni and the fashion duo on Instagram, saying “I love you,” and there was “no rehearsal, no nothing, just passion.”





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