This Week in Pop Culture: February 2 - 8, 2019

We've scoured this week's entertainment news and rounded up our favorite vocab words from the stories that everyone's buzzing about.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. averse
    strongly opposed
    The ads this year were largely risk averse, save for a weird Burger King ad featuring Andy Warhol and a spot for the NFL itself featuring a very large cake.
    - Slate (Feb 4, 2019)
    Many people tune into the Super Bowl for the commercials, but the consensus was that this year's ads were just as lackluster as the slow-paced, low-scoring game. These ads cost millions of dollars to make and millions more to run, and this may have led many companies to play it safe. In other words, they were risk averse when it came to their creative strategies.
  2. beeline
    the most direct route
    The producers played a shining example clip from the 2001 show, when Steven Soderbergh won best director for "Traffic" and beelined to the stage.
    - USA Today (Feb 5, 2019)
    The Academy Awards show is so determined to stick to a brisk three hours this year, they've instituted a 90-second rule. That's how long winners have to hear their name, kiss their friends, walk to the stage, and give their speech. At the Oscars nomination lunch this week, the Academy showed a video of Steven Soderbergh's past acceptance as a model of efficiency. He got on stage so fast that he had time to say something about his art, and thank a dozen people we've never heard of before.
  3. diligently
    in a hard-working manner
    We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings,” Dina LaPolt, Mr. Abraham-Joseph’s lawyer, said in a statement on Sunday night.
    - The New York Times (Feb 3, 2019)
    The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) detained rapper 21 Savage on immigration violations. Through his lawyers, Savage, whose given name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, said that his parents overstayed their work visas when he was a minor, and that he was left in the U.S. through no fault of his own. 21 Savage, who was taken into custody at a Super Bowl event, now faces a deportation hearing where his status will be decided by a judge.
  4. dismal
    causing dejection
    The overall weekend take paints a dismal picture amounting to the worst Super Bowl weekend at the movies since 2000.
    - Entertainment Weekly (Feb 3, 2019)
    M. Night Shyamalan's Glass was number one at the box office for the third week in a row, taking in $9.5 million. No movie cracked the ten million dollar threshold this week, as movie attendance was down sharply. Analysts say that the lack of exciting new releases this week and bad weather throughout much of the country resulted in low turnout.
  5. feint
    any distracting or deceptive maneuver
    We have no idea how reliable or unreliable this narrator is (yet), so it’s impossible to say whether that first part is a partial confession, a power-play feint or a protective print-the-legend ruse.
    - Rolling Stone (Feb 5, 2019)
    One of the most anticipated novels of the season was released this week, Marlon James' Black Leopard, Red Wolf. James is a Booker Prize-winning author who is taking his first shot at the fantasy genre. The 620-page novel, which is being billed as an "African Game of Thrones," is the expected to be the first in a trilogy.
  6. finesse
    subtly skillful handling of a situation
    But he’s also got the finesse for tricky moments like his graceful Whitney Houston tribute, after she died the weekend of the ceremony.
    - Rolling Stone (Feb 5, 2019)
    Rolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield has some pointers for the host of this year's Grammy Awards, Alicia Keys. Sheffield hopes that Keys will have the finesse of past presenter LL Cool J, who memorably paid tribute to mega-star Whitney Houston at the Grammys just days after her unexpected death.
  7. ingratiate
    gain favor with somebody by deliberate efforts
    "Harder to Breathe" and "This Love" remain undeniable jams of their era, and while the newer songs grate and ingratiate in equal measure, they're so woven into the pop culture fabric of this decade that begrudging their presence would be like getting mad at Modern Family reruns on TBS.
    - Billboard (Feb 3, 2019)
    Maroon 5 is getting less-than-stellar reviews for its Super Bowl Halftime Show performance. The set featured a montage of Maroon 5 hits, as well as appearances from Travis Scott and Big Boi. Critics complained that the band did not attempt anything innovative, and blew their opportunity to blow away the biggest audience it will ever play for. Ingratiate means to try and get on someone's good side, which is something Adam Levine might need to do now that fans are so underwhelmed.
  8. maelstrom
    a powerful circular current of water
    Danvers finds herself and a small team of allies at the center of a maelstrom that reaches Earth as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes.
    - People (Feb 3, 2019)
    The new Captain Marvel movie starring Oscar-winner Brie Larson premiered its latest trailer during the Super Bowl. The prequel to the Avengers movies is hotly anticipated, in part, because it features a female protagonist.
  9. seminal
    containing seeds of later development
    In a statement accompanying the announcement, Burke said Levitan and Lloyd “have created one of the most seminal and iconic comedies in television history.”
    - USA Today (Feb 5, 2019)
    It was announced this week that the sitcom Modern Family will return next year for an eleventh, and final, season. Modern Family won the Emmy Award for Best Comedy Series for five consecutive years. Here, seminal is used metaphorically to suggest that the show has been extremely influential, greatly contributing to how TV comedy is done these days.
  10. sentient
    endowed with feeling and unstructured consciousness
    It introduced Tony Hale as a spork that has been turned into a toy, establishing the rules of what is and is not sentient in the Toy Story universe are weirdly fluid.
    - A.V. Club (Feb 3, 2019)
    A trailer for Toy Story 4 also premiered during the Super Bowl. The plot details are being kept under wraps, but the trailer showed Buzz Lightyear being held captive as a prize in a carnival game and getting teased by two stuffed bears, voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael Key. An earlier trailer featured Tony Hale as a sentient spork, which totally makes sense because everyone knows that it's not just toys that come alive when people leave the room. It's utensils, too.

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