The ‘WandaVision’ fake commercials may hide the show’s big secret

WandaVision’s charming emulation of classic TV sitcoms is an unexpected and experimental choice for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first streaming series, even though Wanda and Vision’s cheery charade is clearly hiding something sinister beneath its surface. One of the more innovative uses of the sitcom format is including fake commercials between scenes in the Wanda and Vision show — commercials that may hold the key to the show’s biggest unanswered questions.

First of all, it’s bizarre that whatever “in universe” show Wanda and Vision are starring in (which is apparently viewable by characters in the MCU’s real world) has commercials in the first place. If Wanda is intentionally or even unintentionally creating this reality with her powers, why would her sitcom life need to be broken up with ad breaks? Secondly, both of the commercials shown in the show’s first two episodes directly relate to two of Wanda Maximoff’s greatest traumas. 

The first episode’s commercial is for a toaster made by Stark Industries that beeps ominously when the toast is nearly done. The beeping is reminiscent of a countdown to a bomb’s explosion, referencing Wanda’s Avengers: Age of Ultron origin story: Wanda’s parents died in a bombing, and a second bomb landed in the ruins of her house but did not go off. Wanda and her twin brother Pietro were trapped by the unexploded shell and saw that the bomb, like the toaster, was created by Stark Industries. 

‘WandaVision’ isn’t forthright with its secrets in the first two episodes, but there are a few throwaway details that suggest something very dark is going on.

The second commercial for a Strücker watch also hearkens back to Age of Ultron. Baron Strücker was the Hydra scientist who experimented on dozens of people in an attempt to give them powers with the Mind Stone hidden in Loki’s scepter. Every subject in the experiment died horribly except for Wanda and Pietro, who developed the superpowers of reality warping and super speed, respectively. The process for Wanda’s enhancement was painful and tied to a dark period in her life, which makes a Strücker watch emblazoned with the Hydra logo an odd choice of advert for her new reality. 

The third odd thing about the commercials is that both ads star the same two actors, a man in a black suit and a vacant-eyed woman. These characters don’t appear anywhere else in these WandaVision episodes, but maintain a consistent dynamic in the two commercials. Since the rest of the people in the world of WandaVision appear to be citizens of Westview, the fact that these two exist outside of Wanda’s perceived reality is suspect, suggesting that they may have something to do with the situation Wanda and Vision have found themselves in. 

And what is that situation, exactly? WandaVision isn’t forthright with its secrets in the first two episodes, but there are a few throwaway details that suggest something very dark is going on. In Episode 2, Wanda’s icy blonde neighbor Dottie says “the devil is in the details,” to which her other neighbor Agnes responds “that’s not the only place he is.” In that same episode, Agnes lets Wanda borrow her pet rabbit Señor Scratchy, aka Mr. Scratch, a 19th-century nickname for the devil.

The 'WandaVision' fake commercials may hide the show's big secret

Image: Disney+

The fact that both of these references to the devil come from Agnes is important, since there are further hints that Agnes knows more about Wanda’s presence in Westview than she lets on. When she approaches Wanda with Señor Scratchy in tow, she greets her by saying “it’s the star of the show,” possibly alluding to her knowledge that Wanda is indeed “starring” in a meta-show. Agnes then reveals that the star she was talking about was not Wanda, but Señor Scratchy the devil-rabbit. 

As it so happens, the Marvel universe has a devilish villain who some have already theorized has a hand in WandaVision’s plot. Mephisto, a demonic character who rules over an alternate dimension called Hell, appeared in a comic arc with a character named Agatha Harkness and an interest in Wanda and Vision’s twin sons Billy and Tommy. Since Wanda mysteriously became pregnant at the end of episode 2, it’s possible some reimagining of that Mephisto plot is taking place just out of view. 

Agatha’s role in this is still a mystery, but if Mephisto is involved in Wanda’s predicament, it would be a bummer to think that the show hasn’t dropped a bigger hint about who he might be. Except, perhaps, it already has. Maybe Mephisto is appearing in the guise of a well-dressed man whose innocuous presence centers around memories meant to torture Wanda in her pocket reality. Perhaps, like the devil has appeared before, he’s a slick salesman with a devilish glint in his eye and a place above, but not among the mortals of Westview… 

Calling it now: Commercial Guy is Mephisto. Maybe it’s Commercial Lady too. Either way, it will take a while for WandaVision to confirm or refute any of this. So for now, stay tuned and don’t touch that dial!

WandaVision is now streaming on Disney+

Life after death: Man reveals what he saw when he died

Whether there is life after death is a question which has plagued humanity since the dawn of man. However, one person now believes he has the answer. After suffering a cardiac arrest, a man named Dave M believes he saw the afterlife.

Dave was only clinically dead for a matter of minutes but said that his experience felt like a lifetime.

He said the afterlife was a surreal place where he had a higher level of consciousness.

Dave wrote on the Near Death Experience Research Foundation: “I felt myself fall out of my body. It felt like I was peeled out of my body.

“What seemed like a couple seconds more, I woke up. But I wasn’t where I thought I had fallen. I was in some other realm.

“At first, I didn’t know I had died because I was totally conscious. I was in total awe and amazement at my surroundings. I was surrounded by a green mist.

“There was a low level of light coming from one side. It seemed to be coming from behind the mist, like I was in some sort of void.

“It only took me a couple seconds to realise that I had died. I found myself in a sitting position and I didn’t feel any pain.

“I felt like I was surrounded and wrapped in a warm blanket of fog.

READ MORE: Near death experience: Visions of the afterlife should be taken mor…

They found a huge surge in brain activity in the final 30 seconds of the rodents’ lives.

Jimo Borjigin, PhD, associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology and associate professor of neurology, said: “This study, performed in animals, is the first dealing with what happens to the neurophysiological state of the dying brain.

“We reasoned that if near-death experience stems from brain activity, neural correlates of consciousness should be identifiable in humans or animals even after the cessation of cerebral blood flow.”

Essentially, if the brain is more active, one might have vivid visions, leading them to believe they had seen the afterlife.

Dr Borjigin added: “The prediction that we would find some signs of conscious activity in the brain during cardiac arrest was confirmed with the data.”

Bible prophecy: Earthquake comparable to flood of Noah will strike Israel, expert claims

Only this time, the Bible expert predicts God will intervene to rescue Jerusalem from the clutches of the Antichrist and his cohort.

He said: “As YHWH intervened around 1440 BC (Exodus 14:20) to deliver Israel, who was surrounded on all sides by the Egyptian army, by parting the Red Sea, so again He will intervene by parting the Mount of Olives to provide Israel, who will be besieged in Jerusalem by the Antichrist, a way of escape yet again into the wilderness.

“Completing the judgments of the book of Revelation, this great eschatological earthquake which shakes down the kingdom of the Antichrist is also spoken of by the Old Testament prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 2:19), Haggai (Haggai 2:21), and Zechariah (Zechariah 14:4).

“The effects of this final supernatural intervention are so dramatic that they are comparable to the flood of Noah when the islands sank into the sea and no mountains were to be found (Revelation 16:20).”

Thoughtful Parenting Quotes From Patrick Dempsey

Patrick Dempsey knows the humorous and heartfelt sides of parenthood.

The former “Grey’s Anatomy” star and his wife, Jillian Fink, have a daughter, Talula Fyfe, and twin sons, Sullivan and Darby. Since becoming a dad in 2002, the actor has shared glimpses into his parenting experience.

In honor of his birthday, we’ve rounded up 14 parenting quotes from Dempsey.

On What His Kids Think Of His Heartthrob Status

“Oh yeah, they make fun of me. They don’t let me take myself too seriously. … I mean, I’m just Dad, so … either you’re ‘Cool Dad’ or not. It depends on where they’re at in their development and age.”

On His Twins’ Personalities

“Sullivan will probably read this article in 20 years and say, ‘What did you say about me?’ He’s sort of the grumpy old man. Darby is very much the peaceful, quiet little Buddha.”

On Possibly Letting His Kids Go Into Acting

“I think with your kids, whatever their passion is, you give your support. You give them the opportunity to try what they want to try.”

On His Twins’ Baby Years

“They change. I leave in the morning and come back in the evening and they’ve grown. They’re starting to talk and now there’s some reaction there. They use their faces and hold their heads up a bit.”

On The Reality Of Parenthood

“The first year is really hard. Come to think of it, the first 18 years are extremely difficult.”

On Raising A Teenage Girl

“You go from a baby girl walking around in dresses to junior high and then high school. It’s a big transition. You have to weather the storm!”

On His Twins’ Zoom Schooling

“It’s really hard because at this point, certainly at their age, the socialization’s so important. And then being in a Zoom school all the time is very challenging. I think the mathematics and certainly the sciences are very hard to do … the school’s been doing a great job of trying to keep everybody focused and organized and they’re making it through. But it’s hard for all kids, I think, right now.”

On Work-Life Balance

“It’s about taking the time to take the time. It’s nice being around family. I really appreciate the time when we’re all together.”

On His Daughter’s Pandemic Senior Year

“The isolation for them and the lack of socialization is really challenging, especially senior year. My poor daughter missed everything. … And that’s the only reason you go back, senior year, is [for the] proms. It’s the victory lap, you celebrate your education — and [she had] none of it. We did a mock sort of prom at the house … it was a Saturday night. It was so sad, as a parent, you’re like ‘Oh my God, my heart breaks for you; you don’t have that moment’ … to see her all dressed up, and then she got on Zoom with all her friends and they got together.”

On His Pregnant Wife

“She’s never been more beautiful to me than she is now.”

On Talking To His Young Children

On Having Kids On The ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Set

“Everybody has kids ― we should have a day school [at the ‘Grey’s’ set]. It’s anybody who’s here longer than two years is pregnant probably the third year — that’s how it’s working out. It’s amazing. Come here and you’ll have children.”

On His Children’s Interests

“Darby is passionate about [soccer]. Sullivan wants to be an actor. And Talula loves cooking. She’s incredibly creative.”

On Sending His Daughter Off To College

“I think it’s important for her to be out on her own but as a parent, certainly this was not what you would expect for your daughter’s first year in college, what we’re dealing with this year.”

Lamar Odom Signs Celebrity Boxing Deal, Fighting In June!!!

Netflix’s smart and funny ‘History of Swear Words’ is a perfect binge

Swear words are a fascinating aspect of language. Where do they come from? Who decided they’re bad? What the fuck do they really mean?

With host Nicolas Cage, a few language experts, and a handful of entertaining guests, Netflix’s History of Swear Words answers these questions and many more, focusing on six iconic swear words across six episodes. The series enlightens viewers on such words as shit, damn, and pussy, digging into the words’ roots, their usage, and how they fit into modern society.

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Each episode of Netflix’s new, bingeable series focuses on a single word for roughly 20 minutes, starting with one of the most notorious: “Fuck.” The entire first season is about two hours long, making for a great little afternoon diversion that left me feeling both a little smarter and a little lighter.

As the premise suggests, there is a ton of swearing in this series. Between Cage, the experts, and entertainers like Sarah Silverman, Open Mike Eagle, Nick Offerman, and Patti Harrison, the rate of profanity per minute is rather high. How could it not be?

At first the abundance of curses seem almost gimmicky, but each episode gets to the meat of the matter quickly enough and with enough facts that it feels more educational than anything. But there’s still plenty of humor and references to iconic movie lines and song lyrics to keep it all from feeling like a language lecture.

In the first two episodes, “Fuck” and “Shit,” we learn a bit about our relationship with swear words as humans, where they reside in our brains, and how using or hearing them can affect us on a primal level. One interesting experiment involving people putting a hand into a bucket of ice water showed that those who could swear were able to endure the unpleasant experience longer. It turns out throwing around words like fuck and shit can release adrenaline and give us some physical catharsis.

The next three episodes, “Bitch,” “Dick,” and “Pussy” weave in discourse around gendered language and how the meanings of these words change based on context, who’s using them, and who or what they’re directed at. The discussions are both frank and fascinating examinations of our language and society.

The final episode, “Damn,” focuses on the mildest and most innocuous curse in the English lexicon but manages to be one of the more illuminating episodes, digging way back in history to outline what, exactly, curse words really are and revealing damn’s full arc from a regular word into a forbidden word into a toothless word.

History of Swear Words delivers on its promise of being an entertaining and educational romp through the words that we deem bad, with discussions of N.W.A.’s “Fuck Tha Police,” appearances from iconic “shiiiiiit” dropper Isaiah Whitlock Jr., and unearthing of defunct, ancient swears like “God’s bones.”

It’s just a really solid series that’s very easy to digest. As long as you don’t mind hearing a shitload of swear words.

History of Swear Words is streaming now on Netflix.

Netflix’s ‘Bling Empire’ puts a glittery new spin on a reality TV staple

From Keeping Up with the Kardashians to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the greater Los Angeles area has no shortage of rich people ready to ascend to reality TV stardom. But the cast of Netflix’s “docusoap” Bling Empire takes that old challenge to glittery new heights in their fun first season.

Inspired by the 2018 movie Crazy Rich Asians, the glossy unscripted series follows a group of hyper-affluent Asian and Asian-American Californians as they navigate their opulent, pre-pandemic lives. It’s a classic low-stakes, high-spectacle setup with the narrative drama driven by the series’ tremendously watchable personalities and their “more is more” approach to luxury.

Across eight episodes, we meet socialite Anna Shay; plastic surgeon Dr. Gabriel Chiu and his wife, entrepreneur Christine Chiu; real estate heir Kane Lim; denim heiress Cherie Chan; musician and DJ Kim Lee; Hollywood producer Kelly Mi Li; their less wealthy friend/casual himbo Kevin Kreider; and a smattering of influencers (including YouTuber-turned-musician Guy Tang) who run in their orbit. 

Kane Lim: lover of shoes and, honestly, the voice of reason most of the time.

Kane Lim: lover of shoes and, honestly, the voice of reason most of the time.

Image: netflix

They’re a surprisingly likable friend group, who slowly reveal the layers of their interpersonal turmoil through an evenly paced — if not, vaguely relaxing — carousel of Rodeo Drive shopping sprees, five-star dining experiences, surprise trips to Paris, poolside gossip sessions, and sweeping shots of the Los Angeles skyline. It’s nothing reality TV fans haven’t seen hundreds of hours of on E! and Bravo before — you know, breakups, feuds, thrown drinks, skinny dipping, babies, etc.

But even if the content is familiar, the feel of Bling Empire is infused with the freshness that comes from a cast largely underrepresented in the genre. 

Discussions of identity and status offer flecks of sincerity from Bling Empire‘s stars, effectively elevating what could be a monotonous been-there-done-that into a valuable new perspective on supreme wealth in the City of Angels. We see the cast celebrate holidays like Chinese New Year and Singapore Day, navigate family expectations in the modern age, and otherwise explore cultural tradition within their very ample means.

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Of course, there’s plenty of mess to go along with all of that more mature commentary. Anna and Christine fight for the completely meaningless title of Queen of Beverly Hills. Kelly struggles to deal with her moody boyfriend, who also happens to be a former Power Ranger. When Kevin’s not pulling his butt out, he’s stripping off his shirt (for no discernible reason) and otherwise wowing the cameras with his “witty” perspective on these crazy rich people.

Viewers who aren’t already fans of KUWTK-style reality TV aren’t likely to be swayed by Bling Empire; nothing outrageous enough happens to call it a must-watch. But if you are somebody who likes this sort of show, then you’ll want to add this to your queue — and maybe start begging Netflix for new episodes after that spectacular season finale.

Bling Empire is now streaming on Netflix.

Life after death: Covid-19 sufferer believes he saw the afterlife

A person named Lee has revealed what he believes the afterlife is like. Is there life after death is a question which has plagued humanity since the dawn of man, but Lee believes he now knows the answer. After a serious bout with Covid-19, Lee said he was rushed to hospital.

While there, he suffered further respiratory problems and was on the brink of death.

Lee wrote on the Near Death Experience Research Foundation: “There were two emergency room doctors trying to give me some sort of drugs through an IV in each arm.

“I could tell that if I took in one more breath, it would be my last. I told myself, ‘This is it!’

“The next thing I know, I am floating really high above the most amazing forest I had ever seen.

“It went on for miles. Off in the distance, was a beautiful lake that was calm with no waves.

“I felt no pain. I was moving, but at a very slow pace. I felt like I wanted to be in this place. I had no worries.”

Lee described the place he was in as an “unfamiliar and strange place” where he hovered over a large forest.

He added: “It was a very beautiful thick forest. Off in the distance was a huge body of calm water.”

Thankfully, Lee survived the ordeal, but he is now convinced there is a life after death.

However, some researchers believe visions such as Lee’s are normal and are more the brain scanning itself as one final survival technique.

Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, said: “People describe a sensation of a bright, warm, welcoming light that draws people towards it.

“They describe a sensation of experiencing their deceased relatives, almost as if they have come to welcome them.

“They often say that they didn’t want to come back in many cases, it is so comfortable and it is like a magnet that draws them that they don’t want to come back.

“A lot of people describe a sensation of separating from themselves and watching doctors and nurses working on them.”

Anderson Cooper Recalls How He ‘Really, Truly’ Came To Accept Himself As Gay

Anderson Cooper first went public about his sexuality in 2012, but the CNN anchor says the journey to embracing his truth as a gay man began decades earlier.

Appearing on CNN’s “Full Circle” on Monday, Cooper gave a remarkably candid answer when a viewer asked him when he first realized he was gay and at what point he learned to accept it. 

“I was probably … 7 when I kind of realized,” he said. “I’m not sure I knew the word ‘gay’ at the time. But I realized something was up, something was different. It was probably, yeah, 6 or 7.”

The 53-year-old went on to note that he began opening up about his sexuality to friends in high school, but it wasn’t until after college that he “really, truly accepted it [and] fully embraced it.” 

Until that point, Cooper said he’d struggled to come to terms with his authentic self, knowing that he couldn’t pursue his interest in joining the military or travel to certain countries for “safety reasons.” 

“It wasn’t what I envisioned for my life,” he explained. “I imagined a family and getting married and all those things, which weren’t possible at the time.”

Young adulthood, Cooper said, was a turning point. 

“About a year out of college, I thought I don’t want to waste any more time worrying about this and sort of wishing I was some other way. I [wanted to] embrace who I am,” he said.

After years of media speculation about his private life, Cooper publicly announced his sexuality in a 2012 email to writer Andrew Sullivan. “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud,” he wrote in the email, which he’d given Sullivan permission to publish. 

Nearly nine years later, Cooper’s professional life remains in high gear. And last year, he reached a personal milestone when he became a first-time dad to son Wyatt Morgan, whom he is raising with former partner Benjamin Maisani

In previous interviews, Cooper has said he considers being gay to be “one of the great blessings of my life” ― a point he reiterated in his “Full Circle” appearance this week. 

“It’s enabled me to love the people that I’ve loved and have the life that I’ve had,” he said. “I’m very blessed.”

Kangaroos Can Learn To Communicate With Humans, Researchers Say

SYDNEY, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Kangaroos can learn to communicate with humans similar to how domesticated dogs do, by using their gaze to “point” and ask for help, researchers said in a study published on Wednesday.

The study involved 11 kangaroos that lived in captivity but had not been domesticated. Ten of the 11 marsupials intently gazed at researchers when they were unable to open a box with food, according to the report. Nine alternately looked at the human and at the container, as a way of pointing or gesturing toward the object.

“We interpreted this as a deliberate form of communication, a request for help,” Alan McElligott, the Irish researcher who led the study, told Reuters in a call from Hong Kong.

“Wild species are not really expected to behave as those subjects were, and that’s why it is surprising.”

The findings challenge the notion that only domesticated animals such as dogs, horses or goats communicate with humans, and suggests many more animals could grasp how to convey meaning to humans, the paper asserts.

“We’ve previously thought only domesticated animals try to ask for help with a problem. But kangaroos do it too,” concluded co-researcher Alexandra Green from the University of Sydney.

“It’s more likely to be a learned behavior when the environment is right.”

(Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Karishma Singh)