Tag Archives: August 2017

Six Returning US TV Shows To Look Forward To This Fall

>> Comedy

The Big Bang Theory Season 11

Arguably one of the most enjoyable yet controversial American sitcom for the past ten years, The Big Bang Theory is set to premiere its eleventh season on September 25th 2017. The series ended its tenth season on major cliffhangers with Sheldon’s proposal to Amy and the confiscation of the gang’s gyroscope by the Air Force. In addition to the resolution of these situations, I’m hoping to witness further character development, especially in the cases of Howard and Bernadette with Baby Halley as well as Raj with the lack of his family’s money. Excitingly, a spin-off prequel to The Big Bang Theory called Young Sheldon will also be premiering this fall on November 2nd 2017, following a special preview on the day of season 11’s premiere.

The Middle Season 9

After eight years, the loveable family comedy The Middle will be releasing its ninth and final season this coming October 3rd. The eighth season concluded heartwarmingly with The Hecks coming together to send off Axl on his three-month trip to Europe with Kenny. Picking up from this point, I’m looking forward to seeing how the writers will tie up loose ends in an effort to build up to a realistic yet touching farewell. Am I ready to let go of one of TV’s most relatable families? Certainly not! But the season ahead will hopefully provide some closure to fond viewers. Check out the season nine trailer here.

The Mindy Project Season 6

Yet another amazing comedy show coming to an end; The Mindy Project is scheduled to air its sixth and final season starting on September 12th 2017. From falling in love with the enemy (again) to contemplating marriage (again), season five had me questioning whether there will ever be a season as meaningful and bold as season four. Don’t get me wrong, the fifth season is still filled with episodes featuring an entertaining take on prevalent social issues, but it feels like the writers are stuck in a rut plot-wise. Additionally, although Mindy is the title character, I think it’d be more entertaining and useful for character/plot progression to have some episodes focusing on the other main characters.

>> Sci-Fi

The Flash Season 4

Following a mind-boggling third season, this DC-based series is set to air the first episode of its fourth season on October 10th 2017. A lot of questions are left lingering by the season three finale, including how Caitlin will control her Killer Frost urges, whether another Harrison Wells will be pulled from yet another Earth, and of course, what happens now that Barry/The Flash is occupying the speed force prison. The persisting challenge for The Flash writers is to satisfyingly resolve these questions without ignoring or overcomplicating the physics bound to be involved. Furthermore, fans at The Flash‘s panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International have also made it clear that they’re keen on seeing more crossovers within the Arrowverse, and with a show as logic-testing as The Flash, who’s to say that anything is impossible. Check out the season four trailer here.

>> Drama

How To Get Away With Murder (HTGAWMSeason 4

As the characters fall deeper into their web of lies in season three, there’s no telling just to what extent they will continue to claim innocence in season four. Scheduled to premiere on September 28th 2017, the fourth season of HTGAWM has more options than ever for plot progression. With Denver’s burner phone, Annalise’s confrontation of Sylvia Mahoney, and Dominic’s phone call to Laurel’s father, it will be interesting to see how the mystery of Wes’ murder pans out, and subsequently, how each character comes to term with his death. The well-integrated prolepses and analepsis, along with the humanely flawed dynamics of the characters, are what attracted me to the show in the first place, and I hope the creators continue to find a way to put a fresh twist to these elements as they go into the new season.

Riverdale Season 2

Through its first season, Riverdale is already giving the long-standing teen drama/mystery series Pretty Little Liars a run for its money. Equal parts intense, sexy, and mysterious, high expectations are in place for the second season of this Archie-based show, which is set to debut this coming October 11th. Questions marks hang over the fate of most characters in the series: how will Archie deal with his father’s death? What’s left for Penelope and Cheryl? Will Jughead’s enrolment at Southside High take a toll on Bughead? Those are just a few questions out of many more. Moreover, the show’s creators have said that they plan on making a few minor characters in season one such as Reggie and Alice more involved in season two, and that they will be introducing new characters such as Hiram Lodge (Veronica’s dad) into the story. How will these changes affect the relationships between existing main characters? There’s only one way to find out. Check out the season two trailers here and here.

>> Previous Post On This Category: TV Show Episode Review: Shadowhunters S02E14

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Strung Words: One-Word Crusher

“Do you think a girl and a boy can stay really good friends if one of them confesses but the love is unrequited?”


I didn’t know                                                                                                                  I didn’t know

my heart                                                                                                                        my intentions

was this                                                                                                                                  were this

fragile,                                                                                                                                           weak,

that all it takes is                                                                                                     that all it takes is

one                                                                                                                                                    one

word                                                                                                                                                word

to                                                                                                                                                           to

break                                                                                                                                                abort

it.                                                                                                                                                              it.

– One-word crusher


>> Previous Post On This Category: Another Sea

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From Where I Stand: Is The KSI vs. Sidemen Drama Genuine?

>> The Context

On August 3rd, mega YouTube (YT) personality Olajide Olatunji, more commonly known as JJ or KSI, sent out two tweets that would ultimately transform what was a relatively uneventful UK YT scene. Through the tweets, JJ expressed that he is leaving The Sidemen, a group of British YouTube personalities who rose to prominence for their group gameplays.

This announcement came as a surprise, because JJ has been attributed to creating and leading the group since it was first established on 19 October 2013. The name “Sidemen” itself is a nod to having the other six members as JJ’s sidemen, because he was the most popular out of all seven when they started. Furthermore, Sidemen member Vik said on a 2016 panel that, “The Sidemen is seven people, if we got rid of one of them, it wouldn’t be The Sidemen anymore, so it wouldn’t be a thing” [1].

Prior to this community-shattering revelation, JJ took a three-month social media hiatus before surprisingly returning in late June to release his third EP titled Space. With JJ out of The Sidemen, the group now consists of Joshua Bradley AKA Zerkaa, Simon Minter AKA Miniminter, Ethan Payne AKA Behzinga, Vikram Barn AKA Vikkstar123, Tobi Brown AKA TBJZL, and Harry Shaw AKA Wroetoshaw.

The six remaining Sidemen: Josh, Simon, Ethan, Tobi, Harry, and Vik (clockwise). Images are not mine.

Following his tweets, JJ then uploaded a YT video on August 6th titled I’m Leaving The Sidemen, where he announces that he will be staying in Los Angeles with fellow YT personality Bryan Le AKA Ricegum indefinitely and cites Ethan as the main reason for leaving the group [2]. This confirmation video triggered a chain of response videos involving pranks, diss tracks, and reactions by other Sidemen members and YouTubers (YTers) who are close friends of The Sidemen. At present, just under two weeks after JJ’s initial tweets, the back-and-forth between him and The Sidemen has yet to subside, and the conflict has blown up in the YT community, with all sorts of YTers weighing in by reporting (e.g. Daniel Keem AKA Keemstar AKA DramaAlert) and/or reacting (e.g. Jesse Duban AKA Fangs) to the main chain of videos. As of August 15th, however, JJ is reportedly back in London for reasons he is unwilling to disclose [3][4].

The main (but by no means exhaustive) chain of videos up until August 15th is as follows:

Some thumbnails of the diss track music videos. Which track is your favourite so far? Credits to the music video uploaders.

In addition to these videos, there is also a lot of arguing on Twitter. Ultimately, the conflict has divided YTers and their fans into three main groups: Team KSI (including Team Deji), Team Sidemen (including Team Behz), and Team SKRRR (created by Tobi for people who are reluctant to pick sides and just want to spectate the drama). The underlying question this blogpost aims to address, however, is whether this KSI vs. Sidemen beef is genuine in the first place.

>> The Pros (of having the drama for JJ and The Sidemen)

  • Significant increase in awareness and interactions

Example of a comment I found under Simon’s diss track that’s aimed at Deji.

With eclectic YTers hopping on the bandwagon to add fuel to the fire, JJ and The Sidemen are likely to be reaching out to new viewers literally every second. This invaluable exposure trumps the more conventional way of introducing oneself to another YTer’s fans by personally collaborating with the YTer in a video by miles. With one diss track music video, for example, the uploader is presented to the fans of every single YTer who posted a reaction video to or a drama-reporting video about the music video. Conversely, YTers who reacted and reported on the video themselves come into the radars of fans of the music video uploader, and by extension, fans of those caught in drama with the music video uploader (as viewers need to watch the videos of everyone involved in the drama to gauge its proper context and progression). It’s a massive web of indirect collaborations and arguably the ultimate symbiotic relationship for obtaining YT exposure.

With increased consumer awareness of JJ and The Sidemen as YT personalities comes more views, watch time, new subscribers, and relevant interactions. The first two directly translate to more YT revenue, whereas the other two lead to an expansion in fanbase that in the long run can result in more revenue as well. Relevant interactions in this case refer to YT video comments and social media follow-ups (e.g. new viewers looking them up on Twitter/Instagram and following the accounts). Recently, there’s been a decline on video comments that are relevant to actual contents of the video; most comments are spams revolving around promoting one’s own videos, fake giveaways, and mainstream jokes. Nevertheless, whether it’s expressing what they think of the diss track or simply claiming which team is winning, comments are considerably more pertinent now that the beef’s happening. This can be beneficial, because brands who are potentially interested in working together with the YTer can see that his/her viewers are really engaging with the content he/she is making. As for social media follow-ups, it’s pretty obvious that having fans follow the YTers on other platforms would allow them to spread words and promote products across different outlets in addition to YT.

  • More opportunities for collaborations

That ties in nicely to this second point. Remember when I said that more subscribers and relevant interactions can lead to more revenue in the long run? This is because, statistics regarding those subscribers and interactions can help these YTers secure collaboration opportunities with huge commercial brands and even more highly successful YTers, leading to increased revenue eventually.

>> The Cons (of having the drama for JJ and The Sidemen)

  • Weaken and even sever long-standing friendships

The Sidemen has accomplished tons during their 3.5+ years as a group; they’ve recorded thousands of videos together, starred in a Comedy Central special titled The Sidemen Experience, established Sidemen Clothing, ran annual charity football matches and Upload, as well as published The Sidemen Book (which led to an audiobook and a book tour) just to name the highlights. With the current rate at which this drama is developing, it’s highly possible that the conflict will result in severed ties. Most of the diss tracks seem to mock and reveal highly sensitive personal information. For example, Harry claimed that Deji has two kids [5], Deji revealed that he has slept with the same girls who slept with Simon and Tobi [6], and JJ mocked Harry’s girlfriend for being a gold-digger [7]. It’s honestly worrying that a single line can drastically weaken long-standing relationships between those in and around the drama. Then again, The Sidemen is also notorious for making explicit jokes about each other in their gameplays (particularly when playing Cards Against Humanity), so it might take a lot more savage diss to permanently break the bonds between them. 

Some of The Sidemen’s greatest accomplishments. From left to right: The Sidemen Experience, Sidemen Clothing, annual charity football match, Upload, and The Sidemen Book.

  • Rebranding hassle

Yes, The Sidemen has already hit many milestones, but they’re also still in the process of completing more. With JJ’s unexpected exit, a degree of uncertainty looms over the future of Upload and Sidemen Clothing. The Sidemen, JJ, and Deji are all scheduled to attend Upload 2017 [8]; JJ has also re-assured that he will be attending as he owns part of the event [9]. Nonetheless, your guess on how the beef will translate at the event – if it translates at all – is as good as mine. Moreover, I’d imagine that rebranding as a group will lead to a few logistical hassle, not only because they can no longer sell Sidemen merchandise with JJ on them, but also because it might affect the way the group is managed or affiliated with brands.

  • Exhausting

Drama is generally mentally draining, and drama involving diss tracks is all the more demanding. It takes a lot of time to write, record, edit, and produce great diss tracks along with their music videos. On top of this, there’s also the added pressure of having to release the diss track in a timely manner without doing what’s already been done in order to keep the audience eager and engaged. As such, regardless of whether or not the drama is real, we can’t dismiss the tremendous effort that’s been dedicated to sustaining it.

  • Negative portrayal

Another drawback of having this drama for JJ and The Sidemen is that it may portray them in a negative light to both brands and potential fans. All this quarrelling can paint them as quite spiteful and rude, especially to brands who might not have as much time to research the conflict’s history and context. There’s a mainstream saying in public relations that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” but with a platform as pervasive and collaborative as YT where people can react to each other’s videos and re-upload videos that are unlisted/deleted by the original uploaders, time might not be as effective in discounting the bad publicity into mere publicity.

>> My Current Verdict

The video that started it all.

Based on the aforementioned context, pros, and cons, let’s revisit the question this post sets out to address: is the KSI vs. Sidemen drama genuine?

First off, yes, I do believe that JJ is actually leaving The Sidemen. I think that he’s been contemplating and discussing it since he went on the three-month social media hiatus to supposedly “evolve and learn” – maybe even earlier. To be fair, that hiatus also eased fans into the idea that JJ is no longer part of the group.

Nevertheless, I feel that the drama derived from JJ’s decision is deliberate to a certain extent. This is because, although he cited Ethan as his main reason for leaving, he didn’t provide much details as to why that is. If Ethan has annoyed JJ to the point where he needs to quit from a group he helped build from scratch, then I’d expect JJ to be more livid and to spill more dirt about the things Ethan did that pushed him over the edge. Frankly, with adpocalypse and the crazy growth of Team 10 through drama [10], I can understand why it’d be a waste to make JJ’s exit drama-less.

As such, I’d hypothesise that JJ and The Sidemen agreed to use Ethan as a scapegoat and to allow JJ’s exit to trigger diss tracks and pranks. However, as it’s difficult to predict how the drama will develop once it’s out, I’m quite certain that the tracks weren’t pre-prepared. This in turn makes the drama more organic, because we get to witness how the YTers were pulling all-nighters to finish their diss tracks [11] [12] and how they were reacting to claims made by other tracks.

In conclusion, whilst based on a genuine decision, the drama surrounding the decision itself is not entirely genuine. That said, just like any other YT trends, both the viewers and other creators have played an active role in moulding the drama into what it is now. At the end of the day, fair play to The Sidemen if they were using JJ’s decision as a platform to evolve along with the YT landscape – clearly, it’s successful. Case in point, at the time of publishing this blogpost, JJ, Ethan, Harry, Simon, and Deji are all on Social Blade‘s top 500 most subscribed YT channels in the last three, seven, and fourteen days [13].

Mad subs and mad views indeed! Top: Vik’s tweet 15 hours after releasing his diss track [14]. Bottom: Simon and JJ gained more than nine million views each on videos that’s been up for less than a week.

Then again, everything I’ve written might just be another silly JJ vs. Sidemen conspiracy theory. JJ has always been a wild card after all. What about you? How do you make sense of the drama?

>> Citations

[1] www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH54zOr1Sfc (start on 21:53 to go directly to quote)

[2] www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zeg_RDsn-4

[3] www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GfzY3Y3Z7w

[4] www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LuYHotNS-w

[5] www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mXMJSodFnI

[6] www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOTBjtud8z8

[7] www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQKEJyDiIZc&t=0s

[8] http://uploadevent.com/guests/

[9] twitter.com/KSIOlajidebt/status/897068509544423425

[10] www.wetheunicorns.com/debate/team-10-drama-paul-brothers/

[11] twitter.com/wroetoshaw/status/897631451923050496

[12] twitter.com/Behzinga/status/896267554825662464

[13] https://socialblade.com/youtube/top/trending/top-500-channels-14-days/most-subscribed
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Krispy Kreme UK’s Giant Slot Machine

Just under two months ago on June 21st 2017, I got the chance to play with a giant slot machine courtesy of Kripsy Kreme UK! The slot machine was stationed at London Victoria, supposedly the second busiest station in the UK, and was only there for one day. This was done to promote the collaboration between Krispy Kreme and US confectionary giant Hershey’s, through which they’re launching the Cookies ‘N’ Creme Collection.

From Hershey’s mugs to actual doughnuts in the new collection, players were eagerly lining up to try winning the range of prizes up for grabs. I personally tried my luck on the machine once, and lo and behold, won a Cookies ‘N’ Creme filled doughnut – yay!

The doughnut is my first sneak peek into the collection, and it was definitely a pleasant experience. Krispy Kreme’s classic dough is topped with white-chocolate-flavoured coating, crumbs of Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme chocolate, and three diagonal lines of milk chocolate. When you bite into the doughnut, a soft, velvety cookies and cream filling comes oozing out, making each bite nothing short of delicious. The best thing about it is that neither Hershey’s chocolate signature taste nor Krispy Kreme’s sugar-glazed doughnut taste is overpowering; they both complement each other to create a dynamic, satisfying flavour.

In short, my visit to Krispy Kreme UK’s giant slot machine at London Victoria was definitely well worth it. Let’s do this again, pretty please?

>> Previous Post On This Category: Taste of London June ’17

Photographs: Manmadesthics #2

>> About Manmadesthics

Manmadesthics is a photography collection aiming to capture aesthetically pleasing patterns that are created by humans – manmade + aesthetics = manmadesthics. This is my second blogpost about this collection; you can find the first post here.

Taken at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Indonesia  with an iPhone 5. Black and white filter applied. Click to enlarge.

Taken at Fairmont Singapore, Singapore with an iPhone 7. Colour corrected. Click to enlarge.

Taken during Tori Kelly‘s concert at O2 Academy Brixton, London with an iPhone 5. Colour corrected. Click to enlarge.

>> Previous Post On This Category: Nature Speaks #1

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Food & Dining Review: King Mango Thai Neo Soho

>> At A Glance

* Restaurant name: King Mango Thai

* Cuisine: Thai

* Address: Neo Soho Mall, Lower Ground (LG) Floor, Jl. Letjen S. Parman (Podomoro City), Tanjung Duren, Jakarta 11470

* Opening times: Everyday 10.00 – 22.00

* Phone: +622156985555

* Social media: Facebook, Instagram

This up-and-coming juice bar currently only offers one thing on their menu: their viral mango juice. As such, I won’t be doing a dish-by-dish review section as per usual, and will instead just do a general ratings review section.

>> Ratings

* Flavour: 2.5

Right off the bat: I expected more. A lot more. For the tons of social media hype, an hour-long (sometimes even more) line, and 50k IDR, I expected a drink that would transform the mango dessert world. Instead, all customers are really getting is a mango juice topped with whipped cream, shaved ice, and mango pieces that’s overall way too sweet for its own good. It might not be as bad if the juice is entirely made from mangoes, but the additional mango extract and liquid sugar just pushed it over the edge for me. The artificial substances hinder the fresh, characteristic texture I wanted to taste from pure mango juice, and unless some significant changes are made or new drinks are introduced, I’m not planning on going for seconds anytime soon – I didn’t even finish the one I bought for this review. The whipped cream, shaved ice, and mango pieces, whilst absolutely delicious toppings, are not nearly enough to make this drink worthwhile.

* Price for portion: 4

Whilst 50k IDR for a mango drink is arguably more on the expensive end, it can still pass as reasonable considering the claim that it uses genuine Thai mangoes. Additionally, the size of each serving is rather huge and can fill you up quite significantly.

* Service: 1.5

Maybe it’s the super long line or maybe it’s because I came during the later half of the day, but the cashier and server were not at all friendly and accommodating. There were no smile, no greetings, and no explanation of the juice bar’s concept (or even the fact that they only have one drink on offer). It was definitely a subpar experience in terms of service, and the only reason I didn’t give it a one is because service was quite quick once you put your order in.

* Venue / ambiance: 3.5

The Thai ornaments on the walls are intricately beautiful, creating an authentic Thai feel to the place. Moreover, the combination of wood and yellow lighting throughout the shop complements the Thai ornaments’ colour scheme rather well. Unfortunately, the cloud ceiling looks out of place, and I’m sure customers would appreciate more seats.

* X factor: Does a super long line count as an x factor?

* Overall experience: 2.5

>> Other Opinions

* Various reviews on Zomato, pergikulinerQraved, and Foody.id (in Indonesian and English)

* On food/lifestyle blogs called Eat and Treats and My Fun Food Diary (in English)

* On a food blog called Dosen Kuliner (in Indonesian)

>> Previous Post On This Category: Pippo Senayan City

Leave a comment below with restaurants you’d like me to review next!

Are you affiliated with King Mango Thai? Reach out (christyzee98@gmail.com) and let me know if you’d like me to come back or review any new dishes!

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Photographs: Nature Speaks #1

Yet another update about a brand new photography collection. Following Cityscapes and Manmadesthics, I’d like to introduce my third ongoing photography project called Nature Speaks. This collection aims to capture instances whereby nature seemingly, well, “speaks” to us humans – this is dedicated to giving nature a voice.

Let me know if you have thoughts on any of my photography projects, and as always, stay tuned for more!

Taken in London, United Kingdom with an iPhone 5. Click to enlarge.

Taken in London, United Kingdom with an iPhone 5. Click to enlarge.

>> Previous Post On This Category: Manmadesthics #1

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