BY RELEVANT TV November 22, 2017

You may remember back in 2015 when Saturday Night Live posted this sketch, in which the tension of a family’s Thanksgiving dinner is broken only by Adele’s infectious hit “Hello.”

Though two years have passed, the awkwardness of the sketch is still just as relevant, but unfortunately, in 2017, Adele doesn’t have a new song to save us from it.

BY RELEVANT SPORTS November 21, 2017

The concept for the Japanese game show event “Slippery Stairs” is simple: Contestants dressed in brightly colored uniforms attempt to climb a steep set of stairs that is covered in an extremely slippery substance.

It takes almost nine minutes for someone to reach the top, and it is the most enthralling nine minutes of entertainment currently on the internet.

This needs to be in the Olympics.

BY RELEVANT CULTURE November 21, 2017

2017 has been a confusing year.

The White House is embroiled in a seemingly endless investigation about collusion with hostile foreign powers that seek to sow chaos and discord across our nation. Hollywood is caught up in a wave of sexual harassment allegations, in which the careers of powerful, influential predators are being toppled like dominoes.

A man is being credibly accused of molesting minors, but still has a decent shot at Congress.

And now, on top of all that, a movie in which Kris Kristofferman voices a ghost dog sent back from heaven to help his former owner get married after she inexplicably called off the wedding in the wake of his tragic death is destined for theaters.

Modern life is a roller coaster. All we can do is hang on for dear life.

BY RELEVANT CURRENT November 21, 2017

Steph Curry showed up on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to talk about a lot of things, but the two really landed on Curry’s recent essay for The Players’ Tribune, in which Curry attempted to get past the “noise” surrounding the country’s current conversations about veterans to have dialogue that actually matters.

Instead of focusing on whether to stand or kneel during the national anthem, Curry encouraged readers to talk about homelessness, PTSD and “of course” racial inequality—some of the deeper, more tangible issues facing vets.

BY RELEVANT CULTURE November 20, 2017

A lot of today’s X-Men fans first fell in love with the group via Fox’s 1990s animated show. This was before Bryan Singer decked Marvel’s mutants out in black leather, and featured all the primary colors and inexpensive animation that was the hallmark of ’90s Saturday morning shows. But X-Men: The Animated Series did feature some solid writing—borrowing a lot of storylines from the actual comics — and one episode featured some pretty heady theological debates between blue teleportation whiz Nightcrawler and scrappy superstar Wolverine.

The episode followed Wolverine, Rogue and Gambit’s ski trip to Germany, where they run across a monastery harboring a blue-skinned monk named Nightcrawler, where he hides for fear of the villagers. Nightcrawler’s an awfully astute monk, and he and Wolverine promptly clash over theodicy (well, Wolverine clashes; Nightcrawler displays an otherworldly sense of loving calm.)

 

NIGHTCRAWLER: My pain drove me to seek God. Yours drove you away.

WOLVERINE: Don’t tell me about God. What kind of God would let men do this to me?

NIGHTCRAWLER: Our understanding of God is limited. But we take comfort in the fact that His love is limitless.

WOLVERINE: I used to buy into all of that. But I’ve lived too long and done too much.

NIGHTCRAWLER: Life will always be hard. I understand this better than most. Yet despite it all, people of faith believe there is a God who loves them. Can so many be wrong? Open your heart, Herr Logan. Would it hurt so much to see the world through different eyes?

Once again, this was a children’s animated show — one with shades of Epicurus’ theodicy, dealing with the subject of spiritual guilt and free will. This has gone a good deal deeper than a lot of churches are willing to go on Sunday morning, and it didn’t stop there.

As recently unearthed by The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Bruenig, the episode closes with Nightcrawler gifting Wolverine a Bible (in which he has “marked a few passages you may find rewarding), which Wolverine reverently prays through. (Rogue seems intrigued by Wolverine’s conversation experience. Gambit sadly apostatizes; please keep him in your prayers.)

 

BY RELEVANT CULTURE November 20, 2017

Chance the Rapper’s SNL hosting gig went even better than expected, raising the question of whether or not there’s anything this guy can’t do.

It might be SNL‘s best episode of the season, and almost every sketch was worth watching (Chance’s turn as a clueless hockey reporter was good enough to suggest that if he ever tires of music, he could have a real career in the movies) but maybe the highlight was this parody of a charitable gala at Bruce Wayne’s manor, in which the Dark Knight of Gotham City is forced to reckon with some of his implicit biases. (Note: There is some mild profanity sprinkled into the sketch.)

The laughs come fast (“He broke my friend’s jaw in two places and all he did was steal a TV. That’s excessive!”), the thinly veiled critique of American policing is biting and Chance’s attempts to keep from cracking are mostly futile.