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The Muppets' leading subversive: Animal
The Muppets' leading subversive: Animal
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Red Red Mao-pets! Beware Kermit, Piggy and their hidden agenda

'The Muppets' unleash communist propaganda on the unsuspecting youth of America

The interwebz has been roaring in the wake of Eric Bolling’s “Follow the Money” segment that accused the creators of “The Muppets,” Roland Emmerich and Hollywood at large of brainwashing the minds of the kids of America. According to the program, the film is doing its part to spread the red (subliminal Marxist programming) by luring the wee ones in with the endearing felt-made friends, and the charm of Jason Segel, only to unleash the grander liberal agenda when they are distracted by unmitigated delight.

The Fox Business Network and Media Matters show explained that the selection of a “successful business man” (Tex Richman) as the primary villain in the film is indicative of a large scale campaign to ensure that the upcoming generation is teeming with little Lennons and Lenins (either John or Vladimir will do). The ideal populace will also be sprinkled with Rasputin – for flavor.

Proselytizing! Well, if one network would know it when it sees it...

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<p>Andy &amp; Tommy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Andy & Tommy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Andy & Tommy talk 'The Amazing Race'

Popular snowboarders talk religion, racing and All-Stars hopes
Next Sunday night, the 19th installment of "The Amazing Race" will be won by either Ernie & Cindy, Jeremy & Sandy or Marcus & Amani.
Chances are good, though, that when fans of the show look back on the season, most of the memories will center on snowboarders Andy Finch and Tommy Czeschin.
Andy & Tommy won six of the season's first 10 Legs and in the 11th, they held what turned out to be too prohibitive of a lead when they approached the final clue before the Pit Stop. A misinterpretation of the message conveyed by a group of Panamanian dancers led the Snowboarders off on a wild goose chase. Meanwhile, two of the teams behind the Snowboarders made the exact same error, but due to cooperation between cab divers, they were rescued and Andy & Tommy, off on their own for much of the episode, went home.
During their "Race" run, Andy & Tommy won a legion of fans for their youthful enthusiasm and for their strengths across a wide variety of challenges. Devout Christians, they also polarized some of the show's audience, particularly after some comments made at a Buddhist temple in Thailand.
Between that polarizing quality, their surprisingly abrupt elimination and their string of dominant wins, Andy & Tommy seem like absolute no-brainers for the next time the "Amazing Race" producers feel like doing an All-Star season. And they assure me that they're ready for that shot.
Click through for Andy & Tommy's full exit interview, which covers their Race strategy, their religion and their elimination...
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Credit: NBC

Watch: Troy and Abed of 'Community' dish up a Christmas rap

Study group members are recruited to sing and dance during the holiday episode

"Community" may be suffering in the ratings, but that doesn't mean Troy and Abed (and the rest of the study group) don't have plenty of holiday cheer. In this Thursday's holiday episode of the show (8:00 p.m. on NBC), each of our stars will be singing and dancing their way into the school's annual Christmas pageant. Watch Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi)'s rap below. 

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"The Muppets"

 "The Muppets"

Credit: Disney

HitFix Interview: Seven questions with Kermit the Frog

The green box-office star reveals his secret to aging gracefully

With "The Muppets" having already brought in over $56 million, star Kermit the Frog can, if not gloat, at least rest easy knowing the Muppets return to the big screen after 12 years has been warmly received. The famous frog took a few minutes from his busy schedule to answer some questions about why the Muppets never get old, how he's achieve his tadpole dreams and why he hopes "The Muppet Show" returns to TV. 

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<p>Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar)&nbsp;prepares for a big bust on &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) prepares for a big bust on "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' - 'To Be, Act 2': House of the rising Son

The season ends in an intriguing place, but takes many silly steps to get there

A review of the "Sons of Anarchy" season finale coming up just as soon as I empty out this duffel bag full of sex toys...

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<p>Trouty Mouth! Back on &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
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Trouty Mouth! Back on "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Hold On To Sixteen'

Sectionals doesn't push the show forward so much as hit a huge reset button
So here we are, near the end of the Fall run for “Glee.” Next week is the holiday episode, which pretty much exists out of continuity. Well, continuity as far as this show goes. It’s a stop-gap episode filled with holiday sweaters and Artie’s Magic Legs. But let’s not worry about that now, because we have before us the task of analyzing what went down at Sectionals. In the first season of “Glee,” Sectionals provided the majority of the narrative thrust, given every episode some overall context as New Directions tried to get its act together in order to eventually compete. Now? Sectionals is something that “Glee” tries to get through as opposed to strive for. If it could avoid actually having to go through these motions, it probably would.
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<p>Ryan Gosling in &quot;Drive,&quot; one of the films in my Sight &amp; Sound top five.</p>

Ryan Gosling in "Drive," one of the films in my Sight & Sound top five.

Credit: Film District

Top 10 season is upon us

Best-of-the-year lists already coming thick and fast

The crowded carousel of critics' awards and industry precursors makes up just one half of the year-end accolades: I find it just as interesting to monitor the flood of individual critics' (and others') Top 10 lists, where films far outside the Oscar race can pop up with refreshing frequency. One-man lists have for more capacity to surprise, delight and sometimes infuriate than middle-skewing collectives.

Today, for example, I've enjoyed wallowing in the full results of Sight & Sound's critics' poll, the overall Top 10 of which I posted last week. It was a fine list, but the individual top-five lists of the 101 critics surveyed inevitably paint a far broader picture of the year in film. My own contribution is here: as if to illustrate what a generous cinematic year it's been, not one of my five choices made the magazine's final list. (Incidentally, my top five is already out of date, having been submitted in early November; expect some shifting when I post my formal Top 10 later this month.)

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<p>Jess (Zooey Deschanel)&nbsp;and Paul (Justin Long)&nbsp;in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Paul (Justin Long) in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' - 'Bad in Bed': The internet is for porn

The show again fails to get laughs out of Jess' sex life

A quick review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I tell you my whole plan like a Bond villain...

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<p>Grace Potter</p>

Grace Potter

Credit: Katie Hasty

New SXSW Music lineups announced: Magnetic Fields, Grace Potter, Metric

More to come: Who else will be seeing Bruce Springsteen around town?

Three rounds of musical performers at next year's South By Southwest music conference have been announced, with plenty of rock to go 'round.

Bruce Springsteen may be the keynote speaker, but acts like Built to Spill, Metric, the Magnetic Fields, Against Me!, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Talib Kweli, Oh Land and Thomas Dolby will be among the week's music-playing headliners.

The music portion at the Austin, Texas-based conference runs March 13-18 next year, preceded by the Interactive and Film conferences.

Stars, the Expressions, Delta Spirit, Grimes, The Big Pink, Screaming Females, Dan Mangan, Gross Magic, Ganglians, Daughter, The War on Drugs, Blood Orange, Bleached, Suckers, Spector, Miracles of Modern Science, Ear Pwr, Beach Fossils, Prince Rama, Zeus and Zorch were among the other newly announced artists added today. Check out the 2012 SXSW site for all the confirmed performers thus far.

I'll be particularly interested to see what the yield is from the Magnetic Fields set -- what the lineup will be, and if new songs will be introduced (or, if time is good, supported): I feel like Stephen Merritt's last "Realism" was released rather quietly, though his previous output "Distortion" was fairly loud, by his standards.

Metric has also been on the steady rise for more than a half dozen years. They opened for Muse just a couple years ago, but it seems now that they'd be the obvious headliner at any venue in Austin. Perhaps they'll be previewing new cuts, too.

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Album Review: Amy Winehouse's 'Lioness: Hidden Treasures'

Is it a fitting finale to her sad story?

In what has become a depressing rite of passage, we can almost always count on a posthumous album or two (or 200, if you’re Tupac) within months of an artist’s death.

This time, sadly, it’s Amy Winehouse’s turn. Winehouse died July 23 of alcohol poisoning. Out today, “Lioness: Hidden Treasures,” compiles 12 previously unreleased songs, alternative versions and a few cover tunes recorded over the past nine years, including her last recording session with Tony Bennett on “Body & Soul.” So the question is which of these tunes are treasures and which should have remained hidden?

The album opens with Winehouse’s 2002 reggae-tinged version of Ruby & The Romantics‘ 1963 hit “Our Day Will Comes,” and with good reason. It’s the track where Winehouse sounds most coherent. It’s a lively, jaunty remake that showcases Winehouse’s love and connection to the singers from the ‘50s and ‘60s and her uncanny intuitiveness when it comes to capturing the sassiness and longing so prevalent in the female pioneers.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Rob Lowe and Amy Poehler in a scene from this week's &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;&nbsp;Christmas episode.</p>

Rob Lowe and Amy Poehler in a scene from this week's "Parks and Recreation" Christmas episode.

Credit: NBC

HitFix First Look: A 'Parks and Recreation' gift-giving dilemma

What can Leslie's friends get her to equal what she gives them?

It's Christmas in Pawnee on this week's "Parks and Recreation," in what may be my favorite episode of the season so far. They've done a bunch of episodes that have been insanely funny ("Ron & Tammys," "The Treaty") and many that have been incredibly sweet ("End of the World," last week's "The Trial of Leslie Knope"), but Thursday's "Citizen Knope" comes at you hard with both barrels.

Without giving too much away, the episode deals with what both Leslie and Ben are up to professionally in the wake of what happened at the end of last week's episode, while the rest of her friends and co-workers are struggling with a tricky holiday question: what do you get for the woman who, year after year, gets you the most creative, thoughtful, awesome Christmas presents?

It's an outstanding half-hour, and representative of everything that's made me love "Parks and Rec" so much this year. You'll all get to enjoy it Thursday night at 8:30, but to whet your appetites, here's an early scene - exclusive to HitFix for the evening - from the Christmas gift subplot, as we see just how high a bar Leslie sets in terms of gift-giving. All her selections are fantastic, but April's present is probably my favorite. Enjoy.

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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Credit: Vevo

Watch: Christmas roundup with Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson, MMJ and more

Plus your daily dose of Bah! Humbug! from Diamond Rugs and Sunny Sweeney

Admit it. You wanted a Santa Claus who knows how to pop and lock for Christmas, didn’t you? Well, look no further, because everyone’s favorite holiday elf, Justin Bieber, has just delivered one to your internet stocking. In his new video for “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” the toys, Santa’s helpers, and Kris Kringle himself are all breaking into head spins.

The only one who looks like he isn’t having a good time is Mr. Under the Mistletoe himself. In his 8,000th holiday video this week, Bieber seems very concerned and intense about Santa Claus’s arrival or maybe the steampunk glove he’s wearing is just a little too tight.

The live action video, embedded below, is the second from Bieber for “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”; the first was an animated clip to accompany “Arthur Christmas.” Arthur makes a few very unobtrusive drop in for this video, but otherwise, knows to stay the hell out of the kitchen. Given that this arrangement follows the Jacksons’ version, there is a very sweet little homage to the group. See if you can figure it out.

[More after the jump...]

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