Last night was the Girls season finale on HBO, and though there was some controversy throughout the season, there’s one thing that makes this show a success: the reality.

This is a column written by Hypable.com’s Senior Editor and writer John Thrasher. You can follow John on Twitter @jthrasher.

Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 10 “She Did.”

It’s very rare that a show can win me over in its first season. I find it very hard to like a lot of the shows that most of my friends like, based on the simple notion that the storytelling is boring/uninteresting/unrealistic (sorry True Blood fans, I tried!). However, the new HBO series Girls was not only amazing for each of those reasons, but each episode seemed to get better and better.

This season was marked with various controversies. The first being its apparent notion about sexism and gender. A couple of weeks ago we posted this story on Hypable asking if the HBO series is really about girls at all, with the Hypable user suggesting that each of the main characters is dependent on the validation of the men in their lives. And yes, while that was somewhat true, it was also one of many points of realism the show reflected to the audience. What makes Girls so interesting is how it took an unconventional TV formula and made it a huge hit across multiple demographics. These days, to make a successful TV show, you have to have a male heroic protagonist or a sitcom/comedy full of pop culture references and one-liners (Mad Men, Glee, Arrested Development much?). Don’t even think about a show with a female lead that has something to offer beyond her body, though. Our society’s scope of what makes great TV is based on traditional masculine ideals.

Girls, written, directed, produced by and starring Lena Dunham, has turned a comedy series with a flawed (not heroic) female protagonist into a critical and mainstream success. The show reflects a group of girls, each dealing with their own struggle to maturity, at times cringe-worthy, but overall likable, interesting, and most importantly realistic. Are we meant to criticize Hannah when she takes the tip in the hotel room in the pilot episode or are we meant to take a deeper look at ourselves, the reality, and wonder if we’d do the same thing? In fact, I had this conversation as it happened with my friends (who ironically live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – the same neighborhood as Hannah and Marnie). At first they said, “Wow, I can’t believe she did that,” to which I responded, “Honestly, if I were in her position, I would have done the same thing.” Eventually we all came around and agreed that we would have taken all of the money if our parents cut us off in the same way. It’s unclear if we’re supposed to root for Hannah, criticize her narcissism, or look at all things and wonder how much of ourselves we see in her, even if we don’t say it out loud. And it’s that inner monologue with ourselves, that I only recently realized as being my subconscious, that makes this show a true piece of art.

We are part of a society where the masculine perspective of the blonde-bombshell or the femme fatale is the only “acceptable” way for a female protagonist to exist. Hannah is the character that most of these “acceptable” female characters make fun of or are used to contrast the differences between our perceived notion of what it means to be beautiful. Lena Dunham’s character Hannah breaks this all down with the audience finding her realistic portrayals of femininity, body issues and trust as reasons to celebrate rather than draw comparisons. As a feminist myself, and someone who loves successes like Bridesmaids, I couldn’t be happier and more celebratory for Hannah and what she represents.

That isn’t to say the show doesn’t have its season-1-style problems as well. Should the show bring in more diversity regarding race? Yes, I think so. And there are reports that Community’s Donald Glover has been seen shooting scenes with Dunham. The cast, supporting characters and guest stars have all predominately been white. That’s unrealistic, particularly in New York City… Or is it? Maybe there are social circles that are specifically white-centric, but not in a racist way. This show is more about realism and less about cultural expectations. There are tons of reasons this show could be criticized, whether it be about how doing crack is perceived as “fun,” or how the main characters depend on men too much, how the supporting characters (Shoshanna) are underdeveloped, or how certain demographics are underrepresented. There are an array of cracks to mend. However, the realism and perspective of the narrator present a story based more on the the situational realities of life and less on whether or not a female is dealing with them.

The season finale really nailed this unapologetic point-of-view regarding reality. Each character ended the season with their own personal version of maturity. Marnie, who on the outside seems like she has it all together, is arguably the least stable person on the show (yes, even over Adam) after her situation with Charlie, moving out of her apartment with Hannah, and then ultimately finding herself making out with the wedding host (played by SNL’s Bobby Moynihan). Shoshanna spent the entire season in a panic about where she is in life regarding her sexual maturity. We are meant to assume that she has overcome that hurdle (in her eyes, not mine), with Ray of all people. And Jessa, the resident hippie vagabond, randomly married the man who she was meant to have a threesome with, in what seemed to me like a clear attempt to take control of her otherwise uncertain whimsical life. Through various levels of realism, these portrayals of women and young people in general are arguably the most realistic depictions of real-life issues that are also not specifically about gender. Girls has turned the notion of women being objects of beauty, rather than having something to say, on its head and has done so on a mainstream level.

The season ended just as it began: with Hannah stuffing her face with food. This time, she clearly has her cake (and eats it too). A lot of Girls fans were wondering what it all meant. To me, after Adam rode off in his ambulance, it was all about her accepting where she is in the moment. The final scenes, which to me were a direct reflection of Adam’s “Time is a rubberband,” were all about Hannah accepting the realities, not over-thinking it, and simply admiring a moment alone on a beach at Coney Island after a rather dramatic last 24 hours.

Season 2 is in production with Dunham tweeting that she was excited for everyone to watch the season 1 finale because she was putting the finishing touches on the season 2 finale at the same time! No word on when Girls season 2 will premiere just yet, but I know I for one will be waiting to see how the circumstances from the finale fare and how Lena Dunham will continue to realistically challenge the notion of what it means to be a female on television in 2012.

Newt’s brother was assigned to search for Grindelwald, new ‘Fantastic Beasts’ prop letter reveals

This likely has major implications for future Fantastic Beasts movies.

1:06 pm EST, December 9, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them included a mention of Newt Scamander’s “war hero” brother Theseus, and now it looks like the reference was something to think twice about.

Earlier this week Warner Brothers’ Los Angeles Studio Tour refreshed their Harry Potter exhibit with new props from Fantastic Beasts, and in one display is a letter from Theseus to Newt. Take a look at the photos thanks to Snitch Seeker:

fantastic-beasts-theseus-scamander

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them included a mention of Newt Scamander’s “war hero” brother Theseus, and now it looks like the reference was something to think twice about.

Earlier this week Warner Brothers’ Los Angeles Studio Tour refreshed their Harry Potter exhibit with new props from Fantastic Beasts, and in one display is a letter from Theseus to Newt. Take a look at the photos thanks to Snitch Seeker:

fantastic-beasts-theseus-scamander

fantastic-beasts-theseus-newt-grindelwald

The letter reveals that Theseus was tasked with searching for Grindelwald himself — a very interesting development for this film series. Though some words on the letter can’t be seen due to another prop covering them up, the note to Newt appears to suggest that Theseus was honored to be assigned the role. Here’s what it says, again courtesy Snitch Seeker:

Well, little brother,

I don’t know how much you have heard wherever you are about what’s going on in jolly old Europe but this chap Grindelwald has been making a lot of noise since you have been away.

Charismatic blighter, but the Ministry doesn’t like him and nor does the International Confederation.

He has upset a few of the big wheels and he’s gone underground. I have been chosen to go away and ferret him out. _______ at the chance to be picked, actually, because the whole _______ want to be on this case and it’s taken some _______ hard work to reach this status.

_______ wishing you well – wherever you are. _______ whatever beastly quests you are undertaking!

Best regards,

Theseus

The fact that this letter was made for the movie is very interesting. It suggests that Theseus at one point may’ve had a larger role in the movie — or at least, he could’ve been referenced more than once.

Further, this letter could mean that Theseus’ll have an on-screen role in future movies. In fact, Theseus’ role as Grindelwald Hunter could be J.K. Rowling’s ticket to getting Newt deeply involved with the search for Grindelwald.

johnny-depp-grindelwald

Theseus will surely be pleased to hear that his brother helped capture Grindelwald. Theory time: What if Theseus dies in a future Fantastic Beasts movie as the fight against Grindelwald (inevitably) continues? What if this leads Newt to avenge his brother’s death?

What else do we know about the character? Not much, but Snitch Seeker says that during an interview with Colin Farrell the actor revealed Theseus “was a British Auror with whom his character, Percival Graves, corresponded.”

How do you think Theseus will play into future ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movies?

Daily Show host Trevor Noah takes his experiences growing up in South Africa and puts them together in Born a Crime for our entertainment and enlightenment.

‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

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Daily Show host Trevor Noah takes his experiences growing up in South Africa and puts them together in Born a Crime for our entertainment and enlightenment.

‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother — his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Born a Crime Trevor Noah

‘Born a Crime’ book review

Trevor Noah is best known for his current hosting gig on The Daily Show where he had huge shoes to fill following Jon Stewart’s departure — shoes that he has, by the way, filled with grace, humor, and a sharp wit.

Noah has been candid about growing up in South Africa under Apartheid and the troubling parallels he sees developing in the United States, especially since Donald Trump’s rise to power, but Born a Crime puts a spotlight on his childhood adventures in a way that his segments on The Daily Show cannot.

Born a Crime is an interesting mix of heartbreak and humor. There is no denying that Noah’s childhood was not easy. He talks extensively about trying to find a place for himself at school and in life. He was too White for the Black kids and too Black for the White kids. As a child, what do you do when you have nowhere to belong?

You adapt.

Unless it wasn’t abundantly clear already, Trevor Noah is an intelligent man. Born a Crime documents the way he viewed the world and used his situation to his advantage while living in South Africa. He learned dozens of languages, either in part or in full, in order to survive the endless dangers of his hometown. He found a way to make money and build himself a tiny empire using only a computer and his wits. He took what was given to him, which was, honestly, next to nothing, and found a way to make his life fulfilling.

Born a Crime Trevor Noah feature

Noah’s mother has a huge impact on the stories presented in this memoir because she had a huge impact on her son. Strong, independent, stubborn, reliable, hardworking, clever, pious, strict, and loving, Trevor makes it explicitly clear that his mother is the reason he turned out the way he did. We should all give thanks to her.

Her story is tragic, as is growing up under Apartheid, but despite their circumstances, both led vibrant lives in which they became partners in an us-against-the-world kind of way. Hearing Noah speak about his mother infuses you with a warmth and respect for a woman you have never met, and yet that feeling is as genuine as they come.

For his part, Noah was a handful as a child and a teenager, though it’s that spunk and comedy that we so look forward to seeing now. He got into trouble — he even broke the law — but he experienced life and all the ups and downs that comes with it. He is a wealth of knowledge because he has gone far and wide to gather that knowledge himself.

Born a Crime will certainly make you laugh far more than it’ll make you cry, but don’t be so bold as to put the tissues away before the final chapter of the book. This memoir is a lesson in humility, love, faith, and perseverance. Hopefully it will affect you as strongly as it has affected me, especially if you are so lucky as to be able to listen to Noah narrate the book himself on Audible.

Add ‘Born a Crime’ to your Goodreads list or purchase it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound

The first full Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight and we once again got a great look at Tom Holland as Peter Parker.

The first Spider-Man Homecoming trailer is here, and it doesn’t disappoint! In what totally feels like a coming-of-age/high school flick (but with a Marvel twist!), Peter Parker decides he wants to grow up and fight like the Avengers. But is he ready? Maybe with a little help (and no hug) from Tony Stark, he will be.

Watch the full-length trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming

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The first full Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight and we once again got a great look at Tom Holland as Peter Parker.

The first Spider-Man Homecoming trailer is here, and it doesn’t disappoint! In what totally feels like a coming-of-age/high school flick (but with a Marvel twist!), Peter Parker decides he wants to grow up and fight like the Avengers. But is he ready? Maybe with a little help (and no hug) from Tony Stark, he will be.

Watch the full-length trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming

The main theme of Homecoming certainly seems to be Peter’s desire to prove that he’s a capable member of the Avengers team. If you remember in Civil War, Tony wouldn’t let him get too deep into the fight, for fear that he wasn’t ready. But Peter doesn’t want to be treated liked a kid.

Except he definitely is a kid, and it’s a nice break from the other Spider-Man movies we’ve seen so far, which depicted an older Peter Parker that never quite fit the high school vibe.

Tom Holland’s Peter is undoubted an awkward teenager, and the younger character lends itself to a lighter, more humorous tone for the movie. Marvel has always been good at balancing action and comedy in their movies, and Homecoming is already promising to be a fun romp.

We get a lot of great looks at other characters in this trailer, too, including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from Donald Glover and Zendaya. Michael Keaton will be playing Vulture, and of course we also get Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

How cool was it to see Spidey swinging along next to Iron Man like an equal?

As is often the case for Marvel movies, ABC and Jimmy Kimmel debuted the trailer for Homecoming following pretty high expectations from fans. Did it live up to your hype?

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ hits theaters on July 7, 2017