Perry Mason Recap: We’ve Always Been From Here

Perry Mason Recap: We’ve Always Been From Here

Perry Mason

Chapter Eleven

Season 2

Episode 3

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Photo: Vulture; Photo: Warner Brothers

You’ll find the crux of Perry Mason season two thus far around midway through “Chapter Eleven,” when Mason pays a visit to the Judge (Tom Amandes) to see about granting the Gallardo boys some extra protection in jail — our defendants aren’t making new friends in there. The Judge first scoffs at Mason’s idealism, but by the end of the conversation, he grants the Gallardo boys some extra protection. “I can’t say too many of your ilk come out on top,” he says. “But I’ve often admired their fight. There was little of that idealism when I began practicing in the 1890s.”

And that, as Mason points out, is the big rub: all these years later, it’s so hard to survive in Los Angeles because “so few people have control over their own fate, so as you dangle, you just hope that whoever’s got you out there will be compassionate.”

Mason could’ve been talking about L.A. circa 1931 or 2023. The situation is the same. As benefactors of the American project, we allow ourselves a view of civilization as something that brings order to untamed chaos. From this conversation, we get a different picture of American civilization: a muddy trench of oil and gold where the rich and powerful secure their bag with the strong arm of the law. Real “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown” type shit.

At the top of the episode, we find ourselves in court again. And this Milligan asshole is still playing on the public’s sympathies for a publicly wealthy family, asking for an abbreviated pre-trial period so as not to exacerbate the suffering of the poor, defenseless, oil and blood-speckled McCutcheons. Once again, Mason calls McCutcheon out on his bullshit. In a rush to hang his clients, Milligan conveniently forgot that everyone has the right to a fair trial. If the roles were reversed, Brooks McCutcheon’s family would undoubtedly want ample time for his defense to prepare. Milligan wastes no time saying the quiet part loud. “The roles would never be reversed because Brooks McCutcheon was nothing like your clients.” In other words, the roles would never be reversed because the McCutcheon family has the resources to wield the law. It’s inconceivable that the Gallardo brothers could ever do the same.

But where the Gallardo brothers lack influence, they have an abundance of chutzpah in their corner. Our legal eagle Della Street, always coming in clutch with the heaters, hands Mason the California rule book with just the right penal code for this little skirmish. It buys them three weeks in the pre-trial period, which is good but not enough to get them out from under the wire.

And Mason’s still living under the weight of the Emily Dodson boulder he’s strapped to his back. After a quick shot of Mason sitting in his dark apartment, staring at Dodson’s postcards again, we find him revisiting the Gallardo boys in jail. He doesn’t know them or their story as well as he should and wants to get on top of that before anything else. So, where’d they come from before Mateo and Rafael were at the Hooverville?

“Here,” says Rafael.” We’ve always been from here.” Their family’s farm was paved over by the city. Mason’s gestures thus far — a pad and pencil for Rafael to draw with, an affirmation that he’ll get them extra protection while they’re locked up — were precursors to this moment of connection.

“I lost my family farm. Hard to let go.” They chuckle when Mason tells them it was because he “forgot to pay his taxes,” but even that difference is insignificant in light of what they’ve found they share in common, which is more than most people who ever lived will ever share with the Lydell McCutcheons of the world.

Fresh off a quiet night in with Anita St. Pierre and a pack of Turkish cigarettes (officially loving this spicy romance for our girl, now, by the way), Della spies the program left over from Camilla Nygaard’s stupid L.A. Philharmonic fundraiser party, and reckons her girlboss game-rec-game moment with this lady is a thread she and Mason can tug on for reliable intel on the McCutcheons. They find Miss Nygaard at her fabulously mod pool, giving marching orders to her lawyer Melville “Phippsy” Phipps (Wallace Langham), between laps, something about securing new oil leases and such. (*Dr. Evil voice) “Pretty standard, really.” Whatever she ties up first, her competitors, including the McCutcheons and the “other asses,” can’t get later. Still, she and the other California oligarchs have been better at keeping the peace in their old age and established some “rules” to help them “work together when it serves.”

Della asks Nygaard what she thought of Brooks McCutcheon, to which she rather politely but no less directly calls Brooks a dumbass. “He was like a French realist painting. Nice to look at, nothing below the surface.” When Brooks was in financial trouble, he went to Nygaard for help, but she turned him away, part of keeping the peace with Lydell.

“What about San Haven?” Mason asks, and right away the vibe shifts. Nygaard knows who she rolls with, and she isn’t about to cross the 1 percent line for some oddly sexy alcoholic defense lawyer. Not on purpose, anyway. She won’t traffic in tawdry rumors, but she accidentally gives up a name. “The Lawson girl’s family has been through enough.”

Mason takes that name to The San Haven Home, a live-in facility linked to the Santa Monica phone number he “conveniently” found in the McCutcheon evidence box from the last episode. Getting past the front desk by making up (I think) some law about attorneys getting full access to a patient in a private facility, he finds a catatonic Noreen Lawson, and a photo signed by her brother, only in his first initial, V. It’s some especially unnerving shit as Mason leans down and apologetically takes a picture of Lawson, recalling the genre-appropriate ickiness hovering around the crimes and investigations of the first season. A case like this, the abyss is always closer to the surface than you think.

Back at the office, Mason, Street, and Drake review what they’ve got so far and try to assemble a narrative they can run with. Mason’s eyes are already fixed on building his case around Detective Holcomb. We last saw everyone’s favorite dirty cop arriving home in the morning after another night of criminal activity and boat, or “perps and paperwork,” as he affectionately tells his wife. Did this guy really not tell his wife that he went in on a fucking gambling boat with some rich, dead asshole? So much for “not making a mistake marrying a flatfoot.” Anyway, Mason figures Holcomb was trying to get his money back from Brooks. Partnering in a boat couldn’t have been cheap, so Holcomb figures he “can go from owning half the Morocco to owning all of it with one bullet,” as Drake puts it. Holcomb saw Rafael and Maeto rummaging close to where he shot brooks, and he found himself L.A.’s perfect patsies.

Della doesn’t buy it, so you know it won’t stick. They can’t link Holcomb directly to any of it. It’s reasonable doubt, but Milligan will rip it apart. Mason’s conclusions may be wrong, for now, but his instincts are right. The pattern is clear when you want to stay at the top of the heap. In the words of old Billy Shakespeare, you “put down strangers, […] cut their throats, possess their houses, and lead the majesty of law in line, to slip him like a hound.”

Speaking of which, it’s finally time for our first official stand-off with the big baddy. Love it. That’s right, Lydell McCutcheon’s thugs show to Mason’s office and drag him to see Lydell at the track. It’s a crisp, ominous, sun-drenched setting fit for a simmering exchange.

“Mason Dairy, that was your family’s farm, wasn’t it?” Right off, old Lydell sets the tone, letting this punk attorney know he has the resources to dig into anyone’s life and sniff out the most personal weaknesses.

“You’ve been digging into my son’s affairs,” he continues. “I’d like you to consider finding another hole to dig in […] anyone that isn’t full of mud to drag his good name through.” Lydell is no fool; he knows his son’s “good name” was just a fabricated “version” of many Brooks McCutcheons. “Is there a version that includes Noreen Lawson?” Mason asks.

That perks old Lydell right up, and he goes for the throat. “That poor Emily Dodson girl. All you went through for her. You worked tirelessly to have her set free. And for what? Just so she could walk into Lake Tahoe.”

Lydell will follow that up with a more direct threat. “Keep digging into my son, and I will burn you. And no one will give a damn.” But the Emily Dodson namedrop is the real wound that could take Mason out of the fight. Fortunately, he knows where he’s standing and why, and this stand-off with a snarling flesh-and-blood manifestation of his inner demons knocks some sense into our guy.

So he returns to the office and finally tells Della about Emily. Della’s reaction is an instantaneous mix of shock, sadness, empathy, pity, and anger, but she leads with more pity and anger in the moment. I like that character beat, and I dig the authenticity and awkwardness it creates in the conversation. “When I said we’re in this together, I meant it. We’re partners,” Della says. “But when are you not alone in anything?”

Mason has nothing left to say but “I’m sorry.” Della’s disappointment is palpable, but in an instant, we feel the relief, for both of them, that the cards are all out on the table now. The wounds are fresh, but they remain one in purpose.

But wait, there’s a last-minute shakeup in the case. When Drake goes to the Hooverville to verify the Gallardo brother’s timeline of events, he finds a pair of little white kids shooting a gun. Apparently, they rented it from some guy in the neighborhood, who Rake tracks down and uses the kids’ Dad’s name as an alibi to rent some “equipment.” Drake takes every .32 this shady man has on hand and does a little damp phonebook shooting to see if the bullet markings match those found in Brooks McCutcheon. Our big “whoopsie” of the day comes when Drake finds a match and confirms (at gunpoint) with our neighborhood gun-rental agent that he rented a .32 to the Gallardo boys.

Call me crazy, but when Rafael and Mateo said they were never at Brooks McCutcheon’s car, there wasn’t anything there to suggest they were lying, right? I dunno, man, one of the things about me covering these shows is I’m seldom ahead of the mystery as it unfolds. So all I know is that Drake has found the literal smoking gun in this case and tied it to the Gallardos. Innocent or guilty, there’s a big hole in Mason’s case now. This is a sign of some deep shit on the horizon for our crew, and you see it in Drake’s eyes in the episode’s final shot.

• Both Della and Perry are finding welcome emotional counterweights in their romantic interests this season — new, illuminating connections coming in clutch in the eye of the L.A. shit storm. While Della’s new relationship seems to be off to the races, things are just starting to materialize between Mason and Ginny Aimes, his son’s hot teacher. After a debaucherous first night staying at his dad’s apartment (complete with a trip to the movies to see, gasp, King Kong), Teddy rides into school on the back of his weird dad’s motorcycle without finishing his homework. It’s okay, though; Dad’s on the case. He charms Miss Gaines with some colorful language and an endearingly off-his-game demeanor. “I won’t hold it against you, the language, or the movie choice.” Seriously I love that taking your kid to King Kong in 1931 is equivalent to taking your kid to Saw.

• Just letting you commenters out there know I’ve heard the call to watch The Americans. I’m an episode and a half in, and I’m already hooked. Many thanks for the rec. Now, if you haven’t already, do me a favor and watch The Knick (also on HBO Max). As I mentioned in a previous recap, The Knick my dark-horse pick for the best television drama of the 21st century. If you’re new to it and dig what Jack Amiel and Michael Begler are doing as the incoming showrunners of Perry Mason, it’ll be a real thrill to watch their stuff through the lens of series director and Gen X auteur/GOAT Steven Soderbergh.

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Whoopi Goldberg shocks with new look on ‘The View’ — here’s why

Whoopi Goldberg shocks with new look on ‘The View’ — here’s why

Something was noticeably different about Whoopi Goldberg’s appearance during Monday’s episode of “The View.”

Goldberg, who has been wearing eyeglasses for 28 years, hosted without them, explaining during the “Hot Topics” segment that she had undergone eye surgery over the weekend.

“I had an operation, and they replaced the lens and the lens they replaced it with is kind of like my eyeglass lens,” the 67-year-old announced.

Co-host Sunny Hostin then interjected, excitedly declaring that Goldberg could now see.

Goldberg explained that, “Two weeks ago, when we had a show with the folks from ‘Picard,’ I was trying to read the prompter without my actual glasses, and I couldn’t do it, so I ended up having to wear them [my glasses].”

The “Sister Act” star revealed that the procedure was to treat a condition called presbyopia. She explained that she had “teeny tiny” cataracts on the lens of her eye, which is why they were replaced it.

Whoopi Goldberg sported a new look on Monday's episode of "The View."
Whoopi Goldberg sported a new look on Monday’s episode of “The View.”

The star announced that she underwent an eye procedure for presbyopia.
The star announced that she underwent an eye procedure for presbyopia.
The View

Presbyopia is a “refractive error” that makes it hard for people to see objects up close, according to the National Eye Institute. It is a normal part of aging, and occurs because the lens in your eye “stops focusing light correctly on the retina,” the NEI notes.

During the segment, Goldberg urged viewers to get their eyes checked if they were experiencing any issues with their vision.

“The bionic times have arrived,” she joked.

Goldberg’s announcement comes on the heels of her recent controversy on the talk show. During last Wednesday’s episode of “The View,” Goldberg used what is considered an ethnic slur toward the Romani people.

Goldberg has been wearing her signature eye glasses for 28 years.
Goldberg has been wearing her signature eyeglasses for 28 years.
Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

Over the past week, "The View" has shared a fair share of controversy.
Over the past week, “The View” has generated a fair share of controversy.

She referred to “people who still believe that he got gy—d somehow in the election” while discussing Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels.

The term is derived from the word “Gypsy” and is considered derogatory.

Less than one hour later, she issued an apology for using the word, via a video that was posted to the show’s official Twitter account.

The star opened up about the procedure during Monday's episode of "The View."
The star opened up about the procedure during Monday’s episode of “The View.”
GC Images

“You know, when you’re a certain age you use the words that you know from when you were a kid or you remember saying, and that’s what I did today — and I shouldn’t have,” Goldberg said in the short clip.

She continued, “I should have thought about it a little longer before I said it but I didn’t. I should have said ‘cheated’ and I used another word and I’m really, really sorry.”

The hosts were also slammed last week by fans for failing to ask Hugh Grant about his viral Oscars 2023 interview with Ashley Graham. He appeared on the show Thursday.

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Swarm Recap: Forbidden Fruit

Swarm Recap: Forbidden Fruit


Taste/Running Scared

Season 1

Episodes 3 and 4

Editor’s Rating

4 stars

Photo: Vulture; Photo: Prime Video/Quantrell D. Colbert/Prime Video

“Ni’Jah is a queen. Ni’Jah is a god. Ni’Jah is our sister,” Marissa says as she walks through a parking structure after a Ni’Jah concert. The shaky phone-camera footage implies that Dre is rewatching this video for the umpteenth time, likely as a reminder of her best friend, yes, but Marissa’s euphoric speech also serves as a shared mission statement: “Fuck these haters, okay? Ni’Jah is our queen, and we got to protect her at all costs,” she says as if hyping Dre up directly. For members of the Swarm, talking shit on Ni’Jah is an act of war, and defending her is their sacred duty. Their battleground of choice is Twitter, but sometimes actual blood must be spilled.

With Marissa’s opening words, we find Dre on a cross-country mission to avenge her friend’s death (which has become internet fodder). When the episode opens, Dre’s in Seattle at the home of her target, a man who tweeted that Ni’Jah couldn’t keep a man happy. He gets hammered in the face for his transgression in the first of the series’ multiple murders and insights into Dre’s psyche.

In the trailer for Swarm, it seems as if Dre’s love for Ni’Jah is what drives the murders, but as we watch the show, we learn this isn’t entirely the case. Yes, she is targeting people who have talked shit about Ni’Jah, but her inability to cope with her emotions is what leads to the violent killings. Mostly, it’s Marissa’s death, with the texts Dre’s sending herself from Marissa’s phone, guiding her on her killing spree. But what’s even more interesting about Dre’s murderous tendencies is that I don’t think she necessarily enjoys the act of murder. She isn’t into killing — she’s into purging. Compared with other famous serial killers, both real and fictional, Dre lacks the artistry of some of her cohorts. Dre is sloppy, emotional, and uncontrollable, often sobbing as she hits her victims with a frying pan or rolls over them with her car. Then she’s loose and free while cleaning up in some of the calmest states we’ve seen her. And almost always, she gorges herself with food after (and sometimes during) the kill. Murder and binge eating are Dre’s ways to purge the emotions she keeps inside. She admits that bashing one of her victims in the head made her happy, but she says this as though murder is like squeezing a stress ball, not like a sport she’s partaking in for the fun of the game.

As the show picks up the pace, it feels like a mixture of Dexter, Atlanta, and Poker Face. The serial murders take on an anthology feel with great guest stars and many pop-culture references. While Dre’s in Seattle, Alice Dudley, a right-wing influencer and Ni’Jah hater, accuses the singer of talking about police brutality in her music (a nod to the conservative backlash from “Formation”) and questions whether Ni’Jah is a true feminist. The Swarm immediately jumps to Ni’Jah’s defense, with one fan doxing Dudley’s address. Dre follows the lead, going to Brentwood in Los Angeles and to Dudley’s gym, where Dre runs into George, a gym member wearing a Caché tour jacket with staff passes hanging from his bag. Caché is Ni’Jah’s rapper husband who is embarking on one last tour before retiring (a direct reference to Jay-Z’s 4:44 Tour). Its final stop is in L.A., and Ni’Jah announces on Twitter that she’ll be in attendance, bringing Dre one step closer to seeing her idol in the flesh.

Dre’s initial plan is to steal the concert tickets from George, but she ends up hanging out with him, and they talk about their addictions (Dre’s comment that “sometimes it’s good to give in” hits on so many levels). It takes only a few hours until they’re binge eating together between make-out sessions, the ultimate bonding experience. He takes her to the Caché concert the next day, where she does everything possible to ensure she’s present at the after-party; this includes locking George in a freezer. Once at the party, she’s face-to-face with Ni’Jah but hilariously fumbles her chance at a meaningful interaction. She salivates in Ni’Jah’s presence and goes into a trance, believing she’s biting into a piece of fruit only to realize she has bitten into Ni’Jah’s face like it’s Eve’s apple from the Tree of Knowledge.

Soon, like the rumor that Sanaa Lathan bit Beyoncé at a party for Jay-Z’s 4:44 album, the internet floods with theories about who bit Ni’Jah’s face, and the online mob is activated. Naturally, Dre believes she must apologize to her “friend” for biting her, so she heads to Tennessee where Ni’Jah is headlining the Bonnaroo music festival (paralleling Bey’s history-making Coachella performance). En route, Dre is pulled over by a creepy sheriff who follows her until a white woman named Cricket (Kate Lyn Sheil) scares the police away. Cricket then invites Dre to stay with her and her friends until Ni’Jah’s set.

Here, Swarm fictionalizes the NXIVM cult with Billie Eilish playing a charismatic cult leader, Eva. She runs the women’s-empowerment group DecaWin, which she describes as “unlocking female potential through teaching, learning, training, and, most of all, healing.” It’s classic cult shit. From Eva and her followers’ creepy speech cadence to the brandings each woman proudly sports as a form of “sacrifice,” the comparisons to NXIVM are uncanny. A large part of all cults is ensuring that their followers are emotionally vulnerable, and Eva does this through her “Evolution to Understanding” therapy sessions.

In one of the series’ best scenes, Dre sits down with Eva for an EU session. Eilish’s acting is surprisingly great; she perfectly complements Fishback’s intense performance as Dre opens up more than ever. Eva’s brainwashing and lines of questioning cause Dre to reveal her real name (she’s currently going by the name Kayla), disclose memories of her tough childhood, and confess that she thinks death is beautiful because it’s “equal.” Dre talks about being bullied and rejected as a possible reason for her seeking community in the Ni’Jah fandom. In the context of the cult she’s mingling with, this highlights the strange ways people can seek community. Some, like Dre, find solace in common interests, even if it’s an obsessive love for someone they’ve never met; others may find themselves the victims of cults, like Eva’s followers. Both Dre and the ladies of DecaWin are drawn to their leaders. Eva (through her sessions and constant affirmations) and Ni’Jah (through her lyrics and persona) provide blueprints for being a strong, independent, fulfilled woman in a world that instructs women to be otherwise. Their followers feel seen. While it’s normal to feel represented and honored when listening to a pop star’s music (I do when listening to Beyoncé, for example), there’s a fine line between being seen and having a full-blown unhealthy parasocial relationship. The popularity of social media and the increase in access to the lives of public figures and influencers have caused a rise in parasocial attachments. Still, fandoms like the BeyHive, Nicki Minaj’s Barbz, and Taylor Swift’s Swifties take it to the next level — the dedication these fans have borders on cult status.

Dre doesn’t care about any of this, not her sudden emotional breakthroughs, not her repressed memories of being rejected, and definitely not her ruminations on why she’s such a die-hard Ni’Jah fan. Once she realizes her phone is missing, she quickly snaps out of the trance and confronts Eva, who knows about Khalid’s murder. Equipped with Dre’s secrets and phone, Eva holds her hostage as a cult member. During an evening bonfire ceremony with the DecaWin ladies, Dre overhears the sound of drums from Ni’Jah’s Bonnaroo set, and it dawns on her that she has no idea what day it is and that she’s missing the performance. Dre panics. She gets in her car and demands her phone back from Eva, who threatens blackmail — and Dre runs Eva over for her transgression. The brainwashed women of DecaWin go full zombie, crawling on Dre’s car and trying to retaliate, but they’re no match for Dre’s briefly sublimated rage, which she unleashes on her victims as she kills her way out of the compound.

• I listened to Lemonade for the first time since watching Swarm, and wow, “6 Inch” will never sound the same: “Six-inch heels, she walked in the club like nobody’s business / Goddamn, she murdered everybody, and I was her witness.” LMAO.

• The fact that one of Dre’s victims’ last words are “Nigga, Twitter?” is satirically amazing. It encapsulates not only Dre’s delusion but the real dynamic people have with social media. Sadly, Twitter is never just Twitter.

• Another real Beyoncé moment is a reference to the infamous Solange–Jay elevator scandal. I wish more time were spent talking about Alice and her “feminist” statements and how we look to people like Beyoncé to represent all women — or how white women are so quick to try to discredit Black women.

• Some interesting sexual undertones are going on that are vaguely hinted at. Dre clearly has a complicated relationship with sex. During her session with Eva, she mentions how she was called a homophobic slur when getting bullied, and there are all kinds of homoerotic moments within the cult. Plus, Ni’Jah/Beyoncé is a hypersexual artist, so I’m hoping there’ll be more about Dre’s sexuality in the coming episodes.

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Winning March Madness might come down to this new physics theory

Winning March Madness might come down to this new physics theory

March is bound to get even madder.

Scientists at Cornell University have put together a data model that suggests that the application of a physics theory to basketball may lead to teams scoring five to 15 more points per game.

Researchers analyzed player metrics and material that were accrued from an undisclosed NBA team through a stop-motion camera during many of its games this season. The science squad was then able to project precise positioning that guaranteed better scoring outcomes for individual players — sometimes by moving mere inches.

“Every 40 milliseconds, we know with … a very high degree of accuracy, where every player is and where the ball is located,” Boris Barron, a doctoral physics student on the project, told The Post.

“[Our work] has the potential to be a game changer for basketball … This is taking ‘Moneyball’ to the extreme.”

New research from Cornell shows how a physics theory can lead basketball teams to score more and improve their game.
New research from Cornell shows how a physics theory can lead basketball teams to score more and improve their game.
Courtesy of Boris Barron

Although the Big Red missed the big dance, Barron — along with physics professor Tomás Arias and peer Nathan Sitaraman — have been on their toes these past few weeks by applying density-functional fluctuation theory (DFFT) to introduce “more kind of advanced quantitative analysis” to the game.

In quite plain terms, DFFT looks at fluctuations caused by certain events that either separated or brought together entities within a group. Previous research using the theory observed how fruit fly clusters adapted to heat being introduced to their environment and separately, was used to predict crowd behavior among people.

Barron and company are using DFFT to break down the spatial interactions of where players like to be and how players interact with one another on the court.

Princeton Tigers guard Blake Peters (24) holds the ball away from Missouri Tigers guard Sean East II (55) during the second half at Golden 1 Center.
Researchers are looking into how spatial differences can lead to more scoring or better defending in basketball.

“Looking back at a game, I can see how this can help players improve,” Barron said. “The improvements can be in the [team total] range of five points in 100. It wouldn’t shock me based on the results that we’re getting here,” he added, mentioning that there could “potentially” be upticks by 15 points or more.

The approach can quantify a player’s success, or lack thereof, from several nearby positions on the court — thus predicting more exact locations where they will score more or defend better in just about any given scenario.

“We can take a look at a snapshot of a game and ask, does this look like a good position for the offense? Or does this look like a bad position for the offense?” Barron said.

“Where this becomes useful is that we can improve a player’s positioning,” he added of the data, which currently only accounts for two-point shots.

UConn's Adama Sanogo (21) drives against Saint Mary's Mitchell Saxen, right, in the second half of a second-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Albany, N.Y.
Physics is being implemented to see where players have better chances of scoring in basketball.

Former Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane found incredible success with another data intensive strategy — “Moneyball” — in the early 2000s.

Beane was constantly asking “but can he get on base?”

In that same vein, many basketball coaches may soon pose the question “but can he drive to the net?” from simulations based on the Cornell research.

“We’re determining where each of the players should move,” Barron said. “We’re pretty much saying ‘this guy, in this case, should prefer to take kind of this path [to the basket].’ “

UConn Huskies guard Joey Calcaterra (3) dribbles the ball against the St. Mary's Gaels during the first half at MVP Arena.
Easier paths to the basket can be determined with Cornell’s research.

Statistics wrung from DFFT simulations can hyper-analyze positioning to help teams better scout future opponents and individual matchups.

Admittedly, more variables — like accounting for players’ set positions, specialty skill sets and re-running the numbers to include three-pointers — still need to get worked in, according to the doctoral student.

“Maybe [next] we can follow along a certain kind of player and see if they tend to stand in good positions for the team or maybe not so good positions for the team,” he said.

Saint Mary's guard Logan Johnson (0) defends against UConn guard Jordan Hawkins (24) during the second half of a second-round college basketball game in the men's NCAA Tournament on Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Albany, N.Y.
Cornell’s research could become a “game changer” for how teams practice and scout opponents.

“You can imagine turning some of our modeling into a simulation tool for coaches.”

Even with changes to come, Barron said the theory behind what they’re shooting for is sound at the moment.

“Going forward, you can imagine using this to provide a positioning metric for basketball.”

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‘Swarm’ star Rory Culkin shocks fans with penis: ‘Dirty and unnecessary’

‘Swarm’ star Rory Culkin shocks fans with penis: ‘Dirty and unnecessary’

Some thought it was a berry nice scene; others, not so much.

Rory Culkin shocked viewers by going full-frontal in the pilot episode of the Amazon Prime Video series “Swarm,” which premiered on March 17.

The 33-year-old actor, whose famous siblings include Macaulay and Kieran, plays an unnamed character who meets protagonist Dre, played by Dominique Fishback, at a nightclub and brings her back home.

The show then cuts to a scene of Dre waking up to find Culkin’s character stark naked — with a glass bowl filled with strawberries pressed against his flaccid penis.

Viewers of the psychological horror series swarmed to social media to express varying reactions — from disgust to lust — at the moment that many likened to a jump scare.

Rory Culkin washing strawberries naked
The actor plays an unnamed man who meets the main character at a nightclub and brings her back home.
Amazon Prime

Rory Culkin on "Swarm"
Culkin’s character is shown holding a clear glass jar of strawberries pressed against his flaccid penis.
Amazon Prime

“No way they had Rory Culkin in this show just to show his cawk and dip?!” one viewer tweeted in astonishment.

“Rory Culkin strawberry scene pls my eyes…” another complained. “This scene was so dirty and unnecessary.”

One Twitter user asked, “Now why did I have to see Rory Culkin’s d – – k in swarm just now.”

But others were quite excited by the full-frontal shot.

One Culkin fan made her reaction to the scene well-known.

“I wouldn’t be put off by rory culkin’s squashed, flaccid penis but maybe I’m built different idk,” she tweeted.

Another Twitter user, @DeviantLia, took it a step further, posting, “Rory Culkin I wanna be your slave.”

Culkin, who’s best known for his work as part of the “Scream” franchise, has had a devoted cult following for years.

Many of his fans joked about being distressed over mainstream viewers’ newfound lust for the actor, but some appeared to be seriously upset by the phenomenon.

“Rory Culkin going viral for a d – – k scene in Swarm and not for his amazing acting in anything else makes me ill .. i hate that THAT scene is what’s gonna introduce a lot of people to Rory … I hate the internet,” one follower commented.

Dominique Fishback as Dre in "Swarm"
Many viewers took to Twitter to express their reactions, ranging from disgust to lust regarding the scene with Rory Culkin and Dominique Fishback (above).
Amazon Prime

Others simply didn’t know how to react to the now-infamous strawberry scene.

“Rory Culkin is naked in this OMG,” a shocked viewer wrote, while another added, “I really wasn’t expecting to see Rory Culkin’s penis on this wonderful Friday morning, but here I am.”

“Swarm,” which was created by Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, is based on a rumor about a woman who allegedly committed suicide after listening to Beyoncé’s 2016 album “Lemonade,” according to Vulture.

The rumor has since been debunked, according to the outlet.

Culkin’s berry-baring wasn’t the only shocker in the premiere episode, as Chlöe Bailey also faced backlash Monday due to a “very unnecessary,” graphic sex scene.

Alongside Culkin, his penis and Fishback, the show also features Billie Eilish, Paris Jackson and Byron Bowers.

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The 30 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now

The 30 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now

Friday Night Lights.
Photo: NBC

This post is updated frequently as TV shows leave and enter Netflix. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

Netflix forever changed the way people watch television, moving to full-season drops instead of a weekly format and creating the concept of binge viewing. With a mix of original programming and shows they’ve picked up from other networks, Netflix became the on-demand home for millions of subscribers. Alongside the best movies on Netflix, people consume its television offerings to the tune of billions of hours a year, whether they’re sampling their favorite old episodes of shows like Seinfeld or checking out original programs like Squid Game or Stranger Things. Distilling a massive catalog down to only 30 shows is tough, but these are the best the streaming giant has to offer, the ones that everyone with a Netflix subscription should watch first, regularly updated as shows leave the service and new ones take their place.

Years: 2006-2011
Length: 5 seasons, 76 episodes
Creator: Jason Katims

It had already been made into a film by Peter Berg, but H.G. Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights turned out to be perfect for television when it came to NBC in 2006. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton became instant fan favorites as a small-town Texas coach and his wife Tami, but it’s the young cast who really marvels now, including future superstars Michael B. Jordan, Taylor Kitsch, Jurnee Smollett, and Oscar nominee Jesse Plemons. The full run of FNL is a bit rocky in terms of quality, but there are some incredible peaks in a show that still has a very loyal fanbase.

Years: 2015-2022
Length: 6 seasons, 63 episodes
Creators: Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould 

It shouldn’t have been so good. Prequel spin-offs that are as good as the original would make for a very small chapter in the book about the history of television. Saul Goodman broke the rules. With a stunning performance from Bob Odenkirk in the central role, the creators of this show used the origin story of a criminal attorney to unpack a story about the pull of being bad. If Breaking Bad was a show about a man willingly becoming evil, Better Call Saul was a show about a man trying so hard to take the righteous path, but falling victim to everything put in his way. This drama has some of the best writing and acting in the history of TV. It’s essential.

Years: 2008-2013
Length: 5 seasons, 62 episodes
Creator: Vince Gilligan

On the Mount Rushmore of modern dramas for most people, this AMC hit stars Bryan Cranston as the legendary Walter White, a normal New Mexico science teacher who makes a radical decision when he’s diagnosed with stage-three lung cancer — he becomes the king of meth in the Southwest. A complex study of morality that allows its protagonist to, well, live up to the title, this show made Cranston a star (and the great Aaron Paul too) but it’s really the writing that made it so incredible. It’s also one of those great shows that didn’t overstay its welcome, wrapping up before it got stale.

Year: 2016
Length: 1 season, 7 episodes
Creator: Scott Frank

One of the best shows of 2016, this Western remains one of the best Netflix mini-series of all time. Jack O’Connell plays an outlaw on the run from a vicious criminal named Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), who finds himself in a small town in New Mexico that all the men have left, leaving only the women behind to work the land and keep things going. Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, and Sam Waterston are solid here too, but the standout is Merritt Wever, who would win an Emmy for her work here.

Year: 2021
Length: 1 season, 10 episodes
Creator: Molly Smith Metzler

Margaret Qualley does the best acting work of her career to date in this adaptation of Stephanie Land’s memoir about class, trauma, and perseverance. She plays a young woman who flees an abusive partner (played by Nick Robinson) with her daughter. She struggles to make ends meet and keep her child safe, finding her way through housekeeping work to keep her head above water. Qualley’s actual mother Andie MacDowell is also fantastic here, as is Anika Noni Rose. It’s a heartfelt mini-series that never strikes a false, manipulative note.

Years: 2017-2019
Length: 2 seasons, 19 episodes
Creator: Joe Penhall

Joe Penhall and David Fincher’s loose adaptation of the story of the man who invented profiling serial killers is a tense, riveting drama with some of the best performances and visual language to date in a Netflix series. The first season saw the creation of the Behavioral Science Unit and interviews with real serial killers based on actual conversations. The second got even richer, digging into the role doubt plays in the lives of men trying to stop pure evil. It’s only a shame that the budget for a planned third season got too high for Netflix. Maybe if enough of us watch it again, they’ll change their mind.

Years: 2017-2022
Length: 4 seasons, 44 episodes
Creators: Bill Dubuque, Mark Williams

One of Netflix’s biggest hits came to a close in 2022 with a critically acclaimed and Emmy-winning final season. Clearly inspired by Breaking Bad, this is a riveting thriller about an ordinary guy who ends up becoming a major player in the international drug trade. Jason Bateman does the best work of his career as Marty Byrde, who moves to the Ozarks with his family and becomes a major money launderer. Bateman, Laura Linney, and Julia Garner earned raves for their work in a show that works from beginning to bloody end.

Year: 2020 
Length: 1 season, 7 episodes
Creator: Scott Frank

One of the best mini-series of the current decade, this one was there for people during the first year of the pandemic, turning chess into a new kind of dramatic phenomenon. Based on the book of the same name by Walter Tevis, it stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy who rises in the male-dominated world while also battling her own addictions. Taylor-Joy is spectacular but it’s the sharp writing here that makes it a TV checkmate.

Years: 2017-2021
Length: 4 seasons, 32 episodes
Creator: Derek Simonds

Jessica Biel did the best acting work of her career in the first season of this USA Network mystery series, one that was so successful it turned a one-season limited series into a 4-season one. She stars as an ordinary mother who snaps during a beach outing and stabs a man to death in front of dozens of people. It’s not so much of a whodunit as a WHYdunit, and Biel is joined by great supporting turns from Bill Pullman as the cop who investigates the case and Christopher Abbott as her husband. Carrie Coon anchored the second season, which is almost as good. The show recently wrapped up after four effective outings.

Years: 2021-present
Length: 1 season, 9 episodes
Creator: Hwang Dong-hyuk

The most-viewed show in the history of Netflix rose to that pedestal for multiple reasons. The main one is the incredible accessibility of the concept — a game show with mortal stakes. Released during the pandemic, Squid Game tapped into a worldwide desperation. What would you do to change your fate? The story of a contest for a fortune also became one of Netflix’s biggest critical darlings, landing 14 Emmy nominations, with star Lee Jung-jae becoming the first Asian actor to win Best Actor for a non-English performance. Say what you will about Netflix, the success of this show helped stories from around the world find audiences in America.

Year: 2019
Length: 1 season, 8 episodes
Creators: Susannah Grant, Ayelet Waldman, Michael Chabon

Based on the article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape,” this award-winning mini-series is one of the toughest watches on Netflix, but it’s also so dramatically rewarding. The show dramatizes a series of rapes in Washington and Colorado from 2008 to 2011, focusing on a survivor named Marie (Kaitlyn Dever) and the two detectives trying to solve the case, played brilliantly by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever. Sharply written and deeply moving, this is an essential piece of work.

Years: 2014-2020
Length: 6 seasons, 77 episodes
Creator: Raphael Bob-Waksberg

There is a lot of solid adult animation on Netflix — don’t miss Big Mouth or its anime offerings, either — but the best of the medium is this ingenious examination of celebrity culture, depression, and failed attempts at connection. It just happens to feature talking animals. Will Arnett does fantastic voice work as the title character, the star of a ‘90s sitcom who is struggling to find his way back to the spotlight. Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, and Aaron Paul co-star in a show that felt at first like just another Hollywood satire, but became richer and more emotionally complex with each season.

Years: 2003-2006
Length: 3 seasons, 28 episodes
Creators: Dave Chappelle, Neal Brennan

Everyone has an opinion on Dave Chappelle in the 2020s, but back in the 2000s, he wasn’t yet a household name when his sketch comedy show premiered on Comedy Central. Everything changed. In instant hit, Chappelle’s Show felt like the new wave of comedy unfolding before our eyes. It was what was going to replace your parents’ sketch comedy in shows like Saturday Night Live. And then Dave walked away from it. It holds up incredibly well, and it’s easy to see its influence on so many imitators since.

Years: 2009-2015
Length: 6 seasons, 110 episodes
Creator: Dan Harmon

While 30 Rock and The Office were winning awards, the outsiders at Greendale Community College were building an incredibly loyal fan base. With some of the smartest writing on television, Community told the story of a group of students at Greendale, led by the egocentric Jeff Winger (Joel McHale). The leading man was always underrated, but this show was its best when the whole ensemble clicked, including Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Jim Rash, and Chevy Chase. There’s some rocky stuff in the back half — creator Dan Harmon skipped the fourth season and was re-hired for the fifth — but it never completely sank. There’s a reason fans are still hopeful for the movie, reportedly in pre-production.

Years: 2019-2022
Length: 3 seasons, 30 episodes
Creator: Liz Feldman

The final season was rocky, but the first two chapters of this Netflix original hit were underrated, anchored by stellar performances from Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini. They play two people forced together by fate and murder on a show that understood the thorny complications of grief and guilt. Playing two people who met during grief therapy, Applegate and Cardellini understood how to take the arguably sitcomish twists of this tale and make them feel emotionally genuine. James Marsden was pretty great too.

Years: 2019-2022
Length: 4 seasons, 27 episodes
Creators: Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, Rhys Thomas

TV doesn’t get much more creative than this loving comedic ode to the form of non-fiction filmmaking. Framed as a long-running news magazine hosted by Helen Mirren of all people, Documentary Now! satirizes a different real documentary in each episode. Highlights include the premiere “Sandy Passage,” “Globesman,” “Batsh*t Valley,” “Original Cast Album: Co-Op,” and “Soldier of Illusion,” the premiere of the recent 2022 season. The writing here is brilliantly hysterical, especially if you know the source being satirized. It’s kind of perfect.

Years: 2016-2020
Length: 4 seasons, 53 episodes
Creator: Michael Schur

The brilliant creator of Parks and Recreation moved on to one of the most ambitious comedies to ever air on network television with this follow-up. Honestly, it’s crazy it lasted four seasons. Kristen Bell plays Eleanor, a recently deceased woman who finds herself in Heaven … maybe. Eleanor meets Michael (Ted Danson), the man who runs the joint, and befriends memorable characters played by William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil and Manny Jacinto as they discover the truth behind where they are and what it means to be “good,” in this life or the next.

Years: 2019-present
Length: 2 seasons, 12 episodes
Creators: Tim Robinson, Zach Kanin

If you’re a fan of left-of-center humor like Mr. Show or the 12:55pm SNL sketches written by Kyle Mooney, you owe it to yourself to watch one of the most buzzed-about Netflix Originals that’s still producing new episodes, Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin’s totally bizarre comedy hit. How do you describe one of the weirdest comedy shows on Netflix? You really can’t. Just watch it. And then prepare yourself for the third season, which is coming soon.

Years: 2012-2015
Length: 5 seasons, 53 episodes
Creators: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele 

Sketch comedy doesn’t get funnier than this massive Comedy Central hit that reunited a pair of Mad TV stars and let their genius run wild. Hitting hot button issues with fresh insight and hysterical precision, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele revealed themselves to be two of the best comedy writers in the business, leading to a Peabody Award, two Emmy Awards, and millions of fans. You can see their fingerprints on so much of what people find funny and clever in the 2020s.

Years: 2022-present
Length: 1 season, 7 episodes
Creator: Krister Johnson

The concept of Murderville is too wonderful to ignore. Based on a hit British series called Murder in Successville, the idea is that each episode thrusts a different comedic guest star into a murder mystery. The other players, including lead Will Arnett as the perfectly named Terry Seattle, have lines and roles to play, but the guest star improvises their way through the mystery before naming a suspect. Highlights so far include Conan O’Brien, Marshawn Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, and a Christmas special that featured Jason Bateman, Pete Davidson, and Maya Rudolph. Let’s hope this runs forever.

Years: 1989-1998
Length: 9 seasons, 180 episodes
Creators: Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld

Maybe you’ve heard of it? One of the biggest comedies of all time became a hit again in the streaming era when Netflix paid a fortune to have exclusive streaming rights to the misadventures of Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer. Some of it plays a little more problematically now than it did three decades ago, but most of it is still razor-sharp and funnier than anything on TV right now.

Years: 2011-present
Length: 5 seasons, 22 episodes
Creator: Charlie Brooker

Has the world gotten too weird for Black Mirror? Creator Charlie Brooker implied as much not long ago, but has recently revealed that he’s working on a new season of this Twilight Zone–inspired gem. Released in 3-episode seasons in the U.K. originally (and a Christmas special after season two), Black Mirror shifted when it became a Netflix original in 2016, releasing 6-episode seasons in 2016 and 2017, an interactive film in 2018, and a 3-episode season in 2019. Standouts include “The Entire History of You,” “Be Right Back,” “San Junipero,” and “USS Callister.” Start there and you’ll end up watching them all.

Year: 2022
Length: 1 season, 8 episodes
Creator: Guillermo del Toro

There are a few anthology series on the streamers but none have the pedigree of this 2022 gem from the Oscar-winning director of The Shape of Water and Nightmare Alley. Guilermo del Toro produces an 8-episode horror series with episodes helmed by Guillermo Navarro (GdT’s cinematographer on Pan’s Labyrinth), Vincenzo Natali (Splice), David Prior (The Empty Man), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Keith Thomas (The Vigil), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Panos Cosmatos (Mandy), and Jennifer Kent (The Babadook). Highest recommendation for those last two, but they’re all surprisingly good.

Years: 2018
Length: 1 season, 10 episodes
Creator: Mike Flanagan

The director of Doctor Sleep has become the king of horror at Netflix, and it really started with this masterpiece, his best TV series to date. Flanagan distilled the influential source material here into something altogether new, terrifying, and heartbreaking. Most horror TV shows aren’t honestly scary, but Hill House is legit terrifying in the way it blends an old-fashioned ghost story with more human fears like addiction and suicide. It’s really going to stand the test of time.

The Haunting of Hill House

Year: 2021
Length: 1 season, 7 episodes
Creator: Mike Flanagan

After working from source material by Stephen King and Shirley Jackson for his other Netflix hits, Mike Flanagan produced an original mini-series in 2021, and it ended up being one of his most divisive. Clearly inspired by King, this is the story of a young man (Zach Gilford) who returns to an island community to find things in supernatural disarray. A new priest (the phenomenal Hamish Linklater) has shaken up the people there, including characters played by Kate Siegel, Samantha Sloyan, Rahul Kohli, and others. Flanagan gets deep here, weaving addiction, trauma, and depression into a story of good and evil.

Years: 2019-present
Length: 2 seasons, 15 episodes
Creators: Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, Amy Poehler
One of Netflix’s most critical darlings on the comedy scene was this sci-fi gem, a riff on Groundhog Day about a woman living the same day over and over again. More than just a straight comedy, this Natasha Lyonna vehicle uses its concept to comment on trauma, isolation, and general midlife ennui. In the first season, Lyonne’s character kept reliving her 36th birthday party until she met someone locked in a similar cycle. The second season was a bit less successful but arguably more ambitious.

Years: 2016-present
Length: 4 seasons, 34 episodes
Creator: The Duffer Brothers

More than just nostalgia farming, this ‘80s-inspired hit became a worldwide phenomenon through the power of its riveting storytelling. Sure, it’s easy to see the influences of King and Spielberg here, but characters like Hopper (David Harbour) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) have become icons in their own right. The fourth season was arguably a bit bloated, but the show is reportedly coming in for a landing with a fifth and final season. Make sure you’re caught up before that happens.

Years: 2005-2020
Length: 15 seasons, 327 episodes
Creator: Eric Kripke

Isn’t it kind of appropriate that a show about ghost hunters wouldn’t die? Supernatural premiered way back when The CW was still The WB in 2005 and then just kept going for an amazing fifteen seasons before coming to an end. That’s a lot of spooky adventures for Sam and Dean Winchester, two of fantasy television’s most beloved characters. Supernatural vacillated wildly in quality over its 300+ episodes but there are some true gems in here, especially for fans of urban legends and things that go bump in the night.

Years: 2021-present
Length: 2 seasons, 16 episodes
Creator: Jim Mickle

Probably the most underrated show on this list, Jim Mickle’s adaptation of the comic of the same name by Jeff Lemire is like nothing else on TV. Ten years after a pandemic, babies have been born that are part human, part animal, leading to these hybrids being hunted. When a hybrid named Gus (Christian Convery) is left orphaned, a traveler named Tommy (Nonso Anonzie) takes him and tries to find him safety. A visionary take on a complex fantasy world, this is a must-see with a second season about to premiere.

Year: 2020
Length: 1 season, 10 episodes
Creator: Jason Hehir

Yes, it’s undeniably hagiographic — that’s what happens when you give an interview subject like Michael Jordan approval on final cut — but there’s still something so undeniably riveting about the saga of arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. Hehir uses the final season of the six-championship run by the Chicago Bulls as a platform to unpack his entire legacy, and the result won the Emmy for Best Documentary series. It’s a must-see for any sports fan out there, but it’s also accessible enough to appeal to anyone.

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