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We Can All Be Thankful America Doesn’t Have Putin

Thanksgiving is the holiday that puts us in contact with our Pilgrim roots, while reminding us that we are all guests on a continent that used to belong to somebody else.

That said, Thanksgiving was a much easier holiday to celebrate back in olden days. The Pilgrims didn’t have to travel enormous distances to see their loved ones; they lived right down the street. Nor did their Native American liaison Squanto and his preposterously accommodating brethren ever need to fly out of LaGuardia.

Your Baking Idol Chrissy Teigen Already Had Her First Thanksgiving Fail

Chrissy Teigen, Glamour Woman of the Year and queen of the kitchen, has already had her first Thanksgiving fail—and she’s handling it like a true holiday hero.

Given Teigen’s prowess in the kitchen, it’s no surprise the Cravings author is whipping up a Thanksgiving feast. Which, according to her Instagram Story, has been an ongoing project for the past day—roasted turkey and fresh cranberries and sweet potato pies. Before you watch it, be warned, your mouth will definitely be watering.

Here’s the pie in progress, courtesy of Teigen’s Stories (there’s no audio, but the visuals speak for themselves):

Yes, we would like some of this.

Pretty perfect, right?

But as anyone who’s ever tried to cook a meal this big knows, it’s a journey. A saga filled with unexpected challenges. A noble quest that could break even the best of chefs. Holding down multiple dishes at once ain’t easy—even for the pros.

The proof is in Teigen’s latest post. After sharing this truly delicious footage of a sweet potato pie in her Stories, the final result almost didn’t make the social media cut. “In case you are wondering why I didn’t put my finished pie on my Instastory,” she wrote, right next to the sad remains of a sweet potato pie burnt to a crisp.

Naturally, people are living for the realness of Chrissy’s usual candor. “You are a regular human woman like the rest of us stressed over the holidays. Thanks for keeping it real,” one commenter wrote. Another, echoing what we’re all thinking, said, “I love how you are so real and open. No faking with you. Now, can I get a slice of the crunch pie?”

A few commenters suggested simply scraping off the top and piling on whipped cream (which, let’s be real, actually sounds pretty good), but Chrissy is a pro who does not get daunted. After sharing the Thanksgiving fail, she was back at it with attempt number two, and it’s looking great.

Just let us know what time to be over, Chrissy.

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Best Movies in Winter 2018

This winter’s slate of new movies really runs the gamut. In one corner, we have your standard Oscar bait, like the pop epic Vox Lux, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, and the Best Picture favorite Roma. Starting in January, though, a string of popcorn thrillers like Glass and Serenity are coming to your screens. Round out the season with romantic comedies like Isn’t It Romantic and What Men Want, and you have one of the most exciting winter movie lineups in years. Of course, there’s a superhero flick thrown in the mix for good measure. (In this year’s case, there are actually two: Aquaman and Captain Marvel). In other words, there’s truly something for everyone.

Here are our 22 picks for the must-see films of winter. Cozy up at a theater (or streaming platform) nearest you.

5 Reasons Ralph Breaks The Internet’s Disney Princesses Need Their Own Movie

It was a brilliant idea to bring the Disney princesses together for Ralph Breaks the Internet, and Disney should not stop there. Some sequel and spinoff ideas seem forced, but in this case there’s almost too much potential to know where to begin. (If only we had a body of water to stare into and sing about this dream.) There are so many angles Disney could cover with the princesses, and Ralph directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston even said a spinoff film might be possible. Here are five reasons Disney should get a crack team of writers on this ASAP.

There’s Clearly A Market For It

Disney isn’t going to do anything if it won’t make them money, and they have to know a Disney princess movie would make ALL the money. The second the news came out that the princesses would be uniting in the internet of Ralph Breaks the Internet — voiced by the original Disney princess stars — it was all fans could talk about. They steal their scenes in the movie, and I can tell you my audience loved it. These are the princesses we know and love, but modern, self-confident, self-aware versions for our internet age. Since the cinema landscape is currently obsessed with that perfect blend of old and new, nostalgic but fresh, this seems like a no-brainer.

They Could Basically Be Princess Avengers

Disney shouldn’t let the MCU have all the fun when it comes to popular characters working together in a shared universe. They already opened the door for the princesses to know each other, so now give them more to do. Since they’ve all had their own individual movies, you can’t really argue that there’s not enough story for a group film. There are so many big, strong men they could save with their respective skill sets! We only got a short time with them in Ralph, but there’s so much potential for side pairings and action scenes — just like the Avengers.

There Are So Many Cool Villains They Could Face

As much as I love the Disney princesses, I LOVE Disney villains. A spinoff could easily put the villains center-stage and have the princesses be supporting characters. I’d love to see pair-ups like Snow White’s evil queen with Cinderella’s stepmother, and Maleficent and Jafar either bonding or out-snarking each other along with their respective bird sidekicks. ABC’s Once Upon a Time had fun bringing different Disney heroes and villains together, but that was live-action and this would be the official animated versions on the big screen.

Or They Could Battle Each Other

Also like the Avengers, to be honest, if we’re talking Captain America: Civil War. I’d love to see the princesses working together on the same side, but I could easily see them clashing over any number of things. Merida might just get sick of them not understanding her and snap. Instead of making it Princesses vs. Villains, maybe some of the princesses team up with villains, identifying with their points-of-view, and it launches conflicts. I don’t necessarily mean action-scene fights — although Ralph showed they could definitely hold their own — it would just be refreshing to switch up the protagonist and antagonist roles from any given Disney movie. It’s awesome when princesses work together, but humans with real personalities and opinions don’t always agree. Let the ladies finally be real and human.

They Could Launch More Spinoffs For Disney+

A Disney princess movie could naturally lead to more spinoffs on the 2019 streaming service Disney+. For some of us, there can never be too much Disney princesses fun. Sure, there’s already a Disney Channel, but I’m not talking about fun specifically aimed at little ones. Ralph had plenty of references that probably went over some kids’ heads. Some of the sequels/spinoffs could be PG, like Ralph, or they could lean a little older with the edgy references and go for PG-13. I’m not suggesting R, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t down for an R-rated badass Disney princess smackdown. Go full Logan. But I doubt Disney would ever be game for that.

What do you think? There are fair arguments for the opposite, that the Disney princesses shouldn’t get their own movie after Ralph Breaks the Internet. That’s not how I feel, but you can share your vote in the poll below. Meanwhile, Ralph is now in theaters and there’s plenty more to look forward to on the big screen in the rest of 2018 and 2019.

Should The Disney Princesses Get Their Own Movie

The Middle’s Sue Heck Spinoff Just Got Some Really Bad News

Having spent nine seasons being an unofficial member of the quirky Heck family, fans were sorely disappointed when ABC called it quits with The Middle. _A silver lining appeared in the form of a spinoff project focusing on daughter Sue Heck’s presumably awkward emergence in the outside world. Unfortunately, that silver lining has been shattered, as ABC announced it will not be moving forward with the follow-up comedy _Sue Sue in the City.

Considering the premise for Sue Sue in the City was so different from The Middle, at least from the outset, it seemed like a good way to spin the “franchise,” as it were, in a new direction. However, ABC had some concerns with taking the next step with the spinoff. Production studio Warner Bros. TV apparently does still have faith in the project, though, with Deadline reporting that Sue Sue in the City may get shopped around to other networks to see if more interest lies elsewhere.

The chances aren’t always that great for networks to pick up another channel’s passed-on projects, but WB TV could have a decent shot here. For one, The Middle somewhat quietly amassed a gigantic fandom in the near-decade it was on the air, so the built-in audience is there. Two, ABC faced a very similar situation last year with black-ish by giving up on its spinoff based on Yara Shahidi’s Zoey. That show was later picked up by Freeform, where it’s been a modest hit.

Hey, Fox could also be a good option for where Sue Sue in the City could end up. After all, the network saved Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing a year after its cancellation at ABC, and the mildly controversial sitcom is now Fox’s biggest comedy hit.

As far as plotlines go, Sue Sue in the City was set to follow Eden Sher’s goob-tastic Sue Heck as she took her eternal optimism outside of Orson and over to the big and bustling city of Chicago. Audiences would have gotten to watch Sue try and figure out the complicated ins and outs of moving up in the world. Co-starring in the pilot were Silicon Valley‘s Chris Diamantopoulos, The Middle vet Brock Ciarlelli, SMILF‘s Kimberly Crossman, SNL vet Finesse Mitchell, and newcomer Aaron Branch.

The Middle spinoff was just ordered to pilot in August, and was still announcing cast additions in October, so it’s fairly surprising that ABC has already made a decision. (Especially a negative one.) While no reasons were given for the lack of interest, it could possibly be tied into the recent announcement that Channing Dungey would be stepping down as ABC President after less than three years.

Channing Dungey was a major force behind spearheading the network’s comedy spinoffs, and there’s another one on the way in the form of The Goldberg‘s long-gestating follow-up centering on Tim Meadows’ principal and Bryan Callen’s coach. That project already got the series order green light, and is set for a 2019 premiere. So let’s hope nothing about this Middle spinoff news affects Schooled in any way.

What do you guys think? Are you hoping to see Warner Bros. get Sue Sue in the City sold off to another network? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for all the shows that definitely are coming to TV during the rest of the fall season, and then in the midseason.

Todd Rundgren Recalls the Breakup Behind ‘Hello It’s Me’

Todd Rundgren wrote his first song, “Hello It’s Me,” in 1967, one year after a painful high-school breakup.

The song was first recorded in 1968 as a slow ballad by Nazz, a band Mr. Rundgren co-founded. In late 1971, while recording the solo album “Something/Anything?” he updated the song with a bouncier arrangement. It climbed to No. 5 on Billboard’s pop chart in 1973 and became his biggest-selling solo hit, remaining on the chart for 20 weeks.

5 Cover Songs From The Greatest Showman: Reimagined Album That Are Better Than The Originals

Step up ladies and gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for! You may remember going to see the The Greatest Showman in theaters during the holidays last year, but the movie’s soundtrack has been given a new life. As announced last month, The Greatest Showman has a cover album and it’s filled with tons of eclectic music talent singing your favorite songs from the film.

Following the critical acclaim of the music in La La Land, Oscar-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s next project became The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson. The larger-than-life musical loosely based on the life of circus manager, P.T. Barnum may not have dazzled most critics but it quickly became a cult favorite, cashing in $400 million at the worldwide box office. The smash hit is primarily known for its catchy tunes and remarkable performances.

The Greatest Showman: Reimagined is a stunning tribute to the musical’s melodies, and is made just for the fan who knows all the words to the original soundtrack and is hungry for an encore. It’s stacked with popular artists from a variety of genres and overall has an impressive selection of covers to please fans. Some of the new songs are so good that they soar high over the original recordings. Check out which ones upstage the likes of Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams below!

The Greatest Show

The beginning of The Greatest Showman begins just like a stage musical, with a stunning and exciting song and dance number to hype up the audience and introduce the feel of the show. It’s a great way to start a movie musical because it pushes audiences into the deep end of the genre right away. Hugh Jackman’s P.T. Barnum joyfully starts off the show with this track in the movie but the Reimagined album kicks it up a notch.

With one listen to Panic! At The Disco’s cover of “The Greatest Show,” you’ll likely be wondering, ‘Was this song written for Brendon Urie’s voice?’ The pop punk frontrunner fits right in with the movie’s big opener as its energizing sound surges and builds into its chorus. Panic! At The Disco easily makes this “The Greatest Show” their own and enhances the lavish feel of the song with its bigger and bolder sound.

Come Alive

Another memorable track in The Greatest Showman early in the film is “Come Alive,” also with Hugh Jackman front and center. In the song, Barnum is giving the new circus performers the confidence to get out there and perform. It’s one of many high-energy tracks that can easily help put a smile on anyone’s face with one listen.

When British breakout talents Years & Years and Jess Glynne get ahold of the track for the Reimagined album, the power of the words “Come Alive” aren’t a mere suggestion, they are instantly spoken into existence as the new beat drops. Years & Years’ lead singer Olly Alexander gives off some serious Michael Jackson vibes and his vocals add some additional soul to each lyric, while Jess Glynne is a great match for Alexander’s voice.

This Is Me

“This is Me” is the central track of The Greatest Showman for its powerful lead vocals by Keala Settle, positive message of embracing who you are and unforgettable sequence on screen. It earned the 2017 movie musical an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win for Best Original Song. Turns out the album highlight can strike gold twice, just by adding Missy Elliott and Kesha to Settle’s already flawless performance.

The cover track titled “This is Me (Reimagined Remix)” opens with new spoken word lyrics delivered by Missy Elliott who captures the spirit of the song by adding lines such as “They can’t stop you, or block you or mock you” and “You have a purpose.” The song then hands it off to Kesha and Keala Settle who strengthen the song with their duet that’s sure to send some chills down your spine. This track is perfect proof that the Reimagined album seeks to make the songs of the movie more universal and relatable through a cover such as this one.


In The Greatest Showman, Barnum’s wife Charity played by Michelle Williams gets her own solo song called “Tightrope.” The emotional ballad has Charity watch her husband leave with the beautiful and talented Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson) on the road, while she stays with their two daughters and simply misses him. As Williams sings, the song also parallels to the rocky relationship between Anne (Zendaya) and Phillip (Zac Efron).

Sorry Charity, when Sara Bareilles comes in with her melancholy piano and iconic vocals, I surrender. Her iteration takes some creative liberties by turning the typical musical solo into a stripped-down track with dreamy notes in the background. The chorus is more epic and poignant in this version than the original, but of course builds upon the context of the memorable scene in The Greatest Showman.

From Now On

“From Now On” is the final song in The Greatest Showman and marks an incredible ending to the movie. The track has Hugh Jackman’s vocals at their best, not to mention it includes that scene when he runs to catch a train as he delivers them. The song is filled to the brim with heart and makes for a moving finale for the movie musical.

For “From Now On,” I’m going to draw the line between the cover not being better but simply extremely well “reimagined” by Zac Brown Band. As much of these songs do, it seamlessly bends the show tune into working in a completely new genre and still working just as well. The song becomes refined into a country folk track with a completely different feel to it.

As a whole, the cover album breathes some new life into the songs of The Greatest Showman. The above songs impress over their originals but also show how incredible the songs were to begin with. Some other memorable songs from the musical such as “Million Dreams,” “Rewrite the Stars” and “Never Enough” also feature some impressive covers, but the first recordings still reign over them. The Greatest Showman: Reimagined cover album is currently available to stream or own.

Tons of Meghan Markle’s Favorite Beauty Products Are on Sale for Black Friday

Wading through the thousands of Black Friday and Cyber Monday beauty deals the Internet has to offer can feel like a daunting task. With so much out there, how can you possibly discern which products are actually worth the race to cash in on? Thankfully, our forever beauty icon Meghan Markle has got us covered. While it’s technically frowned upon for a royal to give their endorsement of a product, back when Markle was an actress, she shared dozens of recommendations about her favorite beauty items.

From the hydrating lip balm the duchess swears by to the polishing powder she credits for her glowing skin, we rounded up all her go-tos that are on-sale throughout Black Friday weekend. Even though these days, Markle has a glam squad to stock up on these products on her behalf, we like to imagine her pouring over Sephora’s sales the morning after Thanksgiving just like the rest of us.

Black Friday 2018: All the Fashion Deals You Need to Know

Black Friday deals are earlier than ever this year which may feel overwhelming and sudden but it’s actually pretty great when you really think about it. Chances are you haven’t spent all your money on holiday gifts (yet) so you can shop for yourself guilt-free while also picking up some inexpensive holiday presents in the process. Everybody wins!

But like all huge sales, it’s hard to differentiate the really good once in a lifetime deals from the okay discounts you can probably find at any other given time. To help you out, we’ve gone ahead and created a comprehensive but edited list of all the actual best Black Friday sales while also featuring some of our favorite items.

After the crazy year that was 2018 you definitely deserve that incredibly fluffy coat, those boots you’ll wear forever, the on-trend piece you’re convinced will transform your wardrobe or all three. Read on below to find out where to get all the best Black Friday deals and don’t be afraid to treat yourself.

& Other Stories: Everyone’s favorite affordable and trendy Swedish brand is offering 20% sitewide from November 23 to November 24.

ATM Collection: Get ready for holiday festivities with 20% off ATM’s holiday collection until November 26.

Aeropostale: Score 60-70% off sitewide throughout the weekend.

Ana Luisa: Pick up a gorgeous piece of jewelry from ethical jewelry brand Ana Luisa (who like Everlane, has transparent pricing). Shop 20% off sitewide with code ‘BF20’ until November 24 and get those pearl drop earrings you’ve been dreaming of.

Aquatalia: Italian designer boots and shoes are 30% off site-wide with code ‘BLACKFRIDAY’ until November 24.

AUrate: Their biggest sale of the year! There’s 25% off online and at AUrate retail stores from Thursday November 22 to Sunday November 25 11:59 PT with code BLACK25.

Bagatelle: Get a coat that will look good while also keeping you warm for 25% off sitewide until November 26. Seriously fun apparel and accessories from are 30% off with code THIRTYOFF from November 22 to November 27. Check the site daily for special deals in addition to the discount!

Barneys Warehouse: Until November 25 spend up to $299 and take 30% off, spend $300-$499 and take 40% off and spend $500 or more and take 50% off.

BaubleBar: Shop fun statement earrings, personalized jewelry and more at 30% off sitewide until November 24.

Bluebella: Get incredibly dreamy lingerie and intimates at a fraction of the price. Shop the favorite Pandora style in red for 50% off from November 23 to November 25. Shop the Gabriela style in black for 50% off from November 24 to November 25.

Dolce Vita: Find all the boots, shoes and sneakers you want at Dolce Vita’s Black Friday sale. There is 20% off sale and final sale using code ‘BLKFRI20’ until November 25.

Catherines: Until November 23 get 50% off store wide.

Charles & Keith: Starting on November 23 until November 27, Charles & Keith’s already affordable shoes, bags, and accessories will be an additional 50% off sales items and 20% off regular priced items.

Coach: Best selling bags are 50% off through Cyber Monday.

Danskin Stock up on dancer approved leggings and leotards with 50% off sitewide using code ‘BLKFRI50’.

Express: Shop 50% off everything online with free shipping on all orders until November 23.

Frank & Oak: Get 30% off sitewide with code ‘BLACKFRIDAY30’ until November 25.

Good American: From November 23 to November 26 shop great size inclusive denim at 25% off sitewide.

Journelle: Shop 25% off sitewide until November 25.

Lane Bryant: Get 40% off storewide until November 26 plus daily deals. On November 22 all bras are $29.50. On November 23 all bras are still $29.50 and select sweaters are $20. November 24 all jeans and pants are $39. November 25 LIVI hoodies are $20.

Lord & Taylor: From November 20 to November 25 enjoy an extra 40% off clearance and 50% off fragrances. There are also puffers for $59.99, cashmere for $49.99, and $29.99 cashmere accessories. On November 27, as part of the HBC Foundation HEADFIRST initiative, Lord & Taylor is donating 10% of sales from and across all stores to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), up to $200,000.

Mavi: Shop Mavi jeans on Black Friday for 30% off sitewide, starting on November 19 and ending November 25.

M.Gemi: From Black Friday until Cyber Monday, get a pair of shoes on M.Gemi with 25% off your entire order!

Miansai: Use code ‘BLACKFRI20’ for 20% off sitewide until November 26 on gorgeous bracelets, rings, jewelry and more.

Missoma: One of Meghan Markle’s favorite British jewelry brands, Missoma, is offering 25% off everything with code ‘BF25’ from November 21 to November 26. They’ll also be planting one tree with TreeSisters for every order made.

Mytheresa: Score designer steals from Mytheresa’s ‘black friday’ category for 30% off with code ‘BLACK30’ until November 25.

Nike: Stock up on athletic pieces and take an extra 20% off select styles at

Nordstrom: Get up to 60% off select pieces at Nordstrom from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

Onia: Make sure to get all of the dream beachy pieces from Onia starting on November 21 until November 26. There’s 60% off spring-summer and 50% off select prefall plus 30% off select resort styles.

Outdoor Voices: Get ready to start #DoingThings in the best workout pieces from Outdoor Voices, where select styles will be 40% off online starting on November 23 until November 26. Key pieces like the exercise dress, warmup leggings, and tritone leggings will be on sale, so don’t miss out!

The Outnet: The Outnet already has great designer pieces at highly discounted prices so now is the time to get the piece you never thought you could afford. Shop the best designer sale (where some pieces are already 85% off) with an additional 25% off from November 23 until November 26.

Pop & Suki: Pop & Suki bags make the perfect gift since they can also be personalized. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone else, you’ll be happy to know everything is 30% off sitewide with code ‘BFCM30’ throughout the weekend.

PUMA: Enter code ‘PUMAFRIDAY’ until November 25 for 20% off There’s also a different daily deal everyday. Starting with November 22 with an extra 10% off sale with code ‘DAILYDEAL2’. On November 23 take an extra 20% off kids footwear and apparel with code ‘DAILYDEAL3’. On November 24 take $10 off track suit separates with code ‘DAILYDEAL4’. On November 25 get 20% off running sneakers and apparel with code ‘DAILYDEAL5’.

Reformation: Chances are you already want everything on Reformation’s site, from their perfect party dresses to incredibly flattering jeans. Well now you can shop 30% off everything throughout Cyber Monday. Run, don’t walk.

Roxy: Get all the beaches, surfwear and beach pieces you need with 60% off select sale until November 23.

Sam Edelman: Until November 25 get your dream pair of shoes 30% off with code ‘SAMSGIVING2018’.

Saks Fifth Avenue: Use the code ‘THANKFUL’ to earn a 75$ gift card with every $150 purchase from November 22 to November 23. Use code ‘DENIM2018’ until November 25 for up to $150 off all Women’s denim. Also shop up to 40% off a large designer selection. Also use the code ‘SAVENOW’ for up to $200 off your purchase.

Saks Off 5th: From November 20 to November 26, shop Saks Off 5th for all the best designer deals. There’s 50% off all coats, cashmere, boots, designer jeans, and Vince sweaters. Hats, gloves, and scarves are also half off. Already reduced designer apparel will also be an additional 50% off as well as all Vince sweaters. All beauty and fragrance is 20% off.

Sandro: Enjoy up to 30% off on French staples from Sandro, plus an additional 25% off starting on November 22 until November 26.

Shopbop: Up until November 25 use the code ‘MORE18’ get 25% off full price items and up to 75% off sales items. Plus get 15% off orders of $200+, 20% off orders of $500+ and 25% off orders of 800+.

Steve Madden: Until November 27 some Steve Madden styles will be up to 70% off (!!!!).

Timberland: Get 30% off new and sale styles until November 25.

Toms: Pick up a new pair of shoes at Toms for 30% off select items from November 21 to November 27.

Tory Burch: Until November 26 get 30% off orders $250+ with code ‘THANKS.’ All sale styles will also be up to 60% off.

Topshop: Buy all the season’s biggest trends from Topshop up to 50% off through Cyber Monday.

Urban Outfitters: This sale is the definition of more is more. UO is having a BOGO sale for the entire site. Buy one and get the other one 50% off so you can buy something for yourself and your friend. UO rewards members can also take 20% off their entire purchase.

Uniqlo: Uniqlo has deals on almost all of it’s most popular pieces starting today throughout Cyber Monday. Expect discounts on heat tech, Alexander Wang x Uniqlo, jackets, cashmere scarves and sweaters and more.

Via Spiga: From November 23 to November 26 there is an additional 20% off all sale with code ‘THANKFULFORVIA’.

What Goes Around Comes Around: Get vintage designer finds for less with 20% off everything, no exclusions until November 25.

Wildfang: Get 20% off sitewide at Wildfang on Black Friday. The brand’s signature graphic T-shirt will also be only $20 for one day only.

Zadig & Voltaire: For one day only enjoy 20% off site-wide on November 22. 40% off ZV signatures styles will be available on November 23.

Zappos: From Black Friday until Cyber Monday there will be 25% off select styles from top brands.

Gillian Jacobs: Why Marlo Thomas’ *Free to Be You and Me* Still Holds Up Today

Free to Be…You & Me, a recorded album, children’s book, and later ABC special, celebrates its 44th anniversary this month. The brainchild of actress and producer Marlo Thomas (That Girl), the special focused on individuality, tolerance, and comfort with one’s identity. And, most important for young women coming of age in the 70s and 80s, the lesson that they can achieve anything regardless of gender.

Actress and director Gillian Jacobs (Community, Love) credits Thomas—and Free to Be…You & Me—with inspiring her own career trajectory. Here, she talks with Thomas about the battles the latter fought to bring her vision to television and why its message is worth revisiting today.

I’m one of many kids who grew up on Free to Be…You & Me. I listened to the record, read the book, and even performed “Boy Meets Girl” in one of my first acting classes. My mom wanted me to know I was free to be anything I wanted to be, but she was battling traditional gender stereotypes from both society and the media…Marlo Thomas helped drive that message home.

Not long ago I re-listened to the album. As I reflected and laughed, I also felt a twinge of sadness. For as much progress as we’ve made since 1972, children still face a lot of the same issues today. To be totally honest, I still grapple with a lot of the ideas in the album. We need Free to Be to remind us of our potential and commonality.

Free to Be…You & Me Marlo Thomas.jpg

PHOTO: Everett Collection

Marlo Thomas in ‘Free to Be…You & Me’

Gillian Jacobs: Free to Be…You & Me was one of the reasons I became an actor. We did sketches from it when I was a kid, I listened to it all the time, and it was an attempt by my mom to make sure I wasn’t limited by any gender norms or stereotypes.

Marlo Thomas: You were lucky to have such an enlightened mother!

Gillian: Sadly I still fell into some of [those gender norms], but the messages of that album really resonated with me and stayed with me my whole life. But first, let’s talk about That Girl. I didn’t realize you produced the series when you were 24.

Marlo: I got a part in a pilot at Universal called Two’s Company, but it didn’t sell, which is no big surprise because most pilots don’t. But the head of the network called to say they still wanted to find a show for me. They sent me a bunch of scripts, but they were all kind of…not very forward-thinking. In every one of them the girl is either the wife of somebody, the daughter of somebody, the secretary of somebody. So I said, “Have you ever considered a show where the girl was the somebody?” And the network head said, “Would anybody watch a show like that?” I brought him a copy of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, and I said, “You should read this, because this is where it’s going. Women are not going to be their mothers. They want a career. They want to live on their own before they get married.” He wasn’t really sure I was right, but he gambled on it and it was a big success. That was a shock to everybody.

Gillian: I read that there was a debate over the finale episode of That Girl. They wanted it to end with a wedding, and you pushed back on that.

Marlo: Right. By then, I was producing the show, and I felt a wedding would be a real betrayal to all the girls who watched the show to say that the only happy ending is a wedding. And wedding [episodes] do really well as a last show. They begged me to do one, but I wouldn’t do a wedding. The producers wanted a wedding, the network wanted a wedding, advertisers wanted a wedding. I was the only one who didn’t want a wedding.

Gillian: The remarkable thing is that women are still fighting these battles to this day. As much as the culture has shifted, I think that’s still a debate to not have female characters be defined by mens interests in them and to not view marriage as the ultimate goal or a validation of their worth.

Marlo: Well, the good thing about today is that there are more women making decisions. In my day, I was the only woman in the room, so that was harder. And I was happy to have the men that worked with me. But I would often say to them, “A girl wouldn’t say that to her father.” Or, “A girl wouldn’t say that to her boyfriend.” And they would say, “But it’s funny.” And I would say, “But it isn’t true.” In the second year of the series, I got smart [and hired] a female story editor, so then there were two of us. I always said, “One is a pest, two is a team, and three is a coalition. That’s what you need: a coalition.” [Laughs]

Gillian: I often feel I have to push past my own discomfort at work when I feel like something isn’t right. Did speaking up come easy to you?

Marlo: No, it was always hard—especially if you’re the only woman. You always have to have somebody who is on your team. My idea was I wanted to play a girl like myself who graduated from college, who wanted to be an actress, whose parents wanted her to get married, but she wanted to move to the big city. That was what my life was. I didn’t think I would get married. And my parents weren’t ready to hear all of that. My dad wasn’t so rough on it, but my mother was very reluctant to have me move out on my own. I lived in a sorority house in college and was with a house mother and a lot of girls, and now I was wanting to move into an apartment on my own. My mother was terrified.

Gillian: I moved to New York to go to college, and my mom thought I was going to have a curfew like she had because her mother had made her go to essentially a finishing school. When she found out I’d be living in New York City without a curfew, she almost didn’t want me to go! She would say, “So you can come and go as you want and no one is going to know where you are?!”

Marlo: Oh, I’m sure! It’s hard for them. They’re very worried about us!

Gillian: And I was very good, she had nothing to worry about!

Marlo: Me either! I was always a good kid. That’s the thing about mothers, they’re in your head all the time.

Gillian: Speaking of, there are so many messages from Free to Be…You & Me that have stuck with me, like the re-telling of the story of Atalanta, which in your version does not end in marriage. It’s about a girl taking agency over her own life and making decisions for herself.

Marlo: She fought for her rights. When we were putting that album together, I said, “If we could re-write our childhoods, what would we like to know? What would we have like to heard?” And my friend Herb Gardner said, “I would have liked to have known that it’s OK for a boy to cry.” And Carol Hall wrote that wonderful song, “It’s All Right to Cry.” I said, “I would have liked to have one fairytale to end where the princess does not marry the prince. And she’s not a blonde!” So we got Betty Miles to re-write Atalanta so Atalanta ran in the race and made the decision herself. And, as you know, Atalanta was a brunette. So many women wrote me to say thank you for not copping out at the end of Atalanta. By the way, not copping out at the end of Atalanta is very much like not copping out at the end of That Girl. My character on That Girl didn’t get married, and Atalanta didn’t get married because that’s not the only happy ending. It was important for me to say that. I mean, I’m married now for 38 years, and I’m crazy about my husband. It is my happy ending, but it isn’t what I needed for a happy ending. It became a happy event that I found a man that I loved and wanted to live with forever. But I don’t think that should be the goal of every girl.

Gillian: I agree.

Marlo: And every story doesn’t have to end that way, because that’s a terrible pressure to put on every girl…that the only way to be happy is to be married. That’s crazy.

Gillian: My mom really wanted me to hear that it was important for me to have something that I’m passionate about and have my own career. She didn’t want me to have the message that she grew up with, which was not only do you get married, but you find a man who is going to take care of you. Because if it doesn’t work out, you have to start over, and a lot of times you were dependent on your husband. So that was a message that I heard strongly in my childhood.

Gillian Jacobs performing the skit "Boy Meets Girl" from *Free to Be...You & Me*

PHOTO: Gillian Jacobs

Gillian Jacobs at a young age.

Marlo: Exactly. I’m glad it meant so much to you. That makes me feel great.

Gillian: That’s why in the last few years, if I have an impulse to do something or a curiosity about something, I’m trying to pursue it rather than dismiss it. So I’m interviewing people, I’m writing essays, I’m starting to direct. I am learning to push past my own feelings of inadequacy. Did you have that same feeling that if you have an interest in something, you’re just going to make it happen?

Marlo: I don’t know the answer to that question. Probably for me, I never really had a career plan, which I probably should have. I’m kind of like a kid where if you wave something shiny in front of them that’s what attracts them. I did an interview show on AOL for five years called Mondays with Marlo, and I interviewed over 200 people from Jennifer Aniston to Suze Orman. I wanted to do something where I could help women figure out their own lives. It was really interesting to learn things I never would have known, whether it was about 401Ks from Suze Orman or something else. It was providing a service, and it really turned me on.

Gillian: It seems that being of service has been very important to you.

Marlo: It’s more about noticing stuff. I notice things. I think I got that from my parents, especially my father. He noticed people and gaps in things that weren’t working. He built St. Jude Research Hospital because as a child he never went to a doctor, neither did any of his nine siblings. Kids in his neighborhood died from [conditions they shouldn’t have] like appendicitis and influenza, so he wanted to do something that would take care of that for people. [He built a] hospital where nobody paid. I think, in a way, my sister and brother and I all have that. We notice if somebody is hurting. I don’t know if I’m a do-gooder as much as a noticer.

Gillian: Well, I’m going to call you a do-gooder. I admire what I’ve seen you do over the decades. Speaking of which, let’s talk about the Thanks and Giving program that St. Jude does during the holidays.

Marlo: The Thanks and Giving program goes from now until Christmas. My brother and sister and I created this program 15 years ago; by the end of this campaign year, we will have raised one billion dollars in 15 years. The whole idea was to give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not. It costs $2.8 million a day to run St. Jude’s because nobody pays for anything. They don’t pay to travel there. They don’t pay for treatment or medicine. They don’t pay for food or housing. That was my father’s promise in 1962, and we’ve kept that promise all these years.

Ed Note: You can donate to St. Jude by adding on any amount to your final bill at these stores during the holiday season.