Peter Pans Come Home

"According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, men and women between the ages of 18 and 34 are now more likely to be living with their parents than living on their own or in any other living situation [such as sharing an apartment]. This is the first time in American history that young people—32.1 percent of millennials—have been most likely to live with their parents. … I think the trend is a calamity that reflects the erosion of real self-determination in young people, fueled by their unfounded, rocketing, wafer-thin self-esteem. We have created a nation filled with too many perpetual children—Peter and Patty Pans—who were brought up getting trophies for participating in sports, instead of winning, protected from the supposed horrors of being ranked by grades and scores and sold [the] corrosive message … that everyone deserves every kind of support, regardless of the level of education they have or the work they put forward."

—psychiatrist and Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Keith Ablow, from his article "A Nation of Peter Pans: We Have Created a Country Filled With Perpetual Children" [, 5/26/16]

'Game of Thrones': Dragon-Sized Ratings

Never mind that Game of Thrones is on HBO, a premium cable channel accessible only by a fraction of television viewers. Never mind that the show was so bloody and horrific last season that many longtime fans swore they'd never watch again. It turns out more people than ever are watching. About 23 million people, in fact, when factoring in reruns, time-shifted DVR viewing and legal online streaming. Media analysts say that Game of Thrones regularly beats every network and cable show in the coveted 18-49 age demographic, even though HBO itself doesn't track such numbers. [, 6/23/16]

What Are People Watching on Netflix?

It's well known that streaming king Netflix doesn't generally discuss its viewer ratings. But the tech company Symphony Advanced Media, which uses a subscriber-based smartphone app to monitor viewership, recently released its own indepedent analysis of Netflix viewers' habits. It claims that Fuller House is easily Netflix's most popular show, drawing 14.4 million viewers within 35 days of its Feb. 26 premiere. Not only does that make the show more watched than anything else on Netflix, but it also eclipses numbers produced by many other cable hits, such as The Walking Dead.

Meanwhile, Netflix has recently studied its American "binge watchers" and put out a list of the most binged shows on its site. Series such as Sense8, Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black, The Walking Dead and American Horror Story were among the top tier of binged titles. These series' fans typically completed those series in four days, viewing them in chunks of roughly two hours and 30 minutes per sitting. The second tier of binge faves—titles typically completed in six days and viewed in roughly one-hour-and-45-minute chunks—included House of Cards, Bloodline, Mad Men, BoJack Horseman and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. [, 6/8/16;, 6/8/16;, 6/7/16]

Sequelitis & Mobile Millennials

Over the last decade, Hollywood has increasingly relied on sequels to keep the money flowing. But now it seems that strategy is faltering. While some sequels have done just fine (especially superhero flicks, with Captain America: Civil War being the most notable example), far more have flopped at the box office this year. Part of Hollywood's funk can be attributed to tendency to sequel-ize any movie that's been even remotely successful. For instance, few moviegoers were likely clamoring for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising or The Huntsman: Winter's War. But there's more at work here. Sequels are struggling, but nearly everything that isn't a sequel is performing even worse. "The problem for Hollywood isn't that audiences are ignoring sequels," writes The Atlantic's Derek Thompson. "The problem for Hollywood is that audiences are ignoring everything that isn't a sequel, adaptation, or reboot. The market for films based on stories that aren't already famous is threadbare."

Moreover, millennials are increasingly forsaking movies altogether, opting instead to engage with their mobile phones and to binge-watch shows on Netflix. "Everything in the attention economy is connected: The rise of mobile and the fragmentation of young audiences will continue to drive a blockbuster strategy in Hollywood where the movies get bigger and the franchises get longer," writes Thompson. "The more young people's attention is fragmented, the more expensive it is to create an audience for each film, the more desperate studios are to find franchises that birth many fruitful sequels, the more it makes sense to create fewer films and conserve production and advertising budgets for a handful of them." [theatlantic, 6/16]

Chewbacca Mom Now an Action Figure

Candace Payne, the Texan mom who became a viral sensation for a Facebook Live video of herself donning a Chewbacca mask last month, now has her own plastic lookalike toy from Hasbro. The action figure, which was topped with Payne's face and has a removable Wookiee mask, is equipped to spit out 13 different phrases, including Payne's famed "I am such a happy Chewbacca" quote. Since her video went viral, Payne has also done the late-night circuit, including a car ride with James Corden and Star Wars director JJ Abrams. Despite her newfound fame, the stay-at-home mom describes the experience as "humbling," and she thinks she knows why people enjoyed her video so much: "The world as a whole is in need of a good laugh," Payne said in an appearance on Good Morning America. [, 6/19/16]

McConaughey Talks Character's Faith

In Free State of Jones, Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey plays Newton Knight, a Mississippi farmer who leads a rebellion against Confederate forces in the Deep South. McConaughey says that his character was inspired to fight the Confederacy because of his faith. "Knight had a moral code rooted in the Bible and the Declaration of Independence: love thy neighbor as thyself, and all men are created equal," McConaughey told The Daily Beast. "So he had a very radical relationship with his own independence, and interdependence—which is very American. Extremely American … All of this, the abolition of slavery in the Civil War at this time, they were almost all led by religious movements—Christian movements—that were trumping the ideals that everyone else had. They went further into it and said, 'No, this is not right—because of the Bible'" McConaughey then went on to unpack the etymology of the word religion. "Religion actually means, if you look up the Latin root, 're' which means again, and 'ligare,' which means to bind together. It means exactly the opposite of what and how we are often practicing it these days!" [, 6/23/16]

Revenge of the Books

According to Nielsen's 2015 U.S. Book Industry Year-End Review, print book sales are on the rise while e-book sales are declining. There were a total of 653 million print books sold last year, a 3% rise compared to 2014, while e-book sales dipped 3% in the same time frame. Interestingly, those who are reading books digitally are increasingly using their smartphones to do so, with the percentage of e-book readers choosing that delivery device rising from 7.6% in 2014 to 14.3% in 2015. [, 6/1/16]


The social network Instagram now boasts more than half a billion active users—more than 300 million of whom use it every day. [, 6/12/16]

Just In Case, Mommy

When Michigan mom Stacey Feeley snapped a photo of her 3-year-old standing on their toilet, she thought at first that the young girl was just being silly. But then her daughter revealed that she was actually practicing in case a shooter came into her preschool and she would have to hide in a bathroom stall. Feeley promptly posted the picture and her little girl's reasoning to Facebook and it was reacted to and shared more than 10,000 times. "This is heartbreaking, no child should have to worry about such things," one user wrote. "What a sad reflection of today's society." [, 6/23/16]