Analysis: ‘Welcome to Chippendales’ strips down a true crime origin story

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A version of this story appeared in Pop Life Chronicles, CNN’s weekly entertainment newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.


Gratitude. That’s the word and exactly how I feel.

I am beyond grateful to you all. I asked about how you might like to see this newsletter reshaped, and you answered. So in the coming weeks, we shall be switching things up and putting a little meat on the bone.

Speaking of, whether turkey is your thing or not, I will not hold you long with this week’s edition to give us all more time to enjoy holiday time.

Here are some tasty content offerings for you – not literally, but you know where I’m heading with this.

‘Welcome to Chippendales’

Kumail Nanjiani in a scene from Hulu's

Bless us, but we do love our stripper content.

This new limited series, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Murray Bartlett, among others, also doubles as a true crime tale.

Inspired by the book “Deadly Dance: The Chippendales Murders,” it tells the story of “an Indian immigrant who became the unlikely founder of the world’s greatest male-stripping empire – and let nothing stand in his way in the process,” per a Hulu press release.

Let me grab my dollar bills now, because the first two episodes of “Welcome to Chippendales” are streaming now.

‘Fantasy Football’

From left: Marsai Martin and Omari Hardwick in a scene from

I recently had the opportunity to hang out with some of the stars of this film (we missed you, Kelly Rowland) and its director, Anton Cropper – and trust me, they are excited about it.

In the movie, Marsai Martin stars as the daughter of a professional footballer, played by Omari Hardwick, whose career has meant his family moves around often. But after she and her parents (the aforementioned Hardwick and Kelly Rowland) land in Atlanta when he gets a gig with the Atlanta Falcons, things change in, well, fantastical ways.

“Fantasy Football” is a good escape for the whole family. It’s streaming on Paramount+ now.

‘The Croods: Family Tree’

A scene from Hulu's

Speaking of family-friendly content, it’s time for another season with our favorite prehistoric cave dwellers – the titular Croods (and the Bettermans) are back for more animated adventures.

This season includes family retreats, cookouts, treasure hunts and a long lost love found frozen in a block of ice. If it sounds like a lot, it is – a lot of fun!

Season 5 is streaming now on Hulu.

Stormzy performs during the 2022 MTV Europe Music Awards on November 13 in Duesseldorf, Germany.

There’s not a ton of new albums being released between now and the end of the year, but if you are interested in learning about grime music, I have something for you.

Grime is a British genre of hip-hop/electronic music, and Stormzy is one of its best-known stars.

His latest album, “This Is What I Mean,” is his first in three years.

An activist and a philanthropist on top of his musical chops, there’s been some debate over whether Stormzy had lost some ‘street cred’ thanks to his cross-over appeal, which has included working with popstars like Ed Sheeran and the girl group Little Mix. Others, however, argue he’s breaking important boundaries:

“Stormzy is the perfect person to be in that mainstream conversation. Everyone loves him: the kids love him, the old ladies in shops love him,” Joseph Patterson, editor-in-chief of the culture website Complex UK told The Guardian. “There isn’t anyone else that can really do what Stormzy does.”

“This Is What I Mean” is out now.

'The Assignment with Audie Cornish'

And with less new music to fill your playlists, take the opportunity to get your podcast on. We have a great new series here at CNN in the form of “The Assignment with Audie Cornish.” With new episodes releasing weekly on hot topics like school boards and the sex work economy, Cornish curates insightful conversations with thought leaders and “people who live the headlines,” tapping into the zeitgeist and telling the full story, no holds barred.

The first two episodes of “The Assignment with Audie Cornish” are available now.

From left: Helen Mirren; Liam Neeson.

Just when we thought we couldn’t admire Dame Helen Mirren more, we are reminded of the great love she shared with Liam Neeson.

The pair dated decades ago, and though they went their separate ways, Mirren spoke warmly of Neeson in a recently published AARP interview.

“We loved each other. We were not meant to be together in that way, but we loved each other very, very much,” she said. “I love him deeply to this day. He’s such an amazing guy.”

Can you say ex-couple goals?

Jay Leno (center) is pictured with staff at The Grossman Burn Center on November 21 in Los Angeles.

Medical professionals are our unsung heroes.

While they may no longer be getting the well-deserved love and attention they did during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m glad to see Jay Leno highlighting them following his recent stay at the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles.

Leno suffered “serious burns” from a gasoline fire while working under a car earlier this month. Let’s not even talk about how many Hollywood stars would never allow themselves to be photographed with burn injuries, but know that the 72-year-old knows quite well the power of celebrity – and that his photo with the care team would be a wonderful tribute to those who have been helping him heal.

Add all of our first responders and medical personnel to the list of those to be thankful for.

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