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Have We Reached a Breaking Point With Social Media? – FLARE



(Photos: Getty Images, Illustration: Elham Numan)

One of my biggest goals for 2020 is to finally commit to unplugging from social media.

I, like many others, have a complicated relationship with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (no, I do not use Snapchat and I refuse to join Tik Tok for fear of upping my screen time even more). While the apps give me major social media fatigue, especially with devastating news stories and images constantly appearing on my feeds, I still can’t seem to break away from my phone, especially after a long, hard day when all I want to do is mindlessly scroll.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way; many of my friends, peers and individuals within my social networks have expressed their own issues with social media, too. Even celebrities are feeling social media’s negative effects, especially those who receive online hate on a regular basis.

Read this next: Lauren Duca on What It Was Like Being a Person on the Internet in 2019

Selena Gomez, the fifth most followed person on Instagram with a whopping 165 followers, has taken breaks from the app several times, and recently revealed she plans on stepping back from IG again once the promotional work for her new albumRare, is finished.

“I got back on [Instagram] because I was releasing music, but I just told my best friend Courtney [Lopez] yesterday, I’m going to have to take it off my phone again soon,” the 27-year-old songstress told Wall Street Journal. “[My friends] know I have an addictive personality, and [Instagram] can be unhealthy,” she added.

Gomez also explained why she previously quit social media in a new interview on New Music Daily with Zane Lowe.

“First off, there was a million things that I didn’t want to see. I would see them over and over and over again. Then I’m comparing…. You have FOMO. Everyone’s life looks amazing, and that happens to me, too. I’m like, ‘Well, what am I? I’m missing the plot here. Right? How come it’s so fun for everyone else?’” she said. “Then it just started getting dark. There were accounts that were dissecting me, down to my body, to my face, my features, choices I’ve made, telling stories, and it drove me crazy, because I honestly just wanted to be like, ‘None of you even know what you’re talking about,’ and it just destroyed me. So I stopped, and I tell every single person everything changed.”

Lizzo, a.k.a. the queen of 2019 who made us all feel good as hell, recently announced she would be quitting Twitter until further notice due to all the hatred she receives from Internet trolls.

“Yeah I can’t do this Twitter shit no more.. too many trolls,” she tweeted, adding, “I’ll be back when I feel like it.”

Shortly after quitting the app, however, the Grammy-nominated artist was body shamed by Jillian Michaels, former host of The Biggest Loser, during an interview on BuzzFeed News’ morning show, AM2DM.

In response, Lizzo took to Instagram Live to talk about how online comments have affected her mental health.

“I be waking up feeling bad as hell, I be waking up in my feelings. And I know that my mental [health], my emotional health, and my social health already affects me in positive and negative ways. But you add the internet to that shit, boy; the internet will have you depressed as fuck,” she said.

“I don’t even think it’s easy for someone like me to shut it off, who doesn’t have a clinical addiction to the internet. It ain’t easy. Shit is hard, bro. Deleting Twitter was the best,” she added.

Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin) also took to social media (ironic, we know) recently to speak about how painful it is to be “torn apart on the internet.”

“Instagram, Twitter etc. is SUCH a breeding ground for cruelty towards each other, and because people don’t take the time to connect with each other on an honest level before they resort to hatred, it starts to damage what could be really beautiful human interact and connection,” said the 23-year-old model on Instagram. “I could sit here all day and say the hate doesn’t bug me, that the words that are said don’t affect me. But NEWS FLASH: it hurts to be torn apart on the internet!!! It hurts to be compared to other human beings every single day, it hurts for people to jump to conclusions and make assumptions. It hurts to be called names, and to feel like you don’t measure up to a certain standard… the list goes on and on.”

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I would say my most favorite part of existing is human connection. I absolutely love connecting with other people, I love finding common interests between me and others, hearing people’s story, I love laughing with others, and I love crying with others. I feel so very very deeply. My heart explodes with happiness when my friends and family are happy and my heart feels crushed when they are hurting and sad. The reason I say all of this is: because I love to connect, I do my best to expose my heart which means I love freely and I empathize deeply, and because of that I also hurt very easily when I feel like people don’t see my heart and see me for who I am and the reason I’m even sharing this, is because Instagram, Twitter etc is SUCH a breeding ground for cruelty towards each other, and because people don’t take the time to connect with each other on an honest level before they resort to hatred, it starts to damage what could be really beautiful human interaction and connection. I could sit here all day and say the hate doesn’t bug me, that the words that are said don’t affect me. But NEWS FLASH: it hurts to be torn apart on the internet!!! It hurts to be compared to other human beings every single day, it hurts for people to jump to conclusions and make assumptions. It hurts to be called names, and to feel like you don’t measure up to a certain standard.. the list goes on and on. I share this only because it weighs often on my heart and because it’s important to be honest about how these things affect us mentally and emotionally. Hopefully it speaks to someone struggling with the same. with that being said Happy New Year. Let’s connect more in 2020 ?

A post shared by Hailey Baldwin Bieber (@haileybieber) on Jan 3, 2020 at 4:01pm PST

Read this next: I Don’t Think We’re *Actually* Dealing with the Trauma We See on Social Media

And there are countless other celebrities who have taken much-needed breaks from social media, such as Ed Sheeran, Cardi B and Kelly Marie Tran, the latter of whom quit social media altogether due to the racist and misogynistic harassment she faced online.

But quitting does not have to be the only solution, and isn’t exactly realistic, according to many mental health professionals, especially when social media is a big part of one’s job.

Dr. Katy Kamkar, clinical psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), says balance is key when using social media.

“Like any other mode of communication, we need to set a balance and use [social media] in such a way where we feel there is a healthy purpose, a sense of achievement and productivity and well-being,” she says. “It is when it feels it is moving towards the extreme end of continuum where we feel distressed and interference with our day to day functioning that we need to reassess its function and purpose and make proactive and healthy changes.”

It’s also important to note that social media isn’t necessarily bad. As Dr. Kristin Buhr, a psychologist with North Shore Stress & Anxiety Clinic in Vancouver, notes, how it affects you depends on how and why you use it.

For example, using social media to connect with friends and family may not be linked to poorer mental health, but using it to see how well others are doing or to compare yourself to others may be.

“Being more active, like posting, engaging and talking online, rather than being passive (just scrolling) on social media may have less negative effects,” she explains.

Dr. Buhr also says it’s also important to realize that social media use doesn’t effect everyone the same way.

“It would be an over-simplification to say that excessive social media use causes mental health problems, as lots of factors contribute to mental health issues. But, it may play a role, and as a result it’s worth looking at your social media use and how it may be affecting your mental health,” she says.

Read this next: This Is What It’s like to Be a Teen Girl on Social Media RN

Personally, I’ve tried detoxing from social media in the past by deleting the apps from my phone and even temporarily suspending my Instagram account altogether, but as soon as I got back online, it was hard to limit my time there. And according to the a report by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), the difficulty of staying off social media is related to addiction. Research shows that high rates of social media use can lead to compulsive behaviours with symptoms similar to addictions to substances like drugs and alcohol ttwwhen the use is restricted or stopped.

Additionally, as the CMHA reports, research suggests that there are similar neurological responses between compulsive social network sites (SNS) use and addiction to substances. Researchers found that the reward centre of the brain was often more activated after receiving positive social media feedback, such as whether they received “likes” or comments on their posts. The changes in the participants’ brains that resulted from positive feedback on an SNS were similar to individuals who experience addiction to substances like drug or alcohol.

However, not all hope is lost. Both Dr. Kamkar and Dr. Buhr say there are ways to limit your social media use without going cold turkey. Below, some strategies on how to stay connected online without losing connections IRL.

Define social media’s purpose in your life

Dr. Kamkar says it’s important to define how social media is used in your life. Are you using it for education? Pleasure? Work? All of the above?

“There needs to be an individualized approach and being able to define the purpose and goal behind using social media [can] ensure we can optimize its benefits and minimize any risk or interference with our day-to-day-life,” says Dr. Kamkar.

Be strategic about how you use social media—and unfollow accounts that don’t serve your purpose

Dr. Buhr notes it’s important to be clear about your intentions with social media. “Decide to use social media to connect or network, but not to evaluate or compare,” she suggests.

“It’s all about balance and being strategic,” says Dr. Buhr. “Limit the number of sites you use and unfollow people or things that don’t serve you in a positive way.”

time for social media that once again helps you to achieve your goals, maximize benefits of social media and minimize risk for additional stresses, worry or interference in your life.

Dr. Kamkar suggests using social media in ways that will maximize their benefits, and minimize the risk for additional stresses, worry or interference in your life. And as Dr. Buhr says, there are positive sides to social media, too, like helping you stay better connected to family and friends and helping you network and stay informed. She also says social media can provide a means of support and a sense of community, especially for people who may be isolated or marginalized.

Schedule times to go on and offline

Dr. Buhr suggests deciding ahead of time when and where you will use social media and when and where you won’t (for example, not using it at dinnertime and in bed), and set limits for how much time you do you it; tracking usage and having a daily max and sticking to it can help.

To prevent you from aimlessly picking up your phone and using social media when you’re bored, Dr. Buhr says to consider leaving your phone in a set spot at home rather than having it with you all the time.

While scheduling time to be on and offline, Dr. Buhr suggests experimenting with your daily usage and tracking whether reducing the amount of time you spend on social media per day has a positive impact on your mood. She also stresses the importance of having set times every day to be completely unplugged, which means turning off notifications, putting your phone away and being present in the moment.

Dr. Kamkar notes that when scheduling, it’s important to be flexible, as stressors and priorities might change over time and thus any time you had set for social media might also have to change.

Make time for self-care

Both Dr. Buhr and Dr. Kamkar stress the importance of making time for self-care in your routine.

“Make sure you balance social media use with activities that promote mental health,” says Dr. Buhr. “Make time for healthy eating, exercise, sleep, self-care, face-to-face time with friends and family, getting out in nature, engaging in mindfulness/meditation, etc.”

Dr. Kamkar says this is especially important prior to bedtime. “You might need to set a time as to the latest time you can engage in social media to ensure there is limited interference with the quality of your sleep,” she says.

Have a list of alternate activities to engage in instead of social media

To avoid the temptation of going on your phone and mindlessly scrolling, Dr. Buhr suggests making a list of activities (that don’t include checking social media) that you can do when you need a break or want to do something that requires less though. This could include reading a good book, listening to music, drawing, or colouring.

As for me, I plan on putting all of these into place and really start enjoying time with loved ones IRL. As Mrs. Bieber said, “Let’s all connect more in 2020.”

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Bob Newhart, deadpan comedy icon Dies at 94



Bob Newhart, the deadpan accountant-turned-comedian who became one of the most popular TV stars of his time after striking gold with a classic comedy album, has died at 94.

Jerry Digney, Newhart’s publicist, says the actor died Thursday in Los Angeles after a series of short illnesses.

Newhart, best remembered now as the star of two hit television shows of the 1970s and 1980s that bore his name, launched his career as a standup comic in the late 1950s. He gained nationwide fame when his routine was captured on vinyl in 1960 as The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, which went on to win a Grammy Award as Album of the Year.

While other comedians of the time, including Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Alan King, and Mike Nichols and Elaine May, frequently got laughs with their aggressive attacks on modern mores, Newhart was an anomaly. His outlook was modern, but he rarely raised his voice above a hesitant, almost stammering delivery. His only prop was a telephone, used to pretend to hold a conversation with someone on the other end of the line.

In one memorable skit, he portrayed a Madison Avenue image-maker trying to instruct Abraham Lincoln on how to improve the Gettysburg Address: “Say 87 years ago instead of fourscore and seven,” he advised.

Another favorite was Merchandising the Wright Brothers, in which he tried to persuade the aviation pioneers to start an airline, although he acknowledged the distance of their maiden flight could limit them. “Well, see, that’s going to hurt our time to the Coast if we’ve got to land every 105 feet.”

Newhart was initially wary of signing on to a weekly TV series, fearing it would overexpose his material. Nevertheless, he accepted an attractive offer from NBC, and The Bob Newhart Show premiered on Oct. 11, 1961. Despite Emmy and Peabody awards, the half-hour variety show was canceled after one season, a source for jokes by Newhart for decades after.

He waited 10 years before undertaking another Bob Newhart Show in 1972. This one was a situation comedy with Newhart playing a Chicago psychologist living in a penthouse with his schoolteacher wife, Suzanne Pleshette. Their neighbors and his patients, notably Bill Daily as an airline navigator, were a wacky, neurotic bunch who provided an ideal counterpoint to Newhart’s deadpan commentary. The series, one of the most acclaimed of the 1970s, ran through 1978.

Four years later, the comedian launched another show, simply called Newhart. This time he was a successful New York writer who decides to reopen a long-closed Vermont inn. Again Newhart was the calm, reasonable man surrounded by a group of eccentric locals. Again the show was a huge hit, lasting eight seasons on CBS. It bowed out in memorable style in 1990 with Newhart — in his old Chicago psychologist character — waking up in bed with Pleshette, cringing as he tells her about the strange dream he had: “I was an innkeeper in this crazy little town in Vermont. … The handyman kept missing the point of things, and then there were these three woodsmen, but only one of them talked!” The stunt parodied a Dallas episode where a key character was killed off, then revived when the death was revealed to have been in a dream.

Two later series were comparative duds: Bob, in 1992-93, and George & Leo, 1997-98. Though nominated several times, he never won an Emmy for his sitcom work. “I guess they think I’m not acting. That it’s just Bob being Bob,” he sighed.

Over the years, Newhart also appeared in several movies, usually in comedic roles. Among them: Catch 22, In & Out, Legally Blonde 2, and Elf, as the diminutive dad of adopted full-size son Will Ferrell. More recent work included Horrible Bosses and the TV series The Librarians, The Big Bang Theory, and Young Sheldon.

Newhart married Virginia Quinn, known to friends as Ginny, in 1964, and remained with her until her death in 2023. They had four children: Robert, Timothy, Jennifer, and Courtney. Newhart was a frequent guest of Johnny Carson’s and liked to tease the thrice-divorced Tonight host that at least some comedians enjoyed long-term marriages. He was especially close with fellow comedian and family man Don Rickles, whose raucous insult humor clashed memorably with Newhart’s droll understatement.

“We’re apples and oranges. I’m a Jew, he’s a Catholic. He’s low-key, I’m a yeller,” Rickles told Variety in 2012. A decade later, Judd Apatow would pay tribute to their friendship in the short documentary Bob and Don: A Love Story.

A master of the gently sarcastic remark, Newhart got into comedy after he became bored with his $5-an-hour accounting job in Chicago. To pass the time, he and a friend, Ed Gallagher, began making funny phone calls to each other. Eventually, they decided to record them as comedy routines and sell them to radio stations.

Their efforts failed, but the records came to the attention of Warner Bros., which signed Newhart to a record contract and booked him into a Houston club in February 1960. “A terrified 30-year-old man walked out on the stage and played his first nightclub,” he recalled in 2003.

Six of his routines were recorded during his two-week date, and the album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, was released on April Fools’ Day 1960. It sold 750,000 copies and was followed by The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!. At one point the albums ranked No. 1 and 2 on the sales charts. The New York Times in 1960 said he was “the first comedian in history to come to prominence through a recording.”

Besides winning Grammy’s Album of the Year for his debut, Newhart won as Best New Artist of 1960, and the sequel The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! won as Best Comedy Spoken Word Album. Newhart was booked for several appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and at nightclubs, concert halls, and college campuses across the country. He hated the clubs, however, because of the heckling drunks they attracted. “Every time I have to step out of a scene and put one of those birds in his place, it kills the routine,” he said in 1960.

In 2004, he received another Emmy nomination, this time as Guest Actor in a Drama Series, for a role in E.R. Another honor came his way in 2007, when the Library of Congress announced it had added The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart to its registry of historically significant sound recordings. Just 25 recordings are added each year to the registry, which was created in 2000.

Newhart made the best-seller lists in 2006 with his memoir, I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This!. He was nominated for another Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album (a category that includes audio books) for his reading of the book.

“I’ve always likened what I do to the man who is convinced that he is the last sane man on Earth … the Paul Revere of psychotics running through the town and yelling `This is crazy.′ But no one pays attention to him,” Newhart wrote.

Born George Robert Newhart in Chicago to a German-Irish family, he was called Bob to avoid confusion with his father, who was also named George. At St. Ignatius High School and Loyola University in Chicago, he amused fellow students with imitations of James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Durante, and other stars. After receiving a degree in commerce, Newhart served two years in the Army. Returning to Chicago after his military service, he entered law school at Loyola, but flunked out. He eventually landed a job as an accountant for the state unemployment department. Bored with the work, he spent his free hours acting at a stock company in suburban Oak Park, an experience that led to the phone bits.

“I wasn’t part of some comic cabal,” Newhart wrote in his memoir. “Mike (Nichols) and Elaine (May), Shelley (Berman), Lenny Bruce, Johnny Winters, Mort Sahl — we didn’t all get together and say, Let’s change comedy and slow it down.′ It was just our way of finding humor. The college kids would hear mother-in-law jokes and say, What the hell is a mother-in-law?′ What we did reflected our lives and related to theirs.”

Newhart continued appearing on television occasionally after his fourth sitcom ended and vowed in 2003 that he would work as long as he could. “It’s been so much, 43 years of my life; (to quit) would be like something was missing,” he said.

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Avril Lavigne Rocks Glastonbury Amidst Bizarre Conspiracy Theory



Avril Lavigne’s electrifying performance on Glastonbury’s Other Stage had the crowd roaring with approval. However, for some in the audience, a lingering question might have remained: “Was that truly Avril Lavigne on stage?”  The Canadian pop-punk icon finds herself at the center of one of the internet’s most outlandish conspiracy theories.


From Let Go to Let Go of the Rumors? The Enduring Conspiracy Theory

The rumour, which can be traced back to a 2011 Brazilian blog post, posits a shocking twist: the real Avril Lavigne tragically died shortly after the release of her smash-hit debut album “Let Go” in 2002.  According to the theory, a look-alike named Melissa Vandella was brought in to replace her and continue her musical career.  The bizarre notion gained further traction with the release of the BBC podcast “Who Replaced Avril Lavigne?” which explored the theory in detail.


Lavigne Laughs it Off on Call Her Daddy Podcast

Appearing on the popular podcast “Call Her Daddy” hosted by Alex Cooper, Lavigne addressed the elephant in the room, or rather, the doppelgänger on the internet.  “It’s just funny to me,” she said, acknowledging the contrasting compliments she receives about her youthful appearance.  “Some people say I haven’t aged a day, while others believe I’m an impostor!” she explained.


Lavigne Finds Humor in the Absurd

Surprisingly chill about the whole ordeal, Lavigne seemed to find humour in the conspiracy theory.  “Honestly, it could be worse conspiracy theories out there,” she joked.  “I guess I got a good one!” she added, playfully downplaying the absurdity of the rumour.  Even when Cooper playfully prodded, asking if it wasn’t at least a little creepy, Lavigne remained unfazed.  She pointed out other artists who have been targeted by similar outlandish stories.


Fueling the Fire or Closing the Case?

However, Cooper couldn’t resist a final confirmation, perhaps for the benefit of any lingering doubters.

“Your name is Avril Lavigne, right?” she asked.  Lavigne’s response?  “I knew you half-believed it!”

This playful non-denial might fuel the fire for some conspiracy theorists.  Did Avril Lavigne address the rumour head-on, or simply add another layer of mystery to the already outlandish story?


One thing’s for sure, Avril Lavigne, or perhaps Melissa Vandella according to some, knows how to keep the conversation going.  While her Glastonbury performance silenced any doubts about her musical talent, the question of her true identity, at least for some, remains a lingering internet mystery.

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Here is the full List of 2024 Emmy nominations



The nominations for the 76th Emmy Awards were announced Wednesday.

“Shōgun” is the most-nominated series this year, scoring 25 total nominations. Following close behind are “The Bear” with 23 nods and “Only Murders in the Building” with 21 nominations.

With its 23 nominations, “The Bear” made history, bringing in the most nominations for a comedy series in one year.

The 76th Emmys celebrates the best in television that aired between June 2023 and May 2024.

Some of the 36 first-time performer nominees include Jonathan Bailey, Dakota Fanning, Lily Gladstone, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Paul Rudd, Ryan Gosling and Greta Lee.

Tony Hale, a two-time Emmy winner for “Veep,” and Sheryl Lee Ralph, an Emmy winner for “Abbott Elementary,” announced the nominees live from the iconic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.

Ralph learned about her third Emmy nomination for playing Barbara Howard on “Abbott Elementary” live during the nomination ceremony.

“Honey, that never gets old,” she said enthusiastically.

The 76th Emmy Awards will broadcast live from the Peacock Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 15, from 8 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET on ABC. It will also stream the next day on Hulu.

A host has yet to be announced for the ceremony.

The 75th Emmy Awards aired earlier this year, after being delayed due to the 2023 Hollywood strikes. “Succession,” “The Bear” and “Beef” took home the top awards of the night, winning for outstanding drama series, outstanding comedy series and outstanding limited or anthology series, respectively.

Check out a full recap of the 75th Emmys here.

Check out a list of nominees below.

Outstanding talk series

  • “The Daily Show”
  • “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
  • “Late Night with Seth Meyers”
  • “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”

Reality competition program

  • “The Amazing Race”
  • “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
  • “Top Chef”
  • “The Traitors”
  • “The Voice”

Lead actor in a limited or anthology series or movie

  • Matt Bomer, “Fellow Travelers”
  • Richard Gadd, “Baby Reindeer”
  • Jon Hamm, “Fargo”
  • Tom Hollander, “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans”
  • Andrew Scott, “Ripley”

Lead actress in a limited or anthology series or movie

  • Jodie Foster, “True Detective: Night Country”
  • Brie Larson, “Lessons in Chemistry”
  • Juno Temple, “Fargo”
  • Sofía Vergara, “Griselda”
  • Naomi Watts, “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans”

Limited or anthology series

  • “Baby Reindeer”
  • “Fargo”
  • “Lessons in Chemistry”
  • “Ripley”
  • “True Detective: Night Country”

Lead actress in a drama series

  • Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show”
  • Carrie Coon, “The Gilded Age”
  • Maya Erskine, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”
  • Anna Sawai, “Shо̄gun”
  • Imelda Staunton, “The Crown”
  • Reese Witherspoon, “The Morning Show”

Lead actor in a drama series

  • Idris Elba, “Hijack”
  • Donald Glover, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”
  • Walton Goggins, “Fallout”
  • Gary Oldman, “Slow Horses”
  • Hiroyuki Sanada, “Shōgun”
  • Dominic West, “The Crown”

Drama series

  • “The Crown”
  • “Fallout”
  • “The Gilded Age”
  • “The Morning Show”
  • “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”
  • “Shōgun”
  • “Slow Horses”
  • “3 Body Problem”

Lead actor in a comedy series

  • Matt Berry, “What We Do in the Shadows”
  • Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
  • Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building”
  • Martin Short, “Only Murders in the Building”
  • Jeremy Allen White, “The Bear”
  • D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, “Reservation Dogs”

Lead actress in a comedy series

  • Quinta Brunson, “Abbott Elementary”
  • Ayo Edebiri, “The Bear”
  • Selena Gomez, “Only Murders in the Building”
  • Maya Rudolph, “Loot”
  • Jean Smart, “Hacks”
  • Kristen Wiig, “Palm Royale”

Comedy series

  • “Abbott Elementary”
  • “The Bear”
  • “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
  • “Hacks”
  • “Only Murders in the Building”
  • “Palm Royale”
  • “Reservation Dogs”
  • “What We Do in the Shadows”

For more nominations, head over to

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