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Eric Stonestreet From ‘Modern Family’ Hosts THE TOY BOX

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ABC’s “The Toy Box” announced the mentors and judges who will select the winning toy to be made by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us after the series finale. In each episode, inventors present their toy concepts to a group of mentors that include Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren, toy guru Jim Silver and Pixar Creative Director of Consumer Products Jen Tan.  If the toy maker gets past the mentors, they will move on to The Toy Box where a panel of young, no-holds-barred judges that include Sophia Grace Brownlee (“The Ellen Degeneres Show”), Aalyrah Caldwell (“Uncle Buck”), Toby Grey (“The Unexpected John Cena Prank”) and Noah Ritter (“The Ellen Degeneres Show”) decide which toy moves on to the finals and eventually crowned the winner.  The eight-episode series hosted by Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) premieres on FRIDAY, APRIL 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network.

Eric Stonestreet, Host
Eric Stonestreet currently stars as Cameron Tucker on ABC’s comedy series “Modern Family,” a role in which he earned two Emmy Awards in the Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category, in 2010 and 2012. Stonestreet also garnered a 2011 Emmy nomination, Golden Globe nominations in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Screen Actors Guild nominations in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and a TCA Award nomination for his portrayal.  Stonestreet’s credits also include HBO’s “Confirmation,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “The Loft,” “Identity Thief,” “Bad Teacher” and “American Horror Story.”

Dylan Lauren, Mentor
Known to many as the “Candy Queen”, Dylan Lauren is the founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar. She is the face of the brand as well as the creative and strategic force behind it. In 2001, her childhood dream of opening the world’s largest candy store that merges fashion, art and pop culture with candy was realized. Since then, Dylan has opened 16 locations and plans to expand her candy empire worldwide. Dylan has been credited with changing the face of the candy industry and the way people view candy. Her stores are considered “the most original candy emporiums on the planet” and “must-see American cultural icons.” Dylan is also the author of “Dylan’s Candy Bar: Unwrap Your Sweet Life.” Her book shares candy-centric tips for entertaining, decorating and gift-giving for every occasion—along with her chic and colorful, signature style. As the daughter of legendary fashion icon Ralph Lauren and author Ricky Lauren, Dylan was immersed at an early age in design, art and fashion. After graduating from Duke University with a major in Art History, she traveled the globe in search of the world’s most exciting confectionery creations.

Jim Silver, Mentor
Jim Silver is an energetic and dynamic innovator in the Toy and Children’s Entertainment industries, and is nationally recognized as one of the preeminent experts in play. Silver is the CEO/editor-in-chief of TTPM (Toys, Tots, Pets & more), the only website that combines expert third-party reviews (video and written) with live price comparison, sales notifications, one-click purchasing, and product availability information at major retailers. TTPM was the first site to review toys online and currently reviews more than 5,000 products every year.

Jen Tan, Mentor
Jen Tan is the creative director of Consumer Products at Pixar Animation Studios. In this position, her mission is to uphold and protect the integrity and legacy of Pixar films by enhancing and extending the consumer experience through the design and execution of all types of consumer products around the globe. Tan works side by side with studio executives and filmmakers to ensure that any product – including action figures, play-sets, games, ride-ons, journals, plush, etc. – is made to be appealing and authentic to the studio’s designs and stories of the films. Since beginning with the studio, Tan has worked on the consumer product lines for “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur,” as well the studio’s most recent feature film release “Finding Dory.” In addition, she continues merchandise lines for several franchise properties like “Toy Story,” “Cars,” “Monsters,” and a Disney•Pixar Collection for “The Incredibles,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Up,” “WALL•E” and “Finding Nemo.” Tan is currently developing the merchandise lines for the studio’s upcoming films including “Cars 3” and “Coco.”

Sophia Grace Brownlee, Judge
Sophia Grace Brownlee and her cousin Rosie McClelland, both from Essex, England, make up the duo Sophia Grace & Rosie. They quickly gained popularity by making regular appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” after posting a cover version of the Nicki Minaj song “Super Bass“ that went viral on YouTube. Sophia Grace debuted music videos on her official YouTube Channel like her Billboard Hot 100 charting single “Best Friends” and “Girls Just Gotta Have Fun.” After signing a recording deal with Capitol Records France, she has released her third single, “Girl in the Mirror,” featuring Silentó, in June 2016.

Aalyrah Caldwell, Judge
Aalyrah Caldwell hails from San Diego, California, and was a series regular on the ABC show Uncle Buck with Mike Epps and Nia Long. Other TV credits include a guest-starring role on “Code Black,” “The Fosters” and “Key and Peele,” and a leading role in the dramatic film “Cardinal X.”

Toby Grey, Judge
At seven years old, Toby Grey became recognizable for his comedic work on Fandango’s “Reel Kids,” commenting and reviewing family films. He continued to make us laugh with videos for “Buzzfeed,” “Funny or Die,” “College Humor” and “A Little Advice.” Earlier this year, his video “The Unexpected John Cena Prank” went viral, with over 30 million views on YouTube. Toby also has several TV/film/commercial credits. In his short career he’s been fortunate enough to work with James Franco, Kevin Hart and John Cena. He will appear in the upcoming feature film “Airplane Mode,” starring social-media influencer Logan Paul, and make an unforgettable appearance on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”

Noah Ritter, Judge
Noah Borowski Ritter was discovered at the age of five while attending the Wayne County Annual Fair in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, with his grandparents John and Kathy Borowski. Local Newswatch 16 reporter Sofia Ojeda was reporting on opening day. She was interviewing attendees about the food, rides and activities of the annual fair. During his interview, Noah took the microphone from Ms. Ojeda and continued talking, saying the word “apparently” several times in course of the interview. The clip aired on the local news that evening and went viral. Ritter has appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” from 2014 thru 2015 and in commercials for Liberty Mutual Insurance and Visa that appeared on Ellentube 2016. He co-hosted the 2014 Viral Videos segment with NFL star Michael Strahan for ABC’s “The Year.”

“The Toy Box” is produced by Mattel, Hudsun Media and Electus.  Michael Rourke, Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Richard Dickson, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Julia Pistor, Susan House and Hamilton South are executive producers.

About Toys ”R” Us, Inc.
Toys ”R” Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 875 Toys ”R” Us and Babies ”R” Us stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam, and in more than 765 international stores and over 245 licensed stores in 37 countries and jurisdictions. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com, the company provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Toys ”R” Us, Inc. is headquartered in Wayne, NJ, and has an annual workforce of approximately 62,000 employees worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Since 1992, the Toys ”R” Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys ”R” Us, Inc., has donated more than $125 million in grants to children’s charities. For more information, visit Toysrusinc.com or follow @ToysRUsNews on Twitter. Follow Toys ”R” Us and Babies ”R” Us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Toysrus and Facebook.com/Babiesrus and on Twitter at Twitter.com/Toysrus and Twitter.com/Babiesrus.

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Scrubs Reunion: The Band Gets Back Together

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Fans of the beloved medical comedy series Scrubs were recently treated to a thrilling surprise when John C. McGinley, who portrayed the iconic Dr. Perry Cox, dropped a photo on Twitter hinting at a potential reunion project. The image, showing McGinley alongside his former co-stars, sparked a wave of excitement and speculation among fans who have been longing for more adventures with the beloved Sacred Heart Hospital staff.

While details about the reunion project are still scarce, the mere possibility of seeing the gang back together again has sent waves of nostalgia through fans who fondly remember the show’s original run from 2001 to 2010. Scrubs was not just a sitcom; it was a heartfelt exploration of friendship, love, and the chaotic world of medicine, all wrapped up in a quirky and often hilarious package.

At the heart of the show was the bromance between JD (played by Zach Braff) and Turk (played by Donald Faison), whose antics and deep bond served as the emotional anchor for the series. Their dynamic, along with the sage wisdom (and relentless sarcasm) of Dr. Cox, provided viewers with memorable moments that have stood the test of time.

As we eagerly await more news about the Scrubs reunion project, one thing is for sure: it’s time to dust off those old DVDs, rewatch our favorite episodes, and get ready to welcome back our favorite gang of doctors, nurses, and janitors for what promises to be a memorable reunion.

But Scrubs was more than just its main characters. The supporting cast, including the eccentric Janitor (played by Neil Flynn), the neurotic Elliot (played by Sarah Chalke), and the wise-cracking nurse Carla (played by Judy Reyes), each brought their own unique flavor to the show, creating a rich tapestry of characters that fans grew to love.

While the photo shared by McGinley has fueled speculation about what the reunion project might entail, whether it’s a one-off special, a new season, or something else entirely, one thing is certain: fans are eagerly awaiting any opportunity to dive back into the world of Sacred Heart Hospital.

In an age where reboots and revivals are commonplace, Scrubs stands out as a series that has the potential to recapture the magic that made it a fan favorite in the first place. With its blend of humor, heart, and unforgettable characters, a reunion project has the opportunity to not only satisfy longtime fans but also introduce a new generation to the joys of life at Sacred Heart.

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WonderCon 2024:Day One

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Dune Part Two: The Lisan Al Gaib comes for you!

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Welcome back to our struggle for control of the known universe already in progress, the continuation of the journey of Paul Atreides from exile to Emperor, Dune Part Two

So when we last left our intrepid if dubious heroes, House Atreides had been betrayed and virtually destroyed, by a combination of House Harkonnens surprise attacks and the added treachery of Emperor Shaddam and his Sardaukar. Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), the last surviving heir (so far) of House Atreides and his mother Jessica, have taken refuge on the desert planet of Arrakis amongst the indigenous Fremen, and as far as most are aware, the other remnants of House Atreides are dead as well. And here is where we catch up with everyone, as the struggle for Atreides emergence and dominance begins in earnest! 

The Emperor’s daughter Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) is known for her many skills, but her copious note-taking and writings on the large events shaping her world come to the forefront as she takes counsel with her father amidst games of chance on their homeworld. Her life is one of luxury and privilege but alas, Irulan is a trained Bene Gesserit and is well aware that in all likelihood, she will be used as a pawn in the marriage games empires have to go through. Bet she never imagined it could be to a House everyone swore had been utterly destroyed. 

Meanwhile, on Arrakis, Paul is trying to integrate himself into the Fremen way of life, which is admittedly far different from the life he led back on the Atreides homeworld of Caladan. (If nothing else, Caladan has vast oceans.) The Fremen are fiercely independent, gloriously strong fighters, survivors who dare to ride and revere the giant sandworms that inhabit their planet that they call Shai-Hulud, and rightfully distrustful of outsiders. After all, the previous stewardship of Arrakis belonged to House Harkonnen, known for their cruelty and glee at hunting Fremen and torturing their victims, sometimes for weeks at a time. But Paul won his and Jessicas way into the Fremen by fair combat against Jamis, and if nothing else, the Fremen are firm in their beliefs of the old ways. 

Or rather, the elder Fremen are, most particularly the famed Fedaykin fighter and Naib (leader) of Sietch Tabr Stilgar (Javier Bardem) is adamant in his unshakable belief that Paul is the foretold Lisan Al Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World, that will lead the Fremen to peace and paradise. Stilgar’s steadfast belief in Paul’s potential only grows, and he manages with just that to convince a great many of the other Fremen elders. The younger generation of Fremen however, of which Paul’s beloved Chani (Zendaya) is a part, generally scoff at the legends of otherworldly prophets and Arrakis as a fabled green, wet heaven. In the beginning, Paul himself swears he doesn’t want to be the Messiah, only a Fremen fighter amongst the rest of them, hundreds of years of the Missionaria Protectiva, the Bene Gesserit practice of spreading useful religious propaganda as seeds on various planets, is working double-time against him. It doesn’t help that Paul’s mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) is expounding on that myth as much as she possibly can. 

And why would she do that? Survival yes, but also, Jessica is a thoroughly trained Bene Gesserit and knows of plans within plans within plans. Jessica also has many secrets of her own, and one very important one happens to be that she’s pregnant with Paul’s sister. The Bene Gesserit bodily control may be something out of legend, but even Jessica, possibly Reverend Mother Mohiam’s best and most fractious student, will have trouble with the trial the Fremen are insisting she go through to become truly one of them. The Reverend Mother equivalent of Sietch Tabr, known as their Sayyadina, is old and dying, and the Fremen have to have a Reverend Mother. Jessica tells Paul this much and explains that each culture is different in their trial to become a Reverend Mother, so she honestly doesn’t know what to expect. The reality happens to be worse than she could’ve imagined – Jessica must drink the Water of Life, a deadly poison that comes from Shai-Hulud (sort of), and come out the other side of it. And Jessica manages to do it, barely, with almost all of the consequences going to the poor fetus in her womb, the girl that will grow to become Alia Atreides, an insane legend in her own right. But for now, the unnamed fetus is awake and aware and full of the memories of generations of Bene Gesserit women that came before her – before she was even born

Paul participates in razzia raids amongst the Fremen as they work to take out the spice mining operations of the Harkonnens, immerses himself in the vastly different desert culture of his chosen people, and perhaps most importantly, his romance with his beloved Chani only grows stronger. After declaring his desire to join the fierce fighter elites amongst the Fremen known as Fedaykin, Paul is told by Stilgar that he must summon and ride one of the giant sandworms, the embodiment of Shai-Hulud where the Fremen get their terrible tooth Crysknives from. And after much sendup, in a glorious scene of blinding sand and huge monstrous killer worm-riding, Paul is triumphant and riding atop the sacred creature, his Maker hooks set properly to control the great beast, waving at great distance to his fellow Fremen as Chani looks on in bemusement. 

But that’s all external, and inside Paul is beginning to become divided on what he wants to do. As Jessica pushes the Protectiva hard amongst the women and priestesses of the Fremen, she is also pushing her son to become much larger than he ever wanted to be, if nothing else a conqueror can take revenge for the destruction of House Atreides and the death of her beloved Duke Leto. Paul may have earned his place amongst the Fremen and been given new names – Usul, meaning the strength of the base of the pillar, as his private name within the Sietch; and Muad’Dib, from the small mouse survivor of the desert, well versed in desert ways, called ‘Instructor-of-Boys’ in Fremen legend, as his open-use name – but now everyone wants Paul to be something greater, and potentially more destructive, than what he currently is. It only gets worse when Paul begins to suffer prophetic dreams, and visions when he’s awake, prodding him further to his destiny as an epic conqueror of worlds. Nothing can be done for it, Paul convinces himself that he must take the Water of Life himself, to awaken the sleeping prophet inside himself, and allow him to hopefully See a path through the future. 

The problem with that plan, is that Bene Gesserit are almost exclusively all women, and only they are supposed to know how to transmute poisons internally, along with all sorts of other “witchcraft”. But Jessica has been training Paul in forbidden Bene Gesserit ways all his life, and as much as Paul might rail and even quail against it, there is no denying his incoming destiny, crushing any resistance he may have with all the force of a giant sandworm hunting a spice blow. And even when Paul has finally given in and taken the cursed substance almost mockingly called the Water of Life, it falls to another strong and prophetic in her right female in his life, his beloved Chani, to save him from himself. But even Chani can’t stop Paul’s destructive destiny as the conqueror of the known worlds, guilty of slaying millions upon millions of people in his quest for vengeance, thinly disguised as peace. 

Over on the Harkonnen homeworld of Geidi Prime, “Beast” Rabban (Dave Bautista) is disgusted and enraged at the continuing Fremen raids against the Harkonnens on Arrakis, and terrified of what his uncle the notoriously cruel Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard), will do to him in response. The Baron’s nephew Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), heir apparent or na-Baron to House Harkonnen, demonstrates his blood-inborn savagery in a slaughter of the remnants of House Atreides gladiator-style, as his birthday celebration. Pleased with the spectacle, the Baron commands Feyd-Rautha to take control of the fight against this Fremen rebel known as Muad’dib, as Rabban is proving himself more and more useless. And any tool or toy that the Baron finds broken or unusable, is destroyed before being discarded. 

As the legend of Muad’dib grows off Arrakis and circulates among the Imperial worlds, the Emperor grinds his teeth in frustration and the Bene Gesserit, led by Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) as the Emperor’s Truthsayer, begin pushing forward their plots and machinations. Lady Margot Fenring (Lea Seydoux), a criminally underused character in this respect, demonstrates her willingness to be a pawn in Bene Gesserit machinations, but never forget, strong Bene Gesserit women have been breaking their own rules for generations. Just look at what Jessica did. 

As the raids and rebellion on Arrakis continue, both the Emperor and the Baron become more and more desperate, sending in mercenaries and smugglers in the hopes they might have more luck. And aboard one of those smuggler’s vessels happens to be an old hand at being a smuggler himself, the warrior troubadour with the scarred face given him by “Beast” Rabban himself, Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). Reunited with his beloved Duke’s only son, Gurney finds himself swept up in the legend of Muad’dib in the making along with everyone else, though at least from Gurney’s point of view, Paul is using the messianic angle to take revenge for House Atreides. 

Finally, in an act of what could be considered the ultimate in arrogance, Emperor Shaddam Corrino himself comes to Arrakis, along with Princess Irulan and many others of his Court, the Baron, and Feyd-Rautha in tow as well, to crush this upstart Muad’dib and his Fremen warriors. Sadly for all that the powerhouse actor Christopher Walken plays him, Emperor Shaddam Corrino is shown as a doddering old man, cowed in the face of Muad’dib’s overwhelming vitality and growing-ever-stronger legend. And there is where we will end the review, for the final confrontation between all key players in the Known Universe is full of spoilers and derivations from the original opus of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune

For those of you who stuck around long enough to get to the end, after all, Dune Part Two is almost three hours long itself, if you are fans of the original novel and the zany Lynchian masterpiece that was the first Dune film, you may be disappointed or even angered at the changes made to the story for the climactic end scenes. Director Villenuve has an eye for making grand epic scenes like Paul’s sandworm ride but can be a bit scattered when it comes to piecing the story together with all the key players needing to be involved in a way that can be understood by any layman. Dune in any form is a rich, vast universe of storytelling, and even an almost three-hour-long sequel simply can’t cover every last bit that’s in the novels. But if nothing else, the film is an overwhelming feast for the eyes and should bring a whole new legion of fans to the many worlds contained within Dune

If you want to dive further into the Dune-iverse, do yourself a favor and read the Dune prequel books written by Herbert Jr. and Kevin J. Anderson. Until then, dive into the sands of Arrakis along with Shai-Hulud and scream vengeance to the skies with Paul Muad’dib Atreides in Dune Part Two, in theaters now! 

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