Let's hear it for the weirdos
July 23, 2014

Before last week, the world had pretty much forgotten about popular music parodist Weird Al Yankovic. But after the mastermind behind songs like "Another One Rides the Bus" and "Amish Paradise" re-emerged with a viral video campaign designed to take the internet by storm, he's finally hit his biggest career milestone yet.

Yankovic's 14th studio effort, Mandatory Fun, which was released July 15, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts this week, marking the first time in Yankovic's nearly four-decade career that he's topped the charts (Yankovic has landed two albums in the Top 10 before, 2006's Straight Outta Lynwood and 2011's Apocalypse, but neither ever ascended to No. 1).

Mandatory Fun's chart success also marks the first time a comedy album has debuted at No. 1 since 1960, BuzzFeed notes, a pretty impressive feat considering the way we consume comedy in 2014. Yankovic announced his achievement on Twitter with humble surprise:

If this is really Weird Al Yankovic's last album, at least he's going out with a bang. Samantha Rollins

Quoteables
10:29 a.m. ET
Facebook.com/TheLegoMovie

First the Oscar snub, now this — The Lego Movie can't catch a break. (Well, save that it grossed nearly $500 million, but other than that.)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a businessman himself, condemned the animated children's movie as "insidious" propaganda, wherein "Mr. Evil Businessman" plots to destroy the world so he alone may profit. "That's done for a reason," Johnson said. Hollywood is cultivating a "cultural attitude" in which people believe "government is good and business is bad."

On Thursday, Johnson responded on his website to a Huffington Post article which reported his comments, saying the writer "can’t seem to figure out why I or anyone else would say this about 'The Lego Movie.'"

Johnson's critique is notable not for labeling the movie anti-business (as others have), but that he claims it to be pro-groverment. In The Lego Movie, villain President Business functions simultaneously as "Mr. Austere Government Overlord," who imposes strict guidelines for the Lego people, effectively keeping them over-caffeinated worker bees, who lack imagination and are highly disjointed from each other. In that sense, pro-government seems an ill-fitting descriptor.  Stephanie Talmadge

Watch this
10:24 a.m. ET

As part of our ongoing series on the 2016 candidates, produced in partnership with Rubin Report, The Week's Marc Ambinder and Dave Rubin concisely analyze the former Florida governor's biggest strengths and weaknesses. Watch below:

court reports
10:00 a.m. ET
Mark Boster-Pool/Getty Images

Marion "Suge" Knight's lawyer filed a motion Friday to throw out the former rap music mogul's charges for murder, attempted murder, and hit-and-run, the Associated Press reports.

Knight, 50, allegedly ran over two men, killing one, outside a Compton, California, burger stand in January. Defense attorney Matt Fletcher argued the case should be thrown out because the injured man's testimony does not specifically name Marion Knight.

"There is nowhere in the entire transcript that Mr. Sloan even identifies Marion Knight as a driver of the red truck in question; the red truck that hit the victims," Fletcher wrote in the motion.

The prosecutor's response contended her client, Cle "Bone" Sloan, has clearly identified the driver as "Suge," AP reports.

Knight is also due in court for a separate robbery case but told deputies he was too sick to come in. The judge has said he would forcibly bring Knight to court Friday if necessary. Knight's murder trial is scheduled for July 7. Julie Kliegman

mad men madness
9:43 a.m. ET

What ever happened to Sal, anyway?

Apparently, even Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner wanted to revisit that plot point. But just like new year's resolutions and that ten dollars you borrowed from your friend three months ago, some things are bound to be left on the backburner.

During a Writer's Guild Foundation panel with Mad Men's writers, Entertainment Weekly writer Anthony Breznican supposedly got his hands on Weiner's plot-point wish list, which is aptly titled "WISH LIST: Things We Want to Deal With Before the Series Ends." Behold:

While we can't verify the list's authenticity, Breznican is a pretty trustworthy source, and the list matches the style of many of Weiner's notes about the show, which are currently being displayed at the Museum of the Moving Image.

If real, the list is an interesting look into what could have been. Maybe, in some alternate universe, Don did the right thing and ended up with Dr. Faye Miller. Samantha Rollins

unemployment
9:36 a.m. ET
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Europe is taking a rather unorthodox approach to the problem of long-term unemployment, according to The New York Times: networks of fake businesses. While engaged in no actual economic activity, the routines of these fake businesses provide unemployed Europeans with the chance to keep up habits, skill sets, social connections, and a sense of purpose. Their incomes come from Europe's social safety net programs, in particular jobless benefits — though these often replace only a fraction of a previous salary.

The idea for the fake businesses got its start in Europe after World War II, when many people needed to learn new skills. Now there are 5,000 of them across the Continent, pretending to be engaged in everything from selling pets to providing office furniture.

Years after the 2008 collapse, large swaths of Europe remain mired in economic sclerosis. In 2014, just over half of the Continent's unemployed had been without work for a year or more, and many had been without work for two years. Jeff Spross

19 kids and panicking
9:27 a.m. ET
Facebook.com/Jill Duggar

The Duggar family is known for its ever-expanding brood, and one more progeny might be on the way: a spinoff to its hit series, 19 Kids and Counting. Deadline reports that as advertisers pull their sponsorships from 19 Kids and Counting after Josh Duggar's child molestation revelation, TLC, which airs the show, is considering a new offshoot that focuses on newlyweds Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard.

Duggar and Dillard's wedding episode raked in an average of 4.4 million people when it aired last October, a record for the series, so it's no surprise TLC is considering hanging its wholesome-family hat on the popular young couple. Granted, rumors about a potential spinoff for Duggar and Dillard have surfaced before — but with more and more details emerging about Josh Duggar's conduct, it's not unlikely the network is brainstorming backup plans. TLC declined to comment to Deadline about the rumors. Kimberly Alters

you got it dude
9:26 a.m. ET

What's Full House without Danny Tanner as Bob Saget? Diehard fans looking forward to the spin-off won't have to find out. John Stamos tweeted Thursday that his TV brother-in-law has signed on for Fuller House, the coming spin-off starring Candace Cameron Bure as widowed D.J. Tanner-Fuller.

Of course Saget still calls his co-star "Jesse."

Lori Loughlin and Dave Coulier also recently signed on, but sorry, Fuller House looks to be Olsen twin-less. The 13-episode season is slated to hit Netflix in 2016. Julie Kliegman

See More Speed Reads