FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
March 24, 2014

Sharp criticism from media and civil rights groups over an explicitly racist plot has led ABC Family to drop its new teen drama, Alice in Arabia, before it has a chance to air.

Here's how the network billed the show:

Alice in Arabia is a high-stakes drama series about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather's royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil. [Deadline]

As Katie McDonough at Salon notes, this description alone promotes "tired racist tropes about Arab and Muslim cultures and its 'white savior'-driven plot." Rather than casting women of color in a primetime drama, ABC created a heroine in a white woman who struggles to "survive" life in another culture.

After the script for Alice in Arabia's pilot leaked online, the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed disapproval with the series, and Twitter users employed the hashtag #AliceinArabia to further urge ABC to pull the show. ABC Family responded in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, confirming the network would "not move forward with this project."

Canceling Alice in Arabia was unquestionably a good movie for ABC's image. And really, how many Alice in Wonderland-inspired shows does ABC need? Meghan DeMaria

1:05 a.m. ET

Jimmy Kimmel is running for vice president, solo, but he's not bitter about it. "I'm not on anyone's ticket, but I'm not sitting down," he said on Monday's Kimmel Live. "I issued a challenge to Hillary Clinton's running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, and I said 'Let's go head to head on this,' and he accepted on one condition: We had to find a neutral site." They found one at a national chicken-wing chain restaurant. Clinton and Donald Trump had just duked it out on a stage at Hofstra University; Kimmel and Kaine tried to settle their differences sitting in a booth.

"So, um, I mean, what's your plan for the country?" Kimmel asked, and when Kaine said that he and Clinton have proposals to "build an economy that works for all," Kimmel stepped in: "Hillary and I would have a good plan, too." Kimmel then laid out some of his proposals, including making Super Bowl Monday a national holiday, restricting the use of social media, and regulating concert seating by height. "I don't have an argument with you about that," Kaine said of the last proposal. "I didn't think you would, because it makes perfect sense," Kimmel said. "It's called common sense, it's something I have a lot of. I feel right now like you would vote for me for vice president." "Yeah, I mean, I frankly think you are probably superior to me, it's just that when Hillary was making a choice, you know, she had a couple of criteria," Kaine said. "I mean, looks was a big, important thing to her." Spoiler: Kimmel won the debate. But if you like harmonica jams, especially, watch till the end. Peter Weber

12:21 a.m. ET

It is commonly believed in the punditocracy that televised presidential debates are won not on points and policies but on "moments" and the facial expressions of the candidates. This belief was born in the John F. Kennedy–Richard Nixon debates in 1960 and codified with Al Gore's sighs in his 2000 debate against George W. Bush. So in Monday's first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who wore their face better? On Fox News, Britt Hume seemed to suggest Clinton, but it's not clear he meant it as a compliment.

"What did they think of the two faces while the candidates were not talking, while they were listening?" Hume asked about viewers. "The Trump expression was one we're all familiar with from the earlier debates: He looked annoyed, put out, uncomfortable. And she looked, for the most part, she looked composed, smug sometimes, not necessarily attractive. I think a lot will turn on how people reacted to the faces they saw side-by-side on that screen tonight." His comments about Clinton and Trump's faces start at the 2:30 mark:

Coincidentally, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway also said Clinton looked "smug" in the post-debate spin room. Peter Weber

12:18 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's past came back to haunt him Monday evening when Hillary Clinton slammed him for being a man who "has called women 'pigs,' 'slobs,' and 'dogs.'" Trump most vehemently protested when Clinton told the story of a woman named Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe winner:

"He called this woman Miss Piggy," Clinton said. "Then he called her Miss Housekeeping, because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado."

"Where did you find this?" Trump interrupted. "Where did you find this?"

It turns out Clinton found it out from the source herself. Watch Machado tell her story — complete with condemning footage of Trump — in the campaign ad, below. Jeva Lange

12:13 a.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Donald Trump announced during Monday night's debate that he "was just endorsed by ICE," but it's actually a non-government agency representing border agents that's supporting him.

While discussing cyber security, Trump declared, "I was just endorsed by ICE. They've never endorsed anybody before on immigration. I was just endorsed by ICE. I was just recently endorsed — 16,500 Border Patrol agents." As a government agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would never endorse a candidate, and the Los Angeles Times believes they've deciphered what Trump meant: On Monday morning, the Trump campaign announced the Republican nominee received the endorsement of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, a union that represents 5,000 immigration officers. They also said the union has never before endorsed a candidate for president, and just five percent of members wanted to back Hillary Clinton.

As for the 16,500 Border Patrol agents, that was likely a reference to the endorsement Trump received back in March from the National Border Patrol Council, which represents 16,500 people. Catherine Garcia

September 26, 2016
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had a number of ups and downs throughout the presidential debate, not necessarily making it entirely clear who "won" and who "lost." But according to a CNN snap poll, there was no question about the matter, with Hillary Clinton "winning" 62 to 27. That number needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as CNN reports the crowd skewed 10 points more Democrat and two points less Republican than a truly representative electoral audience — but it's still a rather overwhelming agreement.

Still, even some Republicans were quick to concede the debate was all Clinton's. As John Kasich strategist John Weaver said:

Others disagree. "Everyone is saying I won the debate," Trump told Mark Halperin. Jeva Lange

September 26, 2016

Donald Trump personally entered the spin room at Hofstra University after his first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton, and he told ABC News reporter Tom Llamas that he left only one thing on the table: "I got everything I wanted to say, I got it out, other than the transgressions of Bill, because, you know, she takes all these commercials, spending hundreds of millions on commercials — and they're lies, they're lies — but I thought — and I didn't want to do it with Chelsea, who I think is a wonderful young lady, I didn't say what I was going to say with Chelsea in the room, so maybe they're well off to bring Chelsea all the time."

Llamas asked if it was fair for Clinton to bring up the $14 million loan from his father and his derogatory comments about women. "I thought it was very cheap," Trump said. "First of all, my father gave me a very small amount of money, relative to what I've built — I've built a massive company and a great company — but I learned so much from my father." He added that Clinton's comments about things he has said about women were "disgraceful," but not as bad as the TV ads she's running against him.

He told CNN's Dana Bash that he might bring up Bill Clinton's "indiscretions" at the next debate, but when Bash asked if he took "Hillary Clinton's bait" on the "birther" issue (which was raised by moderator Lester Holt), Trump said no. "I was very proud of the fact I was able to get him to put up his birth certificate and Hillary Clinton failed, because she just can't bring it home," he said. "I mean, she just can't bring it home. And she'll fail with jobs, and she'll fail all the way along the line, and I think we proved that tonight. She failed with getting him to do it, I got him to do it, so I'm very proud of it."

Clinton, it should be noted, never asked to see President Obama's birth certificate, and never questioned if he was born in the U.S. But that's why it's called the spin room. Peter Weber

September 26, 2016

Donald Trump sent debate audience scrambling for their dictionaries Monday night when he told them, "I wrote the Art of the Deal. I say that not in a braggadocious way."

The Merriam-Webster dictionary reported that "look-ups for braggadocio spiked during the debate … after Trump used a word that is very similar in nature and spelling. The word employed by Trump was braggadocious, which is a dialectical word from 19th century America, meaning 'arrogant.'"

The dictionary added that while Trump has used "braggadocious" in the past, it hadn't skyrocketed to the top of their lookups the way it did after the debate.

But the 19th-century word wasn't the only one people were curious about — "stamina" and "temperament" also climbed the dictionary's charts Monday night. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads