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.
Super Bowl, super content, super showrunner Shonda Rhimes.
Let’s go ahead and declare “super-ness” as the theme of the week.
Two of this week’s new releases have Super Bowl halftime show connections, and Rhimes is definitely one of the most valuable players in Hollywood.
After all, there is a reason she was recently on the cover of Time magazine. The wildly successful showrunner has blessed us with hits like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “Bridgerton.”
The latter was a massive success for Netflix, and now Rhimes has a new project coming to the streaming giant that I am so excited for that it leads off this edition of Pop Life Chronicles.
Three things to watch
The case of Anna Sorokin, aka Anna Delvey, is one that has fascinated me since I read the New York magazine article about her in 2018.
A good con artist almost always makes for good content, and Sorokin was convicted as one of the best, pretending to be a wealthy German heiress in a scheme that defrauded so many, including banks, hotels and people who thought she was a friend.
Rhimes has a good eye for a story and even more skill at storytelling so naturally there are high hopes for “Inventing Anna,” which started streaming on Netflix Friday.
Remember I mentioned those connections to the Super Bowl?
Well, here’s the first one: Jennifer Lopez, she who slayed the Super Bowl halftime show back in 2020, is back with a rom-com that will give you the feels.
She plays a superstar singer (big stretch, huh?) who is set to get married during a streaming concert when she finds out her intended (played by Colombian singer Maluma, who is hot in all the ways) is a cheater.
So, what does she do? Marry a guy in the concert audience played by Owen Wilson, of course.
And as a bonus, the soundtrack is prime J. Lo.
“Marry Me” hit theaters and streaming service Peacock on Friday.
‘Love Is Blind’ Season 2
Is there such a thing as love not at first sight?
On this reality show, contestants have to get to know each other without being able to see one another. The true test comes once they meet.
We shall see if Netflix can produce lightning in a bottle (or, in this case, the pod that the contestants are in when they have conversation) a second time. The new season started streaming Friday.
My colleague Kendall Trammell and I sometimes disagree, but we are in agreement when it comes to the hit ABC comedy “Abbott Elementary.” We talk about the important lessons it teaches on the latest Pop Life Pop Off. Check it out:
Two things to listen to
The Queen of R&B Soul is back!
Mary J. Blige has been focused on acting these past few years (she’s most recently been playing a mom who’s also a tough crime boss on the Starz series “Power Book II: Ghost”), but she has also been making music.
She’s dropping “Good Morning Gorgeous” on Friday. The album includes collaborations with Usher, Anderson .Paak and DJ Khaled.
Oh, and she’s performing this little thing called the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday.
Eddie Vedder’s third solo album has some seriously heavy hitters on it.
“Earthling” features collaborations with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Ringo Starr. Perhaps that starpower is not that shocking, given how well respected the Pearl Jam frontman is in the industry, but Vedder says Wonder did keep him and producer Andrew Watt waiting six hours before he showed up to the studio for his session.
“In between, we wrote a song, and it’s gonna be a Pearl Jam song, and right now the working title is ‘Waiting for Stevie,’” Vedder told Variety.
Way to make use of the time, sir.
“Earthling” dropped Friday.
One thing to talk about
If, like me, you are not a huge football fan, don’t forget that there is always the Puppy Bowl.
Discovery offers us all the cuteness of puppies “playing” a game as not only an adorable distraction, but also a way to promote animal adoption from shelters and rescue groups.
I attended a “Puppy Bowl” filming a few years ago, and it was one of the highlights of my career.
It’s made even better because it will be hosted once again by the most doggiest dog of them all, Snoop Dogg, and his BFF Martha Stewart.
You can root for Team Ruff or Team Fluff during Puppy Bowl XVIII on Discovery+ Sunday.
Something to sip on
There’s a meme going around that basically states that some of the Gen Z kids “are about to find out who their parents really are as soon as the beat drops at the Super Bowl halftime show.”
I know that’s right.
Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Dr. Dre and Kendrick Lamar are going to BRING IT. Though I can’t help but wonder how many people they will have working the bleeper button because some of those rap lyrics are definitely raw.
Or will they just change the words? How will it all work?
The music in its unedited form isn’t exactly family-friendly, but the beats are banging and somebody’s mama — and probably daddy, too — is sure to be twerking on Sunday.
What did you like about today’s newsletter? What did we miss? Pop in to firstname.lastname@example.org and say hello!