Prodigy: ‘We don’t need to reinvent ourselves’

Image copyright Andrew Cotterill
Image caption The Prodigy l-r: Liam Howlett, Maxim and Keef Flint

The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett is in the mood to divulge secrets.

For a start, the band’s seminal Firestarter video came about by accident, the music producer and songwriter reveals – after he “binned” the video that was intended to accompany the track.

“We’ve probably thrown away four or five finished videos,” Howlett confides. “The guy finished the video for Firestarter and I just hated it and thought it wasn’t good enough for the song.

“In the original Keef was in a straight jacket and had this ball bouncing – it was just nonsense. It cost like £100,000 but I just put it in the bin.”

Much to the consternation of the band’s label, XL Recordings, one assumes – given all that time and money spent shooting and editing the video for it all to go down the drain.

Liam says he “made a few calls”, however, and got director Walter Stern on board – having worked with him previously.

“Videos cost a lot more money in those days and I think we only had £20,000 left, so I asked Walter if he could help us out.

“The reason why the video was black and white was because we couldn’t pay for colour,” he adds.

Having the menacing-looking Keith Flint perform in a disused London Underground tunnel in anything but black and white seems unthinkable now, but Liam promises it wasn’t a conscious decision.

“This is how these things happen with our band, they’re very spontaneous. None of it is pre-conceived or contrived in any way. We go with the flow of what feels good and what feels real.”

After a four-day shoot for the original, the new video was shot in one day: “We all moaned, everyone was whingeing we’re gonna get asbestos poisoning from the tunnel – from being down there sweating [like crazy] – but the result is great. It’s one of the greatest videos ever.”

Fortunately, the 47-year-old didn’t get his way over the controversial and groundbreaking Smack My Bitch Up video. He admits to falling out with the video’s Swedish director Jonas Akerlund because he didn’t like it.

“I saw it before it had any of the effects on it – it was just a guy – or a girl, as it happens – walking around with the camera – and it didn’t have any of the drugged-out effects on it yet.

“But when I saw it in the end, I was like… this is amazing.”

‘We’re not a retro band’

The Prodigy are back with their seventh studio album, No Tourists, which relies heavily – some may say too heavily – on the group’s old sound.

To listen to the album brings a comfort and familiarity – perhaps a strange achievement for the abrasive electronic sounds the band are renowned for.

Image caption The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint performing in 2015

“We’re not a retro band – we don’t want to ever be retro,” Howlett insists. “Songs have to have a freshness about them. Even though I’ve utilised that early rave sound quite a bit, it’s still welded to the violent beats of right now.

“It just makes me ill when bands jump on the latest craze and they do whatever the latest thing is now. We’re not a band that are embarrassed of our roots,” he continues. “We own that sound, we created it.

“We’re not interested in reinventing ourselves, because we’re happy with ourselves – we don’t need to.”

Collaborations are for ‘weak artists’

The group, which first emerged in the 1990s underground rave scene, have used a number of guest vocalists on previous tracks. Artists to have lent their voices to Prodigy records range from Liam Gallagher to Juliette Lewis, but Howlett says he hasn’t the slightest intention of working with other producers or DJs.

“You don’t put Gordon Ramsay in a kitchen with Jamie Oliver, do you? It’s just pointless. They’d just get in my way – and don’t get in my way,” he warns sternly.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Keith and Liam never bring politics on stage: “We don’t want to ram messages down people’s throats.”

“I think when you’ve got this producer, that producer, two vocalists and a rapper it just looks like it’s just for money. It annoys the [hell] out of me – and I’ll never stop being annoyed about it.

“It’s like a load of weak artists put together to try and get one good one,” he adds.

‘We don’t mix politics and music’

Surprisingly, for a band that has represented a counter culture in the UK over three decades, the producer says The Prodigy is not openly political.

“We’re not a political band, we’re an escapism band,” he says.

“We don’t ever want to stand on stage and preach our beliefs to people – I personally don’t like that. We try not to mix politics in our music.”

Howlett does, however, go on to add that No Tourists is about the “current climate”.

“It’s about not getting drawn into this so-called tourist path. People have got a bit lazy with that and they need to jump off the path and explore a bit.

“It’s really important that people still go manual and go ‘Hold on a minute,’ and look over there and see what’s going on.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett married All Saint Natalie Appleton in 2002

So is there anything off the beaten path that is on his to-do-list?

Howlett, who has been married to All Saint Natalie Appleton for 16 years, goes back into confessional mode and admits to being a massive fan of horror films – appropriate given we’re talking on Halloween.

“I feel like at some point I’m going to be doing a soundtrack to one – I’ve just gotta find the right one. Gotta do that – it’s definitely on the list,” he adds.

A collaboration with his wife’s band, perhaps? Funnily enough, “It’s never come up,” he says.

But in the spirit of how we started, he leaves me with one more snippet: “I’ll let you into a secret, though,” he says. “My wife did do the opening vocal on Spitfire.

“Not many people know that.”

The Prodigy are touring their new album No Tourists now.

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The Latest: Police seek help in wrong-house gang shooting

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Latest on a drive-by shooting that killed an 11-year-old girl in Nevada. (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

A police official is asking for the public’s help finding the killers of an 11-year-old girl in the kitchen of a suburban Las Vegas home who was misidentified as the target in a gang retaliation shooting.

North Las Vegas Assistant Police Chief Pamela Ojeda said Friday the girl, her parents and two sisters, who were all in the house, were innocent victims.

The parents and sisters, 14 and 6, weren’t injured by gunfire.

Ojeda says people with information about the case should contact police.

Police say three shooters stepped from a car Thursday night and opened fire on the house with a shotgun and handguns before a neighbor returned fire with a legally owned handgun as the car drove away.

Ojeda says a 19-year-old passenger was wounded by the neighbor and is hospitalized in grave condition.

The neighbor was questioned by police but has not been charged with a crime.

A 17-year-old identified as the driver of the car is in custody.


11 a.m.

Police say a drive-by shooting that killed an 11-year-old girl was gang-related and targeted the wrong house in suburban Las Vegas.

North Las Vegas police Officer Eric Leavitt said Friday that a neighbor who saw the shooting opened fire at the car as it drove away with a legally owned handgun.

He says a 19-year-old passenger is hospitalized in grave condition with a head wound and a 17-year-old identified as the driver of a getaway car is in custody. Three other shooters are being sought.

Leavitt says the group got out of a car and opened fire Thursday night on the house about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of the Las Vegas Strip.

Leavitt says four other people in the house weren’t injured.


6:45 a.m.

Police in a Las Vegas suburb say an 11-year-old girl is dead after being shot in her home during a drive-by shooting Thursday night.

North Las Vegas police say the girl died at a hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds.

Police say a 19-year-old man described as a suspect also was shot during the incident and was hospitalized in critical condition.

Police spokesman Eric says investigators are trying to locate other suspects and to determine circumstances of the incident, including whether the drive-by shooting was random or targeted.

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Pregnant Wifes ER Visit for Husband With “Man Flu” Has the Internet CRY-Laughing!!

I’m sitting upstairs right now and both toddlers are downstairs with my husband and nasty colds. You know what that means? The man flu season is coming. It might not even be the flu, it could just be a cold, but he’ll treat it like the plague because it happens every year like clockwork. Just as sure as the sun rises and sets, I can count on him to be completely useless for a solid week if he so much as sneezes.

Throw it back to 2014. I was about nine weeks pregnant with Cora and Sadie was 6 months old. From the moment I woke up, I was violently puking all day. In the car. Out of the window. During our errands. I was miserable and nauseous but worked through it because #MOMLIFE. I honestly thought I had killer morning sickness or possibly a stomach bug so I went with it. Then 6 p.m. rolls around… it was definitely not morning sickness because I watched my husband transform right before my eyes, stumbling around saying he’s going to puke. Grreeeeeat. The moment he says he’s feeling sick, my eyes automatically roll into the back of my head and touch my spine. Instant dread.

Stage 1: Give this man a chance. Try the sweet approach.

‘Ok babe. You’re going to be fine. Just go to the bathroom and try to relax.’

Did he take my advice? Nope. First stop is our kitchen sink. He pukes all over a week’s worth of dirty dishes. He’s obnoxiously loud when he’s barfing to make sure I know this is the real deal. The neighbors know it’s the real deal. The next town over knows too. Cue me hating my life.

Stage 2: This is the actual worst and I’m going to kill him.

‘Seriously Ty?! Go into the bathroom!! Why would you do that?! It’s like 5 feet away and the garbage can is RIGHT HERE.’

He starts waddling to the bathroom and I breathe a sigh of relief. Thank God he’s in there, maybe he’ll pull it together. PSYCH. He’s being so noisy and dramatic with his heaving that I have no choice but to check on him and pretend I don’t want to murder him. I walk in and encounter vomit. Everywhere. But not in the toilet folks, nawwwww. In the bathtub. The freaking bathtub. BUT. WHY.

Stage 3: There’s no turning back, he’s committed.

He lays on the floor with his eyes closed and starts moaning ‘Syd. Syyydd. I can’t. I can’t see…’

Brain: Oh, so now he can’t see? Is this a joke. He has a flu symptom that doesn’t even exist. Actually, I can’t. I should probably leave. Where is this dude’s mom.

‘What are you even talking about?! That’s not real life!! Open your freaking eyes. We don’t have time for this. GET UP. NOW. RIGHT NOW.’

My voice was really serious at this point. He knew he poked the bear way too hard, or so I thought. He took the alternative route and decided to become unresponsive. Yes. Literally. He played dead like a possum. I’m standing over him about to puke myself and he starts whispering:

‘Syd…Call 911. Syd. I’m dying… call 911. Call 9….1…..1……’

Stage 4: This dude just told me to call 911.

Hold the phone: You want me to dial 9-1-1 and say what? My grown husband has an upset stomach? He stops responding to me AGAIN and mumbles incoherently. He’s rolling around like a pig in his own poop but in his own barf that’s everywhere but the toilet. I [decided] to try and call his bluff.

‘Do you need me to call 911??? We just have the stomach flu and I’M PREGNANT. I’m tired. You’re telling me I am going to pick up the phone and say this is an emergency. You know they’re going to actually come here RIGHT? Right? I’m gonna do it. I’m dead serious.’

He was sick for maybe an hour tops at this point. He’s a first responder. He’s the father of my children. He’s my best friend. He’s a combat vet. He’s a devil dog. He’s a biiiiigg baby. And then I made the dreaded call.

Dispatch: 911 what’s your emergency?

Me: Ugh. Hi. How are you? Ughhhh. It’s my husband. He’s… I don’t know, he’s umm. He’s throwing up.

Dispatch: …Ok? Are there any other symptoms?

Me: He can’t see. Or talk. Or move. He’s basically unresponsive.

Dispatch: Any chest pain or shortness of breath, ma’am?

Me: (whispering into the phone) Oh gosh no… he has *the flu*

Now I’m mortified because I just called 911 for the man flu. I tell him help is on the way. He fully grasps what I’ve done and says, ‘No Syd, wait… seriously wait. I think I pooped my pants.’

‘Scuse me?

Stage 5: I just called 911, someone pooped themselves, the countdown begins.

I morph into Bambi’s father.

‘Get up Ty. GET UP! You MUST GET UP! Dude the paramedics are on their way and you pooped your pants?! You’re NEXT TO THE TOILET?! Why wouldn’t you poop on the toilet?! Why are you doing this to me?!’

I’m panicking because I know I’m about to be embarrassed. I start trying to pull down his pants while he lays like a corpse. No luck. Then a lightbulb clicks in his head… He realizes there’s a really good chance he’ll know one of these paramedics and he miraculously found the strength to haul his butt to our room to change. The paramedics get to our house and I’m standing there with the worst case of resting [w]itch face. EVER. They ask him what his symptoms are and I’m dying to call him out.

Guys, it’s like an angel came down from heaven and cured him right there on the spot. All of a sudden he could talk again. He could walk again. He could even see again like a Christmas miracle. They proceed to tell me I need to follow behind them to the hospital because he was going via ambulance. For the flu. That I gave him. I drive my pregnant butt alone to the hospital while puking in a plastic bag with my husband in front of me on a stretcher being doted on. It’s the first and last time I’ve ever considered divorce.

Stage 6: Nurses are the bomb

I finally find his room and I’m throwing up while answering questions for him because he’s back at it again playing possum. He isn’t answering anyone and the nurse spotted that man flu crap from a mile away. We made eye contact and nodded. Solidarity. She’s all, ‘SIR. GET IT TOGETHER. YOU NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?’ And I’m all, ‘THANK YOU JESUS, SING IT SISTER.’ They find out I’m with child and decide to admit me as well because apparently, the flu is usually only dangerous for pregnant women, elderly and newborns. Now I’m livid. We get our IVs. The nurses keep coming in to give me the ‘I’m so sorry’ look. The nod all women know. When someone says their man is sick we take a moment of silence for each other. United we stand.

We were finally sent home and he’s trying to chat it up in the car like nothing happened. Nothing to see here folks. That heinous act of horror wasn’t real. But it was. I have to go get the baby from my parents’ the next morning because he’s too sick (I’m still sick with what I gave him). I was up all night and I come home to what?

Stage 7: A whole lotta HECKKK NO.

A fresh batch of puke that ain’t in the toilet. I was positive the dog also pooped in the house. Sure didn’t. That would be my husband. Again. Just to remind me how sick he was, he re-offended the house while I was gone. I made him wear one of those bird flu masks and didn’t talk to him for a solid three days. I locked myself in our bedroom until he was ready to come back to earth. To this day it’s still a touchy subject in our house. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we cringe. But I told him one day I would share this story, maybe to help another family in need. So women won’t feel alone. If you think your hubs is the worst when they get sick, come and read this again for a reminder. Beware… the man cold and flu season is near. This could be you.

**This story was written by Sydney W of Strollin With My Homies and originally appeared on Love What Matters. Used with permission. 

Be sure to SHARE this hilarious story on Facebook to give other wives fighting the ‘man flu’ a good laugh!

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7 Sweetly Romantic Date Night Spots In Washington DC
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7 Sweetly Romantic Date Night Spots In Washington DC

Make your own romantic weekend in DC a reality. Check out for 100+ date ideas, incredible restaurants, hotel specials and cultural activities to experience together.

1. Go shopping (and maybe get engaged) in historic Georgetown.

It may not be the Via Condotti, but Historic Georgetown has some pretty fantastic shopping, with stores like Anthropologie, All Saints and Madewell lining its quaint, cobblestone streets.

Following an afternoon of strolling stores hand in hand, head to Martin’s Tavern for Happy Hour. Ask to sit in the Proposal Booth, where, in 1953, John F. Kennedy popped the question to Jacqueline Bouvier. Champagne is in order.

Next, wander over to Chez Billy Sud, an intimate French restaurant with pale green walls and gilded mirrors (and a perfect backdrop for photo ops). Grab a nightcap at Bar a Vin, a sister wine bar across the patio with a cozy wood-burning fireplace.

Where to stay nearby: The Ritz Carlton Washington, D.C. ($485 per night, enjoy a complimentary night for every three-nights you stay, now through December 31, when you book the Treat You package)

2. Teleport to Morocco by way of Maydan DC

When I first moved to Washington, I could tell the stretch of 14th Street between U and P streets had loads of date-night potential. But then Cafe Saint Ex and Bar Pilar, a farm-to-table resto with its cozy, clandestine “make out coves” (what staff members call “nooks,” like the two-seater near Bar Pilar’s staircase) moved in.

The neighborhood’s date-night mecca in my opinion is Maydan. Seriously, what’s not to love about walking into a tucked-away restaurant, sitting near an open fire, and nibbling on small dishes that make you feel as if you’ve been transported to Morocco? Continue the journey over at Le Diplomat, for pastis and heart-warming creme brulee, or catch a late-night indie rock show at The Black Cat.

Where to stay nearby: Hamilton Hotel Washington, D.C. (Romance Package includes a complimentary bottle of Champagne and breakfast for two.)

3. Get lost in the labyrinth of Blagden Alley

Hidden inside an unsuspecting city block in DC’s Mount Vernon neighborhood is a labyrinth of bars and restaurants known as Blagden Alley (some say it’s also known as Engagement Alley—proposals are practically a daily occurrence here).

Start off in Columbia Room’s Spirits Library and warm up with an Old Grogham, a steamy brew made with gin and earl gray tea. Next, hit Calico, featuring Eastern-shore inspired bites like steak sandwiches, tomato pie and lobster mac and cheese. Or slip into The Dabney, a farmhouse-chic restaurant with an open kitchen and—yay—another cozy, wood-fired oven. Work off those chicken and dumplings with a stroll to the mall to see the monuments by moonlight.

Where to stay nearby: The Willard InterContinental Washington D.C (Hit the Round Robin Bar for a night cap. It’s been a hotspot for social and political movers-and-shakers since the days of Abe Lincoln and features a menu of presidential drinks from legendary bartender and cocktail historian Jim Hewes.)

4. Canoodle during a movie at Uptown Cinema

The day after Karl and I got engaged, we took the Metro to Cleveland Park and saw what Karl considers to be the greatest love story of all time: “King Kong.” It was playing at DC’s famed Uptown Cinema. Whatever you decide to see (hopefully, it won’t feature a gorilla as leading man), sit in the balcony for canoodling when the lights go down.

After the show, slip into Bindaas, an intimate little gem run by Vikram Sunderam, recipient of a James Beard Award for sister restaurant Rasika. Here, small plates of Indian street-style food are served in a jewel box space set off with spice jars and saffron-colored banquets.

Where to stay nearby:Marriott Wardman Park (celebrate the historic hotel’s 100 years and stay for a third night for just $100)

5. Visit the urban paradise that is CityCenterDC

By day, CityCenterDC, a 10-acre urban paradise of plazas and parks and pedestrian walkways, is a shopping mecca, with stores like Hermes and Dior lining Palmer Alley. By night, it’s pure romance, aglow with twinkling lights and couples strolling hand in hand.

Steal a kiss under The Gateway, a three-plane digital art display that spans 25-feet high and 50-feet wide. My pick for sweet spot dining is Centrolina for their handmade pastas and wines from Umbria. Its floor to ceiling glass windows and central marble bar are stylish beyond words. Finish the night with gelato and espresso from Dolcezza—the perfect pairing for a perfect pair.

Where to stay nearby: Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel (choose from packages spanning food, museum and sightseeing themes starting at $169/night)

6. Dive into Union Market for oysters and books 

DC’s most delicious destination is Union Market, a revitalized food hall built where the original market once stood decades ago.

After enjoying an aphrodisiac snack at Rappahannock Oyster Bar or bulgogi beef tacos at TaKorean, catch a reading at Politics & Prose, an offshoot of DC’s famed independent bookstore. Then head to St. Anslem, an industrial-meets-modern (think exposed brick and stacks of vintage books) tavern that took over the soaring space of an old Army Navy store. Reserve a spot in the Beef Steak room for an all-you-can-eat finger food experience that requires guests wear aprons. The market is open every day of the week except Mondays.

Where to stay nearby: Kimpton George Hotel (book 3 nights and get the third night free)

7. Stroll the courtyard before cuddling up at Iron Gate

If you want to shift your date into romantic overdrive, Dupont Circle’s Iron Gate has it all: Wisteria branches covering a secluded courtyard (with heaters and blankets, should you want to cuddle up and dine alfresco) and plates meant for sharing. Book the table for two by the fireplace and ask your server to recommend something off the restaurant’s nearly 400-bottle wine list.

Continue the gastronomic indulgence the next morning by enjoying Sunday brunch at Siren by RW, tucked in The Darcy hotel, starring adventurous dishes like grilled Spanish octopus and eggs along with mainstays like pancakes and omelets.

Where to stay nearby: The Darcy, Curio Collection by Hilton (book the champagne and caviar package starting at $199)

Image credits, in order of appearance: Getty ImagesPhoto by Cameron Whitman, StocksyPhoto courtesy of Maydan DC, Photo by Ted Eytan, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons/Carol M. Highsmith, Photo courtesy of washington.orgPhoto courtesy of Union Market

The People Bringing You Delicious Dairy

A new Thought Catalog series exploring our connection to each other, our food, and where it comes from.

Meet Katie Dotterer-Pyle

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Northern Mariana Islands Brace For Months Without Power After Super Typhoon Yutu

Residents of a U.S. territory in the Pacific ravaged by Super Typhoon Yutu are hopeful for help from the federal government as they dig out from damage including crumbled concrete houses, smashed cars and fallen utility poles.

Used to riding out monster storms, about 50,000 people living in the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands expect to be without electricity and running water for months after getting slammed by the strongest storm to hit the U.S. this year.

Officials toured villages in Saipan and saw cars crushed under a collapsed garage, the ground ripped clean of vegetation and people injured by spraying glass and other debris. As of Friday local time, there was one storm-related death confirmed.

At least one storm death has been confirmed.

A military plane was bringing food, water, tarps and other supplies, U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman David Gervino said.

The agency had already significant water and food in place because it had stored more than 220,000 liters of water and 260,000 shelf-stable meals at a distribution center on nearby Guam to prepare for Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck last month.

Mangkhut’s effects turned out to be not as bad as expected, so those supplies are still available.

The agency is focused on helping restore power, opening sea and air ports and ensuring cell towers can operate on emergency power until utility power returns, Gervino said.

One change the agency adopted because of Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that struck Puerto Rico last year, is it has created task forces to tackle different areas such as transportation, communications, food and water and energy and fuel.

Federal and territory officials are in constant communication to address each of these areas, he said.

A damaged plane sits at the airport after Super Typhoon Yutu hit the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Friday.

Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the territory’s delegate to Congress, said residents will need significant help to recover. Colleagues in Congress have offered aid. Sablan expects a presidential disaster declaration to free up resources for storm relief.

“We want people to remember we are Americans and we exist,” local lawmaker Edwin Propst said.

Maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 kph) were recorded around the eye of the storm, which passed over the islands of Tinian and Saipan early Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

A 44-year-old woman taking shelter in an abandoned building died when it collapsed in the storm, the governor’s office Facebook page said. Officials couldn’t immediately be reached for additional details.

Residents of the U.S. territory are preparing for months without electricity or running water after the islands were slammed with the strongest storm to hit any part of the U.S. this year. 

The territory’s only hospital in Saipan, the most populated island, said it received 133 people in the emergency room Thursday, and three patients had severe injuries that needed surgery.

Residents “were stoic and still smiling and they were just thankful to be alive,” said Propst, a member of the territory’s House of Representatives.

Sablan said most of the structures in the southern part of Saipan lost their roofs and many, including a high school, were “completely destroyed.”

“This damage is just horrendous, it’s going to take months and months for us to recover,” he said by phone.

Even the plants were torn up, he said: “There are no shrubs, they’re all gone. There are no leaves.”

On the smaller island of Tinian, which took a direct hit, most of the houses were destroyed, and even some concrete ones were reduced to rubble, resident Juanita Mendiola said.

“We had to hide inside the bathroom because the house felt like it was going to blow apart,” she said. “It was literally shaking — a concrete house shaking.”

The storm ripped a door off its hinges and flung it more than 100 feet away into a pigsty, she said.

Associated Press
Maximum sustained winds of 180 mph were recorded around the eye of the storm, the National Weather Service said.

More than 800 people were in shelters across the territory, and space was running out, officials said. Electricity and running water shut down Wednesday, residents said. Cellphone coverage was spotty.

Nadine Deleon Guerrero, a spokeswoman for the territory’s emergency management department, said all of Saipan (population 50,000) and Tinian (population 3,000) islands were without utility power.

Crews were still assessing how long it will take to restore electricity, she said.

Commercial flights won’t be operable for some time, she said. Terminals, the tarmac, runway and equipment all suffered damage.

The Saipan hospital was running on backup generators but otherwise operating normally, said Esther Lizama Muna, CEO of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. She said she expects more patients to seek medical help Friday and worried they could run out of medical supplies.

“From my experience with previous typhoons, people tend to wait to care for their health as they focus on their homes and others,” Muna said. “So we do expect more injuries trickling in.”

A health center on Tinian sustained damage but was operating normally.

The islands’ emergency management agency said it was trying to clear roadways so first responders could help residents who lost their homes and people could get medical care and head to shelters.

“At its peak, it felt like many trains running constant,” Saipan resident Glen Hunter wrote in a Facebook message. “At its peak, the wind was constant and the sound horrifying.”

Hunter said he doesn’t expect to get power back for months, recalling how it took four months to restore electricity after Typhoon Soudelor in 2015.

Recovery efforts on Saipan and Tinian will be slow, said Brandon Aydlett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“This is the worst-case scenario. This is why the building codes in the Marianas are so tough,” he said. “This is going to be the storm which sets the scale for which future storms are compared to.”

Propst, the lawmaker, said he has lived through dozens of typhoons, but “this is the first time I feared for my life.”

He, his wife and their four children huddled in a bedroom as the storm ripped storm shutters from the windows of his concrete home, shattered a glass sliding door and flooded the floors.

Some poor families can’t afford homes that conform to building codes, Propst said. Some build houses with concrete foundations and walls but that have wooden and tin roofs.

Amber Alberts said she was feeling like “one of the lucky ones” after safely riding out the storm in the kitchen of her apartment. “My place is fine, my car is fine,” she said Friday as she set out to find ways to help.

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30+ Times People Surprised Their Neighbors With Their Halloween Decorations

Are you ready for Halloween? Or are you still frantically searching the costume and thrift stores for your outfit? Like anything, some people are more prepared than others, and we are here to show the best and most dedicated Halloween enthusiasts.

It’s safe to say that these folks have been planning their decorations for some time now. These elaborate displays are quite breathtaking in their scale, and are sure to make the neighbours green with envy! From a complete mock-up of Area 51 to a 3000 pumpkin salute, this list, compiled by Bored Panda is sure to get your inspiration flowing for some last-minute Halloween creativity. Scroll down below to check it out for yourself, and don’t forget to upvote your favorites!

#1 I Decorated My Parents House For Halloween…

#2 Just A Pallet, Red Light, And Fake Hands

#3 Projection My Brother-In-Law Has Set Up In His Front Window

#4 Life-Size Michael Myers House

#5 The Pumpkin House In Kenova, West Virginia

#6 Grim

#7 UFO Crash

#8 My Neighbor’s Halloween Display

#9 My Neighbor Wins Halloween. Graveyard For Trends That ‘Died’ In 2017 And 2018

#10 Bring It On, Homeowners Association

#12 Walking Dead-Inspired Halloween Decorations

#13 Courtyard Ghouls

#14 Halloween Decorations In My Neighborhood. This Guy Makes These By Hand And Puts Them Up Every Year

#15 Jacked-O-Lantern

#16 Don’t Go Near The Water

#17 Money Is A Bit Tight Right Now So I Made Some Homemade Halloween Decorations. Turned Out Pretty Good, I Think

#18 This Walking Dead Display

#19 My Neighbors Take Halloween Very Seriously

#20 Skeletons Breaking Into Someone’s House To Murder Them

#22 That’s One Heck Of A Complex Halloween Decoration

#23 My Neighbors Have Nuns

#24 Spooky Pumpkin

#25 This House With Full-Size Pirate Ship Decoration

#26 Batman Themed Halloween Display

#27 Local Halloween Decoration That Prompted A 911 Call

#28 The Zombie Garage

#29 Nooooooo!

#30 Our Front Window Display

#32 Game Of Thrones Halloween Display

#33 Spooky

#34 Creepy

#35 Giant Skeleton Halloween Decoration

#36 He’s Been Waiting For You

#37 Brewing

#38 The View From The Street By My Kitchen Window. My Daughter Says That The Kids In The Neighborhood Call Our Place “The Murder House”

#39 Went With A Skeleton Theme This Year

#40 Beauty And D’ceased

#42 Zombie Wolf And Red Riding Hood

#43 Whomping Willow From Harry Potter

#44 Slender Man

#45 Insane Asylum Decor

#46 Happy Halloween

#47 UFO Invasion At Area 51

#48 Scary Grim

#49 Neighbor`s Halloween Decoration

#50 Great Idea For Side Of House Decor

#52 House In My Neighboorhood Attacked By Skeletons

#53 My Alien Creation

#54 Now That’s A Big Scary Spider

#55 Accidental Oogie Boogie

#56 Porch Clown

#57 This Cute Girl On The Swings

#58 Monday Creeped Up On You Like…

#59 Family Dinner

#60 My Grim Reaper, All Custom

#62 This Iconic Psycho Scene

#63 Looks Like The Yard Spider Got Something…

#64 The Exorcist/Lemonade Stand Setup

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‘The Conners’ Is A Reboot For Another Time and Place

“The Conners” is not “Roseanne.” Right? I mean, it sounds like a different show. The marquee star is gone, taking with her the show’s name; the new moniker suggests a nice fresh start.

To me, just a regular millennial woman who didn’t own a TV she was allowed to turn on until she was 25, this rebirth seemed like a perfect opportunity to get to know the Conners along with “The Conners.” Yes, it’s shocking that I never watched “Roseanne,” even the reboot season. (To be fair to myself, by the time of the reboot, it was already pretty clear that its star and namesake was a vile person.)

But that’s in the past, and the future is “The Conners.” I could get in on the ground floor this time. It felt good to be on the verge of understanding, and even contributing to, cocktail party chatter again. As a sitcom lover, I’m always ready to add another to my viewing roster. So, I sat down on Tuesday night at 8 p.m., my plate of oven-roasted chicken thighs and green beans perched before me on the coffee table, and invited the Conners into my living room.

It takes more than a new name, however, to exorcise Roseanne’s ghost. I’d foolishly hoped that “The Conners” would stand separately from its predecessor, an old-school sitcom carrying with it the blue-collar concerns and penchant for wry cultural critique I’d heard so much about. Instead, the premiere unfolded like the third act of a tragedy to which I’d arrived two acts late.

First of all, as anyone could have predicted for me ― just a regular self-absorbed idiot millennial woman ― the whole 30-minute premiere episode was about Roseanne. I mean, the main character died! How could I not see this coming??  

We’re dropped in three weeks after the sudden death of Roseanne, who apparently died of a heart attack. In the first scene, the family is finishing up a dinner of assorted homemade casseroles.

“Why do people bring casseroles when somebody dies?” scoffs Harris (Emma Kenney), who appears to be Roseanne’s teenage granddaughter. I struggle to believe that a child over the age of 7 wouldn’t understand this ― I don’t recall needing an explanation when my family became casserole recipients back in the day ― but this question is necessary to tee up the first real joke of the episode: Dan (John Goodman) suggesting that they’ll keep claiming to be grieving until they learn how to cook for themselves. Hey, I didn’t say it was a funny joke.

Roseanne Conner’s absence leaves each member of the clan adrift in some way. Dan avoids sleeping in the bed he shared with his late wife. Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), Roseanne’s sister, manically reorganizes the kitchen. Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Alicia Goranson), her daughters, fight over who should deal with the mounting stacks of bills. Harris frets about having left things unresolved with a grandmother she often clashed with. Mark (Ames McNamara), who appears to be Darlene’s other child, misses her guidance on the crucial question of which boy at school he should sit next to on the bus. Other people, who are related to Roseanne and each other in unspecified ways, pop in and out, sad but always ready with a quip.

Clearly there is a lot of backstory to all of this that I’m expected to know. Kids, always do the reading, including supplemental packets.

The one thing I know, really, about Roseanne Conner is that she was executed in the off-season to pay for the crimes of Roseanne Barr, whose long-running work in racist tweets had crescendoed to an unignorable din. Roseanne Conner is not Roseanne Barr, I believe, yet this made it very odd to hear the former mourned onscreen as a paragon untimely ripped from the family she presided over with wisdom and empathy.

Roseanne Barr, for what it’s worth, seemed to feel similarly. An hour after the premiere aired, she tweeted her reaction:  

She’s not! This rent in the very fabric of space and time seems like the most literal possible manifestation of the idea that our political and cultural reality is the dumbest of various parallel timelines. In one timeline, Roseanne is alive and the anointed leader of a horde of Pepes; in another, she’s a saintly if crotchety wife and mother who died peacefully of a heart attack.

Or, actually, not a heart attack. Halfway through the episode, already a confusing mixture of reverent sorrow and easygoing chuckles, the family learns that the autopsy has revealed Roseanne actually died of an opioid overdose. They soon discover that she’d been stashing pills she’d obtained without a prescription around the house; no one had any idea.

An opioid overdose death is the kind of tragedy that the typical multi-camera sitcom can’t really make funny. It’s Very Special Episode material, not “meet the wacky cast” material. In a way, it seems fearless to take it on, especially in a premiere ― and, given the immense scope of the country’s current opioid crisis, exceedingly relevant.  

As a viewer, though, it heightens the episode’s tonal confusion. The family reacts to the news about their loved one’s hidden addiction with even-keeled dismay. Becky, the fun-loving single sister, almost immediately wisecracks that the pills that killed her mother in her sleep were the one possession of her late parent she wanted to keep. Mostly, the show tries to treat Roseanne’s apparent addiction with a serious tone, but wry dad jokes are sprinkled into the same conversations. Every time I was cued to laugh, I instead found my face frozen in horrified bemusement.

Not that comedy can’t come from dark places. Metcalf, wild-eyed and pitch-perfect as Jackie, most aptly captures the manic hilarity that can bubble up from the depths of misery. Goodman’s Dan, too, has the weariness and grim humor born of suffering. For the most part, though, the jokesters simply seem glib.

Perhaps, once all the Roseanne ends have been tied up, “The Conners” will find its new rhythm as a serviceable family sitcom in its own right, unburdened by her shadow. But it will never really be free of it, if only because, if I’m any indication, watching “The Conners” without first watching “Roseanne” is winding up at a party where everyone seems to think you’ve met before but you can’t remember their names: disorienting and vaguely embarrassing.

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This Photo Of A “Crow” Is Going Viral And Confusing The Hell Out Of People

Yes, the world isn’t in a great place at the moment. The Amazon is at risk from a newly elected Brazilian president, climate change is swallowing islands, and Trump is… being Trump.

So to take your mind off things, if just for a moment, let’s all enjoy this wonderful optical illusion. Or is it an illusion at all?

At first glance, this image making the rounds on Reddit and Twitter looks like a fairly innocuous crow on a kitchen floor. You can see its eye and its beak and, well, who doesn’t love a good crow picture.

But wait! Your eyes deceive you. For this is no humble crow. It is, in fact, a cat with its head tilted sideways and its ear poking out.

What is this crow-cat image trying to tell us? Does it signify the end of times? It very well might do.

But if you can pick yourself up from the floor following the shock of this strange hybrid animal, then have we got more treats for you. Did you know, for example, that the best illusions of the year were recently announced?

If you want to read more about how optical illusions work, then head over here. But if after all that you’re still in despair about the world and need to read more, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how Brazil’s new president might destroy the planet.

For the rest of us, we’ll just enjoy our crow-cat hybrids for now, thank you very much.

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20+ Horror Movie Cliches That Youll Notice Next Time Youll Watch These Movies

With Halloween just around a corner, many of us are preparing to binge-watch horror movies. Good scary films can set a perfect Halloween mood, by making us shiver with fear and suspense. However, there are also plenty of films that leave us just plain confused, rather than scared. This is usually because they are either ridiculously predictable, or just don’t make sense. We here at Bored Panda have compiled a list of the most annoying cliches, the ones that just ruin horror films. While we’re not saying that all horror movies are guilty of these cliches, you’ll definitely be able to recognize quite a few! Scroll below to read them!

#1 Women Can’t Run Without Falling Down Cliche

In real life, women are pretty good runners. Too bad horror movie script writers think otherwise. According to them, women can’t run a mile while being chased by a killer without slamming their whole weight into the ground and that’s when the killer gets them.

#2 Running On A Road While Being Chased By A Car Cliche

This one is actually a comedy gold. If you were chased by a car, wouldn’t your survival instincts tell you to run somewhere where the car can’t drive? Well, not if you’re a horror movie character. It’s way too common for the protagonist to run on the road, in front of a car while being chased.

#3 The Car Never Starts Cliche

One of the most nerve-racking moments of horror movies is when the protagonist tries to escape from the claws of death. However, luck is never in their favor if they decide to flee the danger by jumping into a car. Because in horror movies the car never starts, for no apparent reason. Your brand new vehicle may have been working perfectly 10 minutes ago, but it won’t start when you…

One of the most nerve-racking moments of horror movies is when the protagonist tries to escape from the claws of death. However, luck is never in their favor if they decide to flee the danger by jumping into a car. Because in horror movies the car never starts, for no apparent reason. Your brand new vehicle may have been working perfectly 10 minutes ago, but it won’t start when you are being chased by a killer.

#4 The Inconsistent Strength Of A Killer Cliche

The villain is so skilled at killing that they make every irrelevant character drop like a fly, up until they encounter the main protagonist. Then suddenly a killer becomes weaker and clumsier than usual, giving an unfair advantage to the hero of the movie.

#5 Splitting Up Cliche

If you wind up in situations when there’s a psycho killer running around murdering people, the best thing you can do is stay with as many people as possible to increase your chances of survival. What do horror movie characters choose to do in situations like these? They split up! Sure, they will cover more ground when searching for an escape, but usually, they will end up getting offed one…

If you wind up in situations when there’s a psycho killer running around murdering people, the best thing you can do is stay with as many people as possible to increase your chances of survival. What do horror movie characters choose to do in situations like these? They split up! Sure, they will cover more ground when searching for an escape, but usually, they will end up getting offed one by one.

#6 Adults Are Useless Cliche

In horror movies that revolve around teenagers or younger children, getting help from responsible adults is next to impossible. They usually never believe nor listen when children try to tell them about the crazy things that are happening.

#7 The Speed Walking Killer Cliche

It doesn’t matter if the killer is crippled or missing a leg, he can even walk instead of running because he will always be faster than a victim sprinting in terror.

#8 Betrayed By One Little Sound Cliche

No matter how good is the victim’s hiding spot is, there’s definitely going to be a sound that will give away their location. We’ve seen way too many scenes of a victim hiding in a closet or under the bed and their phone going off helping the killer to find their victim.

#9 The Mirror Scare Cliche

It seems that the filmmakers just cannot resist this cliche. Every time there’s a mirror in a movie you know what’s about to happen – when the character looks at it they will suddenly see a reflection of a monster standing behind them.

#10 Bad Cell Phone Reception Cliche

At some point, scriptwriters probably realized that it’s quite unconvincing for a character to never have a phone when they need to call for help. So they figured out a solution – bad reception. So when disaster strikes, phones are always useless.

Even the most human-like villains in horror movies seem to be immortal. This invincible monster makes everyone drop like flies, and easily recovers from any hit he takes. And when a hero finally knocks down the bad guy, 10 minutes later he’s alive and ready to hunt down the rest of his unsuspecting victims.

#12 The Dark Basement Cliche

If a horror movie character buys a house, there definitely will be a creepy basement where someone was murdered or will be murdered. Not to mention that the owners always feel the need to inspect weird noises coming from it, when they are alone. Also, that dimmed light bulb that hangs in the basement? Well, it most certainly will go out at the worst possible moment.

#13 Ignoring The Elder’s Warning Cliche

While we usually don’t expect for the main character to pack their bags and leave when some old person warns them about crazy stuff going on in a house they just bought, some consideration would make this scenario a little bit more believable and less of a cliche. Old people usually don’t just walk around warning people of danger for no good reason.

#14 Everyone Is An Idiot Cliche

One thing is clear – when a murderous psycho is breathing down your neck, only basic survival skills can save your life. But if you’re a horror movie protagonist, then chances are that you’re a dummy who keeps making one stupid decision after another, until you get bludgeoned to death. The protagonist making absurd, life-threatening decisions is one of the most prevalent horror movie cliches.

#15 The Final Girl Cliche

The final girl trope is prevalent is slasher horror movies when only one girl out of a group of people survives. The final girl is often portrayed as a shy, innocent person in the beginning, but as once the hell is unleashed she turns out to be the most resourceful and intelligent character.

#16 The Black Guy Always Dies Cliche

Do you know who has definitely no chance of survival in a typical cliche-ridden horror movie plot? A black person. However, this cliche is beginning to die out as studios begin to realize that the main protagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be white.

#17 Jump Scares Cliche

Cheap horror movies are known to use horrible jump scares to frighten their viewers. You can almost feel when something weird will jump in front of the screen for no reason at all. How about instead of startling viewers show something actually frightening instead?

#18 Expert Shooter Cliche

Once the guns appear in a horror movie, despite never firing a gun before, every character becomes an expert shooter.

#19 Creepy Children Cliche

Children are generally innocent looking and not scary at all unless you see them in a horror movie, then they are freaky as hell.

#20 Dropping The Keys Cliche

It’s unbelievable how clumsy protagonists can get when they are running away from a killer. Fear does make people frantic, but the number of scenes of characters dropping their keys while trying to unlock the door is incredible.

Not many people expect to be murdered in a bathroom, well maybe except those who watch a lot of horror movies. If you’ve seen a handful of them, you know how often killers assault their victims who are taking a shower.

#22 The Same Old Creepy Locations Cliche

If you’re a big fan of horror movies you probably seen way too many movies set in abandoned houses, creepy orphanages, mental institutions, basements, caves and so on. Despite the fact that in our minds these places are frightening, it’s getting a bit repetitive, isn’t it?

#23 The Stereotyped Characters Cliche

While not every horror movie is guilty of stereotyped characters, we’ve seen way too many of those which are. Usually, there’s not just one walking stereotype – there’s a whole group. Typically they are – a slut, jock, nerd, and virgin.

#24 The Police Always Arrive Too Late Cliche

With all the obstacles horror movie characters face when trying to get help, waiting for the police is probably the most nerve-wracking. The character goes through hell and back trying to get help and a glimmer of hope appears when they finally call the police. However, as this cliche follows, the police can take ages to arrive and when they finally do – there’s usually no one left to save.

#25 Scribbling On The Walls Cliche

A character’s obsession with scribbling bizarre calculations, nonsense words and religious symbols on random surfaces has been a good depiction of some kind of mental disturbance. However, once every screenwriter began copying this idea, it became a cliche in the horror movie industry.

#26 Based On Actual Events Cliche

While there are movies which really are based on actual events, others are nowhere near the real facts. Yet filmmakers still try to fool their audience into thinking otherwise. Even though there are many people who believe everything they’re being told without second-guessing, even they have seen too many fake ‘based on true events’ announcements to believe them.

#27 Rising Tension When Nothing Is Happening Cliche

Many horror movies are guilty of raising tension when nothing is actually happening. The viewers are often led to believe that the monster is coming closer, but then the protagonist discovers that the weird sound they’re investigating is just a pet.

#28 Sex Will Get You Killed Cliche

Horror movie fans know this already – if there’s a scene of a couple getting naughty, they’ll both bite the dust. Because what better time to kill somebody than when they’re having sex?

#29 Investigating In The Dark Cliche

The first death in a horror movie often happens when one person in the group gets this excellent idea that they should go out alone in the dark to investigate a suspicious sound they just heard. The person is usually so unbelievably oblivious to the danger, that they never take anyone with them, not even a weapon of some sort.

#30 The Children Can See Spirits Cliche

Many children have imaginary friends, but in horror movies, these ‘friends’ are usually vengeful spirits who will try to kill their whole family. And of course, parents only take their children’s bizarre behavior into consideration after it’s too late.

When there’s an intruder in your house the safest option is to run outside and yell for help. But way too often protagonists are not aware of this option, so when they run out of the living room or a kitchen – they run upstairs and crawl under the bed, or jump in a closet. While it makes sense for children to do so, when you see an adult doing…

When there’s an intruder in your house the safest option is to run outside and yell for help. But way too often protagonists are not aware of this option, so when they run out of the living room or a kitchen – they run upstairs and crawl under the bed, or jump in a closet. While it makes sense for children to do so, when you see an adult doing it, you know that scriptwriters did a sloppy job.

#32 Cat Scare Cliche

Cats are usually gentle and sweet animals, unless they are shown in horror movies, then they are creepy as hell. It usually goes as follows: the protagonist enters a dark room to investigate a strange noise – as they always do – and the viewers prepare themselves for something scary to happen. Then suddenly a cat jumps out of nowhere, angrily hissing for no good reason. These ‘cat scares’ …

Cats are usually gentle and sweet animals, unless they are shown in horror movies, then they are creepy as hell. It usually goes as follows: the protagonist enters a dark room to investigate a strange noise – as they always do – and the viewers prepare themselves for something scary to happen. Then suddenly a cat jumps out of nowhere, angrily hissing for no good reason. These ‘cat scares’ are so prevalent that when you see a cat in a horror movie you know that this will happen sooner or later.

#33 Creepy Dolls Cliche

While most dolls look cute and innocent, watching too many horror movies can change this perception quickly. They have a way of making dolls look creepy as hell.

#34 Indian Burial Ground Cliche

A scenario of a young family moving into a new property without knowing that their house is built upon an Indian burial ground was common in horror movie history. Gladly, this racist cliche of Native Americans trying to exact revenge on white people by haunting them is less prevalent these days.

#35 Warnings In A Dream Cliche

The main character of the movie often has a dream or a vision of the stuff that’s about to go down. They take it as a warning and desperately try to convince everyone around them. Except no one believes them, so the protagonist is left alone to save all the clueless people around them.

#36 Screaming For Help In A Secluded Area Cliche

Screaming for help in an area where there are definitely people nearby can be life-saving. But when you’re trapped in a secluded area, such as a basement of a house located in the middle of the woods, chances are that nobody is going to hear you. So conserving energy for making an escape would make a lot more sense than yelling frantically. Also screaming while running with no chance of…

Screaming for help in an area where there are definitely people nearby can be life-saving. But when you’re trapped in a secluded area, such as a basement of a house located in the middle of the woods, chances are that nobody is going to hear you. So conserving energy for making an escape would make a lot more sense than yelling frantically. Also screaming while running with no chance of anyone hearing won’t get you very far.

#37 Creepy Hitchhikers Cliche

If a character sees someone on a roadside needing help, they are definitely going to help them, no matter how suspicious the stranger looks. However, it always ends badly for them. While this scenario is quite believable and realistic, we’ve seen it way too many times already.

#38 No Guns Cliche

The characters would have it so much easier if they could carry guns. However, this would probably make the movie end so much faster and with a lot less gore. That’s probably the reason why you rarely see a protagonist defending themselves from a killer with a gun.

#39 The Paranormal Expert Cliche

When a character in a horror movie scenario thinks their house is being haunted they usually consult a paranormal expert of some sort. Whether it’s a Catholic priest, a demonologist or an actual ghost hunter, seldom do movie plots go without relying on the help of these experts.

#40 A Killer With An Axe Cliche

There are probably a lot of better murder weapons, but many horror movie slashers prefer to use axes. There’s just something about axes that makes every death awful and gory.

A first few successful attempts managed to captivate the audiences. But as of now, we’ve seen way too many movies about a recovered scary footage of someone getting murdered or possessed by a demon.

#42 Killing A Loved One Before They Turn Cliche

With a spike in the popularity of zombie horror movies, some of the old cliches are brought back to our screens. You must be familiar with the tear-jerking scene when a family member or a friend of a protagonist gets bitten by a zombie and is begging to be killed before they turn. While this scene is used to help viewers empathize with the horrible situation of a zombie apocalypse,…

With a spike in the popularity of zombie horror movies, some of the old cliches are brought back to our screens. You must be familiar with the tear-jerking scene when a family member or a friend of a protagonist gets bitten by a zombie and is begging to be killed before they turn. While this scene is used to help viewers empathize with the horrible situation of a zombie apocalypse, we’ve seen this happen in so many movies that it has become just too predictable.

#43 The Death Of A Pet Cliche

Scriptwriters often use this old trope to elicit emotion, to the point that it is becoming boring and predictable. Pets usually don’t require as much character development as humans, so it’s easier to make viewers feel empathy for a dead pet.

#44 Protagonist Is Ghost Cliche

You’ve definitely seen this one – a very disturbed protagonist is worried that their house is being haunted, then it is revealed that the character is a ghost who is actually haunting somebody else. Quite a few movies are guilty of this cliche plot twist.

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‘Overcooked!’ is the perfect date night in

Image: ghost town games

“Put the pot on the stove, noton the ground!” 

“No, it’s there because I’m chopping onions!”

I really hate cooking. Sure, you could point out that I probably hate it because I never practice, I refuse to follow recipes, and I think timers are for people with low self-confidence. But I would argue that cooking just sucks. It’s boring and time-consuming, and regularly causes me physical injury.

With that in mind, I’m sure you would agree, dear reader, that no significant other of mine should ever suggest cooking as a “fun thing to do together.” But, alas. My boyfriend of nearly two years, Chandler, suggested such a thing months ago and, of course, I had… the best time? 

Yes, it was a shock to me too. And no, I didn’t magically turn the corner on seasoning and sautéing. 

Instead of fighting in the kitchen, the two of us burned through hours and hours of a cooperative restaurant game called Overcooked! and had one of the best date nights in our relationship’s history. 

Here’s a rundown on the game you should be playing this weekend.

Overcooked! is adorable

When starting in on Ghost Town Games’ cooperative cooking simulation, you will almost certainly notice first how freaking cute everything is.

The environments range from spooky haunted houses to rickety pirate ships and each comes with its own unique set of obstacles. (I’m telling you. That ice was extra slippery and those penguins were intentionally distracting!

As you play through the overarching storyline and master levels, you gain access to new characters. Whenever Chandler and I play, I am always the orange cat (because it matches my actual orange cat, Kirby) and he is always the raccoon (because it is the most adorable raccoon you have ever seen.)

What’s more, even the food is delightful. I’m not joking—look how preciously disproportionate it is!

Image: ghost town games via steam

You actually get to talk the whole time

Movies and TV are great entertainment options for when you two need to do some passive hand holding. Overcooked! is for when you want to yell about not letting your fake pizza burn.

Because of its cooperative, puzzle structure, Overcooked! forces you to actively talk to your gaming partner and solve levels together. Whether it’s dashing around making dishes separately or passing items through a space-age teleportation device (yeah, things get weird), you will be constantly engaged in quality time with your cooking buddy—or buddies, since Overcooked! accommodates one to four players at a time.

Cooperation strategy games are way cheaper couples therapy

I’m not saying you and your significant other will reap all the same benefits from Overcooked! that you might get from meeting with a professional. But there is a good chance you will feel closer after playing for a few hours.

You aren’t solving any big problems together, but beating levels as a team feels genuinely good. It’s not often you have an excuse to high five IRL.

Plus, frustrating moments can really bond you. For example, another couple Chandler and I know finished Overcooked! way before we did because we had no idea that there was a sprint button. Yup. Every level is timed and we were just strolling around like adorable little slugs with nowhere to be. 

Overcooked! 2 is great for long distance

In August, Ghost Town Games released a sequel to the original that has since received tons of positive reviews

The best part? (Obviously, besides that adorable raccoon being back.) Overcooked! 2 added an online multiplayer feature. So, if you and your sous chef of choice are stuck in a LDR, a night of digital cooking could make for some much needed quality time.

Overcooked! is the digital date night you need this weekend

Candlelit dinners, nights at the theater, and strolls through Central Park are great for cinematic relationships. But sometimes real-life couples just need to throw on their sweats, flop on the couch, and goof around. 

This delightful little cooking game is perfect for those times. Whether it’s with a significant other or a friendly roommate, you need to get yourself (and at least one friend) in on the culinary madness. 

Overcooked and Overcooked 2 are available on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

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