While You Were Offline: But, Existentially Speaking, Who Is Tina Fey?

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Look at that, it's already Sunday. Where did this whole week go? If it feels like it flew by, you're probably not alone there. A lot happened. For starters, there was another Democratic debate and the United States was hit with its first "community spread" coronavirus case. Beyond that, Disney+ shipped its Love, Simon spinoff TV show off to Hulu, reportedly over concerns that it is too mature for the family-focused streaming service. (The author of the book on which Love, Simon is based says that's maybe not as bad as it sounds, though.) Meanwhile, one writer revealed what it's like to find out your ex is dating Lady Gaga. (Gaga also gave the Little Monsters a new single.) But all of that is just the beginning. Here's everything else you may have missed online over the last seven days.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

What Happened: You might think that, with nine debates under their collective belt, the Democratic presidential hopefuls would have worked out how to handle that whole “arguing their points reasonably and thoughtfully, without embarrassing themselves” thing. Judging by last week’s effort, you’d be wrong.

What Really Happened: Believe it or not, the contest to be the Democratic nominee for president is still ongoing. (Also, get this: The election is still more than eight months away. Eight!) So, how are things going over there? Well, after three different primaries, the party held its tenth (tenth!) debate in South Carolina on Tuesday. Considering they're this far into the election cycle, it would be easy to presume the candidates would have this whole thing down to a science by now. But is that presumption correct?

Well, that doesn’t sound like a good time at all, and complaints about the moderators went far beyond Twitter. That said, more than 15 million people watched, so clearly there was some appeal. Outside of the chaos of what happened on stage that night, what about the substance of what was being shouted?

As usual, pundits declared winners and losers, but by its utter absence, one topic seemed to have been a clear also-ran.

One of the final things the CBS News moderators asked the candidates for was their personal motto.

The Takeaway: At least one dog watching at home seemed to understand how a lot of viewers were feeling.

Coronavirus Update

What Happened: There’s good news on the coronavirus front, but unfortunately, judging by how well the US federal government's response is going, it might just be good news for all those apocalypse preppers who’ve been quietly filling bunkers with food supplies and preparing for the downfall of civilization.

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What Really Happened: While we're playing catch-up, let's check in on the new coronavirus, shall we? It's only been a few weeks, but the virus has been busy, making major inroads into Italy and Iran, where the country’s deputy health minister has tested positive.

As the threat continues to grow internationally, many in the US have been awaiting guidance from the government before taking action to ensure that the experts get a chance to weigh in. But what if government agencies don’t agree?

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm soberly but clearly.

That sounds suitably grim—but here, from the same day, is a briefing from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Oh, and here’s White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow's take.

Got that? Everything’s probably fine. Maybe. Unless you listen to the department whose job it is to keep track of things like this. Beyond the simple status of the international emergency, the issue of the coronavirus became something for President Trump's administration to really wrestle with after acting Department of Homeland Security head Chad Wolf publicly embarrassed himself on the topic at the start of the week—with a Republican senator helping, no less.

None of this is particularly reassuring, to say the least. So, how did Trump respond to the situation?

Soon thereafter, the president held a press conference to explain that everything was going to be fine, and that Vice President Mike Pence would head up the US response. It didn’t exactly calm fears.

After the briefing, the CDC reported the first "community spread" case of the virus in the US. Officials confirmed a second case in California on Friday.

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The Takeaway: This.

Leaving the Mouse House

What Happened: Apparently, when you’re the man in charge of one of the biggest entertainment entities on the planet, there’s no such thing and quietly slipping out of your position for no particular reason, as Bob Iger found this week when he stepped down Disney CEO.

What Really Happened: It all started Tuesday when word came out that Bob Iger would no longer be CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

As big as this news undoubtedly was—and for those thinking to themselves, it’s only Disney, please remember that Disney is one of the largest media companies on the planet, with assets worth almost $200 billion and a global workforce higher than 200,000—for some people, the biggest part of the story was that the new CEO shares a name with the old one.

Beyond that, Iger stepping down so suddenly from the CEO role he’s held since 2005 was that rarest of things in the entertainment industry: a genuine surprise. This was especially true since Iger had suggested just last year that he was going to stay in the role until he retired in 2021.

Of course, with this amount of confusion and uncertainty surrounding the subject, there were those who felt like they had an inside line on the real deal and had to share.

Perhaps there was a far more surreal reason at play, however, as one particular explanation started making the rounds and being reported on as if it was particularly valid.

As much as the subject has been previously discussed by Iger and others (including Oprah), let’s just pour a little water on this particular idea for now.

The Takeaway: Picture the scene as Iger made the decision to leave, though. There he is, inside his office, Tuesday morning…

But, Existentially Speaking, Who Is Tina Fey?

What Happened: What is more concerning: Thinking Tina Fey might have died, or realizing there’s an entire generation that had absolutely no idea who she was in the first place?

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What Really Happened: Look, we all know how Twitter works these days. You check in and see a celebrity’s name trending and it’s almost guaranteed that they’re either dead or have become embroiled in some kind of scandal that will forever taint your affection for them. Hence many people being nervous when the words “Tina Fey” appeared at the top of Twitter’s trending list at the start of the week. This time around, though, the reason was far less foreboding than usual.

The question asked above was, it turns out, a very popular one on Twitter after Fey appeared on an episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that also featured beloved boyband BTS, whose target demographic wasn’t really a thing when Fey’s star began to rise. No, seriously. Fey became the "Weekend Update" anchor on Saturday Night Live in 2000, meaning that a lot of BTS fans literally weren’t even alive at the time.

That generational blindspot didn’t sit well with the collective Twitter hivemind, which is what really got Fey's name trending.

As with other, similar, exchanges of cultural knowledge between generations, this Tina Fey-centric episode was a moment that allowed some an instant of clarity—

—and others, a moment of kindness.

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The Takeaway: Never forget: expressing ignorance on the internet will almost certainly lead one to an answer, even if the answer is delivered in a particularly obnoxious tone.

Hot Pockets Heiress

What Happened: Who knew how magical three words could be? Why, everyone who had ever heard the phrase “Hot Pockets Heiress,” that’s who.

What Really Happened: There are phrases that sound almost too good to be true upon first listen, as if you’ve accidentally uncovered some mystical truth about the universe or discovered your new favorite song for the first time. This week, much of the internet felt that exact feeling about three little words.

The heiress in question was Michelle Janavs, who was sentenced to five months in prison <

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