MuggleCast 237 Transcript
["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Andrew: Because the listeners want to get their opinion in, too, this is MuggleCast Episode 237 for August 7th, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week's episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audio entertainment, providing digital versions of over 85,000 audiobooks for download to your computer, iPhone, Android phone, BlackBerry, and iPod. For a free audiobook of your choice and to get two free tickets to The Help when you purchase the audiobook or sign up for a gold membership, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
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[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 237! It's a surprise show!
Andrew: Because we just couldn't stop talking Harry Potter. And Matt is on the show this week. Hello Matt.
Matt: Hey guys!
Andrew: And I think this is your first time talking about Deathly Hallows - Part 2 on MuggleCast, right?
Matt: Yeah, yeah, I guess it is.
Micah: Wait, wait, wait, what other podcast would he have talked about it on?
Andrew: No, I'm just saying his...
Matt: It's my debut return since...
Micah: Oh, okay.
Matt: ...the release.
Micah: I thought maybe he moved on to bigger and better things.
[Andrew and Matt laugh]
Andrew: He did actually mention it on HYPE the other day, but that was it. We talked briefly. But at any rate, we're doing the show - this show will mostly consist of listener feedback because we've obviously gotten a ton of e-mails about the movie and we haven't really read any of them yet, so that's what this episode is about. And we'll still have another episode at the end of August like we mentioned in the last episode, and that one hopefully will be pretty much all Pottermore because by that time it should be open to most of the Beta people. And I'm sure there's going to be a lot to talk about once that opens up. But first, the news. Micah, what's going on?
News: Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Continues Box Office Surge
Micah: Just - I mean, mostly Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is continuing its surge at the box office. It actually opened in China yesterday, so I know that they're hoping that those numbers boost the movie even further up the charts in terms of where it stands all-time. I know it's currently, as of today, number six. It just moved past both Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Matt: Thank God.
Eric: Thank God. Those newbie movies. [laughs]
Micah: [laughs] Well actually, On Stranger Tides is still in theaters but it's been out for a while now, so I don't think it's going to give Hallows any sort of run for its money.
Matt: Absolutely not.
Andrew: In a sort of related story, Transformers became the tenth film to hit $1 billion worldwide, just the other day. And I'm...
Eric: The first one, you mean?
Andrew: No, no, the third one. The one that's out now.
Eric: Oh, okay.
Andrew: Became the tenth film to reach $1 billion and that blew my mind. I mean, that's three films this year out of the ten total.
Eric: It's 3D ticket sales, it has to be.
Andrew: Higher prices.
Eric: They're pushing them into this bracket of a billion, which was previously very difficult to reach.
Eric: That doesn't mean it's a good movie. I mean, the fourth Pirates, really?
Matt: It totally sucked.
Eric: That was a contender? Deathly Hallows 2 had to compete with that? I just - and not in the first week, either. This is five, six weeks later, right?
Eric: That it's just knocking that aside. I mean, I thought the movie was fine, the Pirates 4, but not billions - not what I would think as being one of the top grossing films of all time.
Micah: Yeah, I mean - right now it stands $25 million behind Toy Story 3 and $28 million behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, so I would think within the next day or two it's going to be up to number four just because - with the weekend a few days away...
Micah: ...it's easily going to make another 30 million dollars.
Eric: So what are the remaining four then? Did you say...
Micah: Well, Avatar is number one, Titanic is number two, and number three is The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Andrew: What else is going on in the news?
News: WB Pushes Deathly Hallows - Part 2 for Best Picture Nomination
Micah: Only other bit of news has to deal with the Oscars and somebody over at WB released a statement, and they didn't say who it was, but a lot of entertainment websites reporting that WB will "absolutely, hands down, across-the-board..." - sounds like something Emerson would say.
[Andrew and Matt laugh]
Micah: "...push Deathly Hallows - Part 2 for Best Picture nomination. And we figured it would rack up some nominations possibly for the score, possibly for art direction, possibly for visual effects. But it does look like they are going to try and get at least a nomination out of it. I don't know that it would win.
Andrew: We drove by Warner Bros. Studios today, me and Matt, and they have this giant poster up for Deathly Hallows - Part 2 and it says, "Top weekend grossing film of all time," and then it has like ten reviews on the poster. This is a giant poster.
Andrew: And I feel like the reason they have that up there right by their studio is a) they're proud, but b) they want the other people - they want the people in the Academy to be driving by that on this very busy road in the studio area, seeing that and giving Harry Potter good thoughts. So that's an early sign of a big push.
Andrew: And I don't blame them that they want to - they want it! They want it! Finally, give it to them.
Eric: Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but the new - under the new Academy rules, there are ten nominees for Best Picture as opposed to...
Eric: Weren't there just four or five a couple of years ago? So I guess that seems reasonable to be one of ten films considered for that category, but I guess in previous years - I don't know, there's always those art films, though, that are really - like Tree of Life. They're all just - the vision is so deep and human that it's like - it completely trumps other films that are actually - like this one is a fantasy book.
Eric: Or based off of a fantasy novel. So it just seems like for Best Picture - it will have to make some strides, I think.
Andrew: But what's unique about this film is the battle, I think. Just being so long and so epic that I think it could be a potential Best Picture candidate.
Matt: Yeah. I think so. I mean, for me - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won eleven Academy Awards and I think mainly because - all the awards they won was mainly because they didn't win any awards previously, and I think they kind of did a whole encompassing of all three movies and awarded it to Return of the King, because...
Eric: Yeah, I think you're right.
Matt: I mean, in my opinion, Return of the King wasn't my favorite at all, and I don't think it was the best of the series, but I definitely think that they deserved the awards that they got. And so...
Matt: ...I think they may put into consideration all the Harry Potter films, and what it's achieved and the whole series as a film kind of thing. Like, the best franchise. I mean, it is! It's the top grossing franchise ever.
Eric: Well, there is that. The amount of money that the series has made speaks for itself. But also, I mean, in Britain at the BAFTAs, they've already received the Lifetime Award, the Achievement to British Film Award, which JK Rowling and David Heyman accepted on stage. We've seen these films in the series - all of these film adaptations have won big in Britain, some very distinguished awards. Now, it's not Best Picture, but even if the films don't win Best Picture, I do think they have been respected in the film world. At least in Britain.
Micah: Yeah. No, I mean, agree with everything that's being said, and I think that if you look at the top films that we were just talking about, on the all time list, Avatar won a ton of awards, it didn't win Best Picture, Titanic obviously won a bunch of awards, won Best Picture, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won a ton of awards and won Best Picture. So it's just - how can you be in that category of movies and not receive anything?
Eric: It's funny when you say that. I can see why...
Micah: Anything! They haven't won anything... [laughs]
Matt: Yeah, they really haven't.
Micah: ...over the last ten years.
Eric: It makes it seem like money is what drives the awards. [laughs] It really does, right? It's in the Academy's best interest to have the highest grossing films of all time...
Matt: Of course.
Eric: ...win Best Picture.
Matt: Oh, it's been like that for a long time. But I mean, there's always those films that even though they don't make millions and millions of dollars in the box office, it's almost impossible not to overlook the film. Kind of like how The King's Speech won. It didn't get that much money in the box office, but it was just so widely acclaimed that there was no way around it. It was the Best Picture of the year.
Eric: But I was happy, I liked that movie.
Andrew: Before we continue we'd like to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of spoken audio entertainment. Content from Audible is downloaded and played back on personal computers, CDs, or iPods. Today we have a special offer for you. Get two free tickets to see The Help, coming to theaters August 10th, when you purchase the audiobook or an Audible.com Discount Gold Membership today only through our special link, AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, that's AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast to get your free movie tickets today. We love Audible and know that you will too. We thank them for their support of MuggleCast.
Andrew: So that's it for the news. A short news period, but we're also going to talk about two big stories that just won't end. First up, Pottermore, and actually we have an e-mail here. I want to address that first [laughs] before we get into the other stuff.
Andrew: This is from Casey Hanley, 29, of Dayton, Ohio:
"Wow, what a bunch of jaded, grumpy old men you've become. I've been listening to you guys from the very beginning and usually I enjoy your show, but every now and then you put out one that just annoys me. I don't particularly like listening to all of you moan and groan for twenty minutes. Okay, there were some website problems, but in the future this listener would appreciate it if you kept the whining to a minimum. Five years ago I think the inner child in all of you would have loved the hunt for the Magical Quill. It's just like Jo's website, all part of the magic and mystery that she loves to weave. Now you just want to be spoon-fed the answers so you can get access as soon as possible. If that's your attitude, maybe you don't deserve early access to the site. I guess you've just lost some of that initial wonder that surrounds the series.
Also, just to correct you, the initial Pottermore e-mail sign up was never an early access guarantee. As it says on the Insider.Pottermore.com blog, 'Everyone who submitted their e-mail address between 23rd June and 31st July will be contacted to let them know when registration opens to all for entry in October. This will be after The Magical Quill challenge has finished.' Perhaps a little background research before recording the show would also be helpful.
I don't mean to sound too negative. As long as you keep podcasting I'll keep listening. But you say you appreciate feedback, so there's my two cents."
Matt: That was more like twenty-five cents than two.
Andrew: Well, she's right - or he. I think - we were negative, but here's the thing, my issue was getting up at 1 AM, and so maybe that means I don't deserve to get into the Beta period, but it's part of our job to be sharing the news with fans. And also, I was just speaking from a fan's perspective. I know a lot of fans really wanted to - had no problem with it, but some fans did. Some fans - and I hate to say this, but people [laughs] who are very - have busy lives do not have time to sit around on Pottermore.com waiting for an invite. And in that case, maybe they don't deserve the Beta period.
Eric: Right, I'm going to be the first person to admit that I made a web vlog, even, that said my feelings about this which were that I didn't want to work...
Micah: [imitating an old man's voice] You're an old man on a porch.
Eric: [imitating an old man's voice] I'm an old man on a porch. [normal voice] But...
Andrew: Well, that's scary.
Eric: No really, I did...
Matt: [laughs] What was that?
Eric: ...say that and I do kind of feel that way. This Magic Quill Challenge to me sounded last minute - or it didn't sound like the initial plan. And so on this website, which Casey points out, on the Insider Pottermore blog, it does say that - the reason why people first submitted their e-mail. But if you look on that page, it's the last item on the page. I don't know what date that was added there but it feels like because it's an FAQ page, it feels like they can add as they go. And I think only the other day did I just see this where it finally explained, oh, the e-mail address wasn't for early access.
Eric: It was to be notified when registration opens. Whatever. That is - but I did misunderstand it and so I thought we were supposed to get something different. Now as to Casey's statement about the inner child "will have been really excited to work for this and figure out these clues," I do agree that perhaps some of that innocence is lost, at least for me, because I do feel kind of - I understand what they're saying, right? We should be - we should just love JK Rowling to the end of the world because she is so clever...
Micah: Uh huh.
Eric: ...and this is the way she does things. But I do feel old...
Matt: Well, this is actually different. This is not the...
Andrew: Let Micah go first.
Matt: Okay. Go ahead, Micah.
Micah: What I was going to say is just that I don't think - I know Eric, you did, but I don't think all of us, the rest of us that were on the show last week, had a problem with having to do a puzzle to essentially gain access to registering early for Pottermore. I think that was expected. That's what JK Rowling has always done with titles for the book or names of chapters or release dates. It's never been easy. It's always been fun to try and go out there and solve the riddles, essentially. And I think what most of us were talking about on the last show is just that they had so many problems with their website, and I don't think they communicated things in the best manner that they possibly could. And I would say that we actually got more e-mails or more tweets and responses not liking how Pottermore was set up as opposed to what Casey sent in.
Andrew: That's good to know. But Casey does bring up good points.
Andrew: They are appreciated, and yes, we do appreciate the feedback. Back to the inner child thing, I do like what they're doing. It's certainly more exciting than just submitting your e-mail and being done with it. It is classic JK Rowling, classic Harry Potter excitement, and they did a good job in that regard. It's just that - the timing is what kind of upset me. Again, I didn't want to wake up early, but that comes with the MuggleNet job so I shouldn't complain. [laughs]
Micah: Here's the thing though, actually, that bothered us - I misspoke before. It was people making multiple accounts. That's the one thing we were complaining the most about...
Matt: Oh yeah.
Andrew: Oh, you mean me?
Micah: ...I think, on the last show.
Matt: That annoys the hell out of me.
Micah: Yeah, "double dipping"...
Eric: Double dip.
Micah: ...as Ben put it.
Matt: No way. But this is different, though. In my opinion, from what I did on JK Rowling's website when she was doing the books - the names and clues and stuff, we love doing the little hide-and-seek game on her website, but none of that was timed, either.
Micah: That's true.
Matt: We had only a certain window to get this done, and that is not what the fans are used to. We love to just have fun with it. We don't - "Okay, you've got thirty minutes to get this done. If you don't get it, then maybe next time."
Eric: That's very true. Because this is all about - now, do you guys agree with what I - maybe I tweeted about it, I don't think I mentioned it on the show. But basically the reason this is all timed is for bandwidth issues, right? I mean, if you still go on Pottermore.com, you can get this "waiting, fifteen seconds to reload" page because they're trying to accommodate the high volume of people trying to get into the Beta testing. So, is that why they only have this two-hour window each of these days with the limit?
Matt: Yeah, I think you're right. I mean, they don't want - but the thing is, is that they should have put into consideration how big and how many people will want to do this.
Eric: Well, it's Pottermore.
Matt: I know, of course it's Pottermore, but shouldn't they at least allow whoever wants to be a Beta tester in it?
Andrew: No, they need to limit it for server reasons and whatnot.
Matt: So it's virtually impossible to have...
Eric: Well, Beta testing makes sense, anyway. I mean, this is Beta testing, right?
Eric: So stuff you see - this is the other thing, is stuff you see during the Beta test won't necessarily make it into the actual Pottermore, right?
Andrew: No, it will. It will all be there. They're just trying to figure out different - certain little minor behind-the-scenes things. That's what really this is about.
Eric: Oh, okay. Yeah, I'm kind of confused as to that.
Andrew: So Eric, you have a username now. And Micah.
Eric: Yeah, I do. I have...
Andrew: But you're not revealing it?
Eric: Actually I have more than - well yeah, I'll reveal the one - okay, so I couldn't make the first three sign-up days and the fourth sign-up day, it was actually during American time, right? During a time that worked for...
Eric: ...a majority of the Americans. Was it 9 AM? Between 9 AM and 2 PM Central Time the other day, on day four. And that was really, really exciting. But [laughs] it turns out, again I was going to miss it because I was in-flight to Las Vegas where I am now. But anyway, I had a few friends just kind of go on while I was in the air. They had volunteered to...
Andrew: So what name?! Come on!
Eric: My username is StarNettle42.
Andrew: That's cute. Micah, how about you?
Micah: I - well, I don't have as long of an explanation as Eric.
Micah: I woke up - what was it, the third day, it was about 6 AM that it went live?
Micah: I ended up with ShadowSpell93.
Andrew: That's cool.
Matt: Ooh, that's mysterious.
Andrew: Yeah. Eric's is cute, yours is cool.
Matt: I was asleep. Andrew made one for me.
Andrew: What's yours again?
Andrew: I like that. I mean, I picked it, but I like it.
Andrew: And mine's CastleCloak. I'm just going with that one now. I'm sticking with it.
Eric: [laughs] I had the option, obviously, we review these other options we have. One of them - the usernames I really like but it was kind of a female name, it was EchoQueen56.
Matt: Yeah, that...
Andrew: Yeah, "Queen" suggests you're a female.
Eric: So I didn't go with EchoQueen.
Andrew: And in terms of the process getting easier for people to get Beta sign-ups, today's - the day we're recording, Thursday - it was open for about an hour. But yesterday's, Wednesday's, was only about a half hour. So...
Eric: So are we crotchety old men...
Eric: ...to wrap up here?
Andrew: Well, I had some complaints and I was partially just doing that to make a funny story out of it, and that's what you're going to get from me. [laughs]
Eric: No, I - yeah, I think, too...
Matt: You don't need to explain yourself.
Eric: No, not at all, Andrew.
Listener Feedback: Deathly Hallows - Part 2
Andrew: Good. Let's move on then. Again this is going to be a shorter show than a normal one. We're going to get through some e-mails now about Deathly Hallows - Part 2 and some tweets, and that will be pretty much it. Micah, can you read the first one?
Micah: Yeah. First e-mail comes from Rachel, 19, of San Diego, and she says:
"As an obsessed fan of the series, I loved the movie yet there were parts that I wish were different. For one, I liked how McGonagall and Snape duel in the Great Hall but I think I'd prefer if they stuck to the way they showed it in the book. The scene between the Carrows could have been neat, yet I did enjoy it nonetheless. McGonagall's sentiment towards Harry was always a part where I choked up. I thought Maggie Smith did an excellent job in this movie. They probably should have mentioned why exactly Hagrid was tied up with Voldemort, because people who don't read the books would have been lost. This is just me being picky, but there were two parts where I was like, 'Why aren't you wearing the invisibility cloak?!' which were in Hogsmeade and the Shrieking Shack. During Snape's death, it would have been cool if they made the silvery substance of memories come from other parts of his face, as mentioned in the book.
I know the budget for house-elves is expensive..."
[laughs] Wow, she's just going off.
"...but I would have loved for a scene with the elves from the kitchen. That's also a really cute scene for Hermione and Ron's kiss. Those were the things I was picky about, but overall, I loved it and I love it even more every time I watch it again."
Andrew: I think the reason why the house-elves may not have been considered is because they...
Matt: Weren't considered at all.
Andrew: Well right, they haven't been considered...
Eric: They were never introduced.
Andrew: ...in films for a while. I mean, not really, since Chamber of Secrets. There was that easter egg one in Goblet of Fire but they just - they've been forgotten, really. Although they had the Cornish Pixies, so... [laughs]
Eric: Yeah, yeah! Look at that. Well, the elves were just not introduced. You can see 150 elves carrying pots and pans coming from Hogwarts, but without that introduction of them going to the kitchens in Goblet of Fire...
Matt: You don't know anything about that.
Eric: ...it's not going to mean anything. It's just going to - what else is going on? It's crazy. Like, for instance, Hagrid being tied up in the woods, I accept that he's there. At some point, he was defending himself very valiantly. He got taken in and captured. [laughs] Like, there's no explanation.
Andrew: Oh, I didn't even think about that. There's no explanation.
Matt: [laughs] No, yeah, he's just there.
Eric: He is just there, he's tied up, he says, "Harry? No!" But I just took it to mean there was tons of stuff going on that was behind the scenes. You always have to kind of concede that.
Matt: I do agree with Rachel, though, on the scene with McGonagall and Snape in the Great Hall. I kind of was a little disappointed they kind of went a little astray from the book, because that was one of my favorite scenes.
Eric: So, how does it happen in the book? Can you refresh my memory?
Matt: Well, it happens in a hallway, doesn't it?
Matt: And Snape and McGonagall kind of duel. I mean, I know they're trying to get - in the movie they're trying to push forward to the big, climatic battle scene, but I don't know. It's just one of my favorite scenes...
Micah: Yeah, in the book...
Matt: ...especially when she got spit in the face by one of the Carrows.
Micah: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I think what happens, right, is they're in Ravenclaw Tower...
Micah: ...and Harry's going there to try and find out about the diadem, and something happens. I'm forgetting exactly how it plays out, but the Carrows show up, then McGonagall shows up, and Harry's under the invisibility cloak and he ends up doing the Cruciatus Curse on one of the Carrows. And then the battle, it's more than just McGonagall, isn't it? There's other professors that show up to duel with Snape as well.
Eric: And Snape just runs away. Well, in the movie, though, when McGonagall...
Micah: He goes out the window like he did in the Great Hall.
Matt: Right, he went out a window.
Eric: Well, not the window. It's kind of a wall, isn't it?
Matt: No, I think he went out a window.
Eric: I thought he did. Oh, she does say there was a Snape-shaped hole. That's all I remember from that scene in the book. But in the movie, no, when Snape first goes to raise his wand because McGonagall is there with her wand, Snape hesitates in the movie. You see this very clearly where he kind of lowers his wand at first as if he's not sure, and then he is called to action. So I thought it was sufficiently effective.
Matt: No, it was effective, of course. It's just one of my favorite scenes.
Micah: And one more thing - sorry, Andrew. The one thing that I mentioned, I think it was during the live show, is that with the battle it looked completely one-sided, talking about, "Why no house-elves?" It just seemed like they wanted to show that Voldemort was really winning, and that Harry and his side was in so much trouble because there were no centaurs, there were no villagers from Hogsmeade, there were no house-elves. There was nothing on the good side, everything was on the bad side: giants, spiders...
Eric: Do you think that makes Harry's sacrifice...
Micah: ...Snatchers, Death Eaters, Dementors.
Eric: ...more or less important?
Matt: Well, also with not really hardcore fans of the books - I mean, if you saw the spiders in the movie, you didn't really know whose side they were on. They were just there.
Eric: Well, the trio's running from them, so you can surmise that they're not best friends.
Matt: Oh, okay.
Andrew: Next e-mail is from Kimber Haner, 19, of Portland:
"Hi MuggleCast! I really enjoyed the discussion about 'Part 2', but I was a little disappointed that you guys skipped over some of my favorite scenes! You didn't mention Neville barely at all. He became a hero in this movie! Another great moment in the movie was when the trio are running down to the boathouse and they go through all of the chaos in Hogwarts. It is so epic when they are throwing spells everywhere, avoiding the giant and huge spiders, Lavender Brown's death, the Dementors. It all just added to the intensity of the film. I loved it! You guys also didn't mention the dead people in the Great Hall. So sad! Finally, the scene that was actually one of the most heart-touching moments to me, when Harry is going to the Forbidden Forest and saying goodbye to Hermione and Ron. It just touched me so much. I really like that added scene."
So yeah, I mean, those are a lot of other great scenes. There's just so much in the movie that...
Matt: You just need to do a commentary, or you're just going to keep getting these e-mails, guys.
Andrew: Yeah, a commentary - we actually probably need a commentary for this one because there is so much in the battle...
Andrew: ...to get through. But yeah, again, all good scenes. Neville - I brought up on the live LeakyCon show that I am just not a fan of Neville.
Andrew: And not really a fan of Matt Lewis. I just think it felt too forced.
Eric: You're really lucky Evanna Lynch wasn't on at that point. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah. I wouldn't have said that.
Eric: I don't think she would talk to us.
Matt: I kind of agree with Andrew, too, though.
Matt: Just in the book.
Matt: I don't know. I never really connected with the whole Neville Longbottom fan club. I mean, yeah, he was brave and everything but I mean, let's not suck his toes or anything.
Eric: [laughs] Well, do you think that it was one of those things where his destiny, as written by JK Rowling, was not necessarily hinted at prior to Book 7?
Eric: Book 7, it's like, "Oh wow, he is this badass mf."
Matt: He's a true Gryffindor, we find out, but...
Eric: Yeah. So, are you saying that it's even less kind of important because he's a Gryffindor so he's supposed to be brave? Or...
Andrew: It's just like that shot of him climbing back up onto the walkway after it had burst into a million pieces.
Andrew: And him screaming at all the bad guys, "Yeah, what now?" or something like that. I just couldn't get behind it. [laughs]
Micah: Well, and also, on the last show, we talked about the moment where he wakes up and all the destruction is going on behind him...
Micah: ...with this cheesy music...
Micah: ...playing in the background. I don't know, I wish they would have kept it true to the book when he confronts Voldemort and that he would have killed Nagini right there.
Matt: Yeah, I got a question, too, for you, Micah. After you're done, sorry.
Micah: No, no, I don't understand why they couldn't have done the whole Sorting Hat on fire on top of Neville's head and...
Micah: That would have been a cool scene.
Matt: Yeah, it was definitely more powerful in the book.
Eric: Yeah, they...
Matt: Guys, answer this for me because I'm really confused: in the movie, Neville says that he's looking for Luna because he wants to tell her he fancies her. But JK Rowling herself said that they never get together.
Andrew: Right. Yeah, that was something that they added in. Matt Lewis in the press conferences, he described it as a "summer fling," their relationship...
Andrew: ...that they added.
Matt: All right, whatever.
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