Archive | October, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Willow’s Very ’90s Halloween Costume

31 Oct

Today we are continuing our look at Halloween episodes of teen shows from the ’90s with Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s season 2 outing. Fashion and TV from this decade is a big source of discussion here at TV Ate My Wardrobe and one of the most representative of this period is Willow’s very un-Willow attire.

Willow Buffy the Vampire SlayerWillow protests that this costume “just isn’t me.” Buffy responds with “And that’s the point. Look, Halloween is the night that not you is you, but not you. Y’know?” Which is Buffy speak for Halloween is the night you get to pretend to be something that you are not. The reason why Willow is dressing from Buffy’s closet is because Buffy wants Willow to get noticed as it’s “the perfect chance for a girl to get sexy and wild with no repercussions.” This isn’t a specific costume per se and Willow isn’t exactly pretending to be Buffy in the same way that Danielle is dressing as Angela in My So-Called Life, instead Buffy is using her clothes as a way to give Willow a new sexy look with Halloween as the excuse.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer BooInstead Willow opts for her original very covered choice and she is clearly not feeling the sexy makeover. This is not the very ’90s aspect of her costume but it does turn Willow into a ghost when Ethan’s spell kicks in and she spends the rest of the episode in her Buffy chosen attire. It’s also a time for Willow to take command of the situation as both Xander and Buffy’s costumes mean they don’t remember anything about who they are.

Willow as a ghost Buffy the Vampire SlayerA super short leather looking mini (with a bonus thigh split), a stomach bearing top and the obligatory choker is why this perfectly represents the latter half of this decade. Dark lipstick, smoky eyes and an up do with the necessary two strands of hair dangling at the front completes the look so if you’re ever wanting an authentic ’90s costume idea this is pretty much it.

This is a big episode in the Buffy verse as it’s the first time we meet Ethan Rayne and get a hint of Giles’ dark past. It’s also the second time that Oz has noticed Willow (the first is in “Inca Mummy Girl” when Willow is dressed as an Eskimo) and he asks to himself in wonder “Who is that girl?” This occurs after the effects of the spell have worn off and Willow has ditched her Boo costume and strides with pride as she finally feels comfortable in her original outfit. While this doesn’t mean that Willow is suddenly going to change her style, this experience of having to lead under pressure means that Willow now has confidence in her abilities and she is a valuable asset to this team. Buffy’s mission to stop Willow from hiding has worked both from a boy perspective with Oz and with her role in the Scoobies. It’s a subversive look at the come as a sexy version of something.

As with Freaks and Geeks and My So-Called Life, Halloween gives Buffy the Vampire Slayer the opportunity to address relationships and the insecurities these characters might be feeling. Plus there is the added bonus of costumes and who doesn’t love a deep and meaningful discussion in fancy dress?

Behind the Scenes Photos from My So-Called Life

30 Oct

Wilson Cruz who played Rickie Vasquez on TV Ate My Wardrobe favorite My So-Called Life has posted some behind the scenes photos from the set of this show. Sadly Cruz had his own photos from MSCL stolen from a storage unit years ago but on-screen BFF AJ Langer (Rayanne Graff) sent him some from her collection which he shared on Twitter.

Behind the scenes

This one celebrates getting picked up a year after they shot the pilot and it’s pretty much giving me all of the feelings. That plaid flannel dress is one of the quintessential items in Angela Chase’s wardrobe and I’d like to submit this cast as a suggestion for the next Entertainment Weekly reunion issue. Date stamping and tagging a Polaroid with a pen; Instagram before Instagram.

DancingAnother photo shows an AJ Langer and Wilson Cruz dance party in matching backwards baseball caps. Oh the ’90s. The shirt wrapped around the waist is making a very surprising come back this year, a trend that is less terrible than half of the ’90s throwbacks. I’m looking at you crop tops. The safe bet is to emulate Angela Chase, going all in on the fashion from this period is all about Rayanne.

For more including a shot of a very sleepy cast and Wilson Cruz with show creator Winnie Holzman head here and here. It’s a straight up nostalgia fest at TV Ate My Wardrobe this week.


It’s throwback Thursday and Wilson Cruz is sharing more photos on Twitter from the MSCL set including this group shot featuring Jordan Catalano himself Jared Leto, Brian Krakow (Devon Gummersall), Devon Odessa (Sharon) and Jeff Perry (now Cyrus Beene on Scandal).

My So-Called Life cast shot

Halloween, Growing Up and Freaks and Geeks

29 Oct

It’s been mentioned on several occasions over the past week here at TV Ate My Wardrobe that I love Halloween episodes and teen shows like My So-Called LifeBuffy the Vampire Slayer and Freaks and Geeks have produced some of my favorite takes on this candy/monster filled event.

Teen shows spend a lot of time with characters who are constantly questioning who they are in that very self-involved but perfectly acceptable adolescent way. My So-Called Life explores a classic urban legend as a mirror to Angela Chase’s personal drama and features a costume moment that is hard to beat as Danielle Chase dresses as her older sister. With Buffy‘s first Halloween outing they become the character of the costume they are wearing and this gives an alternate version of their reality as Buffy turns into the type of woman she mistakenly thinks that Angel is interested in. Remember it’s bad to change who you are just because you think it’s what a dude wants.

Halloween offers a backdrop to not only dress the characters we are familiar with as something completely different but to also explore other larger issues that these characters are experiencing.

F&G ep 3 Trick or Treating

The Halloween episode of Freaks and Geeks “Tricks and Treats comes early in the life of the show (episode 3) and it expands on the boys straddling the line between what was fun when they were kids and how they should behave now they are at high school. After deliberations they go for the first option and venture out trick-or-treating even though they’re probably a tad too old. They soon find this out when they get berated by everyone and end up on the receiving end of Lindsay’s own teen dilemma as she accidentally eggs her brother Sam. Lindsay is still trying to prove to her new friends that she isn’t just a straight A student and all round good girl; she does so by emulating their Halloween pranks.

F&G ep 3 Lindsay mailbox baseballSam and Lindsay Weir are both at crossroads and they should both look to Bill Haverchuck who throughout the series has fun with what he likes and generally doesn’t worry about what others think about him. Bill dresses as the Bionic Woman and has imaginary conversations with Steve Austin as he gets ready because Bill wants to enjoy himself and if this involves make up and stuffed bra then he’ll do it. Bill is a rare flower and you’re more likely to find people like Sam and Lindsay who do worry about the opinions of others because that’s how most of us operate and teendom only magnifies these feelings.

F&G ep 3 Bill Bionic WomanHalloween is when we can become something we are not and the boys go for the childhood aspect they are leaving behind, whereas Lindsay attempts rebellion and finds that she doesn’t really like this side of herself. When I talked about this episode with Julie over at This Was TV I mentioned nostalgia as a key element and this applies to most holiday days as some of the strongest associations come from childhood experiences. Halloween comes with a high nostalgia factor particularly when it comes to trick-or-treating and then before you know it Halloween becomes a whole different kind of event involving booze and sexy versions of things.

One of the reasons why Freaks and Geeks resonates with me even though I didn’t watch it when I was a teenager is that it perfectly captures the many conflicting feelings that come during these teen years; it doesn’t patronize in how it presents this and you immediately get the sense of what it was like to be that age no matter what decade it is set in. This Paul Feig written episode might come early in the run of this show but it manages to get to the core of who Lindsay and Sam Weir are, even if they are questioning the people they are becoming.

Freaks and Geeks makes my heart ache and feel warm in equal measure and this scene from “Tricks or Treats” shows why Bill Haverchuck is always a joy to watch.


Masters of Sex 1.05 “Catherine” Review: What You Can’t See

28 Oct

Throughout “Catherine” there are multiple discussions about what you can and can’t influence; how some things can’t be measured by science no matter how hard you try. This starts off in a jovial manner as Bill informs a couple that lying together to get pregnant includes something a little bit extra. It turns into something devastating in the second half of the episode as science and faith don’t provide an easy answer as to why bad things happen. This is probably the strongest Masters of Sex episode so far and we get further insight into what drives Masters (and to a lesser extent Virginia).

Masters of Sex 1.05 Bill and VirginiaThe study has progressed to couples once again and Virginia and Bill have very different ideas of what they need from participants; Virginia believes that attraction despite not being a quantifiable factor needs to be taken into account. In the study there is more equal footing between Virginia and Bill and it’s not just the lab coat as Master’s condescension is limited. Dr Langham proves both of them right when he fails to get an erection for either the woman that he is attracted to or the complete stranger who he rejects. This is one of example of something going wrong for a reason that can’t clearly be defined as Dr Langham claims that this has never happened before (of course) and then he screams at the heavens “Why won’t my dick work?”

Masters of Sex 1.05 Study is back onAs things are going to get substantially heavier I thought we might need this fun shot of Virginia and Bill visiting Dr Langham to tell him the study is back on. Virginia looks thrilled, whereas Masters has his standard professional face on.

Masters of Sex 1.05 JaneAs the study is back on this means the return of Jane (!) and once again she is wearing yellow. This color is all about joy and Dr. Langham is particularly glad that he gets to spend time with her again though random biological (non) movements impact this excitement.

MAsters of Sex 1.05 Jane and EthanJane also gets to point out what an idiot Ethan is being with his treatment of Vivian as she tells him to think about how Vivian feels (this is a novel approach for Ethan when it comes to women). Jane also knows what different color roses means and she helps him because he is clearly clueless and I think that Jane might have dated a lot of Ethan types in the past so she knows how to see through his BS. It’s not quite the J pin she wore a few weeks ago but Jane is wearing yet another fetching broach to brighten up her work wear.

Masters of Sex 1.05 dress shoppingIt’s hard to talk about pregnant Libby shopping for maternity evening gowns with what follows but this scene is important as it shows just how strong the thread of denial is with Master’s mother Essie. It mirrors their conversation from last week when Libby asked Essie about Bill’s father and adds to this notion of self-delusion that Bill brings up later. Libby wonders whether Bill is sleep walking because he is anxious about becoming a father and she wants to know why he slept walked as a child. Essie’s response is rather telling as she recounts that “it was always something darling.” This is clearly not what Bill thinks about his childhood sleep walking adventures. Maternity clothes like the ones that are being modeled for them in this department store is a new concept as Essie describes how when she was pregnant you went away at month five and came back at month ten.

Masters of Sex 1.05 Bill confronts his motherBill has his chance to confront his mother but only after he has completed the hardest surgery of his life – removing his dead child from his wife – and it’s not surprising to see him looking this disheveled with his bow time hanging around his neck. It is a confrontation that has been brewing his whole life as he talks about their combined self delusion and wishful thinking, referring to it as “our sickness.” Bill is normally all about the facts and figures but the sickness he mentions “infects everything, everyone” and isn’t something that science can prove (though therapy could be a real big help). This is probably why Bill has such a strong desire to control everything around him and when he loses this he really doesn’t have the capacity to respond.

We also know that Bill is a man of science and so God doesn’t factor into his process and it’s interesting to hear his mother say “If God wasn’t invented for time like this, then why invent him at all.”

Masters of Sex 1.05 the day afterBill tells Libby they won’t be trying for another baby because they can’t go through this again, but he is also denying Libby any say in the matter. Libby brushes him off and over the last few weeks Libby has become a solid character whose main fault is trying to be the perfect wife and mother. Caitlin Fitzgerald gives a stunning performance as she conveys the heartbreak at losing their baby and she looks so utterly drained the following day as she wraps the coat that is now too big for her around herself. She almost blends into the hospital walls as her pale color costuming palette that is normally a point of light is now a source of sorrow.

Masters of Sex 1.05 Libby and BillIt feels cruel to talk about how radiant Libby looks at the Scully’s party and the color of this gown enhances the horror of the blood that Bill sees when Libby stands up to go to the bathroom. The dress also resembles a wedding cake as it is grand and opulent in design and despite having a life with privilege no amount of money and expertise can prevent something like this from occurring. It’s hard for both Bill and Libby to understand the reasons behind this miscarriage as Bill demands a scientific reason and Libby questions why this has been taken away from them when it was so hard to conceive in the first place.

Masters of Sex 1.05 Vivian and EthanThe shock of blood also features in the Ethan/Vivian relationship as he doesn’t realize that she is a virgin until he sees the blood on the sheets. Ethan plays an interesting role in this episode as he gets himself into as predicament with his bosses daughter (the Provost is encouraging this union). Vivian once again wears pink and this time it has an orange detail to try and show that she isn’t just a young girl. Ethan definitely thought that she was more worldly when it comes to bedroom related matters.

Masters of Sex 1.05 Vivian in pinkAt her parent’s anniversary party she is very much the young girl in her pink dress and pearls.

Masters of Sex 1.05 the ladiesMargaret Scully (Allison Janney!) is in red and as it’s her party it’s her prerogative to stand out and this contrasts with her daughter in youthful pink. In this scene Margaret and Libby are giving Vivian advice with what to do about Ethan, considering the distance that exists between these women and their husbands they might not have all the answers; they tell Vivian that you have to make them love you. Vivian’s declaration to Ethan that they can just have fun seems to work as Ethan tells Virginia later that Vivian is his girlfriend.

Masters of Sex 1.05 Virginia breakdownVirginia’s story is in the background this week as she spends the episode struggling with balancing work and family life; she breaks down in front of Ethan after Henry has almost run away and tells him that her attempts are “not good enough.” Ethan’s motivations with offering to hang out with Henry seem pretty genuine as does his offer of friendship to Virginia, but considering his behavior last week and how obsessed he has been it is hard to fully trust him. I am impressed with how they are developing this character from lovesick jerk to a complex figure that might not be “the worst” as I have said several times on Twitter.

Masters of Sex 1.05 close your eyesWhen you cry like that in front of someone it can be very intimate and Virginia is on the receiving end of an emotionally vulnerable moment as Bill tries not to break down in front of her. This is something that Bill needs to do as he is so tightly wound and he needs to release this emotion. There are still barriers as he makes Virginia close her eyes before he lets out a sound of anguish that is totally devastating as he clutches hold of her hand in his office. Virginia wears dark colors throughout the episode and this red stands out as a sign of her strength and in this moment Masters needs someone to hold onto. Libby tells Virginia about the one time that Bill fell apart (after his father died) and gets to the heart of the matter with Bill wanting to stay in control of everything including how much someone knows him.

This is the second time that Bill infers that it was something non-scientific that made this happen; his negative feelings towards having a child are the thing that caused this. Virginia is the face of reason in this moment as she reminds him that thoughts are not that powerful and sometimes bad things do just happen.

For more Masters of Sex coverage head here.

Scandal 3.04 Costume Review: Trying to be a Good Girl

27 Oct

On Scandal last week Olivia Pope pretty much wore one outfit and to mix it up in “Say Hello to my Little Friend” there are nine costume changes for Olivia. The rest of Pope & Associates also show off their pattern filled closets and these might need downsizing if their financial troubles continue. So let’s get right to it as Olivia showcases her many white jackets and also throws in some rare patterned pieces.

KERRY WASHINGTON, MELORA HARDIN, PATRICK FABIAN, MICHAEL B. SILVER, DARBY STANCHFIELDOlivia in plaid is unusual even though this beautiful Ralph Lauren coat it sticks to her color palette, especially as Olivia is addressing the press. Olivia is facing a lot of turmoil in her personal life as she tries to ignore the plot her father is involved in and she wants to get back to “being a good girl.” Good girl would suggest the white hat but has Olivia come too far with everything she has done to reclaim that role? This shot also gives a better look at Abby’s wine colored Donna Karan draped cashmere coat that she wore a couple of weeks ago pairing it with another patterned scarf.

Scandal 3.04 Olivia on TVThis is one of the white jackets that Olivia wears in episode 4 and she is appearing on TV to talk trash about the girl that their client is accused of murdering. This is the look I expect from Olivia when she is creating spin to help her client and it is paired with a dark top; the battle between light and dark is a repeated motif this year. It’s hard to tell where Olivia is coming from this season and how much of this is intentional and over at The AV Club Sonia Saraiya addresses the confusing nature of Olivia’s motivations and why certain things feel a bit off.

Scandal 3.04 Olivia off white suitA classic Olivia Pope pant suit as she addresses her new client for the first time in front of the other associates; it’s not the bright white we see later in the episode and is entering grey territory. This reflects Olivia’s already wavering belief in this client as also represented by the plaid of her Ralph Lauren. The rest of the Gladiators in this shot are in their usual attire as Quinn is in the electric blue that has become her color this season, Abby is showing off another gorgeous blouse/pencil skirt combo and Harrison looks as dapper as ever.

Scandal 3.04 another white jacketWhite is Olivia’s uniform of choice and this double breasted white jacket is Olivia fits this description as she meets a potential client for the first time. This scene comes after her discussion with Jake about returning to normalcy so it’s not surprising to see her in something like this.

Scandal 3.04 a whole lot of patternAnother patterned piece with a textured wool blend jacquard Akris jacket showing another slight departure for Olivia as the case against their client gets stronger. Patterns aren’t really Olivia’s thing and the chaos that she is trying to control is showing through her clothing choices.

Scandal 3.04 will work for freePatterns are both Harrison and Abby’s thing as Harrison continues to power clash his tie with his shirt and Abby adds more animal print to her wardrobe with this Diane von Furstenberg leopard print silk blouse. The palazzo pants and Tory Burch leather and chain belt are part of Abby’s big wardrobe update and Lyn Paolo has been killing it with Abby’s styling this season. In this scene they tell Olivia they are willing to work for free and I think we need more backstory from both of them to reinforce this level of devotion.

Scandal 3.04 flirty AbbyMore form Abby’s new look and attitude as she attempts to coax David back on side as she visits him for a maybe lunch in this super sexy belted jacket and as I mentioned in the epic pre-season 3 Scandal chat, David and Abby are the couple I root for and it’s good to have one romantic story on this show that isn’t DRAMA all the time. More of this please to go with Abby’s fabulous new look.

Scandal 3.04 Donna Karan jacketBack to Olivia and another incredible jacket – I’m sure her coat/jacket collection could keep the electricity on at OP&A for a good year. This belted Kimono Donna Karan is stunning and as she tries to coax Jan Levinson from The Office into testifying for her husband she indulges in her favorite beverage. This piece covers the Olivia Pope color spectrum with ash grey, white and black and she shows off her amazing red wine not spilling power that I sadly don’t possess.

Scandal 3.04 white burberryBack to white with Burberry (of course) as the verdict is fast approaching. Olivia is in her armor but she has judged the situation wrong and a killer gets to walk free. I think it’s time for Olivia to question her gut as a judging device. Everything is all messed up.

Scandal 3.04 lounge wearThis of course leads to red win and lounge wear because what else can you do at the end of the day but pound a large glass of wine? I like Jake and I think it’s good to have conflict and obstacles with the central love pairing of this show but I also want to see Olivia without the ball and chain of a love triangle around her neck.

Scandal 3.04 Fitz at the funeralThe same applies for Fitz who I find a lot more watchable when it isn’t purely about Olivia. This is why his scenes at the funeral are interesting as it shows him apart from the political machine that has made him a dishonest figure (though really everyone on this show, aside from maybe David is a giant liar at times). Alas he soon gets dragged back in as Cyrus tells him “I would hate to see your conscience get in the way of your goal.” Oh Cyrus, ever the manipulator. This scene also features a wonderful soundtrack moment with Nina Simone’s “Wild is the Wind” accompanying this excellent and emotive scene.

Scandal 3.04 a tender momentThere’s another moment of honesty with Fitz in this episode and it comes from an unexpected place as he offers Mellie comfort and stands up for her after Cyrus berates her for the big microphone gaffe. Mellie is taken in by this for a second but then storms out; is she worried this is another part of their seemingly endless game of who has the upper hand?

Scandal 3.04 Mellie in pink

Mellie’s mistake (#MelliesBigFatMouth) takes place when she is looking at her most First Lady; wearing nurturing pink and her pearls. It’s a rare mistake and one that calls into question her already waning popularity. This runs parallel to Olivia’s reputation being questioned and shows they have more in common than they like to admit.

Scandal 3.04 definat Mellie in black

Mellie’s outfit choice after this blunder goes for the opposite of what Olivia would suggest as there is no soft color in sight, instead Mellie goes for black lace and her titanium looking pearls. She’s trying to downplay the moment to Cyrus who is having none of her shenanigans. Cyrus also gives out some fashion advice later in the episode as Ethan returns from Montana wearing cowboy boots telling him “We wear shoes, real shoes, thinking man’s shoes.”

Scandal 3.4 Lisa KudrowThis brings me to Scandal’s latest guest star and TV Ate My Wardrobe favorite Lisa Kudrow who only appears on TV screens in this episode wearing both red and blue jackets.

Scandal 3.04 more Kudrow on TVWhile there is not much to talk about regarding her costuming at the moment, she is happy to wear the color of both parties and Congresswoman Josephine Marcus is here to cause some political conflict. Cyrus thinks he has the way to take her down swiftly and regain the female vote but he hasn’t factored in the Olivia Pope and she will come into play next week as Josephine becomes Olivia’s latest client.

This episode pushed the Remington plot forward and introduced a new political foil. While Olivia’s motivations are spotty in places I am glad that we got a more Gladiator centric storyline this week. They could definitely broaden Harrison’s role but I will leave you with his excellent dance moment that almost makes up for his lack of backstory.


Out of the Box: Look of the Week

25 Oct

It’s “Out of the Box” time and it’s we’re covering a variety of shows this week including a returning show with a bright and bold wardrobe, an “Out of the Box” regular, a new favorite and another example of the excellent costume design on The Good Wife. We’re also looking at a Halloween themed episode and there are plenty of last minute ideas if you’re thinking of going as a TV character especially if you take the Nick Miller approach.

Win Some, Lose SomeThe Carrie Diaries returns tonight for season 2 and I’m looking forward to discussing the way they depict ’80s fashion; a fusion of pieces that are on sale now with authentic items. Carrie gets a new friend this season and it’s someone from the Sex and the City universe; that’s right Samantha Jones is entering Carrie’s life and she’s doing so in a lace jumpsuit (because of course).

I really enjoyed the first season of The Carrie Diaries and found both the show and AnnaSophia Robb to be incredibly charming. That’s a whole lot of bold color and patterns in the shot above and a flash of Carrie’s bra through her blouse is probably a nod to the many times we saw SJP’s in Sex and the City. This could also be Samantha’s influence as she is the more provocative, even at this age. She’s not pictured here but the person I am most looking forward to seeing in all her ’80s glory is Donna, as she was a constant source of sartorial joy last season.

April perfect outfitParks and Recreation has been bumped around the schedule this week and so this feels like a good opportunity to talk about April’s outfit from the end of the last episode. It’s typically April and for those who frequently read “Out of the Box” you will know by now that April’s wardrobe is one that I covet. With April her clothes are pretty similar to my own personal style and something like the outfit above is within my budget (the bag and skirt are both from Urban Outfitters). With a character like Olivia Pope I can but dream of owning something from her closet (and I’ve talked about my spilling issue before that prevents me from wearing white).

Elsbeth TascioniWhile I have already focused on the incredible Diane costume design on this week’s episode of The Good Wife I also want to highlight Elsbeth Tascioni’s blue velvet suit and frill blouse. This could have been a pure Austin Powers looking disaster, instead it’s lends to Elsbeth’s charms as she demonstrates why Alicia and Will trust her inherently; just because she looks and behaves a certain way doesn’t mean you should underestimate her. I wonder who will get Elsbeth in the impending firm breakup?

New Girl Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year for Halloween themed episodes which means costumes! New GirlHalloween party featured a couple of lesser known costumes including  Paper Mountain Trash King (otherwise known as trash from Nick’s car) and Joey Ramona Quimby (a hybrid of Joey Ramone and Ramona Quimby). Not featured in the shot above but also just as random is Schmidt’s public serpent. Winston opts for a real life person and dresses as David Letterman after a misunderstanding at work, Schmidt thinks he is Maya Angelou instead.

Jess looks pretty great with a bob and the striped top would go on my wish list if I didn’t already have more striped tops than any person ever needs. Later on Jess does get to dress as a more familiar character as she pretends to be Michael Keaton in his Batman costume. Even when doing a popular character there is a weird edge to it. At The AV Club Erik Adams discusses how for these characters every day is Halloween as they are constantly adopting pseudonyms on New Girl and with this in mind it makes complete sense that their costumes are this bizarre.

Trophy Wife

It wasn’t Halloween on Trophy Wife but there is still an opportunity for dressing up with a ’80s themed school fundraiser. Trophy Wife is one my favorites from the new fall shows and it has impressed me with how it balances such a big cast and all of the different family dynamics. This part of the episode was all about Pete saying no to Diane and the Billy Idol/Pat Benatar costumes could ruin the impact of Pete’s big moment; even though things end on a slightly awkward note for Pete, his point has been made and acknowledged. Kate’s Working Girl costume is effective because it would be easy to make a gag out something more revealing, but this show is a lot smarter and subversive than the title suggests. I’m glad more episodes have been ordered and despite low ratings I’m remaining optimistic that good word of mouth will help this charming new sitcom stay on the air.

Halloween Costume Tips From My So-Called Life

24 Oct

Halloween is approaching which means Halloween episodes of TV shows! As the ’90s is the enjoying its moment in the nostalgia spotlight I’m going to turn to My So Called Life for some costume tips as their solitary spooky outing showcased a variety of costumes types and even led to a ghostly encounter that every teen show needs.

1) Go as someone you know

MSCL ep9 DangelaAngela Chase’s much ignored sister Danielle spends most of this show begging for attention and as the younger sibling she feels like she is always in Angela’s shadow. It makes total sense that rather than going as Madonna as her parents suggested she sticks closer to home and dresses up as her sister. It’s an easy look to achieve all you need is some red hair dye, an oversized plaid shirt, some DM like boots and a propensity to make grand statements while hugging yourself. Try not to smile when you are anywhere near your parents.

Rickie as BrianRickie also takes this approach but is a bit broader in his scope as he borrows Brian Krakow’s clothes to go as everyone else. I think Rickie should stick to his many awesome vests.

2) Pick an animal 

MSCL ep9 SharonSharon is a cat and she’s annoyed that more people aren’t dressed up. Of course if you’re going to go as an animal make sure everyone knows what animal you are as a wiseass like Rayanne will suggest that you look like a rat and when a costume is unclear it can get rather irritating correcting everyone.

3) Stick to the classics

MSCL ep9 RayanneRayanne opts for the more traditional approach and is dressed as a vampire. The one thing that is absent from the My So-Called Life episode is anyone doing the super sexy version of something and I don’t know if that’s because this wasn’t such a huge thing in the mid-90s. Rayanne’s costume is the one that edges towards with red lace and fishnets, but vampires are all about the sexy times (ok maybe not Nosferatu).

4) Go vintage

Vintage AngelaFind yourself a mohair cardigan, some retro glasses, a mid-length patterned skirt and an old library book and you instantly have the look of a 1960s high school student. Bonus points if you can find a tragic urban legend that mirrors your own personal drama.

5) Find a spooky setting 

MSCL ep9 groupGhost stories are just as integral to Halloween as costumes and candy and while TV Ate My Wardrobe doesn’t suggest a plan like the MSCL school séance, be prepared to tell your best scary stories. Don’t be like Brian Krakow and forget your costume.

6) Stay safe and watch out for any sneaky skeletons 

MSCL ep9 corridorYou never know where they might be hanging around.

New Girl “Keaton” Review: “I’m the Batman”

23 Oct

Apartment 4D is home to a dysfunctional bunch and this Halloween themed affair explores the long standing friendship between Nick and Schmidt with a little Michael Keaton thrown in. New Girl has been suffering from a Schmidt problem this season and “Keaton” goes a long way to fix this and it also sets up a way for Coach to return next month. By focusing on what makes Schmidt insufferable as a roommate they’ve made him insufferable to watch for most of this season. This week Schmidt’s behavior is tinged with a whole lot of sadness and he stops being a burden as they focus on his friendship with Nick.


There comes a time when a friend is spiraling that you will resort to anything to get them out of their funk and as Schmidt has entered the nihilistic yelling at the news/eating cold cuts out of a plastic bag stage it’s definitely time for desperate measures. I’m pretty sure I never want to see someone chug mayo as if it is whipped cream or eat a block of cheese like it is an apple ever again. Schmidt’s quest to find out if he is a good person last week did not do the trick, even with the gift of a random candelabra from Winston and so Winston thinks it’s time Schmidt got a letter from an old friend.

The old friend is Michael Keaton and shows that we all need a Batman in our lives when things get tough (there is definitely a paper that could be written about sitcoms to using Batman as a cipher for a character’s emotional state featuring Ben from Parks and Recreation and Community’s Abed). Michael Keaton started with Schmidt’s mother in a flashback sequence that includes a type writer that gives me a lot of Murder She Wrote vibes (it’s the magnifying glass that does it) and she passed the mantel to Nick when Schmidt started college. Nick has been Michael Keaton for 12 years and he’s hit the point where he doesn’t want to lie to Schmidt anymore.

Jess thinks it’s a great idea and this is partly fueled by the desire to have Cece at her Halloween party and so she takes over the catfishing duties. Jess doesn’t know how to utilize the Keaton voice as Nick does (who combines quotes from Nelson Mandela with Batman references) and of course it all falls apart and Schmidt figures out what they are doing. Drunk Jess thinks it’s a good idea to dress as Batman and pretend to be Michael Keaton all while attempting her best Batman growl. Of course this plan is ridiculous and hilarious as Zooey Deschanel shows how good she is when it comes to these super absurd moments.

They even get an out as Schmidt thinks that they have hacked Michael Keaton’s email account ( but it’s all too much for Nick who reveals the entire letter writing scheme that started with Schmidt’s mother and has long since continued with Nick. Nick has always found it hard to talk about his feelings with both his best friends and girlfriends; last season’s “Models” showcased this with the still incredible “Gave me cookie, got you cookie” scene. Writing as Keaton allowed Nick to be both the best friend he is and the best friend he finds it hard to be and so when tells Schmidt “You don’t need Keaton, you got me” it’s an emotional step too far in the real world.

So what of Schmidt’s decision to move out? I actually don’t think there is much to worry about here as it definitely feels like a semi-organic way to get Coach back and after all he has only moved down the hall. Schmidt’s new roommate might be a ghost. Now that Schmidt won’t be at the loft all the time it means that it will be easier to incorporate Cece and the line about closure was definitely intended as a way to suggest it won’t be so weird if they are in the same room together. The Batmanmobile chat is hilarious as Jess can’t quite get her head around what Batman’s car is called. Adding an extra word to this makes sense as Jess has also been referring to herself incorrectly as “The Batman.”

After many solo storylines the last couple of episodes have been good for Winston as part of the ensemble and his enthusiasm for making pumpkins didn’t seem to be part of the same crazy Winston that we have seen this season. It’s a strong episode for the group as a whole and it plays on the dynamics of the long history of Winston/Nick/Schmidt versus the relatively short time they have known Jess. Oh and Winston, it’s ok as I’ve not seen the whole of The Truman Show either.

It’s Halloween which means costumes and I am not ashamed to admit that I love holiday themed episodes. The costumes on New Girl are just as bizarre as last year with Nick opting for the “what crap do I have lying around?” approach with Paper Mountain Trash King, Jess opts for another costume that is hard to figure out with Joey Ramona Quimby (perhaps topping last year’s zombie Woody Allen), Winston does a terrible David Letterman and Schmidt is a public serpent (which made me laugh a lot). The only one taking the sexy approach is Cece which involves a leopard print bralet and a tricorn hat; maybe she is a 17th century Scary Spice.

Moving forward is something that this episode allows Schmidt to do as he has reached his lowest point and the enabling of his roommates hasn’t helped; they need to call him out on his shit beyond the overflowing douchebag jar. We’re now at a place with New Girl where we know these characters well enough that progression like this needs to occur and it’s a shame that some aspects of this season haven’t clicked into place. While everything hasn’t worked I am glad to see this show attempting a variety of stories and the impending return of Coach will hopefully have a positive effect on this season.

The Good Wife and Diane Lockhart’s Wardrobe

22 Oct

The Good Wife has a huge episode coming up this Sunday and the tension that has been building is going to explode (the title of the episode is the not so subtle, but still brilliant “Hitting the Fan”). Season 5 has already unleashed one civil war in the halls of Lockhart/Gardner as Diane and Will effectively split up and it felt like watching your formally happy parents getting a divorce. Will’s quiet rage at Diane is nothing in comparison to what the next episode promises and it is Diane that I want to talk about as Christine Baranski delivered another incredible performance as a woman weighing up her past, present and future. Diane also gets to play detective as she puts together the clues that point to Alicia’s exit plan and huge betrayal.

The Good Wife’s costume designer Daniel Lawson has created a strong look for Diane and this episode showcased Diane’s impeccable style with a variety of outfits.

Diane and KurtWe start off “Outside the Bubble” with Diane relaxing with her fiance Kurt McVeigh and by relaxing I mean letting off steam by shooting some guns. Diane’s leisure wear is just as tailored as her work attire, but it has a softer edge. The red of her suede jacket isn’t as intense as the reds that normally feature on The Good Wife as it nearing the orange end of the scale. This also includes wearing jeans and this is probably the closest Diane and Kurt will get to matching outfits. Diane’s hair is still coiffed to perfection and despite her recent work drama she is happy in her personal life; this is a much needed distraction.

Diane EmeraldWhen Diane is pulled back into her old firm thanks to a lawsuit she comes in wearing the most incredible embellished emerald green dress that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz. It is simply stunning and this might be my favorite Diane outfit of all time (bold statement ahoy). Of course she is also wearing a strong statement necklace because Diane Lockhart has all the best jewelry and the red lipstick compliments the green of the dress.

The Good Wife Diane full length greenHere is a better look at the full length of this dress and in this scene Diane has just confronted Alicia; it is at this point that Diane gets the first hint that Alicia is doing something underhand. The purple that Alicia is wearing is just as strong as Diane’s green and both women stand out in the (not quite decorated) office that is full of muted browns and oranges. Alicia’s jacket is bold in color but simple in design with no embellishments or frills and this adds to the contrasting elements beyond just color as Diane’s dress looks like it has been made out of crystals. As with many scenes in this episode Diane is the one who holds the power, even if she is the one who no longer works in this office.

Diane satin brown shirtDiane changes into something more like her traditional work wear and continues to look pensive; not because of the lawsuit or her exit from Lockhart/Gardner but because something doesn’t sit right with her. This brown shirt is chic and elegant like pretty much everything Diane wears and it mirrors the Lockhart/Gardner color scheme; showing she is still very invested in the future of the firm despite her fallout with Will.

Diane necklaceAnd yes she is wearing yet another amazing statement necklace.

Diane date faceSo many of these shots are of Diane with her best serious face and so I wanted to include one of her smiling, even if this is the scene where she is perhaps the most nervous as she is just about to meet Kurt’s friends for the first time. Missing is the usual statement necklace, broach or pin but her top does have a beautiful embellished neckline and it’s impossible for Diane not to shine. Ok so this evening doesn’t go too well because Kurt’s friends are all young women and Diane questions whether they should be together.

Diane figuring things outBefore Diane’s big Kurt decision she digs a little further into what Alicia is up to and this includes a visit from Sonja Sohn (Kima from The Wire) who we last saw back in season 1 and she inadvertently reveals all to Diane. Diane is using her best Kalinda like investigative skills but before she drops some epic truth bombs on Will she needs to get changed out of this soft nurturing attire into something more badass.

Diane getting marriedDiane dresses all in black for her all important appointment with Kurt and of course Diane was never going to wear white for her wedding. This episode involved a lot of Diane walking with purpose and watching intently and her late arrival is several shades of perfect. This is the kind of outfit you wear for huge life events when your name is Diane Lockhart.

Diane courthouseThe dragonfly pin is something I discussed last week and this is very much part of the Diane look; to take a simple elegant outfit and add something unique.

Diane Stone ColdThis Diane’s stone cold stare and she doesn’t utter a single word to a very nervous sounding Alicia. I’m surprised Alicia’s blood didn’t turn to ice. This look is beyond bitch face.

Diane's decisionI’m writing a lot about this outfit because while the green dress is the flamboyant show piece, this is the pivotal scene and turning point as Diane makes the decision to tell Will what Alicia is planning. I’ve seen this sequence about 10 times now and it is still giving me chills. The framing of the shot above is slightly off kilter which makes this feel horror movie-esque and yesterday during a discussion on Twitter I compared the tension building of this season to Jaws and in this moment Diane is the very scary predator that is about to reveal itself.

An excellent performance from Christine Baranski and this could easily be her Emmy submission episode even if I suspect that next week’s “Hitting the Fan” is going to provide A+ material for all involved.

Masters of Sex: Fantasy, Reality and Confronting the Past

21 Oct

Confronting the past and looking to the future are big themes in Masters of Sex’s puntastic named episode “Thank You For Coming” as we learn more about the past relationships that have shaped both Masters and Johnson. In terms of color and costuming red and pink are repeated throughout this episode offering up different interpretations of sex and love.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Virginia lipstickVirginia spends the episode as the object of desire of three very different men; her ex-husband George, Ethan and Bill Masters himself. Two of these men have experienced the passion with Virginia that one of her signature colors represents, while the other has only his scientific data as an attempt to understand this side of his assistant. Red is one of the colors that Virginia wears with frequency and for her it’s all about passion and strong emotions.

Masters of Sex 1.04 grey dressAnother repeated style point for Virginia is that both her dresses and blouses tend to have bow details around the collar. While the Peter Pan collar is probably a more indicative style from this period, Virginia’s bows show that she is more fashion forward and less traditional than someone like Libby Masters.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Masters and JohnsonVirginia tends to navigate towards darker color and she dresses head to toe in black for the Masters’ dinner party. This might come across as a somber choice for a lighthearted setting. Instead it reflects Virginia’s music club past where dark colors are the norm and not seen as mourning attire.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Virginia in blackHere’s another look at Virginia’s dinner party costuming including the pillbox hat and it is one black veil and some sparkles away from Janet Snakehole territory. There is not much else to say about Virginia’s costume in the photo above, but it is an excellent example of the epic bitch face that she utilizes more than once this week as she has to deal with unwanted advances from both Ethan and her ex-husband George. It’s not surprising that Virginia has perfected this expression with all the shit she has to put up with in her personal life.

Masters of Sex 1.04 red collarVirginia isn’t the only one in black at the dinner party and Masters’ mother Essie adds some flare with a red bow and collar detail with matching red earrings. Conflict arises at this dinner party when Virginia asks for a story about Bill as a child and what his mother perceives to be a cute story is just another painful reminder to Bill that his father was abusive to him. Part of his own concerns about becoming a father is linked to the fear he will repeat the same mistakes.

Masters of Sex 1.04 red and pinkThis is where the color red comes into play once again as Bill’s mother is no longer wearing the black clothes she has favored since his father died four years prior. It is a sign of her independence and she is finally no longer feeling the effects of the strict control of her husband. It is clearly still having a huge impact on Bill and it goes a long way to explain why he is so rigid. It also contrasts with the nurturing pink tones of Libby beautiful maternity clothes in the same scene and Libby represents all that is pure to Bill. This in itself is incredibly problematic and there is no way that Libby can be the perfect wife and mother that Bill expects her to be. At this point the facade is there even if he is developing strong feelings for Libby’s opposite; Virginia. Bill is putting all the women in his life into boxes but he should realize that you can’t reduce a person to a simple list of attributes. There is much that can’t be measured by science and study.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Libby Peter Pan CollarHere is Libby in a Peter Pan collar maternity dress reflecting Libby’s traditional role as wife, host and mother-to-be. While Libby might not be the most interesting character on this show, Caitlin Fitzgerald injects a warmth and charm particularly with her scenes with Virginia and I wonder whether their friendship will withstand Masters’ growing feelings for Virginia.

Masters of Sex 1.04 LibbyThis is the first time that Libby has worn anything dark so far on Masters of Sex and the embellished white collar gives it a touch of femininity and keeps it in line with her other costuming despite the color. Libby is a woman of means and her accessories reflect this; the pearl necklace in the photo above and the fur shawl that we see her wear earlier in the episode. It’s not surprising that Bill’s mother misinterprets her husband’s actions and she is so reductive when it comes to her thoughts on men; she thinks that men run away from regret and disappointment but Bill proves this theory wrong as he attempts to confront his feelings about his father (thanks to a well timed patient), whereas Essie is the one who is running away from her past.

Masters of Sex 1.03 Bill Blue SweaterIt’s a rare sight to see Bill Masters in day wear that doesn’t involve a bow tie or scrubs, so it is a treat to see him in this blue sweater sans bow tie at home. Despite the relaxed nature of his collar, Bill is anything but as he questions why Libby is trying to set up Virginia with Ethan. Bill gets very defensive and he suggests they would be terrible together – something that we as the audience know to be true – it comes across as more than this as he has feelings for Virginia. One thing that did pleasantly surprise me was how Masters’ mother reacted to Virginia’s two divorces; instead of seeing it as a negative she is receptive to Virginia’s family set up.

Masters of Sex 1.04 VivianTalking of Ethan, he is still having a hard time coming to terms with Virginia’s rejection and despite sleeping his way through the hospital staff he still can’t get over her especially as he has put her up on a Technicolor pedestal – Virginia’s daughter Tessa knows what the what is as she instantly takes a dislike to Ethan. Enter Vivian and if Ethan is going to sleep with anyone the daughter of the Provost is probably the last person he should be doing it with. Luckily for him he is saved by a phone call from the hospital (not so lucky for the woman who is labor and has a drunken doctor) and things don’t go too far. Vivian is wearing both pink and red in the seduction scene representing both her innocence and sexuality.

Masters of Sex 1.04 checks and stripesVivian looks incredibly young the next day in her candy striper uniform as Ethan is incredibly sorry for his actions the night before. It turns into a sweet and sad scene and Ethan is clearly a mess. The story that Vivian tells of Ethan’s kindness at her Sweet 16 contrast with what we have seen of him so far and I wonder if we will see more of this good person that she describes. Ethan doesn’t even remember this interaction when he first meets her earlier in the episode and he’s worried that she is another forgotten woman that he has slept with. It is entirely possible that he is just as self-centered as he first appeared but this episode shows more character growth for Ethan than the previous three episodes combined. I also really like the contrasting pattern with Vivian’s stripes and Ethan’s check shirt.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Virginia lab coatCircling back to Virginia (and her well practiced disdain face) I posed the question last week about Virginia and the lab coat – whether she would carry on wearing it when the study moved from the brothel back to the hospital and I am glad to see that she is. This puts her on the same level as Bill during their out of hours study even if he is the only one of the pair that has an MD.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Virginia redMore red for Virginia as she looks on at her ex-husband George with another silent expression of WTF as George turns up as a volunteer for the study. Virginia has already expressed how she is barely keeping everything together and it is the wistful notion that Virginia is magical that backs up Mama Masters’ assertion that men are running towards pleasure; these men don’t see Virginia’s personal struggle just the ecstasy that they might feel when they are in her presence.

For more Masters of Sex coverage head here.

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