Archive | December, 2013

Best of 2013 TV Costuming: Group Discussion

31 Dec

TV Ate My Wardrobe’s Best of 2013 Costuming series concludes today and I am joined by Kerensa Cadenas and Julie Hammerle to talk about this excellent year of costume design. We’re here to talk about a variety of shows and topics including Scandal, what shows influenced our own wardrobe choices and what we’re hoping to try out in 2014.

For all of the Best of 2013 articles head here. Happy New Year!

Olivia Pope Scandal S3Emma: 2013 has been an excellent year for TV, so much so that I know we all have certain shows that we haven’t had time to watch yet (for me it is Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones and Enlightened). What I would like to do is talk about our highlights of the year from a costume/fashion perspective; which shows have stood out, shocked, enthralled, disappointed and influenced some of your own clothing choices.

I’m going to start with the show that we discussed in depth in October and that’s Scandal. It’s one of the most talked about shows in terms of everything with Olivia Pope’s style dominating sites (like this one) and fashion magazines. The rise of Scandal has also seen an influx of Kerry Washington magazine covers and deservedly so. The costuming on Scandal has got more audacious and season 3 has delivered some exceptional pieces including every single coat (and specifically the Burberry trench in the S3 premiere) and this Rubin Singer dress looks like superhero couture. Olivia continues to perplex and impress me with her red wine drinking/no spilling skills as I would have ruined all of that cashmere by now.

Other Scandal highlights for me include Abby’s Diane von Furstenberg updated wardrobe and ditching the poker straight hair for the wavier look is an instant win. Maybe dial back on the eyeliner. Same goes for Quinn. Mellie’s Chanel pearls are perfect as are all of her updated Nancy Reagan red suits. All the bonus points for putting Scott Foley in military dress uniform, leather jackets, hoodies and THAT suit.

What on Scandal has stood out for both of you this year?

Kerensa: I can’t help it but literally fashion-wise, Olivia is blinding. So much so that it’s almost hard to notice anyone else.  All those coats with those amazing collars and perfectly matched gloves and bags. For the season 3 premiere, my Scandal watching partner in crime and I attempted to wear our most Olivia-esque cardigans, he succeeded. I can say despite all of Olivia’s fashion slam-dunks, I did not like that dress that she wore to the White House Correspondents Dinner.

I think James always looks great and I’ll leave all Scott Foley related business to our resident expert, Julie. What do we think about Fitz though? I mean it’s all very generic and presidential obviously, but I was speaking with a friend recently and we both think that Fitz is probably wearing a lot of dad-seeming things–jeans, shoes, etc. And he would especially if they lived in Vermont. Ugh Fitz.

Scandal 3.05 Olivia and Jake WHCD Julie: As a ’90s gal, I’m fine with the eyeliner on Abby and Quinn, but that might just be me. Also, I loved the Rubin Singer dress, which was total knockout. It reminded me a bit of Julia Roberts’s Oscar gown, one of my favorites of all time. I’m a big fan of a black and white evening gown. Olivia’s dress may have had some fit issues, but that could’ve been due to her early pregnancy curves.

As far as Mr. Foley goes, I want him either shirtless or in a suit. There you go, Scandal costume people, your job is done. The moment where he’s revealed to be the new Command was our notice to sit up and take notice of all Scott Foley-in-a-suit has to offer. And it’s a lot.

Fitz is so generic and so, kind of, old. His costuming is just dull. He’s dull. It all fits (Fitz?) together.

I think the costumers have done a great job with Mellie as well, showing us this softer, less conniving woman before working on Fitz’s presidential campaign (and before being sexually assaulted by her father-in-law), and then contrasting those looks with the Washington power wife she has become.

Scandal 3.08 red suit plotting

Emma: I guess it’s hard to be a super stylish President and while I don’t think he needs to be emulating Harrison or James, there’s just not much to talk about with Fitz and fashion. He did wear a turtleneck in the flashback, but most of my feelings about turtlenecks aren’t particularly flattering. Same applies for Fitz.

As it’s become clear that they’re (thankfully) not going to write in a pregnancy storyline it will be interesting to see what inventive methods they will use to hide Kerry Washington’s bump, I’m picturing more oversized coats and purses.

Moving on from Scandal and another show which makes me wish I had a reason to wear expensive lady suits and that’s The Good Wife. I know you both only dipped into this for the first time this year with the incredible “Hitting the Fan” and I wanted to know if anything costume wise stood out to you because I think they’re one of the best dressed casts on TV. This piece on Diane Lockhart’s costuming is also TV Ate My Wardrobe’s most popular article of the year and I think that says a lot about both the character and the clothes she wears. TV has been championed for great roles for women over 40 and The Good Wife does a fantastic job of avoiding the pitfalls of clothes you might expect a woman of a certain age to wear.

What do you guys think about this?

Diane Stone ColdJulie: Having only watched the one Good Wife episode this season, I don’t have much to add, other than the two “ladies of a certain age” on the show do look lovely and professional. Christine Baranski always gets those kinds of roles, doesn’t she? You never see her playing the schlubby old hausfrau or anything. She’s always, like, the society maven or the company CEO or (in the case of The Big Bang Theory) Leonard’s mother, who is also renowned psychologist.

Emma: Yeah I can’t think of a Christine Baranski role doesn’t require poise. I’m so happy The Good Wife has given her a role that doesn’t feel like the stereotypical older woman who has chosen her career over a family nonsense.

Are there any shows which have influenced your clothing choices this year?

Julie: That’s a good question about what on TV influenced my clothing choices. Hmmm…well, I just received the same lipstick that Max uses on 2 Broke Girls (Tarte’s Envy) for Christmas, so there’s that. Oh, and I bought myself a fluffy white sweater that I often wear while eating popcorn and drinking red wine (I’ve had to have it cleaned six times already).

Beyond that, I’ve mostly reverted to the ’90s after watching My So-Called Life. I bought a pair of Dr. Martens and I’ve been wearing darker lipstick.

How about you?

Jess pjsEmma: Currently typing this while wearing my new polka dot pajama set and quite a few of my Christmas gifts had a TV influence. So yeah New Girl’s a big one and at the moment I’m on the hunt for an a-line wool mini skirt a la Jess. This is mostly because I have lots of tights and sweaters that I think would look good with this. Alas no joy yet. Same goes for my endless quest to find the perfect mustard yellow hoodie that I have been coveting since I first saw April Ludgate wear one when she drove to the Grand Canyon with Andy on Parks and Rec.

This year I’ve also tried a couple of Megan Draper influenced stylings including a scarf in my hair and a short sleeved/high neck sweater that looks late 60s esque. With the Mad Men stuff I try not to imitate too much otherwise it looks like fancy dress. In real life Kiernan Shipka is showing what it looks like for a 14 year old to dress better than anyone else in this cast. She is my everything, please don’t ruin her Hollywood. I’m also scared for all things Flowers in the Attic – haven’t you seen it Kerensa?

And yes the 90s! So glad to have all this plaid back in my wardrobe, though I wish I’d saved it all first time around. I still haven’t tried out the super dark brown/rose lip stick; I should probably get on that.

What I really would like in my life is some Olivia Pope sized wine glasses and pretty much all the furniture and fixings from any of the Scandi shows.

What about you Kerensa? Any TV wardrobe influences this year? And to you both is there something you want to try out in 2014?

Julie: I’ve also been wearing a lot of Jess Day-inspired pajamas. With dogs and monkeys on them.

I love the question of what to try out in 2014. It’s like making a TV fashion-related New Year’s resolution. My hair is about the same length (and color) as April’s on Parks and Rec, and I’d like to try getting mine a little wavier, like hers.

Also, on the Jess Day train, I’m always on the lookout for cute dresses and glasses (though I cannot pull off the big nerd frames. I’m more of a Mad Men/cat eye kind of girl).

What about you ladies?

MM_602_MY_1107_0801.SizedKerensa: As has Julie, I’ve only seen a few episodes this season of The Good Wife, so I can’t really speak to the clothes on that show either. But in my current catch up of the show, holy crap, yes.

Kiernan is the most fashionable 14 year old ever. And yes, I did see Flowers in the Attic, and I’m proud to report that it is A TREAT.

In terms of 2014 TV inspired resolutions, I’d like to just be Olivia Pope pretty much. But my general clumsiness, inability to not stain anything white-hued and working from home I think kinda negates that from happening. I’d love to take a page from Megan Draper’s wardrobe–that cool, sexy, effortless 60s Valley of the Dolls vibe she always has going. I agree with Julie that I’m loving April’s hair on Parks and Recreation right now, so it’s the right length, I just need to make myself take the straightening iron out of my hand.

A little out of the discussion, but I just watched Skins: Fire last night, which wrapped up the entire Skins series in 2013. Fire focuses on Effy, one of my favorites of the endlessly gorgeous extremely selfish and damaged characters. She begins working at a London hedge fund. In terms of television, it’s certainly not the greatest (I say this as I’m watching the other 4 episodes right now) but Effy’s wardrobe for this job is amazing. I mean it certainly doesn’t hurt that Kaya Scodelario is model-y gorgeous but her outfits are all these amazing leather trimmed structured blazers, nipped mini-dresses paired with tights and booties. It’s so reminiscent of her teen wardrobe–all leather clad, ripped tights and plenty of angst–but grown up. And I want every single piece of it. Oh and Olivia’s wine glasses, a staple.

April owlEmma: I like that April Ludgate is a style icon for us all; for hair and hoodies (and owl sweaters).

As far as 2014 goes for me I’m hoping to get some inspiration from the new season of The Americans (seriously I really want their son Henry’s rainbow jacket) and blend it with some Felicity stylings. Pretty much a Keri Russell hybrid.

Both Abby from Scandal and Alana Bloom on Hannibal wear some excellent Diane von Furstenberg patterned dresses and while I can’t afford actual DVF I’d like to add to my  wrap dress collection.

And if I could not spill anything on my clothes I would be a very happy lady. I fear this is a resolution to far for me.

Jumping off from your Skins comment Kerensa (and those outfits do sound amazing) are there any particular moments/shows/characters that stand out in terms of costuming and style?

Are there any returning or new shows that you’re anticipating for their costuming?

Julie: Big sweaters forever! Also, I’m going to start re-wearing long sheath dresses over T-shirts with Chuck Taylors, because I’m still 17, I think.

Oh, yes. I love Alana’s dresses on Hannibal. That show is so subtly fashionable. I say that because sometimes it’s hard to recall what I’ve seen beyond all the gore.

As far as costume moments go, we already talked about Olivia Pope’s Correspondents Ball dress, which I loved. I’m having trouble thinking beyond that at the moment. I’m currently watching Masters of Sex and loving everything Lizzy Caplan wears on that show (when she wears clothing).

I’m looking forward to Game of Thrones returning, for many reasons beyond fashion, but I do want to see how they style the Dornishmen and what kind of fabulous dress they put on Margaery for her wedding to Joffrey.

And of course The Walking Dead returns in February, and I hope Carol returns to the group with every designer gown she can find in tow. Because while everyone else is raiding drug and grocery stores, I bet no one thought to break into Gucci or Prada to steal their wears.

Felicity 1.09 cable knit jumperEmma: I just got the most amazing big mohair striped sweater from the Dr Martens shop (which I think you both would love). It would be both Angela and Felicity approved. I’ve wanted a mohair sweater for ages (Trudy Campbell wears one in the Kennedy assassination episode of Mad Men and I’ve been obsessed ever since). That’s one 2014 wish to be ticked off the list before the new year has started. Thank you sale shopping.

Hannibal’s suits are impeccable, it’s such a beautiful show considering how horrifying it is and it’s high on my most anticipated list.

Other shows I’m looking forward to returning include The Americans because all the wigs and everything else, Girls as I want to see if they can top Marnie’s plastic dress from last year and Mad Men because of all the reasons. I still need to watch Game of Thrones.

With new shows Looking is top of my list and I’m interested to see a show set somewhere slightly different and how this influences costuming choice. On the other end of the scale is True Detective as it looks grimy. And you know the Harrelson/McConaughey factor.

One of the big shows this year for me has been Orphan Black and all the many versions of Tatiana Maslany. That’s why it’s also on my 2014 list of things to look forward to. I’ve written about a lot of my favorite costume moments in the Best of 2013 series I’ve been doing and Leslie Knope’s wedding dress *might* be my personal highlight as both it and that episode encapsulated everything that makes Parks and Recreation such a joy to watch.

Now I want to see a fashionista character on The Walking Dead. That would be the best.

Orphan Black SarahJulie: I need to watch Orphan Black, which I just got for Christmas. Looking looks fabulous, even more so since my new Frozen crush Jonathan Groff is on it.

And seriously. Why are people in the Zombpocalypse not wearing more fashionable clothing? I’d wear a tiara every day to go with my katana blades.

Kerensa: Yes to the Orphan Black costuming! It’s so great. All of Felix’s short robes and Sarah’s general bad-assery (aka my ideal look). Looking forward to what they do with other clones as well!

As for returning–I don’t know if RuPaul’s Drag Race counts but goddamn the fashions on that show. And it’s always doubly impressive since the contestants are making all those looks themselves. Also, everything that RuPaul wears always and forever. The man wears a skinny suit impeccably as well as a sequined ball gown.

I’ll be interested as well what’s in store for Girls–especially with Jessa. I just want to see how they can top her ridiculous boho European free spirit stuff every year.

Side note: Julie I don’t know if you watch, but what do we think about the costuming on The Carrie Diaries? I think a lot of it is pretty ridiculous but I kinda love it anyways.

Express YourselfEmma: Super on the Orphan Black watching front, you’re in for a treat. It’s the only show that has made me wish for dreadlocks (it would never happen).

RuPaul’s Drag Race is something I’ve only ever seen via The Soup, it’s something I’d love to catch a whole season of and those outfits sound fantastic!

With The Carrie Diaries I’m so in love with all the crazy pattern clashing and the fact they’ve found every slogan tee for Dorrit from Forever 21 – there was one in the last episode that read “I Hate Everyone” which is pretty much perfect. I like that they’re got going for complete authenticity with the costuming and use items from mostly affordable stores. It makes sense for this audience (well the small one it has) to go this route rather than a Mad Men style one. It’s not a costuming note, but I do want to highlight how amazing the Walt storyline has been and especially the bonding time with Dadshaw over Golden Girls. Back to costuming everything Donna LaDonna wears is the perfect amount of excess. Same with Samantha and her ab baring tops.

As always it has been a pleasure discussing TV and fashion with you both.
I’m pretty obsessed with the idea of The Walking Dead plus Prada now to be honest.


Kerensa Cadenas is a writer living in Los Angeles. She is a staff writer for Women and Hollywood. She also writes for This Was TelevisionForever Young Adult, and Bitch magazine. She was the Research Editor for Tomorrow magazine. You can follow her on Twitter and read her ridiculous thoughts about teen television at her website.

Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.

Lizzy Caplan Talks Freaks and Geeks, Party Down and Masters of Sex

30 Dec

Lizzy Caplan is the latest guest on Paul F. Tompkins’ Speakeasy series and she’s talking about her scary experience on Freaks and Geeks, the joy of Party Down and her most recent show Masters of Sex.

Freaks and Geeks was Lizzy Caplan’s first acting job and she reveals that she found the whole experience to be terrifying. While she was good at real life high school socializing, this wasn’t the case on fake high school as she got all shy when coming on as a guest star. Caplan admits that at the time she “didn’t like them” and considering how much she has worked with some of them since, it’s lucky that her feelings towards them have now changed.

It’s Paul F. Tompkins wife’s favorite show of all time, it would make my top 5 and it’s Party Down and she refers to it as “one of those magical situations.” It wasn’t just the working environment that made it special and Caplan compliments the material, talking about how sad they got to make the story. Caplan is drawn to cable as you can take it to a “dark, sad place.”

The white shirt Caplan is wearing is giving off major Party Down vibes, just with a fancy embellished collar and no bow tie. This is of course excellent and Masters of Sex has me obsessing with fancy collars.

Watch the whole interview below and find out how Lizzy Caplan got through her first nude scenes on True Blood and why she’s more than fine with it on Masters of Sex.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week Best of 2013

27 Dec

It’s the final Friday of 2013 and so we’re bringing you a special end of year “Out of the Box.” This was the first article to run on TV Ate My Wardrobe and it’s been a regular weekly column ever since. Costuming, red carpet appearances, street style and magazine shoots have all featured heavily and we went back through the 36 weeks it has been running to see what shows and faces have appeared the most. The only stipulation is that it had to feature as part of this column and so while there have been many exceptional outfits on TV Ate My Wardrobe if it wasn’t part of “Out of the Box” it hasn’t been included.

The categories we are looking at are most featured show, character, person and favorite individual outfit. There’s also a special mention to the only week where a piece of set was included.

MM_605_MY_1219_0624Show: Mad Men 

Mad Men hasn’t been lavished with as much praise in 2013 as it has in previous years, but one aspect that has remained consistently excellent is the costume design work from Janie Bryant. There are many photos I could have chosen including Peggy’s pantsuit of power (thanks Tom & Lorenzo for that name), Bob Benson’s shortsStan’s beard and Sally in plaid. Instead I have gone for this one from “The Flood” with Peggy and Megan in their award show frocks. Both are incredibly striking and Megan’s is very I Dream of Jeannie; as we head towards the ’70s things are getting bolder in fabric and color and even though there’s a clash in pattern between the pair there is warmth between these two characters. This scene takes place just before they find out that Martin Luther King, Jr. has been assassinated and it shows the how far removed these characters are from the civil rights movement.

Parks and Recreation - Season 6 Character: April Ludgate, Parks and Recreation

April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) from Parks and Recreation appeared on the inaugural “Out of the Box” and many weeks since. With April her costuming is colorful and features a variety of patterns and the occasional animal; it’s mostly casual wear and unlike a character like Olivia Pope it’s a wardrobe that can be recreated with affordable clothes. I’m still on the hunt for the elusive perfect mustard yellow hoodie like the one in the shot above from the season 6 premiere. 2014 will be my year to find one.

Hannibal bathroomSet: Hannibal “Sorbet”

The costuming on Hannibal has been much talked about here at TV Ate My Wardrobe; it’s also the only set design that has appeared on “Out of the Box.” When I wrote the original post I had yet to see The Shining and I am happy to say that this is no longer the case (I watched it after having a wisdom tooth out which was a tad surreal). This exquisite set is an homage to the bathroom in Room 237 in Stanley Kubrick’s The ShiningHannibal is one of the most visually arresting shows of 2013 and it’s why it deserves this special mention.

Kerry Washington FlarePerson: Kerry Washington

This has been the year of Kerry Washington as she has dominated Scandal, magazine covers and best dressed lists; she is also the person who has featured the most on “Out of the Box.” Flare is one of the many magazines Washington covered this year (ElleEssenceVariety, Vanity Fair and Glamour are some of the others) and this is my favorite cover shot. The polka dot Miu Miu coat and scarf have been everywhere this year and for me it is most memorable on Kerry Washington. Versatile style is something Washington has and she’s daring with her choices on the red carpet. While you can pretty much predict what some people will wear every time they hit an event, with Kerry Washington you can never been sure and it’s one of the many reasons why we love to write about her.

ABC TCA Summer 2013 PartyFavorite Individual Outfit: Darby Stanchfield at the ABC Disney TCA Party

There are many incredible outfits that have appeared on these pages and so it was tough to highlight just one; I’m going to stick to the Scandal track and go with Darby Stanchfield from an event back in August. This was before we got to see Abby’s season 3 transformation and so the wavy, wilder looking hair was a big departure from the poker straight style we were used to seeing on Stanchfield and so she instantly caught our attention. Stanchfield takes the prize of favorite individual outfit in a jacquard floral-print pleated skirt by Alexa von Canisius that cinches in at the waist and the green metallic tone complements her raven locks.

To look through all of the “Out of the Box” archives head here.

How TV Ate My Wardrobe: Holiday Edition

26 Dec

TV Ate My Wardrobe is all about clothes on TV; from discussions about costuming to how different shows influence trends and my own style. In a special holiday edition I will be turning the spotlight on myself (*shudder*) and will show some of the lovely clothing gifts I received that may or may not be (ok they definitely were) influenced by some of the shows I watch and frequently discuss on this site.

*Disclaimer it’s hard to make any clothes look particularly cool while standing in the small hallway of my apartment, but here I go. As you can tell I’m not the most comfortable, Top Model I am not.

photo (6)Starting with the outerwear and I am so delighted to get a Cosima-esque red funnel neck coat. This is my first ever red coat and I’m in love. These past few months have featured many coat coveting post and one like Cosima’s was top of the list.

photo (5)All things tooth – hound, dog or puppy – have also been a big TV Ate My Wardrobe feature (mainly with Olivia Pope) and this beautiful scarf was given to me by an actual puppy. No really, he went to the store to buy it… Or so I am told.

photo (7)Sweaters! And a Peter Pan collar! Masters of Sex has been one of the most discussed shows on here and the weekly costume chat has me leaning towards the 50s for inspiration. Another instant hit.

photo (8)As the banner reads, we rock a lot of polka dots and here’s the evidence.

photo (4)Followed by even more (and me attempting to do my best hand on hip pose and looking awkward in the process). I’ve been after a pair of Jessica Day pajamas since season 1 and I’m very pleased to finally own a pair. I’ve definitely been very lucky this year and the lovely gentleman in my life has picked out some excellent items (most that I hadn’t even seen in the shops before).

What TV inspired items of clothes or household items did you get?

Festive Rewind: Grey’s Anatomy “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”

24 Dec

It’s TV Ate My Wardrobe’s first festive season and to mark this occasion we are hosting a very special rewind series. What this means is that we will be featuring a whole host of guest posts and in the spirit of the holidays we have asked a variety of writers to discuss a festive episode of their choice. These will be appear on the site over the next couple of weeks and there’s an eclectic mix including teen dramas, science fiction, animation, comedy, drama and more to get you in the celebratory mood. Or to at least give you plenty of suggestions of TV to watch over the break.

In our last of the Festive Rewind, Andrew Kendall discusses Grey’s Anatomy and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the series and to all who have been reading. Have a very happy holidays!

5It’s considered passé to speak about Grey’s Anatomy these days, let alone admit affection for it. Alas for me, I’ve never known to keep in vogue. In its tenth season, the show is not quite the well-oiled machine it used to be, although it still provides its pleasure. Even if there’s argument on the true quality of its current output, I think it’s fair to call the behemoth sized 27 episode (!!!) season two one of the finest seasons of dramatic television in the last decade. Packed Seattle Grace always has much happening and frayed nerves lead to confusion and awkward humour, and it’s that same overreliance on too many people with varying emotions being forced to inhabit the space together. Which is, incidentally, an excellent description of what the holidays is like for some of us….

“Ironically, it’s that family togetherness that’s thought to be the reason depression rates do spike at the holidays.”

6Every day at Seattle Grace Hospital takes the closeness of work relationships to operatic levels is like Christmas when you’re living out of everyone else’s back pockets. The five original interns – Cristina, George, Izzie, Meredith and Alex – have grown to become a unit themselves, so in a way this is family closeness added to work relationships’ closeness making everything especially volatile. What’s impressive about Grey’s Anatomy’s incorporation of holiday themes in their shows is always the way the holidays end up being a non-event, in “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” in particular like the thanksgiving episode that season the holiday is incidental to the usual madness which comes with life. No one has the time to stop living because it’s Christmas. Executive producer and writer Krista Vernoff is familiar with the show’s beats and exploits them in a way that makes the holiday asides grow organically from the story. It’s not so much a Christmas episode of Grey’s Anatomy as it is a regular episode with a burgeoning realisation that, oh yes, it’s Christmas too. Much is happening, but there are two main aspects that demand focus in relation to the festivity of the season.

7The necessary Christmas spirit is being dispended via Izzie. Heigl’s turn as the well-meaning, kind Isobel Stevens has always been impressive for me and season 2 was her best season. She’s getting over her breakup with Alex and using Christmas as a tool to make her happy. The other interns are less than enthused, but they allow her these peculiarities in the spirit of the season. Meredith, though, is moved to sympathise with Alex when she realises he’s failed his Medical Boards Exams and needs help studying. Soon Cristina gets roped into it, then George and as we expect Izzie ends up finding out. Character beats mean that Justin Chambers isn’t a part of the scene (the most underrated of the five interns) but the scene in the hallway with the original four is a classic example of Grey’s at its best with the great image of Cristina lugging that Christmas tree reminding you what time of year it is.

“He CHEATED on me with George’s skanky syph Nurse!” Izzie screams driven to outrage. And Meredith responds with significant sagacity.

“We know he cheated on you. That’s why we let you turn the living room into Santa’s freaking village! We’re not big on holidays, you know that! But we’re trying to be supportive because you’re having a hard time, just like Alex is having a hard time […] I have a mother who doesn’t recognize me. As far as family goes, this hospital, you guys are it. So, I know you’re pissed at Alex but maybe you could try and help him anyway. Sorta like in the spirit of this holiday you keep shoving down everybody’s throats.”

2And, sure, like dark and twisty season 2 Meredith it’s somewhat cloying but it gets home the point of the season in fine form. It also leads to the perfect example of Grey’s thriving on tragedy and comedy when a few scenes later, Izzie puts her resent aside and does help Alex with his studying.

He’s confused about this apparent Christmas miracle. “Why are you helping me after what I did?” he asks.

And there’s a beat on Heigl’s face where you think the show is going to get steeped in sentiment until you realise what you’re dealing with. I say season 2 of the show is one of the finest for a drama, but Grey’s Anatomy more than most of its contemporaries has honed the mix of comedy to drama in an excellent way, and this scene is an example of that as Izzie she screams at him.


8And it’s a line that works on multiple levels, as earnest and well-meaning as it is funny but in stark contrast to elsewhere in the hospital where atheistic Cristina who clashes with boyfriend Burke over a patient whose mother is overly devoted to Christmas. Vernoff does not ask us to choose sides. Christmas may be happening but life is happening, too. And in the midst of festivity, work must go on. The Cristina arc is one of my favorite representations of atheists dealing with Christmas on a network show, because she does not get a change of heart and she does not get hit with the Christmas spirit as she watches this boy reject the donor heart he’s been given. Instead she delivers a speech completely without sentiment beginning with a line that is a fine estimation of her character.

“You know I don’t believe in Santa either Justin or God. I believe in medicine. And it’s a medical miracle you’re alive.”

The “Festive” season means different things for different people. For Meredith it’s about appreciating the people you call family – blood related or not, for Dr Bailey stuck at the hospital it’s about seeing all the crazy injuries that come with the season while dealing with her pregnancy, for Izzie it’s about god and festivities. And it’s fine that they don’t all see it as one singular thing. Sure, Christmas root are religious but it’s hard to argue that for a non-religious holiday the season has become about more than just Christmas or religion. In all the pieces we’ve covered in this Festive Rewind the question of how the season influences character relationships has come up because with its end of year placement December becomes a time to share with those close to you, in whatever zany way you choose. It’s why Meredith’s closing monologue is about family and finding your tribe. The world of Seattle Grace has always been one full of the hustle and bustle and the festive season does not change that, but it does shine a brighter light on the importance of things like grace and belief systems.

It’s not really an episode ABOUT the holidays, but it’s sort of why the title of “Grandma Got run over by a Reindeer” makes so much sense. During all the festivities, there’s still a lot of dark pragmatism to deal with. Like the man who tries gift wrapping a 75 inch television for his wife and ends up with a hernia. Or the good day who falls off the roof while hanging “Hanumas”. Life drama doesn’t disappear at Christmas. It only gets augmented. And, yet, when that final shot of Izzie, George and Meredith under the tree looking up comes even if Christmas is not your season Vernoff makes me agree, friends are ALWAYS in season. And, being close to people you care about is ultimately what being festive is about, right?

Months after leaving University Andrew Kendall is still trying to solve the answer to that infamous question – what do you do with a B.A. in English? In the meantime he spends his days as an editorial assistant at a local magazine in Guyana and spends his nights watching too much film and TV, being provoked and provoking others on the internet. If you feel like provoking check him out on Twitter, where he spends too much time.

Festive Rewind: Happy Endings “No-Ho-Ho”

24 Dec

It’s TV Ate My Wardrobe’s first festive season and to mark this occasion we are hosting a very special rewind series. What this means is that we will be featuring a whole host of guest posts and in the spirit of the holidays we have asked a variety of writers to discuss a festive episode of their choice. These will be appear on the site over the next couple of weeks and there’s an eclectic mix including teen dramas, science fiction, animation, comedy, drama and more to get you in the celebratory mood. Or to at least give you plenty of suggestions of TV to watch over the break.

Switching things up and Yashoda Sampath brings us some sitcom joy (and sadness thanks to cancellation) with Happy Endings and “No-Ho-Ho.”

Happy EndingsI’m going to take this space to celebrate the most tragic television loss of the year. If you missed out on the superlative third season of Happy Endings (and judging by the ratings, most of you did) then now’s the time to reflect on what you missed (and enjoy a Christmas-time marathon).

Happy Endings’ fatal flaw is that its humor is so perfectly off-the-cuff, and so often visually based, that it’s nearly impossible to write about. (Believe it or not, people aren’t usually evangelized by, ‘hey dude, you’ve just gotta see it. you’ve just gotta see it.’). But the Christmas episode, “No-ho-ho”, is not only one of the funniest episodes of the series, it also serves perfectly well as an introduction to our zany group of friends.

The premise, like most things of genius, is shockingly simple. Jane has been hiding the fact that she’s a Christmas baby for most of her life, and naturally the gang finds out. (In a perfect character detail, even her insanely blinkered younger sister, Alex, has forgotten the secret of Jane’s birthday).

So the engines are set in motion: the gang makes a promise to Jane that they’ll completely block out the invasive presence of Christmas just for this one day, so that she can celebrate her birthday on the actual day of her birthday.

But, this being no ordinary set of friends, each one has a particularly bizarre Christmas fetish that threatens the scheme throughout. Max (Adam Pally, who’s earning recognition as a variant of the same character on The Mindy Project), struggles to fight his addiction to eggnog, while Alex struggles against a need so strange that I don’t even want to spoil it (Elisha Cuthbert is an absolute comedy genius, for those of you who’ve only seen her wasted in dramatic roles).

Brad equally gets his moment, as he majestically overreacts to the weaknesses of his friends. Let’s just say that kitchen sink water-boarding is involved.

What makes the episode work, apart from the wonderful A-plot, is how well it uses the characters themselves to drive the humor. Max, the least gay gay man ever portrayed on television, provides the perfect counterbalance to Brad, the exuberant metrosexual, while Jane’s dictatorial tendencies work perfectly against Alex’s outer-space flightiness. Also, three words (possibly five depending how you see it): Hip-hop Santa Dance-off.

The show really found itself in season 2, but in season 3 it takes the ensemble to new heights of hilarity.  Do yourself a favor this Christmas: spend an hour or two with our merry Chicago psychopaths.

Yashoda Sampath is a digital strategist who blogs whenever she has the time, and often when she doesn’t. She firmly believes that 16 months is more than enough time to describe herself as a Brooklyn native, and consequently annoys others by teaching them how to pronounce Long Island like a local (Lorne Guyland).

Festive Rewind: Gilmore Girls “Forgiveness and Stuff”

24 Dec

It’s TV Ate My Wardrobe’s first festive season and to mark this occasion we are hosting a very special rewind series. What this means is that we will be featuring a whole host of guest posts and in the spirit of the holidays we have asked a variety of writers to discuss a festive episode of their choice. These will be appear on the site over the next couple of weeks and there’s an eclectic mix including teen dramas, science fiction, animation, comedy, drama and more to get you in the celebratory mood. Or to at least give you plenty of suggestions of TV to watch over the break.

Today is a bumper Festive Rewind day (it is Christmas Eve after all) and Kari Peperkorn Marlowe talks us through the Gilmore Girls episode “Forgiveness and Stuff.”

Gilmore Girls

‘Twas the weeks before Christmas and all through the town,

Bright reds and greens filled the square – and Taylor’s sweater, it was brown.

The Christmas pageant – a mess; Jesus missing his arm,

And the smell of sweet apple tarts, like fresh from the farm.

Christmas parties, so merry – Richard adjusting his tie,

Before dessert was served, he dropped like a… fly.

Okay, it’s official.  I can’t pull together a full synopsis of Gilmore Girls’ season one, ‘Forgiveness and Stuff’ to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas without getting callus and corny (which, by the way, sounds like a disgusting combination in itself).  It’s not that I didn’t try, believe me. I just got stuck with rhyming ‘Santa burger’ and felt it would be better for all concerned if I took a more traditional route.  Hey, if it was good enough for the Three Wise Men, it’s good enough for me.

Here’s the scene:

Rory and Lorelai aren’t talking; Lorelai and Emily aren’t talking and Dean is busy lurking outside the Gilmore residence since that whole, ‘we fell asleep at Miss Patti’s after the dance, but nothing happened’ situation. Despite knowing Rory is a good kid – a great kid, really (and we’re still far from season five’s rebellion) – Lorelai is forced to don her ‘Mom hat’ (maybe in this case, more accurately, her Mom jeans, as this was December 2000 and high-waisted pants seemed more of thing).  With Emily mad at Lorelai over letting Rory gallivant about town, the annual Gilmore Christmas party invitation is quickly reneged and Lorelai is left to dream of Emily’s famous apple tarts while eating salad from a bag.  While I’m unsure why Lorelai had bagged salad on hand in the first place, it’s clearly a last resort as she makes an attempt to order pizza, but to little avail.  That’s the problem with a small town.  If dude’s brother has the delivery van, all bets are off.  With starvation imminent, Lorelai puts on her winter coat and heads to town by foot.  First stop?  Luke’s Diner for some festive cheer and an especially good cup of nutmeg-infused coffee.

Lucky for Lorelai, her sadness over the lack of apple tarts prompted Luke to boost her spirits in the form of a Santa burger.  “No one has ever made me something quite this disgusting before,” she says with love and thankfulness in her voice.  The mayonnaise beard is, admittedly, an inspiring and artery-clogging addition to any holiday feast and now I can’t celebrate Christmas without whipping up my own culinary masterpiece.  Or at least watching this episode to remember how it was done.

Gilmore Girls

Before Lorelai can dig into her bearded burger, she gets a message from Rory saying the party has been cut short and Richard has been taken to the hospital.  While Lorelai was trudging through town in her parka and mittens in search of food, the Gilmores were sitting down for their holiday feast.  During dinner, Richard began complaining he was too warm and had to loosen his Burberry bowtie.  This act caused a look of extreme disapproval from Emily who must have been equally toasty as she was sporting a fur-trimmed suit jacket – a piece we thankfully never saw her wear again… but I digress.  It isn’t long before Richard collapses and is taken to the hospital where, believe it or not, Jane Lynch is working as a nurse.  Fortunately, this is in the pre-Sue Sylvester of Glee days, so her demeanor is as even-tempered as one could expect with Emily yelling for puffier pillows and crazy things like ‘answers’ and ‘updates.’

In the end, Richard fends off a bout of angina, Emily and Lorelai make up, Rory and Lorelai repair their relationship, Lorelai and Luke become a little closer and Taylor gets his free hot chocolate.

Looking back on this episode, I can’t help but reflect on the wonderful foreshadowing that was done in such a clever way.  Christmas or other such holiday episodes can often be put on the shelf and filed under ‘filler’ as they don’t necessarily contribute in an active way to a show’s story arch.  That’s not the case with ‘Forgiveness and Stuff’ though.  In fact, there were three great moments that provided flashes into the show’s future:

1)      It’s all about Harvard: Leaning through Rory’s open bedroom window, Dean tells Lorelai that he wants Rory to follow her dream and go to Harvard, and that if she doesn’t, it won’t be because of him.  Of course, by season four, Rory’s new dream is to go to Yale and Dean never stood in her way.

2)      The Dating Game: After driving Lorelai to the hospital, Luke finds himself in the waiting area.  Sitting down next to him, Emily tells Luke he’s an idiot and that he should have been on a date with Lorelai.  Even in this 10th episode I think the world agreed, but their relationship wouldn’t turn into something more until the end of season four.

3)      Father Knows Best:  Richard did the best for his family and provided in the ways he thought he should.  Lorelai tells Luke that unlike her father, she thinks he would be a good ‘Barbie-buying’ Dad.  While Luke seems vaguely open to the idea of being a father – or at least to this discussion – he said he would give his daughter the money to buy what she wanted and would wait outside.  Of course, by season six, Luke’s daughter, April, had joined the show and it turned out that Luke loved being a hands-on father.  He would pick out the Barbie’s, or in April’s case, a cat-themed vanity bathroom set, complete with toothbrush holder.

The one thing that I love most about Stars Hollow, holidays or not, is that despite the fact this was the first Christmas we experienced in the town, it felt like we’d been there forever.  Maybe a few seasons, or maybe a lifetime.  It’s as though we’d heard Luke explain that he doesn’t have a holiday menu *again* this year and we know that he’s turned Taylor down in his plea for free hot chocolate before.  It’s a warm a cozy place – like coming home in December and sitting down with a giant cup of eggnog (with or without rum, no judgment) in one hand and a minty candy cane in the other.  It’s a place I came to love for 154 glorious episodes.  And it’s a place I feel comfortable saying, “But there’s food, and there’s people and there’s a burger with a face.”  It’s family… and in the end, that’s what “Forgiveness and Stuff” and Gilmore Girls is all about.

With a passion for theatrics and a flair for the dramatic, Kari is a self-proclaimed TV fanatic and someone who’s not afraid of getting zealously immersed in the fictional lives of her favourite characters.  If the world was a different place, Kari would most likely be found running Stars Hollow’s Dragonfly Inn or climbing her way to the top at Lockhart Gardner or Florrick Agos and Associates. Kari writes all about The Good Wife over at Lockhart Gardner

Sherlock Mini-Episode Released: “Many Happy Returns”

24 Dec

While yesterday’s Orphan Black teaser didn’t reveal a whole lot, the same can’t be said for the Sherlock mini-episode which has been released ahead of the season 3 launch. While it doesn’t explain how Sherlock faked his death it does show what he has been up to in the two years between that moment and when season 3 returns. It’s a lovely video gift from the BBC and here at TV Ate My Wardrobe we say thank you! Not only that, but we get a glimpse at John’s new house and let’s just say we have wallpaper envy.

Sherlock returns on New Year’s Day in the UK and January 19 in the US.

Festive Rewind: The West Wing “In Excelsis Deo”

24 Dec

It’s TV Ate My Wardrobe’s first festive season and to mark this occasion we are hosting a very special rewind series. What this means is that we will be featuring a whole host of guest posts and in the spirit of the holidays we have asked a variety of writers to discuss a festive episode of their choice. These will be appear on the site over the next couple of weeks and there’s an eclectic mix including teen dramas, science fiction, animation, comedy, drama and more to get you in the celebratory mood. Or to at least give you plenty of suggestions of TV to watch over the break.

I’m going to be chatting about The West Wing’s first Christmas episode “In Excelsis Deo” in relation to catching up with a show long after it has finished. The Christmas narrative reveals a whole lot more about these characters to the audience and for me personally, it shaped my feelings towards one particular pairing.

The West Wing Donna2013 is the year I finally sat down and watched all of The West Wing, prior to this the only Sorkin show I had seen more than a handful of episodes of was The Newsroom (I know). Marathoning a show this long after it has been on air and one that has a large fanbase means there are plenty of people who are willing to chat with you about this watching endeavor. While this isn’t the same as seeing something as it airs for the first time, it does still lend itself to the notion of a shared experience even if most of these chats occur with people who have already seen the episodes you are watching for the first time. “In Excelsis Deo” was mentioned by several different people as being a favorite West Wing episodes and it’s one that shows off a variety of strengths from character to story.

As you have probably gathered from this Festive Rewind series I like holiday themed episodes because they give shows a chance to do something different even if they are often variations of A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life. Leo points out “In Excelsis Deo” that the country doesn’t shut down just because it’s Christmas Eve and while there are no visits from ghosts or angels these characters are faced with life changing events both big and small.

TobyFor Toby we get to see a softer, compassionate side as he becomes involved with the very real issue of homeless vets. CJ deals with another heartbreaking situation with the death of a teenage boy and the reason why he was murdered stirs up emotions. We see just how far Josh and Sam will go for Leo (something Leo does for Josh in the season 2 Christmas episode “Noël”), even if they go about it in the wrong way. Mrs Landingham reveals a heartbreaking piece of her past and why Christmas has the potential to make people feel sorrow as well as joy. The final sequences which cuts between the funeral and the carol singing at the White House brings the tears; “Little Drummer Boy” is the perfect rousing and misty eye inducing festive song.

West Wing groupIt’s not all despair and this brings me to the Donna and Josh of it all. Here’s the other thing about marathoning a show; you don’t have to wait seven years to see the couple you want to hookup finally make the move and get together. “In Excelsis Deo” is the episode in which the Donna/Josh stuff clicks for me; from Donna imploring Josh to do something for Leo and telling him “It was my regular face Josh, I wasn’t trying to guilt you” to the back and forth banter about what Josh is going to get Donna for Christmas. The scene that had me jumping on board this good ship is when Josh eventually gives Donna her gift – Heimlich Beckengruber on The Art and Artistry of Alpine Skiing.

It’s not the book but what’s written on the inside that counts (something that remains between Josh and Donna alone) and it’s the combination of the hug, Josh’s “I meant it” and the sneaky look back and smile that shows the intimacy between this pair long before they sleep together.

Orphan Black Season 2 Teaser Trailer

23 Dec

In a year of excellent TV one of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s favorite shows and most anticipated returns is Orphan Black. BBC America have bestowed upon us via Entertainment Weekly a new season 2 teaser and it acts more as a reminder of who the many Tatiana Maslany’s are, rather than revealing anything new. I’m ok with this as it’s building up the tension and it emphasizes that each clone despite their similarities is “One of a kind.”

To find out what we had to say about Orphan Black and star Tatiana Maslany as part of the TV Ate My Wardrobe Best of 2013 head here.

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