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Archive | September, 2014

The Wish List: Robyn’s Star Sweater on The Good Wife

30 Sep

Diane Lockhart is the character whose impeccable style I am in awe of, when in reality Robyn is far closer to how I actually dress. Not that this is a bad thing; Robyn is smart and disarms those she is investigating through her brightly colored/bold patterned attire. Not that Robyn has done a whole lot of investigating this season as she’s become more of an assistant (or confidant if you will ) to Alicia while Cary has been locked up.

If Kalinda does come to the new firm – this was one of Diane’s stipulations – I wonder what this means for Robyn and whether they can have two investigators on their books. Robyn and Kalinda’s style varies in a lot of ways and the most obvious is how they dress as Kalinda is all leather and knee high boots whereas Robyn looks more like a college student. Together they have proven in the past to be a formidable team and while Kalinda might prefer to act as a lone wolf, sometimes she needs to hang out with someone who is more fond of pack mentality. And would probably wear a wolf sweater – maybe something like this.

There are several TV sweater superstars and as we are finally in sweater season (insert happy dance here) it is time to relish in this moment. First up Robyn’s star number from The Good Wife’s season 6 premiere.

The Good Wife 6.01 Robyn star sweaterRobyn is wearing a star sweater with raglan sleeves by Olivia Moon and sadly it is no longer available (eBay is now the best bet), but there are other alternatives if you’re looking to go for a starry pattern. Ranging from affordable to a month’s rent prices here are a pick of our current favorites.

WarehouseFrom Warehouse this grey sweater is perfect for casual hanging out or that new law firm you work at (maybe not the latter depending on your role).

WildfoxThis Wildfox pullover has a more summery feel, but that be influenced by the jorts the model is wearing and it can be found at Bloomingdales.

MaisonSomething a bit bolder with this red Maison Scotch sweater available from ASOS.

Chinti and ParkerThis cobalt-blue intarsia stars constellation isn’t as crowded as some of the other jumpers on offer, but this Chinti and Parker Italian cashmere number is just as striking.

DVFAdding a moon to the night sky imagery is TV Ate My Wardrobe favorite Diane von Furstenberg.

CoachStars and the moon are one thing, now we’ve got Coach and their homage to the US Space Program and I could definitely see Robyn in this (April Ludgate too).

Robyn 6.02We will be keeping an eye on Robyn’s sweater game and her cardigans are just as fun including this Alice + Olivia cloud cardigan from “Trust Issues” (sadly no longer available, another eBay suggestion).

The Good Wife 6.02 RobynAnd it’s worth noting that one of Robyn’s sweaters from “Trust Issues” is a repeat from last season (and previously mentioned DVF wish list item). It makes me so happy when a show reuses a costume. Although that dude behind Robyn is clearly judging.

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Masters of Sex 2.12 “The Revolution will not be Televised” Review: Leap of Faith

29 Sep

The first season of Masters of Sex ended in an unlikely rom-com fashion; boy stands in the rain telling girl how much he needs her. This year the new President of the United States closes out the episode making grand statements. Using the Kennedy 1960 election victory and inauguration marks a time for great hope and the promise of change as witnessed by the reactions to his speech and victory – while we don’t find out how any of these characters voted there is a sense of wonder at his election – there are tears and smiles at what might be, plus shock at the lack of top hat. There is a new guard in town and he is ditching with tradition. The same could be said for the pioneering work of Masters and Johnson, however this is not their time to stand in the spotlight as there is still much work that needs to be done and Bill is no longer fearful of their rival after he reads how unsubstantial Dr. Kaufman’s work is.

At the heart of “The Revolution will not be Televised” is an examination of compromise and trust; two of the cornerstones of a successful relationship. Taking a leap of faith can require both so what happens when Bill makes a huge decision and sets the wheels in motion before he consults Virginia? Bad things that’s what and while on the surface everything between Bill and Virginia at the end of the season is in a good place, this sabotage and its impact on Virginia’s personal life is going to loom large as a point of potential conflict.

Masters of Sex 2.12 Bill and VirginiaThis finale covers a lot of ground both in time (from November 1960- January 1961) and story. This has been true of the entire second season and at times episodes have felt overstuffed with how many different plot points and social issues they attempt to cover. This finale was mostly successful in addressing the major storylines of the second half of this season; Bill’s impotence, Barb and Lester’s dysfunctions, the Flo/Austin dynamic, Libby’s desire to feel part of something and the recent custody battle between Virginia and her ex-husband George.

Starting off as the episode did with Bill’s problem and we see how the pair comes at it from a scientific angle with moments of success and failure; overall it appears this new method is one they can base their line of research on and Bill is cured to an extent. As a team they work incredibly well together on this matter when Bill finally opened himself up and admitted that a) there was an issue that needed addressing and b) he let Virginia see him in this vulnerable state. Intimacy is one thing, but without trust and completely laying yourself bare (both physically and emotionally) only so much can be achieved.

Bill ended last week being cradled by Virginia and this week it is his turn to provide the comforting embrace. Virginia has not been very present at home and after allowing her kids to go on a 6-week trip to Europe with their father George and his new wife Audrey, the question of custody comes up. Back when the divorce papers were drawn up George never signed the custody document and this leaves Virginia wide open to legal proceedings. So for George to have a chance at custody it means an impending smear campaign to show what an unfit mother Virginia is, effectively putting both Virginia and the study on trial. George takes a drink to the face for this threat – which looks so satisfying – and it causes Virginia to spiral.

Masters of Sex 2.12 Libby and VirginiaOne thing Virginia does is contemplate quitting the study all together and rather than discussing this with Bill she instead talks to Libby who also happens to be going through her own crisis. Libby’s response to Virginia’s dilemma is to ask her what she wants for her kids – safety, happiness, that they know they’re loved – and to suggest that maybe what is right for both Virginia and her kids is to let them go for now.

The question of “Can a woman have it all?” in this form is a relatively new idea, but it has clearly existed for a lot longer than the last twenty years and just because the 50s/60s were predicated on this notion of a certain type of family dynamic with the ideal housewife it doesn’t mean women didn’t struggle with this same BS question. Libby mentions how maybe they should look at what their lives are actually like rather than what they thought they would be and this is an extension of her speech to Robert from last week. Libby has been deeply unhappy for a long time and motherhood has not filled the empty void as she expected it would. Instead it left her feeling more alone and the gulf between Libby and Bill has got even wider.

Like George who suspects that Virginia is sleeping with Bill, Libby knows Bill has been having an affair for years and while she doesn’t mention Virginia by name after her reaction to the TV interview last week, Libby has to know it is Virginia. Libby explains to Robert the different stages of her denial about Bill’s affair at first pretending she didn’t know, followed by looking the other way and then focusing on the children. It hasn’t been enough and then she met Robert; she’s not willing to give up on finally feeling. The Libby story has been a bit of a mess this season, but these final two episodes have been rather satisfying in finally seeing Libby experience a connection like this and in how she has articulated both to Robert and Virginia this idea of wanting something more.

Masters of Sex 2.12 John and JackieAnother cornerstone of a successful relationship is communication and this is something Virginia and Bill possess in droves, except when they don’t. Communication is key to overcoming Bill’s boner problem tying in with the Kennedy election victory and in Bill’s dream he gets to play the role of JFK with a ticker tape parade and Virginia in Jackie Kennedy attire. The celebration is cut short by Libby standing in the middle of the road as the wronged woman dressed all in red.

Masters of Sex 2.12 LibbyThe outfit and shot (this episode was directed by Alan Arkin, pulling double duty) are stunning and at this point Libby is both the scarlet and the wronged woman. Is this Bill’s subconscious pointing out that Libby is stepping out on him (and at this moment is recalling her incredible sexual encounter with Robert in the bathroom) or that she is someone who should be considered before he can ride off into the sunset with Virginia?

Both Virginia and Bill neglect to tell the other what they intend to do with Bill killing the TV appearance without telling Virginia about his plan to do so and Virginia doesn’t let Bill know about her George custody issues. Bill gets some much needed advice from an old friend and I definitely cheered when Barton Scully sat down. Barton points out that Bill has a very specific way of blazing ahead and not considering the people he might hurt in the process (as well as himself in the long run). It’s the one man show and focusing on Bill’s terms only that leads to moments like this. Barton talks of letting people in and taking a leap of faith; how even though Margaret left him, by telling her everything has still meant they have been in it together. Bill and Virginia are so in sync in certain ways, but they still have a habit of shutting down when they are at their most vulnerable.

Virginia scoffs at the tissues that are placed in front of her earlier in the episode and she projects this very strong, unbreakable figure and her only moment of teary weakness this season has been to do with Lillian’s illness (*sob*). Lizzy Caplan is exceptional in this episode at conveying the unraveling of Virginia; from the way she answers the phone after she has told her kids about the new arrangement as she sucks back in her anguish and holds it together, to the full on letting it go despair after they have seen their rivals on TV (oh hi Ethan!). There’s also a manic energy when Virginia explains what she thinks is a foolproof plan to get Henry and Tessa back, a plan that would have been better if one of Bill or Virginia had spoken to the other about these matters. I couldn’t quite figure out just why Bill was so insistent about Virginia scrapping this plan other than he knows how much her kids matter, that is until it is revealed who the saboteur is. Oh, Bill.

Masters of Sex 2.12 group shockCostume designer Ane Crabtree and her team have been killing it all season and here’s just one such instance; in the scene above they are watching the Dr Kaufman/Ethan TV piece and I love how in tune everyone in this scene is as they are all wearing something on the grey/blue color spectrum in similar tones from this palette. Even Betty who tends to stand out in a bold ensemble is wearing something more muted and this offers a sense of unity even if there is someone among them *cough* Bill *cough* who “has massively fucked up.” Unlike the first half of the season, the study has a home, even if it is a shaky one at this point.

Masters of Sex 2.12 mirroring colorAnother case of compatible colors with Barb and Lester both in autumnal tones and earlier they even wear matching clothes, well pajamas. There is a certain synchronicity to this pairing and watching their relationship blossom has been incredibly satisfying. Lester uses his passion for film to come to terms with his approach to romance; he doesn’t want the phony Hollywood ideal, instead he wants something passionate but messy like Antonioni. After a discussion with Bill regarding taking sex out of this relationship and how it hasn’t been problematic, it becomes clear that Lester and Barb do want to explore this side and this is how we close out the season. Both Bill and Virginia admit their past failings when treating Lester and Bard – this also in way feels like Bill silently apologizing to Virginia for killing their TV appearance – and they want to start again by really helping them this time. Trust and a leap of faith are both key to this process; they are all in this together as equal partners striving for the same goal.

Masters of Sex 2.12 Barb and LesterHere’s a stunning shot (although rather dark) of Barb and Lester outside the movies talking about Pillow Talk. It might be because of all the Kennedy imagery throughout the episode and a similar hairstyle, but the pink ensemble Barb is wearing is giving me so many Jackie Kennedy feelings.

Masters of Sex 2.12 BettyAnd even though she didn’t have a crazy amount to do in the season finale, I wanted to include this shot of Betty in a beautiful pink cheongsam complete with a stunning butterfly pin as she gets all misty eyed at JFK’s speech. Betty did also pipe up about while she makes fun of Bill’s bow ties, the long one he wore on TV just isn’t him and he should insist on his regular attire. I hope that Betty gets to be more than just the comic relief in the office next season and gets something more substantial like she had at the start of this season.

One story that has been far more miss than hit for me is Austin and Flo. The general tone and direction of their interactions have felt widely out on their own and while this is still the case this week, the gender reversal aspect felt more of a success this week. It turns out that Flo is connected politically and now that Kennedy is in office so is one of her brothers and this is super appealing to Austin. Austin wants to go to the fancy DNC party with Flo and she turns him down explaining by pretty much calling him a dumb blonde. Austin is dumbfounded that he isn’t up to the standards of Flo’s family and this is the most I have enjoyed this pairing all season.

So while Cal-o-Metric has been one of the weakest aspects of this season, there has been a lot more good on Masters of Sex to make up for narrative messiness and at times a lack of clear direction. At the heart is the Bill and Virginia relationship and whenever this has been the focus it has been mesmerizing, which is why “Fight” is such an exceptional episode. Everything to do with Lillian and Virginia’s friendship was a pure knockout and I’m so glad we got to see something this special, even if it was cut short by Lillian’s cancer. There will always be Lilantha. Masters of Sex is an ambitious show and this has been clear by how many different topics it has covered this year and despite not hitting all the marks, it has been a stimulating watching experience and one that will hopefully be a bit more focused in season 3.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

26 Sep

A busy week for the new Fall TV season and yet relatively light on the red carpet front for “Out of the Box” offerings. Fox and NBC have had their celebrations and now it is time for ABC to launch their new TGIT night, plus talk show appearances, the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala and forthcoming costuming delights.

#TGIT Premiere Event Hosted by TwitterIt was the first #TGIT this week with three shows from Shondaland (Grey’s AnatomyScandal and How to Get Away with Murder) and Scandal’s Darby Stanchfield is our best dressed from the ABC event to celebrate this new drama block. The nude shoes are a letdown, but not enough to detract from this super sparkly Jasper Conran frock.

Has this one been released yet? It has now. 😝#TGIT

A post shared by Darby Stanchfield (@darbysofficial) on

This is a fun group shot from this party (courtesy of Darby Stanchfield’s Instagram) featuring women from all three shows and a range of pretty great party frocks. Not so sure about Ellen Pompeo’s Op Art looking jumpsuit, but this is my standard wrinkled nose reaction to most jumpsuits. Viola Davis’ multicolor delights win the best shoes of the night and I’m glad to see such a strong variety of styles from this group of women (from l-r Camilla Luddington, Bellamy Young, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, Ellen Pompeo, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Jerrika Hinton).

Kerry WsahingtonKerry Washington has been on the talk show trail this week to promote the return of Scandal and the Scandal inspired line at The Limited. This is our favorite look of Washington’s this week and as it includes polka dots the answer could easily be because, of course. Polka dots are part of the reason, however there is an overall playful quality to this Preen ‘Liberty’ dress and Washington manages to stay the right side of matchy matchy with her accessorizing. Adore.

Amy RyanAre you sensing a theme? Amy Ryan’s vintage Victor Costa gown is a polka dot dream and she looks stunning at the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala. A strong red lip color could really set it off and yet I really like the minimalist hair/makeup/jewelry approach to this look.

Patricia ClarksonPatricia Clarkson is one of those actresses I am always thrilled to see and this applies to both the red carpet and on screen. Clarkson is the picture of sophisticated elegance while also pulling off the lace cutouts. Added bold lipstick bonus points.

The gift that keeps on giving is Mindy Kaling’s Instagram and here is what I’m sure will be one of my favorite Mindy Project looks covering bold color (yellow!) and a fun pattern.

Scandal 4.01 “Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia” Costume Review: White Suit Back On

26 Sep

Opening in paradise Scandal took a brief respite from the chaos of Washington DC for some brief beach time and in doing so we get to see a whole new Olivia Pope style. Well, not entirely as Olivia’s beachwear is very much in line with her work attire; a neutral palette.

Grey is where Olivia spent most of her time tone wise in the season 4 premiere; straying into darker territory as she gets involved with a new case and at the funeral that pulled her out of her beach dream location. Olivia doesn’t mess with standard funeral protocol and is dressed all in black. It’s the final outfit choice that is the most symbolical as she’s once again dressed all in white and ready for work. Washington doesn’t have to mean shadows and to use Jake’s overused metaphor ‘standing in the sun’ can mean many things. What I hope this suggests is that Scandal can return to the break neck pace of season 2 that got muddied by convoluted B613 conspiracies and parental meddling.

Our Scandal coverage is constantly evolving with the show and this week the focus is going to be on the costumes; what they signify and where you can get them from.

Scandal 4.01 swimsuitStarting on the beach and with Olivia in a super sleek La Perla Mare ‘Kosmos’ one-piece swimsuit that is both stylish and functional looking; a swimsuit you sunbathe and actually swim in. The episode is bookended with white attire of very different kinds and I don’t think Olivia will be hanging out on a beach anytime soon. She can probably get away with throwing on those Dior sunglasses in DC so this new wardrobe isn’t a total waste.

Scandal 4.01 Olivia beach cover upIt’s too warm for a wine cardigan during the daytime on the beach and Olivia has wisely swapped out the knitwear for a super comfy looking beach cover-up in the form of this Roberta Freymann ‘Nicola Dress Magik.’ Wine is an Olivia dietary staple and also the way Quinn tracks her down, alerting Olivia to the news of Harrison’s murder.

Scandal 4.01 bathrobeOlivia isn’t the only one dressing in a more casual manner, but Olivia’s befits the location and with Mellie her grieving process means not getting dressed up in her usually First Lady attire. If I was First Lady and my home was also a work place I’d also want to dress like this and yet it is unnerving seeing a woman who is usually so polished wearing Uggs out and about. As Fitz mentions at least she is washing her hair, which may I say looks fantastic in a less voluminous style. Mellie is generally a block color kinda woman and this multi-patterned zebra and floral ‘Xianado’ Natori silk robe is unlike anything we have seen Mellie in before; showing her inner turmoil in an overt and dramatic fashion.

Scandal 4.01 grey GucciAs soon as Olivia is back in DC she unleashes a torrent of amazing coats including this beautiful belted and gold zipped Gucci Fall 2012 offering (here is a similar Gucci coat swapping out zips for buckle detail). Gone are the beach curls and Olivia is giving Huck her best attempt at reaching out. These guys all have trust issues so it’s not that easy.

Scandal 4.01 purple coatSee also appealing to Abby (Quinn is at first the only person who is back on Team OPA, which is initially surprising as she was on the outs for most of last season) and there is a lot of hurt on both sides here. Both Quinn and Abby haven’t strayed far from their style comfort zones with Quinn in a Free People leather jacket and Abby sticks to her Donna Karan burgundy coat tradition. I am sticking to my tradition of coveting Abby’s outfit.

Scandal 4.01long black cardiganThis isn’t the wine cardigan that Olivia wears while she is actually drinking wine in this episode, however this Ralph Lauren Black Label cashmere delight could double up as one. It also performs the role of making Olivia seem approachable allowing her to see through the BS she is being dishing served up on this new case; that famous gut feeling still works. I’ve missed the glass window of investigation to be honest so I was thrilled when she was asked for her expertise and help.

Scandal 4.01 white suitAfter delivering a searing statement at a press conference on the steps it is clear Olivia Pope is really back and her all white Escada pant suit coupled with a power walk of defiance is a striking image. Cyrus snarks at Fitz about the repetitive nature of his relationship with Olivia, however in the moment where it appeared they would touch there was initially nothing; a connection is made in their shared flicker of a smile after they have passed each other. Their story is far from over.

At the moment I want to see what both Olivia and Fitz can achieve without the other at their side and even though I lean towards Jake, I am so over him using his sexual prowess as a trump card. We get it. I’m still hoping we’ll get a prolonged period of Olivia opting for the “I choose me” option and as OPA is what needs the most attention from Olivia at this present moment it is the perfect time to explore Olivia outside of romantic entanglements.

 

 

 

“Not That Kind of Girl” – The Ask Lena Dunham Advice Video Series

25 Sep

Lena Dunham’s book Not that Kind of Girl is released next week (September 30) and to promote this venture Dunham is dishing out advice in a video series featuring questions about feminism, body image, sex and friendship. Pretty much everything you would expect from the creator of Girls.

Lena DunhamHere’s a selection of our favorites from the series and there is a hint of where certain Girls storylines originated from.

On being a feminist and the clothes you wear:

On body confidence and being plus size:

On sleeping with dudes who are not good for you:

On OCD and mental health issues:

On bad sex:

On feeling jealous when other people are successful:

For more on the advice video front Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls has an excellent Ask Amy series and Rookie’s Ask a Grown Man/Woman is also pretty great. These are both primarily aimed at teenagers, but the advice is super useful to all ages.

Head here to watch the whole 12-part video series and Not that Kind of Girl hits both physical and digital shelves Tuesday, September 30.

TV Rewind: Felicity, “The Christening” & “The Anti-Natalie Intervention”

25 Sep

Felicity, Episodes 3.1 & 3.2
“The Christening” & “The Anti-Natalie Intervention”
Original Air Dates: Oct. 4 & 11, 2000

Felicity 3.01 Ben and FelicityEmma: There are new opening credits with a brand new song and it totally threw me at first. In the space of 30 seconds I went from ‘ugh these are awful’ to ‘I totally love them’ which is a quick about turn. I like the cheese factor and how it captures the fun of the show with some of the farcical elements. There’s also some deep and meaningful hug/talking clips used and while the black and white credits captured that self-serious aspect of early college, I think these new ones represent the less precious aspects of college. They’re now more self-assured than they were and at least it’s not like the Alias season 3 disaster.

After complaining about how flaky Felicity is when it comes to decision making she went and did something impulsive in the season 3 premiere. Sadly it wasn’t a wise move as she ditched her Elena/Julie commitments and instead got an apartment for Ben and herself. She just went ahead and did it before consulting either her friends or Ben so they all kind of have to go along with it. Felicity is all excited about seeing a Ben again and her decision is tied to this romantic notion about both her relationship and the apartment in question. It’s in Brooklyn and what you would definitely call a fixer-upper.

Felicity is flaky, but she can also be single minded and it’s why she doesn’t really consider the consequences of this huge decision. First of all it leaves Elena and Julie down a roommate; this is covered as Meghan’s living plans have fallen through (she was meant to move in with Earl) and she needs somewhere to live. This is one development I am so happy with – Meghan is still with Sean and even though they’ve had an amazing summer together, they don’t decide to move into together, they are not Felicity. Ben doesn’t get a say, yes he could tell Felicity what a dumb idea it is, but he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. Instead he just bitches about how much he hates it to Sean. Standard Ben behavior. Ben takes Sean’s terrible advice because, of course. This advice includes a huge screen and I don’t even understand what kind of TV that is. Pre flat screen I guess.

It’s far too early in their relationship to take this step and there’s a difference between staying over because your dorm is flooded versus actually living together. They should still very much be in the fun stage and an apartment with a bath in the front room is not the way to go. That and everything else that is wrong with it: bugs, rats, loud pipes, a hot neighbour with no boundaries and appliances that catch on fire. Felicity mentions she has experience with fire and the new opening credits helpfully show this experience. On both occasions fire interrupts a hook up.

What did you think about Felicity’s impulsive decision?

Felicity 3.01 JulieJulie: I knew the new credits were coming, but I kind of forgot about it until you mentioned them on Twitter. I remembered hating them (and the new song) on my first Felicity go-around, but this time, I’m loving them. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just that I love reliving all those little moments and seeing how much Felicity and her friends have grown over the first two seasons.

Felicity in the first episode of Season 3 is not the Felicity of the second episode. I don’t know what that whole “let’s move in together, Ben” thing was, but it was bad. All-around bad. She put her mister before her sisters. She didn’t consult Ben on the decision. And she was just being so “I’m Felicity and I need to feel adult.” Plus, I don’t think she considered how annoying it would be to live in Brooklyn while commuting to Manhattan for school. I am a big proponent of living as close to campus as possible, preferably on campus. There will be plenty of time for apartments and adulthood after graduation. Be a kid for as long as you can. Plus, holy geez, was the girls’ student housing AMAZING!

The whole time Ben kept talking to Sean about it, I was like, “You fool! This is going to be on the Sundance Channel! She’ll see it.” Ben is kind of an idiot. He’s an idiot about their downstairs neighbor who wants to use their living room tub, as well. He, apparently, has very little control when it comes to beautiful women, which hopefully won’t get him into too much trouble. Felicity doesn’t deserve that, apartment renting aside. Also, I don’t know what’s going on with his hair this season. I’m not sure if it was my TV, but it looked like a football helmet.

Anyway, no harm, no foul, because Felicity is back with the girls and Ben is back with Sean. And maybe Richard is living there now? Have they established that? Or is Richard kind of the Phoebe? Regardless, it’s good because it seems like the show is focusing more on the fun, social aspects of college, which is what we were hoping for during sophomore year.

I’m especially liking the girl dynamic. Elena and Julie are getting more to do, just by virtue of playing off each other. There’s some major girl shit happening there. Meghan is there to stir things up and provide comic relief. Julie, especially, has some deep things happening beneath the surface. She, apparently, took the kidney test, wasn’t a match for her dad, and got to know him a bit before he died. I’m not sure I believe her whole story at this point. She’s also having to serve as a buffer between Elena and the hot guy across the hall. Once Elena realizes she doesn’t want to jeopardize her relationship with Tracy, Julie steps in and hooks up with the guy. Is this the first time Julie’s really been with someone since Ben? I think so. I’m concerned Julie’s headed for more dark times.

What do you think about Julie? Oh, and Elena’s little crisis of faith?

Felicity 3.01 NoelEmma: Ben’s hair makes me way more sad than even the hideous Felicity top knot. I have no idea what they did to it. Maybe we can blame the helmet he had to wear on his construction job. The mid-length Felicity is sporting is not nearly as awkward as I expected it to be. You know who has terrible hair? That’s right, Noel. But more on him later.

The girls’ apartment is incredible and I’m guessing is one of these kinds of places that only exist on TV as none of our student housing ever looked like this. And there are also super cute dudes living across the hall, also in a TV fantasy land kind of way and this provides both the entertainment and the friction in the second episode. There is no way that dude’s towel would have stayed up and I love how disappointed they all were when the game ended.

Felicity does seem constantly torn between wanting to be an adult and doing the fun thing which is probably pretty accurate of most 19/20 year old’s. You’re right in that college is very much the time for fun, where you can stay over but go back to your own place whenever you want. Plus nobody wants a 20 minute conversation about where to put the forks. Especially when it’s not even innuendo. With Felicity moving into the apartment does this mean the English student who hasn’t turned up is shit out of luck? Or are two of them going to have to share? I’m going with the latter and I have a feeling Meghan and Felicity might end up sharing again, which probably won’t be too much of a big deal seeing as they both have their boyfriends’ (who happen to live together) apartment to sleep over at.

Also Felicity and Meghan make the most sense doubling up as I sense a lot of icy tension with Julie and Elena thanks to hooks up and persistent questions. Felicity hasn’t been around much to ask Julie about her depressing summer and like you I feel like she isn’t being completely upfront with what happened. It sounds super shitty and I can understand why she is being standoffish, but if you don’t want someone to ask how you are don’t cry in the communal space. Elena asking Julie to third wheel for her while she contemplates other options outside of Tracy is a bit of a dick move, especially as Julie is as she mentions always the third wheel so when Elena decides Tracy is all she wants (thanks to a well timed photo falling over that Elena saw as a sign from God), Julie puts that getting to know you with this pre-law guy to good use. Oh hey awkward morning after bathroom scene.

In terms of dudes post Ben wasn’t there that dread lock guy from the party at the start of last season? Obviously there was the sleazy A&R guy that resulted in Zach flashbacks and a Noel smooch, but no one else that I can think of. I want Julie to get her own story and for them to explore the lady friendships, but I hope Julie’s spiral isn’t just a series of one night stands; I hope they don’t use sex as a way to have Julie question her self worth all over again. I kind of hope this is just Julie being really passive aggressive towards Elena using her and rubbing it in that she can’t have sex with her boyfriend rather. This is also a dick move and one that I hope settles the score.

Elena also commits the dumb move of talking about her Tracy problems on camera and I think they’ve all forgotten what Sean is going to do with the footage. Cut to a few episodes time and the first episode airing. SO many arguments are on the cards.

If everyone was to write an essay about what they did on their summer vacation then Noel would certainly get a “huh?” in his comments section and he doesn’t show up until near the end of the premiere and when he is a very different looking Noel to what we are used to. Gone are the tees, sweaters and floppy hair and in are the highlights, beard and leopard print. They really did find the best worst attire and I’m pretty sure he is very stoned or at least high on something. As Javier predicted his cousin is some kind of whirlwind and Noel’s fallen head over heels for this lack of responsibility schtick. What did you think of Noel’s – or should I say Leon’s? – big news?

Felicity 3.02 Elena and FelicityJulie: I think Noel’s hair gets a pass for the moment. That is deep crisis hair. That’s not real hair.

Junior year is a particularly troubling time for Felicity’s hair. She seems to have it all figured out personally, but not follicularly. I think I just made up that word. The top knot is horrible. It’s a curly man bun, and it only works on Joakim Noah.

As far as the Julie/Elena fight goes, I’m squarely on Team Julie here. Elena knew she was being an idiot. She knew she was playing with fire, and she dragged Julie into it. I’m thinking at this point Julie only slept with pre-law dude as an eff you to Elena. Like, “See, Elena, if you were single like me, this could’ve been you.” I don’t know. Good for Julie for standing up for herself…in some way.

I also want to point out, as far as pre-law dude goes, he knows WAAAAAAAY too much about New York divorce law for an undergrad. It was actually hilarious. I’m pretty sure most attorneys don’t get that far into divorce law until they actually become divorce attorneys.

OK, Noel. Or Leon. He’s a hot mess. I think this whole Natalie thing was good for him in the long run. As we’ve said, Noel has always been Mr. Responsible. He had a long-term girlfriend. He got serious with Felicity right away. When he went to Europe two summers ago, he was so hung up on Felicity, he didn’t really let himself have fun. Then he hooked up with Ruby, who went and got pregnant, and who tapped Noel as her caregiver/BFF. Noel was due for some irresponsibility.

Of course, this being television, they take it to the limit, turning Noel into some skeezy guy with cool guy tips. He even elopes. At least he didn’t get a tattoo (that we know of), so there’s that.

Noel needed to go through all this, however, because 1) now he knows he can go full-throttle with his life notebook plan to be a giant computer nerd and 2) since he never figured out his living situation before running off with Natalie, he can move into Sean’s loft. Everyone’s living together! Things are perfect! Show over!

How did you feel about the Noel/Natalie situation?

Felicity 3.02 Noel and FelicityEmma: Woah that definitely tops even the Jared Leto man bun.

The middle stage of a grow out is super awkward and this is why I stick to short hair now (and I really don’t suit long hair at all). So having seen recent photos of Keri Russell has she lost the tighter curls naturally or do you think she has something done to her hair to lose the Felicity style volume? I am no hair expert so have no idea.

I am also on Team Julie on this occasion, I just don’t want this living situation to descend into bitchiness and bad feelings.

That dude definitely seemed like he was an actual lawyer posing as a student as some elaborate scheme to hook up with college girls. That or he has a photographic memory or something, Super useful having him across the hall for all law emergencies. Speaking of which – what kind of lease did Felicity get where she could move in and out of somewhere and still get all of her money back?

During the second episode I ended up writing down that Noel is the Ross of this show, which I guess is appropriately timed as it is the Friends 20th anniversary week (ahh those feeling old feelings). He ends up in these really dumb situations and gets married while drunk, there’s just something very Ross about him. I think it’s good as well that he has had this experience even if it has put a kink in his plan – it might also put Noel in the same year as the rest of the group as I guess he might have to wait until next year to do his senior year. Noel’s freak outs are also reminiscent of Ross as is his realization that their collective assets are a plate. Scott Foely once again gets to flex his comedy chops and show how good he is at this.

The initial intervention is kinda shitty and it’s similar to how they were all interfering when they found out Ruby was pregnant and they discussed it vocally while he was in the room next door. Richard has gone into overdrive and was this a high point for interventions on TV? Or did that show come later? It doesn’t go well and Ben’s the only one who doesn’t think it’s any of their business. Part of this is down to Ben’s general not wanting to get up in other people’s business kind of personality, but there must also be an element of Noel being Felicity’s ex.

In the end Noel does start to freak out about this huge life choice and Felicity’s reference to his life plan notebook basically has him shitting himself about the whole thing. It isn’t surprising that Felicity is the one that gets through to him in her Felicity way and they have a pretty sweet and open conversation about the whole thing.

Natalie discovers the intervention paperwork and she’s pissed about the whole thing; she ends up punching Noel pretty hard, but then later on she wants to get back with him. He’s still pissed but he can’t resist her pizza for breakfast moves although I am assuming this is nothing more than goodbye sex. Do women like Natalie really exist? She feels very much to me like a wild child caricature and the whole vacation every month/move every two years is far more fantasy than reality. Just how could you financially sustain this She also has some terrible clothing choices including the shirt showing her stomach thanks to an oh so classy knot and all of Noel’s hideous outfits are courtesy of Natalie. Javier’s stories about Natalie are also crazy, but hilarious particularly with the defibrillator.

More daddy issues ahoy as Ben’s dad comes into town? What did you think about the John Ritter (*sob*) guest turn?

Felicity 3.02 John RitterJulie: I’ve always wondered that about Keri Russell’s curls. During senior year, after she’s gone through the awkward phase, Felicity’s hair is much more relaxed. I’m guessing Keri does something to it. I think her hair gets wet in the new Apes movie and it looks like it has maximum curl potential. Maybe she wants to stay far away from Felicity’s iconic hair. I wouldn’t really blame her, considering all the crap that came with her cutting it. That said, is she a little less recognizable without the curls? It’s not Jennifer Grey levels, of course, but she had a signature look and she ditched it.

That was a long paragraph about curls.

Aaah! Noel IS the Ross! He’s totally the guy who freaks out when things don’t go according to his plan. He just needs a pair of leather pants. Also, I could totally see Noel going Red Ross. Actually, I would love to see (you know, in honor of Friends‘ 20th — God, am I old) the entire Felicity cast get together to do an homage to friends. Or, really, just to see Scott Foley do all of Ross’s lines, because I think he’d be great. Does anyone else fit the Friends bill? Maybe Elena is Monica, because they’re both so Type A.

I think HIMYM took interventions to their height and then back down again.

While the Noel thing was unbelievable, I am glad that it gave us some nice FeliciNoel moments again. I’ve missed the two of them being friends. They were doing so well in the beginning of last season, but then he got all caught up in Ruby and she got all caught up in Greg. The two of them really do understand each other the best of everyone on this show.

John walked in the room while I was watching this episode and was all, “Aww, John Ritter.” My reaction as well. He kind of made a habit of playing deadbeat dads toward the end of his career, what with being Ben’s dad as well as J.D. Dorian’s (I guess two makes a habit?).

It was all pretty cliche, with no new ground covered on the deadbeat dad front, but I did love seeing Ritter again as well as the adorable moment between Felicity and Ben when his dad inevitably didn’t show up. They have each other. Miraculously, Felicity’s impulsive apartment hunting and moving-too-fast didn’t turn Ben off this time. It’s almost as if she was doing it as a test…

Felicity 3.02 Noel black eyeEmma: The Keri Russell curl situation makes me think of Julianna Margulies and why she didn’t want her ER curls on The Good Wife, but that’s a wig rather than her actual hair. I really like Russell’s softer wave and it looks more grownup I guess, plus I get all the hair envy at her amazing side sweep. Hmm the mystery of where her tighter curls continues I guess but I know what you mean about how it looked in Apes (I’m still so bummed out that she was essentially just the girlfriend in that movie). Moving away from iconic hairstyles is in part about differentiating from the character and also it must be a style thing to – the Rachel haircut would look like a hot mess now for example. I’m also getting images of Gillian Anderson and her Scully helmet hair from the early seasons of The X-Files. She also has amazing hair now.

This is also a long paragraph about curls and hair.

Now I definitely want to see Scott Foley doing some Ross cosplay and Noel could definitely blow up and go Red Ross. Yeah Elena as Monica works, but I’m not sure about the others. I kind of see Tracy as a Paul – the boyfriend from outside the group who manages to stick around as he is well liked. Richard is kind of a Phoebe. Julie has the aforementioned Rachel haircut four years too late.

John Ritter is so good in a role that isn’t breaking the mold of disappointing alcoholic dad, but both Ritter and Scott Speedman elevate the material they are given to make it more than just a cliche. Oh and the opposite of deadbeat dad is 8 Simple Rules so that breaks the trend a smidge, maybe it’s just when he is guest starring? John Ritter is always an excellent performer and despite only previously hearing super shitty things about Ben’s dad in the past I instantly warmed to him because it’s John Ritter. He also wears that beard well. Ritter is great, but it was actually Speedman that really impressed me with all his nervous ticks while waiting for his dad. It looked like he wasn’t going to turn up for their second arranged meet up and he looks like a little kid while he is waiting. He does show up and he has a gift – a random CD from Tower Records, how very year 2000 of him – and they share a sweet moment with his dad apologizing for being a super shitty parent. He can’t remember a single thing from Ben’s childhood and this is pretty high on the deadbeat dad chart.

Ben doesn’t want false promises, but after this display of contrition he buys into the whole thing which makes them getting stood up later on all the more devastating as he let his guard down, but as you mention at least he has Felicity to provide some form of comfort. I’m guessing we’re going to get to see more from John Ritter at some point. Every season of this show needs some daddy issues.This will provide some excellent material for our Ben Covington thesis.

Hmm I don’t think I have anything else to add – you?

Felicity 3.02 group interventionJulie: Poor Julie with her gross Rachel hair.

I just want to say that I’ve only seen this season once, about ten years ago, so it’s not very fresh in my mind. I remember thinking back then that the third and fourth seasons paled in comparison to the first two; but this time around, I think I like where the latter seasons are going. There’s a pull-back from the seriousness of seasons 1 and 2. The comedy and situations are a little more heightened, a little wackier, which on the surface I shouldn’t like, but for some reason I’m finding that I do.

I love the angst, but like Chandler and Monica, I also like the silliness.

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

 

New Girl 4.02 “Dice” Review: Darn Tootin’ Fun

24 Sep

Jess is optimistic to the point of gullible at times and while Nick is New Girl’s grumpy cynic, it is Schmidt who has responded to a broken heart by closing himself off to the possibility of love. Schmidt has no problems getting laid and Dice, a new dating app (it’s like Tinder) aids the briefest of connections. Schmidt and Jess are friends despite being so diametrically opposed when it comes to pretty much everything and as with the season 1 episode “Control” this proves to bring out their best and worst.

New Girl 4.02 diceThe balance of smut and sweet that New Girl excels at is well represented in how Jess and Schmidt view dating; Jess thinks dating should lead to love or a relationship and that’s far from the point in Schmidt’s opinion. What is clear from both the cold opens of season 4 is Jess doesn’t always see the sexual innuendo in the statements she makes and once again I am impressed that a gag like “Darn Tootin’ Fun” and its acronym didn’t get flagged by Standards and Practices. Despite Schmidt telling Jess that she isn’t ready for Dice, Jess goes ahead and sets up an account and a date. Suffice to say her first attempt doesn’t go well and she ends up back at the apartment of a dude who has a braided beardy tail and the most incredible wolfie sweater. Jess needs Schmidt’s expertise to navigate these choppy dating waters and he lets her know he’ll do it in typically dramatic Schmidt fashion.

Not one to do anything by halves, Schmidt has a whole presentation set up in the bar (which is totes weird in the morning FYI) involving the buzzer from Taboo, stationary Jess isn’t suppose to use and a big welcome sign. He could set up his own workshop. Schmidt runs through multiple scenarios that all include the observation that the person in question is probably a pervert and he is appalled by Jess’ “Hubba hubba, mama in troubu” reaction to one of the profile photos. Schmidt sets up 10 dates for Jess and despite her protests that she’s wearing her lounge around underwear she undertakes the main part of Schmidt’s Dice tutorial. This is like speed dating in multiple locations, but just as disposable in the end even if Jess doesn’t have the temperament to make a swift exit. Enter Schmidt and all the excuses to ditch a date.

In the past Jess has helped Schmidt loosen up, even if this went to extremes as there is no moderation or middle ground for Schmidt. In just two episodes this season already feels more cohesive than last year thanks to the return to form of Schmidt; he still says awful things about how he doesn’t care about hurting people’s feelings, but this is far from the ‘evil’ bizarro version from last season. He’s a douche, but he is still capable of semi-sweet sentiments like telling Jess that she’s the best girl on Dice (he also refers to her as pie and the prize which should lead to jar donations).

Jess cuts the last date she is on short because of the living close to date location warning sign (pervert) and this whole experience has left her feeling sad as she’d developed a rapport with this last guy. With such disposable dating and just about any reason to shut an interaction down how are you ever supposed to find love? Schmidt finds this preposition confusing as “the point of dating is just to keep on dating and never stop” not to fall in love and have a relationship. Jess finds this whole thing perplexing as Schmidt might be missing out on a really great woman as he jumps from one to another without any consideration of what this could become. Despite his assertion that he wants to go through life this way Schmidt calls up the girl from the morning and when he tries to ask her out for coffee after they’ve hooked up she tells him that she doesn’t think he understands Dice. Burn. Side note – now that Nick and Schmidt are sharing a room where does Nick sleep when Schmidt hooks up? The Jess influence has not paid off for Schmidt and Jess quickly learns that she should have called it quits with date number 10 when he reveals he is a comedy magician and she is stuck watching his terrible tricks and hearing his crappy jokes. Where is Schmidt when she needs him? Dating apps might have made getting a date easier, but everything else is still as hit and miss as before.

New Girl is a network show so a getting stoned plot is going to be far more limited than a show like Broad City on Comedy Central, so when Nick suggests they get high before Winston becomes an official cop it’s going to include caveats (statements like not doing drugs again) and only coming in food form. What this storyline does is gives another opportunity to see all the social awkwardness from Winston and a fun dynamic between Cece, Coach and Nick. Until last season Nick and Cece didn’t have all that many interactions, but last year it became apparent how much they are alike and working in the bar not only gives an organic way to incorporate the only character who doesn’t live in the loft, but it revealed their similarities. On this occasion what they share is getting stoned and they play teacher to Coach who hasn’t got high before. Cece is pretty chilled out, while Nick is rather obnoxious playing the expert card and constantly showing off how good he is at getting stoned.

Nick isn’t that great at being stoned and I wonder how often he has done it – although the college flashbacks would suggest quite a lot – or maybe it’s just because he wants to show off to Coach. Regardless he does get the funniest gag in this subplot as he tells Winston multiple times that they’ll go to this party and Jake Johnson delivers gibberish like no other. Nick’s super awesome plan to not get detected does not pan out and they end up in the closet after kicking over the barbecue and life chats with a dog. Winston gets to earn cool points and a new nickname from his police academy colleagues by freaking his friends the fuck out and even though it’s ‘Toilet’ he’s pretty thrilled. It’s all somewhat cartoonish and while it didn’t hit all the beats with me, it was still fun watching these bozos being terrible in a social situation and making Winston look like he has all the skills (even with that Charlotte’s Web story).

What does come across is how this is part of hitting the reset button on everything that happened last year and the Schmidt/Jess plot is the far stronger of the two; what it demonstrates is the desire to play around with the ensemble by mixing up the groupings and this is an encouraging sign.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.02 Jess bow sweaterJess’ super cute short sleeved black sweater with white bows is Alice + Olivia and is also available in the reverse (so white with black bows). Perfect for fall as the temperatures hover between cool and crisp with a chance of ‘Surprise! It’s super warm today.”

 

The Limited Scandal Collection: Our Top 5 Picks

23 Sep

Kerry Washington wants you to know that “You can be fabulous and fearless” and now you can look the Olivia Pope part in The Limited Scandal inspired collection. Kerry Washington and Scandal costume designer Lyn Paolo worked with the The Limited’s VP of Design, Elliot Staples to produce an array of pieces reflecting the style of Olivia Pope. This means there is a lot of neutral colors and tailored silhouettes that exude style, femininity and power.

The costume design on Scandal is one of the most talked about aspects of this show (we’re pretty much obsessed with all things Olivia Pope here at TV Ate My Wardrobe) and this collection includes pretty much everything we would want from a Scandal inspired line. Plus the prices aren’t nearly as crazy as the designer labels Olivia usually wears ranging from $49.95 to $248. The only thing that is missing is the ability to not spill red wine or get popcorn grease all over the clothes. Yes I am a serial spiller. Especially when it is either something new or on the lighter end of the clothing scale.

Some of the clothes will feature in the new season (which starts this Thursday, September 25); how about a game of spot The Limited among the Prada and the Armani?

So whether you want to boost your office wear, coat collection or Scandal watching attire there is something for you and here are our top 5 picks.

Drape coatOlivia has the best collection of outerwear on TV and draped/belted coats are a staple. This one is available in either sage green or soft pink. I’m meant to be on a coat buying ban, but I might have to break my own rules for this beauty.

Scandal capeCapes are on trend this season and another Olivia signature item; just because Olivia wears mostly neutrals it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for tweed. You can get this version in both grey and khaki. I love the charcoal grey cape I got a few years ago (I broke my wrist in the winter and I needed a coat to go over my cast), but there’s no rules saying you can’t have more than one. A cape also gives you a most excellent shadow (I am easily amused).

Cape The LimitedWine cardigan! Everyone needs one and The Limited knows this. Yes it is off white but hopefully you have better hand-eye coordination than I do.

Pink pantsOlivia only wears pants to work and there are a variety of styles and colors on offer. I’ve picked out a couple of pairs starting with the ‘Liv Flare‘ in light pink (also available in off white) and for office wear the more flared the better (this is why I love Abby’s palazzo pants so much).

Black Olivia Pope pantsA pair of black wide leg pants are a wardrobe staple and an easy way to look super chic and smart at work or even on a night out.

Browse the whole collection head here and be sure to check out all our Scandal costuming analysis starting with the season 4 promo photos.

Hack into Broad City: Cereal War

23 Sep

Broad City isn’t back for season 2 until January (every sad face possible), but until then feast your eyes on the latest installment of “Hack into Broad City” in which Abbi and Ilana host the first annual cereal war via video chat (or “maybe it’s just an exchange of technology and culture and everybody wins). Like all good breakfast food cereal doesn’t have to be eaten first thing in the morning and it can stand for many awesome things.

Broad City

Video chat is an important part of the Ilana and Abbi friendship with Ilana going so far as doing this during sex (much to Abbi’s horror) and as “Hack into Broad City” was part of the initial web series it makes sense to throw up* some of these old videos during what feels like a lengthy hiatus. Hopefully there will be more new offerings between now and January.

*One of these chats involves actual vomit so maybe pun intended. It is below and it is gross (and also hilarious as Abbi watches through her fingers pleading her not to). It also ended up in the pilot. 

In the meantime here is both the new video that first appeared on Vulture followed by a few of my favorite earlier “Hack” videos with Ilana crossing multiple boundaries. One of these actually ends up being an Abbi move in first season and as with a lot of the original content it has been adapted for the show (like the vom moment).

And in other good news…

[Source]

Broad City season 1 is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.

 

Masters of Sex 2.11 “One for the Money, Two for the Show” Review: “Stake Your Claim”

22 Sep

So much on Masters of Sex takes place behind closed doors as the nature of the study dictates this course of action; the one time Bill did try to present his work it was met with such a negative reaction that he lost his high powered position that set him on this journey of finding a more permanent home for their work. The first half of season two dealt with the conflicts and difficulty of finding a new environment to work in and eventually it became clear the only option would be to start something of their own. By presenting the work on television means putting themselves out there in a much broader scope and if they are rejected from this avenue it will have a devastating impact on whatever reputation Bill has left. I only mention Bill because he is the one who is finding the whole TV aspect to be incredibly challenging, although Virginia is dealing with separate personal issues that show a crack in her normally perfect facade.

Bill repeats the assertion throughout that he isn’t a salesman, but this is far from the case as he has been selling himself and the study from day one. The difference here is that he is normally so single minded and stubborn that he doesn’t let any self-doubt come into the equation. This feeling of impotence comes with his actual medical problem and how he has no control over what he can and cannot say on television. The Bill Masters bravado has been punched out of him by his brother and now he’s just a guy sweating profusely on TV; he is the Nixon to Virginia’s John F. Kennedy twinkle.

Masters of Sex 2.11 Bill and Virginia on TVThe switching of the ties makes a big difference and while Bill only refers to the practical reasons behind his tie choice – it stays out of the way during exams – stating that it isn’t a fashion decision, it is part of his uniform and he loses part of his armor with this swap. It seems like such a small thing and even though the CBS dudes think a long tie looks less academic, by taking away the bow tie they are removing the one fun aspect of Bill’s look. Have you seen how many different patterns he wears with these ties? Bill doesn’t come across as a polka dot kind of guy, but there they are on his choice of neck wear. The long tie is alien to him and he doesn’t even think the one Libby finds at home is his; it’s not a good start to feeling confident when you are informed that your look is wrong and then end up in a tie that’s not even yours.

Bill emphasizes how awkward it makes him by quoting Henry David Thoreau “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes” and Lester not only mentions how disappointed he is that Bill is compromising his position, but he also notes how weird the tie looks. There are multiple references to sweat starting with Nixon and ending with Bill’s drenched shirt lying on the floor; not only did he want to rip the tie off, but his shirt too.

Shep Tally keeps talking about the importance of appearance and presentation on television with the infamous sweaty Nixon debate getting referenced; on radio Nixon appealed to more voters, on television Kennedy’s smile had just as much impact as the talking points. Virginia has a spark and natural stage presence, after all she was a performer before this became her career. Virginia looks the part from her sleek simple outfit with an incredible deer broach – Virginia’s accessory choices give me similar glee filled reactions as The Good Wife’s Diane Lockhart – and there’s nothing about her style or manner of speaking that needs correcting. When Libby points out they are wearing the same color this is of no importance as they are shooting in black and white. It also ends up being of no importance because they never get around to shooting Libby, or even wondering where she is and so it is not surprising that she views herself as being invisible.

Masters of Sex 2.11 Bill and VirginaOn camera Virginia is the natural one with all the magnetism and charm, however when Bill loosens up and relaxes he also possesses a spark of sorts. He talks in hushed tones and yet his explanation of why this is an important line of study is captivating and it’s like the body equivalent of how fear is what leads you to the dark side; censorship perpetuates shame which leads to ignorance and ignorance prevents change. Shep was originally drawn to Virginia and Bill as a result of their natural back and forth. When Bill becomes more comfortable in front of the camera it becomes clear just how in sync they are as they finish each other’s sentences and Bill even laughs off a word stumble. See Bill, you do smile. Libby watches all of this and her expression grows increasingly sad and I wonder if she is figuring out just how close they are or if she is just acknowledging they have a bond that she has never possessed with her husband.

Masters of Sex 2.11 Libby and GeorgeLater on Libby and Virginia’s ex George are mistaken for husband and wife in the same way Virginia and Bill are often misconstrued as being a couple and the only similarity here is that Libby and George are sitting in a waiting room waiting for the couple who are married to their work. Libby refers to herself as “The woman behind the man behind the woman behind the man” noting just how insignificant she is to this whole process and subsequent fanfare. It doesn’t matter that she is “a looker” with Virginia ahead of her in ‘this race.’

This is what the Libby storyline has been building to all season and while they touched upon this aspect of the ignored wife at home in season 1 Libby was preoccupied with her desire to have children to create a family. Now she has those children and nothing has changed; there is still something missing. Libby’s story has been incredibly messy this season and at times it has been hard to feel any kind of sympathy with her. Tying her to an exploration of race issues in the late 50s/early 60s has at times made her come across as both racist and a race tourist (or a “silly fly-by-night do-gooder”). I was worried that Robert would become a prop in Libby’s journey to ‘find herself’ and she even admits that she wants Robert to kiss her to try and figure out who she is. Libby explains how she never got to be a dumb kid – maybe just dumb – and her nickname when she was younger was “The Little Grownup” and I expect this is because she had to grow up so quickly after her mother died and her father abandoned her. Libby goes on talking about how she has never made waves and how deep down she has maybe been ignorant and prejudice (everything with Coral suggests yes) and Caitlin Fitzgerald nails the little girl lost sadness when she says “So quiet that you forgot the sound of your own voice.”

Masters of Sex 2.11 LibbyWith Robert his feelings of disdain towards Libby was actually a relief as she no longer felt invisible and she has found a fight that she believes in and now understands. Using Libby as an entry point to explore race this season hasn’t always worked and part of this has been because it’s been just as much as it about Libby and her experiences as it is about the civil rights movement; we have been viewing it pretty much through her prism. Having Libby admit to her shortcomings, fears and attraction to Robert while stating that she wants to do something reckless shows that Libby isn’t considering the big picture and she’s spent so long alone that she doesn’t want to contemplate just how dangerous this is (or this element of danger adds to the attraction). If a police officer reacts this aggressively just with them sitting in a car, imagine how bad things could get if they get caught. Libby wants Robert to kiss her, but he doesn’t want to make the first move so she goes ahead and kisses him first. This leads to kitchen floor sex and it’s unlike any of the sex scenes we have seen between Libby and Bill; there is passion, longing and desire. I wonder if this is the first time Libby has had an orgasm.

Going back to Bill and despite his triumph of maintaining an erection at the end of the last episode his problem still persists despite trying again. This adds to his fear of presenting results in front of a camera as he feels like an unattractive fraud. The episode ends with Virginia telling Bill that she finds him attractive and cradling him on the floor. It’s a motherly act rather than a sexual one and to get all self-help Bill has to learn to accept that he is a flawed but brilliant person, not one or the other. Plus he really needs to get out of his own head space. It is rare to see Bill in this vulnerable state and without the same self-assured confidence that has got him to where he is now. He looks out of his comfort zone in pretty much every scene he is in this week and he is out of his depth as Virginia and Shep stand tall discussing what they will be undertaking.

Masters of Sex 2.11 BillOne person who gives a really good pep talk is Shep and considering he is in PR this is not surprising. He manages to appeal to Bill’s ego by reinforcing the notion about coming first and adds some comfort by suggesting the goal you have can be just as important as achieving it; just because they haven’t cured anyone yet, the hope and promise of doing this is part of the initial pitch. Shep tells him he needs to “Stake his claim” and by doing both this and “reaching for it” then he will be able to connect with people in their homes. Does Bill want to be a Kennedy or a Nixon? So on one hand there is Shep telling Bill that it is okay to make a compromise with his work so he can reach people and then there is Lester who is disappointed that Bill is sacrificing his integrity. What “One for the Money, Two for the Show” doesn’t do is tell you which version is the right one, instead it shows the various ways these characters are being challenged as they reach for the moon whether it is Libby wanting to be noticed, Bill feeling attractive or Virginia realizing that she has been so focused on work that she knew nothing about the type of woman George’s new wife is.

Virginia’s ex George wants to take the kids to Europe for 6 weeks while he is on tour and this concerns Virginia deeply. George has remarried and his new wife Audrey has become a big presence in Tessa and Henry’s life without Virginia even noticing. Audrey helped Tessa pick out her project subject and is very much part of their life, plus she’s not a flake like George; there is now stability in her ex-husband’s house and he won’t forget to feed them until late. This all takes Virginia by surprise as she’s been so busy at work. Thankfully there isn’t any ‘you’re a bad mother’ judgement, just an acknowledgement that this trip could actually be a really positive thing for Tessa and Henry. What it does mean is that Virginia will be spending the holidays (both Thanksgiving and Christmas) alone and I wonder if she will receive an invite to the Masters’ house?

Elsewhere the Austin/Flo sexual harassment continues and even though they work in the same building this story feels very much out on its own island. Flo is upset that Clark Gable is dying as he’s her dream dude and Gone with the Wind is her dream fantasy; she wants to be ravished against her will (this worryingly comes across as a rape fantasy and I’m not sure they are quite hitting the mark in this gender role swap as it is still coming across as slightly comedic in tone). By questioning Austin’s manhood she gets her unwilling participant and he’s continued to sleep with her since the last episode. Instead Austin is the one who reluctantly takes part in this role play and Flo ends up being the Clark Gable. Despite wanting to change roles it doesn’t end up that way and they are still stuck with who they have always been.

So how much can we adjust and evolve? This goes much further than just sex and the work as Bill and Virginia have entered a co-dependence of sorts that didn’t exist at the start of this season despite the grand rom-com like rain gesture at the end of last year. With only one episode left it is unclear just where these characters will end up, but it is clear that far too much has happened overall to return to where they were, not just for Virginia and Bill, but for Libby as well. It’s been a bumpy season that has attempted to cover a wide range of storylines and this ambition is commendable; however Masters of Sex is at its best when examining the deeply personal and intimate nature of relationships. Bill and Virginia are at the heart of this and with each episode they are nearing a real definition of what they really mean to one another as they dance around the notion of love. Is this a declaration we can expect to see in the finale?

 

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