Archive | December, 2014

TV Rewind: Felicity, “Blackout” & “The Break-Up Kit”

18 Dec

Felicity, Episodes 3.13 & 3.14
“Blackout” & “The Break-Up Kit”
Original Air Dates: Apr. 25, 2001 & May, 2, 2001

Felicity 3.14 sad FelicityJulie: I wish I had watched these episodes immediately following the previous two, because my feelings about Noel and Ben have flip-flopped. Suddenly Noel is the perfect guy, and Ben is a stupid moron who can’t say no to Avery.

Maybe I have selective memory or maybe the TV writers expect us to only remember what’s happening right in front of us, but Noel was a complete dill weed for most of this season. He eloped. He tried to get an annulment. He STALKED TYRA BANKS. He has been a complete creeper. But now, he’s the sweet guy who kissed Felicity over a game of Boggle back in Season One.

My feelings are very messy here. I have distinct Team Noel feelings right now. He honestly cares about Felicity. They work well together. They fit on an emotional and intellectual level. Perhaps Noel was being so crazy during the beginning of the season (and a little bit of last season) because he felt lost. Now that he and Felicity are back on sold friendship ground, he’s finally able to recapture the Noel we fell in love with three years ago.

But I can’t forget the fact that he STALKED TYRA BANKS.

Of course, maybe Noel is looking so appealing because Ben is being such a boob. This whole thing was so gut-wrenching to watch, and Keri Russell did a fabulous job (and I really liked her low pony throughout these two episodes; much better than the topknot). I just felt for her. She did the “mature” thing and let him go, let him try to figure it out; and then, when she realized that he was figuring it out in the Hamptons with Avery. she ran to him to tell him that she loves him and she wants to figure things out together.

All of this would’ve been completely tragic, if not for her good friend Noel, and his break-up kit. Every step of his was perfect, until he almost told her his feelings and Ben walked in to reclaim his woman. And Noel was left alone again. Hopefully he won’t go full STALKING TYRA BANKS crazy Noel.

Which team are you on after these episodes?

Felicity 3.14 cry faceEmma: No other show has tested my shipper feelings as much as this one and while I am still Team Ben (even though he is being the biggest dumb dumb) the show is doing a very good job of reminding us why Noel was who I was championing in season 1. And yeah it’s funny that last time both of us wondered how they could make Noel a viable option after a) the stalking of Tyra Banks (which I’m still confused was a thing as it hasn’t been mentioned since) and b) how good Felicity and Ben are together. It turns out all it takes is an Avery.

Ben has played the overwhelmed card before and here is what Julie said to him back in S1 just before they broke up and this is “where you act all confused but you actually know what you’re thinking.” Ben does confused face well and this is definitely a very different situation to the Julie breakup, which was a long time coming. It is still just as frustrating and I also find it hard to believe that with everything we know about Ben and Felicity as a couple that he would end up in the Hamptons with Avery knowing full well how Felicity feels about her, but whatever the writers clearly do.

The groundwork has been laid, particularly in the Christmas episode with Ben feeling inferior to Felicity when it comes to ambition/academic ability. She has helped him in the past with essays, but I guess this is a whole new level of shame for Ben and while it is far from Felicity’s fault he clearly has a bit of a chip on how shoulder about her brain smarts.

With Avery, her persistence only adds to this frustration and because they shared something profound (I’m rolling my eyes at this because Avery is the worst) Ben is turning to her instead of Felicity with his test problems. Avery just also happens to be everywhere Ben is taking over Noel’s stalker mantle and this girl is not subtle. What I want to know is how long was she going to hang outside Felicity’s apartment waiting for Ben to leave? She’s also the kind of person who mentions something so much the other person ends up thinking it is a smart idea. See Ben with the Hamptons, the watch, the test.

Back to the Noel of it all and yeah at the moment he is doing everything right, but I have one reservation and that is his overall motivation. Yes I think he is being a good friend, however when he was about to tell Felicity something important I can’t be alone in thinking that he was about to declare his love for her and this is the worst timing for this; don’t tell someone you love them when they have only maybe been broken up for one hot minute. Noel has been mostly supportive including finding the video of Ben – when Noel mentions the whole Hannah thing this was another case when a guy was confused – and sticking to friend like behavior and yet he was about to cross the line. Luckily Ben comes in and stops Noel from making this mistake. What did you make of this?

Felicity 3.13 Felicity and NoelJulie: Noel declaring his feelings would’ve been quite tragic, so thank goodness Ben came in at that moment. It fits Noel’s schtick, though, doesn’t it? He’s impulsive. He’s the guy that seems so level-headed and responsible on the surface, but he’s a quick mover. He jumps into things. He gets married on a whim. He falls head-over-heels in love with Tyra Banks after seeing her one time. Of course he’d want to pounce on Felicity the second she found herself single again. Noel needs to slow his roll.

Besides, even though Noel didn’t get the chance to say it, I think Felicity got the message loud and clear.

I’m wondering where they’ll go with Avery now, if they’ll go anywhere. Ben finally seems to get it. She’s not the girl for him. She doesn’t get “him.” She doesn’t understand who he is and what’s important to him. Felicity gets him. Felicity sees him for who he is. Now that Ben is hip to Avery’s shallowness and lack of understanding him, will she make one more desperate attempt to win him over? Will she try to recreate the extreme situation that brought them together? My mind keeps jumping to a suicide attempt, but I’m not sure if that’s really where the show goes or if I’m writing my own Felicity fan fiction. You know that’s not even a spoiler because I have very little recollection of this season.

I love that you brought up that Julie quote. That is SO Ben and I think it completely applies to him in this situation. He’s not a moron. He knows that going to the Hamptons is wrong, but he does it anyway. And he expects that his cute confused face is going to get him out of it, because that’s what his cute confused face does best. It’s his secret weapon. He knows, I think deep down, that Felicity will forgive him for being stupid, and they’ll get back together, easy-peasy. He’s so frustrating, and I still really want him to make a decision about what to do with his live, even just in the interim.

As far as these two episodes go, the first one centered around a blackout in New York during a storm. I couldn’t help but think about the time NBC did blackout themes in all of their Thursday night comedies (except Seinfeld) back in the day. This is a trope that’s used in a lot of shows to create tension. What did you think of the blackout revelations (Elena wants boobs! Meghan kissed a girl! Avery loves Ben — duh doy!)? And is it believable that the girls would have that may candles on hand?

Felicity 3.13 blackout v2Emma: Noel is not the most subtle when it comes to his puppy dog eyes and Felicity gazing. It remains unspoken for now, but as you mention Felicity clearly knows this is more than platonic feelings and I think this is why she goes to tell Noel how important and special he is. Not because she is trying to be a tease or oblivious to it all, instead she wants him to know what his friendship – particularly over the past few days – means to her. Noel has had a lot of self doubt this season and I also think she wants to ensure that he doesn’t sink back into whatever crazy led to the Tyra stalking. This show might be able to ignore that ever happened, I don’t think either of us can. And Noel’s impulsiveness matches Felicity’s in this respect and it is why they are both perfect and terrible for each other.

I think Avery is going to cause a whole heap of problems all because of that kiss as there is no way she is going to let that go. If she was more than happy to pursue a dude who seemed to be in a happy relationship then she is not going to give up now they have smooched. Ugh and the way it happened was so awful and casual, plus her comment about how she wanted to kiss him at the party before she was shot. So she wanted to kiss a guy who was barely at the party while she was there and was with his girlfriend dancing for the brief moment before Tag came in. Avery, you are the worst. I think Felicity sums up all my Avery feelings in that one curled lip disgusted expression when Noel is talking about her in the blackout episode (sadly there is no screeencap as it happens so fast). She is clearly someone who has got everything she wants her entire life, even if some of those things have been bought and Ben is not going to get away that easily. I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t elaborate on what actually happened either.

In the same way Felicity should have told Ben about the frat party before he found out via an email, I think Ben should have confessed all to Felicity about what happened in the Hamptons. Instead he spins it into something which is probably true – how it made him realize how much he missed her – but misses out the vital info. I don’t know if she would be able to forgive him for the kiss, however I think they are more likely to get through it if he did tell her rather than if/when she finds out in the future. She is definitely going to find out.

Avery’s white turtle neck is like the over the top opulent version of every sweater Felicity owns and this outfit perfectly encapsulates everything I dislike about Avery. I love that Felicity points out that Avery looks like Ruby, which she does but she is so much worse.

The excessive amount of candles is a constant TV peeve of mine, but on this occasion I just shrugged and figured they were Meghan’s. And yeah all I could think about with the blackout theme was Chandler stuck in the ATM vestibule. It is one of those heightened situations which allows for any potential conflict/hookup to become more fraught/tense as seen by Ben/Avery and Meghan/Chris. Also a quick IMDb check to see where I know the actress who plays Chris from tells me that she is Catherine Keener’s younger sister and that is definitely why she is familiar to me.

The Chris/Meghan story was interesting on the one hand as it gave Meghan something more to do beyond just being the comic relief and it was good to hear about her past. I’m still bored of the Sean/Meghan fighting/breaking up/getting back together cycle and so this aspect made me roll my eyes. Plus Sean’s reaction to finding out that Meghan had been involved with a woman was as piggish as I might expect. In true Sean and Meghan fashion it is all fine and jokey by the end. I don’t even know what to make of the seance shenanigans in the second episode except I guess it was a way to lighten the tense mood of the Felicity/Ben drama.

What I did like about this story was seeing Felicity and Meghan’s friendship in action as Felicity knows all about Chris thanks to a previous drunken confession from Meghan – I am picturing many night when Meghan gets in wasted where she spills everything to Felicity. The evolution of Meghan and Felicity’s relationship is one of my favorites on this show and I also appreciated Meghan’s “if you hurt her, I will kill you” speech to Ben.

And someone returned! And you can tell how much I dislike Avery because I wasn’t even that bothered that Molly is back. Molly straight away gets involved in a big plot contrivance by temporarily blinding Elena. What do you make of the breakup causing Elena to focus on looks as a reason why they split?

Felicity 3.14 AveryJulie: Oh, Felicity will find out. You just know Avery is dying to tell her about the kiss, that strumpet.

I’m not sure what it is, but everything Avery wears reminds me of an early aughts Gwyneth Paltrow, which is sacrilege, probably. Goop would never be so gauche as to pursue an under-achieving barista, no matter how cute his smile may be.

As far as the other folks go, I’m with you on wanting to break up with Meghan and Sean breaking up. It’s like the writers have no idea where to go their storyline anymore. I feel like Meghan’s dalliance with Chris wasn’t given the weight it deserved. It would’ve been interesting to explore Meghan’s potential bisexuality, but she brushed off the whole thing pretty quickly, without seeming too conflicted. And Sean’s gross reaction to catching Meghan and Chris together seemed lazy. Maybe it was because this was a B plot that the writers kept everything on the surface, which is kind of a shame. This was something that could’ve feasibly been dragged out for a few episodes. And it would’ve kept the writers away from the perpetual break-up/reunion cycle, for a few weeks anyway.

Molly’s back in town! Goody. And she’s brought with her a terrible face mask that blinds people. She’s a walking disaster, with her bindis and her drugs and her dangerous cosmetics. She really only existed to pop up here and there in other people’s stories this week. She was present for the seance and, yes, she blinded Elena, who is obsessed with her looks all of a sudden.

I’m not a fan of this development. I mean, I get it, and maybe the writers are trying to say, “Hey look! A gorgeous, successful, intelligent women can also become an insecure basket case when her boyfriend dumps her,” but I just feel like Elena’s better than that. She’s better than us mere mortals. She took self-defense classes after she was shot. She knows her worth as a student.

Or maybe she doesn’t? She did feel insecure about her grades after the whole Dr. Chris Sarandon thing. Maybe this is carrying over into other aspects of her life. She’s always been so self-assured, but now she’s having to examine where she’s lacking — and she landed on boobs. Richard and Noel both proved her point when they couldn’t stop looking at her Kleenex enhanced chest. She’s looking so hard for answers to why Tracy left her, and it’s easier to blame small boobs than to look deeper.

Hopefully whatever’s happening with her and DeForest (Kenan Thompson) will help. He seems very sweet. And though she didn’t seem too jazzed when she finally got a look at him and realized he wasn’t Tracy meets Tyson Beckford, she did still take him up on dinner and the two of them looked like they were having a great time.

What did you think of Elena’s looks crisis?

Felicity 3.13 ElenaEmma: The Elena thing is so random but also makes sense in how she is dealing with the Tracy breakup as it is a pretty much out of the blue thing. Even though I doubt that Elena really believes that it was her boobs that let her down, by fixating on something that she can change (by very drastic means) it gives her something to focus all her energy on to. It’s partially ridiculous because it all starts with a joke by Noel as he tries to get her out of her funk, but quite often it is this things that people joke about that we worry about.

I weirdly got the sense that there was some Richard flirtation before she kicked him the face for touching her boobs (I gotta say he deserved it for stepping over the line) and one other thing that has not been mentioned since Tyra’s last appearance is his relationship with her. It is like Tyra was never on the show.

In the second episode we get more from Elena’s sudden obsession with looks and when Molly temporarily blinds her it goes from worrying about her own looks to trying to get away from being superficial in how she sees other people. I’m not sure if this thing with DeForest will go anywhere but it sure was nice to see Elena in this happier frame of mind. And also these guys forgive Molly way to easily. Okay maybe the James gun thing wasn’t her fault but I’d definitely be pissed off about the temporary blindness. Elena likes a challenge so I guess this is a way for her to experience something that might come in useful for when she is a doctor. Plus this way she doesn’t have to look at Felicity’s angsty art. And she gets to make fun of Noel, which is always fun.

What did you make of Noel’s potential Seattle job that we know he definitely won’t be taking and if he does take it he will definitely be back in New York for season 4?

Felicity 3.14 NoelJulie: I thought about Tyra as well when Richard popped up during the blackout. Where is she? Was it all a dream? Is that why no one mentions the stalking or deflowering?

Haha! Don’t you love the “character might move to another city” schtick? It’s a very good way to suck all the tension out of a storyline. Ross was never moving to London. Kramer wasn’t going to stay in LA. And Noel isn’t going to Seattle. Or, yeah, he’s not staying there. I guess it serves to make the people around the potential leaver (in this case, Felicity) see what she’ll be missing if he goes. What do you think is the primary motive behind Noel leaving? Is it that he really wants the job or is it to escape having to watch Felicity’s lovey-dovey-ness with Ben or is it all a ploy to force Felicity to imagine life without him? That last scenario seems to fit the Noel of late. Shifty.

How much did you love Felicity’s art, which is so edgy because of the splatter paint and the WORDS. (Random words on art or clothing is one of my pet peeves. Story time: Back when I was a kid, there were splatter paint T-shirt stores. I went to a birthday party at one once, and picked out a black T-shirt, splattered it with neon paint, and wrote the word “Rap.” So much edge.)

Felicity 3.14 Felicity and BenEmma: The whole Seattle thing definitely felt like a bit of a fishing expedition on Noel’s behalf and while I’m sure there’s a tiny part of him that might consider going, I don’t think he actually believes his time in New York is over and part of this is Felicity related.

You’ve already mentioned Keri Russell’s performance but I want to talk about it briefly again because she is SO good at showing her sadness over these two episodes. There’s hope and rage at times and it is entirely believable that she is also lost and confused, without being as lame as Ben. The moment where she comes up and just puts her head against the wall is heartbreaking and I don’t talk about it enough but she possesses the same Claire Danes chin quiver/glassy eyes power. While I think the plot points that have got us to this fractured Ben/Felicity relationship are somewhat forced, everything that Russell and Scott Speedman do in these scenes nails these difficult moments. Scott Foley should also get a shout-out for playing sad and pining while also doing the friend thing so well. And for not mentioning the sun.

I want to go to a splatter paint store.

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.

Coming in 2015: TV Promo Roundup Part II

17 Dec

January is fast approaching and it is time to take a brief commercial break from the end of year Best of Costuming series to take a look at the shows returning in next month. This is a sequel of sorts to the previous HBO/Comedy Central preview post with more from Broad CityGirlsLooking and Togetherness. Joining the preview line-up is the final season of Kroll Show and the start of 2015 is stuffed with some of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s favorite shows (see also The Americans and Parks and Recreation).

Abbi and Ilana watching dudes playing basketball last season was magnificent so now comes a Broad City teaser featuring poolside ogling, so many amazing Ilana hookup faces and a twist. The denim vest tee also makes an appearance much to my delight. #HotAsFuck indeed.

Double Broad City treats with a trip to Abbi’s favorite store.

Kroll Show is back for its third and final season; from this preview alone it looks set to go out on a high. Plus Liz got bangs.

As the only brand new show I’m glad this Togetherness promo is actually a featurette which explains the premise of the show and who these characters are. I am less pleased by the beard Jay Duplass is not sporting. Where did it go, Jay?

The previous Looking teaser was just that; a disco light infused tease. Now there is new footage which shows more dating drama for Patrick, Agustin and Dom with suitors new and returning. Plus more Doris and dancing.

Fractured relationships, new opportunities, tears and hugs are all on the cards for the fourth season of Girls as things continue to be messy. Romantic love seems to be at the center of the conflict and this might be the time for broken friendships to be mended.

Best of TV Costuming 2014: Will Graham’s Hannibal Makeover

16 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2014″ costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items that we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking, we want to look at this year’s TV through the prism of costume.

Will Graham went to some dark, dark places in season 2 of Hannibal as he crossed a very big line in an attempt to reveal Hannibal’s true self. Will Graham started the year in prison as a result of being framed for Abigail’s death and several other murders, which meant a whole lot of jumpsuits. Will’s brain is no longer on fire and he is relatively lucid (the stags still appears to him in various terrifying and non terrifying forms), which means he is far more equipped to deal with Hannibal. I would say the playing field has been leveled but this is never the case when facing off against Hannibal. Even when you kind of dress like him.

Hannibal - Season 2When Will is released from prison he doesn’t go straight to the mall or a seller of fine outerwear and scarves. Nor does he venture to a barber of procure contact lenses. First he must lend some clothes to Dr Chilton because Hannibal has framed yet another person for his various criminal misdeeds. Dr Chilton is on the receiving end of Hannibal’s framing gift and Chilton’s costuming has gone to greater lengths this season to mimic his benefactor. Chilton’s suits are bolder than Hannibal’s because he wants to stand out and it is why he continues to use a decadent cane he no longer really needs

Three-piece suits are Hannibal’s signature and Will doesn’t go for a mirror image of this style choice; instead he switches out his fly fishing vests and rumpled jackets for beautiful tailored wool coats and sweaters. I’m still sad there was no shopping montage – like this one – or at least a trip to Hannibal’s tailor.

Hannibal 2.08His hair has been trimmed and while he is still a little stubbly, this is definitely a more polished version of Will. Gone are the glasses as his barrier to shield his eyes from others and this suggests his willingness to embrace whatever has to be done to stop Hannibal.

There are points where he looks more like the season 1 version of Will including this confrontation with Mason in “Ko No Mono” which also happens to be the same episode where we (and Alana) find out for sure that Will did not kill Freddie and this is all part of the grand Hannibal lure.

Hannibal 2.10When Will comes to Hannibal to serve up some (not) Freddie he’s all fancy scarf/tailored wool coat and this is a look he maintains at the start of the next episode as he continues the ruse with a very pissed off Alana. He accidentally mirrors her look, but it’s cold so I’m not going to read too much into their scarf/coat choice of attire. Ah the polar vortex and spotting which shows shot in these conditions.

Will and AlanaSpeaking of the cold, I couldn’t do a best of Hannibal costuming post without mentioning this magical moment:

Hannibal 2.09Back to Will and at this point last year we knew that prison overalls would be the predominant Will Graham look when we returned for the next season. The picture is unclear at this moment for what state he will be in when season 3 kicks off and even though time has passed that is one hell of a wound so hospital garb might be on the menu. In this brand new phase of the ongoing ensnaring Hannibal saga, this event is going to have a huge impact on everyone who was left bloody and broken including how they present themselves to the world.

Best of TV 2014: The Music Monday Edition – Transparent

15 Dec

A slightly different Best of TV 2014 edition today as we’re shifting the focus off costuming and onto music. It is Music Monday after all. One of this year’s best shows is Amazon’s Transparent and a lot of the posts on TV Ate My Wardrobe from the last few months have been written with the Transparent soundtrack playing in the background. This has been via Spotify and one of my favorite things about this site is the number of playlists that pop up from a TV or movie soundtrack. When I look at my most played tracks of the year they are all either from a TV show/movie or it is an artist I first heard via a soundtrack (Girls is a big source of new music for me) with “Mayla” from Transparent featuring in my top 10.

501B9172.CR2Now the album has been released by Amazon and it is a 17-track wonder. Sure there are some vital tracks missing and while I am beyond thrilled to see the full length Glitterish cover of Jim Croce’s “Operator” featured (along with the original version), it is shame that neither version “Dreamboat Annie” makes the cut (I’m guessing this is a licensing issue). I’ve been listening to a whole lot of Heart over the past few months thanks to Transparent (coupled with Virgin Suicides flashes) and while it is disappointing each of the other 17 tracks is an auditory beauty. 

This soundtrack is special for a number of reasons and nostalgia is part of this. The opening theme sets the tone for each episode and the piano accompanying scenes from home movies is sad, haunting and beautiful all at once; even though the scenes in those videos are not specific to me they manage to capture something familiar. The rest of the soundtrack also operates in this way at times with certain songs elevating feelings of joy and pain.

“Oh Sister” by Bob Dylan replaces the usual theme on “Best New Girl” which indicates that there will be something different about this episode, which there is as it all takes place in 1994 (the year they have flashbacked to on several other occasions). This is nostalgia of another kind as Maura gets to be free for the first time although Camp Camellia doesn’t turn out to be the welcoming safe space Maura hoped it would be.

Music is used as performance on multiple occasions from Maura and Davina’s rendition of “Somebody That I Used to Know” that is meant to be triumphant and instead turns sad as each of Maura’s children leave before the piece has even finished; their empty seats are a stark reminder of how selfish her children are. The piano version that is used later in the episode takes this song to a haunting place that I didn’t know was possible.

Transparent recordsIt’s funny that I talk about how great Spotify is in terms of soundtrack playlists and the easiest way to procure the Transparent album is on digital download when vinyl plays an important part in the show. There is an everything old is new again vibe to this show in how memory plays an important part in the Pfefferman family dynamic and Josh’s record collection works on several aesthetic and narrative levels. It is what prompts the Glitterish “Operator” cover (further complicated by his intimate relationship with one of the band members he is working with) and there is a romanticism attached to his music collection, which I’m sure a lot of us can identify with. Josh is the ultimate romantic in that he falls in love so easily and his copy of “Dreamboat Annie” disrupts Ali’s relationship with her best friend Syd as it spills several secrets both old and new. It also impacts Josh’s new relationship as Ali reveals Josh’s predication for falling in love at the drop of the hat to Raquel. This record causes a whole lot of damage so here is a live version of the title track to make up for it not being on the digital version of the soundtrack.

Transparent makes my heart ache and sing all at once; the soundtrack does the same by capturing these feelings and adding another layer to an already incredible production.

Hello, Hello, Hello: The Comeback 2.05 “Valerie is Taken Seriously” Discussion

13 Dec

The Comeback continues to be one of the year’s best shows as it examines Hollywood perceptions through Valerie Cherish with the word ‘brave’ in terms of performance taking center stage this week. I am once again joined by Kerensa Cadenas and we’re both a little concerned for where everything Paulie G related is heading for Valerie this season.

the Comeback 2.05 ValEmma: A reporter from the New York Times calls Valerie’s Seeing Red performance “brave” and this sends Valerie spiralling because she thinks brave is a reference to how she looks. As we know Valerie is all about how she appears and she never wants to come across in a negative light, which tends to make her look bad by extension. The Comeback is the ultimate show in terms of the terms ‘unlikeable’ and ‘difficult’ in that it explores what these characteristics mean while the lead character is trying to do everything in her power to be liked. Fame is Valerie’s ultimate goal but she’s determined to be seen positively along the way, that might be an even stronger impulse for her so when she’s called ‘brave’ and she sees the dailies it horrifies her.

It’s rare for Valerie to snap, but she does exactly this when Jane insists on use low lighting. This is exactly the kind of set up that Valerie views as insinuating that she looks terrible. Brave does get thrown around in terms of performance so often that it really has lost its meaning – Julia Roberts is brave for not being made up in The Normal Heart, Jennifer Aniston in Cake, Charlize Theron in Monster and the list goes on – and it does tend to mean when a glamorous stunning actress looks normal. It’s insulting to both their performances and every regular person. Or what Lena Dunham and her attitude towards nudity, which is also referred to as brave rather than the actual work she is doing. And this is what Valerie is told brave means in this context as Valerie has never been seen like this before, not unmade up but emotionally raw.

I’ve got to say that while the script is clearly a turd (because Paulie G will always be a hack) it’s quite captivating seeing Valerie acting like this and while I’m not surprised that she is great, I think she is surprised by what she sees in these dailies and it scares her.

What did you think of the whole ‘brave’ aspect?

the comeback 2.05 dailliesKerensa: I thought that Valerie’s reaction to being called ‘brave’ was exactly how Valerie and maybe anyone would take it in that position. But I agree with you, while Paulie G’s lack of talent is apparent, Valerie crushes it. She’s so good, even in the low lighting. Good enough for Mickey to say, “wow you can act Red!”

I think the sad thing though in the episode is just how intensely Val ties that ‘brave’ to how she looks where you can almost sense her desperately about to claw her face off the entire episode until she speaks to the NY Times reporter at the end of the episode.

What also seems to scare Val is this idea that we’ve discussed over and over again and is always discussed and I’m so tired of: unlikeability. Val knows that this role will make people see her differently and she’s terrified that means they won’t like her. I think it’s one of the reasons why she overcompensates so much with Paulie G, even though she shouldn’t give a fuck, but she can sense how much he loathes her and she’s desperate to change that, even now. It’s why she goes to Tom to see about helping Paulie. She can’t stand people not liking her in both her personal life and public life which could possibly change.

The Comeback 2.05 ValerieEmma: Unlikeable as a term to describe character needs to be done with and it definite only seems to aply to women – men are difficult, women are unlikeable. Flawed is a much better way to describe what we all are and one of Valerie’s greatest flaws is her drive to get people to like her. As you mention this is why she is so determined to get Paulie G to change what is a very strong hatred (let’s not sugarcoat this is as it goes way beyond disliking) as she can’t stand to be seen like this. I think this is a pretty common reaction especially as Paulie G’s reaction to Val far outweighs anything she has ever done to him, can he really justify why she is the monster who rips apart his inner child? Val goes way beyond the point most people would if they were to experience this level of abuse, but Val doesn’t know when to quit and this determination is both a strength and flaw.

Going to see Tom is Valerie’s way of trying to help out Paulie and after the suicide that ended last week’s episode, plus Paulie’s needle comment and signs that he is cracking under the pressure she thinks Tom can help. But Tom doesn’t give a shit about Paulie and is pissed that Paulie as the fuck up is the one who got the HBO show. I don’t have a huge amount of sympathy for Tom as while he never reached Paulie G levels of vile, he was still a massive shit at times. What do you make of his outburst?

Another person who has a meltdown is Billy and a lot of this episode covers the fear of getting left behind. Billy feels undermined when HBO ask him to scrap all the interviews he has set up (and they are all with reputable sites) and thinks that it is history repeating with yet another client leaving him behind. There’s a lot of ego in this business and everyone is striving to get ahead so it’s not surprising that nerves are frayed and Billy has always had a temper issue. His terrible attempt at leaving dramatically only to come back for his phone had me in stitches. Poor Billy, but hey he gets his job back at the end.

the comeback 2.05 BillyKerensa: Billy’s meltdown was funny and completely made sense to me, but at least for me, watching anything after Val’s meeting with Tom was kinda hard to pay attention to. Their whole interaction made me feel nauseous. Not because Tom necessarily did anything wrong–but finding out more that happened behind the scenes in that Room & Bored writers room was horrifying. I felt bad for Tom when he complained about how much Paulie G had fucked up but was still able to make it within the industry. And there was Tom, who did everything he felt was right, and is stuck working on Nick shows.

When Tom mentioned all the horrific things that Paulie G said about Val–wasn’t there something about wanting to basically murder her–I just felt this awful sinking feeling. I don’t think The Comeback is going to GO THERE obviously, but I am so so nervous about what is going to happen with Paulie G and Val. It’s just been building and I’m really stressed about it.

Are you feeling like that? Am I just being insane?

the comeback 2.05 val and tomEmma: If definitely sucks that Paulie G has been gifted his own comeback while Tom’s career was torpedoed by Room and Bored. And pretty much everything that happened in that writers’ room sounds incredibly toxic and horrifying. Tom definitely alludes to Paulie G saying he wanted to harm Val, how he called Valerie the devil and said they should “find a stake and pound it through your heart. If you have one.” He also explicitly warns her to stay away from Paulie G and while I hadn’t considered that he would hurt her before you mentioned it, he did write a sequence with Mitch with a shotgun outside Malory’s house so his mind has definitely gone there.

I second your stressed out feelings and it is a vibe that is permeating the whole show, so much so that the documentary is now going to be focusing on this relationship. It’s like everyone is aware of how much Paulie G hates Valerie and I find it hard to believe she is that oblivious to it all. Maybe it’s just her grin and bear it demeanor but I wonder how long she is going to tolerate the way he treats her and if she pushes back what he will do next.

He’s clearly crumbling under the pressure and Valerie is getting positive notes, which is also not going to help his negative feelings. Also what do you think Paulie G made of his replacement director?

The Comeback 2.05 Val and Paulie GKerensa: Actually the whole Paulie G’s replacement director thing was weird to me. She was SUPER annoying I thought. And I bet he hated it because he couldn’t be in control because he’s falling apart.

What did you think?

Emma: She was weirdly a bit cutesy for me with the whole dance thing, I’m guessing they wanted to go for the complete opposite type of director who is warm and encouraging but it came across as a little forced. But I’m happy that it probably/definitely pissed Paulie G off. And I found the green screen stuff to be very disorientating aesthetically which makes sense as it is meant to throw Valerie as well. I did like how she didn’t really get that the fake audience were laughing on cue and so she really dug that reaction as it felt real to her.

What did you make of Mark’s decision to go ahead and get a sublet now they are using their house to double as a hospital?

the comeback 2.05 Valerie and MickeyKerensa: Mark’s decision to get a sublet is just another ingredient to my anxiety about this final episode. Seeing Val’s face when she says that to the camera while trying to blow it off as nothing is A+ from Kudrow who totally nails the almost casual anguish (is that a thing) that Val is trying to hide. But it does make me even more worried for her. Mark’s always been her rock, a really grounding force, and if he’s gone, then what?

Emma: Val doesn’t have a whole lot of people she can really rely on and with Mark reaching his fame breaking point, it’s only really Mickey that she has truly on her side (I’d argue you Jane as well, but she’s definitely not in the same support league as Mark and Mickey). Mickey has his own concerns of course with his skin cancer diagnosis and it’s unclear what’s going on there as it didn’t get mentioned this week. I’m pretty concerned about that as week. Everything is stacking up and it feels like the breaking point is coming. And I think Valerie is the poster child for casual anguish.

Kerensa Cadenas is a writer living in Los Angeles. She is an Editor for Snakkle. She also writes for Women and HollywoodThe WeekThis Was TelevisionForever Young Adult, and Bitch magazine. You can follow her on Twitter to read her thoughts on teen TV, snacks and terrible pop music.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

12 Dec

Red carpet dress pretty and a new promo poster for one of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s most anticipated new shows for 2015 are all part of this week’s “Out of the Box.”

Agent CarterMarvel unveiled the new Agent Carter poster this week and it is a doozy. There are several reasons why I am looking forward to this show and most of these begin with Hayley Atwell accompanied by a dash of “I can’t wait to see the costuming.” Atwell does have the whole 1940s look down (as can be seen in Any Human Heart, Restless and Captain America of course), but her talents go far beyond retro styling and hopefully Agent Carter is going to showcase her many strengths as a performer.

Kiernan ShipkaKiernan Shipka continues her red carpet reign in Mary Katrantzou at the TrevourLIVE LA event. It is a fun, colourful dress and the textured patterned fabric puts a playful twist on this traditional silhouette.

Rose ByrneAnother frock from the Spring 2015 Mary Katrantzou collection – this designer is a TV Ate My Wardrobe favorite – and Rose Byrne shines in this dress (and her bob is spectacular) at the Annie premiere; it is why there is no need for accessories and black pumps/tights are the perfect choice to complete this look.

Laverne CoxWhat I’ve learned from Laverne Cox’s “Home for the Holidays” Benefit Concert outfit is my cape love trumps my lack of enthusiasm for sheer and this is a very fun Marc Bouwer dress, which is perfect for this time of year.

Zoe KazanZoe Kazan’s super colorful Novis dress at the Into the Woods premiere doesn’t scream December, but it continues the strong pattern trend this week and makes me feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. I’m even partial to the chunky buckles on Kazan’s sparkly color block shoes.

Portia de RossiIt is hard to pull off plaid on plaid on plaid and Portia de Rossi is serving up Glen Plaid realness in this Stella McCartney ensemble. The rolled up sleeves, top button done up, black lapels, black accessories and splash of lip color makes it the ideal outfit for a breakfast event as The Hollywood Reporter celebrates Women in Entertainment including Shonda Rhimes.

Emma RobertsThis is a whole lot of pink, but Emma Roberts manages to avoid looking sickly sweet in this Valentino frock. The flared cuffs and floral collar give it a 60s feel and the only thing not working for me is the blah taupe pumps.

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

11 Dec

Welcome once again to Behind the Insta-Scenes! Bringing you a roundup of the best behind the scenes photos posted on Instagram from a variety of TV show and personal accounts from the people who are on them. This includes anything from future episode sneak peeks, what’s airing this week, flashing back to the past and general on set (and sometimes off) antics.

We’ve got an array of onset photos this week including a look at a future episode, which also happens to be flashing back to the past, award nomination celebrations, the final days shooting one show and creepy Santa.

 

Oh hey Michiel Huisman and your beardy goodness! Hanging out with Orphan Black creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson in what looks to be Felix’s apartment.

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Meet Alex Eakin, tech billionaire #themindyproject

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Lee Pace is guest starring on The Mindy Project this season as an important person from her past and having watched the Christmas episode it now makes sense why they were shooting in San Francisco a few weeks ago.

 

Mindy Kaling also posted a few photos of what Mindy looked like in 2004 – bangs and blue contact lenses – when she first knew Alex. The caption explains it all.

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Santa/Mr Belding! #newgirlchristmas

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New Girl went for a different kind of Santa this year for their super fun festive episode and I’m not sure I will ever be able to look at Saved by the Bell’s Mr Belding in the same way again.

 

It was SAG nomination day yesterday and the cast of Veep have a lot of SAG years between them. This also works as a reminder that I still need to catch up on this show.

 

With this coffee truck for the Community cast and crew, Gillian Jacobs agrees with Nathan Fillion’s sign.

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Last Wine Wednesday. I just cried.

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The last Wine Wednesday on the Cougar Town set is an emotional one.

The Americans Season 3 Promo: A Few Quick Thoughts and New Disguises

10 Dec

The new Americans season 3 promo is here (and can be viewed in full at Yahoo TV) with “Every Breath You Take” by The Police entering seemingly impossible new levels of creepy as it plays over various intense and dangerous looking moments. The stakes were raised last season as Elizabeth and Philip faced danger close to home and this is set to be ramped up further with Paige being viewed as a potential KGB recruit. The end of season 2 signaled there would be discord in the Jennings home as Philip and Elizabeth differ in their views on this Paige demand and this is evident in the new promo. The kitchen is once again the hub of both disagreement and the couple coming together.

A couple of disguises stand out and I can’t wait to see this mustachio aviator wearing fella:

IMG_1134And this is my instant new Elizabeth favorite. She looks so chill and I would like her to share all the ways she is pulling off giant frames like these as it is a majestic style choice:

IMG_1137There are a few other things that stand out including the FBI getting close once again to Philip and Elizabeth, with Elizabeth in what appears to be a very precarious position. Someone is getting strangled and I have a feeling (from pausing and looking closely) it could be Philip’s asset Anneliese. Paige is looking all kinds of grown up with her hair mimicking her mother’s and there are more visits to church in store. Frank Langella makes an appearance as their handler replacing Kate and I wonder how contentious this relationship will be. He also wants to remind them what they do “is for the good of the many.” Okay, Jeremy Bentham. Nina is alive, but her current location is a bit on the dreary/unwelcoming side and Stan stares mournfully at her photo. Sad Stan is sad.

IMG_1139Oh and what is this?! Stan is showing what looks like Martha how to use a gun. Better watch out for this Clark.

Somehow everything looks even more intense than last year, the risks greater and this is a show that makes an embrace look like the most devastating and intimate of action. And I cannot wait. Roll on January 28.

The Americans is part of the Best of TV Costuming 2014 series and you can read those thoughts here.

New Girl 4.11 “LAXmas” Review: Love Actually and All That

10 Dec

New Girl Christmas episodes* tend to be a chaotic affair and “LAXmas” continues this trend switching out the multiple parties of season 2 and inserting travel plans. Ah yes the traveling over the holiday season frenzy that is usually further hindered by the weather and in this case a storm is majorly delaying almost everyone’s flights. Winston and Nick are traveling back to Chicago, Cece’s mom wants to hand deliver a card to Matt Lauer and so she is on the same flight as Schmidt who is returning to Long Island. Coach is attempting to get some ‘me time’ and instead of going back to Detroit he has booked a vacation to Hawaii. Taking the next big relationship step is Jess as she has been invited to London to spend Christmas with Ryan and his family; cue all the anxiety.

* There was no Christmas episode last season, most likely as a result of New Girl’s post Super Bowl slot in January. New Girl is very good at the holiday themed episodes and so I’m glad to see them back with a strong outing this year.

New Girl 4.11Holiday episodes (and particularly Christmas ones) function in a variety of ways; by addressing the larger issues in a heightened and most likely schmaltzy way, pop culture comes into focus by making fun of movies like Love Actually followed by their own slightly skewed Love Actually moment and because there is a single purpose (on this occasion getting on multiple flights) the obstacles are going to keep coming. Switch out the string of festive parties from “Santa” back in season 2 and there are still the same new boyfriend/girlfriend anxieties, just with different suitors (Julian Morris takes the position of both Olivia Munn and David Walton in this episode as everyone else is single or in Nick’s case it has only been a one episode thing so far and he’s already pretty content, that will change).

Guest stars pop up along the way to help, hinder and skeeze with Billy Eichner’s beleaguered airport worker Barry turning from snark and sass at Jess’ attempts to get Nick and Winston on their flight to new BFF when she gets hit on by the super creepy Santa (played by Saved by the Bell’s Dennis Haskins, no I can never look at Mr Belding in the same way after this proposition). Eichner doesn’t do the whole screaming bit and this is the most sedate I have probably seen him; it would have been easy to go for that route but it sets this character apart from his Parks and Recreation and Billy on the Street style and I hope Barry is a return fixture. The withering looks he gives pretty much everyone give me so much life and this character instantly feels part of the New Girl universe. Barry helps Jess out in the end by getting Winston and Nick on their flight and in first class seats (and in a win by karma the super sleeze from the first class lounge is the person bumped, plus some other random guy); however there is more in this airport saga.

Jumping to the first class lounge and another of the creepy dude characters with Barry Bostwick turning from Schmidt aspiration to a reason to leave the luxury that Schmidt craves in one indecent proposal. Schmidt has decided this season that his millionaire dream is still tangible and while he might pretend he is from Manhattan (with a view of defecating Central Park horses) his inner Long Island will come out under the right circumstances. Invoking all things Billy Joel is pretty much the best amount of Schmidt nonsense “New York. Long Island. Billy Joel” and is the perfect exit statement to this scenario. Schmidt doesn’t tell Cece exactly what was said, just that he had disrespected something important to him – Cece’s guess is Daniel Craig’s tailoring – and I’m really liking how New Girl is dealing with this relationship. Cece tells Schmidt she really likes being his friend and he returns this sentiment, yes something romantic is likely to happen in the future, but I appreciate how they are slowly rebuilding what was previously fractured by Schmidt’s infidelity.

With each mention of Coach’s niece in Detroit, it becomes clear he will definitely ditch his alone time super sweet Hawaiian vacation and go back home to his family. No matter how crowded it is, plus the inevitable family squabbles that will take place there are certain things better than lying on the beach. Even if last week’s clip of Coach’s sisters cutting off their own hair was mildly terrifying. And as Coach finds out airport phone charging stations are a nightmare of different appliances and battery needing desperation.

In fun airport hijnks Winston and Nick set about getting on their flight by trying to scare off other people with tickets with Winston going all in with his fake baby and Nick doing things like ripping up tickets that would most likely get him arrested (or at the very least detained), but hey it is Christmas and his “Debbie, don’t start with me, you’re in a mood” was enough hilarity to negate the plausibility of it all. Also pretty sure Nick would get in some kind of shit for his not turning his phone off, ignoring the flight attendant and then getting off the plane shenanigans but like I said it is Christmas and they need their Love Actually moment.

Jess gets the Ryan related fear thanks to the photos of his Downton Abbey style house – Barry is a fan of this show even if he knows it is a soap opera – and his super moody looking family. The McDuck amount of money is one factor and there is too much pressure, so Jess bails. Or at least she tries to and as is traditional with the Nick/Jess pairing advice is given with a bit of pep and reassurance and all is well. This is what was missing when they were a couple last season and it is why I’ve got the Nick/Jess warm and fuzzy feelings again. As I have already mentioned in previous reviews, I really don’t think they are right for each other at this moment but their strong connection is undeniable and it works best in a personal crisis such as this.

Taking the rushing through the airport cliche and cutting to the super slow cart followed by hugs and love declarations as She & Him’s version of “God Only Knows” starts up is more than enough to leave me warm, fuzzy and very satisfied with this festive outing. Oh and Jess when you tell someone you are no longer coming a) at least end the text with one ‘x’ (that was cold) and b) mention you got on the flight in the end.

New Girl 4.11 Jess and BarryNew Girl Style Watch

This Equipment sweater almost made the Wish List after Mindy wore it (instead I went for this LBD from the same episode) so I am glad I get to showcase it here as it is sweater plaid heaven. And if you want something on the less splurge scale then you can pick up Jess’ duck phone case for the very affordable $4.99 here.

Best of TV Costuming 2014: The Good Wife and Grieving

9 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2014″ costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items that we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking, we want to look at this year’s TV through the prism of costume.

One of the biggest TV moments for me this year was the death of Will Gardner on The Good Wife and how this took what was already a thrilling season and upped the ante to new levels as everyone dealt with the aftermath of this tragedy. This story resonated for a number of reasons and the unexpected and sudden nature put us in the same position as Alicia as they somehow managed to keep this story under wraps; this was not an expected departure – even if it was common knowledge that Josh Charles’ contract was up at the end of the season – and because Will and Alicia’s relationship was unresolved this death hit hard. It is definitely the first time I have ever cried while writing a review.

The Good Wife 5.17 AliciaThe education of Alicia Florrick is at the center of The Good Wife and Will’s death is a stab to that heart. Even when they were fighting for the majority of the fifth season there was still a spark and the reconciliation of sorts in a New York City diner hinted at the next phase of their relationship. This was not to be the case as Will was gunned down by his own client at the end of the next episode. The wardrobe of grieving can be many things but when Alicia finds out that Will has been killed she is in appropriately somber clothing and she spends the episode with her zip done all the way up and shrouded in her black coat. As I said it is appropriately somber. This is followed by more black clothing for the funeral (and post funeral drinks with Diane) but color isn’t completely lacking in these episodes as you can see in this shot of Alicia with Grace’s old tutor Jennifer.

It’s after the funeral in “A Material World” where there is a shift in Alicia’s attire as she goes from her usual well put together fancy suits and reverts to sweats. Climbing beneath the sheets – initially while still wearing her court clothes – and contemplating only the heavy handed drama on Darkness at Noon is pretty much where Alicia is at. This move is not surprising as she needs to escape the pain of her own world by watching manpain on her favorite show. Alicia is all about control (it is why she likes the law so much) and this experience allows her to let go of everything she has known to be true for as long as we have known her. On one hand there was Will – the real love of her life where bad timing played its part in keeping them apart – and then there is Peter. Peter is the disappointment, the facade of a marriage that has always been broken since we entered Alicia’s life.

Alicia ending things with Peter when she looks at her least put together is entirely appropriate and this is a conversation that has been a long time coming. It is a rehash of the same argument we have heard countless times as both Alicia and Peter use their past indiscretions to hurt the other. The main difference now is that Alicia doesn’t hold back screaming that her affair meant something and we’ve reached the point of no return for the broken Florrick union. Now she is acknowledging how their coupling is a benefit professionally to both of them, but anything else is completely off the cards. They are done. No going back this time and Peter doesn’t get a say.

The Good Wife 5.17Seeing Alicia take control in this manner all while wearing her sweats is a fist pump eliciting moment and something I have been longing to see. Okay maybe transfer super swanky red gown for the sweats in how I envisioned it, but the lounge wear is actually far better because this look is so unexpected. Peter has no patience or empathy for Alicia’s pain, he thinks his wife is being dramatic and maybe she is, however this is what happens when your heart gets ripped from your chest. Peter belittles her loss by inferring that Will’s death isn’t like losing a child or a husband; this is the point where she realizes she is done with his BS and passive aggressive comments about the political function she has missed. He is now free to screw around with whomever he wants to, as long as it doesn’t hurt either of them professionally.

While Peter has indeed invoked the ‘sleep with whoever you want’ clause (and by the sounds of it with someone who he has previously cheated on Alicia with), Alicia is yet to do anything beyond flirtation (with Lost’s Nestor Carbonell and Finn). One thing that is worth noting about Finn is that he saw her in her most vulnerable state and it is not just because he saw her in sweats over her well put together wardrobe. Rather than avoiding Finn, which would have been easy to do as Grace was about to turn him away, Alicia says it is okay for him to come into her bedroom. Her inner sanctum of hiding away from the world. This conversation reinforces not only how much Will meant to Alicia, but also creates this connection between Finn and Alicia that goes way beyond the insane chemistry they share.

Will’s death is a shocking moment and what could have been a cheap twist has been used to propel the characters forward in unexpected ways as well as exposing Alicia’s vulnerability and strength in equal measure. These days away from work allow Alicia to respond to this event in the privacy of her own home, but when she becomes aware of how little privacy there is thanks to the NSA surveillance it gives her a reason to get back out there and kick some ass. The comfy home clothes are discarded for now and the sharp suits are back; the wine cardigan will return but this renewed focus and sense of determination means the sweats have been banished for now.

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