Archive | March, 2016

The Americans 4.03 “Experimental City of Tomorrow” Review: “Run, Run, Run”

31 Mar

A weekend away is just the thing the Jennings family needs right now with everything going on in The Americans and considering their cover profession they have the ability to do just that in an instant (and with a discount!). However it isn’t as easy as booking and going; there are ulterior motives at play, high stakes and that little matter of getting exposed to a potentially deadly pathogen to put a spanner in the works.

Philip and Elizabeth have always felt (here at TV Ate My Wardrobe we like to feel) only just a few steps ahead of those who might bring them down whether it was Stan in the pilot episode sniffing around their garage or when they were being trailed last season. There has always been a way out, an option whether good or bad; they’ve always made it happen but their current noose is getting tighter by the second.The Americans 4.03 Philip and ElizabethSo much is going on and it even has Gabriel rattled as he echoes Philip’s sentiment that now is the time for them to leave. Claudia sides with Elizabeth on the matter (without realizing it) and the pair are more alike than either would care to admit. Time is what is needed and it is also the thing they are short on and so now is a really great time for them to get exposed to something that requires a self-imposed quarantine blowing their other plans out of the water. Sorry Henry, no Epcot for you. Although the last time they went to a theme park things didn’t end well so maybe it is for the best.

Let’s do a quick rundown of the balls they have up in the air from most pressing to least; Pastor Tim knowing their big secret and invoking the code of telling his wife, Paige’s continued spiral after finding out her parents are spies, Martha getting used to Clark’s real face and playing it cool at work, Elizabeth’s new and as yet unexplained mission with Young Hee and the Stan/Philip fractured friendship. That is a lot to contend with and now is not a good time to be benched because they pose a risk to everyone they know for an entirely different reason.

The Pastor Tim problem keeps on expanding if that was possible and he isn’t buying Philip and Elizabeth’s wide eyed “Peace Workers” explanation. It probably doesn’t help their case that Tim has been on the receiving end of Philip’s quiet menace back in season 2 and I think he sees real danger in who they are and what they do. Plus there is that matter of Communism and organized religion not really seeing eye to eye. It is maybe a tad convenient that Pastor Tim hasn’t gone to the authorities yet because of his clergy honor code, but this doesn’t read as disingenuous coming from this character and it does seem like the kind of thing he would weigh up. One thing Pastor Tim wants to make sure is that Philip and Elizabeth’s work doesn’t put anyone in danger; if only he knew the extent of their actions and what their superiors have in store for Tim and his wife. And even though he doesn’t kill anyone with his bare hands this week, Philip does resort to a full on spit in the face to force William into acting rather than running. Gross Philip, gross. The Americans 4.03 PhilipPaige is caught in the middle of this one and she is upset with Pastor Tim for divulging her secret to his wife, but she is also still unclear as to what her parents work entails. They are both quick to point out (maybe too quick) that no one gets hurt (tell that to the airport security guard last week) and they plan on telling her more when they go away including where Philip goes two nights a week. While they are incredibly in tune with each other to the point of deeply exhaling at the same time – kudos again to Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys for not only how they say things but giving each sigh a meaning – the finer details probably need ironing out to get their stories straight and a weekend locked up at Gabriel’s is as good a time as any to figure this out. Other body mirroring occurs and it is impressive how often they mimic each other in how they look/stand/sigh.

When people talk about the secret to a strong marriage the ability to compromise is always on that list and it is something Philip and Elizabeth are actually quite good at. Perhaps it was all those years where they went through the motions as a married couple or that the time we have spent with them has been exploring the shift from this pretense to actually feeling it, but if one of them doesn’t want to do something then the other will listen and hold off. Even when it was something as big as telling Paige last season Elizabeth waited despite her very contradictory feelings on the matter.The Americans 4.03 Philip and SandraLater when Philip talks to Sandra about their current Paige predicament (leaving out the finer details of course) he mentions that there are disagreements, but ultimately his family would go where he goes. In a way this is Philip trying to repair his friendship with Stan through Sandra – it is useful having a friendly face in the FBI and an actual friend – and he is also pointing out the fundamental reason why his marriage is strong.

Philip wants to run because that is what his internal alarm has been telling him to do, but because Elizabeth’s hasn’t then they stay. It is as simple as that. The same goes for when they find Gabriel in distress and after a short debate about what they should do, while Elizabeth feels (there’s that word again) she should remain there with Gabriel they both ultimately leave to meet William together. All or nothing.

At the core of what makes The Americans so compelling is this relationship and the moments that resonate are ones which are familiar to us such as talking about their day while undressing for bed or discussing what is best for their family; even if the wider issues they are dealing with are completely alien. The Americans 4.03 Elizabeth and PhilipThis conversation in their office at work after Philip has been praised for making time for family by his employee is especially important because not only does it lay out why Philip isn’t insisting on doing things his way (even if he was right about telling Paige), but it also points to the notion that they are fucked whatever they do; Paige loses in either scenario. If they leave and go back to Russia it will be a huge culture shock for all of them and even if Elizabeth has dreamed of Odessa (a small detail she seems impressed that Philip has remembered) this level of upheaval will be devastating for each member of this family.

Philip is the most at home in the US and yet he is the one suggesting a return home; Elizabeth reluctance comes from leaving everything they have built here and the twenty years of work they have put in. I also wonder if she also likes it in the US despite what her duty to her country and cause is telling her. For Philip what is important is keeping his family together and “it all matters” to him; as with their initial Paige disagreement last year they are at an impasse and we will have to wait and see how it plays out as there are so many players involved now. They are in this together and the clasping of hands shows their commitment to each other regardless of this difference of opinion.

One thing they do agree on is how important it is for Paige to control her anger when confronting Pastor Tim regarding his secret spilling. Anger is an emotion we rarely see from Philip and Elizabeth; Philip ripping out the pages from Paige’s bible and Elizabeth reaction to Paige’s confession last week are the two times we have seen them display this feeling. The other is in the pilot episode when Elizabeth kicked Timoshev’s head through the garage wall and Philip snapped his neck; this is one occasion where anger acted in a unifying manner. Otherwise it is a reaction that is unstable and leads to unpredictable moments such as Lucia attempting to kill Larrick in season 2 and ending up dead herself. Anger can push someone further away and Philip knows the importance of keeping Pastor Tim close and in this scene with Paige he is both manipulating her and teaching the skills of emotional manipulation; whether they like it or not Paige is now very much in this business.The Americans 4.03 Patty and Young HeeLaughter is not something we hear very often on The Americans and it is equal parts disconcerting and delightful to see Elizabeth engage in such cheery behavior while in disguise as Patty. Patty is someone I have been really looking forward to meeting ever since Entertainment Weekly unveiled this new look and talking to Americans costume designer Katie Irish last week increased those already high anticipation levels; this costume/persona did not disappoint.

We are introduced to Patty at a Mary Kay party and it is quickly established that Young Hee is who Elizabeth is interested in. Later on she ‘bumps’ into her while grocery shopping and they instantly develop a rapport with Elizabeth playing the nervous about approaching people card, which is kinda required for the Mary Kay selling model. Young Hee offers to help and they have a good day together; so good that Elizabeth gets an invite to dinner.

What makes this different from other occasions where Elizabeth has made a friend for work such as Michelle is that she usually uses it as a time to unload in the guise of someone else. On this occasion when asked about her family she deflects and I think that she wants to keep that separate from this genuinely good time she is having hanging out with Young Hee. It is still work, but it is also a distraction from the very real and high amount of problems she is facing right now. This is an escape for her and yet it is also important that she tells Philip that she had fun; this is not a secret she is keeping from him. Also the pepper dance was really cute and I’m not sure I’ve ever used this word to describe Elizabeth.

The FBI doesn’t want reports to contain “I feel” and sends out a memo to underscore this point and Stan is using a whole lot of gut feelings when it comes to his surveillance of Martha. This isn’t Stan plucking suspicions out of this thin air and something doesn’t sit right with him with the whole Gene suicide thing and really if anyone could plant a bug in Gaad’s office then his secretary is an obvious suspect. Plus she has been acting jumpy as hell and there was that dream Stan had in the season 2 finale pointing to his subconscious knowing something was up long before the big reveal. So far all Stan has is that Martha doesn’t come home two nights a week (those same two nights Paige asks about) and he wants Agent Aderholt to come on board the surveillance plan. Aderholt has a better idea than sitting in a car until 3 am suggesting he takes her out to dinner instead. If this all takes place while Philip and Elizabeth are stuck at Gabriel’s then they might be in trouble here too.The Americans 4.03 NinaNina is the one dreaming this week and she’s back in a cell after her latest exploits; “exceptional punishment” has a terrifying ring to it and it is no wonder she is dreaming of the old apartment she met Stan in and this time it is full of flowers. Anton is also there dragging her back to her current location and even though she smiled reading what he wrote about her that doesn’t make up for how bad things are going to get. Can Oleg save the day? If this was a different show I would be inclined to think he could, but as this is The Americans my hopes for this are diminished.

But if Pastor Tim can get some divine intervention in the form of a pathogen then maybe someone will answer Nina’s call too.

Shot of the WeekThe Americans 4.03The discovery of Gabriel is frantic and as I mention above there is something truly wonderful about how in sync Philip and Elizabeth are in their reactions and in the manner in which Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell play them. So much comes from gestures, glances, micro expressions and even their sighs which speak a thousand volumes.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2016

The Americans 4.03 Patty coatThe coat casually slung over the shoulders is a hard one to pull off and Elizabeth and her current cover are the perfect candidates to work this look. While Patty is leaning hard into 80s fashion there is still a little something of the previous decade in her grocery shopping attire which I really love. Thanks to Mad Men I find it hard to watch a supermarket scene without thinking of Betty slapping Helen Bishop hard in the face. Luckily this encounter was far happier.

Disguise of the WeekThe Americans 4.03 Patty Mary KayThere were no other disguises this week, but if there were it would have taken a lot to beat Patty as she is everything I was hoping for and more. Elizabeth doesn’t get to go glamorous in her cover world too often as she doesn’t want to stand out, but with Patty she gets to try out new trends and wear bold clothes and makeup.The Americans 4.03 Elizabeth and Young HeeIf this week’s costumes are any indication then Patty loves purple and her coat collection is just as extensive as Elizabeth’s (which will come in handy later this season for logistical reasons). More Patty and her new BFF Young Hee please as Elizabeth really needs a friend right now. 

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Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

30 Mar

If this week’s Instagram collection could be summed up in one emoji it would be heart eyes as there are plenty of co-stars hanging out treats on offer with a strong dose of cute.

Lo and ram

A post shared by Portia Doubleday (@portiadd) on

 

Kicking off this week with a big scoop of adorable and Rami Malek hanging with co-star Portia Doubleday’s dog Logan.

Da fuck?

A post shared by Carly Chaikin (@carlychaikin) on

 

Keeping on the Mr Robot train and on set selfies from the new season that don’t reveal anything new, but I heart regardless. Heavy Darlene eyeliner is always welcome.

Thanks @misterjakelacy for resurrecting my goofy 11yr old self. #NKOTBforever #pleasedontgogirl

A post shared by Jessica Chastain (@jessicachastain) on

 

Everything about this photo is charming as hell and now I want this coupling to be a very real thing.

 

Girls is on a hot streak this season and this week’s Marnie-centric episode was as triumphant as Allison Williams looks in this photo.

Season 1 babies in 2011. Thank you for coming back to play, Chris. We love you #bros4lyfe

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

 

Flashing back to simpler times and pre whatever happened that caused Christopher Abbott to leave Girls under a cloud. But he did return and boy did we get a much more beardy Charlie in the process and this episode really is top tier Girls. It was good to see him again even if it was tinged with the tragedy of what has since become of Charlie. I miss that awesome bed he made.

We're taking it wayyyyyy back this week on #janethevirgin! #1920s #valentino #bestjobever #ginadidmyeyebrows #guyliner

A post shared by Justin Baldoni (@justinbaldoni) on

 

Praise is justifiably heaped on Jane the Virgin from so many different angles and visually it continues to be striking in fresh and new ways. Everyone here looks spectacular.

We were born too late. Roaring 20's #JaneTheVirgin @justinbaldoni

A post shared by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on

 

They also kill it in motion.

In exactly 12 weeks… #OITNBS4 #84days #comethru

A post shared by Samira Wiley (@whododatlikedat) on

 

The OITNB countdown has begun and I cannot wait to spend more time with these ladies.

 

One thing I spend more time thinking about than is maybe necessary is whether actors end up falling asleep during sleeping scenes or in this case in a pile of laundry after fake taking a lot of drugs. And the answer looks like yes.

Happy Easter. Love, #NewGirl #SingerSongwriters

A post shared by jake johnson (@mrjakejohnson) on

 

Album cover ready.

It's sunny in Vancouver this week, so in between shots… we shoot hoops. @cavanaghtom #JLM

A post shared by Grant Gustin (@grantgust) on

 

Basketball being played on set between takes gives me instant ER vibes and I’m also enjoying how these poses both resemble a superhero stance and shooting hoops.

@lucyliu directing again! I look terrible in this photo but #IDGAF #elementary

A post shared by jonny lee miller (@jonnylmiller) on

 

This is very cute and I am happy Elementary has been renewed for season 5.

28 weeks ago(according to Instagram) @roomthemovie premiered at the #telluridefilmfestival. After the screening @jacobtremblay and I toasted. He had chocolate milk and I had red wine. I remember feeling so vulnerable after sharing this movie with the world for the first time; unsure of what was to come. Last night marked what may be our final toast to this film . He had a soda and I had sake. We are in Japan. Together we have traveled the globe, spent almost two years hanging out, playfully arguing about things like who can hold their breath longer and talking at length about Room. At its core, every step of the way has been taken with love. We were generous and patient with each other. We laughed a lot, especially when it was hard. We picked each other up, answered for the other when one was tired and always kept silliness alive. Thank you Room for bringing us together. Thank you Room for uniting us with the rest of the world. Thank you to everyone who shared this journey with us. I will never ever forget it.

A post shared by Brie (@brielarson) on

 

Keeping on the cute theme and sadly my request to keep this going for forever has been denied and the Room promo tour is officially over.

 

It’s not an Anthora coffee cup, but regardless I’m getting Bob Benson flashbacks.

Love my sweater ! Thank you @coach 🐅

A post shared by Diane Kruger (@dianekruger) on

 

Diane Kruger models this Coach sweater that I would like to see in my closet and also on TV Ate My Wardrobe sweater queen Chelsea Peretti.

Happy birthday to a most loving and devoted lady @amysedaris Xxx

A post shared by SJP (@sarahjessicaparker) on

 

Instagram is a platform used for many things including celebrities wishing each other happy birthday in picture form. Sarah Jessica Parker took this opportunity to post not one, but a whopping nine pictures celebrating the incredible Amy Sedaris and it only made me love SJP even more.

 

Justin Theroux went with a more sedate two, but this one is also fabulous.

In my dreams Melanie Laurent combs my hair while smoking a cigarette and reading Simone de Beauvoir.

A post shared by Aya Cash (@maybeayacash) on

 

It’s like Aya Cash reached into my brain with this picture/caption. The world needs more Melanie Laurent.

 

Throwing in the Towel on The Good Wife

28 Mar

All the pieces are moving into place as we enter the final stretch of this final Good Wife season and “Unmanned” shifts things further forward with some big declarations of the quitting variety. Over at the firm yet another reshuffle is in the works and the enthusiasm with which Cary is fighting it mirrors how tired this particularly plot point is and it is one the writers acknowledge in his conversation with Alicia. The staring at the ceiling is another good indicator of how tiresome this game of musical firms has become. In fact the word ‘tired’ is in frequent use this week from Cary’s demeanor and general feelings to Alicia’s reaction to her visit from Peter at the end of the episode; she is too tired to fight him on this whole divorce thing.

Oh yes about that and it was pretty wonderful to hear Alicia utter those four magical words as she continues to give none of the fucks this season. Peter has cockblocked her one too many times and now she isn’t going to stand for this charade they call a marriage, but Peter being Peter is in political and legal trouble so he needs a favor. That favor being quite a big one as he is willing to grant Alicia’s divorce wish with a caveat; it will take place after the whole indictment business is over. If anyone gets a whiff of Alicia’s plan then it will look like she is leaving him because he is guilty and as with where The Good Wife started he needs her standing by his side.The Good Wife 7.18 AliciaWe don’t get to see Alicia’s answer this week and in the past I would have automatically assumed it would be a yes. While I am still inclined to believe that Alicia is likely to stand by Peter (for the sake of the kids), there is part of me that thinks she will heed Ruth’s recent advice; if Peter goes down then he might end up taking her down with him and she has worked hard to get to where she is now. The Florrick name has opened many doors and in fact this name is part of Diane’s argument as to why Alicia should become a named partner. That name might become poison, but a divorce might protect Alicia from the fallout.

Not that this is why she has finally got to this point and it isn’t about Peter interrupting her very happy sex schedule either; she’s just tired of this shit that comes with being married to Peter even though they haven’t lived together in years and as with Cary’s decision she just can’t be bothered any more. For Cary he can just walk away and think about his options, it is slightly more complicated in Alicia’s case because of this very real indictment that isn’t just going to go away. Excellent use of a black trench with Alicia making her entrance and feelings very clear when she walked in unannounced into Peter’s office. It has been a good week for this classic garment.

Last week I discussed how The Good Wife is not going to end with Alicia in love; that isn’t what this show is about and if it was well that all ended when Will died. In fact Peter scoffs at what he believes are Alicia’s romantic notions delivering the low blow of “This must be true love. Again.” That knife twist doesn’t get the response he was probably expecting as Alicia tells him “This is me not caring” and I love it when Alicia is in this kind of mood. Love has nothing to do with what has been going on with Jason. Instead this is Alicia having fun for the first time in 20 years with a man that she doesn’t have deeper ties to. It isn’t like Will with their bad timing and complicated work/life setup and it isn’t a Peter repeat having to perform the role of ‘the good wife.’ Currently there are no strings other than the really amazing sex they are having right now.

Striking the work/life balance comes into focus with the return of Anna Camp as former Lockhart/Gardner junior associate Caitlin. Caitlin left back in season 3 to start a family and she has just returned to practicing the law, coming up against Diane and Alicia in court this week. Way back when Alicia advised her not to make the same mistakes she did by focusing on family instead of work and she tells Alicia “I guess you were right. I never should’ve left.” Caitlin is now separated from her husband (who she mentions is in Las Vegas with a telling nod) and she is raising her daughter alone, but Alicia disagrees with this sentiment now. And I’m wondering if this is just a one off appearance from Camp or whether Caitlin will be asked to join the new yet to be re-titled firm.

One costuming aspect to note with Caitlin is that she has taken style cues from both Diane and Alicia.The Good Wife 7.17 CaitlinThe Good Wife 7.18 CaitlinBoth black and white and the floral is distinctly Diane. The first one is more Alicia and reminds me a little of one of my ultimate fave Alicia costumes.

One person whose style is very much her own is Lucca and this week’s Lucca outfit delight comes courtesy of this RED Valentino cherry print number.The Good Wife 7.18 LuccaExcellent clothing aside, Lucca is in the less than fun position of being caught in the middle between what is going on at the top of the firm and she gets to hear David Lee emphatically declare “I outrank Alicia” when he tasks her with a huge (and probably pointless) assignment. Cush Jumbo works wonders with the tiny amount that she has been given in this latter half of the season, but would it be too much to ask for her to get a something more to do than being Alicia’s sounding board?

David Lee’s plan evolves this week from challenging Diane’s all lady power structure to welcoming it with a twist; he now wants to rinse the firm for everything they have and leave it in pieces. Cary has had enough of this power play structure and with four episodes to go he quits the firm. This season has not been good to Cary what with his battle with Howard and whatever the hell else he has been up to and it is unclear what these final few episodes have in store for him. One thing is Peter’s indictment as he has been subpoenaed – most likely because of his time working for him – and he warns Alicia this is “not good.”The Good Wife 7.18 CarySomeone else who is feeling the heat with this case is Eli who has been put in the ultimate catch-22 situation; either he helps bring Peter down or Marissa will be forced to testify against Eli regarding that little bit of warning a judge about a bribery sting operation. Awkward. Eli enlists Diane as his lawyer and she works her magic for now, but this is not going away. The case against Peter was why Eli originally came on board the Florrick train and it is fitting in a way that this is how the series is playing out for Eli.

The question is who will stand by Peter; Alicia, Eli, anyone?

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

25 Mar

Yes award season is over and yet there is another award show, but we don’t mind because this is a fun one and award season fatigue is easily replaced with sartorial joy. There are more fabulous outfits on display at premieres, play openings, editorials and magazine covers.Maisie WilliamsAt the Empire Awards Maisie Williams continues her run of fun red carpet choices in this sequin Sadie Williams top and mini-skirt and I love everything about this. Including the fact that she did her own her and make-up and to quote Williams on this matter “cos why the fuck not.” Roll on the Game of Thrones season 6 press tour and we’ve got more Maisie Williams below.Daisy Ridley and John BoyegaJohn Boyega and Daisy Ridley continue to charm and delight with their enormous smiles and star presence. As with Maisie Williams both Boyega and Ridley don’t shy away from bold choices on the red carpet and they’re having a good time with these events and what they wear.

The floral element is a nice touch on Boyega’s suit and Daisy Ridley’s Hugo Boss dress is interesting and uses sheer panels in a way that doesn’t make me want to cover my eyes. Incredible sparkly shoes to top things off. Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth OlsonRecently there has been a lot of Tom Hiddleston wearing appropriately snug suits in my life (see The Night Manager and High-Rise for more) and at the I Saw the Light premiere he has opted for a fabulous blue number. Elizabeth Olsen complements his blue in a red Emilio Pucci feather embroidered frock which looks every level of fancy comfy; an ideal combo. Also I seem to recall dating rumors about these two and yep I am here for that.Claire DanesMoving on to a couple who I definitely know are together and Hugh Dancy was there to support wife Claire Danes at the opening night of her new play Dry Powder. While there is nothing super groundbreaking about either outfit – the subtle check on Dancy’s suit is a nice touch – both look great and it has been a while since they graced these pages.Emily Blunt and John KrasinskiMore couple treats as John Krasinski is also in Dry Powder and wife Emily Blunt joined him on the red carpet. All the cape and knit dress points for the pregnant Blunt.

Keri RussellSpeaking of maternity style – Keri Russell appeared in The New York Times crushing it in this casual cool mix of jeans, white blouse and sleeveless coat. And heels (while not as crazy as the Gucci platforms I am still in awe).

In the interview Russell discussed her feelings about Elizabeth referring to her as “my fantasy person” and “Honestly, I relish the kind of mother she is — especially these days when we’re all supposed to be craft-making, cookie-making, have a career, be sexy, have a great body, go to Pilates. She’s not at home making Halloween costumes or inviting her kids’ friends over for cupcakes. It’s totally refreshing.” Holly Taylor InterviewPaige might be causing a whole lot of headaches for her parents on The Americans this week and Holly Taylor is hitting all those devastating emotional beats not letting her mother get away with blaming her for the mess they are in. The styling of Holly Taylor’s Interview editorial is giving me so many Keri Russell vibes thanks to the black jumpsuit styling which her onscreen mother has a penchant for. Also all that amazing hair.

Taylor talks about her Americans audition, college plans, the background in dance that she shares with Russell and how draining it was to film the big reveal scene last season.

Maisie Williams EWThe new double issue of Entertainment Weekly is a Game of Thrones special focusing on the women – A+ pun work there – and the six covers showcase these characters in ways which seem true to who they are and as a bonus they don’t make me cringe. This one of Maisie Williams as Arya Stark shows her looking defiant rather than blinded as we last saw her and hopefully this means she will be reunited with Needle soon.Sophie turnerAll six covers are fabulous and for once I am glad to be a digital subscriber over the print edition as I won’t have to choose which one I get. The thing that makes me happiest about this Sophie Turner cover is she is wearing the badass Sansa costume which we first saw at the end of season 4; is this a sign that Sansa will get her revenge and some power this year?

The Americans 4.02 “Pastor Tim” Review: “You Were Almost Free”

24 Mar

Saying you’re fine and actually being fine are two very different things and quite often when we are asked “Are you alright?” it doesn’t matter if the answer is actually yes and the polite thing to reply in the affirmative. When this question is posed by someone close to us the same brush off response is sometimes still the one we reach for and in the season 4 premiere of The Americans Philip insisted he was fine on each occasion Elizabeth asked.

Elizabeth accepted this as a suitable answer rather than pushing further despite it being clear that something was up; while they are far more solid than when we met them four years ago their strength as a couple does not come from spilling their emotional guts all over the place. The confrontation with Stan forces Philip’s hand and it is a big week for confessions as Philip finally comes up with an answer to Elizabeth’s checking in questions that goes beyond the waving off with a hand deflection.The Americans 4.02 the jenningsIt doesn’t all come pouring out because this is not who Elizabeth and Philip are; instead a series of sighs punctuate the hard to get our words as Philip struggles to explain just what he has been doing and why he has been doing it. In a way it is like he is admitting to an affair as this is an activity he has done in secret and while Elizabeth was out of the country. The ‘feeling’ that Philip got last week which caused him to call off their original meeting with William clearly bothered Elizabeth as she asks if EST is the kind of thing that teaches this. It isn’t and she seems more open to what it is after he confirms that. When she asks if it is something he would like her to go to he looks genuinely surprised and happy by her willingness here. I don’t think Elizabeth would be very receptive to the actual process of EST – now I really want to see her attend a seminar – and yet this offer of potential attendance is a big step.

Sandy Beeman was Team Tell Elizabeth as a way to really benefit from the seminars and Martha also championed the idea of sharing as a way to strengthen a relationship (if only she knew). The experience Philip has been fixating on and one we saw in flashback form last week is something he sees as a defining moment in who he is now and he could only share the very edited version of what happened with both women (and the EST class). With Elizabeth he can spill the whole thing and yet she is the one he finds it the hardest to talk to about this stuff. After the handover goes “pretty bad” it gives Philip the ideal time to unburden his soul and reveal the childhood memory which has been plaguing his recent thoughts. What this also does is serve as a good lesson in what EST does; it helps deal with painful memories, but it requires a confrontation of those experiences rather than avoiding them.

It isn’t surprising to see Elizabeth sympathize with Philip over this incident and she thinks it is good that he stood up for himself; there is no judgement that it went as far as it did. The reveal that he was 10 when he did it is instead met sadness that something this brutal happened to him at a young age, but Elizabeth is not surprised nor horrified. Instead she reaches out her hand to him and this marriage hits another stage of intimacy and shedding of layers. I’m not sure how good it will be for them to completely unpack everything they have done, but therapy of some kind is required to heal their fractured souls.The Americans 4.02 ElizabethAdverse side effects from conversations like this could include nightmares and Elizabeth dreams of the Pastor Tim murder plan and Paige with a blast from her own past. It is a pretty quick moment, but we see Nikolai Timoshev grab Paige in Elizabeth’s dream; Timoshev is the operative who Elizabeth and Philip kidnapped in the pilot episode and he is the man who raped Elizabeth while she was training to be a spy and who Philip killed. It is like she has reached into her most terrible moment and her subconscious is pairing this with bringing Paige into the fold.

In fact the Paige situation is spiraling and Elizabeth’s fears about Paige spilling everything to Pastor Tim have come true in quick fashion. Instantly going for the killing him solution is not a surprise and I think everyone in the audience expected Pastor Tim to meet his end as soon as Paige uttered those words. But in the same way I think a lot of us expected Martha to have peaced out by now it doesn’t look like Pastor Tim is on the chopping block just yet because Paige ruins everything by telling her mom what she did.

The plan was to make it look like an accident using the space heater in Pastor Tim’s sermon prepping cabin, but because Paige has revealed her slip of the tongue it will now be pretty clear to Paige that her parents had something to do with it if he does indeed end up dead. Accident or no accident. Philip for his part already suggested this would be the case and the idea to run gets floated a couple of times this week. His main concern is that if they do kill Pastor Tim it will send Paige running instead; basically they’re fucked whatever they do.The Americans 4.02 Elizabeth and PaigeThis doesn’t even factor in the deadly pathogen that keeps on coming back to their house, which itself is very much a symbol of the poison seeping in every crack of their family life and it becomes comical that they can’t shift it. Of course this is hilarious in the darkest possible way, but I couldn’t help but let out a laugh when Philip looks down and sees the tin sitting on the bus seat with the guy he has just killed stuffed next to him. Yes the mission did go “pretty bad.”

Both Elizabeth and Philip are pissed with Gabriel and how this is all turning out; that they get the grunt work and are tasked with the delivery of the package. Philip wants to do a dead drop, but this poses a list of potentially lethal issues. It does mean we get to spend more time with the fascinating and super belligerent William, who also really wants Philip to fail at getting that level 4 clearance. Their conversation is peppered with droll zingers and the moments of dark comedy this week are high.

Gabriel is concerned with Elizabeth’s state of mind particularly with the news he has to share with her; her mother has died but she did make sure to pass on a message of love, which Elizabeth does not believe for a second. What this death does is give a moment of mother/daughter bonding for Elizabeth and Paige because of their very recent trip to Germany and in turn this causes Paige to confess about her confession. Unlike her parents or her brother, Paige is not the best at lying. Even though Elizabeth already knew the rage she has tempered while talking to Philip about Paige boils to the surface and she lets her daughter know exactly how much she has fucked up. Paige for her part doesn’t just stand there and take it pointing to how it is Elizabeth and Philip who did this and they have to deal with the consequences. It’s a pretty heartbreaking scene and the phone call from Philip that interrupts Elizabeth’s rage also gives us a chance to see her quiet desperation as she emotionally and emphatically asks him to come home.

Every inch of the Jennings home is a space to confess and this adds to the intimacy. The kitchen is the place where Paige found out the truth; it is the heart of a home and this heart has been stomped all over. It is telling that rather than wait for Philip to come in the house, Elizabeth waits outside having a much needed cigarette. She gets into the parked car in the garage with him and as the walls close in around them there is still the potential for flight, but as the camera pulls away from their place of refuge it is clear that this is far from a simple solution.The Americans 4.02 carElizabeth is not the only person who faces a death in the family and Oleg receives some bad news about his brother who has been killed in combat. Oleg tells Arkady that he didn’t even have to be fighting still as his tour ended in October (we are still in March), but he chose to stay. This theme runs throughout and it is the question plaguing Philip and Elizabeth; even if they did want to leave is that a choice offered to them? Stan tries to use this news as a way to get to Oleg on another level but is met with a brush off. They are not friends.

Friendship is hard in this business especially when a sea of ideology stands between them and Stan is still on the outs with Philip after he accused him of sleeping with Sandy. Elizabeth jokes about Philip making up with his boyfriend (see even Elizabeth can make light of a situation) and it looks like Stan has found a surrogate son in the form of Henry Jennings as he is hanging out at Stan’s eating mac and cheese while getting lady advice. Henry is also adding to his cologne collection which is sure to please his parents even more.The Americans 4.02 Anton and NinaFamily plays an important part in Nina’s actions this week and in the past she has been very much about self-preservation and her loyalty has not always been the easiest to read. Last week she asked to see her husband and her request has been granted. It isn’t a particularly long scene, but we learn a lot about who Nina was before she came to the US; she was married, got pregnant and the intimation here is that she either miscarried or had an abortion. The interaction with Boris is full of so much warmth, but the lack of heat shows that this was not a passionate relationship and Boris sums up Nina’s trajectory with this sad and beautiful sentiment “My world was too small for you.” What Nina wants from Boris is a favor regarding Anton; she wants his son to know he is alive. This is a huge risk and one that doesn’t benefit Nina in a way which Vasili can understand when he confronts Nina about it later.

There is a sense of absolution in her decision and even though she was almost free Nina is no longer “who I was.” In the past we have seen her scramble and do whatever to try and earn her freedom, but something in this place has changed her and that is no longer her prime objective. Her relationship with Anton is an interesting one because it isn’t based on anything sexual and this connection is incredibly important in shaping her decision. Making sure that Anton doesn’t disappear into dust is a priority even if it is detrimental to her position.

And really is there anyone on The Americans who is close to being free?

Disguise of the WeekThe Americans 4.02 disguiseThis looks like a less curly version of this season 3 delight and Philip tries to work all his persuasive magic with sadly terrible results and it gives rise to some disturbing choking imagery plus a whole lot of “are you fucking kidding me?” facial expressions. Plus this scene also uses Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” in a way which underlines just how quickly this situation turned and just how shit it is for everyone involved. If only that Russian pilot hadn’t been twitchy as fuck. What helps about this look for Philip is that it is pretty bland and that suit is not going to stand out to anyone. The only defining feature is the fake mark on his cheek and that should be the only thing someone should remember.

Shot(s) of the Week

The Americans 4.02 Elizabeth and PhilipReturning to my earlier point about how different parts of their home are used for confession and the laundry room is a prime example of this. At the start of the episode Philip initially finds it hard to look at his wife when he explains why Stan is mad at him. The Americans 4.02 bathroomLater on when it is time for the secret sharing of the crushing his soul variety it starts with this display of utter exhaustion, but a lot more openness in a much bigger and brighter space. For starters the way Elizabeth is lit, dressed and stood suggests tenderness rather than this harried expression and dark attire from the opening scene.The Americans 4.02 Philip and ElizabethThey end in this moment of really looking at each other and I really love how the big bathroom mirror is used in this shot.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2016The Americans 4.02 Elizabeth and GabrielThis week for The Observer I spoke to Americans costume designer Katie Irish and one of the items we discussed was this Coach Wool Icon Trench (we will see Elizabeth sporting one in tan this season too) and as I mention in the piece a trench coat is timeless and this whole look would not look out of place in the 80s or present day. Plus Elizabeth really looks like she is not going to take anyone’s shit in that getup.

Bonus – The Most ‘Felicity’ Elizabeth Jennings Has Ever Been
The Americans 4.02 Elizabeth FelicityRandom and late observation and in this bathroom scene I got a whole lot of Felicity Porter vibes (yes I know they are played by the same actress but there has never been ANYTHING Felicity about Elizabeth). Here in this bathroom as Elizabeth ties up her and goes about her evening skin routine – even spies must moisturize – wearing a plaid shirt it read a little Felicity. The sympathetic ear aspect also adds to this factor and it also hits my love of secrets shard in a bathroom setting.

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

23 Mar

Instagram delivers on the charming and delightful this week including The Good Wife nearing its end, flashing back to award and promotional tour favorites and an array of shows in production right now.

☕️🍫➕👔

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One of the best things about this recent awards cycle was everything Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay and thanks to a Room promotional tour in Japan we’re being gifted more of this adorable. Can they promote this movie for forever, please?

Got to give it up for @mischamazing takes balls. Get it guurrrrlll! ❤️

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To be filed under ‘co-stars supporting co-stars’ and the extra special Teen TV variety – the ultimate.

Communism vs Capitalism. Foreshadowing? — @holly_taylor #theamericansfx

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Last week, Holly Taylor from The Americans took over the Yahoo TV Instagram account to celebrate the return of The Americans including some face swapping that might induce nightmares. Instead we are going for all the sweater feels.

Not many more of these @thegoodwife_cbs on set selfies to come. We finish ep 20 tomorrow and then…….there were two!

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The Good Wife only has a few more episodes to shoot which means an uptick in set photos (which is why I’m posting two this week). This is from episode 20 and shows just how close they film to airing; we only just had episode 17.

Heads will roll! We're shooting the penultimate episode of @thegoodwife_cbs

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And now episode 21 otherwise known as the penultimate episode. *sob* Yes I know I said it was time for the show to be done, but I am still very sad it will soon be over.

#OnFleek On a shoot 💁🏽

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The introduction of Lucca Quinn has been one of the main highlights of this final Good Wife season and hopefully a decent project will snap Cush Jumbo up when this is all over.

Empire awards!

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A super snazzy touch of floral and John Boyega continues to impress with his suit game.

 

Posing up a storm with Stars Wars co-star in the Empire photobooth (after they both took home awards). I am already excited for the next Star Wars promo tour.

 

This is Lucy Liu’s third time behind the camera on Elementary and she looks all kinds of relaxed here. Somewhat related but I’m still not quite over the level of cute coming from this photo of Jonny Lee Miller with Liu’s son.

Jamming with Mateo! watch a brand spankin new episode of #janethevirgin tonight folks!!! WEEEEEEE!

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And while we’re on the subject of adorable set moments – this one from Jane the Virgin is pretty great.

😑

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Barry’s all caught on The Flash and after this mini break it is good to have him back.

Not too bad of a view to study lines from #ZOOcbs #vancouver

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Important Zoo costume news – the Henley stays! Good view on every level.

Between set-ups #unrealtv

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More from the UnREAL set and I am really excited for the return of this show. And that Rachel now has a pair of leather pants.

"Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." (Or in my case lucky to repeat it) #Crueltv

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So it is another day of listening to the Cruel Intentions soundtrack as a result of a SMG post. This is not a bad thing and the TV version has a lot to live up to on the music front.

Here we go! First stop…. PIZZA. 📸: @katieparla #bigbudlilbud via @ericwareheim

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And also a hankering to rewatch Master of None even though there are other Netflix shows I haven’t started yet.

This is me at my highest level of procrastination. I am so fucking good at it. #Roseanne

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Line up the 100 emojis for Abbi Jacobson’s top procrastination air guitar jam song choice.

Cockiness and Confidence on The Good Wife

21 Mar

As The Good Wife edges closer to the end each moment holds stronger weight than it would if this was just the final run of episodes in a regular season and everyone is maybe a little too cocky right now; this house of cards is about to take a tumble before the last hurrah. Take the grand jury investigation of Peter and it is going far too well thanks to the leverage Eli’s eavesdropping spot has given them with preparing strategy. They did have the upper hand, but Lloyd Garber getting called back to give more testimony was not something they foresaw and while Alicia crushed her subpoenaed appearance there is still more to come.

There is a thread of cockiness that runs throughout this week and I love it when Alicia is this confident when opposite people like Mr Schue in the grand jury courtroom or the admissions woman from Grace’s school who is accusing Grace of plagiarism via an imperfect piece of software (having been wrongly accused of plagiarism I know exactly how helpless Grace initially felt and I didn’t even have an Alicia to prove my case – thankfully I successfully did this all by myself). The Good Wife 7.17 Lucca and AliciaOne area where Alicia isn’t so certain is Jason especially after seeing him with another woman; this is somewhere she has been before and while this is no Peter situation it sends her through a mini tailspin. This is why it is good she has someone like Lucca to call upon for chats and tequila because Lucca is pretty forthright in her opinions and what she should do; i.e. talk to Jason because that is the only way she is going to stop spiraling. Alicia does point out that in the past there would have been tears over something like this and this relationship evolution might be down to less investment in this relationship or the scar tissue/cynicism that has filled in the gap of those previously hurt feelings.

More likely it is a combination of the two and while there is an element of some investment the long term prospects are unclear and the fact that she is still married is part of this. This is no Will Gardner ‘show me the plan’ kind of situation and I’m happy that the end of this show is not about Alicia finding ‘the one’ or romantic happiness. Instead this part of the Education of Alicia Florrick is moving beyond Peter and exerting her sexuality/giving no fucks ‘tude. I only wish it had been something different from an under the table hand job in a crowded bar because that seems reckless even for a newly confident Alicia as there is no way that a) someone won’t notice and b) the newspaper headline that Alicia jokes about will become a reality. Plus Lucca will surely be back soon from her chip run and that’s just bad friendship etiquette.

At least it didn’t involve an ice cream cone and I’m sorry for bringing up the memory of Kalinda’s husband which we all need to have Eternal Sunshined from this series. The Good Wife 7.17 LuccaAlicia is also juggling the whole Diane takeover offer and Cary is still suspicious with just cause. Alicia still seems reluctant to join forces with Diane because of her loyalty to Cary, but Diane comes through on the making things better for Lucca thing by bringing her into the courtroom rather than just doing the ‘grunt work’ and giving her an office. Alicia flat out lies to Cary when he asks her about Diane’s plans although you could argue semantics between all-female firm and all-female run firm. I do still think that Cary and Diane have been given a short shrift this season in terms of overall storyline even if the case of the week is an interesting one featuring some new and returning guest stars.

In The Good Wife hall of judges fame Denis O’Hare’s Judge Abernathy is high on the list and I’m so glad that this final case for him got to lean into his liberal interests while showing just how much he values his position. And that he got to deliver a verdict as wonderful as the one he did and his delivery of said verdict was a delight to watch. They had him at Supreme Court. Blair Underwood does a really good job as the grieving father and the opening sequence was devastating; it had me in tears even though we had spent less than 3 minutes with these characters.The Good Wife 7.17 Diane and Becky Ann BakerBecky Ann Baker returned as Alma Hoff and it was wonderful seeing Mrs Weir representing Dorota from Gossip Girl. A double night of Baker with Girls and I am always so happy to see her on anything. If only there was a way she could have been in an episode with real life husband and Good Wife guest star MVP Dylan Baker (working his magic on The Americans this season). The depth of the guest star bench on this show is like no other. The Good Wife 7.17 Lucca QuinnCostume wise this was another great week for Lucca in this Peter Pilotto dress and this image of her sitting with her feet up on the desk is everything, but I do worry about her getting caught in the battle of the firm cross hairs. I am definitely bracing for everything to come crashing down as right now things are going far too well for Alicia and we’ve still got a final act chapter obstacle to overcome.

One final observation and a request wrapped up in one; isn’t “Everybody Hurts” on the list of songs that should never be used thanks to over saturation in the 90s? Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” is on the 00s version of this list – thanks The O.C. as is “Fix You” by Coldplay (which actually debuted on The O.C. and therefore that moment is the definitive one – not you The Newsroom). And woah was that a weird cover and choice of song for Alicia spotting Jason smooching a mystery blonde. Suddenly she became a very sad teen a la Angela Chase and Felicity Porter.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

18 Mar

PaleyFest, SXSW and new magazine covers are all on this week’s “Out of the Box” menu and these events are the kind that bring out the best of the casual/fancy in-between zone, which post-award season is my favorite kind of dress code. Melissa BenoistAt the Supergirl PaleyFest panel Supergirl herself, Melissa Benoist pairs a fantastic hypnotic skirt with a classic black turtleneck and I am so here for this level of fun. And she seems charming as hell to boot (even if I have fallen behind on this show – a mantra I could stitch on a cushion right now #PeakTV).Tracee Ellis RossAnother case of a super fun ensemble for PaleyFest and Tracee Ellis Ross combines two of my favorite things – sequins and stripes – at the Black-ish panel. The look on her face and pose says it all really. This is how an outfit should make you feel.Gillian Jacobs, Katie Micucci, Tami SagherAt the Don’t Think Twice SXSW screening floral and colorful geometric prints ruled supreme. Gillian Jacobs high neck sleeveless dress is mesmerizing and as with Mindy Kaling’s Mindy Project costume sneak peek Kate Micucci is making a strong case for floral rompers. Writer Tami Sagher also looks great and I am so ready for spring frocks.Zoe KazanBows and ascots were all over the recent runway shows and at the My Blind Brother screening Zoe Kazan’s long sleeve dress combines several box tickers; Peter Pan collar, floral and an ascot bow. Kazan has appeared a lot on TV Ate My Wardrobe recently and her insight regarding these events is why she is one of my favorite people I follow on Twitter including her reaction to the kinds of questions asked after this particular screening.

Yes this column is all about the ‘looks of the week,’ but I also get why it is important to ask questions about the film in question and not just dress details. And I definitely want to know about technical aspects, particularly all things costume (as anyone who visits this site will be aware). Jenny SlateMore spring foliage and while I’m not fully on board with sleeve cutouts, Jenny Slate is working this style at the My Blind Brother screening. Post SXSW Slate has gone on a roadtrip with Zoe Kazan and she has been documenting this very fun looking adventure on Instagram.Abbi and IlanaEntertainment Weekly hosted a party at the Spotify House celebrating Mr Robot at SXSW and quite a few of our faves showed up including Abbi Jacobson feeding my leather jacket and pleated skirt craving with Ilana Glazer hitting the t-neck points. This is more casual than the SXSW premiere events and style wise it is similar to the Sundance Film Festival, but switching out knitwear for denim short shorts. Tatiana MaslanyThis is cute and casual from Tatiana Maslany and perfect for hanging out on our future BFF dates. I am also impressed that even with the MANY hairstyles we have seen her rocking that her actual hair is different from every clone version. This is somewhere between Sarah and Helena’s huge blonde mass of curls.Alia Shawkat and Rami MalekTatiana Maslany’s boyfriend Tom Cullen captured the perfect “they look just like sisters’ shot of Maslany with Ilana Glazer and Alia Shawkat at the EW Mr Robot SXSW party and Shawkat poses with man of the hour and Mr Robot star Rami Malek. THRI love the annual Hollywood Reporter ‘Stylist and Stars’ issue and list especially as it comes so soon after a stylists busiest season. Rami Malek is wearing that stunning purple Calvin Klein suit he wore to the Independent Spirit Awards with Ilaria Urbinati and we gave her a shout out at the time because her work with Malek has been incredible.

Celebrating the people who give us plenty to write about when it comes to red carpet style is important and Leesa Evans (who is also a costume designer and has worked on a whole lot of Apatow produced movies such as Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck) appears with Amy Schumer, Jeff K. Kim alongside Michael B. Jordan (who always crushes any suit he is given) and another TV Ate My Wardrobe regular Brie Larson with Cristina Ehrlich. So yes let’s give a whole lot of love to the stylists.Kerry Washington ElleIt is rare to see a sweatshirt on the cover of a fashion magazine and awkward pulling it down aside, this cover is really great and Kerry Washington is always someone I am happy to see showcased in this manner. Washington discusses her new HBO movie Confirmation as well as the changing TV and film landscape. She talks about feeling invisible in her career pre-Scandal and that she’s had a conversation with Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson regarding this  and how “Television changed the game. Coming into people’s houses on a weekly basis is just a different kind of relationship to the public.” The issue is available to buy on both physical and digital newsstands now.

TV Rewind: Gilmore Girls, Season 1, Episodes 12-15

17 Mar

Gilmore Girls, Episodes 1.12, 1.13,1.9, 1.14, & 1.15
“Double Date,” “Concert Interruptus”, “That Damn Donna Reed,” & “Christopher Returns”
Original Air Dates: Jan. 18, 2001; Feb. 15 & 22, 2001; and Mar. 1, 2001

Gilmore Girls 1.15 Christopher and LorelaiEmma: Major development time on Gilmore Girls and I’m jumping to the last of our four episodes this week as it’s the juiciest (although my favorite of the bunch is the Bangles featuring “Concert Interruptus”). Rory’s dad Christopher comes to town for the first time and feathers are ruffled. We’re getting more of an idea of the whole how Lorelai came to Stars Hollows and it turns out that Christopher has never been here before and the town loses their shit when he does. Considering their lack of chill when it comes to special occasions this is also not a surprise especially as the Gilmore ladies are highly regarded in this close knit community. So as soon as Christopher’s credit card is declined in the book store it was clear that Lorelai would find out from someone who is not Rory.

Christopher also causes major ripples at the other Gilmore house and not because Emily and Richard don’t like him (quite the opposite) but as a result of years of things that have been left unsaid and this perfect boiling point of unloading. Christopher’s parents Straub (what?) and Francine haven’t seen Rory in years and clearly have no desire to get to know their granddaughter or the reason why their son didn’t go to Princeton. They are super shitty to both Lorelai and Rory so I totally applaud Lorelai’s George Bush comments (his face really is too tiny for his head) as an impetuous way to get an immediate rise from them. It quickly descends here despite Emily’s best attempts to keep things WASP levels of civil, but sometimes things need to be said and this is one such occasion.

Even though she gets asked to leave the room, Rory is going to be more than aware that the shittiness is indirectly because of her, but thankfully in one of the episodes most touching scenes Emily makes sure that Rory knows that her existence is not part of the failure list. It is also important that Emily is honest about what an ass Straub (seriously this name) was being. While Emily has this lovely and honest moment with her granddaughter, Lorelai has a difficult conversation with her father.

Gilmore Girls 1.15 Ricahrd and StraubRichard has defended the honor of his family kicking out Christopher’s parents for what they have said but this doesn’t lead to a happy all the hugs moment with his daughter. Lorelai thanks him for this and he points out that she doesn’t need to be protected and what comes next hit me just as hard emotionally as the very real arguments between Lorelai and her mother. He lets her know the devastating after effect of her leaving, that Emily couldn’t get out of bed for a month and how they didn’t deserve the years of being treated like lepers.

Up to this point it’s been clear that Lorelai left because she had to, but they didn’t kick her out and this is very much a story of two sides. I can completely understand and support why she left because that environment was probably incredibly toxic especially as they encouraged the “proper procedure” of Lorelai sacrificing potential future happiness by marrying Christopher back then. But still Richard’s words have a lot of emotional weight and these scars run so deep.

So Lorelai retreats to her room and as a result of everything that has gone on and because it’s Christopher they end up sleeping with each other in a very forbidden teenage love kinda way, but with slightly less awkward. Only slightly mind. Emotional vomit everywhere.

Was Christopher what you expected? And how do you feel about this whole evening at the Gilmore residence?

Gilmore Girls 1.15 balconyJulie: Christopher!

I knew we’d be seeing him at some point, but for some reason I thought it wouldn’t be for a while. I figured the writers would exhaust everything they have, then bring in Rory’s dad somewhere around season four. But here he is, right smack dab in the middle of the first season.

I assumed that Christopher would be a huge, terrible jerk, and he’s not. He’s adorable, first of all. David Sutcliffe is so perfect looking. He’s cute and unthreatening and he and Lauren Graham look great together. They’re the picture-perfect couple. And you can kind of see why Emily would’ve been okay with the two of them marrying at sixteen. He’s got good breeding. He fits the mold.

But he’s not this slick, perfect guy either. He’s got his own issues and he’s still maturing. I’m not exactly sure why he didn’t go to Princeton (unless he just didn’t get in). I mean, Lorelai never needed him to take care of Rory. They didn’t stay together. Why didn’t he just get his education and become something other than an oft-failed businessman? That side of Christopher I just don’t get. But oh well. The important piece is that he hasn’t been around for Rory, for the most part.

This episode does such a good job of showing how deep the histories and rifts are on all sides. Chris’s parents resent Lorelai and Rory (and to some extent their son). Richard and Emily see Straub (ugh) and Francine as the kind of family they always wanted their daughter to marry into, though Chris’s parents do not feel the same way about the Gilmores (which I also love, because the Gilmores, while they see themselves as part of the upper crust, are just an insurance man and his wife. They can’t have as much money as a lot of folks in their circle).

The history between Christopher and Lorelai is great, too. These people are obviously attracted to each other, and you get the sense that they’ll always be The One for each other. It’s great and true and messy.

And Richard and Lorelai. wow. He has always come off as the bumbling and aloof father, but here we get to see how deeply Lorelai hurt him (by hurting her mother), and how much she really doesn’t know/hasn’t been close to her father.

Caught in the middle of all of it, is poor Rory, who is a complete dear.

Well, I know how you feel about Chris’s parents’ names, but how do you feel about Rory’s dad himself?

Gilmore Girls 1.13 more Lorelai bad fashionEmma: First of all I think you are so right about the Gilmores not being quite as wealthy as their friends and they seem more new money than long legacy (unless I’ve missed something). They can afford fancy vacations but only travel to Paris every other year. And always in the fall (this whole convo made me laugh so much) and while they have a place they rent on Martha’s Vineyard they really should have bought somewhere but that is serious $$$. I also did love how happy they were when a place came up even if it was due to a death and I can very much believe that these places get snapped up this quickly. They are so giddy.

With Christopher I get why Rory is so excited to see him and why Lorelai is so wary. Not only with protecting her heart but protecting Rory from her dad who seems very flaky. Which is more the reasons why he didn’t go to Princeton, but Lorelai is the perfect person for his parents to blame in this situation. I get that he’s trying and does want to be involved in Rory’s life but I was only lukewarm to him as a character and in part I blame the recent Luke flirtations for this.

I love the way Lorelai explains her feelings for Christopher as it’s such a simple and powerful thing – first love that resulted in a Rory. It’s messy as hell too and I can see why she rejects his proposal. They also do a good job of leaving the door more than open.

Gilmore Girls 1.14 Luke and LorelaiBack to Luke and between the chick escape and the painting plans he really is the lead in every Lorelai story. There is of course the initial mix up with the reason why Lorelai called him over and she is mortified that he might have thought it was something else. Mortified because she hasn’t yet confronted what might be occurring here. But everyone else can see the signs all over every flirtatious and banter filled conversation. Emily does not seem to approve either, which bummed me out as I’d hope she would be able to see beyond his diner owning status (a very good status tbh).

Sookie explains why he might have thought it was a booty call although I’m with Lorelai on this one and the phrase booty call feels very early aughts. Sookie also fills in the gaps for Lorelai after Luke loses all chill at seeing Lorelai in the hoodie he dropped off for the rummage sale. He’s not mad because it is ugly (which it is) but because it belonged to his ex and the woman who broke his heart.

In a somewhat contrived explanation Lorelai wonders why she’s never heard about Rachel with Sookie explaining it was when she was newish to town and Rory was 11. Like Rory at 11 was a handful. Anyway Stars Hollow was too small for Rachel ad Luke didn’t want to leave so end of Luke and Rachel. As with Christopher I have a feeling Rachel will come back to town at some point and probably just as Luke and Lorelai are getting closer to kissing.

I don’t mind that nothing has happened with Luke and I’m enjoying the slow build, but also I would like smooches soon. I am a complicated shipper.

How are you with this relationship? And also once again Lorelai’s dating issues are far more interesting that Rory’s and I am very much in the urgh Dean camp at the moment.

Gilmore Girls 1.14 RoryJulie: I think you touched on something here. I’m not sure if the Gilmores are new money. (I’m pretty sure at least Richard isn’t. You’ll meet his mother later.) But Emily might be? I’m on season seven already and I don’t think we know much about her background other than that she went to Smith…or Brown…?

Anyway, they kind of act like new money when they look down on other people. This has just been my experience, but when I used to teach in a very wealthy area, I found that the “old” money people were a lot more chill than the “new” money. I’m sure that’s not always the case though. I get the sense that Richard and Emily are always trying to be more upwardly mobile and the fact that Lorelai went and got knocked up and didn’t get married, killed a little bit of that dream for them. There’s a lot of restlessness in Emily and Richard, and I just think, when is enough enough? You have a great granddaughter, your daughter is happy and doing well for herself. Be proud of how well she’s done. This would solve, like, 85% of your manufactured problems.

As far as Luke goes, I call shenanigans on Lorelai not knowing that Luke was dating a Rachel. That said, I wonder how long Luke has had the diner and how long he and Lorelai have been palling around. If it has been several years already, which I’m sure it is, that is one SLOW build of a relationship. Very slow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled, “Kiss her!” at my Kindle. Maybe I’m still yelling it now in season six. I’ll never tell. 🙂

You mentioned Dean, so I guess we should go there. He’s so…meh. The whole “a woman’s place is in the house” thing doesn’t completely jibe for me, and it feels like it comes out of nowhere. It feels very manufactured for this one specific episode. Though maybe it speaks to deeper issues within their relationship. Regardless, Rory is too young to even be having this conversation with a dude and Dean is too young to be having these opinions.

Speaking of love lives, what do you think of Sookie and Jackson?

Gilmore Girls 1.12 Sookie and JacksonEmma: I definitely get what you mean regarding the status thing and I think it can vary. Sometimes new money folks are far less flashy especially if they have come from nothing, but it can also swing the other way. There is definitely this aspect of keeping up appearances and doing things the ‘right’ way so Lorelai’s journey is very against this type. It was so shitty when her job (which is a good one) is looked down upon because it’s in the service industry. At least her credit card doesn’t get declined (low blow on Christopher who was an innocent in this whole exchange, but still).

With Luke it feels very much like they’ve been doing this for a long time which I guess is one reason why there is trepidation and even a hard time at acknowledging actual feelings. But I definitely yelled “kiss him” several times. Especially when they were hiding behind the counter in such close proximity. I like that Luke is peeling away his layers by revealing things about his dad and why he has kept the diner the way it is. I also love that he is the town’s resident grumpy dude because this town really does need that.

That whole Donna Reed storyline did feel very contrived and also had me saying huh a whole lot. Rory’s dressing up all 50s (and I’m sorry Lorelai but that dress is far better than your red pants/red jacket combo – also made me think of that Felicity outfit horror) and then making a big old fuss about making dinner ended with a bit of a whimper really.

Gilmore Girls 1.12 Lorelai bad outfit Gilmore Girls 1.12 LorelaiI get that the point was Dean realising that this isn’t want he wants, but I also thought Rory was doing it to point out just how BS this unrealistic ideal is, but I didn’t really get that in the end as it seemed like she enjoyed the whole charade. I would have preferred more Lorelai and Rory replacing the dialogue while watching old episodes of The Donna Reed Show. It’s cool that Rory found out about Donna Reed’s behind the scenes work on her show, but really shit that it was uncredited. Because the 1950s/1960s).

Also choosing salad (especially a salad that looks THIS terrible) over pizza is a sign that Dean is not the dude for Rory.Gilmore Girls 1.14 shit saladDean also has terrible friends and even if Todd is someone Dean hangs out with because of school. I will excuse Lane’s terrible taste in dudes here because he does have a Travis from Clueless vibe in his look even if he is the most boring guy when he starts talking. As with the pizza/salad thing I also find it hard to trust someone who has no opinions about music. I do love that Lane has all the opinions about music and a CD collection to rival my own even if I thankfully didn’t have to hide mine under the floorboards. Lane is great and deserves way better. I find the stuff with her mom and how it conflicts with Rory’s relationship with her mother to be done in an interesting way.

Mrs Kim could easily be this stereotypical strict parent and it certainly walks a fine line, but there is more to her than fearmongering and I found her conversation with Lorelai to be rather sympathetic. She’s just being the overprotective mom and really both Lorelai and Mrs Kim want the same for their children, they’re just coming at it from very different experiences. I also appreciate the mom code and Lorelai’s insistence at sticking to it. And of course there is no way Lane was ever going to that concert.

Ah yes so Sookie and Jackson are adorable even if I still want to burn his denim dungarees. The double date with Rune is fun to watch because Rune is the utter worst and is so incredibly rude about the incredible gorgeous and perfectly tall Lorelai Gilmore. Thankfully Jackson picks Sookie over his terrible cousin and these two are very much ON. It’s cute and relatively drama free right now.

We’ve covered the guys, now what did you make of the potential Paris/Rory friendship?

Gilmore Girls 1.13 Rory and ParisJulie: I agree about Mrs. Kim, and sometimes I do wonder if she veers into stereotype territory. I guess I don’t find it that problematic, because she is a complete character in a lot of ways. She’s just really, really strict, and I do enjoy the specific ways she strict — with diet and the whole Seventh Day Adventist religion (which we in the US recently got an education on thanks to Dr. Ben Carson).

I do like Lorelai’s “relationship” with Mrs. Kim. It must have been difficult for Lorelai to make parent friends while Rory was growing up. When my son started school, I was one of the “young” parents and I was in my mid-thirties by that time. When Rory was starting kindergarten, Lorelai was only twenty-one. I do love that she takes the parenting code seriously, and that she respects Mrs. Kim’s authority over her daughter’s wishes even if she doesn’t agree with Mrs. Kim’s parenting (and sees how it can backfire, based on her own experience as a teenager).

I wonder where Lane’s dad is. I assume he’s dead, but it’s never stated (that I remember). Why isn’t Mrs. Kim out dating? I’d love to see that episode. I’d love to see her on a date with Rune.

Rune is terrible, also what is that name? We get Straub and Rune in these four episodes. It was funny to see one man not charmed by Lorelai. I’m assuming she doesn’t get that reaction a lot.

I like Sookie and Jackson together and I’m glad the writers didn’t drag this romance out forever, like they’re doing with Lorelai and Luke. We need at least one couple who is happy and in a real relationship. Rory and Dean can’t be the only ones!

As far as Paris and Rory go, I love them. I love Paris. She’s the best and the worst. Rory is good for her and Paris is good for Rory. They provide each other with great competition, and they’re both at the same level socially. Their other Chilton friends, whose names I can’t remember offhand, are fun and cool and pretty nice to Rory, but they’re way out of her league. And I don’t think Rory even wants to be in their league. Nor does Paris.

In some ways, at least in these early episodes, I think Paris is the great love of Rory’s life. What say you?

Gilmore Girls 1.13 schoolEmma: I think if they didn’t have these moments with Lorelai then Mrs Kim would be a lot more of an issue in how they’ve written her and as you mention she is a fully realized character and not just someone who is there to yell at Lane.

Like you I love Paris and Rory and even though you have seen further I am also willing to say that Paris is the great love of Rory’s life especially as the start of their relationship bears all the hallmarks of a classic Harry/Sally antagonistic streak. Paris is still experiencing a bit of a shitty home life because of the divorce and I suspect because her mother is terrible. When pondering what her mom would do if she had gone off in the city she posited that her mother would send someone to come get her rather than do it herself. Lorelai is of course a very hands on mother and this whole experience is incredibly illuminating for Paris and she calls this the best night of her life and I completely believe her.

Instead of mocking Rory and Lorelai for their home or the fact that Lorelai was 16 when she had Rory, Louise and Madeline (I now know their names but can’t tell you which one is which) instead think Lorelai is the coolest. Even when she comes and drags them out of Brandon Roth’s party they still seem to think she is pretty cool and I was worried they would throw back Lorelai’s own wild teen days in her face. I am glad they did not.

I also really liked the fact that Lorelai saw this as an opportunity for Rory to make friends out of her frenemies with pizza, Pop Tart platters (is this show sponsored by Pop Tarts?) and a trip to New York. Instant cool mom hall of fame.

Also I am still in shock that the actual Bangles played because I just assumed we would see them go into the concert and then the after. But hey revivals are big business after all.

This is the point where Paris is now seeing Rory as someone who isn’t trying to steal her clever girl crown or the guy she is crushing on and Paris you can do SO much better than Tristan. But I also get why she likes him because history is important and so was that kiss clearly (even if she knows it was for a dare and my heart breaks for Paris even more at this). Paris ends up splitting the debate portion with Rory and this is a big deal and sign that they are now friends. This is the Rory relationship I am looking forward to seeing more of. So much more than any of those boys she will end up dating.

Anything else you would like to add?

Gilmore Girls 1.13 Pop Tart PlatterJulie: Everyone needs to STOP with Tristan. He’s worthless. Paris would be so bored by him after five minutes.

Regarding the Pop Tarts, it’s great that the show acknowledges how ridiculous it is that Rory and Lorelai eat all that garbage, but still maintain their figures (and their complexions, and their teeth). It’s completely implausible, though. Those ladies have terrible diets.

The show does a great job of illustrating how Lorelai’s parenting has been affected by her own teenage years. She knows that the Mrs. Kim tactic doesn’t work. She knows she has to let Rory make mistakes sometimes, but I love that she did stop the girls from hanging out with Superman. She’s kind of the perfect mom, really. Tough, but fair. And fun.

But those low-rise, boot cut jeans, though.Gilmore Girls 1.14 pizza and saladEmma: The clothes are so bad and I can’t believe we all wore stuff like this and didn’t realize. I think Rory gets off a little easier, but oh boy most of Lorelai’s outfits give me so many horror filled flashbacks. The cut and style is just so eh and don’t get me started on her silk shirts.

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.

 

The Americans 4.01 “Glanders” Review: “You’re Safe. We’re Together”

17 Mar

The concept of truth on The Americans is ever changing; lies mask the reality and confessions come pouring out in the strangest of settings. Season 4 delves even deeper into this blurring of the lines as a result of revealing real identities to Paige and half identities to Martha. When Paige asks Elizabeth where Philip has gone in the middle of the night Elizabeth tells her the kid friendly version that doesn’t include information about her father’s other wife or the man he has just killed; it is part truth, part sugar coated lies.

Kicking off where we left these characters at the end of last year and so many precarious situations need to be handled. First up Martha and the last time we saw her Philip dewigged and showed his real face. Philip also killed Martha’s co-worker staging it as a suicide and placing the blame for the bug in Gaad’s office on him all in an effort to protect her and ultimately protect the whole mission. Getting woken up in the middle of the night to be told by your husband with his new face and different hair that he’s killed someone and not just a random person, but a co-worker/friend is not the best wake up call and Martha doesn’t take it so well. She doesn’t go for the gun she keeps in her apartment so that is an automatic win for Philip. The Americans 4.01 Martha and ClarkIt is a delicate situation and he can’t push her too hard; he has to trust his persuasive techniques that have so far worked like a charm, but this is next level emotional manipulation that must come into play. Ultimately it works and the face reveal, while incredibly disorientating has strengthened their relationship and as Elizabeth explained to Paige in the most PG version of what they do it is all about getting people to trust you. Philip’s other confession to Martha about the childhood incident that plagues him is part unburdening of his soul, part pealing back the layers to give Martha the feeling that she really knows him. It is also interesting that he tells Martha the same anecdote about the toys in Gene’s apartment that he told Elizabeth in “March 8, 1983” and he can’t quite get out the reason why this struck a chord with him.

Elizabeth may come across as the more inaccessible one of the pair, but we know far more about her past and childhood experiences than we do Philip so it makes sense at this point to visit his origin story especially as his soul continues to be eroded by the things he has done. Season 2 saw his kill count go up by a great deal and it almost broke him; last year he got a respite and it was left to Elizabeth to drop cars on innocent dude’s heads until the finale when Philip offed Gene. The burden returns. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the turning point for childhood Philip or rather Mischa is a story that he half shared with Elizabeth back in the season 2 finale and one he didn’t get to finish because their asset had just been shot. All we got to hear back then was that some older boys would jump him as he walked home with his families milk and he made the decision to not let it happen again; it turns out he certainly did just that in a moment of explosive violence.The Americans 4.01 ESTThis moment that haunts Philip throughout the episode is one that he discusses in front of a whole bunch of strangers at EST leaving out certain important details, but giving just enough that he can unload in this form of very public therapy. The one person who he could reveal the unedited story to is the one person he keeps telling he is fine when clearly he is the opposite. EST gives Philip an outlet of sharing he doesn’t feel comfortable with doing at home and there is definitely this worry that Elizabeth will judge him; as Paige points out to Pastor Tim her parents aren’t really big talkers. Philip isn’t alone in using other outlets to share his secrets and worries as we have seen Elizabeth do this with plenty of assets in disguise; from how she talked about her rape to discussing relationship quandaries. They both talk far more to other people than they do to each other and this stoicism with each other is the one habit they find hard to break. Maybe Philip needs to get stoned again.

Part of this is down to the many years that they inhabited the same space, but were not in the kind of relationship they now are with each other. Trust is not something that needs to be won here and yet there is still a wall between them when it comes to sharing thoughts, feelings and painful memories that might read as a weakness. It is this aspect of The Americans that makes the show sing; the spy stuff is great, but the depiction of marriage is exceptional and hats must go off to Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell and Alison Wright who deliver such incredible performances in this season opener in a variety of ways. Wright has the most overtly emotional material and yet she also has shades of subtly while at work doing Clark’s bidding that Philip made seem as if it was her idea all along. After all while I think that Philip does care for Martha and feels the weight of responsibility he still also needs her for information otherwise this operation is pointless. Subtly is an art for both Russell and Rhys and the reason why these characters don’t always say too much to each other is because their expressions can say so much more.The Americans 4.01 Philip and ElizabethWhat Philip should do is take the lessons from his conversations with Martha and the advice of Sandy Beeman and tell Elizabeth what is plaguing him and I expect she will be far less judgmental than he is expecting (maybe not about EST). Plus it would be much better than the very obvious lie of “I’m fine.” The problem of course is finding a time to have this chat as they’ve got a laundry list of problems including Gabriel being pissed at them for lying about the Germany trip, keeping an eye on Paige (not doing a great job there, guys), Martha and now biological weapons! This latter issue is and the meeting they are meant to have involves a number of dangers such as coming into contact with said weapon and getting caught be a surveillance team. Plus there is also this new asset to deal with and William sure is sassy; I am so happy to see that Dylan Baker is a regular this season in this role. The strain William gives them isn’t even the thing they’ve been inoculated against and there is the added bonus of having to store it in their freezer. Plus a surprise visit from Stan.

Stan is hooking up with Tori the woman he met at an EST meeting last season and Tori also happens to see Philip with Sandy Beeman post EST meeting enjoying some dessert, which she infers as an intimate moment. I would go with friendly, but whatever. Of course Stan is furious and decides to confront Philip while he happens to have an incredibly dangerous chemical agent in his pocket (and one the episode is named after). Let’s just say there won’t be any Philip and Stan hangouts in the near future. We can add this to Philip’s already very long list of shit he has to sort out.The Americans 4.01 PhilipMeanwhile back in Russia, Nina and Anton’s relationship continues to develop and she is playing the role we have seen her inhabit before; one where we can’t be certain how much she is playing each side. The conversations she has with Anton forever circle around his son and the many regrets he has about the manner in which he was taken leaving his family with no answers. There is something incredibly haunting about his fears that he will be sent to a camp and they will never know where he went or what he did. He doesn’t want to disappear and become just dust with “no one ever knowing.” At least for Philip and Elizabeth one of their children knows who they are even if it is just the surface details. It is also interesting that Anton has such warm and fuzzy feelings towards Russia from when he was a kid and his religion was not an issue whereas Philip’s own childhood recollections are filled with such horror. One is serving his country by choice whereas the other has been forced to do so.

Nina also has demands and she wants to see her husband; is this so someone remembers her or is there an ulterior motive?

At the Rezidentura Arkady is having his own power play problems including be kept way out of the loop on the whole bio-weapon situation as it turns out that Tatiana works for Department 12 (suddenly this sounds very Alias) and he is not happy about it. But he does have Oleg on his team and while he suggests that this environment would work better with everyone getting along he is not above getting someone to spy for him. Spies within spies within spies.

Shot(s) of the WeekThe Americans 4.01 costume caveThe wig cave! Or at least one of them was unveiled this week as I suspect they have several locations at their disposal and while I was hoping for a fabulous Cher from Clueless style revolving closet what we actually got is the exact level of grime and on the fly that it should be.
The Americans 4.01 Elizabeth and PhilipThis location gives off a Sydney meeting Vaughn on Alias vibe as well as putting a physical barrier between Philip and Elizabeth as he continues the pretense that he is okay. And this shot does a good job of adding to how disconnected they are at the moment from his getting spooked into pulling out of the meeting (it turns out his bad feeling was just a feeling whereas Elizabeth does spot a real surveillance team later on). If only he could get his words out.

Disguise of the WeekThe Americans 4.01 disguiseA new disguise for season 4 and they get to break out this new blonde couple on three occasions over the premiere including a fake belly for Philip and a whole lot of skeptical face at Philip’s beard for Elizabeth. In one of the lighter moments this week the pair discuss Henry’s new disgusting cologne and there’s nothing more I enjoy about this show than when they have conversations like this while in heavy disguise. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of this pair throughout the season with William coming into play and I am looking forward to seeing what other disguise treats costume designer Katie Irish will deliver this season.

Outfit(s) I Would Wear in 2016The Americans 4.01 ElizabethIt doesn’t matter if it is 1983 or 2016 – a plaid shirt is always a win. This basement conversation is all about Paige and how she is complicated, which could pretty much describe everyone on The Americans and as tends to be the case they don’t get a chance to deep dive into this situation as they have other more pressing issues.The Americans 4.01 Paige and ElizabethAdding to my list of clothing obsessions the robe has now been added and scenes that take place in the heart of the Jennings home are always a favorite. Especially when they are over something so familiar as discussing jet lag mixed in with where Philip goes in the middle of the night. This is Elizabeth in full on mother mode and I believe that she believes what they are doing is for peace.

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