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Teen TV Halloween Episode Round-Up

26 Oct

Halloween is fast approaching and whether you have parties to attend over the weekend, I’m sure you can slip in a few old TV episode faves to celebrate this creepy time of year.

Sitcoms have long delivered on the Halloween theme hits with Brooklyn Nine-Nine upping the game every year; culminating in a very funny and heartwarming 2017 entry. Yes, I was crying by the end of it. But the genre that I keep returning to AND rewatching is teen TV from the ’90s. Because of course. Last year I wrote about nostalgia and looking back at these episodes.

I’m looking at you My So-Called LifeFreaks and GeeksFelicity and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Below is a collection of articles I have written and team-up conversations about this particular topic and these shows. This is the ideal time for teen characters to experiment and most of adolescence is trying to figure out who you are. On Halloween you can explore that in a more explicit and overt manner. Ghosts come in many forms and it is also fun to look back at what was big in pop culture during this time. Costumes choices can be from a very specific window of time and there are some looks that never go out of style during this spooky season.

But if you need costume inspiration that is more 2017 than 1998, I also have you covered in this department.

My So-Called LifeMy So-Called Life uses the holidays to indulge in the supernatural from dead students that are very similar to Angela’s crush—Jordan Catalano—to angels at Christmas. I have written about MSCL a lot and the impact this show had on me when I was a teen cannot be measured in words (even though I have tried). It is surprising that I haven’t gone as Angela for any Halloweens so far and right now with all the ’90s inspired clothes in stores would be the perfect time. But alas, this year I have other plans.

For Halloween costume tips from the MSCL Halloween episode head here and for a discussion of everything about this episode go back in time to This Was TV.

Freaks and GeeksCapturing the awkward transition between childhood and adulthood is something Freaks and Geeks does better than many and in its third episode “Tricks and Treats,” Halloween is the perfect example of this. Whether it is finding out that there is a cut-off age for trick-or-treating or succumbing to peer pressure; this episode has it all. Plus Bill dresses up as the Bionic Woman and he is so pure. We must protect Bill Haverchuck.

I wrote about Freaks and Geeks using this holiday as a way to portray the push and pull that is indicative of being a teenager here. And for This Was TV, I did a deep dive of this episode with regular teen TV team-up partner, Julie Hammerle. Come for the Freaks and Geeks chat and all things pop culture references from 2013 (I see you Red era Taylor Swift).

Update!

I couldn’t not include this A+ TBT from Busy Philipps. 

Felicity Also early in Felicity’s run they give us a Halloween episode—it helps that October is near the start of the school year—and this one is fraught for a number of reasons; Felicity and Ben are robbed at gunpoint, which brings them closer together before pushing them apart. Felicity gets wasted and ends up throwing up in Noel’s lap, thus providing my go to Twitter cover photo for this time of year. There are also a good range of costumes and this brings me to my second Halloween costume tips post via teen TV from the ’90s.

Once again you can head to This Was TV for an in-depth chat about this episode and this isn’t Felicity’s only foray into Halloween shindigs. They head back to that well in season 4 and while it isn’t as noteworthy, there is a pre-Americans wig moment for Keri Russell and the episode is called “Boooz.” And for some reason, I still find that hilarious. You can read our thoughts about this episode on this very site.Buffy the Vampire Slayer 

The first Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween episode is in my Top 10 (maybe even Top 5) for this show. It is pivotal for a number of reasons and gets called back to on numerous occasions (like whenever they need anything military training related). And it also captures those awkward teen feelings as well as any of the other shows mentioned above. These are no After School Specials; instead pointing to insecurities and how this holiday can help put those feelings aside. Or magnify them.

Willow’s costume—or the one that Buffy wants her to wear—is the most ’90s, ticking all those nostalgia boxes and I wrote about that here. But don’t head to This Was TV for a team-up chat as we never did get to doing one for Buffy.

I keep returning to these episodes for a number of reasons; part nostalgia and part because they stand the test of time.

Happy Halloween, everyone! And if anyone dresses as any of the above characters please send me pics.

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Happy Halloween from Hack Into Broad City

29 Oct

There are a couple more months before Abbi and Ilana return for season 3 of Broad City, but thankfully they have been producing Hack Into Broad City videos and this was a vital part of their original web series. The newest installment is Halloween themed and includes a chat about how insane it is to wear heels in the city, Halloween or not; as someone who can’t make it through an evening in a pair I am enthusiastically nodding along to this point.

The costume reveal is pure joy and I can’t think of anything more perfect than what they have both chosen. I am only sad that this isn’t a full length Halloween episode because I love Halloween episodes (see here, here, here and here).

Due to shooting schedules there are some shows that are summer ones even if they air in winter like Broad City and Girls. This is mostly fine and all, but it does mean we miss out on certain fun holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even Valentine’s Day. Show me a holiday themed episode and I will enjoy whatever tenuously related or cheesy shenanigans that take place.

Thankfully Hack Into Broad City has got us covered on this front.

And if I was dressing up as something Broad City related for Halloween I think my two of my options would be:

Broad City Val

Or

Broad City Bingo BronsonAnd for something truly special Pam is ideal.

So many Broad City costume potentials!

Sarah Silverman and Michael Sheen Join the Guilty Remnant

1 Nov

This isn’t Leftovers casting news for season 2 of and yet Sarah Silverman and Michael Sheen make pretty convincing members of the Guilty Remnant for Halloween. Okay it’s not the hardest costume to make – white clothes, Sharpie, paper, cigarettes and a whole lot of soul sucking platitudes- but I think Patti would be impressed with their getup and disdainful looks. The glasses and disheveled hair really ties the whole thing together and so far this is my favorite celeb Halloween attire so far (Taylor’s Pegacorn is a close second).

WE ARE LIVING REMINDERS

A post shared by @sarahkatesilverman on

Halloween Costume Tips from Felicity

29 Oct

Halloween is fast approaching and as the 90s revival is still very much a thing we are going to look to another teen show for costume ideas. Last year My So-Called Life provided the inspiration and now it is the turn of Felicity and the season 1 episode “Spooked.” It is an episode full of real life horror, dating dramas and an array of costume choices going way beyond sticking the word ‘sexy’ in front of whatever they are supposed to be.

1) Pick a current(ish) pop culture figure 

Felicity Halloween JulieThis episode is from 1998 and while Michelle Pfeiffer hadn’t worn the slinky Catwoman suit since Batman Returns in 1992 it is an iconic look and character that has been through several costume iterations. By picking a pop culture figure from a few years previous rather than whatever is hot right now, there is far less risk of being one of many people dressed in the same costume; 2008 was a sea of Jokers, 2014 there might be a lot less. This also manages to be sexy without revealing any skin. Going to the bathroom might prove challenging.

2) Go classic

Felicity HalloweenA vintage horror movie character doesn’t go out of style, but you might have to spend all evening explaining who you are or get mistaken for someone who is currently in the public eye – Felicity gets mistaken for Courtney Love, it is 1998 – rather than the Bride of Frankenstein. It is a bonus if you have a Felicity amount of hair for this costume and there is definitely a DIY approach as she’s wearing a white dress rather than an actual wedding gown (sadly lacking the cape train of the original Bride).

Also if you plan on wearing a costume that is part of a duo make sure the other person isn’t going to be a total flake. In Felicity’s case the dude is who she is crushing on and his indifference leads to comfort drinking followed by this:

Felicity 1.05 post vomA classic costume with a classic post “I’m so sorry I just vommed on you” face. More on this later.

3) The no effort part of a group costume using stuff you probably have in your wardrobe

Felicity Halloween BenBen is especially flaky during the early Felicity days and nothing sums this up more than his Halloween costume as instead of being the Frankenstein (Ben makes the common mistake or maybe he was going to go as the Doctor rather than monster, we will never know) to Felicity’s bride he is instead swayed by Sean’s idea to go as the Rat Pack. Ben thinks he might be Peter Lawford, he’s not sure and is totally whatever about the whole thing; he’s just happy he gets to look hot in a suit and later hook up with the Pink Power Ranger:

Felicity 1.05 pink power rangerAnother no skin revealing, but super tight costume. Felicity goes all meta for a moment as the real former Pink Power Ranger is someone Ben has already kissed on the show. In Ben’s slight defense he hadn’t fully committed to the doubles costume with Felicity, working against Ben is the many hot/cold signals he is giving Felicity like late night intimate chats and then pretty much ignoring her at the party. Be less terrible, Ben.

4) Make sure you have plenty of pumpkins

Felicity Halloween pumpkinsThe perfect time for low light and intimate chats comes with party prep. Be prepared for later disappointment (see numbers 3 and 4).

5) The “I thought it was funny” option

Felicity 1.05 ElenaNoel told Elena he would sort out costumes, he gets Subway uniforms (almost seamless product placement points +10) because he thinks it is funny. Elena is less sure and while this is very much the anti-Halloween sexy she does hook up with a dude dressed as the Tin Man (the Tin Man does end up cheating on Elena with her BFF at a later date so maybe that’s a con too). Negatives include many requests for sandwiches all night. And wearing plastic gloves.

Felicity Halloween NoelHowever, plastic gloves will come in handy if someone throws up on you. May change your opinion of said person you have just given an epic pep talk to/have a huge crush on. If it doesn’t it must be love or something like that.

For more on Halloween and 90s teen TV check out posts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Freaks and Geeks.

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

31 Oct

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

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

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

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

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

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

Halloween, Growing Up and Freaks and Geeks

29 Oct

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

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

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

F&G ep 3 Trick or Treating

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

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

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

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

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

 

Halloween Costume Tips From My So-Called Life

24 Oct

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

1) Go as someone you know

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

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

2) Pick an animal 

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

3) Stick to the classics

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

4) Go vintage

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

5) Find a spooky setting 

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

6) Stay safe and watch out for any sneaky skeletons 

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

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