Tag Archives: 30 Rock

The Americans 3.04 “Dimebag” Review: “She Set Us Up”

19 Feb

A joint and a Yazoo (or Yaz to go with their US name) record take The Americans squirm inducing rate up a notch from how to pack a suitcase in “Baggage” and last week’s off books dental work. Philip and Elizabeth’s work involves varying extremes on a weekly basis and this is the life they have known since they were recruited by the KGB. On many occasion this has involved them using their body – the pilot opened with Elizabeth doing just this – but this week has them coming across untested water when the person they need to use is a teenager and not much older than their daughter. Speaking of Paige, it is her birthday and the brief moment of unity is shattered and the standoff between Philip and Elizabeth is very much on again.

IMG_9304The above photo could be captioned “LOL being a spy, amirite?” because they both look far too happy for how this dinner and subsequent Paige bombshell turns out. Instead of telling Paige who she really is, which Elizabeth is determined to do “with or without” Philip it is Paige who has some news for them. The whole birthday dinner adds extra friction to the already temperamental situation when Paige suggests inviting Pastor Tim and his wife over. Most of Philip and Elizabeth’s Paige chats occur with bedtime bickering, but this earlier one takes place first thing as they both get ready to go about their busy day of spying and maybe popping to the office. Cross cutting the conversation about Paige is Philip giving updates on Martha related intel and her desire to foster a kid; Elizabeth snarkly responds with “who wears the pants in that family.” Cutting to both Philip’s abilities as a spy, man and also showing a hint of jealousy about the Martha of it all.

The TV is on in the background because what better way to drown out the sounds of discussing covert shenanigans and on comes one of the most eyebrow raising ads I’ve seen in a long time. Even Don Draper might mouth WTF at the Love’s Baby Soft creepiness as Philip goes from talking about Martha’s kid desires to the ad proclaiming “There’s one person nobody can resist and that’s a baby.” All seems fine until you realize this ad is not for something baby related and it suggests “Because innocence is sexier than you think.” So while I go take a shower to get the skeeze off please enjoy this clip from 30 Rock, which immediately entered my brain to counter the ick:

And as a quick side note I temporarily fell down a Love’s Baby Soft print ad hole of “How is this ad real?” followed by more “What the fuck is this?” and yelling “WHY?” With one final “I don’t understand” for good measure.

Stan revealed his key to fooling targets is by telling them what they want to hear on repeat and The Americans plays with deception in a myriad of ways. In the home Philip and Elizabeth initially lived within the realms of a fake relationship that produced a very real family and this has been complicated further by really falling in love. The Paige problem has introduced this idea of revealing their real identities, which as we know Philip is staunchly against. It has become a cyclical argument and we know where each of them stands; they are in danger of falling into a repetitive bedtime bickering pattern with each of them trying to one up the other. Thankfully Paige blindsides them with the baptizing plan and she’s been deceiving them in her own way; I wonder if they would prefer Paige was out smoking joints with random older guys rather than hanging out at church with Pastor Tim? Upon hearing Paige’s wishes Elizabeth gulps down her tea as if it was something stronger and all I want is a TV reality where Alicia Florrick and Elizabeth Jennings can drink copious amounts of wine while bitching about their religious teenage daughters.

The Americans 3.04 HenryInaction has led to this crisis point and while wanting to get baptized is something most would not consider as an extreme to Elizabeth it is indoctrination of her child from someone other than her. Communism finds no place for religion in their ideology and so the thought of Paige being part of this world only increases Elizabeth’s determination to reveal the truth. Philip is thinking more logically than his wife and fears if they tell her now it will all come crashing down. Meanwhile Henry continues to tell stories about his friend Lewis that no one ever listens to. He is also pretty good at remembering state capitals. Henry is not so good at giving his dad information on Paige and church; both Philip and Elizabeth talk to or about their children this week as if they are an asset or enemy. Got to hand it to Paige for pissing off her parents so monumentally with both the baptizing idea and the way she played them. Teen rebellion comes in many forms.

Everyone is working someone and in Philip and Elizabeth’s case they have multiple sources to juggle. Philip adds Kimberly to the mix and this is where the squirming as a viewer and for Philip takes place. They know from the conversation they overheard last week that Kimberly is not afraid to flirt with older guys; enter Joe a lawyer, lobbyist and friendly creepy dude who hangs out waiting to help teens with fake ID. Joe will roll joints, listen to your music and chill on steps with you at night. He won’t dance, but he will share his coat with you. Watching Philip develop relationships with Martha and Anneliese has been hard because they are being manipulated by charm, but this is next level horror show due to Kimberly’s age and Matthew Rhys does a couple of very brief expressions to show just how unpleasant Philip also finds the situation. Before he first approaches the girls it appears as if Philip has to psych himself up, which is not something we have seen before. When the phone rings and it is a message from Kimberly you can see his whole demeanor sink and for once he would rather be stuck in this same old fight with Elizabeth. And everything keeps on piling up.

Their fake personas have a way of letting them work through the problems they have trouble sharing with each other so when Elizabeth first posed as Michelle from AA she spoke to Lisa of her real issues last season but under a fake guise. We revisit Lisa in “Dimebag” and Elizabeth is positioning herself as the person who Lisa will call; nothing of significance spy related happens in this storyline as of yet, but it shows manipulation tactics when sex isn’t a factor. In a reverse of this Philip takes what he has learned from the teen girls with what music is cool – Yazoo – and subtly wins favor with Paige by giving her something relevant to her interests. His method of learning about this means the gift is tainted with ick but Paige is very happy with this surprise, Elizabeth is less than thrilled.

Over in Stan land he needs to finally get it into his head that it is over with Sandra, just move on dude as your EST winning her back plan is not working. And for some reason yelling that it is all bullshit has caught the attention of a Sandra looking lady at the meetings. Stan is not having a fabulous time at work either as he is convinced Zinaida can’t be trusted; is he letting paranoia get the better of him or is his gut right? The trashed diner bathroom with nothing to show for it would suggest the former. Things might be looking slightly up for Nina in prison as she is given a mission of her own, which might in turn give her a lighter sentence; all she has to do is find out what Evi is up to and this means she has to talk to her.

Shot of the Week

The Americans 3.04 shot of the weekPost big blow up and the never ending back and forth dance continues with Philip briefly turning around to look back at his wife as Paige’s new Yazoo record blasts “Don’t Go” in the background, which Philip does. Apparently nearly getting caught/teeth pulling closeness does not last long. This segues into Stan’s desperate search in the diner bathroom and is one of this season’s first great music choices.

Bonus Shot 

The Americans 3.04 photos on wallFrom the same scene as above and I just want to highlight the excellent work by the prop/art department as the photos of Henry and Paige that hang on their bedroom wall look like real family pictures and not just promo shots as is often the case on TV. It also makes them overseers of this argument that is taking place and a reminder they are always there.

Disguise of the Week 

the Americans 3.04 ElizabethThis one popped up in the season 3 promo and it is part Felicity, part hippy. More big frame glasses to get excited about. I half expected her to make a reappearance as a pot dealing diversion to make sure Philip doesn’t have to go too far with Kimberly, but alas the snuggling went uninterrupted.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2015

The Americans 3.04 NinaNina’s matching tracksuit prison threads in both grey and brown look like something I would buy with the idea to exercise in them, but in reality they would be clothes I write in. Comfort is important when typing.

The Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative Part 5

18 Sep

A year has passed since the first Mindy Project and the Rom-Com Narrative column and what started as a standalone piece has produced multiple parts and spinoffs (incorporating New Girl and the “What Next?”). The Mindy Project plays with the rom-com formula with direct references to Nora Ephron classics like When Harry Met Sally while using traditional rom-com devices such as voiceover and subverting the genre through a strong awareness of the common tropes. In the first episode of season 3 big steps have been made as Danny and Mindy have progressed from friends, to lovers to exes and now to a couple who are not hiding their relationship from their co-workers. Smooth sailing from here then, right?

The Mindy Project 3.01Well that wouldn’t be interesting would it? There are plenty of obstacles and conflicts ahead for this new couple; the biggest one being how diametrically opposite they are about pretty much everything besides how they feel about each other. Last season Danny went through a stage of not wanting anyone to know about their relationship and then he tried to use the ‘you’re my best friend and I don’t want to lose you’ excuse as a reason to split up. Mindy saw through Danny’s scared BS and she didn’t just take him back when he simply tried to kiss her. This was one heartbreak that really hurt and so it required a little more than Danny simply responding in a possessive manner to the new dude in Mindy’s life.

They are a couple now, haters (bitches) and as I have mentioned throughout this rom-com series the “will they/won’t they” then turns into a “What next?” as they have to deal with what normally comes after the credits of a movie. The story doesn’t just end with smooching at the top of the Empire State Building.

The new season opens with Danny as the narrator mentioning the unlikelihood of this coupling when the show started and his assertion that they are very different is backed up with Mindy’s portion of the voiceover. Mindy likes to share and this is what lies at the heart of their first fight this season; it doesn’t matter that Mindy is very complimentary about Danny’s technique as it still makes him incredibly uncomfortable. Throw in a secret stripping past plus a piece of office gossip and we’ve got our first Mindy and Danny raging argument of season 3 as Danny tells Mindy that he can’t trust her. Trust is a relationship dealbreaker so are things looking precarious already?


Far from it and while I am sure that somewhere down the line there will be a string of misunderstandings that might lead to something more contentious, this disagreement ends up with Danny spilling a lot more about himself including his Diamond Dan stripping past (which not only paid for medical school, but also allowed him to pay the mortgage on his mother’s house) and that he does have a middle name. His middle name is Alan after his dad and last season we found out more about his fractured relationship with his father with Mindy getting to witness Danny’s emotionally vulnerable side. The first time Danny kissed Mindy was on the plane ride home after this trip to see Danny’s father; boundaries got dropped all over the place.

Part of the appeal of this couple is the back and forth banter, which on occasion crosses the line with a derogatory remark about appearance such as Danny telling Mindy “get your big ass in there now” in the season 3 premiere. Comments like this cause much furrowing of the brow; Danny does refer to himself “as kind of a dick back then” in his opening narration and these moments do still slip in and on this occasion his annoyance at Mindy’s inability to keep secrets causes this unpleasant outburst. Danny is rough around the edges – not an excuse for his behavior, but an observation – and yet those edges have softened.

The list he has prepared is a big step, as is Mindy’s confession explaining why she has been so vocal about their relationship “I want it to be real and the more real it seems, the less likely it is that it could all get taken away from me.” Mindy wears her romantic temperament on her sleeve, but this level of honesty and vulnerability is rare from this character too. This statement solidifies their commitment to each other and it also signifies to the audience that we shouldn’t expect a break up in the next few episodes; they are at least in this for some sort of long haul. It is a welcome gesture as sometimes with a “will they/won’t they” couple it is easy to feel emotionally manipulated if there is a constant stream of “oh we’re almost a couple, now we’re not, now we are, oops broken up again” shenanigans. You know what else is a welcome gesture? This.

[Source – includes whole sequence]

As I said at the start of this piece conflict and obstacles should continue, but there has to be a reason for it. Danny and Mindy as an opposites attract coupling should provide plenty of material for this, however scenes like the one on the fire escape are important and still offer opportunity for absurdist/dark humor such as the kitchen knife Mindy accidentally drops followed by the sound of sirens. This first episode back is promising and this pairing is the strongest/most consistent on The Mindy Project; now they are a couple there are a new series of challenges and I am hopeful that this creative team will blast any Moonlighting curse nonsense out of the water so we can stop citing this a reason why a “will they/won’t they” shouldn’t progress to “What next?”

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

20 Dec

‘Tis the season to wear sparkly frocks and after the LBD heavy edition a couple of weeks ago we’re injecting a bit of color and bold patterns into this column.

Kate MaraAfter seeing the new Hobbit movie this week Kate Mara’s J. Mendel dress is giving off elf vibes thanks to two tiered metallic green and ivory leaf detail. Festive feelings are enhanced by the beautiful gold clutch and yet it doesn’t come across as attempting to be all that Christmassy. I still haven’t seen House of Cards (or OITNB, or Arrested Development even though I have Netflix *sigh*) and considering how divisive it has been it’s on my long list of catch-up projects.

Premiere Of Open Road Films' "Justin Bieber's Believe" - ArrivalsKiernan Shipka’s red carpet style has been consistent in its excellence this year (and yes I’m fine that a 14 year-old has way better clothes than me) and this week she looks delightful in RED Valentino. The floral/polka dot crossover is something I raved about with Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2014 collection and this take on it is super cute. One reason why Shipka’s red carpet style is so good is because she dresses for her age and I hope this continues in 2014.

Amy Poehler Alice and OliviaMaybe it’s the time of year and if Amy Poehler wore this in April it would look like a regular dress, as it’s December I’m seeing ‘an angel at the top of the tree’ frock. Now that I’ve written this it sounds bad, far from it and the puff sleeves/A-line design is what’s reading angel to me. It’s icy looking and the black pattern adds to the winter wonderland feel of this Alice + Oliva dress. The bold lipstick is the pop of color this outfit needs.

Cristin MiliotiThe series finale date has been set for How I Met Your Mother (March 31) and I soured on this show long before Cristin Milioti was revealed to be the mother. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate this Peter Pilotto creation and I might have to include it in the superhero couture that began with Olivia Pope’s Rubin Singer gown on Scandal earlier this season. This might have something to do with Milioti’s red carpet pose and it’s definitely one of the most visually arresting dresses I have seen this year. As a very tenuous link and because we said goodbye to 30 Rock this year here is Milioti in one of my favorite episodes (“TGS Hates Women”).

The Best of the Emmys 2013: Amy Poehler and Tina Fey

23 Sep

There were probably more lows than highs during the 2013 Emmy telecast, particularly during the musical numbers and rushed thank you speeches. One highlight came early on after a very lackluster opening; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to the rescue. Heckling from the front row about how terrible the intro was (they were kidding, but there is truth in these jokes), they donned 3D glasses and had a twerking reference that didn’t feel stale. Bonus Hugh Dancy and Claire Danes laughing behind the pair.


They also presented the first award (that went to Merritt Wever, yay!) and took an interesting trip up to the stage.


Neither Tina Fey nor Amy Poehler won in their acting category and while I don’t begrudge Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning for Veep, it’s hard to believe that Poehler has never won in this category (same goes for Jon Hamm and all his Mad Men nominations/no wins). As Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur put on Twitter “I simply do not understand it. #Poehler

Tina Fey didn’t go home empty handed as she won in the comedy writing category with Tracey Wigfield for the 30 Rock finale.

Now to their dresses and Tina Fey is stunning in this cobalt blue Narciso Rodriguez gown. Fey has a habit of playing it safe with darker colors and this bold blue affair shows that she can work a more daring and confident look.

Tina Fey Emmys

Amy Poehler’s Basler dress is not as striking, but I do really like the pocket detail that makes this more than just another black gown. The orange Irene Neuwirth earrings are a nice touch, particularly when coupled with the simple ponytail.

Amy Poehler Emmys 2013

Amy and Tina need their own awards category for being amazing at all award shows.

Happy TV New Year and Turning Another Year Older

3 Sep

September feels like the start of a new year and for TV it is as the fall season is about to begin. September is the month that I associate with new beginnings – it was always when the academic year started and even though my post-grad finished several years ago I’m still very much in that mindset. Do you know how much I want to go out and get new stationary even though I don’t need it?! Fashion is another industry that holds this month in high regard as the September issue of magazines marks the biggest publication of the year (yes they hit newsstands in August, but there’s no mention of that summer month in the title)  and New York Fashion Week kicks off on Thursday.

The photos dotted throughout are the characters who I often ask “What Would ______ Do?” This selection of inspiring female characters will provide life lessons, fix things, teach me how to wear white without spilling, organize Galentine’s Day, support me with my cheese habit and show me how to wear ’90s fashion all over again.

Leslie Knope

There’s a personal reason why September always feels like the perfect time to reassess and look to the new as it also happens to be when my birthday is (yeah I’m making this all about me). It’s time to finally accept that I am no longer a twentysomething and that I am too old to be a Millennial and too young to be Gen X; where are all the think pieces about the generation in the middle and how we ruined everything? I want my Time magazine cover.


While I’m experiencing the standard apprehension about where I am and what I am doing I also wanted to take the moment to write this perhaps overly emotive post (hey it’s the internet what else am I meant to do?) to see that I am actually doing fine.

Tami Taylor and wine[Source]

TV Ate My Wardrobe has been in existence in this form for almost 5 months and when I started it I had some idea of what I wanted it to be – a place to talk about TV, costuming and fashion. There are so many incredible outlets that feature terrific writing about TV and it’s such a competitive market it can be tough to break through and carve a corner of one’s own. While I still have far to go before I can hail this venture a success, it’s been a personal triumph as my confidence has grown. Of course there are days when I think it’s all pointless but then a new idea will strike and it all seems worth it again. Or I’ll find out that one of my Scandal costuming picks is actually something that has been used in the forthcoming season (*spoiler* it’s the white Burberry trench).

MSCL ep7 The Smile

A lot of thanks has to be given to the many new friends I have made in the TV and writing community on Twitter and for the opportunities this has given me. Without This Was TV I wouldn’t be able to relive my sometimes embarrassing teen years while talking about My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks. This is soon to include the sometimes awkward university years as Julie Hammerle and I will be moving onto Felicity later this month. It turns out conversation pieces are a lot of fun and here I will be continuing the Summer Rewind project (even if it’s pretty much autumn) with Kerensa Cadenas and we will be joined by Julie to talk all things Scandal before the new season begins.  

Olivia PopeWarning this is where I get even more sentimental as I want to say thanks to everyone who has been reading; whether it is one article or if you visit on a regular basis it has made this experience more worthwhile. There is one person who encourages me on a daily basis even when I starting doubting the words I write and they get a huge thank you and this support means everything.

For the final word I will leave you with Nick Miller and I can’t wait to start writing about New Girl again when the new season returns. Here he is with a notion that I am going to try and listen to as I turn another year older.


Julie Hammerle

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