Tag Archives: Holly Taylor

The Americans Season 5 Trailer: Gonna Need a Training Montage

8 Feb

The Americans returns for season 5 next month and somehow things look tenser than ever before. I don’t know how they manage this every year, but the threat levels look higher and also there is some training to be done.

After seeing her mother take out two dudes – including killing one of them – at the end of last season Paige has even more questions about what her parents do and she’s ready to help with the family business. This includes her relationship with Matthew Beeman in The Americans version of Romeo and Juliet and getting self-defense lessons from her mother.

The net continues to close in around Philip and Elizabeth and there is concern that their position is more precarious than ever. Here is the trailer and the ticking clock does a very good job of setting my frayed Americans nerves on fire. Great music timing with the punches too.

Prepare for the all new season of TV's most acclaimed drama. #TheAmericans returns March 7 on @fxnetworks.

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And here is my breakdown of some notable moments.img_0460Henry is still excluded from all important family conversations for obvious reasons. Costume wise Elizabeth is back to silk blouses and not worrying about hiding Keri Russell’s IRL pregnancy. Philip still does dad sweaters better than anyone.img_0488Disguise cave! It is always fun to take a sneak look at their getting ready process and even more so when they’re discussion domestic issues. Philip has concerns with regards to Paige and I don’t blame him tbh.img_0489Maybe all Stan needs is some red string to connect the dots. Or the Carrie Mathison color coding method.img_0466Mischa Jr. is coming! His voyage to the US is far from first class with the trunk of a car providing the non-luxury conditions. I had to double check this wasn’t Matthew Rhys so good casting guys!img_0486Philip and Elizabeth tend to have their most intimate conversations in the bathroom (for anyone who has read my teen TV pieces they will know how happy this makes me) and Philip is also great at miming the clusterfuck they are now in.img_0490Getting every Buffy/Alias training montage vibe.img_0491If this was 2017 Paige would probably be wearing an Ivy Park hoodie. As it is 1984 she is in ESprit. And it is also worth noting her cross necklace is still on display.img_0492A very proud mama.img_0501Stan has very strong concerns about Oleg’s safety as he is still giving the FBI information and this is probably wrapped up in the fact that he already got one informant killed. Oleg looks every level stressed. img_0478This is a tad on the blurry side as this shot is very quick, but here are two new disguises. The last time Philip wore a hat like that it did not go wellimg_0494A gentle stroll in the park or really a difference in opinion about Philip and Elizabeth; Claudia thinks that nothing scares them, Gabriel believes the opposite.

Considering how broken they were at the midpoint last season I am definitely inclined to side with Gabriel on this one.img_0495They definitely just did something bad. Bonus points for the eerie mist and pensive stares.img_0496A brief look at the new flight themed disguises which debuted in Entertainment Weekly at the end of last year.img_0498And I am always thrilled to see Elizabeth in huge frames.

The Americans returns Tuesday, March 7 on FX.

 

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Out of the Box: Look of the Week

16 Dec

There’s a whole lot of seasonal looks this week with plenty of perfect holiday outfits including a Brooks Brothers event, a variety of premieres and some award season shenanigans. Lots of fun to be had as we near the end of this year.

For more from this week’s red carpet coverage check out the Critics’ Choice highlights, a friendship appreciation post and kicking off TV Ate My Wardrobe’s Best of 2016 coverage.christina-hendricksAt the Brooks Brothers annual holiday celebration in conjunction with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Christina Hendricks puts a festive spin on #LadySuitWatch2016.

Those check shoes work like a charm and the belted ribbon is something you can get away with at this time of year. Plus a fabulous shade of red lipstick gives an extra pop.holly-taylorHolly Taylor is also at the same event and her Brooks Brothers ensemble is super cute (even if the shoes are too matchy matchy). I am always here for a sweater/plaid skirt combo and Taylor also gives great lip color.naomie-harrisFlorals were a big trend at the Critics’ Choice Awards earlier this week and at the Collateral Beauty premiere – I saw the trailer for this movie the other day and oh boy it reminds me of a fake 30 Rock creation – Naomie Harris continues her style domination in a bold Rosie Assoulin.

So much yellow pump envy right now.essie-davis-and-ariane-labedMy current TV obsession is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – a post will be coming soon – and star Essie Davis is in the new Assassins Creed movie. At the New York premiere this Martin Grant dress is ideal winter red carpet moody shimmer and co-star Ariane Labed’s mini dress is also a delight and a tad festive.elle-fanningEvery time I see the Live by Night trailer – and it is on a lot of previews right now – it makes me want to see the movie less, which is probably the opposite of its intention. However, Elle Fanning looks great at this screening in a very cool looking Carolina Herrera (pockets!) and I am very excited about 20th Century Women.hidden-figures-academyWelcome to the most fun being had at an Academy event and another movie I am super excited for is Hidden Figures. A+ outfits for all and I wish I could work my mustard beret as spectacularly as Janelle Monae and once again her entire look is every heart emoji.hidden-figuresAnd this is pure joy. Bring me more of this press tour/awards campaign.rogue-oneSo many handsome dudes in suits and a perfectly pleasant dress from Felicity Jones (it could do with being splashier if I’m being honest). Saw Rogue One at a very early morning show (talking 6.30 a.m. and now I want to watch more movies that early) and loved it. There were a lot of swoons in the direction of Mads Mikkelson and Diego Luna.

An Evening with The Americans: Panel Highlights

31 Oct

The Americans has just started shooting its penultimate season, but it won’t be back for at least a few months. To fill the wig and complicated relationship void showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields joined stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys at the 92nd Street Y as part of The Hollywood Reporter’s TV Talks panel series to discuss all things The Americans.

Regular readers will know how much I enjoy a good panel/roundtable (movie award season is coming!) and as this one has the bonus of being about my favorite show.the-americans-panelWeisberg and Fields are both very cautious when revealing anything that could be considered a spoiler so if you want some season 5 secrets then you might be disappointed. Instead what follows is a fascinating chat about the process of making this show from a writing and acting standpoint. It is also very funny at times with Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys displaying the kind of back and forth ease/humor that you would hope to expect from an IRL couple.

This includes Rhys joking about how he directed Russell during her big Paige confrontation scene in “The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears” explaining that it was a “very simple scene to direct because Keri was pregnant at the time, so I just said pretend like you’re talking to me.” He also made Holly Taylor cry for real during this scene and he seems to feel very bad about this.

One of the most revealing aspects of this scene discussion was the behind the scenes debate in the editing room about whether to CGI out the vein which grew more inflamed on Russell’s face as Elizabeth’s anger at Paige increased. Joel Fields fought the corner of keeping it as it was and Russell loved that her face naturally looked like this as “You’re mad. Why would I want to be a pretty version of that? Like I want to be mad, but I want to be pretty.”

Russell also mentions that she understood why this conversation took place; “In everyone’s defense they were just trying to protect me.” It really is a stunning moment and physical performance from Keri Russell’s face parts so I am thrilled they didn’t alter it in post.matthew-rhys-and-keri-russellWhile talking about what it is like to work with the person you also go home with Rhys a little hesitantly at first takes the lead referring to the duality of it all “it’s amazing and it’s difficult. And it’s challenging and exciting. It’s everything.” And that so far they seem to be getting away with it.

One of the answers that surprised some of the audience was when Rhys responded to ‘Did Philip love Martha?’ with a quick “no.” In the way he played it (and I read it) his feelings for her were intrinsically linked to guilt rather than love and there is an aspect of caring, but not being in love. There were lots of Martha questions from the audience – all audience Qs should be done on cards as it really speeds up the process – and she is an important character.

Of course this being Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields they didn’t reveal whether they have plans to bring her back. The only new S5 info was that Philip and Elizabeth would have some different operations to deal with as most of their old ones wrapped up in S4. And there are some theories from the actors about how they would like to see the show wrap up including a dramatic interpretation by Matthew Rhys that has him going out in a blaze of glory.

It wouldn’t be an Americans panel without a little bit of wig/disguise chat and Russell and Rhys were asked to name their favorite disguise the other has worn. This resulted in a Margo Martindale anecdote that is worth clicking on the link below (and comes just before the hour mark).

Praise for Holly Taylor (and whether she has a real tattoo or not) was scattered throughout and how the Paige reveal scene is one of the hardest they have ever shot as it was a lot more heartbreaking on a personal level than Russell expected. This also allows Rhys to gift us with a Monty Python impression and for how serious this show is the set life sure sounds like a lot of fun.

 

Watch the whole panel here (and click ahead to 9 minutes in if you want to skip the clips).

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

13 Oct

As I have been away for a couple of weeks some of these Instagram highlights are from during that time period.

Now for some behind the scenes of how I choose which pictures I include; while I’m scrolling through I’ll screengrab the ones that catch my eye and because I wasn’t on the internet all that much while on honeymoon/during wedding prep this will be a lighter week, but a fun collection nonetheless featuring a lot of my favorite shows/people.

Next time everything will be back to regular transmission.

 

Our first proper night in New York was spent in the company of Gil and George (charmed, I’m sure) and as a huge fan of the “too much tuna” sketch on Kroll Show this stage production was everything I hoped it would be and more. Funny and so dark in places, that I was equal parts laughing and picking my jaw up off the floor.

From best of friends to tonight's Brd'way opening. We'll say it again, bozos: THIS IS NOT A PRAHNK. #OhHelloBroadway

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This fun photo collage of the evolution of this sketch is also a delight.

Blowing the lid off: Finally, the proof that @tatianamaslany is in actual fact a clone.

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There is still time for some 2016 Emmy coverage and this photo Tom Cullen posted of Tatiana Maslany links nicely into Orphan Black and my desire to get drinks and go dancing with them.

"This dork. Day 1. Season 5." 📸= @tatianamaslany on Twitter

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Speaking of Orphan Black and they are back on set for the fifth and final season. Helena is coming to play and this always makes me very happy.

Also it just occurred to me that a lot of shows I hold close to my heart are getting the chance to wrap up on their own terms (see also The AmericansHalt and Catch Fire and The Leftovers). Sure, it is a bummer they will be over soon(ish), but also such a relief they will get a proper ending to their story.

Westeros 2015

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Also on this list is Game of Thrones (although it was never in doubt that they would get to choose their end date unlike some of those shows listed above) and this is very fun flashback to 2015 from Carice van Houten.

 

Two more seasons of The Americans (*sob*) and day one of season five already has me excited for the skirt/boot combination Keri Russell is wearing (even in this is an out of focus shot).

 

To the woman who creates these Americans costumes surrounded by her work and this photo of costume designer Katie Irish is a stunner.

From @janiebryant Mad Men archives 💛

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And to a show that is over, but not in our hearts or January Jones’ Insta and these costume shots from Janie Bryant are always a welcome sight.

Today @nbctimeless premiers & I am so grateful to have been a small part of awesome show!! My character was a total transformation into another time period, from sleeping in hair pins, to stylized makeup, some awesome pants called jampers and I loved every moment of it!! It's the best part about what I do, stepping outside myself and becoming someone who is a whole different individual. Bringing her back to life from 1937 allowed me to learn more about the journey of women in this world! My inspiration was Margaret Bourke-White who as a woman had a lot of "firsts" on her resume.. Like being the FIRST FEMALE photographer on staff at LIFE magazine and featured on the cover! Make sure to tune in tonight..: and thanks #timelessteam for letting me be a part of your world!! #lovemyjob #luckygirl

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Now for a closer look at the hair, makeup and costuming Shantel VanSanten wore on the Timeless premiere – a show that is tremendous amounts of fun from both a story and costume perspective – and I love the detail in her description here. Also so much lipstick coveting.

 

Constance Zimmer shared a piece of fan art that celebrates the many characters she has played on TV and it is wonderful.

 

No hot sauce required.

#1Spice shoot! #BTS #KitengeTakeover @QueenOfKatweMovie @yc_hab

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A couple of style highlights include Lupita Nyong’o on the Queen of Katwe press tour crushing it all over the place.

 

Followed by Jenny Slate going full vintage in this fabulous casual look.

JUUUUDIIIIITH LIIIIGHTTTTTTTT @elleusa @cateware 🐩

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Ending things this week with a couple of very important things from the Broad City Instagram including the best dog ever (Tom Hiddleston you look okay too).

Keri Russell's Jennifer disguise in The Americans got us feelin some type of way YOWWWW !

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As a Top 5 Americans disguise it feels right to finish this first “Behind the Insta-Scenes” post after being away with this joyous moment. Abbi and Ilana, I’m sure would agree.

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set (Emmy Special)

21 Sep

An all Emmy weekend edition of “Behind the Insta-Scenes” including pre-parties, getting ready and the actual awards.

Reunited. #Emmys #fnl #blurry

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I’ve said this many times before, but out of all the cast reunions the Friday Night Lights ones give me the most feeeeeeelings. This is ultimate.

#BudCrossover @masterofnone @strangerthingstv

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Stranger Things kids are in big demand and the height difference here just made me laugh a lot.

 

I also appreciate the fact that actors will freak out over other actors. Also still so here for Henry Jennings in a turtleneck.

 

Chris Geere also demonstrating good internal freak out here.

Step one. Bow tie. Thank you @zegnaofficial #emmys2016

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And who wouldn’t be thrilled to meet this handsome chap. Good bow tie work.

I met the brilliant @sharonhorgan last night and it was so damn exciting!

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Emmy weekend on Instagram is pretty much a series of these kinds of pictures. This one makes me so happy.

Yo! He's ALIVE!!!!! #Emmys

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And another.

…just like to thank me mam xo

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Maisie Williams didn’t win, but she did get an edible Emmy. Sounds pretty great to me.

 

Lots of getting ready Emmy stories including Keri Russell’s make-up routine. Her eyebrows in this shot are giving me inspiration for the big day on Saturday.

 

Yara Shahidi was one of our best dressed over the weekend and she switched things up after the awards giving a detailed photo diary of her Emmy night for Elle.

11:28 A.M. / Follow along on our IG Story as @constancezimmer readies for the #Emmys! #STRIIIKEHAIR

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Constance Zimmer got a bold blunt bob on Emmy day and it looks fabulous against her super pink frock.

Emmmmmyzzzz🍕🍕🍕🍕

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Super stylist Ilaria Urbinati definitely deserves some pizza.

CE LOVES T-FEY 💚 #outfitchange #celoves

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And now for the after. Comfy tee on, amazing dress in hand.

Slayer

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Tom Cullen delivered on the proud boyfriend looking on at his award winning lady.

Found @tatianamaslany swanning around this morning. As per.

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And also on the post party arrangements from earlier in the weekend. Fave couple alert.

Best of the 2016 Emmys: Shimmer, Black and White

19 Sep

Continuing our Emmy style rundown and this second bumper post gives great sparkle. Plus the many different interpretations of how to wear black and white on the red carpet.constance-wuGetting 70s disco vibes from Constance Wu in J. Mendel and after Sarah Paulson’s Prada, this is my favorite look of the night.judith-lightJudith fucking Light. Always amazing. No exceptions. laverne-coxOrange is the New Black was pretty much shutout this year, but Laverne Cox is giving statuette realness is Naeem Khan.claire-danesClaire Danes might want to tone down the tan/bronzer, but her Schiaparelli super sparkly number is a stunner.taraji-p-hensonTaraji P. Henson changed it all up for presenting and I think I like this look even more than the yellow dress. Sequins and that hairstyle continue the nod to the 70s.stranger-things-kidsThe Stranger Things kids are adorable and need to be protected at all costs. Also continuing the trend of dressing better than a lot of adults, particularly in the tux department (see also Jacob Tremblay). Millie Bobby Brown put a bird on it in Red Valentino and this is the perfect brand for her.kristen-bellA very romantic looking Zuhair Murad floral gown for Kristen Bell and this is giving me all the heart eyes.yara-shahidiAnother knockout choice from Yara Shahidi and a Clara Rotescu dress that also gave great twirl/floating style.tracee-ellis-rossEverything about Tracee Ellis in this pose and Ralph Lauren dress is incredibly regal. holly-taylorThe Americans sadly didn’t win, but Holly Taylor combines great sparkle with white in custom Theia Couture. rami-malekRami Malek in a white Dior tux jacket is showing why he was on our most anticipated list.tittus-burgessRami’s not the only one crushing the white tux jacket look and Tituss Burgess also came with a strong shoe and bow tie game.sophie-turnerA sheer frock I don’t hate! Sophie Turner delivers a miracle in Valentino.jldAnd even more sheer that I like! Julia Louis-Dreyfus gave a heart crushing speech as her dad passed away on Friday, which left me pretty much sobbing into my wine.america-ferreraSequins really were the big style winner of the night and America Ferrera’s Jenny Packham frock is another evening high point.kerry-washingtonKerry Washington is never boring on the red carpet and she’s wearing a show stopping Brandon Maxwell number coupled with hair that takes me back to Olivia Pope hanging out on a tropical beach.

Best of the Pre-Emmy Parties: Vanity Fair and BAFTA

18 Sep

More pre-Emmy gaming at the Vanity Fair and FX party with a whole host of TV Ate My Wardrobe faves and this party also showcases just how good FX is at the moment. Plus the annual BAFTA LA Tea Party, which always delivers on the daytime shindig attire.keri-russell-and-matthew-rhysGot to kick off with the show that dominates a lot of costume chat in these parts; Keri Russell always brings the casual glam to events like this and for this occasion Matthew Rhys has dialed back on the hiatus beard grizzle with a trim. Nice color suit too and I am looking forward to seeing more of this IRL couple tonight.keirdrich-sellatiAnd this is several shades of adorable from the Americans kids and Keidrich Sellati’s turtleneck/blazer combo is levels of spy and casual attire that his TV dad would wear. schwimmer-paulson-brownDelightful is the word I would use to describe this photo with the cast of American Crime Story giving off all the good vibes. Excellent lipstick choice from Sarah Paulson too.
connie-britton-and-jesse-plemonsThis Vanity Fair/FX party is just a long list of feelings pretty much; including this Friday Night Lights reunion. Tami and Lance feeeeeeelings. donald-gloverDonald Glover keeps the same shirt and changes the suit and still looks just as good as the day before.angela-bassettAngela Bassett always looks incredible and this is no exception. tatiana-maslany-and-maisie-williamsNow to the BAFTA LA Tea Party and there are a lot of super cute patterned dresses to scroll through including Maisie Williams in a very fun House of Holland number, which pairs really well with Tatiana Maslany’s also starry patchwork Coach frock. yara-shahidiGoing slightly more pattern delicate is Yara Shahidi in an ethereal Tommy Hilfiger dress and another stunner from the Black-ish star.millie-bobby-brownA few days ago I mentioned some red carpet similarities between Millie Bobby Brown and Kiernan Shipka; this look continues this notion and while I’m not a fan of the term ‘age appropriate’ (as it can sound quite stuffy) this is exactly that. Good choice of flats too.melora-hardinTransparent’s Melora Hardin also has the right idea for a frock that bridges the summer/fall gap especially when it is still this warm.alison-wrightA different spin on print and Alison Wright’s Stella McCartney jumpsuit (the top version has been worn by Cookie on Empire) is a fun take on daytime party attire.rupaulPolka dots and pink at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, zebra print and yellow at the BAFTA Tea Party; RuPaul crushes it in color and print every single time.

Best of the 2016 TCA Awards Style

8 Aug

The 2016 TCA Awards (not to be confused with the Teen Choice Awards) took place on Saturday and it is one awards show where the attendees know they have won* and that aren’t televised. They also don’t separate the acting awards by gender and ladies won big this year with Sarah Paulson and Rachel Bloom taking home the drama and comedy accolades. American Crime Story was the big winner of the night and The Americans received Best Drama for the second year in a row. For a full list of winners head here.

Sidenote – I also can’t help but think of this episode of The Comeback when it comes to award shows where the recipient knows they have won.

Check out our style highlights from the event below.Mr Robot and CubaThe Mr Robot cast continue their best dressed domination with Christian Slater and Rami Malek crushing their suit choices (as per usual). Malek’s penchant for color instantly makes him standout. Portia Doubleday and Carly Chaikin’s excellent dress picks continue with pleats and a super sexy black number; they are high on the Emmy red carpet anticipation list. Oh hey there Cuba Gooding Jr. Stephanie CorneliussenMore royal blue pleats from a Mr Robot cast member and this time with one of my other favorite things; sequins. Stephanie Corneliussen also happened to be a TCA panel style highlight last week.Sarah Paulson and Holland TaylorThere’s a lot of sheer/net curtain elements to this dress and much like this Philosophy frock Sarah Paulson wore a few months ago I am somewhat on the fence; however she wears it incredibly well and the shorter hairstyle continues to be the best. Also got some strong #RelationshipGoals going on as Paulson poses with girlfriend Holland Taylor.Holly TaylorIt was a busy week for Americans stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys and they didn’t make the awards (it looks like Matthew Rhys was shooting Girls), but the rest of the cast looked amazing with Holly Taylor in a sparkly Marc Bouwer frock. Bonus lipstick points.Alison Wright and Keidrich SellatiWhoa! Keidrich Sellati who plays Henry Jennings sure looks tall/scrubs up well and is finally out from behind the computer screen. Pockets and florals, plus gold shoes equals a fantastic look from Alison Wright. Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKennaI love how genuinely thrilled Rachel Bloom looks at events like this and the red/white coordinating with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna is striking. Jane Fonda and Lily TomlinAll the feelings and a good way to start the week with a hug from Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

21 Jul

Some Emmy nomination related posts, Instagram style highs and casts returning to set are all on the agenda this week.

 

The Wine Show is coming to Hulu August 13 and get ready for the Matthews in full cheeky scamp mode with a big dose of dad jokes and puns. It is wonderful.

 

The Looking movie airs this Sunday and while I am so not ready to be over (a thing I keep repeating in relation to this project) I am excited to feel all the feelings. Frankie J. Alvarez is doing a very good job in preparing me.

 

Chris Geere looks back to season 1 premiere of You’re the Worst and it isn’t too long until Gretchen and Jimmy will be back on our screens. *insert prayer hands emoji here*

This pretty much sums @maybeayacash in between takes #youretheworst

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Now to the present with Aya Cash eating and reading (great book choice).

 

Lots of fall show casts are back on set and Vincent Rodriguez III from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gives good hot weather hydration reminders (my apartment is a sweatbox so I definitely need to do this).

Yay! "Settle for Me" is nominated for Emmy!

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So Rachel Bloom didn’t get the acting nomination I was hoping for and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend missed out on Best Comedy, but they did score song and choreography nods for “Settle for Me” (and two other dance numbers).

 

While we’re on the subject of Emmys; I was very excited for this and while I wasn’t in a Panera, I maybe did let out a bit (okay a lot) of a scream.

 

Emilia Clarke celebrates the Game of Thrones supporting actress category domination – sad to see no Sophie Turner – with a look at the not so glamorous nature of set life.

 

And Maisie Williams does so with this cute and terrifying video.

 

Also in the supporting category is Constance Zimmer (if only Shiri Appleby could have been nominated in the lead category too) wearing this fabulous dress from the UnREAL season 2 episode “Infiltration.”

Great to see this one. We're back suckas. #elementary #season5

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Another returning to set photo and it is good to see Jonny Lee Miller back all buttoned up with Lucy Liu looking as flawless as ever on Elementary.

 

Any hot sauce for the iZombie cast?

I mean I did have fun as a brunette…

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Gina Rodriguez continues her summer of excellent hair changes while on hiatus going blonde and crushing it with those funky sunglasses.

Flowers and Afros.

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Danielle Brooks wins the Best Style on Instagram this week with this beautiful look.

 

I know this barefoot walk so well. An unsurprisingly very fabulous outfit from Mindy Kaling.

tbt findin old pics in phone

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Ending things this week with a fun one from Chelsea Peretti and Andre Braugher gives great flat cap.

The Americans 4.13 “Persona Non Grata” Review: Auspicious Beginnings

9 Jun

Home or the idea of returning back to Russia has been humming away in the background throughout season 4 of The Americans as the risks keeping stacking up and the chance of getting caught increases with every move. Gabriel tells Elizabeth and Philip that they have always been in danger and yet when they get this offer to return home they are both stunned into silence rather than action.

At the start of the year when Philip’s inner voice was telling him to “run, run, run” he knew this wasn’t an option because Elizabeth didn’t feel the same way and even with everything that is going on with William’s arrest, Pastor Tim and managing Paige there is still something holding them back. The Americans 4.13 Elizabeth and PhilipWe’ve found out a lot more this season about Philip and Elizabeth’s origin story; the places they grew up and the hardships they faced. Elizabeth tells Philip about her Smolensk chat with Paige and her wistful pondering about how much has changed. Philip is far less romantic about the state of home suggesting that it probably isn’t that much different from how they left it; despite this slight rebuttal it is a really nice moment between the pair as they contemplate their home that once was.

Everything about Russia in the present is an abstract to them and later on as they contemplate Gabriel’s offer they both struggle to picture their kids in the USSR, which is hardly surprising considering just how American they both are. Paige underscored a lot of the issues a couple of weeks ago when Russia was on the table with the language being a primary concern. Despite their loyalty to their country they are accustomed to this American way of life and the idea of moving is hard to fathom; what exactly will they do when they get home?The Americans 4.13 Paige and ElizabethPhilip and Elizabeth are not the only ones who the Motherland is calling back for one reason or another and they might end with Oleg and Arkady as seatmates. Oleg is choosing to return to his family because his mother is still in a bad way after the death of his brother and he is told twice in “Persona Non Grata” that he is a good son. First by Arkady, then by Tatiana. The pull of America has always been strong for Oleg and as with Philip there are certain pop culture and lifestyle aspects he is drawn to.

Unlike Philip, Oleg had a comfortable upbringing and lived in relative wealth but when he returns he will also have to find a position for himself in a place with fewer resources. Arkady’s reasons for departing are not his own and he is given 48-hours to leave thanks to what happened to Gaad. Even though there is no proof he had anything to do with the hotel room tragedy Gaad’s replacement still has the sway to get him kicked out. Perhaps we will see Oleg and Arkady working together from Russia next season. Here’s hoping as both characters are vital to the Russian portion of The Americans.The Americans 4.13 Oleg and TatianaThere is someone who will be making the trip from the Motherland to the United States as Philip’s other son Mischa is on the hunt for his American travel agent dad. We first meet Mischa locked up in an institution because he has been saying some anti-Soviet things about the war in Afghanistan; a war he fought in. Luckily for Mischa he has some powerful friends and his release is secured and he heads to his grandfather’s home.

Irina’s father has a low key looking Jason Bourne package of passports and money for him from his mother and it turns out Irina is also in prison. She ran, but they don’t know why. We learn that Mischa’s grandfather didn’t meet Philip, but he did see him with Irina once and they looked happy; this idea of auspicious beginnings runs throughout this Americans finale in a season which has been looking back and dealing with consequences.

EST has helped Philip explore his feelings about this line of work and it is worth noting that this season began with a vital moment in Philip’s journey; the explosive act of violence at the age of 10 that sent him down the path he is now on. The versions of his stories are of course edited and yet the feelings are still the same. So in the first one the bully moved away rather than “oh I killed him” and this week we see him telling the group about how much he hates his job as a travel agent, but can’t quit. The sentiment is still the same as he describes the ‘sick feeling’ in the pit of his stomach that he experiences every morning and how he has commitments and responsibilities to the people he loves. The Americans 4.13 Philip and ElizabethThe difference between most careers and the one line of work Philip has found himself in is how consuming it is; he isn’t just a KGB agent from 9-5 and this job is his entire life. It is why he married Elizabeth and had two children and his family and work are forever entwined. So while the EST coach suggests that he can quit, it is far from the simple “you ain’t that important.”

Philip also focuses on this idea of picking a job before you know who you are and while Elizabeth has remained steadfast and unquestioning of her commitment Philip has long been staring into the abyss. Gabriel notes his heart hasn’t been in it for a long time (while highlighting Elizabeth’s length of service as a way to get her to quit) and despite his reservations there is no way Philip is quitting without Elizabeth.The Americans 4.13Change and the way things can turn in an instant is something Philip has long been concerned with; when they were fighting about Paige getting pulled into this world Philip argued that something always changes and he doubles down on this sentiment here. Over the last four years we have tracked these changes with the most significant coming in the central relationship as they have fallen in love for real – or rather Elizabeth fell in love with Philip because he was already there – and the impact this has had on everything.

Their relationship is unique in this world which seems to drive everyone else into being alone; Gabriel discussed this last week with Philip and all season we have seen William watch Philip and Elizabeth with a mixture of wonder and envy. William ends up in the custody of the FBI, but before he is caught he infects himself with the Lassa virus sample that he was going to pass onto Philip. The KGB has no idea that William has sacrificed himself in this manner and the concern for the Jennings cover comes directly from William’s capture.The Americans 4.13 Stan and AderholtAs with Philip we get to hear about William’s changing opinion about the job he took on years ago; at first it was exciting and this commitment to something drove him. William also talks about being invisible and how special this made him feel at first, but his secret power became his curse.

It is a sad tale of a lonely life and this absence of closeness meant that all he had left was his commitment; this is why Gabriel knew to target this last week when he convinced him to do this one last job. The unnamed friendship William had with Philip is one he views as at a distance and that there was always a barrier between them.The Americans 4.13 WilliamLater as the oozing begins – Dylan Baker’s delivery of what will happen to him is a thing of wonder and I’m going to miss him – and William starts to slip he reveals the relationship he had long ago; that they were always fighting and how he wishes they could have been like them. In the vaguest of terms he talks about Philip and Elizabeth; “she’s pretty, he’s lucky” and how with their two kids they are living the American Dream. Will Stan equate this to the couple who have been on their radar since season 1?

For now they are safe from arrest as Elizabeth notes the lack of FBI cars when Stan finally comes home after days at work and all is as it was and yet this sleepy suburb is no longer the refuge it once was and their house looms like a warning as Philip marches Paige back home after finding out she has been smooching Matthew while Henry has been left to watch the Super Bowl by himself (making this January 22, 1984). Poor Henry.The Americans 4.13 StanIn a very awkward dad to dad moment Stan is kinda giddy about Matthew hooking up with Paige. Ew, Stan. But this shows the difference between a dad of a son and a daughter in this situation and also everything else that Philip knows so good job laughing off the father of the bride joke that Stan makes. Philip is angry at Paige because of just how complicated this whole situation is already as he forbids her from seeing Matthew. When she starts to sass back he simply tells her “you have no idea” and let’s just see what happens if he mentions the move to Russia considering the shit fit she threw last time.

Relationship wise beyond the one they have with each other Philip, Elizabeth and now to some extent Paige are likely to understand exactly what William means by the barrier he felt when he tried to reach out to people. Paige asks Elizabeth how long it was after she gave birth before she wanted people to come visit and she answers that she didn’t really have any friends. Bleak.

The same can be said for now and even the friend she made this season was built on a foundation of lies and torn down by deception. I’m still super bummed out about Young Hee. The same goes for Philip as Stan might be his BFF on the surface, but he is always holding back and withholding and he sure does not want Stan’s son to date his daughter. For reasons. Paige talks to Matthew about trust and this idea that parents are just people and here she is also unable to completely be herself. The same goes for when she held Pastor Tim and Alice’s baby as her smile soon shifted to sadness as the strains of Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire?” plays.The Americans 4.13 Paige and babyThe season ends not so much on a cliffhanger, but with this feeling that everything is somehow going to get harder. There is no vacation coming the Jennings way and even if they keep up appearances the net is closing in. Dealing with consequences both on a grand scale and the personal toll has made this season the best The Americans has done yet and with every move the knots in my stomach get even tighter; the following of William in tandem with Philip going to his drop location involved very little action, but it is sequences like that that elevate this from other spy shows.

Everything that has gone on in the core relationships this season including Paige’s evolution which has led to junior spy like actions – this week she also asks her mom for some self-defense lessons – has strengthened what was already incredible. Philip and Elizabeth continue to grow as a couple even when they disagree and it has been the emotional changes in Elizabeth that is the true standout for me this year. The bold moves with Martha and her devastating arc has been another high point in a season of highs.

Performances have been incredible across the board with Holly Taylor delivering wide eyed horror and confrontation in equal measure and Alison Wright giving off far than just Poor Martha as she took her fate with strength and resolve. Come Emmy nomination day I would love to hear both Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys’ names getting called out for the acting masterclass they have delivered on a weekly basis and there is so much they say even when there is no dialogue.

There are two more seasons to follow this one and it definitely feels like we are approaching the final act. And I cannot wait.

Shot(s) of the WeekThe Americans 4.13 Arkady Going for three shots this week; first up is Arkady contemplating his return home while looking up at the bust of Lenin.

Last week I mentioned how well the painting of Lenin is utilized in the Rezidentura for dramatic effect and I’m glad to see them playing on this theme with this different imposing version of Lenin.The Americans 4.13 Philip and Elizabeth bedroomMirroring the end of season 3, but Elizabeth is in the seated position and instead of contemplating a murder she has just committed as Philip did at that point they are instead weighing up their running options.

They are very much on the same page rather than at a distance with Ronald Reagan delivering a grand speech.The Americans 4.13 houseThis looks straight from a horror movie.

Disguise of the WeekThe Americans 4.13 Philip ESTA repeat of the Philip disguise which reminds me of my dad has led me to a non-disguise disguise with Philip wearing his travel agent hat and a giant name badge at EST. It was also fun hearing Elizabeth describe EST to Paige as she attempted to be non-judgmental (and failing) of her husband’s outlet.

Outfit I Would Wear in 2016The Americans 4.13 kitchen tableOne final shout out to the Coach trench Elizabeth has been sporting all season and the ultimate in the roll call of coats from this year. Also shout out to Keri Russell for wearing stiletto boots while this pregnant or any time really because while they look amazing this would be incredibly perilous if I was to wear them in any condition.

 

Thanks for joining me on this season 4 Americans adventure and I will be back to talk about the show later in the year.

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