Advertisements
Tag Archives: My So-Called Life

Movie Team-Up: ‘Lady Bird’ and the Teen TV Legacy

1 Mar

Almost six years ago I was paired up with a writer I knew from Twitter to talk Teen TV over at This Was TV. We started with Angela Chase and ended with Rory Gilmore. Now I am back with YA author Julie Hammerle to discuss the latest teen girl sensation; Lady Bird. This is the first time we have deep dived into a movie, but even with the much shorter run time there is a lot to unpack. And a lot to talk about in relation to those previous shows. Join us as we get into the relationships, our own experiences, why the early ’00s were bad for fashion and who Lady Bird would hang out with from those other shows. Emma: One reason I really wanted to talk to you about Lady Bird in our format reserved for the best in 90s/00s teen TV is because this film feels so perfectly suited to the shows we have discussed in the past—My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, Felicity and Gilmore Girls. Obviously we spend at lot less time with Lady Bird than Angela, Lindsay, Felicity and Rory, but even in that short time I think we find out so much about the complex life of this character and the world she inhabits. This is a testament both to Greta Gerwig’s writing/directing and Saoirse Ronan’s performance.

Now a quick bit of background in terms of my high anticipation levels for this film. This was the film I have been long been waiting to see, before it started getting all the awards love. I am a self-proclaimed Greta Gerwig stan. Frances Ha was my favorite film of 2013 and it impacted me on a deeply personal level. I love Mistress America and Twentieth Century Women. Knowing that this was Greta’s first solo writing project and that she was directing only made me want to see it more. Plus Saoirse Ronan is good everything, so that was another bonus. Then it started winning things and my envy at everyone that had seen it grew.

I had that worry that I had maybe over hyped the film and I would end up disappointed. This was not the case and it managed to not only live up to, but surpass those expectations.

Coming-of-age films are completely in my wheelhouse, one that centers on a teen girl even more so. Lady Bird is set in 2002, which was the year after I graduated high school so there is a lot about her experiences that felt very personal right down to the very bad jeans we all wore then. We’ve talked a lot about the transition between high school and college on here, but most of the shows we talked about dealt with one or the other, Gilmore Girls being the only one that did both. And before we get into plot specifics I want to ask you about your experience watching this film, did you have high expectations?Julie: I’m on the exact opposite end of the Greta Gerwig spectrum from you. I honestly haven’t seen much of anything she’s done/has been in. No Frances Ha, no Mistress America, no Twentieth Century Woman. I hadn’t been actively avoiding them; I just missed them. Absent any first-hand knowledge of Gerwig’s work, but also kind of knowing that she was a bit of an internet darling, I had CONCERNS that I wouldn’t like this movie. My husband told me he thought it’d be my favorite movie of the year, but I worried it’d be too precious, too “indie” for me, too “Hollywood’s idea of what it means to be a teen girl.”

It was none of those things. I loved Lady Bird.

I know we’ll get into this as we go along, but this film felt so authentic. (Other than Lady Bird’s obsession with Dave Matthew’s Band, which felt a little anachronistic to me–DMB would’ve been big with people who graduated high school when I did in 1997. By 2002, I feel like everyone had moved on to Ryan Adams or David Grey, Sad Bastard Music-wise. Maybe I’m wrong, though.)

Anyway, this movie exceeded my expectations, and totally fits into our series on high school/college women. How does Lady Bird fit with in Felicity, Rory, and the like? Who would she have been friends with?Emma: Wow! We really are coming at this film from different angles, much like our other teen TV convos when only one of us had seen the show during its original run.

And with regards to DMB, I remember seeing Greta on one of the late night shows talking about this song and “Cry Me a River” being super important to her when she was in high school (she’s a year younger than me), so I guess he was still a thing in 2002 for teens. DMB never really did much this side of the pond and most of my knowledge comes from Mouse Rat on Parks and Rec. This song (which I don’t think I had heard before) felt like the ideal song to cry with your BFF to. And for how awful JT is, that album and particularly that track are so, so good. The first time I heard it was at a party. I did not hook up with a douche that lied about his virginity though.

Lady Bird is completely her own character of course, but there are elements that made me think of Angela, Felicity et al. There’s the dyed hair, liking the band douche (he reads!), falling out with a bestie to hang with the cool crowd, wanting something more. And really these are part of the teen experience. I have done all of these. Again this is part of the reason why this movie resonated.

Someone on Twitter mentioned how they thought Lady Bird was in the same universe as Felicity (brb gonna write some fanfic) and if their paths crossed at NYU (or the University of New York in the Felicity-verse) I could definitely see them hanging out. Felicity is more straight laced than Lady Bird, but she does have her more adventurous side. If only Lady Bird had moved in during season 3 and not British Molly. I thought I had erased that arc. I had not.

What Gerwig captures in the writing and Saoirse Ronan in her performance is the wild swings between seemingly endless confidence and feeling like you’re incredibly worthless. Something still experienced as an adult, but adolescence magnifies these things. At times Lady Bird looks like she could take on the world, but then her first love turns out to be a lie (Danny obviously cares about her, but not in that way) and she’s also embarrassed about where she comes from. And she doesn’t entirely fit in with one specific high school group trope. She’s a theatre kid for a bit, she tries hanging with the band, but she falls between the nerdy and the cool characters. And I think this is how a lot of groups are at school rather than the neat classification. The relationship with Julie is the anchor to the movie and the focus on female friendships is a theme that runs throughout Gerwig’s writing, this is far more important than either boy. What did you make of this portrayal?

[Source]

Julie: Are you talking about “Crash Into Me,” as the DMB song? That was a big one around these parts, but I’m thinking sophomore year of college, which probably would’ve been Greta’s freshman or so year of high school, so I guess it all checks out.

(Actually, fact check, “Crash Into Me” was on their 1996 album. I was definitely in high school. So, what do I know? Also, that song is a great “sob with your BFF” song, no doubt. I remember it being a big thing here because it’s a pretty love song, but its lyrics are also kind of dirty in a way that made us all feel grown up to be singing them.)

I will not abide any positive JT talk.

I want to live in a new universe were Felicity met Lady Bird (CHRISTINE) in college instead of that British Molly! I think the big difference for me between Felicity and Lady Bird is that Felicity went to college thinking she had it all figured out. She was going to be pre-med and she was going to make love happen with Ben. Then…things fell apart. Lady Bird/Christine showed up in New York a hot mess. She’d been a hot mess for most of high school, while Felicity was the perfect kid. In a lot of ways, Christine is poised to handle college better than Felicity was. She’s done more. Her parents have very low expectations for her, ha-ha.

Julie was the best. I actually want to see a movie all about her. We obviously share a name, but I just felt so hard for her. I was the overweight girl watching my friends kiss boys. I was the one with the unrequited loves and the out-of-reach crushes. (And I was the one who got good grades and knew I loved theater/music.) And, like you said, groups in high school are never just the “theater kids” or the “swimmers.” There’s a lot of overlap. Friends have varying interests. I liked how this movie portrayed that.

Also, I went to Catholic high school and spent my freshman year at an all-girls’ school. I loved how right this movie got Catholic school. We were friends with the nuns and joked around with them. We wore uniforms (my freshman year), but people did manage to individualize their looks. You could tell who was cool by their Birks and wool socks. We were so classy in 1994. And we were always trying creatively to meet boys–on the bus, at basketball games, through friends. What did you make of Lady Bird’s school life?

Emma: I am talking “Crash Into Me.” And here is Greta talking 2002 and music on Seth. It includes the letters she wrote to Alanis Morissette, Dave Matthews and JT. Did I already mention how much I love her? Because I love her.

And you are so right, Lady Bird (and yes Christine by this point) and Felicity arrive at very different points in their life and with very different parental expectations. I have a lot more parental thoughts, but first I want to discuss Julie because I would also watch a movie called Julie. Their friendship feels very lived in and it is a testament to the film how much it hurts when Lady Bird ditches her. It is the kind of teen moment that makes you feel like shit when you think back to when you did this to someone and when it happened to you. It is something we discussed at length with regards to Angela Chase and Lindsay Weir. It is a rite of passage that doesn’t get discussed as much as the other big teen moments (probably because the nostalgic feelings are anything but warm and fuzzy).

Just as important as love interest chemistry is best friend chemistry, Saoirse Ronan and Beanie Feldstein (sister of Jonah Hill) are amazing together. When Lady Bird goes to Julie after hearing “Crash Into Me” it was better than most climatic kiss moments. They dance around the kitchen eating cheese on crackers (sounds like heaven) and get baked together. I like that she keeps her crush to herself because sometimes you don’t even share this stuff with your bestie. And I love that she thrives in theater, whereas Lady Bird is stuck with the chorus and made up roles (“It is the titular role” made me laugh so hard). I was always in the chorus because I got such bad stage fright, but I really like the whole doing the school play thing.

I did not go to Catholic school, but I did wear uniform for the entire time right though sixth form (senior year). A tie and everything. I never wore my tie properly, for a brief period I wore it as a stumpy length, we’d pull the threads out, put pin badges on it and I wore the thin side for my last two years. And when I could I would wear sneakers and not my proper leather shoes. Such a rebel, ha. My husband did go to Catholic school and he found all of that to be both very funny and also accurate.

The parts that really rang true include falling for the guy in the band. The guy that likes to read and has ‘progressive’ ideas about cigarettes and phones. I have definitely heard both of those conversations a lot. I smoked roll ups so I’m pretty sure I spouted some of those points about fiberglass. It is good to be able to identify the pretentious things we thought made us so superior and acknowledge how eye roll inducing they are now. What did you make of the boys Lady Bird fell for? Have you seen Call My By Your Name? Timothée Chalamet manages to play two very different sides of the precocious coin.

[Source]

Julie: I recently went through a whole bunch of stuff from high school and found some notes from friends, basically calling me out for being a dick. I don’t think their words hit me as hard then as they did when I reread them as an adult. Though, I was going through my own stuff at the time, and my friends hadn’t been very understanding of that either. When you get to adulthood, you (for the most part) know who you are, things don’t change very quickly. But in high school, relationships, self-discovery, all of it moves so fast. We all think we’re in the center of things, even though we’re not. And as much screen time is given to romantic relationships on TV and in film, friendships are truly what high school is all about. Toxic ones lead you to make poor choices. True blue ones (like Lady Bird and Julie) can bring out the best in you.

I loved how this movie explored Lady Bird with Julie and Lady Bird with the other girl (what’s her name?). It was kind of like Lady Bird having a Sliding Doors moment. Her life was one way with Julie, and something totally different with the other girl. In high school, people buddy up pretty quickly. By the end of freshman year, your place in the hierarchy is pretty much set. But Lady Bird tested that in this movie. She got to see what life was like on the other side, and…it wasn’t that great.

Timothée Chalamet is a delight. He’s the best worst kind of guy in this film, and he totally said she’d be his first time, too, right? John and I argued over that point. I definitely heard what Lady Bird did. I did see Call Me By Your Name, and he has such an interesting way of using his body–so gangly and awkward but smooth. This guy is going places, but we all knew that already.

He was totally the guy I would’ve been too scared to crush on in high school. He was way too edgy for me! I would’ve been chasing the gay dude or crushing on the teacher, like Julie.

Would you have fallen for the band dude?

Emma: One other thing I want to mention about the school scenes before moving on to boys in the band is the moment that gets Lady Bird suspended. We also had someone that was pro life speak to our class, but there was also a doctor present and suffice to say that no one was afraid of letting their opinions be heard. Not that any minds were changed, but imagine 20 precocious liberal 17/18 year olds presented with someone telling us abortion is a sin and yep we were all Lady Bird in this moment.

So boys in the band. I both dated and crushed hard on this kinda guy both at high school and university. My first proper boyfriend (relationship lasted 3 months) was the drummer in a local band; a lot of my long (and short) crushes were on lead guitarist, bassists and singers. Someone of these guys I am still very good friends with. So I definitely get the Kyle thing. And they all had great hair and liked to read. I am that teen cliché.

And Kyle definitely said “me too” when Lady Bird mentioned she was a virgin. Although considering how quick he was in the bedroom, I do wonder if he was lying about how experienced he was. Also the nosebleed link between Lady Bird and CMBYN. You’re right about how Chalamet moves. One thing that stood out to me clothing wise in CMBYN is now his Levi’s shorts hang off his waist. That he keeps hoiking them up.

I saw a tweet comparing Kyle to Jess from Gilmore Girls, which I get because the reading and the smoldering, but Kyle is way cooler. But at least Lady Bird sees through his shit immediately. Score 1 for Christine over Rory.

What did you make about the Danny relationship? Were you as devastated as I was when he broke down sobbing into her arms?Julie: That abortion speaker took me right back to high school. I remember being a freshman and being persuaded to the pro-life side of things for a brief period during that time. So young and impressionable! I would’ve been the one tsking Lady Bird. I was trying to remember if I remembered anyone getting suspended in high school, and I *think* one of my good friends was, but I don’t remember what she did. Cutting class? I never got so much as a JUG (Justice Under God), AKA detention. I nearly got one senior year for my skirt being too short, but I ducked into a bathroom before the teacher could catch me.

Kyle would definitely not have been my crush in high school. He would have been way too cool for me, and I would’ve known it. Also he’s much too skinny for my taste. I see the Jess comparison, but I have “concerns” about Kyle growing up to be the good guy Jess grew up to be. I see many years of douche in his future.

Danny would’ve been way more my speed, for sure. MY first “official” boyfriend was a theatre nerd. He wasn’t gay, though, and I was the one who ended up being a dick to him, but that’s a story for another day. I loved the moment where Danny opened up to her. It was my second favorite “understanding straight(ish) person shows great compassion” moment after Michael Stuhlbarg’s amazing speech at the end of CMBYN.

(Wow these movies have a lot of parallels. I guess they’re both coming of age movies, so that makes sense!)Emma: Most of the band guys were also theatre guys so they were part Kyle, part Danny. The douche levels were not high, well with the exception of a few. I crushed hard on one of the guys in the year (grade) above, but ended up going out with his friend because I am terrible. I also treated him badly. I ignored him to the point of him breaking up with me. Ghosting before ghosting. And part of the reason I signed up to do the school play was this crush. But also because I really enjoyed doing them. The crush was just a bonus.

The going into the men’s bathroom when the queue for the women’s is so long is definitely something we would do a lot at uni. Luckily I never caught my boyfriend cheating. This moment is so painful for both Lady Bird and Danny, because he definitely cares about her. Just not like that. The red flags went up when he said he didn’t want to touch her boobs because he respected her too much. And I also loved the scene where he opens up to her. Her anger is understandable, but this deceit was not out of malice.

Danny isn’t the only one that breaks down, there’s also the priest that cries on cue without having to even try. It’s one of those “holy shit my teacher is a real person” moment that is awkward for everyone. This examination of mental health was really subtle I thought. Also heartbreaking. What did you make of this storyline? The coach that replaced him was one of the more overt gags in the film (and reminded me of Mean Girls – why yes I do always mention this film, haha) but I think it worked well against some of the more nuanced jokes.

[Source]

Julie: That’s one thing this movie captured really well–how mean we are (intentionally or not) to each other in high school. Those four years bring us some of our most intense first relationships (friendships and romances), and most of us were not equipped with the tools for positive conflict resolution.

The Danny stuff was so painfully real. I had a HUGE crush on one my friends during senior year. (Actually I probably liked him before that, too.) But senior year we were in a bunch of classes together, we hung out all the time. People assumed we were dating. I wrote him a pathetic love letter that he never mentioned to me. Then he started dating a girl (his Lady Bird, I guess). They were a thing for several years before he came out. I suppose I dodged a bullet…?

Same with Danny, I don’t think there was ever any malice intended there. He, and I and everyone, was just trying to figure out who he was. People got hurt in the process, but that’s high school.

The priest was absolutely heartbreaking, and I loved that his story gave us a small glimpse into Lady Bird’s mom’s life, and showed us how little LB probably thought about what her mom was up to day-to-day. As a parent, the mother stuff really got to me–the fact that her mom was basically the person LB blamed for all her problems, and that her mom was really a badass professionally, and surely LB had no idea.

The coach thing was good for a laugh, if kind of an overdone trope. I think Saved By The Bell did something like this, too.Emma: I’m glad we’re on to Lady Bird’s mom, Marion because what a performance by Laurie Metcalf. It’s a shame Allison Janney (who I adore) is dominating the Supporting category because Metcalf crushes it (and me) during this movie. There’s a lot of great moments between the pair, but the dress shopping moments really underscore everything that can be complicated by a mother/daughter relationship. There’s an antagonism with so much love sprinkled in. They fight then switch attention back to the dress shopping mission. But the part that really hits home is the “Do you Iike me?” This love is unconditional and yet Lady Bird needs her mom to reassure her.

The whole home dynamic is an interesting one and I grew up with super rich friends in a house I didn’t always want to invite people back to. Now I know that was dumb and no one gave a shit, but at the time I was embarrassed. When Danny mentions the wrong side of the tracks comment it made me want to curl up under my chair. I was that asshole. We spend so much time comparing ourselves (especially as teens) that it is so easy to not even think about how hard our parents work when there aren’t the fancy things to show for it. And luckily when there were job layoffs at my mum’s work she got a new job pretty quick. Our parents also do a good job of hiding these things from us.

I got strong Patty/Angela vibes from Marion/Christine; it’s far more combative than a Lorelai/Rory. And just like how I came around to Patty on the MSCL rewatch, it is very easy to sympathize with Marion. Especially when they keep the college applications a secret. And I get why Lady Bird didn’t want to tell her mom, but the fact that her dad was in on it. And while I’m on the subject of her dad, Tracy Letts is so wonderful in this part. From the way he gives his son advice about the job interview (that he just tanked) to every scene with his daughter. The compassion, the subtle heartbreak. But don’t lie to your wife dude. Again I love that Danny is the one that drops Lady Bird in it.

And what about the half letters her dad saved for her? I’m feeling teary just thinking about it. What did you make of these complicated relationships?Julie: I just thought of this, but my own daughter has been asking me lately if I like her. I’m not sure what that’s about, but I definitely do! That said, I wonder how much my mom liked me during my teen years. It really comes down to potential for Lady Bird and her mom, and, I’d think, most parents. Is this kid living up to her potential? Isn’t that what we all want for our children?

I also tapped right into the money thing. I went to a private high school in a pretty wealthy suburb, but most of my friends were city kids, like me. My family wasn’t poor by any means, but we couldn’t roll with the big dogs, so to speak. It never bothered me, though, but some of my friends had a hard time–driving crappy cars while everyone else was in brand new white Eddie Bauer Trailblazers. I just thought we were kind of fun and funny in our ancient cars.

OMG the tears at those letters! I have to say, though, I’d kind of love to see a movie/show someday where the dad isn’t held up as a hero by the teen girl while the mom is a harpy. Though I loved Tracy Letts’s performance, and his character was really sweet. Oh, and that scene where the son gets the job over his dad! Plus Lady Bird did need someone in her family who was fully on her side, so I’m glad her dad was there for her, even if he could’ve made better choices.

Also, I’m a big sucker for family dynamics beyond the nuclear, so I LOVED everything happening with Lady Bird’s brother’s girlfriend. I also appreciated that the film felt no need to describe the various relationships or how this family came to be. They were all fully part of the family, with all kinds of baggage.

What else? I’m really excited to rewatch this on Saturday before the Oscars!

[Source]

Emma: Yeah I agree with you on the family dynamic stuff and now I’m trying to think of examples where the mother goes easy on the daughter while the dad is the tough one. I am coming up short. That one mention of Marion’s abusive alcoholic mother tells you everything you need to know. Greta Gerwig is very good at revealing so much about a character in such a short amount of words. I’m all about powerful speeches (see Call Me By Your

Name) but there is something to be said about this kind of economy of words.

The family set up and the lack of explicit explanation (beyond one of the letters mentioning about their issues conceiving a child) was wonderful. And it shows how unnecessary that stuff is. I love that Shelly defends Marion to Lady Bird. Pointing out that her mother has a big heart even though to Lady Bird it seems that all she does is criticize. It reveals just how caught up Lady Bird is with her own BS.

One more thing we need to discuss is the costuming. And especially the bad jeans. So many bad jeans. Why were they so baggy and shapeless? Why did we think this was a good look? During Danny’s teary breakdown I couldn’t help but notice the bad jeans. The dress Lady Bird wears to prom is perfect and I definitely had a hair band like the one she has. I miss that hair band. The super tight dress she tries on before settling on the dress is the most early ’00s awful. I loved it.

Also the level of messy in her room gave me flashbacks to the state of my bedroom. And also the pile of clothes I need to sort through in my current adult bedroom. Even after I tidy the clothing explosion will be back within two to three days.

So Lady Bird is up for 5 Oscars, I think it could win one (Original Screenplay), but if you could pick it to win one award out of the five which would it be and why?Julie: I definitely had a similar pair of jeans to the wide-legged ones Lady Bird wears a few times. I thought I looked great in them. Thanks to this movie, I now know differently. That was not a great time for fashion. But, looking back, it never is, right? Not until some designer reimagines it and we’re all like, “YES! Shoulder pads and power suits were a GREAT idea! We were all so smart in 1987!”

I was the biggest slob in high school. One of my friends used to come over and clean my room for me because I disgusted her so. I also had bunch of song lyrics I’d printed out and taped to my door–mostly Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco.

The husband and I have been debating the Oscars thing. So much is up in the air this year, but I’m feeling them not giving it to Frances McDormand and giving it to Ronan instead. Since there’s been so much time between the last awards show and the Academy Awards, anything could happen–I also wouldn’t be surprised if Janney peaked too early. So I’m saying Lady Bird gets two–both actress awards.

[Source]

Emma: I would love to see your Oscar predictions come true! I don’t think this year will be quite as dramatic as the last. But I am very much looking forward to it.

 

Julie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us, which will be published by Entangled Teen on June 7, 2016. Before settling down to write “for real,” she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on her blog Hammervision, ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her iPod reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana. Newsletter

Advertisements

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.

Claire Danes Covers Allure: Talks MSCL, 90s Style and Body Shaming

18 Nov

Whenever Claire Danes talks about My So-Called Life it lights up a very specific nostalgia spot and so this comment in the December issue of Allure feels like it could be directly referencing me “they loved the show, that it was really meaningful to them when they were going through a bad, chaotic, murky time of being a teenager” Yep all of that is very accurate and the MSCL’s pop culture position stretches far beyond its 18-episode run (it got to the final in Vulture’s recent High School TV Showdown) and Danes discusses how this has impacted her “I feel a real loyalty to my generation. I think your identity is sort of set in your teenage years. And my cultural identity was set at that same time.”

What struck me about the shot used here of Claire Danes and Winona Ryder from 1996 is how I had forgotten that I didn’t just model my hairstyle on Michelle Williams, but Danes was a HUGE influence too – I was too scared to go for the full Winona pixie cut – and this barrette/zigzag side parting became one of my signature looks. In fact I’m actually wearing a barrette right now while typing this as like Danes my hair constantly falls in front of my face and I really need a haircut. This whole slideshow is a delight going from on and off screen style from MSCL to now including some rather dreamy takes about her relationship with Hugh Dancy.

Claire Danes Allure coverThe cover image goes full 90s with a darker lip color (Winona would approve) and this silk Lanvin dress is a stunning shade of blue; even if I would love to see a photo shoot in Danes endorsed overalls. Or maybe a little bit of plaid. But as far as glam editorials go this one is good, if not a little run of the mill. And while one of the topics covered is the much discussed cry face phenomenon, my favorite shot is on the other end of the facial expression scale.

Claire Danes AllureI love a good cry face and one day I will set up the Cry Face Olympics of which there will many contenders from television and film. Danes will be a big hitter and even though I’m sure it is irritating to discuss this part of her acting style in every interview, she has softened her position from annoyance to yeah this is just what I do “I’m very vain about my performance. I want to give as honest a performance as I can. But I’m not so worried about being regarded as beautiful when I’m playing a character.” What she says about body image is also pretty inspiring and how there are all these different factors at play. We can be more than one thing.

“It’s just so ingrained in us, the idea that we should take up the right amount of space, literally and figuratively. I’ve wrestled with this my whole life, as just a person in the world and as somebody who makes images. It’s OK to want to look and feel your best. It’s OK to work at being attractive, whatever that means to you. And it’s also OK to not expect to be defined by that. It’s OK to be powerful in every way: to be big, to take up space. To breathe and thrive.”

For more from the Claire Danes Allure interview including this video where she goes through many of her famous looks such as Angela’s red hair and those angel wings head here.

Why the ‘Felicity’ Date Rape Storyline Was Important and Still Is

7 Apr

Teen TV often deals with some pretty heavy subjects relating to sex and one area where Julie Hammerle and I have praised Felicity in our conversations both here and over at This Was TV is how it explores matters of sexual health. One such storyline which was handled with sensitivity was when Julie was date raped by Zach in season 1 and the reason I felt it was necessary to bring this up is due to this interview from Cosmopolitan with Devon Gummersall. Gummersall also played Brian Krakow on My So-Called Life and like many other fans of this show I went to Twitter with all caps blaring when he appeared as Peggy’s date on Mad Men.

The post Mad Men interviews with Gummersall have mostly stuck with reminiscing about MSCL (you know I am so here for this) and Mad Men, which is why when the Felicity rape storyline is broached Gummersall’s response is incredibly disappointing “I loved being on the show, but in the end I realized that it was sort of a mistake to do that kind of a storyline. I would have much rather been on the show more long-term and done something that didn’t have to end in such a bad way.”

Felicity ep 4 Brian Krakow all grown upI’m guessing that playing a rapist is not high up on any actor’s wish list and his character on Felicity was a sweet and shy guy, not necessarily who you might expect to do something like this. Gummersall notes how quickly the storyline turned “And also it’s weird because it started out with this light-heartedness, the whole thing with him washing his clothes the wrong way and all his clothes were pink, and he was a sweet guy. And all of a sudden he becomes this bad person and you’re like, What?” This factor is something we addressed when we talked about these episodes as we liked Zach a whole bunch and then he did this; not every rapist is a scary dude hiding behind a bush with a knife or waiting for any girl to get drunk at a party. Sometimes it is the guy who you trust and doesn’t listen when you say no. This story is not played for sensation, instead it is portrayed with sensitivity in showing the consequences of a sadly common scenario like this.

So for all of you who haven’t seen the episode in years/have never seen it here is a brief explanation of what happens in “Drawing the Line.” Zach is dating Julie and they’ve been fooling around a bit. Julie wants to take things slow as she’s been hurt in the past by guys who haven’t been good for her and while we only hear about the assault after the fact (not showing it puts the audience in the position of choosing a side to believe) it becomes quite clear that Julie said no and Zach carried on regardless. The scene where Julie describes what happened to Felicity is devastating and heartbreaking right down to details such as he rolled over and fell asleep after he was done. Julie does not think it is rape at first and she blames herself; scenes like these add to why this episode is such a vital piece of television.

Felicity 1.08 Julie and FelicityI didn’t watch these episodes when they first aired in 1998 and it was depressing to note when we watched them for This Was TV in 2013 for This Was TV how relevant it is 15 years later. This is still the case in 2015 and the issue of consent in college is sadly still a hot topic. One of the reasons why Devon Gummersall’s response is so disappointing is that he can’t see the wider social implications of a story like this instead it all revolves around being sad that he couldn’t be on the show longer because his character did something awful or because of the reaction he received as he references what fans said to him “Oh my God, you were Brian Krakow and then you broke our hearts when you were on Felicity because we were like, ‘Oh my God, Krakow raped her.'” And I was like, Dear God, what have I done?” I get that this must suck to have a fan encounter like this, but putting a storyline out there like this has far more value. In our discussion I talk about how to me he is Brian Krakow still, but ultimately I can disassociate between the two characters. And it’s not like I don’t still heart Brian Krakow after this.

While watching the new episode of Mad Men (spoiler alert) and Stevie went back to Peggy’s all drunk and horny I momentarily worried we were going to get a repeat of the Zach incident. Thankfully this was not the case and Stevie listened to what Peggy said. My fears weren’t due to the role Gummersall has played in the past, instead Zach provides a frame of reference for a character that doesn’t get what consent means.

Felicity challenges our perceptions of characters and their actions in the two-parter “Drawing the Line.” It also calls into question the conclusions we have drawn from previous episodes as I had incorrectly assumed that Julie had slept with Ben. When Ben punches Zach he also emphatically beats him with words too, telling Zach “The difference is, when you told me to stop, I did.” Zing.

Gummersall ends this brief foray into Felicity with “I never talked to J.J. Abrams or Matt Reeves about that actually, but I wonder. I bet you they were like, “Yeah, maybe we should have gone in a different direction with that.” I wonder if they think that. I don’t know.” I really hope they didn’t think that because in terms of important storytelling this is one of Felicity’s benchmark moments addressing a subject which is sadly all too relevant almost 20 years later.

Happy Galentine’s Day! 5 Dream TV Lady Friendship Celebrations

13 Feb

Galentine’s Day is here and to celebrate this annual treat we’ve come up with a variety of dream scenarios featuring some of our favorite lady friendships on TV. Friendships between women are often portrayed as fraught and full of conflict/jealousy, but there are some that avoid these common pitfalls. Okay several of the ones here are not free from turmoil, however they have grown stronger as a result and they don’t tend to fall into the usual cliches. There are plenty from past and present to consider and so this all too brief list includes both; leaning towards the shows TV Ate My Wardrobe covers on a regular basis.

Of course there are plenty of other amazing friendships between women on TV and this barely scratches the surface so let us know of your ideal Galentine’s Day TV character hangouts in the comments below.

April and LeslieYou can’t celebrate Galentine’s Day without first mentioning Leslie Knope; as the creator of this wonderful day she gets forever Galentine’s status. In this week’s Parks and Recreation April dished out a very rare hug and it made me cry a whole bunch. It is one of several friendships on this show that means a great deal and a Galentine’s event with Leslie features waffles and an array of handmade gifts.

Donna and Ann will be there and a trip to a karaoke bar will ensure another rendition of “Time After Time” takes place. Of course April knows the words.

Broad City 1.01 fursMy first thought for an Abbi and Ilana Galentine’s hangout was going to a fancy restaurant in our hottest outfits, but instead I realized that sitting on a stoop drinking booze in ridiculous clothes like these from the pilot would be a much better plan. Shenanigans on Broad City occur wherever and usually a lot of laughter follows; this sounds like a perfect way to celebrate with one of TV’s best (if not the best) lady friendships.

Diane and AliciaSo this Diane Lockhart/Alicia Florrick martini session is post funeral and our Galentine’s party would involve just as much booze and far less sadness. Alicia needs more lady friends on The Good Wife and while it seems very unlikely now for the actual show, in our fantasy scenario there will definitely be tequila shots with Kalinda.

[Source]

There will of course be all the wine.

MSCL ep 12 Sharon and RayanneMy BFF OTP is long standing and while Angela is the star of My So-Called Life the friendship that developed in the school bathroom between Rayanne and Sharon has my heart. This is also the location of this Galentine’s meet-up and while it is far from glamorous, for those who have read any of the teen TV recaps I have done with Julie Hammerle you will know how important a bathroom chat is for me. And this is the ultimate one.

Felicity 2.21 drinksDancing and drinking with the ladies on Felicity. Plus a side order of post club snacks and making sure Felicity never wears this outfit ever again to round off the evening.

The Most Angela Chase Dress at NYFW

11 Sep

The ’90s inspired fashion cycle continues and while the crop top explosion is something I’m enjoying just as much now as I did back then (and there continued to be a lot of stomach slivers on the Spring 2015 NYFW runway); the happiness I get from relating something back to My So-Called Life far outweighs my fear of showing my midriff. And you know Rayanne Graff could rock a bralette like no other, particularly when layered with multiple shirts and jackets.

Scrolling through endless shots and what leaps out? That’s right a dress from the Creatures of the Wind collection that is a combination of every Angela Chase plaid shirt/dress ever worn with a black plunging vest underneath.

Creatures Angela ChaseHere is some Angela in plaid examples just in case you don’t spot the connection:

MSCL the plaid dressThe ‘trying not to be obvious while looking at Jordan Catalano’ plaid.

MSCL A and R bedroomThe ‘squeezing a zit even though you know it’s a bad idea’ plaid.

MSCL 6 A, P, GThe ‘hanging with your parents and wearing over dungarees’ plaid.

MSCL ep13 Sharon and Angela bedThe ‘watching a sex manual VHS with your former BFF’ plaid.

MSCL ep 11 Angela JordanThe ‘talking to Jordan Catalano all cool and casual like’ plaid.

MSCL bathroom make upThe ‘what the hell is Rayanne wearing?’ plaid.

MSCL ep9 DangelaThe ‘my little sister doing a spot on impression of me’ plaid.

MSCL ep12 bathroomThe ‘off the shoulder what is my former BFF talking to my current BFF about?’ plaid.

where's angelaThe ‘can you spot me while I’m hiding out in a fort made of plaid’ plaid.

And finally…

Lake BellThe ‘Angela Chase tribute outfit as worn by Lake Bell in the excellent In a World…‘ plaid.

 

 

 

Happy 20th Birthday My So-Called Life: Why Angela Chase Means So Much

27 Aug

My So-Called Life premiered August 25 1994 when I was two weeks shy of turning 12. I didn’t see this show until 3 years later and this was probably for the best as I didn’t need Angela Chase until that miserable summer. Despite its short length of only 18 episodes I have managed to spill a whole lot of personal/analytical/style observations and while I touched on what I cover below, the level of angst and introspection was not worthy of this show.  To celebrate 20 years since the debut of MSCL I want to talk about why it meant so much to me when I first saw it. Please read the following in the style of an Angela Chase voiceover.

MSCL ep 2 AngelaBeing ignored for no particular reason is one of those awful teenage rite of passage that every girl in my class went through, it just so happened that mine occurred during the summer break. So I faced 6 weeks of not a whole lot going on. This was the summer of 1997, I was 14 years old and I have to admit that maybe I was to blame for some of this as I had recently changed friendship groups. At first there was mass acceptance and then like that I lost whatever factor had made them embrace me into their way cooler circle. My journal (which I no longer have, something I regret) entries at this time swayed between strained optimism where I pretended that everything was fine to more desperate pleas of insecurity.

Miserable real life friendship situation not withstanding something amazing did happen over this summer as I fell in love and felt completely understood by one person – enter Angela Chase and My So-Called Life. I didn’t see this show when it first aired in the UK the previous year; however it was part of the daytime TV schedule throughout this summer alongside Eerie, Indiana, The Secret World of Alex Mack and Sister, Sister. Those extreme feelings of teendom are hard to capture as everything means so much and nothing all at once; there’s the rush of discovery and then disillusionment. For me MSCL had all of the former and none of the latter.

I have another confession to make about this transitional period and that’s on the subject of best friends. The whole BFFs situation is full of so many fraught memories; will I ever have one? Is this person as those three capital letters scream going to be part of my life forever? Why do you have to label one person as ‘best?’ I actually still have some of these feelings today about this notion and the term “best friend” feels so loaded with preconceived ideas that it makes me dizzy. Clearly at this point I didn’t have a best friend, or really any friends (actually I had one very dear friend who went to another school, but during this summer she grew up all of a sudden and started drinking, smoking and dating and I was a year away from any of these things) and so fictional characters whether in books or on screen became the next best thing.

The ache you feel at 14 is hard to articulate, god knows I tried spilling my emotions in a way I thought you had to at this age. Journal writing really wasn’t my forte and it made me feel uncomfortable; half the time I was lying to myself both in my mind and on those journal pages. Step up Angela Chase and from her first introspective voiceover I knew I had found a heroine for a life; someone that understood who I was and what I was going through and it was a voice coming from my television.

Like Angela, at this point in my life I had never kissed a boy and it suddenly felt kind of ok that I hadn’t; I was no longer the biggest loser in the room. Everything about that period in your life is trying to do things so fast and worrying that you’ll be the last to experience all of these moments, as if being last is the worst thing in the world (hyperbole is the key tool to an adolescent mind). Suddenly there was this cool, pretty – but not in a typical popular girl Hollywood way, remember she does the best quiver cry face – and lost girl who was saying everything I was feeling. It’s also the first time I think I was honest in my journal as I overly emoted about how much I loved this show and this character. Jordan Catalano was an object of affection as he really does lean incredibly well, however it was Angela who had my heart.

Finding salvation in fiction lets us experience our own pain and fears through the gaze of someone else; as everything is heightened emotionally during adolescence the desire to be understood and find a connection can often take place in a world that has been created by another. It’s one reason why YA fiction thrives and can cause such strong visceral reactions. For some it is rooted in the supernatural, for me it was that girl in plaid with dyed red hair.

I also have to wonder how much this experience has affected the focus of my writing; The X-Files and E.R. were the first two shows that revealed just how much television can be, but My So-Called Life exposed something I had never felt before. So not only was my summer of misery saved by a TV show, my personal investment and interest in this format was probably enhanced by this experience.

More heartbreak followed when I found out that only 18 episodes of this show had been made and it was rather fitting that this intense love affair with this world and characters lasted for just one summer. Unlike most summer flings I managed to last the distance with this one and when I watched it again in the mid-2000s (and then for This Was TV) I found that my feelings were still strong and the connection is still very much alive.

Going back to school after the break was over wasn’t so terrible as it was someone else’s turn to get the silent treatment and soon we grew up beyond this petty and inexplicable tradition. The next summer was not one of abject loneliness and I had the kind of vacation that I previously thought existed only in fiction; one where you hang out, have fun and don’t feel bad about yourself. We had a time. Looking back I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t change a thing from the summer of ’97 as it really sucks to have such a low opinion of yourself. Instead I will say that I am incredibly grateful that Winnie Holzman created a show that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in huge mess of adolescent misery and that is the power of a well crafted story.

Summer Rewind: The Comeback Episodes 10-13

24 Mar

Big things are maybe happening with The Comeback and there’s a chance Valerie Cherish may grace our screens once again. The timing of this announcement is pretty perfect as we’ve finally finished our “Summer Rewind.” That majority of this discussion with Kerensa Cadenas took place long before this announcement and it’s something we only address at the end. We’re both pretty excited about this possible return as we’ve become pretty attached to this character. We’re looking at the final four episodes; “Valerie Gets a Magazine Cover,” “Valerie Stands Out on the Red Carpet,” “Valerie Shines Under Stress” and “Valerie Does Another Classic Leno.” For more from our Summer Rewind head here.

The Comeback ep 10 bathEmma: So it’s been a few months since we last talked about The Comeback as various other projects/moving house/all the TV that is on has got in the way but we’re finally back to talk about the last four episodes of The Comeback. I’m pretty devastated that unlike Valerie’s own reality show, the actual Comeback didn’t get a second season and I completely understand why it is put alongside Freaks and Geeks and My So-Called Life as the one season wonders we wish there was more of.

In the final four episodes Valerie’s long standing battle with Paulie G comes to a vomit filled head (did not see that coming), her reality show premieres, the cast head to the People’s Choice Awards, Valerie gets a magazine cover and a Scandalous publicist. One thing I want to note is how each episode title is pretty much the Valerie version of what happens – “Valerie Saves the Show,” “Valerie Demands Dignity,” “Valerie Stands Out on the Red Carpet,” “Valerie Shines Under Stress” – Valerie tends to ignore negative aspects and tries to make the best out of a situation. We see this time and time again throughout The Comeback and instead of making things better, the opposite occurs. This is why her actual reality show is such a hot mess and a hit.

The first of our four episodes is all about Hollywood/celebrity fakery when her new publicist Billy (Scandal star and long time Lisa Kudrow producing partner Dan Bucatinsky) gets her the cover of “Be Yoga.” It’s not Redbook like Valerie wants, but it’s a step and the only issue is Valerie doesn’t really do yoga no matter how much she says she does. Thanks to Mark’s painkiller truth bombs Valerie has to keep correcting him on camera. Drugged up Mark is wonderful and I really like his character now after being so unsure for the first half of the season. He’s pretty genuine which is unusual in the world of reality TV and he’s not trying to be someone that he isn’t. In this episode he is even more blasé thanks to the painkillers and it makes Valerie’s sudden interest in yoga more transparent.

Turning the gym into a place of sanctuary involves a whole lot of remodeling which costs a fortune and this also feels like the show is passing judgment on the ridiculous amount of money people will spend on tranquility. It is a fad after all and after this magazine shoot how much time will Valerie spend with a $12000 Buddha?

Of course Valerie is doing this as a reaction to Juna’s very Rolling Stone Rolling Stone cover, the mock up looks like an actual issue and they’ve perfectly captured what kind of wet t-shirt image they would use for someone like Juna. And there’s a terrible pun to boot “Got Millken?” Valerie’s been saving all of Juna’s press clippings and this is part supportive co-star and part wish fulfillment. Hollywood’s such a breeding ground for competitiveness and longing, particularly when it comes to who is in demand that Valerie’s actions probably aren’t all that uncommon when there is someone who is considered the hot new thing versus someone who is in the second half of their career and it’s probably really hard to maintain a healthy, balanced attitude towards these things. This is why they need yoga and this also turns into a Juna thing as she’s invited along to Valerie’s yoga session. Juna of course ends up in US Weekly’s Stars They’re Just Like Us feature – this is my favorite part of this magazine because of how damn ridiculous it is. Valerie isn’t included and so her shining moment gets usurped by the younger star once again.

Valerie brings in a poster of when she posed in a barely done up shirt, super cleav and undone jeans from her It days and I’m glad that it didn’t come across as this desperate attempt to hold onto her youth. I think she just wanted to show that she is more than just a frumpy tracksuit. What did you think of this scene and particularly Tom and Paulie G’s reactions to it?

The Comeback ep 10 Rolling StoneKerensa: I really like the relationship between Valerie and Juna–while it does have those undertones of Valerie being jealous of Juna’s newly minted “it” girl status (I wonder if the show has got a second season if they would have explored this) it does seem based in a pretty genuine place.

I think that Valerie bringing in her poster to the set kinda straddles the line of that. She looks great in the picture (although I loved the line about her hair being 90s–when it looks exactly the same) and Tom and Paulie G’s reactions were pretty priceless. I thought Paulie G’s was creepy and condescending seeming per usual. I can’t with him, especially in these last episode. Holy crap.

What did you think about this scene?

The Comeback ep 10 posterEmma: The Juna/Valerie dynamic is one of my favorites on The Comeback as it really wasn’t what I expected, this notion applies to a lot of this show. I’m not sure if Malin Akerman’s work on Trophy Wife has influenced my feelings (because I love that show), but I’ve really grown to love Juna and all her naïveté. She could have been the bitch of the show and her super sweet persona feels pretty genuine. I’m really sad that we won’t get to see if success and fame would change her, from the looks of things I’d say probably not and she’s always been very supportive and thankful for Valerie’s presence.

It’s the writers after all that play the role of mean girl and their reaction to Valerie’s poster is typical of how they have been in every other way – Tom is sheepish and Paulie G is repulsive and yet he can’t quite bring himself to admit that he finds Valerie attractive. Paulie G has consistently used silence as a way to put her down.

After watching the penultimate episode I said on Twitter that Paulie G would feature on a most despised list and his systematic bullying has been the hardest aspect of this show to watch. When Valerie finally loses it and punches him in the stomach I definitely cheered, even when it was followed by the double vomit comet. I mean this also becomes her reality show defining moment even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

We’ve got a lot to talk about when it comes to these writers and especially Paulie G, what do you think they were intending to say with Paulie’s nice guy routine in his one on one?

The Comeback ep 11 JunaKerensa: I agree with you on everything about Juna and Trophy Wife which I love so much. It was really great that Juna’s character didn’t fall into the stereotype that it very well could have.

I cheered so loudly with the punch scene as well. It was just SO satisfying to see Valerie stand up for herself against him after everything she’s taken from him.

Honestly, with Paulie G’s sudden “nice guy” transformation in his one on one, I didn’t believe it for a second. My first thought was that he got paid to say that or threatened/told that the Room and Bored ratings would suffer–pretty much anything along those lines. While we’ve been aware that Valerie’s show would be spun into something unfavorable towards her, it sucked to see her witness it and Paulie G’s sudden respect for Valerie really was another double vomit punch in the gut. What did you think?

The Comeback ep 12 cupcakeEmma: I just hope Trophy Wife doesn’t go the way of The Comeback with one season only.

That’s a really great way to describe how Paulie G’s kind words felt and it highlights how these testimonials are the most fake aspect of reality shows.

As soon as Jane returned from doing Paulie G’s interview it was obvious that something was up and one aspect we haven’t discussed too much is the role of Jane and this final episode shows that as a producer Jane is here to interfere when it helps the narrative like asking Valerie to start a sentence with “I feel” but she also withholds information as she doesn’t tell Valerie that Paulie G was nice about her. This is why Jane prentends she’s sick for Valerie’s viewing party as she’s aware of all the behind the scenes aspects, no she didn’t edit the piece but she feels complicit.

For a brief moment I thought Jane was in cahoots with Paulie G, especially when she wouldn’t let her in her apartment, but then I remembered that Jane has been just as repulsed by Paulie G as we have been. The relationship between producer and reality star is a complicated one I’m sure and of course the timeouts that Valerie implemented are timeouts on her end only. I think Jane probably thought Valerie was an idiot at first, but she’s definitely grown to like her. It’s little things like Valerie giving her the gift bag she got at the People’s Choice awards (how I would love an wards gift bag) or how Jane tears up as she hears Valerie’s story about her scoliosis – I definitely want to talk more about this in relation to Valerie.

Despite being screamed at by Valerie and Mark, Jane looks really happy for Valerie at the end of the final episode and if there had been a second season *sob* I would have liked to see them explore Jane and her relationship as producer with Valerie. What do you think of the whole Jane aspect?

Also have you seen any of Kroll Show? PubLIZity nails everything about these kinds of reality shows.

The Comeback ep 13 Valerie and JaneKerensa: I love Kroll Show and PubLIZity is the best! Jenny Slate should be in everything! And it really does.

I think the relationship between Jane and Valerie is really interesting. And it became apparent that they bonded in small ways throughout the show. The first moment of that to me was when Valerie got her that gift bag from the People’s Choice Awards. I never thought that Jane was in cahoots with Paulie G. because she obviously hated him so much too. So I do think Valerie’s betrayal felt kinda justified especially because Jane disappeared because she had seen the final cut and felt ashamed. But I know Valerie plays herself off as being naive, but I mean how could she not have expected the show to turn out like that? I know that we are jaded with the amount of reality television we’ve both seen and by now we are aware of the editing tricks used, but did Valerie really think that it was going to portray her in a positive light?

And then when she kinda at the end of the show seems to accept this new public persona of Valerie–I wonder if the second season would have explored her doing the kinds of things she refused to do in this season? Would have it turned Valerie into a monster? I do hope that Jane would have stayed on in the second season to explore that relationship between the two of them because it became SO apparent how much Valerie ended up relying on her especially when the creepy mic guy showed up again.

The Comeback poster ep 12Emma: Now I want to take a look at the evolution between reality shows first and second seasons – how they evolve because of what the audience responded to in the first season. I mean it goes for scripted shows as well – the first season is written in a bubble of sorts as it hasn’t been seen by anyone so at that point no one knows what people will like/dislike. I mean Girls is a prime example as cable shows tend to have most of their season written/filmed before any of it has aired so they can’t respond to criticism until the second season. Network is different as they can tweak as the season goes along and this can be very beneficial. With reality shows I’m guessing it’s more of the cable model in that it’s all filmed prior to airing. With something like the Kardashians I find it so surreal that they make a huge deal about plot points that we already know the ending to – like the big engagements/breakups. In fact this is a show I’d like to watch S1 of just to see how different it is to the way they are now.

So slight digression there and my favorite Valerie moments are the ones where she is truly herself, like all of the smoking scenes in the finale are hilarious, as is every single time that Mark mentions the coke they did that one time. Speaking of Mark, I really changed my opinion of him over these last four episodes and think he’s really pretty great. He goes all protective over Valerie whenever Paulie G is mentioned and offers to come to the studio and when she turns him down he doesn’t go all macho man and let’s her deal with it herself. He’s also pretty hilarious when he’s high on pain killers. Mark isn’t part of the Hollywood scene and so his reticence at the start is totally understandable, especially when you factor in his own career as a lawyer. I don’t think he’s more reality TV savvy than Valerie, I just think it’s his natural instincts as a lawyer to not trust anyone, especially in this town. How do you feel about Mark now the show has ended?

The Comeback ep 10 Valerie and MarkKerensa: I ended up really loving Mark too. And like you mentioned, I think he’s really good for Valerie because he isn’t involved in Hollywood. Those smoking scenes were HILARIOUS. But I really do like the relationship that became established between them and how supportive he was of Valerie even when she was being nuts.

And I think that evolution would be super interesting especially in terms of The Comeback. Like if it had got a second season–would the show have hinted that Valerie’s sudden fame was because of the show that they were shooting? Also, if there was a second season, how would Room & Bored even be on the air still? Right?

The Comeback ep 13 ValerieEmma: Room & Bored did very much seem dead in the water even if they did get a People’s Choice nomination and I loved how this whole episode pointed out how BS this awards is and how it’s all decided before the night. And while I’m on the subject of this episode, it’s another occasion where they incorporate someone from another reality TV show; first it was The Amazing Race and this time it is Project Runway. So they’re skewering reality TV, while also writing a love letter of sorts to it. Valerie looks stunning in this red dress, even when it’s on back to front. What did you think about this episode and how it portrays the People’s Choice Awards?

A couple of things that probably would save Room & Bored for a second season – Juna’s level of fame (as long as she doesn’t) leave and the success of The Comeback. I would imagine they would want to keep Paulie G on as a writer (and by extension) Tom as there is a high level of conflict here which is good for The Comeback. There’s a lot of variables and it’s easy to see why a reality show about a sitcom star would be a logistical nightmare.

What are your other highlights from these final four episodes?

The Comeback ep 11 Valerie and BillyKerensa: I agree–I do think that it would maybe get another season because of Juna and The Comeback but I bet it would be done after that. I loved that episode and how it looked at the People’s Choice Awards—while I’ve never covered or been to an awards show I bet it’s probably pretty similar to how it’s portrayed there.

On the topic of reality TV, how do you think The Comeback would have fared in the reality TV landscape? Because when the show aired–The Comeback would have been on the cusp of reality TV really blowing up–as acknowledged through the EW cover and the other reality type shows that were shown at the upfronts. I kinda don’t think it would have lasted very long, what about you?

I can’t think of anymore highlights other than Valerie Cherish is our new spirit animal and I miss her terribly already. You?

The Comeback ep 13 smokingEmma: It’s hard to say how The Comeback would have fared and for every Keeping Up with the Kardashians there is a Living Lohan or Pretty Wild (I would watch more of either of these two) so like you I don’t think it would have gone beyond a second season. Hopefully Valerie wouldn’t have been too humiliated and she would have more opportunities beckoning.

One other thing I did want to address is Mickey and his big coming out. Mickey has been one of the overall highlights of the series for me and I’m glad he got a happy ending of sorts. His story is also still very relevant and while he is out to people like Valerie, it’s not a something that everyone in his life knows. On the clip package on The Comeback it infers that Mickey has a thing for Jesse so he hasn’t hidden his sexuality very well and Mickey uses the finale to come out to the world. The response is pretty much “well obviously” and yet because Mickey is a gay man he has to make a public declaration. On the one hand it’s frustrating that this happens, on the other as we saw with Ellen Page at the weekend (ed. note this was written last month) it is incredibly powerful.

The Comeback definitely deserves to sit aside the one season wonders of My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks; it’s been a joy to watch Valerie Cherish and I’m definitely going to miss her. And hey, we have a new catchphrase in our repertoire and if I ever hear “I don’t want to see that” it will be a huge reminder of this show. Can we get more Lisa Kudrow on Scandal please?

The Comeback ep 11 MickeyEmma: Woah regarding the news that this might be making an actual comeback?!?!  Any thoughts and feelings on this real chance that we’ll be getting more Aunt Sassy? And where do you think she’ll be in 2014?

Kerensa: God I hope it happens! Well, there’s no way that Room & Bored could still be running right? I feel like The Comeback would have gone in a couple ways.

1. Re-kickstarted Valerie’s sticom career and she’s having a Julia Louis-Dreyfus-esque renaissance and playing “unlikeable” women.

2. Or it’s relegated her to the dregs of reality television where she’s been a contestant on any celebrity reality show i.e. Dancing with the Stars, etc.

What do you think?

Emma: If there’s no more Room & Bored I hope this means Paulie G had bottomed out somewhere.

While I hope it’s your first suggestion, I think the second one is more likely and she’ll have done every reality show offered to her. Wherever she is I’d like to see a Valerie with some edge like the one we saw in the finale chain smoking her way through her feelings. I expect it will be quite the opposite and she’ll be putting a brave face on everything.

At the start of the series I didn’t really care about Mark, but I’d really like them to be together still. If not there better be Mickey, he’s her constant so I can’t see it any other way.

I’m so excited that this is a real possibility and here we were lamenting the loss of our spirit animal. This is one occasion where more feels like a good idea, there’s still plenty more to get from this well.

I do need to see that.

Kerensa Cadenas is a writer living in Los Angeles. She is an Editor for Snakkle. She also writes for Women and HollywoodThe WeekThis Was TelevisionForever Young Adult, and Bitch magazine. She was the Research Editor for Tomorrow magazine. You can follow her on Twitter and read her ridiculous thoughts about teen television at her website.

 

Return to the ’90s with Tommy Hilfiger’s NYFW Fall 2014 Collection

11 Feb

Plaid, oversized sweaters, stripes and knits are all high on TV Ate My Wardrobe’s fall season wish list and as it’s still very much the weather for all of these things the Tommy Hilfiger fall RTW 2014 collection is on point. Yes we’re still highly anticipating the Zooey Deschanel/Tommy Hilfiger collaboration; however one needs a lot more sunshine than the other.

Throw in some ’90s nostalgia – I can’t see a tartan mini without thinking of Clueless’ Cher Horowitz – and it’s an instant hit here. We’ve recently been immersed in TV from our teen years; first with a My So-Called Life rewatch and currently with Felicity and all these sweaters are crying out for a college aged Keri Russell to wear them.

There is also a hint of April Ludgate (who else?) in this collection and it has the Tommy Hilfiger classic outdoors look. Shirt dresses and mini wool skirts that embrace plaid in bold colors feature throughout; just because the sky is grey doesn’t mean your clothes have to mirror this. If you really want to return to the ’90s there is a spaghetti strap dress that you could throw on a tee underneath – not that we’re really recommending this as this one trend that I don’t want to see reviving.

Tommy Hilfiger NYFW

Here are our favorite pieces from the Tommy Hilfiger runway show and you might find your inner Angela Chase or Felicity Porter.

The 2014 Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue

3 Feb

Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue is one of my favorite magazines of the year and I’ve spoken at length in previous posts about other anticipated issues that revolve around TV; this is the movie equivalent. The Hollywood issue that got me hooked is the Tom Ford, Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley 2006 edition and finding out who is on the cover is a mixture of excitement and disappointment. Last year’s Ben Affleck, Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper bed affair is definitely one of the most blah of the past few years and luckily this year’s cover doesn’t suffer the same fate. Thankfully the 2014 cover is a doozy and it reflects the past year in film. It’s also the most diverse Hollywood issue there has been so far and that is a very good thing.

Vanity Fair Hollywood IssueOh hey there’s Jordan Catalano too! For those wondering Claire Danes featured in a Hollywood issue, back in 2005 (Kerry Washington also appeared on this cover).

Here’s the cover roll call Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), George Clooney (Gravity), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Naomi Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Chadwick Boseman (42), Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street) and Lea Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color).

Click on the image for a large version of the cover. Plus the GOOP article we’ve all been waiting for – probably a very watered down version.

Ex-aspirational

Depression, creativity and the pressures of growing up, as told by a twenty-something not living her best life

Julie Hammerle

Nerds Need Love Too

Sofa and Remote

I love talking about TV as much as I love watching it

Ellie Writes Stuff

About this and that

Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Authors, Bloggers, Fashion Assassins

Twitter Music Club

A rotation curation music club, based on Twitter, mainly for Kiwis

INTO ROW Z

If you enjoy a challenge, like Claude Makélélé, read my blog. Its about sport.

lost somewhere in new york city

We rock a lot of polka dots

sankles

We rock a lot of polka dots

frocktalk.com/

Just another WordPress.com site

Cultural Learnings

Television Reviews and Analysis

judgmental observer

film, tv, popular culture, higher ed, unicorns

Rookie

We rock a lot of polka dots

ScreenFad

TV show news, reviews, recaps, spoilers, and photos

The Frisky

We rock a lot of polka dots

Tell Us a Story

stories about true things