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Tag Archives: Season 3

The Leftovers Season 3 Key Art and Trailer: The End of the World is Nigh

17 Mar

Existential dread and fear about what it means to be left behind turns into a fight against another potential big event happening on season 3 of The Leftovers. Or so I can gather from the teasers and trailers the HBO promo department has released from the forthcoming (and final) season of this incredible show.

Kevin went to some interesting places last season including singing for survival and experiencing several near death moments. Now they are headed to Australia and maybe the other side again for Kevin; this time his father is at his side rather than talking through the TV. The seventh anniversary of the sudden departure is quick approaching and it looks like there are fears it could happen again.

Religious iconography is strong and unlike the season 2 promo poster where Kevin is reaching, but not quite grabbing Nora’s hand she has his back here.  This can also be linked back to the season 1 key art with the cracks on the wall from Kevin’s punch and yet there is something far more hopeful at play here. And yes, Justin Theroux and his beard look very good. At a quick first glance it appears as if Nora is naked, but in actual fact Carrie Coon is wearing a dress; you can see both a crease in the skirt and a strap. The hand of his heart is an important reminder of how season 2 ended with Kevin returning home and the family being one.

Harmony comes at a price and as you will see in the full trailer, Nora is far from calm as she smokes alone and talks to Erika about feeling crazy. There’s also an interesting moment as she sits in a car with Kevin’s ex Laurie and a clip of her lying down in a coffin of sorts. Oh and while I’m on the subject of Nora; the final moment in this promo is eerie as hell.

As you might expect from The Leftovers there is a lot to unpack from this trailer and I will definitely be singing ABBA all day now.

The Leftovers returns Sunday, April 16 for its third and final season.

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The Leftovers Final Season Promo: The End is Near

17 Feb

A trip to Australia is pretty much all we know about the final season of The Leftovers and this new trailer doesn’t reveal a whole lot more than that. What it does do is ramp up the mystery elements of the series mixing what looks to be some fantasy sequences with ones grounded in reality.
Most of the season 2 cast appears in one way or another with Kevin and Nora at the airport providing the main thread. Nora looks pretty chill going through customs checks with only a flash of her smoking suggesting the tension that is clearly on Kevin’s face; he sure does not look pleased in the final shot.There’s also more religious imagery, Tommy as a police officer, what looks to be an alarm sounding on submarine (how very Lost) and a safety announcement voiceover suggesting the end of the world is nigh. Just your average Leftovers behaviour then. Sadly no Kevin singing for survival this time.
The is one season I am eager to see and not just because Justin Theroux with a beard gives me all the feelings.

The Leftovers returns Sunday, April 16.

TV Rewind: Gilmore Girls, Season 3

13 Sep

img_4257Emma: Season 3 is a big year in the Gilmore house as it is Rory’s final year at school, there’s a boyfriend switch-up and Lorelai has a lot of work and some romance stuff going on. And she finally kissed Luke… Or rather Lorelai dream kissed Luke in the opening scene of this season and I screamed even though I figured it wasn’t really happening.

There is plenty to talk about and it might seem like a strange place to start but I’m going to skip to the end because I was thrilled to see that it didn’t finish on a romantic cliffhanger or moment of devastation like last season. It was about everything Rory and Lorelai had achieved personally and as a mother/daughter unit. There was no way a dude was going to overshadow Rory’s academic success and Lorelai’s new and huge business purchase. Dreams had just been realized and no matter how much I want Luke and Lorelai to have a non-dream kiss, this finale was far more satisfying for focusing on the women. Jess called, but didn’t derail Rory or her success. She got to unload on him without having to hear his lame excuses because he is too much of a coward to give her any. And they wouldn’t suffice anyway.img_4205I realized when Rory decided on Yale that I have an emotional reaction to Rory’s academic success and I got teary when Lorelai found out that she was valedictorian and I got to sob levels during her speech. I love romance and all those kind of things that come with teen shows but ultimately the things that resonate with the likes of Rory Gilmore, Angela Chase, Felicity Porter and Lindsay Weir are the personal victories that don’t involve boys. The boys are just the bonus. Maybe not for Rory as Dean is the worst and so far Jess isn’t much better. But Dave can stay (although I’m guessing he won’t because of The O.C.).

What did you make of watching Rory’s final year at school and her decision to go to Yale over her original dream school?img_4220Julie: I loved the college switch-a-roo. I don’t know if that had been the writers’ plan all along, but I suspect it was. There would’ve been different drama if Rory had chosen to go to Harvard–being farther away from her mom, oh, and closer to her dad, who I think is still in Boston? But with her going to Yale, it sets up all this drama with the parents, which is marvelous. Of course Richard and Emily love that Rory is going to Yale, and it certainly has to burn Lorelai’s britches that her daughter is following in her grandfather’s footsteps. This whole situation makes her dad so happy, and that is never on Lorelai’s agenda.

I’m so with you about seeing the teenage girls accomplish things for themselves and not because of a boy. Rory’s graduation was all about her and her mom, and I definitely got teary. Lorelai getting to see her daughter accomplish so much while about to embark upon this new phase of her life where she won’t need her mom so much, EMOTIONS.img_4258And yay for Rory getting out of Stars Hollow. She needs to meet some new guys. Cast a wider net. I think Dave is nice for Lane, but what did you think about the whole “I’m a drummer!” storyline? I feel like that came out of nowhere. We’ve known all along that Lane likes music, but we had no idea she could actually play. And it felt kind of farfetched, like, “I’m gonna be a drummer!” even though I’ve never drummed in my whole life.

I think I needed to get that off my chest. It really bothers me.img_4250Emma: The college thing felt to me like it was maybe always planned for logistics, but I love that Yale didn’t come into play until this season. The trip to Yale underscored everything that is still fragile in Lorelai and her parents’ relationship and shows once again that Richard is more than just a sweet grandfather. It’s a sneaky move and it was good to see Rory explain exactly why it was so shitty. She is not her mother and she would’ve gladly taken this meeting, but to not let her prepare and just spring this on her sucks. Bad form, Richard.

The Yale trip is fun up until that point as we find out more about Emily and Richard’s courtship (there was another woman!) and see them a little giddy. Plus Lorelai gets to bond with her mother over skirt fixing solutions and everything is lovely until Richard pulls his “oh look where we are” meeting.img_4222For Lorelai as we saw last season there is a pang whenever college comes up as this is her path not taken. Rory is her everything, but she still wonders what could have been. Everyone thinks Harvard is still the one, but the pros/cons list says otherwise and rather than go against her parents, Lorelai puts those differences aside. It is a huge step in the compromise column and really the person that matters here is Rory. And of course there are still big bumps in the Lorelai/Emily relationship with the loan repayment.

The girl in a band thing is fun, but yeah it would’ve maybe made more sense for her to go the Almost Famous route of music journalism. She could’ve still met Dave this way and it wouldn’t have felt so out of left field. It is another case of them not being entirely sure what to do with Lane. Although I did love her brief change of hair colour. The doing something drastic to your hair with dye is an ultimate teen rite of passage. Lane also ticked off the getting drunk and vomming box this season and I liked how not crazy that house party was. Well until the fight. It looked like a lot of our parties, which is never the case on screen as they are always so big and so loud.

Sex chats came into play this season and it is interesting to see how Lorelai navigates this stuff. What did you make of this?img_4223Julie: Yeah, teenage sex hasn’t really been an issue on the show to this point, even though Rory has had two boyfriends (one very long term). Her thing with Dean always seemed kind of chaste. The two of them didn’t seem to have much romantic chemistry. They hardly ever seemed to be alone together, and the few times they were alone either ended in fighting or with them surrounded by other people.

But with Jess, there’s more heat. He’s a “bad boy,” and he seems way more experienced than Rory. That said, it appears he’s cool with taking things at her pace. So, yay for Jess on that.It has to be a big relief for Lorelai (who finds out about her daughter’s virginity status after accidentally overhearing a conversation between Rory and Paris), that Rory is not there yet. As cool as she is, and as cool as I’m sure she’d be with her daughter becoming sexually active, there has to be a part of her that’s like, “Please let us get out of high school,” since she’s the one who wound up pregnant at sixteen. I love that she wants to keep the lines of communication open with Rory, and asks Rory to please tell her whenever the sexing happens.img_4248Now, the unlikely one who has had sex is Paris, and I think they handle this pretty well. She’s very matter-of-fact about it, and when she first talks to Rory she sounds like they were safe, it was good, no big deal. But then her rejection letter comes from Harvard, and she deals with that by blaming the sex on some level–like she, Paris Gellar, could only have one of those things, not both. I think there are just a lot of emotions she’s dealing with, and I kind of like that they make Paris a basket case about sex, because of course she’d freak out. She freaks out about everything.

What did you think about Paris’s sexual escapades?img_4206Emma: The Rory/Lorelai chats about sex are great because even though they are super close there is still that super awkward vibe that comes from discussing this subject with a parent. Rory is very aware of her origin story and there is a sense that she doesn’t want to follow her mother’s path even if what came of it is really great. A subject that Lorelai has trouble navigating when she is asked to give a talk about being a successful business woman at Rory’s old high school. She doesn’t suggest getting pregnant at 16 is a good life plan, but she definitely got a good end of this deal. Lorelai rarely gets flustered and it doesn’t help that Luke is there to witness this display.

Lorelai wants Rory to be upfront and I get that so the initial part of the Paris/Rory convo is terrifying followed by quick reassurance. I also think she is very proud of how Rory responds to the Paris reveal and she sounds both like a teenager and good friend. Paris is typically Paris and I think part of the meltdown that follows comes from her belief that she isn’t worthy of being loved. Which sucks and is completely not true, but the environment she has grown up in can’t have helped with how she sees love. Her best friends are guy crazy and are never short of dates whereas Paris lusted after Tristan and was left with a solitary kiss and no further interest. In fact in the first episode of this season Rory is the one who tells her that she just got asked out on a date by Jamie.img_4228The speech meltdown made me all kinds of sad because of course she would equate romantic happiness with the Harvard rejection. It is like a version of the horror movie thing where if you sleep with someone then you are going to get killed. But this time it is with the college of her dreams. Jamie is also the thing that comes between Rory and Paris; not in the traditional way but because of a student government power battle and Francie might be least favorite character so far. I like her less than I like Dean (so that is saying something). Despite these fallouts the Paris/Rory relationship is strong and Rory is the one who helps pull Paris out of her funk. Paris is a high level of intense and yet Rory knows exactly how to bring these levels down and I can’t wait to see this friendship develop even further.

Back to Rory and sex because it does look like she is edging there as things were getting hot and heavy with Jess. As you mention with Dean it was always pretty chaste and the chemistry between Rory and Jess is undeniable (maybe because of IRL stuff slipping in *phrasing*). Rory is edging there and the house party was the almost point. But rightly so Rory tells Jess to stop (and he does) because of things like the door not being locked and because Jess is clearly distracted. This leads to an almighty fight between Dean and Jess which trashes half the house and pretty much spells the end for Jess and Rory. Also Dean has now proposed to his girlfriend which is pretty much the dumbest way to try and get Rory’s attention and he is the worst.

While we’re on the subject of sex, what did you think of the flashbacks to young Lorelai and Christopher?img_4236Julie: Dean is terrible, and his new fiancee should RUN far, far away. And then Dean should chase her and get the hell out of Stars Hollow.

I’m glad that Rory stops things with Jess before they go any further. She deserves better than a party hookup in an unlocked bedroom. And I think Jess knows that. As “bad” as he thinks he is, I really don’t think he’s even remotely that bad.img_4242I think we can all agree that Rory and Paris are OTP, especially during this season. Maybe it’s a little unbalanced: Paris seems to need Rory more than Rory needs Paris, but they’re really two sides of the same coin–the good girls with big dreams. As far as the speech goes, I feel like the YA publishing community would pooh-pooh Paris’s handling of it–she’s slut-shaming herself; she’s Paris Gellar, guys shouldn’t matter–but I thought Paris’s reaction was painfully real. By her account, she should’ve been a shoo-in for Harvard. She’d done everything right. What was the one thing she did “wrong?” She slept with her boyfriend. It was like karma and tempting fate, and I think she was just looking for an easy explanation.

As far as Lorelai and Christopher go, I loved the flashback episode with Rory’s conception and birth. We got to see so much here–how her relationship with Emily has been strained all along, how her parents handled the situation as best they could while Christopher’s didn’t, how everyone was worried about his future, even Lorelai. And then to bookend it with Chris’s new daughter, Gigi, tears. He’s going to be there for this kid from day one, unlike how he was with Rory.

Speaking of pregnancies, how about Sookie and Jackson?img_4240Emma: My main gripe with the Lorelai flashback is down to the actress playing Lorelai as she ended up irritating me. It’s a hard line to play with a character that is so quippy and self aware and sadly she was no Lauren Graham (a tall order for anyone). I loved seeing Emily in late eighties attire and it was fun seeing the foundation of all this drama. It did also break my heart a little for Lorelai’s fractured relationship with her parents and the difference between Christopher now and then.

It is also interesting how the Christopher stuff kind of fizzles, which I guess makes sense now that he has another kid and Sherri while being sweet also seems like hard work. Also organizing a birthing party sounds like a really terrible idea. Lorelai also has another flash from the past with Max coming back to town and the two share a couple of awkward moments and a kiss. There is still chemistry there but a lot of this feels like the writers stalling until something happens with Luke. Same with Alex who (as Lorelai even said) just fizzled. He was fine, but nothing spectacular. And the actor has gone on to crazier things with Zoo (I need to catch up but l love this bonkers show).img_4213One other potential suitor who really didn’t last long was Jon Hamm with a bad haircut. Lorelai liked him (well who wouldn’t) until she found out how dull he was and this caused all kinds of issues for Emily as he also happened to be the son of one of her society friends. Awkward. This has been one of my favorite guest star spots so far.

Luke meanwhile also has a new love interest and she happens to be Taylor’s lawyer. I don’t see this going the distance particularly as Nicole has picked up on the strong Luke/Lorelai vibe. Plus they haven’t really crafted much of a character for her. Also I figured that when they got the extension in Luke’s apartment he and Jess would at least have their own rooms, but nope.

Ah yes, Sookie is pregnant which is lovely but not a surprise. I do find Jackson to be a bit much on occasion including his reaction to the pregnancy news especially after his whole wanting a crazy amount of kids thing. I get the back and forth bickering is part of their thing but sometimes it is a lot to deal with.

The other big Sookie news involves Lorelai and their inn dreams. What did you think about the progression of this storyline and the maybe convenient fire at their workplace?img_4229Julie: Yes, with the stalling! It’s kind of fun seeing Lorelai out and dating, but the writers are VERY slow about getting her and Luke on the same page. The Max thing feels like a bone thrown to the Max-Lorelai truthers. (They’re out there.) She did sort of dispense with him quickly, and there was nothing wrong with him. Max Medina is great!

Alex is fine, too, actually, and I love seeing Billy Burke in stuff. (I watched every episode of My Boys, one of those Chicago shows–like The League–where I’m not sure if the writers have ever been to Chicago.) And I know I squealed (and probably tweeted) about Jon Hamm making an appearance. This was the kind of one-off journeyman actor role he apparently did a lot before landing Mad Men. Since it was JON HAMM, I went in expecting a lot of out of that character, but he didn’t really get a chance to sparkle in any memorable way.img_4225I CANNOT with Nicole. While Lorelai gets some decent suitors, Luke is stuck with this lawyer chick and there really is no there there. She appears only to be a vehicle for change for Luke–he starts thinking about new places to live and new menus. And she certainly feels threatened by Lorelai, so she can kindly step away from the show.

I agree on Jackson. While this show his heightened in its language, the actors tend to bring a lot of groundedness to the roles. With Jackson, maybe we just don’t get to see him enough, but he’s often too much. I can buy him stressing out over the new baby and him not having the reaction to the pregnancy that everyone assumed he’d have, but it felt more schticky than real. Asking a chef to get rid of her knives for a baby who won’t even be moving on its own for a while? Stop.

That fire was very convenient, but I do love that the ladies are talking about their own inn now. And I like how the show deals with it realistically. There’s a lot to consider here–Lorelai is about to be paying for college, Sookie is about to be a mom. Is this best time? How do they work it financially? What will happen to Michel?img_4212Emma: A lot of the time I want to tell Jackson to chill the fuck out and that hit new heights in season 3. I think my favorite Jackson moment came in the season finale at the graduation when he’s chatting about the Chilton building with Luke. More of that Jackson please.

The cause of the fire itself is also never really explained with a suggestion it was maybe electrical. For some reason I thought they might do an arson thing and blame Jess. Regardless it did lead to some good moments including Lorelai realizing the severity of it and what could have been if they hadn’t got everyone out. A very near miss. And it does help with their future plans except it scuppers their chances of getting the inn at first as both Sookie and Lorelai lose their jobs and can’t afford their new inn.

I find the way they deal with money issues on the show to be pretty realistic particularly with things that can cost a lot like education. Money is one of the major sticking points between Lorelai and her parents and you can tell what a relief it is for Lorelai to pay them back for Chilton. And of course Emily sees this repayment as the ultimate fuck you; it wasn’t a loan in her eyes and it was also the only way she could guarantee seeing them on a weekly basis. The problem here is that Emily shouldn’t have to make an arrangement like this, but she also thinks that it will go back to the lack of contact they had for all those years before Chilton.img_4245It is another case of both Emily and Lorelai refusing to listen or talk to each other; ultimate stubborn WASP behavior. Lorelai has been on her own for so long and she clearly hates being indebted to her parents in this way so it is the ultimate irony that paying that money back means she can’t pay for Yale (as financial aid is no longer an option). Rory then makes her own deal and she has less qualms about these strings than her mother ever did. I feel bad for Rory as she is very much in the middle of all this and tells both her mother and Emily how ridiculous they are being. After relatively smooth sailing the Gilmores are back to uneven territory.

While we’re on the subject of the Gilmore ladies, have you seen the photo EW posted yesterday from the new series? I’ve been trying to avoid everything but this one was all over my Twitter feed yesterday. It is crushing and instantly made me tear up (this sound vague as I’m not sure you’ve seen it).

img_4218So what about standout episodes? The first one that springs to mind is the 24-hour dance event that saw the end of Dean and Rory and was also peak Stars Hollow events. I love that Lorelai ends up asking Rory to be her partner and all the drama. Even if Dean is the worst. Plus there is Dave and Lane adorableness, Kirk dominating and forever Lorelai/Luke flirting. The four Thanksgivings was also super fun and if anyone can get through that much food it is Lorelai and Rory. Also Jess getting beaten up by a swan was pretty magical even if it did put Rory in a difficult position because he wouldn’t tell her what happened. Emily appearing all super chill with Rory about Jess and then going off at Lorelai is peak Emily.img_4238Julie: I totally haven’t seen the new Gilmore Girls picture. Somehow I managed to avoid it. Yay for being too busy to stalk social media!

I find it really interesting how comfortable Rory is straddling the line between her mother and her grandparents. She, obviously, does not have the same qualms her mother does about their money and owing them anything. It’s much easier being a granddaughter than a daughter, I suppose.

img_4219Standouts for me–I also really liked the 24-hour dance. I love when the whole town comes together, especially when Kurt is there and feeling competitive. I actually loved the stuff with Sookie and her old friend. It’s nice to see Sookie being recognized as the hot piece she is. Luke helping Lorelai with fishing, and Lorelai busting his balls about the new menus–there’s such an undercurrent of “You let HER change the menu” there. I liked the progression of Rory and Paris’s friendship. And I like that Dean has a new girlfriend, so he can finally MOVE ON.img_4216Emma: The dance episode also gave us some A+ 1940s style attire and hair from Rory and Lorelai, which I am so here for. Which brings me to my next important question; any notable fashion moments?img_4252For me this show continues to showcase how terrible this period was for jeans. So many bad jeans. And for some reason Jess travelled to see his dad dressed like he was auditioning for Grease: Live ten years too early. Gilmore Girls features a lot of dudes wearing bad leather jackets.

I’m sad we didn’t get the full Rory prom experience because Jess is the worst at going to school so we missed out on fancy gown fun. But I did love seeing Emily trying on outfits for Rory’s graduation and how sparkly her final choice is.

img_4256Julie: Now that you mention it, Rory’s lack of prom dress was a bit sad for me. I am firmly in the “more dresses” camp. Whenever a show can give us more dresses, it SHOULD.

I’ll add, too, that while I’m staying away from new Gilmore spoilers, I saw the show on the fall calendar in Entertainment Weekly, and I am SO EXCITED.

 

Hi, there! Like Julie’s writing? Buy her new YA novel, THE SOUND OF US, right here!

Julie Hammerle is, according to Klout, an expert in the areas of both Morgan Freeman and glasses. Her writing can be found at chicagonow.com/hammervision and you can holler at her on Twitter as well.

New Broad City Season 3 Promo and Interview Magazine Feature

11 Feb

4 and 3 and 2 and 1!

Broad City returns next week (Wednesday, 17 February) and we’ve got our first look at season 3 in this new promo. Plenty of returning faces including Hannibal Buress as Lincoln, Ilana’s mother played by the incredible Susie Essman (I still can’t get over how good this casting is), Kirk Steele himself, Trey (Paul W. Downs) and Ilana’s amazing roommate Jaimé (Arturo Castro).

There’s no sign of Bevers which I’m actually okay with because he only works in the smallest of doses. Cynthia Nixon is also guest starring this season in what looks like a role relating to Hillary Clinton’s appearance that was teased on Instagram a couple of months ago. Some quick observations/costume thoughts from this jam packed promo including how I also mistook the dog hoodies in American Apparel for human ones (my question was who in the hell was small enough to fit in the really small one).

Ilana puts the ear holes to good use and Chris Gethard is back as Ilana’s exasperated boss Derek. Hopefully we will be seeing more of Nicole and her memos this season too.Another wig to add to Ilana’s collection to go with her red wavy number from the season 2 finale therefore satisfying my wig kick until The Americans comes back next month.Taking tips from Diane Lockhart and going for chunky chain accessories does have its drawbacks sometimes.  
Here are a few delightful bestie moments from the new promo of which there are many. I am also coveting Ilana’s phone case (see also her hot dog one).
And you can watch the whole thing below.

To tide you over until next week for all things Abbi and Ilana then Interview Magazine has just the thing for you. Ellen Page interviews the pair and it is clear from the outset that she is a huge fan of the show and she knows her shit about the adventures of Abbi and Ilana. The photo shoot is fun and also reminds me of the “St. Mark’s” episode.Interview Magazine Broad CityThey discuss their path to comedy, Amy Poehler and sexual politics. Plus they share some interesting thoughts about the new season and how writing the show has changed over the last three years:

PAGE: “Season 3 is coming soon, thank the Lord. Is there anything that changed from the process of writing the show?

JACOBSON: This season was without a doubt the most difficult to write. When we were writing season 2, season 1 was still airing, and we really didn’t have a break between editing season 1 and writing season 2. So we were really just in it, not getting any feedback and not even getting our own perspective on the show. For season 3, we had a lot of perspective, and it was very scary and hard, and it took us a little longer to get into it and figure out what we wanted to do. But I feel like we have a better hold on the series. And for us to be writing about ourselves, because it’s not us, it’s a very difficult thing to wrap your mind around sometimes.

GLAZER: Our lives are changing, and the characters also have to change. We were more conscious than ever this season that we were writing a show. It’s a third season, and there will probably be more. And figuring out the direction we want the show to go in, how we see the series ending, has clarified things. This was the hardest season to write, existentially. I feel like we were really DTR’ing [defining the relationship] this season, and that was just existentially heavy. I feel like we got over that hump, and it will be easier now that it’s caught up in our consciousness.”

To read the whole thing and for more photos head to Interview.

Broad City returns Wednesday, February 17 and we will be discussing the show in more detail when it does. I for one am also very excited to get some new stickers and gifs on the Broad City keyboard.

Best of TV Costuming 2015: Removing Disguisies and Revealing the Truth on The Americans

11 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2015” costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking; we want to celebrate the work of television’s best costume designers.

So while there won’t be a Top 10 there is a show that would take the top spot without too much deliberation needed and The Americans takes that title; it is only right then to kick off our end of year coverage with this. The Americans is a repeat player in the “Best of” costume discussion with wigs (of course) and the ‘marriage disguise.’

Both detailed the key attributes in how Elizabeth and Philip mask their identities; one protects their overall cover while the other makes it possible for them to serve their country in the long term and costume designer Jenny Gering’s work is a vital piece of the spy life versus family puzzle. What season 3 did was take this and spin it on its head with the Paige problem; what do you do when your bosses want your daughter to become part of the program?

The Americans 3.10 Philip and Elizabeth - CopyThe threat of Paige finding out permeates its way throughout most of the season until it reaches a head when Paige directly asks what the deal is with their strange behavior. They may look like regular parents – okay maybe not regular parents – in their turtlenecks and office wear as they run their small business and they are anything but. They’ve still got almost everyone else fooled including their FBI neighbor and aside from a couple of close calls the spy biz is ticking along. Philip only had to kill one person this season and that is already an improvement on his high body count last year. I mean he has had to seduce a high school girl who is pretty much the same age as his own daughter so it hasn’t been obstacle free. Oh yeah and then there is the difference in opinion about what to do regarding Paige.

Elizabeth and Philip are both dedicated to the cause, but Philip is the one who often looks like he is on the edge of the abyss and could be persuaded to defect if the conditions were right (ie Elizabeth would have to agree, which ha). Elizabeth is more inclined to follow orders and so when they were dropped with the Paige bombshell at the end of last season she was the one who didn’t think it was so bad. For Philip all he can see are the bad things they have to do whether it is what they do to someone else – breaking up a body and putting it in a suitcase – or the lengths they go to get information. It’s not just about committing acts of violence and there is so much more they inevitably give away in the name of the cause.

The Americans 3.10 StingersIn fact the night Paige confronts her parents they have been out for work scoping out a hotel and working out which one of them is going to be on seduction duty. It falls to Elizabeth wearing a revealing white suit and black bob to perform this duplicitous task. A far cry from their travel agency office where Paige has visited earlier that day. When Philip and Elizabeth return home they are blindsided by Paige’s questions about who they really are as she begs them to stop lying. The conversation takes places in the heart of their family home; in the kitchen and at the table they share every morning. What makes this moment so spectacular other than the fact that the writers go THERE three episodes before the season finale is that Paige has agency in a storyline that has been all about her parents. She is the one that makes her parents finally figure out what the fuck they are going to do about telling her.

There is no separation of family and spy life in this case because they are so intrinsically linked and by having this conversation in such a communal space it hammers home this point. The time has come to reveal who they are and the decision to tell the whole truth (well a general overview) doesn’t involve dramatic wig removal (more on this later), but instead comes after a series of looks between Philip and Elizabeth followed by the smallest indicator of a nod. They still look like mom and dad and she didn’t have another experience where she should have knocked; however EVERYTHING about who they are from their names to their place of birth has been a lie and it is hard to get over this level of deceit. It’s why I can’t be too mad at Paige when she spills the part about their nationality in the finale and why for me she is exempt from the scorn that is normally poured over teen characters who meddle in dramas such as Homeland and Masters of Sex.

Paige is not the only one who is gets to find out who her nearest and dearest really are this season and she gets off easy in the how of this discovery. I mentioned how there is no dramatic wig removal when Paige learns the truth; for Martha she gets to finally see the person she is married to and he looks like a very different person to the one in the photographs. The shit has really hit the fan in the Martha assignment thanks to Agent Gaad finding out he has a bug in his office and oh yeah his secretary was the one who put it there. No one else knows this yet and Philip desperately tries to keep Martha on side pulling the ‘this is who I am really am and you can trust me’ card right at the end.

The Paige reveal was a full on HOLY SHIT moment in what it means to the entire show and yet I don’t think I felt more tense than when Philip slowly took off his Clark disguise; starting with his glasses, the wig pins and then removing his hair piece. He doesn’t utter a word as removes everything that makes him look like Clark and it feels like a horror movie. For Martha she is now looking at a man she doesn’t recognize and all she can do is react with teary eyed confusion.

The Americans 3.12 Clark The Americans 2.12 de-wigging The Americans 3.12 MarthaThe one major misstep The Americans made this year was by ending the penultimate episode with this scene and then giving no follow up in the season finale. It is so big that it needed addressing; is this the end of ‘Clark?’ Or is this a onetime only de-wigging and those glasses will never leave his face ever again when he is in her company?

Lack of dialogue can be just as effective as a passionate monologue and The Americans excels in the non-verbal. Martha can’t get any words out here because there aren’t any that can explain just what the fuck is going on and one of the best scenes of this season tells us everything we need to know through a series of looks. Philip and Elizabeth have come a long way from when we first met them; they’re still not all that great at sharing their feelings, but there is a deeper understanding and commitment. Trust is fundamental here and despite the conflict caused by the Paige problem it didn’t break them up as it might have done in the past.

No scene better demonstrates just how in deep they are with each other than the wordless tooth removal. It plays out like a sex scene and it is incredibly tender even if it involves pliers and some sounds I never want to hear ever again. Especially as I have a scheduled tooth removal next month. At least I will have something more effective than a shot of whiskey for the pain.

The Americans 3.03 The Americans 3.03 Elizabeth's eye The Americans 3.03 Philip's eye The Americans 3.03 Elizabeth eye afterPhilip and Elizabeth don’t need to tell each other who they really are because they already know (well some stories from their youth might still be required), but it is moments like this that really lay it all out there. It one reason why The Americans is so fascinating and the exploration of marriage and identity is consistently just as thrilling (if not more so) as the spy missions and disguises they wear.

The Americans Season 3 Promo: A Few Quick Thoughts and New Disguises

10 Dec

The new Americans season 3 promo is here (and can be viewed in full at Yahoo TV) with “Every Breath You Take” by The Police entering seemingly impossible new levels of creepy as it plays over various intense and dangerous looking moments. The stakes were raised last season as Elizabeth and Philip faced danger close to home and this is set to be ramped up further with Paige being viewed as a potential KGB recruit. The end of season 2 signaled there would be discord in the Jennings home as Philip and Elizabeth differ in their views on this Paige demand and this is evident in the new promo. The kitchen is once again the hub of both disagreement and the couple coming together.

A couple of disguises stand out and I can’t wait to see this mustachio aviator wearing fella:

IMG_1134And this is my instant new Elizabeth favorite. She looks so chill and I would like her to share all the ways she is pulling off giant frames like these as it is a majestic style choice:

IMG_1137There are a few other things that stand out including the FBI getting close once again to Philip and Elizabeth, with Elizabeth in what appears to be a very precarious position. Someone is getting strangled and I have a feeling (from pausing and looking closely) it could be Philip’s asset Anneliese. Paige is looking all kinds of grown up with her hair mimicking her mother’s and there are more visits to church in store. Frank Langella makes an appearance as their handler replacing Kate and I wonder how contentious this relationship will be. He also wants to remind them what they do “is for the good of the many.” Okay, Jeremy Bentham. Nina is alive, but her current location is a bit on the dreary/unwelcoming side and Stan stares mournfully at her photo. Sad Stan is sad.

IMG_1139Oh and what is this?! Stan is showing what looks like Martha how to use a gun. Better watch out for this Clark.

Somehow everything looks even more intense than last year, the risks greater and this is a show that makes an embrace look like the most devastating and intimate of action. And I cannot wait. Roll on January 28.

The Americans is part of the Best of TV Costuming 2014 series and you can read those thoughts here.

Music Monday – Girls Season 3 Playlist

24 Mar

Girls has been a big part of Music Monday and what better way to celebrate a mostly excellent season than with a playlist featuring some of the best tracks of the year. Plus I’m also trying to distract myself from thinking about the devastating events of another show that aired last night (yes, I’m looking at you The Good Wife) and music is that outlet. Beach HouseAs discussed a few weeks back the closing credit music has been one place where the world of Girls is rather optimistic, even if it doesn’t match what we have just seen on screen. The final montage of season 3 uses Michael Penn’s “Good Girl Down” (sadly this isn’t on either Spotify or YouTube at this time, otherwise it would have definitely been part of this playlist) and in his role as Girls composer Penn penned (sorry, couldn’t resist) this track for the finale. Hannah’s smiling due to her grad school acceptance letter and while she has just had a big blowout fight with Adam, she’s still happy; this track does a good job of mirroring this.

This playlist is one to dance to, whether it’s a choreographed routine like in “Beach House” or even if it’s just a desk disco – which mine frequently are – it’s meant to be fun and uplifting. It’s not all dance party as there are some slower, more relaxing songs on here too and it’s generally got a good vibe to it. These are also some of the artists who I have been listening to for the past few weeks on repeat because of Girls, particularly Hannah Georgas and Hannah Cohen. The tracks are in the order they appeared on the episodes, except for Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ “What I Am” as this song played throughout the season thanks to Marnie’s teeeeeerible YouTube video – why HBO hasn’t put this up on YouTube yet is beyond me – sorry if it gets stuck in your head as it did mine.

Girls Season 3 Poster: Boots and Gowns

2 Dec

The promo wheels keep on spinning for the news season of Girls and hot on the heels of the new promo last week, HBO has now released a poster. Adam and Ray are now part of the poster ensemble, which in the past has only featured the women of Girls. There’s a fairy tale theme with Shoshanna and Marnie rocking the pastel shades and playing princess – both of these characters are very good at faking happiness. Jessa looks bored of course and has paired her gown with a pair of rugged boots and it’s a little disconcerting that Hannah is staring directly out of the poster at you. Hannah has ditched her shoes and this is my go to move when wearing heels. Oh and Adam has lost the facial fuzz and Ray has a perfect expression of disdain.

Girls S3

After the happily ever after knight in shining armor moment (ok knight with amazing Face Time reception in the street) ending of last season, this theme is somewhat appropriate and it’s given the Girls edge with the “Happily Whatever After” tagline. The primary season 2 poster featured only Hannah and this hinted at her isolation and so it’s a welcome relief to see an expanded group shot like this one. I’m also happy they’ve taken it out of the city and gone for a ‘fantasy’ image that plays with the notion of a perfect lifestyle. It’s messy like the show and while the fairy tale idea isn’t an innovative one, it is fun and season 3 looks set to capture this aspect that got lost last year.

Girls Season 3 GIF Preview

21 Nov

The first look at season 3 of Girls was like an Instagram flipbook, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the second glimpse of the new episodes comes courtesy of a selection of 10 GIFs on Buzzfeed. Yep this is an HBO marketing strategy and while it may come across as super gimmicky, it’s also pretty perfect for how Girls has embraced social media as a promotional tool.

So what do these 10 GIFs reveal about the new season? Not a huge amount, but there is some Adam smooching and considering how the last season ended this shouldn’t come as a shock. Whether Adam and Hannah will be able to make it work is another question and even though the rom-com like reunion didn’t exactly thrill me, having Adam back in the main story is definitely a bonus.

Hannah was incredibly isolated for most of last year as all of her relationships fell apart and these GIFs suggest that there will be a focus on the friend aspect. For me the reason why Girls resonates is because of how it explores post-college friendships and this got lost in season 2, these GIFs suggest that this aspect will be back.

There is a also a briefest of first looks at my favorite Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams and an epic spit take, though I’m not entirely sure I agree with the heading of this one “Because you haven’t laughed like this since last season.” Yes there were funny moments, but it was definitely more tragicomedy for the most part. I haven’t put a Q-tip anywhere near my ear since THAT episode.

For more head over to BuzzfeedGirls season 3 premieres Sunday, January 12 on HBO.

New Girl Season 3 Premiere: Going “All In”

18 Sep

Season openers can be a tricky endeavor, particularly when the previous episode has culminated in a highly anticipated union and the momentum has been broken by a summer off. With a show like New Girl a lot of hype has been directed at Nick and Jess and if you were wondering what they’re relationship status is the repeated “all in” gets both the characters and the audience used to the idea that they can be a couple.

NewGirl-EP301_AllIn-Sc21_01857

The season premiere starts where we left off; with The Vaccines “I Always Knew” playing as Nick and Jess drove away from the abandoned wedding. After making a roadside stop to consummate the fact that they didn’t call it off, they end up standing at their front door. Neither are ready to cross the threshold as they’ve only been a couple for 30 minutes and their roommates are already being incredibly demanding – ok Schmidt’s is the demanding one, Winston just wants to puzzle. The prospect of returning to normalcy is too much and the pair head off to Mexico to spend some quality time together living out of the back of Jess’ car. We don’t get to see exactly how both of their wedding outfits end up quite as wrecked as they do, but it works better this way. The same can be said for the lack of explanation as to why Winston is wearing a hoodie as pants other than his propensity to get weird.

In Mexico away from the apartment Nick thinks that he can make this relationship work and he’s willing to shred his passport so he doesn’t have to go home and risk losing Jess. This is Nick’s irrational side coming out, the part that thinks he isn’t worthy and he’s more likely to fuck everything up if he lets this side get the better of him. As we have seen with Nick’s previous relationships he’s a fan of the self-sabotage and he doesn’t want this one to go the same way. It’s a different start to dating thanks to their roommate status and this is enough to send Nick into a tailspin of not wanting to leave Paradise Nick and Paradise Jess behind. It doesn’t help that Schmidt and Winston are in full on bickering mode, coupled with Schmidt’s relationship drama and so resort jail is of course far more appealing – they let him watch Ugly Betty after all.

Home is where they have to go and Jess delivers a heartfelt speech; Craigslist gets major props and for once it isn’t sex, drugs or murder related. Jess is the voice of reason on this occasion, not just in relation to Nick but with all of them as she points out that they’re “a family” and how “there is no us without Schmidt and Winston.” It’s a dysfunctional dynamic and the loft situation is going to provide a wealth of stories in the coming weeks. As far as this season opener goes the Jess and Nick stuff plays well, Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel still have oodles of chemistry and because they are together there is a lot of kissing; we know how well they do that.

One issue with this episode is how disjointed it feels and not just because Nick and Jess are in Mexico while Schmidt and Winston are back home. There’s a lot to cram into 22 minutes and at points it seems like certain aspects of the story have been cut out (the promo photos show that in one cut Nick isn’t the only person to get tasered). It’s understandable why these cuts have to be made for time, but on this occasion it was noticeable – maybe as a result of the promotional materials.

First episodes back are meant to refresh the viewer with what has occurred and lay out where things are headed, so it’s not surprising that the momentum the back half of season 2 created gets disrupted. Schmidt still has his decision to make as he tells both Elizabeth and Cece that he has chosen them. Cece is the regular cast member and Merritt Wever will be making her way back to Nurse Jackie soon so this takes some of the tension out of this process. Considering Schmidt’s duplicitous behavior it’s likely that he will end up with neither of them (for now).

Now to Winston and his puzzling; the main puzzle being will he get his own ‘A’ story this season? While I enjoy the lengths they push Winston too with his love of badgers and forgotten birthdays, there comes a time when Lamorne Morris deserves a bigger piece of the New Girl pie. Over at Vulture New Girl creator Liz Meriwether discusses this aspect of his character saying “That’s the level we like, where he’s on some crazy mission for some stupid thing but the stakes are so high for him. To me, that’s just hilarious, and Lamorne is so good at going to those broad places but keeping an emotional reality at the center of it so it doesn’t feel out in space.” While I totally agree with this notion, I hope there is more for him this year and maybe the return of Coach will give him a source of conflict beyond the realization that he is color blind – points to Schmidt for the line of the episode “If you think those shoes are brown, what color do you think you are?”

Winston does take it too far and not just with his jigsaw obsession as a moment where he has to save Schmidt ends with him admitting to wanting Cece’s underwear because he wanted to sew them into his underpants. Cece reacted accordingly. As we saw in “First Date” last season, Schmidt and Winston together creates these ridiculous scenarios and it gives both Max Greenfield and Lamorne Morris a chance to unleash their crazy; the argument where they literally argue in circles is absurd but brilliant.

We end the episode back at the front door of apartment 4D, flummoxed as Nick doesn’t carry a key – “there’s always someone at home” – and a mini argument ends in making out. We’re back to where we started and this mini adventure to Mexico might not have been a completely satisfying start to the season, but it’s laid the groundwork and I’m confident that the season will pick up from here. It’s also pretty great to be back with these characters and to no longer be tiptoeing around a “will they/won’t they story.”

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