Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Younger

I watch too many TV shows. It’s a problem. Because of this, I’ve had to be selective when it comes to which programs I actually spend time watching. But then when my shows go on a semi-long hiatus, I get ancy like a drug addict feening for a hit. It’s then that I go to the list of bubble shows that I decided I would only watch if I found the time to. Enter Younger.

Younger is a TV Land series, which is partly why you’re confused about it. It’s not a repeat of Gunsmoke or Who’s the Boss or even Friends, and it’s not a shot-in-front-of-a-live-audience multi-cam show like Hot in Cleveland. It’s a single-cam, original series that isn’t aimed towards the baby boomer demographic. I watched the pilot and liked it so much that I watched it again immediately after it aired. But that’s partly because my DVR cut out the last 30 seconds and I obviously needed to see what happened. But that aside, it feels like a fresh, new show that isn’t trying to be anything else. So what’s it about?

Basic Plot

Liza (Sutton Foster) is 40 years old and suddenly becomes a divorced single mom of a college freshman. She gets mistaken for a 20-something by a young, hot, gentleman caller (Nico Tortoella), which makes her think she can pass for a young professional, multiplying her chances of scoring a decent job in the publishing world. It works, and she lands a position as an assistant to a Devil Wears Prada-esque boss, but her co-worker Kelsey (H Duff) befriends her and takes her under her wing. Liza attempts to keep up appearances as a “26 year old” but the problem is that no one knows her real age and real life story.

Still intrigued? Here are a few more reasons to watch one of my new favorite shows this year.

Sex and the Gilmore Girls

Darren Starr, the executive producer of Sex and the City, is the creator, writer, director, etc. of Younger, so some of that Carrie Bradshaw flair can be seen in the show. Like SATC, it also takes place in New York City, specifically Brooklyn, where Liza has to adjust to all the young hipsters. The writing of Younger is reminiscent of Gilmore Girls – while not quite as verbose and pop culture reference-y, it has a similar fast-talking pace that is perfect for the brilliant Sutton Foster, who if you recall, starred in the cancelled-too-soon dance dramedy Bunheads, created by GG’s Amy Sherman-Palladino. The fusion of these two shows results in a hip, hilarious program for millennials and older folks alike.

Hilary Duff Is Back On TV

I have been a fan of Hil since My Lizzie and Gordon OTP Days, and have loved her ever since. While she’s had some random TV cameos since (REMEMBER THE DAN HUMPHREY VANESSA THREESOME), this is a full-fledged series return since she’s had a kid. Now I don’t think she’s lined up to earn an Oscar nomination anytime soon, but her acting and mere presence feels like a breath of fresh air, and the role of Kelsey is perfect for her. She’s a strong female in the workplace and goes after what she wants with determination. She also isn’t a mean girl, which I expected her to be when I first started watching. She truly is a friend to Liza and I hope that never changes, because, girls lifting up other girls and whatnot.

Sutton Foster Is Back On TV

As previously mentioned, Sutton was in the short-lived Bunheads, which was the perfect role for her as a Vegas showgirl-turned-small-town-dance-teacher. Sutton nailed the delivery on Amy Sherman-Pallidino’s writing, which isn’t an easy feat. It also helped that Sutton is a huge Gilmore Girls fan so she knew what she was getting in to. And while some may only be familiar with her work on Bunheads, many others like me know her as Broadway royalty. Like the kind of Broadway royalty that has won two Tony Awards as Best Actress in a Musical because she’s that flawless. Whenever Broadway actors transition into TV, I always root for them like the underdog because I know how much talent they have and it deserves to be seen than more than the lucky few who get to see them perform on the stage live (see: half the cast of Bloodline). Sutton being on Younger is not only an achievement and feat for her, it’s one for us too.

Fashion

The fashion in Younger is interesting on a whole new level, in that while there are the clothes that, say, Hilary Duff’s character wears (trendy, young NYC professional), there’s that of Liza’s, which is a 40 year old woman pretending to be 26. What she wears literally depends on her livelihood. Bring in Patricia Field, the costume designer for not only Younger, but she also worked with Darren Starr on SATC. I recently read an Entertainment Weekly feature on Patricia and now I can’t stop reading about her process for styling characters and tips on how to not look like trash, basically. For example, a trick for dressing Liza is that she wears items that balance out her silhouette – i.e. being youthful is about not being overtly sexy. When Josh first hits on Liza, she’s wearing like a comfy chambray shirt – and this is what makes him not only like her, but think she’s 26.

Millennial Life As Seen By A Non-Millennial

There’s a good chunk of this show that deals with Liza just trying to keep up with the “kids” and understand the millennial language. She gets hired as an assistant, and is expected to know how social media works because that’s what we do as millennials. In one scene she comes up with this brilliant publicity campaign involving Twitter, but when she launches it, she forgets to include the hashtags, and therefore it doesn’t become the viral sensation she promised her boss it would be. In the pilot, Liza seriously asks who Lena Dunham is. Kelsey at one point has to teach her what IRL means. It’s an interesting semi-psychological study on what we do and why we do it, couched in the guise of a hilarious show.

Younger airs on TV Land Tuesdays at 10p/9c

ICYMI: Stefon’s NoChella Nemesis

Coachella 2015 ends tonight and while thousands are currently in a dust bowl filled with sweat, the lingering smell of weed and regret, here’s a reminder you can still join in on the fun – with NoChella!

Coachella? #Nochella!

I’ve never been the type to find interest in weekend-long outdoor music festivals, so while I get the appeal, I don’t get the appeal, but that’s perfectly fine with me. I’d much rather stay at the comfort of my own home and get updates on what happens there from afar. And apparently this is a trend that’s caught on. I introduce you to: #NoChella.

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s possible to have fun without being at Coachella! Just ask all the folks who have opted to create their own fun in the comfort of their own homes. Even celebrities are getting into the #NoChella fun with ragers that include hanging out with friends and drinking and listening to music because that is essentially what people are paying hundreds of dollars for at the actual Coachella.

But for those who have even the slightest twinge of Coachella FOMO, here are just some ways you can celebrate #NoChella without the hassle of actually going to Coachella.

Desert Life

Gather as many of your friends as you can, have them dress like contemporary hippies who are toeing the line of offending Native Americans and cram into a sauna.

General Hygeine

For those who go all in and do Coachella camping style, they will have to rely on port-a-potties and portable showers (as seen above) for the weekend. Basically, if you want to try this at home, don’t shower and possibly pee out in the woods somewhere.


 

Chicano Batman, Lucent Dossier Experience and Night Terrors of 1927 – these are all bands that played at Coachella this year and I’m not shitting you. Most of them sound made up, which is why we have a fun little game for you…

Band at Coachella or Stefon’s Favorite Club?

The first weekend of Coachella 2014 has come and gone, but there’s still one more weekend of music and hipsters and alcohol and drugs and questionable fashion in the desert. In LA, these two weekends in April basically means a mass exodus of folks heading out to Indio, and in certain neighborhoods (read: hipster neighborhoods), it’s eerily quiet.

And while Coachella is a music and arts festival, I feel like it’s become less about the music and more about the event itself, which celebrities you can spot, and how many artistic Instagram photos you can post. Lest we forget about all the indie rock bands and dance/rappers we’ve never heard of before? That’s what Coachella is all about. When you look at the lineup and go, ‘IS THAT EVEN A REAL BAND??’

People who are real Coachella fans get off on knowing bands before everyone else knows who they are, no matter how ridiculous the name of their band sounds. So in the spirit of putting the music back put on your flower headbands and try your hand at guessing whether the following words are real legit bands that are playing at Coachella this year, or the name of a fake club by SNL’s former city correspondent, Stefon. Good Luck! (highlight the text between the two arrows for the answer!)

Scuba

COACHELLA ⇐

Scuba, real name Paul Rose, is an EDM DJ from London.

Blitzen

⇒ STEFON ⇐

New York’s hottest holiday club is Blitzen, and right now they’re having their 12 Days of Christmas dance party. It has everything: (sung to the 12 Days of Christmas) 12 jacked albinos, 11 Little Richards, 10 piercer babies, 9 Asian Balkis, 8 gay Aladdins, 7 psychos swearing, 6 Puerto Screechers, 5 homeless Elmos. 4 coked up frogs, 3 French hens, Taylor Negron, and a human parking cone… It’s that thing were two jacked midgets paint themselves orange and you have to parallel park between them.

Jelly Bones

⇒ STEFON ⇐

Located on the Lower Upper Side, this random home invasion is the creation of legally drunk clothing designer Nick Nolte and Gabana. As you walk in, you’ll be handed a glass of champagne – or is it piss? This place has everything: Slurpies, mushmouths, litterbugs. But Don’t worry about security, because it’s guarded by an army of hobo-cops. Homeless Robocops.

Holy Ghost!

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

Holy Ghost! is an American synthpop duo from Brooklyn.

Thank You!

⇒ STEFON ⇐

New York’s hottest club is Thank You! Located inside a crashing blimp, this euro trash utopia is a creation of beatnik doctor, Soulpatch Adams. And this place has everything: ziplines, fish food, that fat Hawaiian guy that no one invited, an old Pakistani woman that looks like a California raisin. And this weekend they’re having a tournament of everyones favorite trivia game: Shaun White or Bonnie Raitt. Look closely, the answer may surprise you.

Graveyard

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

Graveyard is a hard rock band from Sweden with members whose real names are Axel Sjöberg, and Truls Mörck, clearly taking a page out of the Mike Schur book of fake names.

Drowners

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

Drowners is a “post-punk” band from New York City. Whatever “post-punk” means.

Scampi

⇒ STEFON ⇐

Illegally parked behind the Statue of Liberty, this hate-speech haven is a creation of frat boy guru D-Bag Chopra. This place has everything: Zip drives, gozers, Ke$ha.  Is it Ryan Seacrest? No –  it’s a drowned albino who looks like Axl Rose. For the kids, there’s a special workshop where you can build a bear… but not the kind you think. There’s a VIP section filled with Furtlenecks – it’s that thing of when like, fat guys have a beard, but only on their chin roll. And they have a pack of roaming draggers. Roaming draggers? It’s that thing of when an old dog has short legs but a long penis.

Slice

⇒ STEFON ⇐

If you want fun, then listen to this: New York’s hottest club is Slice. Club promoter Gay Liotta is back, and this time he’s gone crazy. Jump in and join a dance party where you’ll see twinks, gypsies, grown men in wedding dresses, a cat from a bodega, puppets in disguise… It’s that thing like when Alf wore a trench coat, so he could go out into public.

Daughter

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

Daughter is a British indie rock band, whose songs have been used on Grey’s Anatomy, Teen Wolf, and Arrow.

Poolside

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

Poolside is a Los Angeles-based duo who classify themselves as “Daytime disco”. Honestly, in addition to making up band names, can these bands just make up their own genres too?

Bicep

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

British Dance DJ who has the least appealing name ever.

Push

⇒ STEFON ⇐

 

This place has everything: Ghosts, banjos, Carl Paladino, a stuck-up kitten who won’t sign autographs, furkels.
Furkels? Fat Urkels. After you’ve been with one of those guys, you’ll ask yourself “Did I do thaaaat?’

Saturday Spotlight: Gwyneth’s Got More Limes Than Amy March

Remember Little Women? Amy March was the worst person ever, but she also taught us an important lesson. She squandered her family’s “rag money” (IDK) on a bunch of limes, then her teacher tossed them into the snow. Lesson: if you’re short on cash, don’t waste your money on limes. This is a lesson Gwyneth Paltrow hasn’t quite worked out: her sample food assistance-based menu included not one, not two, but seven limes for a week:


 

Gwyneth’s Goop Kitchen: How Fast Would You Die?

I’d love to live like Gwyneth Paltrow, but it would probably kill me. We’ve reviewed the ridiculous pricesfor, like, a plain white t-shirt on Goop. We’ve also looked at how to beautify your “conscious uncoupling” with a mock divorce Pinterest board. I surely couldn’t afford that sort of lifestyle, but what if Gwyneth tried to live more like us plebes? This week we learned the answer, when Gwynnie tried to buy a week’s worth of groceries on a $29 SNAP budget. Here’s what she came up with:

Yo. That looks like the food version of being grounded. It is the dinner world’s answer to being in-school suspended. It’s like if a spin instructor was in charge of the menu for a jail.


 

But then again, Amy March was sort of just like “I may be poor, but I just want to enjoy what everyone else is enjoying.” Similarly, a lot of modern youths want to enjoy what everyone else is (Coachella), but want to skip the part where you camp in a dessert and use a porta potty. Enter: Nochella.


Coachella? #Nochella!

I’ve never been the type to find interest in weekend-long outdoor music festivals, so while I get the appeal, I don’t get the appeal, but that’s perfectly fine with me. I’d much rather stay at the comfort of my own home and get updates on what happens there from afar. And apparently this is a trend that’s caught on. I introduce you to: #NoChella.

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s possible to have fun without being at Coachella! Just ask all the folks who have opted to create their own fun in the comfort of their own homes. Even celebrities are getting into the #NoChella fun with ragers that include hanging out with friends and drinking and listening to music because that is essentially what people are paying hundreds of dollars for at the actual Coachella.

But for those who have even the slightest twinge of Coachella FOMO, here are just some ways you can celebrate #NoChella without the hassle of actually going to Coachella.

Desert Life

Gather as many of your friends as you can, have them dress like contemporary hippies who are toeing the line of offending Native Americans and cram into a sauna.


But seriously, when an 11-year-old girl tries to follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing, she ends up screaming “I’m The King Of The World!” in a Nova Scotia graveyard. We were in sixth grade for Titanic Mania; we should know.


Remember Titanic Mania? That Was Weird, Right?

Let’s recap a bit in case you’ve forgotten about Titanic Mania, were too young for it, or just weren’t paying attention. First, the Titanic sank. It was 1912 and a lot of people died and it was, of course, very sad. Fast forward 80-some years to late 1997. James Cameron directed a giant historical epic about the event, starring teen sensations Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. That’s when things got weird.

For as long as cinema has existed, we haven’t been able to resist portraying real-life tragedies on-screen. Want to guess how long the first Titanic movie was released after the sinking? 29 days. Not even a full month, unless the month was February, which of course it wasn’t because every mid-90s tween has the date “April 15, 1912″ etched onto their soul. There were actually three Titanic movies released in 1912 alone, so it’s not like I think that James Cameron’s Titanic was unusually iffy.

The way we all reacted to that movie though – that’s what was weird. We just lost it. Keep in mind, this was a movie about a real-life disaster, and survivors were even still alive at the time. You’d think we would have maintained a bit of decorum, or solemnity, or SOMETHING, but that sunken boat became a pop culture figure along the lines of Mickey Mouse or Rocky.

Real.

 


You know who can go suck a lime, for serious? The Fox execs who haven’t renewed The Mindy Project. Do it, do it, do it?


I Believe In Fairy Tales: A Plea To #RenewMindy

Every year around this time, fans of TV shows that are “on the bubble” hold on for dear life and cross their fingers that network and cable executives renew their favorite shows. This wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’ has become more of a dire straits situation over the past few years, since the television landscape has changed so drastically. It used to be that shows weren’t in danger of getting cancelled unexpectedly, even if the finale was a cliffhanger. But now, showrunners of bubble shows have to decide whether to make the season finale a combo platter of a series finale as well. Parks and Recreation executive producer Mike Schur has talked about how every year they thought they were going to get canceled, and that they wrote episodes in season three, four and twice in season five, that could have doubled as series finales. That’s the kind of TV world we live in now.

In saying that, it’s always sad to see a show get canceled before its time, or when you know that the material is better than the ratings report. Like how me and many others are still pissed off ABC bosses cancelled Happy Endings. In an effort to not repeat history, here’s my plea to save one of my personal favorite shows on the air, The Mindy Project.

As most of us already know, the brilliant Mindy Kaling landed her own show in 2012, one that she stars, writes and executive produces. It was a real Girl Power moment when the show got picked up, and as the show built up an impressive arsenal of hilarious episodes, the fan base grew fervent and here we are three seasons later. However, The Mindy Project, while acclaimed by critics and beloved by fans, doesn’t do so hot in the Neilsen ratings, which is obviously important to people like Fox. Although the viewer numbers don’t show the strong fan support, there is a prominent group of folks clamoring for a fourth season. And this post is to show my support. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think Fox execs would actually cancel it, so you know this is serious. Here are just some reasons why we need The Mindy Project to live on, this upcoming season and seasons after.

Morgan and Tamra Reunion

Mindy (Kaling) has compared Morgan and Tamra to Ryan and Kelly from The Office – they’re in constant limbo in their relationship and it’s always a fine line as to whether they’re dating or not. But just like Ryan and Kelly, I feel like Morgan and Tamra’s walk into the sunset is inevitable. They’re both crazy in their own ways, but together, the crazy kind of balances out?


Speaking of creepers from 1800s Massachusetts: Lizzie Borden. Major shudder factor. And yet I sort of… kind of love The Lizzie Borden Chronicles in spite of myself.


Show You Probably Don’t Need To Watch But Might: The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

I hate you, Lifetime. I hate you so much. I hate you for making a campy television movie about a historical murder-mystery starring a 90s child star, because you know that I will watch it. I hate you for following up with a miniseries about the same gross 1800s murder. Oh, Lifetime. You always know how to hold up a mirror to my worst self.

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is not a “show you should be watching if you aren’t already,” as so many of our posts are tagged. Watching it only encourages what we all know Lifetime thinks: that we take delight in the most lowbrow tv experiences cable has to offer. Lifetime is right, of course. That’s why even though Lizzie Borden isn’t a show you should be watching, it’s a show you might watch anyway.

Number one reason you might watch: the Lizzie Borden story itself. Lizzie Borden was a spinster whose father and stepmother were found axe-murdered under suspicious circumstances (the circumstances being holy cow, someone killed them with an axe). Circumstantial evidence strongly pointed to Lizzie, but reasonable doubt prevailed. It seemed possible Lizzie was the killer, maybe even probable – but you just can’t be certain. You may be familiar with Ms. Borden from the jump-rope rhyme she stars in. In a pre-Nancy Grace world, the sensational Borden story spread far outside the borders of Fall River, Massachusetts. Over a century later the murders are still unsolved and hotly disputed.

 

Gwyneth’s Goop Kitchen: How Fast Would You Die?

I’d love to live like Gwyneth Paltrow, but it would probably kill me. We’ve reviewed the ridiculous prices for, like, a plain white t-shirt on Goop. We’ve also looked at how to beautify your “conscious uncoupling” with a mock divorce Pinterest board. I surely couldn’t afford that sort of lifestyle, but what if Gwyneth tried to live more like us plebes? This week we learned the answer, when Gwynnie tried to buy a week’s worth of groceries on a $29 SNAP budget. Here’s what she came up with:

Yo. That looks like the food version of being grounded. It is the dinner world’s answer to being in-school suspended. It’s like if a spin instructor was in charge of the menu for a jail.

This hurts me more than it hurts you: I’m about to do some math. Let’s do some good old-fashioned calorie counting! Word problems! For anyone currently muddling their way through Common Core, feel free to draw a spirograph or make a hand-turkey or however it is that you do math now.

12 eggs, at 80 calories per egg: 960 calories

Black Beans, 16 oz: 1552 calories

Frozen Peas, 12 oz: 264 calories

Whole Grain Brown Rice, 16 oz: 1609 calories

1 medium sweet potato: 115 calories

1 head romaine lettuce: 108 calories

1 medium white onion: 50 calories

1 green chili pepper, I think: 18 calories

1 avocado: 320 calories

Roughly 10 scallions, at 8 calories per scallion: 80 calories

1 ear of corn: 100 calories

1 tomato: 25 calories

1 head of garlic: 50 calories

1 bunch of kale: 140 calories

18 Guerrera flour tortillas, at 130 calories per tortilla: 2340 calories

1 bunch of cilantro, if you’re into that: 23 calories

Seven limes. SEVEN limes. Seven LIMES: 140 calories

Want to add it up? You don’t have to. It’s 7,754. There are seven days in a week. That’s easy to remember, because that’s how many damn limes Gwyneth bought. Okay, 7,731 divided by 7: 1,107.7 Let’s round up to 1,108.

Let me just write that for you again.

1,108.

That’s how many calories a person is supposed to eat in a day, according to Gwyneth. I’m just assuming this is for one person, because otherwise we’re at something like 553 calories a day for two people.

I think Gwyneth’s point was supposed to be that eating healthy on food assistance is hard to do, but ultimately possible. Instead, she proved what a lot of people already know:

  • you can never have too many limes?
  • you CAN have too many limes, but that point is somewhere in the double-digits for a week?
  • a lime a day keeps the macrobiotics away? (Still not 100% on what a macrobiotic is, sounds like maybe a transforming food-monster action figure.)
  • roughly half of your food should be from the onion-and-garlic family (no wonder Gwyneth and Coldplay got consciously uncoupled)?
  • there’s no better afterschool snack than 1/7 of a juicy red tomato?
  • That if you have a very limited food budget, you may as well buy 10 Totino’s pizzas for $8 or a loaf of day-old white bread for a few bucks so that you don’t wake up in the middle of every night with food nightmares.

Oh, Gwyneth, Gwyneth, Gwyneth. You seem like a nice gal just trying to spread the word about something you care about. But I can tell you first-hand that writing about things you care about on the internet is the surest way to get insulted by strangers. I can also tell you that this diet blows. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And the road to an electrolyte imbalance is paved with a menu of multiple scallions a day with a side of 1/7 of an avocado.

 

Coachella? #Nochella!

The Coachella music festival, the annual gathering of the hippies and wannabe hippies, ends this weekend after another successful year among music fans who enjoy moshing in the desert. In my years living in Los Angeles, I’ve come to know these two weekends in April as a mass exodus out to Indio, with a bombardment of over-filtered photos at the fest on Instagram, and I’m sure you’ve come across that too.

I’ve never been the type to find interest in weekend-long outdoor music festivals, so while I get the appeal, I don’t get the appeal, but that’s perfectly fine with me. I’d much rather stay at the comfort of my own home and get updates on what happens there from afar. And apparently this is a trend that’s caught on. I introduce you to: #NoChella.

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s possible to have fun without being at Coachella! Just ask all the folks who have opted to create their own fun in the comfort of their own homes. Even celebrities are getting into the #NoChella fun with ragers that include hanging out with friends and drinking and listening to music because that is essentially what people are paying hundreds of dollars for at the actual Coachella.

But for those who have even the slightest twinge of Coachella FOMO, here are just some ways you can celebrate #NoChella without the hassle of actually going to Coachella.

Desert Life

Gather as many of your friends as you can, have them dress like contemporary hippies who are toeing the line of offending Native Americans and cram into a sauna.

Live Music

Attend a concert at your local small venue! Or, if you really need to see Chicano Batman, Lucent Dossier Experience, and Night Terrors of 1927 perform a set (real bands, btw), it’s streaming on YouTube all day.

Celebrity Sightings

Make a list on Twitter with celebrities including but not limited to: Katy Perry, Aaron Paul, Sarah Hyland, Paris Hilton, the Jenners, Gossip Girl alums, Vanessa Hudgens (she won’t be there, but she’ll tweet about it anyways) and follow all their posts. It’ll be like seeing them IRL.

Fashion Judging

Follow the Coachella Style or Coachella Fashion tags on Tumblr or lit’rally any fashion website because they will have all the outfits on fleek or not on fleek.

Drinking and Drugs in Excess

While Coachella isn’t exactly the unlucky festival like Electric Daisy or Ultra in Miami where unfortunate drug and alcohol and overcrowding events have occurred, it still has its fair share of that going on. No one wants to be part of that, so drink responsibly.

Camping

This could be us…

but you playin. Us/me instead:

General Hygeine

For those who go all in and do Coachella camping style, they will have to rely on port-a-potties and portable showers (as seen above) for the weekend. Basically, if you want to try this at home, don’t shower and possibly pee out in the woods somewhere.

Remember Titanic Mania? That Was Weird, Right?

103 years ago today, the Titanic met its tragic fate. And 17 years ago today, we were all being tacky as hell. The Titanic craze of 1997-1998 was unlike any media phenomenon I’ve experienced before or since, both in how pervasive and fanatical it was, and also in that we all sort of acted super questionable.

Let’s recap a bit in case you’ve forgotten about Titanic Mania, were too young for it, or just weren’t paying attention. First, the Titanic sank. It was 1912 and a lot of people died and it was, of course, very sad. Fast forward 80-some years to late 1997. James Cameron directed a giant historical epic about the event, starring teen sensations Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. That’s when things got weird.

For as long as cinema has existed, we haven’t been able to resist portraying real-life tragedies on-screen. Want to guess how long the first Titanic movie was released after the sinking? 29 days. Not even a full month, unless the month was February, which of course it wasn’t because every mid-90s tween has the date “April 15, 1912″ etched onto their soul. There were actually three Titanic movies released in 1912 alone, so it’s not like I think that James Cameron’s Titanic was unusually iffy.

The way we all reacted to that movie though – that’s what was weird. We just lost it. Keep in mind, this was a movie about a real-life disaster, and survivors were even still alive at the time. You’d think we would have maintained a bit of decorum, or solemnity, or SOMETHING, but that sunken boat became a pop culture figure along the lines of Mickey Mouse or Rocky.

Real.

We had reasons, sort of. We were both obsessed, but we were also in sixth grade. It was the beginning of being interested in “grown-up” romances instead of kid stuff, making it much more touching and serious. I was rewatching Titanic a few years ago – mind you, I could rewatch Titanic in my brain any time I wanted because I still have it memorized thanks to that two-cassette pack I got for my 12th birthday – anyway, it jumped out at me that Rose and Jack had known each other for, like, four days max. They had all the emotional investment of a one-night stand. No wonder Old Rose hadn’t mentioned the story to her family. “I’m really sad about this guy I went out Irish Dancing with one time then banged in a car and he died 80 years ago?” Get a grip, Grams.

You know, like most randos you hooked up with when you were 17.

Even though Rose and Jack were two teenagers creating the 1912 version of nude selfies, in 1998 they represented a long-gone era of decorum. The winter all of the news stations were focused on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, we wanted stories about ladies and gentlemen. Maybe that was why even people over the age of 15 lost their cool. But what happened next… I don’t have an excuse for that.

It’s like this. Liking a movie about a horrific tragedy is pretty normal. Holding themed club nights about the tragedy is not. It’s not just that Titanic sold a lot of tickets. Here are some of wacky things that we did during Titanic mania:

  • You could buy reproductions of Rose’s Heart Of The Ocean necklace, a gift for a teen girl’s forced arranged marriage that she got painted in naked one time. If memory serves, the ads ran in USA Weekend for months, maybe years.
  • A local (Rochester, NY) club held “Titanic night” which sounds like an evening when a massive code violation results in the death of hundreds. Commercials played on our top 40 station, but I’ll never know what happened at Titanic Night because I was 11.

    You can still visit a Titanic club somewhere.

  • JC Penney sold t-shirts depicting the aforementioned teen bride and a boy who’s days away from death by freezing.

    It is a shirt with a dying man on it.

  • The Titanic soundtrack was a best-seller, and a follow-up soundtrack was even released. It was the first and only time in my life that it was really cool that I’m a good tin whistle player. Teens everywhere queued up fiddle music and Edwardian novelty songs (Come Josephine In My Flying Machine, anyone?), sat on our bedspreads, and had a good cry about the souls when went down with the ship.
  • That damn Celine Dion song. Everywhere. All the time. My favorite was the version where they interspersed clips of dialog into the song. There was also a club remix, which probably was played at that club’s Titanic Night.
  • Everyone had that one friend who saw the movie something like 13 times in the theater. This led to the film staying at the top of the box office for 15 straight weeks. I know this because I checked the box office reports every week to make sure Titanic was still at its rightful place.
  • In a pre-tumblr world, you would log onto Lycos and find AngelSites and GeoCities pages about the movie and the boat. I bet if you added up all the time I’ve spent on the internet in my life, a big chunk of it was spent trawling those sites. Most included a tinny midi file of My Heart Will Go On.
  • Just about every magazine launched a “Special Collector’s Issue” about the movie.
  • Titanic vacations allowed rich people to see a shipwreck/mass grave site up close. I wished I could be so rich.
  • The New York Times book list was full of books about Titanic, including then-50-year-old A Night To Remember and a nonfiction, full-color book about the making of the movie. Yeah, I checked the book charts weekly, too.
  • Kids threw “Titanic Parties.” Kids are stupid and the parties were tacky, including 11-year-old girls – commonly known to be the worst type of human – screaming “I’m The King Of The World!” throughout the graveyard where the frozen bodies of Titanic victims had been buried.

    SINKING SHIP WATERMELON BOWL. The grapes represent dead humans? But props to this mom for just being like “you want a Titanic party? Whatever. I’ll make lifeboat cupcakes.” I bet she’s fun.

  • It was also a popular prom theme… and you thought your prom was a disaster.
  • Websites popped up selling dress patterns so that you, too, could have the grace and panache of Rose Dewitt Bukater. I’m not ashamed to say that I would wear that swishy chiffon one right now.
  • In the area where sixth graders congregated before school, there was a massive snow-pile for the duration of the winter, as is typical of the North. What’s not typical is naming it after the iceberg that ultimately took the lives of thousands.
  • I won a game of charades by pantomiming Titanic.
  • Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, visited my school to kick off a science program, the JASON project. A lot of 10-year-olds were suddenly very into marine biology.

Long after the film was released, Titanic Mania has lingered. In 2012 you could attend a cruise above the underwater gravesite, which hosted a huge fete on the 100-year anniversary of the sinking. You can visit Pinterest to learn to bake a Titanic cake, and tumblr has every Caledon Hockley gif you ever wanted.  But make no mistake: Titanic mania could never happen in the uniquely, grotesquely weird way it did today. We move through our obsessions more quickly than that. And although individuals joked about the story, the high-level schmaltz that pervaded our culture just wouldn’t stand. There would be jokey memes within the first day of release, and a #waterygrave hashtag in a week. Titanic mania was a strange combination of sentimentality and cheese. It was freaking weird, and I loved it, and my heart will go on.

 

I Believe In Fairy Tales: A Plea To #RenewMindy

Every year around this time, fans of TV shows that are “on the bubble” hold on for dear life and cross their fingers that network and cable executives renew their favorite shows. This wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’ has become more of a dire straits situation over the past few years, since the television landscape has changed so drastically. It used to be that shows weren’t in danger of getting cancelled unexpectedly, even if the finale was a cliffhanger. But now, showrunners of bubble shows have to decide whether to make the season finale a combo platter of a series finale as well. Parks and Recreation executive producer Mike Schur has talked about how every year they thought they were going to get canceled, and that they wrote episodes in season three, four and twice in season five, that could have doubled as series finales. That’s the kind of TV world we live in now.

In saying that, it’s always sad to see a show get canceled before its time, or when you know that the material is better than the ratings report. Like how me and many others are still pissed off ABC bosses cancelled Happy Endings. In an effort to not repeat history, here’s my plea to save one of my personal favorite shows on the air, The Mindy Project.

As most of us already know, the brilliant Mindy Kaling landed her own show in 2012, one that she stars, writes and executive produces. It was a real Girl Power moment when the show got picked up, and as the show built up an impressive arsenal of hilarious episodes, the fan base grew fervent and here we are three seasons later. However, The Mindy Project, while acclaimed by critics and beloved by fans, doesn’t do so hot in the Neilsen ratings, which is obviously important to people like Fox. Although the viewer numbers don’t show the strong fan support, there is a prominent group of folks clamoring for a fourth season. And this post is to show my support. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think Fox execs would actually cancel it, so you know this is serious. Here are just some reasons why we need The Mindy Project to live on, this upcoming season and seasons after.

Morgan and Tamra Reunion

Mindy (Kaling) has compared Morgan and Tamra to Ryan and Kelly from The Office – they’re in constant limbo in their relationship and it’s always a fine line as to whether they’re dating or not. But just like Ryan and Kelly, I feel like Morgan and Tamra’s walk into the sunset is inevitable. They’re both crazy in their own ways, but together, the crazy kind of balances out?

More Danny Dancing

The first time Dr. Daniel Castellano broke out into a dance to Aaliyah’s Try Again as a Secret Santa present for Mindy, I’m pretty sure I blacked out. My mouth was agape and I remember fanning myself with my hand to cool down the hormonal feels. It didn’t work. And then those sons of bitches upped their game with the season three premiere, in which Mindy finds out Danny used to be a stripper named Diamond Dan. Yeah, it was actually possible to top the Try Again scene. I’m still crying from his striptease (as seen above). If they can manage to up their game by using Pony, I can only imagine what they think of next.

Guest Star Potential

Starting with the pilot, TMP has seen its fair share of impressive guest stars, from Mindy’s Office pals Ed Helms and (soupsnake) BJ Novak to James Franco to Kris Jenner to Shonda Rhimes and Stephen Colbert, it’s like celebs are lining up to appear on the show. It reminds me of when Will & Grace had the most unexpected guest stars (hello Michael Douglas) but everyone wanted to be on the show because it was that good. Even in the finale, we got just a taste of one of my faves, The Mother herself, Cristin Milioti, who will probably end up dating Dr. Reed if it gets picked up for season four. And we need that. We need Cristin to have a run on a successful show!

We Need A Rom-Com

Mindy Kaling has said plenty of times before that she loves rom-coms. Her favorite movies include You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally, which are two of the most iconic films in the genre. Her love for this ilk comes through in her own program, and there’s really no other show out there currently that is doing what she and the writers do, done in perfect execution, with such well-blended humor and heart.

It Only Gets Better

This is a promo shot of the season one cast:

Three of those actors aren’t even on the show anymore. Cut to season three promo shot:

Look, I’m not saying by any means that TMP was a bad show in the beginning or that the cast members no longer with the series made it bad. I’m just saying that it takes some time to find your groove. To reference The Office again, season one had a few great episodes (including Diversity Day which Mindy wrote), but it wasn’t until season two and three when it really hit its sweet spot. Same thing for Parks and Rec. Sometimes it takes a little bit of tweaking to find the best version of a show, and I think season three was it for TMP. They found their footing, the characters’ voices, and fans and critics responded positively to that. It would be a shame to throw that all away.

Representation is Important

Thanks a lot in part to people like Shonda Rhimes and Mindy, there’s (finally) been an upward trend in diversity on network television. But we’ve still got a long way to go. I mean, just name one other show with a female Indian-American lead. And it’s not just that we need a non-white person to share their culture in mass media, it’s that media shouldn’t just be dominated by white folk. Constance Wu from Fresh Off The Boat (another bubble show that deserves a second season) said it best when casting actors of a different race changes the idea that a white person is always in the lead because it’s the norm. It’s time for a new normal.

Mindy and Danny Endgame

Look, I just need to know that Mindy and Danny are going to live happily ever after. Or just, ‘ever after’. When ‘will-they-won’t-they couples’ get together on TV shows, it can either be the start of something new or a jump the shark moment. Not only were the Mindy writers brave enough to put these two together long before a possible series end, but they kept pushing the line and went one step further with Mindy’s unexpected pregnancy. They were able to keep Mindy’s story interesting even though she landed her dream man, but just like life, she keeps getting thrown curveballs, and the fans deserve to see what’s next. Plus, a baby. Mindy and Danny as parents. Just picture that.

#RENEWMINDY

Show You Probably Don’t Need To Watch But Might: The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

I hate you, Lifetime. I hate you so much. I hate you for making a campy television movie about a historical murder-mystery starring a 90s child star, because you know that I will watch it. I hate you for following up with a miniseries about the same gross 1800s murder. Oh, Lifetime. You always know how to hold up a mirror to my worst self.

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is not a “show you should be watching if you aren’t already,” as so many of our posts are tagged. Watching it only encourages what we all know Lifetime thinks: that we take delight in the most lowbrow tv experiences cable has to offer. Lifetime is right, of course. That’s why even though Lizzie Borden isn’t a show you should be watching, it’s a show you might watch anyway.

Number one reason you might watch: the Lizzie Borden story itself. Lizzie Borden was a spinster whose father and stepmother were found axe-murdered under suspicious circumstances (the circumstances being holy cow, someone killed them with an axe). Circumstantial evidence strongly pointed to Lizzie, but reasonable doubt prevailed. It seemed possible Lizzie was the killer, maybe even probable – but you just can’t be certain. You may be familiar with Ms. Borden from the jump-rope rhyme she stars in. In a pre-Nancy Grace world, the sensational Borden story spread far outside the borders of Fall River, Massachusetts. Over a century later the murders are still unsolved and hotly disputed.

Although, forensic analysis reveals that Borden had a serious case of Crazy Soulless Eyes.

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles picks up after Lizzie’s acquittal. The real Ms. Borden lived until 1927, spending her days outcast from Fall River’s polite society, taunted by local children and eventually driving her sister out of their shared home. The account is fictionalized – very fictionalized – but for those of us with unanswered Lizzie Borden questions, it satisfies some of that desire to know more about what happened, or at least to imagine what might have been.

Borden is dead, but her murder house lives on. You can actually sleep here if you are completely out of your mind.

Another reason you may watch: the cast. Christina Ricci has been playing creepy weirdos since she was in the single-digits, and she was honestly born for a role like Lizzie Borden. The cast is a dream team of Intense Youths From The 1990s: Clea DuVall (Girl Interrupted, Argo) plays Lizzie’s sister Emma, and Cole Hauser (School Ties, Dazed and Confused) is an investigator. That’s about it as far as big names go, but that’s more than you’d usually get in a Lifetime miniseries.

Of course Wednesday Addams would grow up to play Lizzie Borden.

You also might land on The Lizzie Borden Chronicles if you have a love cheesy historical dramas. Did you grow up on Little House on The Prairie or Dr. Quinn? Do you love when old-timey stories have incongruous modern soundtracks (thanks, Baz Luhrmann)? This series will fill your quota of straight-talking 19th century New Englanders with ruffly collars.

I will not be watching the Lizzie Borden Chronicles after the first episode. It’s not that it’s bad – I mean, it is bad, in a Lifetime Series way, but that’s why we watch it. It’s just that I’m in the middle of moving and I’m waiting to see if my new house is spooky. I’m not saying that ghosts are real, but that’s because I don’t know if they can read my blog and exact revenge or whatever. Anyway, I’ve put a moratorium on anything spooky until I see how things pan out. Hell, even the word “moratorium” was probably a bit too scary.

That brings me to the last reason you might be watching: creepy stuff. This one isn’t exactly as scary as most horror movies, but I don’t think anyone expects it to be. If you have a high tolerance for spooky entertainment and want a low dose of it, this might be the show for you. It was actually a bit much for me, because I’m not particularly interested in dead bodies, but all of the “suspenseful” scenes were truly laughable. It’s more campy than scary, but Lifetime -cruel, cruel Lifetime – knows we’ll probably watch it anyway.

ICYMI: It’s a Mad Men (& Women) World

MAD MEN. I AM STILL IN DENIAL YOU ARE LEAVING ME. I WILL CONTINUE TO TALK ABOUT YOU UNTIL I SEE A VERSION OF DON DRAPER IN 2015.

Mad Men Crush Monday

Our beloved Mad Men kicked off its final seven episodes of its seventh season on Sunday (hello alliteration), and while I’m so glad it’s back, I’m equally sad that these will be the last seven stories we’ll get to see of Don and company as they head into the 1970s and into the abyss of New York City forever.

While Mad Men has obviously provided us with plenty of “mad men” over the years, there are definitely some better than others. And although #ManCrushMonday is technically purely about attraction, I’m bending the rules a bit today and ranking the Mad Men on their overall likability, because frankly, in a male-ruled world of advertising in the 1960s, there are a handful of egotistical, cheating, at times misogynistic douche-bags, so they can’t all be crush worthy in the traditional sense. So if there’s anything Mad Men has taught us, it’s that there’s more to people than it seems on the outside, and it’s that very complexity that makes us, as human beings, interesting and worth knowing.  These are the men that have kept the world’s attention for the past eight years, and the ones we’ll miss the most.

12) Bobby Draper

The fact that four different kid actors have played Bobby is reason for him to make the list alone, and a running joke throughout the series (to the viewers, at least). It’s the current Bobby that has really taken the cake, as well as the title for longest-held position as Bobby Draper. He can actually act and not just spit out lines, and he’s sassy at that.

11) Harry Crane

So Harry Crane is kind of a dud. He may have started Sterling Cooper’s TV division but just makes poor life choices. He’s cheated on his wife (but I guess, who hasn’t), he’s a pushover – he asks Roger for a raise from $200 to $310, and Roger gets him to accept $225 and Harry is super stoked about it. He’s often ignorant and can be dumb, and Don doesn’t like him. I guess what I’m saying is, there’s a reason why he’s on this list… but I just can’t pinpoint why.

10) Pete Campbell

The things Pete Campbell says are usually arrogant and offensive, he is always seeking approval and resents his co-workers when they find their own successes. He’s a white child of privilege who gets away with sleeping around and being a double standard. He has a face that is extremely punch-worthy, so when you see scenes of him getting into fights or walking into walls or falling down stairs, it brings you pure joy. Pete may be the biggest douche on the show, but at least he’s interesting. He’s like a car crash on the side of the road that you can’t help but slow down and watch.


Okay, enough of the men. Let’s get to the women. One of the things that attracted me to the show in the first place was the allure of the 1960s, the culture and fashion in particular. And no one does it better than costume designer Janie Bryant. These clothes are to. die.

The Beautiful Girls: Best of Mad Men Fashion

WHO’S EXCITED ABOUT MAD MEN RETURNING THIS SUNDAY?!!?!

Sorry, I’ll stop yelling at you. I’m just really hyped about it. Mad Men is one of my all time favorite shows, and since it’s only 13 episodes long, fans like me spend more time waiting for it to come back than actually watching it. Besides the A+ acting and the unexpected story lines, the style plays an important part of the show. Since it’s set in New York City in the 1960s, it’s important to take the viewers back to that era with visual cues, since the written words can’t always express the time frame. Creator Matt Weiner does an amazing job of making sure every little detail is accurate to that particular time in the 1960s, and costume designer Janie Bryant is just as fastidious. Her style decisions have even inspired a Mad Men fashion line at Banana Republic, so she must be doing something right.

Here are some of my favorite costumes from seasons past. I can’t wait to see what 1968 brings! And spoiler alert: There are no pix of Jon Hamm’s “Don Draper” (ifyanowwhatimean).

{Pix from AMC & Tom + Lorenzo}

 

ICYMI: Diving Back Into DCOMs

Let’s revisit the movie that proved that being in a corny Disney movie doesn’t mean your career is dead – you still have a chance to become a star player on Saturday Night Live and marry Robin Scherbatsky (and not divorce her).

#FBF: Stuck in the Suburbs

Last month, I revisited The Color of Friendship, a groundbreaking, Emmy award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie about racism both during Apartheid in South Africa and here in the U.S.

And this is something that couldn’t be more different.

Stuck_in_the_Suburbs

Stuck in the Suburbs is a DCom that came out in July 2004, so right after we graduated high school. I would say that it’s because I was a “college kid” when this was released and why I didn’t watch it. But that doesn’t explain why I was into all of the High School Musicals and Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place, etc. The point is is that I never saw this. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I found out this even existed, because the one and only SNL great Taran Killam apparently plays a pop star in it? I’m not really sure, but I’m about to find out. Here are some of the most important things I missed out on in 2004 that I am happy to share with all of you 11 years later.


 

If you want to go deeper in the DCOM vault, how about a nice round up of Tia and Tamera’s classic Halloween movie, Twitches? Or not really, because we couldn’t actually get through it.

Reasons I Failed To Successfully Live Blog “Twitches”

It’s October, and around here, October means live blogging low-budget children’s Halloween movies. Or, usually it does. For the following reasons, I sat down to live blog Twitches, a DCOM (that’s a Disney Channel Original Movie for you adult-acting grownups out there) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry as teenaged twin witches, but just could not finish the job:

1. I Didn’t Know There Would Be Tia And Tamera

Look, I’m not the best at vetting crappy tween movies before I watch them. And by “not the best,” I mean the actual worst. As in, when we went to From Justin To Kelly circa 2003, I didn’t realize that it would be a full musical.

idiot.

It’s been a decade, but I still can’t believe that that was a theatrical release. It wouldn’t even have made a good TV movie. It seems like something the counselors would write for the show at the end of summer camp, but at like a decidedly non-performing-arts-y summer camp.

Anyway, I didn’t know that the Mowry twins would be in this, and I spent the first 10 minutes or so trying to see if I could decide which was which. Disney gave one straight hair and one curly hair, which was nice, and their genetic code gave one a mole and one no mole, which is even nicer, but still.

I Googled it later, by the way. Tamera. Tamera has the mole. Tamera is also the reason that I spent my entire childhood mispronouncing the name “Tamara.”

2. Then, I got ticked because they couldn’t even find a new way for Tia and Tamera to meet each other

Please, don’t think I’m the kind of person who hates Tia and Tamera Mowry. I did watch Sister, Sister. I’m not a monster.  And I clearly remember the two girls meeting while trying on clothes in a department store. And it happened again here! Come on, Disney. Give the gals something else to work with. Even Lindsay Lohan got to meet her twin at summer camp. Heck, I met my long-lost lookalike cousin at a family reunion. There’s more than one way to find out you have a double out there. Orphan Black has found like 10 ways. Lazy.

If you didn’t have that hat, you were nothing.

3. The Outfits Were Too… Too

I didn’t see this movie when it first came out. It’s not that I was watching highbrow television in 2005. I hadn’t even grown out of children’s entertainment about twins:  I remember watching an old Mary Kate And Ashley dance party VHS while pregaming to go out around that time.  I just missed this one. While it’s tempting to feel like 2005 was mere moments ago, it was almost a decade in the past and we don’t dress like this anymore:

Although, did anyone dress like that, ever?

The mid-2000s fashions were too much for me. But the Disney Channel had its own sparkly, sequiny velour-ful take on 2005 style that is frankly an assault on both the eyeballs and good taste.

4. Everyone In This Movie  Is Too Accepting Of Magic, Secret Twins, Etc.

It’s a children’s Halloween movie, and I can suspend disbelief. But would it be too much to have the characters be a little shocked to find that they’re secret twins with special powers? Harry Potter was like “WTF is this owl about” and even that girl from Halloweentown was a little confused. I’m just asking for 2 minutes of incredulity.

APPROPRIATE REACTION —>

5. What Sort Of 21st Birthday Is That??

I guess finding your secret twin could derail your plans, but whose 21st birthday was that tame? I can’t remember mine all the way but I’m sure it was more fun than that. In all fairness they did talk about a party that the rich Mowry was going to have (Tiamera? Tameria?) but I quit by that point.

6. Wait. Who Are Those Adults?

While I was taking notes on the outfits, this guy Karsh starts showing up. He’s magic and looks like the human version of a fancy dog. And he brought his bestie Ileana, a woman with flipped-out hair who dresses like Tara from Buffy. They’re boring.

7. Sudafed Sleep

Yesterday I took Sudafed for some sinus stuff, and I was awake every half hour that night. I was at least interested in what my sleep graph would look like on my Fitbit… but my sleep was so restless that I had ripped it from my person and flung it onto a faraway throw pillow at some point in the night.

So by the time Twitches aired, my Sudafed-speed-meth energy had worn out and I was just a tired lady with congested nasal passages.

8. Frankly, I Just Didn’t Get That Into It

After 45 minutes or so, I completely gave up. It didn’t have the 90s nostalgia value, or the all-star cast, of Hocus Pocus. It didn’t have the low-budget childish silliness of Halloweentown. It was starring grown adults, which seems a bit weird for a Disney movie.

I really did sort-of try to live blog Twitches. But you know what they say about trying: it’s the number one cause of failure.