Pop Culture Blind Spot: The Shining

To begin with our standard Pop Culture Blind Spot apology/non-apology: yes, The Shining is a classic and no, I haven’t seen it. As a little kid I would challenge myself to watch scary movies, only to find myself haunted by them for months after. [Poltergeist, I’m looking at you.] At some point I questioned why I was doing that to myself and massively slashed back on my horror viewing. As a result, I’ve never seen some cult favorites: like The Shining, or Stephen King’s The Shining if you’re nasty. Between now and Halloween, I plan to dive into some of these spooky favorites – so watch this space.

What I think The Shining about: Jack Nicholson plays a writer who takes his family to a remote, haunted hotel until he snaps because of hotel-ghosts and tries to kill them all. Also, twins.

Netflix short description: A distant father roams an empty, maze-like hotel thick with dread. Something awful awaits in room 237.

First thing I notice: The Shining is shot, preserved, and/or remastered beautifully for a 1980 film. You know how a lot of movies from that era look sort of orange and grainy? In the scene with Jack’s son and wife (Shelly Duvall) it truly feels like I could walk into through the screen and into their apartment. As I said, Poltergeist did some things to my brain. But really, it’s like early 80s time travel, with all these nicely layered set details.

It’s so weird to hear the distinctive Jack Nicholson voice coming out of such a young face.

Jack agrees to the hotel deal and learns another guy who did the same thing went crazy and killed his family with an axe. Cool cool cool cool.

My first reason I don’t really trust Jack is that they have stack and stacks of paperbacks piled around their TV. Get another bookshelf.

Little Danny converses with himself in a mirror, which I hate. Then a flood of blood pours out of elevators, which I also hate. Then you see the scary twins, who I sort of thought would show up way later?

Backstory: Jack drank too much, got angry at Little Danny, and injured his arm 5 months ago. Since then he has stopped drinking… OR HAS HE?! OR WILL HE?! I don’t know, just trying to drum up some horror-appropriate suspense here.

Danny stands the eff up in the backseat of the car, and that is the most 1980 thing I have seen in the first 20 minutes of this film.

Oh, so those twins are just gonna keep showing up, huh.

There’s a hedge maze, but I’m going to stop them because nobody does hedge mazes better than My Dad Wrote A Porno.

Danny befriends Dick Hallorann, a chef who knows far too much and thus is surely a ghost or ghost-whisperer. Also Danny will not shut up about Tony, the ghost who live in his mouth.

The worst part of watching an iconic horror film is that your tension during dramatic moments starts way too early because you know too much. When Danny rides his trike around the hotel, I know from the first second that it’s definitely A Thing.

We watch part of a scene through a mirror, so Jack’s T-shirt writing is backwards. It’s so hard to tell what’s foreshadowing and what’s A Choice, because as a rule when I watch horror movies I assume everything’s foreshadowing.

Jack starts to act like a REAL DICK when Shelley Duvall stops in to say hey, so he’s already full of hotel ghosts.

Oh no, the twins.

To expand: the twins talk like a child Queen Elizabeth, or possibly like that old-time movie accent people used to have. Then Danny’s vision cuts to the girls dismembered.

Wait, shouldn’t Danny be going to school …? He spends 100% of his time riding a tricycle and getting haunted.

That damn mirror is back, along with Jack staring blankly into it before being creepy at his child for a while. Are we double-sure the overall problem isn’t actually that Jack’s a POS?

Oh, Danny has a great sweater:

And Wendy has a great overalls dress:

Danny has a bruised neck and Wendy deduces that a blank-faced Jack did it. Wait, is this whole thing an allegory for abuse?

A tuxedoed bartender shows up at the hotel bar just when Jack needs him most. Again, this dirtbag was supposed to quit drinking months ago. I still can’t decide if all the hotel people are ghost or if ghosts just live there alongside the people.

Shoutout to this film’s rug artist, and all the rug artists inspired by this film:

Jack gets chased by a decaying ghost-woman, which is honestly his comeuppance for being all “hehe, boobs” when he sees her in the bath instead of wondering what she was doing in the hotel.

Jack temporarily redeems himself by not being the person who choked Danny, then un-redeems himself by saying Danny did it himself. Also maybe I’m projecting, but it feels a lot like Danny has undiagnosed epilepsy that his parents should deal with.

There’s a ghost ’20s party going on in the house and Jack invites himself. You know what? Usually in horror movies I get annoyed with the people who go straight into clear peril, but I’d invite myself to a ghastly Gatsby party too.

[I do realize that Jack’s non-reaction to this scenario means his brain’s broke and we shouldn’t be holding him accountable for being a dirtbag, but isn’t it possible that Jack’s haunted/possessed AND a dirtbag?]

Anyone else find the blindingly red bathroom almost as creepy as the fact that Jack’s hanging out there with Mr. Grady, a deceased man who obliterated his family?

Danny starts using the funny creaky voice my littlest niece and I like to talk to each other in, and I can’t stop laughing. It’s supposed to be scary, I guess.

Dick Halloran hangs out in an airplane that, in true ’70s fashion, has seats that are about 3 feet wide.

There’s a lot of snow, and maybe this is just me being from a super-snowy city, but we’ve seen their stocked pantry and know the family doesn’t have anywhere to go (ahem, school). So I feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal?

I just googled Danny Lloyd (Danny) and found out they filmed the whole movie without him ever realizing it was a horror film. I love that so much! Stanley Kubric, ladies and gents. Legend for a reason.

We’ve now ticked off the following classic scenes: twins, redrum and All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It’s been fun seeing them come up, but nothing has really shaken me yet because I knew more about this movie than I realized.

Shout-out to Jack Nicholson: the scene after Jack finds Wendy reading the manuscript is some of the best creepy-movie, sinister acting I’ve seen, ever. There’s no gore or jump scares or anything, yet it’s the most harrowing moment of the whole thing.

Danny says redrum (AKA murder backwards) near that mirror. Good work, Stephen King’s The Shining. I like your foreshadowing.

Mhmm, so everything from when Jack gets an ax through the end is edge-of-your-seat chilling. I love how the first maybe 2/3 of the movie are only slightly spooky, only to get full-scale terrifying at the end.

Did I or did I not see Mr. Grady doing it with a furry?? Why is this not a thing anyone has brought up when I’ve heard them talk about The Shining?

Dick Halloran, RIP, you were my favorite one of all these shit people.

When Wendy finds the ballroom full of spiderweb skeleton-people, I can’t help it – I start grinning. It’s not funny, I’m just so delighted by the Psycho/Miss Havisham-ness of it all. In this moment I understand how people who are braver than me get a kick out of horror movies.

I love frozen popsicle eyeroll Jack so much. More than I’ve loved Jack this whole movie.

The ending – where you see the photo of the ballroom from July 4th 1921 and Jack’s there in an old-school tuxedo? That right there has to be the best ending of a horror movie I’ve ever seen.

BTW, almost all pics in this post link to great related posts about people who are clearly a lot more savvy than I am re: this movie.

 

I made it! That wasn’t so bad, but I have a feeling horror movies where most of the scenes aren’t a part of our cultural shorthand already will spook me out way more.

 

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Unapologetic Minority: Arie For Bachelor

So everyone’s on the same level of excitement about the next Bachelor, right?

ps this is such a horrible pic of a handsome gentleman. the lighting is bad, he’s so awkward with the rose, ugh it’s embar

Ha. I kid, I kid. Ever since Arie Luyendyk Jr. was named the official Bachelor for season 22 earlier this month, a lot of people – members of Bachelor Nation or not  – were exclaiming into whatever device they read the news on and yelled, “WHAT?” and/or “WHO?!”

For those of you who haven’t been following along at home (welcome to an entire post about a reality show you don’t watch), the producers’ pick of Arie was kind of out of left field. Ok, REALLY out of left field. As in, he was a runner-up on The Bachelorette in 2012. He had kind of been in the running a few years ago, but never a real candidate since there were always other guys from more recent seasons who were “better”.

In fact, it’s been a trend for most of the seasons of the franchise to pick the next Bachelor/ette based on one of the finalists from the previous season. EG: Rachel Lindsay, the most recent Bachelorette, was a third-place finisher on season 21 of The Bachelor (featuring Nick Viall, who’s been one two seasons and recently split from the winner/fiancee he picked from his season). Naturally, fans were expecting the next Bachelor to come from Rachel’s batch of bros. But he didn’t. And I’ma break down why:

Dean

Oh Deanie Baby. So Dean had quite the journey on the Bachelorette. As you can see, he’s super cute and is the type of guy who’s always smiling and laughing (a lot of the time to hide the pain). He was the youngest of the finalists at 25, compared to Rachel’s 31. Now Age might be Nothin’ But a Number, but in this case, Rach gave it a try and it turned out – age wasn’t just a number. He still has so much learning to do. For starters, his mom died when he was young, and because of that, he’s had a tense relationship with his dad. Dean made it to hometowns and hadn’t seen his dad in two years. In fact, Rachel’s visit was the first time his entire family had been together in a long time, and knowing Dean had shit to figure out about his own life before dedicating himself to a wife, Rachel sent him home.

But that wasn’t the only problem. The other problem was that Dean signed up for Bachelor in Paradise, the summer show that features past contestants, many of whom weren’t too memorable during their season. In the beginning, Dean hit it off with Kristina, who had been on Nick Viall’s season. They spent a lot of time together during the first week, and during the few weeks the show was shut down (woof that’s a whole other thing) they spent time together off camera. Then when the show went back in production, they kept up their romance – until Danielle Lombard aka D. Lo, showed up. She’s gorge and also from Nick’s season, and Dean zeroed in on her. Obviously, it’s the nature of the show that people can have multiple paramores, but Dean went about it all the wrong way. He kept stringing along Kristina and Danielle, but Kristina eventually got fed up and left on her own accord. At the end of the show Dean admitted to Danielle he made a mistake by letting Kristina go and ended up with no one. Poor choices. And he admitted it. But these BIP love triangle shenans definitely ruined his chances of becoming the Bachelor. After Rachel dumped him, he was a top choice for Bachelor. After this, he barely got any “woos” at the BIP reunion from the audience.

Eric


It’s miracle season, baby! Eric, bless his heart. I was rooting for him the entire season, but knew Rachel was never going choose him. He didn’t become a frontrunner until mid-season, and he admitted he had never even brought a girl home to meet his family before Rachel, so it was obviously a big deal for him. He even professed his love for her! But it didn’t work out and he came in third place, with arguably the best goodbye in Bach history. The thing about Eric is that while he had the heart, he isn’t necessarily the type to become the star of the show, if that makes any sense. It was never really in the cards.

Peter


Oh Peter. TBH, The Bachelorette was never a good fit for you. He had been the frontrunner since the beginning of the season, and everyone expected him to be The One. That is until he admitted to Rachel that he wasn’t sure he could propose to her at the end of their journey. You’re telling me that you have doubts about proposing to a woman you’ve known for like 3 months? ABSURD. JK he’s the most rational human to ever be on the show. Their break-up was heartbreaking and it set up the actual winner, Bryan, to look like he was Rachel’s second choice. But as hot and perfect on paper Peter was for The Bachelor, his beliefs on an engagement – the crux of the show – is the exact reason he needs to find love anywhere else but TV.

Alright, so the three top contenders from Rachel’s season are duds. Now what? You go back in time (because picking a new guy is probs worse) and find other contenders. Jojo’s  (the bachelorette before Rachel) runner-up Robby has been off in Paradise fighting infidelity rumors, and her third place finisher, Luke Pell, was close to becoming the Bachelor but something weird happened and Nick became the Bachelor instead.

Which leads us to Arie. For me, I had watched the first few seasons of the Bachelor franchise then dropped off and got back into it when my job literally forced me to watch it. The season was Emily Maynard’s season aka the season Arie was runner-up. I still maintain it was one of the best seasons of the show. Unlike other seasons where it was clear who they were going to pick between the final two, it was truly a toss-up between Arie and eventual winner Jef. although Jef and Emily called it quits months after the show ended. Either way, Arie, at the time, was a dreamboat. Everyone loved him. Why?

He’s a Good-Looking Dude

It’s been five years since Arie was a prominent character on the show, but he’s still as good looking as he was back then. In fact, he’s got a salt-and-pepper hair situation going on and TBH, I AIN’T MAD AT IT.

He’s a Racecar Driver

Rumor has it that Arie was actually the first choice before Bachelor Chris Soules, but Arie wanted to focus on his racing career. And he’s pretty damn good at it. In fact, he comes from a racing family, since his dad is a two-time Indy 500 winner. Expect to see a tape piece of him slowly coming out of his car in the first ep. And a follow up group date on the track.

He’s Funny

On Emily’s season, there were a bunch of goofballs (which evened out with the number of assholes). And two of the biggest goofballs were Arie and Jef – Emily really enjoyed a guy with humor (sidenote: apparently Jef and Arie aren’t friends anymore and that makes me sad). There are a lot of instances in which Arie was a jokester, including the scene above. And for some reason, these bloopers are always at the forefront of my mind when I think of Arie, maybe because I watched it multiple times when it first aired. Basically, it’s bloopers of Arie giving a video message to Emily (as one of her three finalists) and even Arie realizes how ridiculous it is. WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY HANDS?

He’s Dutch

Like his parents are straight out of Holland. And they all speak Dutch. ::emoji with heart eyes::

Bonus: he has twin brothers who you’re probs going to see at some point during the show.

He Kisses Like This

Arie was known as the hottest kisser to ever be on the franchise and even dubbed “The Kissing Bandit”. Emily couldn’t even stop talking about kissing Arie. I mean, this clip of them on the streets of Croatia is forever burned in my brain. I’d sign up just to experience anything close to this with Arie. Amirite, ladies???

All of these reasons are why I think he’s going to be great as The Bachelor. I know, I feel like I’m in the literal minority here, but I think he’s a great choice. However, he’s definitely going to have to prove it. And I think he’s up to the task. In fact, I think he’ll even make jokes about it in the first episode, reminding people that he was actually on the show.

Of course, his post-bachelor life included dating people like iconic Bach villain Courtney Robertson, but all that drama aside, I think he’s really going on the show to find a wife. He’s 35 and probably feels like he’s ready to settle down for real. And if the process worked before when he fell in love with Emily, he knows he can find it again (hopefully) when the ball is in his court.

So yeah, he might not be Dean, who’s living life as the newest Bachelor alum/Social Media Influencer, and he’s definitely no Peter, who’s in Wisconsin working on his fitness and welcome to give me a call at any time. But he’s someone that has a lot of potential in that he’s working with a blank slate. A lot of fans might not know anything about him and that could be a good thing, but I’m positive they’ll be just as into the show and his love life just like any other season. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Emmy Awards 2017: Best Dressed

The 69th Annual Emmy Awards were last night, bringing the best of what TV in the past year had to offer to the red carpet. And while some of our faves didn’t go home with the gold, at least they looked fly losing. Here are some of our faves from last night’s Emmys.

Traci’s Picks

Jessica Biel in Ralph & Russo Couture

Jessica Biel already has a goddess-like face, so this ethereal metallic and sheer gown only accented her statuesque and Grecian look. Not to mention, her hair (and extensions?) only added to the feminine yet sexy look.

Gina Rodriguez in Naeem Khan

First of all, Gina is constantly under appreciated by the Television Academy. Second, do y’all follow Gina on Instagram? Because you should. Particularly for her Insta Stories. Homegirl has been exercising her butt off, and not only is it inspiring to see her work so hard, but all the boxing and pull ups have certainly paid off in this svelte new frame. I love the deep V paired with the long sleeves on this, as well as the beading and slicked back hairdo. Get it girl.

Tessa Thompson in Rosie Assoulin

Is this a polarizing dress? Probably. Do I care? Not really. I saw Tessa twirling on the red carpet (because duh wouldn’t you) and audibly gasped. It’s daring and the cut itself is so interesting. That is a party dress right there.

Emmy Rossum in Zac Posen

This is one of those dresses that probably looks amazing up close. Sure it’s a simple strapless gown, but the shimmering beading all the way down makes it. Paired with the green jewels and old Hollywood hair, it’s classy AF.

Donald Glover in Gucci

It was a huge night for DG. Our boy not only made Emmy history as the first black person to win as a Director of a Comedy Series, but he revealed his baby mama/partner’s name (MICHELLE!) and that she is expecting another son (!!!). With his big wins and big announcement, he wore the perfect purple Gucci suit that follow suit (heh) from his crushed brown velvet number at the Globes earlier this year – where he also won for Best Actor. Bonus of Donald in the E! Glambot, bc he looks so freakin fly. 

Molly’s Picks

Yara Shahidi In Prada

Yara Shahidi has been one of our red carpet favorites for a few years now, and it’s easy to see why. She always perfectly balances looking her age with looking sophisticated, demure princess vibes with something a little more funky and fun. I can almost see a young starlet wearing this in the late 1930s. Yara got herself her own show and she looks the part.

Caleb McLaughlin

The purple brocade is luxe and cheerful at the same time (and you already know how we feel about floral menswear). The fit is incredible. Even the velvet loafers are perfection. Caleb McLaughlin is here to stay. Adults: your move.

Nicole Kidman in Calvin Klein By Appointment

I have seen Nicole Kidman look perfectly tasteful on so many red carpets that sometimes I want her to break out a bit. But then, why fix what isn’t broken? The ’50s silhouette is perfect and the silver halter neckline adds a bit of flash. Calvin Klein usually strikes me as one of the most easily-recognizable designers: doesn’t this look totally Calvin Klein? Besides, Nicole did go a BIT crazy – take a gander at the coordinating-but-not-matching shoes, one with studding on the ankle strap and one on the toe.

Zoe Kravitz in Dior

As Traci mentioned, we love us a polarizing look. One person’s “pastel rainbow with feathers?!” is another person’s “pastel rainbow with feathers!!” I think these tones blend beautifully – take a gander at the lower edge of the yellow and you’ll see how it blends into the melon-y orange rather than strict stripes of color.

Shailene Woodley in Ralph Lauren

If only Shailene chose her words as well as her dress. Despite Shai’s red carpet faux pas (dismissing TV on TV’s big night), I – grudgingly – have to hand it to her on this look. Velvet only looks truly RIGHT in a few colors, and deep green is one of them. Hope she packs this one in her bag.

Super Specific Emmy Categories We Wish Were Real

I continue to not understand the concept of time, because apparently not only is it technically fall (the overwhelming abundance of pumpkin spice items everywhere I look has told me that), but it’s time for the Emmy Awards once again.

We of course have favorites going into the ceremony (This Is Us, Handmaid’s Tale, Atlanta, etc.), but what about all the standout performances by actors who have kicked ass this past season and didn’t get the recognition they deserved at the actual Emmys? Well we’re here to give them said recognition, and praise them for the excellent work that is just really super specific to their particular craft.

“Best Drama” is so overrated.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Scene Where She Helps Deliver a Baby She Also Gives Birth To

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

EMMY WINNER TATIANA MASLANY. That’s all. That’s the only thing I’ve called the Orphan Black star ever since she finally last year. If you even only seen one episode of the show, you know it’s totally deserved, but anytime there’s an intense scene between another clone, it still blows my mind. Even til the end. Our beloved Helena finally gave birth to her babies, but because this is OB world, it wasn’t in a hospital, but rather in a dirty basement with limited tools and a crazy person wanting the newborns as a scientific case study. But in the end, it was sestra and sestra, Tat and Tat, facing each other and encouraging the other they have the willpower to deliver these miracle babies. I think the show ended perfectly, but it still won’t make me miss scenes like this on a weekly basis.

Best Rap In Response To Being Unfriended on Facebook

Issa Rae, Insecure

Oh so we blocking? 😅 #insecurehbo

A post shared by Devi C Quiñones (@devilicious_) on

Have you been saved by Insecure yet? I was recently converted to this religious sect and I’m here to spread the gospel (read the holy book here). The second season of the totally snubbed Emmy show just ended last week, and it just kept getting better and better. On the second to last episode of season 2, Issa finds out her ex unfriended her on Facebook, and she went into one of her classic bathroom mirror rants. Except this one was no holds barred. Freaking amazing.

Outstanding Performance by a Female BFF Who Gives It To Ya Straight

Natasha Rothwell, Insecure

I NEED A FRIEND LIKE KELLI 💀💀💀 #InsecureHBO

A post shared by Monteyona (@purple_meadows_) on

Speaking of Insecure, Issa’s BFFs in the show are all individually fantastic, but I have not laughed out loud more to the lines perfectly executed by Natasha Rothwell, who plays Kelli. She’s sassy, unapologetic, loyal, and keeps her friends in line. What more could you ask for?

Best Devastating Cry After Finding Out Horrible News

Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin

I watched this video clip again on mute and I still started crying. Give Gina Rodriguez an Emmy already. She need something to keep her Golden Globe company.

Outstanding Pop Culture References, Comedy Series

Difficult People

As Gilmore Girls fans, we’re used to mile-a-minute pop culture references. But Difficult People is next level. Within just 10 minutes, you’ll not only be hit by 8 different celeb names, but really super specific references that only true pop culture/entertainment fans will get.

Best Fake TV Show on a Real TV Show

“Defamation”, Dear White People

Guys, we love us some Scandal, but it obviously can get a little ridiculous. And that’s what Dear White People parodied with it’s show within a show, Defamation. Like many fans of Scandal, the students at Winchester University had a weekly viewing party for Defamation, which in its very short clip had a woman having a secret affair with a politician. Sound familiar? It’s incredible.

Very close runner-up (might have been the winner but I had two Insecure winners already): Due North, Insecure. Includes Scandal star Scott Foley, Regina Hall, Christopher from Gilmore Girls, and slavery.

Best Performance By An Actor Who Deserved More Than His Character Got

Nick Jonas, Kingdom

See: My entire post about this bc I’m still annoyed.

Outstanding Performance by an Actor Who Did His Best Work Ever on the Revival Of A Beloved Series

Scott Patterson, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Unfortunately, Lauren Graham still didn’t get an Emmy nomination/win as Lorelai Gilmore (add that to the list of your Steve Carell/Michael Scotts and Amy Poehler/Leslie Knopes of the world), but I feel like she has a better chance at getting nominated/winning one in the future than Scott Patterson does. Look, I’m a hardcore GG fan, but I understand that one of the biggest things Scott has done since GG ended in 2007 was a Lifetime movie. But he’s the perfect Luke Danes. And never has he been more perfect than in this classic Luke Danes rant in the Fall episode of AYITL, when he finally tells Lorelai what he should’ve told her 10 years ago. That he’s not letting her go and willing to do anything to fix their relationship. It’s the best I’ve ever seen Scott Patterson, and he admittedly agrees that it’s also one of his favorite scenes/best work he’s done in the show.

Best Barb

Shannon Purser, Barb, Stranger Things

Shannon Purser did a perfectly good job in a perfectly fine role. It’s just that there was nothing terribly Emmy-worthy in Barb, no matter WHO played her. This nomination came about not because the role was incredible, but because people just … liked Barb. And they wanted her to have a nice thing. It feels like the time Uncle Jesse’s Forever was voted the prom song in my high school, c. 2001. The point is, we should free up a space in the already tight Best Supporting Actress category and make a special category for the Barbs of the TV world. Next year, whichever minor TV character is the Barb of that year can win, but the category would still be Best Barb.

Best Early Plot Twist

This Is Us

In case you missed it, the pilot of This Is Us centered on four people who share the same birthday: actor Kevin, family/ business man Randall, supporting-character-in-her-own-life Kate and expecting father Jack. During the last moments of the pilot, you come to realize that Jack’s storyline takes place in the late 1970s and that he is the father of Kate, Kevin and Randall – and that Randall was adopted after Kate and Kevin’s triplet died as a newborn. Phew. It was gorgeous and we owe it all to hipsters, whose aesthetic is so ‘working class couple in 1978’ that I never even questioned what year Jack and Rebecca lived in.

Best Late Plot Twist

The Good Place

Like the early-in-the-game plot twist, a later plot twist has its own perils – in this case, it’s that everything that happened before it has to make sense in light of what you’ve just learned. You spend all of The Good Place thinking that Ted Danson’s character did a piss-poor job of designing a corner of heaven, only to learn in the season finale that he did a brilliant job designing his characters’ personal hell. In a moment, it all made sense – how these seemingly cruddy people landed in heaven, how unrewarding the eternal reward was, the constant calamity. We fell in love with Ted Danson during our Cheers watch last year, and that love only deepened when he let out that sinister laugh and his very persona shifted before our eyes.

Best Denouement

Big Little Lies

Do you remember back to elementary or high school when you would diagram a story? Rising Action, Climax, Denouement, Conclusion? In Big Little Lies, you knew it was all leading up to the fundraiser night at the school, when somebody-we-know would get killed by somebody-else-we-know. The climactic scene on the slippery steps was fantastic. But that’s the point where lesser shows would give up. Without saying too much, Big Little Lies resolved itself beautifully, culminating in that heart-twisting scene on the beach when you finally exhale – and you didn’t even realize you had been holding your breath until that moment.

Best Political Commentary By Somebody Who Shouldn’t Have To Be Doing This

Seth Meyers, Late Night With Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers shouldn’t have to do this, but it’s 2018 and here we all are, getting schooled on our crumbling world by gently witty late-night comics.

Best Multi-Dimensional TV Mom (Comedy)

Constance Wu, Jessica, Fresh Off The Boat

Emmy voters love nominating moms, especially in the Best Actress In A Comedy category. They don’t especially love nominating multi-dimensional TV moms, though. Or maybe writers just don’t like writing them? Anyway, as a special incentive to show runners who love to flatline mom characters we’re including this special, moms-only category. This year the witty, salty mom-of-the-90s – who totally has her own interests and also a favorite kid – takes the prize. Constance Wu, we love you.

Best Integrated Musical Performance That’s Not Supposed To Be Impressive

“Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” Mr. Robot

It sounds really specific but it’s honestly not. This is a musical performance that is (1) part of a show and (2) not meant as a spectacle, a la Nashville or Empire. The winner is the one that furthers the action, touches viewers, or gives you deeper insight into the character. This year, it was Angela singing Everybody Wants To Rule The World in that karaoke scene on Mr. Robot. It’s like you can see and hear all of Angela’s conflicts in these few minutes – is she being true to herself, and her principles, and is the payoff even worth it, and does she want power for a purpose, or just to have it? – and it’s a beautifully cut scene to boot.

Ranking The New Crop Of TV Shows: 2017 Edition

Fall is here, and so is our annual Back To TV Week! Listen. There are good TV years, and there are bad TV years. 1994 saw the premieres of Friends, E.R., Party of Five and The Magic School bus, for instance. Alas, this is not Back to 1994 week, and let’s just say the cable and network offerings of 2017 are a bit more checkered. That’s why we’re using the red light/green light approach: shows that probably are not worth your time get a red light. Shows you might want to give a shot depending on what you’re into get the yellow light. Green light shows could still end up disappointing us, but they deserve a chance.

9JKL

Airs: Mondays, 8:30/7:30c, CBS

Premise: Mark Feuerstein lives in an apartment between his parents’ apartment and his brother’s apartment.

RED LIGHT: This looks bad, the reviews are bad, but it gets a yellow light if you really loved Raymond, I guess.

The Brave

Airs: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC

Premise: It’s like a procedural, but with military behind enemy lines.

YELLOW LIGHT: Early reviews reference “jingoism” and “rah rah conservatism” so I’m going to take a pass, thanks. If you’re a big fan of military dramas, then this is nothing groundbreaking but maybe it has a place in your schedule.

Dynasty

Airs: Wednesdays, 9/8c, The CW

Premise: It’s Dynasty, but now and with a Latina stepmother.

YELLOW LIGHT: If you like campy soaps, this is just the thing for you. If that’s not your thing, the light just turned red.

Ghosted

Airs: Sundays, 8:30/7:30c, Fox

Premise: A nonsense person (Adam Scott) and an incredulous person (Craig Robinson) ghostbust Los Angeles to help out the cops. It’s a comedy.

GREEN LIGHT: It’s like The X-Files but Ghostbusters but Adam Scott. I will absolutely give it a try.

The Gifted

Airs: Mondays, 9/8c, Fox

Premise: Kids have mutant powers; parents have to go underground due to government threats. It’s in the X-Men universe.

GREEN LIGHT: This is said to be the most-anticipated show of the year, and it piles on special effects, a solid cast, and an interesting premise. It doesn’t sound like  a genre I’m usually into, but I also would have said that about Orphan Black and look where we are now.

The Good Doctor

Airs: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC

Premise: Freddie Highmore, who is an adult now, is a pediatric surgeon with autism.

GREEN LIGHT: Premise sounds good, cast sounds good, reviews are decent – why not?

Please note: in our post of Fake New Shows of 2019  – it’s a good post, go read it – we had the following:

Jerry Maguire

In this TV adaptation of Jerry Maguire, Jerry is played by that British kid from Finding Neverland (Freddie Highmore).

The Gospel Of Kevin

Airs: Tuesdays, 10/9c, ABC

Premise: God needs Kevin (Jason Ritter) to save the world.

YELLOW LIGHT: It does not sound great, but Jason Ritter’s all right? If anything, I learned that a place of my brain remembers that OTHER show about an unlikely everyperson with a mission from God – Joan of Arcadia. Anyway, the premise also includes Kevin’s recent suicide attempt and him living with his widowed sister and niece, so I’m going to … not, I guess, unless people start raving.

Law & Order: True Crime: The Menendez Murders

Airs: Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

Premise: Literally the whole deal is in the title. It’s an anthology thing.

GREEN LIGHT: Thing you should know about me: I often fall asleep to true crime documentaries because someone spray-painted over my soul or whatever. And for 8 weeks this fall, I will be falling asleep to this one.

But really, 90s crime series and specials, from O.J. to Jonbenet, have been all the rage, so this feels right on-trend. Also, it’s not a 90s crime anthology without a respected actress in a perm wig.

Marvel’s Inhumans

Airs: Fridays, 9/8c, ABC

Premise: I swear, none of it made sense to me –  but presumably if you’re into the Marvel universe it does.

RED LIGHT: There is, of course, a niche of people who will love this, but if you don’t already know that you’re one of those people you can skip this. Face it, Friday night is not a time slot for a show the network has great confidence in.

The Mayor

Airs: Tuesdays, 9:30/8:30c, ABC

Premise: A rapper runs for office as a stunt but he gets elected – then he is good at it!

GREEN LIGHT: I’d watch Daveed Diggs in anything, and this premise sounds like a lot of fun once I get past my instinctive shudder at the phrase “runs for office as a stunt but gets elected.”

Me, Myself & I

Airs: Mondays, 9:30/8:30c, CBS

Premise: This is the story of the same man at age 14 in 1991, in the present day at 40, and in the future at 65.

GREEN LIGHT: First of all, Bobby Moynihan. Second of all, 90s flashbacks. Third of all, a future-jump to the 2040s. This sounds fantastic, and I hope it lives up to its promising premise.

The Orville

Airs: Thursdays, 9/8c, Fox

Premise: It’s the future, and a crew is on a spaceship, but it’s kind of a crappy spaceship. It’s a dramedy.

RED LIGHT: This could go one of two ways. If successful, it will bridge the comedy and sci-fi genres; if not, it will alienate fans of both. Unfortunately, first reports lean toward the “not.”

S.W.A.T.

Airs: Thursdays, 10/9c, CBS

Premise: A SWAT lieutenant has dual loyalties – the streets and the police.

YELLOW LIGHT: On one hand, this is the very definition of “done before.” On the other hand, Shemar Moore. If you’re a police procedural fan then you might want to at least catch the pilot.

SEAL Team

Airs: Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS

Premise: It’s a SEAL team.

YELLOW LIGHT: Word is people are really looking forward to this one. It’s not my cup of tea, but if it’s yours then you’ll probably also want to look into The Brave, profiled above.

Ten Days In The Valley

Airs: Sundays, 10/9c, ABC

Premise: The producer of a cop drama has a cop drama of her own when her daughter goes missing.

GREEN LIGHT: Reviews are good. Even better, this is a limited series – 10 episodes – which is the TV sweet-spot of taking your time with a story without drawing it out into unnecessary twists and turns.

Will & Grace

Airs: Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC

Premise: Will and Grace! Jack and Karen! Willandgraceandjackandkaren! Again!

GREEN LIGHT: Could this be the return of Must-See TV? Reboots have a spotty record, but this one looks like the real deal as long as it can avoid the Fuller House pitfall of making EVERYTHING into a winky nostalgia reference.

Wisdom Of The Crowd

Airs: Sunday, 8/7c, CBS

Premise: Solving crimes with a crowd-sourcing app.

YELLOW LIGHT: I’m bored of “X expert uses Y to solve crimes!” shows, but reviews are decent, so if that genre appeals to you then think about adding this one to your lineup.

Young Sheldon

Airs: Monday, 9/25, 8:30/7:30c, CBS

Premise: Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, but young – a child genius in the late 80s, starting high school.

GREEN LIGHT: If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory – because based on ratings, a LOT of people are fans of The Big Bang Theory. It doesn’t appeal to me at all, yet Young Sheldon looks really sweet. The child genius and 80s-throwback elements seem fun, and the pilot tested well. It’s enough to make me wish they had given the kid a different name and taken away the Big Bang Theory element, though I get that that is a huge draw for a lot of people. Fact is, Young Sheldon seems watchable whether you watch Big Bang or emphatically do not watch Big Bang.

I have a feeling that someday we will be saying that we liked Iain Armitage back when he was still Iain Loves Theatre.

 

Fall 2017 TV Rookies To Watch

It’s that time of year again! Kids are going back to school, and we’re going back to our regularly scheduled programming. Well, new programming that is.

Every year, we break down which fairly new actors in new shows you should pay attention to (see: Chrissy Metz, Bryan Tyree Henry, Donna Lynne Champlin and Priyanka Chopra). This year’s talent is no different, and we can’t wait to see them at work. Which rookies are you most excited to see?

Brandon Micheal Hall {The Mayor}

Stats

Previous Work: Search Party, Broad City

Why You Should Watch Him: Brandon Micheal Hall plays young rapper Courtney Rose, who decides to run for public office as a publicity stunt. Except he ends up winning and becomes The Mayor. Brandon is charming and charismatic both as the character and as an actor – it’s no wonder why he won the popular vote. He’s also got a strong bench on the screen with Yvette Nicole Brown as his mom and Lea Michele as a rival campaign manager, but also off – one of the executive producers is Hamilton’s own Daveed Diggs.

When You Can Watch Him: Tuesdays @ 9:30pm on ABC (watch the trailer here)

Iain Armitage {Young Sheldon}

Stats

Previous Work: Big Little Lies, The internet

Why You Should Watch Him: Speaking of Hamilton and Daveed, enter nine-year-old Iain Armitage, who Broadway nerds might know as his online persona, Iain Loves Theatre. Don’t know him as that? Watch him rapping at a #Ham4Ham with an assist from Daveed. Or you might know him as Shailene Woodley’s son on Big Little Lies. He’s only nine but going from BLL to a starring role in a network spinoff show of one of the most popular sitcoms ever, yeah, Iain’s not doing too bad. And he deserves all of it.

When You Can Watch Him: Mondays @ 8:30pm on CBS (watch the trailer here)

Bobby Moynihan {Me, Myself and I }

Stats

Previous Work: Saturday Night Live, Sisters, When In Rome

Why You Should Watch Him: Not gonna lie I was pretty sad when one of my fave cast members left SNL, but like the Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader before him, he had to leave in order to get the proper stardom he deserved. In Bibby’s first starring TV role, he plays the middle aged version of Alex, a character we see at 9, 40, and 65 years old. Of course we all known Bobby’s hilarious, but he’s also got a ~sensitive side too, and that comes through just in the first look. While CBS comedies usually have a bad track record in my book, I’m hoping this one sticks around.

When You Can Watch Him: Mondays @ 9:30pm on CBS (watch the trailer here)

Anthony Ramos {She’s Gotta Have It}

Stats

Previous Work: Hamilton, Younger, Law & Order: SVU, my dreams

Why You Should Watch Him: Never forget this tweet from Lin-Manuel Miranda in 2014: “This is Anthony Ramos. You don’t know him yet, but boy, will you. Kid’s a star.” Cut to a life-changing role in Hamilton, a role in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born remake, and a new (old?) Spike Lee joint, all making this kid from Brooklyn a true star. The trailer that’s out now isn’t that good, but Anthony’s scene made me smile obnoxiously to myself, and if he can make me do that in 45 seconds, he’s bound to do that for all of us with an entire TV series.

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Thursday, November 23rd on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Josh Hutcherson {Future Man}

Stats

Previous Work: The Hunger Games franchise, Journey to the Center of the Earth franchise, The Kids Are All Right

Why You Should Watch Him: The movie stars just keep coming over to TV. And for the bread boy, he opted to go with a reliable streaming service in Hulu with an even more reliable premise: he plays a time-travelling janitor who’s attempting to change the future without messing up the past. Does this mean it’s an alternate dystopia and he WON’T act like a lil bitch in The Hunger Games?

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Thursday, November 13th on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Sarah Gadon {Alias Grace}

Stats

Previous Work: 11.22.63, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Belle

Why You Should Watch Her: I don’t think I’ve ever seen this talented woman on screen before, but judging by the trailer for this show, I am all freaking in. Margaret Atwood (who wrote the novel Alias Grace is based from) is having a great year.

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Friday, November 3rd on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Pete Souza’s Got It Made In The Shade

You guys have morning social media routines, right? I tend to check Instagram first, and when I come across a post by former White House photographer Pete Souza, I usually groan and think, “Ugh, what did Trump do now?” Apparently I’m not the only one.

Pretty funny, actually.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Pete snapped President Obama back when he was a first-year Senator, and was by his side for the entirety of his presidency. His photos were acclaimed and became popular thanks to his ability of capturing moments big and small. But just because Barry left office, doesn’t mean Pete stopped posting photos of him online. In fact, he’s used it as a shady tool to comment on DT’s “governing” skills. And look, I don’t think Pete’s a bad guy for hitting back at 45 with cutting captions/photos of 44. I just think he’s “retaliating” in such a classy way that it’s worth giving attention to.

I don’t expect his posts to stop any time soon, so here are just some of my favorite shady comebacks by Pete over the past year, and DT’s jerk move of the day which prompted the post.

January 21st – Inauguration

I like these drapes better than the new ones. Don't you think?

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

January 27th  – DT Signs Executive Order for Travel Ban

Talking with a young refugee at a Dignity for Children Foundation classroom in 2015.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

January 31st – Neil Gorsuch Nominated For Supreme Court

Merrick Garland. Just saying.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 1st – DT Has ‘Worst Phone Call Ever’ With Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

February 6 – DT’s Cabinet and Administration Not Diverse

Meeting with top advisors. This is a full-frame picture. I guess you'd say I was trying to make a point.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 7th – Betsy DeVos confirmed as secretary of education

Visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom in 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

 

February 11th – Awkward Handshake Number One With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

With Prime Minister Abe after visiting Pearl Harbor last December.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 13th – Awkward Handshake Number Two with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Allies.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 15th – Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

Meeting with Putin in 2014.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

February 20th – “The Sweden Incident”

Remembering our great trip to Sweden in 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

March 17th – Third Awkward Handshake With German Chancellor Angela Merkel

First time meeting Angela Merkel in 2009

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

March 29th – DT Signs Executive Order at EPA Curbing Government’s Enforcement of Climate Regulations

2015 in Alaska, where climate change is not a hoax.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

April 4th – DT Orders Missile Strike In Syria

Meeting on Syria in the Situation Room with his national security team. 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

April 10th – DT Skips White House Passover Seder 

Last year's Seder at the White House.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

May 4th – House Passes ACA Repeal

May 7th – WH Tells Press DT Is In Meetings At His Golf Course, Spotted Playing Golf Instead

Meetings, 2016.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

May 23rd – DT Visits Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, Leaves Note Thanking Amazing Friends

Outside the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Bonus: Melania Swats DT’s Hand Away (and one of my fave ever pix of the Obamas)

Holding hands.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

May 25th – DT Pushes Aside President of Montenegro at NATO

Laughter at the 2012 NATO Summit. No jostling involved.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

June 1st – DT Announces U.S. Will Pull Out of Paris Agreement (This is part of a larger photo series)

This land is your land. This land is my land.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

June 10th – James Comey Reveals He Secretly Met With Trump in the WH Green Room

By request: this is the Green Room. Not a good place to hide things.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

June 29th – DT Mocks Mika Brzezinski; Says She Was ‘Bleeding Badly From a Face-Lift’

July 20th – DT Says He and Putin Spoke About “Adoptions” at G20

July 24th – DT Talks Winning (and other things) to Boy Scouts

July 25th – DT Calls Out “Beleaguered” Jeff Sessions on Twitter.

President Obama standing alongside Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

July 27th – DT Announces Ban Against Transgendered Soldiers in Military

July 28th – Senate Rejects ACA Repeal

August 8th – “Fire and Fury” Against North Korea

Words matter. Especially from this podium.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

August 12 – Charlottesville

August 19th – DT and Melania to Skip This Year’s Kennedy Center Honors

August 22 – DT To Extend Military Presence in Afghanistan 

Greeting our troops at Bagram, Afghanistan 2010.

A post shared by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

August 30th – Hurricane Harvey Hits Houston

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Practical Magic

I have never seen Practical Magic. This, despite my love for Sandra Bullock (a love so deep I call her Sandy), comfy 90s movies where people wear sweaters, and witchy things. Most of my knowledge about Practical Magic comes from surfing past it on HBO during my childhood, and commercials for Charmed, a TV show about sister witches that is a different thing entirely from Practical Magic. Anyway, it feels like fall here in upstate New York, which means it feels like time for a fall movie… which I assume Practical Magic is, based on the witches.

The Netflix blurb:

Thanks to their powers, things come easy to these sisters… except keeping a man. Alive, that is.

First of all, this is some of the Netflix copy writers’ best work. Second, hard same.

We learn that the women in the Owens family have been witches since puritan New England. Oh, I love this already. If you haven’t gone down a Salem Witch Trials documentary spiral yet, I suggest it. Your YouTube suggestions will get a bit weird for a while but it will be worth it.

There’s a Victorian house, too! [Profiled here on my fav, Hooked on Houses]

The girls move there with their aunts after their dad falls victim to a centuries-old curse. Everyone wears draped, lacy dresses and florals with scarfs and floppy hats and statement earrings, exactly how you’d want witches in a Victorian house to dress. [I already feel a Practical Magic Is My Aesthetic post coming on.]

 

Work those April Cornell catalog vibes, ladies.

Child Sandy Bullock (Sally) looks like adult Sandy Bullock. Child Nicole Kidman (Gillian) does not really look like adult Nicole Kidman, but even casting directors are victims of All Redheads Look Alike Syndrome.

Child Sally, by the way? None other than little Camilla Belle, who actually DOES resemble adult Sandra Bullock these days, now that you mention it.

Adult Camilla

We’ve circled back to the late ’90s, fashion wise, and I like Sally’s straight-leg jeans. She also has one of those sweaters with the big stripe across the middle. REAL thing 90s kids remember: those sweaters with one big stripe across the middle.

IMPORTANT: There’s a scene where This Kiss by Faith Hill plays as Sally falls in love with a handsome man and, over time, marries him and has two kids. Practical Magic and This Kiss have definitely lived in the same mental file folder in my brain for these two decades. Meanwhile, Gillian leaves New England and dances whitely by a pool. Just watch it, it’s the best of comfy ‘normcore’ 90s romcom montages:

Like all of us, Gillian sings the soprano parts of Case Of You while driving and feeling some feelings.

On one hand, Gillian and Sally have a horrible curse wherein every man they love is doomed (RIP Gillian’s husband, Minute 5 – Minute 7, roughly). On the other, they have gorgeous, full blowouts and a bedroom fireplace.

If you didn’t get enough Practical Magic interiors from Hooked on Houses, click on this pic. I’m obsessed.

Whoopsie! The sisters killed a man by accident. He was Jimmy, Gillian’s garbage love interest who she drugged and brought cross country, but don’t feel too bad because he was secretly a killer as well . The gals take a real ad-hoc, non-Hogwarts-approved method of resurrecting him, doing the spell on their ample kitchen island. It doesn’t go great, so now they have to cover up his death. It’s a drag.

It’s not a movie about ‘strong female characters’ (TM Netflix) without a scene where they dance around the kitchen. Just ask Hidden Figures (a movie I loved, for the record).

A longer stretch of this movie than I expected is centered on covering up an accidental death. It’s fine but not what I was expecting. Aidan Quinn arrives to investigate Jimmy’s disappearance but also to fall in love with Sally. He is unusually handsome for someone named Gary. He’s ALSO the dream man Sally described as a child.

The reanimated corpse of Jimmy confronts Hot Gary  in the beautiful attic. I don’t know if witches need money, but they could rent that thing out for some serious bucks.

This is not an attack on anybody named Kylie or who named their daughter Kylie, but man, Kylie is NOT something a witch would name a child. [:Your Kris Jenner joke goes here:] I guess she was born during Sally’s trying-not-to-be-witchy phase.

The witch sisters need to expel Jimmy’s spirit and to do that they need a coven, which is basically like a quorum. Sally does what any small-town single mom would do: activates the school phone tree.

PS guess who Kylie is? A baby Evan Rachel Wood. I had no idea, this whole time. Along with All Redheads Look Alike Syndrome is the related Red Hair Renders You Instantly Unrecognizable Syndrome (hers is dyed, to perpetuate the one brown haired kid/one ginger kid thing her family has going).

She looks exactly like she does now, just with red hair.

In case you were worried, there’s a great witches-with-brooms scene. They just sweep with them, but still. They sweep OUT an evil spirit. The family curse is broken and now Gillian and Sally can fall in love without casualties.

The witches dress up as witches (but stereotypical ones) and fly from their roof on Halloween. The neighbors EAT IT UP. Just as I did this movie. It was cute.

 

P.S.: Not all of the music was by Bonnie Raitt and Mary Chapin Carpenter but it was all LIKE that.

 

The Man Behind the Meme: Distracted Boyfriend

Me. Work. The last viral meme of the summer.

You’ve seen it, the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme that made its rounds on the internet over the past couple weeks. It starts with the picture:

Then text is added to label each person in the photo. The guy is subject, the girl in red is whatever is distracting the subject, and the girl in blue is whatever the subject should be paying attention to.

According to The Meme Documentation Tumblr, the meme first started in January and used by a Turkish Facebook group dedicated to progressive rock (of all things).

But of course it nothing happened with this Turkish group’s meme for months, until August, when a Twitter user kept the format but rejigged the text, and it went viral:

So what’s the deal with this photo anyways? It’s clearly not a candid of a couple on the rocks. The man behind the meme is 45-year-old photographer Antonio Guillem from Barcelona. He works for a company which produces the stock photos we see online, and focuses on people as subjects, instead of objects like cups of coffee or picturesque landscapes. Antonio usually works with the same people, including the “couple” in this photo, who he’s deemed “Mario” and “Laura”. A couple years ago, Antonio felt like he needed to shake up the scenes of his photo series, so he went with this jealousy storyline. “We decided to take a few risks, planning a session representing the infidelity concept in relationships in a playful and fun way,” he told Wired Magazine.

So, Antonio, “Mario”, “Laura” and misc. model who doesn’t work for the company anymore, went to a cobblestoned city in Gerona, Spain, and proceeded with their photoshoot. Just imagine seeing this play out IRL. It obviously garnered some attention.

“It was quite challenging to achieve face expressions that were believable,” Antonio said. “Mainly because we always have a really great work atmosphere, and almost all the time one of the models was laughing while we were trying to take the picture.”

“Mario” added, “I remember that it was kinda embarrassing because there where people watching and laughing, and I had to make this silly face. But in the end, like we always do, I just forgot they were there and did my job. I remember it like a learning experience, and I had fun with my team.” In case you’re interested, here are some photos from the series:

And Antonio is the most surprised out of everyone that a picture he took two years ago has resurfaced in the weirdest way – he didn’t even know what a meme was until his pic went viral. “I never thought that one of my images will be that popular. I didn’t even know what a meme is until recently, when the models started to tell me about the memes that people were doing with our work.”

“Mario” and “Laura” also never saw this viral internet fame coming, but “Laura” says she appreciates the “imagination”people have when coming up with the text. Antonio added, “Regarding what I think about the photo has gone viral, I think the image was a good foundation to whoever had the great idea to turn it into a metaphor that works for almost everything.”

That much is true. Here are some standouts from the last big meme of the summer.

 

actually me while sipping tea:

Catholic School Back To School Shopping: Myths vs. Realities

Ah, Back-To-School Shopping : such a gentle, consumeristic way to get over the end of summer vacation. However, as two life-long Catholic school students, our experience wasn’t everything the Staples and J.C. Penney commercials led us to believe. I’m watching the cycle all over again with my nieces and nephews – the public schoolers getting cute new outfits and the Catholic school kids getting their first necktie at age 5. [Find me something cuter than a kindergartener in business casual.] In honor of our ’90s and ’00s memories, here is a study in the contrasts between back to school shopping for Catholic schoolers and, if not real public school students, at least the too-cool public schoolers we saw on TV.

Clothing

File under: My childhood as a walking Irish Catholic stereotype.

Expectation: I’m going back to school with a new wardrobe that will mark me as one of the cool kids!

Reality: I am wearing the same plaid jumper from the same Plaid Jumper Store as all of my classmates. Somehow, kids manage to sort themselves into Cool and Uncool anyway.

[Note: there is a 50/50 chance your uniform is a hand-me-down, or your mom bought it at the used uniform sale your school holds at the end of the school year.]

Expectation: At least maybe some fun, cute outfits for after school!

Reality: Those are called “play clothes” and they don’t come from the store, they come from a trash bag your aunt drops off every time your next cousin up has a growth spurt.

[Note: I realize there are Catholics without cousins but I’ve never met one.]

Accessories

Expectation: And don’t forget the accessories!

Reality: … Which are knee socks, a navy blue cardigan, and a shirt with a Peter Pan collar during that five-decade range after Peter Pan collars went out of style in the ’60s and before they came back in style on Zooey Deschanel.

If you’re fancy, please add a headband in the same plaid as your uniform.

Jewelry

Expectation: Wearing some jewelry, I guess.

Reality: Bracelets are not allowed. Non-post earrings are not allowed. Necklaces are a pendant on a thin chain. If you want to consider rosaries jewelry (“WHICH THEY ARE NOT” – every Catholic reading this post, before I could even say it, right?), you can have those. But you cannot wear them, for Pete’s sake.

School Supplies

Expectation: Lisa Frank binders! Lisa Frank notebooks! Lisa The Frickin FRANK IT ALL UP.

Reality: There is a specific, solid color that every subject uses. Does The Vatican secretly operate the Mead company?

Expectation: Don’t forget a trapper keeper to stay organized!

Reality: Trapper Keepers strictly verboten.

Hair

Expectation: It would be so much fun to try a bright color or a crazy new ‘do to show people how much I’ve changed over the summer!

Reality: “No extreme hairstyles” – Catholic School Student Manual 29:11

Shoes

Expectation: I will narrow down the most in-style looks and then pick out some sneakers, a pair of cute shoes, and maybe something a little dressier.

Reality: Your uniform requires shoes that meet all of the following criteria: black or navy blue. No laces. No wedges. No mules. No sneaker soles. Heel must measure less than one inch at the highest point. No ballet flats.

You are left with orthopedic nun shoes.

[Note: If you’re really wondering how we sorted out the cool kids, their moms bought them cute shoes that skirted the Shoe Canon of the student handbook, whereas uncool-kid moms followed it to the letter. As to what camp I was in, let’s just say I still like a sturdy pair of Clarks.]