Cheers Chats #9: How To Win Friends And Electrocute People

Welcome back to Cheers Chats! We’re more than halfway through the series at season 7 of 11, and at the moment, we couldn’t be happier! Luckily, this episode wasn’t as frustrating as some of the other recent ones, so read on to see what made this one so special.

Episode 7.7: How To Win Friends And Electrocute People

Originally aired: December 15th, 1988

Previously on Cheers

(Brief synopsis of what happened prior to this episode)

The CEO of the company that bought Cheers, Evan Drake aka Rebecca’s boss aka the man she is obsessed with, moves to Japan, leaving Rebecca with a new boss. This dude fires her and rehires Sam as the manager so he’s back in charge. Sam agrees to let Rebecca work there under a bunch of different conditions, but she’s basically back co-managing with Sam. 

Meanwhile, Norm’s picking up random jobs by painting, including for Lilith and Frasier, Carla gets jealous her husband is hanging with a beautiful East German ice skater, and Woody buys a bee hive.

M: You have Traci to thank for that synopsis, because I have fallen out of love with this show (and time to watch it) and have only been able to bring myself to watch our assigned episodes. I think I can call this project a failure.

 

This is the first time I have ever failed a project.

Netflix synopsis

Cliff decides to change his personality when nobody visits him in the hospital. Lilith asks Sam to help her learn how to drive.

What Had Happened Was

(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)

Cliff has appendicitis and natch gets dramatic about it and even plans his funeral/memorial. But when no one goes to visit him, he realizes it’s because he’s “insensitive” to other people’s problems. To solve this, Cliff decides to hire a doctor to give him shock aversion treatment (he presses a button and Cliff gets shocked) anytime he’s insensitive to the folks at Cheers. This isn’t going to go well.

“Sam’s giving Dr. Sternin driving lessons.” Woody
“Should be giving her personality lessons.” Cliff

Meanwhile, Lilith and Frasier are going on a cross-country road trip, but she doesn’t know how to drive, so she asks Sam to teach her. Apparently she’s a bit of a crazy driver and Sam is frazzled by their lesson.

 

Carla’s My Boo

 

Carla continues to be a savage, especially to Cliff: “Come on, it’s just an appendectomy. They’re taking out a useless organ. He’s chock-full of those.”

Becky with the Good Hair

This hair accessory tho:

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Carla’s bangs – as everything else in this show – have very much entered the late ’80s.

LLOL

The moments that made us literally laugh out loud

This scene is just cheap laughs but Cliff getting in a fight w the doctor over shock aversion therapy is genuinely making me laugh

 

Lilith Flair

In this episode, Lilith wears a big tweed suit and a chignon like it’s fox hunting day at Downton Abbey.

Sometimes I think they didn’t know what to do after Diane left so they split her into Lilith and Rebecca.

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

“I need someone to whom I have no emotional attachment whatsoever. So as a friend, would you do me this favor?” Lilith asking Sam to teach her how to drive.

Norm: Yeah, well, why Grandpa Munster never won an Emmy, I’ll never know.

Barfly: Come on, maybe it’s because he stole his whole character from Uncle Fester.

Frasier: Oh, Lord, is this still going on?! This has got to be one of the stupidest arguments I’ve ever heard since I started coming to this bar.

Barfly: Hey, we resent that.

Norm: Yeah, why wasn’t it THE stupidest?

“Hello, blossom bottom, how was your lesson?” I don’t want to know how Frasier came up with that name for Lilith

“I like driving. It’s a wonderful feeling. Total control of woman over machine. The speed, the power, the ecstasy– I was jazzed.” Lilith, who has never truly been ‘jazzed’ in her life.

Cheers Queries

Cold open: Woody calling a late night phone sex line commercial – why this show has gotten increasingly raunchy over the past season?

[Also people had to call phone sex lines in the 80s. Well not HAD to, had to. You know what I mean.]

Fraisier gets a Trip Tik from AAA – remember doing that? Actually I do I did that for my 2009 cross-country road trip. But remember a life without GPS and iPhones?

Did they faux-paint the walls of the bar sometime lately? They’re distressed. As am I.

“I forgot I married a madcap” Fraisier about Lillith. I think I missed the ep where they got married? Or maybe they just didn’t show it?

“They found the time to visit Sammy when he was in the hospital. And Carla when she had the twin. Normie, when he went in for the butt tuck I know why they didn’t visit.” Cliff … Norm had a “butt tuck”???

I don’t think we’ve ever seen the space just outside the door of Cheers where the stairs end before. A couple episodes, Carla had sex with her husband there.

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Barfly Fashion

Rebecca’s red power suit is for the ages
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It was like Designing Women meets Sloane Ranger.

Carla’s jungle shirt isn’t even the craziest thing she’s worn over the past couple of seasons. She’s been turned into this quirky lady who wears unusual shirts and earring and no one says a damn thing about it.

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I’m almost certain we’ve talked about a jungle-print outfit on her before.

Lilith in her aviators and riding gloves is the hottest she’s ever been.

screenshot-2016-09-17-23-27-05

Rebecca looks like an FLDS member in this green dress

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Cliff is in his mailman’s uniform for every episode, so it’s rare we get to even include him in our fashion section. Here he is acting a fool, but still wearing the same color scheme as his work uniform.

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Finally, Sam continues to sport his signature look of striped shirts with pockets large enough to smuggle a handful of decorative autumn gourds.

Final Thoughts

This was a great spotlight on John Ratzenberger’s comedic physical abilities, and one of his best so far. Overall this is just a very silly episode. And I think I’m OK with that. – T

It was pretty cute! Cute isn’t my highest bar for television but sometimes it’s all right. I always like when they give a major plot to someone outside the Sam/Rebecca/Diane trio.

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss season eight, episode 19, Indoor Fun With Sammy and Robby.

It’s 2016: Let’s All Decorate Like It’s 1979!

::SPOILER WARNING: If you have not watched the pilot of This Is Us yet, and you plan to do so, stop reading now and go to your nearest Hulu account or On Demand platform. We’ll still be here when you get back. ::

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 Did anyone else watch the This Is Us pilot with no idea of the twist — or that there even would be a twist in the first place? It’s a show about different people who were born on the same day and are turning 36 years old during the pilot. The conceit: the people are twins Kevin and Kate, their brother Randall who was adopted after Kevin and Kate’s triplet brother was stillborn, and the siblings’ father Jack. You watch the whole pilot thinking the characters are all contemporaries until the camera pulls back and you realized that Jack and Rebecca’s story is taking place in 1979, and he is the father of Kevin, Kate and Randall. You wouldn’t think that it would work, but it does.

The reason? Hipsters. Jack and Rebecca’s story takes place in their new home and in a hospital maternity ward. Anyone who’s been to visit a new baby recently knows that hospital decor is frozen sometime around 1972. As for the home, if you follow decorating websites and magazines, you will recognize that the hottest trend for hip 20- and 30-something professionals is to decorate like they’re in Pittsburgh in 1979. There’s stark white mixed with dark wood, orangey and earthy accents, and a whole lot of DIY-looking crafts. Can you blame me for not realizing that Jack and Rebecca’s story took place 37 years ago?

For a little context, my parents got married in 1975 and their first child was born in 1978. Like most couples, they acquired a lot of their decor in the first years of their marriage. I’m child number 4, born in 1986. The burnt orange carpeting, dark plaid sofa and geese in flight that my mom was carting off to Goodwill in the ’90s were all the same features you’d see in Jack and Rebecca’s home. They’re also the same features you’d see on Apartment Therapy and Dwell today – so maybe my parents should have suffered through 20 years of being unfashionable and waited for it to all come back around again.

Usually we time travel during our Let’s All Decorate posts, exploring trends like geese in bonnets or sponge-painting. This time we’re doing something a little different: it’s 2016 and we’re decorating a hipster haven … in the spirit of the late ’70s, the most hipster era of them all.

Macrame

Then: The hippie DIY craze was going strong and people were looking for a fresh way, other than paintings and photographs, to add some interest and texture to their walls.

Now: Literally just replace hippie with hipster. There are ‘wall hangings’ that are basically macrame everywhere from West Elm to Target to Etsy.


 Big Graphic Wallpaper

Then: The psychadelic late ’60s led into a more peace-and-love floral look in the ’70s, and the result was giant, bold patterns on walls.

Now: Although big, loud patterns are definitely in vogue – usually you’d call them “statement” now – they’re often paired with an otherwise calm color scheme so they really “pop.”


Plush Rugs

Then: The first big household project I remember, c. 1990, was my mom ripping out the orange shag wall-to-wall carpeting that basically sold my childhood home for my parents when they were 20-something househunters in 1979 (to reveal gleaming 1920s hardwoods, naturally).

Now: After years of low-pile, berber-style carpet, things have taken a turn. But don’t expect to see ’70s-style fitted carpets – now it’s more like a funky, comfy rug tossed across bare wood floors.


Dark Wood Cabinets

Then: If you’ve bought or renovated a 1960s – early 1980s house, there’s an excellent chance you’ve had to contend with the dull, dark-finish wood that ensconced cabinets during that time.

Now: After a late 80s through early 2000s flirtation with light oak and pine, darker woods are back. Unlike the ’70s, a glossier finish is in style.


Natural Elements

Then: We may associate the hippies with the late ’60s in popular culture, but a flip through a family photo album will tell you that the love for mother earth extended into the decorating styles of the ’70s and early ’80s. Natural stone, water features and big houseplants were especially groovy (NB: I’m told that hardly anyone actually said ‘groovy.’

Now: Look at any bespoke house in Dwell or Houzz and you’ll see that letting the outside in is a modern priority, too. Skylights and local stone are all things homeowners are wishing they hadn’t ripped out in the 90s.


Afghans

Then: The DIY craze hit the blanket industry hard and granny squares were too cool.

Now: They better be cool again because this is my living room (see sofa).

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Upcycling

Then: Yep, this started as a ’70s fad. The economy wasn’t doing so hot, and homeowners were getting creative. Popular projects included turning things into lamps, incorporating old whiskey barrels and wagon wheels into outdoor decorating, and creating planters out of EVERYTHING.

Now: Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s just homeowners following the adages to “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” and “reduce, reuse, recycle” – either way, there are thousands of tutorials out there to create a garden bench from an old crib, a table from a suitcase or a bedside table from a TV case. Again, I HOPE this is cool, because this is my bed with a barn door from the 1800s as a headboard:

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Color

Then: I think the 1970s are unfairly maligned as a decade with no taste. Sure, things got garish for a while, but after the sleek midcentury modernism and colonial revivals of the past decades, it’s nice that decorators were playing and having fun. Nowhere was that more evident in the uses of color. Lots of it. On things like appliances, even.

Now: We circled back to beige and taupe for a while, but unless you’re staging your house to sell it’s actually cool to have lots of bright color again. (Or… I hope so, because you saw those pictures of my house.)

Watch the Brangelina Throne

Our long national nightmare is over Love is Dead! Ok, on the real, how are we all feeling about the Brangelina split a week later? Did we see this coming? Or were we completely blindsided? Are you choosing a team? Do you even care? I’m personally on the side of, *meh*. Is it because Friends is one of my all time TV shows and I spent some of my formative years seeing Brad and Jennifer as the Hollywood ‘IT’ couple then he made a movie with the sexiest woman alive and did an oddly cozy faux family magazine shoot pre-Jen divorce? Perhaps. But I know for a lot of people, Brangelina was one of the last A-list couples still left standing. So who can replace them? If you fall in the latter category, the answer is ‘no one’, but if you’re willing to open your heart and let in another couple to be the next Brangelina, I’ve got a few suggestions.

Chrissy Teigen + John Legend

If you don’t follow these two on social media, do so now. It’s one thing when they take the red carpet (looking smokin’ hot all the time), but it nudges them up a bunch of notches when you see them interact on social media, as seen in the above Twitter exchange. Plus they’ll post cute and not annoying PDA pix and vids, and share posts of their adorable baby daughter Luna. They’re hilarious, smart, and socially active – in the way they speak out about social issues and politics, not necessarily social media. And again, they’re nice to look at, which doesn’t hurt.

Ellen DeGeneres + Portia DeRossi

I feel like every two and a half months, there are rumors these two are breaking up. I never believe the gossip – BECAUSE THESE TWO ARE NEVER SPLITTING UP. NOT ON MY WATCH. Ellen always speaks the loveliest words about Portia in a way that makes me think I, TOO, am in love with Portia. Also, Portia’s wedding dress continues to be one of my favorite celeb dresses ever.

Emily Blunt + John Krasinski

Preface: John Krasinski is my boo. He has been my boo since The Office, and when he started dating Emily Blunt, I was all, ‘yeah, that makes sense’. They seem so compatible with each other and just laid back and not all about the fame. So I guess if you liked Brangelina for the movie star/untouchable quality, Emily and John may not be your cuppa tea. I like that they’re open about their relationship and family, yet secretive in the sense they’re not pushing it into our faces like Kimye is wont to do. Plus they just seem like good people.

Beyonce + Jay Z

In terms of superstar quality and elusiveness, I think Bey and Jay are the closest thing to Brangelina. They don’t share too much of their personal lives online and social media, but B will occasionally post a few sweet snaps of them together. She’s certainly gotten more lax with it over the years (see: Lemonade) but they still have an air of mystery to them that leaves you wanting more. Even the On The Run tour was a lot for me to handle – so much Bey and Jay time I didn’t know what to do with myself. And this Forever Young/Halo video montage FORGET IT.

Kristen Bell + Dax Shepard

If you’re looking for a couple that you most relate to, it’s probs KBell and Dax. They’re just two Michigan kids who found love in Hollywood, but continue to be sweet and strong midwesterners (is Michigan the midwest?). From this Africa video to their Samsung commercials to the famous sloth surprise video, they are one of the most laid back couples in La La Land.

Rita Wilson + Tom Hanks

Do I really need to explain this? Well, Rita may need to explain her wedding dress, but other than that, you get it.

Lin-Manuel Miranda + Vanessa Nadal

If you aren’t #HamilTrash like us, you probably don’t know how much Lin-Manuel (the creator/star/writer/literal genius behind Hamilton) loves his wife. Like truly is in love with his wife in a poetic way. And we might be too. She’s gorgeous, witty (per Twitter) and equally as smart as Lin – she has a chemical engineering degree from MIT, and when she got bored with that, decided to get her law degree from Fordham. When I’m bored, I stalk the Kardashians on Instagram. Anyways, when he gets the chance to gush over Vanessa, Lin jumps at the opportunity. It’s probably because he’s a master of words, but he makes it seem like their relationship is a great love that cannot be compared. I believe it.

Michelle Obama + Barack Obama

Do I really need to explain this? Part two.

#SmartGirlsAsk at the Emmy Awards

There’s a scene in Gilmore Girls when Lorelai makes fun of Rory (and Chris’) obsession with their new Sidekicks. REMEMBER SIDEKICKS??? Anyways, her line has always stuck out to me as quoteworthy and comical, mainly because of the nonsense questions she’s asking and at the even faster rate than normal she’s asking them in.

Now I’ve never been on a red carpet and been bombarded with a million questions by pushy reporters and photographers, but I imagine this is what it would be like, but like 50 Lorelais all at once.

About a year or so ago, there was a movement called #AskHerMore, which encouraged reporters to inquire about more than just “who are you wearing” to women on the red carpet. About a year ago, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party started their own version using the hashtag #SmartGirlsAsk. They asked followers and celebs alike to send in their questions to stars at the Emmys, and since it went swimmingly before, they did it again this past Sunday. Here are some of the best questions and the best answers from the best people in the biz.

Obvs we have to start with our boo. Remember when Amy Poehler used to provide us with infinite wisdom via her Ask Amy video blogs? I miss those. This will do.

I admit I had to look up with this hilarious gal is, and research tells me she’s on Transparent, a show I have yet to watch. But I am living for her honesty.

If you’re wondering who the two girls are on either side of Ellie, they’re Cydnee and Gretchen all glammed up. They sure do look different out of their bunker gear.

Same, Aziz. Same. *also featuring special cameos by two girls I went to college with*

Happiness is being able to live in a world with KBell.

I also like to listen to Tony Goldwyn’s smooth, silky, sexy voice if I’m feeling stressed.

GIMME, GIMME MO(O)RE, GIMME MO(O)RE, GIMME (MANDY) MO(O)RE!

Pls refer to our Emmys post for why I am obsessed with Yara Shahidi.

Truly unbreakable.

This video was taken B.E. = Before Emmy. EMMY WINNER TATIANA MASLANY.

This kid.

Sometimes I forget how much I liked Downton Abbey.

The Brangelina Relationship As Told In Rachel Green Gifs

Not so long ago, tabloids and entertainment news shows couldn’t get enough of the (probably very manufactured) rivalry between Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. But now Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston have a lot in common – they’re both separated from Brad Pitt! – and we think it’s time to talk about them in the same breath once again.

To be clear: we don’t care a whole lot about the Brad/Angelina announcement, except that we feel sad for people who are going through a tough time. They both seem like okay people, but we’ve never really stanned for them as a couple or as individuals. However, we do care about any excuse to describe a situation through the words and actions of Rachel Karen Green, Greenwich Village’s hottest underqualified Ralph Lauren executive:

2004: Brad and Angelina meet and fall in love on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  Brad is married to Jennifer Aniston.

(More relevant to our interests: this is the year that Friends ended.)

2004-2007: Despite Brad being the cheater, tabloids get a little too obsessed with Angelina and Jennifer’s supposed rivalry.

March 2005: Jennifer Aniston files for divorce: irreconcilable differences.

PS, at the time Aniston’s net worth is about $150 million dollars.

July 2005: Brad and Angelina won’t confirm relationship but will pose for a photo spread as parents of a brood of young children they don’t know.

January 2006: Angelina Jolie announces her pregnancy.

May 2006: Baby Shiloh is born. By this time, Brad has adopted Angelina’s older children, Maddox and Zahara.

 

March 2007: The Jolie-Pitts adopt Pax from Vietnam.

Guys, it was either this or Rachel and Ross singing Baby Got Back to Emma.

July 2008: Twins Knox and Vivienne are born.

2009: Brad announces that he and Angelina won’t get married until it’s legal for everyone to do so.

Image result for rachel green cheat

April 2012: The couple announces their engagement; Angelina begins wearing a wedding ring.

2013: Amid cheating rumors, a spate of magazines have cover stories about Brad declaring “I made a mistake”

August 2014: Brad and Angelina get married, roughly 7 years after I thought they were married.

2015: Rumors (possibly unfounded) of brad cheating begin to circulate.

2015: Brad and Angelina release a movie together. It’s called By The Sea. Chances are, you didn’t watch it.

April 2016: The Jolie-Pitts, who granted, have a ton of money, move into a house that costs $21,000 a month.

September 2016: Cheating rumors reach a high point (still unconfirmed).

September 20, 2016: Angelina Jolie files for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.

 

Things We Need to Revisit From the 2016 Emmy Awards

The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were last night and per usual, there were a lot of highlights and lowlights of the ceremony. But unexpectedly, a lot of our favorites took home the gold, and that’s why they helped make the Emmys one to remember. Here are some moments that we need to revisit today, and many days after today.

Stranger Things Kids Continue To Be Totally Rad

T: Handing out PB&J sandwiches on bicycles was an OK touch, but letting Gaten, Millie and Caleb take the stage to show their true talents of singing and dancing is the real win.

M: These kids are so pure and delightful I almost want to send them to 1983 to grow up there.

Hillary Clinton Wins An Emmy

T: Cue the first tears of the night. I legitimately rewound this reaction shot three times in a row right after it happened, and continue to be mesmerized by this GIF. Her speech was a tear jerker, but there was a cynical part of me that had me thinking… Kate truly deserved this for her performances this year, right? Listen, I love Kate and think she does great work on SNL, but part of me feels like Emmy voters partially gave the win to her because of Ghostbusters? Call it the Melissa McCarthy Effect. Remember when she won an Emmy the year she was in Bridesmaids? Yeah. But again, Kate is super talented and deserves all the praise she can get.

M: Kate is one of those SNL cast members who I noticed from her very first weeks and predicted that she’d be one of the great ones. She’s just that obviously good.

President of Tears

T: Did anybody else notice JLD didn’t seem herself when she got up to accept her award? She was shaky and looked like she wasn’t even planning a bit  – then it all made sense when she talked about her dad. Out of her six acting Emmy wins, I feel like this might be her most memorable.

M: After her speech, I remembered how sad she looked at the end of Kate’s speech and it was right when Kate had mentioned her dad. I know we say this a lot, but we just love JLD.

Score one for Long Duck Dong

T: In all seriousness, I am so so glad Aziz and Master of None co-creator/writer Alan Yang won for Best Writing. I wrote about the episode they won for, Parents, last year, and I’m just glad Emmy voters and viewers alike paid enough attention to a show which features so much diversity and the untold stories of first generation kids. My only gripe is that Aziz didn’t get to give his speech at all.

You Turkeys

T: Remember how our beloved Amy finally won her very first Emmy last week? Well she did, and she’s sharing it with her color-coordinating comedy wife Tina, and we were #blessed with their presence last night. Ever more #blessed that Amy called them out for nominating her 18 times without ever giving her a legit trophy.

M: They coordinated their dresses, right? I just think it’s really cute if they coordinated their dresses.

Sarah Paulson + Holland Taylor 4Ever

T: There was a time when these two didn’t publicly acknowledge each other as their significant others, and here we are, living in a world where all of the Internet can swoon in jealousy over their love. Yes, Sarah was for sure the right person to win an Emmy, but another thing I know for sure – I have a new ship.

M: I think we’ve had a WCW post about Sarah Paulson in our drafts for like a year and I’m not even sure which one of us did it.  I love that after years of working steadily, Sarah’s had this massive boost in her career lately.

Fred Armisen? More Like FredArminstein

T: Fred showed up in a hearse. And with bolts in his neck. Never change, man.

M: The “Armenstein” joke was cute, Traci.

Leslie Jones Slays All Day

T: You gotta give it up for Leslie Jones who continues to get back up every time assholes attempt to knock her down. And when she does get back up, she laughs it off and makes all of us laugh with her.

Bill Cosby Isn’t Here

M: Jimmy announced that Bill Cosby was coming on stage and Tina Fey was all of us:

So was Ellie Kemper:

Don’t worry, Bill Cosby wasn’t there.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

T: Matt Damon continues to ruin Jimmy Kimmel’s life. As soon as he came out eating that apple, I KNEW he was going to make a Good Will Hunting Reference.

Oh, We’re ALL Seeing This, Rami

T: I don’t watch Mr. Robot, but I did watch Rami in the one episode of Gilmore Girls, and he is great. I refer to Molly for this one.

M: Thanks, Traci. Okay here we go:

Mr. Robot is a show you should be watching if you aren’t already (I’m going to specifically recommend it to fans of Orphan Black). There’s this incredible ensemble cast but the whole thing rests on how amazing Rami Malek is. His character has a tenuous grip on reality, but he’s also broken and kind and incredibly intelligent – miles away from the “complex lonely guy” archetype. IRL, Rami just seems like a real gem of a human in addition to being good-looking and all that. His cousin was his Emmys date, he really loves his mom, and he interrupted an actor roundtable because everyone kept using male pronouns when discussing directors. He deserved to win and I’m so happy for him. PS he has a twin brother. Back to you, Traci.

Give TatMas 12 Emmys For Each Clone Pls

T: I can barely look at any videos or pix or GIFs or tweets from her co-stars because I start to tear up. I am so proud of this talented angel of a human in a way I would be proud if one of my nearest and dearest won an award.

M: I was so used to Tatiana not even getting nominated that I didn’t think she would win (SHOULD win, yes). I almost feel like she went so long without a nomination/win because she’s so amazing: as though voters who don’t watch the show couldn’t really understand that she was playing all of these characters, and none of them a caricature.

It was such a blur after she won that I had to rewatch her speech Monday morning because I forgot what she even said.

Also, we love Canadians.

Also also, she and her boyfriend are very cute:

 

A few Best Dressed faves:

Kerry Washington in Brandon Maxwell
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? THIS HOT MAMA. THE DRESS, THE HAIR, THE BUMP?! I wish to look like her any day of the week.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? THIS HOT MAMA. THE DRESS, THE HAIR, THE BUMP?! I wish to look like her any day of the week.

Kristen Bell in Zuhair Murad
It's like if Princess Anna was a modern day TV star and nominated for Best Actress in a Limited Series.

It’s like if Princess Anna was a modern day TV star and nominated for Best Actress in a Limited Series.

Yara Shahidi in Clara Rotescu

I don’t watch black-ish, but I am kind of obsessed with Yara? She seems like such a poised, smart, talented young lady who is ready to become a role model to girls (and women) of all backgrounds. This dress is perfect for a 16-year-old who’s still young and playful but also an actress on the verge of being a grown-up. Also, she’s the type of stunning that makes you feel like a creep because you’ve been stalking her on Insta for too long what

Priyanka Chopra in Jason Wu
I mean, come on.  I love how this plays off of the diaphanous, one-shoulder trend that's been going on for a few awards seasons but puts it in vibrant color.

I mean, come on. I love how this plays off of the diaphanous, one-shoulder trend that’s been going on for a few awards seasons but puts it in vibrant color.

Rami Malek in Dior
White dinner jackets have made a comeback in the past few years and with the new slimmer tailoring, they're not looking like your dad's wedding outfit from 1975. IMO, black pants are crucial to keep it from looking like a first communion suit.

White dinner jackets have made a comeback in the past few years and with the new slimmer tailoring, they’re not looking like your dad’s wedding outfit from 1975. IMO, black pants are crucial to keep it from looking like a first communion suit.

Sarah Paulson in Prada
We all have those celebs who are hit-or-miss for us on the red carpet (Kerry, Kirsten, I'm looking at you). Sarah Paulson is one of mine, but when she looks incredible she looks really incredible. I love a nice vibrant green and Sarah, Tina and Amy were looking like the queens of the Emerald City last night. There are so few times you can wear a gown embroidered in crystals and stones, you know?

We all have those celebs who are hit-or-miss for us on the red carpet (Kerry, Kirsten, I’m looking at you). Sarah Paulson is one of mine, but when she looks incredible she looks really incredible. I love a nice vibrant green and Sarah, Tina and Amy were looking like the queens of the Emerald City last night. There are so few times you can wear a gown embroidered in crystals and stones, you know?

 

This Should’ve Won An Oscar: Rewatching Matilda

We’d never dream of doing an entire Matilda Week without rewatching the movie. Dare I say, this week was one part celebration of one of our favorite books and movies, one part commemoration of Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, and one part excuse to watch Matilda again. Like us, the movie has aged very well and is a constant delight. Here were some of our thoughts as we watched it:

This Should’ve Won An Oscar

In general, I think the cinematography is A+. Every scene can be taken as a still shot and look like a piece of art. Danny uses a lot of overhead shots and creative angles when need be, and I appreciate that when Matilda’s younger, there are a lot of camera shots taken from her point of view

I Forgot About 90s Film Quality

Maybe my DVD isn’t ~digitally remastered but I’m shocked by how dull and fuzzy this is.

Truly, Truly Iconic Scene

A+++ Casting On Young Matilda

During our last blog meeting we went on a search for the younger versions of Matilda. Here is Caitlin Fein (one of the toddler Matildas) now:

And here is Mara Wilson now:

Good work, C.S.A.

#RIPMrsPhelpsTheLibrarian

Do you guys ever watch movies from the 90s and see an old person and think, ‘He/she is probs dead.’ Then feel really sad because it’s true? (This actress died in 2000).

Likewise, anyone who was a small child is now an adult. Obviously we know that Mara Wilson has always been roughly our age, but baby Matilda? You saw how old she is.

Harry Wormwood Is The Worst

“Listen, you little wiseacre: I’m smart, you’re dumb; I’m big, you’re little; I’m right, you’re wrong, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Harry Wormwood, the worst

Dark Matilda

You know, if this movie was cut differently, it could easily be a prequel to The Orphan or basically any horror movie which features a little girl as the demon. OH LOOK SOMEONE’S DONE THAT ALREADY. LIKE, MULTIPLE TIMES.

Plus, taking the magical powers out of it, even if you’re the loveliest teacher ever you don’t just get to KEEP THE KID THAT YOU LIKE. This movie definitely demands a dark recut.

Also Lissy Doll is a dead ringer for Matilda which is very Are You Afraid Of The Dark, if you ask me.

Michael Wormwood Is Dudley Dursely

And Matilda’s parents are Vernon and Petunia. Miss Honey is Dumbledore, but also Hagrid and Sirius.

Matilda is probably a Gryffindor but you can make an argument for Ravenclaw. Lavender is a Hufflepuff. I think Miss Honey has some Hufflepuff traits but she’s mainly brave, so Gryffindor.

Do We Think It’s Weird That This Is Set In The USA?

Roald Dahl is such a beloved British treasure that it feels kind of odd that this is set in the USA. I’m not exactly complaining because this movie is so perfect that I wouldn’t wish away any of it. I bet if this movie were made today there would be a big outcry about exporting it to the US and it would have been set in the UK instead.

To translate Crunchem School to the US system they had to create this weird public school that’s sort of like a bizarre private school. It all contributes to the storybook quality of the movie, so it’s fine.

Romper Room

I know what rompers are in modern fashion parlance but I always imagine those baggy calico overalls that Pigtail Amanda wears.

“You Chose Books, I Chose Looks”

Mrs. Wormwood’s taunt reminds me of something a snotty girl would have said in second grade. Also joke’s on her, Miss Honey is a fox and everybody knows it.

Cake By The Pound

“It’s hard for me to remember a specific cake.” Bruce Bogtrotter spittin the truth

I continue to think that chocolate cake looks like the best chocolate cake ever made (apparently the actor who played Bruce didn’t really like cake much, and Danny had his baker friend create a Magnolia Bakery-esque cake for the scene).

“I can’t look, is he going to puke?” – little Lavender’s delivery of this line is one of the best things in the whole movie, and that’s saying something.

Truncuhbull’s Not Wrong

Mrs. D. Mrs. I.
Mrs. F. F. I.
Mrs. C. Mrs. U.
Mrs. L. T. Y.

…why are all these women married?

This Score Is Perfect

Whether it’s the suspenseful music when they’re in Truncuhbull’s (ahem.. rightfully Miss Honey’s) House or the jaunty tune when Bruce is gorging on cake, this is a masterpiece and we’re retroactively annoyed about the missing Oscar. Did you ever notice that 90s kids’ movies, like Matilda, Home Alone, and The Parent Trap, had phenomenal scores, like filmmakers realized children could appreciate good things?

By the way, if you loved a movie in the 90s there’s an excellent chance David Newman was responsible for the score.

The 1972 Olympics

Trunchbull competed in the 1972 Olympics. This film was released in 1996. Ergo, the 2016 equivalent would be a principal who competed in the 1992 Olympics, which I can sort-of remember. Woof.

By the by, Trunchbull’s build is sort of a take on those poor East German athletes who were forced to take a lot of hormones, I think.

PeeWee Herman

… is in this??? I’m honestly not even including this as a thing you probably don’t know about Matilda. I’m just shocked I never noticed this.

Danny DeVito Is A Prince

You know the too-cute scene where Matilda dances around to Little Bitty Pretty One making objects move? In the behind the scenes footage, DeVito explains that Mara was a little nervous about doing that scene. He said “you know why? Because you’re the only one dancing” and made everyone on set – down to craft services – dance. I did some acting as a kid and a lot of adults just didn’t understand how kids think, but it seems like DeVito GOT IT and created a set that was every bit as magical as the movie.

I Don’t Think You’re Ready…

“Absolutely not, Molly” – My mother, Aisle 12 of Wegmans, 1995.

The Wormwoods have that peanut butter and jelly that is all swirled together in one jar and seriously they WOULD.

I Have Another Oscar Complaint

I want there to be a category for extras and bit players and I want it retroactively awarded to the children in Matilda’s class during the Trunchbull revenge scene.

We don’t need to talk about the special effects during that scene. They were doing their best.

Send Me On My Way

The closing scene is so perfect there’s nothing to say about it, so we’re just going to send you on your way.

Where Are They Now: All The Matildas

When Roald Dahl first introduced Matilda to the world in 1988, he probably never thought about just how long the legacy would last, and in so many different mediums. An imagination as great as Matilda Wormwood herself could have never dreamed that kids and adults all over the world would be in love with this character and her world through a beloved movie and a hit musical that are popular all over the world. Moreover, Roald Dahl probably would have never guessed just how many times his cherished Matilda would be brought to life by actors for years to come. Over the past 28 years, Matilda has been played by a number of girls in various adaptations, and here’s a look at those talented Wormwoods and where they are now.

Matilda – Musical, 1990

Annabelle Lanyon

Annabelle Lanyon was a child actress who is best known for playing Dora Keith in the British mini-series of Anne of Avonlea, as pictured here. But in 1990, when she was 29, she starred as Matilda in the first musical adaptation of the book. I couldn’t find pix of her in the production, but since she’s supposed to be like 7, I figured this photo would suffice. Anyways, the musical featured music and lyrics by Ken Howard and Alan Blaiklev and toured theaters around the UK. Reviews were mixed and unfortunately lost in the public’s conscious forever. Annabelle quit acting in 1992, but returned in 2000 and is currently filming two movies.

Matilda – Movie, 1996

Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson is probably the best known actress for playing little Matilda, thanks to the movie we’ve been talking about all week. By the time she filmed Matilda, Mara already had Mrs. Doubtfire and Miracle on 34th Street under her belt, but her mother died of breast cancer while they were filming Matilda. This life-changing event made her lose her passion for acting, and has only been in front of the camera several times ever since. She graduated from NYU in 2009, and is v active on the Interwebz with Twitter and podcasts (Welcome to Night Vale) etc. Just this week, on Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, she released an autobiography called Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame.

Matilda – Radio Programme, 2009

Lauren Mote

BBC Radio 4, being super British, featured a dramatized version of Matilda for a classic serial as part of the BBC Christmas season. Voice actress Lauren Mote, who was 12 at the time, took on the lead in the two-part series, which you can maybe eventually watch on their website.

Matilda – Musical, 2010

The Royal Shakespeare Company commissioned a second musical adaptation of the book and found much better success thanks in part to a book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. It premiered in the West End in 2011 and ended up winning seven Olivier Awards, including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Bertie Carvel as Miss Trunchbull (yes, you read that right) and a tie between all four tiny Matildas for Best Actress in a Musical. The show opened on Broadway in 2013 and found similar success at the Tonys, winning four trophies and a special prize for all four tiny Matildas for Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre. Since then, there have been tours in both the US and Australia, and a production in Toronto which opened in July. But for those looking to see the show on Broadway, you only have a few months left – the production is closing on January 1st.

West End
Cleo Demetriou

Before Matilda, Cleo appeared in productions of The Sound of Music (Gretl, duh), the ENRON musical and Les Mis (Young Cosette, duh). She is now 15 (and a legit teen, per Instagram), and stars in a British sitcom called So Awkward.

Kerry Ingram

Kerry’s only theatre expereience before Matilda was in a West End revival of Oliver!, but her career only got bigger after starring in Matilda by scoring roles in hit TV shows like Wolf Hall and British medical soap (think Grey’s) Doctors. But you may know her as Shireen Baratheon in Game of Thrones, a show we definitely are huge fans of and understand completely.

Sophia Kiely

Sophia’s only professional credit to date is Matilda, and it seems she stepped out of the spotlight after taking her final bow. So much so that she doesn’t have any social media accounts (that I can easily Google). The only thing we know for sure is that she is four years older than when she played Matilda.

Eleanor Worthington Cox

Eleanor continues to work on the stage, appearing in London productions of To Kill A Mockingbird, Bugsy Malone and Tomcat. On British TV she’s starred in shows like Cucumber, Hetty Feather, and The Enfield Haunting, which earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the British Academy Television Awards.

Broadway
Sophia Gennusa

After Matilda, Sophia was back on Broadway last year in the musical adaptation of Doctor Zhivago – which only lasted three weeks. But her greatest accomplishment yet – being the singer for the current Sesame Street theme song.

Oona Laurence

Prior to Matilda, Oona played “Spiteful Mean Girl #4” on Louie, but she may be the most successful Matilda yet. After leaving the show, she booked roles on Law & Order: SVU, Blindspot, and Orange Is The New Black, playing 10-year-old Tiffany aka Pennsatucky in a flashback. Over the past year, she has worked with stars like Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back), Janeane Garofalo (Little Boxes), Robert Redford (Pete’s Dragon), Jake Gyllenhaal (Southpaw) and Mila Kunis (Bad Moms). So yeah, she’s doin OK.

Bailey Ryon

Bailey starred in other notable family faves before Matilda, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. These days, she is focusing on her career as a dancer, and performs with hte Susquehanna Youth Ballet in Pennsylvania.

Milly Shapiro

Matilda still stands as Milly’s lone professional credit, but she and her sister Abigail are hoping to be the next Lennon and Maisy by posting performances on YouTube. Check them out singing Defying Gravity at 54 Below.

Matilda Is Our Aesthetic

It’s always difficult turning a beloved book into a big screen movie. Not only do you have to do justice to the original author and their work, but it’s equally important to not completely screw up a story that millions of readers have come to love. The very magic of books is that you get to use your imagination to create your own version of the world that the author presents to you, and not everyone will have the same exact vision in their heads (see: Hermione). So when it comes to adapting novels into movies, there’s a fine line between disaster and huge success.

Luckily, we think the film version of Matilda falls into the latter category, and presented us with a magical world that was still grounded in reality, and appealed to us both as 10 years olds and 30 year olds rewatching the film in present day (PS: it’s Molly’s 30th birthday TODAY!). Here are some of our favorite aesthetics from the outstanding adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic that lived up to the images in our head, and in some cases, even surpassed them.

TBH, the entire pancake scene is our aesthetic, but I love this little touch Matilda adds when she sits down to eat breakfast by herself. I’ve never even done this and I am an “adult”.

Despite Wormwood Motors being a complete sham, I love how many colors the production designer and director Danny DeVito incorporated into this look. It actually seems like a reputable business, which is exactly what Mr. Wormwood wants you to think.

I was never one to make headbands out of satin ribbon, but I always admired those who did. This tells us a couple things about Matilda: she learned how to do this herself, because her mom certainly wasn’t going to teach her. And second, she’s the type of kid who takes pleasure in taking her time. A lot of people wouldn’t spend the extra minute to perfect their hair accessory, but Matilda appreciates even the smallest things in life, something we can all aspire to do.

Because who doesn’t love a good solo dance party? This is why you have superpowers. For this alone.

Just kidding. Also use superpowers to have desserts come directly to your person.

I know the phrase iconic gets tossed around a lot but the blue peter pan collar dress with the red ribbon was iconic, no? A moment of appreciation for the costume designers: although some of the kids’ outfits look 90s in a GOOD way, they mostly stuck to a classic template that makes Matilda fresh and watchable 20 years later. I’d still dress a kid like this.

JENNIFER. HONEY. We talked a bit about her aesthetic here but the main thing is, again, the wardrobe department’s choice of classic designs. Also these glasses. All day long, these glasses.

The end of the movie where Matilda lives with Miss Honey and they both have a family and they’re all dressed down in their straw hats and overalls? And Send Me On My Way plays? And everything is going to be light and happy for them from now on? Is also our aesthetic. When I watch the movie as an adult, the last scenes always make me think of how Matilda’s life would be after moving in with Miss Honey – how awesome her high school years would be with a supportive parent to help her explore learning, and Matilda going back home during college breaks and having talks with Miss Honey as adults, and now-30-year-old Matilda doing whatever amazing things she’s doing, but always going home to catch up and opening her mail to find just-because cards from Miss Honey with, like, $5 in them.

Two reasons to have Matilda carry her books home in a wagon: (1) She had a LOT of books; (2) Children pulling wagons behind them is ADORABLE.

PS, Matilda has cute shoes.

Lavender (Kiami Davael) might be one of the cutest children ever but let’s take a moment to appreciate her very on-trend-for-2016 braided hairdo and also how darling children in glasses are. If I have children I hope they can’t see very well, because this is precious (JK if I have children I hope they can see well).

The tiny, tidy cottage with the wildflowers actually looks more appealing than the Trunchbull Mansion they move into at the end.

Some of the timeless appeal of Matilda’s set design is actually because it’s dated: this isn’t a 90s living room, it’s a pastiche of 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s middle-class garishness. Those people who replace the siding on their porch with shiny stone and their wooden banisters with elaborate wrought iron? That’s the Wormwoods.

We are nerds who truly enjoyed the beginning of school because that meant new school supplies. Matilda had a composition notebook ready to go before her dad even told her she was going to school for the first time. This is our kind of gal.

Lit’rally me:

 

 

Matilda: The Book For Book Lovers

Roald Dahl was born 100 years ago today. He delighted so much in absolutes and extremes, I think he would have loved reaching such a nice, round, very-old age. Or maybe he just knew how delightful children find absolutes and extremes: so many of his characters are the worst (like Miss Trunchbull) or the best (Miss Honey) or otherwise the tallest or luckiest or poorest or … I don’t know, adrift in a giant peach, for example. Point is, nobody is ordinary or middling in the world of Roald Dahl. One of Dahl’s most extraordinary creations is Matilda Wormwood, the mischievous, telekinetic child genius of Matilda.

It’s funny: Matilda is unlike any child or adult I’ve encountered, but among my closest friends and favorite people I count a disproportionate number who once felt that they were just like her. I longed to be acknowledged as a kindergarten super-genius like Matilda, but something about her character made me feel seen.  If you identified with Matilda too, then you can already guess what I loved about her: not the mischief or the magic, but the transformative power of reading. Matilda is about belonging and overcoming, but it is above all a book for book lovers.

Matilda was the only character I remember putting voice to that frustration most child bookworms have: not being allowed to read enough. Matilda’s parents don’t think reading is important, but they also don’t think that Matilda is important; Matilda’s trips to the library are the largesse of their negligence. Mrs. Phelps, an elderly librarian who is just trying her best, directs Matilda to the children’s books then is astonished when Matilda makes her way through all of them in weeks.

When I was 7, I saw this as evidence that I was just as special as Matilda. I despaired during every second grade library trip. We were only supposed to get books from the picture book area, yet outside of school I had already blown through the Baby-Sitters Club and Nancy Drew and was on to Charles Dickens and Shakespeare. Now I realize that Matilda’s frustration is common to a certain type of kid. Almost every child who loves to read feels dismissed by teachers or parents who confine them to the “baby” books that are appropriate to their grade. I still remember my grandmother telling me that she used to check out so many books from the library that the librarian confronted her mother, insisting no child that small could be reading that much. This was in the early 1930s. Matilda was singular, but there sure are a lot of Matildas.

If you identified with Matilda as a young book lover, you probably related to her take on material that was a little out of her grasp. Look at her opinion of Hemingway:

Mr. Hemingway says a lot of things I don’t understand, especially about men and women. But I loved it all the same. The way he tells it I feel I am right there on the spot watching it all happen.

When I was re-reading Matilda I had to stop and go back over that sentence, because that was it. That was exactly how it was reading adult books as a small child. Sure, I followed the basic plot of Emma and Jane Eyre in fourth grade, but sometimes the adult’s motives and experiences were beyond my reach. I was good at reading, but I still hadn’t lived more than nine years. Still, isn’t that also how LIFE was when you were a small child? You couldn’t make sense of adults’ actions all of the time, but you still observed them.  It was so validating to read about another kid who could comprehend all of the words on a page, but not really get the subtext – yet still love what she was reading.  Plenty of A Midsummer Night’s Dream didn’t make sense when I was very young, but I knew enough to know that it was beautiful. It’s why Matilda whispered “it’s like music” after Miss Honey recited Dylan Thomas.

In the film adaptation of Matilda, the narrator says that authors cast out their books “like ships onto the sea.” I love that simile – authors work and dream and agonize, but they have little say over the fate of their books once they’re published. But like Matilda – and THROUGH Matilda – sometimes the right one drifts to you and takes you along:

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.