Man Crush Monday: LeVar Burton

Today’s Monday man crush is a fellow you may not have thought about since you were reading books written and illustrated by Jan Brett*. I’m talking about the one and only LeVar Burton, the pot of gold at the end of the reading rainbow.

Before we get started, let me just tell you that if you’re looking for a post about liking LeVar Burton ironically, or any 90s nostalgic millennial nonsense like that, this isn’t the post you should be reading**. Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr. is almost absurdly man-crushable – but you don’t have to take my word for it!***

Bringing Reading To Public Television

I know, I know. Public television is already the books of TV. But let’s go back to 1983, when Reading Rainbow started. Most people didn’t have 1000 channels***. They had, like 5 or so, and one of them was probably the local PBS affiliate. Most of the stations were showing 80s mom television during the day (meaning soap operas and talk shows by people who weren’t Oprah). PBS was basically it for kids programming, so this little show about books had a huge potential audience.

The producers of Sesame Street intended for their show to reach kids who weren’t necessarily getting pre-preschool learning prep at home. Reading Rainbow filled a similar role for older kids whose parents weren’t big into books, or maybe just didn’t have the time or language skills to promote reading.

Reading Rainbow had a lot going for it. The awesome celebrity guests – Eartha Kitt, anyone? – kept parents from changing the channel. The show format was almost genius in its simplicity, and the theme song was crazy-good – but the real draw was LeVar as a host. He was upbeat but didn’t use that stupid “talking to kids voice,” and he was enthusiastic about the theme of the episode, but never pedantic. Burton had the same quality as Mister Rogers (and, I’d argue, Amy Poehler in her Smart Girls series) – an adult who recognizes kids as full people.

Bringing Diversity To Public Television

Think about most of the men on children’s programs. So many white guys, right? Look, some of my best friends are white guys. But it’s really important for all kids out there to have a man on TV who actually looks like he could be their dad or uncle.

It’s not only that TV has an over-abundance of white people. People of color are also less likely to be represented positively.  Negative representation does a number on kids’ self-concepts. Remember that bummer of a social experiment where kids choose between white dolls and Black dolls, and all of the kids pick the white doll because they’ve internalized that the Black doll is “bad” and “stupid?” That’s what I’m talking about here. But for 30 years, kids at least had LeVar Burton on PBS – an affable, smart, cool relative- or neighbor-type.

White kids needed LeVar too, especially white kids growing up in predominantly white communities. Familiarity breeds … well, familiarity. That’s why my  inner-city childhood was so great – I didn’t grow up thinking of white people as the default humans. Watching LeVar Burton talk about Chris Van Allsburg books isn’t going to stop racism, but it at least helped white kids grow up thinking of one man of color as a nice, friendly guy who’s into books — and it might be some of the only exposure to that kind of representation that those kids have.

KUNTA KINTE, EVERYBODY

As two ladies who might like Event Television more than actual events, it’s a bummer that we missed out on the huge TV sensation that was Alex Haley’s Roots. But having seen it on cable later on, it really was a miniseries worth the hype.

Burton played the young Kunta Kinte, a young man who is kidnapped in Africa and sold into slavery in the United States. He was only 20 at the time, but Burton was such a pro — perfectly expressing the transition from a young warrior-in-training to a man struggling against the slave system by trying to escape and resisting a name change.

For my generation, LeVar Burton is the man from Reading Rainbow, but for people a little older than us, he’s Kunta Kinte. If you only know Burton from PBS, I suggest you find a copy of Roots and give it a watch.

Star Trek, If You’re Into That

We’re not into Star Trek. Like, at all. But we have it on good authority that people who are into Star Trek are real into Star Trek. So for those people, Burton’s tenure on the sci-fi show is probably one of their favorite things about him. Even if you’re not into space shows, you’ve got to admit that having a career portfolio that spans children’s television, science fiction and historical drama is pretty fantastic.

LeVar Burton Is Totally Cool With Himself

Some of the stuff LeVar did for Reading Rainbow was straight-up silly, which is awesome. He wore medieval regalia and got transformed into a troll, all for the sake of reading. What is more attractive a guy who is so comfortable with himself that he’d rather have fun than look cool? Burton even said “I fly my geek flag proudly.” Honestly, that’s the coolest ever.

Everyone Loves LeVar

When was the last time you heard anyone talk smack about LeVar Burton? NEVER. And as children who grew up with Reading Rainbow become adults, Burton is in big demand. In the past few years alone he has made guest appearances in The Colbert Report, Community, and Wish I Was Here.

There’s An App For That

Do you really think that someone as awesome as LeVar Burton would get left behind the current wave of technology? Please. In the 80s, meeting kids where they were meant going to public television, but in the 2010s, kids are on the iPad. Seriously, if you ever have trouble doing something on your iPad, give it to the nearest three-year-old and they will be able to fix it for you. And then they will refuse to give it back for hours because toddlers LOVE tablets. The Reading Rainbow app promotes reading to kids who are less exposed than ever to tangible books – you know, the kind with pages and covers and stuff. You can read more about it here, but this app – like LeVar himself – is basically a huge deal.

 

* I get that Reading Rainbow repped all childrens’ books, but why did it always seem like it was Jan Brett’s Scandinavian kinder in knit woolens? Did my first-grade teacher just have one videocassette? Going forward, please realize that my memories of Reading Rainbow might be from one episode watched multiple times.

** DON’T LEAVE. You can still read our other posts. Here’s a Baby-Sitters Club musical libretto, and here’s a live-blog of Sharknado. AND THAT’S JUST TWO OF OUR THINGS.

*** Here’s where I ask you to take my word for it. Actually.

****  ⅔ of which are somehow the same channel listed multiple times. Be better, Time Warner.

 

Advertisements

ICYMI: Saying Goodbye to Fictional Characters

On Monday, we bid farewell to Barney, Robin, Marshall, Lily, Ted, and wait for it … The Mother, but the lessons we’ve learned over the past nine seasons will live on with us forever.

Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

Kids, after nine seasons, 208 episodes, eight slaps, three Canadian pop star music videos, countless girlfriends and one person revealed to be the perfect mother, How I Met Your Mother is coming to an end.

We all know that the point of us hearing Ted tell all these stories is to explain to his kids how he met and fell in love with their mother. But in that nine year span of storytelling, we watched him and the gang experience love, heartbreak, births, deaths, and overall, grow up. I mean think about yourself nine years ago compared to who you are now. You’ve gone through shit and it’s changed you for the better or worse, but either way it has changed you. Everything Ted recalled to his kids over nine seasons helped explain how and why it’s led to meeting the love of his life. Like Ted, I’m a very big ‘everything happens for a reason’ person, and this entire series is the epitome of that. So in the spirit of that mantra, here are the best life lessons we’ve gleaned from HIMYM, the ones that help shape who we are, and the ones we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Get out of the house, Go for a walk, Get a bagel

Season 4, Episode 22: Right Place, Right Time

Architect Ted is down in the dumps because he was commissioned to design a chain restaurant called Rib Town in the shape of a giant cowboy hat. Not exactly what he imagined he would be doing with his life. Clearly frustrated, Robin suggests he get out of the house, go for a walk and get a bagel. A series of circumstances lead him to crosswalk where his ex-fiancee, Stella runs into him. That meeting led to his eventual hiring at Columbia University where he taught an architecture class – which is where The Mother, a student, sees Ted for the first time.

In times of frustration or when we feel like we’re at a dead end, it’s hard to figure out what our next move will be. But maybe the best move you can make is one that is out of your comfort zone. Maybe the best move you can make is just go out and do something. Period. We don’t know what we’ll find when we go off the beaten path, but it might turn out to change your life forever.

Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Season 1, Episode 18: Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Ted relays to his kids that his mom used to say, ‘Nothing good happens after 2am.’ Proving this theory right, he recalls the time he was waiting up for a phone call from his girlfriend Victoria, who lived in Germany. However, Robin (Ted’s ex and forever one of the great loves of his life) was feeling depressed and alone, and called Ted asking him to come over. It was past 2am, and he should have gone to bed, but he went to Robin’s instead. One thing leads to another, Ted tells Robin that he & Victoria broke up (they hadn’t), Ted starts making out with Robin, Ted goes to the bathroom to call Victoria to break-up with her, only to go back out to the living room to see he had Robin’s phone, and Robin is on the phone talking to Victoria and everything in Ted’s life crumbles down like the Arcadian.

Just quit while you’re ahead. Or behind. Better yet, just go to sleep. Stay in. Whatever you do, don’t go out after 2am. It’s too late for anything good to happen.

Wait For It…

Ultimately, HIMYM has always been a lesson in patience. Patience for Ted to find the love of his life and patience for the audience to find out who that person is. We live in a world where we expect everything right away. Our food delivered to us speedily, the scores of the game, information about the exports of Guyana at the click of a button. I mean we live in a world where binge-watching exists, and we want more as soon as it’s over.

Ted had to go through a number of heart-wrenching breakups and a slew of women he didn’t care about (lit’rally called someone ‘Blah Blah’ because he couldn’t remember her name Carol. It was Carol.) – and if he didn’t experience all those years of frustration in that exact sequence of events, he would have never met The Mother. While it may be inexplicable why you’re going through what you’re going through now, there’s a bigger picture than we can see or even imagine. All we have to do is trust that everything will work itself out the way it’s meant to be.

~~~
In preparation for saying goodbye to HIMYM, I can’t help but remember the feels and ugly cry that came out of me last year when I had to day goodbye to my pals at Dunder Mifflin. It’s hard to deal with the farewells when it involves fictional people.
~~~

A Final Farewell to Dunder Mifflin

After nine seasons, Dunder-Mifflin will finally close its doors and carry on without the documentary film crew following their every move. The Office is one of my all-time favorite shows, right behind Friends and Gilmore Girls. While those two shows have been off the air for a while now, I can clearly remember watching the final episodes of the series and completely breaking down. Like, an irrational, ridiculous puddle. To this day, it’s hard for me to get myself to watch either of the finales, since I just get way too emotional about it. TV is real to me, you guys, ok?

I was a little late coming into The Office, only tuning in at the end of season three. But as soon as I watched the first few episodes I was hooked. Like the level of obsession where I would watch every episode over and over again, go online to fan sites, crazily watch charming interviews of John Krasinski and I may or may not have watched a fan video or two.

In 2009, my friend Meghan and her sister Katie and I even drove down to Scranton, Pennsylvania for one of the official Office tours. Super dorky, but whatever. We got some free swag, and got to check out the real places that the characters reference on the show. We even had some special guests on the tour, Jennie, the gal who runs the awesome OfficeTally website (again, I’m a total geek for this show!), and Robert Shafer, the guy who plays Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration!

I’ve even creepily visited the actual studios in Van Nuys a couple times, including right before they shot the finale, where we left a janky note thanking the cast & crew, and also made friends with the security guard who gave us insider info on the cast’s filming schedule the next day!

Someone came prepared and made a flat Stanley cut out. Should’ve thought the visit through.

And despite the fact I will admittedly say the past couple of seasons haven’t been as good as it was in the beginning, I have stuck by it with every passing episode. Now that we’re down to the final one, I’m in this weird middle of being totally in denial and completely okay with it ending. Luckily, the writers have played out this season in such a way that it doesn’t leave us wanting more. In fact we’re getting some happy and satisfying endings to our beloved characters, that it’s like they’re saying, ‘Here ya go, fans. This is The Office, wrapped and tied up in a nice shiny bow.’

That being said, these last few episodes have been absolutely gut-wrenching, to the point where I’m a complete mess. Even the promos for the actual finale felt like a punch right in the babymaker and I just couldn’t stop crying. Ever since the writers and producers realized there was a strong fan base for the show, they’ve been really great at making sure there is complete continuity on every episode, adding to the realistic documentary style. Little things like the everyone using the same mug they’ve been using since the pilot, or small character traits like Toby randomly mentioning he writes a series of crime novels or Stanley telling Pam everyone’s changed over the years while eating a giant pretzel.

The arcs of the main characters have especially hit me hard coming into the final stretch, like Dwight and Jim slowly becoming friends instead of all out foes. And of course there’s the iconic Jim/Pam love story. Despite the fact they’ve gone through a bit of a rough patch this season and there’s been a bit of uproar about it, I didn’t really mind. These two have had the epitome of a perfect relationship, and since this show is supposed to be a real documentary, they just had to have a rift at some point. Real life isn’t always about ‘will they or won’t they,’ which is why Pam and Jim went on their first date at the end of season three six seasons later, they’re still together.

And in the last few episodes, I admit I was a little hesitant about how Jim would just give up this awesome job just because he loved Pam so much. But in the penultimate episode, where he showed her the video, it all made sense. Just as he was showing Pam this montage of all their greatest romantic moments to remind her of why he chose her over Philadelphia, the writers were also showing us why we fell in love with these two in the first place. And in honor of keeping tradition of being awesome to the fans, turns out the video was based on a real fan video made circa season 3 with the very same song.

Excuse me while I start crying again just thinking about it.

This show took chances to show a realistic lifestyle at a boring paper company. The fact that they even decided to  break the fourth wall a little by having Pam interact with a crew member (aka ‘Boom Brian’), is extremely ballsy. They could have easily just pretended the documentary was still filming way after we as viewers could see. So what better way to end it than by showing the Dunder-Mifflin folks what they’ve collected over the years with romance, breakups, firings, babies, and sad departures all caught on camera?

All this goes to say that as much as I do/don’t want The Office to come to an end, I’m glad it’s ending the way it is. More often than not, network politics get in the way and fans of shows aren’t treated with the kind of ending and closure they deserve (see: Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Party Down, etc.). Luckily NBC (finally) did something right by working with the show’s producers and actors and collectively deciding this would be the last season. It gave them a chance to end the series the way they wanted it too. In fact that the writers/producers all talked to the actors and asked them how they wanted their character’s stories to end, and incorporated it into the storyline. What other show would do that? Judging by the way the last few episodes have played out (and even how they dealt with the departure of Michael Scott), us fans are in for a satisfying, bittersweet ending.

So, thank you, Dunder-Mifflin and co. Thank you for nine wonderful seasons of laughter and tears. Thank you for making this journey worthwhile. My Thursday nights will never be the same.

 

Saturday Spotlight: What I Know For Sure

Sometimes I like to imagine I’m back in the good days – you know, the first 25 years of my life when Oprah was on the airwaves every day and it seemed like life would go on like that forever. Starting in the late 90s, Opes got into this whole new-agey, self-help book-y stuff. She talked about “your spirit” and “the universe” and – best of all – the Things Oprah Knew For Sure.

Without Oprah here to guide us, this week we posted about a few things we knew for sure – like that How I Met Your Mother was oddly life-affirming, Lupita Nyong’o is the human embodiment of class and grace, and how Dawson’s Creek got real weird by season three. Then, we posted about a few things that we were just straight-up guessing about: what if LeBron James worked in a Fro-Yo shop when he was younger? How old is Jay-Z really? Without Oprah here to tell us what we know for sure, we have a lot of questions. Here’s where we’re at right now:

THINGS WE KNOW FOR SURE

  • You Can Learn A Lot About Life From How I Met Your Mother

Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

Get out of the house, Go for a walk, Get a bagel

Season 4, Episode 22: Right Place, Right Time

Architect Ted is down in the dumps because he was commissioned to design a chain restaurant called Rib Town in the shape of a giant cowboy hat. Not exactly what he imagined he would be doing with his life. Clearly frustrated, Robin suggests he get out of the house, go for a walk and get a bagel. A series of circumstances lead him to crosswalk where his ex-fiancee, Stella runs into him. That meeting led to his eventual hiring at Columbia University where he taught an architecture class – which is where The Mother, a student, sees Ted for the first time.

In times of frustration or when we feel like we’re at a dead end, it’s hard to figure out what our next move will be. But maybe the best move you can make is one that is out of your comfort zone. Maybe the best move you can make is just go out and do something. Period. We don’t know what we’ll find when we go off the beaten path, but it might turn out to change your life forever.

  • We Have Teen Beat-Level Crushes On Lupita Nyong’o

Woman Crush Wednesday: Lupita Nyong’o

She Is A Fashion Icon

Besides her excellent work as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, I think it’s safe to say that Queen Lupita (QL) really got everyone’s attention with her on point style. Namely, that little Ralph Lauren cape number she wore to the Golden Globes. She had kind of been flying under the radar before that moment, one of those newcomers you knew about and were interested in, but didn’t get too much publicity in the media. Until that night at the Golden Globes. Homegirl came on that red carpet like, ‘I am here to stay!’

Since then, style pros and amateur fashionistas alike were (impatiently) waiting what QL would wear on all the red carpets moving forward. And she did not disappoint. I could easily post all her perfect gowns here, but using the handy photo above, it’s worth noting the green Dior (BAFTAs), Turquoise/teal Gucci (SAG), obvi the dreamy blue Prada (Oscars) and the white cutout Fifth Element type dress by Calvin Klein (Critics’ Choice).

It’s important to note that although this style seems all by QL, celebs get help from stylists to find the perfect dress, and my other new girl crush is on Lupita’s stylist, Micaela Erlanger.

Micaela is a Parsons The New School of Design grad, and also styles the likes of Lady Mary aka Michelle Dockery and Winona Ryder. She ranked number 3 on The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Power Stylists, and  no doubt does she deserve that position. I’d say bump her up to number one next year.

  • We Watched Dawson’s Creek Season 3 With Fascination And Second-Hand Embarrassment

The Dawson’s Creek Virgin Diaries: Season 3

Episode 1

In general, I’d like to say that it’s interesting to watch this without knowing the cultural impact from the outside. Like obviously when this was on in real time circa 1999, the main cast were huge stars. By this point, James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson were also off doing major movies like Varsity Blues, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Dick and Cruel Intentions, respectively. I vaguely remember it being big, but it’s funny how none of that matters – or even shows – when you watch it years later after their popularity has come and gone.

Anyways, school has started and Joey not talking to Dawson isn’t the most awkward thing about this episode.

It’s that Jen Lindley is becoming a cheerleader. And these cheerleaders – are typical bitchy Jawbreakers like girls who just want to ruin everyone’s lives and literally use the phrase ‘you look like a prize hog’ about an overweight girl who wants to try out.

It’s that Dawson has met a rando girl who is a stripper (?) and super mysterious and I hate her.

It’s ACTUALLY that Joey comes back to Dawson and attempts to have sex with him but he’s all no thank you and it’s a whole bunch of second-hand embarassment. Joey is clearly not going to be able to face Dawson anytime soon, so he asks Pacey to look after her and make sure she’s okay… ruh roh.

Photo Mar 21, 4 26 14 PM

THINGS WE’RE STILL KIND OF IFFY ON:

  • Does This Story A Small Child Made Up Accurately Reflect LeBron James’s Feelings Towards Fro-Yo?

LeBron’s Fro-Yo Motorcycle Caper

 

LeBron James was a great basketball player, a good person, and a spectacular artist. He was 21 years old, and when he wasn’t playing on his college basketball team he was working very hard studying art, learning how to make pictures that look exactly like what they’re supposed to be. You’d look at his pictures and say “Oh no, there’s a shark!” But it was just a picture of a shark. LeBron was very talented.

  • Sooo, Is Jay-Z 44? Or Is He Like 50? Are We Supposed To Care?

Point-Counterpoint: Jay-Z Is Secretly 50 Years Old

Point: Jay-Z says that he was born on December 4, 1969

Jay-Z says that he was born on 12/4/69, which would make him 44 years and some change. This is the date he – allegedly – was referencing in A Billi, when he rapped “Get busy, happy birthday my ___” (and then a word I can’t write because I’m white, guys. I’m white and that’s not cool).

This most certainly was the date Jay-Z’s mom Gloria was referring to in December 4th, when she said “Sean Carter was born December 4th, Weighing in at 10 pounds 8 ounces, He was the last of my 4 children, The only one who didn’t give me any pain when i gave birth to him, And that’s how I knew that he was a special child.” [I’m just going to take a moment and suggest that if Gloria Carter felt no pain while delivering a child the size of a family’s Thanksgiving turkey, maybe she’s the magical one, not Jay.]

Counterpoint:  Actually, They Just Say That He Was Born On December 4. 1969 Is Not The Only Year With A  December 4.

You know the thing about December 4th? We have one every year. You know the thing about birthdays? Everyone has one of those every year too, except for people who were born on February 29th –  but we all know that they’re all a little too smug about it and we don’t need to give them any more attention.

Nothing in those lyrics actually tells us how old Jay-Z is.

 

Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

Kids, after nine seasons, 208 episodes, eight slaps, three Canadian pop star music videos, countless girlfriends and one person revealed to be the perfect mother, How I Met Your Mother is coming to an end.

himym

I’ve been a HIMYM fan since season one, which I suppose is rare in this day and age, especially since the show has lasted this long. And while my level of obsession never quite hit an embarrassing peak like I did with The Office, I can’t help but compare  the two. Both are sitcoms that will forever have a mark on television, both have loyal fan followings, both ended (are ending) with nine seasons to their resume. Like The Office, fans were given a year’s worth warning that it would be the final season, but that doesn’t mean the end comes any easier. It’s been a year since I’ve watched a full episode of The Office, because it hurts my heart too much to know there will most likely never be another new episode again.

And with every episode of HIMYM that passes by, with every last slap, every last high five, every last ‘legendary’ uttered, the reality of the show ending is hitting me like a brick wall, and I’m unable to keep my emotions in tact. I’m like pregnant Lily with the non-stop crying. But let’s not focus on the show ending, but rather what we’ve been able to learn over the past nine years.

We all know that the point of us hearing Ted tell all these stories is to explain to his kids how he met and fell in love with their mother. But in that nine year span of storytelling, we watched him and the gang experience love, heartbreak, births, deaths, and overall, grow up. I mean think about yourself nine years ago compared to who you are now. You’ve gone through shit and it’s changed you for the better or worse, but either way it has changed you. Everything Ted recalled to his kids over nine seasons helped explain how and why it’s led to meeting the love of his life. Like Ted, I’m a very big ‘everything happens for a reason’ person, and this entire series is the epitome of that. So in the spirit of that mantra, here are the best life lessons we’ve gleaned from HIMYM, the ones that help shape who we are, and the ones we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Because sometimes, even if you know how something’s gonna end, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride. – Ted Mosby

Get out of the house, Go for a walk, Get a bagel

Season 4, Episode 22: Right Place, Right Time

Architect Ted is down in the dumps because he was commissioned to design a chain restaurant called Rib Town in the shape of a giant cowboy hat. Not exactly what he imagined he would be doing with his life. Clearly frustrated, Robin suggests he get out of the house, go for a walk and get a bagel. A series of circumstances lead him to crosswalk where his ex-fiancee, Stella runs into him. That meeting led to his eventual hiring at Columbia University where he taught an architecture class – which is where The Mother, a student, sees Ted for the first time.

In times of frustration or when we feel like we’re at a dead end, it’s hard to figure out what our next move will be. But maybe the best move you can make is one that is out of your comfort zone. Maybe the best move you can make is just go out and do something. Period. We don’t know what we’ll find when we go off the beaten path, but it might turn out to change your life forever.

Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Season 1, Episode 18: Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Ted relays to his kids that his mom used to say, ‘Nothing good happens after 2am.’ Proving this theory right, he recalls the time he was waiting up for a phone call from his girlfriend Victoria, who lived in Germany. However, Robin (Ted’s ex and forever one of the great loves of his life) was feeling depressed and alone, and called Ted asking him to come over. It was past 2am, and he should have gone to bed, but he went to Robin’s instead. One thing leads to another, Ted tells Robin that he & Victoria broke up (they hadn’t), Ted starts making out with Robin, Ted goes to the bathroom to call Victoria to break-up with her, only to go back out to the living room to see he had Robin’s phone, and Robin is on the phone talking to Victoria and everything in Ted’s life crumbles down like the Arcadian.

Just quit while you’re ahead. Or behind. Better yet, just go to sleep. Stay in. Whatever you do, don’t go out after 2am. It’s too late for anything good to happen.

The Front Porch Test

Season 4, Episode 17: The Front Porch

Lily admits she has been conducting a secret test with all of Ted’s paramours, and if they don’t pass it, she attempts to break them up. Called The Front Porch Test, Lily would picture said significant other of Ted when they’re old and playing bridge on their front porch, and if she can’t imagine them being a part of their tight-knit group years from now, she’d smoke ’em out.

I’m not suggesting you purposely break your friends up with their boyfriends/girlfriends here. The point is that Lily knew that they would be best friends for the rest of their lives. She didn’t just imagine growing old with Marshall and their kid(s), but with Ted, Barney, Robin and The Mother too. While this show is largely about finding out who the love of Ted’s life is, it’s really about these friends who become each other’s family. They’ve already been through so much together in nine seasons, and it’s crazy to think that it’s just a little slice of their entire lives. And if we’re lucky enough, we have these friends that easily pass the Front Porch Test too.

Admit You Actually ARE Too Old For This Shit

Season 4, Episode 19: Murtaugh

Any fan of HIMYM can tell you that one of Barney Stinson’s favorite pasttimes is laser tag. In this episode, he tries to get Ted to go play laser tag with him, but Ted refuses, citing his Murtaugh List. Named after Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon series, whose signature phrase is ‘I’m too old for this shit!’, the Murtaugh List is a record of things he believes he has become too old to do anymore. Among the activities are pulling an all nighter, put off going to the doctor, going to a rave and using a beer bong.

Somewhere around the age of 27 it kind of hits you like a ton of bricks that you’re not getting any younger. Well, it was for me, at least. You’re checking off the next level of age range boxes on forms and looking around you only to see that it’s like everyone you know is getting married or having a baby – because we’re old enough that it’s normal to do so. For example, some of the things on my Murtaugh List include but are not limited to: going to midnight premieres of movies, drinking to vomit-inducing levels, sleeping past noon, using my undated college ID for discounts, shopping at Forever 21 (which is probably the hardest thing on this list for me to stop doing), and wasting my time.

There’s No Escaping Your Embarrassing Past

Season 2, Episode 9: Slap Bet

For the record, this episode was a complete gamechanger in the world of HIMYM – and one of the best in the entire series. The gang finds out Robin doesn’t like going to malls, and they set out on a quest as to why. They have their own theories – Marshall thinks she got married in a mall, Barney is adamant Robin did porn – so the two agree to a Slap Bet, in which the winner of the bet gets to slap the loser as hard as they can. Barney finds a video of someone named Robin Sparkles, and thinking he won, slaps Marshall. However, it turns out the tape is actually of Robin as a teen pop star in her native Canada, whose hit single was called Let’s Go To The Mall. Because of his premature slap, slap bet commissioner Lily allows Marshall to dole out 10 slaps in succession or five for all eternity, and Barney chooses the latter. Hence the reason the slaps were randomly placed throughout the series.

I’m assuming there are very few of people out there who lived a past life as a pop star, so let’s put this in layman’s terms. Whether there’s physical evidence of your less-than-stellar years past or emotional remnants leftover, the things that have happened to you yesterday never really leave you. But you can either choose to run away from it or embrace it. Use your personal Robin Sparkles to empower you, to make you a better person.

Some People Have Expiration Dates

Season 2, Episode 22: Something Blue

Ted: Seriously, where do you see yourself in five years?
Robin: Where do you see yourself?
Ted: Honestly, in five years, I’d probably want to be married.
Robin: And I’d probably want to be in Argentina.
Ted: Argentina?
Robin: Or Tokyo, or Paris. Look Ted, I don’t know where I’m gonna be in five years. I don’t wanna know. I want my life to be an adventure.
Ted: We have an expiration date, don’t we?

Spoiler alert: Ted and Robin’s romantic relationship didn’t really legit expire until this past week, TBH. But in general, we have to accept that sometimes we’re not meant to be friends or in a relationship with people that are currently in our lives – even if you think they pass the Front Porch Test. Like I mentioned in my Murtaugh List, I’m too old to waste my time. That applies to people too. If a relationship in your life feels ‘rotten’ or on its way out, it’s time to accept the fact there’s an end date, and you just need to throw it away.

Never Miss Big Events, If You Don’t Want To Know The End

Season 2, Episode 14: Monday Night Football

The gang makes it an annual tradition to watch the Super Bowl together, but this particular year, Mark from their favorite pub dies – and his funeral is the night of the Super Bowl. The wake lasts all night, so they’re forced to watch it all together the next day. However as you know, avoiding big news like who won the biggest game of the year in America is not an easy task. Ted even wears the “Sensory Deprivator 5000” (made of sunglasses with tiny holes to see out of and blinders duct taped to the side made out of an old cereal box) to avoid seeing and hearing anything while he goes to pick up their favorite wings from a sports bar. Hilarity ensues.

I hate spoilers. I am that person who avoids social media starting at 5pm PST if I know a show I love will have a strong social media presence, because I don’t want to know what happens. On #Scandal Thursdays? Forget it. I avoid Twitter like the plague. I often wish I had Ted’s Sensory Deprivator 5000, because I’m that serious about not getting spoiled. That being said, no one can complain about getting spoilers while online, because then you’re just being an idiot. Like our head Gladiator, Kerry Washington recently tweeted:

“Folks mad about spoilers are making me laugh. I feel u’re pain but thats what EVENT TV is! If u dont wanna know the score, dont follow ESPN.”

Challenge Accepted

Most people know that this phrase is used throughout the series by Barney, mainly, even taking on things that aren’t necessarily challenges as challenges anyways. For example, he’s accepted the challenges of sleeping with Marshall’s professor, talking his way out of a speeding ticket, hook up with a girl while wearing Marshall’s old overalls, get a girl’s number while talking like a dolphin, and perhaps my favorite, get a girl’s number in a garbage bag, without using the letter ‘e’.

While I’m not judging if you decide to you Barney’s ‘Challenge Accepted’ to pick up girls/guys (well not that much anyways), perhaps we can accept challenges in our lives a different way. Go out of your way to do something you’re never done before . It can be as simple as trying a new item on the menu of your fave restaurant or as big as deciding to move to another city. Another big theme of HIMYM is taking chances. Don’t be afraid of the possibility of making a mistake. And sometimes even when you know something is a mistake – you just have to make it anyways. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Stagnancy is the ruin of life – how do we expect to be better if we don’t at least try?

Some Things Are Better Left Unspoken, Enjoy Each Others’ Company Instead

And it’s funny, in a moment like that, when what’s really happening is too intense to deal with, sometimes it’s best to leave it unspoken, and just enjoy each other’s company instead. {x}

Season 9, Episode 19: Vesuvius

The final season, the writers have been focused on one weekend, that of Barney and Robin’s wedding. That’s 24 episodes taking place over the course of three days. A lot happens in that span of time, and by episode 19, Ted’s planning to go off to Chicago and Marshall and Lily are saying Arrivederci to NY and Ciao to Italy. It’s this very moment that the group realizes an epic era is coming to and end and it might be a while before all five of them are in a room together again.

It’s all a bit overwhelming, because as characters, it hits them that they’re not going to see each other every day. As actors, I imagine they thought the same thing. As a viewer, it hit me that the show is actually ending. It has an expiration date. Shit is getting real. But like Future Ted says, ‘sometimes it’s best to leave it unspoken and enjoy each other’s company instead.’ It reminds me of when our group of high school friends were all together one last time before we each went our separate ways for college. It hurt like a motherfucker, knowing it was going to be different when we returned. We would never have that time together again. While I obviously still love them to this day and we go back to our old rhythms as if nothing’s passed when we do see each other, nothing will ever compare to the time we spent in high school. The best we can ever do is enjoy the moment while it’s here.

Wait For It…

Ultimately, HIMYM has always been a lesson in patience. Patience for Ted to find the love of his life and patience for the audience to find out who that person is. We live in a world where we expect everything right away. Our food delivered to us speedily, the scores of the game, information about the exports of Guyana at the click of a button. I mean we live in a world where binge-watching exists, and we want more as soon as it’s over.

Ted had to go through a number of heart-wrenching breakups and a slew of women he didn’t care about (lit’rally called someone ‘Blah Blah’ because he couldn’t remember her name. Carol. It was Carol.) – and if he didn’t experience all those years of frustration in that exact sequence of events, he would have never met The Mother. While it may be inexplicable why you’re going through what you’re going through now, there’s a bigger picture than we can see or even imagine. All we have to do is trust that everything will work itself out the way it’s meant to be.

One of my favorite quotes is by Lewis Smedes, and he says,

“Waiting is our destiny. As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a ‘not yet’ that feels like a ‘not ever.’ Waiting is the hardest work of hope; waiting is the land between where things were and where things will be; and you don’t get to choose when you get to a waiting room, but you certainly get to choose how you will respond to waiting.”

So thank you cast, crew, writers, producers, everyone involved with How I Met Your Mother. It’s clear that you didn’t just create a classic sitcom forever etched in the history of television, but have also inspired millions of people to be better, to do better, to live their best lives, and to love – because it’s the best thing we do.

 

LeBron’s Fro-Yo Motorcycle Caper

Welcome to Cookies + Sangria Story Studio, where we bring you illustrated tales for the whole family internet people!

Our first installment is brought to you by our youngest collaborator ever – my seven-year-old nephew. This weekend we decided to write a story. He gave me a main character (LeBron James at age 21), supporting figures (a family that in no way resembles LeBron James’s actual family) and a charming little problem.

Some disclaimers: this LeBron James bears no resemblance to the actual LeBron James. For one, the real LeBron went right from high school to the NBA. For another, LeBron’s mom is not the frumpy lady that I drew. To my knowledge, LeBron James never studied art or worked at a fro-yo shop. I’m also not sure if he has siblings.

The plot and characters are my nephew’s, and the words and illustrations are mine. I took out all of the filthy parts. That’s not a joke. I wish it were. Kids these days are ridiculous. Enjoy!

 

 

LeBron James was a great basketball player, a good person, and a spectacular artist. He was 21 years old, and when he wasn’t playing on his college basketball team he was working very hard studying art, learning how to make pictures that look exactly like what they’re supposed to be. You’d look at his pictures and say “Oh no, there’s a shark!” But it was just a picture of a shark. LeBron was very talented.

LeBron lived next door to his parents, which was mostly pretty great. He got to see his little brother, Phil, all of the time. His sister, Christine, visited a lot too – but she was a player on the Denver Nuggets, so she was away a lot. LeBron’s parents had a big washing machine where LeBron could wash his very long pants, and a big dryer that almost never shrank them.
Living next door to his parents wasn’t always fun for LeBron. More than anything – except maybe for winning the NCAA championship, signing with a professional team, or painting a seriously realistic picture – LeBron wanted to ride a motorcycle. LeBron’s parents were NOT big fans of that idea, and he knew it. All he could do was hope maybe, just maybe, they’d change their minds.
LeBron wanted to ride a motorcycle so badly that he got a job at the frozen yogurt shop around the corner. He worked there every day when he wasn’t playing basketball, going to class, or making a lot of art. After a few months he finally had enough money. He went to the motorcycle store and bought the shiniest silver, blue and red motorcycle that his yogurt-shop money could buy. He was so proud.
LeBron’s pride didn’t last long. He rode to his house – past his parents’ front porch – and into his driveway. He didn’t have his keys in the front door before his parents were at his house. They were not happy.
“LeBron, you could get hurt! I never want to see you riding that motorcycle again!,” his mom said.

And for a long time, they didn’t see him riding it again. Is it because he quit riding motorcycles? Well… not exactly. Late that night, LeBron fired up his motorcycle as quietly as he could. You can actually start a motorcycle pretty quietly, believe it or not. People who have motorcycles just like to be loud sometimes. It makes them feel important. LeBron drove the motorcycle around the corner to the yogurt shop where he worked and parked it in the parking lot.
Over the next few weeks, LeBron’s parents kept seeing him walk past their house and toward the yogurt shop. “Are you working today, LeBron?” they’d ask. Sometimes he’d say yes. Other times, he’d say “No, just going to get some fro-yo.”
“Holy cow,” LeBron’s dad said, “you sure do eat a lot of frozen yogurt.”
“What can I say. I just really like frozen yogurt,” LeBron answered.
Day after day, LeBron’s parents would see him walk past their house and around the corner to the yogurt shop. “That LeBron really loves frozen yogurt,” his mom would say, shaking her head.
Of course, LeBron wasn’t eating frozen yogurt at all. He was getting his motorcycle and going for super-secret motorcycle rides. Okay, sometimes he’d end the trip with a dish of strawberry-raspberry twirl with gummy worms. He was only human, after all.
One sunny summery day, LeBron’s parents’ air conditioner broke. “The only thing that could make me feel better, other than going swimming in a cool lake or moving to upper Canada or time-traveling to winter, is a nice cool dish of frozen yogurt. Besides, I want to see what LeBron’s always going on about,” LeBron’s mom said.
LeBron’s mom and dad had seen their son stroll off towards the yogurt shop just a few minutes before. He was whistling a happy tune and looked like he didn’t have a care in all the world. Imagine Mr. and Mrs. James’s surprise when they got to the yogurt shop and LeBron wasn’t there! They filled up their dishes with yogurt and sat in front of the shop’s window – right under the ice-cold air conditioning vent.
They saw someone zip past the store on a motorcycle. “Was that LeBron?” they wondered. It sure did look like him.
When they went home that day, they asked LeBron’s brother Phil if he had seen LeBron riding his motorcycle. “I think I did,” replied Phil.
When LeBron’s sister Christine came for a visit, they asked her too. “Oh, I definitely saw him riding on his motorcycle. Is he not supposed to do that anymore? I haven’t visited in a while,” Christine said while twirling a basketball on one finger.
The next night at dinner, LeBron’s parents told him that he was in big trouble. “That motorcycle is dangerous, and if you get hurt you can’t play basketball anymore! How about this. You stop riding the motorcycle for one year, until you’re done with college. Then, if you haven’t taken that motorcycle out in a whole year, you can start riding it again – after graduation.”
LeBron thought about it. He knew he could not get hurt when his school was counting on him to win games. And he knew that he would have trouble painting pictures that look exactly like what they’re supposed to be if he injured his hand. The motorcycle would have to wait. So, for a whole year, LeBron didn’t take his motorcycle out.
But that doesn’t mean he didn’t ride it … exactly.

 

That’s all, folks! Hope to see you back here for another weird illustrated story real soon!

 

 

Woman Crush Wednesday: Lupita Nyong’o

It’s Wednesday, so you know what that means –  no, not ‘Hump Day’ – it’s everyone’s favorite themed day of the week, Woman Crush Wednesday!

Today we’re crushin’ on a lady who has been a favorite of ours for a few months now, but in light of recent events, I think it’s time to share our adoration for her to the world on this #WCW.

Lupita Nyong’o is someone we never saw coming, never could have dreamed of being a real person, and turned out to be everything we ever wanted to be in life. If it seems like she came out of nowhere, well, it’s because she pretty much did.

Her story in a nutshell: Her Kenyan parents were living in Mexico when she was born, because her dad was a politician/college professor teaching in Mexico. It’s Kenyan tradition to name your child after the events of the day, hence, en espanol, ‘Lupita’. They eventually moved back to Nairobi, but when she was 16, her parents sent her and her sister back to Mexico to learn Spanish (yes, she’s fluent, obvs). She went on to graduate with a BA in Film and Theatre Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, then got her BFA at the Yale School of Drama. While a Senior at Yale, she auditioned for 12 Years a Slave and booked her famous role as Patsey BEFORE she even graduated. Yeah, 12 Years a Slave was her very first film role ever. You know the rest.

Now that you know her story, here are just a few reasons why WE love Queen Lupita. And to be honest, if we could, we would dedicate every #WCW to our wannabe best friend, but since we don’t want to look too desperate (or crazy), we’ll just do it this one time, but just know she’s in our hearts this Wednesday and all the Wednesdays for the rest of our lives.

She Is A Fashion Icon

Besides her excellent work as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, I think it’s safe to say that Queen Lupita (QL) really got everyone’s attention with her on point style. Namely, that little Ralph Lauren cape number she wore to the Golden Globes. She had kind of been flying under the radar before that moment, one of those newcomers you knew about and were interested in, but didn’t get too much publicity in the media. Until that night at the Golden Globes. Homegirl came on that red carpet like, ‘I am here to stay!’

Since then, style pros and amateur fashionistas alike were (impatiently) waiting what QL would wear on all the red carpets moving forward. And she did not disappoint. I could easily post all her perfect gowns here, but using the handy photo above, it’s worth noting the green Dior (BAFTAs), Turquoise/teal Gucci (SAG), obvi the dreamy blue Prada (Oscars) and the white cutout Fifth Element type dress by Calvin Klein (Critics’ Choice).

It’s important to note that although this style seems all by QL, celebs get help from stylists to find the perfect dress, and my other new girl crush is on Lupita’s stylist, Micaela Erlanger.

Micaela is a Parsons The New School of Design grad, and also styles the likes of Lady Mary aka Michelle Dockery and Winona Ryder. She ranked number 3 on The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Power Stylists, and  no doubt does she deserve that position. I’d say bump her up to number one next year.

She Could Be a Model

I’m gonna let these pictures speak for themselves.

Lupita Nyong’o by David Slijper For Glamour March 2014

Oh, JK , turns out she is a model – for Miu Miu’s Spring 2014 campaign, at least.

Photo Mar 21, 7 28 49 PM

The time I tried to be a model like Lupita… Basically the fact that I sat exactly where she took this pic is reason enough for me to believe we’re soulmates

She Has A Way With Words

When Lupita talks, it’s like we’re floating on a cloud on a warm spring day. Captivated by every word, I could listen to her speak for hours. You know how people say if you’re a good singer, you can sing the entire phone book? Well I could listen to Queen Lupita say the entire phonebook AND I would somehow be compelled to call every single person in said phone book and tell them about how great she is.

Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact.

And of course, her Oscars speech…

And like her Essence & Oscars speech, she is well aware of the fact she is now a role model to thousands of young girls and women…

I feel very fortunate to be in this position, and I know that it means more to people because I am an African and I am dark-skinned. In many ways, me being on the scene is doing for little girls everywhere what Oprah Winfrey and Whoopu Goldberg did for me. My world exploded by them being on screen. Hopefully I will inspire and be meaningful to other people. But I can’t take on other people’s dreams for me. I can only dream for myself. {Entertainment Weekly)

She’s a #Gladiator

ANYONE WHO WATCHES SCANDAL IS OKAY IN MY BOOK (but really, can we talk about this show tho, Lupita??)

Screenshot 2014-03-11 02.03.36

Screenshot 2014-03-11 02.04.00

Screenshot 2014-03-11 02.03.54

Screenshot 2014-03-11 02.04.14

She’s a Fangirl Like Us

As you can see, QL is a fangirl for Scandal, but also of a lot of other people in the biz. She mentioned that during Awards season, especially at the Golden Globes, she made a checklist of all the celebs she wanted to meet at the event. So she proceeded to do so and take pix with them and she’s basically living out our dreams.

#GoldenGlobes checklist: hug @lenadunham - CHECK!

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“#GoldenGlobes checklist: hug @lenadunham – CHECK!”

#GoldenGlobes Checklist: say hello to #JessicaChastain - CHECK!

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: say hello to #JessicaChastain – CHECK!”

#GoldenGlobes Checklist: say what's up to #OscarIsaac - CHECK!

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: say what’s up to#OscarIsaac – CHECK!”

#GoldenGlobes Checklist: introduce best friend to #MerylStreep and #JuliaRoberts - CHECK!

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: introduce best friend to#MerylStreep and #JuliaRoberts – CHECK!”

#GoldenGlobes Checklist: meet #LeonardoDiCaprio and tell him how much I have loved his work since I was 14 - CHECK!

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: meet #LeonardoDiCaprio and tell him how much I have loved his work since I was 14 – CHECK!”

#GoldenGlobes Checklist: meet my acting heroine #CateBlanchett - DOUBLE TRIPLE CHECK! #GameOver

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“#GoldenGlobes Checklist: meet my acting heroine #CateBlanchett – DOUBLE TRIPLE CHECK! #GameOver”

“AND THEN I met Sidney Poitier!!!!!!!! My Inspiration My Example My Hope My Gold Standard Words cannot express my joy and amazement in having this dream encounter come true. #Blessed! #Oscars”

Geeking out over meeting the BADDEST #BryanCranston at the #AFIAwards2013. #BreakingBad #KillingMeSoftly

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

“Geeking out over meeting the BADDEST#BryanCranston at the #AFIAwards2013.#BreakingBad #KillingMeSoftly”

She Loves Oprah (And Oprah Loves Her)

While the list of people who don’t love Oprah is very short, Lupita’s love for Oprah is of note because she was inspired by the ultimate Queen and it’s like her life has led her up to this – to becoming BFFs with O.

When Lupita first met Oprah last year, it was at a roundtable talk for The Hollywood Reporter (watch this adorbs vid of Lupita talking about the moment she met O). This interview is where a bunch of frontrunners for the Oscars get together and talk about life and their craft. While a lot of actors can make this look pretentious, Lupita makes it endearing and intriguing and even brought tears to my eyes.

{Watch the whole interview here}

Since then, they have clearly become friendly, as Oprah even invited Lupita’s mom and brother to her house for lunch – WITHOUT Lupita there!!! Needless to say, I am jealous of each of them.

She’s a fan of 90s TV Shows

Listen, if you’ve been following us for a while, you know we love ourselves some 90s/00s nostalgia. In this interview with Jimmy Kimmel, QL talks about the shows she watched as a kid that introduced her to the American culture – and what she did when she rode her first rollercoaster (Step by Step inspiration included)

So now that we’ve shared our love for her, feel free to share your love for her too! And Lupita, if you’re listening, we’re available to watch Full House with you too.

Point-Counterpoint: Jay-Z Is Secretly 50 Years Old

This week, a guy on the radio said that Jay-Z is 50 years old, not 44, as Hova claims. Is it true? Is it false? And what happened to Jay-Z’s lost 6 years? And will someone write a short story about it? And where is his birth certificate? And is it real?

In a Cookies + Sangria Point-Counterpoint, we get to the bottom of the issue.

Point: Jay-Z says that he was born on December 4, 1969

Jay-Z says that he was born on 12/4/69, which would make him 44 years and some change. This is the date he – allegedly – was referencing in A Billi, when he rapped “Get busy, happy birthday my ___” (and then a word I can’t write because I’m white, guys. I’m white and that’s not cool).

This most certainly was the date Jay-Z’s mom Gloria was referring to in December 4th, when she said “Sean Carter was born December 4th, Weighing in at 10 pounds 8 ounces, He was the last of my 4 children, The only one who didn’t give me any pain when i gave birth to him, And that’s how I knew that he was a special child.” [I’m just going to take a moment and suggest that if Gloria Carter felt no pain while delivering a child the size of a family’s Thanksgiving turkey, maybe she’s the magical one, not Jay.]

Counterpoint:  Actually, They Just Say That He Was Born On December 4. 1969 Is Not The Only Year With A  December 4.

You know the thing about December 4th? We have one every year. You know the thing about birthdays? Everyone has one of those every year too, except for people who were born on February 29th —  but we all know that they’re all a little too smug about it and we don’t need to give them any more attention.

Nothing in those lyrics actually tells us how old Jay-Z is.

Point: In This Video From 1988, Jay-Z Does Indeed Appear To Be 19ish

Dude. Just watch this video and revel in the pure, old-school Yo! MTV Raps of it all. Then ask yourself, how old is Jay-Z here? Is he roughly 19? Or is he 25?

In this video, Hova mostly stands to the side of his more gregarious and talented friend, like he is the Sophia Grace to Big Jaz’s Rosie. It’s almost like he is an apprentice rapper – a teen learning the ropes. Nobody has a 25-year-old sidekick. His collab with Big Jaz is obviously a Batman and Robin dynamic, not Batman and someone who is a peer of Batman.

Counterpoint: In This Photo From 2014, Jay-Z Does Appear To Be 50ish

Sometime in the past few years, Jay-Z has started to both look extra-appealing in formal-wear, and increasingly silly in young, casual outfits. Like, he looks like your friend’s dad who is still trying to hang with the young kids. And not your friend’s dad when you were 5. Your friend’s dad now.

Point: Jay-Z Shot His Brother When He Was 12 And His Brother Was 16. In 1982. So Jay-Z is 44.

Jay-Z has spoken out about shooting his brother, claiming that he was 12 at the time. In You Must Love Me, he raps “Saw the devil in your eyes, high off more than weed, confused, I just closed my young eyes and squeezed.”

Counterpoint: If Jay-Z Were Really 12 He Wouldn’t Have Been Worried About Jail

Jay has been quoted as saying “I thought my life was over. I thought I’d go to jail forever” after shooting his brother. Allegedly, his brother refused to press charges. But think about it: a 12-year-old wouldn’t go to jail forever, because a 12-year-old would almost certainly be charged and sentenced as a juvenile. However, if Jay were 16 or older he would be sentenced as an adult. There’s some wiggle room to be tried as an adult at age 14-15, but at 12 Jay would likely be adjudicated delinquent instead. Moreover, because he would be tried in juvenile court and move through the family court system, it’s unlikely that his brother would be able to request that Jay not be charged; rather, at the very least a PINS petition would have been filed.

Also, in You Must Love Me Jay-Z raps “Hot gun burnin’ my waist, ran straight to Jaz’s house.” We know that Jay was (purportedly) collaborating with Jaz when he was 19 years old, but these lyrics mean that Jay was hanging with him when Jay was 12 and Jaz was 18. Sounds suspicious, right?

Point: In This 1988 photo, Jay-Z Looks Like A Young Child

Could he be 19 here? Sure. And even at that, he looks baby-faced for a long-time drug dealer. So are we to believe that he’s actually a 25-year-old drug dealer here? Unlikely. (Unless the photo isn’t actually from 1988. Anyone know when that Giants logo dates from?)

Counterpoint: Jay-Z Claims To Have Made $100,000 By The Time He Was 17. It’s Much Easier To Net 100K By The Time You’re 17 If You’re Actually 23

Young Sean Carter was a drug dealer, and his drug dealing partner says that at 17, they had 100K stuffed under mattresses. Maybe the real reason they built up that much drug money was that they had actually been at it 6 years longer than they were letting on.

Point: Jay’s 43-Year Old Friend Was 17 At The Same Time As Jay-Z

Jay-Z’s friend used the phrase “when we were 17,” making them the same age. His friend was 43 in 2013. Ergo, Jay-Z is 44.

Look. If you have a grandma (this is purely hypothetical, as at C+S we don’t have grandmas), and you’re talking to her, you wouldn’t be like “wow, I just thought we would have accomplished more by the time we were 27” – because you only would use we with your age if somebody was the same age as you. And even though strangers have started calling me “ma’am” or assuming that I have children, in no way is 27 the same age as your grandma. Right? Right.

So, this 43-year-old guy is saying that he was 17 at the same time as Jay-Z. That means Jay-Z isn’t 50.

Counterpoint: That Same Article Quotes A Man From Bed-Stuy Calling His Mother “Mum”

That article is crap.

Point: Jay-Z is Ageless, As Evidenced By This Picture From The 1930s

Jay-Z’s age is irrelevant, because the rules of age do not apply to Jay-Z. That’s why he’s the only living rapper who is also a Newsie. RISE AND SEIZE THE DAY.

Counterpoint: I don’t know… Illuminati, I guess?

Crazy Internet People love saying that Jay-Z and Beyonce are in the Illuminati. I don’t know much about the Illuminati, except that it’s a make-believe secret society of important people, and they put their secret symbol on things. Their secret symbol is a triangle, which is pretty weak if you ask me. If you’re the special club that runs the world, why would you make your special shape be one of the first three shapes you learn when you’re two? Why not a weird rhombus? Or a nonagon? But if Jay-Z was in the Illuminati, he would probably have the means to make you think he was whichever age he wanted.

Conclusion

Guys. Really? All signs point to Jay-Z being the age he says he is. Except, sometimes, his face. But you know what? Jay-Z is one of the richest people on the planet. His career is on fire. He is real-life married to everyone’s imaginary wife, Beyonce. The only downside of being 50 for Jay-Z would be having 6 fewer years to enjoy this plum little life he’s built for himself.  Basically, you can try to tear Hova down all you want, but it’s not going to make you have a better life than him.

The Dawson’s Creek Virgin Diaries: Season 3

Anddd we’re back! A review of Dawson’s Creek Season 3 comin’ at ya like shards of broken glass after Andie McPhee breaks a mirror in the bathroom. If you’re just joining us, I’ve been watching DC from the beginning, because as a tween I missed out on this major pop culture experience and would like to see what all the hubbub is like as an adult (You can read my season one and season two recaps here).

At the end of season two, The Potter family restaurant catches on fire all because of Joey’s drug dealer dad who goes back to jail per the nudging of Dawson, which makes them split up yet again. Andie’s off in the looney bin, Pacey’s trying to deal with the fact Andie’s off in the looney bin, Jack is still gay and Jen is still trying to make sense of her life. Got it? Here we go.

Episode 1

In general, I’d like to say that it’s interesting to watch this without knowing the cultural impact from the outside. Like obviously when this was on in real time circa 1999, the main cast were huge stars. By this point, James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson were also off doing major movies like Varsity Blues, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Dick and Cruel Intentions, respectively. I vaguely remember it being big, but it’s funny how none of that matters – or even shows – when you watch it years later after their popularity has come and gone.

Anyways, school has started and Joey not talking to Dawson isn’t the most awkward thing about this episode.

It’s that Jen Lindley is becoming a cheerleader. And these cheerleaders – are typical bitchy Jawbreakers like girls who just want to ruin everyone’s lives and literally use the phrase ‘you look like a prize hog’ about an overweight girl who wants to try out.

It’s that Dawson has met a rando girl who is a stripper (?) and super mysterious and I hate her.

It’s ACTUALLY that Joey comes back to Dawson and attempts to have sex with him but he’s all no thank you and it’s a whole bunch of second-hand embarassment. Joey is clearly not going to be able to face Dawson anytime soon, so he asks Pacey to look after her and make sure she’s okay… ruh roh.

Photo Mar 21, 4 26 14 PM

Notable Quote: “It’s a new year. You never know. You and I might even become friends.” Pacey to Joey and I cannot wait to see how this plays out (spoiler alert: I know they’re going to be a couple, I just don’t know when and for how long!)

Episode 2

Since Dawson’s dad became the coach of the Capeside High football team and Jack’s the first openly gay football player on the team, I’m half expecting someone to get hurt during the game and get stuck in a wheelchair and they’re all like ‘Cape Cod Forevahh’, essentially turning it into an episode of Friday Night Lights.

Dawson gets caught making out with Mysterious (Summer’s) Eve at the Homecoming game in front of the entire school, kinda like Hugh Grant making out with Natalie at the Christmas Pageant in Love Actually.

Dawson’s in shock, yet still takes a bow and stands on stage for a while, soaking in the applause.

Notable Quote: “I’m just a girl standing in a janitor’s closet. Asking him to kiss her.” MS Eve to Dawson or first draft of Notting Hill’s best line?

Episode 5

Hey what happened to Joey’s brother-in-law? Too many black people on the show? Seriously, why have I not seen him since season one?

Basically this MS Eve storyline is that she goes by the name Eve Whitman, and ironically, I really hope they wrap up this Dick Whitman/Mad Men storyline up real soon because it’s getting annoying.

Okay, I guess we’re learning things because Jen’s mom apparently had another kid and that’s MS Eve??

Notable Quote: “Mrs. Ryan, who is that in that picture?” Dawson
“Oh we’ll that’s our Lord Jesus Christ as interpreted by one of our gifted young Sunday school students.” Mrs. Ryan/Grams
“I meant the one below it.” Dawson (turns out it’s Jen’s mom, it’s the same pic Eve had when she said she was looking for her mom)

Episode 6

DRAG QUEENS. DRAG QUEENS AT A CAPESIDE GALA. I CANNOT.

Episode 7

Wait now Dawson works at the video store? And why are there random pop corn boxes being used as replacements for VHS tapes? Was this some kind of contest the WB held to count how many popcorn boxes you can find in the episode and then whoever wins gets a free t-shirt with a WB frog on it?

Okay so we know the show’s creator Kevin Williamson was also the guy who did the Scream movies, but is he really going to make Halloween parody episodes every year? This particular one leaves them at a creepy island and it’s like Blair Witch meets The Craft meets Professor Trelawney’s Potion’s class from Harry Potter.

Notable Quote: “Nobody brought snacks? No Doritos? No Ho Hos?” Pacey to his ‘friends’ and their lack of thought into their adventure. This line isn’t even that funny but the way it was delivered was pure gold.

“Roswell’s on in five minutes.” Jen to Pacey, which is also comical because Roswell was on after DC in 1999 AND Jason Behr, who played the rich guy that hosted the Cosmo sex quiz party S2, was on Roswell. WB INCEST.

Episode 9

I just noticed this but Alex Gansa is an executive producer on this show – this is the guy who currently runs Homeland. Alex Gansa is responsible for both Dawson Leery and Carrie Mathison. Think about that one for a second…

Guys it’s happening… I’m starting to ship pacey and Joey. It could be a problem. I’m warning you now. Joey recruits Pacey for these dance lessons to try to get a scholarship in exchange for tutoring him in math. Except Dawson thinks they’re having an affair and it all comes to a head at the end.

Here we are again with Dawson vs. Joey vs. Pacey triangle but I have to say this story line is starting to stretch the limits of believability. Maybe I just want Pacey and Joey together already, but really, their bickering is so sophomoric… You guys are Juniors now, come onnn.

Notable Quote: “I’m trying to lead but Janet Reno here doesn’t exactly make it easy on a fellow, you know what I’m saying?” Pacey can’t dance, neither can Joey and it’s like the best meet-cute if they hadn’t met already.

Episode 10

Dawson, Joey, Jack and Andie all head to Boston to check out Harvard (because that’s a common thing that 4 friends are all considering the same Ivy League school). Joey meets this douchebag guy, Andie befriends the Dean’s secratary and Dawson meets a girl who is also interested in filmmaking.

This person look familiar? Because it’s Bianca Lawson – BIANCA LAWSON WHO DOES NOT AGE. Like Stacey Dash has nothing on her. She played a teenager in Saved by the Bell: The New class (’93), Sister, Sister (’96), Buffy (’98), Save the Last Dance (’01), and Pretty Little Liars (’12). YOU TIME TRAVELLING DEMON.

Meanwhile, Jack is still out (literally) checking  the gay scene in Boston and as someone who went to a school in Boston where the unofficial slogan was ‘Gay by May or your money back,’ I can vouch for the gay scene there. Poor Jack though, he straight up (gay up?) ran away from a guy in a gay bar because he was so nervous and didn’t know what to do. Bless.

Episode 12

Update: Bodie (Joey’s brother-in-law/Bessie’s husband who I’ve been calling Jeff?) is back and they’re acting like we were supposed to know where he’s been? Am I missing something? Quite possibly.

Episode 15

Joey’s painting some mural on the wall of the school and Pacey comes to visit and all I can think about is when they’re getting together. Does it happen in like the third to last episode and there’s a kiss and they won’t address their real feelings until the season finale? Come onnnn.

However, I must say that the writing as improved so much since the first season – it’s less cheesy and the dialogue is more Gilmore Girls-y than Saved By the Bell-y.

And then someone vandalizes Joey’s mural and Pacey and Dawson (mainly Pacey) go on a man hunt to find who did it. And here’s some dialogue proving Pacey is starting to become the only smart person on this show. Everything he says in this bit o’ dialogue is why he is such a good guy at heart and is clearly in love with Joey.

Pacey: Well, not to stick my nose in here, but to just stick my nose in, of course it was a personal attack.

Dawson: What?

Pacey: Well, there are only three murals in that hallway. Yours was the only one that got touched.

Dawson: So?

Pacey: So, either someone didn’t like what Joey was trying to say, or someone just didn’t like you.

Dawson: Your logic leaves a lot to be desired.

Pacey: Dawson, we’re in high school here. It’s a veritable society unto it’s own, with a pecking order that makes the caste system look forgiving. Who knows what subtle line you may have crossed or what offence you may have given, without even knowing it.

Dawson: Paranoid much?

Pacey: You don’t think there’s a possibility that there’s somebody out there who hates Joey just for being Joey? Who hates the way she talks, the way she dresses, the way she chews on her lower lip?

Joey: Look, I don’t chew on my lower lip.

The guy who Pacey beats up because he thinks he vandalized the mural, Matt Caufield, legit looks like 25 and not a 25 who passes for a 17 year old.

In fact all of the main cast are starting to look older. James van der Beek legit looks like a college kids visiting his old high school on Christmas break. And where is Jen? Shooting a movie? Just because Bessie’s MIA hubs is back means they had to take Jen off the payroll.

Notable Quote: “I did what any self-respecting kid would do in the cellular age, you know? I whipped out my Startac, I dialed home.” Man-child Matt Caufield, encapsulating the 90s in a single line.

“That’s what I like about you Pacey. You just go so deep.” Josephine Potter THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!

Episode 16

Ah yes the time old tradition of an episode that deals with race! Basically Principal Green, who is black (and Bianca Lawson’s father) decided to expel Man-child Matt for vandalizing the mural (despite being an arrogant, rich, over-privileged white kid) and the parents were pissed off because he had such a hard punishment. The school board is about to go all HAM on Principal Green and removed him from his post because they ‘don’t agree with his decision’ but Joey organizes a Save Mr. Green rally in an attempt to keep his job.

At the rally, a bunch of students show up, telling their own personal touching stories with Mr. Green, including Minkus from Boy Meets World?

Proud Pacey even intros Joey and he’s wearing a Boston Bruins jersey and REMEMBER WHEN JOSHUA JACKSON STARTED HIS CAREER IN THE MIGHTY DUCKS AND HE’S PROVEN HE’S NOT JUST SOME CHILD STAR?!

I’M SORRY I HATED ON THIS EPISODE BUT NOW IM OVERWHEMLINGLY EMOTIONAL AND THERE IS SOMETHING IN MY EYE MAKING ME TEAR UP BECAUSE THESE KIDS ARE JUST BEING SO RESPECTFUL TO THEIR PRINCIPAL AND HE’S LEAVING FOR SUCH A STUPID REASON BUT HE’S ONLY DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR THE KIDS AND HE’S SO PROUD OF THEM NOT JUST FOR FIGHTING FOR HIM BUT FOR SPEAKING UP AND STANDING TOGETHER FOR A CAUSE AND THEY  EVEN LINED UP IN THE HALLWAY AND DID A SLOW CLAP FOR HIM AS HE LEFT

And this is an actual song that played while he walked down the hallway to really hammer the theme home.

Also, Pacey bought rented an entire brick wall so Joey can actually paint a mural. Like, let’s get ‘er done folks.

Episode 17

Pacey’s punishment to punching the lights out of Man-Child Matt is to be a mentor to a kid, and that kid is Jonathan Lipnicki.

Pacey with a witty child is my favorite thing – next to Pacey with a witty Joey.

THEY KISSED IT HAPPENED Y’ALL WHAWT IS WRONG WITH ME

Episode 19

Joey’s all ‘mad’ that Pacey kissed her, so natch this causes awkwardness between them because she knows she obvs likes him. Too bad they’re spending the weekend away in the same house 24/7 with a young Julie Bowen as Dawson’s cool Aunt Gwen. Joey and Dawson visit her every year because she’s all hippie and cool and the rest of the gang follows.

AND BY COOL AUNT GWEN I MEAN CLAIRE DUNPHY IS A COCK BLOCK WHO WON’T LET JOEY AND PACEY KEEP KISSING.

Slash I’m kind of in love with the scene. Joey admits that she actually felt something between them and … PACEY WITTER, DREAM MAN.

Joey: This morning. Your arm brushed up against me in bed, and… And I felt it.
Pacey: How did it feel?
Joey: Made me feel alive.
Pacey: Ok. Joey… I’m going to kiss you now.
Joey: You can’t.
Pacey: Jo, you can’t say something like that to me and expect me not to kiss you, so that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna kiss you in about 10 seconds. And if you don’t want me to kiss you… Well, if you don’t want me to, I guess then you’re just gonna have to stop me. 10.

Episode 20

They’re employing this ‘tell a story from the beginning multiple times from different perspectives’ that many a series and movie employ and guess what – it actually works. I bet the writers had this idea in their arsenal for years but wanted to keep it until it was a special episode and this was definitely it.

That being said I totally get all this teen angst and everything but it’s so annoying that Joey would just give up this potential relationship for Dawson, who they’ve already established is not going to work out with. I get it, but looking at this situation as an adult and watching these kids it’s frustrating that they can’t just work their shit out. I guess that’s what teenage angst years are for.

Episode 22

Dawson holds an anti-prom because the real prom folks won’t let Jack bring another guy as a prom date, proving that Dawson’s good guy streak. Joey ends up going with Dawson and Pacey with Andie, who clearly bought all her items – including her makeup – from the DeLiA*s catalog.

Have I become incensed or is Dawson acting like a little bitch who doesnt belong w Joey ? Like GTFO. I mean he kissed Joey and I literally said ‘gross’ out loud… I think I’ve binge watched too fast…

And I’m so over Dawson’s parents being all lovey-dovey then deciding to divorce then not divorcing. Dawson’s just like his parents trying to hold on to something they had in the past.

Episode 23

You know who has turned into not an asshole? Deputy Doug Witter. He purposely pulled Joey over to warn her about Pacey leaving.

And I guess I was wrong about Dawson’s parents. They’re getting remarried. And Dawson’s the best man and Joey’s the maid of honor. lolololol.

Grams decides to be youthful and go on a road trip in the name love and drives hours to find a bus with Jen’s boyfriend who’s going off to football camp and Jack’s friend who he was afraid to kiss because he had never kissed a guy before. And she’s reallly excited to see her granddaughter get some. Also, I am more giddy about Jack finally getting some gay action than anyone else on this show. Ok sans Pacey/Joey. Jocey? Pacey? Oh wait.

jack grams

OH MY GOD. As a frequent user of the internet and reader of ONTD I have seen this ‘Dawson Crying’ GIF/Meme make its rounds online. When I started watching DC, I wondered when I would be able to watch the GIF in all its glory. And I totally forgot until now. I have a feeling it’s about to happen and I literally paused to type this because I need to prepare myself.

BEFORE THE STORM:

GUYS I GOT TOO CARRIED AWAY W THE SCREEN SHOTS ON MY COMPUTER THAT IT KEPT PAUSING AND I HAD TO WATCH THE SCENE LIKE 3 TIMES AND IT TOTALLY RUINED MY EXPERIENCE  BUT OH MY GOD I CANNOT STOP LAUGHING

AFTER:

CAN U EVEN

So Dawson’s butt hurt that Joey’s leaving him for Pacey, and Joey runs to meet Pacey before he sails away. BUT – this bitch had time to change her clothes, despite the fact she literally ran away from the wedding and she’s now running to the dock to stop Pacey from travelling the seas without her all summer ?? AND she’s worried about the lack of clothing. Honestly, you knew you were going there to get on board with him so bring a bag or something. And money.

DOES SHE NOT LOOK LIKE SURI HERE HOLY SMOKES

Photo Jan 03, 4 40 27 PM

And then when they were sailing away I felt a sense of familiarity as if I had seen it before, but then upon discussing it with Molly, realized it reminded me of The OC season 1 finale when Seth sails away on his boat to Catalina, which seemed far at the time, but now that I live in LA, realize it’s really not that far. It made it seem like he was sailing to Hawaii by himself.

Photo Jan 03, 4 42 37 PM

Side note: per my research, Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson only dated the first two seasons which would potentially make this awkward for them, but she said they had a “Dawson-Joey type relationship”? Okay. Luckily it’s not weird and their chemistry just oozes from the screen. Remember when Adam and Rachel broke up but still shot a WEDDING SCENE in The OC!? Oops sorry. Spoiler alert?

So what will happen next? Will the True Love-birds make it on their three month adventure still obsessed with each other or will they sink like the Titanic? Is Dawson still crying on his dock?

Tune in next month for season four!

ICYMI: Fashion Flashbacks

It’s Sunday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a #FlashbackFriday and replace Friday with Fashion and also switch the two so it sounds better. Um. Anyways, this week, good old V Mars made us reflect on our poor style choices from 10 years ago (because that’s 2003, not 1993, for those keeping track)

Mid-2000s Fashion: A Requiem

Fashion is cyclical, and that cycle is about 20 years long. That’s why all those teen whippersnappers are dressed like 1994 Angela Chases and Corey Matthewses right now (although we know that the truth of 90s fashion was a little different). And that’s why styles from 5-10 years ago (think The O.C., Laguna Beach, Mean Girls) … well, they’re old enough to make you look out of date, but too recent pass as a vintage look.

As I am re-watching Veronica Mars, I’m finding myself really missing some of those mid-2000s styles. Others… not so much. We won’t be seeing a lot of these 2003 – 2009 fads again for a while, so consider this a requiem. A long time ago, we used to be friends…

Juicy Tracksuits

Last place you’d see these tracksuits: an actual track. Can you imagine running in head-to-to velour?

I think J.Lo started this one, but America’s responsible for following. These were the outfit that said “I spent a lot of money to wear velour and look like I’m ill.” I never had a pair, but if I were the age I am now when these were popular, I would have probably cave. After a while you just like to be comfortable. If you wore one of these, you probably jazzed it up with some big ol’ hoop earrings.

Snarky Message Tees

At the time, I always used to think that these should read “I’m Not Funny — But My Shirt Is!” Clearly my attitude toward others hasn’t changed in the past decade. I’ll admit that some of these were sort of funny, in a bumper sticker, key chain, greeting card sort of way.

Che Guevara, For Some Reason

The most mid-2000s thing ever: (1) Che Guevara + (2) Military Green + (3) Canvas + (4) Messenger Bag

I don’t know. In 2007 that one kid who’s always talking about sustainable water supply and the Iraq occupation in your Developing World poli-sci class is definitely wearing a Che t-shirt. Or a Che pin. And definitely a Che jacket. It’s just a thing people were doing to let you know that they didn’t vote for George W. Bush, had serious feelings about organic foods, and were minoring in political science.

Puka Shells and Beaded Man-Necklaces

No beach required. There was a surfer thing going on that might have started in Blue Crush, and it manifested in Hawaiian flowers on shirts and these damn necklaces. They started off as an innocuous accessory, but after a while they were part of the Douchebag Accessory Trifecta, three items that all dirtbaggy mid-2000s dude-bros wore so that we could tell they were douchey without even having to talk to them.

~~~
Alright, think you had it rough as a teen, how about giving it up for our foremothers in the 70s…
~~~

Women’s Fashion (According To A 1976 Encyclopedia)

Remember how, before the internet, we had to read real, physical books to find things out? In my family, that meant turning to the cobalt-blue 1976 Encyclopedia Americana. One volume in the set was a yearbook that detailed the world events and current trends of the age. I was so obsessed with the fashion section — both out of genuine interest and childish snark — that the book still opens right to that page.

In the mid-90s, I turned to the Encyclopedia for help with Social Studies reports. In the mid-70s, people were turning to the Encyclopedia for help with looking as fly as possible. Such was the pre-internet age.

Let’s take a walk through 1976 fashion, as described in the vibrant pose of the Encyclopedia Americana editors.

  • “Chinese fashion”

    Shhh! Nobody can tell I’m Caucasian!

* Women’s fashion was “influenced by denim and China.” I hope that means you could buy a mandarin-collared denim dress or one of those flat rice-picking hat in Levi’s blue.

* The photo of the woman displaying “The Chinese look” looks like she’s wearing a kind of racist Halloween costume. I guess at least they didn’t say “Oriental?”

* Sometimes when I read this entry, I feel like a time-traveler from the future and wish that I could just save everyone without accidentally killing my own grandfather. The editors write that “politically, the effects of detente with China may not be known for years.” Not to spoil it, but the effects are a little known now and HOLY SHIT WE ALL NEED TO LEARN MANDARIN. What are you DOING, 1976? Stop importing their beautiful silk daywear because they are going to RUN us.

* Bitches wore mad “frog closings” and “coolie” jackets, I guess.

* OK, the encyclopedia DID end up saying Oriental, and they only capitalize it like half of the time. Casual racism is one thing, but casual racism AND sloppy copy-editing? I can’t.

  • Denim

* Real sentence: “The jean craze continued to mushroom at an unbelievable pace.”

* Another real sentence: “The better the figure was, the tighter the jean.” Hey 1976, could you please give that advice to literally everyone I saw at the bus stop the other day? Because the 2013 rule of thumb is apparently: “no matter what the hell your figure looks like, just say “screw it” and buys your pants 2 sizes too small.”

* In the “most horrible thing I’ve ever heard of in my life other than disease, hunger, and genocide” category: the “two-zipper” was in fashion. Jeans closed with two side front zippers instead of the usual fly front. I don’t even understand how this would work. Maybe one of you has an engineering degree and can help? I’m picturing a weird flap that would hang down, like an overall bib except in your crotch neighborhood, with a zipper on either side. If there’s one thing I definitely don’t need, it’s a 100% increase in the likelihood that I’ll forget to zipper my pants. I imagine that if you have any kind of stomach or side fat, it will accidentally get zippered into the “side front zippers” at least once.

* Unsurprising: “work” clothes like khaki fatigues, railroad overalls, and mechanic suits took off.

* Surprising: This “was an expression of the belief in the virtues of honest labor, even if the person wearing them was not engaged in it.” Encylcopedia Americana? You’re reaching. Although, sometimes I do wear a full McDonald’s uniform or nurses’ scrubs just to demonstrate that I believe in work. Who am I to talk?

  • Ladylike Dressing

* According to this section, sometimes women wore skirts and dresses, but other times they wore pants. That’s really the gist.

* Sometimes women wore suits, with “dramatic capes and soft coats” over “multilayers of separates.” The encyclopedia isn’t scratch-n-sniff, but I’m pretty confident they also smelled like sweat and patchouli.

  • The Sporting Life

* The jumper was back. A million home-schooling moms rejoiced, probably.

* Sweaters were “an education in ethnic artistic expression.” I’d complain about the cultural appropriation issues, but I am wearing “tribal” flats right now. I like to pretend that there is just a tribe of Target People who live in the basement of one of their warehouses in Indiana or somewhere, designing these things. I bet they even have native folk songs. Maybe that’s what Taylor Swift is.

  • Accessories

* Scarfs were worn big, in the “simple peasant style” or “elaborately as Arabian or African headdresses.” On behalf of white people, I apologize. This is really bad. I get annoyed at racist Halloween costumes, but apparently in 1976, every day was Racist Halloween.

You could even wear your scarf with an elaborate Art Deco costume while shopping in a general store from the 1800s.

* “Handbags ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

* “oriental jewelry” was popular (read: jade). They used the lower-case “o” for oriental, so this may just be jewelry worn to the east of other jewelry, not Asian-inspired as such.

  • The Feminine Foot

* Engineers, HELP. The earth shoe was “designed to lower the heel and raise the sole of the foot for comfort.” Does anyone know how that’s comfortable? They sound like those terrible McQueen cloven-hoof shoes.

Based on the above, here is a rough sketch of The Woman of 1976.

Saturday Spotlight: All Growed Up

Does anybody out there remember the short-lived Rugrats spinoff All Growed Up? Everything you knew and loved about the Rugrats was gone, and there was a pale, boring imitation left in its place.

As much as I’d like to think that’s totally not how the Rugrats would have grown up, that’s probably pretty accurate. This week’s posts made us realize that (1) we’re not as young as we used to be and (2) it kind of sucks. So, join us for a five-episode series of our slow realization that we got old:

___________________________________________

In which I’m old enough to realize that the Irish folk music of my youth was royally screwed up:

Most WTF-Worthy Irish Folk Lyrics

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

Centuries before Taylor Swift slut-shamed her BFF Abigail, the Irish wanted to remind young ladies that they’re worthless without their … umm…  thyme. Which is the world’s most confusing and ill-constructed metaphor for virginity. Although, judging by the over-extended metaphor in the chorus, at least she’s not going to … germinate any sprouts?… the way they’re doing it. This is surprisingly filthy. I hate it.

Come all ye maidens young and fair
And you that are blooming in your prime
Always beware and keep your garden fair
Let no man steal away your thyme

Chorus: For thyme it is a precious thing
And thyme brings all things to my mind
Thyme with all its flavours, along with all its joys
Thyme, brings all things to my mind

___________________________________________

In which we discover that we’re too old to celebrate St. Patrick’s day without serious next-day consequences:

St. Patrick’s Day Hangover Cures for Adults

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Ladies, we all know makeup can transform us from monsters in the morning to Angelina Jolie-like creatures after just a few applications of moisturizer, foundation, powder, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, blush, lip gloss, and you’re good to go. Except now that you’re out of college, you probably have invested in legit/quality makeup so the results are most likely better than they used to be back in the day. Men, unless you already have a regular makeup regimen, you’re on your own. If you can’t feel good, you might as well look good.

Eat Breakfast

I’m assuming if you decided to stay up on a Monday night to drink your cares away instead of staying in to watch the third to last episode of How I Met Your Mother, the chances of you getting up early in the morning to make yourself a hearty breakfast are slim to none. But, in the event your body is just accustomed to getting up for your 9am work schedule, make sure you don’t skip out on bfast today. Make it, buy it, whatever. Just give your old, haggard body some sustenance. But just make sure it’s not that shit you used to eat on a dollar budget back in the day. You have money now. Well, a bit more than before. Invest in some real food.

___________________________________________

In which we realize that our college days were so long ago that the styles we sported are really, really out of date:

Mid-2000s Fashion: A Requiem

Boot Cut Jeans

This is also a prime example of a “going out top,” discussed below.

Occasionally you hear that boot cuts are coming back for real this time, and maybe it’s true – denim follows different life spans than other fashion, multiple jean styles are acceptable at any time, and enough people resisted the skinny jean trend that boot cuts never really died. Though I like skinny jeans because it’s easier to find pairs that aren’t too baggy, boot cuts were frankly more flattering on more people. I usually stick with trouser jeans or straight leg when I don’t feel like wearing skinny jeans, but I’m seriously considering trawling e-bay for some 2007-vintage Seven For All Mankinds or Luckys. I’m old, I do what I want.

Return To Tiffany’ Jewelry

Man. Could we have thought of something less really expensive to have cycle in and out of fashion? It was these, then those Italian charm bracelets, then regular charm bracelets, and now finally Alex and Ani, which is at least cheap, finally. If you wear these with the right outfit and accessories it’s still doable.

Now, when they went missing, how many of these bad boys do you think actually got returned to Tiffany & Co.?

Che Guevara, For Some Reason

The most mid-2000s thing ever: (1) Che Guevara + (2) Military Green + (3) Canvas + (4) Messenger Bag

I don’t know. In 2007 that one kid who’s always talking about sustainable water supply and the Iraq occupation in your Developing World poli-sci class is definitely wearing a Che t-shirt. Or a Che pin. And definitely a Che jacket. It’s just a thing people were doing to let you know that they didn’t vote for George W. Bush, had serious feelings about organic foods, and were minoring in political science.

___________________________________________

In which we admit that we ain’t got time for that. “That” being unnecessary DVR items and actual, human friendships.

Spring Cleaning Your Life

DVR

I am probably not the best example for this, but I’m hoping this will help some of you out there. The problem with television today is that there are too many good shows on right now. That means there are probably a lot of shows on your list that you have to go through every week. I’m not even going to tell you how many shows I actively watch, because it’s stupidly embarrassing. But there are also shows that are on my list that I just watch out of habit, that I should probably just delete from my DVR because it’s not adding anything to my life. Example: Heart of Dixie. Why did I start watching it? Jason Street and Summer Roberts (Scott Porter and Rachel Bilson). Why am I still watching it? No idea. I put it on and I only half pay attention to what is happening. If you asked me what’s going on this season, I could tell you that Zoe is still dating that Jewish boyfriend from NY and not with Wade, and Jamie King’s character is MIA because she had a baby IRL. Case in point: it’s time to clean out my series recordings.

Actual Friends

girl bye nene

Let’s be real. There are people in your life that you should just cut off. If there’s anything I’ve learned being in my “late 20s” it’s that I don’t have patience or time to deal with people that don’t add to my life in any way. They might be the type of friends that add more drama to your life than is necessary as an adult or perhaps they are the type that are just… there, but either way, why are you wasting your time on people who aren’t a positive influence in your life when you could be hanging out with those who enrich your entire being? It may seem harsh, but you gonna do what you gotta do.

___________________________________________

In which we find that, while we never grew out of the Muppets, we also never quite figured out what the Muppets are:

What Are These Muppets Even Trying To Be?

Abby Cadabby

I think it’s trying to be:

So, this is like the Muppet version of a Kardashian, right? Marketing savvy + an elaborate performance of femininity + my worst nightmare? But also sort of a fairy as well?

But it’s actually trying to be:

A “fairy in training.” But it was developed by a team of marketing experts to appeal to little girls after the Disney Princess thing started happening at us. So basically what I said.