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

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.

 

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!”

“#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”

“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”

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.

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!

What Are These Muppets Even Trying To Be?

Muppets Most Wanted comes out today – and nobody is more excited about it than small children grown adults who had weirdly emotional reactions to The Muppets a few years ago and almost started crying when they saw it but couldn’t quite figure out why.

I’m sure a lot of us grew up with the Muppets, whether in the Muppets shows and movies, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, or their early SNL performances. And most of us could tell you that a Muppet is like a weird, cool puppet. But after that, things get dicey. Some of the Muppets are very clearly certain animals – Kermit is a frog, Miss Piggy is… I mean obviously she’s a pig, Fozzie is a bear. Some Muppets are vaguely humanoid. Others are probably monsters or something. But think of some of those lesser Muppets. What are they even trying to be? Other than, probably, their best selves?

Here are the most confusing Muppets. I’m writing what I think they are without checking on their official taxonomy, then going back to tell you what Jim Henson intended for these guys 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.

Animal

I think it’s trying to be:

I understand that this is like a drummer/monster, but he’s also kind of got a Jerry Garcia, did too much of whatever the PG version of LSD is vibe. I assume the PG version of LSD is those giant plastic pixie sticks.

But it’s actually trying to be:

A “primitive man and crazed drummer” who debuted in the 1975 special The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, which, in my understanding of the mid-70s, was probably a children’s programme. Muppetteer Frank Oz says that Animal can be summed up in the five words “sex, sleep, food, drums and pain.” So, Animal is the Muppet version of Freud’s id, or of half of the guys in your freshman year dorm. I guess I was off-track with the rated PG thing.

Beaker

I think it’s trying to be:

A human who was stuffed into a scientific beaker during its formative years, like a more science-y and creepier bonsai tree.

But it’s actually trying to be:

A “hapless assistant” and “perpetual victim” who has been shrunk, cloned, and blown up. Nobody mentions the human bonsai thing, but I don’t think I’d be too off-track to hold onto that one as head canon.

Clifford

I think it’s trying to be:

A more neon, more muppety, more alive version of Bob Marley. I’m going off of the dreads. But he’s usually dressed in business casual, so maybe more like an accountant with Marley fantasies and a local festival-quality band. He also sometimes wears Hawaiian shirts, lending further credence to my white-collar professional who moonlights in trying to be cool theory.

But it’s actually trying to be:

A catfish, maybe. It’s never been confirmed. Did not see that coming. Others say “humanoid.” Screw this. Nobody knows what the heck Clifford is trying to be, so maybe what he should try to be is better.

The analysis linked in the photo above says that he is the “sort of black sheep” of the Muppet world, but the line break occurred after the word black and I thought “well, at least he’s not supposed to be a white guy with dreads, because they are the actual worst.” But they weren’t saying he was sort of black, guys. They weren’t.

Janice

I think it’s trying to be:

An actress who you loved 20+ years ago, who is now in at least her late 40s and has messed with her face. [See: Meg Ryan, Janice Dickenson, Melanie Griffith, Suzanne Somers, Kim Novak, … so much of elder Hollywood is turning into Janice from the Muppets that I think they must be taking her picture to the surgeon’s office.]

But it’s actually trying to be:

She is a guitar player / Valley girl . Fun fact: Janice was originally intended to be a male character and was modeled after Mick Jagger – but I wasn’t so wrong, because most of your favorite actresses of 20+ years ago probably had a little Mick Jagger in them, too.

Dr. Bunsen

I think it’s trying to be:

That’s just a melon, right? They just used a melon.

But it’s actually trying to be:

An actual melon. His last name is “Honeydew.” I didn’t know that. So, good job, Muppets, this one looks exactly like what he’s even trying to be.

Dr. Teeth

I think it’s trying to be:

A stoned leprechaun. No question. Possibly also the Muppet version of a Chav.

But it’s actually trying to be:

A humanoid inspired by jazz keyboardist Dr. John. Have you guys seen Dr. John? He’s like a stoned New Orleans jazz man. Trade one cultural stereotype for another, and I pretty much got it. There’s also reportedly an Elton John influence that I can’t believe I missed.

Marvin Suggs

I think it’s trying to be:

He’s a pinhead! Excuse me. A person with microcephaly. Like Pepper in American Horror Story: Asylum.

But it’s actually trying to be:

a “whatnot” Muppet, which is a blank Muppet that you can basically turn into whatever. Not to be confused with an “anything” muppet, which is mostly the same thing (think: Prairie Dawn, Don Music, Guy Smiley, Roosevelt Franklin). Muppetteer Frank Oz called Suggs “demented” and said “I’ve always felt Marvin lived in a scuzzy trailer park with his put-upon wife, and he kept the Muppaphones in a cage and would beat them regularly.”

Mildred Huxtetter

I think it’s trying to be:

An old lady who is also a lizard or snake. Like Queen Elizabeth.

But it’s actually trying to be:

I can’t even deal with how right I am. She’s a beak-nosed Muppet who is a Dame of the Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire.

Nanny

I think it’s trying to be:

Just legs, connected to a voice box, who was dreamed up by the orphaned and abandoned Muppet children of Muppet Babies to cope with their unloved, parent-less existence.

But it’s actually trying to be:

Well, they call her a woman, but that looks like pure guesswork to me.

Scooter (And Skeeter)

I think it’s trying to be:

The bastard child(ren) of Dr. Bunsen and a mango. Obviously, a relative of Sid The Science Kid.

But it’s actually trying to be:

Vaguely humanoid, but “when pressed about his family, he explained that his mother was a parrot but he didn’t know about his father.” That’s funny at first, and becomes more and more bleak and disturbing the more you think about it.

I didn’t know this til I was looking for a link of Sid The Science Kid’s family, but it is a Jim Henson production, so maybe Scooter really did get a family after all.

Snuffleupagus

I think it’s trying to be:

A wooly mammoth who is always sad. Probably because all of the other Wooly Mammoths died and his name is impossible to spell.

But it’s actually trying to be:

a snuffleupagus. It is both his species and his name. Also, he is properly Mr. Snuffleupagus – his Christian name is Aloysius.  Snuffy has an entire family, so he’s not so sad because his species is extinct. He’s sad, I guess, because he looks like a cross between an elephant, shag carpeting, and dog poop.

Telly

I think it’s trying to be:

The monster version of Telly Savalas. Their facial structure is very similar.

But it’s actually trying to be:

“Television monster.” He was obsessed with TV, and then the Henson company changed it when they realized that they want kids to be obsessed with TV.

Spring Cleaning Your Life

Happy first day of spring, y’all! The sun shows its face a little longer (12 hours to be exact), the weather (usually) gets warmer and we can finally put the nasty winter behind us. The coming of spring is also a time for rebirth and regrowth, a marker for us to start anew. And that includes getting rid of anything in our lives that feels old or unused – aka it’s spring cleaning time.

I’m not talking about doing a thorough sweep of your house/apartment and getting rid of old items in your pantry or clothes that you haven’t worn in a year (although you should probs do that too). No, I’m talking about cleaning up your life. Things that effect you every day that you keep putting off but know you should do something about. Here are a few suggestions for making your life a little less messy and a little more bearable than ever before.

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.

Hard Drive

ben wyatt comp trash photo benwyatttrashcan_zps369c7a79.gif
Is your computer running slow? Maybe it’s because you have too many extemporaneous files and pictures and songs your never listen to stored in the nooks and crannies of your hard drive. It’s time to clean up those cookies and get rid of those songs you downloaded in college just to create some kind of party mix, because honestly, are you listening to SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS on the daily while relaxing or browsing the internet?

E-mail Subscriptions

I admit it: I’m the worst at e-mails. Replying, sending, deleting from my inbox. I also sign up for things and forget how I signed up in the first place. Like all those Groupon/LivingSocial/OneSaleADay shit is too much. Literally ‘Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That’. I went to the Tribeca Film Festival once in 2005 and I am still on their mailing list. Unless they’re going to personally fly me out to New York, I’m probably never going again. So why am I still receiving their e-mails?? BECAUSE I’M LAZY AND DELETE THEM INSTEAD OF JUST UNSUBSCRIBING.

Facebook Friends

thumbs_fyi-spring-cleaning-facebook-friends-friendship-ecards-someecards

You know when you’re going through your Facebook feed and you say “UGH” outloud when you see someone’s status of “going to the gym” or 500 pictures of the same baby just in different angles or those people who make politically incorrect and/or slightly racist comments  on your wall? Yeah, time to go through your list and unfriend those folks. You’re not in college anymore where the whole goal of Facebook was to be friends with every single person you had a class with. Use Facebook to stay connected with the people you actually care about. Maybe you’ll even find yourself complaining less about Facebook in general.

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.

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…

Boot Cut Jeans

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.

Little Corduroy Jackets

Some quality bootcuts, too.

If Veronica Mars makes you miss one thing, it’s cropped, fitted little corduroy jackets that were acceptable for indoor and outdoor wear and made great layers over shirts and hoodies alike. These are another thing I’d totally bring back without shame – I have some more blazer-y ones that I may or … may wear to the office sometimes.

Aviator Sunglasses

These haven’t gone all the way out, but they’re nowhere near as ubiquitous as they were a while ago. Everyone’s trying to wear Tom Cruise in Risky Business frames these days, but we still need a few Tom Cruise from Top Guns.

To save you the trouble, I googled “when was Kardashian in back brace.” Never. The answer is never. This is a belt.

Fitted Tops That Weren’t Too Short Or Too Long

I blame skinny jeans for this. A lot of ladies wanted or needed to cover their butts in skinny jeans, and suddenly long tops came into fashion. Others wanted to balance fitted skinnies with looser tops, and billowy tunics were here. Then, those damn teens got their hands on fashion, and those awkwardly short yet wide shirts from the 90s came back. We never noticed it happening, but somehow it’s a lot harder to find a shirt that’s not skin-tight, but doesn’t billow. A top that isn’t butt-covering long or belly-baring short, but lands right at your hipbone. Suddenly every shopping trip turns you into freaking goldilocks, searching for the shirt that’s just right. It didn’t used to be like this.

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.

T-Shirts From Destinations You’ve Never Visited

In 2005, it didn’t matter if you’d never been to Ed’s Bowl-A-Roll, Springville Prep Lacrosse Camp, or Buenos Aires. It was enough to had a shirt that said you had. It was so bad that if you’d wear a t-shirt from a vacation or activity, one of your friends would always ask “Now, is that real, or…?”

‘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.

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. We’ll address the other two further down.

Whiskered Denim

Jeans that were painted to look like your hips were so wide that your fabric was straining and puckering against them. Thanks, 2004. You really, really shouldn’t have.

Conspicuous Branding

“My shirt is from a store!” – Your Shirt, c. 2006

In 2006, you didn’t need to worry that people wouldn’t be able to tell that your shirt was from Abercrombie, Hollister, Armani Exchange, or even Aeropostale. Your shirt did the talking for you.

Trucker Hats

Bonus mid-2000s trend: Jesus Is My Homeboy. Double-Bonus Mid-2000s Trend: Ashton Kutcher

 

Usually Von Dutch, always completely silly. This is our second item in the Douchebag Accessory Trifecta.

Gaucho Pants

Baby AnnaSophia Robb is a paragon of 2004 couture.

 

I remember sitting in my college dorm in 2005, people-watching kids going into the dining hall across from our room, and wondering when all of the girls started dressing like swashbuckling pirates.

Popped Collars

See also: every guy I ever met at a party from 2004 to 2008

Here it is. The third Douchebag Accessory. You could even wear two popped collars at once if you were really, really awful.

Going Out Tops

“Nobody looks flyer than me in this silk-accented maroon blouse!” – My Imagination, c. 2006. [In case you’re wondering this is from a puppet show lampooning all of my friends, which a buddy and I wrote, directed, and starred in BECAUSE I’VE ALWAYS BEEN AT LEAST THIS COOL.]

Before it was normal to wear cute dresses or casual t-shirts out, every Friday and Saturday night (and Thursday… and Sunday), you’d straighten your hair, smudge on some liquid eyeliner, and change into one of your Going Out Tops. They were silky or lacy or otherwise fancy tops. At my college, at least, you’d then cover it up with a NorthFace fleece to walk across the frozen terrain.

In case you’re wondering, “going out top” was a clumsy phrase invented as a workaround so we didn’t have to say “blouse.”

Ringer Tees

Sports fashion for people who can’t play, or necessarily name, a single sport. These are neither dead, nor as very alive as they once were.

That One Kind Of Jeans Skirt

I basically wore this exact outfit.

Some kinds of denim skirt are still in – I was just wearing one. But remember that one kind of jeans skirt that everyone had? In warm weather, you’d wear it with your going out shirt.

The Butt-Ruffle

I don’t know. It was like a flouncy ruffle that covered your ass. It sort of looked like a diaper cover. It seemed cute at the time.

Surf and Beach Inspired Outfits

What is this shirt, College Molly? You don’t even LIKE beaches that much. Too much sun exposure, too much sand.

Thanks to the aforementioned Blue Crush, along with The O.C. and Laguna Beach, teen beach bums were having a moment. Even if you lived nowhere near water, it’s a thing that was happening.

Short-Sleeved Shirts Over Long-Sleeved Shirts

Could I BE wearing any more clothes?

Ah, the mid-2000s. When shirt sleeves of all lengths lived in harmony.

Fitted Off-The Shoulder Tops

These weren’t those big, floppy 80s flashdance numbers. They were regular long-sleeved tops, but the shoulders were over the shoulder.

Tight Plain Tank Tops Worn By Themselves As Though It Were Just… Okay

To explain: We were “hiking” and Traci instructed me to “look competent.” And our friend’s face is obscured so as not to throw her under the 2006 bus.

Your ab situation was on-point. You knew it. So did everyone else. Frankly, I’m glad these were popular in my college years so that my 18-21 year old abs will live on in the memory of all those I knew and loved.

Half-Cardigans

What’s so funny, 2007 me? Is it that you still have the glow of youth? That you live in a house with a lime-green bar room? Or is it that your cardigan only reaches your ribs and you realize you look like an idiot?

Sometimes you’d wear it over your tight plain tank top.

Floppy Surfer Boy Haircuts That Always Curled Straight Out

I have curly hair, too. I understand. This hair cut was not always bad, but on boys with a certain kind of hair, it curled straight out at the bottom, forming, like, a hair-shelf. It looked stupid. You looked stupid.

Smocking On Grown-Assed Women

On five-year-olds’ sundresses: Adorable. On adult ladies with boobs: really really weird. They made your boobs look tube-shaped and awful.

St. Patrick’s Day Hangover Cures for Adults

Unpopular American opinion: I could care less about St. Patrick’s Day.

In fact,  I was never really into St. Patrick’s Day. In elementary school, I suppose it was an excuse to wear green and possibly get those gold chocolate coins that Leprechauns give out (is that how it works?) As a college student, I was into it in the sense that I liked hanging out with my friends and avoiding all work as much as possible. It was also a big deal in Boston, as one can expect, so I got into the spirit of things, but I was never really a hardcore celebrator. It doesn’t help that I’m not that big of a drinker either.

Now, well now I’m 28. Nothing has really changed. Except for the fact that I’m older. And if you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re older too. Well, in the sense that you’re older than you were last year. And as adults, drinking and going out has changed since the days of college (hopefully). It’s not as easy to rally after a big night of drinking for class the next day. Now you have to actually rally or else you will get fired for not doing your job at work.

But, in the spirit of trying to keep our youth alive while still attempting to have fun, here are some helpful tips to get you through today (and any forthcoming holiday or big night out where your age prohibits you from being as much of a party animal as you used to be).

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.

Water: Does a Body Good

If you don’t know by now that you should hydrate as much as possible when you’re drunk/hangover, I don’t know what to tell you. I’m surprised you made it this far, frankly. But like any hangover when you’re old or young, water is essential. Just take your Nalgene to the water cooler and fill the puppy up. Perhaps make a friend while at the water cooler. Do people have water cooler talk anymore? If you’re not ‘into’ water, take the Gatorade/electrolyte drink route to replace all the salt and potassium you lost while dehydrated.

Take a Long Lunch

And by ‘long lunch’ I mean go in your car and take a nap. Or find a secret spot in your office to take a nap. Just go take a nap.

Avoid Extemporaneous Chit Chat

Here’s your chance to blow off small talk with your annoying co-workers. Without making it seem like you actually have a hangover, just give the impression you are too busy to stop and talk or something. You’re still technically impaired when hungover, not as bad as being drunk, but you’re not fully 100% functional until the hangover is gone. Basically you don’t want to make any big decisions or say something you don’t mean during this time. I say it’s the best excuse to not talk to people. Take it while you can.

Go To Sleep Early

That whole your body needs 8 hours of sleep thing isn’t a myth, y’all. It’s real life. And it’s even more important when you’re drunk/hangover. Your body needs to recover, especially since it’s not as young as it used to be. Basically, just take this entire experience as a wakeup call.

All (Private) Eyes on The Veronica Mars Movie

Rejoice, Marshmallows! Today is the day we have been waiting for for seven years. With all the press and cast appearances over the past couple weeks, it’s easy to forget that this isn’t just a regular movie. It’s a groundbreaking movie that would literally never have happened if not for a huge group of fans never came together in the spirit of seeing fictional characters who we once thought were gone forever come back to life (for possibly) one last time.

It took 91,585 contributors, $5,702,153 of hard earned cash and 24 days of filming to create a film which will hopefully provide the kind of closure and fulfillment we never got at the end of the series. I, for one, am confident that creator/executive producer/writer/all around genius Rob Thomas has not gone off the rails and has indeed made a film that will leave VMars believers and non-believers completely entertained and satisfied. That being said, there are a few things to look out for when watching the movie (which you should probs do this weekend) .

To get us fully in the Neptune mood, press play and read on…

The Bitch is Back

Be cool, sodapop, Veronica Mars without the snarkiness is not Veronica Mars at all. Kristen has assured that there is the same amazing wit and sass that is the very foundation of V Mars will have its return on the big screen. In fact, everything we love about her is still in tact 10 years later. Veronica was, and still is, one of the rare female characters on TV who is a headstrong, independent, go-getter who isn’t afraid of, well, anyone.

For the uninitiated, Veronica Mars isn’t just a teen drama. On the surface, it may just look like a UPN/WB/CW show with a pretty blonde girl as the lead, all centered on who she’s going to date next. But just like the lead character itself, the series was so much more than that, dealing with issues like feminism, classism, parental relationships (or sometimes lack thereof), race, and more.

Veronica is a kick ass heroine who is fearless, yet vulnerable, a leader and not afraid to be her true self. We need more of these types of role models for young girls, and I’m glad she’s coming back in full force.

Mars vs. Mars

If there’s one episode to re-watch before seeing the movie, it’s from season one, episode 14, titled Mars vs. Mars. In the ep, there are a few things of note: A) Ben Wyatt/Adam Scott plays teacher Mr. Rooks. B) Blair Waldorf/Leighton Meester plays student Carrie Bishop. C) Carrie accuses Mr. Rooks of getting her pregnant (she gave the baby up for adoption), but Veronica solves the case by figuring out it wasn’t Carrie but rather her BFF Susan Knight who got knocked up by Mr. Rooks.

Why is this important? Apparently this Carrie/Susan/Mr. Rooks situation sets off a chain of events that eventually results in the deaths of BOTH Susan and Carrie. In the movie, Carrie becomes a pop singer, and her boyfriend, Logan Echolls, is the main suspect. Of course he calls the one person who can actually clear his name – ex-girlfriend Veronica.

Blast From The Past

Unfortunately for us, Adam nor Leighton reprised their roles for movie. However, there will be a bunch of returning characters from the series that fans of the show will be more than pleased to see back in Neptune.

For example, we have Vinnie Van Lowe, a rival private investigator played by the hilarious Ken Marino. This is probably one of my favorite scenes with him, and perhaps in the entire series.

Of course we can’t forget the lovable yet quirky Gia Goodman played by a pre-Breaking Bad Krysten Ritter. While she was only in season two, her dad WAS played by a sketchy Steve Guttenberg, so I mean, worth it.

And who could forget, Schmidt himself, Max Greenfield as the charming and smiley Deputy Leo. So I didn’t watch VM while it was on the air, I was one of those fans who binge-watched it all on Netflix. I thought Leo was the cutest and so damn likable, that when I saw him a few months later as this guy, I thought it was insane it was the same actor. Classic Schmidt.

Plus, a bunch of the old high school gang is coming back. It is a 10 year reunion after all. So count in Corny, Madison Sinclair and Principal Van Clemmons to the list, and a few favorites from around town, including public defender Cliff McCormack, Deputy Sacks and *minor spoiler alert* Celeste Kane (aka Lilly and Duncan’s mother).

Oh, and expect some more random cameos from little known celebs like Jamie Lee Curtis, James Franco and Dax Shepard (#1 VMars fan).

You Think You Know Somebody

Speaking of guest stars, Veronica Mars the TV show rivaled series like Arrested Development in scoring surprising cameos, but in reverse, in that they cast all actors who have since become more famous. Like Adam Scott and Leighton Meester, there are a bunch of people who showed up pre-height of fame, Amanda Seyfried (Veronica’s murdered BFF, Lilly Kane, star of Mamma Mia! and Mean Girls), Lucas Grabeel (the “straight” guy from High School Musical) and Dianna Agron (Glee).

But then you also have some more notable names like these guys. (You can find the rest in a previous post here!)

Aaron Paul

Season 1, Episode 11

Before he was a maker of meth, Jesse Pinkman was accused to being a serial killer. So I mean, he has a history of playing troubled characters (RIP Gale).

JTT

Season 1, Episode 18

I was never one of those girls who fawned over JTT. I didn’t get it. Still don’t. Which is why that although I appreciate his rare TV appearance on a UPN show in 2005, I remember his guest starring role mostly because this was the first episode where Veronica and Logan kissed. I mean he played an ATF agent who went undercover as a high school student, so that was cool, I guess. But VERONICA AND LOGAN!! They had an epic kind of love, you know? One that  spanned years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed, epic.

Rider Strong

Season 3, Episode 2

Good old Shawn Hunter played an asshole classmate of Logan and Wallace in a college class, where they participated in some prison experiment. IDK, basically he made the kid from Freaks and Geeks pee his pants.

Matt Czuchry

Season 3, Episode 4

Logan Huntzberger from my fave Gilmore Girls uses his reporter skills as he pretends to be Logan Echolls’ half-brother just to get a story. Whoa, that got confusing even for me. Again, forget about Matt for a sec because this was a great episode for Jason Dohring who got to show his dramatic side after he found out he still didn’t come close to getting to know his half-brother.

Welcome Wagon

Like it’s been stated multiple times before, this movie was made by Kickstarter backers. Some who were able to give a bit more money earned spots as extras on the movie. Last night, I attended the Veronica Mars panel at the annual PaleyFest here in Los Angeles, which is basically a nearly 2 week television festival, where shows from past and present get together and usually screen something, then there’s a discussion and Q&A with cast and writers after.

Photo Mar 13, 8 33 34 PM

horrible picture, but you get the point

Obviously they couldn’t show the movie, and showing an episode wasn’t as exciting, so they premiered a documentary which was made by a former student of Rob Thomas (He used to be a high school teacher. Explains a lot, no?) that gave a behind the scenes look from exactly one year ago, on March 13, 2013, when he launched the Kickstarter campaign, to filming the movie and fan events like at ComicCon. Aptly titled By the Fans, the doc included interviews not only by the cast and producers, but from the fans as well. One thing that was apparent not only in the documentary, but during the panel last night, was that they were totally cognizant and grateful for all 91,000 + fans for giving money just so they could make this movie. As Kristen said, “We’re not flippant about this movie that was made by the fans. I mean that’s fucking radical.”

And it showed when the fans/extras were on set too. The cast ate lunch with them, had actual conversations, took pictures, signed stuff, it looked really cool. My favorite was the story of these two BFFs – long story short, BFF 1 literally was in tears when she found out BFF 2 bought her a Kickstarter reward as an extra for a present. When they were being interviewed on set, Jason Dohring was approaching off camera, and they totally fangirled out but played it cool and were like, ‘Oh it’s Jason Dohring. He’s right there.’ THEN JASON DOHRING CAME OVER and again played it cool, but when he walked away they freaked out and embraced each other and wept. I can’t. All the cast looked so genuine when meeting the backers, it was really nice to see. And hopefully it comes across on screen too.

“The difference between regular fans and Veronica Mars fans is… I only have Veronica Mars fans.” – Ryan Hansen

Weevils Wobble But They Don’t Go Down

Okay, so I know Rob Thomas couldn’t possibly add everything fans are clamoring for in the movie. Mostly because it wouldn’t make sense. But there are a few things I’m hoping will come up in the movie that keen-eyed fans will recognize…

– Sly reference to Steve Guttenberg. Just, Steve Guttenberg. Everything about him, you guys.

– Any sign of Logan’s iconic yellow Jeep would be fantastic. And if Logan and Veronica happen to be making out in it, then that’s fine too.

–  Some kind of memorial to Beaver Cassidy (RIP)

– Dialogue about Duncan being in Australia with a kidnapped child. He was one of the most popular kids at Neptune High, there’s no way no one is asking where he is now.

– Anything with Backup the dog.

– Veronica bakes Wallace anything.

Credit Where Credit’s Due

Listen, besides us (the backers) the idea of a movie would never had been kept alive if it weren’t for Rob Thomas, Kristen and the rest of the cast believing in a reincarnation after all these years. And it helps that all the cast likes each other too. I’ve read some bad stories of cast members just not meshing well, and it totally bums me out and ruins the illusion that they like each other on screen. That being said, the VMars cast actually do hang out, go on vacations together, essentially are all in love with each other and I love it.

Ruskie Business

Kristen: “My body wants to be Veronica like it needs oxygen… I’m 100% me in Veronica.”

Jason: “A lot of that emotion was very real for me. I think I was in love with Kristen for the three years we made that show. Like, I truly felt like I would die without her, and I think that’s what underlined everything people loved about them as a couple.”

Well guys, I saved the best for last. LoVe (That’s Logan+Veronica for you non-shippers) is coming back with a vengence in the movie. Like previously mentioned, Logan enlists Veronica’s help to prove he’s not guilty of killing his girlfriend. But I mean, that’s like practically setting it up for them to get together in the movie, right? 

While some may argue that Logan is a bad boy who is horrible, and Veronica’s college BF Piz is much better (because you know, he hasn’t like committed crimes or anything), it’s LoVe’s chemistry that is just so off the charts it’s insane not to root for them. But will they make it through the movie?? We’ll just have to find out for ourselves.

Photo Mar 13, 9 04 32 PM

My ship has sailed yet again…

How To Throw An American-Themed Party

Nobody does a themed party like American college kids — except, that is, for Europeans parodying American college kids. Somehow I’d never heard of these star-spangled fetes until Buzzfeed featured them last week, but they’re pretty darn awesome:

They’re not just using solo cups, they ARE the solo cups:

For some reason, there are always buckets of popcorn, although I’ve only ever seen those at a movie theater:

And marshmallows on toothpicks because… actually, I have no idea here. Maybe they’ve heard of s’mores and are just getting the “marshmallow on a stick” interpretation a little wrong:

#americanparty #altmanparty #redcup

A post shared by Alexander Altman (@qewhouse) on

Finally, this bash from Poland is by far the best of all. Gold star, Poland. This is brilliant:

american party

So, you want to throw an American-themed party yourself? We can help! Whether you’ve never stepped foot in “the colonies” or whether you’ve lived here your whole life (which adds a whole other layer of hilarity to the proceedings), we have some tips:

Solo Cups

When people think American party, they think red plastic cups – typically called “Solo cups” stateside, after the most popular brand. There’s actually a reason for this: tv shows and movies avoid showing teens consuming alcohol, and even for adult parties, filmmakers may not want to show specific brands. Boom. Plastic cups – there could be anything in there! It doesn’t even have to be alcohol! (But it’s alcohol.)

In real life, these cups are pretty ubiquitous. There is an American country ode to the Red Solo Cup, so they’re as much a cultural institution as pickup trucks and barbeques. However, the cups also come in blue and yellow, so feel free to branch out a bit. If you have a keg or mixed drinks, you aren’t going to pour the bevs into a proper glass, at least not at a raging party where you’re going to drop it. But there’s an even more important reason that we all used these plastic cups in college….

Games

Drinking games. They have them everywhere, but some of them are as American as Uncle Sam eating a rocket pop on the Fourth of July. Play these responsibly – for liability purposes I should advise you to use water, juice, soda, or iced tea for these games. And plenty of them require solo cups:

  • Flip cup: Form two teams. The teams make lines facing each other. Everyone has an equal, small amount of “beverage” in their plastic cups. The first person in each line consumes the bev, places their cup upside down at the edge of the table, then must tip the cup up from the rim, flipping it over. The next person in line can’t go until the person before them has successfully flipped their cup, with it landing squarely back on its rim. First team to finish wins.
  • Knockout flip cup: same as above, but the losing team must vote to eliminate a member. (THOSE WHO FALL BEHIND GET LEFT BEHIND. AMERICA.  RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM. CAPITALISM. AYN RAND. Et cetera.)  The teams then face off again, and the losing team of that round eliminates a member as well. You keep going until one of the teams – the loser – has no members left.
  • Beer Pong: I’m not going to explain this. Just watch an American college movie. As with all of these games, this is played internationally as well, but your exposure to it will depend on where you live.
  • Civil War: Like beer pong, but with three 10-cup triangles across on each side, three balls in play, and three players on each team.  Any person with a ball can shoot at any time, except when there is a ball in a cup in the triangle in front of you – then you must drink the offending …. soda, or whatever … first. A person is “out” when all of the cups in front of them are gone. The first team to have all of their cups eliminated loses. If a ball falls alongside the table, the players can run for it and, if need be, fight for it. It gets hairy. [I went to college in New York, so I wonder if Southern college kids play this, but call it Beer Pong of Northern Aggression.]

There are also games that don’t require red plastic cups – instructions available online:

  • Kings
  • Never Have I Ever
  • Quarters

Name Tags

Okay, we don’t really wear name tags at parties in the U.S., but why not have name tags and let everyone pick an “American” name? If you are in your 20s or 30s, I suggest these common monickers:

  • Ladies: Jessica, Ashley, Katie, Sarah, Stephanie, Jenny, Nicole, Danielle, Melissa, Megan
  • Gentlemen: Jason, Matt, Mike, Nick, Chris, Dave, Dan, Ryan, Andrew, Jim

You can also pick names of patriotic figures from American history and culture of yesteryear:

  • Ladies: Betsy Ross, Martha Washington, Annie Oakley, Laura Ingalls, sorry we don’t have more ladies but we didn’t let them do stuff for those first few centuries, really.
  • Gentlemen: Uncle Sam, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, Paul Revere, Davy Crockett

Patriotic Recitation Contests or Mad Libs

There are some American songs and speeches that are known world-wide. You could have a contest to see who can come the closest to singing or reciting the correct words to the following. I guarantee that people’s misheard lyrics and wrong guesses will be hilarious:

  • The Star-Spangled Banner
  • God Bless America
  • The Pledge of Allegiance
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • America The Beautiful
  • America (also known as My Country ‘Tis Of Thee, this song cribs the melody of God Save The Queen. When I was trying to figure out what song was called “America”, my brain went to “A-mer-i-ca, my home and native land.” That was wrong. That is Canada’s national anthem, with the word America stuck in front. Sorry, Canada. Sorry, America.)

Or, you could try these super-American children’s and folk songs:

  • Yankee Doodle
  • Take Me Out To The Ballgame
  • I’ve Been Working On The Railroad
  • Oh My Darling Clementine
  • Skip To My Lou
  • Oh, Susannah
  • She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain
  • Polly Wolly Doodle

Yes, those are all real songs.

You could also do  “mad libs.” Print out a sheet with the lyrics to these songs, but with blanks in the place of some of the words. Then see what people come up with. The funniest entry wins.

Food

Here’s your big chance to find out why we Americans are so fat. We don’t actually eat most of these things at parties … but isn’t that exactly what you’d expect an American to say because we’re sensitive about being so fat? Here are some treats that just scream “USA! USA!”:

  • Hot dogs (or miniature hot dogs)
  • Hamburgers
  • Potato Chips
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Peanut Butter (any American who’s lived abroad and tried to get their hands on peanut butter knows how hard this can be to find! You could make small, party-sized PB&J sandwiches. The PB is peanut butter, and the J is jelly, by which we mean jam. The seedless grape variety is both the most traditional and, in my eyes, the most disgusting.)
  • Oreos and Milk
  • Rocket Pops (red, white and blue Popsicles. It’s not that we eat them often, but they always remind me of summer and Independence Day.)
  • Chili
  • Apple Pie (I don’t even like Apple Pie, and Americans eat far less apple pie than the phrase “American as apple pie” would suggest, but I’d be remiss to leave it off the list.)
  • Boxed Macaroni & Cheese
  • S’mores, if you have some sort of fire situation handy. You can make them in the microwave, but it’s not the same.

Movies

SO MAJESTIC.

I think we should all give a big round of applause to our pals in Poland for their selection, Pocahontas. Truly inspired. Here are some other red, white, and blue gems to play in the background of your party:

  • Baseball Movies: A League Of Their Own, Field Of Dreams, The Sandlot, Bull Durham, Bad News Bears, Angels In The Outfield
  • Iconic American Childhood films: Stand By Me, Now And Then, Little Women, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Little Rascals, Matilda (YES. YES, WE KNOW. But the movie was set in the ol’ U.S. of A.), My Girl, The Parent Trap (because maybe you’d feel more comfortable if half of the action is in London), Space Jam, Home Alone
  • Teen Fare: Grease, Clueless, Mean Girls, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Patriotic Stuff With Wars In It: The Patriot, 1776, Gettysburg, Glory, Gone With The Wind, Saving Private Ryan, Flags Of Our Fathers
  • The Most American Movie of all: Forrest Gump, obviously. Or basically anything with Tom Hanks in it. Tom Hanks freakin’ loves America.
  • Tom Cruise movies: Top Gun, Mission: Impossible, Jerry Maguire, Risky Business
  • Will Smith movies: Men In Black, Independence Day
  • Westerns: The only person I know who watches Westerns in earnest is my dad, so I’m afraid I can’t help you there. He’d probably recommend stuff with John Wayne in it.

Drink

If it’s supposed to be like an American college party, you can try to get your hands on these cold, brewed fonts of liquid disappointment:

  • Keystone Lite
  • Milwaukee’s Best – The beer so bad that you’re like “Milwaukee. What the heck are you doing?” And the name of the beer, itself, responds “Ugh… My best.” Milwaukee is just doing its best, guys.
  • Busch Light
  • Natty Ice – I think the full name is Natural Ice but I don’t even know.
  • Pabst Blue Ribbon

Or, you could try these non-alcoholic American favorites:

  • Kool-Aid
  • Lemonade (it’s different from European lemonade!)
  • Iced tea
  • Sweet tea
  • Actual tea, but made incorrectly, according to everyone in the UK.
  • Soda (BECAUSE WE’RE FAT. We understand.)

You could also look up American mixed drink recipes, of course.

Wardrobe

Okay, a lot of you are onto it, in a stereotypical way anyway: plaid, jerseys, baseball caps. But let’s get a little more particular:

  • The American Hipster: Facial hair (for men), bangs (for women), skinny jeans, an undersized plaid shirt, Converse
  • The Super-Fan: T-shirt, sweatshirt, and hat for various professional or college sports teams
  • The South-Western Classic: Plaid shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, cowboy hat. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone wear this in real life. Maybe at a country concert?
  • The Duggar: A long denim skirt or jumper, very buttoned-up top, clunky ugly shoes, permed hair.
  • The Person Of Wal-Mart: Pajama pants as pants, a large t-shirt featuring a cartoon character (ideally Tweety or Betty Boop) saying something “sassy”, or emblazoned with some other sort of “sassy” saying that’s not all-the-way funny, like “My Boyfriend’s Out of Town!” and then a picture of a kitten, sneakers.
  • The American Tourist: a camera, a fanny pack (yes, we know about that also), oversized sneakers
  • The Face of Yesteryear: Dress like a pilgrim, or an old-timey pioneer
  • The Jingoist: Wear a lot of red, white, and blue. Like, a whole lot.

The Decor

Well, Red, White and Blue, obviously. Because America. But you could make the decor into a game, too!

  • Print out pictures of the American presidents, number them, and tape them to the walls. Each person has a sheet of paper and they write the name of the president that corresponds with each numbered picture. The person with the most correct wins.
  • Same as above, but print out pictures of different American figures, landmarks, and items. For example, things like sports team logos, professional actors, the Statue of Liberty, covered wagons, the St. Louis Arch, Lucille Ball … Google is your friend, here.
  • Print multiple large non-labelled maps of the United States – or one very big map. Provide markers. Let guests label the different states or regions of the U.S. as best they can. Evidence shows that this will be very funny:

    SQUARESIES.

    MIDDLESHIRE. GUNS. Europe’s got jokes. Honestly just go look at all of these.

You can make Americans label maps of other lands. They won’t be good at it. For instance, Just last week my nephew and I were looking at a map of Canada, and he asked me where New Mexico was.  I said “Charley, New Mexico’s part of the United States.”

“Yeah,” the kid deadpanned, “But so’s Canada.”

American Party Archetypes

The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party – Cecily Strong. Look up the vids, non-Americans!

Most American college parties have the following people present. Please do try to invite them:

  • One drunk girl who is crying, accompanied by one friend who is trying to find out what the problem is.
  • Another friend of those girls who is saying something like “enough of this drama, I just want to dance.”
  • A guy who corners you with his “wit” and “sense of humor,” which actually means that he is quoting lines from comedy films of the past 10 years.
  • The couple who only talks to each other so why did they even bother leaving their house.
  • A person who is looking at or typing into their phone the entire time, even when speaking with you.
  • The person who takes unflattering photos of everyone and threatens to post them on social media.

Music

We already made a playlist of Fourth of July tunes, but there are some genres to consider:

  • Country. Of course. Just be aware that back in the Myspace days, when people used to write what genre of music they were interested in, about 50% of people simply wrote “anything but country” – so it’s not a clear-cut American favorite.
  • Rap. Yes, we know that other countries have rappers. It’s very cute.
  • Old-school 60s Doo-Wop and Motown.
  • Modern indie-folk-country.
  • American icons: James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, etc.
  • Jazz. Not your typical party music, but it started here first.

Have a great American-themed party! If it goes well – or very, very poorly – send us a link to the pictures. AMERICA FOREVER.