The Dawson’s Creek Virgin Diaries: Season 4

Welcome back to Capeside, folks! In case you’re just joining us, I’ve been documenting my very first journey into binge watching Dawson’s Creek (see Season 1, S2 and S3 here), all from the perspective of an adult.

When we last left our crew, Dawson was butt hurt and crying (STILL NOT OVER IT) because Joey chose Pacey over him. She decided to be really un-Joey like and join Pacey on his boat for the entire summer. Jen followed her heart too and ran after her young football-playing boyfriend Henry. Jack is still gay, Andie is not crazy anymore and they’re heading into their senior year. Let’s continue on to see if my new favorite OTP is still together after spending 24/7 together for 3 months…

Episode 1

Well guys, in the eternal words of Barry Manilow, LOOKS LIKE THEY MADE ITTT.

Pacey and Joey look a little tanner, more laid back, even Katie Holmes forgot she was wearing a mic pack the entire time. But they’re still in love.

Their lovey dovey-ness poses a problem when they get back to Capeside  when they are faced with the reality of Dawson and his jealousy, and it all goes down at the Dive-in. That’s right Dive-in because this is the Cape and instead of normal cars going to movies they have boats in the water. It’s awk sauce between them and Dawson literally looks like he’s on the verge of a Andie sized break down after talking to Joey for the first time.

Dawson has spent the summer trying to make a new life for himself by becoming BFFs w Andie, Jack and Jen but he clearly still can’t live without one Josephine Potter, who BTW is more scantily clad since returning from boat life. I feel like this costume choice is supposed to be a reflection of how comfortable and free she is with Pacey, but she just looks like one of those girls who comes back from spring break with a hair wrap or cornrows with beads to prove they went on vacation somewhere tropical.

I will say that it looks like Dawson might have a love interest to keep his mind off of Joey/Pacey – he reconnects with this girl Gretchen, and we later find out that Gretchen is Pacey’s older sister that Dawson used to have a maj crush on when they were younger…

Jen’s young BF Henry never really came back from football camp and is at some boarding school, which means we’ll never see him again. Andie tried to hit on some guys who turned out to be faux French, one of which is Gay Danny from the best season of The Real World. And even though he tricked Andie into think he was actually from France, his French is actually better than his acting. Still hot though.

Oh and since you were wondering, Pacey and Joey didn’t have sex during the 3 months on the boat, mainly because they slept in these hammocks the entire time. Wtf. No bed? That rules out my aspirations to become a sailor.

Notable Quote: “What exactly would we be missing from the land of poorly scripted melodramas? recycled plot lines, tiresome self realizations, you throw in the downward spiral of a dear friend and you throw in a baby here and a death there and all you really got is a recipe for some soul sucking mind numbing ennui. And I for one can skip it.” – Pacey Witter, foreshadowing the entire series.

Episode 2

Mitch Leery, who has now transitioned from football coach to guidance counselor, informs Pacey that he can’t graduate unless he makes up for his bad grades from last year. Ruh roh. Out of all the people to be held back, Pacey is the one who doesn’t need this shit right now. He is hesitant to tell Joey because she’ll be disappointed in him or something, but Mitch tells Dawson, and in turn, Dawson tells Joey, showing still cares about Pacey as a friend, despite the fact he’s in love with the girl he’s “supposed” to be with.

SLASH PACEY AND JOEY ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER I CANT EVEN. HE’S NOT GONNA FLUNK OUT THANKS TO JOEY’S HELP Y’ALL

Episode 3

Joey got a job at the local yacht club, so when she can’t go out on Pacey’s boat with him to celebrate an A he got on an assignment, he takes Jen out on his boat instead. However, they fail to take note of the storm that’s a brewin’, and get stuck out at sea. Basically this episode is trying to be A Perfect storm, but ends up being a low budge Titanic.

Concerned for their safety, Dawson puts his love triangle feelings to the side and he steals a boat from yacht club member Mr. Brooks, and he and Joey risk their lives to go find Jen and Pacey. They eventually find the two in peril, but in order to save them, Pacey has to abandon the True Love in the middle of the sea if he wants to stay alive.

It’s actually really heartbreaking seeing how sad Pacey is losing his boat, since it’s the only thing he’s passionate about besides Joey. And that was the boat they just spent the summer on!

Notable Quote: “That’s right it’s a bout two guys, a girl – and no pizza place” The English teacher making a reference that only about 20% of people watching in 2014 will probably get.

Episode 4

Some obnox dude named Drue Valentine (yeah, even his name is obnoxious) is introduced. He is an ass and knows Jen from her wild days in New York. He tells people it’s Jen’s birthday (it’s not) just so he can throw a party. At said party, Joey gets wasted because she’s worried about Pacey’s grades, and he literally has to carry her home and through the threshold.

Meanwhile, Jen has a Sixteen Candles reenactment with Drue, but he ruins it when he gives her a birthday present of ecstasy. Reformed Jen scolds Drue and leaves with the cake. JK she doesn’t take the cake, but wouldn’t that be amazing?

Notable Quote: “Some people like salad dressing on the salad. Some people like it on the side.” Drunk Joey making absolutely no sense at all.

Episode 6

Pacey is still not over this boat. He actually says, “I miss True Love something fierce.” I never knew someone could love a boat so much.

The gang goes to a rave and because they’re trying to be on friendly terms, Dawson & Gretchen (who are totes on the verge of becoming a couple) and Pacey & Joey (who is wearing earrings and it’s jarring for her Girl Next Door look) carpool together and it’s not awkward at all.

PS: Is this really what a rave looks like? Because my rave knowledge is based on the Saved by the Bell: The College Years episode where Zach paints the walls of their dorm rooms black and makes people pay to hang out in the dark. At the DC rave, there’s a bouncy house and a random couch in the middle of one of the rooms of this… warehouse?

Andie finds out she gets accepted into Harvard, but still isn’t happy, so she decides to also go to the rave, however the ecstasy that Drue tried to give Jen has found its way to Andie, and poor choices – she takes the X. Hey, remember that Andie is cray? She is still on anti-depressants which can’t be good. The mixture of the drugs makes her pass out and have convulsions so she’s taken to the hospital. Don’t worry, she’s fine.

Notable Quote: “Nothing propels you into adulthood faster than the next generation nipping at your heels.” Dawson Leery, saying something profound for once.

Episode 7

70+ eps and I think this fake theme song is finally growing on me. Send for help.

Not growing on me: JVDB’s long hair that he keeps brushing out of his face.

Is AOL a sponsor on this now? slash JenLindley1 wouldn’t be her SN it would be more like ‘NYChick01’. Also seeing the time stamp of 11/15/2000 on the screen makes me feel ancient and I should be watching this in a rocking chair sitting on my front porch drinking sweet tea (IDK why I’m an old southern lady in my fantasy old age).

Well it happened folks. I finally cried. Dawson’s Creek has finally made me cry. Andie’s goodbye speech got to me, what can I say?

AND IT IMMEDIATELY STOPPED WHEN I WILL REMEMVER YOU STARTED PLAYING. Enough already Sarah McLachlan.

OKAY. New fave OTP: Jen and Jack. Or at least my OTP for girl/gay guy pairing.

Wait was that really Meredith Monroe’s last episode?? I didn’t think she left mid season? Then again, I know next to nothing about this since I’m 14 years too late, but I seriously thought she would wait until the end of the season.

AND JACK AND ANDIE’S DAD DIED IRL WTF? Apparently the actor who played their dad had a heart attack, and passed away at the age of 55, which is why there was a title card dedicated to him at the end of the episode.

Episode 8

Oh GAWD – it’s a mystery episode. Some pranksters stole the new principal’s boat AND his dog, and placed them both in the school’s pool.

Basically the direction and styling of this episode is so out of DC nature, it’s almost as if Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars took over, but did a reallly bad job with it. Spoiler: Turns out it was the unlikely trio of Jack, Dawson and Pacey. Badasses.

IDK if it’s because of her relationship w Pacey but Joey /Katie has really grown up both character and acting wise. Props.

Notable Quote: “Yeah, the dog fingered me.” Jack, using a poor choice of words when admitting it was the dog that gave his guilt away.

Episode 9

Sorry to go back to the Run Like Mad theme song but I can’t help but think there are kids out there watching this for the first time who don’t know this isn’t the real theme song! For instance, my friend started watching Parenthood a couple of seasons after it started, and the theme song on the DVDs is When We Were Young by Lucy Schwartz, and when she finally caught up with the episodes airing on TV, it was the official Bob Dylan – Forever Young theme song. Blew her mind.

JACK APPLIED TO EMERSON FOR JEN!!! Along w Bard, Brown, Columbia, Sarah Lawrence and BU, but EMERSON! (FYI, that’s where I went to college). Will she get in?!

MAYBE I’M CRYING AGAIN OKAY. MAYBE I’M FALLING HEAD OVER HEELS FOR PACEY WITTER TOO. MAYBE I NEED TO SEE A PROFESSIONAL ABOUT THIS.

anndndd Gretchen and Dawson finally get it on. By get it on, I mean kiss, because it’s Dawson, not Jen. And guess who catches them – lovebirds Joey & Pacey.

Episode 10

What’s with Pacey and these Hawaiian shirts? Why am I just noticing this is his thing four seasons in? Actually, has this always been his thing? He’s like the kid on MasterChef Junior (stop. it was really good ) who only wore Hawaiian T-shirts.

Jen has forced Jack to get in touch with his homosexuality, so the two of them join this Gay-Straight Teen Coalition and meet this guy who Jack is hatin on, but clearly that’s just sexual tension. No, really.

Okay am I hormonal IDK but I just cried again because Dawson gave Joey a pic of her and Pacey at the Christmas party and I cannot. THEY’VE COME SO FAR. THEY’RE GROWING UP.


YO are there new writers on this show or something because shit got real. Thoreau and everything you kiddin me?

Joey: “Near the end of March 1845, I borrowed an axe and went down to the woods by Walden pond, nearest to where I–”
Mr. Kasdan: What’s the most important word in that sentence?
Joey: Woods?
Mr. Kasdan: Borrowed. The important thing to remember about the transcendentalists is that while self-reliance is a most admirable trait, Thoreau wasn’t really all that alone out there by Walden pond. He had neighbors, friends, people he could rely on. We should all be so lucky.

Realizing she needed Pacey’s help as much as he needs her, they make up and study together with her nephew, and it’s LIT’RALLY a picture into their future.

Notable Quote: “Hey you here for the meeting? Thank god we need more lesbians with decent haircuts.” Toby, thinking Jen is a lesbo at the Gay-Straight Alliance meeting

Jen: Jack, are you embarrassed to be here?
Jack: On gay bowling night? Yeah, I’m embarrassed. Not the gay thing, though. The bowling.

Episode 12

Fun Fact about Pacey (aka Pacey Pukey) he got mauled by a dog on his 14th birthday, which is just one of the reasons why he hates his birthday.

But that didn’t stop his mom from planning a surprise party for him, and despite Joey promising it would just be the two of them on his birthday, she’s planning this party and it’s obviously going to go all kinds of wrong.

Fun Fact #2: His mom is a lesbian. Ok, not really, but his mom is played by Jane Lynch.

I already forgot why pacey isn’t living at home ? But I can see why he doesn’t want to, because his family seems horrible and keep digging on him. How did he become such a good person??

Please note Dawson’s face when he gets caught making out with Gretchen by Pacey & Joey:

Episode 14

So Mr. Brooks, the old guy that Dawson stole the boat from in the Titanic episode, made Dawson do odd jobs for him around the house in order to repay him for stealing his boat and damaging it. Turns out Mr. Brooks was a famous Hollywood director back in his hey day – which was fate for aspiring filmmaker Dawson. Despite the fact he was a Mr. Wilson/curmudgeonly old man, he was just happy to have someone around (and even strike up romance with Grams). Mr. Brooks’ failing health sends him to the hospital, and guess what – he leaves the decision of life or death to 17-year-old Dawson. And this is the doctor who told him that information:

TONY HALE! TONY HALE WITH HAIR!

Meanwhile, the rest of the gang is on some kind of winter retreat with the senior class. Our high school didn’t do school trips like this, so this concept is completely foreign to me. Do schools actually do this? And have kids stay in cabins all weekend??

Well folks they did it. After talking about it incessantly for like 5 episodes, Pacey and Joey finally had sex and all is right with the world. Here’s hoping this doesn’t mean they’ll break up in the next episode.

I also accidentally found out Busy Phillips becomes one of Pacey’s forthcoming GFs/this is a TV show so I’m on edge over an impending breakup. NO ONE TELL ME IF THEY’RE GOING TO  GET BACK TOGETHER IN THE END.

Wait. Also, Jen and Jack almost had sex. lawdddd

“I’m sorry Jack. You’re drunk. You’re drunk and lonely and gay.” – Jen, voice of reason

Episode 15

This ep picks up the morning after, and Joey looks like she has some regret about the previous night’s actions. She and Pacey have a lover’s quarrel, in which I’m pretty sure Pacey proposed marriage to Joey. He said, “Could do this the rest of our lives back and forth sweetness and sarcasm.” I mean, he loves her you guys, okay?

All this sex talk between Joey and Pacey is getting annoying. Honestly if you took a shot or even a sip of alcohol everytime they said the word sex on this show you would be dead slash be an alcoholic. And I’m starting to believe this Netflix description is oddly correct. I actually LOLed before I started watching, but now it’s extremely accurate.

Related: how did these writers capture teen angst and drama so well? Frankly, it’s a little scary.

JVDB is like phoning it in right now (and apparently he might haven been, seeing as how he recently revealed he though the show jumped the shark in the season 2 finale). He hasn’t acted since his crying meltdown in the s3 finale. Reminder:

NEVER NOT FUNNY

Slash I should go back and watch Don’t Trust the B- again because I feel like I would have a new appreciation for JVDB.

Jen started going to therapy which is great and awkward and I’m surprised it’s taken her this long, seeing as she came from a broken home, was a troubled young tween in NYC, had to move in with her Grams on the Cape, her grandfather died, her younger jock boyfriend broke up with her and she almost just had sex with her gay best friend.

Joey straight up lied to Dawson, promising him she hasn’t slept with Pacey yet and OMG I am just stepping outside my world of binge watching and Capeside to realize how ridiculous this all is because these people aren’t real HAHAHAHAHA

Episode 17

These kids are getting notes at school to call their parents from the office to find out if they got in to the colleges they applied to. Again, is this a thing that happened back then and/or in public schools, or just for TV? I had to wait to go home and check the mail for a big envelope or little envelope from admissions. And even choosing a school to visit was so different in 2001 –  Jen and Jack have VHS TAPES they’re going over (because they’ve decided to go to the same school).

All Joey has to pay is $15k to go to her dream school, “Worthington College” in Boston… which is not an amount she nor her sister can afford, and she didn’t qualify for financial aid. Dawson, who got a shitload of money from old man Mr. Brooks, finally has a good cause to give to – Joey. But she is reluctant to take it, especially because she lied to him about sex with Pacey.

Did I mention this episode is called Admissions? For good reason too. Not only is it about everyone waiting to get into college or deciding where to go, it’s about everyone (finalllly) telling the truth to each other. Here’s a breakdown:

Drue to Jen: The last night she was in NYC, she and Drue got super drunk and super wasted. They started fooling around and her parents caught them, which led to a huge blow out between her and her dad. But Jen just used Drue to provoke her dad. She remembered none of this. (Aside: Jen had sex when she was 12 in her parents’ bed?! Yet another reason why I’m surprised she never went to a therapist earlier.)

Jen to Jack: She might not want to go back to NYC and go to school there as originally planned. Especially since Jack doesn’t seem too gung ho on the idea. They’re still adorbs.

Pacey to Joey: He tells her that while he was happy she got into Worthington, he was also happy it meant she might be staying in Capeside – since he wouldn’t be the one reason keeping her there. 😦 He tells her to make a promise to let him go if she thinks he is holding her back from pursuing her dreams, but she refuses to make the promise. Still. #PaceyWitterDreamMan

Joey to Dawson: Surprise! She and Pacey DID have sex! And you weren’t her first! Wah wah.

Dawson to Joey: Despite the fact he’s unsure about how he feels about Joey sleeping with Pacey, he knows they still have something together – and Joey finally accepts the dead man money for her tuition.

Episode 18

What is happening there is a weird Felicity like transition that’s occurring here…

Joey is accompanying Jen as she goes on a tour of a school in NY, but really, it’s just a ploy for Jen to confront her dad. Joey quickly catches on, and the girls + Jen’s dad (who is just a little too happy and unlike how Jen’s portrayed him that it concerns me) go to dinner at a fancy restaurant. He gives a speech about being in love with NYC like a person and it’s totally creeping me out. It’s like he’s about to kiss Joey. *shivers*

AND OMG JENS DAD LITERALLY SLEPT WITH A 17/18 YEAR OLD GIRL AND JEN SAW IT?!? Lord Licorice help us all. Or just help Jen Lindley. This is exactly why she’s fucked up.

Meanwhile, back in Capeside… Pacey is getting himself into trouble – aka a glimpse of what his life might look like without Joey’s positive influence by his side. Come on Pace. Don’t do this to yourself. You shouldn’t be getting arrest for public drunkeness or hanging out w Drue.

Episode 19

Ok the name of this episode is called Late and my guess is someone – maybe Joey – is pregnant. Or now that I think about it, Gail (Dawson’s mom) hasn’t had the baby yet, so maybe it’s her. Did I mention Dawson’s mom is pregnant? These kids still in their honeymoon phase, I tell ya.

WELL I AM A GENIUS. Joey thinks she’s preggo. Except she can’t talk to Pacey about it because his brother Deputy Doug took him camping to try and talk some sense into him. So she tells Gretchen, which is surprisingly not as awkward as one might that, because despite the fact that she’s mackin on Dawson, she previously revealed that she got pregnant while in college and had a miscarriage, which is why she ended up leaving school and moving back to Capeside.

Dawson and Mitch head up to the tree house in their front yard, clad with cigars, because that’s what you do when you have a new baby. Except Gail hasn’t popped yet. They just look ridiculous in this tree.

Toby, Jack’s almost love interest, gets beat up, and tells Jack he got mugged, but he knows he’s lying and got beat up because he’s gay.

Jen is knitting on a wooden swing what is going on

For the record I think bringing in the character of Gretchen was absolutely brilliant. They needed someone to make Pacey and Joey’s relationship acceptable, especially with Dawson. And Gretchen and Dawson already had a prior friendship started so it was believable. Not to mention that she’s been great to Pacey and Joey and is a don’t of knowledge and maturity that was seriously lacking in their lives before.

Paceeyyyy I’m not approving of all this lying. Yet again he didn’t tell Joey the truth, and even though she knows he’s camping, he just told her that he’s fishing with Dougie.

Oh and Dawson’s mom has the baby – who they name Lillian after Joey’s dead mom. Cue tears.

Notable Quote: “Tell them you fell off your high horse.” Jack to Toby after he was attacked

Episode 20

Well folks, it’s senior prom, so they gotta make this one count. Except the episode is called Promicide, so I don’t think the odds of it going swimmingly is good.

Jack mans up and decides to invite Toby as his date, while Jen, who was perfectly happy going stag, is forced to go with Drue. Jen’s in for a rough night and as soon as I said, “Oh Jennifer” out loud to know one, she pulled a nip/small bottle of alcohol out of her purse. Already off to a bad start.

Poor Pacey – this entire ep is going to be a series of his failures and I’m not emotionally prepared to deal with that. First, he forgets to put the corsages in the fridge, so it’s all dry and shrively, then the janky limo (which actually looks kind of fun and rustic?) appears and it’s not a good sign.

They’re having prom on a boat and I can’t help but think somebody is going to fall off. Is that weird?

Update: Jen almost fell off the most but Pacey might as well have jumped off because he just went OFF on Joey and I literally had to watch with my hands over my face. This isn’t you Pace!

UPDATE NUMBER 2: This is actually the WORST. Pacey and Joey prettyyyyyy much break up and ughhhhh this scene.

Notable Quote: “Pacey, the prom? What are we? in high school?” – Joey “Yeah. We are in high school the last time I checked.” – Pacey, serving up realness.

Episode 21

So this guy at the yacht club that has ties to Worthington met with Joey & Pacey earlier in the season, and now he wants to meet with Pacey again to talk to him about something important. Perhaps it could be some kind of loophole where Pacey can join Joey at college?!?! The problem is that he wants to talk to him at this event and Joey has to bring Pacey as her date – except they’re kind of broken up? Awkward.

Gretchen is planning to move to Boston for a new job, and Dawson just got a crazy idea to move there with her instead of  attending his high school graduation and going to his dream school of USC. But before he gets the chance to run away with her, Gretchen, the only real sensible person on this show, knows he’s not ready for it, and leaves without him. Also, Dawson talking to his sister is actually the cutest. This baby is the cutest.

Jen convinces Grams to move to Boston with her and Jack while they go off to college. “Peace out Capeside. Eat my dust!” (What I imagine Grams yelling as she drives her station wagon at max speed out of the Cape)

Relatedly: Name the brands they were forced to incorporate in this one shot alone:

Ahh Poor Pacey – the Worthington guy offered him a job as his yacht hand for the summer, and not acceptance to college. Wah Wah. But Joey and Pacey decide to literally sleep together one last time before their final break up for reals. Much more peaceful than the prom shenans.

Just did the math and since they graduated in ’01 (which seems like so long ago) that would make them 31 now and that’s a rude awakening. The other day Molly pointed out that this is the 10 year anniversary of Mean Girls – which means we’re closer in age to Ms. Norbury than to the Plastics. So. Not. Grool.

Notable Quote: “Are you sure I wouldn’t cramp your style?” Grams, being the absolute cutest

Episode 22

I am talking to the TV as if he is my friend and I think I need some air or like should leave my room or something because I’m saying ‘Pace’ just like Joey.

Remember how Pacey was on the road to not graduating? Well he’s right on the bubble and needs to pass one final English Lit exam in order to get his diploma. But right before he’s about the take the test, the teacher Mr. Kasden, makes a joke, sending Pacey off the rails saying he’s an idiot and storms out before taking the test. But Kasden, who seems like he’s a meany, is really the only teacher who seems to care in this school, and gives Pacey another chance by going to his house and letting him take the exam. Love how academics still play a part on this show. In Gossip Girl, they never even bothered to show them in college the last couple seasons.

Kasden: Did you study for that final you so dramatically walked out on?

Pacey: I can categorically say that I studied my ass off, sir.

Kasden: Care to prove it?

Pacey: You did hear everything that I had to say in class today, didn’t you?

Kasden: Oh, I did. You’re not an idiot or a punch line. You are why I teach. Those honor students that turn your stomach… they don’t need me. They’re gonna forget me as soon as they walk out the door. But you…

Pacey: I have a funny feeling I’m gonna be telling this story for years to come.

Kasden: And if that should turn out to be the case, please describe me as a strapping, handsome man, possessed of an immense charity and a great, great goodwill.

Pacey: I can do that.

ANDIE!!!!!!! ANDIE IS BACK FROM ITALY!!! She seriously looks like she came back from Italy, tho. I forgot she has to come back and actually graduate. Since she just left to go to Italy after being accepted into Harvard, since that’s a thing you can do IRL. She has a lovely reunion with Pacey and their friendship is really precious. He tells her about the yacht offer and she’s the first person he tells about officially being a college graduate. Why? Because she was the first person that believed in him. Cue the happy tears.

The principal (Harry Shearer) catches Jen and Drue pulling some pranks on his house and as punishment he makes them listen to him “play” the cello. What in the actual fuck.

Okay, as much as I hate this Pacey/Joey breakup, this finding themselves thing is smart. Their final goodbye includes Pacey saying, “I should probably go off and live my own life for a little while. That certainly doesn’t mean that this is how I want it to end between us. So hypothetically speaking… if I were lucky enough one day to find myself owning a sailboat again, and I were to ask the woman that I love to go sailing with me… would she?”

Joey answers, “You wouldn’t have to ask, Pace.”

IF THIS SERIES FINALE DOESN’T END WITH THEM SAILING OFF ON A BOAT CALLED TRUE LOVE 2 I S2G

Joey got something called the ‘Pinnacle Award’, which means she has to give a speech at graduation.

And then the sprinklers go off because Drue finally pulled his last prank. Also the music on this show has turned from 90s pop to 90s Lilith fair indie music what happened?

Notable Quote: “Is this a hat you really want to be wearing when you know people are going to be taking pictures?” THANK YOU DAWSON. GRADUATION CAPS ARE STUPID.

“I can assure you that security will be tighter than Ricky Martin’s pants.”  Prinipal Peskin, trying to be relevant.

Episode 23

The final episode of season three fast fowards to the end of the summer, where the gang is preparing to say goodbye. Legit all this entire episode is is basically Joey & Dawson trying to say a proper goodbye to each other.

Meanwhile, Pacey, now an official sailor in the Caribbean, has become Rastafarian and the shirts finally work for him. He calls Dawson, briefly asks how Joey is doing, but mainly wants to say that he only regrets not saying goodbye to him before he left on his sailor mission. Dawson says he’s proud of Pacey and I can’t help but wonder if this is really a conversation two 18 year old boy-men would have over the phone? IDK anything about teenage boys, which I guess, is a good thing?

I will say this show is really good at continuity and throwbacks. Example: this episode is called Coda, or an ending. I won’t bore you with the specifics if you’re not musically theory inclined, but the whole idea of a Coda or if there’s a DS al Coda, it means once you get to the end (the Coda sign), you go back to the Dal Segno sign towards the beginning and end at the Coda.

Anyways, it’s basically a great metaphor for what Dawson and Joey go through in this episode. They watch E.T. together on his bed, just like in the first season. Daydream Believer, the song they used to sing together at Aunt Julie Bowen’s house together, is played in the background. It’s like they’re nearing the Coda sign and are making their way back to the beginning.

Joey tells Dawson he should stay on the east coast and not go to LA for school. And really, if she had told him this earlier, he would have stayed. Just for her. But he insists this chapter of his life in Capeside is over. But then it happens – and I know what’s going to happen and it doesn’t mean I agree with it – but they kiss. And that continuity thing, yeah, the writers/director legit recreated shot by shot the first season finale with Dawson & Joey kissing, while the shot pulls away from Dawson’s house showing only their shilouettes in the window.  And I literally said out loud, ‘No don’t do it no NO NO.”

Notable Quote: “You’re either a Mac person or a PC person and that choice defines you.” Mitch predicting the Mac vs. PC commercials

“You know this sucks a lot more than I remembered it.” Dawson, about the horrible horror film they made back in the pilot.

“I can’t swear to you that I’ll never try some variety of narcotic, but I can promise you I’ll never get so strung out I steal your TV.” Dawson, again, being so specific about his hypothetical life choices.

Season 4, arguably my favorite season so far, has come to a close. Will Dawson stay in Capeside or follow his dreams of becoming a bigshot director in LA? Does this kiss mean they’ll start a relationship again? Will Pacey come back from being a sailor, more importantly, will he have dreads? Will Grams, Jack and Jen form some kind of warped Animal House in Boston? Tune in next month to find out!

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How Normcore Are You?

Normcore is the movement or trend or – thing, I guess? – rejecting hipsterishness and “opt[ing] into sameness” (thanks, Wikipedia!). Yeah. But what does that really MEAN? I read the NY Mag piece about it, but that didn’t help much.

  • Is it still hipsters liking things ironically, but now it’s ironic fleeces and sneakers instead of trilbys and mustaches? Mustaches HAVE been coopted by the Pinterest Industrial Complex, after all…
  • Is it because all of the cool 70s – 90s clothes have been cleared out of thrift stores, leaving Gap hoodies and Adidas windpants for the too-cool masses?
  • Is it a more realistic version of 90s nostalgia? It is basically the stuff that adults wore from 1996 – 1998. The style of Seinfeld, if you will.
  • Is it a non-sexist version of “Basic Bitch”?
  • Is it just regular people wearing normal clothes, turned into a “movement” because a journalist had an early Monday deadline for a trend piece?

I’ll be damned if I know. As we said about “ratchet,” normcore cannot be seen or heard, but must be felt with the heart (™ Helen Keller). Here’s the best Am I Normcore self-test I can come up with.


 Do you own khakis?

KHAKIS!

No: 0 points
Yes: Do you need them for work?

If yes: 1 point

If no: 2 points


Do you own a fleece?

No: 0 points

 Yes: Is it necessary for outdoor activities, e.g. hiking?

If Yes: Hiking? That’s pretty normcore. 2 points.

If No: Do you refer to your fleece as “my North Face” or possibly “the Columbia?”

If Yes: 1 point. You are possibly a college girl in a windy climate, or were in the near past.

If No: 2 points. Normie.


You are walking around the city all day. What is on your feet?

Heels: 0 points

Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a man): 1 point

Men’s Dress Shoes (I identify as a woman): 0 points

Women’s Flats (I identify as a woman): 1 point

Women’s Flats (I identify as a man): 0 points (strictly because I’m pretty sure the gender binary is normcore)

Canvas sneakers, converse, old-timey high tops, etc: 1 point

Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in color: 2 points

Sneakers (the cushiony kind, with ankle support) in black or white: 5 points (Are they Reeboks? Give yourself another point, Norm-an Bates!)


Betsy or Tacy?

Betsy: 0 points

Tacy: 1 point

… Huh?: You’re dead to me.

You know what? Tib, actually: 2 points


Pick an Olsen Sister:

Two Of A Kind: Definitely the Olsen’s normcore phase. Or was 1998 just the world’s normcore phase?

Mary-Kate: 2 points

Ashley: 3 points

Elizabeth: 0 points

Nellie: Zero points, but let’s hang out.


Pick a type of bagel

 

 

…. Are you doing it?

 

 

….Do you have it yet?

 

Any kind of bagel: 2 points. Bagels are so NORMCORE.

Donuts: Cute. That’s cute. You get 1 point. On one hand, donuts are more normcore than bagels. I guess. On the other, you lose normcore cred because a real normal person would have answered the question.

I don’t know: 0 points. Also you couldn’t come up with a SINGLE kind of bagel? You’ll never be normcore if you insist on being this weird!


You’re getting married! What would be a really good wedding song?

At Last: 1 point. You are basically more normal than normcore.

First Day Of My Life: 0 points. You are clearly normal, maybe trying to seem slightly less normal.

You Make My Dreams Come True: 3 points. What says “I like ordinary things?” better than carefully-selected Hall & Oates tunes?

You probably wouldn’t have heard of it: 0 points. You passed normcore and went straight to hipster. Congrats?


Let’s talk about your cake topper:

Traditional man/woman, man/man, or woman/woman cake topper: 2 points. Nobody has those anymore unless they are specifically trying to choose middle of the road-y things.

Lady dragging husband down the aisle, reeling in husband, chaining ball to his foot, etc: 0 points. Let’s all try to be better than this. But you probably aren’t normcore, just misguided.

Well, I saw this thing on Pinterest…: 1 point. You might be normcore, but you’re probably just normal.


Bangs Or No Bangs:

Bangs: 0 points

No Bangs: 1 point

Do you mean like on me, or just sort of generally?: I don’t know. Have a point.


You have a cat. Where did you get the cat?

From a shelter: 2 points

It was outside: 1 point

I knew someone getting rid of the cat: 3 points

A way that was super on-purpose (breeder, e.g.): 4 points. Anyone who tries to get a cat is almost putting effort into seeming normal. And isn’t that what normcore is all about?


Congrats, you have a baby! You got married and adopted a cat, what did you really think would be next? Name that baby! (It’s a girl):

Something like Emma or Sophia or Isabella: 0 points. Normal, not normcore.

Something like Louisa or Harriet or Jane: 3 points. You intentionally choose the standard over the non-standard — even when the “standard” may also be less popular.

Something like Dorothy or Edith or Mabel: 2 points. Picking an old-lady name says “hey, I’m being a bit different here!”, but picking one that everyone has heard says “… but let’s not go crazy, now.”

Something like Morningflower or Thessalonia: 1 point. The names aren’t normcore, but they’re so different that I could see you getting real into, you know, cultural movements.


Okay, add ’em up, everybody! Ready:

20 – 30 points: You’re not normcore. You’re just normal.

10 – 20 points: You might be normcore – there are some indications that you aren’t all the way normal. But you might just be a little bit normal, a little bit not. Consult a doctor you trust for further evaluation.

0- 10 points: You’re not normcore. But you might be a hipster. Maybe.

Study Abroad: A Lesson in Jumping In

In the spring of 2006, I went through the rite of passage that many college students go through, which was to study abroad. The college I went to had an especially unique one in the Netherlands located about two hours southeast from Amsterdam in a small town called Well. In my head, I pictured it to be all Stars Hollow-like, since there was one main street, where the bakery, grocery store, restaurant/bar, and school were all on the same stretch of road, and only about 2,500 residents. Why Well? WELL, it’s because it’s where our European campus was located. See below:

Yes, that’s a castle. Yes, that’s a moat. Not pictured: a second outer moat. Welcome to Kasteel Well – the 14th century castle where approximately 75 to 80 students called home for about four months. This is where we slept, ate, and even took classes, which were mostly taught by European professors. We took said classes Monday through Thursday, and Friday through Sunday were designated as travel days. Throughout my time there, I went to 12 different countries (including Spain to visit Molly where she was studying at the same time!) and was lucky enough to see all these places and landmarks I may never see again in my lifetime.

In full disclosure, I could talk all day about my time at the Castle, but I’ll try to keep it at a minimum for this post. Looking back on that experience, it almost seems surreal. I mean how fortunate and crazy were we as 20 year olds to roam around Europe on our own and discover cultures and lands much different than we were used to? Not to mention the whole living in a castle factor, which already seems like a made up thing. Peacocks! Did I mention we had pet peacocks!?

Castle

Going into that semester, I didn’t really know anyone going. I mean I had a couple acquaintances going but some people were going with their best friends. This terrified me. I dug up my LiveJournal (yes, ‘dug up’, and yes, my LiveJournal) entry from a couple days before I left for the Netherlands. And because we’re friends now, I’m going to share that entry from 19-year-old Traci with you:

08:32 pm 1/11/06

jump in
I leave for the netherlands in approximately 46 hours …
i do this thing where i put off thinking about something big that’s going to happen in my life because i don’t want to face reality if i don’t think i can handle it.
i’m excited about getting to see new places and new people, new cultures. but it still worries me that i won’t make friends in the process. you can tell me over and over again that i’m going to have a great time and that i will make friends, but i’m just so scared about it. when i look at the people going to the castle, all i see is cliques and groups of friends, and me trying to fit in and be a part of theirs.
i’m scared of living in europe for 3 and a half months, and not having anyone to travel with. i’m just scared overall.
but of course i’m not thinking about it.

You know how people ask, ‘what would you tell your younger self?’ My answer to that in this particular situation is… nothing. I wouldn’t say anything. I needed that sense of fright in me. I think I would be more worried if I WASN’T scared of leaving everything I knew to be familiar for 4 months and diving into a foreign country with no one I knew.

I can’t pinpoint an exact moment in that semester when it happened, but the day I returned to the States, April 27th, 2006, I felt something was different within me. Maybe it’s that I had to quickly learn how to go into the world and fend for myself. Maybe it’s that I was able to come across so many people from different walks of life and realized that there is so much more than the bubble we live in each day. Maybe it’s the unexpected (lifelong) friendships I made with people that share that magical time in our lives together. Maybe it was the reverse culture shock – it is REAL y’all. If you’ve never experienced it, it’s nearly impossible to explain. I remember having a particularly hard time coming back to my friends in Boston. All I knew was that I was so so so happy to see them and be in their presence once again, but I didn’t feel like the same person they were friends with 4 months ago. Whatever it was, I knew I was forever changed because of it.

So here we are, eight years later and to this day, deciding to go to the Castle is one of (if not the biggest) game-changers in my life. I can honestly say I’m not sure I would be living the life I had now if I didn’t go the Castle. To mark that day we came back from a semester of living worldly lives, our core group of castle girls decided to celebrate our ‘Castleversary’ each year. I believe the first anniversary involved a sleep over, temp tatts, and painting picture frames (because we had since become mature adults). Now that four out of the six of us live in LA, we’ve been celebrating our own Castleversary with mini-adventures in the city – which just happens to be this weekend.

While we ‘hit the town’ and celebrate our general eternal love for each other, I am reminded of the countless memories we made all over Europe, the late-night train rides, the getting lost and not really being worried about it, the meeting of strangers who would seem like old friends, and how the fear I had going into the whole experience was completely warranted. What’s that quote? “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Studying abroad is not something you go into with complete confidence. It’s daunting and unfamiliar, but in the end it’s all worth it. Whether you’re thinking about doing a similar program in college or if you’re a grown ass person who is stuck in a rut, the same message rings true for all – what are you waiting for? Be excited. Be scared. Jump in.

“For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with. All the great travel books are love stories, by some reckoning — from the Odyssey and the Aeneid to the Divine Comedy and the New Testament — and all good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder.”

Pico Iyer, “Why We Travel

Woman Crush Wednesday: Kerry Washington

Let’s be honest. Do I really need to explain why Kerry Washington is our Woman Crush on this Wednesday (and everyday, TBH)? Since Scandal has left us hanging by the thread of Olivia’s white coat after last week’s finale, I figured us Gladiators can get our mini-Kerry fix this week with a love letter to the woman in the white hat herself.

From her early beginnings as the annoying sister (who has a soft spot for true love) in Save the Last Dance, to a D.C. fixer who has a penchant for red wine and jam (not necessarily together) on #Scandal, Kerry has captured our hearts with her superior acting, but moreover with her beauty and grace. Here are just a few more reasons why we think this momma-to-be is the bee’s knees.

She’s No Dummy

I feel like there are two types of actors. The kind that dropped out of school to chase after their dream of making it big, and the ones that were always at or near the top of their class, most likely a graduate of some kind of drama school like Yale/NYU/Julliard etc. Kerry falls into the latter group. After attending one of the best prep schools in America, she went to George Washington University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in anthropology and sociology. I mean, whoa. I can barely even tell you what anthropology is besides the incorrect spelling of an overpriced clothing store I KID, I KID. Needless to say, she’s got brains to back her beauty. What do you expect when your mother is a professor and educational consultant?

Her intelligence is apparent in her various philanthropic and political extracurriculars, such as serving as a board member for The Creative Coalition and a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Kerry is also on the board for the organization V-Day, which is dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. And since Barry O selected her to the Arts committee, it’s no wonder she’s supported him all through his term, even speaking at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She may be an actress, but you can tell she’s not just there for the publicity – you can feel her passion for the cause.

She’s Inspirational

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relatedly, Kerry doesn’t seem like one to ever phone it in. Everything she says, she says it with purpose, with thought behind it. If she has an opinion, she means it. If gives praises to a co-star, she’s not saying it to be in their good graces, it’s because she actually likes being around that person. When she talks about an issue that’s close to her heart or a message she wants to get across, it’s because she truly believes in it. Kerry has a certain confidence and grace that all women should aspire to have. But let’s be clear, I’m not saying we should be more like Kerry. I’m saying be inspired by Kerry and be the best you you can be. Carry yourself with your own grace and confidence and maybe you might just be able to inspire others too.

She’s a Fashion Darling

Believe it or not, Kerry wasn’t always the red carpet stunner that we know and love today. Exhibit A: She legit wore an “I ❤ NY” tee to an event. Bless. In her defense, it was 2001. But over the years, she’s come to embrace and love fashion. Being the life-long student that she is, Kerry admitted that she took it upon herself to earn a degree in ‘red carpet style’, and studied it like it was her job. Literally.

“OK, I’m going to admit this: There were a couple of actresses whom I felt were having the upper hand career-wise — because they knew how to work that red carpet. I was like, ‘I’m missing a really important tool. If I am the CEO of the Kerry Washington Corporation, my marketing department is really lax.’ So I sort of developed a new character: Red-Carpet Kerry. And I researched her like any other character. I actually called Tracee Ellis Ross, who’s a good friend, and literally asked, ‘How do you pronounce Hermès?’ Red-Carpet Kerry needed to know.” {x}

See – girl is no dummy. To prove her faux degree paid off, here are just some of my favorite looks from KW over the years.

Stella McCartney – 2013 Project Runway finale @ New York Fashion week

Marc by Marc Jacobs – 2013 ABC Upfronts (and WERKing it)

Michael Kors – 2013 MTV Movie Awards (To this day, probably my favorite look of hers ever. I dream in color block)

Giambattista Valli – 2013 TCA Summer Press Tour (seriously, how are you so beautiful)

Oscar de la Renta – 2013 NAACP Image Awards (yet another one of my faves)

Louis Vuitton – 2013 Django Unchained Photocall in Berlin. (I’m in a super violent Tarantino film, but look how adorbs and mod I am! LOOK AT MY BOW HEADBAND!!!!!)

Miu Miu – 2013 Golden Globes (Remember when Kerry first got these bangs and she looks wicked fierce? Yeah.)

Giles – 2013 Django Unchained Premiere in London (Move over bitches, there’s a new A-lister in town and her name rhymes with Shmerry)

Miu Miu – 2013 Oscars

Vince Camuto – 2013 Variety’s 5th Annual Power of Women Luncheon

Prada – 2014 SAG Awards (Sometimes when I feel like shit in an outfit, I remember that KW wore a crop top to one of the most important industry awards shows WHILST PREGGO and I feel better about my life choices)

She’s FUNNY, Y’all!

So we know she can handle dramas, but we’ve never really seen her do comedy. However the moment she was announced as a host for Saturday Night Live last year, I knew she was going to kill it. And she did not disappoint. Sometimes it’s really frustrating as a fan of both the host and SNL to see good talent go to waste on bad sketches – but this was NOT the case with Kerry’s episode. Every single sketch was hilarious, so much so that I still have it on my DVR. If you can’t find it online, you’re welcome to come to my place and we can fangirl over Kerry together.

She’s loved by everyone she works with

Like we’ve done with Amy Poehler and Tatiana Maslany previously, a good indication of a person’s character is judged by what their friends and peers say about them.

“I root for Kerry. She’s got a fantastic show, Scandal. What’s amazing about her – the evolution of Kerry Washington to play the woman she plays in Django and then to see her play this beautiful woman taking care of business on Scandal, it’s amazing.” Jamie Foxx {x}

“On a personal level there’s never been a better friend. But on the, like, at work, because Number One sets the tone of everything. I don’t even know how to quantify to you how thoughtful Kerry Washington is. I mean she will call you, text you from Italy on a press tour, to make sure you have shoes to wear to a luncheon. Or, you know, cause these moments are so new to most of us in the cast and it’s great we get to meet them together as a family. But Kerry’s always there to make sure that we’re okay. She always checks in, before you even know that you need to be checked in on, you know, she’s like “so how are you with…?” She’s got the biggest heart. There’s no one, possibly ever, as committed as she is. I mean she is your tireless cheerleader. She works from 3 in the morning ’til 11 o’clock at night. She’s happy and she’s there for you and she cheerleads like you- You can hear her screaming “I LOVE MY JOB!” down the hall. Tiny little person, very loud. But yeah, we’re all lucky that we get to do this job at all. My family of people is lucky because the project is so amazing and because we’re all grateful people. But to have her be the jewel in this crown is the biggest blessing of all.” Bellamy Young {x}

“Three words to describe Kerry Washington: Grace, Beauty, Brilliance… Times a million!” Katie Lowes {x}

“Kerry is an incredibly intelligent, politically minded, hilariously funny, warm person. I’m one of her biggest fans. As a human being and as an actress.” Dan Bucatinsky {x}

“So graceful, really really lovely, terrific human being. And she manages to look amazing on every red carpet she steps on to.” (Scandal Executive Producer) Betsy Beers {x}

“We’re proud of her talent and enjoy getting to work with her and have a wonderful collaboration and she’s an amazing person.” Shonda Rhimes {x}

“I had really been dying to work with Kerry Washington. We knew each other a bit, I really loved her as a person, and I was such a huge admirer of her work. When I heard the combination of Shonda and Kerry, I thought, OK, this is going to be interesting…  Kerry and I just have this subliminal connection as people and as actors, which contributes to our physical chemistry on-screen together. She is – in addition to being one of the best actresses in America- an extraordinary team leader on our show. She approaches her work with this ferocious enthusiasm and work ethic that’s not at all self-serious. She sets an example for all of us of how to be fun and work hard. So working with her is just—you’re always challenged by her and inspired. With some actors, you end up talking about the scenes, figuring it out. Kerry and I never have to talk about anything. We always seem to be coming from the same place, and both of us are actors who tend to throw ourselves into whatever we’re doing. We just really trust each other, and it’s always thrilling, I think.” Tony Goldwyn {x}

“I #CelebrateKerry because her assistant called my agent and told me to do so.” Josh Malina, all around jokester {x}

Coachella 2014 Fashion Wrap-Up

Pull out your 90s jumpers and flower crowns. Lace up your Doc Martens. Grab your dry shampoo, but probably leave that Hipster Indian Headdress at home (it’s kinda offensive, you know?). It’s Coachella season!

The festival is over now, but don’t worry — the two weekends of Coachella 2014 provided enough fashion inspiration – and fashion WTF-ery – to last us the whole year.

Beyonce and Solange

Confession: Although “What Would Beyonce Do?” (along with “How would Beyonce feel about this?” and “What would Beyonce get on her sandwich?”) is the driving question that gets me through my days, style-wise I’m kind of obsessed with little sister Solange. She wears fun prints and boho pieces because screw it, she’s not Beyonce. And her natural hair is to die for.

Coachella is pretty casual, and that means that Queen Bey wasn’t going to wear a bedazzled leotard (on second thought, bedazzled leotards DO sound sort of Coachella). Instead, she was getting her inner Solange on. How fun was it to see these sisters hanging out together, making music, and looking flipping amazing? Beyonce’s purple shift is like a 2010s reboot of the 90s tribute to the 60s mod look (you following?) – and I would gladly trade in half of my wardrobe for Solange’s orange romper. I don’t have children yet, which is good because I would also probably trade my firstborn to have Knowles DNA (or at least that hair).

Haim

Speaking of sisters that make me want to sort out exactly what sort of nature/nurture combo made them so damn cool: HAIM. Este, Alana and Danielle are three twenty-something sisters whose sound is like En Vogue meets Wilson Phillips meets Fleetwood Mac, which means you should be listening to them if you aren’t already. No surprise that their Coachella style was completely on-point. The great thing is that their set was so energetic* that I could hardly find a shot of all three of them on stage. The mesh-knit sweater and especially that cutout dress are amazing, though a week later I’m sure they have some really weird tan lines.

* The full set was online but it’s been taken down now for copyright/IP reasons. On behalf of lawyers everywhere, I’m sorry, we’re the worst.

Jared Leto

How is it possible to have had a 20-year-long crush on Jared Leto? Aren’t I still only like 21? But seriously, I remember that every time I would sneak-read my sister’s Seventeen magazines as a kid – the jig is up now, sorry! – they were always talking about Jared ‘Jordan Catalano’ Leto. The man holds up well.

So, elephant (zebra) in the room (pants): yeah, those are zebra pants. It’s Coachella, which is like Hipster Halloween. But Leto isn’t about the clothes, he’s about the hair, and isn’t it beautiful? He looks like a freaking Haim sister. I’m just saying, if they all collabed on some gloss spray or a leave-in conditioner, I’d probably buy it.

Katy Perry

As I said: Hipster Halloween. Except for the offensive stuff, you can’t really criticize Coachella fashion – it’s supposed to be a bit wacky. It’s just that this reminds me of all of the parts of 90s style I’m not ready to see again, from the Manic Panic hair to the black socks to the DIY’ed weird-fitting dress. But I cannot blame Perry at all for taking her chance to wear something you couldn’t get away with anywhere else – I’d do it too.

Ellie Goulding

The good: this is a really non-Ellie-Goulding look, and Coachella is all about trying new things! And if the weirdest new thing you’re trying is a fashion risk, you’re probably going to make it through the weekend. I’m into all of the cutouts we’re seeing, tanlines aside, and the cape thing is kind of Stevie Nicks.

The bad: the first thing I thought when I saw this was “S&M diaper.” Then I realized that that probably exists. Then I thought about what that observation is going to do to our Google traffic.

Kate Nash

First of all, Kate Nash is so cool. Made Of Bricks was the soundtrack to getting ready to go out or lounging around in the morning when I was in college. Seven (what???) years later, she’s still just as awesome and her newish album Girl Talk is even better. Nash always had a sort of girl-next-door look, so I was surprised to see this Coachella get-up, like when you’d see someone after summer vacation in high school and they’d gone from prep to goth. Then I was immediately unsurprised, because Coachella’s tagline is basically “I Wear What I Want.” Nash’s whole band was in pink too, so it was sort of a fun glam-rock-y thing.

Lorde

A little bit Haim, a little bit Kate Nash. Lorde started her set in a gold lame cape/gown getup, but switched to a casual crop top and harem pants thing. Should we even still say harem pants? That’s probably as bad as “wife beater” shirts.  Whatever you call them, I love these fun baggy pants Lorde has been showing up in lately. Remember: even if you subscribe to old-timey fashion rules about wearing white, it’s already after Memorial Day in New Zealand (uhhh…. is that how that works?).

Pharrell

I thought maybe Coachella would be when Pharrell would bust out some sort of Abraham Lincoln stovepipe hat or a sailor cap, but I gather that he bought a lot of these Arby’s hats wholesale and now dammit, he’s going to wear them. Please note the obligatory hipster scarf, which is probably a utilitarian measure at Coachella – keeps the sand out of your mouth and eyes.  I sort of love that his shorts remind me of something that I would have rocked as a little girl in the early 90s.

Justin Bieber

A head that appears to be facing backwards on his body, like a twerpy male version of the girl from the Exorcist. Cutoff sweat-shorts. A friggin bucket hat.

Justin Bieber would, everybody.

Vanessa Hudgens

If a non-Indian person wears a bindi in the desert, and there’s nobody there to photograph it, is it still culturally appropriative?

(Yes.)

The pink tipped hair is fun though.

Chvrches (/Lauren Mayberry)

Chvrches is a really fun band -they were one of my picks on our songs of the summer playlist last year, but I think this year it might really happen. Lauren Mayberry is, in addition to being a solid musician, somebody you should be listening to off-stage as well.

But this is a fashion post, so I’m going to say it: Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches has the best bangs in the music industry. If my bangs looked like this, I wouldn’t be living in a 27-year cycle of having bangs, growing them out because they never look right, cutting them again, and growing out, etc.

Kid Cudi

My life in crop tops:

Age 5: My brothers’ shady little league coach always wears crop tops. I distinctly remember playing on the dirt pile, watching him walk by and wondering whether the shirt was meant for somebody my size.

Age 15: I say screw it, I’m going to wear a crop top; I feel really skanky about it but if you can’t wear it when you’re 15, when?

Age 25: I wonder if the return of the crop top means I’M supposed to be wearing them; am relieved that I’m old enough that it’s probably not expected of me.

Age 27: Kid Cudi in a crop top at Coachella. It is like my whole life has been leading up to this moment.

See that look of unadulterated glee on Kid Cudi’s face? That is the expression of a grown man who knows that he is successfully pulling off a male crop-top and skinny shorts. Bravo, mister.

Lana Del Rey

I waffle between loving this and thinking it looks too lounge-y. Is Hawaiian print  quite ready for a comeback? It reminds me of being in junior high in 1999 and coveting the items in the Delia’s catalog, and surely that wasn’t THAT long ago.

But when you get down to it, it seems like Lana feels comfortable and happy, and with her crazy-enviable hair, she looks great. Plus it’s fun to see some bright color out there instead of drab summertime sadness-y getups.

Regular Non-Famous Humans In The Crowd

A few of the Coachella staples were on hand, and these looks were sported by the famous and non-famous alike:

Flower crowns: the more bohemian, less offensive alternative to the hipster headdress of a few years ago. I approve.

Hats: Because you’re in the freaking desert.

90s style: How am I old enough for this to be happening??? Basically just dress like if Clarissa Darling went to a music festival.

Somewhere between west coast grunge and Tragic Kingdom-era Gwen Stefani?

Message T’s

I never thought about Rita Ora one way or the other, but wearing this to troll the kiddos at Coachella makes me love her a bit.

Neon: Make Kelly Kapowski proud (Why are all my fashion refs two decades old?)

Native American inspiration (/appropriation?): Proof that white people shouldn’t have nice things

There were a few other trends on hand too: lots of denim shorts, floral print, and heavily tatooed people among them.

In addition, when sorting through the lineup of performers I thought that about 6 of the more unknown men were Macklemore.

None of them was Macklemore.

 

We Own The Finish Line

Monday, April 15th, 2013: A day that will be remembered as one of the most tragic in the city of Boston.

Monday, April 21st, 2014: A day that will be remembered as a testament of courage, strength, and perseverance by the people of Boston.

Boston Red Sox Victory Parade

Before writing this post, I sat at my computer staring at a blank page for almost an hour, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say about the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. I knew I wanted to talk about it in some fashion, but I was at a loss. We try to keep things lighthearted on our blog, but the events last year didn’t stop us from writing about it (x,x).

As I look back at how devastating that day was, I remembered how I couldn’t stop watching the news play out like a movie as police put the city on lockdown and searched for the college-kid bomber, and how I had a weird unsettling feeling in the weeks after, and how my mind kept going back to one thing: how incredibly proud I was to see the people of Boston, a city I used to (and still do) call home, come together as one resilient unit.

We all know that immediately after the bombs went off, there were people who ran towards the site to help injured victims, as opposed to running in the opposite direction. First responders, police officers, marathon volunteers, even those who were running the race stopped to take care of strangers. This was just the first of many examples of courage and kindness to come out of a horrible event.

In the hours, days and weeks that followed, stories of heroism and love came to light, like cowboy-hat wearing Carlos Arredondo, whose instinct to run towards survivor Jeff Bauman and stay with him until he received help after losing two legs -and that image became one of the most memorable moments captured from that day; editors at Boston Magazine created a simple yet powerful image of running shoes from those who participated in the marathon and gave them a chance to share their own personal stories from that day; and even this makeshift memorial that was created right after it happened. A usually bustling Boylston Street (where it all went down) was still closed off, but people still came by to show their respects.

Nearly a month after that fateful day, I returned to Boston to attend my friends’ wedding – one of whom had been running the marathon but finished well before the bombs went off. This memorial was moved a few blocks down to an area just a stone’s throw away from the finish line, and also happened to be an area where I used to walk across every day to get to work. The familiar setting paired with an unsettling yet powerful tribute was like a feeling I’ve never had before. Of sadness and grief, but also pride for what this city has done to show their support.

Prior to living in Boston, I had no idea that A) the Boston Marathon was such a huge deal B) Patriots’ Day, the day of the Marathon, is a state holiday in which there’s no school, and usually no work for the adults. People flock to the course to watch people run by. The marathon has always been unique in that the course goes through a ton of residential areas, where people will sit on the sidelines and cheer people on – whether they know them or not. And I can’t help but think this year, the sidewalks will be filled with more people than ever before. It is that kind of support that is so overwhelming it brings tears to my eyes. So often we get caught up in being negative and frustrated with people who make us mad every single day, but in the end, we have to remember that we’re all in this together. That’s all we can do – stand together. Every single person who was there to physically help at the finish line, every doctor, nurse, every person who donated money to the One Fund, proved that the city of Boston isn’t just made of individuals, it’s a city that can come together even in the darkest of times and still find a way to take charge and go into the light.

Boston proved that the only way to combat this hateful crime wasn’t with waging war – it was by showing that a trying time only brings them together, forces them to be stronger, more resilient than ever before.

Celeste Corcoran became a double amputee after the bombings. She’s spent the past year learning how to walk again and determined to stay strong on her own two feet in the face of something so tragic. Through the Dear World project, Celeste, along with her daughter Sydney who severed a femoral artery in the blast, were able to return to the finish line a few weeks ago, stronger than ever before.

She said, “I had never been back, and this was about reclaiming it. That finish line has been a negative space since the marathon. This was about reclaiming that space in a positive way. I chose to be there. I took back control.”

And that’s exactly what the people of Boston and thousands more will do on Patriots’ Day – take back control. Boston isn’t a city to easily back down. I think that reputation precedes them. After the bombings, it’s hard to imagine anything that will rattle Boston and its people. It’s a city that is so incredibly loved by the residents and exudes so much pride that it’s contagious the moment you enter the city limits. It’s a character of its own and that character will never concede, never show signs of defeat, never waver in the face of adversity. I mean this is a town where the Boston Red Sox, seemingly the soul of the city, had to endure an 86 year wait for a World Series championship. And season after season, the fans said, ‘we’ll get ’em next year’. It’s about staying strong, Boston Strong.

During a tribute held last week, hundreds of survivors and first responders gathered to pay tribute to the lives lost and the ones who made it out with heads held high. Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech that pretty much summed up the whole spirit of the city, that will be carried on this Patriots’ Day and every one from now on:

“We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome … and we own the finish line.”

Old School Loves

Lena Dunham recently did an interview with Grantland in which she talks about one of her favorite Tumblrs, called Old Loves. The site contains photos of celebrities who used to date – most of whom are couples that most of us forgot about (Or just really amazing pictures of couples that used to be. RIP Brit +JT). This is what happened when she recently perused

“The craziest thing that ever happened to me, was like, Old Loves is my passion, I check it like once a week. It’s how I kick back on like a Friday night … And I was going through it and I saw my boyfriend and his girlfriend from high school. I know I shouldn’t spill that in a public forum, but you can Google it… She’s beautiful, he’s beautiful, but it was just so surreal to be looking through this blog that gives me so much pleasure and then there’s my boyfriend. And I was like, ‘My mind is going to explode.'”

So this is the picture Lena came across featuring her fun. BF Jack Antonoff…

Yup. That’s a young Scarlett Johansson. They both went to the Professional Children’s School in New York City and apparently dated from 2001 until 2002. And then she got super famous and he wrote a song called Better Love, accusing her of letting the fame get to her head. Woof.

I explored the site for myself and found some gems that are on the same level (or better) of “WTF, THEY DATED?!” as Scarlett + Jack. Are there any on this list that blew your mind as much as it did mine??

David Arquette + Drew Barrymore, 1991

These two were teenagers when they first hooked up and dated in 1991, and eight years later, he played brother Rob to her Josie Geller in Never Been Kissed. You know who has been kissed? Those fake siblings. Josie Grossie indeed.

Charlie Sheen + Kelly Preston, 1989

Long before Charlie Sheen was WINNING Charlie Sheen, he was engaged to a young Kelly Preston pre-Travolta. Allegedly there was a rumor going around that he accidentally shot her in the arm (sidenote: holy crap I never knew this story!). Charlie tells this story that basically this revolver he used to carry in his pants pocket accidentally went off when she picked up his jeans, and the shrapnel hit her arm, thus causing her to bleed. What. TIGER BLOOD, Y’ALL.

Alyssa Milano + Scott Wolf, 1995

Alyssa and Scott met on the set of their 1993 movie Double Dragon, and they immediately knew they’d get married to each other. Scott literally said “People get all oogily around us.” Gag me with a spoon. But he also said, “You can interview us 25 years from now – and we’ll prove we’re not just another couple who met on a movie set.” Ok guys, 2018 – make sure someone from People contacts them for a follow-up interview.

Heath Graham + James Woods, 1992

Heather and James first met while she was studying at UCLA, and then later went on to film the movie Diggstown together, but according to James, they spent “every day together for a year”. But the start to an end was when he basically admitted he was only dating her because she was blonde and had big boobs. What a skeeze. Oh and if you can’t tell from this picture, there is a 23 year age different between them.

Connie Britton + Nathan Fillion, 1997

I couldn’t exactly find evidence these two dated, but they did attend the 1997 Emmy Awards together, as seen from this pic. They were in Spin City together, but did romance happen offscreen too? We’ll probably never know, y’all.

Geri Halliwell + Jerry O’Connell, 2003

Jerry spiced up his life with a blonde Ginger, but this romance didn’t last long…

Guliana Rancic + Jerry O’Connell, 2003

Because he quickly moved on to dating E! News host Giuliana Rancic (nee, DePandi at the time). In fact she was dating Jerry when she first met her hubs Bill Rancic, and Jerry kind of had a weird prophecy about their romance. Bill said, “I was at NBC up fronts promoting The Apprentice. O’Connell was on an NBC show, and he jokingly said, ‘I’d introduce you to my girlfriend but I’m afraid the two of you would run off together.’ ” And they lived happily ever after

 

Linda Blair + Rick James, 1982

First of all, how disturbing is this picture??? Rick wrote his song Cold Blooded about his lady love, but his drug abuse problems were too much for Linda to handle, so she broke it off.

Brad Pitt + Christina Applegate, 1989

Christina met Brad when she was 16, as they had the same group of friends. This pic was taken when she brought him as her date to the MTV Movie Awards – except she ended up ditching Brad that night to leave with another guy!!! Poor choices.

Sofia Coppola + Keanu Reeves, 1992

Keaunu met Sofia when her father, Frances Ford Coppola directed him in the film Dracula. Hm. Good thing he already had the part before they started dating.

 Molly Ringwald + Adam Horovitz, 1987

No one really knows exactly how long the 80s starlet and 80s rapper dated, but per interviews in which he talked about her, their romance lasted about a year. This couple seems unlikely, but the more I think about it, the more it reminds me of a Claire/Bender relationship a la Breakfast Club. Opposites attract?

Matt Damon + Skylar Satenstein

Okay, so the woman holding Matt Damon’s hand is Skylar Satenstein, who isn’t a celebrity on her own, but definitely has been linked to some high profile names. Matt and Skylar dated while he was at Harvard, and she was an emergency medical physician. In fact she was the inspiration for Minnie Driver’s character appropriately named Skylar in Good Will Hunting. Skyler went on to date OJ Simpson (totally getting a Nicole Brown Simpson vibe from her, no?) and went on to marry -then divorce Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.

River Phoenix + Martha Plimpton, 1989

I guess their relationship was high-profile at the time, but I no idea they were a thing, seeing as how I was like 8 when they dated. They starred in two movies, including the Oscar nominated film, Running On Empty, together, and attend the Academy Awards hand in hand that year. Their relationship ended because she objected his drug use, and he died from an overdose in 1993.

Fred Armisen + Martha Plimpton, 2006

Martha Plimpton got around, huh? This was pre-Elisabeth Moss shitshow, and while I appreciate Fred as a comedian, between these two headstrong ladies, I can’t help but think he’s common denominator in the breakups. But what do I know?

Tracy Chapman + Alice Walker

alice tracy

Tracy Chapman and Alice Walker were in a relationship in the mid 1990s. They kept it quiet in the public eye, but apparently it was common knowledge among the people in their circles. In 2006, Alice told The Guardian, “My life is not to be somebody else’s impact – you know what I mean? And it was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her but it was not anybody’s business but ours.” I think the most important thing to take out of this is ALICE WALKER IS A LESBIAN??? (I’ve never read her stuff, does she talk about it?? Apologies for my ignorance if this is the case)

Heather Graham + Heath Ledger

I like to think that Heath only ever dated Michelle Williams, so this pairing is odd to me. Heather and Heath dated in 2000 after meeting in a club in Prague (because, Hollywood). He even called her his muse at one point. She was also 10 years his senior, but clearly, age ain’t nothin but a number to Heather, right James Woods?

 

Band at Coachella or Stefon’s Favorite Club?

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

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

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

Scuba

COACHELLA ⇐

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

Blitzen

⇒ STEFON ⇐

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

Jelly Bones

⇒ STEFON ⇐

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

Holy Ghost!

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

Holy Ghost! is an American synthpop duo from Brooklyn.

Thank You!

⇒ STEFON ⇐

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

Graveyard

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

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

Drowners

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

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

Scampi

⇒ STEFON ⇐

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

Slice

⇒ STEFON ⇐

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

Daughter

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

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

Poolside

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

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

Bicep

⇒ COACHELLA ⇐

British Dance DJ who has the least appealing name ever.

Push

⇒ STEFON ⇐

 

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

Categories That Should Be Added to the MTV Movie Awards

The 2014 MTV Movie Awards are on Sunday and if you had no idea this was happening, congratulations – you’re officially an adult. The following seems like an obvious statement, but the older I get, the less I am in touch with youth culture. Let me rephrase that: the older I get, the less denial I’m in realizing I’m in touch with the youth culture.

And the older I get, and the more MTV Movie Awards/Video Music Awards that happen, just make me yearn for the days of yore, or basically when I cared about who was winning. For example, the best moment ever in MTV Movie Award history was in 2005, when power couple Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling were still dating, and they won for Best Kiss. Reminisce with me here:

I will hand it to MTV, because this is the only awards show where you can get away with a category like Best Kiss. Not to mention, they also give out the Best Scared-as-shit Performance, Best Shirtless Performance, #wtf Moment and Best on-screen dirtbag (RIP to that category).

Because MTV is in the business of giving out ridiculous, truthful awards, here are some suggestions of what they can add to the show moving forward. Maybe I’ll actually remember and take note of the Movie Awards if that happens…

 Best Red Carpet Style

Lupita Nyong’o

I think it’s pretty clear that no one else deserves this more than our girl crush, Lupita. After this awards season, she proved to be the one person that everyone was anticipating to come down the red carpet. From her epic Ralph Lauren red cape dress to her Oscar-winning Prada gown, no one else even came close to her fierceness this year. We all need to bow down to Queen Lupita.

Best Onscreen Couple That Is Actually An Offscreen Couple Too

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not even a big fan of superhero movies, and have only seen a handful, but I strangely ship these two? Maybe I even saw the first Spider-Man because of them as a couple? Ugh whatevs. It’s clear they have off the charts chemistry on screen, and in interviews it’s clear to see that their personalities click so well too, despite the fact they never want to talk about their relationship. But I mean come on. How cute are they?

The couple that dances together… stays together? That’s an old adage right?

Best Hookup You’ve Been Waiting for for 10 Years

Veronica Mars + Logan Echolls – Veronica Mars

SIGH. What can I say? The Veronica Mars Movie was everything I’ve been waiting for and more. Fellow Marshmallows were expecting this hookup to happen so it wasn’t a surprise, but boy was it worth all the money I gave to Kickstarter JUST for the epic Logan and Veronica scenes. I could talk about this for hours, but what’s great about this is that even after 7 years off the air, all the characters fall into their old rhythms, and just like the fans, they’ve grown up over the years. But Logan and Veronica, no matter where their lives take them – will always come back to each other. Epic.

Best Kids’ Movie For Adults

Frozen

The last animated/kids movie I saw before Frozen was Up, and that made me cry like a fool. This movie, however, made me laugh and feel all warm inside like all the classic Disney princess movies did when I was a kid. And that’s what’s made it one of the most successful movies in the world. Literally. The story is great, the jokes are on point (see: Arrested Development refrences for the adults) and IDGAF, but I blast the soundtrack and sing Love is and Open Door at the top of my lungs driving down the streets of Hollywood. Let it go, motherfuckers. Let it alllll go.

Scariest Non-Scary Movie

Gravity


I’m not into watching horror movies. I used to be able to watch them and laugh nervously when scary parts came on, but I just don’t have the time nor patience to do that anymore. But Gravity is the closest thing I’ve seen to a horror movie in a long time, and that’s good enough for me. I saw this in the theater, which is really the only proper way to seen Gravity, and the extreme scale of the movie makes you feel like you’re out there in space with Sandra Bullock, leaving you with an odd feeling of emptiness or just a wonderment of how vast the world really is. I legit had to sit in my seat and not move for like 10 minutes because it was so jarring.

Best Performance By An Actor In A Horrible Movie

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine


Couldn’t tell you what happened in this movie except  the fact that Cate Blanchett was the best part about it and she deserved allll the awards for this performance. Oh and Ali Fedotowsky, former Bachelorette, made a cameo in it. Yup, you can tell I’m not a cinephile.

Best Worst Movie You Forgot Existed

Movie 43


I actually forgot this movie existed until I saw it won Worst Movie at the Razzies this year. Second hand embarassment for everyone involved in this.

Best Movie That Turned Your Laughter Into An Ugly Cry

The Best Man Holiday


I CAME FOR THE HBMS AND LEFT WITH MASCARA RUNNING DOWN MY FACE. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK. Taye Diggs didn’t warn me about this. No spoilers, just watch it for yourself, because it’s actually a really good movie. Except IDK if I could ever put myself through the pain of ugly crying. My friend and I had no idea it was going to take a turn and since I didn’t come prepared with tissues, ended up crying into my sleeve. Ugh.

Best Movie That’s Definitely NOT About Scientology

After Earth

Will Smith wrote the story for After Earth and stars in it, and there’s a lot of people who think this is reflective of his beliefs in Scientology but I’m not saying it is because I definitely don’t want them to come into my apartment and secretly audit me, because this movie is definitely NOT about Scientology…

Best Least Believable Couple

Theodore + Samantha – Her

Falling in love with an operating system? Come on. What is this, the future? Not believable at all.

Life Lessons From Harriet The Spy: C+S Book Club

Welcome back to C+S Book Club! Last time around we focused on that total bitch Amy March, and now we’re celebrating another childhood favorite — Harriet The Spy.

Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet The Spy feels so current – controversial, even – that it’s hard to believe it turns 50 this year. Whether you were a nosy kid, an aspiring writer, or just fascinated by the world around you, Harriet The Spy spoke to a lot of us. Like all the best children’s books, Harriet The Spy was banned by adults couldn’t deal with how awesome it was, probably because it contained real talk contains real talk that adults don’t think 9-year-olds are ready for. In the case of Harriet The Spy, the lessons were lifelong.

Sometimes The Whole Truth Isn’t The Kindest Thing

This lesson is the hardest thing for Harriet – and it’s one that I’m still working on when I write. The sixth-grade jerks find some awful things about themselves when they read Harriet’s notebook (never have I been so indignant on a character’s behalf!). Harriet just wrote what she saw, but the unflinching honesty was a little unkind.

I discovered censorship in first grade. I was writing a story about two siblings fighting, and had the sister scream “I hate you!” at her brother during the argument. My teacher changed it to “I dislike you!”  I was furious – who, in a fit of childhood rage, has ever screamed “I dislike you!” at their sibling? I still believe that good writing requires honesty and authenticity. But when talking about real people, sometimes you have to soften your “I hate yous” into “I dislike yous” for the sake of real feelings.

Fitzhugh said it best: “Little lies that make people feel better are not bad, like thanking someone for a meal they made even if you hated it, or telling a sick person they look better when they don’t, or someone with a hideous new hat that it’s lovely. But to yourself you must tell the truth.” Observe honestly, think honestly – but smooth out the truth with little lies when you need to.

“There Is As Many Ways To Live As There Are People On The Earth”

One thing that huffy moms didn’t like about Harriet The Spy was the cast of wacky characters that Harriet spies on – people who resemble the weirdos and quirks that bona fide children run across all the time. There was the cat man, the family who owns the Chinese grocery, the grand Agatha K. Plummer.  Even your most mundane-looking families are all different from each other if you just watch them. Maybe it’s not so much these characters that set parents ill-at-ease, but rather Harriet’s assessment of them:

“Ole Golly says there is as many ways to live as there are people on the earth and I shouldn’t go round with blinders but should see every way I can. Then I’ll know what way I want to live and not just live like my family.”

See Everything. Write Everything.

We’ve all heard the advice to write what you know. It follows that the more you know about the more you can write about. If you want to be a writer, like Harriet, you have to keep your eyes and ears open so you can learn about all the ways there are to live. A book full of characters who live the way you do – because that’s all you know – just wouldn’t be very good.

Harriet didn’t just see everything, she wrote everything – on Ole Golly’s advice. Really, what a great thing to tell an 11-year-old (or an adult!) who wants to write. You may have a lot of faith in your memory, but it’s fallible. You have to write everything because you never know what details you might want to use someday. Besides, everyday practice – something we recommend for kids who want to master a sport or an instrument – is necessary for writing, too.

Know What You Like

Harriet eats tomato sandwiches every day. She wears her same weird spy outfit every day, too. And how about the Boy With The Purple Socks? It’s not good to be bullheaded and resistant to change. But if you like tomato sandwiches, you don’t have to switch to egg salad just because people think you should.

Be A Harriet. Be a Janie. Be a Sport.

Harriet broke and entered into homes with a notebook in hand, pretending to be an 11-year-old Mata Hari. Janie set up a science lab in her bedroom, conducting weird experiments and learning everything she could about chemistry and physics. Sport lived with his dad and singlehandedly ran the household – including the finances – while dreaming of becoming a baseball player. Harriet, Janie and Sport all do things.

There’s nothing more annoying – even in adulthood – than people who expect you to be impressed by what they plan to do. You know, the people who talk ad nauseum about how they’ll open a restaurant or write a great book, but don’t take the boring, grueling baby steps to actually get there?  People who want to do things aren’t impressive, people who do them are – even if they try and fail.  I’m impressed by the people who take those awful boring writing assignments in the hopes that they’ll learn something they can apply later, or the people working the grueling lab job on a hunch that it will put them into contact with the best researchers. Harriet, Janie and Sport were just sixth-graders, but already they were the type of people who did things. They did things that might look weird to other people, simply because it’s what they wanted to do.

Do NOT Be A Marion Hawthorne. Do Not Be a Rachel Hennessy.

Harriet said “If Marion Hawthorne doesn’t watch out she’s going to grow up into a lady Hitler.” Harsh words, but Marion wanted the entire sixth-grade class to follow her blindly. One blind follower was Rachel Hennessy, who hosts the Spy Catcher Club (and who kids only like because her mom makes good cake). There was a whole pack of kids who followed Marion, and unlike Harriet, Jane, and Sport, they didn’t actually do things – other than try to bring Harriet down.

Change Is Hard

Ugh. Remember how painful it was when Ole Golly left? Even before that happened, Harriet was mighty jealous that her nanny was palling around with the bicycle man. Harriet reacted to these situations like a normal kid would – she pouted and threw a fit. When you grow up, you get a little better at covering it up, but this was one of the most honest parts of the book and a good lesson: change is really hard, and over time your new situation becomes normal to you.

The City Is Your Friend

Harriet The Spy is a distinctly New York City book, but it describes life that’s familiar to any city child. When you grow up in an urban neighborhood, all you have to do is walk out your front door to find all kinds of life to observe. The city itself – the sidewalks, corner stores, and most of all the people – is a character in Harriet’s life.

More broadly, Fitzhugh speaks to finding the fascinating things wherever you are. I thought my city childhood was compelling, and like Harriet I found that the most ordinary-seeming neighbors were extraordinary if I looked closer.  Wherever you live as a child or an adult – a big city or a small town or the suburbs in between – there are a million things to notice if you just open your eyes, close your mouth and grab a notebook.

You Might Screw Everything Up And Lose All Your Friends

… and you’ll still be okay. This probably doesn’t happen so much when you get older (though it’s still possible), but remember those times in elementary school when you’d do one thing wrong, or have an argument with one friend, and all of a sudden it seemed like everyone was mad at you? When you get older, you can still screw up other things – there’s always something you can ruin, whether it’s a project at work or your tax return. If you give most things enough time, they’ll work out. In the meantime you have to fold up your pride, stick it in your back pocket, and try to make things right – and know that just because things went wrong doesn’t mean the world stops turning.