Live Blog: Sharknado 2: The Second One

Guys – it’s here. The movie we’ve all been waiting for:

The highly-anticipated sequel to the horribly-bad SHARKNADO premiered last night, and it was everything we hoped for and more. Last time, a literal tornado of sharks took over Los Angeles and it was up to Bev Hills’ Ian Ziering and train wreck Tara Reid to save the city. Legit, the fate of one of the biggest cities in America was in the hands of these two. And with a single chainsaw, they defeated the cheeky sharks – except the Jaws are back for more.

In Sharknado 2: The Second One (no, seriously), Fin (yes, Ian’s character’s real name) and April (Tara Reid) are on their way to New York City to promote the book they wrote about the 2013 Sharknado (I can’t even make this up) and their plane passes through yet another sharknado. When they land, they’re the only ones who can save the Big Apple.

Now if you happened to miss the movie last night, not to worry, because we live blogged it for you! Didn’t see the first one? No worries – last year, we liveblogged it too – but keep in mind you don’t necessarily need to have seen the first one in order to see the sequel. This isn’t Harry Potter or The Hunger Games here. So if you want to relive last night’s magic or just want to feel like you’re with the “in” crowd without actually watching this dumb movie, read on, friends.

M: Like all disasters, I’ve decided I have to approach this movie the way Olivia Pope would. By that, I mean popcorn and red wine.

M: I logged onto Facebook during the commercial and saw someone got his girlfriend flowers for their 23-day anniversary. Of dating. He is an adult. If anyone ever cares about me that much, I would dump him. Seriously, can’t a girl just get ignored and forgotten anymore?

T: April and Fin are on this plane together (going through aforementioned storm) and when she goes to grab his hand, a huge giant sparkler is on her left ring finger – have these exes reconciled? Has the Sharknado actually done some good?

M: First celebrity cameo: Kelly Osborne, playing Effie Trinket playing a stewardess.

T: She asks April to sign her book – which looks like a pamphlet you get from the high school guidance counselor.

Fin obviously has some sort of PTSD from the Sharknado because now he’s seeing shadows of sharks in the storm clouds from the plane. Except those shadows are legit sharks. Fin freaks out and another passenger (air marshal) comes over to see what all the hullabaloo is about and it looks like the scene in the last ep of Friends where Rachel’s on the plane and Dean Pelton freaks out because the plane doesn’t even have a phalange.

Ohhh shit a shark went straight into one of the engines! The side of the plane is gone! A shark is inside the plane and just knocked off Kelly Osbourne’s head!

M:  You know, even if they didn’t know there would be sharks in it, wasn’t it still a bad idea to fly into a tornado?

Both pilots were ejected from the plane and now it’s Fin’s turn to save this plane from completely going down. I mean at this point, all these people would be dead – most of them are screaming while the plane is free falling and an occasional sharks sneaks on the plane to kill a bitch on the toilet. Tara Reid is somehow still surviving by hanging onto a rope with half her body sticking out of the plane, and the air marshal goes to save her, gives her his gun to shoot a shark, but the shark bites off her arm with the gun attached. She’s really going to go through the rest of this movie with one hand?

Fin somehow has figured out how to land this plane. I feel like Ian Ziering is still taking these roles because he never became a big movie star after Bev Hills. Must be a hard life.

M: Everyone claps when the plane lands, which is pretty offensive – not because someone just died, but because that’s obnoxious.

Mark McGrath is Fin’s brother-in-law and is chillin in the center of Times Square in front of the old TRL studios and it’s probably the only place in the world he gets recognized.

Celeb Cameo Alert: Naked Cowboy, Matt Lauer, Andy Dick, former MTV VJ Downtown Julie Brown, Kelly and Michael and BILLY RAY CYRUS AS A SURGEON. HE’S REPRISING HIS ROLE AS A DOCTOR.

M: It’s just going to be marginally famous people playing themselves and sharks and explosions for the next two hours.

Ugh GAWD Tara Reid’s acting – I mean you can’t even call it acting. The thing about this movie is that Ian and Tara are both trying to make this serious. Like not campy serious just – they’re taking it seriously. It’s a little sad.

Celeb Cameo Alert: ‘Pepa'(As in Salt, Salt & Pepa’s here), Al Roker, Taxi’s Judd Hisrch as a taxi driver, and Richard Kind.

M: A tough-talking cabbie says something about how “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere.” I haven’t seen such a cartoonish depiction of New York since Oliver And Company.

M: I started off live-tweeting this TV event, but you know how when you really hate something, you have to hate it silently?

Fin is heading off to a Mets game to find his nephew and Mark McGrath. Vivica A. Fox is some chick named Skye who had a fling with Fin. She straight up kisses him without even asking if he’s single or not? Come on bro.

The sharknado is coming down hard on CitiField and Fin tells his pals to “grab something”, so they all grab baseball bats. Richard Kind, a former star baseball player, literally knocks a shark out of the park and into the jumbotron. I’m starting to realize that this whole movie is just 90s celebrities trying to make an extra buck.

Fin’s sister, her daughter, Pepa, and rando friend are all on a ferry back from visiting the Statue of Liberty and while on the boat, rando friend gets attacked by a shark and it’s gnarly.

We see some Water Department workers who go down into the sewer to try to fix something and there are ALLIGATORS down there – but don’t worry, a giant shark comes to eat it.

M: At least 50% of the screaming crowd and splashing sound effects from this movie are probably lifted from Titanic.

Celeb Cameo Alert: Jared from Subway, Perez Hilton ( who gets killed by a shark waiting for the train), the black judge from Shark Tank, and pizzeria owner Biz Markie.

bye felicia

Just realized Fin’s friend is Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock. It’s hard to tell who he is when he doesn’t have his personalized hats on. Once the shark’s done with the gator, it goes after the subway train, and Fin tries to fend it off and ends up stabbing it in the eye with the baseball bat. I mean, okay.

Fin: “Find a hardware store. I gotta get a chainsaw” (ref from the first Sharknado chainsaw massacre) And the hardware store is conveniently Out of Business. Meanwhile, the head of the Statue of Liberty is rolling around the city and the tornados are taking over Manhattan. Natch.

Mark McGrath and Fin have resorted to pilfering from bodegas and stealing a sword from an armored knight that just happened to be on display nearby. If you’re wondering where April is, she and her one hand are attempting to sneak out of the hospital. As she’s leaving, she hears some girl crying in the corner who’s super scared and just wants her mom. Naturally, April decides to take care of her and says “Take my hand and we’ll be okay” LOLOLOLOL. It’s like when Billy Zane stole that crying child and pretended to be her dad just to get on a lifeboat in Titanic. April gives the girl off to Downtown Julie Brown because the water and sharks are coming down the stairs, and her acting is still bad. Even the meteorologist on TV (who’s pointing at a graphic of a sharknado) is a better actress than Tara Reid.

Mark McGrath, Fin, his nephew, and Vivica A. Fox are stranded in a taxi with Judd Hirsch and have to use a rope to swing over the flooded, shark infested New York streets to … another patch of dry land? Not sure, but when Viv and the nephew swing together, it’s like, weirdly sexual and I’m not okay with it.

Of course, Judd Hirsch doesn’t make it and he goes down into the bloody mess, along with the rope Fin needs to join the others. But because Fin is a problem-solver and doesn’t give up, he decides to play leap frog on top of the sharks. HE IS LITERALLY JUMPING THE SHARK.

They make it to the building they’re supposed to meet his sister and niece (who are making their way on CitiBikes), and MM and neph stay in the lobby while Viv and Fin go up to the roof. (Sidenote: what happened to Viv’s face?) Apparently her dad didn’t approve of their interracial relationship years ago, so he called it off? Really, we’re dealing with racial issues in Sharknado 2?

Yikes. A giant shark just plopped right on top of Pepa. RIP Pepa.

Just like in the first movie, Fin is throwing bombs into the sharknados to defuse them, but it’s not working so they double it up. And you know, Viv casually slices a shark coming at them with that sword from the knight in shining armor. Their bombs are still not working, and in fact, it’s resulting in fiery sharks landing on people on the street.

Fin and Viv decided to go back down the building, but the rest of the gang is going up the stairs because the sharks are flooding in, and they all meet in the middle. Uh oh it’s either fire or water, what will they do? Also, the CGI is horrible on this.

 April magically shows up with the fire department to save everyone. We keep cutting to Matt and Al at the Today show reporting on the storm, and it seems like there’s double sharknados going on, and chances are they’re going to converge at the Empire State Building, because this suddenly turned into the end of a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan.

I don’t understand why the area around the Empire State Building is conveniently not flooding, but all the NYPD and NYFD folks are there, and so is the Mayor, who calls on Fin to help them. Because the bombs aren’t working, he has to freeze the sharknados, and to do that, he’s going to take a lightening rod to blow the freon tanks through the Empire State Building and into the storm. Forgot this was on the SyFy network so like, actually science is involved.

The meteorologist says there’s going to be a “shark falling rate of 2 inches per hour” – how do you even come up with this statistic???

Fin just gave the most ridiculous ,epic, Bill Pullman proportioned speech before he goes to do all his freon shenans:

APRIL HAS ATTACHED A CHAINSAW TO HER NON-EXISTANT HAND, WHICH SHE JUST GOT AMPUTATED EARLIER THAT DAY, AND SLICES A SHARK JUST BY PUTTING HER CHAINSAW ARM IN THE AIR. I’d like to point out in both the chainsaw situations with April and Fin – neither of them were covered in blood, despite the fact they both just clobbered these deadly fish with their hands.

Viv is risking her life to connect the cables to create lightening or whatever, and they’re successful, except both she and Fin are thrown into the Sharknado and while he’s easily floating by all the sharks, she gets cut into two. Huh?

People on land now have to deal with the falling sharks yet again, but because they’re New Yorkers, they’re prepared, and we see jump cuts of people going into their car trunks to get shovels, a machete, a bunch of machine guns (actual items shown), and then the angry mob takes to the streets of NY …

It’s raining sharks (at 2 inches per hour or more, I’m assuming)

Fin finds himself flying through the air still – with chainsaw in hand – and literally goes through a shark and goes out the other side screaming and (finally) covered in blood. We go back to Kelly & Michael for some reason and they’re still doing their show. Producer Gelman tells everyone to stay calm but he gets eaten by a shark that comes out of nowhere (LOL TO THE MAX) and Michael legit stops one from killing Kelly with his bare hands, and she steps on one with her red high heels. I love those two.

Matt and Al manage to get their hands on a shark and kill and and Fin somehow has chains on him still, so he decides to lasso one of the nearby flying sharks, stick the chains in him to create reins and maneuvers it to be speared perfectly by the top of the Empire State Building antenna.

OH MY GOD Once Fin’s back at the ESB with April, they notice another huge shark is coming towards them and he yells, “I need a weapon!” He looks around to find a dead shark nearby and because they’re focusing in on the teeth, I assume he’s going for that – NO. HE REACHES IN, AND PULLS OUT AN ARM. NOT JUST ANY ARM – APRIL’S ARM FROM WHEN THIS SHARK BITCH BIT IT OFF ON THE PLANE. FIN TAKES THE GUN ARM AND USES IT TO SHOOT AT THE SHARK. I MIGHT ACTUALLY VOMIT.

AND THEN HE TAKES THE GUN OFF THE HAND, PULLS THE DIAMOND RING FROM APRIL’S DEAD LIMB AND PROPOSES TO HER AGAIN. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK.

It ends with actual fireworks. And just like the first movie, with the word “Fin”. That’s right French majors, it also means “end”.

M: In a world with DVR and internet TV, there was absolutely no reason to watch this live and miss So You Think You Can Dance, or Who Do You Think You Are, or Sex In The Wild, which, as a PBS special about how marsupials reproduce, is somehow simultaneously more and less interesting than the title sounds.

Well, it looks like I’m going to bow out early (10:30) so I can be asleep by 11:30  or so. What can I say, last night I stayed up late watching a documentary about who betrayed Anne Frank – only to learn that the answer was “we don’t know … some jerk who knew where she was?”

T: Like a lot of sequels, Sharknado wasn’t as good as the first. It still had the same level of ridiculousness, but I also feel they were trying to be serious, which takes away from the whole campy-ness of it. I mean if you’re going to make a movie called Sharknado 2: The Second One, you have to go balls out on the camp. And hey, at least I got to see Ian Ziering take disgusting things out of a dead shark body again. Maybe’s it a new tradition I’ll have. Or maybe I’ll just watch SYTYCD instead.

Favorite Quotes:

“Welcome to New York!” Fin tells himself as a shark lands on the windshield of the plane he just had to emergency land.

“Go go go go go go go don’t wanna get eaten by a sharknado? We’re all gonna die in a sharknado” – Actual lyrics from the actual Sharknado theme song

Judd Hirsch: Tell me one thing – what does the inside of a shark smell like?

Fin: There’s no words to describe that, pal

Judd: Idk, i always thought it would smell like chicken. Or salmon… or cod.

“Maybe a hipster fell on the tracks, they’re pretty light.” Judah Friedlander, spittin the truth

“Think of it this way – it’s a twister with teeth.” – Al Roker, real life weather reporter

“Only one of my legs is real.” Judd Hirsch before he fails jumping over the sharks

“Residents are panicked because of the sharks that came raining down from the sky” Local meteorologist

“Even the sharknados are tougher in New York.” They couldn’t reinforce the fact New Yorkers are resilient more

“We work good together.” Vivica A. Fox  (Ew no you work well together, ugh)

“This is the Big Apple, Fin. When something bites us, we bite back.” Mayor of NY

 

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Marilla Cuthbert Was A Creepy Church Hag : C+S Book Club

If you’re Canadian, imaginative, bookwormish, or red-headed, chances are at some point you read and loved Anne of Green Gables. Published in 1908, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s story is a timeless tale of orphans and family and imagination and screwing up your hair and dreams and getting your friend drunk by accident and Canada and Canadians and will they/won’t they romance and child-buying. Especially child-buying. When Anne, a plucky carrot-topped orphan with a heart of gold, ends up in Green Gables, she brings love, light, and happiness to Matthew and Marilla, a brother and sister who are married or whatever. Not to ruin this children’s classic for you, but Marilla wasn’t a kindly old lady trying to give an orphan a new start in life. She was a creepy church hag. Here’s why:

Marilla Tried To Buy A Little Boy To Do Chores

When her brother-husband got too old to run the farm, Marilla did the only logical thing (if you’re creepy and also awful) – she bought an orphan boy to do chores. Or tried to, because she got sent an orphan girl instead. Like Target, the orphan asylum has a pretty liberal return policy, but to her credit Marilla does keep the kid.

There Are Church Ladies, And Then There Are Church-Hags

… and Marilla is the latter. She initially kept Anne on a trial basis, like a mail-order vacuum. Even after she made up her mind, she wasn’t so sure about Anne –  because as a neglected orphan/indentured servant, I guess Anne’s bosses forgot to teach her about Jesus. Keep in mind, Anne was 11 and had already raised two families of what I can only picture as 19th century Garbage Pail Kids, so I guess she didn’t have time for scripture. Sorry Church-Hag, but she didn’t. To her credit (?), Marilla tried to buy a pre-Christianized orphan: she specifically told Rachel that she didn’t want a “London street Arab.” When Anne screwed up her bedtime prayers because nobody had ever cared about her enough to tuck her into bed and teach her social norms, Marilla said “Don’t you know it’s a terrible wicked thing not to say your prayers every night? I’m afraid you are a very bad little girl.”  But later,  when Anne tells Marilla about her boring day at church, “Marilla felt helplessly that all this should be sternly reproved, but she was hampered by the undeniable fact that some of the things Anne had said […] were what she herself had really thought deep down in her heart for years, but had never given expression to. It almost seemed to her that those secret, unuttered, critical thoughts had suddenly taken visible and accusing shape and form in the person of this outspoken morsel of neglected humanity.”

Yep. Marilla doesn’t even like church, but she’s still obsessed with it and tells small children that they’re “very bad” because nobody told them how to pray. And that, my friends, is a Church-Hag.

And Remember That Shit With The Brooch?

This is like 50% Marilla being a creepy church hag and 50% Anne being an idiot, so maybe you get the family you deserve. Anne gets all worked about about going to her first picnic and eating her first ice cream, and although picnics are uniformly less fun than you think they’d be (it’s seriously just eating, but outside), ice cream is awesome and she’s right to care so much. But Anne borrows Marilla’s brooch and leaves it on her shawl, and then Marilla thinks Anne stole it because orphans and heathens or something. So Marilla says Anne can’t go to the picnic unless she confesses to taking it. Anne gives a false confession under duress, and I can’t blame her because I would have confessed to murder when I was 11 if it meant I could get some Ben & Jerry’s. Still would. Then Marilla’s all “well, now you definitely can’t go to the picnic,” and Anne doesn’t know that picnics are lame yet so she is pissed. Then they find the brooch, and Marilla learns a valuable lesson that non-church hags never really need to learn in the first place: not to badger orphan children into confessing things they never did because you can’t keep proper inventory of your own stupid brooches.

She Uses Wine “Medicinally” … But We All Know What’s Up

Anne tries to give Diana raspberry cordial, but accidentally (or “accidentally”) rips into Marilla’s secret stash of currant wine instead. Marilla makes the following excuses and admissions:

  • “Well, this story will be a nice handle for those folks who are so down on me for making currant wine” – so, it’s known in the community that Marilla has a problem.
  • ” I haven’t made any for three years ever since I found out that the minister didn’t approve”- EVEN YOUR MINISTER, Marilla. Even your minister.
  • “I just kept that bottle for sickness.” – AKA withdrawal tremors
  • “[The currant wine] couldn’t have the least effect on anybody” – well, no, not if your tolerance is off the charts.

 

Bitch, If You Have Enough Money To Buy A Human Child, You Can Afford Puffed Freaking Sleeves

Damn, Church-Hag. I don’t know the going rate for a chore-orphan in the early 1900s, like how many toonies or whatever, but if you have that kind of money you can probably buy that kid the ugly dresses she wants. So you have to buy a few extra yards of fabric for the kid’s stupid sleeves? Most teenagers at some point will tell you that they “didn’t ask to be born” but seriously, Anne didn’t ask to be born, orphaned, leased out as a work-horse to human breeding farm Mrs. Hammond, so starved for human contact in an orphanage that she creates imaginary friends in the mirror like Tom Hanks on a deserted island with a soccer ball, bought by old married siblings by accident, and then given the worst dresses. Do you know what Marilla dressed Anne in before Matthew took pity on her and bought her those ass-ugly sleeves? Wincey. I Googled it. It’s basically burlap.

Like, did you spend so much buying your orphan that you have to dress her in bag material? That’s not just cruel, that is straight-up terrible budgeting. Get an accountant, Church-Hag. Maybe you could work out a budget to save up for a heart.

You Are The Company You Keep. Marilla’s Company Is Rachel Lynde.

You know those people who manage to insult everyone, but everyone makes excuses for them? That’s Rachel Lynde, Actual Worst Person In The World. So by association, Marilla is the Actual Worst Person In The World. Marilla may be your classic Creepy Church Hag, but Rachel is an even more insidious Church Hag – the normal-seeming gossipy kind who makes fun of orphans. Rachel doesn’t even like Marilla. She compares Marilla and Matthew’s living situation to getting used to being hanged – which, also, is Rachel some kind of idiot, because I’m 100% sure you don’t get used to that over time, you just get more and more dead. Rachel is the kind of mean old bag who meets a motherless child and says things like “She’s terrible skinny and homely. […]  Lawful heart, did any one ever see such freckles? And hair as red as carrots! ” That one got me in the gut, as a fellow skinny, freckly redheaded kid and also a human with feelings. But Marilla makes Anne apologize for calling Rachel out, because Marilla is a high-school girl who is friends with the queen bee because she’s too afraid not to be friends with her. Frankly if I want this kind of petty Canadian mean-girling I would just watch season one Paige and Ashley on Degrassi.

Oh. The other “company” Marilla “keeps” is the child she bought by accident, so that doesn’t really speak too well of her either, does it?

The Legacy Lives On

Despite her creepiness, Marilla has some good points. She does decide to keep Anne, and doesn’t do a totally awful job raising her, and Anne is so dense and weird that I can’t blame Marilla for getting frustrated sometimes. When Anne and Gilbert finally get their act together, they even name a kid after her (and honestly, that’s a whole other post — Anne And Gilbert: Shit Or Get Off The Pot, or alternately, Anne And Gilbert: When You Hate Someone It’s Probably Not Because You Secretly Love Them). Marilla was a creepy church hag, there’s no doubt about it, but she was at least a sort of crusty, lovable creepy church hag. In fact, if I ever buy a child to do chores for me, I hope I can be half of the owner-parent that Marilla was to Anne.

 

 

Comic-Con Fashion: Not An Oxymoron

I don’t know about you, but when I hear “Comic-Con fashion” I think of some sort of Nerd Halloween, with grown-ass adults dressed up as superheroes and like … aliens, maybe? Which I’m not even making fun of – I love when grown-ups act ridiculous and don’t care if they look cool. But as we all know, comic-con isn’t just for nerds anymore. While some of the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con attendees were still taking the opportunity to play dress-up, others were seriously bringing it.

Maisie Williams

The Game of Thrones star took “comic book fashion” quite literally, with this dress made out of straight-up comic books. She’s young (17!) and at a fun event instead of the more serious ones she usually goes to – you know, like the Emmys or Golden Globes or death weddings or shooting people with arrows (I know, I know, I should be watching Game of Thrones, but I’ve waited so long that it would be a real commitment at this stage, which is the same reason I haven’t learned to knit or joined CrossFit yet). Comic-Con might be the only place it’s okay to wear a dress like this and I’m glad Maisie went for it.

Nina Dobrev in Naeem Khan

If someone has access to this ensemble, and also access to a lot of money, please buy it for me. A lot of the time when an outfit has this sort of floral print, it is also kind of unfortunately clustered around the pelvis area, like a crotch-garden. But not here.

Crotch garden.

Dobrev’s outfit has the same embroidered boho feel, but the white and ink blue combo is refreshing and simple, and the pattern on the shorts is straight across instead of those weird “this is where the magic happens” pelvic blooms.

Emma Roberts in Tanya Taylor

Am I the only one who’s turned the corner on crop tops? But, you know, classy crop tops, not the scuzzy short t-shirt my brother’s Little League coach used to wear circa 1992 (if I had to describe the coach in five words or less, they would have to be “big man, tiny mullet” or maybe “should he be around kids?”). Anyway, Emma is showing how the crop top should be done, with a printed high-waisted skirt and pink heels. Honestly, this is a ladylike crop-top situation – it can be done. Also if you tell a psychologist what you can see in those dress splotches they can tell if you have any deep-seated mental issues.

Elle Fanning in Christopher Kane

Do you think that Elle Fanning thinks about awkward phases the same way the rest of us think about weird diseases on The Discovery Channel – something unfortunate that happens to other people, but that ultimately you just can’t relate to? I love that she always goes for the playful, young looks that just look silly or try-hard on anyone over 25 —  or really anyone without the face, hair and complexion of a baby angel.

Cate Blanchett in Fausto Puglisi

This is a case of the right lady in the right dress. If I wore this, it would look like I had grabbed a home-sewn Halloween costume off of the 50% off rack at Goodwill. But on Cate Blanchett, it looks like something that only the classiest of broads would wear.

Sarah Paulson in Lela Rose

So, I read a mean person on the internet saying that they hated this, but you know what? I’m a nice person on the internet and I think she looks pretty. I will admit that the cutout trend has me really concerned about everyone’s tan-lines — in the same abstract way that Elle Fanning thinks about awkward phases, because we all know that I can’t tan. But assuming everything was indoors this is really fun and besides, Comic-Con is the perfect venue for your less-serious outfits.

Sophie Turner in Tata Naka

Anyone who can say “fuck it, I’m going to find an appropriate venue for it and then I’m going to wear an alphabet-print adult romper” is probably a lot of fun — which slightly undercuts my jealousy that Turner can actually pull off an alphabet-print adult romper.

Ashley Madekwe in McQ by Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior

That metallic print skirt and minimalist hair? Flawless. Anyone else remember in junior high when everyone used to call those tiny accent pockets “condom pockets” and felt really edgy about it? (We went to Catholic school if that helps).

Jessica Alba in Tanya Taylor and Zimmerman

Ugh. Stop. The only negative thing I can say about how Jessica Alba looks as a person is that maybe her shoes are a little dangerous? And the skirt has a lot going on? Yeah, I got nothing.

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Dance Academy

dad

G’Day, mates! That’s me addressing you in the same slang they use on Dance Academy. Although now that I think about it, I don’t recall anyone saying that at all throughout the show. Anyways, if you didn’t catch that, this show is from Australia. If you’re in need of a program to watch this summer that isn’t too ‘involved’ like Breaking Bad or The Wire, this is the perfect show for you. As a bonus, each episode is 30 minutes, and there are only 3 seasons (which are all on Netflix Instant), so you don’t even have to worry about catching up before a new season starts!

As I mentioned in a post about my Summer To Do List a few months ago, my friend Ana was pushing me for MONTHS to watch DA, and I finally did. And following my tendency to get obsessed with TV shows, this show followed suit. If you like teen centered programs like Degrassi or loved the great 2000 film Center Stage, you will most likely get just as obsessed with DA as I am, and here’s why.

What It’s About

Dance Academy is mainly narrated by 15-year-old Tara Webster who is a newly accepted first year student at the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. The series follows her and her fellow dancer pals as they deal with teen romance, rivalries and the pressures of being at a highly competitive dance academy. You know, pretty much everyone’s usual upbringing Down Under.

Reasons to Watch

Aussie Aussie Aussie! (Oi! Oi! Oi!)

Most of the show takes place inside the Dance Academy itself, but there’s a lot of scenes that show Sydney and the surrounding areas. I’ve never been to Australia, but it’s always been one of the places on my ‘bucket list’, and watching this show just makes me want to go there more/temporarily fill my Aussie desires. Not to mention, it’s just *cooler* watching a show that’s not American, you know what I mean? I found myself wanting to watch episodes just so I could go back to ‘Sydney’ every night. It’s like when you watch Friday Night Lights and just want to go Dillon, Texas for an hour or two. I mean, I don’t make it a habit of yearning to go to Texas on a daily basis, outside of the context of FNL/Austin.

Coming of Age Storylines

Screenshot 2014-07-25 15.06.56

If you’re a product of the 90s like we are, you grew up with shows like Saved by the Bell, Full House, Boy Meets World, everything on SNICK etc. But you know how there’s a difference between Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World? Saved by the Bell was a Saturday morning show where it was about sleeping over in a mall to get U2 tickets, while Boy Meets world was the TGIF show where Mr. Feeny would teach you a life lesson at the end of every episode. Dance Academy is more of the latter. While I can’t exactly relate to it like I did with SBTB or BMW when I was a tween, I imagine DA has the same effect of kids these days.

The show touches on a lot of different subjects throughout all 65 episodes that normal teens go through. All the kids come from different backgrounds – Tara is a naive girl from the bush (aka what ‘country’ is to us Americans), Sammy’s a Jewish kid whose dad disapproves of his dancing, Abigail, the daughter of a dance teacher, is a perfectionist whose only goal is to make it into the company, Kat comes from a super famous ballet family, and Christian is a troubled kid whose mom died and dad was absent most of his life and is in the Academy basically so he doesn’t get into trouble with the ‘bad crowd’. Together, they tackle themes of friendships, romance, jealousy, revenge, death, divorce, even eating disorders (come on, this IS a show about dancers), and don’t do it in a way that is tacky, insensitive, or too in your face. The fact that DA has won the Australian equivalent of the Emmy for Best Most Outstanding Children’s Program TWICE should say it all.

The Gays

On paper, Dance Academy is a show for teens. It’s only in recent years that we’ve seen more family friendly shows incorporate gay characters, so it’s refreshing to see a show in Australia featuring a fairly prominent storyline that involves a gay (well, at least bi) character in Sammy. Without giving too much away, Sammy is faced with trying to figure out what these feelings he has for boys mean, and if he can be comfortable admitting those feelings to his friends and family. There’s also Ollie, who is not your ‘stereotypical’ gay dancer type, and he addresses his sexuality in such a nonchalant way that I almost  didn’t notice he was coming out when he first talked about it. These two provide public figures that teens and younger kids can see on TV and realize that people don’t have to be reduced down to their sexuality, but that they’re just ‘Sammy’ and ‘Ollie’. Deal with it.

The Dancing, duh

I mean the show IS called Dance Academy, so there better be good dancing, right? What I appreciate about this show is that they clearly picked young people who were dancers first and foremost, then actors. I’ll admit, the acting isn’t Oscar worthy or anything, but you have to hand it to every single one of them for their dancing ability. It was hard to narrow three seasons of dancing into a sample platter for y’all, but I tried my best! PS: I would suggest not clicking on YouTube & just watching the embedded videos in case you’ll accidentally see a major spoiler!!

*Note: the video below is from the final scene of the entire series – it doesn’t give anything away, but JIC you don’t like any type of spoiler like me!*

If you guys watch DA or have watched it before, let me know what you think!!!

Design Spy: Crazy Decorating Styles You See At Open Houses

When my parents put the family home on the market during my freshman year of high school, they knew it was going to be a tough sell. The location could best be described as “drug dealer-adjacent.” The neighborhood even had a nickname – and not a cute New York-y one like LoMoFi or The Fishmonger District. No, it was called The Fatal Crescent, because if there was one thing we loved in the inner city, it was comedic nods to Mesopotamia. They knew that everything had to look amazing during the open house. They almost got it right, until they forgot to remove the laminated Mets poster that covered the buckling section of the wall in the attic bedroom. [I think it somehow explains a lot about me that all of my childhood posters were laminated. NO I CANNOT GET A GRIP. Getting a grip isn’t an option when you’re raised to painstakingly laminate Rose and Jack’s party in third class.] Imagine our dismay to come home and find that a prospective homebuyer had taken down the poster to get a closer look. I mean, God. That shit was loadbearing.

 

Through attending weekly open houses as a homebuyer, I’ve learned that my parents weren’t alone: a lot of folks just can’t get it together. So, as I get increasingly weary of comparing square footage and furnace attributes (who in the fresh hell has OIL HEAT?), I’m taking an almost anthropological interest in home decor instead. Sure, every family is different – some of them cover their buckling walls with Yankees posters, which may not even be laminated – but I’ve noticed some common decor styles:

 

Mormon Mommy Blogger

I’ve written before about my fascination with Mormon Mommy Bloggers, mostly for their effortless ability to do what I cannot: to exist as a generally appealing person who is also a lady. The Mormon Mommy Blogger decor style can be practiced by anyone — even if you aren’t Mormon, even if you aren’t a mommy. You need a bright and cheerful color combo, bird appliques, stripes and chevron, and tons of shit from Etsy. Just go to Etsy on a day – any day at all – hit up the homepage when they feature items that go together, and buy it. Then go to Anthro and buy a bunch of their stuff too. Most items you get will have the word “whimsy” or “tribal” in the description, which makes sense because you are part of the most whimsical tribe of all (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Instructions Included

Some people aren’t able to get through their daily life without signage telling them what to do and where. They may forget to Live, Laugh, and Love if it isn’t written down somewhere. In the kitchen, there is a big sign that says “EAT.” Over the bed: “DREAM”, or, for more whimsical people (but not, like, Mormon-whimsical) “Always kiss me goodnight.” In the family room: “FAMILY.” I’m sort of surprised their bathroom wall doesn’t proclaim “POOP” in Helvetica.

I might do this in my house, but I’ll make it a little more realistic. Kitchen: “REGRET.” Bedroom: “Always spend a half-hour deciding what to fall asleep to on Netflix.” Family room: “DVR.”

Page 104 of the Spring 2011 Pottery Barn Catalog

Decorating comes naturally to some people – and to others, The Pottery Barn catalog comes quarterly. Close enough. These folks will buy a coffee table, and also buy the exact flat bowl, weird twine ball, and candlestick holder that appear with it in the catalog. These houses look nice, but I’d like to see what these people do if you give them an off-book vase or picture.

Mid-20s pastiche

No, not the 1920s, though I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more art-deco homes. I’m talking about being over the age of 25 and having never bought furniture on purpose. These people have the plaid couch from their college house, the IKEA desk from their first apartment, the weird rococo chair from their nana’s den, and the dining room table that their parents replaced. I’ll admit that my furniture comes from all kinds of sources, but I make an effort to paint or upholster things so that it all goes together. Mid-20s Pastiche is more of a stylistic melting pot.

The ‘Car Interior’ Interior

I’ve been to a few houses that are very clearly Men’s Houses By Men Who Would Like You To Know They Are Men. Walls are painted a carseat gray. Accents are in some shade of red. There might be black bedding. There’s definitely chrome, and possibly framed car photos. The homeowner definitely uses some sort of hair wax. Ladies, if a gentleman brings you back to a house like this, it’s always okay to make an excuse to leave, because otherwise you might get killed. I don’t know why, but this style sets off my creep-o-meter.

I enjoy being a girl!

This is the female analog to the car interior style – in fact, the houses in these two styles are essentially the adult version of the Barbie/Hot Wheels Happy Meals. You can expect the following: Animal print. Hot pink. Wine glasses with maribou on them. Wall art celebrating martinis. Some sort of artistic depiction of shoes.

This woman doesn’t have a tinted black and white poster print of little girls she doesn’t know with caption “girls just want to have fun!”… but she did in college. There’s a very real possibility that she was in a sorority, but make no mistake — not all sorority alums are like this. She knows exactly which Sex And The City character she and her friends are (she’s “a Charlotte,” but probably more like a Season 1 Shoshanna.)

The Feral Child’s Keeper

This goes beyond babyprooofing – these people are actually afraid of their children. Every surface below six feet is completely devoid of ornamentation. Furniture is bolted to the walls. Bills are stored in something you have to lock. Crayons and markers change locations as soon as kids figure out where they’re stored in case they do some rogue wall coloring. Furniture is covered in sheets (“the one time we took off the sheets Emma-Lynn spilled a gallon of chocolate milk on it”). Floors are covered in dropcloths (“sometimes Ayden trails paint behind him – house paint.” Ayden is a baby). Light switches have duct tape over them (“otherwise Kayler likes to play with the lights” Kayler is over the age of 7). The kitchen has a lock on it. Everything has a lock on it. These people cannot have nice things because their children will ruin nice things (their children are not Mormon). I picture parents setting up the Frozen DVD then slowly backing slowly out of the room, occasionally opening the door a crack to throw in bags of fruit snacks then slamming it so the feral children don’t nip at them.

The Collector

Hummels. Camels. Precious Moments. Lladro. Bells. Teaspoons. Ashton-Drake plates. Madame Alexander dolls. Tchotchkes representing the land of your ancestors, even though they immigrated in the 19th century. These people never met one of something that they wouldn’t rather have 30 of. On the plus: they’re probably super easy to buy Christmas and Birthday presents for.

Crockpot Method

As in: Set It And Forget it! These people decorated their house one time, in the past. These are the best houses to go to because you feel like you’ve entered a time capsule or a living history museum. The classic crockpot house has 60s or 70s decor – big yellow flowered wallpaper, shag carpeting, avocado appliances, a bathroom fit for one of the Pink Ladies. But as more baby boomers move out of the houses they raised their kids in, sometimes you see an 80s or 90s house, with Laura Ashley curtains, light pine tv cabinets, and geese or ducks wearing bonnets.

 

All The World’s A Stage

This house looks awesome. The decor is current but not so trendy that you can’t see living there. It’s natural enough that it doesn’t look like a catalog page. But look closer – is that plastic lettuce in the kitchen? Yep – the house has been staged.

Comic-Con: Not Just For Nerds Anymore

When the first Comic-Con launched in San Diego in 1970, it was only attended by about 100 fans. It was originally founded to showcase comic books and science fiction/fantasy films and TV shows. The featured guests included a science-fiction book collector and a comic book artist. Since then, Comic-Con has turned into a pop culture mecca across almost all genres, including horror, animation, video games and more. 150,000 people are expected to show-up (would be my personal hell) this year. Is it because there are more comic book fans than ever or because Comic-Con has become the ‘it’ place to be?

my friend was forced to go to comic-con by her bf a few years ago and she said it was hot, sweaty, it smelled and way too many people in a close proximity. she goes every year – to enjoy san diego while everyone else is at the convention.

There was a time when Comic-Con was thought of to be the place where geeks gather – which, let’s be honest is still true to an extent – but over the years, geek culture has become cool, and all zeitgeisty. I mean the fact that the most popular films over the past decade or so have been superhero films says it all. The kids who were once made fun of for reading comic books aren’t nerds – they’re the ones who know most about current pop culture.

And this particularly reflects at Comic-Con, where it’s become the ‘go-to’ place for celebrities over the past few years. If you want buzz for your TV show or movie, you better go to Comic-Con. All of the major studios get a couple hours to show off their upcoming movies and last year, director Zack Snyder made an unannounced appearance at the Warner Bros. panel to reveal that his Man of Steel sequel would feature Batman. Obviously, since then so much hype has been made about who they would cast as Batman, and even more of a fuss was made when they announced Ben Affleck would become Batfleck.

On the TV side, the cast of Veronica Mars went down to San Diego for a panel in Hall H, the biggest venue with over 6,000 seats. It was the first time the cast and creator Rob Thomas came together in front of the public since they smashed the Kickstarter records, and they debuted the first (mini) trailer for the film. Thanks to technology and social media, people live-blogged, live-tweeted, live-Facebooked etc. the event and the conversation about Veronica Mars reached beyond the 6,000+ people in Hall H – it went all around the world. This is the kind of publicity and buzz entertainment bosses and marketers hope for when they send their casts to Comic-Con, and it’s exactly why the convention has gone beyond traditional comic books (although those folks are definitely prominent throughout the weekend as well).

Whether you’re heading to Comic-Con among the throngs of people or following the action in the privacy of your own home, here are a few panels/events to keep an eye on as the buzz gets buzzier.

Thursday, July 24th

The Giver

Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, and Odeya Rush, director Phillip Noyce, and author Lois Lowry are scheduled to attend, but this is Meryl Streep’s perfect opportunity to show up to Comic-Con and blow everyone’s minds. Also, this will give the cast and director a good chance to defend themselves against everyone that hates the trailer.

Community

#SixSeasonsAndAMovie!!! It’s coming back y’all. Just when you thought they were out, they come back like Starburns from the dead. Speaking of which, he’ll be there, along with Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and executive producers Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna. While I’m glad it’s rightfully receiving its sixth season, it’ll be interesting to hear where they’ll take the storyline and if the show being on Yahoo will effect it at all.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Just in time for the sequel which premieres on July 30th, the cast, including Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and Judah Friedlander will be on hand to talk about ANOTHER tornado made of sharks. (P.S. we’re liveblogging it, so be prepared)

Goosebumps

Yes, that Goosebumps. Jack Black stars as R.L. Stine, whose crazy scary creatures are brought to life by his teenage neighbor, played by Scandal first kid Dylan Minnette. Chances are they’ll release some kind of clip or something but will the posters ever be as good as the covers?

Pixels

Finally, a movie of Adam Sandler’s that doesn’t sound stupid or sexist! In this movie, aliens mistake satellite feeds of classic arcade video games like Space Invaders and Centipede as a declaration of war and attack Earth using the same eight-bit characters and strategies. The U.S. President (Kevin James) hires a group of former arcade prodigies including Adam SAndler, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad to combat the aliens. Color me intrigued.

Friday, July 25th

Mike Tyson Mysteries

Mike Tyson has a cartoon. He stars in a cartoon where he solves mysteries. His co-star is Jim Rash from Community. I don’t even really like animated series but the fact that Mike Tyson is a *voice over actor* is hilarious.

Orphan Black

An hour in which the cast, executive producers Graeme Manson and John Fawcett and the fans in attendance praise Tatiana Maslany and let out their frustrations over the fact she was snubbed yet again this year at the Emmys.

Horns

Daniel Radcliffe wears horns in this movie. He was supposed to come for HP & The Deathly Hallows, but couldn’t because of scheduling, so hopefully this year will mark his long-awaited debut at the Con. It’s like the mothership is calling him home. The movie’s about DanRad’s character who grows devil horns after his town is convinced he murdered his girlfriend. You know, the usual overdone storyline.

Saturday, July 26th

Fight Club: From Page to Screen and Beyond

Author Chuck Palahniuk recently announced that he’s finally writing that sequel to the first book, a mere 18 years after it was released. That sequel is appropriately coming in the form of a 10-issue comic book series, and he will no doubt talk about it at the panel. The movie’s director, David Fincher will be on hand and I’m guessing the chance of Brat Pitt or Edward Norton showing up is slim to none.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has three major films on the docket, including Jupiter Ascending (Channing Tatum being all heroic with Mila Kunis), Mad Max: Fury Road (Charlize Theron looking like a badass) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (honestly had no idea there were still more Hobbit movies in the making). Of course there might be a surprise or two – perhaps Zack Snyder will show up like last year, but this time with the cast of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Batfleck, everyone. Just want to keep saying Batfleck.

Marvel Studios

I’m going to be honest with you guys – I haven’t seen The Avengers. Add that to my list of pop culture blind spots. Of course it’s like one of the best-selling films of all time, but I’m immune to it, apparently. The follow-up, Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t come out until next May, but there’s sure to be something teased at Comic-Con. Of course Marvel will make its last-minute push for Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens next weekend (not like they’ll need it). I’m just looking forward to more Chris Pratt interviews, and maybe more french braiding.

Sunday, July 27th

Batkid: The Film

Get your tissues out again. The San Francisco kid who stole our hearts is back at the centre of a project of an Indiegogo campaign, and the filmmakers behind the documentary will be on hand to talk about the movie (and probs ask for money).

Random notes: Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox will also give presentations, and panels from the Sin City sequel and Outlander TV series will be held. There might be unexpected previews for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and the new Jurassic Park too. Also, super geeks will rejoice in seeing Benedict Cumberbatch at his first ever Comic-Con. Keep your clothes on, ladies. And men.

Camp Cookies + Sangria: Fake Letters From Real (Weird) Summer Camps

When I was a kid, letters to home were a big part of my summer camp dream. It seemed so quaint – like I would be an old-timey soldier or a traveler with one of those brown suitcases that’s covered in stickers. Okay, maybe you’re not a very cool kid if the fun part of summer camp is the writing exercises.

Last week, we brought you a list of weird summer camps that real parents actually send their children to. Because Camp Cookies + Sangria is all about wish fulfillment, today I’m living out my childhood dream and creating some letters for kids from these camps to send home. Hop on over to the other post if you’ve forgotten the insanity. Then just fill in the blanks, send to your parents, and get back to your adventures!

 

High Explosives Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

Explosives camp is the bomb! That is a joke that all of the cool kids at explosives camp like to make.

We get to stay in tents for the rest of camp! Also there are no cabins anymore.

I think my bunkmate forged parts of his moral character application.

Please send burn salve.

Love,

(Name)

P.S.: Please don’t worry if my face doesn’t look all-the-way the same when I get home.

Ninja Camp

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

[sneaky silence]

[more silence]

[KARATE CHOP! Knives!]

Love,

(name)

Fantasy Battle Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

I had to go to a second confession today because I keep calling my roommate a hobbit.

I make my confirmation at the end of camp! Waiting for approval to use Gollum as my confirmation name.

I have to go get ready for my jousting tourney before Second Dinner.

Love,

(name)

P.S. Does the Lead Gandalf wizard robe guy know that I’m Jewish, or…

Plantation Farm Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

Remember how, in history, if a person was told that they were going to one place, but ended up at a plantation doing work instead, it usually wasn’t awesome?

Not cool, guys. This is obviously not fashion camp.

Oh, and thanks for the care package, but everything got confiscated because none of it was organic.

I did start taking care of a really cool goat, though! I haven’t seen it yet today.

For lunch today, we are having pizza.

For dinner, we’re having goat.

I hate you,

(name)

 

Zombie Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know my theater professors told me that any job can lead to great things, but maybe playing the undead at zombie camp isn’t the right role for me.

It’s hard to immerse myself in lurching technique and grunting when I’m reacting so badly to the zombie makeup. I have a weird rash on literally everything.

They make us eat “brains” at the mess hall, and I’m not sure what it is, but I’m not ready to say that it’s NOT brains. The bug juice also might be bug juice.

Close-range nerf guns really do hurt.

Love,

(name)

P.S.: I’ve been thinking about that talk we had about having “something to fall back on” if acting doesn’t work out.

Equestrian Teen Tour Of Russia

Dear Mom and Dad,

So it turns out that Russia is not the best place for an equestrian teen. Or, like, a person in general. I can’t wait to cantor back to the United States! Next year please remember that my first preference was the Equestrian Teen Tour of France, and my second preference was getting a summer job like a normal freaking teenager.

Been getting really into the Romanovs.

Love,

(Name)

#Prince George Memes #Better Than Your Faves

Exactly one year ago today, a lot of creeps from around the world were on Baby Watch, staring at a hospital in England, waiting for a couple to come out to debut their new kid. Of course, because it was the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the future king, it wasn’t as creepy. Today we celebrate his first birthday, and a year of adorable public appearances from Prince George. It’s hard to believe that this tiny tot:

Is now this overall-wearing sorta ginge (?!) walking babe amongst us plebs.

That’s right. I said plebs. Plebeians. The commonfolk. Let’s be real, none of us (unless you’re a member of the royal family reading this right now, in which case – ‘what up’) are worthy enough to be in Prince George’s presence, let alone look at photos of him. This is precisely why the plebs of the internet are my heroes. Who would have ever imagined that some pedestrians would be able to turn Prince Geezy’s public appearances into memes that will forever make me laugh and swoon at the same time? In honor of his royal highness’ landmark birthday, here are some of my favorite Prince George memes the internet wizards have made since his birth last year. Enjoy. And happy birthday baby!!

The Weird Aunt’s Guide To Car Trip Games

It’s my belief that every child should have that one weird aunt. You know, the one who will illustrate the kids’ stories about LeBron James, buy ill-advised potentially dangerous Christmas gifts, and laugh at the kids’ butt jokes. This is important, because it teaches kids that silliness doesn’t stop when you become an adult.  [Parents don’t get to be quite as silly because they’re the ones who have to make sure the children don’t get lost, injure themselves or make butt jokes.]

However, being the weird aunt isn’t so fun when you’re in a car with kids (unless they’re the kids who have those portable DVD players or you’re an adult with a portable DVD player). In fact, I believe car rides with kids are the primary form of transportation between Dante’s circles of hell.

Between driving my local nephews around and being wedged between carseats in my parents’ van for out-of-town trips, I’ve finally got it somewhat worked out: if I’m the one driving, it’s better to run the show than it is to leave the kids to their own devices — unless the devices are electronic, then have at it kiddos! Here are a few of the weird games we do that don’t entirely suck. You could probably use these with adults, as well. Hey, sometimes we all get a little fussy in the car.

Old-School Rapping

Imagination.

 

Reality.

So maybe a lady in a shirtdress and two little boys aren’t the most authentic rap trio, but it helps pass the time if you’re with kids who are old enough to know what rhyming is. There’s a few ways to do it – have them give you one line then you come up with the rhyme to follow it, or maybe decide on a topic then just roll with it. We are big fans of the old-school classics: spelling things (the trick is to add the words “to the” between the letters, guys), making others repeat things (when I say ___ you say ___!), and commanding people to put their hands in the air.

Whatever, it’s better than the license plate game.

The Rhyming Game

Similar to the above, but makes no pretense of being music. They give you a silly sentence, you rhyme it, and you go back and forth creating a story or poem.

The Question Game

This one is such a hit with little guys! Everything you say has to be a question, and the first person to make a statement instead of a question loses.

Okay. I’ll admit it. I have taught them most of the parts of the drinking game Kings. I might be the worst person ever.

Gently mocking annoying drivers

Is it hard to keep from swearing at bad drivers when you have kids in the car? Oh, no no no. You just have to gently mock them instead. Actually, this is what I do when I’m driving by myself too. You pick the type of voice that goes with their car and have at it.

Dumb, Slow voice: Hi, I’m Bob. I have a truck. This is my truck. It can go in any lane! It can go in every lane. Go, truck! Go!

Heavy vocal fry: I’m soo busy. Ohmygod. Ew. Stop siiiiigns? Are for poor people. Gross.

Silly Voice Contest

… which brings us to the silly voice contest. Everybody picks a different silly voice and a persona to go with it, and sticks with it until somebody breaks. It’s not really a “contest” because seriously, everybody wins here. Or loses, depending on your tolerance for bits that go on way to long.

World’s Worst Trifle

When you’ve run out of drinking games to teach to children, start using Friends episodes instead. I know you all remember the beef trifle, and this is a game along those lines. Everyone adds a different layer to create the world’s worst combination of flavors and textures imaginable. I suppose you could make this some sort of educational memory game by going in alphabetical order and repeating all the other layers before adding a new one but I’m obviously not trying to make things too classy here.

Songs In The Style Of…

Whatever’s on the radio, you have to sing it in the style of somebody else. Iggy Azalea in the style of Kidz Bop? One Direction in the style of Blues Traveler? Miley Cyrus in the style of a 1920s lady at a speakeasy? Actually, my nieces and nephews don’t do this, but they do have to listen to me do it – and to be honest, those are all things I sang by myself on the way to work this week alone. Sometimes the adult should get to have fun too.

 

Broad City: A Toast to Elaine Stritch

We lost a good one yesterday, folks. Elaine Stritch – actress, singer, and the ultimate performer – passed away at the young age of 89. Or at least that’s what she made it seem like, anyways.

Elaine was known for her brutal honesty. Her salty candor. Her tart tongue. Her brassiness (is that even a word?). Her refusal to wear pants. Her unwavering ability to tell it like it is and not apologize for it. She was the absolute definition of a broad (in the best way possible). Elaine was what a lot of women, and men too, I imagine, wished they had the courage to be. She was fearless and she was truthful, classy yet not, and admirable all at the same time. A true legend and icon that will never be matched in our lifetimes.

And then there’s her talent. Ooh did she have it. A lot of people from our generation or younger are most familiar with Elaine as the wise-cracking equally as opinionated and verbal Colleen Donaghy, mother to Alec Baldwin’s Jack. I think this clip properly summarizes her character on the show – behind the caustic exterior is a woman who is caring and loving, despite the fact she doesn’t show it. Like, ever.

But Colleen Donaghy was just a role towards the end of her impressive career. She made her Broadway debut in 1946, and went in to appear in Wonderful Town and a number Noel Coward plays. However it was Stephen Sondheim (Steve, she called him) that helped her become the iconic Broadway actress she is/was today. In 1970, she was cast as the vodka-stinger drinking Joanne in his show Company, a role she was born to play. Or rather, was born to play her.

The character of Joanne was not only written for Elaine Stritch, it was based on her, or at least on her acerbic delivery of self-assessment, as exemplified by a moment George Furth had shared with her: they had entered a bar at two in the morning and Elaine, well-oiled, had murmured to the bartender in passing, ‘Just give me a bottle of vodka and a floor plan.’”
— Stephen Sondheim in Finishing the Hat on the late, great Elaine Stritch (1925-2014)

Shortly after the show opened on Broadway, a documentary of the cast recording the soundtrack was released, and in a memorable scene, Elaine is shown recording her classic song Ladies Who Lunch to less than perfect recordings. She eventually got the hang of it, and  what resulted was an act of genius, both on Sondheim’s behalf and Elaine’s on point delivery.

Fast forward to 2002 when she opens her one woman show on Broadway, Elaine Stritch At Liberty (which you can view in its entirety here). She talks about everything throughout both her professional and personal life, like the time she had a horrible date with Marlon Brando or describing the pain she felt after her husband’s death with the only way she knew how – a song from Sondheim’s Follies. She won her first and only Tony Award for the show, and the same guy who made the Company documentary turned At Liberty to a documentary as well in 2002, earning her an Emmy for Best Performance in a Variety Special in 2004, providing one of the most entertaining acceptance speeches in Emmys history.

Elaine took on Broadway one more time in the revival of Steve’s A Little Night Music, and appeared in a number of cabaret shows, which she performed in a cabaret below her apartment. And by that I mean she lived at NYC’s Hotel Carlyle and performed in the cafe downstairs. Woman was still energetic even into her 80s (I mean, I’m obsessed with this interview from last year. Doesn’t miss a beat). In 2013, after being a New Yorker for years, Elaine decided to move back to her homestate of Michigan in a subrub outside of Detroit.

“She doesn’t miss New York? “You say that like it’s not true!” she says. “I feel good about being here. When the hospital sends for me, when the ambulance comes and I ease my way out of the world, I’d rather be in Detroit, Michigan, than Lenox Hill. Pfft.” She actually spits. – Interview with Vulture in 2013 {x}

With Elaine gone, there’s an Elaine-shaped hole in the world of Broadway, in the world, really. It’ll be hard to ever find someone like her on the stage again. But here’s a toast to what Elaine left behind. A legacy that will be cherished for years. The tears, the laughter, etc. etc. etc. She probably wouldn’t want too much hullaballoo and ass kissing during her time of mourning anyways. So, let’s just drink to that.

 “I pray that I may live expectantly. To live expectantly – what’s going to happen on Sunday, and on Sunday what’s going to happen on monday? In the meantime, stay where you fucking are and enjoy it the best way you know how.” – New York Times Interview, 2008 {x}