Unpopular Opinions: Aretha Franklin Only Made Me Want Adele Back

Soul diva Aretha Franklin has a new album coming out called ‘Aretha Franklin Takes on the Great Diva Classics’, and if you haven’t figured out the theme of the record by now, it’s basically her covering songs by other divas. Yesterday, her cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep was released online, and it sounds a little something like this.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m on drugs as I’m nursing a cold right now, but I do not like this version. I even listened to it twice you guys, and I still felt the same way about it. Is it the fact that a brilliant singer like Aretha used autotune on a track? Maybe. Is it because she over-dramatizes the phrase ‘rolling in the deeEEEEEEEEP’? Probs (you should hear me trying to imitate her singing right now). Is it because the Adele version is so perfect that it’s hard to top, even if you’re Aretha Franklin? Obvs.

The song just came out, so I’m not sure what all the people are saying about it, but here’s my unpopular opinion against it. I’m obviously no music critic, so haters that may be reading this right now, take that with a grain of salt. Aretha is obviously one of the greatest vocalists of all time, but sometimes, it’s just better if you don’t fix what’s not broken. I get that she wanted to give it her own twist and make it different enough from the original that it stands out, but this was just too much. It actually sounded like she was trying a bit too hard. But if it’s any consolation, every singer must go through this complex. They think they can sing one way and that it will turn out a certain way but when you take a step back, it’s not exactly what you had hoped for. The kids on American Idol have been struggling with this since season one. ‘Make it your own’ Randy said. ‘It’s too karaoke’ Simon said. It’s hard to find a balance between the two, but when a singer does find the right combo, it’s perfect.

Speaking of American Idol, someone who’s amazing at covering songs without butchering them is Kelly Clarkson, who spent an entire tour taking requests from fans and singing one cover a night. She decided to tackle Adele’s Someone Like You while in Australia, and the result was a fitting tribute to the great song Adele made but also sounded like a straight up Kelly Clarkson track, if that makes any sense.

While Aretha puts too much ‘Aretha’ in her cover, Kelly doesn’t overdo it by putting too much ‘Kelly’ into it. I love you Aretha, but maybe pull back a little on the drama. Yes, I know that’s basically what she’s known for, but it works much better and is much more impressive when she does it on her own songs. By the way, in case you’re wondering, some of the other divas Aretha covers on her new album include Barbra Streisand’s People and Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U. I’m going to take a moment to let that sink in.

But back to Rolling in the Deep. The other big reaction I had from listening to this song was that it only made me yearn for more Adele. She has such a unique and wonderful voice that just can’t be replaced. Aretha did her thing, Kelly did a great job, but there’s nothing quite like the original. I need her to come out of her baby cave and release a new album. An EP would even suffice. Hell, do what Beyonce did and put your son in the record – I just need to never hear Aretha scooping up for notes in autotune ever again.

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Bottoms Up: Our Favorite TV Baristas

It’s National Coffee Day! Normally I skip over these made-up-sounding holidays, but when I think about things that really make a difference in my day-to-day life, coffee is at the top of the list. A few weeks ago I had to go to a lake house with a janky coffee maker (my life is hard!) and waiting 15 minutes and jostling the machine to get the coffee to brew was the worst thing ever – particularly because, cruel fate, I had to do that before I’d had coffee. Not to mention the few times I’ve started my Keurig without a cup under it – again, a harmful byproduct of having to make coffee before you’ve had coffee.

That’s why, although teachers and administrative professionals and dental hygienists all deserve their respective fake holidays, people who make us coffee so we don’t have to are the real heroes. They’re the ones who keep our streets safe (because they make coffee for police officers), our population healthy (because they make coffee for doctors), and bring joy and laughter to our world (by making coffee for comedians or, if you’re into that, clowns). And how about the baristas who keep our favorite TV characters going? Today, I raise my mug to them:

Gunther, Friends

Gunther – full name Gunther Centralperk? – is a barista with “hair as bright as the sun” who did not father Rachel’s child (“that hair on a baby?”). He was full of hope – an aspiring actor who once appeared on All My Children, chronically enamored with Rachel, and ever expectant that he’d be let into the Friends clique. Ah, Gunther. You may not have been part of the primary crew, but you did something even more important: provided laughter, coffee, and – briefly – employment to the people we really cared about. Fun fact: James Michael Tyler was a real barista who earned his role, in part, due to his ability to operate an espresso machine.

Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls

At Luke’s diner, coffee was made with love – years and years of unrequited love – and served with a little bit of judgment. But as much as Luke scoffed at the Lorelais caffeine habit, he knew that it was important and was always ready with a mug of coffee and a tousled baseball cap. October 1, guys. We’re almost there.

Larry The Cook, Seinfeld

Sure, Monk’s Cafe was a full service restaurant – I mean, any restaurant that doesn’t serve a Big Salad can get out – but let’s not forget that the characters frequently referred to it as a “coffee shop,” so we all know what the main attraction was (other than the Big Salad). Larry (Lawrence Mandley) was the owner, but we can’t forget the supporting players who brought coffee to New York’s finest: checkout lady Ruthie Cohen and weird temporary owner, Mr. Vilaski.

The Waitress, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

I don’t think there’s a good way to explain The Waitress’s storyline on It’s Always Sunny if you’re not already familiar with the tone of the show. Just know that she’s a career waitress – after a Starbucks opens across from her cafe, she also gets a job working at a Ruby Tuesday-esque chain restaurant.

Roseanne, Bonnie, Jackie, and Nancy, Roseanne

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And sometimes, you just want to go where nobody cares at all what your name is, they just sort of gruffly serve you black coffee and pie.

Kit (and the full cast of Cafe Nervosa employees), Frasier

Frasier, more than any show, reminds me of the aspirations of the 90s. I watched this and – when I understood what was going on – felt like some day I, too, could order cappuccinos, own a laptop, and have my hair cut into The Rachel. Cafe Nervosa was really serving up that dream. The cafe was a Seattle coffee shop during that magical age when Starbucks still felt sort of special, and all of the employees – mostly randoms, but also Frasier’s one-time girlfriend Kit – kept our favorite tv psychiatrist well-caffeinated in true 90s style.

Emily, Pretty Little Liars

A teen can’t just run away from/towards A all the time – she’s got to make money, too. This has worked well for plot devices like having Emily working at Jenna’s party, because what high schooler didn’t want to have her birthday party at a coffee shop? Although, doesn’t working as a barista seem like more of a Spencer thing? It’s only a matter of time before someone serves up a latte with a cursive A squiggled into the foam.

Ruby/ Red, Once Upon A Time

If there’s any job that’s cuter than working in a cozy little diner, it’s working at a cozy little diner… in small-town Maine … in a village populated entirely with fairy tale characters … and also you are Little Red Riding Hood. Seriously, though, everything here looks amazing, and Ruby is the perfect coffee shop worker/ waitress who always remembers everyone’s orders (cinnamon hot chocolate, amIright?) and is super nice, even though she looks sort of scary because they dress her like she bought the Hot Waitress Halloween costume from Spencer’s Gifts.

The Coffee Shop Workers Of Portland, Portlandia

I think everyone’s been to that coffee shop that has so many rules for how to order (which Italian word meaning “large” is the large, again?) or how to behave (no laptops??) that you feel like someone must be playing a trick on you. But no, some baristas just take their work that seriously. This Coffee Shop Manifesto penned by the baristas of Portland is one of those “funny because it’s true” TV moments.

Things That Needs To Happen When Chris Pratt Hosts SNL

Last weekend, Molly and I spent the weekend in New York City, partly to celebrate her birthday, partly to use up vacation days, and partly to see if we could spot any of our favorite people coming out of 30 Rock (we came at the absolute wrong time when no one was filming and didn’t get to see anyone). If you’re new here, we’re comedy nerds, and honestly, just being in the same building the helped break the careers of people like Poehler and Tina and Jimmy and Kristen etc. etc. etc. was thrilling enough. We were hoping some of the Saturday Night Live cast would be there early to greet us but apparently they weren’t as eager to see us as we were to see them.

But stalking aside, the cast went back to school on Monday for the start of the 40th (!) season of Saturday Night Live, which begins on Saturday, and ‘breakout star’ of the summer, Chris Pratt, taking the helm. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be fantastic, because he’s a champ at comedy and imrpov, so it’ll be like second nature for him. But there are a few things I hope to see come Ssaturday, and while I’ll obviously be happy with anything he does, here are my suggestions for the season opener…

Guardians of the Galaxy parody

Pratt obviously has been around for awhile, whether you know him as the guy from Everwood, or Parks or Zero Dark Thirty, he’s paid his dues and racked up a good amount of iMDb credits. But he shot up to B+/low A list status after Guardians became the biggest movie of the summer all over the world, and it’s no wonder Lorne and SNL producers chose him to host the season opener. So it would only make sense that they capitalize on some of that, just like many of the hosts before him. Perhaps something along the same lines as when Andrew Garfield had that ‘kissing’ sketch with Emma Stone and Chris Martin from Coldplay showed up. Perhaps Groot has a more extensive vocabulary and turns out to be a tree that never shuts up? Or GoTG has a crossover with Footloose?

Amy Poehler or Aubrey Plaza or Aziz Ansari or anyone from Parks shows up in a sketch

It would be only fitting for Amy Pueblo to come back home to support her pal Pratt, right? One of the many reasons I love Parks is that the cast is actually really tight and they support each other in everything they do. Pratt was doing an interview during press for GoTG and when asked how her Parks castmates responded to him being this big superhero, he teared up and said he was getting emotional because all of them had been so happy and supportive of his new gig as the StarLord. Even if none of them show up onscreen, I have a feeling a number of them will at least be backstage rooting him on.

Shirtless Pratt

As you can clearly see, Pratt had to lose a lot of weight to play Marvel’s latest super hero, and also during the GoTG press tour, it seemed like everyone was asking about how he got in shape – which is only fair seeing as how he posted the selfie on the right on social media. I mean… come on. Although Chris has already admitted he’s given up on his diet and strict regimen since then, I feel like taking his shirt off might need to be a priority for SNL.

Anna Faris appears in the monologue

Anna has hosted a couple of times before, so she could possibly do one of those ‘hi honey, I have some tips for you’ gags, which Emma did for Andrew earlier this year, and apparently I have to keep referencing them in this post. If you haven’t seen Anna and Chris act together (What’s Your Number? anyone?) they’re the absolute cutest. And if you didn’t even know they were married, then.. they’re married and it’s the cutest. Both of them are great comedic actors and if she shows up for just a super small part, it will be fantastic.

Jurassic Park sketch

Chris Pratt is continuing his domination of movies that will be loved by generations to come by starring in the upcoming installment of Jurassic Park. Details about the actual movie are scarce, but SNL can take liberties with it and make up their own plot. Hell, they could even just have Pratt retroactively do an impression of Sam Neill and I’d be okay with it.

Drunk Uncle

Boy do I love Drunk Uncle. And boy, do I love Bobby Moynihan. And boy, would I love if Pratt came on Weekend Update to play Drunk Uncle’s Drunk Nephew. Hilarity would (continue) ensuing.

Any other ideas for Pratt tomorrow? Not like the writers will read this but, maybe by putting it out into the universe, we can will it so. Good luck, pal! We’re pulling for you!!

Books That Should Be Banned Because I Hate Them

It’s Banned Books Week – the time every year when the academic and bookworm communities team up and tell meddlesome parent associations that they can suck it. And of course, they can and should: banning books is not cool. It usually happens because parents pressure schools and libraries to get rid of things they don’t want their kids to see. That would be fine if it was because these books were truly awful, like A Child’s Guide To Excluding Other Religions or Racism 4 Kidz. But that’s usually not the case.

Here’s the thing, though. If books can be banned simply because folks don’t want their kids exposed to the greater world, I think it’s only fair that the rest of us should get to arbitrarily have books banned too – because we hated them. I was in the AP/Honors track in high school, and in our particular school that meant that just about all we read were “the classics.” Now, don’t get me wrong, those dead white men can write. But some of those books were so dull and dusty that – even though I can see their value from an educational perspective – I wouldn’t mind banning them … because I hated them. Welcome to a very special edition of C+S Book Club, in which we become an anti-book club.

Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

In this book, we high school juniors learned about Africa from the perspective that really matters — this one white guy who is dead (see what I mean?). I couldn’t even get through the Wikipedia entry on this to refresh my memory, because even that was too boring. But the point is, a bunch of European dudes went through the Congo River on a boat getting obsessed with each other. There were definitely heads on sticks and some kind of a “native” rebellion and a melodramatic death scene. YAWN.

The Once And Future King by T.H. White

This was part of our summer reading before Freshman year of high school – and let me tell you, there’s no better way to stifle a lifelong love of reading than to assign seven books, including a 700-page Arthurian fantasy, to be read over the course of two months (read: the last two weeks before vacation ends), so that the kids don’t even have time to read of their own volition. But hey, high school is when you start to learn a lot about yourself — and this is when I learned that apparently, I hate Arthurian fantasy. The copy on the Barnes and Noble website says that this is a tale “of beasts who talk and men who fly, of wizardry and war.”

You know what else is that kind of tale of beasts who talk and men who fly, of wizardry and war? Harry Potter, which – fun fact! – did not ruin my fourteenth summer.

One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It’s important for kids to understand that life in a Soviet gulag was tedious as hell, but even as a 15-year-old, I could have figured it out without having to read Ivan Denisovich’s boring day in prison develop in real time. When I discovered my study sheet from my AP English exam, I had subtitled this book something like “(more like 100 years in the life of me).”

I learned 1000% more about prison life by watching Orange Is The New Black, so maybe that can replace this 200-page snoozefest in the high school curriculum.

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Unfair grudge? Maybe.  I’m shooting for reading 50 books this year, and Gone With The Wind, with its 1000-page count and twerpy protagonist, singlehandedly threw off my timeline. I know of people who read this in high school, but we didn’t because a white guy didn’t write it* (Margaret Mitchell is a white lady). Still, I figured I should see what the fuss was about.

I still don’t get it. People are obsessed with this book. I usually am able to view books as  a product of their time, but GWTW really tested my patience. Rhett and Scarlett and the gang being racist? Totally unsurprising, and it would be unrealistic if they weren’t. But Mitchell portrayed all of the Black characters as simplistic, childlike dumb-dumbs who, even after emancipation, truly needed the guidance and protection of the good white people. Guys. The “mammy” is literally called Mammy. Mind you, this was written in 1936, not during the Civil War era.

There’s also a truly cringey “no means yes” rape scene (it’s totally fine, they were married and Scarlett wanted it UGH).

Finally, the book is only so long because the author takes about 200 pages to describe scenarios like “Scarlett goes to a barbeque and learns that this guy is engaged.”

If schools want to teach a civil-war era novel that also has inspired a feature film (because you can fill like a week of class days watching the movie), let’s go with Solomon Northrup’s 12 Years A Slave. Please.

* We did read To Kill A Mockingbird and Black Boy, so there’s two. Oh! And Wuthering Heights.

Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

Okay, I don’t really want this banned, and I didn’t hate it. But is there some way to short-list who gets to read it? I’m thinking about those earnest high school boys who think they’re deeper than everyone else, were born in the wrong era, and probably have Bob Dylan posters tacked up in their rooms. Give them one dose of Catcher and they become positively insufferable, because it reinforces their idea that they’re the only one who’s not a “phony” (except ol’ Phoebe, etc). Honestly, a great book, but teens who think they know everything don’t need more ammo. Let’s assign them Franny and Zooey instead, until they’re old enough to have a balanced perspective on the Holden Caulfield character.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, But Only For Some People

A few years ago I went on a huge Lost Generation reading kick, and I’m still so fascinated by the era they lived in, the style of writing, all of it. However, like Catcher In The Rye, some kids don’t  have the perspective to read these critically. I don’t really want these on the banned list. These are exactly the kind of books I want kids reading, even if some kids don’t understand it at an adult level. It’s just that from my own high school and college days, I remember a lot of people reading these books and feeling so much admiration and awe for the very people who were being criticized in them. It’s like watching Mean Girls and coming away with the message “man, those Plastics really were the coolest kids out there, weren’t they?”

I guess I’m not saying that kids shouldn’t read Catcher In The Rye or books about high society written by the Lost Generation. I’m just saying we should teach them to read critically or, barring that, teach them to shut the heck up.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Story time: we read this book in Honors English my Freshman year. I enjoyed it, but sometimes didn’t do awesome at the pop reading quizzes we had because I was more into binge reading on weekends than reading two chapters a night or whatever. When it got time to write the essay at the end of the unit, I killed it. A friend’s computer was broken, so I offered to type hers up too – not fixing the little mistakes I found because that would be dishonest and I was almost compulsively honorable at that stage of life.

When we got the graded papers back, I was ready to see the big fat A at the top of my page – and saw a 65%. WHAT. THE. HELL. 65% was a grade I’d only heard about before, from other people, unfortunate people whose lives weren’t like mine. My friend, whose paper I knew wasn’t as good, had like a 97%. All throughout my paper the teacher had scribbled snide little comments like “your words??” (next to the word “enamored” which is not even a weird word for a 14-year-old to know). So I went to the teacher to see what was up, and she scheduled a meeting with my parents and a vice principal because she thought it was plagiarized. The school was on a plagiarism witch hunt because some kids had been kicked out for it the year before. She claims she marked my paper down 30 points but that can’t even be right, because it was still 2 points less than my friend’s error-ridden paper. She obviously just failed it because she didn’t think I was smart enough to turn in something so good.

Anyway. I got the grade restored, in part because the vice principal vouched that she’d see me pour over Dickens when I was a third grader stuck at my brothers’ basketball games, and in part because my partial rough draft was still in my notebook, complete with crossouts and doodles. Only by the grace of God had I not written something embarrassing like “Mrs. Pacey Witter” or “Jack Dawson 4 lyfe” in the margins.

Point is: I liked this book initially, but thanks to that teacher (Mrs. Hammerton, Honors English, Aquinas Institute 2000, what’s up?) – well, if you can just have books banned willy-nilly because they give you uncomfy feelings, then I’d like to do that here, please.


 

I enjoyed just about everything I had to read in school: from Greek drama to ancient myths to Shakespeare to 19th century romanticism. But there were still those books that I just could not get into. How about you all – any books you wouldn’t lose sleep over the banning of, because you hated them so much?

 

 

Woman Crush Wednesday: Cristin Milioti

We’re smack dab in the middle of fall TV premiere week and while we count down the hours to the #Scandal premiere with wine in hand, we’re also ready to try out some of the new shows. We covered some during our TV Week, and among the ones we’re super excited about is A to Z, starring everyone’s favorite Mother, Cristin Milioti.

Cristin is relatively new, considering she’s been specific roles to different groups of fans, and it’s about time she be recognized for the excellent talent she is. So in honor of A to Z starting next week, we’re dedicating #WomanCrushWednesday to one of our favorite “new” actresses, Cristin Milioti.

The Mother/Tracy ‘Not a Plot Device’ McConnell/TM

Let’s get this out of the way right now. If you’re not caught up with the series finale of How I Met Your Mother and don’t want to be spoiled, STOP READING NOW. Also props for managing to not find out the outcome for so long.

The series finale was a polarizing one, to say the least, and we lean towards the unfavorable side of the coin. Not to see we hated it completely, but we would’ve liked to see a happier ending. You know, with less death. To pull a Ted, let’s start from the beginning. The moment she walked up to the train ticket booth and said ‘One ticket to Farhampton, please’ I SCREAMED at my TV because I knew her as Broadway’s Cristin Milioti (more on that later).

cristin

I was so excited because knowing her style, she seemed like the perfect fit for the love of Ted Evelyn Mosby’s life. In the final season when they had scenes together, it felt worth it. That the wait to meet Her over the past nine years had culminated in Ted meeting and falling in love with his perfect match – even the Victorias and Stellas and Jeanettes were all worth it because Tracy was ‘better’ than them and it was clear just by the chemistry between her and Ted.

And then the conspiracy theorists turned out to be right. Everything we (me) hoped wouldn’t happen did, and Tracy, this perfect human, died from a mystery illness and Ted really completed his full circle love affair with Robin at the end. Whatever your position on the ending may be, I think we can all agree that Tracy was a good match for Ted, and it wouldn’t have been perfect without the brilliant talent from Cristin.

 A Girl and Her Ukelele

One of Cristin’s shining moments on the show is this short, sweet, heart wrenching clip of Tracy singing La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf, which Ted hears for the first time while sitting outside his hotel at Robin and Barney’s wedding. The emotion she brings to the song is just as impressive as Edith’s original version, but in a slightly different way. Ted’s enchantment with her singing is one of the first glimpses of his initial connection with his future wife and gave me the gossebumps watching it. Fun fact: Cristin learned the song on ukelele just for the scene.

 “Tony Award nominee Cristin Milioti”

Like previously mentioned, I first found out about Cirstin when she got cast as the lead role of Girl in the Original Broadway Cast of Once. Even though I never got the chance to see her in all her glory live, I’ve made my way through the soundtrack more times than I care to share. When paired with Steve Kazee, the two make a super couple with one magical musical baby, as evidence by their duet of the hit song Falling Slowly, as seen above. It’s nearly impossible not to cry (okay, it’s possible, but I’m just a baby who can’t keep her emotions in).

 She’s a Sexy Baby

And now for something completely different, the same year Cristin made her debut in Once, she appeared in a standout episode of 30 Rock, which deals with sexism in the workplace. The show Liz Lemon runs is accused of being misogynistic, so she hires a female writer played by Cristin named Abby, who turns out to be provocative and really stereotypical. It was one of the most memorable episodes of 30 Rock and it’s hard to believe Cristin in the same girl as Girl or The Mother based on this alone.

She Has Leonardo DiCaprio’s e-mail, Probably

Cristin is originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey and calls herself “Olive Garden Italian”, but in Wolf of Wall Street she plays Jordan Belfort’s (Leo) first wife Teresa, who looks like this:

So I feel like maybe this role was one of the most relatable for her…?

She has a Drunk Personality

If it makes you feel any better, Cristin, I don’t think ANYONE can recite the alphabet backwards while pointing to their nose. It’s nearly impossible to do sober, so your argument is valid.

We Would’ve Been A Part Of The Same High School Clique

I went through a really good-looking phase from birth to 9. And then things went crazy. I don’t know what happened, but between 9 and 14 it was really, really rough. I didn’t have a lot of friends. The only ones who were nice to me were the theater kids. And they were like, ‘You can come and join us. No one likes us.” {x}

In high school, Molly and I fell under the category of theater kids, but the kind that wasn’t completely hung ho about it, closer to that of the lower sports clique. Think Cool Asians, as opposed to Asian nerds. Cristin is one of our people, and not afraid to embrace her love for the stage like us, and I appreciate that.

She Rules The Rom Com

There are only a number of shows I’m super excited about watching in the coming weeks, and A to Z, starring Cristin and Mad Men’s Ben Feldman is one of them. If you like HIMYM, you’ll probably like this show. It tells the story of a couple’s complete dating history – and they only date for 8 months. Cristin puts on the charm and so does Ben, and together, you start to question your ship for Tracy and Ted Mosby. (A to Z’s pilot is on NBC.com, but premieres on October 2nd on NBC!)

Fall 2014 Pumpkin Spice Round Up

Fall is officially here, and everything’s coming up pumpkin! Well, pumpkin spice, that is. Pumpkin spice isn’t pumpkin itself, it’s that stuff that you put on pumpkin to make it, you know, taste like pumpkin spice. And it’s the only thing anyone cares about anymore. If the Spice Girls came out today, it would just be 5 chippies in leggings and braided hair crowns all called Pumpkin Spice. It’s that serious.

I’ve done an unofficial survey of the pumpkin spice items on the market this year, and cataloged them by how necessary they are (usually: not at all) and their ranking on the pumpkin meter (as in: do they actually even remind you of pumpkin).

Pumpkin Spice Oreos

Is it necessary? No.

Pumpkin Meter: 0. Contains no actual pumpkin.

Initial impression: Oreos have become the ultimate in junk foods masquerading as other junk foods. You can now buy Oreos that taste like mint chocolate, birthday cake, Blizzard (which is an ice cream dessert that tastes like Oreos, figure that out) … and now, pumpkin spice. This was inevitable. This is America.

Pumpkin Spice Jell-o

Is it necessary? Maybe?

Pumpkin Meter: 2. Tastes kind of pumpkin-y, can be combined with real pumpkin.

Initial impression: This seems useless as a standalone food, but combined with some type of pie crust or parfait situation, it’s unhealthy, but at least sort of functional.

Thomas’ Pumpkin Spice Bagels

Is it necessary? It’s fine. I guess.

Pumpkin Meter: 0.5. Have you ever had pumpkin bread, made with actual pumpkin? This isn’t that. It’s cinnamon raisin bagels, minus the raisins, plus some nutmeg and orange food coloring.

Initial impression: As far as bagged, preservative-laden bagels go, this is fine. My biggest issue with everything on this list is, pumpkin flavored or not, these just aren’t things I’d ever eat unless I had no other option and was really hungry. I could see pumpkin bagels, made with real pumpkin at a real bagel shop, being pretty good, though.

Yoplait Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

Is it necessary? Never.

Pumpkin meter: 1. You know how grape and watermelon-flavored things taste nothing like actual grapes or watermelon? Yet you still can sort of tell what they’re trying to be? That’s the pumpkin flavoring in this yogurt.

Initial impression: This time of year, I’m into combining equal parts pureed pumpkin and plain or vanilla yogurt. That tastes pretty good, honestly. But Yoplait Pumpkin Pie Yogurt tastes like if you tried to approximate that using corn syrup straight-up, a gelatin agent, and the wilted dreams of pumpkin.

Hershey’s Kisses Pumpkin Spice Flavored Candies

Is it necessary? Nah.

Pumpkin meter: 0.

Initial impression: If you’ve ever thought to yourself “hey, I wish this chocolate tasted more like the flavoring you use in pumpkin pie,”… I just don’t know what to tell you. Enjoy, I guess. But if you’re like the rest of us who like to keep your pumpkin and your waxy chocolate separate, don’t bother.

Jif Whips Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter

Is it necessary? I mean. There’s probably an audience for it.

Pumpkin meter: You know how there are weird CGI versions of every cartoon you ever loved now? The only way I can describe it is that this is the weird CGI version of peanut butter – sort of fakey and not really the same.

Initial impression: I am never eating this again, but it was almost okay-ish. You know how in Nutella commercials, that mom talks about how Nutella is a great way to get your kids to eat stuff like bread? And you wonder if there are really that many kids refusing to eat bread? Well, I guess you could use this to convince pumpkin obsessed people to eat bread.

Honestly, though. Are there that many people who are at a carb deficit?

Brach’s Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn

Is it necessary? Maybe if you like candy corn.

Pumpkin meter: No.

Initial impression: I hate candy corn, so I asked the one person I know who actually likes candy corn. Verdict: “honestly, I’d rather just eat some regular candy corn.” Well, there you have it, kids. It’s nice that this is made with real honey, right?

Twistex Dog Dental Chews

Is it necessary? Of course not.

Pumpkin meter: So, I realize I never set a scale for the pumpkin meter. Let’s say it goes from zero to “Great Pumpkin.” These rate right at “no idea, because it’s dog food.”

Initial impression: I’m sure my dog would eat these if I bought them, but any food that appeals to a species that thinks dead animals smell awesome and cat poop is delicious is probably disgusting. Bonus: if your dog gets into these you can start making fun of her for being so ~basic.

Country Crock Pumpkin Spice Spread

Is it necessary? I mean … is any Country Crock spread necessary?

Pumpkin meter: Not sure; couldn’t find anyone who had tried it. Or ever would.

Initial impression: I’m opposed to fake butters, but I could see how the pumpkin version of an apple butter type thing would be good, right? Except I’d only eat it if it was made out of actual butter and not dyed yellow pressed oil.

Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea

Is it necessary? If Pumpkin Spice Lattes are necessary, pumpkin spice tea is, too.

Pumpkin meter: The “spice meter” is pretty high but the “pumpkin meter” is broken here.

Initial impression: This is fallish and not bad, but tastes more like spice and less like pumpkin.

Silk Pumpkin Spice Soymilk

Is it necessary? Meh. It has its uses.

Pumpkin meter: Middling. Sort of tastes like pumpkin.

Initial impression: I thought this would be good in coffee. It wasn’t. But I used it in a pancake recipe and wasn’t disappointed. So, maybe better for baking.

Pumpkin Pringles

Is it necessary? NO.

Pumpkin Meter: NO.

Initial impression: I won’t buy these, and I don’t know anyone else who will, either. Not even 100% sure they’re being sold this year. Don’t care to find out. Happy pumpkining!

 

You’ve Been Gilmored: Tips for Binge-Watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix

It’s happening you guys. IT’S ALL HAPPENING. Sorry I yelled at you. Let’s make up. I’m just super excited for the recent news coming out of Netflix HQ: All seven seasons of Gilmore Girls are coming to Netflix Instant. That’s right – 153 episodes, about 6,732 minutes, and an unlimited number of pop culture references that will be available at your beck and call any time of day!

For Gilmore Girls fanatics like me, this doesn’t *seem* like it should be as important as it is. Like, I have all seven seasons on DVD and watch repeats of them on ABC Family everyday before I go to work, but still, Netflix Instant is next level. This means it’s possible to watch Dean build a car for Rory, watch Luke and Lorelai’s first kiss, and skip all the April episodes all in one fell swoop!

If you didn’t get any of those references, then you probably need to binge watch GG the moment it becomes available on October 1st. Why? Well let me tell you the brief history I have with this show. I was a late bloomer to GG, catching the repeats the first year they went on syndication right after season 5 aired in the summer of 2005. I remember becoming obsessed and even taped (yes, with VHS tapes) every single episode from TV. I eventually bought the DVDs and watched every episode multiple times, memorized lines, daydreamed about being BFF with Lorelai, or just daydreamed about being Lorelai. It was a show I watched with my group of friends that I studied abroad with, illegally streaming eps that aired in the U.S. so we could be caught up with the current season. It’s a show that I related to, where I could see myself in Lorelai, in Rory, in Lane, where sarcasm and witty quips were a fluent language and coffee is the drink of choice. It’s a show that romanticizes small town America, but still deals with realistic problems (for the most part). It’s a show that’s not just for teen girls like most assume, but for both adult women AND men. It’s a show, that at its heart, is about family, friendship and community. Most importantly, it’s a show you should be watching in its entirety come October 1st.

For the new citizens of Stars Hollow, or those who haven’t seen the show in a while and are in the mood for a good ol’ binge watch, here are some helpful tips (in no particular order) to get you through seven full seasons of one of the greatest TV shows of all time*.

*Number 43, according to Entertainment Weekly

Tip #1: Have snacks

The gals’ relationship to food is probably the longest relationship both Lorelai and Rory have ever had. They take it seriously. During Rory’s first night at college, Lorelai even organized a taste test for all the fast food places in the area so they could rate them. Also, one of the cardinal rules of the Gilmore girls is that if they’re sitting down to watch a movie or TV show, they have to have snacks. And not just one kind of snack. Like you can’t just have popcorn. You also have to have candy and pizza and Chinese take out from Al’s Pancake World. Make sure you have all your bases covered when binge watching.

Tip #2: Don’t eat all the snacks

lorelaiparadox

Don’t let these adorable Gilmore Girls fool you, they’ve trained years to eat as much as they do and still wear a size 2. That and the fact that they’re actors and probably have spit buckets at the ready. There have actually been in-depth studies on how Lor and Rory manage to eat all the crap they eat and still look thin. One person at The Huffington Post even calculated how many calories they intake in a day. It’s not pretty. So as much as you want to eat like a champion, leave it to the professionals actors.

Tip #3 Brew up some coffee coffee coffee

In addition to all the food consumption, these gals drink coffee like they breathe in air. It’s their oxygen. It’s lit’rally one of the first things Lorelai says/begs for in the pilot. Points if you get Luke’s coffee with a touch of nutmeg.

Tip #4: Be ready to pick a favorite boyfriend of Rory’s

For those who have never seen GG: yes, that’s the brother from Supernatural. Yes, that’s the dude from Heroes. Yes, that’s the lawyer from The Good Wife. Now that that’s over, Rory’s love life goes through three main boyfriends from her time in high school to the end of college. Dean (Jared Padalecki) was the first love, Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) was the bad boy boyfriend, and Logan (Matt Czuchry) was the one she didn’t see coming. All three have their own pros and cons, but for me, the one who always wins out in the end is Jess. Not just because he and Alexis Bledel dated IRL, either. Because they were *meant 2 be*. And once you’re done with the series, read this super hilarious – and accurate – roundtable discussion of Rory’s BFs.

Tip #5: Same goes for Lorelai

Listen, you’ll see throughout the course of the show that Lor has more boyfriends than local diner owner Luke and baby daddy Christopher. If you’ve watched it and for some reason pick neither (or even worse pick Jason) as your fave, your points are invalid. For Lorelai, she was always torn between who she should be with and who she wanted to be with, and really, there’s no wrong answer here. Except there is a wrong answer. Read on…

Tip #6: Pick a ship and sail with it

Sam and Diane. Rachel and Ross. Jim and Pam. Luke and Lorelai. As far as TV couples go, Luke and Lorelai are probably my favorite of all time. They’re one of the most epic ‘will they or won’t they’ couples in TV history and *spoiler alert* waiting nearly five seasons for them to get together is totally worth it. From the beginning, you could tell the man who provided the crazed woman with a constant coffee IV drip had been pining for her, and she loved him without even knowing it. Their subtle glances to each other, their inability to admit jealousy of significant others, the way they cared for each other as if they had been in a relationship all along – is what makes them the ultimate ship of all ships on this show.

Tip #7: Keep an eye out for guest stars

If you can believe it, Gilmore Girls started in the year 2000. That’s 14 years ago. Approximately the age of a current high school freshman. That means that during the show’s seven season run, a lot of actors who had cameo roles have since become much bigger stars. Take for example, the man above. You may recognize his mustache as seen on Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, but on GG, he plays Beau Belville, a creepy relative of Jackson. Everyone from Jon Hamm to Seth MacFarlane to the guy who played Duncan Kane on Veronica Mars all show up to Stars Hollow at some point.

Tip #8: Paris Geller takes some getting used to

In the beginning, Rory’s classmate is a snobby, malicious, Heather-type bitch. It’s easy to hate on her. But trust, she will become one of your favorite characters on the show as the series goes on.

Tip #9: Soak in the magic that is Melissa McCarthy

Long before Melissa McCarthy was “Oscar nominee/Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy”, she was the lovable, bumbling Sookie St. James, BFOTB (Best Friend of the Bride). Any GG fan can tell you that Melissa was a standout on the show. Her comedic skills were beyond and I’m so happy that she finally gets to showcase it in all its glory.

Tip #10: You can visit Stars Hollow

wbtour

Yes, that’s right folks. You can actually visit the fictional town that is Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Well, okay, kind of. Two options: 1 go on a Warner Brothers tour in sunny Burbank, California, just minutes from my humble abode (Come over after, I’ll provide coffee). It depends on whether the area is being used for filming or not, but you’ll get to see the town square on said tour! Since it’s been seven years since the show ended, WB has gotten rid of the Luke’s and Doose’s signs, but the facades still stand (and are used for shows like Pretty Little Liars and Hart of Dixie). You’ll be able to see Miss Patty’s, Stars Hollow High, the church with the bells, and maybe even the gazebo! I will say that I’ve been on the WB tour THRICE and it wasn’t until the final time that I got to see the town square. Probs because I begged our tour guide and we were essentially the only Americans people paying attention.

If you want a tour of the real Stars Hollow, the closest you can get is Washington Depot, Connecticut, where GG creator Amy Sherman-Palladino stayed and was inspired to write the show. A complete guide can be find here, and also gives details on surrounding towns that have that SH feel.

Tip #11: Question Michel’s sexuality

He’s the unfriendly concierge for the Independence Inn/Dragonfly and he never uses pronouns when it comes to significant others. He is always dressed impeccably, watches his weight to a fault, and loves Destiny’s Child and Celine Dion. You decide.

Tip #12: The fast-talking doesn’t slow down

There’s nothing wrong with your TV, those girls talk fast. Most hour-long ‘dramas’ have scripts that, on average, are 40 to 50 pages long, but the fast-paced dialogue that GG is known for would spawn across 75 to 80 pages!

Tip #13: Celebrate June 3rd

**If you haven’t seen the show and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t watch that video! But I’m about to talk about some stuff that happens, so skip ahead if you don’t want to know!

June 3rd was supposed to be the date of Luke and Lorelai’s wedding until April and subsequently Lorelai herself screwed it all up. June 3rd is also the date Rory had a date in court, and my friends and I have unofficially deemed June 3rd Gilmore Girls day. It usually includes good food, coffee coffee coffee and maybe an episode or two. Luckily, you have plenty of time to watch the entire series (a few times, probs) before the next GG holiday.

Tip #14: Don’t worry if you don’t get all the pop culture references

The witty banter and references made in the show are sometimes thrown in there that you miss most of them. I love that I can watch the show to this day and still find a ref I missed before. In the DVDs (IDK if they still do this now), each box set used to come with a lexicon guide to help you understand what the characters were talking about. Even the cast admitted they didn’t get all of the references – apparently Alexis had to ask Lauren who The Waltons were at some point…

Tip #15: The finale wasn’t a real finale

When you reach the very last episode of the series, you’ll be left with a feeling of unfinished business. Like it was fine, but you also want more. This is mainly because the finale wasn’t actually meant to be a series finale. When the WB turned into the CW during the show’s last season, a lot of things got fucked up, including the fact that Amy Sherman-Palladino left at the end of season 6, which is also the reason why season 7 was kind of weird in general. Anyways, when they shot the season 7 finale, they weren’t sure if they were going to get picked up or not, so they wrote the season finale as if it could be a series finale, but also left room for the possibility of going somewhere in season 8. Because of this, fans have been clamoring for more, which is why you hear about those movie rumors from time to time. BTW, those are rumors, nothing’s happening with that. However, AS-P has said in the past that she had planned the final line of the entire series since the beginning, but because she left, we never got to find out what that was. So here’s hoping she’ll maybe spill the beans or there will be a random 2 hour TV movie that will satisfied GG fans around the world.

Alright kids, I think that’s enough to get you ready to binge watch one of the best shows ever. Hopefully it will live up to all the hype. And now that Dawson’s Creek is off Instant (RIP), this should probably be your go to show moving forward. Copper Boom!

C+S Book Club: This Is Where I Leave You

25 years ago Hillary Foxman wrote Cradle and All: A Mother’s Guide to Enlightened Parenting. But in the present day, she and her four children have gone from the cradle to the grave, offering us  – by way of example – a modern guide for how to sit shiva. Or how definitely not to sit shiva, anyway. In celebration of today’s theatrical release of This Is Where I Leave You* based on the book by Jonathan Tropper, we offer the family how-to guide that the Foxmans didn’t publish:

The Foxman Guide To Sitting Shiva

* Minor spoilers ahead! If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie – but plan to – and don’t want to know anything that happens, stop right here! Read the book, catch the movie, then come back.

Do: Turn down offers to date rando people your mom’s friends want to set you up with

If you’re one of the mourners who’s had a death in the family, you have the upperhand in every conversation. If you don’t feel like talking to people – not because you’re sad, but because you are tired of talking – you can just blame it on the fact that you’re too “depressed” to engage in conversation. So if your mom’s friends know you recently separated from your wife because she cheated on you with your boss, feel free to turn those sly dating offers down.

Millie Rosen brings her daughter, Rochelle, who is 27, unmarried, and pretty in a forgettable way. She positions her right in front of me and makes painfully obvious attempts at engaging us in conversation. What pretty much every person in Elmsbrook except Millie knows is that I am not Rochelle’s type, being that I don’t have breasts and a vagina.

Do not: Bring your cougar girlfriend home for the first time for your father’s shiva unannounced

Phillip, the youngest of the Foxman kids, surprises his family by telling them his much old girlfriend, Tracy, is coming for the week. Actually, no. He didn’t even tell them, it was more of a guerrilla attack.

He flips the phone closed and looks at all of meaningfully. “She’s here,” he says, like we’ve all been waiting. Like we have any idea what he’s talking about.

Tracy is not only much older and wiser, but she’s actually her therapist (that’s how they met, naturally). Meeting a significant other’s family can be intimidating enough, but even more so when it’s a full on family gathering, and it’s because of a death in said family, and also if everyone in that family is insane.

Do: Help your mom if an older widower is hitting on her

Mr. Applebaum knows what it’s like. He lost Adele a few years ago, and if he can be of any comfort to Hillary, he will be. But when he’s ogling at her breasts for just a litttle too long, maybe it’s time to step in. She did just lose her husband, after all.

Do not: Smoke pot in a temple

Or smoke pot in a temple-adjacent Hebrew school. Probably the best idea is to not smoke weed anywhere near places of worship or where kids go to learn the next day. Even if you found a joint in your dead dad’s suit.

Do: Borrow clothing

If you’re a little stressed about remembering everything you need to survive an entire week stuck in a house, remember that someone probably has whatever it is you need, like a suit for the first time you’ll step foot in a temple since your youngest sibling or cousin’s mitzvah. Besides, sometimes there’s fun stuff in the pocket (see above).

Do not: “Borrow” anything without asking

Because that’s stealing. Whether it’s your sibling’s money, DNA for a child you’re trying to have (don’t ask), or your estranged spouse’s half of the bank account, you don’t need to add theft to the list of your family’s woes.

Do: Use shiva visiting time to get the dirt on people you grew up with

If there’s anything good about sitting shiva, it’s that you get to see friends and family (that you like) that you haven’t seen in forever. Plus you can get information on them you previously weren’t able to glean on Facebook. Like the good old days.

Do not: Call a childhood friend by their embarrassing nickname as an adult. Especially if they’re a rabbi.

Kids have embarrassing nicknames that aren’t particularly ones they choose. And if you’re seeing someone for the first time in a long time, it’s an honest mistake if you accidentally call them by their nickname. But just think twice before calling your childhood friend Boner, while he’s officiating his burial.

Do: Prepare for your place in the sleeping arrangements hierarchy

Are you married with kids? You get your own room! Coupled, no children? Well, you probably get a bed, at least. Single, even if it’s because your wife was having an affair with your boss? Buck up, you’re sleeping in a basement, probably on the floor or something.

Do not: Ferberize your child the week they’ll be living with a house full of people

When you let your child “cry it out” at night, the entire household ends up crying it out as well. Save the sleep-training for your own house.

Do: Expect a lot of food

Shiva means seven in Hebrew, which is why the family sits together in their house for seven days following the death of a loved one. Friends and family come by, and apparently in Jewish culture, they come bearing food. Lots of it. Like, you won’t have to make any meals for the next two weeks. Bless.

Do not: Fake a suicide to get your significant other to stay

Standing on a roof threatening to jump if your boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with you and leaves town is not safe (why should I even have to say that). But this scene happens in the book, and this is all I could think about:

Do: Expect the unexpected

If you’re trapped in a house for a whole week, there’s no telling what you’ll uncover. You don’t need to full on Harriet The Spy it, but if you keep your eyes and ears open you may figure out stuff about, say, your mom’s neighbor lady friend that you never would have guessed.

Do not: Expect any of your secrets to remain hidden over the course of seven days

The flip side of that: whether you’re expecting a child, trying to expect a child, married to a skuzzy workaholic, or in a weird relationship with an out of your league older lady, as soon as the first person figures it out everyone else will follow.

Do: Reconnect with old friends

There’s a good chance shiva (aka adult grounding) will bring you back to your old high-school stomping grounds, so use that time wisely and track down all those Penny Moore, one-that-got-away types.

Do not: Reconnect with old friends that way if you’re still married

Even if you’re married to the worst person ever … just don’t.

Do not: Have sex with a house full of mourners

I think people have a tendency to think that walls = silence. Not all walls are soundproof, and if there are other people in the house, they can usually hear whatever you’re doing. That being said, it’s probably not the best idea to have sex (especially if you’re going to be loud) while shiva is still going on. Even if you’re trying to have a baby and timing while ovulating is key.

Do: Have a prepared speech on your life

I assume after just one day, shiva can get tedious and repetitive, so it’s best to not embarrass yourself and just have a prepared monologue when someone comes up to you and asks what you’re doing with your life. It’s like a high school reunion, but for sad family and friends.

We perform our sad little shiva smiles on cue and repeat the same inane conversations over and over again. He just slipped away, Mom says. Three kids now, Wendy says. I’m a photojournalist. I just got back from a year in Iraq, embedded with a marine unit, Phillip says. We’re separated, I say.

 

 

Where Are They Now: The Baby-Sitters Club Movie

Today’s #ThrowbackThursday is dedicated to all those teens who spent their summer vacation running a (semi) legal summer camp operation in their backyard. Oh that was just the gals from The Baby-Sitters Club? Oh okay, cool.  As part of our Camp Cookies + Sangria series, we took a look back at one of our favorite movies from our childhood. But that got me thinking, where are these teens now? Have they completely left the business we call ‘show’ or are they randomly popping up in the latest season of Mad Men? Say hello to your (old) friends…

Kristy Thomas played by Schuyler Fisk

Here’s a fun fact I always forget about Schuyler – her mother is Sissy Spacek. Yeah, her mom was Carrie. Anyways,  after BSC, she appeared in 2002’s Orange County with Colin Hanks and Jack Black, and that might actually be what you know her from if you’re not of the BSC ilk. She also appeared in movies like Snow Day and I’m Reed Fish and was in episodes of Law & Order: SVU and One Tree Hill. But Schuyler has also made a name for herself as a singer/songwriter, and a lot of her music has been used in soundtracks. She did a duet with Zach Braff fave Joshua Radin, and their duet Paperweight was used on The Last Kiss and Dear John – basically you’ve heard her sing before without even knowing it. She married artist Chapman Bullock in 2012.

Stacey McGill played by Bre Blair

BSC was Bre’s first big break, and she’s been active ever since. She’s done a few films, including last year’s The Hangover for old people (Last Vegas), but has mainly stayed busy with one-off eps on TV. From Charmed to CSI to The OC to Grey’s Anatomy, and even HAPPY FREAKING ENDINGS (S1E13, the girl Dave had sex with). Also, she’s Canadian. I mean, she’s always been Canadian, that hasn’t changed.

Dawn Schafer played by Larisa Oleynik

Larisa is one of the few actors in this movie that had some ‘clout’ going in, as I’m sure many of you still refer to her as Alex Mack. She filmed BSC while Alex Mack was on hiatus, and became one of America’s favorite kid actors. Right after Alex Mack, she starred in 10 Things I Hate About You, and why don’t I remember the rumor she and co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt dated?! She also appeared as his GF on 3rd Rock From the Sun for a bunch of episodes, so maybe that’s where love bloomed? Larisa’s kept a steady acting career, both in movies (100 Girls) and a bunch of TV eps (Malcolm in the Middle, Psych, Mike & Molly). She also did a sneak attack and became Ken Cosgrove (Accounts)’s wife on Mad Man and was dumb bitch Maggie (Ezra’s ex-girlfriend with the son) on Pretty Little Liars. Larisa also had time to attend college at Sarah Lawrence and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2004. She also starred in a movie called Orenthal: The Musical, about OJ Simpson/Othello? Oh, she recently rewatched the pilot of Dawson’s Creek, which means we should probably be friends.

Mary Anne Spier played by Rachael Leigh Cook

Believe it or not, but BSC was Rachael’s acting debut. Of course she went on to become a 90s teen staple, having starred in She’s All That, Tom and Huck, and Josie and the Pussycats. Speaking of Dawson’s Creek, she was on a season 2 ep playing doppleganger Joey Potter. Among her many TV and film roles is a bunch of voiceover work, including Robot Chicken and video games like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy. She currently stars in Perception, which is basically where 90s stars go to hang out (Eric McCormack, The OC’s Kelly Rowan, Scott Wolf and LeVar Burton). Rachael married The Vampire Diaries actor Daniel Gillies in 2004, and have an almost 1-year-old daughter, Charlotte.

Claudia Kishi played by Tricia Joe

Unlike her fellow BSC members, Tricia left her teen acting career behind and opted to live a life among us mere mortals. She went to Fullerton College in California and graduated with a degree in dance, then went on to become an overachiever with a degree in criminal justice from California State University in Long Beach. If she was still an actress, she would be able to pitch some kind of dancing cop show. From her limited pictures I can access on Facebook, she’s dating some dude with a really big arm tattoo and enjoys driving around in her jeep.

Mallory Pike played by Stacy Linn Ramsower

stacey lynn rams

By the time Stacy did BSC, she had already been in a bunch of episodes of Hey Dude, Tank Girl with Lori Petty and acted in the same movie as Leo in The Quick and the Dead. However her career in the biz ended in 1996 , and now she’s a yoga instructor in Houston.

Jessi Ramsey played by Zelda Harris

zelda 1

Zelda’s acting career was mostly in her earlier years, and after BSC, she was in eps of Law & Order and I’ll Fly Away, and also had a role in Spike Lee’s Crooklyn. She went on an acting hiatus and graduated from Princeton in 2007, and broke her rib in 2012. According to her management company, she recently returned to acting, but has yet to add new credits to her resume.

Logan Bruno played by Austin O’Brien

austin

Pre-BSC, Austin was the kid in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero, the second-coming of Macaulay Culkin in My Girl 2 and a whiz kid in Apollo 13. After BSC, he’s intermittently been in the acting game, with cameos in Touched by an Angel, Bones and a number of rando movies. He attended Azusa Pacific University studying music, and married a woman he met in college named Kristin Wurgler in 2006 and they have a super adorable son named Declan. He now runs his own photography business and is one of the top photographers in LA (he’s really good).

Alan Gray played by Aaron Michael Metchik

aaron

I was one of those kids who found Alan Gray kind of endearing and not a nerdy annoying kid, maybe because I have a thing for nerds. Whatever. Anyways, after BSC, he starred in a few TV shows like Boy Meets World, Party of Five and The Practice. But he stopped acting for about 10 years until he got back in the game in 2009, then stopped again in 2012. However, that doesn’t mean he stopped acting all together. He got a BA from the UCLA Film School and started his own acting studio in Pismo Beach, California. Most notably, and maybe why I knew I liked him all this time – he’s basically responsible for Zac Efron’s movie career. Aaron’s mom connected Zef to a major talent agent, and Aaron has been his personal acting teacher ever since. I mean he was even featured on Zef’s E! True Hollywood Story as his long time private acting coach!! ALAN GRAY!!

Margarite ‘Cokie’ Mason played by Marla Sokoloff

Marla was another one of those 90s kid actors that you’ve seen everywhere. Full House, Step by Step, Home Improvement, 7th Heaven, you name it. She went on to star in The Practice and was Joey’s sister Dina who sought pregnancy help from Rachel. Marla’s been a steady actress pretty much since BSC, and currently stars in ABC Family’s The Fosters. She’s married to a musician named Alec Puro and they have a two-year-old daughter named Elliotte. Yes, a daughter. Apparently last year, James Franco revealed he dated Marla for four years and they even made a sex tape together…? Childhood ruined?

If you’re wondering what happened to Luca (Christian Oliver), we caught up with him during Saved by the Bell week, since he was an integral part to Saved by the Bell: The New Class.

Unsolicited Celebrity Advice On The Scottish Referendum

Tomorrow, Scotland will either vote yes and become a nation independent of Great Britain, or vote nae, guaranteeing that the sun never sets on the British Empire.* Today, Scots are thinking hard on that tough decision, listening to that “still small voice.”

Aye. But whose still small voice? Queen Elizabeth’s (the voice with the fanciest accent)? Or Groundskeeper Willie’s (the voice from an American cartoon)? Scotland doesn’t have to make its choice alone – there are plenty of entertainers, politicians, and fictional characters doling out unsolicited advice.

 

* I mean, it does, but it sets like a half hour later if you’re including Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth

But just to be clear, I AM Scotland. – Queen Lizzie

What she said: Scotland “should think very carefully.”

What that means: Technically, she is neutral, but really: Oh hell no, I am not going through customs to get to Balmoral. Peasants.

J.K. Rowling

What she said:

Rowling also called for “People before flags, answers not slogans, reason not ranting.”

What that means: If the Scottish economy collapses, 90% of that is my money, isn’t it?

Groundskeeper Willie

What he said:

What it means: It’s been over 25 years, and we’re about out of Simpsons episode concepts. Help us out, Scotland.

Barack Obama

What he said: From the outside, the United States has a deep interest in ensuring that one of the closest allies we’ll ever have remains strong, robust, united and an effective partner of the United States.’

What it means: When you add a third party, a special relationship becomes a very special relationship. No, you can’t.

Stephen Colbert

What he said:

What it means: I am America, and so can you.

David Cameron

What he said:

“I speak for millions of people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and many in Scotland, too who would be utterly heart-broken by the break-up of the United Kingdom. Utterly heart-broken to wake up on Friday morning to the end of the country we love.”

What it means:

Susan Boyle

What she said: I don’t feel reassured that the change will in any way make our already great country better. We should not be wasting money on this change – we should be putting it into areas that need it the most.

What that means:

John Oliver

What he said:

Re: David Cameron: That is the face of a person who fast-forwards through the servant parts of Downton Abbey.

What it means:

David Beckham

What he said:

“We want to let you know how very much we value our relationship and friendship.”

“I took as much satisfaction in seeing Sir Chris Hoy or Andy Murray win gold as I did watching Jess Ennis and Mo Farah do the same in the Olympic Stadium.

“What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let’s stay together.”

What it means: This is the same speech I’ve given Victoria a bunch of times, with some things about football thrown in.

Sir Sean Connery

What he said: A Yes vote will capture the world’s attention. There will be a renewed focus on our culture and politics, giving us an unparalleled opportunity to promote our heritage and creative excellence.

What it means: My Highlander residuals are going to blow up.

James McAvoy

What he said: The political debate is annoying to me. I feel like it should be left to the people a bit more. The last televised debate just deepened my distrust for politicians, because it just became a shouting match, and it was silly frankly, and on both sides, people evading and not answering questions, direct questions, which is just infuriating.

McAvoy declined to say how he would be voting.

What it means: I can not answer questions, too!

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

What they said: I’m pregnant.

What it means: