A Little Verklempt: Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special

It’s a good thing I get President’s Day off, because otherwise I’d be taking a mental health day today. The SNL 40th Anniversary Special had me up to my eyeballs in feelings. I knew it would, because I remember how it felt watching the 25th Anniversary Special as an SNL-obsessed toddler teenager. Obviously we were primed to love everything on our screens last night, but here’s what I loved the most of the most:

Opening Musical Number with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon

Did you start off counting the throwback references and quit because the number was so jam-packed? There were shout outs to Lazy Sunday, Dick In A Box, the Ambiguously Gay Duo, Matt Foley, the wild and crazy guys, Debbie Downer, the cheerleaders, the “don’t make me dance” lady, the Blues Brothers, cowbell, Mary Katherine Gallagher, and a bunch more.

The Opening Credits

The only thing missing was Don Pardo. Yes, I’m talking about the list of people who would appear in the show. During our high school masses sometimes they’d roll out the litany of the saints, where the school chorus would just bust out a list of Catholics. The opening introduction of SNL 40 was the closest I’ll get to a personally relevant litany of the saints. But with Sarah Palin in there also.

The Bass-o-matic

Do you ever have that dream that you’re on stage and you’re supposed to be performing a play you were in years ago? And you worry that you’ll screw up your lines and blocking, and in the good version of the dream as soon as you’re out there it all comes rushing back. I bet this felt like a real-life good version of that dream to Dan Ackroyd.

Jeopardy

ALL of my favorite Jeopardy idiots in one go? AMAZING. From Kate McKinnon’s spot-on human piddling puppy Justin Bieber, to Sean Connery’s filthy misreads of Let It Snow and Who Reads (Le Tits Now and Whore Ads), it was hilarious and – success! – went on for exactly the right amount of time.

Audition Reels

If there’s one thing that makes me verklempt (and there are a billion things, we did a whole week on it), it’s seeing successful people during those little tenuous moments before things started for them. Just the idea that they were living a normal-isn life and couldn’t know how much things would be changing is so sweet. The one that really got me was seeing a baby-faced, slightly nervous looking Amy Poehler. Andy Samberg as a jogger from 1982, Jimmy Fallon looking like he took a cab over after junior high, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig debuting some of their most famous characters – it was like when you see baby pictures of people you’ve only seen as adults.

The Californians

Everyone I know loves the Californians, and I only ever just liked it. This one was different. Laraine Newman cracked me up, Betty White making out with Bradley Cooper was the best thing I’ve seen in weeks, and even Taylor Swift’s wacky accent and hair-mustache were hilarious.

WEEKEND UPDATE DREAM TEAM!

Highlight of the night, here. I had hoped for a Tina/Amy reunion, or a Tina/Jimmy, Amy/Seth showdown, but I hadn’t even dared to dream we’d get Jane Curtin. Watching the clip reel of past Update moments, it’s really clear that some people are just better at it. They have the right combination of charisma and crisp, sharp delivery to make the jokes land hard. I’m not here to name names of the people who weren’t as good (though let’s just say that everyone I listed was amazing, and I think Cecily Strong had the makings of being darn good too). Anyway, whenever anyone starts the job, I think they should sit in a room and watch tape of Jane to see how it’s done.

[Sidebar: my favorite Jane Curtin story is also a Gilda Radner story. Compared to the coked-out masses of the early Not Ready For Primetime Players, Curtin was always very straight-laced and diligent. She had a stable marriage and was basically just normal. Gilda would go over to Jane’s house just to watch Jane and her husband Patrick Lynch make dinner and act like regular people. Jane felt like it was a little weird, but of course she let Gilda keep coming over because she so loved seeing regular, happy people in their natural habitat. So while Jane Curtin pulls off the stern, ball-busting news anchor thing, she’s a giant sweetheart at the same time.]

The celebrity tributes to their favorite characters was an adorable way to bring back Roseanne Rosannadanna (Emma Stone, who nailed it and looked like she was living a Gilda fan’s dream) and Matt Foley (Melissa McCarthy, physical comedy for DAYS). They were perfectly framed not as an attempt to replace Chris Farley and Gilda Radner, but as recognition of what all fans did growing up, impersonating recurring characters. And of course, no Update segment would be complete without the return of Seth Meyers and Stefan and the land shark at the update door.

Maya Rudolph as Beyonce

With appearances by Garth and Cat, Marty Culp and Bobbi Mohan-Culp, Opera Man, What’s Up With That, the Love Theme from Jaws, and the Blues Brothers.

Jerry Seinfeld Q and A

The audience Q and A is a classic SNL opener, and this one with an all-celeb audience was great. Ellen Cleghorne really stole the show though, didn’t she?

Tracy Morgan

Yes, I shed a little tear when Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin introduced a clip of Tracy Morgan, who is still recovering from last year’s car accident and couldn’t be there last night.

Digital Short: That’s When You Break

Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler are a perfect pairing, and it felt so right to celebrate the many times cast members have cracked up over the years. But mostly Fallon and Sanz.

In Memoriam

Look. I cannot watch Gilda Radner without my heart breaking and singing at the same time. I knew that part would make me cry a bit, and it did. There are some other cast members, like Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, who were taken far too soon. But I was especially touched to see the tributes to the crew members who have passed on. Next time you watch SNL, pay attention to one non-performing aspect of the show, whether it’s sets or costumes or props or cue cards. The show wouldn’t have made it 40 years if they didn’t have one of the best crews in television. It felt so special to acknowledge their efforts, especially in a room full of performers from all different eras who knew firsthand how important these workers were. It was also fitting to end with a moment of levity, mourning the untimely loss of John Lovitz.

Mega-Goodnight

I should probably watch the goodnights in slow-mo, because it was like a Where’s Waldo of awesome people who I love. The whole night was, really.

 

 

Expectations vs. Reality: RomCom Cliches

If you expected this final post of RomCom Week to include a huge grand declaration of love for you, I’m here to burst your bubble because it’s not going to happen. JUST KIDDING, WE APPRECIATE ALL OF YOU READERS AND OUR LOVE IS AS PERFECT AS THE END OF ALL ROMCOMS.

But for serious, these movies tend to make our expectations high regarding our real life relationships, and most of the time, we just don’t get that perfect movie ending. So we’re here to lay some truth nuggets on you about some of the most used RomCom cliches used over the years. It ain’t gonna be pretty.

Expectation: You move to a new city and you immediately get along with your neighbors and everyone you encounter.

Reality: You have no friends except your mailman and the barista at the Starbucks down the street who gives you free Venti upgrades because he feels sorry for you.

Expectation: You have a great job in your mid-20s and you actually love it. You’ll be a high-power lawyer or own your own bookstore/bakery or architect or gallery curator at the Guggenheim.

Reality: Working a job you’re just fine with and still paying that little bitch Sallie Mae all of your student loans.

Expectation: Makeovers bring all the boys and girls to the yard.

Reality: No one does a better you than yourself.

Expectation: You can fall down all the time – while carrying things, down stairs, up stairs – but miraculously get up a bit humiliated, but otherwise okay.

Reality: If you fall down in front of your crush, worst-case scenario they’re going to watch you hobble off to Urgent Care to get your ankle X-rayed, best case scenario you’re getting up with a run in your stockings, a broken shoe, and stains from the coffee you were carrying. Which means you’re also going to smell like old coffee for the rest of the day.

Expectation:  You will have one less-attractive best friend whose whole purpose in life is to listen to your romantic problems then give you advice.

Reality: Your friends have their own lives. Or give bad advice. Or are prettier than you. Sorry.

Expectation: There will always be a Token (minority/gay best friend, etc.) to make snarky comments and witty side banter while you tell tales of your romantic plight.

 

Reality: Okay, so this may be true, but I’m just bringing this up because maybe it’s time the Token becomes the protagonist more often? Just saying.

Expectation: Once you meet a guy you’re into, you run into him all of the time at parties, grocery shopping, book stores, the park…

Reality: Option 1: That doesn’t really happen, so you actually have to decide to see each other on purpose, which is a lot trickier. Option 2: You DO run into each other all the time, and you can’t decide whether you’re more worried that you look like a stalker, or he is a stalker.

Expectation: When you can’t stand someone, it’s probably because you secretly love him.

Reality: When you can’t stand someone, it’s probably because you can’t stand him.

Expectation: You’ve been secretly (or maybe not-so-secretly) in love with your best guy/girl friend for years and when you finally get the guts to confess your feelings, they reciprocate with their own confession of love.

Reality: Sometimes friends are just friends. Sorry, boo boo. He’s just not that into you.

Expectation: Your relationship will kick off with a grand declaration of love.

Reality: You’ll kind of start hanging out more and more, and then after a month or two you have that “so, what ARE we anyway?” conversation.

Expectation: Your quirks are adorable. Every weird thing you do becomes another item on your love interest’s Meet Virginia-esque, Drops Of Jupiter-y list of things he thinks are precious about you.

Reality: Weird people are weird. Nobody thinks it’s cute that you’re so cold that you sleep in sweatshirts, or that you hate the sound of other people chewing, or that you make up your own lyrics to pop songs in the car. At best, they tolerate it.

Expectation: Once you find love, all your problems will be gone and you’ll live happily ever after.

yes, this is from grey’s anatomy. it counts because she spits the truth.

Reality: False. Ultimately, only you can make yourself happy. If you’re happy as a person and happy as a half of a couple, right on. But just being in love isn’t always enough.

Where Are They Now: Little Boys With Bowl Cuts From 90s RomComs

All of the best movies from the Golden Age Of The RomCom – the 1990s – have one thing in common. No, it’s not Meg Ryan, and it’s not Julia Roberts either. Give up? It’s a little boy with a bowl cut. Sleepless in Seattle: little boy with a bowl cut. Father Of The Bride: LBWBC (that’s our abbreviation for Little Boy With Bowl Cut, but I’m sure you caught that). She’s All That: LBWBC… the same LBWBC as Father Of The Bride. All of these little boys with bowl cuts have grown into men by now, so let’s see what they – and their bowl cuts – are up to today.

Sleepless In Seattle

The little boy with the bowl cut: Jonah (Ross Malinger) is a wise-beyond-his-years tot who calls a radio show to find love for his widowed dad, Sam. Jonah is best pals with Jessica, a miniature Gaby Hoffmann. The most badass bowl cut in the genre, little Jonah flies cross-country to help his Pops meet the lady of his dreams.

Was it a good bowl cut? LOOK at this freaking bowl cut. Perfectly follows his head contours, rich brown coloring, neither too puffy nor too limp: this is the bowl cuts all other bowl cuts aspire to be.

Where is he now? Little Jonah attended three different schools during his fourth grade year, as Sam and his main squeeze Annie tried to decide whether to live in Seattle, Baltimore, or somewhere in the middle (which was short lived, because the middle was Kansas). He and Jessica briefly dated in high school. Jonah now works as a travel agent.

Does he still have a bowl cut? I could see that. That full, tidy helmet of a bowl cut is too beautiful to waste.

One Fine Day

The little boy with the bowl cut: Sammy (Alex D. Linz, the most celebrated Boy With A Bowl Cut of the mid-90s) is the child of harried single mom, Melanie (Michelle Pfeiffer). Melanie has a hectic meet-cute when she accidentally swaps cell phones with the harried single dad (George Clooney) of Maggie (an itty-bitty Mae Whitman, whom we now know and love as Parenthood’s Amber). Sammy is a bit less precocious than Jonah. The Sleepless In Seattle bowl-cut boy meant to help his dad out, but this kiddo just keeps tying up his mom’s schedule so that she keeps running into Clooney. Important thing to remember about this movie: it was long enough ago (1996) that the mere fact that both adults had cell phones that they used outside of emergencies meant that they were very busy and important.

Was it a good bowl cut? It’s a bad bowl cut. Not bad in the “not good” sense but bad like hardass and dripping with danger. Look how ruffled and sun-bleached it is. It’s a bowl cut on the edge, and neither comb nor convention can constrain it.

Where is he now? Like most neglected children, Sammy is a pretty happy kid because nobody’s keeping tabs on him. He’s also a pretty hellish teenager. The adults manage to make their relationship work, and Sammy and Maggie spend high school smoking and drinking and throwing parties during their parents’ frequent business trips. Inspired by his stepdad’s career, Sammy goes to J-school and gets nepotismed into a low-status section of the New York Daily News, before ultimately getting downgraded to a staff blogger.

Does he still have a bowl cut? No way.

You’ve Got Mail

The little boy with the bowl cut: Matthew Fox (Jeffrey Scaperrotta) is the little half-brother of Joe (Tom Hanks), the heir to a book megastore dynasty. Together with Joe’s aunt Annabel (a little girl), Matt serves the purpose of making Joe seem more kind-hearted and appealing to children’s bookstore owner Kathleen (Meg Ryan).

Was it a good bowl cut? Yeah, it’s fine.

Where is he now? After Annabel’s father dies (because he is like 80), she moves in with Matt’s family and becomes his sort-of sister. Then Matt’s father dies too, not because I have a particularly bleak outlook on things but because those virile Fox men fathered children into their 70s. Anyway, they both move in with Joe and Kathleen, and there’s no real family strife. Their fake mom runs a children’s bookstore and Matt wears turtlenecks, for goodness sake. They’re perfect. Matt’s biggest rebellion is choosing the Boxcar Children over The Bobbsey Twins. In the present day, Matt heads up the children’s division of Fox Books. Kathleen maintains an infuriatingly cute mommy blog/ Pinterest account. You saw how cute her shop is.

Does he still have a bowl cut? Oh, he absolutely still has a bowl cut.

As Good As It Gets

The little boy with the bowl cut: Spencer (Jesse James) is our most delicate Little Boy With A Bowl Cut. You can tell because his bowl cut is blond and tousled, not a robust brunette bowl cut like the healthier Sammy or Matt. He has an unnamed, mysterious disease which worries his waitress mom Carol (Helen Hunt), but not enough to keep her from hooking up with an old guy (Jack Nicholson).

Was it a good bowl cut? You know how, when a human dies, even if you were lukewarm on them before, once they’re dead they were your favorite and the very best? Well. This bowl cut was my favorite and the very best.

Where is he now? RIP. That mystery disease was bad news.

Does he still have a bowl cut? No. Because RIP. That bowl cut was a fair flower, not long to blossom in this world.

Father Of The Bride

The little boy with the bowl cut: Matty (because boys from RomComs are named Matthew) is Annie’s kid brother (because women from RomComs are named Annie). When she comes home from Europe and announces her engagement, the whole family falls into a tizzy planning the wedding, as dad George (Steve Martin) struggles to let go of his little girl. In the sequel, Father Of The Bride Part II, Matty’s mom (Diane Keaton) and sister are both expecting babies at the same time

Was it a good bowl cut? No, it was the WORST bowl cut. Lank and flat, like whatever the less-full version of a bowl is (colander maybe?).

Where is he now? After watching his father wax nostalgic about playing basketball with big sis Annie  – seemingly forgetting that he still had a small child at home – Matty realizes he’ll never measure up to his sister. Instead, he focuses on being the best big bro possible to Baby Megan. There was recently a rumor that Steve Martin would be filming a sequel where he plays the father of the groom (an all-grown-up Matty!) in a same-sex wedding. I like that. Let’s go with that.

Does he still have a bowl cut? I have never seen a bowl cut on a gay man, although I’m sure they must exist. So, in a word, no.

She’s All That

The little boy with the bowl cut: Your eyes aren’t fooling you, you’ve seen that bowl cut before! Kieran Culkin, the baby brother from Father Of The Bride, is the baby brother once again. He and his sister Laney are raised by their single dad after the death of their mother. Unlike Laney, Simon realizes that Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is a trashy garbage dude-bro. Simon also has hearing aids, for some reason. On one hand it’s very cool to have a disability that isn’t an issue in a movie, on the other hand WTF just tell us what’s up with his hearing, you know?

Was it a good bowl cut? With all due respect to those great PSAs, it gets worse. It’s PARTED. There’s a tendril on his FOREHEAD. It’s like a limper version of Dorothy HAMILL.

Where is he now? Trudging through every family Christmas with his much-hated brother-in-law Zack, playing with his nephews Brayler and Kylan (because of course that’s what Zack The Bro would call his children), doing something in I.T. probably. He got cochlear implants, not that anyone really noticed or cared about Simon’s hearing anyway. Or Simon in general.

Does he still have a bowl cut? Nah. He only had that to cover his hearing aids.

Bowl Cuts: An Epilog

The craze (?) for Little Boys With Bowl Cuts continued into the romantic comedies of the early 2000s. The golden age was over, but lustrous bowl cuts still made appearances in About A Boy, Love Actually and Raising Helen. With the post-9/11 economy and Great Recession, the cost of maintaining bowl cuts became too much to muster. The bowl cut may have died, but as long as we have Netflix or Cable TV, they will live in our hearts and screens forevermore.

 

 

We’re Just That Into You: Underrated RomComs

If you delve into RomCom culture (which is like… probably a real thing, right?), you’ll find different tiers of Romantic Comedies. First, the well-respected, critically acclaimed classics. There you have your Annie Hall, your When Harry Met Sally, your Breakfast at Tiffany’s, maybe even your Sleepless in Seattle.

Then, there are those box office hits that are not technically cinematic masterpieces. If you ask a lady what her favorite romantic comedy is, she may say one of those top-tier movies, but then she’ll pause for a second and say “You know what my REAL favorite is?” Then she’ll say something like You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, or Love Actually.

Next tier: guilty pleasures. These are the filler films or teen comedies that you can’t help but love – and everyone else does, too. Enter 10 Things I Hate About You, 13 Going On 30 … probably anything with a number in the title, or that is on heavy rotation on TBS.

Finally we hit the focus of today’s post: the underrated RomCom. Those movies you adore, but that nobody ever really talks about when they talk about RomComs. Sometimes it’s because they don’t get classified as romantic comedies even though they are, and sometimes it’s because nobody has seen them. And we’re not ashamed to say they’re some of our favorites.

Away We Go

This is an atypical romantic comedy because it’s not a boy-meet-girl, boy-loses girl scenario. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph play a committed couple with a baby on the way, and they make a journey to decide where and how to raise their daughter. It raises the much more interesting follow-up question to “will they end up together?”: how will they build a life together? Instead of watching a couple grapple with their love for another, that’s a given from the beginning – but just like in real life, that’s not the answer to every question. A perfect movie if your concept of love goes beyond wondering who you’ll end up with.

Crossing Delancey

I can’t understate how much I loved Crossing Delancey as a kid, and how much I still love it now. It sounds typical enough: Izzy Grossman (Amy Irving) works at a bookstore, and her bubbie uses a marriage broker to set her up with a pickle salesman. But does Izzy end up with him or the high-profile author? I mean, you already know. But that’s never the point. The reason this movie always seemed so special: Izzy could be me or someone I know. She’s good at her job, but she’s not that stick-up-her-butt RomCom lady who’s so caught up in her professional life that she’ll never accept love. She’s funny, but she’s not a sad-sack gal who trips a lot. If you want to watch a reasonably realistic lady fall in love in a very 1980s Lower East Side, this is the one for you.

I know that this one is underrated because whenever I call out my “Crossing Delancey bangs” when the humidity monster hits, nobody ever gets the reference.

They Came Together

If you love RomComs, you might not be interested in a mean-spirited takedown of the genre, but They Came Together isn’t that. It just plays up all of those silly RomCom elements we’ve come to love. It was billed as a parody of romantic comedies, but it felt more like a pastiche.  Oh. And did I mention that it stars Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler? She works in a candy shop (of course) and he works for Big Candy. Her name is Molly, and I’m not just saying this because it’s my name – it’s such a RomCom name. You know how most 20- and 30- something women have names like Melissa and Courtney, but RomCom ladies all have names from Little Golden Books, like Molly or Annie or Sally? And he’s vaguely Jewish, but not kippah-every-day Jewish. They hate each other, until they love each other, and I’m sure you can guess the rest.

What If

Please just trust me here. If your write out the plot summary – boy and girl meet, she’s attached, he’s a boy wizard, they have obvious chemistry, and they decide to be friends – it doesn’t sound like much. But do any RomComs sound like much? This one succeeds on its clever writing and the great chemistry between Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. It sounds like a picky thing, but a lot of romantic comedies have major pacing issues, devoting 50 minutes into convincing you this couple should be together, and then some weird misunderstanding for 20 minutes… I don’t know what it is, but director Michael Dowse nails the pacing and that really contributes to how downright enjoyable this movie is.

Obvious Child

This one wasn’t underrated by critics – they loved it! – or by audiences – they loved it too! – but it’s a bit underrated as a RomCom. When the media started billing Obvious Child as an “abortion comedy,” I think people expected something political or hard-edged. What it is, instead, is a very sweet comedy that speaks to what it’s like to be in your late 20s, a time so full of awkward growing pains that it almost feels like a second adolescence. Donna (Jenny Slate) doesn’t have a high-powered job or a flashy wardrobe. But she does work hard at her fledgeling standup career, dresses nicely on stage, and has a tidy apartment. That is: Donna’s life is a mess for a while, but you don’t believe that she, as a person, is a mess, at least not for the long-term. And her love interest, Max, is what I believe old people call “cute as a bug’s ear.”

I remember seeing an interview where either Slate or director Gillian Robespierre (can’t remember!) said she loved Crossing Delancey too, so there’s my RomCom advice. Find out who loves your own underrated favorites, then watch whatever they come up with.

Midnight In Paris

If you were a certain kind of kid, you probably went through a phrase where you thought time travel would be the coolest thing ever. That’s what happens here, as Gil (Owen Wilson) travels between present-day Paris and the city in the 1920s, where he meets the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Josephine Baker and a host of others. The glitz and wackiness of the roaring 20s is fantastic, and you see the perils of nostalgia through the eyes of a modern man finally getting to experience his favorite era. Midnight In Paris is a lot of fun and a true cinematic rarity: a Woody Allen movie that does not star Woody Allen.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

I went into the theater to see this by myself, thinking I was in for a fun romantic comedy featuring two of the greatest people, Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones. While the movie does include romance and comedy, I wasn’t prepared for the drama part of it. I’m not going to spoil it for you, because I think everyone should see this film, but just have tissues by your side in the event of an emergency. So giving you the info I was given before seeing the movie, Celeste and Jesse met in high school and married young, but at the beginning of the film, we meet them in the midst of a divorce. There are twists and turns that you might not expect, but it has all the elements of my ultimate favorite kind of film – the RomComDram (Romance-Comedy-Drama, if you didn’t crack that code). Also the soundtrack is reason to go alone. When you’re Quincy Jones’ daughter, you have to have excellent taste in music.

Down With Love

One of the queens of the RomCom world, Bridget Jones herself, Renee Zellwegger stars as Barbara Novak, an author who advocates female independence, most notably in her book Down With Love. Set in the 1950s, Barbara encourages ladies to enjoy sex without commitment, and meets her enemy (potential match?) in Ewan MacGregor’s Catcher Block, a notorious ladies’ man and overall chauvinist pig. What I love about this movie is that is basically a parody of all those classic Doris Day-y comedies that were made in the ’50s, so when you watch it, you have to keep in mind that it’s not being entirely serious. I’m a sucker for this era of music, and yet again, the soundtrack pushes it over the edge and even I fell head over heels in love with the film.

Fever Pitch

Maybe it’s because Jimmy Fallon’s in it. Maybe it’s because I just really enjoy Drew Barrymore. Maybe it’s because the film is set/filmed in Boston. All I know is that Fever Pitch is not only one of my most underrated RomComs of all time, but it’s one of the most underrated movies of all time, IMO. Jimbo plays Ben, a teacher who, like many New England-ers, is a die-hard Red Sox fan. He meets Lindsey, who is a super-businesswoman who could care less for the Sox. Clearly Ben, who sleeps in Sox sheets and has a replica of the Green Monster in his apartment, lets his love for the team get in the way of any relationship, especially the one with Lindsey, despite the fact she’s obviously the love of his life. As an added bonus to this hilar and romantic love story, the movie actually ends with victory in more ways than one. Go Sox.

On the Line

As a BSB fan, I was ashamed that I even watched On the Line, which starred Lance Bass and Joey Fatone. But as a teenybopper, I felt it was my duty to watch this film, no matter how horrible I thought it would be. I mean, it’s a story that’s been told before – boy meets girl on subway. Boy puts up flyers and classified ads to find girl. Boy and girl nearly miss each other at Al Green concert. JT & Chris Kirkpatrick show up as part of a glam squad. Boy and girl finally reunite at the train station they met at. But you know, still one of those bad good movies you should probably watch.

License to Wed

So this might be the third time John Krasinski’s come up during RomCom Week – so what, who cares? In a stark contrast to Away We Go, Licensed to Wed is a super corny RomCom in the truest sense of the term. Ben (JKras) and Sadie (Mandy Moore) are heading down the aisle. But in order to get married in the church of Sadie’s choice, they must go through an intense and, quite frankly, pretty insane prenuptial course run by Reverend Frank, played by the great Robin Williams. The movie is super predictable, but the best/worst RomComs always are. Mandy perfectly plays the sweet bride, John portrays a charming motherf’er, per usual, and Robin is his usual hyper, hilarious self. If you want to watch a movie that’s not completely horrible, but not Shawshank Redemption level, this one’s for you.

He’s Just Not That Into You

I never read this book, and I know the movie got a bunch of mixed reviews, but I am in the minority of people who didn’t hate this movie? Ok, I straight up liked it a lot. I’m a sucker for those big cast/intertwining story movies (I actually saw New Year’s Eve in the theater), and this one is no different. With Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore, and BRADLEY COOPER (I think I’m confusing his character with the one in Valentine’s Day, which I also liked), you assume it’s a movie that’s going to be really good. From the cheating husband to the man who won’t commit to the best friends who won’t just realize they’re perform for each other, the movie covers almost every type of relationship problem there is. Which, I guess, is kind of the point, isn’t it?

5,000 Candles in the Wind: Pawnee OTPs

It’s week two of our month-long series dedicated to Parks and Recreation, and since we’re in the midst of RomCom Week here, we figured we’d feature the romantic side of this #blessed sitcom with the series’ best OTPs.

If you’re not into the Internet (I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you are), OTP = One True Pairing, or in basic terms, your favorite couple (usually of the fictional sort). Basically it’s the two people (or inanimate objects, whatevs) that you have an unhealthy obsession over their wellbeing together. These OTPs are ones we’ll miss dearly, ones we already miss, and ones that will live forever in our hearts.

Leslie and Ann

I ship Leslie and Ben as much as the next person, but let’s be real, one of the reasons that make Parks so special is Leslie’s independence as a woman. She’s a fantastic, strong, positive person on her own, and doesn’t rely on others to get shit done. But that’s different than enlisting the help of your friends and loved ones. Because of her generous heart, she has forged strong relationships with others, including the love of her life, Ben, and the other love of her life, Ann. Leslie and Ann’s friendship started off kind of work related, but it turned into this beautiful, brilliant, powerful musk ox of a relationship that is really unparalleled with other fiction female friendships on TV. They look out for each other, they support each other, they genuinely care for each other. They’re each other’s soul mates, and not even distance can tear them apart. Ovaries before brovaries, y’all.

Leslie and Ben

Before Ben came along, Leslie needed someone that was as smart or smarter than she was, who could handle previously stated independent woman qualities, and someone who would support her in any dream she dared to follow, no matter how big or how small. That’s what make’s their relationship work so well – no matter what they each go for in life, the other is right by their side. We saw it when Ben ran Leslie’s councilwoman campaign, and *potential spoiler alert* we’re most definitely going to see it when Leslie helps Ben run for Congress. Like Ben said during his vows, he had been to 46 cities in 11 years, but all that time, he was just wandering around, looking for Leslie.

Ben and Game of Thrones

I would’ve put Ben’s side piece of Calzones on this list, but ever since they betrayed him, idk if he’ll ever be able to trust them again. Who he can trust are all those GoT folk, like the Lannisters and Tyrions and dragon women and red wedding (I don’t watch it, can you tell?). Ben will gladly defend the show to anyone, since GoT is not just a “fantasy” show – it’s a show that tells human stories in a fantasy world.

Leslie and Joe Biden

As early as season two, we find out that Leslie has a gigantic crush on our nation’s Vice President. When Ann asks her what her ideal man is, Leslie responds, “He has the brains of George Clooney in the body of Joe Biden.” I mean, that’s just not an answer you hear every day. But it’s exactly the answer you expect Leslie Knope to say. By the beginning of season five, we see Leslie achieving one of her dreams, and meets big Joe himself. The brief meeting is enough to get us to ship Leslie and Joe if this whole Ben thing doesn’t work out (JK THEY WILL NEVER BREAK UP). Ben setting up the meeting with Joe (and also Leslie getting Ben the Iron Throne) are yet another reason to admire their relationship. They just love seeing each other happy.

Leslie and Waffles

Unlike Ben’s calzone betrayal, JJ’s waffles have never done her wrong. Not even a bout of the flu could take her away from her beloved round slabs of dough slathered in whipped cream. At one point JJ tells Leslie she spent over a thousand dollars (at JJ’s) on waffles alone. Some amazing person on Tumblr did some calculations and figured she had 4 to 7 waffles a week. I can’t even think of one thing I eat that many times a week. Maybe coffee. Yeah coffee.

Donna and her Mercedes-Benz

Donna may have found love in season seven, but throughout the series, she happily touts her flings with men. But her longest and most meaningful relationship might be the one she has with her beloved SUV. The above clip is when Leslie accidentally shoots her car during the gang’s hunting trip at Ron’s cabin, and her reaction pretty much sums up how she feels about it. In a full circle moment (and yet another testament of how much Leslie’s friends love her), Donna willingly rams her SUV into a truck belonging to the stupid owner of a van company who won’t handover the vans so that the gang can pick up senior citizens and drive them to a polling place to vote for Leslie. Donna selflessly injured her baby so Leslie could win!

Andy and April

Andy and April are one of my favorite television couples of all time. When Andy says something half-witted or April says something creepy and depressive, the camera never zooms in on their other half making a WTF face, which would be the approach of most sitcoms and, face it, most people. It shows them making googly eyes of affection, instead. Whether it’s Andy’s band or April’s dream of buying a haunted-looking racoon hostel of a house, they have each other’s back,  always see each other in the best light, and encourage each other to make those big crazy decisions.

 

Ron and Meat

Ron Swanson lives on his own terms. He hates government intervention, sentimentality, and fluff.  He calls vegetables “the food that his food eats” and tosses vegan bacon to the ground in disgust. If Ron Swanson had a tumblr – which he wouldn’t – it would be pages and pages of bacon memes and steak gifs. If Ron Swanson had a refrigerator, not only would it be full of meat, but the door would be plastered with pictures of meat, held up with meat magnets. And if Ron Swanson had a restaurant, the whole menu would be meats wrapped around other meats, and you’d pay through barter or maybe gold bars.

Chris and Dr. Richard Nygard

Dr. Richard Nygard is the Cathy Santoni (Full House) or Tino (My So-Called Life) of Parks and Recreation. He is Norm’s wife (Cheers) or the bottom half of Wilson’s face (Home Improvement). Nygard is the unseen, influential, constant presence in Chris Traeger’s life. In 50 years, when a student writes a college thesis about Parks of Recreation, they’ll claim that Dr. Richard Nygard represents God, or maybe Traeger’s inner life. Anyway, Chris loves that damn therapist. As a viewer, you can imagine anything you want about him. Personally, I picture an unlicensed whackadoo who rents the back room of a children’s dance studio in a strip mall, dispensing whatever advice was on Oprah’s Next Chapter that week.

Tom and Jean-Ralphio

If Leslie and Ann’s friendship grew on a mutual foundation of caring for their community and wanting to do the right thing, Tom and Jean-Ralphio’s grew on a mutual foundation of caring for themselves and wanting to make serious bank. And we love them. Tom and Jean-Ralphio are a couple of silly geese who pursue wacky business ventures and speak in even wackier abbreves. But they’re also two people who don’t quite fit into Pawnee culture, yet have these grandiose ideas of what they can turn Pawnee into. It’s like that quote about how love isn’t about looking at each other, but looking outward in the same direction. But they’d say that they’re looking “O.W. in the same direx,” and they’d half-sing it, and they’d be looking at a Baby Gucci wholesale outlet they built on the Eagleton-Pawnee border.

Lil’ Sebastian and The City of Pawnee

Every hometown has those weird cultural quirks that you can only truly understand if you’re from there. Ours, for instance, had a long-running waterfall laser light show about a man who died in that very waterfall while attempting to jump it with his pet bear (the bear lived). So you might think that Pawnee’s adoration for Lil’ Sebastian is over the top, until you realize that your city has its own weird obsessions. I swear, Leslie could have dined out for years on getting Lil’ Sebastian for the Harvest Festival. Even meat doesn’t make Ron smile as big as he did when surprised with a Lil’ Sebastian sighting. And that miniature horse’s funeral was a sendoff to rival Princess Diana’s. Sebastian may have been li’l, but his impact on Pawnee was anything but li’l. I like to think that Sebastian taught Pawnee how to love.

I’m Just A Girl, Standing In Front Of A Boy…

It’s day one of RomCom Week! We’re kicking things off with one of the most frequent tropes in the RomCom world – the confession of love. Even if you’re not a RomCom fan, you know this scene. It’s the one that you see coming towards the end of the movie, but when the main character does it, it might be in a way you don’t expect, and all of a sudden you’re tearing up and questioning your sanity (No? Just me?). There have been plenty of confessions of love throughout the history of romantic comedies, but here are just a few of our favorites from over the years (in no particular order).

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is one of my top three romantic comedies of all time. Maybe even one of my favorite films, ever. I was obsessed with it in high school, and basically wore out my VHS tape from rewinding it over and over again. This particular scene is one of the iconic scenes in all of movie history, where Hollywood superstar Anna (Julia Roberts) tries to convince British bookshop owner Will that despite the fact she’s a celebrity, she’s “also just a girl, standing in front of a boy… etc. etc. etc.” There’s a second confession of love in the film that often times gets looked over, but at the end, Will realizes he’s been dumb and chases Anna to a press conference and admits he’s been “a daft prick” in front of all the cameras. He proves that the whole ‘celebrity’ thing is out of his mind now, and he’s ready to be with her. I mean.

When Harry Met Sally

Hey, guys, remember the time I hadn’t seen When Harry Met Sally until last summer, and then I promptly became completely and utterly enamored with it? Yeah, because that happened. How have I been living my life having not seen this amazing film?! I don’t know either. But what I do know is that Harry loves Sally, and it’s apparent the entire time they were ‘just friends’. But they just didn’t realize it. When Harry rushes to the New Year’s Eve party to tell her how he loves how she hates things and she straight out just says she hates him, it’s a romance that you know was just meant to be.

Love Actually

While Love Actually has a bunch of confessions of love sprinkled throughout the last half of the film, this one might be my favorite. Jamie learns Portugese just to propose to Aurelia – and in front of her family, friends and co-workers and all of the restaurant. And while it’s amazing that he spent so much time learning her language, I think it’s even more amazing that they fell in love with each other having barely being able to understand each other when they speak. Love, while all around, knows no barriers.

10 Things I Hate About You

Raise your hand if you can recite any or all lines from Kat’s poem. This was one of those movies that made our particular generation, and especially pulls at the heartstrings because of the brilliance that is Heath Ledger. While his redemption performance of Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You on the stadium stairs is unforgettable, it is this scene where Kat outwardly admits her love for Patrick that makes your dark heart turn a lighter shade of red.

The Wedding Singer

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler are obviously RomCom royalty, and this is one of their best films they’ve done together. The ’80s just work for both Drew and Adam, and they created a wonderful world of the wedding circuit that was the perfect background for two unlikely lovers. In this scene, Robbie (Adam) books a flight to Vegas in hopes of stopping Julia (Drew) from eloping with her boyfriend. They end up on the same flight – as Billy Idol – and wouldn’t you know- Billy Idol helps Robbie orchestrate a special mile-high serenade to Julia. The song is the perfect sentiment and the perfect ending for a couple who meet while working for a wedding.

Jerry Maguire

Speaking of movies I’d never seen until last year – this girl waited a super long time to watch Jerry Maguire. It’s a pretty good movie, y’all. I suggest you see it! Despite the fact Tom Cruise has been ruined to me by XENUscientology, his realization that Dorothy is actually the best thing to happen to him is fantastic. Any time someone confesses their feelings in front of unsuspecting members of society, it’s bound to be good. And while Dorothy was good after he said ‘hello’, I gotta admit the rest of that speech wasn’t half bad, either.

Something Borrowed

I love John Krasinski. He is the reason I even paid to see this movie in the theater. I hadn’t even read the book – but J Kras in a romantic comedy? Yes. I’m available. Despite being more well known for his comedic roles, he’s actually a great dramatic actor, and when he brings that depth to a comedic role unexpectedly, he hits it out of the ball park. He did it with his Jim and Pam scenes and he did it when he confessed his love to BFF Rachel in Something Borrowed. I honestly don’t know how you can say no to this guy after this speech.

Runaway Bride

Okay, don’t X out of the window after you read this, but I’ve only seen like 10 minutes of Pretty WomanI KNOW I KNOW. It’s on the list. I can tell you that during my Notting Hill phase I was just overall obsessed with Julia Roberts, which is why my VHS tape of Runaway Bride is also worn out. Runaway Bride was Julia and Richard Gere’s “sequel” to Pretty Woman, but this time, she plays a far different character who is known for ditching her fiances on their wedding day – hence the Runaway part. Richard plays a reporter who is writing an article about said Runaway Bride and believe it or not, they fall in love. But what makes them a match is that he challenges her in ways she had never been challenged before, particularly egging her on to be her own person, and not just who she thinks her boyfriend/husband thinks she should be. So when she proposes to him – and turns in her running shoes – it’s obviously a big deal

You’ve Got Mail

I recently re-watched You’ve Got Mail for the first time since circa 1995, and let me tell you, it’s quite a different experience. Not only because I am an adult now, but – EMAIL! AOL!! CAN YOU BELIEVE WE HAD TO WAIT FOR A DIAL-UP MODEM TO LOG ONTO THE INTERWEBZ?! I digress. The plot obviously still holds up, and that’s why the basis of the story dates all the way back to 1937. Two anonymous pen pals write each other and fall in love, while in real life, they meet each other and are sworn enemies. The final scene isn’t much a confession of love, but rather a big reveal with very little dialogue. But it doesn’t need it – we know exactly how they feel.

Playlist of the Month: Songs by 2015 Grammy Nominees

The Grammy Awards are this Sunday, and the nominees always remind me how much music I’m not listening to. There are whole categories – chamber music, regional roots, children’s  – that I can honestly say I haven’t played once in the past 12 months. Neither of us is concerned with what music is supposed to be highbrow or cool, which is probably why you won’t see anything from the more esoteric categories. We just like what we like. Here’s what we liked from the 2015 Grammy nominees:

Molly’s Picks

Jackie And Wilson by Hozier {Song Of The Year}

I have a rule that if there are more than three songs I want to download from an album, I just buy the whole thing. That was the case with Hozier’s self-titled debut. We all know Take Me To Church, the song for which he was nominated and the Top 40 constant for the past 3 months. But this is an album with, like, 10 standout tracks. It was hard to pick just one, but it felt right to introduce everyone to one of Hozier’s more uptempo tunes.

Bed Peace by Jhene Aiko ft. Childish Gambino {Best Urban Contemporary Album}

If you can watch this video without wishing that Donald Glover and Jhene Aiko would just be a couple already, I can’t relate. As someone who listens to a lot of … um… urban contemporary? music, Sail Out is really refreshing because it’s sort of floaty and beachy in addition to the typical rap solos and R&B beats.

Seriously. Does anyone still say “urban music” though?

Afterlife by Arcade Fire {Best Alternative Music Album}

Also, does anyone still say “alternative music?”

Usually I listen to Arcade Fire when I feel like revisiting 2005 (see also: Bright Eyes, Motion City Soundtrack). While Reflektor still sounds like Arcade Fire, they’ve definitely moved further into the synth-y, electronic, dancey direction.

Bad Blood by Bastille {Best New Artist}

It always feels like the Grammys use some fuzzy math for what’s a “new” artist. So, yeah, Bastille’s been around for a minute. I’ve been watching Twin Peaks so I had to pick the song named after pretty, dead Laura Palmer, even though this one sounds sort of surprisingly Phil Collins-y.

Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent {Best Alternative Music Album}

I’ll admit it. This is my least favorite St. Vincent album. But it’s still really good, and I’m always in favor of artists trying new things instead of spitting out what they think their audience wants.

Traci’s Picks

3005 by Childish Gambino {Best Rap Performance}

Being a fan of Community, I was an early adapter to Childish Gambino. I saw him live in 2010, and as he became more popular over the past few years, the venues started getting bigger and, for some reason, the audience kept getting younger. Anyways, I was a hardcore Gambino Girl back in the day and am particularly partial to his earlier stuff. His Grammy-nominated album (!) because the internet was clearly an evolution of his sound, and although it was good, I just personally liked the tracks off Camp and his EP better (Kauai is really good too, tho). But one song I couldn’t (and still can’t) stop playing is 3005, which is reminiscent of that early sound I loved. A fun thing to do is listen to it on your car and when the beat kicks in on the chorus, turn the volume way up and then immediately turn it back down because you are old now.

New Flame by Chris Brown featuring Usher & Rick Ross {Best R&B Performance}

UGH CHRIS BROWN. STOP MAKING MUSIC I LIKE, BECAUSE YOU ARE LIT’RALLY THE WORST. But hi Usher. UGH CHRIS BROWn,.

Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne {Best Dance Recording}

I was in the unique position of reading about how this song was burning up the UK charts prior to actually hearing it. I decided to see what all the fuss was about, and immediately got addicted to it, and now am a fan of both Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne. Her voice is perfectly suited for Clean Bandit’s sound, and vice versa.

Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood {Best Country Solo Performance}

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I’m particular to Carrie Underwood, specifically that hearing her sing usually makes me cry. This song is no different. It was a track she released in conjunction with her greatest hits album, and like a couple of her other songs, it’s classified under the Christian genre, and she even samples Amazing Grace towards the end. That song is so traditional that it can be overplayed and overused, but Carrie makes it sound brand new and makes you feel something within, no matter what you believe.

Day Drinking by Little Big Town {Best Country Duo/Group Performance}

So it’s February, and there may or may not be a blizzard going on outside your home right now, but if you want to feel like it’s summer and you’re throwing back a few margs or beers or alcohol of your choice, just listen to this song.

Honorable Mentions:

Bound 2 by Kanye West featuring Charlie Wilson {Best Rap/Sung Performance}, Ain’t It Fun by Paramore {Best Rock Song}, Automatic by Miranda Lambert {Best Country Song}

POV on FOB: Why We Need Fresh Off The Boat

If your life was made into a movie, who would play you?

I’ve been asked this a few times throughout the years, and I always end up resorting to the same two actresses: Margaret Cho and Lucy Liu. Chances are, if you’re not Asian, you don’t have this problem. You probably have never even thought about how that question would be a much deeper question than it is on the surface.

When it came down to it, I always picked Margaret Cho. I just looked more like her than the skinny, tall, perfectly straight, long-haired Lucy Liu. Part of this answer may also have to do with the fact that in 1994, I saw Margaret Cho and her Korean-American family on TV in a show called All-American Girl. I guess I didn’t realize it until then, but it’s the first time I saw anyone that remotely looked like me depicted on TV. I was a nine year old who already watched too much television (go figure), and so I was used to seeing families like the Tanners and the Winslows, but never anyone like the Kims on All-American Girl.

The show may have been groundbreaking, but it was also criticized for its blatant use of stereotypes and basically became a caricature of itself. It ended after just one season, and there hasn’t been a show featuring Asian-American families ever since. Until last night.

20 years later, a new sitcom called Fresh Off the Boat premiered. Twenty years. That’s two decades. That’s a college student that is months away from being able to legally drink. Even I was surprised when I read that fact. Has it really been that long? Have we really not progressed in the past 20 years that there hasn’t been a show about Asians on American TV? While I think we’ve definitely made steps towards diversity in the media in terms of African-Americans, Latinos, and LGBT characters, it’s a little weird we haven’t seen bigger strides for Asians in terms of leading their own film or TV vehicles.

But perhaps it’s just a situation of good timing.  Fresh Off the Boat is based off a memoir by Eddie Huang, in which he discusses his Taiwanese immigrant parents, their move from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida, and his assimilation as an Asian kid who loved hip-hop. IRL Eddie is an outspoken guy who isn’t afraid to speak his mind or be politically incorrect. He wrote a piece for Vulture in which he talks about how ABC executives wanted to “turn his memoir into a cornstarch sitcom and me into a mascot for America”, to which he replied, “I hated that”.

With someone like Eddie at the helm, the problem ABC encountered 20 years ago with All-American Girl becoming too ‘white’ probably won’t happen. He’ll be there to make sure the show doesn’t cross the line into a parodic program. Moreover, lest we forget that racism is an even more prevalent topic in America today. I think part of the problem with racism in this country is that people are afraid to confront it. It’s such a taboo subject that people avoid it. They brush it under the rug pretending it doesn’t happen – but as last year’s events clearly show, it does. With a show like Fresh Off the Boat, it deals with the obvious cultural differences and racism head on. In the pilot, a kid calls TV Eddie a ‘Chink’ and they get into a fight over it. The show takes place in 1995, but I assure you it’s still happening 20 years later.

But this is what we need. Fresh Off the Boat is funny, well-written, smart, and deals with race issues in an accessible way that doesn’t sugar-coat it or blatantly insult Asians. Do you remember that episode of Full House when Stephanie gets glasses, and Joey advises her to make fun of herself with the new specs before her classmates can make fun of her? It’s kind of similar to that. Once we open the gateway of being able to talk about things like assimilating into American culture or what it’s like being the only Asian kid among a sea of white people, it’s easier to have that conversation about race without it being uncomfortable.

And as for the name, I have no problem with it. ABC execs briefly titled the show “Far East Orlando”, and for some reason, I find that more offensive that Fresh Off the Boat. IRL Eddie defended the title to Entertainment Tonight recently, comparing it to the N word – it’s a way to claim the term back to its people, and not have it used in a derogatory way.

And while I may strongly relate to this show because I, like Eddie (who I’ve deemed my spirit animal), am a first generation Asian-American, this show isn’t just about this group of an underrepresented culture (I know, I just wrote all those paragraphs about Asians), at its heart, it’s about exclusion. It’s about inclusion. It’s about family. It’s everyone’s story.  A story that has yet to be told from this specific view of a race that makes up nearly 11% of the American population. It’s a show that’s funny – like actually, laugh out loud funny. So funny that there are multiple GIF sets I will be reblogging on Tumblr later. It’s a show that deserves to be on the air because of all of these qualities. And who knows – maybe this will lead to even more Asian-centric shows in the future. And perhaps my possible future children won’t have a shortlist of just two Asian-American actresses to play out their life story.

5,000 Candles in the Wind: Residents of Pawnee

Just when we’re drying up our happy/sad tears from the Parenthood series finale, we’re reminded that we’ve entered the final few weeks of another one of our beloved programs, Parks and Recreation. Because of the “brilliance” that is NBC brass, we’ve been counting down the last episodes two by two, and as we enter February, we only have seven left. In honor of that, we’re dedicating each Tuesday to Parks and how much joy it has brought to our lives over the past six years.

We start with the citizens of Pawnee – the people who make this small town in Indiana feel like a real town we would actually want to visit. We’ve met dozens of folks from this city – most of them a little off their rockers – but it’s what makes the show so great. With the likes of Perd Hapley and Coucilman Jamm and Lil’ Sebastian (RIP), we as viewers get a glimpse into what life is like living with these literal characters in Pawnee, and can understand why Leslie Knope has such strong feelings for her hometown. Pawnee may be fourth in obesity, but it’s first in friendship, and these residents are the prime example.

Joan Callamezzo

Favorite Moment(s): After singing Let’s Hear It For the Boy in a drunken stupor, Ben and Tom take her home, where we see she has a bunch of oil paintings up – of herself. Naked.

Why we’ll miss them: She’s the trainwreck you can’t stop watching. It’s like all the Jersey Shore castmembers rolled into one.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Joan is busy promoting her 10th memoir, dedicated specifically to all the men who have given her STDs over the years. She takes Pawnee Today on the road to Los Angeles, but ends up miles from Hollywood in Sun Valley, in a studio next to a factory that makes sex toys. She ends up falling in love and ditches her job with Pawnee Today in favor of her new show – Porn Valley Tomorrow.

Orin

 

Favorite Moment(s): His performance art piece, where he’s acting as an animal living on a Human Farm.

Why we’ll miss him: He’s just so weird.

Where he’ll be in another three year time jump: A curator from the Indianapolis Museum of Art accidentally went to Orin’s Human Farm exhibit and ran into him again in 2018 at a mutual friend’s gallery called “Laser Snakes”. He offered Orin a curator job at the Museum, and he now seeks out performance artists from around the world. He’s still super weird.

Perd Hapley

Favorite Moment(s): Breaking the news of Leslie’s (non) affair with Dexhart in Christmas Scandal; his role as (not a real) judge in Perdple’s Court

Why we’ll miss him: How will we know when a scandal is supposed to be brewing now?

Where he’ll be in another three year time jump: Starring in the locally produced Western show, Howdy, Perdner! Also, the locally produced quiz show, Revenge Of The Perds. And the locally produced birdwatching program, A Perd In The Hand. Plus the locally produced children’s cartoon, Harold And The Perdple Crayon. Everyone agrees that he’s gotten a little carried away.

Greg Pikitis

Favorite Moment(s): When he unexpectedly turns out to be the boyfriend of Allison, the girl Leslie had been trying to recruit as a Parks intern.

Why we’ll miss them: He may be annoying, but he is never not interesting.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: He realized he had a soft spot for the government and went to Notre Dame for Political Science. He went on to work for President Hillary Clinton’s administration and is currently in the process of campaigning for Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential bid – against Leslie Knope.

Bobby Newport

Favorite Moment(s): Behaving like a petulant boy prince during the city council campaign, then shocking us all by endorsing Leslie.

Why we’ll miss them: He’s a total weenie, but he’s also a member of the First Family Of Pawnee Sugar. Sweetums has brought so much joy – and so much diabetes – to so many.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Moved up from Nougat to the Caramel Division; conducting a Wonka-esque contest to tour the Sweetums factory – winner scores a totally unpaid, full-time internship.

Ken Hotate

Favorite Moment(s): When he threatened to put a curse on the Harvest Festival, then “lifted” said fake curse by saying fake chants in Native American.

Why we’ll miss them: He may have seemed like the no nonsense tribal elder of the Wamapoke Native American tribe, but he had a really great sense of dry humor that he only really shared for the camera.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Thanks to the economic boom in Pawnee, he was able to open another Wamapoke Casino. He still deals with crazy white people on the daily.

Ethel Beavers

Favorite Moment(s): Leslie drags Ethel out in the snowy cold to Ben’s house to read her statement. “Let the record state that I, Leslie Knope, love Ben Wyatt. I love him with all of my heart.”

Why we’ll miss them: She’s annoying old broad who tells it like it is.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Ethel is still working as a stenographer for the town of Pawnee. After a string of lovers, it seems as if she’s finally settled down… with a cat. The men, yeah she’s still got them on rotation.

The creepy tattoo guy

Favorite Moment(s): He bids on Ann when Leslie puts a date with her up for auction, and he pitches a date which includes “taking her out to watch him do belly flops in the mud pit, then getting Thai food and a tank of Nitrous and seeing what happens”.

Why we’ll miss them: We don’t even know his name, but we don’t really need to to enjoy his creepiness (from afar).

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Still working at the pawn shop, but he added an extension to the store for guns and ammo.

Crazy Ira and the Douche

Favorite Moment(s): Basically every shock jock-y line they’ve ever delivered, such as “I know it’s a winter’s morn but it feels like a Summer’s eve… cuz The Douche is in the building!”

Why we’ll miss them: The best use of radio sound effects since the 1930s.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: After multiple FCC infractions and a boycott by Eagleton, they were dropped by their station. Like most people, they have a podcast.

Jean-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa Saperstein

Favorite Moment(s): Keeping Anna Nicole body spray alive, hoodwinking Henry Winler… honestly, these two never fail to turn our frizowns upside-dizzity.

Why we’ll miss them: They’re the best at being the wooorrrst.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Designer meth (actually made out of designer-imposter perfume and baby powder). Prison sentence. Local home shopping show. Community service sentence (because of mismanaged funds for shopping show). Local reality show. Mona-Lisa has a baby. Wait. Mona-Lisa stole a baby. Then lost it at a rave.

Shauna Malwae-Tweep

Favorite Moment(s)Almost entering into relationships with Andy, Ben, Chris, and Leslie (as an Ann replacement in Galentines II)

Why we’ll miss them: Always comes up with the right headline.

Where they’ll be in another three year time jump: Editor in chief of the Pawnee Tribune; has hooked up with all active Pawnee council members.

Councilman Jeremy Jamm

Favorite Moment(s): As opposed to all the times we’ve previously seen Jamm be the one controlling others to get his way, he falls into the Tammy curse and Leslie and Ron have to work together to get him out of his crazed obsession.

Why we’ll miss him: We really won’t, but it’s those you hate that are the ones worth remembering.

Where he’ll be in another three year time jump: It took 2 years for Jamm to fully get out of his post-Tammy funk. He’s finally feeling like himself again, and his ‘You got Jamm-ed’ quota is up to 20 from 10 people the previous year.

Brandi Maxxx

Favorite Moment(s): Standing by Leslie after the bailout … because she was raking in the big bucks for her adult adaptation of the story, Too Big To Nail

Why we’ll miss her: Able to define pornography where Justice Stewart failed.

Where she’ll be in another three year time jump: Starring in an adult version of the National Park / Gryzzl deal, Jyzzlbox.

Lil Sebastian

Favorite Moment(s): When he used to be alive. Particularly, Ron Swanson’s face when he realized Lil Sebastian would be at the harvest festival.

Why we’ll miss him: Dead.

Where she’ll be in another three year time jump: Still dead. Sebastian was li’l, but now he is 5,000 candles in the wind.

Katy Perry’s Halftime Show: Best And Worst Dressed

What did YOU wear for the Superbowl? Me, I wore the heavy cloak of disappointment. Disappointment in the game itself, one of those ones where I was just rooting against the team that I wanted to lose most. Disappointment in that one Nationwide commercial, which only came in second on my list of Most Depressing Superbowl Moments because one year my grandfather died during the game.  Disappointment in social media, where I assume the #LikeABoy hashtag was started by the same bros who thought up #ALLlivesMatter. But you know what? Not disappointment in the halftime show, really. It was good. Like any proper Katy Perry spectacle, the performance was full of over-the-top, fun costumes. Here are the best and worst.

Best Dressed

Katy Perry in the The More You Know symbol

Remember when you’d hear that “bing biiing bing BIIING” chime at the end of one of those PSAs when you were younger, and realize that that your favorite NBC stars had tricked you into learning something? Well, you probably had the same feeling seeing this symbol. Oh, shoot, there was a lesson in all of this?

A Human in This Cranky Ball Costume

“Hi Nana, it’s Stephanie! I got the job! I’m dancing with Katy Perry at the Superbowl!”

“The bucktoothed, downtrodden beach ball with the blue tights.”

“Nana? NANA?”

[These maybe should be on the “worst” list, but I’m just so happy that this was on my TV last night and my internet this morning.]

The Athenians, Probably in This Trojan Lion

While watching this entrance, I imagined that at some point the lion would open up and members of my favorite NFL team would spill out, taking over the game so that I could watch players I actually liked.

Missy Elliott in One Of Those Outfits She Wears

When Missy appeared on stage, even though the show was going well already, it felt like she … well … put her thing down, flipped it, and reversed it. The show was ON. And I’m so glad that she wore one of her classic Missy Elliott jumpsuits, along with a ball cap and hoop earrings. If I tried to wear her outfit, I’d look like I was in my jammies. But Missy looked like the rapper we all know, love, and really, really missed. How good does she look?!

By the way, I’m choosing to believe that one of her dancers was that girl from the Miss Elliott videos of the mid-2000s.

Lenny Kravitz in His Face And Body

This outfit also felt like a time-warp to 2004, but in  a less positive way. But I do not care, because Lenny Kravitz was also sporting his face and body, which are both very nice.

Katy Perry in A Bathing Suit That Looks Like A Beach Ball From A Little Golden Book

Runner-up: The dancers in shark suits, because I had to wear a giant plush costume for work one summer and I appreciate their obvious discomfort for the sake of entertainment.

Katy Perry’s Microphone in A Wii Safety Strap

So she didn’t get too worked up and throw her microphone through the new TV.

Worst Dressed

A Dancer’s Hopes And Dreams in These Tree Costumes

There’s a certain silly joy in playing a dancing beach ball or a clapping shark, but playing a tree is just not a career highlight. The surfboarts were pretty bad too.

Katy Perry In Yule Log Screencaps

You have a Hunger Games budget, your flame dress shouldn’t look like a child’s drawing or a cheap fake fire place.

Those human chess pieces in my nightmares.

I can’t even parse out why, but the moment I saw these costumes my reaction was “I hate this.” It just seemed creepy. They also remind me of really sharp lego that you would step on when it’s dark. I don’t know. Just not a fan. Maybe it’s the pointy shoes?