Catholic School Back To School Shopping: Myths vs. Realities

Ah, Back-To-School Shopping : such a gentle, consumeristic way to get over the end of summer vacation. However, as two life-long Catholic school students, our experience wasn’t everything the Staples and J.C. Penney commercials led us to believe. I’m watching the cycle all over again with my nieces and nephews – the public schoolers getting cute new outfits and the Catholic school kids getting their first necktie at age 5. [Find me something cuter than a kindergartener in business casual.] In honor of our ’90s and ’00s memories, here is a study in the contrasts between back to school shopping for Catholic schoolers and, if not real public school students, at least the too-cool public schoolers we saw on TV.

Clothing

File under: My childhood as a walking Irish Catholic stereotype.

Expectation: I’m going back to school with a new wardrobe that will mark me as one of the cool kids!

Reality: I am wearing the same plaid jumper from the same Plaid Jumper Store as all of my classmates. Somehow, kids manage to sort themselves into Cool and Uncool anyway.

[Note: there is a 50/50 chance your uniform is a hand-me-down, or your mom bought it at the used uniform sale your school holds at the end of the school year.]

Expectation: At least maybe some fun, cute outfits for after school!

Reality: Those are called “play clothes” and they don’t come from the store, they come from a trash bag your aunt drops off every time your next cousin up has a growth spurt.

[Note: I realize there are Catholics without cousins but I’ve never met one.]

Accessories

Expectation: And don’t forget the accessories!

Reality: … Which are knee socks, a navy blue cardigan, and a shirt with a Peter Pan collar during that five-decade range after Peter Pan collars went out of style in the ’60s and before they came back in style on Zooey Deschanel.

If you’re fancy, please add a headband in the same plaid as your uniform.

Jewelry

Expectation: Wearing some jewelry, I guess.

Reality: Bracelets are not allowed. Non-post earrings are not allowed. Necklaces are a pendant on a thin chain. If you want to consider rosaries jewelry (“WHICH THEY ARE NOT” – every Catholic reading this post, before I could even say it, right?), you can have those. But you cannot wear them, for Pete’s sake.

School Supplies

Expectation: Lisa Frank binders! Lisa Frank notebooks! Lisa The Frickin FRANK IT ALL UP.

Reality: There is a specific, solid color that every subject uses. Does The Vatican secretly operate the Mead company?

Expectation: Don’t forget a trapper keeper to stay organized!

Reality: Trapper Keepers strictly verboten.

Hair

Expectation: It would be so much fun to try a bright color or a crazy new ‘do to show people how much I’ve changed over the summer!

Reality: “No extreme hairstyles” – Catholic School Student Manual 29:11

Shoes

Expectation: I will narrow down the most in-style looks and then pick out some sneakers, a pair of cute shoes, and maybe something a little dressier.

Reality: Your uniform requires shoes that meet all of the following criteria: black or navy blue. No laces. No wedges. No mules. No sneaker soles. Heel must measure less than one inch at the highest point. No ballet flats.

You are left with orthopedic nun shoes.

[Note: If you’re really wondering how we sorted out the cool kids, their moms bought them cute shoes that skirted the Shoe Canon of the student handbook, whereas uncool-kid moms followed it to the letter. As to what camp I was in, let’s just say I still like a sturdy pair of Clarks.]

 

 

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Get Down With The #TheParentJam

It’s no secret I love a good marriage proposal, at least ones that are sweet, romantic and creative, not one that will make me second-hand embarrassed. Recently, a proposal which falls into the first category went viral, and it’s become my favorite one yet.

The gentleman in this video, Phil Wright, is a well-known choreographer, while his longtime girlfriend Ashley Lai is also a dancer. So it’s no surprise that he incorporated their mutual passion into popping the question, and the result is tear-inducing and will possibly make you transform into the emoji with heart eyes.

I’d heard of Phil before because he teaches hip-hop at some local LA studios, and there’s one class in particular that isn’t just your normal dance class. It’s for kids AND adults, particularly their parents. Let me introduce you to #TheParentJam.

When I was growing up, there was a section of our dance studio where parents (usually moms) would sit while their kids (usually daughters) had their class. I’m sure anyone who took dance as a kid can relate, but Phil wanted to get those same parents off their seats and onto the floor. His beginner hip hop class invites parents (or grandparents) to join the little ones and learn the same routine. It’s not about how well you do it, it’s about how much passion you put in and most importantly, enjoy the time bonding and dancing with your kids.

Let Phil (who’s dancing with his niece) show you how it’s done.

Ok, let’s get into it. These videos will immediately bring you all the joy, which is definitely what we need right now. First up, the father/daughter duo. Check out dad’s facial expressions (and Ham t-shirt).

Yes, ma! Get into those cabbage patches!

Mom ain’t worried ’bout NOTHINGGGGG

BEAST. I’m CRYING R U CRYING YET

Carly Rae bringing families together

They got the coordinated outfits DOWN.

Me as a mom:

When dad just HAS to show off the pop lockin skills he used to do in the ’80s

No, but this is my favorite. ❤ ❤ ❤

I’m starting to think the coordinated outfits are like *the thing*

#theparentjam – They Killed it 🔥🔥🔥🔥

A post shared by Phil Wright (@phil_wright_) on

Baby on the beat

Gangnam Style was actually recorded for this very reason. For parents to be able to dance with their kids to a popular tune.

Sorry mom, but your kids committed way more to the cause.

GRAMPS IS BACK

Um hey what’s up hello blue hoodie dad.

Serving face.

BONUS!

James Franco sans kid. No idea why he didn’t just go to a regular hip hop class. Get at me James. I know where you can go on Monday nights.

11 VMA Moments That Shaped My Adolescence

OMG U GUYZ THE MTV VMAS ARE THIS SUNDAY WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?!?!

Not me. But there was a time when that was me. When I was prime MTV target demographic, when I was impressionable and bought any artist that made it to the top 10 on TRL (see: Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. CDs in my childhood bedroom). Those formative years when I was a tween and eventual teen who was thriving at Backstreet Boys concerts and making websites on Geocities. Growing up, I was a teenybopper. I’m not gonna be ashamed about it. That’s just who I was. I was the girl who thought MTV was the coolest, the mecca of where all the celebs and musicians were featured. And the VMAs were my Super Bowl.

Back then, all my faves were either nominated, performing, or presenting, so it made sense that I was tuning in like a Michael Jackson popcorn GIF every year. And there were plenty of popcorn-GIF worthy moments that happened on the VMAs when I grew up. These are iconic and unforgettable performances – clips that takes me back to that time in my life when superstardom was out of reach and not a tweet away. Here are some of the MTV VMA moments that shaped my childhood. It’s crazy to think that Katy Perry and co. might have that same effect on tweens at this year’s ceremony. Guys, we are so old.

1994 ♦ Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Make Out

Isn’t it weird to look back and think that the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s daughter was married to the King of Pop? Like, what even did they pay the music gods to get that love connection? Apparently not enough since their marriage didn’t last that long. However, this kiss is burned in my brain for eternity.

1995 ♦ Courtney Love bombs Madonna’s interview

I remember watching this live and having NO IDEA what was going on. But I don’t think Courtney Love did either. She wasn’t doing great at the time, but nevertheless, this is still rude. But alas, makes for great TV. Remember Kurt Loder? He is also part of my adolescence, which would be a weird thing to say to him IRL, I think.

1998 ♦ Mariah and Whitney Double Up

At the time this aired, I legit thought this was real. Like they definitely accidentally wore the same dress to the VMAs. I was concerned. Of course, it’s just a bit. I love bits. And I love Whitney Houston. Prince of Egypt forever.

1999 ♦ Diana Ross, Lil’ Kim and Lil Kim’s Lil’ Kim

Lil’ Kim’s outfit was outrageous then, and it continues to be even to this day. The 1999 VMAs were (and maybe continue to be?) my favorite VMAs ceremony of all time, and this is definitely one of the reasons why. I admit, I barely knew who Diana Ross was at the time, despite being obsessed with Phil Collins’ cover of The Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love. I didn’t know it was the same person! Anyways, I my mouth was agape when Diana bounced Lil’ Kim’s boob, and hoped that neither of my parents saw what had just happened as I watched the VMAs in our living room.

1999 ♦ Britney Spears and ‘N SYNC Take It Back To School

As I mentioned, 9.9.99 (it was on September 9th obvs) was a big year, particularly for pop music. It felt like it was at its height again, thanks to my boys BSB, Christina Aguilera, Britney, ‘N Sync, all the other boy bands, etc. This was one year after Tearin’ Up My Heart was released, but right around the time …Baby One More Time was becoming super popular. We all know the Britney/’N Sync relationship, but this was everything you could’ve wanted in a pop music performance on the VMAs. Singing, dancing, a school story, a surprise element of the ‘N Sync boys at the desks! As a BSB fan, I willingly admit this is and forever will be one of the best VMA performances in the show’s history.

1999 ♦ Backstreet Boys win the Viewer’s Choice VMA

As I mentioned, I am a BSB fan til the day I die, and 1999 was the height of BSB mania. Millennium had been released earlier that year, and the boys had basically shut down Times Square during their MTV special on release day. I was also at the height of my BSB mania, and voted non-stop in hopes they would win the Viewer’s Choice award against their rival (and mine), ‘N Sync. I remember jumping up and down, so ecstatic that “my” hard work paid off, and that my boys earned the much-deserved moonman. And yes, that white dude in the beginning pulled a Kanye before Kanye.

2000 ♦ Eminem and A Fuck Ton of Real Slim Shadys

Eminem also was a hot commodity in this era, releasing hit after hit after hit, including The Real Slim Shady. The song posits that there are many wannabes but only one Marshall Mathers, and because of that, he invited a whole lot of white guys in white t-shirts and jeans to be extras in his performance. Is this where my real fear of white men started? JK. A little.

2001 ♦ Britney and the Snake

I mean, obviously, right?

2002 ♦ Eminem vs. Moby and Christina Aguilera

Eminem wasn’t necessarily known to be a congenial person that got along with every artist that came across his path. He had beef with DJ Moby, which is why this awkward exchange with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog happened – right before Eminem won a moonman. Which as you can see from the clip, was handed to him by Christina Aguilera. If you recall, Em name-dropped Xtina in The Real Slim Shady, saying:

“Yo Shit, Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs
So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst
And hear ’em argue over who she gave head to first
Little bitch, put me on blast on MTV
“Yeah, he’s cute, but I think he’s married to Kim, hee-hee!”
I should download her audio on MP3
And show the whole world how you gave Eminem VD”

Which makes this clip even more memorable (and chilly) thanks to the shade from Ms. Aguilera herself.

2003 ♦ Britney, Madonna and Christina, You Know

The Mickey Mouse Club Was nothing but a memory after this performance.

2011 ♦  Beyonce and Blue

This did not have a hold on my adolescence, but I was still very much awakened when B revealed she was preggo with Blue after singing Love on Top.

Happy Nostalgia Night! Feliz Noche de Nostalgia!

Uruguay is way ahead of us … or is it way behind us? On August 24, folks in Uruguay celebrate Nostalgia Night, a celebration of times past. Discos and radio stations play songs from years ago, party-goers dress up in throwback garb, and even Uruguay’s tourism site gets in on the action with a full page dedicated to the day’s events – and there are MANY, from dances to dinner shows to karaoke nights. While the U.S.A. seems caught in a Lisa Frank-tinged wave of ’90s nostalgia at the moment, much of Uruguay’s festivities focus on the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. A sampling of ‘typical nostalgia night songs – not to be forgotten!’ includes I Will Survive, Jailhouse Rock, YMCA, as well as some more South American tunes. Police are out in full force (and, one can assume, The Police are on the stereo), because things are going to get raucous. It’s even one of the biggest party nights of the year , rivaling Christmas and New Year. Well done, Uruguay.

I’m not surprised Nostalgia Night exists – a quick look around a mall tells me that right now we’re living every day like it’s Nostalgia Night – but I’m sort of surprised the rest of us haven’t made it an official THING like Uruguay. Imagine it: a night where every bar you go to is going to be playing something from the Beatles to the Backstreet Boys. When your outfit of choice could be a full disco getup, or for us younger nostalgic folks, low rise jeans with a going out top. Where bars offer Dunkaroos instead of dirt-peanuts.

Since I won’t be getting to Uruguay today – and trust me, I’d love to be in Uruguay today – I’m sending some of our favorite nostalgia-related posts. After all, Nostalgia Nights in 2037 will probably be people sitting around and reading the internet like they did in 2017.

Fashion

  • The 90s were really fun and everything, but nobody looked as good as the kids do in today’s 90s revival. Here’s the truth of 90s fashion  myths vs. realities, as remembered by someone who was a kid at the time.
  • The mid-2000s – say, 2004 – 2009 or so – had a style all their own. You may think times haven’t changed, but when was the last time you wore a going-out top or a butt-ruffle?

Sports

Home Decor

Movies

Friends

SNICK Liveblogs

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Dirty Dancing

Warm up those hips and grab a watermelon because it’s time for another installment of Pop Culture Blind Spot!  And today we’re heading back to family summer camp and celebrating Dirty Dancing, which was released on this day exactly 30 years ago. Even after three decades, the movie still holds up. Let’s dive right in and revisit one of the greatest movies that defined a generation.

Statements of note from the trailer:

“The heat is in the music. The music sets you dancing. The dancing sets her free.”

“She thought it would be just another summer vacation, but it turns out to be the time of her life.”

“What they learn from each other feels too good to be wrong.”

My knowledge of this movie: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey do a lot of dancing. Kenny Ortega of High School Musical fame choreographed it. Kelly Bishop aka Emily Gilmore is also in it, but I always manage to forget this fact.

The reason I had never seen Dirty Dancing is from a lack of not wanting to see it. By nature, it should be a movie I love – romance, impressive dance sequences, drama, comedy. I just never got around to watching it. Thank God for Netflix, amirite, ladies? So here we are, almost 28 years to the day it was released on August 21st, 1987, and I’m sharing my thoughts with you on it for the very first time. Here goes nothing.

2:20 This movie takes place in 1963? Definitely did not know that. I thought it was just another 80s movie.

2:44 I remember that Kelly Bishop is in this movie. I know, I know. She’s a Tony Award winning actress of stage and screen, but to me she will forever and always be Emily Gilmore. And to quote the Gilmore Guys podcast, Bishop is Queen.

2:57 I knew there was greenery and cabin-looking structures in this movie, but I was not aware it takes place at a sleepaway camp for families. Does anyone go to this kind of camp anymore? Do these even exist?

3:24 The cars lining up to Kellerman’s camp legit looks like moving in day for freshman at my college.

Photo Aug 18, 11 48 08 PM

3:54 Is Newman from Seinfeld in this? [the answer is yes]

5:00 MAMA KELLY BISHOP IS SERVING IN THIS DANCE SCENE, DESPITE THE FACT THEY’RE SMUSHED TOGETHER LIKE A BUNCH OF SARDINES.

Photo Aug 17, 11 00 20 PM

7:20 I get Patrick Swayze now.

Photo Aug 17, 11 03 13 PM

7:55 “You just put your pickle on everybody’s plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me.” – Johnny Castle, an employee at a Jewish family camp, definitely NOT a porn star.

9:00 Baby is set up with some doofus who is the camp owner’s grandson, a dude named Neil who is going to Cornell for Hotel Management. Meanwhile, Baby’s got her eyes on going to Mount Holyoke to study the economics of underdeveloped countries and then enter the Peace Corps. Obviously well matched.

10:30 Johnny Castle and the blonde dance instructor Penny take center stage at this dance Baby and Neil are at, clearly auditioning for whatever the version of Dancing with the Stars was in 1963. However, they get cockblocked by the owner Max who wants them to dance with the guests instead.

Photo Aug 17, 11 10 40 PM

13:37 After being forced to appear in a magic show and awarded a chicken for participation, Baby wanders into the staff quarters, which is a big no no. What a rebel.

14:30 Baby runs into a guy holding three huge watermelons, but they really just look like three prop pickles. There is no way he could carry three of those on his own. Come on.

Photo Aug 17, 11 12 49 PM

15:00 Baby enters the secret staff dance party where the literal Dirty Dancing is going down. Basically this type of dancing is grinding on top of your partner with no room for the holy spirit at all. Which I guess doesn’t matter for the employees of this Jewish camp.

17:00 This soundtrack is amazing, by the way. I’m a sucker for 60s/Motown era music. Still blown away that this takes place in 1963.

20:00 Johnny teaching Baby how to roll her hips is the most awkward. It’s like she’s about to drop a deuce right on the dance floor. (GOD HELP ME I NEVER WANT TO SAY DROP A DEUCE AGAIN)

Photo Aug 17, 11 18 25 PM

21:00 For some reason, an activity for the women at this camp is to try on wigs. What else is available at this camp – How To Cook A Proper Roast For Your Man or Top Tips For Cleaning Your Curlers?

25:00 Penny is pregnant. I was not aware there was a pregnancy twist in this film. Despite attempting to help a devastated Penny, she tells her to GTFO. And apparently the father of this baby is the asshole misogynistic server in the restaurant.

30:00 To remedy this, Baby asks her doctor dad Jerry Orbach for $300 to do a “non illegal” activity – aka she’s going to pay for Penny’s abortion??? This is a lot of money for someone she just met a day ago. Is she trying to prove something or is she just a good person? Or trying to prove she’s a good person?

33:42 Baby agrees to take Penny’s place in a dance competition since she’ll be recovering from her aforementioned abortion – is there really no one else qualified to take Penny’s place? A sub dance instructor at the camp, perhaps? Baby can barely roll her hips around, as we learned earlier. She’s worse than Julia Stiles learning hip-hop in Save The Last Dance.

37:00 Jennifer Grey is incredibly skinny. Penny is even skinnier. And the two skinny waists have a weird threesome with Johnny as they teach her how to dance. Uncomfy moment #3 – it’s the same feeling I get while watching ballroom trios on So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With The Stars.

Photo Aug 18, 12 42 09 AM

38:00 The closeups on the gyrating hips – not for me. Uncomfy moment #4.

Photo Aug 18, 12 49 53 AM

I know I keep on bringing up Dancing With the Stars, but this B plot about Baby learning how to learn competitive-level dance is totally a parallel to DWTS. The fact that you have to pick up a foreign skill quickly then perform it under the (hungry) eyes of judges is just like in this movie. Which probably explains how she won season 11 of DWTS.

40:00 Johnny accidentally locks the keys to his car inside said vehicle, so he just straight up takes a pole out of the ground to smash his car window. With ease, he does this. It’s also raining, but it’s the fakest rain ever and the sun is shining like it’s 90 degree day, and all I can think is the rain machine is blowing the water horizontally at Patrick Swayze’s face. That handsome mug must be insured, this shouldn’t be happening to him.

Photo Aug 18, 1 16 54 AM

41:00 This balancing on a log practice could be problematic. That is a ravine right there. Maybe don’t risk your life when you could easily do this on a dance floor? Also, I’m supposed to be shipping this right?


43:00 Johnny takes Baby to a field and subsequently the famous lake, which is much better than a log in the middle of the forest. But why isn’t Baby’s family concerned about her whereabouts? She just disappeared from camp. Isn’t her sister wondering why Baby didn’t show up to Wig Class?

47:00 Baby has somehow aged 10 years with her costume for the competition. She now looks like a New York Housewife competing in DWTS.

Photo Aug 18, 1 37 16 AM

51:00 Uh oh. Penny’s not looking too hot after her shotty abortion. Baby comes to the rescue again by secretly getting her M.D. Dad to help her. Jerry Orbach (RIP) is quite the Doctor Detective. And quite upset with Baby’s interaction with the Dirty Dancing sexual deviants.

56:00 Welp Baby basically just confessed her love to Johnny. He’s already got his shirt off, so she asks him to dance… But on the real tho –  this sex dance scene is still hot.

1:00 Penny clearly picks up the sex vibes that Johnny and Baby are putting down, and she warns him not to get serious with Baby. Which of course, in 80s movie terms, he obviously is.

This outfit is the reason I keep forgetting the movie takes place in 1963. This could either be 1987 or 2015, who the hell knows.

Photo Aug 18, 1 51 34 AM

“What is with all this rain? Remind me not to have my honeymoon in Niagara Falls.” Baby’s sister

“So, you go to Acapulco, it’ll be fine!” – Queen Bishop

1:04 Baby and Johnny can’t stop boning. She’s technically a teenager, right? Since she’s “planning” to go to Mount Holyoke? Johnny’s obviously the type to skip college in favor of living out his dreams of being a camp dance instructor, so is this forbidden love even more forbidden?

1:07 Oh hey, a scene I actually have scene before. This makes sense in context now. Before I thought it was just some weirdo lip syncing to a song.

1:09 Neil, the annoying grandson, is like the Patrice of this movie. He wants Johnny to dance the Pachanga for the final show, and Johnny’s response is one that made me legit LOL: “He wouldn’t know a good idea if it hit him in the Pachanga” 1:12 Johnny’s bad boy side comes out when asshole waiter sees him kissing Baby, and the scene is like a fight between the Jets and the Sharks.

1:13 Baby’s sister singing I cannot.

1:18 There’s some side plot about Johnny’s cougar dance client setting him up as a kid who stole her husband’s wallet, but Baby comes to his defense by providing an alibi that he was with her at the time of the alleged theft. Not really important.

1:19 Baby goes to confront her upset father about basically admitted she slept with Johnny, and the whole conversation looks like a scene from The Bachelor when one of the final girls meets the bachelor’s dad for the first time to talk about how in love they are with their son.

Photo Aug 19, 12 21 47 AM

1:22 Johnny’s heading out of town because of all the “trouble” he’s caused, and as he rides away, She’s Like the Wind plays in the background. Yes, the hit song by Patrick Swayze. TOO META. BTW, what exactly is Johnny’s accent? And does he not look like The Terminator in this scene?

Photo Aug 18, 2 14 19 AM

1:26 This camp has its own theme song. This is just such a foreign culture to me that I’m having a difficult time believing it’s real. This tune is a cross between a traditional hymn and one of those camp songs you hear in like Troop Beverly Hills.

1:29 Ah yes, the iconic “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” scene. In my head she was in a literal corner of a room, sitting in a chair as if she had been punished. In addition, Johnny was gone for like 2 hours they’re all acting like it’s been years. ALSO Queen Bishop looks so hot rn!

Photo Aug 18, 2 19 00 AM

1:30 So here’s my problem with Baby and Johnny dancing to Time of My Life – it’s a song that was made in the 1980s, but supposed to be set for a performance in 1963. This is why I’m confused. However, I will say that this song in context also makes so much more sense with the movie. Oh, and how did Johnny coordinate a flash mob so fast??

“I think she gets this from me.” KELLY FREAKING BISHOP

Photo Aug 18, 2 26 54 AM

There are some interesting characters in the crowd, including the guy who predicted wearing sunglasses at night long before Corey Hart, the band leader dancing with Penny, and the two larger women happily dancing with each other. The movie ends with a pan out on the dance floor, with a spotlight on Baby and Johnny DIRTY DANCING. Bless. Also, it’s very reminiscent of the High School Musical 3 finale, because as you remember, Kenny Oretga is a mastermind of both these epic films.

Photo Aug 19, 12 43 44 AM

(Previously posted in August, 2015)

How To Throw A Solar Eclipse Themed Party

On Monday, August 21 the sun will quit on the United States, and we don’t blame it.

Okay, not “quit” per se, but the moon will pass between the earth and the sun causing a total or partial blockage of the sun, depending on where you live. We think that calls for a themed party!

Total Eclipse Of The Screen

For the times the eclipse won’t be visible, we suggest playing space themed movies in the background. In particular:

  • Zenon, Girl Of The 21st Century
  • Armageddon
  • E.T.
  • Contact
  • Alien
  • The Martian
  • Independence Day
  • Space Camp
  • The Jetsons
  • Any Star Wars film
  • Any Star Treck film or episode
  • The Magic Schoolbus Gets Lost In Space
Total Eclipse Of Your Clothes

What’s a themed party without a themed outfit? If you want to impose a dress code, or are just really feeling the theme, here are some options:

  • black and white – simple, classic, and appropriate
  • polka dots work, too
  • of course, anything with a sun or moon on it would be apropos
  • but I think the best outfit for the day would be a full Miss Frizzle-style eclipse getup.
Total Eclipse Of These Snacks

Snacks are the best part of a theme party. Some suggestions:

  • Moon Pies
  • Black and white cookies, but in various stages of eclipse
  • Cheese (because the moon is made of it, clearly)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sunny D
  • Sun chips
  • Starfruit
  • Regular apples, but sliced in half so you can see the ‘star’ in the middle, which always wows the under-5 crowd the first time they see it
  • I really do feel like you could use sun, star, moon and circle-shaped cookie cutters on any number of foods! For real, this is probably the way I would go.
Total Eclipse Of The Bar

Eclipses can be day-drinking events if you want them to be. We recommend:

Just don’t get so crunk you forget you can’t stare at the sun and burn your retinas.

Total Eclipse Of Some Games

I absolutely love when people get excited about astronomical phenomena, whether it’s a meteor shower, solar or lunar eclipse, unusual visible planets or the northern lights. I was raised by a science teacher and we made a BIG DEAL out of this stuff when I was a kid. For instance, one time before I could read a ticker came across the bottom of the TV screen telling viewers that the northern lights were visible. The rest of my family bounded from their seats because they knew we’d all load into the minivan to try to see it – except for little illiterate me, watching TGIF and wondering what the big deal was.

All that is to say that I think this solar eclipse is a fine time to celebrate the wonders of our solar system – and what better way to do it than with games? Here are a few:

Name That Constellation!

Similar to our map-labeling games in our American and Canadian themed parties, this one is either a chance to show of your knowledge or a chance to get a little funny. Have individual printouts of constellations, or a large map of them on the wall. Let guests label them with their names. It’s fun to get it right, but it’s also fun to make up your own constellation names based on what they look like – which, after all, is what happened many years ago, anyway. The big dipper part of ursa major? Yeah, that’s a Deep Fry Basket.

Solar System Mnemonic Mad Libs

I’m so old that when I was a kid, my very excellent mother just served us nine pizzas. The kids in my life tell me that now, she serves nachos. Sorry, Pluto.

If you learned the order of the planets through mnemonic devices, this all probably sounds familiar to you. If not, forgive me.

You can create wacky solar system mnemonics -and reinforce your childhood space knowledge – with a mnemonic madlib. For instance:

  • My
  • [Adjective starting with V]
  • [Adjective Starting with E]
  • [Noun Starting With M]
  • Just
  • [Past Tense Verb Starting With S]
  • Us
  • [Adjective Starting With N]
  • [Noun Starting With P] [“Dwarf planet” means nothing to me, sorry not sorry.]

Mad Libs are always funnier if the person who is providing the words doesn’t know what you’re creating.

Pin The Moon Over The Sun

It’s like pin the tail on the donkey, but it’s eclipse-themed, and it’s probably better after a few Tequila Sunrises.

Planetary Twister

You can create this board pretty easily with a plastic table cloth. Draw all of the planets in several rows or a small circle. You will be using this as your twister board, so you have to set it up so that it’s plausible that a person could reach from one to the other. You could even do an entire row across of Mercury, an entire row of Venus, an entire row of Earth, etc.

For extra nerd points, don’t label the planets. If you don’t know Saturn from Jupiter, you’re out.

Total Eclipse Of U.S.

Hop over to our America-themed party post, because the total eclipse will only be visible in the United States. Also this is a great way to use up all of your miniature American flags from the Fourth of July.

Total Eclipse Of These Songs

I feel like since the sun and moon are both involved in this one, songs having to do with either of them are fine. Some of the more eclipse-y are:

  • Total Eclipse Of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler
  • Steal My Sunshine by LEN
  • Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers
  • I’ll Follow The Sun by The Beatles
  • Walkin’ On The Sun by Smashmouth
  • Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles (can never have too much Beatles, OK?)
  • Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me by Elton John
  • Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden
  • Bad Moon Rising by Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Dancing In The Moonlight by King Harvest
Total Eclipse Of The Sun

The main thing about your eclipse party is, of course, the eclipse! Just don’t go outside and stare right at the sun, which will burn your retinas. Instead, stock up on verified eclipse sunglasses – your nearest library or science museum may be your best bet, but Amazon is good too (just make sure you get verified glasses).

There are suggestions all over the web for how to view the eclipse, so we won’t get into it. Just know that options include a contraption with a shoebox, tin foil and paper, a simpler cardboard thingy, looking at shadows, or the internet:

 

  • NASA will livestream the event on their website.
  • You can also see the eclipse at the Exploratorium in San Francisco or on their website.
  • All major networks will be covering the event

Here is some help in finding the best time to view the eclipse near you. Non-U.S. folks, don’t despair! First of all, we have cornered the market on despair for now. Second, a partial eclipse is visible in other parts of North America as well.

 

Another Gay Buried… Will It Get Better?

Anyone else watch Kingdom? No, just me? Maybe this isn’t the target demo for the MMA-centered drama, which just had its series finale a couple weeks ago. The Audience Network (yeah, it’s only on DirecTV) show featured a variety of complex and troubled characters, including Matt Lauria (of Friday Night Lights & Parenthood fame) and Nick Jonas (of smokeshow fame).

TBH, these two are the main reasons I started watching in the first place, because fun fact about me: I hate violence – in media and obviously IRL. But then I got sucked in to the family drama of it all and watched all three seasons until the very end. An end that I was not pleased with. On the scale of bad finales, it wasn’t How I Met Your Mother, but somewhere near Dawson’s Creek and Jen’s heart condition.

For some background: Revered MMA fighter Alvey (Frank Grillo) runs his own gym, where his two sons, Jay (Jonathan Tucker) and youngest Nate (Nick) train to keep his legacy alive. Nate is a rising MMA fighter with a lot of promise, but has been weighed down by the fact that he’s gay and constantly trying to hide it. His mom and brother are the only ones who know about his secret since they live in a bubble fueled by testosterone. By the final season, Nate actually finds a match in Will, even though they still keep their relationship (and his homosexuality) on the DL. But his secret starts to make its way around the MMA circle, and in the final season, another fighter passes him in the hallway before a fight and calls his a faggot, giving Nate even more pause in considering his decision to come out.

This brings us to the penultimate episode, in which Nate finally decides to come clean to his father during a drunk night out. So maybe telling your dad you’re gay when he’s absolutely shitfaced isn’t the best idea, but he did it. He finally got the courage to live his truth to the biggest influence in his life, and it doesn’t go well. In fact, Alvey even says to Nate, “You gonna tell me you’re a fucking faggot?”, which clearly hits a nerve. Nate understandably gets mad and walks out of the bar, drunk Alvey attempts to get him to stay, and in their inherent violent nature, Nate takes a swing at his father to let out all that pent up anger and frustration of his Alvey’s lack of acceptance out. Jay butts in and pulls Alvey off, but when Nate thinks Alvey’s going in for a second round and it’s actually the bouncer with a gun, he shoots him. Dead. Right there in a bar parking lot in front of his dad and brother.

It’s a harrowing scene that sets up the series finale, in which we learn that, yes, Nate is actually dead. The entire finale focuses on how his loved ones to cope with the untimely loss of the one truly good guy in their family.

Ok. So. A few things. Let’s get this one out of the way first – Nick Jonas is a fantastic actor. If you’ve only seen him in Camp Rock, Kingdom will definitely change your mind about his skills. His performance is subtle, yet commandeering, natural and not over the top. He’s an animal when he gets in the ring, but plays the purest of hearts when taking care of his drug addict brother and mother. Just look at this scene when he confirms to his brother/idol that he’s gay. The nuances of his acting is comparable to that of any award-winning actor.

Alright, so back to Nate’s death. Let’s discuss how annoying it is in general that his death came in the second to last episode, which inherently meant the finale HAD to focus on his family & how they struggles in the aftermath. Too much time was spent in memorializing a character who didn’t need to die in the first place, when the finale could’ve spent more time giving fans insight on the path each of the main characters was heading, long after viewers leave them behind. To their credit, they did do this to some extent, but most of their character developments were propelled by Nate’s death, not of their own volition.

But most importantly, I couldn’t help but think of one thing while I was watching this all go down – WHY? Why did they decide to kill off a character just moments after he came out as gay to his alpha male father? What is the “lesson” to be learned from all of this? Here’s what Kingdom creator Byron Balasco told EW:

“I wanted there to be real consequences for Alvey in terms of the mistakes he made as a father and as a man. You have to be mindful of the way you treat the ones you love because you do not always get a chance to go back later and fix it… I wanted a tumbling of emotions that gathers momentum where things get away from the control of our characters. I didn’t want his death to be cloaked in any kind of shame. It’s not about Nate being gay; it’s more about the inability of these two men to understand each other and to be honest with how they truly feel about each other.”

Sure, ok. A relationship between father and son is tender and complicated, but does death justify your storytelling? And while he says it’s not about Nate being gay, the truth of the matter is that it is. You can’t tell me that writers during this golden age of television don’t know about the Bury Your Gays TV trope, and if they do, they obviously choose to ignore it.

Just in case you missed the memo, this trope is usually related to lesbian TV characters, but expands to the LGBTQ community as a whole, in which there has been a trend of disproportionate deaths of said characters, and more likely than not, used to advance a main (straight) character’s storyline. In this case, Nate died because Alvey needed to truly understand and comprehend the mistakes he’s made as a dad and general human being, and his resolution comes in the final scene of the series, in which he breaks down alone after winning the most important fight of his life. But none of this was worth it.

In fact, Nate’s death was even more infuriating due to the lack of acknowledgement of his homosexuality in the final episode. Yes, Jay honors Nate before his dad’s fight by confirming Nate was gay and calling out anyone who had ever been homophobic towards him when he was alive. But it bothered me so much that Nate’s boyfriend Will wasn’t even in the episode. Not at his funeral. Not when his family spread Nate’s ashes out on the ocean. He wasn’t even mentioned. No, Nate didn’t “die because he was gay”, but for sure let’s not actually mention anything related to the fact that he was gay with another man.

Of course, there are many TV viewers who wouldn’t be surprised to hear yet another gay character has been killed off a show:

At the recent Television Critics Association summer tour, GLAAD hosted a panel where they revealed research which showed that there are 278 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters on TV, a majority of them (142 to be exact) are on cable (EG: Audience Network), and most of them are gay white men (EG: Kingdom). Of those 278, there have been 62 gay and bi female characters who have fallen to the Bury Your Gays trope over the past two years.

Yes it’s great that more LGBTQ characters are popping up on TV, but why is it so difficult to give them a happy ending? Or at least one which doesn’t result in death? What does that say to viewers who relate to them in a way they never have before? Similarly, I mentioned this in my #FirstTimeISawMe post, but it bears repeating – yes, representation is important, but it’s the accurate portrayals of minorities that must also be given weight. Yes, more black characters! But no thanks on black thugs. Yes, more lesbian characters! But no me gusta tomboys being used as a punchline.

In this era of division amongst America in particular, those who find themselves in charge of creating shows and films shouldn’t make characters just to fill a quota or portray a particular narrative. Falling for harmful tropes such as Bury Your Gays is a disservice to fans who are obviously connecting to a show for a certain reason, and how non-LGBTQ members react to the already marginalized group as a whole. I hope the more backlash showrunners get, the more they realize this type of storytelling needs to stop. It get better? Guess we’ll have to wait see.

One Trick Ponytails (And Other Bad But Punny Business Ideas)

The world is full of bad ideas. About 10% of those are bad business ideas. And about 99% of THOSE originated from terrible puns. Here are just some of the terrible – but punny – business ideas I’ve thought of lately:

One Trick Ponytails

Salon that just does ponytails but they’re really good at it.

Lickety Splits

Banana splits in a cone.

RoTots

Toddler robots. Disobedient and really stubborn. Leave fingerprints everywhere. Hands always a bit moist.

HogsMediation

Couples therapy for couples who think they are from different Hogwarts houses – can a Slytherin-Hufflepuff marriage survive?

¡Pasta Ya!

All-you-can-eat pasta. It comes out of dispensers, like soft-serve ice cream. Pasta pasta pasta. Sauce everywhere. It comes in dispensers too. Like ketchup does. But it’s sauce.

Puppy Tents

It’s a pup tent, but for dogs. Like a dog house, but one that your dog will immediately knock over.

Baby Baby Boomers

A baby clothing boutique where all of the clothes make the babies look like tiny 60-year-olds. If you’re hipster enough to name your baby Barbara or Linda or Ron, you’re hipster enough to shop here.

Li-Beary

A library, but where a child can check out teddy bears. Everyone will surely get bed bugs.

Or: a library, but where an adult can check out actual bears. Insect infestations are really the least of your worries.

Dime A Dozen

This is a cheap but very specific sort of dime store, where they only sell things that you can get a dozen for for a dime. It’s mostly bulk bins full of things like individual Skittles, dried spaghetti, and dog kibble, for instance. You’re going to hate painstakingly counting out everything in denominations of 12, but not as much as your cashier will!

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

It’s like a photo studio, but instead a “word-artist” will write a 1000-word essay about the impression they get from your family. You ever wondered how someone would describe you in a magazine celebrity profile – those kinds where they make much ado about what an actress orders for lunch? Now you don’t have to, I guess.

Prime Time Flies

Imagine a public living-room type set up where you can watch TV with strangers, sort of like your college dorm’s common room that nobody used. Okay, but instead of playing regular TV, it plays the exact prime-time lineup of whatever day it is… but from times past. Including commercials. Will you get a classic ’90s TGIF night, or a classic ’90s SNICK night, or a classic ’90s Must See TV night? Sure, it COULD be from any era, but they know what people like.

 

 

 

 

Orphan Black: In Memoriam

I will remember you (and you and you and you and you and you).

After five seasons of monitoring clones, finding out there were even more clones, reblogging multiple OTP gifsets on Tumblr, and pretending I understand how science works, we must bid a final farewell to Orphan Black tomorrow. We’ve been fans of this BBC America show since the jump, serving as proud members of the Tatiana Maslany Deserves an Emmy Street Team since 2K13. [BTW, remember when Tat won an Emmy? Because that happened. I’ve refused to call her anything but “Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany” ever since.]

With its demise coming this weekend, I feel like it’s only proper to honor a show that has entertained and informed us over the past five years with one last goodbye to everyone and everything that we’ll miss about this groundbreaking show. Thanks for everything, OB. We’ll never forget you.

*cue Sarah McLachlan*

Rachel’s Eye

There have been a lot of gory goings on in Orphan Black (like the time Helena cut a dude’s tail off), but nothing compares to the unexpected demise of Rachel Duncan’s eyeball. After she destroys Kira’s bone marrow in a fit of rage, Sarah retaliates at her clone but using a contraption to shoot a pencil straight in her eye. It was bloody and gory and almost made me feel sorry for Rachel. The result of the incident left her with brain damage, but still, she was alive. Her hollowed out socket was replaced with a prosthetic eye, that is super high tech and makes me wonder just how much more advanced Canada is than us. However, in one of the final episodes of season five, Rachel finds out Dorian Gray wannabe P.T. Westmoreland has actually been using Rachel as a vessel to spy, since her mechanical eye records audio and video that is streamed directly to his tablet. But Rachel ain’t having none of that anymore so she breaks a martini glass (fitting) and JAMS IT IN HER HEAD to take out the eyeball in hopes of being truly freed from Dyad. RIP HER SECOND EYE.

The Tender Friendship Between Scott and Cosima

Since the pilot, the characters on OB have always had an ongoing issue with trust. Can they trust their monitors? Can they trust their family members? Can the clones even trust each other? In some cases, there was little question of a possible betrayal because of the inherent good in that character. Enter cinnamon roll Scott. He had been Cosima’s nerdy scientist friend for years before we meet them. In fact, he had a crush on Cosima but unfortunately for him, she had a crush on Delphine, so he settled to be her closest scientist confidant instead. Because of their genuine (friendship) love for each other, their trust was implicit, which is why he became the go-to scientist guy who Cosima and the rest of the clones went to for help. Sure, I like Cophine, but there will never be a purer friendship than that of Scott and Cosima in the OB world.

The Tender Friendship Between Donnie and Helena

If there’s any clone that has embodied the “look at where you are, look at where you started” mantra, it’s Helena. She was straight up a frightening, non-nonsense murderer, and over the course of five seasons, she’s become one of the most beloved clones who you feel a lot of empathy for. Take Donnie, for example, who was super against this hitwoman moving into his home with Alison. But he eventually gave in and now they’re practically best pals. He’s living a sister sestra wives situation, and I think Helena is all the more better for it. They do say being a mother changes you. Also, this is a good time to share my theory that Donnie is the unsung hero of Orphan Black. Discuss.

Alison’s Community Theater Group

After letting her friend die via scarf in the garbage disposal, Alison needed a distraction from the death, as well as all the clone drama, so naturally, she pursued her passion for the arts. And that came in the form of her joining her local community theater group. Not all her co-stars were pleasant to deal with, but they sure embodied what it’s like to be part of that unique group of artists. Not to mention, the shows they put up were fabulously horrible, including an original piece called Blood Ties – a musical which is surprisingly real. No, seriously.

Helena’s Appetite

Helena, as I previously mentioned, has gone through quite the transformation over the years, but one characteristic that has not changed one bit is her love for food. And by love I mean… passionate obsession. Particularly in the way she shoves it into her mouth, ofter with her hands, I mean, it’s like watching a child consume their favorite food like they’ll never eat again. It’s the little quirks like this that make Helena lovable, and make you forget she’s a trained assassin.

Sarah’s Long Lost Loves

Raise your hand if you’re still not over the death of Paul. Me. I’m not. Sure, he started off as Beth’s monitor, and sure he made a few poor choices with who he trusted, but I never doubted that he had true feels for Sarah. I mean, he also said, “It was never Beth I loved” as he helped Sarah to safety right before he died, so it’s canon. Plus, Dylan Bruce is hot. And together with Tat, they were just hot together. But just when you thought that she would never find love again, we find out who the biological father of Kira is, a fellow by the name of Cal, played by another extremely attractive human, Michiel Huisman. In another time and place, I think Cal and Sarah could’ve been a happy family somewhere in Iceland, but alas, this is Orphan Black, and he had to head back to Game of Thrones, never to be seen in OB World again.

Unrequited Love Between Art and Sarah

That being said, Sarah still has one possible gentleman caller in Art, Beth’s former police partner. Sure, once Art discovered Sarah was just pretending to be Beth, he did not trust this doppelganger stranger one bit. But he eventually turns the tide and becomes one of Sarah’s closest allies and made a conscious decision to help bring down the people that ruined both Beth and Sarah’s lives with a nasty science experiment. But of course, his desire was fueled by the fact that he loved Beth (and even slept with her – sorry Paul), and it’s evident that he feels some sort of connection with her sister Sarah too. Sarah’s also put her trust in Art, even going so far as to let Kira stay with his young daughter in a safe place. She doesn’t let entrust anyone with her beloved kid. Listen, I’m all for women being independent and not needing no man to define her, but I’m just saying, Sarah and Art and their two kids could walk off into the sunset together and try to live as normal a life as possible in the series finale.

Krystal’s YouTube Channel

Krystal EASILY became one of my favorite clones from the moment she appeared in season three, with her blondeness that actually kind of hid the fact that she’s a smart businesswoman. What, like it’s hard? This season, we find out Krystal has become a YouTube star in her downtime, and honestly, I could watch this all day if it were real. Krystal spin-off show, please? Maybe come back in 5 years and instead of a straight OB reboot, just a webseries centering on Krystal.

Multiple Clone Parties

It’s the scene that will forever define the show as a cut above the rest – not only technically, but in its spotlight on Tat. She embodies each of the four main clones just by their dance moves, and it’s stunning to watch. The OB team managed to impress with another multiple clone scene through a family dinner, but this time, with more series regulars. The visual effects on this show have never been hokey or green screeney (technical term), which is part of the reason why it’s so believable that we’re watching multiple actresses play the clones and not just one. It’s a feat that’ll be hard to replicate by any show moving forward.

Still Thinking Tatiana Hasn’t Worked With Certain Actors

To that end, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen interviews with Tatiana and an actor like Kristian Bruun (Donnie), and think to myself, “Oh that’s cool they get to hang out, because they probably don’t see each other much on set since all his scenes are with Alison.” YOU DUMMY. TAT PLAYS ALISON. I think my default Tat character is Sarah, which obviously makes sense because the writers set it up that way in which she’s the protagonist. But it’s taken my approx 4.5 seasons to be fully aware that Tat is all the clones. She has worked with every single character on the show. EMMY WINNER TATIANA MASLANY, Y’ALL.

S

CHICKENS!!!!!!!!!!!

#CloneClub Fan Art

Like with any proper fandom that’s popular on the internet, OB fans aka the #CloneClub, are talented motherfuckers who create some of the best fan art I’ve seen for ANY show/movie, etc. A lot of it is surprisingly emotional (and a lot of it is also crafted by Cophine shippers), but that makes sense given the dynamic we see between each of the clones is emotional in and of itself. These women were created to be science experiments, and not regarded as humans who will find each other and form a bond like no one else can.  I’m sure the fan art will keep going long after we say goodbye to the sestras, but there’s one more connection between the show and the fans that will live on forever.

It Is So Ordered: Orphan Black And The Law

Orphan Black is a lot like the law: it is all about the way people and their objectives and their actions are at odds with “the system.” It’s not really surprising, because law and TV both follow the groundswell of society. Orphan Black and the U.S. Supreme Court syllabus boast many of the same themes: corporate identity, scientific ownership of living things, the right to control your body and life, and the right to exist as yourself, whatever and whoever that is. Here’s a rundown of just some of the U.S. Supreme Court cases that are relevant to the themes of Orphan Black. [While I know Orphan Black is a Canadian production, I’m not a Canadian lawyer – hence the U.S. focus.]

Gene Patents and Myriad

The Issue:

Patents for human products may sound hyper-modern, but in 1906 a patent for isolated, purified adrenaline filed by P.T. Westmoreland was upheld in court. Judge Learned Hand (my long-time favorite name of a legal figure, and maybe of a human) theorized that even “if it were merely an extracted product without change, there is no rule that such products are not patentable.”  By 2011, thousands of unaltered yet isolated human genes had been patented. Some argued that such patents fostered scientific progress – a fat cash incentive for labs and pharmaceutical companies to be the first to isolate a particular gene. Others maintained that these patents deterred scientific collaboration and led to price-gouging for testing of genetically-linked diseases.

The Case:

In Association For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc, Myriad owned the patent for the isolated BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (AKA the breast cancer genes). The company enjoined other genetic testing labs from isolating BRCA DNA, which they challenged. The question: is uncovering the precise location and genetic sequence of the BRCA genes on their chromosomes an invention of “new and useful composition,” or was Myriad staking claim to naturally-occurring phenomena? The answer: mere isolation of a gene or genes is not patentable, although genes that have been altered may be patented, as may complementary DNA, or cDNA, an exons-only molecule created from mRNA.

Meanwhile, On Orphan Black:

In Orphan Black terms: if Dyad merely mapped the Leda DNA, they could not patent the genetic sequences — even if, say, they isolated the genes responsible for Kira’s fast healing. However, if they isolated Kira’s miraculous car accident genes and created cDNA, that could be patented, as could a protein therapy derived from modified cDNA. Even assuming Dyad HAD successfully patented all or part of the Leda DNA back in the ’80s, this would not mean that Dyad owned the clones themselves: rather that they retained the right to create derivative products based on that DNA.

 

The Right To Privacy and Griswold

The Issue:

The worst part about being an Orphan Black clone, for me, would be having to look my own face in the face all the time. The second-worst part would be the invasion of privacy. Finding out your partner is actually a monitor? It’s like the WORST secret three-way call. And secret spy-eyeballs? I don’t even like touching regular eyeballs. The right to privacy involves more than just freedom from looky-loos and spyballs, though. In Constitutional terms it’s the right to make your own medical decisions, parenting decisions, and who-to-spend-time-with decisions without government intrusion.

The Cases:

In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut arose because it was illegal for married people to obtain contraception in the state of Connecticut. [Or single people. But a physician who only works with married couples made a sympathetic plaintiff in Mad Men-era New England.] Although the Constitution and Bill of Rights do not explicitly protect the right to privacy, the Supreme Court looked to other cases where a right to privacy was implicit, like Pierce v. Society of Sisters (educating your children as you see fit) and Meyer v. Nebraska (educating your children as you see fit, in German).  The right to privacy lives in the “penumbras” formed by the “emanations” from the guarantees in the first amendment (freedom of association), third (freedom from quartering soldiers in your house which sounds like the ACTUAL WORST), fourth (freedom from unreasonable search and seizure), fifth (freedom from self-incrimination) and ninth (rights retained by the people).

The right to privacy was the basis for the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and still comes up quite a bit in debates over abortion legislation, like that terrifying Arkansas law or the gross Oklahoma bill or this stuff that just went down in Texas. The Supreme Court invoked the right to privacy in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that invalidated Texas’s sodomy law in 2003. You read that right. 2003. Season two of American Idol was on. It wasn’t long ago.

Meanwhile, On Orphan Black:

Where does clone monitoring fit into this?  LEDA isn’t fronted by a government agency, (Castor, on the other hand…). But if the government were somehow involved in any number of the weird bodily invasions and intrusions into autonomy that have happened so far, you better believe it’s an overstep.  Still, the constitutional right to privacy is all over Orphan Black. It’s there in the neolutionists’ right to get weird tails and gross eyes. It is evident in  Henrik’s weird cult’s right to assemble (not to do all the other stuff they do –  but if they want to peacefully remake The Village, have at it). It’s even why Alison’s parents could have a child through in vitro fertilization.

Corporate Personhood And Citizens United

The Issue:

A series about an evil, life-controlling corporation could not be better timed. The titans of industry are a hot topic right now: can corporations generate enough revenue to boost the economy while complying with environmental regulations? (Yes.) Will reducing corporate taxes help or hurt the average citizen? (Meh.) Do corporate policies infringe on free speech? (Ugh.) Also, are corporations even people? (WAIT WHAT.)

The Case:

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission began, like every problem I can remember having, with a presidential election. A non-profit wanted to air an anti-Hillary Clinton film on TV prior to the 2008 primary, but electioneering funded by corporations and unions was prohibited by law. The Supreme Court ruled that the application of this law violates the First Amendment right to free speech – a right afforded to people, but fine.

The dissent noted that a corporation is at its core creepier than a plain old rich person, having ” ‘limited liability’ for their owners and managers, ‘perpetual life,’ […] unlike voters in U.S. elections, corporations may be foreign controlled […] Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

So, yikes.

Meanwhile, On Orphan Black

On one hand, the Dyad Institute/Topside (and Big Cosmetics, for that matter) isn’t looking to finance any elections. But it’s precisely the corporate activities listed in the Citizens United dissent that make these corporations so dangerous. An individual doing half of the things Dyad does would be scary enough, but a corporation  has many of the rights of an individual actor with comparatively few responsibilities and WAY more money. Safely hidden behind the corporate veil, Dyad higher ups are not personally responsible for the corporations actions (okay, if courts ever pierce the corporate veil it might be for something like cloning actual humans, not to mention all the murders – so many murders? has anyone counted them all? – but still, the presumption is a lack of personal liability). Even in the non Orphan Black-world, corporations have individual rights like freedom of speech and freedom of religion (Hobby Lobby, your sale section was legit but the rest of you is NOT).

READ ON

I’m fresh out of time, but the history and philosophy of law are full of topics that are relevant to anyone with an interest in Orphan Black – or the world around them – like the legal and medical ethics of research on human subjects. The history of this issue is – like all legal topics – about more than just the law, it’s about who society (and the law, as a tool of society) prioritizes.

Recommended reading:

The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks

You’ve Got Bad Blood: The Horror Of The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

The Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi Experiments

Where Are All The Female Test Subjects?

That should be just about enough to hold us all over until Saturday night, when I will be crying for a solid hour, and possibly then some. Check back with us tomorrow for some more Orphan Black fun that will be, I promise, a little less academic.