Things I’m Willing To Believe About Logan Everett, The Boy American Girl Doll

There’s something different about the newest American Girl doll. It’s a boy. Which is a fine thing to be, if you’re a human, but I have to admit that my knee-jerk reaction was more like:

As if white boys couldn’t already be EVERYTHING, now they’re an American Girl doll? Ugh. What would Felicity think? (Trick question, she’d just note whether they wore the same britches size in case she had to steal another pair under cover of darkness.) Okay, also the boy looks like this:

Of course he does.

Anyway, the Boy American Girl is named Logan Everett.

Of course he is.

Logan is apparently the drummer for the doll version of 2008-era Taylor Swift. As the latest addition to our series Things I’m Willing To Believe About, here are some things I am willing to believe about Logan Everett, Boy American Girl:


His working name was Logan Bruno because he was 100% based on Logan Bruno, boy associate member of the Baby-Sitters Club. He’s even Southern.

Not to put all Logans in a box but all Logans are exactly one way, right?

Not to put all Logans in a box but all Logans are exactly one way, right?

Logan would like to invite you to a fun laser tag outing with his youth group.

His dad is in the worship band. Logan’s first performance was Lord I Lift Your Name On High.

 

The original plan was for Boy American Girl Doll Logan Everett to be a historical character from 1994. He would have had the requisite Cute Boy In The 90s Haircut (see: Rider Strong), a plaid flannel with a heather gray hood, and you could buy him a scaled-down, working Talkboy for $19.99.

Like this.

Like this.

In a frozen pioneer cemetery in Minnesota, Logan’s great-great-great-great grandmormor Kirsten is rolling over in her grave due to his coddled and simple lifestyle.

He calls his dog a rescue dog but it’s just a regular dog.

Logan rarely looks up from his Nintendo DS when he is forced to visit his great-grandma Molly. To be fair, all of her “harrowing war stories” are, like, “one time I curled my hair when it was wet and I got a cold” and “I ate turnips, once.”

Get a grip, Molls.

Get a grip, Molls.

I’m not saying Logan smirks mockingly at people, I’m just saying that doll is smirking mockingly at me, right? 

That face where you dropped something on your shirt and he's not gonna laugh, he's just gonna stare at you.

That face where you dropped something on your shirt and he’s not gonna laugh, he’s just gonna stare at you condescendingly.

His parents buy Lunchables.

And Sunny D.

And maybe Cheez Wiz?

Logan’s instagram is all skating pictures he stole off of other people’s instagrams (he doesn’t skate) and quotes.

Just really wants to bring hacky sack back.

Is the main character’s older brother who the best friend has a crush on on a Disney show.

If his name wasn’t Logan, it would have been Hunter. Or Kyler.

Was the first kid in his class whose parents didn’t care if he watched PG 13 movies.

Was in a commercial for a local amusement park 2 years ago and finds way more ways to bring it up than you’d think.

Boy band role: the one moms are OK with

Logan “thinks you look prettier without makeup,” but also thinks “no makeup” looks like concealer, light, well-blended foundation and bronzer, neutral eye shadow, lightly smudged dark brown liner, full mascara and lip gloss

Also “Tthinks you look prettier when you don’t do you hair;” hot rollers and highlights.

I understand this is supposed to be a country musician but I still kind of feel like on Myspace c. 2005 his favorite music would have been “anything but country lol.”

 

Always has to show you this hilarious video he found on YouTube.

Things We Need To Revisit From The 2017 Grammy Awards

It’s 2017, and we’ll take our heroes where we can find them. We love all our feet-on-the-ground workers and thinkers and doers, but even the Grammy Awards had their slate of performers and guests who saved the show from being a hum-drum night of pop hits and elevated it to the next level. Picks are in no particular order and there’s gonna be a lot of Beyonce. Just so you know.

Beyonce

My explanation for Beyonce’s performance: when you’re in an art museum, and you’re expecting to walk into another gallery room, but it’s actually a video installation and there’s movement, light, color and sound all around you.  Just a few of the amazing features of this performance, because we all know that YouTube video isn’t staying up:

  • Beyonce looking like some kind of pregnant Renaissance painting subject
  • Beyonce also looking like some religious fresco subject
  • Hologram Tina, Bey and Blue
  • That crown. Statue of liberty? Space queen? Egyptian deity? Halo? All of the above?
  • Every single one of those dancers
  • That kind of last supper thing.
  • Bey reenacting the move that always made our teachers tell us that we’d crack our head open if we leaned back in our chair like that.
  • My realization that almost 4 minutes passed before Bey even sang.
  • That time she sang right into all of our souls, personally and individually, all at the same time.
  • Jay-Z’s look of pride and adoration.
Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest is exactly the group we need, back exactly when we need them. This video’s going away soon too (we are waiting and hoping for an official, sanctioned vid), so here’s what we love:

  • The fact that they performed We The People, the same fantastic song they did on SNL just days after the election, which came true in the intervening months.
  • The moniker “President Agent Orange”
  • That classic throwback with Award Tour
  • When the wall broke down
  • The fierce looking hijabi standing center stage
  • Everyone processing down the aisles
  • The raised fist
  • The presence of Phife Dawg so strong it was almost like he was there
Chance The Rapper

Both his win and his performance. I included one of Lil Chano’s Acid Rap songs on our summer 2013 playlist. For a few years after, I was worried that one of the most promising and talented new rappers was out of the scene. Lucky for all of us, Coloring Book is making huge waves. These wins – Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album – aren’t JUST huge for Chance’s career, they’re a huge moment for indie rap in general.

“I’m gonna talk. Y’all can play the music if you want. I want to thank God for my team. I know a lot of people think independence means you do it by yourself, but independence means freedom. I do it with these folks right here. Glory be to God, I claim the victory in the name of the Lord, let’s go!”

Adele

I think Adele is incredibly talented. I mean, we’re past objectivity with her: there’s no ‘I think’ about it; Adele IS incredibly talented. That said, I was pulling for Lemonade for the Album Of The Year win. Of all the nominees, I thought it was the best-crafted and most innovative: it was the album that would define 2016, above the others. Still, Adele seems like such a genuine and kind person that I can’t help but be happy for her good fortune. Besides, she was pulling for Lemonade too. She pulled a Cady Heron and broke up her award:

“My artist of my life is Beyonce and this Lemonade album is just monumental. It was so monumental and so well thought-out and soul-baring, and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let you see. And all of the artists here, we all fucking adore you. You are our light. And the way you make me feel, the way you make my Black friends feel, is empowering, and you make them stand up for themselves. I love you, and I always will.”

It’s 2017, we’ve come a long way as a people, and Adele just “I’m’a let you finish”-ed herself.

Blue Ivy

Blue Ivy in a pink Gucci power suit with a black panther on the back, because she’s Beyonce’s girl already and you can be adorable and make a statement at the same time.

Blue Ivy cheering for her mother’s win.

Hologram Blue Ivy.

Blue rushing in to the Carpool Karaoke car to save a failing bit.

Blue showing her purse to her bestie during Bey’s speech.

Blue Ivy Carter is our future. It’s her world, and we just live in it.

Blue Ivy’s Friend Madison

This woman of mystery is so enigmatic that I found myself searching “2017 Grammys seating chart,” “Jay Z niece” and “does Beyonce have a cousin.” It took days to learn that Blue’s gal pal is Madison Brown, daughter of Roc-Nation co-founder Jay Brown. Blue Ivy gets a front row guest when half of the entertainment industry can’t even get a ticket (okay, I GUESS Madison was there with her dad), and Madison was living her best life and making the most out of this awesome school night outing. I’d never really want to be famous,  but Blue’s mystery friend proves that having a famous bestie might be the best gig of all. Madison mugged for the camera and, wither her impeccable white-silver dress, proved that she won’t just be singing backup.

Drunk Chrissy Teigen and Helpful John Legend

Chrissy Teigen is hilarious, fun, and exactly the kind of person I would like to have in all of my group texts. She’s also one of my favorite famous people because she DOES.IT.RIGHT. Like, she really enjoys the perks and parties that go with her lifestyle instead of appearing blase or too cool for it. John Legend is every guy trying to figure out how girl clothes and jewelry work, and earned himself an internet Relationship Goals badge in the process (“why would I be mad at you? You’re perfect.” Cherish him, Chrissy. I mean, we know you do.)

True, but unfortunately when you’re single and drunk you have to take off all of your own jewelry, and it’s HARD.


In conclusion, the Grammys were great, A Tribe Called Quest just might save us, Blue Ivy is a blessed child of the light, and Chrissy Teigen is invited to all of my texts forever.

Pa Ingalls Had Bad Ideas: C+S Book Club

If I’ve learned one thing from life, love and fiction it’s that most great relationships consist of one logical, methodical quick thinker, and then a nonsense person. Pa Ingalls was the nonsense person in the Little House universe, but not the benign kind. A benign nonsense person would, say, decide that it would be a great idea to open a used book store in small-town New England and then they let the logic person figure out how to do it. Pa’s more like “let’s cross rivers and woodlands to go build a house underneath the earth for whatever reason and not really take care of our dog while we’re doing it.” Every couple needs an idea person: the problem was, Pa Ingalls’ ideas were bad.

Good looking couple, though.

During the Big Woods years, Ma and Pa Ingalls more or less serve as the Goofus and Gallant of 1800s forest life. Caroline painstakingly dyes her butter with carrot juice so that it looks more appealing; Charles lets shiny hot lead bullets cool within reach of toddlers. (Granted, he did warn Laura, but that child was half Charles, after all.)  They balance each other pretty well, except that it is the nineteenth century and every time Pa wants to get into a covered wagon and move onto an Indian reservation that the family has no legal right to occupy (a true thing!) Ma just had to pack up the calico and deal with it.

The Ingallses were poor. It’s fine to be poor, but I can’t help but think it’s because Pa can’t settle himself in one place and be normal. You can tell the family is poor because the inventory of their possessions is so small that I can recount it decades after reading the books. Ma had one (1) china shepherdess, Pa had one (1) fiddle, they clearly owned a thimble because Pa did that Jack Frost stuff on the windows which was admittedly pretty cool, and then one day a year they had a pig bladder to play with until it disintegrated because that is not a toy, it is a body part. Okay, so the family wasn’t doing terribly but wasn’t raking it in either, and they went off to find a “better life” or whatever. Problem was, Pa wasn’t good at finding it.

First the family lives in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. It’s pretty good; they have a garret full of dried vegetables in the winter and they run around in bonnets in the summer; Ma has the love and support of her family close by; sometimes Laura gets a piece of hard candy if they take the wagon into town. As I said above, they’re poor but in a comfy way. This is when Pa gets it into his head to, in the great words of T.L.C., “go chasing waterfalls” even though he quite literally would be better off sticking to the rivers and the lakes that he’s used to.

Bad Idea Beard

Bad Idea Beard

The family piles into a covered wagon and crosses a swollen creek, huddling in a rickety wooden cart that I don’t even think they caulked per Oregon Trail recommendations. Oh, did I say the whole family? Not their dog Jack, who was left to swim alongside the wagon and drown. Jack comes back later because he is a Very Good Boy but that was a bad position for Pa to put his kids and dog in. While I know dogs served more of a utilitarian function in those days, you can’t deny that Laura loved that pup and for good reason. Jack jealously guarded and protected his family from everything … except for Pa’s poor choices, which almost killed him.

The family gets to Kansas, but psych! They move onto Osage Indian land and they aren’t allowed to be there. You know all those times Pa says racist garbage like “the only good Indian is a dead Indian,” and you kind of try to put yourself in the head space of a white man from the 1800s, but it STILL seems awful? To make it even worse, Pa was acting like the Osage were dangerous intruders when he was on their land. It’s like a racist version of that movie The Others, where the characters think that their house is haunted because they don’t realize that they are the ghosts. Sorry if you haven’t seen The Others, but it came out 15 years ago and was good but not amazing.

You know the real threat in that part of Kansas? Of course you do. It was weird white people. More specifically, the “Bloody Benders,” a family – or possibly not a real family? – who ran a tavern of horrors where they murdered over twenty people. The Ingalls drove by the Bender tavern at one point, saw the murderess, looked her in the face, but didn’t have tavern money. This is one time when Pa’s inability to provide for his family actually saved them, so that’s nice. What’s not nice is pretending like the Osage were out for blood when the real killers were more like a 19th century homespun Manson family.

The Bloody Benders

The Bloody Benders

The books kind of shift the timeline here, but after that the family moved back to The Big Woods. “Lesson learned! Better stay comfy-poor in these big woods!” That’s how a normal person would react. Not Pa! He decides maybe if it would be better to go move to a hole next to a creek in the coldest and snowiest state, and Ma says “Charles, that sounds irresponsible and also like a weird thing to do, even for people in the 1800s.” Just kidding! Societal conventions wouldn’t have allowed it. She just packed up the china shepherdess and they moved into a dirt hole.

the dugout, recreated

the dugout, recreated

At this point the Ingallses kind of move to and fro within Minnesota for a while. Then they go to Iowa for a bit to manage a hotel, a weird kind of Wes Anderson-y chapter in the family’s existence. While that seems like a tough lifestyle to mess up, Charles finds a way. He wasn’t into the hotel so he works at a grist mill for a second, the family lives above a grocery store and then they live in a rented house… and THEN the family skips town under cover of darkness and they go back to Minnesota. Okay. Cool. Minnesota is a bit too warm and dry so then the Ingalls go to De Smet, North Dakota, where they experience the worst winter America has ever had, per my twenty-year-old memory of The Long Winter. Laura meets Almanzo, gets married, and no longer has to live under the rein of her father’s nonsense ideas.  I mean, Manly’s favorite food is apples fried with onions, so I’m not saying he’s perfect; I’m just saying they get a bit more stable.

During her whole childhood, Charles (and Caroline, but we’re talking Pa here) was also painfully oblivious to Laura’s feelings of inadequacy, probably because he was too busy making plans to get lost in blizzards or move out of a perfectly good cabin into a way less-good cabin. Laura always thought Mary was so much better than her, probably because of things like Mary having a legit ragdoll, Nettie, while Laura just had a handkerchief that was trying to be a doll. Laura clearly had a hangup the size of the wide-open prairie about Mary having blonde hair, because she brings it up a LOT. You’d think Pa would have squashed that nonsense or, at the least, informed Laura that Mary was seriously not even all that blonde but Pa was cooking up a schemes and a once-annual pig tail so I guess he never got around to it.

Brown-haired Mary.

Brown-haired Mary.

 

This is just the tip of the Bad Idea iceberg. Remember the time Pa dressed up in blackface for the minstrel show? Or almost got blizzarded to death that one Christmas? When I was a kid, I thought Pa seemed like the most fun dad ever, what with his singalongs and scruffy friends and all. Now that I’m older, I can see Pa through Ma’s eyes instead of Laura’s – and what I see is a whole lot of nonsense wrapped up in a legacy of terrible ideas.

Mama From ‘All Of A Kind Family’ Was Some Kind Of Crazy Genius

Gilbert Blythe, Dream Man or D-Bag?

Marilla Cuthbert Was A Creepy Church Hag

Life Lessons From Harriet The Spy

Life Lessons From The Fault In Our Stars

This Is Where I Leave You

Matilda: The Book For Book Lovers

Miss Honey Is Wonderful

Gritty, Dystopian ‘Little Women’ Plotlines

Amy March Was A Total Bitch

Tiny Crush Tuesday: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

Black History Spotlight #1: Claudette Colvin

Around here we think Black History needs to be an all-year, all-the-time celebration – but we’re also glad that there’s a month set aside to call special attention to all of the influential, talented, brilliant Black Americans who built this country. That’s why this February we’re shining a spotlight on different historical figures who shaped the world we live in. First up: Claudette Colvin, the teenage Civil Rights pioneer who started a movement by refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

claudette_colvin

Claudette Colvin, c. 1955.

Sound familiar? That’s probably because Rosa Parks is on the shortlist of Civil Rights figures we all learned about as children. There’s no denying that Rosa Parks changed our country with her activism and organization efforts as well as her own act of civil disobedience, but until recently Claudette Colvin’s story was sifted down into history.

Claudette Colvin began March 2, 1955 as a straight-A 15-year-old student and ended it a Civil Rights hero. On her way home from school, Claudette’s city bus driver ordered her to give up her seat to a white passenger. She ignored the driver and looked out the window. When the driver came back to confront her, Claudette stated that it was her constitutional right to sit where she was. Claudette later explained:

I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat.

If you need any further reason why Black History Month is necessary, here’s one: Claudette Colvin was inspired to take this stand because that February, her school had observed what was then known as Negro History Week. The stories of the fight against slavery encouraged Claudette to work against the steep inequalities still present in her society.

Young Claudette Colvin was arrested, with police kicking her, knocking away her textbooks and dragging her off the bus. She was ultimately charged with violating segregation laws; Claudette plead not guilty but was sentenced to probation. The NAACP chose not to take Claudette’s case because she became pregnant the year of her arrest, and they feared that bad press and further prejudice would cloud the public’s support of Claudette’s cause. Nine months after Claudette refused to give up her seat on the bus, Rosa Parks made the same statement; a year after Claudette’s arrest, her first son was born.

When it became apparent that an appeal from Rosa Parks’ case would stagnate in the courts, Civil Rights lawyers looked to a different case to address the constitutionality of bus segregation. Claudette Colvin was named as a plaintiff, along with Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, Mary Louise Smith and Jeanette Reese, in the case that would confirm the illegality of segregation on mass transit. Because Browder v. Gayle addressed a federal question (a civil suit for damages due to a deprivation of rights by a public official, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983) it was heard in district court.

The ultimate question in Browder v. Gayle was whether statutes and ordinances requiring segregation on a common carrier violated the Constitution. The ‘separate but equal’ doctrine had already been weakened by a string of cases regarding interstate transit, as well as college education and public recreation. The court in Browder placed the final nail in the Plessy v. Ferguson coffin, holding that bus segregation statutes violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lower court’s decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1956.

Claudette Colvin later moved to New York and became a nurse’s aide. She is now retired, and has said that at one time she dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Instead, she inspired the case that ended segregation on common carriers – just as she said on the bus on March 2, 1955, it was her constitutional right – and has had a larger impact on the course of constitutional law than most lawyers could ever dream.

I feel very, very proud of what I did. I do feel like what I did was a spark and it caught on. I’m not disappointed. Let the people know Rosa Parks was the right person for the boycott. But also let them know that the attorneys took four other women to the Supreme Court to challenge the law that led to the end of segregation.


Any other facts about Claudette Colvin, the bus boycotts, or the Civil Rights era that you’d like to point out? Suggestions for further Black History Spotlights? Let us know!

Best Spoken of the 2017 SAG Awards: Actors Take On The #MuslimBan

Whether you were watching last night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, or were tuned into the other breaking news instead, I think you’ll understand why we decided to forego the Best Dressed post. We would have loved to talk about outfits and we’re sure all those actors would have loved to talk about their “craft,” but here we all are, in strange times. An actor’s opinion is no more qualified than any other individual’s and we don’t wish to imply that. However, events like the SAG awards give actors a platform most of the rest of us don’t have, and we were pleased to see that many celebrities made good use of their soapboxes. Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order:

Mahershala Ali [Moonlight]

“I think what I’ve learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happened when you persecute people – they fold into themselves. And what I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play Juan was playing a gentlemen who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community, and taking the opportunity to uplift him and tell him that he mattered, that he was okay, and accept him. I hope that we do a better job of that.”

“When we kind of get caught up in the minutiae, the details that make us different, I think there’s two ways of seeing that — there’s an opportunity to see the texture of that person, the characteristics that make them unique, and then there’s an opportunity to go to war about it, and to say that that person is different from me, and I don’t like you, so let’s battle.”

“My mother is an ordained minister, I’m a Muslim. She didn’t do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 years ago. But I tell you now, you put things to the side. And I’m able to see her, and she’s able to see me. We love each other and the love has grown. And that stuff is minutiae. It’s not that important.”

Taraji P. Henson [Hidden Figures]

“This film is about unity. … The shoulders of the women that we stand on are three American heroes: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Without them, we would not know how to reach the stars.”

“These women did not complain about the problems, the circumstances, the issues. We know what was going on in that era. They didn’t complain. They focused on solutions. Therefore, these brave women helped put men into space.”

“We cannot forget the brave men who also worked with us. God rest his soul in peace, John Glenn. ”

“This story is about unity. This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside, and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins every time. Thank you so much for appreciating the work we’ve done, thank you so much for appreciating these women. They are hidden figures no more!”

David Harbour [Stranger Things]

“In light of all that’s going on in the world today, it’s difficult to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things. But this award from you, who take your craft seriously and earnestly believe, like me, that great acting can change the world, is a call to arms from our fellow craftsmen and women to go deeper, and through our art to battle against fear, self-centeredness, and exclusivity of our predominantly narcissistic culture and through our craft, cultivate a more empathetic and understanding society by revealing intimate truths that serve as a forceful reminder to folks that when they feel broken and afraid and tired, they are not alone.”

“We are united, in that we are all human beings, and we are all together on this horrible, painful, joyous, exciting, and mysterious ride that is being alive. Now, as we act in the continuing narrative of Stranger Things, we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies. We will shelter freaks and outcasts — those who have no hope. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters. And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the meek and the disenfranchised and the marginalized. And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility.”

Julia Louis Dreyfus [Veep]

“Whether the Russians did or did not hack the voting of tonight’s SAG Awards, I look out on the million or probably even million and a half people in this room and I say this award is legitimate and I won! I’m the winner, the winner is me, landslide!” …

“I want you all to know that I am the daughter of an immigrant. My father fled religious persecution in Nazi-occupied France, and I’m an American patriot, and I love this country, and because I love this country I am horrified by its blemishes. This immigrant ban is a blemish and it is un-American. So I say to you this: Our sister guild, the WGA, made a statement today that I would like to read because I am in complete agreeance with it.”

“ ‘Our guilds are unions of storytellers who always welcomed those from the nations of varying beliefs who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful for them. We stand with them. And we will fight for them.’ ”

Sarah Paulson [The People Vs. O.J. Simpson]

… “Any money you have to spare, please donate to the ACLU. It’s a vital organization that relies entirely on our support.”

[Note: as someone who has logged plenty of volunteer hours with a local refugee settlement/services organization and in pro bono legal services, I’d also add that it would be great to look at what organizations are doing work in your own back yard. -m]


Like we said: actors aren’t the only people speaking up. They aren’t necessarily the most qualified spokespeople, either. But they ARE concerned citizens using the platforms that they have available to them to say what they feel needs to be said. It’s a reminder that all of us can and should work within our personal spheres of influence and capitalize on our own connections or expertise. And for the love of God, let’s get things back to being okay soon. We’d like this one to be an outfit post next year.

 

Questions, Comments, Concerns: Beaches

In an attempt to get back into regularly scheduled programming – both on the blog and life-wise – I watched a Lifetime movie this week. It was a remake of Beaches, the classic 1988 Bette Midler/ Barbara Hershey friendship drama that I don’t remember ever seeing. This reboot takes the action to 2017 and stars Idina Menzel and Nia Long. It was exactly what I’d expect out of a Lifetime remake of a beloved movie with good actresses in it. Take that how you will.

Comment: I’m not coming at this with a lot of history with Beaches.

I thought “didn’t I do a monologue from that for auditions for a while as a kid?” but that was Brighton Beach Memoirs. I think I saw Beaches on TV as a child but I don’t really remember it. Guess what I’m saying is, I’m not expecting to have my memories of Beaches tarnished, I’m just expecting a better-than-usual Lifetime movie.

Comment: They did a really good job with the 80s flashback clothing!
Concern: The 80s being a flashback. I was alive then!

Part of the time anyway.

Concern: When you’re such a musical theater nerd that you know the child versions of CC and Hilary.

CC is Gabriella Pizzolo (Fun Home) and Hilary is Grace Capeless (The Lion King). Goes without saying, they’re adorable and talented in that classic older-than-their-years Musical Theater Child way.

Question: Did they just say this was supposed to be Vegas?

For some reason I thought it was meant to take place in Coney Island or something.

(Per Google, the flashback in the original was set in Atlantic City, which makes way more sense. Sorry. Must have misheard something)

Comment: I can see why people love Beaches.

The segment where the letters are going back and forth is really sweet.

Concern: I don’t love Idina in this role ??

OF COURSE I know Idina is talented. Obviously I loved Rent and Wicked. I don’t dispute that Idina Menzel knows what she’s doing. Just what she’s doing here isn’t working for me. I’m willing to admit the problem is probably me, I just wasn’t expecting to feel this way.

Comment: Love the throwback to Idina’s early lounge/wedding/bar mitzvah singer days though.
Comment: PEN PALS ARE LIKE INTERNET FRIENDS.

I don’t know why it took me this long to realize it, but I suddenly relate to this story more.

Question: Is CC’s apartment really messy or just really cluttered or somewhere in between?

(It’s messy, right?)

Concern: I shouldn’t have laughed so hard at “there’s only one dreidel song.”
Question: There’s gonna be singalongs??

They start singing Oh Come All Ye Faithful and my hopes for this movie skyrocket.

Question: Is the show CC’s in SUPPOSED to be bad?

I legitimately do not know.

(They go on to say that it’s supposed to be good. Huh.)

Comment: Nia’s acting at her father’s funeral.

Good work.

Concern: This friendship really isn’t bringing out anyone’s best selves

I just can’t imagine being this mean to one of my friends, ever?

Like I said, I don’t have any history with this movie but I was expecting a lot more warm fuzzies. Someone better give someone else a kidney soon.

Comment: I went from zero emotional investment to crying when Idina sang about “don’t let the last time I hurt you be the last time…”

This is either the magical power of Beaches, which I’ve known about for years but never witnessed, or the magical power of Idina Menzel, which I know very well.

I think my lack of investment may be because I never really have friend breakups on purpose, I just sometimes suck at keeping in touch with people on accident.

Comment: I miss the beginning of the part where they’re putting a crib together because it sounds and looks like a commercial.

Like, where one woman would start explaining to the other why she likes her new brand of tampons.

Question: When is something awful going to happen?

Because Hilary is adorably pregnant and happy and CC and Hilary love each other and there’s, like, an hour to go. I’ve started to emotionally invest. IS THIS WHAT EVERYONE WAS REFUSING TO TELL ME ABOUT BEACHES.

Comment: Hilary delivers the most gorgeous 2-month-old baby ever.
Concern: Shit. Hilary’s gonna die. Isn’t she. ISN’T SHE.
Concern: C.C. is singing I’ll Stand By You.

This can’t be good. Hilary now has a precious, beautiful 7-year-old. Oh, no.

Concern: “Mommy is tired.” “You’re always tired.”

Oh NO.

Comment: You know you watch a lot of Lifetime movies when you get to the last hour and fully realize that the commercials are gonna start coming every 5 minutes.
Comment: This movie is unexpectedly guilting me for being Type O and unable to donate.

SORRY.

Maybe I’ll work on it.

Comment: Now they’re back to the scene they opened with.

Which means Hilary’s gonna die. Come on, Beaches. This is NOT the week for this.

Comment: “Want to know the most magical thing about being a mommy? I’m always with you.”

Beaches can burn in hell.

Comment: “I want you to take Tory.”

What are you trying to do to me, Beaches.

Comment: “I put it in my will.”

You’re really still going, Beaches.

Concern: Is she going to really die right in the middle of Oh Come All Ye Faithful?

(She doesn’t.)

Comment: This movie has been brought to you by Guilt Over Not Donating Blood
Comment: OH WOW. I forgot that (a) Wind Beneath My Wings was from this movie and (b) for whatever reason, I always hated Wind Beneath My Wings.

Like, I’m half sad, half furious that this song is playing.

Comment: I take back what I said about not liking Idina in this role.

Slow burn, was all.

Concern: If little Tory comes on stage to sing I’m going to die.

She didn’t. I live.

But you know who doesn’t?

Hilary Whitney. RIP.

Comment: Going from this to Steel Magnolias feels like a very irresponsible programming choice, Lifetime.

 

 

The Holiday Is Our Aesthetic

Christmas movies, in general, are aesthetically dreamy. Those technicolor classics like White Christmas bring the Old Hollywood glamor, cozy houses in movies like The Family Stone make me dream of joyfully chaotic decor, and Christmas rom-coms are the sparkliest and dreamiest of all rom-coms. That’s why this month, our aesthetic goals come from 2007 Christmas classic (ahem… modern classic), The Holiday.

Kate and Cameron’s Hair

Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz’s hair look perfectly normal, but that’s the thing. In 2007, Kate’s loose, beachy waves were actually at the very start of the loose, beachy waves trend, and I think it says something that it still looks current 9 years later – in contrast, imagine trying to sport, say, 1994 hair in 2003. I’ve also always been envious of straight, fine hair like Cameron’s that can looks fun yet professional in a short, croppy ‘do, as opposed to … floofy. I think a lot of us would look floofy with that haircut.

Rosehill Cottage, Exterior

Forget the likelihood that Iris, a young columnist who’s not at the top of her publication, could afford this. Holiday films are about wish-fulfillment, after all. It makes me happy just to think that SOMEONE gets to live in a gorgeous, quaint stone cottage with wildflower gardens, a rustic fence and a winding road in front of it. (Note: As a real estate addict, I did look up some houses for sale in Surrey. It is as expensive as you’d expect a picturesque London-accessible area to be; I assume the less-expensive ones are also secretly falling down inside. Maybe Iris inherited it from a relative. Whatever, it’s a movie and I’d much prefer to look at this cottage than a tiny, cookie-cutter terraced house from the 1970s).

Rosehill Cottage, Interior

I know that saying “I like the cottage better than Cameron Diaz’s mansion” makes me sound like one of those guys who think it’s a revelation that they find, like, Emma Stone more attractive than Angelina Jolie. The cottage is doing pretty well for itself, thanks. That said, yeah, I would 1000% rather live in Iris’s cottage than Amanda’s SmartHouse. (I bought a cute little 1909 house a few years ago so it’s not just talk. Also I couldn’t afford anything even approaching Amanda’s SmartHouse even if I wanted it, let’s be clear.) Rosehill Cottage really holds up on rewatch. There are layers of cosy decor, lots of overstuffed chintz chairs and a great vintage iron bed, but if you look really closely nothing is sloppy or haphazard. Also: fireplaces everywhere! Stone and stucco walls! A stainless steel tub and a painted wood bathroom floor! Do yourself a favor and go gawk at the Hooked On Houses page for it.

PS, I think “it has a fireplace in the bedroom” is the house version of “and it has pockets!” in a cute dress.

Iris’s Nancy Meyers Kitchen

Ain’t no kitchen like a Nancy Meyers kitchen cause a Nancy Meyers kitchen is very, very charming. Echoing the old-country charm of one of my other favorite Nancy Meyers kitchens (the vastly underrated Baby Boom), this one comes complete with a stucco fireplace, open shelving with blue and white earthenware pottery, flush-mounted cabinet doors in a chalky robins egg blue, and a cosy vintage table. Yes, I did make note of all of those elements for reference when I remodel my kitchen.

Sweaters

Second to the late 90s WB show Felicity, Christmas movies are the best visual source of people in comfy sweaters. If people feeling warm and comfortable is your aesthetic, may I present Jude Law in a blue sweater?

Sophie and Olivia’s Fort

Why is it that you can be a full-grown adult with a home or apartment of your own, but you’d still move into a soft blanket fort with fairy lights any day? Sophie and Olivia, come decorate for me.

Arthur’s Old Hollywood Vibe

Modern Hollywood culture – not much aesthetic appeal. But anything that smacks of the old studio system? Now we’re talking. Arthur, a funny and sweet relic from the days when people only knew about celebrities’ personal lives through fake ‘dates’ they’d go to at the studio commissary, is the real romantic hero of this movie.

This New Year’s Party

Low key decorations, snacks, champagne, and only like 6 people, two of whom are small children. Now THAT’S what a call a no-fuss holiday gathering. But the best part is everyone dresses way the heck up anyway because it’s the holidays, and the best aesthetic of all is “fancier than is strictly necessary, just because it’s fun sometimes.”

 

Previously In Our Aesthetic:

Love Actually Is A 2003 Time Capsule

This year, there are teenagers who were not even born when Love Actually was released. I hope you feel good about that, because I feel awful. Still, I cannot deny that 2003 was a really long time ago. The global economy and politics were different, technology was worlds apart, clothing has changed enough to look absurd now. I always expect this with 90s movies, but seeing a movie from the 2000s look dated – my high school years! senior year, in fact! I worked at a movie theater when it came out! – is a bit of a shock. There’s no denying it: now that Love Actually is a teenager old, it is a veritable 2003 time capsule.

Keira Knightly’s two pieces of hair

2003 was the year side bangs started to make their way back in after those 1990s curled-under round brush bangs were officially out. But it was a transitional time, and if you wanted a bit of interest you’d just part your hair in the middle and leave two little pieces out in front.

Natalie Had Those Side Bangs, By The Way

See also, my haircut c. 2004.

Keira Knightly herself

Keira Knightly 2003, Keira Knightly 2016. WHERE IS THE DIFFERENCE. She’s like a walking 2003 time capsule.

(I remember being floored that I was roughly the same age as Keira when this came out, because she looked like a beautiful, sophisticated leading lady and I looked like a Cabbage Patch Kid without makeup, or an American Girl doll with.)

This Ringtone

Thomas Sangster As A Child

You may remember that for what felt like a 10-year period in the early 2000s, all child roles were played by Thomas Sangster, Dakota Fanning and Freddie Highmore (that English boy with the brown bowl cut from Finding Neverland). It went on for so long that it seemed almost like they were being pumped with puberty-surpressing drugs. Nothing says 2003 like Child Thomas Sangster.

(Upon further Googling, Thomas Sangster is now a 26 year old man, lending further weight to my theory that he played little boy roles forever)

Maroon Five

Just, in general.

Keira Knightly’s newsboy cap

Or baker boy hat, I guess? These aren’t totally gone, but they were really having a moment in the early 2000s

A VHS tape as a plot device
Dido

as the soundtrack to an angsty scene, in particular.

Norah Jones

as the soundtrack to a slow dance, in particular.

The American girls’ ‘going out outfits’

As discussed in our analysis of mid 2000s fashion, the Going Out Top was a very real phenomenon. That blue sparkly one, in particular, is a prime example of a 2003 Going Out Top in the wild.

Natalie’s off-shoulder Christmas sweater

Way more subtle than the fun yet garish 80s/90s Christmas sweaters, but really throwing me back to the off-shoulder thing that was going on my last few years of high school.

Joanna’s 2003 Pop Star Ensemble

I present: sequin top, a handkerchief hemline, sparkly jeans (totally had a pair) and accent braids. All ready for an American Idol audition.

Lax Airport Security

Things tightened up after 9/11, but the rigid check in/ security protocol as we know it took a few years to develop, making dramatic airport confessions of love possible.

Questions, Comments, Concerns: Anne of Green Gables

In all my Gilmore Girls hysteria I missed the television event I never knew I didn’t need: the 2016, YTV, Martin Sheen-ified remake of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, which aired on PBS Thanksgiving night. Ahem, American Thanksgiving night. While I first fell in love with the world of Avonlea through Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books, I also have a real fondness for the One True Film Adaptation: the 1985 CBC Miniseries directed by Kevin Sullivan and starring Megan Follows, Richard Farnsworth and Colleen Dewhurst. We’ve written about Anne in our takedown of Marilla Cuthbert as a creepy church hag  and in our mixed-feelings analysis of dream man Gilbert Blythe. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the newest adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, which I didn’t really need but which was perfectly fine, I suppose.

Concern: Megan Follows

Personally, I’d argue that any time Anne of Green Gables is made it should star Megan Follows. I understand that she is like 40 years old (EDIT: Forty-EIGHT years old?!?! Which isn’t old, except I see her as a perpetual teen). However, in the 1985 Anne of Green Gables she wasn’t exactly 11 anyway, so may as well keep going with it.

Question: Why is Matthew so bumbling?

Matthew was always quiet and a bit awkward, but I thought it was more in the painfully shy way instead of in a clumsy-lady-in-a-romcom way.

Comment: The casting of Matthew is almost aggressively American.

This time it’s Martin Sheen. Last time it was Richard Farnsworth. Both played the role with an aged cowboy vibe. Hmm. I mean there’s AMERICAN, and then there’s Martin Sheen/ Richard Farnsworth-level American.

Concern: That is the worst red hair I’ve ever seen.

Anne. “Nobody with hair that awful could ever be perfectly happy” because it is a horrendous dye job. I’ll pull out my redhead card (it’s actually an appointment reminder from my dermatologist because red hair is a curse indeed) and say that in the first place, only certain skin and eye tones work with red hair. This adorable actress (surely cast because she was the best for the role; she does a great job) just doesn’t have redhead-compatible undertones. Add to that a weird, improbable shade of red dye and the worst Halloween costume-level painted freckles I have seen in my life, and it just does not work at all.

Comment: All of the kids are the right age.

As an adult I can watch the One True Anne of Green Gables and pretend all those kids look 12-13 years old. But as a kid who was the same age as Anne I remember being so confused as to why they all looked 18. Note: it’s because they were all 18. It was especially jarring in the scenes where they’d mention Anne being scrawny and 11-year-old me was like “for real, she looks post-pubescent.” The casting made sense because the 1985 Anne of Green Gables combined Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, and this one is Anne of Green Gables only. It’s very different seeing Anne look like an actual little girl. She comes across as more precocious for her age and less like a weirdo quirky teenager. All in all, not a bad move.

Question: Why is the new White Way of Delight so bad?
THIS is how it should be.

THIS is how it should be.

Comment: Puffed sleeves are proof that trends may change, but terrible tween fads are a constant.

Does anyone remember reading about Anne’s puffed sleeves and imagining something positively dreamy, only to see those big ugly ’80s-looking things? Proof that fads come and go, but they’re almost always stupid.

Comment: “Would you please STOP TALKING?”

Marilla speaking truth to how I’d feel about Anne as an adult who had to deal with her – even though I wouldn’t say it.

Comment: New Anne is different, but good.
I mean, the kid is adorable.

I mean, the kid is adorable.

New Anne (Ella Ballentine) is a little less dreamy and out of it, a little more introspective and quick-witted, but in a way that is supported by the way Anne is written in the books. I’m so relieved they don’t have her trying to do a Megan Follows impression. Between the different take on Anne and the different ages of the actors, this is at least enough different from the old version to make it worth a watch.

Question: Why is Rachel Lynde so awful?

I’d think that Rachel was improbably bad, but then I remember that adults DID make comments about my red hair and freckles when I was a kid. However, I am still baffled as to why Rachel’s so terrible. Sure, she doesn’t have kids, but neither do I and I know enough not to call them ugly.

Comment: A+ Canadian pronunciation of “sorry” and “out.”
Comment: A++ Rachel Lynde apology scene

We see it from afar, with Anne gesticulating dramatically and Rachel looking bemused. Ha.

Comment: Marilla chuckling to herself over Anne closing her prayer with “et cetera, et cetera.”

I liked this moment showing why Marilla’s keeping this kid around – Anne drives her crazy, but Marilla gets a kick out of her. Who wouldn’t?

Comment: The hair is better out of natural light.

Same with the freckles.

Question: Did this film even HAVE a colorist, or…?
If you can give Anne bad red hair, surely you can give Diana bad black hair.

If you can give Anne bad red hair, surely you can give Diana bad black hair.

Diana has light brown hair with a slight tint of ginger, even though everyone knows Diana has black hair. In some cases a character’s description in a book isn’t important, but in Anne of Green Gables it mattered because (1) Anne’s hair was a major plot device and (2) Diana’s hair marked her as everything Anne wasn’t.

Comment: Diana is good and different, too.

I always imagined Diana being much more calm, cool and together than Anne, but this actress (Julia Lalonde) plays Diana as a slightly awkward tween. I can totally see her getting drunk on raspberry cordial by accident. This less-smooth take on Diana works since she and Anne are both so imaginative – kindred spirits! – and because Diana’s so sheltered by her mother. Not to mention, the “Diana’s so cool and pretty” stuff was mostly coming from how Anne saw her because she absolutely had one of those tween friend-crushes where you just want someone to be BFFs with you.

To make up for the lack of black hair dye, this Diana has expressive dark brown eyes, which feels very Diana.

Concern: I never realized how much my concept of Gilbert was tied up in having a crush on Gilbert.

Gilbert was played by college-age dreamboat Jonathan Crombie (RIP) in the 1985 version. which means both that he was one of the first leading men I remember having a crush on, and also that it didn’t feel weird to find him cute when I rewatched as an adult. New Gilbert is a baby. I mean, a small child. It drives home how jerk-era Gilbert from the books was a little kid, which is nice, but it still makes me feel like a filthy old lady to see Gilbert as a child.

Comment: Diana getting lit on raspberry cordial.

It’s still one of the best scenes in this or any version of Anne of Green Gables.

Props to Ella(/Anne) for her delivery of “what’s that?” when Diana says her mother has hives – both girls are talking in fake fancy accents and she totally drops it. Cute.

Woozy Diana and confused Anne – both so good!

Comment: We all get creep vibes from Mr. Phillips, right?

In the books, Mr. Phillips courts teen student Prissy Andrews, but even if he hadn’t he’s just creep vibes all around. I’m happy they had this actor portray Mr. Phillips as a sketchy mean teacher, too.

Comment: The scene where Anne saves Diana’s sister is so much more touching as an adult.

It was always clear Anne had a lot of child know-how because she was basically an indentured servant for giant families, but now it’s even more touching because you see how everyone thinks Anne’s silly because she’s so imaginative, but really that’s an escape – she’s an incredibly intelligent and competent girl who never got to be a kid before.

Also, Mrs. Barry is kind of a B for only forgiving Anne after she saves her kid.

Comment:
Anne: Why are you standing there?
Gilbert: For your safety.
Me:

 

Concern: Marilla would never try to return a kid she bought THAT LATE

 

Marilla did buy a kid for chores and then try to return her. We don’t let her off the hook for it. However, this adaptation sneaks in a moment of dramatic tension by having Marilla almost return Anne at the close of the film after she’s been established in Avonlea for, like, a year or something. Then Marilla decides to keep Anne thanks to VOICE OF REASON RACHEL LYNDE. Lots to unpack here. I understand why someone adapting Anne of Green Gables would feel that there needs to be a point of conflict at the conclusion. However, Anne of Green Gables, like many children’s classics – Little Women comes to mind – is a series of episodes rather than one large problem to be solved. The story develops over the course of several novels, and there is real conflict in whether Anne will get to stay, if she will remain friends with Diana, make peace with Gilbert, and later on in whether she will earn top marks, go away to school, fulfill her career goals and finally make up her mind about Gilbert. The Anne books, like childhood itself, aren’t a buildup to one stunning turning point. They are a series of events that inch a person closer and closer to the adult they will become.

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Countdown to ThanksGilmore: Where Were You When You Found Out About The Revival?

We were going to put this post up tomorrow, but right now it’s midnight, Gilmore Girls goes live in three hours, and like a kid waiting for Santa, I am too excited to sleep. In case you’re in the same boat, here’s a little something to read.

This day is a long time coming. Not only has it been almost a decade since Gilmore Girls went off the air, it has been over a year since we found out that the show was coming back to Netflix. Shortly after we found out about it, we gathered ourselves for a town meeting of sorts. In this post we discussed how we found out about the reboot, our feelings about Netflix as a platform, casting and those last four words.

Gilmore Girls Revival Town Meeting

T: When we tell our (maybe) kids about the revival, it’ll be akin to older folks telling stories about where they were when JFK was shot or like Ted Mosby telling a horrible story. “Kids, I’m gonna tell you the story of the exact moment I found out a Gilmore Girls revival was happening.”

M: If this revival hadn’t happened, my future children were going to have to to hear a 10-year-long story about how Luke and Lorelai probably didn’t end up together, instead. So really, everyone wins.

T: The day – Monday, October 19th. The time – around 2:30pm. The location – my office. I have to constantly be checking the Internet for entertainment news, and when I was checking my Twitter, I saw a post from Michael Ausiello of TVLine.com pop up that said this:

I really wanted to yell WHAT!!?!?!? out loud but there were others in the vicinity who would no doubt question my sanity, so I said it at a very low tone to myself and began digging deeper into the supposed revival.

M: Should I be concerned that it’s only been a week and I have zero recollection of how I found out? Those hypothetical kids are totally going to put me in a home, aren’t they? In any case, I was very pleased but also assumed that it was another one of those articles that comes out every couple months after a cast member appears on a podcast. Ahem.