Questions, Comments, Concerns: A Christmas Prince

Today’s Questions, Comments, Concerns features A Christmas Prince, a Netflix Original Movie that’s really a Hallmark movie for cord-cutters. Mindless, low-quality holiday entertainment isn’t just for people with a cable package! It’s 2017!

Comment: You can tell they’ve got that Netflix budget because of all the establishing shots of New York City.

to be fair they saved some $$ by using the clipart that came preloaded on their PC

On Hallmark, everything takes place in a picturesque small town that’s obsessed with Christmas because that’s the cheaper thing to do.

Comment: “Amber! We’re junior editors! Not writers!”

Dialogue like this is why people think that editor means human spellcheck.

Question: Wait, how can I become a Junior Editor?

Forget that my real rank is above “junior editor.” Amber gets sent abroad to cover a European prince. Nice work if you can get it.

Concern: Netflix spent its whole NYC budget on those establishing shots.

or actually, this is new york’s FINEST diner.

Amber goes into a tiny, empty diner that definitely seems like it’s somewhere in Hallmarkville. It’s her dad’s. He’s a Real New York Character, AKA he has an accent.

Comment: Netflix also spent some Establishing Shot Money on European mountains. Alps?
Concern: By the time they show the lush, snow-covered Swiss? Bavarian? castle, I’m already sold.

I don’t need this to be a GOOD movie, I just need to have a good time watching it.

Comment: Maybe Lead Girl would be a senior editor if she hadn’t showed up to a royal press conference in jeans and sneakers.

non-spoiler: rom-com lady is clumsy. also i have a follow-up question about the white plastic light switch. surely the castle electrician could upgrade that.

Now would be an appropriate time for me to use the terms “slacks” and “pumps.” Yech.

Concerns: Many

Amber gets mistaken for Princess Emily’s new tutor, Martha.

Question: Can we cut to the part where Emily is vibrant and lovable?

On one hand, A+ for having a child with disabilities as a primary character! On the other, they make her petulant and peevish like that hidden boy in Secret Garden. Collin, was it?

Comment: You know Rose McIver (Lead Girl) from other stuff.

I IMDB’d her because her face was so familiar, and not just because she looks like she’d play Keri Russell’s sister. She’s been in a LOT but I remember her best as the sister in The Lovely Bones.

Comment: We didn’t have to wait long for Emily to get vibrant and lovable.

She’s a cutie.

Concern: My ability to suspend disbelief.

For a split second I start questioning how Amber is pulling this off, whether there are visa implications, the scads of journalistic ethics violations… and then I relax into the soft fluff of A Christmas Prince like a child making a snow angel.

Comment: Cousin Simon’s no Prince Richard, but could still get it.

Richard though.

Concern: Male primogeniture, boo.

Princess Emily isn’t in line for the throne and I’m having S1 Downton Abbey flashbacks.

Comment: The cell phone sticking up out of Amber’s back pocket is honestly some of the most realistic costuming I’ve seen.
Concern: We have competition.

Meet Lady Sophia, a hussy in a red dress. You can tell she’s a hussy by the red dress. I don’t make the rules.

Question: Do we know for absolutely sure that Princess Emily’s not a Little Girl Ghost (TM Joey Tribbiani)?

Emily discovers Amber’s true identity and barters to keep Amber’s secret as long as she writes the truth about Richard. Emily says knows because she sneaked into Amber’s unsecured computer, but she seems awfully British and all-knowing …  like a Little Girl Ghost.

Comment: I want Emily the Little Girl Ghost to get a friend who is a child.
Concern: Amber takes Emily sledding

I definitely think that children with disabilities should be encouraged to do anything other kids do (with necessary modifications and safety supports) but I just feel like Amber should’ve at least Googled if it was fine.

[It was fine, by the way.]

Comment: Horse stuff.

There was an equistrian sequence, but we all already knew that going into this. Richard chases off wolves in a page straight out of the Beauty and the Beast storyboards, then they retreat to Gaston’s lounge.

Concern: Prince Rick looks good in a turtleneck.

I don’t hate turtlenecks but it’s such a specific man who can pull it off, right? I know Amber agrees because they almost kiss in a beautiful barn. I could pay off my student loans selling reclaimed wood from this barn. And those are law school loans, ok.

Question: Do they put Christmas lights on actual castles?

Genuine question. I love them but bet royals think they’re naff.

Comment: Prince Richard is a fake!! Prince Richard is a fake!!

Well not FAKE, but he was adopted into the royal family in 1990. I assume there’s a rule about that in most royal families? Also with the giant age gap between Richard and Emily, I like to think this is one of those fake adoptions, like when old-Hollywood actresses would get pregnant, disappear for a year, then “adopt” a baby.

Concern: I was surprised by a plot twist in A Christmas Prince.

I never get surprised in Hallmark movies. Advantage: Netflix.

Amber’s so shocked that she uses the words “gosh” and “freaking.”

Comment: I love Amber’s bedroom with the Christmas tree.

When I was a kid, sometimes I used to pretend I was princess Anastasia and had a room like that. Yes, I know it’s actually Grand Duchess. Yes, I willfully ignored the unpleasant imprisonment and execution angles.

Comment: Richard’s so British (or whatever… Genovian?) he pronounces Sophia “Sophier.”
Comment: Amber wears her converse with her formal outfit…

Just like every group of groomsmen in wedding photos, c. 2010.

Question: Do princes really have a wedding ceremony to their country?

That’s more or less what Richard has. Objections and everything. Reminds me of when Dennis Rodman married himself (I’m old).

Comment: Mean Sophier’s objection was the adoption thing, clearly.
Comment: Richard’s late father hid the truth in an acorn ornament because nobody can be normal in these movies.

My favorite part is how Richard’s dad knew this would all come to a head at Christmas, and that somebody would decipher the secret clue about acorns, and how nobody would crack open or throw away the ornament before this point.

I also don’t see how a note in an ornament is legally binding. He should’ve just changed the code while he was alive. Easy-peasy.

Comment: Aldovia. The country was “Aldovia.”
Comment: The judge or whatever says “Merry Christmas to all,” which is the most Christmas we’ve had in a while.
Question: Why won’t Amber’s editors encourage her to run a piece on this?

They call it a “puff piece” but it looks like an exclusive, walks like an exclusive, sounds like an exclusive, it’s a duck.

Comment: It’s not a romcom unless someone makes a grand gesture at the end.

Richard comes to NY and proposes to Emily. I’m still floored that she works for a publication that thinks this ISN’T a story. He has neither a security detail nor a press following. She accepts.

Comment: A Christmas Prince has one thing in common with Hallmark movies

…. and that’s a couple meeting, falling in love, AND getting engaged all between the start and end of the Christmas season.

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Pop Culture Blind Spot: Christmas In Connecticut

Merry December! This month’s pop culture blind spot challenge: finding classic or otherwise beloved holiday films that we haven’t seen. It’s a tough one for me – I was raised on oldies like White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, and kept up with the major developments of the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s like the other Miracle on 34th Street,  Christmas Vacation and Elf. That’s why my blind spot pick today hearkens all the way back to 1945: Christmas in Connecticut.

Short Description:  A food writer who has lied about being the perfect housewife must try to cover her deception when her boss and a returning war hero invite themselves to her home for a traditional family Christmas.
Not only does this sound like a really fun premise, it reads 100% like a rom-com they’d still make today. The difference is that in 1945 talkies weren’t even 20 years old. It would be a rom-com cliche today, but in the ’40s it was a rom-com groundbreaker.
We open on a submarine shooting torpedoing a ship. So this is like, definitely a World War II movie.

Image links to post from the blonde at the film. i didn’t let myself read it before writing, but it’s a lot of fun with some great background on old Hollywood!

Two sailors from the ship have been adrift in a lifeboat for 15 days. One – Jefferson Jones, played by Dennis Morgan, who had an extensive career playing a lot of military guys – imagines himself in a light blazer dining at a bistro table and he looks like a handsome hipster of today. After getting rescued he convalesces in a military hospital and becomes obsessed with magazine food columns. See also, the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.
 
Alexander Yardley is a human Bustopher Jones, and he’s Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck)’s publisher. She’s a food writer but PSYCH she does not know how to cook. This is such a good rom-com job! So good, in fact, that I start googling which other rom-com involves an advice columnist who’s winging it. I swear I’ve seen this somewhere else?

It wouldn’t be one of our Pop Culture Blind Spot posts without linking to an article about the house in the movie. Click on over to Lisa’s Home Bijou!

Anyway, Yardley wants Elizabeth to host Jefferson Jones for dinner because he’s a war hero and her number one fan. You will recall that Elizabeth knows jack about cooking. I can’t wait for the wacky misunderstandings! Also in the course of writing about cooking wouldn’t you learn how to cook? Wouldn’t it be easier, writing-wise, to just learn how to cook? Or are all of her recipes made-up craziness that magically turns out OK?
Elizabeth also has a pretend husband and child! This is a blast! And her drapey blouse and high-waisted Katharine Hepburn pants outfit is completely on point.

LOOKS FOR DAYS.

If they remade this in 2017 you know they’d make Elizabeth a food blogger and it would not be as good. Maybe a HGTV-style personality.
Elizabeth’s first excuse to get out of falling in love with Jeff being a hostess is that her fake baby has whooping cough. #VaccinateYourKids
So Elizabeth has this friend John who always proposes to her. Like, it’s a habit. And they’re not even dating or anything, he just proposes marriage regularly and Elizabeth expresses zero interest in him.  Here’s how this convo plays out:
His point: You need someone to look after you. [Note: it’s 1945 -M]
Her counterpoint: I don’t love you.
Elizabeth demurs that it “gets harder and harder to find an excuse to say no.” John counters “well you can’t blame it on your career this time because you haven’t got one.”
1. SICK BURN, JOHN.
2. This is why nobody accepts your proposals, John.
Elizabeth accepts the proposal, but only because she needs a husband and a farm in Connecticut, like, yesterday. Elizabeth’s editor Dudley also needs Elizabeth to procure a fake baby (a real baby that’s not hers, technically), because they’ve already bought his kids’ Christmas presents so he needs this to go off well. If you’re keeping track, so far Elizabeth is a liar who’s otherwise okay, and Dudley and John are The Pits.
Elizabeth brings her chef friend, Felix, along to cook. That’s where she’s been getting her recipes, by the way. He’s German. I ship him and John’s Irish maid Nora. German and Irish? That was an OK marriage in the ’40s, right? I lose track of who used to be weird about each other.
 
Barbara Stanwyck’s waist is tiiiny. Or is it the shoulder pads?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but bring back shoulder pads 2K18?

Elizabeth coos “oh, John! Where did you get it?” about a neighbor baby he borrowed them, as though it’s a nice table runner or a new coffee table.
Felix puts paprika into Irish stew, which turns it into goulash. B- ethnic humor.
Know what you never see anymore? Tinsel.
Jeff brings Elizabeth a rocking chair because she wrote in her column that she could never find a good one.
HA! Elizabeth tries to answer Jeff’s questions about the baby and she is clearly a stranger both to him and to all babies. Fortunately Jeff is a good uncle and has met babies before. He gives “Robert” a bath and JUST KIDDING, turns out the baby is now Roberta.
[I will say that I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I’m always surprised when adults who can’t deal when they have to feed, change, bathe and generally deal with babies. They’re just little humans who need their necks supported, is all.]
Elizabeth and Jeff have an old-fashioned piano party while she trims the tree. He plays the piano and sings. Girl. Marry him.

John pervs about where he and Elizabeth are going to sleep tonight because it’s supposed to be his wedding night. Except they didn’t get married, so Elizabeth will stay in the guest room, thanks. He pouts and stomps off saying that he won’t sleep a wink. Wow, rom-coms in the ’40s really ramp up the bad qualities in the guy who’s purpose is to get dumped, don’t they? In the 2010s he’d just be too into his work or fantasy football.
A different neighbor drops off a different baby than yesterday, because they assume the new lady in the big house just takes other people’s kids for the day

Elizabeth cooks.

Elizabeth and All Her Guys* go to a barn dance. But in a dance hall. So just a dance I guess.
*All Her Guys = Yardley, John, Editor – was it Dudley?, Jeff and probably Felix.
Elizabeth and Jeff joyride in a sleigh, and I’m sorry but you only do that with somebody that you mean to fall in love with.
I was really hoping they’d bust out the Comedy Rule of Threes with people dropping off random babies at the house, but no such luck.
Elizabeth and Jeff got arrested – just a misunderstanding! – and the borrowed baby got reported as kidnapped after its mom collected it – also just a misunderstanding! We have angled the Tangled Web stage of the rom-com.
Elizabeth spills the beans about her… all of it. Everyone’s furious except for Jeff, a good person. In this pre-internet age, as long as none of these people say anything about Elizabeth’s true identity, nobody would find out, right? Felix pulls a fast one and tells Elizabeth’s publisher that she has another offer, and suddenly they want to keep her after all.
By the way, Jeff had been engaged to his nurse. Fortunately she married his shipmate so he’s all set to mack it with Lizzie. People really were willy-nilly about their engagements in the post-war era, huh?
“What a Christmas!”, Felix giggles.
What a Christmas, everyone.

Little Women (1994) Is Our Aesthetic

It’s December, and our choice aesthetic is the 1994 adaptation of Little Women: earth tones, plaid dresses, candlelight, roaring fires, Winona Ryder’s bob, Meg upstaging Queen B Sallie Moffat in the blue afternoon dress, surprise pianos and a lot of quilts. The production design of Gillian Armstrong’s 90s masterpiece was cozy, lived-in and totally real: you could actually see the March family staging plays in that attic, gathering around that rustic table, or having a singalong at Beth’s piano. There’s also a lot of winter – hence our December pick – and it’s depicted so beautifully that it will make you appreciate the season.

This post is also known by its alternate title, I Have A Real Christmas Tree And An Old House And Now I Think I’m A March Sister.

Orchard House’s Foyer

The moment the sisters call out “Marmee’s home!” and you see the muted stenciled floors, sidelights and printed wallpaper, you feel like you’re home, too.

Full disclosure: my parents live in an 1830s farmhouse that’s almost identical to Orchard House, so maybe that’s because it literally looks like my home.

As per usual, we’re going to point you over to Hooked On Houses – if Little Women is your aesthetic, you need to check out their Orchard House post.

The March Living Room

These shades of olive green! The built-in bookshelves! The brick fireplace! It’s so beautiful. It’s also a great reminder that, while the current iteration of “farmhouse” style is all whites and grays and spartan decor, there’s another path to the same cozy feeling.

Everyone’s Hair

Real-life adult womens’ hair in the 1860s didn’t really mesh with our current trends. Think center partings, snoods and clumps of sausage curls at the sides. Fortunately for us, the March girls are in their teens so their hair is long and loose – it was even kind of a ‘thing’ in the book that Jo didn’t want to start wearing her hair up like a, um, big woman.

Jo even looked sassy in her cropped ‘do, and calling Winona Ryder’s hair her “one beauty” is an evergreen laugh line (I’m sure if she time traveled to the 1860s, they’d have gotten a kick out of it then, too).

Everyone’s Winter Clothes

It can be hard to look cute and feel comfy in dresses during those cold winter months, but it’s not as though girls in the 19th century had another option. The Marches cope with the cold in lots of layers and tons of warm earthy tones — it was 1994, after all.

Some favorites are Jo’s  red ball gown (plus the choker on the black satin cord!)

Meg’s hunter green coat with the big buttons (and Jo’s no slouch in the outerwear department – I think garnet’s her signature color)

Amy’s plaid dress

I always especially loved Amy’s old-fashioned knitted ear warmer and vest (Meg had a matching one – sweet touch!).

Oh! And Jo’s fitted gray dress!

The sleeves and waistband!

If you find historical costumes interesting too, I suggest the Frock Flicks podcast episode on Little Women.

The Dining Room

Bonus: image links to hilarious post from Homeless Monsters about visiting Orchard House

The dining room is a little less cluttered than the rest of the house, but the simple table and chairs and calming colors would easily fit in a Magnolia spread.

The Garrett

The Marches cosplay as the Pickwick Society in their sweet attic hideaway, and as always, something about setting up a space in an attic is so much more comfy, mysterious and cool than the same exact setup in a regular room of the house. It’s all in the eaves and sloped ceilings. You can just see how the girls have adapted and added to this space over the years.

Bedroom Fireplaces When Manuscripts Aren’t Burning In Them

That was not okay, Amy.

[I wrote this piece about Amy March being a total B, and it was 80% in jest, but I haven’t forgotten about the manuscript.]

The Girls’ Bedroom

Pardon the scarlet fever happening in the foreground

I love the red ticked curtains, wallpaper and green wainscoting. I always wish I could get a closer look at that wall-o’-trim. I have so many questions.

Snow On Snow On Snow

In real life, snow is an inconvenience that turns your commute into a risky obstacle course, but on screen – when I don’t have to shovel it – snow is serene and beautiful. The first 40 minutes or so of the movie are snow-covered and it totally works to get you into a winter mode, especially if you want to watch something that isn’t entirely focused on Christmas.

Meg’s Afternoon Dress

Sallie Moffat can go fly a kite. Meg’s chill, forget-me-not blue gown looks way prettier than child labor silk and we all know it.

 

The Opera Sets

Weird or not weird: I wouldn’t mind if my house looked like this opera set.

The Boarding House

Jo March was the original free-spirited girl who starts over in New York City after a major heartbreak in order to “find herself.”

If you weren’t super-poor in the 1870s, this was probably the second-most Bohemian place you could live.

Europe

… Europe being the first. While I feel awful for Jo when Amy gets her Eurotrip with Aunt March, at least Amy makes the very most of her adventure. It’s like the 1800s version of when you went on your study abroad semester and came back a different person (in your own head, anyway). It’s so fun seeing Amy level up in her clothing, like that kicky straw boater hat, boho linen smock, and high-1870s-style fitted jacket.

The trunk of memories

When Jo opens that trunk of memories that spurns her to write Little Women, I always regret my Konmari-Lite tendancies and wish I had kept tangible objects from my teen years.

That Soundtrack

The soundtrack is poignant, spirited and heartbreaking right when it needs to be. I hear like 2 measures and I’m sad about Beth all over again.

 

 

All The Reasons I’m Delighted Meghan Markle Is A Princess

Prince Harry is engaged. He’s engaged to Meghan Markle, somebody other than me, which would have been a real sticking point for my 11-year-old self. I couldn’t be happier with his choice, though. Meghan Markle is no Chelsie or Cressida (why can my brain store that spelling of Chelsie, and the name Cressida at all, but none of my logins or passwords?). Meghan’s an American, and she’s biracial, and she has a job, and her dogs are cute. This is great!

[If you’re here to say (1) this news doesn’t matter, or (2) the royals are just regular humans who get to live in palaces and dress their children in shortpants with taxpayer money, or (3) Meghan definitely won’t be getting the title princess … see ya later! You won’t have fun here!]

In no particular order, here are the reasons I’m grabbing on to this happy story like a life preserver in an ocean of garbage news:

The idea of a Princess Meghan is delightful

There are princess names and there are middle-class American girl names, and Meghan is a middle-class American girl name. It’s also pretty well date-stamped in the late ’70s through late ’90s, for the most part. That’s why the idea of a Princess Meghan has me absolutely tickled. If she was Margaret (for which the Welsh Megan is a diminutive), I wouldn’t bat an eye, but Princess Meghan sounds forever and always like a little girl in 1993 playing pretend. For the record, this isn’t an attack on Megans or Meghans, almost all of whom I really like – I’m truly delighted by this development. It’s like having a Princess Madison in 20 years. It’s fun! Princess Meghan!

Note: she’ll end up with a lesser title, like Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, or Sophie, Countess of Wessex. It’ll still be great.

Note 2: Meghan is Markle’s middle name. Her real first name is Rachel, which I’d argue is more royal.

Meghan Markle has nice handwriting

This is so princessy (duchessy, countessy, lady-like): Meghan Markle’s secret talent is calligraphy. In most lives this is a cool but not necessarily useful skill, but she’s going to write so many beautiful thank-you notes on engraved stationary as a royal, and I’m so happy for her.

It’s not just the cursive that I love, it’s the respectful gesture of sending a handwritten note.

Meghan is a Rescue Dog Mom

Queen Elizabeth has her corgis, and I like to imagine that in her royal residence, Meghan is going to have a mismatched pack of mutts. Unfortunately, due to his age Meghan’s rescue pup Bogart will not be able to immigrate. I hope he gets a good home but as the owner of an elderly rescue dog myself, I’m so sorry he can’t make the trip.

They Are Going To Live In A Tiny Royal Cottage!

The future residence of Harry and Meghan is Nottingham Cottage, an honest-to-goodness 19th century cottage within the grounds of Kensington Palace. It has two bedrooms and one bathroom and super low ceilings. And a garden and a hammock! The idea of a literal prince playing house in a quaint toy cottage is the stuff of rom-com dreams. Queen Elizabeth’s nanny used to live there, and she said that it “looks as if it had got to London quite by mistake from some distant country place.” I die.

This Whole Thing Is A Hallmark Christmas Movie Setup

Listen. My family loves Hallmark Christmas Movies so much that my dad records the new ones and watches all of them when I visit. We love cataloging all of the tropes – girl moves to a small town and everyone instantly loves her! she is a busy doctor/veterinarian and doesn’t have time for love! she falls in love with a man who works with his hands in a very Christmas-specific industry, like Christmas tree farming or ice sculpture! sometimes somebody is secretly Santa’s nephew – and there’s a whole subset that involve a normal person falling in love with a prince or princess. This is IT. Meghan grew up “normal”: her mom is a social worker/yoga instructor, and her dad is a lighting designer, and they divorced when she was little. When her acting career was still on the climb, Meghan worked as a freelance calligrapher, which is the most Lifetime movie thing I can think of (unless Prince Harry is secretly Santa’s nephew). Eventually, she lands a leading role on a successful TV series – and wins the love of a prince after being set up on a blind date with him. It’s almost too good to be true.

The Royals Are Getting A Little Less White

There’s so much to love here. Little kids in the US and UK – those who care about the royal family, anyway – can look up to a royal who actually looks like them. Prince Charles will be the co-parent-in-law with a black woman. Queen Elizabeth will have great-grandkids who are part black. Finally, the royal family is starting to look… well, like a lot of other families.

A Royal Wedding!

The best thing about royal weddings is they involve all the things I love about weddings (seeing what the dress, decor, music and readings are like) and none of the things I don’t (buying a dress, buying a gift, paying for travel). The best wedding is the one you watch on TV at like 5 in the morning.

 

 

 

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

My knowledge of this film: Audrey Hepburn. Jewelry. Her iconic look. The hit 1993 song of the same name by Deep Blue Sea.

It’s weird to see this so clearly as if the movie was made yesterday. Also I definitely thought it was made way before 1961, which really isn’t that long ago. I mean we’re talking season one of Mad Men.

No but, did the song Moon River get popular because of this movie??

Also I admit, this is maybe the first movie I’ve ever seen Audrey Hepburn in? JK I FORGOT ALL ABOUT MY FAIR LADY PLS FORGET THAT.

This Japanese guy… isn’t actually Japanese, right? And he has fake teeth? And a horrible accent? This is obviously not OK, but I feel like I’d be more offended if I didn’t know this movie was made when minorities still had to use separate water fountains. UPDATE: IT’S MICKEY ROONEY. IT WAS APPARENTLY A WHOLE THING. GOOD LORD.

HER BED IS SO TINY  Omg these dangling ear buds are so fabulous. And she’s drinking milk out of a champagne glass. Good lord.

screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-57-04-pm

I honestly have no idea what happens in this movie, but I get why people love it based on the New York aesthetic alone.

RIGHT CLICK SAVE THIS FOR SHADY BUSINESS:

Audrey Hepburn’s like, really pretty. Has anyone else ever noticed this?

Also George Peppard. What’s his deal? (I found out his deal)

Oh and Holly just put Paul in the friend zone by nicknaming him Fred, just like her brother. Except then she casually asks to lay in bed with him. Girl. Got. Game.
screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-58-06-pm

This OJ Berman guy (Martin Balsam) talks fast and smooth like Conan O’Brien’s impersonation of guys that go to speakeasies.

Holly has a party in her apartment and by the end of the night people are totally shitfaced. There’s lit’rally a woman crying into her reflection in a mirror. Holly’s friend Mag Wildwood falls flat on her face as Holly yells Timber. Are they are on acid? Is Roger Sterling here? I miss Mad Men.
screen-shot-2016-12-31-at-8-59-32-pm

HOLLY IS LIVING A PHONY LIFE JUST LIKE OJ SAID. Her name is Lulu Mae Barnes! And she’s married to a Southern dude named Doc Golightly who was on The Beverly Hillbillies! And they married at 14! That was normal back then? Or was it still weird?!

I was under the impression Holly was going to be upset Doc was there but she seems v happy to see him? Isn’t this going to end with her and Paul together? I’m just assuming.

Promise me one thing – don’t take me home until I’m drunk. Until I’m very drunk indeed.

Holly says her goodbyes to Doc and she and Paul go to what seems to be a 1960s strip club. Which leads us to yet another iconic shades GIF:

A drunken Holly states she’s got no money so she’s marrying someone who has a lot of it. Cool. Except a few days later we find out he’s found some other chick to marry. To lighten her spirits, she and Paul decide to spend a day doing things they’ve never done before, which includes stealing animal masks from a store and scare a police officer with them on.

Oh yay they kissed. And spent the night together. Ow Owwww!

Honestly: 

“You’re a very stylish girl. Can’t we end this stylishly?” Is Paul being condescending or is this just how they talked back then?

Holly is on the lamb and when he finally finds her she says she’s marrying another guy from the party, who is Latin and rich.

Asian Mickey Rooney has Holly and Paul arrested for narcotics? Also Audrey looks so fierce in pigtails and a turtleneck sweater. If I wore that I’d look like Boo from Monsters Inc.

Apparently this all has to do with the dude she was visiting at Sing Sing – this is why you don’t do things for money without asking WHY.

And Latin lover calls off their engagement. She needs to get over her inability to feel feelings and get together with Paul already?

FINALLY

I get it, world. This was good.

 

Reaction GIFs Cannot Express How Much I’ll Miss The Mindy Project

After 6 seasons, we’re saying goodbye to Mindy Lahiri tomorrow. Last week on the penultimate episode, Mindy said something that really spoke to me, and I’m assuming spoke to a lot of you internet users too:

When reaction GIFs cannot express a feeling, you know it’s really bad.

In the years we’ve been welcomed into Mindy Lahiri’s life, we’ve seen a character that’s rarely represented on TV. She’s unapologetic, candid, a hopeless romantic, self-centered, delusional, incredulous, truthful, brash, audacious and likable all at the same time. She’s the type of person whose personality is borderline offensive, but you find her so endearing that you compartmentalize and don’t actually care. That credit all goes to the writing staff including Mindy Kaling, whose own Twitter presence and memoirs resonate so much (with young women in particular) that they feel a connection with her in a different way than other celebrities. The type of connection that spurs shirts like this one, despite how concerning the message on it is. That same voice that Mindy Kaling found for herself is similar to the one she found in Mindy Lahiri – it’s satisfyingly unique and makes us feel like we get each other on a deep level.

That’s what we’ll miss most about this show. Knowing there’s someone else who says the things you sometimes wish you could say but never have the courage to. Or does things you thought you only did. No reaction GIF can express that feeling enough.

Which is why I’m honoring Mindy and The Mindy Project with a lot of GIFs. GIFs that show exactly why we do and don’t want to be like Mindy and properly represent the rarified air she’s occupied for the past six seasons. Thank you for everything. Your legacy lives on in our hearts and the interwebs. Later, baby.

 

And just because I’ll miss him too:

TGIF Month: A Teen Angel Live Blog

Well, it’s the final installment of our month-long TGIF series is here, and we can no longer thank god it’s Friday after this. JK. What we can do is enjoy the presence of these shows back in our lives, fully embracing nostalgia and the way we were in the 90s.

And what better way to end it than with Teen Angel, a show that proves that even if you leave everything behind, you can still come home again (is that reach a bit too much? bear with me anyways).

Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot/Marty Buys the Farm

Original Air Date: 09/26/1997

Pilot Plot: Marty passes on after eating a 6 month old burger under Steve’s bed. Steve goes into a deep depression, since not only is his best friend gone, but his father has recently left, and he’s picked on constantly at school. His mother, sister, and aunt attempt to help, but God’s cousin, Rod, sends Steve Marty as his guardian angel, or “Teen Angel”, as Marty dubs himself. Marty helps Steve conquer his fear of talking to girls, failing tests, and being unpopular.

T: This show only lasted one season, but I remember I was in it for the long haul.

M: I feel like I had a minor-league crush on Marty?

T: This room looks eerily similar to Cory’s room at the beginning of Boy Meets World. And they’re even playing “baseball”.

M: This was the requisite Teen Boy Bedroom In The Mid-Late 90s. See also: Dawson Leary.

T: Marty, the kid who’s about to die, finds the eight-month-old hamburger underneath Steve’s bed, and proves why boys are dumb. He immediately dares Steve to eat it. Not only that, but the reason he found the burg in the first place is because he was too lazy to go down to the kitchen and get real food. You can only really blame yourself here, Marty.

M: All those youths who think the 90s were really cool? Watch this show. Read this episode description. They were NOT.

T: “Alright, I will (eat the burger). It’s not like it’s going to kill me.” Literal famous last words.

T: Larry Wilmore, the writer on such shows as Bernie Mac, Sister, Sister, The PJs, and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, was a consulting producer on the show, because we all have that one thing on our resume.  Unless you’re the character actress who plays Angela the angel taking Marty up the elevator to heaven, in which case you’re entire resume is made up of Teen Angels (see: Full House, The Simpsons, Alf, Teen Witch).

M: “So which one of you angels is Farrah?” Yeah, this was not a current ref in 1997, either.

T: Marty’s in the court of eternal judgement and told he has a good soul but could never stay our of trouble. He’s only being considered for heaven because he’s a kid. He then is sent on a mission to be Steve’s guardian angel through this difficult period (puberty). This process seems questionable. Also, this news is being given by this head:

M: I’m going to say being assigned to a suburban white teen boy to help him get through his trying life sounds a lot like the opposite of heaven.

T: He cracked a joke about making a mistake with “the Chevy Chase show” and believe it or not, the joke doesn’t hold up.

M: This is like a really really terrible version of The Good Place.

T: Maureen McCormick is the mom!!!!

M: I remember  Brady Bunch nostalgia being huge in the 90s and it seemed like the original series was so long ago. Reality check: Maureen McCormick as the mom in 1997 is like, well, Ben Savage as the dad in 2017.

T: Apparently a lot of rock stars are in hell.

M: I swear kid sister Katie was the little girl in every TV movie in the mid-90s.

T: As angel, Marty can walk through walls, but “not thick walls, but certainly through any apartment building built after 1957.” That joke holds up.

M: Yeah, that was nice.

T: THE HEAD IS GOD’S COUSIN ROD. HE GOT THE JOB “ON HIS OWN MERITS”. THIS IS COMEDY.

M: OK fine, this show is not really really terrible.

T: Marty comes out of the closet and offers to let Steve touch his new wings, which Steve responds, “a guy doesn’t touch another guy’s wings”. Besides from the obvious, that is not a phrase anyone says.

M: Marty looks like a BSB/N*Sync video concept.

T: Marty’s parents sued  the burger company and won $11 million. How.

T: FYI: http://www.angel.marty.cooldude.com does not work.

M: But I DID find a Geocities page for Teen Angel still in operation! Ready to time-travel into the internet of yesteryear? Here.

T: If Rod thinks Marty could never stay out of trouble, why did he send him down to act as Steve’s guardian angel? It seems counter-productive, unless he had faith Marty would change. But as seen in the shenanigans in history class and called their teacher a wiener (thus giving the entire class a test on the Monroe Doctrine), Marty has yet to learn his lesson.

M: He has no special powers except for invisibility, saving a houseplant, and walking through some walls. Honestly he just seems like a liability.

T: Steve’s little sister gets trapped in a jungle net and Maureen McCormick runs over to help. But Steve’s all like, I’ll help by tHROWING THIS NERF FOOTBALL AT IT BC WE WANT TO SET UP MAUREEN TO LIT’RALLY SAY OW MY NOSE:

M: There was also another gag that was a setup for the phrase “you’ve been touched by an angel.” Oof.

Marty:  Isn’t this the one where everybody gets a second chance?

God: That’s the Arkansas Bar Exam.

M: I’m a lawyer and for the record that joke makes no sense.

T: Marty called up the ghost of James Monroe to scare Mr. Nitzke out of giving the kids an exam. There’s a learning curve with this guardian angel thing, I’m assuming?

M: Couldn’t he just, like… steal the exams?

T: Fun fact: The guy who plays Kyle, who calls Steve “Boat Chimp” & “Blow Chunks” is Aaron Lohr, a Mighty Ducks alum who grew up to become Idina Menzel’s husband.

M: I had NO IDEA. All right. Not only do they use “smooth move, ex-lax” as a joke, they use it twice. It’s not even a joke, it’s just sort of a stock phrase.

 

T: I liked it overall, but have some questions as an adult. However, my main takeaway is that the guy who plays Marty is like a mix of Zach Braff and overactor Seann William Scott.

M: I didn’t love it or necessarily like it, but for family TV in 1997 it was fine.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Hocus Pocus

I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus. I’m an older millennial who was the perfect age to be a fan of Hocus Pocus when it came out, yet I’ve managed to still succeed in life without having seen this “cultural touchstone”.  When I say I haven’t seen it to others of my generation, there’s shock, disgust, and a response of, “You have to watch it, it’s soooo good.” Listen, I get that a lot about every movie I haven’t seen. That’s the point of these Pop Culture Blind Spots. Please stop telling me popular movies are going to be good. Anyways, you want to keep reading after my rant, right? Good.

My knowledge of Hocus Pocus: Bette Midler. Sarah Jessica Parker. Kathy Najimy. Three witches get together dressed in over-the-top costumes to hang out with kids and sing some songs. They’re probably good witches? Guys, honestly, I have no idea. People love it especially at Halloween? There’s always a rumor there’s going to be a sequel.

Actual movie description: After 300 years of slumber, three sister witches are accidentally resurrect in Salem on Halloween night, and it is up to three kids and their newfound feline friend to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all.

Sooooo they’re not good witches? Also there’s a cat involved? And no idea it took place in Salem, but that makes sense.

This is a Kenny Ortega jam?! He’s keeps popping up in all my favorite things! High School Musical, Dirty Dancing, some of my favorite Gilmore Girls episodes.

Is Omri Katz the kid from Indian in the Cupboard? Oh, no, the character’s name in that movie is Omri. HAHAHA This dude was in Eerie, Indiana though! What, you haven’t seen Eerie, Indiana? IT IS SO GOOD.

I forgot Thora Birch is in this!

Wait does this take place in the 1600s? Or this might be a flashback. To 300 years ago. Which explains the slight British accents and peasant shirts. I’m with you now. I’m onto the logic of this children’s film.

Oh Bette Midler’s wig is…LAID.

This book with the eye looks eerily like the Care of Magical Creatures book in HP.

Why are the sisters’ mouths all weird?

This was the year right after Sister Act. Kathy Najimy living her best life.

So the potion made them “younger”? Is this like a cautionary tale about naturally aging and not giving into plastic surgery and botox? And is Emily dead now? Or did she turn into a little girl ghost?

Is this a true story? I SAW GOODY MIDLER WITH THE DEVIL!

Max is a recent transplant from Los Angeles who said “Give me a break” after his teacher was telling them a story of witches instead of whatever she’s really supposed to be teaching them, and her response was, “We seem to have a skeptic in our midst. Mr. Dennison would you care to share your California tye-dye point of view?”

Why does Max look like a creep hitting on Allison?

The instrumentals in this film are truly enjoyable.

I MISS FALL IN NEW ENGLAND.

UGH this must’ve really been filmed in Massachusetts. It’s so New England-y! 😍

These idiots:

Calling him “Hollywood” and stealing his new sneakers is exactly what is wrong with white boys and bullying.

Ok this Dennison family house is spectacular. Max has stairs leading to somewhere inside his spacious room??

How cute is Thora Birch tho

Dad: What are you supposed to be, Max?

Max: A rap singer. 

Dad: Oh. Well your hat should be on sideways, shouldn’t it?

Ice & his leather jacket bro are back with more of their cronies and literally sitting outside a house making kids pay a toll in order to pass by. I HATE THEM SO MUCH.

Oh the huge house is where Allison lives, and apparently the theme is Marie Antoinette – and not the Kirsten Dunst version.

Danni calls out Max liking Allison’s “yabbos”, which is why I hate teenage boys.

So not only did Max’s teacher tell them about the Sanderson witches, but Danni’s teacher told them about the lore too. Is it just like, required cirriculum to tell kids about these witches in Salem? Also I find it funny they’re the “Sandersons”. It’s like, a 300 year old tale about the most haunting ladies in the area and they have the whitest names ever.

“Legend has it that the bones for 100 children are buried within these walls”… and this place used to be a museum open to the public?

If the black flame candle is lit by a virgin on Halloween night, some shit goes down, and apparently Disney is fine by mentioning virgins in this film.

“It’s just a bunch of hocus pocus.” Has this always been a phrase to indicate something being outlandish? I legit thought it was always just a made up thing from this movie.

Is this a crossover with Sabrina, the Teenage Witch?

Has Hocus Pocus been made into a haunted house yet?

Max the Virgin lit the candle and conjured up the three witches, and it’s basically like the opening scene in the 1600s but with Max saving Danni. I love a good plot parallel.

Ugh instead of hauling butt out of there, he tells the sisters they messed with the “Great and Powerful Max” so now he’s “summoning the burning rain of death”. Just leave.

No wait the cat talks is it Salem’s great-grandfather or something?

 

Honestly, do these sisters think they’re in a never-ending musical?

Has Hocus Pocus been made into a musical yet? (Yes, kinda – a musical parody)

Winifred caught her BF William Butcher cheating on her with her sister Sarah so she punished him? I mean I’d be a little mad at my sister too, just saying.

The cat’s name is Thackary Binx. Solid name. You don’t hear the name Thackary anymore. Wonder if it was the Madison of its era.

LOL Thackary with the shade calling Max an “airhead virgin”.

Yo the zombie getting up from his death slumber is me when someone tries to wake me up in the morning.

Also, the zombie is William the one who played two of the sisters? And now Winifred’s asking for his help?

 – an actual bus driver picking up the sisters  🙄

Also: “We desire children” – Winifred. “It might take me a few tries, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem.” – bus driver who needs to calm down.

THACKARY 

OMG HIS STOMACH JUST INFLATED HAHAHAHA

Ahhhhhh Garry Marshall!!!

This dude pretending to be a real cop is really unnerving to me.

Ahhhhhh Penny Marshall!!!

This entertainment center with VHS tapes is my aesthetic 

Everyone ends up at the big Halloween party, where the sisters somehow end up on stage and sing I Put a Spell on You. Look, I love a musical number but this seems unnecessary. Especially if they’re trying to track down Max and co.

They tricked the sisters into the high school where they burned them alive?? Did this even work? Seems too easy.

It didn’t work.

Winifred comes out of the kiln speaking French because Max was pumping some kind of instructional tape over the stereo, and it’s the first time I’ve LOLed.

The bully idiots are back and discuss illegally watching naked women: “do you wanna look in windows and watch babes undress?” “It’s 3:00, they’re undressed already.” Honestly, what the actual fuck. This is what we taught our kids?

Kathy Najimy uses a vacuum to fly – so basically they can fly using anything, since it’s not the broom that has the power, it comes from within? I learn something new about witches every day.

“We haven’t the time!” I need to start using this phrase more. Sorry Jessie Spano, Winifred is in.

Wait William is calling Winifred a “trollop”?? I thought he’s the one who cheated on her????

Between Max’s shoes and his gym bag, Nike really got great product placement in this film.

Bitches didn’t even check to see if there was salt in the salt container?!?!

This sun is like The Lion King Musical huge 

Ok, but like a 300 year old male ghost kissing a 9 year old and whispering “I shall always be with you” is creepy right?

“I had to wait 300 years for a virgin to light a candle.”

^Legit the best part of this film.

Meanwhile, the Dennison adults are just clamoring out of the Halloween party wasted, the bullies are stuck in their birdcages, and the Harry Potter book’s eye wakes up.

Unpopular opinion: This film is mediocre? It’s obviously geared towards kids, which is why adults of our generation have a special spot in their hearts for this movie as an important part of their childhood. Was it because it’s been hyped up so much? Maybe. Was it the fact I’m not crazy about Halloween in general? Probably. At least now I can say I’ve seen it. Come at me haters.

TGIF Month: A Dinosaurs Live Blog

Welcome back to another Friday installment of our TGIF live blog series! We’ve watched the pilots of Family Matters, Step by Step and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, and now it’s time for-NOT THE MAMA  – Dinosaurs!

Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot/The Mighty Megalosaurus

Original Air Date:04/26/1991

Pilot Plot: Earl Sinclair must choose his role in life.

T: So here’s the thing – I remember watching only a few episodes of Dinosaurs, but thinking it was super weird. And perhaps not funny. But I think I was also just super aware as a kid that it was a weird show to begin with, and it might not have been up my alley. Could it have been the lifelike talking dinosaurs? Who’s to say. Never the less, I’m ready to give it another go!

M: I remember LOVING Dinosaurs and even having a Baby Dinosaur (… name?) figurine that I got at the corner store. To be fair, this was at the age where I was into weird humor – another fav was Ren and Stimpy. I also predict that I will not like it at all now!

T: I’d also like to note how vague the episode description is. It could lit’rally be about anyone, not even dinosaurs. I’m pretty sure that was the point of the show, but still.

M: I think it was very much a TGIF show but it’s Dinosaurs instead of people. I remember always thinking of Teen Boy Dinosaur as Dino Eddie Winslow and Teen Girl Dinosaur as Dino Laura. Yeah, I forget all the names except for earl.

T: The first scene is a fake newscast on “DNN” saying a giant meteor is heading towards Earth… this is a kids show. He says JK NO IT’S NOT right after but just so we’re all aware, the first joke is about impending death. Carry on.

M: I honestly blame/credit shows like this for instigating the weird meme-y culture our generation brought about.

T: I always forget Michael Jacobs, creator of Boy Meets World, also made Dinosaurs.

M: The more I think about it, the funnier it is that this concept was ever greenlit.

T: Guys, I think I didn’t connect with this show because it felt too much like Roseanne to me. Which I hateddddd. But again, people change.

M: Yes. I think Roseanne is a more apt comparison than Family Matters. They’re very blue-collar. You can tell because Earl has a shirt in a buffalo check pattern.

T: There’s another in TV set up, this time for the Dinosaur Shopping Network where a QVC-like commercial is going on and I can’t handle how real/fake this all is.

M: You don’t really see these Henson-y style shows anymore. It reminds me of Fraggle Rock, another fav during this era.

T: What is this pet they have? Oh it might be their dinner.

M: Everybody’s got that Winnie The Pooh style – shirt and no pants.

T: There are real people inside these costumes. Can you just image what this set was like on the down time? Fran is casually in the corner reading The Firm.

M: But like, how cool for those people to be getting residuals for this again, I guess.

T: Why

T: CHARLENE IS VOICE BY SALLY STRUTHERS! AND FRAN IS JESSICA WALTERS! BABETTE & LUCILLE BLUTH ARE DINOSAURS YOU GUYS.

T: ALSO Earl wants a brand new 90 inch TV but they are literal dinosaurs. HOW. I’m just putting this together.

M: The trick to watching Dinosaurs is not thinking about any of it.

T: The year is 60,000,003

M: “Why we countin’ backwards? What are we waitin’ for?”

T: Robbie is acting like he’s Danny Zuko.

M: I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY.

M: Why did I like this terrible baby? This baby is terrible.

T: THIS T REX AND HIS ARMS. HE’S HOLDING A CIGARETTE. I CAN’T

M: Earl asks for a raise and the dinosaur boss has a construction trailer with binders and blueprints everywhere. Again, you’re not supposed to think about it.

T:

“How was your day dear?”

“Compared to what Fran? Compared to walking off a cliff? Falling 10,000 feet, but living just long enough to see that first vulture swoop down and pick out my eyes? It’s a tie. Gimme a beer.”

Men, amirite?

M: The fridge is full of clamoring little critters. Heh.

T: YOU IN DANGER, EARL.

Frances, nothing in your little day is going to have an impact on how I live the rest of my life.

T: What if we just revealed pregnancies by moving our large dinosaur bodies just enough to reveal a large egg in a nest? And that women wouldn’t have to carry a human alien in our bodies for nine months?

M: Wait if that’s how it worked I 10/10 would have a kid.  Esp. the dramatic reveal & the part where nothing leeches my calcium reserves.

T: How do dinosaurs have sex? (This might be a rhetorical question)

M: Look at Earl. Look at Fran. Look at that terrible baby. No WAY is he the father.

T: While out on a temper tantrum in the woods, Earl encounters the creature he almost ate for dinner, Arthur Rizzic,  who changes his perspective on his own hardships. Teachable life lessons from dinosaurs – THEY’RE JUST LIKE US.

M: Disappointed they didn’t play the theme song, but slower, like they do in Full House or Family Matters.

T: Fran lures Earl back with a “Mastadon Surprise” which is probably just a casserole that’s been passed down in Fran’s family for years.

M: It might be how dinosaurs have sex.

T: Charlene doesn’t have pants on. She’s also looking straight down the barrel not apologizing for not wearing pants.

M: “Shirt, no pants like Winnie The Pooh” in the words of Lil Baby Aidy.

T: The baby sounds like a broken toy from Toys R Us.

M: Seriously f this baby.

T: Earl says dinosaurs are “going to rule the world forever” and it’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard come out of TGIF. And I’ve seen that Papouli ep of Full House multiple times.

M: We’re all careening towards oblivion WHEEEEEE

T: Well, safe to say I didn’t keep autoplay on for this.

M: Never again.

TGIF Month: A Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper Live Blog

It’s Friday and you know what that means: pay day!!! Yes, but also the continuation of our month-long TGIF celebration! We’ve revisited Family Matters. We looked back at Step by Step. And now, we’re watching the pilot of another classic show from ABC’s old school Friday night lineup: Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper! Get your pencils out boys and girls, it’s time to take notes on this 90s fave.

Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

Original Air Date: 9/22/1992

Pilot Plot: Mark is hired as a substitute teacher, but his roommate Robin must teach him how to control his students. Alan Thicke guest stars.

T: I’m 99% I’ve never seen this pilot. I would’ve remembered Alan Thicke. Pour one out.

M: I watched Hangin With Mr. Cooper but remember less about it than ANY TGIF show. Holy cow, it was on for 5 seasons?! Anyway from what I recall, Mark Curry is not-a-parent who is the cool adult/neighbor to Raven-Symone and a boy.

T: WAIT. Alan Thicke shows up as Alan Thicke, the star of Growing Pains, whose show was recently “retired” (you don’t say cancelled, you say “retired” or “rich” after seven seasons). All these shows from my past blur in my mind. It’s crazy to think Growing Pains ended before Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper began. I have no concept of time. ALSO THIS IS SO META WHAT IS IT DOING IN THE PILOT. MARK LITERALLY LOOKED DOWN THE BARREL OF THE CAMERA.

M: Alan Thicke just showed up to KOOL AID MAN THROUGH THE FOURTH WALL. Mark Curry is Mark Curry, preparing to star in HWMC & Alan Thicke is Alan Thicke, retiring from Growing Pains, talking about Mark taking over Alan’s time slot. Who thought this bit was at all good?

T: Alan legit just said “Good luck here in the ‘hood… if you ever need a white guy…” HUH?

M:  I’m going to say it. It’s the worst cold open I’ve seen in my life.

T: I was about to say, “the opening credits are very En Vogue-esque.” Never realized it was actually En Vogue.

M: This is our first TGIF pilot so far to feature a cold open, so it was a little trickier to clock the theme song time. AKA I had to do simple subtraction. One minute … of excellence. We should do a post about 90s R&B theme songs.

T: I have no recollection of Mark’s house being the exact same as the Seaver house. The living room at least. I have a completely different picture in my head when I think of the Cooper home.

M: Is it Martin? Because I was picturing the house in Martin.

T: This guy Holly Robinson Peete is going on a date with isn’t “fine”, he’s “foine”. I get this on a deep leve.

M: “He’s got a butt that makes me with I was his wallet.”

T: THIS IS LEGITIMATELY THE SEAVER HOUSE THO. WHAT’S GOING ON.

M: Did they change the set later? I do not remember Growing Pains well enough to be able to picture the house. I didn’t think the house was so beige and blah.

T:  Yes Mark, this warranted a “DAYUMMNNN”

M: It was probably the most “language” that had been used on TGIF to date. Holly looks smashing.

T: Omar Gooding, actor and brother of Cuba Gooding Jr. is one of the students in Mr. Cooper’s class, which makes sense since he’s a 90s TV staple.

M: Always wearing this exact outfit. Honestly, all the teens look so cool but ESPECIALLY the girl with the floral dress, black boots and blossom hat. That was 100% my dream look c. 1992.

T: As soon as the kids find out Mark’s a sub, they act up and start throwing papers at each other but Mark immediately lashes out and yells at them to stop, citing the fact he just got out of prison and I am DYING. On the verge of tears crying it’s so funny to me.

M: I rewound to watch it again!

T: Why is there a random boom box on the table next to Blossom?

T: Oh it’s so they can listen to Boyz II Men in class and dance to it.

M: Partially serious question, did ABC option the rights to Motown Philly? Because it also figured prominently into a Full House episode, which I’m sure you all remember.

T: Am I the only one finding this pilot is incredibly predictable? He picks unnecessary fights with Vanessa (because he likes her). He gives into the students’ wishes to have a dance party (and the principal walks in). He sits down in the chair after Omar/Earvin walks away from it (because he pulled a prank & did something to the chair). I’m not complaining, I’m just saying it’s typical ’90s fodder.

M: It’s like putting all the things that happen in 90s sitcoms in a hat and pulling them out. You can also tell from Episode 1 that it’s all about the Mark/Vanessa chemistry.

T: Mark was the kind of student that bullshitted his entire way through high school.

M: I can’t remember if they kept the Belding-esque principal and that Zach Morris-esque Omar Gooding character beyond this episode.

T: Do people actually work out in silence by themselves in their home? Also, she’s not even overweight in the slightest and she’s complaining about not being as sexy and thin as Vanessa.

M: Yeah you saw Vanessa in that mustard yellow dress, though. (Seriously, I DO remember it just being a very 90s thing that ladies in sitcoms/romcoms would talk about needing to lose weight but they never actually cast a fat person? It was v. Cathy comics.).

T: “Couch Potato or Stockbroker? Stud or Spud?” The live audience really loved that line.

M: Mark has said “dayumm” for the third time, proving the writers were really referencing the sitcom guidebook.

M: Vanessa bought one of that dress in every color, I think: comes down in a blue version. Mark is super weird with Vanessa’s date William, a boring stockbroker who will probably not be back. I realized why this wasn’t my fav sitcom until Raven-Symone and the little boy came into the scene: this is 100% about adults. Also Vanessa and Mark mention sex, which I bet means this was on my mom’s no-fly list (to be fair I was 6).

T: Coop shows the kids who’s the boss (not Tony) by supergluing Earvin’s chair, because that’s how you teach.

M: Confirmed: that’s Earvin’s only outfit, or all his outfits look the same.

T: Just before the show ends, there’s a scene where Mark introduces himself as Mark Curry… what is all this realism business? I don’t think I like it.

M: Makes no sense. I guess this is how you had to find out who people were before IMDB.