ICYMI: She’s a Dancing Machine

A favorite summer reality show is back and this year, it’s all kids. No, not Big Brother – So You Think You Can Dance.

So You Think You Kids Can Dance

I’ve been a fan since the literal jump, so when they announced the new format for the 13th season, in which the contestants are kids and not 18+, I was a little hesitant. Actually still am, pending on how tonight turns out. For me, I find young adults competing and achieving their goals much more interesting and less gut-wrenching than seeing kids get eliminated from a show which they think is a life and death situation. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of curmudgeon about this – in fact, if SYTYCD: TNG turns out to be anything like MasterChef Junior, then count me in. 100 percent. Especially since I know there are some talented kid dancers out there.

I’ve been known to tinker around the Internet here and there, and somehow on my travels I manage to find super talented kids who are already much better dancers than I’ll ever be. So before tuning in to SYTYCD: TNG, check out some of these kids that will motivate you to get up and move that tush a little more.

Soni Nicole Bringas

All four of these kids are great, but I’d like to point out the girl on the right with the long brown hair. If you’re wondering if she looks familiar, it’s because she plays Kimmy Gibbler’s daughter on Fuller House. So not only is she a good actress, she’s an amazing dancer too. Acting seems to be her second profession, really. That’s how good she is.

Aidan Prince

Again, if this kid rings a bell in your brain, he’s one of those kids Ellen brings on her show because she’s dance’s number one fan. I actually discovered him while creeping on videos Soni was in, because apparently this is what 30 is like, folks. Aidan has been dancing for years now, but his hits and grooves are so impressive for a kid his age.

Charlize Glass

This girl. Muscles for dayz. And you can tell because she is one of the strongest dancers I’ve seen, including adults. The other two girls in this video (another appearance by azn gal Bailey Sok on the left) are great dancers, however Charlize could easily pass for a 23 year old with her moves alone.


 If you weren’t into the first episode of SYTYCD, feel free to look back at some of the best auditions from seasons past. Yes, baby Travis Wall is in this.

Best of: So You Think You Can Dance Auditions

One of my favorite parts of summer TV is coming back today, and I could not be more thrilled, since So You Think You Can Dance is probably my fave reality show of all time. I started watching halfway through the first season, but that season doesn’t really count anyways (sorry Nick Lazzarini) because no one was really watching, and the fab Cat Deeley wasn’t the host yet. Now about to enter its 10th (!) season, there have been hundreds of amazing dancers that have wowed the judges and inspired thousands watching. Here are a few memorable auditions from the past 9 seasons to get you back in the dancing mood!

Travis Wall, Season 2

Travis is somewhat of a SYTYCD legend, as he started out as a contestant in season 2 and became the runner-up. But he solidified his mark on the show by becoming a choreographer, earning Emmy noms for his work on SYTYCD as well as a group piece on Dancing with the Stars. Among the Emmy nominated dances, season 7’s Fix You by Robert and Allison, which will make my cry every time I watch it.

Donyelle Jones, Season 2

Donyelle had this light about her when she danced, and it made for a compelling routine every time she took the stage, eventually finishing in third place. She and frequent partner Benji (who went on to win) were like my OTP back in the day, but alas, she married her longtime boyfriend, and he turned out to be gay. Oh well.

Hok Konishi, Sesaon 3

Hok tried out in season 2, nearly made it to top 20, but since he’s originally from England, he wasn’t able to get a visa. He tried out again for season 3 and ended up landing in 7th place.

Joshua Allen, Season 4

Ok, so Joshua is a hip hop dancer. However clearly in this audition, he has so much potential that it’s clear why he won season four. I mean, that Russian? Hello? Where did you come from?

Ellenore Scott, Season 6

Ah, season six. Otherwise known as the ‘lost season.’ This season was overlooked by many, because for some reason, FOX and show producers decided to air it in the fall of 2009, right after the summer season had ended. Rude. But Ellenore was one of the best from S6, and made it to the top four.

Billy Bell, Season 7

Billy made it to the top 20 on season 6, but had to drop out because of a mysterious illness. Because the judges loved him so much, they allowed him to come back for season 7, and placed 6th. Also, season 7 was the one where they were all dropping like flies, because Alex Wong got hurt and Ellen DeGeneres replaced him, Ashley Galvan was also injured and forced to leave the competition and all-star Allison hurt something too. Dropping like flies.

Lauren Froderman, Season 7

LoFro! The winner of S7 came into the auditions not really prepared and went on a whim, and it worked out well for her.

Melanie Moore, Season 8

Another one of my faves, she is so elegant and sharp and bubbly all at the same time.

Kyre Batiste, Season 8

Ok, but how cute is this guy. AND his grandma!

Amber Williams, Season 8

Amber didn’t make it too far, but all I can say is FIERCE. I’m sure she’s doing well even without SYTYCD on her resume.

Leroy Martinez, Season 9

One of the most inspirational auditions ever, Leroy was just a bundle of joy and I wanted to hug him through the TV screen.

Cyrus Spencer, Season 9

Cyrus ‘Glitch’ Spencer: Real life robot? Probably. He did make it all the way to the final 4, so possibly not human.

Eliana Girard, Season 9

Damnnn girl, those legs! Ballerina Eliana became the first co-winner along with Chechon, and totally deserved it.

Ninja Twins, Season 9

“We consider ourselves socialites of LA. We’re like the Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie… but we’re broke.” Hilarious.

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ICYMI: Thank God It’s 90s Hair

*Raise your hand if you were personally victimized by The Rachel when you were a teen.*

Celebrating The Rachel, On The 20th Anniversary Of Its Death

The Rachel is dead.

Long live The Rachel.

Jennifer Aniston’s choppy shag – the biggest boon to the round brush industry to date – met its end by Season 3 of Friends. That means that right now, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Rachel’s death.

I think that to avoid looking too dated or silly, you should avoid any haircut with a first name (unless that name is bob. Pretty classic). But in 1996, America couldn’t resist the curled-under layers of Jennifer Aniston’s bouncy ‘do.

In the years since The Rachel died, Aniston has been pretty vocal about the cut:

Like anyone who has tried to curl their ends with a blowdryer while twirling a brush with the other hand, Jennifer hated styling her haircut. In 2011, she went so far as to call it “the ugliest haircut I have ever seen.”  My favorite part: stylist Chris McMillan was (allegedly) high when he created the style. “Stoned out of his mind,” Aniston said.

Okay, but was the Rachel really that bad? Let’s take a look-see.


But Jennifer wasn’t the only 90s star with on point hair. See: Deej Tanner. I def had her hairstyle too. “The DJ” never really caught on, though.

Full House Of Style

Michelle Tanner, fashion maven, is apparently too busy to live in a row house with >10 other people. At least, that’s the party line for why the youngest Tanner will not be appearing on Fuller House. Like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Michelle is a fashion designer living the high life in New York City. Is this really surprising? We’ve already covered Ashley Olsen’s statement that Michelle’s wardrobe was made of cut-down designer pieces. Michelle wore a lot of sunflower hats, giant buttons, and clown sweatshirts, but it was the 80s and 90s. Who are we to say the top designers weren’t going a little overboard on the whimsy?

In the spirit of Michelle Tanner, Fashion Icon, we’re going to look at how the other Tanner girls were dressed back in the day — taking it back to one of our OTHER favorite 90s shows, House of Style.

D.J.

Country Goose D.J.

In 1987, those unfortunate mall bangs and shoulder pads hadn’t trickled down to Donna Jo Margaret Tanner. Deej wore washed-out pastels, simple t-shirts, and comfy sweats. Bangs were decidedly non-teased, and hair was worn long and probably un-permed. Remember when we discussed those weird geese in bonnets that were popular in 80s and 90s home decor? This is how a woman with ‘country geese’ in her house would dress her 11-year-old daughter. There’s nothing here that Candace Cameron (Bure) should find embarrassing: for an 80s kid, she is getting off very easy.

Chunky Sweater D.J.

Let’s call this D.J.’s transitional look. Not the pastel little-girl style of the first season, but not a full-out teeny bopper, either. Chunky knit sweaters weren’t JUST for teachers at Christmastime in the late 80s. It was a way to add some humor and color into those crisp Bay Area winters, I guess.

Woman Of The 80s D.J.

Like most of us, D.J. had some awkward fashion years around middle school. Unlike most of us, D.J.’s character was going through a ’13-year-old Cathy comic’  phase where she was basically a middle-aged woman. Sometime around junior high, Deej started dressing like a high-powered woman of the 80s, except that she was a child. Her hair was permed and teased, as was the style of the time. She wore a lot of vests that she didn’t have to be wearing. There were bright-toned blazers with some very of- the-moment Michael Jackson-style epaulets.

Laura (Kate and) Ashley (Olsen) D.J.

Dainty florals and schoolmarm chic were popular and – am I losing it? – kind of cute for a while. I just looked at these dresses and thought “wow, that is refreshingly age-appropriate,” so don’t worry, if I ever have a daughter she’s definitely gonna hate me when she’s a teenager.

Seattle D.J.

Deej went to high school, got a boyfriend, loosened up, and started wearing flannels. Which, during this particular era, was more universal and not like a subversive Seattle grunge thing.

Mid-90s Seventeen Magazine D.J.

As in, she looks just like the girls in the copies of Seventeen magazine I used to sneak-read when my sister got them in 1995. This was that fun Clueless era when mod accents, A-line silhouettes and athletic influences made teen fashion its own category. Deej favored slouchy faded-wash jeans and bodysuits for casual wear and short but not mini-short skirts when dressing up. Plus Candace Cameron got that cute bob and started to look like a trendy college girl instead of a goofy sitcom kid.

Stephanie

Adorable Moppet Stephanie

In the first few years, when Michelle was strictly in nonspeaking baby territory, Stephanie was the resident cute little kid. And she was GOOD at it: I remember watching reruns with friends in college, and all of us being stunned because little Jodie Sweetin actually had great delivery and timing. Early on, costumers played up the adorable little kid angle. They kept Stephanie in the same pastels and unteased hair as D.J., when at this point in the 80s there were a lot of loud prints and weird bangs going on in the outside world.

Foreman Of The Sass Factory Stephanie

Stephanie got older, and the Full House writers got more and more obsessed with catch phrases. They established Stephanie as the household sass. Jodie Sweetin got to rock a lot more neon patterns and weird prints, plus she got a perm.

Trendy Tween Stephanie

The perm came down and the bangs came up, and it became clear that Stephanie was the cool one in the family. Stephanie really got to shine as the aspiring young hip hop dancer that she was.

Bad Girl Stephanie

By the 7th season, Deej was too much of a 13-year-old Cathy Comic to give her many ‘edgy’ teen storylines (I mean, the time Jesse thought she was drinking and she wasn’t, I guess?). Michelle was now the cute kid. That mean that Stephanie had to be the ‘rebel.’ You can tell because she went to make-out parties, hung out with strange boys at the food court, didn’t practice for the talent show and wore a midriff-baring top.

ICYMI: That’s Not Even a Word!!

The fact that Alaia is one of the fastest rising baby names of 2015 just affirms we’re living in the 1990s again. And I guess I’m not totally mad about it?

The Fastest Rising Baby Names of 2015 (And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2028)

They’re finally here: the top 1000 baby names of 2015 in the United States! What, you DON’T wait for this news all year? The standard caveats:

  • This is the official Social Security compilation of births registered in the US. Any of the US-based 2015 lists you saw before now were collected from baby name websites and were based on what the website users were naming their kids OR what names people were looking up, but not necessarily using.
  • When we talk about the “fastest rising names,” these are the ones that have made the biggest leap in the past year. Usually a few news outlets will treat the fastest rising names like they’re the most popular, even though they are given to comparatively few children. We didn’t work out the data ourselves: the lists came from the incredible Baby Names Blog.
  • I don’t dislike any of these names. Except for names like Adolph or Lucifer, or that don’t follow the rules of spelling or pronunciation in any language, I don’t think there are “bad names.”
  • Whether you give your kid a top 10 name or a name given to only 10 kids in the whole country, whether you pick a fastest rising name or a fastest falling name, there’s a good chance they’ll grow to hate it by age 13, because 13 year olds are the worst version of humanity.

We looked at 2013 and 2014, so now, let’s examine why your kid will hate today’s fastest rising baby names of 2015 by the time they’re 13 in 2028:

Girl Names

Adaline

If you think this type of name has been popular for a while now, you’re right. There’s the super-popular Addison and its many spelling variations. There’s Adalyn, spelled myriad ways. There’s also Adeline, which is basically the same thing as Adaline, just with an E. Plus Adalie (again, spellings abound) and my personal favorite of the Ad- names, Adelaide. The result: although only Addison appears near the top of the charts, taken in total it “adds” up to a whole lot of girls with similar-sounding names. So is your Adaline (lovely name, by the way!) going to grow up annoyed that, despite your careful choice of a name that isn’t too popular or too weird, she’s one of several Addies in her Brownie troop?

In a word, no. Your irrational 13-year-old Adaline will be annoyed when, after years of begging for an American Girl doll, she receives Addy because it has her name… when she really, truly had her heart set on Josefina. Nobody ever said tweens made sense. But also, just ask any millennial which American Girl doll she wanted but never got. She’ll remember.

Alaia

Alaia follows the recent trend of liquid, vowel-packed girl names: three syllables and only a single consonant in the pack. You might not know any Alaias, but you’ve probably run into an Amaya, Anaya, Ayana, Aliyah, Amara, Aria, Ariana, Aubriana, etc etc etc. So how could a little girl grow to hate a name that’s right on-trend? By entering the world of middle school, which can turn the sweetest child into a door-slamming teen who says things like “I didn’t ask to be born” when you deny her request for Abercrombie jeans (I’m predicting that in 2028, early 2000s fashion is back and so is distressed Abercrombie low-rise denim). When she and her friends begin watching Clueless at sleepovers, her nickname quickly becomes “A-what-a.” Hey, don’t say you didn’t see it coming when your custom Instagram hashtag for her as a baby was #ThisIsAnAlaia.

Aitana

Aitana, a name I’ve never heard before, is pretty. And like Alaia, it follows the starts in A, ends in A trend. Apparently it was used by a pair of Mexican actors in 2014 and comes from the Spanish mountain range Sierra de Aitana. There’s no GOOD reason to dislike such a perfectly nice name with a beautiful origin… but there’s a bad reason, and a 13 year old will find it. How were you to know your Aitana would have an early growth spurt and furiously demand to know “why you named me after a MOUNTAIN?”


Annddd then there are names that are so ridiculous you’re convinced the parents didn’t even think it through and picked a random word from the dictionary. Like Zooey Deschanel’s daughter Elsie OTTER? Otter. Ok.

Ten Words That Sound Like Celebrity Baby Names

A universe without absurd celebrity baby names would be like a universe without circus peanuts. Some people adore them, some people abhor them, but the world would be a little less sweet — yet fully operational — without them.

I have compiled a list of words that sound like celebrity baby names, because that’s just the kind of lady I am. Note that all of these were chosen based on sound and spelling, not meaning.

Update: As of June 2013, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their baby North West. Obviously, they’ve taken the “words that sound like celebrity baby names” thing to heart.

  • Rayon (Boy. It will go on to widespread use among commoners. After a few years, a celeb will use it on a girl to be “edgy.” The Internet will be divided about that.) [Ed. note: A not-so-secret secret here at C+S is that we write/queue our posts up to a month in advance. A few weeks after I wrote this, this post appeared: a (non-celeb) Rayon already exists in the UK! I don’t want you all to feel scammed, so I’m adding a bonus eleventh name at the end of the list.]
  • Peplum (Girl. The mother is quirky and British or French. They call her Peppy.)
  • Cavalry (Girl. She will be aptly and unfortunately horse-faced.)
  • Madrina (Girl. The mother will explain that she is “named after my godmother.”)
  • Loafer (Boy. The mom will refer to him as Lo in interviews (in which she never shuts up about him.))
  • Gradient (Boy. It will go on to mass appeal with parents who like Grady but want “something more formal.” These are the same people who name their boys Brentson and Troyton but only ever plan to call them Brent and Troy.)
  • Attaché (Girl. An aging rocker’s child with a much younger woman. They will insist on calling her Che, but she will become Attie once she’s old enough to have opinions.)
  • Avarice (Girl. Looks like Ava + Alice + Beatrice, all of which are already “in” these days. I bet someone somewhere has already done this.)
  • Aril (Unisex. Starts as a boy name but becomes a popular misspelling of Ariel. Aril and Lira become a trendy twin name duo.)
  • Carton (Boy. With Carter, Carson, and names ending in -on as popular as they are, I’m surprised and disappointed that nobody has done this yet.)
  • Answer (Unisex. The parents will already have a kid with a word name, like Ever or Story — believe it or not, there are already 2 celebrity babies with each of those names. Names starting with A are popular, and it starts with Ann, which is a name, so I don’t even think this is too off-base. The parents will have some cheesy explanation for the name, like “She is the answer to our prayers!” or “Whenever he is questioning something, he only has to look to himself for the answer.” )

ICYMI: We Like Aaron Tveit

I couldn’t even come up with a good title for this post. It’s just that simple. Aaron played Roger in another life (another day) and TBH he’s one of the best ones I’ve seen in Rent. Who would we pair him up with? Read on.

No Shame Playing The Fame Game: A Rent Dream Cast

When Rent was originally developed off-Broadway in 1995, the cast was comprised of both newbies and veteran actors, but the one thing they all had in common was talent. Adam Pascal, much like Roger, was an aspiring rocker when he stumbled across the audition for Rent. He had never really done musical theater before – in fact, the blocking for One Song Glory in which he goes back and forth from a table was designed specifically so he could look at pages of the script to rememeber his lines. Meanwhile, his co-star Anthony Rapp had already made his Broadway debut 15 years prior to taking the Nederlander stage.

And over the past two decades, casting for Rent in productions around the world have followed the same formula. You get a handful of “Adams” (Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pals Karen Olivo and Leslie Odom Jr.) and “Anthonys” (Neil Patrick Harris, Mel B, Joey Fatone).

With all this talent floating around for the past 20 years, I got to thinking what a production would look like if I put the best of the best together in one dream cast. Let me tell you it’s harder than it seems, just because so many people have come and gone in these iconic roles over the past two decades. I will say that I tried to not use OBC members since they’re lit’rally on a different level (I mean, just look at these bbs at the ’96 Tony Awards), so here are some of my faves who have been to Alphabet City and were the best to tell the epic story of Rent.

Skyler Astin as Mark Cohen and Aaron Tveit as Roger Davis

Every year, the folks at the Hollywood Bowl pick a musical to present for one weekend in the summer, and it’s usually a star-studded affair. They’ve done Hairspray, Spamalot, and this year they’re doing A Chorus Line, but in 2010, Neil Patrick Harris (who played Mark in a ’97 national tour) was put in charge as the director of Rent. And he managed to get a super talented cast on board – Wayne Brady (Collins), Vanessa Hudgens (Mimi), Nicole Scherzinger (Maureen), and Gwen Stewart, who reprised her role from the OBC as the soloist in Seasons of Love. But the real highlight was a pre-Pitch Perfect and post-Next to Normal Aaron Tveit as Mark and Roger, respectively. This duo alone made me immediately purchase a ticket (again, one of the eight times I’ve seen Rent). Both Aaron and Skyler are amazing singers and Broadway vets, so commanding an audience of 17,000 in an outdoor amphitheater is no small feat, but both got the job done and done well. They were perfectly cast and also had good chemistry between themselves, which bodes well as the core of the Rent family. I think I passed out during What You Own.

Renee Elise Goldsberry as Mimi Márquez

Before she was looking for a mind at work, Renee Elise Goldsberry was looking for a light and her stash of heroin in Rent. The goddesss that we all know and love from Hamilton was the last person to play Mimi on Broadway when it closed in 2008. Renee played her version of Mimi as sexy, cool, and vulnerable all at the same time, and of course had the pipes to back it up. I also managed to see the final Broadway run (2 of 8, #humblebrag) and when I stage doored the cast, I legit have a picture that’s currently up on Facebook of a pic of Renee posing for a picture *with someone else that’s not me* and the caption reads, “renee … something or other. she played mimi. she was also on one life to live.” Oh 2008 Traci. Little did you know.

Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins

Ok, here’s one of two exceptions I made with the OBC. It’s hard to imagine anyone doing as good a job as Jesse L. Martin did with Collins. Few have come close, but I don’t think anyone’s been able to capture the same heart and sorrow Jesse conveyed as Collins. And separately, Jesse is a fantastic actor, while also an astounding singer, and no where else does this come through the best than when he sings the I’ll Cover You reprise. There hasn’t been a time I’ve watched him sing this where I haven’t cried.


Hey remember when Tveit was in Les Mis (the movie)? PS: Did you see this video of him singing a tune from Catch Me If You Can with Kerry Butler this week? It will give you feels.


Ugly Cry & CGI Waists: Live Blogging Les Miserables

We saw Les Mis and took notes during the movie, because we’ll do anything to become internet famous. Obvi there are spoilers ahead, but in our defense, this musical’s been out for 25 years.

T: The Overture is playing and I’m already fighting the urge to sing along.

M: Just me, or do the first chords of the overture sound like the beginning of Beauty and the Beast, another beloved musical set in 19th century France? I am now composing a mental mash up: “Little town, it’s a quiet village (At the end of the day you’re another day older), Every day like the one before (And that’s all you can say in the life of the poor).” Works pretty well.

T: A straggler walks up the stairs next to us wearing an ugly Christmas sweater (non-ironically); reminds me I’m in the suburbs where people actually do that.

M: Okay, SO funny Traci should mention that, because I made a mental note to ask her whether she’s missed Western NY fashions and coiffure. [My physical note, however, simply read “THIS SWEATER.”]

T: Wondering if Hugh Jackman’s gnarly beard is real. It looks like a grey Brillo pad.

M: Why does Valjean have an accent out of a 1950s western? This shit is getting rhotic

T: Note to self: Look up the ginge Foreman in the factory where Fantine works, looks famil.

T: Alright. I had my doubts about Princess Diaries when I saw the first trailer, but seeing her in I Dreamed a Dream is basically why she deserves all the awards. This also marks the first time I teared up.

M: Anne Hathaway is one of the most phenomenal ugly criers I’ve seen. I hope that is taken as the compliment that it is. Her crying deserves its own blog post. (T note: Don’t worry guys, it’s coming)

“If I don’t get an Oscar for this, I swear to God…”

T: Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are on point as Madame and Monsieur Thenardier. Except Cohen’s accent is questionable, pretty sure I heard Borat sneaking in there.

M: I am just confused. Why is Sacha Baron Cohen being allowed to do what I assume is supposed to be a French accent? See, this is why most movies set in non-anglophone countries just make everyone sound vaguely British: consistency. And so accents like this don’t happen.

T: So here’s the thing with going into a movie-musical adaptation with knowledge of the music so well: you can’t help but go in comparing the new version to the original. In this case I’d say everyone made it their own… Except Russell Crowe. This was especially evident during Stars. His performance was mediocre at most, and felt flat the entire time. It was like a high school student singing in his chorus concert. This number is supposed to be the first breakout song for Javert, a song that expresses his desire to hunt down JVJ, but it felt like Russell was just trying to focus on hitting the notes. And everyone knows he’s a good actor, but it just did not show at all in the movie. If you want to see a real version of Stars, watch Phillip Quast.

M: I am getting so much secondhand vertigo from Javert walking on this ledge. I feel like I’m going to sympathy puke like I’m in third grade and the teacher has just brought out that vomit-muffling sawdust. Also I see what you’re doing here, Les Mis.

T: Fun fact: Nick Jonas of Selena Gomez’s ex-bf played Gavroche on Broadway when he was a little kid. He went on to play Marius in the west end production in 2011, where Samantha Barks, who plays Eponine in the movie, also played Eponine to Nicky’s Marius. They both were in the 25th anniversary concert production which I remember watching and felt second hand embarrassment for Nick J, even though I love him (no shame).

M: No wait. Just wait. The kids are all so Cockney that I think Cosette’s going to tell Thenardier “please sir, I want some more” and call JVJ “gov’nah.” What sort of Parisian United Nations is this supposed to take place in? Let’s make it easy: BBC accents for rich people, chav-speak for poor people.

T: AARON TVEIT!!!! I seriously forget every time that Aaron is in Les Mis as rev leader Enjorlas. To theater nerds, you know who he is. To everyone else, you may recognize him as Trip Archibald, Nate’s politician cousin that seduced Serena in Gossip Girl. Or as I know him, a smokeshow Broadway singer that I’m in love with.

M: This anachronistic hair is killing me! Who would have cut Eponine’s side bangs for her? That’s pretty high maintenance for someone who likely would have bathed about as often as she celebrated Christmas.

T: Can someone explain to me why Samantha Barks is so so tiny?! Corset probably? Or like that ancient Chinese foot banding thing but for her waist?

M: God Christ Jesus, Samantha Barks’s waist was achieved with CGI… Right? Mother of God there is no hope for the rest of us.

CGI, yes?

T: Can someone also explain to me why I found Hugh Jackman attractive while he was wearing his Seinfeld puffy shirt and lederhosen??

M: I have grown so old that I can’t sit one way for 20 minutes without my knees hurting. I bet this is super distracting to the people behind me. I mean I hope it is, this girl has kicked my seat back at least once a musical number.

M: My notes during On My Own read “Joey Potter.” I meant this. Holmes killed it. She made that song die.

T: Oh hey, remember that time when my favorite (least favorite) Taylor Swift was almost cast as Eponine? Really dodged a bullet with that one.

M: New blog post: Les Mis songs as written by Taylor Swift? “She wears hoop skirts, I wear corsets, She’s petit bourgeois, I’m just a street kid…”.

M: Are these ridiculously attractive young men representative of what Frenchmen look like? I don’t remember seeing so many handsome gents when I went there, but if someone can confirm I may have to go back.

M: I was cringing the second Gavroche began singing Little People. Don’t even start, lil buddy! It’s not going to go great.

T: Pretty sure I heard somebody snoring during Empty Chairs.

T: Eddie Redmayne tho. WTG.

T: Something I’ve never thought about before: why was it so easy for Cossette and Marius to fall in love after making googly eyes at each other and signing a duet through a cast iron fence? I’m available to do that with a suitor at any time.

M: Why is only Eponine’s face wet? Little fall of rain, indeed.

M: Alright, there it goes on Marius.

M: Dude, no. Javert, no. Get off the ledge. I’m getting a headache.

T: JVJ’s death scene (kind of) verbatim:

JVJ : I can die now. I’m over this.

Fantine: Yes, come hang out with me and all these boys from the rev.

Cossette : No, don’t die. You can’t die.

JVJ: Yes I can.

Cossette: No you can’t!

JVJ: Yes I can, woman! Watch me. PS: Here’s a letter I wrote about my life because I couldn’t tell you when I had the chance.

JVJ dies.

T: Total times I cried: 4. Sounds about right.

M: Cried less than I thought! Like twice-ish. Little tears. I thought I was going to go full-Hathaway.

T: In case you were wondering: ginge foreman was no one. I’m not always right about these things.

M: Just so you know, a lot of people have been googling “Samantha Barks waist” and now I’m oddly concerned that she’ll find out and get self-conscious. Girl, ya look good. I mean she’s probably doing fine, right? Yeah.

ICYMI: CoaCHOWella

Does that title even work? No? Ok. Well kids, another Coachella comes to an end today, and my only regret is not going for the food.

Coachella Chows Down

While a lot of Angelenos made the exodus out to Indio/Palm Springs over the weekend, I happily spent #NoChella at home blogging, finishing Fuller House and stalking the significant others of Gilmore Girls actors on social media. Which activity is better ? Who’s to say?! However, during my Instagram and Twitter stalking, I also found out that apparently there has been a reason for me to go to Coachella all along, and that reason is food.

I’m not actually sure if these top notch food stands have been at thing at Coachella for forever, but thanks to social media and the Internet, I know now. In my mind, Coachella is a sea of people on top of a mound of dirt in hot hot heat (not the band) and living on port-a-potties and mediocre pizza. Apparently only some of that is factual.

This year, the fest features 40 different vendors + pop-ups + three full-service restaurants. Suprisingly fancy, no? Basically, the Coachella food line-up is made up of a handful of the trendiest and most popular restaurants in Los Angeles that make the journey to the trendiest and most popular music festival in the U.S. and set up shop. If you’ve ever wanted to know what the food culture is like in LA, Coachella represents it well. First of all, you have a variety of different cuisines available to you that aren’t just funnel cakes and turkey legs. Second, a lot of those cuisines take traditional dishes and modernize them with another genre – e.g. Canadian Poutine with Indian Chicken Tikka Masala (see below) or comfort foods with a “California flare” – e.g. ice cream in a “milky bun” (see below).

However, the main requirement for cool food in LA is that it’s super Instagrammable because if no one posts pictures on Instagram of Coachella, does Coachella even exist? Here are just a few of the foods that took over Insta during Weekend 1, and prepare to feel FOMO for a festival based on food alone.

Ice Cream

Here’s said ice cream – a milky bun is a product of Afters Ice Cream, where they take the ice cream of your choice, add a topping, and put it inside a modified glazed donut. Then they put it through some kind of top secret iron which makes the bun warm but keeps the ice cream cold because it’s literal magic they’re making.

The #MilkyBun invades @coachella ! 📷: @dailyfoodfeed

A post shared by Afters Ice Cream 🍦 12pm-12am (@aftersicecream) on

Vegan

My favorite part about vegan foodstagrams is trying to figure out just how much of it looks truly edible

Korean

LA’s Koreatown is a hot spot for foods and late night entertainment, so it’s no surprise Korean BBQ and bibimbap made its way to Coachella Valley.

Live from Coachella 🌴🍜🎶detective @nicoloportunato will be sharing some of the best #eeeeeats #FOODETECTION

A post shared by The Food Detective (@the_food_detective) on

Burgs

Still don’t know why this bun is red, but given the amount of burger joints in SoCal, you have to stand out somehow.

Can't miss this at @coachella ! #gdbroburger | 📷: @goodeatzco

A post shared by Food Network – S6 TGFTR (@gdbroburger) on

Fries

All the fries. All the toppings. All the time.


In addition to the food, there’s another thing we kinda wish we saw in person. Here’s what the hipsters wore last year. Did your faves top these outfits this year?

Coachella 2015 Fashion Wrap-Up

It doesn’t seem like a desert music festival – where people willingly subject themselves to sleeping in tents and peeing in porta potties – could house a fashion oasis. But sometimes, Coachella is just that. The festival is also home to its fair share of fashion missteps, but as a two-weekend event in which people can wear whatever they want without impunity, it may not always be pretty but it’s always interesting.

Jaden Smith

I don’t have a younger brother, but I do have Jaden Smith and that’s basically the same thing. Whether I’m shaking my head over his scrunchy forehead poop face or illustrating his grandiose philosophical musings, I can’t help but get a kick out of that little scamp. He has all of the youthful self-importance of Justin Bieber, but it’s less annoying because unlike Bieber he seems to at least have a good heart. Or any heart. Jaden’s latest exploit: wearing a kicky floral frock and a lush red flower crown at Coachella. Can we retire flower crowns from music festivals now? Because we have already established who wore it best once and for all, and it’s Jaden Smith.

Beyonce

LOL no just kidding, Jaden Smith didn’t wear the flower crown best. Beyonce did – and that’s no insult to Jaden, it’s just that anything that Beyonce wears, she probably looks better than everyone else in. That’s why her t-shirt reads “Go Burn Your Flower Crown.” With denim shorts and natural makeup, it’s like Beyonce is playing dress-up as a regular civilian.

Nicki Minaj

So apparently, those are plaid shorts with a faux plaid shirt sewn around the waist. It reminds me of those cardigans with the built-in half camisole I used to wear in 1998, or those skorts with the shorts attached to the skirt. Except Nicki Minaj is wearing it instead of 12-year-old me, so it looks cool. Note Nicki’s take on the once-ubiquitous feather headdress (ugh): a giant feather crown.

Joshua Jackson

Pacey Witter is wearing the same hat my dad always wears, and that feels weird to me. It’s also the hat that is ceremoniously bestowed at age 16 on American men who are really into people thinking that they have Irish heritage. Also pictured: Diane Kruger and Nina Dobrev. Yeah, they all just look like regular people in normal clothes. Let’s move along.

 Katy Perry

What I love about this is that the loose, billowy fabric is probably great in this weather, as is the slicked-down hair: I can’t even look at Coachella pictures without feeling like I’m losing a fight with the frizz-monster. Besides, she has such a pretty face (sorry, I’m your grandma) and it’s nice to have her hair out of it. Those sandals look great too. The choker is really fun but in the Indio heat, having metal clamped right against your neck might be a bit unpleasant. Anyone want to take bets on how often her train got stepped on?

John Mayer

Listen closely. You hear that? It’s my 17-year-old self, weeping. I want to draw your attention to the gentleman to the left. That’s how my face is right now.

Whitney Port

In the early 90s, the ladies’ pajama departments of stores like Ames and T.J. Maxx used to run ads with ladies in long, billowing nightgowns. They’d often be looking dreamy near a window or on a porch swing. They usually had long blonde hair in a french braid with meticulously curled-under wispy bangs. This is the exact nightgown they were wearing. It looks cute on her, though.

 The Kardashian-Jenner Sisters

I don’t know which Kardashian sisters are which. I mean, I know which one Khloe is. And I know which two are really Jenners, although I can’t tell one Jenner from the other. And I say this as someone who gets annoyed that none of my distant relatives or parents’ friends can tell me apart from my sister. So anyway, here are both Jenners and Khloe Kardashian (the one I can identify). They are wearing outfits I would hate sweating in. The far left Jenner will have some rough tan lines this week. I am very happy to see that they’re all confirming that ankle booties are still in though!

Florence Welch

Florence Welch sported the most badass accessory of the festival: a freshly broken foot. She fractured it leaping off stage, but carried on like the, well, machine that she is. Aside from the foot, she kept things loose and light-colored, perfect for a festival that, as we’ve said, seems really uncomfy to both of us.

FKA Twigs

Between this and the Jenner, I guess the in thing is dressing like Princess Leia when she was enslaved by Jabba the Hutt. Twigs is so pretty, though. Better her than me, having to represent this trend. Bless.She also wore this, which is interesting and probably lovely, but I can’t find a clear picture of it. Sculpted baby hairs haven’t been this in since the late 90s.

Rosie Huntington-Whitely

This is probably the most ladylike anybody has or will ever look at Coachella.

The Jenners, Again

These gals don’t look bad, per se. They just look like teenagers having fun at Coachella. But man, do I wish those hot pants that look like saggy diapers would go away.

Rihanna

When I was in my early makeup wearing years, I remember reading that you should not match your lipstick or your eyeshadow to your outfit, because that’s tacky. Rihanna probably read that same advice as a youngster, then realized that she’s Rihanna and she is wearing a full-length purple fur coat and she can put whatever the heck she wants on her lips.

Jourdan Dunn

These heavy metallic necklaces are  really making me cringe. Also did Coach just set a bunch of models loose at Coachella with their bags as some sort of viral marketing? Also, do you think I would look more like Jourdan Dunn or Rosie Huntington-Whitely if I were carrying a Coach bag??

Hozier

It’s like they always say. You can take the man out of Ireland… but he’s still going to wear some rumply brown stuff and like 5 layers. Also, Aaron Paul. I’m not sure what his hair is doing, but I don’t really need to know.

 

ICYMI: R.I.P. Titanic

The Titanic sank 104 years ago this week, but apparently we’re not over it.

It’s Not 1912: Let’s All Decorate In A Titanic Theme

If you went through the throes of Titanic Mania, and were a tween or young teen, at some point the thought occurred to you: what if my bedroom looked like a Titanic stateroom?

And while “doomed to a watery grave” isn’t maybe the BEST decorating style, a cottage industry arose from that very dream. On this, the 104th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, let’s all decorate in a Titanic theme.

Titanic Duvet

On the other, you could emblazon your bedding with the image of the vessel that carried thousands to their deaths. FUNSIES.

But like the MAIN THING about Titanic is how it sank, right? So let’s up the ante:

You remember the part with the giant sloth right?

Why Not Just Put An Entire Boat In There?

If you’re really serious about your Titanic themed bedroom, you would put an entire boat in there:

This was called a Titanic bedroom even if it does look more pirate-y to me. Also: COOL BEDROOM.

I believe in this scenario, the sleeping child is the iceberg.


While these modern rooms seem a little crazy, remember the height of the Titanic hoopla in 1998 when we all collectively went OVERBOARD with the obsession?

Remember Titanic Mania? That Was Weird, Right?

103 years ago today, the Titanic met its tragic fate. And 17 years ago today, we were all being tacky as hell. The Titanic craze of 1997-1998 was unlike any media phenomenon I’ve experienced before or since, both in how pervasive and fanatical it was, and also in that we all sort of acted super questionable.

Let’s recap a bit in case you’ve forgotten about Titanic Mania, were too young for it, or just weren’t paying attention. First, the Titanic sank. It was 1912 and a lot of people died and it was, of course, very sad. Fast forward 80-some years to late 1997. James Cameron directed a giant historical epic about the event, starring teen sensations Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. That’s when things got weird.

For as long as cinema has existed, we haven’t been able to resist portraying real-life tragedies on-screen. Want to guess how long the first Titanic movie was released after the sinking? 29 days. Not even a full month, unless the month was February, which of course it wasn’t because every mid-90s tween has the date “April 15, 1912” etched onto their soul. There were actually three Titanic movies released in 1912 alone, so it’s not like I think that James Cameron’s Titanic was unusually iffy.

The way we all reacted to that movie though – that’s what was weird. We just lost it. Keep in mind, this was a movie about a real-life disaster, and survivors were even still alive at the time. You’d think we would have maintained a bit of decorum, or solemnity, or SOMETHING, but that sunken boat became a pop culture figure along the lines of Mickey Mouse or Rocky.

Real.

We had reasons, sort of. We were both obsessed, but we were also in sixth grade. It was the beginning of being interested in “grown-up” romances instead of kid stuff, making it much more touching and serious. I was rewatching Titanic a few years ago – mind you, I could rewatch Titanic in my brain any time I wanted because I still have it memorized thanks to that two-cassette pack I got for my 12th birthday – anyway, it jumped out at me that Rose and Jack had known each other for, like, four days max. They had all the emotional investment of a one-night stand. No wonder Old Rose hadn’t mentioned the story to her family. “I’m really sad about this guy I went out Irish Dancing with one time then banged in a car and he died 80 years ago?” Get a grip, Grams.

You know, like most randos you hooked up with when you were 17.

Even though Rose and Jack were two teenagers creating the 1912 version of nude selfies, in 1998 they represented a long-gone era of decorum. The winter all of the news stations were focused on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, we wanted stories about ladies and gentlemen. Maybe that was why even people over the age of 15 lost their cool. But what happened next… I don’t have an excuse for that.

It’s like this. Liking a movie about a horrific tragedy is pretty normal. Holding themed club nights about the tragedy is not. It’s not just that Titanic sold a lot of tickets. Here are some of wacky things that we did during Titanic mania:

  • You could buy reproductions of Rose’s Heart Of The Ocean necklace, a gift for a teen girl’s forced arranged marriage that she got painted in naked one time. If memory serves, the ads ran in USA Weekend for months, maybe years.
  • A local (Rochester, NY) club held “Titanic night” which sounds like an evening when a massive code violation results in the death of hundreds. Commercials played on our top 40 station, but I’ll never know what happened at Titanic Night because I was 11.

    You can still visit a Titanic club somewhere.

  • JC Penney sold t-shirts depicting the aforementioned teen bride and a boy who’s days away from death by freezing.

    It is a shirt with a dying man on it.

  • The Titanic soundtrack was a best-seller, and a follow-up soundtrack was even released. It was the first and only time in my life that it was really cool that I’m a good tin whistle player. Teens everywhere queued up fiddle music and Edwardian novelty songs (Come Josephine In My Flying Machine, anyone?), sat on our bedspreads, and had a good cry about the souls when went down with the ship.
  • That damn Celine Dion song. Everywhere. All the time. My favorite was the version where they interspersed clips of dialog into the song. There was also a club remix, which probably was played at that club’s Titanic Night.
  • Everyone had that one friend who saw the movie something like 13 times in the theater. This led to the film staying at the top of the box office for 15 straight weeks. I know this because I checked the box office reports every week to make sure Titanic was still at its rightful place.
  • In a pre-tumblr world, you would log onto Lycos and find AngelSites and GeoCities pages about the movie and the boat. I bet if you added up all the time I’ve spent on the internet in my life, a big chunk of it was spent trawling those sites. Most included a tinny midi file of My Heart Will Go On.
  • Just about every magazine launched a “Special Collector’s Issue” about the movie.
  • Titanic vacations allowed rich people to see a shipwreck/mass grave site up close. I wished I could be so rich.
  • The New York Times book list was full of books about Titanic, including then-50-year-old A Night To Remember and a nonfiction, full-color book about the making of the movie. Yeah, I checked the book charts weekly, too.
  • Kids threw “Titanic Parties.” Kids are stupid and the parties were tacky, including 11-year-old girls – commonly known to be the worst type of human – screaming “I’m The King Of The World!” throughout the graveyard where the frozen bodies of Titanic victims had been buried.

    SINKING SHIP WATERMELON BOWL. The grapes represent dead humans? But props to this mom for just being like “you want a Titanic party? Whatever. I’ll make lifeboat cupcakes.” I bet she’s fun.

  • It was also a popular prom theme… and you thought your prom was a disaster.
  • Websites popped up selling dress patterns so that you, too, could have the grace and panache of Rose Dewitt Bukater. I’m not ashamed to say that I would wear that swishy chiffon one right now.
  • In the area where sixth graders congregated before school, there was a massive snow-pile for the duration of the winter, as is typical of the North. What’s not typical is naming it after the iceberg that ultimately took the lives of thousands.
  • I won a game of charades by pantomiming Titanic.
  • Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, visited my school to kick off a science program, the JASON project. A lot of 10-year-olds were suddenly very into marine biology.

Long after the film was released, Titanic Mania has lingered. In 2012 you could attend a cruise above the underwater gravesite, which hosted a huge fete on the 100-year anniversary of the sinking. You can visit Pinterest to learn to bake a Titanic cake, and tumblr has every Caledon Hockley gif you ever wanted.  But make no mistake: Titanic mania could never happen in the uniquely, grotesquely weird way it did today. We move through our obsessions more quickly than that. And although individuals joked about the story, the high-level schmaltz that pervaded our culture just wouldn’t stand. There would be jokey memes within the first day of release, and a #waterygrave hashtag in a week. Titanic mania was a strange combination of sentimentality and cheese. It was freaking weird, and I loved it, and my heart will go on.

 

ICYMI: Meet Brit at the Crossroads

Get ready to feel old – it’s been 16 years since Britney’s Oops… I Did It Again! was released. If you’re feeling nostalgic, fellow AARP members, read on as we revisit one of Brit’s most iconic songs.

Happy Sweet 16, Oops… I Did It Again!

One of the most iconic teen pop songs of the early 2000s is now in its teen prime itself. This past weekend, Oops… I Did It Again turned Sweet Sixteen! (For you hardcore BritBits, that’s the song, not the album: it was released in May.) There are now full-blown, driving-eligible humans who were not even born yet when the single was released. In honor of the big(?) event, here are 16 facts about Oops… I Did It Again or Britney Jean Spears herself. I like to think of this as the point during MTV’s Super Sweet 16 (remember THAT?) where the girls would say what or whom each candle was for.

  1. According to the Britney Spears trading card I somehow ended up with as a teen (and which someone posted!), Brit’s favorite color was baby blue and she loved cookie dough ice cream. BTW, baby blue was THE trendy favorite color in 1998-2001. I believe Aaliyah liked it, too. Yet I can’t remember my bank password without answering where my parents met.

2. Britney followed up Oops… with Lucky, a song that was very deep and soulful according to me at age 13. It was about a girl named Lucky who cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart. It was clearly about Brit herself, I figured. 

3. You may think that starting a song title with “oops” is a wacky choice, but it was actually an early 2000s micro-trend: Oops (Oh My) by Tweet (feat. Missy Elliot) came out in 2002.

4. Ellipses, believe it or not, are slightly more popular. Classic children’s album Free to Be… You And Me aside, if you’re old enough to remember 2000 Britney, you’re old enough to remember the 90s songs Can I Touch You…There and Said I Loved You… But I Lied. Both are by Michael Bolton, who really did love a good ellipses.


I don’t know about you, but sometimes if I listen to one Brit song, I’ll end up listening to her entire discography and watch all the things she’s ever been in. And that includes the epic Shonda Rhimes-penned film, Crossroads.

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Crossroads

Okay, you know those movies and shows that everyone has seen, and when it comes up in conversation you just sort of nod and hope nobody asks you anything? I have a lot of those. The entire Godfather series, for example. I know. Anyway, we’re both out to tackle our pop culture blind spots and find out if the phenomenon we’ve missed out on are really all they’re cracked up to be.

Our first installment is a cinematic masterpiece that is the zenith of my generation’s teen entertainment. It stars Britney Spears and was written by a young Shonda Rhimes. And I’m pretty sure I’ve told like 5 people that I’ve seen it when it came up in conversation. That was a lie.

Ladies and gentlemen, Crossroads.

0:00 Not only have I refrained from seeing this movie since it came out in 2002, I have also been pushing it down our post queue for, like, two months. So I think a lot of our Pop Culture Blind Spots are movies, shows and albums that we’ve avoided because a still small voice said “another episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, why don’t we?”

1:00 Taryn Manning, Zoe Saldana, Shonda Rhimes? This was an incubator for stars of the future.

1:20 … and the past. Kool Mo Dee, anyone? [Edit – next morning: I cannot remember where or how Kool Mo Dee appeared in this movie.]

I have already had to pause this to laugh at the Brit Spears voice over.

1:40 The wardrobe department did a very good job on the 90s flashback jacket for young Zoe Saldana (Kit, but it sounds like Britney is saying Kid). It’s easy to picture “90s kids clothes” today, but when it was only a couple years after the fact it was hard to remember what has changed. Like, if you told me to dress a child like it’s 2007, I’d put it in …. an Obama Hope logo tee shirt? No clue.

By the way, young Britney is played by Jamie Lynn Spears, before her life and career went in a totally different direction. You could almost say she was …. at a crossroads.

2:20 There’s a time capsule. I’m hooked.

3:00 Oh thank God. Britney is singing again. Madonna’s Open Your Heart, which is really more suited to a televised mass wedding, to be honest.

3:51 BRIT IS THE VALEDICTORIAN. This is important.

4:10 PENNSATUCKY IS A PREGNANT TEEN. This is more important. I also am not sure how or when Taryn Manning became typecast as the redneck bad girl from the wrong side of the tracks, but she is so amazing at it.

OMG THIS FOREVER YES.

5:50 Why is Brit in a prom dress AFTER graduation? Do they do that in … is this Louisiana?

In my day (2 years after this movie was made) graduation night was the first chance you had to start never seeing most of those people ever again.

6:36 Britney Acting Range: Emotion #1: Pouty. She cries over missing out on high school stuff to become the valedictorian. When she says “I was like ‘is this it?'” you can almost see her straining to recall memorized dialogue.

7:23 They’re at some sort of fancy post-grad soiree. I forgot how shiny and pink 2002 was. Saldana is rocking the rows of twisted hair into a bun look. Sans butterfly clips, because it’s not 1999 here.

Reminiscent of the best Zoe Saldana role of all time, Eva in Center Stage.

10:30 Brit and her Nerdy Male Friend (Lucy and Henry, which sounds more like a preschool class in 2015 than a high school class in 2002) prepare to have sex for, presumably, the first time. There is a scarf strewn over a bedside lamp. Does anyone toss a scarf over a lamp before sex IRL? Anyone? Seems like a fire haz.

Henry, BTW, is Justin Long in his early career.

12:45 Pennsatucky fights with a guy with molded vertical Ken Doll hair.

14:38 The Time Capsule was so boring. Oh my god, so boring. They put in emblems of their hopes and dreams, which is exactly as not-interesting as it sounds. Saldana wanted to get married, Brit wanted to find her mom, and Pennsatucky wanted to get out of dodge.

Britney Acting Range: Emotion #2: Opening a box. Kind of neutral, but wouldn’t most of us be if we were opening such a boring-ass time capsule?

17:10 Brit calls her mom “mother” which gives me hope that things will turn Baby Jane/ Psycho / SOMETHING.

Yo remember those slim-fit rugby shirts we used to wear? I assume there’s a name for them.

That one shirt we all had.

19:40 Bucket hat. Trailer park. They’re going to LA.

21:32 You know those people who,when you’re singing in the car, try to ~show off and sing really good? Britney Spears is that person.

Saldana has those sunglasses with a shape in rhinestone decals. Those are Paige Michalchuk sunglasses.

25:40 Ben was in jail. Ben is the guy they’re driving to LA with. Never take rides from a stranger, friends. That’s how you get serial killed.

27:00 Saldana is rocking some yellow-gold eyeshadow that I also sported a lot c. 2002. I thought it made my blue eyes “pop” but I looked like a baby that needed to get put under those jaundice lights.

Also they’re buying Funyuns. Do people actually like those?

29:00 Dan Aykroyd wants Brit to come home. I have avoided mentioning that Dan Aykroyd was her father till now because it pains me.

31:10 Those shirts with the thin neck scarf thing attached! I had roughly the same top as Saldana has on.

32:18 Pennsatucky and Saldana fight. If anything is redeeming in this movie, it’s Taryn Manning. She is amazing.

Britney Spears Acting Range: Emotion #3: Frustration. Broken-down car on road trip.

35:55 The girls do a Karaoke performance to make money. I Love Rock n Roll. I forgot about that Britney Spears cover. Spears packed a crimper in their luggage, apparently; thank God. She also has one of those shirts where the writing on it is split open in front of her cleavage, and her underwear is a solid inch above her low-rise jeans. Okay. So I have adjusted to the 90s fashion revival, but it’s really going to sting when the early 2000s come back.

38:00 Did you ever notice that Britney changes the end of every word that ends in an “ee” sound into an “ay” sound? ‘He was with may.’ I think that must have been part of the Mickey Mouse Club training protocol, because the late 90s boy bands did that, too. Or is it a very specific accent native to the Oakwood?

43:00 The girls have a slumber party at the house from Pretty Baby.

I waited to add images til my lunch break, and I can’t look up Pretty Baby at work because… have you seen Pretty Baby? But Google it and you’ll see that the set design is 100% the same.

 

Child!Saldana went to fat camp. Is fat camp real? Has anyone been? Will you write a guest post? I’m dying to know more.

44:55: Britney Spears Acting Range: Emotion #4: Rue. Rue? Rueful? She’s bummed. Mom stuff.

You know what this movie is missing? The Shonda Rhimes cadence from Scandal. Where they all “talk like THIS, like.. they are reading a SLAAAM… poem.”

46:00 Wait, Pennsatucky is pregnant because she got date raped? This just got dark.

50:10 How many sing alongs do they have to do? I mean I know it’s a road trip movie… with Britney Spears in it… but I want to leave sing alongs to Man! I Feel Like A Woman on my high school tennis bus where they belong.

54:20 Car Owner Ben was arrested for helping his sister get away from his stepdad. This is the least fun road trip ever.

57:45 NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

Nobody told me that Britney was going to dramatically recite the lyrics to Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman. I would have remembered if somebody told me that. I would have steeled myself for it. Britney Spears Acting Range: Emotion #5: Poetess.

Shouldn’t a valedictorian be better at writing?

1:00:00 Kim Cattrall is here. Maybe that will help. She’s Brit’s mom, who lives in a McMansion. Lots of white, light oak, and giant floral arrangements. The decor preferences of a total bitch. She is dressed like the Crocodile Hunter, may he rest in peace.

1:06:40 Ben set Brit’s “poem” to music. That’s what I’ve been watching for over an hour? The origin story of Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman? Britney Jean Spears’ fifth-best single? Now anybody who knows me knows that I love early 2000s-era Britney … hell, all the Britneys… but this is just too much.

“Not a girl, not yet a woman.” So, a teenager. That’s a teenager.

1:09:20 They’re singing in the car again (If It Makes You Happy by Sheryl Crow, this time). Oh Christ Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God. Sing With All The Saints In Glory. Why? If I wanted to listen to someone sing Sheryl Crow in the car I would go run errands with my mom.*

* If you like me even a little bit, you would love my mom.

1:12 I’m sure they explained this in between sing alongs, but how do they have the money to stay at all these hotels? Car Owner Ben? Now they’re in LA in a room with a beach view that looks like it would be the set of a Mary Kate And Ashley original movie. One of them would be the girly, sweet one and the other would be the sporty, funny one and their names would be Cleo and Baylee. Or Maddi and Lylah. Or Trixie and Summer.

Shea and Maxie?

 

1:14:02 Ben has a back piece of angel wings, but make no mistake, he’s no Helena.

1:15:40 Oh shit. Saldana’s BF is hooking up with some hussy AND he’s wearing one of those zip up bowling shirt things. AND he raped Pennsatucky. So obvi Pennsatucky owes nothing to anybody at this point, but wouldn’t you do a friend a solid and tell her that her BF/Fiance is a rapist? Or like slip it into a note since it’s an uncomfy convo. I’d say you could text it, but in 2002 that would have taken like 15 minutes and that’s IF your plan had texting.

1:18:20 Pennsatucky fell down the stairs getting away from Rapist Dylan and lost the baby. This road trip is the pits. Is anything good going to happen to her ever, or is this an early 2000s cautionary tale about going to parties in the first place or some-such?

I feel like this is an e.e. cummings poem where Milly (Brit) gets to befriend a fallen star whose rays five languid fingers were, and freaking Molly (Pennsatucky, Saldana) has to get chased by a terrible thing that runs sideways blowing bubbles.

1:24 So Pennsatucky sat out her miscarriage or whatever, and now they’re ready to go.

**** At this point, I went to take a picture of the screen but was accidentally on selfie mode. It’s against my better judgement to post this, but this is the ACTUAL UNALTERED FACE I WAS MAKING while watching this:

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Those aren’t so much eyes as saucers brimming with confusion. ***

1:25 Dan Aykroyd comes to collect Brit. She says “don’t make me run, let me go.” Then she hands him her locket so that he can keep half of it and find her at an orphanage in 10 years, and she leaves to make out with the guy she met that week.

There’s a billboard for Spy Kids in the background, to give you an idea of what era we’re in.

And if there were still any doubt of what era we’re in, Brit sings at an American Idol-esque audition wearing a criss-cross crop top with enormous billowing sleeves. Pennsatucky and Saldana, fresh off a miscarriage and finding out her fiancé is a rapist, respectively, sing backup.

1:29 They make a new time capsule, but with no wishes for the future, because I guess Britney is the only character who has one at this point. For they are not girls, not yet women.

Teenagers.

ICYMI: Give Me Just One Night Changes

Did anyone else watch the ridiculousness that was Dead 7 on Friday (don’t worry, I’ll get to it tomorrow)?? Of course it’s not the first time we’ve seen boy banders try their hand at acting…

Boy Band Babes Breaking Onto The Big Screen

If you’re wondering where Harry Styles has been since One Direction began their indefinite hiatus in December, he’s been (maybe) dating Kendall Jenner, tweeting about burgers and moved to Hollywood in an attempt to start an acting career. Luckily for him and for all of us, he is kicking it off with a legit movie. Harry recently got cast in Christopher Nolan’s World War II action thriller called Dunkirk, which is about “the British military evacuation of the French city of Dunkirk in 1940.” It also stars no-names like Tom Hardy, Sir Kenneth Branagh and recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance, so, NBD. There hasn’t been much detail on what Harry’s role is, but I’m assuming it’s a soldier of some sort, and he could either be on the same level of Matt Damon in Saving Private Ryan or Jimmy Fallon in Band of Brothers. EXACTLY.

But obviously this is nothing new. Harry isn’t the first boy band hunk to break into acting. There have been many in our generation alone, so let’s revisit some of their great and no so greatest hits in film and TV.

Justin Timberlake {‘N Sync}

Arguably one of the best boy band alums to have the most success as an actor, JT has won four Emmys, been nominated for a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and in a movie that was nominated for 8 Oscars (The Love Guru haha jk). Among my personal faves are Inside Llewyn Davis and his first big TV movie in DCOM Model Behavior (<-that is the full version!), as seen above. Classic, just a classic. But we all know he excels the most in comedy, thanks to every single one of his Saturday Night Live episodes. Remember when he hosted for the first time and you were like, ‘Oh shit. He’s really funny and talented and a natural’? It was magic. Even Lorne Michaels has said he would hire JT if being a comedian was his number one priority. I wouldn’t be mad at that.

Donnie Wahlberg {New Kids on the Block}

Let’s face it, Donnie Wahlberg is a more successful actor than Justin Timberlake. He may have been doing it longer, but he’s also had steady acting jobs and won acclaim for his roles over the years. He’s been on a steady CBS drama, Blue Bloods, for the past six seasons, and also starred in Boomtown and Band of Brothers. Not to mention his movie roles in Saw II through IV, and of course, The Sixth Sense, a role which I think collectively blew every viewer’s mind after realizing the dude in the bathroom was the bad boy in NKOTB. PS: the clip above is horribly dubbed en espanol but it is still so good.


Maybe just stick to their day jobs??

Unintentionally Disturbing Boy Band Lyrics

Time for a confession: although I was of prime age during the boy band golden era of 1997 – 2002, I was terribly disinterested in them. It was all too manufactured! Find 4-5 young men between the ages of 15 and 27. Make sure they can all sing. Choreograph dances that make heavy use of folding chairs. Try to ensure that key “types” are present: the cute one, the older one, the funny one, the weird-looking one with stupid hair, the sporty one, the ginger one, the posh one. Some of those might just have been Spice Girls or Disney dwarfs. All that’s left is finding songs for them to sing…. but that’s where things really fell apart. In a rush to move up the TRL charts as quickly as possible, some songs got released with lyrics that were sort of awful. Terrifying. Disturbing as heck. Now that we’re all adults here, I think it’s time to admit that these were very, very bad.

We Got It Goin On by the Backstreet Boys

“Well I’m creepin’ up on your left

Straight up funky when I get with you

Keep it ruthless when I get wet”

Did anyone else know about this? Because I sure didn’t until right now. I think they hid this creepery in the middle of the song and figured nobody would notice. You know what actually sounds like the worst thing in the world ever? A wet gentleman creeping up on my left and then being ruthless at me.

As Long As You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys

“Every little thing that you have said and done

Feels like it’s deep within me

Doesn’t really matter if you’re on the run

It seems like we’re meant to be

I don’t care who you are (who you are)

Where you’re from (where you’re from)

What you did

As long as you love me”

This song takes codependence to new and terrifying lows. It sounds a lot like BSB is definitely singing about someone with a criminal record here. “Doesn’t really matter if you’re on the run?” “Don’t care what you’ve done?” Maybe I’m just hard-hearted, but I care A LOT whether or not you’ve committed murder, stolen from a church, or have to put one of those signs on your door telling trick-or-treaters that you’re a registered sex offender. As if that weren’t enough, BSB doesn’t care “as long as you love me.” That’s what low self-esteem will do to you, kids. You’ll go out with someone who isn’t allowed within a half mile of an elementary school, as long as they say they love you.

God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You by NSync

“The heart of a child

That’s deep inside

Leaves me purified”

Dude, no. You have to date GROWNUPS, though.

Most of NSync’s 1997 Self-Titled Debut

Individually, none of the songs are too bad. But taken as a whole:

  • Drive Myself Crazy
  • Crazy For You (“wherever I go/ Whatever I do/ I’m crazy for you”)
  • I Just Wanna Be With You, which includes the words “you’re driving me crazy,” “my love is insane/ pleasure and pain,” and then an unsettling repeat of “I just wanna be with you” and “you and me gotta stay together”
  • I Want You Back (“I’m going crazy without you”)

We’re looking at a whole lot of crazy. Right? These are… not healthy relationships. If there are a lot of 20-something ladies who think that the ultimate in romance is somebody declaring that they love you so much that they are mentally unstable, I blame this album.

Can I Touch You There by 98 Degrees
Literally this whole song. I feel like if I type out the lyrics my very hands will catch an STD, but just trust me. Still, props for getting permission instead of just creeping on my left, I guess (looking at you, Backstreet Boys).

 

ICYMI: I Could Write A Sonnet About Your Easter Bonnet

Happy Easter to all those who celebrate it! If you need a respite from your family or friends right now, go seclude yourself in a room with a TV because odds are one of these movies is on.

Easter Movies, From Godspell to The 10 Commandments To Mallrats

For me, one of the biggest signs that Easter is still primarily a religious holiday is the dearth of Easter movies. There are hundreds of Christmas movies that never mention the birth of Jesus, but there are only a handful of Easter movies – and most of them basically stick to the book. What I’m saying is, some of these Easter movies are a stretch, but I’m working with what I’ve got. Happy(?) Holy Thursday, if that applies to you, and have a good Easter, too!

Godspell

This is what I’m talking about when I talk about Easter movies! Godspell is my personal favorite Jesus musical, an admittedly small genre. You ever notice that some people are Godspell people, and some are Jesus Christ Superstar people, and then everyone else is like “what are you even talking about?” Godspell is cheerful pseudo-hippie 1970s, whereas JCS is glam rock-y 70s, but both tell the story of Jesus as a (cheesy?) musical that I love.  Godspell is based on the Gospel of Matthew and focuses on Jesus’ parables and his more peace-and-love type teachings. I’m going to go all-caps for a second, okay? VICTOR “MR. ANDREWS” GARBER AS JESUS. Okay? I am just warning you, this movie may leave you with a weird crush on both Victor Garber and Jesus.

*(Aside: I absolutely love movies filmed in 1970s-1990s New York, maybe because it looks like the New York I remember as a kid in the 90s, so that’s a bonus.)

Jesus Christ Superstar

While this is mostly an unranked list, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar probably are my top two Easter movies. While I like the stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the movie is a bit less visually appealing to me (read: set in the desert). Also, it focuses on the Jesus/Judas relationship. I love a frenemy situation in musical theater (Hamilton! right?), but it also makes it feel a little darker and less uplifting than Godspell. Nevertheless, my corny musical-loving self is always here for an Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice collab.

My advice, if you can find it: watch the 2001 Great Performances version with Glenn Carter and Renee Castle instead of the 1973 film. We watched it in a high school theatre class and it’s when I really started to like Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Passion Of The Christ

I worked in a movie theater during this movie’s 2004 release, and I can honestly say that the worst customers I encountered were some of the church groups who came in en masse to the early morning shows. Also I worked at the concession stand at the time, and it sort of felt like a weird movie to nosh on Skittles and popcorn during, but what do I know. Customers aside, the hype was deserved and … it pains me a bit to say … Mel Gibson did a great job telling the story of the crucifixion in a fresh way. It was also graphically violent and isn’t a movie I’ve ever felt the need to rewatch.

The 10 Commandments

The 10 Commandments is usually on TV on Easter, even if it’s not technically an Easter Movie. It’s a Cecil B. DeMille Technicolor classic from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brenner, The 10 Commandments focuses on the story of Moses and will set you back almost four hours, including intermission. I guess it’s televised at Easter because the Moses story is kind of the lead-up to the New Testament, or maybe because it’s the only religious movie that was really in the game for a while there.

Plus, Easter and Passover are both in early Spring, and it illustrates the Passover beautifully.


 

Now that you’ve got your movie fill, how about finishing off that Easter outfit with a sensible and not at all tacky Easter bonnet?

Let’s Make Easter Bonnets The New Christmas Sweater

Easter may be the “most important” Christian religious holiday, but it’s no Christmas. Sure, we have some Easter traditions – egg hunts, making children sit on top of a man dressed like a rabbit (and also making a man wear a rabbit suit made of low-pile carpeting), dipping hard-boiled eggs in vinegar-laced food coloring – but as a season of festive joy and anticipation, Christmas clearly wins. Not only do we have fewer Easter traditions, they’re also all geared towards children. And arguably furries.

NOPE.

There’s kind of a reason for this. The Christmas story is fairly cute and approachable – it involves a baby, barnyard animals and a magical star. Easter is sort of unpleasant in comparison, and it takes a bit more work to get kids to understand it. For instance, last Easter my nephew Henry announced “Zurg died on the cross.” If you didn’t know: Zurg is the bad guy from Toy Story. I asked who put Zurg there, because I’m not responsible for this kid; I just get to “yes, and” him. “Jesus did,” he answered. Huh. Yeah, I sort of understand why we’re just like “Don’t worry about the whole Easter thing, just go sit on this man-rabbit and eat some candy.”

He died so we may live.

 

A few weeks ago, Henry – now four years old – started asking weird questions again. First: “What’s an orphan?” and then “Well, how would I get my mommy one?” Aunts of the world: just keep “yes, and” -ing that shit. It all started to come together a few days later, when he asked me “Aunt Molly, what’s an Easter bon?” That’s when I realized that (1) he was asking about an Easter bonnet, and (2) these questions were coming from the lyrics to Peter Cottontail, which means, rather reassuringly, (3) It was an orchid for your mommy; and my nephew is not trying to procure a parentless child for his mother. Phew.

Luckily, I didn’t have to try to explain what an Easter bonnet was – that was less a job for Aunt Molly and more a job for Aunt Google Image Search. And holy cow, guys! I thought they were just dumb hats that old ladies wear to church, or little girls’ straw hats with itchy elastic straps under the chin. But no, there is a whole world of wacky Easter Bonnets out there.

That’s when it all came together. We need a fun, stupid Easter activity for grown-ups. Something to get you in the holiday spirit, something that looks entirely ridiculous when you look at it just a month later. Something like EASTER BONNETS. Hear me out for a second. Chances are, you’ve attended an Ugly Holiday Sweater party in the past few years. Holidays make adults want to act like goofy kids again, and ugly sweaters help you do just that. There’s no real Easter equivalent unless you’re a seven-year-old girl or one of those church ladies who wears an Aretha hat. Unless- unless! – we start decorating bonnets in a party atmosphere. There are so many possibilities – just look:

Now, most of these pictures are from the UK, which makes me think that our UK readers are reading this saying “yeah, Easter bonnets. Easter eggs. Everybody knows this.” But no! They really aren’t as big a thing in the U.S., except in the Easter Parade, and I don’t know anybody who has actually gone to that. Oh, also our Easter Eggs are actual EGGS here, not the giant chocolate affairs you can buy overseas. We’re really struggling with the whole Easter thing in the States. So I say next year, we all throw Ugly Easter Bonnet parties, and everyone gussies up their fanciest bonnet. Whoever makes the tackiest one wins! Then we can all go celebrate Jesus’s victory over Emperor Zurg – the real reason for the season.

ICYMI: Sugar, Butter, Flour

There are so many “National holidays” these days, but one of the most important ones was on Monday, aka Pi(e) day. All day pie. Pie is great. I love pie.

Best Of Pi(e): Celebrating Pi And Also Pie

Happy Pi Day! Nobody likes meaningless snack holidays more than me. But today’s two-for-one, celebrating the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and also filled pastry desserts, really takes the cake. Or Pie. So let’s just go with it and celebrate some of pi(e)’s finest moments:

Best Pie Movie: Waitress

This sweet little movie features a post-Felicty Keri Russell, small-town life, an unplanned pregnancy, and a WHOLE lot of pies. Pies like I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie, Baby Screamin’ Its Head Off In The Middle of the Night & Ruinin’ My Life Pie and Lonely Chicago Pie. It is really on the upper crust of pie movies.

Bonus! Waitress is soon to be our favorite pie-related Broadway musical. Still waiting on the Pi musical.

Best Celebrity Pie Argument

Best Pie Meme

Best Pi Meme

 There were fewer pi memes than you think. Anyway, this one was relevant c. 2011.


You know what goes great with pie? Coffee. Especially if that coffee and pie is being served up by someone like Luke Danes (LBH, i’ll take anything served by Luke Danes).

Bottoms Up: Our Favorite TV Baristas

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

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

Gunther, Friends

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

Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls

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

Larry The Cook, Seinfeld

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

The Waitress, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

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

Roseanne, Bonnie, Jackie, and Nancy, Roseanne

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

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

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

Emily, Pretty Little Liars

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

Ruby/ Red, Once Upon A Time

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

The Coffee Shop Workers Of Portland, Portlandia

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