#SmartGirlsAsk at the Emmy Awards

There’s a scene in Gilmore Girls when Lorelai makes fun of Rory (and Chris’) obsession with their new Sidekicks. REMEMBER SIDEKICKS??? Anyways, her line has always stuck out to me as quoteworthy and comical, mainly because of the nonsense questions she’s asking and at the even faster rate than normal she’s asking them in.

Now I’ve never been on a red carpet and been bombarded with a million questions by pushy reporters and photographers, but I imagine this is what it would be like, but like 50 Lorelais all at once.

About a year or so ago, there was a movement called #AskHerMore, which encouraged reporters to inquire about more than just “who are you wearing” to women on the red carpet. About a year ago, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party started their own version using the hashtag #SmartGirlsAsk. They asked followers and celebs alike to send in their questions to stars at the Emmys, and since it went swimmingly before, they did it again this past Sunday. Here are some of the best questions and the best answers from the best people in the biz.

Obvs we have to start with our boo. Remember when Amy Poehler used to provide us with infinite wisdom via her Ask Amy video blogs? I miss those. This will do.

I¬†admit I had to look up with this hilarious gal is, and research tells me she’s on Transparent, a show I have yet to watch. But I am living for her honesty.

If you’re wondering who the two girls are on either side of Ellie, they’re Cydnee and Gretchen all glammed up. They sure do look different out of their bunker gear.

Same, Aziz. Same. *also featuring special cameos by two girls I went to college with*

Happiness is being able to live in a world with KBell.

I also like to listen to Tony Goldwyn’s smooth, silky, sexy voice if I’m feeling stressed.

GIMME, GIMME MO(O)RE, GIMME MO(O)RE, GIMME (MANDY) MO(O)RE!

Pls refer to our Emmys post for why I am obsessed with Yara Shahidi.

Truly unbreakable.

This video was taken B.E. = Before Emmy. EMMY WINNER TATIANA MASLANY.

This kid.

Sometimes I forget how much I liked Downton Abbey.

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Things We Need to Revisit From the 2016 Emmy Awards

The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were last night and per usual, there were a lot of highlights and lowlights of the ceremony. But unexpectedly, a lot of our favorites took home the gold, and that’s why they helped make the Emmys one to remember. Here are some moments that we need to revisit today, and many days after today.

Stranger Things Kids Continue To Be Totally Rad

T: Handing out PB&J sandwiches on bicycles was an OK touch, but letting Gaten, Millie and Caleb take the stage to show their true talents of singing and dancing is the real win.

M: These kids are so pure and delightful I almost want to send them to 1983 to grow up there.

Hillary Clinton Wins An Emmy

T: Cue the first tears of the night. I legitimately rewound this reaction shot three times in a row right after it happened, and continue to be mesmerized by this GIF. Her speech was a tear jerker, but there was a cynical part of me that had me thinking… Kate truly deserved this for her performances¬†this year, right? Listen, I love Kate and think she does great work on SNL, but part of me feels like Emmy voters partially gave the win to her because of Ghostbusters? Call it the Melissa McCarthy Effect. Remember when she won an Emmy the year she was in Bridesmaids? Yeah. But again, Kate is super talented and deserves all the praise she can get.

M: Kate is one of those SNL cast members who¬†I noticed from her very first weeks and predicted that she’d be one of the great ones. She’s just that obviously good.

President of Tears

T: Did anybody else notice JLD didn’t seem herself when she got up to accept her award? She was shaky and looked like¬†she wasn’t even planning a bit ¬†– then it all made sense when she talked about her dad. Out of her six acting Emmy wins, I feel like this might be her most memorable.

M:¬†After her speech, I remembered how sad she looked at the end of Kate’s speech and it was right when Kate had mentioned her dad. I know we say this a lot, but we just love JLD.

Score one for Long Duck Dong

T: In all seriousness, I am so so glad Aziz and Master of None co-creator/writer Alan Yang won for Best Writing. I wrote about the episode they won for, Parents, last year, and I’m just glad Emmy voters and viewers alike paid enough attention to a show which features so much diversity and the untold stories of first generation kids. My only gripe is that Aziz didn’t get to give his speech at all.

You Turkeys

T: Remember how our beloved Amy finally won her very first Emmy last week? Well she did, and she’s sharing it with her color-coordinating comedy wife Tina, and we were #blessed with their presence last night. Ever more #blessed that Amy called them out for nominating her 18 times without ever giving her a legit trophy.

M: They coordinated their dresses, right? I just think it’s really cute if they coordinated their dresses.

Sarah Paulson + Holland Taylor 4Ever

T: There was a time when these two didn’t publicly acknowledge each other as their significant others, and here we are, living in a world where all of the Internet can swoon in jealousy over their love. Yes, Sarah was for sure the¬†right person to win an Emmy, but another thing I know for sure – I have a new ship.

M: I think we’ve had a WCW post about Sarah Paulson in our drafts for like a year and I’m not even sure which one of us did it. ¬†I love that after years of working steadily, Sarah’s¬†had this massive boost in her career¬†lately.

Fred Armisen? More Like FredArminstein

T: Fred showed up in a hearse. And with bolts in his neck. Never change, man.

M: The “Armenstein” joke was cute, Traci.

Leslie Jones Slays All Day

T: You gotta give it up for Leslie Jones who continues to get back up every time assholes attempt to knock her down. And when she does get back up, she laughs it off and makes all of us laugh with her.

Bill Cosby Isn’t Here

M: Jimmy announced that Bill Cosby was coming on stage and Tina Fey was all of us:

So was Ellie Kemper:

Don’t worry, Bill Cosby wasn’t there.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

T: Matt Damon continues to ruin Jimmy Kimmel’s life. As soon as he came out eating that apple, I KNEW he was going to make a Good Will Hunting Reference.

Oh, We’re ALL Seeing This, Rami

T: I don’t watch Mr. Robot, but I did watch Rami in the one episode of Gilmore Girls, and he is great. I refer to Molly for this one.

M: Thanks, Traci. Okay here we go:

Mr. Robot is a show you should be watching if you aren’t already (I’m going to specifically recommend it to fans of Orphan Black). There’s this incredible ensemble cast but the whole thing rests on how amazing Rami Malek is. His character¬†has a tenuous grip on reality, but he’s also broken and kind and incredibly intelligent – miles away from the¬†“complex lonely guy” archetype. IRL, Rami just seems like a real gem of a human in addition to being good-looking and all that. His cousin was his Emmys date, he really loves his mom, and he interrupted an actor roundtable because everyone kept¬†using male pronouns¬†when discussing¬†directors. He deserved to win and I’m so happy for him. PS he has a twin brother. Back to you, Traci.

Give TatMas 12 Emmys For Each Clone Pls

T: I can barely look at any videos or pix or GIFs or tweets from her co-stars because I start to tear up. I am so proud of this talented angel of a human in a way I would be proud if one of my nearest and dearest won an award.

M: I was so used to Tatiana not even getting nominated that I didn’t think she would win (SHOULD win, yes). I almost feel like she went so long without a nomination/win because she’s so amazing: as though¬†voters who don’t watch the show couldn’t really understand that she was playing all of these characters, and none of them a caricature.

It was such a blur after she won that I had to rewatch her speech Monday morning because I forgot what she even said.

Also, we love Canadians.

Also also, she and her boyfriend are very cute:

 

A few Best Dressed faves:

Kerry Washington in Brandon Maxwell
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? THIS HOT MAMA. THE DRESS, THE HAIR, THE BUMP?! I wish to look like her any day of the week.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? THIS HOT MAMA. THE DRESS, THE HAIR, THE BUMP?! I wish to look like her any day of the week.

Kristen Bell in Zuhair Murad
It's like if Princess Anna was a modern day TV star and nominated for Best Actress in a Limited Series.

It’s like if Princess Anna was a modern day TV star and nominated for Best Actress in a Limited Series.

Yara Shahidi in Clara Rotescu

I don’t watch black-ish, but I am kind of obsessed with Yara? She seems like such a poised, smart, talented young lady who is ready to become a role model to girls (and women) of all backgrounds. This dress is perfect for a 16-year-old who’s still young and playful but also an actress on the verge of being a grown-up. Also, she’s the type of stunning that makes you feel like a creep because you’ve been stalking her on Insta for too long what

Priyanka Chopra in Jason Wu
I mean, come on.  I love how this plays off of the diaphanous, one-shoulder trend that's been going on for a few awards seasons but puts it in vibrant color.

I mean, come on. I love how this plays off of the diaphanous, one-shoulder trend that’s been going on for a few awards seasons but puts it in vibrant color.

Rami Malek in Dior
White dinner jackets have made a comeback in the past few years and with the new slimmer tailoring, they're not looking like your dad's wedding outfit from 1975. IMO, black pants are crucial to keep it from looking like a first communion suit.

White dinner jackets have made a comeback in the past few years and with the new slimmer tailoring, they’re not looking like your dad’s wedding outfit from 1975. IMO, black pants are crucial to keep it from looking like a first communion suit.

Sarah Paulson in Prada
We all have those celebs who are hit-or-miss for us on the red carpet (Kerry, Kirsten, I'm looking at you). Sarah Paulson is one of mine, but when she looks incredible she looks really incredible. I love a nice vibrant green and Sarah, Tina and Amy were looking like the queens of the Emerald City last night. There are so few times you can wear a gown embroidered in crystals and stones, you know?

We all have those celebs who are hit-or-miss for us on the red carpet (Kerry, Kirsten, I’m looking at you). Sarah Paulson is one of mine, but when she looks incredible she looks really incredible. I love a nice vibrant green and Sarah, Tina and Amy were looking like the queens of the Emerald City last night. There are so few times you can wear a gown embroidered in crystals and stones, you know?

 

Best of 2015: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Parks and Recreation

If you’re still jonesing for more Amy and Tina after the epic SNL this weekend, go see Sisters. Or you can look back and read one of our favorite posts from our 5,000 Candles in the Wind series dedicated to Parks and Recreation before we said goodbye to it forever. Amy and the rest of the crew taught us a lot about life through the show, and we’ll be forever grateful.

We’ve come a long way since the pit. From Lil Sebastian to Champion,¬†Rent A Swag to Entertainment 720, waffles to bacon, 2009 to 2017, there was a lot to love about Parks and Recreation. And tonight, we’ll say a goodbye that’s more sad than the Lil Sebastian farewell concert or Ann’s move to Michigan. Parks had¬†a lot going for it: the best actors and writers in comedy, critical acclaim and a loyal fan base. But above all, it had more heart than any other sitcom on the air. The show’s outlook was overwhelmingly positive, and its protagonist was a hard worker with total loyalty to her town, her career and her friends. We learned more from Parks and Recreation than we have from any show since Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers.¬†Dare we say? Everything we need to know we learned from Parks and Recreation.

Friends, Waffles, Work

Or waffles, friends work. No matter. In other words: priorities. Even Leslie, career-driven as she is, knows that work takes a back seat to the big things in life – your friends. And waffles, which in a broader sense you could interpret as something like “taking the time to enjoy life.” Except that I think she really does mean waffles.

Ovaries Before Brovaries

Again, file under: priorities. Parks is about the relationships between a wide net of coworkers, friends, and significant others. If Ben came along and it was The Leslie And Ben Show from that point on, there wouldn’t be much reason to watch. Leslie’s not the sort to get into a relationship and write off her friends. So, the “uteruses before duderuses” approach can be broadened into “don’t forget about your friends just because of relationship stuff.”

There’s also the great way Leslie is supportive of her lady friends, even when it’s tough. It wasn’t easy to accept Ann moving away, but Leslie encouraged her to do what was best for her family. And rather than get jealous that April was moving up in her career, Leslie helped facilitate the move. Leslie knows one of the greatest secrets in life – which is also one of our lessons from Parks and Recreation: when the members of your “team” succeed – whether it’s your friends, family, or coworkers – then that’s your success, too.

Treat Yo Self

You could say that Tom and Donna are a couple of silly geese, but no. They both work hard and play hard. The key to Treat Yo Self: it’s a once a year occurence. You don’t rack up credit card debt because you “deserve” good things, but every once in a while it’s good to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Like Tom and Donna, it’s always nice to have a friend to back you up, so when you rationalize that you don’t really need those fine leather goods, a still small voice whispers “treat yo self.”

Say Thank You

I have a philosophy about the “sorry epidemic,” that is, the way people start or end sentences with “sorry” when they haven’t done anything wrong. My theory is that in most cases, what the person really means is either please or thank you. Rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in advance, what they really mean to do is ask for something. And rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in retrospect, what they mean to do is say thank you: thank you for accommodating me, or understanding, or going out of your way, or being supportive. People apologize for existing when they really want to thank other people for making their existence easier.

No show does “thank you ” better than Parks. Whether it’s the final moments before Ann leaves Pawnee, or April’s tear-inducing speech in D.C., these folks know how to thank the people who make their lives better. Next time you feel compelled to apologize when you haven’t really done something you shouldn’t, look deeper. Do you really want to say please or thank you instead?

Don’t Write The Concession Speech

In one of my classrooms growing up, there was a poster that said “Failure To Plan Is Planning To Fail.” But I also say that “Planning To Fail Is Planning To Fail.” School decor aside, it’s important to not behave as though the worst is going to happen. Ben doesn’t write a concession speech, because he doesn’t think that losing is a possible outcome.

Or maybe the better lesson is this: surround yourself with people who will think that you won’t need the concession speech. Maybe Leslie wouldn’t have won if her circle was full of people who assumed she wouldn’t succeed. Fill your life with the Bens to your Leslie: people who expect you to win, even more than you do yourself.

I Love You And I Like You

The phrase that Leslie and Ben often tell each other is quite endearing and sums up a perfect relationship. But the writers didn’t come up with it – Rashida Jones’ dad did. I believe Amy wrote the episode it first appeared in, and she revealed in an interview that when she was in Monte Carlo with Quincy Jones (as you do), he grabbed her face in his hands and said to her, “I love you and I like you.” Whether it be a significant other, family member a friend, or your daughter’s comedy wife, it’s important to not only let them know how you feel, but actually truly mean what you say. Anyone can say ‘love ya’¬†as a throwaway, but to add the ‘I like you’ part implies you enjoy them as a human being, enjoy their company, enjoy everything they have to offer.

Know Where Your Money Goes

Okay, on one hand, definitely treat yo self. On the other hand, don’t blow your budget on Harry Potter fantasy camp.

Of course, I would say that, I’m a Ravenclaw.

When You Love Something, You Fight For It

This speech from Leslie’s final statement as she vies for city council¬†is the best summarization of Leslie Knope. “If you love something, you don’t threaten it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first… If I seem too passionate, it’s because I care. If I come on strong, it’s because I feel strongly.” Leslie Knope is one of the strongest, if not THE strongest female character ever on TV because she doesn’t back down. She fights for what she believes in, and she stands up not only for herself, but for those around her. It doesn’t just apply to her career, it applies to her friendships. From making unnecessary holidays to going to all costs to help a friend propose, Leslie will do anything in her power to see things get done. When it came to her relationship with Ben, she was willing to give up her career just to be with him. She said, ‘Let’s just screw it,’ and it eventually paid off. When you love something, you fight for it. As Ron Swanson said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Leslie can proudly say she whole-assed a whole bunch of things.

“I like to tell people get on board and buckle up, because my ride’s gonna be a big one. If you get motion sickness, put your head between your knees, because Leslie Knope’s stopping for no one.”

Time Is Money; Money Is Power; Power is Pizza; Pizza is Knowledge

This is probably my favorite thing April has ever said on the entire series. First of all, the fact that she’s running this meeting is just great character development. I love character development. But no matter how ridiculous it sounds when it comes out, she usually has a point. In Pawnee in particular, there are a lot of randoms who have nothing better to do but complain, like that woman who is always too concerned about her dog and brings up her pooch problems at town meetings. These are the folks April and co. have to deal with and they don’t have time to sit around listening to droll residents all day. Also, pizza. Pizza is always a good choice.

Have Dating Standards

Ok, this might actually be one of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from the show. When Tom said this, he spoke to my soul on a deep level. The fact that Ann didn’t know who Ginuwine was (Ginuwine – is Ginuwine) was astonishing, and honestly, I, like Tom, don’t think I could ever date someone who didn’t know who he was. Speaking of Ann, in her days of going through guy after guy, she often had a tendency to change into the people she was dating. Like Julia Roberts in Runway Bride – she didn’t even know what type of egg she liked. It’s important to have simple standards for your ideal mate, because when you figure out what you want – like Ann wanted a kid – you will most likely get what you’re looking for.

There’s Always Paris

paris parks

I kind of want this in a tattoo form but not, because it’s too long. Leslie¬†always has a lot on her plate, but somehow she manages it all. She has time to make binders on how to be a garbage woman but also finds time to make a scrapbook about her “Thoughts on Sam Waterston“. So when something extremely stressful comes her way, like being recalled from city council, it’s important to just take a break from it all. We know Leslie loves her job, but it’s important to take a break once in a while. We get so caught up in the millions of things on our to do lists each day that we don’t actually take a chance to breathe and be present and let go of whatever is bothering us. Your trip to Paris doesn’t have to be Paris. Paris can be your favorite park or cafe or a place¬†an hour away to the middle of nowhere. If you have the ability to get away, even for just a brief moment, do it.

Be a Good Person

When Leslie realizes her job is at stake because of her romantic relationship with Ben (and the fact that they bribed the maintenance guy during Lil Sebastian’s funeral to keep quiet), Leslie thinks it’s all over for her. But Ron, in his vast font of knowledge, reminds her that despite the fact she did a frowned upon/illegal thing, it doesn’t make her a bad person. I think this show overall has taught us that there is good in this world, and you can be part of bringing that to real life. Parks never puts anyone down, it inspires and encourages us to be better. We’re human. We make mistakes. But it’s what happens after the fact that shows our true character.

Inspire Yourself

Speaking of being inspirational, while Leslie Knope herself is a great inspiration to us all, she also remind us that often times, the best person to encourage you is yourself. I don’t think Leslie would be half the leader she is today if she never thought she could do it. Yeah, she has to remind herself at times she can reach her goals (“Hey Leslie. It’s Leslie. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.”) Sure, you can have people like Ben around you believing in you and not writing concession speeches, but when Leslie walked out on the stage and gave the speech (as seen above a few paragraphs), she was ultimately the one to give the impassioned statement. No one fed her lines, she went with her gut and her gut made her win.

Feminism Isn’t Just For Women

I am a goddess. a glorious female warrior, queen of all i survey. enemies of fairness and equality, hear my womanly roar. Also men’s rights is nothing.

Johnny Karate’s Rules for Success

I mean, I think that’s pretty self explanatory.

The Only Constant Is Change

Unfortunately, doppelganger Ron has a point. Returning for one of the final episodes, Eagleton Ron shows up like he usually does, out of nowhere, and gives sage advice, like a traveling Yoda who is easier to understand. As we say goodbye to the gang tonight, the gang says goodbye to each other. Ben and Leslie and Andy and April are moving to D.C., Tom’s getting married to Lucy, Donna’s enjoying married life with Joe and moving to Seattle, Ron has his construction company and family to tend to, and Chris and Ann are already off being domestic in Michigan. Oh and Garry’s the mayor (CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT). Despite the fact a lot has happened for the Parks department in the past seven/10 years, it was bound to change sometime. Leslie was always bigger than Pawnee, and while her dreams seemed far away in season one, we realize that it’s time for her to actually achieve those goals. She turned a pit into a playground and now it’s her turn to bring that same goal-oriented talent to D.C. And this show, no matter how much we love it, was bound to have its final episode whether we liked it or not. But we’ll find another show to like and love. Maybe not as much and not in the same way, but we will. We’ll move on. We’ll move up. And we’ll miss you in the saddest fashion.

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Master of None

I’ve said it before on this blog, but I’ll say it again. I watch a lot of television. Like, I have an app on my phone to help me remember when everything is on so I don’t miss anything type of obsession. That being said, I’ve seen a lot of programs in my day, but nothing has quite affected me like Master of None.

Basic Plot

Loosely based on Aziz Ansari’s life, he plays Dev, a 30-something actor in New York City, navigating between his professional and personal life, romance, and identity.

To be honest, after first watching the trailer, I was just expecting another comedy from Aziz Ansari. I knew he was re-teaming with Parks and Rec alums ¬†– creator¬†Mike Schur, writers Alan Yang and the late Harris Wittels – to produce it, so I knew if anything, the writing was going to be fantastic. I didn’t¬†think twice about the actors and subject matter he chose to feature.¬†I knew I was going to watch it no matter what, but I was pleasantly surprised by the content matter and show as a whole after watching the pilot.

Like the trailer above, the first scene of the series features Aziz and former SNL featured player Noel Wells mid-coitus. The setup feels akin to a Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow joint (no pun intended), but as you watch the rest of the episode unfold, you realize it’s much more than that.

Dev, a single guy, goes to his friends’ kid’s birthday party in the same ep, and a show you initially thought was going to be a crude look at relationships, turns into a deeper look into friendships with friends who have children, friendships with friends who have no children, the inner debate of whether you should or are even mentally able to have children, and so on and¬†so forth.

In fact, the evolution of the series itself was somewhat similar, in that when Aziz and Alan originally conceived the show, they focused more on dating as a 20-30 something (Modern Romance, anyone?), but then both of them realized they could speak volumes if they just wrote about their own experiences, personal journeys and backgrounds.

‚ÄúNeither of us are older white guys.¬†We‚Äôre younger minorities, and that does inform our world views in some ways. Not everything is viewed through that prism, but it does affect how we move through society, so we want to be honest about that and put that in the show.‚ÄĚ – Alan Yang {x}

And honestly, the way Alan described how he and Aziz viewed Master of None is exactly what I, as an Asian-American millennial, want to see represented in the media. Yes, minorities’ culture should be accurately depicted onscreen, but does that mean I want to see a person of color going on a long, laborious, slightly embarrassing rant about how the white man is trying to take us down?¬†No. But does it mean I would like to see a¬†person of color¬†awkwardly walk into a room of all unexpectedly white people in a professional setting? Yes.

A while ago, I wrote about Fresh of the Boat, and how that show needs to stay on the air for the sole purpose of representation. And luckily it has. FOTB is¬†a comedic take on a Chinese family with immigrant parents in the 90s, and everyone can relate to their dynamics no matter their background. However, it is a sitcom in the truest form, in that it doesn’t necessarily feature¬†the more serious issues¬†that minorities in¬†America deal with daily. Shows¬†like FOTB are like a gateway drug into another culture, letting viewers in middle¬†America slowly get a peek into a different world they might not be familiar with, one joke at a time.

But then there’s something like Master of None, which portrays a culture in a serious light (even though it’s a comedy), in a way that is real and moving, and has a cast that rivals even Shondaland. As previously mentioned, Aziz plays Dev, an Indian-American, and he has a Chinese-American best friend, Brian, played by Kelvin Yu. Their friend circle includes a black lesbian, Denise (Lena Waithe) and Arnold (Eric Wareheim), lit’rally the “token white friend”. Just the mere fact that a TV show has more minorities in the lead roles than white people is already lightyears ahead of most of the programs already on TV. And because it’s created by Aziz and Alan (and probably a lot to do with the fact they’re on Netflix and not a network), they’re not afraid to talk about the lack of POC in media, either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, this speaks to the fact that personal identity isn’t how we view ourselves all the time, it’s just one thing about us that makes us see the world in a different view than others. But it also touches upon the state of media today, and, full circle, what Viola Davis said during her Emmy Award speech in September.

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.¬†You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

People like Shonda Rhimes and Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari are creating the roles for POC to break through those barriers, because no one else was creating the content that provided the platform for people like them to shine. No one was developing a show that was featured¬†the life of children of immigrants in an honest fashion, so Aziz and Alan did so (PS: if you haven’t read Aziz’s article in the NY Times about this, do it now! Or I mean, after you finish reading my post. Come on.)

Which leads me to the second episode of Master of None titled Parents, and perhaps the single most important episode of TV I’ve seen in my life. I don’t want to give too much away, but it basically deals with Dev and Brian airing out their grievances about¬†their parents’ requests (‘Fix this thing on my iPhone’, ‘Pick up rice on your way home’), and it’s juxtaposed with their parents’ lives in their native countries prior to immigrating to America. Dev and Brian realize they don’t really know about much about their parents, and spend the second half of the ep learning more about them.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I started crying within the first five minutes of this episode. It hit so close to home, in a way that I’ve never felt about a piece of media before in my life.¬†I’ve obviously related to TV characters such as¬†Lane on Gilmore Girls, but that was because I felt like my parents were the most like the immigrant, super religious, strict Mrs. Kim, not because I was an Asian girl with glasses. In this Parents episode, I saw myself in Dev & Brian’s position, wanting to shrug off my immigrant parents’ simple requests, and often forgetting just how much they gave up to give me a better life. I don’t want to turn this blog into a therapy session, but the episode brought up issues I had already felt lingering before, so to see it manifested in front of me on screen felt like a punch in the gut. A good one, of course.

After watching the episode, I went on Twitter (as one does) to just let the Interwebz know how great and life-changing the show is, even if I was only on the second episode. Lo and behold, look who responded to me:

Photo Nov 08, 12 35 39 PM

Yeah, it’s cool that people are liking his show, but I imagine it’s got to have an even bigger impact on a show creator when viewers are truly connecting with the art they’ve created. To know that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life must be a rewarding experience.

And for Aziz, it seems to be. Yesterday, he posted this sweet post on Tumblr about his dad,¬†who was happy to use almost all of his vacation time to shoot the show. They appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, and Aziz’s dad told him, “This is all fun and I liked acting in the show, but I really just did it so I could spend more time with you.” Aziz wrote, “I almost instantly collapsed into tears at the thought of how much this person cares about me and took care of me and gave me everything to give me the amazing life I have. I felt like a total piece of garbage for all the times I haven‚Äôt visited my parents and told them I wanted to stay in New York cause I‚Äôd get bored in SC. I‚Äôm an incredibly lucky person and many of you are as well.”

He went on to say how he is “overwhelmed” by the response to the Parents ep, and how writing the ep and filming it with his real parents (who play Dev’s parents) ironically made his relationship better with his parents IRL. If that doesn’t tell you just how powerful the storytelling is in this series, I don’t know what will. I hope this show will be able to reach people like me, who can strongly relate to Dev and Brian, but also, and maybe even more importantly, reach the people who don’t have a similar background. With everything that’s going on in this country on college campuses and in the streets, I think it’s more important than ever to get a sense of what people are going through from “the other side”. Empathy is the catalyst for change and acceptance, and if something like this show can do it for people, then I’d say¬†Aziz certainly is the Master of One.

The entire 10-episode season of Master of None is now streaming on Netflix

5,000 Candles in the Wind: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Parks and Recreation

We’ve come a long way since the pit. From Lil Sebastian to Champion,¬†Rent A Swag to Entertainment 720, waffles to bacon, 2009 to 2017, there was a lot to love about Parks and Recreation. And tonight, we’ll say a goodbye that’s more sad than the Lil Sebastian farewell concert or Ann’s move to Michigan. Parks had¬†a lot going for it: the best actors and writers in comedy, critical acclaim and a loyal fan base. But above all, it had more heart than any other sitcom on the air. The show’s outlook was overwhelmingly positive, and its protagonist was a hard worker with total loyalty to her town, her career and her friends. We learned more from Parks and Recreation than we have from any show since Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers.¬†Dare we say? Everything we need to know we learned from Parks and Recreation.

Friends, Waffles, Work

Or waffles, friends work. No matter. In other words: priorities. Even Leslie, career-driven as she is, knows that work takes a back seat to the big things in life – your friends. And waffles, which in a broader sense you could interpret as something like “taking the time to enjoy life.” Except that I think she really does mean waffles.

Ovaries Before Brovaries

Again, file under: priorities. Parks is about the relationships between a wide net of coworkers, friends, and significant others. If Ben came along and it was The Leslie And Ben Show from that point on, there wouldn’t be much reason to watch. Leslie’s not the sort to get into a relationship and write off her friends. So, the “uteruses before duderuses” approach can be broadened into “don’t forget about your friends just because of relationship stuff.”

There’s also the great way Leslie is supportive of her lady friends, even when it’s tough. It wasn’t easy to accept Ann moving away, but Leslie encouraged her to do what was best for her family. And rather than get jealous that April was moving up in her career, Leslie helped facilitate the move. Leslie knows one of the greatest secrets in life – which is also one of our lessons from Parks and Recreation: when the members of your “team” succeed – whether it’s your friends, family, or coworkers – then that’s your success, too.

Treat Yo Self

You could say that Tom and Donna are a couple of silly geese, but no. They both work hard and play hard. The key to Treat Yo Self: it’s a once a year occurence. You don’t rack up credit card debt because you “deserve” good things, but every once in a while it’s good to enjoy the fruits of your hard work. Like Tom and Donna, it’s always nice to have a friend to back you up, so when you rationalize that you don’t really need those fine leather goods, a still small voice whispers “treat yo self.”

Say Thank You

I have a philosophy about the “sorry epidemic,” that is, the way people start or end sentences with “sorry” when they haven’t done anything wrong. My theory is that in most cases, what the person really means is either please or thank you. Rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in advance, what they really mean to do is ask for something. And rather than apologizing for being an inconvenience in retrospect, what they mean to do is say thank you: thank you for accommodating me, or understanding, or going out of your way, or being supportive. People apologize for existing when they really want to thank other people for making their existence easier.

No show does “thank you ” better than Parks. Whether it’s the final moments before Ann leaves Pawnee, or April’s tear-inducing speech in D.C., these folks know how to thank the people who make their lives better. Next time you feel compelled to apologize when you haven’t really done something you shouldn’t, look deeper. Do you really want to say please or thank you instead?

Don’t Write The Concession Speech

In one of my classrooms growing up, there was a poster that said “Failure To Plan Is Planning To Fail.” But I also say that “Planning To Fail Is Planning To Fail.” School decor aside, it’s important to not behave as though the worst is going to happen. Ben doesn’t write a concession speech, because he doesn’t think that losing is a possible outcome.

Or maybe the better lesson is this: surround yourself with people who will think that you won’t need the concession speech. Maybe Leslie wouldn’t have won if her circle was full of people who assumed she wouldn’t succeed. Fill your life with the Bens to your Leslie: people who expect you to win, even more than you do yourself.

I Love You And I Like You

The phrase that Leslie and Ben often tell each other is quite endearing and sums up a perfect relationship. But the writers didn’t come up with it – Rashida Jones’ dad did. I believe Amy wrote the episode it first appeared in, and she revealed in an interview that when she was in Monte Carlo with Quincy Jones (as you do), he grabbed her face in his hands and said to her, “I love you and I like you.” Whether it be a significant other, family member a friend, or your daughter’s comedy wife, it’s important to not only let them know how you feel, but actually truly mean what you say. Anyone can say ‘love ya’¬†as a throwaway, but to add the ‘I like you’ part implies you enjoy them as a human being, enjoy their company, enjoy everything they have to offer.

Know Where Your Money Goes

Okay, on one hand, definitely treat yo self. On the other hand, don’t blow your budget on Harry Potter fantasy camp.

Of course, I would say that, I’m a Ravenclaw.

When You Love Something, You Fight For It

This speech from Leslie’s final statement as she vies for city council¬†is the best summarization of Leslie Knope. “If you love something, you don’t threaten it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first… If I seem too passionate, it’s because I care. If I come on strong, it’s because I feel strongly.” Leslie Knope is one of the strongest, if not THE strongest female character ever on TV because she doesn’t back down. She fights for what she believes in, and she stands up not only for herself, but for those around her. It doesn’t just apply to her career, it applies to her friendships. From making unnecessary holidays to going to all costs to help a friend propose, Leslie will do anything in her power to see things get done. When it came to her relationship with Ben, she was willing to give up her career just to be with him. She said, ‘Let’s just screw it,’ and it eventually paid off. When you love something, you fight for it. As Ron Swanson said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” Leslie can proudly say she whole-assed a whole bunch of things.

“I like to tell people get on board and buckle up, because my ride’s gonna be a big one. If you get motion sickness, put your head between your knees, because Leslie Knope’s stopping for no one.”

Time Is Money; Money Is Power; Power is Pizza; Pizza is Knowledge

This is probably my favorite thing April has ever said on the entire series. First of all, the fact that she’s running this meeting is just great character development. I love character development. But no matter how ridiculous it sounds when it comes out, she usually has a point. In Pawnee in particular, there are a lot of randoms who have nothing better to do but complain, like that woman who is always too concerned about her dog and brings up her pooch problems at town meetings. These are the folks April and co. have to deal with and they don’t have time to sit around listening to droll residents all day. Also, pizza. Pizza is always a good choice.

Have Dating Standards

Ok, this might actually be one of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from the show. When Tom said this, he spoke to my soul on a deep level. The fact that Ann didn’t know who Ginuwine was (Ginuwine – is Ginuwine) was astonishing, and honestly, I, like Tom, don’t think I could ever date someone who didn’t know who he was. Speaking of Ann, in her days of going through guy after guy, she often had a tendency to change into the people she was dating. Like Julia Roberts in Runway Bride – she didn’t even know what type of egg she liked. It’s important to have simple standards for your ideal mate, because when you figure out what you want – like Ann wanted a kid – you will most likely get what you’re looking for.

There’s Always Paris

paris parks

I kind of want this in a tattoo form but not, because it’s too long. Leslie¬†always has a lot on her plate, but somehow she manages it all. She has time to make binders on how to be a garbage woman but also finds time to make a scrapbook about her “Thoughts on Sam Waterston“. So when something extremely stressful comes her way, like being recalled from city council, it’s important to just take a break from it all. We know Leslie loves her job, but it’s important to take a break once in a while. We get so caught up in the millions of things on our to do lists each day that we don’t actually take a chance to breathe and be present and let go of whatever is bothering us. Your trip to Paris doesn’t have to be Paris. Paris can be your favorite park or cafe or a place¬†an hour away to the middle of nowhere. If you have the ability to get away, even for just a brief moment, do it.

Be a Good Person

When Leslie realizes her job is at stake because of her romantic relationship with Ben (and the fact that they bribed the maintenance guy during Lil Sebastian’s funeral to keep quiet), Leslie thinks it’s all over for her. But Ron, in his vast font of knowledge, reminds her that despite the fact she did a frowned upon/illegal thing, it doesn’t make her a bad person. I think this show overall has taught us that there is good in this world, and you can be part of bringing that to real life. Parks never puts anyone down, it inspires and encourages us to be better. We’re human. We make mistakes. But it’s what happens after the fact that shows our true character.

Inspire Yourself

Speaking of being inspirational, while Leslie Knope herself is a great inspiration to us all, she also remind us that often times, the best person to encourage you is yourself. I don’t think Leslie would be half the leader she is today if she never thought she could do it. Yeah, she has to remind herself at times she can reach her goals (“Hey Leslie. It’s Leslie. Hang in there. I love you. Bye.”) Sure, you can have people like Ben around you believing in you and not writing concession speeches, but when Leslie walked out on the stage and gave the speech (as seen above a few paragraphs), she was ultimately the one to give the impassioned statement. No one fed her lines, she went with her gut and her gut made her win.

Feminism Isn’t Just For Women

I am a goddess. a glorious female warrior, queen of all i survey. enemies of fairness and equality, hear my womanly roar. Also men’s rights is nothing.

Johnny Karate’s Rules for Success

I mean, I think that’s pretty self explanatory.

The Only Constant Is Change

Unfortunately, doppelganger Ron has a point. Returning for one of the final episodes, Eagleton Ron shows up like he usually does, out of nowhere, and gives sage advice, like a traveling Yoda who is easier to understand. As we say goodbye to the gang tonight, the gang says goodbye to each other. Ben and Leslie and Andy and April are moving to D.C., Tom’s getting married to Lucy, Donna’s enjoying married life with Joe and moving to Seattle, Ron has his construction company and family to tend to, and Chris and Ann are already off being domestic in Michigan. Oh and Garry’s the mayor (CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT). Despite the fact a lot has happened for the Parks department in the past seven/10 years, it was bound to change sometime. Leslie was always bigger than Pawnee, and while her dreams seemed far away in season one, we realize that it’s time for her to actually achieve those goals. She turned a pit into a playground and now it’s her turn to bring that same goal-oriented talent to D.C. And this show, no matter how much we love it, was bound to have its final episode whether we liked it or not. But we’ll find another show to like and love. Maybe not as much and not in the same way, but we will. We’ll move on. We’ll move up. And we’ll miss you in the saddest fashion.

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: The Getaway

I feel like with all the Kadrashians and Housewives and Honey Boo Boos of the world, reality TV has gotten a negative stigma, where as soon as you label a show as such, most people are keen to brush it off. But believe it or not, there are plenty of great reality TV – ahem, unscripted docu-series – shows out there that deserved to be watched. One of them is a show called The Getaway on the Esquire network.

What It’s About

If you have the desire to feed your wanderlust, this show’s for you. Each episode features one celebrity who picks one city anywhere in the world, and they get to explore it for a few days. They take in the culture, eat the food, get to know the locals, etc. Also, the show is executive produced by Anthony Bourdain, so you know you’re getting the real deal.

Street Cred

The first season of The Getaway premiered last year, and after the first episode featuring Joel McHale, I was hooked. Other celebs who took the plunge in the first season included Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Seth & Josh Meyers, Eve, and Josh Gad. Here are just a few highlights that will give you a taste of what to expect.

Shopping

Rashida’s episode in London is my favorite out of the bunch, not only because I adore her, but because London in like another home to her and when she takes us to various places around the city, it’s as if she’s our personal tour guide. And thanks to the help of special guests like Chris O’Dowd and Adam Scott, it makes for a truly hilarious episode. In the scene above, Chris takes her to a super odd shop that’s part boutique and part weird museum that you see in the don’t go here but go here section of travel guide books.

Eating

Naturally, eating is a big part of traveling a foreign city, and the same goes for The Getaway. When Seth & Josh Meyers visit their old home of Amsterdam, they are treated to a special pig cuisine – stop the vid when the waiter explains the type of meat he puts on their table. And then there’s Broadway star/Olaf Josh Gad who opts to return to New York City and go to Carnegie’s Deli where he attempts to eat a sandwich that weighs more than some newborn babies. But hey, when in Rome, right?

Drinking

Because The Getaway is on the Esquire network, there has to be some classy drinking involved. Another episode I’m partial to is Bridesmaids director Paul Feig’s visit to Boston, where he pays a visit to one of the classiest drinking joints there is in the 617. Like the bartender uses items such a blowtorches and centerfuge. Yeah, exactly.

Activities

Rashida’s Parks and Rec pal Aziz Ansari opts to go to Hong Kong. If you are a fan of his or stalk his Insta, you know he’s a giant foodie, which is part of the reason he goes there. However, he has to do something besides eat, so his tour guide Denny (the best) takes him to the pony races. Who knew it was a thing there?

Culture

The great thing about The Getaway is that they don’t just show you the local hotspots, but they delve into the local culture and language too, all from the mouths of locals. When Joel McHale goes to Dublin, he gets a lesson on food slang. Albeit he doesn’t understand at first, the actual food looked really good.

 What to Expect

For the upcoming second season, a new slew of celebs get to pick the getaway of their choosing, including Chrissy Teigen who goes to roots in Bangkok, Thailand, Jack McBrayer stands out as a white dude in Hawaii and Adam Pally stays home in the U.S. for a wild trip to Las Vegas with his pals (In fact you can watch that episode now!). So fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a trip around the world from the comfort of your own home and enjoy getting away.

Season 2 of The Getaway premieres on Wednesday, October 15th on the Esquire at 9pm