American Idol, #Nvr4Get

The American Idol series finale was last night, and the country crowned its 15th and final winner La’Porsha Trent Harmon. The show was jam-packed with special performances from former Idol contestants (Tamyra Gray, Katharine McPhee, Chris Daughtry, Jessica Sanchez, Pia Toscano, Kellie Pickler), winners (Ruben, Fantasia, Carrie, Jordin, White Guys With Guitars, Kelly SINGING A MOMENT LIKE THIS), and Brian Dunkleman. It was clearly emotional for all those involved in the show for the past 10+ years, but it full disclosure, it was emotional for me too.

Yeah, 15 seasons is quite a long run and it’s definitely time to go, but you can’t deny how much of an impact this show has had on reality TV, the music industry, and most importantly, the lives of all those involved. For instance, Kelly Clarkson was waiting tables when she auditioned for the show, and was barely getting by. Now she’s become one of the most successful and acclaimed artists not only as an Idol alum but in pop music, and she probably wouldn’t have been able to reach the level of success she’s at without this platform.

But what I’ve realized over the past few days is that I’m not so much “sad” to see the show go – it’s more of the nostalgia I get from the Idol, yearning for the glory of what the show once was. Case in point last night’s finale. Reuniting the Three Divas (Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson & LaToya London), teaming up Justin Guarini & Jordin Sparks, throwing to Sanjaya & his hair in the audience, and that entire Gospel medley. The producers brought all these people back because THEY are what made Idol great. Back in its heyday, circa 2003 to 2009, Idol became the highest-rated TV show in the United States for an unprecedented seven consecutive years. It became bigger than anyone could ever have imagined. There were even people lit’rally making money off of Idol online with dedicated websites (because the Internet was still emerging as a thing) like Rickey.org and MjsBigBlog, and that type of fandom for an unscripted reality competition series had never been seen before.

But back then, everyone was watching it because it was entertaining. People got sucked into voting for their favorites (or their least favorites – Vote for the Worst, anyone?) and it became watercooler fodder the next day. I am not ashamed to admit that I, too, became a crazed fan of Idol. I purchased not only the winners’ albums but the Idol compilation albums. I’ve gone to a few of the Idol summer tours, and if you recall from a previous post, I may have been in the audience in season one holding up a sign that in all honestly, I partly made so I could get on TV. It worked.

LOL HI

Anyway, all this to say that while a lot of people consider the past few seasons of Idol completely moot, a series finale makes you remember why you fell in love with the show in the first place. Over the past 15 seasons, Idol has definitely given us plenty to talk about, and what better time to talk about all those moments than on the day after the show ends? Thanks for all the memories and lasting legacies you’ve left us with. We’ll Nvr4Get.

The Audacity of Season 1

Season one was kind of a shit show, but a good shit show. Production value was lower than Scotty McCreery’s basso profondo and it took a while for people to tune in. As we know, the auditions are sometimes the most entertaining episodes, and season one was no exception. It was the first we’d see of the extremely outspoken, cutthroat, no filter Simon Cowell. It was like he was being rude to all these contestants (who admittedly couldn’t carry one note) and America was like, ‘Yo, who the hell is this British dude?’ It was also telling of the singers who came in to audition – it was jarring to see a handful of people fight back against the judges and Cowell, since we weren’t necessarily used to the harsh talk back on TV. Enter Tamika Bush, who was one of the very first rude singers to grace the show. I personally enjoy her two-glasses style approach. Why keep your prescription sunglasses in your bag when you can just wear it you head?

Forget JHud, Give From Justin to Kelly An Oscar

Ok, you probably didn’t forget this happened but did you even watch it at all? WELL I DID. In the theater. And maybe with Molly? (yes, and I didn’t realize it would be a musical. YEAH.-M) Either way, it wasn’t that good, but it was along the lines of so bad it’s good. Bless these two for having to do this. The downside of fame, y’all.

Simon + Paula = Saula

In the first couple of seasons, viewers noticed there was an odd chemistry between Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. They’d be at odds with each other one second and the next it felt as if we all needed to leave the room so they could have it to themselves. During the season two finale, producers had fun with this and came up with this little sketch that is something you can never unsee.

World Idol Was a Thing

If you didn’t know, American Idol was adapted from the British version called Pop Idol, which was a huge hit in the U.K. Soon after its major success, more versions of the show started popping up around the world, and by late 2003, when we had already crowned our first and only Idol Kelly, producers of Pop Idol decided it would be a good idea to create World Idol. Think of it as Eurovision, but less importance on the song choice. Don’t get that reference, you lousy Americans? It’s like of the Olympics had a singing event and had one representative from each country compete. Kelly repped the U.S. but came in second to Norway’s Kurt Nilsen, who won with U2’s Beautiful Day. Foiled by Bono again.

Beating the System

For season four, a tricky concept called Dial Idol was introduced, and it’s important to know this had no affiliation at all to American Idol itself. Dial Idol was a Windows program and its associated website that tracks voting trends for Idol contestants. Using your PC’s modem, viewers can automatically vote for their faves and the program reports back to the main website. That site, DialIdol.com, kept track of all the voting data, and therefore was usually a good indicator on who was leading week to week. From seasons four through 13, Dial Idol’s prediction on who would take home the crown was only wrong once, and it was for S13 when the data predicted Jena Irene would win over Caleb Johnson (I barely watched that season too). It was controversial for many reasons, but for those betting money on Idol, it proved to be a secret weapon and guide to win that dough.

The Three Divas Debacle

This was an epic moment from season 3, and maybe the best/worst elimination ever? (Watch it above around the 28:23 mark) It was the results show revealing who was going to make the top 6. Ryan divided the remaining contestants into two groups – on the left side of the stage, it was Fantasia, LaToya and JHud. On the right side of the stage, it was Diana DeGarmo, John Stevens and Jasmine Trias. Ryan then told the remaining contestant, George Huff, that he was safe and to go to the group he also thought was safe. He apprehensively approached the groups, with the Three Divas motioning to come to join them. The audience cheered but then Ryan announced the plot twist – he had joined the wrong group. Note: they did this fake out again in S6, but Melinda Doolittle (in the George Huff position) decided to sit in the middle of the stage and didn’t pick a side lololol). Anyways, the result was the shocking elimination of Jennifer Hudson, but I hear she’s been doing fine since then.

Queen of Crying Memes

Ah, crying girl. The most memorable fan to come out of the pits of the CBS studio audience. Crying girl, aka Ashley Ferl, was 13 years old when she was left in hormonal teen tears after Sanjaya seductively moved his hips as he sang You Really Got Me in season six. The camera only panned to her for a few brief moments, but she’s lived on in the Internet forever. She’s now 22 and a college student majoring in liberal studies. And while she may not be a Fanjaya anymore, she’s still an Idol viewer. Wonder what she thought about Sanjaya’s random wig appearances on the finale last night.

American Juniors

After the unprecedented success of the first two seasons of American Idol, producers decided to capitalize on it even more by launching a spin-off show called American Juniors, looking for the best five young talents to create the country’s next big pop group. The format was a little different than Idol Senior, wherein each week one kid would get voted into the group as opposed to being eliminated. The group barely became anything, but the only thing you need to take out of it is that American was introduced to Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars fame. She made it to the group, but now runs from some Big Bad trying to kill her and her friends in designer clothes.

American Idol Experience

In 2009, a theme park attraction called the American Idol Experience, opened at Disney’ World’s Hollywood Studios. It was basically set up to be just like the show, with singers actually auditioning and performing in front of a real audience for a real shot to audition for the real show. There were a handful of Idol finalists from the AI Experience who made it to the show, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that at the grand opening of the attraction, a bunch of Idol alum took the stage, including winners S1 through 7, and that provided for a duet of two of my faves, Carrie and David Cook as seen above. And if you want to go to this attraction, too late. It closed in 2014.

The Best Hollywood Week Groups

Hollywood Week is notoriously difficult, and maybe my favorite part of each season. The contestants are really put to the test, and it always seems like everyone is sleep deprived, hates most people the interact with, and can’t remember the words to well-known songs for the life of them. Tensions run high, people get sick (S11 winner Phillip Phillips even had to be hospitalized during Hollywood Week due to kidney problems) and many are cut from the competition. But every year it’s the group rounds that separate the best from the worst, and in season six, four guys did their damn thing. Three of them even made the semi-finals, with Blake coming in as the runner-up to Jordin. Special shout out to White Chocolate from season eight.

Pants on the Ground

Civil rights activist “General” Larry Platt auditioned with this song in season nine and it became a viral hit. The actual track is meant to protest the practice of guys sagging their trousers, but I have a funny feeling most of the people who bought the single didn’t even realize the real meaning behind it. Either way, it was so memorable he even made a brief appearance on the series finale.

Idol Gives Back

Idol Gives Back was a charity campaign that happened three times throughout the run of the show. The episode featured performances from current and past Idols, celebrities, and music superstars in an effort to get people to donate their money to charity. From the three specials, the campaign raised over $185 million for underserved communities in America and around the world. And also Brad Pitt.

The Scandals

Listen, you can’t have thousands of people across America going to an open call for a hit TV show without meeting a few folks with colorful backgrounds. It began in season two with Corey Clark who was disqualified during the finals (he made it to the top 9) because of an undisclosed criminal record. He later claimed he had an affair with Paula during the show, and that led to her giving him preferential treatment. That went away, but he became a hot mess afterwards. Similarly, Frenchie Davis who I thought was going to be a frontrunner (see: Band of Gold that I still listen to to this day), was disqualified for having previously modelled for an adult website. Other notable controversial contestants include S4’s Mario Vasquez (a frontrunner, left on his own accord citing personal reasons, rumored to be related to lewd conduct with a crew member), S6’s Antonella Barba (racy pix of her surfaced online), S7’s David Hernandez (used to be a stripper), S11’s Jermaine Jones (concealed arrests and outstanding warrants).

Seacrest’s High Five Faux Pas

There is no back story to this besides Ryan can’t read the room.

The Life of Pablo

That time Seacrest used his connections to get Kanye to audition.

“Other Door”

Contestants in the initial rounds had a lot of trouble figuring out which door to leave through, and this montage still gets me cracking up every time. In recent years, they’ve noticeably put an Idol-branded sticker on the door to indicate which one they should go out of.

Bikini Girl

In season eight, a gal called Katrina Darrell showed up to the auditions in only a bikini. It became this whole thing and she even managed to steal a kiss from Ryan. Second-hand embarrassment. She surprisingly made it to Hollywood but got cut in the group rounds. She appeared in the finale alongside judge Kara DioGuardi, who also showed up in her bikini and sang. This show, I swear.

Nicki vs. Mariah

Like what even happened that season? Rumors of their fighting surfaced (maybe that should be in quotes) on TMZ long before the first episodes even aired, and it continued for the whole season. It was annoying. It was even more annoying because the focus turned from the contestants to them, and that’s not fair.

Bigger and Better Than Idol

Listen, not everyone can get it right. And that includes Idol judges. There have been a handful of singers who auditioned for the show, didn’t make it, but eventually became superstars. For instance, Tori Kelly got cut during Hollywood Week, and Simon was not a fan of hers. Cut to 2016 when she got nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy. Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, COlbie Calliat, and Glee’s Amber Riley both didn’t even make it past the preliminary rounds, while The Swon Brothers’ Colton Swon and The Hunger Games star Alan Ritchson also didn’t make the cut.

#YouTried

And finally, here’s an ode to all the finalists who left an impression on me and other Idol fans throughout the 15 seasons. Most of the contestants listed below were underdogs and/or underappreciated, and I feel like they need one more shout out before Idol rides off into the sunset… for now (an actual phrase Seacrest said at the end of the finale, which could mean anything but I don’t need it to come back).

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Playlist of the Month: Songs by 2015 Grammy Nominees

The Grammy Awards are this Sunday, and the nominees always remind me how much music I’m not listening to. There are whole categories – chamber music, regional roots, children’s  – that I can honestly say I haven’t played once in the past 12 months. Neither of us is concerned with what music is supposed to be highbrow or cool, which is probably why you won’t see anything from the more esoteric categories. We just like what we like. Here’s what we liked from the 2015 Grammy nominees:

Molly’s Picks

Jackie And Wilson by Hozier {Song Of The Year}

I have a rule that if there are more than three songs I want to download from an album, I just buy the whole thing. That was the case with Hozier’s self-titled debut. We all know Take Me To Church, the song for which he was nominated and the Top 40 constant for the past 3 months. But this is an album with, like, 10 standout tracks. It was hard to pick just one, but it felt right to introduce everyone to one of Hozier’s more uptempo tunes.

Bed Peace by Jhene Aiko ft. Childish Gambino {Best Urban Contemporary Album}

If you can watch this video without wishing that Donald Glover and Jhene Aiko would just be a couple already, I can’t relate. As someone who listens to a lot of … um… urban contemporary? music, Sail Out is really refreshing because it’s sort of floaty and beachy in addition to the typical rap solos and R&B beats.

Seriously. Does anyone still say “urban music” though?

Afterlife by Arcade Fire {Best Alternative Music Album}

Also, does anyone still say “alternative music?”

Usually I listen to Arcade Fire when I feel like revisiting 2005 (see also: Bright Eyes, Motion City Soundtrack). While Reflektor still sounds like Arcade Fire, they’ve definitely moved further into the synth-y, electronic, dancey direction.

Bad Blood by Bastille {Best New Artist}

It always feels like the Grammys use some fuzzy math for what’s a “new” artist. So, yeah, Bastille’s been around for a minute. I’ve been watching Twin Peaks so I had to pick the song named after pretty, dead Laura Palmer, even though this one sounds sort of surprisingly Phil Collins-y.

Severed Crossed Fingers by St. Vincent {Best Alternative Music Album}

I’ll admit it. This is my least favorite St. Vincent album. But it’s still really good, and I’m always in favor of artists trying new things instead of spitting out what they think their audience wants.

Traci’s Picks

3005 by Childish Gambino {Best Rap Performance}

Being a fan of Community, I was an early adapter to Childish Gambino. I saw him live in 2010, and as he became more popular over the past few years, the venues started getting bigger and, for some reason, the audience kept getting younger. Anyways, I was a hardcore Gambino Girl back in the day and am particularly partial to his earlier stuff. His Grammy-nominated album (!) because the internet was clearly an evolution of his sound, and although it was good, I just personally liked the tracks off Camp and his EP better (Kauai is really good too, tho). But one song I couldn’t (and still can’t) stop playing is 3005, which is reminiscent of that early sound I loved. A fun thing to do is listen to it on your car and when the beat kicks in on the chorus, turn the volume way up and then immediately turn it back down because you are old now.

New Flame by Chris Brown featuring Usher & Rick Ross {Best R&B Performance}

UGH CHRIS BROWN. STOP MAKING MUSIC I LIKE, BECAUSE YOU ARE LIT’RALLY THE WORST. But hi Usher. UGH CHRIS BROWn,.

Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne {Best Dance Recording}

I was in the unique position of reading about how this song was burning up the UK charts prior to actually hearing it. I decided to see what all the fuss was about, and immediately got addicted to it, and now am a fan of both Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne. Her voice is perfectly suited for Clean Bandit’s sound, and vice versa.

Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood {Best Country Solo Performance}

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I’m particular to Carrie Underwood, specifically that hearing her sing usually makes me cry. This song is no different. It was a track she released in conjunction with her greatest hits album, and like a couple of her other songs, it’s classified under the Christian genre, and she even samples Amazing Grace towards the end. That song is so traditional that it can be overplayed and overused, but Carrie makes it sound brand new and makes you feel something within, no matter what you believe.

Day Drinking by Little Big Town {Best Country Duo/Group Performance}

So it’s February, and there may or may not be a blizzard going on outside your home right now, but if you want to feel like it’s summer and you’re throwing back a few margs or beers or alcohol of your choice, just listen to this song.

Honorable Mentions:

Bound 2 by Kanye West featuring Charlie Wilson {Best Rap/Sung Performance}, Ain’t It Fun by Paramore {Best Rock Song}, Automatic by Miranda Lambert {Best Country Song}

Best Of C+S 2014: Pop Culture Moments That Make Me Cry

Happy 2015, everybody! The start of a brand new year is always a happy, hopeful thing – but as you get older, the passing of time can also make you a little blue. As you get older, you are also more and more likely to spend New Year’s day holed up in bed, watching Netflix and eating whatever your go-to hangover foods are. This didn’t used to happen to us. Anyway, these are all of the pop culture moments that make us cry, on a scale from one to five Crying Dawsons, in case your plans for the day include a lot of media content and a little crying.


Some pop culture moments are engineered to make you cry. Any time they show you an old man who is alone, or a beloved dog bravely facing his mortality, you know they’re trying to make you bawl.

Others aren’t supposed to be sad, but for some reason they grab onto your feelings and twist them until your eyes water. For instance: any time a child sings and it’s very beautiful.

Then there are those moments that were meant to be sad, but came out hilarious instead. I present for your approval:

This is the rare tearjerker scene that makes us weep – because we’re laughing so hard. So with Dawson Leery as our patron saint of pop culture crying, we’re listing those moments in entertainment that brought us to tears. Our scale stretches from one Crying Dawson (your eyes are lightly watering, but there’s no real tearstorm) to five Crying Dawsons (or as we like to call it, a Full Leery). And disclaimer: there will be spoilers ahead. Consider yourself warned.

One Crying Dawson1 crying dawson

  • The final, heartrending scenes of The Notebook. And I’m only putting it here because zero crying Dawsons wasn’t an option. I’m a monster, I know.
  • The end of Bridesmaids where Maya gives one last glance back at Kristen before she gets in the limo with her new husband. There’s an unspoken understanding between two best friends that just gets me.
  • Any time an actor/actress that is announcing Emmy/Oscar/Golden Globe nominations at the asscrack of dawn, only to announce their own name as one of the nominees.
  • Cyrus realizing he was the reason his hubs got killed on Scandal. You brought it on yourself dude.
  • When Little Michael Scott wants to grow up and have 100 kids so he can have 100 friends and no one can say no to being his friend.
  • The end of City Lights (taking it way back to the 1930s here!), when the blind girl sees the tramp for the first time.
  • When Mary is sort of mean to Martha in A Secret Garden but it’s because she doesn’t know how to play or love and her parents are dead and she lives in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere.
  • The “Love Is A Dream” sketch with Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, serving the one-two punch of old people thinking about their youth, and people who died before their time.
  • When the now-elderly Peaches take a team picture and sing their song one last time in A League Of Their Own.
  • In The Great Gatsby, both the book and film adaptations, when Daisy delivers the “beautiful fool” line. Gut punch.

Two Crying Dawsons2 crying dawsons

  • When Papouli taught us about Greek dance, the love of family, and brief character arcs on Full House.
  • The look on Louis’ face when his daughter plays the violin duet with the neighbor on Louie.
  • The episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets the crayon lodged in his brain removed and suddenly becomes smart. At the end Lisa reads a letter he wrote her from before he got dumb again and it was the first time anyone in her family understood her.
  • Also, after Maggie is born and Homer goes back to work at the plant, he covers the mean plaque from Burns “Don’t Forget, You’re Here Forever” with her pictures so that it now reads “Do it for her.”
  • When Brian Williams reported on the NBC Nightly News that his daughter Allison Williams had been cast in the live version of Peter Pan. No matter what you think about the casting decision itself, you have no soul if you don’t get emotional watching him be so proud of his daughter.
  • Mr. Feeny dismissing class one final time.
  • Jen Lindley’s final conversation with Jack. And TBH, I might have cried more when Jack and Dougie declared their commitment to each other on the beach.
  • When Will believes his father isn’t going to leave him again on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but Pops lets him down again, and Will breaks down in the arms of Uncle Phil asking why his dad doesn’t want him.
  • The voiceover at the end of The Time Travelers episode of How I Met Your Mother, when Future Ted says that he wants 45 extra days with The Mother… probably because at that point I had a pretty good idea of what that darn show was going to do to us.
  • Leslie saying goodbye to Ann on Parks and Rec. Uteruses before duderuses.
  • When Mel Gibson is getting ready to leave in The Patriot, and his mute daughter runs after him screaming “I’ll say anything!” Doubly so now that she’s passed away.

Three Crying Dawsons

3 crying dawsons

  • The final moments of that old dog in Homeward Bound.
  • The Muppets (2012), just in general. It made both of us cry and neither of us knows why.
  • Jessie singing When Somebody Loved Me in Toy Story 2.
  • The little girl singing Desperado in In America.
  • I was in a hotel a few months ago and came across a documentary on like the Travel Channel or something that was about the new Diagon Alley attraction in Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Orlando, and the planning, construction and attention to detail that went into it before they opened the doors. Before opening it to the public, a select group of young HP fans were let into the park as a sneak peak and the look of awe was astounding. I can’t imagine being a kid, being obsessed with the books & movies and finally being in Diagon Alley for real.
  • In what is one of my favorite dances over all the seasons of So You Think You Can Dance, golden child Travis Wall choreographed an emotional contemporary (and Emmy nominated) piece to Coldplay’s Fix You, a dance based on his own experience of helping his mom through her bout with cancer. While Fix You is always a tearjerker, add on the brilliant dancing by Robert Roldan and Allison Holker and you have a piece of pure art that will leave you breathless.
  • Speaking of SYTYCD, season 11’s Ricky Ubeda was one of those winners who actually deserved the victory, thanks to his combination of talent and personality. But during Hollywood week, it was his solo that made me (and a lot of other viewers) single him out from the crowd, thanks to vulnerability and emotion he brought to the dance.
  • Lily telling Marshall his dad died on How I Met Your Mother.
  • The final scene in Friends when they all walk out of Monica & Chandler’s to go to Central Perk and there’s one final sweep of the empty apartment with swelling music in the background.

Four Crying Dawsons

4 Crying Dawsons

  • Carrie Underwood singing. Pretty much singing anything. Especially if it’s live. I’ve seen her in concert three times and every single time I was brought to tears. She sings with such passion and conviction. And if she’s singing any kind of religious song, you know she’s channeling the big JC, making her voice even more powerful for some reason.
  • The scene in both the book and movie version of The Fault in our Stars where Hazel is giving the ‘eulogy’ for Gus in the church.
  • The Normal Heart. All of it.
  • Friday Night Lights – pretty much the entire show. However, I’ll pinpoint one that stands out, which is when Coach throws Matt Saracen into the shower, but QB1 breaks down, insisting that his loved ones always abandon him. And to continue this Zach Gilford lovefest, the entire episode of The Son is heartwrenching, but I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it.
  • Call it the Jason Katims effect because Parenthood also makes me cry during every episode, no matter what. Again, it’s hard to pick just one, so the scene where Kristina tells the family that she has cancer – a scene so powerful with no words at all. This current season hasn’t been lucky for Zeek, and because of personal reasons, I’ve found his storyline extremely upsetting. Also Mae Whitman crying. Legit the best crier in the biz.
  • The series finale of Gilmore Girls in which Rory assures Lorelai that she’s “already given her everything she needs” before she goes on the road following Senator Barack Obama. In fact the final like 20 minutes of that show including Rory’s speech under the tent make me cry so hard that I’ve only watched the finale approx thrice, as opposed to like the 30 times for all the other episodes.
  • The finale of I ❤ Nick Carter where he and Lauren get married. Legit stayed up til 4am watching it and it was totally worth it. His family sucks but good thing they have the rest of BSB and other friends and family – that’s what got me.
  • Jim Halpert learning he and Pam are having a baby after she injures herself at the company picnic. The whole office singing Seasons of Love to Michael on his last episode. The ‘Forever’ flash mob at Jim & Pam’s wedding and them getting married on the Maid of the Mist and Jim cutting off his tie. The entire series finale. I had a hard time saying goodbye to The Office.
  • The first 5-ish minutes of Up.
  • When Mary and Edith realize that they’re the only ones left after Sybil dies.
  • I was never big into Buffy, but that scene where Buffy tells Dawn that their mom has died, and you’re watching it through the window of her classroom? Nope.
  • DOBBY. RIP.

Five Crying Dawsons

5 crying dawsons

  • The Quarterback episode of Glee where Finn (Cory Monteith) dies. I literally went through almost an entire box of tissues during that and I’m not even a huge Glee fan. The pain on everyone’s face was real, and watching Lea Michele sing – forget it.
  • The end of The Best Man Holiday – what in the fuck was that all about?! I paid $15 to see Taye Diggs and his fellow HBM co-stars possibly take their clothes off and it turned out that I needed extra sleeves because my tears and snot were all over the shirt I went in with.
  • Right before Leslie and Ben get married, when she’s talking with Ron in the hallway. I’m a wedding crier anyway, but jeez.
  • In Little Women, when Jo is going through the trunk in the attic after Beth has died (note: Beth’s death gets knocked down to 4 Crying Dawsons because of the weird brogue Claire Danes starts speaking in).
  • Everything that happens after Sara Crewe goes to live in the attic in A Little Princess. This is the second Frances Hodgson Burnett appearance on this list so I hope wherever she is, she’s proud of her vast legacy of children’s tears.
  • The funeral scene in Philadelphia, when they show the home movies of Beckett as a kid with his mom.
  • Good Will Hunting: 4 words – “It’s not your fault.”
  • My Girl: 6 words – “He can’t see without his glasses!”
  • Dead Poets Society: 4 words – “O Captain! My Captain!”

Playlist of the Month: Soundtrack to my Tears

It’s been an (ironically) fun week for us, talking about crying and feels and emotions, and where and when and what makes us break down. On the final day of A Cry For Help Week, we’re sharing some of the songs that are trigger tracks, if you will. The songs that either will make us cry when we hear them or if we’re in dire need to let it out, we listen to these tunes to set off a flood of tears. I think everyone needs a go-to list of these kinds of songs, so hopefully this will help you if you don’t have one already! And if you do have these songs in your arsenal, feel free to share your own Soundtrack To Your Tears.

Listen to the entire playlist on Spotify!


Molly’s Picks

 Ben Harper – Walk Away

This is the rare breakup song that works if you are the dumper or the dumpee – either you have to walk away because you’re the one calling it quits, or because eventually you have to move on. Either way, now you’re crying while listening to Ben Harper.

Elliott Smith – Between The Bars

You can’t have a crying soundtrack without a little Elliott Smith.  Even happy-ish Smith songs can make me weepy (see, e.g, Say Yes). Between The Bars is like a song from the ugly part of your brain – minus, for me at least, the parts about problem drinking. But the mean narrator in your head has probably said a thing or two about “the things you could do, you won’t but you might” and “the people you’ve been before that you don’t want around anymore.”

Crosby Stills Nash and Young – Our House

This is my wild card pick. Ever since I was a baby who wept every time I heard Hush, Little Baby, unlikely songs have made me cry. My mom thought I hated that lullaby because everything broke, but I could have cared less about the baby from the song and her conspicuous consumption. The melody was just a real downer. For as long as I can remember, I’ve also found Our House to be a bummer. Part is the melody, and part of it is that I was a kid with a really vivid imagination and I’d always picture a young, happy couple from the 1970s hanging up their macrame and tapestries, and I’d know that by now those days are long gone.

Lisa Hannigan – Lille

If you couldn’t tell from Our House, one of the most tear-inducing feelings for me is thinking about how quickly young people become old people and how in the end it’s all just sort of … okay. It’s a happy-sad feeling, like looking at your grandparents’ wedding pictures.

Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland 1945

This song neatly summarizes my theme of “when people live then die then become part of the past, it’s beautiful yet sad.” I mean, it’s from Neutral Milk Hotel’s Anne Frank-themed album. Why do I do this to myself again?

Bonus:

Lua by Bright Eyes;  re: Stacks by Bon Iver; Casmir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens; Marshmallow Unicorn by Rachel Sermanni, … do you want me to keep going? Because I can keep going.

Traci’s Picks

The Last Five Years – The Next Ten Minutes

So, since we’re all friends here, I’m not ashamed to say that I lit’rally have a playlist on my iTunes called “Cry It Out”, featuring songs that I listen to when I want to cry. Pretty much the entire soundtrack to one of my favorite musicals, The Last Five Years, is on said playlist. If you’re not a theater nerd, The Last Five Years is a musical that was off-Broadway in 2002, and has since become a cult favorite. In fact it had an off-Broadway revival last year and next year, you will see me at the movie theater crying into a bucket of popcorn by myself because the movie adaptation, starring Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick, hits theaters. In short, The Last Five Years tells the story of Jamie and Cathy over the last five years (duh) of their relationship. Jamie tells the story of their love in chronological order (starting when the couple first meets), while Cathy tells it in reverse (starting when their marriage ends). There is one song in the show where their timelines intersect, which is their “wedding” song, and that is this one, titled The Next Ten Minutes. Since this is the only song where they’re on “the same page”, we get a rare glimpse of the romance between them, and it’s even more devastating knowing how it’s going to end.

Once the Musical – Leave

I’m telling you right now, there’s one more song from a musical after this, so scroll if you must. I started listening to the Once soundtrack when the Broadway show was gaining popularity and winning awards and all that, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I actually saw the production for the first time. I laughed, I cried, I went another time and lather rinse repeat. This soundtrack is also on my Cry It Out playlist, and Leave is just one of the great tunes off the soundtrack. It’s the first the Guy sings in the show, and sets up a tale of unrequited love that shatters your heart to bits.

Rent – I’ll Cover You (Reprise)

(Last musical song, I promise) I feel like Rent is such a cliche show to say is your favorite, but it pretty much is. It’s the show I’ve seen live the most (like more than 8 times?), and that’s partly because I first saw a touring production of it while in high school, and it comes with sentimental memories for me. Anyways, at the climax of the show, *spoiler alert* Angel dies, and Collins mourns the loss of another AIDS stricken friend gone too soon. Jesse L. Martin does such a good job at expressing the anguish, pain and suffering through every single note in this song, and the fact that it’s a reprise of a song he sings with Angel in the first act, digs that knife in even deeper.

Carrie Underwood – So Small

I mentioned earlier in the week that Carrie Underwood will make me cry no matter what. I think it started when she won American Idol and could barely get through the final song because of her tears of joy. From that moment, anytime I hear her live, it’s guaranteed I will at least tear up. I mean I even found myself crying when she sang her new song at the CMA Awards on Wednesday (to which I reminded myself to write about it for this post). So Small is just one of the tear-inducing tracks, and in the video above, she sings it with our fave the PS22 Chorus. With a kid chorus behind her, the song takes on a whole new level, and I think it’s exactly what Carrie wanted.

The Civil Wars – Poison & Wine

This makes me sad before even listening to it because I mean, RIP The Civil Wars. Joy and John Paul’s haunting harmonies were their signature sound, and it’s prominent in one of their most popular songs, Poison & Wine. Their music was unlike any other act today, and I’m not sure if I’m crying because of the song itself or knowing that we’ll never hear new music from them again.

Adele – I Can’t Make You Love Me / Make You Feel My Love

Of course Adele is on this list. Her music is a sure fire way to let it all go. When SNL does a sketch about how your music makes everyone cry, you know it’s true. And while it’s like Sophie’s Choice picking one Adele song that makes me cry, I decided to go with a song that basically makes me cry anytime I hear it, which is I Can’t Make You Love Me originally by Bonnie Raitt. So combine that track with Adele and you have emotion central.

Bonus:

Ugh so many songs, it was really hard to narrow down, but here are two that came real close to making the top 6!

Demi Lovato’s cover of Ed Sheeran’s Give Me Love: Like all songs Demi sings, she puts so much power in it, but you can tell she’s signing this from personal experience, and I get the chills every time I listen to it.

Brett Dennen’s version of Hard Times (Come Again No More): This song came to my attention via Parenthood, so obviously it makes me cry.

Pop Culture Moments That Make Me Cry

Some pop culture moments are engineered to make you cry. Any time they show you an old man who is alone, or a beloved dog bravely facing his mortality, you know they’re trying to make you bawl.

Others aren’t supposed to be sad, but for some reason they grab onto your feelings and twist them until your eyes water. For instance: any time a child sings and it’s very beautiful.

Then there are those moments that were meant to be sad, but came out hilarious instead. I present for your approval:

This is the rare tearjerker scene that makes us weep – because we’re laughing so hard. So with Dawson Leery as our patron saint of pop culture crying, we’re listing those moments in entertainment that brought us to tears. Our scale stretches from one Crying Dawson (your eyes are lightly watering, but there’s no real tearstorm) to five Crying Dawsons (or as we like to call it, a Full Leery). And disclaimer: there will be spoilers ahead. Consider yourself warned.

One Crying Dawson1 crying dawson

  • The final, heartrending scenes of The Notebook. And I’m only putting it here because zero crying Dawsons wasn’t an option. I’m a monster, I know.
  • The end of Bridesmaids where Maya gives one last glance back at Kristen before she gets in the limo with her new husband. There’s an unspoken understanding between two best friends that just gets me.
  • Any time an actor/actress that is announcing Emmy/Oscar/Golden Globe nominations at the asscrack of dawn, only to announce their own name as one of the nominees.
  • Cyrus realizing he was the reason his hubs got killed on Scandal. You brought it on yourself dude.
  • When Little Michael Scott wants to grow up and have 100 kids so he can have 100 friends and no one can say no to being his friend.
  • The end of City Lights (taking it way back to the 1930s here!), when the blind girl sees the tramp for the first time.
  • When Mary is sort of mean to Martha in A Secret Garden but it’s because she doesn’t know how to play or love and her parents are dead and she lives in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere.
  • The “Love Is A Dream” sketch with Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks, serving the one-two punch of old people thinking about their youth, and people who died before their time.
  • When the now-elderly Peaches take a team picture and sing their song one last time in A League Of Their Own.
  • In The Great Gatsby, both the book and film adaptations, when Daisy delivers the “beautiful fool” line. Gut punch.

Two Crying Dawsons2 crying dawsons

  • When Papouli taught us about Greek dance, the love of family, and brief character arcs on Full House.
  • The look on Louis’ face when his daughter plays the violin duet with the neighbor on Louie.
  • The episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets the crayon lodged in his brain removed and suddenly becomes smart. At the end Lisa reads a letter he wrote her from before he got dumb again and it was the first time anyone in her family understood her.
  • Also, after Maggie is born and Homer goes back to work at the plant, he covers the mean plaque from Burns “Don’t Forget, You’re Here Forever” with her pictures so that it now reads “Do it for her.”
  • When Brian Williams reported on the NBC Nightly News that his daughter Allison Williams had been cast in the live version of Peter Pan. No matter what you think about the casting decision itself, you have no soul if you don’t get emotional watching him be so proud of his daughter.
  • Mr. Feeny dismissing class one final time.
  • Jen Lindley’s final conversation with Jack. And TBH, I might have cried more when Jack and Dougie declared their commitment to each other on the beach.
  • When Will believes his father isn’t going to leave him again on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air but Pops lets him down again, and Will breaks down in the arms of Uncle Phil asking why his dad doesn’t want him.
  • The voiceover at the end of The Time Travelers episode of How I Met Your Mother, when Future Ted says that he wants 45 extra days with The Mother… probably because at that point I had a pretty good idea of what that darn show was going to do to us.
  • Leslie saying goodbye to Ann on Parks and Rec. Uteruses before duderuses.
  • When Mel Gibson is getting ready to leave in The Patriot, and his mute daughter runs after him screaming “I’ll say anything!” Doubly so now that she’s passed away.

Three Crying Dawsons

3 crying dawsons

  • The final moments of that old dog in Homeward Bound.
  • The Muppets (2012), just in general. It made both of us cry and neither of us knows why.
  • Jessie singing When Somebody Loved Me in Toy Story 2.
  • The little girl singing Desperado in In America.
  • I was in a hotel a few months ago and came across a documentary on like the Travel Channel or something that was about the new Diagon Alley attraction in Harry Potter World at Universal Studios Orlando, and the planning, construction and attention to detail that went into it before they opened the doors. Before opening it to the public, a select group of young HP fans were let into the park as a sneak peak and the look of awe was astounding. I can’t imagine being a kid, being obsessed with the books & movies and finally being in Diagon Alley for real.
  •  In what is one of my favorite dances over all the seasons of So You Think You Can Dance, golden child Travis Wall choreographed an emotional contemporary (and Emmy nominated) piece to Coldplay’s Fix You, a dance based on his own experience of helping his mom through her bout with cancer. While Fix You is always a tearjerker, add on the brilliant dancing by Robert Roldan and Allison Holker and you have a piece of pure art that will leave you breathless.
  • Speaking of SYTYCD, season 11’s Ricky Ubeda was one of those winners who actually deserved the victory, thanks to his combination of talent and personality. But during Hollywood week, it was his solo that made me (and a lot of other viewers) single him out from the crowd, thanks to vulnerability and emotion he brought to the dance.
  • Lily telling Marshall his dad died on How I Met Your Mother.
  • The final scene in Friends when they all walk out of Monica & Chandler’s to go to Central Perk and there’s one final sweep of the empty apartment with swelling music in the background.

Four Crying Dawsons

4 Crying Dawsons

  • Carrie Underwood singing. Pretty much singing anything. Especially if it’s live. I’ve seen her in concert three times and every single time I was brought to tears. She sings with such passion and conviction. And if she’s singing any kind of religious song, you know she’s channeling the big JC, making her voice even more powerful for some reason.
  • The scene in both the book and movie version of The Fault in our Stars where Hazel is giving the ‘eulogy’ for Gus in the church.
  • The Normal Heart. All of it.
  • Friday Night Lights – pretty much the entire show. However, I’ll pinpoint one that stands out, which is when Coach throws Matt Saracen into the shower, but QB1 breaks down, insisting that his loved ones always abandon him. And to continue this Zach Gilford lovefest, the entire episode of The Son is heartwrenching, but I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it.
  • Call it the Jason Katims effect because Parenthood also makes me cry during every episode, no matter what. Again, it’s hard to pick just one, so the scene where Kristina tells the family that she has cancer – a scene so powerful with no words at all. This current season hasn’t been lucky for Zeek, and because of personal reasons, I’ve found his storyline extremely upsetting. Also Mae Whitman crying. Legit the best crier in the biz.
  • The series finale of Gilmore Girls in which Rory assures Lorelai that she’s “already given her everything she needs” before she goes on the road following Senator Barack Obama. In fact the final like 20 minutes of that show including Rory’s speech under the tent make me cry so hard that I’ve only watched the finale approx thrice, as opposed to like the 30 times for all the other episodes.
  • The finale of I ❤ Nick Carter where he and Lauren get married. Legit stayed up til 4am watching it and it was totally worth it. His family sucks but good thing they have the rest of BSB and other friends and family – that’s what got me.
  •  Jim Halpert learning he and Pam are having a baby after she injures herself at the company picnic. The whole office singing Seasons of Love to Michael on his last episode. The ‘Forever’ flash mob at Jim & Pam’s wedding and them getting married on the Maid of the Mist and Jim cutting off his tie. The entire series finale. I had a hard time saying goodbye to The Office.
  • The first 5-ish minutes of Up.
  • When Mary and Edith realize that they’re the only ones left after Sybil dies.
  • I was never big into Buffy, but that scene where Buffy tells Dawn that their mom has died, and you’re watching it through the window of her classroom? Nope.
  • DOBBY. RIP.

Five Crying Dawsons

5 crying dawsons

  • The Quarterback episode of Glee where Finn (Cory Monteith) dies. I literally went through almost an entire box of tissues during that and I’m not even a huge Glee fan. The pain on everyone’s face was real, and watching Lea Michele sing – forget it.
  • The end of The Best Man Holiday – what in the fuck was that all about?! I paid $15 to see Taye Diggs and his fellow HBM co-stars possibly take their clothes off and it turned out that I needed extra sleeves because my tears and snot were all over the shirt I went in with.
  • Right before Leslie and Ben get married, when she’s talking with Ron in the hallway. I’m a wedding crier anyway, but jeez.
  • In Little Women, when Jo is going through the trunk in the attic after Beth has died (note: Beth’s death gets knocked down to 4 Crying Dawsons because of the weird brogue Claire Danes starts speaking in).
  • Everything that happens after Sara Crewe goes to live in the attic in A Little Princess. This is the second Frances Hodgson Burnett appearance on this list so I hope wherever she is, she’s proud of her vast legacy of children’s tears.
  • The funeral scene in Philadelphia, when they show the home movies of Beckett as a kid with his mom.
  • Good Will Hunting: 4 words – “It’s not your fault.”
  • My Girl: 6 words – “He can’t see without his glasses!”
  • Dead Poets Society: 4 words – “O Captain! My Captain!”

‘The Sound of Music Live!’ Live Blog

I’m having a real Jessie Spano moment right now: I’m so excited, but I’m also so scared. Tonight, Carrie Underwood will be starring as Maria in  The Sound of Music Live!, and like life itself, it has the potential to be either so wonderful or so very, very awful.

So, as we do with all televised events that hold the potential for disaster, we’ll be posting a Cookies + Sangria live blog! Come back tonight at 8:00 EST – it’ll be just like watching The Sound of Music with your friend who really loves cheesy musicals but also can’t help but make fun of things. We’ll see you then!

A Few Ground Rules:

  • With our current WordPress setup, we can’t have our comments show up in real time, so we will be periodically updating the page — probably during commercial breaks. Please refresh the page to see new comments!
  • We really like musicals, so if you do, too, you’re in a safe place. And if you don’t … well, let me tell you a little story. When I was a kid, and the Bills were in the Super Bowl (you can stop laughing… I’ll wait…) a neighbor brought his friend to our house – a friend who was rooting for the Dallas Cowboys. It wasn’t pretty. The whole thing culminated in my dad standing up and shouting “You’re in MY HOUSE and when you’re in MY HOUSE you do things MY WAY!” So, just be advised that you’re in our (blog) house, and it’s a house that likes a good Rodgers & Hammerstein. Also, that I come from a line of people who throw adult temper tantrums, apparently.
  • You can sing along! We can’t hear you, anyway. But extra points if you say the phrase “sound of music” in the style of Chandler Bing:

0:02 AUDRA. When we were discussing this on email, Traci mentioned how nervous she was that Carrie Underwood would slip up (because we love Carrie Underwood). Basically, we want Audra to take all of the parts – just, really Orphan Black it. In the alternative, Tatiana Maslany’s probably up to the task.

0:03 While we do looove musicals, listening to a bunch of nuns sing church songs wasn’t that (read: any) fun back in Catholic school, and it isn’t fun now. Let’s solve that problem like Maria already.

0:04 WOW. Anyone else really thrown off by Carrie Underwood singing in a musical theater voice? She doesn’t sound bad, it’s just kind of throaty. I just hope throaty doesn’t turn … Kermit-y. Hate when that happens.

0:06 Is Maria a postulate or a French maid? Because with this costume, I’m not so sure…

0:08: All of these “problems” with Maria would just be “adorkable” qualities in modern sitcoms. Manic Pixie Dream Postulate?

0:08: T: “Maria, Maria RRRrrrainer” oh my GOD, could you BE any more from Oklahoma?

0:09 Just so we’re clear, all of these nuns are straight-up describing girl crushes on Maria. It’s Carrie Underwood, so I understand, but I guess it just goes to show that some of those nun rumors were true?

0:11 Nope, the phrase “on my knees all night” never doesn’t sound dirty.

Also, Underwood’s stilted musical theater dialogue delivery reminds me of every bad musical I was ever in. And also kind of that Vanessa Bayer character:

The “Star of Tomorrow”? Anyone?

0:13 Carrie’s kind of bringing it with Favorite Things, though. But just when the blocking starts to feel really high school musical-y, Audra’s here to save the day.

0:18 Sorry for the pause but there was a lot of ACTING going on there. When I was a kid, and really into acting, I remember going to my sister’s high school plays and wondering why everyone said their LINES like THIS! Then I learned that they mostly couldn’t act. That’s what this production is sounding like so far.

However — this part of the movie was always really boring to me, too. I have high hopes and I bet Underwood will have great chemistry with the kids and with Stephen Moyer’s cheekbones.

Commercial Break: If you were wondering, here is Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp:

And HERE is Swiss Miss, of cocoa packaging fame:

It’s just not the same without Julie Andrews’ Dorothy Hammill haircut.

0:28 Let’s hear it for this soundstage! Or whatever they’re filming this on. I’m serious. It’s great now that they’re indoors. Those mountains and trees were a little depressing. It looked like that one Full House episode when they take a donkey up a mountain.

0:29 There were so many pauses in dialog that I thought someone had forgotten a line.

0:31 Freidrich is kind of adorable? The older girls are coiffed like those dead Romanov princesses:

Once upon a December…

0:35 This has always bothered me about Do-Re-Mi. What sort of dumb-dumb would think teaching a kid how to sing with nonsense syllables is really the best way? Brigitta knows what I’m talkin’ about.

0:37 I don’t care what that one bratty girl says, I think the shirtdress is really working for Underwood.

0:37 T: Carrie needs to practice running while singing more. Breath control is real, y’all.

0:38 Whoever was in charge of the outdoor backdrop clearly blew up the image that’s your great-aunt’s screensaver on her PC. Props to the lighting person, though. Maybe we should get him/her out there to do some acting.

0:39 I cannot with this cheery happy family they have in this ad. We’ve already talked about how the Duggars and Quiver-fillers are secretly creepy, remember.

0:43 Sometimes weird things that are just… not right make me want to throw up. I know it sounds odd, but for instance, there’s this one crosswalk where I get off of my bus, and pressing the button does NOTHING to make the light turn faster. There’s this one guy who presses it constantly, for minutes on end, til it turns. It makes me want to vomit. It’s like he’s trying so hard but is doing a terrible job.

Anyway. That’s how I feel about this outdoor set.

0:45 The way I get through Sixteen Going On Seventeen is pretending that the entire song is totally tongue-in-cheek from both characters’ perspectives.

0:46 Where the gazebo at though?

0:48 A teenaged boy wearing short-pants/hosen in a musical is only hot in Spring Awakening

0:49 DO IT ON THE HILL RIGHT THERE ON THE HILL

0:50 No just kidding nobody’s doing anything on the hill because (a) this isn’t Spring Awakening and (b) Liesl just sang an entire song disavowing her sexual agency

0:51 Why is Maria wearing Felicity Merriman’s nightclothes?

0:54 I think they’re about to launch into My Favorite Things and will somebody please explain me why that’s a Christmas song now? Is it because they say presents that ONE TIME? Because I also get presents at birthdays and graduations and stuff but nobody sings me My Favorite Things then.

0:56 Nope. Lonely Goatherd. Underwood is the least wooden I’ve seen her so far! She actually seems really natural here.

0:57 Ahh the little girl’s yodel-voice is the cutest! Gretl? Brigitta? Tiny, looks like Kirsten Larson? Not sorry for the American Girls Collection references.

Commercial Break: I should mention that Traci might be popping in, but she isn’t here tonight because, well first of all it’s 6pm where she is and she’s working, but also she’s seeing Jimmy Fallon tonight because she lives in LA where that can happen. I live in Rochester, where sometimes your car doesn’t start because it’s cold.

1:04 Stephen Moyer why do you always look like you have to poop really badly?

1:06 Anyone else fill in “damn hell ass kings!” anytime somebody says the phrase “live like a king?”

1:07 We’ve talked about bitchy resting face and how sometimes that is just how your face is, and I think that maybe is the thing with Moyer? See?

1:09 Millionaires with dreams make the WORST musical characters. Yeah, I see you, Daddy Warbucks.

1:13 Guys if I tried to wear a curtain dress I’d be wearing naked because I’m too broke for curtains right now.

1:15 Oh, Frau Schrader. You look like a straight-up fraulein with that sassy hair do.

1:16 I FIGURED IT OUT. Moyer is doing Joey Tribbiani’s patented “Smell the fart acting.”

1:24 See, I usually think they just do dance breaks like this in musical theatre when they’re changing the sets or an actor has a costume change. I don’t know why they’re doing it now.

1:26 There are so many whimsical braided hairdos in this movie that I feel like it was filmed inside of a hipster girl’s tumblr.

1:28 Do you think Maria’s friends are ever all “girl, do you have to wear a dirndl EVERY DAMN DAY!”?

1:31 Maria’s mad that she’s getting moved off of the kids’ table? Kids’ table is the best. I get it.

1:32 The little girl who’s not Brigitta or Gretl (…I’m blanking) is giving off some serious young Dakota Fanning vibes.

1:33 I love So Long, Farewell. If any of you have ever studied abroad, you’ve found two things: (1) that kids speaking foreign languages are ADORABLE, and (2)  you know, yourself, probably.

1:35 Related sidenote: my 3-yr-old nephew says goodnight in a bunch of languages, but he always does guten nacht in an angry German scream-voice. It’s precious.

Commercial Break: Did Jewel get her teeth fixed? And isn’t it so weird when you see people outside of their usual context, like your high school teachers at the mall or Jewel in … not 1997?

1:40 T: Hey guys – Traci here! sorry I’ve been absent – I’m still at work and legit avoiding it right now to do this, so I mean, I’m a star employee. I don’t watch True Blood, but just knowing that he’s a vampire and now playing captain von Trapp is disturbing. wait, he’s a vampire right?(M: Clearly neither of us watches True Blood. Also I’ll add a T before Traci’s posts so you guys can like… picture this, or whatever)

1: 43  T: Fun Fact: I’ve seen Carrie in concert 4 times in concert and i cry every time. EVERY TIME. watching her sing Sound of Music is no different. She’s just that good, folks. She’s just that good.

Fun Fact #2: I played an Asian Sister Margaretta in my church’s production of SoM in like 2001 (honestly can’t remember what year it was). Playing an Asian Sister Margaretta is surprisingly the same as playing White Sister Margaretta. I imagine Audra had this same thought.

1:44 Oh Maria, to ask for the Captain’s heart would be wrong but you can totally come on to Liesl? Yeah, I saw. We all saw.

1:47 It’s like Audra’s face is acting double-time to make up for all of the other non-acting in this production

1:48 T: Also, it’s worth nothing that apparently NBC execs decide to cast former actors from their cancelled shows in live TV musicals. RIP Go On.

Commercial Break: T:

Christian Borle was totally channeling Tim Curry’s Rooster from Annie:

Commercial Break throwback commentary: T: AHH I forgot about how can love survive. It’s finally beginning to feel like a true musical with Christian and Laura. Although that sound you hear is a bunch of SoM movie fans switching the channel to the X Factor because they don’t recognize this song. JK… No one’s switching to X Factor.

1:53 T: Re the first Lonely Goatherd: Umm how comfy does that bed look right now? #things27yearoldsstillatworksaywhilewatchingsoundofmusiclive

1:56 So, I just IMDB’d the kids, and one of them is named Peyton Ella. That’s like, clearly a made-up name, right? It sounds like my/every professional adult’s name on Facebook, because you don’t want your boss to find you. Peyton Ella, you can use your last name. Your future bosses probably aren’t watching.

1:57  T: Per the SoM behind the scenes special I watched by accident last week, the girl who plays Liesl is a junior in college studying like art and some foreign language as a minor… Basically not theater. this is how you do it, kids.

M: “Accidentally?” Girl… okay.

1:59 T: I’ve always wondered why these folks have British accents despite the fact they live in Austria. Am I missing something here?

2:00 T: WAIT. Did Carrie just come back (forward?) from the 1960s? Like did she come in from the set of Catch Me if You Can??

M: As reader Christopher just noted, it looks like polyester.

Commercial Break: T: Also, It’s 7:00pm here, which is the time I usually watch #Scandal at work because I’m a freak and like to live tweet and also watch Parenthood at 10pm PST (because I’m insane).. ANYWAYS – I’’m skipping Scandal to watch Carrie’s bad acting/excellent singing. The struggle is real.
M: I KNOW. Shit’s getting real this week. AND I’m manning Twitter. I’m doing this for you, Underwood.

2:06 M: You know, if you lived in a world where you’d never seen Sound of Music, and therefore didn’t just accept it as normal, would it seem really really weird that everyone’s all “La la la, goatherds! Do Re Mi, Curtain Dresses!” AND THEN THE NAZIS COME?!

… and the fine folks behind Sound of Music are just all:

2:10 T: WERK LAURA BENANTI. WERK. She looks perfect!!!

2:11 M: There’s no reason to dislike Frau Schrader EXACTLY, but auf wiedersehen!

2:15 M: Now we’re setting up the mother Abbess and BRIGITTA?

2:16 T: For the record, Something Good is my favorite song from this show. I feel like it’s often overlooked and Carrie does a beautiful job with it. Julie would be proud.

2:16 M: Agreed! It’s so pretty and Carrie sounds great. But why does she look like Alice in Wonderland…? This wig is killing me.

2:17 T: WHOA. WHOA. WAS THERE TONGUE IN THAT KISS?? THIS IS TELEVISION THERE ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE TONGUE. I’M OFFENDED (unless there wasn’t tongue, in which case, kudos for making it look real and uncomfy)

2:19 M: This wedding dress looks like it was made either in a high school home ec class (or whatever fake-sounding thing they call home ec now), or in a 10-minute challenge on Project Runway where they had to use table cloths.

2:25 M: Oh no… when you hear “1938” and “new flag” within a minute, you know shit’s getting bad. By the way, that Nazi was wearing a red geometric-patterned tie that looked like my dad’s work clothes in the early 90s.

2:28 T: Huh. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Nazi on live TV. Refreshing? Nah.


2:29 T:
I’m pretty sure Carrie just broke the 4th wall. This isn’t American Idol.

2:31: M: Oh God. “Love isn’t love until you give it away” sounds like a terrible abstinence-only education slogan. Or, like… maybe the opposite of that? Also, the real adventure begins when you belong to your husband? I’m clearly more of a millennial/ feminist/ curmudgeon than Rodgers & Hammerstein could have possibly envisioned in their audience…

I’m shocked too, Li. I’m shocked too.

2:37 M: SING THE NAZIS AWAY. Why didn’t the allied forces ever think of that?

2:38 T: Oh, so the Nazi stadium is where they’ve been hiding the live audience this entire time!!

2:43 M: Eidelweiss is reminding me that I once read this blog where these American parents were living in like Austria or Germany, and they had to petition the government to name their daughter Eidelweiss. So, I mean, I’m sure your daughter will really appreciate how you stuck it to the man so that you could name her Eidelweiss.

2:43 M: How much did NBC spend on this wig that’s making Underwood look like a live-action, adult version of the Sleeping Beauty cartoon?

2:43 M: Silly Nazis. The von Traps are halfway across the Alps by now.  In their… you know… leiderhosen. I hope they brought warm clothes.

2:55 M: Yep, crouching down behind fountains is always the BEST WAY to hide from Nazis.

2:57 M: When I was in second grade, I thought it would be fun to be a nun because they got to live with all of their  friends. Obviously I just wanted to live in a dorm eventually, and then die alone and unmarried. But anyway, the SoM nuns DO make it look kind of fun.

2:58 There are leaves on the trees and it’s snowing. Although… again, Rochester here. My hair freezes if I go outside at the wrong time.

2:59 The most animated I’ve seen everyone is in the rehearsal footage they showed over the credits. The heck?

3:00 Our friend Tori, via Facebook: “I love Carrie Underwood but that girl is just a single threat.”

Well, that’s all folks. Thanks for tuning in! I will say that as much as we snarked on it, I still do love a good musical. And, say what I will about her acting, Carrie Underwood has a great voice. And, I tended to forget that they were doing the WHOLE THING LIVE , which is impressive.

Will it replace the movie? No, never. But as a weeknight novelty watch, I had fun watching – and blogging. Hope you all liked reading along, too!

Booze Before Chews: A Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Drinking Game

Thanksgiving is our day. Our blog is named after a snack and an alcoholic beverage, need I say more?  However, everyone who’s had to correlate the cook times and temperatures of 10 different dishes, and schedule dinner around football games and children’s naps, knows that as much as Thanksgiving is about food, it’s also about multi-tasking. Oh, and gratitude.

So, why not multitask during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by getting your drink on? Responsibly, of course – feel free to use water instead and stop when you should stop.

I’m also including a parallel Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Exercise Game (Lose Before Chews?). Use that option if you are saving your stomach space for food (that’s me!), want to work off dinner in advance, or aren’t much of a day drinker.

* This list is from 2013, so we’ve added a few 2014-specific additions as well!

One Sip/ One Set* of Jumping Jacks if you see…

  •  Matt Lauer, and he has an obvious disdain for his cohost
  • Marching band from the midwest
  • Balloon or float featuring a cartoon character you’ve never heard of
  • Reality star from a show you actually watch
  • Nick Jonas, and you have to deal with weird grown-up feelings (he’s of age, it’s fine)
  • Country singer wearing a cowboy hat
  • Muppets!
  • … and you get choked up seeing Muppets for some reason. Really, what IS that?
  • One of the members of KISS sticking his tongue out
  • A float or balloon of one of your childhood favorites that’s been gone so long that it’s cool again (example: My Little Pony; Carebears)

Two Sips/ One Set of Burpees if you see…

  •  Matt Lauer, and the cohost has an obvious disdain for him
  • One of the flag girls having an obvious screw-up
  • One of the hosts or performers wearing an impractical but lovely white coat, a la Olivia Pope
  • Carrie Underwood singing something from The Sound of Music (shameless plug: we’ll be liveblogging the performance on December 5! (of 2013 – oh, what a night it was!))
  • Anyone from the cast of Peter Pan performing (yes, we’ll be liveblogging that too, and yes, you can upgrade a Sound Of Music performance to a “chug” scenario, because that already happened.)
  • Sandra Lee making something that’s technically gross but seems sort of delicious
  • A celebrity with his or her bored-looking teenager or tween
  • Mo’ne Davis, and you cry a little bit (she’s inspirational! it’s okay!)
  • The hosts refer to bad parade weather in the distant past (>25 years ago)
  • Pilgrims in buckle hats
  • ALL of the members of KISS sticking their tongues out

One Gulp/ 30-second plank if you see…

  • A Broadway performance featuring enthusiastic child actors
  • A clearly tangled or deflated balloon
  • A performance by an irrelevant musician (peak fame greater than or equal to four years ago)
  • A circus
  • and you find it really boring
  • A British star even though they don’t even do Thanksgiving JEEZ.
  • A Canadian star even though they already had Thanksgiving JEEZ.

Two gulps/ One Set of Pushups if…

  •  You get interrupted by someone saying “hey, can you come in here and help with…”
  • You have to explain to a child or teenager what KISS/ Gene Simmons is all about (actually, if you’re doing the exercise version you can skip the pushups- you’ve already had a mental workout!)
  • You spot very obviously out-of-sync lip-synching
  • All three Jonas Brothers appear together (they had a bit of a breakup)
  • You accidentally fall in love with Taylor Swift during her performance
  • A celebrity is on a float to which they have absolutely no connection (example: The cast of Law and Order: SVU on a Mott’s applesauce float)
  • The Duck Dynasty guys make a reference to shooting turkeys
  • Jimmy Fallon is there, and he delivers a thank-you note
  • Jimmy Fallon is there, and he brings Baby Winnie
  • Savannah Guthrie is there, and she brings Baby Vale
  • A youth choir sings something inspirational (example: Imagine, Somewhere Over The Rainbow)
  • There is a touching moment between Allison Williams and Brian Williams
  • The hosts deliver a half-accurate history lesson about the first Thanksgiving

Chug**/ Run in place until the next commercial break if…

  • There’s a runaway balloon
  • You accidentally call new Annie, Quvenzhané Wallis, “the cutest kid in the world” in front of children you’re actually related to. Oops!
  • One of the lip-synchers doesn’t even try at all
  • A Cirque du Soleil performer falls
  • At the end of the parade, you realize you missed the one thing that actually sounded like it would be interesting

* A set is however many you say is a set. We’re not Crossfit, here. Again, we’re named after a snack and an alcoholic beverage.

** Don’t really chug. Puking would really screw up your dinner plans.

Playlist of the Month: Songs for Single People

Welcome to the inaugural Playlist of the Month post! Every month, we’ll present to you some jams that go along with a common theme, but are also top-notch tunes. This month, in honor of everyone’s favorite (least favorite) holiday, Valentine’s Day, we present to you our top songs for single people on this, the day of love.

PS: If you want to listen to all these songs, check out the playlist on Spotify HERE!!! Enjoy 🙂

Traci’s Picks

Me, Myself, and I – Beyonce

Queen Bey has a knack for those independent women songs (see: Independent Women Part 2), and this is no exception. If you’re just getting out of a relationship or just plain old single, B reminds us that a lot of times in life, the only person you can rely and trust on is you.

I realized I got Me myself and I, That’s all I got in the end, that’s what I found out.  And it ain’t no need to cry, I took a vow that from now on I’m gonna be my own best friend.

The More Boys I Meet – Carrie Underwood

I actually used to hate this song, because it’s a typical country, tractors and beer type of storytelling song. But the more I listened to it, the more I liked it, and appreciated it for its sheer ridiculousness and earnest lyrics. Well of course you’re going to meet your fair share of useless men, so find companionship elsewhere.

It’s not like I’m not trying, cause I’ll give anyone a shot once… And I close my eyes, and I kiss that frog. Each time finding the more boys I meet, the more I love my dog.

Desire – Ryan Adams

For those looking for a good wallowing song, sorry about your life, but here’s a tune to help you out. If you want a real “kick you in the gut – forever alone – crying into your extra large glass of wine” song, this is the one for you.

You know me. You don’t mind waiting. You just can’t show me, but God I’m praying, that you’ll find me, and that you’ll see me, that you run and never tire.

Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work – Solange

We fall in love, we fall out of love, and some things are never meant to be. My motto has always been, everything happens for a reason, because I really like cliches (not really, I’m just a victim to believing it to be true). But Solange puts it best in a very blatant way. Not everything can go your way. Deal, move on, find something better.

I’m thinking of some time off. I’m dreaming of a time that you knew me. So maybe then we’re better off So maybe if it’s all you wanted it. Leave me alone. Some things never seem to fucking work.

Fuck You – Lily Allen

Pretty sure this is self explanatory.

Fuck you. Fuck you very, very much. Cause your words don’t translate, and it’s getting quite late, so please don’t stay in touch.

Molly’s Picks

Marriage Is For Old Folks – Nina Simone

I have married friends and relatives who are (a) not old folks and (b) very happy, but you know what? If they’re allowed to spend all of today talking about how happy they are with their lives, we’re allowed to discuss how happy we are not to be married right now, too. Also, couples get all of the jazzy, old-timey songs today, so here’s one for the rest of us.

Marriage is for old folks/ Cold folks, not for me/ One married he, one married she/ Whaddya got? Two people watchin’ TV

My Life – Billy Joel

I love Billy Joel as much as Billy Joel loves crashing his car into private residences, which he must like a lot because he did it like three times. This is a classic, late-70s, ‘I’ll do what I want and don’t even try to tell me what to do’ anthem (in Billy’s case, what he wants to do is marry much younger women and engage in some reckless driving. Don’t judge).

I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life, Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone

Runaway – Kanye West

The theme of most Valentines-y songs is “I’m so wonderful, you’re so wonderful, let’s be so wonderful together!” But what if you’re not wonderful? And what if you’re single because you think nobody should have to put up with you? Yeezy addresses this sentiment.

Let’s have a toast for the douchebags/ Let’s have a toast for the assholes, Let’s have a toast for the scumbags,/ Every one of them that I know/ Let’s have a toast for the jerkoffs/ That’ll never take work off/ Baby, I got a plan/ Run away fast as you can

A Cause des Garcons – Yelle

Every once in a while, my inner 12-year-old isn’t above listening to a good, old-fashioned, ‘boys suck’-themed pop tune. Particularly when it’s a French electropop cover of an ’80s novelty song.

À cause des garçons !/ On met des bas nylon/ On se crêpe le chignon/ À cause des garçons !/ Et du “qu’en dira-t-on”/ On pleure sur tous les tons/ À cause des garçons !

I’m Good I’m Gone – Lykke Li

Lykke Li brought us the messy bun on the tippy-top of her head long before anyone was doing that. As an aside, I had my hair like that at work and everyone treated me very gently, as though I might be hungover. Anyway, this song is all about leaving your haters and unsupportive gentleman friends in the dust, because you’re a hard worker on your way up in the world.

If you say I aim too high from down below, Well, say you’re not ’cause when I’m gone, You’ll be callin’ but I won’t be at the phone

The Best Of: Kelly Clarkson Cover Songs

KC did this awesome thing on her recent Stronger tour where she asked fans to send in their requests for songs they would like to see her cover during every single stop on the tour. The result was fantastic, as she murdered pretty much every song she performed. Entertainment Weekly compiled a list of  all of them, but here are my favorites if you want the abridged version.

*PS: Note to ALL YouTube uploaders: It is absolutely annoying when you talk during the video and the viewer can hear every single word out of your damn mouth. Shut it.

I Know You Won’t – Originally by Carrie Underwood

Fix You – Originally by Coldplay

Gravity – Originally by Sara Bareilles

Crazy For You – Originally by Madonna

Poison and Wine w/ Duets contestant Jason Farol – Originally by The Civil Wars