Harry Potter Protest Signs: Dumbledore’s Army In The Resistance

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! Our favorite boy wizard turns 37 today – and the series turns 20 this year – meaning that today’s younger adults grew up alongside Harry and his Hogwarts pals. The messages of Harry Potter have come to define a generation: courage, kindness, acceptance, defending the disenfranchised even if you are not, and standing up to an authoritarian regime. Or rather, those values have come to define the part of the generation that was receptive to the message:

A Potter refresher: Harry Potter was an orphan neglected by his aunt and uncle. He learned that he was a wizard and became a student at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Meanwhile Lord Voldemort, the would-be ruler of the wizarding realm, struggled to return to prominence after falling when he killed Harry’s parents and was unable to bring Harry down.  Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, decried “impure” wizards (those who are born to all- or part- nonmagical families) and used propaganda and hack journalism to spread their message, controlling the presses and what children learn in school. Harry and his comrades formed a resistance movement to defeat Voldemort’s rise, and ultimately succeeded at great personal sacrifice.

In the muggle realm, another resistance movement has grown to counter autocracy, racism, transphobia, anti-intellectualism, and other ills I could not have anticipated when I cracked open my Scholastic copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 1997. Throughout this struggle, something fantastic has happened- a vindication for those who believe that fiction (perhaps children’s fiction above all) can shape a person’s values. The generation that grew up with Harry Potter has adopted the words and lessons of the series as a lingua franca for the ideals many of us hold.

In honor of this, the 37th birthday of Harry Potter (or the 52nd birthday of J.K. Rowling, or the 26th anniversary of Harry getting his Hogwarts letter) we present some of our favorite Harry Potter-related messages from the modern resistance movement:

From the Women’s March: Without Hermione, Harry would’ve died in Book 1. TRUE.

My favorite pop culture references are always the deep cuts: Any HP fan will know that Neville Longbottom proved himself to be a true hero … and he rocked a distinctive cardigan while doing it.

Dumbledore, champion of the underdog, would be unhappy with all of this.

While Potter fans (rightfully) have a lot of opinions about Dumbledore’s sexuality never being mentioned in the book, the fact is that J.K. Rowling has confirmed that he is gay and a policy that hurts wise, gentle Dumbledore hurts all of human- (and wizard-) kind.

This was actually back in ’08, but now I want Harry Potter cannon with married, gay wizard and witch couples. Hogwarts students with 2 moms or 2 dads. A DUMBLEDORE WEDDING THAT MCGONAGALL OFFICIATES, OK.

If you read HP thinking you’d definitely join the DA instead of hiding in the Slytherin basement (#NotAllSlytherins), now’s the time.

Context: this is from a 2010 student protest in the UK re: a rise in tuition fees.

When readers can reach different conclusions from the same series

From the Occupy London protests.

Honestly a bit emotional that kids today are growing up reading Harry Potter and applying it to their real-life situations. Plus those drawings are precious.

womens march banner 9

Are… are we sure this isn’t Hermione?

Straight from the wizard’s mouth: “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”

HA.

Even Voldemort didn’t defund St. Mungo’s. Well, she has a point.

The one that just has Voldemort with an X through it

This one’s for you, Gaddafi.

Your hero and mine, Molly Weasley.

Trump’s Horcruxes! I’ve been convinced his Twitter account is somehow one as well.

And since HP actors truly grew up with the series, here’s Emma Watson at the Women’s March in 2017

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Rex Manning Day, Mean Girls Day and More: Essential Pop Culture Holidays

In The Great Gatsby, Daisy always watched for the longest day of the year and then missed it. In the age of tumblr, I always watch for Saturday Detention Day, AKA Breakfast Club Day, and then miss it. I kind of understand how Daisy must feel. In the interest of never missing another movie or TV holiday, we’re compiling them here. Did we miss any? Let us know before we’re late to yet another Aaron Samuels Day.

Galentines Day

Date: February 13
TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning:

Leap Day

Date: February 29, every 4 years
TV Show: 30 Rock
Reasoning: 30 Rock didn’t invent Leap Day, but it did invent Leap Day William, the heart and soul of the holiday

The Day Of The Dude

Date: March 8
Movie: The Big Lebowski (1998)
Reasoning: Anniversary of the Big Lebowski’s Release

Breakfast Club Day AKA Saturday Detention Day

Date: March 24
Movie: The Breakfast Club (1984)
Reasoning:

Winston Smith Day AKA 1984 Day

Date: April 4
Book: 1984, by George Orwell (1949)
Reasoning: The day Winston Smith began his diary.

Rex Manning Day

Date: April 8
Movie: Empire Records (1995)
Reasoning:

The Perfect Date

Date: April 25th
Movie: Miss Congeniality
Reasoning:

N Sync Day

Date: April 30
Song: It’s Gonna Be Me
Reasoning:

The Battle of Hogwarts

Date: May 2
Book and Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Reasoning: Confirmed by J.K. Rowling, who said that Victoire Weasley was born on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, May 2. The year was 1998:

Star Wars Day

Date: May 4
Movies: Many
Reasoning:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Date: June 5
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
 Reasoning: It’s iffy. That’s the day the audio from the Chicago Bears game they attended came from, but there may have been a few months left in the schoolyear. Also, that parade would have been in the fall. Let’s say that any day you play hooky can be Ferris Bueller Day in your heart.

Best Friends Day

Date: June 8
TV Show: Spongebob Squarepants
Reasoning: There’s no date given for Best Friends Day in the episode where Spongebob and Patrick celebrate it, so it’s usually celebrated on the Facebook-ish holiday of Best Friends Day, June 8

Bloomsday

Date: June 16
Book: Ulysses, by James Joyce (1922)
Reasoning: The events of Ulysses (main character Leopold Bloom) take place on June 16, 1904

Harry Potter’s Birthday

Date: July 31
Books/Movies: The Harry Potter series
Reasoning: Not only is this the date Harry was born in 1980, it’s when JK Rowling was born in 1965. And of course, Neville Longbottom was born the day before Harry if you want to turn it into a two-day event.

Roald Dahl Day

Date: September 13
Books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and many, many more
Reasoning: Roald Dahl was born on this day in 1916. Last year we celebrated with a whole week dedicated to Matilda.

Mean Girls Day AKA Aaron Samuels Day

Date: October 3
Movie: Mean Girls (2004)
Reasoning:

Treat Yo Self Day

Date: October 13
TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning: The ‘treat yo self’ episode aired on this date in 2011

Abed’s Rudolph Day

Date: December 9
TV Show: Community (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning: In the classic 2010 claymation episode Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas, this is the day Abed always watches Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer with his mom. 

Refrigerator Day

Date: December 11
TV Show: Dinosaurs (1991)
Reasoning: The date this classic episode about Refrigerator Day aired:

 

Festivus

Date: December 23
TV Show: Seinfeld  (1989 – 1998)
Reasoning: The day the holiday ‘for the rest of us’ is celebrated with the feats of strength, airing of grievances and Festivus pole.

 

The Way They Were: Today’s Stars on The Rosie O’Donnell Show

The Rosie O’Donnell Show ran from 1996 to 2002, and even though we watched it to the bitter end we somehow always associate it with the ’90s. When I think of Rosie guests, it’s people like Macy Gray, cast members from Ally McBeal, and throwbacks to Rosie’s 1970s childhood like the Osmonds. However, there are some modern stars we always forget were active in the Rosie era, so it feels like a total time warp seeing them as guests on The Rosie O’Donnell Show.

The Cast Of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and The Rosie O’Donnell Show had a brief overlap – Rosie even campaigned to play Molly Weasley, and while Julie Walters defined the role I bet she would have been great. However, with the last movie coming out in 2011 I tend to forget that Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone was a 2001 release: firmly in the early 2000s. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been 15 years since Harry Potter first hit the big screen, until you see how tiny the kids were here and it feels like when one of your friends posts a #TBT baby picture.

Mae Whitman

We have long loved Mae Whitman as Parenthood’s Amber Braverman, a real-life Friday Night Lights superfan, Ann Veal (her?), and a Dawson’s Creek Live Reading participant. But let’s not forget that before all this, she was one of those 90s child actors who was in EVERYTHING. You might remember Mae from One Fine Day, When A Man Loves A Woman, Independence Day, and as Sandra Bullock’s daughter in Hope Floats. It’s rare that a child actor maintains such a solid career through adolescence and adulthood. It’s even more rare to create such distinct child and adult personas that we almost forget this adorable moppet is the same cool girl who cracks us up on Twitter on a weekly basis.

Lea Michele

Lea Michele first entered our consciousness thanks to Spring Awakening, but there’s a wide audience who didn’t really know who she was until Glee. We didn’t know it, but we were actually familiar with little Lea long before that. In 1998, Ragtime was all the rage (in our circles, anyway) and Lea was the wide-eyed, precocious little girl. Also: AUDRA.

Jimmy Fallon

We certainly knew Jimmy was around in 2001 – we had massive crushes on him that we’d discuss in study hall and at lunch – but it was early in his SNL career and he wasn’t really doing much press yet, so it’s surprising that he was on Rosie. We had no clue he’d be a wildly popular talk show host in his own right over ten years later.

Alas, there is no video of the appearance, so enjoy this photo of Jimmy and Horatio Sanz as Rosie.

Lil Bow Wow

I know he was  lil when he started, but Bow Wow as an actual child rapper on Rosie is something I cannot quite remember. But it’s true, he was there – sadly, with no video to prove it. Woof.

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer may be a rom-com and movie mom favorite now, but in the early 2000s she was best known as the star of Alias … to other people. To us she was primarily the flirty, 30 and thriving Jenna Rink in 13 Going On 30, which didn’t come out until 2004. That’s why it feels so weird knowing that Garner was on Rosie in 2001 promoting Alias, a show I admittedly never watched.

Lauren Graham

We briefly mentioned Lauren’s appearance earlier this week, as she showed off her “skills” during a craft corner segment on Rosie’s last show of the series. But months before, and nearing the end of season two of Gilmore Girls, Lauren appeared on the show for the first time, and Lo and Ro kicked it off right away. I have always been a fan of LG’s TV interviews because she always comes off charismatic, fun and awkward all at the same time (see: all Ellen interviews), and in 2002, this was just the beginning of Lauren’s rise to fame and her journey with Gilmore Girls. BECAUSE I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S HAPPENING.

Hayden Panettiere

I sometimes forget Hayden was a child actor. But then I remember she played Ally McBeal’s daughter and it all comes screaming back to me. Before she played a country music star on Nashville, she proved she had the chops to be a pop star by singing Britney’s (You Drive Me) Crazy during this interview and bless her heart, it feels like she’s been practicing the bit with her stage mom, whom she keeps looking at off camera. Young Hayden is cute, but I think I prefer confident adult Hayden much better.

Josh Groban

Speaking of Ally McBeal… actually, let’s back up a bit. Josh Groban was just 17 years old when superproducer David Foster called Josh’s vocal coach asking if he had any students good enough to rehearse with Celine Dion at the 1999 Grammys. She was set to perform The Prayer with Andrea Boccelli, but because he couldn’t make it, Josh filled in, and Rosie was in awe after hearing him during rehearsals – this was the year she hosted the Grammys. She invited him to her show, as seen above, and because of this interview, Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley created a role for Josh on his show, and the rest is history. Also, Josh is so nervous and shy here it’s adorable and nothing like what he is now.

Lea DeLaria and Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Sometimes when you know actors from two completely different shows, it throws you off when you hear they’ve been friends for years. That is the case for Orange is the New Black’s Lea DeLaria and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who both starred on Broadway long before their respective award-winning shows. Here they are performing a number from On the Town, and it’s nothing like you’ve seen them before. Ok, maybe excluding Jesse.

Kobe Bryant

When doing research for this, I saw the third guest in a season one episode titled as “High school student and NBA draftee Kobe Bryant”. I’m not even a big basketball fan, but this is iconic. Kobe, 18 at the time, had signed a three-year $3.5 million contract with the Lakers and he hadn’t even played college basketball. Again, like Bow Wow video from 1998 is scarce, so just trust he was on the show.

Kate Winslet

Technically Kate had a few films under her belt before this interview, but it’s just a treasure of a vid because she is actually doing press for Titanic. It’s her first time on the show, and Rosie wishes her the best of luck as an actress. And like we all knew in that steerage party when she went up on her toes, she’s been knocking it out ever since. Also she talks about Leo and their true love.

BONUS:

When the maybe first female president sings a Bye Bye Birdie song. Also note Rosie in her Rosie-est getup.

Best of 2015: Hogwarts Goes Hollywood: Harry Potter Actors As Disney Characters

Is Harry Potter and Christmas synonymous for anyone else? Ok great. Earlier this year, Emma Watson nabbed the role of Belle in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, which has wrapped since then and also features all the actors. All of them. But what would happen if the deep bench of HP players also starred in Disney reboot movies? We took a look.

Disney and Harry Potter, the entertainment franchises that brought magic to our childhood (and, um, teens and 20s), are now at one. Emma Watson – Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies – will be playing Belle in a live-action version of Beauty And The Beast! Belle was always my favorite Disney princess because she liked books. I had the redhead solidarity thing with Ariel, but even at age five I was like “Ariel, girl, get a grip. You look desperate.” But I digress. The Harry Potter movies were full of amazing actors, and the Disney movies have a bunch of awesome characters. Emma Watson as Belle is a good start, but I think we could make this a regular thing:

Alfie Enoch as Prince Eric, The Little Mermaid

Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid needs to be so dreamy that a mermaid –  whose greatest joy is singing  – gives her voice to a sea-witch so that she can get legs and like… hang out with him silently in a rowboat. Sounds like an awesome date. See what I mean about Ariel? Anyway, when I think “Hogwarts Dreamboat,” I think Alfie Enoch.

Rupert Grint as John Smith, Pocahontas

Ron Weasley had a lot of strong points, but he was sort of a borderline bro sometimes. The Disney version of that is John Smith in Pocahontas. He’s an imperialist dumb-dumb, but he’s so dopey that you can’t really hate him. There’s that spark of goodness in Ron, too, so we know that Rupert could balance the character’s likability with his more annoying traits.

Tom Felton as Hans, Frozen

Oh, Draco. You loved to hate him. For the character to work, the actor had to convey enough smoothness so that you believe that all of his teachers don’t absolutely hate him. Likewise, Hans has to SEEM like a nice guy to enough people that you don’t spend the whole movie going “uh, this jerk.” Just as it takes a smart actor to play a dumb person, it takes a nice actor to play a mean person. I think Felton’s up to the task.

Evanna Lynch as Rapunzel, Tangled

Luna Lovegood is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. In both the books and the movies, she’s got a few screws loose but she’s not a one-note joke of a person. She has real feelings and, even though she’s a bit of a whackadoo, she’s smart and brave. Disney-wise, this is Rapunzel from Tangled. She’s not a floaty, sweet gal like Snow White or Cinderella – she’s a weirdo who hangs out with a chameleon. Both characters aren’t socially … you know, off …. by accident – they both had childhoods that meant they couldn’t quite fit in.

Alan Rickman as Scar, The Lion King

I get that Alan Rickman is a human person, not a lion. But otherwise, he’s proven that he can play a creepy avuncular villain. (Or, not villain, but admit it, for a while you really thought so!) They could just use those weird costumes from the Broadway musical or whatever.

Whomping Willow as Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas

Stunt casting? Eh, maybe, but who else are they going to get?

Jessie Cave as Those Triplets Who Were All Up On Gaston, Beauty And The Beast

Lavender Brown WAS the Hogwarts version of those hussies who were Gaston fangirls. I know there’s only one of her but they have to make a humanoid monster and dancing cups, I’m sure they can turn one person into three people.

Julie Walters as Mrs. Potts, Beauty And The Beast

Molly Weasley IS Mrs. Potts.

Hogsmeade as Belle’s Quaint Village, Beauty And The Beast

Hogsmeade, UK and Poor Provincial Town, France clearly had the same city planners.

Forever Scarred: Traumatizing Moments from YA Novels

Like Joey Tribbiani, we believe that some books belong in the freezer. If you aren’t a Friends fanatic, that’s a reference to the episode where Joey kept The Shining in the freezer because it was too scary. When he and Rachel do a book exchange, we learn that it isn’t just overtly gory fiction that makes you want to freeze away your feelings:

Whether gross, creepy, or just plain sad, these are some moments in YA fiction that had us reaching for the icebox:

The One Where Dobby Dies

I admittedly was very late to the Harry Potter game. Like, I didn’t start reading the series until the seventh book came out. I blame my parents. Anyways, as I was reading the books from the beginning, I would discuss my thoughts and feelings about what was happening to my friend who had read them already. In particular, I remember being so incredibly annoyed and mad at Dobby. Inherently, I disliked him for his affiliation with the Malfoys, but also I couldn’t stand the way he spoke in third person. “Listen to Dobby!” “Bad Dobby!” “Dobby is fed up with this Malfoy bullshit!” As I continued reading, he began to have a soft spot in my heart and soon became one of my favorite characters. So when he was killed by Bellatrix’s knife after essentially saving HP, I was absolutely gutted. He was devoted and loyal to Harry, and passed away in the most heroic way. I had to stop reading because I was so stunned and also the tears were clouding my eyes and prohibiting my ability to read.

Hazel’s ‘Fake’ Eulogy for Augustus

SPEAKING OF BLUBBERING AND TEARS. THIS ENTIRE PASSAGE:

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

The Hunger Games in General

Like a lot of other people, I like and appreciate the world Suzanne Collins created, it’s easy to forget just how troubling the premise is. Before the first movie came out, I was explaining to someone (a mother of three) what the books are about. It wasn’t until then, when I was saying it outloud to someone who has kids that I realized just how effed up it must be that we get entertainment out of these books, in particular the first one. As a parent, she must have been picturing what it would be like if her kids were put in that situation, when you have no choice but to watch your kid fight to the death in a televised sport. I know the series is more than this, but, still. How messed up.

Stacey McGill’s Diabetes Pee

Everything I know about diabetes I learned from Ann M. Martin. But the most traumatizing lesson was when Stacy hadn’t yet been diagnosed, and she wet the bed at a sleepover because diabetes makes you pee a lot. This led to her losing her best New York City friend. The diabetes also caused Stacey’s divorced parents to fight all the time and to bring her to some sort of quack doctor. When she tries to play it cool and not tell her BSC friends about the diabetes, they assume she has a shady secret. AND when everyone is tucking into Claudia’s food hoarder snacks, the narrator always explains that they have saltines or something for Stacey. Basically if you get diabetes you will pee everywhere and your life will be ruined, is what I learned. For more BSC thoughts, see our The Baby-Sitters Club: The Musical — Excerpts From The Libretto.

Jonas’s Dad Kills Babies

Ah, The Giver. Probably one of my favorite YA books of all time. Except for that part where Jonas’s usually-chill dad is seen cooing at an adorable little baby then shooting it up with death drugs because it was a twin, which was against the rules. Then Jonas learns that the baby who has been hanging out with his family is also on death row so he escapes into the wilderness with it. Damn.

You Might Get Cancer. Love, Lurlene McDaniel

Remember Lurlene McDaniel? She wrote treacly, vaguely Christian books about teens with terminal illness. She covered all manner of diseases but I knew her best from the Dawn Rochelle books, which were about a 1980s teen who has leukemia. McDaniel probably did a lot to teach the youths that kids living with disease are just like us. But it’s almost like she did a little TOO good a job because as someone who bruises easily and is prone to violent, cascading nosebleeds, I definitely spent my junior high years being like “you know who had these problems? Dawn ‘Leukemia’ Rochelle.” Most traumatic moment: when Dawn’s friend and hospital roomie died and Dawn got her Bible with that one part of Ecclesiastes underlined.

Open-Air Mating In The Alien Zoo

Our high school was notorious for ridiculous eight-book-long summer reading lists, where most of the books were 400-page tomes set on the British moors. But Junior Year, they assigned at least one “hip,” “modern” book: Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I don’t remember much, but I do remember that these disgusting slimy aliens abducted the main character and he had to live in a human zoo. They brought a porn star in and the two of them, like …. mated. In front of the disgusting terrible aliens. Who were cheering, maybe? It was horrible.

Those Disgusting Button Eyes

Coraline discovers Other Mother and Other Father, who are alternate-universe parents who have button eyes. Then Coraline, a human person, is supposed to sew buttons over her own eyes to “match.” And THEN she meets ghost children onto whom the Other Mother had sewn button eyes. Nah.

 

 

 

Low-Fright Movie Night: Halloween Movies That Won’t Scare Your Pants Off

I love almost everything about Halloween. Candy? Awesome. Costumes? Fun! Falling leaves, cider, donuts, tacky decorations? Sure! But there’s one big part of the holiday I can’t get behind: being scared. Slasher movies gross me out. I love ghost stories and spooky stuff, but as night falls and I’m alone in my 105-year-old house, I really, really wish I had skipped it. Besides, there’s plenty of real-life stuff to be afraid of, like repaying my student loans, or the prospect that the dead mouse I found this morning has left a widow and children somewhere in my house. Scaring myself silly over things that probably don’t exist doesn’t help matters.

So what to do if you want to get into the Halloween spirit, but don’t want the Halloween spirit to keep you up in the middle of the night? Here are some of my favorite Halloween movies – either gently supernatural, or set during the season – that don’t leave me feeling all goosebumpy.

Harry Potter

Pick a Harry Potter, any Harry Potter! But for the gentle, slightly witchy fun I’m looking for – before things get quite so heavy and house elves start dying – I like to stick to the first three movies. The Halloween scene in Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s (/Philosopher’s) Stone is especially festive. Note: I have also convinced myself that some of the Harry Potter movies are Christmas-appropriate due to the occasional picturesque snowfall or Yuletide celebration in the Great Hall.

The Crucible

You know what’s REALLY scary? McCarthyism. While the only demon here was the mob mentality bred by religious fundamentalism (Halloween fun!!!), the talk of witches and rustic New England setting make this a great one to enjoy in October.

When the two of us were in high school, we covered this play in English (of course), and entertained ourselves for weeks by saying things like “I saw Goody Traci with the devil, she ‘ad ‘is poppet! She signed ‘is book!” in an inexplicably Cockney accent. Yes, we have always been exactly the people we are right now.

This is coming to Broadway with Saoirse Ronan and Tavi Gevinson as Puritan teens and I couldn’t be more excited.

E.T.

There’s an awesome trick-or-treating scene, plus aliens always feel like at least a Halloween-adjacent topic. Halloween always makes me feel a little nostalgic and this movie takes me right back to my childhood in the late 80s and early 90s.

Hocus Pocus

Speaking of nostalgia, nothing could bring me back to my youth in a better way than the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus. It has an all-star cast – Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker! – gorgeous visuals, a fun plot, and even takes it back to Colonial times like the Crucible did. This movie is from 1993, but I swear it’s timeless. You can read our live blog here.

The Witches

Based on the Roald Dahl book, this movie has all the offbeat, macabre fun you’d expect, but it’s silly enough that – for an adult, anyway – it isn’t going to haunt your dreams.

Edward Scissorhands

This list is leaning heavily to movies that were shown on cable a lot when I was a child, but whatever, the 80s and early 90s were apparently a great era for non-scary, dark paranormal movies. Tim Burton movies, on the whole, are great Halloween viewing if you’re easily spooked, because everything is sort of dark and rickety, but it’s also absurd enough that it won’t scare you. There will be more where this came from!

Beetlejuice

Aha! Here we are again. Even as a little kid, I thought Beetlejuice was more fun than scary. What could be more Halloween-appropriate than an old-school “scary” movie night with Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and a few more from this list? While Tim Burton is an easy match for a list like this I’m also noticing that this is the third Winona Ryder movie so far.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Rounding out our Tim Burton trilogy, The Nightmare Before Christmas has an awesome aesthetic, great songs, and is part of a true golden era of Halloween entertainment (it came out the same year as Hocus Pocus! I was one lucky second grader).

The Addams Family

And Addams Family values: part of the weird 90s trend of making feature films out of long-dead tv shows (see also: The Brady Bunch, Leave It To Beaver, The Beverly Hillbillies). But while the show never particularly tickled my funny bone, this movie – particularly deadpan Wednesday Addams, played by a too-talented-for-her-age Christina Ricci – still holds up pretty well.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

None of the goblins and ghouls in Rocky Horror are scary  – in fact, the only “scary” thing is maybe what a weird place we were at in the 70s. It’s a cult classic for a reason, with a farcical plot and catchy songs that are just as outlandish in 2015 as they were 40 years ago (while we’re at it: 40 years?! Round of applause for Susan Sarandon!).

Mean Girls

It’s not a Halloween movie, but the Halloween sequence is truly classic – and, for us nostalgia-heads, a great peak back in the Paris Hilton-y early 2000s. I still get a kick out of Cady in her “ex wife” costume. Much like Harry Potter, I also convince myself that this is a Christmas movie because there’s a Christmas scene in it.

Halloweentown

I saw (and live blogged) Halloweentown for the first time a few years ago because I didn’t have Disney as a kid, and was hit over the head by how deliciously late 90s it was. You can also follow up with Halloweentown II, Halloweentown High and Return To Halloweentown (but I didn’t).

The Village

Fun(?) fact: I worked at a movie theater at the time and multiple customers told me I looked like “that girl in The Village” and I’m not sure that was meant to be a compliment, pretty as Bryce Dallas Howard is in other movies.

This isn’t M. Night Shyamalan’s most acclaimed movie, but it IS his least scary! By the end, when the Shyamalan-required twist is revealed, you will probably not be shaking in your boots – but it does have just the right amount of atmospheric spookiness and autumn scenery to make you feel like you tried. It’s like the movie version of going on the tilt-a-whirl, but not the upside down roller coaster.

Tower Of Terror

Look. It’s a TV movie based on a  Disney theme park ride. Enough said? But it’s sort of fun in a 1930s-meets-1990s way.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

I’m not into cartoons – well, except for Disney, Pixar, and Bob’s Burgers – but Hayao Miyazaki knows how to make cartoons that appeal to anyone who likes a well-made film. Kiki is a young witch flying around on a broomstick, but … I don’t know. It’s just a really nicely made movie. If you’re keeping count of the 90s child starlets, this is the second consecutive Kirsten Dunst movie. She’s gaining on Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci!

Honorable Mentions

If you like classics, To Kill A Mockingbird and Meet Me In St. Louis both have fantastic trick or treating scenes. And Goonies – which for me personally just doesn’t feel like Halloween – definitely wouldn’t be out of place either.

 

The Sorting Hat: Random Stuff, By Hogwarts House

Keep your eye out for owls! This week is big in the Harry Potter world: JK Rowling, Harry, and, of course, Neville Longbottom all celebrate their birthdays at the end of July. We cannot reflect on the Potterverse without asking that eternal question: which house are you in? We’ll be forthright. In Pottermore, both of us were given the choice between Gryffindor and one other house — Ravenclaw for me and Hufflepuff for Traci.  We aren’t house-ist …  but we also acknowledge that each has its flaws. Gryffindors are self-important, Ravenclaws are nerds, Slytherins are cold, and Hufflepuffs are human puffalumps. We love them all, and believe that anything – anything – can be sorted into a house.

Fast Food Restaurants
  • Taco Bell: Slytherin
  • McDonald’s: Gryffindor
  • Arby’s: Ravenclaw
  • Wendy’s: Hufflepuff

Reasoning: Nothing says “resourceful” like turning a Dorito into a taco shell. McDonald’s are the beloved popular favorite. Arby’s takes itself seriously and is true to its quirks – like, who serves roast beef? And I’m not sure if Wendy’s even knows that it’s a restaurant, plus their mascot is a bit on the adorable side. Like, it chose to represent itself with a grinning freckly child. That’s pretty Hufflepuff.

Coffee Chains
  • Dunkin Donuts: Gryffindor
  • Starbucks: Slytherin
  • Tim Hortons: Ravenclaw
  • Gloria Jean’s: Hufflepuff

Reasoning: The most outwardly ambitious coffee franchise – convinced that people will spend more money on it because it’s clearly superior – would have to be Starbucks, the Slytherin of the coffee world. Dunkin gets stuff done – America runs on it, after all – which is more of a Gryffindor thing. Gloria Jean’s is frothy yet unpretentious – it’s for anybody. It’s at the mall and all the sizes are in English. Hufflepuff. Tim Hortons just gets down to business – they’ll get you your double double and they won’t screw up the order.

Social Networking Platforms

 

  • Facebook: Slytherin
  • LinkedIn: Ravenclaw
  • Friendster: Hufflepuff
  • tumblr: Gryffindor

Reasoning: Social justice warriors, but up for a a little diversion? That’s tumblr, and that’s Gryffindor. Cunning Facebook will use all of your personal data… but they’re devious yet fair, because everything is spelled out in the terms of service. LinkedIn isn’t exactly fun, but if you think outside the box you can find it very useful. Friendster… bless.

Styles Of Jeans
  • Carpenter: Hufflepuff
  • Skinny: Slytherin
  • Boyfriend: Ravenclaw
  • Bootcut: Gryffindor

Reasoning: Carpenter jeans aren’t stylish, but they’re cut so that anyone could wear them. Plus “unafraid of toil?” I always imagined that Slytherins would be the more fashion-forward witches and wizards. Boyfriend jeans are perfect for curling up in the library or working out at the lab. Bootcuts are relaxed enough to take your on all sorts of adventures – not so loose or so rigid that you can’t save the day in them.

90s Nickelodeon SNICK Shows
  • Clarissa Explains It All: Ravenclaw
  • Are You Afraid Of The Dark: Slytherin
  • All That: Hufflepuff
  • Hey Dude: Gryffindor

Reasoning: Not all Slytherins are bad, but they are less likely to shy away from the Dark Arts. Clarissa, with her homemade video games and quirky style, was obviously a Ravenclaw. All That was open to everything – sketches, music, vital information for your every day life. And Hey Dude was all about working together for a common goal.

March Sisters
  • Meg: Gryffindor
  • Jo: Ravenclaw
  • Beth: Hufflepuff
  • Amy: Slytherin

Reasoning: This might be an unpopular opinion, but creative, unconventional Jo – brave as she was – also reminds me of deep-thinking, brainy Cho and Luna. Dutiful Meg seemed more concerned with following the right path and being fair to everyone. Beth was just a sweetheart, and preferred staying at home to going out into the world – although she even made grouchy Mr. Lawrence love her. Amy was a social climber who would do what it took to have the life she felt she deserved (she was also a total bitch, and I say that with love).

Hair Accessories
  • Scrunchie: Hufflepuff
  • Bobby Pin: Gryffindor
  • Headband: Ravenclaw
  • Those snappy clips that gymnasts have: Slytherin

Reasoning: Scrunchies are soft and work on all hair types, even if they aren’t cool by conventional measures. Bobby pins can pin back your hair, but they’re also useful little tools  in all sorts of jams. Headbands are practical with a bit of whimsy – your hair is off your face, but still flowing free. Remember those hair clips that, like, Dominique Moceanu used to wear back in the day? It was sort of harsh but unbelievably effective, like the Slytherin of hair accessoreis.

WB Shows
  • Dawson’s Creek: Gryffindor
  • Felicity: Ravenclaw
  • Gilmore Girls: Hufflepuff
  • Seventh Heaven: Slytherin

Reasoning: Felicity was the most, well, collegiate show. All those sweaters. Very Ravenclaw. Gilmore Girls is a feel-good show about a town where everyone is accepted, basically. Dawson’s Creek, with (admittedly whiny, forehead-y) main character Dawson, was about young people who, in their hearts, were always trying to do the right thing. Seventh Heaven was a calculated grab for an untapped market of fairly right-wing fans.

Children’s Story Book Characters
  • Madeline: Ravenclaw
  • Arthur The Aardvark: Gryffindor
  • Pooh: Hufflepuff
  • Max, of Where The Wild Things Are: Slytherin
Board Games
  • Monopoly: Ravenclaw
  • Candyland: Hufflepuff
  • Clue: Slytherin
  • Risk: Gryffindor
Taylor Swift Songs
  • Our Song: Hufflepuff
  • Bad Blood: Slytherin
  • You Belong With Me: Gryffindor
  • Mean: Ravenclaw
Top 10 Boy Names
  • Noah: Gryffindor
  • Mason: Slytherin
  • Ethan: Ravenclaw
  • Jacob: Hufflepuff
Top 10 Girl Names
  • Ava: Slytherin
  • Mia: Hufflepuff
  • Charlotte: Ravenclaw
  • Emily: Gryffindor
Birthday Party Decor
  • Balloons: Hufflepuff
  • A “Lordy Lordy Look Who’s 40” sign: Slytherin
  • Streamers: Gryffindor
  • Noisemakers: Ravenclaw

 

Hogwarts Goes Hollywood: Harry Potter Actors As Disney Characters

Disney and Harry Potter, the entertainment franchises that brought magic to our childhood (and, um, teens and 20s), are now at one. Emma Watson – Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies – will be playing Belle in a live-action version of Beauty And The Beast! Belle was always my favorite Disney princess because she liked books. I had the redhead solidarity thing with Ariel, but even at age five I was like “Ariel, girl, get a grip. You look desperate.” But I digress. The Harry Potter movies were full of amazing actors, and the Disney movies have a bunch of awesome characters. Emma Watson as Belle is a good start, but I think we could make this a regular thing:

Alfie Enoch as Prince Eric, The Little Mermaid

Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid needs to be so dreamy that a mermaid –  whose greatest joy is singing  – gives her voice to a sea-witch so that she can get legs and like… hang out with him silently in a rowboat. Sounds like an awesome date. See what I mean about Ariel? Anyway, when I think “Hogwarts Dreamboat,” I think Alfie Enoch.

Rupert Grint as John Smith, Pocahontas

Ron Weasley had a lot of strong points, but he was sort of a borderline bro sometimes. The Disney version of that is John Smith in Pocahontas. He’s an imperialist dumb-dumb, but he’s so dopey that you can’t really hate him. There’s that spark of goodness in Ron, too, so we know that Rupert could balance the character’s likability with his more annoying traits.

Tom Felton as Hans, Frozen

Oh, Draco. You loved to hate him. For the character to work, the actor had to convey enough smoothness so that you believe that all of his teachers don’t absolutely hate him. Likewise, Hans has to SEEM like a nice guy to enough people that you don’t spend the whole movie going “uh, this jerk.” Just as it takes a smart actor to play a dumb person, it takes a nice actor to play a mean person. I think Felton’s up to the task.

Evanna Lynch as Rapunzel, Tangled

Luna Lovegood is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. In both the books and the movies, she’s got a few screws loose but she’s not a one-note joke of a person. She has real feelings and, even though she’s a bit of a whackadoo, she’s smart and brave. Disney-wise, this is Rapunzel from Tangled. She’s not a floaty, sweet gal like Snow White or Cinderella – she’s a weirdo who hangs out with a chameleon. Both characters aren’t socially … you know, off …. by accident – they both had childhoods that meant they couldn’t quite fit in.

Alan Rickman as Scar, The Lion King

I get that Alan Rickman is a human person, not a lion. But otherwise, he’s proven that he can play a creepy avuncular villain. (Or, not villain, but admit it, for a while you really thought so!) They could just use those weird costumes from the Broadway musical or whatever.

Whomping Willow as Grandmother Willow, Pocahontas

Stunt casting? Eh, maybe, but who else are they going to get?

Jessie Cave as Those Triplets Who Were All Up On Gaston, Beauty And The Beast

Lavender Brown WAS the Hogwarts version of those hussies who were Gaston fangirls. I know there’s only one of her but they have to make a humanoid monster and dancing cups, I’m sure they can turn one person into three people.

Julie Walters as Mrs. Potts, Beauty And The Beast

Molly Weasley IS Mrs. Potts.

Hogsmeade as Belle’s Quaint Village, Beauty And The Beast

Hogsmeade, UK and Poor Provincial Town, France clearly had the same city planners.

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!”

Class of ’04: What’s My Age Again?

You can tell me that we graduated 10 years ago, but I still have a difficult time convincing myself that that much time has passed since I last used a locker and attended a gym class (note I didn’t say ‘participated’). And when looking back at pop culture a decade ago, it’s hard to believe that some of these things happened so long ago. Here’s a list of just a few things that happened in 2004 that will make you want to pull out your Sony Discman and blast Blink-182 in an attempt to reclaim your youth.

Oops… I Did It Again

January 3rd: Britney Jean Spears decided to go to Las Vegas and marries her childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander at The Little White Wedding Chapel, the same place where Paul Newman married Joanne Woodward and Pamela Anderson tied the knot with Rick Salomon (the first time).

January 5th: Brit filed an annulment petition stating she “lacked understanding of her actions” and two hours later, her marriage was completely dissolved.

July 5th: Brit gets engaged to dancer Kevin Federline, whom she met three months earlier. Besides the fact that their relationship was on the fast track to marriage (read: divorce), they were under a lot of heat since Kevin’s and his ex-girlfriend Shar Jackson was still pregnant with their second child.

September 18: B & KFed get married. This is a picture that was taken during the reception.

Nipplegate/Boob Bowl

February 1: Ah yes, the floppy breast that all Americans young and old were exposed to during Super Bowl XXXVIII. As we know, JT ripped off a piece of tear away material covering Janet’s (Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty) right boob, and in their defense they deemed it a “wardrobe malfunction”, but conservatives called it “a sign of decreasing morality in the national culture”, while others just said to “calm the fuck down”. The legal ramifications from the FCC and subsequent lawsuits seemed to be never ending – in fact as recent as 2012, the Supreme Court declined an appeal from the FCC over the $550,000 fine on Nipplegate.

Kanye Drops College Dropout

February 10: Kanye West releases his debut album, The College Dropout, which hits the top of the charts and receives critical acclaim. It’s hard to believe there was a time when we ALL liked Kanye because his music was so good, but then he started talking too much and grabbed the mic from Taylor Swift, etc. and he became one of the most polarizing artists in music. But no one can deny just how freaking good this record was. Even the weakest track on the album was better than most of the rap songs released that year.

You Go, Glen Coco

February 20: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen was the first of two leading roles Lindsay Lohan had in 2004, which is considered her breakout year. After appearing in Freaky Friday in 2003, Linds landed another Disney movie with the teen musical that pitted her against a young Megan Fox.

April 30: You know it, you love it, you wear pink on Wednesdays. Mean Girls was released and became a defining teen comedy of the 2000s and launched LiLo into superstar success.

May 1: Luckily, Lindsay had connections at Saturday Night Live thanks to Tina Fey/Mean Girls, and hosted the show for the first time, AKA the show with the most epic (and first) sketch of Debbie Downer.

June 5: Linds becomes the youngest host of the MTV Movie Awards at just 17 years old. Meanwhile, I think I was busy “studying” my Sparknotes for my AP English exam.

December 7: Lindsay’s first album, Speak is released and surprisingly gets certified platinum. I’m not going to lie to you, she has some pretty catchy tunes that may or may not have been downloaded via Napster. But seriously though – Over?!

Jimmy Meets World

May 15: Jimmy Fallon makes his last appearance as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, closing out his six-season tenure with a rousing all cast musical rendition of Grease’s Summer Nights, with his leading lady, Tina Fey.

You Can’t Be Sirius

May 23: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban hits theaters. I admit, I was such a late bloomer to HP. Like I didn’t start reading until the day the 7th book came out :\ I hang my head in shame (And I also blame my parents who I’m convinced believed that reading the books legit made you some kind of witch frreal). Anyways, the Alfonso Cuaron-directed installment grossed a total of $796.6 million worldwide, making it the lowest-grossing in the whole HP film series, but still ranks it the 44th highest-grossing film of all time. Whatever. This was my favorite movie up until the last one, and arguably my favorite book.

I Believe In Miracles

May 26: Fantasia Barrino wins the third season of American Idol in one of the most memorable and dramatic reveals in all of television history. Reminder that this is the same year Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson placed seventh and Diana DeGarmo was the runner-up. (Sidenote: I just saw Diana and hubs season 5 Idol alum Ace Young in the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tour and like a fine wine, her voice has just gotten better with age. Ace, maybe not so much. They’re cute tho. Go go go Joe!)

Closing Time

Our beloved Friends came to a close (which you can reminisce over at our Friends 10 Week tag), while shows I was too young to watch (Ed, Sex and the City, The Practice) and shows I was too old to still be watching (Lizzie McGuire, Hey Arnold!, Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, CatDog) also met their demise. RIP Lizzie + Gordo, forever in our hearts.

Meet Michael Phelps

August: The 2004 Summer Olympics are held in Athens, Greece and the main takeaway is that America came out with a new sports legend in Michael Phelps. At just 19 years old, he won 8 medals, 6 of which were gold, the other 2 bronze, well on his way to becoming the most decorated athlete in Olympics history. In the video above, Michael wins his 5th gold of the games in the 4×200 relay, helping his team edge out Ian “Thorpedo” Thorpe and the Australians by a hair. UGH I miss the Olympics.

Pieces of Me

October 23: Ashlee Simpson gets caught lip synching on Saturday Night Live and I have second hand embarrassment for all involved.

Beyonce Realizes Her Full Potential

November 16: Destiny’s Child releases their fourth and final studio album, Destiny Fulfilled. This record is not as solid as The Writing’s On The Wall (but really, which DC3 record is?), but it has one of my all time favorite Destiny’s Child Songs, Girl, as well as Cater 2 U. It’s fine, they all did well after the breakup. Right, Michelle?

Ken Jennings Makes Jeopardy! Event Television

November 30: Ken Jennings’ 74-consecutive win streak finally ends at the hands of competitor Nancy Zerg. He’s won a total of $3,196,300 from the show, which is… a heck of a lot of money and knowledge. Question: Where is Nancy Zerg now?

BriWi Takes Over

December 2:  Tom Brokaw resigns as anchorman of NBC Nightly News after 22 years at the desk and is replaced by Brian Williams. Love ya Tommy B, but if you didn’t retire, we would have never been able to get MC BriWillie out of his shell.