How to Cope with TV Haituses

Ah, December. The time for friends and family get together to celebrate the holidays watch the winter finales of their favorite shows. This time of year is already stressful with buying gifts, forced holiday parties, and spending too much time with family members you may not care for. But on top of that, TV fans have to gear up for a winter of no new episodes until the next year.

To help you cope with your addictions, I (myself an addict) have compiled a list of shows you should watch during the next few weeks (or months in some cases) until your faves come back on air. For example, last year, I watched all seven seasons of The West Wing in about 26 days. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but hey, it helped distract me from the cliffhanger of Nashville. I’m only here to help, y’all.

Happy watching!

If you like:

Scandal

You might like:

The West Wing

Speaking of The West Wing… All 7 seasons are on Netflix, so you have no excuse (unless you don’t have Netflix). Scandal is probably the most difficult show to ween yourself off of, especially if you’re a #Gladiator who live tweets and doesn’t miss a single episode. Not to mention, it doesn’t come back until February 27th! So if you enjoy the political side of Scandal, excellent writing, the invention of the ‘walk and talk’ and most importantly, the never sarcastic Josh Malina/David Rosen, who plays Will Bailey from season 3 on, you’ll certainly enjoy this Emmy-winning series that went off the air seven years ago. Warning: there’s certainly not as much sex on this show – but there’s Rob Lowe and a ‘Will they- Won’t they’ situation between Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) and his assistant Donna Moss (Janel Maloney).

If you like:

Parks and Recreation

You might like:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

BROOKLYN-NINE-NINE-CAST-570

One name: Mike Schur. If you don’t know who he is and you’re a fan of Parks and Rec and/or The Office, you can revoke your fan privileges right now. Mike used to be a writer on The Office (and also played Dwight’s weird cousin Mose), but left the show to create Parks with Office creator Greg Daniels. Mike decided his one amazing show on NBC wasn’t enough, so he and Dan Goor, also from Parks, created Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The show is hilarious and has the same kind of ensemble quality that both Parks and The Office had. In addition, you can’t go wrong with Andy Samberg as a quirky cop. And don’t forget the fact that both the show and Andy just got nominated for Golden Globes? Congrats Mike Schur.

If you like:

Modern Family

You might like:

Trophy Wife

I’ve talked about my love for Trophy Wife before, and it certainly has not waned since then. This show just keeps getting better and better. A non-traditional family with traditional support and love for each other is exactly the type of foundation Modern Family was built on, and this show is just a different take on it. Make sure you watch the Christmas episode – probably the best of the season so far.

If you like:

Grey’s Anatomy

You might like:

Chicago Fire

Common workplace? Check. Major problem (medical mystery/kid stuck in a burning building)? Check. Hot guys? Check. Lesbians? Check. On-again, off-again/love triangles? Check. Did I mention hot guys? Check. I mean, what are you waiting for?

If you like:

Mad Men

You might like:

Masters of Sex

Okay, this is kind of not following my previous template since Mad Men hasn’t been on since the spring and is coming back in March, but it’s the closest thing to Masters of Sex. This Showtime series just wrapped its first season, and only got better as the season went on. Just like Mad Men, it’s a period drama set in the 1950s centered on (real people) Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), who were pioneering researchers of human sexuality. Clearly, there’s plenty of sex and nudity happening on this show. But unlike Mad Men where affairs run rampant, the sex mainly happens in the context of their research. Of course both Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan do an amazing job, but the supporting characters like Beau Bridges and his wife Allison Janney (Allison Janney! From The West Wing!!!) are just as outstanding. It’s only 12 episodes you guys!

If you like:

Homeland

You might like:

Homeland Season 1 & 2

No (major?) spoilers if you haven’t seen the season three finale yet, but UGHHH. It will be interesting to see where they go from here. That being said, season three was like a roller coaster and you had no idea where it was going, how it was going to end, or if you even liked it, but you still rode it anyways. If you liked season three, you should probably watch the first two seasons again to remind you how good the show used to be.

They Were In That?

Celebrities had to start off somewhere before they became mega-famous, right? And for a lot of stars, they may have been in big movies a long time ago, but we had no idea they were in them. And it totally fucks with everything you thought you knew. Here are a few actors who were in that one thing that you never knew they were in.

Channing Tatum

You know him, you love him, but did you ever put together that he was the hot guy Amanda Bynes was bro-ing with/mackin on in She’s the Man? Wonder if those two still keep in touch…

Hugh Bonneville

You know him as the honorable Lord Grantham from Downton Abbey, but when I saw he was in the Masterpiece Classic, I literally thought: ‘Oh my GOD that’s Bernie from Notting Hill.’ He play’s Hugh’s buddy Bernie in the film, and if you recall, he was the friend during the dinner when they first all met Anna (Julia Roberts) and he had no idea she was a huge movie star. 

Andrew Lincoln

This Brit plays Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead, a show I don’t even watch and honestly have no interest in watching. But Again, to me he’s an actor from another Brit-featured rom com – Love Actually! This shot tells it all.

Mischa Barton

COACHELLAAAAA

Speaking of Notting Hill, long before she went on a downward spiral both as Marissa Cooper and IRL, Mischa was a kid actor, including her scary stints in The Sixth Sense and the girl who worked with ‘Leonardo’ multiple times in Notting Hill

Alexander Skarsgard

All around hottie with a body (ew, hate that I just typed that), Alexander comes from a family of actors, so naturally he started out young. In fact, he’s barely recognizable as a young lad in Zoolander. can you believe he was the dude who screamed ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPACINOS?!? I used to yell that shit all the time. God, I was obnoxious.

Jay R. Ferguson

Does anyone else find Stan really obnoxious but endearing at the same time? Well in the 80s, apparently he was endearing enough to have a pull out poster in Bop magazine. The dude was a teen heartthrob! What?! Jay was in Evening Shade and The Outsiders TV movie based on the Rob Lowe film.

Teen Heartthrob, smizeing

Diego Klattenhoff

Despite the fact that he was an adulterer on Homeland, I actually kind of liked ‘Uncle Mike’. The episode he had with the brooding Dana and actually acted like more of a Dad than Brody proved that there was more to him than a soldier or a betraying best friend. I miss Homeland. Anyways, did you know that he also hooked up with Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls? Check out Regina George and Shane Oman – special appearance by Amy Poehler!

Mandy Patinkin

Okay, not over Homeland yet. Good old Saul. Of course Mandy Patinkin is an accomplished actor, both in film, tv, and on stage, but if you only associate him as Saul, it may be weird to think that he was also this guy in The Princess Bride

Point-Counterpoint: Ugly Cry Showdown – Anne Hathaway vs. Claire Danes

 Film-goers and TV viewers love a good ugly cry. As a matter of fact, apart from gaining or losing a lot of weight or wearing unflattering facial prostheses, ugly crying may be the best way to secure acting award nominations. While less-serious starlets look put-together and beautiful while they cry, maintaining matte skin as a single, picturesque tear rolls down their cheeks, ugly criers are the real deal. Their eyes and noses get red, there is snot all over, their mouths gape, and sometimes I swear they’re practically drooling.
Two of the best ugly criers of our generation are Anne Hathaway and Claire Danes. Both got their start on network TV, then moved on to film roles. Today Danes is an Emmy winner for her work on the acclaimed Homeland, while Hathaway is nominated for an Oscar for her role in Les Miserables. But until now, nobody has settled who the best ugly crier of the two really is. Wonder no longer — Cookies + Sangria point-counterpoint has you covered.

Point: Hathaway ugly-sing-cried in Les Miserables.

Most actresses struggle to produce even an acceptable ugly cry, but Hathaway did the unthinkable – she managed to ugly cry and sing at the same time. Do you even realize the breath and mucus control that requires? Next time you’re ugly crying, pay attention to your diaphragm. It’s probably spasming, or at least not working regularly. Alright, now try to sing I Dreamed A Dream. It’s almost impossible! But not for Anne Hathaway. Note how she retains her trembling, wailing mouth-shape while performing a pitch-perfect rendition of a musical theater classic — LIVE. For added unattractiveness points, Hathaway’s hair is cropped and she’s made up to look like she has tuberculosis. THAT’s how you cry when you’ve just been forced into prostitution and haven’t seen your child for years and your teeth were ripped out and you’re singing your feelings.

Counterpoint: Claire Danes’ Ugly Cry Is So Iconic That It Was Lampooned On Saturday Night Live

Okay, Hathaway does a pretty good ugly cry, but do you know what the root of all comedy is? Truth. Well, and robots fighting with things. And fart noises. But mostly truth. So when SNL chose to parody Claire Danes’ ugly crying on Homeland, they were doing so because her hideous weeping is known far and wide. Once something has been spoofed on this late night comedy, you know that it’s a feature on the pop culture landscape. I mean, come on. They put mom jeans on the map.

Counter-Counterpoint: Yeah, But It Was Hathaway Who Did The Claire Danes Ugly Cry Parody

Dying is easy, comedy is hard. What that means is, it was nothing for Hathaway to ugly cry as a consumptive prostitute, but to ugly cry and make it hilarious? That takes some serious chops.

Point: Claire Danes International Ugly-Cried in Brokedown Palace

Have you seen this? If you had HBO in the early 2000s, the answer is probably yes, because it was on all the damn time. Anyway, Brokedown Palace is a treat. Claire Danes ugly cries her way in to and out of a third world prison. And she ugly cries so vehemently that she is practically slobbering and seizing. Seriously, like you wonder if someone was off camera ready to hold her tongue so she didn’t swallow it.

Counterpoint: Hathaway is so committed to crying that she cried every day while filming Love And Other Drugs

According to the Internet, Hathaway said: “I was a wreck from start to finish. I think I cried every single day. I had to lean so much more heavily on everyone around me than I’m used to. I’m used to pulling my own weight. But I totally fell apart.” Did you get that? God, Hathaway ugly cries even when the camera’s not rolling. You can tell me she cried beautifully, but I won’t believe it for her second. Recreational ugly crying?! Anything for her craft. [Ed. note: please note Hathaway’s references to “leaning heavily” and not being able to “pull her weight.” This was obviously before she went from regular skinny to very, very skinny for Les Mis. Her weight loss secret? Expelling excess water through tears. Very strict regimen. Lots of onions and feelings.]

Point: Danes’ Award-Winning Teen Angst Crying In Little Women, Romeo And Juliet, and My So Called Life

You know what’s hard? Being a teenager whose love interest wrote a song that you thought was about you – and learning that it was about his car. You know what’s really hard? Being a teenager dying of scarlet fever. You know what’s ridiculously hard? Being a teenager whose star-crossed love affair ends in the death of the both of you. It’s hard to even imagine how difficult those scenarios are, but luckily we don’t even have to – Claire Danes’ tears did the talking, before she even had a driver’s license. What were you ugly crying over at that age? Whatever it was, you probably weren’t winning Emmys for it.

Counterpoint: Anne Hathaway is the Crown Princess of Genovia

A lot of things happened to teenaged Hathaway, too! Like, this one time, she thought she was a regular teen, but then she found out she was a princess! But you know what she didn’t do? Cry about it, really. She made some ugly faces of disgust and shock but that only gets you like a half-point, maybe. I still don’t know how I’m supposed to be scoring this but I think Danes wins this round.

Point: Temple Freakin’ Grandin, though.

The real Temple Grandin has said that “geeks that cry keep jobs” and that she “turned her anger into crying.” What are the chances that one noted crying enthusiast would play another noted crying enthusiast in an HBO biopic? And you thought there were a lot of parallels between Halle Berry and Dorothy Dandridge.

Counterpoint: (Rachel Getting Married Spoiler) Killed her sibling while drunk. How’s that for ugly?

Little known fact, if your character inspired the ugly cries of other characters in the film, that counts a little, too. It’s like getting a recruitment bonus when you sign a friend up for your insurance.

The Verdict:

I don’t really know how to quantify this. I mean… they’re both really good. Why does everything have to be a competition? Why can’t we just appreciate their unique, teary, snotty-nosed talents on their own merit? Okay… I’m calling it a tie. But if Hathaway wins on Oscar night, she becomes the reigning queen of the Ugly Cry, until Danes EGOTs or something.

Note: All images link to source. You’ll notice that a lot of the Danes pics link to The Claire Danes Cry Face Project . I found out about that blog when I was drafting this, but haven’t read it yet because I didn’t want to be influenced… but now I’m going to go spend half a day there and you should too!
 
Note 2: Those wanting further discussion of the Hathaway ugly cry should join us on Sunday, February 24, as we live-blog the Oscars!
 
OSCAR UPDATE: Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for her Fantine ugly cry, gave a shoutout to prostitutes, and made our worst dressed list. She started her speech with “… it came true!”. “It” being the dream that she dreamed, of being the ugliest crier in all the land. Details are in our liveblog.