What Comes Next? Fantasy Hamilton Replacement Cast

We know all good things must come to an end, and the reign of the Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton can’t be with the show forever. We’ve already said goodbye to Jonathan Groff as King George, and odds are Lin-Manuel is leaving in July, and maybe Leslie too? Despite the fact it will obviously be a sad end of an era with the OBC cast leaving, there are so many talented actors out there who would be perfect for the show. So if we had any say in casting, here are our choices to get in the room where it happens.

Joshua Henry as Alexander Hamilton

Tony-nominated Josh Henry has already worked with Lin in the past, as he was an ensemble member for In The Heights in both the off-Broadway and Broadway productions. In fact, he was in the early Vassar workshops of Hamilton, playing both King George and James Madison/Hercules Mulligan. So why not bring him back to play the lead role? After he ends his run in Shuffle Along, of course. He already did a great job as seen in the video above. HamilJosh? Sign me up.

Kyle Scatliffe as Aaron Burr

I know, he’s busy right now. But think: he has amazing stage presence, he has that perfect tenor/baritone voice, he can play characters in that gray area between good and bad, and I’m sure he would absolutely crush Wait For It. Maybe we’ve never seen him rap, but we’ve seen him cover Tenacious D so we know he can go off-genre.

Taye Diggs as George Washington

I’m not just saying this because we love him. Now that Taye is in his mid-40s (I DON’T KNOW HOW EITHER), I think he has exactly the gravitas needed to pull off a role like George Washington. Let’s talk about One Last Time. Can’t you just hear him singing that? Having an established Broadway veteran playing America’s first president just makes sense. I don’t know whether he can rap (see this) but I feel like he can probably do anything.

Bryshere Gray as James Madison/Hercules Mulligan

 

I tend to think of Hercules Mulligan as the most youthful of Hamilton’s crew (after Laurens, maybe) and I just know Bryshere Gray (Hakeem from Empire/ Yazz The Greatest) could pull off all of the bravado and energy the character has.

 Jordan Fisher as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton

Does this young, strapping man look familiar to you? If you’re of a certain age, you recognize him from the DCOM Teen Beach Movie franchise, but if you’re like us, you’ll know him as Doody from the delightful Grease Live special earlier this year. We basically went through puberty again and swooned after seeing him sing Those Magic Changes, and now that he’s on his own solo career with a R&B/hip-hop vibe, he can fit right in to eventually replace HamHearthrob Anthony Ramos.

Ashley Park as Eliza Hamilton

Ashley Park is currently in The King and I revival on Broadway, and since we just found out the show is closing at the end of the month, let’s give Ashley another job a mile and a half away to the Richard Rodgers, shall we (dance lolololol)? She has a gorge voice and poise on stage that would fit right in with Eliza’s graceful demeanor.

Nikki M. James as Angelica Schuyler

The fab Nikki M. James won a Tony Award for her role as Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon, but if you’ve ever seen the show, you know it’s got a much different vibe than Hamilton. But even in that role, Nabulungi and Angelica have one thing in common – they’re both strong willed women in a male-dominated world, and if Nikki can win a Tony for Nabulungi, she can most def step into bustle for Angelica.

Vanessa Hudgens as and Peggy/Maria Reynolds

Because we loved Grease Live more than we thought we were going to, here’s another musical alum – both of the high school and Broadway varieties. BBV played the good girl in HSM and the bad girl in Grease, a perfect mix needed to play andPeggy/Maria in Hamilton. And if you happen to be one of the people who don’t believe she has the vocal chops, just watch that video above.

Norbert Leo Butz as King George

Oh Norbert. How I love you so. And I want you to be in my life again, and not just on Bloodline. I would like you to specifically join the HamFam because you are talented and great and your voice makes me swoon. The end.

Neil Patrick Harris as King George

I mean, come on. Do I even have to explain this? No. Just enjoy NPH at the Tonys a couple years ago causing a ruckus with a bunch of celebs as Hedwig instead. One of the best-ever performances on the show.

 

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Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

Next week, Neil Patrick Harris, one of the greatest entertainers of our time, will release his very first autobiography. And it’s about damn time. From Doogie to NPH to Barney to Hedwig, he’s lived a life enough to span 10 million lifetimes, and that’s exactly what he’s writing about in his new book. However it’s not just any kind of memoir, it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Yes, that’s right, akin to those from your childhood. Because he’s just that awesome.

I only read a few Choose Your Own Adventure books growing up, but as an adult, you bet I’ll be reading this particular one. Since I didn’t read as many CYOA books as other kids, I decided to do some research on them, and what I found was that a lot of them had interesting titles. And by interesting I mean a lot of them had exclamation points at the end of them! I don’t know, I don’t see many books these days with such enthusiastic punctuation marks, but this seemed odd to me. It was like a lot of them were those horrible science fiction or horror films from the past. In fact, to put you to the test, below are a mix of both CYOA books and horror films from the 1980s, so it’s up to you to figure out which one is which. A choose your own adventure/fate in winning, of sorts! Enjoy!

Don’t Answer the Phone!

Plot: “A deeply disturbed photographer and Vietnam veteran terrorizes Los Angeles by going around strangling lingerie-clad young women in their homes while also taunting a young psychologist by calling her on a radio call-in show to describe his sexual hang-ups and misogynistic ways.”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Kidnapped!

“When Allen visits his friend Jason after school for the first time, he’s surprised to find that he is extremely wealthy and lives in a mansion. During a race in Jason’s go-karts down the driveway, a stranger suddenly approaches and gestures for them to get in his car. The two notices a security guard lies wounded on the ground, and soon realize they’re about to be kidnapped.”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Typhoon!

“After a 40-year career on the high seas, Captain Michael Polanski sets out for his final trek, but runs into some trouble when his ship is assailed not only by pirates but a deadly typhoon.”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Maniac!

“A psychotic man, troubled by his childhood abuse, loose in NYC, kills young women and takes their scalps as trophies. Will he find the perfect woman in photographer Anna, and end his killing spree?”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Possessed!

“A teen’s parents go out of town for the weekend, leaving her with the entire house to herself. She has a big blowout bash but after everyone leaves, two sinister spirits from past lives take over her body. In the process she learns of a family curse that has wrought havoc through the centuries.”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Help! You’re Shrinking

“A chemist stays up late in the lab working on a secret experiment, but a strange bottle mysteriously shows up that he’s never seen before. While he tries to figure out what it is, the blue liquid splashed on his arm and suddenly he shrinks to the size of a blade of grass.”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Beware! Children at Play

“After several children have gone missing, a writer and a cop decide to get to the bottom of the problem once and for all. As they find more and more leads they discover that their children are being brainwashed into zombified cannibal killers by a disturbed teen.”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Eaten Alive!

“A young woman teams up with an adventurer to find her missing sister in the jungles of New Guinea and they stumble upon a religious cult led by a deranged preacher whom has located his commune in an area inhabited by cannibals.”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Stampede!

“Sam Kinnard is spending his last summer before his senior year of college at his uncle’s ranch in Utah, going on cattle roundups and breaking young mustangs. But when a number of cows turn evil, Sam has to fight for his life against the angry bulls.”

Choose Your Own Adventure Book or 1980s Horror Film?!

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Highs And Lows: The 2014 Tony Awards

As we discovered last year, even hardcore theater lovers have to admit that not every Tony Awards moment can be the best. The 2014 awards were no exception. There were some great moments, some so-so ones, and that weird period where Hugh Jackman hopped around tracked by a steadicam. Whether you watched as a theater nerd or as a confused CBS viewer who just wanted The Good Wife, I think you’ll agree that the awards were a mixed bag. On to the highs and lows!

Low, like literally vacillating between 0 and 5 inches off the ground: Hugh Jackman, hopping for the entire opening sequence

At first I thought this was a reference to something … theatre-y, or Australian, or pop cultural that I didn’t know about. But according to Twitter, if there was a reference, nobody got it. Is hopping something that’s happening? The new parkour?

Middle, like a food that is neither sweet nor sour nor delicious nor necessarily awful (eg, Musical Soylent): The Les Mis number

Man, we do like Les Mis (I mean, we liveblogged the movie), but this was just dull. I spent the whole of the number contemplating whether to eat this mini Twix bar I found outside earlier today. I didn’t, because while my standards are low enough to bring garbage candy inside from the ground, they are higher than eating candy that, I reasoned, could have been peed on. Like, that life decision was more interesting to me than watching Les Mis.

Lower, like I guess my expectations should have been: Aladdin: The Musical

I love Disney, musicals, and – I’ll admit it – musicals based on Disney films. So why did that Aladdin number do absolutely nothing for me? One of my earliest theater memories is going to Cats with my family and my dad, during intermission, asking with incredulity: “I don’t get it, is this supposed to mean something?” Exactly, dad. Exactly.

[Evidently my dad thought that Cats was so stupid that he assumed that it must have been existing at a deeper level for so many people to like it. Like, We are all Cats. Or something.]

Higher than most people can sustain for a comfortable amount of time, like that high note at the end: Idina Menzel singing Always Starting Over

This lady is always a pro. Also, it feels like a true honor and privilege to hear her singing something –  anything – other than Let It Go.

Seems like it should be super high but actually isn’t, like when you get up close to Cinderella’s Castle at Disney: Rocky: The Musical

Movies can make great musicals, and over-the-top technological feats can spice up a show – part of me is still the 9-year-old who was blown away by the crashing chandelier in Phantom Of The Opera and the helicopter in Miss Saigon. Yet, the high-tech snippet of Rocky left me a little cold.

Way, way up high, like when I was watching this and my heart felt like it was being elevated by the fluttering wings of butterflies: Pinkham Bryce’s performance in A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder

I think I get frustrated with some shows that seem like they’re catering to the least common denominator. That’s why it’s so refreshing when a show is actually clever. And Pinkham Bryce, well … he’s sort of easy on the eyes, isn’t he?

Soaring high, like an eagle: Audra McDonald’s historic Tony win

Who needs to EGOT when you can just collect ALLLL the Tonys instead? Audra McDonald is a true living legend and a class act, and it doesn’t even get old seeing her win. Although, I’m sure there’s a reason this wasn’t classified as a ‘musical’ but I’m not positive of what it is.

Soaring high, like a bird that flies in a more fun way than an eagle does, maybe a pelican or something: The Hedwig And The Angry Inch performance

Okay, while I love smart musicals, there’s something awesome about shows that are just a lot of FUN. The actors and crowd alike were having an absolute blast during this number, and ultimately that’s what theater is all about. I mean it’s also about expressing the human experience, but sometimes the human experience is fun, okay? Also, bonus cameo by NPH’s adorable husband David Burtka.

Just sort of flitting along, like a bird that doesn’t really go up quite that high – perhaps a baby sparrow or a hummingbird: The Commercials

CBS really out-CBS-ed itself. Is it just me or was ad for Old People Medicines, insurance, and cat food?

High, like a person on meth, I guess?: Bryan Cranston’s win

We ragged on Cranston’s sub-par headshot on the Tony website = not exactly “Faces Of Meth” level, but just not trying. But clearly, he didn’t need to try too hard. The Tony was already in the bag.

 Higher than I would have thought, like my cholesterol even though I’m a vegetarian who works out, I mean what the hell: Violet

If the wedding episode of Full House taught us one thing, it’s that incorporating a robed gospel choir can only make things more spectacular. And Sutton Foster – Jo March of my heart – is always a great fit for those “small town girl makes good” roles.

Lower than I would have thought, like the depressed spirits of so many Irishmen: Sting

He looked and sounded completely like someone that my uncles would hang out with at the Ancient Order Of Hibernians. Not sure if he’s playing an Irish character or just, you know, a sad guy.

Mid-range, like the kind of blah clothes that end up in the ‘donate’ pile when you pare down your wardrobe : For Good

The only thing that a 10 year anniversary of Wicked accomplishes is reminding me that 10 years passed in the blink of an eye. I would not have the mental fortitude to sing Elphaba in front of Idina Menzel herself, and frankly, I don’t think the actress last night did, either. The blending was so-so, both vocally and on Galinda’s wig cap, which covered half of her forehead. Does she have a giant, weird hairline? A facial tattoo? WHY?

Low, like the droopy flopped arms of a white person standing around not knowing how to dance: LL Cool J and TI doing that Music Man thing

They rapped about the Music Man. They told the crowd to get on their feet. The crowd obeyed. Then they all stood there, self-consciously unsure of what to do with their arms. I know the feeling.

High, like the pitch of the audible gasp I let out: Carole King’s appearance during the Beautiful performance

I knew King was there, obviously. I knew Beautiful was performing, of course. But it somehow never occurred to me that Carole King would sing with them. If this made Jessie Mueller nervous as hell, as it would for most humans, she didn’t let on.

Low, like the pit deep in my stomach: Bullets Over Broadway and the reawakening of latent Woody Allen feelings

You know, when all this Woody Allen stuff came back up, I thought “man, it would make it easier if someone would just tell me the proper way to react to this.” Then everyone DID tell everyone else the proper way to react. And it didn’t particularly help. Anyway. Catchy song, right?

Low, like something that just draaaags on and on, like maybe something hanging from the fender of a car: Hugh Jackman’s song before the Best Actress In A Musical award

It was 10:50 pm. Yet, an 11 o’clock number, it was not.

Low, like my glasses would be, on the bridge of my nose, in disapproval, like a librarian from yesteryear: Finding Neverland

I liked Finding Neverland The Movie. I already hate Finding Neverland The Musical That Doesn’t Exist Yet But Is Somehow Performing At The Tony’s. The former was charming, the latter involved Jennifer Hudson in a modern, sequined dress wailing about Neverland as small Edwardian boys jump on a bed and a female, Ginnifer Goodwin-y Peter Pan flitted around.

2014 Tony Award Winner Predictions (Based Solely On Headshots)

The all-powerful headshot can make or break an acting career. You thought it was talent, hard work, and luck? So did I – until I was 12. That was the year that all of my acting friends got the secret memo to wear makeup and flat-iron their hair before updating their photos. They all looked like they walked out of Seventeen magazine, whereas I looked like.. well, like:

Yep, that’s the headshot of someone who’s going to be stuck in child roles for a good while. The only way I would be playing a girl next door is if the main character happens to lives next door to a Victorian orphanage. So trust me, headshots matter. That’s why I’m pretty confident that the key to this year’s Tony wins is in the almighty 5×7. To be as impartial as possible, we are judging this year’s winners solely by the headshots available on the official Tony Awards website.

Best Performance By A Leading Actor In A Play

Samuel Barnett – Twelfth Night

Okay, the dabbled gray background is a little school portrait. But the icy blue, straight on stare says “I can play dramatic roles!” and the slight smirk says “but if the dialog gets a little funny, I’m on top of it!” The bright flash highlights Barnett’s pale complexion, as if to say “I can play British.”

Bryan Cranston – All The Way

The fuck, Cranston? No. NO. You’re like that one kid whose parents didn’t properly understand sending in a baby picture for that one section of your senior yearbook, and sent one from freshman year instead. You are the default silhouette picture from Myspace. Even Tom doesn’t want to be friends with that.

Remember Tom, everyone?

Chris O’Dowd – Of Mice And Men

Well as I live and breathe. Chris O’Dowd has out-Cranstoned Cranston. There are actual people in the actual background, and you know what? Blurring them out by enlarging the “blemish remover” function on iPhoto is just making me notice it more. Good luck winning a Tony with this Photobucket-quality headshot, buddy. Good freaking luck.

On the other hand, maybe this is clever. Maybe it tells us that he is too busy for headshots — busy going to events where he, and blurry others, wear suits.

Mark Rylance – Richard III

White sheet backdrop aside, this is art. ART. The lowered left eyebrow. The tremulous sidelong glance. The windswept locks. His mouth is even ever-so-slightly agape. It is like everything that Jay Manuel and Janice Dickinson told contestants to do on the early seasons of America’s Next Top Model, except for posing with limbs askew and pretending to have been murdered. I think we might have our winner. And that earring? That’s just boss.

Tony Shaloub – Act One

Like, is this photo editing, or does he have a legitimage twinkle in both eyes? Speaking of Tyra Banks: smizing. Notice how you sort of feel like Tony Shaloub has read the story of your soul, and would recommend it to a friend? It’s all in the smize.
The winner, based on headshot alone: Mark Rylance. That headshot has RANGE.

 

Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role In A Play

Tyne Daly – Mothers And Sons

Okay, now we’re cooking with gas. There’s a neutral but varied background. There’s warm, soft lighting. You know what this looks like? This looks like a headshot where the actress is at least TRYING. See the Shaloub-esque half smile?
Also, I think that, as in paintings by Renaissance masters, if you look at this from different points in the room, Daly’s eyes follow you.
Her face is so captivating that I almost didn’t notice that this photo almost reaches a Glamour Shot-caliber boob suggestion. Glamour Shots: Not the boob itself, but the idea of the boob.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson

FINALLY. Now it’s a contest. Look at this. It’s like Headshot Bingo. Or a headshot drinking game. Let’s count:
(1) Flowy wrap sweater
(2) Gently contrasting background
(3) Statement necklace
(4) HAND SHELF.
It’s like every headshot cliche in one photo. Ms Jackson, I salute you. Question, though: what is up with the curled-up, partially visible left hand?

Cherry Jones – The Glass Menagerie

I’m of two minds here. The first: the blurred background is, well… have we learned nothing from O’Dowd? It looks like Jones is in some sort of outdoor patio or porch situation, which is at least pleasant. Contrast that with O’Dowd, who is in some sort of formalwear context that is almost definitely not fun.
The second: Does she have the headshot smile down or what? Happy but not too happy. Warm without a photoshopped eye twinkle (unless that’s how Shaloub’s eyes are naturally, which… maybe, you know? Maybe.)

Audra MacDonald – Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar And Grill

Even if I didn’t know who Audra McDonald was, which I guess I’m trying to do here, I’d know this was the photo of a champion. That is the cozy sweater of someone who can play a mom or a business professional on a day off. Her hair is glorious. The background is neutral but, with the hint of light oak chair, not antiseptic. There’s gentle accessorizing. There’s nail polish. There’s attractive lighting, like in Barbara Walters specials.
Brava, Ms. McDonald.

Estelle Parsons

While I don’t deny that Estelle Parsons is probably a lovely person and a wonderful actress, this is simply not a Tony Award Winning headshot. That is the downward facing chin of a nominee, not the proud, upright chin of a winner!

Besides, it took me about 3 minutes to figure out that was a scarf tucked into her sweater and not some really weird collar or even weirder neck/chin situation. Tony voters don’t have time for that.
The Winner, Based On Headshot Alone: Audra. That’s the headshot of a lady who came to win.

 

Best Performance By A Lead Actor In A Musical

Now, for a little bit of the ‘man behind the curtain’ in the blogging world: my browser is doing something it’s never done before, and making text and photos appear straight on top of each other, and my curser is moving around will-nilly. So let’s just cut straight to the winner, shall we?
Winner, based on headshot alone:

Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig And The Angry Inch

 

This was a process of elimination win. Ramin Karimloo looked a little too ‘intentionally disheveled hot guy.’ Andy Karl was posed in front of some sort of industrial piping, which, like, you’re in Rocky. We know. Jefferson Mays looked like he was going to turn me into ice with his crystalline blue stare. Between Bryce Pinkham and Neil Patrick Harris, Harris’s headshot was a little edgier. Pinkham’s, shot in soft light with a white background, seemed to say “I’m here for the art, not to win.”

Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role In A Musical

 

Can we discuss these award category names? They are all roughly twice as long as they need to be, right?
The winner, based on headshot alone:

Sutton Foster – Violet

This was another process of elimination. Idina Menzel, bless her talented heart, almost tries TOO hard in her headshot. I’m talking about a wind machine. Jessie Mueller manages to look most like someone I’d want to hang out with in real life – meaning, unlike some theater people, she doesn’t look absolutely exhausting. But she does have the visible, photoshopped background person going on. Kelli O’Hara has so much blinding white light going on that I think she might be the first person I’m seeing after dying.  Mary Bridget Davies brought her A-Game, but Foster’s got the approachable smile down. She was probably smile-coached along with Cherry Jones.

 

So, was my 12-year-old self right? Can you tell a great actor by headshot alone? Tune in to the Tony’s on Sunday night to find out!

Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

Kids, after nine seasons, 208 episodes, eight slaps, three Canadian pop star music videos, countless girlfriends and one person revealed to be the perfect mother, How I Met Your Mother is coming to an end.

himym

I’ve been a HIMYM fan since season one, which I suppose is rare in this day and age, especially since the show has lasted this long. And while my level of obsession never quite hit an embarrassing peak like I did with The Office, I can’t help but compare  the two. Both are sitcoms that will forever have a mark on television, both have loyal fan followings, both ended (are ending) with nine seasons to their resume. Like The Office, fans were given a year’s worth warning that it would be the final season, but that doesn’t mean the end comes any easier. It’s been a year since I’ve watched a full episode of The Office, because it hurts my heart too much to know there will most likely never be another new episode again.

And with every episode of HIMYM that passes by, with every last slap, every last high five, every last ‘legendary’ uttered, the reality of the show ending is hitting me like a brick wall, and I’m unable to keep my emotions in tact. I’m like pregnant Lily with the non-stop crying. But let’s not focus on the show ending, but rather what we’ve been able to learn over the past nine years.

We all know that the point of us hearing Ted tell all these stories is to explain to his kids how he met and fell in love with their mother. But in that nine year span of storytelling, we watched him and the gang experience love, heartbreak, births, deaths, and overall, grow up. I mean think about yourself nine years ago compared to who you are now. You’ve gone through shit and it’s changed you for the better or worse, but either way it has changed you. Everything Ted recalled to his kids over nine seasons helped explain how and why it’s led to meeting the love of his life. Like Ted, I’m a very big ‘everything happens for a reason’ person, and this entire series is the epitome of that. So in the spirit of that mantra, here are the best life lessons we’ve gleaned from HIMYM, the ones that help shape who we are, and the ones we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Because sometimes, even if you know how something’s gonna end, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride. – Ted Mosby

Get out of the house, Go for a walk, Get a bagel

Season 4, Episode 22: Right Place, Right Time

Architect Ted is down in the dumps because he was commissioned to design a chain restaurant called Rib Town in the shape of a giant cowboy hat. Not exactly what he imagined he would be doing with his life. Clearly frustrated, Robin suggests he get out of the house, go for a walk and get a bagel. A series of circumstances lead him to crosswalk where his ex-fiancee, Stella runs into him. That meeting led to his eventual hiring at Columbia University where he taught an architecture class – which is where The Mother, a student, sees Ted for the first time.

In times of frustration or when we feel like we’re at a dead end, it’s hard to figure out what our next move will be. But maybe the best move you can make is one that is out of your comfort zone. Maybe the best move you can make is just go out and do something. Period. We don’t know what we’ll find when we go off the beaten path, but it might turn out to change your life forever.

Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Season 1, Episode 18: Nothing Good Happens After 2AM

Ted relays to his kids that his mom used to say, ‘Nothing good happens after 2am.’ Proving this theory right, he recalls the time he was waiting up for a phone call from his girlfriend Victoria, who lived in Germany. However, Robin (Ted’s ex and forever one of the great loves of his life) was feeling depressed and alone, and called Ted asking him to come over. It was past 2am, and he should have gone to bed, but he went to Robin’s instead. One thing leads to another, Ted tells Robin that he & Victoria broke up (they hadn’t), Ted starts making out with Robin, Ted goes to the bathroom to call Victoria to break-up with her, only to go back out to the living room to see he had Robin’s phone, and Robin is on the phone talking to Victoria and everything in Ted’s life crumbles down like the Arcadian.

Just quit while you’re ahead. Or behind. Better yet, just go to sleep. Stay in. Whatever you do, don’t go out after 2am. It’s too late for anything good to happen.

The Front Porch Test

Season 4, Episode 17: The Front Porch

Lily admits she has been conducting a secret test with all of Ted’s paramours, and if they don’t pass it, she attempts to break them up. Called The Front Porch Test, Lily would picture said significant other of Ted when they’re old and playing bridge on their front porch, and if she can’t imagine them being a part of their tight-knit group years from now, she’d smoke ’em out.

I’m not suggesting you purposely break your friends up with their boyfriends/girlfriends here. The point is that Lily knew that they would be best friends for the rest of their lives. She didn’t just imagine growing old with Marshall and their kid(s), but with Ted, Barney, Robin and The Mother too. While this show is largely about finding out who the love of Ted’s life is, it’s really about these friends who become each other’s family. They’ve already been through so much together in nine seasons, and it’s crazy to think that it’s just a little slice of their entire lives. And if we’re lucky enough, we have these friends that easily pass the Front Porch Test too.

Admit You Actually ARE Too Old For This Shit

Season 4, Episode 19: Murtaugh

Any fan of HIMYM can tell you that one of Barney Stinson’s favorite pasttimes is laser tag. In this episode, he tries to get Ted to go play laser tag with him, but Ted refuses, citing his Murtaugh List. Named after Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon series, whose signature phrase is ‘I’m too old for this shit!’, the Murtaugh List is a record of things he believes he has become too old to do anymore. Among the activities are pulling an all nighter, put off going to the doctor, going to a rave and using a beer bong.

Somewhere around the age of 27 it kind of hits you like a ton of bricks that you’re not getting any younger. Well, it was for me, at least. You’re checking off the next level of age range boxes on forms and looking around you only to see that it’s like everyone you know is getting married or having a baby – because we’re old enough that it’s normal to do so. For example, some of the things on my Murtaugh List include but are not limited to: going to midnight premieres of movies, drinking to vomit-inducing levels, sleeping past noon, using my undated college ID for discounts, shopping at Forever 21 (which is probably the hardest thing on this list for me to stop doing), and wasting my time.

There’s No Escaping Your Embarrassing Past

Season 2, Episode 9: Slap Bet

For the record, this episode was a complete gamechanger in the world of HIMYM – and one of the best in the entire series. The gang finds out Robin doesn’t like going to malls, and they set out on a quest as to why. They have their own theories – Marshall thinks she got married in a mall, Barney is adamant Robin did porn – so the two agree to a Slap Bet, in which the winner of the bet gets to slap the loser as hard as they can. Barney finds a video of someone named Robin Sparkles, and thinking he won, slaps Marshall. However, it turns out the tape is actually of Robin as a teen pop star in her native Canada, whose hit single was called Let’s Go To The Mall. Because of his premature slap, slap bet commissioner Lily allows Marshall to dole out 10 slaps in succession or five for all eternity, and Barney chooses the latter. Hence the reason the slaps were randomly placed throughout the series.

I’m assuming there are very few of people out there who lived a past life as a pop star, so let’s put this in layman’s terms. Whether there’s physical evidence of your less-than-stellar years past or emotional remnants leftover, the things that have happened to you yesterday never really leave you. But you can either choose to run away from it or embrace it. Use your personal Robin Sparkles to empower you, to make you a better person.

Some People Have Expiration Dates

Season 2, Episode 22: Something Blue

Ted: Seriously, where do you see yourself in five years?
Robin: Where do you see yourself?
Ted: Honestly, in five years, I’d probably want to be married.
Robin: And I’d probably want to be in Argentina.
Ted: Argentina?
Robin: Or Tokyo, or Paris. Look Ted, I don’t know where I’m gonna be in five years. I don’t wanna know. I want my life to be an adventure.
Ted: We have an expiration date, don’t we?

Spoiler alert: Ted and Robin’s romantic relationship didn’t really legit expire until this past week, TBH. But in general, we have to accept that sometimes we’re not meant to be friends or in a relationship with people that are currently in our lives – even if you think they pass the Front Porch Test. Like I mentioned in my Murtaugh List, I’m too old to waste my time. That applies to people too. If a relationship in your life feels ‘rotten’ or on its way out, it’s time to accept the fact there’s an end date, and you just need to throw it away.

Never Miss Big Events, If You Don’t Want To Know The End

Season 2, Episode 14: Monday Night Football

The gang makes it an annual tradition to watch the Super Bowl together, but this particular year, Mark from their favorite pub dies – and his funeral is the night of the Super Bowl. The wake lasts all night, so they’re forced to watch it all together the next day. However as you know, avoiding big news like who won the biggest game of the year in America is not an easy task. Ted even wears the “Sensory Deprivator 5000” (made of sunglasses with tiny holes to see out of and blinders duct taped to the side made out of an old cereal box) to avoid seeing and hearing anything while he goes to pick up their favorite wings from a sports bar. Hilarity ensues.

I hate spoilers. I am that person who avoids social media starting at 5pm PST if I know a show I love will have a strong social media presence, because I don’t want to know what happens. On #Scandal Thursdays? Forget it. I avoid Twitter like the plague. I often wish I had Ted’s Sensory Deprivator 5000, because I’m that serious about not getting spoiled. That being said, no one can complain about getting spoilers while online, because then you’re just being an idiot. Like our head Gladiator, Kerry Washington recently tweeted:

“Folks mad about spoilers are making me laugh. I feel u’re pain but thats what EVENT TV is! If u dont wanna know the score, dont follow ESPN.”

Challenge Accepted

Most people know that this phrase is used throughout the series by Barney, mainly, even taking on things that aren’t necessarily challenges as challenges anyways. For example, he’s accepted the challenges of sleeping with Marshall’s professor, talking his way out of a speeding ticket, hook up with a girl while wearing Marshall’s old overalls, get a girl’s number while talking like a dolphin, and perhaps my favorite, get a girl’s number in a garbage bag, without using the letter ‘e’.

While I’m not judging if you decide to you Barney’s ‘Challenge Accepted’ to pick up girls/guys (well not that much anyways), perhaps we can accept challenges in our lives a different way. Go out of your way to do something you’re never done before . It can be as simple as trying a new item on the menu of your fave restaurant or as big as deciding to move to another city. Another big theme of HIMYM is taking chances. Don’t be afraid of the possibility of making a mistake. And sometimes even when you know something is a mistake – you just have to make it anyways. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Stagnancy is the ruin of life – how do we expect to be better if we don’t at least try?

Some Things Are Better Left Unspoken, Enjoy Each Others’ Company Instead

And it’s funny, in a moment like that, when what’s really happening is too intense to deal with, sometimes it’s best to leave it unspoken, and just enjoy each other’s company instead. {x}

Season 9, Episode 19: Vesuvius

The final season, the writers have been focused on one weekend, that of Barney and Robin’s wedding. That’s 24 episodes taking place over the course of three days. A lot happens in that span of time, and by episode 19, Ted’s planning to go off to Chicago and Marshall and Lily are saying Arrivederci to NY and Ciao to Italy. It’s this very moment that the group realizes an epic era is coming to and end and it might be a while before all five of them are in a room together again.

It’s all a bit overwhelming, because as characters, it hits them that they’re not going to see each other every day. As actors, I imagine they thought the same thing. As a viewer, it hit me that the show is actually ending. It has an expiration date. Shit is getting real. But like Future Ted says, ‘sometimes it’s best to leave it unspoken and enjoy each other’s company instead.’ It reminds me of when our group of high school friends were all together one last time before we each went our separate ways for college. It hurt like a motherfucker, knowing it was going to be different when we returned. We would never have that time together again. While I obviously still love them to this day and we go back to our old rhythms as if nothing’s passed when we do see each other, nothing will ever compare to the time we spent in high school. The best we can ever do is enjoy the moment while it’s here.

Wait For It…

Ultimately, HIMYM has always been a lesson in patience. Patience for Ted to find the love of his life and patience for the audience to find out who that person is. We live in a world where we expect everything right away. Our food delivered to us speedily, the scores of the game, information about the exports of Guyana at the click of a button. I mean we live in a world where binge-watching exists, and we want more as soon as it’s over.

Ted had to go through a number of heart-wrenching breakups and a slew of women he didn’t care about (lit’rally called someone ‘Blah Blah’ because he couldn’t remember her name. Carol. It was Carol.) – and if he didn’t experience all those years of frustration in that exact sequence of events, he would have never met The Mother. While it may be inexplicable why you’re going through what you’re going through now, there’s a bigger picture than we can see or even imagine. All we have to do is trust that everything will work itself out the way it’s meant to be.

One of my favorite quotes is by Lewis Smedes, and he says,

“Waiting is our destiny. As creatures who cannot by themselves bring about what they hope for, we wait in the darkness for a flame we cannot light. We wait in fear for a happy ending that we cannot write. We wait for a ‘not yet’ that feels like a ‘not ever.’ Waiting is the hardest work of hope; waiting is the land between where things were and where things will be; and you don’t get to choose when you get to a waiting room, but you certainly get to choose how you will respond to waiting.”

So thank you cast, crew, writers, producers, everyone involved with How I Met Your Mother. It’s clear that you didn’t just create a classic sitcom forever etched in the history of television, but have also inspired millions of people to be better, to do better, to live their best lives, and to love – because it’s the best thing we do.

 

Highs and Lows: 2013 Tony Awards

Very High [Like When You Score In The 99th Percentile On A Standardized Test Because There Is No 100th]: Matilda the Musical performance

I know as a grown adult I’m supposed to find kid actors insufferable, Broadway kid actors even more so, and Broadway kid actors affecting Mockney accents worst of all. But MATILDA! I loved the book and the movie, and my inner 10-year-old is scheming about how to get herself into the title role. Revolting Children was the most energetic Tony performance I’ve seen since Totally Fucked from Spring Awakening.

Middle-to-Low [Like When You Get Lower Orchestra Seats But They End Up Being Right Before The First Section Break]: Characters from musicals introducing numbers from other musicals

There’s a reason that, in Disney princess marketing, all of the princesses stare vacantly into different directions. You need to pretend that they’re all part of their own story. Tiana doesn’t know Ariel, you know (except probably in fanfiction).

I need the same things with my plays. The Newsies do not know Matilda, right? I willfully suspend a lot of disbelief when I’m watching a musical. Basically, we all know about the fourth wall, but now I want us to build a fifth one, too – between characters from different musicals who never the twain shall meet. What is this, that 90s antidrug video where every character from every cartoon united to keep kids off of opiates?

High [Like A Hemline That’s Not Scandalous But You Probably Wouldn’t Wear In A House Of God]: Neil Patrick Harris’s  play-musical mashups

42nd Streetcar Named Desire; Children of a Lesser Godspell; Cats on a Hot Tin Roof;The Diary of Anne Frank-enstein the Musical (Justin Bieber would love it!); Cabaret-son in the Sun. I have a soft spot for grandpa humor.

Low [Like When You Make A List Of Common Denominators Then Choose The Least One]: Tom Hanks’ mustache.

For a role, maybe? I used to live in the Mustache Capitol Of America (Buffalo, NY), and I’ve seen better. It’s looking kind of Chaplin-y… and that’s me being as inoffensive and charitable as possible.

Somewhere kind of in the middle, maybe slightly more toward the high end [like a house in a suburb where the school district is good but not great]: Bring It On: The Musical

I love musicals and I love Bring It On, but It’s All Happening was not all happening for me. Does anyone know if the musical is set in the early 2000s like the movie? I ask because of the costumes. If so, that bumps this performance up to a high.

Lower-Middle [Like If It Was A TV Family’s Socio-Economic Status It Would Be The Conners from Roseanne]: Cinderella

I don’t care how 90s this makes me, I love the version of Cinderella with Brandy and whoever that smokeshow prince was. And I always love a good Rodgers and Hammerstein show. It’s sort of nice how this revival is just genuinely and unironically Cinderella. Like, it’s the difference between naming a baby Barbara because it’s your grandma’s name and naming your baby Barbara because all of the other hipsters have used the good old-lady names. I just can’t get too excited, is all. My praise is this, then: this revival of Cinderella is like a baby unironically named Barbara in 2013.

Upper-Middle or Possibly High [The Huxtables in the TV Family Class System]: Motown The Musical

There’s no good reason this should be too much fresher than Cinderella. I mean, this could be a baby unironically named Sharon. I just really like these songs, though! I Want You Back is one of my top cleaning/ chopping veggies tunes and that little boy is SO good! Plot? Who needs it!

Pretty High [Like When You’re Doing A High Five But It’s With Someone Smaller Than You Like Maybe A Child]: Cyndi Lauper winning best score for Kinky Boots

Is her accent real or just an impression of Rizzo from the Grease movie? Or a NY-area pickle vendor from the 1930s? I don’t know and I don’t need to know. I love it.

Middling [Like A Regular Five With Someone Your Same Height]: The performance from the Annie revival

Like any glitter-blooded hammy American kid, I loved Annie. Still do. But I wasn’t much more blown away by this performance than by your average good local production of it. Jane Lynch got laughs, but it seemed more like that “haha, there’s Jane Lynch” thing that happens with stunt casting, not so much her performance. Also, the adorable and talented little girls are seriously borrowing Lauper’s accent, right?

Very High Indeed [Like The Woman On The Bus Last Week Who Pulled On One Of My Curls Then Asked My Ethnicity]: Anna Kendrick

She only presented an award, but we’re fans here. I just like when she’s around.

High [Like a Thermostat On A Winter Day]: A Christmas Story: The Musical

Ladies and gents, 2013 is the year of musicals with a title followed by “colon – The Musical”. I don’t know if this musical is any good. I don’t care, either. The marriage of one of the most beloved Christmas films ever and the musical genre? I don’t object. Also, tap dancing.

Middle [Like A Christopher And Banks In The Center Of A Shopping Mall In The Middle Of The County In The Center Of The State That Is The Middlemost Point In Middle America]: Phantom Of The Opera

If Rodgers and Hammerstein is naming your daughter Barbara without irony in 2013, and Motown is naming her Sharon, this is naming her something crazy-80s yet flashy at the same time. Khrystall or Tyffani perhaps?

A Little Low [Like Realizing That Post-College You Can’t Drink Without Getting A Hangover]: The moment I realized that Billy Porter looks better in a dress than I do.

High But Trying Not To Be High [Like my friend in college who was smoking and started talking about how communist China was the best set-up in the world, and I told him “Yeah, unless you’re a baby girl”]: Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors In Memorium

This song always gets me. Remember the Dove commercial or something when a bunch of self-confident Girl Scouts sang it? Ugh. But it’s even worse when it’s played over an in memorium slideshow with Lauper on a melodium or something. I don’t want to love it, but I sort of love it.

High [Like A Beautiful Eagle Flying Higher Than You Can Dream]: Cicely Tyson

I understand that technically everyone is created equal. I just can’t help but feel that some people are actually a little better than the rest of us, though. Cicely Tyson is one of those people. Don’t think that I’m just saying that because she’s almost 80, either. Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman-era Tyson was every bit as superior to you as well.

High Because It’s Low [Like that one song that reminds you of whatever it is that makes you saddest, that you still listen to sometimes to remind yourself that you still can feel]: Once: The Musical performance

Once is one of my favorite movies that I have seen only once or twice and may not be able to bring myself to watch  again. I love The Swell Season but they’re kind of a downer, in a hurts so good kind of way.

Low and Deep [Like that pit in your stomach when you check your work email on Sunday night and find out that Monday’s going to be crazy.]: The embarrassment that in 2013 we’re treating New York State Of Mind like a relevant song to parody.

Gay men I’d marry to be their beards

It’s no secret that I’m a fag hag. I say that lovingly, mostly because my gay friends insist that I am one. So in saying that, there’s only a handful of men I’d be willing to give my life to in order for them to hide their homosexuality. Clearly, I’d much prefer for people to come out and live their life freely, but in an alternate universe where these formerly closeted gay men were somehow looking to wife someone up and I was BFFs with all of them, these fellows top the list.

Anderson Cooper

The Anderson Coopers!!

The silver fox is of course super smart and knowledgable of the current haps in the world, but the man is actually really hilarious. He has a very dry sense of humor that come across on his now cancelled talk show, that gives me pure joy.  And did you know that he loves reality tv? I mean when you think about it, coop’s not gonna go home and watch the news. He watches trashy tv. Nene leakes is his favorite housewife which h has publicly professed his love for her before. Clearly this reason alone is why we’d have a lot to talk about at home.

Jonathan Groff

I’m just gonna say it now. Pretty much any musical theater nerd I am available for. But j groff is such a cutie. Loved him via stalker videos of spring awakening, but loved him even more after I saw this video of him with Susan Blackwell, and the follow up video at his family’s goat farm. What? Yes.

Neil Patrick Harris

English: Neil Patrick Harris at the 1st Stream...

No list of awesome gay men is complete without NPH. He literally can do anything. You know he’ll make you laugh, be a good father and bring home the bacon. AND he’s the president of the magic castle, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.

Adam Shankman

Adam Shankman

I really just want to be his best friend, but they say you should marry your best friend, right? If you’re not familiar with Adam Shankman, you’re probably familiar with his work. His IMDb reads like a theater tween’s dream (i.e. me), he directed Hairspray, A Walk to Remember, and The Wedding Planner, a producer on 17 Again and The Last Song, and most importantly, a judge on So You Think You Can Dance. The guy just seems like a good time, and I just want the possibility of going to a Zefron house party.

Matt Bomer

Basically he’s pretty. He looks like a really good dad. Plus he’s a really good singer. And he’s pretty.