Things I’m Thankful For: 2014 Edition

HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!! Hope you’re having a great day so far with your loved ones and stuffing your face with all the foods. There’s something about Thanksgiving that kind of makes me sentimental, since it’s one of the only major U.S. holidays that all Americans celebrate no matter what your background is (shout out to July 4th!). Of course, like previously mentioned, Thanksgiving IS about the majahh feasting that happens, but of course it’s a time to be reflective and thankful for all that we have. So here are just a few things I’m thankful for this year. Dig in!

  • Friends Thanksgiving episodes
    • For the past few years, I’ve started my own holiday tradition in which I watch all 10 Thanksgiving-themed episodes as part of a mini-marathon. I think I partly do this because Friends feel like ‘home’ to me, and since I’ve spent the past five years in LA and not back east for the holiday, it makes me feel like there’s some kind of longstanding tradition. Also, these are some of the best episodes of television ever (I ranked all the eps here!).

  • Portable iPhone travel charger
    • Guys, I finally bought one and it has changed my life.
  • Julian Morris on New Girl
    • I never thought I could ship again after Jess and Nick broke up but OHMYGOD freaking Julian Morris. And his face. And his accent. And his charmingness. Like I feel like I am actually Jess Day when she’s flustered around him. It’s insane. 
  • Chris Pratt finally getting the attention he deserves
    • PRATT!! He went from Andy Dwyer to mega movie star and I feel like a proud mom!
  • Coffee ice cubes
    • My favorite coffee shop has optional coffee ice cubes that you can add to your iced coffee (my fave bev) and that way, when the ice melts, IT’S STILL COFFEE.
  • Gilmore Girls on Netflix Instant
    • We love GG here, and the fact that I can now jump from all the Luke/Lorelai episodes and completely shut out April Nardini without having to get up and change disks is the best thing to ever happen to me.
  • Leggings
    • Because comfort, y’all.
  • Deciding not to go to our 10 year high school reunion
    • Molly and I chose to go to New York City the same weekend as our “10 year high school reunion”. After stalking pictures of the “event”, there were approx 10 people who went to the bar, all of whom we’re not friends with, so good call, past Molly & Traci.
  • GIFs
  • Nick Jonas-issance
    • I mean, God Bless America. 
  • Vanilla Almond Butter
    • So I started making flourless pancakes (one ripe banana, 2 eggs, mix and pour on skillet like pancakes) and I usually have a side of Justin’s Natural Vanilla Almond Butter and it is so ridiculously delicious. Why did I just find out about this recently?
  • #TGIT
    • Shondaland on Thursday nights has made appointment television a thing again, and it shows in both their Neilsen ratings and Twitter ratings. Basically, don’t even try to reach me between the hours of 8pm and 11pm on Thursdays – unless you tweet me.
  • Lupita Nyong’o
    • What did we ever do before you, Lupita???
  • The first Dunkin’ Donuts in Los Angeles
    • After years of waiting, LA is finally running on Dunkin’… now if they can just open one that doesn’t take me like 30-40 minutes to get to.
  • Tumblr tags
    • #the best part of tumblr is sometimes the tags #so much subtext
  • Amy Poehler’s Book, Yes Please
    • You think I was going to make a list of things I’m thankful for without mentioning our Queen??
  • YOU GUYS!!
    • Probably the most important item on this list – thank you all so much for reading, whether you’re loyal followers or if this is your first time visiting our site, we sincerely appreciate anyone taking time out to read the crap we put on here. We love you internet.

 

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TV Characters I Need Back In My Life

There are two reasons to be excited about fall premieres. One is finding out which new shows you will absolutely love (only to find them cancelled three episodes in – seriously, whatever new shows I start watching, DO NOT WATCH THEM. Me watching a new TV show is like seeing a wailing ghost woman on the British moors – it means death is imminent.). The other is returning to your favorite characters again after a long hiatus. It’s like the first day of school, seeing all of those familiar faces after 3 months. These TV characters are what Back To TV week is all about:

Drunk Mellie from Scandal

(Spoilers if you haven’t watched S3 yet!)

Oh, Mellie, Mellie, Mellie. If you are taking our advice to catch up on Scandal before the premiere airs, let’s just say that Mellie hasn’t had the easiest go of it for the past, oh, 15 or so years – but why feel those feelings when you can drink them instead? Drunk Mellie is the absolute last person that I would want “not mad, just disappointed” in me, and she does quiet, seething anger at Fitz so well. She also does loud, explosive anger — and sloppy sadness, and giggly goofiness, and calculating creepiness. Last year found Mellie drawing on the White House’s reserves of hooch and her mental and emotional reserves of bad-ass-ishness. Somebody please give Bellamy Young every award ever – or at least a stiff drink. She’s earned both.

Drunk Uncle from Saturday Night Live

And now for an entirely different kind of drunk – drunk uncle! Everyone has a drunk uncle. If you do not have a drunk uncle, check yourself, because you might be the drunk uncle. The thing is, you get to the end of his rants and you go “hmm… am I crazy, or did that almost make sense?” Like real-life drunk uncles everywhere, Drunk Uncle is confused by and angry with twitter, smart phones, YouTube, tumblr, and pressing 2 for English… everything you love, Drunk Uncle drinks to escape from. Bonus: sometimes he brings along his pals, Meth Nephew and Peter Drunklage. Drunk Uncle is just one of many reasons Bobby Moynihan is an utter delight and a true gem in the current SNL cast.

Tamra from The Mindy Project

Tamra is that coworker who drops random bits of information about herself that you’re shocked hadn’t come up immediately upon meeting her:

She’s a perfect foil to Mindy because, like Dr. Lahiri, she also has supreme self-confidence, and she isn’t afraid to call Dr. L. out when she has to:

 

On one hand, you’re pretty sure a lot of the time she’s just joking around and everyone else misses the point and thinks she’s serious:

But on the other hand, she doesn’t have time to pay attention to every tiny little detail at the office:

As written, this character could be aggravating, but Xosha Roquemore has brilliant timing and delivery and it all just works.

Nick Miller from New Girl

Are you a twenty- or thirty- something who could already be described as “crotchety?” Then Nick Miller’s your guy. Do you have absolutely no patience for people’s ineptitude or ridiculousness, yet somehow end up dealing with it anyway because your friends are (occasionally) inept and ridiculous? Yep. Nick, too. The more Nick hates everything, the more I love him.

 

Like Tamra, this is a character that could be insufferable, but Jake Johnson brings out the lovable in “lovable curmudgeon.”

Gina from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Years ago, after I jaywalked across an intersection, an elderly lawyer turned to me and said “wow, you must be pretty important.” I smiled and said thank you, head in the air and ego boosted by the old guy in tweed who realized that yes, I am important. An hour or so later realized that that was not a compliment. Gina Linetti would have lived her whole life without realizing that wasn’t a compliment, and that is why I love her.

Chelsea Peretti has been on the comedy scene for quite a while now, and I’m so glad this role is giving her the exposure she deserves.

 

The Bravermans on Parenthood

I love these guys. Sure, some of them can only fairly be described as “the worst, ever” (Sydney, a child), but overall it’s such a realistic picture of life in a certain type of mid-sized American family. The dinner scenes with everyone talking at once and the illogistics of getting everyone into one photo are realistic as hell.

Leslie Knope from Parks And Recreation

I could have had a separate entry on this list for almost every character on Parks. From April, who I think secretly loves the whole world, to Worst People In The World, John-Ralphio and Mona Lisa, to avuncular Ron Swanson, to Andy Dwyer Dream Man, there’s not just one reason I’m already getting emotional about the end of this show already – there are about 15 of them. But Leslie Knope ties the whole show together, and I’m just so happy that she exists on T.V. Leslie is driven, kind, cooperative, enthusiastic, and the best friend in the world — all qualities that she displays to a fault. It’s true that we’d love anything that Amy Poehler did, but mark my words, Leslie Knope will be known as one of the best sitcom protagonists of all time. We’re going to miss her when she’s gone but for now, we’re just glad she’s back on our TV screen sometime this fall…ish.

 

 

90s Nickelodeon Shows – And Today’s Adult Equivalents

Buzzfeed, Tumblr, and your Facebook friends won’t let you forget it, and neither will we: 90s kids are adults now, and we’re all still really, really passionate about the 90s. Can you blame us? The 90s were a great time for kids’ culture. With so many Baby Boomers having children from the late 70s to the mid-90s, there were a lot of us growing up then. The economy hadn’t tanked yet, and 911 was still just an emergency phone number. Nickelodeon was at the forefront of it all, promoting a “pro-kid” culture and presenting kids as cooler and smarter than adults. If people want to blame Millenials for forming a mass internet-culture that older folks can’t penetrate, it all started with Nickelodeon and its ‘us against them’ attitudes.

Today’s TV networks aren’t stupid. They know what Millenials want. That’s why, for every beloved Nickelodeon show from our youth, there is an adult equivalent on the air right now:

Are You Afraid Of The Dark = American Horror Story

Are You Afraid Of The Dark: From the second you heard those creaky swings and eerie theme music, you knew you were in for a scare. The midnight society gathered every week to tell stories and throw some sort of weird sand into a camp fire, and we were right there with them. I watched every week as a five-year-old, even turning off the lights for an extra scare. We liked this show because it didn’t underestimate kids. There were real ghosts, vampires, and murders in Are You Afraid of the Dark – it wasn’t that weak-sauce kid stuff where the creaking in the attic was just a leaky pipe, or the ‘ghost’ was just a beekeeper in a bonnet (I’m looking at you, The Adventures Of Mary Kate And Ashley). If you didn’t love the story one week, you’d just wait until the next Saturday when you’d get a whole new plotline to scare the pants off of you and make you ask your mom if she will let you sleep with the hall light on. That’s right – a children’s horror anthology series. Can you really blame us for missing the 90s?

American Horror Story: Like Are You Afraid Of The Dark, American Horror Story is a spooky anthology. However, to account for adult attention spans, each season tells a different story, instead of each episode. This show touches on all aspects of the horror film genre – psycho killers, ghosts, aliens, nuns, evil doctors, Anne Frank, witches, a pinhead, The Black Dahlia … it’s like a winning hand of Apples To Apples.

An aside: I just finished watching Season 2 of AHS. Somebody told me to start with that one because Coven isn’t on Netflix yet, and Season 1 would scare me more. Now that I’m done, I have to wonder – if Asylum was this freaky, what the hell could possibly happen in Murder House? Don’t worry, I’m starting it this week, because I’m an adult now and I’m in charge of my own hall light.

Clarissa Explains It All = Girls + The New Girl

Clarissa Explains It All:A young woman with ambitions of being a journalist lives in a cooler bedroom than you can imagine having. She is supported by her academic parents. She has constant fallings-out with her brother Ferguson, and the undying support of her buddy Sam. She dresses like a cool hobo. Lots of tights. Clarissa has a creative solution to every problem and gets into a lot of scrapes because she sort of doesn’t think everything through.

Girls: A young woman with ambitions of being a writer lives in a cooler apartment than you can imagine having. She is supported by her academic parents. She has constant fallings out with her friends, yet somehow retains their constant support. She dresses like a cool hobo.

The New Girl:  It’s almost like Jess Day and Hannah Horvath are two different versions of how Clarissa could have turned out. Jess and Clarissa have a lot in common. The first word you’d use to describe them is “quirky.” They have wacky clothes. They have a cool home. And – unlike Hannah Horvath – they both have fun, sunny attitudes toward life. So, if Clarissa went to college, became an el-ed major, and held onto her obsession with tights, you have Jess. If Clarissa decided to become a hipster in college, started writing for the school literary mag and reading a lot of McSweeney’s, and went to slightly seedier college parties, she graduated and became Hannah.

Salute Your Shorts = Community

Salute Your Shorts: A group of teens are thrown together for summer camp, and form all of the bonds and rivalries that you’d expect in that kind of close situation. They work both with and against the camp’s administration (counselor Ugg) and truly become a community of their own. There are even themed genre episodes – Zeke The Plumber, everyone? The characters are surprisingly well-developed for a kids’ show, with the jock, nerd, and popular girl presented as being complex people instead of just stereotypes.

Community: A group of adults are thrown together in community college, and through forming a study group, they become a… well, community of their own as well. Like in Salute Your Shorts, there is a love for Greendale Community College, but just like the kids at Camp Anawanna, they also have to work against it sometimes. I don’t think I even need to tell you about the genre episodes. Character development is a big deal on this show, too, and the former athlete and the brainy liberal arts girl aren’t just two-dimensional.

Hey Dude = Brooklyn Nine Nine

Hey Dude: Somehow, a bunch of teenagers are working at a Dude Ranch, because… why not, I suppose? It filled pretty much the exact same niche as Salute Your Shorts, except these kids had JOBS and RESPONSIBILITIES and HORSES. Never underestimate the pull of horses for tween girl viewers.

Brooklyn Nine Nine: This is one sitcom you should be watching if you aren’t already. Equal parts buddy cop (with multiple pairs of cop-buddies), workplace comedy, police procedural (er… kind of) – but with really clever writing an an awesome cast. Like Hey Dude, this is a funny ensemble show that actually shows people doing their jobs. Every kid who grew up watching Salute Your Shorts thinking “ugh, somebody get those irresponsible kids some stalls to muck or cows to lasso” should watch Brooklyn Nine Nine, a workplace show where people actually work.

The Adventures Of Pete And Pete =  Parks And Recreation

The Adventures Of Pete And Pete: This show is probably the reason our generation has been into quirky indie comedies since we were in high school. This small-town sitcom is a bit absurd, and centers around two brothers named – you guessed it – Pete and Pete. The show was so matter-of-fact about the weird goings-on of the town that the place became a character unto itself, and the audience accepted all of its weird quirks at face value.

Fun Fact: The Wellsville of Pete and Pete is apparently supposed to be Wellsville, NY. I live about 100 miles from there and have passed through on plenty of trips, and honestly, apart from an annual Balloon Rally it’s not that interesting.

Parks and Recreation: If you grew up loving slightly offbeat comedies about life in a more-than-slightly-offbeat town, you may as well watch Parks as an adult. It’s no secret that we’re big fans of this show around here, but we’ve never stopped to consider that our childhood watching Pete and Pete primed us for this small-town comedy about a group of unusual personalities. Like our favorite redheaded brothers, the folks in Pawnee face situations that are a touch more surreal than you’d see in real life, but the show somehow manages to be more true-to-life than a lot of more ‘realistic’ comedies.

The Secret World Of Alex Mack = Orphan Black

The Secret World Of Alex Mack:How good was this show? So good, right? Alex Mack was a junior high student who was hit with a truck from a chemical plant, and she developed special powers like being able into morph into a puddle of what looked like mercury, moving objects with her mind, and conducting some sort of electrical charge. Alex, with the (sometimes grudging) help of her brainy sister Annie, had to keep her powers on the down low so the folks at the chemical plant wouldn’t find out about her and … well, I’m not sure if we knew what they would do. Experiments, probably.

Orphan Black:  Here’s another show about a young ladies who are scientific freaks because of circumstances beyond their control (they’re clones). Once again, they have to escape the clutches of the sketchy Dyad Institute, and creepy Dr. Leekie, who are already collecting samples and monitoring the clones against their will. Like Alex Mack, Orphan Black deals with the ethics of scientific progress. No, really –  a major issue ahead is going to be the copyright of human DNA.

Space Cases = Battlestar Gallactica

Space Cases: It’s hard, guys. It’s hard walking around under the burden of being the only person alive who remembers the show Space Cases. It was a short-lived children’s sci-fi show set in space. I think this one is due for a re-watch, if only to revel in the low-budget 90s-ness of it all. Some of the props were evidently things like CDs glued together, and the game Lights Out pasted to the wall. See, things like this are why the Montreal TV industry – and children’s cable sci fi shows – never really took off.

Battlestar Gallactica – I’m positive that this is a sci-fi show with space ships, the future, and I’m pretty sure aliens. Okay, you caught me. I’ve never seen it. But there haven’t been too many outer space-based sci fi shows in recent years, and this is the closest one I could find in the near past. I suppose Stargate Atlantis is another option.

Noozles = Doctor Who

Noozles: According to Wikipedia, this show is 1000% more confusing and screwed-up than I remember it being. But basically, it’s like this: Noozles were adorable koala bears, but only certain people could know that they were actually aliens!

Doctor Who: Doctor Who is an adorable British man, but only certain people can know that he’s actually an alien!

The Mystery Files Of Shelby Woo = Scandal

The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo: Shelby Woo was a ridiculously talented teen who, with the help of a mid-90s PC and her crew of friends, solved mysteries and fought crime. As a mere teenager, Shelby wasn’t officially part of the police department, but we all know that Shelby Woo was the law.

Scandal: Children who grew up without questioning how it was possible to solve mysteries in a short span of time with the help of just an internet connection and a rag-tag crack team of experts – without wondering why the proper law enforcement didn’t just deal with crime itself instead of allowing a non-officer to take the reins — well, those children probably grew up to watch Scandal. Like Shelby Woo, Olivia Pope is able to fix anything – even stuff that technically, we’re pretty sure somebody else should be handling.

Nick News With Linda Ellerbee = 20/20

We love you, Linda. We don’t care what Dawson Leery says.

Nick News: This was a kids’ news magazine which tried to deliver the “who, what, where, when, why and how”  of the age to kids whose other main source of news was that Scholastic Weekly Reader that you’d get on Friday afternoons when your teacher had basically given up for the week. To be quite honest, Nick News did an admirable job of it, breaking down issues like presidential elections, the Gulf War, racism, and global warming down to a nine-year-old’s level without condescending. In fact, you can probably thank Nick News, in part, for the environmental “go green” push that’s sweeping the nation. Older adults were just getting into these issues after that Al Gore powerpoint, but us 90s kids grew up hearing about pollution and climate change from one Ms. Linda Ellerbee.

20/20: Well, this one also is able to break news and information down to a nine-year-old’s level. We may have mentioned this before, but both of us watched way more than a normal amount of 20/20 as kids. As a fourth-grader, I stayed up until 11 on Fridays because 20/20 was on at 10. At least these days, 20/20 is light on the news, heavy on the magazine, with a bunch of tiny segments simplifying stories as much as possible. Actually, maybe Nick News was better – at least they didn’t do monthly stories about “places you won’t believe our crew found a lot of germs!”

All That =  Saturday Night Live

Okay, this isn’t quite fair. All That was almost certainly intended to be a kids’ version of SNL, so there shouldn’t be any surprise here. But when you consider that today’s 20-somethings grew up watching Kenan Thompson on All That, it is sort of remarkable that we’re watching the same guy on the grown-up version of the show.

I may have been under-supervised as a kid, but I watched a lot of real SNL in the 90s (especially the older stuff), and was struck by how very not funny All That was in comparison. That Lori Beth Denberg sure could deliver the fake news, though.

Whatareyoudoinghere: Unexpected Guest Stars of Veronica Mars

I was one of those latecomers that only got into Veronica Mars when was available on Netflix Instant a year or two ago. I was immediately hooked, and scolded myself for judging the show by its name (Veronica MARS who lived in NEPTUNE??? Def some kind of sci-fi show I wasn’t interested in). But fast forward to my Netflix marathon days and I watched eps nonstop, then proceeded to purchase the DVDs once they took it off instant.

Anyways, from the beginning, I noticed that a lot of random celebs appeared on VMars. Some were famous before the show, and some reached their fame after their appearance. The obvious one is Amanda Seyfried, who played Lilly Kane, Veronica’s bestie, Duncan’s brother, and Logan’s main boo. Oh and she was mysteriously killed, so pretty much the all of season one and season two focus on her murder. Ugh Harry Hamlin.

Because of the future Mamma Mia star, I proceeded to make a list of some notable names who I was surprised to see in Neptune.

PS: gold star and +50 points if you got the Californians ref in the post title.

Paris Hilton

Season 1, Episode 2

Props to Paris for signing up to be a guest star so early on in the show. Although she probs would’ve taken any role she was given money for, so nevermind. I will admit that I was super jeal of her because she played Logan’s new GF. Logan *sigh*

Jessica Chastain

Season 1, Episode 7

Jessica was recently on Jay Leno recalling how although it seems like she’s an overnight Oscar nominee, she graduated from Julliard and was in various TV shows – including V Mars. She played a character involved in one of the darkest storylines ever done on the show, a pregnant woman who lived next door to Veronica, who went missing. Turns out her stepfather raped her, and just as she was going to shoot him in self defense, Veronica’s dad shoots him to safe her life. Srs business, y’all.

Aaron Paul

Season 1, Episode 11

Before he was a maker of meth, Jesse Pinkman was accused to being a serial killer. So I mean, he has a history of playing troubled characters (RIP Gale).

Leighton Meester

Season 1, Episodes 14 & 21

Spotted: Young B playing Carrie Bishop, queen of the rich ’09ers (sound familiar?). She accuses Veronica’s favorite teacher, Mr. Rooks of having an affair with her, so VMars sets out to prove that he’s innocent. She finds out that not only did Rooks have an affair, it was actually with Carrie’s BFF, who got preggo from the scandalous tryst. So Carrie decided to press charges against him for herself.

Adam Scott

Season 1, Episode 14

Oh, BTW, the guy who played teen predator Mr. Rooks? THIS GUY.

Ben Wyatt/Knope, I still love you. Even if you were a creeper.

lit’rally took me forever to decide which pic to use because i love him so much

Lucas Grabeel

Season 2, Episode 14

The High School Musical alum played Kelly Kuzzio, a baseball jock who was secretly gay. Not like he’s ever played a gay guy before.

Kristin Cavallari

Season 2, Episode 14

Kristin, the only villain who looked sane next to Speidi, made her scripted TV debut and she played a cheerleader. Oh sorry, a LESBIAN cheerleader. It was great. I mean her acting wasn’t but just the entire thing it general was great.

Zachery Ty Bryan

Season 1, Episode 15 & 17

Usually the middle child gets the shaft, but on Home Improvement, I always thought eldest kid Brad got the short end of the stick. I mean the middle child was Jonathan Taylor Thomas, like how do you compare with that? I remember as much about Brad’s plot line as I do of his brief stint on VM. Which is that he played basketball and drove a car.

JTT

Season 1, Episode 18

Speak of the devil. I was never one of those girls who fawned over JTT. I didn’t get it. Still don’t. Which is why that although I appreciate his rare TV appearance on a UPN show in 2005, I remember his guest starring role mostly because this was the first episode where Veronica and Logan kissed. I mean he played an ATF agent who went undercover as a high school student, so that was cool, I guess. But VERONICA AND LOGAN!! They had an epic kind of love, you know? One that  spanned years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed, epic.

Rider Strong

Season 3, Episode 2

Good old Shawn Hunter played an asshole classmate of Logan and Wallace in a college class, where they participated in some prison experiment. IDK, basically he made the kid from Freaks and Geeks pee his pants.

Matt Czuchry

Season 3, Episode 4

Logan Huntzberger from my fave Gilmore Girls uses his reporter skills as he pretends to be Logan Echolls’ half-brother just to get a story. Whoa, that got confusing even for me. Again, forget about Matt for a sec because this was a great episode for Jason Dohring who got to show his dramatic side after he found out he still didn’t come close to getting to know his half-brother.

Dianna Agron

Season 3, Episodes 5, 15, & 19

Incidentally, Dianna played a college kid in VMars, and then went on to play a high school cheerleader/wheelchair bound/walking Yale student miracle on Glee.

Paul Rudd

Season 3, Episode 17

The great Paul Rudd is actually BFFs with show creator Rob Thomas, which explains his involvement with VM and with Rob’s follow up show, the hilarious Party Down. Paul plays a washed-up rock star who’s playing at Hearst College, and is a drunk nut job. One of my all-time lines from the show comes from this episode, as seen above.

Max Greenfield

Recurring character

I saved the best for last. Before New Girl was New Girl, I saw promos for the show, and put it on my list immediately because Max Greenfield was in it. At the time, he was only Deputy Leo to me, the handsome, smiley, police officer who Veronica canoodled with in the first season. Unfortunately their love dwindled, but only because she was falling for Logan. And I was ok with that. But now, he can’t be anything else but Schmidt.

Logan TYFYT