I feel like with all the Kadrashians and Housewives and Honey Boo Boos of the world, reality TV has gotten a negative stigma, where as soon as you label a show as such, most people are keen to brush it off. But believe it or not, there are plenty of great reality TV – ahem, unscripted docu-series – shows out there that deserved to be watched. One of them is a show called The Getaway on the Esquire network.
What It’s About
If you have the desire to feed your wanderlust, this show’s for you. Each episode features one celebrity who picks one city anywhere in the world, and they get to explore it for a few days. They take in the culture, eat the food, get to know the locals, etc. Also, the show is executive produced by Anthony Bourdain, so you know you’re getting the real deal.
The first season of The Getaway premiered last year, and after the first episode featuring Joel McHale, I was hooked. Other celebs who took the plunge in the first season included Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Seth & Josh Meyers, Eve, and Josh Gad. Here are just a few highlights that will give you a taste of what to expect.
Rashida’s episode in London is my favorite out of the bunch, not only because I adore her, but because London in like another home to her and when she takes us to various places around the city, it’s as if she’s our personal tour guide. And thanks to the help of special guests like Chris O’Dowd and Adam Scott, it makes for a truly hilarious episode. In the scene above, Chris takes her to a super odd shop that’s part boutique and part weird museum that you see in the don’t go here but go here section of travel guide books.
Naturally, eating is a big part of traveling a foreign city, and the same goes for The Getaway. When Seth & Josh Meyers visit their old home of Amsterdam, they are treated to a special pig cuisine – stop the vid when the waiter explains the type of meat he puts on their table. And then there’s Broadway star/Olaf Josh Gad who opts to return to New York City and go to Carnegie’s Deli where he attempts to eat a sandwich that weighs more than some newborn babies. But hey, when in Rome, right?
Because The Getaway is on the Esquire network, there has to be some classy drinking involved. Another episode I’m partial to is Bridesmaids director Paul Feig’s visit to Boston, where he pays a visit to one of the classiest drinking joints there is in the 617. Like the bartender uses items such a blowtorches and centerfuge. Yeah, exactly.
Rashida’s Parks and Rec pal Aziz Ansari opts to go to Hong Kong. If you are a fan of his or stalk his Insta, you know he’s a giant foodie, which is part of the reason he goes there. However, he has to do something besides eat, so his tour guide Denny (the best) takes him to the pony races. Who knew it was a thing there?
The great thing about The Getaway is that they don’t just show you the local hotspots, but they delve into the local culture and language too, all from the mouths of locals. When Joel McHale goes to Dublin, he gets a lesson on food slang. Albeit he doesn’t understand at first, the actual food looked really good.
What to Expect
For the upcoming second season, a new slew of celebs get to pick the getaway of their choosing, including Chrissy Teigen who goes to roots in Bangkok, Thailand, Jack McBrayer stands out as a white dude in Hawaii and Adam Pally stays home in the U.S. for a wild trip to Las Vegas with his pals (In fact you can watch that episode now!). So fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a trip around the world from the comfort of your own home and enjoy getting away.
Season 2 of The Getaway premieres on Wednesday, October 15th on the Esquire at 9pm
The long, lazy days of summer are winding down, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it – because it means TV season is upon us! However, there’s enough summer left before premiere week to squeeze in a couple kayaking trips, or finally go on that weekend-long hike, or throw a big outdoor barbeque for all of your friends. Or – better idea! – you can binge watch all of these great shows and be caught up by the time the next season begins. With 1-3 seasons under their belt, these are shows you should be watching – and with a proper binge watching technique, we think they’re shows you can be watching. Let’s make those last weeks of summer count, kids.
For beginner binge-watchers looking for a laughcry: About a Boy
Seasons to catch up on: 1
Next season begins: Tuesday, October 14th on NBC
Why you should be watching:
This NBC sitcom was a mid-season replacement earlier this year (and we also talked about it then too) and only has 13 episodes that are 22 minutes long! About a Boy is based off the 2002 movie starring Hugh Grant, which was based on the 1998 novel by Nick Hornby, but the pilot is the only episode that is like the movie. After that, it’s about the boy, brilliantly played by Benjamin Stockham,, his mom, brilliantly played by Minnie Driver, and the bachelor neighbor who turns out to be the best father figure in the boy’s life, brilliantly played by David Walton. If you like your comedies with a side of crying and a handful of heart, this show’s for you. This show’s also for you if you are a fan of Parenthood or Friday Night Lights, as it has the same tone as those shows, except with a few more jokes. Also it’s by creator/executive producer Jason Katims, who helmed said shows. He really can do nothing wrong.
For the rom-com loving semi-professional TV watchers: The Mindy Project
Seasons to catch up on: 2
Next season begins: Tuesday, September 16th on FOX
Why you should be watching:
Just like a fine wine or Mindy’s alma mater, The Office, this show only gets better with time. With every episode, the writers and actors found their true voice, and by the end of season two, it became not only one of my favorite shows, but it was hard to believe that such a strong series was only in its second season. As the creator, executive producer and star of the show, there’s no doubt that Mindy Kaling’s own voice is all over the series, which is a good thing. To be clear, Mindy doesn’t play herself, she plays a woman named Mindy who is a gynecologist with her own practice. I can’t think of a female in television who is like her – there’s Tina Fey, but she and Mindy have such different comedic styles which are both great in their own ways. While Tina used 30 Rock as an offbeat showcase for her humor, Mindy takes the nuances of her friendships and romances and amplifies them to create a fairly accurate portrait of life as a working single woman in 2014. And for gals like me, I greatly appreciate that there is a minority woman representin’ in a sea of (for lack of a better term) white men in comedy. There are 46 half hour (22 minute) episodes to catch up on before September 16th, but I promise they will go faster than you can say Beyonce Pad Thai (you’ll eventually get that reference).
For the dramatically inclined hardcore TV addicts: Scandal
Seasons to catch up on: 3
Next season begins: Thursday, September 25th on ABC
Why you should be watching:
My friends know I’m insane about television, so when they ask me for suggestions as for what to watch next, I always say Scandal. Always. This is mainly for selfish reasons so I can have other people to freak out with when shit goes down on the show. But really, the show itself is really good you guys. If for some reason you don’t know what Scandal’s about (where have you been), the basic plot centers around Olivia Pope (played by the gorgeous and talented Kerry Washington), who is a Washington D.C. fixer. She makes bad situations better, or even makes them go away completely. Oh, small side note is that she’s having an affair with the President. Who’s married. With kids. AND YOU STILL FIND YOURSELF ROOTING FOR THE PEOPLE HAVING THE AFFAIR. But that’s one of the best aspects of the show – the line of right and wrong is always blurred and you don’t know whose side to be on.
Plus the show moves QUICKLY. There are 47 hour-long episodes but they go by super fast (if you binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy like me, I’m convinced Shonda Rhimes puts crack in her eps to make you want to watch one right after the other). Not only time wise, but plot wise too – I have never seen so many things happen in an hour than in Scandal. People die, people lie, people have family members you never knew existed – it’s a lot to take in, but it’s so worth it. Also, you want to catch up (all three seasons are on Netflix instant!) so you can watch live come September. Another great part about watching the show live is live tweeting. Most of the cast tweets live from both coasts every Thursday, which is takes the viewing experience to a whole new level. And if you’re concerned about watching 47 episodes in a month – just know that I watched seasons 1 and 2 of Scandal in 8 days. What’s even more impressive is that that’s not even my best record for binge-watching a series. Side note: I just remembered there’s a site where you can calculate how many hours of your life you’ve spent watching TV, and it’s scary. Unrelatedly, I’m gonna go play outside for the next year.
For displaced comedy nerds: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Seasons to catch up on: 1
Next season begins: Sunday, September 28 on FOX
Why you should be watching:
The Golden Globes got this one right – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an ensemble workplace comedy with clever writing and a hilarious cast. Despite TV’s love affair with police procedurals and sitcoms about coworkers, it’s also the only combination of the two currently on the small screen. With comedy vets Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti and Joe Lo Truglio, cop show vet Andre Braugher, talented (relative) newcomers Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero, and a former football player just because (Terry Crews), this is a cast with a rapport like people you’d find at an actual workplace. Except, you know, funnier.
If you are a sitcom lover still reeling over the loss of The Office and 30 Rock, and bracing for the end of Parks And Recreation, and kind of confused about what’s going on with Community, this show will fill the hole in your heart and also the one in your TV schedule.
For insomniacs and horror fans who aren’t afraid of the dark: American Horror Story
Seasons to catch up on: 3 – or zero. We’ll explain.
Next season begins: Wednesday, October 8th on FX
Why you should be watching:
Look. I’m not a horror movie person, really, but this is just good television. Let’s talk about the cast: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Zachary Quinto, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Gabourey Sidibe – although not all of them appear in all seasons, some of the best actors of today are on AHS. The whole thing is headed up by Ryan Murphy after he jumped ship from Glee (can you blame him?). And the format – AHS functions like a reperatory company, with actors taking different roles in the different seasons. That means each season tells an entirely different story. They can all be watched independently of each other, so you only have to catch up on as much as you want to.
The seasons are themed. In the past we’ve had Murder House (ghosts!), Asylum (psychological torture!), and Coven (witches!), but the upcoming season will be scariest of all: Freak Show (clowns!). Such is my fear of the circus that I was terrified of my sister’s clown doll for my whole childhood, and one of my brothers would swing open my bedroom door and smile a giant, frozen clown smile while singing that awful circus calliope song. This is going to be full-on spooky.
For escapists with time to spare: Once Upon A Time
Seasons to catch up on: 3
Next season begins: Sunday, September 28 on ABC
Why you should be watching:
I think we all have those people who we trust implicitly when it comes to TV recommendations. Traci is one of mine, by the way, so you should probably watch what she tells you to watch because she always nails it. Another is my sister-in-law. A couple years ago she told me about Once Upon A Time, and I was like “girl … fairy tales? Not sure.”
I started watching a few weeks ago and I am sold. Once Upon A Time is set in Storybrooke, Maine, a town populated by fairy tale characters. The evil queen levied a curse (do you levy curses or did law school just ruin me as a person?) and everybody forgot about their fairy tale past and lived as normal people – until Snow White’s daughter shows up on her 28th birthday and sets the wheels a-turning. Each episode contains a plot line in the present day as the townspeople try to figure out what’s up, and a fairy tale backstory of one of the characters in their former life.
Remember in the TGIF days when each of the ABC shows had an episode set at Disney every year? Once Upon A Time is like the ultimate ABC-Disney tie-in. I mean, don’t worry, Anna and Elsa have already been cast. But it’s not all fluff. Once Upon A Time is the brainchild of the creators of Lost, so there’s a lot of crazy theories you can keep track of, plus a bunch of Lost references.
I just finished season one and I’m not sure if I’ll get through two more in the next month. It’s certainly doable. But if you don’t mind spoiling yourself, you could probably watch season one, select random episodes of the other season to watch, and use Wikipedia for the rest.
G’Day, mates! That’s me addressing you in the same slang they use on Dance Academy. Although now that I think about it, I don’t recall anyone saying that at all throughout the show. Anyways, if you didn’t catch that, this show is from Australia. If you’re in need of a program to watch this summer that isn’t too ‘involved’ like Breaking Bad or The Wire, this is the perfect show for you. As a bonus, each episode is 30 minutes, and there are only 3 seasons (which are all on Netflix Instant), so you don’t even have to worry about catching up before a new season starts!
As I mentioned in a post about my Summer To Do List a few months ago, my friend Ana was pushing me for MONTHS to watch DA, and I finally did. And following my tendency to get obsessed with TV shows, this show followed suit. If you like teen centered programs like Degrassi or loved the great 2000 film Center Stage, you will most likely get just as obsessed with DA as I am, and here’s why.
What It’s About
Dance Academy is mainly narrated by 15-year-old Tara Webster who is a newly accepted first year student at the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. The series follows her and her fellow dancer pals as they deal with teen romance, rivalries and the pressures of being at a highly competitive dance academy. You know, pretty much everyone’s usual upbringing Down Under.
Reasons to Watch
Aussie Aussie Aussie! (Oi! Oi! Oi!)
Most of the show takes place inside the Dance Academy itself, but there’s a lot of scenes that show Sydney and the surrounding areas. I’ve never been to Australia, but it’s always been one of the places on my ‘bucket list’, and watching this show just makes me want to go there more/temporarily fill my Aussie desires. Not to mention, it’s just *cooler* watching a show that’s not American, you know what I mean? I found myself wanting to watch episodes just so I could go back to ‘Sydney’ every night. It’s like when you watch Friday Night Lights and just want to go Dillon, Texas for an hour or two. I mean, I don’t make it a habit of yearning to go to Texas on a daily basis, outside of the context of FNL/Austin.
Coming of Age Storylines
If you’re a product of the 90s like we are, you grew up with shows like Saved by the Bell, Full House, Boy Meets World, everything on SNICK etc. But you know how there’s a difference between Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World? Saved by the Bell was a Saturday morning show where it was about sleeping over in a mall to get U2 tickets, while Boy Meets world was the TGIF show where Mr. Feeny would teach you a life lesson at the end of every episode. Dance Academy is more of the latter. While I can’t exactly relate to it like I did with SBTB or BMW when I was a tween, I imagine DA has the same effect of kids these days.
The show touches on a lot of different subjects throughout all 65 episodes that normal teens go through. All the kids come from different backgrounds – Tara is a naive girl from the bush (aka what ‘country’ is to us Americans), Sammy’s a Jewish kid whose dad disapproves of his dancing, Abigail, the daughter of a dance teacher, is a perfectionist whose only goal is to make it into the company, Kat comes from a super famous ballet family, and Christian is a troubled kid whose mom died and dad was absent most of his life and is in the Academy basically so he doesn’t get into trouble with the ‘bad crowd’. Together, they tackle themes of friendships, romance, jealousy, revenge, death, divorce, even eating disorders (come on, this IS a show about dancers), and don’t do it in a way that is tacky, insensitive, or too in your face. The fact that DA has won the Australian equivalent of the Emmy for Best Most Outstanding Children’s Program TWICE should say it all.
On paper, Dance Academy is a show for teens. It’s only in recent years that we’ve seen more family friendly shows incorporate gay characters, so it’s refreshing to see a show in Australia featuring a fairly prominent storyline that involves a gay (well, at least bi) character in Sammy. Without giving too much away, Sammy is faced with trying to figure out what these feelings he has for boys mean, and if he can be comfortable admitting those feelings to his friends and family. There’s also Ollie, who is not your ‘stereotypical’ gay dancer type, and he addresses his sexuality in such a nonchalant way that I almost didn’t notice he was coming out when he first talked about it. These two provide public figures that teens and younger kids can see on TV and realize that people don’t have to be reduced down to their sexuality, but that they’re just ‘Sammy’ and ‘Ollie’. Deal with it.
The Dancing, duh
I mean the show IS called Dance Academy, so there better be good dancing, right? What I appreciate about this show is that they clearly picked young people who were dancers first and foremost, then actors. I’ll admit, the acting isn’t Oscar worthy or anything, but you have to hand it to every single one of them for their dancing ability. It was hard to narrow three seasons of dancing into a sample platter for y’all, but I tried my best! PS: I would suggest not clicking on YouTube & just watching the embedded videos in case you’ll accidentally see a major spoiler!!
*Note: the video below is from the final scene of the entire series – it doesn’t give anything away, but JIC you don’t like any type of spoiler like me!*
If you guys watch DA or have watched it before, let me know what you think!!!
Well, we’ve reached the halfway point in the TV season, and it’s when networks usually introduce new shows to replace the sucky ones they cancelled. One of the standout shows from this bunch of mid-season replacements is NBC’s About a Boy.
The show premiered after the Olympics, which is a tactic that NBC has devised before – they did it with Go On last year, which unfortunately was cancelled after one season. To prevent About a Boy receiving the same fate, how about we all give this show a try and keep it on the air for just a little longer.
“Successful songwriter and bachelor Will Freeman lives a carefree life as the “ultimate man-child”. His perfect world is turned upside down when single mom Fiona and her 11-year-old son Marcus move in next door.” It’s also worth noting that if this title sounds familiar, it’s because it was based on the 2002 movie with Hugh Grant, which was based on the 1998 novel by Nick Hornby.
Reasons Why You Should Watch
Damnit Katims, you did it again. Producer/Writer/Director extraordinaire, Jason has created some of the best (and also some of my favorite) shows over the past few years, including Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. Jason has a way of creating characters you care deeply about, scenarios that could actually happen in real-life, moments of hilarity and of course moments of non-stop crying. That’s what makes each of his shows so special there’s a quality that you can feel from the pilot – it has heart. That’s surprisingly hard to come by in television these days, but thanks to Katims, I can count on his shows to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside while still wiping away tears from my face. About a Boy is no different. Will and Marcus form a quick bond throughout the 22 minute pilot, but you can tell that they’re changing each others’ lives in such a short amount of time already. Whether you’re an 11 year old kid who’s new in town or a loser of a guy in his 30s, the show seeks to prove that your life can change when you least expect it, when you don’t think you want it to and in the unlikeliest of places – but you wouldn’t want it any other way.
Benjamin Stockham plays young Marcus, a delightful young boy who, along with his mom played by Minnie Driver, move to San Francisco right next door to Will. Minnie’s a vegan hippie sort and Will, a meat-eater, is just trying to fit in at school. But le tme tell you, this kid’s acting and comedic timing is off the chain. He’s only 13 years old, but could easily be 40 if you told me he was. He’s not one of those annoying kids you see on TV (or in real life), he’s someone you want to cheer for and possibly hug whenever you get a chance. I also had to look up his past credits and guess what – he was in the gone-too-soon comedy, 1600 Penn alongside Josh Gag, Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman. And he was great it that too, but 10 times better in this.
Potential guest stars and crossovers
Parenthood is where this whole crossover thing took it to the next level. Katims was all, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and hire the same actors from my Emmy award-winning show to be on my new show.’ So you know, he made his calls and throughout the course of all the five seasons, FNL stars like Minka Kelly, Michael B. Jordan, Matt Lauria, Jurnee Smollett and Derek Phillips have all been on the show (not to mention Jesse Plemmons’ return as Landry on this FNL/Parenthood crossover that blew my mind). That being said, it’s inevitable to have FNL and/or Parenthood folks on About a Boy. Case in point: it has already been announced that Adrienne Palicki (good old Tyra on FNL) will have an arc on the show as one of Will’s love interests. Plus, David Walton (Will) has already been in a recent episode of Parenthood as one of Crosby’s (Dax Shepard) poker buddies. It helps that both shows take place in the bay area, because Crosby’s going to be in an ep of About a Boy too. TV nerds celebrate the crossover magic!
No book, No movie, no problem
As I previously mentioned, About a Boy is based on a book which was based on a movie. Now if anyone’s up for the task of adapting something that’s already been adapted before, it’s Jason Katims. He did it with both FNL and Parenthood, but managed to keep the story going on season after season. In the pilot of About a Boy, fans familiar with the book and movie will find it similar to what they already know about the story. Will and Fiona (Minnie Driver) immediately hate each other, he has a lot of women coming in and out of his boudoir, and there’s even a big talent show featuring Marcus at the end. But that’s it. You don’t need to have seen the movie or read the book in order to enjoy the show. I’ve only seen the movie and I saw it around the time it first came out, so I clearly have no recollection of anything that happened, besides the fact that Hugh Grant befriended Nicholas Hoult aka Mr. Jennifer Lawrence. So no need to fret if you’re unfamiliar. You’ll fall in love with these characters and will be genuinely interested in their lives as the series goes on, and you’ll completely forget it was based on something else in the first place.
Well folks, we’re about a month into the new fall season and unfortunately, a few shows have already gotten the axe (See ya Lucky 7. You were DOA).
But there’s one show that luckily hasn’t received the same fate and that is Trophy Wife. While it has been picked up for additional scripts (yay!) I’m writing this in hopes that more people will watch to keep it alive for at least a whole season (and obviously more!).
“A reformed party girl finds herself an insta-family after falling in love with a man with 3 manipulative children and two judgmental ex-wives”
Clearly since the show is only a few episodes in, this plot description holds true, but I feel like as time goes on, it will feel more like a Modern Family-esque show that is a sitcom at its core, but still has a lot of heart – that may or may not make you shed a tear by the end of the episode.
The above chart is really what you need to know in terms of relationships, it’s pretty simple.
5 Reasons to Watch
5) The Ex-Wives
Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden plays ex-wife number one, Diane. She’s a doctor, which means she’s totally type A personality and can be the bitch of the group when need be. She’s protective of her two teen kids, so much so that she did a little ‘light catfishing’ in order to keep track of them.
Ex-SNL performer Michaela Watkins plays Jackie, ex-wife #2. Completely different than Diane, Jackie is a total granola, hippie, Whole Foods going lady. Put the two of them together and you’ll see why Pete decided to marry Kate after being with these two.
4) The Writing & Brains behind the show
The show was created by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins. Emily comes from Shondaland – Private Practice to be more accurate – and Sarah is a comedian who loosely based the lead character of Kate around her own life. She married someone who is almost 20 years her senior (and the stepson of Julie Andrews!?), and also had to learn how to co-parent his nine and 19 year old kids. You can tell that there’s an honesty on the show that’s not pretentious or stereotypical, especially when it comes to Kate.
Not to mention, a few of my favorite former The Office writers are producers/scribes on the show, including Danny Chun, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg. Okay, writer nerd ends here.
3) The Kids (read: BERT)
The teens from wife #1, Warren and Hillary are played by accomplished actors, who have been in This is 40 (Melissa McCarthy’s kid) and Disney Channel hit Wizards of Waverly Place (she played ‘Maxine’ aka Max in girl form). Luckily Bailee comes into the show with fans already – she was on WoWP after all – and they do a great job of being kids without looking like they’re acting.
But listen, one of the greatest parts of this show is Bert. Played by Albert Tsai (his name is like an 85 year old Chinese man who does Tai Chi in the park), Bert is the adopted son of Pete and Jackie. And good LORD is he hilarious. Not only are his lines to die, but his delivery is spot on.
2) Bradley Whitford
I may have been a few years late, but I am still a West Wing fan. Well, If we’re talking Brad, I was a fan of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip prior to his excellent work on TWW, so basically, I’m just a Bradley Whitford fan in general.
As Josh Lyman, he played a suited-up Deputy Chief of Staff (who made us swoon with his will they/won’t they with Donna), in Studio 60 he played a suited-up co-executive producer of a SNL like show (who made us swoon with his unconditional love for Jordan), and in Trophy Wife he plays a suited-up lawyer (who makes us swoon. period).
BDubs handles the role effortlessly, and doesn’t play Pete as someone we dislike for marrying a former party girl way younger than him. He plays the perfect role – a dad.
^Taken from that same ‘Catfishing’ ep!^
Not to mention he JUST started a Twitter account and has posted stuff that is exactly what I would assume Bradley Whitford to post.
Here’s the thing. ABC is really banking on its ‘family shows’ theme. With Modern Family, The Goldbergs, The Middle, Suburgatory, etc., they’ve created a niche that totally works for them. And with Trophy Wife, it fits right in. Just like Modern Family, Trophy Wife shows what a lot of families in America look like these days. Not everyone comes from a nuclear family anymore – this is The New Normal, if you will (RIP The New Normal).
No matter what your family may look like, no matter how many ex-wives may be involved, at the end of the day, they’re still a family. I appreciate that at the end of every episode, whatever ridic conflict occurs is eventually resolved at the end and the one thing that matters is that they still have each other.
For me, summer isn’t just about basking in the sun, vacations and 90 degree days. It’s the perfect time to get caught up on the TV series that I have been meaning to watch but don’t have time to during the regular TV season. So this is the list I made for myself this summer:
I’d like to point out that American Dreams was a rewatch and I actually decided to watch all four seasons of The League over It’s Always Sunny, purely because there were far less episodes. I mean, get a life.
Scandal was one of those, ‘I’ll watch it if I get around to it’, not one of those ‘I need to see this immediately because it’s literally been called the best series in the history of TV’. So color me surprised when I actually found myself not only liking Scandal, but becoming obsessed with it.
Now I’m not a newcomer to Shondaland, I’ve been with the kids at Seattle Grace since they were interns, and I just realized that I called it Seattle Grace, when it’s actually called Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital (RIP), an I’ve seen the folks over at Oceanside Wellness with my boo Taye Diggs. So I’m well aware of the addictive TV crack Shonda Rhimes stirs into her beloved shows. But I didn’t expect it to be this good.
Scandal begins its highly-anticipated third season TONIGHT, and I’m here to tell you that if you haven’t spent the summer (read: one week) catching up on the past 29 episodes, you’ve wasted your time. But – it’s never too late. Here are 5 reasons why you should start DVR-ing the third season now, and after reading this post, go directly to Netflix and watch the first two seasons. I’m telling you – it’s that good.
Before we start, here’s the basic plot:
Meet Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington. Former White House Director of Communications, overall HBIC.
She also exists on a diet of wine and popcorn.
She runs Olivia Pope & Associates, a crisis management firm that handles major scandals in Washington, D.C. and fixes them. Her team is comprised of her ‘Gladiators’ (which is also the nickname for Scandal fans): Harrison, Huck, Abby and Quinn.
Meet President Fitzgerald Grant. Leader of the free world, sexy grown ass man, former Ghost villain.
He is married to another HBIC in her own right, First lady Mellie Grant. Fitz’s right-hand man and Chief of Staff is Cyrus Beene, a guy who is willing to do anything to keep the President the President, and probs the best actor on the show.
Other people of note: US Attorney for D.C., David Rosen (played by The West Wing’s Josh Malina), White House Reporter/Cyrus’ husband, James Novack (Emmy winner Dan Bucatinsky), and Officer Jake Ballard (Felicity’s other Ben, Scott Foley), who I won’t reveal his exact role in the show.
Oh BTW, Olivia and Fitz have been carrying on an affair ever since they met on his campaign trail, and have been off and on while he’s been in the White House. So you know, probably the biggest SCANDAL there is.
So wrong, it’s right.
If the basic plot wasn’t enough to convince you, here are 5 reasons to indulge in your next guilty pleasure:
5) Social Media
There’s a reason why I hashtagged ‘Scandal’ in the Post title. Scandal started as a midseason replacement last year. With only seven episodes, it still found a fan base, and was renewed for a second season. It seemed that with every passing week, it became bigger and bigger, and ABC execs finally decided to give it a full 22 episode season.
And a lot of its popularity is thanks to social media and word of mouth. I remember seeing it pop up more and more among the people I was following both on Twitter and Facebook, and it was the reason why I put it on my list in the first place. Since the show itself is highly addictive, people wanted to share their addiction with everyone else, and of course, in 2013, what better way to do that than with the internet?
Apparently Kerry went to Shonda and suggested that the cast join Twitter (because she didn’t want to seem controlling over them!) and soon they began livetweeting along with their fans. Thursday nights became an event. If you couldn’t watch it in real time, don’t bother going on Twitter. It became a worldwide trend every week thanks to the #Gladiators, giving it even more free publicity than ever before. Between January and June of this year, almost 3.5 million tweets were sent about the show alone!
Now it’s come to the point where the cast gets together before the next episode airs and watches it together in order to prep for the live tweeting on Thursday. And let’s be honest, watching your favorite show along with the cast and other fans is pretty cool. So I’m warning you now, if you see #Scandal, #Gladiators, #TheStormIsComing or #Olitz trending on Twitter tonight, you’ll know why.
Olivia Pope is a classy broad. A classy D.C. broad who makes thousands of dollars, and she lets her strong fashion sense be a reflection of her own strong character as a woman. Costume Desginer Lyn Paolo is the creative genius behind Olivia’s wardrobe, who picks the best of the best for Olivia. From Burberry capes to Dior evening coats to my personal fave, a Jean Fares gown that would even make me want to have an affair with Olivia (slash Kerry).
Fans have been dying over her style so much that Paolo and Scandal bosses partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue, and just yesterday, Kerry helped kickoff the collaboration at its flagship store in New York City. The famous window is curated by Paolo herself, which includes fashions are worn by Olivia, including Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Carolina Herrera.
fyi, that is supposed to be kerry washington and tony goldwyn
3) Cast Camaraderie
Nothing makes my TV obsessed heart happier knowing that people on TV who play friends are actually friends IRL. And although there’s a lot of drama on screen, it doesn’t seem like there’s any drama off screen.
Like I mentioned before, the cast gets together at someone’s home the Sunday before the show airs, so they can watch the ep together for the first time in order to prepare for the live tweeting. And they post pix on Twitter of their gatherings (as seen above)! If you delve into the black hole of Scandal interviews on YouTube, you can clearly tell that they all really enjoy each others’ company, and even hang out when not on set.
They remind me of the Parks and Rec cast, which I think is probably the set I’d most like to hang out at, for many reasons, but mainly because it seems like they’re just friends tooling around, who happen to be filming a TV show together. That’s what Scandal is like.
2) Characters first, adjectives second
Shonda Rhimes is known for her “colorblind” casting. You can see it with Grey’s and you can see it on Scandal. Despite the fact that Olivia Pope is the first African-American lead actress on TV in a very long time, that’s not what she’s all about. She’s a powerful, confident woman first, and black woman second. In fact, her interracial relationship with Fitz isn’t even mentioned until halfway through season two, as seen in the clip above. Earlier in the episode, an angry Liv scolded Fitz for treating her like a Sally Hemmings to his Thomas Jefferson. In fact, race has only been mentioned a couple times throughout the series, and that’s really what it should be.
Also take Cyrus, a high-powered Republican who just happens to be gay. Just like Olivia, he isn’t defined by his sexuality. He’s defined by his ability, his fortitude, his passion and allegiance for his country, for the President.
Scandal proves that a TV show can have a diverse palate of characters, without them being the stereotypical “gay best friend,” or “sassy black girl.” They are just Cyrus and Olivia.
While my second reason on the list should be enough, let’s keep it real. The making of a really good drama/soap/Shonda Rhimes show is a hot relationship. And save for maybe Sam and Naomi from Private Practice, this is absolutely the hottest relationship to come out of Shondaland. Not only are Kerry and Tony extremely hot on their own, but they have an inexplicable chemistry that makes you feel like you’re being a voyeur into their sex lives. Seriously, just YouTube some of their scenes together if you want a sampling, but I’m telling you it’s hot hot hot! The clip above is from the pilot, where we first discover they’re having an affair. It gets sooo much hotter!)
Although I suppose the other thing that makes their love even hotter is that they’re divulging in forbidden territory. I think it’s easy for viewing to forget the onnneee little detail about “Olitz”: these two are committing adultery. We are rooting for CHEATERS. Well, a lot of us.
But I think that that’s amazing that a series can make us support people who we would otherwise judge in the outside world. Obviously no one is perfect, but the very thing that has most people tuning in is considered taboo in real life. What is right? What is wrong? Is it wrong because he’s married, or is it wrong because he’s forcing himself to stay in a relationship where his wife isn’t at the top of his list anymore? Would it be right to leave the First Lady and become the ‘Divorced President’, or just keep up the facade for the American public, knowing full well you’re living a lie?
As we’re about to delve into season there, we still haven’t figured out right from wrong, whether the Olitz relationship can still be strong or not, but one thing for sure is that if they’re gettin down dirty in the White House – we’ll be the pervs watching…
Scandal is on ABC, Thursdays at 10pm (No, I do not work for ABC or Scandal, I’m just insane)
If you’re a crazypants TV watcher like me, your prime time schedule has been greatly minimized since the season finale bonanza in May. I usually like to take the summer to binge watch series that have been on my ‘To Watch’ list. This year, I had The Wire at the very top of the list… Until I heard about Orphan Black, and I’m so glad I bumped it to the top.
Orphan Black is a series on BBC America that ended its first season run at the beginning of June. Despite the fact it wasn’t the best rated program, it’s been slowing gaining a lot of attenion, and garnering a lot of critical acclaim just in time for Emmy voting season. Not to mention the lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, just won a Critics’ Choice Television award for Best Drama Actress (beating out the likes of Claire Danes & Juliana Margulies)! With all the talk about the show and the fact it’s only 10 episodes, I bumped OB to up to spot number one.
Quick plot summary: A woman named Sarah witnesses another woman, Beth, jump into train tracks to commit suicide. Sarah decides to steal her purse only to find out she looks exactly like Beth. In order to escape her messed up life, Sarah assumes Beth’s identity… except she soon finds out there are other women out there who look just like them. Clones if you will. Needless to say, there’s a sci-fi element to it. For the record, I’m not that into sci-fi shows, I mean I really liked Heroes, but this show is more drama than sci-fi, if that’s any help to you.
Number one reason you need to watch this show:
It’s true what all the critics are saying about her. She is amazing. Because this show is about clones, she plays every single one – 9 in all I believe? – flawlessly. So much so that in my head they’re all different actresses. She posted a pic of one clone’s love interest, and I was like ‘how is she even with her, she doesn’t have scenes with that character?’ No, I’m an idiot, she’s really good at her job, and she plays all the clones and acts with all the other actors.
Every character is so fleshed out. From the costumes, to the little personality traits to the accents (oh yeah, she switches between accents too), everything flows so seamlessly. There are multiple scenes throughout the show where she has to play a clone pretending to be another clone. It sounds confusing, but she makes it so believable. On top of that, she’s a really good actress. In the approx 5 minutes Beth is shown before she kills herself, Tatiana shows her entire character in just one look. It’s mesmerizing.
This is Sarah. Punk-rock chick.
This is Beth. Detective about to commit suicide.
This is Tatiana Maslany playing Sarah pretending to be Beth.
One of the great things I read in an interview with Tatiana is that she has an extensive background in improv, which she uses to solidify each character. Her intuition of the ‘yes, and’ process helps lead the character in the natural direction she would go in. If you’ve ever seen (good) improv-ers, you know that they can make anything into a like 15-30 minutes – or more – sketch (Name a profession and a place! A pimp in Transylvania! So much story to tell already!). With Tatiana, she’s using that same skill and creating an arc for all 9 characters from episode to episode, building on the excellent backstory and script provided for her. Plus her mom is a French/English translator, so she is super good with languages. She learned German before she learned how to speak English! She’s legit perfect for this role. Roles. All the roles.
In fact, to all you Emmy voters out there, please please please give this girl a nomination at least. And then give her an Emmy. I feel so strongly about this I’m inclined to start a grassroots campaign – which I’m sure has already been started by some fangirl in Canada (fun fact: the series was shot and based in Canada. In fact, Tatiana and most of the cast are Canadian! Eh!).
There was a recent article on Buzzfeed in which comedian Patton Oswalt legit explains why she deserves all the awards. I’m not the only one who believes in this girl, y’all!
I would list other reasons why you should watch this show, like I guess the other excellent actors, the outstanding writing, the show’s ability to make you have no idea what’s going to happen next and possibly yell and throw objects at the TV, the hilarious jokes that are thrown in, or the loyal, gay best friend:
or this smokeshow (Paul, Beth’s boyfriend): .But I’m going to stick with Tatiana Maslany. Only thing that sucks about this show: the fact that it doesn’t come back until 2014. But come on, what else are you going to watch until Breaking Bad comes back??
PS: Orphan Black is currently available On Demand (for Time Warner Cable, at least), but here’s a handy guide to find a provider near you!
I watch an embarrassing amount of television. I take that back. I just watch a lot more television than the average person. Given my real life job is revolved around TV, but in addition, I am, and always have been obssed with television. So in saying that, I have seen a fair share of good and bad programs, but I’ll be sharing some shows here that I think everyone should pay more attention to, because they are well worth your time.
PS: Watch this space, because I liveblogged a recent episode, and it was good. Oh it was good.
Cat·fish [kat-fish] noun — a person who pretends to be someone they’re not, using social media to create a false identity, particularly to pursue deceitful online romances
When I first saw the Catfish movie about 2 years ago, I freaked out because it was so good. It was so good that I watched it twice before returning it to Netflix HQ. Like those who had seen it before me, I also refused to let up on the plot and outcome, because giving it away would ruin the entire point of the movie. HOWEVER, it’s nearly impossible to not ruin it without telling you about the consequent TV show that came out of the movie.
This show is hosted by Nev Shulman, who was the creator and subject of the movie. He basically helps people who have been in an online relationship with someone, but the trick is that they’ve never met in real life. And as things get serious between the internet daters, questions may start to arise like – why the hell haven’t we seen each other IRL yet what are you hiding from me are you wearing pants while we talk?
So basically Nev helps them solve the mystery if their online beau is legit or not, and they go to their house to see if they’re the real deal. 99% of the time, they’re not who they say they are. CHRIS HANSEN, WHERE ARE YOU? jk, not shit like that. But I mean, like you never know who’s on the other side of the screen.
Also, Nev is the best. Like the cutest. Like I’ll create a fake profile for him, I will.