TV Characters We Need Back In Our Lives: 2016 Edition

A great songwriter once summarized the way we feel when our favorite TV shows come back on the air after a summer hiatus:

What ever happened to predictability
The milk man, the paper boy evening TV?
You miss your old familiar friends

But miss them no longer – they’re waiting just around the bend: the best returning TV characters of Fall 2016:

Rebecca Bunch from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

We considered including Greg Serrano and Paula Proctor in this list, but ultimately we had to give it up for this great show’s leading lady. It’s not just that Rachel Bloom is a writer/creator/actress/singer/comedian/all around fantastic human. It’s also that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend hinges on the audience suspending disbelief – it’s a musical comedy after all – AND identifying with a protagonist who sounds pretty questionable on paper, what with moving cross-country to chase her camp boyfriend from 2005. Rebecca, though flawed, has to be relatable, professionally competent, and get the audience in her corner. Against the odds, you believe that Rebecca has her head in the wrong place and her heart in the right one, that she’s out of touch with reality yet the smartest person in the room.

Jessica Huang from Fresh Off The Boat

Roughly half of Jessica’s lines from Fresh Off The Boat remind me of all of the 90s moms I knew during my childhood. The rest are cut straight from my internal monologue. Jessica is exacting and confident, at turns assimilating her family into American culture and criticizing it. Jessica is a rare TV parent: neither the tough mom nor the fun mom, she is a welcome break from the smiling-while-head-shaking moms from paper towel commercials and CBS sitcoms. Just watch her getting obsessed with Melrose Place and imagining intrigues in her neighborhood, or tackling her school-aged son with a giant stuffed bunny to teach him not to date rape, or spouting off about prosperity perms and tell me she isn’t the most endearing and “aggressive yet elegant” sitcom mom there is.

As an aside, we love actress Constance Wu every bit as much as we love Jessica, and if you don’t yet, you should too.

Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers

It’s impossible to pick just one favorite Belcher, but I’m doing just that and it’s Tina. I have a comedic soft spot for characters who have no reason to be confident but are anyway, and that’s Tina. Plus it’s just fun to watch her and thank your lucky stars that you’re not in that horrible junior high not really a kid/not really a teenager stage any more.

Liza Miller from Younger

To paraphrase Death Cab for Cutie (we were 19 in 2006, ok?), we would follow Sutton Foster into the dark – or to TV Land. Yes, the channel where your dad watches Newhart has original programming now, and Younger is really good – kind of like a TV version of goldfish crackers, where you can consume it for a half hour and the time kind of just disappears. Liza is a 40-year-old restarting her career and passing as a 26-year-old in order to do it, which is plausible because Sutton Foster has a portrait in her attic that ages in her stead. Plus Hilary Duff is in it too, and you know we loved us some Lizzie McGuire.

Rogelio De La Vega from Jane the Virgin

I binge watched both seasons of Jane the Virgin this summer and totally got hooked, largely in part to the great writing, the outstanding acting, and the character that is Rogelio De La Vega. I’ve never seen a fake actor so egotistical yet so lovable at the same time, and I think that’s credit to Jamie Camil, who plays the Telenovela star. He has a way of saying Rogelio’s lines that make you almost sympathetic to him, before you realize what he’s actually saying – and what he’s saying is usually the most ridiculous. #RogelioMyBrogelio

Porsha from Empire

I had a few complaints about the second season of Empire, and one of them is that there wasn’t enough Porsha on the show. As Cookie’s assistant she should probably be by her side more, yet not as much as I wanted. She’s hilarious, always has good comebacks, and is the perfect complement to Cookie’s sassiness. Also, she’s an amazing rapper IRL.

Coliver from How To Get Away With Murder

I KNOW I’m not the only person who ships this couple, mainly because there are many Tumblr blogs and gifsets dedicated to this hot, sweet duo. Connor and Oliver are maybe my fave romantic couple on HTGAWM because they just care for each other so much. Connor may be more broody about his feelings while Oliver is more outright, but there’s no doubt they’re meant to be. And I’m just the creep who reblogs their romantic moments on the Internet, it’s fine.

Betty DiMello from Masters of Sex

Annaleigh Ashford. Annaleigh Ashford!!!! I’ve always admired her talents from after since she’s a Broadway staple, but her acting skills are stellar in this show as a prostitute turned experiment volunteer turned receptionist turned closest confidant. It’s been quite the arc for Betty and Annaleigh as well, and I still think she should be nominated for more awards.

Captain Ray Holt from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Captain Holt has grown on me so much over the years, and in the best way he can, he’s opened up to the Nine-Nine slowly but surely too. Andrew Braugher does such a spectacular job showing emotion in an emotionless character, and I can’t wait to see what happens next for him and Jake come season four.

Taran Killam from Saturday Night Live

I’m in complete denial Taran isn’t coming back for the upcoming season, so we’re just going to pretend he’ll be back.

#FBF: Stuck in the Suburbs

Last month, I revisited The Color of Friendship, a groundbreaking, Emmy award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie about racism both during Apartheid in South Africa and here in the U.S.

And this is something that couldn’t be more different.

Stuck_in_the_Suburbs

Stuck in the Suburbs is a DCom that came out in July 2004, so right after we graduated high school. I would say that it’s because I was a “college kid” when this was released and why I didn’t watch it. But that doesn’t explain why I was into all of the High School Musicals and Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place, etc. The point is is that I never saw this. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I found out this even existed, because the one and only SNL great Taran Killam apparently plays a pop star in it? I’m not really sure, but I’m about to find out. Here are some of the most important things I missed out on in 2004 that I am happy to share with all of you 11 years later.

  • Taran Killam is the type of celebrity who is talented and cute but also is funny above all other things that the best job he can be is a comedian. Kinda like how Jimmy Fallon is like a “heartthrob” of SNL, Taran falls under the same category. What I’m saying is that Taran’s role as teen idol Jordan Cahill is completely believable but you know that he’s better than playing a pop star on the Disney Channel.

STARBURST ON THE COVER OF A TEEN BEAT-LIKE MAG!

  • Let’s just say I’m watching this not on a DVD, and I’m 97% sure someone uploaded it off their VHS tape.
  • Danielle Panabaker is in this. Still don’t know the which name belongs to her and her sister.
  • You know you’re old when you relate more to the suburban mom driving the mini-van than the four tween girls she’s driving home from soccer. Although I relate to them rushing home to sit in front of the TV to watch a TRL-esque  show with their favorite pop star Jordan.

Jordan is really singing his heart out, you guys.

 

  • Oh god pop music wasn’t THIS bad back then, guys. I promise.

  • BEYONCE WAS MENTIONED SHE IS STILL RELAVANT. REMEMBER THESE ARE THE DESTINY’S CHILD DAYS.
  • The girls find out Jordan’s coming to town and there’s a screen shot of both four-way calling on land lines AND 10 million IMs trying to get Brittany’s attention. Ah, nostalgia.

*puts up away message. is actually still sitting in front of computer*

 

  • Brittany and her friends all have their lockers lined with pictures of Jordan, and say, “Good morning Jordan!” to it before blowing him a kiss. Ugh.
  • Enter Brenda Song, who looks EXACTLY the same

Drinking that Bianca Lawson potion.

  • Brittany thinks Brenda’s character Natasha (Kwon-Schwartz, because, diversity) is so cool because she used to live in Europe, so Brittany in turn attempts to be cool to be her friend, and subsequently takes down all her Jordan paraphernalia. She obviously can’t hide it.
  • This is especially troubling when Brittany and Natasha go watch Jordan film a music video, mostly to make fun of all the other girls. Meanwhile, Jordan thinks his director’s suggestion of looking at his reflection in a puddle of water then splashing it away is extremely *shallow* and not the kind of artist he wants to be. Uh oh – someone’s gonna crack.
  • Plot Point: After the music video, Brittany bumps into one of Jordan’s entourage, and all her stuff falls on the ground, and his assistant Eddie also falls to th eground with his belongings going everywhere, and he accidentally takes Britt’s pink Nokia cell phone instead of Jordan’s high tech palm pilot that has access to TV and internet.
  • They each go a little while without recognizing that they have each other’s phones. Unrelatedly, Brittany is a songwriter. Good to know for later.

She’s channelling Mandy Moore from the Candy vid

 

  • Side Note: Jesse McCartney’s Good Life started playing and I’m ashamed/not ashamed that I could identify it.
  • Brittany refuses to give Eddie Jordan’s cell phone back. Like in reality tho, this adult is negotiating with a teenager. Grow some balls and get the damn phone back. Madonna has already called and Britt and Natasha already messed it up by answering then screaming into the phone.
  • Britt and Natasha also decide to have some fun with it by helping Jordan become more famous, I guess? So they saw he had a hair appointment thanks to his phone calendar, and Natasha told the hairdresser to cut off his famous long locks, bow in front of him, and serve him only raisins (he hates raisins). Luckily, he ended up liking the hair.

    nice highlights

  • Oh and Britt’s mom is trying to save some old dilapidated house, which her mom calls the “only thing making their suburb unique”. Earlier, she went to the wrong house because everything looks the same in the suburbs. It’s like an ” an island of hope in a sea of sameness.”
  • So now this little teen is basically extorting Eddie and making him convince Jordan to play at her mom’s rally in order to get his phone back. Like how much time has passed since she’s had his phone – she’s intercepting calls from Jordan’s girlfriend!

Also, remember when trucker hats were in?

  • Anddddd they broke up.
  • So, turns out, Natasha had been lying about her living in Europe and her parents’ being divorce. Her dad actually does sales and was in Buffalo, and her folks aren’t even separated. Britt confronts her about it and they get in a fight, and what better way to show that by a montage of their like 4-day friendship.
  • I guess Jordan and Brittany are friends slash I stopped paying attention. I think he left to get away and be anonymous then ended up calling Brittany and now they’re phone friends??Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.24.55
  • Jordan’s director is chasing after him to finish the video the way they want to do it. Jordan and Britt (and third-wheel Natasha) are meeting to swap phones, and they end up in one of those huge industrial underground pipes, because, of course. In the pipe, Britt sneakily releases Jordan’s own version of the song he wanted to release – against his record label’s wishes.Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.31.48
  • Jordan agrees to sing for Britt’s mom’s fundraiser, mainly because he lived in a suburb just like the one Britt lives in, and HUMANITY! When he addresses the crowd, Jordan says, “It’s not what’s out there. It’s what’s in here,” pointing to his heart.AND OH LAWD another montage of Britt and Natasha’s friendship. Like, really, you need it that bad?
  • Taran’s singing (is it really him singing, tho?) is like him singing in a sketch in SNL, mainly because he keeps looking directly in the camera and making ridiculous faces and he’s not playing the guitar at all, like he doesn’t move his fingers for the entire scene {you should probs view the whole scene here}.
Screenshot 2015-03-21 23.40.07

He’s actually mentioned this exact scene during an interview with Jimmy Fallon before.

  • Ok, so now assistant Eddie is a pop star who took Jordan’s song and music video set???? And the girls are in the video? I’m so confused but I don’t even care. Also, I’m even more confused because the end of the movie went straight to a random British cartoon with a kid who said ‘Brilliant!’ and it’s obvious this was on the VHS before Stuck in the Suburbs.

British kid on a bike that powers the attached blender. Idk.

 

Secret Couples That Aren’t So Secret

Because Hollywood is so Hollywood, it’s notorious for its brief, fickle, incestuous relationships between actors. Celebrities get married, and they break up 72 days later (looking at you, Kimmy K). But then there are couples you don’t really hear about that often and fly under the radar. Surprise, surprise, these are usually the ones that have lasted the longest. Or at least longer than most. Check out some celebrity couples that you may have never known were happily married.

Adrian Pasdar and Natalie Maines

Heroes reunion with Zaquinto!

How you know him: Nathan Petrelli on Heroes

How you know her: Dixie Chick

Status: Married since 2000, have two sons

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally

Tammy alert!

How you know him: Ron Swanson, creator of the Pyramid of Greatness, lover of meats.

How you know her: Karen on Will & Grace, also Tammy 2 on Parks & Rec

Status: Married since 2003

David Cross and Amber Tamblyn

Cutting the cake on their wedding day!

How you know him: Tobias Funke, the never nude on Arrested Development

How you know her: Joan of Arcadia and Tibby on Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

Status: Married since 2012, together since 2008. And since you’re wondering, she’s 29, he’s 49.

Taran Killam and Cobie Smulders

attractive couple is attractive

How you know him: One of the funniest cast members on SNL, impersonator of Andy Cohen, Michael Cera, and Robyn.

How you know her: Robin Scherbatsky/Robin Sparkles. Proud Canadian.

Status: Married since 2012, together since 2004. Have an adorable three-year-old daughter Shaelyn.

John Slattery and Talia Balsam

sterling’s gold.

How you know him: Silver fox Roger Sterling on Mad Men

How you know her: Roger Sterling’s ex-wife, Mona Sterling

Status: Married since 1998, have one son

Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone

can you feel that steam heat?

How you know him: Air marshal on Bridesmaids, the guy in the Target music teacher commercials

How you know her: Megan in Bridesmaids, Sookie St. James-Belville on Gilmore Girls, and possibly the best SNL host ever

Status: Married since 2005, have two daughters

Brian Benben and Madeleine Stowe

legit just found out this couple existed. i thought he was gay. oops.

How you know him: Dr. Sheldon Wallace on Private Practice

How you know her: Victoria Grayson on Revenge

Status: Married since 1982, have one daughter

Jay Mohr and Nikki Cox

ugh ew.

How you know him: Comedian, Jennifer Aniston’s love interest in Picture Perfect, douche agent in Jerry Maguire

How you know her: Unhappily Ever After, Nikki, Las Vegas

Status: Married since 2006, have two kids

Melissa Gilbert and Timothy Busfield

loving him was red

How you know him: Danny Concannon on The West Wing

How you know her: Child star/ Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie

Status: Married this past April

Richard Schiff and Sheila Kelley

speaking of the west wing…

How you know him: Toby Ziegler on The West Wing

How you know her: One Fine Day, Lost, Aunt Carol Rhodes on Gossip Girl

Status: Married since 1996, have two kids

Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet

How you know him: Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones

How you know her: Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show, previously married to Lenny Kravitz, mother to Zoe Kravitz

Status: Married since 2007, have two kids