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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Questions, Comments & Concerns: Rent

Like any successful project with a rabid fan base, there’s a desire, and maybe even more so now, an expectation for additional installments (see: all the Fast & Furious movies, Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, Prison Break, for some reason). Same rang true for Rent. In the years following, a Rent movie had always been a topic of discussion and the OG cast members were always asked when a movie was going to happen. And nearly 10 years after Rent debuted in 1996, a big screen adaptation of the blockbuster musical finally premiered in the fall of 2005.

It was received with mixed reviews from fans and critics, so we decided to re-watch the film and get to the bottom of why it was loved by some and hated by others. Conclusion:

Question: Why isn’t Daphne Rubin-Vega in this again?

T: I could look up the politics of this again but I don’t remember why Daphne Rubin-Vega was replaced with Rosario Dawson? Because she’s too “old”? She’s “not hot enough”? They needed a “movie star”?

M: I was thinking about this while driving the other day (secondary theme of the week: we are not cool). I decided she was working on another project at the time, which may be a lie. (OK, looked it up: she was pregnant.) Either way, Mimi is harder than all of the other characters to play 10 years after the musical premiered, because it is the only one saddled with a very specific, very young age (19, looks 16). Which brings me to:

Concern: Everyone Is Old

M: I’m no spring chicken, so that’s not an insult. But all of the OBC actors are a decade older than they were when they were cast in the musical, and it is central to the plot that these are vibrant idealists in the prime of life. It still works, and I will gladly suspend disbelief to see this many original cast members reprise their breakout roles. But the characters read different when they look like urban professionals in their 30s. I can tell you that at almost 30, my response to almost every situation in Rent, were it to happen in my real life, would be “I am too damn old for this.”

T: And for me, what was weird that I thought some of them looked younger than I thought they were when I watched it a decade ago. So young-looking old people playing the role of 1990s “millennials” is what this film features.

Concern: December 24 … 1989?

M: This was controversial when the movie came out (controversial for those of us who are too invested in film adaptations of musicals, anyway). The musical was set in the present day (at first) and as time wore on, around the era when it was released: the mid-90s. 1989 was when Jonathan Larson began his work on it. I’m not sure why this decision was made. Is it because in 2005, it was hard to conceive of a 90s period piece? Or because 1989 feels more like peak AIDS crisis? Because Mimi would look adorable in 80s clothes?

Anyway. There are some scenes where it doesn’t really work – cyber cafes were SO 90s, and I feel like we didn’t start talking about the end of the millennium until the mid 90s – but I don’t mind it too much. I’m mostly amazed at how they created a gritty version of the New York of 1980s Sesame Street eps.

Comment: IMDb makes me smart

T: Fun fact: There are two v notable names listed as executive producers of this project: Robert De Niro (of Robert De Niro) and Jeffrey Seller, who produced small hits such as Avenue Q, In The Heights and Hamilton, a show we never talk about, ever.

Comment: Tune Up #1

T: I actually like how they turned Tune Up #1 into Mark’s speaking monologue so it doesn’t come off as too “musical-y” but for the Rent-heads out there, I’m sure you found it just as hard not singing along to it. This is a choice they make throughout the movie, and for the most part, I think it’s smart. But at times it just sounds like they’re doing some sort of sing-songy slam poetry.

M: Plus, it keeps the movie from being 3 hours long. Source: church is always longer when the priest sings all of the talk-y bits instead of speaking them.

Concern: I now identify with Benny more than anyone else.

M: Benny realized that he’s 28 (made up age), married Allison Hendrix Gray, and acknowledged that in America, at the end of the millennium, you gotta collect rent on the building you own that’s gonna be prime real estate in 15 years.  What happened to his heart? It’s the Bush I era and a man’s gotta make a buck.

But maybe I’m just saying that because Taye Diggs is a beautiful, beautiful man and he is KILLING IT in You’ll See.

T: I momentarily seethed when he started to speak the lines from You’ll See in fear we wouldn’t get to hear him sing the one song that’s his in the entire show.

Comment: Oh Benny

Benny rolls up to Alphabet City in his Range Rover and is immediately surrounded by protesting tenants angrily singing Rent to him. Rough start.

Comment: I love Angel.

M: Wilson Jermaine Heredia plays Angel with the perfect mix of humor, life, and too-good-to-be-true kindness. Angel/Collins is one of my favorite musical couples.

Comment: Can I get a light

T: I understand the point is that the power blows but it’s darker than How to Get Away With Murder up in here.

M: Like when we were watching Cheers, I had to adjust my set because half of the background is just black blobs with the occasional string of Christmas lights. Mimi says our eyes will adjust.

Comment: April looks like a young Poehler + Gillian Anderson

M: And everyone looks 200% more 80s in the flashbacks. Just how long ago was that supposed to be?

Concern: Did Rosario Dawson miss her musical calling?

How did Rent effect Rosario Dawson’s potential musical theater career?? JK.

Comment: Mimi’s junkie makeup is really effective.

M: That might sound like faint praise but I mean it – she looks strung out and feverish but not in a gross way?

Concern: I now identify with Mark more than anyone else.

Mark, talking about his parents’ laborious message on the answering machine: “There are times when we’re dirt broke, hungry, and freezing, and I ask myself, why the hell am I still living here? And then they call. And I remember.”

T: Same, Mark. Same.

Concern: When the characters are in their late 30s they just sound like people who talk too much about brunch.

M: E.g., Mark says to Collins “so that’s why you could afford to splurge on us” and  it sounds like nothing so much as two guys discussing who’s buying the mimosas this week.

Comment: Angel’s entrance

T: But can you just imagine meeting someone like for the first time like this? Comes in dancing and singing with a plastic pickle tub about killing a random woman’s dog? I’d be like WHO IS THIS PERSON

M: Is Angel on coke? Because that is not a normal human energy level. Also also, believe it or not, Angel in Rent is when I first learned about using the pronouns people choose for themselves, because it was 1996 and I was 9.

Comment: I truly love Tracie Thoms

T: I’m fine with not bringing back Fredi Walker – Tracie is a better match chemistry wise with Idina.

M: Yes. Fredi Walker isn’t at all matronly, but her Joanne was more staid and mature, which made Maureen seem even more like a attention-seeking kid.

Comment: Tango Maureen hotness

T: I’m v into Joanne serving business chic & Idina serving tango dancer hotness.

M: I love how the dialogue about how Mark vs Joanne learned to dance shows, in two lines, exactly what kind of upper middle class kid each was.

Comment: They nailed Joanne’s 80s businesswoman attire.

Jheri curl, wide short tie, suspenders, statement earrings. It works.

Comment: Mighty Ducks meets Gilmore

As mentioned the other day in our Dream Cast post, there are two people of note in Life Support – Wayne Wilcox (Marty from Gilmore Girls) and Aaron Lohr (D2 & D3: Mighty Ducks and Newsies), two people from your youth you definitely didn’t expect to be in the Rent movie.

Question: Are New York/Pittsburgh exotic dancer scenes different?

When I watched Flashdance for the first time, I learned stripping in Pittsburgh during the 80s involved Japanese Kabuki, and apparently exotic dancing in New York in the early ’90s

Question: Will I?

T: How many of y’alls tried getting your friends to sing Will I in a round like this be honest

M: Just another Friday night in high school with the theater kids, hanging out in a basement rec room singing about “will I lose my dignity.”

Comment: The homeless woman is the voice of all of us watching Rent after our idealist phase has ended.

“Hey artist? Got a dollar. Didn’t think so.”

Question: Anyone else wanna hand out hand sanitizer after Santa Fe?

Everyone’s hands are ALL OVER the subway railings. (I remember being on the subway with a drunk friend in college who insisted on doing weird flips like Collins, and I was like okay, I’ll be at the end of the car pretending something’s happening on my phone BYE)

Question: What is Computer Age Philosphy (Actual Reality)?

T: I truly have no idea.

Question: Why are these two the cutest?

M: I’m going to go ahead and call I’ll Cover You the most adorable duet in musical history … even if this relationship is moving crazy fast. If you’re Jesse L. Martin or Wilson Jermaine Heredia, and you meet someone as cute as you are, you don’t let that pass you by.

Collins: Are we a thing?

Angel: Darling… we’re everything!

Why did they take that line out?!?!

T: Fun fact: This version of I’ll Cover You used to be my ringtone. I was the coolest.

Concern: The Rent/Hamilton effect

T: Roger says “Look around!” and I immediately continued sing, “look around, how lucky we are to be alive right now!” Ah the irony of being obsessed with a musical which was in part influenced by the musical you’re watching.

Question: How does Maureen have this many fans

M: Yeah, but not counting the homeless, how many tickets weren’t comped?

Comment: This shot of Idina

Actually, no comment at all.

Question: What do you think the crowd at the performance space smells like?

M: Me, I think weed, cigarettes, those alternative deodorants that don’t work.

T: Clove cigarettes (to be specific), patchouli, burnt newspapers, shattered hopes & dreams.

Comment: Financial woes

I love how Angel proves they can pay for dinner this time by flashing him a folded bill

Question: How does Benny think he’s going to “break ground in mid-January”?

Shit’s frozen.

Comment: Viva La Vie Boheme

Just for once I’d like to act out this scene in a legit production. Not even the whole show, just this scene. They have fun.

M: Seconded.

LOL Mark’s solo dance – I’ve never related so much to him. Except all the other times.

M: OH LORD get me a gif of Mark in that moment and project it onto my tombstone.

Concern: I almost fast-forwarded through Seasons of Love because it’s too sad.

M: Lest you think a 20-year-old musical can’t move me anymore, I almost start crying at Seasons of Love. Goal: all 2+ hours of this, no tears.

T: I mean, fair. The line, “How do you figure a last year on earth?” like, stop it.

M: I’m also noticing that Seasons of Love is very obviously the song they included to be a breakout hit. Like, “okay, we need one song in a basic pop structure with no swearing or weird sex stuff in it so we can go on the Rosie show.”

Comment: All Angel all the time pls

After a night of celebrating New year’s Eve, the gang arrives back at their building only to find a padlock on the door. Angel swiftly grabs a trash can to knock it off, and after she triumphs, an equally inebriated Collins asks, “You gonna put that trash can back?” and a definitely not drunk Angel replies, “No”. The best delivery.

Comment: I FORGOT SARAH SILVERMAN IS IN THIS

M: I forgot both that she was in it and that she was SO GOOD as a cold businessperson.

Concern: For Mark’s overall wellbeing

T: Proposing (to your girlfriend) in front of your ex(boyfriend) is a ballsy move, Maureen. I just can’t get over how much I am Mark.

M: Me too. I am Mark in the same ways that I am Chandler.

Question: Exactly how long have Maureen and Joanne been together?

M: Because Collins didn’t know Mark and Maureen had broken up, and Joanne and Mark just met, but apparently Maureen and Joanne are engaged.

T: U-Hauls, amirite?

Comment: Maureen’s kind of a bitch

“Every single day I walk down the street. I hear people say ‘Baby’ so sweet… There will always be women in rubber.” Maureen… calm down.

Comment: Benny and Mimi

T: I still don’t get how characteristically, Benny would want to date Mimi? He seems super pretentious ever since he moved out of Alphabet City, and looks down on everyone who lives there.

Concern: Without You is a lot more graphic in the film adaptation

M: We are treated to Mimi’s delirium tremens (I think?), the ever-shrinking support group, Angel’s scary looking fever, hospitalization, drug buying, strip clubs, all that. I’m just going to go ahead and say I can never tell when people are supposed to be sick from drugs stuff vs AIDS stuff. Anyway. Without You is like the opposite of those montages of people having wacky fun and falling in love.

Question: Will I be able to make it through the I’ll Cover You Reprise without crying?

Comment: No. And ugly crying at that.

M: At least Traci cried vs me, who just fast-forwarded through the whole funeral. I know I said I am a Chandler, but I have a strong Joey Tribbiani “book in the freezer” mentality for stuff I don’t want to see.

T: Like Hannah Horvath, I am a glutton for pain. We’re just a blog about comparing ourselves to fictional characters now.

Comment: I am Mark reason #1094

T: Mark says, “Come on guys chill” during Goodbye Love when everyone is fighting. Excuse me while I go find a vintage videocamera and start documenting my friends’ terrible love lives.

Question: You know what I miss?

Using yuppie as an insult. (NB, I am technically a yuppie now? )

Question: How many times do you think Anthony Rapp & Adam Pascal have had to sing What You Own in their lifetime?

Approx a million.

Comment: I am Mark reason #1095

“Dive into work, drive the other way.” Me too, Mark. Me too.

Concern: Everytime I hear the phone ring i have a Pavlov dog’s response to getting up to answer the landline

Comment: Your Eyes

You Eyes, a mediocre song at best, is not a song Roger should be singing to Mimi on her “deathbed”. Like I know this scene is sad and everyhting, but this song would not be the last one I’d want to hear. ever

Question: What disease is Mimi having?

Is this AIDS? Hypothermia? Drug overdose? Picturesque yet vague musical theater malady?

Comment: I reflexively sing all of the lines in my head that they’re speaking here.

e.g., I rewired the ATM at the food emporium to provide an honorarium to anyone with the code.

Question:You know what I didn’t account for during rent week?

T: Literally ALL THE TIMES THAT SHE CRIED

Love Is Dead: A Look At Our Obsession With Celebrity Couples

Yesterday, we got confirmation of the rumor we hoped wasn’t true – after almost exactly 10 years of marriage, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, aka Bennifer 2.0, announced they are getting a divorce. They had been dodging gossip for a while, but like any good American, we denied it was happening until it was slapping us across the face and posing as an actual problem.

Celebrity relationships have always been fascinating to me/the world, and in more recent years, specifically the psychology of why we, as a culture, are so obsessed with celebrity couples. Is it because they are the seemingly ideal, picture perfect, couple where nothing could possibly be wrong? Yes. Is it what our own #relationshipgoals aim to be? Yes. But despite all of that, why does it always feel like we are the ones ‘dying’ when it has absolutely nothing to do with us?

Today I’m looking back at some of the celebrity breakups that shook us to the core, proclaiming in all caps that LOVE IS DEAD and ‘IF THEY CAN’T MAKE IT, WHO CAN?’ to all of the Internet.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

BAEs for: 10 years of marriage

RIP: June 30th, 2015 (One day after their 10th anniversary)

OTP Moment(s): The moment when Jen fell in love with Ben, last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Why are we upset: Ben & Jen were like the All-American couple with the three cute kids, who were Hollywood enough that made them unattainable, but had a certain level of relatability. When they first met, he was engaged to another Jennifer, but ultimately, as we know, Jen G. won his heart in the end. Or not, I guess.

Over It Meter:  It just happened, so it’ll take me a while –

5 out of 5 Notebook Rain Kisses

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Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston

BAEs for: 5 years of marriage

RIP: January 2005

OTP Moment(s): The One With Brad On Friends, any time either of them were on Oprah, that super secret wedding, all their red carpet moments

Why are we upset: Jennifer is and was the beloved star from Friends, and he was the hottest Hollywood hunk that made them the golden couple of the early 2000s. They were a couple everyone was rooting for, so when they split, it was as if an actual person had died from their break-up. Not to mention, it all went down as Brad and Angelina’s onscreen chemistry was palpable in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, leading many to cast Angie as the villain in the scenario and tabloids STILL try to Pitt (pun intended) these women against each other. But the one thing we’ve learned from all of this: we just all want to see Jennifer Aniston happy.

Over It Meter: It’s been 10 years. We’re still a little hurt.

4 out of 5 Notebook Rain Kisses

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Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens

BAEs for: 3 years of dating

RIP: 2010

OTP Moment(s): All the High School Musicals, when they were on the beach, Vanessa’s Say OK video, the last time they walked a red carpet together

Why are we upset: I was in college when the first High School Musical came out, and I’m not ashamed to say I loved it. And I totally stanned for Troy/Gabriella, but more so Zac/Vanessa. I thought they were going to be together forever, TBH. I was Zanessa for life. Then they broke up, and I broke up too. It was sad, and if they ever get together again in the future I WILL NOT BE SURPRISED.

Over It Meter:  Like I said, it won’t surprise me if they fall back in love when they’re 35.

4 out of 5 Notebook Rain Kisses

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Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears

BAEs for: 3 years of dating (why does it seem like so much longer than that?)

RIP: 2002

OTP Moment(s):  Mickey Mouse Club duets, all the denim, Justin surprising a (genuinely shocked) Brit on an MTV special, accepting the Teen Choice Award for Choice Hotties, this whole photo shoot

Why are we upset: I am a Backstreet Boys fan, but also a Britney fan, so when she started dating Justin, I was at a *Crossroads*. Luckily, this was around the time JT was about to do his own thing, so my love for him as a solo artist grew from there, but my love for them as a couple was unquantifiable.They were the prince and princess of pop music, and their coupledom is hard to beat. When they abruptly broke up (What Goes Around Comes Around), not only was it the first celeb breakup (in my lifetime) that was devastating, but it was the first time I thought ~*tRuE LoVe*~ really didn’t exist.

Over It Meter:  Both JT and Brit have clearly moved on, so we should too. But they get 2 rain GIFs only because they were iconic.

2 out of 5 Notebook Rain Kisses

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Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon

BAEs for: 7 years of marriage

RIP: 2006

OTP Moment(s):  Cruel Intentions

Why are we upset: Cruel Intentions was one of the best cult movies of our generation. I remember secretly going to see it with my friend, whose dad bought the tickets for us because it was rated R and we weren’t 17 yet. I think I told my parents I was going to see Robin Williams’ What Dreams May Come. Anyways, Reese and Ryan were like the younger version of Jen and Brad, and we were rooting for them because their onscreen love was real offscreen too.

Over It Meter:  The best part about them as a couple is their two adorable kids, including Reese’s doppelganger Ava. It’s clear they were just really young when they got married, and Reese has another cute kid with her hubs while Ryan has another kid with the girl from Pitch Perfect.

1 out of 5 Notebook Rain Kisses

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Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel

BAEs for: 10 years of marriage

RIP: 2014

OTP Moment(s):  All of Rent, when he played Fiyero to her Elphaba, just any time they sing together, the time I saw her in concert and I’m pretty sure she was a little tipsy and verrryyy horny for Taye, any time they hang with their cute kid Walker

Why are we upset: This is so cliche, but Rent is one of my all-time favorite musicals, and I spent a lot of my youth listening to the OBC (Original Broadway Cast, for you non-nerds) soundtrack. When I found out that these two met, fell in love, and got married all because of the show, it made me love them even more. I was working when the news of their divorce dropped, and I had to compose my emotions for a few minutes before writing it up because I was THAT emotionally attached to these idiots.

Over It Meter: I. STILL. SHIP. IT.

5 out of 5 Notebook Rain Kisses
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Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams

BAEs for: 3-ish years dating

RIP: 2008

OTP Moment(s):  All of The Notebook, The Notebook audition video, and the ultimate OTP vid: The 2005 MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss acceptance speech

Why are we upset: Obviously The Notebook is considered one of the best romantic films in recent history, and the onscreen/offscreen love story between Ryan and Rachel just made it that much better. We’re gonna dismiss the fact they may not have gotten along on set and just remember that they made an amazing couple. But that Best Kiss tho.

Over It Meter:  This would be 5, except he has a baby with Eva Mendes now, so I guess that trumps this reunion.

4 out of 5 Notebook Rain Kisses

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Will Arnett and Amy Poehler

BAEs for: 9 years of marriage

RIP: 2012

OTP Moment(s):  Blades of Glory, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, this Gap ad, their “Double A Batteries”, general red carpet merriment

Why are we upset: Oh man. This one hurt. This one hurt real bad. If you’re new to our blog, Amy is deity around here, and just one of the many reasons we love her so much is because, as you know, she’s funny. Will is equally hilarious and can actually keep up with Poehler in the comedy department (watch that Blades of Glory clip). They were up there with like, Stiller and Meara or Lucy and Desi (I just picked refs for 70 year olds). When they announced their separation, I was much like those Twitter users, declaring LOVE IS DEAD. But in the end, like Jennifer Aniston before her, we just want Amy to be happy.

Over It Meter: Amy started dating Nick Kroll about a year after separating from Will, and at the time, I thought it was a downgrade, but I’ve really come to like their relationship, and where she’s at in her life in general – with or without a man. So she and Will get:

3 out of 5 Notebook Rain Kisses

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Everybody Who’s Anybody Is On Sesame Street

I have been waiting YEARS for someone to tell me how to get to Sesame Street. They drop the question in the theme song, but the show debuted 45 years ago today and still nobody has answered it.

When I was 3, one of the kids who hung around Mr. Hooper’s store looked like my neighborhood best friend, and I stewed for days over how she got on the show.

In preschool, Sesame Street led to my first ever wave of nostalgia. On a class field trip, my teacher turned on Sesame Street for us in her conversion van, and I realized that the show was still airing every day without me – when I was stuck playing duck duck goose with a bunch of sticky-handed tots who couldn’t even read yet. Remember, this was 1990, when there were no 24-hour children’s networks or YouTube clips. The only way to get to Sesame Street was to stay home from school.

A few years after that, one of my friends was convinced she was going to be on Sesame Street because of a donation her mom made during the annual PBS drive. Nope, that’s not how you get to Sesame Street either!

And now, as a full adult, I’d like to get to Sesame Street more than ever. Sure, part of it is that it represents a time in life when you could watch t.v. in your pajamas during the day. But mostly, these days it’s all about the guest stars. These clips make me feel as mad as I did in 1990, realizing that Sesame Street dares to go on without me every day:

Comedians Are On Sesame Street!

Jon Stewart delivered the fake, fake news.

Amy Poehler exercised (sort of!) with Elmo.

Ricky Gervais says “stumble” so many times it no longer sounds like a word.

And Cedric The Entertainer makes me wonder whether canteens are more relevant to kids’ lives than I realized. I grew up in the era of juice boxes.

Tina Fey is some sort of a book pirate.

What’s more adorable than Jimmy Fallon? Jimmy Fallon with Elmo. It’s all a bit much  for me.


Maya Rudolph raps, sings and dances with Elmo. Also I think she has a real future in children’s television, if she wants it.

Conan O’Brien does startlingly good dog impressions.

Even Saturday Night Live itself is on Sesame Street.

Actors Are On Sesame Street!

John Kraskinski talks about the meaning of the word soggy, interacts with a non-Elmo Muppet, and is just generally as cute as a bug’s ear.

And he’s not the only cast member of The Office to make the trip from Scranton to… is it supposed to be New York? Steve Carrell teaches us about the importance of voting and snacks.

Melissa McCarthy learns choreography from a penguin with Elmo and it’s exactly as delightful as it sounds.

Jonah Hill is making sure today’s youth are aware of the inexplicable mustache trend that’s sweeping the nation.

Benedict Cumberbatch is just generally rakishly charming, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tom Hiddleston. See comments re: Cumberbatch, Benedict.

Kristen Bell instructs us on the word “splatter” but does not instruct us on how she has managed not to age since Veronica Mars.

Our hometown hero, Taye Diggs, makes a three-year-old puppet drive him around.

Musicians Are On Sesame Street!

Remember when you couldn’t get away from Call Me Maybe? Well, it even made it to Sesame Street (no Carly Rae Jepsen, though).

Bruno Mars doesn’t want you to give up if you’re the kind of child who is bad at catching balls.

Usher teaches the alphabet and it’s just really, really good.

Even Queen Bey herself made it to Sesame Street, during her Destiny’s Child days.

You may remember this Katy Perry performance because a bunch of parents got mad that their toddlers, who stopped breastfeeding probably under 2 years ago, were exposed to Perry’s boobs. I really don’t know.

Delightful tap-percussioned group Tilly And The Wall even swung by for kids parents who are a bit more into the indie scene.

Political Figures Are On Sesame Street!

Sandra Sotomayor is hanging out with Abby Cadabby,  melting my cold lawyerly heart, and letting kids know that princess isn’t a job.

Kofi Annan suggests that the muppets resolve their conflict “the United Nations Way”; thereby creating a “choose your own punchline” moment for the grownups watching.

Michelle Obama does a little light gardening.

And lest you think Sesame Street is partisan, Laura Bush reads a book.

Assorted famous people of 1991 are on Sesame Street!

We focused on currently famous folks, but Sesame Street has been hosting celebs since before the age of the remote control. This video features a number of early 90s superstars, but if you search through the Sesame Street archives you can find many more guest stars who were on the show while you were stuck in school, wishing for another field trip so you could hop in a conversion van and get to Sesame Street via the grainy tv set.

 

 

 

Whatareyoudoinghere: Unexpected Guest Stars of The West Wing

In its seven season history, The West Wing created some of the created episodes and moments in television – period. Aaron Sorkin’s most successful show to date took home 26 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series four consecutive times. Basically, it was the definition of a hit series.

And with its critical acclaim and popularity, came outstanding actors, both those were were already accomplished (Martin Sheen, Alan Alda, Jimmy Smits), there was also a multitude of actors who were talented but on their way to finding fame.

Here are just some of the guest stars throughout The West Wing that were totally a part of Bartlet for America before hitting it big.

Nick Offerman

Season 1, Episode 4
Leave it up to the guy who plays a government worker who hates the government to play someone asking the White House for a $900 million ‘wolves-only roadway’ on The West Wing. Ron Swanson, everyone.

Liza Weil

Season 1, Episode 13
For some reason, Liza Weil is typecast as the unlikable, bitchy woman in everything I’ve seen her in (Paris Gellar?!). In TWW, she plays a young staffer who leaks Chief of Staff Leo McGarry’s troubled addict past. She gets fired, then gets rehired because Leo is da bomb.

Jane Lynch

Season 2, Episode 1
Pre-Glee, Jane Lynch spent her time in the White House press room, nagging Allison Janney for answers.

Sam Jaeger

Season 2, Episode 4
Before becoming a Braverman on Parenthood, Sam played a reporter in the White House. Look at how tiny he is!!

Eric Stonestreet

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 9.36.41 PM

Season 2, Episode 19
Cam from Modern Family didn’t have many lines, but I’m sure he was an integral part to Oliver Platt’s White House Counsel.

Connie Britton

Season 3, Episode 2
Tami Taylor, y’all! She appeared in a few episodes as ‘Connie’, a Bartlet-Hoynes re-election campaign staffer. She was flawless before, she’s flawless now.

Dennis Haskins

Season 3, Episode 9
It’s really unfortunate that the guy I looked at as the ultimate high school principal turned into a creepo who owns a karaoke bar in Burbank. What happened to you, Mr. Belding? Luring Chief of Staff alcoholics liquor, that’s what.

Evan Rachel Wood

Season 3, Episode 21
This lucky bitch got to play CJ Cregg’s niece. And go shopping for designer clothes for prom. More jealous about the CJ Cregg thing, tho.

David Burtka

Season 3, Episode 21
Alright, how cute and adorable is Neil Patrick Harris’ boo?! Even though he played a young intern who ends up selling moose meat Josh gave Donna who gave it to David Burtka who illegally put it on eBay.

Amy Adams

Season 4, Episode 1
In the season opener, Bartlet & co. are back on the campaign trail, and we meet them in the middle of Indiana. Except the bus leaves without Toby and Josh, and they have to rely on farm girl Amy Adams to get them to their next stop in time. Really, it’s like she doesn’t age.

John Gallagher Jr.

Season 4, Episode 1
In the very same episode, high school student and Bartlet for America volunteer named Tyler helps out the gang by driving them around in his jeep. BTW, does he look familiar, Newsroom fans? Yep, that’s a young Jim Harper.
In fact, when John auditioned for Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin didn’t remember him from TWW, and just saw on his resume he had been in an episode. John of course refreshed his memory.

Danica McKellar

Season 4, Episode 6
Winnie Cooper guys, Winnie Cooper, back on TV! She played Will Bailey’s (Josh Malina) stepsister and assistant, Elsie Snuffin – an amazing name!

Christian Slater

Season 4, Episode 7
Basically if you were a person who got in the way of Donna and Josh’s sexual tension, I was not a fan. Enter Christian Slater. She met Lt. Commander Jack Reese outside a polling place, as she was trying to trade votes with a Republic voter after accidentally voting for the opponent instead of incumbent Democratic Pres Bartlet. They went out for approx 2 episodes before he was sent of to Italy. Good riddance.

Matthew Perry

Season 4, Episode 19
Technically Chandler still worked in the White House up until the new President moved in, but we only got to see him in a few episodes as the Associate White House Counsel. But their continuity is a little off since he was seen in season 4 as “Matthew Perry”, a celeb Donna tries to chat up during a Hollywood party. Oops.

Taye Diggs

Season 4, Episode 22
Let me start by saying this pic is what dreams are made of. My boyfriend Taye played a secret service agent who was in charge of keeping Pres Bartlet’s daughter Zoe (Elisabeth Moss) safe when she went out the night of her graduation. Except… things didn’t go so well…

Jesse Bradford

Season 5, Episode 2
Awesome, oh wow. Like totally freak me out I mean right *clap clap* the Toros sure are number one!!!
Jesse Bradford did not befriend a high school cheerleader in The West Wing. He basically followed Josh and Donna around just like in the gif.

Jason Isaacs

Season 5, Episode 21
Remember that thing I said about anyone getting in between Josh and Donna? Yeah, that goes for Lucius Malfoy. ESPECIALLY Lucius Malfoy. Jason Isaacs played a photojournalist Donna met during her trip to Gaza, and the two had a little fling. *Spoiler alert* Donna is one of the group of the White House who is injured in a car bombing, and Malfoy follows her to the German hospital she’s being treated in. Except Josh flies to her side too – to find the scene above…

Navid Negahban

Season 5, Episode 22 I would think it would suck to always be a Middle Eastern/Muslim/Terrorist if you’re of that ethnicity. But hey, as long as you keep gettin that dolla dolla billz, I guess it would be fine. Imagine my surprise when I found out Abu Nazir from Homeland showed up in the season finale as a foreign operative. I watch way too much TV to fully accept that Nazir travelled back in time to rendezvous with Josh Lyman.

Dean Norris

Season 7, Episode 6
Well, well, well, good old Hank Schrader, putting away his rocks and minerals in order to hang with the big guns. Dean came in for a couple of episodes in the last season, as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and while he may have had to face some tough politicians, I bet it was nothing compared to Heisenberg cornering you in your own garage.

Jon Bon Jovi

Season 7, Episode 15
What’s more American than getting Jon Bon Jovi to play at a campaign rally? Springsteen, probably, but he wasn’t available for this episode. JBJ even had speaking lines in this episode, where he helped raise money for Congressman Matt Santos’ (Jimmy Smits) campaign. He’s just livin on a bus and a prayer, you guys.

 

 

HBM: It’s a Thing You Should Get With

Warning: This is a super girly post, so apologies in advance if this doesn’t appeal to you.

I’m a big fan of acronyms. Circa 2005, I was super into them, and would basically try to converse using only letters. I was dumb. However, they can be super helpful, and act as a secret code with friends if need be (Ask me about MSP some time).

When I was studying abroad in 2006, I remember my pal Caitlin telling me on a bus in London about her favorite HBMs. What is a HBM you say? It stands for Hot Black Man. Totes a way of objectifying sexy black guys, but whatever. I’m a fan, so deal. Here’s a list of my favorite HBMs, because this blog doesn’t have enough mindless eye candy on here. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Taye Diggs

Idina Menzel, you lucky bitch. Also, these pix of him and their kid. And this super HOT video from Private Practice where he makes out with Audra McDonald on a table (!)

Donald Glover

He’s funny. He’s a rapper. He’s half hipster. He’s a smokeshow. Also, he’s usually shirtless at his Childish Gambino shows. ‘Nuff said.

Reggie Bush

This was the photo used on the cover of Essence magazine, which I bought awkwardly at CVS in ’10. And just in case you forgot he went out with Kim Kardashian, here is the hottest couples photoshoot (besides the Beckhams) you will ever see.

Boris Kodjoe

Why isn’t Boris Kodjoe more popular??? The man even speaks four different languages, including Germany where he was born. Probs the only man who can make that language sexy.

Michael Ealy

Ever since Barbershop, I’ve been staring into those dreamy eyes ❤

Jesse Williams

Speaking of nice eyes, here’s the prettiest of them all. Before he was shirtless on Grey’s, he was shirtless on Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, as the naked model Rory Gilmore had to draw in art class.

Idris Elba

You know what makes Idris Elba hot, besides his wicked sense of style and British accent? The fact that he’s a legit DJ. Really.

Tyson Chandler

I AM A CELTICS FAN. REPEAT: I AM A CELTICS FAN. But lawd help me if this Body Issue cover isn’t the hottest thing. Plus he seems like a really nice guy, so I mean, there’s that.

Lenny Kravitz

I’m just gonna leave this pic here, and you can go on from there.

Michael B Jordan

From Vince on Friday Night Lights to the boyfriend Haddie never deserved on Parenthood, he’s the best looking non basketball playing Michael Jordan there is.