Reaction GIFs Cannot Express How Much I’ll Miss The Mindy Project

After 6 seasons, we’re saying goodbye to Mindy Lahiri tomorrow. Last week on the penultimate episode, Mindy said something that really spoke to me, and I’m assuming spoke to a lot of you internet users too:

When reaction GIFs cannot express a feeling, you know it’s really bad.

In the years we’ve been welcomed into Mindy Lahiri’s life, we’ve seen a character that’s rarely represented on TV. She’s unapologetic, candid, a hopeless romantic, self-centered, delusional, incredulous, truthful, brash, audacious and likable all at the same time. She’s the type of person whose personality is borderline offensive, but you find her so endearing that you compartmentalize and don’t actually care. That credit all goes to the writing staff including Mindy Kaling, whose own Twitter presence and memoirs resonate so much (with young women in particular) that they feel a connection with her in a different way than other celebrities. The type of connection that spurs shirts like this one, despite how concerning the message on it is. That same voice that Mindy Kaling found for herself is similar to the one she found in Mindy Lahiri – it’s satisfyingly unique and makes us feel like we get each other on a deep level.

That’s what we’ll miss most about this show. Knowing there’s someone else who says the things you sometimes wish you could say but never have the courage to. Or does things you thought you only did. No reaction GIF can express that feeling enough.

Which is why I’m honoring Mindy and The Mindy Project with a lot of GIFs. GIFs that show exactly why we do and don’t want to be like Mindy and properly represent the rarified air she’s occupied for the past six seasons. Thank you for everything. Your legacy lives on in our hearts and the interwebs. Later, baby.

 

And just because I’ll miss him too:

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Playlist of the Month: TV Tunes Scene Stealers

It’s the final day of Back To TV Week, and we’re ending it by really going back to TV with some of the most iconic scenes on the small screen over the years. We know that music can make or break any soundtrack either in TV and movies or even in real life. But when it’s in entertainment, the choice of song can elevate a scene a million times more and evoke emotion that would have never been brought out otherwise. This month’s playlist features a lot – A LOT – of our favorite scenes from TV shows with the perfect background music, mainly because we’re TV nerds and there are just so many to choose from. Here are our top picks – did any of yours make the list?

Sia – Breathe Me

{Six Feet Under}

You’ve probably heard this countless times already, but Six Feet Under has the best series finale in the history of television, and this final montage is why. I swear I binged the whole show just to get to this scene, and it was worth it. If you don’t know, Six Feet Under centers on a family who runs a funeral home, and each episode focuses on at least one death. In this final scene from the series finale, each of the main characters’ lives are flashed before our eyes, showing us highlights from when the final episode ends in present day to years later when each of them are old and grey, leading up to their deaths. The beautiful montage of life and death is perfectly set to Sia’s emotional Breathe Me, and the scene may leave you in mourning, but equally satisfied with the reality of mortality.

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

{Grey’s Anatomy}

Remember 80 seasons ago when Katherine Heigl was still on Grey’s? And she fell in love with a patient? And then he died? And she had ghost sex with him? Ok, well the death scene was emotionally draining, even for stone cold Cristina Yang, and Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars pulled the tears out even further. It was also this episode that Chasing Cars became the unofficial theme song for Grey’s, and used in several more episodes after that including the infamous musical episode. And in a full circle sort of scene, a cover of Chasing Cars by The Wind and the Wave was played in the background as Meredith watches Derek being taken out of his coma and takes his final breath. WOOF.

Tony Lucca – Devil Town

{Friday Night Lights}

Tony Lucca, of Mickey Mouse Club and The Voice fame, is the voice behind this haunting song, which, like Chasing Cars for Grey’s, became the unofficial theme song for FNL. It was used both in the beginning of season one (as seen in this clip) as the Panthers prepared for their first game without Street, and at the end of season one after they win state. It was used yet again in the series finale when the school board decides to keep the Dillon Panthers and merge the East Dillon Lions into their team, just before the Lions have their own run at the state champs. Yet again, all full circle, and yet again all the goosebumps and tears.

Chris Brown – Forever

{The Office}

As a self-professed Jam shipper, the Niagara episode in which Jim and Pam finally tie the knot was v important to me. And this scene was everything I could’ve asked for and more. It perfectly encapsulates why I loved the show in the first place – comedy, camaraderie, romance and tears all in one. First of all, the idea to have a flash mob was conceived by Michael, who saw a (real) viral video on YouTube of a wedding party dancing to Chris Brown’s Forever. He rallied the entire Scranton crew to participate which was even more delightful, but the newlyweds let it go and didn’t let it ruin their big day. Why? Well Jim was his usual romantic self and devised a plan to marry Pam secretly on the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls. Cue the tears.

Jim: I bought those tickets the day I saw that YouTube video. I knew we’d need a backup plan. The boat was actually Plan C, the church was Plan B, and Plan A was marrying her a long, long time ago. Pretty much the day I met her.

Aaliyah – Try Again

{The Mindy Project}

Do you remember where you were when you first saw Danny Castellano bust out impressive moves during a Secret Santa dance to Mindy Lahiri to Aaliyah’s classic tune Try Again? Because I do. Fact: Chris Messina truly knows how to dance, and the person who choreographed this scene actually worked with Aaliyah for the Try Again music video. The authenticity + one of the first memorable Danny x Mindy moments makes for an unforgettable scene. And let us not forget when he went all out Diamond Dan for a private strip tease to Lenny Kravitz’s American Woman. Oh also, during S3, episode 15, when Danny’s mom aka Carla Tortelli accidentally tells him Mindy is pregnant, and he looks for her all over New York to the tune of Beyonce’s XO. It was perfect in every way, especially with the heartbeat in the backbeat of the track, encapsulating the life *growing inside of her*.

Imogen Heap – Hallelujah

{The OC}

If you are an older millenial like us, you know this scene already. You know how iconic this is. Especially since Jeff Buckley’s version was used in the season one finale when it seemed like the gang was all parting ways. But in this scene, Marissa was the one who parted ways for good. RIP.

Nina Simone – I Shall Be Released

{Scandal}

Shondaland does music right, and on Scandal, they perfect the use of soul & R&B songs usually from the 1970s and 80s. In what is maybe Scandal’s best episode, titled The Lawn Chair, the Ferguson-inspired storyline features Courtney B. Vance refusing to remove himself from sitting over his son’s body, which was left on the street after a police officer shot him to death. As if the episode wasn’t emotional enough, Nina Simone’s I Shall Be Released pushes it over the edge, and if you’re not in tears by the final shot, you have no soul. {click here for the video}

U2 – With Or Without You

{Friends}

Nothing made us sadder during the run of Friends than when Ross and Rachel were on a break – and that still holds today, even though our feelings about some of the Friends characters are in flux (do I love Ross? or do I absolutely hate Ross? I’m basically Rachel). With Or Without You has passed into cliche sad song territory – think Everybody Hurts – and yet when you’re in the middle of heartbreak it’s like “Bono was right, I CAN’T live with or without you.”

Our Friends honorable mention goes to Groovy Kind Of Love at Monica and Chandler’s wedding. It felt like a left-field choice for them, which led to 12-year-old me developing a head canon that it was “their song” and they used to dance around to it in the kitchen or whatever.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

{E.R.}

Sometimes I still get sad when I remember that Mark Greene died on E.R., but at least the show gave him a beautiful sendoff. Not so much the brain cancer (although it was E.R., at least they didn’t have him get stabbed by a madman), but the gorgeous scene where he slips into the next world … which is also an E.R..

Fun (?) fact, this episode aired when we were in high school. My mom had cancer at the time and this scene had me weeping because of little Rachel and whoever the baby was. Watching it as an adult, I can safely say that it would have had that effect no matter what my life circumstances were because of the damn ukulele and because this rendition wasn’t yet ubiquitous in commercials and stuff.

I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke

{Mad Men}

 

Mad Men did a great job evoking the 1960s with music – props to their clearances/legal department, and a big shoutout to the genius who thought of Megan singing Zou Bisou. But viewers had to wait for the end of the series for the most iconic musical moment of all, where it’s implied that a blissed-out Don Draper created one of the most successful ad campaigns of all time, I Want To Buy The World A Cokie. It also signifies the shift, both culturally and in the ad world, from the 1960s to the 1970s.

We still miss this show a lot, just so you know.

Hard Times Come Again No More – Brett Dennen

{Parenthood}

Where my music history nerds at? You’ll remember that this one was written by the hot pop composer of the 1850s, Stephen Foster, but it was given new life in the 2010s when this cover played in the season 2 finale of Parenthood, an emotional roller coaster following Amber’s accident, Kristina’s pregnancy and Julia’s adoption disappointment.

My other Parenthood choices, if you’re cool with crying all over yourself, are that final scene with Forever Young and when Amber and Sarah sing the Circle Game, a song Joni Mitchell wrote so that people would cry more (and then Amber calls Sarah her hero, and then later we found out that it was really Mae Whitman calling Lauren Graham her hero, and we’re really fine, I swear).

Make Your Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass

{Lost}

Optimistic and life-affirming and bleak and cheerful and disturbing and confusing: this scene was Lost in three minutes. I’ll never hear this song the same way again.

Motown Philly – Boyz II Men

{Full House}

Was the best musical moment of Full House when the Beach Boys would inexplicably show up, invite the Tanners on stage, and the crowd would react with glee for this random nerdy family as though it meant something to them? Or possibly when Jesse crooned Forever to Becky at their wedding? Or is it when the girls ruined their Ace of Base cover and we all learned a thing or two about how important it is to practice? Maybe that Lollypops and Gummybears song from the telethon episode?

Friends, it is none of these. The best musical moment is when Stephanie did a pretty good dance to Motown Philly. No arguments. It is.

Bonus Tracks:

La Vie En Rose by Cristin Milioti/Tracy McConnell-Mosby (Edith Piaf cover) on How I Met Your Mother – we continue to be upset over the unfair treatment of fictional character Tracy Mosby.

Make It Home by Juliana Hatfield on My So-Called Life – I don’t care if it never made sense that a ghost/angel was suddenly around for one episode, this was important and we all know it.

Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk – This is a Pacey/Joey blog 100%, let’s be clear. This was a Dawson/Joey song, but this melodramatic fan video recasts it as Pacey/Joey… just like the whole show should have been. It’s important to note that I ran the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack into the ground in junior high.

Save The Mindy Project: Hulu, Don’t Screw This Up

Apparently Fox doesn’t read our blog – or like good television – because they ignored our pleas to #RenewMindy. Your loss, Fox. Our blog is really good. And so is the Mindy Project.

It’s fine; we’re fine.

As a lawyer, I’m looking at this pragmatically: it just doesn’t make sense to cancel The Mindy Project. [Also, as a human, I know that starting a sentence with “as a anything” is super obnoxious. Try it with any identifier; it’s true.] The Mindy Project took a season or so to find its footing and sort out its tone and supporting cast. Watching season one – as with most shows – is like Facebook stalking those randos you hung out with the first month of college and never talked to again. But since the beginning it has had sharp writing, an all-around fantastic cast (we love Xosha Roquemore!), and a protagonist who’s not like anyone else we’ve seen on tv. It also has a few other things a network would be crazy to give up:

  • a dedicated fan base – which financially, means you have a discrete set of people who will be watching the show when it airs or over fine platforms such as Hulu, buying DVDs, etc. The ratings have been mediocre, but better than a number of shows that were renewed. Also, ratings are a bit garbage-y because of the weight the Nielson algorithm gives to live viewing on an actual tv screen. No, really, the top 10 shows last week included 20/20, 60 Minutes, NCIS, and Dancing With The Stars. The Nielsen top 10 basically reads as a viewing list to prep for brunch with your mom and grandma.
  • critical acclaim – most critics loved Mindy, and the rest at least liked it. It even was nominated for or won awards – everything from Critic’s Choice to People’s Choice to Teen Choice, Gracie Awards and TCA Awards. Only some of those really count, but still.
  • three seasons – as in, 67 episodes; as in, only 33 more to reach the golden 100 episodes. 100 episodes usually means that you see a picture of the cast cutting a dumb themed cake in TV Guide (another topic for brunch with your grandma: things you read in TV Guide). But more importantly, that’s the point at which most tv shows are licensed for off-network syndication. Even if TMP hasn’t performed to Fox’s liking, those repeated airings on FX or TBS or whatever can more than return the network’s investment. I just find it really hard to believe that producing 1-2 more seasons wouldn’t be profitable when you factor in syndication.

There’s a chance that getting dropped by Fox might be the best thing for The Mindy Project. It matters less and less what people are watching on broadcast. Some of the top series – House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, for instance – “air” on Netflix. Hulu originals haven’t caught on as much yet, but there’s no reason they couldn’t. Like many money-conscious millennials, I’ve already cut the cable cord and use my handy Roku to watch shows. It’s actually better for a lot of us when shows are broadcast on online platforms, because we don’t have to try to be home at a certain time to catch it on our antenna. [A post about cord-cutting is coming next week, but until then let’s just say that it’s fine, but there’s no attractive way to tape a flat antenna to your wall.]

Attn: Fox.

The Mindy Project isn’t owned by Fox – it’s owned by NBC Universal. It’s their game now. It just makes sense for them to pitch it to Hulu, get their additional 30 or so episodes in, then cash in on all those airings of The Mindy Project at 7:00, 6:00 central on TNT beginning in 2018. NBC has already shown that they’re willing to take this path with their comedies – you can now catch Community on Yahoo. It’s Fox’s loss, but Hulu, it’s up to you now. Don’t screw this up.

 

I Believe In Fairy Tales: A Plea To #RenewMindy

Every year around this time, fans of TV shows that are “on the bubble” hold on for dear life and cross their fingers that network and cable executives renew their favorite shows. This wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’ has become more of a dire straits situation over the past few years, since the television landscape has changed so drastically. It used to be that shows weren’t in danger of getting cancelled unexpectedly, even if the finale was a cliffhanger. But now, showrunners of bubble shows have to decide whether to make the season finale a combo platter of a series finale as well. Parks and Recreation executive producer Mike Schur has talked about how every year they thought they were going to get canceled, and that they wrote episodes in season three, four and twice in season five, that could have doubled as series finales. That’s the kind of TV world we live in now.

In saying that, it’s always sad to see a show get canceled before its time, or when you know that the material is better than the ratings report. Like how me and many others are still pissed off ABC bosses cancelled Happy Endings. In an effort to not repeat history, here’s my plea to save one of my personal favorite shows on the air, The Mindy Project.

As most of us already know, the brilliant Mindy Kaling landed her own show in 2012, one that she stars, writes and executive produces. It was a real Girl Power moment when the show got picked up, and as the show built up an impressive arsenal of hilarious episodes, the fan base grew fervent and here we are three seasons later. However, The Mindy Project, while acclaimed by critics and beloved by fans, doesn’t do so hot in the Neilsen ratings, which is obviously important to people like Fox. Although the viewer numbers don’t show the strong fan support, there is a prominent group of folks clamoring for a fourth season. And this post is to show my support. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think Fox execs would actually cancel it, so you know this is serious. Here are just some reasons why we need The Mindy Project to live on, this upcoming season and seasons after.

Morgan and Tamra Reunion

Mindy (Kaling) has compared Morgan and Tamra to Ryan and Kelly from The Office – they’re in constant limbo in their relationship and it’s always a fine line as to whether they’re dating or not. But just like Ryan and Kelly, I feel like Morgan and Tamra’s walk into the sunset is inevitable. They’re both crazy in their own ways, but together, the crazy kind of balances out?

More Danny Dancing

The first time Dr. Daniel Castellano broke out into a dance to Aaliyah’s Try Again as a Secret Santa present for Mindy, I’m pretty sure I blacked out. My mouth was agape and I remember fanning myself with my hand to cool down the hormonal feels. It didn’t work. And then those sons of bitches upped their game with the season three premiere, in which Mindy finds out Danny used to be a stripper named Diamond Dan. Yeah, it was actually possible to top the Try Again scene. I’m still crying from his striptease (as seen above). If they can manage to up their game by using Pony, I can only imagine what they think of next.

Guest Star Potential

Starting with the pilot, TMP has seen its fair share of impressive guest stars, from Mindy’s Office pals Ed Helms and (soupsnake) BJ Novak to James Franco to Kris Jenner to Shonda Rhimes and Stephen Colbert, it’s like celebs are lining up to appear on the show. It reminds me of when Will & Grace had the most unexpected guest stars (hello Michael Douglas) but everyone wanted to be on the show because it was that good. Even in the finale, we got just a taste of one of my faves, The Mother herself, Cristin Milioti, who will probably end up dating Dr. Reed if it gets picked up for season four. And we need that. We need Cristin to have a run on a successful show!

We Need A Rom-Com

Mindy Kaling has said plenty of times before that she loves rom-coms. Her favorite movies include You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally, which are two of the most iconic films in the genre. Her love for this ilk comes through in her own program, and there’s really no other show out there currently that is doing what she and the writers do, done in perfect execution, with such well-blended humor and heart.

It Only Gets Better

This is a promo shot of the season one cast:

Three of those actors aren’t even on the show anymore. Cut to season three promo shot:

Look, I’m not saying by any means that TMP was a bad show in the beginning or that the cast members no longer with the series made it bad. I’m just saying that it takes some time to find your groove. To reference The Office again, season one had a few great episodes (including Diversity Day which Mindy wrote), but it wasn’t until season two and three when it really hit its sweet spot. Same thing for Parks and Rec. Sometimes it takes a little bit of tweaking to find the best version of a show, and I think season three was it for TMP. They found their footing, the characters’ voices, and fans and critics responded positively to that. It would be a shame to throw that all away.

Representation is Important

Thanks a lot in part to people like Shonda Rhimes and Mindy, there’s (finally) been an upward trend in diversity on network television. But we’ve still got a long way to go. I mean, just name one other show with a female Indian-American lead. And it’s not just that we need a non-white person to share their culture in mass media, it’s that media shouldn’t just be dominated by white folk. Constance Wu from Fresh Off The Boat (another bubble show that deserves a second season) said it best when casting actors of a different race changes the idea that a white person is always in the lead because it’s the norm. It’s time for a new normal.

Mindy and Danny Endgame

Look, I just need to know that Mindy and Danny are going to live happily ever after. Or just, ‘ever after’. When ‘will-they-won’t-they couples’ get together on TV shows, it can either be the start of something new or a jump the shark moment. Not only were the Mindy writers brave enough to put these two together long before a possible series end, but they kept pushing the line and went one step further with Mindy’s unexpected pregnancy. They were able to keep Mindy’s story interesting even though she landed her dream man, but just like life, she keeps getting thrown curveballs, and the fans deserve to see what’s next. Plus, a baby. Mindy and Danny as parents. Just picture that.

#RENEWMINDY

How to Cope with TV Haituses: 2014 Edition

Do you guys remember when the last episode for the year of a TV series didn’t have a term? Like, when did networks decide that the phrase “Winter Finale” was a thing? Definitely in the past couple of years, right? So dramatic.

But as the Winter Finale of your fave shows roll out over this month, you’ll obviously need something to bide your time and avoid your fam during the stressful parts of the holiday season. Like last year, I’ve created a hopefully helpful guide to lead you in the right direction when it comes to preoccupying yourself over the next few weeks! Happy watching!

If you like:

How I Met Your Mother

You might like:

A to Z

Just like we fell in love with Cristin Milioti on How I Met Your Mother and she was promptly taken away, as is the fate of Cristin on the sitcom A to Z. The Lord giveth and NBC taketh away. Cristin Milioti deserves better than this. She’s a great actress who is perfect in the romcom role. In fact, everyone on this show is great. Ben Feldman – oh how I swoon for Ben Feldman (The Mindy Project Ben, not Mad Men Ben,obvs) – is perfect as the A (Andrew) to Cristin’s Z (Zelda). Like HIMYM, the show takes a different kind of approach in telling their love story, since we’re told from the pilot that they stay together for 8 months, 3 weeks and 29 days – those aren’t the exact numbers, but you get the picture. They’re so cute together that you wonder how and why it ends. I guess we’ll never be able to find out since NBC hasn’t ordered more than the 13 episode order. Nonetheless, you should catch up with A, Z, and their best friends, who provide that balance needed for an ensemble comedy.

If you like:

Friday Night Lights

You might like:

Kingdom

I’m not really a sports person, so I was initially turned off to Friday Night Lights because it looked like a football show. And that’s what its ‘downfall’ was. NBC didn’t really know how to market the show because there really hadn’t been anything like it before. Ultimately, it’s a drama about the tight-knit community in small town Texas, and football just happens to play another character in the show. That’s what Kingdom is. TBH, I only started watching it because of Matt Lauria and Nick Jonas are in it, but this gritty new series set in the MMA world is about the relationships between family, friends, and lovers. While there’s a fair share of fighting and blood and sweat, you’ll come to find yourself hooked on wanting to see what’s next for each of the characters. In addition, Kingdom has three actors from the Jason Katims world – Jonathan Tucker (Parenthood), Matt Lauria (Parenthood/FNL) and Kiele Sanchez (Matt Saracen’s wife IRL).

If you like:

Happy Endings

You might like:

Marry Me

HAPPY ENDINGS RIP. If there’s one show in the past few years that really didn’t deserve to get cancelled, that show is Happy Endings. The chemistry of the cast was incomparable, the hilarious dialogue was like nothing I had ever heard before, and the situations they found themselves in were not too far off from my own life and the lives of people I know. So if you’re still in Happy Endings withdrawal, try Marry Me, an NBC comedy that actually scored a whole first season, starring Casey Wilson (Penny Hartz) and Ken Marino who play a newly engaged couple. It’s created/executive produced/written by David Caspe, the creator/executive producer/writer of Happy Endings and also Casey’s new husband. While it doesn’t have the same ensemble ‘Friends’y feel as HE, it does take on a similar (hilarious) tone. Plus it’s also set in Chicago, so there might be some crossover characters…

If you like:

The Mindy Project

You might like:

Selfie

Like you and the rest of America, I was turned off by the title of John Cho and Karen Gillan’s new sitcom, Selfie. It initially came off as this social media/internet/daft show that should’ve been titled #SELFIE, but turns out, it’s not. While social media does play a role in the show, as the season progresses, you’ll find that those two up there are at the heart of it. It’s actually a take on My Fair Lady/Pygmalion, in which John Cho plays “Henry”, who tries to class up Karen’s “Eliza”. Their dynamic reminds me a little of Danny and Mindy, where Danny’s kind of curmudgeonly and a no nonsense kind of guy, whereas Mindy is still smart yet flitty, into pop culture and clothes and the latest Cosmo. Mindy and Danny’s relationship works in an opposites attract kind of way, and so does Henry and Eliza’s. We’re at the point where there’s an inkling of a romance going on between them, but with ABC deciding to cancel it (BOOOOO) and Hulu picking it up (YAYY) who knows what we’ll get to seen and when we get to see it. All I’m saying is ignore the title and just watch the damn show.

If you like:
Dawson’s Creek

You might like:

The Affair

Sometimes I decide to watch a show based purely who’s on it, but then am delightfully surprised when the show turns out to be really good. Enter Joshua Jackson. Loyal readers may recall my journey through watching Dawson’s Creek for the first time earlier this year, and I was Team Pacey all the way (if you’re Team Dawson WHO EVEN ARE YOU). Like a fine wine or Leonardo DiCaprio, Joshua Jackson only gets better with age. In The Affair, he is hot as ever, and as Vulture pointed out earlier this week, he’s basically Pacey as a cowboy. But the storytelling is one of a kind in The Affair, and it’s what lured me in from the pilot. As stated in the title, there is an Affair – with a capital A – going on between Noah (The Wire’s Dominic West) and Alison (Luther’s Ruth Wilson). Noah’s married to WASPy Maura Tierney, while Alison is married to Pacey Witter. Set in the summer in Montauk, Long Island, Noah and Alison meet and start to have this affair. We also find out there’s a murder early in the season, and both Noah and Alison are being interrogated months after their summer affair. But the twist: the show is split into two parts, one from Noah’s point of view and one from Alison’s. Needless to say they have different versions of the truth. But also, Pacey on a horse.

If you like:

How to Get Away With Murder

You might like:

Serial Podcast

I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS ON SERIAL, AND I’M GOING TO SAVE IT FOR THE DAY SEASON ONE ENDS. But for now, if you don’t listen to Serial, get on it. I lit’rally gave in to peer pressure and started listening to it over Thanksgiving because everyone kept talking about it and I had total FOMO. I’ll tell you that I’m not usually a fan of crime related entertainment – I’ve never been into the Law & Orders or CSIs or Criminal Minds of the world. But this is a horse of a different color. Serial is one podcaster/reporter’s journey into delving deep deep deep into a real murder case of a teen and her attempts to solve it. Is it really the guy sentenced to life behind bars or is it someone else? WE DON’T KNOW. This isn’t really a spoiler, but there’s a part, I think in episode 5 of Serial, where Sarah, the ‘host’ of the podcast, consults a lawyer who deals with a lot of Innocence cases – where they believe person in jail didn’t commit the crime and she tries to prove they didn’t do it. This lawyer is super interested in the murder case featured in Serial, and even has a team of her law students help her investigate. Sound familiar? Because that’s basically the plot of How to Get Away with Murder. Viola Davis is a high-power attorney who can quite literally get anyone off the hook for any crime, and she has a crack team of students helping her. While HTGAWM is much more dramatic than Serial, both have the same amount of suspense and theorizing that will make you go insane. In a good way.

TV Characters I Need Back In My Life

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

Drunk Mellie from Scandal

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

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

Drunk Uncle from Saturday Night Live

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

Tamra from The Mindy Project

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

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

 

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

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

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

Nick Miller from New Girl

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

 

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

Gina from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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

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

 

The Bravermans on Parenthood

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

Leslie Knope from Parks And Recreation

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

 

 

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Last-Minute Binge Watching Edition

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.

 Traci’s Suggestions

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.

Molly’s Suggestions

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.

 

What Type Of TV Binge-Watcher Are You?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, and the rock blocks your WiFi reception, you probably know that the new season of Orange Is The New Black was dumped before us on Friday, like a hefty trough of slop before swine. [Delicious slop, of course. And very high-quality slop. The point is, Netflix knows how we’re going to consume this show, so they save us the trouble and pile it before us in acknowledgment of our TV gluttony.]

While the phrase “binge watch” may have only entered the popular lexicon in the past several years, the habit precedes the Netflix era. In the early 2000s, we’d plow through an entire season of TV-on-DVD in a single, glorious weekend. Even before that, we’d all find ourselves sucked into entire Saturdays watching MTV’s Real World marathons – facilitated by the network’s tricky habit of eliminating commercials between episodes. God bless whichever Netflix person decided to roll episodes directly into each other and allowing you to skip past the theme song when you’re deep in a TV binge, which has the same effect as MTV’s commercial trick.

T.V. Marathoning is such an institution that there are even distinct types of binge watchers. Can you see yourself in any of these types?

The Survivalist

When I was a kid, in my grandparents’ rural town in the Southern Tier of New York, there was an establishment called The Y2K Store. It stocked hand warmers, canned foods, hand-cranked radios – everything that a slightly paranoid individual would need to survive the … was it a giant computer crash? … that was supposed to happen on 01/01/00. When “the Survivalist” approaches a TV marathon, that is the kind of commitment they bring to it. If you are a Survivalist, then when you say you are going to binge watch a show, you mean it: you are going to intake a ton of television, in a short span of time, to the possible detriment of your physical health. You are going to start with the first episode and end with the last. Not hunger, nor thirst, nor sleep, nor the need to pee will interfere with your tv time. You approach your TV binge like those creepy people who are into ‘survivalism’ and ‘homesteading’ and ‘end times.’ You stock up every food item you might need, charge your phone, and account for any possible disaster. What if you start to get a bit of hay fever? No problem: you have tissues and nasal spray. You may even do those airplane exercises to keep from getting deep vein thrombosis. You may have a catheter.

The Lazy-Face

If you claim that you’re “totally about to binge-watch the whole new season of Orange Is The New Black!,” but it takes you two weeks to finish the series, that is not binge-watching. That is just watching. If you had a single course of your Thanksgiving dinner every night for two weeks – mashed potatoes one day, stuffing the other, yam casserole the next – you wouldn’t really be able to say “man, I ate SO MUCH for Thanksgiving!” In the same way, you cannot brag about watching an “entire season of a tv show!” if you spread it out like that. Now, you lazy-faces may try to claim that you are out there doing things and going places and therefore, the actual binge tv watchers are the real lazy-faces. To that, I say that I hope you enjoy your hikes and concerts and real-life friendships, but you are still not a binge watcher.

 Sally Spoiler

In college, my friend – who has never read a Harry Potter book – spent an entire party weekend right after Half-Blood Prince came out telling all and sundry that “Dumbledorf dies!” He got such perverse glee out of ruining the book for people. That’s a Sally Spoiler. If it brings you immense joy to make people feel like they have utterly wasted the time they’ve devoted to a TV series, book, or movie, this is you. And you suck.

Betsy Blabbermouth

This is a more benign variation of Sally Spoiler. You don’t WANT to ruin shows for everyone, but you just cannot hold it in. You have a penchant for accidentally screwing things up, like the adult, TV-obsessed version of Ramona Quimby. It’s just that you get so excited about your shows that you forget to check where other people are. I suggest that somebody create business cards that we can silently hand to these hapless Betsy Blabbermouth. On the front: “Loose Lips Sink ‘Ships”. On the back, a place to list the TV surprise (relationships, deaths, what have you) that the person spoiled. If you rack up three of those violations, I’d say you get upgraded to Sally Spoiler because you are just willfully refusing to keep your damn mouth closed.

Avoidant Agnes

Have you been burned by a Sally Spoiler or a Betsy Blabbermouth? And now you refuse to discuss any TV show you haven’t seen every episode of? Pleased to meet you, Agnes. These are the people who, when someone even mentions the name of a TV show, interjects with “STOP! I’m not caught up!” or “GUYS! Don’t talk about it around me!” I definitely understand not wanting to get spoiled, but really, now. If we aren’t supposed to talk about our mutual TV shows, what are we supposed to talk about?

Luxuriating Lucy

Unlike the Lazy-Faces – who just cannot get their shit together – the Luxuriating Lucy likes to stretch out the time during which they can enjoy their show. They aren’t bad at binge watching, they just want the experience to last. They will do things like watch 4 episodes in a day, then take 2 days off. Or, they’ll watch almost a whole season, panic when they realize it’s almost over, and put off the last episode until the next day. They might even pad their marathon time by watching extras, audio commentary episodes, or cast interview panels on YouTube. Luxuriating Lucies know the truth about TV viewing – the first time seeing an episode is almost always the best, so you should draw it out as long as you can.

The Lone Wolf

You don’t like other people bringing you down by making you take unnecessary breaks, offering potentially spoiler-y theories, or – the horrors! – talking over the show. So you say to hell with all of them! If you are going to watch TV, you’re going to treat it like a job – and you wouldn’t rely on anyone else to do your job for you, would you? You probably also dislike group projects. [I think we need to do a post on group projects, because UGH.]

The Team Player

Team Players consider TV a communal experience, the modern equivalent of telling stories around the fire or reading the latest Charles Dickens serial aloud in the pub. That’s why they like to binge watch with friends. There’s funny commentary, a greater selection of snacks, and a whole roomful of people to share your TV journey. The downsides: you might miss a lot of the show if the crowd gets a little raucus; the possibility that one person in the group is a Sally Spoiler.

The One-Track Mind

You ever get so deep into a TV show that you can’t help but relate everything to it? This probably doesn’t happen if you’re watching like a normal person, but you have to watch out for it during marathons. After 10 straight hours of Friday Night Lights you almost have to remind yourself that no, you don’t live in Dillon, Texas. Or, despite spending an entire day watching American Horror Story, everybody in your house probably didn’t already die in your house. As long as you keep your obsession to yourself, the One-Track Mind should resolve on its own within 3-5 days after finishing a binge; if not, please seek attention from a medical professional.

Is this for a Tween or just Fashion Forward?

I am an adult.

I am an adult who has tween like tendencies.

I am an adult tween.

Sometimes when I’m shopping, I just can’t help myself from veering into the Juniors section because there is some legit cute stuff there. But in the crazyness of the shopping haze, I don’t realize it until a week later when I wear said purchased items out that I realize I might be too old to wear it.

My latest conundrum comes into the form of this sweater, purchased at Kohl’s (which has the ultimate Juniors black hole of clothes).2013-03-01 15.26.30

Here is Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson wearing a similar, yet much more expensive ($229 at Wildfox Couture) version on TV. She plays a teenager.

stop cramping my style, bitches -A

However, here is Dr. Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project wearing the same sweater in a different color and still looking cool.

BTW, watch The Mindy Project. It’s good.

This is the constant struggle in my life, and I can’t believe it’s actually a big enough problem that I felt like I needed to address it on the inernets. But I can’t be the only one, right? Ugh, being a girl.