Emmy Awards 2017: Best Dressed

The 69th Annual Emmy Awards were last night, bringing the best of what TV in the past year had to offer to the red carpet. And while some of our faves didn’t go home with the gold, at least they looked fly losing. Here are some of our faves from last night’s Emmys.

Traci’s Picks

Jessica Biel in Ralph & Russo Couture

Jessica Biel already has a goddess-like face, so this ethereal metallic and sheer gown only accented her statuesque and Grecian look. Not to mention, her hair (and extensions?) only added to the feminine yet sexy look.

Gina Rodriguez in Naeem Khan

First of all, Gina is constantly under appreciated by the Television Academy. Second, do y’all follow Gina on Instagram? Because you should. Particularly for her Insta Stories. Homegirl has been exercising her butt off, and not only is it inspiring to see her work so hard, but all the boxing and pull ups have certainly paid off in this svelte new frame. I love the deep V paired with the long sleeves on this, as well as the beading and slicked back hairdo. Get it girl.

Tessa Thompson in Rosie Assoulin

Is this a polarizing dress? Probably. Do I care? Not really. I saw Tessa twirling on the red carpet (because duh wouldn’t you) and audibly gasped. It’s daring and the cut itself is so interesting. That is a party dress right there.

Emmy Rossum in Zac Posen

This is one of those dresses that probably looks amazing up close. Sure it’s a simple strapless gown, but the shimmering beading all the way down makes it. Paired with the green jewels and old Hollywood hair, it’s classy AF.

Donald Glover in Gucci

It was a huge night for DG. Our boy not only made Emmy history as the first black person to win as a Director of a Comedy Series, but he revealed his baby mama/partner’s name (MICHELLE!) and that she is expecting another son (!!!). With his big wins and big announcement, he wore the perfect purple Gucci suit that follow suit (heh) from his crushed brown velvet number at the Globes earlier this year – where he also won for Best Actor. Bonus of Donald in the E! Glambot, bc he looks so freakin fly. 

Molly’s Picks

Yara Shahidi In Prada

Yara Shahidi has been one of our red carpet favorites for a few years now, and it’s easy to see why. She always perfectly balances looking her age with looking sophisticated, demure princess vibes with something a little more funky and fun. I can almost see a young starlet wearing this in the late 1930s. Yara got herself her own show and she looks the part.

Caleb McLaughlin

The purple brocade is luxe and cheerful at the same time (and you already know how we feel about floral menswear). The fit is incredible. Even the velvet loafers are perfection. Caleb McLaughlin is here to stay. Adults: your move.

Nicole Kidman in Calvin Klein By Appointment

I have seen Nicole Kidman look perfectly tasteful on so many red carpets that sometimes I want her to break out a bit. But then, why fix what isn’t broken? The ’50s silhouette is perfect and the silver halter neckline adds a bit of flash. Calvin Klein usually strikes me as one of the most easily-recognizable designers: doesn’t this look totally Calvin Klein? Besides, Nicole did go a BIT crazy – take a gander at the coordinating-but-not-matching shoes, one with studding on the ankle strap and one on the toe.

Zoe Kravitz in Dior

As Traci mentioned, we love us a polarizing look. One person’s “pastel rainbow with feathers?!” is another person’s “pastel rainbow with feathers!!” I think these tones blend beautifully – take a gander at the lower edge of the yellow and you’ll see how it blends into the melon-y orange rather than strict stripes of color.

Shailene Woodley in Ralph Lauren

If only Shailene chose her words as well as her dress. Despite Shai’s red carpet faux pas (dismissing TV on TV’s big night), I – grudgingly – have to hand it to her on this look. Velvet only looks truly RIGHT in a few colors, and deep green is one of them. Hope she packs this one in her bag.

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Super Specific Emmy Categories We Wish Were Real

I continue to not understand the concept of time, because apparently not only is it technically fall (the overwhelming abundance of pumpkin spice items everywhere I look has told me that), but it’s time for the Emmy Awards once again.

We of course have favorites going into the ceremony (This Is Us, Handmaid’s Tale, Atlanta, etc.), but what about all the standout performances by actors who have kicked ass this past season and didn’t get the recognition they deserved at the actual Emmys? Well we’re here to give them said recognition, and praise them for the excellent work that is just really super specific to their particular craft.

“Best Drama” is so overrated.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Scene Where She Helps Deliver a Baby She Also Gives Birth To

Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

EMMY WINNER TATIANA MASLANY. That’s all. That’s the only thing I’ve called the Orphan Black star ever since she finally last year. If you even only seen one episode of the show, you know it’s totally deserved, but anytime there’s an intense scene between another clone, it still blows my mind. Even til the end. Our beloved Helena finally gave birth to her babies, but because this is OB world, it wasn’t in a hospital, but rather in a dirty basement with limited tools and a crazy person wanting the newborns as a scientific case study. But in the end, it was sestra and sestra, Tat and Tat, facing each other and encouraging the other they have the willpower to deliver these miracle babies. I think the show ended perfectly, but it still won’t make me miss scenes like this on a weekly basis.

Best Rap In Response To Being Unfriended on Facebook

Issa Rae, Insecure

Oh so we blocking? 😅 #insecurehbo

A post shared by Devi C Quiñones (@devilicious_) on

Have you been saved by Insecure yet? I was recently converted to this religious sect and I’m here to spread the gospel (read the holy book here). The second season of the totally snubbed Emmy show just ended last week, and it just kept getting better and better. On the second to last episode of season 2, Issa finds out her ex unfriended her on Facebook, and she went into one of her classic bathroom mirror rants. Except this one was no holds barred. Freaking amazing.

Outstanding Performance by a Female BFF Who Gives It To Ya Straight

Natasha Rothwell, Insecure

I NEED A FRIEND LIKE KELLI 💀💀💀 #InsecureHBO

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Speaking of Insecure, Issa’s BFFs in the show are all individually fantastic, but I have not laughed out loud more to the lines perfectly executed by Natasha Rothwell, who plays Kelli. She’s sassy, unapologetic, loyal, and keeps her friends in line. What more could you ask for?

Best Devastating Cry After Finding Out Horrible News

Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin

I watched this video clip again on mute and I still started crying. Give Gina Rodriguez an Emmy already. She need something to keep her Golden Globe company.

Outstanding Pop Culture References, Comedy Series

Difficult People

As Gilmore Girls fans, we’re used to mile-a-minute pop culture references. But Difficult People is next level. Within just 10 minutes, you’ll not only be hit by 8 different celeb names, but really super specific references that only true pop culture/entertainment fans will get.

Best Fake TV Show on a Real TV Show

“Defamation”, Dear White People

Guys, we love us some Scandal, but it obviously can get a little ridiculous. And that’s what Dear White People parodied with it’s show within a show, Defamation. Like many fans of Scandal, the students at Winchester University had a weekly viewing party for Defamation, which in its very short clip had a woman having a secret affair with a politician. Sound familiar? It’s incredible.

Very close runner-up (might have been the winner but I had two Insecure winners already): Due North, Insecure. Includes Scandal star Scott Foley, Regina Hall, Christopher from Gilmore Girls, and slavery.

Best Performance By An Actor Who Deserved More Than His Character Got

Nick Jonas, Kingdom

See: My entire post about this bc I’m still annoyed.

Outstanding Performance by an Actor Who Did His Best Work Ever on the Revival Of A Beloved Series

Scott Patterson, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Unfortunately, Lauren Graham still didn’t get an Emmy nomination/win as Lorelai Gilmore (add that to the list of your Steve Carell/Michael Scotts and Amy Poehler/Leslie Knopes of the world), but I feel like she has a better chance at getting nominated/winning one in the future than Scott Patterson does. Look, I’m a hardcore GG fan, but I understand that one of the biggest things Scott has done since GG ended in 2007 was a Lifetime movie. But he’s the perfect Luke Danes. And never has he been more perfect than in this classic Luke Danes rant in the Fall episode of AYITL, when he finally tells Lorelai what he should’ve told her 10 years ago. That he’s not letting her go and willing to do anything to fix their relationship. It’s the best I’ve ever seen Scott Patterson, and he admittedly agrees that it’s also one of his favorite scenes/best work he’s done in the show.

Best Barb

Shannon Purser, Barb, Stranger Things

Shannon Purser did a perfectly good job in a perfectly fine role. It’s just that there was nothing terribly Emmy-worthy in Barb, no matter WHO played her. This nomination came about not because the role was incredible, but because people just … liked Barb. And they wanted her to have a nice thing. It feels like the time Uncle Jesse’s Forever was voted the prom song in my high school, c. 2001. The point is, we should free up a space in the already tight Best Supporting Actress category and make a special category for the Barbs of the TV world. Next year, whichever minor TV character is the Barb of that year can win, but the category would still be Best Barb.

Best Early Plot Twist

This Is Us

In case you missed it, the pilot of This Is Us centered on four people who share the same birthday: actor Kevin, family/ business man Randall, supporting-character-in-her-own-life Kate and expecting father Jack. During the last moments of the pilot, you come to realize that Jack’s storyline takes place in the late 1970s and that he is the father of Kate, Kevin and Randall – and that Randall was adopted after Kate and Kevin’s triplet died as a newborn. Phew. It was gorgeous and we owe it all to hipsters, whose aesthetic is so ‘working class couple in 1978’ that I never even questioned what year Jack and Rebecca lived in.

Best Late Plot Twist

The Good Place

Like the early-in-the-game plot twist, a later plot twist has its own perils – in this case, it’s that everything that happened before it has to make sense in light of what you’ve just learned. You spend all of The Good Place thinking that Ted Danson’s character did a piss-poor job of designing a corner of heaven, only to learn in the season finale that he did a brilliant job designing his characters’ personal hell. In a moment, it all made sense – how these seemingly cruddy people landed in heaven, how unrewarding the eternal reward was, the constant calamity. We fell in love with Ted Danson during our Cheers watch last year, and that love only deepened when he let out that sinister laugh and his very persona shifted before our eyes.

Best Denouement

Big Little Lies

Do you remember back to elementary or high school when you would diagram a story? Rising Action, Climax, Denouement, Conclusion? In Big Little Lies, you knew it was all leading up to the fundraiser night at the school, when somebody-we-know would get killed by somebody-else-we-know. The climactic scene on the slippery steps was fantastic. But that’s the point where lesser shows would give up. Without saying too much, Big Little Lies resolved itself beautifully, culminating in that heart-twisting scene on the beach when you finally exhale – and you didn’t even realize you had been holding your breath until that moment.

Best Political Commentary By Somebody Who Shouldn’t Have To Be Doing This

Seth Meyers, Late Night With Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers shouldn’t have to do this, but it’s 2018 and here we all are, getting schooled on our crumbling world by gently witty late-night comics.

Best Multi-Dimensional TV Mom (Comedy)

Constance Wu, Jessica, Fresh Off The Boat

Emmy voters love nominating moms, especially in the Best Actress In A Comedy category. They don’t especially love nominating multi-dimensional TV moms, though. Or maybe writers just don’t like writing them? Anyway, as a special incentive to show runners who love to flatline mom characters we’re including this special, moms-only category. This year the witty, salty mom-of-the-90s – who totally has her own interests and also a favorite kid – takes the prize. Constance Wu, we love you.

Best Integrated Musical Performance That’s Not Supposed To Be Impressive

“Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” Mr. Robot

It sounds really specific but it’s honestly not. This is a musical performance that is (1) part of a show and (2) not meant as a spectacle, a la Nashville or Empire. The winner is the one that furthers the action, touches viewers, or gives you deeper insight into the character. This year, it was Angela singing Everybody Wants To Rule The World in that karaoke scene on Mr. Robot. It’s like you can see and hear all of Angela’s conflicts in these few minutes – is she being true to herself, and her principles, and is the payoff even worth it, and does she want power for a purpose, or just to have it? – and it’s a beautifully cut scene to boot.

Ranking The New Crop Of TV Shows: 2017 Edition

Fall is here, and so is our annual Back To TV Week! Listen. There are good TV years, and there are bad TV years. 1994 saw the premieres of Friends, E.R., Party of Five and The Magic School bus, for instance. Alas, this is not Back to 1994 week, and let’s just say the cable and network offerings of 2017 are a bit more checkered. That’s why we’re using the red light/green light approach: shows that probably are not worth your time get a red light. Shows you might want to give a shot depending on what you’re into get the yellow light. Green light shows could still end up disappointing us, but they deserve a chance.

9JKL

Airs: Mondays, 8:30/7:30c, CBS

Premise: Mark Feuerstein lives in an apartment between his parents’ apartment and his brother’s apartment.

RED LIGHT: This looks bad, the reviews are bad, but it gets a yellow light if you really loved Raymond, I guess.

The Brave

Airs: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC

Premise: It’s like a procedural, but with military behind enemy lines.

YELLOW LIGHT: Early reviews reference “jingoism” and “rah rah conservatism” so I’m going to take a pass, thanks. If you’re a big fan of military dramas, then this is nothing groundbreaking but maybe it has a place in your schedule.

Dynasty

Airs: Wednesdays, 9/8c, The CW

Premise: It’s Dynasty, but now and with a Latina stepmother.

YELLOW LIGHT: If you like campy soaps, this is just the thing for you. If that’s not your thing, the light just turned red.

Ghosted

Airs: Sundays, 8:30/7:30c, Fox

Premise: A nonsense person (Adam Scott) and an incredulous person (Craig Robinson) ghostbust Los Angeles to help out the cops. It’s a comedy.

GREEN LIGHT: It’s like The X-Files but Ghostbusters but Adam Scott. I will absolutely give it a try.

The Gifted

Airs: Mondays, 9/8c, Fox

Premise: Kids have mutant powers; parents have to go underground due to government threats. It’s in the X-Men universe.

GREEN LIGHT: This is said to be the most-anticipated show of the year, and it piles on special effects, a solid cast, and an interesting premise. It doesn’t sound like  a genre I’m usually into, but I also would have said that about Orphan Black and look where we are now.

The Good Doctor

Airs: Mondays, 10/9c, NBC

Premise: Freddie Highmore, who is an adult now, is a pediatric surgeon with autism.

GREEN LIGHT: Premise sounds good, cast sounds good, reviews are decent – why not?

Please note: in our post of Fake New Shows of 2019  – it’s a good post, go read it – we had the following:

Jerry Maguire

In this TV adaptation of Jerry Maguire, Jerry is played by that British kid from Finding Neverland (Freddie Highmore).

The Gospel Of Kevin

Airs: Tuesdays, 10/9c, ABC

Premise: God needs Kevin (Jason Ritter) to save the world.

YELLOW LIGHT: It does not sound great, but Jason Ritter’s all right? If anything, I learned that a place of my brain remembers that OTHER show about an unlikely everyperson with a mission from God – Joan of Arcadia. Anyway, the premise also includes Kevin’s recent suicide attempt and him living with his widowed sister and niece, so I’m going to … not, I guess, unless people start raving.

Law & Order: True Crime: The Menendez Murders

Airs: Thursdays, 10/9c, NBC

Premise: Literally the whole deal is in the title. It’s an anthology thing.

GREEN LIGHT: Thing you should know about me: I often fall asleep to true crime documentaries because someone spray-painted over my soul or whatever. And for 8 weeks this fall, I will be falling asleep to this one.

But really, 90s crime series and specials, from O.J. to Jonbenet, have been all the rage, so this feels right on-trend. Also, it’s not a 90s crime anthology without a respected actress in a perm wig.

Marvel’s Inhumans

Airs: Fridays, 9/8c, ABC

Premise: I swear, none of it made sense to me –  but presumably if you’re into the Marvel universe it does.

RED LIGHT: There is, of course, a niche of people who will love this, but if you don’t already know that you’re one of those people you can skip this. Face it, Friday night is not a time slot for a show the network has great confidence in.

The Mayor

Airs: Tuesdays, 9:30/8:30c, ABC

Premise: A rapper runs for office as a stunt but he gets elected – then he is good at it!

GREEN LIGHT: I’d watch Daveed Diggs in anything, and this premise sounds like a lot of fun once I get past my instinctive shudder at the phrase “runs for office as a stunt but gets elected.”

Me, Myself & I

Airs: Mondays, 9:30/8:30c, CBS

Premise: This is the story of the same man at age 14 in 1991, in the present day at 40, and in the future at 65.

GREEN LIGHT: First of all, Bobby Moynihan. Second of all, 90s flashbacks. Third of all, a future-jump to the 2040s. This sounds fantastic, and I hope it lives up to its promising premise.

The Orville

Airs: Thursdays, 9/8c, Fox

Premise: It’s the future, and a crew is on a spaceship, but it’s kind of a crappy spaceship. It’s a dramedy.

RED LIGHT: This could go one of two ways. If successful, it will bridge the comedy and sci-fi genres; if not, it will alienate fans of both. Unfortunately, first reports lean toward the “not.”

S.W.A.T.

Airs: Thursdays, 10/9c, CBS

Premise: A SWAT lieutenant has dual loyalties – the streets and the police.

YELLOW LIGHT: On one hand, this is the very definition of “done before.” On the other hand, Shemar Moore. If you’re a police procedural fan then you might want to at least catch the pilot.

SEAL Team

Airs: Wednesdays, 9/8c, CBS

Premise: It’s a SEAL team.

YELLOW LIGHT: Word is people are really looking forward to this one. It’s not my cup of tea, but if it’s yours then you’ll probably also want to look into The Brave, profiled above.

Ten Days In The Valley

Airs: Sundays, 10/9c, ABC

Premise: The producer of a cop drama has a cop drama of her own when her daughter goes missing.

GREEN LIGHT: Reviews are good. Even better, this is a limited series – 10 episodes – which is the TV sweet-spot of taking your time with a story without drawing it out into unnecessary twists and turns.

Will & Grace

Airs: Thursdays, 8/7c, NBC

Premise: Will and Grace! Jack and Karen! Willandgraceandjackandkaren! Again!

GREEN LIGHT: Could this be the return of Must-See TV? Reboots have a spotty record, but this one looks like the real deal as long as it can avoid the Fuller House pitfall of making EVERYTHING into a winky nostalgia reference.

Wisdom Of The Crowd

Airs: Sunday, 8/7c, CBS

Premise: Solving crimes with a crowd-sourcing app.

YELLOW LIGHT: I’m bored of “X expert uses Y to solve crimes!” shows, but reviews are decent, so if that genre appeals to you then think about adding this one to your lineup.

Young Sheldon

Airs: Monday, 9/25, 8:30/7:30c, CBS

Premise: Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, but young – a child genius in the late 80s, starting high school.

GREEN LIGHT: If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory – because based on ratings, a LOT of people are fans of The Big Bang Theory. It doesn’t appeal to me at all, yet Young Sheldon looks really sweet. The child genius and 80s-throwback elements seem fun, and the pilot tested well. It’s enough to make me wish they had given the kid a different name and taken away the Big Bang Theory element, though I get that that is a huge draw for a lot of people. Fact is, Young Sheldon seems watchable whether you watch Big Bang or emphatically do not watch Big Bang.

I have a feeling that someday we will be saying that we liked Iain Armitage back when he was still Iain Loves Theatre.

 

Fall 2017 TV Rookies To Watch

It’s that time of year again! Kids are going back to school, and we’re going back to our regularly scheduled programming. Well, new programming that is.

Every year, we break down which fairly new actors in new shows you should pay attention to (see: Chrissy Metz, Bryan Tyree Henry, Donna Lynne Champlin and Priyanka Chopra). This year’s talent is no different, and we can’t wait to see them at work. Which rookies are you most excited to see?

Brandon Micheal Hall {The Mayor}

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Previous Work: Search Party, Broad City

Why You Should Watch Him: Brandon Micheal Hall plays young rapper Courtney Rose, who decides to run for public office as a publicity stunt. Except he ends up winning and becomes The Mayor. Brandon is charming and charismatic both as the character and as an actor – it’s no wonder why he won the popular vote. He’s also got a strong bench on the screen with Yvette Nicole Brown as his mom and Lea Michele as a rival campaign manager, but also off – one of the executive producers is Hamilton’s own Daveed Diggs.

When You Can Watch Him: Tuesdays @ 9:30pm on ABC (watch the trailer here)

Iain Armitage {Young Sheldon}

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Previous Work: Big Little Lies, The internet

Why You Should Watch Him: Speaking of Hamilton and Daveed, enter nine-year-old Iain Armitage, who Broadway nerds might know as his online persona, Iain Loves Theatre. Don’t know him as that? Watch him rapping at a #Ham4Ham with an assist from Daveed. Or you might know him as Shailene Woodley’s son on Big Little Lies. He’s only nine but going from BLL to a starring role in a network spinoff show of one of the most popular sitcoms ever, yeah, Iain’s not doing too bad. And he deserves all of it.

When You Can Watch Him: Mondays @ 8:30pm on CBS (watch the trailer here)

Bobby Moynihan {Me, Myself and I }

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Previous Work: Saturday Night Live, Sisters, When In Rome

Why You Should Watch Him: Not gonna lie I was pretty sad when one of my fave cast members left SNL, but like the Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader before him, he had to leave in order to get the proper stardom he deserved. In Bibby’s first starring TV role, he plays the middle aged version of Alex, a character we see at 9, 40, and 65 years old. Of course we all known Bobby’s hilarious, but he’s also got a ~sensitive side too, and that comes through just in the first look. While CBS comedies usually have a bad track record in my book, I’m hoping this one sticks around.

When You Can Watch Him: Mondays @ 9:30pm on CBS (watch the trailer here)

Anthony Ramos {She’s Gotta Have It}

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Previous Work: Hamilton, Younger, Law & Order: SVU, my dreams

Why You Should Watch Him: Never forget this tweet from Lin-Manuel Miranda in 2014: “This is Anthony Ramos. You don’t know him yet, but boy, will you. Kid’s a star.” Cut to a life-changing role in Hamilton, a role in Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born remake, and a new (old?) Spike Lee joint, all making this kid from Brooklyn a true star. The trailer that’s out now isn’t that good, but Anthony’s scene made me smile obnoxiously to myself, and if he can make me do that in 45 seconds, he’s bound to do that for all of us with an entire TV series.

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Thursday, November 23rd on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Josh Hutcherson {Future Man}

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Previous Work: The Hunger Games franchise, Journey to the Center of the Earth franchise, The Kids Are All Right

Why You Should Watch Him: The movie stars just keep coming over to TV. And for the bread boy, he opted to go with a reliable streaming service in Hulu with an even more reliable premise: he plays a time-travelling janitor who’s attempting to change the future without messing up the past. Does this mean it’s an alternate dystopia and he WON’T act like a lil bitch in The Hunger Games?

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Thursday, November 13th on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Sarah Gadon {Alias Grace}

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Previous Work: 11.22.63, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Belle

Why You Should Watch Her: I don’t think I’ve ever seen this talented woman on screen before, but judging by the trailer for this show, I am all freaking in. Margaret Atwood (who wrote the novel Alias Grace is based from) is having a great year.

When You Can Watch Him: The entire season comes out on Friday, November 3rd on Netflix (watch the trailer here)

Another Gay Buried… Will It Get Better?

Anyone else watch Kingdom? No, just me? Maybe this isn’t the target demo for the MMA-centered drama, which just had its series finale a couple weeks ago. The Audience Network (yeah, it’s only on DirecTV) show featured a variety of complex and troubled characters, including Matt Lauria (of Friday Night Lights & Parenthood fame) and Nick Jonas (of smokeshow fame).

TBH, these two are the main reasons I started watching in the first place, because fun fact about me: I hate violence – in media and obviously IRL. But then I got sucked in to the family drama of it all and watched all three seasons until the very end. An end that I was not pleased with. On the scale of bad finales, it wasn’t How I Met Your Mother, but somewhere near Dawson’s Creek and Jen’s heart condition.

For some background: Revered MMA fighter Alvey (Frank Grillo) runs his own gym, where his two sons, Jay (Jonathan Tucker) and youngest Nate (Nick) train to keep his legacy alive. Nate is a rising MMA fighter with a lot of promise, but has been weighed down by the fact that he’s gay and constantly trying to hide it. His mom and brother are the only ones who know about his secret since they live in a bubble fueled by testosterone. By the final season, Nate actually finds a match in Will, even though they still keep their relationship (and his homosexuality) on the DL. But his secret starts to make its way around the MMA circle, and in the final season, another fighter passes him in the hallway before a fight and calls his a faggot, giving Nate even more pause in considering his decision to come out.

This brings us to the penultimate episode, in which Nate finally decides to come clean to his father during a drunk night out. So maybe telling your dad you’re gay when he’s absolutely shitfaced isn’t the best idea, but he did it. He finally got the courage to live his truth to the biggest influence in his life, and it doesn’t go well. In fact, Alvey even says to Nate, “You gonna tell me you’re a fucking faggot?”, which clearly hits a nerve. Nate understandably gets mad and walks out of the bar, drunk Alvey attempts to get him to stay, and in their inherent violent nature, Nate takes a swing at his father to let out all that pent up anger and frustration of his Alvey’s lack of acceptance out. Jay butts in and pulls Alvey off, but when Nate thinks Alvey’s going in for a second round and it’s actually the bouncer with a gun, he shoots him. Dead. Right there in a bar parking lot in front of his dad and brother.

It’s a harrowing scene that sets up the series finale, in which we learn that, yes, Nate is actually dead. The entire finale focuses on how his loved ones to cope with the untimely loss of the one truly good guy in their family.

Ok. So. A few things. Let’s get this one out of the way first – Nick Jonas is a fantastic actor. If you’ve only seen him in Camp Rock, Kingdom will definitely change your mind about his skills. His performance is subtle, yet commandeering, natural and not over the top. He’s an animal when he gets in the ring, but plays the purest of hearts when taking care of his drug addict brother and mother. Just look at this scene when he confirms to his brother/idol that he’s gay. The nuances of his acting is comparable to that of any award-winning actor.

Alright, so back to Nate’s death. Let’s discuss how annoying it is in general that his death came in the second to last episode, which inherently meant the finale HAD to focus on his family & how they struggles in the aftermath. Too much time was spent in memorializing a character who didn’t need to die in the first place, when the finale could’ve spent more time giving fans insight on the path each of the main characters was heading, long after viewers leave them behind. To their credit, they did do this to some extent, but most of their character developments were propelled by Nate’s death, not of their own volition.

But most importantly, I couldn’t help but think of one thing while I was watching this all go down – WHY? Why did they decide to kill off a character just moments after he came out as gay to his alpha male father? What is the “lesson” to be learned from all of this? Here’s what Kingdom creator Byron Balasco told EW:

“I wanted there to be real consequences for Alvey in terms of the mistakes he made as a father and as a man. You have to be mindful of the way you treat the ones you love because you do not always get a chance to go back later and fix it… I wanted a tumbling of emotions that gathers momentum where things get away from the control of our characters. I didn’t want his death to be cloaked in any kind of shame. It’s not about Nate being gay; it’s more about the inability of these two men to understand each other and to be honest with how they truly feel about each other.”

Sure, ok. A relationship between father and son is tender and complicated, but does death justify your storytelling? And while he says it’s not about Nate being gay, the truth of the matter is that it is. You can’t tell me that writers during this golden age of television don’t know about the Bury Your Gays TV trope, and if they do, they obviously choose to ignore it.

Just in case you missed the memo, this trope is usually related to lesbian TV characters, but expands to the LGBTQ community as a whole, in which there has been a trend of disproportionate deaths of said characters, and more likely than not, used to advance a main (straight) character’s storyline. In this case, Nate died because Alvey needed to truly understand and comprehend the mistakes he’s made as a dad and general human being, and his resolution comes in the final scene of the series, in which he breaks down alone after winning the most important fight of his life. But none of this was worth it.

In fact, Nate’s death was even more infuriating due to the lack of acknowledgement of his homosexuality in the final episode. Yes, Jay honors Nate before his dad’s fight by confirming Nate was gay and calling out anyone who had ever been homophobic towards him when he was alive. But it bothered me so much that Nate’s boyfriend Will wasn’t even in the episode. Not at his funeral. Not when his family spread Nate’s ashes out on the ocean. He wasn’t even mentioned. No, Nate didn’t “die because he was gay”, but for sure let’s not actually mention anything related to the fact that he was gay with another man.

Of course, there are many TV viewers who wouldn’t be surprised to hear yet another gay character has been killed off a show:

At the recent Television Critics Association summer tour, GLAAD hosted a panel where they revealed research which showed that there are 278 regular and recurring LGBTQ characters on TV, a majority of them (142 to be exact) are on cable (EG: Audience Network), and most of them are gay white men (EG: Kingdom). Of those 278, there have been 62 gay and bi female characters who have fallen to the Bury Your Gays trope over the past two years.

Yes it’s great that more LGBTQ characters are popping up on TV, but why is it so difficult to give them a happy ending? Or at least one which doesn’t result in death? What does that say to viewers who relate to them in a way they never have before? Similarly, I mentioned this in my #FirstTimeISawMe post, but it bears repeating – yes, representation is important, but it’s the accurate portrayals of minorities that must also be given weight. Yes, more black characters! But no thanks on black thugs. Yes, more lesbian characters! But no me gusta tomboys being used as a punchline.

In this era of division amongst America in particular, those who find themselves in charge of creating shows and films shouldn’t make characters just to fill a quota or portray a particular narrative. Falling for harmful tropes such as Bury Your Gays is a disservice to fans who are obviously connecting to a show for a certain reason, and how non-LGBTQ members react to the already marginalized group as a whole. I hope the more backlash showrunners get, the more they realize this type of storytelling needs to stop. It get better? Guess we’ll have to wait see.

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: The Handmaid’s Tale

This weekend you could turn on your TV  to watch a totalitarian regime use self-serving but ostensibly biblical rationale to oppress women, the LGBT community, intellectuals and others – or you could turn the news off, flip over to Hulu and watch the first five episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale. We suggest the latter.

If you aren’t familiar with Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, you won’t need to know much before you watch the Hulu series. Creator Bruce Miller wonderfully establishes the setting and reveals information at a pace that will answer all your questions in time. The Handmaid’s Tale depicts life in Gilead, a quasi-biblical military dictatorship established in the former United States after the constitution was suspended sometime in the near future. With the birth rate drastically low, low-status fertile women are assigned to Commanders as “Handmaids” to bear their children if the commander’s wife is unable to conceive. There’s no real choice in the matter: the other option is to get shipped off to the “colonies” and clean up nuclear waste. The Handmaid’s Tale focuses on Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and her experiences with her commander (Joseph Fiennes), his wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) and fellow Handmaids (Alexis Bledel [Ofglen], Madeline Brewer [Janine], Samira Wiley [Moira]).

The Handmaid’s Tale Is So Timely It Will Scare You

Since Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985, it’s always had unsettling echoes of reality … but sometimes it’s extra prescient. In 1985 America was experiencing the rise of the Moral Majority – a far-right backlash to developments both negative (the rise of street drugs, the growth of the AIDS epidemic) and positive (the gains made by the ’70s Gay Liberation Movement and the reproductive rights developments in Griswold v. Connecticut  and Roe vs. Wade). The back-and-forth between periods of social progress and reactionary periods of regression are familiar to anyone who’s opened a history book. An adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale probably would have been well-received in the 90s or early 2000s, but the Hulu adaptation feels almost necessary now. With news stories about an Oklahoma bill requiring a man’s permission to get an abortion, the commodification of children in unethical surrogacy and adoption contracts, and gay men being rounded up into camps in Chechnya, it’s not hard to envision a future like Gilead.

In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood makes it clear that not long has passed between its 1980s publication and the establishment of Gilead– she refers to cassette tapes, 1950s military surplus and 1970s magazines all still in existence. Likewise, the Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in the near future: in flashbacks to Offred and Moira’s recent past, there are references to Tinder, Uber and Craigslist. If Gilead looks familiar it’s because it should – Atwood has commented that everything that happens in The Handmaid’s Tale has already happened somewhere in the world. Even smaller details are accurate, such as the Handmaids’, wives’ and Marthas’ (housekeeper/cook/maid) old-timey outfits —  they’re spot-on when you look deep into the trenches of some Christian Fundamentalist movements or the FLDS church, where womens’ wardrobes are a kind of Little House throwback.

The Handmaid’s Tale Is Probably Going To Win All The Acting Awards

… or at least it should. If you watched Mad Men you already know that Elisabeth Moss can do everything, but if not we’re letting you know: Elisabeth Moss can do everything. She seamlessly switches from young, carefree Offred, to Offred as a Handmaid concealing her distaste for the regime, at once defiant and compliant. Moss excels both in scenes without dialogue and in voice-overs (I especially enjoyed the voiceovers after re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale and getting to the epilogue — no spoilers, but I forgot about that part). Joseph Fiennes is just as the Commander should be: he’s clearly part of the regime, but you can’t help but have some questions about him. Yvonne Strahovski is delightfully icy as Serena Joy. I admit that when I read The Handmaid’s Tale I was expecting something a little more Tammy Faye Bakker, but she’s actually perfect for a 2017 version. I can just picture Serena Joy as the Pinterest-perfect upper-class housewife before Gilead.

The real revelation, though, is Alexis Bledel as Ofglen. We’re both longtime, reunion-panel-attending Gilmore Girls fans, but having only seen Alexis as Rory I didn’t really know what range she is capable of. In one instant you can see why Offred believes that Ofglen is totally sold on the Gilead lifestyle, and in the next you understand that Ofglen is a rebel. Ofglen is both unbreakable and quietly devastated, and Alexis’s innocent appearance is used to better end here than it is in Gilmore Girls; as Vanity Fair noted, “she’s less Bambi here and more trapped bird.”

For what it’s worth, in my notes I wrote “somebody should have told me Samira Wiley was in this,” so I’m telling you now. If Poussey was one of your favorites in Orange Is The New Black, you’ll absolutely love Samira as the ebullient Moira in The Handmaid’s Tale. If Moira’s character in the Hulu series has the same outcome as Moira in the novel, I can’t wait to see it, but at least through episode 5 she is seen only in flashbacks.

The Handmaid’s Tale Works Really, Really Well As A Show

Many books suffer in film adaptations, and I think even more suffer in television adaptations. However, the Hulu limited series is the perfect way to adapt The Handmaid’s Tale. The format has allowed for expanded stories of some of the characters — for instance, Ofglen has a bigger backstory and a different fate in the show; we have filled in Moira and Offred’s history, but there is still more of Moira’s future to come as of episode 5. Although some characters have been altered or expanded on a bit, every change preserves the spirit of the book. Bruce Miller also made the wise choice of adding in details to show that we aren’t too far off from 2017. Now that The Handmaid’s Tale has been renewed for a second season, I do wonder how the comparison to the book will pan out. Does the first season encapsulate the whole novel, or will the season end partway through? If you have read the book, you’ll know that the Epilogue gives fodder for how the show could continue if season one does end with the book.

Still, I’d argue that all of the best adaptations succeed because they can be enjoyed on their own merits, and that’s my belief of The Handmaid’s Tale. The whitewashed lighting and beautiful set and costume design lend a real cinematic feel, and the writing includes plenty of time for suspense and speculation — but it doesn’t go full Lost and add a ton of elements that the viewer doesn’t have time to make sense of. Even the songs at the end of each episode are perfect. It’s dystopian fiction without any teens being sorted, and it’s grounded enough in reality that you won’t feel like it’s set on a different planet. The Handmaid’s Tale is a series so gripping that when I remember it’s Wednesday and a new episode is up, I’m more than happy to switch off the news. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches.

‘Anne With An E’ Thoughts, And Other Anne Reading

Where my kindred spirits at?

We are mere days from the Netflix premiere of ‘Anne With An E,’ but I had the pleasure of viewing the first two episodes earlier this spring when my Canadian TV signal was coming in. There’s a lot to be excited about,  so I’ll just mention a few things now:

  • In an epic Meeting Of The Canadian Cultural Icons, the opening titles of ‘Anne With An E’ are set to The Tragically Hip’s Ahead By A Century, giving the song a new meaning and perfectly encapsulating Anne.
  • The aesthetics are phenomenal. The ‘Anne With An E’ production strove for authenticity in its sets and costumes, but certainly also to meet a modern appeal. To wit: the puffed sleeve dress won’t look as ’80s as the one in the (dearly, deservedly beloved) Megan Follows version. Yes, that ’80s dress was historically accurate, but the choice was one that complimented a 1980s aesthetic; the choices in this production, similarly, are historically accurate but complement a 2017 aesthetic. That is to say that many of the rooms in Green Gables are beautifully bare and folksy, like a Kinfolk spread. Both the CBC and Netflix premieres included flower crowns and a flower wall. The town shots of Avonlea are a little more ‘gritty’ and a little less Little House on the Prairie. The colors are at once washed out and sepia-tinged. It’s just PRETTY, in a way any production set in Prince Edward Island should be. You can see what Anne’s swooning over.
  • ‘Anne With An E’ does depart from the books, for better or worse. I hate to bemoan too much imagination in a discussion of Anne of Green Gables, of all things… plus the (dearly, deservedly beloved) Megan Follows version strayed from the books in its own ways. With this adaptation helmed by Breaking Bad writer Moira Walley-Beckett, safe to say things are considerably darker. There are two arguments to be made here. The first is that Lucy Maud Montgomery knew darkness as a child, as her mother died when she was very young and her father effectively abandoned her, but chose a light and optimistic outlook in the Anne novels. The second is that the darkness is implicit in the Anne series anyway. We know Anne was overworked and abused in her earlier placements, and we knew of her loneliness in the orphanage. Her use of imagination as an escape permeates Anne of Green Gables, especially. She does face rejection and fear abandonment; she cannot remember being loved.
  • However, some plot devices that were used to increase the dramatic tension in ‘Anne With An E’ felt unnecessary. The classic Anne debacles – the hair dye, the ridgepole, the Lady of Shalott business, good Lord, the cordial – are enough.
  • I think Anne Shirley was always a feminist, but ‘Anne With An E’ couches that in more modern terminology. For instance, Anne tells Marilla that girls can do anything boys can. It struck me as anachronistic, but then I remembered my niece who I’ll be watching this with and realized that it’s not for me. I’ll take some improbable dialogue if it’s to a good end, especially in a children’s series. I’d compare it to the 1994 adaptation of Little Women that way.

  • Finally, if there’s one reason to give this adaptation of Anne a chance, it’s Anne herself. Amybeth McNulty is the closest to the Anne of my imagination of any actress so far. Anne is aged up to 13 in this series, and Amybeth really does look like a 13-year-old who sees herself as scrawny; it was hard to suspend disbelief when the wonderful Megan Follows looked 17 in the first movie. Amybeth has just the right intelligence and spirit behind her eyes to make a convincing Anne, effectively conveying Anne’s disappointment, trauma and high-flying spirit. If I was 15 I’d totally want to be bosom friends with her.

The take-away: ‘Anne With An E’ – or any Anne adaptation – won’t meet muster for some fans of the 1985 CBC series Anne of Green Gables, but there’s a lot to love if you judge it on its own merits. I’ve loved Anne since I first read Anne of Green Gables in second grade, and I enjoyed the episodes I saw of ‘Anne With An E’ enough that I’m anxious to see the rest of the series. You could say that some liberties were taken with the stories, but you could also say that there was plenty of scope for the imagination in the original texts.

Other Anne Reading
Marilla Cuthbert Was a Creepy Church Hag

My analysis of Marilla Cuthbert – whom I love, of course – as a creepo who kind of did try to buy a child to do chores. And if you have enough cash-money to buy a human child, you can buy her the ugly sleeves she wants, right?

Gilbert Blythe, Dream Man or D-Bag

Is Gilbert Blythe a swoon-worthy match for Anne or a total jerk who should leave her alone? Both? Neither? Or is the problem with Anne herself? Join me on the journey to unravel basically every weird romantic situation I’ve ever been in.

Anne of Green Gables 2013

Several years ago there were rumors of a modern-day Anne of Green Gables adaptation. I tried to parse out what, exactly, that would look like. Mr. Phillips and Prissy Andrews? Yeah, that’s a Dateline special waiting to happen.

Questions, Comments, Concerns: Anne Of Green Gables

Because I’ve never skipped an Anne of Green Gables adaptation, I wrote about the PBS version that aired in November of 2016. Takeaway: it was fine, I guess.

Related articles

Ridiculous Pretty Little Liars Plot Lines You Forgot Happened

It’s been a very long, twisty road, PLL Army, but we’re finally at the end of the road.

Season 7(B) of teen drama Pretty Little Liars kicks off tomorrow, and honestly, it’s about time. Regular viewers got sucked into the mystery of “Who Is A?”, the mysterious person who stalked, tortured, and harassed teenage girls for years. Everyone became a professional conspiracy theorist, taking every single hint on the show and turning it into their own personal A lair.

And fans can attest that throughout the seven years there has been more than enough red herrings and insane moments that either made us question what the eff was going on, or why the eff we’re still watching this show. And there are so many of them that it’s hard to remember every single one. Before we dig into the final 10 episodes, let’s take a look back at the previous 150 episodes and see just how many ridiculous plot lines we’ve had to accept as canon over the past seven seasons.

  • Before Emily came out as a lesbian, she had a boyfriend named StraightGuy. At one point, he attempted to assault her in the girls’ locker room, but Toby came to rescue and beat him up. Tender is the Toby/Emily friendship.
  • While glamping, A hits Hanna with a car. At this point in the timeline, Mona is A. Mona aka Hanna’s BFF, hits her with a vehicle.
  • Spencer, the most scholarly of the liars, willingly takes off her bra in order to get back on the Decathlon team. It’s the Sixteen Candles underwear scene of Rosewood.
  • Rando You’ll Never Meet Again #4 is Duncan Albert, a dude who used to be Alison’s secret summer boy toy. He arrives to Rosewood in hopes of meeting with “Vivian Darkbloom” (TL;DR) and ends up meeting Aria. He happens to have his pilot’s license, so natch he invited her up in his two-seater for a romantic fly over Pennsylvania. And then he LETS ARIA, WITH NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE, STEER THE GD PLANE.

  • Caleb just lived in the school. IN the school.
  • Mona falls off a cliff. And lives.
  • Emily gets a gift from A, and instead of a Tiffany’s necklace, she gets a necklace made of out teeth – teeth that belonged to her dead girlfriend.
  • Speaking of teeth (BECAUSE THAT’S THE TYPE OF SHOW THIS IS), instead of giving a teeth necklace to Hanna, A decided to play dentist by performing surgery on her while she was unconscious, and then left the world’s tiniest message in her tooth.

  • The girls became models for a bridal show (again, they’re teenagers), and Spencer finds out that her corset wasn’t the most comfortable because it had finger bones in it. Duh.
  • Ravenswood.
  • In order to relieve stress for a v important swim meet that could determine her collegiate future, Emily rubs muscle lotion cream on herself to make her calm down. Except the cream was actually poisonous steroid cream that A obvs had a hand in. At the hospital, Em got even more bad news, because doctors discovered the steroids in her blood, which is never good for someone who wants to be a professional swimmer.
  • Aria’s dad’s mistress (and later Rosewood High teacher) Meredith, tends to a sick Aria, not in a ‘let me make you chicken soup’ kind of way, but in the ‘i’mma slip drugs into her hot tea’ kind of way. And then she locks her inside her bedroom, but when Aria tries to get out, Meredith knocks her unconscious. Hanna and Emily arrive to help save Aria, but then Meredith locks them up too. Reminder: all these girls are high schoolers.
  • Spencer gets trapped in a sauna:

  • Spencer and Aria get trapped in a freezer:

  • Emily and Jason get trapped in an elevator:

  • Emily gets trapped in a coffin (which is on a conveyor belt closing in on a chainsaw):

  • Aria gets trapped in a box on a Halloween train (with a dead body):

  • Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna all get trapped in a dollhouse (complete with replicas of their own real bedrooms):

  • Not only does Spencer have an Adderall addiction, but it’s actually a relapse since she was hooked on the drug before. There’s even a scene where Maddie Ziegler shows up in Spencer’s drug-addled dream:

  • During one of PLL’s famous Halloween episodes, a little girls shows up at Hanna’s house looking for her mom. Instead of, I don’t know, calling the police (which everyone in Rosewood apparently has an aversion to), Hanna’s mom Ashley leaves her alone in one of their rooms, but when she comes back to find her, little girl is gone – BECAUSE SHE WAS A GHOST.
  • There was a bird named Tippi who repeatedly sang a phone number
  • And this. This is what Toby looks like in jail:

Ranking The New Crop of TV Shows: Fall 2016 Edition

It’s well known we’re currently living in the Golden Age of Television, inundated with just way too much great TV. It’s honestly such a burden, I don’t know how any of us make it through the day. So with our precious time at stake, we have to skim the fat and decide which shows are worth our time. This problem is even more prominent in the fall when a whole new crop of programs come into our lives vying for our love and affection. Luckily, with every new batch of freshman shows, there’s always ones that turn out to be the next Jane the Virgin and ones that will probably end up being more like Wicked City. Exactly. So we’re here to help you decide which shows to let into your life and which ones you can do without.

Definitely Watch This

This Is Us

What: A drama about a loosely connected group of people (think Crash, Love Actually) who were all born on the same day. Fills the character-driven, life-affirming drama spot vacated by the likes of Parenthood and Friday Night Lights.

Why: So I got to see the first episode a couple months ago and I think it’s maybe the best pilot I’ve ever seen? Including Friday Night Lights? I laughed. I cried. I gasped. I screamed. I cried again. It’s everything that you want in a Parenthood/FNL-type show and more. When the trailer was released during upfront week in May, it made history when it was viewed over 15 million times in a little over 48 hours on Facebook. And all those people better tune in come September 20th. On top of it being a well written and unique show, it features Milo Ventimiglia & Mandy Moore as new parents, the dude from Passions and Chrissy Metz as twins, and The People Vs OJ Simpson’s Sterling K. Brown making you wonder why he isn’t more popular yet again. Seriously, you’re going to be missing out at 11:01pm if you don’t watch live. I have a feeling it’s going to be trending on Twitter. And in a good way.

When: Tuesday, September 20th @ 10pm on NBC

The Good Place

What: Centers on a woman (Kristen Bell) who was killed and wakes up in the afterlife aka The Good Place. She’s stuck in a world where everyone is nice, and she’s caught between staying in The Good Place or trying to find a way to return to the mundane life she had back on Earth.

Why: Do you miss Parks and Rec? Love Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Like comedy? Mike Schur, the creator of both those shows, has created The Good Place, which is the right place for you. It’s one of the most promising new shows with the best people starring in it – Kristen Bell and our 80s/90s crush Ted Danson. Plus, we know the writing will be up to par based on Schur’s resume alone, so all these things make for a series that’s better than good.

When: Monday, September 19th @10pm on NBC

Maybe Watch This

Pitch

What: Centers on a young female pitcher (Kylie Bunbury) who defies the odds when she becomes the first woman to play in the major leagues.

Why: Can you believe a woman can be a baseball player? CRAZY, right? Well you better buckle up, skeptical men, because it’s gonna happen and it’s gonna be great. In this fictional world, we get to see the drama behind the woman, and I am here for it. Especially since Mark-Paul Gosselaar is in it. God bless you, preppy.

When: Thursday, September 22nd @9pm on FOX

Atlanta

What: Centers on an ambitious college drop-out and his estranged cousin, who suddenly becomes a star in the Atlanta rap scene. Donald Glover, who created, executive produces and stars in the show, jokingly described it as “Twin Peaks for black people”.

Why: If you’ve ever seen him do stand-up or listened to Childish Gambino, Donald Glover has always had a unique voice that’s not really anything similar to what others are putting out in the world. Enter Atlanta. If you’re looking for Community 2.0, I don’t think this will be your answer, but I imagine it will be as well-written as the first few seasons of Community, but with, you know, more substance. Also, Donald Glover needs us to do this for him. He’s given so much to us, it’s the least we can do.

When: Tuesday, September 6th @ 10pm on FX

Designated Survivor

What: A low-level Cabinet member becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession.

Why: Although the concept sounds a LITTLE like ABC Drama Word Soup (Cabinet! President! Catastrophe! Lines of Succession!), the trailer is solid and, if Scandal and The West Wing has taught us anything, it’s that presidential dramas make for great television.

When: Wednesday, September 21st @ 10pm on ABC

Lethal Weapon

What: Based on the feature film of the same name, Lethal Weapon centers on a Texas cop/former Navy SEAL suffers the loss of his wife and baby and he moves to LA for a new life. He gets paired up with Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans Sr.), who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life. Comedy and action ensue.

Why: TBH, I’ve never even seen any of the Lethal Weapon movies. But this trailer actually appeals to me for some reason? Maybe it’s because I have nothing to compare it to, but on its own, the story looks compelling, so why not try it out?

When: Wednesday, September 21st @ 8pm on FOX

Frequency and Timeless

What: Two shows built around the concept of time travel.

Why: I’ve been obsessed with time travel since I read H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine in fourth grade – but with such similar concepts and with two OTHER time travel shows set to premier mid-season, these shows will have to duke it out for a spot on our schedule. Here’s what we’re looking at:

  • Frequency – a police detective communicates with her father, who died in 1996, via radio
  • Timeless – a criminal steals a time machine to ruin America; other time travelers have to go stop him.

Check back in January when we introduce Making History and Time After Time, the midseason replacement time travel programs. Too much of a good thing, perhaps?

When: Frequency – Wednesday, October 5 on the CW; Timeless – Monday, October 3 @ 10pm on NBC

Pure Genius

What: A tech billionaire and a surgeon team up to build a hospital that uses innovative technology and doesn’t burden the patients with sky-high bills. Believe it or not, it is not billed as a fantasy (can we get an ‘amen’ from anyone who got a surprise ER bill recently?).

Why: The concept doesn’t grab me right away, but the show was created by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and we will watch anything he creates or produces because he has earned it. This man gave us Tim Riggins, Tami Taylor and the Bravermans; we can give him an hour of our time.

When: Thursday, October 27 @ 10pm on CBS

Speechless

What: A middle-class family moves to an affluent area to provide better opportunities for son JJ, who has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal.

Why: Some of the ABC Wednesday Night Family Sitcom Lineup (modern TGIF, basically) is very good; some of it is mediocre. This show has potential to be one of the better ones; besides, there aren’t enough characters or actors with disabilities on television and when one comes around, we like to give it the benefit of our viewership numbers.

When: Wednesday, September 21 @ 8:30pm on ABC

The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey

What: A six-hour docuseries about the murder of JonBenet Ramsey and the theories about who killed her.

Why: Between Serial and Making A Murderer, true crime is having a moment. There are several JonBenet documentaries leading up to the 20th anniversary of her death (CBS and A&E series, a Lifetime movie, and ID and Dateline NBC specials), but with a full-scale replica of the Ramsey home and six hours to devote to all of the theories and loose ends, this one is our pick. Also, we need you to watch so we have somebody to discuss our 20-year-old suspicions with.

When: Sunday, September 18 @ 8:30PM.

Don’t Waste Your Time

Kevin Can Wait

What: It’s like CBS bingo: Kevin James. Cop. Family life. Skinny wife.

Why: See Above.

When: Monday, September 19 @ 8:30pm on CBS

The Great Indoors

What: Joel McHale works with millennials in some kind of internet office

Why: Look. This was on our “maybe” list until I watched the trailer. It’s all “millennials love the internet and texting and vocal fry” jokes, with a side of “gay joke where the whole punchline is just that a person is gay and another person said it.” Basically The Big Bang Theory with hipsters instead of nerds.

When: Thursday, October 27 @ 8:30pm on CBS

MacGyver

What: A reboot of MacGyver.

Why: I’m just not confident that anyone who wants this is still alive.

When: Friday, September 23 @ 8pm on CBS

Basically Anything On CBS

What: Most of the shows on CBS

Why: Remember when CBS had the reputation as the Grandma channel (Touched By An Angel, Dr. Quinn, Everybody Loves Raymond), and then they went after suburbanites with their Fat Guy/Skinny Wife lineup, and then they redeemed themselves with How I Met Your Mother, and then they completely betrayed our trust with that finale? They’re going to have to earn it back, and that hasn’t happened yet.

When: Monday-Friday @ 8pm – 11pm on CBS

Cheers Chats #7: Thanksgiving Orphans

It’s Thanksgiving in July! We’re back for more Cheers and we’re chatting turkey and food fights and possibly the show’s best episode ever.

Episode 5.9: Thanksgiving Orphans

Originally aired: November 27th, 1986

Netflix synopsis: Diane is among a select few graduate students one of her professors has asked to spend Thanksgiving with his family, in the pilgrim tradition.

Previously, on Cheers

T: We’ve skipped an entire season and it happens to be Coach’s last season. Nicholas Colasanto passed away in real life from a heart attack, but in the show, they didn’t really explain how he died. Woody Harrelson comes in to replace him and he not only replaces Coach as another bartender, but as the one to tell all the stupid jokes now. For some reason I can tolerate it way more than Coach?  

Case in point, the first joke in the cold open:

“Boy, it seems like Christmas comes earlier every year, doesn’t it?” Sam

“I think if you check, Sam, it always comes on the 25th of December.” Woody

M: “This is my first Thanksgiving away from home. I mean, unless you count last year” – my boo, Woody.

I kind of feel bad that I said before that Coach was the character they kept around in case they needed something bad to happen to somebody but also … accurate?

T: Sam and Diane aren’t back together but still mackin’ on each other. At the end of season 4, when Sam is dating Kate Mulgrew, the finale ends with a cliffhanger in which he calls someone and asks the person on the other end to marry him. However, it wasn’t until the S5 premiere that we find out it’s Diane. She makes him propose again in a more romantic way, but then she says no because she feels like she’s his rebound from Kate Mulgrew, making Diane even more annoying. Ever since, they’ve been on and off and it’s like fahkin get it together people.

M: Carla, I think, had another baby, right? And I now have a theory that Cheers is to blame for show runners thinking audiences love “will they/won’t they” romances.

T: Oh and Frasier stuck around. Probs because he has a spin-off to look forward to.

So What Had Happened Was…

(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)

T: Diane’s professor invites select guests to a Thanksgiving dinner much like Professor Slughorn’s Slug Club Christmas party. But she ends up at Carla’s with the rest of the gang after she showed up at the Slug Club only to find out she had only been invited to serve as a waitress.

M: I got so excited when I saw we were writing about a Thanksgiving episode – usually some of my favorite sitcom eps!

Did we even know that Diane was still in school? I thought she was like 30. By the way, Diane is an 80s Muggle Hermione Granger what with all her sucking up to the professor. Except, you know, not written by JK Rowling.

T: Carla holds Thanksgiving at her new place (right next to the airport), but everyone’s got their own problems. Norm, who brought a frozen turkey to Thanksgiving, has a big fight with Vera, Sam’s date doesn’t show up, while Fraiser is annoyed with the guys constantly moving the TV.

M: It’s neither here nor there, but Carla’s apartment set is where the change in aspect ratio for Netflix really stood out. There were just like 3 feet of plain white wall above her wallpaper and paneling.

T: The tension in the room is so palpable but it’s finally broken with a food fight, resulting in the best scene to date.

T: Plus they cheered for Coach, which was almost enough for me to cry.

M: So far, this is the first of our Cheers Chats episodes that I would recommend to someone who had never seen the show so they’d understand how great it is.

T: Sidenote: I love Woody’s friendship with Diane it’s so tender.

Carla’s My Boo

T: Woody says he’s thankful he can do  a weird thing with his tongue, and everyone’s response is to do weird shit too. Sam licks his plate for some reason and Carla has her leg wrapped around her head which explains why she has 8 children.

Shut Up, Diane

T: Perfect example of Diane needing to shut up is when she makes everyone go around and say what they’re thankful for. She gets up and says:

“…But on this very special occasion, my mind goes back over the years to the people who have influenced me. And I would like to name some of them for you. Teilhard Chardin, George Sand, Caravaggio. Oh, Emily Dickinson, the Buddha, Frank Lloyd Wright [time jump cut] Jean d’Arc, Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop.”

M: I was picturing Lisa Simpson’s Thanksgiving centerpiece the whole time:

It featured Georgia O’Keefe and Susan B Anthony.

 

M: I do feel a little sorry for Diane in her Pilgrim outfit grumbling that serving as waitstaff for her professor might be okay when you’re a “wide-eyed 19 year old, but not when you’re… not.” Which I guess answered my question about whether she’s a mature student.

T: Diane has to be a party pooper and attempt to end the food night and she gets all Red Ross like when Ross’ angry side comes out when he plays rugby on Friends. 

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

T: Diane gets jealous and whines about Sam having a date for Thanksgiving.

“Besides, I know that we’ll have many holidays together when you and I are one.” Diane

“You already are one, Diane.” Sam

M: “I’m thankful that I have a super car and a cool stereo and I’m not wearing a pilgrim outfit” – SAMUEL. Just make out with her.

T: Diane is all cutesy with Sam after his date ends up spending TGives with her sister instead of going to TGives at Carla’s

No, I’m serious. I had a date and it fell through. Sam

Oh, you don’t have to convince me, Sam. I believe you. Diane

I’m telling you the truth. Sam

And I love you for it. Diane

T: Sam is the first to throw beets? And at Diane, no less.

LLOL

(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

There’s a scene where the guys are sitting around the TV watching a WWF match featuring Hulk Hogan. The actual scene wasn’t necessarily funny but LOL at Hulk Hogan

Just sort of generally everything Woody said was great. Not the words, but the delivery.

“The little pop thing has a name, can we all say thermometer” – Frasier. Then everyone says “thermometer,” but angrily.

“Please, please! We are not here to be thankful for strange things we can do with our bodies.” Diane

Diane tries to get back at Sam and she attempts to throw a pie at him, but lands right on the face of Vera, who decides to come after all. WE ALMOST SAW VERA’S FACE. Is she like Mr. Kim or Wilson from Home Improvement. And apparently this is the only time we “see” Vera in the whole series.

M: When the food fight starts in earnest, Diane tries to break it up with a guttural yell like she’s Leslie Knope v. Eagleton.

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

 “This time of year is filled with arguments, suicides, murders. Yeah, I guess it’s the seasonal happiness of others tends to throw a glaring light on the flaws in our own interpersonal relationships. But see, of course, that’s no problem for me. I’m alone.” Fraiser

“Are you kiddin’? I did my part this year. I was in “Hands Across America,” remember?” Cliff refusing to volunteer at the soup kitchen for TGives with his mom

“Oh, who the hell do we think we’re kidding? We’re all a bunch of pathetic dropouts. Scorned by our loved ones, as if anybody ever loved us at all.” Fraiser

Cheers Queries

T: What ever happened to Woody’s hometown girlfriend? I don’t think they ever explained that.

T: Why is Norm the only one in charge of the turkey? Why don’t they try to help?

M: Couldn’t they have at least started with the sides when they were warm?

Barfly Fashion

Diane’s Thanksgiving Outfit

She describes this as “An absolutely authentic example of feminine colonial headwear.”

Carla’s leopard print shirt

Carla’s got a new stylist and it’s called the effects of the ’80s.

Sam’s plaid jacket

It’s Thanksgiving, not Easter, Sam. But also it might not be clear in this pic, but he is V tan.

Woody’s red sweater

More specifically the napkin. It’s to do with the napkin.

Final Thoughts

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss season six, episode 23, Bar Wars.