Season 7, Episode 10: Hide
– Posted by Sage
To be perfectly honest, the convoluted plotting of Series 6 left me exhausted and more than a little frustrated with Doctor Who. I was missing the standalone episodes that pluck the Doctor and friends out of their own serial dramas and get them busy having a good old fashioned adventure. Happily, the good lord Moffat has heard my cries, and Series 7 has been rich in “Monster of the Week” fun. I was SO looking forward to watching and recapping “Hide,” which seemed to have all the hallmarks of a spooky Doctor Who classic. A huge, fuck-off Victorian manor? Check. Attractive ghost hunters in tasteful 70s fashions? Check. A scary thunderstorm? You got it. It’s ghost time.
The Doctor and Clara show up on the door step of Downton Shabby to meet aforementioned good-looking explorers Emma Grayling (Jessica Raine, who is also starring as Verity Lambert in the dramatization of Who‘s origin story) and Major Alec Palmer (Dougray Scott – Drew Barrymore’s prince – you’re welcome). And then the Doctor does that thing where he meets someone he admires and shamelessly fangirls him. Alec is a seeker of knowledge – a man who bought a huge, fuck-off Victorian manor just so he could investigate its haunting – just the Doctor’s type.
But it’s not all man-crushes and toggle switches. Alec is haunted, not by the Caliban Ghast, but by the ghosts of his past. He has killed and “has caused to have killed” and he really doesn’t know how else to live his life but to keep on reaching out for the next mystery. Sound like anyone we know?
Like the Doctor, Alec is not alone. The lovely Emma serves his project as an empathic psychic – he catalogs the appearances of the ghast, while Emma interprets her emotions. But she also gives him a reason to hold on. The Major is not exactly forthcoming with his feelings about her though, until the moment of crisis arrives. (SOUND LIKE ANYONE WE KNOW?) “You brought me back from the dead,” he tells her.
And here is where I launch into my frantic analysis of the Rose Tyler parallels and allusions in this episode. I know that I am biased, and maybe I’m seeing things that I want to see, but writer Neil Cross (Luther showrunner, “The Rings of Akhaten”) has packed so many references into this episode that I can’t be making them ALL up:
- The “ghost”, really time traveler Hilla Tacorien, is stuck in a pocket universe, not a parallel one. But the term is bandied about quite a bit, with Clara trying to understand the difference between the two. Don’t tell me there isn’t a pang in his hearts when someone says those words.
- The original ghostbusters.
- The Doctor takes Clara to the end of the earth to prove his theory about Hilla’s whereabouts (whenabouts?). At the VERY SAME MOMENT, Nine and Rose are holding hands and watching the planet’s death from Platform One. Stop taking your dates to watch the world end, Doctor. It makes us feel very insignificant.
- When they say goodbye, Alec asks the Doctor what he and Emma should do now. The Doctor tells them to “hold hands.” “Keep doing that, and don’t let go.” I juuuuust…
- In fact, the entire relationship between Alec and Emma is very Rose and Doctor-esque. I wrote in one of my playlist posts about Rose’s deep empathy for the Doctor. More than any other modern companion, she seemed to feel what he was feeling. (“Girl in the Fireplace” is the ultimate proof of that.) And Emma is an empath – very literally able to do that. That skill serves Alec personally more than professionally. He needed someone to bring him back, someone who would only consider his past mistakes in terms of how they still affect him. This is so Rose and Nine that it hurts.
- The moment where everyone in the Doctor/Rose fandom fell apart: “It’s the oldest story in the universe, this one or any other. Boy and girl fall in love, get separated by events, war, politics, accidents in time. Since they’ve been yearning for each other, across time and space across dimensions! It’s not a ghost story, it’s a love story!”
Now that I have that out of my system, let’s get back to the companion at hand. Just because this was a MoTW ep, it doesn’t mean that the Clara mystery was ignored. Quite the contrary. The whole reason that the Doctor came to meet Alec and Emma in 1974 was to learn more about the impossible girl. Emma is sure that Clara is completely normal. But Emma is an empath, not a Time Lord. She doesn’t have the depth of knowledge to explain entities from other worlds or times. She could only feel what Hilla felt, not identify her origin. So: the only way she could explain Clara would be if Clara HERSELF knew what she was. Am I rambling? I feel like I’m rambling.
Besides Emma’s analysis, the other Clara clues in “Hide” were the pops of bright red that are always near her (this time, the umbrella and her signature bag) and the fact that the TARDIS still rejects her. The TARDIS was giving me serious Tinkerbell vibes this episode, especially when she used Clara’s own image for the visual interface. Is she jealous, or does her dislike have to do with the anomaly of Clara? As others have pointed out, the TARDIS also doesn’t like Jack – another impossibility. The Doctor brushes the friction off when she mentions it, but I think he’s weighing it along with the rest of the clues to Clara.
Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 13: Emergency Response, Producer’s Cut
– Posted by Sage
This is Willa Tremaine reporting to you from Head Over Feels, where we’ve just watched the extended producer’s cut of another classic episode of Parks and Recreation. If you’ve only seen the version that aired on NBC Thursday night, proceed immediately to Hulu and enjoy the episode plus some killer extra scenes. Now, back to our regularly scheduled recap.
It’s the moment of reckoning for this season’s great white whale, the Pawnee Commons Project. Despite Jamm’s best efforts to bribe the planning commission with Paunch Burger’s Greasy Lardbombs™, the group is still behind Leslie’s proposed park. The problem is that the park isn’t fully funded – there’s a $50k hole. Leslie mopes about the seemingly insurmountable gap while she and Ben head troll Macy’s (a rare obvious product placement for this show) with Tom to register for their wedding gifts. Ben comes up with a plan: they’ll register for the park instead. Beslie are purer of heart than your recapper, because I would be Harlem Shaking down the aisles with Tom and pointing that little gun thing on everything that wasn’t nailed down. Also, how does planning a gala fundraiser preclude you from having a wedding registry? I’m really upset about this, because I have more fantasies about registering than my actual wedding.
Team Parks Department kicks into action, as they are wont to do. Put together a black tie gala in one week? They won’t even break a sweat. “Breaking a sweat” is probably on both Tom and Donna’s “Oh No-Nos” lists. But crisis comes in the form of well, a fake crisis. Leonard Chulm, head of the Indiana Department of Emergency Preparedness (hey, Matt Walsh!) rolls into town to throw a emergency preparedness drill at Pawnee and (quelle surprise) Emergency Czar Leslie. We’ve got an outbreak of avian flu, ya’ll. I hope you’re prepared to bathtub-drown all the birds in town.
On any other day, Leslie would HAVE this. She’s prepared for every scenario, with binders and fake news casts at the ready. But passing the drill will likely mean losing Pawnee Commons forever. This is Lot 48. It represents every dream Leslie has ever had for herself and for Pawnee. She cannot let it end up in the hands of Jamm, ghost or otherwise.
So she makes the call: to save the town, she must destroy it. She puts her containment and recovery plans into reverse and quickly ensures that the entire town is soon struck down by bird flu. And if all our citizens are as over-therapized as Chris Traeger, they’ll be pretty psyched about it. (“I’m dead!) Off to save the gala – suck it, Jamm!
But if we’ve learned anything in the past few seasons of Parks besides some awesome nicknames for food, it’s that Leslie’s friends can be counted on to rise to the occasion. Under the inspiring leadership of one Ben Wyatt (“Get some chairs from…somewhere.”), the gala has already come together perfectly. All that’s left for Leslie to do is put on a super hot red dress, give an inspiring thank you speech, and introduce Mouserat. We will build it, the park!
Leonard Chulm’s entire purpose is to make sure every town in Indiana has the right protocol in place to survive a disaster. But protocols and processes are nothing without ingenuity and people who can think on their feet. Leslie has grown from a person who will blindly follow a prescribed plan to the letter to one who is ready to toss the rule book out if necessary, and even if she wrote it herself. And in what WOULD have been the episode’s twist had NBC not PUT IT IN THE PROMOS, we find out that Leslie might even be willing to do that with my – I mean her – dream wedding. I hear you, Les. I too, hate the feeling of not being married to Ben Wyatt. At least you can do something about it. Mazel, you crazy kids.
You may have noticed that Kim and I didn’t do our usual red carpet and award show coverage for this year’s Grammys. Why? Because even people who win Grammys know that the Grammys are basically irrelevant.
But let’s just put a pin in that for now. Today, we’re going to use the Grammys for our own selfish reasons, and those reasons are OTP-related. This week’s playlist highlights are all by 2013 Grammy nominated or Grammy winning artists. And being a featured artist on Head Over Feels is the REAL prize.
“You saw my pain washed out in the rain
Broken glass, saw the blood run from my veins
But you saw no fault, no cracks in my heart
And you knelt beside my hope torn apart
So lead me back, turn south from that place
And close my eyes to my recent disgrace
‘Cause you know my call
And we’ll share my all
And our children come and they will hear me roar.”
If this 50th anniversary business doesn’t give us some kind of update on TenToo/Rose and their adorable babies, I QUIT. Seriously, I am out. You can keep your bow ties and your sonics and your crippling heartbreak. I’ll have escaped and started a fandom for, like, that new Ron Weasley show from the My Name is Earl guy or something.
“And I love her so
I wouldn’t trade her for gold
I’m walking on moon beams
I was born with a silver spoon
And I’m gonna be me
I’m gonna be free
I’m walking on moon beams
And staring out to sea.”
We all have those friends, right? The ones who prefer their relationships to be dramatic and tragic 24/7? I’ve never understood that. If you don’t have fun together, why is it even worth it?
When Rose tells Nine that life is “better with two,” she’s right. But it’s gotta be the RIGHT two. If Doctor Who were about two miserable people who bicker all the time and then retreat to their separate rooms to write emo-y LiveJournal posts, I don’t think this fandom would even exist.
“Gold” is about the people in this world who, when you’re with them, make you the very best version of yourself. You can practically see the weight fall off of the Doctor’s shoulders as Series 1 progresses. And he never forgets it. He may not have been able to say those three little words on Bad Wolf Bay, but he comes close. “You made me better,” he says to her. And isn’t that basically the same thing?
On Valentine’s Day, since Kim’s boyfriend is out of town and I’m flying solo preeeeetty much always, we’ll be celebrating our second annual Galentine’s Day! Plans include a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; some pastel baked goods; and sneaking miniature bottles of whiskey into a screening of Safe Haven. Romance!
Now, my default setting is single, and I’m fine with that. Why wouldn’t I be, when I have all these amazing TV boyfriends? (Read that as something less sad than it sounded in my head.) I’m not opposed to wife-ing up, however, and CLEARLY, I have a type. So, if you know any nerdy-hot, brown-haired boys of an average height and an above-average wit, send them my way.
For comparison, here are my Top 5 TV Valentines, in no particular order:
1. Eric Taylor
Friday Night Lights is a veritable buffet of delectable TV boyfriends. There’s something for everyone, whether you prefer Tim’s nobility; Jason’s perseverance; Matt’s sweetness; Landry’s sense of humor; or any of the other qualities displayed by the men of East and West Dillon. I love each and every one of them, but my heart will always come back to Coach.
Eric Taylor is a MAN-man, you guys, and not just because he’s so Sporty Spice. He is a husband and a father and a mentor, and takes all of those roles seriously. The chemistry between Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton was so epic that the creative team were sure they’d be having an affair before filming even began. They didn’t (that we know of…), but good god, do I see why they were concerned. The Taylor marriage would DESTROY in a cagematch of TV marriages.
And then there’s Eric as parent – to occasionally bratty daughter Julie, surprise!baby Gracie Bell, and the hundreds of boys he mentored and elevated as coach of the Dillon Panthers and Lions. As you may know if you’ve ever been in a bar with me after 1am on a particularly good night, I have the entire Coach/Saracen nighttime field scene from first season episode “Eyes Wide Open” memorized. Before all the “WHAT IS YOUR NAME?” inspirational yelling, Coach tells Matt exactly what he thinks about his tiny house and batty grandma:
“I’ll tell you somethin’. I know you didn’t want me to step foot in your house tonight. I’ll tell you somethin’ else and don’t you ever forget this: you should feel proud. You should feel real proud.”
If you ever felt confused about whether you wanted Coach to adopt you and help you unlock all your latent potential OR to rock your world in the back of a flat-bed truck, then congratulations – you watched FNL correctly.
2. Josh Lyman
From his introduction in The West Wing pilot, I was a 1003758% gone Josh Lyman fangirl. He is a hot damn mess of a person, I know. But Joshua Lyman is the same brilliant, wounded idiot that all of us have spent our lives chasing after. He just screams, “fix me.”
To prove I’m not a complete masochist, I’ll remind you of Josh’s good qualities: he’s rabidly loyal, and throws his entire self into his friendships and his work. He’s so fucking smart, and, whadaya know, speaks fluent Sorkin! Game on, indeed.
He also passes the “YOUR FACE” test, which has to do with how many times an episode I yell, “YOUR FACE!” and throw a pillow at the TV. See below.
3. Chandler Bing
Telling you that I love Chandler Bing is like telling you I have brown eyes. It’s chemical. It’s biological. It’s in my BLOOD.
4. Ed Stevens
Ed Stevens is perfectly on the edge of the right side of How I Met Your Mother‘s Dobbler/Dahmer line. His tireless pursuit of Carol Vessey (as Julie Bowen will always be known to me, Modern Family be damned) was so charming – how did the woman manage to resist for so long?
He is a BOWLING ALLEY LAWYER. How are you not going to marry that guy? Is there a roller skating rink doctor we don’t know about?
I will also accept as my Stuckeyville valentine Ed’s best friend, Dr. Mike Burton. We would spend our days making $10 bets and eating sarcasm sandwiches.
Finally: SOMEONE PUT THIS SHOW ON DVD, JESUS CHRIST.
5. Ben Wyatt
He owns his own batsuit and has hundreds of accounting jokes at the ready. What is not to love about Benjamin Wyatt, Human Disaster, Boy Mayor, First Man of Pawnee?
I basically sing the praises of Ben every week in my Parks recaps, so I don’t know what more there is to say. Just know that all the Roman gladiators and firey Latin lovers you could leave on my doorstep could never compare to a single Deputy City Manager in a plaid button-down.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our gorgeous readers! If we could, we’d hug each and every one of you, a little too tightly and for a little bit too long.
Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 12: Ann’s Decision
– Posted by Sage
Even the truest love doesn’t always last forever. But we will hold on the misty, watercolored memories of perhaps the most delicious, yet least practical ship on Parks. Ben/Calzones has come to a tragic end.
The bitter breakup comes courtesy of the catering finals Ben has orchestrated to pick the menu for the wedding of the millennium. His judges lineup features veggie connoisseur Chris Traeger, meat specialist Ron Swanson, and Instagram king Tom Haverford. Andy isn’t invited, but we’re not sure if it’s because of his unsophisticated palate or tendency to use frisbees as plates. Everyone but Tom tries the delectable cheesy-meaty-saucey pastry appetizer that puts its creator on the top of Ben’s list. After all, serving calzones at his wedding is the closest to actually MARRYING a calzone that Ben will ever get, at least until those GOD DAMN LIBERALS get their way. But the next morning finds the boys lumbering and rolling around Chris’s office like they just walked off the set of The Walking Dead. Food poisoning. Ben is jilted. Doublecrossed. Forsaken by his beloved. (“The calzones…betrayed me?”)
They know that the calzones were the culprit, because Tom refuses to eat food that requires him to exert any effort. (“Drizzle it on for me! I’m not your maaaaaiiiid.”) After a long and painful recovery, the boys find themselves back at JJ’s for a return to solid food. Ben realizes he’s been overthinking it – why pick a fancy caterer over Leslie’s favorite food in town? Looks like Beslie will be serving their guests a waffle tower instead of a wedding cake. PLEASE, oh please let them have a waffle tower. (Note to self: find waffle tower photo to pin to “Future Wedding to Ben Schwartz” Pinterest board.)
After the madcap shenanigans and Salt N’ Pepa singalongs of the rotating bachelor party, it’s good to see that Parks has no intention of abandoning this male-bonding theme anytime soon. They’re adorable, even when grossly ill. (“I cracked the bottom of the toilet bowl.”) And this light, silly storyline was the perfect complement to Leslie and Ann’s big life decision arc.
The writers have done an admirable job this year of fixing “The Ann Problem.” It’s never bothered me as much as some other fans who I’ve read, but her stories this season have been the most compelling that they’ve ever been. And, more importantly, they feel organic and not forced. Also, this Ann-finding-herself theme has always felt like a meta-acknowledgement of the issues that the show has run into trying to integrate that character into the Parks Department.
I LOVE this single mom plot, because it gives Ann an opportunity to drive it and not always be reacting to the other characters. AND, it makes for some funny and interesting Leslie/Ann interplay. I feel like I learned a lot about both of their characters this week. It’s pretty cray-cray to compare this Leslie to the one-note Leslie of Season 1. She fully supports any woman’s right to create “the family that she wants,” but still believes, deep down in her heart, that a family created from a loving, monogamous relationship is still better than the alternatives. (“The body is Ann’s, and the woman in charge of it is me.”) She may not have even known that about herself until she’s faced with Ann’s no-nonsense, no-waiting plan to have a kid. Stupid Hot Ann’s not doing this because she feels sorry for herself. It’s something that she wants in her life, regardless of relationships. For Ann, waiting for a guy to come along so that she can finally have a baby would have been like Leslie waiting to have a boyfriend before she pursued her career.
Ann does agree with Leslie that she should know more about the biological dad of her future kid, so she side-steps the sperm bank and does some research. The top 3 come in to Ann’s office under the pretense that she’s interviewing them for her blog. (I assume that Leslie worked some of her questions on to the list. I too would not allow myself to be inseminated by a man before knowing his favorite season of Friends, even though any answer is the right answer there.) We’ve got Dr. Harris, who’s a little mean (“The chairs in MY office are leather.”); high school basketball star Pete, who’s a little too clued in (“When will the women in this town stop scheming for my sperm!?”)…
…and Howard Tuttleman, who may be juuuuuuust right. Operation: Baby Douche, engage.
Douche, how little we knew you! Turns out Howard studied semiotics at Northwestern, before creating his satiric second persona and becoming Crazy Ira’s morning radio co-host. But his dual personalities are now fused, and no one can tell where Howard ends and Douche begins! Considering the Pawnee alternatives, Howard isn’t a bad choice. But his Douche-side can’t resist revealing the truth about Ann’s plan on the show, with plenty of bodily function sound effects thrown in. Leslie realizes that she’s imposing her own priorities on Ann, and she needs to make up for butting in and telling Douche the truth. Her apology comes with all the humiliation Crazy Ira and the Douche can throw at her, i.e. Leslie going ass over tincups in a baby pool filled with Jello while doing a truly terrible Bill Cosby impression. Friendship rule: you always forgive the people who are willing to embarrass themselves to earn it. And that’s a Leslie Knope specialty.
Music business, I am on to you. You’re all secret Doctor Who fans. Just admit it. Let your Whovian freak flag fly.
A few of you are doing a particularly shoddy job of keeping your fandom membership under wraps. Why else would your songs show up six, seven, EIGHT times on our Rose/Doctor playlist?
This week’s post is about the most well-represented artists on our soundtrack to the universe’s greatest OTP. Whether you know it or not, you’ve been writing music that perfectly scores our Rose and Doctor.
Also, Coldplay remains awesome. David agrees. Deal with it.
“You woke up screaming aloud
A prayer from your secret god
You feed off our fears
And hold back your tears, oh
Give us a tantrum
And a know-it-all grin
Just when we need one
When the evening’s thin
Oh you’re a beautiful
A beautiful fucked up man
You’re setting up your
Razor wire shrine.”
I’ve had to cross reference this song in my mind, as it has always been, until now, strictly a Fox Mulder anthem.
Look at those lyrics. That’s 100% the FBI’s Most Unwanted. But Fox is going to have to share it with my Doctor. They have a lot in common, after all. Complex and single-minded. Emotions turning on a dime. Obsessed with their own, specific morality. And they both press all my romantic, anti-hero buttons.
On a personal note: where did weird, folky Sarah McLachlan go and why was she replaced with Adult Contemporary Sad Dog Commercial Sarah McLachlan? Remember that time she spent an entire music video naked in a mud pit? I blame the kids. And the ASPCA.
“When you’re dreaming with a broken heart
The giving up is the hardest part
She takes you in with your crying eyes
Then all at once you have to say goodbye
Wondering could you stay my love?
Will you wake up by my side?
No she can’t, ’cause she’s gone, gone, gone, gone, gone.”
When pressed to choose, I will usually pick the “Impossible Planet”/”Satan Pit” two-parter as my favorite modern era Who episode. But maybe I should change my answer, because I keep coming back to “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood” in these posts.
We’re mostly used to the enigmatic and manic Doctor that Sarah was singing about just a few seconds ago. But, ugh, how these episodes get right into the heart of him like no others do. The Doctor-Doctor won’t tell Rose how he feels about her. He won’t tell anyone else either, and hardly admits it to himself. But John Smith doesn’t know that. He just dreams and writes it down.
This is what’s ACTUALLY written in “The Journal of Impossible Things” and why people who deny that Rose/Ten is a real thing are just plain wrong:
“I find myself wanting to draw a perfect Rose, over and over although I cannot find a Rose anywhere!
The perfect Rose
It’s a perfect rose.
Rose perfect Rose
In my dreams I keep asking a girl where to find one, and she is dressed in the most extraordinarily immodest way.
She will not answer me, and she keeps walking away.
I keep dreaming of a girl.
Girl in my dreams
I remember this girl I have drawn her although I know her well in my dream
I know her well I know.
I know her
She is my-“
Just plain wrong, I tell ya.
I like to think I know you guys pretty well. Thus, I’m guessing that you’re pretty excited for tonight’s episode of New Girl. Considering the way my timeline blew up last Tuesday night, we’re all pretty invested in the budding attraction and possible romance between Jessica Day and Nick Miller (Nick Miller, from the streets of Chicago.) I usually catch up with the loft crew on Hulu on Wednesday morning. But immediately after it aired, I got a text from Blog Wife ordering me to find some way of getting my hands on the episode ASAP. Because it was “up there with Jeff and Annie in the season 1 finale. And ‘Casino Night.”‘ “Casino Night”? The standard to which I hold all “my-ship-is-setting-sail” moments? I think I can make time for that.
And was it ever “Casino Night” good. If I had had a pack of cigarettes on hand, I would have smoked them all at the same time. And I don’t smoke.
As much as I re-watch and flail over THE moments, my favorite part is what comes after that first kiss, love confession, or oops-we-accidentally-naked. From the preview clips, we can tell that tonight’s New Girl starts right where the last left off. And I am jonesing for some awkward, “what did we just do?” shenanigans. To prepare, I’ve collected a few of my favorite “Morning After” scenes from television and movies. Join me in the gutter, won’t you?
Chandler and Monica – Friends
Friends had been dropping hints about Mondler for an entire season, but this reveal still broke my teenage brain. I particularly enjoy how Monica is looking relatively calm, while Chandler is clutching the sheet to his body like a virgin on prom night. (We’ll get to one of those later.) Even though this hook-up was set up like a drinking-sad/comfort-sex mistake, we all knew these two were in it for the long haul. And, bonus, in the 7th season episode “The One with the Truth about London,” we get to see how the whole thing actually went down.
Ross and Rachel in Vegas – Friends
There’s something that you really need to know to truly understand me as a person. My Friends OTP isn’t Ross/Rachel. It isn’t even Chandler/Monica, though they’re a close second. I will forever carry the banner for Joey/Rachel, and I will and have gone down with that ship.
That’s a whole post on its own. But the main reason I changed allegiances is that I got the Ross/Rachel fatigue. The high drama moments were exhausting. This Ross and Rachel, the exes and friends who are kind of still weird around each other, are my favorite. Instead of dealing with an emotional crisis, they’re dealing with the fallout of epic drunkenness and a wedding that was, to quote Ross, “Nevada’s fault.” Helllooooo, Mrs. Ross. Hellooooooo, Mr. Rachel!
Brodie and Rene – Mallrats
“What are you doing? You promised me breakfast.”
“Breakfast, shmreakfast. Look at the score, for Christ’s sake. It’s only the second period and I’m up 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, “the Whale,” they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime.”
Brodie Bruce’s ideal post-coital plans involve a few hours of video games before an afternoon of Olympic-caliber loitering. But Rene decides it’s still a better deal than being fucked in the back of a Volkswagen by a husky Ben Affleck. That’s what they’re talking about, right?
Jim and Michelle, sort of – American Pie
For everyone who ever wished they could have the fun night AND the bliss of waking up alone. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t have it all.
If you’re here with us amongst the living, you know that 30 Rock took its final bow on NBC Thursday night. Once upon a time, I had some crazy pie-in-the-sky dream of finding something original to write about it. Yeah, about that…
Best lines? Covered. Favorite episodes? Yep. Cameos? Minor characters? A ranking of Liz’s boyfriends? Yes, yes, and yes. The pop culture web community was all over this one like Tracy Jordan on a one-armed stripper.
But HoF cannot let this milestone pass without comment. So here is my own personal note of appreciation to the show that brought Liz Lemon, “Muffin Top” and the phrase, “Never go with a hippy to a second location” into my life. I owe it this much.
Thanks for everything, 30 Rock. But especially…
For filming in New York.
30 Rock was a show for, by, and about New York. Not fairtytale, Sex and the City New York. Real, weird, gross, callous, ugly, wonderful New York. And for we in the five boroughs, it was a good feeling to know that, on any given day, those pink signs might be posted around Rockefeller Center or Scott Adsit might be in front of you in line at Eataly.
For perfectly articulating my every hope for my future mate.
“I want someone who will be monogamous and nice to his mother. And I want someone who likes musicals, but knows to just shut his mouth when I’m watching Lost. And I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame and strip clubs are gross. I want someone who will actually empty the dishwasher instead of just taking out forks as needed, like I do. I want someone with clean hands and feet and beefy forearms like a damn Disney prince. And I want him to genuinely like me, even when I’m old. And that’s what I want.” – Liz Lemon
For bringing Donald Glover into my life.
Without 30 Rock, I may never have seen Troy Barnes cry or gotten my white-girl-swag on to “Freaks and Geeks.”
For showing me that a little self-promotion never killed anyone.
Jenna’s relentless pursuit of relevance didn’t make her many friends; but frankly, friends aren’t really what she was looking for. Sure, she’s crass and shameless and selfish, but at least she’s honest about her priorities. Put in relief of Hollywood fakery and air kisses, Jenna’s steamrolling ambition is actually pretty refreshing.
For Liz and Jack’s friendship.
Shippers gotta ship, but Liz and Jack were just the ultimate BrOTP to me. (I just tracked the “Liz and Jack” Tumblr tag to find this gif, and had to frantically scroll through some Liz/Jack fic. I’m sorry, I just can’t. It’s too incestuous.) Their friendship brought depth to this cuckoo-bird, crazy-pants backstage farce, and reflected Alec’s IRL respect and love for Tina.
For paying Tracy Morgan to do 7 straight years of bizarro performance art.
What WAS the ratio of Morgan to Jordan in there? And also, who cares?
For the gift of Elizabeth Miervaldis “Liz” Lemon.
There’s a reason that even hot, non-socially awkward girls with a healthy relationship with food have been comparing themselves to Lemon since day one. Liz Lemon is me. Liz Lemon is you. Liz Lemon is all of us, and also better than all of us. She eats night cheese and sings about it. Oprah is her spiritual leader. She has an imaginary astronaut boyfriend named Mike Dexter. She once got parasites from eating sushi on Amtrak. She’s always hungry for terrible food and has bodily functions and finds sex kind of gross, actually. Without her, we’d have no Leslie Knopes or Hanna Horvaths. We needed Liz Lemon and now here she is in our cultural consciousness to approve our Saturday nights in and that second order of mozzarella sticks. Here’s to you, bb.
For proving that an obsession with TV isn’t a personal failing.
Tell my parents that all these hours of marathoning shows on Netflix Instant are just research for when I become head of a network.
Good night, sweet 30 Rock. You served us faithfully. You served us well. Thank you for making TV for people who love TV.
We may not have many rules here in the wiki-wiki-wild-wild west of the Internet, but isn’t this one we can all agree on?
This Sunday’s Downton Abbey featured probably the biggest WTF moment of the entire series – one from which all fans are still reeling. (I saw the episode months ago through, um, channels, and I’m not even close to being over it.) One of our dearest readers was flabbergasted at a Facebook friend’s blatantly spoilery status update (THE MORNING AFTER) and her lack of remorse when her friends rightfully called her out on her poor netiquette. According to the culprit, her status wasn’t a spoiler because the episode HAD ALREADY AIRED. So, let me get this straight…she thinks that the definition of “spoiler” is just whatever a person can find out about an upcoming episode of Breaking Bad after breaking into Vince Gilligan’s office under the dark cloak of night and making off with his hard drive?
Can we just not do this to each other? They’re called “spoilers” because they RUIN the viewing experience for anyone who comes across them. Posting a spoiler on Facebook is like walking up to somebody who’s eating their lunch, licking your palm, and then pressing it down on their sandwich while maintaining constant eye contact. It’s cyber bullying for nerds.
And why?! WHY, for the love of Pete, are people compelled to do these things? We GET it. You, like THE REST OF THE WORLD, are like, SUPER into Downton. Congratulations on having your finger on the pulse of something that’s completely mainstream. If you need to talk it about right away, let me introduce you to my friends at Tumblr, who had gif-setted that scene with weepy song lyrics about 30 seconds after it aired in the UK. Or you could, I don’t know, have a PRIVATE conversation about it with a friend. Call your mom. Call your therapist. Whatever you need, man. Just KEEP IT OFF FACEBOOK.
By now, we all know better than to surf Twitter or Tumblr when we’re trying to avoid being spoiled. They are fandom central and just can’t help themselves. But Facebook is where you go to see pictures of your nephews and RSVP to birthday parties. I COULD swear off Facebook for the next six months until I finally watch Homeland. But how about I just hope that none of the family members, friends, acquaintances, or nemeses on my timeline decide to swap out the usual baby bump picture update for a major plot point reveal status? Let’s make Facebook a safe zone, ya’ll. Otherwise, we have no choice than to Clockwork Orange ourselves and watch everything immediately as it airs in real time or retreat from society all together.
The existence of boxed sets, onDemand, and Netflix Instant have all extended the statute of limitations on spoilers. Unless it’s a part of public consciousness or internationally known catchphrase, keep the big reveal (character death, goody turned baddy, a ship that happened or didn’t, etc…) to yourself or to the fandom (trust me, they are out there and ready for you). At any given moment, anyone can decide to embark on a full completed series and I, for one, believe in your right to enjoy it just as much as any original fan ever did. I put an entire post about a show that ended seven years ago under a cut, for crying out loud. At this day in age, it’s only right.
There are ways to brag on Facebook about how culturally relevant you are without inspiring murderous feelings in anyone who wasn’t watching PBS on Sunday night. So, just…don’t be that guy. Spoiler alert: everybody hates that guy.
Parks and Recreation
Season 5, Episode 11: Women in Garbage
– Posted by Sage
If there’s one thing Leslie Knope can’t resist, it’s waffles. If there are two things, they’re waffles and making out with Ben, on his face. And if there are THREE things that Leslie Knope can’t resist, they are: waffles; making out with Ben, on his face; and knocking down gender stereotypes.
Leslie is used to just ignoring some of Pawnee’s more archaic guidelines (i.e., she really shouldn’t be reserving any conference rooms without permission from her husband or father). But after meeting with Pawnee’s first ever female City Council member Paula Hork, she learns two things: 1) it’s time to correct the underemployment of women in all areas of city government and 2) there is probably a calendar of her own menstrual cycle somewhere in City Hall. Leslie picks up the ball and brings the Equal Gender Employment Commission plan to Chris, who, of course, thinks it’s the greatest idea in the history of ideas. He asks every department to send two people to a meeting. And they do – they each send two men. The Pawnee man-pigs think that Chris (“Oh no, it’s just a very beautiful man.”) and “the girl who brought the snacks” are enough of a female contingency, thank you very much. After listening to some ancient lawmakers wax poetic about the frailty of women, Leslie challenges the worst offender of employment inequality, the sanitation department. She and April take over a garbage collection route to prove that women are up to the task. Chris brings his maybe-kinda-sorta girlfriend Shawna Mulwae-Tweep to cover it for the Pawnee Journal.
Leslie’s proving her point by being ahead of the regular timing for the route. April gets to dig through the trash of all her high school enemies. (“She has to use prescription-strength deodorant. This is the best day of my life.”) Arguably having a less awesome time are the misogynistic sanitation dudes, who are being taken to school, and poor Chris Traeger, who is completely at sea in Tweep’s twenty-something world of group hangs and no labels. The garbage dudes make a last ditch effort to hold on to their manhood by sending Leslie and April to move a giant bakery freezer that apparently the regular route guys couldn’t budge the week before. Of course, they don’t tell the girls that, so Leslie is ready to make it happen. (“Easy, breezy, beautiful. That’s the CoverGirl slogan. I didn’t mean to say that.”) They could call them on it, but April wants to WIN, not to tie. So Leslie calls in the ladies from the soup kitchen to take the donation. With all this combined lady power, the freezer gets onto the truck and the sanitation guys start hiring female workers. Joan of Arc would be proud.
Just like Leslie, Tom is doing his best to hang with the boys. His Rent-a-Swag customers are obsessed with basketball, so he recruits (or tricks, whatever) Andy and Ben into teaching him the basics. (Necessarily side flail: BEN’S BASKETBALL OUTFIT. The goggles. The gym socks. I cannot breathe.) Tom isn’t exactly a quick study (“Did I do basketball?”), and the guys get humiliated by some middle-schoolers in a 3-on-3.
Ben shows a depressed Tommy a video of Kevin Durant and Russel Westberg talking to press after a loss to show him that the best pros know how to come back after a defeat. Tom completely ignores that advice, but has his own epiphany. He uses Kids 46 News to position Rent-a-Swag as THE place to get your post-game press conference fashions.
And on more shaking up of traditional gender roles, Ron is playing babysitter to Diane’s little girls, Zoe and Ivy. He’s covered in stickers (courtesy of Leslie, obviously), his shoes are painted red, and his office now looks like something a Justice threw up. Diane asks if he can handle it for another day. After scouring the building for Ann (“I thought your last name was Hanson for some reason.”), Ron ropes her into helping out. Trouble is, beautiful Ann is a complete awkward turtle around kids. (“Hey, dudettes. So, you guys like Coldplay?”) But once she pulls out her medical supplies, the girls are enthralled. Somehow, they lock themselves into the conference room alone, and Doctors Ivy and Zoe perform surgery on each other’s infected hair. Ron has a meltdown and inadvertently reveals his true feelings for Diane. Yes, it’s true: Ron loves Mommy.
His fears of ruining the relationship are unfounded, as Diane remains the COOLEST CHICK EVER and takes the girls’ scissor adventures in stride. She’s so touched by Ron’s concern, that she makes a declaration of her own: Mommy loves Ron. Ron loves Mommy. Ron and Mommy 4-Ever. And Family Love Michael too, why not?