Monthly Archives: September 2014

“The Mindy Project” Season 3

The Mindy Project is one of my favorite shows and I was so excited for the season three premiere last night! For those of you who don’t watch, the show centers on Dr. Mindy Lahiri (played by show creator and writer and my idol Mindy Kaling) who is an OB/GYN in New York City. I would describe the show as The Office meets any Kate Hudson movie you’ve ever seen. Basically, it’s amazing.

kinopoisk.ruThe show has exceeded my expectations and has gotten consistently better since season one, which is really rare for network television. In season two they got rid of the annoying nurse with the Brooklyn accent and Mindy’s judgmental blonde friend and added the hilarious new nurse Tamra and adult frat boy Dr. Peter Prentice, who I have a serious crush on. They also started focusing less on Mindy’s disastrous side- relationships (I do miss Pastor Casey though) and more on her relationship with her colleague, Dr. Danny Castellano. Based on the season premiere last night, it looks like Danny and Mindy’s relationship is getting even more serious than it was in season two. I love that despite Danny’s cynical demeanor the writers constantly reveal new things about him that make him more likeable- like the fact that he is an incredible dancer or that he makes killer gingerbread houses. In last night’s episode we learned, along with a shocked Mindy, that Danny worked as a male stripper (I don’t know why I felt the need to say “male stripper” given he obviously wasn’t a female stripper, but I’m leaving it like that) to help pay for medical school, and that his name was “Diamond Danny” (he also plays Frozen songs on the piano while drinking scotch… same). At the end of the episode when Danny made a list of his secrets he wanted to tell Mindy it was so sad and romantic I almost cried. Danny and Mindy have amazing chemistry and I can’t wait to see where their relationship goes.

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The side story to this episode was that Dr. Jeremy Reed hooked up with Peter’s girlfriend, Dr. Lauren Ordenstein (played by show writer Tracey Wigfield, who has a really entertaining Instagram if you’re interested). The show kind of left you hanging on how this story will develop but #TeamPeter. It’s also unclear whether Tamra and Nurse/ Magic Morgan are still hooking up in closets, but I kind of hope they aren’t because I would love to see Morgan with a girlfriend outside of the office.

Lastly, Danny stripped for Mindy in the last couple minutes of the episode and it was indescribable. Seriously, try to find the clip online and watch it even if you don’t watch the show. You will still enjoy it.

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Greek Philosophy & Gilmore Girls

Prior to reading Poetics, the only thing I knew about Aristotle was what I learned from Professor Stromwell in Legally Blonde: she asks David Kidney if Aristotle said, “The law is reason free from passion” and then makes him swear his life on it. But yesterday as I dove into one of the Greek philosopher’s most influential works, it really began to peak my interest. Aristotle conveys many theories in Poetics, but one of the most thought-provoking philosophical claims is that any form of poetry, like a comedy or a tragedy, is fundamentally a form of imitation. Comedies and tragedies convey realistic representations of what could possibly happen when human beings act on certain motivations. It is natural for humans to derive pleasure, feel empathy, and have catharsis from engaging in poetry.

I began to think about how this theory applies to modern pop culture, particularly television. I think for adults, television is primarily either a form of entertainment, or an escape. I don’t think my mom watches Mad Men, her favorite show, looking for a way to learn some deep lesson about life, or to connect to Don Draper on an empathetic level. Maybe she connects to Betty on some level as a wife and mother (hopefully not though), and I guess the show does portray the dividing line between virtue and vice that Aristotle described in Poetics. But more or less, I think my mom watches Mad Men because it is an hour every week when she can disappear into the 1960’s and indulge in the brilliant writing and aesthetic; it is cathartic.

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But then I started to think about the purpose television serves for young adults. When I was a teenager, television wasn’t just a form of entertainment for me- it was a way for me to relate to the world, and to understand that everything I was feeling and going through was normal. When I was in ninth grade I watched Rory Gilmore get a D on her first test at Chilton Academy, and it made me feel better that I got a C on my first biology test in high school. I felt empathy for Rory Gilmore, I learned life lessons from Rory Gilmore, and I don’t think I could have gotten through my teen years without Rory Gilmore.

Note: I also became so obsessed with Sylvia Plath in high school to the point that my family made fun of me because I memorized her poetry.

Note: I also became so obsessed with Sylvia Plath in high school to the point that my family made fun of me because I memorized her poetry.

I know that the generation before me had fantastic teen shows too- like My So-Called Life and Beverly Hills 90210. When I think about the shows teens watch today, I realize it is mostly reality TV. I guess there are shows like Glee, but I know I didn’t break out in song to get through problems in high school, and I don’t know many people that do. Not to say that important lessons can’t be learned from Glee, but I also find it discouraging that the only way a teen show can be popular this day and age is to have some sort of gimmick.

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I think teens are mostly watching reality shows like Teen Mom and Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. To me, the scary part of teens watching reality television as their outlet isn’t the scandalous and outrageous nature of most of the shows. Plenty of the fictional young adult shows I watched when I was younger featured teen pregnancy and rich kids behaving badly. Plenty of the poetry Aristotle was referring to in Poetics featured human beings behaving badly. But because the characters were fictional, the writers always made a point to show how the characters progressed, got help, or learned from their mistakes. On a show like Teen Mom, you might watch one of the cast members get a DUI and then simply act defensive and make the same mistake over and over. But when Rayanne Graff OD’d on My So-Called Life, or when Marissa Cooper OD’d on The OC, you watched the characters own up to their mistakes and try to get help. Aristotle described poetry as having a clear plot: a beginning, middle, and end. Reality television is lacking because there is no rhyme or reason; there is no moral to the story.

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rs_500x280-140309140742-rk_107_3Although this all might sound trivial, teens having a fictional role model to look to for advice, laughs, and shared experiences is so important. Before TV, young adults had characters like Holden Caulfield to empathize with through literature, but times are changing. It’s not that teens don’t want guidance, in fact they want it desperately. They just want guidance that isn’t condescending, and that is being passed down from someone they admire and trust. Sure, my parents told me that it was okay when I got a C on that first biology test because I studied and tried my best. But until I saw Rory, who felt like my friend, going through the same thing and ultimately getting over it, I didn’t get over it. In my humble opinion (to quote Angela Chase), adults need to stop shaming kids for watching too much television, and instead start thinking of ways to bring back the “television teenage heroin”. I know twenty-somethings have Girls at the moment, and thirty-somethings will always have Sex and the City (timeless), but teens need something current, because their issues are ever-changing and evolving.

Aristotle felt that poetry should use fictional representations of realistic events to elicit powerful emotions, provide catharsis, and ultimately become the equivalent of therapy. And I, Lacey Kaplan, another prominent philosopher, feel that television (particularly young adult television) can and should do the same.

*This post is primarily aimed at teenage girls because a) I have never been a teenage boy b) from what I’ve witnessed they just need video games and ESPN c) teenage boys do not read my blog.

Five Thoughts to Start Your Day

As the grind of the new school year picks up, I know we can all use a little “pick-me-up” every now and then. Here are the five thoughts I try to remember every morning to start the day on a positive note:

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  • Can you remember what you were doing on this exact day, at this exact moment, five years ago?

Hint: the answer is always no. This reminds me that as stressful as life might feel at the moment, or as shitty as things can sometimes seem, you can’t over-dramatize the present. One day, the very thing causing you to overthink and lose sleep will be nothing but a distant memory. Just handle things the best you can, and keep everything in perspective.

  • Think about the most annoying task you have to do today, and think of something fun to do right before, and right after.

This will probably be different for everyone, but for me usually involves television (if you couldn’t tell by my blog, I kind of like television). My example for today is that I have to read a chunk of The Republic by Plato and write a response to it. So I will get an iced coffee (another tip: iced coffee cures absolutely everything), and watch an hour of my favorite show (really into nostalgia at the moment, so I’m re-watching My So-Called Life #angst). Then I’ll crank out the assignment, and reward myself with another hour of TV when it’s over.

  • Pick one thing you’re looking forward to.

Again, this will obviously be different for everyone. For me, I am really looking forward to going home in late October for a family member’s 30th birthday party. Just by focusing on this one event I am looking forward to, it keeps me motivated and in the positive. This thing could also be something small, like the AHS: Freak Show premiere October 8th. Check out the full trailer here… I can’t wait.

  • Download the iPhone ap “Quote of the Day”.

Downloading the iPhone ap “Quote of the Day” has literally changed my life. It allows you to set a time every day that your phone vibrates and you receive a new inspirational quote of the day. I set mine for 9:00 am, when I usually get up every morning. Today’s quote was: “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a new ending”. Reading an inspirational quote the minute you wake up is like taking a happy pill to get your day started.

  • Think of something funny!

It is easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and take things too seriously. But keeping things light and having a good sense of humor is just as important as checking everything off of your to-do list. Today I thought of the time in high school when a teacher in study hall called my sister Hitler because she interrupted his story, and told her to sit in the back of the classroom. She refused, and he told her to go to the principle’s office. I ran out after her, and then the teacher chased us down the hallway. That teacher wound up getting fired, but picturing my sister and I running down a high school hallway after being compared to Nazis will always make me laugh.

Have a great day everybody!

The Brittany Murphy Story: Movie Review

I love all Lifetime movies (Who is Clark Rockefeller? is my all time favorite, and based on my twin sister), but especially ones about famous court cases (ex: Casey Anthony trial, Jodi Arias trial), and celebrity tragedies (ex: Anna Nicole Smith). Therefore, I was EXTREMELY excited to watch The Brittany Murphy Story, which premiered last night. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed.

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First of all, the actress playing Murphy (Amanda Fuller) literally looks nothing like her. No offense, but Brittany Murphy was gorgeous and thin, and this actress was… not. Fuller is also just a horrible actress in general- trying way too hard to convey the quirkiness and vulnerability that everyone loved about Brittany Murphy. She came across as annoying, whiny, and dumb. I especially detested the scenes on the set of Clueless that portray Murphy (who played Tai) feeling left out and jealous of Alicia Silverstone (Cher). It is well known that the two actresses were friends, and if anything Murphy’s character stole the spotlight from Silverstone. You’re just a virgin who can’t drive.

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The movie also focused too much on the idea that the paparazzi are what killed Murphy. First of all, no one knows exactly what the cause of Murphy’s death was. While there was prescription medication in her blood at the time of death, she also had pneumonia and anemia, and ten toxic metals were found in her system in an autopsy. Some say the cause of death was toxic mold, because her husband died in their apartment shortly after. Others say they were poisoned by Murphy’s mother (others being Murphy’s estranged father). Ultimately, the entire tragedy is a mystery. For this movie to capitalize on a 32 year old’s untimely death and tell a story completely unauthorized by Murphy’s friends and family is going way too far, even for a Lifetime movie.

To quote Cher Horowitz: That was way harsh.

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Top 5 Reasons Mean Girls is the Fetchest

Everyone that knows me is aware that Mean Girls is my favorite movie of all time. I have watched the movie over and over to the point that I could rehearse the entire script by heart (trust me, my sister and I have done it before), and my camp friends and I mastered the slutty and scandalous “Jingle Bell Rock” dance at the ripe age of thirteen. While The Parent Trap and Clueless definitely tie for second, Tina Fey’s 2004 classic undoubtedly takes first… here are my top five reasons why:

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  1. Its quote-ability

I can find a Mean Girls quote to apply to every situation, Instagram picture, comeback, etc. While I worship every sentence spoken in Mean Girls, these are the quotes I use the most:

“Stop trying to make fetch happen, it’s not going to happen”

“I can’t go to Taco Bell I’m on an all-carb diet. GOD Karen you’re so stupid”

“You go, Glen Coco!” (I use this one the most)

“Get in loser, we’re going shopping”

“You can’t just ask someone why they’re white…”

“So you agree… you think you’re really pretty” (This is what I would like to comment on every selfie a girl uploads to Instagram)

“Grool”

“Boo, you whore!”

“Did you have an awesome time? Did you drink awesome shooters, listen to awesome music, and then just sit around and soak up each others’ awesomeness?”

“I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school… I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat, and be happy…” “She doesn’t even go here!” “Do you even go to this school?” “No… I just have a lot of feelings…” “Ok, go home…”

“Say crack again” “Crack!”

“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

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  1. Its on-point description of how girls operate

As a senior in college, I think it’s safe to say I get how girls think and how they operate. In the movie, Regina is trying to get revenge on Cady for liking her ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels by getting back together with him. Then, Cady tries to get revenge on Regina by exposing to Aaron that she is secretly hooking up with Shane Omen in the projection room above the auditorium. Cady joins forces with Janis and Damien to ruin Regina’s life for ruining Janice’s life (when she was excluded from Regina’s all-girls pool party in middle school because Regina thought Janis was a lesbian). When Regina finds out about this, she tries to get revenge on Cady by pinning the whole Burn Book and her and making the entire school hate her. But what this movie really shows, is that all of these acts of revenge and “meanness” stem from insecurities and self-doubt every young girl faces. We all spread rumors and go behind each other’s backs because we are all secretly afraid that that is what everyone is doing to us. Simply put, being a girl is fucking scary.

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  1. Its on-point description of female cliques

Janis: You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks Unfriendly black hotties, Girls who eat their feelings, Girls who don’t eat anything, Desperate wannabes, Burnouts, Sexually active band geeks,

[a picture of herself and Damian come on screen]

Janis: the greatest people you will ever meet, and the worst. Beware of plastics.

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  1. In the end, Cady offers the best wisdom

“Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

Being mean is a defense mechanism against getting hurt. To find true happiness, you need to stop trying to climb the social ladder and be around people who accept you for who you really are. Which brings me to my last reason…

  1. The moral of the story: life is a whole lot easier when you stop fighting and back-stabbing, and can just float…

“All the drama of last year just wasn’t important anymore. School used to be a shark tank, but now I could just float… Finally, Girl World was at peace”

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There you have it… this movie is utterly perfect in every way. When I become a teacher, I will make it my mission to have this movie screened to every freshman girl on their first day of ninth grade.

I end on this note…

Yo Yo Yo! All you sucka MCs ain’t got nothin’ on me! From my grades, to my lines you can’t touch Kevin G! I’m a mathlete, so nerd is inferred, but forget what you heard I’m like James Bond the third, sh-sh-sh-shaken not stirred – I’m Kevin Gnapoor! The G’s silent when I sneak through your door. And make love to your woman on the bathroom floor. I don’t play it like Shaggy, you’ll know it was me. Cause the next time you see her she’ll be like, OOH! KEVIN G!

Thank you Kevin, that’s enough.

Happy Holidays Everybody!

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RIP Joan Rivers

As I’m sure you all have heard, Joan Rivers, a comedy legend and fashion icon, has passed away today at the age of 81. The fact that Joan was able to become a successful and well-respected female comedian in the 1950’s, well before the second wave of feminism, is absolutely extraordinary. Every female comedian since- Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Wiig- is beholden to the hard work and tenacity of Joan Rivers.

I had the pleasure of seeing Joan Rivers perform live at The Laurie Beechman Theatre two months ago, and remember thinking that I don’t have half of her energy at 21 years old, and she was exactly sixty years older than me. Joan will be remembered forever for her no-holds-barred humor, perseverance, and of course impeccable style.

“Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.”- Joan Rivers

Rest in peace.

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