Category Archives: Current Obsessions

“UnREAL” is Unreal

If you engage in the guilty pleasure that is The Bachelor/ Bachelorette franchise, you will be mesmerized by Lifetime’s new show UnREAL.

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Shiri Appleby (you might remember her as Adam’s girlfriend Natalia on Girls) stars as Rachel, a producer on a faux-Bachelor show called Everlasting. She had an alcohol-induced meltdown on the last series of Everlasting, and returns to the show determined to prove to Quinn, her no-nonsense boss (Constance Zimmer AKA Dana Gordon on Entourage) that she has recovered and is ready to get back to work.

The one-hour drama conveys the manipulative and almost villainous tactics the producers use to manufacture the drama and insanity the audience craves. Rachel struggles with eagerness to be the best at her job, and reluctance to exploit the female contestants for the sake of good television. She is constantly grappling with where to draw the line. The show also explores the strained relationships between producers and the complex personal lives of Quinn, Rachel, and the “suitor”, Adam, a British hotel heir attempting to reinvent his image.

This psychological drama conveniently airs on Mondays at 10 PM (right after The Bachelorette), and will make you rethink the social phenomenon that is reality television.

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Together in Broad City

Lately in an attempt to broaden my television horizons I started two new shows, one of which is brand new and the other which is in its second season: Togetherness and Broad City.

Togetherness (which is on HBO Sundays at 10:30 PM, right after Girls) was created by indie filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass, and has a simple premise: married parents Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey) are pressured into allowing Brett’s best friend and out-of-work actor, Alex (Steve Zissis), and Michelle’s romantically troubled sister Tina (Amanda Peet), move into their Los Angeles home. The show revolves around each character’s personal struggles, relationship conflicts, and desires to rekindle their passions for life. The show is poignant with subtle humor and brilliant writing, and the perfect half-hour escape we could all use at 10:30 PM on a Sunday night. There have only been three episodes so it won’t take long to catch up!

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Broad City (on Comedy Central, Wednesdays at 10:30 PM) is my newest obsession. I know I am late to the party (the first season premiered January 2014), but for those of you that haven’t yet tuned in be prepared to binge watch the entire first season like your life depends on it. It is a half-hour comedy created by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer (produced by Amy Poehler), two Jewish 20-something best friends living in New York. I know what you are thinking, “Oh great, another Sex and the City/ Girls knock-off”, but you are very, very wrong. The show has less camp than Sex and the City and none of the hipster drama of Girls: it is simply two shamelessly hilarious girls navigating very bizarre paths and finding themselves in the awkward situations every girl my age can relate to. The show has had guest stars like Fred Armisen, Rachel Dratch, Amy Sedaris, Janeane Garaofalo, and many more. You will be instantly hooked. I was able to find the ten episodes of the first season and the three episodes that have aired of the second season so far all on demand, and am not ashamed to admit I finished all thirteen episodes last night (and I am still craving more).

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If you are in a post-Fall television slump like I was, these two shows are sure to ease your pain. Run, don’t walk!

The Andy Cohen Diaries

The Andy Cohen Diaries was everything I hoped it would be and more. The book is Andy’s diary (inspired by Andy Warhol’s diary), and starts Labor Day 2013 and ends Labor Day 2014. He talks about everything from his personal life, dating life, career, parties he attends, and of course his dog, Wacha.

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I loved reading about Andy’s conflicts with Housewives who are fired, and Housewives who feel they aren’t getting enough attention. Andy doesn’t always mention names, but you don’t need to be a detective to realize that Kathy Wakile and her husband are the worst. He also talks about what really goes on at Housewives reunions (there are many arguments about who gets to sit next to Andy). He also comments on his Watch What Happens Live shows, and it is fascinating to read how he thought the shows went and how he felt while filming (I tweeted something to this effect and Andy responded, which made me love him even more than I already do). My favorite part of reading Andy’s diary was reading about the wonderful relationship he has with his parents. If you have Jewish parents you will totally relate to Andy’s hilarious relationship with Evelyn and Lou. Perhaps the juiciest aspects of Andy’s diary were the detailed descriptions of his relationships with celebrities. I knew Andy had a lot of celebrity friends, but I had NO idea how many! Sarah Jessica Parker, Kelly Ripa, Jimmy Fallon, and Anderson Cooper are definitely his closest friends and appear in the diary quite often. The Seinfields, Lady Gaga, Cher, Joan Rivers, Madonna, Howard Stern, and John Mayer appear in the diary as well.

Simply put, if you love pop culture you will love The Andy Cohen Diaries.

Super Freak

I have been so wrapped up in midterms I have yet to comment on the fourth installment of American Horror Story, which is Freak Show. The season is only two episodes in (the third episode airs tonight at 10 PM on FX), and I am already mesmerized.

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This season is set in 1952 Jupiter, Florida, and tells the story of the last remaining freak show led by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange). In the first episode Elsa recruits conjoined twins Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson) to join her troupe of freaks that consists of “Lobster Boy” (Evan Peters), a bearded lady (Kathy Bates), a strong man (Micharl Chiklis), a three breasted woman (Angela Bassett), and others. What I love most about the show is that the majority of the “freaks” are not actors, but people who actually have the conditions that freak shows would exploit. Elsa’s assistant Ma Petite is played by Jyoti Amge, who is the world’s smallest living woman with a height of 2 feet. I think the misconception about this show is that it is portraying “freaks” as scary, when in fact the horror element of the show surrounds the murders occurring around the freak show by Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch), and the super creepy freak show groupie Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock) and his mother Gloria (Frances Conroy). If anything, this show is promoting tolerance and showing that people we label as “freaks” are no different than anyone else.

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I loved the first season of AHS (Murder House), had some issues with the second season (Asylum), loved the third season (Coven), but I think Freak Show is the best one yet. There is no such thing as a haunted house, Anne Frank’s death was not a hoax, there is no such thing as witches, but freak shows really did exist. The realistic element of this installment of AHS sets it apart from the rest, and the result is magnificent.

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The Affair

The Affair is quickly becoming my favorite new show. It is beautifully written, has a breathtaking aesthetic, and has the most compelling and unique premise I have seen on television.

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The show uses the Rashomon effect to demonstrate how two people can have contradictory recollections of the same event. In The Affair, the two individuals are Noah and Alison, and both are being asked to recall their extramarital affair that transpired years ago in True Detective– like interrogations about which we (so far) know very little. Each episode devotes the entire hour to the same day and events, but the first half-hour shows Noah’s perspective, and the second half-hour shows Alison’s. The discrepancies in their memories are sometimes glaring, and other times subtle. For example, in the first episode Noah’s daughter chokes on a marble at the diner where Alison works (she is their waitress, and this is how they meet). Noah and Alison both remember her choking, but in Noah’s scene he saves his daughter, and in Alison’s scene she is the one who saves her. In Noah’s memory his wife wears glasses, and in Alison’s memory she does not. In Noah’s memory Alison offers him a cigarette, and in Alison’s memory Noah offers her a cigarette. I imagine as the show evolves the inconsistencies in their stories will become more and more consequential.

The Affair examines the disparities in how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves, as well as how self-perception can skew the truth in our memories. The show is artistic and romantic, but with criminal undertones that add an air of mystery to this captivating story.

You need to see The Affair to truly understand it. There have only been two episodes, so catch up… Sundays, 10 PM, Showtime.

Not That Kind Of Girl

Not That Kind Of Girl arrived at my door yesterday at 12:00 pm, and I finished it almost exactly 24 hours later.

Lena Dunham’s collection of personal essays is undoubtedly the best book I have ever read. I actually cried at certain points, because she describes experiences, fears, and thoughts almost identical to ones I have had in such a beautiful and funny way. I felt less alone.

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The essays are broken down into sections by topic:

“Love & Sex”

This section had the most number of personal essays, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who watches her show Girls. I recommend that every woman AND man read this section in particular. If you are a guy and don’t feel like reading every essay, then please just read “Girls & Jerks” and “Barry”. The essays in this section were intense, but she dispersed comedy throughout to lighten the mood.

“Body”

I interestingly identified with this section even though I have a completely inverted relationship with food than the one Lena describes. Seeing things from her perspective was incredibly helpful though.

“Friendship”

I think every girl can relate to the complexity and evolution of female friendship that Lena describes. I particularly enjoyed the essay, “Grace”, which describes her relationship with her sister because it is very similar to the relationship I have with mine.

“Work”

As a college student, I loved the essay “This is Supposed to be Fun? Making the Most of Your Education”. There is such a misconception that college is the most easy-going and fun period of your life. I think adults look back on college with rose-colored glasses and forget how overwhelming it was. College is so much about figuring out who you are and finding independence, which at times is liberating, but mostly just confusing.

“Big Picture”

This was the section I identified with the most and the one that made me the most emotional. I won’t go into it too much because a lot of what I related to is very personal, but I will say that I didn’t realize until reading these essays that I am not alone in certain struggles. I applaud Lena Dunham for being so candid and fearless in her self-expression.

This book was hilarious, poignant, and fiercely honest. Thank you, Lena Dunham. Not That Kind Of Girl is a gift to us all.

“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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The Mindy Project

Well after going through a series of minor personal crises (i..e having near fatal mono) and not having time for much TV or writing, I’m baaaaack. Here we go!

The latest show I’m obsessed with is The Mindy Project (Tuesdays, 9:30 PM on Fox). It is loosely based on Mindy Kaling’s life as a nerdy, romantic comedy obsessed high school girl who only starts to only explore relationships and romance in her early twenties, and continues to do so in her early thirties. So basically this is a show about me, except I’m still nerdy and obsessed with romantic comedies.

Mindy Kaling (you probably know her from The Office as Kelly Kapoor) is one of my favorite actresses. I read her book (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?) last year and LOVED it- seriously: go read it right now. For some reason I wasn’t even aware she had a show until I started hysterically crying saying goodbye to my sister as she was leaving for college and she said I should start watching The Mindy Project to make me feel better. And what do you know, it did! The supporting characters are hilarious, the writing is spot on, and it’s just one of those shows that makes you feel cuddly and warm inside. Avoid the post-holiday blues by cozying up to the fire and watching some Mindy.

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Serengetee

I recently found out about an awesome new company called Serengetee from Emory rep Nicole Goldberg that just had to be featured on Lace it Up! It is a company that was founded in 2012 by a group of college friends from Claremont McKenna College in California while traveling the world on Semester at Sea. They have collectively toured marketplaces in over 30 countries and were especially captivated by the global fabric patterns they found along the way. Their mission is to connect people to the globe through fabric while giving back to the communities that inspire and create their designs. When you wear Serengetee, you ‘Wear the World’.

Serengetee’s Headliner Campaign features a new charity each week and $10 of each sale of their ‘Fabric of the Week’ goes directly to that charity.

Why not stay stylish while also giving to charity? Like their Facebook page to see some pics and get involved!

A Woman’s Right to Studded Shoes

Carrie Bradshaw once protested for a woman’s right to shoes- and I couldn’t agree more. My current obsession is anything and everything with studs, so here is some studded footwear I can’t get enough of!

My Sam Edelman studded loafers can be worn with anything and in any season. I wear them in the summer with shorts and a tee, and in the winter with skinny jeans and a sweater. They come in black as well, and are a definite staple in my wardrobe.

I just purchased these Jeffrey Campbell spiked lita platform boots and can stare at them all day long. I haven’t gotten a chance to wear them yet, but I can’t wait to return to Emory and be rocker chic with these beauties! Statement pieces like this are a great way to edge up any outfit.

While technically the Summer is over soon, down in Hotlanta the hot weather continues into the Fall. These breezy, Sam Edelman studded gladiator sandals are great for beating the heat, and the gold studs make them trendy and cool.

Thanks to Sam and Jeffrey we can stud it up all year long!

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