Category Archives: Pop Culture

The Life of Yeezy

Between truly evil maniacs running for President and an article I read yesterday about employers being able to track their employees’ menstrual cycles (sigh), I was actually relieved that I could distract myself with some harmless drama surrounding Kanye West. Yet, at the same time, I disagree with how the media and most of the world are reacting.

For those of you that aren’t caught up (and have lives): West “insulted” Taylor Swift in one of his new songs by claiming he made her famous, supposedly acted like a diva on the Saturday Night Live set, got in a twitter fight with Wiz Khalifa, and begged Mark Zuckerberg for money prior to claiming he is $53 billion dollars in debt.

People, many of whom are most likely biased based on West’s previous delusions of grandeur and general narcissism, are either judging him, laughing at him, or proclaiming that he needs some sort of mental or spiritual help. However, when you break down every recent incident surrounding West, it all actually makes sense: Kanye West didn’t claim to have made Swift talented, he claimed to have made her famous- which he did when he raised her profile after stealing her microphone at the 2009 Video Music Awards. Just because a fact is difficult to hear doesn’t mean it’s false. Also, the same way we all get frustrated and yell at the people closest to us sometimes, West could have just been having “a moment” on the set of Saturday Night Live; we simply don’t know what was really going on and shouldn’t judge him based on an ambiguous recording. Regarding his Twitter fight with Wiz, the fact is almost everything he said was pretty truthful if you are familiar with the two artists’ music. He shouldn’t have attacked Amber Rose, but he apologized later and I am sure everyone has said regrettable things out of spite about an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Lastly, admitting bankruptcy and exposing vulnerability is something rare of human beings in general, let alone of celebrities. Especially in the social media age where everyone is portraying perfection, I actually respected Kanye’s revelation.

So, to bring this article full circle- in a world where people running for public office are spewing harmful, untrue, and quite frankly frightening rhetoric, I think everyone can be entertained, amused, or amazed by Kanye West, but passing unfair judgment and hate is probably best channeled elsewhere. And for people pleading that the artist seeks mental or spiritual help- how the hell do you know he hasn’t done so already? He could be in therapy, on medication, or simply doing just fine. If you aren’t professionally treating Kanye West, don’t comment.

Most importantly, The Life of Pablo is incredible, and Kanye’s latest tweet will hopefully put the haters in their place:

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My “Mad Men” Pitch

This morning I sat in my first ever yoga class thinking about Mad Men. It still hasn’t quite hit me that there will never be another new episode of this beautiful and perfect show, and that I have seen all I ever will of these characters lives. I was prepared to write a nostalgic and wistful post about the brilliant finale and how the series personally affected me as a whole. But, and this is not even a joke, I sat in yoga this morning just as Don did in the last moments of the show, and I thought of a better idea. madmen_don_meditating I felt complete closure with each character’s story line (except maybe Betty’s, because it makes me too sad), and I loved that Don’s Coca-Cola pitch was left to the imagination. That being said, below is a list of possible television show/ movie spinoffs that I would deeply enjoy to watch:

Le Mariage

Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, this romantic-comedy is set in France, and follows the nuptials of Roger Sterling and Marie Calvet. A whole slew of characters come together to witness that it is never too late to find true love. Megan brings a young, actor boyfriend as her date; Margaret Sterling leaves her cult to make a surprise appearance; Don brings Sally to make a fun trip of the weekend, but she is shocked when she remembers the LAST time she saw Roger and Marie together!

“A Thing Like That”

What happens when two wealthy New Yorkers decide to pick up and move to Wichita, Kansas? This hilarious sitcom starring Pete and Trudy Campbell! They make new friends, choreograph more dances, and finally buy a new chip-n-dip.

“The Peggy Project”

Similar to “The Mindy Project”, this witty half-hour comedy stars Peggy Olsen as she navigates New York City, her thirties, a new career, and a blossoming office romance. In episode one, Stan finally meets Peggy’s mother and sister! Let’s hope Mrs. Olsen doesn’t find Stan’s stash of weed…

All I Wanna Do 2

This is a sequel to the 1998 film about a 1960’s all girls’ boarding school that starred Kirsten Dunst. This movie is set in 1970’s Miss Porter’s School, and stars Sally Draper who returns from Betty’s funeral determined to honor her mother’s wishes and return to normal life. Things get complicated when a distraught Glenn Bishop hears about Betty and decides to pay Sally a visit…

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He may have lost his nipple, but he hasn’t lost hope.

Genehood

Exactly like the film Boyhood, but following Gene Draper for the next twelve years of his life.

Bruce Jenner: The Interview

The past year of my life has been about rediscovering who I am after struggling through a series of hardships during my first few years of college. I am lucky to have wonderful people in my life supporting me, and feel my self-confidence and mental health flourishing more and more every day.

I used to look at people around me and feel envious that they seem to have it all together, and don’t have internal anxieties and conflict that can feel incredibly lonely and isolating. Then one day someone close to me said, “Don’t compare your life to others, and don’t judge others. You have no idea what their journey is all about”.

Last night I watched Bruce Jenner’s interview, and that piece of advice resonated with me in a whole new way.

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I will admit that I was skeptical Bruce was transgender. I thought it was nothing but a media spectacle; after all, I have watched Bruce on television for almost ten years and never saw any indication that he struggled with gender identity. I didn’t even think anything of the many jokes and public mockery aimed at Bruce’s seemingly odd behavior.

Then last night, I heard Bruce describe living a lie for 65 years. I heard Bruce describe looking at women and thinking how lucky they are that they can wake up and be themselves. I heard Bruce plead for acceptance.

This is about so much more than Bruce Jenner. You truly never know what anyone’s journey is about. We are all navigating through life the best we can, and the moment you stop masking your feelings and reach out for support is the moment your life will change. I know it did for me.

We need to stop judging and start empathizing. We need to stop making assumptions. We need to rally together because we are all in this together. We all deserve to live an authentic life and find inner peace.

“Have an open mind and an open heart. I’m not this ‘bad person.’ I’m just doing what I have to do.”

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!

Remembering Richard

I was so sad to learn that Edward Hermann, the actor who brought Richard Gilmore to life on my favorite television show of all time, Gilmore Girls, passed away today at 71. Considering I spent my formative years trying to be Rory Gilmore, Richard felt like my onscreen grandpa throughout my adolescence. Below are my 10 favorite episodes of Gilmore Girls featuring Richard:

(1) “Kill Me Now”- Season 1, Episode 3

(2) “Forgiveness and Stuff”- Season 1, Episode 10

(3) “Richard in Stars Hollow”- Season 2, Episode 12

(4) “Back in the Saddle Again”- Season 2, Episode 18

(5) “Let the Games Begin”- Season 3, Episode 8

(6) “Dear Emily and Richard”- Season 3, Episode 13

(7) “The Reigning Lorelai”- Season 4, Episode 16

(8) “Tick, Tick, Tick, Boom!”- Season 4, Episode 18

(9) “Afterboom”- Season 4, Episode 19

(10) “Wedding Bell Blues”- Season 5, Episode 13

In a show predominately about the relationships among three generations of women, Richard Gilmore was the bridge between the three women and one of my favorite characters on the show. Rest in peace.

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Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce

When I first started seeing commercials for Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Bravo’s “first scripted series” (although the Housewives aren’t exactly raw footage), I was a bit wary. The acting looked forced and I couldn’t figure out what the premise was. Is it just about a woman getting a divorce that starts dating again? Is that the chick from House? OMG, it’s Heather Mooney from Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion!

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Well, last night after RHOBH (which is pulling a RHONJ and starting to suck) the first episode of Girlfriends’ Guide premiered, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The show is about a writer named Abby (Lisa Edelstein), who writes self-help books even though her marriage and personal life are deteriorating. I think Edelstein’s character could be a subtle nod to the Bravolebrities who sell the image of a “perfect lifestyle” when many of them are complete messes themselves (Teresa Giudice, Luanne De Lesseps, Bethenny Frankel, etc. etc. etc. etc.). Abby’s best friends, who are the most entertaining parts of the show, are going through marital problems themselves. Janeane Garofalo (HEATHER MOONEY) is hilarious as a wealthy lawyer going through a brutal divorce, and Beau Garrett is a former model and free-spirited hippie who does things like smoke joints in department stores and flash her boobs in public. They all have children at the same uptight private school where the other mothers sip cappuccinos and judge them. It’s all very Gossip Girl meets Sex and the City meets the mothers you see on visiting day at sleep away camp.

I was shocked by three things in the first episode:

  • How SUPER wealthy all of the characters are. I love watching shows about loaded women, don’t get me wrong, but Abby was basically crying about how she is going from insanely rich to kind of rich after the divorce and I played the world’s smallest violin.
  • The women are the ones paying alimony and child support to their ex-husbands. Amazing.
  • The sex scenes were very raunchy and it felt wrong watching them on Bravo.

Also, I have no idea where they film in LA but some of the scenic shots look like they are from a Nancy Meyers’ adaptation of the movie Mulholland Drive. Very pretty, but a tad eerie.

Give this guilty pleasure a shot! Tuesdays, 10 PM, Bravo.

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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.

The Comeback

Well, I was a little confused about the hype surrounding the comeback of The Comeback (I was 11 years old when the first season of the HBO series aired), but after watching the first episode of season two I totally understand it.

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The series stars Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish, a former sitcom star shooting a reality show about her life that she plans on sending to Andy Cohen (who makes a cameo in the first episode). If you loved Lisa Kudrow in Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, you will love her in The Comeback. She steals the spotlight and is equal parts delusional and hilarious. The show’s structure is similar to that of Curb Your Enthusiasm, except Valerie is aware of and interacts with the cameras. Valerie is also much less self-aware than Larry David, and certainly much more over-the-top.

Catch episode two of The Comeback tomorrow night at 10 PM on HBO.

And that’s showbiz…kid.

Well, now that Amanda Bynes is in treatment, it was only a matter of time before the miserable trolls on social media found another woman in Hollywood to make fun of. Hey, Renée Zellweger- tag, you’re it!

Renée Zellweger holds a very special place in my heart, because Chicago is one of my favorite movies of all time. After I saw the movie in theaters I performed the soundtrack alone in my room over and over, because that is what friendless ten-year-olds do. Then that summer I went away to sleepaway camp for the first time, and was so homesick I actually thought I was dying. But then the theme of the “break out” of color war was Chicago, and I will never forget the relief that washed over me that morning when I heard Renée Zellweger singing over the loudspeaker instead of the usual bugle.

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When I first saw that Renée Zellweger had plastic surgery, I really didn’t think anything of it. We all may feel like we know her in some personal way- maybe through Chicago like me, or Bridget Jones’s Diary, or Jerry Maguire– but the fact is that we don’t know her at all. How do I know what prompted her plastic surgery? I have no idea what personal battles she may or may not be fighting. Once my twitter feed was flooded with jokes about Renée Zellweger’s “new face”, I looked closer at her post-surgery picture and I honestly think she is still just as beautiful as ever. She looks different, but why is “different” automatically negative? The goal of plastic surgery is to look different; if you walked out of a procedure looking exactly the same that would be a problem…

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Bottom line: the absurd public outcry about Renée Zellweger’s plastic surgery has nothing to do with plastic surgery; it has to do with how society shames women over 40 for simply being over 40. According to ASPS statistics, 6.1 million Botox injections are performed each year. Most of these injections are performed on women over 40 who are not celebrities, but still feel the societal pressure to conceal their age. Renée Zellweger walks on red carpets, is on the cover of magazines, and has her picture taken walking out of Starbucks. Not to mention, the minute an actress starts looking older in Hollywood the roles available to her start dwindling. Renée Zellweger is 45 years old, successful, and has the means and desire to spruce up her appearance. You go Roxy Hart. Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle.

P.S.: Kudos to the super brave men and women hiding behind their computer screens shaming an Oscar award-winning actress for getting plastic surgery. I’m sure she really cares what you all have to say. Renée simply responded by saying, “I’m glad folks think I look different”. Then Renée looked in the mirror, smiled, and started dancing to the Chicago soundtrack.

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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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