The Bachelorette: Weeks 3 through 5

To the maybe four of you who read this blog, I am so sorry for this beyond delayed recap.

My excuses aren’t great. I’m wrapping up internships, searching for a full-time job, having a slight quarter-life crisis and listening to a lot of depressing music that makes me question why I feel the need to obsessively recap romantic reality shows and, in turn, makes me question my own romantic inclinations towards sad men in eyeliner… anyway, the point is, I feel somehow lighter as summer comes on like a gigantic wave of swamp ass and, dare I say, excited to while away some hours on a heavily-scripted, intellectually insulting and downright fun reality show.

So here’s what you didn’t really miss these past few weeks:

Week 3

This episode picks right up where last week left off. EntrepreKupah finally leaves and an exasperated Kaitlyn still has a rose ceremony ahead of her! Our hero Tony the Healer hopes he will get a rose, and confides just how much he’s risked in coming to The Bachelorette.

“Getting the rose would be amazing. It’s definitely worth what I have invested. Stepping away from my business, and my dog, my bonsai trees, all the things that I love in this world.”

And wouldn’t you know it? Kaitlyn’s final rose goes to Tony. Kaitlyn rationalizes keeping Tony around by saying, “He seems like a very sweet guy who’s kind of been through a lot.” So it’s like when people adopt a troubled dog that they don’t really have the time or patience for, but they don’t wanna seem like an asshole for giving it back so they just keep it.

The next group date is sumo wrestling. 1,000 Percent JJ couldn’t be more excited. Quoth JJ: “I-I really love Japanese culture. I love sushi. I love… I don’t know anything about sumo. But, uh, I think it’s gonna be fun.”

Wow, JJ. You're really a citizen of the world.

JJ: a true citizen of the world.

Gay single dad Jonathan talks about watching the professional sumo wrestlers fight and how “You felt, like, this power of man meat just running into each other.” Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 10.23.24 AMI think Jonathan needs to record himself for a day & hear how he sounds to other people. Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 10.20.41 AMPeace, Love & Tony surprisingly rises to the sumo challenge and is of course immediately floored by a 500-pound Japanese man. His pride is almost as bruised as his eye was in week one. He tries to play it off, telling Kaitlyn he didn’t want to be a part of an aggressive group date in the first place, because that’s not who he is.

He really lays it all out for her: “I see the world through the eyes of a child, I have the heart of a warrior, and a gypsy soul.” (I should mention that Tony says this exact monologue twice during the episode).

Pictured: Genius editing

Pictured: Genius editing

Ultimately Tony the Healer, our light and leader through dark times, chooses to leave the competition. The word “heartbroken” can’t even begin to touch how I feel. All I can say is may your journey lead you to all the universe’s puzzle pieces, brother.

Clint, who I’d started to change my tune on, actually proves to be more like the mean jock in an 80s movie I originally thought he was. He makes no effort to get alone time with Kaitlyn or even acknowledge her for that matter, believing that she’ll come to him if she really likes him. When his utter lack of ability to play the game yields no rose for him, Clint is dismayed and says that he might not have feelings for Kaitlyn after all. But there is a good chance he’ll still stick around… you might even say a 1,000 percent chance.

Now THIS is the show I wanna watch!

Now THIS is the show I wanna watch!

The time comes for Kaitlyn’s one-on-one with Ben Z. who Kaitlyn can only describe as a “big handsome man.” I have no idea who he is beyond that. His backstory is that his mom died, which is really enough to constitute a personality on The Bachelorette.

Their date is “a live escape room experience.” Essentially, they’re trapped in a creepy basement for an hour and have to figure out how to escape. The Bachelorette paints this date as an intimate way to “build trust,” rather than the the stressful, absolute nightmare it really is. Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 12.03.56 PMThe two make it out of the basement by discovering the secret code, “ROSES,” which is so dumb. They didn’t even have to look around for clues. They could have just sat and guessed different words associated with the show like “JOURNEY,” “CONNECTION,” or “THE RIGHT REASONS.” Ben Z. gets a rose and is safe.

At the next group date, Kaitlyn has the bachelors give a sex ed lesson to a group of elementary schoolers because it’s cute to let some ding dongs in V-necks clumsily give children their introduction to sex. Even if they are child actors, it’s upsetting.

Ben H. steals the show by bringing Kaitlyn up for his lesson and doing a reenactment of a sperm fertilizing an egg. Sweet, twinkly music is played and there are close-ups of the children’s faces as they sit in wonder. Last I checked, a man pretending to be a sperm in front of a group of children is just weird, but apparently it’s just the ticket to Ben H. earning a rose. Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.19.45 PMBack at the house, the guys poke fun at Clint and JJ having a bromance. The show half paints it as being a dramatic, forbidden love and half paints it as a big joke. I think at this point in reality TV, we’re supposed to assume that everyone is an actor and everything’s scripted. Clint and JJ are certainly playing to the cameras and trying to get as much screen time as possible, but I think their infatuation with each other is probably real. Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.25.58 PMI mean, look at that body language. You can’t tell me these two haven’t touched each other in their swimsuit areas.

The episode concludes with Clint pulling Kaitlyn aside to schmooze and ensure that he stays in the house (so he can hang around with JJ, he admits to the cameras). Kaitlyn seems to buy into his ruse, but will the other guys stand for it? Find out…

Right now!

Week 4

Enough of the bachelors confide in Kaitlyn about Clint not being there for “the right reasons” that she decides to confront Ol’ Helmet Hair. Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.38.22 PMShe can tell he’s full of bull and realizes that he “just isn’t her husband.” Good for you, Kaitlyn! I mean, I’m not sure a dozen “fitness professionals” with dumb tribal tattoos and hot tub-related infections are husband material, but you go girl!

Kaitlyn announces that Clint is leaving the competition and JJ demands Clint apologize for wasting everyone’s time and emotional energy. JJ obviously has some misplaced anger. What’s the saying? “You always hurt the one you love”?

JJ tries to smooth things over, but it’s too late. A betrayed Clint tells JJ to “get out of his face, bro” or something, and they have a pretty sexy, heated argument before Clint leaves in a huff.

Sexual tension you could cut with a knife.

Sexual tension you could cut with a knife.

I shit you not, moments later, a crying JJ tries to get it together by smacking himself in the face.

“Be a man, dammit! Pretend you wanna bone this woman for two more months!”

After the emotional and unexpected departures of both Kupah and Clint, Kaitlyn decides to forgo a rose ceremony for yet another week (gettin’ real tired of your shit, Bachelorette).

Chris Harrison announces that everyone will be leaving the luxurious, sprawling mansion in the sun-soaked valley for a hotel in wintertime New York City, where the weather is seasonally appropriate. Everyone pretends to be excited. Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.30.25 PMKaitlyn pensively looks out on the waters surrounding NYC as she heads to the first group date of the week. Someone I was watching with pointed out that if Kaitlyn is riding that particular ferry, it means she’s staying in Jersey.

The group date is a rap battle, emceed by none other than Doug E. Fresh, who seems to have a lot going on these days. Everyone sucks at rapping, unsurprisingly. The best of the night turns out to be Max Headroom doppelgänger, Corey, if that tells you anything. Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.33.21 PMNick, the runner-up from the previous season of The Bachelorette, attends the rap battle. It is revealed that he and Kaitlyn “talked” over texts—I shudder to think of all the winky face emoticons—and he came to New York to make some real life winky faces at her. On a related note, if there were a shit-eating-grin emoticon, then I would never have to post another picture of Nick ever again. Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.50.54 PMFeelings towards Nick seem to be divided amongst viewers. Some think he is a genuinely humble guy, but I think he’s playing at shyness—badly. He hammily shrugs his shoulders and giggles “nervously.” His eyes dart back and forth as if to ask “Am I pulling this off?” before he expertly leans in for some tonsil hockey. Nick just gives me slimy vibes. Like a 30-year-old man working at Best Buy who hits on teenage girls. I see right through his “I’m just a nice, regular guy. Look at my Neville Longbottom face and weird hairline” routine. I don’t trust him coming onto this show a second time, especially in the middle of a season.

Kaitlyn, however, is smitten by Nick. Her perpetually glazed over eyes open slightly wider whenever he’s around. She cackles at every profoundly uninteresting thing he says and is generally giddy in his presence. This fucking tool who dresses like a 12-year-old and sits in the most douchey way possible.

This is rivaling Britt and her shoes on the bed.

He’s rivaling Britt and her shoes on the bed.

Kaitlyn informs the bachelors of her intentions to bring Nick into the fold. They are not happy. The mentality seems to be “I’ll share a girlfriend with 15 other guys I don’t particularly like, but I’ll be damned I have to share her with that asshole!” I get their thinking—”We were here first,” etc.—but they’re already on a dumb show with dumb rules. Just embrace the free bar and enjoy the ride.

Kaitlyn goes on a one-on-one date with Jared, who I can tell should register as handsome, but there’s just something undeniably ratlike about him. I think it’s that he’s so pointy. Those tiny sharp eyes, that tight jaw. Really, what’s shocking about his appearance is that he doesn’t have claws. Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 9.20.51 PMThe two have the Metropolitan Museum all to themselves for an evening and there are lots of nice shots of them in formal wear pretending to look at exhibits. Kaitlyn is wearing a gown with “beautiful Neil Lane jewels.” Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 9.37.15 PMNeil Lane is a jeweler I’ve only ever heard name-dropped on The Bachelorette, which means his market must exclusively be sad white women with no imagination who drink too much wine. Anyway, I looked into Neil Lane and this was his response when asked what happens to the engagement rings of The Bachelor series after couples split:

“What happens afterwards? I don’t know. If they break up, the ring goes to ring heaven. There are a bunch of rings in ring heaven and God is watching them—and probably trying them on!”

Wtf, Neil Lane??

Wtf, Neil Lane?

The next group date is a faux audition for the Aladdin musical on Broadway. Everyone has to learn a dance, sing a few bars from “A Whole New World,” the works. It’s a disaster. And probably my favorite group date since the stand-up.
Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 10.01.32 PMChris “Cupcake” BRINGS IT. He learns those steps like he had an overbearing stage mother and puts his heart into “A Whole New World” like it was the first song he ever made out to at a cast party. He wins the audition and he and Kaitlyn get to play walk-on roles in Aladdin that evening. Literally. They walk onto the stage and walk off… still cooler than any date I’ve ever been on. Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 10.35.18 PMThe episode ends with Nick entering the hotel, ready to win love and rival JJ for Most Punchable Face. Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 10.52.33 PMHow will the bachelors take his late entry into the competition? Find out…

This very moment!

Week 5

Nick enters the hotel room and all the bachelors are cold as a muthafucka to him. Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 11.35.24 PMThey have a lot of questions for Sleazy Neville Longbottom. Some are suspicious that he’s just a bachelorette chaser.

“Yeah,” says Nick. “Something about interchangeable, maritally-motivated women in infinity scarves with blindingly white teeth just gets me goin’.”

What Nick actually says when defending himself is that “Kaitlyn’s a pretty cool chick” he wants to get to know. Joshua the welder steps in and asks, “Is she a cool chick or is she an amazing woman to you?” Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 11.45.28 PMDAAAMMMMNNNN! I thought Josh was cute before, if not in a dopey midwestern way, but now I’m full-on gunning for him. What balls. What honesty. What a sweet, earnest, unfortunate accent he has when serving up some truth. Josh for the win.

Before the rose ceremony, several of the bachelors express their uncertainty about Nick to Kaitlyn. When they did this in previous episodes, such as with Clint, it resulted in Kaitlyn asking the bachelor in question to leave. But Kaitlyn is clearly attracted to Nick as the dark horse of the competition and the other guys squealin’ on him like petty schoolboys just makes Nick hotter in Kaitlyn’s eyes. Homegirl likes a bad boy. We should’ve realized this as soon as we saw that she had not one, but two sparrow tattoos.

Funhouse Mirror Ryan Gosling Shawn B. gets real with Kaitlyn and says that her bringing Nick into the group has made him question her. He implores her to see through Nick’s act and says that he “hoped she was smarter” than that.Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 12.05.36 AMI think this was just a poor choice of words on Shawn B.’s part, but Kaitlyn shoots him a piercing gaze that I can only equate to a look a boy gave me in elementary school when I accidentally revealed to the class that he tweezed his eyebrows. Could this be Shawn’s fall from grace?

Those dismissed at the rose ceremony include Gay Single Dad Jonathan (about time!), Corey Headroom, and Ryan B (kind of a bummer—he had a cute Book of Mormon face). Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 12.19.38 AMEveryone’s now in San Antonio, Texas. Apparently they traveled there at some some point in the episode. I don’t even know anymore.

Kaitlyn and Ben H. go on a one-on-one. I noticed Ben H. right from the beginning because he has the sort of boyishly handsome face I’m always drawn to. And I hated Ben H. right from the beginning because those boyishly handsome faces are often attached to assholes. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 12.27.31 AMBen H. actually seems like a mild-mannered, thoughtful person, but I have to believe, for my own protection and well-being, that guys who look like him are awful people. So, god, Ben H., why are you such an asshole?!

I was watching with a friend who pointed out that Ben looks a lot like Peter Brady, which is an AMAZING CALL. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 12.35.54 AMAnd definitely points to a pattern in my aesthetic preferences, as I once had a crush on Peter Brady… I should be more specific; I had a crush on Surreal Life era Christopher Knight.

I don't need to explain myself to you.

That soul patch did it for me. Don’t judge.

Anyway, Kaitlyn and Ben H. enter a two stepping competition. Another nightmare date The Bachelorette has made a reality. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 12.45.55 AMBen and Kaitlyn have a candlelit dinner afterwards and he “really opens up,” i.e. lets her do the talking and makes vague mention of a recent breakup. Apparently that’s enough for Kaitlyn and she gives him a rose. I feel you, girl. I’d give that face all the roses.

The next group date involves writing and performing mariachi songs for Kaitlyn. I think The Bachelorette is just running of out helicopter-related dates. All of the guys perform off-key, borderline racist songs that are equally low quality. Then that rascal Nick, who is last in line to perform, gives himself a slight edge by serenading Kaitlyn from the balcony. It’s a cheap move, but he really knows how to take things to the NEXT LEVEL. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 1.09.10 AMGuys, that was bad. I’m sorry. It’s 1 AM. I’m so tired.

Back at the ranch, Joshua asks Kaitlyn to cut his hair. He’s really feeling the pressure of shiny, new Nick in the group and wants a chance to connect with Kaitlyn in a completely unique way. It doesn’t go well. Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 1.14.19 AMKaitlyn’s a good three Percocets in and straight up shaves off a whole chunk of his hair. Josh must swallow his pride as his attempt to woo Kaitlyn has backfired in more ways than one; his move contributed absolutely nothing to his already feeble connection with Kaitlyn, who immediately sneaks off for some smooches with mack daddy Nick, and Josh is left with a haircut that does no favors for his big Idahoan melon.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 1.17.32 AMPoor Joshua. He’s so unsettlingly honest in his approach to the game. He tries so hard to be noticed, to be romantic, to woo, and is left with nothing. Meanwhile, all Nick has to do is show up and Kaitlyn is putty in his small, probably sweaty hands.

Save room for Jesus, you two!

Leave room for Jesus, you two!

Josh goes to Kaitlyn to express his mistrust of Nick and admits that nobody in the house much likes or trusts him. Kaitlyn does not want to believe this and puts all the pressure on Josh: “So everyone is lying to my face?” she asks. Poor Josh is flustered.

He doesn’t want to get his friends in trouble, he just wants that cock Nick to go home! Who could blame him? But Kaitlyn seems eager to expose Josh for a liar. “Sure, I probably won’t marry Nick,” she thinks. “But I haven’t even seen his penis yet! Give me, like, a day, dude.”

She goes to the other bachelors and asks if they really feel, as Josh said, that Nick shouldn’t be here. Of course, everyone is a big pansy and says they’re cool with it. This puts Poor Josh in quite the pickle; he was just trying to tell some truths, but now he looks like the big liar. And to rub some salt in the wound, Kaitlyn immediately offers Nick a rose right in front of Josh’s face!

Could this be the end of the rose for Joshua? I'm concerned for his weld-being. Ok, sorry. Last one.

Could this be the end of the road for Josh? I’m concerned for his weld-being. Ok, sorry. Last one.

Kaitlyn and Shawn B. go on a one-on-one kayaking date. And the fun just keeps on comin’.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.44.03 AMShawn scores some points with me by sticking up for Joshua, saying that he had good intentions in talking to Kaitlyn and that some of the guys, himself included, were just afraid back him up. Go ‘head, Doofy Ryan Gosling! DRG also cries some strong, beautiful man tears later in the date, so he’ll be sticking around for awhile. I predict a Top 3 spot for him, at least.

Back at the house, Ian is feeling ignored. We initially feel bad for him, since he has a handsome face and a whole sad backstory about being in an accident and learning to walk again.

Ian says, “This is the first time in my life that I feel like I’m flying under the radar.”
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 12.54.27 AMAlright, kinda douchey, but I can see where he’s coming from.

“I think a lot of women like me. I don’t think that’s ever been an issue for me.”
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 1.02.45 AMOkay, Ian. We get it. Just take it down a notch.

“I don’t understand why Kaitlyn wouldn’t want a Princeton graduate/former model that defied death and has been around the world a couple of times.”
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 1.04.39 AMJesus Louisus!!!

Ian goes on to say that he doesn’t find Kaitlyn interesting, he could do better than her, he’s dated girls hotter than her, etc. Why, Ian? Why? Couldn’t you just pretend to be a quietly suffering hero for just a few more weeks?

It is the dawn of the next rose ceremony and Ian can’t hold his feelings of superiority in any longer. He pulls Kaitlyn aside to lay his most sparkling gems on her, including but not limited to:

“I came here expecting to meet the girl who had her heart broken and was devastated by Chris Soules, not the girl who wanted to get her field plowed.”
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 1.17.55 AM“I feel like you’re here to make out with a bunch of dudes on TV.”
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 1.18.35 AM“I really see you as a surface level person.”
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 1.18.49 AMThis show is a soap opera. And I sincerely hope Kaitlyn loses her shit on Ian next week.

And I will be giving you weekly recaps from now one because this has been exhausting. For me and for you.

Updates that don’t matter:

Britt and Brady are officially dating and no actual person cares! Britt says, “I’m getting so excited to bring him to meet my family.”
Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 11.34.58 PMYes Britt, I’m sure your family will be thrilled that you’re dating a singer-songwriter who’s just tryin’ to get started in his mid-30s and share the mediocre piano rock “melodies inside him” with the fedora wearers of the world.

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1,000 Percent Belated Bachelorette Recap: Week 1, Part 2 & Week 2

Week 1, Part 2

We’re pretty much instantly told that Kaitlyn will be this season’s bachelorette, and THANK GOD. I was not ready for three months of Britt tossing her Pantene hair and trying to look earnest as one of the guys talks about his dead mother.

It is a bit sad, however, when Chris Harrison breaks the news to her. It’s as if you can see the dream of her lifestyle brand, True Britt, fade from her eyes frame by frame. That dream is over. But I’m sure her following on Twitter and Instagram is through the roof! Woohoo! We’ll all die someday. Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.24.17 PMChris Harrison informs Kaitlyn that she will be the bachelorette. She cries tears of joy and excitement, but True Britt isn’t far from her mind. Kaitlyn feels bad for celebrating and asks how her competitor took the news. Chris Harrison reassures her and they share a tender embrace, while he softly says, “Sweet girl.” Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.23.57 PMWoah, Chris Harrison! So suave, so sensitive, and oh so mysterious… what do we really know about him? I, for one, am intrigued! And a little hot and bothered, tbh (sorry). Chris Harrison says, “The rest of this journey is about you hopefully finding love, and I promise I will do everything in my power to help you do that.”

Oh I BET you will, C.H. Whew, I'm so single.

Oh I BET you will, Chris Harrison.

The men are informed that Kaitlyn will be the bachelorette and they are “pumped, dude!” Blah. Just run off with my main man C.H. while you still can, Kaitlyn! Anyway, it’s clear from the way the camera lingers on him and the spots he gets with slightly more exciting canned music that Doofy Ryan Gosling (a.k.a. Shawn B.) will be among the final contenders for Kaitlyn’s affections this season. Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 11.09.08 PMSide note: Not to bring down the mood, but I I have to address that Kaitlyn seems like she’s on pills. She is endlessly chill, her eyes are perpetually sleepy, and she sort of growls out all her sentences. She’s here to “find true love,” but I think Percocet might already be it. I’ve watched enough Intervention to know the signs. I hope this is not the case, but if so, it’s good TV. Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.58.31 PMIt’s time for Klonopin Kaitlyn to dole out her First Impression Rose. Kupah, an “entrepreneur,” gets in there to make that crucial first impression. I don’t trust him because before this, he was fully team Britt. Now he’s just trying save face. Same thing goes for JJ, former investment banker (doesn’t that just mean unemployed?), who says “1,000 percent” twice in the span of 40 seconds. Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 10.30.29 PMNow the gentlemen who voted for Britt are feeling the pressure of forging a connection with a different bachelorette. Some, like EntrepreKupah and JJ, are willing to make a quick switch in exchange for screen time, but others, like our friend Tony the Healer, are struggling to accept Kaitlyn as their Rose Master. Tony says that his heart “truly resonated with Britt” and that now “there’s only one drinking fountain, and we all must stand in the same line. But I’m almost ready to go home and just dig my own well…”

“… and fill it with Kool-Aid.”

Turns out Chris, the dentist who arrived in a cupcake car, actually has game! He flashes those pearly whites at Kaitlyn and is the first of the evening to get a smooch.

Says Kaitlyn: “The dentist has got moves! Guy’s got wheels.” … I thought the cupcake was motorized?

Though all the guys are putting in their A game, the one who predictably gets the First Impression Rose is Ryan Gosling’s broken-nosed cousin, Shawn B. Kaitlyn gushes that “kissing Shawn is like having a first kiss in elementary.” Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 11.28.09 PMI recall laying one on my first grade crush with zeal, only for him to flatly respond with, “You can’t kiss in school.” I’m pretty sure that moment, at 7 years old, was the start of all my self doubt, relationship anxiety, and general hostility towards the opposite sex. So I guess that’s what kissing Shawn B. was like.

During the First Official Rose Dole, Kaitlyn makes some grim choices, like Gay Dad Jonathan, Moonshine Joe, self-employed EntrepreKupah and 1,000 percent unemployed JJ.

Brady, who we learned last episode has “melodies inside him” (and should probably go get that checked out), halts the proceedings and takes Kaitlyn aside to inform her that his “heart is with Britt.” He dismisses himself from the competition, ostensibly to find Britt and woo her with one of his melodies entitled “Our Love is the Final Rose” or some shit. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 12.11.13 AMKaitlyn returns to the Rose Ceremony and miraculously makes some good calls, like eliminating hot-tub-driving sex therapist Shawn E. and ol’ American Psycho Eyes, Josh. Tony the Healer is safe. Blessed be. Light and love.

The bachelorette and her remaining hopefuls toast to her journey. I, for one, am toasting to seeing her in an outfit other than that sequined dress. Bring on the muted infinity scarves and seasonally inappropriate knee-high boots!

Peep that wrist tat.

Peep that wrist tat.

Week 2 Many exciting things are in store for us as Week 2 commences, namely that Chris is now officially known as “Chris ‘Cupcake.'” Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 12.59.50 AMOne thing that is not exciting is that we’re still seeing this face for some godforsaken reason. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.04.55 AMBritt is preparing to head home and is moping around her hotel room with her shoes on the bed, because apparently she was raised in a fucking barn. She is visited by none other than melody-infested Brady, who comes to comfort her a with a hug (and possibly the D).

Back at the mansion, Chris Harrison wastes no time and ushers a handful of bachelors into the limo for the first official group date. Notable parties involved include 1,000 Percent JJ, Jared the Love Man, and EntrepreKupah himself. The date is a boxing lesson from Laila Ali followed by a match. Ms. Ali announces, “I’m gonna put you guys through a workout like you’ve never seen before!”

The guys all smile and laugh, up to the challenge and eager to impress Kaitlyn. Only Daniel has a reaction to this news that I feel is realistic. In the split second that the camera pans over to him, he somehow manages to force his expression of pure panic/discomfort into a wince. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.41.38 AMThe Bachelorette would have you believe the ideal date for young people involves a grueling workout followed by physical humiliation. But honestly, young people would rather just sit in a mid-grade restaurant for two hours and then awkwardly figure out the check. Daniel is a reflection of this. He is a teller of truths. He is also a fashion designer.

The boxing match begins and what is meant to be a sappy romp through the dating lives of young, attractive people for housewives and wine-drunk 20-year-olds quickly becomes an gritty HBO produced exposé on the pressures of masculinity and male aggression. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 2.15.17 AMSeriously, these men beat the shit out of each other, all in the name of impressing Kaitlyn, who mostly just seems uncomfortable and concerned throughout the fight, as does the rest of the entirely female audience. Even Laila Ali looks pretty over it the whole time.

When will men learn that demonstrating physical prowess is nothing compared to telling a good joke? Yes, I’m sure Kupah could deadlift three Britts and Moonshine Joe could balance a cinderblock in his forehead dent, but do they know the one about the man with the wooden leg named Smith? Anyway, Ben Z., a giant among men, scores a rose on this group date.

Wearing one of the most punchable faces I’ve ever seen, it seemed that 1,000 Percent JJ had the cards unjustly stacked against him from the beginning. But with each passing week, he proves that his insides are just as punchable, and maybe, after all, we should judge a book by its cover. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 4.23.34 AMJJ has a 3-year-old daughter, who he never fails to mention when he’s onscreen. He obviously feels superior about being a father (I guess enough to cancel out any shame about being unemployed). He talks incessantly about his confidence in himself, how he’ll definitely get a rose, and how he’s smarter than 90 percent of humanity. You sure you’re 1,000 percent on that, JJ?

Kaitlyn takes Clint, an architectural engineer, on a one-on-one date. The only reason Clint stuck in my mind is because he looks like a 35-year-old playing an 18-year-old dbag in an 80s movie. He just has that generic handsome mug and helmet of golden hair that I was under the impression went out of circulation in 1994. But here we are. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 2.44.35 AMWith this date, I learned there’s more to Clint than meets the eye. For instance, he drew Kaitlyn a picture of Chris Harrison riding a triceratops. And you know what? That’s really all I needed. And all I’ll ever need. You draw that picture, you’re good in my book. Clint earns a rose. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 2.46.54 AMKaitlyn and Clint’s date is an underwater photoshoot, which to me is at least 1 star above a boxing match. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 3.12.23 AMBack at the mansion, Tony the Healer agrees with me. He is appalled that the group date involved violence. He lectures his fellow bachelors about what is at the heart of the competition—love—and it should never result in violence. That is until Helter Skelter comes down, man. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 3.08.09 AMThe camera steadily zooms in on Tony as he delivers the following speech: “Love is about being present. Love is about connection. Love is about discussion. Love is about possibilities and ideas and dreams. Love is as perennial as the grass.” (All engaged couples, please take note and replace 1 Corinthians 13 with Tony’s Love Speech in your wedding ceremonies).

On the next group date, the fellas perform some stand-up comedy with the help of Amy Schumer. I don’t even need to say that this is already one of my favorite pop culture moments. Amy’s there kind of shitting on the whole thing but also really into it, which I personally can relate to. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 3.47.02 AM 1She describes 1,000 Percent JJ better than I ever could: “JJ’s a sweetheart. He’s just missing, like, charisma and humility and a sense of humor. But other than that, basically, you should hire him as the next Bachelor… maybe when he sees the show, he’ll reflect on himself a little bit and not be such a turd.”

Most of the guys have moderate success on the stage. But the world isn’t ready for Tony the Healer’s brand of comedy.

“Don’t you hate it when one of your followers breaks their fast and you have to lock them in the isolation shack for a week? … whew, tough room.”

1,000 Percent JJ played the “I’m a dad” card and swindled a rose out of Kaitlyn for the group date. So we have to suppress the urge to punch him for at least one more episode.

Tensions start to rise in the house. Now that he has a rose, JJ is bein’ a real b-hole and rubbing his victory in everyone’s faces. They’re all irked, but our man Tony is especially not thrilled. He has dedicated his whole life to searching for a fifth wife love and his journey will be respected, dammit!

EntrepreKupah is not happy, either. He pulls Kaitlyn aside to ask why they haven’t formed a connection yet. I don’t know, Kupah, probably because you came here for Britt and didn’t speak to Kaitlyn at all on your group date? I’m not invested in this show or anything.

Anyway, Kaitlyn decides to let Kupah go before the Rose Ceremony and he goes through Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief within a span of 3 minutes. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 5.05.03 AMThere is a very awkward exchange that begins with Kupah simply refusing to leave. Then he tries to convince Kaitlyn why he should stay with the following argument:

Kupah: I don’t want to go home. I think you’re hot, I think you’re sexy, I think you’re pretty-
Kaitlyn: Ok, well there’s more to me than that.
Kupah: I know, but I like all that other stuff! Like, you said you like movies and movie quotes. Yes or no?

When all is said and done, Kupah mercifully hits the bricks. But of course, the Rose Ceremony is still ahead of us, and we’ll have to wait until next week to find out who stays and who goes. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 5.03.16 AMOn the next episode, I think we unfortunately see more Britt and Brady. Y’know, just holding hands at a cafe, standing near a mountain, looking at a sunset. Brady wears a stupid beanie that makes him look like Jacques Cousteau’s reject musician son. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 5.05.30 AMAnd I’m sure they live happily ever after. Brady gets to open for John Mayer once and Britt stars in a few of those makeup/hair tutorials that you have to sit through before your Youtube video plays.

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The Bachelorette Season 11 Premiere, Part 1: Subtle Shade

“Tonight, we will have not one, but two beautiful women meeting 25 of the most eligible men in America… will this be awkward and probably a bit painful? Sure.”

This is host Chris Harrison’s surprisingly blunt opener to season 11 of The Bachelorette, one of the jewels in the crown of reality television. Each year the show tells a tale as old as time: a woman with the complexion of a Starbucks Blonde Roast and the personality of a coffee cup sleeve wades through a veritable ocean of personal trainers who love their mothers in hopes to find “the one.”
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.26.37 AMThis season throws us a curveball by kicking off with two prospective bachelorettes. The 20-odd hopeful men must cast their votes and decide who among the ladies will be the bachelorette.

I skipped out on the previous season of The Bachelor where bachelorette contenders Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe were first introduced. In fact, my only exposure to The Bachelor/ette series was season 10 of The ‘ette, where most recent bachelor Chris Soules was pulled from.
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.28.10 AMChris is like a walking, talking piece of plywood, so my assumption was that any woman trying to win his love on season 19 of The Bachelor was a dumb dumb. BUT in approaching a brand new season of the series, I have to put aside my preconceived notions and take these hopeful bachelorettes for what they really are (or for what the showrunners make them out to be).
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 10.12.53 AMApparently Kaitlyn Bristowe is “funny, sexy, and sometimes completely inappropriate.” They show clips from her season of The Bachelor where she makes dick jokes and generally seems like a good time gal. She’s got a slight snaggletooth and too many teeth for her mouth, which in my opinion is the mark of a fun woman. She also has an ankle tattoo! Let the games begin!
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.29.45 AMBritt Nilsson is described as “sincere, emotional, and very loving,” i.e. boring. But she is BEAUTIFUL, if not in a boring way. She has that kind of Disney Channel starlet beauty that we’ve grown all too accustomed to: gigantic eyes, a perfect sheet of silken hair, the silhouette of a bobblehead doll. Compared to firecracker Kaitlyn, she seems like a dull choice to carry a show. But Britt is a beautiful cryer, which is a must for any bachelorette (I made reference to this in my only other online commentary of The Bachelorette).

It’s time to meet the eligible bachelors!

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 8.51.55 AMJonathan seems gay and has a cute 5-year-old son with some badass rockabilly hair.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.36.26 AMJoe is from Kentucky and his eyes are a little close together/move at different paces. There is a significant dent in his forehead that may or may not correlate with his brain functions.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.39.20 AMJosh is a law school graduate and stripper with hella tattoos. Also seems gay. Has American Psycho eyes.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.42.50 AMBrady “has melodies inside him. Songs that marry together both pain and joy.” Soulfully sings aggressively mediocre soft rock songs at the piano. Trying to jumpstart his music career through The Bachelorette.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.44.38 AMJoshua is another country boy. But he welds! Put him and American Stripper Psycho together and we could have a genderswapped Flashdance! He has fuzzy dice hanging from his rearview mirror 😦 But he did weld a fucking rose for the ladies! A beautiful one at that.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.46.46 AMJared looks like Ashton Kutcher’s evil, Steve Jobs-ier brother. Nicely sculpted eyebrows. Has created a superhero alter ego called “Love Man,” who, in his words, “represents trustworthy and understanding.” He’s obviously not “Sentence Structure Man.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.48.40 AMTony is a healer.

… I’ll repeat myself: Tony is a HEALER!

Tony keeps talking about how “disconnecting from the world” is great, and how each moment in his life is like a piece of a puzzle that will one day “reveal itself.” The words “connection” and “energy” get tossed around a lot. Tony definitely has followers. And not in a Twitter way.

Before our bachelorettes meet the men for the first time, Chris Harrison takes them aside to address the awkwardness of the situation (after all, this is the first time in Bachelorette history that men have emerged from a limo to greet two women). And how does the show handle this? Why it ups the discomfort, of course! Making the two women stand yards apart so that the men will have to choose who to greet first.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.06.57 AMBritt tries to be peaches and cream towards everybody, including her competitor. She smiles and shrugs sweetly at the awkward and haphazard nature of it all.
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.36.49 AMBut Kaitlyn acts somewhat bitchy towards her… and I LIKE IT! While Britt tries so hard to please everybody and seems aware of every blink of her Bambi eyes, Kaitlyn casts some major side eye at her and freely busts out less-than-flattering exasperated expressions.

She would intimidate the hell out of me in real life, but this is good TV!

She would intimidate the hell out of me in real life, but this is good TV!

When the first wave of men emerge from the limo, all eyes are on Britt. Kaitlyn purses her lips in frustration as guys beeline to Britt. One man claims that he liked Kaitlyn but “lost his words” around Britt. Another greets Britt with “Hi, Disney princess,” which is upsetting on many levels.

While Britt tries her darnedest to play the humble “I can’t believe I’m here!” girl-next-door, she can’t resist the urge to throw some subtle shade at Kaitlyn. She says: “I almost feel bad being so excited because Kaitlyn is so nervous. She doesn’t seem quite herself right now. That’s kinda sad.”



I don’t like Britt, let’s just get that out of the way. She seems totally insincere and bland and I just don’t get why she’s here. Well, obviously to further her own career—that’s why anybody goes on these shows—but Britt is just so boring, I don’t see what her possible future in the media could be. I’m guessing her five year plan involves becoming a mommy blogger and developing her own “lifestyle brand.” But I just don’t get that kind of thing. I guess it’s useful or inspirational to other vapid and untalented women who hope to “break through,” but bigger picture: Who really needs that?

What we need is a bachelorette who’s gonna cause some hot tub controversy. A woman with sparrow tattoos who lives every day like it’s happy hour at T.G.I. Friday’s. A woman who can really contribute something to the pop culture trash heap that endlessly fascinates, disgusts, and inspires us.

To clarify, I don’t think Kaitlyn is trashy, and I don’t think mommy bloggers are the worst. But I don’t think we should make role models out of bland, inoffensive women who just want desperately to be everyone’s piece of cake. For better or for worse, we need women on the screen who are willing to take risks and shake up the usual order of things. We need women who will stir the shit and get people talking. Enough basic bitches with perfectly-parted ombre hair. Let’s hear what the jokester with the ill-advised tattoo has to say!

Back to business: Britt meets single father Jonathan, who is the first man of the evening to grab her attention.
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 10.08.49 AM“He has a little sparkle in his eye,” Britt says. “There was some little twinkle going on. I just felt something.” Yeah, that was your gaydar pinging.

The men who are now in the house start talking about their impressions of the girls. The consensus seems to be that they’re bowled over by Britt. Thankfully, there is soon a shift in limo exit patterns, and the new crop of guys start to gravitate towards Kaitlyn. One man goes straight for Kaitlyn and doesn’t even try to whisper that he hopes she wins. Kaitlyn shoots Britt a bitchy side smile.



A hockey player greets Kaitlyn with a pun about wanting to “puck” her. She then meets Ol’ Kentucky Eyes who brings her moonshine. Now I see why I identify with Kaitlyn so much. These guys’ attempts at “wooing” her really hit close to home for me.

Both ladies are feeling this personal trainer, Shawn B., who reminds me of a doofier version of Ryan Gosling. But har-de-har-har, he’s here for Kaitlyn!
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 10.36.00 AMKaitlyn, who has emerged from her nervous funk and, let’s be honest, is excited for the dick parade that’s passing through, runs inside to say hi to everyone who’s arrived and remind the previously Britt-mystified men that she’s also a person, and a charming one at that. It’s a power play, for sure, but she’s playing to win, dammit!
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 10.42.21 AMStarting to feel the burn of Kaitlyn’s shift in fortune, Britt throws even more subtle shade. She says, “I know [Kaitlyn] wants to win and be bachelorette, but I want to play by the rules and be fair. I just have to play the way I feel is right.” BOOOOO, hush, Britt. (Actually, I totally feel you, Britt. I just don’t want to watch you for the next 10 weeks).

Britt adds: “If you asked me before the limos came, I would have said I think I would be the bachelorette just because of… how good I feel about this. But some of these guys are on team Kaitlyn.” (i.e. “I thought I was the hotter one!)

Tony the Healer arrives and Britt totally buys into his new age spiel. “He seems so sweet. He seems like a really sincere guy,” she says. She would totally join his cult.

We also meet Corey, an investment banker who looks like a brunette Max Headroom. Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 1.44.47 AMI should point out that in addition to having two personal trainers, the cast also touts two men from the world of finance. One an investment banker, and the other a former investment banker. So we know whose coke addiction is under control and whose isn’t.

A man known as Shawn E. who is an “amateur sex coach” drives onto the premises in a hot tub car. You would think this vehicle would carry its water in some sort of flatbed or something. Nope. The car is just straight up filled with water. And Shawn E. emerges, his suit drenched from the breast pockets down.

I'd like to think

I’d like to think “Amateur Sex Coach” means he just informally watches a lot people have sex and puts in his two cents.

This is absolutely one of the more amazing things I’ve seen, but hot-tub-car-sex-coach is immediately one-upped by a man driving a CUPCAKE CAR. I’m not making this up!
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 10.57.19 AMBack inside, gay single dad Jonathan contemplates what might happen if he falls for both women: “If we don’t make that genuine connection with one, maybe we have it with the other, or maybe we have it with both, and then we move to Utah or something like that and have a dual wedding!”

“And then, maybe we have to marry GUYS! Hahahaha wouldn’t that be crazy?!”

Both women come inside to greet the bachelors all together and get in a little one-on-one time. Britt, the future mommy blogger that she is, is hopeful that in her earnest quest for true love, she will be chosen as the bachelorette. She says of Kaitlyn: “We’re just different and maybe that’s something that’s different about us, is what we’re looking for and how serious we are about it.” Subtle shade for days.

Tony the Healer has a sit down with Britt and confides in her. “When you hugged me… I really needed that at that moment.” He came to the competition for Kaitlyn, but Britt’s just one of the universe’s puzzle pieces, you know? And he’s gotta respect that. So he changes his tune and is now gunning for Britt.

“… to follow me and my fellow believers to the next universe.”

Also, I think Tony the Healer was recently punched in the eye. A rogue follower, perhaps?
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.30.00 AMChris Harrison asks the men to cast their votes for the bachelorette at a shrine-like altar, where framed portraits of Britt and Kaitlyn hang above carved wooden boxes shrouded in candlelight. This is totally Tony’s scene and he jumps at the chance to be the first to vote. I am not shitting you, Tony lays hands on the boxes and reads their energy before making his decision.
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.25.09 AM“The energy coming from the chest with Britt’s name on it was pulsating,” says Tony.

Kaitlyn charms her suitors with dirty jokes and plenty of hand touching. Apparently this is a turn-on for men, while I find that a strange man touching my hand elicits a reaction of near sprinting away while threatening, “Back off! I learned about self defense class in middle school! I never took one, but I meant to!”
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.52.05 AMBritt’s approach during one-on-ones is more blinking her giant wet eyeballs as many times as she can at a potential mate. This also proves effective for her, as many men come away in awe of her beauty, and let’s be real, not much else. I think there’s someone off-screen who wets Britt’s eyeballs between takes because those babies are consistently sparklin’.
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.56.02 AMAlso in the mix is Ryan M., who heckles his competition and takes full advantage of the free bar, which, like, duh, isn’t that point of being on reality TV? He gets pretty hammered and yells “Is this the gay Bachelor?” This moment is meant to show how obnoxious and disrespectful he is, but between Jonathan the gay single dad and American Stripper Psycho, homeboy has a point.

Ryan proves to be an actual asshole when he gets inappropriately handsy with the ladies (but truth be told, I wasn’t entirely sure of his dbag status until a few minutes later, when he decided to take a drunken dip wearing a tiny black speedo).
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.36.55 AMChris Harrison takes the sloppy Ryan M. aside and suggests he return home. For the first time all night, Ryan is stoic and quietly receptive to the words of another. While the engine of a van awaiting his entrance runs quietly,  Mr. M stands still for a few unnerving moments. He reaches into his pocket for something as Chris Harrison looks on nervously.
Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.42.56 AMMy gut feeling is that he’ll throw a fast punch at Chris or throw a molotov cocktail at the house! But The Bachelorette isn’t quite at that level of exciting. He just pulls out a hanky and climbs into the van. Lame.

Anyway, votes are cast and the fellas seem decidedly split between the two women. I have a horrible feeling Britt will be chosen and lead us through a season of endlessly talking about the child she sponsors while flipping her hair and frolicking through the autumn leaves in a $500 “casual” sweater. But I also have a suspicion that the show will carry on with two bachelorettes, because, well, why the fuck not? This series is tired and America is ready.

But of course, we won’t find out until the next episode.

I’m team Tony the Healer, tbh. How about you?

Posted in Humor, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Recap, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Year The Oscars was just like, “Fuck it.”

Lupita Nyong’o looked beautiful as she gave out the first award of the evening. She stumbled once, saying “And the actor goes to…” The audience laughed, trying to break the tension, but you know anyone who actually cared about that award was not having it. They were just like, “Bitch, did I WIN?!?!” Anyway, she’s lovely and had an awkward handshake-or-cheek-kiss? moment with J.K. Simmons, whose speech was nice. I thought, “He’s come a long a long way since that Hitler moustache in Spider Man.” Also that episode of Nip/Tuck where he got female breast implants for the shit of it.
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.32.45 PMAs Neil Patrick Harris did a bit with Octavia Spencer (actually, I think he more did a bit at her, since she seemed mildly annoyed by the whole thing), I thought about The Help, which had some great performances but didn’t really add anything new to the conversation about race in the 60s. Except the part where Octavia Spencer stuck it to her boss by shitting in a pie and feeding it to her. WHAT?! Who wrote this stuff? And can we just process the fact that Octavia Spencer shit in a pie and won an Oscar? If that’s all it takes, I should be an Oscar winner 3 times over!
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.00.17 PMBradley Cooper brought his mother to the Oscars, which is sweet. And listen to J.K. Simmons (and Mr. T), folks, and treat your mama right! But I think Bradley Cooper is gay. Gay, but not publicly out, possibly for fear of losing leading man roles. I spend a lot of time on gay gossip forums at work (because life is short, dammit, and we find joy where we can), and I am simply convinced he’s gay. Though, I’ve wanted to believe it ever since I saw him have sex with Michael Ian Black in Wet Hot American Summer. I think it was meant to be funny, but that was not the effect it had on my 13-year-old self—just beginning to dip my toes in homoerotic waters and, man, the water was fine! Anyway, my point is I hope Bradley Cooper is happy and that he gets what he wants out of life.

I don’t like J. Lo, but I liked her dress a lot. And how does she still look so youthful?
The blood of her back-up dancers.
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 7.35.26 PMAlso, J. Lo and Meryl Streep seemed to be having a surprisingly fabulous time sitting next to each other. When Patricia Arquette took the stage and said some things about equal rights and wages, Meryl Streep stood the fuck up and was like “YASSS GIRL!” which was fun, and J. Lo seemed excited, too. Though I think she was more excited by Meryl’s energy. How couldn’t you be? Meryl’s like a chill older dog that’s seemingly been around forever, and you think “This old dog ain’t got any new tricks. I’ve seen all your tricks, dog,” but then the dog will bust out some hind leg work, or star in a couple movie musicals, and you think, “Huh. Well, you’ve still got my attention.” Go Meryl.

There was an elaborate ruse where men dressed like lobby boys from The Grand Budapest Hotel would escort lady presenters to the mic to distract from the fact that they straight up couldn’t walk in their dresses. Take a cue from Shirley MacLaine, ladies, and just go full Minnelli with a loose sequined pant!


Ol’ Shirl and Milena Canonero, who won Best Costume Design for The Grand Budapest Hotel, were bringing it in their sequined pants and chokers. Though I prefer Canonero’s take. She’s like a classy European disco queen and I want her to be my mentor.

Tegan and Sara and The Lonely Island came out to sing some “Awesome” song from The Lego Movie. It was very loud and colorful, and I felt like I was being visually assaulted by subliminal meme and internet imagery and I did not like it. And I just felt bad for all the older people in attendance. Clint Eastwood is a tough dude, but I bet even he sat through this with a bewildered expression, remembering growing up with a victrola. It’s a miracle Maureen O’Hara and Harry Belafonte didn’t full on seize in the aisles.

The best part of The Oscars may have just been my dad’s commentary. At one point Jared Leto came out and my dad said, “If somebody killed him, he’d be alive three days later.” And he was right. Jared Leto really did look like Jesus. Jesus in a Carrie prom tux.

Nothing behind the eyes. Nothing. He'd turn your water into wine, all right. But he'd totally slip something into it.

Nothing behind the eyes. Nothing. He’d turn your water into wine, all right. But he’d totally slip something into it.

They should give out an Oscar for “Best Nervous Energy” to the more reserved halves of Oscar-winning teams. This was the first time in all my years of viewing that I mainly focused on people who had just won Oscars, but had to wait their turn to speak while their more eager partners delivered fucking monologues into the mic. Their faces were canvases painted with elation and anxiety: “I won! Oh my God! I can’t believe it! Ok, Jeff, you almost done? Wow, this is great. Ok… we know there’s starvation in the world, Jeff, just let me thank my family!”

Michael Keaton and his gum share a love that can’t be denied. Any time the camera cut away to Michael Keaton, there he was just a-chompin’ away. Theater etiquette be damned! Michael Keaton was in a kick ass movie and did his mama proud and he’s back in our living rooms after too long and he’ll chew gum if he damn well pleases! I was donezo after about an hour of The Oscars but I once I saw Keats and that gum, I vowed to stay awake to see him accept Best Actor while chewing Nicorette.

Not sure if you can spot the gum in this pic, but either way, this is definitely the face Keats makes she nye finds an extra piece in his pockets. It's the simple things.

Not sure if you can spot the gum in this pic, but either way, this is definitely the face Keats makes when he finds an extra piece in his pocket. It’s the simple things.

Rita Ora came out & sang a song that wasn’t particularly exciting. My dad can confirm this.
0222152203Big Hero 6 won Best Animated Feature and I was like, “Not Frozen?” And then I realized… Frozen came out in 2013!! And people still can’t LET IT GO! Womp womp. But seriously, after a full year and some change, it’s still the most talked about, sought after, parodied animated movie around. That’s how starved America was for another Disney princess. There’s only so many “Which Disney princess are you?” quizzes you can take before you just don’t know anymore. Finally, Disney bestowed a generation of young women who waste of countless hours of their life on the internet with a princess who has no self-control. Elsa is our rightful champion. Though I have to say, I’ve always felt drawn to the darker Disney movies and Quasimodo will forever be my own version of a Disney princess.

Disney-Quasimodo-5929So the voice-over artist who says things like, “This is Jennifer Lawrence’s first win and second nomination,” and “The 87th Annual Academy Awards will be right back. Sponsored by JC Penney. When it fits, you feel it!” Which by the way, GROSS. Worst slogan ever. Or best? Depending on how jaded and disgruntled that ad person was.

Anyway, that announcer actually fucked up! And I have never once heard that happen. The presenters are always unpredictable when it comes to reading the teleprompter and pronouncing foreign names, but the actual announcer lady whose voice is so clear and whose cadence is so perfect she’s almost robotic ACTUALLY MESSED UP! I think she said “Mominated” (Freudian slip?) and then backtracked a little and corrected herself.  And my brain shut down a little. My world changed a little. And that woman hit the bottle hard that night. You know it’s true. She sat in a sound booth digging her nails into the palm of her hand, bleeding a little and trying not to cry before she squeezed out the last syllable. “Fuck you, MOM! YOU DID THIS TO ME! I “MOMINATE” YOU FOR WORST PARENT!”
And later that night, she crossed paths with Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy, who was like, “It’s been a great run, hun, but we have a reputation to maintain.” Meanwhile, Sean Penn presented Best Film like a cavalier, glassy-eyed dildo and made an immigrant joke and everyone’s like, “Whatever, it’s Sean Penn.” And poor announcer lady whose name I don’t even know (how unfair is this business?) drank herself into oblivion that night and drove her car off a bridge while Pearl Jam’s “Last Kiss” blared from the radio.

This is my own mythology, by the way. I’m sure she’s fine and Cheryl Boone Isaacs probably didn’t care. But you know that moment sucked for her and her impeccable track record.

Not lastly, but close to lastly (consider this the written version of the Oscars wrap up music, if you will), I would like to address John Legend and Common’s performance which was absolutely the best of the night. Everyone stood up, everyone cried, Chris Pine cried beautiful tears out of his pretty boy eyes.
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.51.46 PMJohn Legend is a sexy man, so that’s what I would want to call his voice, but the mental images I have when I hear him sing are of eating a good stew in the winter or watching a kitten play with a ball of yarn. And it’s confusing to tie that imagery up with “sexy.” I think what I’m shooting for is more comforting and satisfying. That’s what his voice is. This post is going off the rails. The wrap up music is swelling and crescendoing—get off the stage, bitch! Ok, just a few more things!

When The Sound of Music segment began, I thought “Jeeeeesus, who better to commemorate The Sound of Music than Lady Gaga?” and was internally eye-rolling. But homegirl BROUGHT IT. LORD. I had no idea she an upper register like that and she appeared to just be having a ball twirling around in her dress and swinging her arms around with her crazy gray (?) hair flying everywhere. And then Julie Andrews came out and I couldn’t handle her interacting with Lady Gaga. I was jotting down notes for this post and actually wrote this:
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.49.14 PMBut I really was touched by the moment Julie and Gaga shared. They had a warm hug that was just so familiar, like they knew one another’s journey. Well, I can’t speak for Gaga, but Julie Andrews definitely had some words of wisdom for her about that time she showed her boobs in a movie in the 80s.

Also, I’ve had my qualms about Gaga in the past, but I admire how hard she worked to reach the I don’t give a fuck stage of her career. Most performers don’t get there until well into their 50s, and Gaga is fucking living it at 28. Many young female performers start strong, have a career lull, and try desperately at comebacks. Gaga started strong, kept coming back stronger, and now is like, “Maybe I’ll be 20 pounds heavier for awhile. Maybe I’ll be BFFs with Tony Bennett and just channel 1980s Cher for awhile.” She was a painful perfectionist in every way for about four years, and frankly seemed a little batshit. Girl still seems crazy, but seems like she’s having fun and doing what she wants! And let’s marvel for a moment that she’s reached the IDGAF mentality before Miss Britney Jean!

John Travolta tried to make fun of himself and just set himself up for more of the same by cooing at Idina Menzel and touching her face like she was a small child or pet. It was weird. And he has all the sex appeal of a youth pastor.
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.54.54 PMMatthew McConaughey presented, and appeared to be preparing for his upcoming role as Father John Misty.
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 8.56.37 PMEddie Redmayne won Best Actor and I was kind of bummed Michael Keaton didn’t win, but Eddie’s speech was lovely and gracious. And then he started talking about ALS and I was just waiting for one of those faux lobby boys to enter stage right with a tub of water so he could cap off his speech with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Because that’s just the kind of year we had.

And Julianne Moore won Best Actress. And God saw that it was good. And God saw The Kids Are All Right and really liked it. “That Mia Wasikowska’s gonna be big,” He said.

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Before We Make Resolutions, Let’s All Pat Our 2014 Selves on the Back

Well, well, well, lookie what we have here—another year bites the dust (imagine me as a 90s TV bully in a skull cap for full effect).

So this year was a pretty significant one full of many “life changes” (in the occupational sense, not the menopausal). Of course there were some rough patches, some down days, some tough lessons to learn. And though I may look back on some of the more difficult or painful moments from this past year and well up, cringe, or just plain guffaw, I don’t regret any of them.

Where I once brushed past the aftermath of mistakes I’d made or obvious red flags ahead of me, dismissing them as roadblocks getting in the way of my carefree youth (though let’s be real, I’ve always been 45 at heart), I now accept the lessons they have to offer. I’m still an idiot like 63% of the time, but I’m working on it, and trying to become the best me I can be, or some Dr. Seuss shit like that. Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 6.23.14 PMSomething I’m trying to do is treat myself more kindly. I can be a real hardass dad to myself sometimes, especially when the year is coming to a close. I get mad at myself for not sticking to resolutions I’d made, for being lazy or not daring enough, and for the year not having some sort of overall wow factor to it. When you’re too focused on taking inventory of what went wrong throughout the year, it’s easy to lose sight of the victories, however small, that the year held for you.

I didn’t become a totally new person this past year, equipped with more charm, self-assurance, and good fortune than is innate for me (which is what I secretly hope for every new year). But I grew up a little. I allowed myself to let go of some baggage and negativity. I took more chances than I ordinarily would. I was bold (if not in my own reserved way).

Thinking about the rough stuff that happened throughout the year is inevitable, and an important part in shaping our goals for the new year. But I think we all deserve to give our 2014 selves a pat on the back. Let’s not reprimand ourselves for every mistake or missed opportunity, and hope for perfection in the new year. Let’s instead think about the good things, and hope for more of the same.

Here’s the stuff I’m proud of in 2014:

Graduated College!
My actual graduation day was a surreal experience. I showed up kind of late, but excited, to the Baltimore Arena where the ceremony was held, was herded into an awkward line of fellow English majors with whom I never really made friends, and, for lack of small talk, stared at a large poster of Stevie Nicks hanging on the wall across from me for a good 15 minutes. 0522141219However, when I finally entered the enormous arena, Pomp and Circumstance thundering throughout, I did indeed feel triumphant. This was it. The end of a long and perilous journey.

I felt this less so as the 3+ hour ceremony wore on and I had more time to concentrate on how uncomfortably snug my graduation cap was, how my cool and aloof crush from semesters past was sitting behind me, and how I probably wouldn’t feel up to a hubcap margarita once this bitch was over.

BUT after the ceremony let out, and after I spent about seven minutes weaving through crowds of camera-ready moms and sun-hatted grandmas, I finally made it to my family. I saw their faces, and could feel that, yes, this whole thing was real.

I don’t think about it often, but I used to be a really shitty student and struggled through half of my educational career. I think for a long time there were many doubts that I would even go to college, let alone stop attending summer school (which, I might add, I was bomb at… although I don’t know if there’s much pride in being the best at summer school). I improved a lot once I started high school and had more control over my schedule, and once I started college and could really choose my own path, I don’t think there was ever any question that I would graduate. Still, thinking about how far I’ve come, how impossible school used to seem and how second nature it became… well, it’s a trip.

And when my dad came to hug me, with this expression of immense pride that I’d never seen before, it all came together for me, like, “Fuck, I made it!” The day had been so long and weird and full of half-hearted attempts to properly express my emotions to people sitting next to me who I only sort of knew from that one class. But here were the people who saw me through the whole journey, knew the unfocused, daydream-y student I’d been since preschool, and remembered when the odds were against me. And here I was with a damn college degree. And that’s when I finally had my graduation aha moment. It was great.


My wonderful family. The man behind my dad looks like he is tipping his hat to me, but he is probably not.

The day ended as surreally as it began, with me strangely throwing up profusely (after half a quesadilla and only a reasonable sized margarita) and falling asleep by 9. Big days for me just never turn out the way I expect them to. But in hindsight, it wasn’t all that bad. In a way, it was a reflection of my college journey itself: weird, confusing, exhilarating and boring all at once, peppered with vomit, and ultimately offering something to reflect upon and learn from.

To top it all off, when I received my grades for my final semester a month later, I learned I had gotten straight A’s— a first for me. And I really thought I would never see it happen. Stay in school, kids. It just might be worth it. 10511269_10152602941709595_8250247727781574817_nPut My Degree To Use
For how rewarding graduating college felt, the first few months of being a postgrad sure sucked. I didn’t start looking for work right away, as I wanted a little r&r. But I often forget that for me, this turns into restlessness & remorse. I was bored out of my mind and convinced my degree was useless and I would never be employed (even though I had only applied to two places).

Of course, I found work within a few months and was indeed employable. I even had to turn down some offers! (Although these were mostly from movie theaters and Chipotles in my area that somehow had my email)

The full story of my first postgrad summer is really a post in itself. So I’ll give you the brief version: I did find an internship for which my degree was useful. I write articles for a K-12 educational database. I also do recordings for the website’s ESL programs and write some marketing stuff (i.e. “You don’t want to miss out! Subscribe today!”). It’s great experience and to my surprise, and the surprise of any older adult I’ve encoutnered, I’m actually using my English degree. That’s what you do with a B.A. in English, bitchez!

On the weekends, I work at a book store, which is a job that my degree also helped me get (“I studied English literature, therefore I would be a great asset to your store, which sells literature”).

I’m grateful to be employed. Times is tough. And both work experiences have given me great material to write about in the future. I’m most definitely going to write about the Washington Times building where my internship’s office is located. The building, while beautiful, is very sparsely populated (except at night, when I am certain it is populated by ghosts… the ghosts of print journalism! BOOM). Seriously, though, I don’t know how Stephen King discovered the secret to time travel, all I know is that in the 70s, King was somehow able to see the present day Washington Times building and use it as inspiration for the hotel in The Shining.

Another great thing about my internship is that I get a lot of entertainment out of my work. Here is some of the clip art I have come across in the search for images to accompany my articles:

I search for "friendship" in clip art yields shoddily drawn images of menacing looking kids, who appear to be plotting world domination.

A search for “friendship” in clip art yields shoddily drawn images of menacing looking kids who appear to be plotting world domination.

Played Open Mic Night
During my time at college, my friend and I lazily mused about participating in one of the monthly open mic nights on campus—he’d play guitar and I would sing—but something always got in the way; I had a paper to write, or he had to work. Now my final semester was coming to a close with only a few open mic dates left. A part of me really wanted to do this before I graduated, but I was a little terrified of the whole thing

Although I spent countless hours of my youth on stage, I still get hella nervous performing in front of people, especially small crowds. There’s a difference between performing in a darkened auditorium, mugging and shouting for the approval of a faceless entity, and performing in, say, a well-lit coffee house, where you can see the faces, sense the anticipation, smell the french fries… you get it. I am not comfortable in front of small crowds.

The final open mic night arrived, and I was still unsure if I was going to do it or not. Two hours before it started, my friend informed me that he needed to work on a project and couldn’t make it. I was bummed that I wouldn’t be able to say I had played open mic during my time at school. But then the part of my brain that isn’t a self-defeating sad sack was like, “DUH, you can still do the open mic night! Just get your guitar and go!”

I never had any intention of accompanying myself. From entering college with the ability to only plunk out one Modest Mouse song on the guitar, I had actually developed into a sufficient player by the time I left. I was in no way confident enough in my skills to show them off to strangers, but I was determined to do this one thing before I graduated.

I signed up for the 6th or 7th slot in the night, thinking others would write their names in the blank spaces above mine. They didn’t, and I was the second to perform. Unprepared and shaky, I took to the stage. I broke the tension with a joke about puking on the stage (next stop stand up, am I right?).

Heightening the embarrassment is the fact that I don't have a guitar case. Yep, I carried this bad boy in hand all the way from my apartment to the Commons. 10 minute walk. Awful.

Heightening the embarrassment is the fact that I don’t have a guitar case. Yep, I carried this bad boy in hand like a douche all the way from my apartment to the Commons. 10 minute walk. Awful.

I played a fast, short version of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own,” and killed it. Well, I fucked up some of the chord progressions and straight up didn’t play the bridge and final chorus, but I belted my heart out and was happy to be up there. Yes, it was terrifying and kind of embarrassing, but so worth it. I finally did that one thing I’d been so on the fence about and boy, it felt güd.

Couldn't have gotten through the open mic without my fan club! Pictured with me are Alex and Rachel, and a small trophy I was awarded (for being a senior and not, as my friends insisted, "winning open mic night.")

I couldn’t have gotten through the open mic without loyal supporters! Pictured with me are Alex and Rachel, and a small trophy I was awarded (for participating as a senior and not, as my friends insisted, “winning open mic night”)

(Finally) Started Making Videos
I actually wrote a whole blog post about this, so I won’t go into it too much, but this was a pretty big deal for me. I’ve wanted a camcorder for many years and have notebooks filled with video ideas (that are probably unusable due to dated references to Justin Bieber’s hair and the 2008 Golden Globes or something).

Point is, I finally got a camcorder and for the first time, am able to see all these dumb ideas I have come to life in a new way. People, who before could only enjoy my Full House fan fiction or crude drawings, can now be enthralled by the gifts I have to offer as a director and cinematographer *tosses hair*

I’m basically Martin Scorsese, guys.

It’s a lot of fun, and who knows? Maybe someday I’ll actually produce something worthwhile!

Below are some other fun/cool/semi-daring things from 2014 I can smile about:

Had One Last Hair-rah
For about seven years, destroying my hair has been a favorite pastime of mine. I have dyed, bleached, hacked off, and shaved every healthy swath of hair that has ever grown on my head. And it’s a damn joy. If you’ve never done it, and you don’t have a job that would reprimand you for it, I highly recommend it. I’m not one for tattoos. I think they look cool and can certainly have real significance… but I mean, one time I saw a picture of a guy with a KoЯn tattoo. So I’m all about playing with your hair. You may do something silly or immature with it, but it grows out.

Photographic evidence of silliness and immaturities past.

Photographic evidence of silliness and immaturities past.

By my last year of college, my hair experiments, as well as my general attempts to appear edgy, had come to a stand still. I set my Doc Martens aside and instead donned a pair of impossibly comfortable fake Ugg boots. And I mostly wore the same Monkees tour T-shirt every day. Though there is something to be said for shrugging off the pressures of looking hip, my new look could have best been described as “extra on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

When my final semester rolled around, I began to realize that once I graduated and set out on the mythic “job search,” my fashion options would be limited. If I wanted to do something crazy, I’d better do it now. So I went to beauty supply store, bought a bleaching kit and a jar of Manic Panic Infra Red dye, and had at the ends of my hair. My hope was that I could create some sort of alternative ombre effect, but I am neither knowledgeable enough about hair numbers, nor skilled enough with dying tools to pull that off. So I just turned out a brunette with chunks of bright hair. And that was cool. This was after all, my last hair-rah. And it was fun while it lasted. IMG_7174Now I’m back to my roots, quite literally, although instead of fake Ugg boots and a Monkees tee, this bitch is wearing a smart blazer and sharp boots! Marginally paid intern Working woman in the house!

“Getting Out There” in the Dating Sense/Taking More Chances
My experiences with guys were not great in college (i.e. terrible). Let’s just say I was not often on the same page with any of my “suitors,” and as a result, was wary of dating for awhile. Now that I’m out of college not as surrounded by assholes, I feel more optimistic about the whole thing. In fact, I’m being pretty bold. I made a dating profile. I may have even exchanged numbers with a guy via said dating profile and made boring small talk and a flimsy plan to “meet up sometime.” Things are happening. blammo_zps7fe9cb5dFacetiousness aside, I am actually excited about this dating stuff. It’s kind of terrifying, but just allowing myself to try this has made me feel bolder in other parts of life. Allow me to bore you with a story…

Not too long ago, I was at a somewhat awkward work dinner. I was sitting across from a cute former intern with whom I’d never actually worked, but had hoped to meet. I first saw him when I interviewed for the internship and was immediately struck by his floppy hair and ironic loafers. When I told my future boss about my upcoming vacation plans, cute former intern guy chimed in “I heard Asheville is cool.” So I mean, we really hit it off. Then I started my internship, and was dismayed to find out he’d found another job. But here he was! At this weird ass dinner!

I have no idea how to behave in front of someone I’m interested in, but when cute former intern guy mentioned the Korean karaoke place next door, I was actually able to behave like a human being and, in turn, make a joke. He responded to my sterling sense of humor by inviting me to the karaoke place with him and his friends after dinner. I was taken aback. Was he just being polite, or was this an invitation of genuine interest? If so, the scenario still seemed unappealing to me. Singing in front of strangers? Hanging out with this dude’s friends? But in a rare moment, I was able to swat those thoughts away and have some balls. “Sure,” I said, excited to step out of my comfort zone, and possibly into this dude’s comfort zone if you know what I’m saying (gross).

But alas, cute former intern guy’s invite was heard round the table, and after a collective silence, he politely extended the invitation to everybody. So, you guessed it, I went to karaoke with cute former intern guy, his friends, my boss, coworkers, and some weird IT dudes.

I’d never been to Korean karaoke before, but it’s done in a soundproofed private room (like the one in Lost in Translation). Your music is accompanied by videos that seemingly have nothing to do with the song. For instance, Frozen‘s “Let It Go” was paired with a video of a drug-addicted girl begging for money on the streets. My Korean coworker told me that the videos used were clips from popular Korean dramas, so that makes sense (kind of).

I was excited to discover there was a Prince song in the songbook, so when my turn came, I sang “Kiss.” I don’t know if you know this, but the lyrics in “Kiss” include “I just need your body, baby” and “I know how to undress me.” So singing that in front of my boss was kind of the worst.

At least the music video for "Kiss" wasn't playing along with the song. Don't know if my boss could've handled Prince in a belly shirt. Who can, really?

At least the music video for “Kiss” wasn’t playing along with the song. Don’t know if my boss could’ve handled Prince in a belly shirt. Who can, really?

But later I redeemed myself with a tamer selection, and received a perfect score on the song (being the only one to do so all night)! I also sang a duet with cute former intern guy and thought he was smiling at me the whole time, but later realized this was because the lyrics were on a TV right above my head.

Though the night was strange, and didn’t result in me making out with cute former intern guy, I had fun anyway. 90% of the time, if I’m already out, I’ll say no to the proposal of another outing. I am an introvert who needs a good weekend of down time after one night out. But for whatever reason (cute guy), on this night I said yes. And I’m really glad I did! The karaoke got everybody loosened up and laughing after a stiff dinner, I sang in front of a small group (!), got to know some of my coworkers better, and my boss got to see a new side of me (though unfortunately had to listen to me sing “Kiss”).

It was awesome. And I owe it all taking a chance!

Swam Next to a Waterfall
My sister and I were on a trip in Asheville, North Carolina, where there are a lot of beautiful sights to be seen (also a lot of white dudes with dreads). One day, we walked down some rocky steps in a forest to check out a waterfall.

The only other waterfalls I’ve seen were the ones at Niagra Falls, which are almost too big to wrap your mind around. Although you can look right at them, hear thousands of gallons of water crashing onto the rocks, and feel the mist, you still feel like you’re looking at a postcard. They feel far away. This makes for a lot of tourists stepping onto railings to “get closer” and weird desires to jump in (though you would absolutely die). I’m pretty sure this is some kind of phenomenon that has its own Wikipedia page.

Anyway, this waterfall in Asheville was no Niagra piece of work. It was big, but not overwhelmingly so. It was loud, but in a way your ears could process and fuzz out (like, for lack of a better analogy, a setting on It had a tangible greatness to it and I wanted to get as close to it as I could.

A lot of other tourists stood around my sister and I, all staring at the falls from a close but safe distance. I noticed one or two people approaching the base of the waterfall, and I decided that’s what we needed to do. So I led my sister across some slippery ass rocks (this was a bit of a first as she is usually the instigator of adventurous pursuits). On our walk crawl to the waterfall, we looked like idiots, slipping and falling all over the place, bruising and cutting up our legs, but we made it to the other side.

Once there, I plunged into the freezing cold water and emerged at the foot of the waterfall. I lost myself in the sound and the mist, trying to spot individual droplets before they disappeared back into the sheet of rushing water. It was truly peaceful—one of those “one with nature” moments that I haven’t had many of, as I didn’t grow up in a Jack London story. photo (3)Again, the year wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, and many of the strides I made were small. But as 2015 is on the horizon, I want to think about the good stuff that made up 2014. Hope everyone else will do the same. Have a happy new year!

"Auld Lang Syne" karaoke! How appropriate!

“Auld Lang Syne” karaoke! How appropriate!

*The 3 of you who read this (though perhaps I’m overshooting), feel free to chime in with 2014 stories of your own!*

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Sometimes I Make Videos

For the past six years, I’ve wanted a video camera. I have innumerable scraps of paper tucked away covered in years of ideas for sketches, characters, compilations, and music videos. I was a theater kid for the better part of my adolescence and I think it affected the way I view the world. I’m always looking at things through a kind of lens, observing the different characters I come across and discovering the potential for a story even in the most mundane of situations.

Although I’ve dipped my toes in nearly every creative pursuit, I’m still figuring things out and trying to “find my voice” (barf). Sometimes I get an idea for a drawing or piece of writing, sometimes I get an idea for a video. I haven’t been diligent about sharing my ideas with others, mostly due to a lack of self-confidence (I’m a regular George McFly), but it seems, nowadays, due to a lack of time. With the free time I do have, I’ve decided I want to see the things I’ve dreamed up come to life, even if it’s not worth anyone else’s time.

There’s a part of me that’s already settling into that curmudgeonly adult sense of “Stop wasting time on your ‘dreams’! No one cares!”

"Thank you. Most interesting. And now I think we've had quite enough of this nonsense."

“Thank you. Most interesting. And now I think we’ve had quite enough of this nonsense.”

But I find my ideas aren’t so easy to shrug off. Every day, there’s something new. Even if it’s just an idea for a series of drawings featuring famous people with verbs for last names (ex: Tom Waits for a bus, Dane Cooks for one, Jeremy Irons his dress shirt, etc.)

Damn it, someone already thought of Walken in Memphis!

Damn it, someone already thought of Walken in Memphis!

As a graduation present, I finally got a video camera. During the unemployed months of my first postgrad summer, I spent hella time filming anything and everything. Some trees! My neighbor’s cat! A drive to Chipotle! It was a ridiculous waste of battery life, but a wonderful release, as I was now able to capture things in a way I’d only imagined.

So I’d like to introduce some of the videos I’ve made over the past few months. They’re not perfect, they’re definitely silly, and they’re probably drawn out at times. But I’m just really excited that I’m finally doing this shit!

With this heartless winter weather starting way too early, I thought I’d take a moment to appreciate the beautiful autumn we’ve had. This video consists of clips from early October to early November, and represents fall in more ways than one (womp womp… stick around till the end and you’ll see what I mean). This was fun to make, though Youtube made the quality a little janky.

Over the summer, I started watching The Bachelorette for the first time. That got old pretty quickly, so I started watching with the sound off and dubbing over the episodes. A bit long, but worth a watch. No context necessary (I certainly didn’t have any)!

Another music video.

Title says it all.

Hope to have more soon! Enjoy Thanksgivin’, y’all.

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So I Stopped Watching American Horror Story (or, A Failed Drinking Game)

**Contains spoilers. Do not read ahead if you wish to avoid AHS spoilers or verbose, pointless ramblings**

“Oh, I don’t really watch TV,” she said smugly. What she meant was, “I don’t watch TV on a TV set. I watch hella TV on Netflix.”

Every few months I will devour an entire TV series on Netflix. I’m no better than anyone who tunes into “their shows” each week. But, I can still say with an air of superiority, “No, I haven’t seen that commercial.”

My point is, I watch very little TV on TV. I have to really care about a show to actually turn on the TV for it each week. I haven’t done it for years. That is until…
American-Horror-Story-logo-wide-560x282I shied away from American Horror Story for awhile because, as you know if you read my previous post or know me in real life, I am the pansiest of pansies. But curiosity got the best of me, and I dove into AHS season 1 (a.k.a. American Horror StoryMurder House) on Netflix on finished it within three or four days.

It was a quick and dark descent. I now knew what the big deal was about AHS: Murder House—and it wasn’t that it was scary! Psh. There are way scarier things in the world.


Tim Curry, b. 1946

What Murder House is is frothy, somewhat horror-tinged fun! Beautiful people looking beautiful together
Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 11.15.04 PM     Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 11.19.21 PM
Crying beautiful tears over campy, recycled horror tropes
tumblr_inline_mv7g6dVh2J1s3d3lsAnd Jessica Lange mesmerizing us all by being the Second Coming of Sass.
Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 11.27.21 PMOh my god, Jessica Lange is this show. This show without Jessica Lange is a like a limp, wet noodle that Connie Britton, with her weak smile, desperately tries to feed you over candlelight. This show with Jessica Lange is like a rich, zesty lasagna bursting with a symphony of flavor that Jessica Lange will side-eye you for scarfing down in her presence. A lasagna that is only served in the dark recesses of some beautiful underground Italian cave-restaurant (you know the kind I mean).

Sure, Murder House has other stuff going for it. There’s a hot murderer guy (who every girl watching the show wants to bang, which is troubling because he’s a murderer, and we, as a society, really need to stop romanticizing violence and mental illness and making sexy Charles Manson movies, but hey, let’s forget about that and look at the hot murderer guy some more). There’s also real-life murder cases woven into the story, which is kind of fun (wrong word?). But often the only genuinely sinister and compelling force is Jessica Lange. She drives this show and God help Ryan Murphy when she leaves. God grant Ryan Murphy the serenity to cancel the show when Our Lady Jessica is gone.

God, could you also do a solid and help Ryan Murphy in the hat department? Good Lord, even a fedora would do.

God, could you also do Ryan Murphy a solid & help him in the hat department? Good Lord, even a fedora would do.

I assumed season 2, Asylum, would be worse than season 1 (like other Ryan Murphy shows that just got progressively worse). But I was mistaken! Asylum was bomb ass! Stylistically on point, tonally consistent, and at times, very frightening.

american-horror-story-asylum-logo-scroll J. Lange is fantastic as an evil nun, Farmer Hoggett plays a convincing mad scientist, there are some amazing (and weird) guest performances, and while Murder House struggled to strike a balance between true crime and the paranormal, Asylum skillfully merged religious/demonic themes with psychological horror (though the alien plotline could have been scrapped).

But season 3… Coven… whew, boy. I can’t even begin to cover all the wrong.
Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 7.09.44 PMBy the time it aired, I was all caught up and tuned into the first episode on an actual television! This season certainly had promise and more star power than ever. I was also excited about the focus on witches, since they haven’t really been done well in the past decade (what with the hyper-focus on vampires). And though it was stylish and had some great performances, it was a hot ass mess.

I'm sorry, J. Lange.

Sorry, J. Lange.

Was it about witches? I think it was supposed to be, but all I got was “Hi, I’m Ryan Murphy, and here’s Jessica Lange!!! She’s back! And she’s still a fabulous bitch! And even though she’s just playing a less developed version of her characters from the past two seasons, you’ll still watch, because like Superman, Jessica Lange can take a lump of shit and turn it into a lump of diamonds, or whatever it is Superman does. God, can you believe she came back? What luck! I mean, we don’t even have to write a script, right? We’ll put her up there and she’ll make something happen! And, uh… oh, we can put Stevie Nicks on the show! … Huh? Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but we’ll make it work! … well, I love Fleetwood Mac, so you’re just gonna have to deal with it.”

Coven brought in several formidable actresses and had no idea what to do with them, never fully developing their plot lines, killing them off too early, and giving them lazy and inconsistent characterizations. Though I can dig the “girl power” direction Coven tried to take, it cast just one too many divas who pulled the story in so many directions it became exhausting to watch.

Ultimately, Coven approached witchcraft with a really disappointing lack of imagination. And at some point, the season became more focused on pushing its underlying “big message” (intolerance is bad, or something else obvious), and the supernatural elements that were meant to guide the season felt like a footnote.

Though I was almost certain season 4 would be an equal disappointment, I turned on a physical television yet again.
american-horror-story-season-4-freak-showLike the seasons before it, it looked cool, was sufficiently eerie, and had Jessica Lange. But for some reason, I had zero interest in it. It could be that I had just gotten a new laptop and was distracted, trying to figure how to work this damn thing (what are you, Mac?!), or it could be that I was tired after a long day of work, and Ryan Murphy seems to think 10-11:30 pm on a Wednesday night is the happening time slot. But truly, I think I was just bored. Woo, Jessica Lange is a saucy older woman with a weird accent again. Woo, Evan Peters is hot but “different” again. Woo, this promo just told me I’m gonna have to sit through Emma Roberts’ acting again. No. Three seasons was enough. More than enough.

No, I’m not trying to be cool and hop off the AHS train before everyone else. As proof, here are ACTUAL LIVE NOTES I jotted down while watching episodes  1 and 2:

-I can already tell where this season is going: accept people who are different. Sometimes the real monsters are the so-called “normal people.” Because what would a Ryan Murphy show be if not painfully obvious?

-“I’ll tell you who the monsters are! The people outside this tent! My monsters, the ones you call depraved, they are the beautiful, heroic ones!” Yep. I was right.

-“From the cabarets of pre-war Berlin.” So J. Lange’s character is Sally Bowles? God, Ryan Murphy wants this show to be a musical so bad AND WHAT THE FUCK SHE IS SINGING DAVID BOWIE

-Kathy Bates is a bearded woman, and looks very natural with said beard. Like a founding father.

-Evan Peters is a hot guy with strange hands, not unlike another misunderstood societal cast-off we all know and love.

-Wtf are the twins doing singing Fiona Apple? Ugh, Ryan Murphy.

-Damn, J. Lange could slice cheese with those cheek bones.

-NOT about this clown.

-But he does play by his own rules, which I respect.

-Kinda already giving up on AHS. It’s happened. Sorry, so sorry. But fuck clowns. And I’m an old lady now with a 10:30 bedtime. You can’t make me do this one, Ryan Murphy!!!!

-Oh, I think we’re edging into misunderstood clown territory! Perhaps he had a difficult childhood and assumes the role of clown to bring others the merriment he never had? (I mean, perhaps…)

-Are all the AHS’s gonna be an hour and a half long???? People have to work in the morning! Ugh. Why am I still here??

There you have it. A chronicle of the very moment I decided to give up on the one show that still had me turning on the TV.

                                                                          BUT …

Several weeks later, I got an idea (I got a wonderful, awful idea).
grinchI could tune back into AHS and try to summarize the show thus far, without actually having seen the past few episodes. The idea was that I would be able to call Ryan Murphy out on AHS’s predictability. However, like so many of my ideas, this one was tainted by alcohol. I decided to throw a drinking game into my task (and by “drinking game,” I mean “more liberal sips of wine,” because I’m not a lunatic who thinks Wednesday night is the night to get down). The game was that I would have a sip of wine every time I didn’t know a character’s name. I thought I was in the clear… I had only missed three episodes. But y’all, chaos ensued.

Mary’s Wild Guesses or Humble Hypotheses about AHS: Freak Show/A Drinking Game

-All I can think of when I hear Kathy Bates speak is The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She swam away from the lifeboat and joined the circus!!!

-Ok so here’s that mama’s boy who’s into the circus. Ew his mom bought him condoms? A mother’s gift always keeps on giving (note to self: contact Trojan w/ commercial idea)

-Kathy Bates and J. Lange don’t have a lot of on-screen chemistry. They’re both powerhouses, so it just doesn’t gel. It’s like watching two big, proud birds try to pick over a dead deer. That dead deer being this show’s writing.

-Woah, J. Lange. Get it with this tattooed man. Smoke that opium.

-Two gulps sips of wine because these two seem to be primary characters and I haven’t a clue what their names are.

-One twin is optimistic and one is skeptical. OH MY GOD, TWINS LOOK THE SAME, BUT THEY ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE! Ryan Murphy, you’re breaking all kinds of ground!!!

-What is this mama’s boy’s name? 1 sip. Pembly. That is what I will call him.

-Why is The Simpsons still on? #commercialthoughts

-So let me guess: This tattooed man has a heart of gold and is in a somewhat one-sided and emotionally abusive relationship with J. Lange. He cares about her, but she’s cold. So he takes refuge in the arms of the young woman who J. Lange lured to the freak show to have sex with all the carnies.

-Ughhhhh Emma Roberts…

-1 sip for E. Roberts, 1 for Denis O’Hare.

Into the Woods!!! This is the only movie I’m in any way excited to see! Meryl Streep will warble her way through every song and Johnny Depp will do his Johnny Depp schtick and Disney will Disney up the ending. But who cares? Sondheim! Anna Kendrick! Fairy tales! I’d go see this shit on Christmas day! But then, I would hate to work on Christmas and maybe the right thing to do would be to not patronize any places of business on Christmas and give people a break and build towards societal change… but I’d love to see this movie on Christmas. I could even sneak in some egg nog. Who’d be checking? They’d all be preoccupied with going home to their families. It’s the perfect crime! Mwahaha! #commercialthoughts

-Oh my god, another song?? I’m willing to bet ($1.90) that Ryan Murphy has incorporated a musical number into every episode I’ve missed. Someone hold me to it!

-Is J. Lange wearing a wig? … Are we all wearing a wig? #deepthoughts

-Tattoo Man is gonna die or be seriously wounded on the wheel.

-Yep, there ya go. He was so likable, yet he was the one to be injured! What a paradox! Ryan Murphy! Always full of unconventional ideas!

-Ok. I still have to drink for the little woman, Evan Peters, tall woman, Frances Conroy, and like 5 other people I think. Yeah. Maybe 7. Let’s go.

-Tattoo Man is alive, but barely. And I think he’s gonna die within the next 10-20 minutes because his sweet young thang just showed up to profess how much she cares for him, and come on, he isn’t allowed to be happy.

-What’s the deal with all these macho food commercials? Like a super manly, almost comical voice having to say “filet” in the most gravely tone possible? Jesus, it’s food. People are gonna eat it no matter what. No need to gender it! #commercialthoughts

-Pembly actually has a cool bedroom. I get that it’s supposed to look disturbingly childish, but a life-sized tiger stuffed animal?? Sign me up!

-“I wish you could be inside my body for one minute” -Pembly to his mother. Good lord, they have some problems.

-Pembly looks like he could have very easily been on a 90s teen drama and played a heartthrob called Jake Skylar, or Skye Jakeler, or something. He’s got that kind of 90s-teen-boy-beauty.

-The only thing I’m sure of in life: When Kathy Bates says, “I’d kill you with my own two hands,” followed by a tender smile, she means it.

-K, so I guess it’s over? I’m kind of disappointed. Not much happened. I’m not even watching this show, and I can tell this was just a transition episode. Laaaame.

***30 minute intermission***

Ok, I’m back. I tried to edit what I wrote, but now I’m just kind of drunk and watching Passions on Youtube.

So tell me, did I make some correct guesses about the show so far? Any worthwhile predictions? What I can tell you is that this was one of the silliest ways I’ve ever spent an evening. It was born from a genuine place of spurned fandom and (still genuine, though less noble) writer-y self-righteousness. I thought I’d make all the right guesses and “win,” but really, Ryan Murphy won.

You win this round, Murphy.

You win this round, Murphy.

He got me to stay up past my bedtime. He got me kind of drunk (I know what you’re thinking, but shh. Let’s not point fingers). He also gave me a horrible night’s sleep in which I dreamt I was back in college living a prison cell-like dorm with an absentee roommate named Hero (#deep) and was repeating my undergrad education for the sole purpose of getting free library resources. To top it all off, I woke up with wine breath.

However, the way in which Ryan Murphy truly won was that he brought me back to American Horror Story. Sure, I wanted to be right. Sure, I wanted an excuse to drink. But I was also just curious to see what was happening!

All in all, the show is compelling. It’s not perfect. Although Jessica Lange is some kind of cold, “I don’t do hugs” version of Wonder Woman, she’s not enough to save the show from tiring itself out. But the show is full of strong performances, surprising moments, scary and touching alike, and striking visuals.

That having been said, I probably won’t be back for more. After all, I gotta get up in the morning.

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