On Friday Netflix released Glow. A short comedy series revolving around the creation of and the lives of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The series is set in the 1980's and the production goes all out in order to ensure that you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. To start with, I love the bingeable quality of Netflix’s business model. I sat down on Friday night, intending just to check it out. I ended up flying through the first four episodes.
The series starts centered around Ruth, a down on her luck actress who does a despicable thing in a moment of weakness. She ends up auditioning for a director who is putting together GLOW. Allison Brie is magnetic in this role. The decision to have her film sans makeup makes her feel entirely more real than any other show I’ve seen. She looks haunted, gaunt, and downright plain. This look is perfect for the role of Ruth who is all of these things.
The show is practically a case study on female relationships. Each woman is inherently unique and trying to muddle through her own personal expectations of self as well as society’s expectations of her. Even though this is mentioned very directly in the dialogue, we’re not brow beat with it. Everyone is allowed to evolve and grow as the show progresses.
The cast itself is stellar. The role of the director as played by Marc Maron plays as though it was written for him specifically. The women in the cast shine with the roles they play. There are times in large ensemble shows where some characters tend to fade into the background. Glow is different in that they do their best to at least show everyone in at least one scene throughout each episode. With such a large cast and only thirty minutes per episode it risks become cumbersome and overstuffed. This is not the case with Glow, however, and everyone seems to have their place.
Showcasing so many women of differing ethnicities and body types is something that Netflix does well. Other than Orange is the New Black, I struggle to think of any other show that allows for such diversity.
This show is so unabashedly 80's that I couldn't help but love it. Between the big hair, the fashion, and the visual world they created, I felt like I had gone back in time.
Glow is certainly one of the most unique shows I've seen in a while and I can't recommend it highly enough. Have you had a chance to watch? What did you think?
Let me start by saying that I am a sucker for a murder mystery. Last year when Netflix released Making a Murderer I inhaled it. I couldn’t watch it fast enough. So with the Keepers, I was putting it off until I had finished the eighteen other things I was trying to watch. This past weekend instead of doing that, I finally dug in to the Keepers.
The premise of the documentary is the story of the unsolved murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik who was murdered in the late 60’s. Her body was found nearly two months after she disappeared and the case has yet to be solved. The first couple of episodes consist entirely of world building. It’s a slow burn. By the end of the second episode it’s like a bomb went off. Think S-Town level bombshell. Suddenly you’re flung into what is nearly an entirely new story that is horrifying to listen to. As they say in the show, the story isn’t the murder itself; it’s everything that came to light after the murder that’s the story.
Every episode is painful to watch and yet you can’t look away. The detailed accounts of women who suffered through a horrific time will chill you to the core. It’s hard to write this without giving too much away, but suffice to say that this is one of the more compelling documentary series I’ve ever seen. Making a Murderer left me not long after I watched it. I don’t think the Keepers is going to allow me to let go for a while.
I cannot imagine living through the things that these people have had to live through. The show leaves you with as many questions as you have answers, which is a little frustrating. Unfortunately, that’s kind of what you get with a documentary of this kind. If this genre is your thing, then I think you’ll enjoy this show. The first couple of episodes are a slow burn, but once it ramps up, I found it riveting.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
There's a paradox that exists in my life. It honestly just occurred to me today. I have a general disdain for Seinfeld. I never found it funny and I couldn't stand any of the characters. I do, however, have an unending affection for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Therein lies the paradox.
These two shows are basically the same damn show. They are shows about nothing. Character studies in which the characters show little to no growth at all. Shows about jerks being jerks to each other and to other people. They both find themselves in ridiculous situations because of their jackassery. So why can't I stand Seinfeld but love Sunny?
Part of it likely has to do with my age. Seinfeld started when I was eight years old and ran until I was seventeen. Not only would I not have been allowed to watch it for most of that time, I was too busy being out in the world being a teenager. Sunny started in 2005 when I was twenty-four and it's over the top humor and grossness was basically targeted for me and the rest of my demographic.
Another part of it for me is that I never found any of the Seinfeld characters lovable. They only ever exuded selfishness to me. On Sunny I found that I had soft spots for basically everyone except for Dennis and Frank. Mac and his naivety, Dee and her bad luck, and Charlie with his ignorance; never fail to make me laugh. The only character on Seinfeld that I didn't mind seeing was Kramer who was definitely weird but seemed to be the only one with half a heart.
It's certainly also the type of humor and the delivery. Seinfeld is known for sarcasm and while I utilize sarcasm often, an entire show about it became annoying. With Sunny though, it's a lot of fast talking and in your face humor. There's definitely sarcasm but they don't use it as a crutch. I'm not saying Sunny is perfect. Honestly, I can't binge it for too long or it frustrates me. There are times when the constant yelling over each other can get abrasive. Also, while Danny DeVito is likely a lovely human being, his portrayal of Frank makes me incredibly uncomfortable in a gross kind of way.
Maybe I need to give Seinfeld another chance as an adult. Maybe that's the problem. I was too young to appreciate it then. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just stick with Sunny and watch the smorgasbord of new and excellent programming that's available to me now. If you've never seen Sunny I recommend you start from the beginning and don't try and pop in midway.
I'm off to contemplate how I could have missed the similarities before.
Summer is here! The main TV shows are ending for the year and that means it’s time to binge-watch everything I missed during the year. It can be overwhelming when there is a ton of amazing content available.
The Handmaid's Tale
Good Girls Revolt
House of Cards
13 Reasons Why
The Mindy Project
The list is practically endless. It doesn’t even include the older stuff that I never got around to like Prison Break, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc. I wish that I had all the time in the world to watch these things. For some I’m only a season behind, others I am multiple seasons behind. Almost all of these are on a streaming service of some kind so binging is completely possible. That’s great! But it feeds into my addiction. Episode after episode. Wasting my life watching TV. Add to this the fact that I also want to read as much as possible and it really just boils down to the fact that I need to find a job in which someone pays me to review the books I read and the shows I watch. I know those types of jobs exist. I just don’t know where to find them.
I know that a lot of people think that TV cuts us off from society. If we’re all glued to the TV then we aren’t out in the world interacting with other humans. To an extent this is true. I would argue though, that it also gives us a lot of common ground. I’ve had TV be an icebreaker more times that I can count. Being able to have something to talk about with a complete stranger has always been a struggle for me. Almost everyone has something that they watch or characters they love and/or loved and when you can connect with someone over something they love, you can get to know them better.
Are there any shows that you’re excited about for this summer?
One of the things I love most about Broadchurch in a general sense, is its ability to make everyone look guilty. I originally started watching this show a few years back because I missed having David Tennant on my screen. What I found was an incredibly complex and nuanced family drama centered around the death of a young boy.
With Season 3 we're thrown into the world of a rape victim named Trish and the web of lies that surround her life. The exceptional thing that this show has done where others have failed, it that they never once questioned the validity of the rape claim. Never once is the character of the victim called into question other than by the victim herself. They also cover all the different emotions that a person may experience surrounding their rape. Denial, acceptance, anger…everything is laid out in painful detail.
We also get to catch up with the Latimers. Mark is still a broken man who struggles to move on from his son's death. Beth is a counselor for other victims. Watching them continue to grieve for the loss of Dan is still as heartbreaking as it was in the first two seasons. We're shown an evolution of grief within them. Many times grief is shown too simply and over the course of years people tend to gloss over the dialogues we can have with regards to our emotions.
The characters in Broadchurch are layered and deep. They are not just random tropes, even the secondary characters are given exceptional storylines.
Throughout the whole season we're kept guessing as to who the rapist is. When we finally are told the truth, Olivia Coleman's reactions are the audience's reactions. Disgust and revulsion.
Even though the subject matter is incredibly dense and heavy, they always manage to give you a little hope in humanity. The town always seems to come together when they need it most. This season had a strong theme of feminism and women supporting other women. Understanding that we are flawed but we are beautiful. Forgiveness is possible even in the worst of situations.
I would follow this series forever if they would make it. I really enjoy the idea of a contained season long mystery where they spend all ten episodes connecting the dots rather than having an overall arc of the main plot with a bunch of throwaway episodes. Big Little Lies was smart enough to do this as well. If more shows would focus on condensing their content into richer singular episodes, I think American TV would have a lot more stamina. The Brits get it. Netflix gets it. You don't need a lot of fluff. Broadchurch certainly offers you none.
I just finished watching ABC's Summer show, Still Star Crossed and I don't quite know what to say. For me, the show has potential but it's nowhere near where I thought it would be. I figured the best way to go about this one was a Pro/Con list
Honestly, they nearly lost me at one point where Olivia is shrieking and having a tantrum aimed at her sister Rosalind. She was upset that the wedding had been kept a secret from her. Two seconds later she was tearfully telling her sister she'd lie for her and that she was happy in her life. It was painful.
I'm leaning more towards not keeping up with this one, especially considering my summer TV list that's still pending. I am willing to give it another shot despite the preview for next week. It was a terrible preview and poorly edited but I'm still intrigued. Plus, with my unwavering affection for Anthony Head, I want to give it another episode or two. I'm not recommending it to you, but I'm not NOT recommending it.
Mostly the whole thing just made me miss Galavant.
What did you think? Did you watch?
I'm struggling with some of my shows lately. Partially because I’ve been a binger. Partially because I’ve felt like they’ve been dragging. Partially because I’ve been wanting to read more.
Mostly, I’ve just been frustrated with the story-lines. Here’s why:
They’ve been all over the place this year. I totally understand that with a new network they are able to explore a little more outside of the box than they were during Season 1. I arguably liked this season better than the last. That being said they introduced Mon-El to us (the delightful Chris Wood) and made him a major part of the beginning and the end of the season…but let him fall into being Supergirl’s boyfriend in the middle. They gave Winn a girlfriend for about a minute.
After an entire season of yet another masked speedster being the villain, they finally reveal that future Barry is Savitar and then they finally get into some really great and heavy themes. The ending? Ridiculous. They kill off a main character and then take it back. Then they send real Barry off into the speedforce and make us cry. There are no stakes here, they can’t continue without their lead. What would have been more dynamic? Sending the real Barry into the speedforce but letting Savitar/Barry run around on Earth 1 for a while. The episodes where Barry loses his memory and when they go back to get Captain Cold were excellent but those are the only two from the entire season (aside from the musical), that I even really remember. Did they even bother to battle other villains?
I have to admit that I stopped watching Arrow several episodes back. Around about the time that Chase decided to torture Oliver and make him admit that he liked killing people I was done. It was already a long time coming. The Russian flashbacks were boring to me and at this point I just had an incredibly hard time believing that Oliver managed to accomplish all these things in such a short amount of time. Five years doesn’t seem feasible. I’ll go back and binge the rest of the season later but in the moment I just couldn’t do it. Add to it the introduction of basically an entire team of new people and I lost my emotional connection to the show. Oliver as mayor? Black Canary is gone but we get the occasional Black Siren. The only one I enjoyed was Curtis but the braids to no braids conundrum drove me crazy. You know what I’m talking about. I adore Stephen Amell, I think he’s one of those rare actors who understands the mantle he wears and that fans are fickle creatures. I haven’t seen the finale yet, but I read a brief description of it so I know what to expect. Not sure I’m ok with how it ended but am cautiously optimistic about where it could be going.
Don’t even get me started on Legends of Tomorrow. How do you destroy the timeline but have the other cities be fine in the other shows?
So what’s the point of all of this? The point is that I’ve been unhappy with these seasons. Not to the point of stopping watching altogether, but close. I don’t have a solution for the issues I’ve had. I just need it to be fixed. Why not go for the more dynamic options?
What do you think? Am I crazy or was this season rough?
I have a Sunday morning tradition. I start my day with Saturday Night Live and a little breakfast. I don't remember when this tradition started for me. Somewhere along the time that I realized that I could no longer stay awake until one in the morning I suppose. Regardless as to when it started, it's always a great way to start my lazy Sunday.
This week was no exception. McCarthy's monologue paid tribute to the mothers in the audience. She took a random woman from the audience and took her on a backstage tour of the studio. They ran into various cast members being their wonderful and weird selves as well as surprise guests "the Livelys" Ryan and Blake. They wrapped the tour around to where the woman was placed in front of the door where the hosts come out onto the stage.
The first sketch of the night was a game show called Just Desserts in which McCarthy went all in on looking ridiculous by taking pie after pie to the face. This is one of the things I've always admired about her. Her willingness to be silly and absurd and even flat out gross out times is something that I find profoundly liberating. It's difficult sometimes to be one's true self in public. To be able to put yourself out there and have the confidence to be ok with being part of (and the butt of) the joke, is a skill that I do not possess but always wanted to.
Where SNL always shines is in their revamped product commercials. This time is no exception. Check out the Amazon Echo "Silver" Commercial below.
One of the more interesting take aways of the evening was that underneath the humor of McCarthy's Spicer impression, was an undercurrent of the idea that Spicer is in an abusive relationship with Trump. I still haven't fully unpacked how I feel about that, though it was funny to watch the Russian doll explanation of the week's events.
Other notable items? The band Haim performed sounding almost like Wilson Phillips. Kate McKinnon as the fading old Hollywood starlet and Cathy Anne on Weekend Update. My favorite Weekend Update joke this time was from Colin Jost saying that James Comey "looks like "gosh" became a person". It was tame and a little dumb but I got a kick out of it. Then of course, the nuanced and hilarious update on the relationship of Leslie and Andy had me cracking up. Lorne "I don't usually condone cat members shooting each other buuutt.." Too much!
I'm always so refreshed after starting my day with a laugh. Do you have any Sunday morning traditions?
Riverdale KILLED it last night. I realize that the season has been a little all over the place. Characters forgotten or misused. Too many storylines…
But last night was an amazing episode. I am constantly blown away by the depth of the emotion portrayed on this show. Yes, it’s a CW show based on comic book characters. And no, they aren’t sticking to the personalities we knew from the books but at this point it doesn’t even matter. Somewhere along the way I forgot that this was even a show based on the comics. It just became a damn good show.
With everything they’ve done leading up to the finale there was no way it wasn’t going to be completely epic. Spoilers are abuot to start so if you want to avoid them, I would stop here…
At this point I’m almost unsure as to how the episode even started because the second and third acts were so dynamic that the first act doesn’t seem to matter anymore. You had Veronica stepping up and telling Betty that she and Archie were a thing, Archie and Veronica independently asking Betty if she was really OK. What was interesting watching this play out was that Archie and Veronica seemed less OK with everything than Betty did. Even Archie telling Betty, “I always thought we’d…” You’d what Archie?
Then you have that unbelievable scene with Cheryl at the frozen lake. I need to take a moment here to mention that I am pretty sure that none of these kids are wearing warm enough clothing to be in that kind of snow. Why is Archie wearing a thin hoodie? Do his abs keep him warm? Anyway…I loved that even though Cheryl had been rotten almost all season long, the group went after her. When she went under the water they ran out on the ice without even thinking about it. Then Archie, finding Cheryl starts punching through the ice. And punching. And punching. And oh my god that was intense. Blood everywhere. Turns out that the actor actually broke his hand during that scene.
There were of course other things too. Polly going back to school which was weird, the trashing of Betty’s locker, Betty’s secret older brother, Hiriam is coming home, Josie and the Pussycats made a random and unnecessary appearance (with Josie still being a ridiculous human)…
But nothing compares to the epicness of the last few minutes. Cheryl sets fire to her house. Covers that abomination in gasoline and lights it on fire, watching it burn calmly and with a small smile as her mother loses her mind in the background. Then you’ve got “Bughead” admitting that they love each other and about to consummate their relationship when there’s a knock on the door. Best line of the show? Jughead: “Is that your mom?” Hilarious. The Southside Serpents are at the door offering Jughead a place in their ilk because FP wasn’t a rat. Cole Sprouse is practically magic in the subtlety of his facial expressions. He goes from terrified to pensive to amused to happy to worried to confused (when he sees Betty looking at him like he’s a stranger) in about five seconds.
Lastly we have Archie, fresh off his night with Veronica going to meet his Dad for breakfast to talk about something important. You’re thinking, Fred’s going to tell Archie he’s shipping him off to Chicago, or that he sold the business to make sure that Jughead could stay with them, or some other random thing. You feel something coming as Archie is washing his hands because he’s clearly smiling too much. I almost thought it would be Archie who gets attacked. Archie comes out of the bathroom to find that the diner is being held up. Everything moves in slow motion and Fred stands up. The gunman raises his gun and Archie goes flying in the direction of his father and cut to the outside of the diner and all you see and hear is the flash and a pop.
This is where, as a fan I am both upset and not upset. As a fan of the show itself, I am incredibly glad they showed who got shot. As a fan of TV? That was your ending guys. Right there. Flash and a pop and cut to black. Who got shot? That’s a TV cliffhanger right there. As a fan of the show, I’m glad I know who it is. It’ll definitely be an excellent catalyst moving into next season.
What did you think? Did you watch the madness last night?
Over the weekend I binged on Big Little Lies. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s based off a book by the author Liane Moriarty and stars a who slew of ridiculously famous people:
…and so on and so on.
It’s a story about a few of the women who live in the Coastal California town of Monterey. It follows their lives for a time and follows the secrets they keep. Jane (Woodley) is a single mom of young Ziggy who is accused of abusing a fellow classmate Amabella. Amabella’s mother Renata (Dern) is unrelenting in her campaign against Ziggy for the alleged abuse. Celeste (Kidman) is an abused wife and mother of twins, Madeline (Witherspoon) is a mother of two who is still dealing with the effects of her first husband leaving. Along with the bullying storyline, you’re also treated to a murder mystery. From the first moment of the book and the show, you know that someone has died at Trivia Night. You don’t find out who until the last fifteen minutes of the season. In the book, they save the death until the end as well.
I listened to the book ages ago as an audiobook and found it to be moderately infuriating. The viciousness with which Jane is treated throughout is absurd and incredibly sad. I also found frustrating that I could not skip ahead to the end to find out who died. Trust me, 16 hours of waiting around to find out who dies is pure torture. Especially since I listened when it first came out. No one online was willing to spoil the ending for anyone else. Part of the fun of murder mysteries for me is knowing how it ends and then attempting to figure out how the author got there before the protagonists do.
The show itself stays incredibly faithful to the novel itself. There is one minor change to Madeline’s story to make her life a little more interesting, but I didn’t think it took away from the overall arcs at all.
Even though it’s all fiction, it’s one thing to read about rape and abuse; but it’s an entirely different thing to watch it occur. The show doesn’t really shy away from showing the abuse when it occurs. That being said, when the worst of it happens? They tend to give it to you in flashes and pieces instead of all at once. They play it as though they are memories or implications rather than the actual acts in the moment. These of course still impact you in multiple ways but it does help remove some of the pain.
The story explores the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell others. It examines relationships between women and how even though we may be at odds, at the heart of it we’re all the same in one way or another. The entire last 15 minutes of the show is a testament to this. When the end finally comes you’re ready for it and you’ve made the same peace with it that the women do.
As a show, I did wonder throughout about how much of a punch the ending would have been if I hadn’t known exactly how it was going to end. It was still impactful and beautifully acted, but knowing who dies and who kills them and how? Took a little bit away for me.
If you prefer to read the book first, I encourage you to do so. If you’d rather see the show first? By all means. They are so closely aligned that you won’t really be missing anything by doing one or the other first.