Lori Loughlin Would Fit Well On “Good Girls”

This season of “Good Girls” continues to be phenomenal. The three main women are being fleshed out into stronger characters. Beth and, to a lesser extent, Annie are becoming true antiheroes in the Walter White vein.

Last season, the three women had “noble” reasons for their crime spree. Ruby needed to pay for her daughter’s exorbitant medical costs. Annie needed tuition money for Sadie’s private school. Beth needed to be able to pay the mortgage because her fuck-up of a husband was losing their money. So, they robbed a grocery store and were able to pay all their bills.

The problem was Beth got a taste of the money and they continued to escalate. By the end of the season, they’re laundering money and teaming up with a gangster to continue the paydays. Annie is ride or die with her sister and loved the money as well. Ruby was the hesitant follower. She went along because she didn’t want her friends to get in trouble. Meanwhile, she’s putting her family at the most risk.

As I was watching this week’s episode, I came to the realization Lori Loughlin is Beth. This week’s episode brought a real scare for Beth’s children. Her dumbass brought the children on a drop with her. Beth truly thinks there are not going to be consequences for her actions because she’s doing this for her family. In the whole college admissions debacle, Lori Loughlin is acting as if there are not going to be consequences for her actions because she has a noble reason. She was just trying to get her children a better education.

The problem is, Beth has lost her noble reasons. Now, she’s motivated out of pure greed. She wants more. She could have just gotten a job, taken out a loan or cut back on their family expenses. Similarly, if Lori Loughlin really just wanted her daughters to have a better education, she would have paid for tutors or had them actually play a sport to legitimately make a college team.

Meanwhile, Ruby is the one who is potentially facing the most severe consequences. Her husband is a police officer and faces potential criminal charges for tampering with evidence if his actions are found out. Ruby is having multiple conversations with the FBI about how she might be facing prison time. Ruby arguably had the most dire situation leading her to turn to armed robbery. Her daughter might have died without that money. She’s the one who had the most to lose without that money.

One thing the show really has not touched on is that Ruby is also the only non-white member of the group. Black women typically get punished more severely than white women for the same crimes. With Stan’s involvement and potential criminal charges, her children risk going into foster care or having to live with a relative. The show has not yet pointed out the racial disparity between Ruby, Beth and Annie. I’m hopeful the show will start to delve into that before the end of the season. With the recent renewal, that may be coming in the future.

Regardless, the final three episodes of season two are sure to be action-packed with the possibility of Beth finding out about Ruby’s participation with the FBI.

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Resurrections

To say this blog has been dead would be an understatement. More like dead, buried, and grieved. My life has completely changed since the last time I wrote on this blog. I’ve lived in four apartments and bought a house. Gotten married. Changed careers twice. Gone back to school. Dropped out of school.

The one thing that has stayed the same is my love for television and need to escape into it. For someone who has extremely high anxiety, social work seems like the worst possible career option. But every job leads me back to social work and working with people who have experienced abuse and trauma. It seems to be my passion.

What that means is I need an outlet. I need to focus my frustrations and anxiety into something. Hence the resurrection of this blog. Expect it’ll still be focused on pop culture, mainly television. I’ll probably fall into self-loathing at times and publish things I wish I hadn’t. It’ll probably be sporadic as hell. But it’ll be my thoughts that I need to get out somewhere.

Pretty Little Liars recap: A dAngerous gAme (I got 99 questions and Red Coat easily makes up half of them)

First of all, sorry to anyone who follows my Glee recaps. I’m behind, but I plan to be caught up by the next new episode. Now, let’s get on to the totally bananas PLL season finale!

Previously on PLL: Dude, it’s the season finale. If you don’t know what happened, this is not the episode to start watching. Regardless, Spencer found out Toby’s part of A. Ezra has a kid and annoyingness ensued. Spencer found Toby’s dead body and completely lost her mind, so she ended up in Radley. It turned out that Toby might not be dead, but Spencer doesn’t believe it. The non-Radley girls broke into the morgue and did not find Toby’s body. Toby broke Spencer’s heart. A kidnapped Ezra’s son and left him at the creepiest puppet show ever. Park rangers found another dead body and believe it to be Toby. Aria tried to break up with Ezra, but he decided that didn’t really work for him. The previouslies end with a greatest hits montage of the shit that has happened to Spencer over the past year. Seriously, everything from snakes almost attacking her to getting trapped in her sauna. Girl’s had a rough time. It’s no wonder that she agreed to help out Mona. Yep, Spencer joined the A Team.

Spencer is home again. The other girls are waiting in her living room for her to come downstairs. They’re discussing whether Spencer will be good as new or still totally fucked up. Emily’s pretty upset about the fact that Toby’s dead. The girls are all dealing with that revelation. Spencer comes downstairs all dressed up and says that there’s no point to have hope in anything. She says they shouldn’t be sad because they lost Toby a long time ago. She goes on to comment about the fact she just got out of Radley and her parents set up an elaborate tea and crumpets spread as if nothing had happened. As someone who has had to deal with WASPs during times of grief, it’s so true. It’s as if they have no emotions. Hanna decides now is the perfect time to ask the question everyone has been wondering: what is the difference between a crumpet and an English muffin? Fortunately, Spencer has the answer. English muffins are baked goods and crumpets are griddlecakes. The girls all want to know how Spencer is doing. She says she’s better because she decided not to be a victim anymore. That’s not how it really works, but okay, hon. Spencer then hands out invitations to a big party her parents are throwing to show everyone Spencer is all better. She asks the girls to come and support her. They remind her they would do anything for her. She ominously says she’s counting on that.

Continue reading “Pretty Little Liars recap: A dAngerous gAme (I got 99 questions and Red Coat easily makes up half of them)”

Bechdel Week: Friday

Once again, sorry for the delay. I haven’t had a chance to watch my regular Friday line-up until just now, thanks to social obligations/marathoning Pretty Little Liars. So, my Friday line-up consists of just one show, Fringe.

FRINGE
“Five-Twenty-Ten”
Written by Graham Roland
Summary: A Fringe event is created by a member of the team as the rebellion reaches a new level of intensity.
Does this show pass the Bechdel test? Yes

Olivia (Anna Torv) and the always brilliant Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) reunite after years apart and briefly talk about how the recent loss of Olivia’s daughter Etta (Georgina Haig) has affected her. Olivia goes on (along with Walter and Astrid) to ask Nina for help in their plan to take down the Observers.

Unfortunately, one of the few times we actually see Olivia and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) interact is when they’re talking about Peter (Joshua Jackson) and how he is holding up following Etta’s death. Considering we rarely see these two characters interact, I wish they had talked about something else. I would have rather seen Olivia have that conversation with Walter (John Noble), but alas. We’ve also already established that Olivia is worried about Peter, so it wasn’t really vital to the plot.

Film Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

For a number of people in my generation, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is beloved literature. First published in 1999, it has become a classic young adult novel for the millennial generation. I remember first reading it in ninth grade because my friends said it was just fantastic. It was one of those books that you just had to read. Even though it was a young adult book, it’s really for older teenagers. I wish I had waited a couple years to read it. At the time I read it, I greatly enjoyed it, but I think I needed to be a bit more mature before I could fully comprehend how awesome it truly is.

Before seeing the film, I decided to revisit the novel. The story centers on a young man named Charlie. He is just starting his freshman year of high school. His best friend committed suicide and he basically has no one. The novel is told through a series of letters between Charlie an anonymous person he only ever refers to as “Dear Friend.” Based on the format of the novel, I was extremely worried at how it would translate to film. I didn’t want it to lose any of Charlie’s insight and I was struggling to see how they would convey everything in a screenplay.

My worries were for naught, though. In the hands of anyone else, this film would have probably been a terrible adaptation. However, the novel’s author, Stephen Chbosky, both wrote the screenplay and directed the film. The best book-to-movie adaptations are the ones where the author is involved in some way. This was an even better adaptation because Chbosky didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s vision. It was his story from beginning to end.

There are some variations from the novel, but they’re extremely slight. The biggest one would be that they didn’t focus as much on the relationship between Charlie (Logan Lerman, Percy Jackson & the Olympians) and his sister, Candace (Nina Dobrev, The Vampire Diaries). The abortion subplot is completely omitted, but it really didn’t detract from the story.

The thing I love the most about this story is that it doesn’t shy away from the tough things that adolescents experience, but it also doesn’t treat it like an after-school special. It is an honest portrayal of a young boy trying to navigate the world of high school. He has to go through the trauma of finding his place in the world. He eventually befriends the coolest group of people ever, becoming particularly close to Patrick (Ezra Miller, We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Sam (Emma Watson, Harry Potter series). He navigates his first relationship with Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman, Parenthood) while being in love with Sam.

The film touches on drug and alcohol use, teen dating violence, infidelity, homophobia, and childhood sexual abuse. However, it also embraces the mindblowing feeling of being young and feeling infinite. The characters literally describe themselves as feeling infinite. For me, this film captures a perfect moment in time. It captures that feeling of being young and having the world in front of you. That feeling that you have nothing but options and can do anything you set your mind to. It’s that joyous feeling of optimism. I feel like I was never more optimistic than I was when I was a senior in high school. For anyone who has forgotten that feeling and needs to be reminded of happier times, this film is perfect. I was in tears by the end of the film, but they were truly tears of joy.

New Series: Ben and Kate

Fox’s Ben & Kate is being billed as one of the best new sitcoms of the season. Based on creator Dana Fox’s real life relationship with her brother, critics are hailing the show as a quirky comedy about two dysfunctional siblings. In the show’s first outing, it largely lived up to the hype.

Dakota Johnson (The Five-Year Engagement) stars as Kate Fox, waitress and single mother to five-year-old Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones, We Bought a Zoo). Every now and then, Kate’s brother Ben (Nat Faxon, The Descendants) blows into town and causes a bunch of trouble. He’s basically a giant manchild. Of course, as with most manchildren, they make for some really entertaining moments. This time, he comes back into town to break up the marriage of his ex-girlfriend who he still thinks of as Mrs. Ben Fox. Naturally, as she is an ex-girlfriend, this woman has moved on and Ben’s plans do not come to fruition.

While Ben is trying to break up this woman’s wedding, Kate is just trying to get laid. She has gone on approximately ten dates with a man named George (Jon Foster, Accidentally on Purpose). After ten dates, that means she finally gets to have sex, as per her rules. She accidentally dials Ben while on her date and after excusing herself to the restroom, Ben overhears a conversation between George and another woman. On his way to the wedding, he comes back to save his sister from getting her heart broken again.

The two siblings end up going to the wedding to try to stop it, but they are an hour late and Mrs. Ben Fox is now Mrs. Somebody Else. For some reason, they stay for the reception, but it leads to a really sweet moment between Ben and Kate where they hang out under a table, just like they did when they were younger and their parents would fight. This time, Maddie joins them and it’s adorable, naturally.

Echo Kellum (Hot in Cleveland) also stars as Tommy, one of Kate’s co-workers who is hopelessly in love with her. The fantastically hilarious comedienne Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher) plays BJ, a fellow waitress who just wants Kate to have some fun in her life. The ensemble cast is pretty much amazing. The chemistry between everyone is phenomenal. Even in the pilot, the actors and writers are nearing the perfect balance of endearing and hilarious. Jones is the perfect adorable child in this role. Ben and Kate have emotional baggage that makes them much more relatable. Faxon manages to be extremely endearing without going over the top, which would be very easy to do in this role.

Since Dana Fox is drawing on her own life experiences for this show and she has a ton of heart, I predict many more heartwarming and funny episodes from here on out. I always say a show needs five episodes before you can truly judge if it will succeed or fail. If the next four episodes are as strong as this pilot, this has potential to be the best new sitcom of the season (possibly tied with The Mindy Project).

Coming tomorrow: a belated review of The Mindy Project.

New Series: Revolution

So often, these big high-concept dramas try to introduce a million characters right off the bat. They try to establish every storyline they have planned for the season in the first episode. It leaves viewers confused and the plot jumbled. Fortunately, Revolution did things right in its pilot episode.

The plot centers on a post-apocalyptic future (approximately 2027). In 2012, all the lights went out. Seriously. All electricity ceased to work in any capacity. Governments broke up and various militias formed. Various villages were established and people have gone back to basic survival skills, such as hunting and gathering. There are several similarities with The Hunger Games, as far as the environment in which they live.

The writers for this show are absolutely phenomenal. Eric Kripke (of Supernatural fame) and JJ Abrams (of Lost, Alias, and tons of other awesome shows) helm this show. Kripke wrote the pilot episode and slowly rolled out the characters.

The show really centers on the Matheson family. Brothers Miles and Ben Matheson are at the center of everything. In 2012, Ben (Tim Guinee, The Good Wife) and his wife Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost) have a small daughter, Charlie. Then the lights go out and we see the happy family eating everything out of the freezer that is going to go bad. Sad fact: In the post-apocalyptic future, there is no ice cream because there are no freezers. It’s how you know it’s a bad world. Miles (Billy Burke, The Closer) is living in Chicago and appears to be some sort of military guy. Before the lights go out, Ben appears to know that it is coming and calls Miles to warn him that shit is about to go down. Ben has some sort of mysterious USB thingy that appears to hold all the world’s secrets. 

Flash forward to 15 years in the future. Rachel is apparently dead and Ben is now dating one of the town doctors, Maggie (Anna Lise Phillips, Terra Nova). Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos, Being Human) is all grown up and is now an awesome archer. Apparently bows are the weapon of the future. Thank you, Hunger Games! Charlie’s younger brother, Danny (Graham Rogers, Memphis Beat) fulfills the hotheaded guy who acts before he thinks requirement. When Capt. Tom Neville (Giancarlo Esposito, Once Upon a Time) shows up to arrest Ben and take him back to the mysterious Monroe, Danny draws his bow and tries to defend his dad. Naturally, it goes miserably and a huge fight ensues. Ben dies in the crossfire and Neville takes Danny to his leader. Just before he dies, though, Ben tells Charlie to go to Chicago and find Miles.

Charlie then sets out for Chicago with Maggie, who insists that she is coming along. Also coming is Aaron (apparently played by Zak Orth of NYC 22, but I totally thought it was the guy who plays Harry Crane on Mad Men). So, off go Charlie, Maggie, and Not Harry Crane. Along the way they meet up with a mysterious guy Nate (JD Pardo, Breaking Dawn), who is very pretty, so Charlie trusts him, especially after he saves the three of them from some totally creepy guys.

Eventually, the three make it to Chicago and wander into what used to be a really fancy hotel. Fortunately, Miles is making himself a drink at the counter in this exact hotel. He first denies that he is Miles, but then agrees to talk to Charlie because after all, she is his niece. He just wants them to leave him alone and maintains that he doesn’t know anything about why the lights went out. Eventually, militia shows up and shit hits the fan. As it turns out, Pretty Nate is actually one of Monroe’s minions and led them right to Miles. See, you can’t trust every pretty person you meet, Charlie. Miles eventually agrees to leave with Charlie and Maggie because he’s not safe in Chicago anymore. The Three Musketeers set off on their journey, to be continued next week.

Meanwhile, Danny is taken by Neville and eventually escapes by unscrewing a pipe to which he is chained and beating some people over the head. He runs off until his asthma stops him and he passes out in some stranger’s backyard. Fortunately, this stranger is former algebra teacher Grace (Maria Howell, The Vampire Diaries) whose son had asthma and she just happens to have an inhaler. She watches over him for a while, until Neville and his men show up. At first, she claims she hasn’t seen anyone in days. Unfortunately for her, Neville was the most badass insurance adjuster ever before the blackout and his job consisted of being able to tell when people are lying. I did not know this about insurance adjusters. He saw tracks from two people leading right to her back door. She steps aside and they head upstairs, just to see Danny trying to jump out the window. Considering his asthma seems to kick in when he takes more than five steps, I predict he wouldn’t be getting far anyway. So, Danny ends up back in the custody of Neville.

The episode ends with two surprise twists. First, kindly algebra teacher Grace still has a working computer (though it is legit old school with green writing on a black screen and everything). She plugs in a USB that matches the one that Ben had at the beginning of the episode and assures the person with whom she is chatting that the militia didn’t find anything when they came. Also, Monroe (David Lyons, The Cape) is apparently Miles’ buddy he was with on the day of the blackout.

Couple things I particularly enjoyed:

Every word that came out of Zak Orth’s mouth was pretty much hilarious. As he explained, before the blackout hit, he worked for “a company called Google.” Charlie’s response: “Isn’t that an Internet thing?” Also, as he explains the blackout, “physics went insane.”

Neville kind of came off as a cranky guy, which made me giggle. When he first found Ben, he just seemed irritated that Ben didn’t immediately come with him. Apparently, he had been away from his “wife, family, and bed” for quite some time. This guy must have the most comfortable bed ever.

Overall, it was a really strong pilot. It introduced just enough to intrigue the audience, but not so much as to overwhelm us. Between Kripke (who is a really solid writer) and Abrams (who, besides being awesome, knows how to manage a big ensemble show with muddling everything up), this series has definite potential. There were definitely a couple moments that had John screaming “BUT! PHYSICS!!!!” in frustration, but unless you’re a science geek like my fiance, you won’t really notice. Last night’s ratings were awesome and it had the highest-rated debut for an hour-long scripted drama since in 2010. Hopefully, this show won’t end up a colossal disappointment like V did.

Also, I call total bullshit on Rachel being dead. You don’t get as big an actress as Elizabeth Mitchell and kill her off in the first ten minutes. Not. Buying it.