Dear TV Writers: Your Fear of the Moonlighting Curse is Killing Your Show

What is the Moonlighting Curse, and why is it such a big deal to television writers? Read this in-depth look at the crippling phenomenon and find out!

Getting Rid of the Stigma: Mental Illness in Young Adult Fiction, by Megan Mann

In this piece, Megan brilliantly discusses the stigma of mental illness in literature and how some young adult novels are helping to change the landscape for this discussion.

In Appreciation of the Everyday Heroine

A mask does not a hero make. In this piece, I discuss why it's wrong to dismiss characters without costumes or masks as superheroes.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

#7DaysofCommunity - Day 1



Well, folks. It’s ALMOST here.

That’s right – October 19th is just a mere week away and that means that Community is almost back in its 8PM timeslot on NBC. Really and truly, we’re coming back home. In celebration of the little-show-that-could’s return, I decided to spend the week leading up to the premiere doing something special for you all each day. After all, YOU are the real reason I am even writing this blog. And this show is what brought us all together. It’s only fitting that I should celebrate somehow!

I asked last week for you all to tweet, DM, or comment on a post and give me some Community superlatives you’d like to see answered each day. I got a lot of great suggestions and narrowed them down to seven – one per day – to answer!

Ready to kick off the week? Click below the cut to find the answer to my first question!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Community" Special Announcement!


Community is almost back, y'all! And this means one thing: this blog will be hopping for a week-long countdown to the February 7th premiere. What exactly will happen each day of the week leading up to the season four return is pretty simple. And it's all controlled by YOU.

Here's how everything will go down:

Beginning tonight (January 27th), through Wednesday (January 30th), you all get the opportunity to list Community-related superlatives that you'd like to see covered on the blog. You have until 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday in which to nominate these categories.

What are Community-related superlatives, you ask? These are categories you desperately want to know my answers to and can be topics such as: Favorite Season, Favorite Chang Pun, Most Epic Winger Speech, etc. (Be creative, be fun, and suggest as many as you would like!) On January 31st, exactly one week until Community's premiere, I will select seven of the best categories and answer one per day in a blog post.

So how, exactly, do you nominate categories? Simple! Tweet (@notajenny), DM, e-mail, or drop a comment on this post nominating a category. I'll pick the seven best categories and answer them throughout the week. So what are you all waiting for?


NOMINATE, AWAY! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

"It's called chemistry. I have it with EVERYBODY!"



My friends can attest to the fact that I loathed Chemistry when I had to take it in high school. Maybe this was because I hated both math and science or perhaps I can attribute my dislike for the subject to the time of day I had to learn about it (7 AM, five days a week). Regardless of WHY I disliked Chemistry, I did. But there’s another kind of chemistry, a kind that exists between people, which is what I want to discuss. This word – chemistry – can really be classified as the palpable relationship between actors and characters in a form of media (be it television, movies, books, etc.)

So what does great chemistry look like? What makes one couple have great chemistry, while another pair falls flat? I think that the key to romantic tension, to cohesion, and to a spark is two-fold: 1) excellent writing; 2) connections between actors. In order for characters to succeed, they need talented and devoted people writing for them. Conversely, in order for a writer’s vision to come to fruition, they need talented and devoted actors willing to portray those characters. There is no magic formula for what makes a show succeed or fail. I can’t tell you why some actors have palpable tension, but I CAN give you examples of some of the best television chemistry as chosen by… you all!

That’s right – you’ve spoken and I’ve pondered and now I present you with some categories featuring the best in television chemistry. If you’re ready, grab some popcorn and prepare to squeal: these are the pairings that make you coo one moment and want to pull your hair out the next. They’re the will-they-won’t-theys and the actors that cause you to throw objects at your television sets.

But they all have one thing in common.

Chemistry.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Color Run (The Happiest 5k on the Planet!)



I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a runner. I never have been the kind of person who found joy in running long distances (or short distances… or anywhere). But within the last year, I have had the enjoyment of being a part of three different races – and that’s really thanks to my good friends Kate, Heather, and Ashley. The four of us used to work together, though Ashley took a job in April at a local community college and is no longer at our office. Prior to that, though, we all decided it might be a fun adventure to run a race together. Kate and Heather are more athletic than Ashley and I are, so they chose to do a Distance Dare – they’d run a 10k race and then also run the 2-miler. Ashley and I stuck to the latter option (happily, might I add). It was a blast – the weather was perfect, and we ran around a quaint little section of town early in the morning. We then got a chance to cheer on Kate and Heather as they crossed the finish line. It was a fun event to participate in together, really. When I got a full-time job, I wanted to find people who I could be friends with at the office. I have been utterly blessed to hang out with these amazing ladies and get to know them. It’s something a lot of people don’t find in a job or career – people they actually WANT to see outside of work. And to be quite frank, I don’t think my boss and some of the other employees understand that concept… that we LIKE each other and are genuinely friends, not just colleagues.

Our second race together was more recent one at UCF (both my and Kate’s alma mater). Once again, Kate and Heather chose to do a Distance Dare – to run a 5-mile race and then join Ashley and me afterward for the 2-miler. I made it my goal, then, to see exactly how fast I could run two miles. The morning was beginning to get rather hot and Florida isn’t the most ideal place to run when that occurs, but I gave it my best effort. As it turns out, I discovered that I could run the aforementioned distance in twenty minutes – a time I could never run on the treadmill, which surprised and delighted me! (You know… after I stopped panting at the finish line and didn’t feel like I was going to pass out.) The race was fun and I got a chance to walk back to my car with Ashley, which allowed us plenty of time to talk about work and life. And really, that is the beauty of things like races – events we get the opportunity to bond, to grow closer together, and to just be healthy about it.

And then, there was Sunday’s race, marking our third adventure together: The Color Run 5k.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Great Divide (Or "Why Does Everyone Hate The Big Bang Theory"?)



It’s a Thursday night and I’m curled up in pajamas recovering from the flu, sipping tea and flipping through the channels on my television set. My favorite comedy hasn’t returned to NBC yet, so 8PM is an open timeslot. So I switch over to CBS and watch the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory to fill the void. Later, as I unwind before heading to bed, I flip forward a few channels to TBS where re-runs of the comedy air back-to-back. And I laugh as the episode where Sheldon manages to successfully condition Penny and her behavior using chocolate candies is on. A few nights earlier, I watched an episode featuring the now-famous Sheldon Cooper song “Soft Kitty” (a song inscribed on the t-shirt Heather got me for Christmas this year).

If this sounds sacrilegious to you, given my noted love of Community, then my post tonight will probably either infuriate you or help you see the light. Because my first question of the night is really this: since when did being a fan of The Big Bang Theory and a fan of Community become a mutually exclusive ordeal? Do you know how chastised I feel for being a TBBT fan within a circle of Community lovers? And why is that so? Is it possible that both are good shows? Could it be that The Big Bang Theory is only an incidental enemy of the-little-show-that-could and not an intentional one? And really, why is EVERYONE watching the CBS sitcom and forgoing Community on a weekly basis?

(I may not be able to answer all of these questions, but you can bet that I’m going to try!)


Monday, January 7, 2013

Do You Hear the People Sing? (A Review of Les Miserables)


Do you hear the people sing?

When I was a freshman in high school, I was still attempting to figure out where exactly I belonged. I took Honors classes and was in the chorus. I was connecting, but I still wanted to join more clubs and be a part of the school experience. That spring, I went with two of my close friends to see our high school’s musical. Every spring the drama teacher would select their musical of choice. In 2004, that just so happed to be Grease. Popular at high schools throughout the country and so catchy it hurts, Grease is one of the best shows for high school students to perform. It does, after all, center around them. I vowed, after watching the show, to become a part of drama club. Seeing students singing, dancing, and smiling on stage made me yearn to be a part of it.

When Mr. Colangelo, the drama teacher, tacked a flyer to the bulletin board outside of the theatre announcing our sophomore musical, we all scurried to see what he had chosen. And… then we continued to stare at the paper in utter disbelief. “No,” we muttered amongst ourselves. Those murmurs carried throughout the halls. “He’s gone crazy,” some said.

Mr. Colangelo had chosen Les Miserables as the 2005 spring musical.

I’ll never forget the first rehearsal after the show had been cast. In spite of being selected, a lot of us were extremely apprehensive. Les Miserables is perhaps the most renowned musical of all time, and certainly one of the most beloved. Furthermore, it is one of the most DIFFICULT as nearly the entire play is sung. We thought Mr. C was overambitious or too zealous or maybe just insane. When we all sat on stage, legs crossed, and listened as the drama teacher instructed us to close our eyes. Imagine, he said, that you left rehearsal and drove home. Picture, he instructed, turning onto your street but instead of houses, you saw nothing but flattened debris where your home once stood. We saw the images in our minds. We felt the pain as he described how we would have known, in that moment, everyone – our families, our friends, our neighbors – was gone.

When we opened our eyes, some of us had tears in them. Mr. Colangelo motioned to the script he was holding and told us that what we had imagined was a mere glimpse of the pain those young French revolutionaries felt. And from that point forward, we didn’t doubt our director’s vision again. Les Miserables was the most successful musical in my high school career. It sold out both weekends and was a wild success. We didn’t know that we could do it. It took a lot of hours of work, rehearsals, blocking, costuming, and singing to make the show what it was. But because I was a part of the musical, I fell head-over-heels for it.

That’s why when I heard that there would be a movie version of my beloved musical… well, I just knew that I would have to witness the experience in theatres. Because the truth is that Les Miserables IS an experience. It’s an emotional journey of not one, but multiple characters. It’s centered around love and family and God and sacrifice. The characters are woven together in this brilliant patchwork – they’re nearly all connected to each other in some way – which makes the overarching story that much more powerful.

Before seeing the film, I was a tad bit nervous. But excited. And a tad worried. After seeing the film, I applauded with the rest of my theatre and felt relief – it had lived up to my expectations. So I thought I would discuss the characters/actors and the music of Les Miserables, since I haven’t been able to fully emotionally process the weight of the film quite yet.

(Bear in mind that if you know absolutely nothing about Les Miserables – or how to even pronounce it – this post WILL contain spoilers. So. Yeah.)


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Endings and Beginnings (Why We Hate Them, But Why They're Necessary)

"Everything's got to end sometime, otherwise nothing would ever get started." -- Doctor Who

Let’s be honest here – very few people actually enjoy endings.

Oh, sure, we love the idea of finales. We built up the anticipation of the Friends finale so much in our heads, and it still didn’t disappoint us. We mourn the ending of the Harry Potter movie franchise, but celebrate it until (and long after) we walk out of the theatre. Sometimes, we rejoice in endings of things. We wish the Twilight series had ended after the first movie. And then we just wonder why there had to be eleven different sequels to The Land Before Time.

Endings are sad and painful. But ironically enough, both the above GIF and quote below it were spoken by the same Time Lord, the eleventh incarnation of The Doctor. Because the truth is that even though we hate endings, even though we would rather stretch the things we love out forever, keep the casts of our favorite television shows united… things end. People move on. In “The Angels Take Manhattan,” the Doctor rips out the final page of the novel he is reading because he hates when books end. Have you ever read a book so good that you were actually dreading the ending? Have you ever cried not because a film was sad but because it was over?