Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Crazy Ones 1x06 "Hugging the Now" (Why You Can't Live In A Snow Globe)

"Hugging the Now"
Original Airdate: October 31, 2013

Sometimes, I envelop myself in nostalgia. Recently, I was talking to my roommate about this. We both attended the same college in West Palm Beach for two years and were reminiscing over what it was like to trot across campus to classes or venture to the beach on weekends, eating brunch in the cafeteria and having adventures without much care. It’s always enjoyable to look on the past with fondness, isn’t it? There’s a part of you that yearns to retrieve those days again and to bottle them up, keep them safe. Sometimes we look on the past with fondness and sometimes we look on it with envy: we long for the times we were younger or thinner or in a relationship or carefree. But the problem is that we can never return to those days and I think that we often look at them not as they were, but as we want to remember them. I was stressed in college. I went through a bad break-up. I fought with friends. But when I delve into the pool of nostalgia, those things are fuzzy. I only remember the good. The problem, of course, with living in the past or longing for the past is that you cannot live in the NOW.

That’s where “Hugging the Now” comes in. In the episode, we see Simon and Sydney yearn for the past: Simon is aging and wishes he could regain his youth, fearful that he will not be remembered or taken seriously or viewed as a success in years to come. Sydney, meanwhile, desires to live in the past when her high-school crush appears in her life. She realizes (I think slightly) that she has a tendency to romanticize things, and the past is one of those things. Lauren, Zach, and Andrew are essentially background characters this week but when they’re in the background, they’re the actual best background characters you could ask for.

Simon Roberts is nominated for an Impact Award. It’s kind of a big deal, as the name suggests, because it sets him apart in the advertising community as someone who has made tangible, lasting, and memorable impacts in his field. We all want to acquire our own Impact Award, really, and it look different for each person: page views, raises, furniture, cars, etc. We want to all make our mark on the world around us and that’s not a bad thing to want, really. We want to leave legacies and impacts and memories. Simon is fearful, though he won’t let it show (especially around Zach and Andrew) that he’ll fade into oblivion without much notice at all. He vocalizes, during a cocktail hour celebrating his nomination, that he’s fearful of becoming the guy no one wants invited – that crazy old guy who used to be talented but then just fell apart. Simon’s fear is one that we can especially relate to, which is why we cheer for him to win something. We’re so used to seeing Simon as the king in this series that I think we often believe him to be fearless. The truth is that he’s not; the truth is that he just wants to be remembered. He wants to make an impact.

And so, through the assistance and brilliance of Lauren and her ideas, Simon decides to campaign for votes for the Impact Award. If he wants to be remembered and rewarded for his success and if he wants to be a name that outlives his life, then he needs to win. The two decide upon bus advertisements and billboards, depicting Simon as a Hulk-like man, making a literal impact into the cement beneath him with his fist, sending all of the clients he’s landed scattering into the air. It’s a brilliant idea, but one that’s so brilliant, it ends up being utilized by someone else.

Speaking of someone else, Sydney spends the episode with her high-school crush named Josh. He’s also nominated for the Impact Award as he, too, works in advertising. Josh in The Crazy Ones was my Jeremy – a guy I was in love with throughout high school (who I danced with at prom to Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’” just so you all know). Sydney sees him as the one who got away… but only because she was too afraid to tell him how she felt. And so, Sydney admits to doing what most of us do but are too scared to say aloud: she daydreams. She daydreams HARD. And that daydream has stayed with her for years upon years, so much so that she holds a snow globe in her hands while she reminisces on the idea of what-could-have-been. Again: we all are guilty of reminiscing and it’s not a crime. The problem is that Sydney wants to live in that snow globe, like we all do. She wants to curl up on the couch and binge-watch television with her beau and she wants to have a perfect life and perfect little children and she wants to dance to “Eternal Flame” while snow spirals down all around her. She wants her life to be a movie, and when it’s not, she begins to panic (much like her father does).

You see, Sydney and Josh reunite and he kisses her just as she wanted him to do all of those years ago. As it turns out, Josh HAD noticed Sydney in high school but neither of them had been courageous enough to make a move on the other. So Sydney gets the fairytale she has always wanted – she gets the guy and they spend two blissful days together before she and her father walk down the street and a bus passes with Josh’s face and her father’s campaign idea on it. Both are horrified, but no one more so than Sydney who trusted Josh and trusted that he would not betray her. He was her fantasy, after all. Her DREAM. The problem is that when we romanticize, we also idolize. We see people and events through a foggy screen of our own romantic projections. It’s not wrong, as I’ve stated before, but it IS problematic. It leads to disappointment because we build up people and relationships so much in our heads and believe them to be infallible when they are, in fact, not. Simon confronts Sydney (who spirals after she discovers Josh’s betrayal) and the two share a beautiful father-daughter moment when he acknowledges that sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we imagined it would; our lives aren’t perfect snow globes with perfect little people inside of them. It’s jarring, Simon acknowledges, when your life takes an unanticipated turn but it doesn’t mean that the snow globe dream cannot still exist. We just have to keep believing in it.

The episode ends with the advertising gang after the Impact Award ceremony. Sydney has broken it off with Josh and Simon lost the Impact Award. But then, something pretty wonderful happens. (This is the moment I really fell for the show, truthfully.) Zach, Lauren, and Andrew reveal that they have concocted a masterful plan with Simon. As Andrew takes to the piano and Lauren takes an armful of confetti, and Zach takes Sydney by the hand to dance with her. They recreate her “Eternal Flame” snow globe and sing to her while she and Zach dance. It’s this beautiful moment that Simon observes and I think that – in that very second – he realizes that he’ll be okay. Maybe he’ll never receive an Impact Award, but the impact that he makes on a daily basis with his staff and his family? That is something more worthy of treasuring than any statue. And I think that Sydney realizes something, too, as she twirls around the pub: she’ll be okay. Sure, life isn’t a perfect snow globe filled with memories and dreams. Life is messy and weird and doesn’t always work out the way you planned. That’s why you need to embrace the NOW; you literally need to hug it and cherish it because you’ll never be able to get those moments back. Life isn’t a snow globe, but so what? If you are fortunate enough to find people in your life who love you and support you, then every moment can be a snow globe-worthy one.

And now, some added bonuses:
  • “Oh, thank God. Nobody talked about me for a minute; I forgot I was here.”
  • “Know what I mean?” “Not really, but I’m using context clues to figure it out.” Simon/Lauren scenes are utterly perfect.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar looked STUNNING in that black and gold dress.
  • “… It’s snowing inside your high school?”
  • “Out of curiosity, have you ever left anything unsaid?” “No.”
  • “Woah, we can just do that now?” “Oh, he can.”
Thank you all so much for reading my review! We’re back next week with my favorite episode of the entire series: “Sydney, Australia.” Join me! Until then, folks, have a great weekend. :)


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