Sunday, March 11, 2018

Series: This Week's TV MVPs -- Week 68

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Welcome back to another week of our TV MVP Series! Isn't it hard to believe that it's already March? As kids and college students around the country prepare for spring breaks by pools, oceans, or (in my state's case) at theme parks, we're setting aside time once again to talk about some of the best people and performances on television this week. Join me and Ashvini as we discuss our favorites!


Jenn's MVP: Lyric Ross as Deja (This Is Us)

Why she's the MVP: This Is Us continues to break molds each week with its inventive storytelling and heart-wrenching realness. Because I'm a writer, I'm a sucker for parallelism — and this week saw plenty of that with "This Big, Amazing, Beautiful Life." Because the truth is that life is messy and beautiful and sad and hopeful. All of the "stories" we saw play out on screen demonstrated that. But the central focus was on Deja and her life, which is where Lyric Ross truly shone. Ross entered the show playing a character who was guarded and terrified and angry. But slowly, her vulnerabilities were exposed and Ross did an amazing job — with her subtle, small smiles and frantic expressions — demonstrating exactly how painful it must have been for Deja to dare to connect with Beth and Randall's family. This week, Ross kicked her performance up a notch. We saw Deja's life unfold, which led us to all kinds of emotions — joy and fear and hope and despair and confusion — all of which were navigated with such grace and poise that deserves her awards. Deja went from being a guest character to taking a starring role.

The reason, in particular, Lyric Ross made my MVP list this week is for this stunningly simple and yet emotional monologue that she gives to Randall near the end of the episode. What I love about it is that it's something a teenager would say — it's a profound deduction wrapped in a commonplace event. Deja talks about how it's funny that there are things around the world that bond us all together. No matter whether you're rich or poor or young or old, everyone sleeps. Everyone has problems and they're all different, but everyone still has to sleep. And then she says this: "And I guess, if you think about it hard [...] everyone’s got [...] things that hurt them. Things that make them feel better. Anyway, I don’t know if that’s deja vu, but that’s just what I’m thinking about."

Lyric Ross delivers this speech with such beautiful honesty and simplicity that it's hard not to get emotional just thinking about it. This week and every week that she's on screen on This Is Us, Ross is a gem and a star.

Ashvini’s MVP: The “Fab Five” (Queer Eye)

Why they’re the MVPs: Karamo Brown, Tan France, Jonathan van Ness, Bobby Berk, and Antoni Porowski — these men have basically become my TV uncles. I know I’ve only known them via my television screen for less than three weeks, but God, I love them so much. Frankly, I want them to waltz into my life and help me become the very best version of myself that they know I’m capable of becoming. And more than anything, I want Jonathan to be my hair and overall confidence mentor. He gives me so much life.

Queer Eye has come back full force, changing our stereotypical perceptions of gay men, gay culture, masculinity, and what it means to have your life together one aperitif and well-tailored blazer at a time. Yet this time around they make the distinction early on that this show isn’t just a makeover show and it isn’t just for straight guys. It’s about five talented men, known as the “Fab Five,” who have excelled in their respective fields of culture, fashion, grooming, design, and food, taking various individuals under their wings and working hard to give them the life changes they so desperately need. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. These men are so close to one another, unafraid to be openly vulnerable and affectionate, which something you don’t often see men do in mainstream media.

Given the socio-political climate we unfortunately find ourselves in, this amazingly sweet, emotional, uplifting reboot couldn’t have graced our Netflix accounts at a more ideal time.

Who were YOUR TV MVPs this week? Sound off in the comments below!


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