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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Every Year is Bigger and Better: Kay-B's SDCC 2018 Faves [Contributor: Kay-B]


After a whirlwind weekend culminating in a struggle of flight issues, I am back and ready to give you my top favorite moments from Comic-Con 2018! Let’s dive in, shall we?

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S BRAVE NEW WARRIORS PANEL


This panel was hilarious, fresh, and fun. My first time checking it out, this Lynette Rice-moderated discussion featuring today’s male TV heroes included Benedict Wong (Deadly Class), Dylan Bruce (Midnight, Texas), Santiago Cabrera (Salvation), Tom Ellis (Lucifer) Jay Hernandez (Magnum P.I.), Eoin Macken (Nightflyers), and surprise guest Stephen Moyer (The Gifted). During this richly hilarious and divine panel, our heroes discussed topics that covered the thrill of playing iconic characters, the sometimes-awkward fan encounters, and the ups and downs of careers in Hollywood.

Filled with flashbacks from their haunted pasts including a model-esque photo of Stephen Moyer, an NBC promo for The Night Shift that one panelist called “the crossover between Scrubs and Sons of Anarchy,” and that really was everything I never knew l needed. When Lynette asked the gentlemen how their characters save the world, Tom Ellis said: “Lucifer doesn’t care about the world, he only cares about himself!” Jay, in turn, quipped: “Magnum P.I. doesn’t really save the world, but he definitely saves housewives.”

There were detailed stories of fake IDs, bad blonde dye jobs, secret crushes, and more reveals from Eion Macken’s childhood. Santiago said he uses his star power daily to get food at craft services first, and Dylan has always had a thing for Michael J. Fox: “I used to dress up like him Family Ties and carry a briefcase and all!” There were more laughs than I could count, and this panel is definitely not to be missed next year!

RIVERDALE SCOOP


I got so much scoop that I had to write another article, so check it out! But basically, Riverdale is the best. I’m already excited about season three, and I demand a crossover with the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina — somehow and some way — when it premieres.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A BLACK LIGHTNING FAMILY REUNION


I had the BEST Comic-Con family reunion. And I say family reunion because in my mind, we are just that. I have loved every moment of Black Lightning and any time I get a chance to support, I do! So getting the chance to talk to the cast for a second time at Comic-Con was a delight.

The cast and creators are so thoughtful and articulate not only in how they describe their vision for the show, but incredibly poignant in how they portray this black family and our community. So what did they tease about season two? Well: new tech, new suits, and probably new cell phones for Team Lightning to start. Hopefully we will also get an answer to a current work/love life imbalance for Thunder and Lightning, as well as fresh eyes for a particular law enforcement official and best friend... who will still be in the dark about his friend’s superhero alias.

Finally, we can look forward to more stories that expand the Lightningverse — with hopes that eventually characters like Static Shock will enter into the fold. Until then, let’s count the days until we get what is sure to be a dynamic second season.

WARNER BROS. HALL H PRESENTATION


From the moment that the lights went down and the multi-screens were revealed, I knew this presentation would be a highlight for me. With trailer reveals for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, SHAZAM!, and of course Aquaman, this presentation did not disappoint. The way that the studio flowed from film to film, showing highlights and exclusives, was truly fantastic. While there was some footage left just for Hall H eyes, I can say that if the Aquaman trailer didn’t pique your interest, stay the course because the extended trailer has me even more excited for December 21!

Godzilla: King of the Monsters will just be a largely insane good time, and it is good to see O’Shea Jackson Jr. in another role after his stellar performance as his father in Straight Outta Compton.

SHAZAM! is really just Zachary Levi portraying himself in a superhero suit, while The LEGO Movie 2 is going to be adorable and hilarious. Be sure to watch out for Tiffany Haddish as... what else? A unicorn, of course!

Wonder Woman 1984 (#WW84) will be a stand alone film, that — per Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot — shouldn’t be judged as a sequel, but rather another chapter in Diana’s story. So how on earth is Steve Trevor back? We will have to wait until next Comic-Con for more robust footage. Until then, the exclusive nugget they shot was adorable and had me ready for November 1, 2019.

Finally, the Fantastic Beasts trailer and presentation took us on a wild ride, with the most fan interaction of the presentation. But will this sequel exceed Potterheads’ expectations? Only time will tell. I can say with certainty though that Warner Bros. brought out all of the stops this year and have me wildly excited for this next slate of films!

All in all, Comic-Con 2018 was a success! I cannot wait to head back next year to see old favorites and get the new scoop on my favorite fandoms — and all things pop culture. Until 2019!

Orange is the New Black 6x01 Recap: "Who Knows Better Than I" (We're Not in Gen Pop Anymore) [Contributor: Chelsea Cruz]

(Image credit: Netflix)

"Who Knows Better Than I"
Original Airdate: July 27, 2018

Finally, after a year of waiting, our favorite incarcerated girls are back. Where are they now? Maximum security, as if they weren’t already in enough hot water. Following the riot, all Litchfield inmates have been separated. Our sweet, yet crazy Suzanne fantasizes about her comrades in metaphorically on-the-nose situations; each elaborate scenario exploits the repercussions of their incarcerated state. The illusion is shattered once Suzanne — who imagines her own fantasy where she is Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz — clicks her red bedazzled sneakers together and finds that this is her new home: Max. It is a harsh living condition consisting of watching her “friends” get beaten, go missing, turn against one another and even attempt suicide.

With the death of CO Pescatella and CO Hopper, the F.B.I launches a full investigation interrogating each inmate from Litchfield. Considering her condition, Suzanne won’t do well in isolation... which causes her lawyer and mother to fight that she goes back to Gen Pop. You might think that correctional officers should consider this as an improvement, but remember: it’s still prison.

Our femme fatales — although we are missing some of the fun characters in this episode — seem to be the “focus group” for the F.B.I trying to figure out who to blame for the riot. Daya’s “Guard Killer” persona makes her quite the candidate for all the blame, as recalled by inmate Daddy’s (Vicci Martinez) generosity, while Taystee was the one on the news who was actively speaking out against the system that had Poussey murdered and CO Bayley given a slap on the wrist.

Taystee just wants to be left alone so she can rest after being awake for three days straight toward the end of the riot. But who knew declining a phone call would end up in a beating? In Medical, Lolly Whitehill makes her return, recognizing both Suzanne and Frieda (who is recovering from attempting suicide). Suzanne, meanwhile, begins to picture everyone doing the popular line dance the Casper Slide Part 2 — a uncomfortable party classic. This phase of hallucination disappears when she explains to the doctor that it is all part of a chemical imbalance.

Despite being on the same playing field, Gloria and Maria are still at each other’s throats and, as a result, Gloria tackles Maria which lands them both in hot water. Literally. From what we can tell, CO Hellman is going to be terror –– first beating Taystee, now forcing Gloria and Maria to make out in the shower as he hoses them down. He’s painting a target on himself, and it’s only the first episode.

Childhood friends Taystee and CO Ward discuss each side of the system — we never get justice for Pousey’s murder and the riot caused two COs to lose their lives. They both question which side justice is on when the system is screwing them both over.

Red’s new bunkmate, Badison (Amanda Fuller) is here to shake up our Litchfield “cookies.” Seemingly friendly but with an obvious bad news vibe, Badison is here to show the Max newbies who’s boss. With the additions of Badison and Daddy, we get a sense of who is the mastermind and who is the muscle. But the question is who will come out on top.

(This review is starting to sound like an ad for the newest Super Smash Bros.)

Suzanne’s final illusion in the episode is shattered; once she can finally differentiate between the secret and a straight story, it is revealed that her mother was actually never there but just a hallucination. This was a nice touch the show added that ultimately changed the game for her character. Throughout the series, she has always done what her mommy said. Now she has become self-aware and recognizes that she’s not in a metaphorical Kansas anymore.

SITING POOLSIDE: FINAL THOUGHTS


While it’s fun to meet and see the backstories of new characters, this episode’s true purpose dealt with change and how it raises the stakes for the inmates. It seems as though the officers trying to pin the murder of CO Pescatella on the women will be a big part of the season ahead, possibly making us yell at the screen along the way.

Litchfield crashed and burned, everything was out of control, and Max intends to put everything back into place with much more control to prevent if from happening again. Which, unfortunately, means hell for the inmates.

Questions of right and wrong will be floating through our heads for sure, but what we’re all really wondering is, where are Pennsatucky, Boo, Angelica, Brooke, Flaca, Maritza, Leanne, Angie, and — most importantly — Alex?

What did you think of the first episode? How do you feel about the state of our girls? Did you also dance along to the Casper (a.ka Cha Cha) Slide? Did this episode spark a binge-watching session or did you need to take a break? If it did, wait for me!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Younger 5x07 Recap: “A Christmas Miracle” (Charles in Charge) [Guest Poster: Kay-B]


“A Christmas Miracle”
Original Airdate: July 24, 2018

Maggie is wealthy, Liza is puts mom duties first, Kelsey gets caught in her man hopping, and Charles FINALLY comes around! Ready to know more about what happened on this week's Younger?

It’s Christmas in July for the audience of Younger and Maggie looks to have received the best gift of all in the form of all of her artwork being scooped by the mysterious Penelope and Luca. Maggie can barely contain her excitement when she is handed her check... that is, until she heads to their party and runs into another artist whose work hasn’t been seen by another human in years. Maggie quickly realizes that this art-buying couple is won’t be showcasing her art but rather dumping in storage and leaving it “buried in the artistic sunken place.” They want to possess Maggie as an artist, but she’s a free spirit and can’t be contained. So she backs out of the deal! While she made the right call, I can't help but wonder how much that decision is going to cost her.

Holiday party season is in full swing, and Kelsey gets caught by Jake kissing Zane at the New York Magazine party. When Jake sees them, he goes directly to Charles and tells him that he doesn’t want to tie up two editors on his book. He then requests that Kelsey be the sole editor. When Charles breaks this news to the both of them, Zane’s feelings are hurt, realizing he should’ve leaned into his instincts last week about the personal relationship between Kelsey and Jake.

Zane’s feelings being hurt is not a surprise — he really likes Kelsey. But I still don’t feel bad for him. This is business after all, and it was Jake’s decision. I do think this work love triangle could get even messier for Kelsey, so she may want to make some decisions pretty quickly. Do you think Jake and Kelsey will have an honest conversation about this whole ordeal? When Liza finds out about Kelsey’s predicament with Zane and Jake, and asks her she didn’t tell her, Kelsey gives my favorite quote of the episode: “You’ve been gaslighting an entire company since I met you. Can I have one secret?” Touché!

Since it is Christmas, Liza goes to Caitlin’s roommate’s party with her ex-husband — oh, you remember: the roommate whose father is Empirical’s attorney. Caitlin begs her mom to do their yodeling family tradition... and Liza reluctantly complies. Charles is also naturally invited to this party and walks in on Liza and her family’s big performance. He is “introduced” to the real Liza and her daughter by the Katz’s, who think he and Liza are the perfect match. The truth is that they just might be if Charles actually communicates! It was good to see Liza be who she really is for once, and bond with her daughter. It was also good to see her and Charles have this clean slate, and for him to get to see and understand who she really is. He finally listens to why she lied to get a job and he softens. They bond over their kids and it all starts to fall into place. I wish he would’ve been this open to listening to her before. And so Charles, with a sign from The Sound of Music in a taxi cab, goes to Liza and tells her he doesn’t care anymore about what she did before kissing her in the snow. Looks like he’s all in!

Elsewhere in the episode, Josh and Liza exchange wedding presents as “friends” and Caitlin butts into Liza’s love life when she probably shouldn’t. She sees Josh and basically tells him that she wishes he was still with her mom. This will surely complicate things with Liza and Charles now that they are finally giving their relationship a real shot! Also in this episode, Enzo surprised Diana with a Christmas tree and I thought she was going to cry! Awwww. Meanwhile, Charles was in the Christmas spirit and Liza got a ridiculous bonus! (Diana got her a gaudy necklace which was hilarious.) Diana also clearly loved Liza’s handmade gift and again, this softer side is something I love seeing in her.

What did you like about the episode? Are you excited that Charles and Liza are giving their relationship a shot? Will Josh confess his true feelings? How is Kelsey going to handle this new book development personally and professionally? Am I the only one who thought that Enzo was going to propose by the Christmas tree? Until next week!

Of Soft Pretzels and Long Lines: SDCC 2018 Personal Highlights [Contributor: Jenn]


I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended Comic-Con for three years now. But 2018 was the first year in the convention in which I actually had the time to prioritize panels and build in rest and relaxation into my schedule (it’s possible!). I loved getting the chance to connect with Twitter friends in real life (shout-out to Chris King and Tiffany, because it was great to finally meet you both in person), I loved seeing the passion in fans for their favorite shows, and I loved getting the chance to get exclusive glimpses into upcoming content.

So here, I’m going to break down some of my favorite moments and memorable panels from last weekend.

(Image credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

COMEDIES REIGN


The best panels I attended (or attended in spirit, thanks to insane lines) were the ones regarding my favorite network comedies. I sadly missed out on the Brooklyn Nine-Nine panel, but Chelsea was lucky to attend and live-tweet the entire thing. Somehow over the last year, that show has become one of my absolute favorites. I think that it perfectly balances silly humor with real character moments and integrates real-world issues (racism, active shooter situations, etc.) with ease and balance. It doesn’t oversentimentalize, but it doesn’t trivialize either. Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s cast is filled with delightful, wonderful human beings who were just so happy to attend the convention that they charmed the pants off everyone in the crowd. I had no idea so many other people loved the series!

A few highlights from the panel that Chelsea gathered:

  • You can expect new marital adventures for Jake and Amy in the upcoming season! Their foundation is still their friendship, so it’s bound to be fun.
  • Dan Goor consulted Stephanie Beatriz regarding Rosa’s storyline coming out as bisexual. He wanted a real, bisexual female voice and Stephanie discussed how she was honored to provide that insight.
  • Terry Crews discussed how his character is essentially the mom of the precinct. We can’t argue with that one.
  • A fan teared up (and made Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero cry too) when she discussed how important it was for her to see strong, smart Latina characters on television.
  • Andy Samberg discussed how everyone wants the series to tackle difficult storylines with the respect they deserve so they take their time in developing those.
(Image credit: Entertainment Weekly)


The reason I was late for Brooklyn Nine-Nine and had to miss it was because I was across the street at the convention center attending the final Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Comic-Con panel. Though most of the cast was not present, Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna were there to discuss some of the show’s boldest and bravest moments, as well as what Rachel and Aline have planned from the beginning. And yes, they know how the series will end. I really appreciated hearing from these women for a few reasons.

One, of course, being that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has climbed the ladder in my heart as one of the most inventive and engaging shows on television. And truthfully, I love panels where I get to hear from show creators about decisions they make and how they come up with their stories. Rachel and Aline work seamlessly together and this show is their baby. I’m so grateful that it exists on television — where else can you find mental health and real issues women deal with discussed with such frankness and hilarity? — and am really looking forward to the final season in this series. I can tell that Rachel and Aline, along with their writers, have a clear-cut direction and that always makes for tight stories and character arcs.

A few highlights from the panel:

  • Rachel performed the season four theme song for us, which sounds like it’s going to be absolutely delightful.
  • We got to watch last season’s gag reel proving, once again, just how much fun these people have together.
  • Rachel and Aline talked about the depiction of mental health in the series when an audience member asked whether the series is anti-medication. Aline recognized that the purpose of their series isn’t clinical, but to provide dialogue and note that Rebecca Bunch was misdiagnosed and therefore her medication wasn’t helping her at the beginning of the series. Aline does believe that Rebecca is probably on some low-dose medication now in the show.
  • The writers and actors have such a great rapport with each other that often the writers will learn what skills and talents the actors have and write them into the characters on the show.
  • The final season of the show will focus on Rebecca Bunch’s desire to marry internal changes with her external realities, and that’ll be the challenge.


Next up: I adore The Good Place. Truly, I do. It’s the kind of comedy that consistently reinvents itself without feeling trite or cliche. And watching their Comic-Con panel solidified that for me. I was lucky enough to have center seats to the panel, where we heard all about how Jameela Jamil has only kissed seven people in her whole life, and where the cast apologized to any Floridians for all of the show’s jokes about the state (Don’t worry, guys. I’m from Florida. You’re not inaccurate in the jokes.) We heard the cast members tease one another but also boast about each others’ talents. Kristen Bell and Emmy award nominee Ted Danson (the only thing host of the panel, Marc Evan Jackson would call him) noted that the chance to work with each other was what drew them to the process. And Danson gave all the credit to Mike Schur for the success of the show and success of the cast on it.

And I got to listen to Mike Schur — one of my writing heroes, honestly — discuss the significance of the show, the difficulty in writing a comedy featuring ethical debates and discussions, and why his series can be watched with families. We even got a glimpse into the first two minutes of the third season. If those moments are any indicator, the next season of The Good Place is gonna be great.


DCTV IS STILL ALIVE AND KICKING


I’ve personally stopped watching all DCTV series within the last year, but I attended the panels because I knew our audience loved the series represented and would love scoop. (We didn’t get into Ballroom 20 in time for the Supergirl panel, but alas; that was okay.) Honestly based on the panels alone, I think I’d reinvest quickest in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Their panel not only provided great scoop, but the entire cast was absolutely adorable and fun. It’s clear they love working together and care about their characters.

Dominic Purcell gave insight into Mick, by telling us that: “With any tough guy, there’s always a defense mechanism. Deep down, Mick is very dark. But at the same time, he’s a sweetheart deep, deep, deep down there.” Meanwhile, we also heard that we’d see softer sides of both Sara and Ava’s characters this season.

I will say that the most intrigue I had was attending the Arrow panel. With a new showrunner who’s been with the series since the beginning, I was interested to know whether or not the show would have a shift in creative direction. Beth Schwartz emphasized the fact that she’d be putting her own twist on the Arrow universe (she loves the dark stuff, God bless her) but that the show would still essentially feel the same. Based on the teaser for the upcoming season, I can sense a slight shift in tone; the video felt more in line with a Marvel Netflix series than a show on The CW. I’m intrigued by it all — but was mostly intrigued by the fact that Felicity would seemingly finally get her due and agency. Part of my curiosity was whether or not female characters would have better agency and representation now that Arrow has a female showrunner. I’m hopeful for fans that they will!

Later, I attended The Flash’s panel. I think Grant Gustin and Tom Cavanagh could have their own comedy special with how much they tease and seem to enjoy working with one another. Speaking of female agency: I was thrilled to hear Candice Patton discuss her desires for Iris moving forward — especially in regards to her career as a journalist. She noted how journalists in 2018 are superheroes and feels like Iris needs to shine in that area this year.

But the real MVPs of the DCTV panels were the kids! At Arrow’s panel, Sarah — a little girl from last year who received a necklace from Stephen Amell — returned this year, and Amell gifted her a bow that he stole from the set. At The Flash’s panel, two little girls hilariously asked the question on everyone’s minds: Why is the security at S.T.A.R. Labs so awful? But fun wasn’t just what these kiddos were there for; one child asked a really amazing question about what Grant Gustin thinks Barry learned from both of his fathers and would pass on to Nora as a dad.

Go home, adults. Kids won Comic-Con.


PILOTS HAPPENED


I screened three pilots at Comic-Con this year, since I opted to skip preview night (and while it’s not a pilot, I did actually watch an episode of Steven Universe. I have no idea what the show’s about still, but the cast was delightful and the fans were absolutely adoring in their love for the show): Charmed, Magnum P.I., and Amazon’s Jack Ryan.

Most of those shows aren’t really on brand for me. I watched Jack Ryan simply because it happened to occur during Amazon’s panel, but if it wasn’t for John Krasinski, I would not have been engaged at all. The Amazon panel in and of itself was a little interesting, since we got teasers for the upcoming series (including the only one that piqued my interest — a series from Neil Gaiman, starring David Tennant), and spent a little time on each creator. Nevertheless, I sat through the Jack Ryan pilot because of Krasinski. He doesn’t disappoint (though I still found his performance in A Quiet Place to be more engaging), and the show does weave in some humor and Krasinski’s knack for making the best facial expressions.

Magnum P.I. seemed like the most on-brand CBS procedural. Of course it’s a reboot of the original series, but the voiceover narrative throughout the pilot was a drawback for me. There was too much exposition and it detracted from the overall plot. The show wove in some comedy, mostly in the form of Zachary Knighton’s character. The creator of Magnum P.I. also created the reboots of Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver, so naturally it fits that he’d be at the helm of this CBS reboot as well. While the pilot wasn’t inherently bad (and for the most part was actually pretty decent), there were moments that I can only describe as “quintessentially CBS.”

That brings us to the Charmed reboot (seriously, are there no new ideas anymore, people?!) — the most divisive pilot. I met people throughout the weekend who hated it, and some who loved it. As a disclaimer to my review of it: I never watched the original series. Not in its initial run, not in reruns. So I went in without any real expectations and found myself pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The acting is decent, but expect yourself to find Charmed in 2018 to be a mix of The CW supernatural dramas and Pretty Little Liars. The series is set in a college town and the actresses play young women in college. The new Charmed features women of color in the titular roles, and there’s LGBTQ representation as well. While I know fans of the original series might not enjoy the reinterpretation, I actually found it to have potential as a “new” show for a new audience.

Chelsea mentioned to me that the series would pair well either before or after Riverdale, which I agreed with. It definitely has a new look and feel, and will most likely reach a new audience for 2018.

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT


Cloak & Dagger’s cast was so delightful together on stage, honestly. I was really excited for their panel because I just got into the Freeform series recently and found it to be really compelling and well-produced. The cast was so cute and simply just grateful to be a part of the Marvel universe! Both Aubrey and Olivia mentioned how fortunate they feel to be representing their characters on the small screen. And bonus — during the panel, we learned that the series is renewed for a second season! I love the complex issues that Cloak & Dagger explores; it doesn’t feel like it sensationalizes them. But what I really love is that these characters aren’t archetypes. Tandy and Tyrone make good decisions and bad decisions. Tandy, especially, is an incredibly layered and complex female character who makes bad choices for good reasons. She feels like the world took everything from her and she needs to take it back. Tyrone is the stereotypical “good kid” who has a lot of anger within him — justifiable anger, mind you, but anger no less.

I think Cloak & Dagger is such a compelling series and the cast and crew were passionate and fun in their first ever Comic-Con panel.

(Image credit: TVGuide)

BARROWMAN, AT LAST


Each year, a panel has conflicted with my ability to attend “Anything Goes with John Barrowman,” but FINALLY this year I was able to attend and was not disappointed. Barrowman is such a character, and he has personality enough to fill the entire Hall H if Comic-Con wanted him to. The best thing about the panel was that Barrowman is a fantastic storyteller and spent most of his time talking about his experience with appendicitis last year. Near the end of the panel though, we got a more solemn glimpse into our favorite former Whovian by listening to him perform a few songs on stage.

I absolutely love how wild John Barrowman is, and am glad I got to see him in person this year!

Did you attend Comic-Con? What were some of your favorite moments and/or panels? Did you eat as many Auntie Anne’s soft pretzels at the convention center as I did? Sound off in the comments below!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Will-They-Won't-They No More!: A Chat With the Cast and EPs of Midnight, Texas [Guest Poster: Kay-B]

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After months of will-they-won’t-they, Midnight, Texas finally got renewed for season two and I couldn’t be more thrilled! With new showrunners Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder (RingerSupernatural) on board, season two will be fresh and full of changes.

According to our new showrunning duo, what can we expect from the upcoming season? “In season two, we will dig deeper into character’s backstories; everybody is coupled off this season so they are morphing and growing into couples. We witness firsthand what the growing pains are for that evolution. Season two is sexier. True Blood was the perfect template for what this show should be.”

We also asked star François Arnaud (Manfred Bernardo) what’s ahead for Manfred and he spoiled: “I am nude in the first episode of the season, but it’s less for sexy reasons and more for villainous reasons. The first shot I am in my underwear and cowboy boots and digging a grave in the desert for someone. I can’t tell you who though.” And what arc/character growth and development would he like to see this season?

“When the new writers got on board, I told them what I wanted to see what happened and they dove right in. So right at the top of the season, it is a really intense journey for Manfred. He goes sort of evil. He goes from savior to greatest threat. He can’t control his demonic cancer.”

LOVE IS THE CORE


With the twist that Manfred will be more foe than friend this season, what can we expect from our favorite witch, Fiji? Parisa Fitz-Henley shared:

“This year is really next-level stuff that I haven’t seen anywhere else, where the writers are really allowing themselves to explore what it means to be human and what the power of a soul is. Also, identity. Who is Fiji? Are you who you are born as or are you who you make yourself? That’s a very big part of this season.”

What’s ahead for her and Bobo (Dylan Bruce) specifically? “Midnight’s core is love and this is a thing that’s happening between Bobo and Fiji. These people have been best friends for years and they have such an amazing bond; they just didn’t know that they could be together. It’s this incredible sense of freedom and exploration that they have and it is so, so, sweet. Really, really loving and fun. They both aged regressed 10 years and they are just like teenagers.

It is beautiful but it is Midnight and we know that Fiji has a history of terrible and tragic things happening around relationships. We start to see suspicious things happening this season to Bobo and putting him in harm’s way. Fiji’s understandably terrified. We get to explore the experience of is this the same thing happening again or is it not. The reality is, we are going to find out things about Fiji that Fiji doesn’t even know. Season one Fiji knew who she was but she hid it from herself and others. This year she has no idea what’s happening.”

GRITTER THAN BEFORE


For Olivia (Arielle Kebbel) and Lem (Peter Mensah), Midnight’s newest newlyweds, what has the evolution of their journey been so far and where is it going? According to Arielle, “Season one we were learning about the character. Olivia is a badass but she’s very broken and there’s this tragic past that she is very secretive about. Then there’s Lem and their relationship and marriage. Season two we dive more into married life and they are learning to grow together. They are a couple on a different level and this spills over into family. What does this mean for Olivia’s wounds and her family healing when it comes to her father and her past? It is a much more emotionally-driven season, there’s still a lot of action, but there’s a lot of drama. What’s interesting about it, she has the choice not to go through it alone and go through it with Lem, but will she? That’s a good question.”

How would Jason Lewis (Joe Strong) describe season two in three words? “Sexy, gritty, dirty.” Our favorite fallen angel continues, “This is a much more visceral season than the first season. The story and character development are strong.”

What is his ideal scenario for Joe in season two? “Joe spent a lot of time [in season one] hiding a secret and hiding from the world. Because Bowie (Breeda Wool) is gone, the show can explore much more of Joe. He is now trying to figure out his place in the world. He now has to take an active participation not only in the town but in who he is going to be.”

OUTSIDE THE NORM


It sounds like everyone is excited for season two! Their affection for Midnight, Texas and the incredible supernatural world and foundation that author Charlaine Harris has built hasn’t waned a bit.

“Charlaine has an amazing imagination and she’s introduced some of the most amazing and coolest supernatural ideas ever,” Jason said. “One of the things that I love about Midnight is that it is not a singularity and it invites the idea of individualism, and individualism being awesome. I really love the idea of Midnight, whether it was The Goonies or X-Men, where you can feel like you belong... even if you don’t necessarily fit the norm. I know I look like the guy who always fits the norm, but I never did as a kid. I hid in movie theaters and libraries growing up, so stories were a safe place for me.”

Well said, Jason. Well said. I can’t wait for Midnight, Texas to be back on our screens October 26, only on NBC!

The Future of Riverdale: An 2018 Comic-Con Exclusive [Guest Poster: Kay-B]

Photo Credit: Getty Images | Araya Diaz

Right before I left my 2018 Comic-Con experience, I popped into the Riverdale panel. Because let’s be honest: I am obsessed with this show! Moderated by another super fan, Kelly Ripa, here are some hints of things we have to look forward to:

A TIME JUMP


The show picks up three months after the events of season two, after Archie and the gang have had a restful summer.

FALICE IS RISING


More FP (Skeet Ulrich) and Alice (Mädchen Amick) for the win! We will also get an introduction to Jellybean and Gladys Jones — a.k.a. Mrs. FP and Baby Girl Jones. So how will the return of the other Jones family members shake up the rekindling of FP and Alice? Also, are FP and Gladys still married? What actors do you want to see in these roles?

THE LODGE FAMILY IS AT ODDS, MOSTLY WITH HIRAM


Hiram (Mark Consuelos), is still evil and wants to take over Riverdale. Hermione (Marisol Nichols), who has been played by Hiram long enough, is coming for his neck this season, changing the trajectory of their marriage. Veronica (Camila Mendes) is completely cut off from her father and is now an entrepreneur and high school student. So how will she make money? By waiting tables at Pop’s Diner of course, so she can be close to her new speakeasy endeavor as well. Will there be an all-out Lodge family war this season?

ARCHIE ON TRIAL


When we last saw Archie (KJ Apa), he was getting arrested for a murder he didn’t commit. So will he be rocking an orange jumpsuit when our favorite Riverdale residents return? Of course KJ wouldn’t confirm or deny, but my guess is no. Will there be trouble in paradise for he and Ronnie when they return? KJ and Camila both agreed, yes!

WHAT IN THE CULT IS HAPPENING?


FP isn’t the only thing Alice is joining this season. Last season we saw Polly approach her to go to some mysterious farm for healing. Well as it turns out, this farm is a cult and Alice... you in danger, girl!

WILL DARK BETTY RETURN?


While we don’t know if she will be making an appearance, we do know that Betty (Lili Reinhart) spent all summer drowning herself in Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and her internship to cope with the fact that her father is the Black Hood. I personally am not so sure that he was working alone, but only time will tell. What we do know is that Betty is now Queen of the Serpents, so maybe Dark Betty will come out to play every now and again for them.

JUGHEAD IS SERPENT KING


If Betty is the queen, then Jughead is now King of the Serpents. While Bughead is tighter than ever, Jughead may encounter a lot of roadblocks in the Serpent kingdom — especially with Hiram joining forces with all Serpent enemies to take over Riverdale.

TEAM-UPS ARE IN THE WORKS


This season the dads of Riverdale — Fred (Luke Perry), FP, and Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) — are teaming up for a new project! Not sure what the project will be, but definitely sign me up!

JOSIE AND KEVIN SHARE A BATHROOM


Looks like the relationship between hot Sheriff Keller and Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) — can I still call them this since they both lost their jobs last season? — are more serious than their children thought. We are hearing this season they will take the next step in their relationship. How will Kevin (Casey Cott) and Josie (Ashleigh Murray) take it? According to Ashleigh and Casey, it could be a death match to the bathroom every morning! Could this unique living situation bring them together? I sure hope so!

MORE MUSICALS!


Do I really need to expand? Another musical episode is on its way!


CHERYL WILL CONTINUE TO BLOSSOM


Newly emancipated Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) is finally free of her frigid and insane family! Plus, she’s still captain of the cheerleaders and is finally out and open with her budding relationship with Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan), so life is good. I am sure she will encounter some hiccups in managing this newfound freedom and its responsibility’s though.

SCHOOLWORK WILL HAPPEN


It’s junior year, and since the gang will be thinking about college, schoolwork will finally happen this season! Kelly Ripa asked about this, and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed it.

MURDER AND MAYHEM ARE AT THE CENTER OF THE SHOW


The best and most intriguing thing about this show is the murder and mayhem at its center. Season three will be no different in this department. I am looking forward to whatever mystery it is we have to solve this season.

A FLASHBACK EPISODE IS IN THE WORKS


While no specifics were given, we were promised a flashback episode. It would feature the current Riverdale cast members playing flashback versions of their parents in their former high school glory. I cannot wait to see this!

While you wade through the next few months without this show, you can catch up on the first two seasons of Riverdale which are out on Netflix now. Riverdale returns Wednesday, October 10 only on The CW.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Younger 5x06 Recap: “Sex, Liza and Rock & Roll” (Shelter Island Secrets) [Guest Poster: Kay-B]


“Sex, Liza and Rock & Roll”
Original Airdate: July 17, 2018

Maggie is chosen for the Superbowl of the art world at the Whitney, Diana is bringing her blue-collar fella to a black-tie event supporting Maggie and the rest of the artists chosen, Charles is still cold and this time literally running away from communicating with Liza and anything that requires work, Kelsey feels guilt for dating two men at the same time, Josh is still in love with Liza, and Liza saves the day! So... let’s dive into this week's Younger.

When Maggie is selected as an elite artist showing her work at the Whitney, she finally gets the shine and storyline she deserves. It feels good to see Maggie’s work finally get more screentime; I feel like we have been waiting for this moment. Apparently, Maggie is too because when she tears up talking about it finally being her time, I felt that with every fiber of my being. Her art ends up catching the eyes of art-buying couple Penelope and Luca. Here’s to hoping this new fetish is lucrative!

Diana and her man, Enzo, are getting serious. I really like this guy for Diana — he doesn’t let her control everything or walk all over him. He also allows her to still be herself, but treats her well, introduces her to different things, and brings out her softer side. The best part in this storyline was when she thought he lived alone and had a maid, but it turned out to be his mom! Diana didn’t take it lying down though when mama was degrading her, though; she stood her ground — in Italian, at that! No surprise there that Diana is fluent in Italian and can handle herself. I am however curious to see if she will continue to date Enzo, seeing as he still lives at home.

Jake gets a good cop/bad cop call from Zane and Kelsey asking for more from the first chapter of his book. Jake’s ego is bruised, but Kelsey tries to smooth it over by being direct about exactly what he needs to change. They need humor and scandal — and Jake needs to provide that to his editors if he wants this book to be a success. Zane sees the way Jake looks at Kelsey but ignores it because they are sleeping together and he thinks he knows her type. He should’ve leaned into his first instincts. Kelsey feels bad about double dipping, but Lauren tells her men do this all the time, so she should relax and enjoy the two men until she figures out what she wants. Preach, Lauren, preach! In the midst of this little moment between Kelsey and Lauren, Josh asks where Liza is... and he doesn’t like Kelsey’s reply about her being on Shelter Island with Charles. Josh is still more than head over heels in love with Liza and something tells me the show's original love triangle will be back before too long!

Charles heads to Shelter Island to personally wrangle Chrissie (one of Emperial's authors) into giving them her memoir. Chrissie lures Charles there under the guise that she wants her book to be picked up by the man who signed her. When Charles informs Diana that he has yet to go get the book, she sends Liza to go after him. As soon as Liza arrives, Chrissie is upset because — of course — she asked Charles there so she could seduce him.

Chrissie is a little bit of a wild child (even as an adult) though. After Chrissie passes out from drinking too much, Liza and Charles — too drunk themselves and forced to spend the night in Chrissie's home — have a moment. Liza asks Charles point blank when he will talk to and trust her again. Charles keeps silent and avoids answering her question. He leaves the home before Liza wakes up, which strands her alone with Chrissie. Sadly this is on-brand for angry Charles. Again, he has got to be an adult and grow up soon. Good thing Chrissie really connects with the real Liza and she gets her to release her memoir. Liza boldly drops the draft on Charles’s desk, and when he asks how she got it, she snaps: “I didn’t run away.”

Tell me your thoughts! What did you like about the episode? Are you over Charles and his childish behavior? Can Kelsey keep juggling two men? Will Josh tell Liza that he’s still in love with her? Will Maggie find success now? Until next week!

The Princess Anastasia: Alive or Dead?: A Legend, and Tragedy, Turn 100 [Contributor: Melanie]


The Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova might have slipped into history as a practically unknown dynast of Russia’s ruling family. Instead she remains, to this day, the most famous member of the Romanov family thanks to the ineptitude to the Soviet government and one woman’s commitment to a far-flung tale of escape. It’s fitting that her name means "resurrection" as the world refused to believe she ever truly died. And, 100 years to the day since her death, the world is just as committed to the fairy tale.

On this day, 100 years ago, the last emperor of the Russian Empire — along with his family — was executed in a basement in Siberia in the early hours of the morning. The tragedy captured the hearts of Europe and the United States. In an attempt to put the Romanovs out of history and public memory on the streets of St. Petersburg and Moscow, the Soviet government inadvertently made them infamous. If you’re between the ages of 20 and 35, there’s a good chance you were very familiar with the 20th Century Fox 1997 animated take on the myth of Anastasia.

The movie — which takes several liberties on Russian history — is set in post-WWI Europe where a young Russian worker with no memory and no family is conned into pretending to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia to collect the 10 million rubles (roughly $12,000 USD) her grandmother is offering for information on her safe return. The one problem: The amnesiac peasant pretending to be the daughter of the tsar might just be the real lost princess.

THE RUMOR, THE LEGEND, THE MYSTERY

Fact and fiction have always weaved together a little too perfectly where Anastasia’s story is involved. Back in the summer of 1918, the Romanovs were being held in Ekaterinburg, Siberia, under house arrest. The White Army — the tsar’s loyalists — were advancing far too close to the house for the Ural Soviet’s liking. They debated which members of the family to kill and, ultimately, decided to prevent a rallying point by executing them all even though two of them (Anastasia and Alexei) were only teenagers. They woke the family in the middle of the night, took them down into the house’s basement, and opened fire with very little fanfare.

Within seconds, there were issues. The women had sewn jewelry into their clothing to avoid thieving guards and the layers of diamonds created a bullet proof vest. Despite more gruesome attempts, the girls were reported to still be alive several hours after the initial execution. Coupled with the Soviet’s inability to even confirm amongst themselves, across thousands of miles of wilderness between Siberia and Moscow, the finality of the Romanovs’ end, political tensions with Germany (homeland of the tsar’s wife) made it impossible for Soviet government to officially acknowledge the murders with inciting another war. This left the world to draw their own conclusions.

In 1921, a patient at an asylum at Berlin concluded that her fellow patient, a “Miss Unknown” brought in after attempting suicide, was a dead ringer for the tsar’s second-oldest daughter Tatiana. The woman denied being that grand duchess, and instead claimed to be Anastasia. What resulted was decades of speculation and even court trials involving the woman, who took the name Anna Anderson. The conclusion was that she could not legally prove she was the grand duchess, but nor could her detractors legally prove she was not (1940s court cases were wild). She spent her life never relinquishing her claims but never getting the support she needed from other European royal houses. After her death, DNA evidence confirmed she was Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish factory worker who had been reported missing no long before Anderson was plucked from a Berlin canal. It was Anderson’s fiction, however, that inspired the 1950s film Anastasia and its 1997 animated remake.

During the early 90s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the remains of the Romanovs were finally made public. But excavation revealed two of the bodies were missing: Alexei and Anastasia. It didn’t help the urban legends for many years until, in 2007, their partial remains were located and confirmed with an over 99% assurance to be the tsar’s youngest children.

Anastasia's tale is now a musical on Broadway. So how does this newest addition to the Anastasia canon of visual media deal with the aforementioned development?

IF YOU REALLY ARE ANASTASIA, DO YOU THINK HISTORY WANTS YOU TO HAVE LIVED?


The show — which also portrays Anastasia at the historically correct age of 28 — make it clear it is more concerned with adapting the legend of Anastasia, the thematic battle of old world vs. new, and what the hope of Anastasia represented to a post-WWI Europe, than it is about adding discord to the ongoing speculations. It never explains exactly how she escaped, simply making it clear that she was in the basement in Ekaterinburg, was saved by the layers of diamonds in her clothes, and managed to get away, walking from Siberia to St. Petersburg in an amnesiac haze and severe PTSD. Where Anastasia’s escape was the focal point of her memory in the film, in the musical, her escape methods are not as important as her survival itself.

The musical replaces the villainous Rasputin — a figure often seen as an esoteric sorcerer — with a more realistic and much more dangerous villain: Gleb Vaganov, a Soviet officer and son of one of the Romanov executioners who is tasked with assassinating Anastasia when the government learns she survived. His idealism for communism and weak justification of his father’s murder of children plays against Anya’s loyalty to her family, and what her existence represents. Gleb, in many ways, represents history itself, chasing Anastasia across borders, demanding to know why the world should want her to live, prepared to shoot her point black but ultimately, unable to pull the trigger and unable to make the woman who became the legend disappear forever.


One of the show’s best scenes comes without music. Anya becomes aware of her identity earlier in the musical than the film, before she ever makes an attempt to see her grandmother at the opera, stealing herself with a belting and uplifting “Find a way, Anastasia” before being promptly tossed out by a jaded old woman.

Later, when the Dowager Empress is convinced into meeting with her, they have a tortured conversation where Anya recalls her pained past, submits herself to the skeptical questioning of a angry woman, and ultimately begs her grandmother to either recognize her or leave her be. It’s a scene filled with poignant silences that does beg the question: should we want Anastasia to have survived? The life she lives now as Anya is lonely, painful, full of nightmares, PTSD episodes, and memories of being present for the murder of her family, hunted by Soviet officials and in constant danger.

Is it truly a better life she’s living?

The show never truly answers its own deep philosophical questions about the nature of this history, now 100 years old. With one final wink to the camera: “From this day forward there will be no more talk of the Princess Anastasia... But still...”

YET HERE'S A LITTLE TRAITOR, CLAIMING ROYAL KIN. THE PRINCESS ANASTASIA REFUSES TO GIVE IN...


Even when the partial remains of the grand duchess and tsarevich were unearthed in 2007, the rumors never died. Even to this day — over ten years after DNA testing confirmed Anastasia died that night with her family in Siberia — further testing is still being done at the request of private labs and the Russian Orthodox Church who are not convinced in the validity of the findings.

Whether or not Anastasia died that night, the world, and cultural history, has already made up its mind. What started as a fairytale of a lost princess to quell the despair of war-torn Europe has become one of the greatest urban legends in the world’s history.

And if you’d like to dive deeper into the history, here’s a brief list of some places to start:

  • Nicholas and Alexandra (1971): The Franklin J. Schaffner film about the love affair of the tsar and his wife against the backdrop of revolution.
  • The Romanovs (2016): Simon Sebag Montefiore's epic biographical tome on the 300 year history of the family from Michael I to the hemophiliac prince who would never become tsar. 
  • I Was Anastasia (2018): This novel by Ariel Lawson tells Anna Anderson’s story parallel to Anastasia’s own before ultimately deciding whether or not Anderson believed she was telling the truth.
  • The Romanov Empress (2018): A C.W. Gortner novel told from the point of view of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, the mother of Nicholas II. 
  • Anastasia (1956 and 1997 versions): Both the Anatole Litvak and Don Bluth and Gary Goldman films tell a fictionalized version of Anderson’s story. While the 1956 version only hints that Anna is Anastasia, the 1997 version makes it clear that Anya is the grand duchess. And, obviously, both were the inspiration for the Broadway musical.
  • The Romanov Prophecy (2004): Steve Barry’s espionage novel about the reinstatement of the Russian tsardom and the possibility that Alexei survived and had offspring with a better claim to the throne than the government approved family member.
  • The Tsarina’s Daughter (2008): A historical novel depicting the life of Grand Duchess Tatiana, the tsar’s oldest daughter, claiming she survived the revolution and went on to have descendants.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Bachelorette 14x08 Roundtable: "Hometown Heroes" [Contributors: Alisa, Rebecca, Jen, and Chelsea]


Hometown dates always bring out the the weirdest sides of this franchise with the insane family dynamics, but somehow always manage to make us fall in love with a potential suitors family. This week the gang breaks down who had the best date planned, whose family you would want to marry into, and where we think Becca is headed. Plus, a visit from our favorite lady gang throws a wrench into Becca’s decisions.

This week gave us four very different hometown dates — with Garrett planting tomatoes, Colton visiting sick kids, Blake going back to school, and Jason competing in a chicken wing contest. Who had the best date? Who had the worst? Which contestant, past or present, would you want to partner with in a chicken wing eating contest? 


Alisa: Jason’s date was the only one worth remembering. Not only did he plan a fun day that was just as low-key and genuine as he is, but his family is AMAZING. I don’t see Becca choosing him in the end, which is fine by me because I really, really need him to be the next Bachelor... and his brother and brother-in-law to get their own spin-off show.

Rebecca: Any date with Colton is the worst, let’s just get that out of the way. I appreciate what he’s doing for his charity, but I feel like he’s playing it up for Instagram likes and Twitter followers which is gross. Blake’s date was super emotional and heart-wrenching, and just seemed like a lot to handle right before meeting his entire family too. Jason’s date was super memorable. I loved how it was so low-key and laid back. He would definitely be my chicken wing partner.

Jen K.: Jason comes with chicken wings so Jason wins everything. I enjoyed Garrett’s date as well, but that’s because it reminded me of my parents. My dad took my mom (a city girl) out for a spin on the combine when they were dating. I want to believe Colton loves the children, but it felt like a PR bid to be the next Bachelor.

I agree with Rebecca that Blake’s date was extremely intense and there’s just a lot to unpack there. I don’t think Blake and Becca have the emotional connection to get through all of that. These guys have to be ready to propose in a couple weeks and yeesh, I just feel like Blake needs a hug more than he needs a ring right now.

Chelsea: Jason came for my heart with that chicken wing contest. I would’ve proposed on the spot. I cannot remember the details of Blake or Garrett’s dates, and I feel really weird about Colton peddling children on a reality dating show. I do agree with Jen that Blake needs a hug and maybe some therapy before he’s in a committed relationship.

Obviously Jason would be my chicken wing partner of this bunch but from the whole franchise, maybe Caroline from Arie’s season. She would be a lot of fun.

Each of the families revealed new sides to our men that we hadn’t seen before. How do you feel about each family? Whose family do you want to join? Who gives you the Get Out vibes? 


Alisa: The only family I liked was Jason’s! Blake and his mom share the same intensity level which I just find exhausting, Garrett’s family was super critical and terrifying, and Colton’s just a dud and a liar (umm, seriously what IS all this nonsense about never having brought a girl home before when there is PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE you brought Aly Raisman home for Christmas?!). I’m sure Colton’s family was FINE but I couldn’t see past his smarmy self long enough to distinguish any of the 162 family members he introduced Becca to that evening.

Rebecca: I second everything Alisa said. Garrett’s family was way intimidating, but I get where they’re coming from. They watched their son/brother/etc. bring a girl home, get married to her, and then not have it work out in their end. They’re protective, and that’s understandable. Blake’s family was just way too much, and I couldn’t even focus on Colton’s family. Jason’s family seems awesome, and I would love to hang out with them for a day.

Jen K.: I agree, ladies! Garrett’s family scared the ever living crap out of me and I didn’t have to meet them. I understand the protectiveness but the “no holds barred” thing was a too much of a lack of boundaries for me. I’m a fan of boundaries when it comes to in-laws. Colton and his mother discussing his virginity, and then Becca discussing his virginity with his mother, was another major “no boundaries” moment. No. Just no. Colton is a liar about never bringing a girl home (what is up with this dude?), and the only time I enjoyed his home date was when his father emphatically told Becca not to pick Colton. I wholeheartedly agreed.

Chelsea: Alisa said it best about Colton, and his family reminds me of the Thumb-Thumbs from Spy Kids  horribly boring and caught in lies about his dating life. Blake’s mother was super intense and I’m not surprised with Blake’s emotional intelligence anymore after seeing her. He really just needs to go to family therapy to work out his issues. Jason continues to be the best and has the cutest family alive. I need a spin-off show of his brother and the brother’s husband.

The return of the best lady gang and Tia brought the Colton triangle back to life fast, and I don’t think we were surprised to see him leave. How staged does this drama feel to you, and do you think the producers regret not having Tia as Bachelorette? Are you looking forward to them in Paradise? How wonderful was it seeing Kendall, Bekah, Seinne, and Caroline again? 


Alisa: “The best lady gang and Tia” really sums it up! I loved seeing all of those amazing ladies, sans Tia. I’ve never been her biggest fan and whether the producers are maneuvering her actions or not, she’s still the one going through with her sabotage-y behavior and I am so over it. As someone pointed out on Twitter, she was literally in the room with Lauren when she got the text from Arie saying he was going to break up with Becca so they could be together, and Tia never warned Becca or anything. And then Colton comes on the show and Tia acts like she’s fine with it at first, just to wait until after hometowns to pull this whole “we went on like two dates but I still have feelings for him” nonsense? No. Unacceptable. Becca is 1000% a better Bachelorette than Tia ever could’ve been, and she needs to stop trying to make this show about her. I am not at all excited about her and Colton heading to Paradise. They’re going to be that super obnoxious couple that everyone hates but that sticks it out to the end because they pair up at the very beginning. Hard pass.

Rebecca: I am SO here for the lady gang — minus Tia. Bekah, Seinne, and Kendall are so lovely, and I could watch them all day. Tia, though, has always rubbed me the wrong way, and the trainwreck that is her relationship with Colton has only made me more annoyed by her. The producers way overplayed her friendship with fan-favorite Raven, and now I feel like they feel like they have to be invested in her when no one actually cares. I’m sure she’s a nice enough girl off-camera, but her drama is getting old and I’ve never liked Colton. They’ll have their whirlwind Paradise romance, milk their 15 minutes, and then break up once the camera stop rolling. Next.

Jen K.: I really don’t like Tia and she did nothing in this episode to change my mind. I saw a lot of wonderfully snarky tweets on Twitter about how this isn’t Tia’s season and boy, did Twitter get it right or what? The envy with Tia isn’t over Colton — it’s over Becca being the Bachelorette. Tia is trying desperately to make this all about her. She is just seething listening to Becca talk about her experience. She absolutely could have told Becca about her feelings for Colton when the issue first came up. Now suddenly Tia is sick to her stomach listening to Becca talk about him? Whaaaat? I have difficulty believing Becca and Tia are even friends, so I don’t really see how the girl code applies. However, it’s Colton and if that meant Becca shipped him off sooner rather than later then I’m good. I would have liked to spend time with the other ladies, but the producers made it all about Tia.

Dear producers,

You picked the right Bachelorette. Stop letting The Frenemy pull focus. It’s annoying.

Love, Jen

Chelsea: I think I’m just over the Colton and Tia of it all. Seeing all the other gals, particularly my beloved Kendall, just makes me ready for Paradise.

Looking forward to Fantasy Suites next week, who do you think Becca feels most strongly about? Who do you think places third? Will our next Bachelor be from Becca’s season? 


Alisa: Okay, so Becca has gone on AND ON about how great of a kisser Jason is so obviously there’s some physical chemistry there (and real talent on Jason’s part — good job, man). But Becca seems to have the strongest overall connection with Garrett (ugh). Honestly, I keep forgetting Blake is still here (and WHY even is he?) so I’m guessing he comes in third and we get to see the camera pan out to him alone on an exotic beach in Thailand, looking miserable and unnecessarily intense.

Rebecca: Like Alisa said, Becca has not made it a secret how much she enjoys kissing Jason, so I have a feeling she’s going to want to know how it feels to do more than JUST kiss Jason — and who could blame her? Homeboy definitely looks like he know what he’s doing. It’s clear Garrett is the man she’s the most interested in, so there’s no secret he’ll get down on one knee. I was a huge fan of Blake’s, but this week was a bit off-putting to me. I agree that he’ll slide into third and will duke it out with runner-up Jason for the Bachelor title, although I’m still holding out hope for Wills.

Jen K.: It’s Garrett 100%. She’s over the moon for that guy. I lost count of how many times she’s said he’s just like her dad. Becca seems to have embraced the old saying of “women marry their fathers” because it’s a way for her to feel connected to her father. This is totally understandable, but having things in common with your father doesn’t automatically make a man right for you. I am concerned she’s looking at surface details (like Garrett enjoying fishing and hunting) rather than digging deeper. But what do I know? Maybe they’ll be married for 50 years. I did appreciate confirmation that Jason is the best kisser in the whole world, because lemme tell ya, from my vantage point it certainly looked like that.

Chelsea: Jason is the only good guy left on this show and while Becca should pick him, I think she’s in love with Garrett. I do think Jason has a great chance at being Bachelor and would be very good at it.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Younger 5x05 Recap: “Big Little Liza” (Always Change the Narrative) [Guest Poster: Kay-B]


“Big Little Liza”
Original Airdate: July 10, 2018

Caitlin is breadfacing, Josh needs to decide if NYC is the place for him long-term, Don outs Liza in a huge Vanity Fair article and Kelsey likes her new author client, Jake. Let’s go deeper, shall we?

In the middle of Caitlin doing some weird things to bread for money, Liza goes out with Don on an icy night. While bonding over a story about his child, she slips, falls, and loses both her IDs in the chaos. While she should’ve been treated for a concussion, instead she spends the rest of her evening explaining why she has two IDs and why she’s been lying about her age. Being far too trusting of Don — who has proven to do anything for a story — is Liza’s biggest downfall. Don pretends to understand her reasoning behind lying, so maybe that is why she chooses to confide in him instead of just making up a story about the IDs.

Either way, she tells yet another person her secret, and this cannot last much longer. Elsewhere, Lauren has a big event that is helped put on her by her new and gender-queer assistant, Tam, who basically thinks she’s old. It’s an interesting dynamic seeing Lauren as a boss but also still very much wanting to be accepted by everyone.

Josh calls Liza after telling his landlord he will have a decision about renewing the lease. While a 6-year lease is very aggressive, Josh is in a state of uncertainty. He was going to marry Liza and that ended. He did marry Claire and now that’s over too. Josh feels like he has nothing left, and maybe a fresh start in a new city would be good. I actually would like to see Josh go on a pilgrimage to find himself, away from seeking his identity in the women he dates. Liza, of course, convinces him to stay because the tattoo shop is his life. But seeing other parts of the world and tattooing there isn’t a bad idea either, Liza. Ultimately Josh chooses to stay and you can see a reconciliation of some kind is likely in the future for Josh and Liza.

After Liza gets ghosted by Don, what we know is going to happen, does and Liza is blindsided with a phone call from a fact checker at Vanity Fair, wanting to confirm her age. She asks who the author of this article could be and — unsurprisingly! — it is Don. We all saw that one coming, right? Liza is furious but can’t even manage her anger at the moment since she is late for a meeting with Reese Witherspoon’s team.

Liza fills Kelsey in on what happened, and she is upset that Liza didn’t lie to Don in the first place. When the two women arrive at Reese’s office, they are met with even more opposition. The fact checker has contacted them and Liza comes up with an on-the-fly (and pretty genius) response, claiming she is age-queer and essentially says that age doesn’t matter and no one should be penalized for their success based on age. Kelsey goes along with Liza's story and that makes Vanity Fair call off the fact checker — and the article itself. (Turns out, Liza began a social media craze when she made up some terminology to define herself!) When Liza confronts Don about the whole scenario, she realizes what we have all known this entire time: Don is an jerk, and he can’t find work because of this very reason.

Tell me your thoughts. What did you like about the episode? Liza may be in the clear for this episode, but her world will soon explode and she may need to walk away from her job. Do you think Josh staying is a good idea?  Will Kelsey stop dating co-workers and clients? Where was Charles this entire episode? Guess we will just have to wait and see which of our questions get answered and how the story unfolds, next week on Younger!

The Bachelorette 14x05-14x07 Roundtable: Mid-Season Funk [Contributors: Alisa, Chelsea, Jen, and Rebecca]


The themes of the Vegas, Virginia, and Bahamas dates was all drama, mostly centered around Chris, as we saw many of our petty squabbles depart. Our girls breakdown the last three episodes before we get into hometowns and preview Paradise.

Colton managed to snag the Vegas one-on-one, riding camels down the Virgin River in what might be the most awkward date since Wells and Jojo’s sliding tub tumble. Has Colton redeemed himself from the Tia situation or is Becca only keeping him around because she has the hots for him? How did the show handle the virginity reveal and what do you think Tia’s return means for Becca? 


Alisa: I honestly don’t know why Becca’s still keeping him around. Plenty of people on Twitter think he’s hot and apparently Becca does too, but his face just looks like a big toe to me and he has the personality of dust. I had to strain really hard to even remember they had a one-on-one because it was so epically boring. And who wants to sit in a hot tub in the middle of the desert, especially after just riding on a camel? Hard pass. As for the virginity plotline, I couldn't care less about Colton’s virginity. Society is so weird because people are trashed for having sex and trashed for not having sex, and seriously can we just keep our noses out of other people’s bedrooms? Whether he’s still a virgin or not is of absolutely no interest to me. Let’s move along.

Chelsea: I’m pretty sure Becca is just keeping him around cause he’s kind of cute and because the producers need him for Paradise. I’m convinced he’s only here to further the Tia drama later this summer. I was reading Bachelorette Rachel’s take on the date, and she made a great point about him saying all the right things... but it feels like a script and he has no passion for her. I think Colton has made it this far because he’s hot but I don’t see him staying past hometowns, especially with Tia returning; I think they’re setting him up for a Paradise romance.

Unrelated: I’m so excited to see my beloved Kendall and Bekah return with Tia. They’re possibly my favorite two contestants from this franchise.

Jen: I don’t trust Colton. I agree with everyone that Becca is just keeping him around because he’s hot, but I don’t see a connection with them beyond physical. I completely agree with Alisa on the virginity issue. I am not interested in what Becca does or doesn’t do with these guys in the bedroom. I want to pick out rings and look at dresses. When does that part happen? It’s frustrating to me that Colton being a virgin is somehow shocking or weird — at least that’s the way The Bachelorette producers played it. Honestly, I think people get shamed either way. It’s the never-ending Madonna/whore complex. I’m so tired of it. It’s also not any of our business really. I’d prefer to watch Becca discuss financial planning philosophies with these guys. That sounds interesting at least.

Rebecca: I totally agree with what’s been said. Colton is super boring, definitely not the most attractive guy of the bunch, and is totally milking his virginity for ratings. It’s pretty obvious that he’s only sticking around so people will root for him in Paradise, where I’m sure he and Tia will get back together... and probably get it on.

Our resident serial killer-eyes Chris made his mark when he got cocky during the group date and didn’t try to spend time with Becca, only to turn it around on her during the cocktail party and lose his cool when Wills’ wouldn’t give up his time with her. What do you make of the situation? How iconic was Wills’ during this whole mess? How happy were you to see Becca ditch him in Virginia? 


Alisa: Wills is clearly the hero this show desperately needs but doesn’t remotely deserve. I was so excited to finally see a contestant stand up for themselves and establish some healthy boundaries about the whole “stealing” the bachelor/ette. Wills is now hardcore my favorite for the next Bachelor. He’s kind, funny, polite, stands his ground, and of course is nice to look at. It’s clear he’s not here to play games which is more than I can say for some of these men.

As for Chris, he displayed some serious abusive tendencies in this episode and I am not at all impressed that Becca not only didn’t kick him to the curb IMMEDIATELY but also gave him a rose over our sweet John. I’m glad she finally came to her senses in Virginia and he’s gone now, but it should have happened sooner. If they invite him to Paradise I will quite possibly stab myself in the ear to keep from hearing those terrible song lyrics he keeps composing.

Chelsea: I pegged it on episode one that Chris was going to be a villain because he gave off weird vibes, then threw Chase under the bus. His assertion that Becca owed him 50,000 kisses after he was cocky and wasted his time was an immediate turn-off and I’m almost surprised he wasn’t sent home during the cocktail party, but I knew he wouldn’t make it much longer on the show. Becca looked pained to have to give him a rose and was not having anymore of his drama.

Rebecca: Chris is super cocky, super annoying, super creepy, and I am SO happy she kicked him to the curb. Wills truly is too good for this franchise. He’s so real and genuine, and I would love to see him get his chance to shine as the next Bachelor. I’m glad he will be able to spend some time in Paradise.

Jen: Chris had a pretty deep facade happening and when it all crumbled it was actually frightening to me. That guy has a lot of anger issues. Serial killer feels like a fair assessment. I was floored Becca gave him another chance — the woman is too forgiving — but I was absolutely thrilled when she booted him once and for all. His reaction to his absolutely called for dumping also proved what an egotistical creep he is. Wills was the calm in the middle of the storm. Wills is mature. Wills is wonderful. Wills needs to find love.

Vegas gave us the two-on-one dreams are made of with David the Chicken competing for a rose against Jordan the model. Alisa accurately predicted both of them would go home in our previous roundtable. How did you feel about their confrontation in front of Becca, and whose side were you on? Jordan opening up about his mother probably allowed him to last a few hours longer on the date. Did you think he went home too early? Which of the two was the real villain this season? 


Alisa: They were both villains in my book. Jordan was that manufactured kind of villain like Krystal and Corinne in seasons past, where it’s easy to hate them but you know they’re just playing it up for the cameras at the producers’ request and are probably decent folk somewhere deep down under all the collagen injections. David is one of those slow-burn villains who consider themselves a “nice guy” but are actually so insecure and immature that they sabotage every relationship they’re in. Also, David always seemed way more into Jordan than he was into Becca, so maybe he needs to do some deep thinking about why that is.

Chelsea: Jordan ended up being quite a sweet dummy in the end, and never instigated the drama. His backstory put a lot of his vanity into context I think and I will be happy to see more of him. David had such a great first couple of episodes before he completely lost focus of Becca and zeroed in on Jordan. He was such a jerk throughout the entire process and made up lies. I hope he reassess his priorities for Paradise because we’ve seen him be a cool guy. 

Rebecca: I agree with Chelsea and Alisa — they did both need to go. I have a total soft spot for Jordan. I thought it was hilarious, and the perfect villain because he wasn’t exactly cruel. He was mostly just obnoxious and cocky, but never super mean-spirited or rude. I cannot wait to see him (and his one-liners) thrive in Paradise. David was great at first, and the chicken fiasco was dorky-sweet, but he went downhill really quick. He’s definitely an instigator and one of those people who likes to stir up drama, and I am not a fan of those kinds of people.

Jen: I am in agreement with everyone. Both needed to go. They were more obsessed with each other than with Becca, which was weird. She made the right call. I love that Becca is not tolerating any cattiness or immature drama.

The Bahamas brought a lot of tough choices for Becca before hometowns. Colton, Garrett, and Blake got one-on-ones, while Jason, Wills, and Leo were left on a three-on-one. Of these final six men, who would have made your final four? Who do you want to be the Bachelor? 


Alisa: My final four would have been Jason, Wills, Leo and sweet John, who was gone before his time (or Clay — gone but not forgotten!). I cannot stand Colton or Garrett, and Blake just gives off weird vibes. I really wanted to see Wills as the next Bachelor, but since it’s already been announced he’s headed to Paradise, then my next pick would be Jason who is just adorable and sweet.

Rebecca: MY final four would have been Wills, Leo, Clay, and Blake. I think I’ve said my piece before about what great guys Wills, Leo, and Clay are, and I just think Blake is super cute. I agree that Wills should be the next Bachelor, but I can see Jason grabbing the title as well.

Jen: My final four would have been Clay, Wills, Jason and... can I pick Clay again? Honestly, I really want to love Garrett and if I had not known about the Instagram mess before watching this season I would have. He would’ve been a fave. But I do know so he’s tainted which is sad because from the look of things he’s the front runner. I think Jason, Wills and Clay should like wrestle or something for the title of next Bachelor. In the immortal words of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “There could be oils of some kind.”

Chelsea: Of Becca’s final six guys, my four favorite would be Wills, Jason, Leo, and maybe Wills again? As much as I think Jason is the best guy for Becca, I’m going to be selfish and hope he’s the next Bachelor since it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for Wills. Colton bores me to tears and Blake is way too immature. He looks like he has some pent-up childhood anger about his mother’s affair and has some major insecurities from that and the ex whose texts he read. He looks like he’s going to snap at any moment.

I’m in the same boat as Jen with Garrett. I really liked him until his social media history came to light. On the show, he seems like a cute dummy that is really interested in Becca and not the drama. I think he’s the frontrunner for Becca but I don’t know how long the relationship will last since they have very different political views.

ABC has blessed us in releasing the initial cast of Bachelor in Paradise this year. How do you feel about this bunch? Who else from Becca’s season do you think will join the show? Who from the past do you think is missing? Why do you think Bekah M. didn’t accept her Paradise offer? 


Nick’s season Rachel’s season Canada
Astrid Eric         Kevin
Angela Kenny

Arie’s season Becca’s season Bartenders
Tia Joe         Wells
Bibiana John         Yuki
Kendall Wills
Krystal Jordan
Nysha Connor
Annaliese David
Chelsea Chris R
Nick

Alisa: I am so excited for all the ladies from Arie’s season who are showing up in Paradie. Well, except Tia. I am so over her. But Bibiana and Kendall are great ladies and good tv and they’ll make it a fun time. I just hope Kendall leaves her taxidermied friends at home. Girl, we don’t need any stuffed rodents on the beach. I’m also pretty excited that sweet John and grocer Joe from Becca’s season will finally have their moment to shine. I’m pumped that Wills accepted the invite and hopefully he’ll recover quickly from his heartbreak so he can end up with someone as awesome as he is.

I really hope Leo shows up in Paradise, too. And hopefully Clay will be recovered from his surgery by then so he can get in on the fun. And can we talk about Wells and Yuki as the bartenders?! Adorable. Seems like a pretty solid round-up to me! As much fun as it would be to see Bekah M. in paradise, I’m sure she’s living her best life and off to new adventures. This show never deserved her.

Rebecca: I am SO excited for Paradise. It’s already my favorite show in the franchise, and this is an absolutely killer cast. In particular, I’m so here for Kenny and Eric, Bibi and Kendall, and Wills. I also LOVE that actual angel Yuki will be helping Wells serve drinks. I think Bekah M. turned down the invitation because... she’s smart. Not that anyone who does choose to do Paradise isn’t, but I think she knows none of this is actually real. I think she wants to make something of her life beyond being an Instagram influencer, and I support her — although I selfishly hope she’ll surprise us and show up.

Jen: I have never watched Paradise so I am absolutely clueless about any of this. But my ladies are brilliant so just put me down for cosigned.

Chelsea: I am beyond excited for my favorite contestant Kendall to show up and she can even bring her taxidermy friends. All of Arie and Nick’s girls sans Tia are great picks — even the unhinged Krystal. I cannot wait to see Jordan and all of his one-liners again. We do not deserve this angel. I’m hoping for Caroline from Arie’s season to show up and maybe a few more guys, like Clay. Aside from Wills, Joe, and John, it seems to be pretty light on decent guys. I’m hoping to see some people like Connor open up a bit more and get more screen time. I hate that Chris R. will be there but we get Wells and Yuki bartending, and that is just a gift. Hopefully Chris R. leaves after an episode.

We never deserved Bekah M. or her adorable short hair. She never really fell for the tricks of this franchise and that’s why we loved her. Too good for us.