Thursday, March 17, 2016

Series: #TBT - Week 9 Spotlight: Jen W. [Contributor: Maddie]

Maddie approached me about doing a Throwback Thursday (#tbt, for all you Internet-savvy folks) piece where each we highlight our writers. She noted that what makes our site unique and separates it from all of the other entertainment sites out there is the personal touch each of the writers put on their reviews. Throughout this #tbt series, you'll get the chance to know each of us as individual writers a little bit more and hopefully relate to us a little bit more as well. Thanks, Maddie, for such a great idea!
Jen W. is literally one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I mean, not in person yet but y’all get the picture. That’s why it was so much fun getting to hear all about the media and nostalgic favorites that shaped this talented, witty, fearless woman. Enjoy!

(31 years old)

Q: What was your first major TV obsession and how did it impact you and your taste in television?

A: My first major TV obsession was probably The Cosby Show. We watched it as a family, and I connected with the characters so much. I’m close in age to Keisha Knight (Rudy) and I always felt so connected to Rudy and that story. I loved watching that family, their dynamic, how they related to one another. The fact that they were just telling stories about a family, and it could’ve been anyone’s family was really special. It remains one of my favorite shows of ever because it really shows how good storytelling can come from anywhere.

Q: What Disney movie do you still love to watch and sing the songs to?

A:  Beauty and the Beast.

Q: What show/movie/musical growing up made you want to act and write?

A: The first musical I ever saw on Broadway was Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. It was a tap dance musical revue telling the story of black history from slavery to the present (the present being 1996.) It was enthralling. I’d never seen people move like that before, I didn’t know it was possible. That’s when I fell in love with musical theatre. What made me want to write was when I first saw Audra McDonald (SIX-TIME TONY AWARD WINNER) in Ragtime. I’ve never been more moved than I was in 1997 at the age of twelve watching this extraordinary woman break my heart through song.

Q: Do you feel the landscape of television has actually improved in representation and variety of storytelling since you were younger?

A: Yes and no. Shows like A Different World, Living Single, Martin, and Family Matters were sort of standard sitcoms. They didn’t get their own “special category” like black-ish and Fresh Off The Boat do. At least I don’t remember thinking of it that way. They were just shows I enjoyed, centered on a black narrative with characters that were different. They were people and not stereotypes.

Somewhere in the late 90s and early 2000s, that changed and representation on TV took a steep decline. I don’t know why — people of color didn’t stop existing, after all — but I guess that stopped being profitable. Luckily, the Internet, for all of its terrors, has been really excellent about giving a voice to the matters of representation. It’s really made a significant impact.

Q: What brought you into the nerdier side of pop culture?

A: Uh... I’ve loved musical theatre for as long as I can remember. If that doesn’t give me nerd membership, than I just don’t know what does.

Q: First TV boyfriend?

A:  Dwayne Wayne. :)

Q: What shaped your sense of humor most growing up?

A:  Probably getting made fun of a lot as kid. It made me tougher, sharper, and more prone to jump first than to get left behind.

Q: Who was your television OTP before you even knew the term existed?

A; Uh, I think it was Dwayne/Whitley. They were the first couple I remember really rooting for.

Q: Who was your fictional style icon growing up?

A: Lisa Turtle. Hands down. I just thought she was so cool. And the hats! I had so many feelings about not being able to rock all her looks in high school.

Q: What was your first Internet fandom and what brought you to it?

A: Harry Potter, maybe? I feel like it was something before that, but, I’m not sure. It might have actually been *NSYNC actually. Don’t judge me. The Internet pre-Google was a dark place, friends.

Q: If they did a reboot of any of the television shows you loved growing up, which show would you want to write for and/or which role would you want to have?

A:  Living Single. OMG, I LOVED this show more than air. I would want to write a modern version of it. It was really progressive when you think about it, and it pre-dates Friends. It was my go-to show. Netflix, fix this! Put all the seasons up, please.

Q: What is your nostalgic pop culture guilty pleasure?

A: Like, I don’t still do it — because it’s creepy now that I think of it — but I used to love RPF of *NSYNC. I know...

Q: What has been your favorite thing about being involved in fandoms?

A: The people. I’ve met some of the best, kindest, smartest, endearing people to date in fandoms. I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

Q: What TV friendship did you aspire to have growing up?

A: Clarissa and Sam from Clarissa Explains It All. Because it cracked me up that a boy always climbed in her window, and I really loved their dynamic.

Q: Finally, what female fictional character from television past was the most influential on you? Why?

A:.Claire Huxtable. She was inimitable. Smart, funny, a mother of five, an attorney, and never did she put up with crap. She was iconic. Truly groundbreaking in portrayal. I’ll never forget that scene where she reads Elvin (Sandra’s boyfriend, then husband) the riot act when Claire offers to get him and Dr. Huxtable a cup of coffee. That remains probably one of the greatest feminist moments I can possibly remember even before I knew what feminism was. You should watch it.

Bonus pic of Jen as one of the cutest kids of all of the 80s


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