Television Tuesdays: Broad City

Overview

Broad City is about two 20-something women living in New York City and their ride-or-die friendship. For these two, nothing is normal, everything is absurdist. It’s still recognizable as real life, just a little more – funnier, riskier, rowdier, and probably more intoxicated.

Hey Ladies

Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler are just two best friends trying to have a good time. While amazingly compatible friends, they’re very different people.

Abbi is a little older, a little wiser, and a lot more uptight. Abbi’s her own worst enemy. She’s an aspiring artist whose short-term goal is to be promoted from janitor to trainer at the gym where she works.

Ilana is a little younger, a little wilder, and a lot more crude. The only time she’s going to work is to pick up her paycheck or a convenient place for a mid-day nap.

The best thing about Abbi and Ilana is that they are the most important person in each other’s lives. They will do anything for the other and it’s so rare to see a female friendship as the central thesis of a show that this feels like a blessing. The show not only portrays their friendship, it¬†celebrates it. Sure, they talk about dudes and dicks and relationships, but they always end up together.

Get Some

It’s difficult, at times, to talk about how truly progressive and amazing this show is for women, especially when it comes to sexuality. It’s difficult for a couple reasons, one because my mom reads this blog and there’s still a line of propriety that I’m not sure I’m comfortable crossing in talking about sex on the internet; and two, this show is so prolific, that it’s actually hard to narrow it down. Which, really, is why I love it.

Abbi and Ilana have sex. They have a lot of sex. They have good sex, and bad sex, and weird sex. They hit on guys. They get excited when they’re called “hot”. They call their vaginas “pussies” or any other number of slang words. They have kinks, and they’re not ashamed. They try things. They experiment. They are fluid in their sexuality and it’s not a big deal. They don’t make a point to label themselves or pigeon-hole each other. They date and hook-up, they have one-night stands, and they celebrate being single. They’re just two broads, having a good time living in New York City.

Television Tuesdays: Sense8

Show Overview

I’m not going to lie, Sense8 is batshit crazy. It may not be for everyone, but for some, it’ll be the show they’ve been waiting for. If, like me, your weaknesses include: found families, beautifully built relationships, women who appear weak but can actually Fuck You Up, broken boys, confused girls, and are super into the idea of sharing brain space with strangers, this show is for you!!!

The show follows eight sensates (characters who are connected on a metaphysical level through a super cool mental walkie-talkie. Except instead of speaking telepathically they kind of astral project) as they begin to learn what they are, how/why they’re connected, and as they try to escape being lobotomized by a super scary corporation of Bad Guys.

Admittedly, the sci-fi-ness and in-show mythology can be daunting. The show doesn’t rely heavily on exposition of what is happening, rather it gives the audience time to figure out what is happening in time with the characters. That delay of information, gratification, explanation – whatever you’ll call it – can be off-putting. But the conflict, relationships, and action are all so beautifully crafted and entwined, that you should at least give the show a chance.

Characters

Sun Bak (South Korea): Sun Bak does not have time for your bullshit. Quiet and fierce, Sun can beat the ever-loving shit out of pretty much anyone, and has an amazing dog.

Wolfgang Bogdanow¬†(Germany): ūüėć at Wolfie for daaaaaays. Someone needs to wrap him in a hug and never let go. Wolfgang is a thief that operates so mercilessly at times, you worry he may be a sociopath. A hot, badass sociopath.

Capheus (Kenya):¬†ūüėć at Capheus, too. He has a love for Jean-Claude Van Damme that is more adorable than you could anticipate, going so far as to name his transport van the Van Damn. Bad things keep happening to him, and yet he maintains a wonderful optimism.

Kala Dandekar¬†(India): Kala has a spirit so wonderfully pure, at times you may worry she is naive. Instead, she’s fleshed out into a kind, caring woman with a deep sense of faith and an obligation to do what is¬†right.

Riley¬†Blue¬†(London, via Iceland): Riley is lonely and profoundly¬†sad. She’s a DJ who refuses to go back to Iceland and visit her father, despite that clearly being where she left her heart.

Will Gorski¬†(Chicago): A Chicago cop and all around good guy. He’s brave and sweet, with a heart of gold; basically a puppy dog.

Nomi Marks (San Francisco): A hacker and social justice advocate, Nomi is a trans woman in a beautiful, loving relationship. She’s approximately five seconds from opening up her own hacking/detective agency with her girlfriend, Neets, at any given time.

Lito Rodriguez (Mexico): Drama queen movie star. He’s in a closeted (yet fierce) relationship with his live-in boyfriend before his beard moves in with them. Then there’s even more drama.

Representation

This show actually has it!!! It is racially diverse! It has multiple sexualities being represented! In a positive way! It has a trans female character being played by a trans actress! There are monogamous couples and couples that participate in orgies and oh my word, so much is happening and it’s wonderful.

Canon Relationships

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 8.10.23 PM

When we’re introduced to the Sensates and their world, three of them are already in relationships.¬†The best thing about this show is that all of the relationships (both platonic and romantic) are so dynamic and interesting. Some of the main characters never interact until the finale – believe me when I tell you that the payoff there is beyond great. Some characters only appear to one¬†another in times of great emotional distress, while some sensates fall in love.

I’m not going to lie, I’m almost to the point where I just ship everyone on this show and polyamory. If nothing else, it would probably be easier. (And if you do¬†go this route, well, episode 6 is for you!) There are a lot of couples to keep track of¬†otherwise.

Lito, our Mexican movie star, is in a beautiful (but closeted) relationship with Hernando. Hernando is great and the most attractive and if you disagree you can just leave right now. They’re adorable, but their relationship hits some major turbulence over the course of the season, but it’s all handled intelligently. Also, their kisses are ūüĒ•ūüĒ•ūüĒ•

Nomi, our amazing LGBT blogger/hacker extraordinaire is in a lesbian relationship with Neets. They are completely in sync and so delightfully supportive of one another and so, so in love.

Kala, our Indian pharmaceutical wiz, is engaged to Rajan at the beginning of the series. Despite the fact that it’s a love match, Kala is not so sure Rajan is the dude for her. He’s lovely and charming, but his father owns the pharmaceutical company Kala works for and also wants to tear down the temple at which she prays. But before long she meets Wolfgang, another sensate, and can’s stop looking at him. (Bless episode 5. Bless.) I honestly can’t blame her.¬†That’s not even hitting the tip of the iceberg as to how perfect Kala and Wolfgang are for one another, so let’s have some evidence:

The other ship that’s out of the world between Sensates is the developing relationship between Riley and Will. Riley is the character that you will end the season yelling “someone HOLD HER” and Will is just the cutest little puppy dog that you just want to be happy. They’re stupidly cute together. Where Kala and Wolfgang had me yelling MAKE OUT at the screen, Will and Riley actually had me yelling “HOLD HANDS”.

So, it’s not just the bountiful shipping opportunities. It’s that your ships WILL ACTUALLY SAIL.

Batshit Craziness

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 2.34.59 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 2.39.12 PM

It’s hard to quantify something that’s insane or action-packed without simply reverting to a refrain of, “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god” or simply yelling, “It’s so good????”. One of the things I found compelling about the show is that it’s¬†actually really heartwarming and affirming.

Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of intrigue, drama, and consistent doses of “what the hell did I just watch?”. It¬†is made by the Wachowski siblings, after all.

Last but not least: the cool fight sequences. Cool fight sequences that often rely on the sensates astral projecting (or whatever you want to call it) into each others’ lives and realities so that they can take part in the action.

Livin’ That PńÖczki Life

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 11.31.05 AM

I’m Polish. Well, I’m a plurality Polish. Somewhere, saved in the notes app¬†on my phone, is a detailed breakdown of my specific European heritage. My cousin, a hobbyist genealogist, did the breakdown for me at the same Polish festival pictured above.

Most of the time, I don’t think about my Polish heritage. It’s only when I hear a particularly good joke about the Old Polish Navy, or when the sun’s reflection is blindingly white against my pasty, pasty skin. I think about it when I pound Bud Lights at the Family Reunion (hosted, of course, at a Polish festival), and when my family makes goŇāńÖbki every Christmas. I always felt distanced from my heritage, though; Polish was never a language I heard spoken.

For someone who was raised Catholic in the South, I don’t think about religion too much, either. When my family moved to Ohio (closer to both of my parents’ families in Michigan and New York), we also moved away from religion. My brother and I stopped attending Sunday School, we didn’t quite fit at our new church, and I never went to PSR on Monday afternoons. (My dad asked, once, if I wanted to go to PSR. I said yes, because that’s what all¬†the cool kids from my middle school did on Monday afternoons. Then he explained that they were all learning more about Catholicism so that they could be confirmed. I think my response was somewhere along the lines of, “Never mind, hard pass.”)

One of the things that baffled me about the new church we would be attending was how casual it was. In Alabama, you dressed up for mass. Dresses for girls and women, slacks and button-downs for men. The first Sunday morning that my dad and I entered the church in Ohio, I was surprised to see jeans and pullovers. It felt too casual to be Catholic. I can also admit I was majorly peeved to find that you could dress so comfortably to hang out with God. Had I known this sooner, I sure wouldn’t have worn so many dresses in my youth. It’s been 15 years and I’m still bitter about the lime green dress with royal blue and purple beaded flowers I wore to Easter Mass circa 2001.

A few times in my youth my Catholicism and Polish heritage intersected. Most notably when my grandfather would tell me about the church he attended in Western New York. He was from a small town, small enough that late into his life the Polish and Irish churches in town didn’t have enough parishioners to justify having two Catholic churches. They ended up merging, and I accompanied my father and grandfather (despite a litany of protests) to the last Catholic service of my life save for funerals. It was a Christmas Eve mass¬†and I remember being a little disappointed that the service wasn’t delivered in a foreign language, like some of the services I knew my grandfather had attended in the past. I also remember hearing an amateur guitar player in the balcony, a noticeable difference from the organ music of my youth. I looked up and thought, “Dave Rygalski, is that you?”

Both facets of my heritage intersect in February, with Fat Tuesday, when Lent and Easter are right around the corner. Growing up Lent meant giving up something I liked (usually something specific so that I knew I would be able to manage) and no meat on Fridays. There was no Catholic guilt in my young life like the guilt of accidentally eating a bologna sandwich on a Friday during Lent. Fridays were for PB&Js and fried fish. And then one year I found out about paczki.

IMG_3833

Could I necessarily explain why I am so in love with pńÖczki? No, probably not. Can I enumerate what, exactly, differentiates a pńÖczki from a donut? Not really! But it’s a part of my culture I can understand. PńÖczki are made¬†in Polish households before Lent, to use up all the lard, sugar, and eggs in the house before Lent began and those foods were forbidden. So Fat Tuesday is married to¬†PńÖczki Day, and it’s mainly celebrated in the Great Lakes region. Which explains why I didn’t know about it until¬†I was older, living in Cleveland, and visiting family in Michigan.¬†

Living in Washington, DC was a wonderful cultural experience, but it sucked around Fat Tuesday because there were no pńÖczki available. At least no that I could find. And believe me, I looked. DC is not a city with a lot of bakeries or Eastern European culture. Or, if it is, I didn’t know where to find it when I was living there. But now I’m spending Fat Tuesday in Syracuse, New York and when I found a box of pńÖczki at the grocery store on Saturday, I did a little dance. I shouted with joy. I dug through the selection until I found a flavor I wanted (I went with the raspberry filled with a white icing). And then I went back today, actual Fat Tuesday, only to find they were sold out. I guess I shouldn’t have told so many of my friends about the awesome pńÖczki opportunity.

Who knows if I’ll find myself eating pńÖczki this time next year? I’m just grateful that this year I did, and that it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my heritage.

Television Tuesdays: iZombie

Up front, iZombie has a lot going on. It’s a procedural, but it’s a zombie show, but it’s a fake-psychic show, but, but but.

But it’s delightful.

Overview

The show follows Liv Moore (I know), who in the first five minutes of the pilot transforms from a promising young med student to reluctant zombie after a boat party goes awry. In order to sate her newfound need for brains, Liv abandons her surgical residency to work as a medical examiner in the morgue (alongside the beautiful, charming, hilarious Ravi).

Brains aren’t the only big change in her life. She’s now preternaturally pale and depressed as hell. In order to avoid infecting her perfect fianc√©¬†(Major Lilywhite), Liv dumps him. Once you’ve seen his face, you’ll understand what a travesty this truly is. Her family is under the impression she is simply suffering some mild PTSD after witnessing the veritable massacre that was the boat party, but Liv is struggling a lot more than that.

Thankfully, Liv is given some purpose again with the realization that the brains she consumes give her flashes of the deceased’s life and their graphic deaths. Using this new information, Liv joins forces with the local police department, partnering with skeptical Detective Babineaux to solve the murders.

Perfect for…

  • Veronica Mars lovers. It’s got the same procedural roots, witty characters, and snappy writing that viewers have come to expect from Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright. It’s current and polished and refreshingly diverse. And great news Veronica Mars-lovers: Major is not just another Duncan Kane! He is so, so much more.
  • Fake-Psychic show obsessives. It’s hard to believe there’s still a market for this very niche genre, but iZombie fills the Psych-shaped hole in my heart.
  • Those who’ve missed seeing Sark / David Anders on their screens. (I’ve just started watching Alias, so his presence is especially delightful.)
  • Fans of Merlin – Bradley James (Arthur) makes some recurring appearances as rock star/Liv’s hot British boyfriend.
  • Science! – Ravi tries to reverse engineer the zombie virus as well as attempting to create a potential cure.

What Else I Love

It’s not just¬†a fake-psychic show. Or a zombie show. iZombie¬†has the added bonus of a deftly implementing a twist in which perimortem flashbacks aren’t the only side-effect of Liv’s condition: she also temporarily exhibits some of the victim’s personality traits, from kleptomania to a peppy cheerleader persona. What could be an annoying trope has been cleverly used as a nice comedic tool.

Season 2 premieres October 6th on The CW.

Television Tuesdays: You’re the Worst


The thing about this show is that it’s all in the title, You’re the Worst. Both of the main characters are the actual worst. They would be nightmarish in a relationship – emotionally distant, slovenly, filled with intimacy issues, and then some. And yet… there’s something relatable about them.

Yes, they’re both the worst, and no, being together doesn’t mitigate their awfulness. But there’s something almost endearing about watching these two hot messes stumble through the awkward stages of navigating turning a one-night-stand into an actual relationship. The fact that the show is¬†hilarious and charming helps.

You should catch up on Season 1 now, because Season 2 premieres on FXX Wednesday, September 9th.

Overview

The show revolves around Jimmy, a struggling English novelist, and Gretchen, a publicist. They meet in the pilot at a wedding, that of Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend/Gretchen’s best friend’s sister. Instead of celebrating the happy couple, Jimmy insults the bride and gets kicked out of the reception, where he runs into Gretchen, who is charmingly stealing a wedding gift.

From the very first moment, Gretchen and Jimmy have chemistry. They’re two awful people drawn to each other’s awfulness. At the end of their wild night, Jimmy settles down for bed, expecting Gretchen to go home. Instead, she turns over and promises to be out by the morning. There’s a blatant disregard for each other’s feelings, but it works because they’re not malicious. It’s a fine line to walk, making the characters relatable and likable while still exhibiting the worst parts of ourselves. It’s the least romantic rom-com I’ve ever seen and yet it’s also one of the most¬†accessible relationships¬†I’ve seen depicted.

Gretchen is a slob with a truly disgusting apartment, a revoked driver’s license, and an inability to please her parents. Jimmy is narcissistic, lacks empathy, and has a boatload of daddy issues.

Each of them has a sidekick, as well. For Jimmy it’s Edgar Quintero, an army veteran who struggles with PTSD and lives in Jimmy’s spare room. Gretchen’s is her best friend Lindsay who suffers a boring husband and monotonous life.¬†Both of them are fully realized characters, but nothing makes you sympathize with them more than the moment they realize that they are the sidekicks in Jimmy and Gretchen’s lives. Even so, acting sometimes as foils of their friends, they have their own flaws and dickish behavior that makes you understand why they don’t abandon¬†Jimmy and Gretchen once and for all.

We also have occassion to see one of Gretchen’s clients, a rapper named Sam Dresden¬†who is DELIGHTFUL. He is crude, full of himself, and truly hilarious. He also has a keen eye for interior design.¬†His¬†entourage all have dumb names like Shitstain (he takes good instagram pics #nofilter)¬†and Honey Nutz. When he realizes that Jimmy is dating Gretchen, he gives the other man a shovel talk.

What I’m saying is, this is a good show. It’s a funny show. It’s mean, but in a way that you absolutely can be when you’re with your friends. Basically,¬†it¬†shows the worst side of people whom you like despite their flaws. And it manages to do it in an amazingly funny way.

Highlight Reel of Awfulness

  • They steal a cat from a bookstore
  • Gretchen burns her apartment down because of a faulty “back massager”
  • Gretchen sleeps with an old flame just to steal his cocaine stash for her client
  • Jimmy only befriends his neighbor, a 9 year old boy, because he gets advanced copies of video games. Jimmy never remembers Killian’s name.
  • Jimmy and Gretchen believe that Cameron is the villain of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

WRITE Wednesday

WRITE Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by my dear friend Poppy Simeri and Vera James every Wednesday. As What’s Up, Wednesday has wrapped up, I’m excited to jump into this new feature! It will focus on writing & reading, regular blogging, and blog friendships.

W: Writing

I’m wrapping up the first round of edits on Delia this week so I can send them to some friends for initial critiques. I can’t believe I’ve managed to cut over 30,000 words already. (It was depressingly necessary.) But I’m more excited about the story than ever since it finally has some coherency. And just yesterday Poppy herself texted me about an exciting new writing project for us to work on together. It’s going to be fun and challenging and I’m already frantically brainstorming fun things to put into it.

R: Reading

I still haven’t finished my Great Harry Potter Re-read, but I have made it to the 7th book so. It’s on the horizon. I’m hoping to be done by September 1st so that I can have read them in one year.

I also just picked up City of Bones by Cassandra Clare on a couple of friends’ recommendation. I’m about five chapters in, and I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m not 100% sold, but it’s something I can read pretty quickly, so I’ll stick with it.

I: Inspiration

I’m inspired by good writing. Books that are so good I have to set them aside to write something of my own. Books that are so beautifully written I want to do yet another round of edits to make my writing stronger. Having author-crushes makes something warm bloom in my chest that pushes me to be better, better, better.

T: Thinking Ahead

Having these Delia edits done! Seeing what wonderful and terrifying and insightful notes my friends will have for me and how I’ll possibly manage to do them while balancing grad school.

E: Encouragement

Writing friendships and crit partners! Knowing there are people cheering for me that are excited about what I’m doing is the best inspiration to keep me writing. They especially help push me toward the finish line and make the best version of the book possible. I try my best to be my writer friends’ cheerleader as well, because they’re all so amazing and I am so amazed by how talented they are.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

IMG_3538

Cripes, I’ve been busy. Since the last time I’ve posted I feel like my life has gone from boring to stand-still to FULL THROTTLE. I can’t stop effusing about how happy I am and it’s such a great change, it feels so wonderful, that y’all are just going to have to deal with good-mood Molly.

Let’s see. I guess the last thing I mentioned about life changes was that I’d heard back from grad schools. I was fortunate to get in to every school that I applied to (all three of them), and I settled on Syracuse University where I am happily, besottedly studying Television, Radio, and Film. I’m half-way through the summer semester and head over heels in love with it.

Which means that since my lease in DC ended in May, I have moved twice. First was a short stint at my parents’ house back in Cleveland. It was nice to be home. I think being able to spend some quality time with my family and have some semblance of a summer vacation was the best thing I could have done for my mental health. Then, on the first of July, my Dad and I each packed up a car and I moved to Syracuse, the place that I’ll call home for the next year. My house is super cute, and I’m more than a little in love with the front porch. (I will admit to desperately missing air conditioning.)

Clocking in at eleven months, 160 pages, and 67,000 words, I finished the first draft of That Golf Story. Kate and Bailey kept convincing me to add more make-out scenes, but I am done! It feels great to have another manuscript under my belt and it’s given me a chance to really sit down and focus on editing Delia. I managed to shred the first half and really rebuild it. With 50 pages left to edit, I’ve already cut out 30,000 words. I’m hoping to get the rest done in time to send it to K & B by the end of the month for preliminary feedback.

Life is almost moving too quickly, but I’m loving every second of it. I’d managed to forget that productivity breeds productivity, so after having a quiet six weeks at my parents’ house, I’m getting an absurd amount of work done. Aside from my personal writing projects, I just revised a script that my production class and I will be turning into a short film over the next three weeks. I’ll also be starring in it!

I’ve never felt a closer kinship with my heroine Hermione Granger in my entire life. We’ve been sorted (into production teams), the class selection is so overwhelming I feel like I need a time-turner, my hand snaps into the air at every opportunity, and there’s even a castle-like building on (the surprisingly gorgeous) campus!

Also, I keep forgetting and then remembering that Aaron Sorkin went to school here, and I keep dying little happy deaths. I hope you, too, are having the best July of all time.