Ch-ch-ch-changes

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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.

Relationship Theory

Every time I search the “relationship theory” tag on this blog I’m surprised I haven’t published this yet. It’s literally been years since I first wrote most of this. So, finally, as Amanda and I sit around watching Studio 60 again for the [embarrassingly high number] time and mostly written three-ish years ago, is my Relationship Theory. Get ready for a lot of convoluted Taylor Swift and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip references:

I love about pop culture –  watching tv, picking apart plots and dialogue and finding out that some actors are just as hilarious (if not more so) off screen than on. But every once in a while, I realize that pop culture is slowly killing me. Somehow, this vicious media frenzy is making me too idealistic.

I’m rarely idealistic. I’m more the pragmatic sort who wishes she had more of a devil-may-care snark-tastic attitude. Anyway, I tend to be a realist, if not an outright pessimist. Which is why becoming fixated on heart-wrenching moments during scripted television shows kind of kills me. But, at the exact same time, it gives me hope than I can write great stories, great plots that can make other people hopeful, too. I don’t want to be all doom and gloom. I’ll never be bright and shiny, but I’m not dark and twisty, either.

The one line that get’s me – every goddamn time – is courtesy of Logan Echolls towards the second season finale of the unjustifiably short-lived Veronica Mars. Logan, a little tipsy and a lot heartbroken, pours his soul out to his ex, Veronica. He tells her, “I thought our story was epic, you know? Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined, bloodshed. Epic.”

Be still, my heart. I wish that I could put him on my Amazon wish list. I just… I want epic. I don’t need romance, I don’t even want it. All I ask for is something pure, real, scary, and bigger than myself. Well, okay, maybe that’s a pretty big wish, but a girl’s gotta dream.

It all goes back to the Relationship Theory, based off of Taylor Swift (stay with me). My friends and I usually apply it to Studio 60, though it works for many other fictional stories.

My freshman year of college, Taylor Swift was kind of a big deal. [Hahaha, she’s only gotten so much more popular. This is weird. Then again, that was 2009.] Her music, though juvenile, was catchy, poppy, and fun to sing along to. Anyway, one of the bigger hits at the time was “The Way I Loved You.” It’s a fairly simple song, but it ignited a major schism to form between my roommates and myself: which boy each of us would prefer?

I thought it was obvious – you choose the ex-boyfriend. You know that you’ll (probably) get hurt, and it won’t be easy, but you’ll be consumed by passion, completely in love. Love wouldn’t be very spectacular, let alone epic, if you didn’t have to fight for it.

Amanda, however, reasoned that she wanted the current boyfriend for exactly those reasons. She wanted to be sure of her relationship and be comforted by the warm feeling it instills in you. She wanted something she could trust.

But, for those unfamiliar with the song, let me give you examples of the two different options.

Ex-boyfriend: [Taylor was constantly] screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain, it would be 2am and she’d be cursing his name, so in love that she acted insane… Breaking down and coming undone it was a roller coaster kind of rush and she never knew she could feel that much, but that’s the way she loved him. He was wild and crazy, just so frustrating, intoxicating, complicated, and got away by some mistake.

Current boyfriend: Is sensible and so incredible and makes all of T-Swift’s single friends jealous. He says everything that she need to hear and it’s like she couldn’t ask for anything better.  He opens up her door and she get into his car and he says, “you look beautiful tonight,” and she feels perfectly fine. He can’t see the smile she’s faking and her heart’s not breaking ‘cause she’s not feeling anything at all.  He respects her space and never makes her wait and he calls exactly when he says he will. He’s close to her mother, talks business with her father, he’s charming and endearing and she’s comfortable.

So there you have it. Two boys, exactly the opposite of one another. Amanda championed the line where the new bf, “talks business with my father.” She thought that was, quite possibly, the most endearing thing a guy could do. She wants someone who will call when he says, pick her up, make every other girl wonder how you got so lucky.

Okay, so I understand where that is the ideal, you know? Practical and dependable. I get it. But come on. Wouldn’t you prefer wild and crazy, frustrating, intoxicating, and, most importantly, kissing in the rain? Listen, I relish in a good fight. I like being challenged. It’s fun for me. (To a point, obviously. I can handle yelling, I can be wrong, but there’s obviously that line in fighting where emotional well-being comes into question and then you have to take a step back. So, healthy fighting, I guess.)

To me, being challenged is a necessary part of a relationship; I don’t want to sit stagnant, I’d be bored out of my skull. I don’t understand how anyone could be happy with someone who always respects your space; the biggest thrills occur when someone invades your personal space and drags you out of your doldrums, kicking and screaming. (Not all the time. Obviously. Sometimes I just want to sit around in my jammies and watch Netflix and have you just accept it.)

Back to TSwift: the thing that kills me, every time, is that her ex got away by some mistake. And, even worse, her new boyfriend clearly doesn’t know her very well at all. Even if you disregard the fact that the replacement can’t tell when she plasters on a fake smile, he fails to make her feel. When she’s with him, she never get’s past “fine” and “comfortable”. He’s reliable. And yet, he doesn’t make her feel “anything at all.”

All of my favorite (fictional) relationships rest on this theory. That the guy you should be with, 9 times out of 10, is the one who makes you come alive, even if that means you want to crawl out of your skin because you’re so angry you can’t see straight. Which is where the whole Matt / Harriet thing comes into play.

If  you’ve ever sen Studio 60, you will know that there are two primary relationships. The on-again off-again Matt & Harriet and the “slow” burn Danny & Jordan. While Danny and Jordan have a turbulent love story of their own, I will always strive for the Matt/Harriet relationship. They, like literary idols Elizabeth and Darcy, are epic. Their relationship spanned millennia (technically)! I guess this will require a little bit of an explanation.

Studio 60 is one of my favorite shows of all time (haters to the left). It was one of those things that really brought Amanda and I together as friends, but once again we found ourselves divided when it came down to the relationships. There are two couples to follow throughout the course of the one-season series. On the one hand, you have Danny and Jordan who perfectly exemplify the relationship of Taylor Swift and the new boyfriend. Comfortable, reliable, endearingly sweet. And then there are Matt and Harriet who can’t get over each other. They’ve gotten together and broken up more than any of the other characters can count. They’re constantly fighting, but they also have unwavering support in the other. That is what I find enviable; they never lose faith in each other.

I’m fairly certain that Jane Austen would have known exactly what I’m talking about. She, too, understood that the best relationships are not the simple ones, but the ones filled with conflict, strife, and challenges. Deeply passionate love makes you examine every fiber of your being. There’s a reason that Elizabeth and Darcy are the heroes of Pride and Prejudice and not Jane and Bingley. It’s the same reason that Emma and Mr. Knightley are the couple of interest and not Harriet Smith and that poor farm boy. (Consequently, it’s why Sense and Sensibility is my least favorite Austen book, though I know it cover to cover.)

I constantly struggle with this little theory of mine. Because, although my heart wants epic, my mind tells me I want comfortable – that I will eventually just settle down with a best-friend type.

Now obviously the relationships we choose to idealize and covet in fiction are not always well-suited for reality. How many of the epic bonds and love stories from the page and screen are contingent on war or crazy murderers or whatever? In reality, Logan Echolls would probably not make a great boyfriend. Very few of my fictional boyfriends would probably make good real world boyfriends (here’s to you, Seth Cohen and Stiles Stilinski!). But these ‘bad boy’ characters, I like them (and the shows, to an extent) because they are escapist, they let me live vicariously through the characters.

I think it’s important to realize that there is some overlap. I’m interested in the fictional relationships that I am because I find at least some part of them interesting and appealing. The heroes, protagonists, and antagonists that I fall for, again and again, might not be great people. But they’re great characters. And I guess, as long as you or I understand the distinction, everything is copacetic. This Relationship Theory is obviously an extreme reaction to tropes and archetypes perpetuated by fiction, but there’s some truth to it. Rory chose Jess over Dean, she chose Logan over Marty, she chose action and adventure and passion over comfort and familiarity and movie nights with Lorelai. She used those relationships to help her figure out who she was and what she wanted out of life. And maybe that’s their most important function, after all.

Pretty Perfect Weekend

If you know anything about me, you will recognize that this weekend was maybe the most quintessential Molly weekend I could have had. Despite my plans for a Harry Potter movie marathon in a blanket fort with pizza aplenty falling through, I still had a pretty excellent weekend. Here’s what went down:

Friday: Y’all know my feelings about my job, so I was pretty excited to get home on Friday and just veg, especially after the mini freak-out on the Metro platform about leaving my Kindle at the office. So when I got home Amanda and I caught up on The Mindy Project before Megan came over and we watched Perks of Being a Wallflower. Full disclosure – I never finished the book. I had been reading it over a break from school, but I had to go back and the library loan was up, and I just never got around to finishing. And you know what? I’m not that broken-hearted over it because while I found the main character in the book to be almost unbearably naive, I thought the movie was really well done. The acting was fantastic, especially Ezra Miller, but Logan Lerman, as well. Not finishing the book meant that I was genuinely surprised about the plot-twist and ending of the movie, which I hadn’t predicted at all. I enjoyed it. After the movie I retreated to my room and hammered out a few more pages on my most recent WIP. Oh, and of note I recently passed the 50,000 word mark for the first time in any WIP. I’m pretty excited about it.

Saturday: I’ve lived in my new place for four months, so I figured it was about time to visit the library. It’s only a ten minute walk, door to door! The path includes cutting through a park! It was all very exciting. The local branch of the library looks kind of sad, both inside and out. Just, severely outdated, a weird floorplan, and a lot of different shades of beige. I did really enjoy the Nerdfighter poster in the YA section (but not so much the admin sign that read “this area is reserved for teens (and their guardians)”. Were they trying to intimate that I’m too old to be reading YA? Because you’re never too old to be reading YA). I ended up getting a lot of titles I hadn’t been able to download from the library’s e-catalog for my Kindle. I ended up walking home with 5 books (4 YA and one adult, just in case the circulation assistant made a fuss). When I got back to the apartment Amanda and Megan had already started the re-re-re-watch of Star Trek: Into Darkness. When that ended, I made a batch of cookies and settled in to watch the Bama / Texas A&M game (Roll Tide!). After that I ended up going on an impromptu, and pretty short, midnight monument tour. By pretty short I mean we basically went to the Lincoln and lounged in the back, where we spent an hour laying down, trying to figure out which of the 5 visible lights in the sky were stars, and which were airplanes. Round-trip was less than two hours.

Sunday: A lazy day. I slept in, made a giant egg sandwich for lunch, continued my Greek marathon before switching over to re-watch season one of The Vampire Diaries. I’ve seen most of Greek already, and all of TVD, so I kept busy by starting a new book (The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). Reading was interrupted when a friend that happens to live in my apartment building called me from her sister’s phone and asked me to drive her into the city so that she could pick up her phone which she had left at a bar. Upon my return, I climbed back into my hammock and watched the Season 2 finale of The Newsroom, which resulted in a lot of Tina Belcher noises (see below). Then read until I fell asleep.

That was my weekend: baking, books, football, movies, television marathons, and weird road-trip-y favors for friends. It was a nice, low-key weekend before the craziness of this weekend which will feature out of town guests and FreeFest.

Now enjoy a song that was stuck in my head all weekend:

That Girl Looks Like Trash

There are a lot of things I love about GW. There’s also a lot of stuff that GW people like. But sometimes I just don’t get it. I understand that fashion is (kind of) important. You get judged by what you wear. You don’t want to look like a slob. But GW fashion is ridiculous. Everyone seems to wear a variation on the same thing. Especially the girls (pea coat, leggings, Uggs, non-t-shirt shirt, Blackberry, Starbucks).

For a group as uniform in appearance as we are, GW’s a bit judgey about fashion. Which, GW students must be the epitome of class if they’re too good for pants, right? I wouldn’t know, not owning a pair of leggings. Shocker, I know.

But, for as politically active and socially aware as GW students can be (especially PoliComm majors, just sayin’), they are still ridiculous and judgey about clothing and fashion. Case in point. I just… They turned a wonderful and insightful political event of former White House press secretaries into an opportunity to critique professional fashion. Guys… really? I’ve seen girls strutting around thinking this is an okay look. Pick on her!

I’m just saying – it’s kind of preposterous for a 20 year old to pick apart the clothing choices of an adult when said adult is, roughly, 1000% more successful than you. They worked in the freakin’ White House. They corralled unruly journalists (and presidents alike, I’m sure). They were the source of information and poise when talking about the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, 9/11, the beginning of the Iraq War and much, much more. They probably have more things to worry about than what GW students (and C-SPAN viewers) think of their clothes. Most of them run communications firms and… I’m just exasperated.

The event was fantastic, though. I really learned a lot about what the actual job of the press secretary is. Because, as much as I love Aaron Sorkin, Allison Janney, and the West Wing, it was nice to hear a real-world perspective. They spoke candidly about their time in the White House during international crises. They spoke about delivering a message without being the one that crafts the content. They spoke about having to rely on themselves and their gut instincts, all while knowing when to ask questions and become a journalist themselves. And, despite what Ari Fleischer said, they kind of are rock stars. Especially at GW.

Hate; I really don’t like you.

The other day, Gawker ran this article about actresses we really hate. Everyone has a few. For me, it’s Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox, and Kristen Stewart. I know that my mom hates Renee Zelwegger and Nicole Kidman.

I realized the other night that I really, really want to hate Rashida Jones. She’s never personally wronged me or anything, she just… I don’t really know. She was a stuck-up bitch in Freaks & Geeks (which I’m just now watching for the first time), and has dated a significant portion of famous people that I’ve had crushes on (here’s looking at you John Krasinski and Jon Favreau). It also didn’t help that more often than not I hated her character on The Office. (She tried to step between Jam! Not okay!)

But I can’t hate her. I love her too much. I really just loved her in I Love You, Man. That was such a great little movie to me. Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Juno’s dad, Andy Samberg. And Jones’ Zoey was just fantastic. I really believed her relationship with Paul Rudd’s character. It was just really nice and adorable. Not gonna lie, I’m a little jealous. Also, she was in The Social Network. I really can’t seem to hate anyone if they do a good job on an Aaron Sorkin project.

Tonight’s Gonna be a Good Night

I love the feeling of classes winding down and finals approaching.  It’s not that I’m excited for finals so much as reading week. An entire week to do nothing. Okay, sure, I could use it to study, but we all know that that won’t happen.  I anticipate trips to the zoo, museums, the movies, and long days in the dorm.  Amanda and I kicked of our reading week in style last night even though it doesn’t officially begin until Tuesday. Here’s how it went.

On Sunday night upon our return to the dorm from our Thanksgiving break, we popped in the first disc of Aaron Sorkin’s most recent episodic endeavor, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006). It’s chock-full of our favorite actors, including Bradley Whitford, Timothy Busfield, Amanda Peet, and Matthew Perry. Last night, after I got home from work at midnight, we really started to rally. We watched episode after episode starting at about 1 am.  By three, we hit the 4-episode story arc that ends the one-season series.  Needless to say we had to finish.  So, as Amanda worked on a project and I finished knitting a scarf, we absorbed ourselves with Studio 60. It was glorious; maybe the best decision I’ve made yet in college.  We didn’t turn in until 6:45 am, but that was okay because I didn’t have class until 12:45.  Many a time we replayed a scene.  Our Facebook statuses at about 5 or 6 in the morning really reflect how much fun we were having.  Back and forth we posted quotes from the series, often lapsing into raucous giggle fits.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we woke up Ellen and Anne. Here are some examples of our Studio 60-induced statuses:

Molly: has been having this fight in two different millennia now.

Molly: “once had this dream of having enough money and buying the entire West Wing cast just to keep them on retainer. For, you know, whatever. Maybe make them perform scripts for me.” – Amanda. cause us being roommates really was meant to be.

Molly: there was popcorn with butter. I couldn’t snap.

Amanda: wants this to be my family forever. no matter what else happens.

Amanda: is glad about that.

Amanda: just loves you is all.

Amanda:“When I have a baby, I want my husband… or whoever the father is… to be just like Danny. I want to be sure that he’ll have my kid’s back.” – Molly, on standards and expectations.

Today we went Christmas shopping at Target, getting decorations and cold-weather pajamas.  Afterwards, we stopped for some Anne-approved pizza.  When we got home, we watched one of my favorite movies, Pride and Prejudice (the 2005 Kiera Knightly version).  I was so excited when I picked up the DVD from the library I didn’t even mind that I had to go to the other campus for it.  It was completely worth it.

Now, as I type this, Amanda and I have restarted our Studio 60 marathon.  In all fairness, we started on the 5th disc, so there are only about five episodes to go. That’s no problem for us. (Apparently it was. We fell asleep after before the first episode was over with.) Continue reading

Go! Watch! Now!

Don’t walk, run. Click here as fast as you can and watch the “Maneater” Psych-out (it should play automatically when the page opens, perhaps after a short ad). It made my day.  It was actually better than watching the Jam wedding on the Office this morning (I missed it when it was on last night due to work). I watched this Psych-out at least three times. Actually, I’m going to do it again as soon as this is posted.  Joshua Malina, I love you.

PS – We have the same birthday! And if you love Joshua Malina, too, you should check out his stint on Sports Night and The West Wing. Kudos Aaron Sorkin for putting him on your shows.

Oh, and here’s some music: