Television Tuesdays: Classic Alice

Classic Alice is not, as I first thought, about Alice in Wonderland. It is about a girl named Alice, though. A girl who allows herself to be immersed in fictional worlds. But it’s about so much more than that.

Per the Classic Alice Indiegogo page, Classic Alice is the brainchild of series creator and star, Kate Hackett. When over-achiever Alice Rackham gets a bad grade on an essay because she isn’t emotionally connecting to material, she decides to live her life according to classic novels. Her friend, Andrew Prichard, uses the opportunity to make a vlog-style documentary about the process, and together they create ‘Classic Alice’.

When I began watching, I immediately felt a kinship with Alice. The bad grade she got on her essay sent her into an emotional tailspin and in that moment, I saw myself. I’ve obsessed over papers and cried when I got grades that weren’t As. Alice immediately freaks out because we are one and the same and sometimes anything that’s not an A feels like a failure.

Alice’s long-time friend Andrew not only films Alice’s exploits, he occasionally joins her. And throughout all of this, we get glimpses of other characters in Alice’s life: her roommate Cara (who is the absolute best), her cousin Reagan, and other students at her college. And they all get fleshed out. They get backstory and depth and motivation and interests beyond their role in Alice’s life.

Throughout Alice’s project to live her life according to these classic books, she’s forced to examine her values and her goals. She makes mistakes, and it’s so refreshing to see that they’re not simply glossed over. She struggles. A lot. And sometimes she triumphs.

There’s a love story, too. I’ve found it impossible not to cheer for it (he wears plaid a lot! he’s great!) and I don’t want to resist it. The chemistry, the story, all of it’s amazing. But the most amazing part of this love story is that, for once, the creators and the show itself believes that “A relationship should not, is not, the end of a human being’s story.”

Classic Alice is wonderful. It’s addictive. It’s fun and funny and thought-provoking. More than that, it was created by a woman, it’s feminist, and it has LGBTQ characters. In short, the show is delightful, and you should be watching.

The first run of the show is over, but the amazing, brilliant people behind Classic Alice want to make more episodes. I want it to make more episodes. You should want there to be more episodes. Luckily, there’s an Indiegogo fundraiser for the show. Please donate what you can. Support this beautiful little show.

What’s Up, Wednesday? //4\\

Welcome back to WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY, which is hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. To learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages. I use it to keep me writing, to make myself think about writing, and to force myself to think positive and find things to look forward to.

What I’m Reading

More of the same. The last week has been so busy that I haven’t had the chance to read much at all. But I am looking forward to Making Headlines* by my good friend Erin Brown. It’s going to have scandals and sleuthing and tons of chemistry, I’m sure. I absolutely adored Erin’s first book (which exists in the same universe), so I’m really looking forward to Making Headlines. The characters Erin writes are always such a delight to read, I’m sure I’ll devour this book in no time.

*Making Headlines is a companion to Erin’s first book, Taking Flight, but don’t let that stop you from picking it up! You needn’t have read Taking Flight for Making Headlines to make sense, but you should absolutely read that as well.

What I’m Writing

I’ve promised to send Kate (see What Works for Me) more pages of That Golf Story soon. I’ve been pretty busy the last week, so new new words yet. But I’m pretty excited for what’s about to come: 

 @MollytheGhost Fine, instead of writing you an outtake I will sprint towards a scene fraught with sexual tension between Carter & Butt Boy.

@MollytheGhost They might make out soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What Works for Me

For the first time ever I’ve shown someone the first draft of what I’ve written. I’ve been sending my friend Kate chapters of That Golf Story as I complete them and it’s actually been really great for me. So far, at least. Because I’m sending her chapters as I finish them, I tend to be writing at a faster clip than usual. Though most of that might come down to the fact that I’m not trying to edit as I go instead of put down new words.

I think one of the main things this has been working for me is because she hasn’t been giving me critique. Which is probably a good thing because if she had been I don’t know if I’d ever write again. She’s an indomitable editrix and she kind of scares me. She keeps promising to cut my drafts to ribbons with a machete and make the pages run red with her pen, so I’m wary. But it’s so nice to just hear positive reinforcement, like, “The description of them [redacted] was beautiful. Tomfoolery + amazing imagery. My favorite.” Or when she’s just the most encouraging about me putting new words down because I want her to get to read them. Having someone outside of my head be excited for my characters is a novel experience. It’s nice because, for once, when I talk to her about my characters, she finally has context to understand my frustrations/exaltation.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Last weekend was Memphis weekend! I ate so much food every step of the journey and I have absolutely no regrets! Memphis was so small of a city I almost want to call it quaint. Pretty much everywhere we wanted to go we could walk to from our hotel. We saw the famous Parade of Ducks at the Peabody, walked along the Mississippi River, drank on Beale Street, and ate more barbecue than you can imagine. I even let Mom guilt me into going to Graceland, because giving her the vicarious trip was the least I could do. I found Graceland impossibly underwhelming and the best part of Graceland was the Blue Bell ice cream I ate while I was there. But I did it for my mom, and I’ll have tales to tell her and pictures to show her and gifts to give her, so whatever.

This weekend my Dad is coming to the area for a Civil War photography seminar that he’s been looking forward to since the location was announced last year. So I probably won’t see much of him, but I’ve convinced him to bring my golf clubs down and, weather permitting, we’ll play a round. I’ve also convinced him to go to trivia with me on Sunday, so maybe my team will finally have a chance at winning.

I still haven’t started grad school applications and that’s a thing I should really do this weekend, huh? When investigating last week I discovered that one of the schools I was planning to apply to won’t work out because it requires a portfolio and hahaha I don’t have one of those, so. Hmph. Now I’m left to decide whether I want to apply to the same school for a different program or look elsewhere.

Can We Talk About the Lizzie Bennet Diaries?

Subtitle, courtesy of @onlymystory, “If This is the Kind of Single Man in Want of a Wife…GIVE ME THE DAMN RING.”

I have a confession. So here’s the thing. The thing is: I am hopelessly addicted to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. And you should be too.

As you may know, Monday was the 200th anniversary of the publishing of my beloved Pride and Prejudice. Okay, I guess I can’t say ‘my’ beloved. It’s not like I wrote it. If only. But still. As one of my favorite books and my absolute favorite movie, you are getting a post dedicated to Pride and Prejudice. Because, duh.

But wait, there’s a twist! I’m not going to wax poetic about the book (though I could) and I’m not going to fawn over the movie (even though I did watch it Sunday for approximately the 200th time). Instead, I am going to shout excitedly about the most recent interpretation: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

First things first: What is it?

Good question! The one-line answer: Modern day P&P done as a vlog.

In this retelling, Lizzie Bennet is a 24 year-old grad student studying Mass Communications. She has two sisters – the elder, Jane, and the younger, Lydia. For fun, and as part of her thesis, Lizzie decides to make a vlog about her life and the matchmaking attempts of her mother.

The characters are, for the most part, the same. Their names and appearances? Not so much. For instance, Kitty has been relegated to the role of Lydia’s cat; Mary is a cousin. Don’t question it – it works. Also, all three sisters have gorgeous red hair. I’m having some serious hair-envy, y’all.

Charlotte Lucas is still Lizzie’s best and truest friend but she is now Asian and named Charlotte Lu. Charles Bingly is now Bing Lee. (Yes, he’s Asian. And yes, he looks like the Asian Tyler Hoechlin. Trust me? Oh, you don’t. Okay then:

Exhibit A: faces

H2d

Exhibit B: deuces

deuces2 deuces1

Exhibit C: abs

Bing Leeaaabs

Or maybe it’s just that ‘there’s something pleasant about his mouth when he speaks’ – smiles – whichever. Either way, I rest my case. (I know you didn’t ask but come on, it was totally worth mentioning.)

This adaptation, like any and all good adaptations, hits all the major plot-points: Jane falls for Bing Lee (love at first sight!). Lizzie finds Darcy intolerable. Bing Lee throws a party. Jane and Lizzie stay at Netherfield. Lizzie meets and flirts with Wickham. Wickham is full of shit and eventually hooks up with Lydia. Bing Lee is convinced to leave Netherfield by his interfering sister Caroline and best friend Darcy. Charlotte accepts a proposal from Mr Collins and then Lizzie goes to visit her. Lizzie goes to Pemberly and that’s where we are now.

I’m getting really invested in these characters. Like, if you had asked me a fortnight ago, I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible to have more love for Darcy and Lizzie or more hatred for Wickham or more angst and eye-rolling over Lydia but I LOVE IT SO MUCH MORE NOW. I’m thinking about the story differently and how this modern adaptation works (and how it doesn’t).

Like – Mary. I am so into Mary as a character. She is just a bad-ass and yet so perfectly in character: introverted, quiet, soft-spoken, keeps-to-herself. But then she knows how to wrangle Lydia and turns into a good friend for her cousin. And nabs herself a boyfriend!

Speaking of Lydia – I never would have imagined Lydia as a sympathetic character, not really, but this vlog has managed to do so. Giving her a spin-off series really lets us into the emotional depth of Lydia: she’s the baby of the family; she’s not as close to either of her sisters as they are too each other; she doesn’t have a love interest (and seems fairly content with that in the beginning) but clearly doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a slut, either; she’s lonely. This is the first P&P adaptation, at least that I’ve seen, that really allows Lydia ample screen time and gives her some plot instead of treating her as a plot device.

And Lizzie. You guys, this series took the opportunity to show Lizzie as a biased/not completely reliable narrator and ran with it. Of course they kept Lizzie the main character and are telling the story from her perspective, but it’s so refreshing to see that she’s fallible – and that others around her know that! The use of Jane and Charlotte in the videos has really helped flesh out how Lizzie’s opinions can be ‘prejudiced’ and sometimes marred by her first impressions. (Fun fact, the original title of P&P was “First Impressions”. The more you know.) Her use of ‘costume theater’ helps dramatize her interactions with others, sure, but it’s also giving us, the viewers, a really accurate portrayal of how, exactly, Lizzie thinks of those people while veiling it in a ‘fake’ kind of way.

Now that it’s been mentioned, enough can’t be said for Lizzie’s costume theater. While biased, it really helped to introduce characters and give them another dimension while letting us into Lizzie’s mindspace. Also, it gives us time to really appreciate how precious and adorable these characters are. May I present:

darcy1 darcy2 darcy3 fitz1fitz fitz3

If you didn’t notice, the first gif set isn’t just Darcy – it’s hipster!Darcy. That is his natural character disposition! Darcy is a hipster. I totally buy that interpretation 100%. In Lizzie’s costume theater bits she always provides a red bowtie and newsie cap (in one episode she called Darcy a Newsie and I almost died I was so thrilled). In that first gif, those are HIS OWN hat and tie. He wanted to be in character costume to please her.

And that bottom gifset? Yeah, that’s Fitz. I don’t know if you remember him from the books, but he’s pretty much always been my fallback option for Lizzie if she couldn’t have Darcy. But in modern times he’s gay. And wonderful. I just, I need a Fitz in my life. He really gets Darcy’s personality and knows how to coax Darcy into being teasing and lighthearted and it’s fabulous. I also love that he and Gigi are conspiring to get Lizzie and Darcy together. Their twitter interactions are actually the best. Case in point:

Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 2.00.39 AM

Okay, I’ve made my pitch. If this hasn’t won you over, I don’t know what will. While you watch keep an eye out for Georgiana “Gigi” Darcy’s blatant machinations (with her super side-kick Fitz), the nods to having a Vlog Brother produce (Mary was reading Looking for Alaska), the cranberry green bean jello mould, Wickham’s abs, Mr Collins’ proposal, the Lizzie/Darcy fanfic shoutout (you guys – someone trolled AO3 by posting the first 800 or so words of P&P as if it were a Regency AU fanfic). Okay. That’s really all.

Start watching! I provided the link to the entire series playlist for your convenience:

(Don’t shoot me for the plethora of Diet Pepsi ads.)

Hot Humid American Summer

I finished with classes, exams, my school year a month ago. As of May 7th at approximately 1:40pm I became a senior at the George Washington University. Let’s just give that a second to sink in, shall we? A senior. A fourth year student at a university of higher education. I’m so close to graduating I’m already cringing. I’m not ready to leave yet. It took going abroad and coming back to find my place here, school. Don’t make me leave so soon!

Okay, sorry. It’s just freaking me out a bit. I know that I’ve got a whole year left in this great place with these wonderful people, but damn. That’ll just go by in the blink of an eye, won’t it? So, in the meantime, I’m going to work on focusing on the present. I’m pretty terrible at that, if you’ve read any of my posts, like, ever. I tend to plan for months, years in the future, not the now. Oh, well. Instead of prematurely freaking out about graduation and caps and gowns and employment, I’m trying to think of what I’ll be doing this summer to keep me grounded. I’ve made a list, you see.

First off, I’ve just started working on a new story. No, I haven’t finished any of my old ones yet. I know, I know, I’m working on it. (Kind of.) But for the first time, ever, I have an outline, plot, characters, the whole shebang. If you couldn’t tell, I’m kind of proud of myself. I’m going to try and write a thousand words a day. I don’t think I’ll live up to that goal, but I’m going to try.

Next up, I plan on reading a lot this summer. A lot a lot. I’m still working at the law library, so I’ve got tons of time to kill. Here’s my go-to list:

  • Brave New World (I’ve only got about fifty pages left.)
  • Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (All books combined into one nice little Kindle package. I’m a little over half-way through.)
  • The Bell Jar
  • On the Road
  • Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Jane Eyre
  • Franny & Zooey

I also have a lot of shows to watch. Aside from recapping Newsroom over at Off Color TV I’ve got a lot on my lists. After catching up on the rest of this season’s shows (Once Upon a Time, HIMYM, Hart of Dixie, Castle, 30 Rock and Fringe) I plan on watching these for the first time:

  • Dance Academy. I’ve got about 10 episodes left in  this addictive little Australian show about teenagers at a ballet school.
  • Arrested Development
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Battle Star Galactica
  • Daria
  • Awkward.

Keep in mind I’ll be in the city all summer, so I can also distract myself with free concerts at the Kennedy Center and the Sculpture Garden. The pool is open on the auxiliary campus and is free for students. Almost all of my friends are here for some/all of the summer so I’m sure I’ll have a full schedule. At least I hope so.

Since I don’t post here on the reg (I’m going to try and amend that, no promises), you can follow me on Twitter @MollytheGhost where I am almost always available to talk about TV, my boredom, and other weird stuff. I also got a Tumblr recently, so you can see a ton of reblogged crap over there. (Please follow me? I don’t know how to cultivate tumblr followers, so that would be swell!)

Feel free to leave me with tons of suggestions as to what books/shows/movies I should try out next. I’d love to hear it.

I don’t go to College, I go to Uni

Once again, I’ve neglected my blog. Which makes me, to quote Liz Lemon, the worst. I don’t have anything topical to discuss or rant about or write a poignant essay about. For now I’m just going to play catch-up and ramble about what I’ve been up to lately.

But, hey, remember when I was all “I’ll never have the perfect college experience?” and went on whinging about that for an entire blog post? Yeah, well I apologize and am currently retracting that statement. Kind of.

I’m 3000 miles from home and I found what I was looking for. When I was but an ideological high-schooler, dreaming of the perfect college  I pictured sprawling rural campus. I ended up in the middle of a city. Whatever, you know all this. But do you know how perfect the Sussex Uni campus is? It’s exactly what 16-year old me envisaged. Green everywhere, enclosed so you still have a campus feel but surrounded by bountiful (and beautiful) parkland. 20,000 students, but only about a third (all first years) live on campus.  The classrooms are mostly lecture halls, but instead of individual desks, they’re elongated and look like this picture, which I absolutely adore. And, AND, there are two pubs on campus. Yes, two. So close, so convenient, so deliciously cheap. So, no, I’m still not getting to tailgate, or go to football games, or whatever, but I actually feel like a college student. Going to lecture, taking notes in a notebook (not that many students use laptops in class), writing essays, and going out on the weekends! Unlike the States, where I can’t go out to bars or clubs and drink, I can do that here. I can, and do, go on pub crawls. I can now say that I’ve been to a house party. I’m meeting people! I’m getting drunk and attempting to navigate the bus system! And it’s legal! For the first time ever, I’ve been to a bar and had a cute guy buy me a drink (my tiny triumph of last weekend). So, despite the fact that I’m really looking forward to getting back to GW, I’m absolutely loving my time here. I’m really finding myself, getting comfortable in my own skin and just having fun.

Other little things:

  • I saw a fox! On campus! On the way to a bar! Everything about those statements makes me giddy. Foxes are my favorite animal. The fact that they run around campus just thrills me to death. It was a fun little surprise passing one on the way to Falmer Bar last weekend.
  • I got a job! Okay, to be technical, an unpaid position. But I’m writing recaps/reviews of one of my absolute favorite shows, Parks & Recreation. I adore both the show and the site that I’m writing them for, Off Color TV. It’s a really fun site to troll. I’m now a frequent reader and commenter. Everyone should definitely go and check it out. For those of you who know how much I love tv and recaps, you should know that I’m over the moon about doing this. Unfortunately there wasn’t a new Parks & Rec last night, but there will be a nice new post (by me) next Friday. I urge you all to read and comment on it.
  • This one’s a little old, but I organized a beer pong tournament on campus a couple weeks ago. I imagined we’d have ten people show up, but around 30 exchange students packed into one of the dorm kitchens and hung around for a few hours. Not too shabby.
  • I’m taking an archery class! That puts me one step closer to becoming Katniss Everdeen. 
  • You might’ve noticed that I posted a recap of the season premiere of “The League”. I’ll be doing that weekly. They may be a little late, but they’ll get posted, regardless. It’s just a little something I’m doing to contribute to my family’s fantasy football newsletter. Whatever keeps me writing.
  • I’ve been attempting (and mostly succeeding) to keep up with US television shows. Despite the fact that I have to watch them next-day (and avoid spoilers on Twitter) it’s been working out. I figure it’s acceptable since I’m still a social creature and not a complete recluse. Right?

Of the White House Correspondents Dinner, circa 2011

I think it’s a bit of an understatement, but I’m just going to put it out there. Last weekend was pretty eventful. Seriously, jam-packed. Friday was “bandquet” at the Prime Rib. It was as fun as it was delicious. Sunday night the world at large received the news that Osama bin Laden had been shot and killed in a mansion outside of Islamabad, Pakistan. And then there was Saturday…

I think there should be an actual holiday declared for the last Saturday of April, because it was wonderful and magical and exhilarating. While I’m not actually one for celebrity gossip, I had an amazing time running around DC. Because, governmental or religious recognition or not, Saturday was a holiday and the best one of them all: the day of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

The day began with Amanda and I running (figuratively) from campus to the White House all the way to Georgetown to see if we could spot Matthew Morrison with his bff Chace Crawford. Amanda is a little bit in love with Matt Morrison. And, though we scoured the city for the two gorgeous fellows for a good part of the afternoon, we did not find them. But not for lack of trying.

In the evening, Rachel, Amanda and I started walking towards Dupont Circle so that we could hang out at the Washington Hilton, for that’s where the dinner is held.  A surprising number of attendees don’t get dropped off in front of the hotel, but actually just walk up Connecticut Avenue, in gowns and tuxes alike.

The event was exciting for me because for one I was included. I got to spend a wonderful evening with Rachel and Amanda. Also… I’ve never really seen famous people before in real life (discounting politicians, just because.) In the end, this is a list of those stars we saw that I was able to identify. Just for kick’s I’ll compile subgroups:

  • Political – George Stephanopolous’ hair, Bristol Palin, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, Colin Powell, Madeline Albright, Bill O’Reilly
  • SNL – Andy Samberg, Bill Heder, Jason Sudeikis, Amy Poehler & Fred Armisen
  • The Hangover – Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifinakis, the groom
  • Other: Chris Colfer, Nina Dobrev & Ian Somerhalder, Omar Epps, Jeremy Piven, Mila Kunis, Jon Hamm, Chelsea Handler, Selma Hayek, Alisa Milano, Michelle Trachtenberg, Rashida Jones, Kenneth the Page, Paula Abdul, Rosario Dawson, and Ryan Kwanten

The most frustrating part of the evening probably came from having to wait for the President’s motorcade. No one can enter the building and the entrances have to be cleared. This happened not only when he arrived, but when he left as well. And, sure, it’s cool to see the President, but we really only end up staring at his motorcade, willing it to just move already. Regardless, it was a fun night. We’ve got big plans for next year and even grander for 2013.

For your entertainment:

I Basically Just Guess When I’m Using Semicolons

Guys, not to brag or anything, but I’m a wealth of knowledge when it comes to non-religion based faiths of the Enlightenment (you know, natural religion, deism, atheism, etc.). Jokes. If only. You’d think after my working on a term paper about that very subject for roughly 27 out of the last 48 hours, that may be the case. But, alas, it isn’t.

Okay, in fairness I wasn’t working that entire time. But I also didn’t procrastinate as much as I could have. How I didn’t break Twitter with all of my dilly-dallying, I’ll never know. Also a miracle: my Pride and Prejudice DVD hasn’t quit on me yet; that has been my go-to homework movie for over 3 years. (Excuse me while I reminisce about the marathon of AP English lit. homework that I did until 5am the night before senior year of high school. Ah, memories.)

For those keeping score at home, I’m 2 term papers down, with 2 to go. One of which I only found out about yesterday. (It was a sneak attack, I swear. There was only an oblique reference to it in the syllabus and no hint as to what it will be on.) It’s okay, though, because it means that this semester’s wrapping up. I’ll miss my friends and DC, but I won’t mind skipping out on the oppressive heat and humidity. Why subject myself to it here when I can have it in more sporadic doses with less air conditioning at home?

Here’s something to break the monotony: